Instapun*** Archive Listing

Archive Listing
January 17, 2013 - January 10, 2013

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Let's Hope Not.

I SO WANTED TO LIKE HER. What it is to be old and soft. I had thought that maybe Michelle was the silver lining of this abominable administration, that her duties as First Lady were exposing her to a real America that refuted her Princeton fantasy of an evil slave state. I guess I was wrong about that. Read the whole thing.

The very angry first lady

Michelle’s back, and she’s madder than ever. She was already pretty angry, seemingly unhappy with just about everything. As her husband wrapped up the Democratic nomination in 2008, she let fly her real feelings: “For the first time in my adult lifetime, I’m really proud of my country.” A few months into her job as first lady, her French counterpart asked how she liked the gig: “Don’t ask!” she reportedly spat. “It’s hell. I can’t stand it!”

She even seems to be mad at her silver-tongued husband. When the two were to set off on a luxurious 10-day vacation to Martha’s Vineyard, she left early - four hours early - and flew up alone. And those private vacations. She’s traveled to some of the world’s most plush resorts, taking 42 days off in the past year - that’d be eight weeks of vacay time if she held down a normal job.

Now, she is ready to spew her bilious disgust with America on the campaign trail. A dignified, transcendent first lady? No chance. Michelle is going to break with a hundred years of tradition and play the role of attack dog, heaping derision on her husband’s political opponents like no other first lady before her.

And it’s already begun. Mad Michelle this week popped down to Davis Island, Fla., to hobnob with the very people her husband despises - the 1 percent. At a massive mansion on the bay, filled with the wealthiest of the wealthy, America’s first lady launched into a tirade about “them” - the Republicans.

“Let’s not forget about what it meant when my husband appointed two brilliant Supreme Court justices, and for the first time in history, our daughters - and our sons - watched three women take their seats on our nation’s highest court. But more importantly, let’s not forget the impact their decisions will have on our lives for decades to come - on our privacy and our security, on whether we can speak freely, worship openly and love whomever we choose. That is what’s at stake here,” she said to applause.

Yes, Republicans hope to regain the White House so they can install Supreme Court justices who will trample Americans’ privacy, ignore the nation’s security, crush free speech and persecute the religious...

This is the person Barack Obama goes home to. It makes me more worried than ever.

P.S. There's also this:

I just thought she was getting better. My bad.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Adventures in Real Life:

Senior Road Trip!


WE HAVE FUN. I've been away from the site for more than a few days, which doesn't normally occur, and I feel obliged to offer an explanation to assure you it's not going to be a trend.

Lady Laird and I have been to Pittsburgh for a long weekend. We were on a mission. Our granddaughter Pippa attends college there and it became necessary for us to say "Hi, Andy"  to a portrait of Andrew Mellon so his ghost wouldn't trip her when she passed through the lobby of the administration building on her way to class. All the underclassmen swear this is a constant threat.

We were happy to assist. My helpmeet made the hotel reservations, arranged for the rental vehicle, scoped out the route via the GPS function on her iPhone, and conducted the intense negotiations required to get a veterinary clinic to house all three of our dogs for nigh on 72 hours. (People think Hillary is a tough bargainer. At the end they weren't even surly when they agreed to the king's ransom times two she had kept as her diplomatic ace in the hole.)

I did my part as well. I fell ill with a severe respiratory complaint that should have made it impossible to leave my computer for any reason whatsoever, barring the noble altruism of a man who also prefers not to live in total spousal silence for the next three months, and when tears, tantrums, special pleadings, and brilliantly ingenious excuses by the dozen availed nought, I went out to the TrueValue and purchased two timers to fool the burglars prepared to pounce on our house when the sighthounds and I were no longer sleeping on our sentinel couches. Then I somehow managed to extract the high tech timer devices from their senior-proof packaging and, with the aid of my immense intellect and a magnifying glass, deciphered the instructions on their installation and activation. Several false starts later, they actually worked. You know. Man stuff.

It's easy for you youngsters to say, "So what? You got in a car, drove there and back, and now you want a medal?" Of course I want a medal. This one will do:

With an "Escape" cluster
and a "Hi, Andy" chevron.

You have no idea what it's like for a civilized homebody to burst suddenly out of his small world into the wild west that exists slightly left of the Main Line.  There be horses and buggies out yonder, starting as early as the Lancaster exit of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Amishers. At every mile marker afterward you wonder, will the roads be paved? Will we fall headfirst into a godawful Kevin Costner movie involving deerskins and subliminal native symbols?

