Friday, November 6, 2009

Softball News! has been a while since I posted anything! Well, I guess my preoccupation with coaching my 8th grade girls fastpitch team will do that. So here is the skinny on a very interesting season...

First and foremost...there was some pressure going into this season. As 7th graders these girls went undefeated and took home the title for their school for the first time in about 6 years. However at the 8th grade level Tahoma Jr. High has never won it. They have had a few good teams...but always seemed to fall short. In addition there were some things that needed to be addressed as good as this team was. Their defense was questionable...they won by outslugging their opponents. That is all good and well...but you need defense to win in the long term. Also...they needed to understand winning with class. I wanted to address several other things...but after meeting the team realized that messing with things would also mean messing with the team chemistry...and that was a no no...

So we opened the season against the one team that would likely give us a run for the title. Northwood is a very solid team...and their coach makes them such year in, year out. I started MH...the girl who I expected would be my ace pitcher. Do not get me wrong...she is an unbelieveable pitcher in any light...but the season had several surprises in store for me...and pitching was one. She pitched an absolutely wonderful game...solid from start to finish. As close as this game was she never showed signs of cracking or even bending...cold as ice and smooth as glass with her pitching. My defense was diamond hard...with the exception of a first inning jitter run that we gave up nothing sniffed home plate because oh MH's pitching and the defense led by KG and AM. The bats kept going with BL & HE moivng the runners and keeping the pressure on Northwood. The end result was a defensive struggle and a 3-1 win for my girls. It was a hard fought that the girls should be proud of.

I explained many times over the season that blowing out your opponents if great for your stats, and fun for a little while...but boring in the long run. Games like this are the ones you really remember and make a season one to recall again and again. And they seem to have realized this we we played Northwood for a second time later in the season.

Our next game was against our sister squad. TJHS is an 8th & 9th grade building. The Middle Schools are 6th & 7th. To keep our school from forming one super team and one made of scraps, the league required that the 8th grade teams be the same as they were in the 7th grade. We can cut players and they can join the other team...but two things need to be kept in mind...they players cannot be some of the stars of the 7th grade teams...and I can only cut if I have a lot of players. I had 18 try out...I pared it down to 15...the other 3 joined the our sister squar...the Blue team (we are Gold). Now that I have that cleared up...

We played the Blue squad...and while the game was never really close...I will say that they did manage to score the more runs against us than any other team the entire year. We won 18-7. HM pitched a good solid game...but I was also not starting my top players in their normal spot (if at all)...and I believe that with a solid defense her ERA would have been significantly less.

Next came Meridian...a fairly hapless team that had some offense...but no defense. This is when I got my first look at surprise pitcher. In my initial depth chart I had her as my #3...she was good but had control issues in practice. In this game however she could do no wrong. She flirted with a perfect game for 3 innings...and a no hitter through 4 innings. She ended up with a shut out. Again I was not playing a first string defense for much beyond the first couple of innings. We walked away with a 10-0 win.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wing Nuts

I know I am not the only one to notice this...but I have to ask the question: Has anyone ever noticed how the Right Wing Nuts in this country love to use Projection as a psychological tool?

For those not familiar with the concept, Projection is to blame others for doing the thing that you yourself is is stealing from the company (but is probably innocent), while in reality it is you who is doing the stealing.

The Righties in this country have been using that line for years...saying Lefties hate America and want to give your job to immigrants who will make less, all the while making it easier for companies to outsource your job to people in other countries (who make even less than that immigrant would have made), My fave is that the Left wants America to be hit by terrorists, yet the Right poke and prods the terrorists and frequently harming innocent people, thereby giving the terrorists a great recruiting tool.

The latest is calling President Obama and Congress a bunch of Nazis. I think this is quickly becoming my new fave simply based on the irony of it. To be a Nazi is to embrace fascism. Fascism entails mixing the government and private enterprise into one single entity where the corporations are just mere extensions of the government...which they have serious sway over.
There is also a racist aspect to being a Nazi. Sure, you could argue that blacks hate white...and maybe a small segment do...but a small segment of the white populace also hates blacks (and any other non whites for that matter). Lastly there is a violence compnent involved. So let's examine this one a little more to show the absurdity of it all.

Let's begin with racism. Last I checked, hate crimes...racist ones were overwhelmingly conducted by white against non white...usually blacks and hispanics. There are a few in the other direction to be sure...but let's face it...the Jena 6 were the last national headline in that arena while many others involving white on non whites have been reported. This is on top of a rise in militias and white supremesist groups. Obama and Congress are racist. Uh huh...sure. for the corporations shall we look at what we just got out of. The Bush Administration and the Republican controlled Congress passed legislation that was written by the industries that were affected by the laws that were passed. With Obama and the Dems in control they are trying to regulate the industries so that they cannot do that any further and not screw the people of this country. See the new financial regulations that are being passed for proof. That would never have happened under Bush (or Clinton for that matter).

