Tuesday, July 31, 2012

MS Sports Hall of Fame

       I just got back from a fabulous weekend in Jackson to attend the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame Induction Weekend.  Although I covered sports in Jackson for 3 years in the mid '80s, there wasn't much of a Hall of Fame back then.  As I remember, it was just a small building called the Dizzy Dean Museum.  But these days, thanks to my old friend and the first museum director, Michael Rubenstein, the place rivals Cooperstown with its displays of sports history and the accomplishments of Mississippi athletes.
       Michael died last December and this museum is his legacy.  Thankfully, he surrounded himself with others who are passionate about the history of the Mississippi sports.
      The weekend began with a reception and banquet on Friday night at the Downtown Marriot.  I got to see plenty of Hall of Famers.  Hoop stars, coaches, team administrators.  No longer a sportscaster, now a fan, I got my picture taken with Peyton and Eli's dad, Archie Manning.  Hundreds turned out to celebrate the new crop of inductees.  (Read more at  http://msfame.com/The 2012 inductees are Rafael Palmeiro, Jeff Malone, Courtney Blades Rogers, Sam Hall, Ennis Proctor and Eddie Crawford.
         Some of the old inductees are really old these days, like over 90.  Their stories about playing for Lombardi or wearing wool baseball uniforms would soon be lost if it wasn't for this museum.  It was very humbling to be among these men and women who are a part of history.   Yes women.  Courney Blades Rogers was an inductee this year.  She came to pitch for the University of Southern Mississippi and put them on the map for women's sports.
      There was a live and a silent auction.  I won the Rita Easterling autographed basketball.  She was the MVP of the first women's professional basketball league in 1978.  I also took home the Chad Bradford autographed baseball.  Chad was the Oakland A's side-arm pitcher immortalized in the movie Moneyball.  It's not that I needed more sports stuff for Wally's office decor, but a donation to the Hall is important.  The Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame takes no government money.  No tax dollars.  It operates on private donations.  Thank goodness it's important to so many people.
      Next year, I'll take Wally back with me.  I can't believe he didn't come this time.  Maybe that 12-hour drive had something to do with it.  But it was worth it.  And even though I haven't been on t.v. in Jackson in over 25 years, I got recognized at the banquet by a former golfer and MS Hall of Famer.  Joe Iupe Jr. won just about every amateur golf tournament he ever entered.  He doesn't play these days due to vision problems.  Yep, the one guy who recognized me, out of about 700 people who were there, can't see straight.  Go figure.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Immigration & Such

     Years ago, when we used to live in Connecticut and vacation in Orlando, we always bought multiple-day, multiple-park Disney tickets.  We never used them up in one vacation, but that was okay.  They had no expiration date and they were transferrable.  That was a big selling point.  We used them up eventually, especially after we moved to Orlando.  We even transferred them among family members.  In other words, the person who bought the ticket was not necessarily the one who rode the Tower of Terror.

     Eventually, Disney figured out that this method, despite the fact that it generated more sales from people like us, was costing them money.  They figured out that making the tickets non-transferrable, with an expiration date, would generate more income by generating more customers.  Worked like a charm.  And their identifier has been a simple thumbprint at the entrance gates.  Once you use a ticket, it gets attached to your thumbprint and then you are the only one allowed to use that ticket.

     To take it one step further, if you bring in an extra unused ticket and try to use it to get an extra FastPass, it doesn't work.  Their software reads whether or not that ticket is in use by a person who submitted their thumbprint on that very day.  No thumbprint, no FastPass.

     So what's so hard about registering legal voters, welfare recipients, workers and more by their thumbprint?  If Mickey Mouse can do it, why can't the U.S. government?  Maybe it's just one more thing we should give over to Disney.  They already have ESPN and ABC.  Why not give them USA?  They obviously can run a business for profit.