Friday, May 30, 2008

We Need Replays Not Corrupt Umpires

Hi, my name is Bruce and I am a met fan.
"Hi Bruce."
I have been a fan for 47 years. I have lived through some bad times and some more bad times. I have seen a few years of good times but mostly it has been a bad ride. Still throughout it all I remain a fan. But for some reason baseball and New York in particular is not.
In the early days when they were truly so bad that the jokes, mostly based on fact were sayings such as, "Marv Throneberry was so bad that once he struck out and threw his helmet down and missed the ground!"
We have had our share of self induced pain and self inflicted losses but we were the perennial underdog and as such had and still have a loving and loyal following.
So why, after becoming a mainstream, old line team compared to some are the Mets still receiving such hatred from baseball umpires and the media?
The Mets suck so far this year and I use that term based on the amount of money spent to put this team together and the talent they supposedly field. Their batting coaches must be blind zombies because this team, like no other goes into a team wide slump for weeks at a time with seemingly no help.
And until recently an umpire could and would dump on the Mets ruling against them every chance he got on close plays without fear of an irate manager running out and jawing at him. Of course if looks could kill Randolph would have been in jail for murder many times over.
But the Met braintrust met and gave Willie the willies. He is now a more demonstrative manager, smiling, 'high-fiving' and yelling and doing so at the approproate time! He is finally showing some life. Now if only his team would.
And that brings me to my point. The Metsies can and do lose without any outside help, thank you very much. But they are trying (Lord are they trying) and still the close calls go against them. Perhaps if the team were sold to the Steinbrenners we could become part of that family's long heritage of deceipt, graft and intimidation and be a winner as well.
But that will thankfully not happen so as a last resort I ask how many times will an umpire make an obviously wrong call against the Mets before someone starts to question things?
In a game on May 30th against the L A Dodgers the Mets were leading by a single run late in the game. Cute and sweet little L.A. outfielder Juan Pierre hit a slow ground ball to Reyes at short. Knowing how fast the Dodger munchkin could run Jose Reyes made a great play and a hard fast accurate throw to first base to get the speedy Pierre out by a foot, according to every replay known to man. BUT before Pierre's foot came down on the base the umpire had already called him safe. Randolph even came out to argue so you have to know he was out. But Willie's wallet was alas empty and the play stood. As a result the Dodgers took the lead and eventually won the game.
Will anyone look into the finances of this crooked or terribly bad umpire?
Of course not.
Will he be reprimanded?
No way, Jose.
Will he have to split the money he got for making the call?
Probably. I would not be surprised to find out that the umps have a pool much like waitresses at a diner.
But even the New York papers did not mention the bad call. You see it went against the Mets. And coincidentally in favor of the Dodgers who's manager is a New York favorite, to some.
If that call was against the Yankees it would have been overturned. Don't believe me? Ask Carlos Delgado who hit a HOME RUN off the FOUL POLE at Junkee Stadium. After it was intially ruled a home run the bastards on the Yankees reminded the umpires of their obligations and they met for a conference. After deciding on how to divvy up the graft they turned and declared the home run a foul ball. (The joke was on them because their employer lost the game anyway, this time.)
Of course you also could go back to the play when that little bastard brat reached over the wall and interefered with a sure out in the Bronx. The bums were playing Boston and the ensuing home run changed the entire series around. Little Billy sat on the bench next to his steroid laden heroes the next day after the umpires ruled whatever way they felt helped the Yankees out the most.
I would love just once for baseball to look into a play like the Home Run foul ball or the "safe when he was out by at least a foot" play noted above and fire the culprits, making it public. Let the fans know that baseball is trying to clean up its act and it will not put up with such obviously bad calls. It is one thing to get it wrong but it is quite another thing to not care which way the play goes as long as you get paid for the call. Pretty soon all we will have to do is bid for the victory of every game and not bother putting on uniforms. Anyone care to guess who will then win every World Series?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

And So To Wed

Governor Paterson of NYS has asked that all state agencies recognize Gay Marriages legally performed in other states and countries. That means those individuals will be afforded all the rights other married couples are given such as healthcare, right of survivorship etc.

There are some that will say the governor is blind to the facts, sorry, but I personally applaud his sane and humane action. Isn't is about time we allow any CITIZEN of AMERICA to show and share his or her love for any other CITIZEN of AMERICA without butting in? In fact anyone who feels it necessary to do so is a BUTTHEAD! (Sound familiar BRUNO???)

If we continue to allow the so-called righteous religious right to dictate their values, or lack thereof on the rest of society how far are we from outlawing other religions? Suppose these morons don't like English Muffins? Will they demand that the Egg McMuffin be outlawed next?

