Moultrie Observer


February 27, 2013

On looking for pearls in sardines

MOULTRIE — Television is often referred to as the “Great Wasteland.” And I guess there’s strong evidence for that. But the fact is we have a lot of channels, and it’s a stretch getting stuff on all of them that has socially redeeming value.

And still, we must consider comic relief as being socially redeeming as well, and some programs are good to laugh at.

Last night I scanned the channels and tried to find something useful from whatever program I happened to stop on. Television, even on its worst day, can be a learning experience if we really try.

 For instance, I learned that 3,000 people a year are killed by hippopotamuses in Africa, making it the most deadly animal on that continent. That averages to more than 8 people a day.  I also learned that in Alaska, more people are attacked by moose than by black bears or grizzly bears.

So here are two creatures that most of us probably think of as cartoon characters or bathtub toys that are incredibly lethal.

One piece of footage showed a hippo biting a dugout canoe in half. Another piece of footage showed a moose kicking a state trooper over a fence.

Bullwinkle on the rampage!”

Another piece of footage showed two Alaska troopers trying to put a drunk fat man in a car, and his pants were about to fall off as he struggled against them. The moose was more interesting. It just seemed smarter.

Now here’s a question: If a hippopotamus is not very cool, is it just an opotamus?

I also learned that you should not apply for a logging job in the great Northwest because those guy’s equipment is always failing. Cables are breaking, tracks are coming off their crawlers, and there’s always one guy on the crew who cusses every breath. Ask him what’s the last book he read and he might tell you “To Kill A Damn Mocking Bird.” Actually, in the episode I saw, it might have been about a little train trying to climb a hill ... and the track broke.

 Of course advertisements can also be informative. There’s one where the little boy says he can do two things at once. He can shake his head and wave his hand. I tried it, and I upped him. I can shake my head, wave my hand and jog in place. I’m not sure just why you would do that unless you were trying to hitch a ride, got in a fire ant bed and while you were accepting one ride you were rejecting another. Yea, I know that’s farfetched. But weird stuff does happen. Consider that the Atlanta Falcons were only five yards away from the Super Bowl this year.

 I think some programming is meant to test our knowledge. Take “Justified” for instance. It’s a series about the U.S. Marshal’s Service based in Kentucky. The star of this show is Raylon Givens, a rogue marshal who commits so many procedural violations that Internal Affairs has him on speed dial.

The test question in all of this is what does the U.S. Marshal’s Service actually do? Well, they don’t investigate drug trafficking, serial killings, bank robberies and nor do they enforce environmental regulations as the series would suggest. Instead, they are in charge of protecting federal courthouses, transporting federal prisoners, looking for escaped federal prisoners and managing the Witness Protection Program.

I guess you could make the case that while looking for an escaped prisoner, they caught him after he had just robbed a bank and stopped off to buy some dope. In the process, he fatally shot someone and threw his old car battery in the creek.

With that kind of license, the producers of this show could do a series about  crossing guards who profile contraband-laden vehicles.

Something else I learned, watching the “Great Wasteland” can lead to the “Great Waistband.” Pass the Cheetos!



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