The Healthcare debate shows us even further how Obama is not a Nazi or a Fascist. He wants to give the Healthcare industry more competition that according to Capitalist theory would reduce prices. Yet the Healthcare Industry is trying their best to kill it. They do not want the government to compete with them...they want government to give them a Medicare Part B.

Lastly...violence. The Left does get loud and disruptive. on occasion does damage property (see E.L.F.). However you rarely if ever see Left Wing groups harming people. Both are equally wrong...but property can be replaced...people and their injuries are not. Right Wing Nuts like to physically hurt or kill people who do not believe in their outlook on life (see the assisnation of Dr. Tiller). They also like to threaten people with violence to make people march like they do. People have hanged effigies of Democratic Congressmen. One Rep from Georgia had a swastika painted on his headquarters (and he is black). They have also told outright lies about the pending healthcare legislation (Death Panels anyone?).

So, I put it to you who may disagree with me. How are Obama and the Dem Congress Nazis and Fascists??? Please respond in an educated and thoughtful manner...and not a mindless rant. I know you have a brain cell or two left in that head of yours. Maybe not more...but one or two I am certain.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Random Thought Bubbles

- Goddess I hope after this memorial service today we stop hearing about Michael Jackson. is tragic, yes he was a great entertainer...but he was not Gandhi or Einstein or some other truly great historical figure. Enough already!

- Cats...nature's middle finger of the animal kingdom.

- Kitten's are cute, cuddly and just waiting for the right moment to stick all of those needle sharp claws into your skin! Viscous little monsters...

- Sad that Steve McNair was murdered. He is a schmuck for having an affair...but if someone had to die for cheating on his wife, couldn't it have been S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford? Blowhards like him need to be cleaned out of the gene pool more than people like McNair.

- Let's quit kidding ourselves about this recession. IT IS A DEPRESSION! And it is brought about by 30 years of laizzez faire capitalism (i.e. unregulated capitalism) and Reagan-esque policies.

- Sen. Franken welcome! Now...please speak up loudly and join the esteemed Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) in getting the morons in the Senate to quit farting around on Health Care Reform. Single Payer is the only way to guarantee everyone has coverage. Nuff said.

- Why is congress waisting its time with the whole College Football BCS thing? We have more pressing issues than to have them try and figure out how to crown a national amatuer sports champion. Besides...the rest of the NCAA figured it out's called a playoff.

- Thought for the week...appropriate for the season we are in: "A family vacation is when you go away with the people you need to get away from!" Guess the author and get a cookie. Hint...he is the greatest philosopher who never lived.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

On a Lighter Note...Bat-N-Rouge

Okay...I know I have been hitting on a lot of political and social commentary on my blog. This time I promise there will be nothing political per se. Just simply a lil run down on the events of today.

Today was the 13th annual Bat-N-Rouge charity softball game on Capitol Hill in Seattle. It is a Dykes vs. Drag Queens softball game. The queens are all decked out in their finest...many wear heels...and yes they ran in them. The dykes...well...faux mullets and flannel are the attire of choice.

I was asked to umpire. This was mainly due to my long association with the Emerald City Softball Association players (who made up the majority of both teams) and my well known on field antics when I play. They needed someone to help entertain the crowd along with the emcees...and an ump with humor would be a good fit.

So as an ump I lived up to my billing. Calling time out before a pitch to give a queen a wet t-shirt. Dancing with players on the field. One queen got a small rip in his mini skirt as he was I helped up ripping the skirt further. The dykes would wrestle between innings for money...I would go out and referee it. I did one half inning eating a snow cone (my onfield partner one upped me by eating a hot dog).

The whole thing was a wild outting...and a lot of fun! :) So many people were entertained as evidenced by the laughter. The player had a good time too...and I was complimented by the majority of them for making the game a little more fun. I had a blast too and look forward to doing it again next year (I hope to be asked back...and if reactions right after the game are any indication I am likely to).

Monday, June 1, 2009

Domestic Terrorism

Just wanted to say how upset I am that yet another right wing whack job feels the need to use violence to advance their cause. People like the guy who murdered Dr. Tiller in Witchita, KS are DOMESTIC TERRORISTS on par with the likes of the Taliban and al-Qaeda!

I do not say this lightly. If you think about it...they are identical. The people who commit these heinous acts are:
1) men (who often believe women are inferior to themselves)
2) religious zealots
3) feel the need to use violence to advance their beliefs

They have bombed clinics, threatened people who work at them, vandalized property and worst of all physically attacked people. All of this in the name of their god who says that they should respond with violence because people do not believe the way they do. Yes, they claim to be saving babies. While I do not wish to get into the abortion debate (we all have different views on when life begins), the act of killing as a response to a what one believes is murder of babies is akin to the antiquated eye for and eye justice that is used by the likes of such human rights backwaters like Saudi Arabia.

