Thoughts on being buried under a rock

So the WSJ this morning has this big picture of a boulder with brass plaque on it that says “FIDEL”.  This plaque is apparently the door to the crypt inside the rock where his ashes are.

But when I first saw the picture, the first thing that occurred to me was, “So they buried the slug in the same place they found him:  Under a rock.”

Hopefully Raul will join him there in the near future.  There’s still 26 days left in 2016, after all.  One can dream.

 

So McDonald’s has pulled the trigger on self-service.

Instapundit points out a Forbes article (warning, annoying adblock resistance) this morning indicating that “Thanks To ‘Fight For $15’ Minimum Wage, McDonald’s Unveils Job-Replacing Self-Service Kiosks Nationwide”.

Which you kinda have to take with a grain of salt, if you read this article in Fortune from just over a year ago that kind of laughs it off as a stunt, saying that 70% of McDonalds’ business is done at the drive-through, where the kiosk is useless.

So the truth is somewhere in the middle, it seems.

Fortune says that “Implementing these kiosks is expected to cost franchisees between $120,000 and $160,000.  Quite an expense considering its limited advantage.”

Well, first of all, I certainly hope a McDonald’s restaurant can afford a one-time cost at that level, because if it can’t, it’s nearly out of business anyway.  But let’s think about the cost of an employee to McDonald’s.  I don’t eat there, so I don’t know or care if they’re open 24/7 or not, but let’s assume a 24 hour restaurant that needs a cashier all 24 of those hours.*  At $15 an hour, you’re talking $360/day in wages.  But that doesn’t count the employer’s part of FICA, or insurance, or uniforms, or unemployment/workman’s compensation, vacation, sick time,** etc., etc., ad nauseum.  So let’s just double that, because we probably won’t be very far off.  $720/day to keep a cash register manned (well, and do whatever else a fast-food cashier does, which can be quite a lot).

That’s $262,800 per year.  For someone (or more likely, several someones, because a) these aren’t full-time jobs and b) we’re talking three shifts/day) making $15/hour.

So if a restaurant eliminates ONE employee (or really three employees, because you’re eliminating that employee across three shifts, but I digress) because of the kiosks, they’ve already paid for the system to be installed.  And moreover, the system doesn’t require a paycheck, or any of the other employer expenses noted above.  Sure, it may fail and require a techie to fix it, or replace a part, or whatever, and sure, there are going to be ongoing maintenance and support expenses.  But they’re probably a fraction of what the employees they’re replacing would cost at $15/hour (or in fairness, closer to $30/hour as we’ve shown above).

It seems to me that even if only 30% of the business is being done at the counter, the savings involved in eliminating one cashier position (and remember, that may be three or more actual employees) still outweighs the cost of the new equipment.  If you run three positions during peak hours, and the kiosks allow you to cut that back to two or even one, you’re still saving money, and you will continue to save money assuming the usual five-year amortization of the equipment.

The alternative, of course, would be for employees to understand that their entry-level jobs are simply not worth $15/hour.  It’s always nice to dream, but the fact is, most dreams are pretty much just fantasy.  Unfortunately I suspect restaurants are already heading down the slippery robot slope that grocery and other big-box stores like Home Depot have already been driving down for the past decade.***

Businessmen will say, “It’s just business.”  And they’re right.  They want to stay in business, and they will cut costs wherever they have to in order to do that.

As a result, current liberal arts students should be on notice that their post-college jobs (the ones where they ask “do you want fries with that?”) are probably in jeopardy.  They may want to consider a different major.  Or maybe welding school.

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* If it makes you happy, I know that White Castle and Steak n Shake are both open 24/7, so feel free to slot them in instead of McDonald’s.

** Vacation and sick time are either going to double cost for the worker’s shift (because of having to slot someone else in to cover) or drop efficiency because the restaurant will be short-handed.  So there is definitely a cost over and above regular payroll for that sort of time.

