Labor Day Memories

When I think about Labor Day, I remember the summer that I earned a little extra money for college by working overnight as a stocker in a grocery store.  I was on Aisle 3, zoning up the salsa jars at 2 a.m. on Labor Day morning and I suddenly thought to myself, “What is the point of this holiday if I’m having to work?”

After I finished Aisle 3, I looked around the store and at all of the Labor Day displays.  Most shoppers don’t realize what a pain in the ass it can be to set up a display in a busy grocery store.  It’s usually even more of a pain to take the display down.  For all their hard work, the people who put up the display would not be getting Labor Day off.  Instead, they would probably be the ones who would be forced to come in early to take it all down.  It certainly wouldn’t be the bosses taking down the display.  The bosses would spend the day hiding out in their office, either taking a nap or surfing the web.

Because the fall semester had just started and I needed a regular sleep cycle more than I needed extra money and back pain, that was my last night to work that job.  Still, whenever I think of Labor Day, I think about how everyone gets to celebrate except for the people whom the holiday is supposed to be about.

Fortunately, I’m at a point now where I get to take Labor Day off so that’s what I’m doing for the next two days.  Unless Jeremy Corbyn takes over the UK on Sunday or Mark Sanford announces he’s running for President on Monday, this blog will be back on Tuesday.

Gillibrand’s Out

Kirsten Gillibrand ended her presidential campaign yesterday so we are now down to just 20 major Democratic candidates.

Though it may be hard to remember now but Gillibrand was a big deal in the early months of 2017.  That was when she made a name for herself by voting against every single Trump cabinet nominee.  At the time, she got the type of fawning coverage that, today, is usually reserved for Elizabeth Warren.  Gillibrand was also the first Democratic presidential contender to regularly curse while giving interviews.  The next time Beto strategically drops an F-bomb, remember that he’s ripping off Kirsten Gillibrand.

It’s easy to say that Gillibrand’s presidential campaign failed to catch on because donors never forgave her for leading the charge to pressure Al Franken into resigning his seat.  I know just how easy it is because I said it on twitter right after I heard that Gillibrand was withdrawing from the race.  It is true that, after Franken resigned, many Democratic donors did announce that they would never give money to Gillibrand.  (I have honestly seen toddlers react to breaking a favorite toy with more maturity than many Democrats have shown over losing Al Franken.)

However, having watched her campaign for the last five months, I think there was another reason why Gillibrand never gained much momentum in the race.  She was simply a terrible candidate.  If Kirsten Gillibrand told you the sky was blue, you would still want to step outside and check before taking her word on it.  If you offered her a big enough contribution, you could probably convince Gillibrand to flip and declare that the sky’s actually green and she only said it was blue because she was originally elected from a conservative, upstate district where voters were not smart enough to understand what colour the sky actually was.

With Gillibrand withdrawing, it falls upon Andrew Yang and Bill de Blasio to carry the banner of New York in the Democratic primary.  Yang is perhaps the only interesting Democrat running this year and he doesn’t seem likely to drop out any time soon.  As for de Blasio, dropping out would mean returning to New York City so it’s probably for the best that he stay in Iowa where no one knows him.

To quote Francis Urquhart

Is asking the Queen to order Parliament to extend its normal recess for an additional five-week suspension so that he doesn’t have to deal with their attempts to stop a no-deal Brexit the most Boris Johnson thing ever?

Donald Trump is probably feeling very jealous right now.

As I’ve said before, I don’t know if a no-deal Brexit is going to be a good or a bad thing.  I just hope that the UK is still there (and not being led by Jeremy Corbyn) in November.

Seven Hours!?

On September 4th, CNN is going to be holding one of their town hall events with ten of the candidates currently running for the Democratic presidential nomination.  The topic will be climate change and the event is scheduled to last for SEVEN hours!

This not a debate.  Instead, each candidate will appear on stage for 40 minutes to answer questions about their environmental policy.  As far as I know, none of the major Democratic candidates have come out in support of climate change so how newsworthy we can expect the event to be is open to question.

