Friday, May 14, 2010

Tar balls: good or bad?

As the oil spill in the Gulf gets worse, it gets crazier too.

The latest twist is reports of 8-inch (!) tar balls on a Louisiana beach.

Nearby, a biologist found about “25 nickel-sized tar balls per square foot.”

Wow; that’s a lot of crude.

But when it balls up, at least it’s easier to clean up.

Sort of, of course. It’s still incredibly icky and gooey, but at least it’s not floating in the Gulf or evaporating into the air we breathe.

BP should offer a bounty for every tar ball that Gulf residents can turn in. Let’s say a buck a pound just to make it worthwhile.

Then in could refine that goo into gasoline, which of course was the original plan.

Too difficult? Too costly?

Not at all. Simply tell BP execs that unless they make this deal, coastal residents will be legally allowed to throw said tar balls at them any time they want.

I have a feeling that might make them more agreeable – and more motivated to plug this leak once and for all so the final cleanup can begin.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Tossing Taylor?

Should Lawrence Taylor be kicked out of the NFL Hall of Fame?

If he’s convicted of having sex with a 16-year-old prostitute, I say not only yes, but hell yes.

The problem, unfortunately, is that NFL rules don’t allow that.

As it stands now, you make the Hall based on your play. What you do off the field or after you retire doesn’t matter.

It should.

I know this opens a huge can of worms for any kind of Hall of Fame.

Ty Cobb, for example, was a nasty racist, By today’s standards, he would be shunned.

Unfortunately, back in the day, Cobb’s bigotry was all too common.

Drawing these lines will be tricky. It creates the possibility that a great athlete could be bounced someday for something silly, like not having the “right” attitude on global warming.

Still, that’s a chance I’m willing to take.

Lawrence Taylor has been a drug-addled creep since he left the NFL. (I know; many believe he was a drug-addled creep when he was in the NFL.)

At some point, enough is enough – and his latest sleazy charge tips the scales.

If the verdict is “guilty,” his Hall exhibit should be cleaned out that afternoon.

Think of the third word in “hall of fame.”

That has to mean something. Criminals are infamous, not famous.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Coddling Cushing

If fans were hoping that Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing would lose a coveted award because he was exposed as a drug cheat, they got blindsided.

Incredibly, he won a second vote for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Granted, it was by a smaller margin – 18-13 over Buffalo safety Jairus Byrd. But as they say in sports, a win’s a win.

Last year, Cushing beat Byrd 39-6.

So the fact that he was caught using a drug commonly used by steroid abusers means … nothing.

The sportswriters who chose Cushing again apparently didn’t care he might not have been such a spiffy player if he hadn’t had a little help from the team trainer – or some drug dealer.

It’s disappointing, but not surprising.

From sport to sport, among players, owners and coaches, it’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” when it comes to drugs.

To its credit, the media had largely refused to play along. It exposed baseball’s juicers and helped bring drug tests to that sport.

But the message sent by this vote is clear: Playing “clean” is not that important -- and maybe not important at all.

Here’s a thought: How about Cushing turning down the honor because he realizes he doesn’t deserve it?

I know; that kind of integrity went out with leather helmets.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A doggone shame

Once again, the depravity of the criminal mind astounds us ordinary folk.

Up in Edina, Minn., some twisted souls are even … stealing the dog poop bags thoughtfully provided by the city.

Sad but true. And as a result of this brazen thievery, the city will no longer be able to supply the bags for free to hard-working residents.

It did seem too good to last. I guess now Edina-ites will have to use an old Wal-Mart bag or yesterday’s newspaper. Oh, the humanity.

This is a body blow to the concept of civic sharing.

The city used to fill the baggie dispensers in the morning for the convenience of residents – and their dogs.

But of course, you just can’t trust some scoundrels any more.

“People walk up and take them until they're gone," said one city official. (Have they no shame?) He added that it was "not just one isolated incident. It's everywhere and often."

Tsk-tsk. I don’t know what this country is coming to when even dog poop bags are no longer respected.

Of course, another option is to cut out the middle man, so to speak. Intead of scooping and bagging, why not leave it where it lies?

It’s called fertilizer, and some day a patch of grass will thank you.


Monday, May 10, 2010

Solving the road-kill riddle

Finally, one innovative jail has figured out a way to save taxpayers a few bucks and kill two birds with one stone. (Actually three.)

The idea? Have inmates pick up road-kill.

This is the best ideas in corrections to come along since orange jumpsuits.

Think of the many benefits:

1) Instead of using highly paid highway workers to fritter away their time on carcass patrol, jail inmates do it for the proverbial “three hots and a cot.”

2) Inmates get a fun job. What would you rather do, sit in a cramped, airless cell with a child molester, or get some healthy exercise with a nice walk in the sunshine and fresh air?

That’s a no-brainer. … OK, the air might not be so fresh around a possum that’s been laying there for a few days, but hey, there’s a downside to everything.

3) Finally, and most important, inmates get a chance to spice up their diets.

PB&J sandwiches get old quick. A tasty bowl of raccoon stew or a sizzling slice of venison BBQ really hits the spot after a long day in the slammer.

Heck, if you also let ’em grow their own vegetables, the jail’s food costs practically disappear.

Let’s give it a try.

Sure, some inmate might get hit by a passing car or get sick from rotten meat, but that’s a chance I’m willing to take!


Friday, May 07, 2010

Please give me patience – and hurry!

This came past the spam filter the other day, and it is worth passing along.

It is a prayer that all of us should offer up now and then – or a lot:

“Heavenly Father, help us remember that the jerk who cut us off in traffic last night is a single father who worked nine hours that day and is rushing home to cook dinner, help with homework, do the laundry and spend a few precious moments with his children.

“Help us to remember that the pierced, tattooed, disinterested young man who can't make change correctly is a worried 19-year-old college student, balancing his apprehension over final exams with his fear of not getting his student loans for next semester.

“Remind us, Lord, that the scary looking bum, begging for money in the same spot every day (who really ought to get a job!) is a slave to addictions that we can only imagine in our worst nightmares.

“Help us to remember that the old couple walking annoyingly slow through the store aisles and blocking our shopping progress are savoring this moment, knowing that, based on the biopsy report she got back last week, this will be the last year that they go shopping together.

“Heavenly Father, remind us each day that, of all the gifts you give us, the greatest gift is love. It is not enough to share that love with those we hold dear. Open our hearts not to just those who are close to us, but to all humanity.

“Let us be slow to judge and quick to forgive, show patience, empathy and love.”



Thursday, May 06, 2010

I love the smell of grease in the morning

Just in time for Mothers Day (or not):

Scented candles with that fragrance you’ve been yearning for: White Castle hamburgers.

I’m not kidding, though I wish I was.

If you haven’t had the pleasure, White Castle hamburgers are small collections of grease, salt and cholesterol.

And that’s not as bad as it sounds. At the right time, they taste great.

As the famous slacker movie illustrated, one of those times is when you’re stoned, but I digress.

Eating them is one thing. Smelling them when you don’t have to is an entirely different thing.

If you give that special woman in your life this scented candle on Sunday, don’t be surprised if you wake up in the dog house Monday morning.

This is like other crazy schemes you hear about now and then, such as selling cow manure in Lucite blocks or shirts that look like Domino’s pizza drivers.

You are thinking: Why? Why on God’s earth would you try to make money selling more of something there should be less of?

As always, the Iron Law of the Marketplace will rule.

If this proposal craters, as it should, we may all rest assured.

If it takes off and becomes the Pet Rock of the decade, we are all in more trouble than we realize.