Changing Times

CNN just don’t get it, do they? This morning they announced that many Americans were just not bothering to get influenza vaccinations.

Why could this be, they pondered? Probably due to that ‘old wive’s tale’ that the shot itself could give you the disease, was the eventual conclusion reached by those two dozy, over-powdered, pin-ups fronting ‘American Morning’, or whatever it calls itself these days.

CNN is not the usual source of “news” in the Adam’s household. It was long ago consigned to the trash can of media junk, along with Fox and most other American cable stations that lie blatantly to their viewers every time the word “news” is decreed as their prime raison d’etre.

Gleaning a little of the events happening in that vast expanse of desert known vaguely as ‘outside of America’ – where the latest designer drug that may possibly help point naught-five percent of cancer suffers live ten minutes longer, or a lone South Carolina woman knitting woolly socks for the whole of the US military, is not necessarily the blazing headline of the moment – has to be in the more capable hands of the BBC or PBS, who both combine at five o’clock each morning to broadcast half an hour of BBC World News to the people of central Illinois.

Unfortunately, being as they’re all asleep at that time, they never see it.

Thanks to the modern technological wonder of video tape, however, the Adam’s household views the BBC World News over breakfast, a whole half-hour after its original broadcast. At least, that’s what happens on most weekday mornings. On Monday, for reasons not immediately apparent, either the video failed to record or PBS failed in its programming and screened a load of brain-numbing kids’ cartoons instead.

Now, as Monday was a school holiday in this part of the world, the assumption was drawn that in America there exists the eternal equation: kids on vacation equals kid’s cartoons on TV, so after a few choice curses the matter was forgotten. Arising this morning to find the video had failed to record BBC World News for a second time, posed a more calculating dilemma. Was the video at fault? Perhaps the tape cassette was defunct? All the usual tests a still sleep-numbed brain can devise at 5.45 in the morning failed to pinpoint the cause, so eventually and with a sense of self-disgust that one could stoop so low, the channel was switched to CNN, just as those of the pearly white teeth reached the conclusion that large swathes of their fellow citizens were stupid enough to believe idiotic fables.

Resisting the temptation to reach for the ‘OFF’ switch and settling instead for muting the following ten minutes of adverts, my hand was just about to release more of CNN’s tortured reasoning to my ears when a sudden notice flashed on the screen, demanding attention. The video, it proclaimed, was about to change channel and begin recording.

This was puzzling, as nothing gets recorded at 6.00am. It was the kitchen TV with inbuilt video, utilized only to record the 5.00am BBC World News, so it can be viewed over breakfast. The living room set has a Tivo digital recorder, used to capture everything else.

A quick check of the TV’s internal clock revealed the cause.

The kitchen TV is not new, but it’s Japanese – a Panasonic – and thanks to the clever, intuitive, design technology of Japanese companies, this set is programmed to recognize the date and switch automatically from summer time to winter time. It did so, exactly as it was supposed to – on Sunday 28th October.

Unfortunately, the US Congress is not programmed to do anything correctly, and in their usual blundering, interfering, and worthless manner, ordained – for reasons only apparent to them and certainly not to any sane, sensible human being on the planet – that the end of ‘daylight saving time’ be moved back a week to November 4th. Presumably their senilely affected minds failed to grasp the implications for millions of electronic devices throughout this nation.

What the Japanese spent years perfecting, the US Congress demolished in one swift stroke of the pen.

The clock on the Adam’s family kitchen TV has now been reset. Hopefully, it will record the BBC World News at its correct time on Wednesday morning.

Until then, American news sources will have to suffice. The NBC Nightly website has a video report on how the middle classes in America are being squeezed financially; barely, they say, managing to make it from one pay check to the next.

Hmmm! Given that a flu-shot costs around $30 plus the cost of a doctor appointment, maybe America’s citizens aren’t quite so stupid as the pin-ups on CNN seem to think. Maybe, after all, they just can’t afford flu shots.

Maybe, more folks are just plain poor.

Of course, it’s unlikely Congress will choose to fix that so easily, with one swift stroke of the pen – now is it?

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3 Replies to “Changing Times”

  1. Dare I risk a diplomatic incident (or worse), by bragging abroad about my recently received freebie one? Or should I just stay schtum re; the various National Health Services of the wider civilised world?

  2. TOB – just don’t mention over here that your freebie was from a “Government-run health service”, or you may have to dodge bullets.

  3. If I get the flu I’m going to attend the Republican Women’s Club meeting and lick all of the coffee mugs.

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