Hi, my name is D and this is my writings on subjects. I'm no rapscallion or anything at all. If you want to you can read my writings on subjects if you have free time. If you want to argue with me or call me names then please comment. Negative feedback is very welcome...I love dat shit. Me? I'm not even a noun, I'm a fucking verb, dude.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Trapped in Icers

I wrote about Fake News a coupla months ago, and in it, I lamented the fact that Fake News is not what it used to be. It may sound strange but I have a lot of lament in my heart for the current state of Fake News in modern times.

Now a days, it's 200% frizzle, frazzle, and gimmicks the Fake News. Some jamoke punches up a 60 word "article", snaps on a snazzy title, scripts on about 700 ads, and then publishes it. It's crap, man. Total crap is what it is.

You're sitting there thinking, yeah of course Fake News is a buncha crap wasn't it always this way? As to which my reply is ... No, it was NOT always as crappy as this. Yes, Fake News was always crappy but it was fucking funny and EFFORT was put into it.

There was a Golden Age for Fake News and it ran from about 1981 to about 2005 and it was called ... The Weekly World News.

Cover from its later more-sillier years.


It wasn't like The Onion where 100% of people were 100% sure it was satire/fake .... it danced the line between fakery and reality ... but rest assured .... 90% of people 90% of the time were sure it was a bunch of nonsense.

One of the editors of Weekly World News once stated that it's readership was based on two kinds of readers which were referred to as Reader A and Reader B. It is explained that Reader A believes what they are reading and purchases the News to be shocked by the stories in it ... whilst Reader B is not retarded and knows Weekly World News is a lark and laughs at the foolishness of the stories.

The News got whackier and whackier as time went on until its demise. In the early 1980s its readership was probably 90% Reader A and 10% Reader B but by the late 1990s the stats reversed and only 10% were Reader As and 90% were Reader Bs (9/10 people bought it to laugh at/with it and didn't believe it).

To WWN, making money was their goal, just as Fake News is today, but they really tried to give the readers quality-ass shit and really make the reader laugh or be entertained. They really did, dude.

I actually prefer the early archive of WWN of the 1980s, where it was 90% Reader A, when it was threading a fine line between believability and down-right unquenchable stupidity. The Shock Value of the later years is sort of a little too worked, I find. I really do prefer the subtle yet retarded era of WWN.

They had their paranormal/aliens stuff in the 1980s too but on a much smaller scale and a thousand times less ridiculous. The main tenets of the early WWN was a hash of Crazy Newz Stories, Celebrity Gossip,  Harrowing Tragedy and/or Miracle Newz Stories, Fake Help Columns, and Angry Blow Hards ... and for the most part the ridiculousness was subtle but still there.

So today, I want to speak specifically about a main tenet of 1980s era Weekly World News, the tenet of Harrowing Tragedy and/or Miracle Newz Stories ... and specifically the tried-and-true tale of children getting trapped in ice.

We shall be (A) Explaining what a "Trapped in Icer" article is, we shall be (B) Narrating a paragraph by paragraph example of a "Trapped in Icer" ... and finally (C) We shall witness as I make a valiant attempt of my own to write a classic "Trapped in Icer" with hopes of meeting the approval of the reading audience.


A Trapped in Icer

Weekly World News went to the Ice Well a lot, it went to the Well a lot too. I don't mean just the expression either ... I mean they literally went to the Well a lot, as in articles about children being trapped in Wells ... but not more than articles about Kids Getting Trapped in Ice. They went to the Ice Well far more than they went to the Well Well.

This is a big go-to plot device in other venues too ... like the Simpsons did it ... and I recently saw the new Pee Wee Herman movie where Pee Wee makes a new Best Friend and is invited to his birthday party but unfortunately gets trapped in a Well and can't make it. I remember there was a movie called Simon Birch where this cute dwarf child gets trapped in some ice (or did he save a kid from ice? I don't remember). Those kids on Lassie were always getting caught in wells or burning barns. Christopher Walken saves a kid from an Icy Lake death in that one where he shoots the President too. I like when they do this in movies and things ... there's a subtle beauty to getting trapped in a well or trapped in some ice.

There were issues of the WWN with multiple Icers in the same issue. I mean how many kids can get trapped and miraculously rescued from an icy lake or icy ravine in the same damned week? There's an issue with THREE trapped in icers! At that point when you get to the second one you're like, another kid got trapped in some ice!? You're still probably gonna read it anyways and not skip it because the first Icer was so well written for a short news article ... and then you'll soon see and realize that the second Icer article is even better than the first one! By the time you get to the third Icer, you still have to ask yourself how in the heck THREE kids got harrowingly trapped and miraculously rescued from Ice in the same week ... but you'll be damned if you aren't gonna read a THIRD icer in this issue because, holy crap, they are soooo good. While reading Weekly World News, you know you can't take the paper too seriously and hold it to too many standards when the cover story was "Les Nessman from WKRP in Cincinnati Attacked by Unidentified Flying Object on Set!" ... so who really cares if they want to do three articles (two back-to-back) about children trapped in ice.

When you do this many Icers, or anything really, colleagues start competing to see who can out-do each other and out-ice another. This is what happened, I think, with the WWN's Icers. There were so many people doing them that they all tried to be the Ice Bearer. These things turned into literal Russian Tragedies by the umpteenth one. These were no longer reports on kids trapped in Icy Ravines but short novels written about the fragility of life.

Let's take a look at an example (this is just one of many .... I'm not saying this is necessarily the best one of all time) ...



Example Icer

One of many,



Nine year-old boy spent 3 terrible hours trapped in the  .... wait for it ...... ICY JAWS OF DEATH. OH NO! First of all, before you think anyone's making fun of a terrible situation ... I'm almost 99% sure that kid over there in that bed was never trapped in any god damned ice and is a stock photo or other.


Now that's how you open up an Icer, you let the reader know that this isn't just some regular dopey ol' dumb ice or anything, this is a veritable Tomb of Ice and this child is helplessly a prisoner in this tomb with no way out. Plus this isn't some lake that some other kids are skating on or playing pick up hockey on that cracked open ... this tomb of ice is on a Deserted Winter Beach. So from the opening paragraph we learn of a child that is helplessly encased in a tomb of ice on a deserted island with no way to escape. Great opener for an Icer, just great.




Obviously, these news reports become stories pretty fast. Somehow someone knew how the boy felt and verbatim what he said throughout this harrowing ordeal on a "deserted winter beach." I guess a stenographer was there with him trapped in the Ice as well.


I remember Mike Walker from the National Enquirer used to come on the Howard Stern show and do a test of three news stories and you guess which is the false one ... and I never got one wrong. Never. The fake one would always be written like this .... as a story with verbatim quotes and the characters thinking to themselves.

If I saw this in a respectable publication, this story telling, I'd be immediately turned off by it, but the cover story for this week's Weekly World News where this article ran was "Ronald Reagan's Youngest Son Living in Squalor on the Dole Line Waiting for Hand Outs of Free All Dressed Hot Dogs!!!" so my standards for news reporting are obviously quite laxed whilst engaging in a Weekly World News article.



 
....As the icy fingers of the ridge. Oooooh, I like that part. That's good. You can use like "Meanwhile..." and other plot devices too when you write Icers. It's not to be taken as a real news report so it has a lot of give when you do these.



Oh this is a good one. We find out in the closing paragraph that the blue shape battling along the ice bed (or Ice Tomb if you will) was the child's innocent but relatable to Milwaukee Brewers batting helmet. The blue helmet stood out in the web of white ice and that let his parents and rescuers find him and save him. That's how you write, man. That's how you write. Yeah. Iron. Hard. Ice. Walls. Yes. Write lady, write your ass off! Yes.



No, mamma don't stop your babies from wearing silly things, all mammas everywhere listen up and listen good... please, if your kid wants to wear a baseball batting helmet to school or to the park ... just let them! It might be the difference between life and death! That Brewers helmet saved Adam Rosenzweig's life! It's miracle's miracle! It was a miracle's miracle!



...and then look how fucking shaggy it ends. Oh wow. That ordeal? It wasn't that bad. That dog wasn't even that shaggy, man. That kid'll never go back to that icy old beach ever again.

So good.


My Own ... Trapped in Icer.

