Sunday, October 15, 2017

Find a Team and Hang On

I had posted a comment concerning the recent ALCS (American League Championship Series) game between the Houston Astros and the New York Yankees, and a good friend of mine responded on Facebook with “I can’t believe you can bear to watch these games!”

Where our Indians flag was displayed

That friend is not anti-baseball. She is a hurt Cleveland Indians fan. And being that the Indians lost the American League Division Series in Game Five against the New York Yankees (which means, for those of you not really following baseball, that their season is OVER), watching any baseball game without Chief Wahoo represented is a bit painful.

Where it is displayed now . . . 

I can’t blame her. But I responded, “I’m rooting for the Astros to beat the Yankees and the Dodgers to beat the Cubs. And then the Astros to beat the Dodgers. If Cleveland isn’t in it, I’m still going to love the game. Find a team to root for and hang on!”

And that is the way to get over the hurt of losing: find a team to root for and hang on.

That’s not exactly difficult for me. I love the game of baseball. I really do. As I’ve written before, my wife and I like to attend minor league games whenever we can. When we go we root, root, root for the home team. We are big time Toledo Mudhens fans, and they are the AAA team for the Detroit Tigers. Now, if we were to attend a Mudhens / Clippers game (the AAA team in Columbus for the Cleveland Indians) in Toledo, we’d be hard pressed to root for the Mudhens. Fortunately, we haven’t been put in that situation (yet)!

So, even though the Indians are out of it, I’m still going to enjoy the game. This means I had to find a team to root for.

I have a Twitter friend (@BritniB714) who is from Houston. Knowing her beloved Astros are in it, I’m rooting for them. Besides. They are playing against the team that beat the Indians (the New York Yankees), so that makes it easy. In the National League, it’s the Los Angeles Dodgers against the Chicago Cubs. Since the Cubs beat the Indians in Game Seven of the World Series last year, rooting for the Dodgers is easy too. And once the World Series starts, it’s American League all the way, baby!

This past weekend we got to enjoy a few games. We watched the Astros win the first two of their series, and the Dodgers win the first of theirs. We’ve been really excited over here! Great games.

When watching the Indians during their post-season, the games have been played on a different network than normal. We love the Sportstime Ohio commentators. They are Cleveland fans, obviously, but that doesn’t mean they talk down the opposing team. They call a good game. If a good play is made, they praise it. If errors are made, they call them. They tell stories in between pitches covering players from both teams. A great group of guys.

When the post-season started, we started listening to the MLB.com app audio stream. This allowed us the ability to listen to a local radio station instead of the (non-Sportstime Ohio) TV announcers. And unlike using the radio, the audio and video sync is close enough to not drive you crazy.

After the Indians were out of it, I’d listen (in the Jeep) to the Houston announcers call the Astros/Yankees games. Great fun.

This past weekend, my wife and I were staying at the Punderson State Park Lodge. So, we caught the games on whatever channel was playing them - along with listening to the announcers of that particular channel.

During the Cubs/Dodgers game (played in Los Angeles), a play occurred that was a bit controversial. Not only was the play controversial, one of the announcers couldn’t help but provide some “color commentary” that really annoyed me.

Let me explain:

The Dodgers were up to bat. They had a man on second base. The batter hit out to left field, where Schwarber fielded it and threw it ALL THE WAY to home plate, just as the runner made it all the way from second to home. The catcher, stuck his left leg out, blocking the runner from being able to tag the base. The runner had to go around the catcher, missing the base completely, and the catcher stood up and tagged the runner. An out.

That play was challenged and overturned. He was safe. The reason being that the catcher is NOT allowed to block the path of the runner, UNLESS he had to in order to catch the ball. The catcher clearly did not have to.

Now, the rule was upheld and the Dodgers got the run. The Cubs coach got so mad he yelled at the umpire just enough to get thrown out of the game. (imagine a fist-pump emoji here)

The part that got me so annoyed was that the TV announcer (obviously a Cubs fan) said that he understood the rule, but it took away the “athleticism of the game”. The rule is recent and for years that would have been a good play by the catcher.

Really?!?

I’m no sports announcer. I’m just a simple fan. And apparently, unlike the announcer, I wasn't there in 1846 when baseball got started. So, I really should give him the benefit of the doubt.

Bulls**t!

If a catcher blocking the plate is considered the “athleticism of the game”, then the runner should be able to PLOW that catcher over - cleats first. Just like the old days. Is that what the announcer meant?

