December 2, 2020

Saturday Ramblings: April 2, 2016 – Opening Day Edition

Rambler baseball ad

Today’s vintage Rambler advertisement came from 1960, a year or two before your intrepid Chaplain started his Little League career. So the boys piling into the pink station wagon would have been the “big boys” that I looked up to back then, especially if they were wearing baseball uniforms. And this is the weekend! Tomorrow, we celebrate my favorite U.S. national holiday — Opening Day! It will have been, as the Bleacher Report story reminds us, 153 days we’ve endured without meaningful baseball games.

What are the big questions as we face the 2016 season? Oh, sports fans, we know there is only one question. Can the Chicago Cubs finally break “The Curse of the Billy Goat” and win their first World Series championship since 1908? Can they even get back to the World Series, where they haven’t played since 1945?

Back in 1908, the Cubs beat the Detroit Tigers in what was then a 5-game series, 4 games to 1, becoming the first team to ever repeat a championship run. But ever since those back-to-back victories, the Cubs have become the ultimate symbol of futility. Many say the problem since their last appearance in 1945 has to do with a certain animal who was denied admission back then. Here’s the story, from the website of the world famous Billy Goat Tavern in Chicago:

ef1aec59bd212205d74f9d7327fe8f71October 6th, a sad day in Cubs history. The Cubs entered game four of the World Series leading the Detroit Tigers 2 games to 1, and needing to win only two of the next four games played at Wrigley Field. A local Greek, William “Billy Goat” Sianis, owner of the Billy Goat Tavern and a Cubs fan, bought two tickets to Game four. Hoping to bring his team good luck he took his pet goat, Murphy, with him to the game. At the entrance to the park, the Andy Fran ushers stopped Billy Goat from entering saying that no animals are allowed in the park. Billy Goat, frustrated, appealed to the owner of the Cubs, P.K. Wrigley. Wrigley replied, “Let Billy in, but not the goat.” Billy Goat asked, “Why not the goat?” Wrigley answered, “Because the goat stinks.” According to legend, the goat and Billy were upset, so then Billy threw up his arms and exclaimed, “The Cubs ain’t gonna win no more. The Cubs will never win a World Series so long as the goat is not allowed in Wrigley Field.” The Cubs were officially cursed. Subsequently, the Cubs lost game four, and the remaining series getting swept at home and from the World Series. Billy Goat promptly sent a telegram to P.K. Wrigley, stating, “Who stinks now?” For the next twenty years, throughout the remainder of Billy Goat’s life the Cubs would finish each season at 5th place or lower, establishing a pattern that would reverse the Cubs luck and term the team “The Lovable Losers.” The World Series would become a dream, and “wait ’til next year” would become the team’s motto. From 1946 to 2003, the Cubs would post a 4250-4874 (.466) record, have only 15 winning seasons, finish in first place a mere 3 times, have no pennants, no World Series appearances let alone wins, with only four post season experiences (1984, 1989, 1998, 2003) resulting in a complete reversal of their fortunes. The Cubs were and are a cursed franchise.

Of course, theologically astute fellow that I am, I know the real reason for the Cubs’ losing streak.

You see, Wrigley Field, where the Cubs play, was erected in 1914 on the site of Chicago Lutheran Theological Seminary. If you know anything at all about Lutheran teachings, you know that the “theology of the cross” is a primary emphasis. The theology of the cross teaches us that God is most reliably present not in our successes or strengths, but in our weakness and suffering.

And that’s why God loves the Cubs so much. I’m praying for a little less love this year.

Go rambler

ROBERTStrumppage0frontCoverpageIn one of the funniest fake polls I’ve ever read:

• 53 percent of evangelicals are “mostly sure” that Donald Trump is not the Antichrist

• 23 percent of evangelicals surveyed were “somewhat sure”

• 16 percent were “not really sure”

• The remainder were either “totally unsure,” “totally sure,” or told the pollster to get off their lawn.

