Friday, September 26, 2008

Thoughts for 5769

If the Mets annual September swoon continues and they don't make the playoffs - Sunday will mark the final game at Shea Stadium. And as we say goodbye to the site of so much happiness in '69 on Sunday.... on Monday Night, we will say hello to another '69.... 5769!!

I like welcoming in the new as we say goodbye to the old. Yankee Stadium had its big closing party last weekend with an event that even the Mets fans enjoyed. Next season they move to the New Stadium across the street, although can you imagine the embarassment if the new stadium is not ready and they have to go back to the old one after that grand goodbye party?

I thought it was odd they made such a big deal about Bernie Williams grand return since he departed with a big chip on his shoulder and his "letting go" of that chip should not have overshadowed the historical implication of the final game at The House That Ruth Built that will be replaced by The House That The Taxpayers Built. To me, THE highlight of the evening was the "copied from the All Star Game" gathering of players and their families in the very spot that those stars roamed for all those many years. CF seems to be the big position for the Yankees starting with Joe DiMaggio and culminating with the 4 World Series won by Williams. But the moment that I thought was the best... better than The Willie Randolph slide and better than Yogi standing behind home plate in that vintage uniform.... took place in centerfield when the son of Mickey Mantle embraced the recently widowed wife of Bobby Murcer in a comforting gesture at a moment that surely was emotionally quite overwhelming.

The Mets probably can't top that and if they can make the playoffs it will be hard to plan in advance for when the final Shea game will take place. Nonetheless, the regular finale is Sunday and it will be nice to see Tom Seaver and hopefully Mike Piazza among others who excelled at Shea. I'm not sure about the first pitch for Sunday - how do you top the 90-something year old daughter of Babe Ruth? - but maybe Ralph Kiner who has been with the Mets as an announcer since Day One might be a good pick; he is probably the only person who has bridged the gap from Day One to 2008.

Hopefully there won't be any one game playoff Monday so I can enjoy Rosh Hashanah without any baseball distractions. I have heard that a lot of Conservative Rabbis will be addressing The Agriprocessors situation in their High Holy Day sermons, as this kosher food supplier company seems to be the polarizing issue between the Ultra Orthodox who blindly support the Ultra owners of that company, and the rest of us who are disgusted and embarrased by what has been going on there.

Agriprocessors, in Iowa manufactures what we see in the stores as The Aarons/Rubashkin meats. They were caught in a bust a few months ago for having hundreds of illegal and underage workers in their slaughtering facility. And the subsequent reactions to this news, which has led to approximately 9000 chargese seems to be a good starting point for this years New Years column.

With the election coming up shortly, I am very bothered by The Christian Right Wingers who want to impose their religious beleifs on everyone else. Exhibit A is that incredibly hot Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin. But beneath that va va voom and those little eyeglasses is a lifestyle that she and her other right wingers feel should be imposed on All Americans...such as laws to deprive rape victims the right to "choose". Thankfully, my ultra orthodox Jewish brethren are not missionaries, and do not try to convert people from other religions. They only want to see that other Jews become more observant, and God bless them for it! Their incredible work has kept Judaism alive and cut down on attrition due to intermarriage. They really do a terrific job. They only take issue with other religions whose morals allow the acceptability of advertising billboards with sexy cleavagey babes posted on highways where their young boys can accidentally get their first post nursing glimpse of gasp - boobies! But while a bustline is a no no, why is the Iowa bust ok?

I actually knew a very religious Christian woman who found out about the death of one of my relatives and sweetly and sincerely asked me if this person accepted Jesus prior to leaving this Earth. It might have sounded like an offensive question but in reality she was so convinced that Jews who don't accept Jesus will not go to Heaven that her question actually had some good intentions behind it. And of course theres that point made by Rabbi Shmuely Boteach who questions if a Nazi officer who accepted Jesus would go to Heaven while the little Jewish girl he murdered went to Hell.

But the line in the sand seems to be drawn by this Iowa raid. The owner of the company, Aaron Rubashkin is in a heap of trouble. And a well meaning relative who would like me to read religious right wing perioidicals instead of my usual stuff featuring sexy ads, started sending me a periodical that has some interesting editorials. The blinding support for Rubashkin in those editorials is actually embarassing. And some of them are slamming Obama's candidacy for the silliest reason! They reject him because of "slanderous" comments he made to the media criticizing Agriprocessors, when he was questioned by a reporter after the raid at that horror filled slaughterhouse. They contend that Rubashkin is innocent until proven guilty... and they feel Obama is more wrong for his comments about Rubashkin than Rubashkin is for what did!

