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Oct 17, 2016

Chicago Sports

Oct 9, 2016

Swingin' & Missin'

[editorial note: This posting will be classified
 "Not Safe For Work."  As stated on previous
 occasions, we normally try to minimize outright
 crudity of language on this site.  In this case,
 however, such crudity is the very germ of the
 discussion.  You are hereby advised to don some
 sort of protective eyewear before proceeding.]

"Well Aren't You Just the Sweetest Little Cuntcake."

"Shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and
 tits, hah?  Shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker,
 and tits... and 'tits' doesn't even belong on the list!"

"I... personally... prefer... the word...
 ...'pussy' hear me out!"

commentary by michael j wright

Credits for the quotations above...
The first comes from James Alexander, author and (I assume) artist of Memos to Shitty People: a Delightful and Vulgar Adult Coloring Book, which was a recent gift given to a woman I know well from a woman I wish I knew better.

The second quote is from an infamous George Carlin routine known by the titles "The Seven Words You Can't Say On Television" or more simply "The Seven Dirty Words."  Carlin did not compile the list himself.  He merely parroted a memo produced by the Federal Communications Commission.  The FCC is one of those sinister, semi-secret agencies of the Federal government that engages in freedom-robbing overreach by --ugh!-- regulating things, and nixing radio station call-letters like WHOR or KUNT, both of which would likely feature a music bloc known as the "Hot Wax Weekend," or their marketing department wouldn't be doing its job.  (Strange, is it not, that "wax" still manages to be evocative even though the substance's use as a recording medium died around the same time as the last Cubs world championship?  Go fig.)

The third is from comedian Kathy Griffin.  It is worth noting that she was not expressing her preference over the dreaded c-word, but rather her preference over the clinical term "vagina."

Now then, on to what raised my hackles...
You may of course go see for yourself the, ugh, meme we'll be discussing, or you can, heh, skip all that hopscotching around and just read about it here as if you possess impulse control.  The image is of a woman in a coffee shop reading E.L. James's 50 Shades of Grey.  The book dominates the foreground of the photo; the woman's face is out of the frame; there is a (I assume) caffeinated beverage nearby.  Get the picture?  The text overlay (I'll spare you the all-caps rendering) reads:

"If American women are so outraged
 at Trump's use of naughty words

 who in the hell bought 80 million
 copies of 50 Shades of Grey?"

Hear that?  That's the sound of someone taking a vicious hack and completely missing the pitch.

In a way, a swing and miss like this was inevitable.  For some time now our society has been polarizing itself along socio-political lines, like tiny iron flecks migrating toward red or blue magnets, to the point where we are developing two distinct dialects of American English.  It was one thing, once upon a time, to disagree, even passionately.  That is the way of a democratic republic: we argue, then we vote.  You can look it up in the book.

Now, though, we find it both hard and difficult to even understand each other.  Yes, I did that on purpose.  It is a poor example, but I'll use it anyway.  One side uses words like "hard" while the other side uses words like "difficult."  The blue team speaks in polysyllables, which the red team increasingly finds either confusing or pretentious, and in both cases suspicious.  The reds prefer short, blunt words, which the blues see as (hold on, now) inherently imprecise and indicative of an ignorant ideology in regard to important and intricate issues.  Basically, the blues feel the reds are trying, verbally, to perform surgery with a plastic spoon, while the reds think the blues are silly, and possibly dangerous, for trying to eat soup with a scalpel.

Still, despite all this, I find it difficult hard to believe I have to explain the actual source of the most recent exasperation outrage that is toward Donald Trump.  Perhaps the people who try to make this argument, such as it is, are being deliberately obtuse: avoiding the issue of what Trump said by falsely fixating on how he said it.

Yet I sally forth...

"If American women are so outraged
 at Trump's use of naughty words..."

You will want to mark the time and place at which you encountered the following argument, Dear Reader, because I --of all people-- am about to advise not getting bogged down in semantics.  Hard to believe, I know.  I feel faintly like a guy who has just stepped out of a tilt-a-whirl.

It isn't Trump's "naughty" words that have gotten people upset; it is the sentiments ideas he expressed with those words.  Oh sure, some of his critics will try to score bonus runs by pointing out the vulgarity of the terms he used, but that is mere steak sauce on the red meat of his profane attitudes regarding women and sex, and his sense of entitlement to same irrespective of the other person's interest in or willingness to grant such attentions.

