Friday, January 23, 2009

Q: What’s more painful than putting your head in a bucket of ice water?

A: Paying attention to the news.

OK, I’ll admit it. The transnational, worldwide message queue is more messed up than usual. Normally you’d turn on the television and get your standard assortment of rapes, murders, fires, lost dogs and celebrity DUIs. No big deal. Our cultural metabolism has developed over the years to accommodate the day to day anxiety and fear produced by bad news, sort of like accommodating the fact that most of us are going to have skin damage due to too much sunshine. Melanoma has become more an annoyance than a terminal possibility.

But that was then and this is now.

Now you turn on the tube and you get a fire hose dousing of tragedy: Microsoft lays off 5000, 1 in 10 mortgages are in trouble, Iceland’s gone bust, Bernie Madoff has stuck it to Kevin Bacon and Steve Jobs is just a bit too skinny for a hormone imbalance. It’s been like this for months now, over and over, on and on, with no end in sight.

I’ll let you in on a secret. It was getting to me. I’d wake up at 7 and have a wrenching stomach by 9.

So I took at look at my morning routine: get up, make the coffee, slice up the banana, mix it with yoghurt, pour in the walnuts, sit down, read Google News, The NY Times, Huffington Post and then do a fast check on iGoogle to check out Market activity.

I got to thinking, “jeepers, is my information queue messing with my head?” I abandoned network news and CNN years ago. I knew that stuff was poison in a flat screen panel. I thought that I was safe. Maybe I wanted to have my cake and eat it too. I pride myself on being well informed. But the information was killing me.

So I stopped reading the news until noon. It helped a bit. Yet I still had that gnawing feeling of impending doom.

I decided to be proactive. I thought, “ya know, instead of polluting my head with bad news, maybe I should take in good news only.”

I found a web site, Good News Things were looking up. Turns out the site cost $24 to $97 dollars a year, based on income. I can live with this. I mean, some people need to pay a lot more than a hundred bucks a year to keep the smiley face going. So, in the scheme of things, it’s a good deal and the site’s good too.

You might want to check it out.

But, if you don’t have the bucks to subscribe, send me a note. I’ll help you out. I've made it a practice to find some good news around me on an hour by hour basis. I’ll be happy to share my finding with you.

Operators are standing by.


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