Friday, May 30, 2008

Who the hell is Freddie Bynum?

Melvin Mora threw a ball away, allowing Manny to reach second, where Big Mike Lowell brought him home, for a 3-2 Boston lead.

I think Papelbon might be the only Boston hurler left, so he should pitch the bottom of the 13th.

The Freddie Bynum (WHO?) throws another ball away, scoring two more runs for a 5-2 lead.

Inning over, Papelbon coming on for Boston.

Adam Jones grounded out, old friend Jay Payton now hitting for Bynum. (WHO?)

Payton strikes out, Pap apparently in top form.

Brian Roberts struck out, ending the game.

Nice pair of wins. Celtics in the finals, Boston finally, if a little late, back in the win column. Puts a nice, benign spin on the rest of my day.

One of the major themes of McClellan's statements is how disillusioned he was that George W. Bush didn't fulfill his promise of being a uniter. I remember clearly, myself, reading about Bush's time in Texas after the fiasco of the Bush/Gore decision and thinking, well, maybe this won't be that bad. George Bush Sr. was a pretty decent man, in retrospect.

Like most people, I had no idea just how much evil that this man had in him.

Time for a couple of wins, gents.

In Baltimore, Boston is in the 11th tied with the O's, 2-2. I kinda think we should be beating the Orioles easier than that.

In Detroit, Boston leads Detroit, 75-74, in the fourth.

Steal, followed by a Pierce fallaway, 77-74.

Two Pierce free throws, 79-74.

High arcing shot from Rasheed, 79-76

Spinning jumper from the key by Garnett, 81-76

12th inning now, still 2-2.

Rondo jumper, 83-76.

Boston seems like they might be taking control. only 2:32 to play.

My wife had a bad day at the office. As usual, her sensitivity is getting the better of her. A coworker is upset with her because my wife didn't cover for her misbehavior. The truth is a harsh mistress.

My wife thinks it's her fault-it seems like she attracts nuttiness. I keep trying to tell her it's not her, it's humanity.

Like Brian Wilson, she just wasn't made for these times.

Chauncey Billups gets past James Posey for a hoop and a cheap foul, 83-79.

Celtics miss, then a critical backdoor steal by James Posey.

Two free throws from Pierce, 85-79.

The Lakers are in, apparently, so if Boston holds on, expect a lot of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird for the next week or so.

Mike Timlin's pitching in the bottom of the 12th. This shouldn't take long.

85-79, less than 40 seconds to go.

Pierce free throw, 86-79.

Nick Markakis double, and then Aubrey Huff walk with one out. See, told you.

Two free throws from Ray Allen, 88-79.

Detroit basket, followed by 1 of 2 from Pierce, and it's over. A terrific 4th quarter and the Boston Celtics are in the NBA Finals for the first time since I was 15 years old. Terrific.

Kevin Millar grounds into a fielder's choice, then Timlin walks Luke Scott to face Ramon Hernandez with two out.

Ramon flies out, so we're on to the 13th. Hey, I thought the pluses of coming back home would be the games ending at a reasonable time!

Scott McClellan is making the rounds, promoting his book and causing right wingers to have conniption fits. I tend to believe him, partially because he had everything to lose by going public, and partially because the information fits in with EVERYTHING I'VE READ AND LEARNED IN THE LAST SEVEN YEARS.

Doc Rivers hates me

Celtics coach Doc Rivers apparently has a bone to pick with the bloggerazzi.

Why do people listen to those who have never played the game?

I don't know, perhaps because getting as much information from as many sources as possible is part of being an informed, serious human being? Perhaps because the truth of an assertion is not based on the reputation of the speaker?

But then again, I'm just a blogger. What the hell do I know?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Humiliating Kick In The Crotch

May 29, 2008

According to my phone, which I have no reason to doubt, Boston lost again last night, 1-0 to the resurgent (at least, against us) M’s. Wakefield started, and got the loss, but he obviously didn’t do that poorly. Eric Bedard got the win, a guy who, when he’s throwing strikes, can be unhittable. I don’t feel that bad about that, really-but the glow of the home winning streak is wearing off, as we’re getting our heads kicked in out West.

That’s one of the big pluses to opening so strong-you can endure a 5 out of 6 losing streak without dropping 5 games in the standings. Tampa has done about as well as they had any right to expect, so if we can catch them napping-go 15-5 while they go 8-12- we can blow past them pretty easily. And as long as the Yankees keep floundering, we should be able to put the division away.

The inimitable Jason Calacanis was livetwittering (live tweeting?) the Wall Street Journal Digital conference. Apparently, Herr Murdoch said some interesting things, such as his opinion that Bill O’ Reilly “gives both sides” of an issue (a laughable concept) and that the new WSJ is going to beat the New York Times at doing hard news. I still don’t understand that. WSJ is the leading business paper in the world, right? Why are they trying to be the New York Times? Oh, well, he’s a billionaire and I’m not. I guess he must know something.

