Category Archives: Notes on the News

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This scene from Bruce Almighty always has me laughing to tears. However, a similar scene after the Grammys had a much different effect on me. Serene Branson, a CBS reporter, was on scene after the Grammys. At first glance, Branson appeared alert and put together. It was not until she opened her mouth to report, that made it very clear there was something very wrong. Frightened viewers at home watched a panicked Branson incoherently attempt to pass the report back to the studio. Although her babbling may illicit giggles for some, the incident was, and remains, nothing but critical.

Many are speculating that Branson suffered a stroke, causing the aphasia. My Grandfather has had six strokes within the last two years, and while I have no medical training, Branson’s stricken look and labored ramblings were all too familiar. Paramedics were immediately called to the scene and it is reported than Branson’s vitals were normal. It was also reported that a colleague drove Branson home as a precaution.

A great deal of controversy has already surrounded the event. Many believe, and I must admit I agree, that the reporter should have been taken directly to the hospital. We’ve all heard the commercials, and probably made fun of them, but the truth of the matter is, “Time save, is brain save“. With immediate tests, the scary incident could be defined by doctors and the young reporter could take action, versus wondering what really happened.

And even scarier news, the number of young men and women stroke cases have skyrocketed, increasing 51 percent for men ages 15 to 44, and 17 percent among women of the same age. The cause? Doctors aren’t sure yet. Obesity, as usual, is the first cause out of the gate with doctors standing behind their Eat Right and Exercise banners.

At the end of the day, there are far too many health problems to watch out for. With constant rising numbers in different age groups being affected by this and that, one could worry oneself to death. What really doesn’t help matters either is shows like The Doctors and Doctor Oz. Who wants to sit around and learn about what new disease might end up killing them? (Mental note, tell Mother that Dr. Phil’s at least easier to make fun of). As for me, I’m good not knowing.

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Ice Ice Baby

Stop, collaborate and listen. The northeast is expecting the winter storm of a lifetime. So far, local meteorologists are predicting Louisville to expect mostly rain. The brunt of the storm will slap St. Louis, Chicago, and Indiana. Indianapolis was told to batten down the hatches. Bread and milk is sure to fill every northern home.

Meteorologists are predicting an event similar to that of the Ice Storm of 2009. Icing on the cake, a windstorm to follow. Before I go off the deep end on discussing my disdain for winter, I have to admit the severity of the predicted storm is not to be questioned. Be safe on the roads, layer up if you have to go outside, and check on elderly neighbors. This storm’s going to go down in history.

You know it’s serious when even the meteorologists seem to frazzled, their reports frantic and ever-changing. The six o’clock news is a one man show, running from radar to computer, tapping the snow and ice dance. Although, as I mentioned earlier, Louisville is expected to escape the confrontation, I can’t help but travel back in time to my freshman year of college. They didn’t predict an ice storm for Louisville that year either. Comforting.

It was unlike anything I had ever seen, or heard. Trees that normally stood twenty-five feet tall were weighed completely down, their topmost branches lounging on neighbors’ lawns. The eerie quietness was broken every so often  by branches falling through the air landing on houses, cars, and many roadways. Up until now I never thought I’d see a similar sight. But as I check our local news stations’ weather blog updates, and the storm inches farther south, I’m thinking I might have the terrible luck to witness two major ice events.

Any other day of the year, a ten foot tree in my parents’ front yard. 2009.

Indiana officials have acknowledged the storm threat, but are telling reporters there’s not much to be done about ice. Streets can be brined to help dissolve snow, but the government can’t exactly order warm temperatures and sun. Even if they could, it would probably be on back order.

The storm that’s already being referred to as catastrophic and life-threatening, will bring much unwanted attention to surrounding areas. In the time before and during the storm, there will be a realistic concern for citizens’ lives. After all is said and done, power crews will earn hundreds of hours in overtime trying to restore power to affected areas. Sound like a beautiful Winter Wonderland? Only if you’re Perry Como.

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Oh … Fudge!

” Only I didn’t say ‘Fudge’. I said THE word, the big one, the queen-mother of dirty words, the ‘F-dash-dash-dash’ word!” This scene from a christmas classic, A Christmas Story, is funny to laugh at now, but was not so funny to a child in the 40’s. As the movie demonstrates, an explicative once earned you a date with a bar of soap. The connection is not hard to draw; If you curse, then you have a dirty mouth. Dirty mouths, like anything else dirty, must be washed with soap. Ralphie, like I’m sure many other children of older America, got well acquainted with bars across the board. “Over the years I got to be quite a connossieur of soap. Though my personal preference was for Lux, I found that Palmolive had a nice, piquant after-dinner flavor – heavy, but with a touch of mellow smoothness. Life Buoy, on the other hand … Yuk!”

