Respect for the flag, always

Civil rights takes center stage with quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s refusal last week to stand and honor the American flag during the national anthem before a preseason football game.

Reaction has been strong, on both sides.

Some say dishonoring the flag dishonors the freedoms he lives with and the wealth he has accumulated in the National Football League.

Others say Kaepernick, who is biracial, is using his platform as a public figure to elevate a crucial issue: the “oppression” of people of color.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick holds the football during warmups before a preseason NFL football game against the Denver Broncos, Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick holds the football during warmups before a preseason NFL football game Aug. 20 in Denver. (The Associated Press)

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL Media in an exclusive interview after the game. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000691077/article/colin-kaepernick-explains-why-he-sat-during-national-anthem

It’s hard to argue with his statement that “there are bodies in the street …” Whether this country “oppresses black people and people of color” is open to debate.

We certainly did in the past, no question about that. Has racism ended in 2016 in America? No, I’m sure it hasn’t. Yet I truly hope our laws at all levels – local, state and national – oppose racism in all of its ugly forms.

We can’t legislate morality, however. We have to live it out. Our hearts determine how far racism reaches in this country.

Dishonoring the flag

Is dishonoring the flag an appropriate protest for oppression, or any other cause? Perhaps, just because of the publicity it’s drawn.

There are other ways to dishonor the flag as well. I’ve long felt that whenever we lower the flag to half-staff, we are dishonoring those men and women who fought for our right to fly that flag high.

Sitting during the national anthem is a political statement. Lowering the flag is not, but it should be.

Our service men and women fought for our country SO THAT we can fly our flag high. Always. When we lower the flag, we are saying their sacrifice was not good enough.

The flag as a symbol

The flag itself is greater than any one person – including our presidents and soldiers. We need to find other ways to honor our dead.

Those of you who have served: Do you agree? Or do I miss the meaning of the flag?

The Star-Spangled Banner

To defend my position to keep the flag flying high at all times, I offer a short history lesson on how the Star-Spangled Banner was written.

Our national anthem is a war song. If you listen to the words, it describes a battle scene. I feel that very few singers understand this. It’s not a love song or feel-good piece, and should not be sung that way.

The battle scene was real. It took place during the War of 1812 at Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Md.

Resentment for Great Britain’s interference with American international trade and impressment of American sailors (men were captured and forced into service) combined with American expansionist visions led Congress to declare war on Great Britain on June 18, 1812.

http://www.si.edu/Encyclopedia_SI/nmah/starflag.htm

In August 1814, British troops set fire to our nation’s Capitol, the president’s mansion and other public buildings. President James Madison and his wife, Dolley, barely escaped.

With Washington in ruins, the British took aim at Baltimore, then the nation’s third largest city. At 6:30 a.m. Sept. 13, 1814, British ships began a 25-hour bombardment of Fort McHenry. Rockets whistled through the air, just like our national anthem describes. American troops refused to surrender the fort. By dawn the British gave up the fight.

Because the British attack coincided with a heavy rainstorm (picture that in your mind), Fort McHenry had flown its smaller storm flag throughout the battle. At dawn, as the British retreated, the commander, Major George Armistead, ordered his men to lower the storm flag and replace it with the big garrison flag.

‘Dawn’s early light’

As they raised the flag, the troops fired their guns and played “Yankee Doodle” in celebration of their victory. The banner could be seen for miles around – as far away as a ship anchored eight miles downriver where an American lawyer named Francis Scott Key had spent an anxious night watching and hoping for a sign that the city – and the nation – might be saved.

When Key saw “by the dawn’s early light” that the flag flew high, he knew the fort had not surrendered. He was so moved by the sight that he penned what later became our national anthem on the back of a letter he was carrying.

Give respect

Let’s fly the American flag high, and give it the respect it deserves. It represents perseverance, struggle, suffering – and victory. We should not compromise this. Ever.

Kaepernick also should find another way to make his point. The flag represents all that is right with this country. Its stars represent all 50 states – what could be more unifying than that?

We don’t always agree on issues, of course. We’re better off because we don’t, actually, because debate forces us to discover what we value most. What am I willing to fight for?

Can we rise above the issues that divide us?

In what other country could Kaepernick disrespect his own flag and live to tell about it? Who else besides an American would even consider doing such a thing?

Live respect

Can we overcome oppression by talking about it? How about focusing on the opposite: respect for all people?

Can we respect each other, even if we disagree with each other?

Why not?

That’s my protest.

