Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Values, Politics, and the Mother Lode

The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made. Life is a whim of several billion cells to be you for a while. -Groucho Marx.

Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others. - Groucho Marx

The national myth is that we Americans pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps, work hard and become successful. for the last 20 years the mythos has been that the Government is only here to get in the way. "Handouts" that help working class people are taboo, and it seems that this work ethic mythos is only for working class stiffs. If, on the other hand, you are a corporation and having difficulties through your own mismanagement, internal strife, or malfeasance, well then the the US government is there to bail you out, pay off your deadbeat CEO a hefty sum and bring in new execs at the tax payers' teat. I have had my doubt about where we were or are headed, but I believe it has been confirmed. We are officially a corporate-communist economic state. Socialism for the rich, that's us.(See Freddie and Fannie). So much for the Reagan myth. There is a lot in that statement. Now, for me to actually know what I am talking about in making this comment, or to even give a fuck, I'd have to regain the use of a few of the brain cells that I killed during the 70's and 80's. Then again, if I realized that this is the insane shit I had to look forward to, I might have just checked in for the full frontal lobotomy.

I am so fucking confused, I do not even know where to start. First of we elect the "conservatives" because they say they won't (1)tax and (2)spend like the liberals. And I know this is true, why??? Because they keep telling us it's true ad nauseum!!! The low tax thing still seems to a conservative value. Who wants to pay high taxes?? They don't tax high incomes or capital gains, or corporations, like the liberals before them. Lower and middle class incomes not so much --at least not mine. This evidently for "conservatives" is ok. To tell you the truth, it doesn't bother me either way. It's not like my opinion really matters anyway.

What does bother me is that they seem to have missed the spend part though, which makes the first part useless. Theses "conservatives" are big time into spending, and this baffles me senseless. I thought conservatives were big on living with in their means, being frugal. or at least fiscally responsible. It is bad to spend it like it is going out of style while cutting the amount of money that is coming in. How the fuck is driving the debt up so high that the next administration or generation has to pay for it a good conservative value? Of course it has been the recipe for the last the "conservative" adinistrations. . . silly fuckin me for thinking this is not a good concept.

If I had it to do over again, I'd run my life and business this new "conservative" way, not the frugal conservative way. I wouldn't have to bring in more income, all I have to do is borrow a bunch of money from the banks and let them sell the debt to the Chinese, have some kids and leave the business to them to pay off the debt. Better yet, I should become a CEO, steal a bunch of money from people who don't know anybetter, donate a goodly portion of the money to a good conservative politician, give myself an outrageous salary, then let the government bail me out when I go broke. Now that would be the mother lode.

Nah, I'll stick with my way. Pay as I go, and If I don't have it, I don't spend it.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Schtupp me now, or schtupp me later

When I was a kid, my favorite two baseball teams were the Atlanta Braves and the Boston Redsox. From 1970 to 1978 were my formative years in becoming a sports fan. The Braves plain sucked, and the Redsox were further perfecting the ultimate in ways to visit heartbreak upon their loyal fans. I won't go into how many times the Braves finished in last place vs. how many times they were grateful that San Diego was in the same division. Nor will I recreate the '75 Redsox loss to the Reds or the 78 collapse.

No, what I have here is a philosophical question from two divergent backgrounds in futility:

The Braves, for the most part, were very honorable in their incompetence. They had the common decency to put their fans on notice very early in the year that they were not going be competing for division titles, playoff spots or World Series championships. It allowed a fan to get over the disappointment early in the year. It also allowed the fan to enjoy the 2 or 3 weeks when they invariably won 14 out of 16 or 18 out of 24 as a sign of better things to come next year. Small things, like Ralph Garr chasing a batting title and big things, like Hank Aaron chasing down Babe Ruth, and absurd things, like how many times could Sonny King throw the ball into the stands on routine grounders to short, were the moral victories that we fans followed while we could not follow a pennant chase.

The Redsox, on the other hand, went about business in such a way that showed their fans that they were very capable of competing for championships. They approached such heights again and again, only to fall short in ways that left their fans hungover and emotionally drained. They would take their fans to the brink, only to turn their backs as if to say, "Nah, no thanks, not interested, just kidding."

Now the question is simple. It's a fan question for a real fan, not a sunny day fan, who only shows up when the team is winning, but a fan who wears the hat even when the team can't seem to get it going, and even when they have blown it once again. Is it better for them to drop into the cellar with a long losing streak at the beginning of the year (Braves of that era), or is it better for them to hold your attention, build up your hopes, then blow it in some gut wrenching exposition that makes the fan want to swear off all sports like an alcoholic fresh off a bender?

Monday, September 8, 2008

Football, Carolina, and Humble Pie.