The scene from A Christmas Story was not out of the usual, and though it is not a method commonly used today, it did not spark a nation-wide controversy. However, a recent video in the news has us looking back to Ralphie and reevaluating what exactly is the thin line between discipline and child abuse.

A mother in Anchorage, Alaska has modified the old soap in the mouth method to a matter that is quite a bit more burning. First shown on Dr. Phil, and now available on YouTube, Jessica Beagley is taped by another one of her children, pouring hot sauce into her son’s mouth and forcing him to hold it. Although she argues this is no difference than washing a child’s mouth out with soap, many others disagree. Among those are municipal prosecutor Cynthia Franklin, who is charging Beagley with child abuse. In addition to the hot sauce, Beagely also forces her son into cold showers, which is not covered as unreasonable discipline. Hot sauce, on the other hand, falls under scalding and burning which is considered unreasonable discipline. I’d say so.

While the mother argues that the punishment is on the same level as soap, her lawyer argues that there would be no case if the tape had not shown on Dr. Phil. News flash: National television does that sometimes. The whole case seems to be at a moot point. The tape was shown, authorities got involved, and charges are being pressed. I’m sure there are a great deal of mothers standing behind Sarah Palin’s neighbor, but I can’t imagine a single situation, not involving a game of truth or dare, that could merit hot sauce.

To add more to the story, the mother is being investigated by Russian authorities as well, as she and her husband adopted their son featured in the video and his twin brother from Russia when the boys were five. Way to earn respect for the U.S. from all the other countries that already think we’re worthless. And another twist in the story, Beagley’s husband, Gary Beagley, is a police officer in Anchorage. As a fellow Wife Behind the Badge, I’m ashamed.

Generally, I have more sarcastic side-notes to offer. But tonight as I stare at the mother’s plea, not guilty, I don’t have much to offer. And maybe within the next week, I’ll have to listen to my husband talk about responding to a call of child abuse. As much as it breaks my heart, I can’t fix it.

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Goodbye California

I guess we don’t have to worry about California breaking off and hanging out with Hawaii and Alaska. Scientists in California have started talk about a possible “superstorm“. Reports acknowledge the information falls in line with catastrophic movies that have filled our box offices dating back to the 1930’s with The Last Days of Pompeii. What reports have failed to acknowledge is the potential toll the news of disaster is going to take on the residents of the Golden State.

Scientists in California’s Geological Department are warning the government that the damage done by the impending “superstorm” could be more than five times worse than that of a major earthquake. Alongside potential hurricane-force winds,  the most threatening aspect of the storm is the predicted ten feet of water that is said will accumulate over 40 days. Did we piss God off again?

The same scientists that are making these predictions were very open in a discussion with a New York Times reporter. This “superstorm” is not the first in history and scientists and researchers have indicated there is a pattern of these storms every 150 to 200 years. I’m not really sure how this is supposed to make anyone feel better.

My family lives in Florida and ever since I can remember, during hurricane season, there was always the possibility of a non-holiday related reunion due to the massive power of an imminent hurricane. They were always nice visits, usually over before I could register the event. They would return to their home, thankfully never damaged, and return to their everyday lives. The residents of California do not have the same luxury. Technology has come a long way, but still not far enough. Scientists have not set a date, and when and if they do, California residents, with gas nearing four dollars a gallon, cannot afford to take an East Coast vacation for more than a month.

So what are all the beach-goers and vineyard owners left to do? Sit and wait for The Day After Tomorrow to come true? California State Officials met last week to prepare plans for a state of emergency, which is a step ahead of waiting until all is said and done to hold a press conference and skillfully say, “We had the information, yet we had no reason to believe the welfare of our state was threatened in any way”.

There’s not much anyone can say as of this moment in time. With the previous flooding in California that made national news less than a month ago and the shooting in Arizona, the West has had its share of bad news. That’s not to say the rest of the States hasn’t suffered alongside. As I look outside at the drizzling rain, on the opposite side of the country, I can only pray my post will go to waste and no news will be good news. While Senator Giffords recovers in the hospital, this country could use a good night’s sleep.

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