Archive | March, 2013

How Charter Schools Can Teach Us to Make Baseball More Profitable, Baseball Players More Productive, and Baseball Fans Better Entertained At Cheaper Prices

31 Mar


It’s opening day of the Major League Baseball Season and the game is simply getting out of hand.  Poor and deteriorating cities are spending taxpayer money that they don’t have, to maintain giant stadiums where these baseball teams play. And in most cases the teams do not even sport winning records.

In fact most of these so called “professional” teams sport winning percentages commonly at 50% or lower and if one team ever wins even 60% of the games it plays it is declared a champion of its division and then sent on to compete for an even grander championship with other so called “high performing” teams.

And although the players on these teams have been trained and educated in their craft for years and often practice on a daily basis most of these players can’t even perform their hitting skills at 30%  proficiency. That’s a 70% or worse failure rate and yet these players are often considered “stars” by their teams and owners and entrenched union supporters and are paid exorbitant salaries that are often passed on to the customers or fans by way of overpriced ticketing, beverage and merchandising costs.

The pitchers on these teams often fail at an even greater rate than the hitters do and yet they are often applauded for their efforts after failing to complete even 60% of their allotted time on the mound while often appearing exhausted and drained after doing so.

This is outrageous! And here is what should be done about it!

For too long the uninspired owners and bloated baseball unions have demanded that 9 players be employed for 9 baseball positions on the field during each game. By eliminating even one of these positions we will be able to save money on baseball salaries thereby decreasing costs in wages while increasing productivity by forcing each remaining player to work harder to cover the 9 positions on the field.

However,  since the baseball field is organized into two distinct areas of play we can eliminate 1 infielder and 1 outfielder per team and reduce the number of players to 7.  Productivity will then double since  the 2 remaining outfielders and 3 remaining infielders will have more area to cover. This will force the players to work and practice harder guaranteeing them a greater percentage of success.

The fans of the game will become happier because the increased activity of the players on the field will be more entertaining to watch and as the players work harder their skills will become more pronounced and greatly improved which will also bring more joy to the fans as they watch their local heroes succeed. The reduced costs in wages to the players can also be passed along to the fans in reduced ticket prices and stadium costs, creating a greater feeling of pride among all of the people of the represented city.

It should also be noted that because of the baseball player’s overbearing, influential and wealthy union many “non-playing” baseball players are forced upon the owners who must then pay for these “non-players” and potential substitutes to sit around all day in air-conditioned dugouts and bullpens just waiting for a chance to get in the game when they aren’t even needed in the first place!

And Amazingly, these substitutes, who do not even possess the skills necessary to “begin” a baseball game and who  are not even expected by the owners, fans, players and union officials to perform at a level anywhere near commensurate with their peers, are paid a full salary also!… to sit and do nothing until called upon!…and often even laughing and cavorting about while their teammates perform miserably on these fields of their fans’ all too often broken dreams!

Imagine having a “team of professionals” where most of the members of the team are not rated as above excellent, excellent or even above average?! These unions must be eliminated so that all of these subpar, ill trained and poor performing workers can be terminated by the new and innovating owners thereby saving untold millions in wasted wages.

The immense savings that will be realized by reducing labor costs, increasing worker productivity and gained in profits for these new non-unionized public “charter teams” can then be passed on to the fans, citizens and city coffers thus creating a national pastime that we all can not only finally afford but also be proud of!

*It should be noted that when these “Charter teams” were given a chance to operate and perform on a limited basis on a real baseball diamond  in a test city the hitters’ skills immediately improved and averages increased among all 7 players per team. Substitutes were never used and every pitcher’s productivity also increased to 100% and in fact each pitcher eventually completed every game that he started.

It should also be noted however, that “burnout” among players was high but this condition did coincide with greater job opportunities for more players and although initial savings to the teams and cities and fans were quite palpable increased compensation to the new owners in the form of bonuses and stipends for management, oversight, intense player development and “other” compensation has eroded initial profit projections and unfortunately we expect to operate at a loss until new expansion opportunities through government partnerships take place.

Now Play Ball!


Judge Not… It’s the Best Way to Learn Something New.

30 Mar

It’s the Easter weekend and after having been raised as a Catholic (although without great fervor) I have come to the conclusion that most of what is written in the Bible is metaphorical… in the sense that it exists and was compiled in an effort to teach us about the trials and tribulations inherent in any life lived among others and to hopefully express ways for us to learn how to treat each other with kindness, love and respect.

