Taking Note of a Few Things: The All Apologies Edition

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Hats off to Jimmy Fallon. Who would have guessed his apologizing for the toxic workplace environment on his late-night show would result in an avalanche of Mia Culpas? Here is the problem with each of the apologies I have been thinking about. They all serve only as damage control and come more than just a little too late.

Does Fallon really think the public believes he was out of the loop as to how bad things were for his employees? He changed showrunners about as often as I change socks. In this day and age where people have no problem going public over the diva-like behavior of stars, it’s hard to believe a star would risk his or her career over something that is completely under their control.

Sticking with talk shows, Drew Barrymore had to know she would get called out on the red carpet if she returned to work sans her writers during a writing strike. Once again, it was only after she was eviscerated on the internet that she had a come to Jesus moment and changed her mind. Hers is a great example of when you are stuck between wanting corporate bosses to pay you big money so they will keep employing you and want all your fans to love you. Sometimes, stars need to be reminded they can’t always have it all.

Since Bill Maher might be one of the few celebrities who really doesn’t care what others think of him, he also announced a return of his talk show, also minus any segments which would employ writers. However, he changed his mind once talks between negotiating parties resumed. Bill has never been one to apologize for pissing off the public and is more apt to double down than others, so don’t hold your breath for an apology from him.

What went on in the heads of Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis when they thought it was a good idea to write a letter to the judge of convicted rapist and friend Danny Masterson asking for a lenient sentence? It is more than just a head scratcher. However, to their credit, they not only issued an apology like the above, but Kutcher also immediately resigned as head of the anti sex abuse organization he has run for several years.

However, for Jann Wenner, the founder of Rolling Stone Magazine and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, he was fired almost immediately by the board of the Rock Hall for his defense of why female and Black performers did not meet his standards for all-time great performers. He was also dumb enough to double down on his comments before apologizing once he realized he could be fired for his remarks.

Generally speaking, when you publicly know your comments are going to be inflammatory and interpreted as racist and sexist, it’s a good idea to keep your mouth shut.

And then there is Russell Brand, who actually tried a different approach. He went public before news stories hit saying he was being accused of some unspeakable things. Those unspeakable things turned out to be rape and he is facing multiple accusers. Brand admitted to promiscuity but never rape. He admitted to partying hard, but not rape. He admitted some women may have felt he was not nice in the way he treated them, but not rape. He then blamed the media for a false narrative which was why he was getting out in front of the story. He sounded like Trump talking about a stolen election or another indictment and all of its fallout without taking blame or actually admitting to anything.

And now we arrive at this point. I would like to apologize to all the good folks out there I have harmed, insulted, made fun of, pissed off, caused to lose sleep, or just mildly annoyed over the course of my life. You know who you are, even if I don’t. After much reflection, I find that it is never too late to change so please feel free to do so. Perhaps then, you will not feel owed an apology. And for those of you in the future who may also feel owed an apology, I just want to say I am sorry, but I can’t do so until the act I will have no memory of actually happens. Until then, I hope you can accept my non-apology.

The Sergeant-at-Arms for the United States Senate will no longer have to enforce a dress code. We can soon expect to see Pennsylvania Senator John Fetterman wearing his trademark hoodies and shorts while he conducts his senatorial duties. The senate may still fail to accomplish much of significance, but at least now won’t have to hide behind an expensive wardrobe.

Just so you know, here are dress code requirements on the back of some jury summons. I know this from personal experience. When I lived in Riverside County, it clearly stated that shorts and t-shirts were not suitable attire for a court of law. I’ve never done well when an authority figure tries telling me how to dress so I felt obligated to test whether a court could tell me what not to wear.

When you are a teacher there is never a good time for a jury summons. It either arrives during the school year and requires you to make sub plans on a day-to-day basis in case your juror badge number is called to report, or worse, you have to serve during your vacation time. Short of a medical excuse, there is not a lot you can do to get out of your duty, unless your job has you wearing shorts and t-shirts every day. Since this was the case with me teaching Physical Education, I used to ask out of jury duty claiming I should not be expected to buy a wardrobe on the off chance I am selected to serve on a trial.

The first two times I argued this point with a letter to the court, I was granted a waiver from serving which meant; 1. I knew a loophole when I saw one, and 2. I admit to shirking my patriotic duty. My argument in response would be, why not just send a substitute teacher to serve in my place?

My third attempt failed. I was told by a very unpleasant court employee I had to serve and that if I showed up in shorts and t-shirt, I could expect a nice private conversation with the judge. I was now looking forward to my day in court and the chance to argue the merits of being comfortable while trying to decide guilt or innocence versus being uncomfortable, and poorer. To stretch out the drama, I was on call for one month. At the end of each workday, I was to call and see if my badge number came up to report the following day. Finally, the last Friday of the month arrived, and I figured I was in the clear with a new month beginning on Monday. Instead, I was told to report for duty. I know exactly who was behind this, my favorite court employee.

When Monday rolled around, I called the court and spoke to my favorite employee and said I would not be coming in to serve. She yelled at me a bit to let me know she was tired of me. When she finished, I asked her what the date was and she said, “It’s the first.”  I then reminded her my summons was for the previous month and not the current one and that I was being unfairly asked to serve beyond my required time. She had no choice but to agree and once again I celebrated my undefeated record before the courts.

