Saturday, January 30, 2010

Quite an embarrassment

Four people are facing charges and more could be in trouble after police review videotapes from a melee Friday night at a Wash High-Monessen boys basketball game in Monessen. Police say the incident, which Washington schools superintendent Roberta DiLorenzo described as a "riot," apparently began when a girl from Wash High and a female student from Monessen started "fighting over a male basketball player." The incident escalated, with some adults reportedly joining students in the fray. One person needed hospital treatment after the brawl, and police had to use Tasers on as many as four people to subdue them. The gym was cleared of fans before the game was allowed to continue. Two adults and a teen from Washington, along with a Monessen teen, were cited by police. It's bad enough that kids were acting like idiots, but it's shameful that so-called adults joined in. And now the superintendents of the two schools are displaying considerable gall by questioning how police handled the mess. For the record, four off-duty Monessen police officers had been hired to work the game. That right there tells me all I need to know about the atmosphere at Monessen games. If you need four cops at a high school baskeball game, you've got problems. And as it turns out, those four policemen weren't even enough to handle the mess that developed. They had to call for backup from neighboring police departments. But DiLorenzo and Monessen superintendent Cynthia Chelen are suggesting that police went overboard, questioning their use of Tasers to get the miscreants under control. Said Chelen, "Looking at the video (from TV), I'm not sure a Taser was necessary, but I was not there." So, the superintendent admittedly wasn't even at the game, yet she seems to think she knows what level of force was required to restore order. I guess Ms. Chelen would have no problem if the Monessen police chief comes to her and says, "You know, I just watched two minutes of classroom video, and I'm not sure you're doing a good job preparing your students for the PSSA tests." When it comes to how police handled this "riot," to use DiLorenzo's term, the superintendents need to put a sock in it. When severely outnumbered police officers are facing a situation where a brawl could conceivably escalate to involve dozens of people, they should do what they need to do to keep that from happening. I seem to recall that the City League in Pittsburgh used to play its football and basketball games in empty stadiums and gyms because of a legitimate, experience-based fear of violence by students and fans from the league schools. Perhaps the folks who run high school sports in Western Pennsylvania should take the same approach at places where students, parents and other fans have gained a reputation for not knowing how to act.

Labels: , , ,

Friday, January 29, 2010


Figure skater Johnny Weir is a strange bird. No. Wait. Let's be honest. He's a walking, talking freak show of a human being. The latest strange story involving Weir centers on a small piece of white fox fur that he had his "designer" attach to his costume at the recent U.S. Figure Skating Championships. That's the "garment" shown above. Well, the costume caused the fur to fly as animal rights groups took Weir to task. Friends of Animals wrote an open letter to Weir and contacted his designer, Stephanie Handler. Initially, Weir wasn't fazed a bit, saying, "I totally get the dirtiness of the fur industry and how terrible it is to animals. But it's not something that's the No. 1 priority in my life. There are humans dying every day. There are thousands, if not millions, of homeless people in New York City. Look at what just happened in Haiti. I tend to focus my energy, if there is a cause, on humans. While that may be callous and bad of me, it's my choice." Flash forward a couple of days, and Weir decided to change his choice, announcing that his costume will henceforth be decorated with fake fur. Weir's agent says the decision was made because the skater feared that animal-rights groups might try to disrupt his performances in the upcoming Winter Olympics. Weir made it clear that it was all about him and the "dream I have had since I was a kid." He added, "I hope these activists can understand that my decision to change my costume is in no way a victory for them. I am not changing in order to appease them, but to protect my integrity and the integrity of the Olympic Games." Weir also has pointed out that all his fellow competitors are wearing skates made of cowhide. Perhaps he doesn't understand this, but there's a difference between utilitarian items such as skates and a piece of frivolous fringe on his outfit. I think these animal-rights groups go way overboard with some of their criticisms. I'm not going to give up steak dinners and ham sandwiches because an outfit like PETA doesn't like my lifestyle. But I believe they have a point when it comes to fur. Do a whole bunch of animals really need to die, and be killed in a horrific fashion, just so some rich lady can sport a floor-length mink coat? Do rabbits need to be killed so somebody can have a fancy fringe around the hood of their winter coat? And does Johnny Weir really need that stupid-looking tuft of fur on the shoulder of his goofy-looking costume? If Johnny doesn't have a problem with taking advantage of a smaller animal to make his outfit look more fabulous, I understand. But then I'm sure he wouldn't mind if I scalp him and dangle his pelt from my key ring. Hey, heterosexual guys can accessorize, too.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Open mouth, insert foot