I’m almost sure that he would consider today’s football also missing the “athleticism of the game”. After all, they don’t wear leather helmets anymore, and they use all of that stupid padding!

It’s announcers like that that make watching the game so exasperating.

But it’s baseball. And I love the game. So, I am going to find a team to root for and hang on!

And so should you.

© Emittravel 2017

Sunday, October 8, 2017

There’s No Time Like . . . Yesterday

So, yesterday morning I made a visit to the local BMV (Bureau of Motor Vehicles) in order to buy myself an “early” birthday present. Yeah. “Happy birthday to me. Get tags for a fee.” I seriously believe that the state has no idea how birthdays are supposed to work.

Afterwards, I joined my wife in our sun porch for some coffee and a couple of donuts. Coffee and donuts. Either that is the perfect Saturday breakfast, or I unconsciously want to be a cop. . .

Anywho, during our conversation I came upon a great topic for my blog. So, I decided that I’d write about that. Tomorrow.

It’s tomorrow. And I have NO idea what that topic was. And even if I was able to determine it (my wife being a great resource for my memory losses), the impact of the topic is lost.

Back when my writing consisted mostly of poetry, I knew that if I felt an emotion, I would either need to drop everything and start writing, or that emotion would eventually dissipate and I would have nothing from which to write. In other words, my muse would walk out and I’d be left alone with nothing to work with.

The same thing applies to writing this blog; though this is more a pressure cooker relief valve than an emotionally creative outlet.

I guess the lesson is that if you do anything that gets its inspiration from something fleeting, you either make that doing a priority (drop everything - NOW), or you will lose the muse.

Are you the creative type? What do you do that is dependent upon “external” influences? Drop me a comment or reply. I’d love to hear it.

Now, what WAS it that I was planning on writing about?!?

© Emittravel 2017

Sunday, October 1, 2017

A Tip of the Cap

As I write this, the Cleveland Indians are playing their last game of the regular season.

The last game.

Well, fortunately, NOT the last game of the year. Just the regular season.

At this point in the season the Indians have secured their spot in the postseason as the American League Central Division Champions. They will play the winner of the Wild Card Game and hopefully make it all the way to the World Series!

Now, as a Tribe fan, I have to admit that I REALLY hope they go all the way and win the World Series. Not even remotely shy about that. But as a baseball fan, I’m telling you that the number one reason I’m excited is that baseball (at least for Cleveland) is not over at the end of the game today.

Just before today’s game, the Cleveland Browns went ahead and secured the 0-4 stat after losing to the Cincinnati Bengals 31-7. And no, I didn’t give much time or attention to the game. You see, football is what you watch when there is no baseball.

I have so enjoyed this regular season. I’ve watched more baseball than last year - including five times AT Progressive Field for a home game. (Yes, I’m toying with the idea of becoming a season ticket holder . . . But don’t tell my wife!) I’ve loved nights where my wife and I have gone out to a local Tavern to enjoy dinner, catching several innings. To listen to more innings on the drive home on the radio - gotta love Tom Hamilton (@TomHamiltonCLE) excitement and Jim Rosenhaus’ (@IndiansRadio) insights! Then finishing the game at home watching SportsTime Ohio (@SportsTimeOhio) with play-by-play calls (and in-between banter) by Rick Manning and Matt Underwood (@stomattu). And who doesn’t love the interviews, fun, and rivalry with mascot Mustard, of Andre Knott (@DreKnott)?!?

Then, once the game has ended, It’s time for the post-game Indians Live show with AL Pawlowski (@AlPawlowski) and Jensen Lewis (@JLEWFifty).

Sure, those guys will be there pre- and post-game throughout the rest of the postseason, but it won’t be the same as hearing them IN the games calling the plays. For that we’ll miss you guys.

Even more than watching the game, it’s enjoying it with other fans. And the Cleveland Indians have the best fans in the world. Be it at the ballpark, or in the tavern, the energy and joy is contagious.

The game is almost over. It’s the top of the 9th. Win or lose, I’m proud of these guys. Go all the way or not does not matter overall. It’s the professionalism and joy with which they have played this game where they have truly hit one out of the park.

Thanks guys.

