George Sodini’s tormented blog lives online

For the last week I’ve been reading with interest – perhaps morbid – about George Sodini, the 48-year-old mass murderer in Pittsburgh, who killed three women at an LA Fitness. I’ve written a little bit about him for this blog but have yet to really delve into what this incredibly lonely and angry man let the world know about himself through his own blog. Right now, I’m sure there are thousands of people reading Sodini’s vitriolic, self-absorbed online journal. I guess I’m one of them.

Predictably, Sodini’s own webpage has been taken down from the Net, but not before others could duplicate what he had written. I wonder how much access the public would have to Sodini’s mind were this crime had occurred in the 1980’s, well-before people shared their thoughts online. If he had done so in a notebook, it’s likely the public would have to go through the courts to get access to it and only after the Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania state police departments had it in their possession for a while, perhaps leaking excerpts to the press.

As disturbing as the shooting was and frightening that loneliness and alienation could contribute to someone doing such an awful thing, I am curious to read what he has written and glad that it has been preserved online. Still, probably won’t be much of a pleasant read.

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More sketchiness with the neighbors on the corner

I’ve written about them – and judging by the stats few have read – but the family on the corner has reached a new level of bizarre. When I went out this morning to take my dog for a walk I noticed some marker-scrawled graffiti on the side of their house.

On the north side of the house there is what appears to be the word ‘sneek’ written across the wooden, white painted siding. I’ve heard of folks vandalizing other peoples’ property, but their own? Of course, I should consider that it wasn’t them but someone else who did it. The only reason why I’d think that’s not the case is because there is quite literally someone out there at all times on the wooden stoop.

I didn’t want to snoop around at 6:30 a.m. with my camera any more than I had. It was a little strange to see. As I don’t own property on my block – or anywhere for that matter – I am not too concerned. Just thought it was a little strange. I’ll see if more shows up on their’s or any other houses on the block.

What does daytime commercials say about us

I’ve had the last three days off from work and have spent an inordinate amount of it in front of our elderly, wooden-cased television set.

I have to say, daytime TV is really one of the most depressing things. Lots of commercials for the down and out; Cash For Gold, class action lawsuit attorney services, and advertisements for diabetes testing equipment.

The hours of 10 a.m. through 4 p.m. are obviously prime for the type of services geared at people down on their luck. These commercials, depressing as they are, do make me a bit thankful to have a job and not reliant on selling my roommate’s gold jewelry, searching for for someone who has been injured in a motorsports accident and developing blood sugar problems. Guess I should be happy I have my job and my health.

Kevin Youkilis has crossed the line

A day after I posted about how I think Kevin Youkilis has no basis for being angry about being plunked due to the fact that he girds himself with a big red bullet proof elbow pad and hangs out over the plate, Major League Baseball’s biggest whiner has charged the mound tonight in a game against the tigers.

Youkilis was angry that Detroit pitcher Rick Porcello plunked him in the back. I’ll get it out of the way that I hate the Red Sox and that it’s unfortunate that they were able to tie the ballgame up after the bench clearing incident, for which Youkilis will likely be suspended. I do believe however that as rough as it is to drill someone in the back, if there’s one player in the Boston lineup and perhaps the whole league who deserves to get whacked it’s Youkilis. Now, I’m saying this from the perspective of a guy who makes likely on one year less than this guy makes in a game or two, although I still wouldn’t want to be beaned. That said, Youkilis borders on cheating in that he’s got a huge portion of his body out over the plate. He’s asking to be hit with intent or on accident. If his career lasts a long time, perhaps he’ll challenge Don Baylor for HBP.

By virtue of the fact that he’s got so much armor on him and is living over that plate, where else is a pitcher going to hit him but anywhere other than the elbow. It could be worse. He could have gotten a head shot.

I think the umpire was right to eject Porcello in order to put an end to the beanballs, but since when did well-paid athletes become such crybabies? Youk seems to be leading the chorus. Nobody should enjoy being hit, but if there’s anyone who shouldn’t complain it’s this guy.

Stop crying, Youkilis. You and everyone else wearing an elbow pad do not deserve a free pass.

