all painted up and no place to go

cigar-tin story #124; gifted to a friend

* * * * *

O God sometimes I wish we had a serious radio service in this country. Right now, if I want to hear Dead or Alive sing You Spin Me Round, I have a number of venues to get that. Including, sometimes, our national broadcaster. The other day I even heard it play a cover version of a LOVERBOY SONG.


It was the "Kid is Hot Tonight" and it was "redone" by a band called Chixdiggit, and it was karaoke fucking awful.

And this is frustrating, because while you do get some coverage of important things like the recent earthquake in Turkey (albeit, abbreviated all to fuck), it's often mashed in with stories about Beavis and Butt-head, what Halloween costumes are popular this year, and some charity trying to raise money for a cat's brain transplant.

Okay, I made that last one up.

But it's still bullshit. I know, I know -- I've banged this drum before. But instead of this general-format, a-little-of-everything-and-a-lot-of-nothing, something-for-everyone, pop-culture junky-ness (why does CBC radio even bother to report on sports at all?), why doesn't the Mother Corp grow into some big-girl pants and have some full-time identity, instead of relegating it to Sunday mornings and late at night?

Where's the in-depth explanation of what the European debt crisis means? Where's the real reporting on why soldiers are using people for target practice in Syria? Where's Elie Wiesel talking about the Holocaust, or Harold Bloom talking about Blood Meridian? Why is the National Research Council developing electrically conductive cement that will block electromagnetic pulses? What will it mean when the planet achieves seven billion people?

Don't even get me started about the bees.

I know, I know -- I can go elsewhere for that stuff. I can read The Economist. But then again, my taxes don't go to support The Economist. And wouldn't a CBC that was just talking heads be a lot cheaper to run?

Anyway: the earthquake in Turkey reminded me of a list I read recently, from an issue of Bloomberg Businessweek, about the top ten deadliest disasters since 1970 ...

1970 Bhola cylcone, 300 000 deaths, Bangladesh

1976 Tangshan earthquake, 255 000 deaths, China

2010 earthquake, 222 570 deaths, Haiti

2004 Boxing Day tsunami, 220 000 deaths, Indonesia and Thailand

2008 tropical cyclone Nargis, 138 300 deaths, Burma

1991 tropical cyclone Gorky, 138 000 deaths, Bangladesh

2008 Great Sichuan earthquake, 87 449 deaths, China

2005 Kashmir earthquake, 73 300 deaths, Pakistan, India and Afghanistan

1970 Ancash earthquake, 66 000 deaths, Peru

2010 Northern Hemisphere summer, 55 630 deaths, Russia

How many of these do you remember? Half of these disasters happened in the last six years. It's a bit ... tilting, isn't it?

My other reactions ...

-- Clearly, earthquakes and cyclones are the grand dames of death here.

-- There are no terrorist attacks on this list.

-- If God does exist, he clearly has some kind of problem with China and Bangladesh.

-- I really had *no* idea *that* many people died in Russia that summer. Absolutely none. But this should hardly be a surprise. It was probably reported, once or twice, and then got lost in the shuffle of stories about lipstick and Avril Lavigne's career (she's from Canada!).

Everyone decries that the general tone is going lower, that everyone is getting dumber. Christ I wonder why.


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