Thursday, June 30, 2011

Cranky Crybabies, Part II


Exhibit B of why it's a bad idea to make so much dependent on the dole for its funding.  Who is in charge of the UK?  Is it Parliament or the public sector unions?  God forbid the retirement age get raised from 65 to......

66!!

The horror!  That's what they are striking over?  Really?  Oh, and they want more tax money than they already have.  Spoiled children, indeed...and this isn't the first time.

Remember what they say about problems when running out of other people's money...

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Cranky Crybabies...

...in Greece (Yahoo! News)

I am not sure what these people are expecting.  I am guessing that in schools they didn't teach fundamental economics - that a country cannot ultimately pay out more than it earns and expect to remain fiscally solvent. I am sort of curious as to what kind of employment is the norm there and how so many came to the expectation that they can retire at a (relatively) young age and just go on the dole forevermore.  

I am also curious as to how long it will be when the same kind of large-scale crankery is going to show up here in America.  We have seen it in small-scale form with Wisconsin; I would venture to say that the next place is California or one of the northeastern states.  Whether or not it becomes widespread remains to be seen, but if it does, it's going to be nearly identical to what we have seen in Greece.

Part of the problem of course is the government of Greece, which has enabled this kind of dependency on the part of its citizens.  You can't spoil children for years and decades and then all of a sudden cut them off without expecting a negative reaction.  I'm not saying that the protesters are right or even deserving of a sliver of sympathy, but the Greek powers that be had to know this was coming, and they still didn't do anything until their backs were against the wall.  Better late than never, I suppose, but it makes things a lot more painful that it needed to be.  

Monday, June 27, 2011

Yahoo Has Problems...

So we were looking at Yahoo and on the front was a little blurb about Senator Robert Byrd dying....seriously!  Observe (click to embiggen):


A quick perusal of Byrd's Wikipedia page says he died 364 days ago on June 28, 2010.  And not just that, if he had actually died today, he'd be 93, not 92.  Tsk Tsk, Yahoo.  

For shame.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Maryland, My Maryland...

Seriously. My beloved home state of Maryland is going to require....'Environmental Literacy'....
In an historic vote today, the Maryland State Board of Education provided specific guidance to all public schools to require that each student be environmentally literate before he or she graduates from high school. The vote cements Maryland as the first state in country to approve a graduation requirement in environmental literacy, a credit to Governor O’Malley, to board members, and to Dr. Nancy Grasmick, State Superintendent of Schools.
Whoever said 'historic' had to mean 'positive'? Speaking of historic, why are we going to implement this when history, math, and the hard sciences are seriously lacking in our students? I have a feeling I know the answer (emphasis mine)...
Today’s board vote positions Maryland—and any other state with a strong environmental literacy plan—to potentially receive federal funding. States sometimes lack resources for staff training in environmental education. Draft legislation called the No Child Left Inside Act soon to be reintroduced in Congress would help provide some federal funding. The bill could be introduced in the near future.
Ah! Follow the money trail, as you can with almost any environmental initiative, with very few exceptions.  If Governor O'Malley and Co. want it so bad, perhaps they will find a way to fund it rather than continue to suck the federal teat dry.  But that would be expecting too much...
“The No Child Left Inside Act would increase environmental education opportunities for students across the country,” said Congressman John Sarbanes of Maryland, author of the bill. “Such opportunities are essential to grow the next generation of scientists, promote environmental stewardship, and encourage Americans to live healthier lifestyles.”
Oh good, my own Congressman is the point man. Another good reason not to vote for him.

Again.  

And really...'No Child Left Inside'?  Couldn't they have come up with something more original for the title, like, say, 'Worship Mother Gaia Act' or perhaps 'Save the World By Raising Awareness Act'?   It's just another attempt in the long line of attempts to completely fetishize the environment.  I am on record advocating good stewardship of the earth, but this kind of bureaucratic stuff  is tiring and does nothing more than raise another generation of slactivists who are spoon-fed that we are all DOOMED™ unless we do...

SOMETHING!!!!!!...whatever that may be.

Monday, June 20, 2011

NBC's "Accident"


NBC says it was 'accidental' that the words 'under God' (and 'indivisible', for that matter) were not placed in the montage during their U.S. Open coverage.

