So imagine my disconnectedness after being in Denver for five days at a conference. It's not that the Internet doesn't exist in Colorado - it just exists in the hotel at about $12 per day. A little fiscal demand, combined with a busy schedule, countless face-to-face interactions, and some sleep wedged in there somewhere, and you are suddenly unplugged from the universe. Or so it seemed at times.
For 5 days, news from the outside world didn't really exist. It was, admittedly, quite nice.
But a few things did make it to my attention over the past couple of weeks. With that in mind, here is the next episode of the Rhubarb Report.
1. Let's start close to home, where Governor Rick Perry has decided in his infinite wisdom that the state of Texas really does need not just one, not just two, but three special legislative sessions. Forget the fact that the Republicans control the legislative process and should, in effect, have been able to pass whatever they wanted whenever they wanted during the regular session - let alone during special sessions 1 or 2.
I am sure this will be money well spent [insert sarcasm here] as legislators are busy, well, going on vacation. Hey, it's summer break, right? You mean I am supposed to show up to vote in a special session in August?
2. While we're in the state of Texas, we need to talk football. And if you are awaiting college football season, I hate to say it but Texas A&M (Governor Perry's alma mater) is in the news. Rumor has it that the Aggies are starting the season as one of the Top 5 trams in the country. As a Longhorn fan, that is one step from sheer agony.
But that's not the real trouble brewing in College Station. The real drama appears to revolve around quarterback (and Heisman Trophy winner) Johnny Manziel. Just check out Wright Thompson's ESPN article for all the crazy details.
I fully appreciate that when you are a star athlete, life changes. You are constantly under media scrutiny. I certainly haven't been in that kind of spotlight at any time in my life, let alone as a sophomore in college. With any luck, you find the coping mechanisms required to effectively deal with the stardom - before it's too late. Hopefully, there are real interventions available instead of having the issues just pushed to the sidelines.
As much as I dislike the Aggies, I hope that Manziel can get his head straight. The bottom line is that he is a very talented 20 year-old athlete - and I would hate to see a talent such as his burn out and be left with nothing. I don't mind the Aggies losing fair and square on the field, but not because their star quarterback couldn't handle the demons inside.
3. Finally, it seems that this is yet another episode of the Rhubarb Report that contains a musical obituary. This past week, JJ Cale passed away at the age of 74. Cale's laid-back, loose and relaxed style, combined with some great songwriting, helped to forge what became known as the "Tulsa sound". His songs were covered by such musical legends as Eric Clapton and the Allman Brothers. In the words of one of his songs ...
“Well, they call me the breeze
I keep rollin' down the road
Yeah, they call me the breeze
I keep rollin' down the road
I ain't got me nobody
I ain't carry no heavy load”
Roll on, JJ, roll on.
Photo credits: Wikipedia