Thursday, December 08, 2005

No Love for the Tookie Monster

Sorry dude. You killed four people in cold blood, you have no remorse for your crimes, you refuse to inform on the gang you've supposedly denounced. You deserve what you get under our laws.

I don't believe in the death penalty itself, but I believe in rule of law. Under our current system, if exceptions are to be made, they should be made for people who repent for their crimes and who have actually done something to help others - besides write books and say that gangs are bad. Turn in your fellow killers, admit what you did, then we'll talk about clemency.

Doing away with the death penalty itself is a whole other issue, one that for now I'm not going to talk about here.

Monday, November 28, 2005

An even better argument...

I heard this on Laura Ingraham's radio program this morning and was struck at how powerful it is. She is a very conservative woman, and I disagree with a fair amount of what she says - but her stance on the Iraq war is right on. She read this article in it's entirety.

Check this out.

It makes a far more convincing case than our government has. Our President has needed for months to go after the negative media and far left fringe, who are now actually turning moderate Americans against the war effort. Lord help us if we abandon our troops.

Going after the revisionists was a start, now it's time to take down the pessimists who are so mired in their 1960's mentality of negative defeatism - that they fail to see what has been and what will be accomplished.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Abandon Ship

Well, here it is. My long awaited post on the war in Iraq. This is a complicated matter, but I'm going to try and keep it simple.

This isn't my thoughts on the morality or legality of our entry into the war, though I support both - this is about what we should do now. I think a protracted discussion about the merits of being there in the first place is not only irrelevant, but slows the bigger imperative - finding a solution.

If you believe the Democrats, and now even some Republicans, George W. Bush is soley responsible for the mess. No one but he and his administration thought that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. And for that matter, he deliberately misled us. Our President is a liar. Bush lied - kids died.

Ahem. That is bullshit.

The RNC has a fabulous montage of Democrats ranting and raving pre-9/11 about the WMD's of Saddam and what we should do about it here.
Talk about vile.

There is also a superb article debunking the falsehood that Bush lied, from the relatively moderate Wall Street Journal here.

The facts are unmistakable. The Dems were clearly eager to go to war. While our President bears the ultimate responsibility for what he has done, almost our entire legislature was not only complicity - but enthusiastic about a liberation of Iraq. John Kerry and Hillary Clinton included.

And now that things have gotten tough, they want to turn and run. Yep, that's my parents generation alright.

The similarities between then and now are eerie in some ways, check this out.

Regardless of whether or not the war is justified, and I can respect the argument that it's not, we are bound to help the people of Iraq and ourselves by doing what is right. We cannot abandon them to the Islamo-fascists, as we abandoned the people of Vietnam to the communists - who proceeded to imprison, torture and slaughter millions of their own citizens after we left.

Nothing would create chaos and death faster in Iraq than a timetable for a withdrawal, except perhaps an immediate pull out, something that now a senior US lawmaker has called for. This would embolden the terrorists and create catastrophe for the people of Iraq.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Priorities and Baseball

I've always rooted for the umpires. I was almost one myself. When I was 19 I left Junior College and went to the Joe Brinkman umpire school in Coco Beach Florida. It was a great time, four weeks of hard work, culminating in almost getting a job in the minor leagues. Almost.
There were only 8 job vacancies that year, the year prior there had been almost 20. If I had gone to umpire school right out of high school I would have been a professional umpire.
They invited me back, but I never returned. It was stressful, and besides, I had to finish college.
A young goofball named Tim Timmons graduated with me that year, and got selected to go into single A ball, the lowest division of the minors. He was not top of the class by any means, and I wondered to myself how someone like him was ranked above me.
Today he is in the show, the only one of my class of 300 to make it. I've seen him work, he is a tremendous umpire.
Poor old me, I only got to travel around the world, marry a beautiful woman and have the most perfect child in the universe.

And then there is Doug Eddings. He probably graduated only a few years before me and Tim.
He made a call in game two of the ALCS this year, that was highly influential in the outcome of the game. He ruled a ball in the dirt on a third strike, but the catcher thought otherwise and tossed the ball back to the pitchers mound. The heads up batter took off and made first base. He would turn into one of the winning runs.
Now, I'm always the first one to leap to the umpires defense - but I have to say, though I think Doug got the call technically correct (the replay is inconclusive, but to my eye it just looks like the ball is ground into the dirt) he was not clear enough to his catcher and batter to give them a fair shake.
Good for the batter for being alert, and I'd say the catcher can share some of the blame when all he had to do was raise his glove and gently tag the not yet running batter.
But Eddings mechanics were vague, and that must fall on his shoulders mostly. Mostly.