The reporter also notes that a small group of respondents were okay with Trump being the Antichrist. In the comments, one respondent asserted: “Sure, he could be the Antichrist, but he’ll shake up Washington, which is just what this country needs.” Another respondent wrote: “C’mon. All Trump is saying is that he’ll give us the kingdoms of this world if we simply bow to him. Does that sound like Satan to you?”

If you ask me, I’m 100% sure that this is something evangelicals and fundamentalists are actually debating.

ROBERTSThere are a lot of funny baseball stories. We’ll salt the Ramblings with one of them today.

This is a personal favorite. When I was a young adult living in New England, Jon Miller became the play-by-play voice of the Red Sox. I still remember him telling this story on the radio and in our family we repeat it and laugh about it to this day:

Sunday, August 10, 2008 -- Chicago, Ill -- ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball with Jon Miller

In 1974, the A’s promoted a nineteen-year-old outfielder to the big leagues from Birmingham, the A’s class-AA farm team. His name was Claudell Washington.

Claudell wasn’t a talkative person. Upon his arrival from the minors, I interviewed him and found most of his answers were “Yes” and “No.”

Trying to sound impressive, I said, “Claudell, you’re not only making the jump all the way from double-A to the major leagues,  but the jump to the world champions of baseball. Any trepidation about the move?”

“I had the flu in spring training,” Claudell shrugged. “But I’m fine now.”

• Jon Miller, Confessions of a Baseball Purist

baseball-cartoonhigh

ROBERTSI know what this generation of politicians needs: another great statesman like Winston Churchill!

But how do you think he and his reputation would fare in today’s 24-hour news cycle/social media world? In a new book by David Lough, No More Champagne: Churchill and His Money, the author details the Prime Minister’s almost unbelievable excesses with money and drink.

476449411-british-prime-minister-winston-churchill-cigar-troop-visitDuring the 1930s, as Adolf Hitler was rising to power in Germany, the man who would turn out to be his most implacable foe was drowning — in debt and champagne.

In 1936, Winston Churchill owed his wine merchant the equivalent of $75,000 in today’s money. He was also in hock to his shirt-maker, watchmaker and printer — but his sybaritic lifestyle, of a cigar-smoking, horse-owning country aristocrat, continued apace.

…We learn of Churchill’s ruinous stock market speculation circa 1929 and the inheritances he squandered; his gambling rousts at the casinos in Biarritz and Monte Carlo; the thousands of pounds he sank into the upkeep of Chartwell, his beloved country mansion in Kent; and the unceasing torrent of cash he poured into maintaining a first-rate cellar.

To get an idea of Churchill’s annual alcohol consumption, here’s what he ordered in 1908, the year he married Clementine:

  • nine-dozen bottles and seven-dozen half-bottles of Pol Roger 1895 vintage champagne, plus four-dozen half-bottles of the 1900 Pol Roger vintage
  • six-dozen bottles of St Estèphe (red) wine
  • five-dozen bottles of port
  • seven-dozen bottles of sparkling Moselle (white) wine
  • six-dozen bottles of whisky
  • three-dozen bottles of 20-year-old brandy
  • three-dozen bottles of vermouth
  • four bottles of gin

Christopher Hitchens once compared Churchill to Shakespeare’s Falstaff in his over-indulgence. Eleanor Roosevelt, who was his host at the White House during World War II, was astonished “that anyone could smoke so much and drink so much and keep perfectly well.”

may-01

ROBERTSMarch 22 was a historic day at Havana’s Latinoamericano Stadium, as the Tampa Bay Rays played the Cuban national team in an exhibition game with presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro among the 50,000 in attendance. Tampa Bay won 4-1.

How much do they love baseball, and how seriously do they take it in Cuba? Here’s a video from Anthony Bourdain about his interaction with some “professional” baseball fans on the island.

You know, I could live in place that talks baseball like that.

ROBERTSAs of this writing, 198,000 people had put down a $1000 deposit to reserve their new Tesla Model 3 electric car this week.

tesla-model-3-speed-price-rumors-elon-musk

The car starts at a much lower price point than previous models — $35,000 — and has a range of 215 miles per charge. Orders came fast and furious from around the globe, even though the car won’t be available until 2017. The base model car seats five comfortably, and should be good for 0-60 in less than six seconds. As CEO Elon Musk said: “At Tesla, we don’t make slow cars.”

