Category Archives: Aroldis Chapman

Hot Air: Everybody’s Against Us

One Word, Bernie: Strategy

Like I’ve been saying all along (from The New Republic):

[Bernie has to concentrate] …on lobbying for progressive policies and promoting and financing progressive candidates—and making establishment Democrats fear the price of opposing both.

That’s right — make the party fear bucking you, B. The fact that you can draw tens of thousands to arenas doesn’t faze the veteran ward heelers. They know that sheer numbers of rah-rah-ing cheerleaders don’t translate to political power. Bring your fund-raising successes and voter-turnout numbers to the table every time you negotiate with your party sisteren and brethren. That’s how the Right Wing took over the Republican Party and that’s how you have to do it.


Bernie’s victory is going to come after this election cycle if he and the rest of the Dems play their cards right. In fact, that victory would be a hell of a lot more important and effective than Bernie winning the 2016 Dem nomination.

Post-Mothers Day Pallaver

Jill Stein is a perennial candidate for offices like president of the United States, governor of her home state of Mass., and lesser electoral prizes, representing the Green Party, and generally garnering a grand total of a handful of votes.

She’s disgusted with Hillary, just like the slightly less Left-ward of this nation who’ve gravitated to Bernie. As such, Stein Sunday tweet-upbraided Hill for being less than an ideal mother:

I agree w/ Hillary, it’s time to elect a woman for President. But I want that President to reflect the value of being a mother.

The quote, at first glance, might indicate Stein thinks Hill is dismissive of mothers, the way many (Most? All?) on the Right think feminists hate motherhood and kids. Thus far, it’s impossible to say what Stein is getting at. Does she think Hill abandoned, abused, or or fed sugar- and preservative-laden Lucky Charms to Chelsea on a daily basis when the Clinton Princess was a mere cherub?

Perhaps. It’s not unheard of for the Left to come around and meet the Right in the backyard on certain points, for instance, the two sides’ mutual detestation of Big Pharma and other bugbears. But Alexandra Brodsky on Feministing has raked Stein over the coals for another reason. Brodsky has it that Stein’s calling for Clinton to be more of a mythologically ideal mother, a nurturing, all-caring, gentle, selfless soul who’d never, ever, ever call for anything that would harm a flea or a child, even if it was Donald Trump’s.

In a successive tweet, Brodsky adds, Stein insists mothers are “healers.”

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Presidential Timber?

Now this is all well and good platitude-mongering on Mother’s Day, when everybody’s Ma is the finest example of the human species ever born and they say so, aggressively, through greeting cards and on social media. Then it’s back to the old grind of fighting like mad dogs on the Monday after, which is a more comforting and familiar state of affairs.

Mom’s are healers, sure. They’ll give up their lives just for you, trophy child. And if one — a real one — were president, all our great land’s citizens would have food, health care, a home, an education, clean drinking water, peace, and all the hot chocolate they could ever want.

Brodsky asserts this is a fine example of bullshit. Mothers, she writes, are “people, billions of them, who care and fail to care for others in many different ways, not identical props for a morality play.”

And mothers, she adds, are not the only good women: “And guess what: there are plenty of awesome woman who aren’t mothers. That doesn’t make them less than, as people or as leaders.”

Stein’s got two kids and, presumably, never fed them Lucky Charms. Nevertheless, she doesn’t figure to reap more than her usual handful of votes this coming November — even though the citizenry, both Left and Right, is sick to death of the usual party suspects.

No Problem

Here’s another example of our holy land’s new pastime of playing the victim — and it has to do with domestic violence, a more traditional Murrican pastime.

Aroldis Chapman is a flame-throwing baseball pitcher who’s been an all-star, is absolutely spectacular at his limited role as a ninth-inning pitcher, and who, last year, apparently went bonkers during an argument with his girlfriend.

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Acc’d’g to a police report, Chapman and his girlfriend clashed one night after she discovered some incriminating evidence, presumably regarding his commitment to fidelity, on his cell phone. One thing led to another and, the girlfriend told cops, Chapman put his hands around her neck in a choke her and pushed her against a wall. Her brother and mother attempted to break up the melee. Chapman’s chauffeur says he saw the girlfriend charge at Chapman and tackle him to the ground. Chapman eventually dashed out into his garage and fired eight rounds from a pistol, seven of them crashing into a concrete wall and the eighth zipping through a window and into a open field beyond. The girlfriend, natch, was terrified so she hid in the bushes outside the house and called the police. Her four-month-old child who, she says, is Chapman’s (he’s not saying if the kid is his) remained in the house. Eight officers responded, set up a perimeter around the house and began to try to communicate with Chapman. Eventually, he met with the police, who interviewed him and everyone else involved.

