Sunday, August 31, 2008

A-Musing on a Sunday Morning.

This seems to me like a good time for random thoughts. So let's have at 'em.

48 hours and I still like Sarah Palin. Must be the name; the only other Palin I've heard of is Michael, and he's pretty cool too. If you don't get it, you don't know Monty Python.

Of course, I doubt they're of the same political mind.

Kwame Kilpatrick wants a plea bargain and no jail time. I hope Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy stays the course until Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm removes him, at which point he loses all leverage. But his lawyers are challenging her removal powers in court...what did I say a few days back about that?

The Michigan Wolverines lose their season opener to Utah. My wife and I went to the Detroit Tigers game last night and they were whomped 13-3. Yet the Lions are 4-0 in the preseason. It's the world turned upside down for Michigan sports fans. Still, the Lions haven't played a game that matters yet.

Labor Day tomorrow. Labour Day for my Canadian friends. It starts at midnight; 12:30 in Newfoundland.

I've waited years to work that line into my writing, and it's as funny on paper as in my head. So I think I'll stop now. You know, end on a high note.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

North to Alaska!

Well, well, well. I am shocked; completely taken aback. I never saw it coming, and it’s either a masterstroke of political genius or just plain reckless. But at first sight, I have to say I like Sarah Palin and applaud John McCain’s move in selecting her as his running mate.

She’s anti-abortion and a member of the National Rifle Association. A mother with a son heading heading into harm’s way. She has experience in business and government. Plus, and I really hate to get into this as it’s far too much of a political statement than a substantive one, her place on the ticket blunts any talk about making history from the Democratic ticket. As the saying goes, it looks good on paper.

Mrs. Palin is a reflection of the last frontier American: self-sufficient and individualistic. A maverick of sorts, and that plays into McCain’s maverick image of himself. She is from a small state, but that may be an advantage too, as a sort of underdog.

Will it work? Who knows at this point, but I’m actually excited at the choice. I have to believe that conservatives will like her too. Inexperience may hurt her and the campaign, but even that issue is a bit of a wash considering Obama’s similar lack of big government training. I should reserve judgment pending a more thorough look into her positions and political actions, but right this minute, Wow. Good, bold move, Mr. McCain.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Coronation

I probably should watch it tonight, but the crowning of Barack Obama as the Democratic candidate for president simply doesn’t interest me. What can he say that I haven’t already heard, or that might make me switch allegiance? It’s all rah-rah stuff anyway, and I can’t imagine him saying anything so stupid as to jeopardize his candidacy. What’s the point?

Making history, perhaps? But if we’re supposed to be so color blind, that angle shouldn’t be important. Becoming President of the United States is history making enough. I would rather hope that he would make a good leader than have any concern about his race or nationality. Not that I expect that, but it ought to be the issue.

Let’s face it: the media and the liberal elite simply want someone not George W. Bush to be our next president. If it were Hillary getting the nod, or even that former candidate now VP choice Joe Biden, there’d be the same clamor of partisanship. I’m no more impressed about his nomination speech than I will be of John McCain’s next week. Nothing of import should happen at a convention.

Now, the next nine weeks? I’ll be glued to the news. But that’s the part that matters. Until then, I’m going to bed early. Denver’s football field means more when the Broncos are at home.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Kissing Up Begins!

Michelle Obama is finally happy with her country, on the day the Democratic Convention opens. How convenient.

Sorry, Michelle, but if you weren’t happy until the country was brilliant enough to vote for your husband, then any talk about ‘saying grace with an empty seat’ because of a family member being in the military overseas is far too late and way too hollow now. I hope the voters see through such obvious pandering.

I know that such talk is typical of politicians, and I expect that the GOP will offer their share next week as well. But still, how do you go from finally, after 44 years, finding pride in your country to fawning over the families making sacrifices for their nation so soon and not sound paternalistic? Or so like a shill? Please. Just praise your husband and not even acknowledge the rest. It won’t help, and you might actually appear sincere.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Beijing Games: Less than Ideal.

The 2008 Olympics are finally over. Not that I don’t like sports (I rather like sport too much, which truly is something of a curse for something so mundane and trivial) but if this was anything less than a chance to show the world that dominance of a nation by a single ruling elite is a good thing, I don’t know what it was.

Sure, China won the most gold, but at what personal cost to those involved? They had a 17 year old weightlifter who hadn’t seen his family in 4 years because he was taken from them expressly to train in his sport for the glory of his country. And not one of the winners thanked anyone except for their nation which allowed them to compete. And I say allowed very certainly, for it is the sanctioned powers that be who decide who competes and not true individual will or prowess. In short, no true competition.

I’m not above believing that it is a good thing to be proud of your homeland. But if that’s all you’re proud of, then it really speaks ill about your country. Patriotism which sees nothing beyond nationality is to be held suspect. Surely, too, the IOC must see that Olympics games such as China put on are not in the true spirit of friendly competition but are rather in the interests of some vague and dangerous entity.