Rubashkin does not appear to be too remorseful and through his lawyer has defended himself by blaming the victims for fibbing about their ages. Keep in mind that if every one of those young girls was caught in that Slaughterhouse doing the ol' hoochie mcscoochie with a male immigrant older than 18... not only would the jail bait defense "Oh she said she was 18" not fly.. but Rubashkin would throw those guys under the bus quicker than the next bus load of illegals would pull into the gates leading into his slaughterhouse.

And as I mentioned in this blog a month ago, the Conservative movements attempt to strengthen Kosher laws by not giving a stamp of approval to a Kosher food company that mistreats its employees has been met with sarcasm and derision by the Rubashkin supporters. But when it comes to those editorials, take it with a grain of salt. 99.9% of these right wingers are truly wonderful people, but the few who write these editorials come up with issues that make absolutely no sense. One such editorial writer recently criticized the wonderful Hillel organization on college campuses because the original Hillel would not approve of the activities that go on there. That is just pure silliness. My dad used to write for The Brooklyn College Hillel Newspaper although I think he did it to meet chics.

One more point about these polarizing issues amongst my fellow Hebrews and Shebrews. The other day on The People's Court a woman got into a parking lot fender bender with a religious guy. She said he backed into her car and didnt want to call the cops and then reneged on his offer to pay for the damages so she sued him for the approx, 2000 bucks on the estimate. The guy came to court and said she smacked his car to which the woman who was also Jewish pointed out that she expected more of a religious guy than to lie under oath. And there was a twist - unbeknowst to this guy, she got a cheaper repair job done for approx $200, and in her complaint said she didnt want to tell him, but also didnt want to collect anything more than she actually paid out of pocket. This not-as-religious woman came out smelling like a rose and she obviously won the case.

I thought the religious guy came out looking very bad. But others who saw the same case may have reacted differently saying that the Jewish woman should not have sued her fellow Hebrew and taken the case to a Jewish court - a beit din instead. Whatever the case may be... whoever we are and whatever we represent... it is important for us as we enter 5769 to take more responsibility for our actions and how things reflect on us.

Our economy is in deep trouble because people arent paying their loans and finger pointing banks don't want to admit that they made some poor decisions in who they made loans to. Yet, a few years ago, people came to me with mortgage applications and if I dared to tell them that they couldn't afford the payments. 5 brokers representing 5 other banks were standing right there ready to take the loan instead. Yet now the banks point fingers at everyone else - and many people thought nothing of jumping on the big banks bandwagon and borrowing hundreds of thousands of dollars.... even though they knew their repayment habits were so bad that they would not even loan themselves 5 bucks.

And if we do something wrong and get caught.. we admit to it... and dont blame 9000 charges on immigrant children who do not belong in a slaughter house!! But fessing up, and taking responsibility is the start. Take responsibility for your credit and think twice before you buy something. And most importantly, take responsibility for who you vote for on Election Day. Do you want to vote for a ticket that has a woman on it that wants to take away a woman's right to choose... and force a woman to have a baby, while that same candidate's party imposes tax cuts that take away the same programs that will help that baby that they want to force that woman to give birth to! And carrying ourselves in a proud manner and treating our fellow workers/employees in a proper respectful manner is a great resolution for '69.

Now if only the Met relievers can take some responsibility, Shea could look like '69 all over again... Thats 1969, not 5769!

Happy New Year to all my Jewish pals.


Last week Pumpy improved to 2-1 after he picked the Bengals who covered the spread. Eagled eyed readers will note that I said the Bengals would cover but in a senior moment I typed in the wrong pick! This week we go to Shea where the Jets used to play! The Jets are 1 point favorites over The Arizona Cardinals. Sayeth the Pump: "I am going against McCain in November so this week I will go against his home state of Arizona!"


Last week we went 0-3 and we are now 3-6.

Washington 11 point doggies over DALLAS - The NFC East looks very very strong this year. Its a good week for the Cowboys to taste defeat.

THE BEARS 3 point doggies to Philadelphia - Maybe this will also be a celebratory weekend for Chicago and a bad weekend for Philly in football and baseball?

THE JETS 1 point faves over Arizona - The Jets only 1 point faves at home to the Cards? Have the Cards really improved that much? I'll go with Pumpie this week.

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