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Friday, August 12, 2016

A-Roid

Crime doesn't pay, cheaters never win or is that all bullshit? It certainly seems so in the case of one Alex Rodriguez. On Sunday, August 7, 2016, the Yankees and Rodriguez announced that he will play his last game as a Yankee and presumably the last game of his major league career on Friday, August 12th. Because the Yankees are giving Rodriguez his unconditional release, they are on the hook for the remaining $27 million of his contract plus he theoretically could sign with another team. Let's hope that doesn't happen. 

To add insult to insult to injury, Rodriguez will be a special advisor and instructor to the Yankees organization. I don't know whether that job includes more pay or if it is rolled into the $27 million payout. He is also free to pursue broadcast jobs which would definitely pay him and which he will definitely get offers for. Now if you only look at the numbers from his 22 year career you might think all this is fine. An old star player fades into the sunset with a huge severance and thank you package. Just look at some of his numbers. 

That's not how I see it. This is an asshole who made more money than any other Major Leaguer while playing a good part if not the majority of his career while taking performance enhancing drugs (PEDs). Then lying about it, gaming the system, mounting a legal and public relations defense and throwing others under the bus. He is baseball's version of Lance Armstrong only much richer. 

Young Alex was a helluva baseball player even at 18 years old. Of course, who knows whether he was already juiced even then. He was the first overall pick in the 1993 draft and was a part-time starter in Seattle by '94. He had seven terrific years there before signing a $252 million, 10 year contract with the Texas Rangers. It was a record setting contract and wound up hamstringing the Rangers budget for several years. Although he had all-star and MVP numbers while in Texas, he later admitted that he used PEDs during his time there. He also exhibited an aloof and phony demeanor during that time. After three years in Texas, he was traded to the Yankees although the Rangers continued to pay a significant portion of his salary, despite which he badmouthed the organization. He was mostly successful in NY although again the PED problem popped up. He also had several incidents of being an ass both on and off the field. 

This blog is not meant to be a recap of the Rodreguez career. It is meant to convey my total disgust at a first class cheater and pretty miserable excuse for a human being. The fact that he was able to collect almost $400 million in salary despite being at least a two time PED offender speaks volumes. Sure, he was suspended for a season but when you're already that rich what is the real punishment. On top of that, the Yankees were obligated to take him back after the suspension and pay him the remaining $50+ million on his contract. 

Back before the 1970's, the players were taken advantage of by the owners. That power pendulum started to swing towards the players when Marvin Miller became the head of the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA). Now that pendulum has swung too far in the player's favor. They have consistently blocked meaningful testing and punishment for PED use. Teams should be able to void the contracts of players who fail drug tests or other offenses. Rodriguez should have lost many more millions and been kicked to the street.

Instead, he get's gently let go at full pay from a team and a league that he trashed and with a free pass to possibly play again. The other disturbing point is that Rodriguez will almost certainly end up as a baseball analyst on one of the TV networks that broadcasts baseball. I will bet you large sums of money that we will see him as a regular commentator during the 2016 postseason. That will only be the beginning of his lucrative broadcast career in the future. 

A-Roid or A-Fraud earned those nicknames and he deserves to fade into the background never to be heard from again. His $400 million should be enough. Unfortunately, the Yankees, MLB and media started their image rehabilitation of A-Roid last season and it will continue. Let's hope the Hall of Fame voters don't forget what a fraud and disruptive force he was.

So who will be A-Roid's next employer? Will it be the Miami Marlins or some other desperate team? Will it be the MLB TV Network, Fox Sports, TBS or ESPN? 

