Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Perfect Attendance

Today holds two important anniversaries for Baltimore Orioles fans.

First, twenty-one years ago Cal Ripken Jr. broke the unbreakable, surpassing Lou Gehrig's consecutive games streak and establishing a new record of 2131 consecutive games played.  His detractors claim it is this streak that got Ripken into the Hall of Fame, but an important discussion  should take place about his position as a baseball player and as an employee.

Now and then there are stories of high school kids who attend every day of school for all four years of their academic career.  They are congratulated and it is usually noted they are good students.  Similarly, employees are congratulated and sometimes awarded when they do not call in sick.  I know of at least one employer in my home town that provides extra vacation days the following year if no sick time is used during the preceding twelve months.

This is important because he didn't show up for every game in a single season, but he did it for thirteen seasons to earn the record and ultimately showed up for work, ready to go, for more than sixteen seasons.  When you consider the grind that baseball is, day in and day out, two or three or four seasons would be a big deal, but he quadrupled that is The Streak.

For me, this is an amazing accomplishment and we should honor his commitment to both his craft and the game.  For those who complain when someone else calls out sick to work you should keep today in your mind and consider the kind of team mate Ripken was and his accomplishment as the ultimate every day player.

The second accomplishment deserves its own post and is coming shortly.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Working For A Living

I apologize for not coming up with a more creative Friday Night Music option for your listening this weekend, but it is Labor Day Weekend, which is meant to celebrate the labor movement in America.

While I have been in labor and led a labor "association" (the International Association of Firefighters, Local 3474, this song seems to make sense this weekend.  What is not to like about good old fashioned rock and roll and a spirit of I take what they give because ultimately I am working for a living.  There is also though an underlying strength to that message that I can withstand because I am standing for my family too.

Ultimately I have never lived in an era where the worker was subjected to the horrors of the American industrial expansion that brought about the great strength of the labor movement in the early 20th century so I get to just enjoy the music.  Happy Friday.

Bernie Sanders Supporters: Robin Hood And His Merry Men

I was out and about Friday afternoon when I happened upon a Lexus sedan in a parking space near me.  Normally I would not pay it any mind, but it was sitting in the 5300 block of Mockingbird Lane, near Southern Methodist University, in Dallas and it had a Bernie Sanders bumper sticker on it.  What's the big deal you ask?

Well for me, who drives an overpriced Toyota who also supports Bernie?  Seems like if you want to support the poor you drive a more practical, and inexpensive, car and donate those excess payments to those same poor you would prefer, by political position, to be helped via government assistance that does not work.

For me the Lexus makes no sense anyway.  It is an overpriced Toyota with few discernible differences, particularly when we talk about the important part - the engines.  While this is America and you are allowed to buy the car of your choice why would you pay extra for cosmetic differences, a good salesman, or just a name?  Are you so vain that you need to drive a Lexus instead of a Toyota?  I shudder to think how you might consider a simple Chevy.  The point should be clear: why pay an extra $5000 for a name?  Is your ego that fragile?  Are you really that needy you have to compare yourself to the Joneses and your status symbol is your vehicle?

The other point though is this driver has a Bernie supporter somewhere in the family.  I do not think of Senator Sanders as a bad man, just misguided.  Why would he encourage others to pay more in taxes when I have yet to see him cut a check to the US Treasury?

Sanders was a huge supporter of the Affordable Care Act, a law which was forced through without any bipartisan votes, and which now we read about daily as insurance company after insurance company runs from the healthcare exchanges created by the law.  They created a monster thinking you could force people to buy junk so that you could provide new junk to those who wanted someone else to pay for it.  Instead there are fewer people buying healthcare through the Affordable Care Act than was ever predicted and you have to consider the law a failure.

If we took the same model of law and applied it to automobiles I doubt the Lexus would even be available or it would be much costlier than it already is for the same product and that is the real rub.  If you want to pay extra for your car or healthcare you should be able to, but the person who pays extra for his car also wants me to pay extra for things I do not want or need and that is a problem.  I have no problem driving a twelve year old car I got for a bargain and paid cash for.  I do not expect anyone to outline my car choices for me, but I want that same market freedom in healthcare too.  Somehow I doubt the guy driving a Lexus in a tony Dallas neighborhood feels the same way, except when it applies to his car, house, etc.  Do as I say, not as I do seems to be the mantra, but in this case Robin Hood is taking from the poor and providing for no one.

Friday, September 2, 2016


There are days when everything seems like it is going perfect.  Almost.

On the anniversary of Milt Pappas' near Perfect Game I wonder how often we are appreciative of our almost perfect days.

For baseball aficionados, Pappas had a Perfect Game through 8 2/3 innings.  One hitter away when ball four was called.  Twenty-six up, twenty-six down is hardly a bad day and I can sense a little bit of longing in the post game interview with Pappas, but I also sense his knowledge of his accomplishment nonetheless to catch a No-No.  Let's face it Perfect Games are hard because they require not only a pitcher having his best day, but usually his defense to be doing the same, and maybe guys on the other side who are not tuned in too.  It is hard to do.  That's why there have been less than thirty perfectos since the game began, but No Hitters deserve their own light as well.

Life isn't perfect and when things are going for people I wonder if they realize at the time how well things are going.  It seems Mr. Pappas knew how well he did thirty-four years ago today.  I hope we appreciate our own accomplishments today and this weekend without thinking what might have been.  Strive to be better with your work, but find some joy in the journey to get there and the success you enjoyed today.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

The Beginning

You never really know how to start a blog.  Ideas might be there, but the process of actually starting the journey (again) is serious.  How do you start off on the right foot so that you capture both the importance of a beginning with the essence of where you want to go.

For me, that means this blog will be a link to a piece I published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch over Easter 2015 for the start of baseball season asking is baseball God's favorite sport?

I am not sure this has all the answers, but I am comfortable we are all trying to find our way home.