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Of Politics, Sports and Sex

OK, so there won't be a LOT on here about sex, but tell the truth, that's most of the reason you entered this site, right? So, I'll slip some things in from time to time just to keep you coming...back.

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Friday, May 28, 2010

The big story here? Finally a worthwhile contribution from NASA!

News Item:
Kennedy Space Center, Florida -- The push is on to launch Space Shuttle Atlantis one more time, adding another mission before all of NASA's shuttles are retired.

My suggestion...have it land directly over the BP Oil Leak, sink it, and presto - two problems solved at once: A place to retire the shuttle and the leak is plugged.

If that doesn't work? Mix all the leftover Tang from the 60's with some concrete and fill it up with that. (The leak, not the space shuttle.) You know there's a warehouse full of the stuff somewhere.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Just wait to see what they do with the drab uniforms

From CNN:

Most Americans say people who are openly gay should be allowed to serve in the U.S. military, according to a new national poll.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday indicates that 78 percent of the public supports allowing openly gay people to serve in the military, with one in five opposed.

"Support is widespread, even among Republicans. Nearly six in ten Republicans favor allowing openly gay individuals to serve in the military," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "There is a gender gap, with 85 percent of women and 71 percent of men favoring the change, but support remains high among both groups."


To borrow from my friend Jim Burger, who made a similiar remark when speaking to whether or not women should be allowed to serve in the military...I'm against gays serving in the military, but then I'm against straights serving there too.

My answer: Yes it is, but no it doesn't!

Which would surprise you more after 12 years together with your partner: that the romance was still as strong in your lives, or the sex? It would be interesting to ask that question both to people who have been together for that long (like my wife and me) and to people who have recently fallen in love and are intending to get married.

And is it a typical male thing to ask that question, keeping the two things separate? My guess is that women would say you can't separate them, because in the words of Frank Sinatra, you can't have one without the other.

So is it too fast or not fast enough? Make up my mind!

I heard an announcer on a baseball game exclaim excitedly (is that redundant? Can one exclaim something in a bored monotone? And is "bored monotone" redundant? Too many questions?) that a centerfielder "simply outran the baseball" in tracking down a long flyball.

Well, first of all, a 9-month old can outrun a baseball. I mean, really, set them both down at a starting line and put their favorite chewing implement 2 feet away and see who gets there first.

But even in the opposite figurative sense it is wrong. A batted ball, hit in the air to the outfield can never be "outrun" by a human, because the baseball is moving way faster than any human has ever run, it just happens to be moving downward.

DWB or DWI?

Without really putting a lot of thought into it until this morning, I'd say I go days, maybe even a week at a time without seeing any African-American drivers on my commute to and from work each morning, which is noteworthy on its own. But the reason I realized that this particular morning is my realization that I'd say probably 1 of every 3 drivers I ever see pulled over by cops on the side of the road are black.

The conclusion you reach about that probably defines you as liberal or conservative.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Sorta like how Charlie Brown's parents sound

At our Quaker Meeting, during the school year, we start in the school house with a half hour or so of what we clunkily, and misleadingly, call Opening Exercises, where any one person volunteers in advance to run things, and offer a topic either for them to speak about or to lead a discussion on, and we mix in hymns and announcements as well.

Yesterday, the person who was leading it did something I don't remember ever having been done in my 50+ years of going there. He told us he was going to read us a poem and then asked us, in advance, to share one our favorites as well.

It was during the reading of, and my listening to, these poems that I had a revelation.

Now I know what cats hear when we speak to them.

Rtjbo askmjef afh eha dyshj,
asj aefgi dfohthj,
bjhdfv padgvhj.

Sorry about the pentameter, it may not have five metrical feet, but at least it rhymes.

Next you'll tell me that Josiah Bartlett was never President

Amongst all the conversations the whole country seems to be having this morning on what the true meaning of the TV show Lost was, I'm tempted to say snarkily that my theory is that it's a TV show and it doesn't mean anything, but that might also mean that Maxwell Smart never really existed and I'm just not ready to accept that yet.

Monday, May 17, 2010

...and maybe the odd one in between

36 years, less 2 days ago, on May 19th, 1974, I attended a hockey game with Terry Lefton. I was a senior at Westtown, Terry a junior. The Flyers won that game, as most readers of this site will remember, 1-0 to win the first of two consecutive Stanley Cups. The Flyers haven't won one since, and I don't believe Terry and I had attended a hockey game together since, at least not as ticket-holders. We'd been in the press box together many times.

Last night, we went to the Flyers' playoff game vs Montreal and the Flyers won 6-0, as I say, almost 36...THIRTY-SIX...years later. 36! I just keep saying that number over and over to myself. In the context of thinking about that game in 1974 and being with the same high school friend last year, it just seems like one of the most incredible numbers I've heard. 36. Dang.

