Tag Archives: Entertainment

Putting the “Fun” in De-Funding NPR

Confession: I do not listen to National Public Radio.  Except in cabs.  I have no idea why taxi drivers so universally listen to NPR, but there’s probably a very dull sociological paper in there somewhere.  Admittedly, my NPR aversion is not even particularly interesting confession material.  Outside of the beltway, I think people would be more surprised to hear that I did  listen.  If that were the case, I’d probably be besieged with questions like “Why?” and “Do you have anti-boredom superpowers?” and “Really, why?”

Now there are tons of arguments that are often put forward for the continued use of federal tax dollars to support National Public Radio.  Most of these may have been persuasive in 1958, but in the age of the information superhighway, seem almost quaint.  And the notion that government-funded broadcasting is going to be somehow more unbiased or pure is beyond laughable.  The political bias at NPR is so legendary and ingrained that conservatives don’t even bother to complain about it most of the time.

In the end, it seems like habit and tradition (as much as anything else) are what keep the tax dollars flowing to National Public Radio.  Well, that and the fact that (compared to certain other government expenditures) it doesn’t seem like such a huge expense.  (This, of course, is silly thinking, but no less powerful for that.  Of course, you’re not going to throw a dollar out the window just because it represents a comparatively small part of your income.  But who hasn’t experienced the effect of relative cost?  In other words, the effect of looking at a list of things with such high dollar amounts that something on the low end of that group seems like a bargain in comparison.  Incidentally, this also explains why I bought a pair of $250 shoes last week and felt like I got a deal.)

Anyway, if you’re interested in joining the campaign to de-fund NPR, head over conservativehq.com and sign their petition.  For me, it would be worth it just to cut down on the frequency of my tense political discussions with cab drivers.

Top of the Aloha to You, Brah!

What with it being St. Patrick’s Day and such (and a happy one to you), I thought we’d step away from the usual stuff for today, and give a small nod to the awesome that results from combining the influences of Ireland and Hawaii.

No, I’m not talking about green poi.  (If such an abomination exists, I would rather not here about it.)

I’m talking about modern surfing.

We all know that surfing is an invention of the Polynesians, and the original Sport of (Hawaiian) Kings.  And that it was discouraged by the missionaries.  But what is less well known is that it was revived and popularized in the 20th century by a local Hapa-Irish/Hawaiian man named George Freeth, whose father immigrated to Hawaii from Ulster in the 1870s.  Freeth re-introduced surfing in the early 20th century and then helped to make it popular on the mainland (especially California).

A documentary on the Irish contribution to surfing, called Waveriders, traces this story.  Filmed in Ireland, California, and Hawaii (They have surfing in Ireland? Who knew?), the movie won a Best Documentary award in Ireland, and has just been released on DVD.

So there you are–combining Hawaii and Ireland saved surfing.  And I wouldn’t be surprised if you couldn’t come up with a heck of a good boxer out of it too.