Ahhh yes, the culminating month every baseball fan hopes for...
Thankfully, my beloved Yankees had a great season and won their division. In three-and-a-half hours, they open the playoff season just mere miles from my job at The Home Office of Baseball, Yankee Stadium. 161st and River Avenue.
Got my fingers crossed, hoping, pulling, praying for a win... (And a Red Sox, Braves & Giants loss...)
But, as I learned WAY back in 1995, you take NOTHING for granted in the playoffs, ESPECIALLY in a short series.
So, unlike MOST Yankee fans (or the COUNTLESS wagon-jumpers), you will not hear me get cocky about ONE DAMNED THING until all is said and done. (Except maybe the past, but that's history and doesn't affect now... Cause if a Red Sox fan gets uppity on me, I'm gonna have to slap him with 1918 and 26...)
Good luck to all of you and your teams, unless they are playing my beloved Yanks. Cause then, you go to hell. You go to hell and you die!
No, not really.
Well, yeah, really.
No. NOT really.
Unless you're a Red Sox, Braves or Giants fans. Yeah, THEN go to hell...
The above was all said in the spirit of good fun, baseball team fanaticism and South Park fandom. If you don't get that, get OFF my blog please.
Lee 9/30/2003 09:53:00 AM [+]
I suppose I will get flamed for this, but hey, this is about being honest, ain't it?
Let me preface this by saying, off the bat, I am a faithful Agnostic and will not be swayed by any arguements to try and get me to change my mind.
You don't agree, that's fine. You wanna bitch me out for being a heathen? That's fine, too.
But don't for a second believe you can "save me". I don't need saving.
That said, welcome to my rant.
I think all those people who question: "Why would God let something so terrible as 9/11 happen?", question if he/she exists, or their belief in him BECAUSE of 9/11 are all FRIKKING HYPOCRITES.
A terrorist attack on America that kills 3,000 people makes you lose your faith in God, but THE HOLOCAUST, Stalin butchering 20 MILLION Russians, Idi Amin, Vlad The Impaler, Ivan The Terrible, The Spanish Inquisition or for that matter the GENOCIDE our own countries forefathers committed on the American Indians are all OKEYDOKEY from your GOD?
Get off my planet, you narrow minded ASSHOLES.
Never in my life have I believed more that all religions, even Buddhism (perhaps the most sane of ALL religions, but also asks for support of the Tibetan Freedom fund) are just ways to throw the wool over people's eyes and/or bilk them of their money.
My honest theory about Jesus is that he was no messiah, nor a prophet, but perhaps the most effective evangelist with the best PR guys, EVER.
Hell, he didn't just HEAR God talk to him, he was his SON.
Why do I think this? Why do I speak this blaspheme?
Well, maybe this isn't a good enough reason for YOU, but to my logical, "see it to believe it" mind, it's good enough.
If I have learned one thing in this life, it is that a good portion of religious zealots believe that all holy documents for whatever religion, were written by God himself.
They were, in fact, written by MAN.
And MAN is driven by greed and power.
Always was, always has been.
Besides, you show me ONE person in the WORLD who can successfully argue why THEIR religion (of the 3,000-plus religions on earth) is the RIGHT one, the one we ALL should be following, and WITHOUT using "faith" in their arguement, and then MAYBE you've got a shot at converting me.
Look, all religions are basically, fundamentally and morally the same. Be good to each other. Do not kill. Do not rob. Do not sleep with your friend's wife.
It's the rest of the stuff that clouds EVERYTHING up.
I mean, how many wars have been fought in the name of God?
Yet almost EVERY religion in the world offers the paramount doctrine of "Thou Shalt Not Kill".
But it's okay for "Right To Life" supporters to KILL an abortion doctor.
It's okay for a Catholic PRIEST to torture Jews, Muslims, Hindus, etc. into submission or death, just to change their beliefs? (The Inquisition)
It's okay for a Palestinian to get on a bus in Jerusalem and blow himself and 30 Jews to death?
