I'm irritable. Of course, the heat has factored into my state. But I've never been one of those people affected tremendously by weather. It's Planet Earth after all, and weather happens. But it's been hot. And, somehow, after spending my multitude of years not allergic to any sort of plant matter I've ever encountered, this week, I seem to have contracted a bit of poison oak. Glen's got it, too. And, of course, it's worse for him, as afflictions are always worse for husbands. To be fair, this time he is in really bad shape, and I feel bad complaining with my quarter-sized patch o' misery on the inside of my right forearm, and the little splotch on the back of my left hand, and 2 solitary bumps on my right foot. But holy friggin' moly, the burning and itching are pure hell. I've always been good at pushing discomfort out of my head, but this rash is pretty much all I can think about in the last few days. So, I do feel badly for Glen, who has a full-on rash on both arms and across his chest. And as much as I try not to bitch about the weather, it is a relief that it's cooler. A bit.
So, I was perhaps a bit less tolerant than normal about the news this week. Wait. Not really the news itself, but about some of the folks working for our local media outlets. I have tried, over the last couple of years, to not jump on the LA Parker hating bandwagon; that's partially because he does, occasionally, make some exceptionally good points about culture and community, amid the uncomfortable displays of former mayor Doug Palmer worship.
But, this week, he has been ALL over Trenton's new mayor, Tony Mack. I'm not saying Mack doesn't deserve critical examination; but I also accept the fact Mack is our new mayor, and I'm going to give him a bit of time to settle into his new job to see how things go. I'll probably wind up attacking him, too, but I'm fair: I'll wait until he actually screws up as my mayor.
Most members of the media are objective reporters, and they usually work on behalf of the public to keep everyone in the know. That hasn't been the case with LA Parker, who is ultimately just like me, a blogger, except he cozied up to former mayor, Doug Palmer, instead of the public, and, oh yeah, unlike me, Parker gets paid for spouting his opinions. Over the course of the years, instead of building relationships with members of the community, Parker has burrowed himself so far into Palmer's ass, that even a Silkwood shower cannot clean the stink off of him. Parker could have ripped into Palmer any number of times, for good reason, but never did. Instead, he launched an attack on Mack, a guy barely a week into his job, a guy who has had conflicts with Parker's idol, Doug Palmer. LA's attacks on Mack showcase just how screwed we are in Trenton. Our media representation tends to suck. Not entirely. But mostly.
However, LA is just one guy, and, like I said, he does occasionally make some great points; a bigger problem with Trenton's lack of coverage is The Times. They showed their total disconnect from the city that gave them life recently by writing editorials about how citizens here should support Palmer's bid to sell off Trenton Water Works' suburban pipes. I have tried to look at the sale from every angle, and, granted, I'm a bit of a dope. But, I don't see how the sale would have benefited anyone, except some big, lame business; and Palmer, since the sale would divert some attention from the gaping hole in the city finances, a hole caused by Palmer.
This is but one glaring example of The Times' inability to service its readership; the paper has laid off most of the staff who'd be covering this city, besides. And, the staff that's left is in circulation, and those dopes are using an outdated business model to try to drum up readership: they're littering our streets with little white plastic bags containing a piece of paper offering a deal on subscriptions. Do they really think they'll bring in subscribers that way? Many of our neighbors don't even care enough about litter to even know that the shit that's in the street contains an incredible subscription opportunity. Those of us who do know what's in the white plastic bag know because we've cleaned up several dozen of them. Not only have I cleaned up the Times' litter around my house, I've sent emails to their circulation department, and joined a Facebook group to show my disgust. I'll be damned before subscribing to that paper again.
With two major Times' faux pas just behind us, I thought it couldn't really get any worse. Last night I had a near-psychotic episode while fruitlessly, insanely scratching the outer margins of the small but sinister poison oak rash on my inner arm. I had just used my phone to check Twitter, and I was waiting for my tweets to load, holding the phone in my right hand, attached to the afflicted arm, while I scratched with my left. Maybe one of the tweets would be funny, or offer a great link to distract me from my misery.
Alas, that was not to be. Let's just say for the record, I don't mind the occasional, "I'm listening to blah blah blah song," but if you offer up a blow-by-blow of what you're listening to on your internet radio, I might delete you. I do not have time to read through your playlists, because IT IS JUST NOT THAT INTERESTING, especially when your followers, like me, are suffering from a (mentally) debilitating case of poison oak. Furthermore, while sometimes it is interesting to hear where my tweeps are at any given time, usually it is not. So, all of you people on foursquare have GOT to figure out how to hide your "I'm at the Home Depot" posts, especially if you are under 30, and are always out and about, and are bopping into place after place after place, all the livelong day. I do not care if you are the mayor of Cluck-U. Unless you occasionally bring me a Little Roman. But when I have to sift through page after page of "I just checked in at blah blah blah," I'm going to wish hard that your home gets burglarized while you're out.
But, back to The Times. I follow their affiliate, nj.com, on Twitter, and I appreciate the news headlines, even though they do not do nearly as good a job as the Trentonian does on Twitter (the Trentonian, by the way, is worth following). Go figure, right? The Times abandoned the city, so why should nj.com offer many pertinent headlines that I might find interesting? Also, nj.com had this thing for haiku recently, and while I enjoy the occasional short poem, the haiku-on-twitter thing, courtesy of nj.com (of all people/outlets) just irked me. I feel uncharitable for saying that, as I do admire an attempt to bring higher-minded ideals to the interwebs. So, let's just say I find nj.com's priorities on Twitter to be confusing, at best. This point was hammered home last night, as I scratched away at the good skin surrounding the ruined layers of epidermis on my arm, in the hopes of finding some kind of peace, when I saw the reason for my 120+ new tweets in the last 40 minutes to be largely due to nj.com's live frigging tweeting of whatever was happening with that athlete last night. I love/hate live-tweeting. It can be, occasionally, hilarious. Usually it isn't though, because the person live tweeting is writing about something which is of no consequence to me. In this case, the offender was nj.com, and the subject was LeBron James.
I realize I'm the weirdo for my sports apathy, and I'm even lamer for having almost no interest in celebrity athletes. Sure, I've heard of LeBron James, and it doesn't surprise me that someone who is probably an immature, egotistical basketball player would want to have an hour-long special on the big sports TV channel, but the fact that anyone cared is befuddling. That nj.com chose to live-tweet the hour-long ego-driven show of some athlete who, until yesterday, played for some team in Cleveland (I had to look that up, I admit), OHIO, and is going to play for some other team in Miami, FLORIDA, is so not interesting. Go take your talents to Florida, LeBron, I do not care. Got that, nj.com?