September 2, 2014

Bruni on Obama

It's good. Go read it.

It happens every day now

A Delta Air Lines flight from New York to West Palm Beach, Florida, was diverted to Jacksonville because of a dispute between passengers over a reclining seat.
They make it sound as if these altercations are all about the passengers. Here's a shocking thought: it could have something to do with the seats and the space between the rows. I wonder if a perspicacious media sleuth will suss this out and write about the greed and callousness that went into the construction of those seats. She could get a Pulitzer for an insight like that.

September 1, 2014

Of hernias and manliness

Usually, I'm not one to blog about his illnesses. I find that tacky -- and please spare me from stories about people's colons. Please. However, I'm going to make an exception today. I've got a hernia. It really, really sucks. I can hardly do anything. In fact, I just had a hard time making sandwiches. Darn those foods on the lower shelves of the fridge! And that empty Baggie that fell to the floor will remain there until further notice. I cannot pick it up.

I know, I know: you didn't need to hear about this. But something goaded me into revealing this. Lately, I've heard so many baseball game announcers talking about hernias.

It all began when a Mets pitcher, Jhenry (pronounced Henry) Mejia, "excused" a bad pitching performance by saying that he had a hernia. The broadcasters excoriated him for this. "He only said that because he's a young player who doesn't know any better." I get it: you're not supposed to offer excuses for a bad performance on the field. You're supposed to say, "I was a fool out there on the mound; I should be shot; I promise to do better."

But since that day, the announcers have gone on to speak of many, many pitchers who "pitched the whole season with a hernia, without ever complaining". Apparently this showed their manliness. Uh-huh.

I don't believe it. I would be on the floor screaming if I tried to pitch today. And some guys pitched with a hernia for a whole season? You've got to be kidding. Or lying.

If any player did this, he must have had one of those special-edition Mickey Mouse hernias -- you know, the kind that don't hurt. Me, I've got the standard issue kind, where you can hardly walk.

I doubt these heroic stories and suspect they're a product of sports writing, meant to burnish the player's manliness credentials. Has anyone reading this ever had a hernia? Wanna comment? Could you pitch with it?

PS: In two weeks, I'll have surgery to correct the problem. I wish the operation was tomorrow.

CNN on the lack of atheist legislators

This rarely gets attention. Gee, I wonder why.
Why is it that we require our candidates to profess a religious faith, but not that they demonstrate even minimal scientific literacy? Our representatives in Congress make critical decisions on science policy and science funding, and yet are often hostile to the entire scientific enterprise. In 2012, Rep. Paul Broun, R-Georgia, while serving on the House science committee, famously said that evolution and the Big Bang are "lies from the pit of hell."

As one prejudice after another has fallen by the wayside and we have elected women, African-Americans, gays and lesbians, and Jewish people to represent us, we have seen that the world has not come to an end. Life continues, and our debate is enriched by the diversity of opinions. It is time to end the prejudice that keeps qualified people without faith from considering a run for public office and keeps atheist officials from being honest about their beliefs.
Mind you, the issue isn't getting attention even now. This is merely one man's opinion, presented in print on CNN's web site with a disclaimer attached, carefully stating that it's the opinion of one man, Carlos Moreno. God forbid we think CNN would actually say something like this on its own.

Fear of atheists. In git America, it's the norm. It's particularly sad since there is no god, and science is the only way out of our current problems. In a sense, if humans go down, it will be god that did it to us. Funny, since he doesn't even exist.

The hairless monkeys of Earth need help but it's doubtful whether they'll get it. And all because no one has the guts to say the emperor (god) has no clothes.

August 29, 2014

A thing or two

Last night I watched a White Sox game. I enjoy listening to Hawk Harrelson, one of their sportscasters. He says the oddest things. After watching a hitter take a swing in last night's game, he said, "He got a little bit o' Joe Mauer lookalike to him, don't he?" He has such a backwoods way about him. Do I think it's largely put on? Yup. But I still like the guy.

As for other matters, I can't find the energy to blog lately because the world looks so dreadful. I mean, what is there to say? "Man the lifeboats!" seems appropriate. But it's hardly uplifting. And I like to uplift you guys.

But seriously, an eight-year-old girl shoots an instructor in the head with an Uzi that he put in her hands after setting it on "fully automatic" -- and the media can only say this is "starting a conversation" about kids and guns?!! A conversation? Yeah, between the rational and the braindead.

And that's the thing. The world is running amok and everything is getting worse by the minute. Worst of all, there is no smart, charismatic leader to point the way forward - not here or anywhere else. And please don't tell me Hillary will make things better. She won't.

Welcome to planet Earth, run by hairless monkeys who've lost their way. May the Flying Spaghetti Monster have mercy on us all.

