Upside Down

dead end road sign
Photo by Dustin Tray on

Dear Grandpa Diff,

I have not written for a few months and thought it was about time to update you are the world’s latest insanity.

This bit of silliness involves television advertising and a big football game this weekend. I can’t mention the name of the game because the football gurus carefully guard the rights to the use of the name. However, it seems it is the network broadcasting this particular game – Fox – that has created the latest slice of cultural craziness.

It costs lots of money to run an ad during this particular sporting event. But even in our capitalist culture, an ad can be rejected because it violates current norms of what is socially acceptable.

As a result, the television network has refused to air an ad that is pro-life; it has testimonies of people who survived abortions. (I believe we covered in earlier correspondence the fact that abortion is legal now, something that would not have been thought even faintly possible in your time.)

Anyway… the pro-abortion folks have pressured the Fox folks not to run an ad that favors babies being allowed to be born alive.

However, the network plans to run an ad that features “drag queens” promoting a brand of hummus. The previous sentence likely contains two terms you are not familiar with, what with being a long-time resident of Hayesville, Ohio. Hayesville has never been a place of cosmopolitan taste. So, let me explain…

Hummus is a dip made from mashed chickpeas with spices added. I’m thinking you lived your entire life without eating a chickpea let alone hummus.

A drag queen is a bit more difficult to explain. It is a man who dresses up like a woman and usually behaves in a flamboyant manner. Libraries frequently have drag queens read stories to children is a misguided effort to promote gender fluidity and tolerance. Yes, libraries have lost their way.

I realize I have used another term (gender fluidity) that likely makes little sense to you. In your day men were men and women were women. Today, it seems there are some people who are unable or unwilling to choose one or

the other and stick with their choice. They exhibit gender fluidity.

Grandpa, I miss you and wish you were here. But were you here, I don’t know that I could tell you what I am writing here straight to your face. It would be so awkward and you would probably say, “for the love of our country, what has your generation done?”

I’d probably try to keep the conversation focused on who will win the big game and can grandma bake a batch of sugar cookies.

Grampa, our world is upside down.

Love… Jim

Innovation in Illinois

640px-Marijuana-Cannabis-Weed-Bud-GramThere are moments when I’m proud to be from Illinois.

The Bears, Bulls, and Blackhawks have sometimes made me proud (although not lately).

The Nobel-prize winners from our universities have made me proud.

Being the “Land of Lincoln” makes me proud. Lincoln was among the greatest of Americans.

In recent months our state officials have spent considerable time and energy (and lots of money) to prepare for what they say is a badly needed product in the state.  The governor and his minions claim there is a huge demand for this innovative product.

The people who buy it will be happy. And taxes on the product with fill the state’s coffers with vast fortunes to build roads, repair bridges, educate our youth, and provide all sorts of free stuff to the poor.

Not only that, this product is versatile and can be sold in many different forms in various quantities. Darn near anyone can afford it and it provides happiness and a vast sense of well-being.

On the downside, its use likely leads to more vehicle accidents, various health problems, addiction, and lost productivity among workers.

You see, we’re talking about marijuana.

At a time when government health officials are ranting about the dangers of cigarettes and passing restrictions on “vaping”, the folks running Illinois are making it easy and relatively cheap to buy and smoke pot – or consume its mind-altering component in various other forms.

Used to be at the annual Christmas gathering you could smell the fruitcake to determine whether it contained brandy and should be off-limits for the kids.  Now you can only hope the cake contains only child-friendly ingredients.

The legal sale of pot started January 1 and watching the local news in recent days I got the impression this was one of the state’s greatest moments.  People old enough to know better were extolling the benefits of the drug.

State officials promised licenses to sell marijuana will be fairly doled out and people from all creeds, colors, and economic backgrounds will benefit. You would think someone just invented a pill to cure cancer.

I’m willing to predict that the ill effects of legal pot will greatly outweigh the benefits. That is an easy prediction to make; the benefits are terribly shallow.

Being a resident of the state determined to be the nation’s leader in the sale of recreational marijuana leaves me ashamed.