Monday, August 29, 2011

Unlike Mitchell, I've never been that much of a baseball fan - football was always my game (and I don't even watch much of that anymore). But as I read this article, it began to become clear to me just why baseball doesen't cut it for me. Could this have something to do with it?

On Sunday, you could have flown from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., and watched all of Gone With the Wind and quite a bit of Gandhi en route, while simultaneously undergoing -- start to finish -- an in-flight sex-change operation before landing, 4 hours and 15 minutes after takeoff, in an altogether different climate, as an altogether different gender.

Or, in the same 4 hours and 15 minutes, you could have watched the Red Sox and Yankees complete a single game of major league baseball.
You know how whenever people talk about the weather in desert climates they'll mention how it isn't the heat, it's the humidity? Maybe it's true that with baseball it isn't the time, it's the pace. But, like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives (to coin a phrase), and maybe there just aren't that many sands left to cover the infield of a baseball stadium and have anything left over?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Retro TV Friday

OOne of television's most endearing personalities is turning 90 today. Taking a look at some videos of Monty Hall, of things other than the franchise that he is best known for doing (and as last as last year, he even did a segment of that show).

Today's society of misfits

I am aghast with what I had seen the numerous practices adopted by modern youth who have adopted the culture of the deviants, and is excessively trendy, taken from their sports, entertainment, and other heroes they see on television every day. It has come to a point it seems every superstar in our culture (or so it seemed) has numerous body modifications, with professional basketball stars full of tattoos on their arms, and Major League Baseball even ordering players to wear long-sleeved undershirts to cover some of the most heinous body modifications, and part of the Ohio State scandal was based around discounts at a tattoo parlour. And the hairstyles worn by some figures are far worse than the haircuts you may receive at your local barber.

One teenager who just graduated from high school appeared at an event with a bizarre hairstyle that had me aghast and wondering what he was doing, and I considered was he attending college or going for a position other than an entry level position. At least two other teens were at the same event with multiple tattoos – some covering parts of the body that are usually covered by undergarmets, as an intent to expose their body and advertise something inappropriate. Adults are into this also, with many adults choosing to modify their bodies to show their love of popular culture, accomplishments, or their dates. The result is a trend in sleeveless shirts worn by men, and questionable undergarmets worn by both men and women, especially if their bodies (and in the case of questionable undergarmets, shown on things that normally would be covered by common sense people) full of tattoos in order to show their advertising. A friend from elementary school asked what is with the trend, and will they feel guilty years later?

That leads to the story that former Colts running Back Jerry Richardson, now the owner of Carolina, told his newly drafted star player no body modification (tattoos, piercings, et al) would be allowed. Good for Mr. Richardson.

Body modifications and crazy hairstyles would never be approved at a normal place of work, your local business, or even church. Many venues will not accept people with body modifications to work. Common sense has been lost. The money that people are spending for such deviant work is better off going to church, charity, the commodities, the market, healthy foods, reading books, taking arts classes, playing golf, or attending events. This sad trend has to stop with the craziness of body modification, all of which violates Leviticus 19:28, “Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.”

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Classic Sports Thursday

Bristol, Baby!"

Anyone in motorsport will assure you that a NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol (TN) Motor Speedway is regarded as the toughest ticket in motorsport, even if the recession has stripped it of its sellout status with 160,000 spectators.

One of the most famous feuds in the 1990's at the famous speedplant was the Terry Labonte - Dale Earnhardt battles in 1995 and 1999, with the score ending as a 1-1 battle between the Childress and Hendrick driver.

The first Feud - 1995

Rattle the Cage - 1999

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The bad business of business

Is owning a sports franchise bad business? Should it be? That's the provocative question the always-provocative Malcolm Gladwell asks. Of course, I've always thought any sports franchise owner who expects to make a profit - who things, in fact, that a profit should be guaranteed - is not only insane, but is probably doing pretty well feeding at the public trough.

