December 13, 2006

It would appear that, as expected, the Boston Red Sox’ negotiations with MLB uber-agent Scott Boras over the services of Japanese phenom pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka will go down the the deadline. At this point, one of two things can happen: 1) the Sox sign Matsuzaka to some kind of a annual deal (on top of the $51 million they would already have to pony up to Matsuzaka’s Japanese team, the Seibu Lions), or 2) no deal gets done, the Sox get their $51 mil back, the Lions are pi$$ed, and Matsuzaka returns to Japan to play another season or two before trying it all over again.

While the Sox have recently begun making ominous statements about Boras not appearing to want to make a deal, I have to believe even a greedy, egomaniacal snake like Scott Boras has to believe it’s to everyone’s advantage – especially Matsuzaka’s – to get a deal done now if he wants to realize his dream of playing Major League Baseball. If, for some reason, Boras has convinced the hurler to take his ball and go home simply because the Sox don’t feel as if he’s earned the right to make the same amount of money as the best-paid starting pitchers in Major League Baseball (which is absolutely true), he’s doing his client a grave disservice.

The fact that Boras believes Matsuzaka should be paid amongst the major leagues’ highest-paid pitchers shouldn’t surprise anyone, for Boras has established a reputation for getting his players top dollar, and like him or not, he’s very good at what he does. But at some point, in an industry awash in greed, one would think even Boras would have some concern for his client and the unbelievable amount of pressure and criticism that would immediately come down upon Matsuzaka if a deal were not to get done.

The disadvantages to Matsuzaka not signing with the Sox and returning to Japan are obvious:

1) The player has said how much he wants to play Major League Baseball. And, as ESPN’s Jim Allen writes, all of Japan’s hopes are riding on Matsuzaka to make good. In a culture that values loyalty and honor and all that kind of stuff, Matsuzaka would be raked over the coals by his fellow countrymen if he allows Boras to prevent this from happening.

2) His Japanese team, the Seibu Lions, would lose out on a HUGE payday. Whether MLB’s bidding system for Japanese players is fair or not, or convoluted or not, the fact is, you can buy A LOT of sushi for $51 mil, and who do you think will get blamed if the Lions have to send their $51 mil back? Hint: it won’t be Boras.

3) Matsuzaka’s services will never be worth more than they are now. Age-wise, he’s at the height of his career, and who knows what will happen in a year or two. He’ll be older, have thrown more pitches, and, most importantly, be risking it all by getting injured before he had the chance to go through the bidding process all over again. Perhaps the MLB market the next time around will be as robust and free-spending as it has been this off-season, but who knows?

4) If Boras refuses to make a deal with the Sox this time around, I can guaranteee teams will think twice before wanting to get involved the next time Matsuzaka (or any other Boras client from Japan) tests the whole bidding process all over again. If no deal is made, you can bet your favorite fungo bat that, sooner or later, word will come out how much money Matsuzaka left on the table. That immediately sets the ceiling for his services the next time around, as teams will rightfully use the argument that Matsuzaka will be a year older, with more pitches thrown under his belt, and if the Sox though he was worth ‘x’ this year, why should he be worth the same next year?

Look for a deal to get done in the next 24 hours or all hell will break loose in Beantown. It oughta be interesting.

UPDATE 12/13/06, 5:45 PM MST: It would appear that a deal is imminent, if not already informally agreed upon, pending a physical. Dice-K (how his first name os pronounced, BTW), welcome to your honeymoon in Beantown. Let’s hope it’s a long one!

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 01:48 | Comments (0)
December 12, 2006

Well, it’s not quite so dramatic as that, but I do feel as if, after several days of playing poster-child for every freakin’ off-the-counter cold and flu remedy there is, I am starting to feel better. How do I know? The Bolla Valpolicella tastes mighty fine tonight, and I feel as if I can sleep in my own bed again. (Although, I’ll admit, not having a 16-lb. rabbit hopping around looking for treats at 5 AM was a nice departure, for a change.)

