Tuesday, April 25, 2006

A Night At The Old Ballyard

I went to a game at Fenway Park last Thursday, a nice little contest between the Devil Rays and the Red Sox. I love to go to the ballpark. But the problem with going to games in Beantown is being surrounded by crass New Englanders double-fisting beers and having to listen to them say things like ideer and pahk. Is there some sort of rule that everyone that goes to Fenway has to a Southie? And then there is the stupid jumbotrons that have ruined the baseball experience in every major league park except for Wrigley Field. And why do they feel the need to pump loud, crappy music between innings? And then there is the cold, hard fact, and Bostonians hate it when you say this, that Fenway is a damn dump. It really is the most uncomfortable, run-down, piece of shit relic of a baseball field. They won't let them tear the stupid thing down, Bostonians gasp in horror at even the suggestion, so let's just hope for a direct hit by a tornado someday. The best idea I've heard over the last few years is to let the team build a new park and turn Fenway into the new home of the Baseball Hall Of Fame, and take the HOF out of that dinky upstate New York town that has nothing to do with the history of baseball (and because of its inconvenient location makes it the least visited of all the major sports' halls of fame). But I suppose that's too brilliant of an idea for it to actually happen.

At one point I was sitting there in a cramped seat with no leg room, drinking a $7 beer, surrounded by Bostonians while a Led Zeppelin song blasted all around me and I couldn't help but think to myself, "Holy Crap! I've died and gone to Hell!"

Friday, April 21, 2006

Land Of The Entitled

Did you hear about the guy in Colorado who was using some electronic gadget to change red lights to green when he approached them? This was making all of the news shows as one of the kind of "lighter story" moments. He had this device for about two years and was caught because he was causing major traffic problems with it, all so he could cut about 15 minutes off his commute. A camera was set up to find out why traffic at a particular intersection was badly backed up at roughly the same time every day. The cost of equipment and man hours to finally catch this guy was not cheap. So what was his punishment? A $50 fine. That's right, a guy who for two years caused major traffic congestion and lengthened other people's commutes just so he didn't have to wait at a few stop lights, with a device he knew to be illegal, got a penalty of less than an average parking ticket. And in the interview pieces I've seen of him he pretty much laughs about it, even talking about how he would see other drivers look frustrated when having to stop after their light short-changed them. Now transportation officials have to spend thousands of dollars to fix the lights so unauthorized people can't do this again. And this guy only has to pay a 50-buck fine. Combine that with the $100 he paid for the device on eBay and for a measly $150 he cut 15 minutes off his commute each day (each direction I believe) for two years. I don't think he has any reason to have learned his lesson. And the news anchors laughed about it and commented how that's not a bad rate of return on an investment, meaning saving that much time over two years for only $150.

You want to know why other countries hate Americans? It's attitudes like this. "I want to do it and I'm going to do it no matter who it affects, fuck everybody else." And this attitude only gets reinforced by our government and society. The reaction I see from most people about this is "I wish I thought of it," instead of rightfully thinking this guy's a jerk. And then he gets a little slap on the wrist for "punishment." You know what I think should have been done to this guy? First, I would have made him pay the entire cost of the investigation that had to be done to catch him as well as the amount it will cost to secure the lights against this happening again (which, like I said, is in the thousands) and I would have suspended his license for the same amount of time that he was getting away with it. That's right, take away his drivers' license for two years. People I say this to think that's too harsh, but why? How many hours of time did he cost other people over the last two years? How many emergency vehicles got caught in traffic because of him during this time? How much more gas was burned and exhaust put into the air because of traffic congestion caused by this guy? But somehow taking away his "right" to drive is too harsh? Forgive me if I think he gave up that right when he refused to follow the rules.

