Presidential debates, stock markets and basketball announcers all go off the rails

A trio of unrelated snippets, each one not long enough for a solo entry but still worth noting…

The Close But No Cigar award has been announced

About a month ago, I told my wife: “I’m gonna wait till after the end of the year and then pull most of our money out of the stock market. I’m worried that the market is headed for trouble.”

If only I had said “I’m not gonna wait…”

Just when you think things can’t sink any lower, Trump and Cruz find a shovel

Last night was another Republican “Presidential” debate. If you can call it that. I mean, really? In a debate by one of our two major parties, an event that could have a significant impact on the future of the entire nation, the most notable moment is several minutes of bickering between Trump and Cruz as to who is or is not constitutionally eligible to assume the office of President. I half expected Cruz to spurt out “And so’s your mama” before he was done.

It’s both sad and scary that we have sunk this low. Today’s New York Times column by Frank Bruni comes closest to my personal reaction to the debate.

I find it hard to believe that either one of these candidates believes most of the crap they spew. They say it because they know it will play well with their supporters. Its veracity is, at best, of secondary concern. These two are at the forefront of our march toward a post-truth America, where even after a candidate’s lies are clearly exposed (and I mean huge lies, not merely self-serving exaggerations), they have no negative impact on the candidate.

I wish I could take comfort in the thought that all of this will make a Democratic victory a certainty this fall. But I am no longer confident of this. A potential Trump presidency is no longer a dark fantasy.

As someone who was born in Brooklyn, and grew up just outside New York City, I suppose Cruz would say my attitudes are due to my “New York values.” If so, I’m proud of them. And of New York.

Last night’s Preparation H Irritation of the Game (basketball)

I have a love-hate relationship with television play-by-play and color commentators. On the one hand, most of what they say is redundant to what you are seeing on the screen. I mean, do we really need to hear someone say “And the basket counts”? On the other hand, with their enthusiasm, they can add an enjoyable emotional tone to the game. And, when things on the court get confusing, the announcers can help sort out what’s going on. At their best, they also provide useful background context.

What they definitely shouldn’t do is chatter endlessly about stuff that is irrelevant to the game in progress, while the viewer is left wondering why that last foul was called or whatever. It’s worse than if they were just silent. It’s distracting.

That’s why, while watching last night’s Warriors-Lakers game on TNT, the announcers drove me up a wall. They went on and on for minutes, reminiscing about Kobe’s career or interviewing Jerry West or whatever other inane thoughts were on their minds — all while the players continued up and down the court. For crying out loud, you’re there to cover the game. Do so!

It got so bad, I had to hit the Mute button for long stretches of time.


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