Monday, January 16, 2017

I Won't Miss You

It was surprising, but not a total shock.

The news broke late Saturday night.  Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus goes out of business this spring.

Let's back up for a moment.  Newswatch 16's Ryan Leckey and Corey Burns went to Ringling Brothers' elephant sanctuary in Florida last year.  It's where the elephants live after they leave the circus, and Ringling Brothers was in the process of phasing out the elephant act.  Wilkes-Barre Township last spring was one of the final stops.

Circus workers whispered to our guys that, with the elephants gone, they knew the end was near.  They were right.  I didn't think it would happen this quickly.   Not being a circus goer, I underestimated the elephants' popularity.  Circus management says ticket sales plummeted when the elephants left.  I thought the circus could survive without them.  Steps were taken to make the circus more contemporary, like bringing in motorcycles.  It seems fans want their favorites.

Look, I know the circus provided entertainment for tens of millions over the years.  It provided jobs to circus workers and arena people at each stop along the way.

It came at a horrible costs.  There were allegations the elephants were mistreated.  The circus denied that.  Video seemed to indicate otherwise.  A source tells me professional animal welfare people checked carefully every time the circus came to our town.  No violations.

If you read this blog on a regular basis, you know I like cats.  In fact, I like all animals, with the exception of reptiles.  I took the photo you see above outside the arena in Wilkes-Barre Township back in the spring.  Big cats.  Small cages.  No.  The big cats should have been phased out along with the elephants.  It's a moot point now, but it's not natural to live in a little cage, get moved from city to city, and be forced to jump through flaming hoops.

While some will look back on the big circus days fondly, I won't.  There are still other circuses out there.  Many have chained and caged animals.  We know better.

Before I hit "publish," here is my weekend NFL pick report card.   I went 50/50.  My upset special, Green Bay over Dallas, came through.  I correctly predicted New England would cover the spread against Houston.  I underestimated Atlanta.  The Falcons easily defeated Seattle.  My modus operandi is to pick the better defense.  Kansas City kept Pittsburgh out of the end zone, but the Steelers kicked their way in to the AFC championship game.

More football thoughts later in the week.