Saturday, April 12, 2008

Gameus Interruptus..

April 12, 2008

Huey Lewis is a bloated corporate windbag. But I bet he’s pretty rich. Richer than me.

Why is it that, when conservatives scream and yell about personal responsibility, they mean for the little people, and they never mean for the corporate class?

Anthony Michael Hall turns 40 on Monday. I say that only to make people my age clutch their chest and moan.

Someday, I have to think, I will be told just what the hell is going on. I look forward to that day.

Interesting stories from George Schultz and William Perry of the Nuclear Security Project about how close we came to launching nuclear missles, several different times, because of false alarms, during the Cold War. Potential nuclear holocaust..cheery stuff. I will leave as an exercise for the reader whether or not the prevention of this was a net positive.

Baseball traditionalists see the retirement of noted jeans salesman Jeremy Brown as a way to condemn the entire Beane/Moneyball method, notes the Baseball Zealot podcast. Well, firstly, Billy Beane didn’t write Moneyball. Michael Lewis did. Second of all, Moneyball, if it is anything, isn’t one particular stat or method. It is a process of identifying patterns, underlying shifts in what assets are undervalued and can be obtained cheaply. Since it involves swimming against the grain, it will always ruffle feathers, to some degree or another, but the failure of one player does not prove anything.

Powerful Bill Moyers Journal, as always, about hunger in America. Why do we have so much money to blow up kitchens in Baghdad and so little to fill them with food in the Bronx? It is a literal obscenity-an obscene statement-that there are hungry people in this country. They should work harder, the right wingers would say.

John C. Dvorak says on Cranky Geeks that most Americans have “no clue” about the digital TV switch. I don’t know how can that possibly be true. I see tons of PSAs and news segments about it on TV now-if you’re watching TV now, you have to know about it.

It’s almost game time- Game The Twelfth of the 2008 Boston Red Sox Season.
Romans vs. Christians
Athens vs. Sparta
Cats vs. Dogs
Michigan vs. Ohio State
Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees
Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts

Josh “The Other Becks” Beckett vs. Mike “Moose” Mussina

After a scoreless Yankee first, Boston gets two runners on with none out, then squanders it-Big Papi gets caught on an “excuse me” swing and grounds into a double play, then Manny pops out to end it.

It sounds like Mussina has NOTHING today. It also seems like Papi is still hurting from his knee problem. Hopefully he’s just struggling and will soon come out of it.

Boston Second -Youk DRILLS one up the middle off of Mussina. There seems to be no reason why we can’t hammer this guy. Drew NAILS another one, but it’s right at Cano, and he turns it into a DP. Dammit. Varitek crushes one into right center, but Abreu picks it up and guns him down sliding into second for the third out. Wow. Mussina is a lucky duck so far.

Boston third-we really oughta get a run here. Two routine outs, then a deep drive to center that Cabrera runs down. COME ON, GUYS!!

Boston fourth- Manny Ramirez, the Bad Man, finally GETS ONE, slamming a home run over the Volvo sign for a 1-0 advantage.

New York Fif-Josh is really mowing people down. He appears to have good velocity and command, putting nearly every pitch where it needs to be. Couldn’t be a better sign.

Boston Fif-It’s kind of sad to see Mike Mussina, who has been a great pitcher for more than a decade, reduced to this. But not that sad. Mussina escapes again, another hard hit ball to center turned into an out.

New York Sixth-A couple of Yankee singles moved over by a bunt-second and third, one out. Sacrifice fly to center by Cabrera, and Molina II trots home to tie the game at one. Sigh. Then the Attorney General darts home on a wild pitch for a 2-1 deficit. Cheap ass runs, but they count the same as real runs. Abreu, a real pest, battles to 3-2 and strikes out to end it.