I've never been this nervous before writing, the reason being that, I fear I will not correctly capture the essence of the "Trapped in Ice" article. It seems so easy to do one but at the same time .... so difficult. Everyone thinks it's so easy to just sit down and write a heroic tragedy-turned-miracle but it's just not that simple. It's not. I have great respect for articles about kids getting trapped in wells, and kids getting trapped in caves, and kids getting trapped in ice .... they are good writing and the task is daunting for I fear I cannot give homage to this style with the justice it deserves.


Yet, in the opening statement, I did in fact make an assertion that I would make an attempt to preform this writing style .... and I'm not one to back down from bold claims in intros. This blank page below sits in front of me empty, its emptiness like a void that needs to be filled ....


.... It's just you and me now Blank Page. Mano-Y-Mano. Just you Blank Page, and Me and a child .... a child who just happens to be trapped in some ice. You can stare at me all you want Blank Page ... with your white deadness and lifelessness .... but you cannot daunt me to the point of surrender. No way. I know you Blank Page, saying to yourself that there's no way I can write about a child trapped in Ice .... well guess again. You think you're so much better than me Blank Page? Yeah right. You cast doubt upon me Blank Page but that will be your undoing .... now get ready ... get ready to be filled with a short story about some kid getting trapped in some ICE!





"Small Child Swallowed by the Encroaching Abyss of Deadly Ice whilst Spelunking in Near-By Cave .... Can he Survive???" 

-A Short News Article


Paul Strohmayer wrapped in warm blankets....
It was a soft September's morn in the small hamlet known as East Lansing, Michigan.

Albeit a quaint township it was no stranger to erratic weather and on September the 17th of the year 1989 this small American town experienced a blizzard like no man or woman had ever seen.

The snow was falling down in veritable sheets. Layer upon layer of cold hail dropping down unto this poor American hamlet. As layer upon layer of sheet-like ice pelted the countryside it was as if Mother Nature had declared war on Michigan.

It was only September, the fall-weary Michigan authorities were in no way prepared for such an assault on their beautiful state and the wonderful denizens of East Lansing did nothing to deserve such a Winter's Blasting.

As the snow continued piling upon pile, and the ice begast mounting upon mount ... one mother's voice began to crack amongst the pelting waves of winter's malfeasance. It was the town's nurse, Heather Strohmayer....

"My son? Where is my one and only beautiful son?" her voice declared as she scanned the living room for her beloved boy child.

Yet, her son was no where to be found for he had gone off to spelunk in a near by cave. The boy was the adventurous type who loved exploration and adventure .... yet, sadly his body was not built to engage in such follery.

Paul Strohmayer was a handicapped boy, born under an unlucky star so to say, at birth he was barely even one full pound and the doctors told his parents he had zero chance to live. Paul was a born fighter with a never-say-give-up demeanor since his very first day on God's Green Earth. Paul indeed defied the Doctors visions and made it past the rearing stages of infancy ... and now despite having wee-legs that were much too small to hold up his 3 foot frame .... he was a healthy 10 year old child who was ...

..... trapped in ice!

Winter's impromptu storm had caught poor Paul off guard just like the rest of Michigan. Paul was alone in that cave, for Paul had no friends. The other children laughed at him and jeered him for being so short and for having such wee legs. The other children often casted rocks and stones at him simply because they felt he looked different than them. He was a loner, a small, cast-about, loner who always was by his lonesome.

"The only friend my son ever had is that mangy scrappy dog that always tagged alongside of him. He was a varmint that dog, I, I, I didn't let it in the house because I thought it might carry something, like a disease, you know? That scrappy mangy thing was Paul's only true friend ..." explained Paul's mother Heather.

That dog may have had matted hair and a funny eye .... but he was Paul's only voice to the outside world now that he had tumbled down a cave's hole and lay motionless and afraid. Paul asked the dog to find help .... to tell anyone ... anyone who'd listen that he was incapacitated in a cave's trench whilst the ever-encroaching icy hand of old man winter clawed at him in his crippled state.

"Please, Isaliah, please, your a good dog and I know you can get this message out ... please tell anyone who'll listen that I'm trapped in a cave and cast-upon by winter's icy clutches.. Please"  implored Paul to his trusty dog.

The ice filled up the crevice he had tumbled into, soon the ice and snow had accumulated up to his neck, and only his poor bullum head could be seen above the cool embrace of snow. Paul openly inwardly wondered if this is a fate best suited for a child no one ever loved .... a child cast out by the other children for being odd in appearance. He wondered if this prison of ice was actually where he belonged ... the ice couldn't judge him, the snow couldn't cast upon rocks upon him, the snow and ice may be cold but they were kinder to him than any friend he ever had.  

Was this where he belonged? Was this Cold Abyss of Ice and Snow where he was destined to find peace? The cold made his body numb, it was somewhat painful, but unlike when children throw pebbles at him, this pain from the icy abyss was almost peaceful in comparison. Lying numb in the cold embrace of Ice .... Paul thought that maybe the outside world was the real Abyss and this Embrace of Ice was where he really belonged...

.... but then he switched gears. He remembered as a small new-born the doctors telling his parents that this child was meant to die .... that his body was too weakened and cast-about from the painful embryonic stages which saw the umbilical  chord get wrapped around his neck and cutting off much needed oxygen to his young brain and body.

How was this different than untangling that umbilical chord? How was this ice prison any different than being ushered into a world where everyone expected him to die? Ever since he was a baby, Paul didn't understand that word Death ... and this whirling prison of ice and snow was no different than anything he hadn't conquered before. He braced tight and went into total meditation ... the Ice became his Eyes .... the Snow became his Ears .... he became the Abyss.

To defeat your enemy ... you must become your enemy ... and now that Paul was the Abyss all ways became One to Him. His mind wandered and he entered a dreamscape. He was surrounded by frozen children, hair bleached from the snow and ice to be as white as cloth. The children told Paul ...

"Paul, we are the Children of the Ice .... we all perished in an icy grave hoping someone would come save us ... please Paul ... breathe .... hold out for one more hour .... and .... tell .... our story." The children told him.

Paul did thus that, he braced himself and waited in this veritable Icy Tomb. Once again he started to lose consciousness ... but in the back of his mind he could hear the faintest murmur of the barking of a stray dog ....

....... "Isaliah?"

Yes Paul, it was Isaliah, your only friend on this earth barking and re-entering the scene of your icy demise ... and behind her was your mother and the Michigan State Authorities who were primed and ready to lift you out of that Icy Abyss.

As they freed you Paul they noticed something peculiar ...

....."What?"

Your hair had turned bleached white as white as cloth! It confounded the authorities and when they returned the child to town it confounded the local medical people as well. Why would his hair turn white like that with no way of going back?

His mother implored they take him to the local East Lansing barber to cut the white disheveled locks from the boy's scalp .... yet Paul vehemently refused!

"NO!" He shouted.

"No, my hair will remain White as the Ice for as long as I live! It will remain this way to remind the world about all those children who weren't as lucky as me and who died in the Icy Abyss after being trapped in a lake or a ravine of horrible ice and snow! Every time someone looks at my sheer white hair they will remember that it could happen to any child! Any child can get trapped in some ice! Their memories are not lost! They live on in the survivors! Survivors like ME! And if those punks at school want to throw rocks at me for having white hair then so be it ... for now I am the Abyss .... and rocks cannot hurt me .... and your scorn has no effect on me. I am Ice! I am the Abyss ... and the memories of all Children Trapped in Ice LIVE ON INSIDE MEEEEEE!!!!!!" -proclaimed Paul Strohmayer

All the children, parents, and authorities clapped for Paul after his resounding heart-felt plea, and when asked by reporters what he planned on doing now that he was free from the veritable cold prison of cold death he said...

".... Well, lady. I'll tell you one thing. You'll never catch my ass in that stupid cave again."


END



Blammo! Yeah. Take that, Blank Page, you said I couldn't do it? Yeah right! I even worked in some kid with the Green Hair shit in there. I was all over that piece! Yes.




Conclusion

Fake News? It used to mean something. Now? It's just a buncha frizzle, frazzle, razzle, dazzle, n' gimmicks.

Back in the day people used to put actual EFFORT into fake news. You kids these days .... you don't even know what the word EFFORT even means!

