By Patrick F. Cannon
I’m a faithful reader of the Sunday Chicago Tribune. There was a time when it took most of a leisurely Sunday morning to get through, but that was when it was privately owned. Now, with shareholder profit uppermost, it barely takes an hour. It still includes a real estate section which, among other things, includes a report on high value residential transactions. It’s amazing how many of these involve sports figures from the city’s major teams (Bears, Bulls, Cubs, Sox, Blackhawks); and how many of them involve selling at a loss.
Now it’s true that we occasionally get someone like Ernie Banks, Ron Santo, or Walter Payton who spend their entire career with one team and live their lives out in the Chicago area, but more often than not a player will be traded or leave in free agency after just a few years. Yet, for reasons which are incomprehensible to me, they think nothing of spending multi-millions for a house or condo of a size they don’t really need.
I’ve often wondered if they do this to keep up with their teammates, who seem to need seven bedrooms and seven bathrooms, a wine cellar and a six-car garage for their stable of Bentleys, Land Rovers, Escalades and Lamborghinis (all declining assets). Of course, if you’re making $15 or 20 million a year, why worry about losing two or three million on a house sale? Of course, sports figures aren’t the only folks who over buy. I know of one Chicago billionaire who owns something like seven homes spread around the country and overseas. If you’re wondering why, maybe he just hates to make hotel reservations, or is afraid of bed bugs.
While I’m making fun of sports figures, let me wonder when it became OK to be “bush.” Now, for those of you too young to know what that means, it means a ballplayer who inordinately calls attention to himself, acting as if he’s still in the “bush (minor) leagues,” instead of the major leagues, or the “big show” as it’s often called. Acting “bush” is, of course, not limited to baseball, although posing at the plate and watching one’s home run ball sail into the stands, then flipping to bat with aplomb, is now a common occurrence.
It has become an accepted feature of the NFL, too. It is now expected that scoring a touchdown will result in a carefully choreographed dance performance. This used to be limited to the player who scored the touchdown, but now he is often joined by some of his friends in a carefully rehearsed routine. When these “look at me” shenanigans began, the NFL took a dim view until it discovered that the “me” generation thought they were cool, and now they not only don’t frown on these displays of ego, but, within limits, encourage them.
They do draw a line at taunting, the practice of a pass receiver, for example, catching the ball and then saying “nhaw, nhaw, nhaw” to the defender while pointing his finger at his hapless opponent. I wonder when their research will tell them the fans love it, and the penalty flags will no longer be thrown.
Oh, and after listening to several politicians and pundits on the Sunday news shows, I couldn’t help wondering when our elected leaders, especially at the Federal level, were going to be more concerned with the condition of the Republic than about their chances in the 2022 elections.
But all my wonderment at this stuff pales in comparison to my absolute bewilderment at the numbers of my fellow citizens who still seem to support Donald Trump. That, my friends, is the wonder of the ages.
Copyright 2021, Patrick F. Cannon
6 thoughts on “Just Wondering”
Yes, we live in a Facebook world of entertainment in which we are both the stars on the stage and the main audience. Express yourself! The bigger the stage, the better — which may explain why star athletes buy outlandish showplace homes nobody else would want to live in, and often have to sell at a loss. Of course, when you’re paid seven- or eight-figure salaries, you need to put that money somewhere. A few, with a culinary bent, open restaurants. Very few seem to be art collectors.
I’m as puzzled by the flamboyant, in-your-face Trump as anyone. He is a showman, and as we know, wall flowers and shrinking violets never gain popularity. He was visibly out of his depth and flat wrong about many things as president, but it has to be said that what you saw was what you got. He was direct. And certainly not saintly. If he didn’t like someone or something, he bluntly said so. And he didn’t discriminate about it. Dissimulation was not his thing (unlike the creatures in the current regime). Self-aggrandizement, yes, but no secret agendas, no false pretenses, no guile. No “mostly peaceful” protest crap. In fact, the lack of guile often made him look stupid, if not guilty of nefarious collusions, ulterior motives and Machiavellian purposes, none of which, it turns out, had any substance to them.
When I asked a friend here why he voted for Trump, he said it was because he was an outsider. Many identify with Trump because they see themselves as outsiders. people who aren’t favored by the regime: small businessmen, first responders, churchgoers, the military, cops and firemen, factory workers, farmers, blue collar, hard working folks lacking the frills of higher education and higher income. Hillary’s deplorables and Barrack’s bible and gun-clingers. You don’t run into too many of them in Oak Park and River Forest. They frighten the women and scare the children.
Anyway, an interesting if unique character in our ongoing political theater.
So now we have as president a Ghost Who Walks, a chimera, the specter of Bernie Sanders, a sputtering hologram that shifts and changes shape unpredictably, a mannequin manipulated by hidden and ambitious people, robotic and bloodless. Yeah, it’s really puzzling why people still support Trump. Maybe they don’t read the papers!
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Of course, I mostly agree with what you think of Biden, et. al., but we need someone who really cares about the forgotten, not Trump, who could really give a shit.
Not many Mother Theresa’s in politics.
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I’m sure even the dear Mother had her faults! Even St. Francis was for the birds.
As the Italians say, chi cerca mal, mal trova—if you go looking for evil, you’ll find it.
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And it’s sure easier than finding an honest man!