Saturday, July 05, 2008

Headline says it all

"Bush lowers expectations for his final G8 Summit."

George Bush lowers expectations. They didn't have far to go, sir.

How much is too much?

Let me get this're married to Christie G*dd&*n Brinkley, and you are having an affair?

Are you serious?

With who? Heidi Klum?

Geez louise.

Meme Time

Name : Michael
Birth Date : 10/17/1971
Current Status : Married
Eye colour : Blue
Righty or lefty : Righty

My Heritage : Scotch (If it's not scottish it's crap!)
My Fears : The Future
My Weaknesses : Food
My Perfect Pizza : Deep dish, with multiple cheeses

My thoughts first waking up : "I can't wait to go to sleep again."
My bedtime : Usually around midnight.
My most missed memory : the last time Simon laughed at something I did.

Pepsi or Coke : Coke Zero
McDonald or Burger King : Burger King
Single or grouped dates : Single
Adidas or Nike : Nike
Tea or Nestea : Chai
Chocolate or vanilla : Vanilla
Cappuccino or coffee : Cappuccino

Smoke : No
Curse : Yes
Take a shower : Yes, most assuredly. Nothing worse than a stinky fat man.
Think you’ve been in love : Yes
Go to school : No.
Want to get married : Again? No one could replace my bride.
Believe in yourself : Believe in my capacity to disappoint? Sure.

Alcohol : No.
Gone to the mall : Yes
Been on stage : Yes
Eaten sushi : Yes.
Dyed your hair : No.

Played a stripping game : No!
Changed who you were to fit in : Yes.

To get married : Never again. I want to die in my wife's arms.

Best eye colour : No preference.
Best hair colour : No preference.
Short hair or long hair : Long.
Best height : No preference.
Attitude : Able to laugh.

A minute ago : Typing this.
Hour ago : Listening to the Slate Political Gabfest and commenting on blogs.
4.5 hours ago : Working
1 month ago : Working
Year ago : Working

I love : rock and roll
I feel : drained.
I hate : intolerance.
I hide : my panic
I miss : knowing.
I need : to believe.

Barbeque The Cherry

OH (overheard) at work: “You can’t have a barbeque without cherries.”

Um…..yes. Yes, you can. I’ve had literally hundreds of barbeques without a cherry in sight. If I were to make a list called “Essential things to bring to a barbeque”, “cherries” would be far from the top of the list. It would be located somewhere around “scuba gear” and “sharpened pencils”, way down near the bottom of the list.

OH at work: “Knowing, caring, and understanding are not two, but three different things.”

I feel like I have to elaborate on yesterday’s post.

(And lo, the multitudes cried out, “Yes! Explain thyself!”)

Firstly, and primarily, there really isn’t any other country in the world that lets you natter on like this. Yes, Western countries have most of the same degree of personal freedom that Americans do, and I guess, when you say “America is the freest country in the world,” you should, for the sake of completeness, say that “America and the Western democracies are the freest region in the world.” To paraphrase the great Lewis Black, “nowhere else in the world lets an asshole like me talk like this.” I love my country the way I love my wife-with all flaws clearly in view and acknowledged, but overcome by a deep, abiding respect for the larger beauties.

You can go on and on about America’s flaws. And people have. And whoa, do we have some doozies.

We never really came to grips with either the Native American or African American genocides. We still haven’t really figured out how to integrate capitalism, with its clear winners and clear losers, and Judeo-Christian humanity, with its clear absence of winners and losers. We still haven’t figured out how to deal with the effluent from a modern industrial economy.

One of the most heartening thing I have learned in my reading in history is that the Founders, and really all of our ancestors, saw these problems and acknowledged them. They didn’t go so far as to solve them, naturally. Then again, neither have we. But they didn’t (not ALL of them) completely ignore them, put them on a shelf and put their fingers in their ears, yelling “la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la!”

They were men. They dealt with things the best they could. As baseball historian Bill James puts it, we should look upon their failings with sympathy, in hopes that future generations will look upon ours the same way. There are plenty of books willing to expose hypocrisy and corruption and evil in American history, but to focus on just the dark passages misses the point.

I react just as violently against the sunny, Lee Greenwood, aint everything grand school. I shrink away from celebrating patriotism because it has become, in this day and age, a de facto denial that there has ever been anything wrong in this “shining city on a hill”. I don’t know how to express the mixed blessing of the accident of my birth in one of the richest parts of the wealthiest nation on earth. I hate war, but I love military history and was raised and educated by my father, who worked for a major defense contractor for most of his life.

I am reading “The Company”, a marvelous novel about the CIA. It is historical fiction, but has real people in it. It dovetails nicely with this discussion, as does this week’s “Left, Right and Center”. So many millions, throughout the years, have been trying to make the right decisions with the imperfect and incomplete information in front of them.