Monday, April 3, 2017

My Favorite Twitter Feed

Twitter is a hard venue for entertainment because of the 140 character limit but that limit also makes twitter what it is. You get to work with a 140 character statement, or a funny photo, or a stupid GIF ... and that's the only tools you can use to be entertaining on Twitter.

It's a good site, I find it is a great way to stay abreast on the world around me, to be wicked honest. I turn off the regional filters on trending topics on social media so I can get a sense of what is really buzzing around the globe concerning human matters. If you don't turn off the regional filters you will just get things that are happening around your town. It helps to keep a couple of good news sites, or political oriented people in your feed list, and then you can stay decently on top of what the heck is going on.

I like Twitter, I think it's a different vibe than facebook .... both have their pros and cons. You can write long counter-points to news stories or whatnot on Facebook which on twitter you can't do. So it has it's ups and downs but in general I cruise the twitter-sphere more often than the facebook-sphere I'd say.

Alright so, this article is not concerning the news/world-events related part of twitter, this article is going to explore who I think are the most entertaining twitter feeds on Twitter.

I narrowed it down to three finalists. The runners up for the prize of Best Twitter Feed in My Opinion are George Wallace and the Iron Sheik. The winner will be declared lower down in the article (or you could scroll down and see who it is if your sitting there with the most bated of breaths).



BRONZE MEDAL: George Wallace

Entertainment Genre: Comedy
Favorite "Feud": w/ Scott Baio

Feed: https://twitter.com/mrgeorgewallace

George Wallace is a fairly legendary stand up comedian. I've seen him live once and he is genuinely good at his craft, he's a great stand up comic and probably in my top 10 of all time ... but his twitter feed? It's definitely in my top 3 of all time. His comedic formula translates to 140 characters so well. His rapid fire opinions on anything at all really work with a 140 character limit ... he can fit a lot of content into short statements.

I've realized of late that to be a funny person you need to really personalize and be unique to be successful. There will only ever be one Rodney Dangerfield for instance, no one else can be him, you can impersonate him but there's only one him .... there's only one Gilbert Gottfried, you can try and talk like him and copy his mannerisms but there's only one Gilbert ... and George Wallace is the same, his idiosyncrasies and uniqueness can be mimicked by others but there will only be one George Wallace.

The best Twitter feud for Wallace, was one I watched unfold live, where George Wallace took on "Charles in Charge" star Scott Baio. The New York Daily News did a good write up of it the next day,

See: George Wallace Wrecks Scott Baio (NYDN Aug. 2016)

They state, "Not even the Fonze could help", and declared Wallace the winner of the twitter scuffle. I like when feuds end with a handshake and goodwill like this one did, in this case concerning the veterans, because it shows good sportsmanship by both parties.

So, for the thousands of short-burst statements that use only 140 characters or less which have made hundreds of thousands of people laugh so many times ... the legendary comic George Wallace is the Bronze medal winner



SILVER MEDAL: The Iron Sheik
Entertainment Genre: Bat Shit Anger and the Hurling of Invective at Everything and Everyone
Favorite "Feud": w/ Jose Canseco

Feed: https://twitter.com/the_ironsheik


You can say the Sheik feed is getting repetitive, but I do not care, there will never be a day before either myself or He pass on from this mortal realm where I will not click the Heart or the Like on something the Iron Sheik media feed spits out. It's the best. It's the friggin' best.

My first encounter with anything related to the Iron Sheik was as a very small child I had a Panini WWF sticker book, the ones where you buy packs of stickers and try to collect them all and paste them in the book .... and I had every sticker except one. I was missing the second half of the Iron Sheik two-sticker layout on one of the pages and that book stayed 99% complete ... I never got the other half of the Iron Sheik and it was annoying.

My childhood video store (remember those relics of the past!?) had a whole section devoted to WWF and I would rent one every week until I saw them all. I had a full historical account of everything that happened in every major WWF pay-per-view event by the time I was about 11 years old. I was familiar with the work of the great Iron Sheik and was always aware of what a colorful character he was.

Like everyone else, in modern times, when Sheik re-emerged onto the pop scene after releasing a youtube interview where he threatens to sodomize B. Brian Blair, I was so happy that he was famous again. His appearances on Howard Stern are some of the funniest moments in media I've ever seen. He was so angry and so hilarious in those interviews. It was great.

My favorite feud, and with Sheik I mean he's tweeted angry hate-filled statements at probably every celebrity under the sun, so it's hard to narrow it down to one ... but I don't want to do Bette Midler or somebody ... I want to write about Jose Canseco because he was close to making this list too. Jose Canseco is definitely top 5 in twitter feeds.

Canseco tweets about .... oh wow, I don't even know what the fuck this guy is talking about half the time. He's deeply interested in colonizing Mars and trouble shooting all sorts of space flight difficulties. He uses a lot of science words but I'm not sure he knows what any of them actually mean. If someone is gonna be successful in sticking a jabroni on Mars it's probably gonna be that Elon Musk ... but don't rule out Jose Canseco and his Mars colonization theories ... who knows maybe he'll surprise us all and figure out how to terraform Mars whilst Elon Musk is twiddling his thumbs. I heard he got a job in media with the A's, I think, if that's true I am happy for Jose Canseco ... a lot of baseball people don't like him but I think Jose's a good guy.

Anyways, The Sheik and Canseco took some bites out of each other a few times, the largest bites coming in 2012,

See: The Iron Sheik and Jose Canseco Twitter Beef (Deadspin, Sept. 2012)

I've never seen a person refer to another person as being dumber than a dead dog or smelling worse than a dead dog's shit before this. The Iron Sheik is the Silver Medal recipient.



GOLD MEDAL: Mr. T
Entertainment Genre: Helluva Tough
Favorite "Feud": w/ Mr. T

Feed: https://twitter.com/MrT

The great Mr. T, star of the A-Team and Rocky III, has only really starting tweeting a lot only of late. Ever since he signed on to fight for the children of St. Judes and Shriners Hospitals on ABC's smash hit TV Show "Dancing with the Stars" .... He has begun keeping his legions of supporters updated on his day to day progress via his twitter feed ... and .... it is so INSPIRATIONAL!

This guy is inspiring the absolute heck out of everyone! He's pumped, man. PUMPED! YEAH!

Me? I'm inspired, I cannot tell a lie, I am INSPIRED to be more than I can be ... EVERYDAY! I know I can be better .... I can be a more better writer and a more better person! Yes.

Mr. T does not have a Feud to speak of because that's not how the man rolls. He doesn't work like that, that schoolyard stuff is not how T operates. His feud is with HIMSELF ... to better himself every day. He's not competing with the other stars on Dancin' with the Stars ... he's competing with himself in order to become a good dancer.

Mr. T does not want to pity any fools, or pity the judges, from his tweets we know he is in this 100% and wants to win for the children. There is no pity in his heart for the other contestants such as the multi-talented Charo or David Ross of the 2016 World Series Winning Chicago Cubs.

This journey to becoming a good dancer and raising money for the children's hospitals is being self-journaled on his twitter feed and it is a story in itself. His feed is inspiring to all those who follow it.

Will he win Dancing with the Stars, I'm not sure, but after seeing his recent appearance on the Conan O'Brien program I could tell he's going into DWTS Week #3 rip-rock-and-raring to dance! Yes, and just like the kids of St Jude Hospital, the kids of Shriners Hospital, The Great Great Man Sylvester Stallone, the Great Great Man William Shatner, and millions and millions of Americans ... I am 100% behind MR. T in his dancing endeavor!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Montreal Pre-Season Baseball Games

Coupla years ago, I wrote about the wonderful Cincinnati Reds when they chose to venture up North of the border to engage in a friendly match between the Blue Jays inside of Montreal's Olympic Stadium. As a Montreal baseball fan who's currently without a team I appreciate greatly when teams choose to do this, I must say.

For the Reds one See: Here: (https://writtting-d.blogspot.ca/2014/09/montreal-baseball-project-marches-on.html)

In that article, I remembered the great man Barry Larkin, the great man Chris Sabo, the great dog Spuds McKenzie, and this and that. I love remembering shit, man it's fun...


 Remembering is nice.


I guess I should now remember the Pittsburgh Pirates teams I grew up watching as a child unit.

I remember Sid Bream's face like it yesterday, I remember Jose Lind turning double plays as if it happened yesterday, and I remember Doug Drabek striking guys out like it was yesterday just the same.

But....

