Tuesday, August 30, 2011

This Week's Picks

It is finally here: another season of “Dancing With The Stars”, which I can proudly say I have only watched four minutes off in its 1200 seasons. This season’s “The Stars” included Nancy Grace and Chaz (formerly Chastity) Bono. My son, the former sixth string wing back of the Kennesaw Mountain Mustangs (Ben Manis #38) can do a great Nancy Grace impression, complete with nostril flare. So remember that when you tell me about your twelve year old kid on the Dean’s List at MIT. I’m not sure why America wants to see Chaz Bono dance. That is why America needs This Week’s Picks now more than ever. It is either TWP or watch the misbegotten offspring of Sonny and Cher do The Watusi.

This Week’s Picks!

Murray State vs. Lousyville: College Football knows how to get their party started! Murray State is in Murray, Kentucky which is somewhere in the United States. It is also the home of “The Pullen Farm” which is party central in Murray, Kentucky. Louisville looks like it is getting back to its Bobby Petrino days: a good stepping stone to somewhere else. The Cardinals win.

Do Not Amount to Much vs. Bees: Georgia Tech has been running commercials featuring highlights from 2009, which is a good idea because 2010 stunk up the joint. Western Carolina’s punter is the son of my son’s fourth grade baseball coach. Really. Unfortunately, this is a money game for Western Carolina, which is Tech coach Paul Johnson’s alma mater. He was WCU’s Mr. Personality in 1978. Bees buzz and win the game.

Amorous Frogs vs. Baptist Bears: TCU was the feel good story of the year while Baylor has never felt good. TCU keeps on winning, Baylor keeps on losing.

Blue Horses vs. Bulldawgies. For the first time in human history, thanks to Nike, both schools will be wearing uniforms that will give you severe motion sickness. This is a big game for both teams. For Boise State, a win means Kirk Herbstreit will mention Boise State every ten minutes, whether if he is broadcasting or not. (“How would you like your eggs, Mr. Herbstreit?” “Boise State!”) It also means a possible chance at the National Championship, which is as likely as Chaz Bono winning “Dancing With The Stars" and the Iowa Republican Caucus. For Georgia, a win means Jesus loves them. Hallelujah! Dawgs win!

Quacks vs. Go In Dumb Come Out Dumb Too: This is LSU Coach Les Miles' game plan: Make Oregon believe that Jordan Jefferson was going to be the major factor in the game that for some reason is being played in Dallas. Then, he convinces Jefferson to show major state university football team leadership by kicking somebody in the head in a bar fight. That means Jefferson’s out and Jarrett Lee is the quarterback. Like all of Les Miles’ hairbrained schemes, this one will pan out with Lee eventually winning the Heisman Trophy and an Oscar. Tigers win.

Georgia Southern vs. Sam Ford: Last year, the Eagles made the FCS playoffs, which included a game at William and Mary during finals. Of course, the bass player for my son’s band (The Rolling Stones) went to the game. The Eagles won the game. He skipped the game after the finals and GSU lost. It is not known if Chad Hester will make it to Birmingham for this game. It won’t matter, the Eagles win.

Birmingham-Southern vs. LaGrange: Our old buddy Cole Rudder plays for the Birmingham-Southern Panthers and they face off against the LaGrange Panthers. You know what I say every year: the Panthers win.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Forgive Him, He Knows Not Of What He Writes

As amazing as it seems today, there was a time in this country that if somebody with The New York Times wrote something as totally stupid, if not as insane, as Executive editor Bill Keller’s piece entitled “Asking Candidates Tough Questions About Faith”, it would be news. Now it is just another example of the Bizzaro world of the big time news media acting like Christianity just started a few weeks ago.

Keller begins his piece with this statement: “If a candidate for president said he believed that space aliens dwell among us, would that affect your willingness to vote for him?” Well, there was a candidate that said he saw a UFO and his name was Jimmy Carter. For the record, he did have a space alien in his administration -Zbigniew Brzezinski- but that’s another story.

