Friday, July 31, 2009

You're Too Late!

If you haven't traded in your old car in the so-called 'cash for clunkers' program, you are perhaps too late. The government intends to suspend the deal as it appears that it will cost too much. Around $1 billion dollars too much.

After heavy advertising by auto dealers it looks as though demand will go far beyond what the Obama administration is actually willing to pay. The Department of Transportation is still exploring its options on funding the program, but even so, things are not as rosy as the may seem for dealers.

Apparently Washington is slow to approve some of the deals. A Houston auto dealer is complaining that he expects to get the short end of the stick on a deal or two, anticipating that certain buys won't be okayed.

Can you say fiasco? Any one with half a brain (but I forget that we are talking about liberals here) ought to have seen that such massive federal intrusion in the economy can't happen without severe flaws becoming exposed. The dealers that get burned quite frankly deserve what they get.

But we, the taxpayers, don't. I am not obliged to buy overpriced cars simply because the auto companies and Barack Obama think I should. I cannot but hope that this sort of arrogant, high handed and high browed liberalism will be seen for what it is, and that the backlash in 2010 will be great.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Knee Jerks and Human Rights

Representative John Conyers, proving rather deftly that he can be as much of an idiot as his wife Monica, has declared that he will propose a constitutional amendment declaring health care a right. The difference is, her idiocy was in the realm of criminal activity while his activity roams the halls of Congress. But to loosely paraphrase the writer Mark Twain, perhaps I repeat myself.

We have in this nation muddied the definitions between what is and is not a right. We have allowed politicians to set the terms of debate for us. What they have given us is a formula for disaster, for complete and utter chaos in the long run.

We have a right to pursue a job, to obtain health care, and to find housing, for example. But notice that our right is in pursuing these things. Not that we don't need jobs and medical care and homes; but when we start talking about what we need and then calling our needs rights in themselves, we tread on dangerous and uncertain ground.

An interesting and to the point story about my wife will hopefully illustrate my thesis. She deserves the recognition, given the amount of time I've joked about her.

While we were students at the University of Detroit, she attended a speech by Marc Stepp, at the time a UAW leader. He made the comment that everyone has a right to a job. Cutting through all the other babble he spilt that day, during question time she had the chance to address him directly: "So I have a right to a job, Mr. Stepp?"

"Yes, that's right," he somewhat ironically replied.

"Then I want yours," she, perfectly reasonably under the circumstances he espoused, demanded.

"You can't have mine," he asserted.

"But I have a right to a job, and yours seems easy and well paying enough, so I want it," she pressed.

Gail ended up being escorted from the assembly hall at the direction of then University President Fr. Malcolm Carron. Yet her point, I firmly believe, was well made. Who determines, who has the right to determine, who gets what job?

Likewise with our rights in general. There are too many variables involved, not the least of which are what rights of what other people are at play in a given circumstance, to say that any given person has the right to any given thing. To be sure, Gail did not in fact have the right to Stepp's job, but in the man's scenario you would have folks demanding other folks' jobs merely on the grounds that they wanted them, and how do you tell them no without violating their presumed right?

Health care is too important of an issue to be treated this way. It is not something to be bandied about as a mere political question: it must be addressed as a human need and recognized as something which we must allow human beings to pursue as they are able and see fit. Once health becomes nothing less than a political football we have forsaken our right to pursue it and granted the right of giving us health care to government officials. I do not want my life, especially when in grave danger, hinging on toe of a federal placekicker or faceless bureaucratic quarterback.

Study:Guinness Good For the Heart

Study:Guinness Good For the Heart

Shared via AddThis

I knew it! I knew it all along! Never again shall my consumption of the nectar of the gods be ridiculed!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I'm Becoming a Curmudgeon: Part Seven in an Everlasting Series

Buca di Beppo. The name sounds like a rejected moniker for a long forgotten Marx brother. Beppo Marx; think about it. In reality, it's the name of the restaurant I ate in last night with a group of friends. You know, one of those different things you try just to do something different. The trouble is, I hate different. I don't want to try new things.

The food is served, I think they call it family style, where you order large dishes and share them. It's supposed to be fun. But what's the fun of dinner being ordered by committee? If I had wanted that, I'd have voted for Obama and let him and Congress tell me what to eat like they want to tell me everything else that I need these days.

