News in the USA

Following the air disaster in Florida, it’s time for the FAA to start asking the hard questions: Who in their right mind would choose to fly on an airline with a name as tacky as “ValuJet”?

Actually, while in America, we heard of what would have to rate as the silliest air crash ever. I’m sure you all remember it. Little seven year-old Jessica, trying to be the youngest ever to fly across the USA. Is the human race OUT OF OUR MINDS?! A seven year old, barely able to reach the pedals?! Where does it end? My son Isaac has just turned one, should he be the next to try for the record?

Watching the news in the US was amusing. I’m at a safe distance, so it’s probably safe to name names: KNVX, Phoenix. This station has a news service that fulfils just about every cliche of bad news reporting you could think of.

They don’t just have theme music. Nope. They’ve got some DJ announcer and sound effects when their logo comes on.

[deep voice] This is KNVX News, Phoenix. [KNVX logo flies onto screen with a swoop, then four punch sounds as the letters N E W S appear]

And the newsreaders! What attitude! While one would read the story, the other would shake his/her head in disbelief. Then for any story where anybody had screwed up anything, they’d look at each other and make a snide remark, with the tone of voice that normally goes with the words, “how *stupid* can you get?”

It was comforting to see that on other channels, like here in Australia, there were newsreaders who just *read the news*.

The odd thing about most of the free-to-air broadcast news services was that “world” news was mostly from elsewhere in the United States. It wasn’t until the massacre in Tasmania that we saw some news from home. Triffic, had to be that, didn’t it.

Thankfully CNN was much better. Okay, so there was a lot of crap on the cable channels, but there was a lot of good stuff too. The moment the Australian cable carriers bring through VH1 and a channel that gets C-Net, I’ll pounding on their doors to sign up (instead of the other way round).

After some investigation, we found the secondhand Levi’s trade route across the Pacific Ocean. It starts in little corner shops in American cities, and ends, with huge markups, in shops in the parts of the world with extremely gullible people, like here in Australia. Beats me what’s so special about 501s anyway.

But some Australians are fighting back. Let all the Aussies know — someone has invented something called the “Outback Steakhouse”, a chain of restaurants all over the USA. There you can find Australian beers (including Foster’s imported from Toronto!) and all sorts of alleged Australian delicacies with silly ocker names.

I’ve lived in Australia for all of my twenty-five years, and never once before have I heard of the “Bloomin’ Onion”. *I* think it’s just a big Crocodile Dundee cash-in. But let me tell you, they do serve *damn* good food there. So get down there and have a steak. And have a XXXX for me.

(That reminds me. Saw a great Foster’s ad in a bar in Seattle. A truck is struggling over a sandy hilly terrain. The wheels slip… then at last they grip on the ground, and it moves forward, pulling a rope behind it. The caption appears “Australian for Dentist.” Then a Foster’s can appears and it says “Australian for Beer.”)

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