Showing 1 - 10 of 129 posts found matching keyword: rant

My father is enthusiastically following all the news stories about American college campus protests against Israel's ongoing campaign against Gaza. I'm not sure what the appeal of that story is for him other than the fact that's what Fox News is broadcasting all day to distract its viewers from the ongoing trial of The People of the State of New York v. some guy who used to be president. (According to Dad, those damn Yankees are being very unfair to that nice, smart man.)

When I think of college protests, the first thing that comes to mind are the protesters who stood just outside The Arch of my (not particularly liberal) college campus decrying Bush Junior's invasion of Iraq in 2003. I seem to recall no one was particularly kind to them at the time, the prevailing general sentiment being "how dare they stand up for those bastards after what they did on 9/11." To hear the locals talk about it, the only rational explanation for the protesters' behavior was that they hated America.

That's my father's stance on pretty much all protests. To hear him complain about Colin Kaepernick kneeling or Occupy Wall Street, there's nothing less American than protesting. (To be fair, he thinks events in, outside, and around the Capitol on January 6 were also wrong; he just thinks that unjustly persecuted fellow facing a kangaroo court in New York didn't have anything directly to do with them.)

I hate to be inconvenienced as much as the next guy, but I respect nonviolent, peaceful acts of civil disobedience in the style of Gandhi and MLK, even when I'm not particularly sympathetic to the protesters' cause, like that guy who stands on Gillis Bridge overlooking Sanford Stadium on game days yelling through a bullhorn that everyone in the crowd is going to Hell for worshipping a football instead of Jesus Christ. Sometimes, you've got to do what it takes to make people aware of your opinion.

It would be great if the kids camping on their college quads could restrain themselves from graffiti and spitting in the faces of the men who have come to arrest them, but it would also be great if Arabs and Jews could find a way to stop indiscriminately killing one another in ever increasing numbers. As Dad tells me a great man once said, "there are very fine people on both sides."

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See if you can follow along: In 2005, as a college football player, Reggie Bush won the Heisman Trophy for athletic excellence. In 2010, it was determined that Bush accepted illegal payments and a car in 2004 which should have made him an ineligible player, which would have also made him ineligible to be nominated for a Heisman, so the trophy was reclaimed. In 2021, it became legal to pay college football players which means that you can now give a player a car and a Heisman. Today, fourteen years after it was taken away, Bush was given his Heisman Trophy back.

I've never had a very high opinion of the very subjective Heisman award, but now it's impossible for me to have less.

Bush has always decried having his trophy taken away because, well, I guess he thinks he deserved that car. Sure, he was indubitably a great college athlete, and sure, it's legal to pay players now, but it wasn't then. And that's the point.

According to their own website, the Heisman Trophy Trust admits explicitly charges all 928 voting members with the following criteria for their nominations:

"In order that there will be no misunderstanding regarding the eligibility of a candidate, the recipient of the award MUST be a bona fide student of an accredited college or university including the United States Academies. The recipients must be in compliance with the bylaws defining an NCAA student athlete."

Even if the Heisman committee has decided that players always should have been paid, anyone who breaks the rules in place while they are playing, by definition, cannot be "in compliance with [NCAA] bylaws." Therefore, letting him keep the trophy is in explicit violation of the Heisman Trust's own stated rules.

Hey, it's the Heisman Trust's trophy and they can do whatever they hell they want to with it. But if they want us to believe their rules have any more significance than the NCAA's, they should at least stop pretending their award is anything other than a popularity contest.

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The recent press release announcing that Subway has signed a new 10-year agreement with PepsiCo reads

"Under the new agreement, Subway restaurants will offer a consumer-driven assortment of beverages from the diverse PepsiCo beverages portfolio... ."

What the fuck is a "consumer-driven assortment of beverages"?

I don't eat at Subway when I can avoid it (which is most of the time), so I am not in any position to confirm or deny that regular Subway customers often lament their inability to wash down their fish-free tuna sandwiches with such name brands as MTN DEW®, Starry®, and Gatorade®. I mean, sure, maybe. Americans once chose a reality television star to be president, so I guess anything is possible.

As I said, I don't eat there, so it's no skln off my back that Subway has chosen to offer their guests an inferior liquid product to accompany their inferior solid products. If that's what they want, more power to them. I just have doubts that this change was "driven" by "consumers," unless the drivers and consumers in question are Subway and PepsiCo accountants.

Sales data indicates that Pepsi continues to fail its own Pepsi Challenge against Coke (which annually outsells Pepsi 4-to-3 by volume). But PepsiCo is the richer company in large part because it backs up its weaker soda sales with Yum! Brands restaurants and Frito-Lay, which have been the exclusive snack product line of Subway for at least 17 years running... and thanks to a recent agreement promoted in the same press release, will continue to be until at least 2030.