Boston Sixth-Lugo grounds out to the Attorney General. We really can’t lose this game. If the Yankees steal this game, and we let them, we have no one to blame but ourselves.
But Ellsbury singles and Pedroia, who some Yankee bloggers call Scrappy McHustle because of all the praise he gets, doubles, sending Papi to the plate. A long hit here would really work nicely, silencing the doubters and, more importantly, getting the lead back. But Papi strikes out, tipping the last pitch into the mitt. Girardi to the mound-does he pull Mussina? We need these runs, let’s hope not. Mussina stays on. Do they walk Manny? Manny lines the first pitch into the gap in right center for a 2 run double, pulling our bacon out of the fire. Why did they pitch to him, Dave O’Brien asks, and it’s a good question. Now Girardi, perhaps one batter too late, pulls Mussina in favor of Brian Bruney. That’s got to drive the Yankee supporters crazy. That was a gut check, there, and I say he didn’t pass. He made the move Torre would have made, and it burned him. I wish I could read what the livebloggers on Replacement Level had to say about this.
Phew. Big sigh of relief here. Our Man Youk is on now. He knocks in ManRam for a 4-2 lead, then the side is retired.

New York Seven-ARod reaches, then the Giambino hits into a DP. Posada singles, then advances to second on a wild pitch. This team is still dangerous, no matter what. Cano doubles off of the Wall, closing the gap to 4-3. Gulp. Now Francona comes to get Beckett. A fine effort by Beckett, all things considered. MDC is coming on now.

George Strait has had 60 number one hits? Really? I haven’t heard a single one of them, I don’t think. They must be country number ones.

MDC comes on with the strikeout to hold the lead at 4-3. Way to go, Metropolitan District Commission!

XM keeps running spots with Tony Kornheiser saying that Pizza Hut is “terrible”. I guess pizza is a personal choice, I suppose, so I can’t really criticize him for his own choice in pizza. But I don’t see how you can say that-Pizza Hut is bad for you, sure, but it’s obviously popular, and I have always enjoyed the taste. No accounting for taste, I suppose.

Boston Seven-Bruney still on. Varitek grounds out. Sean “The Mayor” Casey, who played for Brewster in the Cape Cod League, walks. But Lugo strikes out, so Jacoby Ellsbury comes on. I have to think Manny will come up in the 8th, then Crisp will come on to play the field. Ellsbury draws a walk. But the inning ends without scoring.

New York Eight-Okeydoke on. Hard shot to Lugo, but he throws to first in time for the out. Damon lacerates a ball to right, but Drew makes a sliding catch for the out. Walk to Cabrera, then a smoking base hit by Abreu. Whoops. 1st and 2nd, 2 out. Here comes Francona, up comes ARod, and here comes Papelbon.

I swear to God, these games are NOT good for my cardiac health.

IIRC, ARod jacked Pap last year at Fenway-not a game winner, I don’t think.

NO!!!!!!!!!!!!Rain delay! They are going to wait forever to resume this one. If they call it, Yankee fans are going to scream bloody murder. But they won’t. Sigh.

Back to the IPod for a while, I guess.

Unreal. In a weird, back and forth game, the very summit of dramatic tension, on comes the rain.

BS Report first, and the best segment ever, “Johnny, Are You Worried Yet?”. Bill has got to be having kittens over this rain delay. They’re also going to talk about the 20th anniversary show of the Real World. The Real World has a 20th Anniversary? Are you serious?

They’re asking who Scully’s partner was during the 1986 World Series, and it was Tony Kubek, I’m almost positive. They also mentioned Joe Garagiola, who has a relatively new book out that I might enjoy. Tim McCarver has one, too.

The rain continues to fall.......

We're back.


After Boston does not score, Papelbon now back for the ninth.

Pap BLOWS away Giambi for the first out. One down.

Now Posada.

Strike one.

Strike two on the split.

Kids banging on the Bobs Store signs......

Fouled back by Posada.......

The tension is mounting.......

Fastball way too high, ball one.

Split in the dirt, ball two.

Expectant New England faces....


Now Cano.....Or Can't O, as some Yankee bloggers call him.....

Ball, then Swing and a miss in the dirt......


