A Stones Throw 8-28-14


This week just a few facts that might interest only me and a few questions – some that need answers and one that doesn’t.

First the facts:

• According to Smithsonian Magazine there are 7,105 living languages in the world. And, the estimated number of people who still speak the Nigerian language Njerep is six. (If English press one, if Spanish press two, if Njerep press 7105).

• Eighteen percent of Americans are bilingual; while 53 percent of Europeans are bilingual.

• The Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been translated into 418 different languages, making it the most translated document in the world. (In contrast, A Stones Throw has not been translated into any language other than English.)

• Finally, it is estimated that at least 50-percent of today’s living languages will disappear in the next 100 years. Obviously the world will need more people like J.R.R. Tolkien, author of ‘Lord of the Rings’. The Smithsonian reports that Tolkien invented 14 of the current 7,105 living languages.

– More from the Smithsonian:

• In order to have a 50-50 chance of winning a Powerball jackpot, you would have to play every week for 1,167,843 years. (Of course, if you play five times every week you might cut that number in half.)

• Also, the Rubik’s cube that was developed by Erno Rubik in 1974 has one correct combination and 43 quintillion wrong combinations has been solved by a Dutch teenager in 5.55 seconds. (I can’t solve the Rubik’s cube in 5.5 seconds. I think my best time is around 5.55 years.)

• Finally, modern day fake professional wrestling had its beginning over 1,700 years ago. The Smithsonian reports that a paper found in Oxyrhynchus, Egypt dating to A.D. 267 is “apparently the first known bribery contract in ancient sports. Demetrious agreed to throw the (wrestling) match for 3800 drachmas.” (While this seems like a lot of money, according to the Smithsonian, it was barely enough to buy a donkey at the time.)

– This gives me a good segway into sports facts: One important, others not.

• It seems that almost every day we read of another monster contract that pays millions of dollars to a professional athlete. Unfortunately, according to a recent Sports Illustrated report, 78-percent of NFL players go broke or suffer financial distress soon after retirement. The same is true for 60-percent of professional basketball players.

• We often talk about the “best” of this and the “best” of that. On the other end of this spectrum are the 2008 Detroit Lions of the NFL that finished the season with zero (0) wins and 16 losses. Or the 2011-2012 Charlotte Bobcats who won seven and lost 59 NBA games that season.

Or, the 2003 Detroit Tigers who finished the 2003 MLB season with 43 wins and 119 losses. Each of these records is the worst in the history of their respective leagues. (And note, the Chicago Cubs are not on the “worst in history” list.)

On the “best” side, I think most of the world has heard about, and cheered for Mo’ne Davis, the 13-year old who became the first girl to pitch a complete game shutout in the Little League World Series. What might not be known is that baseball is Mo’ne’s second sport. Her coach says she is 10 times better at basketball than at baseball. By the way, she is also an honor student.

But, Mo’ne Davis is not the only girl who excels in the sport of baseball.

A few weeks ago teenager Chelsea Baker pitched batting practice against several Miami Marlins players. She earned that opportunity. When pitching as the only girl on her little league team, Chelsea pitched two perfect games. Then, this year as a junior in high school she finished with a 3-0 record. Her signature pitch is a knuckleball which she learned from former major league pitching star Joe Niekro.

Oh, and by the way, Chelsea has already been offered a contract to play professional baseball in Japan.

Today, every young girl – and a few boys – want to learn to “throw like a girl” thanks to girls like Mo’ne Davis and Chelsea Baker.


Now the questions.

A couple of very serious questions:

• First: Why do people murder, maim, and torture under the guise of their religion – even those religions that espouse tolerance and peace? (This is not just a Muslim question. It can be aimed at Catholics, Protestants, and dozens of other religions.)

• Second: We have been inundated with pictures and films of the riots that occurred in Ferguson, Missouri after a white policeman shot and killed an unarmed and seemingly innocent African American teenager.

With this, I have two questions: First, how can one person, or a group of people, justify destruction of property and looting as a demonstration tool? The victim of the shooting may have been innocent, but the thugs who chose to destroy and steal are not innocent. Instead of honoring the victim, these thugs did just the opposite.

The second question, which no one wants to ask, is where is the media and crowd response when an African American policeman shoots and kills an innocent white teenager such as the August 11th shooting outside a 7-Eleven convenience store in Salt Lake City, Utah, when a black police officer, whom local media are referring to as “not white,” shot and killed 20-year-old Dillon Taylor, who was unarmed at the time? (You have to search local newspapers to find information.)

In fact, where is the media and crowd response when someone, minority or white, shoots and kills a policeman?

I am certainly not advocating anything but media reports of factual information. I only ask these questions to show, in my mind, how the riots in Ferguson should be viewed.

• Third, and on a less serious note, last week was the 25th anniversary of Pete Rose being banned from baseball for his gambling activities while managing the Cincinnati Reds.

The question is simple: Why has Pete Rose not been reinstated, or at least allowed to be voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame? After all, Rose was never accused of gambling on baseball when he was a player. To me, that puts him in the same situation as those who were arrested for drugs, theft, and domestic abuse after their playing days but who are now in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

And that does not count those players involved during the “cocaine” years, or during the “dead ball” era or the “live ball” era, etc.

• Fourth: With this in mind, why aren’t the greatest players of the “steroid” era in the Baseball Hall of Fame? (Sorry, I forgot, this year three players from that era were elected into the Hall Of Fame. It seems the writers who vote hadn’t heard any rumors about the three. It is shameful that decisions are made on rumor alone.) The performance of those who used steroids are a part of baseball history – the performers should be recognized.

• Fifth, a question that needs no answer: What is happening with Mike and Mike on the “Mike and Mike” show on ESPN? It seems that sometimes one Mike is there, sometimes the other Mike is there, and often neither Mike is there – and seldom are both Mikes there are the same time.

Oh. Importantly, will the television show Rizzoli and Isles be renewed?

I hope so, I need my weekly Angie Harmon fix.

- Mike Cooney