Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Use as directed...

The prescription said, plain as day, “See your doctor if symptoms persist.”

It did not say, “Sisiggy: See your doctor if symptoms persist.” So, obviously, it didn’t apply to me.

And that’s how I ended up in the emergency room one fine Saturday evening, gasping for air and watching my bill tally up as the nurse injected more and more drugs into my IV. Cha-jing!

You see, I didn’t want to be A Sick Person. A Sick Person takes tons of pills and gears their lives around illness. I was quite sure that if I saw my doctor I’d be reclassified as A Sick Person and would start carrying bags of medication around and talking ad nauseum about my symptoms.

As penance, I spent the next few weeks on some heavy duty asthma artillery and endured the accompanying side effects. Yet only a single pill was added to the medication I was taking before. One single pill, once a day. That’s all.

Then one day it occurred to me that I hadn’t had an asthma attack in several days. In fact, I was sleeping all night without having to wake up two to three times to use a rescue inhaler. My mind was clearer and I had more energy.

“That’s what happens when your brain gets sufficient oxygen,” Dirtman said, still patting himself on the back for having given this advice long ago.

Suddenly, I was able to go places I hadn’t before with only minor problems easily remedied with one inhaler spritz. I could speak to people who were smokers. I really wasn’t A Sick Person!

So today I put this new-found health to the test. I got on the treadmill.

Awhile ago, I had gotten into the habit of doing two miles on the treadmill, along with some weight training. But I began feeling worse and worse after every workout. Then one day it threw me into an asthma attack that required overdosing on the rescue inhaler. I decided that people with asthma weren’t supposed to exercise like that (not Sick People, mind you; people with asthma.)

That was almost two years ago.

Yeah. You heard me right. Symptoms persisted for close to two years and I did not see my doctor. (Actually, I did…I just didn’t reveal that particular part of my history because, you see, I’m not A Sick Person.)

Anyway, I did and, in the spirit of all this activity, I decided to do a little research on the newest findings about the amount of exercise needed, secretly hoping that a new all-encompassing study has found that exercising more than five minutes actually packs on the pounds.

Alas, no.

However, I found a few articles that mentioned that weight training is more important for women over 40 than a cardio workout. I don’t get this. Isn’t it enough that I’m carrying me around all day? Don’t I get credit for moving my Oompah Loompah legs up and down the stairs? Isn’t that the equivalent of having weights on your ankles?

I could find no study to back up my claim, so it’s back to the free weights for me.

Oh. I hate every minute of it. I hated every minute of it two years ago and I still hate every minute of it. I keep waiting for the “high” you’re supposed to get, but my brother, a runner, says that usually doesn’t happen until after you throw up. To me throwing up is a bad thing. I think I’ll forego the “high.”

So now I’m once again A Person Who Exercises and not A Sick Person. Unfortunately, I’m also A Person Who Loves Starbucks Coffee Ice Cream.

The adventure continues.

Monday, February 27, 2006


I don’t know who invented high heels. I’m not ambitious enough to find out. I do know, whoever he is, I want his soul condemned to the furthest, fieriest, most painful forsaken pit in the deepest part of hell.

I use the masculine “he” very deliberately. I can see a group of smelly unshaven cavemen sitting around this newfangled gadget called “fire,” scratching themselves, ogling the women who are busily picking up their furry foot covers from all over the cave and collecting all the wooly mammoth ribs they’d strewn all over the floor.

“How do you think we can slow them down?” wonders Og.

“I know!” says Urg. “Let’s put their heels up on little tiny sticks!”

They most likely had to hold the first woman down to place them on her feet. There was probably a moment when she attempted to kick them in a most vulnerable place only to fall over, confirming to the men the brilliance of their fashion epiphany.

But then, when she finally stood up again, they “oooh”-ed and “aaah”-ed in admiration of the tiny sticks on her feet. Then they offered to pick up their furry foot covers themselves forever more, take the Oglets on the next saber tooth tiger hunting foray and let her have the entire outside of the tiger for herself if only she would leave the tiny sticks on her heels.

“Throw in dinner at spOgo’s and it’s a deal,” she says and history is made.

She probably found out what most women do: heels make your legs look thinner, a big plus if you’re shaped like a five-foot Oompah-Loompah (a la Willie Wonka) like me. That being said, I haven’t been en pointe for many years now.

