Friday, December 15, 2017

Fun with Ticketmaster

Ticketmaster is the infernal love child of Satan and  Donald Trump!

So, I'm trying to get a ticket to the 3 Rivers Classic hockey tournament at PPG on December 29-30.  I'm going both days so I hit the Ticketmaster app on my phone. They have two day tickets in my preferred location (between the blue lines halfway up the lower bowl) for $57. A bit steep for college hockey, especially for where I'm sitting, but your boy don't sit in the corner, or behind no goal,  and I ride or die for RMU. No big deal.

But this is Ticketmaster we're talking about, kids.  Tack on a $3 'facility' fee, a $10.50 service fee, and that kicks up the price to $70.50! Add on the $4.95 processing charge.  And what makes matters worse, they don't offer e-tickets for this event. All they have are paper tickets which they'll deliver for between $4.75-$18.50. Add all that up according to Park Place math and the max total comes to f*****g $93.50!!! Wrong effing answer, Recruit!!! Tell you what. I work right next to the arena. I'll go over to the box office and buy the damn things after work!!!  At least I'll save some of the fees!!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Flipping the script on Religion

Something I've been thinking about the last couple. The majority of Americans hold some kind of religious beliefs. Whether it's the God of the Abrahamic religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, or some other faith. I think the number is about 70 odd percent. But I may be wrong. 

But the number of people who identify as atheist, or agnostic, or simply non-religious or some variant is on the rise.  But let's flip the script. Say one day the majority of Americans no longer believe in God, or embrace some sort of religious beliefs. Say that number gets to about 70-80 percent.  Maybe higher. What happens to the minority of those who still hold to their beliefs. How will the majority treat them.

Our Constitution guarantees freedom of and from religion. But will the majority seek to change that? Will they try to eliminate those who practice religion? Will they shunt them off to the side and regard them as freaks to be laughed at and made fun of as unenlightened backward folk who refuse to put aside their superstitions and myths?  Or will they be allowed to still exist and be ignored, their houses of worship slowly moldering away as fewer and fewer people use them except for the odd wedding or funeral. Their religions allowed to become  more and more irrelevant.

I tend to think the latter. I think that sometime in the future, religion will become a thing of the  past. It'll still be around, but its relevance will be a shell of what it is now.  #JustSayin

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

COVFEFE!!!

In the middle of the big ocean, there be COVFEFE!! A lot of Covfeve. Beautiful Covfeve. Wonderful Covfeve, Winning Covfeve. The best Covfeve ever. The American people demand only the best and finest Covfeve. And we're gonna get Mexico to pay for the Covfeve.  Obama never gave us this much Covfeve, or this good Covfeve. I'm the only one who can give the American people this much wonderful Covfeve. Believe me, you'll get so much Covfeve, you get tired of winning all this Covfeve. I know more about Covfeve than the generals do.  Mexico isn't sending us their best Covfeve, they're send the Covfeve of rapists, murderers. We're only going to admit the best Covfeve. The finest Covfeve.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Patriotic Theater on teh Facebook.

So much patriotic theater on teh FB today. Everybody's getting their Star Spangled  indignation on. I just laugh.

So many problems this country is facing. Natural disasters, racial division, a health care  crisis, economic inequality, mistrust of law enforcement, an incompetent President heading an equally incompetent Congress, the possibility of war with North Korea, with China waiting in the wings, and people are getting their panties in a bunch over a group of football players kneeling at the playing of a song that has to be one of the worst national anthems ever created.

Give me America the Beautiful over the clusterf**k that is the Star Spangled Banner any day.

It's like one of those meetings where the participants spend most of their time passionately arguing over the color of the paper the agenda is printed on, rather than the subject of why they were meeting in the first place.

People swearing that failing to stand for the National Anthem will bring about the downfall of the republic. Nonsense.  Neither the flag nor the anthem are holy objects that must be worshipped. Honored, revered, respected, yes. But not worshipped.

In case you're wondering about how I react when subjected to the National Anthem.  When I'm at an event, and the national anthem is played, I stand, remove my hat, and reverence the flag. Sometimes I take advantage of a little- known clause in the National Defense Allocation Act signed by Pres.  Bush the Younger in 2008 that allows veterans to remain covered and salute the flag as if they were still in uniform. Either way when the song is over, I recover, give a salute to the flag, and sit back down. I do love this country, I'm proud of my service , as undistinguished as it was. I did what I did.

Understand one thing. In the oath that US military personnel take upon induction, there is only one thing that we are charged to support and defend...the Constitution. Not the flag, not the anthem.