It is that sense of entitlement in this country that has led us to this lack of real consequences for what we do. There isn't a penalty for traffic violations out there that is as harsh as it should be. Punishment for bad driving is used to raise money instead of actually attempting to change behavior. Speeding will get someone anywhere from about 50 to a couple hundred dollars in fines. Things like turning from the wrong lane or not using your signal or turning on red when it's not allowed will get even less, and often you don't get pulled over for that at all (unless you're black of course). Things like using your cell phone, eating, playing with your radio or smoking while you drive (things that are found to the cause of most accidents) aren't even against the law in most places. Hell, even getting caught driving under the influence only gets you a short suspension in most places on your first offense.

I say if we were serious about making our roads safer, which we don't seem to be even though traffic accidents are pretty much the leading cause of death and injury, we would make some real penalties. How about losing your license for two weeks on your first speeding ticket, and three months on your second? After that, a whole year. Don't you think we'd see a big difference on the freeways with those kind of penalties? And I would double those punishments in school zones and residential neighborhoods. Drunk driving would start with a three year suspension and move up to a permanent loss of license on the second strike. It's time for us to stop screwing around when it comes to this. A kid caught with a bag of weed can serve jail time, but not a guy hurling a 2,000 pound piece of metal on wheels down the road at 100 miles an hour? Which of those things is more dangerous to the general public?

And this won't happen in this country because of our misguided sense of entitlement. "Sammy Hagar doesn't have to drive 55 so why should I?" "My new Lexus can go 175 mph, why shouldn't I drive it that fast every once and a while?"

I mentioned to someone yesterday that I thought it should be a law that cars sold in this country shouldn't be allowed to be able to go faster than 75 mph and she acted like I just said that we should outlaw babies. No telling how she would have reacted if I had told her my real dream is that cars get outlawed and we rip up the interstate system and spend all of the highway money on a real national passenger rail network and transit systems in every city that rival the ones in London, Paris, and New York. She was not able to come up with one good reason why cars shouldn't be limited in speed capability by law. There is no state where it is legal to drive faster than 75, so what is the legitimate need for a car that can go 150 or more? She couldn't say anything but that it wasn't a good idea even though she couldn't tell me why and even agreed with me that speeding is bad. But sometimes she is in a hurry or running late and "needs" to speed, so that's why she wants her car to be able to go fast.

And this epitomizes the problem. Modern life has given us the attitude that because we can, we should be able to do. No matter the effect on the lives of everyone else in the world. It's also seen in things like bottled water. We can get it that way so now we think it is some sort of inalienable right, despite the environmental and social devastation it is causing around the word. All because it is convenient (because getting a glass and turning the handle on the tap is soooo hard) and people seem to think it's safer or cleaner, even though it's not. So it becomes a "need" when just a few years ago it was laughable to think that we would pay for water at something like 10,000 times the cost of the stuff that comes out of our faucet.

We could use another Great Depression. Maybe the word need would get a truer meaning again.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The President's Schedule

I'm watching CNN the other day (yes, I know, I'm a masochist) and one of the oh-so-very important news items is to tell us the menu for President Dumbfuck's Easter dinner. No matter how much I watch the idiocy on the television media I'm still sometimes surprised by how damn stupid it can get. Why the hell do they think that we care what the president had for dinner on any day? Well, I suppose if their are people who care about Brad and Angelina's personal life, there are also brain-dead idiots who care what Shrub stuffed in his face for the celebration of his lord's crucifixion. I'm sorry if it makes me an elitist snob to think that it's better to be able to name the nine members of the Supreme Court (I can really do that, honest) than the contents of someone's - anyone, not just the president - stomach. Seriously, have you ever called up a friend to ask them what they had for dinner? And I mean out of the blue just because you want to know, not like those occasions where they are telling you about a great restaurant they went to and you ask them what they ordered. That's different. I mean just randomly asking what they had for dinner, or them just randomly telling you for no reason. No one does that. But for some reason the media thinks we should know what the prez had for din-din. (If you must know, go here. What the hell is "two kinds of ham" anyway?)

