Saturday, October 5, 2013

This Ain't Just About Pittsburgh.

PNC Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

It suddenly got very chilly on Mykonos. Up until the middle of this week the weather was perfect…around 82F/28C, no wind, no humidity.  At least that’s what I heard when I arrived here from equivalently glorious weather in New York.

Amazing, isn’t it, how such beautiful weather masks such dysfunctional national governments in both places?  But I’m not going there.  Not this week.  Everyone else already has so there’s no reason for me to pile on.  Hard as it is to resist doing so amid the Alice in Wonderland madness of it all.

Okay, just a little bit. 

Golden Dawn leader under arrest.

I mean, in Greece a Golden Dawn neo-Nazi party spokesman boasted upon his release from prison that the only way to stop his party’s agenda of hate mongering is with “bullets.”   And in the US we have Tea Party folk demonstrating to the world that their fanatical Congressional adherents (plus the Speaker of the House who must be featured in some very interesting videos locked up in the Tea Party’s Congressional Office) will destroy the American economy if necessary to insure (bad choice of words) that those who need medical care the most in the Land of the Free shall indeed perish from this earth instead.

America underfunded

Really makes you proud, doesn’t it.

Wouldn’t it be nice if both parties went off together somewhere far, far away from the rest of us to a place where they could cast righteously indignant aspersions on each other’s character and lineage to their hearts’ content, safe in the knowledge that ideological differences ultimately would be settled by a combination of bullets and unavailable medical coverage.

Ah, one can dream.

And speaking of dreaming. How about those Bucs? I mean its Bucctober Time in Pittsburgh. 

Twenty-one years since the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team made it into post-season play. That’s 1992, when the Buccos (nickname derived from “buccaneers”) won their third straight National League East title but advanced no further toward the World Series. 

George H. W. Bush was President (Bill Clinton won election in November), Silence of the Lambs won the Oscar for best picture, Euro Disney opened near Paris, Johnny Carson had his final appearance on the Tonight Show, and South Africa started its first Test Cricket since 1970 (that one’s for you, Stan).

Trivia: The guy in the middle is ...

And Pittsburgh has gone wild.  Can you blame them?  Here’s a team with the 26th lowest payroll out of the 30 teams in Major League Baseball kicking the fat cats’ butt (at least for now).  It gives those who need it most something to rally around (for a deeper understanding of that concept, watch Deerhunter) and it’s a role usually played by the Pittsburgh Steelers, but let’s not talk about them.

Deerhunter closing scene
And then there’s the Penguins…but that’s hockey, almost as foreign to me as cricket.

So, why am I rambling on today about sports?   For one very simple reason; I share the feeling expressed by one of America’s most influential jurists, former US Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren:

“I always turn to the sports section first. The sports section records people’s accomplishments; the front page nothing but man’s failures.”

Earl Warren (1891-1974)

Shame on us all that his words have never held more appropriate meaning.



  1. Ross Perot. I quote him often for saying, you are never hit by the bus you see coming. How did we get stuck with Golden Dawn, the Tea Party, and Antonin Scalia and Roberts? I mean, Roberts, really? The activist judge who gave us Citizens united? When previous generations had Warren and Oliver Wendall Holmes, the Supreme who said, "Taxes are the price we pay to live in a civilized society."

    1. As my buddy Eddie Burke used to always say, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

      His only error was in omitting from his phrase the need for Whoa-men to act as well.:)

  2. Dang, you beat me to it, Annamaria: I was so proud of myself that I actually recognized and REMEMBERED the name of Ross Perot. Oh well, I'm STILL proud of myself. :-)

    I still can't believe that Roberts actually voted to UPHOLD the Affordable Care Act! Someone must have SOMETHING on him. His smile (when he smiles) doesn't turn my stomach as badly as W's picture always has, but it's a close race.

    As for Golden Dawn and the Tea Party idiots, I can't think of ANY place on earth that I detest badly enough to inflict the both of them on it. Well, the Mariana Trench, maybe. I don't detest it, but it would swallow them all nicely, I think.

  3. Mariana Trench? I think I just met her this afternoon in Mykonos at the closing party for a beach club restaurant. But I don't think either Golden Dawn or The Tea Party made that event, Everett. As for Roberts and Perot, I think I saw them there together.

  4. You hit the nail on the head. By the way, the Mariana Trench isn't deep enough....ha, ha.

    1. While the hammer's in my hand, Glenn, perhaps I should see what else could use a good battering. So many choices, so little time.

  5. Rather than rant in agreement, I'll just pass along this link. Be sure to read "the Morons" linked at the end of the piece.

  6. Jeff, it's bad enough that you disrespect those true patriots in Golden Dawn and the Tea Party, but to wallow in pleasure over the presence of your Pirates in the post-season when once again the Cubs finished in last place in their division, well that's just cruel and unusual gloating.

    Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go seek whatever meaningless, momentary solace is available in Mariana's trench.

  7. Gloat? It's been 21 years since the Pirates even had a winning season. Just a bit of unsolicited advice, Lenny: don't wear that Cubbie hat of yours on your search for solace.

    1. Don't worry, I've learned to wear it only when I'm searching for smirks.

  8. Aah, we can dream. Mariana Trench, Bermuda Triangle, quicksand, whatever.

    And add Alito to Roberts and Scalia. Alito rolls his eye balls, shakes his head and mutters when 80-year-old Justice Ruth Ginsberg reads dissenting opinions.

    It is something that Roberts voted to the Affordable Care Act, but 7 of the Justices voted that states could refuse to expand Medicaid without penalty. So now, 26 right-wing state governments refuse to expand Medicaid, and as reported last week, 8 million low-income working people cannot get health coverage -- caught in the Catch-22 of no Medicaid and earning too little (!) to buy it on the health exchanges and get federal subsidies. And the federal government was going to pay for most of it! (Of course, that set the Tea Party and their allies into complete insanity.)

    This is like we used to say that a camel was a horse put together by a committee! This legislation is the "camel" of health care coverage.

    Why not just expand Medicare? Or let the federal government cover these 8 million?

    Anyway, this "shutdown" bunch wants to take an axe to Social Security, too! They should definitely be dropped in the Mariana Trench.