Monday, January 28, 2013

Ban words, not guns! ... X-Games 2013, Sports Center and the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame vote... Incredible... just incredible

Awesome image of Shaun White on fire by Doug Pensinger

After watching a week of X-Games 2013, I have something else I want to ban in addition to assault weapons, the sole purpose of which is clearly to kill a lot of people in a short period of time.


What? You want to ban words?

That's right. Five words to be exact. Not banned entirely. Just banned until the Second Coming or another Kansas City Royals' World Series victory, whichever comes first.


First, I want sportscasters and sports writers prohibited by law from using these words. We'll see how that goes. Then journalists, particularly political journalists and especially bloggers. (Tony Botello gets a pass for "awesome tipsters" as long as the tips really are awesome.) If that goes well and the republic still stands, then everyone.

The culprits are not just X-Games talkers. Apparently the word 'stoked' with that special southern California accent on the vowel, has already been banned by the ESPN brain trust, though it did sound funny when the translator translated it for a 14-year-old Japanese half-pipe prodigy.  I don't know... stoked seemed more authentic than incredible, awesome, or even 'big ole...' Stooooked was missed.

But X-Game analysts aren't the only incredible culprits. Just listen to Sports Center. Watch the Top Ten. You'll be surprised to learn that every day something amazing, incredible, awesome, unbelievable and epic happened. Three-hundred-sixty-five epic things a year is a lot of epic.

I was talking Saturday night with a gaggle of teammates from the 60-year-old-plus Relics about the Hall of Fame voting. One of the fellows suggested we should have known McGwire and Sosa were 'stoked' as they blasted epic blast after epic blast from underneath their ever expanding, incredibly big, hat sizes. Gives the phrase 'swell head' new meaning, doesn't it.

We were having such awesome fun, he said, we forgot to ask why? ... How? ...What's in the water?

Sometimes when a thing's unbelievable, it is.


Shaun White on fire image by Doug Pensinger at SB-Nation. Go see it and enjoy the writing as well. Actually, this image deserves the 'awesome' designation.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The NRA has gone around the bend; have faith the American people are too smart and too good hearted to follow

The NRA's latest effort to soil the nation's good intentioned soul-searching debate about crafting reasonable gun laws was just awful. Believe it or not, they concocted an advertisement using the president's two school age daughters as fodder. They get secret service protection, the NRA bullies whined, but your kid is forced to go to school in a gun-free zone.

The problems with this are so big and so many, the temptation is to bore the reader with them. Of course the president's children get protection. The world is full of crazies and terrorists and spies and their lives cannot be left to chance. The possibility of the president's children being held for ransom are beyond thinking. Remember, Eisenhower was not allowed to fight the battle of D-Day -- even though he planned it and ran it -- for precisely that reason, and it is no doubt fair to think Ike could protect himself in battle.

OK, that's enough. Any thinking person will already have a dozen refutations of this latest bit of silliness from the NRA.

And, thinking person is exactly the point. The day must come -- and let's hope it has finally arrived -- when the American people see this radical group for what it is: An organization of generally decent and intelligent citizens headed by leadership that has gone around the bend. Let's hope this is the day the rank and file say, 'This is enough... we're not following you off the cliff... this isn't what I signed up for.'

You know what ended Joe McCarthy's around-the-bend witch hunt? Television. They put him and his congressional hearings on television -- this unstable little man with the list of Commies in his pocket belittling stately looking generals... fighting men fresh from war. The American people could finally see the little man in action and they didn't like what they saw.

When they see this latest advertisement, let's hope they have the same reaction. Whoa! This isn't what I believe. This isn't the tone I want to set. This is so low, so slimy, so around the bend, and such a dangerous invitation to violence against children -- the president's very real children -- I don't want to be represented by these people anymore. Let's hope it makes them think twice before they put on their NRA jackets tomorrow, because the vast majority of these people must find this latest move repugnant.


PS: Be sure to see the comments on this post.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

My first Lomo images


-- Lofflin

Check out the Lomo Diana F+ here...

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The state of posterity

It struck me today, when I heard the news that not a single player was voted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on this year's ballot, that I no longer care about the Hall of Fame, its members, or the fate and legacy of baseball players.