Thus, Friday morning found me piloting a bright red Ford Escape stuffed with dogs and luggage to the first checkpoint, where Lady Laird began the intricate process of canine-ransom exchange by leading a 13-pound pug into the office of the commissar, who like all communist apparatchiks everywhere, had no record of the intended transaction and needed all new paperwork. When she returned, hours later, to give me the okay to bring the other two, I was filled with admiration -- until I beheld the face of the functionary in charge when she saw a greyhound and a deerhound.

"I thought you meant three pugs," she said. "This changes everything."

To this day, people -- generally younger, dumber people -- ask me why I hang onto my grandfather's WWI .45 sidearm and why I added the 16-bullet clip. What can you say to such people? The dogs got their due digs.

Then the great odyssey got truly underway. I drove all 12,000 miles of it, because the alternative would have been to surrender the steering wheel to women who were fighting over which channel of eighties music was going to prevail on the radio until we fell off the western edge of the earth. No thank you. And, yes, there was more than one woman on board. Do you begin to understand my medal claim?

I know I've tested your narrative patience past its limit. Permit me to share the observations of a couch potato dynamited out of his happy zone into the realities of life on the 21st century road. The following are non sequiturs, but I'm convinced that epigrammatists like Pascal and La Rochefoucauld would approve, perhaps even with some envy:

Why do they call it the Ford "Escape"? You can't get away from a bleak and barren landscape. Somebody said, during the 6,000 miles of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, "I love it. This looks just like Canada." All I could think was, "Exactly. Why I never go there. Eighty billion square miles of barren nothingness. And no way out."

I'd like to (want to) buy a Ford. But I don't. I grew up in the days when we fell in love with cars. Nobody falls in love with a thing that aims for passing grades and achieves exactly that. The kindest thing I can say is that I didn't get a back-ache. Probably not what Romeo said about Juliet.

There's nothing like an old, small, women-only college. Too bad the [redacted] academics have to [redacted] it up with [redacted] [redacted] like [redacted], [redacted], [redacted], and especially [redacted], which actually makes me [redacted]. But the campus, the buildings, and the trees and gardens were astonishingly beautiful. These alone make me hopeful. The warm light of the past may yet outshine the politically correct haz-mat lightbulbs of the present.

If you're a couple who loves the Olive Garden, like Lady Laird and me, you don't have to wait in line for a great meal. You can wait for two seats to open up at the bar and eat there. The menu is the same, the service is swift, and you feel like you've won the lottery. Kewl.

In the hands of a master (er, missus), the iPhone can do anything. Find the way to the hotel, find the weather back home, remind you not to call the pet gulag to check on Eloise, and tell you where the nearest restaurant is that's serving food in a snowstorm when your own hotel keeps boutique hours for continental breakfast and early supper.

Granddaughters are lovely, touching beings. You want to protect them from all the things that would enable them to have adult human conversations with you. And when they've finally suffered enough to have adult human conversations with, you wish -- like a maiden aunt fixated on Tinkerbelle -- that they might remember all the way back to who they were then and unravel some of its mystery for you.

McDonald's does a pretty good job with its Bacon, Egg & Cheese Bagel. I'm old enough to have some authority on this point. But it's pernicious the way they put the loose change on top of the bills and the slippery receipt. And evil the way they say "Sorry" when it cascades to the pavement after your one-handed balancing act fails.

Starbucks has entirely ruined the coffee industry. Even on the Turnpike you can't get a plain cup of coffee that isn't overpriced, overcooked, syrupy with yuppie pretension, and not (no way) drinkable to the end of a good cigarette.

Pittsburgh is a fine fine city. Like so many American cities are. Unique in history, architecture, cultural riches (Pippa has already studied Faberge treaures at the Frick), neighborhoods, and ethnic identity. I love this country. Wherever you go, there is beauty, stores of knowledge and art, and the people make you welcome and proud to be American. Even in the appalling moral cesspool that is the headquarters of Stiller (Steeler) fans.

