Some hither and yon reflections while waiting for the rain to stop…
:: We used to go to the Plaza lighting ceremony almost every year but haven’t been the last three or four. Sometimes it’s been the weather, sometimes circumstances and sometimes just lack of motivation. One thing that has seriously crimped my motivation was the addition of fireworks. The Plaza Association or Highwoods, or whoever, for some reason decided some years back that one of the most distinctive, heart-warming events you can find anywhere in the country wasn’t strong enough to stand on its own. I guess some executive sat bolt upright in bed one night and said, “What the Plaza lighting ceremony needs is some rootin’-tootin’ fireworks to work up the crowd”!
However it came about, it was a supremely stupid notion. In times past, when the lights went on, it was an “Ah, yes,” moment that also illuminated the collective spirits of tens of thousands of people standing side by side. It capped off a day of quiet celebration and thanks-giving. And then, in the glow of the lights, many people would mill about, strolling around the Plaza and enjoying the communal uplift, before drifting back to their cars and heading home.
Now, those personal, calming moments that come with the turning-on of the lights are quickly followed by the ka-bang! ka-boom! ka-whoosh! of commercial fireworks, the kind you can see so many places these days, including after every Friday night home game at Kauffman Stadium.
I don’t know about you, but I’m good for maybe one fireworks display a year. And it should not be on Thanksgiving night at the Country Club Plaza.
It came out recently that Highwoods is putting the Plaza up for sale. Let’s hope the new owners have enough sense to turn back the hands of time as far as the Plaza lighting ceremony is concerned.
:: On the subject of overkill, how about those college bowl games? Twenty-five years ago, in 1990, there were 19 bowl games. This year there will be 41 — so many that, for the first time ever, teams with losing records will be invited to participate. Until two years ago, teams had to have a record of at least 6-6 to be eligible. This year there won’t be enough 6-win teams to cover all the bowls, so several schools with losing records will be invited.
What’s at work here? Why, TV, of course. In a Kansas City Star story a few days ago, college sports reporter Blair Kerkhoff said bowl-game saturation isn’t going away:
“ESPN wants live programming around the holidays, and even the lowest profile bowl games rate well. Plus the market supports the enterprise. Communities benefit from the tourism and it’s a big week for local charities.”
Of course, I understand the need for all these bowl games…The holidays just wouldn’t be complete without the Potato Bowl, Dec. 22, in Boise…Put the TV in the oven at 325 for two hours and it’s done.
:: This headline on The New York times home page got my attention last night — “Don’t Feel Bad About ‘Bad Sex’.”
I immediately thought, “There’s a story I need to read.” I mean, don’t we all — or most of us, anyway — live in fear of the possibility of bad sex? Just about as disappointing as the Royals’ Game 7 loss to the Giants last year, right?
When I got to the story, though, I quickly realized I’d been duped, along with a couple of million other NYT readers, I’m sure.
The story was by a novelist named Manil Suri, who was writing about the annual Bad Sex in Fiction Award, handed out by the Literary Review of London. The award is of interest to Suri because he was a “winner” last year.
…Sadly, then, I’m still waiting for the definitive (and comforting) article on not feeling bad about bad sex.