RAMBLIN’

RAMBLIN’

Well, lots of things have been going on during the past couple of months, some of which deserve my usual keen analysis. None of the items I’m about to punish you with are related to one another, hence, the title of this short essay.

First, let me bring you up to date about my current state of health (that’s actually a priority topic among most members of my age group, and something all of us are eager to hear so that we can try and top the writer or speaker with our own maladies. My social group used to convene for coffee at McDonald’s; now we generally meet at the counter at the local pharmacy).

Anyway, two neurosurgeons said I didn’t need to have any cervical vertebrae fused; rather, I needed to see a neurologist and a physiatrist (specialty in physical therapy medicine), which I have done. The latter sent a “prescription” to our local rehab center, and one of the therapists has met with me three times to create a menu of exercises to both lessen all the back and neck pain, and to strengthen my neuropathic legs. His resume’ included a stint during the Spanish Inquisition, and I suspect he was ranked among the top three nationally during that era. At least from my initial results.

But I’m happy to be able to say that my leg strength has in fact improved sufficiently so that I am able to walk nine holes on the golf course, carrying my bag of clubs, without whining. I’m almost to the point that if I resume a bit of overseas travel, I should be able to navigate my usual six miles a day of gamboling about urban environs in faraway places with strange sounding names. I still have back pain at night, and throughout the day after a round of golf. I have to avoid overdoing. But the exercises and strengthening are really helping.

So much for that. I wish that the current political campaigning didn’t cause me additional pains, but it surely does. I can understand the GOP wanting to win an election, and it seems to me that there are two ways to go about it. The first is to offer to the voters something that they would like, but this doesn’t seem to be in the Republican election arsenal. The other option is to eliminate as many non-believers as possible, and that’s the route they’ve chosen by using many of the state legislatures to pass laws limiting participation among groups most likely to vote the other way. And if a legal challenge were to be mounted, eventually reaching the U.S. Supreme Court, they also have that tied up so there would probably be a tie, effectively sending the case(s) back to lower court decisions. In listening to all the posturing and vilifying, the only one among their candidates who makes sense is Mr. Kasich, but he evidently is not crude enough to be among their frontrunners.

Quite traditionally, I lean to the left in my voting pattern although I voted Republican locally when my wife was running for County Commissioner years ago, and Senator Alan Simpson is a favorite of mine. I’m embarrassed to also admit I voted for Nixon, but I was only in my first election and really didn’t know any better. At least he didn’t win that one. Had he done so, there would not have been a Peace Corps, and having served that organization in its infancy, it established my goals in life toward a positive direction.

Looking at the two Dems running, I believe Ms. Clinton is the best qualified of all the candidates to run the country, but if Congress retains its present makeup, she would be faced with strong opposition just as we have now, toward achieving any meaningful improvements. Mr. Sanders has a good, but limited message, and I don’t see him being able to overcome the expected vitriol the opposition will be throwing at him if he’s the candidate. Hillary is tougher.

Enough of that. Today, I wasted the afternoon watching the Master’s Golf Tournament; you know, that one in which highly select commentators sit around in fancy suits days ahead of time, speaking in hushed tones about who might win, who has won, and who has screwed up. The golf course itself is probably the most restrictive one on the planet; knowing who some of the members are, I consider it a Republican enclave of the highest order. Granted, it’s probably the best run of all tournaments, and its members are so rich that they’re not out to make a profit on commercials or retail sales.

On my one trip to the site, I purchased a ticket from a scalper on the street outside the tournament gate, for $80 (1993!), during one of the practice round days preceding the competition. My purpose was wanting to walk the course to see how it compared with the beauty seen on tv, and it didn’t disappoint. I was impressed with the fact that the sandwiches at the concession stand, usually their traditional pimiento and cheese, were only $1.50, and still are. Drinks were $1. But some of that snootiness lingered in the air; I felt I was being sneered at secretly like when I’m in Loading Group 2 getting on an airplane, and in walking past the already-seated Group 1’s they don’t want to either acknowledge our presence, or make any eye contact. A similar feeling occurs here in Wyoming when folks from counties now having five digits on their license plates feel sorry for the rest of us, having only four.

