Play Ball

Rush Limbaugh once said something so profound that I made it the screen saver on my computer.  He said, “Everybody should love baseball.”  I do:  I believe “play ball” are the last two words of the Star Spangled Banner. 

Frankly though, I think the first game of the season should take place in the middle of April in the middle of the day on green grass in Cincinnati.  But times change and I can’t keep them from changing.  Today, the Oakland A’s and the Boston Red Sox played the first game of the 2008 season in the middle of the night in Tokyo Japan.  If I were an Oakland fan who had to get up around 3:00 AM if he wanted to watch the first pitch, I’d be upset about that. 

This isn’t the first time American Major League Baseball has held its opening day in Japan.  Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig is trying to make the game more international.  Okay, and baseball isn’t the only sport with ticket prices so high average fans think more than twice about  going to a game, but by starting at what translates to 3:00 AM in Oakland and 6:00 AM in Boston, baseball is ignoring the people who made it popular to attract new people.

That doesn’t seem like good business to me.  If baseball is America’s pastime, schedule the first game of the season at a time when most Americans can watch it.

I’d like to do away with the designated hitter.  More strategy without them.  I’d like the game’s best pitchers to go more than six innings.  I’d like an occasional day game on a Monday or Friday so I could play hooky from work and enjoy both a game and a long weekend.  Every team should be required by law to play on Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day.  I’d like fewer seasons tickets sold so I could get a decent seat if I decided to walk up for a game. 

When I visit Cooperstown (I’m a subscribing member of the Baseball Hall of Fame Museum,) I would like it if six of the top ten home run hitters of all times weren’t either proven or suspected of steroid abuse.  And I wish the games took less time.  When I was introduced to baseball, the average game took around two hours.  Now, it takes over three.  I’m not upset that the double header is practically extinct though.  I went to one of those ten years ago.  The whole thing took more than eight hours!  Each game lasted so long that my butt gave up and I left the second game long before it was over.  I caught the end of that game on the radio on the way home.

Speaking of which, every baseball game ought to be on the radio.  This morning, for instance, top of the sixth, bases loaded and nobody out.  I don’t root for either team.  I had to go to the bathroom  so I did.  When I got back, one out, two on and nobody scored.  How did that happen?  I could see two out and nobody scored, but was there a pickoff, or what? 

Plus, on a warm Spring day, I like to put the game on the radio and wash my car.  I find that relaxing.  Apparently what I like isn’t really popular today though because there are lots of portable entertainment devices that don’t contain an AM radio.  I have a Sony Walkman that has an AM radio and plays MP3 files on CD’s.  Ipods don’t come with any radio but some flash memory or hard-drive music players do have FM radios.  I’d buy one in a heartbeat if they had an AM radio for the ballgames too.

And I seem to be the only person in the whole world who knows about baseball’s greatest feature.  It causes warm weather.  They play baseball all winter in the Dominican Republic and it never gets cold there.

Oh Eliot

As I understand it (I don’t know the man) Eliot Spitzer who has called himself a steamroller, is actually a bully, which is something a little different.  He’s a man who had allies, but few if any friends.  That’s part of the reason everyone managed to abandon the sinking ship of Empire State so quickly when the NY Times let us know that Eliot (only one “L”, you could look it up) had met up with a hooker at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington DC. 

Seems Eliot’s sense of rectitude doesn’t extend to himself.  Ken Langone, who was a target of Mr. Spitzer’s prosecutorial wrath, said he hoped Eliot’s private hell was hotter than anyone else’s.  Col. Jack Jacobs, a military analyst for MSNBC called him a sanctimonious jackass. 

People’s names don’t usually stick in my head, but weird facts do.  So, I know where the term “Hooker” comes from.  It was coined because a particular Civil War General”s command had a lot of camp-followers.  But today, with General Hooker no longer well known, it seems strange.  Perhaps we’re referring to an avid fisherman or to a bad golfer.  Would people be as upset with Eliot if he’d engaged the services of a slicer instead of a hooker?  See what I mean?  And which is dumber, what Governor Spitzer did or Governor Corzine’s refusal to wear a seatbelt?

I’ve read a little about psychology.  There are several possible explanations for our soon-to-be former Governor’s behavior.  He has always had money.  He has had status for a long time.  Maybe everything came to him so easily that he felt he was above rules.  Maybe he didn’t think he deserved everything that had come so easily, so his behavior was consciously or unconsciously self-destructive.  Maybe he is addicted to risk.   Most of Psychiatry boils down to two short sentences, either or both of which would have benefitted Governor Spitzer if he knew about them before all this happened.  The first:  Want what you can have.  The second:  Stop that! 