*** Kroger, for instance, has self-checkout kiosks, and they have them for a reason:  They’re unionized, and unionized cashiers are expensive.  So they put up (at least in our local Kroger) six kiosks and assign one cashier to oversee them.  Makes perfect sense to me.

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We’re your betters in the FedGov, and we’re here to be nosy.

The Constitution says, according to Article I Section 2, that an enumeration of the population shall be taken every 10 years to determine each state’s proportional number of representatives to the Federal Congress. In Article I Section 9, it specifically mentions the Census, but only in regard to capitations or other direct taxes.

All well and good.  But nowhere in the Constitution does it mention the “American Community Survey”, which apparently is a thing, and for which a failure to file the thing when it appears in your mailbox results in some sort of vaguely-worded penalty that is supposedly set forth in Title 18 U.S.C Section 3571 and Section 3559, which amends Title 13 U.S.C. Section 221. However, none of those sections specifically state that failure to file the ACS will result in a particular penalty, so I guess the answer to “what happens if I tell the government to fuck off?” is “We’ll get really mad and maybe charge you with a criminal felony.”  OK, a closer read of 13 USC 221 suggests that failure to file is a $100 fine, and willfully giving false information is a $500 fine.  However, neither section cited of 18 USC seems to have anything to do with the non-criminal, non-felonious “crime” of telling the fedgov to get its nose out of my private business, so I’m not sure why either of those sections is cited.  However, as I have mentioned many times on this blog, IANAL, I just try to make sense out of shit that makes no sense.

At any rate, here is something that I really wish the Trump Administration would deal with. The Census has grown like a malignant cancer with absolutely zero Constitutional mandate. The Census should be counting the number of people who live in the states — and NOTHING ELSE. It’s time to scale the Census Bureau back and outlaw this sort of nosenheimeritis.

In the covering letter, Mr. John H. Thompson, the Director of the US Census Bureau, tries to soothe us into compliance thusly:

This survey collectes critical information used to meet the needs of communities across the United States. For example, results from this survey are used to decide where new schools, hospitals, and fire stations are needed. This information also helps communities plan for the kinds of emergency situations that might affect you and your neighbors, such as floods and other natural disasters.

NONE OF WHICH IS THE BRIEF OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UNDER THE US CONSTITUTION.

I am forced to conclude that what they really mean is, “Your betters in the federal government will decide how much of the tax money it hoovers from wallets every paycheck will be returned to you little peons — or more to the point, your local governing agencies — in the guise of a gift from the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful FedGov.  Amen, selah.”

And the people are supposed to cry, gladly, “Hallelujah!”

To hell with that. How do we get a reset to the Constitution’s original meaning, and throw 99% of the bloodsucking bureaucracy to the curb, to “root, hog, or die”?

Meanwhile, like a good serf, I will respond to the survey, under protest of course, and with a letter in that vein to my congresscritter and senileators.  Not that I expect such to have any actual effect; after all, they’re in on it, too.

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A nice Jewish boy once said it. Maybe we should all listen.

So here it is, a week and a day after the election, and the usual rioting and property destruction and commie ranting is still taking place on the left.  Like I say below, business as usual.

But what’s not business as usual is the continuing razzing of the left by the right.  Last week I said we weren’t gloating.  But at this point, those who are continuing to razz, well, boys, you’re past happy happy joy joy week, and now you’re into malicious gloating.

I’m as partisan as the next guy, but again as I said below, I don’t really trust Donald Trump, and I’m not exactly rejoicing over his election so much as I’m fucking relieved that Hillary struck out.  Maybe I’m just tired of all the hooroar that attends our presidential elections.  (Remember that the president wasn’t supposed to be a king, or an emperor, or our national Dad.  He was supposed to be the guy who stayed in Washington while Congress was home tending to their knittin’ and was in charge of executing the laws passed by the people’s representatives.  He’s often referred to as the Chief Magistrate in writings of the early days, and yeah, that’s what the Constitutional intent of his office was supposed to be.)

But as a Scottish Rite Mason, I learned something going through the degrees that, even though it was allegorized through a tradition not my own, is clear, succinct, and an excellent way to think about ending all this nasty, contentious, rowdy bullshit.

