Friday, September 28, 2007

The Bozo Bus: Hargrove's unconscionable departure from M's transcends cowardice

My jaw dropped when I heard about it the day he announced it. The Mariners manager, on the heels of a seven game winning streak, was suddenly quitting... ON JULY 1, IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SEASON. He had no real reason, either... no health issues... no family emergency... no crisis of any kind... nothing.

We were just insulted with a bunch of garbage about "how I've lost my passion."

Huh? Excuse me? You're kidding, right?

Come on Mike, you can do better than that. At least make an effort to come up with something that appears to be a creative excuse.

Hargrove's time in Seattle was a failure. It's not like this guy won as a manager in the first place, and he had no presence as a leader anyway, so it was probably better that he left... but not in the middle of the season. Christ, the guy even failed at quitting... or what did Timothy Leary say? "Tune in and drop out." Maybe that's more appropriate, as the use of very very hard drugs is probably not out of the question.

I thought I'd seen it all. Apparently not.

There was zero notice to the Mariners front office also, I might add (Gee Mike, thanks for the heads up---we're really prepared now). It was beyond baffling. If there's a word that goes beyond apathy, I guess that would have to be it... but then there's the shock value element of it all that needs to be described too, so it's pretty much beyond words...

Maybe Wikipedia can shed some light on it, as I'm still confused nearly 3 months later, and everyone I've discussed it with---from Mariners fans in Seattle to Cardinals, Indians, White Sox and Reds fans---all seem to be at a complete loss. Nobody can figure this one out.

On July 1, 2007, Hargrove resigned his position as manager of the Mariners, saying in a prepared statement that his "passion has begun to fade" and it would not be "fair to myself or the team" to continue. The departure was unusual, since the Mariners had been playing quite well at the time. Hargrove became the first big league manager since at least 1900 to depart while on a winning streak of more than seven games, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.[1] Bench coach John McLaren was named as Hargrove's replacement, effective July 1. Hargrove managed his final Major League game on that same day, a 2-1 ninth inning comeback victory over the Toronto Blue Jays. On September 14, 2007, it was announced that Hargrove would manage the Liberal BeeJays, a semi-pro summer team in southwest Kansas. Hargrove played for the BeeJays in 1972, while on the roster of Northwestern Oklahoma State University.

I still don't get it. I don't buy the "I lost my passion" rhetoric as any semblance of a valid excuse. If you're a deer caught in the headlights, you splash water on your face. You do something. If you're passion is lacking, you pull the reigns on yourself and power through it. People do it in their jobs every day without complaint. I did it working for two wacko mayors, and in a crazy tribal setting as a planning director, even when I'd lost my passion for the field (as a staff planner, a.k.a. political pawn) way back on the road.

So then I stand corrected... I'm sorry... that was an eight game winning streak the club was having, then they were basically abandoned
to fend on their own. Why couldn't Hargrove finish out the season? Was that too much to ask?

I'm sorry, but when you're the manager of a ballclub---its leader and guiding
light---you don't up and leave in the middle of the year for no reason. It certainly didn't help the club in the long run, as they tanked in the month of August. Did his departure have an affect on the season's outcome? Sure it did. Kudos to bench coach John McLaren for trying to keep things together under very difficult circumstances.

If I ever meet Hargrove face to face, I have only one word to say to him.


...and I think I'm being nice and letting him off the hook in that scenario.

But not today.

I have a huge issue with this man's decision to bail on the club. It basically tells me everything I need to know about his character. Since he has no valid reason for leaving, what am I left with. Let's see... self-absorbed? Spineless? Insensible? Anesthetized? Comfortably Numb? On LSD? How exactly do you put it? I
simply don't know where to go with this, the whole thing is just too bizarre.

I know what comes to mind now... this story of Mariner manager apathy reminds me of an opposite scenario; the story of a manager who held himself together and inspired his team to go all the way to the College World Series while fighting for his life.

I speak of former ASU baseball coach Jim Brock, who led the club for 23 years and to two CWS titles in 1977 and 1981. He coached the Sun Devils to a 1,100-400 record from 1972-1994; an amazing .733 winning percentage.

Jim Brock gives the baseball manager not only a good name, he puts them in the stratosphere next to Godliness. After being diagnosed with liver cancer in 1993, and going through an operation that took 80% of his liver, he powered ahead managing the following season, despite a relapse, and led the Sun Devils to the CWS in 1994. When sitting on the wood bench became too painful, his wife brought him a plastic chair to sit in so he could continue managing on the field. While the team was on a run in Omaha, he collapsed on the field and unfortunately had to be flown back to Arizona to watch his Devils, now in the CWS, from his hospital bed. He passed soon thereafter.