Yet as with acts of Congress, it took an insane amount of time to get anything done. It took forever to order because everyone had to debate which salad, which sides, which entree, and which style of plates and silverware to use. All right, maybe not that last part, but still. I don't want to eat what the person next to me wants, I want to eat what I want when I'm in a restaurant. This is America, but gum, and I can order my own food. If I want to have dinner family style I'll do the obvious thing and stay at home with my family for dinner. Sure, I may then have to eat what my wife sets in front of me, but hey, at least it came from my own larder. She cooks better than some 19 year old working their way through college anyway.

Then the food finally comes and everyone gets their first helping. After another fifteen minutes, that is. Passing dishes about among ten people squeezed around a tiny restaurant table is more confusing and frustrating than getting home to the suburbs during rush hour. You need an air traffic controller to keep the flying dishes in order. And the food isn't cold by the time you finally get to eat, oh no, sure. Then, since it's served the way it is, there's always those last two pieces of chicken which everyone is being too kind to take in case someone else may want one, when the truth is everyone at the table wants one because they haven't had enough to eat. The remaining veggies remain alone, pleading for attention, but who wants them? Family style without the family style portions, that's what it is. At home, where the real family style is, there's always enough for everyone.

I think that the next time I'm invited to such a place, I'll politely decline and have a beer and burger at home. The drink will be cold, the food hot, and all the atmosphere I need will be supplied by the ball game on the tube. Any new experience will be limited to who the Tigers play next. That's about all the diversity I care for.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I Said that One Day I Would Recycle this Article.

Being a man of my word, I pledged on the day this first ran that I would use it again. So, here it is!

-Marty

My wife and daughter are very into recycling, and that's okay. There's certainly nothing wrong with it, and they do it all themselves, so it doesn't even really affect me.

Still, our son while on leave from the Army commented on it in a way I had never considered. Watching his mother prepare tuna cans and milk jugs for recycling he remarked, as she was rinsing the items out and even putting the cans through the dishwater, "So we have to wash our trash?"

Which leads me to my point. Do we really need to recycle things for which there is no demand? Steel, aluminum, copper; these things all get paid for by people who have a real use for them. They're worth money, therefore they get recycled. Paper, plastic, even tin cans aren't worth anything and therefore do not get recycled so readily.

Unless the government encourages or demands it. Many recycling projects are underwritten by government or commanded by it through things such as curbside pickup. In short, they wouldn't exist without coersion. Things worth doing get done without any hint of force.

Think of that when you're washing your tuna cans, using extra water, or burning extra gas to take things to a recycling center. Are we really doing anything worth such effort?

Monday, July 27, 2009

A This and That Monday Blog

Some economists say the recession is ending. Some say that it is nowhere near over. What? It has always amazed me the number of experts in any given field who, though supposed experts, disagree. Where does that leave the general public? Likely enough, ignoring the experts. What else can we do? If they can't agree, how can we place any trust in what any of them say?

Mick Jagger is upset that his daughters have posed topless. So far as that goes, I'm with him. If my daughter were to do such a thing I would be too. But I think the main lesson here is how aging colors our viewpoint, generally to the good. The old Rolling Stone didn't mind creasing envelopes when he was performing yet has found it uncomfortable when his progeny do so. Too close to home, Mick? Or is your vision clearer when something touches more directly upon you than on an amorphous group of uptight parents, oh, who are just out there somewhere?

I have yet to see a newly released movie this summer season. Nothing really excites me of what is available. Anyone else feel that way?

Sarah Palin is stepping down as Governor of Alaska. No one knows what she's planning, but everyone suspects she intends a run for the White House in 2012. Me, I'm trying to make up my mind about that. The GOP could use a fresh face, and, quite frankly, she's not all that fresh anymore. I still like her, and comebacks aren't so unusual as many political wags want you to believe: Ronald Reagan made a fantastic return to presidential politics after a tough 1976 campaign was supposed to have stifled his chances of gaining our nation's top office. My early, early wish on the next election cycle is for her to go for it while she has plenty of time to gain momentum. But I would also like to look at the other prospects as well to see what they may offer.

The Iranian government is cracking down on opposition within its borders. Looks like I was way off on that one. I should know better than to hope a cat would change its stripes; while the unexpected does sometimes happen, it usually doesn't. Particularly with rogue and extremist regimes.

The Tigers won three out of four from their nearest rival, the Chicago White Sox, this weekend, putting them two games up with two games in hand. It's too early to assume too much about the outcome of this season, but it was a good weekend for the locals. Now if they could just ramp up the offense...

