Saturday, August 14, 2010

Can't We All Just Get Along?

WASHINGTON - OCTOBER 20:  Volunteers unfurl a ...Image by Getty Images via @daylifeIn one word, no. The human condition seems to be predicated on conflict. A few years ago I started this blog to write about whatever came to my mind. It was mostly insignificant stuff. The last presidential election transformed this blog into a political forum for SJ and I to express our thoughts. Recently I have found it more and more difficult to write about political topics. Oh, I slip up every now and then, but I have tried to stay away from strictly political issues. I do realize that no matter what is said on this blog, it won't please all of the people, all of the time. So, just for shits and giggles, here are some random thoughts that have crossed my mind recently.

Abortion: I am pro-choice. However, we need much better sex education and family planning in order to  try and limit the number of abortions that are performed.
Guns: The right to bear arms is guaranteed in the Constitution (even though I think the rationale in that document no longer holds much water), so therefore I support it. I do not believe that it is an absolute right and I see no reason at all for the general public to have access to automatic weapons.
Health Care: It should be a right. All citizens should have the right to, at the very least, a basic level of health care. And emergency room care is not nearly enough. 
Immigration: We should allow people to work toward citizenship if that is what they desire. Our country is made better by diversity, not worse. 
Gay Marriage: Marriage, according to the Supreme Court, is one of the "basic civil rights of man". I think that says it all. 
Gays in the military: Gays have always and continue to serve our country proudly in the various branches of the military. Our armed services have not crumbled because of it.
Size and scope of government: The government should be allowed to operate within the powers described in the Constitution. They can raise and lower taxes, regulate or deregulate industries, invade or not invade countries, etc. WE THE PEOPLE can then decide whether to continue lending those politicians our support at the ballot box.
Religion: It's not really for me, but if it provides some people with a level of comfort then I have no  issues with that. Of course when it's used like a battering ram, then I feel it's my duty to point out my exact thoughts about the less than factual basis of said religion.
DH: I happen to like the DH. Watching a pitcher hit is not exactly my idea of an interesting at-bat. 
Steroids in sports: I honestly don't care what athletes take. I've never heard someone make the argument that they aren't going to watch a movie or a concert because the performers have had plastic surgery. Entertainers do what they feel they have to do to put forth their best performance. No difference with athletes.
Music: I'm not a big fan of most of what's popular today. That is to say that I'm an old fart who thinks things were better when pop music was targeted towards him. 
Movies: I think that Lawrence of Arabia and the two Godfathers are the best movies ever made.
Food: I'm partial to Chinese.
Superheroes: I'm partial to Superman. And I personally think that Captain America would kick the shit out of Batman any day of the week.

That's all for today boys and girls. Have a great weekend.
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Tim said...

Now who could argue with that.

Manifesto Joe said...

I have a problem with the steroids thing:

We are forced to compare athletes who "juiced" in the modern way with the ones who "juiced" in the traditional ways.

There was a fan who had a placard at a very late Barry Bonds appearance that said, "The Babe did it on hot dogs and beer." I see some validity in that viewpoint.

Mickey Mantle was no role model, and he admitted as much on his deathbed. But the Mick hit 536 career homers and batted .298 while he was, by his own admission, a drunkard. The Babe did even better, and under similar conditions, I understand. How can such men be compared with Mark McGuire? Or Rafael Palmeiro? Or others who "juiced" in the modern way?

I'll take the drunks, thank you. They probably could have done better if they hadn't boozed, but at least they didn't have to resort to artificial methods to do what they did.

Even Pete Rose deserves a place in the Hall of Fame more than Bonds, I think.

Manifesto Joe said...

So as not to be so disagreeable, I also love the movies you mention. If I were putting together a top 50, they would all be on the list.

And Chinese is great eats. I like it with extra chili sauce.

Mycue23 said...

I have written about the so called "clean" eras of baseball before. But clearly the players of Babe Ruth's day had many advantages that today's players do not. The Babe did it on "beer and hot dogs", is true, but the Babe also did it without having to face a single minority player. Do you think that gave him an advantage over today's players? Babe did it without having to ever play a night game. He did it without having face relief specialists. He did it without ever having to travel further west than Detroit. He did it in a ballpark that had a 296 foot right field fence. There were benefits to playing in each era of baseball, this eras advantage just happened to be steroids. And would still like to know how exactly you decide who did steroids and who didn't. Jeff Bagwell? Frank Thomas? Randy Johnson? Greg Maddux? Tom Glavine? Mariano Rivera? All are HOF'ers who have never been accused of steroid use, but that doesn't mean that they have never done them.
I would also remind you that steroids were not a banned substance in baseball until 2005. Betting on baseball has always carried the "death sentence" in baseball. Pete Rose knew that and he did it anyway. I think he is far more guilty than anyone who ever took a substance which was not banned by the sport.

Manifesto Joe said...

I anticipated some of this. I understand that in an exhibition game one time, Satchel Paige gave white Major Leaguers fits. And I suspect Josh Gibson could have given any other catcher of the era a run for his money.

But there are also many advantages that the modern players have. Back in '69, the pitcher's mound was lowered. The pitchers enjoyed quite a bit of advantage before then. Yaz won the AL batting title in '68 with a .301 average, and I think that's when some people realized that the bar had to be lowered. The immediate result was a boost in batting averages and home run production.

I understand that the ball has also been zipped up a few times since the old days. You can get a few more yards out of it with a good connection.

Also, with the assorted ML expansions that have taken place since 1961, some people would argue that there are a lot of players in the majors now who would have been AAA players before the 1960s. It's possibly opened the door for a lot less talent.

Night games? It would depend on the individual. Personally, I used to love them back in my softball-playing days. Less heat! No sun to blind you at crucial moments. I don't know how the big leaguers view them, but I don't think that I would mind.

"He did it without having to travel further west than Detroit." Man, it was by train back then! I'd much rather take a jetliner, anywhere. Especially over longer distances.

Oh, and although Yankee Stadium had a 296-foot right-field fence, it changed shape very quickly when you moved in a different direction. Wasn't it something like 461 in dead center? A lot of shots that would be homers today would be long fly-ball outs back then.

I'd have to argue that the bottom line on steroids is that the effect on the player's muscles, the bat speed, the pitcher's arm, etc., seems a huge advantage over any of those that the older players had. And while we do know that certain players "juiced" and can't know if others did, the horrible effect it has had on baseball is to compromise the credibility of all kinds of modern records. Personally, I don't take baseball very seriously anymore, and precisely because of that.

Oh, well, that's my speech. I'll save the next one for something that really matters. Sports are fun to watch at times, but they divert people's attention from more important matters.

If I'm ever in New York, can you recommend a place with great Chinese food?

TRUTH 101 said...

Ruth didn't have league expansion with a diluted talent pool.
And while the closer is usually great, the middle relievers wouldn't have been in the big leagues during Ruth's era.

Jack Jodell said...

Thank you for these wonderful "Random Thoughts." It is good to see you writing and contributing from time to tim e again. You are a thoughtful and well-reasoned man whose insights I value.

My views on each of your topics mirror yours very closely. I disagree a bit on steroids: I don't like their usage and I oppose anything that gives a player an unfair advantage, particularly if that "anything" is something physically harmful and a bad example for kids. In the field of music, I share your feeling there, too. but I do believe nearly all eras and genres produce some superb pieces. As for movies, my faves would have to be Sound Of Music, Forrest Gump, Godfather 1, and Zardoz (a mid-'70s Sean Connery cult classic). And where, sir, may I buy a copy of the film you and SJ did last year?

Blog on, brother!

SJ said...

send me an email with your street address at and we'll mail you a copy.