All the news a man can handle

One of the byproducts of my recent 100-day stay in Olympia, performing home healthcare for an oldster who watched CNN and Northwest Cable News 10 to 12 hours a day, every day, was to cancel my morning newspaper subscription once I re-turned to the Big Smoke on Puget Sound.

This action was something that in the past I'd never have even considered. For years I believed that reading a daily paper was essential to my mental health.

I realized in OIympia that I no longer need a daily fix.

I read The Seattle Times once a week, Wednesdays, read the P-I Fridays and get a Sunday New York Times to go with my subscription to Time magazine. And I learn more reading The New Yorker every week, especially about Iraq, than I can learn reading all the other previously mentioned publications together.

I once devoted an entire afternoon to reading The Stranger and Seattle Weekly, too, but even before my over-dose in Oly, I'd reduced my efforts there to reading whatever Rick Anderson, my vote for best Seattle writer-reporter, had in the Weekly, perusing the personals and reading my horoscope in both papers.

It would take a whole 'nother column to explain why most of the reporters and writers I know, over the age of 40, who used to defend the formerly alternative weeklies, especially The Stranger, often now read even less of the two papers than I do.

Back to the dailies: Most of the news isn't changing all that much, except for the names of the players.

There's a new, crooked lobbyist being arraigned. There are a couple of new, seemingly senseless murders in the South End.

The Sonics lost another couple of games; the Seahawks hadn't played a playoff game yet, so they weren't out of the playoffs yet.

And Pinhead continues to amaze.

IN THE WEDNESDAY, JAN. 11, SEATTLE TIMES THERE WAS AN ANGER-MONGERING EDITORIAL, HEADLINED "LETHAL GAPS IN PROTECTION," about the fact that as many as 80 percent of Marines killed in Iraq from wounds to their upper torso "might have survived if they had extra body armor."

Body armor available since 2003, but not provided by those wizards at the Pentagon who helped convince Pinhead we needed to spank Iraq.

In the same newspaper, a pickup story from the Los Angeles Times noted that Pinhead criticized "irresponsible debate" in the United States over the war in Iraq.

Pinhead has spent the past couple of months blatantly saying almost everyone who opposes his little deadly war isn't a good American.

This while not seeing to it that soldiers receive the protection available to possibly bring them back here to relative safety, after they defend the country in a shooting war no senators and only one congressman have seen fit to send family members to possibly die in.

I guess I don't understand any parent who wouldn't be inconsolably angry if their child died in Iraq because of our negligence and not the enemies' ire.

If Pinhead is the current face of patriotism, deal me out.

IN OTHER NEWS, THE UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON ADMINISTRATION, not satisfied with the scandalous overbilling crimes it tried to avoid admitting to, not satisfied with Neuheisel and the softball lady and the drug-dealing doc, was rebuked again last week by a King County Superior Court judge.

It seems that the newish prexy of U-Dub, Mark Emmert, sent out an e-mail about a class-action suit involving more than 3,000 faculty members' and former members' back pay.

Judge Mary Yu ordered the U-Dub administration nine days ago to send out a corrective e-mail and refrain from further unauthorized communication.

Yu has already ruled, in a partial judgment, that U-Dub "breached its duty" by not awarding most faculty a 2-percent merit increase during the 2002-03 academic year.

The ruling could cost U-Dub $16 million.

Remember this if you become a hospital patient in their system. Hey, they've got a track record with their billing procedures. You might be helping pay for the next merit raise. Mistakes happen, especially lately over there one block and change east of The Ave.

AND FINALLY, HOW ABOUT THAT WEATHER? Up till Jan. 15 it had rained for 26 straight days - and could be working up another run at the record 33. If I were more mechanically and nautically talented, I would be working on a boat and questioning pairs of creatures in preparation for the trip around a flooded world.

What a winter in a place where mild weather is one of the big draws for living here.

Sure it's dark and dreary, and the days are six hours long, but it ain't too cold and our rain is usually just drizzle, not deluge.

Well, maybe that's how it used to be.

Man, am I tired of being wet. And you all don't look too happy either as I pass you on our floody, muddy streets and sidewalks.

That said, every once in a while the sun can come out briefly and the downtown area literally shines.

Our weather is bipolar, I guess, because I know of no other place where it can be so ugly and so beautiful, all within an hour.

Whatever you do, don't pray for rain. We've had more than enough for quite a while.[[In-content Ad]]