That's all for now. I simply wanted to end on a positive note. And that last bit is positive enough for me.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Faith and Miracles.

Today's Gospel reading centered on one the most famous stories from Scripture. It was St. John's account of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, a story so powerful and awesome that it is almost electric. It is one of the premiere miracles performed by Christ, in stature as well as in scope.

Yet there those who do not accept that it actually happened, even among Christians. Their take on it was that the crowd which had assembled saw Christ sharing food with his disciples learned to share themselves, with those had presumably brought something to eat then sharing with their neighbors. Christ was teaching them to share. Or, perhaps, shaming them into it. Either way, it rather takes the edge off the event, to say the least.

In the first place, are you ready to believe that no one, not one, of the 5,000 or so gathered had any inkling that it was a good thing to be kind to those around you? Secondly, It doesn't seem like a very profound thing for Our Lord to do. Not that everything He did had to have pow or zing, to be sure, but as He was trying to prove His Divinity I have to think he would do so in a stronger way saying, essentially, 'Be nice, now.' Any decent parent or teacher can do that.

I have likewise heard that many don't believe that the Red Sea actually parted for Moses in leading the Israelites out of Egypt. The tide was out for them, you see, yet it came back in a Pharoah's chariots become entangled in the seaweed, that's all.
No big deal.

It is a big deal. As with the loaves and fishes, it loses all its strength stripped of God's help. Besides, it would have had to be one unusual tide to have allowed Moses to get by while returning quickly enough to decimate the pursuing Egyptians. But my ultimate point here is that I can't understand why people who claim to practice and indeed even teach Christianity want the miraculous aspect of it purged.

I realize that there are parts of the Bible which can be taken literally while others are intended to be figurative. But the standard as what is what, I've always believed, is that whatever isn't obviously figurative is expected to be taken literally. As there is no reason to doubt these two tales, there is no reason that they ought not be taken as the straight truth, an accurate accounting of what actually occurred.

Unless you don't really believe that Christ is God. If so, then it doesn't matter. Yet if He is what He says, then you ought not cast aspersions on His work.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Are American Values Worth Defense?

"War is not 'the best way of settling differences; it is the only way of preventing their being settled for you."

-G. K. Chesterton

I am more astounded every day when I find another little gem from Mr. Chesterton. I cannot believe that after years of being advised to read him I took so long in actually practicing that advice, seeing as I have been so richly rewarded in reading his works. The man is an intellect of tremendous proportions.

Still, as I had always desired with this blog to discuss varying interests and concerns, I hesitate to continue one of what has become only two real threads in recent days: my media debut and issues of violence and war. Incongruent though they are, they represent the pattern I have fallen into recently. I will do my best to break it tomorrow.

Why not today? Because the above quote just seems too relevant to recent posts to ignore. If we don't react to protect our values when they are threatened we will soon find ourselves without them. This means doing whatever we must in order to ensure their continued availability for us.

If we aren't willing to do that, what does that say about us or our values? It would say that what we believe in isn't worth keeping dear. If that's the case, then no discussion with anyone else over anything would be fruitful.

In sort, if what we do and what we believe in is worth defense, we cannot let anyone take it from us. I believe that is the gist of Mr. Chesterton's advice. We do well to heed it.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Me on TV

No jokes about my voice...

In the Afterglow

I honestly feel rather embarrassed writing this blog, because I really don't care to self promote or appear too much into myself. But I have to say that yesterday was a particularly good day for me, and I still feel giddy about it.

The short interview which I spoke of here yesterday was shown on Tigers Live, the Detroit Tigers pregame show on FS Detroit last night. My friends all liked it, as friends will. Not that I don't appreciate that, especially as I thought the segment went quite well myself. Sure, I was grinning like a Cheshire Cat all along, but it was simply a great feeling to see yourself on TV.

Then I spent about four hours on Facebook talking to people and sending around links to where the clip could be seen on You Tube. I have to thank my good friend Mark Koldys for arranging that: he worked his magic and now I can be seen by anyone who cares to look it up. A friend of mine in the Air Force currently stationed in Afghanistan was able to catch it and sent me a nice comment about my media debut. Isn't the Internet grand?

I even ended up exchanging e-mails with John Keating, the host of Tigers Live, over the event. He passed the remark, in good fun I realize after our talks, that I had a future at the Cartoon Network with a voice like mine. In our correspondence he said that he meant no offense, that I had a voice which is 'truly classic' and that perhaps I should pursue voice/media work. Comments such as that will certainly inflate a guy's ego, but they do sound good. I might just chase that dream.