To proclaim it, I say let’s stand side by side, all of us, of all races and colors, and live for the good in each other. That’s what the American flag stands for.

That’s why our veterans served, and continue to serve.

Enough with hate and all its ramifications.

We can’t legislate freedom any more than we can legislate morality. Let’s live it.

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Upsets, sportsmanship and great tennis

“The first two matches we saw ended in upsets,” I told the woman sitting next to me, who has attended the tournament for 10 years.

“You need to leave,” she said – in jest, of course.

We were watching unseeded Bernard Tomic of Australia defeat No. 5 seed Kei Nishikori of Japan last Thursday during the third round of the Western & Southern Open tennis tournament in Mason, Ohio, north of Cincinnati.

My oldest son and I spent two days at the Masters Series tournament, a high-profile event two weeks before the last “major” of the year, the U.S. Open in New York City.

Nishikori showed flashes of brilliance in his match, but we figured he was exhausted after winning the bronze medal at the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the week before.

After watching a string of upsets that day, it’s only fitting that the men’s and women’s champions both were underdogs. Karolina Pliskova from the Czech Republic, the No. 15 seed, defeated Angelique Kerber of Germany, the No. 2 seed, in the women’s final on Sunday. Immediately following that match, No. 12 seed Marin Cilic of Croatia beat No. 1 seed Andy Murray of Great Britain (who defeated Tomic in the semi-final) for the men’s title.

Rain, rain …

The true winner of the tournament almost was the weather. It rained every day except the last one. My son and I didn’t see it rain Thursday; we didn’t stay for the evening matches, when the rain came. On Friday, we sat through an hour delay before the evening matches started.

The parking lot – if you can call it that – was a mud bowl. Thousands of vehicles destroyed a golf course adjacent to the tennis center. Why they haven’t built an asphalt or concrete parking lot, I have no idea. Even after a 200-mile drive home, my car still has mud on the tires from that “lot.”

Midwestern hospitality

During the rain delay, my son and I got dinner and wiped off chairs and a table with free promotional towels we received as we entered the gate. As we ate, two older men asked if they could join us. They came from Delaware, an eight-hour trip, for Thursday and Friday matches, just like we were doing. They’ve done this for several years, saying those are the best days to watch the tournament. We had our pick of many matches featuring a dozen or more of the top tennis players in the world.

Living in Delaware, they attended the U.S. Open in New York several times, but deemed it too crowded. So, they decided to try out Cincinnati. They say the event in our great state is organized extremely well, and it’s easy to park their RV (although this year they couldn’t leave it in the “mud bowl,” or they would have needed a tow truck to get out).

They enjoy the Midwestern hospitality so much, it’s become an annual event for them. Pretty cool.

While watching a quarterfinal match between No. 3 seed Simona Halep of Romania, who eventually lost to Kerber, and No. 5 seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, we got a kick out of a young boy in the row in front of us. The boy, about 9 years old, had one of those oversized tennis balls that the athletes sign. His parents said he had nearly a dozen signatures already.

As the Halep match neared its end, the boy darted across the stadium to the players’ entrance. As Halep left the court after winning the match, the boy reached his oversized ball down to her. She signed it. She signed no other. This kid got the only signature from that match.

I was impressed, as were his parents.

World-class athletes

We saw some great tennis. In our favorite match, in the grandstand, we – along with about 5,500 other people – saw the last remaining American, unseeded Steve Johnson, take on No. 7 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France. Johnson won the first set (it’s best two out of three) and trailed in the second-set tie-breaker, 6-3. When the players each win six games in a set, they play a tie-breaker by points: the first to seven wins, but they have to win by two.

Tsonga, then, had three “set points,” which meant he had three chances to win a point and the set. But Johnson won five consecutive points – and the match. The crowd went crazy!

Tennis is a gentle game, with sportsmanship far more important than in most sports. Some players, however, do have tempers. We saw a couple of guys kick their racquets in frustration. We saw only one player break a racquet by slamming it on the court after a bad game. That was No. 2 seed Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland, who did not play well in a loss to unseeded Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria.

We saw Dimitrov win two matches. After defeating Wawrinka, he beat Johnson, ending the American’s run. (Dimitrov then lost to the eventual champion, Cilic.)

Seeing the stars

On Thursday, we saw three complete matches. On Friday, we bounced around to several courts and saw parts of nine matches – three men’s, three women’s and three men’s doubles.

My son played doubles tennis in high school, so we had fun watching that. We picked the right doubles matches to watch, as we saw both the eventual champions and the runners-up.

