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I'll Drink To That

May 4, 2006

"Forever, just the word that she said that means never"
-The White Stripes "Forever For Her (Means Never For Me)"

For months, my sister Mary Beth has been waiting to hear if she was going to get a scholarship to be able to go to Japan this summer with the Youth For Understanding (YFU) program. This is a BIG DEAL to her. She's been fascinated/interested in the Japanese culture for quite awhile now. She has studied Japanese (the language) as an independent study class. When I was in Nashville this past weekend, the big drama was the wait to hear if she was going to get the scholarship, which would let go gratis. April 30 was the day that the winner found out last year in the mail, but because April 30 fell on a Sunday this year, she hadn't heard when I left Nashville on Sunday.

So I figured when I didn't hear anything on Monday or Tuesday, she didn't get it. I happened to e-mail her yesterday to let her know about the Counting Crows announcing their summer tour. I asked her about YFU in passing. She wrote me back last night... and told me that she in fact got the scholarship! So congrats to Mary Beth. I was really surprised that neither my Dad nor my brother Matt mentioned it to me in multiple conversations this week. I chided them today at lunch (they were in town for work) for not having mentioned it to me. Though, to be fair, it's not like I brought the question up in those conversations myself.

King LeBron James
King James wore his robe last night.

Did you see the great finish to last night's Cavs/Wizards game? LeBron James hit a baseline drive with less than a second to go to give Cleveland a one point win in overtime. What was funny to me was in the post-game interview, where "King James" had a blue towel draped over his shoulders, as if it was part of his royal garb or something. Man, that guy is a great player. But if you know anything about the NBA, you already know that by now. If you're a longtime reader of this site, you should have been up to speed on him from when he was in high school.

I have another great YouTube video today: a montage of Julius "Dr. J" Erving. If you're under 30, odds are you haven't seen quite a bit of this. I've seen a great deal of Dr. J highlights in my time, but even I hadn't seen some of this stuff before. In comparison with today's game it even holds up, but at the time it was revolutionary for the NBA. It's a damn shame that most of the ABA (where he began his career) wasn't preserved on film.

In the latest trial-lawyer-fed, advocacy-group-knows-best frenzy that seems to be permeating the American sub-culture, the major American soda distributors reached a deal yesterday that will pull the sales of soft drinks from nearly all public schools across the United States.

Coke machine in a school
Soon scenes like this will be a thing of the past in American public schools.
Why, you may ask? Is this a secret Mormon uprising against caffeine? No, or at least I don't think so. It's the war on childhood obesity. That, in itself, is a noble idea, which sadly is how so many nonsense laws and policies get started. This policy, pushed by former President Bill Clinton (hardly the symbol of good health himself), yanks sodas from public schools before the end of the decade.

Nevermind that many schools depended on multi-million dollar contracts with soda companies to help balance their budgets. Or that, yet again, the message being sent to America's youth is not to make smart choices, but "We're going to take away you're capacity to make choices, because you don't know any better." Sure makes it easier to push the whole "Government knows best" mantra for when those schoolchildren become adults, no?

Speaking of which, politicians telling Americans how to live, think, and behave is apparently not enough anymore. Christopher Smith, a Republican Congressman from New Jersey (who only flipped from the Democrats because of the abortion issue) is now making up lies about Germany to try and force it to change its prostitution laws in the weeks leading up to the 2006 World Cup.

What lies, you may ask? He has claimed that Germany is practicing human trafficking by forcing women into prostitution, despite not proving any evidence to support that. The AP quoted Smith as saying, "I see this as flagrant state complicity in promoting sex trafficking." Meanwhile, the United States' State Department has Germany listed as a Tier One country, as one of the countries most vigilant in combating trafficking.

Smith has been in the House since 1980. This is the kind of nonsense you get without term limits...

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