Saturday, May 24, 2014

Memorial Day Time Machine

A look back . . .

Camping at Lake George . . . Oh boy/2013

On the way up the Northway Friday afternoon, I couldn’t believe the number of SUVs and family vans with camping equipment attached, heading off the Lake George exits. I don’t understand this insistence on pitching tents in artificialized camping areas and spending a long weekend getting poured on. It's supposed to rain buckets right through Monday without break, so let’s be soaked to the bone until it ends. Then come home filthy, exhausted, possibly sick and go right back to work on Tuesday. Is there anything worse than “packing up” after a rainy weekend? Miserable.

But it’s not just the rain.

Rain or shine, what's the attraction to these overpacked Lake George camp places on Memorial Day? Why spend your free time living like this? We are in America in 2013. We have 100-inch HD TVs and hotels with hot tubs and swimming pools and state-of-the-art workout rooms. We have it so great we need to invent ways to “rough it.” Why? What’s the point? Building a fire and sucking down canned beers before passing out on the lumpy ground, wake with a crooked back to shower in those slimy public barracks. It’s disgusting. There’s always that wet, rotting kind of aura around the campsite the whole weekend, even when the weather’s nice. I don’t get it, guys, I’m sorry.

When I "did" Lake George on Memorial, we’d grab a cheap hotel on the Strip, bang down some RB & Vs, get busy with the bars. The energy was exciting, a bit intense, but so much possibility. We had a lot of great weekends like that. I almost got us kicked out of a hotel one year. Another year we watched Kobe & Shaq at a cool outside bar called Fire & Ice with a gang of girls. It was great. Whenever that one knucklehead suggested an 8PM detour to King Phillips to meet up with someone there, I never agreed. To me that was the fastest way to lose a killer night to the Hillbilly vortex. Nah. I’d rather listen to live music with college girls on the waterfront. I was single almost my whole twenties though, I will admit that, and if I had a serious g/f I might’ve approached LG differently, but no way would I have camped. Hell no. Thank God for my friend who hated King Philips more than I did.

My parents took me camping all the time when I was a kid, a place called Hidden Pond. I have no idea where that is, just that it was called Hidden Pond. The adults would get wasted, and there’d be motorcycles everywhere. I think one time a fight broke out. I’d wake up in that horrible tent, with the puddle of pooled rain water seeping into my sleeping bag. It ALWAYS rained. All I ever wanted to do was leave. My camping days officially ended when I found myself waist-deep in that slimy little pond, and my dad and his friends were on the shore “making their own cigarettes.” From the swamp to the left of the beach, a long snake emerged, swimming to cross to the swamp on the right. He moved through the water, with head up, three feet from me, and I freaked, splashed out of that water so fast, and never went back.

It’s not just camping though. I don’t understand packing elbow to elbow into the Plaza to go ooohhh and aaahhhh at fireworks on the Fourth. I'm totally bored at Labor Day Parties. Parades? Get real. New Year’s Eve is the worst. I feel like it’s more work to partake in all the American ways of passing a Holiday. I know I sound like a wet blanket, but I just like hanging out and relaxing with my small circle, not engaging in phony activities with thousands of strangers, because that’s what we “always do.” Come on, you actually like the Flag Day Parade and going to the Plaza for Price Chopper fireworks? No you don’t.

In the 80’s, we spent a lot of time at the Howard Johnson Hotel off Exit 19. We’d get a room, go to the movies on Aviation Drive, eat at the greatest pizza place ever: Papa Gino’s. At the hotel, there was a huge indoor pool and hot tub. That’s where I learned to swim. In the morning, we’d go to the hotel’s restaurant for pancakes, so thick with blueberries they’d bleed purple when you touched a fork to them. Every time we head north now, we detour off Exit 19 for a place called Mr. B’s, and I always drive past that HoJo’s, which was torn down years ago, and tell my wife the same battery of remember-when stories. It’ll always be the greatest hotel in the world to me.

Brian Huba

My Memorial Day Question/2012

It’s Memorial Day Weekend, and I have the same question I have every Memorial Day Weekend: WHO WOULD EVER SIGN UP FOR THE ARMED SERVICES? Wait a second, you signed up for this? At eighteen years old you said, “Forget college, forget chasing girls on Friday nights, forget sleeping late on Saturdays and just being young and having fun, let’s go to war in Iraq?” First off, does anybody have any idea why we were ever in Iraq or are still in Afghanistan? On the news last night, I saw a clip of American Troopers stalking through the Afghan Desert, heads on a swivel, guns ready, waiting to shoot somebody or just waiting to be shot themselves. I guess the soldiers were guarding some desert-looking wall. Why? They literally looked like warm bodies with guns, sheep to the slaughter.

