Sunday, June 29, 2008

Gay Pride!

Discrimination In Eugene, Oregon?

A Gay, running in the 100m trials, ran faster than any man in history. However, due to a strong tailwind, his time of 9.68 seconds doesn't count as a world record.

This is an outrage. Just because there was some "wind" a Gay didn't set the world record? Really, what does sexual preference have to do with the world record; or, running. The Gay was fast. Faster than any man in the 100m dash. But, just because he likes to s...

Wait, I just re-read the article.

He's not gay. He's Tyson Gay.

And that cat is fast. He qualified for the U.S. Olympic Team, and is expected to win gold in Beijing.

But, if he were gay, that would be okay, too. Just for the record. But, not for the world record...because of the too-strong tailwind.


What Were They Thinking?

In what is being called a stunning blow to President Bush--and, more importantly, America--the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) issued their opinion in Boumedine v. Bush. In a 5-4 decision, the SCOTUS (who are supposed to be on our team) extended the rights of habeas corpus to prisoners detained at Guantanamo Bay. This effectively gives enemy combatants the same rights as, say Orenthal James Simpson (and we all recall how that turned out).

Imagine a world where Mahmoud, a peace-loving Muslim, with six kids, four wives, and a hankering to get to Paradise (where he can get 72 Virginians) gets caught on his way to a suicide bombing, then shipped off to G'itmo for some fun in the sun. Instead of some water sports (the new term for water-boarding), three squares, and five prayers a day, he gets access to the American legal system.

Instead of swift, sure military justice, we will surely get years of wrangling over whether Mahmoud was read his Miranda rights; whether he received (competent) counsel; and, whether the rape of a six-year-old camel is grounds for execution. Idiots, languishing on Death Row, while Americans die (and pay for their care and maintenance). Idiots telling idiots that they have rights.

What this decision might do, however, is lead to something quite unintended by the SCOTUS.

Rather than have the courts (and juries) of the United States judging the enemy combatants, the Coalition of the Willing just might take matters into their own hands. They might ship prisoners off to Egyptian prisons (where the detained don't have it quite so well); or, they might just shoot the motherf***ers. After all, only God can be the judge. We can simply insure that the enemy combatants get to their appointment on time.

So, maybe Boumedine is not the defeat that the Right thinks that it is. Rather, it may give The War Against Terror a wee-bit of inertia, which will lead to increased security (and a diminished population at Club G'itmo). And, for those who think that precedent means everything, they should remember that President Abraham Lincoln suspended the right of habeas corpus during the War of Northern Aggression. Perhaps President Bush should take a page from The Great Emancipator; or, perhaps we should find someone like Colonel Walter E. Kurtz to run the show. Either way, people will complain.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Six Flags?

Sixth Level Of Hell!

Today, I did the unlikely. I took my children to Six Flags New England, in Agawam, Massachusetts. A place also known as Hell.

A place where one look at the patrons will make you feel good about yourself.

Too fat? There is someone fatter (and uglier) splashing in the water park, Speedo bursting as a consequence of one (hundred and fifty) too many Wendy's Triple Cheeseburgers. Too skinny? Check out the meth addict on the Lazy River. Want a tattoo? Shop for one among the crowd. Scorpions, tigers, pit bulls, and pictures of their baby girl (or, boy). Piercings? They've got 'em. Noses, lips, cheeks, eye brows, and belly buttons (plus, at least one visible nipple piercing on a guy named Hector).

There was nearly a fight in the water park, when a Puerto Rican girl took exception at being splashed by a black woman. ("It's a water park. Hello!") Indeed, judging by the reaction by the Latina, Democrat Presidential nominee, Senator B. Hussein Obama has a lot of outreach to do in the Hispanic community.

Which brings me to the overwhelmingly ethnic and white trash clientele.

Folks speaking English were outnumbered, at least two-to-one. Tattooed (or pierced)? Six-to-one. Women that I might take home to meet mom (if mom were alive...and I were inclined)? Exactly...two. And, one of them (I am pretty sure) was sixteen.

On top of it all, one must pay fifteen ($15.00) to park, just to have the privilege of paying $29.99 (each) to get into the park. Down a C-Note before I even bought the first $3.50 water, or the first $8.99 crispy chicken wrap.

Really, what, in the name of all that is holy, is the rationale behind a parking fee? I mean, other than the obvious. Usually, I like a kiss before I get screwed.

But, the kids had fun; and, the roller coasters were pretty cool.

Oh, and the two largish black men in the car park? They were priceless.

Black Guy One [To no one in particular]: "Yo, nigga! Can you believe that we came all the way here and lost our car?"

B.G. Two [To me]: "Nigga! How you doin'? Seen our car?"

Me [Under my breath]: "Get me out of here."

B.G. One [To the car park]: "Niggas! Where's our car!"

My only regret? That I am not still in university, in a sociology class, so that I could do a paper on this shit.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

I hate the NBA...

...But, I Love The Boston Celtics!

I haven't been a big fan of the NBA since...well...since four steps and a hack became a "great move", not a travel and a foul. I have, however, remained a loyal Boston Celtics fan.

There is so much to love about this team: The history; the players and coaches; and, that lovable little Mick that is the mascot. [Query: Why do American Indians (and liberal weenies) get pissy when the Washington Redskins take the field against the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux (stay with me on this); but, the entire St. Patrick's Day celebrating world thinks it is cool that the Celtics and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish have stereotypical Irish dudes as their mascot?]

So, when the Celtics survived the NBA playoffs (beating Atlanta, Cleveland, and Detroit), and reached The Finals, I was thrilled. Not only was it a chance to win their seventeenth World Championship (and first in twenty two years), it was a chance for me to see the America of my youth.