The moderator on “LRC”, Matt Miller, points out, rightly, that so often right wing patriotism obscures or denies flaws, while left wing patriotism obscures or denies strengths. Robert Scheer rightly comes back with the observation about how many times Republicans who didn’t serve, or barely served, (Nixon, Reagan, Bush II) had no problem calling into question the patriotism of Democrats who did (McGovern, Carter, Kerry). Military service is not the sole arbiter of patriotism, but to call a vet who faced the bullets unpatriotic while you didn’t is pretty galling.

I was watching “Independence Day”, again, last night, and it occurred to me that so many films where the president, or symbols of the president, were defiled or destroyed were made during the 1990s. As if the fact that Clinton was president gave them license to mock the office or something like that. Or perhaps, more simply, it was simply that the first young, vital president since Kennedy gave scriptwriters the inspiration of a president being anything other than an old man.

In New York, Boston wasted a fine start by Bat Masterson and fell to New York, 2-1. They loaded the bases in the ninth, but Mariano Rivera shut the rally down to seal the loss. Tampa plays at home against the Royals tonight, so if the Naughty Fish win, Boston will be 4 games out. Tim Wakefield, who has both owned the Yankees at time and gotten lit up by them at times, pitches tomorrow night for Boston against Joba the Hutt.

There was an interesting point on the Slate Cultural Gabfest-perhaps George Carlin doesn't seem as funny anymore because his influence is so pervasive that it is part of the environment.

Friday, July 04, 2008

America (America)

In the Boogie Down this afternoon, the always dangerous, though lately punchless, New York Yankees got three first inning runs, then threatened late, bringing the tying run to the plate before Bobby Abreu flew out to deep center, sealing a 6-4 win.

Nothing more American than that.

It is July 4, Independence Day in the United States. Independence Day is when the Declaration of Independence was adopted, marking, essentially, the start of the Revolutionary War. (On July 4, 1776, the battles of Lexington, Concord, and Bunker Hill had already occurred.) I am conflicted.

I have spent the day rewatching parts of HBO's John Adams, while intermittently chasing my nephew Simon around the house.

I have really sunk into a malaise about my future, and, in a sense, the nation's.

America has faced horrible crises in the past-threatened by its very survival. It seems, though, that the present crisis is unprecedented in its scope. I fear that the current issues are so perilous, and so utterly insolvable, I don't think even a man as bright as Senator Obama can solve them.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Crazy Eights (Game 88)

In a piece of good news I neither expected, nor, frankly, deserved, Lonesome Jon Lester went into Yankee Stadium and throttled the Yankees, tossing a 105 pitch, 5 hit shutout. This pushes Boston within 3 games of first place, and puts them 5 full games in front of New York.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Swept Away

In Tampa tonight, Boston went out to a 4-1 lead, before a disastrous 7th inning featuring 'Ol Sleepyhead, Craig Hansen, gave Tampa a 7-4 lead. Boston got one back in the 8th, then one more in the 9th. A blown hit and run helped kill the rally, and Boston dies another day, 7-6.

Tampa completes the sweep and leads Boston by 3 1/2 games in the division.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Eighty Sixed (Game 86)

In Tampa, Boston lost again, 3-1, falling further behind the Naughty Fish and wasting another fine effort by Tim Wakefield.

Overheard inside my head, lunchtime today: "Gee, this Weight Watchers meal doesn't have instructions about how to cook both sandwiches......Oh. I guess that's the point."

The instructions even say "Unwrap one sandwich and put the other one back in the freezer." In other words, "No, fat boy, you CANT have two."

In the New Yorker, Seymour Hersh outlines the Administration's plans for war in Iran.

War with Iran?

Jesus Christ.

Monday, June 30, 2008

End of June, Spoon, Aloon (Game 85)

In Tampa Bay, the slumping Sox fall to the streaking Rays, 5-4. Boston actually got the tying run to third base in the top of the 9th, getting two runs off of the truly terrible Troy Percival before finally falling just short.

Today is Bill Gates' supposed last day at Microsoft. I started with Microsoft Windows running on an IBM Aptiva, that being the first computer I bought and used regularly. The first words I wrote, in paragraphs and pages on a word processor on a computer were on a IBM PC running MS DOS 2.0. Whatever credit Gates deserves for all this (there is some debate), I can honestly say my life would not be the same without what he and his company brought. Attention must be paid, as the saying goes.

Further proof that the Bush Administration has ruined absolutely everything- a program that the Justice Department used to attract young lawyers was twisted to partisan purposes. A recent report shows that the Bush Administration discriminated against candidates with so called liberal associations or hobbies. The childishness of these people, with their paranoid fear of exposure to an idea they are unfamiliar, would be funny if it weren't so deeply frightening.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Still Energy To Be Found in Houston (Game 84)

In Houston, the Red Sox lost again, this time 3-2 to Brian "Scuffy" Moehler and his bullpenny friends. This pushes Boston down into second place, 1/2 game behind the Tampa Bay Naughty Fishies, who defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates.