Taking Note of a Few Things: The Bloody Average Edition

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I like to sleep with my window open. The problem is, it faces a very busy road and even though traffic dies down at night, I get big rigs barreling down that sound like a plane landing. Then there are motorcycles, that are louder than gunfire. In both cases, I will wake up hearing their rumbling approach grow louder until they roar by my apartment.

These interruptions will cause me to wake briefly before falling back into a deep sleep. How do I know it is a deep sleep, especially when I am awakened by the traffic.

The other morning, I woke at five, an hour later than usual. I walked into the bathroom and did my business, flushed the toilet, then turned to the sink. This is when I was greeted with a worse than usual sight, my face smeared with blood.

I may not sleep through the sound of loud traffic, but I managed to sleep through the chomping of the inside of my mouth Two large bite marks, one on the inside of my lip which left a flap of skin, and the other, deep into my cheek, resulted in a nice flow of blood that I slept through.

The right side of my face was covered with blood from just under my nose, down my chin, and across my cheek. My teeth were covered with dried blood and the inside of my mouth made me look as if I might be a vampire who dined on someone’s throat the night before. There was even blood smeared onto my right bicep. I woke up looking like I was part of a crime scene.

When I checked my bed for evidence of a crime, there was no sign of blood. Not even a drop. I asked myself, “If indeed I were a vampire, which of my neighbors did I select for a meal? Being male, I instantly thought of the three most attractive women I have met at my complex. Okay, so I am a pig of a vampire. I admit it.

The thing is this was not my first rodeo waking with signs of me dining on the inside of my mouth. Maybe it is time I actually wore the mouth guard my dentist recommended I wear. The problem is, I’m not sure I would sleep well wearing it. What’s better for me, a bad night of sleep because of my mouth guard or a bloody good night of sleep?

I have not worn a mouth guard since playing football in high school. In those days, we were told they helped reduce concussions. Like idiots, we believed anything we were told. They basically made mom and dad relax knowing the money they spent on our braces would not be wasted with a shot to the mouth.

This morning, I laughed out loud when I read the NFL is now considering requiring players to wear the helmet pads that they wear for practice to make the game safer. Once again, they ignore the real danger of the game and want us to believe there is a safe way to play tackle football.

The reality is, more equipment, more padding, and more tackling restrictions only make for a bigger joke of a sport. Football has more than just concussions to concern themselves with before they can say the game is safer. Ankle, Achilles tendon, and knee injuries caused by artificial fields because the league is too cheap to install and properly maintain grass fields ruin countless players’ careers every season.

Coaching staffs pressuring players to rush back from injury rather than demanding they properly rehab first is another problem. Doctors and training staffs pressured to do whatever it takes, ethical or not, to get injured players on the field is another concern. And then there are the players, who risk their bodies because they know their spot on the team is fragile and with it, so is their paycheck.

The best advertisement for parents to not have their kid play football is never seen by the public. We never are shown what former players look like five, ten, or twenty years after they are finished playing. The number of men who have artificial knees, hips, or shoulders before they are 40-years old would astound parents. The number of athletes that rely on a walker by the time they are 50, or are wheelchair bound before they are 60 would shock parents of the future generations of “next men up,” and forever hurt the game fans love most in this nation.

Seeing the photos of the fire damage in Maui hits home. My parents loved Maui and eventually retired there. I have visited the island numerous times as a result and it was the perfect blend of tourism meeting purism. There were always plenty of tourist spots to hit up on the island while at the same time enough open and natural space to breathe in what Mother Nature created.

I am sure that Lahaina and the areas near it will be rebuilt. What remains to be seen is how they will be rebuilt. Will they try to recapture the village charm Lahaina offered or will investors and greed step in and replace what was destroyed with resorts and high-rise hotels?

The locals of Maui need to be the priority. They are the people who lost their homes, businesses, and livelihoods. If they are forgotten in the process of rebuilding what was destroyed, the island’s charm will be lost. It is the locals and their friendliness that make people like me enjoy the island.

Maui, Hawaii (Claudia Gestro)

What’s in a name? The new ownership group of the NFL Washington Commanders has been under pressure to come up with a new team name. Let’s face it, like everything else previous owner Daniel Snyder did, he screwed up the choice of the team’s new name. However, there is a North Dakota Native American group that has 90,000 signatures asking the new owners to drop Commanders and rename the team the Redskins.

Maybe there is still hope the Cleveland Guardians (another horrible new team name) will revert back to the Indians and we will see a return of Chief Wahoo.