Karma would bite me in the ass. After my bicycle accident that nearly killed me in 2007, I have been medically exempted from jury duty due to the medications I am on. I’d much rather have not gone through the accident and five years of physical therapy, let alone need these damn meds.

Speaking of which, I have finally been cleared to be weaned from a medication I was placed on ten years ago. The medication did a wonderful job of knocking out my constant occipital headaches that were debilitating, but it left me lacking in energy. I never was a consumer of caffeine until I was placed on Gabapentin. If I am successful with the weaning, I might be able to stop drinking coffee just to remain sleepy. That in itself should save me a lot of money each month.

Another benefit might be I end up with a more youthful look. My neurologist will resume using Botox on me as one of the methods to stop my headaches. Even though they strike me in the back of my head, I make sure to tell her I feel them in my forehead, so she hits it with the wrinkle killer. If she takes ten years off of my appearance, I am going to have to stop being an old crank pot. A kinder and gentler Jim; I’m not sure the world is ready for that.

Congresswoman Lauren Boebert found out just how strict Colorado laws are, something she and many other conservatives feel are not strict enough. She was kicked out of an afternoon showing of the musical Beetlejuice. It’s hard to say what led to her removal. She was only singing loudly in the theater. Oh, and she was vaping. She was also filming the performance. Did I mention there were complaints she was fondling her date? But to be fair, he was also fondling Boebert. It should also be pointed out she wore what many felt was a too revealing dress, but in her defense, it makes being fondled by your date easier. And through it all, she was only asking for help because she kept asking the staff, “Do you know who I am?” Fortunately for Lauren, with the new dress code in place, she can go to work naked and be fondled by gun lobbyists who pay well from what I hear.

President Biden may take heat for agreeing to trade a few Iranian prisoners and $6 billion dollars for five American hostages, but it was the right thing to do. The far right will want you to think there are a bunch of terrorists being set free to do harm on us with the help of all that money. Nothing could be close to that. Only two Iranians will be free while the others are simply being moved from an American prison to one in Qatar. As for the money, it will only be released to provide humanitarian relief to Iranian citizens. If the five Americans were servicemen, no one would question the trade.

I am willing to bet Iranian television is claiming two of their citizens held hostage in America are returning home in exchange for five American spies/terrorists. The truth is a matter of perspective and not right or wrong. In this case, all parties involved in the deal only know their enemy as terrorists and its own citizens as hostages.  Get rid of all the rhetoric and you end up with five Americans returning home which is a win for us. With two Iranians returning home and the government having more money to spend on its people, it is a win for Iran. It wasn’t that long ago where win/win solutions were a good thing. That is something else the next generation won’t know about.

I recently wrote about how the NFL would like us to believe the game is safer thanks to their use of new helmets and stricter concussion protocols. However, they tend to forget about all the other injuries that happen. The league insists on controlling this narrative to the point where when Nick Chubb of the Cleveland Browns suffered a gruesome injury, they refused to show it on replay to viewers. The league figures if they can scrub it from their history, it never happened. Worse, it won’t change the minds of parents watching the game about allowing their child to play the sport.

Artificial turf does not maim football players. Overgrown behemoths maim football players.

Freedom of the press is dying, and it isn’t the government that is killing it. Corporate entities have swallowed media outlets and rather than news staffs determining what is newsworthy, corporate boards are deciding what to cover and how to cover it.  Every billionaire, big shot, and superstar now enjoys their own media arm that releases only what their boss wants released. They no longer sign off on interviews that become confrontational and, in their place, simply answer questions lobbed up to be knocked out of the park. Worse, should you write a piece deemed negative by someone, you become blackballed.

Journalism used to inform us of what we needed to know. Now it is another tool used to reinforce what we already know, or think we know.

Fall has officially arrived, although if I went by what sales Big Lot’s has been pushing, it arrived on July 5th. I walk into my local Big Lot’s and the store is divided into one seasonal sale after another. As I walk in, to my right are the same products that have been there since spring when they began advertising their summer sales. Next up is the furniture department that advertises the same sale prices they pushed for both Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends. On the other side of the store, I can find three sales sections: back-to-school, Halloween, and Christmas.

If that is not confusing enough, I can go next door to a dollar store and purchase things for Easter. Marshmallow eggs must have a shelf life that’s up there with twinkies.

It’s also Fool’s Season, that time of year Republicans threaten to shut down the government. They can go before the cameras and tell the world why Democrats must be stopped because they let up on the dress code, but they can’t explain their way out of why our government might shut down because their own party can’t agree on a spending bill.

We need to prioritize who we feel sorry for. Aaron Rogers goes down on the fourth play of the season and is lost for the year with an injury. Talking heads and fans lament how horrible it is that it happened. Forget the fact that he will still get paid the same millions of dollars whether he plays or is hurt. Meanwhile, we get pissed at the sight of a homeless person asking for money or sleeping in a doorway of a business after hours.

When we feel the joy and pain of the most famous people far more than those most in need, we have failed as a society to create a nation built on compassion and replaced it with one that worships entertainers. We’d rather be distracted by fame than reminded of how fortunate we are by being inundated with reminders of people in real need.

I need to get going. I am meeting an on-line date at a matinee showing of Beetlejuice. I hear it has replaced Tinder as the top choice for meeting women with no morals.