The Weekly Tendown September 25-October 1 2011

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Dear Internet:

That's Lindsay Lohan making out with her mom.

Lindsay Lohan's low hanging fruit; my approach to her is similar to how I treat Bryan Fischer and the rest of the right wing noise machine junior varsity, there just aren't enough hours in the day to monitor their games.

But sometimes there's a crazy number that flashes on the scoreboard and you can't help but check it out.

For example, this week, Bryan Fischer said the following:

I will not disabuse you - if you think there is a parallel between Islamic fundamentalism and the homosexual agenda, if they have the same tyrannical impulse - the same impulse of hatred, the same impulse of vitriol, the same impulse of the spirit of anti-Christ, anti-Christian spirit, a vitriolic hatred of all things that are connection to the name of Christ, I'm not going to disabuse you of that notion. I think it's the same dark energy. Islam wants to completely silence and neutralize Christians everywhere in the world. That's exactly what the homosexual agenda wants to do. 

That's good crazy right there. Just makin' out with your mom on her birthday crazy.

Unfortunately, Fischer has a platform and an audience and no one's calling Lindsay to do a sequel to Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, so the parallel only goes as far as it does.

The other reason for the Lohan picture is it brings to mind her getting a tattoo of Billy Joel lyrics on her ribcage:

Now, the clear next step would be for Lohan, in the manner of Rob McElhenney from It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, to put on about fifty pounds for her art.  As that would allow her to to add the lyrics from We Didn't Start the Fire.

Lebanon, Charles de Gaulle, California Baseball, Starkweather homicide, Children of Thalidomide

Best tramp stamp ever.

Here's Tendown 96.

1. Jail or Church?
If you caught this story this week, you'd have to know it would make an appearance in Tendown.

Non-violent offenders in Bay Minette now have a choice some would call simple: do time behind bars or work off the sentence in church.

Operation Restore Our Community or "ROC"...begins next week. The city judge will either let misdemenor offenders work off their sentences in jail and pay a fine or go to church every Sunday for a year.

My favorite part is the end of the piece, in which the sheriff in the Alabama community impacted says that because offenders have the choice of jail or church, and then (bonus!) can choose from the many varieties of church that North Baldwin County, Alabama can offer them, that there really isn't an Establishment Clause issue.

It isn't the government saying "pray to Jesus" - it's the government saying "pray to Jesus or go to jail."  Just as Jefferson intended.

They don't want small government.  They're authoritarians.  Don't believe them when they say they want small government.

2. Crony Capitalism

When war became profitable for corporate interests, we saw more war.  In a nutshell, that's what Eisenhower meant by military-industrial complex.

When jail becomes profitable for corporate interests, we put more people in jail.

Since 2002, the US corporate prison population is up 37%.
Since 2002, the money spent by corporate prisons to lobby legislators is up 165%.

While Bill O'Reilly talks about imaginary 16 dollar muffins, Americans are going to jail to line shareholder pockets.

And if you have a family member in jail in Arizona - they charge you for a visit.

3. How I Spent My Summer Vacation
I was off this week; I worked every day, but didn't need to go in.  Tomorrow I go back.

This should be my most challenging quarter ever; I have seven classes in the classroom, my most ever, and one online.  That's not ideal, as I've dropped from 3 last year to 2 all of this year to now one; and while my classroom time is salaried (making it not a mystery why the number of classes I'm required to teach rises) my online work is adjunct (meaning I'm now taking home a grand less a month than was I a year ago, which is why the cupboards will be bare this winter).  I'm in additional adjunct pools (schools like to accumulate instructors, stick them behind glass to break when needed - its challenging) and registered with two tutoring services, so hopefully some additional work will come in.  I'm a little anxious.

I made a bundle of posts this week.

September's Athlete of the Month is here.
My 2011 MLB Awards Ballots are here.
My ranking of the 5 best players at each position in MLB for 2011 is here.
My historical overview of the 2011 San Francisco Giants is here.
My predictions for the MLB playoffs are here.
My Week 4 NFL picks are here.  Coming into the week I was a dozen games over .500 against the spread.
And my college football picks for week 5 were here.  I had my third straight week over .500 against the spread.

I told you it was a bundle of posts.  Starting this week, the revision of the 200 greatest baseball players of all time.  I also saw a four star wrestling match - there was a combined KDojo/Mich Pro show in September, Mashimo v. Ishikawa was four stars.

And my Ladygal and I went to the local botanical gardens.

I'm not all lefty politics and real Housewives, people.  Sometimes I look at foliage.

4. Brake World = Home of the 360 Minute Oil Change
My Ladygal took advantage of my being home this week to get some automotive work done (we are a one car household).

She went here for an oil change.  We also needed a tire repaired, which they said they could not do (it wound up being a twenty dollar repair elsewhere).  They attempted to upsell her a 300 dollar brake job, which we could use, but given there are only 30,000 miles on the car (a Honda) don't really need and can't afford.

All she wound up getting was the oil change.  It took four hours.  Thanks, Brake World.

