First Trade… A Blockbuster

February 29, 2008 at 10:08 pm (Fantasy Baseball)

After three unaccepted offers and two declined counter-offers, just as all hope for a deal with the only team rich enough in relievers to make it happen, the Sea Otters got their [our] man. In a three-for- one deal I got Billy Wagner and starting pitchers Fausto Carmona and Aaron Harang. I traded Johan Santana [yes the highest paid, most coveted pitcher in Baseball this past winter] and cut Cubs closer candidates Bob Howry and Carlos Marmol [Kerry Wood will probably win the job, keep it for a week and throw his arm out] to satisfy roster limits…

wagner13.jpg

It’s been hours and no buyer’s remorse has set in. That’s a good sign… I guess.

I’m ready for the season. Let the real games begin.

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Best Argument For Hillary

February 29, 2008 at 2:05 pm (News & Politics)

From my Email,

Complete unknown! Too good to be true! Checkered past! Associations with a Chicago slum-lord and a rich Iraqi donor based in England! A fundraiser and president for a terrorist Palestinian organization! (Not that I support Israel in all its policies, but they do have a right to exist.) Candy man! Our would-be Messiah!
Do you want more epithets?
I’m willing to reconsider, but I have to have more proof than Southern-Baptist speeches and empty rhetoric. Not that Hillary’s a saint. But then again, with a few missteps (e.g., excursion into Kosovo and NAFTA – never mind the Lewinski affair – it’s been far better than the Bush era. With her, at least we know what we’re getting. With him, who knows? And as I said, if he’s truly worthy, rather than a one-day-marvel, his time will come.
Roger
——————————————————————————————-
Very well put, Roger. However, you’re assuming that Bill and Hillary [“Billary”] are now, and always will be, “joined at the hip.” I believe they are now [at least when it comes to running the family biz], but who knows what the future holds?
With Bill out o’ de picture, both candidates have the same amount of experience.

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Faith Questioned

February 29, 2008 at 11:30 am (Family & Friends)

I received this email from my very close friend, Andrew Dósa:

“Let me know what you think. It is put together with a bit of contrivance (like so much literature) but I think it captures a lot of what we talked about, and some of my other thoughts. If you dislike some of it or know how it could be improved, and you have the time to share with me, please tell me. If it sounds patronizing or condescending, let me know. That would bother me.”

PAIN–IS IT ALWAYS A PROBLEM?

It was one of those typical conversations with my friend. We started off talking about something important. Then we both diverged to our comedy routines. We worked over each other as if we were performing and challenging and correcting each other. Our ideas ricocheted off each other and went back and forth with puns, word plays, intentional malaprops, and one-up-manship.

Somehow we managed to get back on track. After a short time, however, our conversation took another interesting turn. It is still not clear how we managed to move in this new direction. I made a harmless comment, one of the typically noncontroversial things that fly out of my mouth.

“There is no such thing as an atheist.”

My friend raised his eyebrows. They would have gone higher except his facial skin wouldn’t stretch more. He quickly added his verbal dissent. His family was not religious. His father’s family particularly had suffered much. His father escaped death in a Nazi concentration camp, unlike his father’s mother, sister and brother, and several other members of the family who died there. My friend was not an atheist, but close–he was an “aggressive agnostic.”

His father never talked about the details of his early years, or the loss of sister, brother and mother. But hardship and deprivation were hallmarks of his life. His father wondered about God. If God was loving, how could he allow pain and injustice to be so real, close and common, and take such an intimate raw toll on us humans? If God was active and involved, why did he not stop the carnage and searing emotional pain? If God was just, how could evil and injustice be so blatant or insidious, and successful? Could there be a good God? His father was, in the words of my friend, an “orthodox atheist.”
In a calm and collected manner, my friend described what he learned from and about his father. There was no catch in his voice. His tone was moderated. As an animated man, with a lively, irreverent, and funky sense of humor and personality, my friend was detached. The detachment covered his own emotional and intelligent questions. I suspected he had his own pain and was touched by the pain and suffering of his father and family. And he shared with his father that strong nagging doubt about God.
His words struck me. With sadness in my own soul, I let those words fill the space in my office and have their due respect.

