Sunday, July 12, 2009

Yesterday's News

In order to have something other than the drink menu to read during dinner, I often buy a newspaper at the gas station before I go to a restaurant. Here's it's the Vancouver Sun, published down south and distributed to the whole province. There are only two copies left. And they are of yesterday's paper. That's normal in the north. If there were a large population up here then the paper might be sent electronically and local print run made for distribution here, but there aren't enough people here to warrant that. They print the paper in Vancouver and I initially assumed that they threw a few bundles on a truck going north. It's the "Final Edition" that I buy, so it's not like they rushed the first print run onto a truck. Maybe they gathered up what they hadn't sold by the end of the day yesterday and put it on an overnight truck. We're not considered too important up here.

Today there was no flying so I went to dinner a little earlier. But the store had no papers. "Could you please tell me where else in town I can get a paper?" I asked.

"The airplane doesn't get in until 7:30," she says. "So we'll get them later."

Oh, I'm surprised, they actually fly them in. "I mean Saturday's paper," I clarify. It's Sunday today. That's what she meant, too. It's on it's way here now.

Okay this is just weird. If they are going to fly the paper up, why not load the edition that was printed the same day the airplane leaves Vancouver. It is a morning paper down there. How is it that they put yesterday's paper on the airplane?

Later I go to another store and ask if they have the paper, and see if I can get more information about why the paper isn't even current when it's loaded. They don't have it either. "Sometimes they have too much baggage and they take the papers off," says the vendor. "Then we get them the next day." I had a feeling she could have easily added, "Or the day after."

Okay that I understand. That is the northern experience of waiting for cargo that gets bumped at every station on the way. I think we're the last stop for the airline that comes here. I've heard that even blood products for the hospital take a day to get here. But why do they ship yesterday's paper? Is it like the groceries stores pawning off spoiled produce on their northern pilot customers because they know that by the time the food gets there the customer won't know it didn't rot on the way?

It doesn't really matter that it's yesterday's news. By the time this posts it will be last week's news, or two weeks ago, but the same things will be going on. In international news, Americans, North Koreans, Iranians, Afghanis are all up to something. In Canada the RCMP will be investigating something and some other body will be investigating the RCMP, and politicians will be calling each other names. There's a romantic comedy starring Sandra Bullock. And there will be local news from the city. I feel really disconnected reading the things that are important to the southern city, but obviously have no bearing here. For example the government has cancelled a summer camp subsidy program for low income families, and they're interviewing the parents of tearful kids about that. Not that kids don't learn important lessons at summer camp, but I met an ambitious 20 year old up here, who had never been out of Fort Nelson. The place has six streets and nothing for hundreds of kilometres but bugs and trees and bears. I bet her life could use some enrichment. Vancouver has hundreds of parks and museums and festivals, including a lot of things that are free to take your kids to. True, kids these days in Vancouver probably aren't allowed to go more than six streets from home. But. Ah, weird contrast.

I still have yesterday's paper from here. Which is the day before yesterday's paper going by the date, so I do the crosswords from it. And once again I manage to do an entire crossword between asking for the bill and getting it. I'm not that much of a crossword whiz. The service is just that slow.

And my computer is confirmed dead. When I push the power button the "on" light illuminates, the fan starts to run, the hard drive and CD ROM drive lights flash once, then after a few seconds the light stays on but it goes completely quiet. And I checked right away this time: there's no Buns of Steel CD in the drive.

Continuing the theme of 'yesterday's news,' yesterday someone sent me this link to an article on flight delays at JFK caused by turtles. I think they were copulating on the runway, bu the article is too delicate to make that entirely clear.


ledness said...

One of the Big US newspapers that is currently in financial trouble actually allowed a Daily Show (satiric news/comedy show) reporter in for interviews etc. Making the point that newspapers can't hope to compete with the internet, the Daily Show reporter asked the editor/exec if he could find anything in the current issue that wasn't yesterday's news.

Of course he couldn't and the Daily Show reporter made some bitingly hilarious remark about the fate of newspapers.

ledness said...

Aha! Just found it on youtube... Here's a report on that NYT interview...

Capt. Schmoe said...

Sorry to hear about your machine. Technology is great until it fails.

From a selfish standpoint, I hope it doesn't affect your posts!

Thanks for the post.

Unknown said...

There is no excuse to not have even yesterdays papers. I used to do a nightly cargo run entirely of papers. 22 pounds per bundle on average. In a Navajo you start at the second row seats and stack them to the bottom of the window frame all the way back to the rear door. 1500 pounds plus or minus everytime. Newsprint is surprisingly consistant on the volume to weight ratio.

We used to see tomorrows paper no later than 21:30 barring problems with the presses. I fail to see how it could be so hard to get even yesterday's paper to where you are. Someone isn't trying hard enough...

Cirrocumulus said...

Revenge of the Terrapins!

For decades people have been making fun of terrapins because they're so completely harmless. Now they're, er, f***ing back...

Next: "Terrapins on a Plane"

dpierce said...

I'm tellin' ya ... you need a Kindle or equivalent.

Sorry to hear about your laptop (and I assume you've probably already done something about getting it fixed/replaced), but you might try unplugging and reseating everything that's field installable -- memory, hard disk, CD, battery, etc. A long shot, but worth a try. Also try running it off A/C w/o the battery at all.

Icebound said...


There was a time, in a nameless Semi-norhtern populous centre, when we got HNIC TV HOCKEY GAMES ....on 16mm FILM, no less... to be played a week late on the local b&w station the following Saturday night.