I hope we go to another game in 2046.

The Enemy of my Enemy is my Friend

From today's NYT in reference to tomorrow's Kentucky primary to find the Republican nominee to replace Senator Jim Bunning (my childhood idol): "Establishment Republicans — including Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the minority leader, former Vice President Dick Cheney and the Chamber of Commerce — have united in opposition to Mr. Paul, but optimism was diminishing that their candidate, Trey Grayson, could prevail."

To which I can only say: Go Mr. Paul, go!

This is a perfect example of why those of us who lean left politically should not dismiss the Tea Partiers out-of-hand. Not only do I agree with a (very) few of their ideas, if they weaken the right-wing establishment, then they will help Dems and the country as a whole.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Not including all the jobs Bush created for Democrats in office

"If the economy produces jobs over the next eight months at the same pace as it did over the past four months, the nation will have created more jobs in 2010 alone than it did over the entire eight years of George W. Bush's presidency. "

http://www.nationaljournal.com/njmagazine/nj_20100515_5237.php?mrefid=site_search

Even more than that stat, I like the stat later in the story that shows the numbers of jobs created by Democratic presidencies vs those of Republicans.

"Bush's tally of 1 million jobs was much less than the economy had generated during any other two-term stretch since World War II: Dwight Eisenhower produced nearly 4 million, John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson (together) almost 16 million, Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford (together) 11 million, Ronald Reagan 16 million, and Bill Clinton more than 22 million."

And at least one Babe could have starred in the movie of the same name

Before there were nerds and geeks, we called people who were thought to be boring, "drips", as in, "Don't invite him, he's such a drip!"

Well, after attending a high school reunion last weekend, and seeing which of the kids from high school had been the most successful, it occured to me that some of the biggest drips have made the biggest splashes.

Listen to your Staff Biologists!

When I saw the NYT headline below, I was sure it would lead back to the Bush administration, and although the current people there are trying to blame them, I don't see how they can be excused from responsibility as well:

U.S. Said to Allow Drilling Without Needed Permits

WASHINGTON — The federal Minerals Management Service gave permission to BP and dozens of other oil companies to drill in the Gulf of Mexico without first getting required permits from another agency that assesses threats to endangered species — and despite strong warnings from that agency about the impact the drilling was likely to have on the gulf.

Those approvals, federal records show, include one for the well drilled by the Deepwater Horizon rig, which exploded on April 20, killing 11 workers and resulting in thousands of barrels of oil spilling into the gulf each day.

The Minerals Management Service, or M.M.S., also routinely overruled its staff biologists and engineers who raised concerns about the safety and the environmental impact of certain drilling proposals in the gulf and in Alaska, according to a half-dozen current and former agency scientists.

Those scientists said they were also regularly pressured by agency officials to change the findings of their internal studies if they predicted that an accident was likely to occur or if wildlife might be harmed.

Responding to the accusations that agency scientists were being silenced, a spokeperson said, “Under the previous administration, there was a pattern of suppressing science in decisions, and we are working very hard to change the culture and empower scientists in the Department of the Interior.”

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Those Socialists in the White House have it all wrong!

From today's USA Today:

"Amid complaints about high taxes and calls for a smaller government, Americans paid their lowest level of taxes last year since Harry Truman's presidency, a USA TODAY analysis of federal data found.

Federal, state and local taxes — including income, property, sales and other taxes — consumed 9.2% of all personal income in 2009, the lowest rate since 1950, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reports. That rate is far below the historic average of 12% for the last half-century."

's no joke here

Listening to the Phillies game last night, the announcers mentioned that it may snow during the Phillies game tonight in Colorado.

I can hear the play-by-play now:

"Here's a fastball for strike two. The count is snowballs and two strikes."

No wonder I only got a C in Econ 101

From the NYT 5/7/10:

The American economy added 290,000 jobs in April, a stronger gain than expected, with revised figures making it the fourth straight month of employment growth, the Labor Department said Friday, with a cumulative increase of 573,000 jobs in the past four months.

At the same time, the unemployment figure rose from 9.7% to 9.9%.

Fun with Proper Nouns

There is a player on the Mets named Angel Pagan. Whatever the religious equivalent of Gender Dysphoria is, I'll bet he has it. Is he a Christian or an atheist? A dessert or a floor wax? (Old Saturday Night Live reference for you kids out there.) I wonder if he has a brother named Christian?

There's also a player in the majors named Rich Harden. I'll bet the kids who teased him in school with another variation of his proper name regret it since he signed his $6.5 million dollar contract this past offseason.

