Last night the world of entertainment lost a legend. George Carlin died of heart failure at the age of 71, in Santa Monica.

Carlin was known for his edgy, often irreverent routines, the most famous of which spurred a Supreme Court decision on obscenity. Known as “The seven dirty words that you can’t say on Radio and TV” ( or something like that,) Carlin used the words at a club in Milwaukee in 1972, and was arrested for disturbing the peace. Bonded out for $150.00, later a Wisconsin judge exonerated him saying that the routine was indecent, but ruled it to be free speech. Later a New York radio station played the routine on the air, and 1978 in a Supreme Court ruling upheld the government’s authority to sanction stations for broadcasting offensive language during hours when children might be listening. Carlin later commented that his name was a footnote in legal history.

I have listened to, and for the most part enjoyed George Carlin for many years. His comedy often spoke to me, as a lot of the comments he made seemed to make perfect sense. Such as: “Stuff, is the crap you keep, and Crap is the stuff you throw away!” and “Why is it that we park on a driveway, and drive on a parkway?”

Who can forget Al Sleet, the Hippy Dippy weather man!
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I do need to temper my admiration for him with this observation however. The last HBO special Sue and I watched, Carlin seemed to have lost his edge. He went from irreverence, and sardonic wit, to outright mean and nasty. Where his comedy style was once a bit perverse and topical, he seemed to have turned into a snarky, angry curmudgeon. Sadly I think he should have retired before he got to that point.

Still I will miss Carlin. In his heyday he was one of the best.

Here is a transcript of one of the only reasonbly clean routines that can be placed here:

Baseball Vs. Football

Baseball is different from any other sport; very different. For instance, in most sports you score points or goals; in baseball you score runs.

In most sports the ball or object, is put in play by the offensive team; in baseball the defensive team puts the ball in play, and only the defense is allowed to touch the ball. In fact, in baseball if an offensive player touches the ball intentionally, he’s out; sometimes unintentionally, he’s out.

Also: In football, basketball, soccer, volleyball, and all sports played with a ball, you score with the ball, and without the ball you can’t score. In baseball, the ball prevents you from scoring.

In most sports the team is run by a coach; in baseball the team is run by a manager; and only in baseball does the manager (or coach) wear the same clothing as the players do. If you had ever seen John Madden in his Oakland Raiders football uniform, you would know the reason for this custom.

Now I’ve mentioned football. Baseball and football are the two most popular spectator sports in this country. And, as such, it seems they ought to be able to tell us something about ourselves and our values. And maybe how those values have changed over the last 150 years. For those reasons I enjoy comparing baseball and football:

Baseball is a nineteenth-century pastoral game. Football is a twentieth-century technological struggle.
Baseball is played on a diamond, in a park. The baseball park! Football is played on a GRIDIRON, in a STADIUM, sometimes called SOLDIER FIELD or WAR MEMORIAL STADIUM.
Baseball begins in the spring, the season of new life. Football begins in the fall, when everything is dying.
In football you wear a helmet In baseball you wear a cap.
Football is concerned with downs. “What down is it? Baseball is concerned with ups. “Who’s up? Are you up? I’m not up! He’s up!”
In football you receive a penalty. In baseball you make an error.
In football the specialist comes in to kick. In baseball the specialist comes in to relieve somebody.
Football has hitting, clipping, spearing, piling on, personal fouls, late hitting, and unnecessary roughness. Baseball has the sacrifice.
Football is played in any kind of weather: Rain, snow, sleet, hail, fog…can’t see the game, don’t know if there is a game going on; mud on the field…can’t read the uniforms, can’t read the yard markers, the struggle will continue! In baseball if it rains, we don’t go out to play. “I can’t go out! It’s raining out!”
Baseball has the seventh-inning stretch. Football has the two-minute warning
Baseball has no time limit: “We don’t know when it’s gonna end!” Football is rigidly timed, and it will end “even if we have to go to sudden death.”
In baseball, during the game, in the stands, there’s kind of a picnic feeling. Emotions may run high or low, but there’s not that much unpleasantness. In football, during the game in the stands, you can be sure that at least twenty-seven times you were perfectly capable of taking the life of a fellow human being

And finally, the objectives of the two games are completely different:

In football, the object is for the quarterback, otherwise known as the field general, to be on target with his aerial assault, riddling the defense by hitting his receivers with deadly accuracy in spite of the blitz, even if he has to use the shotgun. With short bullet passes and long bombs, he marches his troops into enemy territory, balancing this aerial assault with a sustained ground attack that punches holes in the forward wall of the enemy’s defensive line. In baseball the object is to go home! And to be safe! “I hope I’ll be safe at home!”