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Weather, three-pointers, Tributes: It’s all about the money

Sat., April 7, 2012

I’ve got this, that, and the other on my mind. None are worth a full column, but all have been begging for a mention, so here we go. Expect no theme.

As I’m writing this, the Final Four is later today, but isn’t the real March madness our ongoing monsoon? Enough already, I’m tired of bordering-on-giddy weather babes pronouncing the New! Record! Rainfall!

But back to basketball and my bracket. I have Kansas going to the championship but won’t mind if Ohio State wins. It’d be sort of nice to think that the Zags lost to the eventual national champions. My other pick? Missouri. Oops. But my ties to Kansas go way back, growing up there, and my granddad taught mechanical engineering at Kansas State. On several visits to Manhattan, I even managed to sneak onto the K State basketball court, to play with my friends. Never got caught, either.

How about a different kind of game entirely? As in, “The Hunger Games,” which is – thankfully – a very good movie. I’ve read the trilogy twice, and my wife gobbled up the first book just before we went to the movie, and is now eagerly into the second.

If you’ve managed to avoid all the hype, the books are a YA-oriented-but-good- for-all-ages read, focusing on a young heroine named Katniss. In this dystopian vision of a future America, each of the 12 “Districts” must name a boy and girl “Tribute” to play in the Hunger Games, which are staged annually. Why? So the citizens don’t forget the lesson of their failed revolt, 74 years ago, when the Capitol blasted District 13 into oblivion as punishment for the uprising.

The Games play out in a reality-show arena, with the Capitol’s decadent citizenry eagerly placing their bets on the victor – there is only one survivor – while the citizens of each district watch by requirement. Naturally some of the districts are rich, some poor, and what chance does poor Katniss have against the well-fed, highly trained Tributes from Districts 1 or 2?

Geez, I wonder if there are any intentional parallels with the real America?

Like I said, the movie’s very, very good, although the PG-13 rating prevents a full depiction of the book’s ferocity. Since it’s making buckets of money, maybe they’ll go for an R next time out, though I doubt it. Cash is king, right?

Speaking of which, neither of our two Mega Millions tickets made the cut, though I think we did get one number right. Still, that’s too much money to even imagine, at least for me. Although now that I think about it, it might not even be enough to buy the presidency, since the Citizens United ruling by our Favorite Five on the Supreme Court.

If you haven’t been paying attention, it just allows corporations to buy politicians directly, since corporations are really “people,” you know, and people should be able to spend what they want.

I had an idea, some time ago, that our Congress-critters, Supremes, and POTUS and Vice-POTUS should all have to wear NASCAR-style uniforms, with patches of various sizes depicting the corporate logos of their owners, I mean, sponsors. You know, so you could decide whether you favor the senator from BP over the News Corporation gal.

Well, a motif seems to have emerged, after all. It’s all about the money. The Haves win the tournament and buy the politicians. The Have-nots buy lottery tickets.

But we can all root for Katniss!

Donald Clegg, a longtime Spokane resident, is an author and professional watercolor artist. Contact him via email at

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