Jim Brock's fight to keep managing, and fight to stay alive to guide the team, only inspired those kids to do better. Brock is the Rock of Gibraltar. For his example, leadership, guts, determination, and passion for those kids---Jim Brock is more than a hero---he's immortal.

Brock's #33 now proudly hangs on the outfield wall in what is now called Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark. If you're in Phoenix sometime, from Sky Harbor airport take the 202 loop freeway to Tempe, and the Scottsdale Road exit and head south. You'll cross the Tempe lake on the Salt River, and you can't miss it. On the SW corner of Scottsdale /Rural Rd. and the Salt River. Take your first rt. then a left into the parking lot to check it out. #33 proudly hanging on the outfield wall.

So I'll leave all of you with that inspiring story. That's the sort of example a manager should set for his club, that's the making of a true hero. A true winner.

Unlike the apathy of a cowardly quitter.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Thanks Slowpoke!

A tip of the top hat to Jen over at Slowpoke Comics for passing along some credit for her cartoon last week, titled Green Arms Race - while I tend to rant and get carried away with green shtick and imaginary characters sporting Italian/Russian accents, she framed the Daddy Bomb thing a bit more concisely.

Keep Slowpoke Comics in your bookmarks - there's always some really funny and interesting observations coming from her desk, and she's on top of the political landscape. It's essentially your weekly news source. Very cool! S

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The boys aren’t playing nice in the sandbox again, BUT it just so happens that I’m in the market for a “Daddy Bomb” today.

American gov't: I have the MOTHER of all bombs, and can blow YOU up with it.”

Russian gov't: (scoffing) “Well, I have the DADDY of all bombs and can blow YOU AND YOUR MOTHER up with it.”

American gov't: “Fine then. I’ll just go make the GRANDADDY of all bombs and show you who's boss.”

Let me guess what happens next. The GREAT-GRANDADDY of all bombs?

Nark: "Excuse me, uhh teacher? The boys are fighting during recess again…"

Mumbling teacher from Peanuts: (in garbled voice) "Time out children, go to your corners. …and since I’m going to call your Mommy to tell her about your behavior, get ready for a spanking when you get home from school today…"

This is all referring to this "non-nuclear" arms race we appear to be getting into with Russia… again… Yes, the neighborhood bullies are starting to duke it out in the larger p-patch… again…

Cool explosion though, huh? Check that out! Wow!!! ...oh, uh, excuse my digressing...

Testosterone levels are on the rise, as we all know it's typically a bunch of cocks that are misbehaving in these situations involving things such as missiles and explosions. It seems like wherever there's boys, eventually something is gonna get blown up. It all begins with the ants under the magnifying glass, then ladyfingers, then black cats... then bottle rockets... then those sparkling spinny things... then it's the Roman candles... then the M-80s... and you know where it goes from there... (none of that being from personal experience, of course.)

So the international political opera continues… Oh boy! ...and you might ask how do we make the drama go away? Take away the boy behavior, which means taking away the boys. Maybe that means "cutting it off" in this opera. Now a castration live on stage, that's something I'd like to see, but then the opera would be over, and we'd be devoid of the musings of missiles and things that blow up.

However, I must submit that a side of me is very amused at this silly turn of behavior in the sandbox. The “Daddy” labeling actually conjures up imagery of a silly statement made by Pedro Martinez during the Red Sox-Yankees ALCS a few years back, descriping his previous pitching woes against New York by saying “The Yankees are my Daddies” which led to NY fans chanting “Whose your Daddy?!” for the rest of the series—so sorry Comrades, the Daddy label has already been taken by Pedro.

…and this is what really puts me in stitches. The Russian government, in the most eloquent fashion worthy of only a used car salesman, felt compelled to reveal a “selling point” of the bomb as being “Hey, it’s friendly to the environment.”

Prospective “Daddy bomb” client: “Huh? Caaaaan you saaaaay that again?”

Russian gov’t: “The bombza is-a friendly to ze environment-a.” (in Russian accent that appears to be more Italian)

Prospective “Daddy bomb” client: REALLY now. Is that so? …but what about the environment that’s incinerated within the blast zone? Is it friendly to that?”

Russian gov’t: “If you-a no-a get it, I can’t-a explain it to you-a. It says here in da brochure-a that it’s-a friendly to ze environment-a.” (pointing a shaking finger at a crumpled piece of paper in the other hand)

Prospective “Daddy bomb” client: “Uh huh, I see. So then does it come with a chrome or bronze finish? I want to impress the ladies.”

Russian gov’t: “Whatever you-a want-a, but that will take-a more time and cost you extra.”

