Better Baseball Players

Many years ago I was a ski bum. I skied downhill on weekdays when I had the money. On weekends when the, “Flatlanders” arrived from Los Angeles and surrounding areas, I was out Cross Country skiing.

The two types of skiing are more different than similar. Downhill skis are shorter, wider, and stiffer. Heavy stiff boots are needed to manage the forces of gravity pulling you down the hill. High speed is the norm with lots of turns, small jumps, moguls, and such. One skies down the mountain and takes a lift back up the hill.

When Cross Country skiing, smaller downhill slopes are relaxation from the work not a having gravity assist to keep moving. Cross country skis are lighter, thinner and more flexible. Cross Country ski boots can be as simple as a pair of specially made tennis shoes.

It was surprising how much difference Cross Country skiing makes to downhill skiing. After a day or two on a skinny pair of Cross Country skis, downhill skiing feels like the downhill skis are three feet wide each. It would be as if it were impossible to fall.

Build your skills for Hardball using smaller bats and balls.

Stickball uses a, ‘Pimpleball’ or Handball for the ball. A cut off broomstick is all that is needed for the bat. Half Ball uses the same equipment except the ball is cut in half. Generally, the ball is tossed slowly towards the plate. Some players prefer a faster ball to be thrown.

Imagine the enhanced skill set it takes to hit an undersized ball with a broomstick handle bat. Hand eye coordination is higher for stick and half ball players, speed of the ball notwithstanding.

Players from Pre-Teen Private League Baseball to the American Legion hold baseball practice using the same Bats and Balls that are used in an ‘official’ game. What if Players used a smaller ball for batting and fielding practice? Players would enjoy increased hand eye coordination, and batting and fielding averages would rise.

Practicing with smaller practice balls and slimmer bats would hone skills. When batting in an official game, to the Batter it would look and feel as if an oversized ball was being used. Stickball or Halfball, both mostly inner city sports are good for a visual comparison.

Finally, confidence factor needs to be considered. If a Batter has a reasonable batting average with an undersized ball and bat, confidence is increased. The regulation size ball and bat would feel oversized to the batter and be easier to hit.

If Stickball or Halfball sound like fun, they are. The both can be played in the street, with no special equipment other than a broom stick and a ball.

Rat Fishing, Sport in the Inner City

“Rat Trap”, was a documentary shown on PBS tonight. “Rat Trap”, put forth a parallel between the preferred environment of rats, and some of the human population.

The documentary was very interesting, but its main point drifted right over me. What caught my focus was a sideline in the documentary. There were two ideas and two methods of Rat Collection which I found interesting. Firstly, it was established that when Rats overtake an area such as a neighborhood, the dynamics of harvesting the Rats changes.

You read it right. A new sport in the inner city.

Reducing the number of Rats is equivalent to increasing the food supply for the remaining Rats. Fewer Rats means more food for the remaining Rats, leading to a population boom. The environment can now support more Rats so the remaining Rats breed faster to fill the vacuum (food surplus).

Secondly, and perhaps unique to the location was the biggest Rat populations of present day are location identical to the largest Rat populations of the previous century. The most Rats lived in the poorest neighborhoods. Rat populations were also linked to the crime rate. More Rats meant more crime.

The first method of Rat collection was one that plays across YouTube until you get tired of watching. Shooting rats with pellet guns was a sport for some of the local residents. Nothing new there, except I wish I lived close to where I could go rat plinking, it looked like fun.

A second and more unique method of collecting Rats (and birds) was fishing for them! The ‘Fisherman’ had a normal fishing rod and reel, sinker attached, and two single hooks, that looked to be about size six. He would bait up his hooks with turkey and peanut butter, and cast to where he saw the most rats moving about. Keep the line tight, hook them, and reel them in in. The caught Rats were dispatched by his fishing friend who used a baseball bat. Think hitting a ball hanging from a string. Rat dispatch may need some work.

Unfortunately , the main point of the documentary was lost on me. The idea of rat hunting far outweighed the parallels of the economics of people and the number of rats in their environment.

Movie Worth Watching – Black Panther

If you can, Black Panther is well worth your time. One of the best thought out movies of its genre in a long while. Story flows, and you are sold on the story line in the first ten minutes.

