Sports & Entertainment

Sports & Entertainment

Misplaced attention: What is important?

This past weekend the entertainment world lost one of its biggest stars with the death of Whitney Houston. Based on the news coverage of this event, you would think that much more was lost than an individual life.

Although any loss of life is tragic, the obsession of our culture with celebrity is reminiscent of the adulation bestowed upon royalty and sports figures in many other cultures. This also reminds us of the undue attention paid to athletes and famous people in the Roman and Greek empires prior to their fall.


On the FCC and censorship

Sir Winston Churchill reportedly once approached his foil Lady Astor with a startling proposition, stating, "Lady Astor, if I gave you a million pounds would you sleep with me?" To which Lady Astor, somewhat flustered and flattered, accepted. Churchill then asked, "Lady Astor, if I gave you 10 pounds would you sleep with me?" To which she replied indignantly, "Mr. Churchill, what do you think I am?" with the reply, "Lady, we have established what you are, we are just negotiating price."
The Federal Communications Commission finds itself in the same boat as Lady Astor on the censorship issue these days as it seeks to determine whether the coarse language that has slipped into America's everyday speech should be allowed in over-the-airwaves television.


Frodo lives: ‘The return of the king’

In 1967 I walked the night through around two top-secret nuclear weapons buried not so deep in the heartland of Ohio’s vast corn belt. One day I noticed that someone had scrawled on the wall of a concrete bunker, "Frodo lives." Then it was everywhere. Frodo had become an overnight hero of an underground movement begun inadvertently by a mild-mannered Catholic professor of Middle English at Oxford who in 1937 published a charming book about hairy dwarves and little people. Frodo became in no time at all the avatar of rising Aquarius. The Hobbit, prelude to the journey of Frodo featuring his uncle Bilbo (like John Lennon and his son Sean, born on the same day), hits the big screen this coming year, on Dec. 14, 2012.


Penn State revisited — another lesson

It seems as though everything that could be said regarding the Penn State scandal has been. What a terrible tragedy. The Washington Post last week shared a powerful (and scathing) review of how various outlets covered the news as it developed. That should be required reading for any press secretary on Capitol Hill or any journalism student. How this story unfolded had millions first reacting negatively that somehow legendary coach Joe Paterno was being fingered as culpable. Only after another few news cycles did it become evident that Paterno knew more than originally believed.

And therein lies the lesson for all leaders in prominent roles: acquiescence in any shape or form today is unacceptable. One can no longer look the other way and expect to get away keeping his or her job.


Why is the NFL so clueless about halftime?

Is there any process by which the NFL constantly chooses losers like Hank Williams Jr. and Madonna to sing at football games? Besides the fact that they are all about a hundred years old and pick someone whose career ended decades ago like the Who. There is one issue here that can be seen via the use of "psychological types"; the thing they use in TQM systems and in the Army similar to Myers-Briggs testing.
If you take a logic-based employee like a lawyer or investor and ask her to choose between the Beatles and the Rolling Stones as to who she likes best, she will usually choose The Rolling Stones. That is, if she is a really good lawyer of investor. Because a logic-based, left-brain type doesn't have a clue regarding true art, because it resides in a different part of the brain. You will need someone else to be in the group to help in those decisions, and that person won’t be any good at investing.


‘Elle’ gets fashion right, conservative women wrong

The September issue of Elle magazine features a lengthy article about the rise of conservative women — or “Baby Palins,” as author Nina Burleigh affectionately refers to them. Included is a brief — but highly inaccurate — profile of my IWF colleague Carrie Lukas, author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Women, Sex and Feminism.

Like Carrie, I was encouraged that a major women’s magazine decided to engage in this often taboo subject of free market-oriented women; but Burleigh’s misrepresentation of Lukas and her ideas is shameful.


Did the Stanley Cup loss reverse Canada’s fortunes?

Pimco’s Bill Gross, leery of the wobbly American fundamentals, told Bloomberg recently the company is looking for new investments, mentioning Canada, Germany and others. The Canadian banking system is solid, there have been no bailouts, and the Canadian dollar has been growing strong against the American in recent years. But uh-oh. Something happened in early summer. What happened? The Vancouver Canucks lost in the Stanley Cup final to the Boston Bruins.

A FOREX (FOReign Exchange market) blog author wrote on June 8, 2011: “In April, I wrote a post entitled, ’Economic Theory Implies Canadian Dollar will Fall.’ " But did the FOREX author take into consideration hockey theory and the Canadian psyche?


Why professional athletes should run for office

Because they solve their problems.

And when did you last hear this from Washington: “I’d like to apologize to the fans, that for the last five, six months we’ve been talking about the business of football, not what goes on on the field.”

That from Robert Kraft, owner of the Patriots, whom players say was instrumental in reaching an amicable agreement, even as his wife was dying of cancer.

Granted, Kraft is a towering figure, and rightly, we have come to expect more from men like Kraft and Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and player rep Jeff Saturday, center for the Indianapolis Colts, well-pictured on the front page of The New York Times this morning, affectionately comforting the mourning Kraft cuddled under his wing; big and bearded, vaguely giving the impression of God the Father. Because America is still healthy in the center, even if it is fraying on the edges, and at the center of the American journey at this moment is football.


Lord Stanley returns to the center of the universe

Those who took a course in journalism years back might recall the famous headline, “Hub man dies in Chicago fire.” It is how the populist press in Boston referred to the great Chicago fire. The fire itself was inconsequential. The big story was that a Boston man died in it.

Boston today is sometimes referred to as “the Hub of Hockey.” Actually the phrase was coined by Oliver Wendell Holmes as “the hub of the solar system,” modified to “the hub of the universe.” Because the universe is not peace, but conflict and countervailing forces.

It was the height of arrogance unless, of course, the assessment was correct and Boston is the hub of the universe. Black Elk said the “center of the world” is wherever you are, so maybe it works like that.


Can NASCAR save America’s infrastructure?

If only Dale Earnhardt Jr. released the Urban Land Institute’s study on America’s $2 trillion crumbling infrastructure earlier this week, we might still be talking about it. A public interest campaign with drivers from Indy and NASCAR, talking about our country’s declining structures and the need to fix them. The issue would have a public face. Maybe then we, the public, would pay attention. After all, outside the Beltway, most of us live the disrepair others write about. Day-to-day slugging through traffic, enduring slow train rides and waiting through endless runway delays, we experience the problem firsthand. Still, the case is not being heard as urgent.