Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Beneath Contempt

John Kerry's disparaging remarks about our military drag his shoddy character to the depths of a new low, even for him. As an American and a Soldiers' Angel, I am outraged. I hope his sneering insult against our troops haunts Kerry right up to his obituary, which should read:

"John Kerry, whose anti-military remarks dashed all hopes for his 2008 presidential bid...."

Listen to what the loser said, if you have a strong stomach.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Straight Talk

Thank you to Michael Barone for posting the audio of this riveting one-hour interview with President Bush. Barone was one of eight columnists who met with the president in the Oval Office last week.

Thanks also to Mark Steyn for directing readers to this hard news treasure in his column at National Review Online. I'm currently reading Mark's book, America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It. It's written with his customary wit and style, but the stark message is scary enough for Halloween.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Okay, Congratulations

Congratulations, St. Louis Cardinals, World Series Champions 2006. No one can argue that you didn't outplay the Detroit Tigers. Nice job.

Jim Leyland, the Tigers manager, gave the classiest statement on his team's loss. He very graciously sucked up the blame for them. It's a perfect template of humility and candor for Washington politicians to emulate in conceding defeat.

I know, I know...when pigs fly out of my ear, right? Oh well, October baseball is over and it's back to politics as usual.

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Padres Lose

After 12 years as manager and nearly 24 years after his debut as a player with the team, Bruce Bochy is leaving the San Diego Padres to manage the San Francisco Giants.

Excuse me while I emit a very long primal scream.

This is a tragedy much closer to home than the Tigers' loss to the Cards last night, so it's hard for me to get worked up about St. Louis closing in on the big win. Detroit may have its woes, but it doesn't have to worry about losing an ace manager.

I agree with Trevor Hoffman: "The bottom line is disappointment." There go the next 5 years, Padres fans.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Rainy Day Thoughts

Victor Davis Hanson explains how the Dark Ages are alive and well in our modern world.

It's grim reading that serves as a solemn companion to the gloomy weather that pre-empted Game 4 of the World Series.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Stuff of Courage

In honor of St. Crispian's feast day, Laura Ingraham played wonderful audio from Kenneth Branagh's movie Henry V this morning, reminding us of the principled and dedicated fighters that are needed in any century.

I think the rousing St. Crispin's speech applies to many facets of our world today: the war on Islamic fascism most certainly, but also the struggle to keep the upcoming mid-term election focused on our strength and security, and even the demoralizing plight of the Detroit Tigers in their difficult stand against the St. Louis Cardinals.

The classic and famous St. Crispian's Day speech, meant to inspire and encourage the English soldiers before the Battle of Agincourt, appears below. You don't have to be a Shakespeare fan to respond to it, and you may be surprised at a phrase or two you'll recognize within it:

That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made
And crowns for convoy put into his purse:
We would not die in that man's company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is called the feast of Crispian:
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian:'
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars.
And say 'These wounds I had on Crispin's day.'
Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember with advantages
What feats he did that day: then shall our names.
Familiar in his mouth as household words
Harry the king, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester,
Be in their flowing cups freshly remember'd.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember'd;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

My Cardinal Allergy

One of my loyal readers was a devoted St. Louis fan in her childhood years and has chided me about my harsh treatment of the Cardinals in recent posts. I suppose I have been unduly rough on the red bird boys. There is a reason for my animosity towards the Cardinals, and it's rooted in the mists of history. I suppose the time has come to share it with all my readers.

Once upon a time, very long ago--when I was a school girl, to be exact--I was a rabid NY Yankee fan. The first MLB game I ever attended was in the old Yankee Stadium, and I still remember the awestruck breath I took at my first glimpse of the brilliant green playing field. In 1964, the Yankees had a team for the ages. I still remember it:

1B - Joe Pepitone
2B - Bobby Richardson (I had a manic crush on him)
3B - Clete Boyer
SS - Tony Kubek
LF - Tom Tresh
CF - Mickey Mantle
RF - Roger Maris

The legendary pitcher Whitey Ford and catcher Elston Howard completed these superheroes of summer. As they so often did, the Yanks went to the World Series in 1964. And the St. Louis Cardinals beat them. I've never liked the Cards since.