... Is there a time where the past just doesn't even fucking matter anymore? Maybe I should stop thinking about the past. Yes, I am wicked excited to see the legend Al "Scoop" Oliver, star of both the Pirates and of the Expos, who will be there in Montreal at the end of March and yes the past is amazing and great ...

... but sometimes the future is fun to think about too.

Maybe this Pittsburgh Pirates article shouldn't be about Jose Lind, Sid Bream, and pre-steroids Barry Bonds which my memory R-E-M-B-E-M-B-E-Rs greatly ... but maybe I should join the current test of the times and think about shit that is going on right about a time called ... Right About Now.

This following Pittsburgh article shall focus on two current Pirates instead of Pirates from the eighties. Because, Hey, it's not 1989 ... it's like 2017 right now,

Alright let's go:


Pirates I wanna SEE

One of the human persons I paid tickets for to see in live human flesh to play in the Montreal exhibition game is a man who I saw in the WBC LIGHT IT UP ... the great 5 tool man ... Andrew McCutchen.

This guy reminds me of Dawson but with walks. He's fast, can hit, can do it all, and has an eye too. He's legit a five tool player ... in the WBC he was exceptional, a true and utter Star in every sense of the word.

Now he has short hair, last time I visited Pittsburgh many years ago when he was younger Cutch had wild dreads.  Either way you slice it, or any way his hair is, this man is a 5-Tool All Star in every sense of the word.

I think if he keeps going on the path he's going that Cutch will get into the Hall of Fame, man. I think so.


The Other PIRATE I PAID MONEY TO SEE 


Yo, like seriously, and humanly honestly, I bought tickets to see these games because I want to see Raines (my childhood idol) give a speech, to see Andrew McCutchen ... but also ...

I bought tickets to see the Korean superstar Jung Ho Kang! He's basically one of the first true superstars from Korea (and maybe even the best so far) to become a MLB super star ... and YES, one of the reasons I bought tickets to these games was to see Korea's super star in the live and in the flesh!

So why is he being detained and not allowed into North A fucking Merica for!?

See: (https://sports.yahoo.com/news/report-jung-ho-kang-denied-u-s-visa-may-not-play-for-pirates-in-2017-161103692.html)

I've seen athletes do the most insane of things and not be deported ... what da tong dung fuk did Jung Ho Kang ever do to anyone?

Come on now, this immigration shit is getting so silly. There's no way that Pirates superstar Jung Ho Kang is a threat to Pittsburgh society. That's absolutely ludicrous. Get real.

Humans get borned on somewhere, they didn't choose where the heck their idiot parents had sex at ... like in a car in Spain or an airplane in the air in like French Indo China or whatever ... and then those love-sex-babies they got birthed and became human adult-verbs basically, doing what they do, what the fuck they feel like doing. I was born in Canada but I could care less, you know? It's not like as a non-existant pre-baby I asked my jabroni parents to do sex and shit and make me in the geographic location they currently resided at, you know? Your dumb parents have sex and make you alive ... and then you are forever beholden to their physiognomies, backgrounds, genes, hopes, dreams, and shit.

There is not ONE historic example of a baby whilst in mothers-womb putting a quarter in the umbilical-telephone and calling up their parents and saying ... "Yes, hello? Future parents? It's me your slimy baby calling you to tell you when and on what geographical longitude/latitude I would like to be born on ... so yeah, get on that please. K thanks, bye."  That has never happened in history because it is genuinely IMPOSSIBLE (though I've seen something quite similar in the film "Petey Wheatstraw: The Devil's Son in Law" but that was but mere fiction.)

Humans are just human .... they just wanna do the do.... if this guy, Jung Ho Kang (강정호) , wants to play baseball for the Pirates then just let him. If he wants to be a Major League Super Star then just let him do it ... he probably trained big time to do that, you know? Why because he was born somewhere but now wants to make a living somewhere else does that make a person evil or something?

I don't think so.


Conclusion 

I bought tickets to those Pirates games for many reasons, to support the fan attendance number to make Montreal look good for expansion, to re-live past moments in that building, to see Stroman who did good in the WBC, to see Cutch who did good in the WBC ... but also to see Jung Ho Kang.

They should be good again this year ... they have 40K+ sold for each game already.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

World. Baseball. Classic.

Yeah!

The United States of America has just been crowned for the first time ever .... the winner of the World Baseball Classic. I have previously written one time on the subject,


See here: Why The Americans don't Win the World Baseball Classic (Feb. of 2013)


In that one, we looked at what I believed were factors at play as to why the United States of America, the supposed King of Baseball, doesn't beat teams like Japan and the Dominican in this Olympic style tournament. It talked about homeruns, and of Terry Crowley I think at one point, and a comedic interlude involving the great Earl Weaver was in there if memory serves me right.

It looks like that 2013 article can finally be laid to rest now that the USA has been crowned the champion of this illustrious tournament.

This tournament has it all, it's Worldly, it's Baseball, and it's CLASSIC. I don't know what more anyone can ask for. The Worldhood of Baseball is inherently Classic and over the last few weeks it was on full display for all to see. Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Dock Ellis once referred to Baseball as a Country .... insinuating that Baseball was in and of its own self ... a Nation.

After this tournament ... I have come to agree with the great sage Dock Ellis (rest his soul), after seeing so many regions and physiognomies united under the flagship of Baseball and how beautiful it was ... I have no choice but to agree with Dock Ellis on this matter. On display was the dynamic flair of Puerto Rico, the consummate efficiency and attention to detail of Japan, the talent powerhouse which is the Dominican Republic, The diaspora teams who may be American now but who gladly suited up for their parents or grandparents homelands, the determination and reliability of Canada and Mexico (USA's most trusted allies), the heart and soul of Venezuela  ... and last but certainly not least the birth land of baseball itself ... The United States of America.

When the dust of this gentlemanly tournament settled we saw for the very first time ever ... the land where Baseball was first born .... was once again crowned as the Champions of it.

.....and it probably couldn't have come at a better time.


Deep Divisions

I've been reading Broadcast Icon Dan Rather's poignant essays he posts to social media of late and I think he has his finger on the pulse of the current deep, almost historic, partisan divisions in America's political landscape of today. In a recent one he described the political climate of the times as,


 

"...consumed by the churning political hurricane that is America today. The deepening divisions that are pulling at the fabric of our nation are on raw display. This is my country that I love with all my heart. We are a weakened nation, in our own estimation, and that of the world. If this was happening in some distant land, we would shake our heads and thank our lucky stars that we are Americans. But this nightmare is happening here, and we have no choice but to confront that disorientating truth."

-Dan Rather, March 4th of 2017


The political bickering, the slander, the fighting, the trickery, the slings and arrows being volleyed to-and-fro ... has this really become depressing to the point where the very fabric of it is on the verge of tearing? Reading the papers, yes, that seems to be the case .... but ... Americans should remember something in times such as these .... and that's .... that there's another side to this coin. Yes, America is the land of Freedom and of Law .... and yes, we know its political stability and Laws are sacrosanct to itself and its function ... but .... America isn't just a political sphere .... there's another side to the coin which embodies America ....

What's on the other side of that Coin, you ask?

When you walk down the road and see children playing and laughing .... That's on the other side of the coin.

When you continue down that same road and your foot gets stuck in a crack and you tumble down to your knees .... yet, .... there's an arm and a hand immediately outstretched to help you back to your feet .... that's on the other side of the coin.


It's that local pizza store you stop at every friday night to buy-a a slice-a of the pizza pie!

Its that park right by where you live, that every time you enter foot in it and look around, you have to stop and wonder for a second if this is a Norman Rockwell painting which has come to living breathing life or if it truly is a real park that exists in total reality, who's sights and sounds are so real they hurt. A reality that echoes in your heart and the powerful truth that dawns on you that you exist in this real life painting who's beauty is captivating .... that's on the other side of this coin too!

It's the feeling, the feeling at this park, when you step onto the field and look at the sun and say "WOW" .... that's there too.

You know what else is on the other side of this coin? The coin that represents America? Well, there's first base ... then there's second base .... oh, then there's this thing I like to call third base .... and then we all know what comes next don't we ...

..... IT'S CROSSING HOME PLATE AND SCORING THE WINNING RUN IN THE BOTTOM OF THE NINTH TO WIN GAME SEVEN OF THE WORLD SERIES!!!!

