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Category Archives: Opinions Unsolicited

What’s In a Name?

What’s In a Name?

“Who gave you that numb?”
James Joyce, Finnegans Wake

 

 When you think about it, most sports mascots are intrinsically silly.  Cardinals and Orioles are songbirds, not even raptors.  I don’t even know what on earth a seahawk is, but perhaps the “Seattle Ospreys” doesn’t quite convey the punch.  Penguins playing hockey – is that supposed to distract your opponent by giving them the giggles?  Would anybody know that a Bruin is a bear?  Is there any coincidence that the most tragic team in baseball is named after a baby animal – the Cubs?  Why not the Kansas City Kittens or Poughkeepsie Puppies?  And while Miami might have the most perfect season in the history of the NFL, its mascot is the indisputably gay dolphin, with cute turquoise, aqua, and corral colors. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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The Gynecologically Obsessed Party

The Gynecologically Obsessed Party

Where to begin?  Locally or nationally, the batshit has hit the fanfare.  Pregnancies from rape are an anomaly.  Fetuses now masturbate.  And abortions used to be “the thing to do” back in the swinging ’70s.  It goes on —  these were all in just the last week alone.  From Arizona to Texas to Wisconsin, the party that has made a sacrament of individual liberty and freedom from big government continues to quite spectacularly demonstrate strident gibberish in the name of contradicting ideology.  Read the rest of this entry »

 

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April Fools March Forth

April Fools March Forth

I think the Jews got it right, the marking of the new year in autumn.  Leaving aside any debate about whether life begins at conception or at birth,* there’s something intuitive and irrepressibly hopeful, poetic even, about the seeds of some future beginning taking hold in autumn, lying dormant and warm beneath the earth over the cold, dark, hard winter, to nudge their vernally green buddy heads above the surface of snow-scruff and the pungent mud of spring.  Certainly more intuitive than beginning the year on January 1st – only a week or so after the longest night of the entire year; hell, only a week or so after the season of winter has technically begun – when all the world (well, the northern hemisphere) is dead, still, and frozen.  That’s supposed to represent a new beginning, then?!?  What calendrical maniac hoodwinked a whole culture to swallow hook, line, and all that the new year should begin smack dab in the chapter of death and darkness?  It just doesn’t feel right.  Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Waiting for Goodell

Waiting for Goodell

Never before would I have thought that “boo hoo” and “hue and cry” would come together so seamlessly, much less over something in one sentence combining sea hawks, meat packers, and prayers interceding the virgin Mary that reads in perfect syntax to any American.  Or that two such otherwise diametrically opposed figures as Governor Scott Walker and Wisconsin state Senator Jon Erpenbach — who almost ran against Walker in the recall election — would be on the same page about something that pertains to unions, workers, and contracts.  Then again, it’s not much like me to opine my two cents amongst the inflated currency of the vox populi over a topic in which none other than my own ignorance can rival my actual interest: football.  But the occasion is much too infrequent for when I can scribble about Samuel Beckett and the Green Bay Packers in one shot, so here goes…
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My Akin Breakin Heart

My Akin Breakin Heart

I was not intending to break my scribble silence with two cents about a Republican candidate in Missouri running for U.S. Senate about whom I know positively nothing.  After the essential recall of the Wisconsin recalls, the wind in my sails for explicit political scribbling has flagged off.  But sometimes, even for a young curmudgeon, the bait is too irresistible, the bad taste and foot-in-mouth buffoonery such a spectacular eclat, that one risks ignorance by ignoring it.

Enter the court jester du jour, Todd Akin.  I was out of state when this latest gaffe debacle/ Freudian slip hit the press over the weekend.  Because I am old-fashioned enough, I treat email like regular mail in this sense: when I am away from home, I will deal with it all upon my return.  No smart phone, no tweets, no iPads or tablets.  Not even a quick dose of reality with a shot of espresso at an internet cafe or a lackadaisical saunter at some public library.  But I do read the paper and listen to the radio, so I had heard all about what Todd Akin said — and then later said what he meant and should have said instead.  I knew I would be coming home to countless emails about this as if I had had my head in the sand.  I counted no fewer than sixteen such emails just with the name “Todd Akin” in the subject line, not counting less specific ones with the buzzwords of “rape” or “legitimate.”  One-liners like “Unreal!” and “Dangerous and Wrong,” “Repulsive” and something else connoting the next cannon fire from the war on women.  I understand the motivation behind these attention-grabbing headlines, and I agree with their outrage.  I do not agree, however, with their conclusion that Todd Akin should step down.  Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Watch Wear You Step

Watch Wear You Step

Before I step on any toes by inadvertently insulting anyone (great disclaimer, no?), let me hasten to showcase how slow and behind-the-times I myself am: I had not even heard of TOMS shoes until a week ago or so.  This in spite of the fact that I used to work across the street from a shoe store here in town that sold and even advertised TOMS in their window display.  I saw the unmistakable flag in the window but had no reason to put one and one together.  Frankly, the logo conjured nothing in my mind more than the national flag of Argentina…

and an inscrutable curiosity wondering what “TOMS” could be an acronym for, since it was in all-caps and without any apostrophe.

I rather suspect I am not the target audience for any consumer product, much less anything having to do with fashion, but if I had been included in some sample survey or focus group, I would never have guessed in a million years that a flag with two blue horizontal stripes separated by a white one — or a blue field emblazoned with a white stripe — with a corporate logo reading “TOMS” would have anything to do with footwear.  Indeed, just for kicks, a quick Google search of “what does TOMS stand for” brings up the following:

1.  Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer
2.  Telecom Operations Management Systems
3.  The male of various animals, such as turkeys or cats.

They b(u)yline of TOMS is “shoes for tomorrow,” so I can only infer that “toms” is short for tomorrow.  Still, as a marketing gimmick, the whole thing is lost on me — but not just for abstract advertising purposes: I myself would not buy a pair of TOMS shoes in the first place, in part because I can’t even afford the flimsy-looking things, but mostly because it represents many of the key problems with charitable giving by way of corporate profit, up to and including the irony of the law of unintended consequences together with its hell-paved path of best intentions.  Read the rest of this entry »

 

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MP3s — Not the Apple of my iPod

MP3s — Not the Apple of my iPod

When my iPod goes dead at long last, it will not be replaced by another chrome clone.  Why?  Digital music is for the dogs.  I’m done with sacrificed quality for quantity’s convenience.  I don’t know about you, but I really don’t need every song on every album by every band or composer I like with me at my disposal whenever I like.  Added to that, a small library of digital books and enough podcasts to fill in the silence it would take to space-canoe to Pluto, good lord! like I’m ever going to get to all this stuff.  Plus it’s rather unnecessary.  I am confident that at no time in the history of human beings did average people (i.e., not technocrats) say something like:
“Say Bill, you know what would be a real improvement to my daily life?”
“Naw, what’s that, Betty?”
“A tiny device I could fit in my hand that would store all of my music, Bill, all my music as well as radio programs, plays, books, newspaper articles, lectures, photographs, videos…  Or better yet, all on my telephone!”
“Hold on there, cousin Betty!  That’s just crazy talk!”

Like the computer itself, the iPod is a solution to no known problem. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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