Saturday, June 09, 2007

And the winner is....

Jimmy Carter. Congrats to the former president for being the first ever winner of the G-T-W "WTF was he thinking?" contest. It wasn't really even all that hard to pick our winner.

The first nominee was Phillip Wellman, the minor league baseball manager who inspired it all. He gets a pass because, while he was completely obnoxious and way over the top, he was presumably trying to be entertaining.

The second nominee was Gary Sheffield of the Detroit Tigers, for his "Hispanics are more common in baseball because they're easier to control" lecture. He gets a pass because, as more people commented on the topic, it turns out that there is some degree of truth to it. I never knew that players from outside the US are not "drafted" in the normal way. The teams just find youngsters (Thanks to Ernie Harwell for that term), bring them to the US, and pay them whatever they can get away with. Given the desperation of these kids to make it and avoid going back to a life of poverty in Guatemala or wherever, the money is appallingly bad.

In fact, Sheffield might deserve a degree of praise. Perhaps his comments will bring this out into the open, and force MLB to change the way they do business in Latin America. Not necessarily likely, but it could happen.

Which brings us back to Dhimmi Jhimmi. There are no excuses for his particular brand of stupidity. I still shake my head in wonderment when I read this:

'In the Soviet Union, Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko laughed at Carter's human rights record behind his back, but knew how to manipulate Carter in public. Gromyko browbeat Carter, telling him the USSR's health care and housing trumped America's. "I couldn't argue," Carter winced in his book, "Living Faith." "We each had a definition of human rights, and differences like this must be recognized and understood."' (emphasis added)

As I mentioned in the original post, there's no logical basis for Carter's statement here. The facts would be easy for anyone to discover, especially if one has the CIA, the NSA, Congress, and the entire US government to assist your research.

So congrats to our worst ex-president. I suspect we'll be seeing him a lot more in the next few years.

And as commenter Eduardo Stump said, Carter might even be a candidate for a "WTF was he thinking?" lifetime award. Maybe I'll hold off on that kind of prestigious award until the next time he opens his ignorant mouth.

Which will likely be another week or two.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Cool bit of audio

Just found this clip. It's possibly the coolest song ever. It's from 1947. My dad had the song on a 78 speed record, but it was a special type of disc, so it warped and died.

I've been looking for it pretty much since I got on the internet, and just found this clip. Thanks to Stephen Howard for having it on his page.

Enjoy the dulcet tones of "Humphrey the Sweet Singing Pig", by The King's Jesters.

And if you doubt the coolness factor, check out the original record itself.

Hometown blues

Not that I really care anymore, since I haven't lived there for 20+ years, but I just looked up the old hometown, and looked at the census data.

In the time frame that roughly matches my lifetime, the population has declined by approximately 50%. The population's been dropping since the 1950s. This would seem to be a serious problem.

Sadly though, the people in charge are still clueless. The City Council takes long vacations to discuss urban problems, the Mayor uses City funds as his own personal bank account (allegedly), and throws a temper tantrum when asked about it, the schools are garbage (a study by the US government some years back found roughly half the population functionally illiterate), and on and on.

And they're unable- or unwilling- to do anything about it.

Fortunately, it's not my concern. Talk about "white flight", but the fact is that, to the best of my knowledge, every single person I know that lived in Detroit has either moved out or died. And that's over the last 20 years. To my knowledge, the last person of my acquaintance to live there was my uncle, and he passed away some 15 years ago.

It's a dead city, and it's providing a blueprint for other cities in Michigan. All the places that were built on the auto industry are following in Detroit's tracks. Flint, Saginaw, and now Lansing( my current home) are either dead or dying. All making the same mistakes. And it's not getting better, in part because of the idiot politicians around here. When you have a single-state depression, it's your own fault. Do something right- or at least, do something.

But they won't. And a lot of people are leaving. In a week or so, I'll be among them. Perhaps I'll be back, maybe even as soon as next year, but I don't see it. Other than my family, there's not really much here. Love the State, but the people... not so much.

So we'll see. It's been getting worse over the last 25 years, and the people running the State still haven't figured out what to do about it. So it just keeps getting worse.

Ah well. Just a few more days.....

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Another nominee

Here we have another nominee for our brand new feature: Gary Sheffield, of the Detroit Tigers. Last week, Shef announced that if he were suspended for throwing a bat, he would inform the world about a huge conspiracy.

It turned out to be the fact that Blacks are not as common in Baseball as they used to be. Since it's obviously not a lack of athletic gifts, then it must be because baseball is actively trying to recruit more Hispanics. Why, you ask?

