Monday, March 23, 2015

The Lattanzi Ten - 3/23/15 (Guest Edition)

I am still in recovery, and so here's Nick and his guest commentary on the news and views from the weekend for today's Ten! -- J.L.

Nothing to fear, Nick is here!  Welcome to my latest guest post in Lattanzi Land!  This time I’ll do my best to mimic the scathing commentary you are used to reading from the Tonz with a few news items I have found over the last few days. 


OK, I’m just going to put it out there. I’m a Republican, but there are so many levels to these stories (New England is just weird) when really there doesn't have to be. I did a lesson once a few years ago when I had my students write letters to Senators Cardin and Mikulski on Chesapeake Bay issues.  Mikulski couldn't be bothered, but Cardin at least took the time to write back a nice note thanking the kids for getting involved in civic issues. 

Things like kids writing bills proposing state birds and mottoes are completely harmless, and yes, partisan games (like comparing the talons of a bird to Planned Parenthood) are completely nuts. Likewise, the reaction to the reaction is just as strange.  Chill out, people!  This is I think just a microcosm of the bigger issue when the POTUS, who was supposed to be a uniter, has been anything but. Republicans get raked over the coals, but when Democrats raise their voice and complain it’s righteous. The double standard is disgusting (preach it, Hillary!). 


Major League Baseball has completely eliminated paper All Star ballots at the ballpark in favor of 100% online balloting.  I for one enjoyed being able to punch out hanging chads on those ballpark ballots for the All Star Game, but I think Major League Baseball has this all wrong.  I thought they would want to encourage people to get to the stadium, not discourage it.  All this does is give people another excuse not to come…and to stuff the virtual ballot box. 


How much of a schmuck do you have to be to take somebody’s handicapped parking space illegally, find a note politely asking them not to do it again lest you get towed, and respond back with filth like this?  Seriously, sometimes I just don’t understand people. 


Any time you bring up race issues, especially for somebody like me, you’re walking over the proverbial set of hot coals (but aren't we supposed to be having a “conversation” about it?  I digress…). Stephen A. Smith is a windbag and I wish he could hear himself what he says sometimes.  ESPN has suspended him a time or two, but every now and then he says something that makes people think in a different way.  He wants all African-Americans to vote Republican just once, saying (rightly I might add) that the Democrats take them for granted, and the Republicans don’t care because they won’t get their vote anyway.  

My question in response is simple.  Why can’t individuals do their own research and vote based what they individually feel is in the best interest of the country?  Why does anybody have to vote as part of a “bloc?”  I sure don’t.  We are free to make our own decisions, not because a “bloc” of voters is going one way or another.


With the NCAA tournament already down to the Sweet 16, we once again have the annual debate as to what the NCAA really stands for: education and amateurism, or just making money for a lot of old guys with PhDs.  I've argued before on my blog that if amateurism isn't already dead, it's on life support, and the NCAA and IOC are largely to blame. Why else would college athletes want to form a players’ union?  Under the current structure, they ARE getting screwed, at least certain players in football and basketball.  If the NCAA really stands for the STUDENT-athlete, academics should be first and foremost, end of story. 

In my perfect world, there would be no age minimums in professional sports, but if a player DOES go to college by choice and play with an athletic scholarship, they HAVE to stay 4 years at minimum and make significant progress toward a degree (that is WHY you go to college after all isn't it?).  Any money made from athletic ventures (games, advertising, etc.) goes straight to supporting the STUDENT-athlete (be that in academics or other aspects of college life), not into NCAA coffers.  The “entertainment” value of the games quite frankly to me is secondary.  The NCAA Tournament is exciting enough regardless of the final scores. 


You know what’s creepy?  I made a reference to Double Dare in one of my classes the other day, and the kids had NO IDEA what I was talking about.  Granted, I have no idea what’s on Nickelodeon nowadays myself, but anybody my age certainly will have fond memories of the physical challenges, Sundae Slides, and of course the world famous One-Ton-Human-Hamster-Wheel™.  Marc Summers himself has said it would be really cool to do a “second generation” version of the show since the kids on that show now probably have kids of their own.  Heck, I’d lobby to be on it myself.  Old episodes are all over YouTube, including some of my favorites from the family version that used to be on Nick and Fox.  If kids today would watch this, they would realize that our childhoods weren’t all that bad.  Nickelodeon, are you listening?  


This is (seriously) creepy considering I was JUST in that very airport, in that very concourse 3 weeks ago.  Nowadays you just never know who’s got what and what they’re planning to do with it.  Always protect yourself.


By the time you read this this will probably already be official, but you know the Democrats are going to be locked and loaded to do everything they can to destroy Cruz in every way they can.  All he’s done all along is call the Democrats out for what they are and what their true motives are.  Personally, I like Scott Walker more than Ted Cruz for POTUS, but I would pull the lever for Cruz over anybody named Clinton in a heartbeat.


When Chris Borland decided to call it a career after just one season in pro football, it renewed discussion about the effects football and other contact sports have on people, and especially their brains.  I certainly applaud him for making an adult decision to take care of himself and his family, despite the promise of riches.  He understands that football is an inherently violent game and that playing it is a CHOICE (emphasis mine).  He has an education from the University of Wisconsin, and that will serve him far more for far much longer than the fleeting ability to tackle a ball carrier.


So apparently photos surfaced of Patrick Schwarzenegger (Arnold’s son) having a good old time in Cabo with his ex-girlfriend, much to Miley Cyrus’s chagrin.  Remind me why people should care about this again?

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