Don’t misunderstand me, I have massive respect for people who risk their lives like this, but at the same time, I don’t understand the mentality of a person who willingly walks into that life. That’s all I’m saying, I don’t get it. “But, Brian, the Army pays for college.” First off, that’s kind of untrue, can we just admit that and move on. There are hoops within hoops within hoops, i.e. they own you. Second, if you’re asking me what I’d take: college debt or five years in Iraq waiting to die, um, give me the student-loan debt, I’ll work it out. When I was a high school kid, and I saw that local recruiter, every instinct told me to stay away, because he was going to try to lure me into signing a piece of paper, and once I did, my freedom was gone. I treated that recruiter like a telemarketing Jehovah’s Witness.

“Brian, you’re a coward.” No doubt about it. The lion from the WIZARD OF OZ would make fun of me. I’ll take it. This is my life. I’m chasing my dreams; I’m living the way I want to live. I can’t miss a thing. Honestly, I don’t care about free and fair elections in Iraq. I’m sorry, I don’t. I want to be here, in America, the best country in the history of the world. I want to be with my family, my friends, I want to watch every NY Giants game, and wake up every morning in my own bed. In my mind, the Armed Services are like prison. I know that sounds disrespectful, I know. What can I say? We are living in a Capitalistic World and I am Capitalistic Girl (I mean boy). Sign up for war? Give up my youth and all that fun that goes with being young? Sorry, Charlie, the American Party is too good to miss right now. And I know what you're gonna say, you're gonna tell me if I want to maintain this American Party, somebody has to fight and die for it. Look, I'm not trying to go all Ringo Starr on you (peace & love), but why do they have to die in the dirt of Afghanistan? Is it about 9/11? Didn't we get bin Laden and everyone behind 9/11?

Which brings me to my final question: Does anybody have any idea what’s going on in Iraq or Afghanistan? Eleven years? What? Who are we even fighting? Why have 7,000+ Americans died since 2001? Do you mean to tell me all this death and war is to stop Al Qaeda and the Taliban? What does that even mean? Hey, Mom, your son just got mortar bombed fighting those guys from the grainy training videos who do the monkey bars and crawl through tires in the dirt with rifles. Sorry, I thought he was going to be a doctor or schoolteacher too, mom. That’s who we're fighting? We could be in Afghanistan for a hundred years, and some guy is still going to try and blow up a JFK-bound commercial flight or some major city’s bridge.

The American Revolution, the Civil War, WWI & WWII, those wars HAD to be fought, of course, they made America what it is today. But I have no idea why we went to Iraq and I have no idea why we’re in Afghanistan. If we’re worried about terrorist operations taking root, let’s protect OUR borders, OUR airports, and OUR roads, etc. In Afghanistan, we cannot win; there is no winning anything over there. We need to protect ourselves, here, on the home front. These American boys are like sitting ducks over there, just waiting to die. Are they heroes? Of course. Are the power players and politicians to blame? No doubt about it. But, to be perfectly technical, these young men & women did sign up for this. Nobody forced them, maybe outsmarted them, but not forced. That’s what I don’t get.

And maybe some of our brave, nineteen-year-old service men will be at Lake George this weekend, partying and having fun, and being young, home on leave, etc. But, I promise you, Lake George on Memorial is WAY more fun when you don’t have to go back to a war in Afghanistan on Wednesday. When this weekend is the beginning of a summer of part-time jobs, the beach and girls, Alive at 5s, just being young, it’s much better. That’s what I wanted for me. That’s what I want for my son when and if I have one. Is that selfish? It is.

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Brian Huba

Randy vs. the Rapture/2011

Dedicated to Dan 'the man' Hepp. All things Savage

At 6.15PM on Saturday night I was sitting in this same spot when I heard a huge thunder roar down from the sky. And I thought: Oh man, is the Rapture really happening as predicted? Seconds later I was still here, and I understood what had taken place in Heaven’s wrestling ring. The Macho Man Randy Savage had landed a flying elbow from the top rope, right across the unconscious face of God, thus saving the world from certain termination. How did Randy Savage get God down you ask? Easy. Miss. Elizabeth distracted the Great Creator with a little ringside leg, and Savage suckered him for the finishing move. So yes I do think the whacko who predicted this Rapture had it right. Problem is he didn't count on Macho Madness. Classic mistake. And when I realized we’d all safely see the next almost-Armageddon, I said out loud, “OOoooooooohhhhhhh Yyyyyyeeeeaaahhhhhh.”