Right.  Fredo Corleone 'accidentally'...'drowned', too.  I also have a bridge I would like to sell you.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Governor Christie..BURN

Governor Chris Christie (R) of New Jersey fields a question concerning his children's education from a state resident...


Discuss, class.

(H/T - The American Spectator)

UPDATE - Jeebus, thirty-eight thousand dollar property tax bill?? Youch.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

From Today's Game...

...and just because I can.  This particular scene took place during the Phillies' 8-1 victory over the Marlins today in the first game of their double header. Observe the GIF after the jump...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The King Has No Clothes

I was one of those people who rooted like hell for Dallas to beat Miami in the NBA Finals this year.  It was the second time in the past eight months that I had rooted for a Dallas team to win their championship (the other being the Texas Rangers against the San Francisco Giants), which in itself is just weird, given how much I loathe and despise the Cowboys.  But I digress...

Anyway, part of the reason I rooted against the Heat was because of LeBron James and his cocksure attitude upon his arrival in South Beach Miami - whether it was the pomposity of 'The Decision' or utter arrogance behind the little coming out party with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh ('Yes, We Did'? Really?).  I always liked Wade (until he pulled the shenanigans making fun of Dirk Nowitzki the other day), but his guilt by association and by collusion with James sullies him just as much and thus I couldn't root even for him.

After the clinching Game Six, "King" James went to his postgame presser and presented himself as a man who has a large lack of self-awareness - going after 'haters' and saying things to the effect that he is LeBron James the Great and his critics are a bunch of peons; they will awaken with the same personal problems while he does his Scrooge McDuck impersonation diving into his huge pile of money, et cetera, et cetera.

An Overblown, Made-Up Controversy?

Much as when Brit Hume suggested that Tiger Woods turn to Jesus for forgiveness, the man who is the head of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary suggested the same for Anthony Weiner.

The story, found in the Houston Chronicle's "Believe It Or Not" blog also had 'gems' like this one...
There’s also some shock value in Mohler’s statement, since a number of Americans are uncomfortable with the idea of a Christian leader telling a Jewish person to follow Jesus.
I don't know if 'shock value' is the right phrase.  As the missus so astutely put it - the guy can tell any Jewish person that he needs to follow Jesus, and the Jewish person has the right to tell the proselytizer to go away and leave him alone.  Here's another...
A number of Christian denominations don’t share the view that Jesus’ teachings to Christians supersede Judaism or that a person like Weiner needs Christ, and Rev. Chuck Currie—a United Church of Christ minister—has spoken out on their behalf.
Those Christian denominations need to read up on their theology and Scripture, especially if they claim to be 'Bible-only' types.  Obviously, Christians don't follow the Old Covenant, and the ones that do are on incredibly shaky ground - something I covered a while back. Likewise, Scripture teaches that all people are in need of a redeemer, especially the sinners. It strikes me that the Christian groups who say that individuals don't need Christ by virtue of their various religions are more concerned with scoring points of 'this world' and are forgetful of Matthew 28:19-20.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Re-Alignment Nonsense (Plus A Sensible Solution)

In the past couple of days, there has been a bit of talk about Major League Baseball re-aligning their divisions and teams.  Each of the other major sports leagues have re-aligned in the past decade while baseball went to its current alignment in 1994 (the only minor change being the Milwaukee Brewers moving to the National League, a move that coincided with the entrance of expansion franchises Tampa Bay and Arizona in 1998).  

As it stands the, NL has sixteen teams and the AL has fourteen; much of the talk surrounds 'evening' out the two leagues.  Former Nationals GM (and recruitment cheating enabler) Jim Bowden put forth this 'radical' plan that would effectively eliminate the two leagues in favor of 'conferences' based on geographic realities.  At the heart of all of this (and the real reason for talking about this) is the idea of expanding the playoffs.  

Bud Selig, the MLB Commissioner For Life has made it a stated goal that he wants at least one more team per league in the postseason; others have said they don't mind if they have an NBA or NHL style of postseason.  I think that would be a rotten idea.  Part of baseball's charm is that they don't let everyone and his mother into the postseason.  Over half of the teams in the NBA and NHL make their playoffs; only just over one-quarter of MLB teams make it in.  It is a privilege that a team earns, and they have to work hard over 162 games during the season to get in.  Stumbling through the back door is a rarity in baseball, but it is seen all too often in the other aforementioned sports.