Doubles players have fast reflexes – they frequently stand close to the net and try to rifle the ball past their opponents. Frequently, they do. But when they bat the ball back and forth several times, it gets intense. The players get excited when they win those points.

In singles, all the players, men and women, hit the ball low and hard. They try to make their opponent run from side to side. When a player running sideways at full speed hits a shot over the net, either down the line or across the court, and it falls in, the crowd “oohs” and the player often gives a fist pump. Yes, we saw lots of good tennis.

Will we go back next year? We’ll see. If you enjoy tennis, it’s definitely worth the trip. The tennis center in Mason is right on Interstate 71, so it’s easy to get to.

Let’s hope it doesn’t rain next year.

Photo credit: David Cornish

The inevitability of change

Our two indoor cats like to sit at either the front or back window and see what’s going on outside. There are a couple of outdoor cats roaming around. Perhaps a squirrel or bird fluttering about the yard. The wind blows leaves, sometimes into a spider web attached to the window frame.

Do our cats dream of running free, like the animals and objects they see outside?

I wouldn’t be surprised if they do.

Safely inside

But they are safe indoors. They don’t have to worry about hunger. Their food and water dishes never are empty (don’t ask them about that, however). The litter box is cleaned regularly. They have each other to play with.

They nap on our bed, on the entertainment center, on chairs. They get lots of affection and attention. They have a great life.

A safe life.

Free from worry about disease, attacks from predators, hunger or stormy weather (but not the vacuum cleaner – they scurry into hiding when it comes out of the closet).

Is this the best life has to offer?

For them, it probably is.

For me, it’s likely not.

No risk, no reward

I drive a van for a living now, on two-lane roads, neighborhood streets and highways. I haven’t witnessed a crash yet, although I’ve seen the aftermath of several. I’ve had a couple of close calls with selfish drivers nearly wrecking us both. I drive defensively, although I drive through yellow and pink lights pretty much every day.

Not red lights. That’s how many collisions happen.

Life involves risk. Driving is just one.

At one time, I had a job for life. My company said so in writing. As long as the newspaper I worked for continued to publish seven days a week, I had a job for as long as I wanted it. That’s as secure as a job ever gets.

Of course, the newspaper industry isn’t as strong as it once was. The newspaper cut back to three days a week in 2009 and my job (along with many others) was eliminated.

My life of safety and security, if it ever really existed, had ended.

I no longer can offer my wife a secure future. We aren’t going to go broke, but I’ll never have a job again that is as secure as my old job was. Indeed, I’ve held several jobs since 2009, the longest for 2.5 years, and I was unemployed twice since then – both times for nearly a year.

Do I reminisce for the good old days? There’s no point in that. We didn’t realize how good we had it until it was gone. Many of the people I worked with there remain friends today. A few of them are still in journalism; most are not.

Like some of my co-workers, I left town. Indeed, I left the state.

Safety and security? They aren’t in my vocabulary any more.

Constant change

But that has opened new doors for me. I’ve met many people I never otherwise would have met. New friends. New skills. New experiences.

New opportunities. Some worked out, some didn’t.

I’ve learned and grown as a person with each opportunity. Will I drive this van for the next 10 years? I have no idea. Perhaps. Or, maybe something else will come along.

All three of our sons, in their mid-20s, have experienced change this year. Our middle son accepted a job in his career field in Denver. We’re planning to visit him out there this fall. Our oldest also has a job in his career field; he recently moved to an apartment just a few minutes from his office. Our youngest son just graduated from college and is searching for his next step. He will find it soon, I’m sure.

Does job security even exist anymore? What hope do our sons have of working for the same company for 20 or more years? Would they even see that as a goal?

‘Happily ever after’ a fairy tale

Safety and security are no longer top priorities in this country. Nor should they be, really. For Christians, God never promised “happily ever after” on Earth. He promised suffering. Great. Such joy. Yes, He promised that too.

Some of my Christian friends offer canned Facebook posts that say things like, “God will give you money today. Share if you agree.” God is not a genie. He wants to give us so much more than money. Seriously.

We can serve Him wherever we are, whatever job we have, whatever city or town we live in. There are advantages to remaining in one place for a long time; we can get involved deeply in activities, and earn leadership roles.

When we relocate, we are starting over. It takes time to develop friendships and relationships, to earn the respect of others.

I lived in three states as a child; my parents relocated every four to six years. Mom and Dad lived in a fourth state while I was at college. Perhaps I do not have the “safety and security” gene in me. We raised our sons in one place, birth through high school, to give them continuity. But none of them live in that town anymore.