Kim, a co-worker of mine, said that when you get sick, the only real remedy is rest, lots of fluids, and watching a lot of movies. Which is exactly what I did – that is, when I wasn’t working via my laptop, which is not exactly heavy lifting, if you know what I mean. That being said, there was enough downtime to warrant these few humble observations:

1) Every now and then I enjoy tuning into the C-SPANs’ “Today In Washington” programming, but whenever I’m watching, I can’t help but think I’m the only non-government employee out there doing so.

2) The Weather Channel continues to be a wonderful source of mindless background-noise entertainment, but some of their on-air personalities are starting to get a little long in the tooth, if you know what I mean.

3) And “Storm Stories”, while entertaining, is a waste of a good hour that could otherwise be filled with – oh, I don’t know – weather forecasts. I wish I had a nickel for every time someone on one of those shows says, “I thought I was gonna die.”

4) Ever since the election ended, the number of times our phone rings during the day has dropped to near-zero.

5) No matter how many times you watch it, “Miracle On 34th Street” is still a fine movie. I’d much prefer the B&W version to the colorized one I watched, but it’s still great entertainment. My favorite character in it: William “Fred Mertz” Frawley as the judge’s political backer. He’s cool.

6) We get SIRIUS radio‘s “Classical Christmas” on Channel 6086 on the DISH Network. Lovely music to do work by or take a afternoon siesta to.

7) Harris Faulkner on FOX News is, well, a bonafide fox. And I love her patented signature sign-off smile – very easy on the eyes, if you know what I mean.

8) I know showers are essential in this day and age, but a good, hot soak in a bathtub full of moisturizing suds with a good mag or book is one of life’s simple pleasures.

9) “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” both disturbed and scared the bejeezus out of Mrs. Shank so much that she couldn’t sleep last night and ended up staying home from work today. Don’t ask me – I was in bed, sick – remember?

10) And no, don’t even ask. The Big Nipper‘s blogging days are over. I don’t care how many additional hits this site got from his post the other day.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:49 | Comments (0)
December 11, 2006

sam In Thursday’s National Review Online Corner blog, regular contributor John Podhoretz, bemoaning the loss of John Bolton as U.N. ambassador and contemplating a suitable replacement, brought up the late comic Sam Kinison with this clip from the Rodney Dangerfield classic, “Back To School”.

While I didn’t see alot of his stuff, I do have to admit I liked much of what I did see, and while a lot of it could be loud and obnoxious, I found it pretty damned funny. His best bit (and, I think, a classic for the ages), was his take on Elvis’ “Are You Lonesome Tonight”, where, backed by several singers, he sings it completely straight before replacing Elvis’ classic spoken interlude with a hysterical, screaming diatribe at the object of his affection that is pure Kinison. He then goes on to sing the remainder of the song completely straight, muttering at the song’s close that he hopes she dies. Fantastic stuff. (BTW, I couldn’t find a video of this bit on YouTube, but was able to find this audio clip.)

Kinison may not have been everyone’s cup of tea – a lot of his bits could be pretty vulgar and offensive, but compared to those who try to mimic his “shock and awe” style of comedy today, his stuff was pretty creative and original. This excerpt from his Wikipedia entry gives you an idea of his cynical, yet ingenious brand of humor:

Kinison ranted about people who traveled to such places as Ethiopia and filmed commercials to induce viewers to send money to help feed the kids; meanwhile, he pointed out, the film crews were five feet away and maybe could have given the starving kids a sandwich. He claimed that if you really wanted to help starving Ethiopian kids, then you needed to stop sending money. Instead, you needed to send some U-Haul trucks to take the people to where the food was. He went on to explain — to the Ethiopians — that they couldn’t plant food in the sand, which, in a hundred years, would still be sand.

Rest in peace, Sam. You left us too soon, and you are missed.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:24 | Comments (0)
December 10, 2006

advent

“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” Isaiah 40:3

The season of Advent has always been one of my favorite times of the Christian year. Perhaps its because the underlying theme of the season – the longing and expectation of the true Light coming to the rescue of a world shrouded in evil and darkness – so mirrors the actualities of the secular “holiday season”. The ever-darkening days preceeding the Winter Solstice, and the incessant, ever-cynical messages of “peace on earth” and “Happy Holidays!” communicated in a world where there is, and never has been, any peace, and happiness is increasingly measured by the size and amount of one’s possessions.