That's right America, Baseball is on the other side of this coin. It's been there the whole entire time.

America's not just about some sly fox up on capitol hill greasing some pocket or wheelin' some deal! America is not just about some tycoon up on the beltway buying off some other tycoon! No, you rightly must understand that it's not! It's not just about some salesman trying to sell you some crap or other! It's more than just about the richest man in town trying his darndest to fleece the second richest man in town through some hoodwinkin' carpetbaggery! It's not only about some official up on stupid idiot street trying to line up his next scam! NO! That's only half of the coin named America ....

... the other half of America is the part that you look at and say "WOW! YES! I'm proud of this!" and even in these trying and turbulent times of political uncertainty up there in the Land of Politicians ...

... there's still powerful and inspiring moments of glory to be found in another land ... the Land of Baseball.

Now whaddya say America!? CAN YOU GET DOWN WITH YOUR OWN BAD SELVES!!?!?!??

Yeah!


(Congratulations as well to Puerto Rico for taking home the Silver Medal. Puerto Rico and all the Boricua should also, yes indeed, get down with their own bad selves. Wepa!)

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Basketball Movies

I read many years ago to this day that there will be a Space Jam number 2 .... and that was probably in 2001. The year is now 2017 and still there is only one entry in to the pantheon of Space Jam films. The latest reports say there will be a Space Jam 2 released in 2019 ... but they've been saying that as the day is old, I can tell you that much. I'll believe there will be a Space Jam 2 when these tired old eyes of mine see it on the Big Screen.

Personally, I didn't even think, judging by movie-rating standards that Space Jam One was even that great a movie. The thing that the 1996 version of Myself liked about Space Jam was that it collided Universes together. It took three separate entities ... 1) the World of Basketball, 2) the World of Hollywood, and the 3) the World of Old School Cartoons .... and smashed these Worlds together to form a totally unique Universe in which it was normal for Cartoons, Basketball Men, and Hollywood Stars to exist together.

It was this collision of Worlds that generated this sense of surreal imaginary bewilderment and silliness that I liked about it. I've noticed this Surreal Imaginary Bewilderment before ... stuff like Roger Rabbit movie for one, or when Mr. T from the A-Team merged with Wrestling and fought Roddy Piper, or back when SquareSoft bought the rights to put Disney characters in video games and merged the worlds of Mickey Mouse with the world of Final Fantasy (I still don't know how anyone approved this idea in a board room but to be honest it isn't as bad as it sounds.)

When you make a fiction-based World in art creation for entertainment purposes, you are in a sense baking an Apple Pie from Scratch as one Carl Sagan once said, the rules which govern your fictionally created Universe do not and should not be based on the same rules that govern our Real-Life Scenario Universe. You have free reign to make your World based on many interesting possibilities.

In that SquareSoft Disney game they made for example, it was Surreally strange when you first enter it. I was familiar with both the World of Mickey Mouse and the World of Final Fantasy and their entertainment-based Universes. The pre-cursor to this was probably that Mario SNES Square game where Mario fights Culex the Crystal God complete with Final Fantasy Boss Music. The Square Disney game for PS2 went further and like totally merged the Disney Brand with the Square Brand. It was hard to wrap your head around it at first, but it turned out to be good. The brain has fun I guess entering into this merged scenario and thinking .... "Ok, so Donald Duck is gonna fight Sephiroth now? Ok this is odd. I don't summon Ifrit or Ramuh anymore I summon Bambi????"

Space Jam One was more than two Worlds colliding it was THREE. Hollywood + Basketball + Looney Tunes. Again, I'm not sure how this idea came up but I can't say it turned out badly.

Fuck, I gotta wait til 2019 for Space Jam 2 to re-unite this tri-fecta of Universes? I got the Basketball Jones right about a time called Right Now though, baby. I'm sleepin' with a basketball under my pillow and maybe that's why I cannot sleep at night. That Basketball? It's like a Basketball to me. Yes it is.

Looks like I'm gonna rate a buncha basketball movies and if you want you can read what I write....

I'm not gonna cover Dramatic Basketball movies though because I don't like that genre. The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of Basketball is the Harlem Globetrotters and that jazzy song that they have. Basketball to me is 70s, Afros, whacky stuff .... that's what I think about when I think of Basketball. I don't really get the Basketball Dramas .... there's a lot too like He Got Games, and a lot of coach ones. It usually mixes gangster drug dealer story arcs with a side-order of basketball these movies and is filled with hood-movie cliches that you'd see made fun of in Keenan Ivory Wayans movies. The drug dealer cleans up his act through basketball but dies before making the NBA type stuff. There's even a drug dealer hood basketball movie starring Leo DeCarprio in it ... I'm not sure what the casting director had in mind there casting Leo DeCraprio in a hood basketball crack-head movie. I'm not gonna cover any Basketball Dramas and I'm gonna skip the Basketball Mystery Who-Done-it film "The Playaz Court" too (which I think had Mac from Night Court in it).

There's some really not-so-good ones that are being omitted too which aren't dramas but I don't have enough to write about them. Mister Kotter's coach one is not really drama but it's not that good. Celtic Pride with Akroyd and Damon Wayans and the guy from Home Alone is not good enough to write about either. There's a Will Ferrell one that has the 70s afro mystique I'm looking for but I don't remember it well, all these Ferrell movies just blob together in your mind, I know there's one where he flies out of Montreal's Olympic Stadium at the end like an angel but that's the skating one right? I've seen the Will Ferrell basketball movie but I really don't remember anything at all about it.

White Men Can't Jump was a very good movie that started a beautiful friendship between Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson and proved that a white guy and a black guy can be powerful best friends. I'm not leaving White Men Can't Jump out for any particular reason, I like this one, it's very good, but I can't cover everything or we'll be here all night.

Okie dokie....




1. SPACE JAM
"Everybody get up it's time to slam now, we got a real jam goin' down ... Welcome to the Space Jam!"

In 1996 the world changed forever as the Universes of Hollywood, Basketball, and Cartoons all collided. The viewing audience was ushered into a world of intrigue and total immersive imagination as Three Worlds we knew well were all inter-connected together for the first and maybe last time.

Many of my generation's brothers and sisters still remember where they were when this movie came out, it sticks out in our memories as the moment the impossible became the possible.

Basketball, Hollywood, Cartoons ... together. At last. United as One Forever and for Always. Their bond seemed odd and difficult for many to understand and accept but when the dust settled and the audience exited the theater they all collectively knew one thing....

.... that the memories formed in our hearts and minds that day could never be taken away from us. The collision of Worlds that no one thought possible was proven for one and all to see. The merger of sound upon pictures and pictures upon motion of these Three Thought-to-be-Impossible-to-Bond Worlds ... were Bonded. Anything Became Possible.

Space Jam in its purest form represents unification. Unification of Impossible Dreams that which now have been Achieved can Never Be Broken. 

Space Jam is NOT about a group of Cartoons, Newman from Seinfeld, Bill Murray, and others united behind Michael Jordan to defeat an inter-galactic group of Monsters/Gangsters at a game of basketball ... it is about the Bonding and Unification of Impossible Dreams which once bonded have no choice but to become...


.... A Reality.


- Final Rating -
Filmatography:76
Music: 72
Acting: 73
BONUS: Unification of Universes: +15

Final Score: 89



2. Slam Dunk Ernest

I covered this film at great lengths in one of my many extra-long Ernest articles. Please see here for my official opinion of the great film Slam Dunk Ernest if you are interested in knowing my official opinion on that subject:

See: https://writtting-d.blogspot.ca/2016/01/palette-cleanser-lets-rate-more-ernest.html

It truly is a wonderfully crafted masterpiece and might even be considered if I ever sit down and contemplate compiling the 50 Greatest Movies of Any Genre of Any Era of All Time which I might do one day but maybe like 20 years from now after I see what the 2020s and 2030s have to offer up, y'knowhatimean?


- Final Rating -
Filmatography: 86
Music: 61
Acting: 93
BONUS: Unification of Universes: N/A

Final Score: 80



3. Cornbread, Earl, and Me
"My name? My naaaaame is Corn Bread. His name is Cornbread. Cooooornbread. My name is Corn Bread. My naaaame is Corn Bread!"

I like this film, I think it's well directed and well filmed ... the only reason I didn't file this away with the other dramas and leave it out is because there's something about this film that I find humorous even though it's not intended to be.


