Tuesday, 11 July 2017 17:24

Talk of the Towns for July 12, 2017

Written by  Staff

Childbirth anyone?

One Talker eats, breathes and plays tennis, and no doubt pays particular attention to televised major tournaments such as the French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. Other Talkers are ambivalent about the sport, and at least one believes the golden age of the professional game ended along with the era of John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Bjorn Borg and Boris Becker on the men’s side; and Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova and Evonne Goolagong on the women’s. 

Dr. Renee Richards fell somewhere in between there, but we, and possible even she, isn’t quite sure where. Don’t know who that is? Google it.

The homogenous dominance of Sampras followed by Federer in men’s tennis and the failure of anyone to emerge from the muscular shadow of Serena Wlliams in the women’s game, and Steffi Graff before her, contributed to Talkers’ laissez faire attitude toward the sport. 

Or maybe it was something else. 

This past week, with no other sports events other than Wimbledon to serve as background noise were available during the midday, weekday hours, one Talker was reminded of one reason he quit watching tennis. While the men generally go about their matches in the quiet dignity befitting of the sport, the women, on the other hand, loudly grunt, squeal, shriek, screech and otherwise howl with every stroke.

If Talkers wanted that kind of entertainment, they’d surf the dish for the Natural Childbirth Channel.

 A current event

As a general rule, the dismalness of a sweltering July traditionally coincides with a break in “breaking news.” And the fact that many legislative bodies take a prolonged pause in the middle of summer usually enhances that situation as elected officials on their own are much less likely to wreak the type of havoc they do when ensconced among their colleagues in chambers.

But the drawback to the doldrums is that many news organizations find themselves in the desperate position of still having to scream about something that appears startling — often introduced with a self-promoting phrase like “we have learned” (industry code for “somebody told us”) — when, in truth, the “news” they report is anything but to the people who actually know what’s happening.

The “magical emergence” of an “island” off Cape Hatteras along North Carolina’s Outer Banks is one of those summer news-making miracles. Television personalities, including those from local affiliates, a Good Morning America crew and even the Weather Channel’s own legendary posterboy Jim Cantore, have flocked to the fresh land mass posing as modern-day Christopher Columbuses.

But don’t be confused. This isn’t a permanent rock formation spewing to life from an active undersea volcano, it’s a compost heap of sand, shells and sea-life remnants swirled into a temporarily visible pile by the ancient, angry and unpredictable waters that have earned the region it’s reputation as the “Graveyard of the Atlantic.”

It doesn’t mean some enterprising entrepreneur hasn’t already cashed in by marketing “See Shelly Island” T-shirts to the tourists, but rest assured the folks who live there — those who understand the volatile nature of colliding currents and constant waves — view this as absolutely nothing new. It’s sand, bullied, battered and, for now, buffered by the ocean.

It’s a sandbar. As common as dirt. And only in the midst of a real news drought would this age-old interaction between sea and sand be deemed newsworthy.

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