Monday, September 25, 2017

This NFL National Anthem nonsense

I've been trying to stay away from social and political rants. They're ultimately not the most fun to write, and you risk offending a good chunk of your audience. Still, it's my blog. If I want to delve into social issues I will. So I will.

This whole flag protest business is nothing more than obnoxious. I believe it tells us all we need to know about the National Football League: it's okay if its players don't stand for the national anthem. Let that be as it may. That it won't respect the flag and the anthem just points out how arrogant the game has become.

I see the protests as nothing short of hyperbole, and for myself, well, I've been paying less and less attention to football for most of the last decade anyway. It's simply too brutal to be called mere sport. Then the constant overreactions after simple plays, touchdown celebrations and the like (I once saw a player celebrate a muffed snap which the quarterback immediately fell upon as though it was his doing rather than the error between two opponents as it was) are increasingly annoying. If I want sports entertainment I'll watch the WWE. At least they're honest about their intentions.

Then to have NFL commissioner Roger Goodell call US President Donald Trumps' words divisive is nothing short of disingenuos. His minion started this, not the President. True, Mr. Trump did not help things with his comments. But if Colin what's his name hadn't knelt first and the League not supported it, Trump would not have had the forum.

So it's just another reason not to watch the NFL anyway. If it doesn't feel the need to support the nation, fine. I feel no need to support it. That's the real bottom line; I hope that more people feel like me.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Grandpa Joe

I always knew Joe would be the last of my grandparents to take the final journey. He didn't take care of himself. He smoked like a chimney, as the saying goes. He took chances that would have surely killed any other man yet he, somehow, survived. Exercise? What was that?

He was the perfect candidate to outlive the other three.

He was not easy to get along with. But damn it, you could get along with him. If you wanted to. If you tried. We hear so much anymore about just getting along. Well, it took more than just getting along to get along with Joe. Yet he could be got along with. If you let go of your predispositions and tried.

He was tender. Yes, I know that those of you among my friends and relatives are laughing right now. Yet he was. He made me a simple little toy out of string and a button. He grinned as I played with it, laughed a bit, happy at the gift, happy at my glee. It lead to the only time I saw me Pops jealous, when he saw me playing with what his father had made for me. That's okay, I get it. The relationships between grandson and grandfather are different from that of father and son. The dynamics aren't the same.

But if I could have anything more human right now beyond my own father, I wish I had that string and button.

Friday, September 22, 2017

What are the odds?

Dad liked to play poker. Well, once years ago when he and his brothers and friends played almost every Saturday night he found himself on a hot streak which lasted several weeks. As most games were played at his house, Pops was teased a lot about marking the cards before the guys arrived for a game. So he decided one day to, I guess you'd say call their bluff.

He bought a brand new deck of cards to use for the next Saturday's game. He left it in the plastic wrapping until time for the first deal, which would be his. Dad was going to make a show of how that game would be fair by opening the cards in front of the guys.

So Saturday night came, everyone sat down, and Pops pulls out the new deck. You can all see for yourselves, fellahs, that this is a new set of playing cards which are obviously untouched, he says, or something similar. He gets a knife and cuts the clear plastic wrap, opens one end of the box, and triumphantly fans out the red-backed poker cards for all to see.

The guys saw the cards all right. Each card was red...except the one blue-backed card (which happened to be an ace of spades) amidst all the others. Sure, Bill, you don't mark deck.

Even Dad got a belly laugh out of that. As poker players might say about such things, 'What are the odds?'

Thursday, September 21, 2017

The feel of small town America

The things you see, the things you learn on the road.

Yesterday morning at 4:30 in the little hamlet of Arlington, Ohio (Flag Village USA you might recall) I saw two young teenage paperboys riding their bikes along the main drag, delivering (obviously) their papers. I don't think I've seen an actual paperboy in twenty years. And I'd have never let my boys ride unsupervised in Detroit at that time.

Then I came to Bellefontaine, Ohio. It boasts of having the first concrete street in America, dating to 1891. I saw the stretch of road; it does look like it dates to 1891. But hey, who am I to question Bellefontaine or its claim to fame?

