Dear Jim: Letters from the underbelly of society

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Lots of fan mail this month.

Dear Jim,
It seems like more and more states want to do away with daylight savings. It doesn’t seem to make sense to me for some states to follow it and others not. Have you any thoughts on the subjects?

Like you, it does not make any sense to me for some states to observe it and others not to. That said, because it does not make sense, you can expect it to continue because most everything our leaders try to fix, replace, or hang on to does not make sense. I am sure at some point this will become a red state vs. blue state issue which in itself is confusing because I keep forgetting who are the reds and who are the blues.

Nationals P Stephen Strasburg; was named the World Series MVP (Claudia Gestro)

My suggestion is to find a workable compromise. Yes, there is actually one. Why fight over an hour when we can just spring forward 30 minutes next year and call it even? Who cares how it affects the rest of the world? They can be either fashionably late or a little early as far as I am concerned, which is pretty much how we, as individuals, operate no matter what time we observe.

Dear Jim,
As a fan of baseball, I loved how this year’s World Series went seven games. The buildup, drama, and unpredictability of the series makes the long baseball season all worthwhile. What did you think of this year’s series?

You mean to tell me the World Series is over? I can’t believe I missed it again. Fortunately, pitchers and catchers report to spring training in about two weeks.

Of course, I am just kidding, sort of. The last time I remember being excited about a World Series was when the Houston Astros played in the National League and Washington’s team was called the Senators and played in the American League.

It’s very likely we will see (now former) Astros starter Gerrit Cole in either an Angels or Dodgers uniform next season (Claudia Gestro)

Free agency makes it impossible for my brain to follow which players play for which teams and realignment has made me question my cognitive skills. Interleague play has not made following the game any easier and why is it some players wear their pants up around their knees while others wear them down around their ankles? I have yet to grasp the term Designated Hitter. I thought anyone who comes up to bat is their team’s designated hitter.

It’s okay to steal bases but not cool to steal signs. Baseballs are juiced during the season, but dead during the postseason. And why all the beards? Players look more like Cossacks than athletes.

This is why baseball continues to be America’s pastime. Just like its citizens, the sport can’t seem to make up its mind about anything.

Dear Jim,
Many famous people have something named after them. Some have buildings, airports, parks, or even products named for them. Have you ever had anything named after you? If not, what would you want named in your honor?

While most people are honored to have something named after them, please do not bother unless it is one specific item, a sandwich. It can’t be just any sandwich. It must be a specific sandwich because it was the first ever breakfast sandwich that I know of.

Former President George H.W. Bush has this airport in Houston, Texas named for him (Tim Forkes)

Growing up, I often started days with one of these delights, much to the painful grimaces of my mom followed by a plea from her to my dad to make me change my eating habits. She’d rather fix me a “hearty” breakfast that was more traditional or see me hyped up on Frosted Flakes. However, I did not have the patience to wait for bacon, eggs, toast, and orange juice, let alone expect my mom to go to such trouble and I was not a fan of gulping down sugared milk after consuming Frosted Flakes. As a result, I devised my own breakfast sandwich; peanut butter and bologna on toast.

A PBM, or the super-sized version served with three slices of toast and two slices of bologna with crunchy peanut butter, would last me all morning. Best of all, it’s great with a variety of breads. White, whole wheat, and even sourdough are wonderful ways to make a PBM the perfect way to start your day. I suggest chasing it down with a tall glass of milk.

Dear Jim,
What are some of your favorite Halloween memories? Do you think Halloween is the same today as when you were a kid?

Some people are scary without much make-up (Tim Forkes)

Let me answer the second part of your question first. When I was a kid, pumpkins were one color, orange. They were also real which made sticking cherry bombs inside them all the more fun because when they blew up, they left a mess everywhere.

Today, they come in all colors and are fake. Somehow, it is my job to place these colored pumpkins out front for kids to steal (actually it’s their parents who take them, but they have no qualms throwing their kids under the bus when confronted) as a way of letting everyone know what kind of person lives inside my home.

Kids also carry these damn things instead of a pillowcase and expect me to know if they have an allergy to nuts, gluten, or razor blades. What happened to dumping all your candy and having mom and dad thin it out into a do and do not eat pile (ever notice how the do-not-eat pile ended up on mom and dad’s hips a week later)?

