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Showing posts from September, 2019

Take me out to the ball park

I didn't follow baseball very closely this year, so it was a bit of a surprise to see three AL teams all crack 100 wins.  It is pretty amazing when one team breaks the century mark.  Houston, New York and Minnesota had great seasons.  Hard to say who will emerge as the AL champion.  On the NL side, Los Angeles nearly matched Houston's incredible 106 wins.

A big season doesn't necessarily translate into a World Series.  I found that out many years ago when the Seattle Mariners posted a staggering 116 wins only to lose to the Yankees in five games in the AL championship series.  The Yankees had won only 95 games during the regular season.  I keep waiting for the Mariners to return to form but after 18 long seasons I have pretty much given up hope.  It seems that magical season took all the air out of their sails.  The Mariners only won 67 games this year after getting off to a hot start.

You really have to be a fan to follow a team through all 162 games.  I've caught a …
You give someone enough rope and he will hang himself.  That appears to be what the Don has done.  It isn't so much the severity of the action, as it is his feeble attempt to cover it up and all the persons involved, notably his vice president and attorney general.  Trump now has his very own "Stupid Watergate," broken long before the elections ever came.  At the very least, state Republicans might want to reconsider suspending their primaries and caucuses.

The interesting part is that this now infamous phone call took place the day after Mueller testified before Congress.  The Don obviously felt indestructible at this point and figured he could get away with anything.  His security advisers weren't so sure.  According to the whistleblower, they did their best to cover Trump's tracks by placing the transcript of the phone call with the newly elected Ukrainian president in a secured server, normally only used for highly classified state secrets.  The only thing t…
You might call it True Detective for women, but Netflix's Unbelievable is far more compelling than any of the three seasons of that ill-fated show.   Part of the reason is that this detective story is indeed true, and provides a fascinating study in contrasts as to how rape cases are investigated.

For Marie Adler, who had just turned 18, reporting her rape turned into a nightmare.  Her confusion was misread, her story doubted and ultimately her case dropped as a false charge.  Not only did she lose trust in everyone around her, but the Lynnwood PD had the audacity to criminally charge her for the false claim she was coerced into signing.  Her foster parents weren't much better, providing her minimal support, and the halfway house where she was raped gave her little comfort.  For three years, Marie had to live with this infamy as a high school "friend" called her out on facebook so that she was inundated with hate mail.  If it wasn't for the tenacious work of two…

Are You Experienced?

On a recent trip to London, I visited the Handel & Hendrix House, a most unusual tribute to musical maestros from entirely different centuries.  The Handel House was first dedicated back in 1969, the year Kathy Etchingham was hunting for a place for Jimi to stay in the city.  She saw the plaque for Handel being put up on 23 Brook St. and knew Jimi would love it.  Later, the plaque was moved to the facade of the row house next door, which diminished the flat a little in Jimi's mind but for the better part of a year he and Kathy called this place home.

According to the grey-haired volunteer sitting in the corner of the bedroom regaling us in these stories, Jimi loved Handel.  He had a well-played copy of the Messiah, and incorporated some of the music into Electric Ladyland, a trippy album that is arguably Jimi's greatest work.  The curators of the museum went out of their way to faithfully recreate both homes, forming a very unique juxtaposition to each other.  Tribute con…

Sitting in Limbo

John Oliver had a good piece on immigration last week, showing just how difficult it is to get into this country legally, despite Trump's constant moaning that everyone and his mother can come to America.  The waiting list is so long that Mexican families have to wait as much as 22 years to get their applications reviewed for reunification, and you wonder why so many come across the border illegally.

The irony is that our country was founded on immigration and continues to prosper because of immigration.  It's not just agriculture and the tech industry that benefit, but just about all our industries.  This is why Andrew Yang actively promotes immigration, pointing to his own story as a positive example.

Trump would have us believe that immigration is bad despite his mother and two wives being immigrants.  In fact, his current wife and her parents represent a perfect example of  "chain migration," which he deplores.  Melania invited her parents to come to America and…

Careful what you wish for

Football season is officially upon us, and if the Antonio Brown saga is any indication it should be a wild and woolly year.

New England badly wants Super Bowl number 7 to put them ahead of the Pittsburgh Steelers, which would be even more amazing given the Pats have done it all with just one quarterback.  Their's is a dynasty that stretches back to 2000 when the Patriots took Tom Brady in the 6th round.  That's right, sixth round!  Brady was the 199th player selected overall in that draft, and the only player from that draft class still playing at age 42.  Love them or hate them, the Pats have created quite a system under Bill Belichick.

When Antonio Brown came available late last week, the Patriots didn't hesitate to grab him.  Gronk had retired after 9 bruising years, leaving a gaping hole to fill in their receiver corps. But, was it a last minute deal, or something AB had facilitated thanks to his highly public disputes with the Raiders?

Not that it really matters in t…

Talking with the Enemy

Will blunders never cease?  Anxious to be considered for a Nobel Peace Prize again this year, Donald J. Trump tried to not-so-secretly work out a peace deal between the Taliban and Afghan government at Camp David this weekend, only for someone in the White House to leak the news to the press.  Determined not to have any more egg on his face, His Trumpness claimed he called off the secret meeting, "unbeknownst to almost everyone" because the Taliban took credit for a recent car bombing in Kabul that killed an American soldier.

It's not clear whether the Afghan government was aware of this meeting.  President Ghani was scheduled to be in Washington this week, but no mention of meeting with Taliban representatives.  The Afghan President has been shut out of negotiations between the US and the Taliban that have been going on since November of last year.  Trump is determined to reduce the number of American troops in the country but the US military wants assurances from the …

Shine a Light

To take my mind off the nonsense in the news these days, I've been reading Emerson Among the Eccentrics, a group portrait of the Transcendentalists from the early half of the 19th century.  It was a pretty amazing time.  Science and religion weren't considered competing forces.  Emerson saw God in the natural world around him, not accepting any contradiction in faith and reason because he didn't take the Bible literally.

It would be 30 years or so before Darwin put forward his theory of natural selection, but even in the 1830s, evolution was discussed by renown figures like Jean-Baptiste Lamarck and Charles Lyell, who Emerson would have probably been aware of.  His naturalistic and literary tastes, however, ran toward Rousseau and Blake.

I was curious who the Transcendentalists were, and as near as I can figure out they owe their origins to the Unitarians, who took a broader view to religion, favoring Jesus the man to Christ as part of the Holy Trinity.  As such, this is …

The Madness Continues

Before Dorian bore down on Alabama, Trump had other bad news to contend with.  As it stands now, the Democrats could probably run the Hurricane Whisperer against Trump and win.  It's gotten so bad that not just liberal pundits, but former conservative allies are concerned over the mental health of His Orangeness.

Trump has done himself no favors.  On top of his international altercation with Denmark over his proposed acquisition of Greenland, he had another horrid G7 conference in which he continually pressed for the readmission of Russia while skipping a key meeting on climate change.  This while the Amazon burned in epic proportions.  Making matters worse, he took the side of Brazil's demented president in the highly public spat between Bolsonaro and Macron.

For the past three years, Republican allies have tried to put out the fires Trump has started, but more and more concerned conservatives are speaking out.   Trump has burned so many bridges that his 2020 reelection chan…