It's okay for the POPE himself to order the execution of England's heretic queen? (Queen Elizabeth I)
It's okay for a muslim in Afghanistan to pay off 19 men to crash four airplanes?
It's okay to herd millions of Jews into ovens? Or just shoot them in mass graves?
Not to you or me. To US these aren't right.
But to some folks, they are okay. They were GREAT ideas, meant to support their religion. (Or in Hitler's case the Aryan narion... One perfect Teutonic race under God...)
But all they DID was murder people.
"But we'd never doo that, Potch!"
Then I suppose it's ALSO okay to kill the American Indians, take their land, rape their women, smash their traditions and customs, stick them on these shitty reservations and leave them drunk and penniless because they are just heathens?
Or to keep African-Americans segregated until just a short, what, FIFTY years ago?
Or to beat a homosexual to death for no reason other than "God says it ain't natural"?
To NOT get involved in World War II DESPITE knowing for THREE years what Hitler was doing to the Jews?
Do I even need to BRING UP that we are STILL the only country EVER to detonate atomic weaponry in WAR?
Hiroshima? Nagasaki? We wiped those cities OUT.
Think we're not above concentration camps, what about the Japanese Internment camps?
How about the thoughts a good portion of us had after 9/11, to build these camps AGAIN? And put all the Arabs in America in there?
Or, maybe we should all just go live in a mansion, castrate ourselves, then commit suicide when a comet comes close to the planet.
Folks, look, I am not saying DON'T believe in God or religion, and I SURE am giving the very WORST examples here. But don't be so closed minded, or have blinders on.
Look for answers.
And damn it, DON'T be so self-righteously POSITIVE your way is the only way or even RIGHT, because you can't PROVE that without using the word "faith".
And if someone tells you that their religion says to KILL someone else, they are flat out LYING.
Youmay not believe me when I say this, but I believe in God now, as I did as a child. That belief didn't END when my father was murdered, nor when 3,000 people were butchered before my eyes. It was always there when reading about Hitler, Stalin, Ivan The Terrible, or any other form of genocide.
God gives us free will. He doesn't MAKE us do these terrible things to each other. We CHOOSE to do them. We choose WHO we do them to, just like we choose to blame GOD for our doing them.
But GOD had nothing at ALL to do with it.
People criticized Muhammed Ali for being a conscientious objector to Vietnam. If you paid attention to your religion, we ALL would be.
As if being the second anniversary of the most infamous day in American history wasn't bad enough...
(Of which I could write volumes about my feelings and pain and where I was and blah, blah, blah... But I'll just say simply to all the families and friends of victims of that atrocity, you are still in our hearts and our prayers. You always will be.)
But on top of that, I wake up to get the double fisted whallop of the death of country music legend Johnny Cash (admittedly not all that surprising) and of television legend John Ritter (a complete shock).
And in light of what yesterday represents to so many, it seems a bit... Stupid to mourn for famous millionaires who I will never know...
But, aren't said "famous" people also almost like a odd extension of each of our own worlds?
If they weren't why would anyone EVER make a big deal about meeting celebrities?
It's because they are in the public eye, and in Cash and Ritter's case for decades. They are part of the world each of us knows. These are people, though we have never met them, who we have watched on tv (sharing a half an hour of their lives with us at a time) or listened to on the radio, on tapes, records, or cds (again, sharing a piece of themselves with us all).
As so, when a "famous" person who we respect or like dies, we are saddened, because like when a loved one dies, you know they'll never share anything else with you. And so, you feel a tiny bit emptier.
The death of two men yesterday pales in comparison to what the thousands upon thousands of people had to deal with by the calendar simply turning another day, making the date September 11th again.
But, in all likelyhood, these two men DID touch your life in some way, so you probably do feel a little bit of hurt for them as well.
And that's okay.
There's no reason you can't send your prayers out to the Cash & Ritter families as well as the families devasted by 9/11. And if you want to, go ahead.
I know I will.