So if there was any such thing as truth in advertising, the press release should probably have read

"If you want our delightful potato chips, you have to take our lousy soda, too."

Whatever. You do you, Subway. Meanwhile, I'll be eating someplace that serves Coca-Cola.

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I went grocery shopping yesterday. Walking in the door, I passed a sign very clearly instructing all customers that masks were required in the building, but I was the only shopper I saw who was wearing one. I hadn't realized so few people in my town could read.

Two weeks into February, Coweta County has reported already more deaths from COVID-19 this month than December and January combined. I know that death is a lagging indicator (by approximately two weeks), but I don't know how anyone can look at those numbers and think, "Now is the time to stop wearing masks!"

When I was a kid during the Cold War of the 1980s, I used to wonder how long people would stay in their underground fallout shelters after World War III before emerging to see if the world was once again inhabitable. The answer, I now know, appears to be not quite 2 years. After that, hey, radiation poisoning doesn't seem so bad.

One day, when we send people to Mars, will some significant percentage of the colonists decide that they've simply had enough and walk outside of their protective environments without masks? Is that what happened to the Roanoke Colony? "I don't care that it's snowing outside; I'm not putting on another pair of pants!"

Look, I get that wearing a mask sucks. *I* think it sucks. But so long as an ongoing pandemic continues to kill thousands of Americans — and several of my immediate neighbors — every day, I think I can do at least the least I can do to help prevent further spread.

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My neighbors already have a Christmas Tree in their window, and I want to smash it. The window, that is. The tree should be set on fire.

A wise man once said, "I think there must be something wrong with me, Linus. Christmas is coming, but I'm not happy. I don't feel the way I'm supposed to feel." Hear, hear, Charlie Brown. I like peace on Earth. I like the idea of good will toward men. I even like candy canes, gingerbread houses, and getting gifts. So why don't I like Christmas?

I'm sure some of it has to do with the fact that Christmas is a disruption of my regular schedule. That's not fun for me. And maybe I don't like seeing other people enjoy themselves. Keep your happiness in Whoville, you jerks!

But I think what I hate most is how commercialized the holiday is. The mindlessly rapacious American consumer is encouraged — nay, expected! — to buy a whole bunch of tchotchkes and gewgaws they don't want or need, crap like this:

I'm sure David Hasselhoff is honored to be in the same collection

We're tearing down forests and melting the icecaps so that someone can grow some faux hair on piles of poo? Bah, humbug.

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Dad has been in the hospital since Tuesday.

His colectomy surgery to address lingering problem from his 2018 diverticulosis episode had originally been postponed because the hospital was full of COVID patients (but they later found room after calling in support from the National Guard). Measures designed to prevent the further spread of COVID within the hospital mean that he is allowed only one visitor per day. COVID is stretching hospital resources so thin that staff have been forced to leave Dad lying on soiled sheets because clean and sanitized sheets were not immediately available.

One thing I cannot blame on COVID is Dad's hallucinations, presumably resulting from a combination of medications and lack of sleep. In the midst of a waking dream, he removed all his catheters and drips and tried to tear out his drain. This last bit may have damaged his sutures. He's now subject to a more robust watch by the nursing staff, which in practical terms doesn't mean as much as it might because the staff is already overtaxed tending to patients suffering from COVID*.

The point here is that I'm finding it increasingly difficult not to be rationally furious at every idiot who has participated in extending this fucking pandemic that for 18 months and counting continues to make life both more difficult and more perilous for everyone on the planet.

As I waited to pass screening into the hospital yesterday, the lady working the front desk was trying to be apologetic about the hospital's restriction procedures. "Numbers have been going down the past two weeks. It may be over soon," she said. I said, "I've heard that before." She gave up trying to make small talk with me, a lesson everyone should probably take to heart, at least until we can all talk to one another safely without masks on.

*UPDATE: I've been sitting in the hospital room all afternoon, and the staff couldn't be nicer or more attentive. I should not impugn their Herculean efforts. The COVID era sucks for them, too.

UPDATE 2021-09-26: Today, Dad developed a case of hospital delirium and escaped from the hospital on foot. Full credit to the entire staff, including the nurses who were bowled over by a fleeing, bow-legged senior citizen and the security guards who peacefully returned him to his bed. I mention this so specifically because the hospital staff continues to do a great job under the most trying circumstances. (Personally, I would have let him just keep running, which is the best argument for why I should never work in a hospital.)

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Twitter very helpfully reminds me that today is Batman Day 2021. Explains the site: "Fans pay tribute to the DC Comics superhero on Batman Day, which is celebrated each year on the third Saturday of September." The only problem with that description is that it is not true.

Maybe Batman Day is held on the third Saturday of September since 2018, but it wasn't always. As I have documented elsewhere, Batman Day has been all over the calendar since it was first recognized in July 2014. But that's not the part I'm really bothered by.

