Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Obama on Baseball

The other night on ESPN’s Sports Center they showed a taped interview with Presidential hopeful Barack Obama. The interview took place when Obama was campaigning in North Carolina last week.

I was half in the bag when it aired and was hoping that they would replay it again. I do recall that I didn’t like some of the comments that Barack made about my favorite Baseball Team; The Chicago Cubs.

Today I watched the interview again on I also read the transcript of this interview. The interviewer was ESPN’s Stuart Scott.

When Scott asked Obama who he would root for if both the Cubs and their South Side rivals, the White Sox made it to the World Series. Obama replied, ““Oh, that's easy. White Sox. I'm not one of these fair weather fans. You go to Wrigley Field, you have a beer, beautiful people up there. People aren't watching the game. It's not serious. White Sox, that's baseball. Southside.”

This is not out of the ordinary for a comment that is usually made by a Chicago White Sox fan. Sox fans constantly berate Cubs fans.

It is sour grapes!

C’mon Barack, “Fair weather fans”, my ass. Even in losing seasons the Cubs will pack the ballpark, while the Sox are lucky to get 70% of the ballpark filled during a winning season; and the Sox play predominately night games at home.

“You go to Wrigley Field; you have a beer, beautiful people up there.” What is he saying? Is it that they don’t have beer and beautiful people at US Cellular Field? The last time that I was at a Sox game (it was Comiskey Park at the time) I saw 4 beautiful people being escorted from their seats for overt intoxicated behavior. And let us not forget the “Disco Demolition” which caused the White Sox to forfeit the second game of a double header in the 1970’s.

Beer and baseball seem to go together like peas and carrots (or maybe, I should say like peanuts and Cracker Jack).

Then Barack sez “People aren't watching the game. It's not serious.” Sir, I beg to differ! All of the Cubs fans that I am acquainted with are avid baseball fans as well as Cubs fans. They can rattle off stats better than most commentators do. They know the standings in both Leagues and they watch games of other teams besides the Cubs.

Perhaps what Mister Obama is referring to is what he sees on the camera shots of the fans at Wrigley Field. He has obviously never been to Wrigley, so all that he knows is what he sees on television (a common thing for people in his age group).

I have a friend that has had season tickets at Wrigley for more than 30 years. He told me that he sells more than half of them to Barack’s “beautiful people”. Cub’s tickets have a great resale value and for the past ten years he has made a profit over what he paid for the season tickets plus what has spent on the games that he attended.

I want to hear any White Sox fan say that!

The Beach Bum

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Field of Broken Dreams

I read a story in today’s online version of the Chicago Tribune that raised my ire. The story was about Little League Baseball in New Haven, Connecticut. I'd passed through New Haven in the 1960's and wasn't impressed (except for the buildings on the Yale campus).

There is this 9 year old little leaguer who has been barred from pitching in this league of 8 teams.

The first thought that comes to mind is that this kid has been hitting a lot of batters. But that is not the case. He’s just too good for the rest of the league.

They told him that he could still play in the league, but he just couldn’t pitch in the league. He possesses a 40 MPH Fastball with very good control. This is seemingly an unfair advantage to the other teams in the league. One team forfeited the game when they saw him on the mound.

However, the kid’s coach and parents say the boy is being unfairly targeted because he turned down an invitation to join the defending league champion, which is sponsored by an employer of one of the league's administrators.

The league administrators want the team to disband and the players be absorbed by the remaining 7 teams.

This reminds me of the Bad News Bears movie. My God, this is Little League Baseball not the World Series. The game should be played for the sake of the game, for the children involved in the game and not for the Parents or Sponsors.

The boy’s mom said "The whole objective in life is to find something you're good at and stick with it. I'd rather he spend all his time on the baseball field than idolizing someone standing on the street corner."

The other team managers and the league administrators are trying to prevent this from happening. And this is the real shame.

The Beach Bum

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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Advocating Unsafe Sex

During the past few months I been viewing a commercial, actually there are at least 4 different commercials in the group, on a variety of television programs that I watch. And no, it’s not the ubiquitous Caveman series from GEICO.

I am not a mainstream television viewer and I rarely watch programs that are on the major networks. My feeling is that if they are good programs they will end up in syndication on one of the cable channels that I watch. This way I can see a seasons worth of programs in 6 weeks.

