Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Forget the Ticket, We Want Revenge

January 26, 2016

Of all the things that people have to do community service for, why not for causing accidents that tie up traffic for hundreds, causing them to lose hours of their lives because someone was texting, or driving recklessly, or doing some other thing that caused a wreck.

It won’t get people their lost time back, or help with the appointments they’ve missed, or get them to work on time; but they might get some smidge of satisfaction from knowing that the person who caused  the problem had to give up a few hours of his leisure time in return—and possibly did something useful, to boot.

Music Brain Freeze

January 26, 2016

Have scientists ever pinpointed the age at which your brain says, “No new music!”? Or figured out why it happens?

I mean, we grow up listening to a certain sound; and we’re certainly around as the sound evolves; but at some point we just don’t want to hear new music, unless it reminds us of what we grew up with. What’s that point, and why does it happen to every generation?

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Sulk Much?

January 20, 2016

After he lost to Noah Rubin in the Australian Open, Benoit Paire said, “I played against a not good player, but I was very bad today so that’s it, I lost. I didn’t know him and after this match I said, yes, he’s not a good player.”

Since I didn’t see the match, I don’t know if he was telling a brutal truth or just pouting.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Boise State Blues

October 3, 2011

When Boise State was accepted to the Mountain West Conference, one of the requirements (and I'm not making this up!) was that during home games, the BSU players NOT wear their blue uniforms on the blue turf, so as not to confuse the opposing team's players.

Oddly enough, teams that AREN'T in the Mountain West don't seem to have these vision problems. Maybe the MWC should provide eye tests to all the players.

Last Kroenke Post

January 17, 2016

And FINALLY: The Post-Dispatch printed this message from Bill Plaschke, Los Angeles Times to the NFL:

“We’re not paying for you to come back. …We didn’t pry open our pocketbooks or agree to any special taxes… We’re sophisticated enough to understand that you’re not a hospital or firehouse, that billionaires shouldn’t need handouts to bankroll their pigskin parties.”

Well said, Mr. Plaschke.

Economic Statistics

January 17, 2016

A few days ago, the Post-Dispatch ran an article about a sports bar owner who is afraid the business will have to close without the revenue from game days.

I know I sound unfeeling, but you’ve had months to consider a fallback plan, including ways to keep the customers coming back even without the games. And if you’re having a hard time thinking of one, there are plenty of business-assistance organizations that can help you.

(One person I mentioned this to said, “Yes, but nobody ever really thought it would happen.” But when you’re running a business, you have to think of it. It’s not like a tornado came through and stripped you clean in 5 minutes; you actually had time to prepare.)

Furthermore, today’s Post-Dispatch has all the statistics about why the revenue loss overall won’t be as great as was feared/trumpeted/hammered into our heads when the city was trying to induce the Rams to stay.

Here’s my favorite: I haven’t checked his math, but columnist Pat Gauen calculated that if St. Louis had built the stadium, and the Rams had stayed for 20 years, the public’s share of the construction would have been $2 million PER GAME.

I think we can easily afford to lose the Rams.

It's Called a Contract

January 17, 2016

St. Louis spent quite a bit of money ($16.2 million) doing the research and the planning for a replacement stadium to keep Stan Kroenke happy. With his departure, that money seems to have gone down the drain (although no doubt some of the studies can be used to determine the feasibility of other projects).

Since the Rams’ departure leaves St. Louis holding the bag for millions of other dollars invested in the franchise, Sen. Claire McCaskill is drafting a bill to get some of the money back from the team.

As I stated before (“Rank This”, December 13, 2010), I don’t really think that there is a need for the government to get involved in sports matters. There is already a system for making sure that each side operates in good faith, and that penalizes them for reneging on the deal.

It’s called a Contract.

Things I May Never Understand

January 17, 2016

When sports team owners threaten to leave a state, officials generally fall all over themselves to offer incentives to stay. In the case of the St. Louis Rams, the city and state were going to build a new stadium, even though the last publicly-funded stadium isn’t even paid off yet.

It is a continuing mystery to me why they let themselves be blackmailed by a business that could easily get its own investors; and which reaps all the profits of the taxpayers’ money with no returns or profit-sharing to the taxpayers.

Sort of like trying to figure out why Major Tom had to leave the space capsule; or the meaning of the lyrics to “A Whiter Shade of Pale.”