For those who’ve been living under a Macho-sized rock since Friday, former WWF icon, Randy ‘the Macho Man’ Savage died in Florida, after suffering a heart attack at the wheel and driving his jeep into a tree. He was 58 years old. His wife was sitting shotgun, and maybe, from across the meridian, he thought he saw that tree staring at his wife the same way he caught Hogan hawking Elizabeth in the 80’s, and said, “Tree, you get jealous eyes, ooh yeah,’ and taught that roadside birch a lesson, Macho style, same way he taught Hogan backstage at Saturday Night’s Main Event. Maybe but probably not. I like to think he went to that big Slim Jim Factory in the sky to save all mankind from the forthcoming Rapture. And I’d like to be the first to say, ‘Thank you, Macho Man.’

Macho’s was a life of sheer madness, and, as a former WWF fanatic, I loved every second of the always-nonsensical insanity. Genius comes in all shapes and sizes, and what Savage could do with Mene Gene by his side cutting promo was second to none. Plus he was an amazing wrestler inside the 'steel' ropes. Savage survived multiple bites from Jake the snake’s 12-ft python, Damien. If that’s not Macho, I don’t know what is. He had feuds with guys named Rickey Steamboat and Honky Tonk Man. He wrestled Hulk Hogan in the main event at Wrestlemania V. He held all major WWF Championships. (Forget WCW. That was fake wrestling.) He told Morgan Fairchild not to go crazy on him while sitting beside her on Arsenio Hall’s couch. A Kardashian-sized jab in the 80's. 'Can you dig it!'

Everyone has been going on line and sharing their favorite memories of the Macho Man. Whether it was the Mega Powers vs. the Mega Bucks, or his battles with the Bobby Heenan family, or his outrageous outfits and huge sunglasses, or the fact that he was the only figure in sports history to get away with, and gain popularity from, playing the abusive, out-of-control boyfriend. There was no limit to his theatrics, and when he was on the circuit, the WWF was as real any athletic event in America.

My favorite memory of the Madness was seeing him live at the Glens Falls Civic Center when I was 9 years old. WWF used to have this interview segment hosted by a red-faced fellow named Brother Love, who was anything but. I was less than ten feet from Savage being interviewed on a raised platform when the massive Andre the Giant came out to confront him. How decidedly inconvenient, I thought, because Randy was just bashing the Giant. While Macho was distracted by the Giant, the Million Dollar Man came rushing from behind, clobbered Savage with a double-fist to the back of the head, dropping him right into the waiting clutch of Andre. The Giant raised Savage up in a vicious choke hold then tossed him off like a bag of trash. The crowd booed and I booed, until Andre the Giant looked right at me, swear to God he did, and I froze a big boo in my throat and gave Andre a 'giant-sized' thumbs-up out of fear. If I didn't he would've choke-slammed me. Like I said, WWF wrestling was real back then. I still can’t figure out how come Savage couldn’t see Million Dollar Man behind him, or at least suspect something fishy was about to fly. Oh well, that was Randy Savage for you. Crazy as they came.

By the time he died, Savage’s once black beard had gone snow white and the whole act felt long gone, but it was always great, always Macho, right till his final promo cut for the WWE video game. Along with Hulk Hogan he helped define a time in wrestling that will forever prove to be its pinnacle, and for that he’ll always be a part of my childhood and best memories. A part of an innocent time when I believed rassling was for real. But those days are done for me, for all of us born in the 80’s, and now Macho Man is gone too. Heaven bound to battle Big John Studd, Andre the Giant, Rick Rude, and Owen Hart, and of course, Miss. Elizabeth in his eternal corner, distracting opponents for Randy then taking the blame when he loses.

When Savage walked through the pearly gates on Friday, I’m sure he was wearing his bright pink robe and big sunglasses, and the heavenly harps played ‘Pomp & Circumstance,’ because Macho never made a ring walk with any other music. And when he finally met God, I’m sure he pointed his finger right in the Creator's face, and said, ‘The Macho man is not impressed, ooh yeah.’ I’m sure of it.

Thanks for saving us from the Rapture, Randy.