If you have heard negatives about Black Panther, they are probably wrong. I know Conservative Radio claims the movie, Black Panther, “Aggrandizes Black Women”, like there is something inherently wrong with that thought. In my opinion, it is a small thought put out there for small minds,

Let me know if you enjoyed Black Panther. I am sure you will.

Social Isolation and Indifference is Killing Our Children

No picture today… This post is a plea about School Shootings and Teen deaths. Stolen from Wikipedia, this is their list of school shootings in the United States in the last few years:

“2018, 14 February – Marjory Stoneman Douglas High school shootings – (17 dead)
2017, November 14 – Rancho Tehama Reserve shootings – (6 dead)
2015, 1 October – Umpqua Community College shooting – (10 dead)”

Teen suicide for Males ages 15 – 19 is listed at about fourteen percent by the CDC in 2015. Teen suicide rate for Females 15 – 19 is listed at about six percent.

“According to U.S. Census Bureau estimates, there were 41,731,233 youth age 10-19 in the United States, 13% of the total U.S. population, in 2015″

As ugly as it reads, Teen deaths from school shootings is a drop in the bucket for any given year when compared against the number of other preventable Teen Deaths. Yet school shootings get the publicity because of the raw emotion involved, and the press over milking every possible angle of the story, playing on peoples emotions. Always first on peoples list is banning “assault” rifles.

I am not a fan of assault rifles. They were created for on reason, and we all know what that reason is. Let’s pretend we take assault rifles away. Now the next mass shooting will be done using a different type of firearm. Let’s pretend to take those arms away too. And so it goes, so on and so forth. Banning one gun after another until they are all gone.

Wait. There have been mass killings attempted with vehicles too! Let’s start banning vehicles. We’re not done yet. There was killing that took place in England recently where the weapon of choice was machetes. We better ban machetes too. Let’s not forget drug overdose, poisoning, and the multitude of other ways people use to kill each other.

Kids who plan to kill or kill on a large scale, as in school shootings seem to have certain characteristics in common. First and foremost, someone or several someones knew about the planned attack before it happened, and Parents were oblivious in a few cases (discounting Parents who knew their Son was a danger and no one would or could help). Secondly, it seems these kids were loners, either by choice or as a result of being bullied through their school days and years. All were unstable, and NO ONE (really cared or) payed any attention.

I do not wish to point fingers only at Parents, because kids, like adults can be secretive when need be. But, why in the world if a Child is having emotional or psychological problems, does that same kid have access to Dad’s or Mom’s gun(s)?

Two main issues here. Does Dad and Mom pay enough attention to their Child to know their Child is being bullied and/or has been ostracized from all social interaction at school? What about their Child’s behaviors? Children usually give off several types of warning signs or signals.

Transformation into wanting to kill does not happen overnight! Are Parents even aware if their child has serious emotional issues and may be unstable? Do Parents know their Child may fantasize about killing those Kids who make his life at school a pure hell? What about other family members? Do they pretend it’s not their business, or ignore the signs as just another rant? Neighbors, friends, does anyone pay attention? It doesn’t feel like it. If they do they don’t care enough to take action.

Kids killing Kids is a horrible thing. Until we start caring for our own Children and our neighbors children these mass killings are likely to continue. Guns are not the issue. Lack of Family and Social support and caring seems to be the major issue. Where is the Social Structure and support for these troubled Kids?

In each of the recent school shootings after the fact, one or more fellow students and  adults stated they were afraid this was going to happen. Yet they kept quiet!? It’s possible that some of those murdered in school shootings were the problem that caused such a violent reaction to begin with? We may never know for sure, but we allow bullying and social isolation to continue.

My admiration for the Grandmother who knows she should go through her Grandchild’s room, who found a diary where he was planning a school shooting of his own, and then found an assault rifle in his guitar case!

Why aren’t we involved in the lives of our children? Why aren’t we involved in our neighborhood and the children in it? You and I may be partially responsible for the next school shooting because we are indifferent and pretend we are too busy. My heart goes out to those who admitted they knew these school shootings were going to happen. They have to see themselves in the mirror every day, and know they did nothing.

Teen suicides are my fault and your fault for not being a responsible Parent and Adult in our own home and Community. A dead Teen, whether from their own hand or that of another, is a death that could have been prevented – if we only really cared and took action. The Government does not own School Shootings or other preventable Teen Death…we do.

