Taking Note of a Few Things: Go Ahead and Cancel Me

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My childhood keeps dying.  This is not something I remember being talked about with the aging process.  You expect to experience the loss of family and loved ones as you age.  It makes sense given generational differences. However, I do not recall anyone talking about how strange it is to see those you looked up to in the world of sports and entertainment die off.  With the recent passing of Bill Russell, there is one less great athlete I looked up to with the greatest admiration.  My childhood grows more distant in the rear-view mirror of life.

This morning, I was reminded of my youth while walking Peanut in the park near my home. The park is surrounded by a quarter mile track and while walking Peanut, I admired a young kid, probably around ten or eleven, effortlessly churning out one lap after another. His form was perfect as he ran in a relaxed manner. It made me think of how often I used to ask my teachers if I could run laps instead of play whatever they had planned for PE that day. Many times, when they could see I was having difficulty just sitting still in class, they would ask me if I would rather go outside and run laps for a while. I am sure they loved the break as much as I did, but I never recall coming back to class until someone came and told me it was time to come in.

Running is such a wonderful elixir. It is so simple and the act is as primal to our early days as hunters and gatherers as any. The oxygenated blood does wonders for the entire body, especially the brain and over the course of a lifetime will extend the quality of our lives, sharpen our thinking, and ward off a variety of diseases that kill. It requires no gym membership, no personal trainer, and very little in the way of equipment.

And just like that, sports coverage has turned to football. Let’s face it, nothing comes close to the coverage it receives in this country. Yesterday, while scrolling through Facebook, I saw a headline asking readers who won the day’s practice between the 49ers offense and defense.

The San Francisco 49ers
(Claudia Gestro)

Governor Gavin Newsom seems to have his britches in a bunch over the move of USC and UCLA to the BIG 10 conference. He wants the schools to justify their moves and has come to the defense of Cal and Stanford being left out. If he was smart, he’d keep quiet. He should be able to tell there are far more Bruin and Trojan fans in the southland than there are Bear and Tree fans up north.

There was a time when college athletes had only four years of athletic eligibility. Then came the redshirt rule that gave them a fifth year if they sat out a season of play. The other day, I read of a volleyball player granted a seventh year of eligibility. If I had taken seven years to get my four-year degree, I think my dad would have disowned me. You only have to average 17 units a year over seven years to get a bachelor’s degree. I’m not bragging, but if I was able to take more than that number of units for a semester, anyone can.

Four women per game. This appears to be the new suspension rule in the NFL. For every four women you are sexually inappropriate with, you receive a one game suspension based on the mere six game suspension handed down to Cleveland Browns quarterback and creep Deshaun Watson. This is just one more example of how out of touch the NFL workplace is compared to where most fans work. And don’t say he deserves a second chance. In my book, he is being given twenty-four second chances which is twenty-three more than he deserves.

The drone strike that recently killed Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri is a good sign we no longer need to spend the hundreds of millions of dollars a year to fight a traditional war with an enemy that prefers to remain invisible. Congress needs to continue funding operations like the one used to rid the world of another major terrorist while we need to accept the fact he will be replaced by another.

I can’t name a single song by Beyonce. However, what I do know is she has already changed the words to a new song of hers, “Heated,” because of offensive lyrics. I find it hard to believe an artist is unaware of an offensive term in today’s PC world. Why express something you know you are going to edit out of your art if it is deemed offensive?

The same day I read about Beyonce, I had the pleasure of listening to Bob Dylan sing his classic Hurricane, in which, among other things, he uses the N-word while describing how Black people saw Ruben Hurricane Carter. Dylan was never shy with his art and unafraid to ruffle the feathers of those incapable of seeing the value of words used accurately to bring art to life. One of the things I admire about the song is the way he can use rhymes to create a song that unfolds as if it were a film. In fact, the entire album it appears on, Desire, is filled with one song after another that creates films in the minds of its listeners.

One song I would like to hear the lyrics changed is “Pride (In the Name of Love)” by U2. Even Bono admits he got the time of day wrong when he sings,‘Early morning, April four, shot rings out in the Memphis sky. Martin Luther King was assassinated in the afternoon.