There was a time when I spent the entire day in heels, kicking them off under my desk so my feet could enjoy brief moments in a natural position before contorting them once again to make my way to the copier. I had the obligatory brown pair, white pair, beige pair, and, for after Memorial Day and before Labor Day, a white pair. And the purses to match, of course. (I remember applying for a job as a reporter dressed in a navy blue suit with matching heels and purse. The editor told me years later he had to give me the job because I looked so much like Lois Lane.)

Here’s a secret: Most people think I left the formal work environment for the noble causes of motherhood and homeschooling. Actually I left because of the wardrobe.

To me it’s a matter of survival. For instance, as Dirtman and I sat in a rather (for us) upscale restaurant this weekend, I was secure in the fact that if Godzilla broke through the front wall, I was the only woman there who could run out the back door without having to stop to take my heels off. Because, in spite of what the movies show, you cannot outrun prehistoric monsters if you are wearing high heels.

Just watch female dog show handlers. They know that if you want to move like a person, you can’t be perched on toothpicks. Okay, they don’t exactly lead the list of fashionistas, but they are strutting out there in public. That’s what women are supposed to look like when they walk. The fact that the only warm body next to them is a dog is beside the point.

Besides, dogs don’t leave their furry foot covers all over the cave.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Training Day

Today is dog training day.

This is the day I load up Gaspode and Zsa Zsa and drive an hour and 10 minutes so they can ignore every command I’ve taught them over the past week.

All week, though, they’ve been the standard of canine obedience, responding to every gesture of my hand with speed and enthusiasm. But this afternoon, in front of Corally Burmaster, a trainer I am both intimidated by and respect, they will look at me blankly and lick themselves in embarrassing places.

Zsa Zsa, having completed obedience classes, is learning to do a relatively new American Kennel Club event called Rally. Actually, I think she is indifferent as to what we are doing. All she knows is that I have mozzarella cheese in my bait bag and for one hour she is The Mama’s Only Dog.

I say, “Come!”

She hears: “Cheese!”

I say, “Down!”

She hears: “Cheese!”

The result is that she will do everything I’ve taught her, just not when she’s asked to do it. And sometimes the thought of “Cheese!” just floods her brain and she just stares at me blankly like a frozen up computer. This is the precise time that Corally notices us.

Corally doesn’t say anything, but I know she is disgusted. Or maybe it’s me who is disgusted because I know that under Corally’s command, Zsa Zsa would be dancing Swan Lake by now.

Gaspode is a whole different story.

Having flunked basic obedience three times under other trainers, this is ‘Pode’s last chance at being a trusted dog that isn’t confined to his crate whenever we have visitors. ‘Pode is a rescue dog who spent the first two years of his life in a crate for 23 hours a day. When we got him, he’d never socialized with people outside his family and certainly not with other dogs.

When we’re home alone he is a true gentleman. He sits politely, never destroys anything and get along with his brothers and sister. He obeys commands and comes when called.

But when anyone comes into the house, ‘Pode gets so excited he doesn’t hear commands. He gets so excited in new situations that he doesn’t even notice the most succulent treats you offer.

The first day under Corally ‘Pode walked in and practically strangled himself on the leash to take on the other dogs, no matter how big they were or how they reacted to them. He barked savagely whenever someone came within five feet of us. I tried looking apologetic, but I had warned everyone that he’d be a challenge.

Perhaps he somehow noticed that Corally was walking around the room offering treats to well-behaved dogs who greeted her properly. I don’t know what did it, but when Corally approached ‘Pode, he first strained toward her. She said quietly, “Can you sit for me?”

‘Pode dropped like a rock in front of her.



Corally doesn’t say anything, just moves on. But the point is made: it’s not the dog, it’s the training (and the trainer…).

The next week I’m told to bring a spray bottle of water and every time ‘Pode barks unnecessarily or tries to approach another dog aggressively he gets a squirt.

By the end of the session he is soaking wet. But he walks happily to a Weimaraner and they touch noses and sniff butts like regular dogs. Like regular dogs.

Go figure.

Gaspode, a regular dog.

So now we’re working on the finer points of obedience training like the down (lying down) and the stay. Teaching the down to a small dog is significantly different from teaching it to a large dog. You have to sit on the floor and lure the little dog under an arch created by your leg. Then you rise to your knees and thank God that you don’t have a Dachshund.

