Friday, October 26, 2012

Giants and Tigers: Who Will Win the World Series

It is the time for Baseball’s World Series. For the past two years, I have predicted the winner of the Super Bowl with 100% accuracy. I have accurately predicted the wrong team to win every time. This fall I have decided to turn my uncanny ability towards predicting the winner of the World Series.

My first step was to learn as much about baseball as I could in a few minutes. Apparently, baseball has its roots in a prehistoric game where one person, the hurler, hurled rocks at another person, the hitter; the other person would swat the rocks away with a stick. If the person was struck enough times, he was out and required medical attention. If, however, the hitter actually hit the rock, then a bunch of people standing behind the hurler would chase the rock down and throw it at the hitter as he made a mad dash for the safety of his cave.

Over the eons, baseball has evolved into a complex sport, with strategies, uniforms, managers, bright lights, peanuts, popcorn, and cotton candy. As people became more civil and more intellectually abstract, they stopped trying to hit each other with rocks and instead created an imaginary square in front of the hitter to hurl the rock through. If the hurler makes it through that imaginary space, then a strike is called. The person who decides whether the hurled ball is a strike or a ball is a direct descendent from the caveman, he is the ump. He roars with a Neolithic holler, “Steeeeeeeeeeerike” or growls with a Cro-Magnan roar, “Baaahhhhhhhhlll”.

Instead of the hitter running to his cave, or house, the rules call for an imaginary home to be marked with a white house shaped plastic cutout laying on the ground. If the hitter makes it all the way around the field and to home, he scores a ‘run’, which is a translation of the caveman phrase, “him run fast and make it home without a concussion.”

Each team has certain freedoms regarding how to decorate their playing fields and their players, but things have to be uniform. The distance between each base is the same at each field. Each teams player decorations can be different colors and designs, but they are still called uniforms. The balls that have replaced the rocks are all the same size and weight, and made from the same materials.

After all this exhausting research on our national past time, I had little time to consider who would be the victor in this year’s competition, until I realized who was playing. The Giants versus the Tigers? This is a no brainer. In a prehistoric game of hurling rocks at ones opponent, Giants would have to be the victor every time.

Friday, October 19, 2012

If Only Every Job was as Great as Mine.

As many of you know, I have three jobs. I am also sure that all three of my regular readers know that one of those jobs is as a substitute bus driver in a local school district. The following narrative occurred just the other day as I filled in on a bus run. Unlike my usual posts, everything here is mostly the factual, unadulterated truth. I promise.

When I first started training to be a school bus driver, I was in a group of somewhere between 4 and a bazillion people. When we finished there were two of us; Steve and me. Steve took a regular run and I opted to stay a sub. The other day, I got to drive Steve’s route.

He drives a handful of students across the county to a small school. When I stopped at the first stop, three girls came out to get on the bus; they were not excited to see me.

“You’re not Mr. Steve. Where is Mr. Steve? Is this the right bus? Why isn’t Mr. Steve here?”

After they finally stopped peppering me with questions, I was able to answer, “Mr. Steve isn’t here today. He asked me to drive for him, is that ok?”

The three girls looked at each other, while making all sorts of girlie noises. Finally a spokesgirl asked, “Do you know how to go?” I showed them the directions and responded, “Yeppers, he gave me directions.” The spokesgirl announced that everything seemed to be in order and we could continue our trip.

The next stop was for one little young gentleman. As soon as he saw me, he turned around and walked away from the door. The adult that was with him said, “Jimmy, you have to go to school.”

“But it isn’t Mr Steve!” he wailed, drawing out the Steve part to a long deep drawl.

I comforted him, as only a bus driver can comfort a forlorn student. “It is ok Jimmy; Mr. Steve and I learned to drive bus together.”

“You did?” He walked back to the door of the bus, sized me up, and decided it might be acceptable to ride on the bus. He got on, found his seat and we started on.

Everything was going fine until I turned left instead of right, or was it right instead of left? It really doesn’t matter, I got lost. Not really lost, just kind of going the wrong direction lost. Very soon the students on the bus realized I was not going the right direction and they began to riot. One girl clapped her hands over her face and squealed in terror. “Oh No! We are lost! Mr. Steve never gets lost. Take me home! I can’t take this, we are all going to die of hunger, or end up in Texas.”

I assured them we would neither die nor end up in Texas. Soon, after I got the bus turned around, they started to recognize landmarks and they were once again calm. That is until we got on the expressway to zip to the other side of town. One of the sweet first grade juvenile female life forms announced loudly, “Mr. Rob, you are a good driver. You are speeding, Mr. Steve never speeds.”

