Obits In the News

 I am supposed to be writing a new Dispatch column, but my head is still in this novel I'm finishing a draft of and I'm finding it hard to shift gears. (I love saying that, "this novel I'm writing." It sounds so crazy.)  Also, it is 19 degrees, snowing and still dark enough to need a desk lamp to see at almost noon. I just got off the phone with a woman from New York doing a story for NPR about obituaries, and I'm pretty sure no one from there will ever call me again. I ranted and raved for a half hour about paid vs. unpaid obituaries. Big papers only do unpaid obituaries for a few, special people. Often the rich and powerful. The Chilkat Valley News does not have a paid obit or death notice section, because Tom, and the editors before him, believe a death is news, and how your life was lived is important and something we can all learn something from whether you were famous or not. The stories of other people's lives help us to live ours. Anyhow, it didn't go so well.
And here is where I come back to the W.I.W.N.N. who is everywhere on radio, TV, web, magazines, books-- you name it-- and why I won't name her. She is "news" in the same way  a paid obituary is. It is like  one giant advertisement. Granted, maybe you were like me, and reading everything about her you could for a while, to the point of going cuckoo, but about halfway through Oprah I realized I wasn't paying any attention. An hour of it was about 45 minutes too long. I ended up in the kitchen catching up with some friends I hadn't seen in a while. Then, this morning, after I fed and watered the chickens and walked the dogs on the beach, during my coffee web-news reading time, I found I glanced at the W.I.W.N.N. headlines, and even started to read another witty, barbed commentary on the obvious, but couldn't finish it. Instead I wasted my time with something much more fun, and interesting, an honest ad/article about  What You Can Get for 600,000. 
Save the Sales: In Haines, I'm not sure there is anything that costs 600,000 dollars, except maybe Picture Point, and that is something the Borough should buy right away for the whole town. It will be a gift that keeps on giving, as they say.  I can't believe that preserving our waterfront views is even a debatable issue. But that's politics, not shopping. Something simpler and cheaper was suggested by Father Blaney yesterday, while we were sitting around the wood stove at H.A.L. learning how to play Solitaire from Belle. He said he likes to give local gift certificates, just go into the Back Country Outfitter, or Material Girls, or even the Bamboo Room or Lighthouse and ask how you can do that.  


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