Archive for June, 2008

In praise of a great video game

June 30, 2008

After false starting on several “serious” blog topics, I decided that you, my loyal, invisible (and possibly nonexistant) readerdom deserved something better. I’m going to talk about a great, great video game.

I’m not talking about PS3 or X-box or PS2 or PS1 or PS 1/3 or Sega Genesis or Super Nintendo. I’m talking about a console which most of us spent long hours either banging on or blowing into. Yes, the NES. And I’m talking about a great baseball game– a game where the players have one name and are either tall and thin, short and beefy or short and thin (Three bodies, hundreds of players). A game where you can use the same pitcher every day and it makes absolutely no difference.

I’m talking about Little League World Series. The evil geniuses who put together this compulsively addictive game– complete with six inning games and nearly entire teams full of players whose names are slang terms for male genitals (“And here’s Peter, who beats a little dribbler down to Wang, he’s up with it and throws to Dong at first, and Peter trots limply back to the dugout”)– deserve their 15 minutes of immortality.

The best part of the game is that, as if anticipating the direction of real baseball, the experience is very much customizable based on the team you choose to be. New York and California are the Yankees of the game. You have a feeling their generic coach slipped them a few dollars under the table and altered their birth certificates. The Italian team is a personal favorite, because they’re about as hopeless as the Royals. Nobody can hit, nobody can throw hard, your outfielders run as if they have severe arthritis, and losing competitively is about as good as it gets.

As a kid, I remember I loved this game for its “realism”. This essentially meant that it was fun because you couldn’t beat the game 22-3 the second time you ever played it. Now, I just enjoy glorious things like the same shot of the “fans” after every home run of every game, and the cheesy speech about “leaders of tomorrow” over the closing credits. It’s baseball, more or less. And it’s much better than it should be.





USA 2008- A Long Walk Home

June 28, 2008

I recently read some comments from Barack Obama on how delighted he was to have been endorsed by two of my heroes, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen. In the midst of a recent Boss listening session, it occurred to me that if Obama really appreciates his task, he might find his perfect campaign theme song– Bruce’s “Long Walk Home”.

The narrator of the song begins my talking about a love he has lost, and looking into the distance at his hometown. In the second verse, he walks through the town, which is itself a ghost town at the moment.

But the thematic guts of the thing, and the part that strikes square in the heart of Obama’s mission, is the last verse of the song:

(pasted from, with one correction)

My father said “Son, we’re lucky in this town
It’s a beautiful place to be born
It just wraps its arms around you
Nobody crowds you, nobody goes it alone.
That old flag flying over the courthouse
Means certain things are set in stone
Who we are, what we’ll do and what we won’t.”

(end paste)

And then comes the refrain: “Its gonna be a long walk home/
Hey pretty Darling, don’t wait up for me”, which is repeated many times.

Barack Obama’s message of change in a well-chosen one. But I hope that the promisor, as well as the promisees, realize that we are in for a long walk home. Half a decade of unwinnable war, the devestation of New Orleans, the so-called Patriot Act, for that matter even something as relatively minor as $4 per gallon gasoline– these last eight years have moved our nation, and our respective hometowns millions of  miles away from the principles which were purported to be set in stone by a million flags over a million courthouses. Maybe what these past eight years have been about has been learning that there is little that America will not do, if the wrong person or persons are in control. Or maybe it has been learning that a nation as ideologically divided as America is in great danger of losing any collective identity that ever existed– soon, it seems, EVERYBODY may be going it alone.

Barack Obama and his constituents will need to remember that change is an enviable, but not easy goal. Undoing all of eight years of mistakes promises to be a very long walk home for everyone.





Shawn Chacon

June 26, 2008

Yesterday, Houston Astros pitcher Shawn Chacon was indefinitely suspended from the team for insubbordination. Let me clarify that slightly. He supposedly got into an argument with Astros general manager Ed Wade (and for you non-baseball fan types, the general manager is the guy who has ultimate control over personnel moves on a baseball team) and allegedly picked Wade up by the neck and threw him to the ground.

Pretty gutsy move for a guy with a career record of 45 wins and 61 losses. When I first saw the story, I thought, “Wow, there’s a guy who makes a stand for the working man. For every poor schmoe who has a mean-spirited idiot boss who he can’t stand, but also can’t pick up by the neck and throw to the ground, this guy did it for them.”

Today, Chacon was released (cut for non-baseball people) from the Astros. I also saw a picture of Ed Wade. Here he is.

Ed Wade

And thanks to yahoo, here’s another picture of him.


Ed Wade 2

That’s Wade on the left in that picture. The big strapping guy on the right? Well, he’s not a player, or a former player. He’s the owner.

Chacon threw down on a guy who looks like somebody’s grandpa. What a pansy! The Astros were smart to cut him before he regressed into an inner-city playground bully. For that matter most inner-city Houston grade schoolers could’ve probably picked up Ed Wade and slammed him to the ground.

Way to pick on the weakling there, Shawn Chacon. Don’t let the door of organized baseball hit you too hard in the ass on your way out.

El Joe


Is there anybody alive out there?

June 26, 2008

“I am about to embark on an historic journey.”- Dr. Emmett Brown, “Back to the Future

“Is there anybody alive out there?”- Bruce Springsteen, “Radio Nowhere”

Somewhere between those two semi-famous lines lies this blog. I won’t pretend that I know why I’m writing this. I suppose it’s just my proverbial two cents into the mass of typographical masturbation that is the blogosphere.

In any case, I’m not planning on anything too close to a set format. I’ll probably write about music, books, movies, sports, people, events, artifacts, and about my own life, which has spanned the vast wilderness of southeastern Kentucky to the vast wasteland of old Louisville to my current home in semi-Western Kentucky, where I can go out for an evening walk and end up being startled on my way home by a baby deer running about ten feet in front of me (which happened yesterday).

If you like the blog, tell me. If you don’t like the blog, tell me. If you’d like to buy me a beverage, tell me. If you’d like to cut me up into small pieces, well don’t tell me, but more important, don’t do it. But anything short of that, give me a holla. As the Boss himself says, “I just want to feel some rhythm.”

El Joe