Friday, October 30, 2009

Root, root, root for ... who?

I could never root for the Yankees but I could rationalize their winning as a good thing for the Sox. Mainly, so I can live with the reality and the preening.

If the Yankees win the WS, they will come back next year all puffed up and cocky (even more than usual). It is then that the Sox are at an advantage. A false sense of superiority is what did the Yankees in before. It could work again.

A friend of mine said once (though he was talking about the corporate ladder): "The higher up you are, the closer you are to the door." And isn't that what happened to the Celts last season? When you're #1, everyone is gunning for you.

So, root for the Phillies but also know that if the Yankees win, it could be their undoing next season.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The real price of junk food

The Lowell Sun has a "Backtalk" section where people comment and gripe in short blurbs. I always read it to get the pulse of the community. Often, I am disgusted with the lack of knowledge behind backtalker's comments.

This one grabbed my attention yesterday:
This is the only country I know in which poor people are fat. These are the people that want to run the health care. Isn't obesity a health problem? We need to fix the food-stamp program first.

I'm surmising that this person feels that people must be abusing the food stamp program evidenced by the fact that they are "fat". Or maybe that the people on food stamps don't need the food because they are fat and therefore have some extra pounds for reserve.
There are so many things I could say about this, but I'll pick just one. Food that is cheap is almost always bad for you. Good food, on the other hand, is expensive. The more caloried the item, the cheaper it is.
Did you ever compare the price of boxed mac-and-cheese to lettuce? Or a bag of chips to a bag of apples? (And that's not even looking at the organic selections.)
If you have, you know that you can get more food for the money when you buy crap. This opens the whole can of worms about how an overabundance of soy and corn products are in processed food and why they are there (read The Omnivore's Dilemma if you want to learn more).
So the real issue is not that food stamps=obesity. The issue is that we are a country that makes nutritious food out of reach for those who cannot afford it.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Not again!

Did anyone watch the Yankees/Angels game last night? As a die-hard Sox fan, I found it unbearable to watch the end. I shut off the tele at 11:45 before the top of the ninth. I couldn't bear to watch the likes of Damon and A-Rod jumping around on the field.

And I was so rooting for the Angels. The story of how they dedicated their season to the young pitcher who died tragically this year was reason enough to hope they went all the way - that is, as long as they weren't playing the Sox.

My take on the Yankees is that it's easy for a team to buy its way to a championship. If you have strong individual contributors, they don't need each other as much. Teams that struggle together and cover for each other are my kind of teams.

But then, isn't that the definition of "team" to begin with?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Who's on your list?

A friend asked me if I could review a column he's submitting to a local newspaper. I did so with great enthusiasm and seriousness. I remember when I was trying to start as a columnist (unpaid, but whatever) and asked my trusted friend Jon to review what I wrote before I submitted it.

I've taken Jon's awesome advice and passed it along to my aspiring columnist friend.

That made me think of the web of which we are all a part. How many times have you taken the wisdom of a family member, friend, coworker, or mentor and passed it along to a peer or the next generation? I find myself doing that a lot as I get older. And that makes me realize just how much we are connected.

So many people are afraid that when they die, there will be nothing left of their being if they don't have kids. I say, that's short-sighted. I carry the lessons from my family members, ex-bosses, mentors, ministers, and friends with me all day long. And when needed, I impart the lessons-learned to others.

I have my own opinion of the afterlife which I won't bore you with here, but there are other ways for us to make our lives meaningful before and after we die. It means we have to be aware of the wisdom all around us and be willing to pass it on.

How much have you been paying attention and who's on your list?

Thursday, October 22, 2009


I guess the Cone of Silence stopped working as soon as Bush Mach II left the White House. Cheney has said more in the last 9 months than he did the whole time he was pres.. er... vice president.

His term "dithering" made me laugh today. How is approaching the future loss of life for US citizens (and Afghan civilians) in a thoughtful, intelligent way considered "dithering"? Does Cheney think Obama is conferring with too many people who know what they're talking about? How many is too many when war is the issue?

Cheney, Bush, and Rumsfeld didn't "dither". They did things the "Texan" way. Make decisions quickly, shoot from the hip, and act with much bravado. "Testosterone poisoning", as one friend calls it.

Facts were ignored, evidence was tampered with, Congress and citizens were misled, people died. And much of this was done in what became something of a Nixonian organization.

I don't want to go back to the days where snap decisions are made -- some of which are done to satisfy a thirst for power. I like that we have a president who takes some time making an informed decision when lives are on the line. And that he does so in what appears so far to be an open manner.

I'll take dithering over slithering any ole day.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The wind in the willows

With all the turmoil over whether or not to use windmills for an alternative energy source, I was struck today at how quixotic it all is. I mean, literally.

I wonder if we are becoming too much like Don Quixote in our escape from the practical. I'm all about pursuing lofty ideals and fighting for them. But if we refuse to add reality to our actions, that can be dangerous.

And I'm not talking about foresaking lofty ideals for the reality of a tough fight. When it comes to human rights, animal rights, and taking care of our planet, we should never let the fact that injustices exist be a reason to quit.

What I'm talking about it is giving up our romantic and sentimental attachments to the way things were. No one wants to see major hardware come between them and their view of the mountains or seacoast. I certainly don't. However, the alternative to alternative energy sources is the loss of natural resources, the ozone, and independence from foreign (oftentimes corrupt) regimes.

I'm willing to remember how things used to be in order to be around to remember.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

It feels like Charles Stuart all over again

Following this story makes me feel the way I did when the Charles Stuart news broke. How easily we invest our hearts in tragedies. Especially those involving children.

We swore we would never believe those unimaginable stories again and always question. But we dropped our cynicism so quickly when this story broke.

Proof once again that the human heart can be very forgiving and kind, and the human mind can be very evil.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Why do we love to be scared?

I read this in today's Boston Globe and it got me thinking. "Frightened" is not a happy state of being in our day-to-day lives. We lock our doors at night, carry weapons, and look under the bed before we shut off the light (okay, most of us haven't done that since we were kids) all because we are afraid of a surprise intruder. So why do we seek out horror movies and Spooky Worlds and pay money in order to be frightened?

I wonder if this is our way of proving to ourselves that we can feel threatened and still survive. Is our safer society somehow robbing us of our need to feel that we can keep ourselves safe if we need to? Are we physically missing the adrenaline rushes of our hunter-gatherer days?

If being afraid is a bad thing, then why do you think we seek it out at Halloween? And find it fun, no less?