Same old, same old

Barack Obama is doing everything he possibly can to make me NOT vote for him this November.

Now I’m aware that a lot of you are ardent Barack Obama supporters, so what I say here may hurt your feelings a little bit. (I don’t really know why, but generally people seem to take it personally when I say something negative about His Barackness.) All I ask of you is that you read this post, THINK about it, and then feel free to leave your comments.

If you’ve watched a news channel in the last year and a half, you know Barack Obama is really all about change. He’s about changing our foreign policy, he’s about changing our economy, but most importantly to me, at least at this point, he’s about changing the way things are done in Washington. I interpret that as “I’m going to run a different campaign than my colleagues here in Washington would.”

Great! A politician who isn’t a politician, right?

Wrong.

In the last couple days, the battles between McCain and Obama have become more and more heated. Barack’s supporters, as usual, took it personally when the GOP launched BarackBook.

I saw BarackBook and immediately burst out laughing. “Are you serious,” I thought. “This is how the republicans think they’re going to beat one of the most revolutionary presidential candidates ever?” BarackBook, upon further review, is basically a (very poorly done) knockoff of Facebook, and tries to woo the younger crowd into getting information about Obama that Obama does not want the younger crowd to know. I won’t go into too much depth here, suffice it to say that BarackBook is pretty much a typical Washington stunt, much like the “gas tax holiday” (oh, by the way, Congress was beginning to debate raising the gas tax before they decided to take a “well-deserved” month-long vacation).

Then the McCain campaign launched the “Celeb” ad:

As I embed the video into this blog post, it’s actually not as bad as I heard it was, and further illustrates my point about how Obama and his supporters (ahem, entire mass media) take things personally. But let’s say, for sake of argument, that the ad was as bad as Obamanation (any annoying group of fans these days gets the word “Nation” attached to it: Obamanation, Red Sox Nation, etc.) claimed. If you were Barack Obama, what would you do?

I’ll tell you what I would do: nothing. I would keep going around talking about what I’m going to do to fix this country. I would completely ignore John McCain and the GOP’s tactics as tactics (and no, Barack, talking about how his tactics are “right out of Karl Rove’s playbook” doesn’t count). I would ignore all of it, because playing into John McCain’s hand is a typical Washington politics.

Imagine my surprise then, when I came across this little gem: The Low Road Express.

TYPICAL WASHINGTON POLITICS!

First of all, if its possible, the “Low Road Express” is even lamer than “BarackBook” because the “Low Road Express” didn’t even bother to register a domain name. Secondly, does this help the voters at all? Are people seriously going to go to this site and say, “OH! McCain’s ad made me think you were going for an Obama/Spears ticket. Whew!”? No. The new site does nothing except attack McCain.

To be fair, McCain attacked as well. I won’t say he attacked first, because I don’t really know how you can say who attacked first, and honestly it doesn’t really matter. The point is, how many of those generously donated dollars, oh faithful citizens of Obamanation, went into creating this? Don’t you feel a little cheated and misled? Weren’t your dollars originally going for change, change and more change? How is this different?

Same old, same old.

I hope you read this article all the way through, because it’s not something you’re likely to hear the truth about on any news channel. The truth is that Barack Obama has turned into a typical politician, and means that if it were anybody but McCain (and maybe Romney) running on the other side, I’d be voting that way.

The stadiums in New York

So over the last weekend (long weekend, including Monday) my dad and I took a trip up to New York City and Cooperstown to visit Yankee Stadium, Shea Stadium and the Baseball Hall of Fame (in reverse order). As promised, here’s the write-up on my impressions of the two stadiums (check out the photos, too).

Yankee Stadium: Bronx, NY

Yankee Stadium is perhaps the most legendary venue in all of sports (except for maybe The Horseshoe). If you have watched ESPN at all in the last year, you know that this is the final season at Yankee Stadium and so I wanted to catch a game there before it was closed. Seats this season are in high demand – the ones closest to the field go for as high as $2500 a seat. Our seats were 1/100th of that, but still had a pretty nice view:

Yankee Stadium

One thing that you don’t see in the pictures are the concourses. Both stadiums had narrow concourses (as most are in old stadiums) but for some reason Yankee Stadium’s seemed a lot less claustrophobic. The concourses in Yankee Stadium had the appearance of a New York subway station, which was a nice touch.

We weren’t able to see Monument Park – for some reason it was closed just after we got to the park. There is a picture of it from afar in my gallery.

Apart from that, I feel Yankee Stadium is the absolute best place to watch a baseball game, in terms of atmosphere, history, and the fans – in fact, it might be the best place to watch a sporting event period.

Shea Stadium: Flushing, NY

Shea Stadium is also in its final season, but because no one is really going to miss it, it’s not quite getting the attention. Whereas Yankee Stadium is a park that is completely designed for baseball, it’s apparent that Shea Stadium was also designed to play football and the shape is a little unnatural. The prices at Shea were also a little higher – a hot dog there costs $4.75 compared to Yankee Stadium’s $3. Overall, I was a bigger fan of Yankee Stadium than I was of Shea, but the seats at Shea were pretty nice too:

Shea Stadium

New York photos

For those of you who are interested, photos of my trip to New York. I’ll post a full write-up soon.

