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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
Wednesday, March 13 2002

Hawking the news

Continuing yesterday’s discussion of the uses of the news.... No doubt many news media have been established for altruistic and creative reasons. We like to see the frontier town in Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman realizing it needs a community-wide means of communication and a local newspaper being launched to fill the need. Or a coalmining town like Nanty Glo booming so quickly in the 1920s that merchants who want to get the word out about their sales and keep the dollars at home instead of going to Johnstown or Ebensburg, importing a Russian immigrant named Herman Sedloff via New York to launch the Journal.

I've launched many communications media under somewhat similar inspirations and conditions. In fact, the Nanty Glo Home Page is the most altruistic and creative one I've been involved in, because I don't expect to ever reap a penny of personal income from it, nor does it support any other business interest I have, and it takes as much work as many publications that have survived on advertising sales and subscriptions and helped me survive for some years. And I hope that it may continue one day when I have to pass the reins to someone else and be stable enough to provide some income to make that worthwhile...but that's a longshot in today's economy.

The broadcast news that most people depend upon today as their major news source may have come into being to fill an urgent need during the Great Depression and World War II, when everyone was glued to their radios and NBC-Red, NBC-Blue, CBS, and Mutual networks were in their infancy. But there can be no doubt that broadcast news today is a major income-generating industry catering to mostly an entertainment need for its audiences rather than providing hard information. Though Ted Koppel's "news" show, NightLine, had higher ratings on ABC than its competition on CBS at the same time, David Letterman's Late Show, Letterman's advertising income was higher because advertisers are more interested in his (younger) viewers than Koppel's (on average, older) ones...so ABC was quite willing to scrap Koppel to get Letterman, as we've all seen develop in the past week. All this is not of great consequence, though we tend to think it may be.

As Letterman said in the preface to announcing his decision to stay with CBS on Monday night, compared with the events of September 11, this tempest in a teapot over how the networks are going to increase revenues and where audiences are going to get their bedtime diversion, is trivial. Yet it's part of our lives' history, or shared experiences, and it influences our self-images, our buying patterns, and even our spiritual condition. Better to read the excerpt from St. Patrick's Confession below than watch any of these, for what will it profit...?

More to come....

—Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Words to live by

If you must choose between two evils, pick the one you've never tried before.

A fool and his money are soon partying.

Plan to be spontaneous tomorrow.

Drugs may lead to nowhere, but at least it's the scenic route.

I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize.

—Steven Wright
Sent by Trudy Myers

God's call

I was in Britain with my people.... And there I saw in the night the vision of a man, whose name was Victoricus, coming as it were from Ireland, with countless letters. And he gave me one of them, and I read the opening words of the letter, which were, "The voice of the Irish," and as I read the beginning of the letter I thought that at the same moment I heard their voice—they were those beside the Wood of Foclut, which is near the Western Sea—and thus did they cry out as with one mouth: "We ask you, boy, come and walk among us once more." And I was quite broken in heart, and could read no further, and so I woke up.

Thanks be to God, after many years the Lord gave to them according to their cry. And another night—whether within me, or beside me, I know not, God knoweth—they called me most unmistakably with words that I heard but could not understand, except that at the end of the prayer He spoke thus: "He who has laid down His life for you, is He who speaks in you." And so I awoke full of joy. And again I saw Him praying in me, and I was as it were within my body, and I heard Him above me, that is, over the inward man, and there He prayed mightily with groanings. And all the time I was astonished, and wondered, and thought with myself who it could be that prayed in me.

But at the end of the prayer He spoke, saying that He was the Spirit; and so I awoke, and remembered the Apostle's saying: "The Spirit helps the infirmities of our prayer. For we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit Himself asks for us with unspeakable groanings, which cannot be expressed in words," and again: "The Lord our advocate asks for us."


—St. Patrick, c. 385-461, Confession

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