Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Shocking Revelations

On Sunday, the day of the last game of the ALCS between the Red Sox and the Indians, the San Francisco Chronicle printed a story about Indians' pitcher Paul Byrd having in the past purchased human growth hormone. Now this is a big story of course, the use of HGH and steroids, known as cheating, is said to run rampant in baseball. And the news just happen to come out on the same day as the biggest game of the Indians' season. The reporters at ESPN were absolutely giddy having a big story to run with for the day. And they all seemed shocked.

What struck me was why they were shocked. They weren't surprised by the fact it was a pitcher caught doing it. The conventional wisdom of it being only hitters "juicing" was blown out of the water when they actually started drug testing in baseball and tons of hurlers were busted.

No what kept being mentioned over and over by so many of the commentators was that they were shocked because Paul Byrd is "deeply religious."


Where exactly did this myth come from that religious people were somehow more virtuous than other people? There is nothing throughout history that has shown this to be the case, so what gives? I'm guessing that just because Christian types run this country from top to bottom this fallacy continues to be pushed as some sort of "truth." People like to believe that those who are like them are the most honest and decent people around.

But I have yet to see anything to make me believe that hardcore religious people are better human beings than those who aren't. In fact, in my world all of the non-believers I know are a heck of a lot better people than the Jesus/Abraham/Mohammad freaks I know. I'm not saying that religion makes you a bad person, I know many good and decent people that believe in one of the major fairy tales. But religious certainly does not equal virtuous.

Look at things like the Inquisition in history to see how shitty the pious types can be. Jeez, as recently in history as World War II we had the head of an entire world faith that openly supported a man who wanted to eradicate an entire group of people from the planet. (That would be the Pope, Hitler and the Jews for those of you with a modern public high school education).

All the southern people who lynched black people for talking to/whistling at/looking towards a white woman were super-duper Christians. Heck, the bible was their reason for why they treated blacks the way they did.

Cheating and stealing? One needs to look no farther than your average TV preacher to find guys who do that. Jim Bakker slept around with women other than his wife and stole money.

And do I even need to remind people how many Catholic Priests, in many countries, were molesting children in their care? Worse yet, the leadership of that very same religion found out about it, helped cover it up and let those sick fucks continue to have jobs working with kids. Every atheist I know would have called the cops if they found out something like that.

These commentators are shocked by a religious baseball player who cheated? Are they forgetting something? The guy most of the public figures to be the biggest cheater of them all, Barry Bonds, based on the major increase in the size of his head and feet in his mid-thirties, is one of the most religious people in the game. He is a seriously devout Christian. And not only does he cheat at his profession, he's also a major adulterer. And I doubt you could find too many people that would say that Barry loves his neighbor.

Speaking of adultery, we live in a country that a vast majority of the population consider themselves religious. Yet statistics show that over half of the married people in the U.S. have had extramarital affairs. Presumably this does not count swingers, who do so with their spouse's permission.

In fact, baseball is full of seriously religious people. Probably over 90% of players are pretty damn religious people. Most insiders in the game figure that well over 50% of them are taking performance enhancing drugs. In other words, lying and cheating.

Shocked by a dishonest believer?

Not me brother.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


I've been accused many o' time of not having any respect for religion. Guilty as charged of course, and pretty damn proud of that.

But really, how am I supposed to take religion seriously? Those of you of the religious persuasion don't actually take it seriously yourselves. Oh, you say you do, but you really don't. Most of you, I've noticed, just treat god as your good luck charm. He's been relegated to the same status as a rabbit's foot. Though an imaginary deity is at least less gruesome than a piece of a dead animal's carcass.

Watching the baseball playoffs I am constantly seeing players who have a little ritual of tapping their shoulders, chest or whatever and kissing their hand and then pointing to the sky to thank god.

Now really, you want to try to convince me that there is some sort of all powerful god and somehow he's responsible for helping some one hit a little white ball with a stick? I'm supposed to not laugh at that?

And pitchers who kiss the little cross on their necklace before they pitch. With both these guys hoping for god to help them, how's an omnipotent to choose? What this means, Christian folk, is that if you are right (which you are not) your god is one horrible parent who plays favorites. And why would I pray to that?

And what about these sports types who are always claiming that it was god who helped them win the game, or score that point or break some record? Why does god get the credit for success but never the blame for failure? And the praying believers on the losing side, does god just hate those fuckers?

Football players are always praying at the end of games in the muddle of the field in a huddle. I suppose they are thanking god for not turning their brain to Jello that week. But not playing a game that involves smacking your head against things would be better than praying to escape a concussion. It's not that hard to figure that one out. If you don't want to get hurt or die from something dangerous, you probably should just skip it instead of asking god to protect you. Football-playing Christians I guess aren't really that different from those poison-drinking, snake-handling ones.

I really love the boxers who thank god and give him credit for their feats. Really? God was there to give you the strength to beat the snot out of that guy and knock him unconscious? Maybe even left him with a bloodied face and put him in the hospital? Damn, that dude must have really pissed god off. What was he, a child molester or something? No? He was just another one of the people who honor god and pray too him all the time too? Oh. Well shit, he must suck at it.