Don't get it twisted. I respect the flag, I honor the flag,  I'm not a fan of the Star Spangled Banner, it's not my  choice of music for our National Anthem, but it is what we as a country decided on so I'll stand  for it.   But there is only one American institution that has earned the distinction of explicit support and defense by those who served in this country's Armed Forces. And that is the Constitution. The document that seals the rights of every American to peacefully protest against those things that bother them or that they feel is unjust. And I tend to think that police brutality against unarmed​ citizens in general, and Black people in particular falls under that category.

Colin Kaepernick said that when he first knelt at the anthem that his protest was about police brutality against Black people. He said that he was not disrespecting the military or vets until he was blue in the face.  But because he upset the apple cart by not standing like a real patriotic 'Murican, everyone jumped to the tired conclusion that he was disrespecting the flag, the veterans, military personnel, etc. I really do wish that people would stop using vets and military personnel to advance their political agenda. We're not a monolith, nor are we fetishes that must be handled with kid gloves. As many vets took a knee with Kaepernick as decried his actions.

But I don't get bent out of shape if someone chooses to kneel, or sit, or turn their back to the flag during the anthem. I don't get angry, or self righteous. It's none of my business. Your patriotism (or lack thereof) is none of my business. That is between you and your God or your conscience. I've got a helluva lot more important things that make my hair gray than what you do at the anthem.

If you choose to refuse to stand, because you feel your cause is just, God love you. That's what living in America is all about. The right to peacefully assemble and or protest. Emphasis on PEACEFUL. Kneeling at the National Anthem instead of standing qualifies as peaceful protest.

All I ask is that you be peaceful and don't try to FORCE me to accept your reasoning. Tell me politely how you feel and what drives you to take the action you take. I'll respectfully listen. I may not agree, but I owe you at least the opportunity to be heard.

I saw a bumper sticker on a car that said 'Wag More, Bark Less.'   I agree wholeheartedly.  We need to stop shouting and do more listening.  You don't have to agree, but I've never heard of anyone being hurt by listening. #JustSayin

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The swoon of the 2017 Pittsburgh Pirates.

As for the recent swoon of the local base-ball club, I think that the players have mailed it in.

They won't admit that to a hot mike, but they've cashed out. And I'm also betting that more than a few of them are hoping that they'll be traded.

Or they're on the phone to their agent trying to figure out how to get the hell out of here. That whole Nicasio thing had to be the last straw for a lot of those guys. That and those four year extensions for Huntington and Hurdle. Though I don't really blame Hurdle. He has to dance with the coyote ugly girl NutJob et al set him up with.

And you know the players talk. And they have friends who play for other teams.  Friends who's contracts may be expiring. Friends who'll soon be free agents looking for some place to play next season. Friends who might ask their buddies on the Pirates what the climate and atmosphere and the management's philosophy is like at PNC Park.  And I'm pretty sure that current players will tell their free agent buddies to stay away from the Bucs should they come calling. 

Who I truly feel sorry for is the franchise player for the Pirates, one Andrew Stefan McCutchen. He is everything the fans love about baseball. A genuinely nice guy, a hard worker, came from a humble background, plays the game the right way. Loves the Bucs, loves the game, loves the fans. He, more than the other 24 guys on that roster deserves a shot at winning a title.  But I don't think he'll ever get that shot as long as he's wearing the Pirates' colors.  Not as long as Nutting, Coonnelly and Huntington are running this team.  I think it's time for 'Cutch' to take his talents elsewhere.  This team does not deserve him. This front office does not deserve him.  This owner does not deserve him.  And he does not deserve them.  You can bet that had the Steelers and the Penguins had a player of Cutch's caliber on their roster, they would not waste him like the Pirates had. Oh wait! They do, and they haven't

All of which tells me that the future of the Pittsburgh Baseball Club will be murky as long as the current management team of Nutting, Coonnelly and Huntington, (sounds like a two-bit law firm) are still knocking around Federal St.  The problem is, that they won't go away. They're like a rat infestation. You can't get rid of the owner. He's not interested in selling the team. As long as Nutting is making money off the Pirates, he'll bleed the team dry. Other than voting with their wallets and their feet, the fans have no clout. Attendance has dropped significantly since the 98 win season of 2015, a lot of fans have given up on the Buccos, but there are still enough people in town who are willing to put money in Nutting's wallet to enjoy a night out at the 'ol ballgame at America's Best Ballpark. Until those holdouts get disgusted enough with the product on the field to stay away, Nutting has no incentive to sell. 

Maybe if the Opening Day crowd next April was 15,000 instead of 38,000, maybe the front office might get the message, but the mystique of baseball always seems to win out. The quaintness and nostalgia of spring training, the crack of the bat, the slap of a fastball hitting a catcher's mitt. The smell of popcorn and new mown grass. All those things conspire to feed in the minds of baseball fans of teams like the Pirates that maybe, just maybe this is the year that the local base-ball club might get it all together.