See the Madness for yourself:

For more Macho Madness see the Cat’s Pajamas @ Facebook

Brian Huba

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Starbucks Nation

I am so tired of hearing everybody complain about how bad they have it; how hard their job is; how crappy the economy is; how America’s on the way down. It’s a joke. America's the greatest country in the history of the world, even after George Bush had his way with it for eight years, and life here is eons easier than anywhere else on the planet. America’s that guy in flip flops reading the NEW YORKER at Starbucks. Hard to feel sorry for that guy.

We live in a country that’s rich enough to support automobile gas at $5.00 per gallon and a shack in Westchester County tagged at 300K. American life in the year 2014. I was watching CNN yesterday and I heard some bozo call the Donald Sterling story “a threat to the very fabric of our nation.” Life is so unencumbered that illegal recordings of some billionaire saying “black guys” in his bedroom is enough to throw a whole society into a month-long tizzy. Americans REALLY have nothing to worry about. And the fact that this Sterling non-story registered so high is all the proof I need. Maybe I'm just as bad. I had a tantrum today because the Internet didn't work for twenty minutes.

China's about to pass America as the world’s #1 super power. Blah, blah, blah. Who’s China’s Leader? What’s his name? What type of government does China operate under? Stop it, Starbucks guy, you don’t know a thing about China. I asked Wiki Answers what form of government China had and Wiki Answers said, “I don’t know.” China’s NEVER surpassing America. But we owe them billions in debt. So? And they can outscore us on math and science all they want, and when they graduate from Chinese medical college, we’ll be waiting at the end of the stage for the top ten percent with keys to a Manhattan penthouse and a picture of Kim Kardashian in a bikini. Go ahead, China, wine and dine them and the US of A will take it from there. If you have a heart attack on vacation in Asia, you’re not red-eying to China for surgery, you’re on the next American airliner back to NYC. On second thought: who would ever vacation in Asia?

Do you know a single person who’s left America? Of course you don’t. Nobody leaves America. We have HD TV, Disney World, and Tom Coughlin. People from other countries will do ANYTHING to get into America. Betcha thousands die every year in rafts trying to sneak across the water, eaten by sharks, starved to death. To them it’s worth the risk. Name one thing you’d knowingly and willingly risk your life for, Starbucks guy. 8 million registered in Manhattan. 10 million walking the streets.

All this talk about the diminishing value of the American dollar. I don’t care about the weight of George Washington in Europe and/or Australia. If you handed me a hundred yen right now, I’d throw it in the garbage can with my used tissues and dinner scraps. Then I’d dig my bare hand through that same landfill to fetch an American quarter.

But America’s so evil, Brian, the evilest. Do you know that Wal-Mart makes their products in other countries and pays laborers twenty cents a day? Twenty cents in some South American country just saved a kid from eating flies out of a mud puddle. If you “slave labor” for Wal-Mart down there, you’re Puff Daddy, you’re part of the mighty American machine. And back here it gives some rich guy’s wife a chance to start a foundation to stop the exploitation of the third world, but it’s just an excuse to put on the Ritz. Nobody cares about third-world slave labor, same way nobody cared what Donald Sterling said to that dumb gold digger. It’s just look at me being so fake outraged. Ah, America.

Everybody in the world wants a piece of America. And I’m not trying to sound like a Toby Keith song here, but next time you complain about how the boss gives you no respect at your cubicle job, remember some guy from Cuba just got eaten by a shark trying to sneak into this country. If you’re not a total dope you can be a star in this country. The Duck Dynasty guys are millionaires. Enough said. You can get rich pedaling nothing. If you're not mentally ill or sign up for the Armed Services, you can live a dream life here.

If you get injured on the job, we’ll fix you in a jiff, then pay you a boatload of disability dough. In Brazil: you bleed to death in the ER. If, by some miracle, you get fired from your unionized job, you get free money from the government, then get to sue said employer for unfair practices, and probably win. If you get canned in Panama: you starve. Like Tony Soprano once said, “America, the only country where happiness is guaranteed in writing.”

I’m suddenly in the mood for some Starbucks.

Brian Huba

Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Obligatory Season

I say the best part of the weekend’s Thursday night, the best part of the school year's the last week of June exams. It’s always better when it’s all in front of you. That’s why I think this is the best time of year. It’s Thursday night for the next month, then summer hits and the clock starts tick-tick-ticking towards winter. This is the best, but also the worst. Obligatory Season is here.