‘Pode has trouble with this. Rather, I have trouble teaching it to ‘Pode. Maybe it’s because I’m just so tickled that I’m sitting with him in a room full of dogs and he’s actually focused on me and the treat, rather than the Standard Poodle three feet away.

So you don’t even have to ask whether it’s worth it to drive all that way and give up a Saturday.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Sometimes she feel sooooo SAD...

It seems that everyone around me has come down with some manifestation of seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, as our acronym-loving society calls it.

SAD, for those of you un-schooled in pop psychological jargon, is the official name for the winter blues. As with any commonality among peoples, there is a valid reason this occurs, in this case a lack of sunlight.

Or, as your grandmother probably told you, “go out and get some fresh air.”

SAD has been an annoyance of mine since I was a teenager, usually resulting in a week-long binge of self-pity and chocolate, followed by a week of guilt and self-deprecation, then finally a decision to eat healthier and get more exercise, the latter which provides the necessary sunlight to pull me out of my funk.

In other words, “Go out and get some fresh air.”

Oh, there were times when SAD threatened to bring the whole opera to a screeching halt, times when the sun wouldn’t coordinate with my exercise week and the blues just hung on. The danger was in making major decisions during this time frame, insisting that my depressed state was “the way it is” and my life, therefore, needed a complete overhaul. During one of these spells I quit a perfectly good job without having another to replace it, a decision that set me back a few years.

I suppose that was when God decided I wasn’t qualified to run things alone and sent me Dirtman.

Dirtman, the poster boy for pragmatism, does not have “moods.” Dirtman would never use the term “a bad day.” He may have a day where some things go wrong, but any day that ends with him still standing is an okay day by him.

Some mistake this for shallowness. But while the philosophical intelligentsia is brooding over the meaning of life and how tough it is to get things done in such an unfair and uncooperative world, the “shallow” Dirtmen of the world are keeping it all spinning.

So when I begin to key up to a SAD decision, Dirtman always suggests we “wait a few weeks,” assuring me that if I still feel the same way, we would, by all means, finalize the decision.

Over the years this approach prevented me from declaring bankruptcy, dying my hair an embarrassing color and taking a trip across the country funded entirely with credit cards.

Only once did Dirtman make the mistake of mentioning why, at the time, we needed to “wait a few weeks.” Some advice to the pragmatic living with someone with SAD: Don’t mention SAD (or The War…). When you are in the throes of SAD, you are absolutely positive it isn’t SAD. Anyone who tells you it is SAD is perceived as one living in denial of the true reason for your depression, that reason usually being the one giving advice. Telling a person the reason for their depression is SAD can cause them to threaten to move in with their aunt in Philadelphia even though she has a one-bedroom apartment that smells like mothballs and wouldn’t want two toddlers running around even if they are the grandchildren of her favorite sister.

The furthest Dirtman will go now is to suggest I look at the calendar, and this only if he's on his way out the door on a long business trip, having fed me mass quantities of Chunky Monkey ice cream.

Just a suggestion.

So I know you’re out there, fellow SAD-suffers. I can hear you breathing. And whining. And saying, “That’s okay for Sisiggy and her self-analyzing pop psychology. But she’s mitigating what is really wrong with me because the world really has not been nice to me. The world really does stink and I am justified in wanting cash in my life insurance and buy a boat to sail around the world even though I’ve never seen the ocean.”

A word of advice: wait a few weeks.


And get some fresh air.

Many thanks to the Lifecruisers whose blog, I realized, suggested this post. I suspect they are growing a hybrid breed of philosophically intelligent pragmatist over there in Sweden, where they know how to hibernate. Just read the matriarch’s own contributions on her blog and you’ll see why. Sometimes I have to agree with the rest of the world when they call us Americans spoiled.

Editor's Note: Sisiggy is not a psychiatrist, psychologist or a person having a talk show. She is not a celebrity, which seems to make people think they know about areas they've got no business opining about like mental health and politics. She recognizes the existence of clinical depression and defers to the professionals in all related cases.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Dear Tony,

Was it something we said? Was it something we did?

Where, oh where, have you gone, Tony, our crack carpenter?

One minute you were there, siding our house, nailing up drywall. You asked us if we wanted an extra step into our tub and I said I would be happy just to have a tub. We laughed.

