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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Read At Your Own Peril.

It is 1:21 a.m and I can't sleep. I got up thinking maybe if I tried to write something I could bore myself to sleep. That was not an attempt at self deprecation for literary purposes, but simply a statement of fact. Sometimes my own thoughts bore me. They really do.

I started this blog thinking I might wow people with the force of my intellect. That's kind of a ridiculous notion when you think about it. Not that I am not intelligent, I am, or at least my family, friends and my I.Q score say that I am. What's ridiculous is my thinking that anyone reading my blog would care. That's assuming anyone IS reading my blog. Nevertheless, here I am typing away in the wee hours of the morning.

So, back to my thoughts. I'm thinking that I am not doing a very good job of thinking. Or maybe that I am not thinking at all or otherwise I wouldn't be up in the middle of the night typing on a blog that nobody reads. Instead, I would be sleeping so that I could get up in the morning and do something productive like, I don't know, trying to straighten my life out in some form or fashion. I have allowed myself to sink into an abyss of my own making. It started with losing my job, which was not my fault, but everything that has happened since has been controlled my me, and not very well I might add. I can go back and analyze what decisions I made along the way that brought me to this point, but that wouldn't change anything. I am at the point where I brought myself.

None of this stuff is important to anyone but me and the few people who give a damn about me. Not exactly the stuff you would write on a blog meant for public consumption. I have nothing to offer the public at large that is profound or thought provoking tonight. Just my own boring thoughts being typed onto a blog in order to put myself to sleep, or anyone else who might be reading it. Blah, blah, blah.

Hey cyberspace, CAN ANYONE HEAR ME? Didn't think so.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Life or Something Like It.

I have been thinking for a while about taking the blog down. In the last few months my life has become such a shadow of its former self that it has been difficult to get out of bed in the morning, much less take the brain cell energy to post any coherent thoughts. My unemployment benefits ended in January and I have no income at all now. I still continue to apply for jobs but I can't even get an interview anymore. I have managed to keep my internet connection up to this point, but I don't see how I can continue much longer.

I hardly get out of the apartment anymore. My only pleasure in life is baseball and I have concentrated solely on that. Wasting one single thought on politics only emphasizes to me the total breakdown this country has undergone and will continue to undergo. I could write a thesis on how I think we got to this point, but it hardly matters now. There is no going back.

The one thing that is still precious to me, after all I have gone through, is life. While my life is miserable, I still have it. I am not a suicidal person; I have always believed that as long as I have people that love me, I have to continue living, no matter how bad it gets. The preciousness of life was brought home to me even more when I received the news yesterday that a childhood friend of mine, less than a year older than me, had passed away of cancer. I had lost touch with this friend, but her death still touches me deeply. Someone I grew up with, spent countless precious hours with, no longer breathes on this earth. It can't get more final than that. Life ending is something that I have not considered or comprehended even amid all the failure and disappointment and total breakdown of everything I have known in my 51 years on this planet. I still breathe. For everything that this friend once meant to me, I have to hold onto that, no matter what happens.

Friday, March 18, 2011

It Apparently Isn't the Economy, Stupid.

I haven't posted in a while.  There has been plenty going on in the world, but I have had more personal things to concern myself with.  Like how I am going to pay my rent next month.  When you are a single person who has been unemployed for over two years, with no regular source of income and family and friends who do not have the financial resources to help you, life can be pretty stressful.  No kidding.

So the GOP has been in charge in the House for about 3 months and I have yet to hear of any bills introduced by them to create jobs.  I heard they may have talked about it once.  I would guess Boehner has probably cried about it.  Apparently defunding NPR and making the IRS into the abortion police is a more pressing need in this country.  Well the IRS might as well have something to do seeing as how they have no taxes to collect from all those wealthy people.  Collecting large sums of money can keep you pretty busy.  Repossessing an unemployed person's car takes much less time.

And those cheeky state GOPers, aren't they a gas?  I hear the Minnesota GOP wants to make it a crime for a person getting public assistance to carry more than $20 in cash.  Makes sense,  I mean we wouldn't want them to get mugged right?  Because that is taxpayer money they are getting beat up over.  And then there is Wisconsin, the state with all the ungodly wealthy teachers, firefighters and police officers.  Got to put a stop to that.  Those corporate CEOs can't be upstaged, that would be a travesty.  Wait, corporate CEO's make much more than $40,000 a year?  Well who would have thunk it.

