Glorious Results of a Misspent Week

You might have been wondering just where I've been for the past week or so. No, the Political Correctness police didn't come after me for my last post. I've just been on vacation for the past nine days and decided to take a short break from blogging as well. Time off can clear the mind.

As noted in the title, it was pretty much a misspent week. I didn't accomplish much. I watched a lot of baseball and played games on the computer. I got together with my Dad on my birthday. And my friend Barbara made sure that I had plenty of diversions for my vacation, sending me a series of packages containing a yo-yo, a genuine metal Slinky, a copy of Mad magazine ("$4.99 - Cheap!" -- Ouch!), a kaleidoscope, and various types of retro candy, including a Mickey Mouse Pez dispenser. I now have all of the supplies I'll need for my second childhood. I told Barbara that she must have accidentally dropped the first digit on my age.

As I've noted in the past, all good things must end, including vacations. Last night, it was back to work. It went pretty well for a Monday. It was good to be able to just throw myself back into work and return to the routine. Now I'm looking forward to Memorial Day weekend, and an upcoming June trip to New York to get together with my brothers and see a game at Yankee Stadium. It's important to have something to look forward to.


Lighten Up, Princess!

I saw this story in the news last night, and just shook my head:

Statewide uproar leads to suspension of "Woody and Wilcox" by radio station
Michelle Davis was surfing radio stations last Wednesday, stuck in traffic in a spring snow storm. When the dial hit the "Woody and Wilcox" morning show on KBFX 100.5-FM "The Fox," she couldn't believe what she heard.

The morning drive-time hosts were bantering with a caller about whether getting into a fender-bender at Minnesota Drive and Raspberry Road made you a "real" Alaskan. What else made you a real Alaskan?

"Have you made love to the Yukon River and peed in a Native woman?" one of the men said, according to Davis, turning an off-color axiom inside out. She said she was stunned and disgusted.

As soon as she got to a phone, Davis, who is part Tlingit, called the station manager. Then she got on her computer and e-mailed a network of friends in the Alaska Native community. She wrote to news media, Native leaders and politicians. She complained to the FCC.
Oh, for heaven's sake! The radio guys make a stupid, slightly off-color comment and she complains to the FCC?! "Oh, I'm offended! Waaaaahh!"

Doesn't anybody in this country have a damn sense of humor any more? When I was growing up, people told ethnic jokes, and if other people didn't like them, instead of whining to the FCC, they'd turn around and tell an ethnic joke about the person who told the first one. Now, people get suspended from their jobs and sent to "sensitivity training" because we live in a nation of humorless prigs.

Well, we don't need any training for "sensitivity" in this country. Indeed, the "sensitivity" is the problem! We're living in a "Princess and the Pea" nation as far as hypersensitivity to any perceived slight goes. Grievance-mongers like Michelle Davis can lie on a stack of twenty mattresses and twenty featherbeds and still feel the little pea of offense at the bottom.

All I can say is, "Lighten up, Princess!" If you think those shock jocks are bozos, pick another station. And grow a sense of humor! Otherwise, we'll end up with something like this:

Three persuns of unspecified race, religion, nationality, gender and sexual orientation go into a bar...


Shirts Shorts

First, did you see the story over the weekend about the Red Sox fan who got a job as a construction worker at the new Yankee Stadium and buried a Red Sox jersey in the concrete of the foundation in order to try to put a hex on the Yankees? The Yankees had workers go in with a jackhammer and excavate the David Ortiz #34 jersey from under a couple of feet of concrete. Now they're talking about filing a lawsuit against the guy to try to recover the cost of doing it, which was supposedly around $50,000. It could turn out to be a very expensive prank.

Second, here is a fun link to a page on the National Baseball Hall of Fame's web site, Dressed to the Nines, which has a database allowing you to see what any major league team's uniforms looked like in any particular season. Some fun ones: 1937 Brooklyn Dodgers of the National League (yes, they wore green uniforms for that one season) and the 1916 New York Giants (National League), whose uniforms were beyond hideous. Purple plaid?! Yuck!