Well according to what he told GQ (hat tip to With Leather) it's because... '[It's about] being able to tell [Latin players] what to do -- being able to control them"'.

Brilliant, eh?

On the other hand, not unusual for him. Again via WL, here's a link to some of his all-time best.

So for managing to look like a racist, even though some of his best friends are Hispanic, and once again showing why athletes shouldn't be allowed to speak in public, Gary Sheffield gets a great big "WTF was he thinking?"

That gives us 3 nominees for the inaugural award. Anybody can vote, just leave a comment here. If nobody votes, then I get to decide. The winner will be in the running for the monthly award.

As a clarification, I've decided that I obviously have to nominate Phillip Wellman, the moron that started the whole idea. Together with Jimmy Carter, we now have 3 nominees. Oh the joy!

Warm fuzzy memories

Anybody that grew up in the Detroit area during the 70s, as I did, will remember certain things. I just found on youtube a video that puts it all together.

This is an absolutely iconic commercial for Detroiters of my age. It's for Faygo, the local soft drink, (and something to be experienced. Faygo Red Pop is awesome, and if you've ever had Rock & Rye, well consider yourself blessed).

A tiny bit of history. The boat they're on is one of the Boblo boats. Once upon a time, Boblo Island was the local amusement park. Located in the Detroit River on the Canadian side. (Fun fact I just discovered: It's actually Bois Blanc island. Heard the name, and never realized they were one and the same).

Riding the Boblo boats to the Park is one of the great memories of my youth. Truly a tradition there. On the other hand, I recall my last trip: I was 17, about to start college. My two oldest sisters had graduated college that spring, and for some reason we decided to go to Boblo. All I really remember was going on one specific ride... It was in the middle of the Park, and it was one of those spinny rides. That day reinforced something that I didn't keep in mind very well. I don't do spinny rides. I remember sitting between my sisters, moaning that I was gonna puke. They just kept telling me to look at them rather than outside the car, so I wouldn't.

My response was that if I looked at them, I'd puke on them.

In the end, I made it off in one piece. For the rest of the day, whenever we passed that ride, I had to look to the side- just looking at it made me queasy. Needless to say, I've never done a spinny ride since.

Anyhow, back to the commercial. I've loved it all along, and over the years, I've found some websites devoted to Detroit as it used to be, and this always gets mentioned.

True fact: A few years back, I was visiting a school friend and her husband and son. We were watching TV, and this commercial popped up. She and I were just standing up for something when it started. We immediately started singing along and swaying to the music just as they do in the commercial. Her family just stood there watching us, puzzled. As soon as the commercial ended, we came out of the reverie, and went about our business, like nothing had happened. Of course, we had to explain it to her husband...

That, my friends, is what you call effective advertising. When people sing along and immediately are transported back in time by your commercial twenty-some years later, you done good.

One final note: If you weren't grooving to this commercial, then I think you're dead.

A lesson on what I should have known

Do you recall the story of Jessica Cutler? She's the woman that started a blog called Washingtonienne, in which she wrote about her prolific and varied sex life. The part that caught the most attention was that she was working as a staffer for a congressman at the time, and her partners- one can't call them "lovers"-were also working for the Government. A big sex scandal was promised, with some chuckling that the evil Republicans would get their payback for the Clinton scandal.

Didn't happen, of course. Most of the people were too minor for anyone to care.

The blog lasted only a couple weeks before she was "outed" by another blog. In the end Ms. Cutler was fired, and one might say disgraced, over her admissions of sex for money, sex with up to 6 men (not at the same time), sex with married men, etc. A tawdry tale indeed.

Okay, enough background. I first heard of all this back as it was unfolding. I read the blog as posted somewhere, and even took part in some online discussions. I only made one post, and I do recall that the words "skank" and "pathetic" were among those that I used.

I also recall comparing her to a woman I once knew, who was so screwed up that sex seemed to be her way of finding a purpose in life. This particular woman asked me (her boyfriend had just dumped her, proclaiming that he didn't see her as someone he wanted to marry) "how can you sleep with someone for 5 years if you don't love them?"

Given how often this woman bragged about her prowess and appetite, and that her boyfriend was a stereotypical Frat Boy, I almost asked her if she was joking. But since she was pretty upset, I refrained.

At any rate, in my mind Jessica was equivalent to her. Perhaps so, perhaps not. Always tough to analyze someone you've never met.