Security in God

When we move someplace new, what do we have to lean on but God? How do we find friends? Our first stop is a local church that preaches Christ crucified. There, we find brothers and sisters. Not by blood, of course, but in spirit. And that’s just as good.

Jesus Himself wandered the countryside. He did not remain in one place. If He is our example, why do we remain in our hometowns and keep our traditions for generation after generation? Just wondering.

I have no hometown on Earth. I lived in one city for 27 years, but that chapter of my life has ended. Great memories, certainly. But I’ve moved on.

We’ve been in Elyria, Ohio, for 2.5 years, and I’m on my second job here. Hopefully I’m making myself useful at work. Security? No. Nothing is guaranteed.

And that’s OK.

Doors may close and others may open. I’ve seen that everywhere I’ve been, including here.

I work a split shift most days, with time off midday. I run errands, exercise and write blogs during these periods. Today, I have an errand to run before I head in.

Catch you next time. God willing.

But don’t wait by the window for me, like our cats do. Get out there and live life. I hope our paths will continue to cross. Whether in person or online.

Don’t be afraid of the unknown. A new adventure awaits. It’s inevitable. You can’t avoid it. Might as well embrace it.

God just might have a new blessing for you.

The political side of medical coverage

The Zika virus is only the latest health scare to reach our consciousness in this country. When the next one arrives, we will forget all about Zika.

Remember Ebola? That was the major health scare two years ago.

Has it really been two years? Yes. How easy we forget.

Ebola

Children in front of their home that has been placed under Ebola virus quarantine, after a  17-year old boy died from the Ebola virus near the homestead on the outskirts of Monrovia, Liberia, Wednesday, July 1, 2015. Liberian officials confirmed a second Ebola case Wednesday in the same town where the disease was detected days earlier on the corpse of a teenager, seven weeks after the country was declared Ebola-free.(AP Photo/ Abbas Dulleh)
Children in front of their home that was placed under Ebola virus quarantine, after a 17-year old boy died from the Ebola virus near the homestead on the outskirts of Monrovia, Liberia, in July 2015. (The Associated Press)

Even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) hasn’t updated its Ebola statistics since December 2014, when it reported completing surveillance on 177 patients in Texas, 164 patients in Ohio and 117 patients in New York.

http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/outbreaks/2014-west-africa/united-states-imported-case.html

Fewer than 500 cases in three states. That’s all.

One man – one – diagnosed in September 2014 with Ebola died in this country. He had traveled to Liberia, where he contracted the disease. He died Oct. 8 of that year.

Several other patients were diagnosed with Ebola in New York and Texas that fall. One of them traveled to Cleveland by airplane before being diagnosed. All other passengers on that plane were monitored for 21 days, then cleared.

The Ebola patients in this country, some of whom were health care workers, were isolated and treated, and recovered. People they came in contact with were monitored as well.

Remember? It was all over the news.

Yet, Liberia suffered severe effects of Ebola for 17 months, almost a year and a half. Nearly 11,000 Liberians were infected with Ebola. More than 4,800 of them died, 192 of whom were doctors, nurses or health practitioners.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf: 2 Years After Ebola, Liberia Is a Changed Nation

We didn’t hear much about that, however, did we?

HIV/AIDS

IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR AIDS HEALTHCARE FOUNDATION - Enthusiastic walkers cheer as they finish the 11th annual Florida AIDS Walk and Music Festival featuring award-winning hip-hop artist Flo Rida, on March 20, 2016 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The event, produced by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) raised over $1,200,000 to provide services and support Floridians living with HIV/AIDS. (Jesus Aranguren/AP Images for AIDS Healthcare Foundation)
Walkers finish the 11th annual Florida AIDS Walk and Music Festival in March in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The event, produced by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, raised $1.2 million to provide services and support Floridians living with HIV/AIDS. (AP Images for AIDS Healthcare Foundation)

Here’s another health crisis from 30 years ago, which today we also hear very little about: HIV/AIDS. According to http://www.aids.gov, in 1981 the CDC “described cases of a rare lung infection, pneumocystis carinil pneumonia (PCP), in five young, previously healthy, gay men in Los Angeles. All the men have other unusual infections as well, indicating that their immune systems are not working; two have already died by the time the report is published. This … marks the first official reporting of what will become known as the AIDS epidemic.”

https://www.aids.gov/hiv-aids-basics/hiv-aids-101/aids-timeline/

In another CDC report, “At the end of 2012, an estimated 1.2 million persons aged 13 and older were living with HIV infection in the United States, including 156,300 (12.8%) persons whose infections had not been diagnosed.

