Monday, September 29, 2014

Upset the Ms Missed the MLB Playoff? Here is Some Advice

Life is what happens while you wait for the Seattle Mariners to make the MLB playoffs.

Seriously, they've been in existence since 1977 - 37 seasons of baseball. So much can and does happen over a 37 year span - for individuals, society, in sports, entertainment and on and on - life in other words.  And how many times have the Ms made the playoffs over that time frame? Four. That's right. Thirty-three seasons of no playoff and usually losing baseball. And, of course, no World Series appearances or titles.

Indeed, the intervals between playoff appearances for the Ms are long. It took 19 seasons for their first post-season appearance. Two years later, they were back in the playoffs and it looked like the entire franchise had turned things around. But, after two more appearances over a four year period, it's been another 13 seasons of not making the playoffs.

So, while I'm glad the Seattle Mariners had a winning season in 2014 and made it a more interesting fall than normal for baseball in the northwest, I am not surprised they failed to advance. History is clear.

That, and the team had far too many uninspired, uninterested losses to bottom feeder teams for me to feel sorry for or upset that the Ms failed to qualify on the last game of the season. Too much was left out on the diamond all season long.  I personally attended two losses to a horrid Houston team - losses in which you could tell the guys just didn't give a crap about being out there. No hustle, no spark, no sense of urgency. Hell, win just ONE of those and, as it turns out, they would be in the playoffs.

So what does all that mean to Seattle sports fans feeling upset today that the Mariners are done? I have three pieces of advice that I think will help you feel better about your local sports scene:

First, appreciate the Seahawks. Those guys - regardless of talent - care. This current roster plays with passion and leaves all effort out on the field each game. Sure, they're good and that helps a lot. But what I'm saying is...appreciate the effort and the passion. And of course, they're the reigning Super Bowl champs. So, there's that for you too.

Second, think about supporting a consistent local winner. Who am I talking about? How about the Seattle Sounders soccer team. They've made the playoff each of their five years in the MLS, consistently have one of the best records in the league year-in and year-out, their home field/game day experience is wonderful, they have a GREAT rivalry with Portland and another with Vancouver, and they've won the annual US Open tournament four times in six years. That's a winner folks. Oh, you say you don't like soccer because it's "boring" or something? If you're a baseball have no leg to stand on there. Baseball is the most tedious pro sport in existence. Get over yourself and get on the Sounders bandwagon. If you can enjoy baseball, believe me you can get into soccer.

Third, hey...if you like baseball and the Ms, fine. Be a great supporter. But, also embrace the history and keep your expectations in check. After all, your team is almost never going to be in the post season. You could have a child today and that child could very well grow up, graduate high school and be of voting age before the Ms make the post season again. If you go into each season with that as your expectation, then perhaps you can enjoy it more when they don't make it. And then, on the super rare occasion they time!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Views of My Photos Hit 400,000

Today I see that I have reached the 400,000 mark for views of my pictures on Flickr.

Back in mid-March, I hit the 300,000 mark, so it's only taken six months for those additional 100,000 views to take place.

What are people looking at? Generally, everything - travel shots, historical places, cars, color themed pictures and on and on.

But in terms of the top 5 most viewed pictures of those 400,000, it gets a bit more condensed into a few subjects:

#1 - A wood spiral staircase inside Peles Castle in Transylvania, Romania.

(C) Marc Osborn
#2 - Naked bicycle riders in the annual Ballard (Seattle) Solstice Parade.

(C) Marc Osborn
#3 - Another picture of the same spiral staircase at Peles Castle. 

(C) Marc Osborn
#4 - A closeup of inlaid decoration on the Taj Mahal in India.

(C) Marc Osborn
#5 - Another shot of naked bike riders in the Solstice Parade. 

(C) Marc Osborn

Copyright of all pictures in this post own by Marc Osborn. No use of any image for any purpose is permitted without prior written permission from Marc Osborn.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

"Know Your Rights" - As Relevant A Song Today As Ever

This is a public service announcement! With a bloooooggg...

Way back in 1982, rock band The Clash released a song called "Know Your Rights." It is the first song on their best-selling Combat Rock album. Many of you have probably heard it at one time or another, although it's not as popular a tune from the album as, say, "Rock the Casbah" or "Should I Stay Or Should I Go."
Artwork for the song on a t-shirt. (C) Marc Osborn
None the less, it's an extraordinary song that absolutely scorches out an alternative view of the western world. You just don't hear songs this cutting, this brave and this - as it turns out - accurate. Not today or even back then. I guess that's why The Clash is often called "the only band that matters."

In any case, it's not a tune you hear unless you seek it out. No time for such serious business when the world can be distracted by fluffy, electronic confections of pitch-corrected nothingness.

But even more impressive is that - and this occurred to me while listing to the song on my iPod while running a treadmill as the news filled the nearby TV screen - that despite its age, "Know Your Rights" is still dead on relevant today as it ever was. It's a song that can still be turned up and blasted loudly and people will relate...or should.

You can see and hear a live performance of the song by The Clash HERE.

So that you get my point, however, lets revisit the lyrics as written by the late great Joe Strummer to see what I mean. Here is the first verse...

Know your rights! All three of them.
Number one, you have the right not to be killed
Murder is a crime, unless it was done by a policeman or an aristocrat.

Hmm. Does that sound familiar in 2014? Ferguson, Missouri anyone? Or, how about the born-rich George W. Bush and the Haliburton-rich Dick Cheney leading the USA into a falsely-premised war in Iraq...killing thousands of Americans and Iraqis who otherwise would not have died?

Or how about verse two...

And number two, you have the right to food money
Providing of course you don't mind a little investigation, humiliation 
And if you cross your fingers, rehabilitation

Sounds like today's right wing and its ongoing, calculated ridicule, despise and marginalization of the poor and any program meant to help them help them out of poverty. As their propaganda goes, the poor are 100% percent to blame for their situation and why should anyone - particularly the rich or the government - pay one thin dime to help them? They are "takers" after all.

And finally, verse three...

Number three, you have the right to free speech
As long as you're not dumb enough to actually try it

The "Occupy" movement seems to be a good example of this. Sure, the initial protests happened, but the biggest one in NYC was shut down by the cops on a city ordinance technicality. I remember one protester sign said something like, "If authorities enforced Wall Street regulation like it does park ordinances, there would be no economic crisis." Touche. Also, this third verse evokes the more recent Ferguson, MO situation again where cops armed with military weapons swept up the street of protesters, arrested journalists and imposed a curfew on all citizens.

So there you go. Find this song. Give it a listen. Think about the words. Think about how this type of perspective on the world is so sorely missing in the "shout your opponent down" mentality of today's cable TV and non-political entertainment machine.

That is all.