Sunday, November 29, 2015

The only team he could beat, beat him

With the Boston/Milwaukee Braves and Chicago Cubs 1950-54, pitcher David Cole’s won-loss record was 6-15. On March 19, 1955, Cole was sold to the Philadelphia Phillies.

“That’s too bad,” he said. “They’re the only team I can beat.”

With the Phillies in the 1955 season, Cole’s won-loss record was 0-3.

In Cole’s first major league game (Sept. 9, 1950), he pitched one inning of relief, giving up two hits and one earned run. He was the losing pitcher. Against the Phillies. So, his first loss was against Philadelphia, and his last loss was while playing for the Phillies.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Forget nukes. What about that Iranian fried chicken?

Pizza Hat? Hash Donald’s? Finger-biting good.

By Golnaz Esfandiari
November 04, 2015

Nothing says "America" quite like the opening of a bogus Kentucky Fried Chicken in the Iranian capital.
Too American, it seems, for Iranian authorities, who apparently spoiled the grand opening of a Turkish-born, Muslim-focused, "KFC Halal" restaurant in Tehran because they considered it a serious cultural threat.

Just two days after it opened, potential customers were greeted on November 3 by locked doors bearing an announcement that the restaurant had been closed down.

No reason was given, but criticism on hard-line websites suggested that the restaurant -- whose signage includes images of the American chain's iconic mascot, Colonel Sanders, before a red-and-white striped backdrop that some suggested resembled the U.S. flag -- could be viewed as American influence on Iranian culture, and thus is a grave danger to the Islamic republic.

It was a sharp reversal from the fanfare that accompanied the restaurant's November 1 opening, when pictures posted on the store's website showed customers lined up to get a taste of southern fried chicken.

In reporting the closure, Tasnim described the restaurant as the first branch of the U.S. fast-food chain Kentucky Fried Chicken.

But that was news to KFC's parent company, Yum! Brands.

"We are shocked with the news that an illegitimate KFC outlet has opened in Tehran, Iran," the Kentucky-based company said in a statement sent to RFE/RL. "No franchise rights have been granted to any party in Iran. We are in contact with local authorities and external advisers and will be filing a legal action against any company or individuals claiming to have rights to open KFC."

Tasnim and other Iranian media reported that the restaurant did not have a license to operate in Iran, but the restaurant's manager has said a mistake has been made.

"The shutting down of KFC Halal was due to a misunderstanding," the store's manager, Abbas Pazuki, was quoted as saying by Tasnim. "We are part of a brand known as KFC Halal, which comes from Turkey. It belongs to Muslims and its target market is Muslim nations."

Lest there be any doubt, Pazuki clarified that KFC Halal was indeed a rival of the American chain. "We as Iranians didn't like to work with Americans, [so] we worked with Turks."

In the "about us" section of KFC Halal's website, the company draws on mythology and Iran's history of overcoming its enemies, and characterizes the opening of the new restaurant as an example of a modern, scientific business model.
Ali Fazeli, the head of Iran’s chamber of commerce, confirmed that KFC Halal has no connection with the U.S. fast food chain.

"In accordance with orders from the Supreme Leader, we do not give any authorization to Western brands" in the fast food sector, Fazeli was quoted as saying by ILNA news agency.

The restaurant’s closure comes amid growing warnings in Iran by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and other senior hard-line officials over alleged efforts by the United States "to infiltrate" the Islamic republic following the landmark nuclear deal reached in July.

Khamenei was quoted on November 1 as telling officials to be to "be watchful about irregular imports after lifting sanctions and seriously avoid importing consumer goods from the United States."

On November 3, Iranian media reported that 16 lawmakers had issued a letter to the interior and commerce ministers, warning against the opening of "Western-style" cafes and restaurants, particularly fried chicken restaurants.

Iran already has numerous Western-style restaurants that operate under names such as "Pizza Hat" and "Mash Donald's." In other cases, such as with the Starbucks impersonator Raees Coffee, company logos closely resemble those of American brands.

With reporting by RFE/RL's Radio Farda

Islamic radicals in Georgia and Azerbaijan

“One issue is that Syria has activated a more sectarian understanding of Islam in Azerbaijan. Usually, many Azerbaijanis just say ‘we are Muslims’ but do not actually have a good concept of what that means. Now, some who were ostensibly Shi’a became Salafis.”

Countering terrorism: “Specifically, authorities sought to bring mosques under greater control by installing cameras inside, replacing Salafi clerics with moderate leaders, forbidding Salafis from taking leadership roles in mosques, banning books promoting extremist views, and increasing control over public television.” – U.S. State Department Bureau of Counterterrorism.

(Freedom and Democracy Watch is supported by Open Society – funded by George Soros – and Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation, named for the first Weimar president who was originally a supporter of the Freikorps.)

It must be over

Nine weeks ago, news organizations said Yogi Berra had died. I’ve been waiting for a retraction, but it has not yet been made.

Berra was more than a Hall of Fame, All Star player. He represented his generation. He was the man who went to work every day, did his best, and looked to tomorrow when maybe he would do better.

More than any other player, Berra was the New York Yankee on a team of DiMaggio, Mantle, Ford and Stengel.

On June 24, 1962, Berra caught all 22 innings of the Yankees’ game with the Tigers in Detroit. In 10 at bats, he had three hits and one run batted in. Twenty-two innings behind the plate, squatting, standing, walking to the mound, three times a base runner. He was 37 years old.

An amazing statistic -- In 1950, Berra hit 28 home runs, drove in 124 runs, played in 159 games, scored 116 runs … and struck out 12 times. Twelve strikeouts in 159 games.

I saw Berra on the field in Arlington Stadium on April 9, 1980, the day before Opening Day. The Yankees were working out that afternoon. I got home from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram just after 3 p.m., got Michael, who was almost 3 years old, and drove 10 minutes to the stadium. Michael and I sat in the second row behind the Yankees dugout. Berra was on the field, taking grounders at third base. He was around 55 at the time. He short-hopped every grounder hit to him.

Friday, November 27, 2015

What difference does that make now?

Answer to question: Why is the country at this point in history?

Question asked in reference to Princeton president’s decision to erase any and all official mention of Woodrow Wilson, former president of the university and of the country; of “the recent decision by UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Media and Journalism to eliminate requirements that journalism majors take certain basic courses in economics, U.S. government, and American History since 1865;” and of a so-called historian’s attempts at correcting long-dead Judah P. Benjamin’s status as U.S. senator and C.S.A. secretary of state, because said Benjamin owned slaves.

Or: “Doesn’t our epidemic dumbing-down have undeniable advantages for those institutions (the media, the advertising industry, the government) whose interests are better served by a population not trained to read too closely or ask too many questions?”

This one is OK

make me
get the
flying monkeys.

Police are to blame. ‘They wouldn't leave the boy alone’

“Saydulla refuses to believe that his son, who left behind a 2-year-old son and a newborn daughter, would join the Islamist fighters on his own, and he blames officials for not stopping him.”

(Sounds as though the police are leaving Saydulla’s son alone. They did not stop him from leaving. Of course, the writer, Nataliya Vasilyeva, was completely objective in her reporting, presenting equal statements from both sides.)

Link at