Friday, July 27, 2007

And Jesus Wept...

Hey, has anyone been following the ongoing Catholic church scandal in LA? The church is being forced to sell off property and possessions to pay out the portion of the court settlement from events that occurred before they had sexual abuse insurance.
Sexual abuse insurance?!?
Who knew there was such a thing?
How about they jail any priest found to be a molester, just like they would a layperson?
How about yanking tax-exempt status from any church whose leaders molest children?
"Sexual-abuse insurance".
And Jesus wept...

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Aborted Occupations

More from NYC still to come, but for now...
This just in (from Harper's Weekly):
Former congressman Tom DeLay gave a speech about abortion to a gathering of college Republicans in Washington, D.C. "If we had those 40 million children that were killed over the last 30 years," said DeLay, "we wouldn't need the illegal immigrants to fill the jobs that they are doing today."

I suppose the aborted babies could either have done as Tom suggests, and grown up to be out there earning minimum wage with leaf blowers and kitchen hair nets, or they could have been added to the US armed forces so we could properly occupy both Iraq and Afghanistan and still have bodies left over with which to seriously threaten Iran, Syria and North Korea...

Friday, July 06, 2007

Yankees Go Home!

Pabst Blue Ribbon really is awful stuff. You don’t tend to notice this when you’re actually drinking it, because the fact that you are indicates that you’re already inebriated to the point where you think drinking cheap swill is a good idea. No, the moment you realize that Pabst Blue Ribbon is awful stuff is the moment you open your eyes the following morning. Trust me.

Our Saturday thus started rather slowly. It was to be another day packed with discovery, yet I was having trouble getting past exploring the inside of my eyelids. Beth managed to get me up with the promise of good coffee, and a reminder that our day’s agenda was to start off with a true New York experience – an afternoon matinee game at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.

When we started planning this trip, a Yankee game was high on my to-do list. Once we decided on the weekend, I immediately checked out the schedule and was thrilled to find that Major League Baseball would be in the middle of inter-league play. Not only that, the American League Yankees would be playing their arch cross-town rivals, the National League’s New York Mets! It was being billed as the Subway Series 2007.
OK, my apologies to the non-sports oriented reader. Please feel free to ignore the previous description full of nonsensical sports jargon. All you need to know is that to a sports fan, this was a big deal. Unfortunately for me, the world is full of sports fans and that game had been sold out since the season began. In the weeks leading up to our trip, tickets were going on eBay for hundreds of dollars apiece. Beth and I had decided to save the cash and try our luck at buying scalper tickets the day of the game.

In keeping with the series name, we headed to the subway to get to Yankee Stadium. The subways were under construction and over the weekend it had sometimes been hard to figure out which train was going where from what track. For this day’s destination, however, there was no question. The station was full of Yankee pinstripe jerseys. We just had to follow the masses.

The streets around Yankee stadium were alive with activity. Hoards of fans, even an occasional thick skinned Mets fan, filled the streets and local bars. Booths and street touts were on each corner selling everything imaginable to do with baseball. Everything, that is, except tickets. There were no scalpers in sight. We circled the entire stadium in search of someone selling tickets, and never saw a soul.

Our first stop once out of the subway had been the Yankee Stadium ticket office, but all they had to offer were some box seats for $280 a piece. Not even I am crazy enough to pay that kind of money for a baseball game. It was close to time for the game to begin and I had pretty well given up when Beth suggested we try the ticket office again. I rolled my eyes at such a ridiculously futile idea, but accompanied her to the window just the same. Sure enough, the agent clacked away on her computer for a moment, then announced that they had just released some tickets down the left field line for $55. We couldn’t hand over our cash fast enough. In no time we were at our seats, beer in hand.