And that was pretty much the end of my interest in the whole Cutler affair. Not long afterwards, she posed for Playboy. Yes, she's pretty attractive, though not IMHO gorgeous. I did see the pictures. Liked them too. And then I forgot about her. (insert "typical man" joke here, if you go that way)

But now, Jessica's being sued by one of the Washington men, claiming that it's an invasion of privacy "for public revelation of private facts". And she recently filed for bankruptcy, in part due to this lawsuit. Which brought it all back to my mind, and I've since glanced at her current blog.

So I was reading all this, some of her comments on the story that made her infamous, and the later events. And somewhere along the line, someone- I assume it was Cutler herself- pointed out that among other things, she lost her job; her privacy; and in some ways, her name. And while she's adapted well to it all, even turning the Blog into a "fictional" book, still she went through a lot. I kind of wonder how her parents took to the entire thing, for instance.

So it makes me wonder. Reading her current blogs, she might still be a "skank", assuming everything she writes is true. She might even be "pathetic", assuming my bit of psychoanalysis was correct. But it still must have been a bit of a hard time for her to go through, when the story first broke. And it's gotta be tough to have someone suing you. So maybe people were a bit hard on her.

I don't know. When you proclaim on your website that "I am a published author who jumps out of cakes for money", I think you're embracing your infamy. Shame doesn't appear to be part of her makeup, but perhaps it's something she covers up.

I dunno. I do think it was a bit harsh for me to proclaim someone I've never met a skank, and call her pathetic to boot. But then, I'm sure she heard both terms a lot in those days. I doubt she'd be bothered. Or even interested.

Doesn't matter. I doubt I'll ever meet her, and if I did, I don't imagine that I'd be introducing her to my parents, if you get my drift. From reading her blog, I doubt that if we met I'd be impressed, or vice versa. Likely, we'd say a few words and that would be it. No wild "he'in and she'in" either. Hell, I doubt even then we'd have much to say.

But still, she's a person and has to live her life. And for me to judge her on it, without remembering that the things I read over my cereal actually affect her, is wrong. She has to live with the outcome of whatever happened back then. All I have to do is pontificate on it.

Guess who's got the easier job?

I guess I'm finally learning not to judge people, a lesson I should've picked up a long time ago. Ah well. Sometimes I'm a slow learner.

Lovely summer in Michigan

Ugh. Yesterday, I finally got around to changing over my bed for summer. Took off the flannel sheets and the down comforter and replaced with something a bit lighter. So today it's all of 60 degrees out, and the weather forecast calls for a low tonight of around 40. Yeech.

But, this being the Midwest, no need to despair. Thursday it's supposed to be 90.

Wonderful, ain't it?

Sunday, June 03, 2007

One for the WTF file

I'm always emailing hither and yon with a friend, over many issues. The other day, I sent him this quote:

'In the Soviet Union, Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko laughed at Carter's human rights record behind his back, but knew how to manipulate Carter in public. Gromyko browbeat Carter, telling him the USSR's health care and housing trumped America's. "I couldn't argue," Carter winced in his book, "Living Faith." "We each had a definition of human rights, and differences like this must be recognized and understood."'
(emphasis added)

It comes from the 7th part of this series about Carter's "leadership" of the US. As I told my friend:

...this story tells me everything I need to know about him. If the man's incapable of responding to that lame of an assertion (read it again if need be), then his moral relativism and ignorance are staggering...

I mean, I think I could have rebutted it when I was 15. Of course, housing and medical care (not that the Soviets could have topped anything save a grass hut and witch doctor respectively with their system) aren't what I think of as "human rights" issues anyway. So dumbass caved on everything, just because he couldn't rebut an obvious untruth...

So for his inability to face up to a representative of a repressive and morally bankrupt regime, despite having the entire US Intelligence establishment at his service- which I suspect could have easily provided the ammunition to rebut Gromyko- Carter decided that "differences like this must be recognized and understood."

How stupid can someone be?

So for his complete inability to respond intelligently to what can only be called a taunt, I give "Dhimmi Jimmy" Carter a great big

WTF was he thinking?


A quick note. I'm thinking perhaps I should add to this new feature the ability to nominate people, and then select a winner every week, month, etc. Any comments?

A new feature

I was reading up on sports today, and I came across this link. I'm almost hesitant to link to it, because it's so incredibly over the top, but I had a thought.

As I sat here watching the video, all I could think was "WTF is this idiot doing? Is he trying to be funny, or what?"

So I've decided to start a new feature: "WTF was he thinking?" It'll be my little attempt to highlight the absolute stupidest things I see. It'll be random. Whenever I read something that pops that thought into my head, up it'll go.

I won't do a lot of commentary on the items I post. In this case, I'll merely mention that, if I ran the team this guy manages, he'd probably be out of a job before he gets to the clubhouse.

Completely inexcusable.