Tag Archives: blogging

What Tom Glavine & The Ayatollah Have In Common!

19 Jun

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“It’s over, Johnny.”

I love that expression.  I’m sure it’s from a movie.  Which one?  Not a clue and I’m too lazy to use this Internet thing to look it up.  Regardless, “it’s over, Johnny” are words to live by.

Unfortunately, most people don’t.  The hardest thing to know is when to quit while you’re still ahead.  Everyone struggles with this.  Politicians/dictators and athletes are no exception.

Word today is that Tom Glavine won’t be pitching this year, but he’s not yet ready to retire.   Guess he’s trying out the full time dad thing first to see how much he likes it, which is fine.

Glavine’s had a great career.  I’ve referred to him previously here as perhaps the second best pitcher named Tom ever.  Two Cy Youngs, over 300 career W’s and consistency beyond belief are his calling cards to the Hall of Fame.

The last five or so years of Glavine’s career have not surprisingly NOT been among his greatest seasons.  The truth is Glavine hasn’t been the real Tom Glavine for a long time.  He’s still a serviceable major league pitcher, but the question is for how much longer?   He’s finally started to get hit with injuries and post 40 that’s a bad sign.

Glavine’s made millions.  He’s no longer the pitcher he was.  It’s his right to continue on as long as someone will let him play in the majors.  If he had any sense though, he’d hang them up now.  It’s not going to get better and if he thought the way the Braves shoved him aside was bad, wait til some other teams decide he’s got nothing left.  They’ll cut him so fast it will make his head spin.

Dictators, excuse me, supreme leaders like athletes can get an over-sized belief in themselves.  This is what happens when no one will say no to you.  We all need people to check us or we’d all slip into a little self-delusion.

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is suffering from some delusion.  Amid all the recent street protests in Iran he gave a speech yesterday insisting the Iranian election was free from any irregularities.

Hmmmmm….  The vote was a massive land slide in the current president’s favor and yet thousands & thousands smell a rat and are taking huge risks to express their displeasure publicly.  Seems to me that the Ayatollah has a credibility problem.

Much of this he has brought on himself of course.  The supreme leader blessed the election results way too early and the result seemed beyond the bounds of common sense.  It seemed plausible that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may have won the election, but a landslide?  Those two things tipped people off to the possibility of a fix, which in turn pissed people off.

While Tom Glavine is fighting an unwinnable battle against aging, the Ayatollah is fighting a couple of unwinnable battles of his own.  Khamenei is fighting a two front war and we remember how well that worked out for Hitler in WWII.

The Ayatollah is battling the march of technology.  For all their annoying qualities, things like Twitter & Facebook as well as the general presence of the Internet are proving very hard indeed to put down.  In time past, a society could be relatively closed.  With the advent of the Internet, we are all more connected than ever before.  There’s good and bad in this, of course.  In the case of the current situation of Iran, we’re seeing how the Internet can help people better their lives (hopefully).

The second front Khamenei and his boy Ahmadinejad face is the collective will of their people.  Sounds very Soviet-era, right?  Be that as it may, once a nation’s people get to the boiling point it’s very tough to fight against that.  Many a dictator and their repressive regimes have learned that the hard way.

Khamenei was unable to quash the concerns of the Iranian people about their election early on either through logic or force.  For a period of time, the protests will undoubtedly continue and perhaps grow.

Ultimately, the Ayatollah may survive politically.  But the genie is out of the bottle.  Iran may not face change immediately due to the protest movement, but rest assured it’s over for the current system.

It’s just a question of how much time it has left.

Both Tom Glavine and the Ayatollah would be wise to get out while they’re still ahead.

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Finally, The Truth About The Internet (And The World)!!

19 May

Happily, I’ve gotten mostly positive comments about this blog.  But, I think that’s only cause I don’t get a million hits a day.  Yet!

It’s Got To Be Said! God Bless Kenny Chesney!

14 May

For the last few weeks due to a variety of personal and professional demands, I haven’t been able to do a whole lot of blogging.  Luckily for me, Kenny Chesney had my back.

Quite some time ago, I wrote a pretty excellent post (if I do say so myself) discussing my personal reaction to Kenny Chesney’s need to admit he’d slept with over 100 women in order to help refute rumors that he was gay. 

I don’t care if Chesney is or isn’t gay.  My simple point was that 100 women fails what I called the “Gene Simmons Test”.  100 women isn’t a completely crazy amount of women for a guy who’s spent years at the top of the charts.  Even the Country charts…

Anyway, ever since I wrote that post, it’s been at the top of my personal charts.  Despite not writing for a while, I do check one or more times a day to see how many hits my blog has and what people are reading.

Over the last month, you’ve been reading the Kenny Chesney piece.  It’s been drawing people like moths to a flame or chubby suburban dads to bacon.  It’s incredible.  It’s the post that keeps giving… me blog hits.

It’s curious to see which posts catch fire and which do worse than die, those that are ignored.  This blog focuses mostly on sports and politics, but the reaction to Kenny Chesney makes me realize how much we love to dish celebs.