You don’t have to be a liberal arts graduate to figure out where this is heading. A lot of the GOP candidates are, brace yourselves for this terrible news, Evangelical Christians, which, if you read The New York Times, is the force behind flying planes into buildings, shootings at army bases, and various attempts to blow up planes by using shoes and underwear. No, wait, it wasn’t The Southern Baptist Convention that flew the planes into the North and South towers, it was another religion that begins with an “I” and is a religion of peace.

The cause of Mr. Keller’s concern is Michele Bachmann, who is either an Evangelical Lutheran or a Baptist now. It really doesn’t matter to Keller. In the original publication of his article, Keller identified Rick Santorum as an Evangelical, when Santorum is a Roman Catholic. Every Republican is just one big religious boogey-man to Mr. Keller.

Keller says, “I learned that Michele Bachmann’s influences include spiritual and political mentors who preach the literal “inerrancy” of the Bible, who warn Christians to be suspicious of ideas that come from non-Christians, who believe homosexuality is an abomination”. You could remove the words “Michele Bachmann” and put in these words: “Harry Truman” or “Dwight Eisenhower” or “John Kennedy” or every President since because a major spiritual mentor of each one was Billy Graham. Billy Graham preached the literal inerrancy of the Bible, suspicion of non-Christian ideas and that homosexuality is a sin.

Mr. Keller is worried about “Dominionism” which is supposedly sweeping the nation despite the fact nobody has ever heard of it and nobody really knows what it means. At least Mr. Keller is honest to enough to admit that “(Neither) Bachmann nor Perry has, as far as I know, pledged allegiance to the Dominionists”. Whew, that was a close one.

Keller ends this piece with several questions that he thinks should be asked to the GOP contenders. (It is interesting to note that Mr. Keller apparently doesn’t seem interested in the religious beliefs of Democrats. There was a huge religious controversy in 2008 when Obama’s pastor, Jeremiah Wright, made, at the very least, controversial comments about God. You wouldn’t have known it if you read The New York Times.)

Of course, there is this question: “What is your attitude toward the theory of evolution, and do you believe it should be taught in public schools?” The need for this question baffles me. We have double digit unemployment and the executive editor of The New York Times asks candidates about their “attitude” towards evolution? Really, this is an important question facing the nation? Good grief, you don’t have the executive editor of Christianity Today asking candidates if they are pre-millennial dispensationalists.

God knows this has nothing to do with religion. It has everything to do with the letters that follows the candidates’ names. If there is a “D” beside it, religion is a personal matter that should be between the candidate and his maker. If there is an “R” beside it, well, that’s another matter and we should do everything in our mainstream media power to make sure that people fear religion and religious people.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Problems With College Football

Well, sports fans, it is that time of year again: time to begin thinking about college football, our favorite professional sport.

During the summer, I’ve been thinking a lot about college football and have concluded that it has three major problems. They are: The fans, the players, and the coaches.

The latest college football horror story deals with the University of Miami (FL) – not Miami University (OH). In this story, a rich jock sniffing “booster” provided Miami players with extra benefits that are not included in The Pell Grant. The benefits included money (of course, for “pizza”), prostitutes, and abortions. The article in Yahoo Sports which has caused the NCAA to investigate Miami-again-makes no mention of extra money for things like text books, which if you have any college students in your family, you know can cost anywhere from $100.00 for a paperback of Animal Farm to $200,000.00 for a lab manual to Analytical Biological Accounting.

Here’s the first problem: the fans. A lot of college football fans are clinically insane, while some are just plain strange. Others are just weird. They are people who tattoo their bodies with likeness of dead coaches. They are people who weigh maybe a buck fifty going on for hours about blocking schemes. There is a small minority that believes if you lose a game to your biggest rival you have the right to kill a tree and brag about it on a sports radio talk show.If they were fans of Star Trek, we would point and laugh at them and hope that they would not mate. No, but when they are fans of a college football team, somehow we think that it is normal. Even, as in a lot of cases, the fan never took one class at the college he/she is so madly loves.

