A smorgasbord of topics this week

There are times when I’m seated at my desk with a vacant look in my eyes and a smattering of profanity dripping off my lips. The truth be told, that’s my general make-up at the office, but it just escalates on those uneasy Wednesday mornings when I can’t think of anything to write about at all for that week’s column.

Darin J. McCannDarin J. McCann

It’s maddening, really. You’d think that a person could come up with one measly idea a week to bore his readers with, but there are times when I just can’t seem to find anything that gets my fingers typing. When faced with such a dilemma, my typical course of action is to just wander about the office until I get into a conversation with somebody that gets my mind wrapped around some subject or another. With people like Bob Bertram and Carolyn Fitz around, and readily chiming in on every subject from politics to the makings of a proper upside-down cake, it usually doesn’t take very long.

On the flip side, there are weeks when I’m drowning in topics. Maybe something funny happened at home that I’d like to write about, or something tragic around the world that tugs at me until I get to the point where I feel like I need to get some thoughts down on paper. And while I’m struggling internally with which direction to go, four stories I stumble across on the Internet grab my attention, or I have a long conversation with our old friend Sam Harvey that just leaves me with a burning urge to make fun of him as quickly as possible. Like the time Sam confided to me late at night that he sleeps with the lights on and wears a helmet because ...

But I digress.

There’s an old expression in football that if a team has two quarterbacks, it actually has no quarterback. The rationale is that if a team has to play two different guys, then neither has done much to take control of the situation. With that reality firmly in mind, I go to the two-quarterback system of hitting on a few topics.

• There is no doubt that gas prices are on everybody’s mind lately. I fully expect to drive by a gas station some time this summer and read, “Regular — $4.25, Premium — Come on inside for a job application. You’ll need the second job.”

While it is certainly a growing concern for many in this country, I read in Time magazine recently that a gallon of gas in France is going for about $8.67 in American currency. In England, diesel prices have jumped to about $11 U.S. per gallon.

That didn’t help at all, did it? The gas prices still stink.

• With the presidential election basically down to three U.S. senators, I decided to really sit down and look at the three candidates. I was impressed that I could find something I strongly admire in all three — McCain’s long service to the country and his ability to speak his mind, Clinton’s long-standing record on Civil Rights and her experience around Washington, and Obama’s message of hope and promise of change.

All three have their merits, and certainly their disadvantages, and it should result in a tightly-contested election again. However, I’d really like to start a movement that required Ross Perot, Penn Jillette or another wild card of my choosing to make it more fun for the observers.

• Madonna and her husband Guy Ritchie just received legal permission to adopt a Malawian boy.

We could go back and forth for hours over the concept of Madonna being allowed to raise children, but I think we’re missing the bigger point.

Where is Malawi? Is it near Christiana Mall?

• Speaking of celebrities, I read that actress Sharon Stone publically questioned whether the catastrophic earthquake that rocked China and killed more than 60,000 people was a result of“bad karma” for the nation’s occupation of Tibet.

Ms. Stone? You’re an idiot. Please go away.

• There’s been a rash of bad calls throughout Major League Baseball recently that have many calling for the sport to institute an instant-replay system. I understand this belief. We have too much technology in this nation for umpires not to get the calls right, and it’s being implemented in the other major sports.

However ...

Baseball, maybe more than any of the other sports, is reliant on a rhythm to the game. Pitchers who have to wait around for a replay decision might not be as loose as they were when the play originally happened, fielders are bound to lose a little bit of that concentration and my bathroom breaks are going to be thrown completely out of whack.

That being said, I’m an Orioles fan, and if we can use instant replay to go back to the 1996 ALCS when that punk Yankees fan Jeffrey Maier reached his greedy little hand out to try and catch ... Never mind. I really have to let this go.