As a life long Gamecock fan, I have learned humility and the true meaning of being humble from a very young age. In over 100 years of football at the State's flagship university, it is interesting to note:

*only one team has won a double digit amount of games. 1984 the team went 10-2. The first loss was to a 4 win Navy team in November when Carolina had risen to # 2 in the country. The second loss was in the Gator bowl to Oklahoma State coached by Jimmy Johnson, pre-Miami Hurricane and Dallas Cowboy days.

* for many years we have been known as the graveyard of coaches. Many a savior has entered the hallowed grounds of Williams Brice Stadium only to leave or be forced out after posting unsavory results. It started with Rex Enright (the Notre Dame connection and former Georgia assistant) in the 30's and 40's. Not a whole lot of success, but he hung around longer because he beat Clemson with some regularity.

*Paul Dietzel won a national title at LSU before coming to Carolina as the savior of the 60's. He did coach the team to their only conference title ever (1969 ACC), but resigned a few seasons later (1973) after an 0-5 start. He never coached again.

*Jim Carlen was successful in West Virginia and at Texas Tech had some very successful teams, and coached George Rogers (1980 Heisman Trophy winner). He was fired after the 1981 season. His record at USC was 45-36-1, but he left never to coach again. I am informed and believe, he fell in love with a young former cheer leader who he left his wife for. He eventually made the cheerleader his new wife and I am informed that they have had a happy life together. Nonetheless, while the record was by no means a bad one as coaches in Columbia go, I do not think the board, the president, or the alumni were too impressed with the latter fact. This, coupled with the fact that he could not beat Clemson (not that anyone else has since Enright) led to the ultimate demise.

*1983 brought Joe Morrison to town. His teams were very exciting and very competitive, some were very highly rated. Alas, He died after the 1987 season leaving behind a big steroid scandal, probation, and disenchantment.

*the 90's brought Sparky Woods and Brad Scott. . .enough said, haha. Anybody remember the last time Carolina played the Citadel? How about the 20 game losing streak at the turn of the century? Sparky has been toiling as an assistant and just landed a head coaching job at VMI. Brad is coaching at. . .Clemson, as an offensive assistant coach.

You know, after all is said and done, the overall record in the entire history of the program is almost .500. Look up college football mediocrity. We might be tops at something after all. I am a realist, I love my team not one less bit because they happen to lack success. Somebody has to be the homecoming opponent. I guess that is a little cold, but. . . Enough for now. I'll cover more later when I am not feeling so cynical.

Thanks for stoppin by. Ya'll come back now, ya hear.

Playing a little and enjoying it more.

I have played in the Brit Blogger the past 2 weeks. Yesterday it was like being in a Tuck Fard Tourney. All my Canadian friends were there. I'll be playing in the weekly Tuck Fard tourney this evening. My friend BamBam has threatened to pay my entry if I don't show up, haha.

Whatever disenchantment I am feeling for online poker these, it is not a money problem. I have not spent more money than the entertainment value for the games I play. On the other hand, I do seem to be spending more time than the allotted entertainment value for the games I play. In other words, I am spending too much fawkin time on the computer.

For those of us who are predisposed to a self destructive fondness for drugs and alcohol, gambling can too have its dark side. When I first started playing in a local home game in college, the idea was that there was a certain amount of money that I would have spent out in a bar, or on a date, etc. I took the minimum amount and set that aside each week for poker nite. This was the late 70's early 80's, and $20 to $30 a week was no small sum for me. I was in college for the first time then. (six years at the College of Charleston- almost 3 semester's worth of credit before I threw in the towel). I never missed a rent check, never missed a bill, etc. I always have had the discipline to pay the obligations before playing with what was left. Though I did have a room-mate who lost his tuition money playing Acey-Ducey (a game I learned quickly to avoid). Even during my drug induced, drunken, debauched, and degenerate days in my mid to late 20's, I always paid my bills. I didn't always dress so nice, but I paid my bills.

I did not have anyone to account to for my time. . .other than my boss, and he got my allotted weekly quota. I still played cards and gambled in those days, but Budweiser, cocaine and tequila were my main family, friends, and acquaintances. Cards was a time killer. I did have a penchant for the parley cards, but anything I won went to dope and booze. Now that I am older, mature (I hesitate to claim this character flaw), and married, the time factors into quality time with my spouse. Now that I run my own small business, the time runs into time spent making the business run. Now that my father has passed and my mother is on her own, the time runs into the things that she needs help from me.

I might not be lucky at cards, but in life, I am the luckiest man I know. I have a life that is second to none. . . a great family that I could not have hand chosen better, a wonderful wife, who hand chose me, and a job where the only drawback is I work for a prick (I only have myself to blame). Hell, on further review I might be the luckiest bastard in the world at cards, too. As stupid as I play sometimes, I still find joy and friendship at a card table.

Thanks for stoppin by. Ya'll come back now, ya hear.