TRUMP’S NEW BLACK BAMBOOZLER

comment-don-kingtrumpby Dell Franklin

Donald King, the other Donald who would never allow himself to be called a white man’s namby-pamby name title like Donald, or even Don, and especially not The Donald, but by his legion of admirers as THE Don King, a fight promoter who ripped off his fighters and fought them off with a team of lawyers and eventually admitted to fraud and paid off Mike Tyson (another of his corrupted victims), 14-million of a 100-million-dollar lawsuit, the very same Don King who shot to death one man on the street but escaped prison, possibly because in those days in the Cleveland ghetto if a black bookmaker, drug dealer and arsonist murdered a fellow black man who supposedly tried to rob him it was excused as self defense, though this very same Don King later pistol-whipped and stomped to death a man who owed him $600 and was tried for second-degree murder, which was reduced to manslaughter, so that he spent almost four years in prison before the governor of Ohio somehow pardoned him, and so later THE Donald King transformed himself into America’s most powerful boxing promoter—as corrupt an industry as there was in the country—and completely changed the image of his mug shot of a hard-eyed young thug/gangster to a wild-haired bombastic super patriotic zealous spouter of American greatness while browbeating and terrifying anybody who tried to interfere, and ended up making millions on some of the greatest fighters and fights in the great era of boxing in the 1970s and ‘80s, and stiffed and chiseled and stole from just about every fighter and commission he participated in, and while doing so shouted over and over at the top of his lungs, “ONLY IN AMERICA, ONLY IN AMERICA,” yes, this man who absolutely shafted everybody he ever dealt with, fairly oozing incarnate evil from every pore, his eyes gleaming with the joyous cunning of a psychopath sucking in an entire heedless boxing crowd, this bamboozler emerging from the very gutter of our world and floating to the top, this Don King is now backing a man he admires as an even richer more nefarious bamboozler, Donald trump for President!

comment-don-king-mug1Yes, there he was, 85 years old, as outrageous as ever, the previously stiffened high hair not quite as stiff, seemingly forgotten now that professional boxing in America has become a joke and second rate sport dwarfed by the savagery of cage fighting, on the soap box, bragging about his 30-year friendship with his fellow bamboozler and thief, who like Mr. King has also sued and been sued and paid off when caught and continued his profligate lying and conniving and bamboozling to become the Republican candidate for President of the United States.

Ahhh,  THE Donald King will surely attract many black voters, possibly those with several rows of gold chains around their necks, or perhaps those carrying loaded shot guns and pistols, or those running ghetto scams, and possibly those tattooed, head-shaven, leather-clad white louts once snarling in the background at the real Donald’s rallies, though at this point they are no longer allowed in the background at the Donald’s rallies, and are replaced by an assembly of young wholesome silly smiling white teenagers or painted blondes or corrugated old white-haired lemmings told when to smile and when to cheer.

Yeah, THE Donald King is again shitting in high cotton, and instead of being in jail or surrounded by bodyguards, he’s back on a podium surrounded by cameras, on all the 24-hour supposed news stations, shouting into the heavens, outrageous, unintelligible, oozing evil, indulging in one more attempt to bamboozle the stupidest and most mindlessly macho countryman, once again wrapped in our beloved American flag.

God save us. Please. §

Dell Franklin has a low tolerance for hosers, especially in the worlds of sports and politics. He writes from his home in Cayucos, Calif., where he also maintains his blog and website, dellfranklin.com.

DONALD TRUMP’S ‘REAL AMERICANS’

 

comment-trumps-real-americansby Dell Franklin

Donald Trump’s real Americans don’t play golf and would never under any circumstances be allowed on any of his courses and if they tried an armed security detail would throw them off and possibly shoot them.

Donald Trump’s real Americans would never be allowed to sit at his table for any meal because they never went to finishing school and possess atrocious manners, like talking with a mouthful of food and wanting to wash it down with Pabst Blue Ribbon beer.

Donald Trump’s real Americans love the Constitution but never read it and just quote the gun lobby’s defense of an amendment they don’t understand.

Donald Trump’s real Americans would not get past the front door of Trump Tower before an armed security detail turned them back into the street because of their noxious apparel and tattoos.

Donald Trump’s real Americans will threaten and fight you if you dispute the Donald’s blatant lies that are documented as blatant lies by legitimate fact checkers.comment-trumps-real-ams-pbr

Donald Trump’s real Americans will threaten and fight you if you dispute the lies he made up about Hillary Clinton even if those lies have been proven untrue by legitimate fact checker.