It's only Tuesday, but at the risk of being proven wrong, I'm going to go ahead and anoint South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer as jackass of the week. During a recent speech at a town hall meeting in rural South Carolina – where his message was no doubt warmly received – Bauer related a story allegedly told to him by his grandmother when he was but a small boy. Grandma, said Bauer, told him to stop feeding stray animals. "You know why?" asked Bauer. "Because they breed. You’re facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a human ample food supply." I don't think it's going too far out on a limb to interpret Bauer's remarks as meaning that he believes we should cut off the food supply to poor people before they have a chance to reproduce. Bauer later explained that he was trying to explain that government social programs have bred a "culture of dependency." Why he didn't just say that, instead of suggesting that hordes of lazy, worthless poor people are suckling at the public teat and then producing more and more poor people who will take those good Republican tax dollars, is beyond me. Maybe he's just an idiot. It doesn't take a whole lot of reading between the lines to hear Bauer telling a no-doubt heavily white audience that the black people are bleeding them dry. Even if Bauer is not a dope, he certainly comes off as someone who doesn't give a damn about the less fortunate in his state, which has one of the highest unemployment rates in the entire country. But, of course, Bauer, who is seeking the Republican nomination for governor, is more interested in attracting the votes of the rich and, let's go ahead and say it, rednecks who don't like black people, than he is in courting the downtrodden. Poor folks aren't his "base." But it might be interesting to see how many of South Carolina's large number of right-wing evangelical voters stand behind Bauer if there are more stories cropping up about his personal life. Prominent gay activists have outed the anti-gay-rights Bauer as being, himself, gay. For the record, Bauer is a 40-year-old bachelor who was once a varsity cheerleader at the University of South Carolina. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Labels: , , , ,

Protecting the children from words

George Carlin, in his famous comedy bit about the seven words you can't say on television (all of which have since been said on television, with the advent of cable), opined that there really are no bad words, just bad thoughts and bad intentions. I tend to agree with that. A parent in a California school district doesn't agree with that assessment, and the district has gone absolutely nuts in response. According to blogger Judy Molland on the site, the mother demanded that the district ban the 10th edition of the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary after her kid came across the term "oral sex" in one of the books. School officials, unbelievably, folded like a cheap suit and pulled the dictionaries from every school in the district. And now, in true bureaucratic fashion, they've formed a committee to determine whether the ban should be made permanent. Apparently, in Menefee Union School District, a book filled with words used in the English language presents a clear and present danger to youngsters who are supposed to be learning. Talk about throwing the baby out with the bath water.

For a truly funny example of unnecessary censorship, check out this video:

Labels: , ,

Haven't the Haitians suffered enough?

To his credit, actor John Travolta used his own Boeing 707 jetliner to take relief supplies and doctors to earthquake-ravaged Haiti. Unfortunately, he also "gifted" the Haitian people with "ministers" from the Church of Scientology. If those ministers are hauling rubble and tending to the injured, that's one thing. But I've got a problem with it if their intention is to proselytize for their "religion" during this terrible time for the island nation. What are they going to do, hook up devastated Haitian people to their little auditing meters – which I'm convinced are just repurposed Milton Bradley "Operation" games – and make their troubles float away? Again, the supplies and doctors were a great gesture. The ministers? Not so much.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Where have you gone, hefty PB cups?

