Saturday, August 28, 2010

Nostradamus Can Kiss My Butt!

On January 1st, I made my predictions for the coming year.  Yeah, unlike those pussies who look back on the year and declare the "top stories", I actually took a shot at predicting the future. (Top Stories of 2010)

As we are about two thirds the way through the year, let's see how I'm doing.

Prediction One: The Economy Continues to Sputter

I said it then and I say it now, we have done nothing to help build the ever shrinking middle class.  No good jobs means any recovery will be a house of cards.  It doesn't take a Nobel Prize winning economist to know that you need jobs to build a stable, growing economy and right now, we aren't creating jobs. Therefore, in the economic shitter we remain.

Prediction Two: Amy Winehouse Accidentally Discovers Cancer Cure

I predicted that the endless circle of drugs and hospitalizations for Ms. Winehouse would cause her pre-cancerous mole to jump ship and sue for divorce.  Unfortunately, that pharmaceutical parade has slowed to a crawl.  But I'm still holding out hope.  Some dealer somewhere is cooking up a cocktail of heroin, uranium 238 and embalming fluid and you know that Amy is gonna have to have a taste of that shit.

Prediction Three: Cubs Win World Series

You know how you go to the track and drop a quick ten bucks on that 35 to 1 horse that shares it's name with the girl who was kind enough to take your virginity?  You don't do it because you think it's going to pay off, you do it because you'd hate yourself if that horse came in and you hadn't gone to the window.  This prediction is kinda like that.  That horse never wins...and apparently neither do the Cubs who are currently 20 games below .500.

Prediction Four: Health Reform Passes, Nobody Happy (except the insurance industry)

I totally nailed this one.  Out of the damn park, don't forget to touch'em all nailed it.  No public option, mandated coverage, higher rates, Nostradamus wishes he was me.

Prediction Five: Lindsay Lohan Overdoses

I'm giving myself half credit on this one so far.  Jail is pretty close to an OD.  Besides, I still have a few months to go and Lindsay is gonna have a lot of opportunity to take that final step into drug hell.  Just look at that picture, if that isn't a woman looking to score then I'm Paris Hilton.  Seriously, Lindsay, take a little advice.  Quit buying drugs and start buying bras.

Prediction Six: Twitter Declares Bankruptcy

I'm thinking I might have just gotten a little ahead of myself on this one. With Google now giving people free telephone service, it is just a matter of time before all the interactivity of smart phones and other mobile devices makes Twitter into the buggy whip of the digital age.

Prediction Seven: Democrats Lose Seats in House, Senate

Only time will tell, but I'm still feeling pretty good about this one. The President's popularity has taken some hits, the Republicans are doing a good job of stalling any kind of meaningful progress and the "screw'em all" sentiment of the American voter is growing.  The D's are going to take a hit on election day, I just hope it's just a jab and not a hay maker.

Friday, August 20, 2010

New Poll - One in Five Americans is a Moron

May I have your attention please.  I have a short announcement.

President Obama is not Muslim!

Not that it should matter in a country founded on the ideal of religious freedom.  Yeah, that's right you right-wing dick wads, religious freedom.  You do remember the first amendment, the one you cite when protesting gays at the funerals of dead soldiers and when you march in front of abortion clinics with the pictures of dead fetuses on your signs. 

It guarantees that as Americans we can practice our own faith and last time I looked, the President of the United States is an American.  So, who gives a fuck if he's a Muslim.

Oh wait, that's right, I keep forgetting, you're the idiots who don't believe he was born in America.

Never mind, as my nurse friend once said to me, "You can't cure stupid."  And all of you who think the President is a Muslim, are incurable.

CNN - President Obama is a Christian

Monday, August 16, 2010

What Went Wrong?

Whether you are a Republican, Independent or a Democrat, please read this post to the end and play the video.

I have been called a lot of things in my life.  Cynic, fanatic, asshole, idiot, they've all been used to describe me.  And those are tame compared to the things my wife says about me. But what I've never been called is an idealist.  I'm too pragmatic for that, too Machiavellian.  But I truly believe that the fatal bullet fired by Sirhan Sirhan at Robert Kennedy changed the direction of our country. 

It is almost enough to think that a conspiracy has been under foot for decades.  Like all men, John F. Kennedy was flawed.  But he was a man who inspired, a man whose vision of America was uplifting and infectious, he was a man who thought we all had something to contribute.  He asked us to ask of ourselves to "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country."

His brother Robert was the logical extension of that thought.  Yes, according to JFK, we had an obligation to our country.  But Robert told us how to recognize the difference between wealth and achievement, the difference between economic growth and true prosperity, the difference between the false idol of the rags to riches ideal and the true American promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  In other words, he pointed out why those who would  tell us that the single-minded pursuit of profit translates into personal prosperity for you and me are fundamentally wrong.

