Roger (Finally) Answers Your Questions, Scott

Scott from the Scooter Chronicles – GIVE THIS MAN A JOB! – wrote several questions:

Since obtaining your current job, have you ever thought of switching careers?

What, and leave show business? Seriously, not really. I learn something new (and sometimes interesting) every day. I work with smart people, and I provide a valuable service, if I do say so.

Besides which, I came to it so late (library school at 37, librarian at 39), I feel behind the curve compared with people who are my contemporaries agewise but have twice as much experience in the field.

Do you think the Obama administration will be able to make changes to the current health care systems? If so, do you think it will truly change for the better?

It’ll be incremental change, and it’ll be marginally for the better. But it won’t be the sweeping changes you righteously ranted about a few months ago. I knew trouble was brewing when single-payer wasn’t even on the table. I blame Sen. Max Baucus for that. Then the single-payer people were at the table but could not speak. Do not underestimate the power of the insurance lobbies.

Who do you think will be in the World Series, and who will win it?

At the beginning of the season, I picked Mets over Red Sox. Still feel the BoSox will be there. I could/should jump on the Dodgers/Cards/Phillies bandwagon, but heck with it, I’ll stick with the Metropolitans.

Oh, there was an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal about “high-leverage” situation hitting versus the two-run homer in the fifth inning when you’re already ahead 11-1.
These are the best and worst, through June 13.
Crucial/non-crucial
Giants .299/.254
Phillies .288/.247
Marlins .263/.231

Nationals .236/.284
Mariners .252/.279
Rays .257/.276

When growing up, did you play in any organized baseball leagues?

No. Tried out for Little League once. I was a middling to poor fielder, but what really made me give up was being at bat. This kid threw a 3-2 pitch for a strike and I never even saw it.

Is so, what position(s) did you play? (If you didn’t, what position would you have liked to play?)

I played a lot of unorganized baseball. I tended to play the right side of the infield, though I’m right-handed, because my arm wasn’t great. I could throw relatively accurately from second to first, but not from shortstop or third base. Also played first, since I was a large target. Actually got better getting throws in the dirt, but not throws that were too wide or too high.

I also caught some games. Didn’t much enjoy it, but I could block the ball if I didn’t catch it.

Who was your favorite baseball player while growing up?

Clearly, Willie Mays. He could hit for average and power, he could run and he could field well. That said, I always had an affection for National League outfielders such as Vada Pinson (Reds), Lou Brock (Cards), Billy Williams (Cubs), Hank Aaron (Braves), the Alou Brothers (Giants), Frank Robinson (Reds/Orioles), and Roberto Clemente (Pirates); I had a Clemente card that referred to him as “Bob”, but he was no “Bob”.

Do you have a favorite baseball player now? If so, who and why?

Albert Pujois (Cards). Seems like a decent guy and he’s very good.

Any big travel plans for the summer months?

At this very moment, we were supposed to be in Williamsburg, VA with my parents-in-law, my two brothers-in-law, their wives and collectively, their three daughters. But my wife Carol has so much school work to do in preparation for going away to college for 17 days in a row later this summer that we bailed. During that 17-day run, I’ll be doing the solo parenting thing. Having my wife back will be like a vacation; we did this last summer as well, so I know of what I speak.

There’s talk about going somewhere in August, but so far, I’m not feeling it. I don’t know about your experiences with Nigel, but my experience with Lydia is that vacation away from home is more taxing than just staying in the routine. I AM basing that on our vacation when she was three, and she’s more self-sufficient now.


ROG

The Year in Review: Politics, Sports

2008 was only the second time in ten attempts I’ve voted for a successful Presidential candidate – any guesses to the other time?

I also voted for Obama in the New York state primary. My, that was SO long ago, back in early February. Like many people, I suffered from election fatigue. So silliness such as the Barack the Magic Negro song kerfluffle, played on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show, doesn’t even register.