© Emittravel 2017

Sunday, September 24, 2017

In Your Embrace

The following was originally posted on Renderosity.com on September 19, 2005:

In Your Embrace

Warm hands.
Soft skin.
Tender heart.
I lose myself
(and find myself)
deep in your embrace.
You’ve captured
my thoughts,
and made them
your own.
So much alike,
in love and ideas.
A mirror image
that’s a window to the soul.
If I be asleep,
and you just a dream,
smother my life,
that the dream might not end.
Be this the guidance
of simple fantasy,
or the loving hand
of the Lord above,
I pursue you with vigor.
To surrender my heart,
place them as one.
So one may nourish
the other
(So the other may nourish
the one).
That the two will blossom
on a single stem.
Let me hold you in my arms,
to feel the beat of your heart.
For mine grows faster;
enquickened with love.
When you look into my eyes,
press your lips softly to mine,
and hold me deep
in your embrace.
J.P. Wiegand
© Emittravel 1989

The words you have just read describe the woman I'm about to spend the rest of my life with. She is truly an answer to my prayers. For years now, I have prayed, "Lord, prepare me for my mate, as you prepare her for me." I've (jokingly) thought that she MUST need a lot of work - it was taking so long! (The truth of the matter? It was I who needed the work.) At our 20 year reunion, Lisa and I connected. We knew OF each other in high school, but didn't KNOW each other. Since our reunion, we have definitely gotten to each know one another. So close we have become, that on Friday, September 16th, I proposed marriage - and she (I'm humbled to say) accepted my proposal and has agreed to honor me as my wife.

This one is for you, my love! I give you my forever - this day and always. With all of my heart I am yours. You are the sweetest poem ever written. I am in awe of you. I love you! -j.p.

© Emittravel 2017

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Untitled Unblog Unpost #4

I was all ready to sit down and do some writing, when I discovered in my Twitter feed that (yesterday, 20170916) the Cleveland Indians officially became the American League Central Champions for 2017. That's the second year in a row.

So, instead of a comprehensive take on the latest from my brain box, I'm going to go watch some more baseball.

Because, you know, baseball!

© Emittravel 2017

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Stuff My Brain Says #81

So far it seems like every GOP endeavor has fallen short or outright failed. And I think I know the reason why. It’s really quite simple. You see, nobody in the GOP really thought that Donald Trump was going to be President. They believed what the media said (that Hillary Clinton had over a 90% chance of winning the election - based on their polls).

The GOP had eight years to prepare things like Repeal and Replace and did nothing. Why? Because not only did they know they did not have an actual challenger to the Democrats, they knew that with Hillary Clinton as President, they would NEVER pass any of their endeavors. So they figured they had at least four more years (if not eight) to actually come up with anything of substance.

As a perfect example of procrastination, the GOP is living proof that there is no minute like the last minute.

© Emittravel 2017

Monday, September 4, 2017

You Really Don’t Want a Democracy

After the 2016 Presidential Election, many were upset that even though Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, Donald Trump took the presidency by winning the Electoral College vote. Cries of “unfair”, and “he’s not my President” rang out; along with a push to eliminate the Electoral College because, after all, we are a Democracy.

Actually, no. We are not a Democracy. We are a Republic. Thus the Electoral College.

I bring this up because we have a current movement that is trying to rewrite history and remove anything deemed offensive from the public eye. Included are statues, flags, and even baseball team mascots.

As a Cleveland Indians fan, I’ve been pummeled by the anti-Wahoo folks for years. Even a recent article I read lumped the mascot with statues of Robert E. Lee as being equally racist. Hogwash!

First off, the Supreme Court has determined that trademarks cannot be considered “hate speech”. So as far as the law is concerned, Chief Wahoo is not hate speech.

Nevertheless, those few are screaming the loudest in hopes to bully a decision in their favor. Even the MLB Commissioner is pressuring the Cleveland Indians owners to remove the mascot.

Dear MLB Commissioner: IF you bow down to the pressure of a few and remove Chief Wahoo from the Cleveland Indians, we the fans will NOT go quietly into the night. Third-party vendors will start making a killing selling Chief Wahoo merchandise - which means the MLB gets none of that sweet, sweet cash.

I for one am getting a bit tired of a few hypocrites calling the shots.

Hypocrites? Yep. Hypocrites.

Go back and reread the first paragraph of this post.

The same folks calling us a democracy don’t really WANT a democracy. Why? Because the majority of people don’t want the mascots removed, or history to be rewritten. And IF we WERE a democracy, you crybabies would have to go away.