Let me assure you, gentle reader, school bus drivers never speed, that includes me. It is one of the 300 cardinal sins of school bus driving. We do not speed, ever.

Nonetheless, the sweet urchin boisterously announced, “Mr. Rob is speeding.” She boldly emphasized speeding. All of the other children were aghast. Until the girl said, “Just kidding, I don’t even know what speeding means.”

I. Love. My. Job.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Presidential Debates, a Primer

“Tis the season for elections, fa-la-la-la-la-ugh.” This is the beginning line of the “Election Carol for Voters”. Written quite some time ago, this delightful song echoes the frustration of the average voter when it comes to the pre-electionbrouhaha.  This is the time of the year when otherwise well-adjusted adults of the human species unleash their innerchild. Remember the days when the teacher would ask the class of second graders a question and each child’s hand would shoot into the air and each child would gleefully squeal, “Ooh ooh, pick me, pick me.” Politicians do the same thing ate lection time, but instead of teachers, it is voters, but the chant is the same, “Ooh ooh, pick me, pick me.”

We have endured months of candidates stumping in the primaries and now for the general election. Stumping is the word that is used to describe the manner in which candidates travel throughout the country and give speeches outlining their stands on the issues and what they are going to do about whatever impending crisis the country faces, real or imagined. The politician claims to be on the average working American’s side, and then uses words like: obfuscation, misappropriation, cronyism, and pontificabsolutionism. This leaves the average American to run for a dictionary (or a nearby English teacher), in a haze of confusion. They are simply stumped.

Now that we are getting within a few weeks of the election, the candidates are debating. This is just like the Wild West shoot out, except without the guns. In a Wild West shoot out there are two enemies who are going to shoot each other dead. On one side of the street, there is a Dalton, on the other is a Clanton, and hiding somewhere, is a sheriff.

The opponents face each other, under the bright light of the noonday sun, and begin to verbally assault each other. They yell things like, “You are a no good, low down, varmint.” or “You’re a lying weasel.” The two opponents continue hurling insults at each other until they run out of insults and then they draw guns on each other and shoot. The loser dies.

In a presidential debate, the scenario is remarkably similar. The two opponents face each other, under the bright lights of TV coverage. They answer questions, asked by a moderator, who is hiding behind the TV cameras, and begin to verbally assault each other by saying things like, “My esteemed opponent doesn’t know his asset from his deficit.” or “The only thing my opponent knows about foreign policy is how to make french fries.”  This continues until the questions run out, the TV stations run out of commercials,or until the first pitch of the Yankees game. At this point the candidates, instead of shooting each other, shake hands like best of friends. This leaves the American voters stumped once again, wondering, “Who won?”

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Bacon Shortage, or the Aporkalypse.

Apparently, there is a shortage of bacon in Europe. For decades, doctors have warned us that consuming this delicacy was bad for our health.  Bacon can cause heart and kidney disease, we have been warned time and time again. It seems that after all of these warnings, the pigs are finally listening and are neither reproducing fast enough (they are, after all, not rabbits) nor growing large enough to produce much in the way of bacon.   I know this by studying the word ‘shortage’, which comes from some word in some ancient language, which means un-tall. Not only is our benevolent big government dictating what we can and cannot eat, cases in point—New York City banning all large sweetened beverages and the Federal Government reducing the size of school lunches--but now the Animal Kingdom is taking a strong stance against the unhealthy choices we humans make.

There are other theories regarding this bacon shortage. Stephen Colbert, who has his own television show, or something, has made some amazing claims against President Obama regarding this shortage.

Another theory explains that Europe has outlawed some of the ways pigs are bred and raised; ways that are inhumane. I submit that pigs are not human and should not expect to be treated as such. Even if they were human, look at how we treat ourselves. We mistreat each other horribly with wars, crime, forced poverty, and playing the music of Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj in public. Nevertheless, Europeans feel they must treat swine better; so they do, and this will raise the price of bacon. But, only in Europe. We, in America, get most of our bacon from good old US of A swine. I think that European swine are still angry over the Revolutionary war.

The weather here in the states has caused problems in growing the primary ingredients of a pigs diet, namely, slop. It is very difficult to define and quantify what exactly slop is, but let me assure you, when you see slop, you will know what it is immediately. Due to the dry weather conditions this summer across much of continent, there was a significant drop in the slop crop. This will raise the price of slop, making it more expensive, and thus making the price of bacon rise as well.

Bacon will be plentiful, but expensive and, I have been told, for this there is no cure. This I can live with. I would write more about this but all this talk of bacon has made me hungry. So, I am off to have breakfast.