Donald Trump’s real Americans are positive President Obama is a Kenyan-born Muslim who wants to take their guns away and let ISIS terrorists take over the country and impose Sharia law on defenseless white people like themselves.

Donald Trump’s real Americans will deny they’re racists because they approve of the frothing-at-the-mouth-lectern-pounding black pastors he digs up to defend him, and who are looking for more TV exposure and a possible talk radio show.

Donald Trump’s real Americans believe whoever can tell the biggest most outlandish outrageous lies will win the Presidency of the United States—and they’re fine with it.

Donald Trump’s real Americans hate out-of-touch Hollywood celebrities and Academic scholars who bad-mouth their Donald and would like to knuckle their heads like in the old days when sissies and faggots got their asses kicked simply for existing.

Donald Trump’s real Americans are some of the meanest and nastiest looking people on the face of the earth.

Donald Trump’s real Americans relish the role and identify with their Donald as the “Ugly American,” because they believe all Europeans are socialist pussies who play soccer instead of football.

Donald Trump’s real Americans wouldn’t mind the Donald nuking some of our enemies.

Donald Trump’s real Americans look at him as the latest and perhaps last white hope in a country taken over by suspicious black, brown and yellow people who want to keep them from making America great again and subject them to lower class status.

Donald Trump’s real Americans are some of the fattest people on the face of the earth.

Donald Trump’s real Americans are a lot of old Viet Nam veterans who wear those funny hats and medals and have to know that their Donald was a draft dodger with a rich dad who paid off a doctor and would have been given a blanket party in basic training as soon as they realized he was afraid to get his itty bitty under-sized hands dirty.

comment-trumpthatbitchDonald Trump’s real Americans drive monster trucks and those things resembling army half tracks with bumper stickers that read “Trump That Bitch” and “Put Her in Jail.”

Donald Trump’s real Americans include xenophobic, homophobic climate change denying ex-jocks like Curt Schilling who fears for his daughter if she walks into a restroom and has to face a transgender creature who will molest her.

Donald Trump’s real Americans don’t care if he refuses to show his income tax forms, nor if he’s a crook, because they feel everybody’s a crook and it’s best to have the biggest crook and liar in the country in the White House because he’ll out-crook all the crooks in the world trying to fuck us.

Donald Trump’s real Americans, from the look of them at rallies, need lobotomies, and those who haven’t look like they’ve already had lobotomies.

Donald Trump’s real Americans don’t care about his policies or qualifications to govern the country, they just want to sit on their asses and enjoy a reality show while the country goes to hell because their lives suck anyway. §

Dell Franklin is a real American but not one of those kind. He writes from his home in Cayucos, Calif., where he lives with his rescue dog, Wilbur. He posts stories and commentary at dellfranklin.com.

EXTREME JURY DUTY HATRED

Jury Box in a new court room

A retiree’s view on how to shirk civic responsibility

by Dell Franklin

When I received another letter in the mail ordering me to jury duty in a month, I immediately began fretting and was transformed into a different person, a much worse person, a morose, moody miserable person who felt persecuted and fulminated with rage at being picked for this service just about every year, over and over again, as if I was the only person in the county eligible for jury duty because I am retired and basically have no life outside of walking my dog three times a day and night, going to yoga and playing tennis on alternate mornings, penning the occasional diatribe, and looking forward to long periods, day in and day out, of doing absolutely nothing while dressed in rags.

Since I have no job or official functions, I get to wear rags all the time, and I took issue when the jury duty guideline informed me I could not wear shorts or T-shirts or flip-flops, but had to don appropriate attire—long pants, collared shirt, real shoes. I suppose I would be held in contempt of court if I showed up in my usual rags, but truth is, I no longer own a pair of long pants that fit me, just one pair I wore six years ago at my nephew’s wedding, and these pants—cotton Dockers bought at a thrift store for three dollars—have lost their button and will not zip more than a third of the way up, so I have the excuse that I officially have no long pants and felt I should write this down on the form you can fill out in an attempt to get excused from jury duty: “Dear Jury Duty Officials, I have no pants that will not disgrace me and repel fellow jurists, lawyers and judges, only shorts, and own but one badly frayed 45-year-old Hawaiian shirt that is appropriate to wear in public, usually when some friend wants to buy me dinner at a nice restaurant for my birthday or holidays. I have no intention of going to a thrift store to buy new long pants when there’s no need for them and I cannot afford them as I am a poor retiree living like a mole in a dump on social security.”