After a few moments, I began, “There are some responses to your father’s and your doubts. But one thing needs to be clear. Nothing I say can take away from your father’s suffering and your family’s suffering, and nothing I say is intended to minimize in anyway what they endured or the evil that was done.” I paused to let the force of those words have their intended import. After that second short silence inhabited the room, I forged ahead.

“We have to begin by assuming God exists, is loving and merciful, righteous and just, and he wants his children, this creation, you and me and everybody else, to be loving and merciful, righteous and just. God wants us to be at peace and to have joy, deep seated at-our-core joy. Your father began with that premise. All of creation begins with a sense, belief, or idea that God exists and he is good. After experiencing and being scarred by that evil, your father concluded this was evidence to undermine his understanding that a good God existed, or if God did exist, He wouldn’t be very good or loving or have our well-being at the forefront of his actions and designs.”

“There are at least three possibilities about God. First, he could be the Deists’ God, who, shaking the world in his giant hand, as if it were a collection of dice, let it roll onto the table and unfold as it might. After that, this God went on permanent vacation, rendering Himself a non-entity as far as our world is concerned.

“We might be disappointed with this God, that he started off so powerfully (creating a beautiful planet and humans, who are beautiful too) and finished so weakly (as if he were an absentee landlord, slum lord, or completely apathetic).”

“So if God is this way, being angry with him would not amount to much. He does not answer prayers and he may not care anymore. We should be fatalistic and figure out how to get by on our own.”

“On the other side of the spectrum, our second God has fingerprints on everything. In His world, there would be no evil. God makes sure we are not disappointed or suffer in any way. God would simply keep us all from doing any harm or bad. God would make us do only good things. We are or become sock puppets or the ventriloquist’s dummy, and simply “obey”. Like the subjects of Stanley Milgram’s study, we do what we are told–or are forced to do.”

“Is that a God you and your father would want? We humans, at our best, may intend to do good–and occasionally succeed. But every conceivable error or mistake or harm that we do, could never unfold–God would automatically protect us and everyone from the harmful consequences of our choices. So much for free will. So much for thinking. Could we even exist as sentient creatures? How could we even exist as separate from God?”
A variety of other thoughts came to my mind. Would we, with that controlling God, perpetually be a pre-Oz amalgam of Dorothy’s three friends? Or God’s tin soldiers set in parade formation to look clean and orderly to the viewing stand? With that God, how could we ever be complete, or at best, how could we be anything except grossly incomplete? We would be products of God’s factory, with God as an automation engineer designing us to factory specifications. That was a chilling thought, but perhaps a story line for a Kubrick or Fellini flick–God the censor.

Without expressing those unsettling ideas, I continued: “A third possibility is that God is somewhere between those two contrasts. Like the second God, God is active and working in the lives of his creation. Sometimes he protects us from ourselves, others from us, or us from others. God actively speaks and acts in this world. He teaches us, trains us, protects us, and disciplines us. But unlike that second God, he is not forcing us to be good with a constant controlling care.”

“This God also leaves us this earth to live on. He gives us this sphere of influence and authority. And he expects us to do something with that influence and authority.”
I looked at my friend: “You know what we do in that sphere. Sometimes we do well. We may love and sacrifice for our children. We might learn and grow and mature. We may even, on occasion, love our neighbors as ourselves. But we do a lot of harm. Some of us do unimaginable harm and evil. The power wielded by Joseph Stalin and Mao Tse Tung was extraordinary. The evil committed by these spectacularly notorious men seems beyond human counting and measure. Some people estimate that 40 to 70 million people were killed by each of these men and the life suffocating regimes they created.”
“But even you and I do some measure of evil. It seems ‘small’ as evil, but the only real difference between small doses of evil we do and the gross evil those men did was merely opportunity or reach.”

