Sunday, May 24, 2009

another reason to like jon kyl

I mentioned many moons ago on this very blog that Jon Kyl has my respect. And he still does--add this threat to the list of evidence that Kyl is worthy of more respect than are most pols. Sure, maybe it's an empty threat given that the Repubs are pretty weak right about now, but what's not to love about a senator, instead of playing nice and dancing around the issue until forced to make a call, coming right out and staking out his ground before the nominee is even named? The man is a much-needed source of reason in a party and legislature otherwise laughably short on the stuff.

Back in the day I wrote Kyl a letter to thank him for singlehandedly representing millions of people who, at the time, had no other voice in the Senate to count on. Perhaps a similar letter is in order this week.

Now, if only that other Arizona senator would come to his senses...


Thursday, May 14, 2009

random fire

Just got back from eating a good dinner and watching the Celtics and Magic do battle in Game 6. During the evening a few observations came to mind. I rarely watch the NBA so the below may not hold true for every game, but they sure did tonight.

* Dwight Howard is the new Shaq. That guy couldn't sink back-to-back free throws if the rim were the size of a swimming pool. There's no telling how many points the Magic lose every game because of this. Must be a thing with Orlando big men.

* Neither Dwight Howard nor Paul Pierce could hit a pair of clutch free throws to save his life. Howard was missing from the line all night, and both Howard and Pierce missed 2-of-2 for the tie or lead in the final minutes. Um, guys, it's the NBA playoffs. Perhaps nailing just one potentially game-saving free throw could be in order?

* Brian Scalabrine, a.k.a. "The Whitest White Guy in the NBA" or "I'm only getting minutes because KG is injured," blocked a Dwight Howard shot. Seriously, I'm not making this up. I saw it happen.

* Speaking of which, if teams can barely hang with Boston now, what's it gonna be like when Garnett comes back? The Celts should just roll through the rest of the playoffs if they can get that guy back in time.

* Hedo Turkoglu is the new Vlade Divac. He's somehow effective, but boy does he look hilariously clumsy with the ball in his hands. I can't understand how that guy can intimidate anyone off the dribble. Every time he made a move to the paint he had the whole Vlade-dribble thing going, like he's in slo-mo and yet for some reason nobody bothers to steal the ball or get in his way (I guess they're too dumbstruck at the display of anti-stealth they're witnessing), and sure enough he'd get close to the rim and brick it off the bottom or it'd go soaring high off the board or something. If he steps inside the 3-point line he becomes harmless.

* The above only makes it all the more bizarre that down the stretch, Pierce bought a Hedo fake toward the basket hook, line, and sinker, leaving Turkoglu wide open to make what might have been the biggest 3 of the game or even the series (increased the lead from 3 to 6 if I remember right, with maybe 90 seconds to go). I think he even backed into a screen. As it transpired I swear I could hear Doc Rivers screaming, "Paul, that's HEDO TURKOGLU!! The klutz can't hit anything within 12 feet of the basket and he sure isn't gonna blow by you. NOOOOO!!!" Paul Pierce, you're an idiot.

Finally, I've gotta beat a dead horse some more. What is the deal with women, comiserating, and barstools? I'm well on my way to the conclusion that every PUA on the planet must either be missing a brain or be bored beyond belief. I'm a giant 0-for-2 on bar company over the past week, as this time a couple of me-centric neighbors wouldn't shut up about the minutia of all things unimportant for the entire freakin' two hours I was watching my basketball game. Bleep! Next time I just stab my eardrums with pencils before I leave the house.

Are there men-only bars out there? And if so, how does one go about finding such locales? It's not like they're highly advertised if they exist. I know I'm being too broadbrushed here, but...I mean, really. Some of the "bar night" clientele are folks I'd just rather not spend time with. Remove the annoying chatterboxes and the poseurs they bring in, and the bar becomes a man cave with good company, good refreshments, and good sports. Come on, ain't that what bars are supposed to be for anyway? Or maybe I've just gotta throw in the towel on this whole "associate with people by eating out with strangers" thing. It's twisting my view of humanity for sure.


Monday, May 11, 2009

qotd: redefining life

Finally getting around to reading Ron Paul's The Revolution: A Manifesto. Yeah, I know, a year late for the whole campaign buzz thing, but it's still plenty relevant. And it's interesting to see how some predictions of his (massive bailouts, for example) have already come to pass. It's also full of great quotes and insights that I could sit here and post all day long, but this one in particular really struck me:

Whether it is war or abortion, we conceal the reality of violent acts through linguistic contrivances meant to devalue human lives we find inconvenient. Dead civilians become "collateral damage," are ignored altogether, or are rationalized away on the Leninist grounds that to make an omelet you have to break some eggs... People ask an expectant mother how her baby is doing. They do not ask how her fetus is doing, or her blob of tissue, or her parasite. But that is what her baby becomes as soon as the child is declared to be unwanted. In both cases, we try to make human life into something less than human, simply according to our will.