See, if he's helping the winners that means he's deciding who loses.

That would make god a pretty big asshole.

And apparently he's a huge Rockies fan. Maybe it's because they are the team closest to heaven.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Immunize Me

So some idiot members of the GOP are in a tizzy over the fact that a team of congressional committee staffers were advised to get immunizations before a trip to a couple of NASCAR events. They were advised to do so because they were going to be visiting the health care facilities, detention centers and other places where they could be exposed to communicable diseases. They were doing this to make sure that there was appropriate coordination and communication between the Department of Homeland Security and local authorities in case of a major disaster at a large event much like one where there are hundreds of thousands of rednecks watching cars go around in a circle.

So of course the Republicans went out of their way to make a big deal out of the non-issue, playing to their brain-dead base by issuing silly statements like these:

"Democrats should know that there is no preventive measure yet designed to ward off the blue-collar values and patriotism that NASCAR fans represent."
---Linda Daves, chairwoman of the North Carolina Republican Party

"To suggest that vaccines are needed to attend NASCAR races is insulting to millions of hardworking Americans who love their country and the smell of burnt rubber."
---Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI)

There are more, but I'll spare you the stupidity. You get the point.

It is amazing how these fools can go out of their way to make an issue where there isn't one. Like Barak Obama not wearing one of those silly American flag lapel pins.

But there is a real issue here. It's not that they got immunized that is the problem. It's that they got all the wrong immunizations. They wasted their time getting things like hepatitis A, hepatitis B, tetanus, diphtheria and influenza. Well those aren't going to do you any good at a NASCAR race.

How is a tetanus shot going to protect you from the "wife-beater" shaped sun burn?

Think about all the exposure those poor congressional staffers got because they weren't given their tooth-loss immunization. And what about the pills to protect them from ending up living in a trailer park? And don't forget the southern drawl mouth rinse, which also offers the extra protection stopping you from liking the taste of possum.

Don't forget the hair gel that protects against growing a white hood on your head and the body lotion to ward off swastika tattoos.

And I just can't believe they sent these poor fools out into the field without the anti-sex-with-your-sister booster. That's the most important protection you need at a NASCAR event. Just ahead of the serum that keeps you safe from finding cars going around in a circle for hours interesting. Or thinking that it in any way resembles a sport

Personally, I wouldn't have gone without a haz-mat suit.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Around The Old Ballpark

Well, I don't really write all that much about sports, mostly because I'm not really in to that many of them and that sport blogs are pretty boring. They are either guys whining about how their team was robbed (see any Yankee fan about the "bug game" in Cleveland) or in your face dumbasses always going on about their team being the greatest ever (see any Yankee fan).

But I am a big baseball fan and this is my favorite time of the year. So a few thoughts...

The Yankees not making the playoff at all would have been my first choice, but them being knocked out in the first round by a team I really like is pretty sweet too.

Speaking of the Evil Empire, they are responsible for my favorite part of the post-season so far. In the 6th inning last night, Derek "most overrated player since Dave Kingman" Jeter comes to the plate with runners on first and third, a run already scored in the inning. A classic Yankee rally in the making. The crowd is going nuts and the TBS cameras cut away to fans holding signs that say "El Capitan" and "Captain Clutch" (Jeter is the Yankees' captain).

He then promptly hit in to a rally killing, inning ending double play.

I'm not sure which part of it was sweeter, Mr. Yankee choking or hearing the sound of 50k plus Yankee fans reacting like they got hit in the gut. From loudmouth obnoxiousness to stunned silence was such a sweet thing to hear. I almost fell off the couch laughing.

Like many other times during the night I immediately called Joe, who grew up close to Cleveland and was watching the game up at his place in Harlem. We laughed and laughed at Captain Clutch. Good times.

I'm no fan of the wild card format, and this year they've made it worse by stretching out the playoff games even more. If the World Series goes to a game seven it will be on November 1st.

The other thing I hate a out it is how the reward has been diminished for a team. This series with the Indians and Yankees was a complete gut-wrenching battle. It used to be that once you got through beating a really good team you got to play in the World Series. Now the reward is having to take on an even better team.

I really don't understand the celebrating with champagne showers after winning the first round. I mean, you win your division and you celebrate. You win the League Championship Series to make you the champ of either the American League or the Senior Circuit (what baseball geeks love to call the National League), you celebrate. Makes sense. You get to hang a pennant up in your park on the next opening day for doing either of those things. But winning a first round series? What exactly are you celebrating? Nobody puts a pennant up on opening day that says "First round of the playoff winners."

There's a reason that the sports that have had multiple round (weak-ass) playoff systems for a long time don't celebrate after each win. Can you imagine it? "Woo-Hoo, pop the cork! We just beat an eighth-seeded team with a .500 record!"

I gotta tell ya, even with some weak announcers, I like the playoffs being on TBS better than FOX so far. They don't overload the game with sound effects and graphics to the point of annoyance. Yet.

