Now that they're over (one hopes!), allow me to say that I'm not a fan of the monsoons. Never have been. Forty-some years I've been putting up with that crap and I've never warmed to the notion. There is just so much to dislike about them.
I hate the fact that the storms damage people's houses and cars and knock out power. I really hate that sometimes people even die because of the storms. Even the really stupid people who go where they're not supposed to during and after the storms don't deserve to die. I hate the fact that it will be raining in horizontal sheets at my house, with the street out front looking like the freakin' Amazon, and then you turn on the TV and the Talking Weather Head says that there was a trace of rain at the airport.
WE NEED TO MOVE THE AIRPORT!
Finally, I hate when it rains for five minutes and, even if I didn't get rained on, for the next three hours, it feels like the T-shirt I was wearing has been replaced by a giant lizard's tongue pressed up against my back.
Just so you don't think that I'm of the "Get Off My Lawn!" ilk, I have no problem with the 110-degree days in June. At least then you can finish work or your workout, take a shower, dry off, and put on some new clothes without having to relive that shower for the next 88 days.
On the plus side, the monsoons sometimes make for some pretty sunsets, which are an inspiration to poets. But I'm not a poet ... although I did write a haiku once back in high school. It went:
I gave you my all,
But it was more than you want.
What less can I do?
Actually, that doesn't totally suck. It certainly puts me ahead of T.S. Eliot, but still light-years behind Edgar Allan Poe.
Now that I'm good to go for the next nine months, I also have a few media bones to pick, with all apologies to Media Watch in this here publication.
The other day, I'm reading an article in the Star about the downtown Greyhound bus station and the planned super hotel. It read, in part, "The Rio Nuevo board of directors gave Nor-Generations til the end of this month..."
Really?! "til!?" Lower-case t-i-l? I think people are brain-damaged when they use that word fragment in a text. But in a newspaper? I know that nobody can afford copy editors any more, but that's sad.
That same night, there was a story on channel 13 about some poor guy who was killed while working at a scrap yard when a piece of military ordnance blew up. The young woman reporting the story had apparently never come across the word "ordnance" before, because she kept saying things like "They're checking with people at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base to make sure that all of their ordinances are accounted for."
That's fingernails-on-a-chalkboard stuff.
Plus, like many local reporters these days, she's reading it off her phone. I don't get it. If you work in local news, you're going to do one story a day because your editor is going to devote 17 of the 30 minutes to weather, anyway. You ought to be able to do it off the top of your head.
Here's my biggest gripe. I've been a subscriber to the morning paper for more than 35 years (they can look it up). I've watched it dwindle in size and balloon in price and I've been a loyal customer through it all. But this latest move may be the final straw.
Everybody knows that I love sports and I love reading about sports. One of my favorite things to do is to read Greg Hansen's Sunday Notebook before I head off to run my Sunday basketball league. My second favorite thing used to be opening the sports page on Saturdays during football season and reading about the local high-school games. I don't know any of the kids and I only know a couple of the coaches, but it was always great to read a little blurb about how some kid came off the bench to run for 100 yards and score the winning touchdown. Those little two- or three-paragraph tidbits written by wide-eyed stringers/wannabe sportswriters, making maybe 10 bucks for their efforts, were magnificent.
Nowadays, you open up the sports page on Saturday and you're told that if you want to read about high-school sports (or even see a list of scores), you have to go online. If I have to go online to read what I want to read, why bother buying the paper?
I'm pretty sure that some over-priced focus group came to the conclusion that an avid sports fan in Tucson, Arizona would much rather read a wire-service story about a possible quarterback controversy at the University of Indiana than about local kids playing the game of their dreams.
I realize that, in this day and age, newspapers are besieged in all directions. Many are fighting for their very existence. In the grand scheme of things, this is probably small potatoes. But, if (God forbid) it someday becomes a matter of death by a thousand cuts, this particular move will definitely be a self-inflicted wound.