My phone is texting just fine, but it doesn’t seem to believe in the Internet just now, so I can’t tell if the Celtics won or not. They were playing well towards the end of the first half, then I went to sleep. I tried turning it off and on, and that didn’t help. Sigh. So I live on, unknowing. Even twittering for the score didn’t help.

The more teenagers and young adults I encounter, the more I become an advocate for summer school. I don’t know when I became the “you kids get off my lawn” guy. My son’s age or above, I really have no use for you.

My phone finally woke up to tell me that Boston won, 106-102, to take a 3-2 lead in games. That’s good. It was exciting, physical, defense minded basketball, and a game Boston really needed if it wants to make the finals.

Black Crowes, “Could I’ve Been So Blind”

The Eagles, “Frail Grasp Of The Big Picture”

Metallica, “Turn The Page”

I remember very clearly dancing with a very pretty blonde to a band doing the Bob Seger version of this song at a Honor Society function in high school. If you told that guy that Metallica would one day cover that song, I would have laughed until soda shot out of my nose.

Elton John, “Kiss The Bride”

I love this song. I LOVE this song. I keep thinking, every time I hear it, that there is a story in this song. Someday, maybe I’ll write it.

Van Morrison, “Bright Side Of The Road”

Reportedly a prick, but dude can carry a tune.

REM, “Wanderlust”

I like my stuff too much to travel.

The Phantom of the Opera, “Notes/Twisted Every Way”

“If you can call this gibberish- art?”

Like “Rent”, a movie that should have been better than it was. Lost something in translation to the screen, but I can’t really tell what.

Or maybe I just don’t understand people’s taste.

Yeah, that’s more likely it.

But Emmy Rossum…Sigh. Double Sigh.

Billy Joel, “Easy Money”

Used in the Rodney Dangerfield film of the same name. One of the lesser known tracks on “An Innocent Man”, kind of like “Careless Talk” and “Christie Lee”, songs that had a certain appeal for me because most people hadn’t heard them before.

It’s kind of scary to see a piece of paper that you know, without a doubt, that you saw 9 hours ago today, and yet it looks new to you.

Mudcrutch, “Oh Maria”

Not bad. It’s hard to know how much I like this band, whether I’m giving it Tom Petty Halo Points or evaluating it on its own merits.

I read that the “I’m Not There” soundtrack has a bunch of Dylan covers. Sounds tempting.

Talking Heads, “Take Me To The River”

I had a professor in college who was a HUGE Talking Heads fan. I had a life threatening crush on her. I remember reading somewhere that she had authored an award winning human physiology text. I hope she’s happy. I’m sure the text is brilliant, she was an excellent writer and speaker.

“I don’t know why/I love you like I do”

Pink Floyd, “Time”

My first date with my second serious girlfriend was to the Pink Floyd Laser Show at the Hayden Planetarium, Museum of Science, Boston, Massachusetts. Genius that I was, I got off at the wrong subway stop. It was bitter, Boston in January at Night Cold. As we left, she asked me sweetly, pointing to the much, much closer Science Park station- “Shouldn’t we have used that one?”

She was right, of course. She usually was.

The Police, “The Bed’s Too Big Without You” (Live)
The Police, “Synchronicity II”

Random? Yeah, sure it’s random. (I know, I know, it just doesn’t SEEM random.)

“Every meeting with his so-called superiors
Is a humiliating kick in the crotch.”

Paul McCartney, “Back in the USSR” (Live)

Remember the USSR?

Billy Joel/ Elton John, “Here Comes The Sun” (Live)

Off a bootleg. So sue me.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


In Boston, during a tied game 5, early in the second, and a series of controversial fouls on PJ Brown results in a small Detroit rally. In both cases, Brown made a legitimate basketball play, trying to defend the basket, and in an eyeblink, the tie game is an 8 point deficit.

At best, the two plays should have resulted in one foul, but instead it was called as two, one of which was a flagrant foul.

Basketball officiating is frustrating, because, like football, there is so much judgment involved. If you officiate according to the rulebook, you never stop blowing the whistle.

But the flagrant foul was bogus. Plus, near the end of the first half, Paul Pierce gets assaulted on a drive to the hoop-no flagrant. Grumble.

Despite all of this, Boston leads 52-46 at the break, helped by a ridiculous first half from Kendrick Perkins (12 points, 13 rebounds).

This is a growing trend, and I couldn't be happier.

Stephen Colbert had someone on from the Family Research Council last night, and Colbert destroyed him.

It all comes down to equal protection, for me. The FRC guy brought up the same old "man marrying donkey" argument they always raise.

