On the road again…

This last week has been just plain old hectic. Too much going on and no really coherent thoughts to build a post off of. To top it all off I’m headed to Chicago for a trade show this week where I will likely have nothing better than intermittent access to the web. So, with that in mind I thought I’d just hit one a few things superficially…

#1 – If I was the Pirates’ GM I would have fired Lloyd McClendon last night. What an absurd display of stupidity. The Pirates were six outs away from handing the A’s their first loss to a National League Central team since interleague play began and McClendon has his reliever, Saloman Torres, throw not one, but two pitches behind Damien Miller, getting Torres and himself tossed out of the game. And as if that weren’t bad enough, Jose Mesa had to come in an inning far too early for his shakey abilities to handle against a now very pissed off Oakland A’s team who’ve scored over 60 runs in the past six games. Mesa got one out and then the A’s scored five runs off of him to take the lead. I’m not a major league GM, but I have been a manager for over ten years. When someone demonstrates repeatedly that they’re too stupid to know the difference between good and poor judgement you fire them. McClendon was more interested in retaliation for hit batters (some deliberate – on Friday, and one clearly accidental on Saturday) than he was in winning the game. That’s a man who has forgotten what his job is. Show him the door.

#2 – Ronald Reagan was a rampaging ass-clown of epic proportions. I’m revolted by the display my fellow citizens have put on this past week desparately trying to find nice things to say about a man who was such a mental case that he repeatedly tried to engage Mikail Gorbachev in conversations about whether or not the USSR would form an alliance with the US if the earth were invaded by aliens. The best thing I can say about Ronnie Raygun is that he hated George H.W. Bush.

#3 – If anyone should be lying in state in the nation’s capital it’s Ray Charles. My mother was, for most of her life, a serious bigot. The word nigger was not one she had a problem with using. But her record collection was, at one time, filled with Ray Charles records. Ray Charles was very much the musical equivalent of Jackie Robinson. He helped people to realize that what you do is far more important than what hue your skin is by making music that is so beautiful, so full of soul and passion that it transcended biases and prejudices. Several years ago there was a bill moving through Congress to switch the US national anthem from the odious Star Spangled Banner to America The Beautiful, and to make Ray Charles’ version the officially sanctioned version of the song. I think this is a great idea that needs to be resurrected now that Ray has died. I flinch at ballgames when they play the Star Spangled Banner and not just because it’s usually being sung poorly by someone who’d have a hard time with Camptown Races. I flinch because the Star Spangled Banner is a war ballad. Defining the identity of your nation through a song about war paints a nasty picture. The specific message of that song, that we’ll take a beating and come back for more, is childish and troubling. America The Beautiful is a love song to our home. Ray Charles got that, and he sang it that way. May Uncle Ray’s version of America The Beautful our anthem and I might even salute.

#4 – The pigeons finally came home to roost after my two weeks of non-stop rock. I wrenched my back last Sunday loading the van up after Fracas played a benefit for my friend Jesse Townley’s campaign for the Berkeley city council. I was dreading getting on the plane to Chicago with this back spasm mess until Thursday when it started to feel a bit better. Then I re-wrenched it last night slipping on some spilled beer at a show. Damn.

See you in a week.

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