Let's set up a bit first. This is a good movie and the acting and everything is great. It fits the mold of "youth finds way out of ghetto but tragically dies the day before he gets out" trope which is common in Basketball Dramas slash Hood Flics. The sequence where this talented basketball youth suffers an untimely death is beautifully filmed in the pouring rain and is dramatic and well done .... but .... the character who dies in this scene is the character named "Cornbread".

Look, if I was a writer and I was gonna write a very touchingly sad, dramatic type scene where a main character dies in the pouring rain, blood flowing down the street mixing with the pouring rain ... I'd probably make that character this tragedy happens to the "Earl" named one or something like that, or even have changed it to Cornelius which is a more standard Corn-based Name. If you do this build up and name the character Cornbread you wind up with everyone in your beautifully dramatic scene yelling things like "Cornbread NOOOOOO", "they KILLED CORNBREAD!", "Oh my GOD NOT CORNBREEAAAAAAAD!!!!!" .... it adds a layer of silliness to an otherwise great scene ... look here (it starts around the 5 minute mark in that video below):





The pacing, the music, the rain, the acting, everything is PERFECT, it's literally a beautifully filmed scene ... but the writers named the character that has such an emotional death scene here Corn Bread. Why Corn Bread? You know every actor is gonna be yelling this name with distress, pain, and anger ... you know that so why name that character Corn Bread for? It really sillies-up a very emotional scene.

"Why CORNBREAD!? WHY!? NOT COOOOORN BREAAAAAAD!!!! NO!!!!!!!!"
 
I saw this in another movie once, that movie the Outsiders with C. Thomas Howell does this too by naming characters silly things. You get this in the Outsiders where like some kid is yelling "No! Why Sodie Pop!? Why! Why did you do it Sodie Pop!? Why did you sell out Pony Boy for!? What did the Pony Boy ever do to you Sodie Pop!?"

Those Keenan Wayans movies satirize this well, I find. There's one where a guy named "June Bug" dies, I think in "I'm Gunna Git You Sucka" and it's like "WHY JUUUUUNE BUUG! NOT JUNE BUG!!!!!! ANYONE BUT JUUUNE BUG!!!! HOW CAN YA TAKE JUNE BUG AWAY FROM US!??? JUNE BUG WAS SOOO YOUNG!!!! NOOO! WHY!?"

 - Final Rating -
Filmatography: 81
Music: 77 (His name? Well, his name is Cornbread)
Acting: 72
BONUS: Unification of Universes: N/A

Final Score: 77




4. Juwanna Mann

This is my jam right here. Juwanna Mann. If I see this masterpiece on the TV... for some reason I always have to watch it. It's good.

This is the story of a bad-attitude self-centered basketball player who's arrogance and Rodman-esque behavior runs him out of the league.

So what does he do? He dresses up like a chick and joins the WNBA like any sane person would do if faced with a similar situation.

It's got In Living Color people in it like Kim Wayans and Tommy Davidson ... Davidson's even in character as that broke-ass record producer character he used to do with David Allan Grier. The lead is portrayed by Miguel A. Nunez Jr who's very good as the leading man/lady. Miguel has range, son. He's got range.

This movie came about a decade or so after Lady Bugs which was a Rodney Dangerfield vehicle where Rodney makes his step-son dress up like a girl so he can lead his boss's girls soccer team to the big victory. Ladybugs is such a wonderful film, very well crafted. This gender bender sports film format works, I gotta say. Man, I should do a "Rodney Movie" review next but it would mean having to re-watch some distant Rodney Movies and some of them aren't that great so I dunno, maybe not.

 - Final Rating -
Filmatography: 73
Music: 77
Acting: 88
BONUS: Unification of Universes: N/A

Final Score:  79






 5. The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh 
It's the Fish havencha havencha heard? It's the Fish havencha havencha heard? It's the .... FISH THAAT SAAAAAVED PITTSBURGH!!!" 

Alright, I've seen this. Obviously not when it was in drive-in theaters because I was not even born yet. I saw this only a few years ago after I saw someone, I think TV's Frank, tweet a joke about it.

I'm going into this thinking, from the title, okay so ... there's a fish, right, and it's gonna save Pittsburgh through Basketball? Is that what's going on here? Obviously as a man with an imagination similar to my own I began speculating how a fish was gonna save Pittsburgh through Basketball-related means and I must confess my mind came up with some pretty whacky routes to go with this thing. Aqua Man from Super Friends springs to mind, anthropomorphic basketball playing fish monsters come to mind, maybe a mermaid .... 

Pass to me Fish Man! I'm Open!
...but it turns out the "fish" that saved the steel city was just the concept of Pisces from that voodoo shtick astrology. Yup, there's no god damned fish monsters who play basketball in this movie which I must say is stupid. You know if you name a movie something like this that an audience is gonna drive up to the drive in, buy popcorn, buy drinks, plug the thingie into their car radio to hear the audio and whatnot, then patiently wait through the opening credits to see some Fish Men or Fish Monsters play basketball for some sort of Championship ... but No. The fish is just a "concept" in astrology ... there's NO FISH IN THIS MOVIE! NONE WHAT-SO-EVER! NONE! NO FISH AT ALL!

Still, when the dust settles and you come to grips that there's no talking bass shooting threes, or no carp hitting jumpers, or no octopuses blocking multiple men with their multiple arms you can still appreciate this film for what it is ... and thats, a feel good yarn about this rag tag group of misfits (who all HAPPEN TO BE THE SAME ASTROLOGICAL VOODOO SIGN) who win the big big game!

There's just one scene in this film that stuck out as "I wouldn't do a scene like that" and that's when the Whiz Kid, who's a child prodigy with a divine knowledge of astrology at a very young age, approaches the leader of his local basketball team in hopes of offering his tactical astrological projections to the team in order to help them win the big game .... and this scene occurs in a sauna basically. The leader of the team is sitting naked in a hot bath while the kid makes his astrological pitch to him ... why this setting for this scene? Couldn't the kid make the pitch at like a restaurant or something or outside the arena? Why is this scene set in the locker room bathroom? Like the kid is trying to tell this naked dude that he can help his team through the mysterious wonders of astrology .... and the naked dude is shifting in the tub and you can see like parts dangerously close to his groin as he shifts ... and it's like .... why do this scene in the fucking bathroom for!?

Whatever it's still a great film, I must say. The theme is played often enough that you just kind of sit back and wait for that theme to be played again. Holy shit is this some kind of number. Here, listen to this shit:





Oh fuck. I honestly love this song. I love it. It's amazing! It got some jam on it too. Yeah. But for real, my jam for once and for always is The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh .... Yeah. It 'aint a joke, 'aint a jive, it's all about a team of 5 just tryin' to stay alive! No Super man, No Spider man, No Six Million Dollar Man not even Wonder Woman's man ..... such a dream, could it be, so far from reality now it's just history ....

........................................... HATS OFF TO THE FISH.


 - Final Rating -
Filmatography: 62
Music: 133 (Limit BREAKER!)
Acting: 62
BONUS: Unification of Universes: N/A

Final Score:  86




Post-Final Ratings Assessment:

Space Jam: 89
The "Fish" that "Saved" Pittsburgh: 86
Slam Dunk Ernest: 80
Juwanna Mann: 79
Cornbread, Earl, and Me: 77


Space Jam wins ... but you know something ..... Yeah I respect Space Jam for doing what it did .... but there's a twinkle in my most human of hearts that thinks the 2019 entry to the Space Jam lore is gonna suck. I dunno, I think it will suck. I mean how can you tell people there's gonna be a Space Jam sequel for like 20 years and then never do one ... and now like 25 years after the first one there's gonna be a new Space Jam. Well, you know what Space Jam? You waited too long. You waited too long, Space Jam. There's a large part of me that wants NO PART in viewing the Space Jam sequel.


Call me bitter, call me stubborn ... but I don't know if I can bring these tired old eyes of mine to watch the next Space Jam movie. I don't think I can.....

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Hans Rosling

Hans Rosling passed away today. I was a fan of his life's work. I wrote about him in an article once a while back,

This One: https://writtting-d.blogspot.ca/2014/09/a-tuesday-comparison-comparin-writings.html


In that 2014 article, I compared one T. Malthus' viewpoints to children fighting over toys and pondered whether the Malthus viewpoint was obsolete and whether a new popular statistician could shape the world view in future years. It was good, it got hits.