Tonight, in the bottom of the fourth inning between the Red Sox and Tigers at Fenway Park, Detroit pitcher Edwin Jackson came inside on Kevin Youkilis, drilling him in the side with a hard fastball. The normally dramatic corner-man grunted and mad a gesture towards Jackson, perhaps hoping to frighten him in return. The AL’s designated hitter’s system has made it extremely hard to carry out revenge on those who would throw at a batter (remember Game 2 of the 2000 NLCS when Roger Clemens attempted to kill Piazza with a broken shard of bat for whatever reason). Unfortuantely, there was no way to put Clemens in the batters box that night and have him sweat against inside pitching because his time was at home and the designated hitter in play. Hardly seems fair to me, but hey, we don’t exactly live in a fair world.

Youkilis holding his beloved body armour after being hit by Santana

Tonight’s incident is the second time I have seen Youkilis – who burnishes some serious armour on his left elbow – cry about being hit by an inside pitch. He did so back in June when the Mets were in town for a 3-game interleague series. During the first game, Mets ace Johan Santana clobbered “Youk” on his back elbow, which was periously close to hanging over the home plate. Smarting from the pain, Youkilis, who Red Sox fans cherish as a blue collar player, made his way to the mound. On his way up the first base line, Youk shouted at the lefty pitcher who had plunked him.

As a Mets fan and just a fan of the game in general I found the exchange, brief as it was, very telling about the sense of entitlement some players like Youkilis have.

Firstly, the guy hangs out over the plate as if he’s gonna set up a table and some chairs for his bros, Dustin Pedroia, Jonathan Pappelbon and Josh Beckett to hang out and have some cold beers and listening to 311. He really acts as if the plate belongs to him. In a league where the pitcher doesn’t have to face direct retribution for beaning batters, that’s pretty prime real estate for his ilk and he is lucky he doesn’t get pegged even more.

I haven’t done a study on this, but it has been my observation that the American League is exploding with the use of elbow pads, which only take away more room for pitchers to throw inside. It’s not just the Sox, but the Yankees as well (Jeter, Cano, Cabrera, Rodriguez), and the Rays (Longoria, Aybar, Crawford, Bartlett, Iwamura). I suspect the difference in elbow pads in both leagues has to do with the fact that in the National League the pitcher has to put himself in the position where he to could be plunke for hitting someone. In the American League, it’s the signficant players who have to worry about getting whacked for their pitcher’s indiscretion. Therefore, they have to on the armour.

I believe that when Pedro Martinez came to the National League his predilection for plunking batters reduced as he found himself in the batters box.

What bothers me so much about the elbow pad is that it removes the incentive of pitchers to thrown inside and, gasp…accidentally plunk a batter.

Kevin Youkilis, who may be the worst plate crowder in the game, has no basis for his crybaby antics after being hit. He chooses to hang his top half over the plate to dominate inside pitching (his stance is also very annoying to look at). Personally, I think people shoul keep whacking Youkilis until he agrees to take off that thick armour he’s wearing. It just seems low class. The agreement would forbid pitchers from throwing at the head and neck or other vulnerable areas. It could be called the Youkilis rule.

I guess I’m just sick of hearing how “blue collar” Youk and Pedroia are when both are wearing armour medieval warriors would be envious of.

I wish I was one of hip folks in the Smirnoff commercials

I love these new Smirnoff Ice commercials that showcase young, fit, free-spirited people doing crazy things to beat the duldrums of summer life.

I just saw the one posted above, where these whippersnappers escape the sweltering summer heat. I guess one could say I come across as a bit bitter, but it’s really not about bitterness. Though it would be nice to do a slip and slide at a golf course with beautiful people, I’ve gotta say, I just really find these commercials very obnoxious. Not quite as loathesome as the New York Times weekend eition commercials, which showcase annoying, smug young professionals, but still very irritating.

The Smirnoff commercials are annoying because let’s face it the last thing that people who drink this stuff to do is to go and have some spontaneous fun that doesn’t involve boning one another (which is still very good, by the way). Let’s face it, for the most part when people get blitzed they stay that way, choosing to stay indoors rather than doing something fun. I don’t begrudge anyone who wants to do the slip and slie thing, but something about the squares they show doing it makes me itchy. I see these dudes bro-ing down more than actually getting the motivation to go outside and raid a golf course.

Look, I want to be young for the rest of my life and stay that way. When I’m 50 I hope I’m not constantly inoors. I want to do things to keep myself entertained. I guess my issue with these commercials is that in their showcasing of spritely beautifful people, they forget that a lot of people just become real bitchass once they have a glass of beer or a malt beverage.