John 13:34.  “Love one another.”  It’s a take on Leviticus 9:18, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” simply putting God’s Words to the Hebrews in Jesus’ mouth to make them palatable to the non-Jews and proto-Christians of Jesus’ day. But either way you slice it, however you decide to interpret it, it’s a lesson we ought all to be taking to heart right now.

We will get nowhere as a nation if we can’t come together and work as one.  This is as much an accusation leveled at the right as it is at the left.  In the end it should not matter who our president is, because our president should not have the power to affect the direction of the nation, as has been assumed ever since the Imperial Presidencies of Woodrow Wilson (spit) and Franklin Roosevelt (spit).  The Imperial Presidency is a creation out of whole cloth with no Constitutional backing, supported only by an unwillingness on the part of Congress to rock the boat and thus be removed from office by a vengeful public.  Sadly for some Congressmen and Senators, that hasn’t worked out so well.  But it has contributed to the gridlock we see in Congress as the people have begun to realize that the only legal way to hamstring the feds is to jam up their gears.

Not that Mr. Obama didn’t simply decide to use his phone and pen to get around Congressional gridlock.  Of course, contrary to what Mr. Obama thinks, everything he’s done with that phone and pen can easily be undone by Mr. Trump.  The ACA can be easily repealed in toto through reconciliation, just like the Democrats passed it, and the retiring and pustulent Harry Reid showed us how to break the filibuster and get anything through the Senate that we want — including conservative Supreme Court justices.

So all the screaming and yelling is just street theatre at this point; nobody is buying that crap, because we’re done with it as a people.

Send the bill to George Soros.  He can pay it.

But in the meantime, we need to stop beating each other up and get on with our lives.  Our lives are not politics, as much as our political critters would like them to be.

Love one another.  Get along.  Stop screaming.  Start talking.  And not past one another.

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Love in a time of suckage

Yeah, I stole the title from John Ringo.  Who, by the way, has a great Facebook note up today about how even if Pence is a gay hater (which I frankly don’t believe, so let’s get that out of the way), he’s not the President. Trump is.  And even if Trump hadn’t already made it perfectly clear that he doesn’t give a particular damn who you sleep with, or who you worship (or not), or what color your skin is, “Trump has to have money to open Buchenwald.”  Which ain’t gonna happen.

Election’s over.  Conservatives are trying to get back to real life.  Liberals — particularly the radical progressives, but also the mush-brained college students and other camp followers — are freaking out, throwing tantrums, and wreaking property damage and other non-trivial forms of dissent in our cities.  In other words, business as usual.

And these are the people who were pissed when Trump said he wouldn’t automatically accept the results if he lost.

Jesus, people.  Your candidate CONCEDED.  She took too long to do it, but she still did it.  And Obama met with Trump yesterday for like 90 minutes, and the White House didn’t implode.

You say that we’re gloating.  (This is clearly a talking point, because I’m seeing it used everywhere by disgruntled leftards.)  Folks, we’re not gloating.  We’re just relieved.  What you’re calling gloating — which it isn’t — is simply what happiness tinged with distrust looks like.  Because we don’t trust him, either.

Most of us are actually being pretty nice about the whole thing, much as we were pretty nice about the two Obama elections — the argument wasn’t over his election, the argument since he was elected has been over the disastrous policies he set into place that we’re now watching disintegrate in slow motion, taking the economy and our lives with it.  Sure, we were pissed off that he parlayed his race and a general weariness with the war the Republicans had gotten us into (which is a fallacy in and of itself — Bill Clinton had Osama bin Laden’s head on a silver platter and chose to ignore him) into a sympathy vote for our First Black President.  Well, hell, I thought we already had that with Bill Clinton, but what do I know.

I would not have had a problem with our First Black President if he hadn’t made everything about race, after protesting throughout his campaign that he was the only candidate who could effect racial healing over the nation.  Not only was that bullshit, it was recognizable bullshit from the first time it crawled out of his mouth.