More than 1 million – just four years ago. I didn’t know that.

http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/statistics/overview/

Also in that report, HIV infections diagnosed in 2014 were listed by race:

Race or Ethnicity Estimated Number of Diagnoses
of HIV Infection, 2014
American Indian/Alaska Native 222
Asian 1,046
Black/African American 19,540
Hispanic/Latino 10,201
Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander 58
White 12,025
Multiple Races 982

“Worldwide,” the report continues, “there were about 2 million new cases of HIV in 2014. About 36.9 million people are living with HIV around the world. An estimated 1.2 million people died from AIDS-related illnesses in 2014. Since 2000, around 25.3 million people have died of AIDS-related illnesses. Sub-Saharan Africa, which bears the heaviest burden of HIV/AIDS worldwide, accounts for 66% of all new HIV infections. Other regions significantly affected by HIV/AIDS include Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Eastern Europe and Central Asia.”

Despite thousands of new cases each year in the United States and millions worldwide, in the first CDC report I referred to under the 2016 banner, “(The CDC) reports that only 1 in 5 sexually active high school students has been tested for HIV. An estimated 50% of young Americans who are living with HIV do not know they are infected.”

HIV/AIDS, then, remains a huge issue; 1.2 million worldwide died from its effects just two years ago. Why do we not hear about it any more? News fatigue? Because most of those deaths aren’t taking place in the United States?

More on that in a minute.

Zika

A group of visitors walk by an establishment in the Wynwood area, Friday, Aug. 5, 2016, in Miami. The recent announcement that more than a dozen people have been infected with Zika by mosquitoes in the area has scared away some, but many others are still coming. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
A group of visitors walk by an establishment in the Wynwood area in Miami on Friday. (The Associated Press)

 

 

 

Which brings us to the current Zika virus news cycle.

At least 1,600 people were reportedly infected in this country this year, nearly all of whom had traveled to Latin America or the Caribbean, and got infected through a mosquito bite. A month ago a person in Miami-Dade County in Florida contracted the virus without traveling. Health officials are investigating 17 suspected cases of locally-transmitted Zika.

Seventeen. Is this the start of an epidemic?

No.  The New York Times reports that “While officials are confident the Zika virus will never run rampant in the United States …”

Yet it’s on the news just about every night.

Who are the victims? Pregnant women. Actually, their fetuses.

Many of those 17 suspected cases are in a low-income area of South Florida, the Times reports.

“Zika is an enemy most people can’t see,” the Times says. “While its effects can be catastrophic to developing fetuses, in adults the effects are usually mild or negligible, and health officials assume that for every person with symptoms, four more have undetected Zika infection.”

So, most people who contract the Zika virus show few or no symptoms, and get through it easily. Why, then, is it on the nightly news?

I’m going to suggest a reason that some of you won’t like. It’s the same answer I’ll give for why the Ebola “crisis” made the news when it affected Americans, but hardly at all when Liberians were the victims. And the same for why HIV/AIDS victims made headlines for so long.

The news cycle trend

The answer: Most of the American victims of two of those illnesses were white, and the third – HIV/AIDS – had a significant white population that got infected.

When Liberians, who are predominately black, took center state in the Ebola crisis, the news coverage dried up. HIV/AIDS affected people of multiple races, sure, as the chart I presented shows, but while blacks are the largest group, whites are next in line.

Minority pregnant women are just that – in the minority – when news stations are seeking interviews about the Zika virus, even though the virus seems to be targeting a low-income neighborhood called Wynwood in Miami.

Since HIV/AIDS is concentrated in Sub-Saharan Africa, which again is predominately black, we don’t follow it here in the United States. Yet it remains a significant problem here, more than 30 years after it was first diagnosed.

Since minority “rights” are such a big issue these days, how about raising issues affecting minorities in relation to news coverage? It appears that “white” illnesses take center stage, while “minority” illnesses frequently do not.

Let’s make sure pregnant women, and those who might get pregnant, are educated about Zika, certainly. But with all the health issues this country faces – cancer, vehicle crashes, heart disease, mental illnesses, high blood pressure, domestic abuse, even murder and brutality – is Zika really the one we need to focus on the most?

Perhaps we do get fatigued by the “news.” Especially when we can’t relate to it.