Cheaters mostly win nowadays and big cheaters are even bigger winners. 

wjh

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Very Random Thoughts - July 2016



  • Since that child was killed by an alligator at Disney World, every gator siting anywhere has become a life threatening event that gets top coverage on the news.
  • I can't decide which would be worse in my old age. A failing body with a still functioning mind or a deteriorating brain trapped in a functioning body. I hope it all ends evenly and quickly. 
  • I'm old enough now that I can not ever contract an early onset disease or condition. 
  • Our sense of outrage is way off kilter. The news goes ballistic when a shark or alligator attack occurs. There are fewer than one deaths per year in the US from shark attacks. About the same for alligator attacks. Yet, there are over 30,000 US deaths each year from traffic "accidents" and another 30K+ deaths from firearms. Kinda screwed priorities and concerns.
  • Snakes get a bad rap too. They only cause about 5 or 6 deaths per year.
  • Same theme. If the news and social media didn't make a big deal out of (name an event). Would you give a shit?
  • I watch some old TV shows on cable. It is amazing how often the same guest star shows up on back to back on different shows. Today, James Coburn was on Combat and Stagecoach West.
  • Many gun advocates, including tRUMP, say that if more "good" people were armed, they could mitigate the terrorists and other bad guys. There is currently more than one gun per person in this country. When are those well armed folks going to defend the innocents? How many more guns per person (GPP) do we need?
  • Prostitutes screw folks one at a time. Politicians screw folks by the thousands or millions. I like prostitutes way more.
  • Seems every time there is a product recall, the first statement the manufacturer makes is "Safety is our number one priority". Just more corporate and legal BS.
  • If you want to see some bad acting, mute the sound. It is an amazing difference. 
  • How often do you hear a tone on TV or in a song and you reach to check your phone? I think some advertisements do it on purpose.
  • It is very hard to be sarcastic these days unless you stick a fucking smiley face after your comment.   Folks will either miss the sarcasm or be offended.
  • I'm an Eric Clapton fan, but I can't keep straight which of his songs were done with which group. Cream, Derek & The Dominoes, Blind Faith, Delaney & Bonnie or a solo.
  • If we were to go back to most of our favorite stores or restaurants from our youth, we would be appalled at how primitive they were. The only exception might be some of the grand old department stores since we have no great department stores anymore.
  • "Thoughts and prayers" is a phrase that shows up after every tragedy. It should be obvious that neither thoughts or prayers actually fix the problem.
  • Thought I had a smudge on my glasses. Took them off and I still had a blurred view. Seems the smudge was on my eye.
  • It's impossible to do wash in cold water during the summer in Texas. Closest I can do is warm since the water coming out of my cold water tap is 85°.
  • Thankfully the label on the tamales I just bought says in bold letters "Remove husks before eating". No wonder I always thought tamales were so tough to chew and digest. 
  • Why is it you can proofread an email or post a dozen times and not find an error? Yet, in those milliseconds between hitting the send key and it disappearing from the screen, a glaring error will become abundantly clear.
  • What would happen to The Open (The British Open golf tournament) if Scotland splits from England? Could it still be held at the Scottish courses like St. Andrew's and Royal Troon? Or, would it only be held on Scottish courses since the Royal & Ancient Golf Association is based at St. Andrew's?
wjh

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Very Random Thoughts - June 2016