The would-be First Woman President claimed that she would do great things for women.  I guess.  Because most of what she advocated would actually harm them.  Expanding the ACA.  Australian Ban gun control.  Raising taxes.  You name it, none of these would have been good for women — or for men, either, but that obviously was the sub-text of her entire campaign.  And then there were the criminal investigations swirling around her.  Benghazi.  Clinton Foundation.  Pay-for-play at State.  All this shady shit going all the way back to her cattle futures windfall and the death of Vince Foster…and the mysterious deaths of other people who seemed to have failed her.  (Shades of Vladimir Putin.)  Yet none of this was enough to sway her true believers…even when they weren’t hers in the beginning.  (Anyone remember Bernie Sanders?)

Look, I was an early NeverTrumper — you can search this blog and find references to it, I’m not going to disappear them.  I’m still proud that I was a NeverTrumper, but once Cruz was eliminated, it made absolutely no sense to remain a NeverTrumper.  Yet, I know NeverTrumpers who wasted their votes on Gary Johnson.  Sure, in Indiana, it didn’t matter, Trump was going to win no matter what.  But look at the difference in the popular vote, with Trump still lagging Hillary, and tell me that the NeverTrumpers who stuck to their guns aren’t at least partially responsible for all the “dump the Electoral College” bullshit that’s flying around out there today.

Goddamn motherfuckers.  Grow the fucking fuck up.  This is real life, not just politics.  You are fucking with the lives of real people.

The video flying around Facebook today with the Brit who unloads on the left and blames them for Donald Trump is absolutely right the fuck on target.  Oh, here we go.

We get the candidates we deserve, and when one of them figures she’s entitled and can’t be beaten, and apparently doesn’t even manage to get the Democrat vote fraud machine up out of low gear, we end up with the guy on the other side who won a bunch of open primaries that were stacked by non-Republicans who were hoping he’d be nominated because he’d be “easy” for her to beat.

I hope conservatives and NeverTrumpers were watching that video, too.  Because you flip some names and parties, and he’s talking to US, too.  WE don’t engage, either.  We go and vote for single issues just like the other side.  I voted for Trump primarily because Hillary was threatening to confiscate guns and emasculate the 2nd Amendment by appointing Supreme Court justices and other judges who would rule in her favor on gun cases like Heller.  Fuck the rest of it, you take the guns away, and we’re just Europe.  Take guns away and we are no longer free.  I’ve quoted the H. Beam Piper thing from Space Viking on this blog before, but it boils down to, “If your ballots aren’t secured by bullets, then your elections are a farce, and your freedom is an illusion.”  And you can believe that or not, but goddamnit, prove to me it’s not true before you wave it off in disgust.  And you can’t prove it, because disarming the population prior to enslaving or exterminating them has happened throughout human history.

Jesus, what a pack of assholes we ALL are in this country.  I sure hope we haven’t fucked ourselves with Trump.  Early returns suggest we might have lucked out.

The bitch about the future is we haven’t been there yet.  There are no reports from the front lines to help guide us.

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Sorry, but this just too damn funny.

e078d31b855c6e926b06a5c35f33f2d2cc2ea00c34bc75147ae7952f6c7f2305

Where is your safe space now, infidel progressives?

(Posted separately to Facebook.)

Huh.

Well, kind of like with the Cubs last week, I was lying there in bed considering the election as a Schrodinger experiment.  That is, so long as I didn’t pick up my iPad and start reading, a Trump or Hillary victory was just out there in the fog of probability.

But around 2AM, lying there unable to sleep, I went ahead and opened the box.

I’ve been saying for months I didn’t believe the polls, that I was sure there was a silent majority out there who were sick and tired of Obama and socialism, and whom the pollsters were either consciously ignoring or just simply missed in their blind liberal/progressive Clinton advocacy.

At 2AM it became pretty obvious that I was right. And Fox News later confirmed my suspicion.

