It’s the end of the week.  Time to dump brain fragments into an article.

Should we hate Muslims?

In recent days, there has been more anti-American violence in the Middle East, including the killing of our ambassador to Libya.  Some are are quick to blame the Muslim world, or Islam in general, for the violence.  This is not the case.  It is violent extremists within the muslim community who are perpetrating the violence.  In fact, there were peaceful pro-American protests in Libya following the violence.  Violent extremists – be they Muslim, Christian, or Atheists – are the true enemy of society.

The typical Muslim is much like you or me – working to make sure there is food on the table, enjoying sports (although this may be soccer instead of football), and spending time with family. Your average muslim isn’t staying awake nights plotting ways to kill Americans; she’s staying awake because the baby won’t stay asleep.

If you don’t want to be judged by the words and actions of Pat Robertson and the Westboro “Baptist” Church, then don’t judge the Muslim world by the words and actions of a few.

Bacon Barter

Oscar Mayer is sponsoring a comedian’s trip across the United States.  He’s pulling a trailer with 3000 pounds of bacon.  He must trade the bacon for everything he needs – lodging, food, gas, etc.  I’m not really seeing the challenge.  People will gladly give you stuff in exchange for bacon.  If the guy had nothing but 3000 pounds of spinach … now bartering THAT for everything he needs would be a challenge.

Random Ken Griffey Jr. note

Ken Griffey, Jr.

Ken Griffey, Jr. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m attempting to become an Up and In .9er and was listening to episode 3 (from 2010) the other day.  They were chatting about Ken Griffey Jr. and how some younger fans don’t realize how good of a player he was in his prime.  I’m 37 and was discussing this with a 29 year old friend.  He had no clue that Griffey was a once-in-a-generation player before injuries took their toll.

How good was Griffey?  So good that he’ll waltz into the Hall of Fame despite a .260 batting average and a relatively modest 192 homers in his last 10 seasons – and a paltry 11 stolen bases.

In his first 12 seasons (starting at age 19) he hit .296 with 438 homers, 197 steals, an MVP award (top 10 six other times), eleven all-star appearances, and ten gold gloves.  438 homers is a good career for most players – and he was still just 30 at the end of that stretch.

Ignore the national polls

You’ll see news reports about about Obama or Romney leading or trailing by a couple of points in the national polls.  I’m never really sure why people care about the national polls.  We don’t have a national presidential election.  We use the Chuck E. Cheese model.  There are 51 smaller elections, and the winner of each of those elections gets a fixed number of points.  Collect 270 points and trade them for the big prize.

Realistically, 3/4 of the states aren’t in play.  Obama isn’t going to win Texas, nor is Romney going to win California.  It really boils down to handful of battleground states where either candidates have a realistic chance to win – and where the voters will be bombarded by ads and candidate visits.  While voters in some states might welcome a visit, most people I know here in Iowa just try to figure out a way to avoid traffic issues caused by visits.  I was delayed last Friday because they shut down the interstate to allow the presidential motorcade through – and I needed to find an alternate route home.

Baseball races

I still don’t like baseball’s extra wild card spots this year (I feel that it cheapens the playoffs), but it is certainly adding some drama to September.  The Phillies, long since given up for dead, have crawled out of their coffin to get back into the race.  The Dodgers and Cardinals are currently’s facing off in a four game series – if they split the series it could give the Phillies an opportunity to make up more ground.

In the American League, the Yankees have been slumping and the Orioles actually have a shot to win the East.  Baltimore is 19 games above .500 (81-62) despite being outscored by 20 runs this year.  The performance of their bullpen is allowing them to win a lot of close games.

Love my Kindle(s)

I picked up a “new” Kindle this week.  A friend is upgrading to a newer Fire – so I bought the old one (very lightly used) off him for substantially less than the new price.  That’s similar to the approach I used when buying my current Kindle Keyboard (I’m the third owner, and apparently the one one who did much reading with it).  The Fire was mostly bought as a tablet (poor man’s iPad) but may also give my wife the opportunity to test out eReading.

I bought another Lawrence Block book the other day.  I have a somewhat staggering 26 books (some are novellas) of his on my Kindle.  What would be really cool would be for Amazon to realize that I’m a fan and give me the option to buy all his other books (to complete my collection – I’m missing more than I have) at a reduced price.  Maybe offer a flat rate to buy all the remaining books as a lot.  Perhaps 40% off the current price?  They wouldn’t get as much for each sale, but they might make it up in volume – enticing people to buy books they might not have otherwise bought.

On a slight tangent, newer authors could offer lifetime subscriptions.  I like a guy’s first couple of books and I drop a couple hundred bucks and get the opportunity to download anything else he publishes in his lifetime.  Could be a good way for some younger authors to get some cash flow.

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Kosmo is the founder of The Soap Boxers and writes on a variety of topics. Many of his short stories have been collected into Kindle books.

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