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Friday, May 3, 2002

I realized today that I'm paying twenty-five cents a day for the Datebook and Sporting Green sections of the Chronicle. They waste a lot of paper and ink printing the news, financial, travel, automotive, classified, food and opinion sections. I've given up on news, and I was never much interested in any of the rest of it.

In Datebook, I read the columns, especially Jon Carroll's, and anything Tim Goodman has to say about TV, plus the comics. If there's a movie I'm interested in seeing, I might glance through the review, with the idea of letting the critic convince me to wait for the video.

Since I've probably watched the Giants game the night before, I'll read the account of it, especially if something interesting or controversial happened. I'll read the notes, to see what was said in the clubhouse afterward. And I'll pore over the reports of other games, to see who's hot and cold. I devour the box scores and statistics columns. Every so often I'll even read about a sport other than baseball. I understand, for example, that the local hockey team is involved in the second round of the playoffs.

Even without reading the rest of the paper, I'm getting my money's worth. I'd probably pay a quarter just to read the comics, so anything else is a bonus. The travel and automotive sections have never interested me, because I never go anywhere. The financial section is for people with money, and the food section is for people who can cook (or who go out to eat).

As far as news goes, I've come to the conclusion that all news is temporary. You only have to see what's happening in the Middle East, and compare it to what's been going on there for a thousand years or so, to know that all history is a continuous line of people trying to get over on each other, usually at the expense of the weak. Even those who pretend to protect the innocent end up exploiting them, one way or another. Decisions are made with no regard for right and wrong. Any news you read today is forgotten by tomorrow, and it's probably a lie anyway. (Sounds a little like high school, doesn't it?)

When I do read the news, all I get out of it is an ulcer. China is rounding up dissenters to get them out of the way before the 2008 Olympics. Unions who contribute money to California's governor have won a ruling to keep plastic water pipe out of home construction, because it's cheaper and easier to install. Israel won't let the U.N. investigate Jenin, and I think we can guess why. A local landlord who recently evicted hundreds of low-income tenants seems to have been trying to avoid dealing with complaints about toxic mold.

Yeah, I think I'll stick to baseball scores and celebrity gossip.


A tiny bird in the bare branches of the apparently dead birch tree.

The Sporting Green was kind of dull today, because the Giants didn't play yesterday. But Datebook, besides including a lukewarm review of Spider-Man and a rave for the new Woody Allen movie, lets us know that the Discovery channel has abandoned its plan to eliminate end credits from is programs. It will continue to squeeze illegible names into a tiny corner of the screen and run them so fast that you can't read them. I'm sure the producers (not to mention the grips, gaffers and foley mixers) appreciate the thoughtfulness.

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