Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Busy slate tonight.
1. Rest in peace, Smokin' Joe Frazier. May you find the Summerland. I copyedited my father-in-law's book about you, Ghosts of Manila, and boy, was that an eye-opener! Philly loves you, Joe. We always will.
EXHIBIT A: SPARE AND SMOKIN' JOE, 2010
2. Smokin' Joe's passing is being dwarfed around here by the Penn State scandal. It's a long, ugly story. Apparently, the sainted Joe Paterno knew about child rape going on in his locker room and felt he'd done his civic duty by reporting it to his boss ... once. There's always special outrage reserved for figures of such public eminence who are shown to be, at the core, egg-sucking dogs.
Last weekend, a Penn State victory made Paterno the winningest college football coach of all time. His record beat a long-standing coaching "best" held by the late Eddie Robinson of Grambling State University. There's nothing humble about my opinion in this matter. Robinson should keep his record, and Paterno should be removed from his position, effective two weeks ago. And if the Nittany Lions felt the wrath of the Big Ten before this, they are about to get showered with disapproval far and wide. Deservedly. Shame on you, Joe Pa. Creature.
3. Today was election day. My local assemblyman voted with Chris Christie to make teachers pay more of their health care and pension funding -- money that the state should have been setting aside for its workers lo, these many years. My local assemblyman is a Democrat. So I voted for Sponge Bob. It was fun typing in a write-in.
4. Continuing our purge of the scourge, we turn tonight to the Sunshine State, Florida, home of all things warm and sunny, including teams that beat Penn State. Tonight we're not interviewing a bored deity of the Seminoles or anything like that. We're just going to suggest a tour of Florida from one of its most caustic observers, author Carl Hiaasen.
I am crazy about Carl Hiaasen's books. This is my favorite. I've read it five times. In Carl's world, evil politicians, lobbyists, con artists, and criminals are thwarted by crazy-assed eco-terrorists. In more than one Hiaasen novel, the bad guy gets eaten by buzzards in the end. My kind of fiction!
It's not a reach for me to imagine a world where the 1%, buoyed by Dominionist laws against lewd reading material, would put Carl Hiaasen out of business. If ever there was a writer who inveighs against Big Business, it's my man Carl. The fact that he can do it and make you laugh at the same time is phenomenal.
Hiaasen's take on religion is best seen in his book Lucky You, in which a group of connivers compete to get the most tourists to their Jesus shrines. What's funniest about such things is that you can totally believe them. No one could make up what Hiaasen writes about. He was a reporter for the Miami Herald. I suspect that he saw firsthand much of the idiocy that makes its way into his novels.
Candles lit for Smokin' Joe, tar warming for Paterno Joe, and thumbs up to Carl Hiaasen for showing us how politics works in the Sunshine State!
And I hope Sponge Bob wins in District Six, New Jersey State Assembly.