As a side thought, I was listening to someone talking to Jason Lewis about the scam that is higher education today, and how the whole college thing has been perverted into being something that people have to have just to get the most menial work. Fact is, not everyone ought to go to college, and there should be plenty of jobs that don't require a college degree. And this links to my first paragraph how? Well, substitute "life" for "owning a sports franchise" and you get your answer.

Life can't be measured purely in terms of profit and loss. Sometimes there are things in life - such as the old-fashioned liberal arts degree - that only give you what Gladwell called the "psychic" gain. In other words, they don't necessarily make you richer, but they do help make you more well-rounded. And that's a different kind of wealth altogether.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Charity begins - with the government?

Penn Gillette – the “Penn” half of the comedy/magic team Penn & Teller – is an endlessly interesting man. Now, this doesn’t mean that I always, or even usually, agree with him. I seldom agree with anyone that often, including myself. It does, however, mean that within the contents of any given comments of his, there are bound to be words of interest, ideas that bear exploration, repetition, even agreement. And so when he wrote about his recent appearance with Piers Morgan on CNN (catch Piers soon, by the way, before the British phone hacking scandal claims him), there was stuff that was good and stuff that wasn’t so good.

His atheism, for example, has never appealed to me. (I recall once reading about how he and his partner Teller were so adamant on this point that they even removed the Gideon Bibles from the hotel rooms in which they stayed.) I think he’s dead wrong about faith – requiring certainty about anything, including religion, is a formula for paralysis, in my opinion – but at least I understand where he’s coming from more than I did before. And just because I disagree – strongly – with it doesn’t mean that I can’t at least comprehend it. (I think he’s an outstanding candidate for prayer, by the way. The appearance of a divine intervention in his life might be difficult for him to explain away, which in turn might force him to acknowledge it as something worthy of further consideration.)

And just because I disagree with him on some things doesn’t mean that I can’t agree with him on others. He says that his thoughts on politics flow from the same insistence on certainty as do his thoughts on religion; but his demand for certainty, which fails him in the sacred, serves him much better with regard to the secular. Take, for example, his thoughts on government programs:

It's amazing to me how many people think that voting to have the government give
poor people money is compassion. Helping poor and suffering people is compassion. Voting for our government to use guns to give money to help poor and suffering people is immoral self-righteous bullying laziness.

People need to be fed, medicated, educated, clothed, and sheltered, and if we're compassionate we'll help them, but you get no moral credit for forcing other people to do what you think is right. There is great joy in helping people, but no joy in doing it at gunpoint.
Oddly enough, he might find himself in agreement with the great Catholic humanitarian Dorothy Day, who felt that government welfare programs tended to abrogate the individual’s moral responsibility to provide charity themselves. When you can have the government do your charitable work for you, why bother to get your own hands dirty?

Needless to say, there are many liberals, dedicated to taking your tax money from you to do good, who also contribute their own personal time, talent and money. I’m not saying that all they do is steal from the rich and give to the poor from the comfort of their own homes. But Penn’s comment that “There is great joy in helping people, but no joy in doing it at gunpoint” is a profound one. Make no mistake, he says – “When they come to get you for not paying your taxes, try not going to court. Guns will be drawn. Government is force -- literally, not figuratively.” Which leads to this conclusion:

I don't believe the majority always knows what's best for everyone. The fact that the majority thinks they have a way to get something good does not give them the right to use force on the minority that don't want to pay for it. If you have to use a gun, I don't believe you really know jack. Democracy without respect for individual rights sucks. It's just ganging up against the weird kid, and I'm always the weird kid.
There’s a great deal of truth in that statement. It’s classic libertarianism, and while that’s another –ism that I don’t completely agree with, there’s no doubt that it’s a vital and necessary part of contemporary conservative thought.

And proof, once again, that food for thought can come from surprising places.

