Taking Note of a Few Things: October 2021

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Top illustration by Tim Forkes

I have never been a fan of Urban Meyer. He can’t lose enough as far as I am concerned. His college coaching act was something I never bought into and is a perfect example of what is wrong with NCAA sports. Create a false image of a coach to convince parents he is just the sort of man to entrust your son to while sending him off to help Urban win another national title. Kids were nothing more than moving chess pieces who served his personal quest to win at any cost. If a more talented kid came along, just yank a promised scholarship and send a poor chap home.

Then Meyer began to believe the friendly media descriptions of him being a coaching savant who could do nothing but win. He just needed the right amount of money (boatloads), the right number of assistant coaches (more than others), the best facilities (built by donors who would prefer a winning football team more than using their money to solve real problems), and everything else would be easy.

Then he brought his act to the NFL where he has soon realized coaching grown men is different from college football. First, they get paid and second, they have collective bargaining rights. They are trying to earn a living more than win one for Urban. There are not enough Tim Tebows to pull the wool over a pro’s facemask.

So, when righteous Urban and all his holier than thou persona got caught on tape enjoying a young blonde grinding on him in an Ohio bar, the media that covers the NFL, which is not the same friendly locals who cover college towns, had a field day. The timing of this could not have been any worse for him or better for the media. Meyer’s winless start through five games and the rampant rumors of him trying to find a way out of his current contract for a path back to the college game where he was a success have all been replaced by an amateur lap dance.

His supporters will say he had a lapse in judgement and deserves a break. The thing is, we do not know how many previous lapses in judgement he has had. Maybe this is his first, or perhaps, it is just the first time he was caught being a hypocrite. It also doesn’t help that Meyer has all the warmth of an ice maiden. It surely doesn’t help when his canned apology instantly has holes shot through it by people with nothing better to do than follow everything about him and his wife in cyberspace.

Still, I find it just as funny when talking heads from ESPN call for his immediate firing when, let’s face it, their workplace is not much more than a frat house for ex jocks and well-coiffed talking heads who never grew up. ESPN is probably the last workplace that should call for the firing of any man for poor judgement that is not named FOX News.

I often wonder what is in store for the future of this nation. Previous generations survived hardships like the Great Depression and attacks on our country like Pearl Harbor by sacrificing their lives to overcome immense challenges. America’s resolve was special.

When something like Facebook going dark happens, it seems we react like little kids with no concept of what reality is. People who thought this was the beginning of the end because there was some outside force involved, whether it was aliens or extremists, are the same ones who think their life has come to a sudden halt because their phone has crashed. They see only a gigantic dark cloud that threatens their very existence when in fact, there was a blessing to the event. Facebook finally found a way to rid us of all those annoying and unwanted advertisements that inundate our pages, even if it was for just a few hours

Mark Zuckerberg has larger issues than his lifeline to massive riches going dark. Younger people are dropping their Facebook accounts and switching to new forms of social media, leaving Zuckerberg with an increasingly aging group of users who were once on the cutting edge of life when they switched from MySpace to Facebook.

Facebook is a dinosaur and will become extinct unless it can be reinvented into something more relevant. Of course, I say all of this while Facebook is the only social media I have ever used. Considering I took my time hopping on board, I won’t be surprised if it ends up being the only social media account I ever have. Like Facebook, I am a dinosaur.

I don’t claim to be an expert on the budget ceiling, and it would not surprise me to find out most of those in Congress probably don’t know much about it either. What I do know is the budget ceiling was never an issue until there became our great divide in politics. It is used to grab headlines for parties while they posture to their voters when it should involve bipartisan agreement to make sure our government can pay its past bills while sorting out a path toward funding our future.

The GOP wants us to think they are fiscally responsible which is why they were willing to shut down the government. Most of the government actually continues to function during a shut down because even the GOP knows a shutdown would only piss off voters.

It seems to me if the GOP were fiscally responsible people, they would end the practice of writing blank checks to the military and pushing our involvement in wars that can’t be won. The GOP cares more about funding a bloated military that must fight wars with their hands tied behind their backs than they do about meeting the actual needs of voters.

