31 July 2008

A Nice Surprise, and a New Found Respect

The news from yesterday:

"Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) has made a quarter million dollar contribution to the No On Prop 8 campaign to defeat the ballot measure that would single out same-sex couples and exclude them from marriage.

In a news conference held Tuesday, PG&E Senior Vice President of Public Affairs Nancy McFadden also announced the corporation would become a founding member of the Equality for All Business Council in support of the No On Prop 8 campaign and called on other businesses to follow their lead in supporting fairness, freedom, and equality for all Californians."

I have to say, this took me totally by surprise. First of all, as a semi-public utility PG&E seems like about as non-political a corporation as can be (well, except maybe when it comes to energy policy.) I'm really impressed by this decision, though. It's nice to see a high-profile organization like this step forward and set an example for other companies, making a statement that it's not acceptable to sit by and allow the fundies to deny our fellow human beings equal rights. So cheers to you, PG&E; I hope you are the first of many!

30 July 2008

Leno rules!

People who know me know how much I like old vehicles.  They also know that I very much dislike Los Angeles.  Now, I've never really been a big fan of Jay Leno.  He's always come across as a little too Hollywood, a little bit fake, embodying (for me anyway) some of the worst parts of what I associate as LA culture.  I don't think I've watched a minute of his talkshow in 10 years.  That being said, I have recently gained a new admiration for him.  The reason?  His other show.  I first ran across the web series about his garage when Jake von Slatt linked to it, first to his awesome 1938 Tatra (an air-cooled V8, how cool is that?) and more recently to his amazing 1925 Doble Steam Car.  Poking around the website for Jay Leno's Garage, he has some of the most amazing vehicles I've ever seen, and his videos about them are really very interesting, at least to a vehicular nerd like myself.

Christmas in July (for someone else)

I know it's been awhile since I posted.  Sorry.  Somehow while sitting around my folks house on vacation, I didn't feel particularly motivated to post, even when bored out of my mind.  Anyway, on to business:

As has become usual for the last few years, I have no reason to care any great amount about the trading deadline.  Short of trading for a whole new lineup, top to bottom, there is simply no way for my team to improve enough to matter.  I'm left hoping that they DON'T make any big trades.  That said, I find myself glued to my computer, neurotically refreshing ESPN's Trade Deadline Blog, waiting to see which lefty-specialist is going to which midwest city.  I mean, Will Ohman?  Really?  Yet here I am, waiting to see what happens.  Does this say something nice about baseball, that it can keep someone like me hanging on every move?  Or does this say something about someone like me, that I have to know RIGHT AWAY when the Yankees and Tigers trade underachievers?  What do you think, internet?  

15 July 2008

On the Josh Hamilton and the Home Run Derby

Ok, so first let me say that Josh Hamilton is one of the best sports stories of my lifetime.  Going from 3 years out of baseball to leading the league in RBI's at the break in his first full season in the bigs is amazing.  It's great to see a guy recover from his addiction and get his life back on track.  Watching him destroy the competition in today's Home Run Derby* just added another chapter to his comeback story.  

As much as I enjoy his story, however, I hate watching him, especially in a format like the HRD.  Why?  Because it affords him the opportunity to speak to a wide audience.  The problem?  Every other word out of his mouth is 'jesus'.  It's not that I have any objection to him being a christian.  I don't even mind someone crossing themselves or pointing to the sky after a big play.  That's fine.  Really, it's not fair of me to dislike him for this, as his faith is his business, and it's not really Hamilton that bothers me.  The issue for me is that more and more I am noticing exactly how much the religious presence in this country has permeated our society.  Sports had (at least for me) long been a retreat from the constant bombardment of religion.  Now when I see Hamilton being interviewed, as he was about 18 times during the HRD today, I have to mute the volume, lest his delusions intrude further into my world.

*Ok, ok, so TECHNICALLY Justin Morneau won the derby.  Right.  Even though Hamilton out-homered him by more than a dozen.  And what exactly does that tell you about the way the HRD is formatted?  Morneau even said as much when he was being interviewed afterwards.  You think maybe it's time to rethink the format a little?

10 July 2008

On the All-Star game

Is there anything in sports more ridiculous than the current state of the MLB All-Star game?  I just don't know what to think any more.  When MLB announced that the players would get to help fill in the reserves, I thought it was a good idea.  I mean, that way Joe Torre couldn't put 50 Yankees on the roster every year.  But after this year, I'm just not sure.  I mean, Jason Varitek?  Jason ".220/.300/.360" Varitek?  If it were just an exhibition game, I wouldn't care.  I mean, boo-hoo, some millionaire has to go on vacation for a few days rather than play ball.  But since Bud Selig* completely overreacted to the tie game a few years ago and decreed that there should be stakes for the all-star game, it actually makes a little bit of a difference.  As I have yet to hear any idea that would actually work to fix the selection process, I think the only option is to turn it back into a true exhibition game, with no lasting consequences.  Thoughts?

*All in all, I think Selig has been a very successful commissioner.  While there are still a few people that bitch, I don't think there is any way you can honestly say that the Wild Card has been anything but good for baseball.  It may not be quite as clear cut, but I think that interleague play has also been good for the game.  The high stakes all-star game though?  Not so much.