Monday, May 10, 2010

But I guess that figures since there are so many more R's than D's in the Senate and House

Lest anyone wonder about my justification for or use of the phrase "Conservative Media", this is one form of proof. An analysis on Dailykos.com on 5/10/10:

For a 16-month January 2009-April 2010 survey, (on) six shows:
- ABC's This Week;
- CBS's Face the Nation;
- NBC's Meet the Press;
- Fox News Sunday
- CNN's State of the Union; and
- CNN's Reliable Sources.

There were 137 individuals appearing on the Sunday talk shows who are now or have been governors, mayors, Representatives or Senators. Combined, they made 557 appearances. Of these, 242, or 43.3% were by Democrats and 315, or 56.6% were by Republicans.

I just wonder how the survey took into account the multiple personalities of John McCain and Joe Lieberman.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Just trying to teach the kids right from wrong is all

I stopped at Kimberton Whole Foods with 9-year old Trev and 6-year old Emma this afternoon for a reason I can't say yet in case my wife, Cheryl, reads this before dinner, (this being Mothers Day and all) and was thrilled that a parking spot right out front was open, with a sign that said "30 Minute Parking".

I thought it was a really great idea until we were finished shopping in just 11 minutes and then had to sit in the car for another 19 minutes before it was OK to leave.

Friday, May 7, 2010

It did, however, give me an idea of what life would be like as a Phillies fan the next decade or so

I didn't want this to be my first post since I got all famous and everything, but I had to look up the boxscore of that First Game I went to just to see how close my memory was to what actually happened. The game was in 1966 and I did get the part right about Robin Roberts pitching for the Cubs, not the Phils, and Ferguson Jenkins did pitch in the game, but it was for the Cubs, not the Phils, and it was in relief, not as a starter, and he was terrible. Well, you can look for yourself if you care - here's the boxscore: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/PHI/PHI196608160.shtml.

I also remember having uh, severe intestinal discomfort i think is what they call it nowadays, during the game, but that doesn't show up in the boxscore.

And yet, they keep coming back for more

From an editorial in today's NY Times: "The question is not whether Steve Consalvi should have jumped onto the field during a major-league baseball game in Philadelphia on Monday, waving a towel and running in circles like a toddler trying to avoid bath time. He shouldn’t have. All cities have dumb fans. Philadelphia seems to have more than its share. The best course there, as anywhere, is smarter, more attentive security in the stands. Maybe it’s also higher Plexiglas, stiffer trespassing fines, less beer. Force must always be the last resort. Tasering a showboating kid is just plain excessive."

I don't know which I agree with more - that using a taser on a goofy kid is an overreaction, or that we seem to have more dumb fans than most. Of course, I can't help thinking that even a snooty rag like the Times, since they are from New York, seems to be just a little too happy to have a chance to be giving Philly fans a little shot. Maybe it's because our 4 teams are better than just about all of their 8 or 9 teams.

Lets review: The Sixers finished ahead of the Knicks and Nets. The Flyers eliminated the Rangers and lasted longer in the playoffs than the Devils, and of course, the Islanders didn't even make the playoffs. The Eagles had a better record than the Giants or Jets. And the Phillies regularly embarrass the Mets on the field and in the standings. I THINK I covered all their teams, or just maybe I forgot one. Must be old age. Yeah, that's it.

Millions of people will look at this blog everyday!

Well, it's official - the editor of the Local, Andy Hachadorian, emailed me yesterday to show me I'm officially on the Daily Local Website now. I thought I would be on the blogtown site, but it's on something innocuous called the Media Lab: http://dailylocal.com/medialab/ . I feel like some sort of labratory experiment or something.

Anyway, being here, and knowing at least 6 people will view it, and I don't mean everyday, I mean ever, since I'm about to email them to tell them it's here, well, I feel like Steve Martin in The Jerk, when the new phone book arrives:

Navin R. Johnson: The new phone book's here! The new phone book's here!
Harry Hartounian: Boy, I wish I could get that excited about nothing.
Navin R. Johnson: Nothing? Are you kidding? Page 73 - Johnson, Navin R.! I'm somebody now! Millions of people look at this book everyday! This is the kind of spontaneous publicity - your name in print - that makes people. I'm in print! Things are going to start happening to me now.
[the Sniper points to Navin's name in the phone book]
Sniper: Johnson, Navin R... sounds like a typical bastard

Anyway, I'd like to thank my sisters, my cousin, and my wife in advance for visiting the site and for making me feel like I'm not a typical bastard! I'm SOMEBODY! Just like, well, Navin Johnson.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

RIP RR, RHP

I heard the news today about the death of Robin Roberts, the greatest right-handed pitcher the Phillies have ever had. He pitched in the first game I ever went to. It was at old Connie Mack Stadium in about 1965 maybe. I went with the Norco Little League. And ironically, Roberts pitched not for the Phillies, but for the Cubs. And ever stranger, the pitcher for the Phillies? Another hall of fame righthander, name of Ferguson Jenkins.