The fact is, that when I was in umpire school, and to this day - the mechanics for an out call and a strike call were and are identical. The only difference is the verbal call, which as we know in a crowded stadium full of screaming fans is about as useful as a bicycle is to a fish.
Every day we would run through safe and out drills. And then we would do balls and strikes. The strikes and the outs were always the same. Umpire students would get chastised for using flair or their own style.
Now out in the real world, umpires would quickly develop their own techniques, and the supervisors would let it fly. But some umpires would stick with the basic mechanics throughout their careers, while others would use an amalgam of the school style and their own.
Doug Eddings was part of the latter group. His strike call involved an arm out, and then a clenched fist. On every strike. The second half of this call looked exactly like his out call. Hence, the confusion.

There needs to be a uniform mechanic for strike, seperate from the clenched fist of "out". I have thought this ever since my first day of umpire school, and now it seems my thoughts were right on.

But all this baseball gives me a warm fuzzy feeling. To me, the men in blue (and I think some day soon the men and women in blue) are forever linked with the spirit of the game. More than any other sport, there will always be arguments, controversy, discussion in baseball. It is, I think, what makes the game the most American of all.
Mike Sciosia, the Angels manager, was naturally furious at the call. But to his credit, he said his team - not the umpire - bore the responsibility for the loss. And that is what deep down, all the players and coaches know in their hearts. Life, and baseball, are not always fair. But the team with the most talent and more importantly - the most heart, will persevere in the face of adversity. They will follow their dreams - a world series championship.
The umpires have their own credo as well. Everyone of those talented men (and I think some day soon, women) has blown at least a hundred crucial calls in their careers. And they will all likely blow a hundred more before they retire. But they too will persevere, in the pursuit of their own dreams; justice and fair play.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Four years ago...

...Yesterday. Somehow it seems like a lifetime ago. I was single, though living with my fiancee'; had no house, no child. I had the television on at around 8am pacific time, and I couldn't decipher what I was seeing. The towers were already on the ground, and the news dudes seemed to be saying that planes had crashed into them. Even when they showed the images, my brain did not compute.
I went to work as usual, feeling rather numb. My stomach was churning. Then my beloved called me to tell me she hadn't heard from her dad who was scheduled to fly out of Boston that morning. I drove home immediately to be with her.
Her dad was fine, and I didn't lose anyone that day - though I was surprised to learn I could have. My good friend from high school and his wife both worked at ground zero. She in tower 1 on the 32nd floor, and he in a nearby building. Sue, had just happened to be late to work that day. The building was already flaming when she arrived. She stayed outside and saw the second plane hit. She stayed until the bodies started falling, then she and her husband walked home.
Even though it seems so long ago, I think of it more than ever these days. I wonder if we as a nation are doing all we can to keep ourselves safe. I wonder what kind of world my daughter is going to grow up in.
Today the power went out for about 45 minutes, half of Los Angeles was darkened. I was the first at my work to jump in my car and head to pick up my baby. My mind was racing about what was going on - I wasn't panicked, but I didn't want to wait to act.
Turns out, there was simply a glitch in the system; everything was fine.
Well, not everything.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Baby Video Brainwash

So, my 15 month old daughter has finally been exposed to an ubiquitous "Baby Einstein" video. It's a cute little production, with puppets and kids, with lots of actually useful information regarding body parts; eyes, ears, mouth and nose, etc. The problem? She loves the video so much that she wants to watch it...all of the time. She even knows the word "video" and uses it constantly to get mommy and daddy to slap the tape in.
When she watches, her jaw is slack, her eyes are glassy. She is, in the zone. I wonder if this is okay; lots of other parents I've spoken to have experienced the same thing, and yet most are fine with it. I have to admit, it is kind of nice to have half an hour to get things done around the house, or even "gasp!" relax for awhile.
But I feel pretty darn guilty, I don't think a video is what "quality time" is supposed to be. So, we try to keep the video down to once a day. This doesn't always hold true on a weekend, especially a three day weekend, but we are doing our best.
Even more distressing in some ways, these videos are everywhere and sell like gangbusters, at the price for a normal DVD! That's anywhere from 15 to 25 bucks! What a racket. As someone who is in the biz, I am astonished at how much money this "Baby Einstein" thing must be raking in. I am very jealous and wish I had thought to shoot simple but bright images and toys at my production company a few years back.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Both Sides