Yeah, but it ain’t a Rambler.

ROBERTSToday in music

I’ve been listening to early Ray Charles lately and have been blown away by his incredible mix of blues, jazz, and gospel sounds. I especially love the early stuff — it’s raw and energetic, and it grabs your heart and won’t let go.

Here’s a great example of why they called him “genius” and “the father of soul.” This is “Sinner’s Prayer” from Ray Charles’s eponymous debut album in 1957.

 

Comments

  1. James Mac says

    What is this baseball of which you speak?

  2. I’m as impressed by the Jack T. Chick-esque tract as much as the fake poll.

    • WHO IS LIKE UNTO THE TRUMP?

      I had to get that in before HUG did. 😛

      • All the fun of the real anti-Christ but Christian™.

        Conservative Christians love Ayn Rand, who was vehemently anti-Christian. Why wouldn’t we expect them to be capable of voting for the anti-Christ?

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          Remember, everybody, there were TWO classic archetypes of the Antichrist through theological history.

          The Fanatic Persecutor (The Beast; Anti- in the sense of opposition).
          The Slick Deceiver (The False Prophet; Anti- in the sense of fake/imitation).
          And the two work great as a tag team; in fleeing the Fanatic Persecutor, you take refuge with (and the Mark of) the Slick Deceiver. (In the tabletop dark RPG Rapture: the Second Coming by Quintessan Mercy Productions, that’s the approach they took; Fundy Christians actually helped The Antichrist into power because he didn’t fit their End Time Prophecy interpretations and thus couldn’t be The Antichrist. Historically, Comrades Lenin & Stalin loved that kind of add-insult-to-injury humor.)

          Biblically and Historically, that seven-headed ten horned Dragon has preferred the Slick Deceiver approach, the indirect tactic of Deception. (In another tabletop RPG reference, “You can do more damage with properly-targeted Charm Person and Suggestion than you can with a Fireball.”)

          Yet today among the End Time Prophecy set (“Any minute now… Any minute now… Any minute now…”), the Fanatic Persecutor is the only Antichrist you see; the Slick Deceiver is completely forgotten. (Maybe the archetype hits too close to home for so many Preacher-men? The Sheeple being fleeced might get some Discernment? Nya ha ha, My Dear Wormwood…)

      • “And, Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
        the clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
        The Trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
        even so, it is well with my soul.”

        • I love it! If there’s anything he is good at, it’s “resounding.”

          • As in: “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.”?

            Oh, we could proof-text about Trump all day, but I got work to do…

        • Michael Bell says

          In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last TRUMP: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. – 1Corinthians 15:52

          I sure hope he is the last one!

    • I did the math. Trump’s not the Antichrist. He might be an antichrist, with a lowercase A, but that all depends on who he considers Jesus to be, other than a “great, great guy… but I like people who weren’t crucified.”

  3. Keith Hernandez explains the Cubs’ losing ways well. Wrigley Field is in the middle of a neighborhood, which meant for decades after most teams had put up lights and were playing night games, the Cubs still played all of their games in the afternoons. Even today, the Cubs are not allowed to play very many nightgames. Imagine what a whole season of playing games that don’t end until midnight (Cubs time), flying back to Chicago after the game, and then having to be at the ballpark by noon does to a person. They get pretty worn out by season’s end. Hence, not only their losing ways but their dramatic, end of season losing ways.

    The Lord may be working through this situation, of course. But do we really need fancy theological explanations for a natural phenomenon? 😉

    • The Boston Red Sox finally broke the so-called “Curse of the Bambino” in 2004 by winning their first World Series since 1918. They subsequently won World Series titles in 2007 and 2013. So it’s possible for the Cubs to break their so-called “Curse of the Billy Goat” and win the World Series. Of course, they’ve got to get into the postseason first.