The ghost of Andy can be placated with a certain firmness. I did so, protecting Pippa in her hour of need and narrowly averting a tripping incident with my lefthanded wife as she was taking his photograph, she who sometimes trips even in the absence of a starchy autocrat wraith. The secret? I didn't say, "Hi, Andy." I said, "How do you do, Andrew. You look exactly like my own holier-than-thou great-grandfather. Be a gentlemen to the women of of my family or I'll horsewhip you on the steps of your club." He didn't say a word. The carpet edge reaching for my wife's shoe summarily retreated. Breeding will tell.

If you ever do suddenly leave home, you won't get away with it scot-free. For example, you could take a nice fall trip to see the pretty leaves and learn on the news channels that your home has been instantaneously inundated with a monstrous snowstorm that has plunged your friends and neighbors into darkness. When this happens to you, remember not to panic while you're panicking and putting cold cloths on your head and texting all the people who don't have electricity anyway. It's pretty much the way life is. Get used to it.

Even seniors can survive road trips. We're home. The house is fine, thanks to my timers. The cats survived their three day Cat Party. The dogs are home. (Molly has stopped shaking.) The Ford has escaped back to Hertz. And all is right with the world.

No way I'm not feeling proud of myself. This morning, just one day after the 18,000 mile round-trip, I superintended the return of electrical power to our manse (well, I woke up when the lights came back on), then I organized and managed the return of the Escape, the rescue of the dogs, and the replacement of a flat tire on Lady Laird's chariot of fire.

I confidently await the awarding of my medal. Because I'm an old-fashioned hero, nothing if not a legend in his own mind. And after a weekend of higher learning, I'm sold on the self-esteem thing. Bring it on. Back on my couch, I'm entirely comfortable with the idea of being celebrated just for showing up. Maybe it's the progessive in me.

Or maybe I already have my medal. Pippa hugged me when we left and Lady Laird laughed when I read her this post. She's already planning a repeat trip next year. I'm not afraid. I'll drive the whole 24,000 miles. Man stuff.

Step up your game, Cain.

DON'T CLOSE YOUR EYES. Deja deja vue. Haven't we been here before? Now it's the Democrats who are concerned about politicians who hit on women. Excuse me, the media. Excuse me again, same thing.

Wouldn't bother with this at all, except to point out that we dealt with it nearly a decade ago at Shuteye Nation. Point? The question is old as the hills and interesting only in its salacious details. Even women are bored by the so-called news that prominent men are inclined to hit on attractive younger women. Does the name Bill Clinton ring a bell? Aren't we past the whole "lying about sex" wheeze?

Of course we are. Unless he's a Republican. Or one of those negroes who can't keep his thing in his pants. Or he says something exciting and then keeps his thing in his pants. Which upsets liberal women in particular, sometimes all the way to the Supreme Court. Unless he's pro-choice. In which case, you know. Regardless, with the copletely singular exception of Bill Clinton, no man who aspires to be president can be a sexual rogue. Explanation? We'll get back to you on that by and by.

In the interim, a flashback to Shuteye Nation, Year 2000:

Smithtonian Magazine:
An OOPS* Gallery Sampler
    Presdent Woody Willson never removed his pince-nez, but he relished the company of a young lady named Ebony Flame, who started her Wishington career as a stenographer but soon graduated to taxi dancing. When the Presdent caught sight of her ankle as she was trying to hail a bus near the Capitol Building, he was instantly smitten. The Society arranged many 'propinquities' between Woody and Ebony during his two terms, until the Presdent's illness and general decline at the end of his second term called a halt to pleasure. As required under Society by-laws, Ebony recorded details of their meetings in the OOPS journal, which may be published by Smithtonian at a later date, provided that necessary funding can be procured (preferably through the National Archives, but if need be, via executive order). One racy tidbit may serve to tantalize: Willson's pet name for Ebony was "my stark naked strumpet."

    FDR liked them young, according to Society archivist Destiny LaTour. He also liked them short-haired, boyish in figure, and "dressed to the nines in a birthday suit." There are four portraits of Ameria's longest serving Presdent in the OOPS Gallery, one for each of his terms, although Ms. LaTour makes it plain there were many more than four women involved in Franklin Rosevelt's "propinquities." Even at the end of his life, when he could barely utter a coherent sentence, he was still calling on the Society twice a week or more for company. The young lady shown above is Amber Borgia, an Ittalian by birth, who visited the Oval Office on many occasions during the first term, but returned to her native land for political reasons when relations became strained between the U.S. and Benito Mussoloni, Ittaly's fascist dictator. Her entries in the Society Journal are in Ittalian, but according to Ms. LaTour, that's not all that's exotic about them.

