A Mere $20,000

In checking up on the results of the recent All-Star Baseball game I read that the winners had little incentive to win — aside from the fact that the winning league gets to have home-field advantage for the World Series. Otherwise, we are told, each player makes a “mere”  $20,000 for winning the game. No incentive whatever.

Does this strike anyone but me as borderline obscene? I mean to take such a figure so lightly when there are people on the streets who cannot eat and have no place to live? That’s a year’s salary for many in this country. We have always realized that athletes are the most spoiled and highest paid people in this country — and perhaps anywhere else as well. Steph Curry recently signed a contract with the Golden State Warriors for $200 million over five years. It boggles the mind. In reporting this we are told that this is OK because he only made $12.1 million this past year which is 82nd highest in the NBA. Goodness gracious! Poor Steph.

It’s small wonder that our kids hold their teachers in contempt because they make such meager salaries when we have arrived at the point where we measure success in dollars and cents. And compared with the athletes, who are our “heroes,” teachers suck. This only adds to the teachers’ plight, given that we now expect them to raise our kids in addition to teaching them.

I have played this tune before, I know. I have dwelt on the notion that those with great wealth have a moral responsibility to take care of those who have little or nothing — after they have bought their new $350,000 Ferrari (true that) or the new mansion for themselves and their close friends and family. It is said they deserve this money, “they have earned it.” That’s bollocks. They haven’t earned that much money. No one earns that much money. But given the fact that those of the rest of us who can ill afford it continue to pay outrageous prices for seats to watch them play and their owners make even more money than they do, perhaps is only fair that they get a larger share than many of them do at present. Perhaps.

To be sure, it is none of my business how much money another person makes or how that person chooses to spend their money. That’s a given. And there are those among the very rich, including the athletes, who are generous in their support of others in need. But at the same time, it is hard to look the other way when the pay-outs for those athletes are so out of proportion with the meager salaries others in this culture make, people who are much more important to the well-being of others — people like the fore mentioned teachers, and firemen and police. These people struggle to make ends meet while the wealthy among us think only about making more money when they already have more than they can spend in a lifetime.

Pity the poor players for the American League All-Star team. They only made a “mere” $20,000 for winning. Little incentive, indeed.

U.S. Independence Revoked!

My wife’s niece heard from Queen Elizabeth II and she asked me to share the message with my readers:

To the citizens of the United States of America from Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

In light of your failure in recent years to nominate competent candidates for President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately. (You should look up ‘revocation’ in the Oxford English Dictionary.)

Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths, and territories (except North Dakota, which she does not fancy).

Your new Prime Minister, David Cameron, will appoint a Governor for America without the need for further elections.

Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire may be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed.

We now have to learn to speak “proper” English — not American English. This involves pronouncing “lieutenant” with an “f” as in “leftenant.” Apparently the Brits don’t like the way we say “LOOtenant.” Also we must insert an extra syllable in “aluminum” so it sounds like “aluMINeum.” And “laboratory” must be properly  pronounced as in “laBORatree” and not like “LABratory” We need to watch those “r’s” — we hit them too hahhd. The word “guy” must be replaced by “bloke,” and if they are delinquent young  blokes we call them “yobs.” Also, when we swear we must learn to say “bullocks!”

The Queen’s letter also includes 15 rules that we must henceforth follow: We must immediately add the letter “u” to such words as flavor, labor, and neighbor. And, echoing the linguistic advice given above, we are admonished to stop using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with gestures and filler noises such as “like” and “you know.” (She has a point there.) Needless to say, July 4th will no longer be a holiday and all other holidays will henceforth be referred to as “bank holidays.” We must learn to resolve conflict without using guns, lawyers or therapists  (now there’s a hard one!).  She thinks our reliance on such things simply proves we are not ready for independence. Accordingly, we will not be allowed to carry in our possession anything more potent than a vegetable peeler — and we must have a permit for that.

Further, we must immediately convert to the metric system and make all intersections roundabouts. This will apparently help us appreciate more fully the British sense of humor. “Gas” will be replaced by “petrol” and the price will go to $10.00/gallon where it is in Great Britain. This is supposed to teach us true thrift and increase global awareness. She also wants us to get rid of “football” since it doesn’t involve much kicking and is really “run back-and-forth and throw the ball.” And baseball must also go because we insist on calling our national championship “The World Series” even though we don’t invite other countries. There are a couple of other rules as well, but they seem to me to be silly. These are the important ones.

I  must say I would have thought the Queen would be fairly pleased to see that we had reelected our President after the other guy had been over there trying to tell them how to run the Olympics. But apparently not. In any event, imagine what the Brits — and the rest of the world — must think about our spending billions of dollars on an election to essentially leave the present government unchanged — while at the same time not ridding ourselves of the lunatic fringe we call the “Tea Party.” I can imagine that’s an especially sore point with Her Majesty given the history of our two countries and all. I guess she was just too polite to mention it.