Here in the 21st century we live in a 24 hour news cycle where activities across the world come to our attention in real-time.  It’s our role as participants in this civilization to consume this information, develop opinions accordingly and act on them.  Or not… Frankly there’s so much crap going on I’m not sure how you’re supposed to keep up with it all.  I guess you just need to find your own personal balance and act accordingly.  I have friends who pay attention to everything going on in the world of politics but couldn’t tell you the first thing about what’s happening in the stock market.  Other friends can  provide an informed opinion on the fourth guard in the Memphis Grizzlies rotation but doesn’t know the difference between pancetta and bruschetta.  It’s damn near impossible to stay on top of everything and formulate a cognizant thought on the subject.  Well, unless you have a Quick Quips column that is…

On Rush Limbaugh and female contraception – Jon Stewart absolutely killed this subject on Monday night (3/5/12) on “The Daily Show” so I’d point you there for my feelings on the matter but in short:

  • I’m not a fan of people getting anything that they opt to do for recreational puposes for free
  • With that said it’s BS that men have their Viagra covered in most of these insurance plans but women can’t have their contraception covered.
  • An institution can opt to do whatever it sees fit in these matters and an individual has every right to chose whether they participate in or attend that institution given these policies.
  • Rush Limbaugh is a scumbag.  I get that he’s an entertainer first but he presents himself as a news man which implies some degree of tact and class – neither of which he has.  He gets paid to be controversial and at that he is skilled.  I would lose no sleep however if all of his advertisers pulled out on him (much as he’s suggesting the sexual partner of any woman who cannot afford birth control do).

On Illinois Basketball – I’m really surprised at the level of shock everyone has express in the collapse of the Illinois men’s basketball program.  I’ve got news for you, Bruce Weber is not a good coach.  He went to the NCAA Championship game with all of Bill Self’s players a few years back and since has failed to recruit every single important recruit to come out of the state, his teams have no identity, and their offense is a bunch of guys running around the perimeter handing the ball to each other until someone chucks it at the rim with 5 seconds left on the shot clock.  By all accounts Bruce Weber is a very nice guy and loves the sport of basketball but the leader of a prominent basketball institution he is not.  It’s time to pull the plug and start fresh.  It should have happened four years ago.  There’s no reason Illinois shouldn’t be in the top 20 year in and year out in college basketball.

On the Saints Bounty Gate situation – Professional football players are paid and coached to impose their will on the field and in order to do so they attempt to hit their opponent as hard as possible every chance they get.  I don’t see why this is even news.  Having never played in the NFL I’ve got to admit that I just assumed that ever team had some degree of reward system in place for big hits and crushing the opposition.  Matt Bowen (a former NFL safety and today a columnist for the Chicago Tribune) published an excellent piece on the subject this weekend.  

On Peyton Manning and the Colts – This isn’t even debatable for the Colts.  Thank you for your years of service Peyton, you’ll probably go down as the greatest player to ever put on our jersey, but there’s just no way we’re giving you $28 million on the hope that after four neck surgeries you’re going to return to form.  We wish you the best of luck.  Green Bay made a similar decision a few years ago with a certain famous quarterback (who leaves wickedly delicious voice messages) and that seems to have worked out alright for them.  The right move for Peyton is to retire while he’s on top.  Since he has an ego (which for the record is a requirement of the position and is not a flaw) he feels the need to “prove” himself and is going to go sign with another team (Dolphins?  Redskins?  Jets?  Or my pick the 49ers) which is just a failure waiting to happen.  Time to hang ‘em up buddy and let us remember you at the pinnacle, please save us the fall from grace.

On the Republican campaign trail – I’m not here to get on a political pulpit but I have yet to meet a Republican that is excited about any of these guys.  It’s remarkable how no one can pull away from the pack because each has at least one glaring hole that alienates a significant portion of the conservative base.  For better or worse I think we’re looking at another Obama landslide in November.  You may now either shudder or breathe a sigh of relief having absorbed that statement.

On the White Sox – It’s going to be a long summer Southsiders

On the Cubs – It’s going to be an equally long summer but at least there’s a plan and we can watch for improvement.  Think of this as getting in on the ground floor of something potentially great – so you can take some solace in that.  I’m very impressed with Dale Sveum thus far as well.

On the Bears – I want to see a high end defensive end (Mario Williams) or a big game changing wide receiver (Vincent Jackson) addressed in free agency and then fill the other spot with the 19th pick in the draft (Whitney Mercilus from Illinois at DE or Malcolm Floyd from Notre Dame at WR).  I’ll also put out there that if Peter Konz (a center from Wisconsin) is available in the 3rd round, the Bears should take him and they’ll have their center for the next 10-15 years on the roster.

On Northwestern Basketball – It’s a big deal that the team has had a pretty good year and has never been to the NCAA tournament but I don’t want them to get in this year based on the sympathy vote.  I’d prefer to see them earn an invite to the dance either by winning the Big Ten tournament this weekend or in a future year.  They’re on the brink.  Let them earn it.

On the Bulls – I’m not sure what player is going to be available at the shooting guard position that can make a significant difference for them this year without blowing up the core.  I say stick with this team for one more run at the title and if they lose to the Heat yet again this spring then you start to tinker.  Who knows, maybe Milwaukee buys out Stephen Jackson after the trade deadline and we can pick him up for pennies.  I think that’s the best option for the Bulls at this point and consider me still in the “Rip Hamilton has not played his best basketball for the Bulls yet” club.  I’m not ready to write him off.  He was signed for April through June, I really don’t care what he does until then as long as he’s ready to perform when the playoffs start. 

On the world ending in 2012 – I read this today and found it interesting (and I promise this is my last Leap Day reference until 2016): There have been 514 Leap Years since Caesar created the concept in 45 BC.  Without the extra day every four years, today would be July 28, 2013.  The Mayan calendar did not account for Leap Year so technically for those parnoid believers in their pronostication of the End of Days the world should have ended seven months ago.

I think that’s it for my mental rolodex dump.  Thanks for letting me vent.  If you feel overwhelmed for any reason and get the sense that you’re experiencing sensory overload, I’d suggest you follow this guy’s advice and do one thing that scares you every day for a year and before you know it everything else won’t feel so bad.