Friday, November 2, 2012

Weather, Sports, and Politics: A Friday Mixed Bag

Greetings Friends,

When you envision the New York City skyline, it is usually as a tableau of lights and impressive skyscrapers, not the metaphorical black-and-white cookie seen here: one dark half mingling with a light half. This image is the least of what "superstorm" Sandy inflicted on my hometown. I'm sure most of us have seen enough horrific pictures of coastal New Jersey, Queens, and Staten Island to leave indelible images on our hearts and minds forever.

Right now, it seems like the good people of the East Coast of the United States will never recover from Mother Nature's wrath. They will eventually. It will be long, hard, and painful, but it will happen. It is not fun to wake up one day to find life as you know it changed forever. It's happened to me, and to countless others. From my own personal experience, I know it sometimes doesn't seem possible to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and move on. But, it was possible for me, and it will be possible for the thousands who were impacted by Sandy. True, life will never be the same, but eventually, it will begin to brighten. There will be a new normal, and life will go on.

In the meantime, we could surely use a distraction from the devastation. Here are two topics that have been distracting me since before Sandy, the dreaded "superstorm," materialized:

Pucks and Padlocks: Well sports fans, it's no secret that labor disputes have become a fact of life for those of us unfortunate enough to be afflicted with the sickness known as fandom. This year's lockout marks the third major interruption of a National Hockey League season in the past 18 years, and it looks like it's going to be every bit as lengthy as the last one in 2005. Today, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced the cancellation of the Winter Classic, the outdoor game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Detroit Red Wings that was supposed to be played on New Year's Day in front of about 100,000 people.

The bullshit -er, rhetoric, associated with this latest work stoppage has been even more vitriolic, particularly on the part of the players. They do in fact have much to lose, but for every middle-sized North American boy who dreams of lacing up a pair of skates to risk jarring his brain loose on a sheet of ice, there is no league other than the NHL in which to attempt that. So, guys - all of you - please cease the threats of not coming back if your salaries are cut and your contracts are capped at six years. Just please concentrate on putting your jellied heads together and sorting this all out. Then, when you finally do, members of both sides should have to kiss the hairiest asses of the fans who will flock back to the arenas to see you play. Remember: all is fair in love and lockouts.

Politics: I picked the perfect time to skip back across the border into the United States: three weeks prior to the presidential election. I've tried like hell not to listen to all the rhetoric - er, bullshit, but some of it is unavoidable, particularly the stupidity that's been spewing out of the mouths of certain Republican congressional candidates. Abortion and a woman's right to do what she chooses with her body should never be politicized, but it seems this year, there is no avoiding it. Morality and religion aside, you have no right to tell me how to stuff a ballot box, let alone tell me what to do with an even more personal box. That's crude, I know, but so is saying that a child conceived during an act of rape is a blessing from God.

Watching New Jersey Governor Chris Christie smooch President Obama's buttocks for federal disaster relief money this past week has been almost as distasteful as listening to the right wing nuts go on about abortion. So was watching CNN politicize an unfortunate weather event. Mother Nature has some pretty ironic timing, and I think her message is very much in keeping with what Joan Crawford told the Pepsi Cola board when she took over for her deceased husband, CEO Alfred Steele (that is, if the dialogue in the movie Mommie Dearest is historically accurate): "Don't fuck with me fellas, this ain't my first time at the rodeo."

Have a great weekend.