Saturday, October 29, 2011

Love, Baseball, Heartbreak, Suicide, Music, 1986

Love, Baseball, Heartbreak, Suicide, Music, 1986

"The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It's been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good, and it could be again. Ohhhhhhhh, people will come, Ray. People will most definitely come." Terrence Mann ( Field of Dreams)

Warning. This post is all about baseball memories, music memories and life memories. And proof you can't Google and/ Youtube everything.

Even though I am a huge Alan Parsons Project fan I have seldom blogged about their music. I am sitting on my bed watching Game 7 of this year's World Series and my thoughts returned to a Game 7, twenty five years ago and also to a record I bought that year. 

The 1986 Baseball season was memorable. Back then you only made the post season if you won your division and there were only two divisions per league. The four division races if I recall correctly were cakewalks. No drama at all. Should I stumble at all with my 25 year old memories I apologize in advance. This is a memory piece and not a factual one. I just have to be a in a zone to write this.
Once the National and American League Championship series started the baseball gods reciprocated for that lack of drama in the regular season. The Boston Red Sox were down to their last strike to the then California Angels and came back to win the series. Some notes about that Angels team. It had Reggie Jackson, who most will remember as a Yankee and an A. It was managed by Gene Mauch who was also the skipper of one of the legendary regular season collapses in baseball history. 1964, even I was not alive my dad was and was going to school in Philadelphia during the time of that choke. Donnie Moore was the closer for the Angels.

Donnie Moore was to the 86 Angels what Mitch Wild Thing Williams was to the 1993 Phillies. Donnie Moore though committed suicide. That's why every time I hear Mitch talk to Dan Patrick on the radio I am so glad he moved on with his life and entertains and informs us baseball fans still. He put his World Series moment into perspective saying that's baseball and it is. Pitched balls do get hit sometimes. Although Mitch's life took a different path than Donnie, the forever classy Philadelphia fans hoped it took that same path issuing numerous death threats.

My dad told me that Gene Mauch story three decades ago. Sports used to be our bonding. Even before we moved moved to North America he had a subscription to Sports Illustrated in the 70s. Which got me curious about football and baseball. There was a stretch before we would always watch the Orange Bowl New Years night. Now he only watches basketball. NBA and Ateneo. Other than that he has a Huang track mind. Cue the song.
Earlier that year I bought the Alan Parsons Project record Stereotomy. At the time I had all the records they put out and that was the ninth. It had all the usual ear candy and excellent melodies I have come to expect from the Alan Parson Project. I remember holding in my arms a ten month old Joseph who was crying then he shut up when he heard the sound effects of a car starting up and driving away. Babies can be so hilarious.
I don't really like looking for dirt but I make exception for two topics. William Shatner and the 1986 New York Mets. A book that was good for that was authored by George Takei. As for the Mets The Bad Guys Won by gives you all the dirt you would want and then some. It's behind the scenes look at a wildly successful season. Yes the Mets won but they were never close again. the 1986 Mets remind me of Led Zeppelin  at their peak. They both reached the highest high but then look at what happened to the individuals since: Dykstra, Strawberry ,Carter, Backman, Gooden, Ojeda. All of them struck by extreme tragedy self inflicted or otherwise.

A lot of people love the rankings thing. But it's all subjective and since it is, it should be about memories and not competition. It should be about love and not about comparing. The 1986 World Series definitely had memories: The Skydiver, The Curse, Bill Buckner, DARYLLLLL from the Fenway Faithful, the inept Sox Bullpen. It was personally memorable for me because I had my wisdom teeth taken out at that time and was tortured watching baseball because of one thing. Wendy's released a new sandwich called the Big Classic and decided to let Canada know about it every single commercial break during the World Series. My diet consisted of mashed potatoes, pudding and chicken soup at the time.

When I began this entry it was still about the 4th inning or so of Game 7 but I was already getting deja vu of 1986 and the Mets /Red Sox. I was for the Rangers but congrats to the better 2011 story which was the Cards. Written off in mid September but they battled back.