For those interested:

For me, the most interesting thing about this town hall is the number of candidates who were not invited.  I understand that eligibility was determined by polling but, if this issues is important enough to require sacrificing seven hours of programming on CNN, why not try to get as many Democrats to participate as possible?  If they simply reduced each candidate’s time from 40 to 20 (or even 30) minutes, CNN could probably make room for everyone running.

Personally, on September 4th, I’ll be playing Madden.

I picked up Madden 20 last Friday and…

…I’ve already turned the NFL upside down.

In franchise mode (which, if you ask me, is the only correct way to play any of the Madden games), I bought the Houston Texans and, through a perfect combination of bad gameplay and marketing incompetence, I drove down the team’s popularity to such an extent that I was able to relocate them to another city.

Las Vegas, San Antonio, and Chicago all put in their bids but there was really only one true contender.

Ladies and gentleman, say hello to the London Monarchs.

Named after the team that called London home during the NFL Europe era, the London Monarchs have already lost one Super Bowl to the Cowboys and are currently 6 games away from ending their second regular season with a perfect, 16-0 record.  Unfortunately, paying J.J. Watt’s early signing bonus has also put the Monarchs about 60 million dollars in the hole.  (Despite being based in London, the Monarchs still use American currency.)  If we don’t win the Super Bowl this season, the Monarchs may soon be under new management.

The Madden games have always been my favorite way to waste time during the final days of summer and the first days of fall.  For all of the criticism that the Madden franchise has gotten, it’s still one of the most addictive games out there.  Madden 20’s franchise mode is a marked improvement over some of the previous editions of the game.  I’ve been playing as an owner and I’ve discovered that setting the perfect ticket price can be just as challenging as calling the perfect pass play.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a Super Bowl to win.  Someone warn the Americans.  The British are coming for the Lombardi trophy!

Joe Walsh Is Running For President For Some Reason

It’s official.

Joe Walsh is challenging Donald Trump for the Republican Presidential Nomination.  Presumably, he’ll be challenging Trump from the right while Bill Weld challenges Trump from the left.  It’s hard not to be reminded of the 1972 election, in which Nixon was challenged by Pete McCloskey and John Ashbrook while the Democrats split their votes among several different candidates and ended up nominating someone so far to the left that there was no way that he could win.

In 2016, Walsh was so enthusiastic about Trump that he said that he’d pick up “a musket” if Trump wasn’t sworn in as President.  Walsh’s enthusiasm didn’t last long.  As soon as he became a prominent Trump critic, many people in the media forgot about Walsh’s long history of accusing Barack Obama a Kenyan-born Muslim.

When Walsh first ran for office in 1996, he claimed to be a pro-choice moderate who would not vote lockstep with the conservatives in his party.  Walsh didn’t win that election but he ran again in 2010, this time as a full-throated conservative, and he was elected in the Tea Party wave.  He only held onto his seat for one term.  Walsh was pro-Trump when it paid and now he’s anti-Trump when that pays even more.  If Bernie Sanders is ever elected President, Walsh will probably announce that he’s always enjoyed reading Karl Marx.

Walsh is now running and it’s sad to see formerly respectable figures like Bill Kristol tweeting out positive sentiments about the prospect.  Walsh was a grifter before Trump and he’ll continue to be one after.  If nothing else, the Age of Trump has been good for grifters.


Seth, We Hardly Knew Ye

Congressman Seth Moulton of Massachusetts is no longer running for president.  Most people probably didn’t know that Moulton was running.  He announced for the Democratic nomination in April but he never registered in any of the polls nor did he manage to make it to any of the debates.  It always seemed strange to me that the equally obscure Tim Ryan managed to get at least 1% in the qualifying polls but Moulton couldn’t get above 0%.  Perhaps it’s because Ryan is a more familiar name than Moulton.

Moulton actually had a good message, which was that the Democrats are heading too far to the left and wasting too much time listening to the twitter outrage mob than to the swing voters who actually decide the election.  Moulton’s correct though it may not matter in 2020, when the election will probably be less about the Democratic nominee and more about Trump.  Still, if a Democrat does win in 2020, they’re going to have to govern.  If anything could lead to another Republican wave election, it would undoubtedly be President Elizabeth Warren or President Bernie Sanders lecturing people on television every night.