To be fair, the President hasn't been much help either.  Apparently bombing Libya takes precedence over keeping people in America from losing their homes and starving.  Don't get me wrong, I voted for the guy and all seeing how he was much better than the alternative.  I mean who really wanted Clueless Barbie a heartbeat (literally in McCain's case) away from the Presidency.  But he could, you know, mention the jobless crisis once in a while, just so everyone doesn't forget there are 15 million people with no jobs in this country.  At least for those who care anyway.  And those who but for the grace of God are not in my shoes.  It can happen in a split second, let me tell you, and last for a very very long time. 

Well it doesn't matter anyway.  Glenn Beck says it is the end of the world.  So why worry?  Gee I feel so much better now.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Sky is Falling and Chicken Little is no longer a Bird.

The Albert Pujols negotiations are not going well.  So the media tells us. The media that is under a media blackout with regard to the Pujols negotiations.  Amazing.

Well, I have reliable sources telling me that not only are the negotiations going nowhere, but Pujols agent Don Lozano has changed his cell phone number and Albert recently sent John Mozeliak an autographed Yankees jersey with a matching scarf.

Seriously though, what are the possible scenarios here?  One, the Cardinals sign Pujols before the deadline and everything is hunky dorey (depending of course on how much the Cardinals have to cough up so we may have to revisit the hunky dorey thing).  Two, the Cardinals sign Pujols at the end of the season before he hits FA, thus hunky dorey also (see caveat above).  Three, Pujols changes his mind about being traded and the Cardinals trade him for half of the Phillies starting lineup and Roy Halladay. Or, four, Pujols signs with another team and the Cardinals go on without him.  This last scenario comes with its own list of possible outcomes which I don't plan to touch with a pole of any length.

As a Cardinals fan the idea of Pujols playing for another team disturbs me.  As a person who has been unemployed for two years and facing the possibility of living in a homeless shelter, the idea of paying Pujols 30 million dollars makes me want to give him the fastest ride out of town on a rail (tarring and feathering optional)  On the other hand, if Bill Dewitt (insert number here) is laughing and counting his money in the Cayman Islands, then my only option appears to be to accept it, wish Pujols well, and never grace the inside of Busch Stadium again while Bill Dewitt et al continues to own the Cardinals.  Of course living in a homeless shelter would sort of make that a given, but I digress.

Ok so what's your point you ask?  My point is that baseball is a game and life is not.  You want to agonize over something agonize over the tragedies unfolding every day in this country and across the world.  Agonize over poverty and violence. Agonize over things that matter.

I have my own problems to agonize over and Pujols ain't one of them.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Elvis Has Left The Building Again

Today was the opening day of the new Congress. Something I have been waiting for with baited breath.  No, not really, I was just kidding.  So out with Nancy Pelosi and in with John Boehner, the orange-skinned crying man.  Don't get me wrong, I have never been a Pelosi fan.  She did a few good things, but she was mostly a failure, as was the majority of the Democrats in Congress.  They had the opportunity to do good things and they wasted it. 

So now we have Boehner and his merry band of lunatic fringe corporatists, lobbyists, beauty pageant airheads and hangers on who have no clue about how government is supposed to work but they have been told it is bad by the cream of the crop experts like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh so that is good enough for them.  Keep the government out of my Medicare they cry!   Wait........oh never mind, it wouldn't matter anyway.  Sense and sanity left this country long ago.

So we are left with what?  Not much.  We have let the fox back into the hen house and we are going to see how that works out.  Albert Einstein was a genius in more ways than one (you know, he said that insanity was doing the same thing over and over thing).  Can't wait to see what the first order of business is, probably trying to repeal that healthcare thingy that can't be repealed but we are going to try anyway because the lemmings want us too.  Then on to the business of continuing to not do anything to help the country unless it makes the President look bad.  Not that the President hasn't done well enough on his own.  You know, trying to play nice with people who hate you is not something I would recommend. It tends to, you know, fail and make you look bad.

As someone who has been unemployed for two years now, I have no hope for better things to come.  No, I suspect much worse is coming.  A man I used to work with once said something profound that at the time I paid no heed to.  He said if you look back at history, all great empires have fallen.  Who is to say the United States won't be the next one on the list?   

We probably should all learn to speak Chinese.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Gang That Couldn't Play Straight.

Here it is, my first baseball post.  You knew it was coming didn't you?

Well now that the Cardinals have added Gerald Laird, the team appears to be set for 2011.  And what a team it is.  Let's break it down shall we?

