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Showing posts from May, 2008

C'mon - these are just games aren't they?

This is a vintage Riff that was never published. I wrote it in March of 2005 and my editor said - nope, can't publish that Cliff. I was cleaning my computer today and came across it and decided I still agree with every word I wrote three years ago:


When did high school sports get so serious? How have we let it happen? Who is more to blame, the coaches or parents?
I’m not talking about good competitive rivalry here, but I would like to address the emphasis on winning at all costs. One of the latest examples to come to light in this neck of the woods is the possibility that a “parent and sports booster” gave rent free homes as an inducement to get some talented high school athletes into the school district for which he is a “sports booster”.
I am very much in favor of sports programs for kids. Sports can and do teach young people a lot of very important life lessons and skills. What exactly are the kids learning in the current win-at-all-costs atmosphere that prevails?
In the past few w…

Housing crisis and a look behind the scenes>

Wow - I was sort of napping on the couch yesterday when I listened to This American Life on NPR. They did a show called The Giant Pool of Money (you can listen to it here: http://www.thislife.org/). What an eye-opener.
It gave a real behind the scenes look at how so many people and institutions got in such financial hot water. Lending institutions were telling people to lie on their applications while at the same time mortgage apps were asking for less and less information, or at least verifiable information. They interviewed one guy whose mortgage app had him earning over 16,000 a month! The poor guy had no idea - because he actually made around 38k a year.
If you care at all about the housing crisis - listen to this show.

Bring on the big dollar gas prices.

What the heck - why bitch about gas prices? Shell et al are laughing all the way to the bank. I say we ought to embrace high fuel prices. Why? Because that seems like the only way we Americans are going to quit guzzlin' gas like there is no tomorrow. I am not pointing my finger at other people - Julie and I bought a Mustang GT a couple years ago which is a long way from a Toyota Prius for sure.
However, our collective appetite for fossil fuel has got to be slowed down and 4 or 5 bucks a gallon is going to help.
Another positive outcome is now that fuel prices are going up so high there is justification and motivation to finally explore alternatives. Without a motivator - which usually has to come in the form of some kind of financial threat (be it real or imagined) - we tend to leave things as they are. Now with pump prices climbing like crazy and heating costs going nuts we are scrambling to find new ways. Frankly I have every confidence that we will prevail and will find new ways …