The word "fans" in that description is misleading, unless you'd describe the corporations who own the Batman intellectual property as fans. Unlike Star Wars Day, which began as a genuine celebration of its source material before being taken over as a marketing exercise by The Walt Disney Co., Batman Day has never been anything other than a marketing exercise by WarnerMedia.

I wonder if whoever crafted that description for Twitter wasn't having a little fun with the wording. The phrase "pay tribute," which has come to mean a figurative giving of praise, was originally meant quite literally. A tribute is a tax levied on conquered peoples. Give your thanks (and dollars!) to your corporate masters, Bat-fans!

Which is not to say that I don't like Batman or think it's uncool to say how great the Caped Crusader is. I'd just like a little honesty in why we chose today to do it, is all.

Sometimes he's a little too honest
Batman #119, October 1958

Honesty! It's what Batman would want.

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Welcome to the 16th Annual Wriphe.com Batman and Football Month, now with 166% more disease!

A year ago, I looked upon the approaching college football season with trepidation and wrote

I get that the players want to play. As a fan, I want to watch. But just because we *want* football doesn't mean we're in a position to have it. If you're old enough and smart enough to go to college, you're old enough not to let your wants hurt you. If getting this pandemic under control, if ensuring that we break the chain of infections to protect ourselves, our families, and our neighbors means we have to stay in our homes (or dorms) and forego one football season, we should do that, even if we don't want to. Any other behavior is just irresponsible.

Oh, how naive I was in my youth. Let me show you how much things have changed in the state of Georgia in one year. This is August 2020:

On a roller coaster, we'd call this a bunny hill

And this is where we are in August 2021:

A pandemic so nice, we did it twice
source: worldometers.info

A year-to-year gain of +7,000 cases on a graph that is still climbing! To get numbers like that, you have to be actively trying!

Just like in 2020, I bought UGA football season tickets in the early spring under the assumption that this whole pandemic thing might be under control by fall. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Granted, some things have changed in a year. In theory, the players have all been vaccinated (right?), so they should be safe enough (from COVID if not brain damage). But can the same be said for the fans? There's a non-zero overlap between the group of people who love to watch live football and the group of people who would rather kill children than wear a strip of cloth over their faces.

I'm fully vaccinated and have been since May, but vaccination is no guarantee that I can't get the virus. (If you like to be depressed, Google "breakthrough cases" and "vaccine efficacy decline".) Since we have yet to see any sign that this latest pandemic surge is ready to turn any corners, it looks like I'll be missing out on another season.

I guess I should have spent that ticket money on a new, larger television. I may be in my bunker for a long time yet to come.

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My father was supposed to have surgery this past Tuesday to finally address complications resulting from his diverticulosis in October 2018. It didn't happen.

We've spent most of the past three years dealing with his heart issues, which made doctors uneasy about intestinal surgery. First an artificial valve, then a pacemaker, then another pacemaker.... Now that those are resolved, Dad was all set to finally put (most of ) his abdominal issues to rest. Unfortunately, things continue to work out not as planned. This time, the hospital had to cancel. It seems they ran out of room.

Late this week, Piedmont Hospital Newnan was forced to call in the National Guard for help against the latest surge against COVID-19. They didn't need that help back in January, so that tells you how bad this wave is. According to one report, they are booked to 125% of capacity, with the Emergency Room waiting room converted to temporary overflow COVID-patient holding.

(Side note: They say that most of those currently ill with the Delta variant weren't vaccinated. I wonder what the overlap is in Georgia between those who chose not to vaccinate and those who have no health insurance? I'd ask a high school student to draw that Venn diagram, but masks are optional in Coweta County schools, and I don't want to end up in the hospital myself.)

Both Dad and I like to think that one day he'll finally be fixed enough to avoid his current monthly visits to a urologist and surgeon. Maybe so. But the way things are going, it doesn't look like it's going to be any day soon.

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A regular op-ed columnist in the local newspaper — a former police officer — recently decried potential firearm regulation legislation using the justification that more people die annually drowning in swimming pools (2,616) than in mass shootings (446). That's a great point.

His argument convinced me. I mean, who cares how many innocent people are shot to death when there are people drowning? Obviously, if you don't want to drown, don't get in the water. And if you don't want to get shot to death, don't go to the grocery store. Problem solved!

You know what else kills people? Falling down. According to the CDC, falling killed 39,443 people in 2019. It'd be ridiculous to outlaw gravity, right? Handrails and walls are for pussies! If I want to wear shoes made from banana peels and K-Y Jelly tubes, that's my God-given right.

The next time someone assaults someone in a massage parlor or movie theater with 10,000 gallons of chlorinated water, I promise I'll support swimming pool control legislation.

Remember, kids: It's not guns that kill people. It's swimming pools.â„ 

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To be continued...

 

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