Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Laurel Street Fair and the Sad Lack of Baseball Brawls

Michael L.

pinella munson
Yankee left-fielder, Lou Pienella,
and catcher, Thurmon Munson in 1976.
Anyone who follows my writings knows that I live in the San Francisco Bay Area.

In fact, I lived in a variety of apartments in San Francisco with Laurie throughout the late 1990s and 00s before we purchased a home in the Laurel District of Oakland.  I have lived in North Beach, two separate residences in the Richmond District, and the Excelsior in SF.  Now we own a place in the Oakland foothills and I love our neighborhood, in part because I love good food.

I am actually kind-of a skinny guy.  I do not really eat that much, but I used to cook for a living and know a thing or two about deliciousness.  The worst food on the planet comes from people with money and the best food comes from the poor.  Anthony Bourdain would definitely agree. Nobody on this planet eats worse than the ignorant rich.

They obviously eat more, but they definitely do not eat more deliciously.

They like to think that they do because they can afford expensive restaurants, but on a day-to-day matter they do not.

There is something pathetic about rich people spending considerable money in cities throughout the United States and Europe for inferior food.  What I would recommend to anyone who wants to eat deliciously is to go into your local poor neighborhoods.

I live on the cusp of rich people and poor people.  If I look east, toward the Oakland hills, I see the homes of the wealthy.  If I look west, toward downtown, I see ghetto between here and there.

Downtown, itself, is actually doing pretty well and Oakland, in general, while always struggling, is seeing some very interesting development in various spots around the city and Laurie and I are even considering buying into Oakland's waterfront area just opposite the cute island town of Alameda, which, itself, is just east across the Bay from San Francisco.

I am not jumping into anything, but we shall see.  One thing is certain, more and more white, middle-class, upward-mobile yupsters are buying housing in the East Bay because San Francisco is just too damn expensive.  The median home price there is now upwards of one million dollars and it is turning San Francisco into a ginger-bread town.  I love the place but, year upon year, it is becoming more a tourist destination than a place for people to live... but this has been going on for a long time.

In any case, come next month we are having the Laurel Street Fair, which actually takes place on MacArthur Boulevard, but who is counting?

This is a little video concerning the upcoming event that one of my neighbors put together and it says a lot about the best of human diversity.

People from a huge variety of backgrounds can, in fact, live in harmony.  We have not seen a whole lot of JayinPhiladelphia recently, but I know for certain that he would agree with that sentiment.



This is diversity in its positive aspect.

Not only do I get to see these beautiful women dance, but I am within a stone's throw of great Chinese food, great Soul food, great Indian food, great Japanese food, great Pakistani food, and a new joint that just opened up down the road called Sequoia that is bringing the regular American diner to the next level.

This, obviously, is not my usual kind of post.  I am not bitching about the heinous Obama administration and its loathsome foreign policy in the Middle East and I am not fretting over what I have to say that might be more acceptable to university professors or the editors of news.

But sometimes it is nice to look out your window and know where you are.

{This piece is for Jay.}

Go Giants!

Go A's!

We live where we are and, I have to tell you, I am exceedingly happy to live where I do.

The Giants play in AT&T Park while the A's play in the Oakland Coliseum, otherwise known as "the bunker."

The park is beautiful.  The bunker is not.

I've actually learned to appreciate the bunker.  I cannot get sushi - not that I would ever want to eat sushi there - but the fans are one hell of a lot more fun.  These are not polite upscale yuppies, but rowdy working-class people who scream their bleeding heads off.

In fact, I am becoming more and more convinced that there is a direct and mathematical correspondence to the downfall of the United States and the lack of baseball brawls in recent decades.

:O)

Well, alright, perhaps not mathematical.

But what does it say about the character of the United States if we no longer have baseball brawls?

Anyone who knows anything about American baseball knows about the ugly rivalry between the noble New York Yankees and the insidious Boston Red Sox.

In 1973 the Yanks slugged it out with the Sox and Red Sox pitcher, Bill Lee - who I actually have considerable fondness for - claimed that seeing the Yankees fight was like watching a bunch of women sling around their purses.  I am paraphrasing, but this is essentially what he told the Boston sports press at the time.

Three years later, in Yankee Stadium, Yankee third-basemen, Graig Nettles (a palooka, for sure) absolutely kicked Bill Lee's ass.

