Saturday, October 29, 2011

Congrats, You Cardinals!

The St. Louis Cardinals are the World Series Champions

The Texas Rangers are denied for a 2nd year in a row.

An aside: I couldn't be happier about that. I hate Texas and everything and everyone in it. Texas produced both Presidents named Bush. Both of whom did everything they could to make sure the 1 % got richer and the 99 % got poorer. But I digress

I live in a city with a professional sports team that has earned a recent championship. In 2005 and 2006, our own Toledo Mud Hens claimed the Governor's cup, the title of the International League, which contains the triple A farm teams for 14 of the current Major League teams. What that means is that players who play for the Hens are only one step away from playing in the big leagues.

This can have both advantages and disadvantages. The biggest advantage is, of course, that these players are often Major League quality players, who are one step away from "The Show". Of course, this is also the biggest disadvantage, since Triple A managers can never be sure which players will be available to them on any given day. A Triple A manager can suddenly find himself faced with the loss of one or more key players at the worst possible time. I've seen this happen firsthand.

Fans, however, don't care. Ten years ago, the city, along with the team owners, spent considerable money, time, and resources to build a new stadium in downtown Toledo. And for nearly every game, despite the team's current record, the stadium is sold out. It has brought in tremendous revenue for the team and the city, and all loans involved in its construction are expected to be paid off early. Basically, the better the Hens do, the better for my city.

Which brings me, in my usual roundabout way, to my point: It is FUN to watch your home team win a championship in its own ballpark. I was there when the Hens won it in 2006. I screamed myself hoarse. I hugged and high-fived total strangers. I whooped and hollered right along with those same strangers as we walked back to our cars to go home.

Our celebrations were mild compared to what I'm sure is happening in St. Louis tonight. But I don't begrudge them that by any stretch of the imagination. What the Cardinals did in this World Series was extraordinary, and is sure to go down in history as a classic. And it deserves to.

Good job, Cardinals!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Just Doing My Job

Hi. Let me introduce myself. I'm a greedy public servant, one that's sucking the lifeblood out of Ohio's economy. One whose rights as a worker will be severely curtailed if Ohio State Issue 2 passes.

This issue, by the way, is interesting. As he is required to do by law, Ohio's Secretary of State posted the full text of all 3 statewide issues in each of the major Ohio Newspapers, along with professionally (read: outside interests) prepared arguments for and against each. Issue one, which would allow older judges to stay in office, took up half a newspaper page. Issue 3, which calls for allowing Ohio to opt out of Obamacare, took 1 page.

Issue 2 took almost 58 full-sized newspaper pages. Four columns per page.

I'll say that again. Fifty. Eight. Pages. Of. Newsprint.

That, in itself, should give anyone pause. And based on the latest poll, it has. Opposition to Issue 2 is currently running 57-38 (with 19 percent undecided apparently). So barring massive fraud (not beyond the realm of possibility), this issue will fail.

So I will probably keep my job. And it's a job I'm proud to keep. Today I helped a county employee get some important paperwork where it needed to go. And when he reacted with surprise at how quickly I was able to do it, I simply told him, "It's what we do."

In other words, I was just doing my job.

I see it as my job to make sure I do whatever I can within my limited area of responsibility to help make peoples' lives easier.

I once read a book where a character talked about how there were two kinds of paymasters: ones who showed you where the book says you aren't going to get what you are entitled to, and ones who go out of their way to make sure you get what you need even if the book says you can't have it. I try to be that second type. I don't always succeed. But when I do, it feels good.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sad, Really

So. Earlier today, a couple of my co-workers were discussing the death of Qaddafi (Khadaffi? Kadaffy? Daffy Duck? Meh. Whatever)

At any rate, at this point, one of my co-workers piped up with the question (paraphrasing): "Who's Gadaffi?"

Holy. Hell.

This, by the way, is a woman who can recite the names of every member of the Kardashian family, and holds parties for every season premiere of "Jersey Shore". Which, actually, explains a lot.

I suppose I shouldn't be all that surprised. This is an office where people are more interested in who gets voted off American Idol that who gets voted onto city council or the legislature. and this is the office where, a few years ago, someone asked me what a mushroom cloud was.

I wouldn't normally have a problem with that except for the fact that I work in a political office. I expect the people I work with to take an interest in things that are slightly more important than the latest loser on some "reality" show.

But maybe I'm expecting too much. After all, my previous post just lamented on how focused even the news media is on things that don't really matter. If they don't care, why should anyone else?

I weep for the dying IQ of this nation.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

And I Should Care Because...?

So. Amanda Knox's appeal was successful. She is free from her Italian jail cell and safely home in the arms of her loving parents.

I gotta tell you--it's a load off my mind. I'm sleeping easier these days after knowing that justice has been served.

By the way, in case you missed it, I'm being VERY sarcastic.

I really don't give a flying fuck about this girl. Fact is, she probably did it, and will go to bed every night from now on giggling about how she got away with it. And she will probably parlay her case into a seven figure book and movie deal.

What really bothers me is that with all the other events going on in the world, the international news media focuses all its attention on this one vapid white girl from Seattle.

Libya remains embroiled in a civil war. When's the last time you saw a story about that?

The Syrian government is executing its citizens in the streets. Seen anything about that lately?

Somalia remains a lawless, leaderless wasteland whose main export is international piracy.

American troops are still dying on an almost daily basis in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But none of that matters! We have an American girl facing the injustice of a foreign legal system! We must focus all of our attention on her.

I weep for the dying IQ of this nation.

Monday, October 03, 2011

The Last Few Minutes With Andy Rooney

Last night, I was one of the people who was privileged enough to watch the last commentary by Andy Rooney. Rooney, at the age of 92, finally decided to call it quits.

And who, really, can blame him?

To say Rooney has begun to show his age is to say that the surface of the sun tends to be a little bit on the warm side. And while he still possesses his distinctive voice, it's hard not to notice the fact that he can only get out a few words at a time before having to draw a labored breath.

But while his body may have been weakened by age, his mind has obviously never been sharper. If you doubt this, just listen to his final interview and commentary. (If, at this point, I have to tell you people to look it up--I ain't your damn search engine--then you really haven't been reading this blog enough!)

It's hard to explain what keeps the mind of a 92 year old man, whose body may be failing him in every other way, as sharp as a tack. But perhaps it's due to the fact that for more than 60 years, this man NEVER stopped using that mind. He wrote. Constantly. And it's something he enjoyed doing more than anything else.

The best job you can have is one that pays you to do something you love. And for most of his adult working life, Andy Rooney did just that.

More importantly, he was able to do it as long as he wanted to. And when he decided he didn't want to do it any more, he was able to leave on his own terms.

Andy, you have my never-ending respect. You got paid almost all of your life to do what you loved to do. And, in the extremely unlikely event that I ever meet you, I will simply shake your hand, say "Good job", and go on my way. Just like you asked.