The “Man in the Van” is not the problem, we are the problem. We have isolated ourselves so well, we do not know our own children, or our closest neighbors. Grow up! Be sociable and teach your Kids how to safely socialize. We can not help each other if we remain indifferent strangers to each other while living feet apart from each other.

Three Movies Worth Watching

I like more serious movies. There is enough entertainment between the big box stores, Internet, and television that I go to the movies for something different. These three excellent drama’s will keep you thinking long after the movie is over. I won’t pretend to be a movie critic. Besides, I was preempted by the Golden Globe Awards.

Three movies well worth watching.

The Florida Project – I wasn’t sure what I liked more about this movie. The more or less realistic look at life lived when you are poor, or that a child could play such a serious role and do it so well. Watch this movie if you want to appreciate the life you have.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – I think what few life topics Florida doesn’t cover, this movie made up for. Quite a serious movie that covers a lot of topics. From living in a small town when I was young, it felt like a fair depiction of small town life, taken a little over the top in parts, but well worth seeing. If you enjoyed Fargo, and wasn’t put off by the over done accent and idiosyncrasies, you will enjoy Three Billboards.

Dunkirk – I don’t care for war movies, but this one is done well, and I really got into the story. It helps it is based on a true story. Some war movies really manage to bring out emotions other than the standard emotions, and I think this movie is one of them. You will want to cheer at the end.

Darkest Hour – This is the other side of Dunkirk rescue, centered around Winston Churchill and his actions, or lack thereof. This was a hard character to pull off and I think Gary Oldman deserves an award for doing what he does so well, making his character so real, you forget it is a movie. The movie starts out slow, but catches up quickly. Darkest Hour is an at name for this movie.

I hope if you haven’t seen these movies, and you enjoy more serious movies, you get a chance to see these four movies.

As for the picture of the balloon with the mountains in the background, well this is as close to the movies as I have a picture of. I was on a walking path near the Rio Grande River when the balloon landed. Because balloons have no way to steer, and limited fuel, the pilot thought the path was a the best landing spot they were likely to find before the propane tank went totally empty.

Teen Thinking Help

I remember being a Teenager. I had more energy than brains. My thought to action process took place in seconds. If it looks like fun, do it. This was about all there was to my thinking. I thought it was just me but over the years I noticed it wasn’t just me. It is how a normal male and possibly female Teenage Brain works – little thought, lots of action.

I was luckier than most. I grew up in a rural area. There wasn’t a lot to destroy, or get into trouble over. I am not sure how I would have fared if I had been born and raised in a city, like where I live now. The Teenage brain has not changed, only mine has as I have aged. The Teen brain has two states, on and off.

There is a group in Chicago which is teaching Teens about pausing and thinking before acting. How to create a decision making process instead of reacting. Since it was started, violent crime, and especially murder rate has dropped dramatically in the the Teen age group where the program is active.

The program is named BAM, an acronym for Becoming a Man. The main purpose of the program is to teach teens to think slower, and not act on impulse. The program shows a lot of success in just teaching at risk teens to pause and think for about thirty seconds before acting.

This gives a Teen and his brain a chance to think before acting. Is the argument worth fighting, going to prison, or dying for? The short pause the BAM program teaches, is saving lives, and keeping otherwise good kids out of the prison system.

This is a concept that every parent should be teaching their kids starting before the teen years kick in. Here is an example of Teen no Think in action.

Teens act on impulse first, and think about results later.

















The picture above is of is a plastic bag dispensing container placed along walking path. The bags are there for dog walkers using the walking path to pick up and dispose of their dog’s droppings. There is a trash can for dog dropping disposal close by. Before these dispensers were put up along the walking path, it was no fun walking. There were piles of dog droppings about every three feet, and it stank – bad!

Notice the bags are yanked out and pulled around? This was done by a bored Teen acting on impulse. I am sure how the thought entered his mind, and he started yanking bags as soon as he reached the dispenser. I am sure it felt good too. It filled the need to do something.

Now if the the Teen Boy let himself think twenty or thirty seconds about this action before starting, he would have come to a better decision: People use these bags to clean up their Dog’s droppings. If I pull this apart there will be fewer bags available. That would mean more stinky dog droppings on the walking path. This is a stupid idea.

