Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Fun at the ol' ball park

Bad enough that the New York Yankees' pitching staff has recently gotten into the habit of imploding at key moments. Turns out that the team also has a policy requiring fans to stay at their seats while "Take Me Out To The Ball Game" and "God Bless America" play during the seventh-inning stretch. Attempting to leave your seat can have serious consequences, as Bradley Campeau-Laurion discovered at a Yankees-Red Sox game last season when he tried to go to the bathroom:

I attempted to get up to use the restroom, rather urgently, during the 7th inning stretch as God Bless America was beginning. As I attempted to walk down the aisle and exit my section into the tunnel, I was stopped by a police officer. He informed me that I had to wait until the song was over. I responded that I had to use the restroom and that I did not care about God Bless America.

As soon as the latter came out of my mouth, my right arm was twisted violenty behind my back and I was informed that I was being escorted out of the stadium. A second officer then joined in and twisted my left arm, also in an excessively forceful manner, behind my back. I informed them they were violating my First Amendment rights and that I had done nothing wrong, with no response from them.

I was sitting in the Tier Level, and of course this is the highest level of the stadium and I was escorted in this painful manner down the entire length of the stadium. About halfway down, I informed them that they were hurting me, repeated that I had done nothing wrong, and that I was not resisting nor talking back to them. One of them said something to the effect that if I continued to speak, he would find a way to hurt me more.

When we reached the exit of the stadium, they confiscated my ticket and the first officer shoved me through the turnstiles, saying "Get the hell out of my country if you don't like it."

Campeau-Laurion admits to being a Red Sox fan and an atheist, neither of which could have helped him much in dealing with New York's Finest. For their part, the NYPD said they were escorting an excessively drunken spectator out of Yankee Stadium, although Dave Zirin pointed out, "If it were standard procedure for the NYPD to kick out every drunken fan from Yankee Stadium, the place would be emptier than a John Ashcroft concert at the Apollo Theatre". Campeau-Laurion said that he had drank two beers.

If the Yankees' pitching doesn't improve soon, they're likely to start chaining fans to their chairs until the game ends.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Record Store Day

Just wanted to put a reminder out there that today is the second annual Record Store Day! Over a thousand independent record retailers across America and in 17 other countries have joined together today to celebrate, many featuring discounts and live music.

A lot of us remember having a favorite record store back when we were younger, a place to hear cool new sounds, get the latest music news and recommendations from the clerks who seemed hip to almost everything, and hang out with folks who were into the music just like you were. Independent stores have been on the decline over the last decade - the music industry has been in a long-term slump, and the current generation of listeners get more and more of their music from internet downloads. Over 2000 independent stores continue to hang in there, though, and many of them are thriving as music fans continue to find that such stores provide a wide selection and an community experience that just can't be found online or at a big-box retailer.

Today would be an excellent day to check out one of the independent record stores in your area. The Record Store Day website has a list of participating stores throughout the country, with descriptions of the special events many are featuring. As with books, I feel that there will always be recorded music in some physical form, whether it's vinyl, CD's or some other configuration. In many cases the sound quality is superior to that of downloads; also there's that unique feeling of something tangible, something that you can hold in your hand and say it's yours.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


In case anybody's still wondering, I had a great time on my vacation; Jenn has evidence in case you haven't been over there yet. (Linking to this makes me quite less bloganonymous; that's one of the things I've been pondering recently.)

It was just nice to spend a few days in seclusion without a reliable Internet connection, so once I got home I just stayed offline for the next week, except for checking e-mail or catching up on the news. I just wanted a few days away from the pressure of coming up with new content. Then, just as I should have expected, once I felt like writing again, the back-to-back 12-hour shift routine started up again leaving me with no time to write. I'm squeezing this in during the few minutes I have between waking up and showering for another round of work. When am I going to learn to discipline myself enough so I can do my writing on my days off?

A lot of it has to do with the fact that I enjoy my time alone - perhaps too much. When Peggy passed, the quiet seemed strange at first, but I've had the time now to adjust back to my old loner ways. Still, it's not the same as when I was young and belligerent - I've learned over the years that I need people. But I need my time to myself, too. The problem is that when I get time alone, I crave more and more of it - it's like an addiction, and without anyone to shake me up and get me moving, I become more and more withdrawn, until I reach the point I'm at now, with friends I haven't talked to in weeks, and a long list of people I owe e-mails to.

The merry-go-round is turning again; Jenn and her daughters are part of my life now, and the coming weeks are bringing changes I could never have anticipated six months ago. I'm convinced these changes will be good for all concerned, and I look forward (a bit nervously) to what's in store for the future. But for right now, the loner in me is enjoying the time of solitude that I currently have.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009


Most of you know by now that Jenn and I are off to the Smoky Mountains today for a few days of rest and relaxation. Jenn's bringing her laptop along; I don't know if I'll be moved to post anything while we're up there. Who knows, when I get back, I may actually do some real blogging for a change...