Those were the good old days.

Then one day we went to our half-finished and uninhabitable house and were met with an air of desolation and loneliness. Nowhere was the sound of a hammer against nail, steel against wood. Only the breeze through the branches of the trees greeted us, whispering your name.

For days we’ve searched every backwater housing project and construction site for any hint of your whereabouts. Do you know how degrading it is to have to take to the streets like that, cow-towing to any hammer-toting Johnny for a mere splinter of information? How low must we decline before you take pity and return to us?

We only ask out of concern for your health and well-being. The fact that our house is half-finished and uninhabitable never crossed our minds. We are only thinking of you.

Did we not tell you often enough how valuable you were to us? Did we not praise you enough? We gave you the best years in the life of our half-finished and uninhabitable house. We paid you on time. Tell us what we did to be treated this way.

Now when we go to our half-finished and uninhabitable house we can’t help but wonder if things could have been different. Perhaps we needed you too much, relied on you too much. If we had it to do all over again we would have thought more about your needs. Would it have been too much for us to provide boxed lunches, a champagne reception every Friday or a blue portable toilet instead of beige? I think not.

And now it’s too late and you are gone. The wind through our half-finished and uninhabitable house has the sound of weeping and the very timbers of the structure will not be comforted.

“Tony! Tony!” they call into the vacant nothingness that is your absence.

On the other hand, could there be a black hole on the lot where Tony and my gnomes have fallen into a parallel universe? Somewhere are our parallel selves happily moving into their parallel house thanks to their other-dimensional visitor, Tony? Then I'd be really pissed because he promised not to start any other job until our project was complete.

Monday, February 20, 2006

...And you thought I was just a boring, middle-aged woman...HAH!

This link from Mrs. Lifecruiser is kind of neat: Googlism

I typed in my name and it came up with a whole list, but this is just a rather poetic portion. The only thing I edited was my real name:

sisiggy is clairvoyant
sisiggy is wide awake
sisiggy is a small slightly built young woman possessing the almost physical perfection that is typical of the selkie people
sisiggy is now a little closer to home than she was for the past five years

That's "physical perfection," "young woman," People. Hear that? It's all of you who are too skinny, too young and way too tall.

Me and the Selkies got it goin' on!

Going home, Part Two

Yesterday I wrote about finally entering the ballroom at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pa., after a lifetime of peeking at small pieces of it through a one-way mirror.

But there are other traditions and mysteries connected with our lifetime of visits to the gardens.

Another tradition we always have when visiting Longwood is the decision not to tour the Pierce House, the actual residence on the property. There was always an extra fee to do this. We could see it was very unique, yet it was much too rarified for the likes of us. Certainly only the wealthy like Pierre Du Pont himself could afford the “extra fee.”

”That’s how they get you,” my mother would humph, storming past the house. I wasn’t quite sure who it was that wanted to “get” us and why it was so important to them that they suck an extra $8 from a middle class family from New Jersey. But there were always groups of people who were trying to “get us,” and my mother made it her business not to make it easy for them. She also made a point of letting the mysterious “them” know we knew what they were up to, so she’d stand outside the Pierce House and say this very loudly walking indignantly past the open door.

While running to keep up, we could see over our shoulders the little conservatory between the two sections of the house. We wouldn’t dare let anyone catch us looking lest they question the degree to which we knew they were out to “get us.” But it sure did look interesting.

I don’t know when the policy changed. In the past several years I never bothered to even check. Now that my mother was no longer here to make her protestations known, wasn’t it my job to carry on the cause of not allowing them to “get us?” Compared to her, I was totally inadequate for the task, preferring to sneak by, peeking into the conservatory, assuring whoever I was with that it can’t possibly be worth the “extra fee.”

This is what I began to do this time when Dark Garden informed me that touring the house was now part of the admission price.

So we sat in the conservatory.

We sat in the library. We pet the kitty in the parlor. We sang along with the DuPont Song displayed in the butler’s pantry. And during the entire time not one person tried to “get us.”

Still, there are inaccessible areas of Longwood that we are determined to infiltrate. Dark Garden attempted to sweet talk a docent into letting us see the bowling alley that is in the basement of the Pierce House.

“There’s nothing to see, really,” she assured us. “It’s mostly storage now.”

Dark Garden assured her we didn’t mind.