Well, of course, one can only fantasize about writing such a note to the authorities whom I feel are torturing me for being an old useless retiree. The second I got my summons I called my lady companion, Miranda, in a bit of a panic, and she told me not to worry, that they’d never, on sight, ever put me on a jury, and that if they did consider questioning me they would immediately disqualify me the minute I opened my mouth.

“Yeh, well,” I told her, “I don’t want to go down there.” I repeated this refrain to other associates who’d been forced to go to jury duty, all disclosing horror stories. “Who’s going to walk my dog? I walk him three times a day. He’ll go nuts without me hanging around. How the hell am I gonna get up at the crack of dawn and drive thirty miles to a hell hole like Paso Robles if I’m called there? Or San Luis? Or Arroyo Grande? They’ll jail me for being late and ill clad.”

Miranda accused me of being an unreasonable big baby and hung up. I called a retired school teacher friend down south, who told me I had no worries, that no jury would have me, but just to make sure, he told me to be myself, which meant I would tell any lawyer or judge I wanted all drugs legalized, including heroin, I believed in the death penalty and felt all guns should be banned, and as a white person hated almost all white people.

The real truth is, though, since retiring in 2008, a refusal to do anything I do not want to do or that impositions me in even the slightest has set in and taken hold of me with an iron hand, almost to the point where if one tiny part of my daily agenda is impinged upon, say, a doctor’s appointment, I go into a blind tizzy. It has come to the point where I just want to be left alone! When I’m reading my LA Times with a muffin and two cups of coffee on my deck after yoga or tennis, I want no interruptions! My entire nonsensical days are like this, and jury duty comes as a shock and a threat so overwhelming that a month’s anticipation of the week of jury service ruins this month and causes me much anxiety and dread and a gnawing trepidation.

The fact that during the seven or eight times I have been summoned, I have always been placed on stand-by and never called in has nothing to do with it, because every evening when I had to call in to find out if indeed I was going to be ordered in, my stomach moiled with stress, just as it had all day, and I took a big gulp of air for relief, only to hear that I had to call in the next evening, an ongoing process that spanned an entire week—one which has just mercifully passed, thank you.

During the month leading to my potential service, I did consider writing down that I had prostate surgery from cancer and because my plumbing has been rerouted I have to pee every half hour; have suffered occasional vertigo that had me careening about and crashing into walls; suffer from severe arthritis in the hip, knee, shoulder and neck from past contact sports; have nearly fainted and run amok from panic attacks, but when I tried to get a-hold of my urologist, ENT, orthopedic surgeon and primary care physician to write notes that would exclude me from jury duty, none of their receptionists returned my calls, obviously wanting nothing to do with me unless I was truly sick.

Well, next time I’m going to write down all these maladies along with the names of my doctors, and the jury tyrants can call the receptionists and deal with them, try and get a little information out of them, try and bust through the miasma of red tape when dealing with the medical profession, and even though none of these maladies in all honesty are truly enough to keep me off a jury, maybe the aggravation will deter the tyrants to leave me alone and realize that some of us are not professional grownups by anyone’s imagination, and do not belong on anything as important as a jury, and that as a lifetime slacker and shirker, I feel I deserve exclusion from such a responsibility and am guiltless about this, and because I am a three-year Army veteran, feel I have done enough as a responsible American citizen.

I live in fear of my next summons. §

Dell Franklin lives and writes in Cayucos, Calif. More of his work can be viewed at dellfranklin.com.

30 YEARS RUNNING

Remembering New Times’ Steve Moss

CITY LIFE.STEVE MOSS

Before his death in 2005, Steve Moss turned the scrappy alternative weekly he started with Alex Zuniga and Beverly Johnson in 1986 into a viable and trusted source of news and information throughout SLO County.

by Stacey Warde

I worked at New Times as managing editor at the turn of the century, not long after 9/11, when the alternative weekly wasn’t yet 20 years old. Recently, I received an email from a past reader and contributor:

“Did New Times contact you about contributing to their 30th anniversary issue? I was really disappointed this morning when it didn’t include an article written by you. You should have been a part of it. I do think, however, that Jeff McMahon wrote one of the best pieces that New Times has ever published.”

At first, I felt a bit slighted; I would like to have been included in the anniversary edition. I worked at the newspaper when founding publisher Steve Moss revived himself, came back to life, after a long depression. He never really got over his depression but his spark came back as we worked together.

I picked up a copy of the issue in question and read Jeff’s tribute to Steve, who died from an epileptic seizure in 2005 while he was in his garden. Indeed, as my colleague points out, Jeff’s portrait—in which he emphasizes Steve’s reverence for a good story that was humane, backed with solid data, and free from ideology—rises to the top.

It’s a fine portrait.

There’s not much to add to Jeff’s depiction of Steve’s genius for news and storytelling, but I’d like to give a partial view of my own experience with the man, who hugely influenced my approach to telling stories that matter, stories that leave a lasting impact.

Before his death, Steve had turned the scrappy alternative weekly he started with Alex Zuniga and Beverly Johnson in 1986 into a viable and trusted source of news and information throughout SLO County.

Steve was a mentor who constantly raised the bar for us, sometimes to the point of madness, to do better; he challenged our assumptions and cherished notions about life, and countered with questions we hadn’t yet fully answered as reporters and storytellers. By the time a story got placed on the newspage, it had been turned over and over until the kinks had been shaken out of it and would stand on its own.

Steve took complete confidence in what he offered San Luis Obispo County in his newspaper and never saw reason to apologize for it, even when some readers threatened to burn down the building because they didn’t like what he printed.

Not long after he hired me, for example, we started hearing rumors that KSBY producer and TV personality Kevin Graves had been caught masturbating at a public sporting event.

The Tribune had recently run a glowing article about Mr. Graves’ wife, Sharon, a much-beloved weather forecaster, also at KSBY, who had just announced her decision to move out of state to be closer with family. Her announcement came as a shock to her many loyal viewers. She was an integral and active part of the community.

Meanwhile, several anonymous callers began informing us that the “real reason she decided to leave” was because her husband couldn’t keep his hands out of his pants, and he got busted for it. She had to leave to avoid any further embarrassment.

There was no mention of her husband’s behavior in the Tribune story about her departure.

Steve and I went into his office to discuss the matter. He sat down on his swivel chair where he wrote his Shredder columns and turned to face me for the first challenging news decision I had to make with him.

“Do you think we should run this story, if it turns out to be true, that her husband got busted for beating off in public?” Steve was always blunt and kept his humor whenever he was confronted with a news challenge. Steve made telling the news fun, even when it was difficult.

“Unless they come right out and say it,” I responded, “we can’t really prove that they’re leaving town because her husband’s a jerk off.” Steve looked back at me knowingly, with a mischievous grin. In that moment, we connected as news men, and I knew we’d make a good team, come what may.

“At the very least,” I continued, “we should look into it and, if necessary, set the record straight.” It wasn’t an easy decision, but we both agreed the community had a right to know, if the facts confirmed rumors of lewd conduct by a local celebrity. Neither us wanted to besmirch Sharon’s fine career. It was her husband, we decided, who chose that course.

There was a gleam in Steve’s eyes. He hadn’t been well, I’d been told, battling depression and, in some ways, slipping, flattening, his passion for the news waning, and it showed in the pages of the newspaper, which in recent years had seemed dull and lifeless, not the scrappy little upstart it had been in the beginning. Steve’s much-tested instincts began to stir again.

We asked senior reporter Dan Blackburn to run down to the courthouse to see what he could find. An hour later he returned to the office with a file containing the court’s record of Mr. Graves’ “no contest” plea to accusations of lewd conduct. The newsroom stirred and tittered as we pored over the details.

“Banner headline!” someone shouted. “This is a BIG story!”

“NO!” I responded. “We’re not running a banner headline. The content in the court record is caustic enough. We’ll run it as a ‘What’s News’ item.”

Thankfully, Steve agreed with me. We basically rewrote the content of the court document into a small four-graf news brief, buried among other briefs in the “What’s News” page. We attempted to reach the Graves numerous times for comment before going to press. Our calls were never returned, and by morning the Graves had abruptly left town. They were gone.

When that week’s newspaper hit the stands the next morning, the calls—and threats, including one who claimed he would burn the place down—started rolling in. “How dare you!” one lady shouted at me when I picked up the phone to take her call. “How dare you shame a community treasure!”

“Ma’am, you’re talking to the wrong guy,” I said, “you need to talk to Kevin Graves.” And on it went, all day long. That night KSBY brass went on the air to lament Sharon’s premature departure. Steve and I watched the sad undertaking on tv while sharing a beer at Spike’s, and I noticed a spark in his eye.

***

Until then, I had worked for New Times as a freelancer, penning commentary and cover stories, including one for the “Bridal Issue” about gay marriage in SLO County before it became popular to talk about such things. The annual supplement, as all other supplements, like the “Best of SLO County,” is a big boon for the paper because it brings in much-needed advertising dollars. The focus is not news so much as entertainment and frills to attract advertisers and their money.

