On the way in to work every morning Jack and I listen to Mike and Mike in the morning on ESPN. Today, amidst the football banter about Bradford’s injury and the Miami upset, they pointed out that it has officially been 17 years since the Pittsburgh Pirates had a winning season. 17 years, y’all…
They pointed out that in 1992 (can you believe that?!) “End of the Road” by Boyz II Men was the number one hit, that Miley Cyrus was born, and that Bret Favre made his NFL debut. Of course I needed to know more. These facts alone didn’t explain why the Pirates have been in losing mode for almost two decades. Here’s what I found out:
- January 8, 1992 — President George H. W. Bush is televised throwing up in the lap of the Prime Minister of Japan.
- February 17, 1992 — A Milwaukee court sentenced Jeffrey Dahmer to life in prison.
- March 30, 1992 — Silence of the Lambs won the Oscar for Best Picture, and Anthony Hopkins won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his 16 minute role as Hannibal Lector (still the shortest performance to garner such an award).
- April 6, 1992 — Microsoft releases Windows 3.1.
- May 19, 1992 — Dan Quayle gives his famous Murphy Brown speech.
- June 15, 1992 — Dan Quayle erroneously corrects a spelling bee contestant on how to spell “Potato.”
- June 23, 1992 — John Gotti is sentenced to life in prison for conspiracy to murder and racketeering.
- July 25- August 9, 1992 — The Summer Olympics are held in Barcelona, Spain
- September 6, 1992 — The body of Christopher McCandless (aka Alexander Supertramp) was found in the Alaska Wilderness near Denali State Park after wandering the country attempting to live off the land. His exploits inspired Into The Wild and a movie by Sean Penn by the same name.
- October 1, 1992 — Pittsburgh International Airport’s New facility opens in Findlay Township. The new terminal was built as an expansion for USAir and an upgrade from the old facility.
- October 31, 1992 — Pope John Paul II issues an apology and lifts the edict of the Inquisition against Galileo.
- November 3, 1992 — Bill Clinton defeats incumbent George H.W. Bush and Ross Perot to become President of the United States.
- December 9, 1992 — Prince Charles and Princess Diana publicly announce their separation.
- Oh, and Derek Walcott won the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Now, I’m not saying any single one of those things has anything to do with the Pirates and their losing season, but only one of those things has to do with Pittsburgh, and only one of those things has (arguably, though not well) been an ongoing disaster for the region.
That’s right. I’m blaming USAir for the Pirates’ 17th straight losing season. And much like other forms of interpretation based on circumstantial evidence, you can’t prove the contrary. You want someone to blame aside from the owner, the GM, the agents, the players, the NBL, the economy, the Loch Ness Monster, the missing B-52 in the Mon, and even the nefarious Easter Bunny. I gave you USAir.
Tags: Andy Van Slyke has a fantasy killing lisp, I miss the 1991 Pirates, lists, Pirates, Pittsburgh, Sports
I had a great rant planned out for tonight’s post. It was full of venom and biting attempts at humor. You would have loved it. But then I started reading and thinking, and one topic led to another, and suddenly I had way too many things to talk about (imagine that, hmm?). So rather than ranting, I’m just going to link to the topics that I may or may not discuss at a later date:
- “It’s Not You, It’s Your Books” by Rachel Donadio is an essay about judging people based on their choice of reading material (or lack thereof). I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t bother looking in your medicine cabinet–I look at what reading material you have lying around. According to Sloane Crosley, a publicist at Vantage books, “If you’re a person who loves Alice Munro and you’re going out with someone whose favorite book is ‘The Da Vinci Code,’ perhaps the flags of incompatibility were there prior to the big reveal.” I’ve always said that a person’s choice of “favorite” books and films tell me most of what I need to know about them, and I believe that to this day. One’s choice of Literature never lies–well, it’s never failed me, anyway.
- “Mexican Serial Killer Sentenced” Only 8% of the world’s serial killers are women. The most recent exception to the rule is Juana Barraza, who was sentenced to 759 years in jail today for killing 16 elderly women. She claims she only killed 4, but her fingerprints matched those found in the other cases. Oh, did I mention she was a former female wrestler known as “The Silent Lady?”
