By Dr. Jim Ferguson

I’ve had it with the NFL and its politically correct commissioner Roger Goodell. This dude makes a salary of $3.4 million a year, and with bonuses from the various team owners, his 2015 compensation was almost $35 million. I realize it’s wrong to blame everyone for the actions of a few, but my disgust has overwhelmed my logic.

Mr. Goodell whined about the “integrity of the game” during the silly “deflate-gate” imbroglio, but seems unconcerned that Kaepernick and similar ilk can hold the rest of the nation hostage to their stunts and insults. And he objects to players wearing shoes or displaying stickers in support of our troops, yet says nothing to the activism of fist salutes and scowls directed at police, our troops and our country. The San Francisco 49ers’ coach explained that he could not control Kaepernick, and yet he demands his players adhere to team rules including pre-game curfews.

Sometimes intolerance is good. I’m intolerant of racism, but I am sick and tired of the opinions of activist jocks and Hollywood pseudo intellectuals. It’s bad enough having to endure the blather of politicians and elected officials. And I now ignore the alphabet media who masquerade as journalists; they are really just political operatives. So, here’s my response to the so-called freedom of speech and expression of football players: I am boycotting any pro football game where players, coaches or teams have disrespected my national anthem, flag, servicemen, police or country. At this count, included are the San Francisco 49ers, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, San Diego Chargers and the Philadelphia Eagles. And perchance through channel surfing, I come upon a commercial advertisement during said games, I will not buy that product. Mr. Goodell, how’s that for the “social activism” you’ve encouraged your players to display?

Actually, I find pro football much more predictable and less exciting than the college version. With the Vols, you never know which team will show up. And I never breathe a sigh of relief until our team is three touchdowns ahead, there’s less than three minutes to play, the opposing team has no time outs left and we have the ball. I’ve seen our offensive linemen fall over like the guy who used to ride a tricycle on Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-in. Our Vols, God love ‘em, seem capable of snapping defeat from victory at almost any moment.

I went to a Tennessee Titan game once and experienced a new perspective on “TV” timeouts. The players on both teams just stood there and waited while sideline cheerleader-groupies tried to engage fans with pom poms. I’ve begun to feel a similar loss of continuity in the college games as everything has become subservient to TV coverage and its big bucks. Though the anti-trust lawsuit challenging whether college basketball and football players should be paid beyond their room, board and tuition is still active (refiled with Supreme Court 3/2016), few would argue that Division I competition is anything less than professional and merely the “minor leagues” of pro basketball and football.

On a lighter note I learned about lighting last week. Becky decided we needed to downsize and so we are building a smaller house. We built our home in 1980 and I swore I would never leave it until they took me to the rest home. You should never say never. Becky designed our current home and has designed our retirement house. She is a woman of many talents and understands the arcane language of double-hung windows, cottage bungalow facades and interior illumination. She acknowledges that Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) is the expert in exterior illumination as in the movie Christmas Vacation.

Since I am now semi-retired and work far less, I accompanied Becky to the lighting store. And that’s where my education continued. I was introduced to the pros and cons of LEDs bulbs and strips. I was asked to choose among various lighting cans and lighting pucks, which resemble hockey pucks with which I am well acquainted. (Observe my crooked nose from my college hockey days.)

However, as I sat listening to the lighting expert and Becky discuss the nuances of lighting and sconces, my mind traveled back in time and space to another lighting fixture I once saw in Bratislava, Slovakia. I’ve only taken one guy-trip in my adult life. The five of us went on a largely self-guided history tour of castles in Slovakia, Hungary and western Poland, so you see why our wives blessed us and sent us behind the recently lifted Iron Curtain. We flew to Vienna, Austria, rented a van and drove fifty miles to the Slovakian capital of Bratislava along a fine Soviet road designed to impress westerners. It was the best road we would see in our travels.

As we entered the Slovakian capital, I happened to look out my window and glimpsed one naked light bulb hanging from the ceiling on a long cord in an apartment of a soulless Soviet style high-rise building next to the “interstate.” Sometimes, glimpses (at 60 miles per hour) can tell a story better than a novel. In the blink of an eye I saw into a man’s apartment. He stood under a single dangling light bulb, naked, cooking his supper in an otherwise empty apartment.

I have a friend who escaped Romania and the Iron Curtain to become an American citizen and a doctor. She grew up under the murderous communist dictator Ceausescu. She says modern Americans are pampered fools who know nothing of privation and tyranny. She experienced totalitarian government and shakes her head in disgust at Americans who willingly surrender their freedom to modern progressives like Hillary Clinton and Obama and tolerate lawless thugs who loot under the banners of protest.

Have we had enough of career politicians, liars, government crooks, cronyism of the elites and anarchists? So what that CNN and the NY Times rail against populism and Trump. We now know where they stand because I’ve observed that if you pull the tail of a donkey it brays.

Perhaps the light bulb of understanding will turn on in the minds of Americans before it’s too late. I can only hope.