Sadly, now, at tonight's gig, I will have three tributes to play, instead of just two.
Maybe I'll even break into an a capella, "Come and knock on our door..."
Received the news I had been dreading for about a year now.
Singer-Songwriter, Warren Zevon, has died at age 56 of cancer.
I'll be the first to admit, I am no great fan of Zevon's. I don't own every album he's done, in fact I own exactly two. I have never seen him in concert, or even downloaded many songs of his.
But, I have been an admirer since my teens of his witty brand of tongue in cheek humor that he brought to his songs. A brilliant, unconventional lyricist and storyteller who had this great rock and roll voice.
Just last week, I picked up his swan song album, "The Wind", written in the weeks following his announcement that he was dying of lung cancer. It may not be his best work, and certainly not his happiest, but it shows a bravery, a longing, and points no fingers.
Above all, he never once asks, "Why me?"
He acdcepted his fate, and "The Wind" was as much about him straightening up his affairs as putting together a will.
He expresses longing to spend time with family and loved ones, regret over the loss of the love of his life, and finally, in a song that honestly brought me to tears on the first listen, the cd's final track which simply asks to "Keep Me In Your Heart For A While."
To the man who once named an album "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead", I can simply say that I shall.
Thanks again to the one and only Pope Buck I, the responses to the first half of my last post...
The second part, about congress having it's own retirement plan, paid for by OUR Social Security funds, THAT SHIT MUST CHANGE.
But, as Buck also pointed out to me: the Republicans currently have a majority in
both Houses of Congress, and so are free to change this situation whenever they want.
But, apparently, the first part is all bunk.
Read on, chillun...
Thursday, July 25, 2002
Social Security Myths
Every now and again, we get MonkeyMail at MyDaddy'sBlog. This one contains a whole series of Social Security myths designed to demonstrate how the GOP is really the party out to protect Social Security.
Q. Which party took Social Security from an independent fund and put it in the general fund so that Congress could spend it?
A. It was Lyndon Johnson and the Democratic-controlled House and Senate.
Not unless LBJ was President in 1985. The Senate also had a GOP majority in 1985.
A typical scare tactic, regardless. If the US Treasury isn't able to meet its obligations, we've got bigger problems than just meeting Social Security.
Q. Which party put a tax on Social Security?
A. The Democratic party.
Amazing. The Democrats were able to accomplish this despite a GOP majority in the Senate and a Republican in the White House in 1983?
From the conservative thinktank (kind of an oxymoron) National Center for Policy Analysis: "Social Security benefits were not subject to tax prior to the 1983 Social Security Amendments, which imposed taxes on up to half of benefits for single retirees with "modified adjusted gross income" over $25,000 and for couples with income over $32,000. (Modified adjusted gross income includes all ordinary adjusted gross income, plus half of Social Security benefits, plus income from tax-exempt bonds.)
Affected retirees must add 50 cents in benefits to taxable income for every dollar by which their income exceeds these thresholds until half of their benefits become subject to tax. The revenues from this tier of tax are dedicated to the Social Security retirement trust fund."
Q. Which party increased the tax on Social Security?
A. The Democratic Party with Al Gore throwing the deciding vote.
True. But there was an extenuating circumstance. From the above link: "The revenue from this tier is dedicated to the Medicare trust fund. The bill would replace the money lost to the Medicare trust fund by crediting it with an equal amount of other tax revenue, in effect using some future general revenues to pay a portion of Medicare outlays."
Q. Which party decided to give money to immigrants? That's right, an immigrant moves to this country at 65 and gets SSI Social Security.
A. The Democratic Party gave that to them although they never paid any money into it.
When all else fails, let's throw out a little immigrant-bashing-red meat.
Of course, this charge is utter baloney. A legal immigrant must have resided in this country for at least 5 years or accumulate 40 quarters of work credit.
I could also point out the famous Rand Study which demonstrated immigrants--of all ages--paid far more into the Social Security system than they received in benefits but that's overkill. The Republicans must be really getting nervous about the midterm elections to spam the 'net with these falsehoods and misrepresentations.