It also makes me realize how amazing the whole blogging phenomenon is.  Newspapers are going out of business and lone voices are generating tons of hits (though sadly no cash).  We’re clearly in the middle of a change.  Where exactly we’ll end up is anyone’s guess, but I’m enjoying the ride.

The Kenny Chesney piece also makes me realize that the web is forever.  What you put out there on an impulse can end up being seen by tons of people many many months later.  I think I’ve been pretty good at balancing my momentary passionate opinions with consideration for truth, balance and people’s feelings.  I don’t mind calling a stupid move a stupid move but I also don’t want to be guilty of taking cheap shots.

Especially if they’re not funny.

Anyway, thank you, Kenny Chesney.  Personally, I hope that people eventually stop worrying about your sexual orientation and I hope that whatever it is that it brings you pleasure.

Stop The Presses! Bush Vindicated By Uranium Discovery!! Or Maybe Not…

21 Aug
This past Sunday, I saw my best friend and his bride for dinner with me and my wife.  My best friend tends to be more on the conservative or at least Republican side of things, while I started our friendship over twenty years ago as a raging liberal and have gradually moved more to the center.  Aging, 9/11 and the realization that both parties have done precious little over the past twenty years to address our biggest problems will do that to a guy.
Anyway, I think it’s safe to say that politics tends to be my more bag than my best friend’s.  But, I do respect his opinion and value getting his POV as it often differs from mine and helps me check my own beliefs.
 
Over dinner, he rocked my world.  He busted out that he met some guy at a barbecue earlier in the day that told him all about 500 tons of Iraqi yellow cake uranium that had been discovered and was being moved out of Iraq.  According to my friend’s new friend and the blog (this will be important in a few moments) that he showed him on his laptop, this was all a shocking case of the often referenced “liberal media bias” in action.  The original story, according to the barbecue laptop guy, was reported in July, yet the media (who ever they are these days) hadn’t made a big deal about it.  My best pal asked me if I’d heard about it.  I had not.
  
Hmmmmm…. Here was the smoking gun.  They found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and no one was reporting it.  Bush was vindicated.  The  Iraq War was justified.  Wow, maybe I owe our President a big apology I thought.
After drafting an apology letter to the president, I thought better of it and did some digging.  After a quick web search, I think the guy who told my pal about the 500 tons of uranium was off base on a few things.  The reason the media didn’t make this the top story of the year was twofold:
 
1 – it’s an old story.  The yellow cake uranium in question has been known to be in Saddam’s possession since the 1980s.  And none of it dates from after the First Gulf War.  So, it’s not the smoking gun that proves that Bush was right to invade Iraq.  Saddam had the stuff in his possession & we knew about it for over 20 years.  If it wasn’t dangerous enough for us to oust Saddam in the 80s or under the first and wiser President Bush, than what would make it a justification for the second Iraq War?
 
2 – The US wanted to keep the movement of the material as secret as possible.  Apparently, we were concerned that if it was widely known that we were moving it out of Iraq that extremists might target it.  The US Government didn’t want this to be a big story.
 
By searching the net, I found reporting on the material over the years.  So, the media has in fact been reporting it.  It just isn’t a big story cause of the two reasons listed above.  I know many people believe there’s a liberal media bias (despite the dominance of conservative talk radio & Fox News) but this just is not a case of liberal media bias.
 
In fact, the Bush Administration was trying to build the case that Saddam was trying to buy more uranium as a justification for the war.  That has to date not been proven.
 
Below is a link to a good article on the uranium in question from MSNBC and I also pasted the most relevant excerpt if you are pressed for time.
 
Totally cop to the charge that MSNBC is (as a business decision for their cable channel) featuring more and more liberal commentary (Keith Obermann, Rachel Maddow, etc).  But, I still take them to be credible for general reporting when it’s not commentary.  Keep in mind MSNBC is owned by GE & Microsoft not exactly bleeding heart liberal hippies…
 
THE EXCERPT:
Tuwaitha and an adjacent research facility were well known for decades as the centerpiece of Saddam’s nuclear efforts.Israeli warplanes bombed a reactor project at the site in 1981. Later, U.N. inspectors documented and safeguarded the yellowcake, which had been stored in aging drums and containers since before the 1991 Gulf War. There was no evidence of any yellowcake dating from after 1991, the official said.

THE LINK

 
 
If none of this convinces you that the guy at the barbecue was off base, then ask yourself this.  If this was such a big story & vindicated Bush for this war, than why isn’t he out there saying so?
I would have attached a link to the blog my friend saw at the barbecue, but I don’t know what it was.
On a related note, seems to me this blogosphere (if that’s what we blogging nerds are calling) is at once one of the greatest aids to democracy in the world and at the same time one of the greatest threats.  Fact is any yahoo can start a blog (like I did).  I make no claim to be an expert and try hard to let readers know when I’m guessing at or assuming something.  I am by no means perfect.  So, if you read this blog, PLEASE fact check me and let me know when I’m off base.  It’s the least we can do as modern day Americans.
It’s tough to know these days what’s fact and what’s some guy or gal’s wacked out opinion.  At least that’s my take…