SoCS: going nuts

This week, the city of Washington DC has been going nuts.

There is, of course, the ongoing political battle in Congress regarding the impeachment investigation of the president. There have been more depositions this week and there was a vote in the House of Representatives laying out the rules for the next phase of the process, which will include public, televised testimony. I was a child when the Watergate investigation was going on in the Nixon administration and still remember some of the members of Congress from those hearings. Unlike the Watergate hearings, though, these will be held only in the House. The Senate committees are controlled by Republicans and they aren’t about to investigate a president of their party. I find this disappointing because there was at least some bipartisan cooperation between the parties during both the Clinton and Nixon impeachments. (Nixon resigned before he could be impeached.)

There was, though, a happier reason for people in the nation’s capital to go nuts. The Washington Nationals won the World Series! It had been many decades since a Washington baseball team won a championship. They succeeded my favorite team, the Boston Red Sox, who won the Series last year. I remember how I felt when Boston won their first World Series in decades in 2004, so I expect Washington fans feel similarly. I appreciate the Nationals team spirit. They way they pulled together and supported each other led to their victory. It was the first time that neither team won a game in their home stadium; at four of the Nationals wins were in Houston. That was really amazing! Congratulations to the Nationals! Thanks for giving Washington something positive to go nuts about!
Join us for Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday. The prompt this week was “nuts.” Find out more here:

SoCS: avoiding ads

I try to avoid as many ads as possible – and to ignore the ones I can’t avoid.

Most of the television I watch is through DVR, so we can skip by the commercials. I use ad-blockers on my computer, although I do still wind up dealing with some. (I’m looking at you, Words with Friends.) I nearly always listen to public radio, which only has brief sponsorship messages and the occasional ad for local concerts, which I like hearing about anyways.

Ironically, the ads I see and hear the most are those that stir controversy, such as the recent Gillette ads highlighting toxic masculinity. I’m sure I will see some of the Super Bowl ads in the coming week. The most inventive ones tend to make the news programs. I’m not sure if or how much watching I will do of the game. Football is not really my thing. I prefer baseball. Even though it does have ads every time a half inning ends or there is a pitching change…
Join us for Just Jot It January and/or Stream of Consciousness Saturday! Today’s prompt is “ad/add/AD”. The pingback link is here:
More information and prompts here:

Congratulations, Astros!

Congratulations to the Houston Astros, the 2017 World Series champions!

As a native New Englander, I am a Boston Red Sox fan, so I didn’t have a particular affinity for either the Los Angeles Dodgers or the Houston Astros, but I was hoping that Houston would win because of the boost it will give to the people of the Houston area, beleaguered by the historic flooding caused by Harvey.

It reminds me of the Boston Red Sox win in 2013 after the Marathon bombing when “Boston Strong” was a common sentiment.

The Astros wore patches for “Houston Strong” on their uniforms. It is heartening that the people of the Houston area have a reason to take a break from flood recovery efforts to celebrate their hometown baseball champions.

Congratulations, Cubs!

I grew up in New England as a Red Sox fan and, despite living in New York State for the past few decades, I have retained my Red Sox loyalty.  Therefore, I can appreciate the range of feelings that the Chicago Cubs fans have experienced.

Both the Cubs and the Red Sox have deep roots in baseball history and play in historic ballparks. Both went for decades without winning the World Series. Both were thought to be suffering from “curses” and now both have given their cities and their fans everywhere a thrilling World Series win.

The Red Sox fans waited eighty-six years before the 2004 World Series win, a sweep powered by the first-of-its-kind comeback from being down three games to zero in the American League championship series. The Cubs fans waited an agonizing one-hundred eight years for their win last night in a nail-biting extra-inning game seven over Cleveland.

It was such a long wait that there were no fans who remembered the last time the Cubs had won. Even though Wrigley Field is a historic ballpark, it was not yet in use in 1908.

Because the Red Sox world series championship drought was not quite as long, there were some fans who remembered the last time. One of my most poignant memories of the 2004 win was a friend of my parents who was a long-time Red Sox fan. She was one hundred years old and remembered when they were champions when she was fourteen. It was so sweet that they won that year, because she passed away only a few weeks later.

