Thursday, September 30, 2010

Around the Horn of Current Stuff

It's fall. It's an election year. Most of my favorite teams are either in action, or are about to be. There are are new TV shows which might merit attention beyond casual.There is, in fact, an abundance of things to write about.
Since this blog mainly owes its existence to my personal desire to unload opinions that relate to political things, here is a partial list of things in this area that are of current interest:
Control of the US House of Representatives in the next term
The impact of Tea Party candidates
Possible future GOP presidential candidates
Polarization of Congress and of Society in general
How a Republican minority can keep the majority from reaching its legislative goals
The blog's other main pillar is sports. Take your pick:
My alma mater BYU changes leagues for the second time since my graduation
Is Federer the greatest of all time, or could it be Nadal?
Will my Iowa Hawkeyes have what it takes to play in the Rose Bowl?
The most memorable events of the almost finished baseball season?
Will my current injury keep me off the tennis courts much longer?

Given all that, let's start with something noteworthy from the weather, the facts of which are unarguable. It has been very nice here lately in this tiny corner of California. But the majority of Golden Staters can't say that. Just the other day it was a full 50 degrees hotter in downtown LA than here, where it was 63 for a high. No wonder we feel more than a little detached from the Angelinos.

Carl Paladino is the official Republican candidate for governor of New York. His nomination was secured in the new old fashioned way, being a favorite of that cutting edge group, the Tea Party. His campaign, however, looks like a loser at this point, as he trails Democrat Andrew Cuomo by something like 30 points in polls. Just yesterday Paladino threatened a reporter whose paper based in Albany has evidently attempted to get material on Paladino's ten year-old daughter born out of wedlock. His words, caught on cell phone camera as these things now tend to be, included the threat to have the reporter "taken out" if his daughter were not left alone. Who says family values are out of fashion?

And, in a completely unrelated matter, we got our first look this week at the latest Ken Burns epic, this one a four hour extension of the memorable work "Baseball". The ground covered includes the 1990's and the current decade. As expected, there are portraits of individual players who both were are now prominent, with the inevitable statistical highlights scattered among the observations of journalists and intellectuals, many of them quite personal. The piano background, so common in Burns' documentaries, is still there, and the highlights are great, as one would expect. Naturally, Burns can just barely resist making all of recent baseball the mere backdrop for the struggle of the Yankees vs. the Boston Red Sox. It is noted, for instance, that Sox faithful went to cemeteries to leave the good news (WE WON the SERIES!) on the graves of dear departed fans.
But the really big story of the time was the use of illegal steroids by MLB players and that scandal's legacy to the whole game. The usual big name suspects are named for the record, none more so than the enigmatic home run career champion Barry Bonds. Barry gets, and no doubt deserves, WAY more attention than just about everyone else, though it's not the kind of attention one would normally desire. So - is the production worth four hours of your time to sit and watch? Absolutely.


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