Minorities need a greater voice on what gets covered. We frequently see minorities as victims of violence, and that needs to stop. But are there other issues that minorities care about? Medical, social, recreational (besides the NBA), cultural, spiritual …

And not just blacks, but Hispanics, Latinos, Asians and other groups as well.

Are we as whites willing to pay attention?

Even better, can we find some issues that all of us care about together?

Let’s not wait for the presidential candidates to lead on this. The media can play a big role here.

Each of us as individuals can lead, too. We can respect each other. Listen. Care. Get involved in each other’s lives.

Even if no one else is watching.

Lighten up; it’s summer

A little bit of this and that:

Dog days of summer

We’ve had at least 15 days of 90-plus temperatures already this summer, far more than last year. When I went for a jog yesterday morning, it took awhile to cool down afterward.
The next few days are supposed to be above 90 as well.
Global warming? Not necessarily. Maybe. Warm and cool travel in cycles over centuries and millennia.
It’s also dry. I mowed our front yard once in July, the back yard not at all. And it’s not long.

Politics not as usual

Anyone else had enough of Donald and Hillary for the moment?
Both of them need a summer vacation. Give us a break, even for only a week or two. Chill out.
That might improve their perspectives on life as well.

The clueless driver

While driving my work van yesterday with two passengers, I nearly got involved at a crash. And I was helpless to do anything about it.
Traveling north on Pearl Road in Strongsville, I approached a left-turn lane into a beautiful park, which I drive through to drop off the next person on my route. The light turned red before I got there, so I stopped in the turn lane.
An older lady traveling south on Pearl never saw the light. Or traffic. Or anything else. She was zoned out, in another world. Two or three seconds after the light turned red, she cruised right through it, never slowing or looking right or left.
An SUV with the green light prepared to pull out of the park. Thankfully, that driver was paying attention, and waiting for the clueless driver to pass.
If he didn’t, the clueless driver would have broadsided him. What would have happened next? They would have rolled right into me, a sitting duck in the middle of the road.
I saw the whole thing develop, and was powerless to do anything about it. Thank you, SUV driver, for paying attention. You saved both of us. Perhaps from lengthy hospital stays.

The popularity of sports

The Cleveland Indians baseball team continues to win most of its games, holding a nice lead over the Detroit Tigers in the American League’s Central Division. Since the Cavaliers won the NBA championship and their season ended, attendance has risen at Progressive Field, home of the Indians. But they still don’t routinely sell out.
Meanwhile, training camp started last weekend for the NFL’s Browns, a pathetic team that some prognosticators say may win only one or two games all season. Yet, they will sell out, most likely.
I hope sports fans in this city will continue to support the Indians – with the best record in the entire league – even after the football season takes center stage around here, which will happen very soon.
The Cavaliers’ championship provided a huge emotional boost around here. Do the Indians have to win the World Series to get recognized? We’ll see.

Built to last – not

I’m writing this blog today at a local library, because our two-year-old laptop went on the fritz. They just don’t make things like they used to.
I drive a 20-year-old car, which has a lot more moving parts than a computer does. Are we so cheap in this country that we won’t pay for things that actually work over the long term?
I don’t care where it’s built. I’m not going to get into that. Just give me something that works.

Beat depression

Meditation combined with running overcomes depression. I saw a story on the TV news the other day that reported that. Someone commissioned a study that revealed that astounding finding.
I could have told the study authors that from personal experience.
I spend a little time every morning reading my Bible and meditating. I’ve been doing that for more than 30 years.
For the past 10 years or so, I’ve also been exercising. I try to get out two or three times a week. It’s a great stress reliever. Getting the heart pumping and the blood flowing does something to my brain.
It’s even better than coffee. (That’s saying something for me.)
It’s too bad that common sense requires a study for us to believe it.

I’ll drink to that

Speaking of coffee, I heard another report – this one on the radio – that coffee is good for you if you have a high metabolism, which helps our bodies process it well. That report said 80 percent of us, if I remember that right, have a metabolism high enough to make coffee good for us.
I definitely am one of those.
In fact, I have a Thermos next to me right now. It’s empty.
Just make sure you’re near a bathroom. That’s a side effect of high metabolism.

Lighten up

See, Donald and Hillary? It can be done. Let’s lighten up this week.
The conventions are over. Your arguments this week are digging deep into places you don’t want to go. Stop. Just stop.
Our Indians need some attention. Back off so we can give it to them.
By the way, the summer Olympics start this weekend in Rio. You won’t have our undivided attention anyway this month.
It’s a big world out there. It doesn’t revolve around either of you. Just sayin’.