Friday, August 25, 2006

Pluto Gets Screwed

It sucks to be Pluto. The International Astronomers Union (or some such high fallutin sounding organization) has officially declared Pluto is no longer to be considered a planet. Damn Unions! According to the article I read, by the definition they agreed upon, Pluto failed to qualify because it did not "clear the neighborhood of its orbit", if I am remembering correctly. It seems it fails to do that because Neptune creeps into that neighborhood in the course of its orbit. Left unexplained in the article (and perhaps by the Union) is why it is Pluto that doesn't clear its neighborhood rather than Neptune, or both for that matter. It strikes me of evidence of the hubris and fascistic tendencies inherent to Earthlings, who seek to de-planetize Plutonians as justification for our maltreatment down the line of any life forms that should emerge there. And everyone knows we are in the pockets of the large and influential Neptune lobby (or cabal, depending on your perspective), which explains why they skate through unharmed.


The Hatcher was in attendance at RFK for Ryan Howard's 48th home run, tying Mike Schmidt for the Phillies single-season record. Notice I didn't say that I saw it. I took the three older boys, and learned a hard lesson - buying two rounds of beers for six-year olds prior to the third inning leads to a bathroom trip every five minutes. (Actually I bought them waters - it was very hot and humid.) They can usually last about six innings before they get really bored, so after five innings I take them for a bathroom break, and we re-position to a section closer to our exit. I am watching the top half of the sixth, not five minutes after they just went, and Joey is practically jumping out of his shoes saying he has to go again. The Phils have already scored one run in the inning, and they have 2 on base with Chase Utley and Ryan Howard due to bat with only one out. Utley battles the pitcher, fouling off at least three pitches while running the count up, until he finally flies out. He's killing me - just make the out right away and let Howard bat before my son is standing above his own puddle. Joe is meanwhile alternately kicking the seat in front of him, grabbing and holding himself, jumping up and down, and giving me the long drawn out "Daaaaddyyyy, I really need to go." Hold it, Joe. Up comes Howard - a few pitches into the count and he starts fouling a few off. Great! OK, Joe, let's hit the restroom. Of course I have to lug all three at this point, and Jake is fast asleep, so I have him flung over my shoulder. I am walking backwards up the stadium stairs to catch at least one more pitch. It's a non-event, so I turn to catch up with Joe as he heads into the bathroom. One pitch later Howard sends a rocket into Center Field. I heard the crack of the bat, at least.


“Who wants to be called an isolationist or a nativist by the corporate Right, and a racist or a bigot by the multicultural left?”

You risk both, of course, if you think our immigration has gotten out of hand. It is an interesting political topic, not least because neither party can seem to totally embrace or decry the status quo. The quote above is from a great little book called “Mexifornia” by Victor David Hanson, a classics professor at Fresno State, and here is a quote that cuts right to it from the same book: “The Wall Street Journal and the Chicano studies department often agree on open borders, even as reactionary Pat Buchanan and ultraliberal Marin County yuppies conclude that enough is enough.”

If schendenfreude is what motivates your view on any given issue – there is a lot to like about the status quo no matter what your political stripes. Consider, for example, the elite Californians, so concerned about the environment, restricting their families to 1-2 children so as to limit the population bomb, trying their best to keep any new power plants from being built, hoping for “smart” or “green” growth, driving their hybrid vehicle, and doing their best to maintain their sense of racial sensitivity. In come the Mexicans, with their 5-7 kids, their 1979 Toyota trucks that trail a cloud of black smoke from a corroded muffler, the strain on the infrastructure of the state that calls out for more power plants, more roads, less greenery. What’s not to enjoy about that dilemma?

But from the other perspective, as Hanson points out, "although the free market Right gets an influx of cheap labor, in addition the “tax-conscious right also got thousands of unassimilated others who eventually plugged into the state’s nearly bankrupt entitlement industry and filled its newly built prisons. (Almost one-quarter of California’s inmates are from Mexico, and almost a third of recent drug trafficking arrests involved illegal aliens)."

Lot's of interesting stuff in this book. Hansen himself grew up near Fresno as the kid of a farmer in a community that has always had its share of Mexican immigrants, many of whom he retains as friends from childhood. Most of his friends have assimilated nicely, but he fears that the change in attitudes towards the education of immigrants spells doom for the ability of those coming in now to assimilate. They are encouraged to focus on the racism that holds them back in the US, even as they make multiples of their income from where they fled. At the same time, they are encouraged to take pride in the glories of Mexico, a country that it is far more restrictive to immigrants from its southern border than we are to ours. He also notes, interestingly enough, that it is almost exclusively Mexican Indians who come to the states, as opposed to those of European descent; so where's the racism?


Anonymous Anonymous said...


I'm not sure about Hanson's "Mexifornia," but the "Soul of Battle," and "Carnage and Culture" are pretty good. As for Pluto, well, let's just say that I have problems finding the big dipper.

Missing that homerun, however, is something that I can identify with.

Last spring I took Jacob to the Nationals-Yankees game and being from NY, I'm a shameless Yankees fan. However, I had never seen the Yankees in person so I was much more excited about the game than Jacob.

Our seats were right down the 3rd base line and with cokes, dogs, and popcorn in hand, we were ready to watch the game. Jacob, however, wanted a snowcone. Not now, I said, but I promised that I would get him one in the 5th. (What was I thinking? Promise?)

He called me on that promise as soon as the first pitch crossed the plate in front of Jeeter at the top of the 5th. The score was 2-2 and the Yankees were at the top of their batting order. Can you wait one inning, I ask? No way. Damn.

So we trucked half-way around the stadium to get into a line that stretched nearly back to where we started. In the distant we heard the fans screaming, and screaming, and screaming. Hurry, hurry, I begged, but it didn't help.

By the time we returned the scoreboard read 8-2, Yankees. It was still the 5th inning! What happened? With mustard smeared on his face, the big guy sitting next to Jacob explained that we missed two home runs and a GRAND SLAM! You have got to be kidding me.

The Nationals came back in the 9th to win 11-9 and Jacob insisted that we stay to the end. This is great, he yelled, I love baseball! Whatever.

My old boss used to tell me that no matter how bad it got, someone else was having less fun than me. Perhaps that made him feel better in cases like this, but on that day, and most other days that I worked for him, I knew he was full of shit.


6:06 AM  

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