Thursday, October 13, 2005

Will there be anyone left to turn out the lights?

What with former GOP Majority Leader Tom DeLay doubly indicted and now GOP Senate Leader Bill Frist issued a subpoena as part of a growing SEC investigation into his all-too-convenient stock dealings, who is going to be left to lead the Republican’s in Congress?
And then, of course, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald’s investigation into the Plame scandal appears to be widening and is expected to soon lead to indictments of a number of Bush administration officials including Karl Rove and Scooter Libby. This could lead to more infighting inside the administration and further deteriorate Bush’s anemic poll numbers which of course is all good news for Democrats in 2006.

No excuse for this

I used to think it was just a celebratory thing. After every strikeout the catcher would whip the ball down to first base and then it would go around the horn before being tossed back to the mound.
But last night the backup catcher for the Angels took the third called strike and just rolled it back to the mound in what proved to be a costly mistake that led to a White Sox victory in the ninth inning.
The catcher should have known better. Always throw to first after every strikeout, no matter.
I bet he doesn’t make that mistake again.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Bob Dylan: Song stylist

My good friend Jose Johnson has recently launched his own blog and commented the other day on the Martin Scorsese-directed documentary about Bob Dylan’s early days.

Joe notes that watching the film has made him rethink his opinion of Dylan who he admits he used to not like because of his “nasal, toneless voice that just absolutely grated on me.”

Now, Joe says he has a greater respect for Dylan as a songwriter and as “one of the few artists of that time who truly captured the zeitgeist of the era.”

But Joe concludes that he would still always prefer hearing Dylan’s music sung by someone else.

I have to disagree. While Dylan may not have the sweetest singing voice, it is still tremendously expressive and most of his songs are far from being what one would call sweet. Having a rough or gravely voice is certainly not an impediment to a singer, just look at Louis Armstrong.
Dylan was more than just a talented songwriter. He was a song stylist. Many of his songs were perfectly suited for his rough voice with their often-times bitter, angry and sarcastic themes.

While there are plenty of performers who did well singing Dylan’s songs - Peter, Paul & Mary, The Byrds, Johnny Cash - there are many more songs that wouldn’t be the same if they were sung by anyone else.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Chomsky Bashing

Expressing admiration or respect for Noam Chomsky these days can get a person into a lot of trouble. Chomsky is a popular target for ridicule and denigration from folks on both the right and the left.

While I don’t consider myself a Chomskyite or any such thing, I do acknowledge that he has influenced my political thought over time and I continue to hold him in high regard as an intellectual heavyweight of the Left. That doesn’t mean I agree with everything he says or endorse all of his positions. Nor do I wish to defend all of his past controversial statements or make apologies for his mistakes. But I do like to read his thoughts on current issues. To that end, I find it interesting that he now keeps a blog which is updated fairly regularly and even allows for comments.

As an illustration of the unifying effect that Chomsky-bashing can have, I was amused to read the following exchange the other day by two frequent commenters at All Things Conservative in which they suddenly found themselves in agreement after going at one another for several rounds.

“I'm no fan of that putz Noam Chomsky,” declared commenter Libertas. “I am a socially conservative Libertarian. This is the direct opposite end of every spectrum from Chomsky's Atheistic Socialist totalitarianism.”

“It's a relief to know you are no Chomskyite,” chimed in commenter X “That was perplexing me. Someone so evenhanded, reasonable and generous in debate could not possibly be a Noam fan.”

It was almost touching the way these two fierce debating opponents were suddenly able to find common ground in their mutual disdain for Professor Chomsky. Maybe that has been Chomsky’s secret plan all along, to bring people with divergent views together by giving them a common enemy to despise. But, then again, maybe not.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Baseball playoffs

The Red Sox and the Padres are gone. The Yankees are on the ropes and now so are the Braves.
It's been a pretty good playoff series so far. Here is what it looks like for those who haven't been paying attention:

ALDS: Chicago White Sox defeat Boston Red Sox 3-0
ALDS: L.A. Angels lead N.Y. Yankees 2-1
NLDS: St. Louis Cardinals defeat San Diego Padres 3-0
NLDS: Houston Astros lead Atlanta Braves 2-1

I'd like to see the Yankees come back and I hope the Astros can finish off Atlanta in Game 4. If the Yankees don't make it, I will be rooting for the White Sox to go all the way and win the World Series, unless they end up playing the Astros. As long as the Astros are still in it they will be my favorites, but if they get knocked out I will revert back to either the Yankees or White Sox.

By the way, does anyone know why the Angels are now called the Los Angeles Angels if they are still playing in Anaheim?