Even with that, every year I still find my own heart desiring to welcome Advent with a renewed spirit of hope and the desire to make something positive out of it. Call me misguided or just a sucker for punishment, but I think it’s important to spiritually embrace the widening chasm between the world as it is and what it could be in a spirit of meditation, contemplation, and prayer – and, through them, do my own small part to live out the hope and expectation that exemplifies what Advent is all about.

Dennis Bratcher at CRI/Voice has a fine article that puts Advent’s spirit of hope, longing, and expectation into its proper Biblical perspective:

Advent is marked by a spirit of expectation, of anticipation, of preparation, of longing. There is a yearning for deliverance from the evils of the world, first expressed by Israelite slaves in Egypt as they cried out from their bitter oppression. It is the cry of those who have experienced the tyranny of injustice in a world under the curse of sin, and yet who have hope of deliverance by a God who has heard the cries of oppressed slaves and brought deliverance!

It is that hope, however faint at times, and that God, however distant He sometimes seems, which brings to the world the anticipation of a King who will rule with truth and justice and righteousness over His people and in His creation. It is that hope that once anticipated, and now anticipates anew, the reign of an Anointed One, a Messiah, who will bring peace and justice and righteousness to the world.

Part of the expectation also anticipates a judgment on sin and a calling of the world to accountability before God. We long for God to come and set the world right! Yet, as the prophet Amos warned, the expectation of a coming judgment at the “Day of the Lord” may not be the day of light that we might want, because the penetrating light of God’s judgment on sin will shine just as brightly on God’s people.

One of the great contradictions of the season, I think, for those of us who call ourselves Christians is what the reality of this “coming to set the world right” and God’s “penetrating light of judgment” might mean for each of us individually. Knowing myself and my own obvious faults, frailities, and weaknesses, I’m not so sure I’d be treated kindly by that penetrating light, or, for that matter, if deep down I want the world to be set right. I mean, what does that mean? What if there’s a part of me, thousands of miles away from Iraq, or Darfur, or North Korea, or any other God-forsaken, miserable corner of this globe, that in some unforgiveable way, likes my world as it is? Even while aware that I’m one of the most fortunates in a world beset with suffering? Would God Himself accept such brute honesty?

At least I know that, looking back through history, I’m not alone in such ponderings. Contemplating the often less-than-perfect characters of the Old Testament through whom God worked wonders ages ago (and, I would hasten to add, some in the New Testament as well), Bratcher articulates the hope of the season thus:

“It never ceases to amaze me why God could not have chosen “better” people to do His work in the world. Yet if God can use them, and reveal Himself through them in such marvelous ways, it means that He might be able to use me, inadequate, and unwise, and too often lacking in faith that I am. And it means that I need to be careful that I do not in my own self-righteousness put limits on what God can do with the most unlikely of people in the most unlikely of circumstances. I think that is part of the wonder of the Advent Season.”

Indeed. A blessed and hopeful Advent Season to all from Goodboys Nation weblog.

—-

The Anchoress (one of my favorite bloggers) has also been contemplating Advent – from a different angle – and, as usual, it’s well worth reading. Enjoy!

Filed in: Religion & Culture by The Great White Shank at 01:06 | Comments (0)
December 9, 2006

tbn

“Yo, Goodboys Nation, “The Big Nipper” here. You can call me “TBN” for short. My owner, the so-called “Great White Shank” (and you think I have a dumb name!), is – how you you humans say it, under the weather? – big time, so I’m figuring, hey, when life gives you lemons you make lemonade, right? He probably thinks he’s the only intelligent being around this place capable of manning the Goodboys Nation weblog command post, but if he thinks that, he’s eating the wrong kind of carrots.

“First, a little about me: I think I’m a year and 1/2 old in human years. My first owners were a couple of jerks who let me loose – something you NEVER should do to a domesticated rabbit – after they realized taking care of me was more work than they had time for. So, screw them, I say. After a period in the wild, I was found by a nice person who dropped me off at a humane society, who then brought me to some pet store where I stayed for a few months until TGWS found me one day, took pity on my situation, and brought me here. If you look closely at my picture, you’ll see I keep one ear up and one down, which everyone thinks is kinda funky, but I see it as a sign of intelligence, if I do say so myself. (How else would you explain me being able to navigate this %$#! keyboard?)

