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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Time to "Tamp it Down"

Governor Deval Patrick and I finally agree on something.  It has taken almost 8 years but it is finally there.  Can we please "tamp" down the reports on the Ebola virus?  This has literally gotten to the point where I am not even turning my television on because that is all I hear about.  Since Gov. Patrick said those statements to a reporter on Monday, the media is blasting him for not fully grasping the urgency of the issue.  He doesn't understand the urgency??

On Monday night, after Gov. Patrick made those comments, Fox 25 News at 10 spent the first ten minutes of its broadcast on the "scare" at Logan Airport where five passengers were removed from an Emirates flight from Dubai by people in Haz-Mat suits because they were ill the entire flight, roughly 14 hours.  They were brought to a local hospital and declared Ebola free, they had flu like symptoms.  Two studio hosts, one special reporter on set, one reporter at Logan and one reporter at the hospital to report on 5 people that had the flu.  They may as well park themselves outside every public schools nurse's office between now and March because Ebola may spread like wildfire.

The Ebola virus is scary, no doubt.  I read the book "The Hot Zone" when it came out in 1995 and watched the movie "Contagion" last year.  It is real, it is scary and people want to know more, I get it.  But reporting about every person who has the symptoms is a little overkill because it presents the same symptoms as the common cold.

Here are a few facts about Ebola that everyone should know. I pulled these from WebMD and the CDC websites.  It is no more contagious than any other cold, flu or measles.  It spreads through contact with skin or bodily fluids.  Ebola care takers are at an extremely high risk, for example the nurse in Dallas who contracted the disease when tending to man who died from it.  You can’t get Ebola from air, water, or food. A person who has Ebola but has no symptoms can’t spread the disease, either.  Then there is the customary touching of needles and contaminated surfaces.  Symptoms are fever, headache, muscle pain, sore throat, weakness, stomach pain, lack of appetite and vomiting.  If you already knew this, then stop watching the news because they are not giving you any of this information

With cold and flu season upon us, it is possible that this could get worse.  I understand that the world we live in now is that if they don't report it, someone else will.  Unfortunately, that theory has led to the large amount of irresponsible reporting going on in the world.  Rapidity trumps certainties.  Brevity is the key to good communication, but it needs to be factual.  In a story, with such a large audience looking for answers, facts needs to trump speed.


If you don't take it from me, ask my wife

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Life's a Party, Crash It

Last weekend the Baseball Widow and I crashed a wedding. Yep, you read that correctly, we crashed a wedding, well, sort of.  A friend of my wife, with whom she works, was getting married.  The running joke was that she was going to crash the wedding.  Several weeks ago, the bride brought my wife an invitation with the instructions to come after dinner and dance and party with everyone else.

Normally, I would say no way.  My wife was making plans with others that got the same instructions and I relented.  So, I was going to crash a wedding.  I started practicing my art of balloon animals (I hope more than five people get that reference), I started thinking of a  cool person I could be and I started brushing up on my Wedding Crashing Etiquette, as if there is such a thing.  The night before the wedding the bride texts my wife and says that two people have bailed and asked if we wanted to come for the entire reception, we had been called in from the bullpen.  Wedding Crashing dreams dashed.

So my wife and I went to the wedding. I as Don Harrison, a retired fire chief from New York, who happened to have selected one of a handful of the vegetarian meals.  My wife went as Seth Kelly, I didn't catch his back story as I was still reeling from the vegetarian selection.  It was a beautiful reception in the heart of Salem, Mass. and my wife and I got a night out without the kids, winners all around.  Plus "UConn Sucks" was chanted by all the Syracuse alum very often, and quite randomly.  I was in heaven.

The next day my wife struck up a conversation as we headed to my brother's house in Manchester (By the Sea), and stated that authorized Wedding Crashing could be the way to go and that had she thought of it, that is how our wedding would have gone.  Is it law that you have to spend $100-$300 a plate on some people you barely know, family you never see and people that are friends with your parents and not particularly you?  It makes perfect sense.