Oh sure, that's realistic. Either way, if you want to catch my small screen debut, simply go to You Tube and type in: Charles Martin Cosgriff, Always A Tiger. Maybe I'll find a way to send a copy to Billy Crystal and get a full shot of myself in that Director's Cut.

Hopefully it'll be worth a smile.

Even with a voice like mine.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Story of 61*, or How I May Actually Be on TV.

Sometimes life takes what seems a relatively unimportant turn which ends up working out far better than you expect. For yourself, anyway, if not for those around you, though you hope for them too in the sharing of the experience.

Monday night I was invited to last night's (Tuesday July 21st) Seattle Mariners - Detroit Tigers game by a group of friends. Before that I had no intention of attending, of course, but by their goodness and consideration I did. I appreciated the invite, needless to say (thanks guys!) and had a great time with some close friends whom I hadn't seen in several months.

What truly enhanced the experience into something particularly memorable was a couple of things completely unexpected yet now indelibly etched in my mind. First, I had not taken a baseball glove to a game in years. But last night I decided that I ought to, in part because I had just gotten a new glove for Father's Day. I figured, why not have it along; you never know.

I was nicely rewarded when a batting practice ball hit by Seattle's Jack Hannahan came rushing towards me. A step and a half to my right and raise my arm...the ball smacked neatly into my glove, the thwack of leather on leather sounding smart, sharp, and gratifying. I now own an almost unused official Major League Baseball.

Of course the kid in me was tickled, and the ball sits on my dresser where I can see it all the time. Yet that was not the highlight of the evening.

I was loitering around a statue of the great Ernie Harwell as a couple friends who wanted daquiris purchased their drinks at the nearby stand. A man in a Fox Sports pullover approached me and began asking about what kind of Tigers/Comerica Park/Tiger Stadium memories I had. Among several short and admittedly mundane tales, I mentioned that I was once naked in Tiger Stadium.

"That sounds interesting. Tell me more," he, Justin, asked. So I did. It happened when I stumbled into being a paid extra when they filmed the movie 61* at the old ballyard. I had to change clothes from what I wore into things which looked more like the time, 1961, in which they were filming. It was in a tent set up as a dressing room, so it was not like I was exposed as such, but it's still a different sort of story put the right way.

I was a little surprised when Justin explained that he worked for Fox Sports Detroit interviewing fans about Tiger memories and would I like to put the story on camera? Of course I would!

He interviewed me, the two of us being careful not to mention the naked part (his company, as this was for family viewing, deciding it inappropriate) and to concentrate instead on being an extra in a baseball movie. I have been promised that the clip would be on the Tigers pregame show either July 22nd or 24th at 6:30 on Fox Sports Detroit. I can't tell you how excited I am; I hope it's tonight so that I don't have to spend an extra 48 hours worrying that, as, sadly, happened with 61*, I ended up on the cutting room floor.

Check it out if you can and would like. Hopefully it'll be worth it; either way, I have to thank Kim and Leisa for wanting daquiris and asking me to tag along. I would not have been in the right spot at the right time otherwise. Thanks, ladies!

Could this be the start of something big? Surely not. But as I mentioned the other day, our memories may be the best gifts we have. This particular one came wrapped with a great big bow.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Anti-Twitter Movement.

As many of you may realize, seeing as my Twitter updates appear on these very pages, I am a Twitterer. There is a part of me that does not care for such obviously self-aggrandizing ploys, yet it seems to be one way of trying to gain a bit of notoriety in this world. So when my daughter suggested I Twitter, well, after careful thought and consideration (perhaps four minutes) I leapt into the era of regular status updates in the admitted hope of drawing attention to my writing and my blog.

Still, it feels quite brass to do it. Indeed, the whole idea is somewhat embarrassing: who could possibly, really want to know what I'm doing at any given point in my admittedly blase life? Much of the time I'm not interested in what I'm doing, and I have to actually do it. More often than not, what I am doing is rather mundane: watching a ballgame, or having a conversation so loaded with small talk that it practically evaporates into the air as the words as spoken. Who cares?

There is no denying that there is that part of me who wants the attention. The very act of writing blogs and books calls attention to the fact. Yet those actions appear to me more in depth, more of import (one hopes) to the general population and the average reader. It is in those areas where I want people to find me, not in the silly and often random actions of a given moment on a typical day.