  • I see drug commercials on TV for non-small cell cancer drugs. Couldn't they name it big cell cancer or medium cell cancer?
  • In another TV drug commercial, they tell you to ask your doctor for single dose Viagra. It's a package with one pill. Couldn't you just put one pill in a baggie?
  • Seems like every week I see or read a news story about airline employees making stupid decisions concerning passengers. Do airlines hire a high percentage of idiots, racists or both?
  • Was reminiscing about our high school graduation with old classmates. Back then we knew everything, were fearless and had no real responsibilities. Times have changed.
  • Interesting, $1 in the year I was born is the equivalent of $11 in 2016. A little over 1,000% inflation.
  • Did Edward R. Morrow and Walter Cronkite pay attention to ratings? 
  • Advertised on an infomercial for $119.95, special offer for $39.95, actually worth $1.95. Truth in advertising.
  • If the seas rise because of climate change, will we have to recalibrate the height of everything? Will Denver have to be renamed the 0.874 mile high city?
  • When we watch TV and movies made in 2016 in future years, will they seem dated? Disregard the technology changes.
  • Same theme, men's hairpieces certainly have improved over the years. Still fake, but not as ridiculous. 
  • Old sci-fi movies and TV used to have crappy special effects but better stories.
  • I think we should stop naming stuff (roads, schools, libraries, parks...) after people. Seems those people often are not as wonderful as we thought or their beliefs are no longer in vogue. 
  • Often times conservatives/Republicans think liberals/Democrats are idiots and vice versa. Different doesn't mean stupid, different means different. OK, sometimes the other side is stupid. 
  • Remember back when if a friend or classmate died, it was because of an accident or a war. Now it's because of health or old age. 
  • When did pessimism become the dominant view of America?
  • Will this year's disgusting presidential run mark the beginning or end of slash and burn campaigns? 
  • As you get older, be careful about taking time out from your exercise/activity routine. I'm at an age where it takes six months to get fairly fit and six hours to lose it. Not fair.
  • It seems to me that the idols and heroes of our youth are about five to 10 years older than we are. I have several examples if needed. One is the recent death of Muhammad Ali who died at 74. He easily fit into that five to ten year age difference.
  • Based on the number of unintelligible and error filled Facebook posts, it appears many don't realize you can actually edit or delete a post.
  • What happens when you think you find the love of your life but you are not the love of their life? 
  • If you think there is only one perfect mate, you are pretty damn picky. There are seven billion people in the world.
  • While watching the Kingston Trio PBS concert, I wondered how somebody could go from guitar to banjo to mandolin to fiddle without their fingers getting very confused. Then I remembered that back in my old days in IT at a bank I often went from keypunch to 10 key adding machine without a thought. Those keypads were backward from each other. Some copyright© or patent BS from IBM. Not quite the same.
  • When did it become acceptable for men to fashion a ridiculous hair style rather than admit they were bald or balding?
  • When watching old TV shows and movies, I'm amazed at the amount of smoking going on. Back then, I never even noticed it.
  • I'm convinced that there were some actors back in the day who wouldn't be able to act without a cigarette. It was a great prop.
  • It's pretty easy to lose or gain a day when you are retired. Is it Wednesday or Thursday?
  • Remember when Trumpy said he could kill someone on 5th Avenue and not lose any support. He seems out to prove that with his constant bigoted and stupid remarks.
  • "Accidental Overdose" - one of the most overused phrases of our time. How can you tell if it's accidental?
  • Although used interchangeably, "couldn't care less" and "could care less" are exact opposites. Figure it out. Grammer counts.
  • A now obsolete term - "carbon copy". Do any young folks even know where it comes from?
  • Remember, it is always way easier to criticize than to fix or actually do correctly in the first place.
  • There is now such a thing as a "YouTube Star". No comment.
  • Isn't "neither - nor" a double negative? 
  • It seems like if you have nice clothes on while cooking or eating, there will be some spillage, splatters, stain, drips or some other accident. Wear that 10 year old t-shirt with holes in it and you can't get food on it if you try. 
  • Remember back in your youth when body parts pretty much worked the same every day? Now it's a complete crap shoot. 
  • I'm not sure if getting an Amazon Prime membership was the best decision or just the most expensive. So easy to spend money online, but shipping is free.
  • It seems to me that the most armed people are also the most paranoid and afraid.
  • Nowadays, when I refer to someone as an "old friend", it could mean a friend who is old or a longtime friend. Of course, most of the longtime friends are also old.
  • When did SUVs become crossovers?
  • Is "heat index" a useful metric or is it just something to make us feel worse?
  • "wind chill" - see above.
  • What are all the teenagers and hotdogs with very loud cars/trucks going to do when cars are electric?
  • Leave it to the Post Office to figure out how to screw us. They sold "Forever" stamps for 49¢ and then lower the first class letter rate to 47¢.
  • I think "Study Hall" should be a real class where they teach students how to study. Not just a place for troublemakers.
  • How often do you try to correct an immediately caught misspelled word only to correct the wrong letter(s)? Try again. After about six tries at various combinations of backspaces, deletes, inserts and replacements, the damn word is still wrong. Just start over, it's faster.
  • When did our doctors become pill pushers instead of healers? 
  • Shouldn't Saturday Night Live be called Saturday Night Rerun when it is not an original airing? Any others? Isn't that Regis Lee and Kelly Lee program called Live with...?
wjh

