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July 31, 2009

This Wonderful Life: What you don’t know...

Whenever I am feeling dangerously chipper and optimistic about the state of life, the world and humanity in general, all I need to do is tune in to National Public Radio for my RDA of suffering and panic.

Because we don’t have cable television, we are blissfully sheltered from many of the ways news programming attempts to entice and ensnare users. For many years, I watched network morning news programs daily while I got my children ready for school and dressed myself for work. Now, without TV service, I have gone almost a year without seeing a single ``Today Show’’ segment on ``jeans for every body type,’’ ``health conscious summer recipes’’ or ``ordinary household objects that are likely to kill you.’’

Know what? I haven’t missed them.

But if you took away my access to public radio, I would miss it like I would miss a relative. Yet, as much as NPR is a trusted member of the family, it’s also a relative whom I have to silence at times during breakfast, lest my children ingest news of war crimes, civil unrest and dour signs of the economic times along with their cereal.

It’s like sitting at the family reunion next to that aunt who has no conversation filter at. One minute, the conversation is pleasant as can be, then without warning, she’s describing her colonoscopy in vivid detail. Yes, I want to be informed. I want news of the world delivered in a multitude of voices, and NPR does a fine job of that. But does it always have to be so scary?

Last week, I listened to an episode of ``Alternative Radio,’’ a program that features lectures and presentations by passionate experts in the various disciplines and ways in which the human race is headed to extinction in a handbasket.

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