Got this e-mail today from my old friend, George Dybicki.
Being fair, since most of my rants lean to the LEFT, I figured I'd post a view from the other side.
Especially since, it raises a very fair point.
And remember what Henry Rollins says, kids: "Listen to your enemies. Listen to their point and views, how else can you expect to be prapared to have a war of words with them?"
So all NON Republicans, listen up!
THIS is what they are saying and they HAVE a point!
Subject: Fw: Social Security,WHO SHOULD WE VOTE FOR?
Since many of us have paid into FICA for years and are now
receiving a Social Security check every month -- and then
finding that we are getting taxed on 85% of the money we paid to the Federal government to "put away," you may be interested in the following:
Q: Which party took Social Security from an independent fund and put it in the general fund so that Congress could spend it?
A: It was Lyndon Johnson and the Democratic-controlled House and Senate.
Q: Which party put a tax on Social Security?
A: The Democratic Party.
Q: Which party increased the tax on Social Security?
A: The Democratic Party with Al Gore casting the deciding vote.
Q: Which party decided to give money to immigrants?
A: That's right, immigrants moved into this country and at 65
got SSI Social Security. The Democratic Party gave that to them although they never paid a dime into it.
Then, after doing all this, the Democrats turn around and tell
you the Republicans want to take your Social Security.
And the worst part about it is, people believe it!
Pass it on please!
2004 Election Issue
This must be an issue in "04". Please!
Keep it going.
(This is worth the read. It's short and to the point.)
Perhaps we are asking the wrong questions during election years.
Our Senators and Congressmen & women do not pay into Social
Security and, of course, they do not collect from it.>>>>>
You see, Social Security benefits were not suitable for persons of their rare elevation in society. They felt they should have a special plan for themselves.
So, many years ago they voted in their own benefit plan.
In more recent years, no congressperson has felt the need to
change it. After all, it is a great plan.
For all practical purposes their plan works like this:
When they retire, they continue to draw the same pay until they die, except it may increase from time to time for cost of living adjustments.
For example, former Senator Byrd and Congressman White and their wives may expect to draw $7,800,000.00 (that's Seven Million, Eight-Hundred Thousand Dollars), with their wives drawing $275,000.00 during the last years of their lives.
This is calculated on an average life span for each.
Their cost for this excellent plan is $0.00. Nada.
Zilch. This little perk they voted for themselves is free to
them. You and I pick up the tab for this plan. The funds for
this fine retirement plan come directly from the General Funds - our tax dollars at work!
From our own Social Security Plan, which you and I pay (or have paid) into - every payday until we retire (which amount is matched by our employer) - we can expect to get an average $1,000 per month after retirement. Or, in other words, we would have to collect our average of $1,000. monthly benefits for 68 years and one (1) month to equal Senator Bill Bradley's benefits!
Social Security could be very good if only one small change were made.
That change would be to jerk the Golden Fleece Retirement Plan
from under the Senators and Congressmen. Put them into the
Social Security plan with the rest of us... then sit back and
watch how fast they would fix it..
If enough people receive this, maybe a seed of awareness will be planted and maybe good changes will evolve.
Courtesy of that fine, slimmed-down statue of sexiness, Pope Buck I.
So George, how do you feel about your mom and dad?
Psychologist Oliver James analyses the behaviour of the American president
Tuesday September 2, 2003
As the alcoholic George Bush approached his 40th birthday in 1986, he had achieved nothing he could call his own. He was all too aware that none of his educational and professional accomplishments would have occured without his father. He felt so low that he did not care if he lived or died. Taking a friend out for a flight in a Cessna aeroplane, it only became apparent he had not flown one before when they nearly crashed on take-off. Narrowly avoiding stalling a few times, they crash-landed and the friend breathed a sigh of relief - only for Bush to rev up the engine and take off again.
