Archive | April, 2014

Isn’t It All Just Really About the Benjamins?

30 Apr

Unless you’ve been living under a rock then you’ve heard about Donald Sterling, the owner of the Los Angeles Clipper’s basketball franchise…and probably not much else for the past day or so. He’s the billionaire racist who, because of remarks that were recorded by his girlfriend, will from now on be forever known as… the billionaire racist.

Now of course no one in their right mind can agree with the statements that he has been credited with making, as countless television and radio personalities have been pointing out ad infinitum all day long, but while I was listening to all of the talk and debate I was amazed to hear that through it all, Mr. Sterling’s wife still supports him… But I thought that he had a girlfriend… Which of course he does have. He has both a wife and a girlfriend and not only is it not a secret, but apparently everyone is cool with that. The NBA, the media, the fans, the owners, the wife, the girlfriend…everyone! That’s a non story.

The real story is that Mr. Sterling is a selfish, racist, old bastard. I mean really, who could have seen that coming?

Not his wife, who while defending her husband’s comments is also suing him for damages because he has been spending “community money” on his girlfriend rather than “his own” money on his girlfriend.

Not his girlfriend, who has been too busy enjoying all of the cars and houses and jewelry that he has been buying her to notice that deep down he’s always really been just a creep.

Not the media, who can’t seem to get enough of all things Mr Sterling these days including the sudden recollection of previous stories that can prove that he has been a racist old fart for as long as anyone can remember.

Even the NAACP gave Mr. Sterling a life time achievement award a few years ago to honor his billionaire largess. What were they thinking? Couldn’t they see past his wallet far enough to notice he was a misogynist bigot?

In fact just about everyone everywhere has been outraged by Mr Sterling’s comments, and justifiably so, especially the NBA players and their fans…just not outraged enough to stop working for him or to stop attending the games played by his team. We all have morals but if the checks are signed and the tickets are already paid for what can one do?

Anyway, my point is that if Mr. Sterling’s first name weren’t Billionaire, we probably all would have been done with him long ago or not even bothered to have mentioned him at all in the first place. But luckily for Mr. Sterling, he is a billionaire and billionaire’s have money and lots of it, which, according to the Supreme Court of the United States, in their most recent decision, is equivalent to free speech and apparently even freer, although more expensive, than speech itself…so Mr. Sterling should have kept letting his money do all of the the talking while keeping his big mouth shut…at least in front of recording devices, because it seems as though all of the people who can now remember all of the bigoted things he used to say… had for some reason, somehow, forgotten them.

And besides, Mr. Sterling really need not worry too much because only a few months ago that same Supreme Court also struck down the Voter’s Rights Act of 1965 effectively declaring racism pretty much dead and gone to heaven, at least here in the USA. So how can he be a racist when there is no more racism?

Besides, now that he is out of the basketball business he can always just use his money to buy…excuse me…speak to… a few (or as many as he likes) Congressmen and Senators and then instruct them…excuse me…suggest to them that they create a new law that makes racism officially, once and for all, extinct and anyone who says otherwise can and will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, so help me God…and don’t laugh. That definitely can be done now. Just ask those 5 Justices.

And speaking of God, if Mr. Sterling is for some reason particularly concerned about his soul and future standing in heaven (he is 80 years old) then he can always pay (make a donation to) his church for the guarantee of his soul’s absolution. They still do that don’t they? I’m Catholic and that’s how we used to do it (and why you’re all Protestants now) but I don’t think we say it out loud anymore…sometimes you have to learn lessons the hard way.

I know I probably sound too cynical but I bet that even if I do make it up to heaven some day there will probably be an entrance fee. Okay, now you think I’ve gone too far. Heaven has to be free, whether you’re poor or rich, or else it just wouldn’t be fair. But I know that you’ll probably have to pay if you want to get one of the nice condos with a view. And don’t tell me they don’t have condos up there because I’ve already paid for the 12 cassette program that an Evangelical sold me explaining all about the mansions that God is preparing in heaven… so put a credit card in my casket because I’m pretty sure they won’t take cash. Better put some coins over my eyes too so I can pay for parking…there’s never free parking…and never enough of it so I can probably expect to have to drive around…forever…waiting for a space to open up. What are the chances of that happening?

Anyway, that’s probably Purgatory: getting close but winding up in the parking lot on a hot day waiting for a space to open up. Maybe that’s where we are when we contact Jonathan Edward on the satellite radio so we can talk to our living relatives back on Earth, while they’re all tuned into Larry King on pay cable?

Oh well, I wonder who’ll be waiting for us at the Pearly Gates? Will it be old Saint Pete, or Mr. B. Franklin… As in Benjamin? Because you just know that when you die… if you want to end up some place nice… somebody is gonna have to show someone the Benjamins…and lots of em’!