(By the way, in the midst of this heavy discussion don’t overlook the hilarious story he tells about a Nobel-winning physicist, a community college teacher, and a talk show host. And no, they don’t walk into a bar together.)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Opera Wednesday

Moses as Bin Laden? Unbelievable but true, in Graham Vick's potentially vomit-inducing (I say that because I have to be fair, having not seen it personally) interpretation of Rossini's Moses in Egypt. Opera Chic has the lowdown here, with additional posts at her site. Here's what Vick has to say about Moses:

"It's true, he resembles Bin Laden -- on the contrary, he's an archetype. Moses summarizes in himself all of the fundamentalists. Let's not forget that every terrorist is also a freedom fighter in the eyes of someone else. And besides, Rossini presents him as always angry and threatening. His war against the Egyptians resembles very much a 'holy war' on which to speculate actual jihad. While rereading the works of Rossini, I felt the need to take into consideration how much had befallen the Middle East in the last ten years."

Doesn't quite sound like Charlton Heston, does it?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Stories of the week

Katie Kieffer takes a shot at the government's fuel economy standards, which are industry-killing ideas to force us into the tiny city cars liberals envision us to be riding as to force as many people into the big cities, where ultra-urban areas are the home of liberalism's biggest pockets.

Seeing too many tiny cars and jacked-up sedans masquerading the jobs of big trucks is senseless.

Colleges are now telling students to attend the Life Enhancement Centres that endorse sexual deviancy, a "proud" goal of colleges trying to tell kids to be indoctrinated into the values of Humanism. Mike Adams finds some disturbing details at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

Max Hastings in the UK discusses the London riots, and how "progressive" leftist teachings over generations has led to youth who refuse to have standards.

Tony Sewell believes, as many of us do, the gangster culture, as shown on MTV, is a dangerous poison.

    Both kids and adults are extremely guilty in church (of all places) of wearing tee-shirts and jeans, shorts, or anything very unprofessional and rag-tag to church today. When these Life Enhancement Centres even have ragged dress of the band, and ministers follow along, we are truly troubled. Thomas Langford, however, thinks the societal changes of women in the workforce ended the era of the fancy dresses.

    Part of the Problem with American Society today? Even the Girl Scouts are betraying values in favour of the latest fads among liberalism. When the Boy Scouts of America is now helping American Heritage Girls, it's clear the new organisation is on the way up.

    Thursday, August 11, 2011

    Classic Sports Thursday

    Sunday's INDYCAR race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway is the first IZOD IndyCar Series race since 1998 at the 1.058 mile speedway, and the first with Bruton Smith, who has INDYCAR races at Texas and Sonoma, in control.

    Here was the last INDYCAR race from 1998, and note who is calling the race -- the man regarded as America's premier motorsport voice. (Courtesy INDYCAR.)

    This Just In

    News item: Tiger Woods dropped by sponsor Tag Heuer. But don't worry too much.

    Wednesday, August 10, 2011

    Of Requiem, hatred of industry, and corruption in Washington

    Packing It In! We packed the house literally during the first (Sunday) performance of Mozart's Requiem, and for the first time in my singing career I saw a full house (and more, as it was standing room only) for a concert. Big thanks to Susan Kelly, student conductor, Sarah Rich (soprano), Beth Mears (alto), David (tenor) and Lillian (conductor) Quackenbush, David Stephenson (bass), and Frances Webb (Steinway). Big thank-you to the team here guys. Enjoyed it and cannot wait to sing again!

    Sarah, beautiful voice and be praying for you – there's a baby on the way for Sarah and her husband, as I had the opportunity to visit with him during dress rehearsals.

    Dies iræ! Dies illa. Solvet sæclum in favilla: Teste David cum Sibylla!

    Can You Watch What You Wear? Some singers seemingly forgot how to dress for concert. Our bulletin stated “concert dress” for women and men have to wear a white dress shirt, black slacks, and a tie (it's over 90 degrees outside in South Carolina, but I wore my jacket during pre-concert warmup). Two types of female choral dress violations were detected during the concert – sleeveless blouse was one, and the other was the little black dress and no stockings, but most of the women knew the right hem length (¾th or longer; many of the younger singers chose to wear black slacks, a popular trend in orchestra women, since black stockings are typically not required when the trouser option is chosen). Some men chose short-sleeve dress shirts (something I wasn't taught was permitted), and the big no-no was one singer did not wear a tie. What has happened to proper dress anymore anywhere? Most know the rule, but a this is a societal problem today.