You could have the ceremony, have a small intimate dinner with your immediate family and wedding party and then open up the doors to the boozers that want to make fools of themselves on the dance floor, what more could you ask for.  I would assume it is probably less expensive and there is no stressing over centerpieces, meal selections and table linens.  I really do wish my wife had come up with this idea.  I would not have needed any selling, given the fact that when we went to look at invitations I told the lady "I would rather do a mass e-mail".

I think this is an idea in which its time has come.  Unfortunately, too many people feel they need a "traditional" wedding. You know the kind, on a beach somewhere, far away, not in a church surrounded by hundreds of your closest friends and family.  Tell me where, I want to crash it, I will supply the balloon animals.


If you don't take it from me, ask my wife.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

NFL: Not For Ladies

Over the past couple of days I have seen a couple of disturbing videos connected to the National Football League.  The first is what is known as the second half of the New England Patriots loss to the Miami Dolphins.  It was, for lack of a better term, pathetic.  As Patriots fan we have come to expect better from our team.  We didn't get it on Sunday.

The second video is the one that has taken the nation by storm.  It is the clip from an Atlantic City Hotel/Casino elevator involving, now former, Baltimore Ravens Running Back Ray Rice punching is wife (then fiancĂ©e) in the face an knocking her out.  It is the most disgusting displays of male behavior towards a woman I have ever seen.  How can Rice justify that behavior in any scenario? I was always taught to never lay your hands on a woman, no matter the circumstance.  As a husband and a father of two girls, this video makes me very angry.

When the incident happened Rice was suspended for two games by Roger Goodell, Commissioner of the NFL.  TWO GAMES!  Matt Prater of the Denver Broncos was suspended double that for a DUI of alcohol.  Wes Welker, also of the Broncos was suspended four games for testing positive for amphetamines.  Josh Gordon, of the Cleveland Browns was suspended for a year for a repeat offense of marijuana, which is legal is some states.  So the message that the NFL sent was that smoking weed is worse than beating your wife.  That is a good message to send to your fan base.

That isn't even the worst part of this disturbing display of cover up.  Goodell and the Baltimore Ravens, on Monday, claimed they hadn't seen the video until that day.  I'm calling shenanigans and I think the general public tends to agree with me.  However, following that statement, the Atlantic City Police Department stated that the NFL had access to those tapes and did not ask for them, kind of in a chest thumping manner, as if to say they were much better at this than anybody.  Hardly.

These events just show the ineptness of all parties involved.  Ray Rice and his wife for protecting the paycheck rather than the truth.  The NFL, NFLPA and the Ravens for being absolutely wrong in the way they investigated this, handled it, and then defended Rice's character. Considering how quickly and vigilantly they handle suspensions in their league for off field incidences, they completely dropped the ball on this one and this could leave a constant noose around Goodell's neck.

The interesting statistic to come out of this is that Rice has spent zero time behind bars.  So, for the Atlantic City PD and the DA to make comments that they always had the tapes and they were available to the NFL to investigate, why didn't they use them?  Rice was never charged for anything shown in the footage.  They evidently didn't need his wife to press charges.  Admitting that they had the tapes and seen them all along just shows the incompetence of those parties and they opened themselves up to probably the biggest criticism of all.

I must admit that I am a huge fan of the NFL and that is mainly because they have made it entertaining week in and week out.  That is largely due to what Goodell has done.  But I am not backing him on this, not one bit.  I will continue to watch games and I will continue to buy into the NFL product but if Goodell loses his job over this I will not say one word in his defense.  I have been against him from the start on this and I will continue to be.  He has prided himself in being executioner and chief in all disciplinary matters in the league and the one that should have been an easy touchdown, and he fumbled at the goal line.  He needs to explain why.

I am a believer that public figures do not owe explanations for their misgivings, at least not to me.  But in this instance, I am owed one.  I had bought in to the new NFL and I loved the product and kept coming back.  So, why now, are you going against everything you preach?  Please explain.

If you don't take it from me, ask my wife.