bunt sign

Monday, February 18, 2002

I can't complain about having to work today, because that was my plan along. With government offices closed and most people taking the day off, I was looking forward to a day without phone calls. The work I'm doing on the financial statements requires a level of concentration that can be kind of fragile. If only I could get a day without interruptions, I'd make a big dent in the reports I should have finished by now.

The first time the Boss called, it was so early in the day that I hadn't got off to much of a start yet. It was a question about a credit card bill (his card, not mine). I spent twenty minutes going over it with him, eventually convincing him that the bank hadn't made a mistake. He's been sitting on the credit card statement, and now it's late. I promised him I'd take a check to the post office today, even though there's no mail delivery because of the holiday. A holiday. Get it?

I don't think he got it, at least not right away. The third or fourth time he called, it was to say, "Oh, by the way, I forgot to ask you if you were taking the day off." No, and even if I were, it's too late now, isn't it? I explained to him that I don't have time to do anything but these spreadsheets he's waiting for. To my amazement, that was the last time I heard from him.

When it finally got quiet, I made good progress. It'll take a few more days like this to get through it all, but momentum is everything. It feels so good to be this much closer to the end, I'm getting a taste of what it will be like to finish the project altogether.

looking southeast

Clouds in shades of gray and white.

Here's why we get curling at midnight on U.S. television.

Because this is a holiday here, NBC, the big network that everyone with an antenna or cable or a satellite dish or even rabbit ears gets, had Olympic coverage on all day.

Therefore, MSNBC, the cable network that you have to have cable or a dish to get, went to its usual, non-Olympic lineup of news coverage and military briefings and inflammatory talk shows, instead of the all-day Olympic coverage we've been getting from them, generally consisting of three 10-0 hockey games and a half hour of curling highlights.

CNBC, the other cable network that has a daily Olympic show, did indeed have its daily Olympic show today, and while some of the hockey games were not as one-sided as they have been, no one at the network had the imagination to show us anything else except an occasional business update and, well, nothing, because that's all.

NBC, of course, shows only events that can be chopped into bite size and spooned in between commercials, while curling games take time to develop and proceed at their own pace. It'll be a warm February day in Ogden before NBC chooses curling over hockey. Or freestyle aerials, or ski jumping. Or biathlon. Or a prepackaged featurette on Michelle Kwan and her rivals.

And that (as James Burke would say) is why today's being a holiday meant the curling games that took place this morning were shown too late for me to watch, if they ever got on the air at all.

And no, "curling highlights" is not an oxymoron.

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One year ago: Hey You Up There!
"I wadded up a clump of paper towels and picked up the body and flung it into the middle of the field between the garage and the road beyond."

Two years ago: Making Arrangements
"I could invite a family of nomads to camp out on my living room floor."

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