Switching direction, I posed another question to my friend. “If there was this loving God, where would we be safest and freest, most joyful and most at peace?”
“Wouldn’t that be with Him? If we die, he might draw us to Himself. If God took your grandmother and aunt and uncle, He rescued them from who knows how much suffering. He blessed them by bringing an end to their suffering. He rescued them from the general suffering that comes with life on this sphere and the particular spectacular harm and suffering in the concentration camps.. If our life on earth was moments of breath or decades of breath, to be in heaven with Him would be immeasurably better than our life on earth. So how could we justify anger at God if he takes from us others–to give them the best safest place? Can you really be angry at God that he scooped up your grandmother and aunt and uncle from hideous suffering?
“Now there is another aspect to your father’s suffering. There is a ‘natural’ suffering when we ‘lose’ friends or family, even when we believe or know they may be better off.”
Here was another transition in our discussion.

“Your father suffered because he loved his family. Love allowed him to suffer. Would he rather keep that capacity for love and take that ‘natural’ suffering that comes with it? Or would he prefer to not have the capacity for love and be free of the suffering? Could you imagine his non-chalance at seeing those three precious lives snuffed out or the torture and death of so many more? He’d not even bother to shrug his shoulders as he turned away to calculate his own next steps. And ironically, if he did not have the capacity to love, we can’t be sure he’d even value (love) his own life. Would his own life mean anything to him?”

“We all suffer, and it has many sources. But most of them are striking blessings.”
As someone who always wants to deliver the verbal knockouts, I noted my friend was not dazzled, but he was allowing the ideas to percolate. But his thoughts seemed interrupted by this last statement. So I continued.

“I sometimes ask people if they ever wanted to see bruises on their children. No one has ever said yes. So I explained why I did want to see at least some bumps, scrapes, and bruising on my children. My children attempted to defy gravity, by standing and walking. Laboring to get off the ground, they wobbled, teetered, fell. But they kept trying. They made progress, with some price to pay. Their little knees, bottoms, arms and heads and shoulders took beatings, got bruised, scratched, swollen. Sometimes, pain is the result of growth–leaving behind the old, breaking through, reaching a new level.”
Now we moved to consider pain from another angle. “When my nephew was seven, he had been told many times about the dangers of the stove. The words translated to understanding for him, when he reached up and attempted to get a good grip on the hot coil of a stove top burner. The picture of those twin tracks of burn marks and swelling across his hand and fingers are seared in my memory–along with his desperate screams. We all just ran to him to help him, comfort him. His mother looked like she was in more pain than he was. No I-told-you-sos were needed. But he never grabbed a stove top coil again.”

“Contrast that to a person with leprosy. The damage to the nerve endings results in the loss of sensation, the loss of pain. If my nephew had leprosy, he would not have felt pain. But he could have lost fingers or his entire hand. The harm to him would have been profoundly worse from not feeling the pain. Pain seems a good thing in some situations.”
“Now, I confess, there is one perspective on or explanation for pain that is not ever entirely emotionally satisfying. That is the pain from injustice. If we see injustice, we also can see justice. It proves we know justice and it reflects our moral core. We naturally reject injustice and value fairness. Seeing injustice can inspire us–to live justly, take a stand against evil/injustice, and resist it, that it not enter in and wreak havoc. But it is unsettling to our core when evil and injustice seem to prevail–and cause such suffering and harm.”

My friend glanced (again) at his watch. I felt some pressure to cut short my pontificating and get to my last big idea. “Why do we expect to be free of pain? Nothing in life suggests the earth is or should be a suffer-free zone. Why do we demand that God shelter us from reality? Why do we demand to be untouched by life? It cannot be that any of us is free of wrong doing. If we were truly ‘righteous’ or ‘holy’ or ‘perfect,’ we would earn it or deserve it. But we do not have the moral integrity to demand a life without the unpleasantries. We are not entitled.

“Yet we go further. We blame God. We accuse Him–He has done us wrong. Yet We don’t understand the depths of his care or work for our benefit. We seem a bit immature and childish to expect everything we think we want. (That also begs the question of whether or not we really know what is best for ourselves in every situation. If you could ask a baby if it would rather stay in that wonderful womb or be born into this world, would it say it wanted the cold, the pressure, the pulling, the breathing, the crying, and all the rest? Yet if that baby got its way, the womb would become a tomb, and maybe mom would too.)”

