Posts Tagged ‘China’

The Detroit Domino

July 19, 2013

Thursday July 18th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

   I’m ashamed to admit it, but being an active card carrying member of the human race thrills me less and less by the day. It’s supposed to be my job to find the funny in this world, but with every passing day I’m feeling that desire slip away like virginity in the prison shower. Life disturbs me, and I don’t know where to start. Every direction I look there’s a fire burning out of control. Help!

   The Trayvon Martin case is polarizing the nation. I can’t turn on my TV or radio without being subjected to two alleged ‘experts’ on either side of the argument throwing vicious verbal darts at each other, and I’m completely sick of it. There’s going to be a race war sooner than later in this country, and it’s going to get uglier than it already is. The tension level is rising to a fever pitch.

   In most normal scenarios, this is where humor should ride in like the Lone Ranger and save the day. Humor by its very nature eases tension – or at least it’s supposed to. Try slipping in a joke at the water cooler at work or a party of mixed company and see how it flies. You’ll be barbecued.

   I’m not saying this is a comedic situation, but unless some tension gets released there’s trouble on the horizon. Nobody I talk to is without a strong opinion in this case, and ALL of it has to boil down to race. Try as we might, there’s still a giant gap between races and it’s not just whites and blacks. Hispanics are in it too, and we’re going to eventually clash with China sooner than later.

   And if that weren’t enough – even though for me it’s more than plenty – the city of Detroit has declared bankruptcy. It’s been coming for a while, but today was the day. I’m sure there will be a tidal wave of jokes all over the place about it, and I’m sure there will be many that are hilarious.

   I’m all for a well constructed joke, but there’s a lot deeper significance here and I’m concerned too much to laugh. Detroit was once the symbol of the American manufacturing empire, but now it’s been relegated to laughing stock status. That doesn’t bode well for the rest of our fading land.

   You can’t tell me this will be the last major American city where this will occur. Detroit started the trend of severe urban decay in the ‘60s and other cities followed. I remember Detroit as a butt of jokes as a kid along with Cleveland, aka “The mistake on the lake.” Is it funny? Not anymore.

   Sadly, I don’t see a bright future for my home town of Milwaukee either. I sure wish I did, but I don’t. They’re following the same troubling trend most Midwest rust belt cities are, and people with any financial means whatsoever are moving out in droves. The only ones who stay are poor and can’t go anywhere else. Pretty soon, the Detroit domino will start pushing over many more.

   I hate to be such a gloom slinger, but it’s just how I see it. How the hell can I be funny if these intense problems are flaming out of control? I find it hard – especially since a bad economy kills the entertainment business. If people have no money to spend, they can’t come out and see me.

   Never have I claimed to have any, all or some of the answers. Hell, I don’t even have a single one. But what I do have like everyone else is a need to earn a legitimate living. I’m not looking for handouts or special treatment, I just want to be able to practice my craft and earn my keep.

   That has always been a challenge, but now it’s getting to be downright brutal. This is not what I planned on when I started, and it’s not the same country I grew up in. Change? I didn’t want it in ’08, and I don’t want it now. I thought the America I was born into was working rather well.

Not So Super

February 4, 2013

Sunday February 3rd, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

   The Super Bowl without the Green Bay Packers in it is about as interesting to me as an electric guitar is to an Amish musician. I couldn’t care less who wins or loses, and if it were up to me I’d just as soon there be some kind of unplanned power outage or something to get everyone talking.

Oh wait – that’s exactly what happened. I wasn’t going to watch even one play of the game this year until I received an invite from Mark Gumbinger to attend a party at his house and I said yes. He’s got the ultimate man cave in his basement complete with a state of the art sound system and one of the biggest screen TVs of all time, so that was a no brainer. I was flattered to be invited.

We hung out and watched the game, even though none of us had any vested interest in it. None of us had any money bet, and we didn’t do squares or anything like that. Some people I know are not able to watch any sporting event without betting something, but that demon never found me.

One thing I couldn’t help noticing was the pageantry of it all. It’s a manufactured holiday and is now ingrained in the American culture like Thanksgiving or Christmas. Right or wrong, that’s how big it is and we all got to talking about that when the power went out during the game. We’d first thought there was a terrorist incident, and I’m sure we weren’t the only ones guessing that.