Of course I could be wrong… but that’s my point. So could everyone else.

Our world has become filled with a myriad of different beliefs and rituals and followings and followers and there appears to be no reason to believe that a consensus on the subject of religious beliefs is anywhere in sight. In the 2,013 years since the first Easter, Christianity has grown from a few followers to over 2 billion and yet that still represents only about 30% of the world’s population.  Some might say that that is quite an accomplishment but at that rate we should all be Christian in the year…never.

Unless of course every seriously devout Christian’s belief comes true and God returns and kills everyone else…and wouldn’t that be nice? That espoused and widely held belief alone has been enough to help me decide that the answers must lie elsewhere.

So here is what I believe is most likely to be true about god and about ourselves (not that you asked) Joseph Campbell says it best for me in this excerpt from an interview that he did with Bill Moyers.


CAMPBELL: The reference of the metaphor in religious traditions is to something transcendent that is not literally any thing. If you think that the metaphor is itself the reference, it would be like going to a restaurant, asking for the menu, seeing beefsteak written there, and starting to eat the menu.

For example, Jesus ascended to heaven. The denotation would seem to be that somebody ascended to the sky. That’s literally what is being said. But if that were really the meaning of the message, then we have to throw it away, because there would have been no such place for Jesus literally to go. We know that Jesus could not have ascended to heaven because there is no physical heaven anywhere in the universe. Even ascending at the speed of light, Jesus would still be in the galaxy, Astronomy and physics have simply eliminated that as a literal, physical possibility, But if you read “Jesus ascended to heaven” in terms of its metaphoric connotation, you see that he has gone inward – not into outer space but into inward space, to the place from which all being comes, into the consciousness that is the source of all things, the kingdom of heaven within. The images are outward, but their reflection is inward. The point is that we should ascend with him by going inward. It is a metaphor of returning to the source, alpha and omega, of leaving the fixation on the body behind and going to the body’s dynamic source.

MOYERS: Aren’t you undermining one of the great traditional doctrines of the classic Christian faith – that the burial and the resurrection of Jesus prefigures our own?

CAMPBELL: That would be a mistake in the reading of the symbol. That is reading the words in terms of prose instead of in terms of poetry, reading the metaphor in terms of the denotation instead of the connotation.

MOYERS: And poetry gets to the unseen reality.

CAMPBELL: That which is beyond even the concept of reality, that which transcends all thought. The myth puts you there all the time, gives you a line to connect with that mystery which you are.

Shakespeare said that art is a mirror held up to nature. And that’s what it is. The nature is your nature, and all of these wonderful poetic images of mythology are referring to something in you. When your mind is simply trapped by the image out there so that you never make the reference to yourself, you have misread the image.

The inner world is the world of your requirements and your energies and your structure and your possibilities that meets the outer world. And the outer world is the field of your incarnation. That’s where you are. You’ve got to keep both going. As Novalis said, “The seat of the soul is there where the inner and outer worlds meet.”


Happy Holidays to those who observe them and peace and safe journey to all!



What Would Jesus Allow?

29 Mar

Okay, last question… and I’ll try to make it quick. I’ve asked about the coming and the going or rather the coming and the going and the returning of Jesus as those of us who are Christians have learned about it from the Bible or through our various Christian faiths.

Most seem to believe that there will be a return of Jesus to Earth and that it will involve a final reckoning of sorts including possibly a great battle that will destroy most of the people on Earth but leaving some, maybe millions, to enjoy the 1,000 years of peace under the rule of Jesus and the Saints.

Reading about Armageddon always makes my head spin because it makes little sense to me that the “Prince of Peace” or “Lamb of God” would come back to lead all of the children of God in major fisticuffs but that’s the story…so

Here’s my question (And you Biblical scholars out there just might have a spoiler alert that renders my question a bit moot) but here goes…

Jesus returns, great battle ensues, billions are killed, millions survive to live in peace on Earth under Jesus’ rule…

Does Jesus allow the survivors to own guns?

A) yes, freedom means all you can carry!

B) No, what just happened? Duh!

C) yes, but with very strict registration, education, testing on how to use them properly and safely, and licensing laws.

D) Who needs laws? We’re all God loving/fearing Christians now!

When Will He Return?

28 Mar

Voltaire once said, “All men are born with a nose and ten fingers, but no one was born with a knowledge of God.”

And that has always made me wonder…Wouldn’t an innate knowledge of God have been the perfect element to include in a creator’s creation?

