Taking Note of a Few Things: The This and That Edition

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Moving day is fast approaching so I figured I would take this opportunity to hit on a little bit of this and that. I have no idea what this and that is. However, thanks to my wife, I am reminded I say the words on a regular basis. Usually, I only say them whenever I am here or there.

Now we know why FOX News considers itself entertainment and not actual news. It is what allowed them to get away with lying to their viewers about the 2020 election results without any of their hosts losing their jobs. Tuning into FOX for news is like tuning into the Cartoon Network for information. You can do it but you are only fooling yourself.

Here is a number that shows how powerful FOX News is. Their total viewership/following surpasses the combined total of the next nineteen most popular conservative media outlets.

Imagine a doctor telling you only what you want to hear rather than the truth. Then imagine that doctor laughing to other doctors about what he reported to his patients. Then imagine that patient not minding being lied to after the truth is exposed. This is what followers of FOX News are choosing by tuning into a network of buffoons.

The NBA has become a joke. If you think all these players who are scoring fifty or more points a night are the result of the league being littered with great players, you are wrong. It is the result of a league filled with teams that can’t be bothered playing defense. The regular season is filled with games that are not much different than summer pick-up games. It is the end result of too many teams qualifying for an expanded playoffs and players trying to preserve their energy for the post season.

Tonight (March 7, 2023) the Los Angeles Dodgers are going to retire Pau Gasol’s number 16 at the Crypto.com Arena (Claudia Gestro)
Kobe Bryant was a proponent of good defense.
(Claudia Gestro)

Baseball is employing a clock to keep the game moving. Pitchers and batters both must adhere to it or face consequences. What happened to the days when if a batter took too long to step back into the box to hit, pitchers like Bob Gibson would drill them with a fastball? Games moved along nicely in those days.

Editor’s Note: Below is Claudia Gestro’s video interview with Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman. Claudia asked the slugger about the new rules, specifically the “No Shift” and “Pitch Clock.”

Lots of people complain about the price of concert tickets these days. However, it has not kept companies like Live Nation from charging customers hundreds, and in some cases thousands, of dollars to see top name acts. Music fans have the ultimate say in the price they pay and as long as concerts sell out, prices will not come down. It is basic supply and demand.

Speaking of outrageous, last year the Los Angeles Dodgers charged $14.00 for a fourteen ounce beer at the ballpark. This year, they have announced that the same beer will cost only $9.00. Of course, they may have to cut off beer sales after the fifth inning unless they want to see an increase in fights among fans.

Dodger Stadium – Beer will be $9, but what about the Dodger Dogs?
(Claudia Gestro)

Even a pig like me could not help but notice the sexism behind a “news” story on the internet delving into which actresses have appeared in the most scenes naked. The top ten list mentioned several well-known actresses, all of whom have appeared nude more than twenty times on film (I wonder how many used body doubles). The reason there is not a similar list of males is primarily because name actors keep their man berries covered in sex scenes and Hollywood is still run by men.

Men are not as choosey as women think when it comes to seeing a woman naked. They know breasts come in all sorts of shapes and sizes as does a woman’s rear end. What worries men more is what other men, and women as well, say about their build and genitals, even though both come in many shapes and sizes as well.

Tennessee law and politics is going to be different than here in California. Their governor is going to sign into law a ban on drag shows. This is not to be confused with drag racing, although it probably is not a good idea for a man to get pulled over by police while wearing a dress. Men dressed as women to perform for the public will no longer be legal. However, how people dress in their bedrooms is still up for couples to decide for a little while longer.

I do not understand why San Diego is considered a small market when it comes to sports franchises. The city is the eighth largest city in the nation. At what point is a city considered a small market? The Padres are spending huge on long term player deals that makes L.A. and New York look small.

San Diego, CA, as seen from the entrance to San Diego Bay
(Tim Forkes)

The city of Oakland is also considered a small market. However, it sits directly across the bay from San Francisco and is more easily accessible to many of the same fans who attend sporting events in either city. Sacramento, San Jose, and the East Bay areas all feed teams in both locales. If the Giants, Warriors, and Forty-Niners can all spend big on athletes, there should be no reason the A’s can’t either.

A mural in Oakland, CA (John L. Smith)

I have nothing to gain from the continuation of canceling student debt. I believe if you take out a loan, you should expect to pay it back. I also believe our schools sell parents and kids a false promise to a better future by shoving going to college down their throats. However, listening to Republicans rail about the high cost of canceling student debt when they were the first to scream on behalf of bailing out the banks and providing loopholes so the richest corporations pay a fraction of what they should be paying in taxes helps me to side with the left.

Corporate wealth far exceeds the cumulative wealth of the average worker and yet our government still relies on taxing the bottom rung of earners before turning to the wealthy. This is more systemic thievery than a fair system of taxation. Correcting this only requires a complete makeover of our system of governing. Then again, we did that in 1776.

Think what you want, but if you are a working adult and do not have at least six months income saved in the bank while contributing toward your retirement, and if you cannot afford to send your kids to college, you are not rich and you are not in the middle class. All the toys and vacations in the world are just making you have to work more to keep your head above water.

I do not remember the last time I saw a good film, but I have seen some pretty bad ones lately. My wife will disagree with me, but I would include the recent Top Gun film on that list.

This is a good time to move because there doesn’t seem to be much worth watching on television in the evening. Of course, maybe if I remained awake past 7:30 I might see something good. Once we reach Tennessee, daylight savings will be in effect and there will also be a three hour time difference. Ten in the evening will feel like six or seven to me so I might be able to stay up late.

Critical Race Theory is not new to me. When I was a history major at California State University of Chico in the early 80’s, we were taught department wide to examine events from all perspectives. It is the only way to fully understand how much a culture learns from their past and moves forward in the process. We need to embrace each other’s truth.