I am sure when every sports season ends, there is a montage wrap up song of how the respective final went. Some of them more memorable than others. When the 1986 World Series ended NBC chose a song off of Stereotomy. Alan Parson Project is the official artist name but those of us Projectiles ( my own invented nickname for Alan Parsons Project nuts) know the beauty of an Alan Parsons Project album is that anybody can be singing or playing in it as long as it is appropriate. Singers on APP albums that you will recognize are Christopher Cross, Alan Clarke (Hollies) , Arthur Brown (Crazy World of Arthur Brown), David Pack (Ambrosia) and Colin Blunstone (The Zombies).
Limelight was the song NBC chose from Stereotomy with Gary Brooker (Procul Harum famous for Conquistador) on vocals. Hard to believe that in 1986 I was barely 3 years into hard core Alan Parsons mania. I was already familiar with the song. I had no idea how iconic the World Series I just saw was going to be. No idea. But I got even a better appreciation for Limelight because those images of the 86 Series still played in my head with the song. I only saw the video once. Never video taped it with our Betamax. It is not available on Youtube and others only mention it on Google. This is my plea for anyone who happens to have it (1986 World Series montage of Limelight) to upload it somewhere or send it to me. 

Key lyrics of the video (with significance in parenthesis) include:

  • "Maybe this day could be the one "( The Red Sox at that point had not won the Series since 1919 and would not win it till 2004)
  • "Calling my name Shouting out loud" ( Daryll Strawberry being pestered by the Fenway fans)
  • "Limelight don't let it slip right through your fingers There's a long way to fall" (Google Bill Buckner 1986 World Series read about the toll on his personal life)
  • "I can hear the beat of a different drum" (There was only one 1986 Mets. Read the Bad Guys Won  and you will think twice, thrice about worshipping any athlete)

It started this morning watching baseball. A baseball game played October 29, 2011 (in my time zone) brought out 25 year old memories in me. And as Terrence Mann has said so eloquently it has marked the time. It just so happens I was in a text conversation this morning with a good friend of mine. She was talking about the idea of blogging for money. Instinctively I responded that I blogged for love. What I mean by that is that my blog is the way it is because I truly believe the one thing I can be better than anybody else is me. Like I said in the title page of my home page  I truly get what John Labatt once said "An honest brew makes it's own friends". Don't be contrived and be yourself. If that means most don't understand you don't let that get in the way of what you believe and what you feel and what you want to say. You stick to the constants of your life as Terrence Mann says, you write what you feel and in some cases you are writing with tears in your eyes, people will come. Once in a while you will get a private message telling you that they themselves felt what you felt and did not know anyone else felt that way. 

I have been saying in my Twitter ever since the baseball postseason started that myopic people who only care about a bouncing orange ball sport missed out on classic baseball drama. And they deserve to. Their ignorance is their own prison cell. Arrogant attitude maybe. But damn I love baseball. Ken Burns did not do an 11 part documentary on basketball. He did it on baseball. A. Bartlett Giamatti was not the commissioner of basketball, he was the commissioner of baseball. Chick Hern is a legend but Vin Scully is a unique legend.

Part of the Terrence speech was about recapturing memories and baseball just happened to be the medium. Watching the World Series today I was recapturing a time in my life. Things I felt. Many that were not in Google or Youtube. But they existed just the same. Once in a while, remind yourself of that.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Noynoy Insults Your Stupidity Again

Noynoy Insults Your Stupidity Again.

Maybe you best read the article below first before reading my take on it. I have said many  times before Noynoy Aquino is a naive and sheltered individual who has not accomplished  anything in his life. Considering my many takes on Filipino culture, it is poetic justice he  holds the highest elected office in the land.

After reading his speech Noynoy feels companies in Asia are spared the Occupy movement  because they possess a certain halo that their western counterparts do not. I find it really  hard to believe that our nation has world class corrupt politicians but saints in the private  sector. It's a gigantic leap of faith to make but then again so was 2010 Presidential Election.

He really makes it sound like Asian companies have a leg up on the rest of the world. He  talks about accountability. Yet his paradigm does not account for western companies that  operate in Asia and Asian companies that operate in the west.

Corporate Social Responsibility is not an Asian exclusive. It's a catch phrase maybe but I  would like to see what organization is handing out these CSR awards to Asian companies  and ignoring the rest as Noynoy is implying.

I find it interesting in the article where Noynoy is of the belief he can "motivate local  companies to excel". Nowhere in his resume does he have a track record of either  motivating or excelling... in anything. Yet he believes he can direct entire companies that  way. Yeah right.