The solution is actually quite simple - it's so simple in fact, it makes a lot of sense and it would work so well that it would never happen - the very essence of the Lattanzi Corollary.  My solution involves a couple of parts, which we will be revealed after the jump...

Saturday, June 11, 2011

An Amazing Lack Of Self-Awareness

Below, I wrote about the 'crowdsourcing' effort on the part of certain media outlets to 'investigate' Sarah Palin's e-mail, and there has been some blowback on the part of readers and viewers of those particular newspapers and outlets.  The New York Times has a 'story' about the blowback, but upon further review, it reads like an ass-covering apologia for why they initiated such efforts in the first place.

The thing that is incredible, though, is the thorough lack of self-awareness on the part of the writer of the story (and by extension, the editors).  To wit...
The debate over the exhaustive efforts to analyze the e-mails by news outlets like MSNBC.com, The New York Times and The Washington Post erupted on Friday with the kind of partisan ferocity that tends to accompany anything related to Ms. Palin.

Another near certainty whenever Ms. Palin is involved: a media spectacle.
So....you (the Times) feed into the frenzy by calling vulture-like attention to this release of e-mail, but it's her fault?  And people wonder why subscription and readership rates are in the toilet.

I think it should be added that next to nothing of substance was found within them.  Of course, I don't know what people were expecting to find, but anything to keep attention away from real stories: the fact that Anthony Weiner could be arrested, the economy, and four military conflicts.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Flashback: 2011 - The Year Without Sports

I wrote this for another blog early in 2009, most likely right after Super Bowl XLIII (Steelers defeated the Cardinals) when I was running a sports blog.  It concerned the coming labor strife in at least two sports. It will be interesting to see how much further my predictions will be played out.  Anyway, enjoy, and don't be afraid to call out the nonsense of it all, if present.  -- J.L.

An interesting scenario has arisen in the past few weeks and months – the prospect of a year without some of our major sports. It is a perfect storm of sorts, with the collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) expiring for MLB, the NFL, and the NBA in 2011. The NFL’s agreement expires as a result of the owners opting out of the CBA, which will now include an uncapped season in 2010.

The league with the least likelihood of a work stoppage is, ironically, Major League Baseball. It is ironic because it seemed that every 4-5 years from 1970-1994 there was either a players’ strike or a lockout on the part of the owners. The wrinkle that will be thrown in is more comprehensive drug testing (i.e. blood samples for HGH) or perhaps even a movement for a salary cap once again. The players will resist further testing, citing that the ‘three strikes and out’ policy is harsh enough, but their union has enough egg on their face over the past 5-6 years that the league may have the right amount of leverage to push this through. However, a lot of things may happen between now and then.

The NBA is facing the direst of situations right now – the league is going to lend several teams money to close operating costs during this tough economic period. They stand the greatest chance of having a lockout; it has been made plain as day that the league and the owners are looking to overhaul the revenue system and the salary structure – shorter contracts, elimination of mid-level exceptions, and other quirks that allow teams to skirt the salary cap, as well as the raising of the minimum age to enter the league. If the players don’t agree to these provisions, there will be no NBA season to begin in the fall of 2011. Look for a lot of pushing and shoving, but the league has the players over a barrel here – just like they did after the 1998-99 lockout. This time, though, the owners know it and will press is to their advantage.

The NFL is the one league that I hope has the work stoppage. Of course, because I want it to happen, all of a sudden, the NFLPA and the ownership will announce a 30-year CBA that will be renewed automatically indefinitely. Just my luck. The signs are all there – owners opted out of the CBA, and a lot of chatter about contracts and the salary cap implications. What makes this situation interesting is the uncapped 2010 season. Why? Because once players get a taste of no cap, they may never want to go back, and the owners will get buyer’s remorse and smaller market teams may become permanent minor-league-style franchises without their brand of socialism and corporate welfare. The league and the owners will then attempt to re-impose a salary cap for 2011 and the players will strike against it. It will thus shatter the perception that the NFL is the ‘most peaceful’ league when it comes to labor relations.