In the 1942 movie “Kings Row,” a newly legless Ronald Reagan famously asks, "Where's the rest of me?" That was sort of the feeling I had today when I bought a two-pack of the Reese's dark chocolate peanut butter cups. The package was so light that I thought they might have to tie the candy bars to the rack so a light breeze doesn't blow them away. Folks of my generation have memories, which we're only too glad to share, about the days when a kid could take a dime into a store and come out with a Hershey bar and a Coke. And in those days, a Reese's peanut butter cup was a good-sized piece of candy. Maybe I'm overdoing it a bit, but it seems like a single Reese's cup from my youth weighed more than the two in the pack I bought today. Food producers are a pretty tricky bunch. We all remember how the coffee cans started shrinking so we paid the same price for less coffee. It's been the same deal with ice cream containers. And I even noticed that a package of hash browns, which used to weigh 2 pounds, now comes in at around 34.5 ounces. On the good side of food news, we are now able to buy "throwback" Pepsi and Mountain Dew, which means they are produced with real sugar rather than the corn syrup that has been used, as far as I can recall, since the 1980s. The difference in taste is remarkable. The bad news is that Pepsi says the "throwback" versions – also known as “Mexican,” because sodas in that country still are produced with real sugar – will be available for a "limited time only." Let's see if I have this right. Pepsi puts out a product that is clearly preferable to the one that had been available, and then plans to take it back off the market. In other words, they're screwing with us. It's like McDonald's and the McRib sandwich. I rarely eat at McDonald's, but I will stop by if I see that the McRib is making one of its occasional "limited-time-only" appearances. And then, just as quickly as the McRib reappears, it is gone again. Why do they do this?

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Brown-out for the Dems

The equation in the special Senate election in Massachusetts was simple: Bad Democratic candidate + angry electorate = embarrassing loss. Massachusetts might be the last state where a Republican would be expected to topple a Democrat in a major race, but it happened Tuesday, when the GOP's Scott Brown whacked Democrat Martha Coakley to claim the Senate seat that had been held for decades by Ted Kennedy. Several questions came to mind after the election was over. My first thought was, how bad were the other candidates in the Democratic primary if Coakley was the winner? The second question, and much more important, is what this means for health-care reform. It would be an easy out for the Democrats to lay blame for Tuesday's loss on Coakley's failings as a candidate, but they really should recognize that anger over government spending and pending health-care legislation was the real reason for the Republican victory. What should the Democrats do now about health-care reform? With Brown taking office, they no longer have the votes to block a Senate filibuster, unless they can attract a moderate Republican - and there ain't many of them - to their side. But that would take some major concessions, weakening an already watered-down bill. They also could try to find enough House members to approve the Senate bill, as is. That's a tough sell. I wouldn't be the least bit unhappy if the legislation died a quick death. They lost me when they eliminated any mechanism to provide real competition for the health-insurance companies. Without a single-payer system or a true public option, the chance for the measure to have a significant impact on health-care costs is minimal. Those who still support the pending legislation say it's a good first step and can be improved later. Really? Who, exactly, is going to "improve" the legislation down the road? The next Congress? You mean the one with a lot more Republicans in it? Good luck with that. Some Republicans are positively giddy about Tuesday's outcome. Some are touting the benefits of a divided government, now that Democrats have lost their 60-40 advantage in the Senate. Funny, but I don't remember them crowing about those positives when the Republicans lost the House and Senate in 2006. One person I saw on Facebook last night even called it the beginning of the second American Revolution. Easy there. Don't go digging up Paul Revere's corpse and strapping him to a horse just yet. The midterm congressional elections aren't until November, and a lot can happen in nine months. As you might recall, nine months before the 2008 Democratic primaries began, Hillary Clinton was being fitted for a crown for her coronation tour. How did that work out? For the Democrats' sake, I hope they're not going to follow the advice of Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen, the chief of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, who told the Associated Press that the plan is for his colleagues to continue to lay the blame on the Bush administration for steering the economy "into a ditch" and then running away. Enough of that. Certainly, Obama was left with a mess by Bush, who, in my opinion, was a really rotten president. But Obama has been in office for a year now, and the Democrats have controlled Congress longer than that. By the time the November elections roll around, Obama's tenure will be close to two years. At that point, whatever state the country is in, he and the Democratic Congress own it, not George W. Bush. One problem with the Democrats is that they want to be the party of lofty ideals, but they're not willing to get down in the mud and wrestle for what they believe in. The GOP might be morally bankrupt, depending on your way of thinking, but they've rarely gone broke by pandering to and rallying the birther/town hall shrieker/take-back-the-country-for-Jesus-and-the-rich crowd. They secure their base much better than the Democrats do, and if they can attract independents angry about the course of the country, they're winners. That's exactly how that Obama fellow ended up in the White House. He rallied the Democratic core and added support from independents, some of them disgusted by the eight years of Bush-Cheney rule and others, no doubt, legitimately fearful about having the Wasilla Wingnut a heartbeat away from the presidency. At this point, the best the Democrats can really hope for is moderate losses of seats in the next Congress. The worst is a wipeout that would leave them and the president largely impotent. To minimize the damage, they need to go on the offensive, stake out their positions clearly, point out the failings of the Republican Party and truly stand up for what they believe in. They've got a big selling job ahead, but knowing the history of the Democrats, they'll probably just sell out.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