She looked at us incredulously. “But it’s not restored. It’s a mess.”

“Better,” DG said intensely. Too intensely. DG can be scary to the uninitiated. I wasn’t only surprised she didn’t let us see the bowling alley, I’m surprised she didn’t call security.

Then there is this.

This is in the topiary garden, which was inexplicably closed off. We want to know what it is and what it was. We want to go in there and just stand. We want to open that door and hear it close and look out the little window like we live there.

I secretly suspect that my gnomes are in there.

This weekend the Pierce House; this May, the little door.

We Will Conquer Longwood!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Going home, Part One

At some point in everyone’s life, they get the urge to “go home again.” These days this isn’t as easy as it used to be. Usually, some other family is living at “home” or “home” has been torn down to make room for the significantly larger structures than the original three bedroom baby boomer homesteads.

My brothers and I are among those who cannot, technically, go back to our roots, not without being charged with breaking and entering, anyway. Instead, we go to Longwood.

Since John Boy was 10 or 11, I was six or seven and Dark Garden was born, we’ve made pilgrimages to Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pa., at first dragged by our parents, then to relive our childhood.

Longwood Gardens is the estate of Pierre DuPont (by all means take a look at the website for what it looks like in season, because you sure won’t see it at its best in this post) and I appreciate him setting it all up for my brothers and me. Most people go to Longwood from spring through Christmas, each season having its special displays. Only your die-hard Longwood fans find a reason to show up in the dead of winter when nothing particularly special is going on.

But we’re not really there for the displays, are we now? Oh no. We, after all, are coming home. And it always comes as a surprise to us that the gardens are, in fact, open to the public. What are all these people doing on our lawn? Why are total strangers wandering around our greenhouse? The nerve.

This time, though was a treat. For we finally got to see somethings that we have been curious about ever since we were kids.

But first there are certain rituals that must be maintained and incantations that must be chanted. First we must genuflect at the outdoor theater,

and walk down the flower path, whether the flowers are there

or not.

Then a trek through Pierce’s Park

to the Italian Water Garden,

past the gazebo,

through the wisteria arbor until arriving back at the entrance. There must be no deviation from this path lest the gods of memory whack you upside the head with reminding you that when you were 14 you had your first asthma attack on the woodland walk next to the Italian fountains or that one extremely hot July afternoon you and your brothers complained so much your mother growled, “We’re never taking you three anywhere ever again, forever!”

Since some of these memories are very very old, they are also very very exaggerated, as we found with Dark Garden and the “massive whispering bench.” He could never find it again, he said. Not after that first time when he was four. It had to be easy to see because it was absolutely huge. Yet he hasn’t been able to find it since that one time.

This is what Dark Garden remembered:

After consulting maps, this is what we found:

Ah well. It is a bench…

Then finally, the conservatory. As always, the conservatory is beautiful and just about all of it is open to the public. And, as much as it’s been my favorite part of going to Longwood, ever since I was little I would peek through the one-way mirrored doors in the back where I had read a ballroom was located.

Each visit I’d press against the glass. I could never see the whole room, but could catch glimpses of materials; a parquet floor, ornate plaster or a bit of taffeta on the walls. As a little girl I wanted to tap dance on the parquet and sneak into the glamorous balls given

by my wealthy parents, dazzling everyone with how clever I was before being whisked off to bed by my frazzled governess. When I was a teenager I imagined myself in red satin waltzing gracefully around this beautiful room reflected in the gleaming wood floor. I vowed this was where I would live and give huge parties, bringing this whole decadent lifestyle back

into vogue. I’d bring back the Dusenburg

and garden parties, lace gloves and poetry readings.

Eventually, though, I would have to back up from the glass, turn around and behold my fellow tourists in the clunky sneakers and tacky t-shirts, pushing their sticky toddlers through my conservatory, snapping, “You’ll see the damn fountains when I say you can see the damn fountains.”

So much for romance.

So finally, the conservatory.

And as always it is beautiful.

Daffodils, snapdragons, lemon trees, fountain after fountain and, in the back –




The ballroom is open!

We look at each other, mouths agape, then hurry to the back. Breathless with anticipation we enter and…

What are all these people doing in my ballroom? This is my dream come true. Why are they ruining it with their clunky sneakers and sticky toddlers? GET OUT!

