Thursday, October 1

There Goes The Neighborhood Ballgame.

MY Poor Wife is home with Deadly Pan-Asiatic Barnyard Pneumonia, or a cold, despite the fact that she's be warned, several times by now, not to come down with any respiratory diseases while it's too warm to leave chicken stock outside overnight. And we happened to be out of Imagine Brand Organic Free-Range Low Sodium Chicken Broth, which is the only other way I'll make chicken soup (and Thanks and Honorable Mention to Kitchen Basics, which makes a perfectly serviceable no salt added stock that just doesn't cut it, for me, as a soup base, flavor-wise); Imagine Brand is a five-mile round trip distant, through crappy evening traffic, so after she sprung this on me I went to the grocery and looked for a canned soup to tide her over. Right. Progresso "Heart Healthy! No MSG! Reduced Sodium!" Right. Twenty percent of your Rational Daily Intake in half a can of soup. You're Good to Go, Murrica! Just try not to eat anything the rest of the day unless you harvest it yourself.

Four-hundred seventy milligrams of sodium in an eight ounce serving, which is actually less than half a can, since the fine folks at General Mills provide you with an extra 2.5 oz/ can, meaning you dine free once every 3.2 cans. If you live that long. Of that maybe 50mg is naturally occurring. Let's call it 100. So you increase that by 370% and plaster Healthy! And Reduced! all over the can, by comparison to the ghastly amounts in your "regular" soup.

And I'm not even a health nut--though I am a cook, a group you offend even more egregiously--just a guy whose Poor Wife was told to watch her sodium intake. It's more or less immaterial to me, personally, what you chose to dump in those vats of yours, but how you're allowed to peddle it isn't, and how it is that the Market won't ever respond to rationality without a fight ought to inform all our politics. Progresso soup isn't on My Grocer's Shelves because they've discovered the perfect amount of salt to complement Modified Food Starch and Alpo, any more than the "Progresso" name reflects a line of black-clad Italian women lovingly stirring simmering pots of just picked/ fresh grated/ recently slaughtered goodness stretching back to the Old Country, unless by "Old Country" you mean Teaneck, NJ or its environs. It's there because the General Millers pay retailers for the space that Campbell's doesn't. Can we not just fucking 'fees up? It's not like there aren't entire floors of Bright Boys at General Mills who could produce soups with reasonable amounts of salt and the same profit margins. They don' wanna. They'd rather hire other Bright Boys to advertise you out of your socks, because that's what they do.

Speaking of open secrets, the above explains the mood I was in this AM when I e-opened the Indianapolis Racist Beacon and e-turned to the four-page exposé, "Some Fear Charter Schools May Become Sports Powers".

A little background is in order here, though first we'll happily take the Under on "number of people now fearing Charter School Sports Hegemonies who also expressed the slightest concern about Charter Schools siphoning tax dollars from the academic programs of the neediest public school districts", assuming the Under to be "any positive number".

High School athletics in Indiana are basically governed by the Indiana High School Athletic Association, or IHOP, which, several years back, managed to ruin the only high school athletic competition in the nation worthy of national attention without it featuring some future Lebron James All-McDonald's Hottie playing his final year of semi-pro ball: the Indiana High School Basketball Tournament (think Hoosiers, but with 537 alcoholics). The IHOP decided that what Indiana really needed to drive its citizens back home to watch hockey every March was class basketball, so everyone could win. Everyone here defined as "mostly private religious schools which cull players from a considerably wider radius than their similarly-sized public counterparts". Used to be that on occasion some momentary attack of truthfulness would lead someone to admit such schools "recruit" athletes, which would result in immediate denunciations of such anti-Catholicism, anti-Christian, Obviously Jihadist-inspired infamy of a plain fact. But now, with the internets and insta-comment feature of the Racist Beacon, this pretty much consumes any and every discussion of high school sports in the state. Who says we ain't forward-looking in Indiana? Besides our Governor.

The IHOP has twice looked into bumping private schools up one Division to compensate, and twice turned it down. But that was before the Poor and Unsightly got into the act:
...what if a charter school specialized in sports? What if that school became an irresistible magnet for the city's elite athletes -- a prep school for sports that guaranteed college hopefuls a chance to play with the best, to be coached by the best and to dominate opponents?

It's the very scenario that some fear could severely damage the competitive fairness of one of Indiana's most treasured traditions -- high school basketball -- and it's one that some believe already is playing out in Gary. The basketball program at Thea Bowman Leadership Academy, a K-12 school that opened in 2003, has elicited enough ill will in recent years that at least one coach is refusing to schedule games against the team.

Yes, the children of the blasted urban lunarscape that once was Steeltown, USA, might be getting over in a way that was never intended! For nonwealthy nonwhites, anyway.

So now here's IHOP Commissioner Blake Ress (member of the Board since 1990, member of the Executive Committee since '93, Commish since 2000, so he's been on hand for the adoption of Class basketball and both challenges to the unlimited boundaries of private schools):
"The potential is there for a charter school to create imbalance because you draw from anywhere and (students) can go there without paying tuition. There's a wide pool of talent to choose from, and (charter schools) have access to it."

Within their school districts, that is, not to the edges of the known universe, like private schools. (It is suggested that one of the stars of an independent religious school and perennial athletic power's volleyball team requires three different interstate highways to reach school each morning, possibly crossing from Central into Eastern Time while she's at it. We're not really sure what time it is 'round here.)

Boundaries and access and imbalance are precisely the issues you've decided on twice already, which is certainly hypocritical enough, but without paying tuition? Doesn't that mean it's intended to be the province of wealthy parents only? 'Cause if I didn't know any better…


Anonymous said...

thank you sir.

Sator Arepo said...

I always found it delightful as a child traversing the Great Interstate 80 Pan-Midwestern Thoroughfare with my parents on our annual trip to Pennsylvan-i-a that, somewhere in Indiana--Elkhart, I think--half-way through (!) town the time zone changed. Well, depending on what time of the year it was.

At least that's how I remember it.

James Stripes said...

I'm sure you had a good thing going before they ruined high school basketball with some kind of we're all winners nonsense. But west of Indiana, every small town has bars full of former basketball and football stars. High school sports are the highest achievement one can aspire to in many communities, and if that doesn't deserve some kind of national attention--not necessarily live broadcasts on ESPN13--I wouldn't know what does. On the subject of HS sports, I think the small school (my alma mater as it happens) that won the HS XC national championship last December, and their cross town rivals that are rated #1 this year says something about the place of the unsung running sports at which this town excels.

As for the chicken soup: if it is low sodium, don't waste your time. For reasons unknown to modern science, salt is the cure in grandma's favorite medicine.

Mo MoDo said...

It's all about keeping white kids from having to compete even up with ghetto b-ballers.