Fans are starting to lose patience with the decisions this bunch of incompetents make and the constant diversions of PNC Park, bobbleheads, all you can eat sections, free t-shirt Fridays, fireworks,  and concerts featuring washed-up bands are wearing thin. While the other two major sports teams in town, the Steelers and Penguins are doing what they can to bring hardware to Pittsburgh, all the Bucs bring are excuses.

  It's too bad I don't drive and the Washington Wild Things weren't so far out in the sticks. I'd rather give them my time and money than the Pirates. It's not top of the line baseball. Most of the guys there have as much of a chance at making the big show as my finding a virgin in a frat house, but at least the management of that team is looking to compete and trying to win a title instead of pinching pennies and making lousy draft picks and excuses, and hiding behind the wonders of their ballpark.

Friday, September 15, 2017

City League Update Week 4

Coming into week 4, two of the teams expected to be the preseason favorites to hoist City League hardware this season are presently holding down the lower half of the table. Brashear is presently 0-2 in league play, while U-Prep is sitting at 1-1. What both teams have in common is losses to a high scoring 2-0 Allderdice squad. The Bulls fell to the 'Dice 35-13, while U-Prep lost to the Dragons last night 34-24.  The Dragons have scored 30+ points in three of their last four games, their two losses coming to Altoona in a 35-34 lid-lifter and a sloppy 35-19 loss to Wheeling Park. 

The 'Dice would be the highest scoring team in the league if it weren't for the Westinghouse Bulldogs. The Doggies have only played two games this far, but they piled on the points in both contests. They opened the season with a 61-0 non-league drubbing of Kingsman Academy out of Washington DC, and followed that up with a 38-0 shutout of Perry.  The Commodores, under the coaching of Perry and City League legend Rod Rutherford, have a 1-1 league record destroying Carrick 49-0 and then turning around and getting buried by Westinghouse.  Brashear opened their account with a 24-16 win over Franklin, PA and then lost two straight to 'Dice and U-Prep 26-7. The Wildcats of U-Prep opened their season with two devastating non-league losses: a 41-6 smacking at Hubbard(OH) and perennial Maryland powerhouse, Fort Hill came up to the South Side and destroyed U-Prep 75-8. 

Carrick, of course is still Carrick. The Raiders opened the season with three lopsided losses, 32-8 to Brentwood, 49-0 to Perry and 62-0 to Farrell. 

This being the City League, there are plenty of teams from outside the WPIAL and Pennsylvania who will either host or be hosted by City squads this season. Some are old standbys who've battled City teams for years like Linsly, Wheeling Park, Brooke, Wheeling Central out of West Virginia, Du Bois, Altoona, Hollidaysburg, Farrell, Hickory out of PA, Fort Hill out of Maryland, Steubenville, Bridgeport and Howland out of Ohio. A new team coming into town is South Park out of Buffalo, NY who'll be playing Perry at the George on Saturday afternoon. It's good to see some of these teams making the trip to Pittsburgh, it gives local fans the chance to see some new faces, although I guess that some City coaches also welcome the opportunity to travel to some places so their players get to see what a true high school football experience looks like, instead of the almost prison game atmosphere that City League games sometimes resemble. 

Upcoming action: Allderdice played last night, their next game is against Carrick next Thursday at 7.  Brashear takes on Westinghouse tonight at 7 and goes on the road to Hollidaysburg on the 22nd. Carrick travels to Linsly for a Saturday afternoon tilt and has Allderdice on the 21st. Perry battles South Park (NY) at home on Saturday at 5 and travels to Brooke (VA) on the 22nd. U-Prep travels to always powerful Steubenville (OH) on the 22nd. Westinghouse plays Brashear tonight and hosts Hickory on the 22nd.  No 3:30 game on the agenda this weekend.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

The Mark of a Good TV Series.

Just finished watching all 175 episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.  It's interesting how when you've invested a bunch of time watching a prominent series like DS9 from start to finish, you start to regard the characters in a way that when the series finally ends, they seem like friends who are going away, you get all emotional and you think you'll never see them again. I guess that's the mark of a good television series. The show draws you in and lets you connect with those characters to the point that you forget that they are just actors playing a role and that you create an emotional bond with them. I felt the same when I finished Battlestar Galactica.  And oversensitive fools like me end up blubbering like Japanese schoolgirls when we see those beloved characters wind up and go away.  I've started watching ST:TNG and for reasons that escape me, I've even decided to give Voyager another shot. Maybe it'll be better the second time around.  Ehhh, maybe not.