Tuesday, September 23, 2014


By now, after incessant coverage on all major and cable networks, you should be aware of the problems the National Football League has had with its grossly inept mishandling of sexual and physical abuse incidents perpetrated by some of its players. The publicized incidents primarily involve actions by young men mainly from the rural south and southwest. Ah, ‘alleged actions’ claim NFL honchos who want to keep the game pure and lucrative.

One exception is New York-born Ray Rice, formerly of the Balti8more Ravens football team, who was the star of a much-played videotape showing him slugging his finance in a casino elevator. She thought that he must have really cared, because she married him after the incident.

When he was cut from the team because of possible financial repercussions for the Ravens, Steve Bisciotti, the team’s “na├»ve” the owner, showed empathy for Rice’s wife, who “is still the one who’s suffering the most.” “Now she has an unemployed husband,” he said.

Unemployed, but if he had any smarts, he may have saved a few dollars from earlier times.

Rice originally signed a 5-year, $35 million contract and received a $15 million signing bonus a few years ago. In 2012 his base salary was $2 million, in 2013 it was $1 million with $1.75 million option bonus, and Rice received  $25 million in first two years of his contract.

Can you truly feel sorry for young men playing professional sports, when some of them “earn” more in a game that the average American worker earns in a year or longer.


There’s a lovely park not far from our Santa Cruz home, and my wife Carmen and I enjoy an after dinner walk through its rolling hills, forest, meadows, and we especially love to stop at a bend in the road. At that point, there’s an inlet from the ocean, with a myriad of birds on the water. It’s the ideal place to do a few minutes of Tai Ji to calm the heart and soul to end the day.

As we were doing gentle Tai Ji movements the other day, only a few feet apart from one another, we heard a noisy couple approach, along with a quiet dog. We paused and waited for them to pass, and watched as the woman and the dog continue on. Then the black-clad man in his forties, pushed his way in-between the two of us, and started doing contrived motions as he loudly proclaimed, “Push out the bad. Bring in the good.”

I turned to him, and asked him how do we push out the bad that’s standing between us and disturbing our bit of tranquility. Oh yes, my wife just reminded me that my language may have been a little harsher, and he seemed insulted as he reluctantly strode away.

Homeless people have a First Amendment right to make signs and express themselves, even when they stand on a medium by a light, disturbing traffic while soliciting funds. There is a rotating group of regulars, each with their own signs and times, at the light where Capitola Road ends at Soquel Drive in Santa Cruz. When that solicitation slot is vacant, drivers see a printed, government sign affixed to a post, which reads:


The San Francisco 49ers, a semi-professional football team, received nine penalties for a total of 107 yards in their recent loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Anquan Boldin, their wide receiver, caught only six passes for a meager 36 yards, and was obviously frustrated by his own mediocre performance. After one play ended, Anquan walked over to a Cardinal player and deliberately butted him in the head. In a press conference after the game, Boldin blamed the officials for the penalty.

There’s a group of less inexpensive parking options away from the on-site airport parking, and we use one of them whenever we leave town for more than a week. A few days ago we received an email from their national headquarters with the headline, “Can Airport Parking Kill?”

Within the email they described the death of a man at a parking facility on Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. They concluded their sales pitch with, “Don't be late and end up in a crate. Save stress and possibly anything worse by utilizing technology and reserving all your travel needs in advance.”

Two days later they offered a mea culpa in a second email, which read in part, “There is no excuse for the topic of the recent email sent to our customers, and we can only extend our deepest apologies to those disrespected by it.”

Why did they try to make amends? Just like most everything you read about when an error in judgment is made, it’s based on the almighty dollar. They further confessed, “We appreciate your continued business with us and apologize once again for this unfortunate event.”

Ultra-Orthodox leaders in a suburb of London placed posters in Yiddish and English declaring that “Women should please walk along this side of the road only.’ The volunteer Jewish police said that the signs were put up in advance of a Torah procession “in order to prevent men and women from coming into physical contact with each other.”

In an obvious anti-Semitic action, non-Jewish citizens of the town objected, since some Gentile and less religious Jewish couples prefer to walk with one another. It should be noted that no Gentile objected to Haredi wearing fur hats, black coats, dark suits, having their tzitzis hanging free, and creating as many offspring as needed to ensure a Minyan within each household.