An unseasonably warm Election Day here in Michigan, with morning fog that’s in no hurry to leave. We had a similar fog period last November, about four days of murk that stayed all day and only thickened at night. All my east-side Detroit friends posted tweets and status updates about the weather, while the west-siders remarked on the bright sunshine they were enjoying over there. I had an errand one day that took me west, and coming back on the freeway, I could see the fog bank lurking ahead, and then I was in it, the lights went out, and it was back to London.
I guess this was a reminder that the east side is just a few feet lower in elevation. According to the usual unreliable source, i.e. Wikipedia, we’re at 577 feet, and Royal Oak, on the other side of Woodward, a lofty 663. The difference between the two? Fog.
I should live in San Francisco. Next lifetime.
I’m a little foggy myself this morning. This being a school holiday, I indulged myself in a little extra sleep, aided by my OTC sleep aid. The NYT noticed this on their Sunday Styles front the other day, one of those NYT ON IT stories they do from time to time. As usual, it was framed in such a way to be patronizing to women; sleep aids are the new “mother’s little helper,” etc. And also as usual, it was one duh statement after another:
Sleep-medicine practices are overwhelmingly dominated by female patients. Dr. Nancy Collop, director of the Emory Sleep Center in Atlanta, said three out of four insomnia patients at the clinic are women.
Many believe that sleep deprivation among women has worsened. In the “Women and Sleep” study, 80 percent of women reported being just too stressed or worried to turn out the proverbial lights.
Dr. Collop points to the persistent creep of technology into the after-hours, a time once reserved for physical and psychological winding down.
You’re kidding! Duh.
“My brain is just going, going, going,” said Erica Zidel, a mother and a founder of a baby-sitting company in Boston, who takes melatonin to fall asleep. “It’s so active that I can’t slow it down.”
And so on. For those of you keeping score at home, women (and yes, men too) are now expected to work full-time (and be grateful for whatever job they have, where they’re most likely working 30 percent harder than they did a decade ago), run the household, take responsibility for everyone’s laundry, cook a meal or 10 during the week, shop for groceries, “support” everyone and turn their constantly morphing to-do lists off at 11:05 p.m. for six to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep.
Maybe when monkeys fly out my butt.
Until then, I have my personal media criticism to keep me drowsy. It’s amazing to me how, on a fast-moving story like the Penn State scandal, newspapers manage to be both out of it and, in their continuing embrace of their hoary old customs, almost so far out they’re back in. Here’s the Harrisburg Patriot-News’ front page today (and if you’re seeing this on any day other than Nov. 8, you’re not going to see what I’m talking about — I’m using the Newseum’s today’s-front-pages site to link to). It’s their editorial calling for something that, on day three of this tawdry affair, seems like the bare minimum of decency — for both Joe Paterno and university president Graham Spanier to resign or be fired — and yet, it is presented in a way to put it on a par with the Magna Carta. The entire front page is all words, no photos, no graphics. BEHOLD THE POWER OF OUR RINGING CALL FOR JUSTICE, etc. The byline is the traditional one newspapers use in these cases: “by the Patriot-News editorial board,” which the average reader knows precisely nothing about. (My newspaper started putting bylines on editorials some years ago: “By Writer’s Name for the editorial board.” It was by far the most popular change they adopted, ever.)
WE SPEAK AS ONE, AND WIELD THE SWORD OF TRUTH, this page says. BOW DOWN BEFORE OUR GRAPHICS-FREE CONDEMNATION. READ THESE WORDS, AND TREMBLE. And so on. So I did. It’s only the university president who has to go immediately, the editorial board opined as one; Paterno can finish out the year “with the honor and admiration he has earned since taking over as head coach in 1966.” Oh. Well. It’s just a couple more games. I’m sure the retirement parties will be no fun at all.
OK, the hour is growing late, and I want to get in a bike ride before the rain comes, the wind changes and more seasonable temperatures arrive. Until then, don’t forget to vote.
EDIT: If you want to read something about the Penn State case written with the more flexible Fencing Foil of Truth, Lawyers, Guns and Money has been doing some nice work.