Despite the wretched weather baseball season is finally here. I am a huge fan of ‘America’s Pastime’ and have been fortunate enough to have participated in the sport since I was a wee lad up to now. I will not bore you with my successes and failures as a player. I think I have already done so in a past column. But I do have some other baseball stories.
There is only one way to watch baseball and that is at a live game complete with a poorly cooked hot dog and a pint of beer. I realize that if you follow the pros and live around here you better have a Lear Jet or some serious frequent flyer miles. Lacking that we will have to do with TV and frankly, it is just not the same.
That is not to say there is no good baseball locally that we can enjoy. There are excellent games played by local college, high school, and various youth leagues. And do not forget the female sportspersons who play a mean game of softball. We might even get a minor league team back if the local politicos can stop arguing amongst themselves and divide the graft up evenly. (Oh fellows, I do not recommend one of the potential spots for a stadium. It is a swamp.)
To get back to the ‘Pastime’ bit. To enjoy this game of many nuances needs a good knowledge of the game and a great deal of patience. It is not a game of constant violent action, ala football. Throwing a no-hitter game is every pitcher’s dream, however except for the last inning, it is like watching the paint dry.
When I was stationed in Germany we were assigned to cross train with a German Army Battalion. We trained and socialized with these soldiers more than we did with American outfits. So to give these guys a dose of our culture we took the officers to a baseball game that was played between two US Brigade teams.
Well, the Luger heads got the beer and hot dog part down pat. Any sausage-like mystery meat and a warm beer, they do not chill their beer, and these guys are in hog heaven. However, by the third inning all of the krauts were sleeping like babies, and it was a pretty good game. Not to be outdone and to return the favor they took us to a soccer match. About ten minutes into the first quarter all of us GIs were sawing logs.
This season I am again assistant coaching one of my grandson’s team. It is great fun and to watch some of the unintentional goofs is hilarious. However, I have some recommendations to the parents and other fans. Keep the noise down. Even shouted words of encouragement is distracting and has a tendency to put more pressure on the players. Stick with the polite clapping and leave it at that.
I hope to see you out there enjoying ‘America’s Pastime’. © 2015, Jim McGowan
There has been an ocean of ink being used about the best way to stop the terrorist threat is to find the bloody cowards a job. This idea was expressed by a White House weenie which makes you wonder what these people are smoking. If you give this concept some thought some holes are easily blown through the concept.
First off there is the educational portion of the career field. What does someone have to do in order to be accepted in ‘Terrorist Tech’? (Team name; “The Baghdad Boomers”, the school band has a spectacular ending to the fight song, however they need to train and equip a whole new band after one performance.)
So what does the application look like? I am sure it has the usual; name, address, phone number stuff, but what about things like the school transcript? Is there a requirement for stuff like ‘Explosives 101- 103, Incendiary Devices 201-203, or The Practical IED’? How about recommendations from the faculty? This has got to be hard to get particularly when the instructor’s last words were, “I am only going to show you this once.”
We will assume that Achmed makes through graduation, albeit missing some fingers and a severe ringing in the ears and goes on to ‘TT’. He studies hard and since booze is forbidden he falls back on the permitted hashish and drifts through school wondering why he keeps on seeing pink dragons in the student lounge. Graduation Day arrives and despite the fact that the bleachers go up in smoke when the Tech President says, “Take your seats” he gets his diploma which is mysteriously ticking.
Now he has to prepare his resume. Like all newbies he really has a tough time coming up with job experience. The best he can claim is that he blew up a fast food restaurant when he was working there. The truth is he accidently started a small grease fire when he was frying bacon and went into a full blown religious panic. Needless to say, he got fired.
So like everyone else he made the rounds of the job fairs. You would be shocked to know how few companies require workers who have training or experience in blowing up things, beheading and beating wives one through four. (We will not go into the whole goat and sheep thing.) Eventually he gets a job interview.
Not surprisingly the only place that will grant him an interview is the Democratic National Committee. So after singing all of the chorus’ from “Cum By Yah” he takes a seat and the interview begins. Even the interviewer is a bit shaken up talking to a guy who is dressed head to toe in black, wearing a mask with a headband written in Arabic, carrying a sword, and has what suspiciously looks like wired button device in his hand. But he does land a job as a janitor.
However, if you ever go to DNC Hqs. and need to use the facilities. Check for trip wires.© 2015, Jim McGowan
“Make sure you get your facts straight, then go ahead and lie.” – Mark Twain. These are words that most journalists live by. Those that do not usually do not bother to ‘get their facts straight’, they go straight to the lying part.
I have been hacking around for longer then I like to admit. Here is a clue, Martha Washington was no one to fool with and Lincoln looked better without the beard. In some offices there is a ‘swear jar’ where every time you use a dirty word you have to put a dollar in the jar. If there was such a thing in the Harmony County Weekly Blister newsroom, but for lying, you would need a 55-gallon barrel.
The newest member to our fraternity is Brian Williams of NBC-TV. His latest bit of ‘misremembering’ concerns him being a non-electric pop-up target while on a helicopter ride in Iraq. It seems he was bragging about drawing fire and getting hit. So he starts out with, “There I was, up to my knees in grenade pins” line and things go downhill from there. The story reminds us of the fish story that Hillary told about drawing sniper fire on a visit to the Sudan.
There is an old adage among the crusty GI set. It goes, “What is the difference between a fairy tale and a war story? A fairy tale begins with ‘Once upon a time’ while a war story begins with, ‘This is no s**t, but…’” Brian and Hilly were telling war stories.