For his part, Chapman told the cops, sure, he’d made physical contact with the girlfriend during the fight, pressing his thumb and forefinger into her shoulder, presumably to make a point, whatever it was.

So, like most domestic violence incidents, this one’s a he said/she said thing. Only there were witnesses and they all had their say as well. The combined stories were so muddled that the cops threw up their hands and tossed the affair over to the county prosecutor.

What apparently isn’t up for debate is Chapman and his girlfriend had some sort of physical confrontation and he did fire his gun eight times in his garage in a rage afterward.

Chapman was not charged by police or prosecutors but an internal investigation by Major League Baseball resulted in a 30-day suspension without pay for him under the sport’s domestic violence policy. He returned to action last night after serving his suspension.

As part of the disciplinary action MLB has taken against him, Chapman has seen two separate psychiatrists specializing in domestic violence and he must participate in a counseling program designed specifically for him. He has lost nearly $2 million dollars in salary during his exile.

Here’s where we get into this holy land’s new pastime. Chapman doesn’t believe his actions are all that bad. In fact, he asserts, he’s the victim in this case. He told a reporter for the New York Times the whole folderol is the result of baseball’s — and America’s — prejudice against Latinos.

He said:

Unfortunately, that is the way it is. We (Latino MLB players) make a lot of money, everyone wants a piece of it, and we end up looking bad. When I had the problem, everyone thinks I did something wrong; in social media, people are saying I hit my girlfriend.

Sometimes people talk too much. We have to be careful about that. We are not from this country, and people want to harm us. It’s easier to hurt someone who is not from here than someone who is. People think we don’t know what the laws are, and they try to hurt you. Many people want money. We have to take care of ourselves.

As if that wasn’t enough, Chapman exonerated himself in the finest tradition of abusers. He described the incident as a typical romantic spat:

It was just an argument with your partner that everyone has. I’ve even argued with my mother. When you are not in agreement with someone, we Latin people are loud when we argue. I do not have a problem.

Note that last line: I do not have a problem.

Oh, man.

Sometime soon, Chapman will strike out the side in the ninth inning, saving a victory for his Yankees team. Tens of thousands of fans in the stands will scream and cheer wildly. Plenty of them will say to each other, “I don’t believe he tried to choke her. I don’t believe he pushed her. I don’t believe he fired the gun.” This despite hard evidence he at least squeezed off eight rounds in a rage.

They’ll be in denial.

Other fans will tell each other, “I don’t care that he tried to choke her. I don’t care that he pushed her. I don’t care that he fired the gun. He’s the greatest and he helps us win baseball games.”

These fans have problems as intractable and troubling as their hero does.

Sometimes I wonder how our species has gotten this far without blowing this planet to smithereens.

[BTW: New York fans gave Chapman a standing ovation when he was brought into the game in the ninth inning last night. Yankees manager Joe Girardi told reporters afterward, “I had people over me screaming at me to bring him into the game.” Chapman said, “It was incredible.” Yeah. Like I said: problems.]

May 10th Birthdays

John Wilkes Booth — 19th Century stage actor who assassinated Abraham Lincoln as part of a large conspiracy to bring down the Union government. Booth eluded authorities for nearly two weeks until he was shot to death by a Union soldier named Boston Corbett. It turned out Corbett was mad as a hatter. Literally. He’d worked as a hat maker before joining the Army and had inhaled plenty of mercury nitrate, later found to be the cause of psychosis, hallucinations, and twitching in hat makers. One night a couple of prostitutes offered their services to Corbett but he responded with revulsion. He went back to his boarding house room, read the Gospel of Mathew, and then proceeded to castrate himself with a scissors. Interestingly, self-castration, if not the rage, was at least not unheard of at the time. Still, it would take a healthy helping of lunacy to sever the plumbing with simple scissors, no?

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Ariel Durant — Author with her husband Will Durant of numerous books, primarily recounting the history of civilization. The Durants won the 1968 Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction for the tenth volume of their series, Rousseau and Revolution.