So my dislike may not be rational, but baseball loyalties rarely are. As the years passed, all my favorite players left the Yankees, one by one. Then a highly talented but insufferably conceited upstart named Reggie Jackson dominated the Yankee team news. It was during the Reggie era that I began my summer job at Shea Stadium and found myself developing an allegiance to the NY Mets. The arrival of George Steinbrenner as the Yankees owner sealed my defection from the rolls of Yankee fans. The combination of big business baseball and runaway player egos convinced me that "my Yankees" had forever disappeared into the mists of time. The soul of the team was gone, and it is still to this day, in my sad opinion. But for love of the game itself, I thought I should fill you in on the ancient source of my Cardinal allergy.

After moving to San Diego in 1979, I became a terminally heartbroken but religiously devoted Padres fan; so did my reader who once loved the St. Louis Cardinals. We suffer together now with a baseball angst more piercing than anything we had endured with our previous loyalties.

Baseball is like that. If you think the famous definition of insanity applies to baseball, you're wrong. You can keep routing for the same team year after year, expecting a positive result despite uncounted failures, and one post season you will be blissfully right. Just ask any Red Sox fan. When you love a team, although you know they will break your heart almost every time, you can't stop yourself. You keep going back every season, hoping that this year it will be different. This year, it will be better. This year, we'll win.

To every baseball lover, I'm sure this makes perfect sense.

Friday, October 20, 2006

For the Birds

Carlos Beltran certainly picked a fine time to take a nap at the plate. Nice. If my late husband Pete had been watching the game last night, he would have turned the air blue with his commentary after that somnolent at-bat.

Well, Mets, you snooze, you lose, and now we're stuck watching the Cardinals and their dueling protruding tongues. Belliard has the Gene Simmons imitation down to a reflex, but Pujols was practicing air-tonguing while on base last night during his closeups. What a disgusting display. And I haven't even gotten to Spiezio's sorry strip of Halloween chin-fur. (We've got the World Series still ahead, I'm trying to pace myself.)

The saddest thing is that Endy Chavez' amazing catch was for naught. Ah, well, a Mets victory was not to be.

So it's on to Detroit. My favorite animal has always been the tiger. Time to turn the big cats loose on the dirty birds!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Red Bird Flu

The Cardinals beat the Mets 4-2 in St. Louis last night. Tonight's do-or-die game will take place at Shea Stadium, the Mets' home turf. I sure do hope we get to Game 7, and I hope the Mets clinch the title.

I'm sick of the Cardinals. Who wants to watch Belliard sticking out his tongue every at-bat for the entire World Series? Of all the odd batter's box mannerisms I've ever observed, Belliard's drooling lizard imitation is the most nauseating. Pujols is certainly a talented hitter, and he's in a good mood right now because the Cards are up a game. But he's an obnoxiously poor sport when his team is on the losing end.

Hey, Mets: Come on, guys. Remember Tug McGraw's rallying cry: You gotta believe.

Monday, October 16, 2006

National Pastime, National Treasure

The Mets-Cardinals playoff game is rained out tonight in St. Louis, so this is a good opportunity to catch up with another favorite topic, our troops.

This past weekend, the Navy's Blue Angels were in San Diego for the annual Miramar Air Show. Although I've watched the Angels flying their magic for over 20 years, as I live very close by the air station, I never actually went to the event. So seeing the jets up close was a treat. (The crease in the photo at right is the centerfold in my program book.)

I walked all over the show grounds and enjoyed talking to as many service personnel as I could. It was so refreshing to hear from the young men and women of our armed forces, who are actually doing the heavy lifting in this war, and not listen to the twisted, filtered MSM reports that always try to make things appear as black as possible. I spoke with troops from the Midwest, the Rockies, the South, the East Coast, as well as hometown kids from California. These inspiring young people were smiling, personable, excited about their jobs and eager to step into the breach for our country. Several had been to Iraq more than once and were looking forward to going back yet again.

