Friday, December 6, 2013

Yeah, I'm Still Alive

Yikes, it's been a month since I posted here. And, as usual, all sorts of things are rattling around in my head. Here's some short items:

1. Recently, I was afforded an opportunity to contribute to the sports blog DC Sports Kings. I cover the Washington Wizards (NBA) and Washington Nationals (MLB). I'm thankful for the opportunity, and I'm happy to contribute to the collaborative effort.

2. Had minor outpatient surgery recently, for a small hernia. Things went very well. Been recovering since. The stitches itch, but not constantly. I'm still a few weeks away from being completely healed, but I'm cool with that.

3. Saw the story surrounding the passing of Nelson Mandela. One thing that strikes me is his innate dignity. In a world that grows more crass with every passing day, he was an example of a man who rose above the nonsense. Despite how the government in his homeland treated him for decades, he never lost sight of the higher calling on his life. He's one of the handful of folks in history who changed a society for the better. May he rest in peace.

4. In this country, with all the stress and turmoil, it appears we've forgotten a key idea - people need to work. Whether it's the Affordable Care Act, funding for schools, public works, unemployment benefits, public assistance, etc., capitalism needs more people working. How else can these programs succeed if there's a shortage of folk working? Somebody's gotta contribute to the common good to make those other things happen. How can they contribute to the common good if they don't have  worthwhile jobs?

One thing that troubles me is the demise of what I call "grown folk jobs" - jobs that require a level of maturity and skill, while paying a wage on which a family can live. Don't miss my point on this - it saddens me to see adult folk having to work what appears to be part-time jobs in the fast food industry. In my opinion, those jobs aren't substantial enough for an adult to provide for a family. It's a losing proposition from the start.

I have some ideas on what needs to be done. Most have been expressed elsewhere, but not followed through to the point where real change is accomplished. The POTUS can't do it, but he needs to use his "bully pulpit" more forcefully to convince/cajole/coerce the so-called captains of industry to create real jobs for real people.

5. Read somewhere that while "Black Friday" shoppers hit stores in droves, overall retail revenue was down for that day. I, for one, applaud that. I hope the scene of people camping out or crowding a store for a perceived bargain fades away to the dustbin of history. I never liked it, I think it's cruelly manipulative, and I want it to go away. I'm glad that pre-sales, online shopping and better consumer planning may combine to undermine the spectacle of "Black Friday". Good riddance, I say.

6. Winter is fast approaching. Like an old song lyric, "Cold by day, cold by night/I wonder where the summer's gone?" I look forward to spring. The older I get, the less I enjoy the winter.

7. Thursday night, I watched part of the Grizzlies-Clippers game. The parts I saw were competitive. The parts I didn't see included my team getting whomped, ultimately losing at home by 20. What went wrong? I will probably dig through some stats and look closer at my Grizz later today.

Anyway, have a great Christmas season, look after one another, and I will be back.