What is Obligatory Season? It’s the time of year when the weather’s right, the grill beckons, and weekends fill up with events that take time and cost money. First up on the Obligatory Calendar is College Graduation Weekend. Is there anything more annoying than having to throw away a gorgeous Mid-May weekend for your second cousin’s graduation jubilee? The car leaves Friday right after work, and you get home just in time to run a load of laundry on Sunday night. In the meantime, you’ve had to fight crowds and stand in dress clothes on a huge lawn while six thousand kids you don’t care about get their degrees.

But it means so much to second cousin. Actually, he’s been hung over all weekend, didn’t even notice you were there, and makes no acknowledgement of the time and money and hotel room this cost you, till two months later when you get the generic thank-you card, because his mother made him write it. Don’t worry though, because you just got the graduation-hat-shaped invite for the party in July, so you’ll have another chance to pony up a hundred bucks you don’t have. The Obligatory Season’s off and running.

Mom is good and great and wonderful, which brings us to stop two on the Obligatory Train. Why can’t Mother’s Day be on a Saturday, so that we can do something fun to celebrate the woman who gave us the gift of life? It’s always that mid-afternoon get together on Sunday, where we drive to mom’s house and admire her new antique collectables or her flowerbeds, and watch her open gifts she doesn’t like or vaguely understands. “What’s this do now?” . . . “Oh, I see, OK.” Can I get some clear guidelines about who gets a Mother’s Day acknowledgement? I’m sure some aunt or colleague or the woman at Starbucks will wonder why I didn’t wish her a happy one. It’s very confusing.

Next on the caravan of Obligatory Events: Memorial Day then July 4th then Flag Day, and all those kinds of mid-summer days, where people get drunk and bar-b-cue, or spend the weekend in some tent getting poured on for three straight days. Maybe I don’t get pumped for days like that because of my profession. I didn’t even know it was our great nation’s birthday till like 3:30 last July 4th. I don’t wear American Flag shirts or eat hot dogs, and good luck getting me on the lake in the boat that day. It’s mobbed with every halfwit in the world. I’ll be out there on the 5th and 6th and 7th and the next sixty straight days.

No Obligatory Season would be complete without the montage of summer weddings. I'm not anti-wedding; I'm actually hungry for a great one. The best wedding I ever went to was my cousin Jen’s. Weddings are tough to pull off. It takes about eighty grand and a heaping dose of originality to make one really good. I am jonesing for a good wedding.

Before long it’ll be August which means enough Saratoga to suffocate an Orca and of course County Fair time. And the Obligatory Season will wind down with a Labor Day bash for the ages. This is when we celebrate the end of another summer that didn’t quite measure up to the magical expectations we had way back on Mother’s Day. And just like that: tick-tick-done. It’s time for autumn and thoughts of the soon-coming winter.

But right now it's spring and the whole show is ahead of us. And I couldn't be more excited. It's Thursday night. It's the last week of June exams. It's the best part. So bring on the best Obligatory Season ever.

Brian Huba

Sunday, May 4, 2014

My Name's Sterling

The Donald Sterling story is a perfect microcosm of everything American right now. I just can’t figure out exactly why or how. Let’s recap the week that was. First a tape of eighty-year-old Donald Sterling, the owner of the NBA’s LA Clippers, allegedly questioning a woman named V. Stiviano, his thirty-year-old girlfriend/personal assistant, regarding her affiliation with black people, came across the transom, and all hell broke loose. Listen here:

Keep in mind Mr. Sterling supposedly said these words behind closed door, having no knowledge he was being wiretapped. He did not give a public speech in Harvard square or spout this nonsense on Twitter. He dealt with it in private, or so he thought. Ms. Stiviano, a self-described poet-writer-artist-future President, sold the recording to TMZ for ten bucks and five minutes of fame (she can deny that part all she wants), and TMZ shamefully ran it for the world to hear.

Mr. Sterling was promptly labeled a “disgraced racist” then abruptly kicked out of the NBA for life, and everyone from Barack Obama to Magic Johnson to Anderson Cooper feigned disgust for the oh-so-outraged masses. If you were sincerely offended by what Mr. Sterling allegedly said--not just the idea of it--I must compliment you for living an unencumbered life. I can promise that people in Tornado Valley and those with friends and family in Afghanistan certainly weren’t moved an inch by this week of cartoonish witch hunting. Now Ms. Stiviano is making the media rounds and Mr. Sterling has cancer.