News staff were responsible for generating copy for these supplements, and consequently, despite attempts to make them appealing to advertisers, these stories more often reflected news value rather than the marketing and promotional purposes of the advertising manager, who cared little for the dicier, juicier, and meatier stuff that is the spice of life in an alternative weekly.

Advertisers went apoplectic over my bridal story, which presented the personal views of half a dozen gay couples in the area, including some who were raising children, while the gay community received the story well and were happy to be represented in the county’s only major weekly. The advertisers were pissed, I was told, because my story “made a mockery of marriage.”

“Advertisers are having a shit-fit about your story,” then-managing editor Marla Pugh told me when it came out, “but don’t worry, it’s a good story and Steve really liked it.”

He had my back, Marla said, knowing full well that without good content, even in an advertising supplement, a publication wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on, and if advertisers wanted to complain, let them. They were buying genuine real estate in his publication because its pages held real value, content with teeth, not the fluff that’s so common today.

***

Steve and I were a good match. We worked well together. He was the consummate newspaperman with a Libertarian view, suspicious of government overreach, always on the watch for a great story, and unafraid to turn over the apple cart as long it served the higher purpose of a well-informed readership.

Steve subscribed to an ideal I had learned from one of my previous mentors: “Report the news without fear or favor.” He respected and cherished his readers. Without readers, he’d say, you’ve got nothing. Give them what they need, and then some.

Barely two days after the firestorm of protests erupted over our news brief on Kevin Graves, Steve walked breathlessly and excitedly into the office. “I’ve got an idea,” he exclaimed as he swept into the newsroom, “I’ve got an idea! We’re going to run a cover story, ‘Should we have done it?’”

“Should we have done what, Steve?” I asked.

“Should we have run the story!” he fired back. He’d heard enough complaints about our news brief to put the question before experts in the field. He wanted to contact publishers throughout the state to see how they might have handled the story. Then, we would report their findings in the next edition.

“Are you crazy, Steve?” I responded, wearied from the onslaught of angry calls. “Isn’t that just adding more fuel to the fire?”

“No!” he countered. “Are you kidding me?” It would be a great way to educate the community on the standards and values of news. I was afraid it would give readers more reason to hate our guts. We had already done our job, I told him, and that was to tell the news without fear or favor.

We went back and forth, arguing the point, bringing staff into the conversation until finally we agreed to lobby respected experts to see what they’d say. The whole newsroom got into the action, querying the state’s most respected editors and reporting their answers in the subsequent edition.

We had done the right thing, the respondents told us, hard as it might have been. The role of setting the record straight, keeping the community as fully informed as possible, eliminating destructive rumor with truth, is vital to the health of the community.

Soon, we were being flooded with calls again. This time callers were congratulating us for having the guts to tell the truth. “I’m so glad you guys are here. I know you take a lot of shit for what you do, but keep doing it, and thank you!” Suddenly, the dialog shifted into a more nuanced conversation about a community’s right to know.

Steve was right all along. That was his genius: To open a dialog, unpleasant as it might be, about the nature of our surroundings and community. We worked together for about two more years, helping to put a few crooks in jail, putting the spotlight on law enforcement overreach, and  gave readers unique insights into their community that they’d find nowhere else.

I miss Steve Moss, and I think of him often, and wish he were still with us. §

Stacey Warde is publisher of The Rogue Voice. He can be reached at roguewarde@gmail.com.

Nerdy India

CULTURE.INDIA2

by Dell Franklin

Just looking around at what I see on the Central Coast, people from India seem very polite and pleasant but also very nerdy. This was not something I seriously thought about until I read the LA Times Sports section one recent morning and discovered that India, a country of 1.3 billion people, only had one medal at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, and it’s a puny bronze to boot. Even tiny Fiji secured a gold. America, a country of 320 million, had, at last count, 93 medals and 30 gold, and still counting….

I wonder if India’s lack of athleticism and competitive zeal, obviously, has something to do with yoga, an ancient Indian practice of mental discipline and physical flexibility, which I started practicing three months ago at the age of 72. I’ve never been to India and what I know about India, besides yoga and the image of yogis in ashrams hypnotizing the Western world’s spiritual needy, is this: Gandhi was a great pacifist whose philosophy is the most sensible in world history; some Indians around here have pink dots on their foreheads; most of the motels and hotels in this area are owned by Indians who do not permit dogs in their rooms; every time you need to know something on the phone when you’re ripped off, a polite Indian, whom you cannot understand, answers; just about every cold call on your phone is a fucking polite Indian; Indians and their spawn, which I see walking around outside of their motels and businesses, seem clannish and do not carry themselves with the swagger and light-footed rhythm of athletes; India children in America dominate national spelling bees, seeming to memorize entire dictionaries, destroying white, brain-trust children; most Indians are named Patel; Indian yogis lead the world in all phases of yoga and are idolized by their disciples and pupils; behind the sweet politeness of Indians is a ruthless mercenary streak that I suspect overruns humanity.

