Thursday, June 01, 2006

Vote No on the 6th

I intend to vote No on June 6th for the new power plant in Springfield. My wife (among others) argues that we need the plant since there is no viable alternative right now. In fact, there is no true technology available to replace coal. And she is right. I will still vote no.

The reason I will vote no is precisely because there is no long term plan.

Whereas there is talk about solar and wind farms, along with other futuristic energy sources, they are not practical yet, and may never be. However, they will never exist as long as there is a cheap alternative. And that's what it's all about. Coal is cheap.

We don't care what it's doing to the environment, as long as it is cheap -- now. Look at SUVs. Look at all these people who went out and bought these behemoths. Why? It wasn't because they needed a Hummer. It was because, relatively speaking, gas was cheap. And now listen to them whine. But one thing's for sure, sales are down.

As long as there is a cheap energy, there will not be anything else. Who wants to put solar panels on their roofs when they will never be profitable? But do we want to be the ones whining when we're stuck with a behemoth coal plant?

Coal companies have invested a lot of money in digging that stuff up. And it's all worthless the minute something better comes along. Ditto for oil. There is no incentive for the energy companies to find an alternative.

And the average person will not see beyond her or his own pocketbook. As long as it's cheap, that's good enough. And who can blame them? It's hard enough to get by as it is. And the tax cuts ain't gonna do it.

The only way people will demand change is if they are hurting--right now. People will only trade in their SUVs when they can no longer afford to fill them up.

The cost of energy will go up, whether or not we build a new power plant. It will only, ultimately come down if we have a plan -- and follow through on that plan -- for a clean, renewable energy source. And so what if the price doesn't come down if it's clean and renewable?

Vote NO. Not for cheap energy, but for City Utilities' having no real plan for the future. Vote NO for a bandaid that only masks the real problem: The need for clean, safe, renewable energy. The need for a real plan for the future.

Being a Royals Fan

Let me explain. I have been a Royals fan all my life. I grew up in Independence, MO, just two miles from the new stadium. I say "new" because I remember going to the old stadium. I followed the Royals before they even had a mascot. The Kansas City Athletics had a mascot. Charley Finley had a mule that he kept tied up out past left field. I believe he took the mule with him to Oakland. Oakland was a little rougher of a town than KC, though. They ate him. First the mule, then Charley. Regradless, Kansas City did not have a team for two years. Then, in '69 we got the Royals, an expansion team. Yippee! I even got to carry the Missouri flag onto the field for the National Anthem before a game in the old Municipal Stadium. I was Boy Scout then, but that's a different story.

So I grew up with the Royals. Gaye Leslie even broke my heart. Yes, that's a real name. Don't believe me? Go to Van Horn High School on the Internet. Find the yearbook for 1975. See, I wasn't kidding. Gaye used to go out onto the field during the 4th inning and do flip flops. She actually worked for the Royals. George Toma did her lawn. I would drive past her house every night and wonder why she only liked me for a friend. But I digress.

You see. The thing is, the Royals have always been a part of my life. Hell, one summer I went to at least 60 games. No kidding. We'd ride our bikes to the stadium and sneak in GA. I've sat in every seat of the stadium. I have serious plans to have my ashes scattered in center field, whether the stadium allows it or not.

My favourite all-time Royal? Frank White. Brett was good, but Frank had the better glove, and his batting was right up there.

OK. So it brings me to a bigger problem. How can I stay a Royals fan when, arguably, they are the worst team in baseball? No, I'm not just talking this year, I'm talking ever. I know they haven't managed to beat those all time worst season records...yet. But what about combined seasons? Has any team ever lost 400 games in 4 years? The Royals are on track to do it.

And then, the other day it came to me. All I had to do was embrace their badness. If they won't win, then cheer them on to lose. Take pride in being a fan of the worst team. After all, anybody can cheer for a good team, but it takes a lot of nerve to cheer on a foregone conclusion. And besides, I'm also an Atlanta fan.

Let God Decide

I was watching a baseball game the other night, and one of the players crossed himself before he took his at bat. This is something I've seen ball players doing all my life. Some will even kiss their cross before stepping into the box. But this time it got me to thinking. Do major league baseball players who cross themselves before each at bat have a higer batting average than those who do not? Or football players who take a prayerful knee after a touchdown score more often than their chicken strutting counterparts?

What a great way to prove the power of prayer! With all the other ridiculous stats that are kept, somebody's bound to know. I challenge you to do the research, because I sure as hell don't want to do it myself. And while you're at it, do Protestants do better than Catholics? We already know that no Jewish team would stand a chance against the Christian Dream Team, but what about the Islamic world? Could they put together the mother of all teams to bring the Devil Americans finally to their knees?

It seems like such a simple way to decide all of our problems, and their are many of you out there who are willing to dismiss it as a joke. But it just could work. We'll let the Islamic countries of the world pick any Olympic sport they'd like -- curling, down hill skiing, platform diving -- their choice. Then we'll each (the Christians and the Muslims) put together a dream team. Winner take all. Any religion in the world is invited to join. We'll call it the All-Religious Olympics. India, Bhutan, Pakistan, Israel, Indonesia, Jesus Land (formerly the United States of America). Bring it on! Because the true God -- he, she, it, or they -- God, Jesus, Allah, Buddah, Krshna, or Ahura Mazda -- would not let his chosen country lose.

And what the hell, even if we did lose, we still have nuclear weapons.

My Sofa

I have a cursed sofa

It keeps coming back

At first we relegated it to the basement

a fitting place to molder until the fashion came back around again

but it found its way back upstairs

I don’t even know how

one day it was sitting back in the living room

acting casual

as if it had never gone

It may have fooled my wife

but it didn’t fool me

We were generous

we gave it to the friends of my son

some place to sit in their very first apartment

God only knows what happened on that couch

But it was gone

there was no way that it was ever coming back

once it had crossed that threshold

its destiny was determined

But no

Oh no

It came back

One day it was gone

the next day it was out in my garage

taking the place where my car couldn’t fit

just sitting there like it was used to spilt beer

and God only knows what

And I was tempted to sit on it

after all

having a couch in your garage can be very convenient

Ah, comon!

You’ve drank beer in your garage before

If not

give it a try

It’s terribly middle class

but then, that couch was terribly middle class

just sitting there

waiting to suck me in

The broken springs

the threadbare upholstery

the fallen frame

the insane desire to survive

I gave it to my son

And he gladly took it

All the way to Columbia

I’m to understand it became one of several

His apartment seemed to attract sofas

and they couldn’t turn them away

It’s probably like that thing I had with stuffed animals when I was a kid

still do

once you look in their eyes

they’re real

You can’t throw them away

You can put them away

but then you feel you have to find them every once in a while

just to apologize

how sorry you are

to leave them in a box

stuffed in the top shelf

of the closet in your bedroom

Those are things

that your children don’t want

And now my son’s come back home for the summer

Our van

the van he borrowed

is stuffed full of God only knows what

And I’m betting

or at least willing to bet

or might bet

especially if it’s not too much money

that somewhere in that van

underneath the plastic bags full of dinner wear

and biology notes

is an old, worn sofa