So I don’t really know if the aforementioned series of commercials are played on prime time network TV. Nor do I know on what type of programs they are being aired. On the cable stations that I watch they really don’t seem to have a pattern and you can’t tell on which programs they will appear and who they are really targeting with the commercial.

The commercials are for a product called KY Yours & Mine. The theme is the same in all of the commercials; a couple sitting on a bed talking about the great sexual experience they are about to have. The latest one that I have viewed features a couple saying “let’s hurry before the kids get home”.

The couple then hold up two colored test tubes containing gels. The commercials then flash to an old black and white movie clip of an enthralled couple dancing. The final scene is of the elated couple lounging in bed. If I was having sex with someone other than myself, I’d be running down to the Walgreens to try this stuff out, and I’m not usually swayed by television advertising.

The problem that I have with these commercials is that they do not promote safe sex. Did I mention the fact that you cannot achieve the desired effect if you are wearing a condom? Although they always show a seemingly monogamous couple using their product and the implication is that it will bring new life into a relationship, I doubt that the majority of the users will fall into this category.

Let’s face it, if this product was on the market when I was young and sleeping around, I’d be in the Walgreens on a weekly basis. I’d like to see the demographics to whom and where this product is predominately being sold. I’ll bet that stores near college campus rank high on that list.

The Beach Bum

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Once You Get Past The Smell

My Brother-in-Law John watches many hours of news each day on television. The other day, as I was passing through the sunroom, he tells me that they have captured a Bigfoot. Therefore I go to the WWW to see what this is all about.

The story that I read said that some guys in Georgia bagged a Bigfoot and were keeping in a freezer. There weren’t too many details.

I immediately conjured up, in my mind, the following scenario. Two good ole boys were walking in the woods with their hunting dogs and shotguns when they see what appears to be a bear. The dogs are going ballistic, shotguns are raised, and the bear is shot and falls to the ground. Clem and Rufus then discover that “this ain’t no bear”. “What the hell is that thang?” sez Clem. Rufus sez “I don’t rightly know, let’s take it home and put it in the freezer.”

When I just stationed in Africa I had a roommate named Jack Lapseritis. Jack was very intelligent but a little off center in his thinking. He planned to stay at Kagnew Station until his discharge and then go on to the Seychelles Islands in the Indian Ocean to Scuba.
And then on to the Himalayas to search for a Yeti.

About 7 years ago I Googled Jack’s name (I was trying to find him to invite him to one of our reunions) and was not shocked at the results. Jack had written a book named The Psychic Sasquatch and Their UFO Connection. He tours the country giving lectures about the existence of Bigfoot, saying that they were brought to Earth by Aliens.

Jack was even on the “Howard Stern Show” where he admitted to having sex with one of these creatures (he said that she stank, but was a pretty good lay - this reminded me of the old line "once you get past the smell"). Howard and Crew were going nuts with laughter at this point in the show.

Jack now calls himself Kewaunee, the name that the Sasquatch gave him (probably using the Vulcan Mind Meld).

I’m sure that Kewaunee is now on his way to Georgia to see if this is one of his old buddies. Good Luck, Jack.

The Beach Bum

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Monday, August 18, 2008

Living in the Past can be Funny

Yesterday afternoon the local PBS station aired two episodes of the Jack Benny program from the 1960’s. They conflicted with the Chicago Cubs vs. the Florida Marlins, so I recorded them – thank God for Tivo.

I never was a big Jack Benny fan, but when I was a kid we watched what our Dad watched. This was back in the Stone Age when the parents actually controlled what was viewed by the family on television. If you didn’t like your parent’s programming selections you could listen to the radio or read a book.

With the exception of Lawrence Welk on Saturday Night my parents viewing selections were, in my opinion, very good.

I watched the recorded Jack Benny shows this afternoon. These were not Jack Benny as his best.

However, the first program featured the Kingston Trio, one of my favorite musical groups from the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. This show was originally televised in January 1965 and I hadn’t seen it. By this time “The Trio’s” career was waning as the “British Invasion” had begun 2 years before and was flourishing on the pop music scene. The original group leader Dave Guard had left the Trio and was replaced by John Stewart.

The Trio preformed one of my favorites “Tijuana Jail” and Benny built a skit around the lyrics of the song. Mel Blanc (Bugs Bunny/Daffy Duck/Speedy Gonzalez) was in the skit and played a “politically incorrect” prisoner in the Tijuana Jail. This was one of the highlights of the show.