- “Sisters ‘Burned Witchcraft Children’” It boggles my mind that this still happens today. This small article alone could lead to a week’s worth of discussion from the historical social uses of “witchcraft” to control women, to the still widely misunderstood stereotypes of “witchcraft,” and I could just go on and on here. Not but a year ago 9 girls were stoned to death in South Africa under suspicion of witchcraft (they were accused of causing the drought). This weekend’s burning happened to kill two girls, 3 and 7, while two others, 9 and 8 months, were saved and are in the hospital recovering.
There are, of course, plenty of other things that come to mind, but I’d keep you here all day. I’ll save my ranting for Wednesdays. Okay, at least I’ll try. It did occur to me, though, that someone should have checked out the book shelves of Juanna Barraza. I bet they’re very telling indeed…
Tags: Issues, lists
Today is going to be an awesome day! There’s so much goodness that I might just explode. Well, not explode really, but you get the idea. So what’s got me so geeked?
- Breakfast with the parents, brother, and his girlfriend at IHOP!! Do you know how long I have waited to go to an IHOP? Do you?! IHOP used to be one of my offices while in grad school. 4 AM grading, writing, or research sessions with pots of coffee and stacks and stacks of pancakes! Before monday the closest IHOP was about 200 miles away. Monday, the day after my birthday, an IHOP opened in Robinson, and I’m giving it a test run. What better present could I ask for?
- New phone! I dropped my phone about two weeks ago and shattered the front plate. It’s driving me nuts, and I don’t like the phone I have anyway. I’m impatient and I saw the deals online, but I might be able to swing a Treo if my in-person negotiation skills are up to par. New phones rock!
- The Tudors primere is tonight! I’m headed over to my brother’s after the phone excursion and we’re going to watch as much of season one as we can get through before the new season kicks off tonight. Sex, history, intrigue, and violence! Everything I love! WOO!!
My thoughts have made a significant shift toward research over the past week. Sometimes I have a specific direction and know exactly what problem I am trying to solve or what theory I am trying to support. Most other times I have an idea buzzing around in my head that started by fragments of various different things accidentally connecting in my mind. I know there’s something waiting to find me while I’m researching a topic, but I might not know what it is exactly. It’s like being given a puzzle without the box. I can see bits, but only once I put all the pieces together can I see the big picture. That’s the best way I can describe it.
While working on one of the novels I’ve started and keep returning to, some of those pieces began fitting together. My research for the novel started with the Moirae, or the Fates, and the Erinyes, or the Furies. Greek mythology is a passion of mine, and naturally this research led to more questions. Currently I’m interested in groups of Greek gods/goddesses/demigods, and most specifically in triads. There are quite a lot more than I originally remembered:
- The Moirae (Fates): The wierd sisters govern over your fate–when you’re born, how long you live, and when you die.
- The Erinyes (Furies): The embodiment of female vengence (avenging murder, grudging, and “unceasing”).
- The Horae: There are actually a number of “generations” of the Horae. They represent three seasons (Spring, summer, and autumn), Agricultural concepts (prosperity, substance, and abundance), Law and Order (moral justice, peace, and the adherance to “good” laws), and eventually there were 10 to represent each hour.
- The Gratiae (Graces): Beauty, mirth, and good cheer.
- The Gorgons: Female monsters often depicted with various animal body parts. Medusa was the most famous of the three.
- The Harpies: Typically three female winged monsters who kidnapped men (usually) and punished them on their way to Tartarus (the really bad part of the underworld). They were vicious and cruel.
- The Graeae: These ancient women were the “grey ladies” or “grey witches” who shared one tooth and one eye between them. They’re ominious (Alarm, horror, and dread, respectively) but didn’t physically do anything. They’re often conflated with the Furies and the Fates.
- The Oneiroi: Ominous, black-winged daemons who were the personification of dreams. Two worked on specific parts of dreams, one worked on the over all dream structure. Each had their specialty: crafting humans, animals, and objects. Oh yeah, and they were male.
I’m certain I missed some of the groups, but these are the most recognizable. Here’s what’s fascinating me… Only one of those groups are “male.” Most of the triads are female representations of concepts, and most of them aren’t positive. Of course, you have the triple goddess as well, usually represented in Greek Mythology as Hecate (Maiden, mother, and crone). What bothers me is that if Hecate represents “all” the aspects of humanity, then why the need for the others? Why in groups of three? Why are they almost all female, and nearly all deformed in some way? The research took my writing to a different place, and that’s just fine, but now I have more questions. Figures.
Tags: lists, myth, Research