  4. I know what this generation of politicians needs: another great statesman like Winston Churchill!
    But how do you think he and his reputation would fare in today’s 24-hour news cycle/social media world?

    Churchill’s bravery and inspiring leadership are quite commendable. But he also had a hand in drawing the current boundaries in the Middle East, which are a huge part of the problems over there. He also made some amazing strategic blunders (Gallipoli, Norway). I’m a huge fan of the man, but he’s not without his faults.

    As for his drinking habits… I leave you with an anecdotal story of them. Once, Mr. Churchill was at a society dinner, and shall we say, overindulged. The hostess was properly scandalized and exclaimed, “Mr. Churchill, you are drunk!” He replied, “And you, madam, are ugly! But in the morning I shall be sober.”

    • Churchill drank Armenian brandy, rather than cognac. Armenian brandy, distilled from grapes grown in cold, rich, volcanic soil, is more robust and earthy (the word “rustic” is often used). Stalin used to send a train car full of casks from the Noe distillery for his esteemed frenemy.

  5. I saw Ray Charles in concert in the early eighties, and he was sublime. I’ve probably never heard anything as just plain happy as his version of “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning.” Here is an amazing song about Ray Charles by Joan Osborne. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XozHOwMx3eM

  6. Robert F says

    Funny fake survey! But of course the Antichrist would have to be in possession of real foreign policy expertise; and besides, everyone knows he will be European, and not only threaten to do so, but eventually actually nuke the US. Silly survey!

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      And look like a Romanian Robert Redford and act like a parody of a badly-written pulp villain…

  7. Christiane says

    LOVED the story about Murphy-The-Goat and the cursing of the Cubs,
    I’ve always been partial to a good goat story.

  8. Richard Hershberger says

    The goat has nothing to do with it. I wrote an essay last fall explaining the real reason:
    http://ordinary-gentlemen.com/2015/10/27/the-curse-of-anson/

    • “When the Cubs win the World Series, and the Browns win the Super Bowl (let the reader understand), let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.”

    • Christiane says

      Hi RICHARD,
      well, your ‘Anson’ theory does sound more plausible as a curse on the Cubs than the rumored villain ‘Murphy-The-Goat’. . . . at least we still have a ‘curse’ theory and it’s so much easier to blame a racist than an innocent four-legged creature with an Irish name. Since Anson was not born under the sign of Capricorn, we can rule out the influence of the zodiac goat on his racist leanings. Indeed, it does look like Murphy can be let off the hook for the curse. Anson can have the credit, he’s earned it.
      Thanks for sharing your information and your theory. Good case work. 🙂

  9. This week, Colorado’s governor pledged the State’s super-delegate to Hillary Clinton – despite (or in spite) of the State’s Democrats voting 3-to-1 for Bernie Sanders during the recent caucus. Indeed, it is difficult to ride the Republicans too hard over a contested convention when the Democrats seem equally driven by politics and special interest rather than democracy. Ironic, really. Perhaps even sadly hypocritical.

    • 2-to-1, not 3-to-1.

    • Richard Hershberger says

      Both parties’ nomination procedures are at best quasi-democratic. The mere existence of super-delegates implies this. That being said, Clinton has a solid lead in elected delegates: currently 1243 to 980. See http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2016/president/democratic_delegate_count.html
      The horse race news stories and the Sanders enthusiasts tend to obfuscate this.

      Clinton has a stronger lead over Sanders than did Obama over Clinton at this point eight years ago. I was reading Nate Silver back then, explaining the nominating procedure and based on this showing that Obama had the nomination in the bag. The current nomination race is effectively over. The political press doesn’t want to tell that story, because then what will they write about? They will breathlessly report a neck-and-neck race for as long as they can possibly drag it out.

      • The GOP does not have super delegates. I have to admit, this entire idea is basically anti-democratic, and I find it offensive that the party has them. Of course, I will happily go on record here to say that Debbie Wassermann Schultz is thoroughly corrupt, as well as being not especially gifted in her vocation. I do believe the Dems are going to ensure that Hillary is their nominee. Not sure what the GOP will do, but I can easily imagine Trump defeating Hilary. He might be an injudicious egomaniac windbag, but Hillary has so much baggage I know plenty of life-long Dems who won’t vote for her.