I could present a whole range of tired, mostly untrue arguments, the kind that are already being rolled out across the Internet: "Back in my day, ballplayers were clean!" or "Ballplayers have always been dirty; steroids are no worse than amphetamines." "Bonds, Clemens, Sosa and all the others are getting what they deserved!" Conversely, "Baseball writers are out of their minds from keeping these guys out of the Hall of Fame!"

It's just exhausting.

As a baseball fan, ballplayers don't care about me. I am merely their employer; I pay for tickets, merchandise and cable TV to watch their games, and that money filters down to the players, who become millionaires from it. And that's fine. But conversely, I'm going to choose not to care about the players outside of their role on the diamond. They serve their purpose: they entertain me, give me a team to root for during the season, give me something to hope for in the long cold winter.

Why should I care about them after they retire? I'm too old to idolize ballplayers, retired or otherwise. The juicers will get into the Hall of Fame someday or they won't.

I'll continue to root, root, root for the home team. I'll even be hopeful that my hometown Royals will be good this year. When they win I will pump my fist; when they lose I will curse.  And when they leave the game I will forget about them, just as they forget about us.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Dell S2340T travails... Draw me a picture... or not... words still have value even if the folks who send us sophisticated equipment to hook up ourselves don't believe it

Received a new computer monitor via UPS yesterday afternoon. The Dell S2340T is a  sophisticated little devil – well, sophisticated but not so little. What was I thinking? I’ll need a bigger desk for this thing.

Wrestled it out of the box which went better than usual because the packaging included a kind of cardboard strap around the payload. You pull the strap straight up and out pops the monitor, all 25 pounds of it. Then you cradle the big baby in your lap with one hand while you pull the plastic bag off with the other, reminiscent of changing diapers in a booth at Dennys. The operation went smoothly. Expectations of a quick and simple setup soared.

Ah, well… not so fast. This is no simple monitor. It has a bunch of buttons on the side. I still don’t know what they do. It has a touchscreen with a variety of plug ins and plug outs built into the base. It also sports a variety of methods for hooking it to the computer, a fact I didn't discover until much later. Another fact I didn't discover until later: You use all the cables in the box, right? They wouldn't send you more cables than you can use, right?


But, how was I to know? OK,  here’s the point of this quick rant. With all the cables and disks unpacked, I went looking for the directions. I searched the plastic cable bags, the box, the packaging, under the packaging and, believe it or not, inside the crevices of the box. Nothing. Then I noticed a tiny slip of paper folded into three panels hidden inside the bag holding the drivers disk.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Zen and the knuckleball -- from Pirsig to R. A. Dickey... does the cosmos have a mean streak?

Photo courtesy:

Note: This is a long lazy post, not appropriate for blogging. Put on some coffee and keep it hot if you decide to read.
Finished two books on New Year's Day. R. A. Dickey's autobiography Wherever I Wind Up and Robert Persig's classic Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. They were strikingly alike in many ways, some expected and some quite surprising.

Dickey's book was new to me, written during the 2011 baseball season and published this year. Zen I've read a half-dozen times, at least, generally when I felt myself in a period of drift. I started Dickey's book on Christmas Day but I started Zen back in July. It was the fourth or fifth inning of the second game of a doubleheader on a steamy Tuesday night. I was at third and a hard hit groundball had just scooted under my glove -- a sixty-four-year-old reaction glitch.

I was getting wound up about it, spitting in the pocket of my glove then pounding it with my fist. I'm pretty sure our shortstop, an engineer by trade named Mike Alteri, noticed.

"Hey, John," he shouted without taking his eyes off the hitter, "you ever read Prisig's book?"

"Yes," I said, temporarily distracted from a bout of self loathing.

"I took a road trip once," Alteri said, "and followed the same route he took on the motorcycle."

I loved playing next to Alteri. For one thing, when he went back on a pop up, he sang 'I got it" like Mario Lanza. But only if he really knew he had it. That was the signal. More important, he knew how to keep the game fun. I could always depend on him to unwind me with a question about the '27 Yankees or the '64 Yankees or a book like Zen. Mike knew, and I was learning (at 64!), you cannot play the game tight.