Octopus Cards, Steroids, and Nuclear War

So at the top of the SF Chronicle today were the following two stories:

We’re watching slugger’s closing act, and what a finale it’s becoming

Anderson can tell grand jury all he knows or go back to jail

I am a baseball fan. I’ll come clean and just put that out there. So of course, on some level, I care about the Giants, and I care about Barry Bonds, and I care about steroids in baseball. But to be clear, I don’t have a strong opinion on any of these issues because, at the end of the day, baseball (or the NFL, the NCAA, the NHL, hell, pretty much any spectator sport) is a diversion. A form of entertainment.

And don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that entertainment and diversions are, necessarily, a bad things. At most, all I’m comfortable saying right now is that some diversions are of a better quality than other. But that’s simply a matter of taste, isn’t it? Who am I to say that watching American Idol is a better or worse way to spend one’s evening than watching a ball game?

The catch, though, is what you’re doing when you’re not watching the ball game. The catch is that while tens of thousands of baseball fans across this country are worried about whether or not Barry Bonds is taking what may or may not be illegal, performance enhancing drugs (oh, and by the way, he did; so let’s just put that to rest shall we?) there’s other things happening in the world that may be indirectly relevant (for now) or directly relevant to our day-to-day lives.

Of the later, of the potential (probable) general strike by immigrant workers on May 1st, unless you live in Lost Springs, WY, good luck getting to work on Monday.

Of the later, again, if I may digress for a moment, there are also things brewing that are directly relevant to our day-to-day lives but we don’t really understand how or why because the technology has become so well integrated into our lives that we can’t even separate ourselves from it anymore. How are the internet neutrality laws which are being debated in Congress right now going to effect us? More to the point, how frightening is it that the people who are debating it are probably too ill-equiped to do an effective job debating it in the first place because they simply don’t have the technical skills necessary to understand what it is they’re debating. Hell, I hardly have the technical skills and it’s sort of my job.

Of the later, again again, speaking of things that will effect us on a day-to-day level, it’s really only a mater of time before we’ve all got Octopus Cards and Smart Furniture. But of the relative merits, potential pitfalls, ups and down, I’ll let someone else speak. At length.

At the end of this long long rant without a point, what I’m driving at is this: I love baseball as much as the next guy (or girl). And I love media and pop-culture, and I’m not afraid to admit that I watched Top Chef last night. But shouldn’t the Chronicle lead off the paper with some, well, more newsworthy news? To be fair, at the bottom of page one they did let us know about huge profits oil companies are making. And their real lead story was about southbay newspapers. I’ll give them that.

But when busses stop working and no one shows up to cook your lunch because their protesting on May 1st, don’t say I didn’t warn you.