There are so many things to keep track of in the news these days, it’s important to remember just how many important issues get short shrift because the current President sucks up SO much oxygen.
Everything in the news is Trump, Trump, Trump, or it’s Trump-related, and there are only so many things the average American citizen, no matter how informed, can keep track of at all times.
So I admit, shamefully, that I’ve lost track of where things are in the gun control debate in America, partly because there really IS no debate, the gun lobby wins, every time. Even when something moderately promising happens, like the House of Representatives a few weeks ago passing a law requiring universal background checks, I don’t even get that excited because I know there is zero chance of the Senate taking any action whatsoever on it.
Anyway, it’s nice to be jolted out of complacency about this issue, and that’s why myself and so many others were thrilled by this awesome diatribe by Arkansas state legislator Stephanie Flowers. Flowers was quite upset when a “stand your ground” law was being discussed in the state’s Judiciary Committee, and GOP legislators tried to limit debate time on it. The bill being discussed would have, of course, loosened laws and made it easier for gun owners who shoot people to avoid jail time.
So Flowers, clearly tired of being told to hurry up, decided to vociferiously explain why “stand your ground” laws most certainly result in more African-Americans and people of color being killed, and she does this in a way that makes her impossible to ignore.
This is a woman tired of seeing her constituents killed by guns, and fed up. Good for you, Stephanie Flowers. We should never, ever lose sight of how disgusting, and so much more preventable, gun violence is in America.
**Next up today, I have no particular love or hatred of baseball star Bryce Harper, who just signed the biggest contract in the history of the sport, a $330 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies. I like Harper, think he’s cocky and a little overrated, but no strong feelings, really.
But he did something last week that made me smile widely. In his first spring training at-bat as a Phillie, Harper’s walk-up song was, wait for it, the theme song from “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air,” which of course begins its second verse with “West Philadelphia, born and raised.”
Classic. Very cool, Bryce. Then again, now that I think about it, the song is about a guy who is from Philly but moves to California and gets a much better life. Sorry Bryce, you signed a 13-year deal, you ain’t living out the song.
**And finally today, I love these quirky little stories from towns all over America. A delightful story in the Wichita Eagle on Thursday tells the story of local couple Ron and Diana Watson, who for the past 15 years have eaten at the same restaurant six nights of every week.
Yep, the Watsons have their own special table at Texas Roadhouse, and their picture is up on the restaurant’s walls. According to the story, “She orders the “Roadkill” — a chopped steak topped with sauteed onions and mushrooms, plus a house salad with Ranch dressing, no tomatoes, and a baked potato, no salt.
He orders barbecue chicken breast — or if he’s feeling a little crazy, the pork chop, well done — plus mashed potatoes with brown gravy and an iceberg lettuce salad with Italian dressing. Though recently, he’s discovered sweet potatoes. Turns out, he likes them.”
There are more quirks to this story: The Watsons say their nightly dinner at the restaurant is the only meal they eat each day, and they reckon they spend $22 on the meal each time they go, and take advantage of early bird specials on Sundays-Wednesdays.
“They’re kind of like our unofficial mascots,” manager Ron Hauber said. “Everybody talks to them.”
This may sound crazy to you and me, but it suits the Watsons just fine. They’re comfortable there, and the staff considers them part of the decor.
What a strange and wonderful world we live in.