“Now when we get that foolishness running at full steam, we then attack God’s character. How could he allow us to suffer? He is sadistic–He is the cosmic sadist. Then we take this extraordinary leap of faith and say he could not be good. Before too long a time of indulging these deprecations against God, we take another extraordinary leap of faith and say he might not even exist.”

I was on a roll, and completely dominating the conversation. I must have been causing him some pain, or, maybe the good spin is that he was learning endurance. But like so many good things, this talk had to come to an end. My friend jumped up and explained he had another commitment to get to. He explained: “Look at the time. Really, I must be off. I bought some new shampoo last week, and have looked forward to using it. I scheduled a shampoo this afternoon.” I think I would have been hurt if my friend had been telling me a line, but knowing him as an honest man, I was glad to have had at least some time with him to share my theories about pain.

If that shampoo had not gotten in our way, he would have heard about other forms of pain we suffer:

  • Pain and guilt from getting caught after doing something wrong or unjust (the hand in the cookie jar pain);
  • Pain from mistakes (I once changed my car’s transmission oil by drained the engine oil–who knew there were two large drain bolts under a car–causing a very great pain in my pocketbook);
  • Pain from inconveniences (why do people with sail boats force the drawbridge to go up during rush hour?);
  • Pain from relationships gone awry (finding the “right” or “better” person often involves going through the dating game of the damned);
  • Pain from learning (like the pain of a children growing into a walking being, we sometimes suffer from the practice-makes-perfect process–and I still have a scar on my leg from learning how to flip a pancake on the stove and splashing hot oil on my previously scar free leg);
  • Pain from accidents and activities (I was playing football and nearly beat that big lug nut on an end around–except that he pushed me out of bounds, right into that steel frame of the clothes lines);
  • Pain from unmet goals (not every competitor takes the blue ribbon); and
  • Pain from the destruction of false images (sometimes our lovers cannot be everything we hope they will be for us. Let’s face it, our lovers are merely human. Why do we think otherwise?)

I guess the second installment of my Seminar on Pain can be delivered when I figure out how to get my friend back to my office. Funny thing though, he does not come around or call as often as he used to. Perhaps I will have to go out there and find him.

Andrew Dósa, Esq.
1516 Oak Street, Suite 310
Alameda, California 94501
510/865-1600
(F) 510/865-7245

————————————————————————————————–

I responded.

Very touching!!

I love ya, Andrew.

Aside, my father was an “Orthodox Athiest,” and in truth, I’m merely agnostic… mind open, a scientist at heart, spirituality from within, more questions than answers.

Faith? One has it or doesn’t.

I believe, I’m in a “better place” because you’re my friend.

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Tony LaRussa, Missing In [In]action

February 27, 2008 at 4:29 pm (Baseball)

I’ve been critical of Tony LaRussa in the past. This disturbing story about the troubled Scott Spiezio [one of my all-time favorite players] demonstrates to me just how out of touch and uncaring the man is.
JUPITER, Fla. — Just hours after news circulated that a warrant has been issued in Orange County, Calif., for the arrest of Scott Spiezio, the Cardinals released the utility man.

A total of six charges have been filed against Spiezio as a result of an incident on Dec. 30, 2007. The charges are: driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, driving under the influence with a blood alcohol level of .08 percent or higher, hit-and-run with property damage, assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm, assault and battery.

Spiezio was charged Tuesday, and a $10,000 warrant has been issued for his arrest. He could face up to two years in prison if convicted on the counts.

“I don’t have any information, so I don’t have any comment,” said Cardinals manager Tony La Russa of the incident before the team’s decision to part ways with the fan favorite was announced.

