Mike Tingley, the homeowner, stands with his daughter as they watch the Grand Blanc Fire Department put out his garage fire with assistance from Burton and Mundy Township on the 6000 block of Grove Avenue in Grand Blanc Township, Mich., on Monday evening, July 3, 2017. Grand Blanc Fire Chief Bob Burdette says the homeowner was trying to use a smoke bomb to get a bees' nest out of the garage. (Shannon Millard/The Flint Journal-MLive.com via AP)

Elliot: ‘Stuff’ happens

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Got some bees in your bonnet?

By Beau Elliot
beauelliot@gmail.com

So there was this guy in Michigan, living near the heart of Trumpster land, which is not to say he was a Trumpsterite or anything, because who knows? We just know he had a problem with bees.

And a Fourth of July solution.

In Grand Blanc Township, Associated Press tells us in its inimitable deadpan style, a clever guy decided on July 3 to take care of a bees’ nest in his garage. So naturally, with the Fourth coming up and all, fireworks were the answer. Yep. Fireworks. Bees’ nest. Garage.

As the ancient philosophical tenet goes, What could possibly go wrong?

(We humans use this ancient tenet so often because human life so often imitates a Bugs Bunny or Roadrunner cartoon. See the 2016 “election.” Or the cartoon that was the 2000 election.)

Meanwhile, back at the Michigan bee guy and the fireworks, the ensuing fire gutted his garage. No word about the bees.

Luckily for us — and probably for the Michigan bee guy, as his garage will remember him, or at least the scrap lumber that is left will — tactical nuclear weapons are not available in American gun shows.

Yet.

By the way, apropos of nothing except geography, Grand Blanc Township (“Great White” in translation, obviously a reference to Moby Dick and thus a metaphor for our times) is just south of Flint, Michigan, famous for having the best water in the world this side of Somalia.

Speaking of apropos of nothing, the Hawkeye Athletics Department hasn’t burned down any garages lately to kill bees. That we know of. And that’s the good news, not just for the bees, industrious little pollinators that they are, but also for the department, because it’s been in the news for some other, um, stuff. It doesn’t need killing bees and torched garages, too.

Turns out, those who believed the UI Athletics Department was some sort of cash cow had exactly the wrong animal. Why is that? you ask, because you were kind of hoping that the Hawkeye Sports Kingdom could bail out the liberal arts before it slowly disappears in the liberal-arts quicksand. If such a quicksand exists.

No such luck. The Hawkeye Sports Kingdom, according to many reports, lost money in fiscal 2015 and 2016. Yes, red-ink land.

The Des Moines Register has reported that the department lost $2.92 million in the 2015-16 academic year and $3.24 million in the previous academic year. The Cedar Rapids Gazette has reported similar figures.

How can this be? you ask, still believing in the millions of media revenue and apparel revenue rolling in as inevitably as the tide.

Well, there’s been some of this, some of that. Nothing so serious as bees in a garage, you understand.

Or as Assistant AD Greg Davies told the Gazette, “The deficit is a result from the combination of lower football ticket revenue and the increase in expenses for football bonuses in the 2015 season.”

You know, coaches’ bonuses for the undefeated season and the Rose Bowl sort-of appearance. And then there’s the $55 million for the new football facility, which immensely helps with recruiting. And, of course (ahem), $6 million or so to settle some gender-discrimination, um, stuff.

But the Sports Kingdom has a reserve fund to take care of that stuff.

So you can all breathe again. The red ink will part like the Red Sea.

But there is one nagging question: Does all this mean Gary Barta is no more deft in handling finances than he is with female coaches and administrators?

It will probably take infinity to find out.

Well, we could always go through infinity and come out the other side.

But who knows if we’d still have the Hawkeyes then. Or there. Not to mention bees.

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