Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Mundane News Alert, Vol. 1

We're overdue for a bath here in the 19 Minutes home office, but we wanted to relate a new, part-time quest we're on, and about which we'll try to keep you up-to-date: The Quest for the Dullest News Story of 2007.

This idea came our way on the bus this evening. Milwaukee County busses, you'll recall, are equipped with something called "Transit TV", which beams everything from trivia questions supposedly written by Pat Sajak, to weather forecasts for sporting events taking place in domed stadiums, to (really) tips for tying asparagus. In between the produced features, the network also features the first two or three sentences from stories on various newswires (a technique that renders cleverly written features completely unintelligible).

And so it was that I found myself considering this evening, "What could possibly be less relevant to the Number 31 Bus Experience than the news that furniture maker Ethan Allen reports a drop in quarterly earnings?"

I thought about it for a while, and considered going on a Quest for the Least Relevant News Story to the Number 31 Bus Experience, but then I thought it would be a challenge to report the results to a reading public that's probably not entirely familiar with the Number 31 Bus Experience, and so that would necessitate a lot of explaining each time there was an update, and frankly, I'm not that motivated. (But while we're at it, "The Number 31 Bus Experience" would make a swell name for a budding garage band.)

So instead, I've decided to go on a Quest for the Dullest News Story of 2007.

With that backstory now lodged, kidney stone-like, in your mind, the first contender comes to us from the North Platte Telegraph, from North Platte, Nebraska. I thought about disqualifying entries from Nebraska on the grounds that all news there is inherently dull, but relented after deciding any story with the word "unicameral" in it at least elicits a snicker. Anyway, I was disappointed to have missed this item on the Number 31 bus today:

Agenda action items carried over from cancelled meeting
If tonight’s agenda for the Mid-Plains Community College Board of Directors looks familiar, it should. All of the action items were carried over from the Dec. 20 board meeting that was cancelled due to adverse weather.

I imagine faithful readers of the Mid-Plains Community College Board of Directors agenda series were disappointed when they received their latest issue, only to find it was a rerun.

And while we're cruising the papers, a runner-up from the Rutland Herald in Rutland, Vermont:

Mold found in temporary office trailers in Bennington

Having worked in plenty of office buildings, let me just say that I've never worked in a place that someone hasn't - at least twice a year - sent out a nasty officewide e-mail decrying the state of decaying food in the office refrigerator. In fact, I've had some co-workers who routinely got mustard stains on their news copy - which was difficult, considering that copy was on their computer's hard drive. (Cymbal crash.) Fortunately, we never got to the point where we had a slow enough news day to report on it.

Anyway, that's the first go-round. Feel free to nominate any news items you run across that might contend for the title. Or sit back and wait for us to feed your Dull News Weekly Requirement.

Further bulletins as events warrant.

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