Trump overload could work to his advantage. Given how much space he sucks up from media coverage, it is entirely possible the voting public begins to just tune out the headlines, indictments, and facts. Taking into account voter ignorance for our history and system of government, Trump may end up receiving a ton of free press. Remember, in Trump World, no news is bad news.

Making Trump stand before female judges has to chap his hide. Trump might be unable to keep from hurting himself and not attack any female in a position of power over him personally. Women are objects for him to use and abuse and not intelligent and powerful people. Don’t forget how he went off on then FOX talking head Megyn Kelly when she moderated a debate.

Trump is going to have a problem with any female who sits on any of his juries.

If you can’t control what comes out of your mouth (Trump), or what you put into your mouth (Chris Christie), you have no business being POTUS.

Cinnamon flavored rice cakes ought to be outlawed, they’re so good. I’ve done the math and realized I can feast on twenty-five a day to get all the calories I need, although I might be missing a few in some important areas. As it is, I find it tough to limit myself to two a day.

It appears the Angels gambled and rolled craps at the trade deadline. It’s interesting that if they are to contend for the playoffs this year, so that they have a chance at keeping the God-like Shohei Ohtani, they are going to need the injured and once God-like Mike Trout to play like his old self.

Shohei Ohtani of the Angels (Claudia Gestro)

Now that my six-month struggle with plantar fasciitis seems to have ended, I am happy to be back to running again. With a nice park just a five-minute walk away, I log all my miles on grass. Most mornings, it’s just me. Today, the thick and low hanging marine layer along with the added heavy watering made for a much nicer run than what I see when I walk the harbor across the street from me. For the life of me I don’t understand why people would choose to run on concrete when grass is just a few strides away.

The only reason I would ever want to live next to a golf course is so I can get up early and run eighteen holes once or twice before hackers start losing golf balls.

Here is the latest toenail update. I predicted I would no longer have a toenail on my right big toe by the end of this month. As it stands now, it might not happen. Two-thirds of it is gone, but that last third is putting up a good fight. As it is, at least it no longer looks hideous when I am poolside.

I am pretty certain, every Star Wars sound effect ever created can be duplicated by just recording the traffic sounds outside my apartment. This includes Chewbacca, light sabers, Ewoks, and Jar Jar Binks.

It sure is nice being clueless to just how miserably hot it is in — pretty much throughout — the rest of the nation. I have not seen any sign of the sun in three days and there is a pleasant breeze blowing into my apartment which makes it all the nicer. It was just cool enough this morning that I decided I needed some time in the jacuzzi to warm up my core. It sure beats running the AC all summer.

There was a time my first wife and I went to the water park in Palm Springs on a summer day where it was 118 degrees outside. We passed by a couple of road crews using jack hammers in the summer sun. In each case, there were two guys on jack hammers and two under a shade structure drinking water and cooling themselves. I wondered how long their shifts were before they switched spots. I am guessing it was no more than fifteen minutes.

This is the time of year when living near the beach is nicest. El Niño might change that this winter. Until then, I will enjoy it all I can.

If you have followed the Women’s World Cup, you may have noticed it is not the end of the world seeing the U.S. women eliminated. There have been plenty of riveting games and if this is what we have to look forward to in the future, women’s soccer looks good.*

Lionel Messi has scored nine goals in his first six games on what was a bad Inter-Miami soccer team, proving just how far behind the competition the MLS is from other professional leagues. He is a man among boys and shows why the league is ranked as only the 29th best professional soccer league in the world. How long before he becomes bored and wants out?

There is never a good time for the president to visit a site where tragedy has taken place. Arrive too soon and you are accused of being an opportunist. Take too long and you get told you don’t care about what the people are experiencing. What matters most is using your position to make sure the people affected are receiving the help they need. In the case of Lahaina and Maui, it would also help if he could keep speculators, aka vultures, away.

Having seen my parents retire to Maui years ago, I can say the island is not equipped for much in the way of quality health care. Too many physicians think it would be great to move to Maui and open up shop there while also being able to enjoy all the island’s splendor only to realize there is not enough of a permanent population to maintain a profitable practice. A year after they arrive, they move back to the mainland, adding to its reputation of being a great place to visit but not a place you want to live full-time.

Maui, Hawaii (Claudia Gestro)

Many musicians have made Maui their home or second home over the years. Among them was George Harrison who often wrote songs with one of his many ukuleles that he would later record to become hits. In fact, if you were ever a guest of his, you were often given the gift of a ukulele. If you can survive the road to Hana, you may well visit where George spent a great deal of time. Aloha.

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*Editor’s Note: Spain’s women’s team defeated England, 1-0. It is the first time Spain’s women’s team has won the World Cup.