Fastball way too high....2-1......

Fouled back.....2-2.......

Split in the dirt.....3-2.........

FOuled behind first on the slider.....3-2.......

Come on, Pap...................

Outside fastball lined HARD off the third base stands.......

Another foul ball......boy, this Cano is pesky...........


They started the race on FOX, so they made everyone switch to FX....

Shades of Heidi, the NFL playoff game that was cut off in 1969 so that NBC could start the Movie of the Week on time.

After some frantic flipping, I finally found it, in time to see Cano ground out weakly to second to END THE GAME.


Wow. That game should not have been that close. We should have hammered Mussina much worse than we did.

But we won, and a win is a win is a win.

Have to go take my blood pressure pills now.


What a game.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Game Eleven-Yankee Wars, Part One

April 11,2008

Apparently it is Anne Lamott’s birthday. I have never read her fiction, but her nonfiction is first rate.

Tonight, of course, is Athens vs. Sparta, Rock vs. Disco, Cats vs. Dogs, Common Sense vs. The Bush Administration-The New York Yankees at the Boston Red Sox.

First of 18 matchups during the 2008 regular season. Now, either team can lose 10 or 12 of the 18 and still win the division by ten games. But there’s a frisson, an extra something, at play in a Yankees-Red Sox game. It’s a symbol, a chance to fire a shot across the bow of the other team. Show them who’s boss. Or try to.

We’re without Lowell, and they have a hobbled and possibly out Jeter and Posada. I have to think that gives us a little advantage. But they are a tough bunch of hombres, and any win will be fully earned by either side.

Excellent Baseball Prospectus Radio podcast with Tommy John, talking about all sorts of issues. Tommy John, now better known as the nickname for a surgical procedure, was a left handed pitcher in the majors. Threw slop, especially towards the end, but got people out for a long, long time. Won 289 games, if memory serves. His autobiography, if he has one, must be pretty good. I don’t think I’ve ever read it.

Joel Sherman of the New York Post, on the pregame, makes a good point-both New York and Boston are trying to simultaneously win, with veteran position players, and rebuild, with young pitching.

Clay “The Boy Wonder” Buchholz vs. Chien Ming “Tiger” Wang

Nobody calls him Tiger any more. Is that a racist nickname? If it is, I don’t remember hearing about it.

It’s raining in Boston, and after 3 innings it is 0-0. New York has launched a couple of shots that Crisp managed to run down in center, but it’s still 0-0.

Part of my job (in fact, a pretty large part of it) involves being yelled at for things that are not my fault. It’s very frustrating to take abuse for things you can do nothing about and did not do in the first place.

Mike Timlin is active, and Brian Corey got sent down. Which is good, because it appeared that Corey could not get my grandmother out.

Clay is starting to struggle, as the Boy Wonder walks a couple, then allows an RBI hit to one of the Flying Molina Brothers, whichever one is playing for New York, to give the Evil Empire a 1-0 lead.

Then he walks the Attorney General, Alberto Gonzalez, to load the bases for Cabrera…grumble grumble grumble…….


Clay Buchholz is dating a fashion model and is certainly leading a charmed life on the field as well.


He is hot as a pistol this year, though.

2 out in the Yankee sixth, then a single by Slappy Rodriguez and a double by Matsui sets up a threat, second and third. Posada, who kicks our ass with regularity, grounds out to end it.

Another bullet dodged by the Boy Wonder.

Yankee seventh, with Timlin on now. Buchholz gave up some shots, but you have to give him credit-he got some outs, and battled them hard.

He’s a bit of a Yankee Killer, but they can hit him, too. The Yankees can hit anybody, including Bugs Bunny.

The Giambino homers, then The Flying Molina Brother nails a double off of Timlin right off the bat, so to speak. The Attorney General bunts him to third.

Man on third, one out, and it’s time for Okeydoke, Hideki Okajima, to face Cabrera.

Cabrera gets a sacrifice fly to score Molina II (it’s not Benji, and it’s not Yadier…who’s the other one?) for a 3-1 Yankee lead. Now Cano. Okajima gets out of it, but we’re running out of time.

Wang cruises through the 7th, retiring Pedroia, Ortiz, and the Bad Man. Not looking good.

Javy Lopez, Pitching Version, on now, top 8. He manages to load the bases, then Alphabet Man, David Aardsma, strikes out Jose (that's his name!) Molina to end it.

Wang cruises through the eighth on three fly balls, and then Aardsma gives up a run when Alberto Gonzalez (?) doubles and comes home on an Abreu single. Wang shuts it down in the ninth to seal a 4-1 win.

Sigh. A loss is a loss, but I have to be cheered by Buchholz' performance. He did okay-dodged bullets, but put zeroes up there. Middle relief let us down, but they always do-nobody has great middle relief any more.

Wang shut us down-a two hitter, and if Abreu grabs Drew's ball that lands in the bullpen, a shutout. We got our butts kicked, plain and simple.

Oh well.

Yankees tomorrow afternoon, then Sunday night. Let's not get swept, eh?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Game Ten Part Three

4-2, bottom 6, and the Red Sox chase Robertson, as Leyland goes to the bullpen.

Funny-all these years I've listened to Red Sox baseball, and when I finally have a need for auto glass replacement, I live in New Jersey.

Home run for Ordonez, solo shot, trims the lead to 4-3 in the 7th. Well, at least that helps my rotisserie team.

This is the funniest, and also the saddest, thing I have read in a while:

Walks to Pedroia and Ortiz by Zach (Hard Rock) Miner brings up the Bad Man, with a chance to give us some breathing room, bottom of the seventh.

And the Bad Man cranks a double, scoring 2 runs for s 6-3 advantage. Nice breathing room, there. A few more outs and we wrap this puppy up.

But wait, there's more...Walks to Drew and Crisp, and the Mayor, Sean Casey, knocks a 2 run single for an 8-3 lead. Wahoo!

Uh oh...Tavarez on, and with a walk, single, walk, single, it's 8-4. None out. Now another single, and it's 8-5. Clearly I spoke too soon. Sheffield hits into a DP, scoring yet another run, but getting 2 of the 6 outs we need.

Papelbon comes on to get Ordonez for the last out, and its on to the ninth.

Single and a walk, and Boston is threatening again with one out. Now its Ellsbury, who came on to run and play defense for the Bad Man.

Now a walk for him, too.

....And Our Man Youk slashes a wrong field ground rule double over the short fence. 10-6. Nice.

Then Drew hits a sacrifice fly for an 11-6 lead.

Then Coco ( singles for a 12-6 lead.

Party on, Wayne. Party on, Garth.

Pap comes on, gives up a couple of hits, and shuts it down for a nice, tidy win.

Yay for us.

Now the Yankees come in, and we get ready for some 3 1/2 hour, 7 pitcher slugfests.


Game Ten-Part Two

Live with the knuckler, die with the knuckler...still tied at 0, top of the third, Wakefield walks two and hits a batter, then gets out of the jam. Phew!

Sean Casey then hooks a double over the short wall and into the seats for a double. Let's get the train running....
......or not. Robertson escapes the jam.

0-0 after 3 frames.

Oh, yes. Dilemna.

I, like a lot of people, apparently, have been spelling this word wrong for years.

What a dilemma.

Inge sends a sacrifice fly to center for the first run, 1-0 Tigers.

Still only one hit for Detroit.

Polanco singles off the wall to send in another run. 2-0 Tigers.

But, bottom 4, Boston storms right back to cash in for two runs and a tie. A pair of walks, followed by a Drew single and a Crisp double. Then a FC grounder from Casey scores Drew for a 3-2 lead. THEN a base hit from Cash for a 4-2 lead. Here we go, boys....Nice little four run rally.

Sean Casey has proven to be a pleasant little surprise for us-solid, professional hitter. And if Kevin Cash gets a hit, then you know it's a rally.

Game The Tenth-Part The First

Detroit (1-7) at Boston (4-5)

Robertson against Wakefield

Boston feed tonight, with Dave O'Brien instead of Dale Arnold. At least it's not Glenn Geffner.

Be nice to get a win before the Empire comes to town.

I went all over in search of Randy Pausch's "The Last Lecture" in book form, but it was sold out everywhere I went. Which is good in the sense of that he's selling books, and his message is getting out there. But it's bad in the sense that I get cranky when a book is available and I can't get it. In the era of on demand publishing, that shouldn't ever happen. At all.

BTW, if you have never seen The Last Lecture, you really, really need to.

Take an hour of your life, sit still and watch it. You will not be the same again.

Scoreless first inning for Wakefield.

Mike Lowell is out with a sprained thumb. That's not good by any means, but we get to see Jed Lowrie, and, at this point in the season, it's a survivable loss.

I'm now rereading The Traveler, which I read shortly after it came out. It's a dystopian novel, but it moves along delightfully. I recently discovered and bought the sequel, but it had been so long I had to read the first book again.

Scoreless first inning for Robertson.


Four months after we read this....

we read this....

So let me get this straight. You suffer the first quarterly loss in your company's history, then you reelect the entire board of directors?

Is there any such thing as accountability any more?

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Game Nine(Continued)-The Fall of the Roman Umpire

More trouble-Brandon Inge singles in two runs for a 6-2 Detroit lead, top 8.

Now Pudge singles as well, and the rebels are on the loose, rampaging through the bullpen. I guess we had to expect this from Detroit-they were too good to stay down too long.

Now Tavarez hits Polanco with a pitch, loading the bases, but Sheffield hits into a double play to end the inning.

Now Bottom Eight, with the iron coming up, Ortiz and the Bad Man. But we need one heck of a rally to get close.

Papi is workin' it-fouling off four straight pitches. Now five. Now grounds out to second. The Bad Man singles, then Casey grounds into a DP. Oh well.

My wife and I are having very similar problems with our respective employers. They claim to have priorities, then when we attempt to carry out the priorities they assure us they care about, it turns out they don't really mean it. It's not surprising, exactly, just disheartening. Why doesn't anyone mean what they say?

Top 9. Guillen homers to make it 7-2. It's silly season, time to pack it up.

I forgot to mention the National Championship Game, won by Kansas over Memphis. It was a tremendous game, Kansas having to come back very late in the game, including a game tying 3 with less than 3 seconds to go by Kansas' Mario Chalmers before storming through the overtime for the victory.

Bottom 9. Todd Jones on to pitch. Do you put your closer into a 7-2 game? If you're 0-7 you do, I guess. Jones loaded the bases, but managed to hang on to give Detroit their first win of the year. Oh well.

A disappointing loss, though not a soul crusher. Could have had it, with a few more key hits and somebody on this team TRUSTING THEIR STUFF for once. Sigh.

One more against Detroit tomorrow, then New York over the weekend, then to Cleveland. As Wile E. Coyote once put it, "Yipe."

Number Nine? Number Nine? Number Nine?

April 9, 2008

Game Nine
Detroit @ Boston

Jon Lester starting tonight for Boston, coming off of a strong performance against Oakland, facing Jeremy Bonderman of the Tigers.

Boston feed on the XM, with Joe Castiglione and Dale Arnold on the call. Nice to hear Dale Arnold’s voice again, which I haven’t heard, I don’t think, since I lived in Boston. He’s more of a hockey guy, but he’s a fine baseball guy as well.

Bases loaded in a 0-0 game in the bottom of the second, with Bonderman apparently willing to walk the ballpark. Ellsbury also walks, driving in the first run of the game.

The Tigers are without question one of the mysteries of the season-0-7 thus far, and they are a loaded team-fine starting pitching, star studded lineup. Bullpen questions, but who doesn’t have those?

