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This Just In: A look at local news online and on the tube.

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SCREENCAP FROM KDKA
  • Screencap from KDKA

Ken Rice Wants a Weed Whacker!

KDKA anchors Susan Koeppen and Ken Rice flex their acting muscles in a skit to promote a story about online “ad trackers.”

Rice: “OK, so I’m scrolling through Facebook, right? And it’s giving me all of these ads. For products that I’m already interested in. Like, IT KNOWS WHAT WEED WHACKER I’m already thinkin’ about this fall. I don’t like it …”

Koeppen: “Ken. Those are called ad trackers. Marketers, they’re looking at all kindsa stuff that you’re doing online …”

Rice: “No thanks, makes me uncomfortable.”

Koeppen: “Don’t worry about it.”

Rice: “How can I not worry about it? I’ve got Big Brother watching me. Is your computer watching us right now?” [Covers Koeppen’s screen with paper.]

Koeppen: “Easy, fella. Consumer Reports just did a whooole thing on online privacy. And they have information on how to stop being tracked online, how to turn off those ad trackers, and we have a special report coming up …”

Rice: “OK, that’s great, but I wish you wouldn’t have said it in front of your computer. [In a hushed tone] It’s listening.”

[End Scene]

Ken Rice, you may be the last person on earth to know about ad trackers, but I admire your acting chops. Is this news or a promotion for Consumer Reports? If you pick the latter, you win! We’ve known about ad trackers for years. 

Who’s The Boss?

In a recent edition of Pittsburgh Catholic (also located at www.PittsburghCatholic.org), Bishop David Zubik recounts a conversation he had with the new diocesan director of communications in his column, “Beyond ‘The Boss.’”

“I must be honest,” he writes. “Even though Bruce and I are the same age, born the same year, I’m not one of his groupies. No offense to those of you who are. I’m more of a Motown kind of guy.”

There are several definitions of “groupie,” and none have a particularly flattering connotation. There is a word for people who go to Springsteen concerts, and it’s “fan.” Also, when anyone has to preface a statement with “no offense,” it’s basically a mea culpa for the offensive thing they’re about to say. 

Zubik, who, as I think we’ve established, is living in another era, strings together more vagaries and platitudes in his latest column, “A Love Without Limits,” waxing euphorically about “World Mission Sunday.” He mentions the geographically far-reaching mission of the church: Africa, Asia and the Pacific Islands, for example. 

He writes: “Way back when, like most kids growing up in the days of the Eisenhower and Kennedy presidencies, I wondered what I would look like when I grew up, what I would be doing and where I might be. In Ambridge, my childhood home? In Pittsburgh? In the USA? Or in another part of the world?” 

Instead of wondering how things are going down in Ambridge lately, why not just pay a visit? First, though, he might want to watch raw footage of an Oct. 10 Trump rally in Ambridge, from www.hearyourselfthink.org, a nonprofit that aims to enlighten people about how right-wing media has normalized a culture of rage, hate and conspiracy, a culture that he decries in his column.

The video shows Dave Ninehouser, an advocate who works to reveal how people are being manipulated by right-wing media, attending the rally to talk to supporters about media misinformation. When he said he supported Hillary Clinton, he was attacked, mob-style by Trump barkers, some of whom got in his face and demanded, in repeated, rapid-fire fashion, “Do you have a job?,” “Are you a virgin?,” “How small is it?,” “Are you a secular Jew?,” and finally, “Are you a winner or a loser?,” prompting the crowd to chant “loser.” 

Bishop Zubik, Ambridge awaits your mission.

Dear Carolyn 

If you thought advice columns were passé, think again. A harried 19-year-old reader contacts the syndicated “Dear Carolyn” column published at triblive.com. She writes: “My problem is that my sister despises me for my brains. I started school a year early, putting me a grade behind her, although there is more than two years’ difference in age between us. I got better grades and more awards, and the attention paid to my successes made her feel horrible.” 

Carolyn Hax responds, “If there’s a grain of truth to any of this, then wouldn’t it be your parents who ultimately poisoned your sibling relationship, and not your giant brain? Not to make them the villains; they could have had the best of intentions to give each of you the right encouragement for what they perceived to be each of your strengths.”

You, too, can send your burning questions to tellme@washpost.com.


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