So why was I looking at that site? Well, over the weekend, the Kansas City Royals resurrected their old powder blue uniforms, or at least the jerseys. They had a giveaway for fans coming to the stadium on Friday night, and then they wore the jerseys for yesterday's home game against the Minnesota Twins. The odd thing is that while there is a nostalgic feeling about those old powder blue uniforms, since the Royals wore them during that all-too-brief span of years from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s when the team was really good, they were road uniforms. The Royals never wore the powder blue uniforms at home. This version is different from the ones worn from 1983-91 in that the "Royals" on the front of the jersey is in royal blue with a white outline. To someone familiar with the old road uniforms, it looks strange.

If you look at the Royals' uniforms starting from their beginning in 1969, you see that from 1969-70, the team wore gray road uniforms with "Kansas City" in blue script, similar to the blue script "Royals" on their home jerseys, which were buttoned up the front. From 1971-72, the road grays had "Kansas City" in blue capital letters arranged in an arch. And then came the powder blue uniforms starting in 1973 and running through 1991. There were two different styles: From 1973-82, the jerseys were V-neck double-knits with "Kansas City" in white capital letters arranged in an arch, and no number on front. From 1983-91, the jerseys were button-front, with a white script "Royals" and the player's number on the left side. In 1992, the team went back to gray road uniforms and the powder blues were history... Until now.

The only time I ever saw them play in the powder blue uniforms was in a game at Boston's Fenway Park in the spring of 1985. All of the other times I saw the Royals play were home games at Royals Stadium (now Kauffman Stadium).


A Very Different '80s Nostalgia Act

Casinos offer various incentives to entice their best customers, the high rollers, to return on a frequent basis. Among those incentives are complimentary tickets to concert events, usually featuring musical acts a decade or two past their peak of success.

From the musician's perspective, however, a gig is a gig. It pays the bills, even if it is in effect shilling for the gaming industry. And let's face it: Music and vice go well together. Observe any location where people are drinking and smoking, dancing and carousing, and you will find music as well; gambling is just another vice that goes well with music.

So last night, I saw a postcard ad sent out by the Seminole Hard Rock Cafe and Casino, only instead of featuring comp tickets for an oldies musical act, it was for an oldies political act: Mikhail Gorbachev, the former President of the Soviet Union , who will be there on April 16th to "speak about his years in office, his contribution to the end of the Cold War and his observations about current international affairs," as the ad put it.

I had to chuckle at that. Not to be disrespectful to Mr. Gorbachev, but his "contribution to the end of the Cold War" was comparable to Bill Buckner's "contribution to the end of the 1986 World Series." Gorbachev was the guy who let the ball go through his legs as the other team won the game.

I thought about it a bit, and wondered briefly whether he had fallen on hard times. Speaking to a group of people who probably can barely tear their attention away from the cards and the slot machines to listen to him can't be very gratifying. But an honorarium is an honorarium, I guess.

I think that Gorbachev has to be one of the world's more fortunate former political leaders, since most of the time when a tyrannical regime falls, the leaders either end up being imprisoned, executed or having to flee into exile. He does seem to be doing well at this capitalism thing, however. As the old saying goes, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.


I May Have An Answer For This Guy

Nat Bach is puzzled, and feeling a little bit hurt. It seems that he's been a big supporter of the Obama campaign in California, and had submitted his name asking to be a delegate for him at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. He was one of 80 people from his congressional district who did so, and he was therefore disappointed to learn that the list had been pared down to 17 names, and his was not one of them. He was wondering if it was because they might be questioning the loyalty of the people who were cut from the list of delegate candidates.

Looking at his picture on the Huffington Post blog, he definitely seems to be a "person of pallor." His bio page doesn't have any information about his sexual preferences or possible disability status. It might not be anything personal against Nat; they might just have filled their Affirmative Action goal for white guys who aren't gay or disabled.

There's always amputation...