As for the first part of your question, yes, I have many great memories of Halloween; however, some are from college and too risqué to share while others from my youth are still unsolved mysteries and are still open cases.

Dear Jim,
Looks like the NBA ought to be pretty fun to follow this season now that no one expects the Golden State Warriors to win it all. Any predictions on the season?

Kawhi Leonard has already had an impact with the Clippers. He and Lou Williams (R) are tearing up the hard wood (Claudia Gestro)

The three most interesting parts of the NBA season are the trade deadline, playoffs, and free agency. As for the regular season, it’s five months too long. Once Boston is eliminated, I pretty much stop caring about who wins the title. This year might change a bit since I actually like the Clippers (only because I liked them when they were the Buffalo Braves which means they are not actually an L.A. team).

As I have written before, any sport that takes 80, 100, 160 games to determine a champion is not a sport I can stick with. Put another way, I would rather watch a half dozen two hour films than one movie that lasts half a day.

Dear Jim,
Will Trump get a boost for the killing of ISIS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi? Isn’t this quite a feather in his cap?

I guess it depends on whether you drink Trump’s Kool Aid or not. I was not sure who Trump was talking about when he referred to the guy as “sick and depraved.” For a second there, I thought he was going off script and self-promoting again.  Then when Trump called the guy a coward, I instantly thought of our young President Bone Spurs and said to myself, “It takes on to know one.”

This is the same president who pulled our troops out of Syria and patted himself on the back for doing so only to see his orders ignored and a mission carried out in spite of his depraved leadership. It might be the only time Trump ever pulled out of something after he was asked to remain in.

Dear Jim,
We are just a year away from the 2020 presidential election. Is this the most important election in your lifetime? It seems the stakes are higher than ever.

I have to say, next year’s election is not exciting me much. It’s like having a choice of watching a Monday Night Football contest pitting the Cincinnati Bengals against the Miami Dolphins. It offers little in terms of excitement and the outcome won’t matter much.

First, the excitement factor. The Democrats are offering voters no one who connects on a large scale level the way Obama did in 2008. There is absolutely nothing in the way of charisma and this is far more important than we realize.

Democratic candidates Rep Tim Ryan(OH), Sec Julián Castro (TX), Sen. Cory Booker (NJ) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (MA) (YouTube)

Say what you want about Trump, he at least has that ability to make everyone stop and listen to him. He incites a deep level of feelings, good or bad, when he speaks which gets his supporters fired up and makes them want to vote. Can we say this about anyone on the other side?

The Bernie bus left the station four years ago and the charisma he brought in 2016 is now tempered by the public being use to who he is. Larry David would make a more compelling choice.

Elizabeth “Sanders” Warren has yet to really connect with younger voters, mostly because they have not come down from their Bernie high four years ago and are not aware how much time has passed. Warren does not excite the female vote like Hillary did four years ago and is just a notch more exciting than Michael Dukakis was in 1988.

Joe Biden might be the most viable person to defeat Trump in a straight up election, but he seems to have forgotten to keep up with his own party’s wants. The primaries will be his undoing because he fails to excite anyone until he says or does something that is considered inappropriate by today’s standards.

Then there are the rest, whatever their names are. When your national numbers are polling between one and five percent a year out from the election, the chances they will catch fire are about as likely as you or I becoming part of the one percent, at which time, we won’t care who is president because we will be living on our own private island.

None of this means Trump will get re-elected. However, if Democrats are not excited about their candidate, they will stay home next November while Trump’s bunch will come out in droves.

Try to find some peace in this election season (Tim Forkes)

As for the importance of this election, I think 2016 was more so simply because the winner has been able to influence the Supreme Court. There is a chance Ruth Bader Ginsgurg will actually die before 2024 and the next president will get to fill her seat. If that is Trump, well, I think we know how that goes.

The real excitement centers around impeachment. If enough stuff comes out to damage el Presidenté, making him drop out, there could be a real snooze fest of an election next year. Imagine, Warren vs. Pence or Sanders vs. Haley. If this happens, I will be glad I chose to record the Bengals vs. Dolphins so I can stay home and have a good cry.

Now if you will excuse me, I want to get to know my new neighbors. They are big Bernie supporters and by the smell drifting over from their backyard, they seem to have found a path toward inner peace that was not legal just a few years ago.