Mostly media free in the 21st century

SITKA, Alaska Fairweather Cove is like glass this morning. No wind now for three days. A pomarine jaeger, with its telltale radical sweeping wing…

SITKA, Alaska

Fairweather Cove is like glass this morning. No wind now for three days.

A pomarine jaeger, with its telltale radical sweeping wing tips, resembles a newer model 747.

One now drops from the sky. It lands on placid water and leaves a ring, which widens rapidly.

One of the bigger sea birds passing through Alaska at the moment, the jaeger rests momentarily and then struggles to take flight.

I brought a small thermos with me this morning so I can have my morning coffee down here on the rocks.

With little else to do I watch several large boats motor out of Sitka Harbour. I keep an eye on them until they are clipped by the horizon.

While I try not to let world news interrupt my quiet time this morning I cannot shake Don Imus.

His talk radio program, and the controversy surrounding his racial slur of a black woman’s basketball team as a bunch of “nappy-headed hoes,” blankets the US media at the moment.

After 40-years of insensitive blather this drunken cowboy-mimic finally sunk himself in his own wordy-intoxication. MSBN took his saddle off and opened the corral — he’s out to pasture.

I can only hope other on-air curmudgeons — Rush Limbaugh, Neil Boortz, and Michael Savage for starters — are soon to graze alongside.

Ah, American radio and television.

When I crossed the border into the US last week, I immediately knew I had arrived down south. The border guard welcomed me “to the excited states of America.”

I am in media hell for sure now and in this mixed medium of intellectual mumbo-jumbo and senseless mumbling, very little makes sense.

Anderson Cooper — oh, such nice hair on that lad — is working his way through a new contract with CNN. Over the next five years he will have to make ends meet on $50 million.

Katie Couric, the sexy news darling at CBS, has just upped the demands on her life. She recently latched on to a man — ready for this heavy — 17 years her younger. Whoa!

And to make sure we get the full impact of this tryst — CBC tells us he is a triathlete. What does this mean? He does countless sit-ups, chews gum and winks good morning all in the same breath?

I don’t know. Who cares!

Just now three more jaegers complete their down-wind leg and hit the water. Further out a pair of grebes (of the 122 species of grebes, four move through Alaska and I am not sure what I am looking at) dive for fish.

I grab my stopwatch and time them. They are down just over 40 seconds, about twice the length of time it took Imus to slur about half the world’s population.

This story takes me back to my last real love-hate moment with American media.

I remember calling the cable company in June 1990 and telling them to come and disconnect my service. I had just fast-clicked through 30 odd channels and found nothing worth my time. I called Jones Intercable.

The woman who answered was sweet enough.

“I would like to have you disconnect my service,” I told her.

“Fine, Mr. Heming,” she sing-songed.

She then added that if I would give her my new address she would make sure I was reconnected immediately.

“I’m sorry, you don’t understand,” I told her. “You see I am not moving. It’s just that I find cable to be an utter waste of my time. I would rather walk, read or sit here in complete boredom than watch another second of TV.

“You get the picture?” I said.

Her tone hardened.

“You mean this is a voluntary disconnect,” she said.

Her voice sounded medical, like I was asking to be taken off life support.

“Yes, just cut the cord; I’m goin’ cold turkey, free at last,” I boasted.

That was 27 years ago. While I am not completely sober — I swig down a little NPR or CBC when I can — I would describe my situation in poetic terms as being ‘media free in the 21st century.’

Somewhere, somehow I got it into my thick head that what I did with my life should matter; that my gauge of life’s activity should be that it remains, to the degree possible, simple, fair and beautiful.

Radio and television are none of those. I pulled the plug. Now that I think back, I probably put myself on life support.

So here I sit cross-legged at water’s edge, pouring coffee.

Oops! Incoming grebe, two o’clock.

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