This really is just another example of the media being lackeys for the government and corporations' efforts to distract the public from what's really going on in the world. And it doubles as the image propaganda to make Bushie look like a likeable, down-home normal Joe. Every news organization that reported it should be ashamed of themselves. Obvious smoke screens should be ignored and are a waste of newsprint and air-time. And when the evil-doers see that this works it only encourages them to take it farther. Do we really want that? As the public wants to know more and more about our presidents' personal lives and our Commanders In Chief continue to do worse and worse evil things, we will get more and more personal life details of the president. This will lead to finding out things like what the idiot reads while taking a dump (my guess is People or Reader's Digest, especially the Life In These United States "humor" column). The bigger the horrible thing the President is doing, the more detailed info we'll get about his personal life. Imagine how bad this kind of thing will get when he's about to nuke Iran later this year. I can see the press release now:

...and after the Thanksgiving feast the President and First Lady retired to the residence. After watching a little Cinemax the President began to nuzzle on the First Lady's neck which led to full mouth kissing, with tongue. This lasted for several minutes while he began to rub her left breast with his right hand, over her blouse, kneading it like pizza dough. He then was able to get his hands inside her shirt and on her naked flesh after Mrs. Bush removed her bra for him, as the President has always had a hard time with bras and this led to an incident during their college years that the First Lady would rather not see repeated. After a few minutes of breast rubbing, which included some light nipple pinching, she turned her attention toward his manhood. Rubbing at first over his trousers and then reaching inside to stroke on bare skin until the President achieved a full erection, the First Lady then performed approximately 4 minutes of fellatio. Cunnilingus was not performed. The President then got on top of the First Lady and attempted to wriggle out of the rest of his clothing, at which point he fell off the couch. After regaining his composure, he once again climbed on top of Mrs. Bush and commenced missionary position coitus for roughly three minutes until the phone rang. The First Lady pleaded with the President not to answer it, but he remarked that it could be his mother so he thought he should answer it. It was his mother. It is not uncommon for the Mother Bush to telephone when the Bushes are being romantic, kind of a weird coincidence. After getting off the phone with his mother, the President found that he was somewhat flaccid and required several more minutes of fellatio from the First Lady. Once again, cunnilingus was not performed. At this point Mrs. Bush assumed the top position and the First Couple had approximately 2 more minutes of intercourse before the President achieved orgasm. The First Lady did not achieve orgasm. The President was seemingly unaware of this.

At that point the First Lady retired to bed to read the newest Grishom novel and the President watched the episode of American Idol his daughter Jenna had TiVoed for him and he fell asleep on the couch during an episode of Gilligan's Island on Nick at Night. Mrs. Bush must have had a bad dream, as she was heard sobbing in the middle of the night.

This is what we have to look forward to in the future of media distractions perpetuated by the government. The sad part is, we are getting what we deserve. As long as we continue to eat up shit like Us Weekly, People, and every little bit of nonsense about Brad, Angelina, Tom, Katie and whoever JLo is fucking, then that's the kind of shit we will continue to be fed.

Now go learn your Supreme Court justices.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Gee, No Matter How Many Times I Hear That (Embarrassing) Story, It Never Gets Interesting

Just returned from a visit to Florida to meet my new 2-1/2 week old nephew, my sister's second kid and first son. I was around my mother the entire time. I'll get back to posting some (hopefully) interesting blogs when I can shake off the feeling of being 13-years old.

Friday, April 07, 2006

I (Heart) The 80s

While the media pays way too much attention to Cynthia McKinney's hair and her use of a cell phone as a shiv, the shallow Katie Couric becoming the "anchor and managing editor" of the CBS Evening News, and the sentencing trial of Zacarias Moussaoui (I still have yet to see any of the media make a point about them basically having a whole long, expensive trial for a guy that has already pleaded guilty and will get no less than life without parole), there is one little tidbit that I noticed and isn't getting a lot of attention yet. Seems that Dumbfuck Dubya wants to upgrade America's nuclear weapon producing facilities to be able to start turning out 125 new bombs a year.

