A funny thing happened on the way to writing my last post; I got distracted and missed the month of September. I would like to send out thanks and apologies to the members of the RM and invite all to get back in the habit. One immutable fact learned from close to a year and a half of writing on all things political, is that charting the progress of our democracy is a shortcut to burnout. For that reason, the RM will begin its week with (reasonably) trivial reflections on whatever is striking my fancy; sports, business, politics…all are fair game. I hope that the members of the Middle will join me in lighthearted exchanges in the comment section; all the better to balance the turmoil and hyperbole of the rest of the week in politics.
With that, my musings for Monday, September 27, 2010 follow after the jump. Please enjoy and comment!
Politics- For my part, the recent speculation that House Minority Leader John Boehner has been sneaking some naughty on the side is utter nonsense. Between confusing the opening clauses of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence on the steps of the House, obstructing every Democratic plan on the floor of the House, and dangerously overusing the tanning bed (allegedly) in his house, I can’t see how he would have time for an affair. Let’s just all hope that it isn’t true, and that if it is, then the paper lobbyist (seriously?) doesn’t have the equivalent of a blue dress. Although, given the Minority Leader’s, uh, singular look, we might expect the stains to be a wonderfully comic shade of orange.
Sports– As a functional sports junky, I have often been in the position of defending (or explaining) my choices for favorite teams. As a son of Las Vegas, my love for the Dodgers (4 hours from home to Chavez Ravine) is obvious. My rooting interest in the Cleveland Browns (middle school friendship with a Cleveland native) and Liverpool Reds (soccer was my first sport and the lads from Merseyside were fun to watch on Fox Soccer Channel) are less apparent. At the moment, all three are simply terrible, and the ownership questions are simply terrifying.
The Reds are owned by Texas idiot Tom Hicks (the Texas Rangers are finally recovering from his “stewardship”). The Dodgers are owned by, well, nobody really knows at the moment because of the divorce. I like Frank McCourt better than some but apparently (given his lack of attention to detail when signing multi-million dollar contracts), he is also an idiot. The Browns are owned by a nice man in Al Lerner, but he also owns a Premiership team (Aston Villa) that has competed for players in the transfer market with Liverpool. At the moment, the only factor keeping my sorry sports soul from sinking is the performance of the Fighting Leathernecks of W.I.U. Currently 3-1 with only a narrow loss to Big Ten team Purdue to go with three blowout wins, my rooting interest is also easy to explain…W.I.U. is my alma mater.
Let’s Go ‘Necks!
Television– I typically steer well clear of the broadcast networks unless I am watching football (just pro, never college), so I rarely see programs in first run. The stuff that ends up on TNT in syndication (where I can watch several shows a week) is usually my introduction. TNT has begun competing in the first run market and occasionally produces some good stuff, but this year they tried to (and judging by early ratings, did) pull off a whopper. Over the last several months, I have become a fan of the program Bones. Bones details the relationship and crime-fighting prowess of an instinctive and tough FBI agent who is paired with a hyper-rational, brilliant, and socially awkward forensic scientist. TNT’s new series Rizzoli and Isles follows an instinctive and tough Boston detective who is paired with a hyper-rational, brilliant, and socially awkward forensic scientist. Some of the early story-lines even offer the hint of deja-vue.
Now, for full disclosure, the series is NOT a rip-off. I checked. It is based on a series of books (no idea whether the books “borrowed” from the series from which Bones is derived). What has struck me is how disturbingly repetitive television is in every genre. If the formula works it is repeated ad nauseum until ratings fall and/or the share is so diluted as to be unprofitable. Television news is much the same…regardless of political posturing, the stories and their method of delivery are similar across most networks. I have turned increasingly to PBS and, when I had cable, BBC America. The shows have long formats, with plenty of time to develop story-lines, and the news reporting is not forced to choose style over substance…there is enough time to roll the tape and let the viewer decide.
That is all for now, as to the rest of the week, the RM is once again writing…and listening…