With all the war in the world why would we choose to waste one second of thought or one ounce of effort to stop two people from peacefully sharing their love with each other?

You cannot tell me that the two happy people in this photo (Sharon Papo, left, and her partner Amber Weiss - AP Photo/Tony Avelar) are a threat to anyone else's values or to the supposed sanctity of marriage. They are merely filling out a form to make an appointment with the county clerk of San Francisco to get a marriage license at city hall. We do make it hard, don't we?

If you truly believe that the bible and the people who wrote that book would be upset by such happiness and love then you need to seek help my friend for you are the sick one!

Monday, May 26, 2008

East End Crime

Ruth Vered, an East Hampton gallery owner was arrested this week for committing one of the most horrendous crimes I have ever heard about. This dastardly individual had the audacity to serve wine and champagne, free of charge to her guests at a showing of the photography of Steven Klein. The beverages, Veuve Clicquot Champagne and chilled white wine were donated by Bridgehampton winery Channing Daughters for the occasion. These accomplices could not be reached for comment.

With all the pain and suffering in the world these days and the tremendous increase in our day to day cost of living thank goodness the East Hampton PD was able to keep their eye on the target and use our tax dollars to arrest this terrible lady. Ms. Vered was led away from her fete in handcuffs. Here you can see the evil-doer and her rage at being caught red-handed having fun. Okay, perhaps this 'perp-walk' photo did not capture her best side but you get the picture. (Actually she is kind of scary in this photo by Newsday's Janet Lehr!)
She was obviously stressed beyond reason because her final words as she was led away were as good as a confession for the police. She commented that she had been serving cocktails before most of the arresting police officers were born.
Once again the forces of evil have been quashed. Be warned you merrimakers out there, your days are numbered.
Bravo EHPD! Keep up the vigilance.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Observations on the Road to Graduation

I am now the proud father of 2 college graduates and the owner of 2 former college monthly bills. Thank goodness because the extra cash comes just in time to pay my gasoline bill.
With the oil companies and the speculators driving the price up through the roof life is becoming far more interesting and much closer to home for most. And it will only be getting better, or worse depending on which is your side of the equation. Thank goodness our president has decided to ask his OPEC friends for help. Of course they turned him down. They no longer need his help and he was only half-heartedly asking anyway as he and his friends have benefited greatly.
So what is a normal guy or gal on the ground, or rather the road to do? Well for one thing we could all drive a little slower and not make any sudden starts and stops that cause us to use more gas. This will not help the world out of the crisis but it will make our own usage drop a bit and save us money.
On my recent round trip of 600 miles I drove the speed limit or less for the entire trip gradually changing speeds whenever I was able and making sure to stay out of situations that would cause a sudden screeching stop. As a result my gas mileage, I just calculated it for the entire voyage which included highway as well as local street and traffic driving conditions was 28.
Perhaps that does not seem like a lot but remember I drive an SUV, okay it's a hybrid but it normally gets around 21 mpg. Also take into account that the car was loaded with my wife's and my luggage going down and very heavy luggage filled with two thirds of my son's stuff from college on the return. Typically you can increase your mileage with less weight being towed so I am very happy with these results.
One other point that I found interesting was the reaction I received from my fellow travelers. Actually calling them fellows or travelers is not completely accurate. The other drivers I encountered on the road should mostly be called morons. On a three lane highway I stayed in the middle lane thus allowing the faster drivers the left lane and the exiting and entering ones a free right lane. Many times people would pull up to my tail and drive so close I could have popped the trunk and invited them in. Some, especially low-life types driving alone in a gas guzzling Toyota pick ups would stay there trying to get me to speed up and failing that would pass me and express various degrees of disgust. I received an altered "We're Number One" finger, some disgusted shakes of the head and several screams of anger, many from women.
On a few ocassions I noticed cars weaving in and out trying to advance only to fail. One such driver was finally able to get ahead of me and did so by cutting into my lane in front of me so close that I felt sure we had to hit each other.
But at the end of the day I had the last laugh as I saved $28.00 on gas. This figure is based on my previous gas mileage versus my actual usage multiplied by the $4 per gallon price of gas as of the time this was written. ($4 will soon be a fond memory as we head for $6 and $7 per Bush, I mean gallon.)
One other personal observation and I know it will piss off millions of Americans (if only they could and would read this) is at this time in our history with the oil crisis a top news item every day WHAT THE HELL IS UP WITH NASCAR? Can there be a more stupid thing to do with what's left of our fossil fuel than wasting it on an oval track to nowhere? Every ounce these morons waste driving around a track at ridiculous speeds in order to see which testosterone laden brainless wonder (and that includes you too, Danica) will take the beer-filled cup at the finish line pollutes our atmosphere and teaches our youth to continue to waste natural resources. And if you wish to point out that there are so many fans who live for these events I will point out that I saw many of them on my round trip to Maryland. They were the ones who slow down when they see an accident hoping to see blood and wreckage. It is the same rubber-necking fools who sit for hours in the sun, drinking booze and rooting for one driver or another to waste his 5 miles per gallon in a faster way than the other guy. Isn't it funny that most of these rednecks are Republicans and Bush supporters? If they were really patriots perhaps they could suspend NASCAR for a while, say a year or thirty. You know, just until our environment catches it's breath. (I think the Indi 500 is far worse than the Chicago 7.)
But back to my trip. I saved money and gas and that is only a personal thing but if everyone saved and conserved it could actually make a small difference. Perhaps not as much as is needed worldwide because the Chinese and the Indian communites are adding over 2,000,000 cars per day to the roads sooner or later even they will get the message.
Hopefully it will not be too late because did I mention I now have two graduates in the house? And since this is my blog I am allowed to also brag that one of them is in Phi Beta Kappa and has a bright creative future ahead of himself and the other one received an Enhanced Chancellor Fellowship from CUNY (worth mucho dineros) to help her pursue her PhD in neuropsychology. She will not get rich but at least she will get to do what she wants without the usual money worries. (Why does America make it so hard to get a good education? That's another blog.)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