The upshot of this election has to be that we as citizens take a hard look at how news is reported and polls are weighted. The media and the pollsters did not cover themselves with glory, this cycle, quite the opposite, and they need to be punished in some way for their overreach. It’s time for some real honesty to break out.

In the meantime, wow, the vitriol from the other side.

tracey-post-election-insanity

This came up from a person who’s been a friend of mine for 30 years.  She’s GenX, 13 years my junior.  A true sweetheart, I love her dearly.  And this is how she treats people she knows for the thoughtcrime of marking a ballot for Trump.

My response:

tracey-post-election-insanity-my-response

I then hid the post and turned off notifications.  If she unfriends me, Fluff-Busting Purity will let me know.  So far she hasn’t.  (Ah.  She just did.  Took the childish way out, too bad.)

The word “gloating” is being thrown around a lot at people on the right who are commenting about the Trump victory.  I don’t see the gloating, personally. I see a lot of people who are happy it didn’t go the other way, but who are still completely unsure about and distrustful of Trump (myself included). But I also see a lot of people who are absolutely freaking out that Hillary lost, like my friend above, personal friends of literally decades of acquaintance threatening to drop (and not just on Facebook) all of their Trump-voting friends for no more than a mark on a ballot.

And I find that sad. The election is over.  It’s time for people to find their objectivity and hold on tight to it.

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Never felt so defiled in my entire life.

What a horrible ballot.  I literally came home and washed my hands after.  How appropriate that yesterday was sunny and mild and so will tomorrow be, while today it’s gloomy and threatening to rain.

I voted a straight Republican ticket; voter #249 in my precinct at about 10AM.  The Democrats have disqualified themselves in my eyes, having become nothing more than traitorous operators bent on turning this country into another worker’s paradise along the lines of Cuba or Venezuela.  The Libertarians don’t stand a chance.  Trump is disgusting but probably won’t get us into a war with Russia, and (big plus) he’s upset the RINO establishment.  So it goes.

Voted NO on all of the property tax increases.  Voted NO on the judges.  Scratched the school board, they’re all a bunch of asshole wannabes anyway.

Fuck this damn election.  Hopefully next time (if there is a next time), more qualified and morally-upright candidates will take a swing at this.

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Just waiting for the revolution to start.

I commented elsewhere a few days ago that the right rarely starts fights, but has historically almost always won them, generally with the use of disproportionate force.  At least up until the Second World War.  We have been oddly constrained ever since.*

As we run down the last 24 hours before polling begins in earnest, it looks to me like we are more and more likely to be slugging this one out in the House of Representatives.  Some Democrat elector from Oregon (I think it was) Washington State was reported to have said he would not cast his electoral ballot for Hillary, which, the way things were looking the other day, had the potential to result in a 269-269 tie or even a 270-268 win for Trump.  Either way, I fully expect weeks of contested BS in close states.  Hanging chads aren’t going to be the half of it.

The clowns on the left who think that a Trump win will be the signal for a revolution, though, are forgetting who has all the guns.  That’s not a threat, by the way, it’s just a fucking fact.  Liberals have been trying for so long to suppress the individual right to bear arms that either a) they are true believers and possess no defensive firearms, or b) they’re hypocrites and either have guns or are protected by men and women who do.  Politicians and celebrities falling mostly into category b), of course.

The jokers on the right who think that arming and ammoing up and then refusing to relinquish said arms and ammo to the State after Hillary promulgates her Australian Ban Executive Order, well…can’t say I won’t be one of them.  I’ve pointed out on this blog before that a quarter of my family were taken from their homes in Austria and relocated to the camps, where they were exterminated, for no more crime than being Jewish.  But even before that, the Nazis had prohibited them from owning firearms for their own defense — so even those who might otherwise have been wolves were reduced to little more than sheep.  It’s such a large, sticking, and pustulent point that Alinsky — he of the 12 Rules for Radicals — made a point of insisting that the American public would have to be disarmed in order to put over his radical revolution.  So far the left hasn’t managed that, although Lord curse ’em, they’ve tried.