In... well, in other words, a man who groped a woman's breast without permission is every bit as much a creep as one who unwantedly "felt up her tits."  A man who swats someone's derriere is being, chances are, just as inappropriate as one who "smacks them on the ass."  A man who, in the absence of foreplay and/or a medical license, firmly grasps the area of another person's genitals, or even talks about doing so, should be slapped in the face by whomever is closest.

I could escalate these examples, but modesty fucking forbids.

"If American women are so outraged
 at Trump's use of naughty words..."

People are not outraged by the naughtiness of Trump's words.  They're not even surprised.  What they are appalled by is the notion of a 70-year-old man who still has the emotional attitudes of a particularly crass 15-year-old boy, and the blind arrogance to believe he truly is the absolute shit.

P.S.... I, personally, prefer the term "tallywacker."  Enjoy the playoffs.

Sep 26, 2016

HoDown in Hempstead!

NBC's Nightly News host Lester Holt moderates - and/or fact checks -  Monday night's most interesting thing on television tonight as Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump finally face off for the first time.

The debate is expected to have a large viewership, with an estimated 100 million potentially tuning in as the pair tackle issues like "America's Direction," "Achieving Prosperity' and "Securing America" on Monday, according to the Wall Street Journal. The debate takes place at Hempstead, New York's Hofstra University at 9 p.m. ET and can be watched on any major cable and broadcast network, including CNN, Fox News, ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC and C-SPAN. Monday Night Football is the only counter-programming, apparently.

Twitter will live stream and Facebook Live will carry ABC's live stream as well as various news networks' live broadcasts. YouTube will also have live streams from many organizations, including PBS, the Washington Post and Telemundo.

It's going to be split screen, not unlike a video game, so you can watch each of their reactions real-time.

Warning - if you're planning on making this a drinking game - YOU WILL DIE. So don't. Okay?

Over under on Hillary coughing to being able to stand for 90 whole minutes. Or you can play the Trump contradicting himself in 90 minutes, or just in his opening statement.

Winner? There are no winners. We're deciding between a shaved Orangutan with a Twitter account and Nixon/Burr with pearls.

Sep 16, 2016

Tell Me Lies, Tell Me Sweet Little Lies

George Washington had a famous story about cutting down a cherry tree and didn't lie to his father about it. Hillary Clinton denies ever having a cherry tree. It wasn't classified as a cherry tree. Maybe it was a peach tree? Obviously, there's a massive right wing conspiracy about trees ever being on her property. It's just a cough.

Jul 29, 2016

Propaganda Posters Are Getting Creative

Given the choices this election cycle - both arms of the Business Party are getting extremely creative. I haven't seen this amount of creativity since George Bush's early 90's.

Hopefully, this type of activity will continue for the next couple months?

Tell us which of these posters piss you off the most?

Jul 19, 2016

Trump Wins Survivor Cleveland

After about a year and a half, reality TV star has become the official nominee for the GOP. It looked close as the voters staged a little wrinkle that almost put his title into play - but it was quashed by the Republican National Committee. Apparently the back room deals and alliances were already in place making The Donald the winner.

As we go to the final two contestants where votes are cast on archaic paper ballots rather than texting in their choices - The Donald will face off against the winner of the Philadelphia DNC challenger - which appears will be Hillary, as she already used her immunity idol against James Comey about a week ago.

Jun 22, 2016

Game of Thrones Meme Pt 2

Jun 2, 2016

Throws Like A Girl

"I don't know what's going to happen if they begin to let women in baseball. Of course, they will never make good. Why? Because they are too delicate. It would kill them to play ball every day."
- Babe Ruth

The Sultan of Swat retired this day (June 2) 1935 after discovering that Braves owner Judge Emil Fuchs had maybe been less than honest when he had promised to make Ruth the manager of the Braves. This was going to be a piece on Babe Ruth, who to me, personifies the United States in all it's excessive glory. This was going to be something like what Ruth's biographer states.

"He is a bombastic, sloppy hero from our bombastic, sloppy history, origins undetermined, a folk tale of American success......He stands at the heart of the game he played, the promise of a warm summer night, a bag of peanuts, and a beer. And just maybe, the longest ball hit out of the park."
- Leigh Montville

That is where I was going to go with this article when I found the quote at the top of the piece. Aware that the 1930's were a bit different than they are today (read: intolerant) it seemed odd that this quote would persevere. Mainly because it does not seem a unique thought for the 1930s. Looking into the context I came to discover that this quote was stated shortly after Ruth was being dragged away from the home plate umpire by his teammates while screaming vulgarities. He had been struck out. By a broad. Well, a 17 year old girl. In front of 4,000 fans.