What Happens in Vegas…

The phrase has become as ubiquitous as Master Card’s “Priceless” although not as flexible. That is unless you have a somewhat warped brain. Therefore let me give you my take.
For the third time in twelve years (I have been going to Las Vegas on business for fifteen years straight) I have broken a tooth. And since I chose not to keep the shard as a souvenir, what breaks in Vegas…
Luckily I no longer feel the need to gamble, or as I call it handing hard earned money over to a bunch of greedy corporations who make the rules and stack them in their favor. Wait a second, I already do hand over hard earned money to a greedy corporation that makes the rules and stacks them in their favor, and it’s called the IRS!
As for the hard core gambler you can see them every second of every day as they sit at the tables or the slot machines puffing on their cancer delivery sticks and sucking down all kinds of liquids to ensure cirrhosis of the liver. Their money is most definitely staying along with a few years of their lives.
The gamblers who sit at the tables are at least interacting with a dealer or croupier as they blow their life savings but the ones that I find to be totally pathetic are the ‘Morlock feeding’ Eloi who sit at the slot machines all day and night. Casino owners long ago figured out that it takes time to pull the arm in order to start the wheels of the slot machine turning and replaced them with a simpler, faster button. That means no exertion on the part of the loser and a much more efficient way of losing.
Watch the faces of the slots players and note that they do not smile unless they win a jackpot, and we all know how often that happens. In all fairness they do not frown when they lose either lest they reveal their true feelings. They are cool and confident and they are losers. They are losing time as well as money. Both stay…
But do not get the impression that all is terrible in Vegas. If you go their with intelligence and an open mind to all that the town has to offer you may actually enjoy yourself and still have some retirement money left over on your return home. There are plenty of shows and events to take you breath away and many of the top performers and Broadway shows now have a home in Vegas.
One main thing I noticed was the tremendous number of young people in town. They must have a lot more money than I did when I was their age and they certainly have more tolerance for liquor. When I was leaving for the airport AT FOUR AM THANK YOU VERY MUCH MR. ENGEL (my travel agent) I could not believe the noise level in the casino. Naturally there were the usual posse of pathetic players but the bars were full and overflowing with “Gen Y” drinkers still up from the previous night, or perhaps the night before. Young women, not working girls, walking around in clothing that almost cover their interesting parts and guys publically pawing them while still managing to hold their drinks.
Unfortunately three of these young studs decided to have an old-fashioned knock down drag out fight right in front of the taxi line. Before the security guards arrived the loser of the fight was incredibly bloodied and suffered broken ribs thanks to some strong kicks to his midsection. A great deal of his body fluids are staying as will the guy who did the damage.
One thing that did not stay in Vegas is something that seems to have left a long time ago, common sense, courtesy and decency. I miss Sammy, Joey, Dino, Frankie and the good old days. Surprisingly the town was a lot nicer and safer when it was run by “the Boys.”

