News, weather, and sports

This week, our columnist Char Toews talks about her relationship with the news

Ever since I was a little child I wondered why it was News Weather and Sports. I mean, I understood News; that was new stuff, stuff people – even kids – might find interesting, and well, new. Topical. Remarkable, something you might want to make a remark about.

Weather also made sense: best be advised to put on long underwear or bring an umbrella, be informed, neither chilled to the bone nor soaked to the skin.

But Sports? Why not News Weather and Toys? News Weather and Bikes? Later, as a new home owner, I wondered why it was not News Weather and Decor, or thinking about my excellent friends who bake-then-share, why not News Weather and Recipes?

News Weather and Maine Coon Cats, News Weather and Bolers, News Weather and the Teen-Aged Brain, theses are all topics I would rather hear broadcast on the hour every hour, but I guess that is what Google is for.

Recently, too often, I hope for at least the News, and what I get instead is the Olds, the I-already-heard-that items. First they Recap the news (therefore making it already old-ish), then they Preview the news (making it now only young-ish) then they finally say the News (by which time it is stale and dry) then they do it all again. I wouldn’t say it smells, not that old: but it is certainly no longer new.

Such things confuse me: a live broadcast that repeats the same thing time after time, yet calls it News. In a similar vein, I went to this rent-a-truck place in the north of Winnipeg. Me and hubby wished to rent a truck and said so. I piped up and said, “How ‘bout that one?” pointing to one truck after another. “Oh, no!” the sales-cat said each time, “That truck is not for Rent, it is only for Sale.” Like a newscast that only offers the old, this rental outlet only sold used.

Every year, about this time of year, Weather changes.

In spring, the Weather announcers seem overly optimistic. They are hoping for hot and sunny, and assume all their audience does, too. They tend to apologize for forecasting or announcing cool or rainy weather.

In midsummer, when it is Too Damn Hot, the Weather people continue to say, “Enjoy the Sun!” and “Isn’t it beautiful!” as if they were little children who wanted a picnic every day. Or, if not actually picnicking every day, the opportunity to picnic in the hot dry sun – if they have time and if they feel like it. Just in case, the spoiled brats!

They say there’s a Threat or a Warning or a Risk of precipitation, like we’re made of sugar.

As a ginger with fair skin (practically an albino, really) I feel the Threat or Warning or Risk applies to another day of blistering sunshine. It burns, it hurts.

“What are you doing inside on Such a Nice Day?” people demanded of me. “Avoiding Evil Death rays from the Nearest Star, dear Auntie,” would not go over well. Could I have said, “A ‘nice’ day is one where a few hours out-of-doors doesn’t make me nauseous with heatstroke and cause painful, peeling although-heavily-sun-screened skin the next day, you Ignorant Poop Head”? Probably not.

Later in summer, in the countryside, the crops may dry out and fail. In the forest, trees burn and wild fires threaten nearby towns. In the cities, the electrical grid can’t keep up with the air conditioners, and the brownout hurts vulnerable people.

Finally, the Weather announcers realize that the hot sun harms us and the cool wet heals. They say, “Farmers are hoping for rain,” as if we who are not farmers don’t depend on that food, or “Firefighters  are looking for a break in the heat,” as if we all don’t need trees and shade.

I want my broadcast News new and I want my Weather without the editorializing.

As for Sports, I can do without the Olympics, that’s for sure. The London Summer Games only attracted 10,500 athletes in 26 sports, while the Arnold Strongman Classic attracted 18,000 competitors in 45 categories, and where was our hourly update on that important event?