Hot Air: Decisions, Decisions

A couple of radio talkers today were discussing how high school students make their decisions regarding which colleges or universities they’ll go to. One of the talkers, a reasonable fellow who’s a stickler for good sourcing and is almost obsessively cautious about falling for misinformation or manufactured news, said, all other things being equal, the single most important factor in a student’s decision is the weather on the day they visit any particular campus.

For the life of me, I can’t find any corroborating source for this and I missed it when he cited his source, but I buy his assertion on a gut level.

Welcome to the Midwest.

First off, the two were on a sports talk station in Chi. The NBA all-star weekend is taking place in the Windy City with events all over town, including the game and the skills competitions at the United Center and meet-and-greets at Navy Pier, et cetera. The two talkers mentioned that the temps this weekend in my beloved hometown will be dipping into the very low single digits. They concluded, after hashing over the college choice factoid, that NBA stars who may one day become free agents likely will not look kindly upon Chicago as a destination after coming to town for the big shebang. There’s a lot to be said for this because, in the NBA, Los Angeles, the Bay Area, Texas, and Florida are the preferred landing spots for an inordinately high percentage of free agents, the winter weather in those locales being less than horrifying. Places like Chicago and Milwaukee and Detroit are, to many basketball players’ minds, as inviting as the North Pole.

NBA stars, by and large, are just a few years older than college kids. A lot of their decision making processes probably aren’t much more advanced than those of typical 18-22 y.o.’s. And, as indicated above, those kids are swayed by what seem to be extraneous factors.

And, even by-er and larger, so are the rest of us.

I worked for a few years in the restaurant industry. And I’ve got a good half century of experience eating at restaurants. I know this: your mood and a whole bunch of factors other than the quality of the food and the service at any given eatery dictate your feelings about your dinner or lunch at that place. If you and your mate are battling, for instance, you’re not going to remember your meal with any fondness. If a table-full of drunks are causing a ruckus and bumping into you and the wait staff, the taste of the manicotti isn’t going to be uppermost in your mind.

Here’s an example. One evening The Loved One and I went over to Mr. Hibachi over on East 3rd St. for the Chinese buffet. As we neared the entrance, a college-aged kid burst out the door and immediately started horking. It was a jaw-dropping sight. The poor slob must have eaten half a ton of food because he couldn’t stop spewing. Needless to say, we spun on our heels and nearly burned rubber getting out of the parking lot. We did not go back to Mr. Hibachi for about half a year. And that decision had nothing at all to do with the grub and the treatment we’d have gotten there that night.

“Oh, I wanna go there!”

It’s all about the surroundings, savvy?

So, think of the packs of high school kids who’ll be visiting Bloomington over the next few months, wondering if they should enroll here. If the weekend is sunny and mild, this town’ll be awfully attractive. And if the weather is sleety and bone-chilling, well, those students might tend to think about, say, Georgia Tech or Tulane.

Relax, Have a Glass Of Milk Or Something, Okay?

Everybody’s wailing and gnashing their teeth about the seeming chaos surrounding the 2020 Democratic presidential primary process that is only a week and a half on thus far. There remain about 750 candidates and front-runners are losing and dark horses are gaining and, ohmygodinheaven, the entire Democratic Party is destroying itself before our very eyes!

Only it’s not.

History — not many Americans’ strong point — tells us that this year’s Dem competition is no different than any other presidential years, both parties inclusive.

Just for perspective’s sake, let me point out that the winner of the 2016 Republican Iowa caucuses was none other than a fellow named Ted Cruz. And, might I remind you, the clear front runner at the mid-term point a couple of years before that was the the sitting governor of New Jersey, the then-darling of the party, Chris Christie. During the Republican debates in the fall of 2015, the big star was Carly Fiorina, ex-CEO of Hewlett Packard.

Can You Name This Person?

Quick question: What are Ted Cruz, Chris Christie, and Carly Fiorina doing these days? Nah, I didn’t think you knew. I certainly don’t, save for Cruz*.

[ * The answers: Christie last year published a book entitled Let Me Finish. I know nobody who’s read it and I’m quite certain we never sold a single copy of it at the Book Corner. He was, BTW, selected to the Sports Betting Hall of Fame (betcha didn’t know that existed!) for his efforts in legalizing the sports book in the Garden State. Fiorina is now the chair and CEO of Carly Fiorina Enterprises, a nonprofit whose raison d’être, acc’d’g to a spokesperson, is to help her “structure speaking engagements and appearances while providing the public with information about her activities.” In other words, she heads a PR firm whose sole client is herself. As for Cruz (about whose relationship with Donald Trump the website Business Insider had this to say)…

The political feud between President Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas during the 2016 election was one of the dirtiest in recent memory.

Trump and Cruz, who dropped out of the GOP primary in May 2016, attacked each other’s wives, citizenship, and integrity. They even threatened to sue, accusing each other of lying and cheating for various reasons.

After Trump won the party’s nomination, Cruz refused to endorse him at the Republican National Convention.

… he’s still the junior US Senator from Texas and he spends much of his time either defending the president’s worst misdeeds or strategically ignoring them. ]

That Republican Party, which in 2016 looked to be about ready to destroy itself, now holds the White House, the Senate, the US Supreme Court, most of the federal district courts, a majority of statehouses and governors’ mansions, and, through its leader, is completely remaking American government.

So stop fretting about what appears to be a party in shambles. Both parties’ primaries are knock-down, drag-out affairs every quadrennial. Or, to employ another comparison, they are the sausage-making room and you sure as hell don’t want to see what goes into the grinder.

One thought on “Hot Air: Decisions, Decisions

  1. Janis Starcs says:


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