Of course, most of the Indians I’ve come in contact with are probably not from the bottom of the caste system in India, because at least they have enough money to buy a plane ticket to America and buy all our motels and hotels, live in them in some cases, and make more money. They come from a country teeming with beggars; and I wonder, do the millions of impoverished in India give a damn about yoga and yogis or athletics when they’re hungry and wasting away and on the verge of stealing a pig, a goat, an apple, a piece of bread?

I’ve read of a famous and fabulously rich India yoga guru in Beverly Hills who was trying to fuck all the pretty female acolytes in his classes who worshipped him and ended up getting sued for his millions. I once, as a cabbie, picked up an Indian man in a beautiful suit and drove him to a business conference at a snazzy hotel and he was very interesting and intelligent and friendly and tipped me well and even gave me some rupees which I still hold in my wallet, in case I ever get to India; though I’ve never had any desire to visit a country that hot and overcrowded.

I probably wouldn’t even give a second thought to poor feeble India garnering only one measly bronze medal from a country of 1.3 billion if it wasn’t for my recent plunge into yoga, where everybody seems happily under the influence of its precepts, and those precepts are from India. In many of my yoga articles I have admitted to the exercises softening my hard edge and rendering me less competitive, even if I still do toss my tennis racket at times, though not as often.

Speaking of tennis, this is the only sport where I recognize any professionals from India, and what I read about the few who succeeded just a little on the pro tennis tour was that they were really nice guys, almost too nice, which leads me to believe further that a country with a vast yoga culture breeds a bunch of gawky nerds interested only in taming A-type personalities while stressing non-confrontation.

What is shocking to me is that I have not seen one India person in any of my yoga classes, nor any Indian instructors or gurus, though I have read about big shot yogis spell-binding rich white people (mostly females) in Hollywood and Beverly Hills, which means that perhaps these Indian gurus are secretly trying to squeeze the aggressiveness out of our guilty aggressors and therefore undermine the maniacal aggressiveness of our country—probably a good thing. It also might be obvious that, for the most part, India people hate fucking yoga and think we’re a bunch of idiots for adopting it in a manner that has caused it to take off as a business empire for the yogis who prey on our guilt and lack of spiritualism as we ruthlessly lead the world in finance as well as the Olympics.

I think I might ask one of my yoga instructors if there are any India people in their classes, or if there ever has been. My guess is that most of the local India people are well-apprised of yoga and would be embarrassed to join a local class and observe our instructors and pupils, just as an American in India would laugh out loud at an Indian trying to hit a baseball when one of their national sports is cricket, kind of a foolhardy offshoot of baseball if not the outline of the beginning of that sport.

This morning, the day after I read about the Americans earning 93 medals to India’s one, I picked up the paper and saw that we were up to 100 and the Indians still had only one pathetic bronze, but when I turned on MSNBC to see what Trump has done next, a gold medal ladies’ badminton game was going on between a Spanish woman and an Indian woman! The Indian woman was assured a silver, and for that I was glad, but I still rooted for her to beat the world-class Spaniard to whom she was an underdog, but she lost the second set after winning the first, and then I had to go to yoga class and therefore missed the final set, so I guess I’ll have to read about it tomorrow. §

Dell Franklin, once a skeptic of the benefits of yoga, has become a regular practitioner and has regained flexibility in both his body and mind. More of his stories can be viewed at his website: dellfranklin.com, where this story, a series about yoga, first appeared.

 

THE SPORTING PANORAMA

From NFL Hall of Famers to the corrupt 2016 Olympics

by Dell Franklin

COMMENT.SPORTING.ORLANDOOf late I have developed conflicted feelings about the sporting world and lost interest in teams and players, which has led me to boycott the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro for the first time—except for the sprinting events. At the same time, for the first time ever, as the farthest thing from a football fanatic, who never watches college games and few pro games, I viewed the entire day-long National Football League Hall of Fame induction ceremony and found myself utterly absorbed and repeatedly in tears while listening to men who had come up from the very bottom of our socio-economic ladder in America and reached such heights in the bone-crushing and wildly emotional game of professional football.

