About Music

This evening I turned the radio on hoping that my favorite classical radio station was broadcasting some Easter music. Some Gregorian chants would have been a treat. Instead of chants, Handel's Messiah or Bach's St. Matthew's Passion I was treated to Passover songs hosted by Itzhak Perlman. Beautiful! I couldn't ask for anything more inspirational and moving.

I must confess that when it comes to religious holidays, I'm a freeloader. I do not practice any religion but I do get my fill of all the trappings that go along with the holidays - especially the music. It occurred to me this evening that if all Christians and Muslims were forced to listen to music like I heard tonight, anti-semitism would be a thing of the past. Music has the power to instill tranquility and in turn tolerance. Tolerance has the power to heal all wounds. We should heed the words of Buddha: "The worst thing you can do to your soul is to tell someone their faith is wrong."

As I listen to Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 , I'm at peace with the world. Dare I hope that the world will one day find its way to peace?


World Class Bully

Just a fantasy
This past Sunday, a South Euclid , Ohio resident who had been convicted of bullying carried out his sentence by sitting outside on a street corner holding a sign that said he bullied disabled children. The sign said: "I AM A BULLY! I pick on children that are disabled, and I am intolerant of those that are different from myself. My actions do not reflect an appreciation for the diverse South Euclid community that I live in."

If only the World Court had the power to convict and  sentence abusive world leaders who bully their neighbors, then the Ukraine crisis might be solved. Imagine Vladimir Putin holding a sign that said: " I AM A BULLY! I pick on countries that are weak, and I am intolerant of those who do not share my plan for Russian domination. My actions deserve the condemnation of the free world."

A fantasy? Yes! Too simplistic? Yes! Still, there must be an alternative to war in order to humble the Putins and Assads of the world. The new weapon of choice seems to be economic sanctions. Will they work? I doubt it. In the end violence will be the weapon of choice as it has been for the ages.


Unfinished Business

Free The Chief
The Cleveland Indians have adopted "Unfinished Business" as their battle cry for the 2014 season. The PR people would have the fans believe that the team will be taking care of business and bring a championship to Cleveland this year. Judging from the team's pitching so far this season, one might speculate that by the end of April the Indians will be finished and all that Cleveland sports fans will be interested in is the NFL Draft. I doubt that they will be finished that early. Chief Wahoo has other plans. The Chief has unfinished business also. As long as he is denied retirement, he will see to it that the Cleveland Bunglers, aka Cleveland Indians flirt with success all season long but in the long run will carry over "Unfinished Business" to 2015.

The powers to be in the Indians front office just cannot accept that the Cleveland Indians have been cursed by an aging Chief Wahoo. They dilly dally with block C as the team symbol but still put the Chief Wahoo patch on uniforms. They are reluctant to cut ties with the Chief for fear of losing fans. Still they push the Chief in the background. They ought to unequivocally declare the Chief retired. Give him a box seat and let him root for the Indians rather than curse them. Failing that action, the team's management should have the guts to declare that the Chief will remain as the team's mascot until hell freezes over. As the Chief would say, "Shit or get off the pot".

Having said that - GO TRIBE!


You're as blind as a bat!

My favorite sport, baseball, has succumbed to the cries for replay. No longer can we enjoy the spectacle of a manger venting his anger at an umpire after a controversial call at home plate. "you're as blind as a bat" has been replaced with " I'm challenging your call, please call New York". If Pete Rose were playing today he would look like an ordinary base runner. No longer would catchers brace themselves for the inevitable collision as he barreled down the third base line. I must admit that I do not fully understand the new "replay" rule on plays at home plate. (Just for the record, I am not in favor of seeing a catcher maimed trying to protect the plate nor a runner risking a concussion in order to score a run.)

The entertaining tantrums of managers are being replaced with the endless. boring chatter of play by play announcers trying to explain the replay rules. Did I say boring? What is more boring than waiting for an "expert" in New York to rule on a challenged play in Los Angeles? Even the commercials eating up air time while he diddles with ten TV monitors are more interesting than listening to someone explain over and over again why the replay option makes the game safer (and slower).

I wouldn't be surprised if teams elect to hire a new coach. He must have a law degree and twenty years experience arguing before the Supreme Court. His title will be "Challenge Coach". The Challenge Coaches' primary function will be to keep the manager from making an ass of himself if he's pissed about the way the umpire ruled on a play at home plate .

 As for baseball fans, they should make a pilgrimage to a religious shrine of their choice, and pray to some Almighty that baseball not be allowed to go down the tubes because an umpire misses a call now and then or an athlete gets injured occasionally. A few extra prayers for the umpires who are slowly being replaced by a boob tube would be in order.

Of course the ultimate solution to make baseball safer for the players is to convince them that violence is not a replacement for baseball skills. Easier said than done? How about hefty fines (six figures) or even suspension? Of course, violence in baseball or any other spectator sport will never be eliminated. Violence is the American way. Look at our love affair with guns.


March Madness

March Madness has crossed the line. It was bad enough when we had to suffer the interminable basketball tournaments but now March Madness can't handle a gentle welcome to Spring. Spring is here but we will fall back to below normal temperatures and possibly snow. The Ukraine will see no Spring. The Cold War is back and Russia will spring forward. Add to the list Malaysian Flight 370 which is a MIA and you must conclude that indeed March events are meant for a loony society. Further proof? Baseball season will open this weekend but not in the USA. Opening day in MLB has been outsourced - the Dodgers will play Arizona in AUSTRALIA. How mad can March get? How about Obama and Congress kissing and making up. It will not happen. Making out is more likely but have no fear, April is near. God is merciful. Allah is great. If ever the twain meet, it sure would be neat. Oops, I've crossed the line into March Madness.