Why the news sucks

Well, you don’t need me to tell you this. But on Thursday morning I bought my first-ever copy of Foster’s Daily Democrat, a newspaper serving the general area of Dover, New Hampshire, a pleasant enough but nondescript city of 30,000 or so in which I live.

Here’s what the local section had to say. There are six headlines on the front page.

“Wentworth-Douglass seeks state OK to expand”

OK, fine. Wentworth-Douglass is a classy facility with 111 beds. They’re trying to make it so that, for example, patients’ relatives have a place to spend the night. They need funding for a 136,000-square-foot addition. All fine. Next:

“Dentistry with a Heart”

This is actually a beautiful story about helping people, which I won’t go into. Then there’s this shit:

“Man gets 8 years for 2008 home-invasion armed robbery”

“One charged, one sought in strong-arm robbery”

“Teen charged in burglary; additional charges expected”

“Dover police seek man they say beat pregnant wife”

I would think that small-town New Hampshire could do better. Apparently not. A letter to the editor indicates that the nearby town of Durham (home of the University of New Hampshire) has at least one landlord who thinks it’s OK to serve up tap water with three to four times the legal level of arsenic. Arsenic, for fuck’s sake. Then there’s a letter noting that there are suddenly four branches of government: the judicial branch, the executive branch, the legislative branch, and corporate America. I can’t believe that a supposedly liberal Supreme Court, or any Supreme Court, let this shit happen. They have abandoned every last principle that supposedly made this a wondrous place to live, and I fucking hate them for it.

Then there was a bunch of bullshit about a federal stimulus dollars and some stuff that was actually nice about a Christmas food drive.

This sucks. I think I’ll just retreat into the world of underground blogs, dark as they can be.

10 thoughts on “Why the news sucks”

  1. Have you visited the Woodman Institute and Museum lately? I know it was still there a year ago

    A teacher at Oyster River School took us there mumblety-mumble years ago. So much wonderful stuff in such an unassuming place! I last visited about fifteen years ago.

    When my brother and I were kids we sold snakes to the pet shop located in the store that used to occupy Sawyer Mills which is now mostly apartments. We got ten cents per snake.

    Drive along Drew Road/Freshet Road and find the Jenkins family cemetery. Approach the gate and look to your left to see one of my childhood homes. The house and barn are gone; just look at the land.

    1. Holy shit. I run on Freshet Road for most of my journeys–it’s only about four miles from here. I’ve seen that cemetery but never paid it much attention. I will now.

      1. Well how ’bout that!

        The road used to be gravel, of course. Once, when a certain car got a reputation for passing our house at high speed, my dad and I drove spikes through a two-by-four and set it in a trench across the road. Flattened three out of four tires. We never saw that car again.

        We were way ahead of our time.

  2. Upon review I see that I failed to address your topic concerning how much shit sucks.

    Invoking the Sturgeon Principle seems appropriate.

    My recollections of life in Madbury, New Hampshire, include joy and sorrow, pride and embarrassment, pain and strength. I suppose my memories would be much the same had I grown up elsewhere, or in a different family and a different house.

    As it was, the house on Drew Road, to which I returned after many a youthful adventure, still stands in memory. There, on a two-bit back road in a forgettable township in a small state lies a land that once, to me, was infinite. I grew and learned there, I found my footing in a perplexing universe there.

    I also left. But that was long ago.

    Wherever you go, there you are. If you lived here, you’d be home by now. And et cetera.

    There are a lot of cool and interesting people living in the seacoast region of New Hampshire as well as all over the state. No place is more than a day drive away from any other.

    I know that the news sucks. Reports of idiots acting like idiots put me off my feed, too. But idiots are endemic; they fuck up everywhere. You can’t escape them. Don’t lose sleep over it, it’s not uniquely or particularly threatening simply because it happens near you.

