Blogs > From The Bleacher Seats

A roundup of news on sporting events, people and places in Southeast Michigan by columnist Jim Evans.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Just saying thanks

I’m going to bow my head today.
Hopefully not far enough to get a mashed potato and gravy cow lick.
There is plenty to be thankful for, and a prayer or two would be appropriate.
Thankful for the family that surrounds me. It is an annual tradition that we gather every Thanksgiving at my mom’s house.
She is in her 80s and we have tried to convince her for years that we will bring all the food, but she is still not having it.
So the turkey is still on her. So is the stuffing, the gravy and the rolls. Don’t forget the green beans in cream of mushroom soup topped with onion rings, mashed potatoes and the jello salad with mandarin oranges.
P.S. What about the pumpkin pie and the apple pie?
All right, we might try to sneak in a cheese ball rolled in walnuts. Or maybe some spinach dip or shrimp.
We will say thanks for all of those who have gathered, and for those who no longer have that option.
Dad’s gone; he died years ago. My brother, Bill, is gone, too, felled by a rare neurological condition.
But the circle of life continues. There have been two children born into the family in the last year alone. They join a small herd of others.
So there is plenty to be thankful for.
Me, I am going to be selfish and say a prayer of thanks for my wife, Kim. She is undoubtedly the best thing that has ever happened to me and is undoubtedly the reason I’m still around to eat way too much, unbutton my pants while reclining on the couch, and mutter quiet obscenities while the Lions toil.
I was diagnosed with kidney cancer several years ago. The cancer had spread to my bone, lungs and brain. By most accounts, there should be one more empty seat at mom’s for Thanksgiving.
But I am still here, thanks to the hard work of my wife who tirelessly makes sure I stick to the doctor’s prescribed regime. I’m here because of the Lord, too. Why He has looked down so kindly on me I could not say. I guess God does not need a second-rate writer toiling for the Divinity Press. Either that, or my room in the eternal basement flat where all they play is Vanilla Ice music is not quite ready yet.
Have a great Thanksgiving, everybody. Take time to consider your life for a moment or two. All of us have something to be thankful for.
Even the most wretched Detroit Lions’ fans among us. Pass the turkey, gravy and remote control for the television.

Friday, November 16, 2012

RIP, Sonny Eliot

No more Twinkies. No more Sonny Eliot. It was a pretty lousy Friday.
If anyone informs me that Twizzlers, Mountain Dew and Al Ackerman have also punched out, then I will go into a deep depression I may not recover from.
I know I am getting older. All I have to do is look in the mirror and step on the scale. Signs of erosion embrace me.
I loved watching and listening to Sonny Eliot. I love the way he manufactured words, Daniel Webster’s unabridged be damned.
Snow and fog were snog. Rain and chilly were rilly. Freezing drizzle was frizzle. Fog and muck were, well, forget it.

He'd announce the overseas temperatures, too. In a version of French not embraced by any Parisian. He’d give the high temperature in Moscow and singlehandedly re-launch the Cold War through his botched Russian. He would tell us what the temperature in the Upper Peninsula town of Engadine was and include about three or four more syllables than necessary.
His jokes were so corny, they could’ve been popped. Sonny Eliot made us laugh, and who does not need that more often? He died Friday at his home in Farmington Hills. He was 91.
I’m going to have to go out and toast Sonny’s passing with a Twinkie. That was another untimely death recorded when Hostess Brands Inc., the maker of Wonder Break and Twinkies, announced it would liquidate because not enough striking employees returned to work by a Thursday evening deadline set by the company.
"We deeply regret the necessity of today's decision, but we do not have the financial resources to weather an extended nationwide strike," said Gregory F. Rayburn, chief executive officer. "Hostess Brands will move promptly to lay off most of its 18,500-member workforce and focus on selling its assets to the highest bidders."
I’m mourning Sonny. I am mourning Twinkies. Would it be bad form to eat Twizzlers at a funeral?

Monday, November 12, 2012

A thank you note to our government

I’m not sure when government started getting a bad rap. It was long before Obama was re-elected, though.
Believe me, I know some politicians are incompetent boobs, and we’re not talking botched cosmetic surgery.
But my experience has been that there are incompetent boobs working in both the public and private sectors.

But are you still sputtering about how the government is just worthless?
So when was the last time you planned a picnic or a motorcycle trip without the National Weather Service’s input? How about that round of golf at the country club?  
What about our highway system? Try driving from here to Florida strictly on the back roads. Good luck navigating through Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia. I hope you took all three of your vacation weeks for the drive alone.
Don’t like the Food and Drug Administration? Go on and buy all your pharmaceuticals from that guy who sells them out the trunk of his car. Make sure you get the gallon-size bottle of snake oil. Also, how was the steak that smelled like road kill taste?
So someone’s breaking into your house. Call a security guard who makes minimum wage. Didn’t we just honor our veterans? But if you do not like the government, then you do not like the military. Whether you agree with its use at times, it is certainly nice to have all that might on our side, isn’t it?
Ask your elderly mom how she feels about Medicare. Ask your retired dad how he would be without Social Security. So you would like to invest your own money instead? Go on and trust an unregulated Wall Street with your hard-earned cash and see what you have left come retirement age.
Sorry, I just had to rant. I’m a sports writer and I honestly do not know much more than diddly squat about our government.
P.S. There is one more thing I do know is that the government funds about 80 percent of basic science research in this country. That includes biomedical research into things like cancer and as a cancer patient myself, I know how far we’ve come in treating the disease.
For that alone, I thank the government. So do my wife, kids and grandkids.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Poll dancing

The election is finally here.
Thank goodness.
That means I will not have Sarah Palin calling the house any longer.
Well, at least not for another 3 ½ years when it is time for democracy to begin its robo dialing ways again.
I will not be hearing from Bill Clinton for a while, either.
Or any of the other Democrats, Republicans, etc. who have been calling all day long for a month or more.
As if the incessant phone calls are not bad enough, what about the televised campaign advertisements?
At least one judicial candidate allows rapists, murderers and all sorts of dangerous droolers out of jail without a second thought.
A ballot proposal or two would cause the state irreparable harm, give away about 13 million jobs, cost a zillion and a half dollars and probably result in the neutering of all dogs, cats, ferrets as well as Bob Barker himself.
Think about all the money that has gone up in smoke. Think about all the good it could have done elsewhere. If this is the democracy of Thomas Jefferson, let’s turn Mount Vernon into a strip mall complete with a tanning parlor, a place that does manicures and pedicures, and a Thai restaurant.
They’ve been droning on the radio. They have been stuffing the mailbox. They’ve been driving everybody nuts in all sorts of ways.
Give me Obama. Give me Romney. Better yet, just give me some peace and quiet.