The Durants

Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin — Born in England and later moved to America, she discovered the hydrogen was the basic building block of stars and the most abundant element in the universe. She was the first recipient of a PhD in astronomy from Radcliffe College and her thesis was praised as “undoubtedly the most brilliant Ph.D. thesis ever written in astronomy.” Because of her achievements, the Harvard College Observatory (affiliated with Radcliffe) became a center for women astronomers.

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Donovan — Born Donovan P. Leitch, they called him mellow yellow, quite rightly.

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Mark David Chapman — The guy who murdered John Lennon.

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I Prefer a Picture Of Lennon To Chapman

Rick Santorum — The inspiration for Dan Savage’s most famous line.

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Lisa Nowak — American astronaut and robotics expert. Sadly, she later got herself involved in a bizarre kidnapping plot centered around a romantic rival. She negotiated a less than honorable discharge from the US Navy and pleaded guilty to minor charges in exchange for not being brought to trial on the major charges surrounding the plot.

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Shel Silverstein died this day in 1999. His books The Giving Tree and Where the Sidewalk Ends are standards for children’s libraries. He also wrote the song, “A Boy Named Sue,” made into a 1969 hit by Johnny Cash.

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The Pencil Today:


“I’m so fast that last night I turned off the light switch in my hotel room and was in bed before the room was dark.” — Muhammad Ali


I love science and I love baseball. So what could be better than this recent edition of “What If?” (h/t to Al Yellon at Bleed Cubbie Blue.)

“WI?” is a weekly feature of the very cool XKCD site. It is described thusly: “Answering your hypothetical questions with physics, every Tuesday.”

Sort of a super-brain’s New York Times Science Tuesday.

So, this week’s hypothetical is “What would happen if you tried to hit a baseball pitched at 90% the speed of light?”

Not Even The Cuban Missile, Aroldis Chapman, Can Throw That Fast

As you know, the speed of light is unimaginably fast, almost as fast as Regina Moore‘s crew of  parking ticket scribblers (and, yeah, I’m sitting on a double-sawbuck scold slip from Friday, so that’s why the Moore Militia is on my mind.)

Anyway, you couldn’t begin to guess what would happen in such a hyper-fastball scenario unless you’d spent the last 15 years of your life holed up working out ciphers and avoiding any meaningful contact with the opposite sex.

Suffice it to say if a human baseball pitcher had the physical capability to accelerate an approximately 3-inch-diameter spheroid made of horsehide wrapped around coiled yarn centered on a cork core to a velocity of around 167,653.8 miles per hour (the speed of light, c, times .9), the immediate vicinity around the pitcher’s mound and batter’s box would be transformed indeed.

As in, oh, say, Hiroshima at 8:16 am, August 6th, 1945.

Hit By Pitch, Batter Entitled To First Base

The happy news is the team at bat now has a rally going.

Who sez science isn’t fun?


Am I gonna have to make this a regular feature?

Last week I ran a screed about the gossipy, reality-show-like news that CNN has been foisting upon the public during these momentous times.

Wars, the potential for economic collapse, dramatic global climate change events, and even the political fight over women’s wombs all seem to be below-the-fold fodder for cable TV’s most venerable news outfit.

Yeah, It’s Dry — Hey, Did That Magazine Really Photoshop Kate Middleton?

At the time, I didn’t think CNN’s editorial choices could get any more ludicrous.

I was wrong.

These are among the most important happenings and issues on planet Earth within the last 24 hours, according to the Cable News Network of Atlanta, USA:

  • Billionaire’s son charged in wife’s death
  • Shark attacks: Is “Jaws” back?
  • Mash up: Jealousy in time of drought
  • Obamas find spotlight on “kiss cam”
  • New diet drug approved by FDA
  • Car falls into elevator shaft
  • Sex with ex helps her lose weight
  • It may be OK to get sick in July
  • Bobcat breaks into prison
  • Michael Vick: I won’t get a pit bull
  • Tattoos: How young is too young?
  • Stunt driver’s video goes viral
  • Parents, let your kids play
  • Daughter’s in love, Dad feels jilted

Now not only are CNN’s stories vacuous, they’re getting downright creepy. I mean, honestly, “Dad feels jilted”?

Sorta reminds me of Cary Grant as the newspaper publisher Walter Burns, shouting orders on the phone to his editors in “His Girl Friday.” (Please click — it’s the entire movie.)

No, no, never mind the Chinese earthquake for heaven’s sake….