Jackie Mitchell was born in Chattanooga, TN in 1913. Her father was a baseball enthusiast who had his daughter on a diamond soon as she could walk. As luck would have it her next door neighbor was pitching great "Dazzy" Vance who showed her how to throw the "drop ball" which helped him strike out 2045 players in his career. A fact made more amazing considering he only played 33 innings before he turned 30. 

During a baseball camp she caught the attention of the Chattanooga Lookouts (still active) owner Joe Engel (not active). As a publicity stunt, Mr. Engel signed Jackie on March 25, 1931. On April 2, 1931 she was put into an exhibition game against the New York Yankees making her the second woman to play major league baseball. (As a quick side note: Do not be afraid to look into the publicity stunts of Joe Engel including trading a player for a turkey to serve in the press box.)

The idea that a 17 year old girl would be facing the great New York Yankees created the buzz that Engel was hoping to create. However, there was an issue. Jackie had been playing basketball for the past 6 months and had not been throwing a baseball. Although I cannot find out how much she practiced for the big event we do know that the Washington Post claimed "she was laid up with a sore arm." Luck was on history's side, however, when a rain out pushed the game back a day giving Jackie some needed rest. 

April 2, 1931 Jackie buttoned up her loose fitting uniform and warmed up with Ruth and Lou Gehrig watching. If you are like me and had to know, take a look and then let me describe the scene:

A crowd of 4,000 eager fans are waiting to see a girl pitch to Murderer's Row. The press box is full of men in hats writing sentences such as, "The curves won't all be on the ball when pretty Jackie Mitchell takes the mound" or "She swings a mean lipstick." The Yankees are on the field watching warm ups and making remarks best left in the last century. 

The starting pitcher for the Lookouts is Clyde Barfoot. The first batter he faces, Earle Combs, rips a double off the outfield wall (fence?) which is followed by Lyn Larry driving a single up the middle and scoring the first run of the game minutes after it started. Next up is Babe Ruth. Chattanooga's manager calls for a "snip-nosed blue-eyed girl" and, according to the Washington Post "[w]ithout so much as powdering her nose or seeing if her lipstick was on straight, Jackie strode to the mound."

After warming up Ruth strides into the batters box, tipped his hat, and assumed "an easy batting stance." Mitchell winds up "as if she were turning a coffee grinder" and lets loose a side arm delivery of the "drop ball." Ruth lets it go for ball one. Her second pitch is also a breaking ball that Ruth swings through or according baseball historian Andy Broome "missed the ball by a foot." The third pitch is "a hell of a curve" that Ruth once again swings through.

At this point, the Bambino asks the umpire to check the ball. The fourth pitch is an overhand fast ball straight down the middle that freezes Ruth. As the umpire calls the third strike, Ruth slams his bat to the ground and begins to lay into the umpire. His teammates help him back to the dugout.

Next up is Lou Gehrig. Less is written about this battle but the Iron Horse goes down in three straight pitches. The Baltimore Sun has a great line, "Lou could hear Jackie‚Äôs girlfriends squealing delightedly." He, being an adult, walks calmly back to the dugout. 

The third batter Mitchell faces is Tony Lazzeri whom she walks in four straight pitches the last of which does not make it to the plate. My speculation is that sore arm was coming back into play. That fabulous Washington Post article has a slightly different theory, "Jackie probably remembered by that time that she was a woman, and after all the excitement she undoubtedly wanted to go off and have a good cry so they let her retire from the game."

As Jackie walked off the field to "a hail of cheers" and went into the dugout to watch her team get trounced 14-4.

The next day her picture was in the New York Times with the headline "Girl Pitcher Fans Ruth and Gehrig" and a very different tone than all other newspapers, "The prospect grows gloomier for misogynists." Unfortunately, the commissioner agreed with the Ruth statement which starts this article and voided her contract although to be fair each article I have read claims that there is no proof of this outside word of mouth.

That is where this story ends. However, I encourage you to look into Jackie Mitchell as her story does not stop here. To "tickle your ass with a feather," as my grandma would say, Jackie went on to play for the House of David, one of the most popular barnstorming team in history known as the "Beards of Summer" while occasionally sporting a beard. Here is their picture. Enjoy.