This leads us to our second problem in college football: the players.

Can we admit one thing? Most big time college football players have zero interest in actually “going” to college in the traditional sense (attending classes and trying to pass a course). Most big time college football players are just passing time so they can play in the NFL. The NCAA will never “reform” college football as long as they have this paradigm that the players are like Jack Armstrong, All American Boy from the 1930’s: taking a full load, working two jobs, and playing every Saturday.

Most college football players remind me of a line Steve Harvey used on a heckler in “The Kings of Comedy”. This person, “Boogie” told Harvey that he went to “computer school”. Harvey said, “Boogie, nothing about you says computer or school.” You look at some of the “student athletes” and they look like “athletes”, they just aren’t students and nothing about them says that they are.

The third problem in college football is the Head Coach, who as a general rule, put the ‘A’ in amoral. The only thing most of them are concerned about are wins. Maybe if his wife went into labor, he might shut down the film room to drop by the hospital to tell her that she needs to focus completely on the mission at hand. Asking a group like this monitor “rules” which if they follow might mean they might “lose” a game and would ultimately lead to losing the coaching position and the lease to a Ford F-150 is like asking Charlie Sheen to watch the liquor cabinet.

Oh, there are other problems with college football. Too many E.D. pill commercials (man and wife buy pills that apparently come with twin bathtubs that you can put in the back yard. “Look at Mr. and Mrs Manis, out in the back yard again. Must have gone to the drug store”.). Bowl games in December just to have a bowl game (“Welcome to the Kennesaw Bowl where Upper Sorta Middle Tennessee State College at 5-6 will play Lower West Louisiana A & M,who is 3-8 will face off at Cobb Energy Scott Jones Field Stadium..”). Lou Holtz trying to speak the English language (“Markfff, Ifff knowfff, youff,thankfff thafff I’m oldff butfff Ifff knowfff a thingfff or twofff aboutfff this gamefff…”).

Just for the record, there are good fans; there are good players; there are good coaches. It just looks like the problems are getting much worse.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

President Gerald R. Obama

As President Very Smart is treading water over the latest economic crisis caused by businessmen in private jets or the Tea Party or by the Republicans or by Republican Tea Party members flying in a private jet to meet with the executives of oil companies, he is beginning to look like an One Term President.

One Term Presidents are those Presidents that start out like such a good idea. Hey, George Herbert Walker Vanderbilt Carnegie Bush seemed like he would be a great President. He hung around Reagan, smiled a lot, and seemed to communicate in a language that was close to English. He ran against Michael Dukakis, who had one of the worst personalities in the history of politics. Reporter: “Mr. Dukakis, you are against the death penalty. Would you have the same opinion if your wife was gang raped and murdered?" Dukakis: “Sure. Why not?”

Then as time wore on, First President Bush began throwing up on the Japanese and look on with amazement at cash registrars. He lost his bid for re-election to Bill Clinton, who’s campaigned on the promise to “feel your pain and so much more”. Bush, who looked like a cinch for re-election about a year before the election, lost to a man whose campaign song was “I’m Your Boogie Man”.

President Obama’s situation is worse than First President Bush’s. He has little or no power of persuasion. His response to any crisis is to give a little lecture to those people that didn’t go to an Ivy League school. His stimulus package didn’t stimulate the economy. He did kill Osama Bin Laden, but there was only one Bin Laden to kill and there’s only so much bowing up you can do about that. He can’t run on his record.

So what will be Team Obama's (sorry, I’ve been reading a lot of Politico) strategy for the upcoming election? To understand, it, we must go back in time when another President was trying to win an election.

In 1976, President Gerald R. Ford was running for his party’s nomination despite the fact that he was boring as sin and nothing he tried worked either (Win Buttons; Nelson Rockefeller). His opponent for the nomination was Ronald Reagan and Ford was having a tough time.