Not so fast sir. They should not canonize the entire Philippines just yet. First of all the Occupy movement seems very contrived and very choreographed. Just because the machinery so far has mobilized North America and Europe does not mean Asia is any different. Noynoy as usual taking credit for something that has nothing to do with him.

Like the picture I got from Anthony Robbins says, the Wall Street Occupiers are not exactly donning burlap sacks. They may be protesting one thing but doing another. I have a very simple look at all these protests. No community will ever benefit if their private sector goes in the toilet. None. Do individual companies abuse and break rules? Yes but so do individuals in any society. Discourage and punish the violators but the private sector as a whole must do well in their respective communities or else those communities will rely on handouts. All of you anti business and pro government types: where does government revenue come from? Allow me to quote a true Maverick. Mark Cuban said the most patriotic thing you can do is get extremely wealthy then pay lots of taxes. I rest my case. Now someone tell the Occupy movement. 

In a country where journalists and priests  get squashed like bugs and rebels ambush soldiers and towns Noynoy should not be declaring any kind of moral superiority. Nobody has yet to answer this question but here goes. Noynoy has been a public servant for about two decades. Yet his mantra is kung walang corrupt walang mahirap. What did he do about corruption before he was voted in as President? Fight corruption? Add to the corruption? Too detached to see the corruption? Or did the corruption just not exist? There really is little room for another answer.

Believe me if he fought corruption you would have heard it about non stop during the campaign. The guy is a lazy , incompetent, self entitled   moron living off  his family name. Which really does not make him unusual among people with "old" money. That's what you voted in Philippines. People died for your democracy and you choose to elect him and Erap and FPJ. To paraphrase Bill Parcells you are what your elected officials are. And Noynoy thinks we are superior to first world countries? If you buy his Holier Than Thou spiel, God help you.

The more I analyze Noynoy, the one place that needs occupying is his brain.


Links to opinions on Occupy Movement (audio) bad-guys%e2%80%99

By: Christine O. Avendaño
Philippine Daily Inquirer
3:01 am | Friday, October 21st, 2011  1share47 46President Benigno Aquino III said  Wednesday night the country and its Asian neighbors had been spared from the global  turmoil sparked by the Wall Street protest assailing corporate greed and corruption  because firms in this part of the world had been actively helping improve the lives of people.
Speaking at the 10th Asian Forum on Corporate Social Responsibility held at the Edsa  Shangri-La hotel in Mandaluyong City, President Aquino said the  “Occupy Wall Street”  movement which had initially expanded in the United States and now had struck European  countries had seen people “protesting against companies that engage in what they deem to  be the usurpation of regulation and, in some cases, democracy itself.”
Difficult times
The President added, “We see that these groups of people from different nations all share  the same rallying cry: there must be accountability; there must be inclusive growth.”
The Chief Executive said it was difficult at this time “to be the head of a corporation, given  that corporations seem to be portrayed as the bad guys in this latest global economic and  social crisis.”
But he said it was not so in the country and among its Asian neighbors.
“When one looks at our part of the world, however, this is not the case. While of course there  will always be exceptions, here in our region, corporations—especially the ones more active  in their humanitarian endeavors—are generally seen in a positive light.
“The people recognize the value that business can bring to a nation; they see the  opportunities and the possibilities, and realize that corporations and individuals can  empower each other and partner toward the achievement of a just society,” President  Aquino said.
CSR activities
The President said he believed that the good regard for companies in the Asian region was  “partly because many Philippine and Asian corporations have been actively engaged in  Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities.”
“Many, if not all of you present here today have made the conscious decision to play a  greater role in the communities in which you do business. Realizing that you do not live and  work in a vacuum, you have done your best to help ensure that the people living in the  societies in which you operate are given the chance to live a more dignified life,” he said.
President Aquino urged business leaders to “exert even greater efforts to show the true face  of Corporate Social Responsibility” by acting promptly on the concerns of the people.
Giving back
“We must foster the attitude of giving back, and of always remembering that the growth of  companies—that the growth of economies—rely, in essence, on the empowerment of the  people. No one must be left behind,” he said.
President Aquino assured the business leaders that they could rely on his administration as  a partner in their effort, reminding them that they were working with “a government that is  concerned, foremost, with the people,” and one that was spending a third of its national  budget on social services.
The President noted that a lot of Philippine companies  were recognized for their efforts in  corporate social responsibility activities.
“In the first time that I had an occasion to talk before you, not a single Filipino company  managed to be awarded,” he said, drawing laughter from the audience.
He said he would “try to motivate” more local companies “to excel” so they could be  recognized for their efforts.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Obama, Hitler, Glee, Technology, Media Bias and Football