The following account of the incident involving Speizio was issued by the Orange County district attorney’s office:

“At approximately 12:20 a.m. [PT] on Dec. 30, 2007, Spiezio is accused of leaving a bar in Newport Beach after spending the evening drinking several vodka drinks. He is accused of getting into his 2004 BMW and attempting to drive home while under the influence of alcohol. Spiezio is accused of speeding, cutting across several lanes, crossing through the oncoming traffic lanes, driving over a curb, and crashing into a fence. The crash knocked down a fence pole and blew out the front two tires of the car. Spiezio is accused of getting out of the car and fleeing the scene on foot.

“The defendant is accused of running to his Irvine condominium complex and going to a friend’s condo, who lived in the same complex. While his friend attempted to clean up the defendant, Spiezio is accused of vomiting in his friend’s room. When the friend made a comment about the vomit, Spiezio is accused of becoming angry and attacking his friend, punching him repeatedly and throwing him against a wall.”

Spiezio, who hit .269 with four homers and 31 RBIs in 81 games for the Cardinals in 2007, missed several weeks late in the 2007 season to pursue treatment for chemical dependency.

La Russa, who said he hadn’t talked to Spiezio since learning of the arrest warrant, said news of the allegation wasn’t a complete surprise.

“I had heard there was an incident in California, but I didn’t think anything would come of it,” La Russa said.

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Avoiding Telephoning Frustrations

February 27, 2008 at 3:10 pm (Unzipped Thoughts)

telephone-2.jpg

My good friend Dick Berk Emailed me this link designed to help we callers reach humans, rather than go through the frustrating, crazy [ier]-making “press one for English” dance.

Now we can speak to actual humans. Of course, chances are the work of answering the phones has been outsourced to third world countries. This subject is for a future blog. :-)

http://www.gethuman.com/index.asp

Thanks, Dick, from all of us.

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Sometimes It’s Best Not To Protest…

February 26, 2008 at 11:10 am (News & Politics, Unzipped Thoughts)

… and this Syrian demonstration is a good example:
translated-signs.jpg

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Juan Marichal, Great Baseball Pitcher, Despicable Human Being

February 25, 2008 at 12:27 pm (Baseball)

I read this week that Juan Marichal [along with New York Met’s pitcher Pedro Martinez], a former San Francisco Giant Hall Of Fame pitcher is involved in cock fighting in his [their] native Dominican Republic. Perfectly legal. Imperfectly reprehensible.

Will this change my opinion of these two icons? Yes and no. Yes, my opinion of Martinez changes [Whose hasn’t?].

No change of opinion about Marichal. In 1965 he took a bat to the head of Dodger catcher Johnny Roseboro. I think of him now as I’ve thought of him since that moment.

marichal1

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Re-Examining (As It Were) Hillary

February 21, 2008 at 10:25 pm (News & Politics)

I’m for Obama, but for many of the reasons prolific novelist Erica Jong points out in the article bellow [sent to me by Barbara Burton Stewart], I won’t be all that disappointed if Hillary wins the nomination. Remember that the “Billary” administration sported peace and prosperity, and I miss those days.

Hillary vs. the Patriarchy

By Erica Jong
Monday, February 4, 2008; 12:00 AM

“Look, the only people for Hillary Clinton are the Democratic establishment and white women,” said Bill Kristol yesterday on Fox News Sunday, one of the many “news” outlets to expose Kristol’s reliable sexism. “The Democratic establishment would be crazy to follow an establishment that led it to defeat year after year,” Kristol continued in his woolly, repetitive style. “White women are a problem, you know. We all live with that.”

Bill Kristol has been much criticized for his war mongering, arrogance, poor writing and lack of fact checking. But at least the guy is honest. He considers women a problem… especially white women. And he feels confident enough as an alpha male to be open about it. “I shouldn’t have said that,” he demurred. But he can say anything he likes and still fall eternally upward. He’s a white man, lord of all he surveys… including Hillary Rodham Clinton.

I, too, have been watching Hillary Clinton with admiration, love, hate, annoyance and empathy since she appeared on the national scene 16 years ago. (Can it be only16 years?) I’ve had a hard time making up my mind about her. Perhaps that’s because I identify with her so strongly.

I’m hardly the only woman who sees my life mirrored in hers. She’s always worked twice as hard to get half as far as the men around her. She endured a demanding Republican father she could seldom please and a brilliant, straying husband who played around with bimbos. She was clearly his intellectual soul mate, but the women he chased were dumb and dumber.