So what are we to do if this ‘perfect storm’ comes to pass? My recommendation is to go with it – all of us sports nuts can use a cleansing of the system periodically. Then, support amateur sports as much as you can – club, youth leagues, high schools, colleges, or watch the NHL and other alternative pro sports. If the athletes in the pros want to deprive us of their company because of squabbling between millionaires and billionaires, then that is their loss. As much as it would pain a lot of us to see this vanish – it could be a re-invigorating time for ourselves, a time to soothe the soul.

My Token NBA Finals Post

I don't write much about basketball, not because I don't know anything about it or I don't follow it, but rather because I am not as big a fan of the NBA as I once was...

- This year's NBA Finals has been intriguing in a few ways; not just because I am actively rooting against the Miami Heat and their Big Three Two and a Half*, but also because guys like Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd could finally earn the championship ring for which they have been hunting for many seasons.  Last night's Game Five put the Dallas Mavericks on the brink of a title, but they still have an uphill battle in going back on the road to Miami for Game Six.  I hope they finish it off on Sunday; a Game Seven would have to favor Miami - they would have the momentum (to the extent there is such a thing) and the home court.  

- LeBron James has shown himself to be incapable of being 'the man' at many junctures in this series - and if he isn't ever able to, it isn't the end of the world.  But to proclaim yourself 'King James' and then try to become the Scottie Pippen-type sidekick is utterly unacceptable.  You want the accolades, sir?  Earn them.

- I can't believe ESPN continues to pay Rick Reilly a large sum of money to write crap like this.  He's won awards in the past, but it feels like he just mails them in now, and doesn't allow for comments on his columns, save for an occasional 'mailbag' that allows him to edit the comments ahead of time.  This isn't the first time I have complained about him, but it's amazing how far he has fallen.

- It was nice to see that last night's game actually had both teams scoring above one-hundred. When I was a kid, it was a generally accepted maxim in an NBA game that the first team to one-hundred points would win the game.  Now, it's hit or miss as to whether a team will hit the century mark, although in the late 1990's, it was almost a guarantee that neither team would score a hundred.  

- This will probably be my last NBA-related post unless they also go into a lockout like the NFL, which is looking very likely at this point.  I wrote a post some time ago on a previous blog (in 2008) about how 2011 would be the 'year without sports' - I kind of wish I kept it, but it's lost forever in cyberspace now.  Regrets... (UPDATE - I found it and it is posted above this post on the front page)

*Chris Bosh is a nice player, but isn't a superstar by any stretch of the imagination.  He will never be 'The Man' in any circumstance whatsoever, so to put him on par with James and Wade is just laughable.  Save the title of 'The Big Three' for the history books - The Yalta Conference of 1945.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Priorities, Priorities...


Oh no, let's not further investigate what our actual elected officials are doing.  Instead, let's expend our energy on someone who is a private citizen and is not a public official in any way right now.  It's actually quite pathetic.  I guess the Weiner story softened a bit...see what I did there?

Mind you, I am no Palinite - but the utter obsession with her by media is annoying and it tells me a couple of things... 

a) They fear her immensely.  After all, if she is the dunce they portray her to be (i.e., the Tina Fey model), then they have nothing to worry about.  She would just make mistake after mistake and undermine herself.  That isn't happening, and so the landmines have to be placed in front of her in the hopes that she trips them up.  

b) They are running interference for their favored people.  Remember the howls of protest from the editorial pages in many newspapers when George W. Bush was sending people to Guantánamo and putting more troops into Iraq and Afghanistan?  They were everywhere. Remember the same howls of protest when Barack Obama kept Guantánamo open and placed more troops overseas and started not one, but two new wars kinetic military actions?

Neither do I.

Phillies In "Hitter's Counts"

This was originally published at The Good Phight. -- J.L.

Something we have been kicking around during the game threads has been the Phillies’ approach at the plate, especially with regard to getting ahead in the count, namely 3-0 and 3-1. Our eyes tell us there is something off about certain hitters and how they hit once they get to those particular counts, but it is hard to ascertain precise numbers. This is an attempt to get a feel for where the Phillie hitters stand in those situations. How the numbers are to be interpreted, I am not sure at this point; without doing this for every team we aren’t going to know what would be considered ‘average' at this point in time.

A note about the methodology in compiling – I was not interested in how they hit in a specific count; you can look that kind of stuff up at B-R and Retrosheet. What I wanted to see was what the results would be ONCE a hitter got to the deep so-called “hitter’s counts”. There are two charts – one for 3-0 counts and one for 3-1 counts. There is a bit of overlap, considering that many hitters are taking a strike on the 3-0 count. If that happened, then it has been counted on both charts.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Throwing Around Money...


