Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Odd Bits - The Run-by Fruiting Edition

OK, it’s time to get my head out of the 80s and see what’s going on around here.

Biggest news around these parts is about when the Orioles were in the 9th inning break in San Francisco, over the weekend, someone in the stands threw a banana onto the field, by O’s centerfielder, Adam Jones.  (Jones is African-American.)

No one in the media noticed at the time, but that changed once Jones placed the following tweet:

That got people’s attention. 

Jones is a regular presence on the Twitter, so his tweet drew quite a number of responses.  The sad part was that so many were defending the banana tosser.  You’d think that we were past squeezing out the giant pile of blatant, steaming racism, and into more subtler, “Voter ID” forms of racism, but this incident, as well as the one with that Missouri rodeo clown in the Obama mask, shows there’s still a glaring blind spot in our communal eye.

To be fair, a person claiming to be Banana Boy called into a radio station to apologize, saying he was just mad at the Giants for sucking so badly, and grabbed a banana off a fruit stand and throwing it.  He said there was no racist intent, as he didn't even know Jones was in the area.

Perhaps that’s true, if the caller really was the Mad Fruit Bomber, but isn't throwing anything on the field an obvious no-no?  I believe the only acceptable object to be thrown onto a baseball field is a home run ball hit by the opposition.  Other than that, you can throw up, throw down, throw a fit, throw a pose, or throw the baby out with the bathwater, but don’t throw anything on the playing field.

When bananas go bad.
What I want to know, besides why a baseball park has a fruit cart, is why did the guy choose to throw a banana?  Wouldn't an apple or orange be a better “throwing fruit?”  All I can figure is that maybe the dude wasn't trying to throw anything on the field at all… he was trying to use the banana for the boomerang effect.

Sadly, he totally slipped on banana appeal.

The Fall Season
Last night, another fan was killed from a fall at a baseball game.  This time, it was in Atlanta, where a fan fell from an upper level, 65 feet down to the parking lot below.  This is the third such case, in recent years, where someone has died from a fall at a ballpark.

It’s a tragedy; I don’t know what else there is to say.  I guess they ought to put up some higher railings.  I’m just surprised that these things don’t happen more often, and not only from ramps and platforms, but from the seats.  Those upper deck seating areas can be pretty steep.  I always worry about toppling ass-over-elbows all the way down the steps whenever I’m up there, even without beer…  And it’s scary because it seems like the upper deck is where you find the most troublemakers.  If you get in a scuffle up there, it’s not hard to imagine taking a pretty long tumble.

Delayed Gratification
There was an article today about another delay in implementing a featured benefit of Obamacare.  It seems they’re delaying the establishment of out-of-pocket caps for at least another year, to give the insurance companies more time to refine their computer models or whatnot.

Naturally, the Republicans are all over it, both criticizing Obamacare in general, and taking care to support the delay.  In fact, besides taking useless symbolic votes in The House, their primary tactic seems to be running out the clock.  They know the longer they can delay the engagement of the most beneficial parts of Obamacare, the more time they have to regain control of the Senate and/or Presidency, and repeal it altogether.  The worst thing that can happen to them is to have it roll out and become popular.

They only win if they can keep people afraid of it long enough to win the next elections.  If people are taking advantage of their new-found benefits, it’s going to be hard for them to explain why they’re trying to kill something that helps so many people.  The GOP can’t very well tell them the truth, which is that it’s not helping “their” people. 

The Republicans aren't interested in consumer protection.  They’re interested in protecting business from consumers.

The Next Development in Transportation: The Habitrail
Have you heard about the next big thing in rapid transit?  The guy that founded Paypal, Tesla Motors and (private space travel company) Space-X, is developing a tube-like long distance transportation system, which runs similarly to the way you send your deposit in to the teller at a drive-up bank window.

The capsules in this tube are supposed to run at over 700 mph, in an enclosed tube using fans, magnets and a cushion of air, like that on an air-hockey table.  That’s a rate that would take you from LA to San Francisco in a half an hour.

It’s an interesting idea… it’s fast, environmentally friendly, safe, and will probably never come to fruition.  I mention the latter because there’s no way the Powers That Be (namely the fossil fuel, automotive and airline industries) will let this thing get built as is.  Well, at least not without mitigating all the advantages.

With a price tag for construction at almost 70 billion, I’d have to wonder how much a ticket would cost an average consumer.  With that kind of layout, it would take quite a while for it to become profitable. 

That’s why I’m guessing that if things ever get serious with the HyperLoop, (as it’s called), the aforementioned Powers That Be will lobby hard to attach various requirements to ensure the production costs go even higher, thus making it more and more difficult to break even, thus scuttling even the most conservative business model.

They’ll never make any money if only the 1%ers can afford a ticket, making it an earthbound version of Concorde.

But damn, I bet it would be a fun ride.  Can you imagine going 700 mph on the ground?  Geez, I could sit down in the bathroom car in Los Angeles, (if there is such a thing) and by the time I’m done with my article, I’d be wiping my butt in San Jose.

OMG, what if the bathroom fan interfered with the fans producing the car’s velocity?  I’d hate for the captain to have to get on the speaker and be like, “We’re sorry, we’re going to be a little late getting into San Francisco, because someone couldn't pass up second helpings on Burrito Day.”

Proud Mary
I had lunch today with Mary, who is a good friend of mine, and about 10 years my senior.  She and I founded our company’s ragtag band of Steeler fan rebels, called the Steel City Underground.  Because it was threatening rain, she carried her black and gold Steelers umbrella, which reminded her to tell me the following story.

The other day, it was raining (again) so she was using her Steelers umbrella as she walked up the street to our office building in downtown Baltimore.  Suddenly she saw a car come veering over to the sidewalk, right where she was walking.  She was initially worried that the driver was in distress, but that idea was soon dismissed as he rolled by and splashed her with the water standing by the curb.  His window was open and he shouted out, “You fuckin' Steeler bitch!

Nice, Baltimore, very classy.  Way to pick on a sweet little lady.   That right there says everything you ever need to know about Ratbird fans. And to think I was going to lighten up on the Rattie abuse this year.  “Charm City,” my ass.  I can’t wait for football season to start.  When they don’t repeat as Super Bowl Champions, (and they won’t), it will be just as sweet as the Steelers winning another one.

OK, almost as sweet…  I don’t want to get blasé about it just because we've had so much more practice at winning Super Bowls.


Mary Ann said...

Poor Mary. What do you expect from fans of a team named for a carrion bird made famous by a drunk.

bluzdude said...

Win a third Super Bowl? Nevermore.

Valerie said...

Maybe he thought the banana would boomerang back. FYI: they don't.



Mary Ann said...

"QUOTH the Raven..."

bluzdude said...

I totally believe that you would know that.