But here’s a terrible thought: perhaps the Republicans were (gulp) right in in their winner-take-all primaries. In the same vein, I have also finally figured out what’s so very RIGHT with the Electoral College. People say, correctly, that it’s undemocratic. EXACTLY! It wasn’t designed to be democratic, it was meant to be definitive. Obama won with about a 53-47% vote. BUT he also won with a landslide ELECTORAL vote. The results of the election were not in question. And the system works most of the time. OK, not in 2000. Or 1888. Or 1876. Or 1824. But most of the time.

Imagine a close election, say 1968. Nixon and Humphrey were virtually tied in the popular vote. But Nixon’s Electoral College victory codified the race. Let’s say there were no Electoral College. There would have been canvassing of votes all over the country. Or even 2000, where the canvassing was limited to Florida.

There’s some merit, though, in doing what Maine and Nebraska have done; allocate electoral votes by Congressional district, with two votes going to the winner statewide. This would put more conservative parts of “blue” states and more liberal parts of “red” states in play, and that we in upstate New York would be barraged with the same campaign of ads that the folks in Ohio and Florida get. Wait, I said there was merit to this? Well, for the local media bottom line, for sure.

Caroline Kennedy for Senate? Don’t much care. Whoever is elected would have to run in both 2010 AND 2012. But she’s getting killed in the “vetting” process. There’s also the more parochial issue that upstaters in New York want an upstate Senator, since there hasn’t been one since Charles Goodall finished the term of Bobby Kennedy. An AP story this week suggested that some “caretaker” take the seat now, someone with no desire to run in 2010, like Bill Clinton, or Mario Cuomo, or Eliot Spitzer. OK, not Eliot Spitzer; seeing if you were paying attention. But Governor David Paterson does not want a caretaker candidate; he wants whoever he appoints in 2009 to be on the ballot in 2010, possibly, one could speculate, to enhance his own chances for being elected governor in hios own right.

I’ve been pretty obsessed with the Constitution this year. Do you know which Amendment took 203 years to be passed?

BASEBALL

Congrats to the Phillies and the Devil Rays. What a difference a season, and a name change, makes.

I started reading a Bob Costas book from 2000, which I seemed to have misplaced. Regardless, the points he made helped me realize that interleague play, as it’s currently constructed, is fatally flawed. Where in the NFL, all the teams in a division play common opponents (the NFL East playing the AFC North in 2008, e.g.), Major League Baseball has this romanticized notion of Yankees-Mets, White Sox-Cubs, etc. Nice, but When getting into the playoffs is determined by this, it’s not particularly workable. Let’s say the White Sox had a weak team, and the Yankees a strong one. This is advantageous to the Cubs and problematic for the Mets.

Also, how is it that the AL West has only four teams, while the NL Central has six? This is competitively unfair. Short of expanding MLB to 32 (four 4-team divisions in each league a la the NFL) or contracting two teams to 28 (two 7-team divisions, maybe with two wild cards, in each league), I don’t know how to make the system more equitable.

I’m also distressed that the Yankees can afford to get two front-line pitchers in the offseason (LHP CC Sabathia’s seven-year contract; RHP A.J. Burnett’s five-year contract). They are playing by the rules; it’s the rules that have to be fixed, with a greater amount of profit-sharing than the “luxury tax” has created. (Oh, and why isn’t the Mark Teixeira deal showing up on the MLB transaction list?

Will Francisco Rodriguez (K-Rod) be the end of late-season collapses for the Mets?

FOOTBALL
There’s a bowl game today at noon on ESPN2 that I never even heard of, the International Bowl, played in Toronto, ON CANADA, but I have a rooting interest: the Buffalo Bulks, which had been a terrible team, but won some incredible games down the stretch this season. Not only is it an upstate team, it’s a SUNY school (as is U Albany and SUC New Paltz, my alma maters), the school declined its only other chance to go to a bowl game 50 years ago.

On the pro level – Go, Big Blue! (That’s the defending Super Bowl champs, the New York Giants, to the uninitiated.)

