This and That

Rather than devote a full post to each of a number of topics that have been on my mind, I thought I would just share my thoughts quickly.

1. The season 3 premiere of the best show on TV, “The Office,” was last night.  As expected, it was good, although in terms of great laughs, it was probably in the bottom third of the 29 episodes so far.  ***SPOILERS***  The writers had a lot of plot lines to catch up, since they plan on keeping the show in real time.  Pam and Roy’s wedding date of June 10th was months ago, and Jim was expected to transfer to the Stamford branch.  Both of those happened, and they added a few new twists.

I didn’t expect them to be able to add a new dimension to the Jim and Pam romance, but by establishing Roy as a potential good guy and moving Jim away, they managed to do just that.  I expected Pam to break it off with Roy, but I didn’t expect her to be alone without Jim nearby.  The conclusion of the cliffhanger kiss scene leaves open the possiblity that Jim doesn’t even know that Pam got cold feet.  Now that he’s obviously not fitting in in Stamford, it will be interesting to see how they reunite him with the Scranton folks.  It could happen as soon as next week, where Jim will supposedly see Michael and Dwight at a convention in New York.

As for everyone else, the main storyline of Michael unintentionally outing Oscar wasn’t bad, though it was Dwight’s use of the “gaydar” that made me laugh the most.  ***END SPOILERS***  It wasn’t the funniest episode, but I’m not disappointed, since the writers had a lot of loose ends to tie up.

2. The authors of the “Game of Shadows” book that detailed Barry Bonds’ steroid use were sentenced to jail time yesterday (barring a successful appeal) for their refusal to name sources.  Protecting the law during a secret grand jury case seems important, but to me, it’s not as important as protecting freedom of the press.  I think the law is flawed, and it’s sad to me that these guys could be in jail while Bonds is still out.  They probably should have known what they were getting into, but it doesn’t make this bit of news any less sad to me.

3. The Braves’ run of division titles is officially over, but I admit that I haven’t regularly been watching games for at least a month.  Schuerholz’ moves frustrate me more and more by the day, and I almost wish I hadn’t read his conceited book.  I’d rather not know that the guy who has run the Braves for the last 15 years has basically only done one thing: organize the farm system and team philosophy; in personnel decisions at the major league level, his judgment has been questionable at best.  Sure, he deserves some credit, but not as much as he takes in his book.  I’m still a Braves fan, but I would like to distance myself from supporting Schuerholz specifically.

4. On a related note, I’m also still a Tennessee fan, but I can’t stand Phil Fulmer.  Apparently he’s going to recruit well enough to win 8-9 games each year, but his (and his staff’s) on-field decisions cost UT the Florida game.  Yes, UF outplayed the Vols for most of the game, but a few big plays kept Tennessee close, and if they had just stuck with what was working (the passing game, and blitzing Chris Leak), I think they would have pulled that game out in the end.

5. I’d like to give my alma mater Harding University a pat on the back for bringing such a “distinguished lecturer” to Searcy last night.  Sean Hannity is neither distinguished, nor is he much of a lecturer.  The ASI keeps mocking the notion of academic honesty in favor of catering to the school’s staunchly Republican base.  I don’t know what he had to say last night, but frankly I’m embarrassed that my school embraces GOP partisan hacks on a regular basis.  For a place that has made strides and become a respected university, especially in my department, the College of Business Administration, these speakers represent a step backward.  I still think about whether or not I should have worn the ASI cords at graduation (I did).  It wouldn’t have been much of a statement if I had not, but I suppose something is better than nothing.

While I believe in the things I just wrote, let me also say that I made some great friends at Harding, I got a great education, and I don’t regret going there.  I just wish the administration didn’t associate Christianity with conservative politics, that’s all.

6. On another related note, Election Day is a month and a half away, and I’m still trying to decide whom I should vote for in some races.  One race that I have decided on, as my friends have noticed from the bumper sticker in my window, is the Senate race between former Chattanooga mayor Bob Corker (R) and Memphis-based Congressman Harold Ford (D).  The race is fairly even, and Tennessee would be a key gain for Democrats as they try to control the Senate.

I’ll be voting for Ford, since I like his ideas on most issues, and as far as I can tell, he’s not totally corrupt.  Corker, on the other hand, managed to ignore thousands of unanswered 9-1-1 calls during his stint as mayor, and he illegally sold some of his own land (from what I understand) to help bring Chattanooga another wonderful Wal-Mart.  I’m not clear on all the rules, but I understand that his land was some sort of protected reserve, and he had to get City Council approval to sell it, yet he signed off on it himself, passing up the normal channels for such sales.  I don’t appreciate Wal-Mart, and I don’t appreciate Corker letting them build in that particular location, which was the site of Bird’s Mill and adjacent to the former Brainerd Mission, which was the subject of my own research for my Eagle Scout Project a few years back.

Corker is as big a partisan puppet as I’ve ever seen in my neck of the woods.  He has changed his stance on abortion and illegal immigrants (he once hired them to work in his construction business) to appear more conservative, all while painting Ford as a flaming liberal who doesn’t identify with Tennesseans.  In reality, Ford’s more of a moderate, and he’s much more respectable than his opponent.  This race wouldn’t be as close in a less-red state.

Well, how was that for “quick” thoughts?

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