Crap I Think of While Mowing the Lawn – #17

(other than This Lawn Looks Like Crap)


Interesting, if not always deep, thoughts often pop into my head while I’m doing battle with my lawn. And yes, I do battle with a non-gas, non-electric, old-fashioned push mower. An actual reel mower. And my mind tends to think of some semi-interesting crap while I push along.

Mower and Statesman


Welcome to Volume 17 of Crap I Think of While Mowing the Lawn.



I’m enjoying a bachelor’s weekend, of sorts: playing tennis in the morning, watching tons of sports, catching a DVD or two at night. Friday night’s offering was The French Connection, which I hadn’t seen since I was a kid. In retrospect, I’m surprised that Mom and Dad let me see this with them (and my two older brothers) when I was only 10 or 11. It has lots of profanity and violence, and not really my kind of movie, but it is of the highest quality. It won “Best Picture” for a reason, and lead actor (who was not that well known in 1971) Gene Hackman was also deserving of his Best Actor Academy Award. The movie is tight, with not a wasted scene, and it’s quite compelling. It was almost worth the 40-plus year (gulp) wait.

Late last night, I returned to a much lighter film, which has been a favorite film of mine for quite a few years now, but not that many. It’s one of those films that my wife, Ruby, and I could watch again and again, sometimes finding new little angles, and other times, just basking in the comfort of a great ride—unpredictability be damned! Yes, you may be surprised when I mention the title of this film: Jerry Maguire.

When I saw this film in 1996 (pre-Ruby), I thought it was good, if not exceptional. It was a fun ride, and a crowd-pleaser. Then, there was a period of time in which WTBS seemed to be showing it every week or so, and Ruby and I kept tuning in. The beauty of this film is that while it is known for its great lines and catch-phrases, the lines were original, related to the plot and characters, and delivered with great irony.

This film is a masterpiece of memorable characters, terrific satire (with a shade of cynicism), yet an overall romantic view of life that overpowers the cynicism. Starting with Cruise, many of the actors/actresses (in my opinion) have never been better than in this film, including Renee Zellweger, Bonnie Hunt, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Kelly Preston, Jay Mohr, Regina King and Jerry O’Connell. I may have even forgotten a player or two, and all of them almost get upstaged by a young boy named Jonathan Lipnicki.

Don’t let the catch phrases, the football theme, the rom-com factor or the real-life kookiness of Tom Cruise deter you: this film is a master class of writing, ensemble acting, direction and an amazing soundtrack that helps to drive it. Jerry Maguire did not “have me at hello” when I first viewed it, but it rocks every time I see it or sample from it.

It also served as a great escape from the real world, such as the continued lunacy around Gaza, ISIS/Iraq—and the horrifying trend of continued anti-Semitism around the globe. And then, of course, there are the protests in Ferguson, Missouri surrounding the shooting of a young man named Michael Brown.


Everything that surrounds the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown by a police officer named Darren Wilson is a little bit depressing. It’s a further reminder that so much of our nation is still divided—especially when it comes to matters of race. The racial divide in what once (naively?) promised to be a post-racial era appears to be way too enormous of a gulf to bridge, or even narrow. Did I mention how depressing all of this is.

The most obvious statement is that I don’t know enough of the facts of what preceded the shooting to know if the killing was justified. Whatsoever. At the very least, this was, and is, another senseless tragedy, that has been compounded by the way the police first reacted to the protests that erupted. And at the very least, there seems to be a significant portion of our population that feels disenfranchised and victimized by the very institutions that are designed to protect us, serve us and promote our lives, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

For one sociological perspective on the greater issues that serve as the backdrop for Ferguson, I present an article by a blogger named Rachel Shadaon. I don’t know if I agree with the prevailing theme of the piece titled, I am racist and so are you. I do invite you to read it.

It may anger you, it may resonate with you, and it may do both, or neither. I do think it is worth the read, and the bit of self-examination it may engender.

Good night, good day, and to much better times ahead.



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