Saturday, February 18, 2012

Jeremy Lin, Tiger Woods, and Shopping for Furniture

What a crazy week. Business is brisk and a bit chaotic, as it always is this time of year for me, so I have to wait until Saturday to access the damage. Many things to comment upon. Here goes…

Our fearless Treasury Secretary, Tim Geithner was testifying on capitol hill the other day, and when I say fearless, I’m not kidding. If you had to defend the budget that Obama just sent to Congress, you’d better be fearless. There was an incredible exchange with Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. Ryan had just put up on a screen a graph found on page 58 of said budget where the administration shows deficits and debt skyrocketing exponentially for as far as the eye can see into the future. Ryan then asks Geithner why his boss is offering no plan to correct this dangerous trend line. After a few minutes of economic jargon and back and forth nit-picking, the Secretary admits that the future economic condition of the Republic is in peril unless the trend is corrected, but then cut loose with the most honest words to ever come out of his mouth….” We don’t have a solution, but we don’t like yours.” Now, THAT, my friends, is pure unadulterated leadership. We are in charge of the government, I am the Treasury Secretary and I am admitting that the country is headed over an economic cliff, and I’m also admitting that I have come to you with NO PLAN TO FIX ANY OF THIS!!! But your plan sucks. So there. Epic!!!

Over the last 15 years or so I’ve spent maybe an hour of my life thinking about the NBA. I mean, after Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson retired, why bother? I freely admit that I haven’t watched an NBA game probably since the 90’s. I only see snippets of the NBA on “shots of the day” segments on ESPN while I’m waiting for spring training news. But in the last two weeks I’ve actually been paying attention to one basketball story, Jeremy Lin. I’ve only seen highlights and read stories about the kid. But, without question, he’s the best thing to happen to basketball since the shot clock. What an amazing story. Player of the year in California and can’t get a D-1 offer?? Goes to Harvard and gets them to the tournament? Shuffles around with several teams but never gets a chance to play, then because of injuries gets thrown into a game almost as an afterthought. Then, all he does is ignite a 7 game win streak in which he scores more points than anyone in NBA history over their first 7 games in the league. The kid is an amazing talent who until two weeks ago nobody knew existed. Then I find out he’s an outspoken born again Christian? This story just keeps getting better. He’s got faith, brains, and game. He keeps this up, I may actually tune in. Maybe one day he will agree to be Treasury Secretary.

Poor Tiger Woods. Watching him get schooled by Phil last weekend was a guilty pleasure. Tiger still has the physical brilliance, but his mental toughness is gone. He no longer has the power of intimidation. And when Phil walked off the 18th at Pebble into the arms of his beautiful wife, the contrast with Tiger slinking away, shoulders slumped, and head down could not have been more stark. He had it all, and now he seems lost. There was Phil, with his breast cancer surviving wife in a knowing embrace that testified to the joy that comes when a tough road is travelled together. Tiger slipped away, probably to the driving range and then, into the arms of the bimbo-du-jour. Painful to watch, or it should be at least. There is a bad place in me that takes comfort in justice even when its application is painful. I need to work on that.

Pam is in full home decoration mode. Basset furniture is coming here this morning to case out the joint. Our kids are grown and all of the furniture that they and their multitudinous friends destroyed has become a source of irritation. We need new stuff, but what kind, color and style? Is it time for real grown up furniture? Are we allowed to buy something without scotchguard? How do we know if we’ll like it 5 years from now? Will it be suitable once grandkids arrive bringing the second plague of locusts upon our house? Will Molly’s paws scratch leather? To recline or not to recline, THAT is the question. And what about paint color and rugs and what used to be called “curtains” but now are referred to as “window treatments”? How will the new stuff look with Christmas decorations? If the sofa only has two seat cushions instead of three will the crack in the middle make people hesitant to sit?( no kidding). I’m with Tim Geithner on this one…”We have no plan, but yours sucks.”