Delightful.

I find it so wonderful that the president wants to use other people's money to help a foreign economic basket case, even when it has been abundantly clear that throwing money at a problem isn't going to help solve said problem, whether it is health care, education, Social Security, food stamps, Cash for Clunkers, and so on.  Our government needs to spend more money like, pardon the cliché, people need a hole drilled into their heads.

Essentially, we are going to use a credit card to pay off someone else's credit card.  Smashing. Would someone please tell me what is this really about anyway?  Does Greece actually produce anything that the world uses, or is this an excuse to prop up a failed social engineering experiment?  

The best line from the story is the following:
Obama said Greece had to make structural reforms and instill greater transparency in its economy.
Et tu, Mr. President? 

M*A*S*H Issues - The 'Evolution' Of Frank Burns

It's been a while since I have written anything M*A*S*H related, but as I have popped on the DVDs lately, I have been inspired to write some things relating to the series. Watching the episode "Margaret's Marriage" (the final episode of Season Five), it led me to look at the 'evolution' of the main foil and antagonist of the first few years (Seasons 1-5), Major Frank 'Ferret Face' Burns.

In the beginning (Seasons 1-3), Burns was part of a two-pronged attack force with Major Margaret Houlihan.  With Henry Blake, another draftee like the rest, running the 4077, Burns was always able to take the 'high' road of appealing to patriotism, order, and general military discipline (i.e. going 'by the book').  He was also always the object of torture by the other 'Swampmen', Hawkeye Pierce and Trapper John McIntyre, and yet, he could escape that by running back into the arms of Margaret, who was not only his 'partner in crime', she was also the object of his infidelity.  

After Blake was killed (at the end of Season Three), Colonel Sherman Potter came along and the dynamic of both the Burns character and the Burns-Houlihan axis shifted dramatically. Potter was not a pushover in any way, shape, or form, and while the antipathy between his fellow doctors (now including B.J. Hunnicutt) remained, the previous avenue of placing himself as the standard-bearer of Army discipline was completely cutoff.  That fourth season began the unraveling of the Burns character and expedited the making of him as a completely one-dimensional caricature.

If the fourth season wounded Burns, the fifth season killed him off.  Margaret got engaged to Lt. Colonel Donald Penobscot and effectively ended the alliance between her and Burns, which left him completely exposed to the shenanigans from the others.  He was not able to formulate any kind of elaborate revenge plans and was reduced to tired one-line comebacks such as 'oh go stuff a goose!'  

Partial responsibility falls on the writers for not truly developing the character over the years, although I will acknowledge that they were stuck between a rock and a hard place due to the nature of the character and what they needed him to be.  Larry Linville himself said that he left the show precisely because the character had gotten to the end of the road and just couldn't go any further.  Burns was written off the series in a fitting fashion - he went completely nuts over Margaret's marriage and was rotated back to America. 

That little history of the character aside - there are quite a few hilarious Burns moments, especially when he was left in charge due to either Blake or Potter leaving the 4077th for a length of time; hijinks would usually ensue with funny results.  Every now and then there would seem to be a development of the character, but by the next episode he would be back to this smarmy and annoying self.  This goes back to that which I alluded in the previous paragraph about the writers being in a tough position - yes, it would be nice to actually treat Burns like a human being rather than a cartoon character, but without Burns being that antagonist, there would not have been a show.  

What's interesting is that the replacement character for Burns, Major Charles Emerson Winchester III (David Ogden Stiers), was treated as a human being, and was also able to maintain the adversarial position with Hawkeye and B.J.  While this is a whole other topic, it goes much to how the writers do in establishing a character a certain way; Burns was established as a holier-than-thou, wannabe Patton, philandering, quasi-quackish flag-waver; Winchester was not, and that allowed for exploration of Winchester while putting Burns into a box.

All of this is not to say that Burns wasn't worth it; he absolutely was - but the writing was definitely on the wall as to the direction in which the series would go.  As a character, he would have stuck out even more like a sore thumb and further boxed in the writers.  I believe that had Burns stayed, the series would have probably ended by the seventh season.  Instead, it went on for eleven.  Whether that's a good or a bad thing, I leave to you, the reader.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Great Headline...

