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Stateside With Rosalea: It's All About Timing

Stateside With Rosalea Barker

It's All About Timing

According to a Today in History listing, on October 9, 1776, Spanish missionaries settled in what would become known as San Francisco. Two hundred and twenty-nine years later about a million people are out there enjoying the sunshine and watching the Blue Angels and the Red Bull aerobatic teams do their thing. Or they're over at the golf course watching Tiger et al do their thing. Or, if they're like me, they're sitting inside at their computer and watching all those things on the various websites streaming video of them.

I have to say the Red Bull race website was particularly grand yesterday. They used two streams, which you could view simultaneously, one of them coming from cockpit and wing cameras so that you got a real sense of what it's like to fly sideways at 360 miles per hour between two big cones mounted on barges on the Bay. And then loop the loop. It's the sort of event you probably couldn't do in Wellington because of the proximity of the airport, but it might be a go in Auckland some time.

And, according to the calendar in my kitchen, tomorrow is Indigenous People's Day. Known officially as Columbus Day, which is a federal holiday, it's not widely celebrated with a day off by anybody much other than federal employees and banks. By one of those curious synchronous spirals of events that have me convinced that time is a conch shell, John McCain will be in my home state tomorrow--in my very home town of Oakland, in fact. Four years ago, on Indigenous People's Day in 2001, I was in his home state, Arizona, watching him on the telly justify the administration's commencement of bombing in Afghanistan.

McCain will be making an appearance with Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is already here in Otown--for all I know, out at the Oakland Airport asking if he can have a spin in one of those Red Bull planes. The Governor mysteriously popped up this morning in the front row of a gospel choir at a nearby church, looking for all the world like a broad bean that had fallen into the kidney bean container. It was especially odd as the choir was in full vocal flight at the time of his entrance.

There are murmurings that Schwarzenegger-McCain might be just the ticket for the 2008 presidential election, but it's more likely that Arnold is just trying to get some positive attention from the press regarding the costly initiatives he has insisted we Californians vote on in this year's off-off-off-presidential election year. When barely anyone goes to the polls. Which is why obscure--and frightening--legislation gets put on the ballot at this time; human nature is such that it's likely more people will make a special trip to the polls to vote Yes than to vote No.

Speaking of the Guv'nor, I was aggrieved to learn of Ronnie Barker's passing earlier in the week. Being a fan of variety shows, I remember The Two Ronnies rather better than Open All Hours and Porridge. But luckily the video on demand service I subscribe to has all three Porridge series available for download for free. Oddly, the most nostalgic moment for me was the caption at the end of the first episode of the first series: BBC Colour 1974.

Back in those days--which coincided with my OE--colour television had just been launched in Britain, so it was worth the Beeb noting what lesser mortals with B&W were missing out on. It was akin to the captions you see today saying a program is "In HDTV Where Available."New Zealand wasn't too far behind with colour transmissions, beginning them in 1975. This coming weekend, Avalon TV Studios are having a little celebration in honour of having opened its doors for business and broadcast all those 30 years ago.



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