“Why the name “The Big Nipper”, you ask? Well, let’s just say my time out in the wilderness made me a little, oh… protective of my surroundings and food supply, and prone to nip first and ask questions later. Surprised? You shouldn’t be. Let me tell you, it’s a jungle out there – especially when you’re at the bottom of the animal food chain. Anytime you’re in new surroundings (I’ve been here almost four months now) it’s gonna take awhile to get acclimated. And, even though every now and then I kinda slip back into my Hannibal Lecter mode, my owners seem to think I’m making good progress. I’d like to think so – just don’t mess with my food and water without me knowing, OK?

“I still remember the day I was brought home to this madhouse I share with three other rabbits. If you look at the picture, directly to my right just out of camera shot is another play area in which resides a black and white female they call “Marble Junior”. She doesn’t like me much – whenever I’m let outside my area and get anywhere close to her, she tries to bite my a$$. Behind her area is a three-story “hotel” in which she has access to the bottom floor. The top two floors belong to another rabbit they call “Half-Pint”. I like Half-Pint. A LOT. And some day, if TGWS and his wife let us spend some time together, I think we could be an item. Outside this room lives another rabbit, who I guess has the run of the place. He’s a BIG 16-lb. kahuna named “Marble”. Let me tell you – my owners may occupy this piece of property, but don’t kid yourself – that rabbit runs the freakin’ house. I always hear TGWS complaining to his wife that if the choice came down to him or Marble, she’d choose the rabbit. (Funny, she never laughs at that.)

“So what’s it like being a rabbit around here, you ask? Well, it’s not rocket science (or, thanks God, laboratory science – if you know what I mean). But it’s, um, good. And safe, too – no worries about turning your back and getting you a$$ snapped up by a coyote or hawk, ’cause that can happen out here quicker than you can say “Bugs Bunny”. Two squares a day, timothy hay and H2O always available, bunny treats around the crack of dawn and late at night, a nap or two during the day while the house is quiet, a little ‘q-time’ with the missus each night while the old man pounds away at the keyboard until lights out, then do it all over again the next day. Recreation? Me, I like to toss play things into a cardboard house they made for me, then toss them all back out again when there’s not enough room. The old “mischevous rabbit” act, ya know? Right outta the bunny play book. Humans love that kinda stuff…

“Well, I just wanted to say hi, and let y’all know that, whenever you see another post by TGWS go up on this site, remember that I’m usually lounging somewhere near his feet or in my cage area right beside the computer desk. Whoo – this is hard work, all this typing. Time for a nap. Ciao!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:23 | Comments (0)
December 8, 2006

hawaii

Had enough of the holiday season yet? I’m guessing my body has, as I’ve come down with a miserable head cold. I’m feeling sick as a dog, so consider this a delightful break from the hustle and bustle of the “Happy Holidays!” horse$hit.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:22 | Comments (0)
December 7, 2006

A couple of dispatches from the home front of the increasingly-absurd war being waged against the U.S. by Muslims screaming religious intolerance:

1. Falcon Kathy at Hang Right Politics thinks she knows the reason behind the “Flying Imams” incident staged last month at the Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport – you know, that incident I wrote about the other day. Turns out a group of concerned Muslim clerics in the Minneapolis area are now using that incident to push airport officials to have the airport set aside a private area for meditation where Muslims can pray:

Airport officials said Friday they will consider setting aside a private area for prayer and meditation at the request of imams concerned about the removal of six Muslim clerics from a US Airways flight last week. Steve Wareham, director of Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, said other airports have “meditation rooms” used for prayers or by passengers who simply need quiet time.

A group of Somali clerics met with airport officials Friday and said they would attract less attention if they had a private area for prayer. Devout Muslims pray five times daily, facing the holy city of Mecca.

