Monday, June 26, 2006

monday morning musings

Reports this past weekend suggest that Chris Pronger wants out of Edmonton; it only makes sense that he goes to Florida for Jay Bouwmeester. Bouwmeester is an Edmonton native; Pronger's wife wants an American city. Mike Keenan has traded for Pronger before as made famous by his famous motivational speech one night in St. Louis. Keenan had traded Brendan Shanahan for Pronger, and at one time was, lets say, less than impressed with Pronger's performance on the ice and proceeded to shout "do you know who I traded you for!?!" at Pronger during a game.

Here's another matchmaking idea. The Toronto Blue Jays should trade for Jeremy Affeldt of the Kansas City Royals. The Jays are in need of bullpen help, and although Affeldt is listed as a starter, the best performances in his career have come from the pen. My friends will recognize Affeldt as the underperforming bench star of my baseball pool team for the past few years, but be assured; I have learned a lot about this guy while he sat on my pool team bench. Not as much as Kevin from Kevin's Royal Blog has, but a fair amount. Affeldt has a one year contract at the moment, and it is conceivable that the Royals new management could flip him for a B grade prospect.

Affeldt is a southpaw with a blazing fastball and above average curve. He has a change and slider, but rarely uses them. His fastball can top in the upper 90s when he pushes it, which he does more often with short stints out of the pen than he does when he starts. Because his fastball and curve are so good, there was a perception that he could start, but his limited pitch variety leaves him best suited for work out of the pen.

Adding Affeldt to the Toronto bullpen would allow Affeldt and Justin Speier to work as co-setup men. It could move Scott Schoeneweiss (who hasn't pitched that well this year) into lefty specialist (OPBAA .196 from the left side and .311 from the right side this year) and it could allow Scott Downs to come into the starting rotation. The starting rotation is seriously hurting right now, and even though Downs has pitched pretty badly as a starter this year, last year he filled in quite admirably for the injured Roy Halladay.

Those are my thoughts; JP would be wise to take a listen to them, but what else would you have me say?

At the very least, Affeldt would be the pimpest reliever in the Blue Jays pen.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

don't have a cow man

I'm often caught wondering. Usually, my wonder is the apparently essential resistance to learn from our past mistakes. "Our" is being used here to term humankind, and "past mistakes" are those things which have been made which need not be repeated. There are many examples in our past from which we can learn from. We have personal experiences, those which shape our individual character and we have shared experiences in our collective past. An example of a personal experience is something we each learn on our own, i.e., for me it's that milk gives me gas. An example of a shared experience is from here in Canada. During World War II, Japanese Internment camps started after the attack on Pearl Harbour. For seven years after the attack, Canadians of Japanese origin were racially profiled and ordered to move from their homes mainly due to a deep rooted anti-Asian sentiment among a primarily European descended Canadian population. This took place 60 years ago, meaning that there are living souls from all sides who witnessed this take place.

Witnessing the past is essential to remembering it and learning from it. Sure, our perceptions are all different but there are facts that cannot be ignored. To wit, facts state that planes flew into the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11, 2001. There are millions of people who have first hand accounts of witnessing it on television, backed up by multiple forms of first hand evidence in different mediums. Some people claim to know who flew those planes so certainly that you would believe they were in the cockpit themselves. That is neither here nor there, and does not detract from the fact of the planes flying into the towers, facts which cannot be disputed by anybody with rational mind.

When I was in high school, one of my history teachers taught me the Two-Generation rule. This is by no means a hard rule, but more of conclusion that a person studying history could have come to after observing the past of humanity. The Two-Generation rule applies as such; after Two-Generations the past is not one that we remember but one we are told. What I mean by that is that as individuals, our past only extends as far back as our Grandparents. Anything beyond that might as well be read to us from a textbook, for it is not a first hand story that we will hear, but more along the lines of mythological tales of walking 10 miles in clogs to school in the dead of winter.

This brings this long and winding post to its point, one which I think I've only been throwing darts at so far. Hard line Hindu's in India have won a battle to kill a word, or an idea from their past. Calling them Hard line Hindu's is a discredit to Hindu's just as much as calling some terrorists Islamic. What we have today are mind-warpers, and they come in all shapes in sizes, usually backed by some fanatical misrepresentation of spiritual salvation to be imposed on everybody else. These hard liners in India have outlawed the word "beef" from historical textbooks. Apparently some passages in the textbooks which told of past Hindu's eating beef is considered offensive by some people today. These people hide behind the veil of Hinduism to censor their past. I am saying with 100% certainty that non of those people who have chosen to champion the cause to remove the word "beef" from textbooks were alive to witness first hand the non-eating of beef by those in the past. Of course, the other side of this argument is true as well, that no one is alive who has witnessed those in the past who are suggested to have eaten the beef actually eat the beef. However, this article in today's Toronto Star suggests that there are pieces of evidence from the past which point to the slaughter of cows by Hindu's. To ignore the past is to kill the world, one word at a time.

"Facts be dammed" appears to be the slogan for mind-warpers from everywhere. They will convince you that they are being insulted, that their pride is at stake when facts from the past remove the shine of perfection from their image. Fear of being considered less than perfect is pervasive and seems to only be addressed on the personal level. The group fear of being perceived as less than perfect is almost as big and rarely spoken of.

The point is this; it is an insult to believe that we have been born as perfect creatures that have never made mistakes. Hinduism preaches that cows are sacred and should not be killed (this is my limited understanding). If they were killed by Hindu's in the past, do not hide from that past, because hiding from the past will allow history to repeat itself.

If you are trying to save the children, which is usually the argument of those who rarely listen to their children, teach them the follies of our past, do not present to them a perfect past. A perfect past is a weak foundation for anyone to build a future upon. It is a bar-too high for anyone to achieve. Life will be a constant disappointment for those who believe that everything in the past was perfect, because their life most certainly will not be. We are not perfect creatures, and sometimes need to make mistakes and a helping hand to build a better future.

deus ex machina n Etymology: New Latin, a god from a machine, translation of Greek theos ek mEchanEs 1 : a god introduced by means of a crane in ancient Greek and Roman drama to decide the final outcome 2 : a person or thing (as in fiction or drama) that appears or is introduced suddenly and unexpectedly and provides a contrived solution to an apparently insoluble