February 2010

Sounding the Alarm

As though any further proof was needed that we live in a crazy, mixed-up world, I submit the following:

cabrera_scratches.jpgMiguel Cabrera has an alcohol problem but says he feels like a new man after a stint in rehab.

farnsworth cries.jpgKyle Farnsworth has somehow avoided resorting to alcoholism and even has a legitimate shot at becoming a starting pitcher.

I don’t mean to sound the alarm too early but if these two events taken together aren’t a sign of the apocalypse, I’m not sure what is.  Baseball: Drama as compelling off the field as on.

-A

Tevye Can’t Touch THIS Tradition

tevye.jpgI know what you’re thinking, dear readers, and let me assure you: yes, indeed I did just make a Fiddler on the Roof reference.

BAM!

That’s because, as I write this, Major League pitchers and catchers are reporting to their respective training camps; and after a long, cold, hard winter of Brad Lidge, Milton Bradley and Kyle Farnsworth bashing, we can all finally relax knowing our hallowed game is springing back to life.

A year ago this week, my cynical and oft busy-body colleague Mr. Allen Krause, and I took to the streets of Chicago to proclaim our undying crush on the game of baseball.  Luckily for you there was a film crew following us, not to mention an ebullient David Archuleta, who lent us his tunes, to make a point.

And as we hope will be a long and prosperous tradition of ringing in the new baseball season, we (re)present to you the definitive RSBS tradition:

Hell yes, we love our baseball and no, we aren’t afraid to show it.

Now, aren’t ya glad I didn’t write that Evan Bayh piece I was workin’ on?

Nah. You can’t hate me today. ‘Cuz you know I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

Valentine’s Day Leftovers

Writing is therapy.

So let’s give this a try.

Valentine’s Day weekend may be over, but the imperfect thoughts left to simmer in my consciousness are still very active — so much so that I feel the only way I can avoid them is to disclose them to everyone who reads these pages.

Indeed, I have a pretty unhealthy crush on Jenna Fischer (Pam from The Office).  It’s a new thing.  It’ll go away, eventually… I think.

But just so you understand my pain, this is what dealing with this crush is like:

 
  
  
  
  
 

They say that without pain, you will never really know what it feels like to feel good.

But it still hurts like hell.

Hate me, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

- – -
PS. This picture essay originally appeared on Sky God!, my alter-ego site, which you are all welcome to check out. Updated often. Though be warned, things are definitely rated R over there.

 

Taking it From Both Ends

old-people-playing-wii.JPGI recently became aware of a menace much greater than Skynet becoming sentient.  Try not to get scared but it appears that both the young and old have decided to gang up on the rest of us.  Don’t believe me?  Check out these two articles.

Last week ESPN broke the news about USC getting a commitment from a 13 year old. 13?  That’s seventh grade, people.  In seventh grade I grew six inches, lost my ability to sing tenor and tried to cope with all the inevitable impracticalities associated with these changes.  Even if I had any sort of athletic talent, there’s no way you could have seriously evaluated it at that point.  It’s great for the kid and I’m sure Lane Kiffin is all about the headlines.  But 13?

If that isn’t enough to scare you, just look at what David Brooks says grandma and grandpa are doing to you.  Apparently they aren’t content with the never-adjusted-for-inflation birthday present of a $10 check or forcing you to join them at a 4PM dinner and a 7AM line-dancing class.  No, that’s not enough.  Now, according to Brooks, they’re taking our money, our freedom and our opportunity.  This is the thanks I get for all those painstakingly handmade gifts in elementary school?  Maybe I should have kept my macaroni painting for myself.

Before you go ending it all, though, there is good news.  It’s now the middle of February and football season has ended.  That means we only have to put up with hockey, basketball and the Olympics for a little while longer before baseball rouses itself from hibernation and takes its first stumbling steps out into the open.  Let’s see grandma try to take that away.

-A

Some Sunday Lovin’

real heart.jpgValentine’s Day?

Bleh.

I just threw up.  On myself!  Tastes like chalk from all those chalky heart candies. 

Do you know hearts are not really shaped like that?

Okay.  Good.

Now, in spite of my distaste for this putrid ‘holiday’ designed to remind me I ain’t gettin’ any tonight, I’ve decided to spread some love anyway — RSBS style, of course.

