Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Wow. I just got my computer back after three days and feel like I’ve returned to the land of the living.

The worst part? There wasn’t anything wrong with my computer. It was just getting its annual tune-up, but the Apple Store was a little busier than they thought and the promised 24 hour turnaround turned into 50+. Oh, the agony.

So for the past three days I have read a novel, cleaned house, paid bills, researched a story (without the internet! Who knew such a thing is possible!), went to a couple of meetings, had the roof repaired, worked in the garden. It felt like a mini-vacation, actually, minus the tan.

I also watched TV. Feeling desperately out of synch with the world, sans internet, I had to get my news the old-fashioned way. Trust me, it wasn’t worth it. TV news still sucks. On this, I think, both the right and left can agree.

But I did find my new favorite channel: Current TV, Channel 196 on Dish Network. I didn’t even know we could get it until my forced isolation from blogging prompted some desperate channel-surfing. Can I say how much I love Current TV? It reminds me of MTV in its infancy, when it was nothing but music videos, one after another, without end. My friend Ellen and I would watch until the wee hours of the night, bleary and red-eyed from hours of Eurythmics and David Bowie videos, until finally one of us would turn to the other and say, as if realizing it for the first time, “This program never ends. We have to stop it. We have to turn it off.”

You kids who weren’t around in the days before 24-hour television programming probably have no clue what I’m talking about.

Anyway, Current TV is a little like that, in that it consists of a lot of small vignettes, each as different from the other as Michael Jackson was different from Dexys Midnight Runners which was different from The Police.

I know there are some folks out there who won’t give Current TV the time of day because Al Gore had something to do with its formation. That’s their loss. They missed the fabulous story about the Iraqi basketball team, the one containing Kurdish, Sunni and Shia players who ignore sectarian differences in favor of teamwork and a love for sport. You know, some of that good news out of Iraq you’re always complaining the major networks refuse to cover? Yeah, I found it on Current TV.

I also saw some astonishing behind-the-lines coverage of Israel’s attacks on Lebanon last year. And on the lighter side, I went with a guy named Nick to the Night Market in Beijing where he ate local delicacies like deep-fried grasshopper and scorpion-on-a-stick. Let’s just say I don’t think either will be coming to a state fair near you. The dish that made him gag? Sea urchin. Go figure.

I love the whole “user generated” feel to it. I love that technology enables us to have a global conversation. I love that we have entered a time in which corporate gatekeepers and media empires have less influence on that conversation. We saw a glimpse of it with the CNN YouTube debate. It’s not entirely here yet but it’s coming. I for one am ready.