Monday, June 6, 2016

The Kingston Trio Celebration


I watched the PBS fundraising concert by the Kingston Trio and friends. I was looking forward to it because back in the 1960's I was a big K3 fan. I was also excited because the promo showed Bob Shane, a founding K3 member, singing Scotch and Soda, one of my all-time favorite songs.

Well, to say I was disappointed would be an understatement. I haven't seen the New Kingston Trio since Bob Shane Retired a few years ago. Since then, there are no original members still with the group. There is also no outstanding singer and maybe only one outstanding musician. When they are singing harmony together, it is OK. Unfortunately, none of the new members can replicate the voices of Nick Reynolds or Bob Shane on the solo or lead parts.

The Kingston Trio is not the only group that has deteriorated. The Limelighters were on the bill and if anything were worse than the new K3. I don't think any of the Limelighters are the originals either.

I also had forgotten that folk groups need to explain the origin and meaning of a song before they sing it. 

Barry McGuire, originally from The New Christie Minstrels, sang his song Greenback Dollar. He didn't appreciably upgrade the performances. 

Trini Lopez joined the K3 for a song. No improvement there either.

Bob Shane was joined by Al Jardine and Timothy B. Smith for a rendition of Scarlett Ribbons. Shane's voice was rather weak and the other two didn't contribute much. Bob stuck around to join the new K3 on a rendition of Tom Dooley. Just OK and Shane was better than the new guys. He showed some power and volume.




Then came the highlight. The Great Bob Shane walked onto the stage carrying his portable oxygen tank, with tubes and cannula in place. He stepped up to the microphone and nailed Scotch and Soda. None of the weakness in his voice from the previous songs. 

After that, Bob and his oxygen tank left the stage rather unceremoniously.

The last tribute was a rendition of M.T.A. by the new K3 and Nick Reynold's son, Josh. Again, the new generation didn't measure up to the originals. Josh is no match on vocals with his father. He did sport a similar four string tenor guitar like his father played. 

To end it all, the guests, except for Bob Shane, joined the new K3 onstage to close out the evening. Not very inspiring.

I still like the Kingston Trio (the old K3). If you do too, skip this concert and listen to an original CD, vinyl or YouTube video. 

We still have our memories and they are good ones.

wjh

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Brain Farts II


  • Had a red stain on my left sock. Thought I was bleeding. Turns out it was pasta sauce from a kitchen splatter.
  • Came out of the store, got on my bike, took off and reached for my sunglasses on my hat. They weren't there. Panic, they are expensive glasses, where could I have dropped them? About to turn around when I realized that they were on my face. When did I put them on? 
  • Was absent-mindedly picking at a callous on my toe when I thought the whole end of that toe was going to peel off. It was then I realized that it was actually a band-aid I had put over a blister. 
  • Have you ever gotten pissed when you find an empty toilet paper holder, no paper towels on the cardboard tube, or any other number of similar annoyances? Who was the inconsiderate SOB? Me too, then I realize that I live alone.
  • There really is no reason to store the colander in the fridge after you wash it. The cabinet next to the fridge is just fine.
  • I vigorously tried to get a stain off the kitchen backsplash the other day. Stubborn little devil. Finally realized it was a shadow. 
  • Many times I have also tried to clean a stain on a carpet or furniture that turned out to be a shadow. 
  • Got up the other day and put on my reading glasses that I keep on the bedstand so I could check my phone. Walked to the living room, sat down at my PC and put my living room glasses on right over my bedroom glasses. Pretty blurry and not very comfortable.
  • Couldn't figure out why I wasn't able to fast-forward a show I recorded. Turns out I was watching it live.
  • I'm pretty sure that I will go to the grave never understanding why people want to pierce their body.
  • Opened the oven door, bent over to pull out the rack to check on the food. My glasses fell off my face and onto the 400° oven door. Almost bounced into the oven proper. Luckily I was able to grab them before the lens melted.
  • Guess I didn't close the front door properly and certainly didn't lock it the other night. Woke up the next morning and it was about a foot ajar. Temps were in the 30's that night and it was damn chilly in the house. 
  • Never grab ice or anything else out of the freezer with wet hands. I sometimes do and usually regret it.
  • Was shaving the other day. Lathered up, shaved my neck (that's where I always start) and got distracted by something. Back to the sink and I almost just rinsed off the rest of the shaving cream without shaving. Last minute save when my brain woke up again.
  • The other night during a power outage, I still flipped on the light switch when I entered a room. That's OK, I flipped it off when I left the room. 
wjh