That old-time extremism

In this country, we often hear about "Muslim extremists," but I don't hear anyone complaining about the Christian extremists in our midst. One such bunch appears to be operating in Westmoreland County. It seems the pastor of Christian Fellowship Center of Greensburg has gone to county court to seek an order upholding a vote by the church board to expel two church elders. One of the elders reportedly was argumentative and had a poor attendance record at church functions. OK, that's understandable. The second, however, was voted out because he, um, failed to speak in tongues. For the uninitiated, speaking in tongues involves spewing made-up gibberish, supposedly through the power of the Holy Spirit, and, according to an AP story, it displays what some churches consider to be “necessary evidence of one’s faith.” I don't know if you’ve ever seen anyone speaking in tongues, but it makes the Jodie Foster character in the movie “Nell” sound like Sir Laurence Olivier. Hearing about this legal action brought to mind something even scarier, the hellishly frightening 2006 documentary “Jesus Camp,” in which children essentially were tortured into buying into the charms of Pentacostal/charismatic Christianity. To get an idea of the film’s contents, take a look at this: Involving young children in this sort of twisted indoctrination amounts to mental crucifixion and child abuse. If Muslim parents gathered their children together at such a camp and treated them in this fashion, badgering them to fight for the views of their God, there are a lot of folks in this country – selling a different brand of faith – who would accuse them of sowing the seeds of jihad and probably attempt to have the kids taken from them. This is just a reminder that extremism is bad, no matter who or what is being worshipped. And if you’re not sickened by what you saw in the video clip, there’s really something wrong with you.

