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For those of you who are sports-impaired (here’s looking at you, Trep), the gentleman depicted in this photo is LeBron James, who plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers (a professional basketball team). Mr. James, in addition to being quite large, is very good at what he does. Some commentators, in fact, have hazarded that he is as good, or nearly so, as the fabled Michael Jordan.

In short, Mr. James (also known as “King” James) has some weight to throw around when he chooses to do so. And now he has done just that, taunt-tweeting the guy in the oval office and calling him a bum. The contretemps began when the Steph Curry, another popular player of basketball, refused an invitation to visit the White House even though his team won the national championship this year. The bum then dis-invited Curry, thus making sense to no one but himself:  how do you dis-invite someone who has declined to attend? (May I suggest that the bum is not a careful reader?)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Nebraska Becomes Kansas

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For years in the Big 8 and then in the Big 12, Kansas’ football team could always be counted on to sit in the league cellar.

Back in the day I often wondered why the University of Kansas continued to field  football teams. After all, Kansas regularly sponsored world-class basketball teams (and they still do). So why not give up on football while resident in an otherwise powerhouse conference that in those days included Oklahoma and Nebraska and, later on, Texas.

Now I know how Kansas fans felt all those years. Nebraska’s football team was the only Big Ten team that lost yesterday (even Rutgers won!) And they lost to a second-tier school. To be honest, they sucked.

Unlike Kansas fans, Nebraskans don’t have the solace of a stellar basketball team.  Championship-level volleyball works as a substitute for this die-hard Husker fan, but I suspect that is not true for the bulk of Nebraska’s football fanatics, who for years were able to take championship-level play for granted.

If I were their coaches, I’d be packing my bags.

 

From Russia With Love

 

Bond

So the Russkies discovered that Facebook was a fine venue through which to suggest to uninformed old cranks that Hillary Clinton is a spawn of Satan.

I still have a hard time accepting that anyone could have believed that bushwa about the child-slavery ring operating out of a pizza joint in New Jersey. But people did. And sent it on to their equally vindictive pals.

And Hillary is not our President.

God Americans are gullible. I hope these dopes are happy with the catastrophe their ignorance has wrought.

The photo of Sean Connery classes up the place, don’t you think?

Football!

97e4b6d7e7245d405a3d08d13c71429eYay! Football season is here! Even though this is patsy weekend, I’m glued to the glowing box.

Like me, most Big Ten football fans are rabid about their teams, no matter how good or bad they are year in and year out. The Wisconsin-Minnesota rivalry is the oldest between major teams in the history of college football;  these teams first played one another in 1890! Michigan-Ohio State is probably the best-known college football rivalry. It began in 1897 and continues to be exciting, and sometimes bitter, every year.

Perhaps because of its long history, or perhaps because of the feeling among commentators this year that The Big Ten is the best conference (which feeling makes me nervous), its teams were amply represented on teevee on this early football weekend. Wisconsin whaled on Utah State last night while Ohio State beat up on Big Ten teammate Indiana. Minnesota won on Thursday night, while Rutgers lost. No surprises anywhere there.

Early this morning I have my choice of Iowa, Penn State, or Maryland. I’m dividing my time between the Iowa and Penn State games because I was once employed on each of those campuses. Every time I see Iowa’s gold and black unis on the field I’m reminded of Bonnie, the wonderful woman who (ran) (was the secretary) of my department there. She was a rabid Hawkeye fan, as I found out on my first day there when I showed up to move in while wearing a Nebraska t-shirt. Later that year Nebraska won the national championship and my Omaha sister sent me a beautiful t-shirt commemorating the achievement. I wore it to work under a jacket and flashed the few people I knew who could take the gesture without contemplating mayhem. That included my hapless students, who were not impressed.

My friends have heard the story about my introductory interview with the dean of my college at Penn State. She confided to me that she was also from Nebraska and was still a fan (what Nebraskan isn’t?) She gave me the most useful advice I ever got from a dean: “Don’t wear your red hat on campus.” My next stop was the college bookstore, where I was confronted by a life-size cardboard cut-out of Joe Paterno and a sign featuring a Nittany Lion facing off against a Cornhusker. It read “Any time, any place.” College football fans will recognize that this was the year that Nebraska had won a consensus championship and Penn State felt it had been cheated out of the title. Of course this also antedated the scandal that later tainted the program and Paterno’s reputation.

But I ramble. In the only tough match-up today, Michigan faces Florida. That will be a hummer. And then, this evening, Nebraska takes on Arkansas State, which SHOULD be an easy win for the Huskers. Fingers crossed.

Penn State and Iowa both just scored, so I’m outa here. But not before I leave you with this beautiful photo of Iowa’s campus in the fall.

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We Are In Deep Trouble

Constitution

It’s no accident that depictions of the Constitution often include a judicial gavel–without judges and courts, the document is just an old piece of paper.

Trump’s pardon of Arpaio is a big thumb of the nose at courts and the law.  His choice of Arpaio as instrument is telling;  the sheriff was convicted of contempt of court by a federal judge.

For years the sheriff and his minions detained people without cause whether they were American citizens or not. The only requirement necessary to be arrested and held in the sheriff’s odious jail, it seemed, was a dusky skin. Clearly this was a thoroughly racist practice, and Arpaio’s orders were intended solely to terrorize and intimidate people of color.

