Friday, August 19, 2005

I Play Andy Rooney

Andy Rooney has made a career--a third career, by my count--of often stringing together unrelated observations in his 60 Minutes essays. I've got some observations that I could never turn into full-blown columns or blog posts. So, I've decided to play Andy Rooney...

With computer-based game systems, people don't play board games like they used to. It seems that the rare families who do still play them regularly are smarter than the rest of us. Are they smarter because they play board games? Or do they play board games because they're smarter?

My current fast food obsession-du-jour is a steak bowl at Chipotle. I can't get enough of it!

Until a few days ago, James Whitcomb Riley was nothing but a name to me. My wife was very familiar with him, though. So, on a trip back from the fantastic Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois, we stopped at Riley's boyhood home in Greenfield, Indiana. He lived from 1849 to 1916, and was designated variously as the Hoosier Poet and the Children's Poet, the latter because his poems explored childhood experiences. He appears to have been part Will Rogers, part Bill Cosby, part rock star, and part poet. In reading some of his work since, it's understandable why we don't learn about him in school: His poems are a bit archaic, not great literature, and written in a Hoosier dialect that young readers may find impenetrable. But his life provides a good window through which to look at America in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. By the way, the home is well-worth seeing and the tour guides are admirably dedicated to their work.

Can someone please explain to me the appeal of Eminem? And for that matter, while I like the genre of rap music, I can't understand why anyone would want to extol the virtues of hate or violence or materialism. What is up with that?

Can someone else explain to me why I like the music of Coldplay as much as I do? It's melancholy and I'm not usually into more than an occasional dollop of melancholy. Yet, at the end of a listen to their latest CD, X & Y, I don't feel down.

The judge who presided at yesterday's sentencing of Ohio Governor Bob Taft, is a guy I knew in college. Back then, Mark Froehlich and his twin brother were given the nicknames of Frick and Frack by some of the other OSU Young Democrats with whom they and I hung out. They were seen as being excitable and when the two of them were together, they would feed off of each other's enthusiasms, building what they deemed irrefutable cases for whatever their political hobby horses of the moment were. They were both intelligent people. Now that I know what Frick is doing, I can't help wondering whatever became of Frack.

Among the people I knew during my college years and the period in my early twenties when I was involved in politics, a number have gone on to political prominence: A state Democratic Party chair; a mayor of Cleveland; a mayor of Springfield, Ohio; at least two White House aides; numerous lobbyists. I never knew, but was very much aware of another guy who would go on to serve in Congress, John Kasich. Kasich was the vice presidential candidate of a slate running for seats in OSU's Undergraduate Student Government (USG) the same year I ran to be an assembly person on a different slate. Our slate won. But Kasich seemed never to have lost his political momentum.

I wonder if they ever play board games with their families?

No comments: