Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Tuesday's Lessons

Lessons from a Pol: Evan Bayh wrote an Op-Ed piece for Tuesday’s NY Times titled, “Where Do Democrats Go Next?” (

My longstanding response, to him. I believe the moderate senator from Indiana, voluntarily leaving office in January, will come out of political retirement as President Obama’s next choice for vice president.

With sensible strategies as those elucidated in his commentary, Bayh is well positioned to appeal to the majority of voters.

Lessons from the Field: A week ago, Cliff Lee was invincible. Now that he’s lost two World Series games, will the NY Yankees still spend gazillions to sign him as a free agent?

A week ago, the Texas Rangers made the Yankees look like old men. They out-hit, out-pitched, out-ran the Bronx Bummers in a convincing four games to two American League Championship Series win. They looked unstoppable entering the World Series.

Someone forgot to tell the San Francisco Giants. The Giants simply out-hit, out-pitched, out-ran and out-fielded the Rangers. Suddenly the Rangers looked like old men, or young men not worthy of being on the same field as the Giants. The Giants obliterated the Rangers four games to one.

That’s the thing about baseball, or any sport for that matter. A team, a player, can get hot, or turn cold, and completely change the anticipated outcome. There are no telltale clues. It just happens. When a whole team rises to the occasion, it’s marvelous to watch. Yankee fans, if they are true baseball fans, had to marvel at what the Rangers did to our beloved diamondmen. And we had to savor what the Giants did to the Rangers. Ah, sweet comeuppance (not revenge), at the hands of another team. And what hands they were—superb pitching and surprisingly solid fielding from a team not known for its defense.

The Giants and the Rangers, as well as the Tampa Bay Rays, the Minnesota Twins and the Cincinnati Reds, showed the Yanks that a high payroll is not the only route to the post-season. But anyone who thinks the Yankees will sharply reduce overall player salaries fails to recall they have made the playoffs 15 of the last 16 years. No other team can claim such a distinguished record. Playoff appearances translate to more revenue. The Yanks will continue to spend to make the playoffs. In the playoffs, they have to hope they are the hot team, for dollars don’t matter if the other team is on a roll. So look for Cliff Lee to wear pinstripes next year.

Lessons from My Wallet: Nothing says retirement more than a review of my mostly underused airline and hotel frequent traveler cards.

At one time I had so many cards I carried a separate wallet just for them: American Airlines, Delta, USAir, Jet Blue, United, Continental, America West, Northwest, Virgin America, Hertz, Budget, Starwood Hotels, Hyatt, Stouffer Hotels, Radisson, Holiday Inn, Marriott, Ramada, Hilton, Wyndham, Best Western, Renaissance—I got tired just typing that list.

Several years ago I finally realized it was foolish to carry the cards with me. So I reduced the load to one sheet of paper with all the card fronts photo-stated on both sides of the paper. Now I won’t have to carry even that around. Last night I inputted all my account numbers into my cell phone. Technology to the rescue. Of course, I rarely travel, and even less frequently travel for work, these days, making my number punching seem quite superfluous. But you never know when opportunity will come a knockin’, so I’m ready.

Lessons from the Court: The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday on a censorship case that quite frankly vexes me ( I am generally against any form of censorship, but this case involves California’s attempt to restrict the sale of violent video games to minors.

Aside from the desire not to allow government to get a foothold on what can and cannot be said and sold, I can’t see any redeeming social value to video games that exalt killing, maiming, dismembering, sexual abuse, torture and other sadistic behavior. It’s hard to accept that our society is turned on by these increasingly sophisticated and repulsive (at least to me) forms of entertainment. It’s hard to accept that our society and laws would not want to shield those under 18 from this depravity, just as it prohibits minors from buying sexually explicit material. How can viewing sex be more damaging to a young mind than these graphic depictions of deadly and deviant mayhem that a video game player actually participates in and initiates?

I’d say it sounds like I’m turning more conservative in my old age, but a conservative reading of the Bill of Rights would not let government make any law that abridges freedom of the press. Oh, what troubled times we live in.

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