Insights into distressing news

Published 4:45 pm Friday, December 12, 2008

Item: You are not going to believe this bailout request. With so many cooking shows adding this popular ingredient in just about every recipe, why is this industry seeking a bailout?

The Italian government has announced that it is purchasing 100,000 wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, and donating the wheels to charity.

Not only is the Parmigiano cheese industry in dire straits, so is another great variety, Grana Padano. The Italian government also purchased 100,000 wheels of that cheese for charity.

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Italian Cheesemaker Marco Lemmi says “It’s a tragic situation. We may have to close up shop unless things improve.”

Unlike Americans, who mostly disapprove of the $700 billion being spent to bail out the banks and the auto industry, Italians, when it comes to food, view it as an art form. If you gotta bail out the cheese industry, you gotta do what you gotta do.

Item: Two of the nation’s oldest and most respected newspapers have declared bankruptcy—The Chicago Tribune and The Los Angeles Times plus all their subsidiaries. Newspapers are finding ad revenues dropping, expenses abounding, debt unmanageable. The grim reaper is at their door. It’s not only these papers, but most newspapers across the nation are suffering Even The Tallahassee Democrat announced last week a reduction in staff of 16 workers, four in the newsroom.

One pundit observed a few weeks ago, that sometime within the next five years, a large metropolitan city could be without a daily newspaper. My feeling is that some of them drive the nail in their own coffin, by promoting their Web sites where readers can go to get breaking news. So if all the up-to-date news is on the Web site, and the trend is to the Internet for all your news, why subscribe?.

Item: On-line retail sales have fall off for the first time in two years. On-line retailers report a decline or somewhat near last year’s levels. Why is it I don’t feel sad about that?

Item: Good news if you ski. Colorado ski resorts are offering incentive packages to lure skiers to the slopes—free lift tickets, reduced hotel accommodations, free airplane seats for the kids. The snow is the best it has been in years. All it needs is someone to ski on it.

Item: Here’s why its good news to be an hourly GM worker. Get laid off and you get 72 percent of your pay. Still out of work 48 months later, get 82 percent of your pay. That’s why we need the bailout. Keeps all those out-of-work workers spending those big salaries they don’t earn.

Item: Something for your grandchildren to worry about. The Taliban has now taken more than 75 percent of Afghanistan. Predictions are a weapon of mass destruction will descend upon either Israel or the United States sometime within the next five years.

Item: Something more for your grandchildren to worry about. The film capital of the world—Los Angeles—is also the thug capital of the world. Street gangs are taking over the city, with ringleaders in charge of more than 30,000 gang members nationwide.

Item: Don’t take your grandchildren here because it will give you something else to worry about. Chuck E. Cheese in Brookfield, Wis., is a constant call-in to the police department to break up fights. A big melee broke out recently when an uninvited guest disrupted a child’s birthday party. Seven officers had to quell the riot when they found as many as 40 people knocking over chairs and yelling in front of the music stage where a robotic singing chicken and the chain’s namesake mouse perform. It’s a place “where a kid can become a kid,” their slogan proclaims, and probably now where an adult can set a good example.

Item: Why we need homeland security. Actually witnessed at the Tallahassee airport. A sweet little old lady in a wheelchair was attempting to pass through the security checkpoint. The security guard passed the magic wand over the part top of her body. Found nothing. He then made her stand up from the wheelchair while he passed the magic wand in and around many other parts of her body. Found nothing as she clung to the nearest table. He then made here take off her shoes while he zapped them with the wand. Found nothing. Then they went through her purse, checked out the wheelchair for any further bombs, then finding nothing subversive, reluctantly let her pass. It can be said that once we boarded the airplane, it safely and without incident made it to its next destination without incident.

Item: Why guys constantly surf TV—It’s to avoid the commercials and vainly attempt to find a real program. It’s easy to count 10 or more commercials in a row.

Here’s one annoying commercial I’d like to see become history—the Geico gecko getting run over by an uninsured motorist.

It wouldn’t take less than 15 minutes.