Monday, August 26, 2013

Just the Short Answer

Today's title comes from a frequent request from our children during the years they were growing up. It refers to the answer they always preferred when they had questions as opposed to the longer one I  wanted to give. I am trying to apply their formula to several current items in the news; political, sports and other. First, the question, followed by the "short " answer.
1. What's your favorite commercial? The answer is subject to change, but right now I like the one which features a chameleon couple picking out colors. The male of the pair is completely surprised by one possibility and blurts out "Yowza!" It maks me laugh every time even though I know it's coming.
2. Who cares about Little League? The folks at ESPN and ABC have been showing LL games for a long time, and that's not by accident. It's a combination of the baseball skills on display and the fact that the players are whiskerless young boys who retain the cuteness of children even though they are growing by the day. BTW, congrats to the Japanese team for taking this year's title.
3. Is Ichiro the greatest ever? Mr. Suzuki just reached a statistical plateau most never even dream of. He just got to 4,000 hits in his major league career, a level reached by only two other players in history. One of those two, however, is the reptilian Pete Rose who remains banned from the Hall of Fame. Rose has plenty to say about Ichiro, but none of it is good. Wouldn't you think that at some point in his life Rose could finally show a little class? Not yet, and probably never. As for Ichiro, let's just say that he's one of the greatest ever.
4. Who's Vin Scully? Mr. Scully is the Dodgers play-by-play guy for radio and TV. He goes back to when the Dodgers played in Brooklyn in the late 1940's! He's in the news because he has announced that he's coming back next year, which will be his 65th on the job. Now that's longevity.
5. Where's the worst place to live? You'd have to be pretty bad to get worse than Syria right now. The country not only has a horrific civil war going on, but the dictator's army is evidently willing to use chemical weapons on its own people. How bad is it? Bad enough that people are leaving the country as refugees and going to....Iraq, which retains some hellish conditions of its own. Both countries now seem worse than Somalia, Haiti, Pakistan or Rwanda. I guess it's all relative.
6. What will the US do about Syria? Sad to say, these matters often carry more political weight than anything else. It isn't a large country, and it has no oil. But Republicans see it as a place much like Libya, where political hay can be made. So here's the short answer. If the US intervenes, the GOP will howl about putting US troops in harm's way, not having an "exit strategy", and using tools that Republican presidents were criticized for.
If there is no American intervention, the Republicans will feign sympathy for the hapless Syrians and accuse President Obama of lacking the "leadership" necessary for the job, sneering that his days as a community organizer failed to prepare him for the world stage. This will all ignore the fact that Obama cannot run for president again. It will, however, get a little use against whoever carries the Democrat's flag in 2016.      
7. Who's going to win the US Open tennis tounamet? It's easy, on this first day of the two-week tournament, to pick the usual favorites. Venus Williams won't win, but you should look for a chance to see the hairdo she's got going this year. It' a huge complex knot that's colored bright fuchsia. The total effect is that of a massive poison atomic mushroom, IMHO.  


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