I'm baaaack! And you thought all the hate mail and death threats had caused me to retreat into some dark grotto where I'd live off the Earth and never be heard from again. Oh, pshaw. I couldn't do that. I wouldn't do that. You people mean far too much for me to stop. Why, I'd rather be here writing for you than with the finest people in the world.
Speaking of the world, what's been going on? The big story, of course, is the impeachment trial of President William Jefferson Clinton. Never fear, I'm not going off on a diatribe about whether Clinton is guilty or not. Quite the contrary. As it was with the "other" big trial of the 90's -- O.J. Simpson's murder trial -- I couldn't give two shits about the impeachment process. I say fire the whole lot of them -- Clinton, Hyde, Barr, Starr -- and please don't forget my most non-favorite politician of them all, Rep. Bill McCollum. It's funny how McCollum has been so irreverent about this impeachment process but back when his pal Ronald Reagan was in office, he was quick to sweep the allegations against Alzheimer's boy under the carpet and couldn't get the word im-peach-ment out of his fat mouth. The hypocrisy of it all slays me. Whoops, would you look at that? I've gone and done that diatribe thing, haven't I? Sorry.
Let's talk about perhaps the second-biggest story of late: the National Basketball Association. The NBA finally settled this nasty lockout mess and began their regular season on February 2nd. Ahhh, how I've missed it so -- the squeaking of rubber soles on lacquered floors, the stench of sweaty jockstraps piling up in dank locker rooms -- I've missed it so much in fact, that I've vowed to never watch another NBA game for the rest of my life. My only hope is that the vast majority of the public reflects my feelings. The NBA is the epitome of what's wrong in America. OK, maybe that was too strong a statement. Still, it's a sad state of affairs when grown men get paid obscene amounts of money to play a sport for a living. And this doesn't just apply to the NBA, I haven't watched a baseball game since they went on strike, and I don't imagine I ever will. I admit I saw Mark McGwire's 62nd homerun, but I, like a lot of others, only watched his at-bats. To hell with the rest of them. Besides, the Cardinals suck! Who the hell can sit through one of their games?!
I know some of you who followed the NBA strike might say, "You can't be mad at the players, it was the owners' faults!" Then again, I've heard some support the owners. Both of those points are irrelevant. The only real point is that the whole strike was about money. Someone wanted more money and someone else wasn't willing to part with it. Bottom line. For this, the NBA as a whole needs to be punished. It is our responsibility to let them know we're sick of their crying and whining about money. And if you think they were hurt by any of this, ask Kenny Anderson of the Boston Celtics. He was so affected by the strike that he jokingly commented, "I may have to sell a couple of my cars to make ends meet." What are the words I'm looking for...oh, yes, "pompous asshole." How can he say that, even as a joke?
We need to let NBA players know this isn't a joke to us. They need to realize they've been given a gift. Not the gift of dribbling and shooting the basketball, but the gift of getting paid to do nothing. They need to remember that a good number of them never finished college, are dumber than bricks, and without professional basketball they'd be making minimum wage in a mall food court. The sad thing is, America won't do any of that. They'll spread their legs for the NBA like they always have and they'll be selling out arenas before March. Everyone in New York is tickled pink to see Latrell Sprewell in a Knicks' uniform. They've already forgotten the criminal record he has, the violent attack on his former coach, the attack on a police officer and another on an ex-teammate. No one cares that Charles Barkley has a rap sheet. So what if players like Danny Schayes of the Orlando Magic said he didn't agree with the deal the unions cut and didn't want to play under those conditions? What's worse, the NBA is going to feature the most wretched, out-of-shape "athletes" the sporting world has ever seen. Their play will be as laughable as the fans who turn out to watch. All I ask is that you think about it and persuade others to do the same. Think about what you're condoning when you watch a game or buy a T-shirt. These guys aren't worth the $150 shoes they don't pay for.
Who else is in trouble these days? Uh-oh, it looks like the religious right is taking a beating. Baptist leader Henry Lyons is up on charges that he and a church aide, with whom he was having an affair (hey, isn't that a sin?) took millions (doh! Another sin ...) from corporations to finance their lavish lifestyles. The trial began January 24th and should prove to be an interesting one, much more interesting than the impeachment proceedings. Many angles can be played here. Obviously the religious sect is up in arms about this. Some of them believe he's getting what he deserves, while others still hold their unflappable faith in Lyons. Still others believe it's nothing more than a lynching: he's a black man being unjustly persecuted. Look, the guy's a criminal. More specifically, he's a black criminal. Most specifically, he's a religious, black criminal. Even so, the fact remains that he's a crook. He's an adulterer and an embezzler, and the real shame is that he'll only get nine years if convicted. Racial overtones will be scattered throughout this case, mainly because it's an all-white jury, but also because it's the trump card in the Baptists' hands; it's all they have. Here's a man who had an affair with a woman, bought a $700,000 home with her, a condo in Lake Tahoe and a Rolls-Royce, all the while the money he was supposedly doling out to funds for burnt-down churches never showed. The evidence is overwhelming and it will be interesting to see what comes of it. We'll all have to watch and see how powerful the religious zealots really are.
In other, more light-hearted news, "road rage" has again reared its ugly head. On January 13, a woman in West Palm Beach got out of her car and attacked another woman for not driving through a yellow light. The woman, Charlene Canales, screamed and honked at the woman in front of her and when the woman didn't go through the changing light, Canales got out of her car, walked up to the other woman's car and punched her! As the other driver got out of her car to write down Canales' license number, Canales pushed the other woman into oncoming traffic and a car ran over the woman's foot! Canales was said to have no remorse about the incident and posted a $5,000 bond later that day. If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times: steel-toed boots are the only way to fly.
Until next time, this is the end of Your World.
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