09 January 2011

On redemption and second chances

One of the stories making news this week is that of Ted Williams. Not the Red Sox hitting legend of the 1940s and 50s, but the homeless man from Columbus, Ohio. Williams claimed to have a 'God-Given' gift of a mellifluous voice. As you can see and hear in the video, he does have the classic 'radio pipes', and sounds like he should be doing morning drive or some late-night call-in show.

Turns out he was in radio back in the 1980s until he started doing crack cocaine. Eventually, the crack got the better of him and he ended up out in the street-and having run-ins with the law for things like harassment, theft, and pimping. It happens, of course-and all too frequently in the entertainment field.

When the reporter from Columbus heard this man and caught it on camera, the offers started coming in for Mr. Williams to do voiceover work from such organizations as the Cleveland Cavaliers and NFL Films (Personally, I think he'd be the perfect successor to the late Harry Kalas-the 'voice' of NFL Films).

He claims to have been 'clean and sober' for the past two years. Business owners near where he used to hang out beg to differ. I don't know, because I don't know the guy.

My comment to Mr. Williams:

The networks put you on TV to showcase your talents. Big-time organizations want your services. Through fate, or divine intervention, or a slow news day, you're getting a second chance to get your life back and together.

Don't fuck it up.

Dennis Miller, on one of his radio shows, said "I'll gladly help the helpless. It's the clueless that need to get it together." That pretty much sums up my philosophy, and that of a lot of people I know.

I'll admit it. I'm a Midwest, rural-born, conservative. What that means is that I believe in working hard, taking pride in your work, being as self-sufficient as possible, being rewarded for your efforts, and, yes, a bit of old-fashioned flag-waving patriotism. It also means helping your neighbors and the people down the street if they're having a problem or they're down on their luck. It means assisting the elderly, taking care of the vets who sacrificed for us, and trying to make things a little brighter for people with medical issues. It also means that you might have to chip in for the greater good at times.

Might be that I'm not as 'conservative' as I think. If you call yourself 'liberal' and you believe in any of what I wrote above, then you just might not be as 'liberal' as you claim. Stalemate.

It can be a tough thing at times, discerning those who really need help versus those who just want to live off the work of others. And those that want to live off the backs of others, to use a trite phrase that most of our parents and teachers used on us, spoil it for those who do desperately need assistance.

Here in the QCs, we have some panhandlers on the street corners, all with their cardboard signs proclaiming their various tales of woe. At first, they were getting money and food gifts from passing-by drivers. I think a lot of people have in their mind 'Hey, someday, that could be me-and I'd want to have someone help on that day'. Until the local TV and newspapers started tracking down some of these people and found out that most of them made a better living begging then they would in a regular job. A couple of them readily admitted that panhandling was their way to make beer money for the weekend.

Excuse me? I'm subsidizing your weekend? Don't think so.

I once belonged to a church that did free meals on weekends for the needy. Generally, it was rewarding and fulfilling work. There were those who came in who helped out by clearing tables or sweeping-and I never minded helping them out. There were a few, though, who came in all demanding and complaining about the menu. My desire to help that type waned significantly. There is, in a segment of those receiving assistance, an attitude of entitlement. And those, my friends who think we 'conservatives' are cold and heartless, are the type I hate having to shell out my hard-earned dollars for. I suspect you do as well. And, yes, their attitude of entitlement does harden me toward wanting to help anyone-even those that are in desperate straits.

And while we're at it-as we all know, there's been quite a debate on the issue of universal health care here in the States. I have serious issues about how well the current system works. I also have issues with what's coming. My colleague from Missouri, Senator Murphy, figures that our current health-care system will become a giant version of the Veteran's Administration medical system-which is not the best care available. And I haven't seen any evidence to indicate otherwise. I fail to see the difference between a government bureaucrat denying a medical procedure and an insurance company bureaucrat denying a medical procedure-the end result will be the same.

Some of you live in places that have universal health-care, and from what I hear, think it's great. Might be your system works well for you. I've also heard of Canadians coming over the border to the States to get procedures done that were either denied in Canada or so poorly scheduled that a patient would be dead by the time they got it. I want to believe that universal health care would provide quality care for the vast majority of people and not bankrupt the country in the process. I just don't think it can be done in a nation of 300 million people. And I'm fairly sure a lot of people here have the same concerns.

 Perhaps if we had a bigger tax base, say by having some decent jobs for everybody that wants to work, the average citizen would be more receptive to universal health care. President Obama and the Democratic Party quite possibly made a mistake by forcing the health care bill through in the middle of the worst economic mess since the 1930s as well, and then having the Congressional mouthpieces giving us such gems as 'We have to pass the bill to see what's in it' and 'I haven't read the whole bill.'. Well, what the hell do we send you people to DC to do? Never mind. They ain't doing it all that well.

I just don't know. I'm a simple man-a man of the land. A moron. Just a singer in a rock and roll band. I'll leave it up to you to tell me I'm wrong.

yankeedog out.


  1. Well said Sir. My F-in-L used to do volunteer work at St Vinnies & had the exact same types. Too many stories to choose from but the worst had that sense of entitlement and/or would blow their help and be back for more. Even an org like that has to draw the line and say get lost. Their resources are very finite. Conan Doyle wrote a Holmes story - Man with the Twisted Lip. Seems the professional beggar has always been with us. We have multi-generational welfare recipients. I literally cannot imagine never having had a job, my parents and theirs before them also having been on welfare. But we continue to support them because they have kids, who are not to blame. Even though, without some intelligent intervention of a kind neither side of politics has made, they will continue the problem. Maybe instead of Conservative and Liberal we could stick with People of Good Conscience vs The Rest (Time Serving, Pocket-Filling wastes of oxygen)

  2. A good piece YDog. Yes, it's still time for more chlorine to the shallow end.

  3. I'd have been more impressed if it'd been the real Ted Williams. A headless cryogenically frozen baseball player would have made very interesting radio.

  4. well put, and a tip of the cap to Dr Y's nod to Futarama.

  5. "On Redemption and Second Chances."


  6. Shame on you. I have always been kind to you.

  7. Very well, Jen. I retract my statement and apologize.

  8. This just in, Ted Williams is back in rehab. Apparently he was drinking and got into an altercation with his daughter.

    The formerly homeless guy, not the frozen head.