With New Orleans quickly degenerating into hell on earth, the evil pundits on both sides of the American political fence are wasting no time - at blaming each other for the problem, rather than getting the job done. People are dying and suffering right now, and people want to do interviews on talk radio about what to do. Give me a gumbo sized break.
I've actually heard some people say that George W. Bush's environmental policies made hurricane Katrina. Great, really helpful. Thanks for being a complete wing-nut. Why don't you whine some more about our president while people die and mutilate each other?
On the other side, I've heard people talk about God's wrath upon the corrupt and drug infested populace of the city beneath the sea. That's just dandy. Let's crawl back into the dark ages with your fundamentalist and fascist neo-con BS. A city is on the edge of the abyss, and you want to kick them off into it. How very Christian of you.
The extreme elements on both sides make me want to retch.
And to top it off our media has focused like a laser beam on all the negative goings on, while virtually ignoring the heroism and good people that are getting through it, and yes, making progress.
We can play the blame game all we want with this situation, but can we at least wait until the horror show ends? I've donated, probably more than I can afford; and I hope many more do. But in the mean time, I'm not going to waste one more ounce of energy to dignify the shameful debate that has prematurely raged while the sick and dying languish.

Sunday, August 28, 2005


A group larger than "camp Casey" has descended on Crawford Texas, as the final stop on their "You don't speak for me Cindy" campaign.
CNN actually has better coverage than Fox of this here.
Now once again, don't get me wrong; I believe Cindy and her ilk have every right to take advantage of our liberal media and rant on about their wacky views, but I'm glad at last finally the other side has had a chance to say - "Hey! Guess what! Most military families don't feel the way you do. "
Whatever your feelings on the war, and I have my own doubts, our priority should be to win, and I believe what Cindy and co. are doing, no matter their good intentions, is undermining that effort.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Oh my goodness, how offensive!

Every other wednesday I play poker with some dudes from work, the game starts at 730, so between 5 when I get off work and gametime I have a chance to steal away to the theater to catch a film. The film must start between 515 and 530 and must be less than 2 hours long, and it must be at the Arclight or Chinese. Suffice it to say I'm not always able to see what I want, but last week I really lucked out. 
If, and this is a BIG IF, you are not offended easily then you should run, to your nearest art house theater and see "The Aristocrats" before it goes away - which will probably be sooner rather than later. If you do miss it, a DVD rental is essential. I plan to purchase it for sure. 
The premise of the movie is simple, various comedians -about 50 or so, all take their turns telling the same joke and talking about it. The joke? A classic that goes back over a hundred years, to the days of vaudeville and before, and is now shared among comedians as a kind of bonding fraternity thing. 
The joke itself is simple enough, I won't ruin the movie by telling it in it's simplest form. 
Guy walks into a talent agents office and says "I've got the best, most unique family act you've ever seen!" 
Talent agent says "What is it?" 
The guy proceeds to describe a family act that includes the most vile and repulsive things imaginable. 
(This is the part of the joke that is different for every comedian, the art is in coming up with the most creatively despicable behaviors for the guy and his family to act out.) 
The agent is non plussed and asks "So what do you call the act?" 
"The Aristocrats!" is the pleasant reply. 
This is not a joke neccessarily for the general public, and part of the coolness of it is that it is truly a joke for comedians, who have shared this among each other for decades. There are countless variations, but the structure is fairly consistant. 
I laughed so hard I cried on several occasions; I particularly loved the versions from the South Park kids, a mime, and Bob Saget. 
Gilbert Godfried also emerges as a surprising comedy God among comedians. 
See this movie now! Take the family! (Not!) This movie is probably the most offensive film I have ever seen, and God helped me I loved it.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Okay, I just have to say it...

This woman is driving me nuts. Don't get me wrong. My heart goes out to her. As a new father I can only imagine how unbearable the loss of a child must be. But to stand on top of your dead childs memory and betray that childs beliefs to promote your own, that just sickens me. In this case, it is a fact that Sheehan's son was a 24 year old educated adult who chose to not only enlist, but specifically go to Iraq. Whether Miss Sheehan is right or wrong, which is certainly open to debate, the fact that she disgraces the honor of her son seems to be lost on many Americans.

Manzoni in the house.

Yo! Yo! Yo! Boyeee.....