Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Rub Some Dirt In It

There have been, and continue to be, lawsuits filed against the National Football League and equipment manufacturers over player injuries. Specifically, head injuries sustained by now-retired players that have caused all sorts of health problems. They contend that the league and manufacturers are in cahoots to hide the truth concerning these types of injuries. As a person who entertains the occasional conspiracy theory, I will not comment one way or the other the truth of those claims.

While sympathetic to the plight of injured former players, who should have their full pensions and health benefits paid by their former employer, my sympathy only goes so far. Did gladiators of ancient Rome sue the Empire over its failure to warn them about the dangers of the games and traumatic limb loss? No. For any participants of contact sports, there should be a certain understanding that injuries will occur. To think otherwise is to be naïve, if not stupid.

My grandfather and his brother played semi-pro football in the 1920s, back when they wore leather “helmets.” It was nothing more than a skull diaper, designed more for collecting your brain matter than for protection. Both had served during World War I as well, sustaining injuries from mustard gas attacks. Neither ever complained about it or gave a thought about suing someone for it, because these were their choices. (They also, allegedly, split a bottle of Wild Turkey – no chasers, no mixers – before my parents wedding, though you would not have known it.) I just guess these two stout Irishmen came from a different generation. A generation when men were men, who took a lick and kept on ticking. 

©2011 Steve Sagarra

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Something Wicked This Way Cometh?

Six possible explanations for recent weather/seismic activity:

1. Nothing more than natural occurrences. Boring. (And don’t say man-made global warming is the cause. Earth has been volatile for billions of years, long before humanity came along. We as a species only wish we were important enough to be an influence. Either way…boring.)

2. The Apocalypse. Now we are talking Michael Bay action flick:  the planet consumed by and in the throes of an extinct-level event, people panicking in mass hysteria as society collapses, and utter destruction with stuff blowing up. Not to mention one lone guy in his bunker waiting for it all to calm down, so he can have some peace and quiet for a change without people annoying him every second of every day. Plus, there’s stuff blowing up. ‘Nuff said.

3. Time travel. According to Timecop, a time travel device could cause seismic disturbances. After all, you are breaking through the space-time continuum; there must be planetary/universal consequences for doing so. However, this scenario we really do not want, because it could mean someone is going back in time and potentially screwing up the timeline. Making for a bad commute to work…if you even still exist. (And yes, I quoted a Van Damme movie.)

4. Stargate program. Certainly not to mean the movie and three subsequent series spawned from it? Nothing but propaganda to disinform the public concerning the program. Classic subterfuge. Duh. The stargate is shown to cause seismic disturbances and climate anomalies when activated. This is the scenario we want, because it means traveling to other worlds and possibly gathering advanced technology. Technology that is gradually rolled out by the likes of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. Again, classic subterfuge.

5. A weather machine. For nefarious purposes, an entity – either government-sponsored or terrorist-linked – has invented a weather machine. Crazy, like something out of a superhero cartoon or James Bond novel? Perhaps. Conceivable? Absolutely, given our technological advances [see #4] and understanding of weather patterns and seismic activity. This one is kind of a cool scenario on the surface, but quickly dissolves once the realization hits that there is no superhero or James Bond to thwart them.

6. Alien invasion. This one may prove Scientology correct, or not, and the volcano-encased essences of thetans – from the Galactic Confederacy ruled by the tyrant Xenu – who seek to do harm against humanity. Or something like that. Again, a scenario we do not want, all of us non-believers (e.g. sane people) having to eat crow. Battlefield Earth? God help us…and not your “god” L. Ron.

©2011 Steve Sagarra

Friday, August 12, 2011

Downplaying the Downgrade

In his press conference on Monday, President Obama was correct on one point:  our economic crisis is not from a lack of plans or policies. Realistically, it is from a lack of leadership over the past two years to implement ones that work. Standard & Poor’s specifically mandated that for the U.S. to maintain its “AAA” credit rating, spending on entitlement programs had to be cut with a demonstration that those in place could be funded. How much of this was addressed in the self-congratulatory debt bill that was passed by Congress at the 11th hour? Absolutely none of it. Simply because Democrats, more so than Republicans, were unwilling to sacrifice certain so-called “sacred cows”; instead they sacrificed the nation’s credit rating for a higher debt ceiling, which is little more than an increased spending limit.

S&P Downgrade Not Likely To End Partisan Gridlock

Congress Needs To 'Cowboy Up' To Fix The Economy

A Debt Call We Should Have Seen Coming

To hear the politicos on the left – despite having control of Congress for two years, failing to pass a budget and aware of potential economic troubles down the road if nothing were done – none of this is their fault. It’s the fault of those opposed to the agenda of the left, an agenda in which bureaucracy, entitlements and the deficit grow beyond control and stays the course to economic collapse. Again, it’s the fault of George W. Bush. That is what a society of entitlements breed:  placing responsibility on others, instead of on yourself. Rather than attack a predecessor who left office over two years ago, the current administration would be better served in highlighting its achievements to stymie existing economic woes – no matter on whose watch they occurred. Yet, that is the only viable option for the Obama Administration, because there are no highlights:  unemployment that continues to hover over 9%, after inheriting a rate under 6%; Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at a paltry 1.30%, which stood at 5% just a year ago; and a federal deficit that has grown by over $4 trillion in just two years, which only stands to go higher with the aforementioned increase to the debt ceiling.

And so, the president must fall back on the age-old mantra that the problems of today are the problems of yesterday, rather than being a leader who has led the country out of the crises.

Of course there are echoes of the past in the current economic climate, but not of recent memory. The calendar may read 2011, but it feels a lot like 1931. Used loosely, the term “feel” even seems overblown because it certainly doesn’t “look” like it:  everyone on their mobile phone playing games despite being “so busy at work” or “looking for a job”; people still driving around in their gas guzzlers while complaining about the price of gas; and going out for dinner because “there’s nothing to eat at home” or “I didn’t feel like cooking.” Not exactly The Great Depression, where you passed your unemployed time staring at the wall while bouncing a ball, standing in the soup kitchen line for scraps or actually looking for a low-paying but honest days work. There is still the sense though – that “feeling” – it could all happen again in an instant.

The question is when global markets collapse again (and they will) and global conflicts erupt again (and they will), who saves the world this time? Or, in a haze of apathy and inaction, has the world already been lost?

©2011 Steve Sagarra

Monday, August 1, 2011

Top Ten Annoying Words

This is my top ten words and phrases that, in my opinion, are thrown around and overused by those trying to sound impressive and/or intellectual:

1. Visceral
2. Synergy
3. Paradigm
4. Cerebral
5. Pontificate
6. Forward-thinking
7. Mission Critical
8. Discourse
9. Hegemony
10. Postmodern

Ex. - “There was a visceral synergy in the paradigm that made it very cerebral, to pontificate such a forward-thinking approach that is mission critical to successful discourse concerning hegemony in a postmodern world.

Sounds pompously smug, does it not? Frankly, I have no idea what I just wrote. Or even what “postmodern” is supposed to connote. (How can the modern world be in a postmodern state??? That doesn’t make any sense.) And now my brain hurts.

(That said, there is a word, newly created, that should be in your vocabulary:  "awesomer," defined as the state of being more awesome. Ex. - "Iron Man, Thor and Captain America were awesome, but The Avengers preview was awesomer." Please use this term whenever appropriate.)

©2011 Steve Sagarra