Saturday, October 29, 2005

A New Domino Theory

Dubya’s popularity is on the wane in the opinion polls. This all started right after the Storm Katrina emergency response debacle.

The American public is unreasonable on top of being fickle. They actually expect people appointed to high office to do something when the occasion arises. They don’t accept that a bureaucrat’s first obligation is to secure comfortable office space, a comely staff, reservations at the best restaurants, and television interviews casting themselves in a positive light.

Michael Brown, the outgoing head of FEMA, did what good bureaucrats do and now the electorate is howling for his scalp. To top this off, all the rancor has spilled over onto the Pres. I did mention fickle, didn’t I?

Now that congressional hearings are underway to sift through the incompetence of the emergency response, polls are showing that the war in Iraq is losing favor with the majority of Americans. The two wouldn’t seem to be related, but it strikes one as more than mere coincidence that we’ve tolerated a rising body count, television scenes of destruction, internet sites showing the grisly remains of humans blasted to pieces by high explosive, and the Muslim world’s hatred for 3 years and only just now we are beginning to think what we are doing isn’t in keeping with the high ideals we would like everyone to believe we have.

Well, heck! Let’s blame George.

Now that the Blame Game is in swing, his naming a crony with no applicable experience to the Supreme Court struck another sour cord with most of us. To go along with that little bit of negativity, the sitting Grand Jury investigating the leaking of a CIA officer’s identity to the press has returned an indictment of the VEEP’s chief of staff.

The Pres’s closest political advisor is at the moment “dangling in the wind.” No one knows whether he will be charged, but he was up to his eyebrows in this particular mess. A little suspense is a good thing, what?

The chickens, they be coming home to roost. A little late for two thousand or so American families, but coming home they are . . . knocking over the dominoes as they come.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Apples Are Apples — Or So They Say — And I’m Still Not Sure About Oranges

Long years ago I fell in love with a cold snack of summer sausage, sweet apple, cheddar cheese, and wheat crackers. I let the sausage go when health warnings stacked up, but hung onto the rest of it.

I was driving to work earlier in the week, listening to the local AM news station when I caught a blurb from one of the green grocers. He allowed that Washington apples were very pretty, far outshining California grown apples, but that though they may not be as cosmetically appealing the home grown ones are much tastier.

For the last few years the Fuji variety from Washington and New Zealand have been a staple around here. I will admit the ones from Washington have great eye appeal, but the taste ranges from not-quite yuk to pretty darned good.

Last night I wheeled by my local Nob Hill Market to pick up some apples. A stocker was busy setting up the apple bin and we struck up a conversation. Too bad I didn’t get his name because that young man truly deserves a plug.

The Washington Fujis were the best looking in the place, but there were two varieties gown in California, so he obligingly hauled out his fruit knife and we began to sample the wares.

I’m here to tell you, the California apples would not win a beauty contest unless their only competition was road apples. But the radio green grocer was right, the fruit grown here was superior in taste.

There will be a potluck at work to celebrate Halloween. Too bad it’s just past the date the apples would be good had I purchased several pounds last night. I hope the good stuff will still be around later in the month.

I do a mean Waldorf Salad (The key is a good dressing which I have that nailed.) and that would show the folks I spend the day with that I am more than a pretty face.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

What It Was Was Football

For those of you who don’t recognize the plagiarized title, Andy Griffith did a hilarious monologue by that name back in the early ‘50s. Griffith played the role of an naive bumpkin
who had never heard of football and wandered into a game by accident. If you’ve not heard it, I suggest you dig it out and be prepared to laugh your buns off.

I’ve pretty much had it with the NFL. Salary cap. free agency, steroids, and the league drug abuse policy have combined to leave little left to cheer for. I was a loyal Raider fan until about half way through their sojourn to LaLa land. The on field heroics of the Snake, Ghost, Freddy Biletnikoff, Ray Guy, Marv Hubbard, Pete Banaszak, Jim Plunkett, Marcus Allen, Lester Hayes, Skip Thomas, Jack Tatum, and especially George Blanda are still warm memories 30 years on.

Then the Forty-niners came to fore and had a glorious decade or so under owner Eddie deBartolo, Jr. and President and General Manager Carmen Policy. Two stellar quarterbacks in Montana and Steve Young who were teamed with the all time greatest receiver, Jerry Rice, along with top notch running backs provided ample stimulus for football interest.

The greatness of those teams faded and didn’t leave much. New England is doing well, and I’ve always had a warm spot in my heart for Bret Favre, while the Steelers look tough under the guidance of Ben Roethlisberger. But that’s about it, folks.

College ball is a really very acceptable alternative. I had nothing better to do last New Year’s Day than watch the tube as there was an active rain storm over the valley. I don’t recall having previously seen an athletic competition as exciting as the UT-Michigan Rose Bowl game. Both teams gave it their all and the matter was decided in the closing seconds by UT’s somewhat less than reliable kicker. Those young men played their hearts out and whoever won it truly deserved it.

I saw another yesterday. The USC-Notre Dame game was 60 minutes of bone jarring contact, controversy, voluptuous cheer leaders, player determination and just plain fun American athletics free of product endorsements.

It, too, was decided in the closing seconds of the game.

College football has become big business. A few years ago there was a realignment of conferences. Being Texan, I fondly remember the old Southwestern Conference. Dan Jenkins used the TCU Horned Frogs as a backdrop for his hilarious trilogy on football.

It turns out the Toads are now nationally ranked number 25. They are 6 and 1 and have only beaten one team with a record of better than .500. One would suspect someone or several someones of being less than honest with their vote. But then what would American sports be without some scandal somewhere?

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