I read an article in one of New York’s daily newspapers that said Eliot’s wife, Silda, was upset that the woman involved was only four years older than their oldest daughter.  News flash:  If you’re going to pay that much money for sex with a strange woman, you’d feel you hadn’t gotten your money’s worth if she was four years older than your grandmother! 

The young woman involved, “Ashley” Kristen “Dupre” Youmans,  will probably make even more money from book deals, recordings of her music, magazine covers, centerfolds, DVD’s etc.  I’ve heard estimates that she might make upwards of $5 million.  That’s a good trick.  Hell, that’s a lot of tricks, even considering what she charges.  It turns out the story on her Myspace page is somewhere between exaggerated and bullshit.  Her music doesn’t sound very good to my ear, but you’ve got to give her some props for claiming that Etta James was an influence. 

I’ve heard a lot of news about how beautiful Ashley is.  I have to demure, even if demure isn’t a word used very much around Ashley, at least in the last few years.  I think a good photographer can  take a pretty picture of her, but there’s something odd about the shape of her nose. 

Damn!  I’m old enough to notice her nose! 


Things I Want (Or Need) To Know

I have only one question.  Unfortunately, the question is, “Huh?”

Are we there yet?

What is the biological mechanism for liking or hating certain foods?  How is it, for instance that some people love asparagus while the rest of us remain sane?

Was the alphabet invented in alphabetical order?

Does it make any sense that abbreviation is a five-syllable word?

When they censor pictures of naked people on TV, why do they blur stuff we all have, like nipples and butt cracks?

Which reminds me, is there a correct, scientific name for butt crack?

Shouldn’t there be an equal number of horses and horses’ asses?

At The Hospital

I was sick a while ago.  I don’t recommend it.  I’m trying hard not to do it anymore.  If you’ve got to be sick, try not to go to a hospital.  You might, if you’re lucky, get everything you need in a hospital.  You can’t possibly get everything you (or your insurance company) pays for because it costs that much. One time I was in a hospital for about ten hours, and that hospital sent a bill to my insurance company for $31,000!  For that kind of money, they should turn the heat up a little.

While I was in the hospital, I didn’t get anything I wanted, but I did get a cold.  When I am sick, I want it dark.  I want it quiet.  I want to sleep when I want.  I want to eat what I want when I want.  Have you been in a hospital?  Did you get any of those things?  Neither did I.

I think nurses and other people who work in hospitals have a hard job.  Sick people are often contagious, so the hospital staff’s risk of catching something has to be higher than mine.  And, especially if they care about their jobs, it’s got to be tough that some people die while they’re in the hospital.  A great many of the hospital workers I encountered were very nice.  I don’t know enough to judge whether they were really good at their jobs, but I’m not in the hospital anymore, so they were good enough to suit me.

While I was in the hospital, I had time to think.  Giving me time to think is not a good idea.  I have a friend who insists that the word “askew” means the way I think. 

The pillow cases in this particular hospital were too small for the pillows.  I wonder why.  If they did that to save money on pillow cases, they ought to know you can buy small pillows too.

They stuck me with so many needles and took so much blood that I was going to invent the Hemospigot© when I got home.  I found out they already have that, but they call it something else.  Whenever the hospital staff noticed I was asleep, they sent someone around to get a blood sample, or take my blood pressure, but never both at the same time.  One time, the blood technician came around in mid-morning.  I told her she couldn’t have any of my blood because she didn’t wait until I was asleep to ask.  Around 2:00 AM, they made a lot of noise, snapped on the overhead lights and jarred me awake.  I hope they don’t do that to the heart patients.

There isn’t much on my back that anyone at the hospital wanted to examine, but that’s where the hospital gown opens.  Why?  A hospital gown that wraps around the front like a bathrobe would work better for me.  It could still have shoulder seams that snap opened, and closed if that made the designers happy.  And how about a choice of material?  Polar fleece is washable.  I’d like my hospital gowns made of polar fleece please.  I’m cold even when I’m not wearing an air conditioned hospital gown.

At the hospital, they rent TV’s for just enough money that you only balk at paying it.  You don’t refuse outright.  TV should be covered by your health insurance.  Daytime TV is a powerful incentive to get well.  Here are two additional sources of revenue for the hospital.  They should offer Internet access.  Some hotels charge ten dollars or more per day.  Imagine how much a hospital could mark that up.  They could make it a wired network if wireless N would mess with the health care machines.  They could charge extra for takeout food too.  I’m not used to eating that little food within that few hours and then going that many hours without any.  I would have paid double for a pizza, triple for a good one.  Hospital food is a powerful incentive for getting well too!