Playing "Hide The Torch" in San Francisco

No, that's not some alternative lifestyle sex game. It's what the Olympic organizers did yesterday, doing a bait-and-switch on the route that the torch took through San Francisco. It was supposed to go along the waterfront in the eastern part of the city, but at the last minute, the route was changed to an area farther west, faking out both those who wanted to welcome the torch (mostly ethnic Chinese) and those who wanted to protest against it (pretty much everyone else). Yes indeedy, it was a real profile in courage!

The torch had been whisked into town under cover of darkness the night before, and made a hasty departure after its brief and unheralded appearance. Unless you had a GPS lock on it, which no one apparently did, you were about as likely to see it as you were to see Barack Obama on his recent visit to the same city. (I'm assuming that you aren't a multi-millionare living in the Bay Area; that Zombietime site is the best place to go for news on San Francisco protests, by the way.)

What does it say about the upcoming Olympics that they no longer even dare to bring the torch through cities where the citizens are free to protest against China's policies? Only when the torch reaches the totalitarian safe haven of the Middle Kingdom will it be able to be seen in public again. I don't think Hitler had this much trouble back in 1936.


D Is For Disappointment

Baseball is a funny game. A week-and-a-half ago, before the season started, the conventional wisdom was that three things were just about mortal locks: The much-improved Detroit Tigers were likely to ride their explosive lineup to the playoffs, while the Baltimore Orioles would battle with the Tampa Bay Rays to stay out of the American League East's basement, and the Barry Bonds-less San Francisco Giants were in for a really rough year.

How quickly things change. Only one out of those three prognostications has panned out at the beginning of the season: The Giants are 2-6 and are destined for last place in the National League West. But the surprising Orioles are in first place in the AL East, with the best record in the league at 6-1 (although that's unlikely to last), and the Tigers, who looked like world-beaters coming out of spring training in Florida, are the only team in baseball that has yet to win a game, starting the season a woeful 0-7.

The Tigers started out by being swept by the Kansas City Royals and the Chicago White Sox in back-to-back three-game series in Detroit, and then lost yesterday in the opener of their first road series in Boston. They were hurt by the loss of centerfielder Curtis Granderson, who broke a finger at the end of spring training and is on the disabled list. Injuries are part of the game, however, and most teams are affected by them at one point of the season or another.

Yes, that Olde English D on their caps is for Disappointment. Sure, it's early. There are still 155 games left to play, and their lineup has the firepower for the team to turn their fortunes around. But they'll be battling history to even make the playoffs, as no team as ever started the season by losing seven games and then come back to make the playoffs.

How difficult is it to lose seven games in a row? Well, for the sake of the mathematics, let's assume that the two teams involved are evenly matched and have the same chance to win each game. It's like flipping a coin, with heads representing a win and tails representing a loss. The chances of a coin flip coming up tails seven times in a row is one in 128. On the face of it, the Tigers probably had more than an even chance of winning most of those games in their two home series; I'm pretty sure they were the favorite in most of those six games. And yet, they lost all of them. Now they're on the road, playing the defending World Series champion Red Sox in Fenway Park. Boston is favored today to extend the Tigers' losing streak to eight games. Tough times so far for the Motor City fans, especially with the expectations that were raised by the team's off-season moves.


This and That

I was pleased that the Kansas Jayhawks won last night's college basketball championship game. I spent my high school years in eastern Kansas, which is very much K.U. territory, and had a number of friends who went there.

Can you believe all of the protests along the route of the Olympic torch as it passed through London and Paris the last couple of days? It's nice that people are free to protest, but sadly, they won't accomplish anything: China will continue to oppress Tibet and support genocide in Darfur. Today, the torch goes to San Francisco, which is a major center for political protesters. It should be interesting to see what happens when they meet up with the Chinese "Smurfs" who are "protecting" the Olympic torch as it wends its way toward Beijing. For once, my sympathies are with the protesters, mainly because they're opposing something worse than they are.


