Sunday, March 23, 2014

Wondering Why I Can't Recall A Leave It To Beaver College Experience At Oregon State

I just happened to be at a U-Haul place this morning getting a truck with my Dad and stumbled across an Oregon State alumni magazine on a chair in the lobby, so I picked it up and started reading some of the feature articles about distinguished alumni.   What caught my attention, just like every time I've read the Oregon Stater alumni magazine, is how Leave It To Beaver-esque the college years come across in print.

Seriously, the writers make it sound like these distinguished alumni had a college experience where everyone acted like Wally and The Beav and mischievous Eddy Haskell-characters never existed.

But for some reason, I cannot recall any point in my college experience at OSU where I ever got that, "Ah gee Wally, that sure is swell," kind of feeling.  Nor a classic Leave It To Beaver virtuous life lesson moment like this ever crossed my mind:

But when I read a feature about an OSU alumni who has done well in life (and donated a significant amount of money to the school), I get the feeling that they lived on the set with the fictional Cleavers where their college years were absolutely perfect.  Fraternity boys courted sorority girls, going steady all four years.  And after college, the sweethearts got married and raised above average children.  Sort of a 1950's television fantasy.  

Something tells me the writers for the Oregon State alumni publications won't ever print the most memorable stories that many of the most distinguished alumni created during their college years.  Things like keg stands, streaking down Greek Row, panty raids on Betty Childs, etc.   Instead we readers are stuck with recycled Leave It To Beaver-esque fables from a bygone era that probably never existed even back in the day.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Barry Bonds Still Pretty Damn Awesome At Hitting A Baseball

I saw this article this morning on NBC Sports' Hardball Talk about Barry Bonds putting on an awesome hitting display at San Francisco Giants' spring training camp and it brought back a lot of great memories for me as a baseball fan watching Barry Bonds over the years.

My first real appreciation of Bonds's great talents came my freshman year in high school in 1992, watching a CBS Saturday baseball game.  The Pirates were in Atlanta playing the Braves on a sunny afternoon facing either Charlie Liebrandt or maybe Kent Mercker.  

Bonds came up for the second or third time, choked up two inches on his bat, and launched a home run deep into the right field seats.  My JV baseball coach at the time emphasized two strike hitting, which meant he wanted us to choke up 1-2 inches on the bat with two strikes in order to put the ball in play as opposed to striking out.

When I saw Bonds hit a home run on a 1-1 count where he was already choked up two inches, I was fully convinced that it worked.  (There's a lot more that goes into hitting than just choking up.  If it were that easy, everyone would just choke up!).

Ever since then, I always loved watching Barry Bonds hit a baseball.  During my lifetime, nobody has done it better.  Yes, I know that there was the BALCO stuff that prolonged his greatness into his late thirties and early forties.  But, still, he dominated the game of baseball as the greatest offensive force since Babe Ruth and Ted Williams.  And I loved watching him wait patiently for that one pitch per game that he could drive. Some games he wouldn't get that pitch.  He just patiently waited for just that one pitch and he hardly ever missed it.  (I wish I could have found it on YouTube.  But this one below is a lot better)

So seeing Hardball Talk cover Barry's awesome BP display made me smile.  He's still got it.  I would have loved to be down there to see it.

Instead, the only athletic exploits of Barry Bonds we get to see nowadays are his cycling pics that show up on the internet from time to time.

Friday, March 7, 2014

My First Google+1 Recommendation From A Doozy Of a Post

This morning I logged into my Gmail account and saw that "IAM Woods +1'd your post" from an entertaining video clip I posted with interviews of Romney supporters in the Midwest that ended with the guy pictured below telling Chase Whiteside that, "Buddhists are coming into America and taking away our freedom of religion."  I guess if ever there was a clip to get my first Google +'d, this would be the one.

Beyond the comic relief of the Buddhist comment, it got me to re-watch the video clip and something occurred to me:  The political media entrepreneurs and media personalities on the right are amazing at their job and deserve all the fame, fortune, and accolades they receive from their loyal fans who consume their product several hours a day, buy their books, attend their rallies, and donate to their SuperPACs.

They've done their homework and spent a lot of time and money identifying who their most profitable ideal client is.  What they've discovered is their biggest fears, problems, worries, what keeps them up at night, what they believe spiritually and religiously, who they admire, their income level, their retirement savings, etc.  They know this person down to the most trivial detail and have set out to serve the needs of this person.

And they're absolutely kicking ass at shaping the opinions of millions of people, even when to some of those with differing viewpoints like myself, the simple narrative doesn't always check out.  (We independents don't see any difference between George W. Bush and Barack Obama except that Obama is a more polished speaker).  

It pains me to say this, but that former governor of Alaska is one helluva an effective salesperson whose message, despite being hard to tell what it is in most interviews, is what a lot of people want to consume...Just watch the clip - these people sound just like her, reciting her soundbites over and over, including Doc Brown's sister pictured below:  

The video hits home again that we are inherently intellectually lazy by nature.  We like to have the answers to the world packaged by a pretty face or respectable man of authority in a quick 30 second sound bite that is repeated so often that after a while it becomes accepted as fact.  They knew this back in the days of Richard Nixon as John Cook of Gawker wrote about in June 2011 after looking through recently released papers from the Nixon years

Kudos to these entrepreneurs for going out and building a business to serve their loyal customers.  They are bringing joy, happiness, and peace of mind to millions of people by addressing their biggest fears or by telling them what their biggest fears should be.  Things like:  

And there's only one way to survive this which is packaged into a simple narrative that will solve all these problems, which is to fully support the right political party (and buy gold to survive the end times, support our troops stationed in 156 of the world's 198 countries protecting American corporate interestsdismiss the impact a warming climate will have as an evil hoax, etc) which can be delivered to you 24/7 via these same brilliant entrepreneurs and media personalities, who deserve the millions of dollars they earn each year for continually keeping the customer satisfied.