    *and yet, I still pause to grieve as well*

    1. Madbury is not an unkind place these days. It’s pretty humble. I live in a part of Dover that’s less than a mile from the town border and have run through most of it. Was there a Town Hall Road when you were there? That’s one of the most peaceful places I can imagine. I was out there last week running on a very cold night and had to stop to recapitulate my adolescent stargazing days, because it was so clear and beautiful. I keep meaning to visit that little library.

      I doubt that Bellamy Park was here when you were. I don’t think it was here when I was running cross-country races in the late 1980s. It’s just a little stretch of trail along the southwestern side of the river. You can get to it from Dover High School by crossing a foot bridge or from the other side by walking from, say, Kevin Beck’s parents’ condo or my own place. I had Nubble out there on many, many days before she succumbed, and I love the park even if I don’t get into the frisbee golf thing. Twice I had people older than me offer me hits off a joint when I was out there. Once from a paver and another time from a general transient. I only accepted both times, but am otherwise an upstanding citizen.

      1. I don’t recall Town Hall Road. Might be I’ve forgotten. Maybe it’s new. It’s been several years since I’ve been in Dover. My mother is there on Olde Madbury Lane.

        Bellamy Park was a place to go swimming back in the day. Even though I never went there (curious in retrospect) people I knew talked about it. I recall that it was known as a pretty good swimming hole.

        My good fortune was to have grandparents who had a camp on Merrymeeting Lake up near New Durham. The swimming there just couldn’t be beat.

        Judging from your description of your location I know that area. I had a friend who lived along the Dover-Durham road near there and there were large fields and some woods. We used to take his BB gun out there for some plinking. One day he shot me in the tip of a finger. I forgave him because he built killer model airplanes and showed me lots of good technique. Right now there is an F-4U Corsair in a cupboard awaiting assembly.

        Nice to hear that you are cultivating good social habits and making friends. I always found New Hampshire people to be as friendly and accommodating as people most everywhere. That is, friendly and accommodating.

        Is the Strand Theater still in business downtown?

      2. I live less than a mile from the Olde Madbury complex, just off of Route 155/Knox Marsh Road. I frequently run in and out of that development to add mileage.

        I don’t think I’d recommend swimming anywhere in the Bellamy River, unless you’re a Golden retriever. It’s more of a creek than a river where I am.

        I used to do stupid shit like organizing BB-gun fights with my friends when I was a teenager. We’d put on all sorts of snow gear and goggles and had a supposed one-pump rule. Of course when someone would get shot you’d hear him cranking out ten pumps before re-emerging from behind a tree to attempt payback.

        NH people are nice compared to most Floridians. That may not be the best barometer out there.

        The Strand is still here, in the form of Spinelli Cinemas.

      3. Ha! You and Ma have probably rubbed shoulders some where along the way. Neat. I’ll tell her to inspect all joggers to see if any look like bloggers! (She’ll say, “What?”)

        Nice to hear about the Strand. I spent many fascinated hours there.

        I hope you enjoy living on the NH Seacoast – lots of history, lots of characters, lots of stories.

  3. We used to catch the school bus at the intersection of Drew Road and Back River Road. That amounted to a walk of about three quarters of a mile. Lessee, I’ll do the math . . .

    Daily round trip = 1.5 miles times
    180 school days per year = 270 miles times
    12 years going to school = 3,240 miles walking to and from the bus stop.

    The total does not include bike riding, tractor driving, practice driving in the family station wagon of just walking because I wanted to.

    After me came four siblings. Between us all the road should be worn into a deep gully and it would be without the efforts of the road crews that got tired of grading the gravel and just paved the sucker. Is it two lanes yet?

  4. Concerning the Jenkins family cemetery, it was there that I came to terms with death. I was just a kid but then I had a captive audience. There are some infants buried there with their aunts and uncles.

    I only mention this in case you should pass the cemetery one day and feel reality heave and ripple in a disconcerting fashion. It was only me and the Jenkins clan coming to terms. Be ye not afraid.

    I have some more (mundane) history of the Drew Road/Freshet Road neighborhood circa 1956 onward if you are interested.

    Enough comment hogging . . .

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