Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Things I'm Not Paying Attention To

Things I'm not paying attention to, August 2008 edition.

Despite usually being a pretty aware, sharp-eyed guy, there is plenty of stuff that just ain't showing up on my radar:

Batman. I keep hearing all this talk about Batman, everywhere Batman. I remember this movie coming out a long time ago, so maybe they re-released it? I guess not, cause I checked the movie listings....nothing under "B" for Batman.

1989? Can you believe it's been almost 20 years since this movie came out?

The Wild Card race. C'mon people, it's barely August. There are two months of baseball to watch before the wild card gets relevant. We had the trade deadline, which is important, if only that Manny is now just being Manny in the senior circuit. But let's not get ahead of ourselves with the scoreboard watching. Wake me up around the Notre Dame-Michigan game...that's usually a good bellwether.

The presidential election. Yes, free country, civic duty, etc. I'm still gonna vote. But I do not need to pay attention to Barack cruising around Europe or McCain putting out ads with celebrity hotties (no, I don't know why...cause I'm not paying attention).

This is the map from 2004. You can ignore all that Downstate red come November.

Let's face it, I already know who I'm voting for, and why, and nothing that's happening right now (or in the next three months) will change that. Besides, the junior senator from Illinois is running. Do you think he'll win Illinois? Me too.

Handsome fella. Future president. Gonna carry Illinois without my vote.

The Olympics. I feel a little bad about this one, cause it feels like it's in our national DNA to care about the Olympics. But I just don't have any idea who's good and who to root against. Is Iraq fielding a women's track team? Probably not. Sigh...it was all so much easier when it was Mary Lou Retton against the Commies. Nowadays, there's that swimmer from Baltimore, and the gymnast from Iowa, and, uh... well, the basketball team is all pros now, and who gives a crap about the NBA.

Part of it could be the lack of a dominant American track athlete. For years America gave the world (and TV-watching Americans) guys like Carl Lewis and Michael Johnson, who dominated the sprints, and chicks like Suzy Favor Hamilton, who was equally dominant in the 400/800 range events (I think, can't remember her specialty). Even Greg Louganis and Mary Lou, in sports less watchable than track, were great athletes who kicked some Russkie butt. Without Russkies, though, and without a Michael Johnson type performance at Atlanta 1996, how do I get fired up?

I remember EXACTLY where I was when this happened, and how I felt. Not counting on that happening this time around.

Besides, I'm a little annoyed at the sprawl of the Olympics. BMX bike riding? Really? When does ping pong become a sport too? (Umm, nevermind.) I guess that means darts is being readied for the 2012 Olympiad? (Note: Those Games ARE in London, after all. --Ed.)

Are you shittin' me? The Olympics? For real?!?

The American League. Nothing new there.

Brett Farve, Favruh, whatever. I distinctly remember this guy retiring a few months ago. And for some reason he's still in the news. I don't get it. If you quit, then stay quit. If you want to play football, then play football up until you don't want to play football anymore, THEN quit.

What's worse is EFPN (they recently changed their name to the Entertainment and Farve, Favruh, whatever Programming Network) with all constant coverage. Aren't the Cubs in first place? Isn't there something more worthy of air time than a retiree? General rule: if your last name has its own category on the ticker crawl, like "MLB" or "NCAAF," you are a distraction. Sit down and be quiet.

I wanna play football! I mean I don't, I mean I do...waaaah!

And finally, two things I'm paying way too much attention to:

The decline of the newspaper industry. I love newspapers, and have a bit of free time during the day, and so I read about the state of the industry, the layoffs, the cuts in newshole, the defection of readership to the Internet...it's all very depressing. Like watching a friend wither away of a terminal disease.

Newspapers will still be around...we still have railroads, they just aren't the primary method of moving stuff from point A to point B anymore. Likewise, we'll always need papers to provide context and analysis beyond the breaking news. My forebears are big train buffs...I guess we have a soft spot for dying industries.

College football*. It's barely August. The season hasn't even started yet.

* This "too much attention" item expires on August 28th.

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