Spotted in Today's Mail

I saw a large postcard ad in today's mail with a big picture of Harrison Ford, circa 1981, wearing the trademark brown fedora of Indiana Jones. The company that sent it out, U.S. Wings, sells authentic military-style bomber jackets and other similar gear, and is also selling brown leather Indiana Jones jackets (men's, women's and children's sizes) and fedoras as well. Full disclosure: Back in the mid-1980s, I had a brown leather jacket and a brown fedora. I got them for a Halloween costume party, and yes, I went as Indiana Jones. Hats have long since gone out of fashion for everyday wear, but that brown fedora looked damn sharp.

We won't even go into that unfortunate Miami Vice period in 1986.


Blue On Blue

It is a well-known phenomenon that people will write all kinds of rude and nasty things to other people on the internet under the cloak of anonymity, things they wouldn't dare to say to people to their faces. This is especially true in political disagreements on public forums between Democrats and Republicans.

Recently, however, the Democrats have been spewing the venom at each other, as the partisans of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have become bitterly polarized against each other. I've read a few postings on left-wing web sites, and it's obvious that the two groups just plain don't like each other. There's a lot of talk in both camps about how if their candidate is not the nominee, they won't support the other candidate in the general election. For most of them, it's probably just talk; however, a certain percentage may feel so angry about the primary campaign results that they may vote for Ralph Nader, stay home and not vote at all, or even vote for John McCain.

The problem the Democrats have is that they have two candidates whose supporters believe that if their candidate doesn't win the nomination that it will have been "stolen" from them, and they are taking it very personally. Combine this with Democrats talking to each other the way that they normally talk to Republicans (i.e., insults, personal attacks and trash talk) and it's no surprise that so many of them detest the supporters of the other campaign -- and by extension, the other candidate as well.

Finally, there's a story in the news about left-wing Air America radio host Randi Rhodes being suspended for obscene remarks she made at a comedy club in San Francisco about Geraldine Ferraro and Hillary Clinton. I'm no supporter of either of Ferraro or Clinton, but Rhodes' vile remarks (Warning: NSFW!) were beyond the pale. When you have a Democrat like Rhodes using terms like "f***ing whores" to describe two of the leading women in her own party, you know that the Democrats' uncivil war is taking its toll. When there's that much bile and venom between the Obama and Clinton partisans, it's unrealistic to expect that they will all join hands and sing "Kumbayah" when the nominee is decided.


At "Big Beaver & I-75"?

That's the location of the Residence Inn in Troy, Michigan, where a fellow named Tom Athans was entangled in a police investigation of prostitution activity back in late February. He admitted to paying $150 for oral sex. Then the kicker, when the story surfaces: He's married to Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). Oops!

Now, at least in this case, he only paid $150 for fifteen minutes. It's a tough economy in Michigan, and I don't know if the people there would approve of $1000 an hour hookers like they have in New York City. Hard times, hard times.

I don't think that it really reflects on Sen. Stabenow, any more than Monica Lewinsky reflected on Hillary Clinton, other than the notion that the best way to keep a man from straying is to give him what he wants at home. A man who's getting it at home doesn't have to go chasing after it in sleazy hotel rooms. In the cases of Bill Clinton and Eliot Spitzer, we know that they were serial womanizers (and in Bill's case, sexual harassers). We don't know if Athan was playing around more frequently or if he just wanted oral sex that his wife wouldn't give him at home.


No Foolin'

There was a post yesterday, but Blogger ate it. Attempts to resuscitate it were not successful, and as the old saying goes, "You can't swim in the same river twice," so I didn't rewrite it.

I saw an amusing story (well, amusing to me) on the ABC News this morning that Hillary Clinton's campaign is $8.7 million in debt. Among the unpaid bills: Over $291,000 for health insurance for her campaign workers. No foolin'. How ironic is that? I guess she hasn't gotten the memo that it's not "free" until a Democrat gets elected president.

And I gotta say, I loved that ABC News blog post title: "Debt Be Not Proud." Sweeeeet!