I mentioned the Anthony Weiner scandal a couple of days ago, but since it has officially 'blown up' now, I figured I would put in my requisite hundred words or so.  Actually, I have no idea how many words this blog post will end up taking, but all I really wanted to say was what a great headline for the lead editorial of the New York Post today...


Outstanding.

Too bad it wasn't on the cover of the paper, because that would have been an instant classic (like this one) in the annals of New York tabloid* journalism.  Tasteless?  Absolutely.  But utterly hilarious.

I am not going to get into all the issues here about whether Congressman Weiner should resign (My short answer: I think he should - mostly because of the potential blackmail issues), but the press has just been too much to ignore it, and it will be interesting to see where all this goes...not just with Weiner himself, but also with the sundry peripheral issues.

*I use tabloid in both its literal and metaphorical sense.  One thing I lament about living around DC is that we don't have any truly good sensationalistic mainstream papers like New York.  Even most of the little local papers are broadsheets.  That's too bad. 

Sometimes You Just Have To Read The Comments...

On this particular post about Sarah Palin's flubbed non-flub* over Paul Revere and his ride at The Corner, this particular comment from NRO commenter "AbeFroman" made me laugh at a time I was supposed to be quiet:
I don't get the adoration of her on the right. I don't get the creepy, obsessive hatred of her on the left. But I'd like the two sides to meet in the center of the country and have a war. One side has all the guns and men with testosterone. The other side has frozen veggie burgers and the vast majority of skilled yoga practitioners.

I'll make popcorn and watch.
Again, sometimes, you will find some gold in them thar comments.

*I called it a flubbed non-flub because somehow, she did get it right, even as it was nearly a complete accident that she did.

Monday, June 6, 2011

On Women's College Softball...

I have been watching some of the women’s college softball championships on ESPN lately, and while I am a huge baseball/softball fan, I can’t say that I like the way competitive fast-pitch softball has been going, especially at the collegiate level.

Let me begin by saying that scoring is not one of the issues. The plethora of 1-0 and 2-1 games do not bother me in the least. No matter what people think, there is a certain beauty to a low scoring game, especially one that is well-pitched. Sloppy games tend to be higher scoring, due to errors and such. Good pitching and good defense make for lower scoring games, and there are a lot of positives that can come out of such games.

No, what I am talking about here are some of the trends I have noticed over the past few years, and I don’t like where they are going. There are two in particular – one is a technical aspect, and the other is more ‘cultural’, in a manner of speaking.

The technical trend that I find a bit disheartening is that in which the players all seem to be bailing when they swing, especially the left-handed hitters. The theory goes that they will get a head start running to first base when making contact. However, this constitutes poor fundamental hitting. A hitter needs to maximize his plate coverage; bailing out automatically concedes the outer half of the plate (or the inner half, if right-handed) to the pitcher and makes the hitter susceptible to both the outside pitch and to off-speed pitches. In turn, when contact is made, the likelihood of pulling a ground ball increases. No emphasis is placed on trying to keep the back foot planted in an attempt to drive the ball; it comes off as a high-tech version of kickball instead.

(Digression #1 – with those attempts to bail while swinging, I would be interested in seeing how many people are outside the box when contact is made, considering that if the front foot lands outside the box when contact is made, the batter is supposed to be out…. )

(Digression #2 – related to the first digression is the umpiring in women’s softball. I hate the style. The calling of strikes takes forever and the plate umpire will wait at least two or three seconds before making the hand gesture for a strike. The difference between the out signal and strike signal ought to be a little more pronounced; they are often the same – a quick full extended right hand made into a fist. When I umpired softball games, I called them like baseball games – pointing to the right for strikes and putting a little more feeling into the close calls at the bases and called third strikes. I do realize that this is the way the umpires are instructed in softball umpiring school, but it needs to change from the start.)

The ‘cultural’ trend (for lack of a better term) that I find incredibly annoying is when the entire infield runs to the mound after every single out to high five one another. Before you accuse me of ‘not understanding’ or ‘being judgmental’, let me remind the audience that there are 21 outs in a game (softball plays seven innings). Each team plays about fifty games per season. Ergo, that is over one-thousand outs in a season. Act like you have been there before. The throw-around after an out is fine. Talking to, and encouraging each other after an out is also ok. But to physically gather after each and every single out at the mound is just a bit too much, and it needs to stop. Save the high-fiving for the end of the inning in the dugout or after the game.

