I have a problem, one that annoys the hell out of my wife and one that came out of left field. For the last two weeks, I keep using the phrase, “This and that.” It’s worse than “Yada Yada.” I need shock therapy to stop me in my tracks from taking the lazy way out of describing something.
However, I hope to make lemonade out of “this and that” with some random observations about this and that.
Sexual Harassment: The lid seems has finally been blown off this problem and we seem to finally be at a point where we can call people out on it without risking being shamed. Then again, have we? Yes, women do seem empowered now to come forward with their experiences thanks to all the Hollywood celebrities coming forth. However, this is a problem that runs much further up and down the ladder of Hollywood. Wall Street and the rest of the corporate world are not immune to ignoring this problem. I’ve even seen it go on in school districts.
While the lid may be blown off at the moment, I am waiting to see how long before men come forward with complaints about women in power who have done the same thing. Sexual Harassment is simply another way people in power remind others who holds the cards and is another example of how corrupting power can be.
Baseballs: Now I am hearing complaints by pitchers who claim Major League Baseball is juicing balls to increase the number of home runs. What sounds like an excuse for giving up the long ball is probably true. After all, what should you expect when the game profited greatly when juiced up players were knocking record numbers of home runs?
Maybe the fans did not like the idea of a Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds, or Mark McGwire using steroids to rewrite the record books, but they sure loved watching balls fly out of the park.
Since baseball has worked to rid itself of steroids by enacting long suspensions to players who violate drug rules, the only thing left was to either juice the balls or allow carbon fiber bats to be used.
It’s too bad because the real beauty of baseball is watching a manager try to manipulate a lineup of players with a variety of hitting skills just to get to the “meat of the order.” Now, it seems every lineup is filled with players who blindly hit home runs. Doubles, triples, and stolen bases have been replaced with home runs, line drive singles, and strike outs. Oh, and don’t even get me started with the disappearance of bunting.
NFL Ratings: No surprise the NFL is experiencing a further drop in their ratings. How much is this related to flag protests is anybody’s guess. What I do know is the NFL has an age problem on their hands. How do they get people in their 20s to follow their brand when they are part of the X games generation and growth of MMA? Furthermore, there isn’t much the league can do to make the game safer and with high schools seeing a drop off in participation in the sport, the NFL is going to struggle to replace its aging viewers.
Now, add in the horrible games played in London this year and the Thursday night fiascoes that unfold almost weekly, it’s no wonder the league is struggling for viewership. It is quite possible the golden age of the NFL has passed and we are watching a slow death taking place.
The real question is, can baseball or basketball cash in on this or will we see more fringe sports begin to be offered up in greater quantity? Time will tell.
Troubled Waters: It is easy to claim the GOP is a mess and headed for troubled waters down the road.
Steve Bannon has seemingly taken it upon himself to upend the party at any cost and we are just beginning to see cracks that are turning into ruptures. It’s as if you have to decide you are on board entirely with Donald Trump or risk facing a well-financed upstart just to win a primary. All’s fair in politics so some incumbents are bound to balk at running for reelection if it means having a primary opponent air your dirty laundry just to keep you from winning.
However, I would caution Democrats not to celebrate too much. While you may be in a better suited place to win back seats in the House and Senate next year, the 2020 primary campaign stands to be a blood fest between Obama Democrats, Clinton Democrats, and the far left. This could result in a terribly divided party going into the fall of 2020 and ensure a Trump reelection.
One hope is if there is enough of a breakaway group of moderate candidates who are willing to work both sides of the political aisle, they could unite to support someone like John Kasich who in turn might have a real shot at defeating both Trump and the Democrats.
You might want to invest in a good life vest because the political waters are not about to calm down anytime soon.
White Influence: Seems like we have been fighting a war on drugs ever since I was a kid. This primarily was centered around nailing drug addicts with long prison sentences as a way to scare us straight. Since most of those jailed were people of color, the white establishment was fine rubber stamping approval for more funds to fight this war.
However, now that we have an “opioid crisis” on our hands, one that is resulting in mainly white men overdosing, we have to curb the access people have to these drugs. For over 40 years, we have lived in a nation fine with men and women of color shooting up in dark alleys using dirty needles, but suddenly we won’t tolerate doctors prescribing pain meds to white America.
You see, if you want to get real results from government, just demonstrate how it will benefit whites and chances are something will get done.
Maybe this explains why some blacks choose to take a knee when the national anthem is played. I don’t blame them.
More Bannon: If you were one of those people who celebrated when Steve Bannon left his job in the White House, how does it feel now? The man is doing more work to help Donald Trump and the Alt-Right thrive outside the restrictions of the White House than he could ever do inside. He still has the president’s ear, only now he is free to say anything, do anything, and destroy anything he sets his scope on, and that includes the foundation this nation was built on. He’s another example of the phrase, “You better watch what you wish for.”
Final Thought: My wife and I are doing a renovation on our home. A few weeks back, I spent four days inside a home with jackhammers running incessantly. Three days after it ended, a letter from the city arrived telling me I was in violation of the local noise ordinance based on neighbor complaints. The only problem was the person or persons complaining lied to the city. They claimed I was jack hammering at night and on a holiday.
Since neither claim was true, I called the city to find out more about the complaint. A nice woman informed me she came out to the property to inspect and found no such jack hammering or any other noise taking place outside designated hours. When I informed her of the company doing the work, she told me they are a great company and never violate the rules so she was going to drop the letter.
Here is my problem. We seem to be a nation of people who are okay with telling lies to a third party to get what they want, a little peace and quiet, than to go seek out a neighbor and talk directly to him. This I blame on technology. Becoming connected to the entire world has allowed us to become disconnected from our neighbors. Maybe we should all focus on correcting this before we get caught up in what others are doing.
Jim is a life long resident of California and retired school teacher with 30 years in public education. Jim earned his BA in History from CSU Chico in 1981 and his MA in Education from Azusa Pacific University in 1994. He is also the author of Teaching The Teacher: Lessons Learned From Teaching. Jim considers himself an equal opportunity pain in the ass to any political party, group, or individual who looks to profit off of hypocrisy. When he is not pointing out the conflicting words and actions of our leaders, the NFL commissioner, or humans in general, he can be found riding his bike for hours on end while pondering his next article. Jim recently moved to Camarillo, CA after being convinced to join the witness protection program.