Having sampled football up until the tenth grade and realizing it was for kids more gladiatorial than me, there is this respect and admiration for those who continue to play. My father, who played big league baseball and faced fire-baller Bob Feller without a helmet and was an amateur boxing champion out of tough Chicago, also found football simply too brutal in the stone-age era of the 1930s when he was recruited by the University of Illinois to play for the legendary coach, Bob Zuppke, whom he characterized as a “miserable goddamn heartless sadist.”

“Football players at that level are a different breed,” he always said, with a touch of awe. “They’re not like other people. They’re a select club of men.”

Nowadays, these men play for more money while enduring even more pain and brokenness because they’re bigger and faster and smash into each other with horrifying force, so much so I wince and hate to look at the players who after collisions lay writhing in agony, their magnificent athleticism temporarily and sometimes permanently crippled. To face such savagery, and even dare to be paralyzed, as in some cases, their courage is something us mortals cannot possibly relate to or understand, only stand in awe of.

And perhaps that is the reason I tried but could not hold back tears while listening to Orlando Pace, a black giant, talking about his mother, who raised him and his sister while working two jobs in Sandusky, Ohio, the camera panning to his mother and sister dabbing at tears as they sat under a warm Ohio sun.

John Madden, home and ailing, possesses such profound respect for these men he could hardly get through a taped introduction of the deceased Kenny Stabler, a slender Alabaman quarterback who, on badly damaged knees, stood the charges of thunderous defenders for over a decade and won games with guile and daring.

Kevin Greene, all-American boy and ex-Boy Scout, talked of his dad, a retired Army officer wounded in Vietnam, the camera panning to this man who struggled to keep his composure as Kevin gave him full credit for teaching him the military discipline to succeed in such a tough business.

The most impressive speech was by an ex-owner drummed out of the league, Ed Debartalo, a diminutive man so in love with his players that he immediately visited them, in the locker room after injuries and took care of their futures as family. His message to NFL powers that ran him out of the game was to treat these men as he had; a chastising of their greediness and ruthless inattention to the physical and mental debilitation these men suffer long after retirement.

If these men brought tears and cheers, Brett Favre brought roars and copious weeping. The toughest of the tough, he barely made it through his speech without breaking down, but brought down the house when talking about how hard his dad was on him, yet at the same time, behind his back, extolled his character and determination to his coach, something I think all jocks and their jock dads have experienced, including myself.

All of these speeches were delivered by a bunch of big old sentimental slobs. At times they were awkward, unpolished but always sincere, and always moving, boy/men still, thanking just about everybody who helped them get there, the memories so poignant, the game so dear to them, the teammates and coaches so valuable, that it wasn’t really about them, but the totality of the experience, from peewee football to the prized NFL that has broken the heart of so many gridiron stars trying to make it.

Small wonder American football fans are so crazy about these gladiators.

***

COMMENT.SPORTING.RIOThe 2016 Olympics in Rio are the accumulation of decades of the IOC turning a magnificent competition into a corrupt grab-bag of billionaires and politicians on the take. It is about the rich pushing around the poor, and in some cases taking their homes to build monstrous and soon-to-be obsolete sports complexes, as in countries like China and Russia. It’s about a broke country like Greece going broker. It’s about a country like Russia, caught red-handed in a colossal cheating scheme and then let off the hook by the political whores in the IOC knuckling under to the latest global bully, Vladimir Putin.

It’s about the Russians recruiting desperately impoverished migrants from Eastern Europe to build their complexes, withholding their pay, housing them in sheds, disposing them as lifeless carcasses when they’re sick and broken and used up—and dead. It’s about this very same country forcing their poorest people out of their homes and out of their turf, paying them nothing, essentially breaking them, while billionaire oligarchs become richer, and we in America, along with the IOC, stand by as we wave our flags of superior athleticism—another vehicle to buoy our image to ourselves and the world.

It’s about Brazil, a country caught in an economic tragedy so severe that people are literally starving to death, and protesting, somehow spending billions to put on the usual pomp and pageantry and the construction of soon-to-be abandoned venues as, like Greece, get fleeced by the greed-hogs from the IOC.

It’s about NBC manipulating the emotions of every American TV viewer with its saccharine music accompanying maudlin depiction of certain athletes and their heart-breaking situations, a literal soap opera, while two-minute commercials seizing on the gullible masses stuff their corporate pockets.