Seth Moulton returns to Congress and we are now down to 21 major candidates.

Jay Inslee’s Out. Joe Walsh Might Be In.

Up until a few minutes ago, I had totally missed that Jay Inslee ended his presidential campaign yesterday.  Of course, most people missed that he had even started a presidential campaign in the first place so I guess it all evens out.

I’m actually surprised Inslee didn’t last longer.  Inslee’s entire campaign was centered on climate change, which is the sexy issue for rich political activists right now.  Inslee even received the Bill Nye endorsement, which had to have carried some weight with the large number of people who believe that being the science guy is the same thing as being scientist.

On Monday night, Inslee’s campaign was still soliciting donations and trying to qualify for the third debate.  But, on Wednesday, Inslee announced he was withdrawing and instead running for a third term as governor of Washington.  I wonder if Inslee would have still withdrawn if Tom Steyer, who has a similar message and a personal fortune to spend, hadn’t gotten into the race.

With Inslee gone, we are now down to 22 major Democratic candidates.  Meanwhile, over on the Republican side, former Congressman Joe Walsh is talking about challenging Trump in the primaries.  Walsh was previously known for being one of the most corrupt and bigoted members of the U.S. House but he’s figured out that the easiest way to redeem your image in 2019 is to loudly denounce Donald Trump.  Bill Kristol, who really should know better, has even said a positive word or two about Walsh’s potential candidacy.

(Back in the day, Walsh was an even more enthusiastic birther than Trump.)

If he does run, Joe Walsh would actually be the second Joe Walsh to run for President.  The legendary guitarist for The James Gang and the Eagles ran for President in 1980.  His slogan was Free Gas For Everyone.  He didn’t win but his campaign still inspired more good music than John Anderson’s.


It’s Time To Pass The National Suicide Hotline Designation Act

Seth Moulton is one of the more obscure Democrats running for the party’s presidential nomination.  The congressman from Massachusetts has never polled above 1% nor has he been invited to any of the debates.  Unfortunately, for Moulton, Tim Ryan seems to have beaten him to the punch when it comes to claiming the role of the moderate, youngish congressman who knows how to win over blue collar workers.

Seth Moulton will probably never be president.  Because his last name isn’t Kennedy, he probably won’t ever be a Massachusetts senator either.  But he and Chris Stewart, a Republican from Utah, have teamed up to sponsor a very good bill.  The National Suicide Hotline Designation Act would replace the current suicide hotline with a three-digit dialing code.  The bill would allow Americans experiencing a mental health emergency to get help by dialing 988.  Not only would 988 be easier for everyone to remember (like 411 or 911) but, for someone having suicidal thoughts, the difference in the amount of time that it takes to dial just three digits as opposed to ten can be the difference between life and death.

Moulton and Stewart have set aside partisan differences to co-sponsor this bill.  Hopefully, Congress will do the same and pass it.

Which 90s New York-Based Sitcom About A Group Of Sex-Obsessed Friends Was Better?

For the past 24 hours, people online have been debating a very important question.  Which 90s New York-based sitcom about a group of sex-obsessed friends was better?

Now, for me the answer is simple and it’s really not even up for debate.

The Single Guy was infinitely superior to Caroline In The City.

Your mileage may vary.

Both The Single Guy and Caroline in the City premiered in 1995 and they were both based on the same general concept.  In The Single Guy, Jonathan Silverman (who was an inexplicably busy actor in the 90s) played an award-winning novelist who was unlucky in love.  In Caroline In The City, Lea Thompson plays an award-winning cartoonist who was unlucky in love.  They both lived in New York.  They both had a group of wise-cracking friends.  They both appeared on shows that haf very loud and very active laugh tracks.

For years, fans have debated which show was better.  Caroline In The City or The Single Guy?  On the one hand, it was easier to buy Lea Thompson as a cartoonist than Jonathan Silverman as a writer.  Caroline also kept the same cast for the course of its four-season run while The Single Guy jettisoned half of its cast halfway through its run and then was cancelled after its second season.

However, The Single Guy had something that Caroline In The City didn’t.  It had Ernest Borgnine as Manny the Doorman.

Sorry, Caroline.  But you just can’t beat Ernest Borgnine!