Go Cards!

Saint Louis Cardinals Pennant

Oh look, the Cardinals are trending on twitter. OMG, is that a typo? 10-0 in the top of the first! Ten runs on five hits, how do you even do that? The Cards went on to finish the game as newly crowned divisional champs, with a 13-1 final score against the Braves. That’s almost as many runs as they scored in all of the previous four games. I’ll be checking out the new Cardinal NLDS Champion T-shirts in the grocery store tomorrow. The Redbird’s prospects seemed especially dim on Monday night, when they were losing in late innings in a do-or-die game. Facing elimination, team hero Yadier Molina first tied the game and then went on to knock in the winning run in extra innings and keep Saint Louis alive.

Pundits, with 20-20 hindsight point to Molina’s performance as a turning point that precipitated this final game. I see it starting with Cardinals pitcher Ryan Helsley’s comments about the “disrespectful” Tomahawk Chop after game one of the series. The Tomahawk Chop cheer is an Atlanta Braves staple. Helsley’s mom is a full-blooded Cherokee. This complaint led the Braves to unilaterally disarm and halt distribution of their trademark foam tomahawks for game five, which again demonstrates that baseball is a more civilized game than football. Maybe disarming the fans did it or maybe it was the Braves post-season curse. I’d like to believe that the Cards are going all the way and the Braves just had the misfortune of getting in their way. Next up are the Washington Nationals.

Hello, Dolly!

Last night, we did dinner and a show. We had dinner at Mission Taco, followed by dessert across Euclid at Jeni’s. The show that kicks off this year’s Broadway at the Fox series is Hello, Dolly! It was with some trepidation that I first learned that this revival was on the season’s schedule. This Fox series recycles or revives too many old shows for my taste, but experiencing it turned me completely around. It was a delight to see. Dolly is a matchmaker, but she is also a widow and has gotten tired of the job and now seeks a match of her own. She sets her sights on one Horace Vandergelder of Yonkers, New York. Under the guise of fixing him up with a wife, she maneuvers him for her own purposes. The time is 1885, at the height of the gilded age. Most action occurs in NYC.

On the way into the theater, we witnessed a little drama. A white man approached two black women, but his intentions were strictly honorable. He informed them that they had left one of their car windows open. Though at first startled by the encounter, the women thanked him for his kindness. Charity like this is always a joy to witness and fills my mind with thoughts of paying it forward. In Dolly, there’s an emphasis on money. Vandergelder is a rich man, worth half-a-million dollars or twelve-million in today’s currency. It is for his money, not his love that women are chasing him. A side plot of the show involves his two clerks, who with his absence, also escape to NYC, where they are left to count their nickels and dimes, all the while searching for love. By coincidence, I had earlier heard a radio interview of the Smithsonian’s new beer curator. She was asked if she could pick any era, at what time she would most like to be living in, to drink beer. She chose 1885.

Somehow in my mind thoughts of time travel appeared. I enjoy travel and time travel would be the most novel of forms. With travel though, it is always much more fun to travel in comfort and comfort requires money. Suspending disbelief it is easy to imagine get rich schemes involving time travel. Buying Apple at $22 a share comes to mind. Paying it forward is easy, but how do you pay it backward? You can’t exactly expect to be able to send a bank draft back to 1885. Carrying hard currency of the day would be required. There’s the rub. Those penny pinching clerks of Vandergelder were pinching contemporary coins. Nowadays, an 1885 Liberty seated dime has an average numismatic value of $315. You could use your knowledge of future events to make money, but what kind of fun is a working vacation? I know, gold! Today, gold is selling for $1,500 an ounce. In 1885 it went for $18. Better than coins, but an expensive vacation still. Maybe, I’ll just stay home. I’d only mess up the future anyway.

Real ID

Anenome and Star

I applied for a Real ID today. Having done so, I’m not entirely sure why I did so. Next October, everyone will need a Real ID to fly. Your normal driver’s license will no longer get you pass TSA. Alternatively, if you have a passport that will work too. I have a passport, so there was no real reason for me to get a Real ID. A Real ID allows you to fly only on domestic flights, while a passport permits both domestic and international flying. A Real ID won’t allow you to even drive to Canada. A Real ID does allow you access to military bases and Federal courthouses. So does a passport. I no longer need to go to military bases and I’ve never been in a Federal courthouse. I just hope that by applying for a Real ID, I haven’t opened myself up to Federal jury selection. A Real ID is also required to enter a nuclear power plant. This has not been a big priority of mine.

Beyond its apparent redundancy and uselessness, a Real ID is harder to get than a passport. For my passport, all I needed to show was my driver’s license and birth certificate. I’ve had a driver’s license since I was a teenager and I ordered my birth certificate online with no more ID than a credit card. For my Real ID, I flashed my license and passport and then I had to produce my social security card. I also had to have two other forms of “ID”, which in my case was a utility bill and a property tax receipt. Various fallback alternatives are also accepted. In lieu of the passport, a birth certificate, even one acquired online will do. In lieu of the social security card, any tax document that has your social on it will do. The last two documents that are supposed to determine your residency are the easiest to get. I could have substituted my tax receipt with a voter registration card. One that says on it that it is not for ID purposes or even a court summons. That last one would have been a hoot.

So, a Real ID is not as good as a passport. It is harder to get than a passport, but that added difficulty, all in the name of additional security is laughably easy to circumvent. It makes for the perfect latest addition to the kabuki theater that passes for TSA screening. All of which begs my original question, what is a Real ID good for? The bottom line is that it is cheaper, $12 versus $35 for a passport, but the passport lasts twice as long. If you ask me, I question if Real ID is really worth that difference.