Sean Casey, however, pinch hit for Lowell in this inning, which implies something is wrong with Lowell. That’s not good, if it’s anything serious.

Lugo singles, knocking in a run for a 2-0 lead.

A double play ends the frame to kill the rally, but 2 early runs will do fine, as long as Lester keeps throwing strikes.

There are some Yankee injury questions-supposedly Jeter and Posada are banged up as well. So that’s good for us, from a competition point of view. I don’t wish either man ill-they’re classy dudes.

Sean Casey rips a double to give Boston second and third with two out-Bonderman still having trouble with high pitches. That rally dies, so it’s still 2-0.

Lester walks Cabrera and Guillen to start the 4th. Bad news.

Arnold takes a cheap shot at Bill James-Edgar Renteria is one of the best “clutch hitters” in baseball, then adding parenthetically, “Sorry, Bill James.” Well, sorry, Dale Arnold, but the last thing Bill James wrote on the topic said clearly that he DIDN’T KNOW whether or not there was such a thing as clutch hitting. Bill James goes where the evidence leads him, no more, no less.

Renteria makes a fool of me by rocking a ball into the gap to score both runners to tie the game at 2. That was pretty clutchy.

Lester’s got to throw some strikes here, homes. Quit bitching and throw the ball over the plate.

Marcus Thames, who seems like he should be an Englishman, is battling him hard.

Home run! #%^@%$@&^!

A Fenway homer, it sounds like-not a shot, just snuck one over the Wall. The Wall giveth, and the Wall taketh away.

Lester got jobbed on a few ball strike calls, it sounds like, but when you’re all over the map, and a second year pitcher, you’re not going to get the call. That’s not the way it should be-you should get calls whether you’re Grover Cleveland Alexander or Jon Lester. A strike is a strike is a strike is a strike.

But that’s not the way it is.

But Boston comes back, Pedroia coming up with 2 on, 2 out. Unfortunately, Lugo is picked off of second, which will win him no friends.

Still 4-2 Detroit, top 8.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Home Sweet Home (Game Eight)

In the home opener, Boston beats Detroit 5-0, behind another strong outing from Dice K. Detroit, a preseason favorite for plenty of playoff mojo, falls to 0-7, while Boston climbs back to the .500 mark at 4-4.

Back in the real world, my employer seems hell bent on proving the proposition that, once all the pesky employees are removed, the organization will run much better. As the great Spongebob Squarepants once said, "Good Luck With That."

Monday, April 07, 2008


it would be nice to get feedback from someone in my life other than "here's what you've done wrong".

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Obama and Walgreens

Just made a short trip to Walgreens for cold medications for my suffering wife. One of the checkout clerks had an Obama button on his uniform shirt.

That's terrific-but I can't think that corporate approves of that. Being a late Sunday afternoon, they probably don't know about it. And maybe the kid said, "I'm wearing it. Fire me." But I have to think they wouldn't like it.

On the way back, we discussed things in general, including whether or not a container truck marked "MOL" belongs to Gretchen ( and who will run with Obama. My wife came up with Bill Clinton, which would never happen, but talk about the ultimate FU to Hillary.

I raised Gore, which will probably never happen either, but would make a fantastic ticket.

Cheater Cheater Pumpkin Eater

The blogosphere is buzzing with speculation about Jake Peavy finishing a game with a mysterious substance on his fingers. It begs the question whether or not any of that stuff ended up on the ball.


If he is, can he teach Manny Delcarmen how to do it, too?

Game Seven

Boston 4, Toronto 7

Ugh, a sweep in Toronto. Beckett was back today, but struggled with control, bringing back memories of the 2006 Beckett.

Jacoby homered for a 1-0 lead, then Vernon Wells slammed one with Rios on for a 2-1 Toronto lead. Varitek homered to tie the score, then in the fifth, Beckett gives up a single to Aaron Hill, then walks Alex Rios and Wells. Delcarmen is called upon (wisely-I can't imagine leaving him in to face Thomas after two straight walks) and he gives up the jack to Thomas for a 6-2 lead. Hill doubles in a run for the seventh run, and then JD Drew homers again to trim the lead to 7-3. David Ortiz singles in a run, and the Red Sox get two on in the ninth before falling to the mighty Jeremy Accardo.