Not long afterwards, staring at his vomit-spattered face in the mirror, this dangerously
self-destructive man fell to his knees and implored God to help him and became a
teetotalling, fundamentalist Christian. David Frum, his speechwriter, described the
change: "Sigmund Freud imported the Latin pronoun id to describe the impulsive, carnal,
unruly elements of the human personality. [In his youth] Bush's id seems to have been
every bit as powerful and destructive as Clinton's id. But sometime in Bush's middle
years, his id was captured, shackled and manacled, and locked away."
One of the jailers was his father. His grandfather, uncles and many cousins attended both his secondary school, Andover, and his university, Yale, but the longest shadow was cast by his father's exceptional careers there.
On the wall of his school house at Andover, there was a large black-and-white photograph of his father in full sporting regalia. He had been one of the most successful student athletes in the school's 100-year history and was similarly remembered at Yale, where his grandfather was a trustee. His younger brother, Jeb, summed the problem up when he said, "A lot of people who have fathers like this feel a sense that they have failed." Such a titanic figure created mixed feelings. On the one hand, Bush worshipped and aspired to emulate him. Peter Neumann, an Andover roommate, recalls that, "He idolised his father, he was going to be just like his dad." At Yale, a friend remembered a "deep respect" for his father and when he later set up in the oil business, another friend said, "He was focused to prove himself to his dad."
On the other hand, deep down, Bush had a profound loathing for this perfect model of
American citizenship whose very success made the son feel a failure. Rebelliousness was an unconscious attack on him and a desperate attempt to carve out something of his own. Far from paternal emulation, Bush described his goal at school as "to instil a sense of frivolity". Contemporaries at Yale say he was like the John Belushi character in the film Animal House, a drink-fuelled funseeker.
He was aggressively anti-intellectual and hostile to east-coast preppy types like his
father, sometimes cruelly so. On one occasion he walked up to a matronly woman at a smart cocktail party and asked, "So, what's sex like after 50, anyway?"
A direct and loutish challenge to his father's posh sensibility came aged 25, after he had
drunkenly crashed a car. "I hear you're looking for me," he sneered at his father, "do you
want to go mano a mano, right here?"
As he grew older, the fury towards his father was increasingly directed against himself in
depressive drinking. But it was not all his father's fault. There was also his insensitive
and domineering mother.
Barbara Bush is described by her closest intimates as prone to "withering stares" and
"sharply crystalline" retorts. She is also extremely tough. When he was seven, Bush's
younger sister, Robin, died of leukaemia and several independent witnesses say he was very upset by this loss. Barbara claims its effect was exaggerated but nobody could accuse her of overreacting: the day after the funeral, she and her husband were on the golf course.
She was the main authority-figure in the home. Jeb describes it as having been, "A kind of matriarchy... when we were growing up, dad wasn't at home. Mom was the one to hand out the goodies and the discipline." A childhood friend recalls that,"She was the one who instilled fear", while Bush put it like this: "Every mother has her own style. Mine was a little like an army drill sergeant's... my mother's always been a very outspoken person who vents very well - she'll just let rip if she's got something on her mind." According to his uncle, the "letting rip" often included slaps and hits. Countless studies show that boys with such mothers are at much higher risk of becoming wild, alcoholic or antisocial.
On top of that, Barbara added substantially to the pressure from his father to be a high
achiever by creating a highly competitive family culture. All the children's games, be
they tiddlywinks or baseball, were intensely competitive - an actual "family league
table" was kept of performance in various pursuits. At least this prepared him for life at
Andover, where emotional literacy was definitely not part of the curriculum. Soon after
arriving, he was asked to write an essay on a soul-stirring experience in his life to date
and he chose the death of his sister. His mother had drilled it into him that it was wrong
when writing to repeat words already used. Having employed "tears" once in the essay, he sought a substitute from a thesaurus she had given him and wrote "the lacerates ran down my cheeks". The essay received a fail grade, accompanied by derogatory comments such as "disgraceful".
