Money Makes the World Go Round

I've never been a political commentator, and I don't plan on becoming one. Please don't take my words or opinions seriously. I only call things as I see them. I don't claim to understand them. But one thing I do know is that the world is a strange place that's powered almost entirely by money. Not justice, not morality, not love for our fellow man. As the old song goes (the one I absolutely hated when they forced me to sing this drivel in high school), Money makes the world go round.

Recently, my wife was working on grading her ASL students' papers online when she noticed there was a video clip of Saddam Hussein's hanging. She brought it to my attention, and, of course, my morbid curiousity wouldn't let me resist. I had to look. Wifey clicks on the headline. Suddenly, you can see...

A toothbrush commercial. What the hell is this? What kind of sick world is it when prior to an execution, they hawk a freaking toothbrush on you? What kind of message is that supposed to convey? Hey, if you gotta go, go out with a beautiful smile!

I'm sorry, but there are times when it's really not a good idea to hawk a product. Of course, this message is going to fall on deaf ears (*wink*) and it won't surprise me if they turn the next execution of a major political figure into a Pay Per View event. Mark my words. It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when. I trust the de-volution of our species enough to make this an eventual reality.

Okay, enough of that. The other thing that has my attention is the ongoing steroids scandal in pro sports. Thanks to Barry Bonds and Mark "I'm not here to talk about the past" McGwire, most of the steroid focus is on baseball even though you know it's more pervasive than that.

The big furor right now is over federal investigators getting their hands on urine samples of baseball players who tested positive for steroids in 2003. Presumably, this may give them the break they need to nail Barry Bonds on an alleged perjury charge. The problem is, the players agreed to this testing under the agreement that the results would be kept confidential.

Look, I understand the arguments on behalf of privacy. I wouldn't want my urine samples made public, either (not that there's anything in them, but I'm not here to talk about the past).

But the fact of the matter is, and the main reason the MLB players union is screaming foul, is they all know they're GUILTY. Who are we kidding? And for those who didn't take steroids, I believe most are on Human Growth Hormone, which (for now) is more difficult to detect. Come on, look at any highlight reel from the late '80s. The players back then looked like stick figures. Again, who are we kidding?

Do I blame the players? No. Do I blame the owners who shamelessly looked the other way when they knew what was going on? No. Who do I blame, then? Us. You and me. That's right. The fans. As long as we're stupid enough to shell out $300 bucks for a family of four to attend what's essentially a kid's game, there's an awful lot of money at stake. Would you stick a needle in your butt for a $30,000 a year job? Hell no. Would you do it for $100,000,000? (Wow, thats eight zeroes!) Excuse me while I drop my pants. Money makes the world go round...

As for the ongoing investigation, one of its biggest backers is Senator Jim Bunning. A former major leaguer himself, he's been one of the most outspoken leaders in the effort to clean up pro sports. He's pointed out over and over that testing and punishment has been far too lenient and I agree with him 100 percent. I also think it's very appropriate that Bunning lead this charge because he's from a relatively small group of pro athletes who actually played on a level playing field; he played in between the time Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947 and the steroid era that began in the '90s. (Babe Ruth never had to face a Bob Gibson or a Pedro Martinez... and Barry Bonds, well, sheeesh. You can see why I'm a big fan of Hank Aaron.)

But... (and you knew there was gonna be a but)... while I think it's admirable that the feds are cracking down on steroids, um... (I know I'm going to get in trouble for this)... and while it's true that steroids pose a great risk to kids who are looking to add an extra 30 feet to their fly balls or an extra 10 mph to their fastballs... (are you ready for the clincher?)... I think the fact remains that cigarettes pose far more long-term danger to a greater number of today's kids than steroids ever will. Not that steroids aren't a problem -- they definitely are. I'm just saying tobacco is a far bigger problem. Do you see anyone doing anything about it? No? Money makes the world go round...

Am I blaming the tobacco industry? No. The government? No. Who, then? Us, of course. The consumers. I know, I know, I've heard all the conspiracy stories... but the fact of the matter is, we run en masse to the convenience store for smokes. We, as consumers, make a choice. The world and it's rules follow accordingly. Money makes the world go round...

Ah, it was nice to go off-deaf subject for a while and just rant. In the meantime, have a nice, healthy, happy, wonderful new year 2007.

Best regards,


Note: After reading this article my wife brought it to my attention that obesity may soon surpass tobacco as the leading cause of preventable deaths. Checked into this and sure enough, it's been reported that obesity may factor into 300,000 deaths each year (as compared to 400,000 smokers kicking the bucket). The primary culprit for our ballooning-up kids? Fast food, television, and video games. Again, we as consumers brought this on ourselves. Let's welcome in 2007 by getting off our butts and having a happy, healthy new year!

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