Yankee Stadium is more than a sports venue; it’s a shrine to baseball fans not only in the Bronx and New York, but all across America. It’s the last of the remaining old ballparks. While all the other teams have built mega stadiums with corporate names, vast concourses and midway like gaming areas, Yankee Stadium goes on as a comparatively cramped has-been. Still, it’s the past that earns the stadium its place in history today. It is home to the most storied, and valuable, sports franchise in history. From “The Babe” to Willie Mays and Joe DiMaggio, they all played and won here. It has also almost single handedly kept the Bronx from turning into a third world slum. As a destination for people from all walks of life around the greater New York City area, Yankee Stadium has focused attention on the Bronx, and brought in much needed dollars, since 1923.

Sitting in our seats waiting for the first pitch, I took a deep breath to fill myself with the aura of Yankee Stadium. Unfortunately, I was greeted with sensations not exactly commensurate with the reverence that these hallowed halls deserve. First off, Yankee fans are not ones to dress up for a game, or bathe, for that matter. It was a hot and humid day in The Bronx, and the majority of the fans were, for lack of a better term, ripe. Secondly, since the stadium has been around since the 1920’s, that means Yankee fans have been spilling beer all over the place for more than 80 years. This day was no exception. They don’t give lids at the concession stands, so you’re lucky if you’ve still got half your beer by the time you make it through the crowded corridors and back to your seat.

The “House that Ruth Built” is being replaced in 2009. Construction of the replacement is already underway in an adjacent lot. The Bronx will still be home to the New York Yankees, but Yankee Stadium will not. Like Astroland on Coney Island, another New York area icon is about to fade into memory. My nose was telling me that for Yankee Stadium, it’s about time.

So there we were, in our left field seats, about to witness our last game in Yankee Stadium, and likewise probably the last “Subway Series” to be held there as well. Our surroundings weren’t so pleasant, but the significance of the event was not lost on us. It was only then that we first heard it. “Deh-wick! Deh-wick!”

I couldn’t believe it. By some cruel twist of fate, we had been seated in front of the loudest mouth in all of The Bronx. Not only that, but his Bronx accent was so thick, and his voice so squeaky, that he sounded just like a young Elmer Fudd!

“Aw c’mon Deh-wick Jetah! Hit a home wun fer yer goilfwend!”

I kid you not. Beth and I both had to turn around to be sure that he wasn’t packin’ and out to hunt wabbits. No, instead we were confronted with a very fat, very red faced fellow in his mid-thirties, completely decked out in Yankee’s gear.

We consoled each other with the hope that he couldn’t possibly keep up that volume for an entire game. We were certain that he’d run out of things to say, or his vocal chords would finally give out. We were wrong. I had to hand it to the guy, for what he lacked in intelligence and originality, he made up for in stamina. So, other than a short distraction from a group of large black gang bangers trying to pick a fight with a frat boy Mets fan, our game was overshadowed by young Elmer and his never ending babble-train of consciousness.

He would yell “SUEY!! SQUEAL LIKE A PIG!!” every time Hideki Matsui came up to bat or touched a ball. Apparently, “Awex Wadweegez” kissed his cousin one day. Or was it Jason Giambi? He couldn’t really remember, so that story was repeated over and over with the name of whatever Yankee happened to be at bat. The barrage went on, but the crescendo had to be when the field crew came on and “YMCA” was blared all over the stadium. That was his signal to leap to his feet and run down the aisle (ok, waddle quickly) and lead our section in the hand motions to the song. Unfortunately, young Elmer wasn’t a very good speller, so his routine amounted to a series of whoops and yips while frantically waving his hands in the air.

Thankfully, there was a rain delay in the seventh inning, and Beth and I were in need of a good hosing off before heading to a Broadway play that evening. As we headed to the exits we noticed that pretty well every other person from our section out in left field was doing the same thing, except for young Elmer, of course. I’m sure he was there until long after the game was over.

Oh, I almost forgot. There was a ball game that day. It was actually quite entertaining. The Yankees won 11 to 8. Both Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez hit home runs, apparently for their “goilfwends”.