Prospective Daddy bomb” client: (quickly checking calendar on a PDA) “How much longer?”

Russian gov't: “Thirteen-a days.”

Prospective “Daddy bomb” client: “Whoa! Thirteen days?!?! That's waaaaaay too long... wait a minute... wasn't that the name of that movie about that Haitian Missile Crisis back in the 30s or something like that? Is this some kind of sick joke?”

Russian gov't: “Thirteen-a days.”

Prospective “Daddy bomb” client: (starts walking away) “Hmmmm… I’ll have to get back to you after I talk to the Mommy bomb people.”

Russian gov’t: (chasing the client off the Daddy bomb lot) “Wait-a! Can we make-a deal?”

Oh Yuri, or Boris, or whatever your name is, get ahold of yourself.

We’ll definitely need to stand by and see how the next act of this opera unfolds… that is, after the naughty little boys get spanked for fighting in the sandbox. S

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Please take a moment of silence today... and get on your knees to pray... pray hard...

Today is the 6th anniversary for honoring our fallen countrymen on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. You might note that it's the first 9/11 falling on a Tuesday since that day 6 years ago.Take a moment of silence today. Meditate. Pray for peace. Pray for some sanity on this planet between people of differing spiritual and religious covenants---and pray for them to start communicating with one another. Communication leads to understanding, which leads to acceptance. That is the road to peace.

I apologize if that comes across as condescending or seemingly too simple, but it really IS that simple. It doesn't seem like it should be brain surgery, but to some it is apparently. I just wish more of us could figure that out, including some of our leaders.

I will do all these things too, and I will also pray for our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. I will pray for Chis Vanderhorn, my high school classmate who gave his life in Iraq on January 1, 2006. I will pray for the welfare of his widowed wife and his two little children.

I don't care if you're Buddhist, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Native American Church, or worship Zeus and his thunderbolts
from the Greek Church of the many Gods. Please pray in earnest today. Agnostics and atheists, you're part of this process as well---you have your own moral compass to steer by and know what you need to do to wish for these things too.

So all of you, if you could, pray that the human race stops behaving like a warring clan of binobos, wandering to the next neighborhood just to club another over the head. Is that asking too much?

Also, pray for our precious planet and for the recovery of its environmental health. Oh, and pray for a new President... and quickly, please... I'm sick of living this nightmare, so the sooner the better...

Monday, September 10, 2007

THE LARGER P-PATCH -- The Boreal Forest is Earth's Green Crown

Since lots of subject matter lately has involved oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, near the arctic circle, that only drives home the unattractive truth about human encroachment into the once seemingly untouchable reaches of the planet.

It seems the human imprint is being stretched across every square mile of terra firma---and it's only a matter of time before all of it's determined as a resource or to be preserved---essentially either gallowed in the mail as a harvesting project, or protected through our efforts. If governments are going to take count of what resources exist out there, then we need to take the extra measures to be part of the process of helping them determine how we preserve what precious gems we still have---especially if the survival and longevity of the planet, animal species, and OUR species (we're known as homo sapiens, FYI) depends on it.

That being said, I thought I’d bring attention to an article on the Boreal Forest, which stretches across Canada and Russia. My understanding of this expanse of northern woodlands is that it produces much of the oxygen we breath. The series Planet Earth televised earlier this year covered the Boreal Forest and its importance to the planet in a very impressionable documentary. See the article below the map.

In the far-north latitudes, just below the treeless tundra of the polar region, a forest of evergreen trees encircles the earth. This is the boreal forest, and it is the biggest terrestrial ecosystem in the world. It is also largely intact, free of roads and industrial development -- especially in Canada, where more than 1.3 billion pristine acres are found. The global boreal forests are larger than even the Amazon rainforest.

Like the Amazon, the boreal forest is of critical importance to all living things. Its trees and peatlands comprise one of the world's largest "carbon reservoirs"; carbon stored in this way is carbon not released into the atmosphere, where it would trap heat and accelerate global warming. Its wetlands filter millions of gallons of water each day. And as a vast and intact forest ecosystem, it still supports a natural food web, complete with large carnivores like bears, wolves and lynx along with thousands of other species of plants, mammals, birds and insects. The boreal forest is also home to hundreds of First Nations communities, many of which rely on fishing, hunting and trapping for their livelihoods.

Despite its global significance, Canada's boreal forest is in great danger today. Large industries -- timber, mining, oil, gas, and hydropower companies -- are eyeing it for development, and less than 8 percent of the boreal forest is protected from large-scale industrial development. NRDC is partnering with many other environmental groups and with First Nations to forge lasting agreements that will ensure the survival of Canada's boreal forest -- to stay abreast of our work in the boreal, bookmark this page and check back. And to learn when you can take online action to help protect the boreal, subscribe to Earth Action, NRDC's biweekly email alert.