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Very Random Thoughts - May 2016

  • I'm pretty sure all those tests on Facebook that tell your ideal profession, meaning of your name, IQ, etc. are 100% accurate. 
  • When you see that a product is the "Official Widget of (name a sports team or league)", do you rush right out and buy it? Me neither.
  • All these transgender restroom laws are an example of a solution in search of a problem. 
  • They are also another example of our elected officials concentrating on issues that are of little or no importance while the big stuff is neglected. Style over substance. Posturing over positions.
  • Detroit and Chicago teachers go on strike. The nuns who taught me never missed a day. No teacher planning days either. 
  • What would a Trump speech or statement be like without adjectives and adverbs? Very short and no substance.
  • Tammy Wynette had two #1 Country hits in 1968. They were D-I-V-O-R-C-E and Stand By Your Man. Does anyone else think that damn ironic? Or is it schizophrenic? 
  • I can't decide, do I dislike rap or heavy metal more? Neither is music in my opinion. 
  • I wonder how many people will actually move to Canada when (insert presidential candidate) is elected president?
  • Shouldn't the Tour de France trophy look like the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe or maybe a bicycle instead of a fruit bowl? 
  • One or two Margaritas are delicious and can be your friend. Much more than that and she will punish you. 
  • Cinco de Mayo doesn't mean you have to drink cinco tequila beverages.
  • Damn, I never stressed about who else was in the public restroom with me. Apparently I should have been terrified. 
  • My first real job as a teen was servicing, cleaning and repairing typewriters. Not much call for that anymore.
  • Should government office holders be allowed to run for another office without first resigning their current office? I don't think so. Put a little risk into the game. 
  • Ever notice when TV "stars" leave a hit show to pursue other opportunities they usually disappear. Anybody remember McLean Stevenson or Shelly Long?
  • Was watching TV one stormy night when the crawl said that there were severe winds south of Paris. Why do I care about the weather in France? That's when I realized that Paris, TEXAS is only about 120 miles NE of me.
  • Wouldn't it be great if all that weather and breaking news shit was filtered out of recorded programs? I hate worrying about severe weather that occurred on Tuesday when it is already Wednesday, calm and sunny.
  • In my case, I'm pretty sure sarcasm is an addiction. Any arguments, of course not.
  • We have some voraciously hungry birds this spring. Birdseed ain't cheap guys.
  • Seems that in this whole transgender bathroom dustup the only concern is that men will be in women's restrooms. What about women in men's restrooms? Very sexist.
  • Remember when there was always a newspaper or magazine around to swat that bug? Not so much anymore. I really hate to use my laptop, phone or tablet for that task.
  • Saw an impressionist on TV the other night. He didn't do impressions of anybody I knew. Don't know if he was any good. Another clue that I am old. 
  • If a person does a song that is run through Auto-Tune and several other filter effects, are they a singer or an audio technician? 
  • Remember when there were only three or four yogurt flavors and just a couple of brands? Now the yogurt case takes up half the dairy department.
  • Can you ever be sure you emptied all the pockets in your cargo shorts?
  • Does anybody actually go to their first rodeo?
  • How come whenever there is a government fuck up, there needs to be an investigation? Can't they just fix the damn problem? Maybe even fire somebody.
  • I wonder how much spit a major league field absorbs over a season?
  • Found out the other night during an extended power outage that a bicycle headlight makes a damn good reading light. 
wjh

