Little Boxes All The Same


I was surprised to see the FedEx guy in my neighborhood on a Saturday, even though I live pretty close to the nearest such facility. I was even more surprised that he delivered two boxes to my address – the new cable receivers I had ordered 48 hours prior.

The cable company seemed to imply it’d take three to five business days for the receivers to arrive, but it took way less than expected. For that, my thanks to Spectrum.

I studied how to put the receivers together and got them ready relatively quickly. It wasn’t rocket science – you put the batteries in the remote, you connect the receiver to the power, then you connect the receiver to an HDMI port. Then you call the cable company’s automated system to tell them the receivers are all set – BOOM! Off you go.

Being in the lurch of not having cable is now a distant memory. Now, about that new bill…



Flashback: “Magic” by Pilot

A song getting a lot of play in these parts due to the sudden resurgence (or so it’s hoped) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Scottish band Pilot scored their biggest hit in the US with the song (they’re better known in the UK for another song called “January” which topped the UK charts but fared poorly here), with the song peaking at #5 on the Billboard charts in the summer of 1975.

The Unfair Fair Warning


I had a pleasant surprise Tuesday night. Turning on my TV in time for the Rays game, I noticed that the channel wasn’t operating – then I noticed other channels were having the same problem. Then I thought the cable must have gone out, so I examined the other TV’s.

The house has three TV sets. The one connected to the digital receiver was working perfectly – the other two were not. Then I turned to channel 2 on one of the seemingly inoperable sets and got the message that commencing today (being Tuesday) – the analog cable was cut off and that more receivers would be needed if you wanted to watch cable hereafter.

Our cable provider gave notice about this by mail – the day after it happened. Nice work, guys.

Doing a quick search on Google, there was a small story in the Tampa Bay Times about our cable going “100% digital” a few months ago. You’d think I would have gotten a notice about such a vital change than the day AFTER it happened, right? Nope. Somehow, it managed to escape my attention.

The receiver boxes are on their way, but again, it would have been nicer of the cable provider wasn’t so tight-lipped and greedy about the matter.

Bert And Ernie Are What?

I was a bit puzzled to hear recently the “revelation” that the Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie were a gay couple.

I’ve always followed the “Jim Rome” logic on that. Rome, a sports talk show host out of Los Angeles famous for being on the wrong end of a fight with Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jim Everett a couple of decades ago, simply believed that since Bert and Ernie were puppets – how can they be gay? Personally, I’ve always thought that had a ring of logic to it.

Similarly, when I was a kid and read every Peanuts comic strip I could find, I never gave the somewhat quirky relationship between Peppermint Patty and Marcie much thought. I thought Marcie always called Patty “sir” because Marcie, always wearing glasses, had poor eyesight and that Patty was starved for attention because she never spoke about her mother.

I guess what bothers me is that we’re taking adult concepts and forcing those concepts on children who might not be emotionally equipped to handle those thoughts at that early of an age. Why can’t we tell kids that Bert and Ernie are friends, or that Marcie and Peppermint Patty are? It would seem a lot simpler.


High Stakes Democracy

close up court courthouse hammer
Photo by Pixabay on

I’ve been watching the proceedings surrounding the question of whether or not Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is approved by the United States Senate with great interest these past few weeks. In the past few days, and a week since the Senate Judiciary hearings took place, an accuser came forward: Christine Blasey Ford. The accusation: that a 17-year-old Kavanaugh forced himself onto her at a party over three and a half decades ago.

It sounds a bit sketchy to me. I can’t recall ever there was a time in my 47-year-old life that something occurring in high school has received such scrutiny. Usually, you have to impregnate, kill, or go to jail to get someone to notice what you did in your high school years, provided that it’s something negative. But, in the era of President Trump, the Democrats have been known to make an out of context argument or twenty.

I would think Ford’s story will have to be air-tight and otherwise convincing enough to woo more moderate Republicans away from confirming Mr. Kavanaugh. On top of which, it’s a huge gamble for the Democrats that could go off the rails. What if Ford flops at the hearing on Monday? I’d think they could lose votes in the November elections.

There are some senators who want to keep Ford’s testimony private, proposing a closed session take place. I tend to think that would be a total disservice to the public as well. The accusations against Kavanaugh gave the nominee no quarter – so it would only be fitting that if Ford testified, that it would be open to the public view, circus atmosphere or no.

I’m sure there will be more on this in the days ahead. Six days out from the proposed hearing date, the media seems to be already in a feeding frenzy – shades of 1991 and Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas. That didn’t go too well for the Democrats, either.

Yet Another New Day In Tampa Bay?


Perhaps it was an aberration of some kind. During the course of the NFL season, such aberrations happen – because it’s a very rare event for an NFL team to go undefeated. But alas, my hometown Tampa Bay Buccaneers surprised the defending champion Philadelphia Eagles 27-21 to go 2-0 in this young 2018-2019 NFL season.

If you asked even the most die-hard of Tampa Bay fans before the game yesterday if the Buccaneers had a chance at winning, and if they were honest in their assessments – I’d think very few of them would have picked against the Eagles, even though they were only three-point favorites in the views of the oddsmakers.

The difference so far this 2018 season seems to have been the play of Ryan Fitzpatrick, helming at quarterback while Jameis Winston is off serving a three-game suspension for some questionable conduct in a recent off-season involving an Uber driver in Arizona. With Winston gone, the passing game is flourishing for the journeyman quarterback from Harvard – as has the offense, scoring 75 points in the first two games, adding the record-tying 48 they tallied in New Orleans the week prior.

Will it last? Can it last? Who knows. But not a bad idea to drink this moment in if you’re a Bucs fan. They haven’t been to the playoffs since the 2007-2008 campaign, so maybe this could be the year that wait may finally end.

The Red Cross

lightning in sky at night
Photo by Pixabay on

What is now Tropical Storm Florence continues to dominate the news this Saturday. Firing up the computer (which is the only place I keep Facebook these days), I’m immediately hit with a plea from “FB” from the American Red Cross to donate to Florence victims.

Let me tell you a little story from my father, who died in 1991 – and a fable that has been relayed by him through my mother and to me through the intervening years.

As a young man, my dad was in the Army in the years that followed World War II. After defeating the Germans and the Japanese in that war, the military thought it would be a good idea to be tactically superior in snowy terrain – so my father was part of that effort, training in Colorado’s mountainous areas. Around that time, he would encounter the American Red Cross frequently. They always had coffee and snacks at the ready – provided, as my father relayed, the soldiers could pay what he thought was a steep price for those times.

It doesn’t surprise me, and hasn’t in a long time, that whenever there’s a disaster in the United States, you frequently hear of criticism of the Red Cross. True, the need will always be there for donations – but the story that isn’t often told, often because of how the media sets these stories up, is how the money they receive from us is distributed to victims. Do they get what they need, or does the ARC play them off as suckers?

A question to ponder in the days ahead, as the Carolinas recover.