Thursday, January 14, 2010


The heart quickens to see that word in a subject heading, like two men in black suits at the classroom door. Like luck, it could be good or bad. But "breaking news": almost never good.

Almanacs of the fat kind, like the World Almanac, gather major news stories of the preceding year, but after they've turned into history. Almanacs of the folksier kind (like the Farmer's), being published ahead of time and concerned with the predictable and not the time-sensitive, leave the news alone.

I bring this up because I'm sort of in the middle, gathering up quirky daily events, like seeing a lady walking her goats, but so far not including the news of the day. However, when I find myself writing trivially about anagrams for pharmacy on the same day there's a major earthquake in Haiti, I wonder if an almanacker of the daily kind has a responsibility to discuss the big news sometimes.

The trouble is, I'm not a journalist. News of this kind isn't my beat. I could say that it's weird to be in such peaceful surroundings as Arlington when not far away is a place of chaos and death. That I was just reading in a bio of Roberto Clemente today about the Nicaragua earthquake on Christmas Eve of 1972, which must be part of the same fault line as Haiti. That Pat Robertson is this astonishing throwback to medieval times with his assertion that the Haitians suffer because they made a pact with Satan in 1791. That it's tragic but it's still disturbingly easy to forget about.

It all amounts to a sigh and a grimace and then a return to the trivial, the quirky, and the universal. It's what I do.

1 comment:

  1. Hi. John Amussen, Bob's son and a wonderful writer, has a political blog called Mutant Poodle and he makes some apt comments about Pat Robertson ... the few most recent entries are definitely worth reading.
    xo Pen