Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Back Above the Plaid Line

Let's start this week with the stories of two men who have recently announced surprising career changes.
The base salary of a US senator is $174,000 per year, not counting various perks that most people never get. I don't personally find this amount to be especially exorbitant. Senators work with huge budget amounts and cast votes on things that sometimes change the world, on top of which they must raise huge amounts in order to run again every six years to keep the job. It's a good living, but it isn't an easy one.
Last week one of the Senate's more controversial members announce he was leaving a full four years before the end of his term. Sen. Jim DeMint is going to take the job of running the Heritage Foundation. This means someone else will have to take up the task of helping Tea Party types get elected while their one-time leader gets to deal in things like tax opposition. DeMint ascended to the Senate without a personal fortune, but his new gig should help reduce that problem since the last Heritage boss made a cool $1.1 million. That's six times the Senate pay, with no more need to give speeches at rallies and barbeques in South Carolina. Now we're talkin'.

Bret Bielema was the coach of the U of Wisconsin football team, which was mentioned here just a week ago. He shocked Cheeseheads everywhere by announcing he was leaving to take the coaching job at The University of Arkansas. No rap on Fayettville, but how much more would they have to pay you to leave the capital of what was once considered a progressive state in order to be top dog of a second-rate team in a third rate state, tosay nothing of the steamy climate? The answer, in Mr. B's case, is a little north of $3 million, probably enough to buy up a county and rename it for himself.
The folks left behind in the Badger State have one consolation. The UW athletic directer is Bielema's predecessor, Barry Alvarez, who took about thirty seconds to say yes, he would be willing to lead the team into the Rose Bowl, after which he would resume his AD duties. I wonder if his contract allows him to pay himself a bonus for winning. If not, he can get it amended, right?

Here's a few things I noticed during last weekend's trip up North to attend grandson Abe's baptism. From here it's about a 9-hour drive.
On the way, we picked up daughter Leah and her husband Dane who live smack in the middle of Portland. It seems like a fun place, but strangely wet. It never exactly rained, but it never dried up, either. The trip home had virtually no sunlight until after we crossed back into California.
Traveling in Portland is a little tricky, too. Narrow streets, tight parking and a handful of troublesome bridge approaches.
We were in one of those grocery boutiques in Portland for a little while, where I noticed a handwritten note on a card written in what was probably unconscious iambic pentameter: "We'd love to help you choose the perfect salt." Wait. The perfect...salt? I thought there were only two kinds of salt - rock and table. How did I get this far in life not knowing the TRUTH about this stuff?
The baptism we attended was fine, but it was held at a church meetinghouse some distance away from where the LeBarons (daughter Allison and husband Scott) live. This made eight year-old Abe a little nervous. He told his dad as much, saying he didn't want to join THAT church. He wanted to join HIS church, where the family attends weekly. They got things straightened out before Abe got any more nervous.
Scott's parents, who we don't know too well, live in Utah. They're fine people, but, not surprisingly, devout Republicans. We were sitting around and I started to brag just a tiny bit how I had noticed that Mitt Romney's tie at the third presidential debate was red and silver striped, precisely the colors of Ohio State University. There's no sin in this. I think it's OK to just assume that everything a presidential candidate wears is on purpose. Nevertheless, while telling the story I noticed that Ma and Pa LeBaron had started frowning. I changed the subject. Gavin, after all, is a pretty big guy.                     


Post a Comment

<< Home