Most people in North America wouldn't consider smart people as inspirational role-models but I think Hans Rosling's work was inspirational to a large degree.

Through his work with Gap Minder and other places he aimed to show that science and technology is making large headway in the battle against global poverty levels. Through his talks on various websites and tv outlets he often attempted to counter the popular viewpoint that the "Third World" was a cess-pool of violence, over population, and savagery .... people in the "First World" tend to think Africa or India or someplace is still living in like the 1500s ... but it's not the case at all. Using quizzes he would often ask an audience what they thought the birth rate was per woman in the "Third World" and usually 95% would get it wrong. He'd ask questions about child mortality and vaccination rates and again about 95% of the First World audience would get it wrong. People in the "First World" really still have the view that certain continents are cess pools of violence and degradation but that's not the case at all.

Humanity really should be proud of how many of its members have rised up and out of poverty. We've come a long way, honey we truly have. We should really be proud of ourselves in that regard ... even though we still have a lot of work to do in terms of global poverty.

According to a book I read once, "The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities of Our Time" by one Jeffrey Sachs ....

We've gone from:

in 1901: 99% of Humanity Living in Poverty
in 1981: 56% of Humanity Living in Poverty
in 2001: 44% of Humanity Living in Poverty

... and according to World Bank estimates ... in 2017 about 11% of Humanity is Living in Extreme Poverty.

In 1901 only the 1% of super duper rich people had things like enough food, access to clean water, sanitary toilets/amenities and now by 2017 only 116 years later 89% of Humans Worldwide have these things. That's pretty good. Through GapMinder you can see videos of graphs of these stats and how they increase over time. You can see how much gain we've made into child mortality rates, poverty rates, and other factors.

Rosling was also an exceptional teacher who was able to take these concepts and teach them worldwide using the simplest of visual tools and language. His talks and seminars took difficult statistical relationships and analysis and explained them in the simplest and easiest to understand of terms. Taking difficult things and explaining them to people in easy terms is the hallmark of a good educator. He was an exceptional educator.

Through the advancements of Science and Technology we've made a lot of headway into solving many global problems. People really forget how much progress we've actually made in the last century. People can say what they want about Humanity and Society about how bad it is ... but looking at the stats on Gap Minder and understanding just how far we've come .... people like Rosling really reminded us that humanity has a lot of room for good as well. We've come a long way baby, and people who operate on a fact-based world-view really should recognize Rosling for how much he promoted a fact-based statistically-proven view of the world around us and our understanding of it.

Stats for me started on the backs of O-Pee-Chee baseball cards .... and now Stats are a huge part of my fact-based worldview. I love stats, man.

Like I ended the 2014 article, I still believe that Humanity is heading to an era where thanks to Science and Technology we will all "live like millionaires" with an infinite abundance of renewable energy resources, food resources, and clean water resources. I still abide by that original conclusion that Malthus is finished and that Statisticians like Rosling are the new Big Name Statisticians of Tomorrow. Hans Rosling's life work was very inspirational and important.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Identity Politics is the Cheapest Form of Politics

Today we are going to look at the concept of "Identity Politics" and discuss whether this is okay or if it is the downright cheapest and lowest form of politics imaginable.

Identity Politics

Obviously, identity politics has exploded on the pop scene of late and many are scrambling to understand what the heck it is. The Nigel Garage led Brexit vote thing-a-ma-doo and the whacky American election thing-a-ma-jig has made Identity Politics the norm now and I think not many people in those regions were really ready for it or fully understood what was going on.

I wasn't surprised at all by Brexit or the American 'lection as much as other people were .... I've grown in up Quebec region where on the minor-league "provincial level" (regional areas of Canada) Identity Politics has been the status quo here for over 50 years. It's powerful stuff, powerful stuff. It's also the reason I don't vote and can't stand politics and view politics as the most insidious form of human thinking and behavior.

So yeah, I'm biased, I hate this form of politics. What is it? The old Internet defines it as so,

"a tendency for people of a particular religion, race, social background, etc., to form exclusive political alliances, moving away from traditional broad-based party politics."


I don't think that's the jist of it though. I would define "Identity Politics" as the following,

"A method to get-over or win in politics by scapegoating minority groups who do not share certain skin color, religious, or linguistic traits that the majority population has" -My Definition


Older American Examples (to show it's not new there either)

It's nothing new anywhere, this has been a common form of political strategy all the over the world for thousands of years, the only reason my region (Quebec) is probably more familiar with this term is because we've seen such advanced forms of it in provincial level politics here that that term has been used to discuss politics here for decades now ... while the term "identity politics" is something quite newer to other regions who might not have needed a clear cut term for it in prior years.

America has always had it too but in shorter bursts and in most cases entire campaigns were not entirely designed on it. Just to show this is nothing new let's look at a clear cut example from yesteryear where-in some cheap heat is ran by Bush to beat Dukakis (Dukakis? I liked Dukakis).



Alright in this example by the Bush One campaign to vilify Dukakis, we see an ad which on the surface suggests that Dukakis apparently supports weekend passes for prisoners who display good-behavior and in one case of the weekend pass program a prisoner committed a crime. The ad on the surface attacks Dukakis for supporting this program, but is that all that we're seeing here? This ad campaign heavily focused tv, radio, and billboards with the face of one Wille Horton (the day-pass man). He's a scary man and this ad is saying Dukakis wants to release a horde of them to kill you.

Subtly, this ad said "Dukakis wants to release a horde of black guys to murder you" ... and this ad was popular enough for Bush One to in fact defeat Dukakis. He used an isolated instance of an individual crime as a way to scare the base majority population with photos of scary looking minorities. I feel bad for former Detroit Tigers outfielder Willie Horton who probably had a difficult time in airports and the DMV thanks to these attack ads due to sharing a name with this man in the attack ad.

Yet, in terms of today's American politics this example of Identity Politics is subtle and pretty tame. Today it is totally common to flat-out scapegoat a minority community at the drop of a hat or at the drop of dime full throttle with no worry of any brushback or fallout and no damage control will be needed. In today's politics totally open Identity Politics is the NORM.

My Region

As stated above, my provincial Canadian region has engaged in flat-out open-source minority scapegoating for so long that this shit doesn't shock me as much as this overt Identity Politics is shocking millions of British and American people right now following Brexit and the American Fiasco.

It is so common in my region for politicians to use Cheap Identity Politics that I can't even anymore. I literally can't even. Seeing the cheapest form of politics talked about in the media ad nauseum is the status quo for quebec regional politics. Let us count some of the ways.

One time, a mayor of a small town called Herouxville banned muslim wear (hijab, turban, etc.) .... and how many muslims actually lived in this small town ... wait for it .... ZERO! In this case the mayor of the town wasn't even scapegoating a minority that actually even lived there!

There was a weird time here where they had this dopey "Charter of Values" thing where they wanted to ban religious symbols. It seemed strange that 99% of religious people in quebec are catholic christians yet this charter aimed mainly at Muslim and Jewish people and their customs who make up about a combined 1% of religious people here. All the streets in quebec are named after christian saints and there's a gigantic ugly metal cross thing on Montreal's mountain ... but religious symbols like that seemed to be unaffected because they claimed they are "historical religious symbols" basically giving the religion that 99% of religious people believe in an exemption and focusing the ban on the 1% of minority religions.

There's always smaller ones like 9 year old girls getting kicked out of soccer leagues because of muslim headwear and things of a smaller scale. That's just 24/7 stuff.

Want to know what is the main debate going on the last few months currently in Quebec provincial parliament? It's not how to boost the struggling economy that has been in stagnation for 30 years now or anything like that. What is the main debate this month? Well, they are debating non-stop whether or not a lady can wear a Burka.

(see: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/oct/18/burqa-ban-proposal-quebec-parliament-hearings)

This is the main topic of debate here now. You should know that the Arabic population here is about 1% in total, most live in the multi-cultural Chill Area (Montreal), that many are second or third generation Canadians and who are pretty much as Canadian as Poutine Pie .... and of those people the amount of females wearing the burka in reality right now is anywhere from ZERO to THIRTY. Taking all this into account ... is debating whether 0 to 30 people in your 8 million people populated area are allowed to wear a scarf-thing really a valuable use of time or does it just boil down to one big old fashion Identity Politics nonsensical WASTE OF FUCKING TIME?


