WHAT I DON'T UNDERSTAND: HUIZENGA, HUFF OVER BRINKLEY

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The older I get, the more I don't understand.

For instance, I don't get why dairy farmers in northern New York, hit by an ice storm, were dumping vats of milk because power to refrigerate the milk had been knocked out. Please explain to me why the farmers couldn't have kept the milk outside and let it freeze?

I also don't fathom how the universe can continue to expand. I always thought the universe was of infinite size anyway. How can something grow beyond what already goes on forever?

But these are just idle musings. Closer to home, I'm not entirely clear on a couple of other things. Why is Wayne Huizenga supposed to be such an astute and formidable businessman? Sure he started Blockbuster Entertainment and dumped it on Viacom just as it started unraveling at the seams. And yes, he's buying up car dealerships and putting them together under the AutoNation brand name, which may or may not be a good idea.

But even a guy who had flunked Economics 101 wouldn't be dumb enough to try to sell a division after getting rid of its best products.

That's what Mr. Huizenga is doing with his Florida Marlins baseball team, which won the World Series last fall! He had the chance to cash in big, but right after the Marlins beat the Cleveland Indians, the founder of Waste Management wasted a golden opportunity by complaining the team was losing $30 million a year -- chump change for him. Then he announced he was selling the Marlins. But first he wrecked the team by unloading his good players.

Wouldn't it have been prudent for Mr. Huizenga to hold off just a bit to see what financial windfall he would reap from a championship team? Wouldn't the World Series champs command higher ticket prices, more merchandise sales and maybe an even a fatter local TV contract? And wouldn't the increased revenue have gone a long way towards reducing the deficit, making the Marlins worth more on the open market?

Instead, Mr. Huizenga has infuriated Marlin fans to the point where they're threatening to stay away from the ballpark in droves. Is it any wonder that a deal to sell the team looks like it will fall through because the buyer can't get financing?

With negotiating prowess of such magnitude, I vote Mr. Huizenga as the man I'd most like to buy a used car from.

Here's something else that puzzles me. If ABC-TV's "TV is good" campaign is so good, why isn't the network using it to boost "World News Tonight" with Peter Jennings?

I know ABC is taking another approach, but viewers will miss that smarmy yellow background with a wise-acre line like, "We know it's fluff, but what do you want for free, The New York Times?" Or, "The average brain has 10 billion cells. Our news won't use many of them."

Finally, I don't understand what all the fuss is about regarding David Brinkley's deciding to become the pitchman for Archer Daniels Midland. Let's see: Mr. Brinkley has retired from the journalism business. He is appearing unambiguously as the paid spokesman for ADM. He is not contending that ADM's soybeans are superior to another company's soybeans.

Journalists have raised the biggest racket about Mr. Brinkley's new job, even as they solicit paid speeches from groups that they could be reporting on. ABC, feeling the heat, suddenly backed off and stopped airing the spot.

The great thing about advertising is there aren't any pretensions. The ad is a straightforward presentation to sell you a product or service or make you feel more favorable about a company or political candidate.

With too much journalism today, we can't be sure. We don't know if reporters are biased or influenced (or duped) by their sources, who are often unidentified.

What I really don't understand: What do reporters have to be so smug about?

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