This reminded me of why I really enjoy old television programs from the 50’s, 60’s and early 70’s. Most of them were “Politically Incorrect” and stereotyped Nationalities, Races and Religious groups. But it was all done for the sake of humor. If you can’t laugh at people that are different from you then you have to laugh at yourself. And that’s not funny!

The Beach Bum

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Friday, August 15, 2008

Walking the Beat - No Discounts

The last time that I had a cup of Starbuck’s coffee (Decaf) was at Tampa International Airport. The cup of coffee and a small pastry me cost more than $7. But this was at the Airport where a beer cost $5. This was the last time that I will ever spend a cent in a Starbucks.

It’s not because Starbucks’ prices are outrageous for the value that you receive. It’s not because many of their employees act like the “Soup Nazi” on Seinfeld. Nor is it because Starbucks recently closed down a portion of their stores; and therefore put many of their “Coffee Nazis” on the unemployment payroll.

The reason that I have a beef with Starbucks stems from an article that I read in the online version of the Chicago Tribune last week.

A veteran Chicago cop was suspended for 18 months for demanding coffee and pastries at a Starbucks on her beat.

Starbucks Corporate management has no official policy regarding free coffee for police, leaving that decision up to each franchise. Most stores give a uniformed Officer a free 12oz coffee or tea. The suspended officer demanded a larger size coffee and would come more than once per day. Then she started to ask for a pastry with her coffee, when the “Coffee Nazis” said no way, she became belligerent. The nerve some people have!

This prompted the Starbucks District Manager to send a memo to other stores in the area stating that this officer was no longer welcome in Starbucks. Imagine being barred from Starbucks.

Although most Police Departments have an official policy of no freebies, this policy is often overlooked. There is a symbiotic relationship between Cops and places that serve Coffee and Pastries.

Years ago my Dad told me that I didn’t have to like Cops, but that I should always respect them for the thankless job that they perform. My older cousin was a Chicago Cop who was killed in the line of duty. My younger cousin has been a Chicago Cop for more than 30 years. I wonder if they ever asked for or expected to get a freebie.

Which reminds me of a classic story told by my friend Slow Eddie.

The event happened on an Election Day (Chicago bars were to stay closed until the Polls closed) in a neighborhood Bar that we called Blackie’s (not the real name of the Bar but the owner’s nickname was Blackie).

It was 4 in the afternoon and Slow Eddie (17 years old at the time) was dying for a beer and he knew that Blackie’s would be open. When he arrived there were 2 customers at the bar playing penny a point gin rummy with Blackie (who always sat on a stool behind the Bar, next to the window, in the corner).

Slow sits down and orders a 5 cent 10 ounce draft beer. Blackie serves him two saying that he doesn’t want to be getting up that often. Halfway through his first beer, the door opens and in walks a uniformed Police Officer. He sits down next to Slow, giving him the eye.

Now Slow was crapping in his pants, thinking that he was busted for sure. It didn’t seem to faze Blackie who was illegally open, gambling and serving a minor.

After a minute or two (a lifetime for Slow Eddie), Blackie looks up from his cards and says to the Cop “I’m not getting up for you, go get it yourself.” The Officer then walked behind the bar and got himself a beer and bag of chips. He sat back down and said to Slow “How ya doin’.” When he left the bar he left a tip for Blackie.

The Beach Bum

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Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Is Paris Burning?

I just watched the Paris Hilton video response to Senator John McCain’s Ad that featured her and Britney Spears as celebrities. It was funny! Either she is smarter than I thought her to be or she hired some good writers. I believe it’s the later.

The video appears on the Comedy Website Funny or Die. This site will probably get more hits today than it has for the past month.

The last time I saw Paris, Hilton that is, in a video was on a bootleg copy of One Night in Paris. She wasn’t acting in that video; she was just doing what comes natural for a 19 year old blonde bimbo playgirl. I’ve seen better films of this nature.

In her latest video she thanks McCain for his endorsement calling him a “white haired dude”. She also shares her views on the energy crisis.

Perhaps Jon Stewart will get her to come on the Daily Show and have her discuss political views.

After the Presidential Election in November we may not be hearing much from Senator McCain. But we’ll always have Paris.

The Beach Bum

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