Tired Messaging

The yard signs are everywhere now, about a month out from the midterm elections. I see groupings of candidate names that have me stereotyping the people who allowed the little placards on their lawns.

So you’re a supporter of Doug Mastriano? Say no more. Then you also will vote for Goldtone Shillmeister if he happens to get the nomination again. The slate of Republican candidates in some districts and states is almost comically (in a sadistic sort of way) horrendous. I can’t understand for the life of me how and why these people hold the views that they do. It’s obviously a political calculation born of still riding the former President’s coattails, which at this point seems ill advised.

No. 45 seems to be steadily fading, becoming yesterday’s and last year’s news. He’s never had anything to offer, and the people who are still kowtowing to him don’t have anything to offer. Yet they continue campaigning as if they have a chance, proud of what they “stand for.”

Based on polling, it looks like many potential voters recognize Mastriano and Meuser and Dr. Oz and the rest for what they are: opportunists, dinosaurs and relics making vacuous promises and standing on an archaic platform propped up with stupefying ignorance and hate.

Senseless Loss

The story out of Indonesia hardly comes as a surprise. Soccer rivalries are often over-the-top—alcohol-fueled?—passion plays where pent-up anger and stupidity reign supreme.

Stampede is a word usually associated with cattle, but it’s also, sadly, part of the vernacular when it comes to football and hyped-up humans in a confined space who, in this case, were spooked by tear gas. Panic ensued, and voila: a totally avoidable tragedy.

And Just Like That

Ian arrived in the area yesterday. Just a bit of wind and hardly any rain so far. Guess it was raining harder west of us. Probably shouldn’t complain.

People in FL are still trying to comprehend what happened to them. Sanibel Island is decimated and cut off from civilization, parts of Fort Myers Beach have been reduced to piles of matchsticks. There’s video of a normal looking street at the beginning of the storm and then sometime later when the 15-FOOT STORM SURGE arrived. At sea level.

Seeing something like this, one might figure folks down there have made peace with playing the percentages, figuring it won’t happen where they are, intent on enjoying the sand and surf and lifestyle while the near-Category 5 isn’t wreaking havoc on all that’s been built in a place where it probably shouldn’t have been built.

When the freakish thing happens, there’s not much to do except sift through the wreckage and decide whether to stay or to say “the hell with this.”

Close to Assault

I was watching an NCAAF matchup between San Diego State and Boise State, and was thinking I wouldn’t last one play. I’d probably be seriously injured or killed if I got hit one time by any defensive player. It’s vicious, it’s one high-speed collision after another.

The SDS QB left the game after a helmet-to-helmet hit that wasn’t called. Not sure what the refs were looking at. I could see the head jolt as plain as day. Apparently, it wasn’t flagrant enough, or the camera angle was inconclusive, not enough to send the defensive player to an early shower—even though he’s probably thinking he got away with one and the quarterback never returned to the game.

There’s a very fine line between unavoidable and intentional. The refs have their hands full.

Untainted, hopefully

So, what happens if Aaron Judge breaks Roger Maris’s record? Technically, he would break Maris’s record and will set a new American League record. Actually, he will set a new Major League record, if he’s clean. Bonds, McGwire, and Sosa are out of this conversation. They all have the permanent asterisk next to their bogus hauls, and rightfully so.

I hope Judge doesn’t turn out to be just the next cheater who found a way to take HGH use to another level. I hope he’s just a naturally big man, a rare specimen perfectly capable of hitting all those round trippers on his own.

Incongruity

Tua Tagovailoa takes a merciless hit from a defensive lineman, and immediately manifests neurological trauma. The “war” comes to a screeching halt, the stadium grows quiet, and players, seemingly on cue, gather together and keep vigil as their gladiator hero is gingerly immoblilized and strapped to a gurney.

The Cincy fans offer polite applause in relief and appreciation, despite witnessing what they may have privately hoped they’d see—a key opposing player getting obliterated on the field. Football, or whatever this American version amounts to, is nothing but a basket of contradictions.

Fans in the stands and at home got to witness, perhaps, the end of a promising career before it had a chance to really get started. How much physical abuse, how many hits to the head can even a well-conditioned athlete safely(!) take?

I wonder if Teddy Bridgewater was thinking, “Hey, it comes with the territory. Let’s play ball,” or, if only briefly, it was more like, “Oh shit.”  

Here today… the blink of an eye, and all that.

Hurricane Ian is a reminder of how quickly things can be taken away. Comprehension of what has been lost in Florida will take some time. Right now it’s just empty gazes. Folks must simply be dumbfounded, speechless.

Devastation is an overused word, but it fits here. The devastation is physical and emotional. All the things that people work for and spend their money on and put stock in are broken or destroyed. What we’re seeing before our eyes is the loss of so much that, in many cases, will not be restored. Large swaths of real estate will simply lay in ruins, probably for years, if not forever. Some will rebuild, but many others will part with their attraction to the sea and move inland.

What are the takeaways here? Is anyone thinking that climate change might have made things worse? Wrong place at the wrong time? The earth gives and takes away? The important thing is we’re still alive? Maybe some are wishing they were taken along with their possessions.

Starting over must be a daunting prospect. Once again we are all called upon to offer a hand in any way we can. Hopefully the insurance companies will come through for folks. Time for those money-making behemoths to put their money where their mouths so often are.

It’s Not All Contrived Fluff

What’s somehow sad is that I can get caught up, emotionally involved, in a TV show much easier than I can real life. Well drawn characters, interesting story lines, and whole seasons of episodes go by too quickly. I guess I’ve always been amazed how that works—we can get caught up in make believe way easier than we can the life we are actually living on this earth.

I suppose it’s the power of story, it’s the ability of writers and producers and directors and actors being able to cut to the chase, to distill, to evoke recognition and resonance and emotion. They are remarkable and powerful media—TV and movies.

Escapism, yes. But often times a mirror reflecting our humanity, or inhumanity. We relate to the struggles, celebrate the victories, and are perhaps inspired or comforted along the way. Maybe even somehow changed, affected by what we’ve seen and heard to the point that we vow to live differently.

That might be giving too much credit to the entertainment industry. But stories well told leave their mark.

“Don’t Try This At Home”

Ever notice how people who have dangerous jobs like to play up that danger in PSAs? It sometimes seems like a not-so-subtle form of bragging, like they enjoy letting people know how dangerous their work is as they prey on peoples’ fears, hyping worst case scenarios and feasting on peoples’ fixation on Doomsday.

That’s probably overstated, but the other day’s power company demonstration at the county fair gave me that feeling. The presenter obviously knew his stuff, but the content bordered on fear mongering and unnecessary drama, a presentation of a perfect storm of untenable situations. I laughed at one point, and not because I have a perverse sense of humor. It just struck me as being a bit over the top, sounding unnecessarily dire, like the old skit on Prairie Home Companion, the ad for Bebop Rebop Rhubarb Pie.

In the end, of course, it’s all good and helpful information that I hope never has to be retrieved and put into practice.

Hey, Ya Wanna Buy a Watch?

Furries. Baby killers, human trafficking and other abominations. And so much more. All spun from the same cloth, the broken and damaged offspring of fear and gullibility and ignorance.

It can’t really come as a surprise that this country is in the shape it’s in because people believe the swill they want to believe, even if there’s a tiny voice shouting, “You should know better!”

The internet is a remarkable, indispensable tool, but of course it was only a matter of time before it became an effective weapon and platform for every deprived impulse and warped worldview.