Anybody who follows football or politics will have heard by now Hank Williams got into hot water for something he said on a TV show. The problem is 99.9 % of people believe he compared Obama to Hitler. You can Google the story and I included the video here. You can hear his words.You can read his words.  Unfortunately it is true that perception is reality. ESPN/ABC/ Disney is there to market their shows to advertisers. Unfortunately for them perception is reality.

Why does perception become reality? Because we are subjective human beings. My boss always reminds me that my subjectivity gets in the way of my evaluations. If you think I will blog about that, you got another thing coming. It would help our discussion if you revisited the actual definitions of the two words connotation and denotation. My simplified way of defining then is denotation is the "precise" definition of a word while connotation is what is "associated" with the word.

All of you at some point have played the game "telephone" where something is said on one end and it comes out different by the time the fifth person hears it. In the old days that is all we had to contend with. Strangely enough the more technology we have and the more immediate access we have to credible sources and more varied sources the easier perception can be clouded because of that very advanced media. Case in point many of my Filipino Facebook friends circulated an Oprah quote recently lauding the Filipino entrant in Miss Universe in   NBC News when no clip or article exists. Filipinos circulated a David Letterman Top Ten List about a Pinoy in the While House and no such Letterman clip exist. Despite more and more technology that can give us better perspective and validation there are many who spread something because they wish it to be true that they don't bother checking if it is true.

Emotion clouds what little reason we have. Technology should help our reason, it instead exposes our lack of it. Headlines are not factual but subjective interpretations. In this world where we can be inundated with sound bites and headlines we are setting ourselves up for enormous misinformation by depending on other people's headlines and filling in the blanks because of subjective headlines. Like my aunt who believes that Steve Perry the singer of Journey is dead. She has been saying it for at least two years. It never occurred to her to Google how he died and in the process she can find out he hadn't died.

Let's get to Hank Williams Jr. Who many now believe:
1) He compared Obama to Hitler
2) He is a racist.

I have provided the clip twice below. Just in case Youtube is not available in some locales. At around 1:50 he blatantly declares Obama and Biden (who may I remind you all is white) as the enemy. But in a political context. The media will gladly vilify George W.Bush and people who share that opinion yet when shoe is on the other foot that becomes the bad foot. Williams then proceeds to compare top Republicans playing a round of golf with top Democrats to someone who ordered genocide to Jews playing a round of golf with the current Israeli leader. What Williams was talking about was the gulf, the divide, the chasm. Williams sees the Republicans and the Democrats as polar opposites. Is Williams partisan? Yes. Is he exaggerating ? Yes. But he is not alone. Nowhere in the transcript or the video does he compare Obama to Hitler. Yet that is the perception that cost him his spot longest running prime time show on American TV Monday Night Football.

Those of you who know me know I hate Glee. Among my many observations of the show that I "tweeted":

Ace Hardware Greenbelt, I bought two appliances from you today. How do you repay me? Making me listen to 3 GLEE songs. #Thehorror
Aug 24, '11 8:52 PM
Charlie Sheen is to sobriety as Glee is to originality. Mar 10, '11 9:22 PM
In the old days when people took good music and turned it into crap it was called Muzak. Nowadays that process is the Glee TV show. Jan 21, '11 6:47 AM
The Kids From Glee make me wish a plague came and eradicated every radio station. Jan 20, '11 6:54 AM
The difference between Glee and High School Musical: at least HSM butcher their own songs . Oct 29, '10 9:35 PM
I strongly suggest checking out the real Rocky Horror Picture Show music on Youtube before it's butchered (kiddified) by the cast of Glee. Oct 25, '10 10:03 PM

Now that you are familiar about my affinity for the show Glee. If somebody ever told you that "Ed watched the complete Season 1 of Glee three times in the space of one month". Again if somebody ever told you that and your response is " that would be like the Pope performing abortions". Are you comparing me to the Pope? Of course not. You are merely commenting on the implausibility of me watching Glee multiple times being similar to the implausibility of the Pope performing abortions or the Pope performing a gay marriage for that matter.