I’ve traveled through the Minneapolis airport on numerous times (in fact, its one of my fave airports to connect through), and it’s huge. So huge, that if they don’t already have a meditation room or (gasp!) chapel on the premises, I’d be VERY surprised; many large airports do. If, in fact, it doesn’t anywhere amongst its terminals, it wouldn’t hurt society or an increasingly-frazzled traveling public to make one available for people who want to pray or spend some quiet time. I just don’t think the (if true) absence of a meditation room is sufficient reason for creating an incident where people get arrested and passengers frightened and/or worked up. If, in fact, that was the intended purpose…

…something Debra Burlingame, widow of American Airlines captain Charles Burlingame, who piloted one of the doomed planes in the 9/11 attacks, doesn’t buy. In fact, the imams behavior on board the planes sounds all to familiar to her. Writing in today’s Wall Street Journal, she writes:

“…After boarding, they did not take their assigned seats but dispersed to seats in the first row of first class, in the midcabin exit rows and in the rear–the exact configuration of the 9/11 execution teams. The head of the group, seated closest to the cockpit, and two others asked for a seatbelt extension, kept on board for obese people. A heavy metal buckle at the end of a long strap, it can easily be used as a lethal weapon. The three men rolled them up and placed them on the floor under their seats. And lest this entire incident be written off as simple cultural ignorance, a frightened Arabic-speaking passenger pulled aside a crew member and translated the imams’ suspicious conversations, which included angry denunciations of Americans, furious grumblings about U.S. foreign policy, Osama Bin Laden and “killing Saddam.”

(Hat tip: Capt. Ed.) Like I mentioned in my earlier post, my feeling is these guys were up to no good, and weren’t just trying to make some kind of political statement. I’m not saying they were actually planning on taking that plane down, but there WAS a targeted audience for their actions; we just don’t know who they were – yet.

2. Then there’s this story about a Dearborn, Michigan woman who is filing suit against the fitness chain where she works out because a gym patron had the audacity to interrupt her prayers during her workout there. I kid you not. Here’s the story (hat tip: Little Green Footballs):

Fitness USA, a gym chain, is investigating an alleged civil rights violation involving a local Muslim woman who says her afternoon prayer was interrupted by a fellow patron, and that her complaint to management about the situation was rejected.

“The manager told me, ‘You have to respect her (the patron), but she does not have to respect your God,'” said Wardeh Sultan of Dearborn. “I’ve had my membership for seven or eight years, and I’ve never had a problem with praying there.

The allegations are among a series of recent complaints by Muslims who say they are free to practice their religion in the United States, until someone tells them they cannot. Recently, the same Fitness USA facility enacted a new dress code to allow Muslim women to wear more modest clothing, in compliance with some Islamic practices.

Is there anything about this story that makes any kind of sense? Using a fitness center as a location for praying? I mean, how about – oh, I don’t know – scheduling your workout around your prayer obligations? Is that so extreme? And what about the “more modest clothing” bit (which obviously means a headscarf and other loose-fitting clothing)? Look, there’s a reason why people sorta avoid loose-fitting clothing at fitness centers. There’s a lot of machinery where bad things can happen if your clothing gets caught in it during a workout. Me, I’m just waiting for the day when that happens to her or some other woman and causes injury. Wanna bet the first dime she drops will be to a lawyer who’ll then sue the chain for damages, claiming that it was negligent in allowing patrons to wear loose-fitting clothing in the first place?

Look, I have no problem with Islam as a religion, per se. But this whole crap about Muslims wanting the free and open society like the one we (and they) live in to somehow go through these hysterics and legal calisthenics (no pun intended) simply to allow them to practice their religion as they see fit is not only arrogance, but absurd and bordering on the dangerous as well. One can laugh at the seeming foolishness of these kinds of things, but you can bet organizations like CAIR and the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee – undoubtedly with the enthusiastic support of the ACLU – are encouraging these kinds of cases to be brought before the American legal system to see just how far they can go.

My hope is that, sooner or later, the American people will wake up to this kind of cancer that is threatening to destroy our society from within.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 01:07 | Comments (0)
December 6, 2006

The other day, the plumber comes to take care of some work that needed to be done in our bathrooms. After he finished the work, we were talking over a cup of coffee about various stuff, and he asked me where I got his company name. I mentioned the Gilbert-Chandler Yellow Pages book we get dropped on our doorstep every fall. Guess he appreciated hearing that, because evidently those full-page ads are pretty damned expensive to run.

“What made you choose my ad over the others?”, he asked.

