Politicians and businesses have long known that, if you have news of something you have to announce and can't hide, the best time to do it is late on a Friday afternoon. Fewer people are paying attention, newsrooms have emptied out, and you have over 48 hours to prepare your damage control.
None of these tidbits are that, but just putting them here at this hour feels that way.
I ended the workweek with two fairly low-key days. A hearing yesterday took under five minutes from dial-in to click-off, and that was my only fixed commitment. Today, I had none. I still have three swords of Damocles of various lengths and sharpnesses hanging over me from this past week, and I could have taken action to shake those swords, for better or worse. I chose not to. Same thinking: a Friday 5 p.m. bad news dump in any or all of them would have ruined my weekend, and there wouldn't have been a damn thing to do about any of them until Monday anyway. A Monday, I might add, which I fully expect to be a clusterfuck that is not my fault, dammit. So I am ignoring the cutlery until then.
As opposed to the cutlery in the icon, which we affectionately refer to around here as Butterknives.
This has been one of those unusual weeks where more than one of the four major North American sports (sorry, soccer and NASCAR) have converged with similar forms of news. All four have had their moments: NFL training camps opened, with all eyes on Green Bay to see what their green-and-golden boy quarterback would do with his career. (He opted to stay a year or two in exchange for getting out of the rest of his contract term and possibly being traded in-season.) The NBA had its draft this week; I lost my original and adopted home teams in the 70s, so I could care less. But hockey and baseball both brought news of significant player movement.
The NHL is off-season now, but its two major player-movement events were compressed into under two weeks time this year due to COVID forcing a shorter and later-starting season. Also in that window, this year, was an expansion draft for the 32nd team in Seattle. So the news from Sabreland has been brisk for late July: who's going to the Kraken (one young dude), who's getting drafted (the #1 overall, a kid from UM), and who's getting traded or signed. The latter groups brought the most activity, as two big-contract first-round picks from the early oughts both got new homes in exchange for decent to maybe-decent returns. Nobody wants to come to this crazy team unless they're desperate, so the Sabres lost two good players who'd reached free agency, and to replace them, they signed some bags of pucks and an old-style goon. But their biggest prize remains on the wall to be shot at by the other 31 GMs: their generational center, who they spent an entire season tanking to get, has all but said he wants out of Buffalo, but his pedigree and long-term contract give the Sabres complete control of if and where he goes for another year. After that, they can still keep him stuck here for five more years, but he can veto any trade. So it's been a big game of chicken involving the current team, all the others, and him and his agents. There's a weird injury issue in the middle of it. Worst, he was designated the team captain a couple of years ago, probably a couple of years too soon, and it will wreck the room if the C stands for Cancer, as it just well might.
All of this action coincided, for the first time I can remember, with the trade deadline in baseball. It falls relatively late in the season compared to the other major sports, although it is now a fairly firm July 31 date, or 30th when July ends on a Saturday. But perhaps more than in the others, teams align in the second half of July into "buyers" and "sellers," and the sellers put much bigger chunks of their entire teams up for sale. There's no
salary cap in baseball, so money is not officially an object, but with COVID reducing stadium revenues and the weirder weather forcing more doubleheaders on teams, the sellers seem determined to offload as much payroll as possible. Loyalty to the players or their own fans? Afterthoughts, if even that.
This July's biggest dumpers were the Washington Nationals and the Chicago Cubs. As in, the last two National League teams to win the World Series in a non-shortened season. In 2019, the now mostly dead Washington team was the first to win the Series in its 50-year history in DC and Montreal; the declawed Cubs won in 2016, more than a century after their
last Series win. Not that I'm complaining, mind; the Mets were buyers for the first time in years, and the Nats' fire sale got several good players out of our division. We also obtained a good infielder and useful starter from the Cubs.
Now to just hope they don't burn down the ballpark;)
Other random things:
I haven't watched Jeopardy! since Mayim's run a few months back, but I tuned in the other night to check on LeVar Burton's turn. I loved him in TNG,
and Buffalo's PBS station sponsored his long run on Reading Rainbow.
He'd be fine. I'll take him over a football field of Aaron Rodgerses or a poppy field of Oz's. But he seemed nervous and maybe a little too enthused. His "yesss!" after many correct responses sounded more like Marv Albert than Alex Trebek. Maybe it's because he got stuck all week with the latest savant- a smug, category-hopping, weird "what's" answering
dude in the James mold. He also got a guy who decided to go after Cliff Clavin's spot in J! history with the lowest negative score in show history
Pass the poor man a Potent Potable.
One other work note: I mentioned a few weeks ago that I'd managed to break the glass on one of my diplomas, and the nearest JoAnns had shut its framing counter. Several people mentioned a local framing joint a mile or two down Sheridan Drive from where I turn to go to work. Dude did a nice job, and cost me all of eleven bucks for my stupidity, but there were up and down sides to going in there twice to drop off and pick up.
Down: dude smokes like a chimney.
Up: the showroom has floor samples of his framing work. I don't think you'll find this one at Hobby Lobby:
I always wondered what happened to Art Fleming;)
ETA. The selloff in Chicago's going worse than I thought:
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