I have a friend who is by all definitions an alcoholic. I grew up with him up here Upstate but lived with him for a little while in the city. He’s a good guy but a sloppy drunk, the kind who loses all sense of reasonable boy language, crowding the folks he talks to and being really loud and occasionally argumentive. My friend sees himself in the way that a lot of folks just really don’t see him, which is as a slick young New Yorker – perhaps the kind in the second Smirnoff Ice commercial I’ve posted. Really though, he’s the kinda guy who has on ocassion¬† passed out on the subway or done his own slip and slid down the stairs to his apartment. Doubtless, however, he’d really like these commercials. I think he sees himself as young and fit and, well, a person in the Smirnoff commercials. But hey, live the dream and the illusion of marketing if you have to.

I guess what I find really funny is that the idea of a commercial sliding down a hill while drunk that cautions consumers to rink responsibily! I’m not saying I wouldn’t go own the hill with a few drinks in me, but let’s face it, it’s probably not a good idea.

Josh Hamilton problems redux

Sitting here tonight watching Sports Center, I just heard about the photos published of Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton in some PG-13 drunken covorting with women not his wife. The photos, which were taken in January, are really not any more graphic than what you’d find on an 11th grader’s Facebook site. Still, coming from a born-again Christian who professes to have turned his life around from years of drug addiction through the power of Jesus Christ, it does create a bit of an image problem for the slugger.

Since the photos surfaced, Hamilton has come out to address the issue, saying it was a lapse in judgment, one that affected his marriage and children. Since the incident, which ocurred in an Arizona bar, Hamilton says he has been sober and forthright with his family and Rangers about his problem.

I was disappointed to hear about Josh’s relapse, but perhaps not as letdown as others. My issue with it is that Hamilton will be known now as a hypocrite for having put his faith at the forefront of his recovery and then slipping up.¬† After all, this was the guy who after winning the 2008 home run derby at Yankee Stadium thanked Christ for his performance. I feel for the guy because the Christian life is easier said than done and it’s easy to slip up.

For the last few seasons baseball has been a game of gotcha. From Rafael Palmiero’s positive steroids test just months after denying his use to congress, to Jason Giambi, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Manny Ramirez and now David Ortiz, the public has voiced disgust with players and though they fill up the seats, the sure are indignant about the misdeeds.

Personally, I hold nothing against this guy. It’s his business and between him and his God – who I suppose is the same God as mine. I guess what I wonder about is if it was necessary for Hamilton to be invoking Jesus last year as he made a spectacular comeback from the guy who smoked crack to an All-Star. I say that only because sometimes it seems that one’s relationship with Jesus doesn’t mean he or she won’t slip up. We do it on a daily basis, really. Rather than Jesus taking removing himself from the trailer parks where he was using, maybe Josh did it himself and Jesus is really what he should be striving for rather than giving the impression that he’s always there, automatically hiding him from the devil.

A while back, Hamilton wrote a very moving blog about his awakening from addiction. He was shoeless, walking along a deserted road in North Carolina, high on Klonopin. Hamilton said he felt he was stuck in a tug of war between good and evil. In light of the recent news that he’s relapsed – which most addicts do – his testimony to some may seem very worthless.

It all reminds me of a scene from the movie Walk The Line in which Johnny Cash is trying to convince his record label to let him record an album in front of prisoners, who made up a big portion of his fans.

One of the executives reminds him that his listeners are family folks, respectable, good Christians. These are the type of people who wouldn’t want him to perform for prisoners.

The singer responded that in that case, those types of listeners didn’t sound much like Christians to him.¬† To me, Josh Hamilton is not a “super Christian”. He’s just a dude. He’s a dude who lslipped up in his drinking and let his guard down. He’s not the victim of a Satanic plot and mercifully, he’s not playing it that way. Regardless, there are really few super Christians out there. If there were, maybe there wouldn’t be a point to Christianity. That said, like those who took the banned substance and even those who have only been pointedly accused of it, he’s got a credibility problem to deal with.

I’m sure that during this critical weekend series against the Los Angeles Angels, Hamilton would rather be focusing on other things than these photos, which show his reversal. Still, he’s gotta get up in the morning and get ready for the game. That’s the way life is an that’s really the only way we can handle our setbacks.