One of the common factors between the Red Sox and the Cubs World Series victories is Theo Epstein. He was general manager of the Red Sox in 2004 and is now President of Baseball Operations for the Cubs. Maybe Cleveland will try to hire him? They now have the longest World Series drought at sixty-eight years, although there are teams that have never won a World Series who might want to lure him away from the Cubs as well.

For now, this Red Sox fan wishes Chicago and Cubs fans everywhere a joyous celebration. I know that you are loyal and would still love your Cubs even without this victory, but I’m glad you finally have it. Enjoy!

Congratulations, M-E!

Sending out congratulations to the Little League team from Maine-Endwell for their 2-1 victory over Seoul, South Korea, in the Little League World Series championship game in Williamsport, Pennsylvania!

Maine-Endwell is a local school district near where I live in upstate New York. Maine is a small town and Endwell is a section of the adjoining town of Union. Their field is just down the hill from the retirement community where my parents live.

They were the smallest squad in the tournament with only eleven players. I expect they drew from the smallest population area, too. Seoul’s team was drawn from the entire city of 25 million.

After an undefeated local season, the M-E team won sectional, state, regional, national, and now international titles for an overall 24-0 season.

While everyone in our area is thrilled for them, we are especially proud that they also won the tournament’s sportsmanship award.

Great work, M-E! Enjoy the parade tomorrow!

LeBron James – seriously?

Have you heard? LeBRON JAMES IS HEADING BACK TO CLEVELAND TO PLAY FOR THE CAVALIERS!!!!! It’s all over the news and the internet. And I don’t really care.

For international readers, a recap: LeBron James is a very talented basketball player, so good that when he was in high school in Akron, Ohio, his games were broadcast on local television. He was drafted as a high school senior by the nearby Cleveland (Ohio) Cavaliers and played for them from 2003-10. When his contract ended, he went to Miami (Florida) to play for the Heat, in hopes of playing for an NBA champion team. The Heat went to the championship finals all four years he played there, winning twice. He opted out of a contract extension with the Heat and is returning to Cleveland to (ostensibly) finish his career, hoping to bring a championship to a city that hasn’t had a national-level champion in any major sport for fifty years.

I’m not a basketball fan, but I understand part of the dynamic for Cleveland. I grew up in New England as a fan of the Boston (Massachusetts) Red Sox (baseball) team, which went 86 years without winning the World Series. When they won the World Series in 2004, it was exciting and emotional for me, even though I no longer live in New England. The bond between the team and the city of Boston was never more evident than the 2013 championship parade, when the team stopped at the finish line of the Boston Marathon near the site of the bombings, placing the World Series trophy draped with a special Boston Strong team jersey on the line. I even blogged about it. 

What is curious about the LeBron James situation is that Cleveland reacted very strongly when he announced he was leaving to go to Miami. He was widely vilified – people publicly burning, ripping, defacing, etc. jerseys that bore his name and number, calling him a traitor, a coward, and a lot of names one would not use in polite company.

One of the things I’ve noticed in the coverage of James’s return is that the Cleveland fans that are shown crying and cheering and generally rejoicing are almost exclusively men. There are many women fans of basketball, so the dearth of women in the coverage strikes me as odd. Are men more the forgive-and-forget type? Do they have a four-year statute of limitations on betrayal, which was the word frequently used when LeBron left?  Are women more wary and need a bit more time to get used to the situation before welcoming him back?

I don’t know.

What I do know is that no sports story – sorry, but not even the World Cup – should be the top story on a national news broadcast. Not when people are dying from bombs and gunfire in multiple countries in the Middle East, when refugees are streaming over international borders on at least three continents, when there are wildfires, lightning strikes, typhoons, etc. causing destruction, when a blood test that can predict Alzheimer’s disease development has just been announced. So, sure, cover the story of LeBron James and Cleveland, but first inform the public about news of the country and world.


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