Sunday, November 25, 2007

News Du Jour

I usually try not to simply regurgitate the news of the day, and pour it down your collective throats here at MyndFood, but a few news stories that truly warrant mention here have been piling up in my stack of stuff. So, I thought I'd compile the various stories for you in one fabulous dish...

Disney reported a few days ago that Disneyland's trademark ride, everyone's favorite, It's A Small World, will be taken offline, beginning in January, for ten months for some structural updates. What's on the punch list? Most notably, making the "ocean so wide" just a little deeper, and designing "more buoyant" boats.

According to Disney, in recent years, the ride has increasingly been shut down by overweight boats bottoming out. The culprit? The politically correct Disney spokesperson pointed out that, perhaps it has to do with the build up of material in the bottom of the flume due to countless repairs over the years. But the truth of the matter probably has more to do with the fact that the average male adult rider's weight has risen, since 1960, from 166 pounds to 191 pounds. The average woman has jumped from 140 pounds to 164 pounds. On average, a 25 pound jump.

In short, we're overloading the boats. And the boats are getting stuck. So now Disney is going to have to modify the ride.

How long, do you think, before Disney begins charging a premium for admission of overweight guests? Rather, would that be appropriate?

Consider this: I am not substantially overweight (the body mass index says that I could lose a few pounds, but just a few). Shawna is most definitely not overweight. Nor are either Lex or Gentry. Yet, the next time we go to Disneyland, some portion of our admission will go to cover these modifications.

Why? Should we (who are considered "fit") be forced to subsidize modifications made to accommodate overweight folks? Don't get me wrong: I've got nothing against the overweight; some of my best friends and family members are overweight (and I spend a few painful years grossly overweight), so I'm not picking at "fluffy" folks. But I'm not sure that I'm happy about subsidizing their lifestyle.

Reuters reported today that soccer star, David Beckham (whose wife, as you might recall from a prior post, is the only Valley Girl I know of to have come from Britain), arriving at a hotel in Sydney Australia, snubs a group of young cancer survivors who'd gathered to meet him.

To read the story, you'd think that Beckham was a heartless jerk, who couldn't care less about the poor kids who've survived cancer.

When asked about it in a press conference a few moments later, Beckham said, "I would never have done that. Never have done, never will do. I'm more than willing to meet them wherever they want and at whatever time that they want." Apparently, he simply did not see them.

I have to ask myself, why is this news? Further, does it warrant front-page billing on Most importantly, though, I find it curious that the media is so quick to crucify Beckham in headlines. I recall a few years ago, singer Elton John, presenting an award to a young actor in Cannes, France, got upset when a reporter interrupted him, and yelled, "I'm talking . . . you *expletive*, *expletive* photographers you should be shot, you should be all shot. Thank you." I don't recall our favorite Knight of the Realm receiving too much criticism from the press (perhaps it's because his sexual orientation makes him untouchable?).

I don't think it's any conspiracy; don't get me wrong. And I don't particularly like or care about Beckham. I just don't understand why this is news; nor do I understand the selective rationale of those who publish the news.

Barry Bonds was indicted a few weeks ago on charges of perjury. The indictment stated that he'd lied, while under oath, to a federal grand jury in 2003 when questioned regarding his use of performance enhancing drugs (steroids). He repeatedly stated that he'd not been provided with, nor had he used, known performance enhancing drugs or lotions.

Apparently, the grand jury has found evidence to the contrary. If convicted of all five counts against him, he faces a combined maximum of 30 years in prison.

Why does our justice system care whether Barry Bonds (or any other athlete, for that matter) uses performance enhancing drugs? We allow them to use performance enhancing shoes and performance enhancing bats. They have performance enhancing mitts and performance enhancing braces and wraps. They drink performance enhancing water, and eat performance enhancing meals. They do performance enhancing exercise and stay performance enhancingly fit.

My point? Consider this: in 1908, the major league batting average was about .245; in 2004, it was about .269. Between 1900 and 1920, there were 13 occasions in which the major league home run leader had fewer than 10 home runs for the entire season; in 1998, Mark McGuire hit 70 home runs in a single season. Why? Because, over time, professional baseball players have learned how to "enhance" their performance. And it's a good thing. We SHOULD learn how to be better at what we do (including playing baseball).

But somewhere, someone decided that creams or drugs, as a performance enhancer, shouldn't be accepted. Further, they determined that if someone used them, they should be charged as a criminal. Why? I honestly don't know. What I DO know is that the justice system spends far too much time and money on things that the American public has no problem taking care of on it's own.

The simple laws of economics say that if there's no demand for a good or service, it's price will plummet. I read somewhere that, even before he was indicted, Bond's was let go by the San Francisco Giants. Why? Because he wasn't selling anymore. Somehow the baseball loving public made known that they weren't interested in buying Bonds anymore; he had no value to them. And the powers-that-are at Giants headquarters listened (because that's what they do).

So why, I ask, does the criminal justice system care? The public has spoken; they've said they don't approve. And teams will listen. There will always (I'm sure) be a few outlaws. But by and large, most players (I'd guess) aren't going to jeopardize their "deal" to "enhance" their performance through means that we, the buyers, don't approve of.

So let baseball be.


Anonymous said...

Man PJ why do you gotta bring up your fluffy family members? couldn't you have just left it at best friends? =)

Anonymous said...

I agree with Deanna. After all if it wasn't for your "fluffy Mothers hips" you would not be so smart.
Love Mother