[Steps down from the soapbox]

Some Blog Changes...

I have decided to do away with the 'Share' button that was below near the comment thread, because it was just too clunky.  Instead, I have placed Facebook and Twitter share buttons, considering that those are the two main ways in which information gets passed along these days, along with email.  

I had been contemplating this change, but wasn't sure how to go about.  I had some time this morning to fiddle with it, and voilà!  And just so you know, this was done with the knowledge and permission of the Real Author™; I got said permission last night as I was putting his usual ration of dry Meow Mix into the bowl around 9:30.  I would never consider doing such a thing unilaterally, since he knows where I sleep....

Friday, June 3, 2011

It's Time To Retire "-Gate"

The One and Only
"Watergate"
Two of the most ridiculous uses I have ever seen of the suffix '-gate' to denote a scandal have prompted me to write this particular post...

1) The 'scandal' (if you want to call it that) concerning New York Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner, dubbed 'Weinergate', as if that wasn't going to spawn thousands hundreds of adolescent jokes in the first place.  I am not really following this story too much, although there does seem to be some fishy aspects to it.  Stay tuned in case it does blow up...

2) The scandal at The Ohio State University concerning players (including Terrelle Pryor) selling memorabilia for money and tattoos, which was dubbed, I kid you not....

'Tattoo-parlorgate'!

Really?  Wow. 

People seem to forget that the granddaddy of all scandal names was the actual name of a hotel.  When the scandal hit, it was easy to identify it as 'Watergate', because that's where the original action of burglary took place, sending everything into motion.  In the past thirty-seven years, every scandal seemingly has the suffix -gate attached to it.  Wikipedia even has a list of scandals that end with said suffix!  It's time for some originality, but unfortunately, it seems that every has come down with the '-gate' disease.  

I move that we retire the suffix in naming scandals.  It is high time that we think of better names for the crap that goes on in the world.  Of course, that will only happen when Hollywood stops recycling movies and optioning 1960's sitcoms.  So don't hold your breath.

What a pity.  Or even Pitygate, if you prefer.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Graduation Bingo

It's that time of the year!  It's graduation season.  Dustin, being the journalist, has to cover many graduations, so he and I came up with this particular graduation bingo card - he came up with the meat of the spaces, I designed and edited.  It's meant to be somewhat tongue-in-cheek, so enjoy and see how close it is to the real thing whenever you attend a school's graduation commencement exercises.  Maybe for next year, we can mix it up a little, but without further ado, here is Graduation Bingo! Click to embiggen....

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Pollsters and News Influence

Over at First Things' "On the Square" blog, Joe Carter has a longish post up about how pollsters influence the news, and how news organizations conduct polls in order to report on them, and so forth.  I think he didn't have to write all that.  All he had to do was show this clip from Yes, Prime Minister....

The Triumphant Return....(sort of)

Anyway, it is June 1, which means at least two things...

- I have given my final exam.

- I have moved.

It has been a pain in the backside (amongst other places), but the great Move of 2011 went off relatively smoothly with a huge assist from some good friends, including oft-mentioned Dustin and his wife; Nick (of Caputo's Corner fame); and brother Aaron and his college friend Alex.  We couldn't have done it without them, so big kudos to them.

We moved mostly because it would put us closer to our places of employment - with gas being outrageously high these days, it made sense to cut our mileage down.  In total - we will be driving approximately 180 miles less per week combined now.  Broken down into real cost, that's about six or seven gallons of gas at $3.80; close to 25 bucks a week are saved and about 100 dollars per month.

At school, we are in the final week of 'festivities' - final exams for the underclassmen; the Baccalaureate Mass and commencement for the seniors.  I gave my final exam yesterday, but the results are pending at this very moment.  Today, thus, is my first real off day since the weekend prior to Memorial Day.

Anyway, we are back, and the commentary on various events and other things will be back up to speed very shortly.  As the cliché goes...it's good to be back.   It remains to be seen, however, how The Real Author™ of this blog is going to adjust to his new surroundings.  So far, so good, but cats are notoriously fickle, as many people know.  

Stay tuned.....

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