August 27, 2014

Open letter to a demon

To: L. Diablo

Dear L,

Thanks for commenting on my blog post the other day. That was swell! I really appreciate the fact that you took a break from your demonic duties to write to me. I mean, how many demons would do such a thing? You're special.

Today, I just want you to know that I'm not angry at you or any of the demons who infest my home. I say this because it's finally hot and humid here -- and I know it's you guys who've been keeping the heat at bay for me. For almost the entire summer, you kept NY cool.

But I also know that you do important work here on Earth. It's you and your demon pals who keep the religious gits at bay and prevent them from going totally postal on everybody. I'm sure that takes up a lot of your time. The fact that you still managed to cool NY this summer is, well, it's downright impressive.

So I want you to know that I'll happily put up with a few days (or even weeks) of hazy, hot and humid weather. And I'll do it with a smile. It's my way of saying thanks to you and all the other demons who make life so nice for us humans. Stay well and don't forget me.

Keith O'Connor

PS: Do you know B.L. Zebub? I've heard he's cool, too. Okay, later.

None o' them new-fangled gadgets for me. No siree.

Although I love computers and everything they bring to the world, and though I consider it fun to perform maintenance tasks on a motorcycle, I detest most machines. Give me software; you keep the hardware.

Fax machines? I skipped them entirely, never deigning to actually use one. In baseball, they often say a hitter "spits on" a pitch. It means he thinks the pitch is garbage and ignores it. Well, I spit on fax machines.

I also hate washers, dryers, cars and most other machines. And I especially hate toaster ovens. Spawn of the devil! How dare they make me turn dials and settings? It's way too complicated and it sucks at toasting bread.

So I got me one o' them toasters. Yup, an old-timey toaster. It's great! I can't get over it: you just put the bread in and push down on a thing -- and moments later, toast pops out. It's a miracle!

I put the old toaster oven, which was only used by visitors to my house, in a pile of stuff I intended to throw out. But then a friend stopped by and he wanted it. So it found a home. (In case you're wondering, someone bought the damn thing for me. They were obviously possessed by demons.)

Now life is grand, what with my new toaster and all. Mmmm-mmmm-mmmmm. Crunchy.

Is there any kind of machinery you've avoided since it appeared on the scene? Seriously, fax machines?! Ugh.


Joe Jervis reports that the Vatican yanked that evil guy's diplomatic immunity. I'll believe this when I see the guy in a Dominican prison. Still, if the pope didn't do this he would become a cartoon. I mean, this is basic. Your representative sexually abuses kids; you yank his immunity and turn him over to the authorities. They've done the yanking, now let's see if they do the turning over.

Kate Bush, again

I love Kate Bush. Her songs are unusual, brave and shocking. That's my kind of gal. Apparently, she's ba-ack. In fact, she recently performed in a knock-em-dead show.

The NY Times story recounts her presentation of one of my favorite Bush songs, "Under Ice". Here's their description and then I'll post the video (for the third time). It's an unearthly song that really gets to me.
Then she performed entire halves of records — the conceptual, interwoven-story parts. First was Side 2 of the album “Hounds of Love”: the seven songs collectively titled “The Ninth Wave,” with a central character trapped under ice, and possibly returning to her family as a ghost. It’s like a soundtrack to a disjointed film, and here the theater took over; for a stretch the vocalists sang against surround-sound backing tracks. There were actors with fish-skeleton heads, a rescue crew in life jackets. A film of an astronomer with a telescope calling the Coast Guard to report a sinking ship, with dialogue written by Mr. Mitchell. Another film of Ms. Bush singing face up in the cold water. An apparatus with flashing lights and sound — a rescue helicopter — descended from the ceiling. And in the second section of the story, Ms. Bush-as-ghost suddenly appeared in a living room set aslant, as if sinking into the floor, to visit her partner and son.
Here's the song. It's very short. Play it loud.

I'll bet her show is great. BTW, that's a fan video. Good job!

August 26, 2014

This is pretty cool

From an AP story:
Neo-Nazis rallying in the Swedish city of Norrkoping have been greeted by the theme song from "Schindler's List" ringing from the bells of city hall.

Local government spokesman Ulf Mossberg said city officials decided the tune from Steven Spielberg's Oscar-winning Holocaust drama was an appropriate way to demonstrate the city's belief in "the equal value of all people."

He said the bells of the clock tower played the song before and after a political rally Tuesday by the Party of the Swedes, a small extremist group that wants to stop immigration and reserve Swedish citizenship for people with "Western genetic and cultural heritage."
I love it. What is it about those northern countries? How come they get it? Could it be the lack of religion? I think so. If you don't waste time thinking about nonexistent super-creatures, you're able to focus on the meaningful aspects of life.