Labels: , , ,

Friday, January 15, 2010

Dick Ebersol is aptly named

Nobody can accuse NBC executive Dick Ebersol of not being a company man. If you've been living under a rock, NBC has decided to kill Jay Leno's 10 p.m. weeknight talk show and wants to put Leno back at 11:35, thus pushing back Conan O'Brien’s "Tonight Show." O’Brien, as one might expect, is balking about the move and has been very public in bashing the network's plan. And now Ebersol is trying to shift the blame for the whole mess to O’Brien, calling him an "astounding failure." Ebersol also ripped O’Brien and fellow late-night host David Letterman for their pointed jokes about the situation, saying, "It’s chicken-hearted and gutless to blame a guy (Leno) you couldn’t beat in the ratings. They're just striking out at Jay.” Chicken-hearted? It's not as if O'Brien and Letterman are leaking statements to the National Enquirer. They're making them on national TV in front of millions of viewers. And let's remember that it was NBC who pushed Leno out of the "Tonight Show" seat and replaced him with O'Brien. As for that "astounding failure" remark, I think O'Brien, whose previous show needed time to build an audience, deserves more than seven months to succeed with the "Tonight Show." Ebersol also is taking O'Brien to task for blaming his own so-so ratings on the weak lead-in provided by Leno. Let's face facts, Dick. Leno's ratings at 10 p.m. stink. That's the reason you're killing his show. And O'Brien isn't the only one pointing to the sorry lead-in provided by Leno. NBC affiliates are reportedly hacked, and losing money, because Leno is providing such a weak lead-in to their 11 p.m. news programs. Leno promised something new and different when he moved from 11:35 to 10 p.m., but instead he rolled out the same old, tired gags from his old show. Viewers stayed away in droves. Leno is the real underachiever here. It's really easy to settle this whole mess. If Ebersol is so convinced that O'Brien is an "astounding failure," he and NBC should have no problem releasing O'Brien from his NBC deal and allowing him to immediately take his talk show to another network, where he could compete directly with Leno. Yeah, right.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Just shut up

For anyone who isn't aware, televangelist Pat Robertson is a dumbass of the lowest order. His latest pronouncement from Mt. Dunderhead is that the earthquake in Haiti was somehow linked to activities by local residents a couple of hundred years ago. Here's what dipstick said on his “700 Club” program Wednesday: "(The Haitians) were under the heel of the French. You know, Napoleon III and whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, ‘We will serve you if you will get us free from the French.’ True story. And so, the devil said, ‘OK, it’s a deal.’” I'm not sure where old Pat is getting his info on this so-called deal. Maybe the Port-au-Prince Examiner had a reporter on the scene. Robertson has a long history of making stupid statements after disasters, natural or otherwise. He has linked everything from Hurricane Katrina to 9/11 to the near-deadly stroke suffered by Israeli leader Ariel Sharon on activities that hacked off God - like people being gay and such. I'm not sure how long the Big Guy has been unleashing wrath on innocent folks because of the supposed misdeeds of small groups of people within the population or, in Haiti's case, their forefathers. Maybe the 1974 tornado that leveled Xenia, Ohio, and killed about three dozen people was retribution for some guy skipping church to play golf. Or maybe God only recently returned to Old Testament-style smiting. We'll have to ask Pat about that. I have a few other questions. When a child dies of cancer, is that punishment for something that somebody did somewhere? Why does God allow people like Pat Robertson, Oral Roberts and Jerry Falwell to bring ridicule upon the Christian faith? And why does Pat Robertson think his religion is any more valid or grounded in reality than Haitian voodoo? There's certainly no evidence to back that up. Falwell and Roberts are dead. It's not going to be a great loss to humanity when Robertson joins them.

Labels: ,

Might as well face it, he's addicted to love (making)

If published reports are accurate, Tiger Woods, who was last seen thrashing about on the lawn of his Florida mansion last Thanksgiving under very sketchy circumstances, has checked himself into a private clinic for treatment of sex addiction. The reports aren't very clear on where the clinic is located. One report says Arizona, another South Africa. I guess this is Tiger's way of claiming that it wasn't his fault he ditched his trousers with the frequency of a porn actor. He had a sickness, don't you know, just like all those other celebrities who suddenly find a need for rehabilitation to get off booze or pills after they run their Hummer into a house or open up a can of whoop-ass on their significant other. People magazine, which claims Tiger is in an Arizona facility called The Meadows (I don't think Delvin Miller was involved with this one), cites a source who says the golfer “should be out by Valentine’s Day or thereabouts.” Yep, Valentine's Day. You can't make this stuff up.