In the court of Ed,  Hank Williams Jr. did not compare to Obama to Hitler.

Now that I got Hank off the major charge the other charge should be easy. He is accused by many of being a racist. In that SAME video where he talks about Hitler on the links, at the 2:00 mark. Hank slightly favors among the Republican hopefuls, Herman Cain. Herman Cain who when I last looked, was black. I rest my case your honor.
Perception is reality. Sometimes your perception of reality is clouded by somebody else's clouded perception of reality. In some cases it might be mine. I read a piece not too long ago about someone who felt they really had a handle on Sarah Palin then suddenly realized how much that had to do with media bias. I wanted to do a blog about it and I still might but in the meantime read the piece. It made me think. It might make you think too. If that's OK with you.

Now that I made my case that Hank 's reality is not as bad as the perception he still loses his slot in Monday Night Football. I remember the first night he did it. That was before many of my cyberspace mates were born (September 1989) . You can see it here.  All that down the drain because most people can not understand what he said. He did not compare the people, he compared the gulf between ideologies. To paraphrase Hank's famous gig "Are You Ready For Some Bias?"

Ed (transcript) (MNF Hank intro)
Note on the videos. 2 copies each of:
1) Hank Williams Jr. on Fox and Friends and exactly what he said and how he said.
2) Hank Kingsley as Adolph Hankler on the Larry Sanders Show.
And a copy of Hank Williams performing one of the many Monday Night Football matchups he musically introduced.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Monty Python Gets Inspired by Enrile's Stand On Masturbation

In case you are not a Filipino resident, a local political stalwart made headlines yesterday equating the function of self pleasure with killing. The British comedy group Monty Python were so "moved" by Senator Juan Ponce Enrile's stand that they put together this song and dance number I have included below. In similar news, the Beach Boys and Billy Idol were also so moved that from now on, their cds will be devoid of "In My Room" and "Dancing With Myself" respectively.


If you can't see the video please go here.
Senator condemns self-pleasuring, draws flak
Posted at 10/04/2011 6:33 PM | Updated as of 10/04/2011 6:35 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Senator Juan Ponce Enrile drew flak from netizens across the country after he condemned the act of self-pleasuring as a form of interfering with the natural process of human fertilization.
During the recent Senate plenary debate on the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) bill, Enrile said masturbation is no different from using a condom which, Catholic bishops said, imperils the morality of the youth.
"If the man wants to satisfy himself by manipulating himself alone, if it is only for pleasure, that is the same thing as using a condom," he said, drawing laughter in the gallery.
Senator Pia Cayetano asked, "Does his Honor equate now the ejaculation of a man outside of his partner's vagina to interfering with the production of life?"
"Yes. That is my belief. That is a matter of faith to me," Enrile answered.
Enrile believes that life begins as early as when the sperm and the egg is produced, and self-pleasuring, just like using a condom, defeats the purpose of procreation.
"Well as far as I am concerned, procreation starts from the act of the man and the woman to perform their assigned participation in the process of God," he said.
"Once there is a union and at a certain point there was a union -- that is the point of fertilization...In that case, if we interfere, we are not allowing the natural process."
Netizens speak
Copies of the transcript of the Senate plenary debate, which was released by Cayetano's office, were posted in blogs, websites and online forums.
Several Filipinos across the country were annoyed by Enrile's remark, causing them to turn to social networking sites to air their sentiments.
Below are some of the netizens' comments on Twitter:
"Woke up this morning and is trying his best not to crack a joke about Sen. Ponce Enrile," said Carlos Celdran.
"Is masturbation really a sin? I don't think so Sen. Enrile is a hypocrite. He must have been masturbating when he was younger," Emil Ian Joshua Akol said.
"Enrile belongs in a retirement home, not in the Senate," said user darthlaurian.
"Senator Enrile & minions, you can't impose abstinence as the only acceptable FP (family planning) method. Consult your priests 1st if they themselves can do it," said Clinton Balud.
"Most of the people I know, if not all, are now abortionists. Thanks to Sen. Enrile, we were enlightened," said Neil Ivan Torrefiel.