        • >>I do believe the Dems are going to ensure that Hillary is their nominee.

          Or some of them, the most powerful faction by all appearances at this point. We’re still in the first act. One possible scenario would be for her to be given the opportunity to withdraw from the race for health reasons to avoid indictment. However it plays out, not likely to happen until much closer to the so called convention. It has gotten rather boring for now and I have a lot of work to do. Expect things to pick back up in May.

          • Richard Hershberger says

            So far, the Democrats are ensuring that Clinton wins the nomination through the nefarious technique of more people voting for her than for anyone else. This is in much the same way that the Democrats imposed Obama on the country.

        • –> “…this entire idea is basically anti-democratic…”

          I think the whole two-party system is anti-democratic, but good luck in slaying that two-headed beast.

          • Robert F says

            Parties are not mentioned in the Constitution. Parties are private organizations, not accountable to democratic process, except insofar as they want to get more people on board as party members, and must appeal to the importance of their participation. That only two parties have

            Before the twentieth century, party nominees were selected by small groups of men in smoke-filled rooms behind closed doors, without even the pretense of any democratic mechanism being involved. In the 20th century, the appearance of democratic process was put in place in the parties, but the decisions were really still made behind closed doors, and any popular vote would be set aside at the party leaders’ discretion.

            It was the 1968 riots of disenfranchised anti-Vietnam War voters, whose vote was set aside and ignored by behind-closed-door party leaders, at the Democratic Convention in Chicago that prompted reform in both parties, toward inclusion of more democratic mechanisms. But the old party system still exists alongside those mechanisms, and the result is an uneasy mixture of old and new, in which the old still sometimes prevails. It seems to be prevailing quite a lot in the election cycle.

            The Constitution doesn’t require parties, but it doesn’t prohibit them, either. They aren’t even mentioned. All a party would have to do to compete with the Dems/Repubs is sign up enough members to be a real contender; given our history, this seems unlikely, unless one or both of the other parties self-destruct. It’s possible that’s what’s happening to the Republican Party even as we speak; the Stay Puft marshmallow man named Trump may be its destroyer.

        • If the respective front-runners win their party’s nominations, then we will have a bombastic, narcissistic reality TV show star running against the ethically challenged spouse of an impeached former president. In addition, Hillary Clinton’s sense of entitlement is as strong as Donald Trump’s ego. I dread the possibility of choosing between those two candidates, but one has to wonder if we’re getting the choice we deserve.

          On the other hand, this political season has been so strange that I wouldn’t be surprised if other candidates, perhaps someone not even currently running, win one or both major party nominations. All bets are off if Donald Trump fails to secure the delegate majority needed for the nomination before the start of the GOP convention. Likewise, all bets are off if Hillary Clinton gets indicted.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            This political season is looking more and more like Germany in 1932, where the only choice was between who would be Dictator after the election. I have never seen so many leading candidates (Trump, Cruz, and Her Inevitableness) who look and sound like Act 1 in an after-the-fall biography of a Dictator. Here’s the archtypes they resemble:
            * Trump, the classic bombastic Il Duce-type fueled by a groundswell of “I’M MAD AS HELL AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANY MORE!” resentment.
            * Cruz, the God Saith Theocrat who will Purity the Nation (like Calvin did Geneva and Khomeini did Iran) from a position of Utter Righteousness.
            * Clinton, the classic Communist-style Dictator always being praised for Concern and Compassion and Moral Superiority in their Truly Progressive Rule (at least in the official praise chorus).

        • Richard Hershberger says

          “The GOP does not have super delegates.”

          Not by that name, but about five percent of the delegates are “pledged” but not “bound.” They could change their vote, even on the first ballot.

          Beyond that, both parties have various more or less subtle ways by which the process is made undemocratic. Witness the debate over the allocation of the Louisiana Republican delegates

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            Louisiana has always “had their own way of doing things”.