    James K. Poke was Presdent of the United States during the drive to fulfill Manifest Destiny, a time of unprecedented western migration and national enthusiasm. Poke was an appropriate choice for the country's highest office. He was energetic, flamboyant, and a bit uncouth. When he first delivered his propinquity specifications to the Society, he minced no words in telling them he was "fond of flank steakthe bigger the rump the better." The young lady shown in the Poke portrait was his favorite of dozens who made visits to him in the Oval Office. Her name was Fanny deBoeuf  (a nom de guerre obviously, literally translated as hind end of the beef), but not much else is known of her. Ms. LaTour asserts that she used to sneak into the White House dressed in the merest scrap of a shift: Presdent Poke didn't like to waste time on preliminaries.
    Presdent William Howard Tafft was a big man, almost 330 pounds, and it should be no surprise that he also liked his women big. During the interregnum between Theodore Rosevelt and Tafft, the Society had to replace virtually all of its "propinquitors," since Teddy always preferred women to be slim and athletic. The sheer amplitude of the Society's women during the Tafft term is extraordinary. Some of them weighed nearly as much as the Presdent and had to be smuggled into the Oval Office in huge wardrobes, which gave Tafft the reputation of being a spendthrift on suits. One might suppose that the propinquities were therefore sedate and sedentary occasions, but Ms. LaTour claims that Society annals record the replacement of four broken desks in the Oval Office during the Tafft term. The details, alas, must await the publication of the Society's closely guarded journal.
    As the successor to Thomas Jeffersen, whose preferences are well known, James Madison Munroe set many of the precedents that became Society traditions. As a Vagina gentleman, he was punctilious about conducting all his Society business with politesse and grace. Indeed, on many occasions he spoke French, believing it the language of courtly love, and reverted to his native tongue only when it became clear he was not being understood. Always adaptable, the Society began acquiring its propinquitors from Franch, including the young lady shown in this official portrait, who resigned the Parish ballet to dance for Presdent Munroeand sometimes on Presdent Munroein the Oval Office. Her name was Ophelie de Pieds, and her entries in the Society Journal will make fascinating reading for the general public some day. Apparently, Ameria's fourth Presdent liked feet.
    *The Oval Office Propinquity Society
As anyone can see, Herman Cain needs to get a great deal naughtier. More importantly, it seems unlikely Mitt Romney can even get to the starting gate. Maybe Newt knows what he's doing after all.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Saving Netflix

Wristcutters: A Love Story. Four stars. And it has Tom Waits. Make that five stars.

. So Netflix stock is plunging because the company tried to separate its DVD business from its streaming business. Seemed reasonable to me, but customers are revolting. Thing is, there's no limit on the streaming business. You can watch whatever you want, in any quantity, without incurring additional charges. And there's good stuff there. So why should streaming be a permanently free add-on to the DVD mail service, which is routinely excellent on its own?

Why I'm recommending three streaming movies I don't think you'll find anywhere else, at least not easily. What links them? They're all brilliantly conceived and all have some kind of Christian connection without a particle of preachiness. A contrarian type of person could interpret all three as satires. What of? That would be in the eye of the beholder, wouldn't it?

Wristcutters is the trailer up top. As dark as dark can be but maybe not completely. I'll say no more except 'watch it.'

The Troll Hunter is the third subtitled Scandinavian movie I've recommended here. (The first two were Lights in the Dusk (Finnish) and The Sea (Icelandic.)) This one's a Norwegian documentary, sort of. As deadpan serious as the first two. You'll laugh your ass off.

The Last Exorcism is another documentary. It follows a phony evangelical exorcist who is determined to expose his own frauds before retiring to a career in real estate.

Don't watch any other trailers and don't read up on the film. Watch it cold. It's very well done. (And please respect the right of other readers to do the same...)

Some other time, I may get into the various other offerings of Netflix streaming, which are profuse. But start with these.

P.S. Don't want you Tom Waits fans tearing your hair out. Here's the studio version of the link in the caption.

Does that cheer you up? Me too. It's kind of the 21st Century rendition of Louis Armstrong's Wonderful World. If you know what I mean. The pace and the voice are similar. Only the words are a little different.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Your Turn

You just gotta hate him, right?