He was later quoted as saying something like, "I just did not want Bill to think that he was being hit by a purse."

I am pretty sure that the announcer was Phil Rizzuto, otherwise known as the Scooter.

{Holy Cow!}

Bill Lee never quite recovered from Graig Nettles beating.

Lee later claimed that he suspected Yankees manager, Billy Martin, of encouraging his players to hit him in the head.  He referred to "Yankee Brownshirts" or "Martin's Brownshirts."

Well, Billy Martin was a tough guy, but a small fellah.  As a second basemen in the glory days of the Yanks in the 1950s he never hit many home runs, but he certainly hit enough guys in bars.

He said that it was not the size of the dog in the fight that matters, but the size of the fight in the dog.



Laurie and I are going to watch the insidious Cleveland Indians get their tushkies beaten by the Oakland Athletics in the bunker on this coming Saturday afternoon.

I intend to eat a few dogs and maybe drink a few beers.

I doubt that I will get into a fight, unless my brother Steven shows up... and, in that case, I would love to get into a fight.  There are sometimes people who deserve a good slug in the mouth, after all.

{Am I wrong?}

Who is an extremist?

Sar Shalom

One of the common epithets hurled at those exercising Jewish rights to visit the Temple Mount is that of "extremist." For the Arabs to use that language is understandable, however, even the UN has taken to doing so. Without going too deep into the UN's designation of Jews visiting their own holy sites as "extremists," it is worth reflecting on the history of making such designations.

In this country there is a history of calling anyone promoting unpopular rights an "extremist." One notable example is Martin Luther King Jr., who wrote in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail, "At first I was rather disappointed that fellow clergyman would see my nonviolent efforts as those of an extremist."

What the example of King shows is that branding someone an "extremist" does not necessarily mean anything about the target of the branding. Rather, it can simply mean that the person doing the branding, due to extreme bigotry, viscerally opposes the target's goals. In the meantime, we should start to compare those who, like the UN Special Coordinator, call Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount "extremists" to the bigots who labelled King an "extremist."

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Ding Dong Kuntar Is Dead!

Doodad

According to reports, the IDF has killed baby killer Samir Kuntar. Woo hoo! One down.

{Editor's note - what Doodad is referring to here is the fact that the IDF targeted and struck a vehicle in the Golan Heights containing Hezbollah fighters and tacticians, along with an individual, Samir Kuntar, who became a hero within Hezbollah because  killed a Jewish father and his four your old daughter by smashing her head in with the butt of a rifle.}



Monday, July 27, 2015

A Hunchbacked Warthog Makes Growling Sounds at Israel

Michael L.

Adiv Sterman, writing in the Times of Israel, tells us:
warthogAs part of the Obama administration’s current campaign to push the Iranian deal signed July 14 in Vienna, Kerry told an audience at the Council of Foreign Relations in New York on Friday that should Congress vote against the agreement, “our friends in Israel could actually wind up being more isolated, and more blamed.”

The statement was promptly rejected by the former Israeli ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, now a member of the centrist Kulanu party.

“If American legislators reject the nuclear deal, they will do so exclusively on the basis of US interests. The threat of the secretary of state who, in the past, warned that Israel was in danger of becoming an apartheid state, cannot deter us from fulfilling our national duty to oppose this dangerous deal,” Oren said in a statement.
 "our friends in Israel"?

John Kerry has friends in Israel?  This is rather difficult to imagine, actually, but I suppose that there must be one or two people in Israel who do not actively despise Barack Obama and John Kerry.

This administration is about as popular as a hunchbacked warthog with herpes in Israel... and that goes at least as much for the Arabs as the Jews, because both understand that in allowing Iranian nuclear weaponry it is enabling the potential holocaust of both people.  It must also be remembered that Sunnis and Shias distrust one another almost as much as they distrust and despise Jews.