            This is the state that gave us Huey Long, David Duke, and “Vote for the Crook — it’s the Right Thing to Do.”

            (Come to think of it, there’s a lot of Huey Long’s style in Trump; just The Kingfish was an insider and Trump is an outsider.)

        • >>So far, the Democrats are ensuring that Clinton wins the nomination through the nefarious technique of more people voting for her than for anyone else.

          Not in Michigan. If there is a nefarious technique being applied, it goes by the name of “Super delegates”. Aside, of course, from the usual voter fraud, rigged balloting, and illegal tactics, which the Democrats do not hold a monopoly on. However super delegates was a stroke of genius, worthy of a cabal. Not to worry, it will all come out in the warsh. Or most of it. Or some of it.

          • Richard Hershberger says

            Huh? Are you seriously arguing that Sanders deserves the nomination because he won Michigan, regardless of those numerous states that Clinton won? Did I get that right?

            The stuff about voter fraud, etc., is, of course, just hand-waving. Historians will recall that the Bush administration ordered the US Attorneys to drop everything and devote their resources to proving massive voter fraud. What did they find? Crickets chirping. Of course this won’t convince anyone who is sufficiently devoted to the idea. It is trivially easy to find people who are convinced that Whitewater was a massive illegal conspiracy, despite the inability of Kenneth Starr, a highly motivated prosecutor given virtually unlimited resources, to find anything. At this point we are in tin foil hat territory.

          • >>Did I get that right?

            No, Richard, not even close. You spoke of more people voting for She than Sanders as a generalization. I spoke of the fact that this was not so in Michigan as a particularization and, I might add, with a modicum of pride. Okay, a lot of pride. Neither of us sees this as the tail wagging the dog. Please adjust your tin foil hat.

          • Richard Hershberger says

            Then I don’t understand what point you were making. Yes, some locales favor Sanders over Clinton. This is unremarkable. The fact remains that she is leading in the race for the nomination because more Democratic voters favor her. This is the way it is supposed to work

    • A contested convention is actually to the Republicans credit! When less than 2/5’s of Republican voters want one particular candidate then why should the majority be held hostage by a brainless minority? It will be great fun to watch their convention, outside as well as inside!

      • I think the key is how disunity is handled. If it is handled by the GOP elites making a choice for the people than it is the death of democracy. Imagine if we took this approach in the general election!

        • Yes.

          “The people have spoken. We’re going with someone else.”

          Doesn’t sound very democratic.

          • “That to secure these rights, primaries are instituted among Parties, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governors, — That whenever any primary result becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the Party to alter or to abolish their primary results, and to institute new results…”

            Oh, wait…

          • 40% in favor, 60% opposed and you give it to the 40%? Remember, the primaries are NOT to elect a candidate as much as they are to elect DELEGATES to the party convention. It is the delegates who choose the candidate. That is just the way it is, I am not defending it.

            No one voted for Lincoln in a primary. He was chosen by party delegates after fruitless delegate counts could not agree.

            And, as an aside, the party system was not in the Founders’ calculations, but it didn’t take long to develope.

        • Richard Hershberger says

          Yabbut, this is how nominees were chosen through most of the history of the republic. “Death of democracy” seems overly dramatic.

          For that matter, the general election process is specifically designed to be undemocratic. Recall that Bush got fewer votes than did Gore.

          • Robert F says

            The Founding Fathers were as afraid of a tyranny of the majority as they were of rule by royalty or autocrat.

          • Robert F says

            Yes, there was not even a pretense of democratic process in the party nominations right up into the twentieth century. The party insiders, Republican and Democratic, selected the nominee. Only since 1968 has that changed in any substantial way, and even then, not in a comprehensive way.

        • Define “elites”. Are appointed delegates “elites”? Are elected delegates “elites”?

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            “Elites” are anyone who disagrees with ME.
            Or “anyone with more clout than ME”.
            That’s the usual de facto definition.

        • Robert F says

          Party “elites” making a choice for the entire party was the way it was routinely handled right into the middle of the 20th century, in both the Dem and Republic Parties. Democracy must have died innumerable times during that period, and now must be among the living dead.

