Monday, October 31, 2011

Who Are They Kidding? We Like Steroids

Isn't it interesting that the three top "alleged" steroid users in sports each bear the number "7" as a mark of his personal achievement? Barry Bonds won seven MVP trophies, Roger Clemens has seven Cy Young awards, and Lance Armstrong has seven Tour de France titles. Has "777" become the new mark of the beast?

Steroids are everywhere - from energy drinks to Viagra. We use them in our quest to get more out of life. But no one is so bent out of shape over them as are the purists in baseball. They have become obnoxious.

Much of their disdain is focused on Barry Bonds, the greatest slugger in a sport where sluggers are king. They think he has hit too many homeruns. Methinks their hue and cry is misplaced, especially when you consider that the shrinking dimensions of modern ballparks does as much to devalue homeruns as does anything else.

The other day, the Yankees' Alex Rodriquez popped a ball up and them slammed his bat down as he lowered his head and ran to first base. When he heard applause, he looked up in time to see his pop-up float over the short right field fence. Homerun!

Trying to reduce Bonds' career to steroids is like trying to reduce autumn to a rainy day. You miss the grandeur.

To have followed Bonds' career through his record-setting season - when he hit 73 homers - was to get a glimpse at the most disciplined hitter of our time. He would not swing the bat until he saw a pitch he liked. Such self-control is difficult, especially for sluggers who can't wait to crush the ball. But Barry would wait, and wait, and then, like lightning, he would strike. One pitch was all he needed. How so like the Mighty Casey of the "Mudville Nine."

Now, sportscaster, Bob Costas, has declared that the single-season record for homeruns belongs to Roger Maris who hit 61 in '61. Costas further declares that Hank Aaron's 755 is the career record for homeruns, not Bonds' 762.

I have one question to ask Mr. Costas: Just how many homeruns will you allow Mr. Bonds to have? Fifty-five for a season? Five hundred and fifty for his career? And while you are taking away his homeruns, how many of Bonds' MVPs can he keep? And while you are at that, how many of Roger Clemens' Cy Young are you allowing him to keep?

This is the skinny, Costas: You're a pipsqueak.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

"9-9-9", "0-0-0", and "Four Year" Plans

The Republicans are stuck with a bunch of candidates they do not want, the survivor of which still has a good chance of defeating Obama.

Romney was pro-choice before he was pro-life. They don't want him. Perry confuses them. Cain has never held an elective office in his life (and they call Obama "inexperienced").

Cain does, however, have the "9-9-9" Plan - (9% income tax, 9% sales tax, 9% corporate tax). Rick Newman of U.S. News and World Report says of the "9-9-9 Plan", "Sounds like a 2 for 1 pizza special." He adds, "but it has merit."

Rick Santorum, not to be outdone, seems to say: "If you think that has merit, you will shout 'Hallelujah' at my "0-0-0 Plan'." That's right, Santorum will not charge us anything. Neither will he give us any help. Need the police? Post your wife at the back door, and you man the front, ('cause the police ain't comin').

Since winning the Iowa Straw Poll, Michelle Bachmann has fallen off the Earth, and is stilling tumbling. (Cain appears poised to take over her spot atop the looney-meter.). Gingrich is a relic out of the GOP past, and Ron Paul is that relative they wish they could disown. Huntsman is the most sensible candidate they have, and we hear his name the least. That point, as well as any, sums up the Republican field.

On the other side you have President Obama. Some say he is not ready for the job. Who is? Remember George Bush's response when he took over the White House? "It's awesome!"

Of course, it is awesome. And no man is truly "ready" because no man has known such immense power and responsibility. Each one adapts as best he can.

Most people figure the key to a successful White House is hiring top aides. That's obvious. The obvious key: Treat your first four years like they are your last. Get things done instead of worrying about getting re-elected. I call it "Lincoln's Four-Year Plan." Leave it all on the floor.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Al Quaeda is a Bot Fly (and it is in our heads)

America's precipitous decline began on 9-11 with the downing of the Twin Towers. That led to President Bush's declaration of war, which led to the spending of trillions. Ten years later, both wars and the subsequent spending goes on.

The other night, Fox News' Bill O'Reilly declared, (at least) "We defeated Al Quaeda."

"Defeated?" We are a nation of 300 million people, with the most well-fitted army on Earth. Backing our soldiers is advanced weaponry, the likes of which has never been rattled in the history of mankind. We pitted that war machine against a primitive army of 20,000 fighters - goatherders in sandals and head rags. Ten years later, those "goatherders" are still fighting.

Looking at our war-ravaged economy and at our thousands of dead and maimed soldiers, we must wonder, "Who is defeated?" In many ways, Osama bin Laden, even in so-called "defeat", has won.

Since 9-11, America has lived in more fear than at any other time since we were digging bomb shelters in our back yards and teaching our children to cower under their desks at school. Today, we trust no one. We fear diaper-wearing 90-year-old ladies. Defeated? We have defeated nothing.

America faces an existential threat - not from without, but from within. It is insidious, this thing that east at us, and tears at our very fiber. We call it "Al Quaeda." What is Al Quaeda, but our fear of life?

Al Quaeda has not been defeated; it cannot be defeated. It has always existed, in one form or another, and it always will. If it helps, you can call Al Quaeda "evil." But evil, I contend, is like energy: It can neither be created, nor destroyed.

Even the strongest lion pride must remain ever vigilant. Hyenas, drought, bot flies will forever nip at their tranquility. So, what? Do lions declare absolute war at an incursion? Do they decide that every hyena must die? Of course, they do not. They secure their perimeters, they patrol their territory, they accept the tenuity of life.

Al Quaeda is a bot fly. If Bush had realized this - if he had thought like a lion; if Obama would - we would not be in this fix. We would not have wasted trillions of dollars, lost thousands of lives, and squandered volumes of goodwill. We would still be like lions. Having taken our lumps, we could be stretching full-bodied on the plain, feet up, belly exposed, enjoying life at the top of the food chain.