5. I Don't Believe What I Just Saw

Wednesday night, if you have any of the various baseball packages or, as I did, sat and watched the ends of each relevant game on the MLB Network, you saw an occurrence more unlikely than winning the lottery.

As calculated by Nate Silver, when one considers Boston's 9 game lead over Tampa with 24 games left, Tampa's 7 run deficit in the 8th to the Yankees in the final game, and both Boston losing and Tampa's winning with only one strike left to finish either game - the odds of the result, which was Tampa winning the Wild Card and the Sox going home, were 278 million to one.

And that doesn't take into account that almost the exact same thing at almost the exact same time happened to the Braves.  It was as remarkable a sequence of events as you're ever likely to see.

I extended my streak of fantasy sports championships with an also statistically improbable 3 way tie in my NL fantasy league.  I lost my mixed league by one point.  It's now, I believe two straight years for each of the 3 sports in which I play (baseball/football/basketball) that I've won a $ fantasy league.

6. Food Bang
I coined a new term this week.

So, you're at a restaurant or otherwise eating in public and people walk by your table and they stare at your food.

You've been Food Banged.  As in "you see that dude walk by totally food banging your pulled pork sandwich?"

There's another word beginning with f that one could use in place of bang that would allow for greater alliteration.  But I already used the picture of Lindsay and her mother and thought that vulgarity here might draw stern looks.   You could use either phrase depending upon the occasion.

7. Catching Hell

ESPN's documentary on Steve Bartman was good; I'd recommend it.  I've written previously of Bartman, I've felt almost since the moment it happened that Cubs fans owed him a monumental apology; I assume he'd get one today; I assume the Cubs organization has attempted to reach out (pun intended).  Were I in a leadership position with the Cubs I'd offer him lifetime season tickets.

There was a line by the narrator/filmmaker near the film's end referencing the Red Sox fans forgiveness of Bill Buckner once they finally won a Series in 2004, that after winning the series seasons don't mean as much as they had in the past.

That's true in multiple ways.  I had a lot of intellectual interest in the Giants this season and followed as closely as I do each year, but emotionally our blowing our division lead and, largely due to poor organizational decision making, missing a fairly easy opportunity to play postseason baseball didn't particularly impact me.

It also works to correct history.  The Giants lost a World Series in 2002 in a Buckner/Bartman type of way which no longer bothers me much, although I'd prefer it to have gone the other way.

I am not surprised by either of those things, I assume they're common and would be true for Cubs fans also.

But there's another thing that you don't really understand until you win a World Series.

It's not that big a deal.  When the Great Pumpkin finally shows up - it's nice, you're glad it happened, but they don't cut you a playoff share.  And in the context of one's life that includes trying to figure out how the water bill will get paid next month, it's not that big a deal.

If the Cubs win a World Series, one assumes everyone will come to some degree of all of that understanding; not just Cubs fans who will "forgive" Bartman to whatever degree they haven't already - but Bartman will forgive himself, and maybe wonder why he spent so many years in seclusion in the first place.  It was framed in the documentary  as noble that Bartman's never taken one of the many, many, many marketing opportunities available to him.  Everyone else has. Bill Buckner, as portrayed in what was maybe the best season of Curb Your Enthusiasm sits next to Mookie Wilson at autograph signings.  I own a version of this picture:

  ...signed by both Bobby Thomson and Ralph Branca.  And as the documentary pointed out - Moises Alou, who deserves a significantly greater percentage that he appreciates for the level of misplaced vitriol directed at Bartman, regularly signs pictures like the one a little bit above.


Because it's just not that big a deal.  And when you win a World Series, you understand that.  If Steve Bartman ever googles himself and comes across this piece - my advice is to go get paid.  People may think less of you, and you less of yourself, right up until the moment when the Cubs win the World Series, and then you'll wonder why you didn't accept offers years earlier. I'm you, Steve Bartman.  If I felt I had cost the Giants the World Series it would be like opening the front door and watching your dog run into traffic.  But once you win the World Series, you recognize it's not like that at all.  Go get paid.

8. They Don't Want Small Government
In Michigan, there's a proposal to put teachers in prison who use their work email for union purposes.


Raise the tax rates of millionaires from 36 to 39 percent = tyranny.

Put teachers in prison for sending emails = Republican politics in 2011.

They.  Don't.  Want.  Small.  Government.  They're authoritarians.

9. Would You Like to Read an Oral History of the Upright Citizens Brigade?
It's here.

10. A Number That Explains a Lot.
What's the percentage of law school graduates who you'd expect not to have a job that required a law degree within 9 months of graduation?

At some schools it's really high.  Schools where most of their graduates aren't working in jobs that require law degrees within 9 months of graduation.  When you have law school debt and not a lawyer's income, that's a challenging hole out of which to climb.

My school - on that list.  60% of its 2009 graduates didn't have a job requiring a law degree within 9 months.


That's all for this time.  I'll be back next time.  If there is a next time...

Your pal,


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