Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Leavin'

Tomorrow (Thursday) morning, I get on a plane for the first time in two and a half years, and maybe only the second or third time in the last six years. I'm not a big fan of flying. I drive to Idaho whenever I go visit my grandparents, and, for the last two Christmases, I've driven to St. Louis to visit my parents. Now my parents live in Seattle, though, and the roads going up there in the wintertime are not exactly famous for safety. Too many treacherous mountain passes and all that. So, I'm flying. And I'm going alone, unless you count my dog, Jack, who will be in the cabin with me. She won't be much help, though. I mean, look at her. She's afraid of the remote control, so I'm not expecting bravery on the flight.


Yes, I know that flying is statistically safer than driving. Yes, I know that I was thisclose to being a pilot in the Air Force. And yes, I know that I was raised around pilots for my entire flight, and that my dad is a test pilot who currently tests the very plane on which I will be taking my trip. My rational mind is aware of these facts, but my irrational mind is claustrophobic and not at all interested in logic. Please, for the love of god, don't leave any flying horror stories in my comments section. Only messages of support, please.

After the flight to Seattle, I will be driving with my family to Idaho to see my grandparents and extended family. It should be quite the drive. My parents will be in the car, as will my brother (who is 6'3"), my sister (who is 5'9"), me (5'7"), my parents' black lab, Elmo, and my dog, Jack. Plus our luggage. I wish I could convince my parents that we need to take two cars, but they aren't listening.

When I get to my parents' house in Seattle, I'll write a post to let you know that I've arrived. In the meantime, if you pray, send a few out to Alaska Airlines flight 401.

Not a lot of news to report in the sports world these days, because I don't really have much to say about the Mitchell Report. I mean, nothing in it was hugely surprising, right? The general public can't honestly be shocked about most of the names, but maybe the public outing of everyone will lead to stronger policies against PEDs. We can't change the past, and I'm not interested in spending years crucifying guys who so obviously used but will continue to deny it as long as they can. So that's that.

The Dodgers signed a Japanese pitcher named Kuroda, and I can't seem to get a consensus on whether this is a good or bad thing. Some are worried that the guy will be 33 by the time the season starts, and he wasn't exactly mowing 'em down in the Japanese League. Detractors seem to think that, at best, we're looking at a mediocre #4 starter. But, some people, like this guy at ESPN, are apparently thrilled with the signing, and think the Dodgers have really scored big-time here. I don't know what to think about it, because it's hard to look at numbers when the guy has never faced major leaguers. Hard to believe he'd be worse than Esteban Loaiza was for us in 2007.

No Red Sox news, but Surviving Grady had this video up, and it made me laugh, so I'm putting it here for your enjoyment.




COMMENTS:

AUTHOR: Buck Rampage
DATE: 12/20/2007 07:07:57 AM

I'm on about 40-50 different airplanes a year and haven't died yet.....so you should be good.

Good Luck!
-----

AUTHOR: Jack Cobra
DATE: 12/20/2007 08:52:10 AM

If you die can I take over your blog and name it Oil Can Koufax? Please?

Seriously though, planes don't kill people, people kill people. Have a safe trip, I'm sure it will be just fine...
-----

AUTHOR: Mike
DATE: 12/20/2007 09:19:08 PM

Your dog is adorable. Have fun!
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AUTHOR: Bruce Paine
DATE: 12/20/2007 10:08:34 PM

My favorite airplane activity is to pretend to be someone else and use accents and words you don't normally use. Texas and Australia are my favorite places to be from

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AUTHOR: Erin
DATE: 12/20/2007 10:48:55 PM

I'm commenting on my own blog because I'm not willing to get my computer out of my bag and log in. So, yes, I am alive. My dog handled it quite nicely. The flight wasn't too terrible and I really appreciate the warm wishes (especially Buck's, since that's the only one I read before the flight).

Bruce, I might use that accent thing on the return flight. It sounds fun.
-----

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Traitor

I've already written about the WGA strike, but it should be known that certain shows out there are not sticking with it, and are in fact remaining on the air. Last Call with Carson Daly (who watches that?) went off the air for a bit, but then came back. The Ellen DeGeneres Show went off the air for one day in support of the writers, but then came back on because DeGeneres had a contract that she had to honor. Her show is syndicated, and so she is obligated to all the affiliates everywhere who air her show. Well, that's what her production company, Telepictures, wants us all to believe.

What DeGeneres and Telepictures don't seem to realize is that the other writers who are actually on strike are also under contract. That's kind of the whole idea of a strike, right? You're protesting what you believe to be unfair working conditions and/or situations, and you are ignoring your contract or agreement in an effort to correct those unfavorable circumstances. Apparently, though, DeGeneres and her team, despite the fact that her writers are all on strike, believe that the show must go on.

The interesting thing about this is that DeGeneres herself must be a member of the WGA. She's listed as a writer on her current talk show, and she has been a writer on her two other sitcoms as well. You can't do that without being in the WGA. So, in essence, this makes DeGeneres a scab.

That's not entirely the reason I'm writing about her today, though. Yes, I think it's despicable that she cares more about the money than she does about principle (though the rest of her staff who are not writers, maybe 95 people, is not striking, so she is keeping their paychecks coming), but I guess I can't really be surprised. After all, it's always been about the bottom line for DeGeneres, so this is nothing new.

Let's keep in mind what exactly Ellen DeGeneres is all about, okay? Her character on Ellen came out in 1997, to a huge uproar, and DeGeneres decided to come out herself at the same time. "Yep, I'm Gay" she proclaimed on the cover of Time Magazine. It was a huge, huge deal, and rightly so. DeGeneres didn't necessarily want all the publicity, but she wasn't really shying away from it, either. No one forced her to do 20/20 and Oprah that year. And I'm not blaming her for doing them, either. She got a lot of publicity for being gay. But since her talk show began in 2003, DeGeneres has been doing her best to distance herself from the gay community, which is, frankly, a disgrace, because this is the community that supported DeGeneres back when, as she herself claims, she couldn't get any work.

There was, apparently, some backlash after the sitcom ended its run in 1998. DeGeneres says no one would hire her, even though she did a lot for television in general, and shows like Will & Grace owed their existence to her (she did one small guest spot on the show, playing a nun). The gay community talked about her and did documentaries about her and all that, but the mainstream media was done.

Oh, but then Finding Nemo came along, and then the talk show, and it was easy to forget the group that had never left her side, because suddenly housewives in Iowa were okay with DeGeneres, and she was able to make money because they were willing to buy products advertised on her show. So, DeGeneres played the role of the "nice" comedian that she has always been, the one who doesn't want to say anything bad about another person, the one who wouldn't allow Kathy Griffin on the show for years because Kathy was too "mean" (and then when Kathy finally did go on the show, DeGeneres spent the entire segment essentially trying to get Kathy to apologize for her comedy).

The point is, DeGeneres was so busy worrying about getting people to like her that she decided it wasn't worth being even a little bit of an advocate for gay rights, though she has a national platform with which to do so. I don't want her to be all about being gay, at all, because that just alienates people. But you know the old saying about how if everyone in this country just knew someone who is gay, it would be a lot harder to be so against civil rights for gay people? I think it works that way for DeGeneres as well, and, as a result, she could affect a lot of change in this country. Her audience does not know her on a personal level, but they sure feel like they do. But while somewhere in the back of their minds they know that she is gay, they get to pretend they don't know it, because DeGeneres herself pretends it isn't true. Watch the show and you'll see what I mean. As much as DeGeneres tries to be personable and open with the audience, there's always a sense that she's doing her best to hold back a large part of who she is.

That's just the backstory, though. What really got me all riled up today is that earlier this week, DeGeneres had Jenna Bush on the show. During Bush's segment, things got all cutesy, as DeGeneres had Bush pick up the phone and call her father (you know, the president) live on the air (well, live to tape, anyway). CNN featured the video of this bubbly segment, and I encourage you to go watch. DeGeneres couldn't be more excited about talking to President Bush, and I couldn't be more nauseous while watching this thing unfold.