One young Marine I talked with had not yet been to Iraq but is scheduled to ship out next month. I asked him if he really wanted to go. "Heck, yeah, ma'am! That's what I signed up for!"

To a person, each and every one demurred at being thanked for their service. They are a national treasure, and I told them so. We would certainly be in deep trouble without them.

There is a price to be paid for this national treasure we call our military. Some of our troops are not blessed with a homecoming to their loved ones. Many leave small children behind. A friend and reader who is a Navy veteran suggested I post a link to the Snowball Express. As the holidays approach, please consider the Snowball Express as one of your charitable contributions for the season. We can never repay what has been taken from these children of heroes, but we can provide them with a day of smiles at Disneyland.

It seems such a small thing to do, but it at least extends our appreciation and our gratitude.

The Priority of Baseball

There are loose nukes in North Korea, earthquakes in Hawaii--both disasters are President Bush's fault, according to Kos--but let's stay focused, people. The Mets won 12-5 last night in St. Louis.

The Detroit Tigers swept the Oakland A's, so now the only question is who they'll play in the World Series, the New York Mets or the St. Louis Cardinals.

Let's go, Mets!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A Tough Loss

Watch therefore; for you know not what hour your Lord is to come.
~ Matt 24:42

There will be no "next season" for Yankee pitcher Corey Lidle. Today's tragedy underscores the precious fragility of life and the inevitability of our mortal fate. Death has no regard for age, occupation, health, wealth, or future plans. It comes when it will. Today's tough loss, to use a baseball term, is something beyond our human ability to control.

Do you know how to make God laugh? Tell Him what you're going to do tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Game of Reality

Detroit is leading Oakland, 5-0 in the 5th. There's still a lot of baseball to go in this game, so Tiger fans, conserve your energy. Meanwhile, MSM seems downright depressed that North Korea's nukes have knocked horny gay politicians off the front pages. Check out this gloomy quote, from CNN's Jeff Greenfield:
So does the North Korea test trump the Foley scandal? Here's one point to keep
in mind: there's a month to go before Election Day. The North Korea story may
well fade by then...the Foley follies are likely to stay front and center for

The "Foley follies" have already been “front and center for weeks”! How much longer can MSM flog this broken zipper of a story? An unstable nation has hit a home run news item, and seamy e-mails simply can’t score against that fact. Nor should they.

MSM would do well to take a lesson from baseball. In baseball, situations change in a split second, and players need to respond to the moment. What seemed like sudden death at the bottom of the ninth short hops into a revitalizing rally in the space of one slider. Easy winners sometimes lose, in dramatic and humiliating style. Longtime losers find themselves line-driven into unexpected victories. In baseball, players understand when it’s time to shake it off, suck it up, let it go, wrap it up, or take it home.

MSM needs some spring training in the game of reality. Watching the MLB playoffs is a good place to start.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Poem for the Pummeled

Padres, you're tormenting me--
We know that you will not sweep three;
Boomer may have dropped the ball,
But Padres, just where were you all?
Game 2's no time to take a snooze;
We're singing the St. Louis blues!
We're set up for a Cardinal's win,
Dreaming of what might have been.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Playoff Memories

The (heartbreaking) San Diego Padres are scheduled to play Game 2 against St. Louis tomorrow at Petco Park. Baseball playoff season always puts me in mind of the time I worked in Shea Stadium's office and was lucky enough to be smack in the center of playoff and World Series excitement.

Here's an excerpt from my book, Working Over Time, describing one such long-ago game day:

This year, 1973, was one in which the Mets made it into the playoffs at the
end of the season, and they proceeded to the World Series. It was the
waning era of day games. My office was located behind the press box.
It was a nice suite of offices, but there were no windows. We had the
radio on to listen to the game, but we kept hearing thunderous roars from the
crowd just yards from our door every time a play went our team’s way. We
took turns rushing out to the press box to check the action, but the game was
heating up and nobody wanted to miss any of it. In those prehistoric days,
before one could send all calls to automated greetings at the touch of a keypad,
somebody had to man the phones. That, of course, was my job. By the
second inning, everyone in my office had filtered into the press box to watch
the game. I was left with the occasionally ringing telephone and a severe
case of fan frustration at being left out of the baseball

This was a playoff game for the World Series, for heaven’s
sake, probably a once-in-a-lifetime experience, I told myself. I couldn’t
allow myself to miss it. Yet I would still need the job long after the
champagne corks had popped. My dilemma persisted; how could I watch the
game and continue to cover the phones?