It’s called the First Amendment. If you like the idea of freedom of speech, then you have to accept that you will be exposed to speech you disagree with. That gives you a choice: You can either move to a country that does not respect the freedom of speech - which would eliminate you hearing anything that might offend you, or you can go ahead and get thicker skin.

As far as whether or not to remove statues, flags, mascots, or whatever, I direct you to Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations: “Don’t ever take a fence down until you know the reason why it was put up.” (ascribed to Chesterton by John F. Kennedy).

Do you honestly believe that the people who erected a statue (that includes designing, creating, paying for, and authorizing it) did it BECAUSE they were racist?

"Let's put up a statue to show the world how racist we are. Good idea, huh? All in favor?"

"Aye!"

That’s hard to believe. Just because you are offended by CHANGING the original intention, does NOT give you the right to force the majority to accept your cries as truth.

So, before you “like” a tweet or Facebook post that encourages the removal of this or that, do a little research to find out WHY this or that was erected in the first place.

And if you don’t agree, go ahead, move to North Korea, and shout that statues of their dear leader are racist and hate speech. I’m sure they’ll praise your bravery.

(Idiots.)

© Emittravel 2017

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Is it Wrong to “Huddle Up”?

Continuing with the thoughts expressed in my last blog, recently the Cleveland Browns got into some hot water for kneeling during the National Anthem prior to the start of a preseason game. (As an aside, they only did that the one game. The most recent game, as of this writing, they all stood.)

There was a lot of social media angst over whether or not these guys were right in their actions. Some say that they were exercising their First Amendment rights and protesting President Trump’s lack of anger over the white supremacists’ and Nazis’ protest in Charlottesville. Others say that guys who make millions of dollars playing a game do not have the right to disrespect the flag.

As far as my opinion goes, my last blog pretty much summed it up. The First Amendment acknowledges your right to PEACEFULLY assemble. What those players were doing was just that.

There is no law stating that you have to stand and respect the flag during the National Anthem. There is no law. However, there IS custom.

First off, you are not standing BECAUSE of the National Anthem. You are standing because of the flag (which in itself is just a piece of cloth - it is what that piece of cloth represents that you are showing respect). Any patriotic song will do. And second, there is no law demanding that you stop and place your hand over your heart when you see the flag. Can you just imagine people stopping EVERY time they saw the flag?

What they did do was make a public protest in a non-violent manner. And THAT is absolutely their right under the First Amendment.

Now, if the NFL or the team's owners want to make an issue of it, they can. After all, the First Amendment only tells us what the government cannot do: “Congress shall make no law . . . “ There is nothing that stops a non-governmental institution from implementing ANY restrictions upon free speech.

And finally, I see nothing wrong with a sport that “takes a knee” at the end of their games taking one at the beginning.

That’s football for you.

© Emittravel 2017

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Stuff My Brain Says #80

"I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God." 

The above is the Oath of Enlistment that I affirmed when I joined the U.S. Navy back in 1984. 

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

The above is the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The same Constitution that I swore to support and defend.

Recently, groups of white supremacists, Nazis, and those who stand against white supremacists and Nazis, have held marches and protests. Now, as a person who stands for the rights expressed in the U.S. Constitution, I want to say that I support the RIGHT for those to speak their minds. That does NOT mean that I agree with or support their views. It means that I swore to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. 

As a refresher, the First Amendment does not establish the rights of the people, but states the limitations of the government ("Congress shall make no law..."). 

According to the First Amendment, Congress shall make no law that would prohibit the right of the people to peaceably assemble. 

PEACEABLY assemble.

When an assembly of people turn violent they no longer have the right to assemble. That does not mean that if you are being violent AS a "hate group" or being violent AGAINST a "hate group", YOU are in the wrong. 

When you peaceably assemble you CANNOT throw stones, bricks, or punches. You CANNOT destroy public or private property (which includes statues and monuments - there are civil and legal ways to remove them). In other words, you have the right to assemble in a non-violent way. 

You may hate white supremacists and Nazis. That is your right. And, as a white supremacist and/or Nazis you may hate those who protest against you. But NEITHER group has the right to cause harm to the other. At that point you fall dangerously close to being a domestic enemy - and there is a large number of folks who swore to support and defend the Constitution against you.

Remember: You have the right to assemble peaceably and you have the right to speak freely. You do NOT have the right to be heard. 