Nothing she did was ever enough to stop her detractors. Supporting a politician husband by being a successful lawyer, raising a terrific daughter, saving her marriage when the love of her life publicly humiliated her — these are things that would be considered en ormously admirable in most politicians and public figures. But because she’s a white woman, she’s been pilloried for them.

She’s had to endure nutcrackers made in her image, insults about the shape of her ankles and nasty cracks from mediocrities in the media like Rush Limbaugh, Chris Matthews and Kristol.

When she decided to run for the Senate she was called a carpetbagger. When she won the hearts of her most conservative constituents by supporting their actual needs, the same poisonous pundits who said it couldn’t be done attacked her.

Nor are poisonous women pundits any more kind. Maureen Dowd regularly gives her a drubbing. And “progressives” from Susan Brownmiller to Oprah Winfrey sport Obama buttons.

I, too, was a bluestocking from a woman’s college, straight-A student, Phi Beta Kappa, who found my voice as a writer while exiled to the boonies with a husband who cheated. With every book I published, I saw more clearly how uneven was the playing field for women. We were let into the literary world on sufferance. Unless we wrote unreadable academic tracts that nobody bought, or mysteries or romances or something called “chick lit” (whatever that is), or biographies of Great Men, we were booed off the stage.

I chanced to get famous for my work. Hillary got famous in the unspeakable role of “First Lady,” which Jackie Kennedy Onassis thought sounded like the name of racehorse. If she seemed uncomfortable in her skin, if she kept changing her hair, her image, her style, her way of speaking, how could we blame her? She was trying to be self-protective. Who wouldn’t be if constantly attacked by a beastly press?

Little by little, she loosened up. She learned how to dress and speak and smile and relax on the podium. I’ve watched this whole process with immense admiration.

Fame in America is unforgiving. And she had to grow comfortable in the spotlight — something very few people can do without having a nervous br eakdown or drinking or popping pills.

Hillary made it without self-destructing. She was a tower of strength to her husband, who seems to have little impulse control, and her daughter whom she obviously loves and whom she never exploited even in the worst of times.

She cannot have enjoyed her husband’s playing around. She certainly never condoned it. But he was clever enough for her, he supported her dreams, and they both loved their smart and beautiful daughter.

Besides, what does anyone know about anyone else’s marriage? As a novelist I understand that I can’t even invent the complexities most people live with, the compromises made, the deals negotiated and renegotiated. If it works, let’s say hallelujah, rather than pick and quibble. It took me three marriages to find my soul mate. Maybe Hillary was luckier.

In the 1990s, when they became “Billary” as president, she gave her all. When the White House beckoned, she was true blue. When he took the hardest job in the world, she helped. And when he rewarded her by letting some tootsie do whatever it was they did in the Oval Office, she got really mad.

But she was wise enough to know what it did and did not mean. She did what smart European and Asian women have done through the ages: She kept her marriage but changed her focus to her own ambitions.

As a senator she has learned compromise and negotiation. She has gotten to know red America as well as blue. If she could win over the rednecks in upstate New York, she can win over any American. She knows this country is full of “security” moms as well as soccer moms. Since she is a woman, she has to show she’s ready to be commander in chief. Hence her “triangulation” on Iraq and her signing the absurd Lieberman-Kyl resolution, which calls on our government to use “military instruments” to “combat, contain and [stop]” Iran’s meddling in Iraq.

By the time it came up she must have known the Cheney-Bush war profiteers would never embrace even partial peace. She had to win over her America and theirs.

Who ever got elected in the United States without moving to the center? Not Ralph Nader the narcissist, nor Ross Perot the spoiler, nor certainly Adlai Stevenson the “egghead,” nor Ronnie Reagan the red-baiter from Hollywoodland. Dubya presented himself as a “compassionate conservative” and our dopey press bought it. They inflicted him on us because they thought Al Gore was a nerd. The right-wing media barons happily smeared the better man for no good reason. Noam Chomsky predicted all this 25 years ago, when he said that the concentration of the media would rob us of real news.