Being young, determined, and
caught up in baseball fever, I hit upon a solution. What if the lines were
just plain busy? After all, it was World Series season, a naturally busy
time in our office. Could I possibly tie up all incoming lines to Shea
Stadium’s director’s office? I pushed in each of the four lines, one at a
time, popping them onto hold with a punch of the Big Red Button. Then I
went out to join my co-workers in the pressbox to watch the Amazing Mets battle
Cincinnati’s Big Red Machine.

If anyone was the wiser for my
shenanigans, no one ever said a word to me.


For old time's sake, I always find myself pulling for the Mets when they make it to October ball. I'm especially enjoying this year, when the Mets are playing those arch rivals of the San Diego Padres, the Dodgers.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Changing the Subject

Okay, I'm sick and tired of dirty, slimy, lying, thieving, corrupt and disgusting politicians--of all stripes, ranks, and parties. I'm also completely fed up with sick, evil, demented, twisted, maniacal, cold-blooded killers--no matter how badly their feelings were hurt during their childhoods.

MSM, you've struck out with me. I'm going to skip the so-called news for a while and listen to the baseball playoff games instead. If there's any joy to be found in Mudville, the ballgame is where it will be. For the rest of the post-season, this will be a baseball blog. All the scandals and murders will just have to wait on deck, as it were.

The San Diego Padres are playing the St. Louis Cardinals today at 1:00pm Pacific time.


UPDATE: Okay, so maybe a baseball blog won't be a sure way for a Padres fan to dwell on good news. However, that's my game plan and I'm sticking to it. Cards 5, Pads 1 in Game 1. Poop!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Innocence Destroyed

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned
~ W.B. Yeats

Today we learned that there is no shelter from the depravity of our era. Even in the peaceful, pastoral environs of Pennsylvania Dutch country, where the insulated Amish community excludes electricity and automobiles from its lifestyle, the evil violence that scars our modern times finds a nesting place.

A lone gunman entered a one-room schoolhouse and brutally murdered three, no--four little girls. At least six more remain in critical condition from the execution-style shootings. The butcher killed himself; he was a local milk truck driver.

What is going on in our society?

There are as many theories as there are people you ask. Personally, I believe our culture has lost its soul. There is no right or wrong any longer; there are only "extenuating circumstances" and "outside factors" to justify any and all actions. There are no clearly recognized good or evil actions; there are merely "choices" and "alternatives."

One may point to the decline of strong family structures, the weakening educational system, the loosening of cultural restraints, or shrinking congregations in churches and synogogues, as aspects of our societal degeneration. All of these negative elements, and more, converge to produce the "mere anarchy" of which Yeats speaks so prophetically in his 1921 poem.

The "blood-dimmed tide" has indeed been loosed. And innocence has long since been engulfed in its deadly fury.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

More on Angels

Before I leave the topic of angels, at least until the Christmas season, there is another angel commemorative date tomorrow, October 2--the feast day of Guardian Angels.

The idea of each person being assigned a guardian angel is intriguing. Although it is not Church dogma, I've always liked the thought of having my own personal angel. Lord knows, I've certainly needed one, as most of us have at times. When my kids were little, during bedtime prayers, we always recited the "angel prayer:"

Guardian Angel Prayer

Angel of God, My Guardian Dear
to whom God's love commits me
Ever this day, be at my side
to light and guard and rule and


Guardian angels are thought to be of the lower ranks in angel heirarchy. I'm not sure I agree. If I do have a guardian angel (and I believe I do), it certainly has a powerful constitution. I've survived enough potentially deadly circumstances that a platoon of archangels would be worn down to a nub if they had to deal with me. My sturdy little blue collar angel is doing a stellar job. Ever this day, be at my side--and please, stay there.