Look, I don’t care if there’s a million dead….

No, no, junk the Polish Corridor….

Take all those Miss America pictures off Page Six….

Take Hitler and stick him on the funny page….

No, no, leave the rooster story alone — that’s human interest.

Of course, that was farce. How, then, to describe CNN?


Huzzah. Three cheers. Science has developed yet another weight-loss drug.

Just in case you’re tempted to swallow it, take some advice from a man whose girth rivals that of a cement mixer.


The only “secret” for losing weight is eat less and exercise more.

End of sermon.


Finally, speaking of things that go boom, wait’ll you see this vid.

Apparently, the government of this holy land became concerned in the 1950s about the citizenry’s troublesome fears of nuclear annihilation. And, if we weren’t experiencing existential angst over the end of civilization, we were fretting at the very least that a nearby nuclear explosion might muss up our hair.

Ergo, the feds put together some propaganda to dispel such silly talk.

Like this:

Yup. The five knuckleheads clustered underneath the unleashing of the primal forces of the universe actually volunteered to do so. As in, “Sure, I’ll do it. Why not?”

Presumably, they kissed their wives and children goodbye before they dashed off to work that day.

Of even greater fascination is the reaction of the voiceover announcer, who also was present. I’d swear the man is experiencing an orgasm.

Electron Pencil event listings: Music, art, movies, lectures, parties, receptions, games, benefits, plays, meetings, fairs, conspiracies, rituals, etc.

◗ IU Dowling International CenterEnglish Conversation Club, for non-native speakers of American English; 1pm

Monroe County Public Library“It’s Your Money: Wi$eMoney Game Night,” for ages 15-18; 6:30-8:30pm

◗ IU Musical Arts CenterSummer Arts Festival: Outdoor band concert with conductor Stephen Pratt; 7pm

Max’s PlaceOpen mic; 7:30pm

◗ IU Wells-Metz TheatreMusical, “You Can’t Take It with You”; 7:30pm

The Player’s PubStardusters; 7:30pm

The Comedy AtticBloomington Comedy Festival; 8pm

Boys & Girls Club of BloomingtonContra dancing; 8pm

The BluebirdThe Personnel; 9pm

Bear’s PlaceYou & All the Blind People; 9pm

The BishopMurals, The Natives, Chandelier Ballroom; 9pm

◗ IU Kirkwood ObservatoryFree public viewing through the main telescope; 10pm


◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterExhibits:

  • John D. Shearer, “I’m Too Young For This  @#!%”; through July 30th
  • Claire Swallow, ‘Memoir”; through July 28th
  • Dale Gardner, “Time Machine”; through July 28th
  • Sarah Wain, “That Takes the Cake”; through July 28th
  • Jessica Lucas & Alex Straiker, “Life Under the Lens — The Art of Microscopy”; through July 28th

◗ IU Art MuseumExhibits:

  • Qiao Xiaoguang, “Urban Landscape: A Selection of Papercuts” ; through August 12th
  • “A Tribute to William Zimmerman,” wildlife artist; through September 9th
  • Willi Baumeister, “Baumeister in Print”; through September 9th
  • Annibale and Agostino Carracci, “The Bolognese School”; through September 16th
  • “Contemporary Explorations: Paintings by Contemporary Native American Artists”; through October 14th
  • David Hockney, “New Acquisitions”; through October 21st
  • Utagawa Kuniyoshi, “Paragons of Filial Piety”; through fall semester 2012
  • Julia Margaret Cameron, Edward Weston, & Harry Callahan, “Intimate Models: Photographs of Husbands, Wives, and Lovers”; through December 31st
  • “French Printmaking in the Seventeenth Century”; through December 31st

◗ IU SoFA Grunwald GalleryExhibits:

  • Kinsey Institute Juried Art Show; through July 21st
  • Bloomington Photography Club Annual Exhibition; July 27th through August 3rd

◗ IU Kinsey Institute Gallery“Ephemeral Ink: Selections of Tattoo Art from the Kinsey Institute Collection”; through September 21st

◗ IU Lilly LibraryExhibit, “Translating the Canon: Building Special Collections in the 21st Century”; through September 1st

◗ IU Mathers Museum of World Cultures — Closed for semester break

Monroe County History Center Exhibits:

  • “What Is Your Quilting Story?”; through July 31st
  • Photo exhibit, “Bloomington: Then and Now” by Bloomington Fading; through October 27th

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