Tuesday, February 4, 2014

From Transit Woes to Nuns to Super Bowl and Downton Abbey

Transportation Woes: Traffic snarled in both directions of the George Washington Bridge during Tuesday evening’s rush hour, another reminder of the troubles people have getting into and out of New Jersey. It’s the latest example of frustration, coming just two days after fans leaving MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands had their ride home on New Jersey Transit trains stalled for hours, much like the Denver Broncos offense was during the Super Bowl loss to the Seattle Seahawks. 

At least, for now, no one is pointing any blaming fingers at Governor Chris Christie for the latest debacles. But is seems apparent that from here on out any restriction to the flow of traffic will forever evoke thoughts of Christie underlings meting out political payback without regard to the innocents forced to sit in their cars and trucks for hours upon days.

It is hard to swallow Christie’s denials that he knew nothing about Bridgegate. Even if we grant him ignorance of the first day’s congestion on the bridge last September, he cannot be excused for not taking decisive action on days two, three or four. Or for not getting to the bottom of this mean-spirited act. He fostered a climate of retaliation, a small-time Nixon’s enemy list mentality. 

We like it when bullies get their comeuppance. We cringe when they throw one-time friends or colleagues under the bus, as Christie has with David Wildstein, his former appointee on the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, who orchestrated the traffic jams on the bridge last fall in an attempt to punish the mayor of Fort Lee for failing to endorse the governor’s re-election campaign.

Though more conservative Republicans disapproved of his praise for President Obama’s support after Hurricane Sandy, Christie is repaying the favor by hogging the media spotlight. Instead of focusing on some of Obama’s shortfalls, the media looks to the future for personality or scandal stories rather than stories of policy substance. 

Another Transportation Dilemma: Bathroom graffiti ain't what it used to be, it was revealed to me during a quick trip to visit Finley, Dagny and their parents last week. 

In the westbound Charlton, Mass., Turnpike rest stop, one stall had but a single word written on a wall—Bitcoin. With no other words to guide me, I didn't know if the scrawl was meant to praise or damn the virtual money.

I'm conflicted: Gilda and I saw Philomena last weekend. I must admit I came away with very little sympathy for the nuns portrayed in the movie.

Is that what I'm supposed to feel, or should I be more inclined to associate nuns with the loving, altruistic sisters depicted in the PBS series, The Midwives?

Final word on the Super Bowl: Okay, my prognostication was waaaaaaay off. My only consolation is that nobody of sound mind predicted the one-sided massacre.

But I do wonder about the brains behind this sport. As we all know, playing football is dangerous. In an instant, injury can inject itself into a game with the potential to destroy a career. So I ask you, what coach in his right mind (are you listening, John Fox and so many of your brethren) would continue to play his most important player in a game that is beyond reversal of fortune?

Why was Peyton Manning still quarterbacking the Broncos with a little less than four minutes to go in the game and his team trailing 43-8. It wasn't just improbable, it was impossible, for Denver to come back. Why risk Manning’s already precarious health? Someone please explain why coaches do that.

Where is he? Spoiler alert, Downton Abbey fans. I think I've figured out what has happened to Lady Edith's boyfriend in Munich. 

The time is 1922 to mid 1923, the period when Adolph Hitler and the Nazi Party are planning their unsuccessful Beer Hall putsch in Munich in November. It was too good a story for a journalist like Michael Gregson to have passed up. Somehow, he has embedded himself in the conspiracy to overthrow the government. He can't risk letting Lady Edith or any of his colleagues know his plans or whereabouts. 

Eventually he will be reunited with Lady Edith in time to welcome their love child. At least that's the way I would write the plot. Let's see if Julian Fellowes has as dramatic an imagination as mine. (I know I could have searched British Web sites for the actual plot line, but I'm trying to give a surmised opinion on what would happen.)

One more thing. Downton Abbey began its storyline in 1912 when the Titanic sank. Now it's 10 years later. Why hasn't anyone aged?