Therefore, I will do things in my own way. I will Twitter, but on events and acts from my past rather than my present. I will, I have, begun the Anti-Twitter Movement. My future Twitter updates, with rare and needed exceptions, will be about what I have done instead of what I am doing. It will be, I assure you, refreshing rather than dull and unexceptional.

Check it out every day on my Twitter updates. They will be history instead of spur of the moment. And you have to admit, the irony is delicious.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Cost of Peace

From time to time in my life I have heard people remark that they are against war, all war; indeed that they oppose any kind of violence at all. They are for peace. Peace solves everything.

I beg to differ. It is a wholly untenable position to hold. Would no sane man or woman knock a criminal on the head with a rock if it meant the saving of lives? Would no country with any claim to a good moral standing not go to war to prevent a tyrant's rule? While violence and war must always be a last resort, it is, sadly, almost exclusively by violence and war that evil is kept in check. It is generally the threat and use of force which keeps people in line. For people will do bad things if they think they can get away with them, and will do so often enough despite the chance of violence against them hanging over their heads. If we approach them with no intention of eventually having to aggressively force them into right behaviors if need be, and they know that, we will soon enough have no stable society worth our participation. We surely will not have peace.

Peace did not end the Holocaust or drive Hitler from power.

Peace did not bring about the end of slavery in the United States.

Peace does not apprehend criminals nor rehabilitate them.

Peace only works among the peace loving. It almost never will turn the heads of those who hate for the sake of hatred, no matter what the treacly entreaties of the peaceniks assert.

Seeing as we live in an imperfect world, one which, quite frankly, shall never be perfect without divine intervention, the price of peace must ultimately be anarchy. At that point, will the Department of Peace flower, or simply become a seed crushed against the ground and bake, exposed, in the sun?

The cost of war is, needless to say, grim. But from the greatest human costs come the greatest things, if properly driven, and without any loss of human dignity. Indeed, I rather believe that our dignity is enhanced when we stand for the greatest things. We stand for nothing when we stand for what will not work.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Vacation

I have just returned from my family's annual journey to Michigan's glorious north country, the Upper Peninsula.

It was one of our best trips. Many of the friends we have made up there are there at the same time each year, including several this time around who had not made the trip in years. We actually had a party at our home in dear little Hessel. We're aren't sure that the previous owners of the home, my wife's aunt and uncle, would have approved of merrymaking at their place of residence. But I should rather think it doesn't matter to them at this point, and we didn't break anything. I don't think.

A few of us fished, we saw the local sights such as they are, we went to a fireworks display at St. Ignace and ate the all you can eat fish dinners at the Main Street Cafe in Pickford. There was the usual nearly over the top gathering at the Islander Bar in downtown Hessel (Thanks, Jerry!), but we behaved. I think.

We had a few beers, we talked, we reminisced freely if not wholly accurately. For those of us with kids, it was a bit sad that so many of them have grown up and could not be with us, but time, as it does, marches on. The memories are almost as good as their actual presence. I rather believe that memories are perhaps the greatest gift we have in this old world, but that's a bit of an aside right here.

The entire group has coordinated efforts and will all be there at the same time next year. It will be too long in coming, but at least we know the time is waiting somewhere below the horizon. John and Barb, John and Kim, John and Marie (I would say that's a lot of Johns but it seems inappropriate), Matt and Kara and Kelly, Jerry and Helen, and Moe and Eunice, great seeing you. July 2010 can't come quickly enough.

Friday, July 3, 2009

The Day Before Independence Day

As I will not have access to the internet for the next couple of days, I want to wish everyone a great Independance Day. Further, now is the most fitting and proper time for us to think about all those who have made the day possible.

Remember the veterans who have sacrificed for our freedom, particularly the ones who gave 'the last full measure of devotion' in pursuing liberty.

Remember the founding fathers who risked all in creating this great nation.

Remember the little people, the ones who make our country grand simply by getting up and getting out and seeing to the small chores which, taken as a whole, allows us to march into the future confident that ll will work out in due time.

Remember what you have been given, by the grace of God, in His great gift in putting you in a land where the freedom and dignity of the individual, though under attack, is still paramount.

Remember that it is you who makes this country what it is, and act accordingly.

