Monday, July 22, 2013

Pardon? PARDON?????

Okay, I try to be open to the idea that Islam is not necessarily more oppressive of women than other religions (in other words, extremely, infuriatingly oppressive of women), but this is today's version of This Absolutely Takes the Fucking Cake.

The story is that a woman in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, was raped. Unfortunately for her, she reported it to the police, so as a consequence she was prosecuted and sentenced to prison for eighteen months.

Bad enough, right? Like unimaginably bad. But it gets worse.

She doesn't have to go to prison for eighteen months. She's been released, her passport's been returned, and she gets to go home.

How is this worse? Because she gets to do all these things because she has been granted a pardon! A pardon for the crime of being raped!

Yes, that's right. A woman is raped, is discouraged from reporting it to the police, is eventually taken into custody and sentenced to prison, and the people who run the place think they can make it all better by granting her a pardon.

You commonly hear people say "There are no words," and in this case I pretty much have to agree.

Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Stupidity: native-born and damn proud!

You should take a look at this.

Or this:

If you watched the All-Star Game the other night you might have noticed that the seventh-inning singing of "God Bless America" (I know, I agree with you that the song, especially in the context of baseball, is a curse and a pestilence, but that's another matter) was sung by a singer named Marc Anthony. I've never heard of him, but apparently he's pretty popular. He's even won some Latin Grammies.

Anyway, this selection has people in an uproar. You see, Mr. Anthony, and you can just tell it by looking at him, isn't a real American. In fact, he isn't American at all, he's Spanish, or Mexican, or something.

Wait, what? He was born in New York City? Well, that's barely America, anyway. God Bless America is the ultimate American song, and it should only be sung by a real American, born and raised, like that nice guy we hear singing it all the time at Yankee games.

Yeah, Ronan Tynan, that real American. What part of America was he born in, again? Oh yeah, Dublin.

Still, you can't deny that God Bless America is American through and through. The guy who wrote that song probably came over on the Mayflower, or right after that, right?

Yeah, makes you wonder what America's all about, doesn't it?

Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Bonehead Merkle Lives

Or should I say, Bonehead Merkle, Esq.?

It's over a hundred years ago, but you still know the name and you might even know what happened.

It was 1908 and the Giants and the Cubs had ended the season tied for first. In the ninth inning it was tied. The Giants had two outs, 19-year old Fred Merkle on first, and the winning run on third. The next batter hit the ball into the outfield, driving in the winning run.

Except . . .

Except . . .

The batter has to reach first and the man on first has to reach second, which Merkle failed to do once he saw the winning run score. Pandemonium ruled, with joyous fans all over the field, but the Cubs knew what had happened, called for the ball, and stepped on second base. Merkle was out and the winning run was called back. It was impossible to get the game started again so it ended in a tie and the Giants lost the next day.

The egregious running error became known as Merkle's Boner, and Fred Merkle, who was actually a decent player, became forever known as Bonehead Merkle. In fact, his obituary almost fifty years later started out "Fred Merkle, Of 'Boner' Fame, Dies".

But what does that have to do with life in 2013, or especially with the law?

The law first. There's a minor league team in Michigan called the Lansing Lugnuts, and they play in what might be the only baseball stadium named for a law school. Their home stadium is called Cooley Law School Stadium, and Thomas M. Cooley Law School paid good money for the naming rights.

Anyway, the Lugnuts were playing the other night and it happened again.

Watch the video:

This is one of the things I love about baseball. Here we are more than a century after the fact, and as soon as I saw this play I knew it was Fred Merkle all over again.

Or, as I say, Bonehead Merkle, Esq.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Fantasy for the Twenty-First Century

The Cost of Haven: Book 1 of the Great CitiesThe Cost of Haven: Book 1 of the Great Cities by F.F. McCulligan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A disgraced knight; a merchant of dubious virtue; an athletic butler; and a mysterious, silent royal guard. These are among the central characters in this engrossing tale of danger, treachery, and war among humans, dragons, and the undead.

When Deagan Wingrat--oops, Sir Deagan Wingrat--is summoned to his lord's castle he knows it's not a good sign, and he also knows he lacks the temperament needed to mollify an angry ruler. He knows he's done something serious, but it takes us a while to learn what to think of his crime, an oathbreaking so serious that it costs him his knighthood and his beloved war horse. Out of a job and out of the social system that has shaped his entire life, Deagan is at a loss for what to do. As the reader might expect, trouble finds him soon enough, placing his life at risk but also offering a chance at rewards he never allowed himself to expect.

The Cost of Haven is the first volume of a planned fantasy trilogy, set in a world in which formerly prosperous feudal cities are in danger, trading parties are attacked by zombie-like fighters, and in which old loyalties can no longer be trusted. As the central characters try to defend against the rotters, though, it appears that they are acting under some kind of supernatural direction, but how and from whom? The campaign by Deagan and his comrades to defeat the rotters leads to pitched battles, searches for secret passages, and difficult physical and psychological challenges.

The characters and their relationships are well drawn; the adventure is complicated enough to demand the reader's attention and to leave open the possibility of real danger to the main characters; and the plot has enough unexpected twists to keep even a fantasy veteran (not that I'm anything close to that) interested. The author moves skillfully between different times, different settings, and different points of view without losing the reader: as you figure things out you appreciate your accomplishment as you enjoy the unfolding plot.

You should buy and read this, not just to support my son the author, but also because it's a good book.

View all my reviews