Finally, during the afternoon I made a stop in Fairmount, Indiana. This small town holds 2,992 people according to Wikipedia (and who am I to question Wikipedia?). But more than that: the actor James Dean grew up in town, and is also buried there. And there's still more: Jim Davis, creator of Garfield the cat, grew up there. Talk about the proverbial sublime to the ridiculous!

Yeah, a bit of a shameless plug, that last line. However that may be, it does seem that you can see a lot of interesting things in small town America even until yet.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Kid Rock for Senate

I honestly don't think that anything will come of it; I accept the conventional wisdom that it's simply for publicity. But you know what? I could vote for Kid Rock for Senate.

I mean, why not? Aren't we taught in school that in America anyone can govern? Or is that only more progressive claptrap like the vaunted and self-serving tolerance and diversity they deign to preach?

But there is more. A friend of mine says, rightly I believe, that the left wing media will tell us who they fear the most, whom they most want not to win. And although it's been quiet the last ten days or so, it's clear the local media fear Robert Richie.

Stephen Henderson of The Detroit Free Press in its editorial pages had scorched him. That alone makes me want to vote Kid Rock. There's been rumblings from election officials that he hasn't filled out the proper forms yet. That too makes me want him to run. Heck, I might write his name if I have too, if he doesn't actually pursue the office.

I do have issues with him, particularly the vulgarity of some of his songs. But hey, if Beyonce can traipse around Washington singing filth (and getting praise from the Obamas in so doing), how can an honest liberal hold that against Mr. Rock, let alone against a conservative like me? Tolerance and diversity, after all.

This has the makings of the type of populist appeal which vaulted Donald Trump into the Presidency. I think that's what scares the media the most: that they might be in yet another election cycle made irrelevant.

So while I can't say this minute whether I'd actually vote for him on Election Day (as it's too far off and too much can happen) right now I say, vote for Kid Rock for US Senator from Michigan. If nothing else, the media frenzy will be quite delicious.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

First World Problems in Hessel, Michigan

I am a day late with a new blog post due to circumstances beyond my control. The Internet, the one and only, was out all over the eastern Upper Peninsula yesterday. So too was cell phone service. All cell phone service. I had to drive more than 14 miles to get a signal, and that on the shoulder of the road of M-48 northwest of Pickford. At least I could tell my family I had arrived safely.

Later on, back at Hessel, I could not get the TV to work. I spent a couple hours scanning and rescanning the over the air antenna before successfully having six channels.

The fact is that twenty years ago none of this would have vexed me. We had no cellphones and no TV. And we didn't care. We were happy to be in Hessel on vacation, doing things with family and seeing old friends. We did not need the modern world.

I feel a certain sadness and regret not only that those days are gone, but that I spent a significant amount of what little time I have this long weekend fretting over things which did not concern me not that long ago. To be sure, I'll still enjoy the weekend. But in front of a TV instead of observing the beauty around me.

I shall make time tonight to walk under the stars and hoping to see one quick meteor flash across the night sky. And perhaps a steadily passing satellite. It's the least I can do for myself after wasting so much of yesterday on the frivolous.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

What the morning walk brings

As I take my morning walks these days, I always pass Sam's house. When I do I always think of his relationship with me Grandpa Joe. It was, ah, an interesting friendship.

Sam would come by the old barn regularly. His mission seemed to be to needle Joe. It must be admitted, he was very good at that.

Once Joe had me younger brother painting a car of his with a sponge brush and a can of off the shelf paint. Now, I know that's not the best way to paint a car, but it was Grandpa's car and Patrick didn't mind to get paid to paint it however he was told. Sam happened by and exclaimed emphatically, "You can't paint a car like that!"

"The hell I can't!" Joe replied with an incredibly equal incredulity. And the fight was on.

Another time Sam was paying a visit and Joe was going on about something or other which concerned him. When he finished his rant Sam remarked sullenly, "Ah, I don't care, Joe".

Joe barked in response, in an incredibly accurate and proper response, "Yeah, but I do!"

"I just said I don't care!" Sam yelled in reply. And the fight was on.

Similar events occurred countless times over the years. Sam would show up, a conversation would start, sometimes slowly, sometimes explosively, and those two old coots would end up arguing, howling at each other over some kind of nonsense.

The darn thing is, I think they both looked forward to it.