Every year, since I can remember, the Olympics arrived every four years as something great, but as time passed it became this monster of flag-waving, country-chanting hypocrisy, another money grab perpetrated by a pack of rapacious scoundrels known as the IOC, a group not unlike NFL owners whose entire goal in life is to stock-pile more treasure and territory and keep their foot on the neck of their slaves.

I just want to watch the sprints. §

Dell Franklin grew up in the rough-and-tumble of sports in Compton, Calif., where his father, “Moe” Franklin, a professional baseball player, built a shoe business and supported a family. Dell writes from his home in Cayucos, Calif., where he lives with his rescue dog, Wilbur. Visit Dell’s website at dellfranklin.com.

Obsolescence and doing business

CITY LIFE.CAYUCOS SUPERMARKET*

 

by Stacey Warde

I run my life off a tired Apple computer, a MacBook Pro, that’s 10 years old, which has been a fine and dependable workhorse. I use it as an entertainment center for radio, news and tv. I write articles, run this magazine and my business on it. It’s my connection to the world.

It’s so old, however, the company that made it refuses to service it any more. “Um, yeah, that machine is obsolete,” an Apple techie said recently when I asked for help with a fan that had gone bad.

I watched a YouTube video on my cell phone to figure out how to fix it myself. Not long after that, I noticed the thin protective panel on the computer’s removable battery starting to peel off.

I made a quick run into town to pick up some super glue. Living in a small town, there’s only one store, the Cayucos Supermarket, which in its own peculiar way—with its leaky open cold storage, occasional cruddy fly strips hanging from the ceiling, and chipped, stinky deteriorating floors—is also obsolete.

I’ve often thought this place could use its own sprucing up, a much-needed upgrade and paint job and repairs, so the owner, for example, wouldn’t need to put towels down on the floor to soak up water leaking from the ancient cold storage; and maybe improve the selection by including some produce from the many nearby farms to give it a touch of fresh and local. But, when you’re on a budget like me, which I’m guessing is the problem here, you make do with what you’ve got.

I found my way to a corner of the store where knick knacks such as can openers, spatulas and other forgotten or missing kitchen essentials and fix-it items like super glue hang on the wall. It’s the quick-fix corner for the summer flood of tourists and vacationers who come to town and are likely to need missing items from their vacation homes or travel packs.

The fix-it corner sits at the end of the produce display at the back of the store. The produce section features an incomplete and sad selection of limp and tired fruits and vegetables, where flies and gnats buzz the air, and where shoppers aren’t likely to get too inspired for their meal plans. The prices vary but verge on the high side; you don’t really get what you pay for here, but shoppers like me patronize the store anyhow, for the convenience mostly. It’s the only show in town.

As I stood there gazing at the wall, searching for super glue, I heard someone spraying down the produce. “How nice,” I thought without looking, “someone’s spritzing the fruits and vegetables.” Then, I smelled the distinct chemical odor of bug spray.

I turned to see who was spritzing the produce and got caught in a stinky cloudy chemical mist. The store owner, who apparently didn’t know I was standing there, seemed surprised to see me and waved his hand to brush away the mist. “Oops! Didn’t mean to get you too,” he said, waving a green can with thick black lettering, what appeared to be a can of RAID in his hand before he turned and quickly walked away.

“Did I just see what I think I saw?”

It was an embarrassing moment for both of us. I just wanted to get some super glue to patch my tired old computer without being exposed to bug poison; he just wanted to get rid of those pesky bugs bombing the produce without making a display of it, or accidentally dousing a customer with pesticide.

I didn’t know what to think: “I’ll never buy produce from this place again,” was my first thought, then, “how much of the bug killer got into my lungs? How much of that crap have I ingested over the years buying produce here? Should I call the health department? Will I ever come back to this store? Where’s that damn super glue?”

Finally, I spotted the package with the tiny little squeeze tube, which was hanging from a hook near the can openers, and pulled it off the wall. “This will work,” I decided, eager to get out of the store.

Before making my way toward the front of the store again, where the cash registers are, to pay for my glue, I made one quick glance at the bugless produce display. “Yuck,” I thought. I didn’t say anything to the cashier, mostly grousing to myself, eager to get home so I could fix the loose battery panel on the back of my old computer.

“I get it,” I thought, back at home, meticulously patching the super glue onto the loose panel, “you make do with what you’ve got, sopping wet floors with old towels, and hanging fly strips from the ceiling, just like I’m doing here, patching up this battery, wondering how much longer this tired machine is going to last.” §

Stacey Warde is publisher of The Rogue Voice. He can be reached at roguewarde@gmail.com.