Related Pages
The Boreal Forest: Links
An Interview with Chief John Miswagon of the Pimicikamak Cree
Through the Trees: The Truth Behind Logging in Canada --> America's Gas Tank: The High Cost of Canada's Oil and Gas Export Strategy -- An October 2002 report from NRDC and the Sierra Club of Canada.

One of my points here, now having highlighted an article by these guys for the 3rd or 4th time, is that NRDC is an excellent resource for hot button topics as they arise, and they have the best success rate of any environmental organization—however, I believe their strongest suit is their ability to dial their subscribers like myself into taking action through letters to Congress, Senators, the White House, domestic officials, and foreign government officials.

Wherever there’s something being put on the stake to be torched, these guys are the hawk’s eye to get on top of it right away. I wonder if they’re hiring right now… S

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, by Shell Oil, is upon us.

A letter by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr, the Senior Attorney of the NRDC, just brought this to my attention. Here’s the content of his letter.

Dear NRDC Member,

As you read this, the Shell oil company may have already begun exploratory drilling off the spectacular coastline of the Arctic Nation Wildlife Refuge.

We simply cannot afford to fail – or we’ll be leaving the Arctic Refuge vulnerable to a catastrophic oil spill that could despoil the shores of our greatest wildlife sanctuary for generations to come.

In fact, it would take just one oil spill on the icebound Beaufort Sea that borders the Arctic Refuge to create a long-term toxic waste site – because the oil industry has no proven method for cleaning up oil in icy water!

Last month, NRDC President Frances Beincke and I wrote to alert you that the Bush Administration had already approved Shell’s dangerous plan for drilling in the Beaufort.

And as I write this, Shell’s icebreakers and drilling equipment are likely on the move.

A worst case spill in the Beaufort Sea sends shivers down the spine of anyone who knows the appalling record of toxic spills by Big Oil in the Arctic.

And make no mistake: an oil spill off the coast of the Arctic Refuge is all but assured. The Bush Administration’s own experts have predicted that drilling in the Beaufort will lead to at least one oil spill.

That spill would likely spread into the migratory routes of the endangered bowhead whale… blanket the shores of the Arctic Refuge where polar bears give birth… and impact hundreds of thousands of migratory birds.

The death toll of oil-soaked and poisoned whales, seals, polar bears and shore birds would be unimaginable.

With your help, we can win this case – because the Administration’s approval of Shell’s drilling is a brazen violation of our country’s environmental laws.

All we need is your backing.

So there, the check’s in the mail. I’m sending $30 to help out. If any of you are interested in helping with this cause or other fights for the environment, you can link to the website of the NRDC at NRDC: The Earth's Best Defense.

I’ve said before, as I’ll say again now: future generations many years from now are going to look back at us as if we were completely nuts for blasting through all these oil reserves. Well, they’re right. Many of us are nuts. Those of us who have no sense or desire for conservation, environmental stewardship, sustainability, or to seek a desire to implement auto technology and get away from our addiction to fossil fuels.

I like to think I exist in a different camp. As one prominent environmentalist recently said: “This is not just a scientific issue, this is a moral issue.”

If the tide was turning in a direction of upholding these ideals I hold so dear—the ones I just stated in the previous paragraph—then this blog wouldn’t exist. …but here I am, and I don’t plan on going away anytime soon. S

Thursday, September 6, 2007

The Bozo Bus: Big SpOil's Top Ten in Washington

A quick little update here; the top bozos on the hill in Washington who have received campaign funding from the oil monkeys, along with their respective amounts... and I'm assuming these are the dollars that we know about.
The paddywagon's filled to the tilt with bozos today! See if you can match the name below to the bozo in the picture. Be careful, as looks can be deceiving. Take your time and good luck! Here's the Bozo list:
  1. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Senate (R, TX) - $300,161
  2. Joe Barton, House (R, TX) - $184,300
  3. John Cornyn, Senate (R, TX) - $180,000
  4. Bob Corker, Senate (R, TN) - $173,700
  5. Mary Fallin, House (R, OK) - $162,450
  6. Heather Wison, House (R, NM) - $144,000
  7. Dennis Hastert, House (R, IL) - $134,600
  8. Jon Kyl, Senate (R, AZ) - $133,700
  9. Steve Pearce, House (R, NM) - $121,578
  10. Barbara Cubin, House (R, WY) - $119,150
The source of this information is from the Center for Responsive Politics. Hmmm... All Republicans too... what a shocker.
Stop --- don't thank me --- you're welcome. I was happy to add warm fuzzies to your day.