Labels: , ,

Monday, January 11, 2010

Oh, come on

Let me preface this by saying that I think Harry Reid is a dim-bulb political hack and a sad excuse for a leader of anything, let alone the U.S. Senate. But Republican calls for him to step down over remarks he made about the 2008 presidential race and the election of Barack Obama are just plain stupid. For those who didn't hear the story in recent days, there's a new book out called "Game Change" in which Reid is quoted as saying that Obama benefited by being light-skinned and having "no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one." Based on the trumped-up outrage of Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas and Senate GOP Whip Jon Kyl, you would have thought that Reid had said Obama should be picking cotton in the Mississippi Delta. Oh, wait, that was Trent Lott, the former senator to whom those Republicans are trying to compare Reid. I kid you not. Steele, who is an early betting favorite to win the "Political D-bag of the Year" award for 2010, said Reid should resign his leadership position, and he tried to link Reid's comments to those of Lott, who quit his Senate leadership post in 2002 after suggesting that the United States would have been a better place if blacks were still separate and unequal. Any rational, intelligent person can see that there's no comparison between what Reid and Lott said, but rational, intelligent people aren't the folks whom Steele, Cornyn and Kyl are pandering to. Fact is, Reid was talking about the reality of Obama's appeal to voters, particularly white voters, and while Reid has apologized for his wording, his comments are essentially true. When 25 percent of Democratic primary voters in West Virginia in 2008 said their decision was at least somewhat motivated by race, it's pretty easy to see that a candidate like Barack Obama would do better with some voters than a guy who looks and talks like Sonny Liston. And while it might not be politically correct to say so, there is a "black dialect" in our country. It's a pattern of speech that most of us hear every day if we watch television, and traces of it are detectable even among highly trained speakers such as TV newscasters. It's really no big deal. As a nation that includes people of many different cultural backgrounds, we shouldn't expect each and every person to sound like Rex Harrison in "My Fair Lady." Lott's remarks eight years ago were decidedly different. The senator, now a lobbyist, said at a birthday party for Sen. Strom Thurmond, who was once one of America's leading racists, that his home state of Mississippi was proud that it had supported Thurmond's bid for the presidency in 1948. Added Lott, "And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over these years, either." Nice. As for Reid, black leaders far and wide are rallying behind him, so this issue really is a tempest in a teapot. The Republicans should just move on.

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, January 7, 2010

In reality, dogs rule

This will probably come as no surprise, but a new Associated poll has found that more Americans like dogs than cats. Plenty of people like both, but the poll found 74 percent of respondents like dogs a lot, but just 41 percent like cats a lot. I've had dogs and cats since I was a young child, and while I've had some very lovable cats, I really don't find them a match for a good dog. The photo above shows my "baby" with his muddy paws on the coffee table that he chewed at every opportunity when he was a pup. I think Joseph Moreus, a California man interviewed for an AP story about the poll, summed it up pretty well when he said, “Cats are all about cats ... Cats don't care if they please you or not.” That's pretty much it. Cats do their own thing. Our current cat, when she's not fending off the retriever, spends most of her day sleeping under a piece of furniture in the living room. She doesn't care whether we humans go upstairs, downstairs or outside the house. Dogs, on the other hand, want to be where you are. They're sad when you go somewhere and happy as all heck when you come home. You want to play, they'll play. You want to hit the couch for a nap, they'll curl up next to you. You want to pee in the yard, they'll join you. OK, maybe that was a bad example, and don't try that family "whiz break" if you live in town. I should mention, for my own personal safety, that my wife does NOT join us for that particular group activity. But back to my central point, which is that it's hard not to love dogs. My dogs are happy when I'm happy, and comforting when I'm not. My life is better because of my dogs. And I think that's the best endorsement I can give.


Health or dollars?