So while our government is out there telling every other country in the world that nuclear proliferation is bad, we are quietly working on plans to increase our supply of nukes for the first time since 1989. This is on top of the fact that we already have way more of these weapons than any other country (Thanks Ronnie!), and that this probably breaks the non-proliferation treaty. But I suppose breaking that aspect of international law is no big deal to the guy who thinks the Geneva Convention is a "quaint" idea that has no bearing on America's actions in war time.

Jesus George, I know the 80s are probably a great memory for you, I'd have great memories of that decade if I had been drunk and coked-up the whole time too, but do you really need to try to start a new cold war because of your nostalgia?

Couldn't you just watch VH1?

Monday, April 03, 2006

The Home Front

Holy shit! Yesterday morning on Meet the Press I found the person that I want to run for President. His name is Tony Zinni, the retired USMC General who was the commander of US CENTCOM (Central Command). I never thought I'd see myself wanting a military man to be president, but damn! This man is smart and calls out Bush, Cheney and Rummy on their bullshit. He knows more about the situation in Iraq than those three buffoons combined and can articulate it better than any of the idiot Democrats who are going to run. He's not afraid to use big words and actually call the situation for what it is instead of the soundbites that politicians use. In this interview on Meet The Press he went in depth on his knowledge that there was no evidence at all that Saddam had WMDs, that Dubya and Dick were pushing for war from the beginning, and how 10 years worth of planning for the day they would re-engage Iraq was just ignored and put us in this screwed-up situation we're in now. He also talked about how the administration is using the press as scapegoats for the problems in Iraq. But the best thing he said during this whole conversation was this, courtesy of MTP transcripts:

Well, first of all, you have to understand how you instill democracy. It isn't an election. An election doesn't equal democracy. Think about it. We need an educated electorate. We need political parties that are transparent, that people understand their platforms, that compete in a fair process. We have to have a governmental system that people are voting into, and they have to understand that, and then you can have elections. We've sort of reversed the process.

Look what's happened in Iraq. We've had three elections now, and we don't have a government yet that can stand up. There aren't people that, I think, really understood what they voted for. I saw a scene in Basra, one of the elections, where a woman ran in so excited about voting, and then she asked the poll tender, "Who do I vote for?" And he told her she-he couldn't tell her, but he had to read a list to her of 169 parties. She was confused. When he hit number seven that said the Islamic party of something or other, she said, "That's the one." I mean, is that democracy? Are they voting how they're told at, at Friday prayers? Are they voting for sectarian leaders that dominate their lives? Do they truly understand what it's all about?

It's not just democracy. It's economic development. It's social reform. This takes time, takes an investment from the stable part of the world and the unstable part of the world to establish these.

Isn't that just the best and most articulate rebuke of Bushie's claim that democracy has been brought to Iraq? Why can't we find one Democrat willing to say it like that? Instead, we get pictures on TV of Iraqis holding up their purple fingers as some sort of proof that they now have democracy over there, when they still don't even have anything close to it. Like the General said, three elections and still no government. John Kerry may have won if he had half the balls and brains the General has. If the Democrats are smart, and I don't think they have been lately (like 20+ years), they'll recruit this man right away, tell Kerry (Mr. Voted For The War Before I Voted Against It) and Hillary (Mrs. Pro-Flag Burning Amendment and Iraqi Invasion Supporter) to sit down and shut the hell up, skip the primaries and just anoint this guy their candidate. Don't ask, beg him to be your man, Democrats.

So there it is, an anti-war guy endorsing a military man for President. There is a group that's trying to get him to run for Senate, but I say they're aiming too low.

Zinni has a book coming out tomorrow called The Battle for Peace : A Frontline Vision of America's Power and Purpose and I can't wait to read it. Of course, this being the Bush economy it might be a couple of afford before I can afford it (his master plan is working, keep the people poor so they can't buy books that provoke debate and ideas among the masses). I may have to wait even longer to buy the Billy Bragg box set that I really, really want so I can read the General's book.