But, since it is the Easter season I would like to follow up my last post with another question about what most Christians see as a key component to Christian belief and doctrine and that is that not only did Jesus ascend into heaven bodily where he now sits at the right hand of God (who is also he) but also that Jesus will return someday.

So my next question is: How and when will he do that and how will we know that he is here?

That may sound like a silly question because most stories of Jesus’ return involve an apocalypse or an Armageddon which I am assuming no one could miss but when Jesus was here he never mentioned that he was God or that he would ascend unto Heaven, later to return in a can’t miss demonstration.

He also never advocated any other belief system other than devout and orthodox Judaism nor did he ask for anyone to eschew those beliefs and follow him in a different direction and religion. Also while he was here few people on the planet took any great notice of what he was doing or saying and if not for the later evangelizing of Saul of Tarsus we might have missed him all together.

So might it not be possible that his return visit will cause little stir or notice amongst an even larger world’s population?

What do you think?

Where Did He Go?

27 Mar

I just have a question… and I am being serious when I ask it and I am not trying to be flippant or rude or disrespectful at all. I sincerely mean that, although I do realize that simply by asking the question I will appear flippant, rude and probably disrespectful.

But here’s the question:

I saw this statement today “He Is Risen” and I know that the “He” refers to Jesus/God and I know that the word “Risen” refers to his having left the grave and ascended to heaven and I also know that since Jesus’ body went missing also, we are not just referring to his soul having risen but to his body having risen along with it too. 

So I just want to ask if anyone knows where he went…as in where is heaven?

I haven’t been to church in a while and I am a bit in the dark  as to where religious folk these days consider heaven to be. Is it an actual place? Is it in this reality as in our physical universe or is it in another dimension that can’t be seen by living beings?

I am assuming that since we Christians believe that Jesus took his body with him then bodies must be of some use there but this is just speculation on my part because the rest of us here on Earth never take our bodies anywhere after we die and many of us agree that it is our soul that does the extraterrestrial traveling.

I don’t see how heaven could be in our minds because those cease functioning when we die otherwise we certainly wouldn’t bury the dead or have their bodies (and minds) cremated. And if heaven and Jesus were in the physical and visible universe (As I believed when I was little) we certainly haven’t spotted either with the Hubble telescope yet even though while traveling at the speed of light Jesus’ body would only be 2,012 light years away by now. (Of course I do realize that God could do better than the speed of light if he wanted to)

I also know that many people believe that their loved ones are out there somewhere (and I’m not even excluding myself from that group) because whenever Jonathan Edward or other mediums of his ilk says he is communicating with them many gather around to listen in on the conversations.

Although I hate to think that life in Heaven means hanging around for all eternity just waiting for John to answer his head…but I have always been taught to suppose that anything is possible.

So once again, I am asking all of the true and faithful believers out there…and I ask without judgment or prejudice or disrespect to anyone’s beliefs, because we all must admit that there are quite a few different and varied beliefs out there.

But to all who possess faith in the belief that “He Has Risen” and considering that this is now 2013 years after the event and in light of all of the scientific discoveries that have been made since then and in light of the fact that billions of people were recently so fascinated with the apparent importance of choosing a new Catholic Pope, I humbly ask:

Where do you believe exists the destination to which he went?




Déjà Vu All Over Again?

25 Mar

Well it’s Spring! Although here on the east coast Spring has apparently been lionized for the entire month of March! But no matter what the weatherman says baseball and opening day shall spring eternal on the 31st.

And speaking of America’s favorite pastime, I have been a New York Yankee fan long enough to remember their 1965 collapse into mediocrity after a 1964 season that saw them finish one game away from the World Championship…for in 1965 as the great Yogi Berra might have phrased it, “The Yankees suddenly got old early out there.”

And now 48 years later the Yankees stand on the precipice of doing that very same thing again…but with a twist.

With aging heroes Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira,  Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter all on the disabled list the NY Yankees will owe players who will not be playing on opening day more money than 13 other major league teams will pay their entire roster to actually pitch, catch, hit, field and run when the games begin and the umpires declare “Play ball!”

This sobering fact is leading many fans, executives and experts to predict a last place finish this year for the mighty Yankees… Joltin’ Joe, say it ain’t so…

But still even without the afore mentioned players the 2013 NY Yankees will field a team with a combined payroll greater than all but 7 other teams in the major leagues and Yankee fans can expect to pay more money for season tickets and parking than most Yankees’ players were paid to play during the entire 1965 season.