Obviously, the Teen Boy never thought about what he was going to do, he simply did it. I know now after he has had to think about it he feels really silly. I am sure it is not something he is telling his friends about. Thinking thirty seconds before acting is something everyone, not just Teens should practice. It saves lives, and makes life better for everyone.


Metformin and Probiotics

If you take Metformin you may be interested in reading what follows. Some people have mild to strong reaction from taking Metformin, usually expressed by diarrhea and/or a generally upset stomach. Many people have found that if Metformin gives them problems, taking a daily Probiotic helps with some Metformin side effects.

From the people I have spoken with, there does not seem to be any difference in what Probiotic one takes. Some people take close to top of the line and some people buy the cheapest Probiotic they can find. If you take or have priced Probiotics, you are aware that can be a difference of over $20.00 a month, sometimes more if you really go for the very top of the line Probiotic.

Cessation of diarrhea or a generally upset stomach generally happens within a week according to those I spoke with. With differing opinions on what Metformin really does, it is not known why or how a Probiotic makes a difference, though it appears to.

Metformin and a Probiotic may help with Metformin’s side effects

















I started taking Probiotics about six months ago on a friends advice, and I believe Probiotics make a difference for me. I have a wheat allergy, and while Probiotics do nothing for the allergy itself, they do relieve the symptoms when I find after the fact, that I ingested wheat hidden in something I ate.

I also have read taking additional Probioticcs during the day helps with general upset stomach and diarrhea though I have no experience with this idea yet, and prefer not to.

I normally take one Probiotic with breakfast. If I start to feel my stomach bloating from hidden ingested wheat, I will take a second Probiotic. It is not a miracle cure, but it does seem to help. If you have stomach problems, are wheat intolerant, or take Metformin, trying a Probiotic may help you feel better. Of course check with your Doctor for your overall health first.

New Year’s Coming

It is almost the beginning of a new year, and you may be starting to think about the list of changes you want to make in your life? It is not such an easy thing. You can create several lists full of good changes. You can take the best from each of your lists and make a master list. Or you can do a seat of the pants list and write down the first ideas you think of.
Most of our resolution lists have to do with events external to us. Lose weight and exercise more. Stop doing something, and learn something else. Find a way to get ahead in our job, or maybe even find a new job. Get some training or take a class or two that will help us in the future.

Somewhere along the line the ghosts of past resolution lists make themselves known. We remember those things we were sure we were going to do. Somehow they all slipped away into the ether with our other good intentions.

Make time for you this year and do what makes you happy!

The reason these lists of changes we create and rarely stick to is simple. The changes we make and sometimes create usually have nothing to do with us! They have more to do with people around us. This is why most resolutions do not last or come to pass.
It is okay to have that pie in the sky resolution. I have a few, and I think everyone should have at least one. Writing down a list of unrealistic goals however is making of a forgotten list. When you compile or recompile your list of resolutions, make them worthwhile meaningful resolutions about you. Being yourself is more satisfying than living the way others think you should.

Here is a general list of worthwhile resolutions followed by what they could mean for you:

 I will be truthful to me.

I will learn what “I” believe in, and why I believe it.

I will eat more of the foods I really enjoy rather than easy foods I do not care for.

I will make more time for me.

I will create positive differences in my life, and lives of others along the way.

I will appreciate who I am and what I have.

As funny as it sounds, most of us lie to ourselves. We ignore things about ourselves we would rather not think about. We often do things we deep down do not want to do. When was the last time you were truthful with yourself?

What do you really believe and why do you believe it? Do you believe what you do because your parents raised you to believe this way?  Whatever your belief system is, it will always feel a little artificial until you dissect it, rebuild it and make it your own.

Eating better does not mean giving up foods you really like. There are more ways to enjoy cheese than on a slice of pizza. Does the food you are eating really good or are you simply go through the motions of eating?

I am going to change those things I can change. I am going to look at my life and see where I am spending time doing things I prefer not to be do.

Think about what you can do that makes you feel good. Giving change to a shiftless panhandler doesn’t feel all that good, nor does it change anything. Do what makes you feel good, and you help others in the process.

What does my life mean to me? Am I happy with what I have? Is it because I feel I do not have enough? If you aren’t happy with what you have, sell it all and buy the biggest thing you can afford that makes you happy.