This piece, as innocuous as it may seem on its surface, is just sickeningly wrong. I'm worried now that I won't even have the words to describe how repulsive it is, so I guess I'll let some of President Bush's words do the talking for me instead:
"Yes, I am mindful that we're all sinners," the president said Wednesday when asked for his views on homosexuality. "And I caution those who may try to take the speck out of the neighbor's eye when they've got a log in their own. I think it's very important for our society to respect each individual, to welcome those with good hearts, to be a welcoming country," Bush added. "On the other hand, that does not mean that somebody like me needs to compromise on an issue such as marriage." (CNN, 2003)
"So many of my generation, after a long journey, have come home to family and faith and are determined to bring up responsible, moral children. Government is not the source of these values, but government should never undermine them. Because marriage is a sacred institution and the foundation of society, it should not be redefined by activist judges. For the good of families, children and society, I support a constitutional amendment to protect the institution of marriage." (State of the Union Address, 2005)
Are children worse off being raised by gay or lesbian couples than by heterosexual parents?

Responding on Thursday to a question about gay adoption, President Bush suggested that they were.

"Studies have shown," Mr. Bush said in an interview with The New York Times, "that the ideal is where a child is raised in a married family with a man and a woman."

But experts say there is no scientific evidence that children raised by gay couples do any worse - socially, academically or emotionally - than their peers raised in more traditional households. (New York Times, 2005)

This is the man who wants to put it in the Constitution that marriage should only be between one man and one woman. In the Constitution! Like outlawing gay marriage is akin to the friggin' Bill of Rights! (If you're picturing me yelling this at my computer right now, you're spot on.)

I don't know if DeGeneres wants to get married or not, but the fact remains that the man to whom she so gleefully spoke on the phone, to the delight of her audience, absolutely and positively regards her as a second-class citizen. All one has to do is look carefully at the first quote from Bush that I put up there, the one that begins, "Yes, I am mindful that we're all sinners." Whatever he says after that about tolerance and respect is bullshit, because he just referred to every single person in a homosexual relationship (of any kind) as a sinner. And while, yes, we all (as in, all of humanity) might be sinners for various reasons (assuming you have a belief system that subscribes to that), it's absurd for the president of my country to imply, not indirectly, without knowing me or anything about my relationship, that the type of relationship I am in automatically makes me a sinner. He's saying the same thing to you, Ellen. But let's call him up and "ooh" and "ahh" when he tells Jenna he loves her, okay?

Think of it is this way. There's another popular talk show host out there who also happens to be a minority. Perhaps you've heard of her? Her name is Oprah Winfrey. Now, let's say Oprah decided to have one of David Duke's daughters on the show (hey, it makes about as much sense as Jenna Bush being on a talk show). Could you see Oprah getting really excited and giddy when Erika or Kristin (the daughters) said that they could just call up daddy on his cell phone right there? Would there be giggles in the audience when David Duke told the daughter how happy he was to speak to her? I think not.

Whether DeGeneres likes it or not, she has a responsibility to the public. She chose to embrace the gay community while it suited her, and then abandoned it when its support was no longer necessary. I always knew that was true, but seeing Jenna Bush on the show just reinforced it in a way I never thought possible. I knew DeGeneres was a sellout, but this is beyond selling out. This is pure, unadulterated treason.

It's one thing to not want to be an advocate for something, but it's quite another to openly embrace a member of the opposition as though he hasn't been ardently and publicly opposed to a major aspect of your identity. Now, please excuse me while I go take some Maalox to keep from throwing up.



COMMENTS:

AUTHOR: Bruce Paine
DATE: 12/06/2007 05:52:25 PM

Kid I love where your hearts at. We are the Constitution. There is no government without the consent of the governed, and if you cannot bring yourself to consent to its actions, you are no longer beholden to the machinations of its dictates. These people will not serve you by choice, they must do it by fear and force. They are afraid of three things and those things are all boxes.
1. Soap Box
2. Ballot Box
3. Ammo Box

Use each liberally and in that order. If you can't get past 2, call your friendly neighborhood hillbilly.
-----

Dodgers Sign Andruw Jones

The Dodgers really didn't look like they were going to do anything this off-season, and had even claimed that they weren't going to be in the race for the center fielders out there (Andruw Jones, Aaron Rowand). Turns out Ned Colletti was just yanking our chain, as the Dodgers have worked out a preliminary agreement for Andruw Jones, to the tune of two years, $36 million.

In that ESPN article I linked to, they suggest that Juan Pierre would move to left, reducing playing time for Matt Kemp and/or Andre Ethier. What an amazing idea. But I have a better one. And Jon Weisman over at Dodger Thoughts agrees with me. Why not put Pierre on the bench, keep Jones in center, and play Ethier and Kemp in left and right, respectively? I understand that Pierre is owed a lot of money, but sometimes you just have to admit you're wrong and do what's best for the team. I can not overstate this enough: Juan Pierre is not what's best for this team. Or any team, for that matter.

I know it will never happen. Colletti will insist that Pierre continue to be an everyday player, I suppose in an effort to make up for the mistake the GM made in signing this weak-throwing, light-hitting (at best), often defensively inept center fielder. This mistake can be corrected, and everyone in his/her right mind agrees that Pierre is a terrible player. Colletti hears this noise, and does nothing.

We have less than four months until Opening Day 2008, so Colletti has time to make the right decision. Let's hope he does.


COMMENTS:

AUTHOR: Jack Cobra
DATE: 12/06/2007 12:19:16 PM

Since they lost Wolf and who knows what Schmidt will do this season, shouldn't they trade Kemp/Ethier/Loney to shore up the rotation and/or third base? Ethier to St. Louis for Rolen and Loney/Broxton to Baltimore for Bedard or Milwaukee for Sheets?
-----

AUTHOR: Erin
DATE: 12/06/2007 12:30:03 PM

Shoring up the rotation is a possibility, but I just really hate to see every young guy traded away just for the "here and now." They can (and should) put Andy LaRoche at third base, maybe platooning with Nomar, depending on how badly Nomar plays this season.

If Kemp, Ethier and Loney are all traded away, then this team is back to being an old team wth a couple of young guys, instead of a team that looks to the future. Who plays first base if Loney goes? Who plays left and right field if Kemp and Ethier go? We'll have Jones in center, Pierre in left, and who knows in right. We'll have an old second baseman (Kent), an aging shortstop (Furcal), probably an old third baseman (Garciaparra), a young catcher (Martin), and whomever they can get at first. That doesn't sound very promising to me.

If Broxton goes, we have no setup guy (or potential closer if Saito is hurt). I would love Bedard or Sheets, but I don't know what we should be willing to give up for one of those two. They're not old pitchers, sure, but after next season, when everyone on the infield is another year older, we'll be faced with this set of problems all over again, but we won't have the young guys available to take the place of the failing old guys.
-----

AUTHOR: Jack Cobra
DATE: 12/06/2007 01:10:16 PM

I wasn't saying trade all of those guys in one deal, or all of them this off-season. If they sent out Ethier, Loney and Broxton for the players I said, it would leave them with this.

Pierre - LF
A. Jones - CF
Kemp - RF
Rolen - 3b
Furcal - SS
Kent/Valdez - 2b
Kent/Garciaparra - 1b
Martin - C

1. Penny - SP
2. Bedard/Sheets - SP
3. Lowe - SP
4. Billingsly - SP
5a. Schmidt - SP
5b. Loaiza/Kuo - SP

Set up - Proctor/Beimel
Closer - Saito

Not a fan of that if they can get it done? You could go like this for a hitting lineup.

Furcal - ss
Pierre - lf
Kemp - rf
Kent - 2b
Rolen - 3b
A. Jones - cf
Martin - c
Garciaparra/LaRoche - 1b
-----

AUTHOR: Jack Cobra
DATE: 12/06/2007 01:22:05 PM

Or...Ethier/Kemp/Billingsly to Minnesota for Santana. Still, no? Put Loney in RF for that one and play LaRoche at 3rd with Nomar at 1st
-----

AUTHOR: Erin
DATE: 12/06/2007 04:04:35 PM

I really, really like Loney and Kemp the most, but I'm sure most teams looking for a trade do, too. Loney played one game in right field last year and got injured, but that doesn't mean he can't learn the position. But, he is a Gold Glove caliber first baseman, so it would suck to move him.

I just don't know what the best thing to do is, and the problem is that, unlike with the Red Sox and Theo Epstein, I don't trust Ned Colletti's baseball knowledge enough to know that he'll make the right move.

If the Dodgers are in the market for Santana, he would certainly be a nice addition. I could part with Ethier and Billingsley for that, and I suppose I could be talked into getting rid of Kemp, too. Maybe not, though.

The rumors will be flying for the next few months. This is the part I hate, because I just want things to be done already so we can play some baseball.
-----

AUTHOR: Jack Cobra
DATE: 12/06/2007 07:44:14 PM

Well, it sounds like the Dodgers won't be trading for Rolen since he doesn't get along with one of your coaches, Larry Bowa, from his days in Philly.
-----

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

An Open Letter

Dear Readers,

I've asked before, but I'm asking again. Please, please help me come up with a new name for my blog. It is no longer only about the Dodgers, so I'm not sure "Blue Thoughts" makes much sense anymore.

Since I'm covering the Red Sox and the Dodgers, it could be a title that incorporates those two. Or, it could be something about me, something about Los Angeles, something about me being a female sports fan, et cetera.

I appreciate any and all help you could give me. Leave your thoughts in the comments section.


Love,

Erin



COMMENTS:

AUTHOR: Rickhouse
DATE: 12/05/2007 05:53:29 PM

Go with an obscure Bill Simmons reference that absolutely no one understands.
-----

AUTHOR: Jack Cobra
DATE: 12/05/2007 06:22:21 PM

Cobra Brigade was my first suggestion but that one is taken....how about Oil Can Koufax after the greatest pitcher for each franchise?
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AUTHOR: The GM
DATE: 12/05/2007 08:42:37 PM

Why not just go with "Blue Sox"....it rhymes with the old name and incorporates both of your teams!
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AUTHOR: Bruce Paine
DATE: 12/05/2007 09:57:39 PM

Burnt Plastic
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AUTHOR: Erin
DATE: 12/05/2007 10:33:18 PM

Rickhouse, I wish I knew even common Bill Simmons' references, but I'll look into it.

Jack, I like it, except that neither of those two players really means much to me personally. Maybe that doesn't matter, though. I do like the sound of it. But is Oil Can Boyd really the greatest Red Sox pitcher ever?

GM, Blue Sox was my first choice, but there is actually a team in some Massachusetts league who has that name. I don't know if I can use it, as much as I would like to.

Bruce, I have no idea what that is supposed to mean, but I do like the sound of it.

In general, I like the combination kind of thing that Jack suggested. I'm doing my best to think of some of those on my own, but if you can think of any more, I would appreciate it. Thanks for the suggestions.
-----

AUTHOR: Jack Cobra
DATE: 12/06/2007 07:03:39 AM

No, Oil Can isn't the greatest Red Sox pitcher in history...but he has the coolest name.
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AUTHOR: Erin
DATE: 12/06/2007 11:37:41 AM

Yeah, that's what I assumed you meant by "greatest" because it is a very cool name.
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AUTHOR: Sam DC
DATE: 12/06/2007 11:49:22 AM

Purple Thoughts?
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AUTHOR: The Sports Hernia
DATE: 12/06/2007 03:46:16 PM

How about the Francona Bald Caps?

If not, find a way to use it, the term "bald cap" is highly underrated.
-----

AUTHOR: Boney
DATE: 12/06/2007 04:24:52 PM

Mind of Blue Toughts?
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AUTHOR: Jesse
DATE: 12/09/2007 02:27:28 AM

If you can't think of a good name for your own blog, shouldn't you just end the whole idea?

For christ's sake, it basically means you have the creativity of every other dead rat on this crappy blog network.
-----

AUTHOR: Erin
DATE: 12/09/2007 12:04:38 PM

It's always nice to hear from the fans. Am I right, guys?

For the record, I always have the hardest time with the title, in whatever I write. I'm pretty sure that my creativity lies not in the naming of things, but in the actual creation of the things that need names. And so I asked for help.

Keep reading, Jesse. We appreciate the support.
-----

The Writer's Strike

In other news, there's a little thing called a "strike" going on here in Los Angeles, and I feel like it's about time I address it. I am not a member of a union, though my girlfriend is, but I support the writers 100% in their efforts. Confused about why they're striking? Convinced the writers are just greedy bastards who want to be richer than they already are? You've come to the right place.

I'll make this simple. I'll start with my opinion that a writer should be getting the majority of money and royalties that come as a result of their product being sold for public consumption. The writer creates a character and story out of thin air. Without the writer, there would be nothing for the producer to produce or the director to direct. It therefore makes sense (to me, anyway) that a writer should be making money as long as his/her product is making money in one way or another.

Now, as we all know, this country has been reliant on the internet for several years now. In recent years, the television and film industry has begun to use the internet in an effort to promote and expand its shows. You may know that you can go on the websites of all the major broadcast networks and watch most of their shows, free, the day after they air on broadcast television. The most you have to put up with is one 30-second commercial at every scheduled commercial break. That's less than you have to deal with when you watch it on your television. And, once again, this is completely free.

But someone is making money off the advertising in those 30-second commercials, right? Yes, in fact, they are. And those people are the studios and networks, but not the writers.

Sometimes, the studios request "webisodes," or episodes created specifically for the internet. This happened last year with a favorite show of mine, Battlestar Galactica. According to the creator of that show, the studio wanted the writers, actors, directors, producers, everyone, to do these episodes for free. No pay at all. It was promotional, the studio claimed, and they would therefore have to just suck it up and do it. Nevermind that the studio would be making money by selling advertisement that would air during these webisodes (or around them, in banner ads, or whatever). No, it was the writers' obligation to create something and get nothing in return.

Yes, some writers make a lot of money. Just like some actors make a lot of money. But not all actors are Tom Cruise. And there are thousands of writers out there who rely on royalties for shows to be able to live somewhat comfortably in Los Angeles. Right now, a writer makes $0.04 for every $10 of DVD sales of a television show or movie. They wanted to increase that to $0.08, but took it off the table when it became clear that the producers weren't going to budge. The writers kept their demands centered on the Internet, and the producers (the AMPTP, or Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, specifically) claimed that they would need a three-year period to investigate this "new media", to see how it would work for their profits. They neglected to mention that they've been making money off of it for years now. And who still needs to "investigate" the Internet, for god's sake?

The real problem here is that, for the writers to get more, the producers would have to take less. Only 100 cents in a dollar, and those are all currently taken by someone. The producers think they deserve more of the profit, and so they are not willing to "shortchange" themselves.

I was motivated to write about this because of something written in a recap of a television show over at Television Without Pity. I'm just going to quote Jacob, the author, because what he wrote is exactly what I feel, and better than anything I've written above. So, here you go:

"When we talk about the strike, we're talking about shows like this [Gossip Girl], or Battlestar Galactica, or The Office, shows that grow and flourish precisely because the networks and their systems of measure are slowly adjusting to the realities of technology. The amount of money generated from timeshifted and online viewing is ridonkulous, but because the internet is so 'new' and 'magical' -- and let's be fair, also because the RIAA fucked themselves so bad back when the internet changed everything about the music industry -- the AMTPT gets to have it both ways. They get all the money from all those diverse ways we have of watching this show, so they keep it on the air -- but at the same time, throw up their hands and say they're taking a bath on it, while giving no money to the writers that created these stories we love so much. This show [Gossip Girl] lives on the internet and outside the Nielsen standard, but because the AMTPT chooses to dismiss the new models as witchcraft in their rhetoric, they get all our business without handing anything over to the people who made these wonderful characters live and breathe. Make no mistake: if they weren't making cash hand over fist on this show, we wouldn't be watching it right now, and you and I would have nothing to talk about. Come the fuck on."

Yep, that about sums it up.


COMMENTS:

AUTHOR: Jack Cobra
DATE: 12/05/2007 01:43:38 PM

Don't writers help write advertising commercials, too? If they stop writing, shouldn't commercials stop too? If commercials stop, shouldn't the money from commercials stop, too? Give the writers their money.....the viewers are getting screwed, too..
-----

AUTHOR: Erin
DATE: 12/05/2007 03:53:23 PM

Writing for commercials is a different entity, as far as I can tell. My girlfriend is still working on commercials, in fact. I think the fact that there is an advertising agency involved might make the difference (as in, the advertisers can claim they wrote the commercials). Commercials aren't generally union for everyone (actors are SAG, but crew members don't always work under their union umbrella), either, so it's all a little different in that world.
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AUTHOR: Jack Cobra
DATE: 12/05/2007 06:25:26 PM

I knew there was a loophole there somewhere. The writers need to stop helping out on the commercials/advertisments then too.
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AUTHOR: Bruce Paine
DATE: 12/05/2007 10:22:37 PM

Organized labor is right in my wheel house. I think the writers should stick to it. I think they should keep going and worse yet, I think they should turn to the tactics of the labor movement in the 50's and 60's. Get into punch ups with the producers. A writer can make a living from his desk, but these money hungry producers are absolute nancies who care as much about their looks as they do making movies. If you grab one of these bastards and headbutt his nose, message sent. If they bring the cops, well, its america, get gunned up yourself. I remember my labor days fondly...

Sicily, 1942

I was hired as a mercenary by the local railroad workers union to aid them in settling a dispute with rail road owners. After the owners brought in scabs from Kentucky (black scabs no less so that they could enhance racial fervor in the community and distract from the labor movement), Bruce decided a message had to be sent. On Wednesday, the 6:40 coal hauler from Miram to Indianapolis was going to be hauling an extra load to make up for the shortage of shipments from the strike. I decided to sneak out to a remote part of the tracks in the wee hours and dynamite a run in three places so that the shipment wouldn't get through. No one would get hurt, and it was a straight shot so the train would see it long before it got there. About 2 a.m. I had set all of my sticks and run all of the fuses but had to go back to the truck to get the blasting caps. When I was walking back I heard voices. As I got closer, I saw two men with long guns kneeling next to my first run of sticks. On the cloudy night I could barely make them out. I was going to ugly prison if they caught me, so I ran back to the pick up. As I sped away i felt relieved that the cops hadn't caught me or got my blasting caps because I had more dynamite but I only had the one box of caps. I couldn't sleep for two nights I was so jacked up from the experience so when i did sleep the next morning i went to Mary's diner in Solsberry to get breakfast which wasn't very far away. I picked up a newspaper and waited on my omelet. The front page story showed several railroad officials standing with police near the tracks. The story was, "Rail workers send strong message, owners get the picture." Two days later the strike was over and everybody was back to work. Hell, I hadn't even set the caps, there was no danger. I hadn't intended to send a message, I was just going to blow the tracks and leave. As it turns out, the two men were just bums with walking sticks that found the dynamite and walked into town to call the cops. The rail owners thought we were threatening them, and faced with it, went back to the table. if you guys get in a punch up give me a call, I will load the pick up with bats and rifles and come out to help. I love hitting cops. Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite
-----

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Genius

Check out this MySpace page. The song I want you to listen to should start playing automatically, but if it doesn't, please click on "Don't Trade Jacoby" in the song list.

Thanks to Ladies... for pointing me to this bit of musical fun.


Monday, December 03, 2007

Gym Faux Pas

A story for you.

My girlfriend and I recently joined a gym. This gym is very convenient because it is only an eight-minute walk from our house. We have been members for about a month now, though my girlfriend hasn't been able to go as often as I have, due to being out of the country for work, among other things. On Thursday, though, she finally started going with me regularly.

Now, I cannot do something like working out without having a plan and a goal and all of that. So, I prepared a seven-week regimen for me, and then modified it for my girlfriend when she started coming with me. It's been fun to work out together. That is, it was fun, until Saturday.

On Saturday, my girlfriend was scheduled for a lower body strength training session. Let me say this: I am not a personal trainer. I have never taken any courses, and I never want to do anything like train other people professionally. That said, I do know more about all of this than the girlfriend, so it has been fun to help her out while she does her various workouts. This particular Saturday, I was only supposed to do cardio, so I was free to help her with her lower body. This does not mean I was "spotting" her or anything. All it means is that I had been the one to organize the plan, so it was up to me to keep her on track and let her know what the next exercise was. Seems innocuous enough, right?

Well, a man who works at the gym (presumably as a trainer, but also behind the desk), we'll call him Biff, came up and asked if I was training the girlfriend. I said no, that she was my girlfriend and I was just helping her out. He said he was just checking, because there is no outside training allowed in the gym. Fine with me, I said. I'm not getting paid for this. We're just working out together. Biff seemed okay with that, and walked away.

Sunday, we went on a hike instead of working out in the gym. This morning, I went and did some cardio on the treadmill, and tonight the plan was for us both to do an upper body strength training session (one of the few times our schedules match up for the next few weeks). 3:38 into this workout (I know because I looked at my watch), Biff came up to us again, and we had to stop. He said that he had spoken to the owner of the gym, and that we would no longer be allowed to work out the way we were. Other patrons of the gym had started "asking questions," he said, wondering if I worked there just because I happened to be writing things in a notebook (the journal I use to keep track of what we've done and what we will do).