Cards acquire Ryan Theriot.  Pretty decent 2B, looks like a good pickup.  Wait,  he isn't going to be playing 2B but SS?  But, but..........oh wait I forgot, the Cardinals have Skip Schumaker the best non second baseman in the league.  You know that guy who is really an outfielder but has been playing second base because.........well that story would take a day and a half and a gallon of coffee to write about.  So, Ryan Theriot is going to play SS, that position where we already have another Ryan, Brendan that is, that guy who made all the web gem highlights on ESPN and who the Fielding Bible says is the best defensive SS in the league?  What do we do?  I know, let's trade him away for a 21 year old A ball pitcher who has control issues and is milleniums away from sniffing the major leagues, if ever.  Done.  Now we have a better hitting SS but possibly the worst middle infield defensively in the majors. Heck, defense isn't important right?  So what if we have a stable of ground ball pitchers? They can adjust. Strike em all out boys. I'm happy, aren't you?  Moving on.

Cardinals sign Lance Berkman.  Wow, I didn't see that one coming.  A good impact bat.  Wait, doesn't he play 1B?  What about Albert Pujols?  Eureka! The answer is staring us right in the face.  We will play him in the outfield.  So what if he hasn't played the outfield since 2007 and then he was really really bad at it?  He can hit that ball, and well there is that knee issue, but I'm sure it is nothing to be concerned about.  He should still be able to catch those fly balls that are hit to the exact spot where he is standing.  No worries.  Besides we have a couple of Gold Glove outfielders already to take up the slack.  What? We don't?  Oops, must have been thinking of some other team.  My bad.  Looks like the defense is not looking so good in the outfield either.

Now we come to our final acquisition.  Gerald Laird our new backup catcher.  We have really been improving that offense so this last acquisition should be our final triumph.  Oh no, Laird hit .207 for the Tigers last year?  No offense there. But he is great at defense!  Threw out 34% of would be basestealers last year! Yes! We finally have that defense we need!  Except we already had that at catcher and Laird probably won't play more than 20 games all year.  Gee, just when I thought we had the perfect team.  But we have the best player in baseball so that solves all our problems.  At least for 2011. Maybe.

Well we have that future Hall of Fame manager, Tony LaRussa to lead this gang to the World Series.  He can do it. He has the tools he needs.  Those guys who make him happy those guys who will do anything for him.  Those guys I just mentioned.

Hey did you hear the Phillies signed Cliff Lee?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Young and the Clueless

I have been substitute teaching for the past two months in order to earn some additional income.  So far I have worked at every level, elementary, middle school and high school.  Today I subbed for 8th grade Science.  The analysis below is a generalization; there are exceptions that I have observed.

What I have learned so far is this.  There are problems at every level, but the problems are different.  For the very young kids it is mostly the kinds of things you would expect:  too much energy, lack of focus, lack of impulse control.  Nothing really surprising to me there.  They are the most exhausting however.

Now on to Middle School (or what in my day was called Junior High).  The problems with these kids are mostly behavioral and attitudinal.  They love to flaunt authority; they don't respect their teachers nor do they care about the consequences of their actions.  They are unconcerned that they may be missing the opportunity to learn skills to aid them in making a decent future for themselves.  They live only in the present and only for their self gratification.  Lack of maturity may be a part of the problem but it is hard to know for sure at that level because maturity is an individual characteristic.

In High School the problems are very similar to those in Middle School.  The difference, at least as I see it, is the high schoolers don't have the maturity excuse.  These young people (not children) know what the right path is, they just choose not to follow it.  Instead, life in high school is just something to get through so they can graduate and then go on to screw up their lives.  I know I am painting with a wide brush here, but this is what I am seeing. 

At both the Middle School and High School levels I see only a handful of students doing their work diligently, asking intelligent questions, and appearing to care about getting a good education.  The rest are just various sizes and shapes of human protoplasm taking up space. I know I sound harsh here.  I have only my own experiences growing up to guide me.  There were kids in my school that had behavior and attitude problems, but they were by far in the minority.  What I saw today and have seen in the last two months has been quite an eye-opener. 

What is it that accounts for such a dramatic difference?  Is it the parents of these kids?  Is it the school system?  Is it popular culture influences?  Is it all of the above?  I don't know.  But what I do know is that these kids are the future of this country and I am not liking the future one bit.  Something needs to be fixed and fixed yesterday.  I am not kidding.  These kids are scary.