This is not the first time, by the way, that Kerry has made these kinds of veiled threats and the "isolation" of Israel is an ongoing theme with the Obama administration.  Israel is constantly admonished by the U.S. administration in terms that I interpret as follows:
You guys better do as you are told or something bad could happen.   
We are your best friends and we would not want to see you get hurt, so you better listen up.
You will allow the murderers of Jews out of Israeli prisons.   
Your leadership will apologize before the international community to those who seek you harm by supporting efforts to break the blockade of Gaza and, thus, allow-in weaponry against you.
You will not let your people build housing for themselves on the parts of your land where we disapprove of your presence.   
We will arm your Iranian enemies with the world's most dangerous weapons and you will be quiet.   
We will also flood the Iranian economy with one hundred and fifty billion dollars which they can use to bolster genocidally anti-Semitic organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah, but you will remain quiet.   
When Arabs shoot rockets at your people you will sustain the suffering of your children without response because to do otherwise would constitute an act of aggression and a war crime.
One of the memorable catch-phrases of the Obama administration is this notion of "leading from behind."  This is a very real thing and Obama has perfected it in terms of Israel.  In order to lead "from behind" one needs both the authority of position and the enthusiasm of those one is behind leading.  Obama knows very well that both the EU and the UN are hungry for more sanctions and harassment of the lone, sole Jewish state.  All Obama needs to do is remark about how displeased he is with the Jews Israelis in order to send a message throughout Europe that it is open season and to give the BDS movement a shot in the arm.

At the same time, however - given Israel's economic, technical, and diplomatic relationships all around the world - Kerry's forebodings of "isolation" seem more like an attempt to play on Jewish fears more than anything else.  The last thing that Israel is, or is likely to be going forward, is "isolated."  The Jewish people in the Middle East are a people under siege, that is certainly true..  European Jewry is under siege, as well, because of the deterioration of Enlightenment values throughout that continent.

American, Canadian, and Australian Jews are doing nicely because of the strength of secular democracy within those countries.  Nonetheless, the history of the Jewish people, as a whole, is that of a people under siege and, therefore, it is not difficult for powerful people, such as those from the Obama administration, to manipulate Jewish fears, which is precisely what they are doing.

Whenever the Obama administration starts making noises about Israeli "isolation" or the likelihood of Israel becoming a heinous "apartheid" state unless it does what it is told, these are veiled threats exploiting historically-based Jewish fears.  It is a way for non-Jews with an agenda, like John Kerry, to use Jewish apprehensions, given our history, as a weapon against us.  When people like Kerry claim that Israel is becoming, or already is, an "apartheid state" what they are saying is that like apartheid South Africa, it must be dismantled in favor of something else.  In this case the "something else" is a 23rd Arab-Muslim Koranically-based dictatorship.

A direct threat, obviously, was the suggestion that, given Israel's refusal to sometimes do as told, the Obama administration may very well turn upon it at the United Nations.

As CNN reported after Netanyahu's recent victory at the polls:
Washington (CNN) The Obama administration's frustration with Benjamin Netanyahu is turning into outright hostility after the Israeli prime minister's commanding victory this week.

Administration officials greeted his win with harsh words Wednesday and suggestions that the U.S. might scale back its support for Israel at the United Nations, a significant reversal in policy after years of vetoing resolutions damaging to Jerusalem.

A senior administration official said that Netanyahu's sharp tacks to the right before Tuesday's vote -- in which he ruled out the creation of a Palestinian state, a pillar of U.S. policy in the Middle East -- "raise very significant substantive concerns" for the White House, and that "we have to reassess our options going forward."
There is no question, in my mind, at least, that the Obama administration is the most hostile American administration toward the Jewish State of Israel in the history of the United States.  The reason that the Obama administration is hostile to Israel is not out of some form of direct anti-Semitism, but through the influence of post-colonial theory in the academe, which represents the very basis of Obama's political thinking.

Post-colonial theory, as presented by anti-Israel / anti-Western / anti-American professors like Noam Chomsky, Edward Said, and Rashid Khalidi, suggests that the world is divided between white, western imperialists and their non-European victims "of color" and that Israel is a white, European transplant onto the indigenous soil of another people.

Thus Israel - and ultimately thereby the Jews - must be opposed and undermined.

Yet, somehow, we are supposed to believe that this is actually in the best interest of the Jewish people.

It isn't.

Finally, John Kerry would honestly have us believe that if the U.S. Congress rejects the Iran deal, this is the fault of the Jews in Israel or will be considered as such?

This is profoundly disturbing and reminiscent of European thinking in the early-middle part of the twentieth-century.