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Thinking of Mom

On the eve of this Mother's Day, I was thinking about my Mom. It has been 15 years since I could wish her a Happy Mother's Day in person or on the phone. She died in early 2002, about three months before that year's celebration of Mothers. To be honest, I don't remember what happened in May of 2001, her last Mother's Day. She was sick most of that year so we may have been together but if we were, it was in a hospital. 

Besides already thinking about Mom, I watched the Adele concert that aired Friday night (5/6) on NBC that I had recorded. The concert was terrific. Adele is a true musical treasure of our time. A talented songwriter and wonderful singer who has a fun personality. This concert hit a nerve with me for a very personal reason.


It was held at Radio City Music Hall (RCMH) and there were several shots of this beautiful theater. Why does that matter to me? Because when I was a very young boy, my Mom would take me to Radio City Music Hall. We would take day trips to New York City when I was 4, 5 & 6 years old. I know I saw the Rockettes at least once, so we probably went to a Christmas show one year. That would have been a special trip. Most of the time we went during the week and saw a movie, one that was in general release. I don't know if RCMH still shows movies during the week, they may just do premiers and limited runs now. I think we saw a Disney animated movie or two, but don't hold me to that. Hey, I was five or six years old and that was several decades ago. For sure I saw cartoons there because they were a part of the normal schedule at most theaters. Despite the amount of time that has past, I remember one movie vividly. That would be Rob Roy, the Highland Rogue. It was the story of Rob Roy MacGregor, either an outlaw or Scottish freedom fighter, starred Richard Todd and was a Disney production so I doubt it was historically accurate. There is one scene where the Scots pour out of the trenches and ditches to attack the evil British invaders. I replayed that scene with the kids in my neighborhood and can still see it vividly in my mind. I have about ¼ Scottish ancestry, so I was always Rob Roy in those reenactments. It is a great memory. 

But I digress a little. The Rockettes and that film are not my only memories of those trips to Radio City Music Hall with Mom. The greatest memory is the theater itself. Let's put this fabulous venue into perspective. Some of us older folks used to go to single screen movie theaters. They seated maybe 400 or 500 folks, maybe more with a balcony. I used to go to the rather small San Marco Theater as an adolescent in Jacksonville. The largest theater I remember was the Florida Theater downtown, it held 1,900. BTW, both of those theaters are still going strong. One auditorium, one screen, one main feature movie. Today we go to multi-screen movie plexes. Cookie cutter auditoriums that may only be 10 seats wide if you chose an old or stinker movie. 

So, what was so special about Radio City Music Hall? For one thing, it was at the end of the trip to New York City, always an adventure for a kid. For another, it was elegant. Finally, it was huge. The main auditorium seats over 6,000. This is not a sports venue with folding chair seating on the basketball court. It is a real theater with a sloped floor, balconies and attached theater seats, 6,000 of them. The ceiling was domed and seemed about 10 stories high. The stage was huge and even for movies, they drew the curtains to reveal the screen. Big, fancy curtains. There were also ushers dressed in uniforms and wielding flashlights, big damn flashlights.

A couple of years before the NYC trips
I've written about my Mom taking me to New York City before and I will probably do it again. Those trips are some of my best memories even though I'm sure I have forgotten many of the specifics and details over the many years. Radio City Music Hall, The American Museum of Natural History, MOMA, the Guggenheim and just for me, FAO Schwartz.

I have rambled, but the memories just flowed and the keyboard was right here. What I most want to say is Happy Mother's Day to my Mom. I miss you every day and some days the memories and emotions just flood through me. Today was one of those days. 

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY! Thanks for the memories.

wjh