 

 

Mercy, Mercy, Me

24 Apr

It’s the day after Earth day, 2014. Earth Day has become an annual event, celebrated every April 22, when events are held to demonstrate the support for environmental protection. It was first celebrated in 1970, and is now coordinated globally and celebrated in more than 192 countries each year.

In 1971 Marvin Gaye wrote a song entitled Mercy, Mercy Me and subtitled (The Ecology Song) in which he sang about the sad state of affairs that the Earth and the human condition found themselves in and how, on the Earth of 1971, “Things ain’t what they used to be”.

That was 43 years ago and after 45 Earth Day observances in which the world has come together to support and rally for environmental protection across the planet… how is the Earth doing?

In his song Marvin Gaye asked the question: Where did all the blue skies go? Today in China the sun hardly even shines and in its largest cities the morning sunrise is broadcast over giant televisions in efforts to cheer the population as they begin another workday. Smog alerts and air quality announcements are common in all major cities throughout the world and who among us can say that allergies and breathing ailments are not known to exist within ourselves or our families.

Mr. Gaye next lamented the oil slicks that could be found in the oceans of 1971 along with the fish contaminated with mercury. Today, in 2014, oil slicks and oil spills are still a common occurrence and when they occur they occur in amounts greater and greater each time and 43 years later we are still using oil and fossil fuels in increasing, not decreasing, amounts, while new and more imaginative ways for digging, sucking and fracking these substances from the planet’s very core are being pioneered each year and even as debate continues over whether or not we should invade our national parks and coastlines in the search for more and more.

As for fish and the oceans? Temperatures are rising, corral reefs are dieing, the ice caps are melting and fish are disappearing while plastic debris and garbage is replacing plankton within the fish food chain. Mercury continues to be a problem contaminant and tuna, perhaps the world’s most famous fish, are so contaminated with mercury that the FDA recommends no more than 1 can be ingested per person each week. And now many scientists predict that the oceans may be without fish all together by the middle of this century.

Radiation and air, water and ground contamination from nuclear power plants was a worry and concern back in the 70s and the subject of Mercy Mercy Me‘s next refrain, but back then the nuclear industry was promising safer standards and designs and yet years after this song was produced the very real scare of a melt down at 3 Mile Island occurred in 1979 in Pennsylvania. Then a real melt down happened at Chernobyl in the Ukraine in 1986 and then again in Fukashima, Japan in 2011. Radioactive debris from that disaster is still in our oceans today yet many of our politicians are still championing nuclear energy as the panacea for our future…and safer… energy needs.

Mr. Gaye then concluded his song with lyrics that discussed the over population of the world in 1971, a year that would see the greatest percentage of population increase in the world’s history, and the great strain that mankind was putting on the planet Earth with a world population of almost 3 billion 800 million inhabitants… Today, we have almost doubled that number and the Earth now has 0ver 7 billion 228 million human residents with a total world population of 12 billion predicted by 2050.

So, what have we accomplished with our 43 Earth Day celebrations since the debut of Marvin Gaye’s ecology anthem, over 4 decades ago? Have these Earth Days been rallies to help raise awareness of the Earth’s plight and our complicity in its demise along with the sharing of a process for us to change our ways… or have they simply been a series of going away parties? A way to pay lip service to ourselves and our late, great planet Earth while we continue to pursue our ever more increasingly decadent and deadly ways?

Well, the only thing we can say for sure is that the most prophetic line of Mr. Gaye’s song was it’s first and it still rings true for each and every year that passes into the next…

Things sure ain’t what they used to be!

In fact, they are decidedly worse… and the only ones among us who could even believe it to be otherwise are oddly enough, Creationists! How ironic for this to all be part of an intelligent designer’s very intelligent…plan?

But just to brighten your spirits, I will leave you with a bit of 1971 trivia that is perhaps even more prophetic and of greater irony than Marvin Gaye’s Mercy Mercy Me, the Hot Soul Number 1 Single on Billboard’s charts that summer… for what song did it replace at the top of the charts?…And you climate change deniers will just love this…

James Brown’s… Hot Pants!

Hey-uh!                                                                                                                                                                                            Ooooh! Bring it home!
One more! Hit me! Aaay!
Bring it home! Bring it home!
Oh uh! Bring it on home
Bring it on home…

 

What Happened to Earth Day?