Welcome to cancel culture, Metallica. Exactly how far back does this overly sensitive generation of people plan to go to correct the world of all its wrongs? I am pretty sure a band like Metallica doesn’t give a rip what today’s correction generation thinks of them. Rather than pointing out all the wrongs of previous generations, cancelers would be wise to stop this nonsense.Perhaps start by working forward instead of backward so that maybe you will be remembered as a generation who fixed things rather than only tattled on others.

One of my favorite albums ever is Physical Graffiti by Led Zeppelin. One of my favorite songs from it is “Trampled Under Foot,” in which the entire song relates the thrill of a nice car to sex. It’s one double entendre after another that displays the full talent of one of the greatest bands in the history of rock. It’s also a song that could never be released today because of how sensitive younger people are. Oh, and “Custard Pie” has nothing to do with what comes after dinner.

Our History does not need correcting nearly as much as it needs to be studied and learned. If you do not like some words used in a book written a hundred years ago, don’t read the book. The same with music, politics, and events. However, our culture is not advanced by ridding itself of every offense ever uncovered nearly as much as learning from them and examining how our society grew as a result. It requires hearing perspectives we may not like or agree with Canceling just creates a false history for future generations.

Context matters. If you are unwilling to understand the context of lyrics, then change the station or switch to another tune. I do it every time a Kiss song plays, and it is only because I find their lack of talent offensive. I hate hearing edited versions of songs like “Jet Airliner” or “Money for Nothing.” I like the rhyming patterns of a lot of rap songs but don’t care to hear them sing about killing cops, so I move onto another source of music. If you turn on a radio station, you are choosing to listen to what others play. It’s no different than talk radio for that matter. Just move on and let artists be artists. 

Pete Rose is one guy you either love or hate. I always thought he was overrated as a ball player. He did hustle on the field, but it was his off-field hustling that was his demise as far as getting voted into the MLB Hall of Fame as well as with public opinion. Whether you think he bet on the game or not and if so, should not be eligible for the Hall is something to discuss over cold beer and peanuts. However, when it comes to being an A-hole, there is not much a person can say to defend his character. Recently, at a celebration of the Philadelphia Phillies world title team, Rose was asked about an alleged affair he carried on for years with a girl who claimed to be 14 at the time. She also claimed he took her across state lines to have sex at a time when he was married and had two kids. According to Rose, he doesn’t need to answer questions about it from a reporter who was not born at the time and then he tells her, besides, she was 16 when it all happened which made it legal.

Moral and legal are not the same which is why we have many of the folks we elect representing us in Congress. What’s interesting to me is often, when someone’s morality is called into question, they tend to remind us that their actions were legal. At the same time, we are far more supportive of the person who breaks a law even though morally it was the right thing to do. It’s why I do not feel sorry for a guy like Pete Rose not being in the Hall of Fame because he has never shown remorse for any of his actions.

One of the reasons Rose loved baseball so much was because the game is filled with many unwritten rules that he never had trouble breaking. In his mind, morality is a weakness and ruthlessness is a strength. The MLB All-Star game is an exhibition and players have an unwritten code not to do anything deliberately that could injure a player. Of course, Rose is known for deliberately crashing into catcher Ray Fosse and knocking him out for the season to score a run during extra innings. Fosse was never the same player after the incident and Rose never cared that he wasn’t.

In today’s game of baseball, Rose would have trouble staying on a major league club. His lack of power would be a problem and teams no longer rely on guys who can bunt or steal bases nearly as much as they did in Rose’s era. They also tend to frown on players with 16-year-old girlfriends.

Pete Rose wouldn’t be hired by the L.A. Dodgers Pictured is starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw (Claudia Gestro)

That “prolife” Party that loves to remind us that every time they make abortions more difficult to get has also sided with Big Pharma and refused to cap the cost of insulin for Americans, proving once again, life begins at the moment of conception and ends at birth.

The Responsible Hotel Ordinance in Los Angeles has drawn a good deal of debate since it requires hotels to offer up any empty room to homeless people. I have written about how we can be doing more for our homeless situation; however, I do not think this is how to go about it. Having worked at a local Motel 6, I can tell you firsthand the potential for many issues when requiring empty rooms be made available for the homeless.

Less than a mile from my house sits an empty building that up to a couple years ago was a K-Mart. I imagine there are hundreds of similar empty buildings in Los Angeles and each one could be easily set up for homeless people. I do not see why the hospitality industry should be required to take care of a problem that is a government matter.