Are you Readin' the News? Are ya Readin' The Papers?

If you're following the news you probably read that a mosque here after months of torment and abuse has been attacked during prayer service by a psychopath yesterday resulting in six deaths. 

(see: http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/shooting-at-centre-culturel-islamique-de-quebec)

After something like this happens are all these politicians here who nonstop scapegoat this group of people ... is it going to go back to business as usual after this? Is the Arabic community still going to be the soup-du-jour scape-goat-of-the-day in the non-stop Identity Politics Soap Opera you politicians engage in? Is tomorrow the debate in your parliament back to debating over whether Arabic people can wear a certain hat?

There's dangers in constantly without remorse engaging in xenophobic scapegoating. When elected politicians do it it gets scary because it's almost like you are egging unbalanced people on and roiling up people for no reason at all.

I read a book once called, "Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds" by one Charles McKay in 1841,

See: "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extraordinary_Popular_Delusions_and_the_Madness_of_Crowds"

It was a series of then-contemporary examples of the public going out of control over the silliest things. I remember coming away from it thinking, since the dawning of time it has been incredibly easy to whup up a pointless idiotic fervor over nothing at the drop of a damned dime! I see this happen everyday in society now ... there's a new Popular Delusion that brings out the scary Madness of Crowds every damned day. Whipping up the masses into a fervor is more easy than you can imagine. People who have been elected to office, in any country, have to keep in mind how easy it is to rile people up.

The Identity Politics of today is aimed at the masses by powerful people and I really hope people who use this cheap form politics understand just how easy it is to rile segments of the population up and that getting people riled up over nothing can be very needlessly dangerous.

Conclusion

I find Identity Politics in the modern age to be dangerous and totally negligent behavior and the people with influence who engage in it for gain to be of the cheapest variety of human being.

In the words of Charles McKay who wrote Extra-Ordinary Delusions and the Madness of Crowds let's end this one on a quote:


"Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one." (McKay, C.)

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Dear Expos Fans, Don't Boo

I was reading articles like this one below the other day about an owner who was part of the collusion scandal is being elected into the Hall the same day a player effected by it is being elected,

https://nypost.com/2017/01/21/the-elephant-in-the-room-in-inducting-tim-raines-and-selig/


I've also noticed a lot of articles about Selig along the lines in regards to "How can you not put Bonds/Clemens in the Hall of Fame due to steroids/HGH but will put the man who turned a blind eye and let the players use them into the Hall of Fame?" I notice Jose Canseco for instance is very livid about this on Twitter lately amongst others.

I remember when Dawson got in the Hall in 2010 there were people in Expos gear at the induction who booed Selig because they feel he was responsible for the End of the Expos and hold a grudge.

All these three points about Selig are somewhat valid, even I wrote a negative piece about Bud coupled in with a tribute article to Bill Veeck a while back (This one). But, it's time to forgive and forget now. It really is.

When Warren Cromartie started his ambitious and many thought impossible goal to bring back the Expos to Montreal he made it clear that Montreal needs to forget the past, stay positive, and focus on the future. He made it clear 6 years ago when this movement started that Expos fans should stay positive.

The Exhibition games over the last few years have really proved that. We showed up 50,000+ strong and cheered for the game of baseball itself as well as past heroes in the pre-game ceremonies (Pedro et al. last year, Vlad et. al, the 1994 team reunion previously, and Rogers/Cro/Rock/Carter's family in the first year). We are a positive fan base, there's no doubt about that. We are a classy and positive group of people who comprise Expos fans.

We know there's gonna be a boat load of Expos fans going to Cooperstown, Expos Nation says they've got busloads already booked, so we know that day is going to be loaded with people in Expos gear ...

.... and I have a feeling like in 2010 these people are inclined to Boo if they see a certain person. Personally, I think it's a mistake to do that. Cromartie is right that Expos fans need to forgive and forget and remain positive. These bus loads of Expos Fans are going to cheer Raines because he was a Hero to this city.... and that should be the only reason they have for going.

Booing certain people while they are there is not classy and this Expos fanbase prides itself on being classy and positive.

Congratulation to Tim Raines, my childhood Hero, for finally being elected to the Hall of Fame ... and also Congrats to Bud Selig for making the Hall of Fame because despite many scandals during the tenure of Selig as MLB commish his tenure did lead to record profits and fiscal health of the league.

As for the Return of the Expos movement? It seems stronger than ever at this point and as Cromartie has said, it started as a positive movement and should remain that way. Booing people in Cooperstown, I don't think, is what this whole thing is about.

So, please don't Boo nobody.




Expos, Baby.

Friday, January 20, 2017

RIP Roy Innis

Another obscure obituary here. Other than the New York Daily News, I've seen no pro-outlet mention the death of Roy Innis last week.

He was a controversial figure in his later years so I guess people remember that Innis more ... but Roy Innis in regards to his media appearances deserve to be remembered. I don't think things that happened on Talk Shows involving Innis will ever happen again. "Reality TV" is all scripted now and everything on the dumb TV is a work of WWE Wrestling proportions now.

Roy Innis was part of two of the most memorable moments in the Entire History of TV. He had live on-screen altercations with both Nazis and with Al Sharpton.

Innis was booked by Geraldo in '88 to a debate white supremacy against dirty Nazis. Yeah young people, talk shows used to be WAAAAY different back in the day. The following is not a scripted event, it's real, poor little Geraldo even got his nose broken by a Nazi in this melee:



This isn't Springer scripted fighting. Innis stood up and then a whole melee ensued. Like, this is one of the most amazing moments in the history of TV. What's up though, is this lost to history or something? How come no one is running pieces about Roy Innis in the media other than one pro outlet?

Day-time TV has really changed since the 80s. Now a days Daytime goes The Price is Right - Ellen - The News ... In the 80s Daytime went more like The Price is Right - Violent Uncontrollable Fisticuffs - The News.

The other big media feud Innis had was with Sharpton during the Brawley fiasco. Innis knew it was a hoax that the lawyers and others were pulling and called them out on it.

For those who are unfamiliar with this, Brawley and lawyers claimed a policeman raped her and wrote words on her with his caca ... but it turns out it was a hoax. Innis was pissed about this because he thought doing hoaxes like this and running "cheap heat" * (a wrestling term for when you lie to try and make someone look bad, more in footnotes) really undercut the civil rights leaders goals. Innis thought Sharpton was a jabroni and holy fuck did he let him know about it.

There's two events that were aired on the Downey show and one that wasn't but clips exist on youtube. The un-aired one is quite wild ... Sharpton calls Innis a "Punk Faggot" in it.



But yo, Innis was a large man and he was no "punk faggot" in the least. He dropped Sharpton at their next appearance. Check (The altercation ensues at around 6:30):





Anyways, we've re-entered here in North America into a very wild and odd political climate where basically anything goes again ... so I don't understand why media won't mention the death of one of the wildest talk show guests in history. These two moments are two of the most iconic moments of the 1980s and it doesn't seem like anyone in media remembers them at all.

Media, you can't tell me that Innis was too controversial a person to do pieces on, I mean look at current day politics, today's political climate is like 5000x times more insane than anything Innis ever said.

Rest in Peace, Roy Innis.



*Cheap Heat is term people should get used to. I'd say 99.6% of politics now a days is Cheap Heat politics. A guy just won an American election solely on Cheap Heat for instance. Personally, I hate Cheap Heat in all forms and don't believe Cheap Heat is ever justified in any circumstances.

Footnote 2: The Wikipedia definition they have for Cheap Heat is WRONG. Cheap Heat is not when a heel calls a population of a city certain mean names that's just standard heat. Cheap Heat is when a wrestler screws something up in the ring in a fashion that makes the other wrestler look bad. It's a way to get Over by making your colleagues look bad so in turn you look good.



Edit: More on Cheap Heat. Look, you need a certain amount of "Heat" to get "Over" and it doesn't matter whether the heat is BabyFace-Positive or Heel-Negative ... if you're Over you're Over. Cheap Heat is when you get "Over" by making an effort to make the people around you look stupid. You didn't get yourself Over legit but you got yourself Over by making everyone else look bad and thus when everyone looked bad you by contrast looked good... THAT'S CHEAP HEAT.