ROG

Brian Wilson’s Route 66

Brian Wilson is 66 today.

Here’s a link to the Coverville tribute to Pet Sounds.

A link to a guy who has put a bunch of a cappella takes of the Beach Boys’ versions of the songs from Pet Sounds on YouTube.

My second favorite song from Pet Sounds:

Brian from SMiLE:

Brian from a 1967 performance of a song from what would have been SMiLE:

A Neil Young song that namechecks the Beach Boys and a song from Pet Sounds. The studio version (which I can’t find) is even more evocative.

A John Hiatt song which has what I think are lovely harmonies – inspired by the Beach Boys?

***
And on another matter, the New York Daily News cover from Wednesday, June 18:


ROG

Macca’s Route 66

I saw this PETA ad in some magazine recently.

Made me at least think about my carnivore ways.

I love this old piece on Paul McCartney and Jack Kirby.

Paul’s still out there playing. Recently he did a benefit concert in Ukraine. One of the songs he sang in Ukraine, of course, was Back in the USSR. Here’s an interesting cover:

One of my favorite Paul songs with his first group:

Paul turns 66 today. Happy birthday.

***
Willie Randolph was 86’d by the NY Mets. Yes, the team is better than the record, but I almost never favor in-season managerial replacements.
***
I was watching ABC News last night, and the segment they showed in observation of Cyd Charisse’s passing happened to be this first piece I found on YouTube searching by her name, from about 50 seconds in, and running just over a minute. It also features some other dancer of note:

I remember seeing her well past her prime, probably on some awards program, and she STILL had great legs.

ROG

Very short takes

Today is the day folks go to the polls in many locations in New York State, everywhere except in the largest cities and vote for the school budget and the school board members. For some reason, the city of Albany only votes for the budget now, and the school board in November. More on that and Rex Smith speaking at the Friends of the Albany Public Library annual meeting this eveninghere.
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Don’t care about Dancing with the Stars, but I do care about my wife, and SHE cares about DWTS. So I got the phone number from the end of the taped performance and tried to call in a number of times, but kept getting a busy signal. Then I went online to do so, but it required to be registered with ABC.com. Lo and behold, I WAS registered with ABC.com, though I don’t recall why. Five votes for Kristi Yamaguchi & Mark Ballas, who got 60 out of 60 points from the judges (the competition got 51 and 52 votes.)
***
I haven’t sent out my mixed CDs yet because I saved them to the drive, then the burner failed to put the data on the disc. I have figured out a workaround, but can’t get to until this weekend; sorry. It is sequenced and I do like it; Gordon will recognize the inspiration immediately. So far got mine from Gordon (like it), Tosy (listened to about half), and Lefty (haven’t played yet). Details to follow.
***
Best wishes to Edward Kennedy after his medical episode. I was looking at my Bushisms calendar, where W. referred to him as Theodore, one of the more understandable mistakes in the gaffe-filled daily.
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The Subway series played out this past weekend. For me, the excitement is tempered, maybe because they are, at least so far, two mediocre teams, though the Mets, who swept, less mediocre than the Yankees.
***
The only parts of the NBA playoffs I have watched has been when I’ve taped ABC World News and the game has run over. For instance, I saw the last 18 seconds of the Celtics Game-Seven win over Cleveland, which took about 10 minutes, with all the fouls and timeouts.
***
Happy birthday, PixieNona!Are you sure it was a cold and not allergies? Your symptoms were very similar to mine last week.
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In answer to a comment to this story DNA cleared them, but they’ll never feel free and some of the comments: “There’s particular disdain for the prosecutors of these crimes because, often, the prosecution withheld evidence that could have exonerated the defendant, esp. in Dallas County, TX. At least some of these people were home and with their families or at work; the assertion that ‘people doing the right thing don’t get mixed up in this stuff’ is simply inaccurate much of the time. There is also mistaken identity by witnesses far more often than most people realize. With all that, there’s no way to blame the juries, who can only weigh the evidence presented.”

ROG