It certainly has. We can read all we want about Britney, Paris, Heath, Tom Cruise, the Spice Girls and all their buds — dead or alive — but we can’t read about how many children have been maimed in Iraq, or their dead and legless or armless mothers and fathers who were shocked and aw ed. But we know it’s happening. And we feel the great weight of our complicity.

You will point to Hillary’s complicity. You will quote crazy-like-a-fox Ann Coulter, who claims to be voting for her.

You will also quote left-wing bloggers who love Barack Obama, and MoveOn.org peaceniks (I am one) who see no evil in him (nor do I). But I see little experience either. Obama is smart and attractive. Maybe he’ll be president someday.

He was lucky enough not to be in the Senate when the Iraq war resolution was floated after then-Secretary of State Colin Powell lied about WMDs. That was the true tragedy of race: a black man lying for a corrupt white administration that was using him as a token, much as they use Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice now.

Obama is also a token — of our incomplete progress toward an interracial society. I have nothing against him except his inexperience. Many black voters agree. They understand tokenism and condescension.

I understand my hopeful friends who think an Obama button will change America. But I’m sticking with Hillary. I trust her because all her life, her pro bono work has been for mothers and children. And mothers and children — of all colors — are the most oppressed group in our country. I trust her to speak for our children and grandchildren… and for us. She always has.

officejongleur@rcn.com

Erica Jong‘s 20th book is “Seducing The Demon.” She writes poems, novels and non-fiction and blogs for the Huffington Post.

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Out Of Options

February 21, 2008 at 6:22 pm (Baseball)

I’ve compiled a list of Major League players who are out of option this spring.

Athletics- Donnie Murphy, Andrew Brown, Santiago Casilla, Dan Johnson

Angels –

Astros – Reggie Abercrombie, Humberto Quintero

Blue Jays –

Braves – Blaine Boyer, Chris Resop, Royce Ring, Scott Thorman, Brayan Pena, Jeff Bennettcott, Tyler Yates

Brewers –

Cardinals –

Cubs – Ronny Cedeno, Geovany Soto, Angel Guzman

Diamondbacks – Dustin Nippert, Brandon Medders

Dodgers –

Giants – Rajai Davis, Fred Lewis, Erick Threets, Merkin Valdez,

Indians – Andy Marte, Shin-Soo Choo

Mariners – Mike Morse

Marlins –

Mets – Ruben Gotay

Nationals –

Orioles – Guillermo Quiroz, Luis Hernandez, Dennis Sarfate

Padres – Paul McAnulty

Phillies –

Pirates –

Rangers – Robinson Tejeda, John Rheinecker, Jason Bates, Nelson Cruz

Rays – Edwin Jackson, Jason Hammel, Carlos Pena, Jonny Gomes, Gary Glover, Scott Dohmann, Willy Aybar

Red Sox- Aardsma, Kyle Snyder, Craig Breslow, Bryan Corey, Javier Lopez.Reds – Bronson Arroyo, Juan Castro, Francisco Cordero, Ryan Freel, Scott Hatteberg, Jeff Keppinger, Brandon Phillips, David Ross, Javier Valentin, David Weathers

Rockies –

Royals – John Bale, Jorge De La Rosa, Jimmy Gobble, Luke Hudson, Ron Mahay, Gil Meche, Leo Nunez, John Buck, Alberto Callaspo, Joey Gathright, Esteban German, Ross Gload, Jose Guillen, Justin Huber, Tony Pena Jr.

Tigers – Denny Bautista, Yorman Bazardo, Tim Bydrak, Francisco Cruceta, Jason Grilli, Bobby Seay, Mike Hessman, Ramon Santiago, Freddy Guzman

TwinsScott Baker, Boof BonserWhite Sox – Nick Masset, Gavin Floyd

Yankees -Sean Henn, Wilson Betimit

Look for the Giants Fred Lewis to be traded to the White Sox for Joe Crede.

fred-lewis.jpg

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Oxymoron Week

February 21, 2008 at 12:28 pm (Life & Death, Unzipped Thoughts)

Dictionary definition:

Noun 1. oxymoron – conjoining contradictory terms (as in `deafening silence’)

In a post earlier in the week, I inadvertently offended a bunch of folks. If, gentle [and/or gentile] reader, you are among those whom I off-put, please get over it… and sign the paper so your child can get that operation for his or her appendicitis, bird brain.