So...for all the righties out there who cheered for this murder (even tacitly as some have by further saying that abortion needs to be outlawed while not directly condemning this act), I think we need to apply your logic to the problem. My solution is simple. Apply the "War on Terrorism" to domestic terrorists. You all support if completely. So why not go after domestic terrorists? Oh...I forgot...they support your side. After all...the ones who actually commit violence against people are almost always (99.99%) right wing loons. When was the last time you heard of a left wing terrorist (and they do exist...see ELF) actually kill someone?

Terrorism is wrong. Period. If the right wing nuts in this country cannot see this act for what it is then we need to use it as a wake up call.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Real "Savings" by Cutting Taxes

So back in the 80's with the Reagan Revolution people got this idea that cutting taxes was a good idea. Not just income taxes though. Property taxes and corporate taxes (a disproportionate amount more of this than other kinds) also saw cuts. Well...30 years later what was the real savings? How does your pocketbook seem fatter with all these cuts? The answer: NOTHING IS SAVED! might get a short term savings of a few bucks for you the schmo who works for a living. The guys who can live off their trust funds and dividends while sitting by a pool...they saved oodles...and the deal kept getting better for them. And it was done at our expense!

Here is the real cost of the tax cuts that people like those who "Teabagged" the Obama Administration on Tax Day. Your kids get to pay for it. Yes...there is the debt issue but that is not what I am targeting here. The real way your kids pay for it (and so do you in some cases) is in roads that are less safe (see the MN bridge collapse and the general condition of out roadways), an utility grid that is crumbling and a school system that is struggling to make ends meet. You pay less in taxes while cities, counties, states and the federal government cannot pay to keep these things up. Sure...some smarter choices could have been made in spending the money over the years, but in long term picture which is coming into focus the real problem is that tax revenue is down causing the local level to cut spending (because unlike the feds they cannot print their own money).

What really upsets me about all of this is the schools. People complain schools do not function properly. They are right...but not for a lack of trying. The schools want to get it right for the kids. They want to make sure your kids get a good education. However they do not have the money to do so because on the local and state level that fund schools (and the police and fire departments and so on...)...have been cut in the last 30 years. A school needs a certain amount to pay for your child's education. They also have to maintain buildings and pay for operating costs (utilities, paper and other teaching materials, etc...) just like a business. Yet they are funded by the money that you the property owner and the businesses are saving because you all wanted lower taxes.

Now...teachers will lose their jobs, school sports are being cut, materials are being rationed like materials in a war and your kids are being offered fewer classes that could expand their education. It has been shown time and again that things like expanded class offerings (foreign languages and vocational related classes for instance) and sports have long term benefits to the kids that have the opportunity to have them. But because you wanted lower taxes they do not get them. They will have to do without classes and lessons that could give them an edge in college or future careers. All because you wanted lower taxes. Without extracurriculars kids are more likely to engage in unhealthy activities (unsafe, criminal, narcotic or otherwise) causing a larger social cost in prisons, injuries and rehabilitations. But got lower taxes.

The result of your excess in savings is the theft of a quality education for your child and other children as well. The vast majority of kids are educated by a public school system that is funded by TAXES. Yet who got a tax cut.

If you can sleep soundly at night knowing that your desire to pay less in taxes resulted in kids not getting an education as good as yours than you are either nuts or went to a private school because your family has the money to send you there. In which case you are probably loving this. After all...a less educated workforce will allow wages to go even lower causing you the spend less on operating costs and increasing your profits. Business is good!

If you are not one of those, the next time someone screams about paying taxes...quote that oft used and mocked line that really does have meaning here; "Won't someone please think of the children!" and educate them on the real cost of cutting taxes!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Getting Older

There is a saying that goes "You know you are getting old when its your knees that go Snap, Crackle, Pop in the morning and not your cereal." 35 I am beginning to understand that...

I have long understood I am not the spring chicken I once was. My body aches after a day of softball (usually 2-3 games) and my knees give me some problems after I hike. But I love being outdoors doing all that Seattle has to I deal with it. It is very much worth having to pop some Advil after a day of fun in the sun (assuming we actually see it here in Seattle).

So my birthday was this past Friday (the 13th...and yes...I am superstitious about it). I got a lot of Happy Birthdays (especially from family...I am reconnecting to many distant family members through Facebook) and was happy for that. I missed spending the day with my sweetie since I had to work all day.

The highlight of my birthday weekend was last night spending time with friends. We geeked out playing Rock Band, watching Mamma Mia! (one of my fave is just a fun flick!) and playing card games. A total geek night...which I love to do.

I may be getting older but I have a circle of friends that makes me feel blessed. Two of them have been with me since I lived in Chicago (they live here in Seattle now) and the rest I have known for about 5 years or more. They have all been with me through thick and thin...sharing good times and bad.

I know this is a kinda generic post...but I woke up this morning in a mood that I wanted to say something about my weekend and that I feel lucky to have great friends and the like.