But the point is that I will never relinquish my right of self-defense.  What the government did not give, the government cannot take away.  The left pretends to believe (hell, it may believe, for all I know) that the 2nd Amendment “grants” the right to keep and bear arms (and we won’t go into the penumbral bullshit about the militia and the meaning of “well-regulated”).  The fact is that the Constitution only guarantees the right, by saying it shall not be infringed.  Meaning that the right is a basic human right that pre-exists governments of men.**  And the writings of the Framers consistently back up this assertion.

To remove from us that basic human right makes us slaves to whomever we place in authority (or to whomever seizes extra-legally the reins of that power).  If we cannot defend ourselves from governments, we are not free men.  Which is precisely what the left has been gunning for (pardon the pun) for the past century.

The left hates personal freedom because personal freedom means one may legally dissent from the “received wisdom” of the elites.  To the left, it is clear that elites must guide the ignoble unwashed citizenry to a higher plane of thought, i.e., everything you proles produce should be for the benefit of the State, viz., the left elites, and we will live high on the hog in Capital City while you work and starve and die and hope out in the Districts.  Huh.  Haven’t I read this novel before?

What’s scary about The Hunger Games is that the run-up to such a society is beginning to play out right in front of us.  Not unlike certain portions of Atlas Shrugged, which I have long thought was overstating the case — at least until the Clintons and their thugs and successors (including Barack Obama) came along, and the jokers on the right started slipping toward the center as the clowns on the left started slipping farther to the left.

The Tea Party was a response to that, trying to fill the vacuum on the right, but unfortunately I suspect that the “nice” Tea Party is going to be replaced by folks from the farther right of the spectrum as we edge closer and closer to real socialism.  All the BS about the soi-disant “alt-right”, which from what I’m reading appears to be no less than the left’s projection of a presumed resurgence of the John Birch Society (or worse), seems to be in response to that.  I can discuss the alt-right another day (maybe, depending on whether or not Hillary is elected and whether or not free speech is curtailed under her despotic rule — see The Last Centurion for the likely results of a Hillary Clinton administration), but it seems to me that projecting essentially left-wing ideology (the KKK, given that the alt-right is presumed to be full of white supremacists) onto the conservative right is just another Alinskyesque tactic of demonizing the enemy.

There is a long history in this country of the “silent majority” simply sitting by and waiting out the demagogues and the would-be dictators (like Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt).  Unfortunately we have been so polarized by both sides (plus the bleacher bums shouting from the sidelines) in this election cycle that I don’t think the majority will remain silent much longer.  Certainly an administration that starts restricting or removing basic rights that have been guaranteed our citizens for over two centuries is going to find a lot of resistance coming from people who are no longer going to simply sit and take it.

There are 300 million guns in this country, and billions if not trillions of rounds of ammunition.

Come and take them, bitches.

From our cold dead hands.

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* “Fortune favors the bold” is not a particularly good motto in the nuclear age.  Something that Macarthur (perhaps my least-favorite American general) never understood, or he wouldn’t have advocated using the Bomb in North Korea.

** I’m less enamored of the Indiana Constitution’s Bill of RIghts, Article I Section 32, which states that “The people shall have a right to bear arms, for the defense of themselves and the State.”  “The people shall” smacks a bit too much of “The State giveth, and the State may taketh away.”  But I’ll take it, even if it should be up around Section 2, before all the other things the State purports to protect.  The Florida Constitution (my wife plans for us to retire in the Sunshine State) is somewhat better, closer to 2A, but unfortunately spoils it by giving the legislature the right to regulate the “manner of bearing arms”.

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Holee Cow.

(Non-sports fans, sorry.  I don’t usually do this in public.  I’ll wash my hands after, promise.)

108 years is a long time.  Longest drought in American sports history.  In my family, it spans three distinct generations — my father’s father, my father, and myself.  All of us Cubs fans.  And until yesterday, only one of us having ever seen the Cubs win a World Series.

