Friday, January 12, 2007

Random Observations and Trivial Events

Blue Hawaii

If you think you’ve got it bad paying your rent or writing the mortgage check, it would be worse if you lived in Hawaii. I just read an article in the January 11 Wall Street Journal which says that median rents in Hawaii are the highest in the nation. How high? Well, the going monthly rate for a two-bedroom apartment is about $1,901. That means you’d be paying $22,812 a year for rent on what’s probably a little crackerbox apartment.

Considering that the average wage for Hawaiian workers is just $36,355 a year (before taxes), then you can see why more and more people in Hawaii are becoming homeless, despite the fact that they hold down full-time jobs. The article says that many of them are setting up tents on public beaches and living there, which sort of takes something away from the postcard pretty image of Hawaii most people have.

One big reason rents – and housing prices in general – are so high in Hawaii, of course, is that land is quite scarce, and very rich types from the U.S., Japan and elsewhere have been driving prices up by buying vacation homes, or buying normal apartment complexes and transforming them into super-pricey condos.

To a slightly lesser extent, I’ve heard this same sort of problem exists in high-rent parts of California, where land prices and rents are so dear that regular workers – even people like professors, who don’t make chump change – can’t even live in the cities they work in, and have to drive in many miles each day because they have to go all the way out into Hicksville to be able to find affordable housing.

Thank goodness that housing prices in Central Texas are still a very affordable bargain compared to the rest of the U.S.

Did These Guys Get Hit By a Pitch Too Often?

I wasn’t too surprised this week when the news came out that former St. Louis Cardinals slugger Mark McGwire was soundly rejected by the baseball writers who voted for the newest inductees into the Baseball Hall of Fame. McGwire’s name was included on just 128 of the 545 ballots cast, a 23.5 percent showing that wasn’t even close to the 75 percent needed to get him into the Hall.

I wasn’t surprised McGwire got left out, despite the fact that he broke Roger Maris’s season home run total of 61, because of all the doubts about whether he took steroids. What did surprise me – no, make that what did astound me – was what I read on the chart the papers printed of the baseball players with the all-time highest percentages of approving votes for the Hall of Fame.

What I couldn’t believe was not the names of the players who got the highest percentage of votes. I mean, they’re baseball legends - guys like Nolan Ryan and Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb and Hank Aaron. What is amazing to me is that none of these greats were voted in unanimously.

For example, take Babe Ruth, who arguably was the most famous American baseball player, if not the best player ever. When it came time for Ruth to be considered for the Hall of Fame, he was named on 215 of the 226 ballots, a 95.13 percentage. This means that there were 11 baseball writers (from Mars? Uranus?) who didn’t think Babe Ruth was worthy of being chosen for the Hall of Fame on his first eligibility. What sports writer, might I ask, could have been unconvinced that Babe Ruth deserved the Hall of Fame?

Ruth isn’t the only legend that’s been snubbed this way. Sixteen writers didn’t think Johnny Bench had the stuff for the Hall of Fame. Five writers snubbed Tom Seaver, six vetoed Nolan Ryan, four said no to Ty Cobb. Even Hank Aaron –– still the all-time career home run champion – was deemed unworthy of the Hall of Fame by nine professional sports writers.

I mean, what kind of nutcases are these guys? And what publications did they write for? Mad magazine?

Quote of the Day:

If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.

--James Goldsmith


sarahgrace said...

Oh man, that's too bad about Hawaii, I'm glad my state hasn't gotten there yet, but it sure is on it's way...ugh.

It's high time the wages catch up to the cost of living!

Emma Sometimes said...

Hawaii, yikes. I had a friend live there and told me, in 1992 mind you, a box of Cheerios cost her a whopping $8 a box. yikes.

I second Sarahgrace! Minimum wage does need to catch up.

lastly, I almost had a heart attack from seeing new posts on your blog. Like 4 new posts? I think aliens did abduct you.

Stephanie said...

If it weren't so expensive to live in Hawaii I'd think about living there. As it is, the best deal a person can get is being stationed there by the military. That would be quite the gig!