SAME OLD NEWS ISN'T GOOD NEWS. Some sites call this an open thread. I don't. I call it directed discussion. I deliberately withhold my personal opinion to make you spout yours. It's a leap of faith. A trio of stories some of you can be counted on to care about, even if they're not front page news.

The first I could subtitle "Calling Lake!" New info on the Global Warming front:

For the clueless or cynical diehards who deny global warming, it’s getting awfully cold out there.

The latest icy blast of reality comes from an eminent scientist whom the climate-change skeptics once lauded as one of their own. Richard Muller, a respected physicist at the University of California, Berkeley, used to dismiss alarmist climate research as being “polluted by political and activist frenzy.” Frustrated at what he considered shoddy science, Muller launched his own comprehensive study to set the record straight. Instead, the record set him straight.

“Global warming is real,” Muller wrote last week in The Wall Street Journal....

Muller and his fellow researchers examined an enormous data set of observed temperatures from monitoring stations around the world and concluded that the average land temperature has risen 1 degree Celsius — or about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit — since the mid-1950s.

This agrees with the increase estimated by the United Nations-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Muller’s figures also conform with the estimates of those British and American researchers whose catty e-mails were the basis for the alleged “Climategate” scandal, which was never a scandal in the first place.

The Berkeley group’s research even confirms the infamous “hockey stick” graph — showing a sharp recent temperature rise — that Muller once snarkily called “the poster child of the global warming community.” Muller’s new graph isn’t just similar, it’s identical.

Muller found that skeptics are wrong when they claim that a “heat island” effect from urbanization is skewing average temperature readings; monitoring instruments in rural areas show rapid warming, too. He found that skeptics are wrong to base their arguments on the fact that records from some sites seem to indicate a cooling trend, since records from at least twice as many sites clearly indicate warming. And he found that skeptics are wrong to accuse climate scientists of cherry-picking the data, since the readings that are often omitted — because they are judged unreliable — show the same warming trend.

If you're not interested in discussing AGW, there's a vigorous pundit debate underway about Herman Cain. Richard Miniter thinks he could win:

Forget the eye-rolling. Let’s look at the numbers. Herman Cain is ahead of Romney in virtually all of the polls conducted in the past two weeks. In both Iowa and nation-wide Cain leads Romney by 30% to 22%,according to Public Policy Polling, a respected pollster. Meanwhile the latest NBC-Marist poll puts Cain ahead of Romney in South Carolina by 30%-26%, and shows Cain and Romney neck-and-neck in Florida. Cain leads in Ohio by 15%, and in Hawaii by 12%. Only in New Hampshire does Romney stubbornly hold a solid double-digit lead (15%).

Still, Cain could finish a strong second in New Hampshire. Cain is the second choice of Perry, Bachmann, Gingrich and Santorum voters, polls show. If some or all of them are out by the time New Hampshire Republicans go to the polls, Cain will benefit. Only Huntsman voters would shift to Romney...

If Cain can survive the sudden media attention, his support among Tea Partiers will solidify and grow. Once he won the Florida Straw Poll, he suddenly seemed electable to Tea Partiers. So he caught an updraft and is now the front-runner. He will stay there until the Tea Party loses confidence in him (and possibly elevates Gingrich).

Cain has a compelling Horatio Alger story, a warm sense of humor and sharply defined ideology. The media might call him just a “pizza guy.” They called Reagan just an actor.

And the Reagan analogy is coming up, again and again. The New Republic’s Walter Shapiro wrote: “…Cain is certainly not an extremist out of the Robertson and Buchanan playbooks. He is a cheerful conservative in the Ronald Reagan mold.”

But Mark Steyn is reluctantly determined to sound like a grownup:

Don’t get me wrong, I like Herman Cain. I like “Imagine There’s No Pizza”: It would be the greatest presidential campaign song since “Tippecanoe And Tyler, Too.” I like his sunny disposition: Mien can be determinative — it’s why Rick Santorum is right on almost everything, and going nowhere. I like Cain’s electrified fence gags, on the general principle that no sane person should climb into the straitjackets of the politically correct enforcers.