The surprising thing was the rest of the media turned on him like a rabid group of hyenas turning on a wounded pack member. The ‘Holier than thou’ attitude was positively laughable. Talk about ‘the pot calling the kettle black’ this episode beats all.
We all make mistakes. Once I misquoted a candidate during a political campaign. What I attributed to him was, “I will crush his godless soul under my shoes and grind him into the mud.” What he actually said was, “I look forward to our upcoming debate.” See, a simple mistake that anyone can make.
‘LWOP’ is an Army term for Leave With Out Pay. So according to Facebook and the entire Internet, our boy Brian got six months LWOP. Somehow I do not think that this is going to hurt his multi-millionaire status. Well, it looks like Brian is going to spend some time on the golf course. That is where the real lying takes place.
I am sure that Brian can handle the six month layoff. After all, he managed to get through a two year stint in a Viet Cong POW compound. However, I am sure he will be back, perhaps not on primetime. More likely the midnight to 6 a.m. traffic reporter on Radio Free Mongolia.
Maybe he can form a committee to determine the feasibility of him running for president. Obviously he has got the basic qualification down pat.
What do you think of a Brian and Hillary ticket?© 2015, Jim McGowan
I have to admit it, but I have been half-heartedly doing the clean-up since the smoke debacle a couple of weeks ago. There is no way around it I’m going to have to soogee the entire house, top to bottom. That means a couple of long days, at least, of playing Hazel the Maid in drag. Tomorrow starts the scrub-a-dub-dub drill. Yippee.
We finally determined the cause of the blackout. My regular chimbley guy came over for a look-see. He got up on the roof and lickety-split he determined the problem. There was an anti-critter screen on the top. It had become solidly clogged with ash thereby preventing any smoke from going out. This changed my people house into a smoke house without the benefit of having a hog to hang.
Nobody is going to accuse me of having an operating room clean place. However, after a little bit of dusting, wiping down the kitchen, giving the dirty dishes a ride and sweeping up a bale of cat hair things a pretty much presentable. The whole procedure takes two to three hours’ tops with a couple of beer breaks thrown in.
The clogged screen was just a part of the problem. The guy I bought the coal from said it was anthracite coal. The stuff he sold me was bituminous. (A little Coal 101: anthracite is hard, dry and burns practically without smoke; bituminous is soft, oily and smokes like a train engine.) The stuff he sold me was bituminous, very bituminous.
Another fun bi-coal characteristic is that the smoke also produces a heavy, oily soot. So heavy that you can write your name in the gunk with your finger after just a few minutes of exposure. It also seems to be attracted to cracks and carvings. It can even find its way into cabinets and drawers. It can also change your ginger cat into a black cat. However petting Fluffy is not to be advised.
Being my usual lazy self I figured I would get a pro to come in and do the job. I Googled for a local cleaning service and set up an appointment. It turned out to be a very short one. The lady stopped by, took a few steps into the house, looked the living room over at a glance, turned around and left laughing hysterically. I took that as not a good sign.
Back to the computer I go and start looking up articles on how to clean up soot. It turns out the secret ingredient on all of the sites is white vinegar. Okaaaay, so off I go to the local discount store and stock up. I bought mops, brushes, rags, lots of vinegar and a twelve pack. I guess the place is going to smell like a cheap salad for a few days. The Kilkenny Brothers are going to love that.
So if anybody feels like swinging a mop and having a cool one stop by. You don’t need an address, just sniff. © 2015, Jim McGowan
After overdosing on my stupid pills, last week I did an exploratory visit to some auto dealers. I’m thinking about replacing the Kimchi Kruiser. She is purring right along, but I have had her for over ten years and I feel it is time for a change. (Which is exactly the message that my ex’s gave me.)
As you can imagine this is not my first excursion into the wild and wacky world of car buying. To be perfectly honest some of my earlier means of transportation were fueled by oats and hay. As they say, “It was not my first rodeo.”
I tried to follow the rule of thumb about not making yourself visible when walking through the car lots. I parked in the area where the car repair folks park and walked toward the sales lot trying to be as inconspicuous as possible. This includes sneaking and peaking around cars and low crawling under some of them. Sort of an adult version of hide and seek, but for much higher stakes.
Well I must have set off the ‘potential customer/sucker’ alarm despite my scuffing up the knees of my trousers because the sales weenie came running out with all the subtlety of a middle linebacker going after the quarterback behind the line of scrimmage. I told the guy exactly what I was looking for, price range, and color. I was completely ignored. I might just as well told him I was looking for a ‘Firefly’ class spaceship. He drug me over to the new car area and showed me everything he wanted me to buy.
So after looking at every car on the lot and hearing high praise for each vehicle I was drug into the showroom kicking and screaming, slammed into a chair next to his desk and told stay put. I had a flashback to 3rd Grade when Sister Mary Elephant had enough of smart mouth, little ‘micks’ running wild when she left the classroom. The sales puke went into the sales manager’s office and I can see through the office picture window they were having an animated discussion about yours truly.
Then he and the sales manager comes out and they double-team me. Do you know in the crime shows on TV where the detectives drag some poor sucker in to the interrogation room and give him the third degree? Well, that is what happened to me only not as polite. They made it very clear that I would be a complete idiot if I did not sign on the dotted line.
For the love of Henry Ford, I’ve been buying automobiles longer then these guys have been on the planet. Do they think that the high pressure techniques works on people whose IQ is higher than their shoe size? Dun away they did till I told them I had to use the head. They unlocked the handcuffs and when I got up I bolted for the front door.
So the Kruiser is looking better, maybe a paint job is in order.© 2015, Jim McGowan