Monday, May 5, 2008

Graduation Looms

A few years ago I wrote this about my daughter's graduation from high school. This month my son Richard will graduate from the University of Maryland. And while the names and places of the original piece have changed the sentiment does not. I have missed my kids when they were gone and I miss my little kids all the time. This is not to say that I do not love the grown-ups they have become but...
Anyway I am sure you can well relate to the feeling I felt when I wrote this and may change the names as you like to fit your situation.
So I hereby present a very old and somewhat timeless piece entitled Graduation - "A Plural Thing" - because it does in fact involve us all.

According to the dictionary, in its somewhat annoying and simplistic way, graduation is the act of graduating. It also states that ‘to graduate’ is nothing more than the rite of passage from one level to the next. It is a moving on of sorts or a gradual change from what was to what will be. But all the definitions are singular and therefore do not encompass the true meaning of the word graduation.
My daughter Sara officially graduated from East Meadow High School on June 24th but so did her brother, her mom and most certainly her dad.
The changes to Sara’s life started immediately with senior award ceremonies at the high school and the “Night of Enchantment Prom” in Westbury. In the coming days there will be various graduation parties and a few farewell parties. More changes are on the nearby horizon, as she and her classmates get ready to move out of the only homes they’ve ever known and into dorms across America.
Richard has shared many private moments with his sister laughing and giggling over who knows what. The two of them would sit in a room with the door closed and tell each other funny stories that would cause so much laughter that they eventually had trouble talking. These sessions will soon graduate to a new long distance relationship when Sara starts her freshman year in a dorm at Washington University in St. Louis. And while Richard has his own friends he is comfortable with Sara’s as well. This too will change.
My wife Susan loves her daughter very much. That means the two of them constantly alternate between fighting and laughing. For most of her life Sara made her decisions after discussing the choices with her mom. Whenever Sara goes out with her friends Susan insists that she call us when she arrives at her destination. This is true whether she is the driver or someone else is behind the wheel. This worry over where she is or ‘did she get there yet’ or ‘why didn’t she call’ will soon move on to a newer level of ‘I wonder what she’s doing now’ and ‘why hasn’t she called?’ Well some things may not change all that much after all.
For my part I watched my daughters friends mingle with each other in nervous anticipation as they waited to get into the limos on prom night. The boys, excuse me, young men wearing rented tuxedos and the girls – young ladies – in purchased gowns. I saw kids I had known for many years on the brink of a new world. They were on their way to college and a few more years of study and learning. Then another graduation would occur. In most cases that one will be their last personal scholastic graduation but for now they had only one thing on their minds, a well deserved night, and morning, of fun and enjoyment.
Many of the parents had tears in their eyes but we hid them fairly well. My eyes worked back and forth through the crowd as I took photographs to preserve the moment. Snapping pictures of the present but seeing the past. In my mind was the all too quick procession of mini graduations that led us to this place in time.
The graduation from diapers.
From “mommy and me” groups and nursery school.
From holding hands in public to “please don’t embarrass me in front of my friends."
From McVey Elementary to Woodland Middle and then to East Meadow High School.
From “Can you drive me …?” to “Can I have the car?”
From childhood to adolescence to mature young woman.
From our home was her world to the world is her oyster.
And now this latest graduation will take my little girl away from me. I will miss her. Oh, I know she’ll be back for holidays and next years summer vacation. But she won’t be home. And I won’t be able to see her and hug her and kiss her good night before she goes to sleep, or rather before I do.
I am profoundly proud of my daughter and of her accomplishments and would not think of standing in her way but wouldn’t it be great if I could keep her as she was while she grows into what she is and will be?
They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder but in my case that would appear to be an impossibility.
I guess I too will have to graduate. I hope I can do it as well as Sara.

Devastated but not Stupid

Over 25,000 people have been killed and several thousand more are severely injured and still more are missing after a devastating cyclone struck the Southeast Asian country of Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. Many officials fear that the death toll could rise as high as 100,000.
What turned out to be a category three storm hit low lying areas and flooded the country's low-lying Irrawaddy River delta area. It left a path of destruction along the southern coast of the country from Labutta to Yangon.
Humanitarian aid has been offered from many quarters but the U.S. State Department said that Myanmar's government has not granted permission for a Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) into their country.
Myanmar officials were heard to say, "We can do a heck of a job on our own thank you very much DART-IE." (Brownie canceled his flight plans.)