Sad indeed. Murder by any other name is still murder.

On a related note, methinks the health of societies can be judged in large part by how they treat their weakest, such as the oldest and youngest. This says a lot about how they view life and its purpose. When we kill unborn children so they don't interrupt our own plans and cast off our elders into nursing homes when some of their simple needs start encroaching upon our own lives, we as a society are not long for this world. And rightfully so.


Friday, May 08, 2009

two sides to every coin

Lately I've been kinda wondering about this whole bachelor track a bit. That's not to say I've decided against it, of course, but despite what I read from others sometimes, bachelorhood is not without some significant challenges. In particular, loneliness and lack of church involvement have been front-and-center obstacles lately. The older I get, the less people like me there are--duh, right? But it does make quality hang-out time that much harder to come by. My closest friends, and the crew I'd stir up if I could, are all back where I lived until a year ago, and any homies here that might have become good friends in past years are now married and thus in a different place in life.

And the church seems to be predominantly married folks or couples on that path, even at my (not-so-old-yet) age, so as a single guy who's not coupled I'm kinda on an island when it comes to church. I see that becoming more the case as I advance in years too. I've recently tried to learn about stuff going on and get involved and serve where there's access, but I often feel like "that guy"--you know, the one who's awkwardly there but not really in the mix of things. I sometimes wonder how this phenomenon bodes for my future church involvement and attendance, not to mention my future well-being and spiritual growth, but that's a discussion for another day.

Anyway, why do I bring this up now? Because, well, there are two sides to every coin. Sometimes what's needed for each of us is a reminder of just how good we really do have it in many ways, a reminder of just how tough it is to put a price on things we take for granted. For me, things like peace and tranquility in life come to mind. On that note, every now and then a close encounter serves to provide me with anecdotal evidence that reminds me of why I haven't bothered to take many forays into the dating scene up to this point in life.

Take tonight, for example. I just got home from my Friday night dinner outing. (I try to eat a good sit-down meal at the end of the work week just to make sure I get out and interact with people outside of church at least that much every weekend.) Usually this entails hitting the bar at a casual restaurant and catching some sports action over my only full-size, fresh-cooked dinner and couple of beers of the week, as was the case tonight. Well, bars being what they are, you never know who you're gonna end up sitting next to. And tonight it happened to be what seemed to be a newly dating couple. [Cue suspense music]

I was preoccupied with my (quite good) Samuel Adams "Boston Red" brew and the Celtics-Magic game, just taking in some of the goodness of life, when the woman near me and the bartender started going on about past men in their lives. Before I know it the two have a full-fledged pity party going and I'm stuck within earshot. Awesome, the peacefulness of my outing has been smashed against the rocks of fembot whinery.

It's worth noting here that my fork and knife had, unfortunately, been taken away with my finished plate and I noticed no other sharp objects close at hand; otherwise I might have been able to self-inflict enough hearing loss to end the torment and still be able to enjoy my beer and basketball. I also considered knocking myself unconscious against the beer taps in front of me, but this would have prevented me from watching the game or finishing the one I'd just bought. So as it was, I wasn't about to walk away from an mostly-full glass so I just had to gut it out.

Anyway, the bartender goes on about how she just broke up with her boyfriend and how there "aren't many good men out there"* or some crap, and talks about how her boyfriend is trying so hard to make things work out but is being pathetic, and other soap-opera BS I won't torture myself to recount. The guest joined in the slamfest, despite her date/boyfriend sitting roughly 9-12 inches away. This bashing carried on for what seemed like half an eternity but was probably only a few minutes most.

Now mind you, the dude was triangulated here, sitting right there having to listen to it all, maybe even having to show signs of not being comatose. Now as a man, how does one respond in such a case? Speak up against such a mockery of decency and respect, no doubt incurring untold wrath and fury for such audacity? Just sit there and play along, all the while filing the info away for future consideration? Bolt out of the chair at a full sprint for the door, touching the floor maybe twice en route? Seems to me that he was just stuck between a very sharp rock and a couple of wickedly annoying women, with no simple way out. Hopefully the dude has his head on his shoulders enough to really think hard on whether or not all that resemblance to a man-hating, feminazi drama factory can really outweigh whatever is on the plus side of the balance.

As for me, the best I could do was simply smile to myself as I watched some basketball and pondered what I might do with my own time and money this weekend.

So finally the saga ended, they went back to doing whatever, and I cashed out shortly thereafter. Now I probably should have at least asked the bartender for her ex's phone number so I could give him a heads up on what he's NOT missing, but once again I couldn't figure out how any good would come from such an encounter with said creature so I decided to resist and just stick to my usual routine of observing and keeping my mouth shut.

