Steroids and Baseball:
Last year, Roger Clemens took his turn in front of Congress regarding steroids. He said such memorable things such as he “misremembered” many things. But, he claims he never took steroids. He said he bought some for his wife. So, he threw his wife under the bus. His former trainer claims that he did give Clemens steroids. Part of the testimony regarded large cysts on his backside, an apparent side effect to injecting steroids. Clemens is under investigation for perjury. Barry Bonds is facing charges that he lied
to a grand jury regarding his steroid use. The trial is supposed to be coming up and the government apparently has tests from 2003 and prior to that they say are positive tests against Bonds. There is also a secretly taped conversation between one of Bonds’ former associates and his trainer. The trainer has gone to jail for refusing to testify but, this recorded conversation has him telling the jilted associate ways to avoid getting detected in tests. It included stuff about cysts forming where injections are given. Before we slam the jail door shut on Barry…he seems to have an ally in the courtroom. The judge appears to be poised to disallow the drug tests prior to 2003 as well as the secret tape. Now, we have a report from Sports Illustrated regarding Alex Rodriguez saying that he not only tested positive for steroids, but that one of the union leaders was tipping him and other players off as to when they would be tested so they could prepare in advance to avoid detection. They say where there’s smoke there’s fire. I’d say there is a towering inferno brewing.
On This Date in History: First, on an interesting note relating to baseball and Bonds as well as a recent post, I found out that Hank Aaron’s birthday was February 5. The man he passed as the all time home run king, Babe Ruth, celebrated his birthday on February 6. That’s kinda unusual. Then, I got to thinking…which is dangerous…I had a post regarding the Great Baltimore Fire on Feb 7-8 1904. Speculation is that it started from a carelessly tossed cigarette or cigar. Now, Ruth would have just celebrated his 9th birthday and his father’s bar is located close by to where the fire started. I don’t think that Ruth had been sent away to St. Mary’s Orphanage when he was 9, so what about the possibility that the fire was started by the juvenile delinquent George Herman Ruth!
That would make a good story line for our feature of the day…Kentuckian David Wark Griffith. He was born not far from Louisville in La Grange and became famous for the first full length feature film, Birth of a Nation. The film opened on this date in 1915 and is widely regarded as historic and monumnetal and such. I could never figure out why because it’s stupid and it’s biased and racist and inaccurate. It’s not the content so much as the techniques that Griffith used and pioneered that gives the film its place in history.
Griffith was born in 1875 to an Ex-Confederate. Now, much of the nation today thinks of Kentucky as being in the South. But, when I moved here, I couldn’t believe I was moving so far north. I thought I was in Yankeeland. Kim Stevens is from Alabama and she married a guy from Louisville. Her family said that they thought they could accept that she was marrying a “Yankee.” People who are really in the South don’t think of Kentucky as being in the South. Oh…the anger I get from people about that. I tell people to move to Jackson, Mississippi if they want to find out what the South is like. I point out that about 25,000 served in the Confederacy from Kentucky while over 130,00o served in the Union. I point out that Louisville was home to the
Army of the Ohio and 75,000 Union Troops who were invited into the state by the legislature in late 1861. I point out that Louisville averages over 15 inches of snow a year and often gets below zero. I point out that St. Louis is exactly 250 miles due west, was a major city in a border state yet no one calls them the South. My thesis had to do with Loiusville’s true roots being with the North but that they purposely realigned themselves with the South for economic reasons after the war. That’s where the myth of the Kentucky Colonel comes from. Louisville had the only working railroad into the South after the war and wanted to capitalize economically for the rebuilding south and so they basically said, “why, we wuz with ya all the time boys!! Do business with us, not them Yankees!” Never mind that Braxton Bragg came into the state with an Army of 45, 000 hoping to get Kentuckians to join the Confederate cause. Kentuckians declined, leaving Bragg to refer to Kentuckians as a bunch of “shuffling middlemen.” Now, there were no book burnings, but Kentuckians simply left out all references to the North when they wrote the history of the state, specifically the Memorial History of Louisville to 1896. They had a whole section on the Southern Exposition but said not one word about the National Industrial Exposition that lasted twice as long. They made no reference to a huge event that became national in scope in 1885 celebrating the birthday of US Grant. It’s on Grant’s Tomb in the form of a plaque but is found nowhere (except my published article…Ohio Valley History Fall 2008… and thesis) because they wanted no one to find out about it. It messed up their story.
Well, DW Griffith was part of the mythmaking when he made Birth of a Nation. For the first month of its release, it was called The Clansmen and was a biased view of the Civil War and Reconstruction. It portrayed African Americans in an awful light and as evil and bad. It created the illusion of the Ku Klux Klan as some heroic figures. Now, US Grant had crushed the Klan in the 1870’s. But, not long after Griffith’s stupid movie, the Klan re-emerged to be a scurge on the land for decades to come. There is little doubt that Griffith’s film helped sway public support toward the reborn group that became “anti” all sorts of things, not just African Americans. It’s an idiotic film. It was censored in some cities and sparked riots in many northern cities. The newly formed NAACP tried to have it banned. Griffith did agree to cut out some particularly offensive scenes. But, the film itself is largely historically a fraud and I suppose it set the stage for historic movies to come as most Hollywood historically based films are not accurate…don’t believe everything you see.
There are some interesting things about the film though was that Griffith began the idea of feature length films. He also was the first to make actors rehearse before shooting scenes, thus increasing the quality of the acting. Griffith helped pioneer the use of zooms and close ups and panning camera shots. He also had breakthroughs in editing techniques that are still used today. His work with the actors helped launch the big careers of people like Mary Pickford, Lionel Barrymore and Lillian Gish. He later went on to form United Artists with Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks. So, Griffith does have a place in film history….just don’t buy his work of propaganda and foolishness AS history…its nonsense.
Weather Bottom Line: Told you that things may change…I mean come on…we’re talking about weather a couple of weeks out and the accuracy of a 7 day forecast has some pretty good grains of salt to ingest after day 2 and they get bigger as you go toward day 7. Anyway, data is suggesting that we are cooler with some light rain Sunday. Fine. Then we warm up but data really doesn’t support highs toward 70 on Wednesday. And the models are not all that enthused about severe weather here. The good stuff coming together appears to be more down in the Ozarks back into North Texas. But, I would rest too easy just yet. Still could be of some interest but the models just aren’t on board yet. There may be a bit of climatology in the equations of the models causing a bit of a bias. Now, nothing else has much changed. We look like we have a consensus of us getting into pattern after that of being on the edge of the freezing line. Nothing really scarey at this point but it does look like a pain to forecast and generally seasonally chilly conditions. Going out toward the 20th, the GFS wants to dig down cold air with some snow. But, thats a long way out and I wouldn’t bet the ranch on that. But, its still winter..its bound to get cold again. So, enjoy the milder air for the first few days of the week while you can.