Who knows what this means but it sure will be interesting to watch and see what happens to a team and its fans in the house that “tax exempt financing” built. Yankee Stadium is the most expensive baseball stadium ever constructed and although the Yankees paid for it (sort of)…They get to use their taxes to pay off their debt which would be like you getting to use your property taxes to pay off your mortgage… (sounds too good to be true doesn’t it?)

Will there be joy in Mudville this year? All I can say is “Stay tuned!” Because when this happened in 1965 the Yankees had to wait until free agency was invented before they could put themselves back together again.

But If it happens again this time, as a Yankee fan rooting for a team with seemingly unlimited resources,  in a city that can’t seem to wait to pick up the tab,  I’m hoping for the next best thing…

The invention of Cyborgs!


Spring’s Hope Eternal

24 Mar

“If a man loses pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured, or far away.”                                     -Thoreau

History tells us that long term changes in social attitudes among human populations mostly involve a slow and arduous process involving argument, discussion, political upheaval and quite often intense strife and even war.

It usually begins somewhere and at some place in time with an outspoken individual or group who, whether inadvertently or by design, lead the world in a new and different direction.

And while we all have a voice and whether or not we perform in solo or in grand chorus, the trick it seems is to not be so loud, nor strike the proper chord, as it is to be singing the proper song…and then of course, to be able to recognize harmony when we hear it.

We’ve sung the songs of Monarchy, intolerance, slavery, racism, nuclear proliferation and at other times we’ve sung the songs of rebellion, freedom, democracy and peace.

Many tunes sound melodic and can get your toes a-tappin’ and a crowd to sing along, but how do we know when and if it’s the proper song to sing ?

And what about that drumbeat we hear? Should we march…or sit, and wait to serve another? Or beat our own drum and serve ourselves?

Hopefully someday, no matter the beat or  step, we’ll all head in the same direction and sing to a tune that can and will include all of our voices.

This Could Only Happen In America…Or the Bible.

22 Mar

So I heard about this controversy on of all places sports talk radio. Apparently the sports host was watching the new miniseries about the Bible and immediately recognized the character of Satan as our own current President Obama and then when he saw follow up stories in the newspaper and on the internet and took a look at the juxtaposed photos of President Obama and the miniseries’ Satan he was sure of it. Here’s the photo.

In fact, just about everyone who looks at the photo and who has seen the miniseries spots the amazing resemblance. How about you?

When asked about whether or not the resemblance was intended the History Channel had this to say:

“ It’s unfortunate that anyone made this false connection. HISTORY’s ‘The Bible’ is meant to enlighten people on its rich stories and deep history.”

The series creator Mark Burnett said: “This is utter nonsense, The actor who played Satan, is a highly acclaimed Moroccan actor. He has previously played parts in several Biblical epics– including Satanic characters long before Barack Obama was elected as our President.” (so I’m guessing this makes the actor an expert on what Satan really looks like?)

And his wife, Roma Downey, who is also one of the producers added: “False statements such as these are just designed as a foolish distraction to try and discredit the beauty of the story of The Bible.” And Ms. Romey has made a career out of playing a real live angel on TV so she is somewhat of an expert too I guess.

And even Jesus, or rather the actor who portrays Jesus, chimed in on the controversy by saying:

“I don’t think that’s controversial at all, I think that’s so funny. Mehdi Ouazanni, who plays the devil, did a nice job and it was awesome and never — not even for one second — were we even thinking about that, so I think it’s hilarious.”

So here is a photo of  the actor Mehdi Ouazanni:

Obviously a makeup specialist did his hair, blackened his face and added a few extra touches to make him appear more “Satan” like. (after all any real TV aficionado knows Zorro when he sees him!)

Now whether we fellow Americans should take offense or umbrage at this portrayal of Satan as the President of the United States  may be debatable… but what I find most amusing is that all of these fine actors, and producers and make-up specialists on the set of this miniseries, despite their years of experience and expertise in the business, can’t seem to see or even acknowledge the strange resemblance that most of the 68 million mortal viewers watching it on TV can.

Could that be some kind of miracle?

But on the other hand Mark Burnett, who is also the creator of such biblically epic shows like Survivor, Celebrity Apprentice, The Voice, and Shark Tank, has said that he believes there is a devil on earth and that  the real devil is scared that Jesus has now entered the picture (in the miniseries) and is trying to distract from Jesus’ message by creating this false story  and a false likeness between Obama and the TV devil because the show is hugely popular and is having a big impact on viewers.

Now that’s a miracle!