“I don’t know”, I replied, “perhaps if it was another day, I would have chosen someone else’s. I read auras, you know, and I guess that day there was a good aura coming off of your advertisement.”

He was quiet for a minute, then reached into his carry case.

“How would you like a refrigerator magnet?”, he asked, handing me one. “You know, businesses like mine do the Dex, the Yellow Pages, and Internet websites and the like, but me, I’ve always found that once you get a refrigerator magnet in someone’s kitchen and provide them good service, you’ve got ’em for life. I used to have me a huge rolodex of all my suppliers, but one day I tossed the damned thing out and just stayed with all the refrigerator magnets I’ve stuck on my file cabinets. Works best for me.”

Ah yes, technology at its finest. And yes, his magnet is prominently displayed on our refrigerator, along with the A/C guy, the pool guy, our landscaper, our real estate guy, and a bunch of vacation magnets from years ago. And I guarantee, the next time I need a plumber I won’t have to go through the Yellow Pages to find one.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:11 | Comment (1)
December 5, 2006

imams No, this isn’t a post about some carny high-wire act, it’s about those six Muslims who, last month, were, ummm, “escorted” off a plane in Minneapolis prior to take-off for Phoenix.

Pajamas Media has all the detail you could ever want on this story, complete with links to the official police report and several witnesses who had birds-eye views of the events as they unfolded. Included is an interview with a passenger who corroborates critical information provided by US Airways flight attendents and gate personnel:

* That all six imams had boarded together (with the first-class passengers), even though only one of them had a first-class ticket
* That three had purchased one-way tickets, and only one had checked a bag
* That the six spread out on the airplane just like the 9-11 hijackers – two in first class, two in the middle, and two in the rear section
* That one or more appeared to be sitting in seats not assigned to them
* That the men prayed both at the gate and on the plane, whereas observant Muslims pray only once at sundown, not twice
* That one of the men seated in first class asked for a seat-belt extension, even though two flight attendents felt he looked too thin to need one; hours later, when the passengers were being evacuated, the seat-belt extension was found on the floor, near the imam’s seat.

As the passenger is quoted as saying, “It was almost as if they were intentionally trying to get kicked off the flight.”

To quote my Auntie Marge, “correctamundo!” And that’s what the whole incident was all about – wanting to get kicked off the flight, wanting to make a scene, wanting to get the CAIR folks screaming “Persecution!” to a mainstream liberal media all too happy to play the role of willing accomplices and broadcast their plight. Of course, the questions begs, to what purpose? I’ve read some speculation that it was all a ruse, that that’s all it was about – the six wanting to stage the incident to prove some point about Muslim intolerance and “persecution” in the U.S.

I don’t buy it. But then, I also don’t buy other speculation that this was a potential terror attack averted prior to take-off. Given all the info that has come out in the days and weeks since, it seems clear that what these guys were after was pure and simple – to test our nation’s airline security and tolerance for certain kinds of behavior in airports and on planes for the benefit of other Muslims. Of course, that begs the questions: what other Muslims?, and, for what purpose? That, unfortunately, we may never know. But make no mistake about it – these guys were up to no good.

A day after the incident, I heard a radio interview with one of the imams involved – the one who happened to be blind – and he seemed shocked – SHOCKED, I tell ya – that anyone could see anything the least bit unusual about their behavior. What seemed more than a little strange to me was that he seemed to know EVERYTHING about the others’ behavior and intentions – something that could only come from the sharing of strategy or talking points. After all, as a blind man sitting with only one of the others, how could he have known the actions of others sitting several rows behind him?

Say we give them the benefit of the doubt. Fine. But anyone who has recently attempted to travel one-way, and without checking bags, can tell you just how quick he or she becomes the object of attention at the security gates. And you don’t have to be Muslim, or even a frequent flyer, to find that out. No, these guys were up to something, and willingly or not, they got caught. And their cries of persection and tolerance ring pretty hollow in these quarters.