And yet, and yet. . . . The foreign policy, hostage-trading, abortion stuff is becoming more difficult to ignore. I don’t think Charles Krauthammer’s assertion that Cain’s “winging it” fully explains it, nor does the Pundette’s that he is “incoherent.” Cain’s boast that he can’t name the president of Beki-beki-beki-beki-beki-beki-stan gets closer to it. It’s a cute line, notwithstanding that parochial braggadocio is easier to carry off when you’re a soaring hyperpower rather than a multi-trillion-dollar sinkhole whose citizens’ future is increasingly mortgaged to foreigners of one degree of unsavoriness or another.

But the ’stan shtick is a glimpse of the greater truth – that there are whole areas of public policy in which he simply has no interest. None. You ask him a question and from the recesses of his mind swim up half-recalled phrases from some panel discussion he caught once long ago, and he hopes he grabs the conservative line (“I’m proud to stand by Israel,” “we don’t negotiate with terrorists,” “life begins at conception,” whatever) but just as often he doesn’t (with Gretchen Carlson this morning: “No, abortion should not be a part of the political discussion”).

His fans say he’s being set up with “Gotcha” questions. But these aren’t the Hoogivsastans way out on the fringe of the public policy map. They’re the first stops on the central thruway of American politics, and have been for most of Cain’s adult life. And it’s becoming harder to avoid the obvious truth that he hasn’t given them a moment’s thought.

And for those who are fatigued with the political horserace, I have a third line of controversy. Tim Tebow:

After Tebow's first start of the season on Sunday, the debate remains open for all but the most fanatical in either camp.

The Floridian combines a Johnny Unitas throwback hairstyle with a running back's physique, a winning smile and a take-home-to-Mom politeness, all wrapped up with home-schooled Christian values.

That makes him a marketing and branding dream for the Denver Broncos, the NFL, television and all manner of sponsors.

But there are those who think he might prove to be the NFL's version of Russian tennis player Anna Kournikova -- popular, attractive and talented but not cut out for the weekly grind of the professional circuit.

For three quarters of the game at the Miami Dolphins, the critics appeared right. Tebow's passing was poor, he needed too much time to read situations and he just never looked comfortable.

Then, with time running out, he took the game by the scruff of the neck and the Tebow that had delighted fans of the 2008 Florida Gators national championship winning team -- brimming with confidence and willing to improvise -- re-emerged and won the game for his team...

The key phrase is "fanatical." Which I think is more on one side than the other. I used to like Jamie Dukes of the NFL Network, a shrewd and well spoken ex-player/commentator. But his recent commentary on two players has made me suspect that his football insights are compromised by deep cultural biases. He has a tendency to jeer at particular players, regardless of their performances. First with Ryan Fitzpatrick, whom Dukes apparently cannot forgive for having gone to Harvard. He notoriously called Fitzpatick a "seat-warmer" for whatever real quarterback the Bills would ultimately draft. Then, after an overlong suspenseful buildup, he sarcastically claimed he was on the the Fitzpatrick bandwagon (with an option to jump off) when the Bills went 4-0 early this season.

On Sunday he surpassed himself. Commenting over the highlights of the Broncos' last minute come from behind victory over the Dolphins, he was over the top in attributing every part of the comeback to Tebow -- Tebow with the onside kick, Tebow with the kick recovery, Tebow with the game-winning field goal. It was nasty, and it was obviously personal. At every turn, he compared Tebow's prior failures in the game to the performance of Aaron Rodgers, as if not being Aaron Rodgers right now were proof of a youngster's inborn incompetence.

Compare this with the way so many ex-players, including Dukes, have treated the return of Michael Vick. He made a mistake. He paid his debt to society. He deserves a second chance.

So.... uh.... why doesn't Tebow even deserve a first chance? What, uh, mistake has he made? He hasn't slaughtered dogs? He hasn't killed someone in a DUI accident? He hasn't committed a drug/gun/domestic abuse felony? No. He's a Christian missionary who actually seems to live his faith. He's derided as a virgin. What a creep. No wonder he has to be ridiculed in his first ever NFL start.

Exceptions in the punditry class, to be fair, have included Chris Berman, who defended Tebow against a scornful ESPN crew, and Terry Bradshaw, who early in the season acknowledged an NFL prejudice against unconventional talents and -- based on the fledgling exploits of Cam Newton, who was also supposed to be a Tebow-like bust -- promised to open his mind to the possibilities of youngsters.

But when it comes to Tebow, I think there's more going on, and I don't think it's all about football.

As I say: Your Turn. Do these three stories have something in common? Your call. But if you can't get fired up about any one of them, that would be on you.

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