As such, what did China really win? Did they in fact win anything at all? If all they won was the chance to say I’m better than you, then it proves nothing but their arrogance and are below our approval.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Save the Drama for your Mama

Will all you baseball writers shut up already about saves? The save is about the most useless statistic in all of sports, yet all we hear is the about how important it is. The Detroit Free Press baseball writer John Lowe remarked this morning in print about ‘all those National League teams’ who regret not having a closer. No one should regret that.

I mean, come on, did Walter Johnson need a closer? Did Warren Spahn or Cy Young or Bob Feller need a closer? Obviously not; in fact they would almost certainly be insulted at any suggestion. How many teams have won World Series championships without a closer?

Besides all that, look at the rule. If you inherit at least a three run lead and ‘protect’ it, you get a save! Jeez louise, ANY big league, any high minor league, pitcher (any fresh arm, quite frankly, of any decent caliber) ought to be able to get an out before three runs score, the overwhelming majority of the time. I would love to know how many of the vaunted ‘saves’ were ‘earned’ by the Trevor Hoffmans and Mariano Riveras of the baseball world. If it’s going to have any value, amend the rule to where the winning run has to be at least in the on deck circle.

The fact that my own Detroit Tigers have been able to get away, until recently, with Todd Jones as our ‘closer’ should be a clue to how useless and stupid the statistic can be. Give it up, MLB. Drop the save or fix it, and save the embarrassment of overemphasis on such a pointless stat.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Alternative to end all Alternatives!

A local school district has taken up the problem of what to do about dropouts. Nothing new there, except that the dropouts they are concerned with are those leaving the Alternative High School the district supports. In the words of an administrator, “We are looking for an alternative to alternative education.”

Now, you really should not be snickering at that. It happens all the time in education: every one must be educated, willing or not, and if we can only just find the way to reach them they will become educated.

Right. The education establishment refuses to accept that some young folks simply will not be educated. That isn’t necessarily the fault of educators; indeed it’s likely not the fault of theirs in the overwhelming majority of cases. But it is pig headed to think that everyone will learn. That attitude simply forces us to keep students in the system who should not be there yet are, to the detriment of those really trying to learn and the teachers really trying to teach.

Yes, state and federal laws (think No Child Left Behind, that onerous boondoggle of W’s) compel us to such nonsense. Yet a lot of that was brought on in the long term by the education elite who promised the education of every single student. You got what you asked for, guys. Deal with it.

Unless you can find an alternative to that.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Buy My Books!

C'mon, now, they're good, really! Just go to Amazon and do an author search for Charles Martin Cosgriff. You'll find David Gideon, A Subtle Armageddon, Michael's Story, and Triumph of the Ignorant. All great end of summer reads with Labor Day (Labour Day to my Canadian friends) coming up. Well, maybe not Triumph, but still...

Thank you for your support. If the royalties are good enough I'll have a party. Of course you can come!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

It's all in the Fine Print

So Kwame’s off the hook with the Detroit City Council’s attempts to remove him. Apparently the City Charter is too vague on the question of the Council’ s power to force the Mayor out of office. What a shock.

It smells to me like another case of lawyers with no real conscience. Doesn’t it seem that every time a shyster lawyer is trying to get his guilty client out of trouble we hear, ‘the law’s too vague’? That was the essence of Kilpatrick's attorneys argument, and the judge, who is a former lawyer himself, agreed.

Perhaps in this case the Charter wasn't explicit enough; I don't know. The trouble is that we’re reaching the point where every law is going to be called vague when it doesn’t suit a particular lawyer’s view. If we aren’t careful we will hear things like, ‘my client can’t be guilty of murder, your honor, for the law does not explicitly state that Joe Jones cannot shoot John Smith with malicious intent to murder, and Joe merely shot John’.

You don’t think it’s possible? Well, how many things have happened in courts lately which you thought would never happen? As yourself that question first. Then answer mine.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

In Heaven There is No Beer?

I boycotted my Church today.

Hey, now, I still fulfilled my Sunday obligation; Ol' Marty won't not do that. But I did go to a different Church rather than my parish sanctuary. I simply could not go there this week.

You see, they were having a Polka Mass, and I don't care how many reassurances I get about it being all right, it just doesn't feel right to me. I'm not even saying that it's wrong. It's merely beyond my comfort zone. But I am willing to entertain the argument that it's disrespectful.

Now, I like to polka, as ironic as that may sound to those who know how I brag about my Irish heritage. At weddings, I'm one of the first ones on the floor when the accordion sounds. But polka music in Church? I feel like we should be swaying in tune and clanking beer steins rather than singing hymns to the polka beat.

