Man, has it been an interesting few weeks in our little world.
Some, um, highlights:
North Korea allegedly hacks Sony and demands a joint investigation with the United States to find the true villains…in a move that was strikingly similar to the bold proclamations of finding the real perpetrator about, oh, 18 years ago. And you see how well OJ Simpson did with that.
We are paying $2 a gallon (or darn close) for the first time in over a dozen years. OPEC countries can’t agree on how much to produce at a time when U.S production is going bonkers. I’m not sure what’s more impressive: the drastic reduction in gas prices or the fact gas is actually mirroring oil prices as they cliff-dive.
For months (i.e., one election cycle), Kansas residents were told massive income tax cuts would spur job growth and lead to economic prosperity. Somehow the state developed a $279 million shortfall for the next six months, which leads to a $650 million hole starting in July, which may lead to $1 billion in cuts to actually have something in reserves as mandated. How do you reverse that six-month crater and maintain economic vitality? Transfer money from highways, reduce pension payments, cut child services, cut aging services, cut education departments (but ostensibly leave schools and colleges harmless for now). Yep. The sun may be shining in Kansas, but it’s kind of obscured by some rapidly-developing financial supercells.
But those are the pressing matters…or some of them. There are several other things rattling through my brain:
Bo Pelini did his best nuclear bomb impersonation shortly Nebraska finally accepted the inevitable and fired him, lighting into athletic director Shawn Eichorst with a profane 30-minute outburst to his players. A lot has already been said about the whole deal, but besides the language, besides the air of wounded superiority, the thing that royally maddens me as a Nebraska fan was what the talk — honest as his feelings were — could do to the program. He basically set up the remaining players into three camps: those staying yet loyal to Pelini, those staying who want a change and those who just want to play football. And you really think this dynamic will settle down in time for football season? Just wait until spring football. In most cases, players in that locker room have to know where their teammates’ loyalties align. Thanks to that talk, incoming head coach Mike Riley now has a unification project with a massive degree of difficulty ahead. Pelini’s record and personality splintered the fan base. Now, planned or not, he may well have fractured the members of his former team he professed to love. Some set of core values.
Speaking of bombing, the decline and fall of Bill Cosby is nothing short of spectacular. My first exposure to Cosby (OK, admittedly bad choice of words) came at a very young age. Mom and Dad had a lot of vinyl, but the only comedian they had Cosby, partly because he was clean (something very important to them) and partly because he was just plain funny. My parents had several of his comedy albums, but the one that resonated with me most was “Wonderfulness.” The album came out five years before I was born and depicted a life in the ghetto which we thankfully avoided, even though our neighborhood was pretty sketchy. But the stories — the killer monkey bars, slapping together three pieces of wood and some baby carriage wheels for a go-cart, gagging on Cream of Wheat lumps — all stuff we could relate to as borderline inner-city kids and even as young teenagers. He painted a picture of kids making the most of bad situations, turning the pain and occasional horrors of inner-city life into moments of wonderfulness. And with each woman stepping forward, accusing Cosby of sexually abusing them, the wonderfulness fades away, replaced only by a sickening feeling of disgust, pain and horror.