After all, the Los(t) Angeles Lakers are the team of today's America. They are from the Left Coast. They are coached by a Zen-master. They are adored by the beautiful people. They are a diverse and international bunch.

The Celtics, on the other hand, are none of those things. Hell, an ESPN correspondent even compared cheering for the Celtics to rooting for Hitler. Like I said, the Celtics represent the good old days in America; and, appropos of that, they crushed the Lakers in Game Six.

I was afraid that there would be some whining, especially since the commentators were lamenting the "embarrassment" caused to the the second quarter. But, the Celtics continued with their stifling defence and overpowering offence, beating the Lakers by thirty nine points, the largest margin of victory ever.

The 131-92 victory was sweet.

It showed that America (and the Celtics) were back.

And, if Red were here, he would have lit that cigar...before the end of the first half. They were that good. They were that strong.

So, in honour of the Celtics, I am lighting up a Cohiba.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day

I Miss You, Dad...

My dad passed away in the latter part of March, 2002. So long ago, it seems, that I often forget that it was not really that far removed from the present. A mere six years--one seventh of my time here on Earth--that he went quietly into that good night.

I remember, fondly, the days of my youth. Days spent riding in his Triumph Spitfire Mk IV. Going to work with my dad, and watching the F-105s, spitting fire, as they roared down the runway at Hill AFB. Playing catch. Getting up at 5:00am to go to help him shovel snow off of the tennis court at the club so that we could play a couple of sets. Driving across this great land, as we took our summer vacations.

Then, as a teenager. The time he flew back to Utah so that he could teach me algebra. The days (and nights) he spent camping with me (and the Boy Scouts). How he encouraged me to earn my Eagle Scout badge. How he helped me prepare for high school debate tournaments. And, how he supported me when I dropped out of high school, hell bent on going to college rather than change schools in my senior year.

When I went away to Wake Forest, he was proud. He called or wrote me a letter nearly every day; and, he supported me, even when no one else seemed to think I would make it. He helped me get my act together, to get off of academic probation, and to graduate with a reasonably fair Grade Point Average. Indeed, when I graduated, I handed him a cigar, a glass (actually, a bottle) of champagne, and my diploma, and said, "Thanks, dad. You earned this as much as I did." I realised that he had gotten smarter with every passing day.

Law school was our next challenge; and, he was my conscience and my guide. He gave me encouragement (again), and helped me to survive the rough patches. He introduced me to the joys of coaching a Little League team (that finished second in the City of Coral Gables), and to umpiring. Some of my happiest moments were those times spent working games together, at FIU, the University of Miami, and at Barry University.

As a grown-up, he was always there for me. With advice, with a little extra money, and with a hug when I got off of the plane in Florida. We played golf, smoked cigars, and drank whisky. We solved the problems of the world every single day that we were together (or, even apart).

And, when he was dying, he told me stories of his youth. Of losing his brother, Sam, when he was run over by a car. The fear that he felt when he woke one morning, paralysed by polio. The sadness in his heart when his dad passed away.

The beauty of his death, surrounded by friends and family. The way he closed his eyes, called out, "Sam", and said, "I love you" to those of us who were by his side. Then, he was gone.

And, part of me was gone, too.

I lost my father and my best friend, all at once.

Not a day goes by when I don't think about him; and, not a day goes by that I do not wish for one more day. One more hour. One more minute with him in my life.

He loved his children and grandchildren. He loved his wife, my mother. He loved life.

So, today, Father's Day, I will think of him as I play with my kids; and, as I umpire a Cranberry League double-header.

And, as I call the game, I know that he will be with me, helping me.

Thanks, dad.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

I thought it was funny...

"How Do You Defend Kobe Bryant?"

That was the question posed by one of the commentators before Thursday night's contest between the visiting Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics.

To the room, I said, "You defend Kobe by saying, 'Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the evidence will show that my client, Mr. Bryant, did not rape that woman.'"

Strangely, no one (without a Y-Chromosome) laughed.

As my friend, J, noted: "God gave us a sense of humour. It is up to us to use it."

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Remember, they shot the filly...

Hillary! Wins South Dakota, Loses Montana...
And, The Nomination

In the electoral equivalent of a giant hugfest, the Democrat Party (narrowly) selected the barely qualified Senator from Illinois, B. Hussein Obama, to be its nominee for the 2008 Presidential contest.

Senator Obama, speaking in Minnesota, expressed the need for change...and for unity. And, given the tenor of the primary campaign over the last few months, unity would be a change. A change from the sniping, fighting, and angst that must accompany any Democrat campaign.

He spoke of an end to Republican policies that have made the rich richer; and, the poor...fucking destitute. A need for energy policy ('though the Democrat party has stood in the way of drilling in ANWR, off of the Florida and California coasts, and from opening a nuclear storage facility in Yucca Mountain, Nevada). A need for universal health care ('though no one has explained how to get Americans to accept the almost certain rationing that will come with health care for everyone). A need to get out of Iraq, since fighting the terrorists abroad does nothing for security at home ('though he didn't say how Americans, without universal health care, will adjust to having guys named "Hussein" blowing shit up right here on Main Street, U.S.A.). A need to avoid references to religion and patriotism ('though, frankly, some of us are still clinging to our faith...and our guns).

The fact of the matter is, Senator Obama has accomplished something amazing. He is (probably) the least qualified Presidential candidate (of any race or sex) to come along since Dewey beat Truman (almost).

So, as the 2008 campaign begins in earnest, let's not forget...


The woman who has gained a greater percentage of the popular vote, and who has won the most important states.

The woman who never says its over unless she sings...

And, from where The Lifeguard sits, the Fat Lady isn't quite ready to sing.

So, over the next few days, we will sit, watch, and wait. Really, just because B. Hussein Obama says it's over doesn't mean it is over.

Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbour? No!