Bob Costas

I love Bob Costas. I think he is an amazing sports reporter, journalist, and newsman. But I noticed in his Olympics coverage that he looks much younger than his actual age. Any guesses on that? Answer below.

Some internet searching found this excellent blog post from Meredith C. Carroll during the 2010 Winter Olymipics. It still applies. Check out Meredith’s writings at @MCCarroll and http://meredithcarroll.com.

(Bob is 60!)

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Dear Bob (may I call you Bob?),

Having spent some time over the past few weeks watching the Winter Olympics, I wanted to tell you that you’re a paragon of journalists. Not for a moment have you revealed even the tiniest hint of emotion on your face. Few others have lived and breathed the Society of Professional of Journalists’ Code of Ethics as righteously as you do. Surely Edward R. Murrow would have respected enormously how you’re gallantly carrying on the long-standing and proud tradition of professional integrity.

Mr. Murrow also might have been just a wee bit astounded at how little you appear to have aged over the last several years, which probably goes hand-in-hand with the lack of expression on your face. And that brings me to the real purpose of this letter: Michael Jackson’s nose called. He wants his punch line back.

Bob, it’s time to break up with your plastic surgeon. Continue reading

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The Boy Scouts of America’s Bigotry

This is my sermon from Friday night at Congregation B’nai Tzedek in Fountain Valley, CA. I should have said this a while ago.

“Please accept my resignation. I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept people like me as a member.” Groucho Marx famously opined this in response to being inducted in the Friar’s Club. This week when the Boy Scouts of America affirmed their policy that gay scouts and gay adult leaders were not welcome in the Boy Scouts, Groucho’s words ran through my head.

What do we do about the troubling issue of the Boy Scouts of America and their rejection of all gay people? The BSA is synonymous with the best of our youth. Boy Scouts tie knots, earn badges, help old ladies across the street, and are generally known for helping people as in the retort, “What are you, some kind of boy scout?”[1]

Since their founding in 1910, the Boy Scouts have long been heavily influence by Christianity. Today the Mormons are the largest financial backer of the BSA. Although the troops are not religiously run, the organization encourages religious observance and study including faith based pins and badges and scout sabbaths. The Scout Law requires scouts to be, among other things, trustworthy, loyal, brave, and reverent. [2] Such religious influence has meant that atheists and agnostics have not been welcome as scouts since their founding saying “The Boy Scouts of America maintains that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God.”[3]

A traditional religious undertone of scouting and their backers makes anti-gay policies a natural outcome. As gay rights became a greater national issue, the BSA found itself clarifying its position. In 1991, they shared, “We believe that homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the requirement in the Scout Oath that a Scout be
morally straight and in the Scout Law that a Scout be clean in word and deed, and that homosexuals do not provide a desirable role model for Scouts.”[4] Law suits followed and in 2000 the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, declared that as a private organization the Boy Scouts had the right to determine their own criteria for membership.

Continue reading

Extraction Reaction

Unpacking your boxes after moving is sort of like opening birthday presents or wedding shower gifts in a world of reruns. You get lots of mystery boxes, unwrap them, and deal with the joy or disappointment of what’s inside. Then you move onto the next item. Granted you already owned the item, but having been away from my stuff for about a month, each wrapped item was full of surprise. Because professional movers wrapped it and labeled each box very broadly (“Living Room Stuff”), I never knew what to expect – especially as I continue to hunt for particular items I need. Most important moving tip: Make sure boxes are labeled better.

If you go on a long vacation, when you get home your stuff isn’t particularly surprising – it’s just your stuff. But with every single item you own passing through your hands as you unpack, you are forced to reevaluate your property and reflect on your life’s possessions an commercial choices. I have found a few common reactions as I unwrapped items and opened boxes: Continue reading

Remakes and Re-Marks

I have recently tried to upgrade myself – call it a mid-life crisis, Mark 2.0 (or 5.0?), a renovation, an adjustment, or whatever you wish – I left my job, moved to the other side of the country, and took a position that only lasts for 12 months. My life is full of changes – now we’ll see if I am full of transformation worthy of the remake.

This journey was on my mind as I saw The Amazing Spider-Man. It has only been 10 years since Sam Raimi’s superb big screen film on the web-slinger came out and 5 years since the painful 3rd installment. Perhaps a bit soon for a full-on remake. But the Hulk was remade after 5 years – albeit as a loosely related sequel rather than a complete remake. And we learned from The Incredible Hulk, adding an adjective – “Incredible,” “Amazing” – is not necessarily a sign of all the wonder that is to come. Continue reading

Ted

As a child of the 1980s, I am conditioned to appreciate that era’s nostalgia. Throw in references from Indiana Jones to Tiffany and I am amused and comforted. The recently released comedy Ted is an episode of I Love the 80s drenched in Mountain Dew and jammed full of pop rocks. It is ceaseless, gives you an incredible high, and ultimately signifies nothing, but boy did I laugh a lot. Continue reading

Stuff

It is clear that George Carlin was totally right. It’s all about finding a place for  stuff.

I spent the last months reducing how much stuff I had – getting rid of books, DVDs, mementos, clothing, furniture, and more. Not because I didn’t like that stuff, but because moving it and holding onto it didn’t make sense with a cross-country 1-year move.

For the actual move itself, I subdivided my stuff into only a few categories: Stuff to fly with for vacation in Portland, stuff to ship to have extra things when I got to LA, and everything else. It was a great plan. On vacation in Portland, I had mostly the right stuff. Getting to LA, I had all new stuff to look at from the box that was shipped. When I went to Las Vegas for an unexpected few days, I had to re-sort all my stuff, but thanks to Carlin I knew what to bring. Continue reading