In another effort to be brilliant, for the Michigan primary—his home state—Ford’s campaign came up with this idea to travel the state by train, giving speeches at “whistle stops”, kind of like Harry Truman.

So there was President Ford, at the Battle Creek, Michigan whistle stop giving his President Ford speech. In the middle of it, a heckler said, “You blew it”. Ford, not missing a beat said, “We blew it in the right direction”**.

That is President Obama’s 2012 theme in a nutshell. Bush 2 left the country so bad off that we needed a Treasury secretary that forgot to pay his taxes. Bush 2 gave so much money to rich people that the country is going super broke and we need to raise taxes on those rich people because it is their patriotic duty. We’re blowing it in the right direction: Higher taxes, lower expectations, and more green jobs.

Oh yeah, he is going to portray his opponent, no matter who it is, as some sort of whack job.

It might work. Ford barely beat Reagan and was over thirty point down in the polls when the Fall campaign season began. Ford beat the drum about what a weirdo Carter was (looks at women and thinks about what they look like in their underwear) and how the Ford administration blew the country in the right direction. Ford lost to Carter by two percentage points and might have won if he hadn’t liberated Poland.

So, it is no sure thing that Obama will lose. The Republicans might blow it.

**Ford’s actual quote: “We blew it in the right direction, young man, and those of you who don't agree--and if you would go out and look for a job, you would get one.” Not exactly the best retort, but I like that the President of the United States told a heckler to get a job.

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Real You At Last

I’ve been hold off commenting on “The Debt Crisis” because it changed minute by minute. One minute it looked like Boehner and the Republicans would prevail with their plan of pushing every old person off of a cliff. The next minute, it looked like Reid and the Democrats would win with their- Meg Ryan- in- “When Harry Met Sally”- glee of a possible new tax. “Oh, new…revenues..oh yes…yes, VALUE ADDED TAX! YES! YES! YES!”

In the end, it was all very complicated. In the middle was President Wonderful and his increasingly irrelevant Presidency. He came up with a brilliant culprit: businessman who ride in private jets.

If we could just get those rat finks to pay up, we could probably get that there health insurance for every ‘Merican and maybe a light rail, too.

It would have been okay to mention it every now and then, but it seemed like the President mentioned it in every sentence of the day because he was the only person who could analyze this and present the balanced approach. The balance approach featured, in my favorite phrase of the Obama Administration, “a tax increase on the wealthiest among us, the millionaires and billionaires.”

The problem was the President and his team consider “Millionaires and Billionaires” to be couples making $250k and over. They never explained why $250k is “wealthy” while $249K is not. That is because they pulled it out of their political rear ends.

In an attempt to prove to the country that he was doing something Presidential, (like for example: leading), the President gave one of the most bizarre Presidential speeches since President Carter’s “Malaise” speech. The President gave, for the umpteenth time, his assertion that his was the only balanced approach. He called for new revenues. The only problem was Senator Reid (who is as much to blame for the Obama Presidency as anybody) had already dropped any new revenues from his plan. That left Obama arguing for a plan that did not exist anywhere except in Obama Land.

We really shouldn’t blame Obama, bless his heart. He had a thin resume. There was nothing in his professional background that would even lend anyone to think that this is a guy who can bring opposing parties together. Obama is what he is: a garden variety liberal Democrat.

Peggy Noonan wrote, “He (Obama) revealed that his foes have given him too much mystique”. I’ll say. When has he last given a memorable speech? 2004? Were we just too tired of the tongue tied Bush to think that just because Obama could link a noun to a verb that he was Winston Churchill?

Noonan concludes by saying: “He is not a devil, an alien, a socialist. He is a loser. And this is America, where nobody loves a loser.” I’m not sure he is a loser. He sure is over-rated. He is like the trade for the speedy center fielder that doesn’t work out. He is the draft pick that is a bust in camp. He’s brings nothing to the table because he has nothing to bring. We’re seeing the real Obama at last, and it is not Presidential.