I am sorry to report that this newspaper didn’t see fit to send me to Rome with Gov. Tom Corbett and Mayor Michael Nutter last week. The feeling was that I could just as well make snide remarks sitting at my computer in South Philadelphia and save the newspaper about $5,000 in expenses. Of course I could make the same argument in seeing my tax money spent to fund a trip to Rome for a governor who might not be in office if and when the Pontiff makes the trip here, and a mayor whose city is threatened with a transit strike while he gazes skyward among the pigeons. I understand that when Nutter presented the Pope with a St. Joe’s Prep T-shirt, the pontiff breathed a sigh of relief. “I was afraid you were going to give me tickets to a Sixers game,” he said.
Did you notice Northwestern University players won a court battle that allows college players to unionize? Some collegiate stars are already complaining that if they have to accept union scale, it will mean taking a pay cut. We may get the opportunity to see Brent Musburger describe a work stoppage. I’m starting a fund for college quarterbacks. What good is always getting the most beautiful girls if you can’t afford to wine and dine them? But then as a friend told me, quarterbacks don’t have to wine and dine them.
On this same topic, two of the panelists on Channel 6’s “Inside Edition” (Christine Flowers and Ed Turzanski) had an interesting take on why we shouldn’t be paying collegiate athletes. College kids can’t handle too much money. We have all witnessed what happens to professional athletes when they get the big bucks. I guess conservatives also can use the same argument for not increasing the minimum wage. The less money you get paid, the less trouble you’ll get into if you spend it.
With more revelations about the partying by Secret Service agents, Hollywood is considering remaking that movie “In the Line of Fire.” Zach Galifianakis will play the Clint Eastwood role. The film will be renamed “The Hangover 4.”
As I write this, President Barack Obama’s disapproval rating has hit a new high (shouldn’t that be a new “low?”). Among Tea Party members, Obama is behind Vladimir Putin in popularity, 75-25. I was interested in finding out how a Russian dictator outpolled an American president in this country, so I did an informal survey among Tea Party folks. I called my survey The Putin Preference Poll. Some of the reasons given were: Putin gets things done at the point of a gun; If Putin were our president, we would have annexed Canada by now; Who needs health coverage when everybody is too scared to get sick; Putin isn’t afraid to drill for oil. If you’ve got oil in your backyard, he takes your house and we all benefit from more oil.
I feel some sympathy for the cat lady. Sure it was a bit much for the neighborhood when she gathered more than 200 cats in her home, but did any of the local media think to report that this translates into a lot less rats in the neighborhood?
Like you, I have seen and read all the crazy reports about what is being called the Cinnamon Challenge. Apparently kids who are tired of sniffing glue and swallowing pop rocks have hit upon the notion that it is a good idea to sniff or swallow ground cinnamon. Cinnamon is supposed to prevent chronic inflammation of neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. Of course, if you keep ingesting heaps of ground cinnamon, chances are you won’t live long enough to get the disease, which is the downside to the current trend. I worry that kids are getting confused by all these TV health reports. Adults themselves are confused over what is good and what is bad for them. Maybe we are all watching too much Dr. Oz? What’s next, teens overdosing on kale chips?
Television news has been concentrating much of its time on the missing Malaysian airliner that is now thought to have crashed into the Indian Ocean. Searchers continue to receive reports of debris from satellite photos. The problem is trying to ascertain whether the debris forms any recognizable pattern. People tend to see what they expect to see, even experts. You can compare it to the phenomenon of a kid taking a Rorschach test.
It is reminiscent of the time my Aunt Millie saw the face of Jesus in a bagel I had just toasted. She was mortified when I smeared on some cream cheese and ate it in a couple of bites (not the best Easter story). Likewise, one of the observers thought she saw the outline of Jay Leno’s face in a pile of debris (she recognized his prominent jaw). This kind of thing can make a serious search quite difficult. CNN reportedly sent Anderson Cooper to analyze the Leno debris sighting and thought it looked more like Piers Morgan.
There is growing support for a Marcellus Shale tax to support our financially strapped public schools. Several Democratic candidates for governor, as well as state Sen. Vincent Hughes, have proposed such a tax. The trade-off is it will allow the schools to remain open. The downside is that drilling for shale could mean the school water fountains will burst into flames. ■
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