          • Wait…are you seriously implying that the democratic process and Western ideals of government by, for, and of the people don’t evolve? So if we went back to only white male landowners voting it would be ok? Not buying it.

          • Robert F says

            No. I think more democratic representation in the party process would be a good thing. But we’ve never been to the mountain before, and party politics has never been very democratic up to this point, not even in the wake of the reforms that followed 1968

            And realize that, since the reforms that followed 1968, every President from Carter through Obama has claimed to be a political outsider, not part of the party elite, and has been elected in significant part on the basis of convincing many who voted for them that they were in fact just such an outsider. But it has been mostly a charade, sleight-of-hand.

          • Robert F says

            If only we had rule by elected parties, parliamentary style, rather than rule by elected individuals nominated by non-ruling parties, then all our troubles would be resolved….right?

          • Robert F says

            Dr. F, I would also say that the evolution of democracy must include mechanisms for preventing a tyranny of the majority. Our Founding Fathers sought to include such mechanisms in the Constitution, but some of their remedies seem not to be working so well in our time.

          • Agree. There is balance of powers for a reason – and majority decision does not even mean “democratic” per se. Some of the most important principles of democratic rule is making space for those who are in the minority (apartheid, anyone?). My initial point, which I did not make very well, was that a very large chunk of the GOP base may very wlll end up being overruled, and if they are, I fully expect chaos in the party. Everyone wants their vote to count, even if that choice is foolish and should be, as you pointed out, overruled. Time will tell.

          • Robert F says

            Yes. What the current party reversal of evolution toward a more democratic process, a reversal undertaken by party power brokers in the name of subverting the tyranny of the majority and/or controlling/preventing an undesired outcome in the nomination of Trump, may undo is not the nation or our democratic republic, but the Republican Party.

            I grant, though, that the implosion and self-destruction of one of the only two major parties in our nation would result in something worse: only one major party in our nation. That would, of course, create a vacuum that other parties, or a reconstituted but very different Republican Party, would race to fill; but who knows what resentful,primal and regressive, what ugly and, dare I say, demonic popular movement might that vacuum suck into itself?

            Yes, on second thought, I think you’re right: our democratic Republic is threatened by death as a result of the rollback of democratic process that is being undertaken in the Republican Party.

      • Danielle says

        I’m not sure if I am going to watch the convention with a historian’s amusement (popcorn anyone?) or in nervous horror (beer, where is the beer?). But I agree that it is to the GOP’s credit that no one is sure what will happen next.

        The votes are split too many ways. Trump is a borderline fascist (a word I almost never apply to American politics) — or to be more precise is channeling exactly the forces one would need to channel to create (intentionally or by mistake) a viable fascism here. Therefore, I welcome the sound of party engines revving up and party men scurrying hither and dither. There must, at least, be some fire and light.

  10. My family watched “Life of Brian” on Easter. Yes, I’m going to hell.

    “You don’t need to follow me! You don’t need to follow anybody! You got to think for yourselves! You’re all individuals! You’re all different!”

    • “You’re all individuals! You’re all different!” [Pause] “I’m not.”

    • Life of Brian on Easter…? Oh, my….

      Here’s my funny Life of Brian story. I hadn’t seen the movie in years and remembered all the funny parts and forgot that there were some potentially objectionable parts in it. My sister-in-law once called me looking for a good funny movie to watch with the family (teen boy and girl at the time) and I recommended Life of Brian, saying, “There are some bits that’ll have you rolling on the floor.”

      She called me the next day, laughing and saying, “Did you forget the full frontal nudity?”

      I was so embarrassed. Fortunately they’re a pretty liberal family and I don’t think it did too much damage to anyone…lol…

  11. “You know, I could live in place that talks baseball like that.”

    Yes, but unless you learn to speak Spanish like us Cubans–faster than the speed of sound, dropping consonants which precede a vowel at the end of a word, softly sounding consonants. with the exception of the rolling r’s, and learning the skillful art of hand gestures–you will not be allowed to participate in any good conversation about baseball, politics, or anything else, for that matter.

