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Absurdity floats in amid reality

Okay, so we had our latest respite — a few days of crisp fall weather that had me thinking that one of these days my electric bill usage graph will dip and life will be as it should be this time of year. Not that the dip will be reflected much in my monthly bill — what with the rate hike the Florida Public Service Commission approved last week and another one Progress Energy is asking for come January so customers like me can chip in for upgrades and constructing their nuclear power plants.

I was thinking more along the lines of taking on a simpler upgrade, like painting the master bedroom.

So after a few days of open windows, it's back to air conditioning and the "real world" where the TV weather woman is reminding viewers that seasonal temps are typically in the mid 80s. So, quit your whining about the heat and think about the poor folks up north who are grumbling about the premature arrival of snow, having to turn on the heat so soon, and the rising cost of oil.

Funny how that goes, eh?

The world has been out-of-sorts these past days, with pundits declaring the recession is over while bunches of unemployed folks continue to slip into the red abyss that used to be the middle class. And go figure: There's a real disconnect between Main Street residents and the Wall Street folks who are taking credit instead of blame, all while channeling Marie Antoinette's "Let them eat cake" attitude as they explain away the bonuses and perks like private planes being funded by our Uncle Sam bailout.

Then there are the recent statistics that show women taking on the breadwinner role in more and more American households. That might be a sign of progress if the man of the house wasn't out of work and the typical full-time female worker wasn't pulling in 77 cents for every dollar a man makes.

And in between the usual television ads for things like Cialis, Viagra and bladder control meds for us boomers, because we're very concerned about that sort of stuff, came another ad from a very concerned health insurance pitchman warning of even more impending doom if this great country joins the bulk of industrialized nations in making sure all citizens have some kind of health care coverage.

And we should trust the anti-government health care pitchman … why?

Oh yeah, the health insurance companies and their stockholders, too, only have our best interests at heart. At least that's what they'd have us believe even as news filtered out that health care coverage was being denied for a couple of Colorado babies — one for being too big and the other for being too small according to insurance company standards.

So go ahead and call your senators and local Congress people and tell them to vote against whatever health care bill makes it to the floor. And while we're talking about health care, be sure to get your swine flu vaccination even though there aren't enough doses to go around.

To top it all off, in comes the balloon boy, sailing 50 miles across the skies of Colorado in a homemade, silver Jiffy Pop air balloon as first responders and television news folks took chase and lots of people watched in horror and prayed hard for a feel-good ending.

Except the balloon boy was never in the balloon. Which could have made for a feel-good ending if the wild ride didn't turn out to be a great big hoax.

According to Larimer County Sheriff Jim Aldernen, six-year-old Falcon Heene was hiding out while the world fretted because his mom and dad thought a publicity stunt would help land them their very own reality show.

Falcon's honest but vomit-inducing blunder on CNN let the air out of his parents' hoax. The jig is up, and now comes an investigation by the FAA, some possible felony charges against the parents and constant news updates about the Heenes, featuring "warts and all" kinds of accounts — mostly from former friends and colleagues of papa Heene.

Which all in all is kind of like having your very own reality show.

Funny how that goes, eh?

Michele Miller can be reached at or at (727) 869-6251.

Absurdity floats in amid reality 10/21/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 21, 2009 10:16pm]
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