Can we start by agreeing that air pollution is bad? Probably. But where we'll disagree is on how much air pollution is acceptable and how much we're willing to spend to reduce it. The Environmental Protection Agency today proposed tougher smog standards, just a couple of years after President Bush ignored scientists’ recommendations and set a higher smog standard than what they proposed. Actually, ignored is probably not the right word. Bush heard what they said, but when electric utilities and other companies complained, he sided with industry over the health of Americans. The new, tighter standards are not cost-free, by any means. The EPA says it will cost tens of billions to meet the called-for smog reductions, but the agency says billions eventually will be saved in terms of avoided emergency room visits, premature deaths, missed work, etc. We can't control what other countries do around the globe, but we can, and should, do what we can to improve our environment. And that includes, for some people, admitting that climate change is real and that our actions are largely to blame for it. And admitting that we need to do more – much more – to develop alternatives to our current fuel sources.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, January 4, 2010

An old-man rant

If you've heard this before (and if you're a longtime reader of this blog, you have), please bear with me. I'm going to climb back up on my soapbox to bemoan the drop-of-a-hat frequency with which school districts either order school delays or call off classes entirely. As early as Sunday night, school districts in Western Pennsylvania already were posting two-hour delays for Monday’s classes. By Monday morning, a lot of them were changing those delays to cancellations, apparently because of the inch of snow we received. I'm all for keeping our children safe, but has anyone calculated the amount of instruction time lost when all those two-hour delays are added up? At the risk of being labeled an angry old man (I am one), I have a tale to spin for those who grew up any time after the 1980s. Back in the dark ages, 30 or 40 years ago, kids went to school in the winter, waiting outside at bus stops, if necessary, unless there was a "real" snowfall. And by real, I mean something along the lines of five or six inches of snow. We had a lady who drove our school bus along the snowy ridges out back of Taylorstown and Claysville, and I'm guessing it never occurred to her to check the radio or television for a delay or cancellation when a couple of inches of snow fell from the sky. And if someone had suggested that school be delayed because it was COLD IN THE WINTER, they'd have been looked at as if they were nuts. But today, little Suzie and little Bobby can't possibly be expected to stand outside in cold weather, even if they'd just spend the weekend playing outside for even longer periods. When I was a youngster, I never once remember one of my classmates having to go for treatment at the nurse’s office for a case of frostbite after standing at a bus stop. And while I'm ranting about how soft we've become, I'd also like to discuss, and get your thoughts, on the goings-on at Texas Tech, where the coach was run out of town after it was found that he had made a player sit in a dark tool shed a couple of times. The player in question was Adam James, son of college football legend and current TV sports analyst Craig James. The facts in this case are about as solid as butterscotch pudding, but it seems that the younger James indicated to coaches that he thought he had suffered a concussion, so the response of Coach Mike Leach was to have him sequestered in a dark equipment shed. After complaints from James' famous daddy, Leach was gone. Perhaps the coach wasn't overly sensitive in shaming a possibly injured player in front of his teammates, but from most accounts, this wasn't an instance of a tough-as-nails, hard-working player being reprimanded for a singular incident. Sources say Adam James wasn't well-acquainted with the terms "dedication" and "work ethic." In fact, acting offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley, in an e-mail to university administrators, called James "unusually lazy and entitled." That's not surprising in this day and age, when outstanding athletes, especially those from prominent families, are coddled from an early age and told they're the greatest thing since sliced bread. Texas Tech fans weren't exactly lining up to support James. An Associated Press story about the Red Raiders' Alamo Bowl victory on Saturday night said that James was booed so loudly as he left the field at halftime that it drowned out the marching band that was on the field. And Leach isn't the only coach to lose his job for being less than charming. Kansas recently ran off football coach Mark Mangino, whose crime reportedly was being mean to his players. All of this makes me wish that players like Adam James and the ones who whined about Mangino could spend a couple of weeks with Bear Bryant. They'd last less than five minutes before running home to Mommy.

Labels: , , ,