Cranky about Kroenke

January 17, 2016

The only time I get passionate about sports is when some team owner is trying to hold up a city or state with threats of leaving if the city or state won’t pony up funds for a new stadium. (See “The Real Meaning of ‘Community Involvement’”, August 19, 2011, and “Universal Themes”, July 20, 2015.)

Stan Kroenke has decided to move the Rams from St. Louis to LA, and I don’t care; but there are some points that I’d like to touch on. Rather than have one long rambling post, I’m just dedicating the next few posts to one point each.

Whose Money IS It, Anyway?

January 17, 2016

Missouri is buying a park. That’s nice. I like parks.

But there’s a catch:

Over the years, lead mining companies in Missouri have been fined $49.3 million for environmental damage. The money was to be used for restoration projects in southeast and southern Missouri. Now the trustees of the money want to use almost $11 million of the money to buy a park, plus fund some native plant and stream restoration.

Some communities that were affected by the damage are upset that the trustees want to use that money to buy a park. They feel that the settlement money should actually be used to clean up the environment.

Who’d have thunk it?

Same Old Same Old

January 2, 2016

I saw a movie today that mentioned a subway derailment; 2 white businessmen killed and 2 black kids charged (erroneously) with the murder; and terrorists bombing a restaurant in Paris. Funnily enough, it wasn’t a recent film: It was “The Paper” from 1995.

I guess some things don’t change.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

The Pot and the Kettle

January 9, 2016

I’ve never used Twitter, but one thing that I thought was cool about it was that it only allowed 140 characters, forcing people to be succinct, and possibly even use their brains to get the maximum effect from a few words—sort of like solving a puzzle.

Now they’re planning to expand the number of characters allowed. Adios, brevity.

(As a blogger, I can’t really complain about people talking too much about nothing—that would be the pot calling the kettle black, for sure.)

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Writing Wrong

January 1, 2016

Many years ago, someone I know came home from a visit to a foreign country and complained about having to share car rides with men who reeked of garlic. He said it was so bad he could hardly stand it. Several years later I wrote a story about a woman who keeps her would-be-philanderer husband on the straight and narrow by feeding him garlic soup before every sales trip he takes, so no women will want to be around him.

I guess I got it wrong. Recent studies indicate that men who eat lots of garlic are slightly more attractive to women than men who don’t.

Looks like I’ll have to ditch that one.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Writing Right

January 1, 2015

OK, time to make the world a little bit better.

I heard a DJ say yesterday that the only thing she minded about being left-handed was that she used to smear her pencil writing from dragging her hand across the page. I thought, “In this day and age, this is STILL going on??????”

When she was teaching handwriting, my first-grade teacher told right-handed people to tilt the paper to the left; and left-handed people to tilt the paper to the right. It made perfect sense, and none of us ever had to write with our hands curved awkwardly in stereotypical lefty fashion. I thought that all teachers taught handwriting that way.

But as I grew up I was stunned to see other lefties writing upside-down—because their teachers always said when they were teaching handwriting: “Tilt your paper to the left.” No exceptions.

I thought that those kids were the last holdouts of an outdated teaching system. Apparently not.

But now it’s time to stop the nonsense.

Please: Post this, forward it, pass it on, YouTube it, do whatever you need to do—but make sure that teachers teach it right. It’s so easy, and it will save your students SO much frustration. Repeat after me: “If you’re left-handed, tilt your paper to the right.”

And if you ever run into a nun named Sister John Michael, shake her warmly by the hand, and tell her that she is a genius, and that I really, really appreciate her.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Raising Funds—and Blood Pressure

December 30, 2015

A reader suggested this topic.

OK, we’ve all done it. In a moment of weakness we’ve contributed to a charity because we know it’s for a good cause, and because there but for the grace of God go we.

And what thanks do we get?

They keep coming after us! Ceaselessly, mercilessly, the solicitations roll in, until you’re not only sorry that you contributed, but you never want to hear the name of the organization again.

I believe that there is an option where you can request that they mark your account for once-a-year solicitation. I tried it once. HAHAHAHA!

Here’s a tip, Good Cause People: Give us some breathing room! Stop making us sorry we were nice to you! I know you’re afraid that we’ll forget all about you if you leave us alone, but we won’t. Just catch us once a year—and ONLY once a year.

Besides not driving us crazy, think of how much money you’ll save in postage and paper, when we don’t tear up the monthly requests and throw them away.

Unless you’re from an organization dedicated to raising blood pressure. In that case, you’re doing a fine job.