During this same week, former NBA great and current league analyst Shaquille O’Neal, went on Instagram and publically poked fun at a mentally-disabled fan, and the next night he was back on TNT doing halftime shows with Charles Barkley. Read here: During this same week, former NBA player and current NY Knicks executive Larry Johnson, publically proposed the idea of the NBA starting an all-black league, and nobody said a thing. Read here: During this same week, former NBA legend and current ABC analyst Magic Johnson, publically danced on the professional grave of resigning LA Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni, but we were too busy listening to his bafoonish speeches about Donald Sterling to care about his childish Twitter rants. Read here:

Sterling’s team the LA Clippers are presently better than they’ve ever been, and are into round 2 of the playoffs for the first time . . . ever. How can head coach Doc Rivers, an African-American who Mr. Sterling hired and made the highest-paid skipper in the sport, sit at a media podium and talk healing and anger and betrayal? Doc, you’re black. Sterling pays you $7 million a year. Who cares what he says behind closed door? Talk to the people in Tornado Valley about healing and outrage. If you’re so outraged, Mr. Rivers, give the man his money back and go coach the dreadful Lakers. And I’d say the same to the Clippers’ star player, Chris Paul, who’s beaten the fake-outrage drum all week. With all apologizes to Drew Brees, Chris Paul’s the biggest phony in pro sports. Take your 100 million from Sterling and play ball or give it back and take a real stance. I guarantee Donald Sterling’s done more for the black community than 90% of white Americans AND 90% of black Americans. The NAACP agrees, and was set to give him a second humanitarian award, then of course recanted under societal pressure.

The world of basketball demanded swift action in regards to Sterling, and they got it. Newly-minted NBA commissioner Adam Silver used an illegal recording of Sterling in his private home and a whole heap of fake outrage to throw this longest-tenured owner out, and then he was applauded for it. I know freedom of speech is a punchline now, but regardless of what he said, this seems an extreme response to pillow talk caught on tape. The only thing missing was a mob wielding pitch forks and a burning stake. Of course they demanded “swift action,” because five minutes from now when the fervor’s gone, the world will realize what Sterling did wasn’t a hanging offense in the grand scheme.

Imagine if everything you said behind closed doors was recorded and aired out to TMZ. Think hard about that before you sign up for mob-mentality day at the water cooler. If being fake-offended makes you feel better, that’s fine, but I bet you didn’t even listen to the tape. Why bother, right? You take your position on this issue behind Magic Johnson and Stephen A. Smith.

The media has pumped this non-story to a total soap opera. When I turned on ESPN radio Monday morning, the unlistenable Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg were talking in the hushed tones of a post-presidential assassination. I thought Sterling was John Wilkes Booth. Then I listened and listened and began to wonder why this was even being reported. CNN led all week with Sterling, trumping the tornados that have decimated this country, people who are truly hurting and need to heal. Maybe this is why racism continues to be such a game-changing deal. If Sterling had been put on the backburner and quietly due-processed out of basketball, fine by me. But why did this need to degenerate into a week of soap-boxing and grandstanding? The media fuels people, and ta-da, racism lives another day. And Barbara Walters are you kidding me? You sat down with Ms. Stiviano, this gold digger in gold digger’s clothes, and gave her a primetime spot on ABC? Watch here: Ms. Walters, you’ve volleyed with presidents and dignitaries and Justin Timberlakes. V. Stiviano should be arrested, not given the glow of the five-minute spotlight. The modern media is a two-dollar floozy. But we knew that already.

I’m left with no concrete takeaway on Donald Sterling except that it’s too bad people aren’t talking about a historically-exciting NBA playoffs. Maybe I don’t get it, because I don’t see racism extrapolated as a modern necessity, and perhaps I’m wrong about that. I see starvation and abuse and death and natural disaster as the issues that should be dealt with. Call me crazy but I imagine America as a place where a black man could one day be President and people with no talent can become rich and famous. I don’t care what Donald Sterling, who I’ll never meet, says in his bedroom, and I certainly don’t think some fame-chasing caricature should be given a headline off it.

Sterling should sue everything and everyone that isn’t nailed down, using the long-forgotten First Amendment as defense. But that won’t happen. He’s got cancer now, in more ways than one, and when he’s gone, this past week is what he’ll be remembered for, and V. Stiviano will fake-cry for him on her VH1 reality show. And why is that a problem? Well . . . in the words of John Proctor: “Because it is my name!”

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Brian Huba