i am addicted to npr. or public radio, if you'd rather be generic (i do, after all, love some non-npr programs--this american life and the world, for instance). every single morning i wake up to one of l.a.'s two public radio stations. and i generally listen for at least half an hour before i drag my body out of bed. then there's the listening while getting ready in the morning. and the listening while driving every time i drive anywhere. and the listening while cleaning. any day without a healthy dose of public radio is just incomplete.
like i said: i'm addicted. and here's why. this morning's dose included the following:
strikes in france in response to sarkozy's efforts at labor reform.
the status of the new u.s. command in africa, with an account of china's burgeoning influence there. which highlighted yet again the way in which limited natural resources dictate foreign policy.
the ongoing debate over bush's veto of the recent schip bill.
the u.s. (non-)response to iraqi refugees.
just a sampling of the various u.s. and world news stories, covered with npr's usual evenhandedness. but that's not all. i also got:
an account of the hannah montana phenomenon ($2000 for a ticket to a hannah montana concert?! crazy parents and damn scalpers).
a report on anthropological discoveries of evidence of human civilization from 160,000 years ago.
in other words, interesting stories about culture and society in all their incarnations. and that's not all. npr coverage is eclectic and interesting and intelligent.
now i realize i could get most of these stories elsewhere. but internet news irritates me. too many banner ads, too much visual distraction, and most of it is poorly written. television news is a travesty of playing to the audience and mindless repetition. and other radio news just gives me a headache with all its bells and whistles and grating newscaster voices. plus none of them give me the other stories npr gave me this morning:
the woman arrested by her cop-neighbor because, when her toilet backed up, she cursed in her own home. never fear--the aclu has taken up her cause asserting a constitutional right to curse in one's own home. hilarious. especially when you stop to wonder what the hell went through that neighbor's head. all i can assume is there was a pre-existing tension; because really--how could you arrest your neighbor for swearing in her own home and not realize it is not a neighborly thing to do? not to mention the ridiculousness of turning cursing in one's own home into a constitutional matter (it is constitutionally protected speech, but did we really need to involve the law in order to determine that?).
and (my favorite) the woman who was minding her own business, washing her hands in her bathroom, when a 7-foot python popped its head out of the toilet next to her. she screamed. then called the plumber (the plumber?!) to take care of the problem. apparently the plumber helped her out, but i can't help but wonder about that. do all plumbers have to deal with large reptiles showing up in toilets? or is that just a new york city phenomenon? is there special training plumbers get for how to deal with large, potentially dangerous sewer critters? and how exactly does one extract a 7-foot python from the plumbing through a toilet?
and now you know why i'm addicted to npr. wouldn't your day be better, too, if it started with hearing such stories?