People are beginning to find tar balls
on beaches in San Diego County.
Torrey Pines State Beach, La Jolla, CA
(Tim Forkes)

The Huntington Beach oil spill, disaster is a more accurate word, is under investigation. Months, maybe years, will pass before a final verdict and fines are handed down. Trying to get to the cause of this disaster is really very simple, but like all things that involve big business and government, it will drag on.

The root cause of the disaster is simple. We remain dependent on oil for energy because of the greed and influence of oil companies. Solar panels don’t leak hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil and destroy habitats in the process. Neither do wind turbines. At a time when our nation struggles to move forward and be relevant in the 21st century, oil spills are just another reminder of our refusal to keep up with the growth and influence of more enlightened nations.

I hope someone can explain something that troubles me greatly about toothpaste. I used to use a good old-fashioned toothbrush and scrub away at my teeth. A few years ago, I began using an electric toothbrush. However, when I travel overnight, I use a free toothbrush the dentist has given me rather than pack my electric one.

Here is the troubling part. I use the same amount of toothpaste no matter the type of brush. However, I can’t figure out why after I use my electric toothbrush my mouth has a small fraction of the amount of foamy paste in it than when I hand brush. Where does all the foam go?

As I was reading over my thoughts about Jon Gruden, I read he resigned as the head coach of the Oakland — Las Vegas — Raiders. Those thoughts got turned into another article and now I am left with these. Gruden resigned because he did not want to face the embarrassment of perhaps a lifetime suspension from the NFL. A suspension process would have most likely ended up with the releasing of more damning comments by him, so Gruden chose to resign. He probably figures it is his only path back to the game he loves. 

Former NFL Head Coach Jon Gruden
(Claudia Gestro)

Gruden is left to write a book telling his side of things and a few interviews that will draw a variety of replies by sports fans. However, he won’t get to do what he loves most and that is to coach football. Gruden is not the sort to pull a Jimmy Johnson and go enjoy life on a boat. He is not about to keep Bill Parcells company at the track. Gruden is wired for one thing, and he is in for a struggle to find a new path in life.

No matter what song he ends up singing, his punishment is just because it removes an ugly stain from the NFL. It’s just a shame the league did not do this sooner with the likes of Richie Incognito, a man who was given a second chance by none other than Jon Gruden.

Glamorous work is hard to find, and for some strange reason I have managed to land work in two different, but glamor filled areas.  After teaching for thirty years, something that is anything but glamorous, I bounced around from part time job to part time job.

In 2014, I began writing for the Los Angeles Post-Examiner. Now I get people asking me what it is like being a “writer.” For some reason, they are under the impression writers for websites earn lots of money, cover amazing events, and are super smart. These people clearly have not read anything I have written. They also have not seen my salary (come to think of it, neither have I). It’s one reason why I have a second part time job. I don’t mind because writing is something I enjoy (apparently more than money) and retirement should be filled with things you enjoy doing.

My second job is probably considered as wild as it is glamorous and is not the type of job most 63-year-old men land. You see, I am a male stripper four or five days a week. I am not at the Chippendale’s level, but I am a stripper for a well-known national brand, and I am shocked at how much work I have.

I have more work than I can handle Thursdays through Mondays. However, it is work and not some simple way to make a quick buck. I am around a lot of alcohol, cigarettes, pot, as well as folks of all ages, races, and gender leanings. When I am not performing, I must put in plenty of hours in the gym staying in shape because a stripper who is not fit is soon unemployed. Just know, while the job can seem glamorous, it takes a great deal of dedication stripping as much as 30 or 40 times in a shift. But then, motel rooms don’t clean themselves. They need great strippers who remove the old sheets, towels, and trash before the glamor girls come in and clean them up for the next customer.

Dear Chuckie,

I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your emails. Thanks to you, the heat has backed off me and I can get back to looking for a job in the college ranks where I am a legend in my own mind. The NFL stands for Not For Long and now I think we both see why. Since joining the league ten months ago, I have been overly covered by the media to the point where I had to fire my strength coach for being a racist. Imagine that. I have had my privacy invaded to the point I can’t enjoy a free lap dance from an adoring fan without it getting back to my wife and the public.

Though we never got to go head-to-head on the gridiron, I admire your refusal to live by the expectations of a society that has gone too far in demanding well paid guys like us behave ourselves.

I hope someday our paths cross, probably as we do our redemption tours so we can get back to coaching. Until then, stay strong. America, and I, need more people like you.

Urban Meyer