Mt. Belzoni

Location: Raleigh, North Carolina

I'm a senior, studying English at NC State. I cover high school sports part-time for the Durham Herald-Sun. I've helped write a book, Outlaw Ballplayers, which has just been published.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Bonds on Bonds - Among other things

So there's not much denying it now. Unless by some miracle of poetic justice he was struck by a bus sporting his own smug smirk, Barry Bonds will undoubtedly pass Babe Ruth on baseball's career home run list.

Now there's still Hank Aaron in front of the pumped up monster-of-a-man that Bonds has become--after 35--but there's always been something about the Babe that Aaron could never replace. Ruth was something akin to the Broadway Joe of baseball.

Ruth rode in parades wearing a crown and smoking a cigar. He was--and to many still is--the ultimate icon of baseball.

"He ate too much. He drank too much alcohol. He played cards and lost money. He went to nightclubs. He drove his car too fast," said Don't talk about him no more."

Barry, you're the one no one should talk about.


Now wildfires may not seem very controversial, but they're in the news right now because they've gotten a bit out of control in Florida.

Wildfires are terrible for all the people forced to evacuate and those who have had their homes destroyed. But, I hardly ever hear talk of a wildfire without the insistence that they are just as bad for nature as for humans.

That is just a complete and unmitigated lie.

Wildfires are an important part of the natural cycle for many plants. The fires even act as a weed killer for many plants that have developed an ability to survive them.

While it has been recently suggested that large wildfires coincide with worldwide peaks in Carbon Dioxide levels, it should be remembered that it wouldn't be a problem without all the extra CO2 humans emit.

Wildfires might not be so hot if you live in their path, but stopping them is akin to disrupting any other natural process.

Happy Mother's Day Protest

So I didn't realize this until I read it on Jim Hightower's blog--but originally Mother's day was intended to protest the civil war. Who'd have thought? It's so commercialized now that I would have never guessed it had any other purpose than to sell cards and flowers.

Julia Howard Ward, author of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," wrote the original Mother's Day Proclamation. "Arise then...women of this day! Arise, all women who have hearts!," it begins. " As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil At the summons of war, Let women now leave all that may be left of home For a great and earnest day of counsel."

CodePink is organizing a Mother's Day weekend protest in Washington--keeping alive the original meaning of Mother's Day and protesting senseless wars.

Where's the story now?

First, take a look at the front page of the Durham Herald-Sun. Now what story is missing off the front pages of that paper? Of course, the "Duke Lacrosse Scandal." Now I don't know about you, but I wouldn't be surprised if the "Scandal" is never again a significant story--even in the hometown paper.

Here's the last story they ran on it. It won't come to trial until next spring? By then no one will care. The longer the story can be kept quiet, the less Duke has to do about it. Sure the team's season was cancelled and the coach resigned, but those are all public relations fixes--cosmetic really.

If this story stays buried in the back pages until next spring, there's no incentive for Duke to make any real, significant changes. Why would they?

The media's slash and burn and then move on to the next story approach neglects its most powerful potential for doing good. They don't care about good things that are being done to fix problems--and those in charge know they'll get no press for doing good. So why bother when you can go into damage control mode for 3 days and come out looking just as good.

Hayden gets another chance

I've got a great idea. Let's take a man who's program violated American civil rights more blatantly than any organization since MLK was preaching and give him another chance with an equally powerful organization.

I guess Bush figured if we gave him a second shot--everyone deserves one.

Bush selected Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden to succeed Porter Goss as director of the CIA. Hayden was previously director of the NSA while that organization was engaged in the highly controversial wire tapping program.

Republicans are even uncomfortable with the selection. Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., and Rep. Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich., Chairmen of the Intelligence committees in Senate and House respectively have both openly questioned the selection.

Who helps Bush make the choices? He always seems to know exactly who to pick to make the biggest commotion.

Ruby Tuesday

I recently started working at Ruby Tuesday in Crabtree Valley Mall--it's not been too bad so far.

Now I've had several jobs in my life, and at each one of them the employer has a little list of people they don't discriminate against. It's always the same. But this time as I read it on paper then had it read to me by the GM, I couldn't help noticing what seemed to me to be a glaring exception.

There was no mention of sexual orientation in there. Now I'd never noticed that before in any other job--but it made me start thinking. Since it's technically not in their protected species list, does that mean that they can discriminate based on sexual orientation all they want?

I looked for some anti-discrimination laws concerning this and found that 15 states have laws banning discrimination based on sexual orientation.

North Carolina must just be behind the times.

Never liked Gatorade anyway

Real quick. Just had to point out the blasphemy Gatorade has committed in playing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" for a soccer commercial. Not fooling me - and your drinks don't taste all that great either!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

When does school end?

I've been in school for 16 years now.

That's a long time and a lot of teachers to get to know.

Having gotten to know so many teachers, it has always been a great concern of mine that schools are so heavily involved in shaping students' morality--because, quite frankly, it's none of their damn business.

Just recently at Middle Creek High School in Apex the school administration has overstepped its authority, by suspending a boy whose girlfriend's mother found them having sex at her home during school hours.

The couple had the free time due to a cancelled program and had permission to leave campus--but school rules are said to apply even while at a private home?

The boy, Ryan, was suspended for 10 days--school officials refuse to say whether the girl was punished--though she was clearly equally responsible.

Ryan's parents are suing the Wake County Board of Education, and rightly so.

First off, the girlfriend's mother should have taken care of the problem herself. If she can't take care of her own daughter, maybe social services can find someone more able.

Then again the school was greatly overstepping its bounds in attempting to enforce the morals that the parents neglected.

I don't want teachers telling me what's right and wrong unless its a math problem. And even then if I want to do math wrong on my own time then that's my business.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Tyrrell Nonsense

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. Pretty impressive name, I must admit. What's that R stand for though?

Well R. Tyrrell devoted his 4/20 to writing a column about public nuisances. He started out with the public nuisance that was the anti-war movement in the 1930's as the US was debating entering World War II. Apparently these protesters were some of the first public nuisances.

Maybe that R stands for Republican War Hawk.

Now I wasn't around in the 30's and I doubt R. Tyrrell was either, but I seem to remember an earlier public nuisance--a bunch of silly women who thought they deserved to vote just like men did.

Seems like an odd place to draw the line to me--I mean if it's the act of protesting that's a public nuisance then he seems to be calling Martin Lurther King Jr. (also a pretty impressive name) a nuisance too. The right to disagree and protest has always struck me as one of the really important parts of our Constitution.

Then again maybe that R stand for Repression of civil rights.

R. Tyrell specifically targest a lawsuit by PETA against Ringling Brothers' Circus. R. Tyrell calls their whole case "complete nonsense." Then goes on to say that it is "unlikely" trainers would be cruel to animals and it is "likely" the trainers love and admire their animals. So he goes from calling it complete nonsense to admitting he doesn't really know anything about it?

Maybe the R stands for Ignorant? Wait... that doesn't start with an R?

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Bad Religion

The Sunni-Shiite conflicts in the Middle East are the ones that get all the bad press. The Muslims are the ones that refuse to accept peace and the big-D-Democracy that team USA is pushing.

It confuses me that Islam gets all the press when Christianity is just as deserving.

Just like the Middle East, Ireland's religious conflict only gets the press when a "good guy" get it. Today a British spy who had been the cheif legislator of the IRA-related Sinn Fein party in Northern Ireland was found dead--having been obviously tortured and mutilated before being shot in the head with a shotgun.

Though the Sinn Fein leadership denied responsibility, the traditional punishment for informing in the IRA is death.

But what's so amazing is that the IRA is not a radical Muslim group like you'd think--they're good ol' Catholics. Now that's only surpising if you go out of your way to forget about the Inquisition and the Crusades--but otherwise you'd never expect that from such a peaceful and democratizing religious force.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Makin' sure it works

Yep, so Mt. Belzoni is the location of a radio station in a Donald Fagen song where he, the Nightfly, is host of a late night call-in talk show.