Still, the room itself does not disappoint. I’m not sure our carpenter Tony is going to appreciate the changes I’ve decided to make to the bathroom at the new house, though…

And imagine how many dogs you could fit at Longwood Gardens!

Editor's Note: A mighty thanks to Dirtman who gamely followed the siblings around as Sisiggy and her brothers engaged in memories he had no part in and talked about people he didn't know. Yet he was still nice enough to take pictures when asked. Sisiggy can only apologize and remind him that this is what it is like for her during every conversation he has where they live, which also happens to be where he grew up. Dirtman has only to drive a half hour and walk into his parents' house to "go home." Only they don't have as many fountains. But their yard is very nice.

Found meming in my life

Jagosaurus tagged me for this meme:

[1] Name five six of your favorite books.

1. A Short History of a Small Place by T.R. Pearson

2. A Winters Tale by Mark Helprin

3. Once and Future King by T.H. White

4. and 5. Would it be cheating to mention Hitchhiker’s Guide and Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books even though Jagosaurus already did? (Though my favorites are The Truth and Feet of Clay.)

6. Lord of the Rings by J.R. Tolkien

[2] What was the last book you bought?

Vintage Knits and Gentlemen and Players by Joanne Harris

[3] What was the last book you read?

Eminent Dogs, Dangerous Men by Donald McCaig

[4] List five books that have been particularly meaningful to you (in no particular order).

1. Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell

2. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

3. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

4. John Adams by David McCullough

5. Nineteen Nineteen by John dos Passos

[5] Name three books you’ve been dying to read but just haven’t yet.

1. Truman by David McCullough

2.42nd Parallel by John dos Passos

3. Ramona by Helen Jackson

[6] Tag five people and have them fill this quiz out on their own.

I’m going to tag people privately, because I doubt they’ll respond and I don’t want to embarrass them. I’ll list them if they respond, but don’t hold your breath.

Friday, February 17, 2006

All the News Unfit to Print

I don't usually do political stuff. I'm not all that savvy and there are people who know a lot more about that stuff than I do. I know where my turf is.

Besides, I tend to argue both sides of an issue and can never make up my mind. I'd make a good diplomat as long as you didn't want to push anything controversial. After three hours of people screaming at each other trying to get their point across, I'd be the one to say, "So! Who's for Chinese food!"

However, I have to admit something, at the risk of offending some readers.

Quite frankly, my life and the lives of those around me have not changed a bit since Dick Cheney waited 24 hours to tell the press that he shot his hunting partner.

It’s a little early to see how the rest of the world is faring after such an earth-shattering gap in the information flow, but as yet no one has burned anything down in protest.

In fact (Sisiggy says, ducking the flames directed her way), I’ll go so far as to say all this indignation about Cheney waiting so long to inform The Media is a smoke screen to hide the truly amazing fact: It took The Media 24 hours to get wind of the incident.

Has anyone questioned why, the same media that subjected us to a Brittany Spears Uterus Watch, took so long to find out about something that happened to the vice president of the whole country? Sure, it happened on private property, but was no one watching when what probably was a speeding motorcade left the location of the vice president of the most powerful nation in the world and headed for the hospital?

And since when did The Media become an official agency to which government officials are required to report? And now they’re setting the deadline too?

I’m not arguing whether it is or is not news. (However, I will say, having experienced several hunting seasons in a rural area: This is nothing. Around here we’ve got hunters shooting themselves out of trees or forming their own posses. One beer at lunch? Real men only hunt on a six-pack.)

This is part of my assertion that, with all the information and non-information thrown at us all day long in every facet of our live, we have to act as our own filter. It’s why I hardly watch any television. And it’s why I even have to edit out some of what others consider news.

So. Filter. The News.

Yes. I do.

I don’t care:

1. What the Bush twins are doing.

2. What percentage of something wears/believes/buys/imbibes a percentage of something else. I took basic statistics and they can be manipulated to say whatever you want to say. (Internet polls? They only reflect the views of people who take internet polls.)

3. What (insert name of any dubious blond celebrity whose only talent is being a celebrity) is doing.

4. What the cast of the TV show on the same network as the news show is doing.

What I do need to know is about issues that affect us all universally. Everything else is flack, mental static that gets in the way.

I suppose we should be grateful. If there were something really dire going on in the world…Oh wait! There is!