Your life is yours to live as you wish. You are the captain of your ship.  Do not live to please other people unless this is something you enjoy doing. Don’t be miserable again this year. This year, learn to be yourself and please yourself. Then your life will feel good, and you will be happy.

GMO Humans, Baby Farms, Uterus Implantation

Implanted embryos being born as healthy babies is already passé. If you have the money, someone will do the procedure for you, whether you are part of a couple or not. There is a new twist on baby implants, genetic testing before implantation. On the surface, genetic testing sounds really swell.

A woman’s fertilized eggs may be tested for certain genetic illnesses. If any of the fertilized eggs test positive, the egg is not implanted, and a another approved fertilized egg is implanted instead. Like Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) crops, and cloned animals, we have the technology. We will soon have the technology to produce designer babies.

Genetic testing may have a positive effect on an individual and the parents who raise them. Many horrible diseases, emphysema, dementia, certain cancers, many other diseases may be prevented before a fetus is developed, or implantation is performed.

This technology has wonderful application which may be of great benefit to individual parents and the world in general. How comforting it would be to know your child will not develop a genetically prone disease from your genes, thanks to, In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) selection, it will be prevented or downgraded before implantation and development.

Custom Babies, and Uterus Implants, where are we going with technology?

A major disadvantage is how this technology will likely be applied. It probably won’t wind up being used for poor families in India, Africa, and other poor nations or countries, who have a surplus of people, and a deficit of resources. It will be used for additional trials and testing, and by those who can afford the cost. The price tag of IVF already restricts itself to the wealthy. Genetic testing before implantation raise the cost considerably.

Implications exist as this relates to gene therapy trials. Every process or procedure is safe until something unforeseen happens. Who wants to be the parents of an enhanced embryo which grows into a child, and later develops a terminal disease linked to some little understood gene combination and selection process?

Are there serious moral and ethical issues with designer babies? Some issues will be addressed by each couple in turn. Society as a whole will have its say. What will happen if a nation decides what its citizens should look like, and starts using genetic testing to eliminate unwanted skin, hair, or eye colors before implantation. What if testing to eliminate unwanted babies is done? Will we start producing children that will start to look like the Aliens of our imagination when grown adults?

Once a technology is made possible and published, it is out of the control of well wishers and loose in the real wold. IVF and Human GMO is destined to find acceptance in possible military technology. On the other side, abortion gives support to the idea of genetic testing and implantation. Agree with abortion or not, discarding or not implanting an embryo is less distasteful than aborting a developing fetus.

If these ideas sound a little far fetched, uterus implantation for the wealthy and childless woman is here. Soon, with enough money, a woman may have her uterus replaced with a healthy uterus, give birth to a baby, and have the uterus removed before organ rejection occurs. The Human future is either looking very exciting, or very scary, depending on how you see this use of technology. Where should we go with our technology, let it free, or reign it in?

12/02/17 – On Yahoo today, Uterus transplant patient gives birth

Creation, Evolution, or Intelligent Design

With Christmas fast approaching, perhaps it is time to reflect on how we got here, and where we are going? Probably not to Grandmothers house on a one horse open sleigh, or to the buffet for an all we can eat. Rather some thinking on what we think or believe about how human beings came about. I presented both sides in short paragraphs. What do you think about where we came from? Who’s right and who’s got it wrong?

How did we get here and where are we going? How you answer is important.

Biodiversity is more important to human survival than the numbers of humans that survive. Less than a century ago, antibiotics were thought of as the end all for infectious diseases. Today these same antibiotics in there original form are almost worthless. Now we are tinkering with genetics, because we ‘know’ we are more educated today. In the near future we will discover the same end result, only magnified by our tinkering.

An argument can be made that Buffalo created and maintained the Midwest plains area of our country. We killed most of the Buffalo, and put wheat, corn and cattle in their place, adding prodigious amounts of chemicals each year to the ecosystem, to keep the food chain producing, hoping for a future fix to cure the extensive damage we create today. All this in less than a few hundred years.

Most Human hardship is a direct result of human intervention and tinkering. We modified ‘primitive’ cultures, forcing them to abandon a lifestyle that kept ecosystems in balance for thousands of years. We created Frankenstein systems that can no longer support itself, all the while adding more humans to already overcrowded and starving populations, while we hope for a new ‘miracle cure’, to fix what we have created. We are out of miracles when it comes to our biosphere, and we need to come to terms with this.