Please, I ask you, don't let the dream of a better tomorrow die in the hands of those whose cynical pursuit of personal wealth fails to recognize the greater good, the better life, the true promise of America. Listen to the words of Robert Kennedy and ask yourself, what would be a better measure of success, the currect Gross Domestic Product and Dow Jones Indusrial Average, or the things that Robert Kennedy suggests are truly important?

Text of the good part...

Monday, August 02, 2010

Top Five Baseball Movies

My wife and I are fond of baseball movies.  In fact, I think we've seen nearly every major baseball movie ever made.  From the mind numbingly stupid (and yet very funny) Benchwarmers to the sad and depressing Bang The Drum Slowly we've seen the best and the worst of what Hollywood has to offer when it comes to America's Pastime.

With that in mind, I hope you will accept this, my top five best baseball movies of all time.  While you read, please feel free to enjoy this excellent clip of Dave Brubeck playing the timeless jazz classic Take Five.

Number Five: The Natural - While this movie is a bit over the top, if the top is Mount Everest, it is beautiful.  It looks like the fairy tale that baseball is for America. From the slow motion footage of the lights exploding to the great exteriors, this is a wonderful movie to see.  And as my wife points out, the best baseball movies are about hope and redemption and this film is the all that wrapped in some spectacular cinematography. And if you ever needed something to remind you that here in America, we'll root for the underdog, just watch this movie.

Number Four: A League of Their Own - "There's no crying in baseball."  If only for that classic quote, it makes my list.  I can't tell you the number of times I've used that line with my nine-year-old's softball team. 

But it's not just that one line, Tom Hanks is awesome in this film about the professional women's baseball leagues that existed during WWII. He is funny, smart, and he gives a wonderful performance. Now, despite the fact that it also has both Madonna and Rosie O'Donnell in it, it is well acted all around. It captures the struggles America had with the changing roles of women as men went off to war.  It is Rosie the Riveter in cleats and well worth two hours of your time.

Number Three: Bull Durham - One of two Kevin Costner films on the list, Bull Durham is a great portrait of how minor league baseball truly is a religion for small town America.  As a guy who grew up on minor league ball, the last career gasps of Crash Davis as he tries teach Ebby Calvin "Nuke" La Loosh what it means to be a big league ball player is a great tutorial for anyone who wants to know what baseball is all about. To this day, I use the line "million dollar arm, ten cent head" in day-to-day conversation. And it might be the last time that Susan Sarandon was truly hot on film.

Number Two: Field of Dreams - Depending on who you ask, this is either a pretentious, self-indulgent movie filled with ham handed imagery or it is the best baseball movie ever made. My wife would fall in the later camp.  She would even put this movie in the top five movies of all time. As she puts it, "[Field of Dreams is a]combination of baseball, relationships, magic, hope and love. Those things we all want to believe in. Most importantly, it's a movie about second chances." She's right and mostly I agree with her, but today, for my money, this movie falls just short of my number one baseball movie of all-time.

Number One: The Sandlot - There are many people who will call me crazy, but this is a wonderful baseball movie.  In fact, it is likely a better baseball movie than it is a movie.  A brainy, mildly geeky kid moves to a new town with his mom and step-father and struggles to make friends until a local sandlot baseball player champions his inclusion with the rest of the kids.  A fat catcher with great one liners, a geeky kid with a taste for the ladies, a monstrous beast who eats baseballs and an autograph of Babe Ruth all come together in a great story that reflects not just a love for the game, but the innocent time when people like me fell in love with it.

Other than the language of 12 year-old boys, it is a movie that is safe for the whole family and it gives you a sense of longing for the simplicity of childhood when a baseball, some gloves, a bat and a sandlot were all it took to make not only a lifetime of special memories, but also a hero.

For Honorable Mention, throw in Major League, Eight Men Out and The Rookie.  All good baseball movies that are worth a rental.  In fact, the Rookie makes Carolyn's Top Five list.  I liked it, but there is only room for five and tough choices had to be made. 

Since I mentioned it, here is Carolyn's top five list.  I can't argue with any of her choices, heck, they are the same as mine except The Rookie and A League of Their Own.  The only other difference is the order.
Carolyn's Top Five Baseball Movies:

5) The Rookie
4) The Sandlot
3) The Natural
2) Bull Durham
1) Field of Dreams

In any order, watch'em all, you won't be disappointed in any of these films featuring the boys of summer. And as a Cubs fan, I think I'll watch them on an endless loop through October.  I think that's the only way to keep my love for the game from being tainted by the massive craps they've been taking on the field at Wrigley and around the rest of the NL.