But Mr. Burnett and his TV angel wife are confident that the real devil’s plan of distraction will not work, saying, “We believe in the light.”

Television and religion: what a combination! Who but the devil could have thought that one up?

O Fish How Art Thou Fishified!

20 Mar

I knew I was right about fish!

When I was a child I hated fish because to me it always tasted fishy which was not a flavor that I enjoyed. My dad however, loved fish and he would always have me try different types of fish to see if there was one that I perhaps liked better than the others. For my dad each fish had its own taste but for me?…All I could taste was fishy. Fish tasted like fish and even when my dad would try to tell me that this new fish that I should taste would taste like chicken all my taste buds could taste was fish. Yuck, send it back to the ocean and give me the chicken please.

Now that I’ve grown up…I still don’t like fish but I feel that I have finally been vindicated in my culinary discerning of flavor and taste because according to several recent studies and investigations More than one-fifth of 190 pieces of seafood  bought at retail stores and restaurants in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut were mislabeled as different species of fish, incompletely labeled, or misidentified by employees.

and guess what? Even though Americans spent $80.2 billion on seafood last year Nobody could taste the difference…so take that you Long John Silver lovers!

And according to Oceana’s seafood studies this is not just a regional problem but also a nationwide issue. Their findings showed that 58 of 81 retail outlets sold mislabeled fish. That’s over 70%!  And 100 percent of the 16 sushi bars tested sold mislabeled fish.

I knew there was something fishy about sushi!

But it gets worse…In small markets Tilefish, on the FDA’s do-not-eat list because of its high mercury content, was often substituted for snapper and halibut and 94 percent of all “white tuna” was not tuna at all. In fact Red Snapper was the most often mislabeled fish or the one that could not be identified at all. Talk about a fishamajig!

And if you like Atlantic Halibut then you really shouldn’t buy that at all. Why? Because Atlantic Halibut is all but extinct these days…but don’t despair because it tastes just like Pacific Halibut which is pretty much the same thing even though it’s not the same thing but apparently you won’t be able to taste the difference because…fish tastes like fish!

And do not plunk down any money for the Blue fin Tuna unless you are paying about $2,000 per fish or around 65 bucks per pound because the world has eaten just about all there is of that “chicken of the sea”. If you purchase Blue Fin at a great price you’re probably getting something else that tastes like…you know. But according to FDA officials, it’s acceptable for various species of tuna to be labeled as Ahi tuna as long as that “doesn’t confuse consumers.”

Hey! What’s this whale doing in my Whaler?

However, anyone wishing to avoid seafood high in mercury should take note: The mercury content of different tuna species that may be labeled as Ahi tuna can vary. According to the FDA some tunas have twice the mercury concentration as others and if you do some research on your own you’ll discover that you really shouldn’t be eating any tuna at all. Why?

BECAUSE IT HAS MERCURY IN IT! (as does most if not all fish but tuna is to mercury like water is to a sponge)

The FDA will tell you that there is a safe amount of mercury to eat but the tuna industry pays a   lot of money for marketing and advertising and lobbying the federal government to keep its product rolling off the shelves so you know how that goes when it comes to FDA standards.

They say one can a week is safe but if you are a young women who is pregnant or even thinking about having a child, I wouldn’t touch the stuff…I mean really mom…how much gravel and dirt will you tell your little children is safe to ingest later in life when they’re out on the playground?

But there is good news. Earthlings love fish so much, even though they can’t tell a Peruvian Sea Bass from a Patagonian Tilefish, that  according to more researchers, there will be no seaf­ood left to catch by 2048, except for jellyfish, which will thrive in the ocean’s future and collapsed ecosystem.

Luckily, they say th­at jellyfish have the same nutritional content as shrimp, which is pretty darn good because I hear that shrimp taste just like…chicken!

19 Mar

A good visual depiction of how we distribute the wealth in America.

Data Driven Viewpoints

Who Owns What In America?
Imagine lining up everyone in America according to what they own, starting with those who own nothing and continuing down the line to those who own a lot.  Now divide that line of people into five equally long segments.  Each segment would include 20% of the total population, or about 61.7 million people.  Next, add up the total amount of what everyone owns in each segment.  The result is represented by the pie chart below.  The whole pie represents the total wealth in America.  The size of each slice represent the ratio of how much each segment owns of America’s wealth.  The slice of ownership for the poor and working poor are barely visible.  80% of all Americans own just 15.6% of America’s wealth.

The number of people who slipped into poverty in 2010 is an all time high of 46.2 million, so the poorest 20%…

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