Lots of appointment openings at medical offices go unfilled. Should Los Angeles consider requiring doctors to fill them for homeless people to get much needed medical care? In the long run, a community that can come together and work to renovate the interior of an empty building, much like Habitat for Humanity, so it can house homeless people does more good than passing the problem onto businesses.

Donald Trump has not had the best week. Still, I must hand it to him for using a Federal raid on Mar-a-Lago as an opportunity to raise funds for what might be a White House run in 2024. At this rate, it will be from prison which I predicted would be the case.

The Conspiracy Club, aka The GOP, didn’t take long to claim the feds planted evidence at Mar-a-Lago. This means either the attorneys for Trump who were there are part of the conspiracy, or the evidence was planted when they went on a fast-food run for their boss.

Unsealing the search warrant was a brilliant move on the part of Attorney General Garland. I wonder if Trump and the GOP will regret not allowing Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court to go forward.

Liz Cheney receives a lot of positive press for her willingness to stand up to Trump and his army. I do find it odd that the daughter of Dick Cheney, once considered among the worst of the worst of Republicans, is viewed as a sensible conservative. It does go to show you how drama driven our media is when covering events.

It’s a shame Dick Cheney and Donald Trump were never friends. I think the world would have been better off had Cheney taken Donald with him on a hunting trip.

Am I the only person who, whenever he hears the name Dick Cheney instantly visualizes the Penguin from Batman?

It would be easy to blame Ann Heche for her situation. As I write this, she has yet to pass but is not expected to live because of the fiery crashing of her car into a home in L.A. It’s easy to say she was able to enjoy the trappings of fame in Hollywood and it is her fault for not cleaning up her act. However, the people who tend to do this are also the same ones who tend to react with contempt toward anyone who dies because of drugs.
Editor’s Note: Anne Heche passed away on Sunday, August 14. She was 53 years old

Most of us who judge others fail to have the willpower to stop consuming coffee or cigarettes. We are guilty of texting and driving because we cannot be without our phones for two minutes. But then, what better way to not beat up ourselves than by being able to say, “At least I don’t do drugs and drive.”

I have a feeling several lawyers are going to get rich from her death.

Does anyone besides me remember the pre cell phone days when commuters got dressed while driving, read a book behind the wheel, put on makeup, and drove with their knees with a cigarette in one hand and soda in the other?

The NBA is doing the right thing by retiring the number worn by the great Bill Russell. He recently passed away at the age of 88 and is the ultimate winner in sports.

He won big at every level with two California state high school championships, two national titles in college, an Olympic Gold, and eleven NBA titles in thirteen seasons. He was the first Black person to be a head coach and did it while also continuing to play. But he was more than just a winner. He was a leader during the civil rights movement. Unlike today where so many Black athletes are loved, Russell came home more than once from road trips with his Boston home vandalized and feces smeared on his walls.

He expressed his love for his teammates, white and black, and was loved equally in return. Today’s modern athlete owes him tremendously and what better way than to say no one else is deserving of wearing the number 6 he wore?

Gavin Newsom, the Governor of California, recently released a vague plan for combating our state’s drought. The problem is, it is built around collecting rainwater runoff which requires it to rain in the state. It also has the state having in place the ability to store millions of more gallons of water in new facilities to be built by 2030. This assumes the state can build anything at cost on time, something that would be a first.

Can anyone explain to me why during a drought that has left my community watering lawns just once a week for fifteen minutes, my neighbor down the street is allowed to have her tile roof power washed? For over half a day a team was cleaning her roof while a steady flow of water ran down the gutters of my street, never to be put to needed use.

Hypocrisy is when I drive past city hall and read an electric sign urging citizens to conserve water while the sprinklers water their grass.

Downtown Los Angeles (Tim Forkes)

Our community is employing a group of drivers to patrol neighborhoods and write up residents who water their lawns on any of the six days they are not allowed. I saw them out and about for the first time the other morning while walking my dog. I have no idea how many tickets or warnings they wrote up, but two days later I noticed my neighbor across the street finally having her eyesore parted-out vehicle on blocks hauled away. Since it sat there for two years and this was just the first time the water patrol hit our neighborhood, I assume they have been granted other powers by the city.