    And if you want to speak about goats and curses you should speak with the santeros/as. But please be aware that these folks care little about Lutheran theology.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      “Spanish faster than the speed of sound” as even faster than a Mexican Deejay?

  12. So, completely OT, but I spend two days in the hospital this week after presenting with PE and pulmonary infarction. Totally out of the blue. Good news is that I’m alive. I’m still short of breath doing much more than sitting in my easy chair reading Ramblings, but that seems like a pretty good deal right about now. Last week I was deadlifting 500 lbs. for reps. Reminds me of Jer. 9:23-24.

  13. I should note on the wine bill that that much would have been for entertaining others not for his sole consumption. Churchill had friends of all political stripes which may be a skill lacking in some of our current politicians.

    • His friends must not have liked martinis, with only four bottles ordered.

      And only five dozen bottles of port? What was his PROBLEM?

  14. Ah…opening day….where everyone is 0-0 and tied for first.

    I’ve heard it said, and I kinda like it, that every team wins 60 games and loses 60 games, and it’s what they do in the other 42 that matter.

    • Richard Hershberger says

      Make it 40 and you have it about right. The ’62 Mets won 40 games. The worst team since then was the 2003 Tigers, who won 43 games. So figure that even a historically awful team will win 40 games and go from there.

      This also is the underlying basis of Wins Above Replacement (WAR). It is a calculation of how the credit for any wins above 40 gets divided up among the players. The baseball-reference page for the 2003 Tigers ends up with a team WAR of 4.3 (5.4 for the position players and -1.1 for the pitchers), which comes out pretty close.

  15. Anthony Bourdain is a hero of mine, love that man. Cool to see him on iMonk.

  16. Robert F says

    Cool temperatures–
    suddenly, early April–
    make the stray cats shy.

  17. Robert F says

    Small white Mennonite church,
    parking lot filled with only black cars
    beside a winding farm road

    As I drive by,
    windows opens in the cool
    April breeze,

    my radio sings

    Heaven, heaven is a place,
    a place where nothing,
    nothing ever happens

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCs8WgPcnCU

  18. A 1960 Rambler American for $1795. I bought a ’64 VW for about two grand, the only new car I’ve had in my life. Today that’s what you pay for a riding lawn mower. What’s wrong with this picture?

    • Robert F says

      You remember approximately how much you paid for that car, but do you remember how much you earned in 1964?

      • >> . . .do you remember how much you earned in 1964?

        Roughly seven grand, and that was one of my better paying jobs in this lifetime. I was working for the original Mayor Daley at the time. If you extrapolate, that two grand I paid for a new car then would be about twenty grand today. Applying the same extrapolation, that would mean I should be earning seventy grand today, or at least when I threw in the towel in 2012, or the towel was thrown in. In reality I was earning about twenty-four grand at the time, the same as I was earning in 1988, Today my income is $37.50 per day.

        Not complaining, but like I said, what is wrong with this picture?

  19. Michael Bell says

    Sorry I saw the Tesla 3 and made me want to indulge in a little Fatherly pride. My son is doing a Co-op University degree where he goes to school for 8 semesters and works for the 6 semesters over 5 years. His last three co-ops: Apple – working on the camera for the IPhone 6S; Tesla working on the Model 3; and coming up Microsoft working on the next generation XBox. Not sure how he will be able to top any of those after graduation!

    • This next generation Xbox…can he confirm or deny that it will be a mid-console refresh or a full new console generation? lol

      I’ve got a vested interest.

      Also looking for jobs.

    • I wonder if Tesla’s marketing division is led by Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Actually, I think Tesla was blindsided by the amount of pre-orders for the Model 3 — FOUR TIMES the volume anticipated. They’ll have to open up another factory (or really expand their exist’g one) to keep up with the pre-orders. (And with those deposits, they won’t lack operating capital for the expansion…)

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Also, Tesla and Elio are the First Two Major Auto Company startups in the US since Chrysler in 1925. Takes a LOT of money up front to startup something as big as a major automaker.