|The entry to UMM on sun-shiney day (B.W. photo)|
"Self-checkout" finally comes to Willie's (posted on 2/10)
Finally, we are seeing a "self-checkout" station being installed at our local grocery store. It isn't enough that that store has a monopoly. The head-scratching never stops for trying to plan greater cost-efficiency.
Human employees can be problematic. They need bathroom breaks. They can get sick. They have to be trained in. They can quit on you. All this Orwellian mechanized stuff puts those messy little issues aside.
Checkout jobs at stores have been a last bastion for "common job" opportunities for Americans. Nothing is sacred anymore. Will all these checkout people be able to land on their feet, finding some other kind of job? I have concern about that.
We learn of a doctor in Morris that is being reprimanded in a pretty serious way. It's on the "front page." Will this damage the credibility of SCMC? I hope not.
Years ago we began hearing about all those misbehaving Catholic priests and we figured "things like that just don't happen in Morris, Minnesota." But then we did get a misbehaving priest. Then we got a high school principal who was charged with first degree criminal sexual conduct. Now we have a local doctor getting a high-profile disciplinary action.
A doctor! That's scary.
I guess Morris has joined the wider world. At least we don't have a local football team that manipulates air pressure of footballs. Or maybe. . .
If the NFL continues exploding in popularity, its leaders won't care a bit about problems like "Deflate-gate." They will only care if such a problem chips away at the sport's popularity. If the problem is just swept under the rug, we can assume that NFL football can take on some of the qualities of pro wrestling, and its leaders won't care. Pro wrestling has always been very popular. Bill Belichick would simply be a "villain," and Tom Brady would be his stooge partner.
Joe Scarborough of MSNBC has already proclaimed that the only reason deflate-gate is a big issue, is that people "hate the Patriots," like it's only an emotional matter. Well, there are bad guy wrestlers who people hate. The NFL may become known as a league that tolerates shenanigans. The penalty was never strong enough for "spygate" involving those Patriots.
Do all you fans really want to keep supporting this product?
Whenever the Patriots get "caught," their initial response is to say "even if we're guilty, it didn't give us any advantage." Do they think we're children?
I am going to skip the Super Bowl and I won't even be tempted to check in. We are such lemmings to keep supporting this gargantuan product, this obscene slice of America glorifying all our commercial and capitalistic tendencies. There's no restraint at all. I am going to walk away from it. Please consider joining me.
The individuals under scrutiny talked around the whole matter. They pleaded innocence without giving any real hints as to where the blame was to be placed. Something happened and we simply want to know how and why. It has been a prime story in the national news, going beyond the usual boundaries of sports.
I'm cynical enough to think the money-drenched NFL will just play rope-a-dope on this whole matter. That's exactly what we saw Thursday: textbook rope-a-dope.
The NFL is hoping the media will become complacent, that the media will just roll over and trivialize the whole matter, largely laughing it off. Some in the media have been inclined that way. We saw Joe Scarborough on MSNBC trivialize the whole thing this morning (Friday). Joe said the whole matter revolved around "everyone hating the Patriots."
Wrong. I'm skeptical about the Patriots largely because of "Spygate." But I'm not emotional about it. I don't "hate" the Patriots. The NFL is nudging the media and trying to remind the media that they are part of this whole golden goose called NFL football. Everyone takes a bite. The NFL is winking to the media and hoping the media will wink back.
The media are interviewing lots of former players and others connected with the NFL. That's like interviewing the president of the teachers union about education issues. The teachers union doesn't represent education issues, it represents its members to try to get the best contract possible.
There is a whole circus around the NFL. The truth-seekers have to penetrate that. Will the truth-seekers be persistent enough?
"The Patriots would have won anyway." I'm not even sure about that. What if some key passes, thrown with a fully inflated football, had bounced off the hands of Patriot receivers in the first half? A game's basic complexion is established in the first half. Maybe you need some experience in sports gambling to appreciate this. Oddsmakers will tell you how pivotal the early stages of games are. Playing from behind is much different from playing even.
Nancy had the curious habit of walking laps around the football field in the second half of some home games. I am hoping that this practice is over now, and that I can just inconspicuously take photos from the visitors sideline at future home games. I skipped the 2014 season. I feel I have a lot to offer, both with my writing and photography. I can post photos as Flickr albums, which I did over a period of four years. It costs nothing - zero - for fans to come to my sites and digest this coverage. It's a delight for me to still be involved in my own small way with MACA athletics.
Some are disposed to laugh-off this episode. They'll say "the Patriots would have won anyway." Well, besides being beside the point, this assertion may simply not be true. Why do you think sports handicapping is so difficult in Las Vegas? It's because a handful of breaks or special advantages can truly create the decisive momentum for a team. Andrew Luck is not chopped liver.
I'm not holding my breath, but the NFL ought to mete out serious punishment for this. Maybe coach Bill Belichick should be suspended immediately, which means he'd miss the Super Bowl. So what? The assistants could take over the team, like we saw with the U of M Gophers when Jerry Kill had to leave the sidelines for a time.
We still remember "Spygate." The punishment should have been harsher for that. Advertisers for NFL football telecasts do not like blow-out games where presumably a large portion of the audience tunes out. Money will talk, or it ought to. Does the NFL stand for anything else?