Questions & Comments

Time to bang the spoon on the high chair…

With all the important things going on in the world…the Algerian debacle, the ongoing financial challenges on Capitol Hill, the search for real solutions to gun violence…three items in the news seem to garner interest that is way beyond their actual importance to our lives.

Item 1: Back From The Appalachian Trail: Former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford announced that he was running for U.S. Congress. Apparently, he believes that his shenanigans in 2009 (where he vanished for 5 days, lied about where he was and subsequently had to admit to an affair with an Argentinian woman) has been, if not forgotten, at least forgiven. We shall see, but you’ve got to admire the chutzpah it takes to once again enter the public fray while being best remembered for making “hiking the Appalachian Trail” a euphemism. The question: How many bad decisions can one guy make? The comment: Other than the poor souls in South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District, this story is not that important.

Item 2: ApologizeStrong: Bicycle Boy decided to come sort of clean about his doping, and what better person to hear his confession than Pope-rah Winfrey.  In a perfect world, this would have elicited a collective, “Well, duh!”, but news outlets treated this story like it was “Japanese Bomb Pearl Harbor!” So, an athlete in a secondary sport cheated. Wow! Who’da thunk it? If there is any story here at all, it’s how he viciously attacked  his accusers for years but now can’t really bring himself to say he’s sorry. The question: Lance, anything to say…anything at all…to everyone you’ve trashed in the past? The comment: Other than the folks who follow competitive cycling or Sheryl Crow fans, this story is not that important.

Items 3 — ∞: As always, the news was filled with stories involving those zany, madcap funsters, the Kardashians. One is pregnant by a rapper while still married to an NBA player, another offers to breastfeed the baby, yet another is happy with her body, several are being sued by perfume makers, fake 911 calls are made…the list goes on and on…and on. I don’t know their names, how many there are, how to tell one from another or why we should care about them. The question: America, why on Earth do these people matter so much? The comment: They’re not that important.

Maybe it’s frustration with real issues that makes us crave distractions. Or perhaps the failings of others makes us feel better about ourselves. I’m not immune from being fascinated with obscure people who happen to be on television. But I’ll say this for the Ice Pilots: at least they’re providing a service.

One final rant and then I’ll take an Advil. I have often railed against the use of the phrase “at the end of the day” in these pages (Ask The Expert! Vol. 3–2/12/12, Watch Your Language, Pal–3/29/10). At the risk of being redundant and repetitive and redundant, I feel compelled to point out what I feel is the most egregious example of overusing this phrase. (I feel that using it once is overuse, but I digress.)

I was listening to a podcast from the “Here’s The Thing”, produced by WNYC. This is a great series of interviews with people from all walks of life, conducted by Alex Baldwin. In the course of a 29 minute interview, Ed Rollins, political operative nonpareil, used the offending phrase 15 times…using it twice in one answer. It started out as irritating, then moved quickly to distracting. Though Rollins made for an interesting subject for an interview, his linguistic bad habit kept me from hearing anything he had to say.

The question: Ed, baby, aren’t you better than that? Using this phrase has now surpassed working for Michele Bachmann as my biggest issue with you. You bailed on Bachmann, you can bail on this phrase. The comment: Shut it down. America will thank you for it.


Today’s Fact Cetera

Cell phone users spent over $2 billion on ringtones in 2011.

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