Schumer's Quick Fix

Senator Chuck Schumer has his faults. He has many and the biggest one actually costs us a great deal of money but he does it in such a clandestine manner that most people do not even realize what he does. This piece however is not about his bedfellows in the venture capital world for which he makes millions for himself and billions for his friends. This piece is about his latest grab at the Pander headlines. Over the weekend Schumer proposed that we threaten the Saudis and demand that they lower our oil prices or we will not allow the arms and weapons deal to go through. That's right the arms and weapons deal. We are arming and weaponizing the World's enemy. The quick and easy fix will certainly scre the Saudis who will have to decide between sending more suicide bombers into America or merely calling up their puppet Mr. Bush and curtailing any threat.
Mr. Schumer is an idiot if he believes the Saudis will fall for this and even more of an idiot if he thinks we will. Perhaps he should read my piece on Oil for Breakfast and hold wheat and other grains hostage for the oil we so desperately love to waste.
His heart is in the right place, his own pocket; his fingers are in ours; and his head is up his ass.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

A Support Group

This one is a bit long but very important. You may read it in sections but read it.

It has been said that we are judged not by the people we like but by the people who like us. This would appear to a more accurate method of determining our character and for the most part it works. But unfortunately like with everything else in life no one or nothing is perfect with the possible exception of me.
And this brings me to today’s thought. Should we be placing so much emphasis on who supports each of the three main candidates in the race for the presidency this year?
On the one hand it is an easy way to figure out who believes they will benefit by the candidate winning America’s top job but on the other hand it might be a diversion.
Take for example Rush Limbaugh and his many misguided moronic followers. As a Conservative, at least verbally Mr. Limbaugh has long espoused the Republican platform. Yet he and his loyal listener legion are supposedly pushing for Senator Clinton to win the Democratic nomination. It is no secret that Limbaugh, idiot though he may be is quite smart in an ‘inciting to riot’ kind of way.

So with that in mind is he trying to get people to vote for Ms. Clinton or to stay away from her based on guilt by association? The only way to know for sure would be to get inside the head of Mr. Limbaugh and that would not be a pretty sight what with all the OxyContin etc. floating around. Certainly he is not an advocate of the Senator from New York but would he rather have Mr. Obama running against his McCain? The few supposedly undecided voters out there who follow Mr. Limbaugh might be swayed by his words but then they would not be Democratic voters in the first place.

So what is his support trying to do? Well for one thing many states allow switching parties for the primaries and that means his people could and have voted in the Democratic races. And they have done so especially since Mr. McCain won his party's nomination and does not need any more help, yet. Rush Limbaugh could think that Obama has a chance to beat McCain and therefore he wants Ms. Clinton as the opposition. BUT he must know that his transparency as a Clinton supporter is well known and therefore he may really wants the opposite, or Obama to win. That would mean that he feels McCain would do better against the Illinois Senator. He reminds me of the Wallace Shawn character in The Princess Bride. (You'll have to see the film to understand but it's worth it anyway.)

So how should the Democrats feel about this? THEY SHOULD NOT CARE. First of all the guy is, as I already said, an idiot.
Second of all whatever he is trying to do he is only one person and in America it is still one person one vote, sort of.
And third of all if you need to think about what Rush Limbaugh says then perhaps you shouldn’t be voting at all.

And then there is the Obama camp. He appears to have the young, and may I say inexperienced voter as well as many other groups who fall for the allure of change. But he also has the support of Louis Farrakhan, Reverend Wright and one must assume many other racially radical leaders. Jewish voters or just people who support Israel and their struggle to remain in existence in the midst of a hostile Arab world might find those supporters as troublesome to the point of being downright scary. Mr. Obama attempts to distance himself from the statements of his supporters yet when Ms. Clinton hypothetically states that an attack on Israel by Iran would bring about an annihilating retaliatory strike if she was the president he chides her statements as provocative. I guess the strike during his presidency would not deserve a defending reaction of our friend in the Middle East. And naturally Mr. Obama’s supporters would approve, as would big oil and Mr. Bush and his oil billionaire friends. Allowed to get rid of that pesky state guess how high the Arab scum would let our gas prices soar.

What it all boils down to is this; Americans should read about the candidates and seek out information from reliable sources before casting their votes this year. The last two times we voted for a president we got what we deserved, a total and absolute moron who has brought this country to the brink of economic destruction and the world to the brink of a global climate change unlike any ever seen by humanity.

I no longer care who says what about the candidates because I know who the best one would be at this juncture. I will not say who I support or try to sway anyone else because it is up to each of you to read and make up your own minds. Unfortunately I believe my candidate, the best one for the job will not even win her party’s nomination and that will make it twelve years in a row with a ‘not ready for prime time’ President. (McCain will not win no matter what.)
So in the end it is not who we like but who likes us that tells our story.
Bush was liked by big oil.
Farrakhan and Wright like Obama.
I like Ike.