The sad truth is fact is, even the most dim-witted bulb out there should know that, in this post-9/11 world, like it or not, foreigners and Muslims are being held to higher scrutiny when it comes to their behavior on board an airplane. For those of us who travel often, that’s not racial profiling, that’s just plain common sense. And if they can’t handle it, well, unfortunately, that’s too damned bad. Falcon at Hang Right Politics (Hat tip: Polipundit) has some fine advice to the “Flying Imams” – get over it! He writes:

If you’re Muslim and don’t appreciate the extra scrutiny, perceived or real, you’re getting – DEAL WITH IT! I’m Black. If 19 black guys had hijacked 4 jumbo jets and used them as giant missiles in an attempt to destroy this country I would expect people to look at me a little more carefully. Heck, being Black, in certain areas of this country, is still akin to probable cause. But we deal with it because, as your parents should’ve told you, life isn’t always fair.

Thanks Falcon, couldn’t have said it better myself.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 01:14 | Comment (1)
December 4, 2006

ramonesSo there I was, grocery shopping at my local Fry’s, minding my own business, carting my way around aisle to aisle like some Stepford husband, workin’ down my shopping list item by item to the usual sounds of god-awful ’80’s / 90’s pop and techno-pop, interspersed with the usual listless renditions of popular Christmas songs.

Then suddenly, a pounding beat! The familiar “Hey ho, let’s go”!, a thrumming bass, and an explosion of late ’70-s punk. It was none other than the Ramones, singing – if you can believe it – “Blitzkrieg Bop”:

Hey ho, let’s go Hey ho, let’s go
Hey ho, let’s go Hey ho, let’s go!

They’re forming in straight line
They’re going through a tight wind
The kids are losing their minds
The Blitzkrieg Bop
They’re piling in the back seat
They’re generating steam heat
Pulsating to the back beat
The Blitzkrieg Bop

Hey ho, let’s go
Shoot’em in the back now
What they want, I don’t know
They’re all reved up and ready to go

They’re forming in straight line
They’re going through a tight wind
The kids are losing their minds
The Blitzkrieg Bop
They’re piling in the back seat
They’re generating steam heat
Pulsating to the back beat
The Blitzkrieg Bop

Hey ho, let’s go Hey ho, let’s go
Hey ho, let’s go Hey ho, let’s go!

The Ramones. At a supermarket. Man, and I thought I had heard it all one day when I heard Bob Dylan’s “Like A Rolling Stone” played between Anne Murray‘s “Snowbird” and U2‘s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”! Rolling my way past the bakery counter, this took the cake.

To me it seemed as if it was The Day The Music Died.

I dunno what it was that bothered me about it. It sure wasn’t the music – hell, I LOVED the Ramones. No one put on a concert like them: raucous, ear-splitting punk played in a constant stream of 2-minute songs punctuated only by a Dee Dee four-count, everyone jumpin’ up and down, punked out in their torn blue jeans and black leather jackets, ’cause, after all, it was the Ramones you were seeing. This wasn’t angry, hardcore punk like Dead Kennedys or X, or sophisticated punk like Blondie, this was New York street punk, their songs almost as cartoon-like as their creators, who took the joyous hooks from early ’60s bubblegum, pounded and distorted it, then combined it with a cynical view of the world to thumb their nose at polite society and the overblown arena-rock of the late ’70s.

But I wasn’t jumping up and down, fisted arm raised in the air in celebration of the kick-ass music pulverizing everything and everyone around me. Nope. I had a roll of paper towels and two boxes of tissues in my hand. Pushing a shopping cart. In the middle of the afternoon. In a suburban Phoenix supermarket.

I think what bugged me about it most is that I realized nothing is sacred anymore – rock music has been swallowed and devoured completely, not unlike a hamster by a snake, by the very culture it was originally intended to buck all those years ago. Like when “Elvis the Pelvis” was thought to be ‘dangerous’ to teenage morals, and Lennon said the Beatles were “more popular than Christ”, and bands like the Ramones tried to reign in rock from its post-psychedelic era excesses. I mean, if today I’m hearing “Blitzkrieg Bop”, what’s next? Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb”? The Stones’ “Out of Time”? Zeppelin’s “Living Loving Maid”? Deep Purple’s “Smoke On The Water”? (Rob would like that.)

What’s even more distressing to ponder is what supermarket shoppers 25 years from now will be hearing while poking through the produce. Will it be Ludacris? Bone Thugs-N-Harmony? N.W.A.?

To think about it is enough to send me straight to the potato chips.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:02 | Comment (1)

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