I told Biff that we live together and all that, and that we both pay for our memberships and were merely working out together. He said that didn't matter, because the gym is liable for both of us, and they would be in trouble legally if something were to happen. Outside training is simply not allowed, and they were putting their collective feet down. He added that no other gym would allow us to do what we were doing.

I didn't really know what to do, but I was obviously pissed, a) that he was interrupting my workout with this shit, and b) that they had the nerve to essentially tell me who I could use for a workout partner. I asked if I had a kid, and I was helping that kid work out, would it be the same thing? He claimed that it's a fine line, because he had the same problem when he was training his mother (I neglected to refute this by telling him that I am not, in fact, training my girlfriend; we are merely working out together). I told Biff that this made me really not want to be a member at this gym anymore, and he said he understood. Then he walked away to let us continue the most uncomfortable workout in the history of that gym.

My girlfriend was afraid to let me even speak to her the rest of the time, because Biff was walking around doing his own workout quite near us. I had to do an exercise, and then she would repeat it, but she was nervous every time I told her how much weight she should use or whatever. The thing is, she knows that my mind likes the organization, so she lets me take care of the details, and she focuses on the workout. Now she wonders if this is just about the fact that I'm writing down her workout, or if we're even allowed to talk to one another when we exercise.

I'm obviously writing about this because I need to vent, but I also want to know what you guys think. Am I crazy for thinking that the gym is being ridiculously picky? Shouldn't they take into account that I am not a trainer, and I am not getting paid for my services? If they're making the legal claim, aren't they legally liable for both of us anyway, since we both pay a membership fee, regardless of whether we work out together or separately? Do you think we would be getting the same treatment if we were, say, a husband and wife (I'm not jumping to homophobia, but I can't help but wonder if we would get the same attention if I was some burly dude helping out my stick figure girlfriend)?

I'm calling the owner tomorrow to talk to him (this is not a national chain or anything, just a local gym) and see what the deal is. If we're not allowed to work together in roughly the same manner in the future, then I'll be canceling both memberships and asking for a refund for the month (the December charge just came on Monday morning, so I don't see why I should have to pay for the whole month). Please let me know what you think of the whole situation, and if you've ever experienced anything like this.



COMMENTS:

AUTHOR: kingman
DATE: 12/04/2007 08:41:33 AM

That sounds ridiculous. Here in New York and New Jersey, people work out and train together all the time. On machines and free weights, it doesn't matter. How does a gym define "Outside training"? And how does that make them liable? If you read a book on bench pressing, go to the gym and drop a weight on your foot, is the gym liable because you consulted some "outside training"? If so, I'm heading your gym for a tasty lawsuit.

But I don't know if state laws are different where you are. There have been alot of odd gym regulations in the news lately. Some gyms even have anti-grunting policies, meaning if you make too many moans an groans during training, you can have your membership revoked. Freedom of Speech apparently doesn't cover Freedom of Grunt. But no gym should be able to tell you what you can and can't say to your training partner.
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AUTHOR: Jack Cobra
DATE: 12/04/2007 01:38:16 PM

Wow, this is horrendous. I've been a member of a different gyms for....about 13 years now and this is about the worst thing I've heard.

I'd listen very carefully to what the gym owner says because you very well may have a legal claim on your hands.

At the gym I'm at now there are a lot of women who workout together, go through the same exercises and write them down. They've never had a problem like this.

So, if two dudes were doing free weights bench press and were writing down what they were lifting and talking about it they would be in trouble too? I think not. This is bad, bad stuff. Keep us updated, please.
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AUTHOR: Bruce Paine
DATE: 12/05/2007 10:30:55 PM

For once, I do not advise the use of firearms as a measure of resolution, but I do think you should leave the gym. When a person is exercising they should be left the hell alone, period. I would seek legal options as well. Perhaps record the conversation and write up a list of questions ahead of time. What sort of dog an pony show is this anyway? you can't talk to people about working out when you are working out. I mean, i am scared to talk to chicks and all, but if I was working out and i saw somebody that needed help or advice I would feel bad if I didnt offer it.
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