Maybe there’s a bigger story behind it, or maybe it was just some minimum wager that pushed a wrong button at the wrong time. Either way it ended up affecting an event hundreds of millions of people were watching and betting on all over the globe and it is now etched in sports history.

Years from now sports fans will bring up “The Power Outage” Super Bowl and it will be a part of the common knowledge between us just as “The Immaculate Reception” in Pittsburgh or “The Ice Bowl” in Green Bay now is. Participants in this game will be interviewed to share memories.

What overwhelming astronomical odds it was also that the coaches were brothers. What are the chances of that happening? It’s ridiculously rare for anybody to make it to the big leagues in any sport much less brothers, and then to have brothers meet as Super Bowl coaches is off the charts.

Life itself is about overcoming tremendous odds. ONE sperm cell makes it out of billions that try, and nobody remembers the others. Nobody remembers the losers of any Super Bowls either, except for that team’s players and fans. People in San Francisco are bumming today, but nobody else really cares. I had no emotion watching the game whatsoever, except not liking Ray Lewis.

I find that guy absolutely reprehensible, both of his belief that ‘God is on his side’ and also for the incident he was implicated in where a double murder happened in his presence. He makes me nauseous whenever he comes on TV, and it seems so wrong that he gets two Super Bowl rings.

But what does it mean what I think? Not a lot. I bet less than .0001 of China’s billions couldn’t care less about Ray Lewis much less pronounce his name correctly. Wars are still going on in too many places and millions are still starving. That should put things into perspective, but it doesn’t.

Green Bay Pukers

October 8, 2012

Sunday October 7th, 2012 – Lake Villa, IL

   Enough is enough, and this is it. My aching arse, the Green Bay Packers have finally pissed me off so badly I am not going back for more. Like an abused spouse, I am packing my bags and I’m out the door. My can is dented enough from life. I don’t need this torture to make it any deeper.

Those clowns didn’t even look like they were trying in the second half of one of the bitterest of losses I can ever remember. It was bad enough they got robbed on the last play in Seattle just two weeks ago and barely scraped out a skin of the teeth win over a Saints team in turmoil last week.

It was frustrating, infuriating and just plain unacceptable. As a lifelong customer I have a right to stop buying a product whenever I decide – and I decide it’s going to be now. I have been loyal (translation: brainwashed) to these pinheads long enough. The camel’s back has been snapped.

Watching sports is supposed to be fun, and a diversion from the stressful pressures of daily life. When sports become the source of much of that stress, it’s time to do something else. I couldn’t care less if the NFL disbands tomorrow, and with all the problems they’re having it may happen.

Why am I wasting my time with this anymore? What inner itch is being scratched by watching someone else try to accomplish something when in fact it should be me who should be doing the winning on my own behalf? Having to depend on someone else to make my self esteem shine is not how I want to live my life. From now on, I will spend my Sundays doing something better.

There has to be something positive I could accomplish for three hours a week if I really look to find it. Maybe I could read a book or write an article or take time to answer emails or any of a lot of other things that don’t involve that helpless feeling of having to hope a bunch of overpaid oafs who I’ve never even met please me by defeating another group of overpaid oafs. How low am I?

I don’t know why, but this one really pushed all my buttons. If I performed that poorly on a job I have to believe I’d be fired immediately. Someone needs to lose a job over this, and it needs to happen immediately. How can a defense give up all those yards to an aging guy without figuring something out to stop him from flat out embarrassing them? I saw no heart there and it’s pitiful.

I would much rather go out and do something that I have at least some control over rather than have to go through this insanity every week. Fun had nothing to do with the last three weeks, and just like with comedy I always said I’d stop when it wasn’t fun anymore. Well, that time is now.

Those heartless bums don’t deserve my time, and I’m not going to give it to them. In the bigger picture of life, this all seems like a big waste of valuable time that could be used to do something on a lot higher level. There are millions of Packer fans who are feeling the exact same sting I do.

Billions more who aren’t even football fans at all could not care any less. I doubt if five people in China were upset after the game or even know what football is. They’ve got other problems to think about and so do I. The Green Bay Packers and the NFL don’t need me, and I’m moving on.