Anyway, I’ve accepted the fact that I’ll never play in the Master’s, probably not even get a ticket from the annual ticket lottery. I’ll be content to restrict my play to simpler venues, more in keeping with my style. Like not having to wear a collared shirt, or being able to wear jeans if I so choose!

Moving to another topic, I once again proved that if I make a prediction, others will bet the opposite way knowing that I usually am wrong. This year’s NCAA Tourney is a prime example, I picked Michigan State to win it, and West Virginia to get to the Final Four. I didn’t pick either my school, Kansas, or the other school associated with several family members, UNC. The former because they’ve disappointed me so many times, and the latter because although I think their coach is a really nice man, and a great recruiter, he has a history of not adjusting to circumstance during games when he was at Kansas and now at UNC. In this instance, both coaches were wrong. Coach Self, seeing in the first half that Ellis was being double-teamed in the center so that they weren’t able to get him the ball, he should have switched Ellis with Selden and moved Ellis to the wing where he could either drive, or take a 3, and Selden would occupy the defense in the middle and be able to rebound. Coach Williams should have had the two guards constantly drive to the hoop, with Johnson moving aside initially to create the spatial opening and then following in behind for rebounds. There would have been lots of free throws generated, especially with Paige. Wait until next year. And anyhow, I like teams that have four year players, like Wichita State and Villanova; it’s fun to see them improve from year to year with the same personnel.

At least my Broncos came through. We’ll just have to see what they do about a quarterback; the Chicago Bears seem to be taking all our players. I just hope the Cubs don’t get too good; after all, you may recall that I asked my various doctors to keep me around at least until the Cubs win a World Series, thinking that I would safely enjoy many more years on this planet. But maybe even that is in danger!

I’ve had some thoughts recently about advertising commercials, some on my Sirius XM radios and others on television. I’m strongly leaning toward cancelling my XM subscription, mainly due to hearing the same ads over and over, some of which I’ve heard for about five years. At times, I want to strangle Nick Sobelesky or Chuck Woolery about Select Quote Insurance or one of the medicinals Woolery pushes. Others start out by saying, “Be honest” and launching into a harangue about Rosetta Stone or another supplemental med; there are numerous ones having to do with financial matters such as you not having paid your income tax, or you’re in over your head with credit cards, or your home loan needs to be refinanced. And when I remember that I’m paying about $20/month for my two radios, I think about cancelling. Of course, most people get them to listen to music, which is commercial-free; but I listen to talk stuff ranging from sports to politics to health. All with those bad commercials. It wouldn’t be so bad if they changed them periodically, and I also wonder what kind of audience am I sharing the use of XM with, a bunch of unhealthy, underinsured, financial deadbeats?

TV commercials are okay, although some of my favorite programs like Rachel Maddow have far too many for continuity of thought. Cable and satellite seem to always be fighting; I’ve had both at various times and I greatly prefer cable for cost and programming. Their commercials aren’t as interesting; one of them has a nice young lady who looks like the Poster Child for anorexia, telling you about Charter. Direct TV gets well-known celebs to do some of their shows, and have a bit of humor injected.

Another thing I’ve noted is that there are lots of commercials that have a father-daughter theme such as Michelin, Chase, Lexus, etc, all in pleasant situations. But if it’s a mother-son ad, it’s probably for something unpleasant, like the State Farm ad where the boy put a dent in the car and his mom is less than sympathetic. Father-daughter must be something sacred.

Well, enough rambling. I will be flying to Charlotte at the end of this month, to once again work in the Wells Fargo Championship Golf Tournament of charity, my fourth time. And, if I can learn how to transfer a picture from my text messaging to my desktop, perhaps you’ll be able to enjoy pictures of my new granddaughter. She’s a Beaut!

Always Be Happy     To Our Youth

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