    The Downgrade and The Crash. Does it sound suspicious the debt limit issue and the downgrade of the debt of the leadership of the country refuse to see the problem lies within the eighty-year downgrade that President Roosevelt ran us through with John Maynard Keynes' philosophy, which is the problem we have had for the years? The excessive sellout to Keynesian economics, which is built on massive government spending, is the root cause of the problem with our economic system.

    And a Hatred of Industry. So Obama has now imposed a 54 MPG standard for cars, effectively striking the auto industry to the same tiny cars in Europe, and electric cars, and he is now imposing new energy standards on trucks, buses, and industrial vehicles, which makes it clear he reminds me of the Taliban in that he hates industry and would love us to return to the Stone Age. Is this the country we want where industry is banned while we worship Gaia? We may see electric vehicles for industrial duty do the same things our current petrol and diesel cars use because of an arrogant anti-industry leadership.

    Tuesday, August 9, 2011

    (Not) tickled pink

    As Mitchell mentioned yesterday, he's left The Three Stooges (Bobby, Steve and yours truly) in charge while he takes some well-deserved time off. Have a good time, chief, and come back refreshed!

    A week or so ago I saw the following story over at Uni Watch, the go-to blog for sports fans obsessed with the aesthetic angle. The money line: "The Harvard Business Review has found that using the color pink in breast cancer awareness campaigns is actually counterproductive."


    I always have suspected that the pink movement, started by the infamous Susan G. Komen outfit, was more about "Hey, look at me and how much I care!" than anything else. Now, before anyone objects, I'm sure that there are hundreds of thousands of well-meaning women and men out there who wear the pink with an abundance of sincerity. And yet, how much good does it really do? As much good as those red AIDS ribbons, or yellow or any other color ribbon that seems to pop up these days. We have become a nation of ribbons, it seems.

    (And by the way, just so you don't think I'm picking only on liberals - I never could understand those red, white and blue ribbons that people wore after 9/11. We have a perfectly good symbol for that already - it's called The Flag.)

    Anyway, according to this study we now see that the pink phenomenon doesn't even do much good as a symbol of awareness: "[T]hose who saw a pink ad about breast cancer were significantly less likely to say that they’d contract the disease than those who saw an ad with neutral colors." And "[w]hen the site was geared to women, 33% of women recalled the ads. When it was gender-neutral, 65% remembered."

    This is so endemic of our Oprahfied culture - when emotion is the most important thing, when we asuage our guilt feelings with symbolic acts, along with that faintly smug air of superiority that hints that "We're better than you."

    So maybe the pink campaign doesn't really raise breast cancer awareness. Maybe it doesn't really encourage women to check for cancer. But really, it's all about looking good, right? Because when it all comes down to it, the important thing is to let people know we care.

    Monday, August 8, 2011

    Summer winds

    I know I haven't had much to say the last few weeks, and the loyal readers we do have deserve better than that. So I'm going to formalize my inactivity, and take a little vacation for the rest of the month.

    Depending on what captures my eye, I may pop in from time to time. What significant writing I do manage will probably be over at It's About TV! But for the most part, I leave you in the most capable hands of Drew, Bobby and Steve, who will carry you the rest of the way until just after Labor Day.

    Thursday, August 4, 2011

    Classic Sports Thursday

    Today is August 4, and an Indianapolis Motor Speedway legend turns 40 today, despite just falling short of reaching an upper level at the Brickyard of all-time race winners because someone else was smarter on strategy than he was a few days ago. Let's celebrate the career of this now 40-year old legend of the Brickyard with a blast from his past.

    A fifteen-year old kid runs rampant during a summer meet for sprint car racing in Australia (remember the seasons flip, so this is December or January).

    A Formula Vee test in Clermont's Lucas Oil Raceway, once the home of USAC Championship racing, but the track is now used for club racing along with the signature “Big Go”.

    ESPN's Thunder interview.

    And someone from the first 400 at Indy shot home video of the first finish.

    Happy 40th Birthday today to Jeffrey Michael Gordon.
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