Fall arrives quickly in the Midwest, bringing with it hints of melancholy winter. I am not alone in dealing with a change of season cough, it being just warm enough during the day to convince one to be under-dressed for the chill of evening. The natives love the color change around here, but the dust and bugs stirred up by the harvest rob me of joy. It may be strange coming from a heat-loving desert rat like me, but I long for the first freeze of winter: it at least has the benefit of killing off all of the flies and gnats.
And so ends another season in wrath; my Dodgers played with all the inspiration of a dust-mop. They did manage to win 5 of 6 and close out Joe Torre’s career on a decent note. The ignominy of finishing below .500 (after two straight bites at the apple in the NLCS) is matched only by the team’s fool of an owner. I am soothed by the Browns (they beat the Bengals) and the Fighting Leathernecks (4-1 and nationally ranked). We won’t discuss the Reds of Liverpool…
The Republicans worked overtime to keep the Democrats from passing a package of tax incentives and capital assistance for small business, and the nation’s liberal president is being hammered for his wartime aggressiveness and reticence towards the issue of gay rights. Huh??? As a veteran political addict I am deeply confused. The campaign is not helping my confusion, as I have yet to see an ad that explains a policy position or is in any way connected to fundamental arithmetic. The good Republican running for governor in Wisconsin produced a detailed jobs plan that ran to 68 pages in length…those 68 pages, thanks to the 36 font and a lot of spacing, totaling some 1,000 words (roughly the same as this article). Wow, are these guys not even trying any longer? What is it with the Republican brains in that state? Paul Ryan developed a long range budget proposal for the United States last Spring…you might have read about it. He claimed it cut the deficit; he made the claim stick by sending the spending cuts to the CBO for scoring, but not the tax cuts.
Not that the Democrats are doing much better; these are the “progressives”, because they are afraid to be “liberals”. The mean Republicans might call them names. What other group could fight like hell to pass a decent law restructuring the health care market, a decent law restructuring the financial market, a necessary law that kept the country from reaching 13% or higher unemployment, and then run like hell from said accomplishments? Why do the work in the first place? Thirty years ago, Reagan Democrats voted for the Gipper because they felt that their party had become cowards. If Democrats lose to mental midgets like Christine O’Donnell, Sharon Angle, and Rand Paul it will be because they lacked the courage of their convictions…again.
I covered my sorrow in sports in the opening of this column so that I could focus on the incomprehensible ineptitude of NFL officials in this section. This is the group that used to be the finest officiating organization in professional sports. Oh how are the mighty fallen! They are not helped by a competition committee that is convinced that rules exist to create or expand cash flows, but the level of execution has fallen to a place that only the bile and ignorance of talk radio can fully criticize.
Every year, we fans are told of some area of focus that refs will be calling; this year it is the time-honored practice of offensive pass-interference. Guys like Michael Irvin were legendary in their ability to push off the defender, but in an era where a cornerback’s bad breath could be considered interference, the push off is just a bit too far. I write this because I have yet to see evidence that anyone is focusing on it. What I have seen is a rash of inexcusably weak calls. During the Sunday night game, I saw a spot on a fourth quarter play that was a good yard ahead of the real location…and the linesman was on top of the play. It is a good thing that the NFL doesn’t think enough of my business to give me options for viewing that respect my rather universal needs…else I should have yet more examples of “Pee-Wee Herman’s Ref Adventure”.
The campaign got me to thinking about television in a new way…I don’t watch it as much as I used to. I really don’t need to see a sandwich of dueling campaign spots on every commercial break. It might be worth moving to a deeply Red state…a place where there is never cause for major national money to flood the airwaves with crap. I think about my poor family in Nevada, and the pain and anguish that they must be feeling in that most up for grabs of states. Nevada is battle-born, and now most certainly qualifies as battleground. In front of my Illinois tv this weekend, I was treated to a commercial break that was structured thus:
- Pat Quinn (D) Gov.
- Bill Brady (R) Gov.
- Phil Hare (D) House
- Mark Kirk (R) Sen.
- Alexi Giannoulis (D) Sen.
- Ronnie Lynn Deutch (Idiot, tax cheat, snake oil hustler, and instant brain cramp)
I suppose I should be happy that the commercials didn’t conclude with Jimmie Johnson trying to sell me snake oil to “enhance my performance…wink, wink”. There is a longing in my heart for those halcyon days of senior citizens sitting in cast iron tubs on a hillside, selling me Cialis. The good ole days may not have always been good, but at least you could use a Ginsu knife a couple of times before the handle fell off. Well, I suppose I should close for now…I have to go apply my firming, cleansing, and wrinkle-reducing hydroxytone mask for the night.
The Rational Middle is listening…