As a teacher, whenever I introduced a different perspective on history to a class, I always heard from students who said, “But it doesn’t say this in our textbook.” Debate did not take place until I followed up with history’s most important question, “Why?”

When leaders are opposed to debate, it is usually because they have something to hide or fear from it. When debating something as important as Critical Race Theory is opposed, the leaders behind the opposition fear the potential cultural shift if our youth have a greater understanding of our past.

The truth is like a weed. It eventually finds its way to daylight and when it does, it changes the perspective of what we have always known as true.

I have a feeling CRT will not be embraced in Tennessee.

Mention of all the stats you want that make LeBron look like he is still amazing, but Father Time has reeled him in and is about to grab hold of him for good. He, as much as anyone in the NBA, has benefited from the lack of defense played league wide.

Lakers star LeBron James (Claudia Gestro)

We have too many news personalities who crave attention for what they say that has nothing to do with reporting the facts.  At the same time, we have too many entertainers who like to come across as experts on subjects they know little about.  However, the bigger problem is we have too many citizens who turn to these clowns for their information because they find actual well informed people too boring.

Walter Cronkite did not want to be adored. He simply wanted to be trusted. He also waited until he retired to write a book.

*Whatever happened to the Naked News? It was an actual news show where a gorgeously clothed woman removed her clothing over the course of delivering the actual evening news. Just the facts and, by the show’s end, pretty much nothing else. Of course, you had to understand Czech to be informed, or at least feign interest in learning the language, to explain why you were watching it on the internet in the middle of the night.

If I delivered the Naked News, even blind people would be repulsed.

Republicans want to make being poor a crime. There is no other way for them to cut the trillions of dollars they want from the government and still feed the military and keep the wealthy happy.

My theory is the GOP wants to see more people in U.S. prisons. We already have the highest prison population in the free world. In their fantasy world, our borders will be closed so they can claim foreigners are no longer taking our jobs and in their place, imprisoned men, mostly of color, will replace them. The GOP sees forced labor camps, like the ones used in Russia and China, as a wonderful tool to serve an American economic turnaround by providing all the cheap labor we need.

They also see more people in prison as a way to keep the white race pure and in power.

It may be a while before our drought is over, but with the recent snow and rains, I think it is safe to say Californians will be able to water their lawns this summer.

Old habits die hard. In the previous thought, I started to write we instead of Californians before realizing I will be living in Tennessee by summer. Most likely, I will be able to water my lawn there with the sweat dripping off my body from the high humidity.

Chicago politics is not for the faint of heart. Mayor Lori Lightfoot is just the latest victim of voter anger in a city riddled with crime. As I see it, it is not so much a liberal vs. conservative issue as much as it is a case in which the criminal element is so entrenched, it spits in the face of any politician who thinks he or she can solve the problem. When kids as young as teens run the streets armed better than the police, you have a problem. When they laugh at the idea of being arrested, the problem is made worse. When the idea of being killed before the age of twenty is assumed and not feared, there is no approach to solving crime the city leaders can take that will make voters feel safe.

Speaking of Lightfoot’s, Gordon Lightfoot is a wonderful songwriter whose music takes me back to my teen years. He is yet another of Canada’s great imports whose voice is instantly identifiable. Of course, now that I am leaving the state, I see he is set to appear nearby in Agoura Hills next month. Whenever I hear him sing “The Wreck of the Edmond Fitzgerald, I visualize a hardened fisherman with a patch over one eye entertaining a bar filled with beer drinkers at the end of the work day with a tale they can’t hear enough. However, it’s this hit that returns me instantly to my youth and a time when the connection between songs and women hit me like never before. “Sundown” is about as perfect of a song as they come.

In the one hit wonder department, George McRae’s “Rock Me Baby” was dance music at its best. The only problem was, I couldn’t dance and even if I could, I lacked the confidence to ask anyone.

One of the few times I worked up the nerve to ask someone to dance was my senior year in high school when at a school dance, I asked a very cute student teacher with a Dorothy Hamill haircut to dance to a slow song. I do not remember the song, but I do remember the open mouths of my friends who could not believe what they were witnessing.

Dorothy Hamill listening to the Nation Anthem of the USA after winning a gold medal.

I feel I should inform you of another big change in my life. Lately, I have not felt quite myself and have been trying to figure out what the issue is. It’s boiled down to a feeling of discomfort that has resulted in me undergoing a big change.  I recently decided to change my socks. At my age, a socks change is a big deal. I realized, why am I still trying to find what is not working for me?

Whenever I go sock shopping, men’s socks come in multicolored packs which doesn’t make sense. We are the gender that can’t match socks and yet at stores like Ross, men’s socks come in packs where each pair is often different from one another. So I decided to buy a six pack of women’s Puma socks where each pair is the same. Now, when I lose a sock in the dryer, it is not the end of the world.

Our elected leaders would be wise to solve smaller issues like my sock problems than promising big changes they can never deliver on. Besides making sock packs match, as an elected leader, I would insist they be sold in seven packs instead of six. This prevents wearing one pair two days in a row and takes into consideration those who do laundry just once a week.

Will Kamala Harris be Joe Biden’s running mate again or will she be: A) dropped; B) run for Feinstein’s senate seat; C) wait and run for her old senate seat; D) run for governor when Newsome’s term ends? The bigger question is, how does she leave the ticket without looking like she has been fired at the risk of angering the female vote?

I have no clue who Tennessee’s two senators are. However, between now and my next column, I will try and find out. Until then, here is a sample of some of the music I plan to listen to while driving to my new home.

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*We were able to find “Naked News” from Canada, here.