Sorry, folks, but singing a joyful noise just doesn't cut it in defense of such folly. There are too many joyful hymns more in (ahem) tune with worship.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

I'm becoming a Curmudgeon; Part One in a Neverending Series

I’m happily becoming a curmudgeon. I mean, every one has to has a goal, and now that it’s painfully obvious that I’ll never play baseball in Tiger Stadium (thanks for that too, Kwame) I realized a needed another goal, one which cannot be tarnished by the fact that I’m aging and things change. In fact, it occurs to me that it is almost universally accepted that old guys are curmudgeons, so I may as well accept and embrace the role.

What brings this on is a small act of imaginary revenge I played on the idiot behind me in the drive through last night. He seemed to think that I wanted to hear and feel the booming bass on his car radio as much as he did. Inconsiderate little punk drawing attention to himself like no one else’s shattered eardrums mattered. Well, I showed him. I turned my speakers way up and literally blew him into the next township with a blast of classical music. The William Tell Overture and the Anvil Chorus and the Blue Danube Waltz do not need some rancid rap track overshadowing them, no sir, no way. And in my own mind the neighborhood wanted to hear what I played more than his crap anyways.

In my own mind. The next is to actually confront the twerp and give him a good dressing down. He needs a grandpa speech. And he’ll get in. In my imagination. Because he can’t fight back there, and he’ll listen placidly and apologize, like the fine young man he needs to become.

Start by turning down that radio and turning on clean lyrics, you whippersnapper.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Whither Beijing?

The Olympics are on, as is their wont every four, well, every two years since they split the time between the winter and summer games. The spirit of competition and the sense of event are everywhere. So I suppose I ought to be a stick in the mud about it all. Someone has too, and it’s actually kind of fun to be the crank.

Seriously, though, other than worries about environmental quality, has anyone really considered the reason why China wants these Games to go over so well? I cannot help but think of the 1936 Berlin Games. What did the Nazis want then? To look good to the world. Isn’t that what the Chinese want in 2008?

There isn’t anything wrong with that in itself, of course, but when you factor in the background of recent Chinese history I think there’s a danger lurking. They don’t want to seem so bad about issues such as Darfur or Tibet. Sports tend to make people ignore threats, and I have to believe the Chinese are banking on that. Then too, when the Chinese flag was presented by children represented by each native Chinese nationality as a show they respect diversity, only to be handed over to soldiers for the actual flag raising, I think we have ourselves an ominous sign of real Chinese intent. Particularly when the NBC commentator remarked that it was meant to show that the state is the guarantor of the children’s future.

Are we that far removed from communism to not see the implicit threat that holds? Is Beijing really interested in harmony among nations and peoples, or are they merely whitewashing their walls? We must not forget that in the midst of so many communist nations falling almost twenty years ago one of them fired on their own people to keep them in check. Are they that far removed that we may trust their long range intents?

Hopefully, yes. But we need to keep in mind that they aren’t necessarily.

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Qualities of typical Michigan Mayors.

Are all Michigan mayors simply arrogant asses? We have Kwame Kilpatrick now serving a night in jail for stupidly violating his bond; this immediately before he is to be charged with felony assault on a law officer. Give it up, man. Quit just to show that you may have at least some shread of respect for the city of Detroit.

Yet he is not the only twerp running a major Michigan city. Jim Fouts, the mayor of nearby Warren, has decreed that city employees who serve at his pleasure can only buy American cars if they wish to purchase a new car while on his staff.

Of all the lowbrow and pompous ways to try to control people! I’m sorry, folks, but as much as I think that buying American is generally a good thing, to attempt to control the private purchases of any individual is nothing short of childish grandstanding, and an insult to freedom and dignity. Keeping your job should never depend on what kind of car you drive.

Especially this; you don’t think that at least some Americans prosper when a foreign car is sold? Come now. If you want to make a statement, Jim, make a better one than: you’re mine, so drive what I tell you to.


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Liberals Hate Us: Time to Respond in Kind

I can’t remember where I first heard it; it was either Rush Limbaugh or P. J. O’Rourke, I believe. But it is a simple phrase which I’ve never forgotten: liberals hate people, especially the free. It is not an overstatement, and runs from the proverbial, ahem, sublime to the ridiculous. They want abortion because there are too many of us on the planet, and they want mass transit so that we have to go places on their schedule, not ours. They’re against urban sprawl because they don’t want people living where they want to by their free will exchanges among themselves. They use global warming scams to make us stop living how we live because it isn’t how they want us to live. They champion the environment because inert matter is more important than living, breathing human beings. They want national health care so that they may eventually tell us who gets what care and when. It’s all about control, my friends, and we’re well past time to tell them enough is enough: I can control my own life just fine without liberal meddling in things which are none of their business. It’s time to send these busybodies and their trumped up causes packing so that we can conduct the business of our lives unharried by manufactured guilt. It’s time we stand up to the true haters in our land. Get out and vote for the conservatives in your area, and send Washington, Obama, Pelosi, and Reid a loud and clear message.