Sunday, July 3, 2011

Lockouts! And what would you miss?

The NBA has joined the NFL in a lockout.  The difference is that the NFL will probably come to a conclusion and dash back to their respective fields in time for training camp.  The NBA will probably not come back on time and will miss a few games in their planned schedules.  The lockout in the NFL is the owners wanting to make more money under the present system.  The NBA lockout is the owners saying the system is broken and cannot be fixed and they cannot make money with things as they are.

The NBA owners say they are losing money under the present system because the smaller-market teams cannot afford to own a team and actually break even.  They also claim the current system doesn't allow for the highest level of competitive balance.  The big teams -- Chicago, Miami, LA, NY -- can afford the bigger dogs like Carmelo Anthony and the super-expensive-but-was-he-worth-it-really LeBron James.  The NFL doesn't have guaranteed contracts but the NBA does which the owners say add to the their bottom lines, adding that 22 out of 30 teams are losing money; the owners have given their ledgers to the players' union as proof.  It's not just getting money from the players back to the owners, it's getting money from the big markets to the smaller ones.

The NFL issue is about division of the funds; the NBA issue is division of the funds and then giving money back.  Bottom line:  look to a pretty normal NFL season.  Look for plenty of drama and lost money for all concerned (the owners, the vendors, and the collateral fallout to vendors, parking lot attendants, nearby restaurants, cab drivers, etc.) before the NBA ends their lockout.

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To make a long story short, I recently had to give up some foods in order to improve healthwise:  red meat, alcohol, cigarettes, caffeine (even decaffeinated products as they still have trace amounts), carbonated beverages, chocolate, citrus, spicy foods and adding extra spices, greasy food, and tomatoes.  I have never been a smoker, drank just a single cup of coffee each day, and while I like a nice cold diet soda on a hot day -- just one -- if you take out the flavor and the chemicals and the bubbles, voila, it's water.  What I am finding hard to live without is tomatoes.  I never thought about it before but I eat a lot of tomatoes.  They liven up a low-calorie diet meal.  A thickly diced tomato enhances eggs, whether fried or scrambled.  A simple slice makes an otherwise bland sandwich taste like it has a lot to offer.  Grape tomatoes make a very refreshing snack.  We are heading into tomato season, when Midwest tomatoes taste like the sun and the earth, like the vines and the sky, the perfect storm of deliciousness and freshness.  I am lamenting their loss in advance.

In two weeks I will find out if tomatoes and I can be reunited.  I eat vegetables -- zucchini, broccoli, green beans -- but they will never be tomatoes.  Instead of eggs that have been fried, I have found a poached egg on an unbuttered English muffin is really quite good.  You know what would make those lower-fat eggs on a plain, toasted English even better?  Not chocolate and cigarettes, that's for sure.

Think about what you eat, what you love, and if the doctor said no, what you would miss most?  Yeah, yeah, there are those who are all "I do whatever my doctor says and I deal with it."  Now be honest:  what would you miss?

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