I compiled a list from cyberspace of the most commonly used oxymorons, and sure enough #60 [the great Chuck Bednarik’s number] is Christian Science.

1. Jumbo shrimp

2. Guest host

3. Mutually exclusive

4. First-strike defense

5. Department of Interior (responsible for everything outside ..???…)

6. Pretty ugly

7. A little big

8. Recently new

9. Severely killed

10. Union workers

11. Good grief

12. Friendly competitor

13. Honest Lawyer

14. Committed schedule

15. Clean hack

16. Violent Agreement

17. This page intentionally left blank

18. “Thank God I’m an Atheist”

19. Better than New

20. One Size Fits All

21. Tax Return

22. Constant change

23. Paperless Office

24. Rapid Transit

25. Freezer burn

26. Inside out

27. New classic

28. Soft rock

29. Definite maybe

30. Act naturally

31. Taped live

32. Found missing

33. 12-ounce pound cake

34. Plastic glasses

35. Advanced BASIC

36. Exact estimate

37. Extinct life

38. Same difference

39. Working vacation

40. Clearly misunderstood

41. Almost exactly

42. Tight slacks

43. Passive aggressive

44. Silent scream

45. Terribly pleased

46. Sweet sorrow

47. Small crowd

48. Synthetic natural gas

49. Genuine imitation

50. Airline Food

51. Political Science

52. Government Organization

53. Military Intelligence

54. Temporary Tax Increase

55. Rap Music

56. Peacekeeping Force

57. Microsoft Works

58. Childproof

59. Religious Tolerance

60. Christian Science

61. Native American

62. Evolutionary Theory

63. Business Ethics

64. Honest Politician

65. Born dead

66. Bit to big

67. Thinking out

68. Quiet loudspeaker

69. Wind Burn

70. Terribly Good

71. Terrific Head Ache

72. Resident alien

73. Sanitary landfill

74. Alone together

75. Legally drunk

76. Living dead

77. Butt head

78. Peace force

79. Army intelligence

80. Living dead

81. Heartfelt Politics

82. Cafeteria Food

83. Drawing a blank

84. Positively negative

85. Deafening silence

86. Mournful optimist

87. Good beating

88. Quiet riot

89. Simple calculus

90. Civil war

91. Brilliantly dull

92. Mild jalepeno

93. Realistic liberal

94. Silent screaming

95. Shouting whispers

96. Hell’s angels

97. American beauty

98. Silent Women

99. The Peace War

100. Cat fish

101. Ethiopian Feast

102. Holy war

103. New and improved

104. Ghetto Punk

105. Good morning

106. Government assistance

107. A fine mess

108. Bittersweet

109. Peaceful war

110. Talkative mime

111. Tactical mass destruction

112. Sweet and sour sauce

113. Peaceful dragons (trust me on this one.)

114. Courage the Cowardly dog

115. Friendly fire (as in firearms)

116. Democratic dictatorship

117. Strangely normal

118. Little big horn

119. Plastic silverware

120. Lead astray

121. Cold sweat.

122. Metal wood (golf)

123. Waterproof washoff

124. Dry ice

125. Safe sex

126. Original copy

127. Cruel kindness

128. Laborious idleness

129. Industrial Action (usually means a strike)

130. Sweet tart

131. Icy hot

132. Real fake

133. Dull roar.

134. Loose tights.

135. Slow speed.

136. Non-fat cream.

137. Kosher ham.

138. Graduate student.

139. Virtual reality.

140. Constant variable.

141. Paid volunteer.

142. Science fiction.

143. Original copy.

144. Long shorts

145. Old news

146. Monopoly (broken down into suffix and prefix)

147. Dodge Ram

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