I guess this is a close game, since any time you get the tying run to the plate in the ninth, it's a close one, but it doesn't feel close. Getting swept by the Jays hurts, period, especially with Detroit and New York on the immediate horizon, although Okajima and Papelbon pitched well at the end.

Lots of failures in the clutch-any time you have ten hits and four runs, you've got an issue. These things will turn around-as long as Boston keeps filling the bases, the runs will come. But it's hard to come home and face two pretty good teams coming off a sweep in Toronto.

Of the four losses, I would only count yesterday as a bad one, truly. But as St. Bill of Parcells used to put it, you are what your record says you are. And what we are is 3-4.

Day off tomorrow, then Detroit in the home opener Tuesday.

Fantasy Team, Week One

I have 4 points, and my opponent has 6. The week ends today, and I don't have any starting pitchers left, so I can only hope for my hitting to pull me out. I have a chance to catch the other guys in OBP, R, and HR, though I need two to tie and all three to win outright. Sounds like I'm going down in week one.

George Kennan

George Kennan, written in 1954, via Andrew Sullivan:

"There is something about this quest for absolute security that is self-defeating. It is an exercise which, like every form of perfectionism, undermines and destroys its own basic purpose. The French have their wonderful proverb: Le mieux est l'ennemi du bien--the absolute best is the enemy of the good. Nothing truer has ever been said . A foreign policy aimed at the achievement of total security is the one thing I can think of that is entirely capable of bringing this country to a point where it will have no security at all. And a ruthless, reckless insistence on attempting to stamp out everything that could conceivably constitute a reflection of improper foreign influence in our national life, regardless of the actual damage it is doing to the cost of eliminating it, in terms of other American values, is the one thing I can think of that should reduce us all to a point where the very independence we are seeking to defend would be meaningless, for we would be doing things to ourselves as vicious and tyrannical as any that might be brought to us from outside.

This sort of extremism seems to me to hold particular danger for a democracy, because it creates a curious area between what is held to be possible and what is really possible--an area within which government can always be plausibly shown to have been most dangerously delinquent in the performance of its tasks. And this area, where government is always deficient, provides the ideal field of opportunity for every sort of demagoguery and mischief-making. It constitutes a terrible breach in the dike of our national morale, through which forces of doubt and suspicion never cease to find entry. The heart of our problem, here, lies in our assessment of the relative importance of the various dangers among which we move; and until many of our people can be brought to understand the what we have to do is not to secure a total absence of danger but to balance peril against peril and to find the tolerable degree of each, we shall not wholly emerge from these confusions. "

Exactly. In the quest to be perfectly safe, we seem willing to wipe our butt with both the Constitution and common sense. Banning liquids and taking off our shoes is making us safer? Really? How about fining the airlines $50 million dollars every time they fail a maintenance check? I guarantee you that would save more lives than the baloney they are putting us through now.

Lonesome No More!

I finally plunged into the last Vonnegut book, which I picked up yesterday but had so far resisted, and, of course, it is bitter and lovely and funny and sad, all at the same time.

Charlton Heston is dead. I don't think I've ever seen his movies. (My classic movie history knowledge is woefully lacking.) I really only know him as a pro gun fanatic. There was a cruel bumper sticker circulating in the 1990s that said "Charlton Heston is my president". Funny how the same sort of folks who get the vapors when you imply George W. Bush is not real big on the book learnin' didn't have any problem with saying the most cruel and hateful things about the previous president.

BTW, I was wrong about the standings. Here's how they look this morning, courtesy the immortal Lee Sinins.

Orioles 3 1 .750 -
Rays 3 1 .750 -
Blue Jays 3 2 .600 0.5
Red Sox 3 3 .500 1
Yankees 2 3 .400 1.5