1. It’s Monday, February 13, 2017.
2. It’s the birthday of Jerry Springer, a former mayor of Cincinnati who apparently also hosts a daytime TV show.
At the Pinstripe Bowl in Yankee Stadium on Dec. 28, a video of prominent Northwestern alumni featured Springer rooting on his – and my – Wildcats. The fans of the other team, Pittsburgh, were first stunned to realize that Springer was on our side, then booed almost as lustily as they did later for ESPN’s Michael Wilbon.
However, Northwestern won that football game.
3. Which segues into my sheer joy – and that of Springer, Wilbon and the rest of us in purple and white – over last night’s men’s basketball upset of No. 7-ranked Wisconsin. In Madison.
This is a big step toward the Cats’ first-ever appearance in the NCAA tournament.
4. My two classes at William Paterson University take a weekly current events quiz. It requires them to read the front page stories in The New York Times which, being 21st-century students, most of my students find online.
The big problem writing questions for this quiz is that so much of the front page of the Times has been consumed with the foibles of the new presidential administration.
Since my classes started on Jan. 19, the front page has been consumed by presidential tweets, fights over his cabinet, crazy policy decrees, concerns about conflicts of interest and questions about the integrity of the slugs drawn into this mess.
A new administration is, by definition, a change. And we knew this one was going to be quite different from the prior administration, in part because the head of the new team questioned the legitimacy of his predecessor by saying he wasn’t born in the United States.
But the time we’re spending dealing with all the turmoil of the Trump White House seems excessive.
It also seems like part of the plan. And for no reason other than he can’t stand not to be the center of attention.
Even the protests against him seem to be part of his plan. I’m sure his outsized ego is bragging that these protests are the biggest ever against a new president – none of the other 43 guys had complaining crowds this big, if at all.
And how much of this weekend’s “Saturday Night Live” was devoted to people and problems caused by Trump? Was about two-thirds of the show Trump-related? He must love that.
This is the mentality of a toddler in a supposed adult. The ultimate spoiled attention-seeking spoiled brat.
The problem with that is that there are real problems, both in the United States and around the world.
How much attention are the Trump follies sucking from the crisis in northern California concerning the Oroville Dam? Nearly 200,000 people have been evacuated from their homes in a place where, after years of drought, there’s suddenly too much water.
How much attention is being paid to the battle for Mosul and signs that the Iraqis, with help from American forces, are slowly recapturing this key city from ISIS?
There are political crises in Europe and an American infrastructure that needs rebuilding. North Korea wants to show off the only thing it seems to produce, nuclear weapons.
And yet, we’re consumed with whether the head of the National Security Council is a double agent and how much the Trump Organization is profiting from the Trump reign.
And Americans are beaten over the head by it. Every day. Perhaps the idea is to wear people down.
So far, it’s not working. No incoming president has ever had as low an approval rate.
Then again, maybe that’s a sign it is working. It’s another superlative of which Trump can brag.
That, more than anything Jerry Springer can come up with, is a freak show.