This incident may be an insight into Bush's strange tendency to find the wrong words in
making public pronouncements. "Is our children learning?" he once famously asked. On
responding to critics of his intellect he claimed that they had "misunderestimated" him.
Perhaps these verbal faux-pas are a barely unconscious way of winding up his bullying
mother and waving two fingers at his cultured father's sensibility.
The outcome of this childhood was what psychologists call an authoritarian personality.
Authoritarianism was identified shortly after the second world war as part of research to
discover the causes of fascism. As the name suggests, authoritarians impose the strictest possible discipline on themselves and others - the sort of regime found in today's White House, where prayers precede daily business, appointments are scheduled in five-minute blocks, women's skirts must be below the knee and Bush rises at 5.45am, invariably fitting in a 21-minute, three-mile jog before lunch.
Authoritarian personalities are organised around rabid hostility to "legitimate" targets,
often ones nominated by their parents' prejudices. Intensely moralistic, they direct it
towards despised social groups. As people, they avoid introspection or loving displays,
preferring toughness and cynicism. They regard others with suspicion, attributing ulterior
motives to the most innocent behaviour. They are liable to be superstitious. All these
traits have been described in Bush many times, by friends or colleagues.
His moralism is all-encompassing and as passionate as can be. He plans to replace state
welfare provision with faith-based charitable organisations that would impose Christian
The commonest targets of authoritarians have been Jews, blacks and homosexuals. Bush is anti-abortion and his fundamentalist interpretation of the Bible would mean that gay practices are evil. But perhaps the group he reserves his strongest contempt for are those who have adopted the values of the 60s. He says he loathes "people who felt guilty about their lot in life because others were suffering".
He has always rejected any kind of introspection. Everyone who knows him well says how hard he is to get to know, that he lives behind what one friend calls a "facile,
personable" facade. Frum comments that, "He is relentlessly disciplined and very slow to
trust. Even when his mouth seems to be smiling at you, you can feel his eyes watching
His deepest beliefs amount to superstition. "Life takes its own turns," he says, "writes
its own story and along the way we start to realise that we are not the author." God's
will, not his own, explains his life.
Most fundamentalist Christians have authoritarian personalities. Two core beliefs separate fundamentalists from mere evangelists ("happy-clappy" Christians) or the mainstream Presbyterians among whom Bush first learned religion every Sunday with his parents: fundamentalists take the Bible absolutely literally as the word of God and believe that human history will come to an end in the near future, preceded by a terrible, apocaplytic battle on Earth between the forces of good and evil, which only the righteous shall survive. According to Frum when Bush talks of an "axis of evil" he is identifying his enemies as literally satanic, possessed by the devil. Whether he specifically sees the battle with Iraq and other "evil" nations as being part of the end-time, the apocalypse preceding the day of judgment, is not known. Nor is it known whether Tony Blair shares these particular religious ideas.
However, it is certain that however much Bush may sometimes seem like a buffoon, he is
also powered by massive, suppressed anger towards anyone who challenges the extreme, fanatical beliefs shared by him and a significant slice of his citizens - in surveys, half of them also agree with the statement "the Bible is the actual word of God and is to be taken literally, word for word".
Bush's deep hatred, as well as love, for both his parents explains how he became a
reckless rebel with a death wish. He hated his father for putting his whole life in the
shade and for emotionally blackmailing him. He hated his mother for physically and
mentally badgering him to fulfil her wishes. But the hatred also explains his radical
transformation into an authoritarian fundamentalist. By totally identifying with an
extreme version of their strict, religion-fuelled beliefs, he jailed his rebellious self.
From now on, his unconscious hatred for them was channelled into a fanatical moral crusade to rid the world of evil.
As Frum put it: "Id-control is the basis of Bush's presidency but Bush is a man of fierce
anger." That anger now rules the world.
· Oliver James's book "They F*** You Up - How to survive family life" is published by
Bloomsbury, priced £7.99.
Lee 9/03/2003 03:15:00 PM [+]