Chip Carey is by no means a perfect announcer, but there is one example of why I love him. At one point during the game when there was a hit that bounced in the outfield and went over the wall, Carey called it a "rule book double." I find that most announcers call that a "ground rule double" even though that's not right. A ball that bounces over the outfield wall is a double in any baseball park. A "ground rule" means something specific to that park, such as when the ball gets stuck in the ivy at Wrigley Field or hits a beam in one of the awful domed stadiums. Knowing the difference means you've got an announcer who knows the game.

I dread having to listen to Joe Buck and Tim McCarver calling the ALCS on FOX. McCarver has got to be the most annoying baseball announcer ever. I wish he would insult a cripple or a minority like Steve Lyons did so he would get fired too.

I wish like crazy that the Indians would change both the name of the team and that disgusting Chief Wahoo logo. I love this team a lot and would feel better about rooting for them if their name wasn't so damn racist. It would be really easy to use the old name of the original Cleveland Major League team, the Spiders. I hope the next owner is more PC and lives in the 21st century instead of the 18th.

Whoever this Frank guy is that is getting his own late night comedy show on TBS, I wish someone would beat him to death with the bat he's carrying in the ads that have been playing during the games. The last thing this country needs more of, besides Christians, is Nicholson/De Niro/Bush impersonators.

My lame-ass predictions: Indians over Red Sox in 7 brutal, hard fought ALCS games. Rockies over Diamondbacks in 5 for the NLCS And in the World Series, the Indians overpowering the Rockies in 5 to take their first championship since 1948.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Hello Dalai

Watching the Mets game on the last day of the season I was struck by, besides laughter at their complete collapse down the stretch, the number of people in the stands that were crying.

Seriously? Tears?

Now the kid who was put on the cover of the New York Post is understandable, kids cry over pointless, stupid shit all the time. That's what kids do. But I saw many middle-aged women and men crying. I mean really, this is what can make you cry? Your damn team loses? Come on, it's a game.

Ask anybody who knows me, I love baseball. But to get that upset over my team not making the playoffs? Not on your life. It's called perspective. The Mets winning would not have made your life any better and their losing does not make your life any worse. It's entertainment. Get a life.

You know what has gotten me choked up lately? Burma.

I followed the situation of the protests happening in Burma with great interest. With thousands of people demonstrating against the evil military junta, could this finally be the moment in history when democracy and freedom begin to come back to Burma? Or will it be crushed again, like in 1988?

We all know the answer now of course. It crushed my heart to see the images coming out of Burma after the regime sent in its soldiers to put down the uprising. With the little information that could be obtained it is thought that hundreds are dead and many more injured. No way to know how many more were detained, but it quite realistically could be in the thousands. The Buddhist monks who had been flooding the streets everyday in protest against the regime were suddenly nowhere to be found, either taken away or blockaded inside their own monasteries.

Once again the junta has stamped out dissent.

What followed was basically a bunch of lip service from world leaders but no real call to action. Bush froze a few American-based assets of the regime's generals (of which there really isn't very much) and sent his spokeswoman out to speak a collection of meaningless platitudes.

Russia, Thailand, China and India, countries that benefit from making deals with the junta for Burma's resources were, of course, silent.

You know who else has been effectively silent? The Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of the world's Buddhists. Beyond this written statement, he has said and done pretty much nothing. He has not gone to the media to voice his protest against the regime of Burma. He has led no marches or protests at any Burmese consulate or embassy.

He offered his prayers. And some empty words about supporting democracy. That's it.

The true colors of the Lama come shining through. Like all religious leaders, his true concern is not his people but his own hold on power and prominence.

If he were to speak out against the junta of Burma he may piss of his Indian masters, who don't want to anger the Burmese regime lest they decide to not sell them raw materials anymore. The Dalai Lama remains muted so India allows him to stay and maintain his power over an autonomous area they have granted him.

That may also have something to do with why this man of "peace" has been a vocal supporter of India's nuclear weapons program.

His statement supporting democracy in Burma is laughable considering he doesn't even support democracy for his own home of Tibet. If China left Tibet tomorrow (something I wholeheartedly support) would there be free elections there? That answer would be no. The Dalai Lama does not want to free the Tibetan people for the cause of representative democracy. He wants to be returned to his throne.

He claims to be the leader of Tibet by divine right, anointed by god himself to rule over the people of that land and answerable to no one but god. He claims this right as he is supposed to be the reincarnation of the original Dalai Lama, a story as silly as the resurrection of Jesus.

He doesn't sound like someone who supports democracy to me. Dissent is no more tolerated under the rule of the Dalai Lama than it is under the rule of the Chinese. Possibly less violently put down, but put down nonetheless. A cute old man in a robe as a dictator is still a dictator.

While the monks of Burma bravely fight against repression and for a return of democracy to their homeland, and Aung San Suu Kyi continues to live under house arrest, the leader of Tibetan Buddhism tours the world gathering support for the cause of restoring the power and glory of his monarchy.