Well, in fairness, Grandpa didn’t see it, and likely didn’t hear it, either; no commercial radio in 1907 and 1908.  The first baseball game broadcast was in 1921.  More likely he read about it in the Peru, Indiana newspaper a couple of days later (or was told about it; he was only 9 or 10 at the time).

Dad was born in 1925 and the Cubs appeared in the Series in 1929, 1932, 1935, 1938, and 1945.  He probably read about the last one in Stars and Stripes, as I think he was in England at the time.

After that, nada.  Zip.  Zero.  Nothing.  Although they did participate in post-season play and won six division titles and had a couple of wild-card berths (the latest of the latter being just last year).  The received wisdom is that the closest they ever got to a World Series in these later years was in 2003, when the infamous Steve Bartman “incident” occurred — of which the less said, the better.

I am just a few years away from entering my seventh decade, and I had never seen the Cubs win so much as a pennant.  Like Wilford Brimley in The Natural, all I wanted was a pennant.  A Series win would be icing on the cake.  Just get me the pennant, Cubbie Bears.

When the Ricketts family bought the team in 2009, my ears perked up.  Because ownership of the team had been for so long held by faceless corporations who really didn’t care about baseball and who refused to put the time, effort, and (most important) money into building the team, any new thing was welcome.  And the first thing Tom Ricketts said when he took over was that he wanted to win.  That caught my attention.  And when Ricketts suited action to words and actually started building his team, that definitely caught my attention.

And now Mr. Ricketts has got himself a World Series title, after eight hard years of work, tirelessly building this young Cubs team of the future, never losing faith, and sticking to his program.

Fly that fucking W, Cubs fans.  Fly that fucking W.

I have extended family (well, my wife has extended family) in Cleveland.  The smack talk out of one of her nephews was almost too much to take.  This from a guy who dissed LeBron James when he abandoned Cleveland and then welcomed him back with open arms a few years later.  The impression I had was that Cleveland fans went into this thing assuming they were going to win it because they had the better team.  (Better team?  The Cubs won 103 regular season games.  Nobody else got even close this year.)  I mean, I get that you passionately love your team and want it to succeed, and when it wins the league pennant and goes to the Series, you naturally assume that you’re one of the best two teams in baseball, even if the regular season record doesn’t show that.*

To digress for a moment (and it will make sense), the most amazing thing about the win last night is that I haven’t thought about the election all day. Because the election isn’t important.

I don’t care who you are, for one shining moment, a whole bunch of Americans got together and watched that most quintessentially American sport, and for once it didn’t matter if you were backing Trump or Hillary or Johnson or Stein. It just didn’t matter.

Because prick the skin and draw some blood, and it turns out that we’re all Americans.

That’s why I can say, with complete honesty and absolutely no irony, congratulations to the Cleveland Indians and their fans. You fought hard and you nearly won. You were worthy opponents and I have no doubt you’ll get to celebrate a World Series championship in the near future. And you’ve been gracious in defeat (from what I’ve been reading). You play great ball. You’re a credit to the sport.

The people out there who say that sport isn’t important and denigrate it as a waste of time and little more than a distraction are just plain wrong. Sport creates, builds, and maintains communities of disparate people. Somewhat like fraternalism, it brings people together who might otherwise have remained at a perpetual distance. There is something to be said for non-political activities that pull us together like sport does. It’s much healthier than politics, if you ask me.

Baseball will outlive the current unpleasantness, just like it always has. And in a year, we’ll be wondering what all the fuss was about.

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* This is one of the reasons I hate the playoffs.  Before 1969, it was just the best records in the two respective leagues facing off against each other.  The division series (which later turned into the LCS when MLB further split things into three divisions per league) did nothing but dilute that.  Because in any series, it’s entirely possible for one team to get cocky and the other team to take advantage of that cockiness.  Hell, it nearly happened any number of times to the Cubs this year.  Hell, I remember when Reggie Jackson was crowned “Mr. October”, and people bitched because the Series was stretching out of September into October.  There’s really no damn excuse to be playing baseball in November — except for the greed that calls itself TV money.

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