Happy July 4th, everyone out there.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Weight of Philosophy

We do not think enough about the nature of certain questions and issues. Part of the reason for that, sadly, is intellectual laziness, while a great degree is due to the fact that we've allowed the purveyors of pop science to set the terms of debate in their favor. We've allowed ourselves to be sucked into the vortex of accepting the idea that science answers everything. It does not; indeed, though scientific inquiry is very important and necessary for us in understanding our world and advancing our knowledge, not to mention how it has helped us learn to build new things, do great things, and eradicate disease, scientific knowledge is actually merely rote, and therefore, again, though important, the lowest type of knowledge that we can have.

Types of knowledge are actually hierarchical, and there are essentially three: scientific, philosophical, and theological, in inverse order. Science is the bottom of the triangle, and its standard of evidence is empirical: it is based, ideally, on hard, observable data. Philosophic knowledge is a step higher, and is based on reason. Or, more importantly, on what I believe it was Aquinas who called it Right Reason: reasoning perfectly logical, so much so that any rational being could not justifiably deny its truth. The highest type of knowing is theological, and the standard of evidence is faith. It is knowledge we cannot hold without a belief in God.

In this light, we make a grave mistake (and science makes a grave error) in assuming these days that everything must answered empirically. Things can be answered reasonably, and such knowledge is in fact better, higher, and more critical to our understanding of ourselves and our world than what true science can teach us.

For example, many people like to assume that all questions of God and of the metaphysical must be proven scientifically. They are wrong; I would like to offer two examples of such error.

Many folks deny the possibility of life after death. They presume this to be a religious question, and assert that it can't be true because science cannot prove it. This isn't fair. There is a basis for it in philosophy. As we are aware of ourselves, aware that we have powers above those of the lower animals, it isn't unreasonable to presume that such higher beings would not go out of existence so easily as leaves falling off a tree and disintegrating. The precise philosophic argument is called, I believe, the Principle of Creation: things aren't created in order to be later annihilated (the more exact way to say go out of existence). It doesn't make sense; what's the point of any type of creation to begin with if it is only to become nothing again in the long run? Therefore, sentient, thinking, considerate minds would not go out of existence because they cannot. They must only pass into another form of existence. Consciousness must somehow survive.

It has been argued that we only believe in God because we have been taught it. That we are all products of our personal histories I will not deny, of course: I like baseball because my dad did (does; he's still alive!). Since that is demonstrably true on a lesser subject, it surely applies to religious belief too. Still, to dismiss a belief in God simply because we were raised one way instead of another seems rather, well, silly. It begs the question of whether there is in fact a God.
A belief in a God is, like a belief in an afterlife, not wholly or necessarily a matter of faith. That a God of some kind exists is in fact a philosophical argument: it is not irrational to argue and hold the position that someone or thing is behind creation, indeed behind existence itself. Which god is God is religious and personal, and beyond the scope of philosophy.

Yes, science can't prove these things. But it isn't expected to: they are questions beyond its ability. The sooner we learn that there is a gravity in philosophical knowledge which helps us immensely more than a comprehension of rote fact, and understand that science isn't the end all be all of our life, the better off we will be. The better people we will become.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Way Too Early Wednesday Morning

The dog got me up this morning at 3 AM because she had to go outside. Now I can't get back to sleep. I guess I may as well blog.

We purchased a new cell phone for my wife last night. She needed one, so that's no issue, but what bugs me is that the phone cost $39 after the mail in rebate. In eight to ten weeks I will get a $50 debit card, which means I effectively had to loan AT&T fifty bucks for the privilege of buying a phone from them. They can use that money during that time, I will get no interest for it, and then I can't get a simple check which I can turn into cash but a debit card which can track what I decide to buy with it.

Why can't I just get the fifty bucks off? And am I being paranoid in wondering whether they (you know who they are) are using this gimmick as a way to see how and where I spend my money? I just don't like doing business that way. I don't see how it benefits me, and I don't care how it benefits AT&T.

My daughter got her driver's license yesterday too. Congrats Abby!

The Tigers have been on the west coast the last two days, so their games have started late. I used to live for that, staying up late and listening to them on the radio or watching the occasional televised match. Now it's too late: I'm asleep before it even occurs to me they're on. But that has it's advantages: I missed being upset at Porcello's poor outing Monday, and I was just as happy to read online about their 5-3 win, well, only a few hours ago. There is balance in the force.

Happy Canada Day to all my Canadian friends! Canada is our greatest friends, and I, for one, appreciate her.

I think I am falling asleep now. But at least today's edition of Marty's ramblings is finished. Good...morning?