Featured Column
Week of 3.20.2006
Grumpy gripes and questions

          The sky was all clouds. The sun had been hidden all day. It had rained off and on for hours. All I had eaten was an ordinary tuna fish sandwich, a carrot and two stale chocolate chip cookies. All I had to drink were two cups of boring instant decaf coffee. I had been sitting in my recliner, reading an ordinary spy novel containing little excitement or suspense.
          I let the book slide to my lap as my mind began to wander. I just stared ahead and thought, “I have to get up and do something today. I’m in a crummy mood.”
          Thoughts came, one after another. Mostly about things that mildly irritate me and some that provide real annoyance…
          I wish they wouldn’t name major league ballparks after commercial businesses, like ‘Petco Park,’ or ‘Minute Maid Park,’ or ‘AT & T Park,’ or ‘U.S. Cellular Park.’ I know there’s money involved, but I wish they’d just stick with names like, “Yankee Stadium,” and “Dodger Stadium,”
          I miss mom and pop stores. I like going into a store where people behind the counter know what they’re talking about and can help me when I need help. It’s so frustrating to go shopping in a giant store and never find anyone who knows anything about the products or where they’re located.
          I cringe when I hear certain slang words, especially when those using them are just trying to be cool. Words like “Bling-Bling,” “Da Bomb,” “Get Jiggy,” or “Mahusive.”
          News of gangs, guns and drive-by shootings are starting to get to me. Where do these pubescent teenagers get their guns and why aren’t their parents giving them a good slap for acting like thugs. Maybe we ought to throw these gang members’ parents in the pokey with their children when the kids use guns on a drive-by-shooting or a holdup.
          Maybe there should be a law that kids under 21 can’t listen to Hip Hop or Gangsta Rap. If this music represents the feelings of today’s kids we all ought to build bomb shelters for our safety. This music is filled with hatred and violence against women, police and anyone who doesn’t wear their baseball caps backwards or have gold and silver teeth in the front of their face.
          I wish the United States’ major league baseball players would take a lesson from teams from Cuba, Venezuela, Japan and Korea. Our guys got their butts kicked in the recent World Baseball Championships. Some of our guys get paid $20-$25 million a year and play the game like their bored to death and the world owes them their living, while the players from other countries hustled, played hard and defeated the favored U.S. team.
          I know it’s needed nowadays, but I’m not sure if it makes me feel more or less secure when I go to a ballgame, an airport or a parade and I see scores of security personnel. On the one hand it’s nice to see so many bulky men and women in “Security Personnel” T-shirts, ready to protect me from peril, but on the other hand their mere presence tells me that danger lurks somewhere near me.
          It would be nice if the television cable networks would ease up on the dirty words and swearing. I’ve heard ‘em all and probably, at some time or another, used them all, but I’m not on television, in front of little kids. As for me, I’d still watch “The Sopranos” even if every other word wasn’t…well, you know what I mean.
          I wish I those giant pick up trucks and SUV’s wouldn’t park on either side of me when I’m in the local mall’s parking lot. To be safe, it takes two people to back out of a spot when there’s a mammoth pick up truck on one side and a mountain of an SUV on the other. One has to drive, one has to stand in back and signal that it’s safe to go in reverse.
          I wish someone would give me a definitive answer to whether President Bush is real smart or real not-so-smart. It’d be nice to know one way or another.
         I’d also like to know if Vice President Dick Chaney is a cold-hearted, mean and conniving as he is pictured to be.
          I’m starting to lose patience with those countries that are sending suicide bombers into Iraq, killing dozens of innocents. I’m sick of hearing them tell how much they admire the United States and want peace and don’t mean it. I’m thinking – one more time and they’re asking to get “nuked.”
          I wish all the religious leaders in the world would have a summit meeting and tell their followers to stop the wars and killing. These men should tell the believers that God doesn’t like suicide bombers and assassins and He doesn’t like to see men, women and children in pain. Give it a try, men.
          I had given enough thought to things that nettle and irk me. It was time to get up from my recliner and do something positive – like eating another chocolate chip cookie.
          And I haven’t even said a word about cell phones!
I'd like to see some changes
      Ron was born in the Bronx, New York. He was raised in Southern California and lived in Honolulu, Hawaii for three decades. He attended Inglewood High School and U.C.L.A.. His youthful goal was to become a major league baseball player. In Hawaii Ron played on a series of championship softball teams. He is an active tennis player.
      Ron’s career began at the Inglewood Daily News where as a youngster was enrolled in a publisher training program. He served as an advertising salesman, circulation manager, writer and layout and design staffer. He has been a newspaper publisher at the Oregon City Oregon Enterprise Courier, the Beloit Wisconsin Daily News, the Elizabeth, New Jersey Daily Journal and This Week Magazines (Hawaii).
      Ron lives with his wife, Marilyn, in San Diego, California. His two children, Douglas and Diane also live in the San Diego area. Ron’s interests range far and wide and are reflected in his columns diverse topics.
Ron Cruger