what’s going on

I’ve spent the past week out of circulation, recovering from too much sun. True, it’s the same Sun we’ve had for ages. But for me, it’s just too much.

That has left me with time to alternate between hangin’ with Snorri, watching episodes of Secret Agent and The Prisoner, and becoming reacquainted with an old friend called daytime CBC Radio. And I’d like to take this opportunity to commend CBC Radio for its thoughtful, informative and heartrending coverage of events in Lac Mégantic. What happened in that small Québec community some 10 days ago is beyond horrid. And with little else to do, I spent the days following the tragedy, glued to the radio for each update, each in-depth analysis of the situation, each interview with those affected. And, ultimately, each addition to the number of confirmed dead. Throughout, I have trusted CBC Radio to provide me with the information I sought.

Indeed, in a week that would normally have seemed a godsend for CBC’s unapologetically Toronto-centric national news division, I heard but one program host insensitive enough to dare to equate events in Lac-Mégantic (and High River) with a flash-flood that inconvenienced commuters. But in that host’s defense, no one tunes in to his show for insight into world events — only to learn which celebrities are visiting Toronto this week.

So, again, well done, CBC Radio. You have done us proud. Worth every penny, folks.

Locally, the big local story last week, was Wal-mart’s dismissal of an employee, allegedly because she confronted a customer for leaving his dog in a hot car. The former employee has become a local heroine. The story had everything we love: it played on our love of dogs, it decried the fate of a minimum-wage worker trying to do a good deed, and of course it confirmed our existing belief that Wal-mart is downright evil.

Less well received was a tale, briefly featured on our local CBC Radio station, of North Grenville mobile-home residents about to be mobile but homeless. The park they have in some cases called home for decades has been deemed unsafe due to the state of its septic system. Since 2008, when the park’s owner declared bankruptcy, the area near Kemptville has been in the hands of a trustee, who is now set to walk away from the troubled property. North Grenville, meanwhile, claims not to have the necessary $750,000 to repair the septic system and allow residents to stay.

That means in as little as 60 days dozens of people will lose their homes. Sad? Well, it’s not dog-in-a-hot-car sad. (What’s that, Snorrs? Trust me, I’m going somewhere with this.) The story made it to CBC Radio for a day, before being pushed aside by sexier stories about Tim Hortons drive-thru jingles and tips on beating the heat. There has been no followup, much less a plea for the community to band together during these hot days to help fellow citizens in need. After all, these are trailer park residents. It’s not that we’re not compassionate, but there’s a limit. Besides, it has been suggested the land in question could be quite valuable if a mobile-home park were not included as part of the deal…

Besides, there are more pressing concerns, like the stop-press news that is the cancellation of Coolio’s scheduled Ottawa concert. Problems at the border, it says here. Presumably, given the hundreds of performers that have been similarly denied entry over the years, this followed the front-page news that Coolio was coming to town in the first place. I had somehow missed that one.

So that was my week. I did of course pick up the Saturday paper as well, for my usual 10 minutes of page-turning exercise, and was in the process reminded of David Letterman’s contribution to the decline of western civilization. “Amy McCulloch’s Top 5 Fave Fantasy Series,” the front page of the Books section trumpeted. Her top five favourites? Not just her five favourites? Alas, one can no longer simply put together a list of, say, 10 things to do this summer. Rather, it must be the top 10 things to do. Even when it isn’t. Thanks, Dave.

Turning to the Life section, I was drawn to an article promising “Brains, brawn & beauty.” Something about a pair of local sisters participating in Amazing Race Canada. Turning to page J3 to read on (as anyone would), I was surprised to find the accompanying article was now headlined, simply, “Brawn & beauty.” Evidently, it was necessary to sacrifice the brains in order to increase the size of the colour photo of the ‘singer/actress’ and ‘bikini model’ profiled.

Good luck to the sisters, anyway. Here’s hoping at least two of the qualities cited will put you over the top in life’s amazing race.

So that was my week. How were things on the outside?

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Filed under Media, Ottawa

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