The State of New York is holding its breath tonight . Tomorrow, round 2 of the National Hockey League playoffs begins in earnest as the Number 1 seeded Sabres meet the 6th-ranked Rangers in what promises to be the most interesting of the two Eastern Conference semi-finals. Don’t worry, Connecticut, your big Empire State brother is not suffocating – go back to spawning insurance companies and please continue ignoring hockey completely.
I have prepared a preview of the Rangers/Sabres series to help fill the empty spaces in your life. It has also helped fill certain empty spaces in my life, given the complete absence of my Leafs from the tournament once again this year. (*Sigh*)
The Skinny: Fear not, good citizens of Buffalo – revenge of a rather unsatisfactory sort will soon be yours for Scott Norwood’s missed field goal effort against the Giants in Super Bowl XXV. The Sabres will win this series in six games. Oh, and sorry for bringing up that thing about the Super Bowl. Hey, at least I didn’t mention Brett Hull’s foot-in-the-crease overtime winner.
I have been trying very hard to think of something to write on any subject other than the recent deadly violence at Virginia Tech in the United States. Perhaps not surprisingly, though, I haven’t been able to avoid the subject; it feels inappropriate to me to try to write something light and humourous in the context of these events. So let’s talk about the elephant in the room.
Like many people I know, I am one of those “can’t get enoughers” as far as the coverage of such incidents goes; it just so happens that I am on a week’s vacation right now, so I’ve had the opportunity to watch much of the network news coverage of these tragic events over the last couple of days. There have been the predictable themes throughout the coverage: installment number 6,798,256 in the gun control
debate argument finger-pointing, chest-poking ideology fest; shrill warnings about the violent potential of those who include depictions of violence in their writing; a lot of what appears to me to be knee-jerk and factually unwarranted blame-game stuff, assigning fault to university and police officials for failing to prevent the actions of an isolated lunatic.
When events like this occur, I am always reminded of a conversation I had with my friend Dave one time. We were talking about the horrific incident du jour and he ranted for a little while about how the news reports about these things almost invariably make reference to a “senseless tragedy”, pointing out that it was unlikely we would respond to such news by saying, “Well, I’m glad it worked out that way, that’s exactly as it should be.”
I am struggling hard to find my own meaning, but I think what I’m trying to say is that we are so often unable to accurately express our human reaction to such sorrows; it is difficult to express grief without sounding maudlin, to express wisdom without being pedantic, and to give comfort where none exists. I never know what to say to a friend or acquaintance who has suffered the loss of a parent – how can we possibly know how to react when the grief goes from private to public?
Recently, I have been heard to argue that the “weather forecast” section of nightly newscasts should be replaced by a segment of more obvious practical utility to viewers – specifically, I have suggested that the weatherman make way for the monkey news.
First, as to the irrelevance of weather-related information. The fact is that most so-called “forecasts” consist of little more than vague equivocation about what might happen tomorrow combined with pointless recitation of what the weather has already been today. It is exceedingly unlikely, here in urban North America, that tomorrow’s weather will be suddenly and ferociously predatory to the point that it constitutes an immediate physical danger. If nature should happen to drop a surprising and dangerous storm on us city dwellers, we will do what rational humans should do – stay indoors*. These facts tend to suggest that having even a reliable forecast is of no especially critical importance in the first place; I would argue – loudly – alongside innumerable senior citizens in doughnut shops across this great land that the forecasts with which we are provided fail miserably to achieve the status of “reliable” and thus must be even more superfluous. As to that portion of the program devoted to advising what the weather was, I fail to see the point, aside from the odd occasion when it might come in handy to be able to thereafter say with some authority, “See Bob, that was a tornado that trashed your barn”, anyway.
I was sitting in front of the computer this morning earnestly typing an email. Spouse came in to the room and asked what I was “tippy-tapping” away at.
Me: I’m writing an email to Todd about how much of a person’s best creative work is typically done in his or her youth. In music, science and film it seems almost axiomatic that…
Her: You have peanut butter on your face, you know.
I think I’ve proved my point.