When things break

January 4, 2010 1:06:39 PM PST
Things fall apart. It's scientific.

That's David Byrne's take on things, living and mechanical.

Not Thoreau, but not far off either.

I think about those words from a Byrne song when things break.

As they often do.

For some reason, it helps me get through the moment.

And I used that mantra twice with things that are meaningful to me: My favorite pair of glasses on New Year's Eve (just broke from old age) and my trusty desktop computer, which decided to just stop working (ditto on the age part).

We all deal with life's annoyances - some smaller than others - and we have no idea what someone else may be going through when we walk into the office and say, 'Hi, Happy New Year.' Similarly, they have no idea that our favorite pair of glasses is broken, or that we're worried all of our important documents and financial information may be lost forever.

But everyone has something going on, and the sooner we appreciate that we all come to the party trailing certain burdens - some larger than others - the better we'd be.

That's all prologue to what we're covering tonight - but it's an interesting lesson for us as we deliver the news to you, and for you as you watch and listen to us deliver the news.

And as long as I'm on this thread of thought, we got a lot of feedback to our New Year's Day 11 p.m. newscast, when we reported on Rush Limbaugh's hospital news conference after he was released from his chest pain episode.

A handful of viewers didn't like that we pointed out that Mr. Limbaugh's trashing of health care reform was slightly class biased. We pointed out that he took the opportunity of all this attention on his personal health situation to criticize health care reform, and he said that the system worked very well for him. And we also observed the seeming contradiction for a man who makes tens of millions of dollars a year, who gets the best health care money can buy, suddenly trashing a reform campaign for people who don't make much money.

It was not opinion, it was an observation. Could we have instead said it - in the form of a question? Perhaps that would have been a better way to observe the situation, and it might have soothed some people's feelings that I was too opinionated.

It is not my job to bloviate and opinionate. It is my job - our job - to observe the facts and the nuances; to observe situations and report them. That's what we were trying to do with the Limbaugh story.

For those who wrote in, angry and unsolicited, I appreciate the feedback.

Meanwhile, tonight at 11, we'll be observing the nuances and the facts of a popular cheese company - selling primarily to Hispanics - that's being shut down in New Jersey. The FDA tonight asking a federal court to shut down Quesos Mi Pueblito, after recent inspections by both the FDA and the New Jersey Dept. of Health found cheese that was contaminated with Listeria, and unsanitary conditions at the plant.

The company makes and sells several kids of Mexican cheeses - and they're for sale in stores in our area.

Also at 11, the New Year brings with it so many opportunities to have new approaches to spending money. In November, I spent a day going over every household expenditure and then nickel-and-diming the budget. No discretionary expenditure was sacred; and, in fact, by day's end we had cut phones and some cable channels we didn't use much, and a host of other variable costs.

It was an eye-opening and liberating experience.

Tonight, Jeff Pegues takes that theme - and applies it to often-overlooked expenditures that could, over the course of a year, save you some big bucks.

Like phone plans, and car insurance costs, and entertainment expenses.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast (cold enough for you?) and Scott Clark with the night's sports, including the Jets playoff qualification victory in the final regular-season game last night.

I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER


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