Yesterday marked the two year anniversary of RSBS‘ virgin birth (yeah, it was virgin so don’t ask no more questions), and I think it’s pretty clear that we wouldn’t have lasted this long without some strong support from our dear readers and fellow paupish writers, so to celebrate that, I’m just going to point out some great blogs that I feel should get some more attention:

Prince of New York
Paul “Prince” Lebowitz not only knows the game of baseball better than anyone you’ve never heard of, but he also personifies the perfect balance of brass balls and sheer smarts.  I read his site every day.  You should too.

URL: http://www.paullebowitz.com/ or http://princeofny.blogspot.com/

Baseball, Apple Pie, and Lobster
Jonestein is the king of not pulling punches.  He hits and he hits hard, often sending me into helpless bouts of laughter.  Anti-big-government, anti-religion, anti-antics-in-general, BAPL has something for everybody.  Okay, maybe not everybody.  Still, his thoughtful articles have never disappointed moi… I only wish there were more.

URL: http://jonestein.mlblogs.com/

Loose Change
Okay, this one has nothing to do with baseball or politics or anything at all remotely close to the amorous RSBS, but for some reason it always gets me thinking, smiling, feeling.  You may see it as girly (lots of fashion photos, motifs, vocab), but I don’t.  I see it as soulful.  And the sky gods know I need something to fill this soul.  This is it.

URL: http://loosechangeoldloves.blogspot.com/

Enjoy!

And don’t hate me, ‘cuz I’m right… and I know when I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

- – –

 **DEAR READERS! ALERT! ALERT! ALERT!**

The Filibuster is baaaaaaack!  To celebrate pitchers and catchers reporting this week, Mr. Krause and I will once again be taking your questions for the Filibuster segment, posted every Sunday!  If you have a burning question, thought, plan for world domination, etc., please email us at kraulung@gmail.com or leave us a comment mentioning the Filibuster.

Thanks!

Will You Be Mine?

Today we share an auspicious, momentous occasion with you all.  Today RSBS has it’s 2 year anniversary.  We can’t necessarily claim that all those entries were well written or that they even all made sense.  But, you have kept coming back and we appreciate that. 

Since we’re only a day away from another yearly spectacle, I wanted to use this opportunity to present you with a valentine from us to you.  And we mean every word of it:

valentine.jpgWill you be our valentine?

-Jeff and Allen

The Talented Mr. Costas

bob costas.jpgTip back that beer, rip off those clothes and go runnin’ through the streets, dear readers!  The Winter Olympics are here!

Yes.

That was a lame attempt at fake excitement for an entire world of sports I could care less about it.  At least I know I’m not alone.  In fact, a very tiny minority of US Americans actually know anything about ice dancing, mogul jumping and figure skater beating (see Tonya Harding meets Nancy Kerrigan circa 1994).

Even NBC has a pretty good idea that the next two weeks are gonna just plain suck, which is why whoever inked Bob Costas to lead that whole Olympic thing ought to get a raise.

You have heard me rave about Costas before, so I won’t bore you with any more bromantic praises for my mental doppelganger (at least, not now anyway); but I would like to present just one example of why Bob Costas is the bomb.

We all saw Costas buzz McGwire and stick handle Dubya, but have you ever seen him prod a foreigner towards the Dark Side?  Then you will enjoy this:

Ichiro is, of course, hilarious in this clip, but Costas’ body blasting reaction at the 25-second mark is just priceless.

And you know I’m right so don’t hate me.

Happy Friday!

Jeff

Tea Leaves, Tarot Cards and Other Tools of the Punditry

murtha.jpgThe Democrats just can’t catch a break these days.  First it was the embarrassing loss in Massachusetts.  Then it was the realization that nearly a year’s worth of work on overhauling the health care system will probably go out the window.  And now, with John Murtha’s death, the Democrats have lost one of their more moderate members and someone who gave them the “national security” credentials they seek so much.

It remains to be seen what will happen.  The Democrats are in no danger of losing their majority in the House despite the special election but every time one of these circuses takes place, the press start chatting it up as a bellwether for the fortunes of the parties.  It’s like using a team’s record at the All-Star break as an indicator of their final standing.  Pretty much every year we see how ridiculous that is.