© Emittravel 2017

Sunday, August 13, 2017

What’s Mine is Mine & What’s Yours is Mine

As I mentioned in my last post, my wife and I spent a lot of time enjoying the National Parks in the state of Utah while on vacation. Normally when we are on drives, we listen to a playlist of podcasts consisting of old and current episodes of Coverville, East Meets West, and Cracked. This gives us a nice variety.


Being that we were gone for more than two weeks, many of the podcasts we listen to on our own were piling up. Being rather anal myself, I listen to all of my podcasts in the order they come out, and do not miss an episode. As for my wife, she listens to hers as to whatever is current, and listens to older ones if she has time. So, in order to give us a bit of variety, my wife suggested we listen to some of the podcasts from my queue (No guys, you can’t have her. She’s all mine!).


One of the episodes we listened to was from the Cato Daily Podcast. Now, Cato is a libertarian (small “L”) think tank that covers a variety of topics with informative discussions. Or, as the site describes it, "The Cato Daily Podcast allows Cato Institute scholars and other commenters to discuss relevant news and libertarian thought in a conversational, informal manner." (Yeah, that's better.)


The episode that got my attention was called, “A Weak Defense of Property Rights at the Supreme Court” and is described as, “The Supreme Court’s Murr decision may leave many future property owners in the lurch when local and state governments decide to change laws governing property.” I’ve provided a link so that you can listen to it: https://www.cato.org/multimedia/cato-daily-podcast/weak-defense-property-rights-supreme-court


Before your eyes glaze over and you stop reading, let me remind you of the title of this particular blog post: “What’s Mine is Mine & What’s Yours is Mine”.


In all of the different articles I’ve read and all of the podcasts I’ve listened to on the subject of property, not one has looked at it from this perspective: According to those in government, “What’s Mine is Mine & What’s Yours is Mine”.


According to the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”


Do you see what it does NOT say? “...that among these are Life, Liberty, and Property.”


According to the Declaration and Resolves of the First Continental Congress, October 1774:


“That the inhabitants of the English Colonies in North America, by the immutable laws of nature, the principles of the English constitution, and the several charters or compacts, have the following Rights:

1. That they are entitled to life, liberty, and property, and they have never ceded to any sovereign power whatever, a right to dispose of either without their consent.”


On July 4, 1776 (almost two years after the above), Congress approved the final draft of the Declaration of Independence (which was not signed until August 2, 1776).


Somewhere between October 1774 and July 1776, the clearly lifted phrase changed “property” to “the pursuit of Happiness”. Why?


There is much speculation from different historians, but what is clearly evident, is that those who set up our government did not consider property (outside of their own - most were wealthy land owners) to be a right of the people.


In other words, in the eyes of the government, you do not own anything. They do.


“Wait there, J.P., I own my house.”


Do you? First off, most don’t “own” their house. They have a long-term rental agreement with a bank. But even if you have paid off your mortgage in full, you do NOT own your home. You want proof? Stop paying your property taxes - or your income taxes. They will TAKE it from you. You pay the government “rent” (via taxes) in order to live in that home. You stop paying your rent, they will evict you and take it from you.


“Okay, maybe my home. But I own my car.”


Really? If you don’t purchase a license plate (or tags), or in many states, don’t have car insurance, you cannot drive the vehicle. And most cities have ordinances that state that you cannot have a vehicle that cannot be moved sitting on your property over a certain period of time. If so, it can be taken from you. So, as far as it being a vehicle of transportation that you own, without said taxes and fees paid, you do not have a vehicle of transportation. You pay for the right to have it.


“Okay, what about my X-Box? I own that, don’t I?”


Well, you have to consider the following proverb: What you own can be used to pay what you owe. If you stop paying “rent” (a.k.a “taxes”), the government can take what you own to pay what you owe. That includes your X-Box.


Even in death you can’t “take it with you”. Not because you can’t drive a U-Haul to heaven (because you can't), but because the government has a right to tax what you own. This is called an estate tax and is simply defined as a tax levied on the net value of the estate of a deceased person before distribution to the heirs.


Not only did you pay taxes when you made money. Not only did you pay taxes when you bought something with that money. You have to pay taxes AGAIN on the net value of what you have when you die before your kids have any right to it.


Why? Because, in the government's eyes, you DON’T OWN ANYTHING. It all belongs to them anyway.
Even the interest you earn can be subject to taxation.


So, when you hear a politician say that a tax cut would be taking income from the government, you’ll understand that they think that a perfectly reasonable conclusion.


But don’t worry. You have the right to pursue happiness. As long as it does not include property ownership.




© Emittravel 2017