The halfway point

So here I am, sitting down to watch the Home Run Derby on the night before the 2008 All-Star game. Just 4 months ago, on March 14, I thought I had a few things figured out. By the All-Star Break, the Indians would be in first place, the Tigers in a close second, the White Sox and Twins not in contention, and the Royals starting to surprise some people.

Well, I’ve been wrong before.

As I write this, Chicago leads Minnesota by 1.5 games, Detroit by 7.0 games, Kansas City by 12.0 games, and the Indians by a whopping 13.0 games. A week ago, in fact, the Indians management decided to throw in the towel on the 2008 season and traded CC Sabathia to the Milwaukee Brewers for the new mayor of Akron, Matt LaPorta.

And yet we’ve seen some weird stuff this season: an unassisted triple play, a week where the Indians starters did not give up a run, the emergence of Cliff Lee and Aaron Laffey, and the sudden power outage in the middle of the lineup. Anyone else know that the Indians have a +6 run differential? The Royals, the team ahead of the Indians, have a -61 run differential. When those numbers disagree so much, it’s tough not to see that it’s just not the Indians year.

That said, the Indians have seen their fair share of good baseball in the first half. What follows are my suggestions for how to make the second half of the Indians season better than the first.

  1. Release, trade, or intentionally injure David Dellucci. This guy shouldn’t have been with the team from the get-go. It’s a rebuilding year now, time to let that huge large (he gets how much? He’s still overpaid.) contract go.
  2. Call up Asdrubal Cabrera. He’s too good to have in the minors much longer.
  3. After the inevitable trade of Casey Blake, make Andy Marte the starting third baseman and Jhonny Peralta his backup. I’m now an Andy Marte fan, because it seems like if he gets enough playing time, he’ll finally start to play well. And as for Peralta, if it’s not Marte, I think he’s your third baseman of the future.
  4. Trade Jamey Carroll. He’s of no use to us once we get Barfield back, but he may be of use to a contender who’s willing to part with a relief pitching prospect… and we need a closer.
  5. You guys will hate me for this one, but…what about moving Grady Sizemore to left field occasionally? Gutierrez is an absolute phenom in center field, and he has a cannon. Why not put Sizemore’s weak arm in left, Gutierrez in center, and Francisco in right? That’d be one of the fastest outfields around.
  6. If you get a good offer for Garko, trade him. We have LaPorta coming up as well as Mike Aubrey down in AAA. Garko is a decent first baseman, but he doesn’t hit for the power that LaPorta apparently can.

That’s what I got. Anyone have any other suggestions? Feel free to comment!

A startling revelation

So normally, I bring my trusty iPod video to work. It’s to keep me entertained, keep me busy, and keep me focused. And plus, the rest of the development team brings theirs too, so peer pressure. Today, however, I forgot my iPod.

I went to the next best thing, Yahoo! Radio. (I can’t believe this is the next best thing. Please, somebody invent something better than this.) For those of you who don’t know, Yahoo! Radio is basically free streaming music online. There are a bunch of different “stations” to choose from, but they try to push you to create your own station so it can mold to your tastes. As I would find out, though, the taste-molding leaves much to be desired.

So I fire up my “custom station”. First song that comes up is “Spilt Needles” by The Shins. It’s a good song, one of my favorites on my iPod (in fact, it just misses my Top 40 Played playlist). Maybe today won’t be so long after all.

Next song: *N*Sync. SKIP. Britney Spears. SKIP. Rihanna. SKIP. (And Yahoo!, I explicitly remember telling you I’m not a fan of this new urban music, what the heck are you thinking?) Usher. SKIP.

I’m fed up at this point, so I go to one of the pre-chosen stations, the “Classic Rock” station. I didn’t skip another song for at least two hours. I got home tonight and downloaded like 10 new songs. And it was then that I came to my startling revelation:

What the heck have you people done with popular music?

For every Maroon 5 of this generation, I guarantee you I can find at least a Bachman-Turner Overdrive of the “classic rock” generation. My point is that today, music is wildly worse than it was 10 or 20 years ago.

And I think the reason is simple – people like mediocrity. That’s why MySpace, the iPhone (any Apple product, actually – they may look sexy but they can’t do half the stuff other products can do), Hannah Montana, American Idol – it all sells.

Do yourself a favor: tune into some classic rock on Yahoo! Radio. It’s free, it’s great music. If you’re as lucky as I am, you’ll get a couple Creedence Clearwater Revivals in a row, or maybe experience the epicness that is “Free Bird”, or maybe see a million faces and rock them all with “Wanted Dead or Alive”.

P.S. Yes, I know I have an iPod, when I just said it was mediocre. Well, I stand by it. See this entry for some more criticism, or ask me how much I hate iTunes. I have an iPod because at this point, no one has done better at selling mediocrity to the record labels. The iTunes Music Store has all of the music.