But, that doesn’t mean that pundits won’t continue to draw meaning from these useless statistics.  Sure, sometimes they point you in the right direction.  But more often than not they’re an anomaly or based on some fortuitous happenstance.  If you play a four game series with the Pirates heading into the mid-way point of the season, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll be riding a four game win streak when you hit the break as well.

John Murtha is gone.  The Democrats have been making a pretty poor showing of it recently.  But there are nine months before the mid-term elections so there’s probably not a whole lot to read into at this point.  If you want a prediction, though, I have one for you.  I’ll go out on a limb and say that Murtha’s home state of Pennsylvania will not be sending it’s Pirates to the World Series this year.  Remember, you heard it here first.

-A

When Is It Okay to Beat Your Wife?

wife beater.jpgNever.

Right?

Well…

Personally, I gotta be an advocate against domestic abuse of all kinds.  Wife.  Girlfriend.  Kids.  Whatevs… don’t be beatin’ people, dear readers!  That’s my advice.

Of course, that’s not how it works everywhere.  Take the Middle East, for example.  Now I am no expert on Islam, but I have seen Law & Order and I know that in some Islamic communities, it’s pretty common practice for a man to beat his wife… to forbid she leave the house… to cover her entire body if she does.

In the west, I know that if you beat your wife and your name is Brett Myers you get to enjoy success as a Major League Baseball player and make at least $5 million a year.

I know that if you beat your wife and you play football, you might be Jim Brown and everyone will still say you were one of the greatest athletes to ever live.

scott lee cohen.jpgBut I also know that if you beat your wife and try to run for Lieutenant Governor in the state of Illinois, you BETTER THINK TWICE BUDDY!

And so it is that Scott Lee Cohen (D-Chicago) was recently forced to withdrawal from the Lt. Governor general election he earned a right to be in…  because he allegedly beat an ex-girlfriend.  And he probably beat his wife… though we can’t say for sure. 

We can say for sure (probably) that, if nothing else, Cohen is a creep.  I have no problems jumping on that bruited bandwagon, folks.  But here is my question: Isn’t Brett Myers a creep?  Isn’t Jim Brown a creep?  Sugar Ray Leonard?  Dr. Dre?  Chris Brown?  Darryl Strawberry?  Moses Malone?  Dwight Gooden?!?!?!?!

Don’t you see what I’m saying? 

Why is it okay to beat your wife and be a famous athlete or entertainer but it is definitely NOT okay to beat your wife and run for public office?

Believe me, no one knows nor cares (especially kids) who the Lt. Governor is.  Of any state.  No one cares.  Less than 20% of the population even voted in this election… so I assure you, no one cares.

But lots of people (again, especially kids) care about who is pitching for the Astros… or who the Sporting News considers to be the greatest professional football player of all time… or who made Eminem famous.

Like it or not, those are the people who influence your kids.  Those are the ones they look up to.  Those are the ones they emulate.

So good luck trying to explain to your kid why Cohen is an @s$ but Jim Brown is a god. 

This is why I don’t have kids.

Well, that and I fail in making women happy long-term (short-term, no problem).

Don’t hate me, ‘cuz I”m right.

Peace,

Jeff

What’s in a Name?

akbar_zeb.jpgWe often make fun of peoples’ names.  And there’s a good reason why we do that.  It’s funny.  Growing up in Southwest Michigan, all of us knew a Dick Shrivels in Coldwater (Coldwater being a town over near Battle Creek, of course, not the punchline in an infantile joke).

Sometimes the simple act of repeating a person’s name over and over can have the same effect.  My brothers once heckled Manny Ramirez for an entire game, chanting his name rhythmically everytime he took the field.  It got to the point that he actually looked up into the stands and asked them to stop.  Even Manny didn’t like hearing his name at a certain point.

But what happens when your name gets in the way of your ability to do your job?  Unfortunately, this is exactly the problem faced by Akbar Zeb, an elder statesman in the Pakistani diplomat corps.  Mr. Zeb has been a distinguished member of the foreign service for decades now but has been rejected from serving several places in the Middle East.  The issue?  Well, here’s how one headline explained it:

Saudis Reject Pakistani Diplomat Whose Name Translates to ‘Biggest Dick’“.

Yeah, I guess that might do it.  And when you’re job is to work “with some of the largest members of world governments (sic),” you can see how a name might get in the way.  Poor Akbar.  Hopefully one of these days he can find a place where he’ll just, uh, fit in

-A

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