Well, that vow didn’t last very long.
I was determined not to fire up the furnace even though it was supposed to get a bit chilly overnight but when I stumbled into the kitchen this morning for my first cup of coffee, my toes curled under in self preservation mode as soon as I stepped off the carpeting onto the Pergo flooring which felt as though a Zamboni had just passed over depositing a fresh coating of ice. There’s a huge dragonfly clinging to the kitchen window screen frozen in time like the residents of Pompeii right after Vesuvius blew. But it wasn’t until after seeing my breath while getting the paper off the front porch in my jammies that I ran over to the thermostat and threw the switch to high HEAT.
Ahhh…..out from the same ducts that, for several months now, have been delivering life sustaining cool, conditioned air (a fat man’s refuge from the scorching heat and humidity that has been trying to kill me all summer) now comes a gentle warm breeze that will keep us alive until June.
Another thing that annoys me..besides hard freezes in mid-September..is the acceptance of the way our language is being misused and abused. I’m not talking about swearing…although the prolific use of profanity on prime time television has become so commonplace today that I’m glad my mother isn’t around to hear it. What’s especially troubling is that while networks may still bleep some of the infamous George Carlin expletives, they’re now okay with letting actors or reality show characters freely blurt out offensive references to Jesus Christ and his Dad. Why it’s almost as colorfully profane as the language favored by the group of young kids who gather each morning on the sidewalk just outside our window to wait for the school bus. They have a particular fondness for the F word which has been big on the profanity hit parade for generations because, no doubt, of its versatility as a noun, verb and adjective.
What got me thinking about this, though, was a headline in the Argus sports section this morning which read “In football, watching FILM is part of the job.” Coaches and players haven’t watched actual “film” (strips of celluloid containing photographic images rolling through a projector onto a screen at 24 frames a second) in decades. Yet, even home movie buffs who capture life experiences on little digital camcorders small enough to fit into your pocket, often call it “filming.” It’s just easier, I suppose.
When I came along in the television business, we were still using actual film for news stories and when we switched to electronic news gathering in the mid seventies, it was drilled into our heads that we were not to make references to “film” any longer. It was “video” now and don’t you forget it.
Hemmingsen used to enjoy making new reporters squirm if they should ever make the rookie mistake of saying a politician was holding a “press” conference..or I’m going to a press conference at city hall. “It’s ‘NEWS’ conference, kid,” he’d say. “We don’t use ‘presses’ in television. He was correct, of course, and many a young reporter, including me, never forgot that Hemmingsen dress- down lesson. But, alas, there weren’t enough Steve’s in the business to overthrow the antiquated reference nationwide and in Washington today they still have a “press” corps that requires a “press” pass to be in the “press” room even though major reporters these days are in broadcast news and wouldn’t know an actual press if one rolled over them.
But, as my former Keloland colleagues will attest, I’ve fought a losing battle for years trying to get reporters and producers to stop using certain words and phrases that aren’t remotely close to the way people actually talk. When, for example, did “impact” become a verb? (“The hail storm will likely impact the fall harvest.”) When did people stop disappearing and begin “going missing?”
I could go on..but there, you see what happens when it gets down to the low 30’s in September? You get cranky and picky. It’s supposed to warm up this weekend but, by god it better not get too effing hot, that would impact my chances to play golf; a talent for which I used to have but lately has gone missing.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, there are some foul mouthed kids I’ve gotta chase off my lawn.