Anyway, many years later I met Robin Roberts, when I was working as the stats guy in the TV booth for Prism, feeding stats to Karry Kalas, Chris Wheeler, Mike Schmidt, among others. Roberts came into the booth for some reason and I asked him for his autograph, something I rarely did around the athletes I worked with and around. When I asked, he said, "Sure...no charge!" And then he quickly smiled and gave me his autograph, which I've long since lost. He came across as just the kind of person you'd want your teams' stars to be like - just a very kind, likable guy.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Apparently, things evolve, people don't

From today's NY Times, in an article on black Republicans running for Congress, is a quote from Newt Gingrich explaining that with Democrats in the majority, Republicans are "pragmatically more open to a coalition" with African-Americans:: “Things have evolved,” said Newt Gingrich. “I think partly the level of hostility to Obama, Pelosi and Reid makes a lot of people pragmatically more open to a coalition from the standpoint of being a long-term majority party.”

Welcome to the 1960's, Newt.

Just one question - What's a Thrasher?! And what sport do they play?

My buddy Jim sent this to me - I wish I'd thought of it:

The Atlanta Hawks have lost in the Eastern Conference Semifinals in:
2009
1999
1997
1996
1994
1988
1987
1986
1980
1979
1973
1972
1971

I don't think they've ever advanced past that point. That's 13 times in 40 years failing to get to even the Eastern Finals. That's two generations of frustration! The Hawks lost last night to Cleveland by 40 points in the first game of the Conference Semis.

Add in the fact that the Falcons have never won a SB despite being in the league since 1966, the Braves won one lousy WS despite winning 13 or 14 division titles in a row, the Flames and Thrashers have never had even a sniff of the Stanley Cup, and it's no wonder those people follow NASCAR.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

And if I tell you that every single thing I say is a lie, is it true?

This is probably not even worth pointing out, but is the headline "World's Oldest Person Dies" technically true? I mean the world's oldest person is still alive and always will be. There's always going to be an oldest living person...I hope!

Perspective on the BP Oil Spill

From today's NY Times: "The ruptured well, currently pouring an estimated 210,000 gallons of oil a day into the gulf, could flow for years and still not begin to approach the 36 billion gallons of oil spilled by retreating Iraqi forces when they left Kuwait in 1991. It is not yet close to the magnitude of the Ixtoc I blowout in the Bay of Campeche in Mexico in 1979, which spilled an estimated 140 million gallons of crude before the gusher could be stopped.

And it will have to get much worse before it approaches the impact of the Exxon Valdez accident of 1989, which contaminated 1,300 miles of largely untouched shoreline and killed tens of thousands of seabirds, otters and seals along with 250 eagles and 22 killer whales.

Engineers said the type of oil pouring out is lighter than the heavy crude spilled by the Exxon Valdez, evaporates more quickly and is easier to burn. It also appears to respond to the use of dispersants, which break up globs of oil and help them sink.

After the Ixtoc spill 31 years ago, the second-largest oil release in history, the gulf rebounded. Within three years, there was little visible trace of the spill off the Mexican coast, which was compounded by a tanker accident in the gulf a few months later that released 2.6 million additional gallons, experts said."

Monday, May 3, 2010

Seems kinda Censless

The census folks keep giving out updates on what percentage of people have returned their census forms. Makes me wonder: If they know how many people have and haven't responded, then why do they need a census?

Probably the same 15% who watch Fox "News"

Per the latest CBS/NYT poll:

- In January 2009, 7% thought the economy was improving and 54% thought it was getting worse.
- Today, 41% think it's getting better and just 15% think it's getting worse.

And you thought it was politics that brought out the worst in me

I don't know, whether it be in an individual game like last night or in the standings, which is more fun: building up a big lead over the Mets and blowing them away or letting them get a little lead, and then coming from behind to pass them like they were standing still.

Regardless, it was still worth trading him for John LeClair and Eric Desjardins

I don't know what's going to happen in this Flyers - Bruins series except for one thing. At some point in the series, Mark Recchi is going to do something to badly hurt the Flyers chances. Call it the hockey version of the Rod Barajas syndrome.

More good economic news that the conservative media can't help but put a negative spin on.

U.S. Economy Grew at a 3.2% Annual Rate in First Quarter

The United States economy continued to expand in the first quarter, but economists cautioned that the pace of growth is still not nearly fast enough to recover ground lost during the recession.