Friday, October 1, 2010

Stupid is as stupid does, and other things.

Impressionable utes weren't the only ones watching when Cincinnati Reds owner Bob Castellini (right) passed out victory cigars and then lit up after his team clinched the NL Central title at Great American Ball Park on Tuesday. Also watching at home on television were at least five whistle-blowers who noted that the Reds were violating Ohio's indoor-smoking ban. They called Cincinnati's health department to report the team and now the Cincinnati Enquirer reports the club is under investigation.

So, apparently ice cream isn't the only thing that watchdog groups are after. Now, they're making the world safe from enjoyment. If they are caught by Ohio health inspectors, the Reds could be fined $100. That'll teach them.

Meanwhile, every once in a while one of these "America's ... something" lists comes up. America's Fattest Cities, America's Most Attractive People or some such nonsense, leading us to believe that America's population is so segregated that the popular or beautiful people congregate in one spot. Now, we're discovering America's Smartest Cities. Really.

As though smart people seek out other smart people and tend to congregate. As it is with those "Most Beautiful" lists, it's hard to believe that one city has smarter people than another. Especially when you consider which city the list chose as having the smartest, even though it isn't really a city ...

Washington, D.C. What the people who put the list together failed to realize is that having a college degree does not necessarily make one intelligent, or know that Washington isn't a city. That makes the people who made up the list among the least intelligent list-makers in America.

My list would be, "America's Most Intelligent Blog Readers" and list each of you ... just because you keep reading.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

If you build it, they won't necessarily come.

There is a baseball team in Tampa, Florida. You can check the American League standings to prove it. They're listed under "AL East" and they're often near the top of the list, right there with the Yankees.

The problem is
(if you see it as a problem) that the people in Tampa do not support the team, and that angers a couple of their players, notably third baseman Evan Longoria and pitcher David Price.

"We go out there and play hard for 162 games, and for the fans to show the kind of support they're showing right now, you kind of wonder what else you have to do as a player." Longoria said in the St. Petersburg Times.

Price put this blurb on his Twitter page: "Had a chance to clinch a post season spot tonight with about 10,000 fans in the stands....embarrassing"

For one thing, athletes should be quicker to learn that Twitter is not helping them. Sooner or later, they're going to abandon it because all it seems to do is get them into trouble.
But the bigger issue is whether players have a right to complain about non-support from their community. It is assumed that they have fans, but how many is open to conjecture.

Sports is a different animal. It isn't like real life and the people involved in sports are not treated the way you and I are treated. Players assume that merely because they built a stadium and paid them to show up, that fans would automatically appear. The trouble with that logic is that not everybody likes sports - as much as we would like to believe otherwise.

It isn't necessary or even recommended that everyone take in a baseball game or spend their Sunday afternoon watching football. If that is what you enjoy, so be it, but the presence of a ballpark doesn't necessitate people filling it or even caring that it is there. Granted, it's hard to miss, but when you see one of those blimp shots at a big sporting event, notice how many vehicles are passing on nearby highways, seemingly oblivious to something that we are told is of earth-shattering importance.

To use Longoria's logic, a lot of people "go out there" and do their jobs with passion, and frequently, large numbers of people don't care all that much. I'm sure it's disappointing to the people involved, but you can't legislate morality and you can't demand that people enjoy something that you enjoy. Great film directors make great films, but if people don't show up, you really can't blame them. You can't go house-to-house and drag them to the theater. He probably wonders "what else he has to do" as a director to get people to like his film.

Each of us can probably name a local business that we liked that went out of business, seemingly too soon and without reason. But the fact is that larger numbers of people didn't like it than did, and our opinion, in the end, didn't matter all that much because, as we know, the majority rules. Why do athletes think that their business is any different?

If the Tampa Rays aren't drawing fans, they should move, just like any other business would be forced to close or relocate because they failed to attract customers. What gives athletes the right to think that people should enjoy their sport merely because they show up? It's pompous and self-important, which sadly, is the way of sports these days.

Maybe, they should appreciate the 10,000 people who care enough to show up and thank them for not staying home altogether, which is also their right.

Another All-Natural Blog Post.

SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. – Ice cream maker Ben & Jerry's is dropping the phrase "all natural" from all labels after a request from a health advocacy group. The Center for Science in the Public Interest and the company confirmed the move Monday. The CSPI told the company last month it should not use "all natural" if products contain alkalized cocoa, corn syrup, hydrogenated oil or other ingredients that are not natural.

So there you go. Another killjoy gang of do-gooders trying to make the world safe from corn syrup. The bigger problem is that companies like Ben and Jerry's kowtow to people like this because they're afraid of some bad publicity. What their marketing people don't understand is that people like – no, they want junk in their food. We like hydrogenated oil, salt, sugar and other additives that make food taste good to us. Otherwise, they would figure out a way to make tree bark flavored ice cream and replace sugar with beach sand.

It's pretty obvious that almost everything we enjoy eating is in some way bad for our health. Fats, sugars, salt and every combination of them makes us fat, clogs our arteries, give us some disease or a combination of all three. The bigger question is, why? Why is it necessary for us to eat vegetables, lean meat and other non-fat foods in order to keep our waistline narrower than our hips?

And not only do we have to watch what we eat, but we also have to get more exercise than ever, to the extent that we "need" heart rate monitors to insure that our pulse rate doesn't drop too low so that we wouldn't derive the maximum benefit. God forbid. It's difficult enough to work, earn a living and pay our bills without having to agonize over how much exercise we're getting and whether what we are getting is enough. It's exhausting, and the process should count toward our cardio-vascular work.

It's some sort of human trial or curse sent by whatever deity you believe in that we can't indulge in a bag of potato chips or a milk shake without making our scale spin around a few extra times. Have we genetically trained ourselves to enjoy foods that are bad for us or is it something that humans have struggled with over the centuries? Did 7th century man persecute himself for enjoying a nice steak, or were they ignorant to the fact that the foods they liked were slowly killing them? I'd guess the latter, which makes it even more baffling that we enjoy those kinds of food to begin with. Why isn't there a trigger in our genetics someplace that tells us what we should and shouldn't consume? Or maybe there is and we have a death wish?

I don't know. I do know that almost everything that tastes good to us will eventually lead to our untimely death. I also know that we will live a lot longer than our ancestors, and I suppose it's because we know that cigarettes, excessive alcohol and certain foods contribute to our longevity – or lack of it. Perhaps we'd be happier if we didn't know?