22 Apr

It’s Earth day again…Has anything changed? For the better I mean…

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Whatever happened to Earth Day? I remember the first one back in 1970 and I remember the sense of urgency that people were feeling about the planet and air and water pollution and the overuse of fossil fuels and cars and oil and gasoline and carcinogens being everywhere and in everything etc…

We were all worried that if we didn’t change our ways then the future for ourselves and our loved ones would be bleak and filled with more pollution and harder times and wars over oil and…then… what happened? We seemed to just forget about it.
I blame my generation, which was in college at the time, for dropping the ball. We all graduated got jobs, got married, had children and joined the rat race and stopped paying attention and started shopping, eating out and driving SUVs…how did that happen?

Now the Earth is 1 and a half degrees…

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Heaven or…

20 Apr

It has been revealed by a recent survey that 68 percent of Americans (as of last November) do believe in heaven and that slightly fewer, or 64 percent, believe in the survival of the soul after death. Where the soul goes and where exactly heaven is located within the universe is still up for debate

Today is Easter Sunday when Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, which gives believers a place in heaven when they die.

So my question is:

Which is the correct path to heaven?

Is it Right Belief in the correct religion or religious figure or is it Right Behavior, as in how you live your life and how you treat others and other creatures while alive and living on our planet?

Please feel free to discuss…

Take Me Out…

3 Apr

Yesterday I sat down to watch the opening day baseball game between the Houston Astros and the New York Yankees. I have always enjoyed baseball, both watching and playing, but the least interesting thing to me at any baseball game these days is when the home team takes the time before the game to introduce both teams, including bench players and support staff, to the crowd and then makes all of them lineup along the baselines and doff their caps and wave.

Perhaps once upon a time this was okay because the players were regular working men, just like you or your dad, and these guys represented your home team, maybe for years on end and most likely throughout their entire careers, so it was nice to see them introduced and waving to the crowd while you waved back and got ready for the long season of baseball ahead…but now they are mostly all millionaire mercenaries who are just passing through your home town until their contracts expire or they are suspended for drug abuse or some other such extravagance.

Anyway, maybe it’s just a sign of my age, for all things change over time and those ball[players are wealthy because we baseball fans buy merchandise and memorabilia and watch on cable and at the ballpark in numbers and with a disposable income that would boggle any third world mind…and I have to also admit that my team, (like I’m a part owner) The Yankees, has a new pitcher on their staff that is paid more money than the entire Houston Astros team so…there is that bit of first world insanity.

And yet what flabbergasted me most during that interminably long opening ceremony was that one of the last members of the Houston Astros baseball team to be introduced was their Massage Therapist! There’s no massage in baseball!!! At least there never was. But if there now must be, can’t these guys afford their own massages???

I’m sure The Babe, Joe D. and Mickey indulged in some after game therapy of their own on occasion but they probably got the kind of massages that came with happy endings… and they paid for it themselves… at least!

Geez, baseball and full time massage therapy! It can’t get much better than that can it? Three hours of work every day… of which maybe 15 minutes actually involves their running around and performing at top skill proficiency. You wouldn’t think they’d need so many drugs to keep themselves in top shape, let alone massaging at regular intervals.

And then the game started and they all proceeded to play as though it were opening day at the local little league…what with all the tripping and the falling and the overthrowing and the bobbling… not to mention the swinging and the missing! Did you know that last year Major League Baseball players set a new major league record by collectively striking out over 36,000 times?! That’s at least 108,000 swings and misses. Throw in foul balls and pitches out of the strike zone and when you consider all of the nothing that happens at a ballgame, professional ball players make the opening day ceremonies look like a veritable Zumba Fitness Party!

Still with all of that twisting and turning and swinging and missing and falling over and getting up again, I guess it’s no wonder that having a regular massage therapist on board makes a lot of sense for a baseball team. And just to make sure, I even checked the Yankees roster on-line and yep, they have a massage therapist too! And wouldn’t you know it, they have someone on their staff that not even the Houston Astros have thought of employing…not yet anyway….

…and that would be Mr. Chad Bohling…Director of Mental Conditioning!

Maybe the Yankees are on to something. However, when it comes to baseball these days… and professional sports in general…I am beginning to believe that it’s us fans, and not the rich, pampered and adored players, who are really in need of having our heads examined.

 

We Won’t Get Fooled Again…We Hope

2 Apr

When you’re a teacher, the hardest day of the year is always the first day of school…but the second most difficult day of the year, as far as I was concerned, was always April Fools Day. That was always the day when your students seemed to feel that they would be immune from punishment for whatever ridiculous and silly prank they could think up, so you always had to be on the lookout for your April fools. Woe to the teacher who did not keep track of the day and date and know what day it was!

I would always check ahead on the calendar and hope that April first fell on a Saturday or Sunday or perhaps even Spring break…but of course there was always the “sick day” that hopefully one had available just in case your particular pool of students that year was more fool-ish than friendly…

So here’s to all of you teachers out there and hoping that your day today was a good one…and also fool free!

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