And now? I'm sitting here blogging, hanging out, looking through my bike trails guide to figure out which one to ride tomorrow, wishing I hadn't eaten so much, and generally just chillin'. Perhaps not a perfect scenario, no, as having a (respectful) date or good friend to chat with would be preferable right about now. But I do also know that my current circumstances are a whole lot better than what a lot of bros are going through. A funny thing about us humans is that we always just assume the grass is greener on the other side of whatever fence we're staring at. Well, sometimes it takes a close encounter to remind us it ain't always greener...


* At this point the first thing that came to my mind was "No, they're out there, and they're wise enough to stay clear of girls like YOU!!" However, failing to see how this could bring about anything except a quick few seconds of amusement at someone else's expense, and also failing to rationalize how such a response could glorify God, I held my tongue. That was one of those times I'm actually glad I tend to be shy and quiet, because me actually straight-up saying what I think would have been a bad thing.


Monday, May 04, 2009

some miss usa humor

Well, sort of. Go read this and you'll see what I mean...


Friday, May 01, 2009

government's newest matter of pressing importance

So we've got huge economic and tax problems in this country. Illegal immigration has gone on unchecked for who knows how many years now. There are terrorists abroad (and at home too) trying to kill us and seize our ships. Human-rights abuses abound on over half the globe and even here in the States. Every year more and more countries are running right by us in the race to educate the next generation. Our country faces an impending energy shortage and nobody seems to want to do anything about it.

If you're into much-ado-about-nothing hoopla that the media likes to whip up every so often, there's this swine flu coming onto the scene to worry about. If you're an environut with a weak grasp of science and history, there's "climate change" to address. If you're a libertarian, there's...well, pretty much everything the fedgov does these days.

And the list goes on. You get the idea...regardless of your political bent, there's no lack of crises to freak out over, right? And with the government not pretending to be shackled by the likes of the Constitution or moral responsibility or any other such restraint, there's no shortage of issues it could tamper with and try to "fix."

So what is on all-powerful Congress' agenda these days? The evils of college football's BCS system. No kidding. Apparently they're just plum out of stuff to do over there on the Potomac.

Now there are so many ways one could question this. For starters, one could go with, "Is that really a more pressing issue than, say, anything else at all on your plate? Really?" Or, "Are you sure you have the authority to tell the NCAA how it must choose its national champion?" Or perhaps, "Being the government, what makes you think you're remotely capable of solving the problem or at least not making it worse?" Or maybe, "Oh, excellent, so now the government is the final arbiter of fairness in yet another small piece of society?" Or even, "So you bunch of lawyers and businessmen know how to run a sports league better than the sports guys currently running it, huh?" Or, "Wait, before I bother to care, could someone please explain to me how this affects or benefits the workings of business, schools, society, or something else I already care about?" Or simply, "WTF?"

Any one of these is a legitimate question for which the government utterly lacks a legitimate answer. But that's okay, they don't have to actually answer for anything they do these days. It's that same old "act first, ask questions later, and blame the other guys for anything that goes wrong" we're getting too used to seeing.

Anyway, seems the suits in Washington want a playoff instead of the current bowl system. As for the issue itself, I do see a lot of logic in that. I myself would much rather see the NCAA let its teams battle it out on the field rather than subject the championship to the opinions of a bunch of writers--which is basically what the BCS has been watered down to these days. It was once a great idea, one that would rank teams impartially based on a wide set of computer-generated rankings and human polls, so that regardless of the outcome, at least nobody could cry and scream bias or ignorance of lesser teams or whatever. Okay, so it needed a little tweaking, but I still think it was a grand idea in the beginning. Trouble is, they tweaked pretty much all the impartiality out and now we're back to mostly human judgment with a bunch of impartial rankings counting for some small amount. I'd personally rather see an even playing field that isn't dependent on the wisdom of a bunch of biased reporters.

But anyhow, I digress. The government is threatening to take on, and I figure will soon take on, the responsibility of not only figuring out the best way to run college football's postseason but also forcing the NCAA to implement whatever solution it devises. Uh, yeah, that'll fix the problem right up. As if the whole mess wasn't controversial enough already, now we've got the feds involved. Swell! Maybe, just maybe, they'll impart the kind of wisdom and success they've imparted on every other once-private realm they've taken a role in.

Awesome job, guys. That makes me so glad I went out and voted in the last election. It's great to know my government has the most critical needs of its citizens front and center.

Or actually, as I like to say, it's a good thing the government is spending such time on these lesser matters, because that's time they aren't spending screwing up something of greater importance. So...maybe we should all rejoice?