After he was finally convicted of racial profiling, Arpaio still went about business as usual, incarcerating anyone who didn’t look right to him, until the citizens of Arizona finally voted him out of office. Another federal judge eventually charged and convicted him of contempt of court because he had blatantly ignored the decision handed down by the previous court.  Until Trump intervened the sheriff was waiting a stint in jail.

If Trump gets away with this, what is to keep him from pardoning Michael Flynn?  Paul Manafort?  His son and son-in-law?  Himself?  The presidential pardon is the single exception to the general rule of law mandated by the Constitution–there are no checks on it, no way to achieve balance when it is exercised. When Gerald Ford pardoned Nixon, who was obviously guilty of the charges levied against him, the only consequence (maybe) was that Ford was not re-elected.

In other words, use of the presidential pardon is injudicious on its face;  it invalidates the constitutional provisions that protect us all from criminal acts.

Goddess help us.

 

 

Find The Cat

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For those readers who don’t live in the Southwest, Sassy is zonking on a pot shelf. Architects intend these structures to be adorned with pots (of course), plants, sculptures, and other Southwestern brick-a-brack. I own none of those things, so all of the pot shelves in my house that are close enough to other tall stuff (like the shower walls) are solely in Sassy’s domain.

Because I am REALLY averse to climbing up on a ladder to reach a ten-foot ceiling, I have never dusted any of the many pot shelves in my house. I shudder to think how dusty it must be up there, and what Sassy may be ingesting when she cleans her fur.  But hey! it’s her lookout.

On days I’m home I leave a soft-seated chair near the shower so she can break the eight-foot-or-so jump to the floor from the shower wall (you can see a corner of this reflected in the mirror on the right of the photo). I do this not only because I care about Sassy’s well-being but because I DO NOT want to rush her to a vet to fix a strained ligament or a broken leg sustained when she jumps onto the tile floor.

Utter Depravity

161009214226-donald-trump-hillary-clinton-01-16-exlarge-169I’m back! It’s been almost four months since I posted here. My only excuse is that I’ve been in a quasi-depression since the night Trump was elected President. I stayed up all that night watching returns, hoping against hope that what Chuck Todd was telling me just wasn’t so. I was in shock, I think.

For awhile afterward I was in mourning for Hillary, for the devastation this loss would wreak on her personally and for the nation’s loss of her superior intellect, her long experience in governing, and her sheer stones. It looks as though she is recovering, though, and the forthcoming publication of her account of the campaign looks to be an honest review of What Happened. She is a brave woman. Other women will appreciate her comments about the scene famously depicted in the photo (and hilariously recreated by Kate McKinnon and Alec Baldwin on SNL) when Trump stalked her as she attempted to make a point. Women know this behavior.  From what I have seen so far, male commentators just don’t get it, and her mentioning it will no doubt offer such men another ground on which to belittle her.

As time passed, I realized that my sadness had additional roots. I have been repulsed by Trump’s racism ever since the 1980s when he took out a full-page ad in the New York Times urging that the so-called “Central Park Five” be executed. You may recall that a jogger had been horribly assaulted in the park. Five young black and Latino men were arrested for the crime, mostly, as far as I can see, just because they were there and they were young men of color. They were freed from prison by DNA evidence after a long incarceration that ruined the rest of their lives. For his part in this incident, in my opinion, Trump himself deserves a stint behind bars.

It should be clear by now to any attentive American that Trump’s racism is still alive and well. But there’s more. I add amorality to racism and misogyny as serious charges against Trump. Because of this he is utterly unfit for political office. Some days I agree with those few brave voices that have suggested he has mental deficiencies, and if this were shown to be the reason (the only reason) for ejecting him from the presidency, one could feel sorry for him. On the other hand, solid evidence of his impairment would allow (force?) the House of Representatives to begin the process of removing him from office.

Aside from that possibility, Trump has shown himself to be an utterly vile person. His only concern seems to be to protect and advertise his greatness and (possibly) that of his family. There seems to be very little warmth between him and his trophy wife. Who can blame her? I hope the payoff for her has been sufficient to make up for the reality that she must occasionally spend time with this horrible person.

Perhaps one could grant that Trump has at least one moral imperative: the preservation of his self-image. Whatever he wants is right;  whatever goes against his desire is wrong. That is why he returns again and again to the old slights and the tawdry victories–he has transformed his presidency into a continuous stump, an unending hymn to his supposed greatness. In the mean time he has accomplished little for the country apart from the selection of a new Supreme Court Justice, which was actually engineered by the equally vile Mitch McConnell–who at least owns the virtue of craftiness.

I was moved to write about this today by something that supposedly happened during Trump’s rally in Phoenix last night. Apparently one of his supporters hollered out that Senator John McCain should die right now. McCain’s daughter Megan responded to this taunt in a tweet: “I wouldn’t wish seeing this about your own father on my worst enemy. May God help these people who inflict such cruelty in the world.” https://t.co/2wV3yFI1Hn

Indeed. Megan McCain has put her finger on the most heinous effect of Trump’s immorality: his followers have been infected with his vileness.