Wednesday, April 29, 2009


I forget that the smarter people in this world don't follow the news all the time. There was a point at which I didn't either, but 30 years in the auto factory drove me to NPR because between the commercials and the continual cycling of 100 or so songs on mainstream radio, I just couldn't take it anymore! Plus, having jazz as a first love led me down to the left end of the radio dial as well...

So I apologize for the vagueness of my last post! Knowing I'm not the smartest guy in the room, I tend to assume that if I know something the rest of the world does as well. Whether it's the horrific beating to death of Angie Zapata with a fire extinguisher, or the women of Zimbabwe that are in such fear of the stigma of having a "legal" abortion that they are instead showing up at doctor's with sticks broken off inside them, or ground glass, or battery acid. Whether it's the lady in Dallas yesterday, waiting 2 hours in the doctor's office with a 103F. fever because she's 8 1/2 months pregnant and fears she has "swine" flu, or the ongoing lack of real body armor for our children in Iraq and Afghanistan I figure that by the time it trickles down to me, the rest of the world already knows.

For those of you who don't, I'm glad! I'm glad you don't feel the ache that haunts me as I listen to the stories or read them; I'm glad you don't wake up wondering what you might have done to change things, or shed the tears of empathy for the victims. I've tried to "wean myself" away from the radio and the TV and the things I read on-line and actually have cut down since I retired, but like the moth and the flame, I just can't stay away. My addictive personality has found yet another way to let me down...

In the old days when I worked the assembly line I kept a little notebook in my stock rack and when things got to be too much words would find their way into it...

From those years:

“A Life Lost”

“Shiny brown hair
strewn over the snow,
her eyes staring
at the sky”
Says the article
in the New Year's
“New Yorker”.

Someone's daughter?
Kosovar freedom fighter?
Serbian rebel?
Another sacrifice
on the altar
of ethnocentricity...

How many millennia
have we left to learn
that teaching tolerance
brings life and
for our loved ones;
teaching hatred
reaps death!


Words fail me more often now. Whether it's their futility, my lack of reading of late failing to expand my vocabulary and my thoughts, or the onset of cynicism and old age, I wish more and more often now I could just pick up a trumpet and bend a blue note or two...

May the rest of the week be kind to each of you!



Riot Kitty said...

Sometimes I want to tune out, but as a former reporter, I'm a news junkie and I just can't stay away. You seem plenty smart to me, by the way!

ryssee said...

Wow, I just looked up the articles from just after the murder was committed to the jury verdict last Wednesday. What a story, and justice was served.
As far as following the news, I've been employing the Ostrich Defense these last few months. It's just too stressful for me to deal with it all lately. Although, being in Boston, this craigslist murder has me back into it again.

Samantha said...

I hit burnout a bunch of years back after fighting so hard, and so long to protect and serve everyone and anyone I could who wanted it. Never really did that for myself, so now I've put some healthy distance between myself and the rest of the world. I had to. Way to much noise, way to much stress, way shorter life if I try to keep up with it all.

Green tea said...

Oh Alan, you are one of the sharpest tacks in the box..
Your blog educates me every time I read it.

Hawaiianmark said...

NPR - youre a good guy.

Sharing views - youre a caring guy.

Empathy for others - youre a selfless guy.

Posting for others - youre a sharing guy.

Wishing well for others - that'd just be you, being you.

Take care man, you earned it!


Sassy said...


Gimme a sign said...

I love how Hawaiianmark captured you in words. You really are a wonderful guy, Alan.

I'm a bit of a news addict myself, but it's not a healthy habit. The media aims to sensationalize and sadden, panic and incite. Uplifting stories are few and far between in the news. It's important to remember that what the media chooses to show us is not all that there is to know.

Chandira said...

Alan, I can't watch tne news at the moment, I just can't. it's like verything is death and despair, and I can't bear it. I have had my head in the sand for quite a while now, you might notice I hardly ever write about things inthe news on my blog.

I don't know if that makes me smart or just unable to feel what a lot of people feel, that depth of humanity it takes to really let yourself cry for it all. Or perhaps I feel that too much, I don't know, but for months now, I have just been trying to bring some love into the lives of the people I know personally. Selfish as that makes me.

You are a good, kind, caring man with a huge heart.

CrackerLilo said...

I find for some reason that I'm okay with reading the news (online or--and I'm an anomaly here!--print). But if I have on a lot of TV or radio news, I can get worked up into a panic pretty quickly. So it's online and print only for me, and has been for ages.

Speaking of the news, the developments going on with the automakers last week made me think of you again. It is one of the reasons I *finally* came back to Blogspot. Never again will I take such a long hiatus, Gods willing and the creek don't rise!

I think there are many kinds of smart, and you're one of them.

robin andrea said...

It's good to turn off the news, to go outside and dig in the garden. Tending the tulips is sometimes all we can do in the face of small and big tragedies.

Nancy said...

You are a very sensitive man Alan and you write beautifully. Maybe all this rain you had will keep you from the news, but not our wordscrapper games!

I give myself twenty minutes of news, then I turn it off. I admit to having CNN as the page my browser opens to, but I read the headlines and try to avoid clicking the links. Especially lately with all the swine flu stuff. This is from a former news junkie. NPR was the hardest to get away from. I love NPR. Still, Click and Clack (sp) are my go to guys.

Ms.LizzyBeth said...

Um, in order to feed your news addiction (hey, I'm half-demoness so I got to do the temptation thing) check out this site which is my ab fab for when I do show any interest in the news.

Or of course, there is always the old standby for those like me who prefer a more bizarre and trivial (and totally made up news parody).

Anji said...

Alan, your poem reminded me of words written by Wilfred Owen, something about 'frozen eyeballs'...

I'd like to add too, you really are a special man, sharing so much with us all.