If gay people have equal protection of the laws, then they have equal protection of the laws, and they can marry who they want. I have never seen a reasonable argument to the contrary. The state has a reasonable interest in preventing people from marrying within their immediate family or people who are underage. It is reasonable to ban marriages of those who cannot consent(children, animals, etc.). Is there any reason beyond that to ban gay marriage? I'm still waiting to hear one.

Free Rice!

Click here to test your vocabulary and donate rice to fight hunger.

I can think of nothing better to do with your time.

Generous of me, spending your time like that, eh?

Game 56

Tonight is Game 56 of the 2008 season for the Boston Red Sox. With Dice K having left yesterday's start with some kind of a back or hip issue, before the team came back to tie, and also before they blew it in the ninth, and despite the utter awfulness of the last week or so, one has to feel pretty good about where the team stands. 1/2 game out of first, and they have taken a few body blows without going into a total team wide, lose 15 of 18 freak out.

David Ortiz has seemingly roused himself from his early season funk, and with an inconsistent Josh Beckett, a consistently awful Tim Wakefield, and the in and out maneuverings of Lester and Buchholz, things are pretty much fine across Red Sox Nation. If I were Tampa, I'd be nervous, because they have been playing above their heads, and they can't put the division away. Tampa is a pain in the neck, and they will probably continue to be such in the future-no more marching in, taking your 3 out of 4, and going back home. I'm pleased for them, as long as they don't screw up our plans.

I would hate to come into a September series needing to sweep them, that's for sure. With just about 1/3 of the season gone, Boston is more or less where it wants and needs to be.

Yet another defeat

Seattle beat Boston late last night, 4-3, on a ninth inning hit by Jose Lopez. This trip is turning into a death march. Sigh.

Torturing Dan Carlin

Listening to the latest "Dan Carlin's Common Sense", and it is an electrifying response to last week's torture show.

His points come in response to emails he apparently got in response to the torture show. It is unbelievable the mental gymnastics to which conservatives will go to respond to the blackness at the heart of their world view.

Torture is wrong. Today, tomorrow, next week, next month, period.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Work Crush

I've been Twittering about my Work Crush, a female coworker (of sorts) I have a crush on.

Is it okay to have a crush when you are happily married? Or if you think you are?

Back In The High Life Again

Last night in the Jewel of the Pacific Northwest, Boston beat Seattle, 5-3, behind a strong start from Bartolo Colon, finally ending a short losing streak.

I'm outside, and the rain is absolutely coming. It's been humid all day, with the pressure building.

The breeze is delightful, cool and strong. The birds are noisy.

Rain absolutely on the way.

After holding close through 3 quarters, the Boston Celtics got their doors blown off in the final quarter, losing game four to the Detroit Pistons. The series is now tied 2-2.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Elephant joke

May 26, 2008

Watched “Recount” on HBO last night. It was brilliant, and geeky, as I expected. Tom Wilkinson was outstanding as James Baker-the resemblance was uncanny. Coming off of Ben Franklin, I am starting to think Tom Wilkinson could play anybody-man, woman, child, Alien Swamp Thing, whatever.

Kevin Spacey was excellent, Laura Dern was scary good, and Denis Leary was excellent. An outstanding drama, though a maddening one. The sheer arrogance of the Bush team afterwards, talking about eradicating the “stain” of the Clinton and returning “honor and dignity” to the White House set my teeth on edge. That sort of talk was everywhere back then, so that seems a very reasonable guess on the filmmaker’s part. Where are those people now? How do they feel about the “honor and dignity” argument now?

Terrific film, though, even if it left me in ill humor.

I am listening to an excellent “Baseball Confidential” podcast from XM, a discussion between Jim Lonborg and Rico Petrocelli, with Curt Smith, who I met once, narrating.
This is the kind of brilliant, innovative programming that XM can do so well. This kind of thing has an audience, despite what idiotic TV executives say. I dropped my XM because it was so inconvenient to listen to it, not because of any inadequacies of the programs. When the technology improves, it will be a winner, I think.

Finally drained the Podcast Lake, now on to music for the rest of the day:

Greatest kiss off song ever: Jimmy Buffett, “The Weather Is Here, I Wish You Were Beautiful.” I’ve never needed one. I’ve been in love with everyone I’ve ever dated.

Irrefutable proof Ray Charles was a genius: “Hallelujah, I Love Her So”

Iron clad proof that “Chess” was a misunderstood masterpiece that is begging to be made into a movie musical: “Where I Want To Be”

Proof that Steely Dan could rock when they put their mind to it: “Bodhisattiva” (Live) from “Alive In America”

Proof that old guys can still bring it: “Gallows Pole,”(Live) from “No Quarter”

Best song about Pattie Boyd, pre-1970: “Something”, The Beatles

Best song about Pattie Boyd, post-1970: (tie) Aerosmith, “Dream On”
Eric Clapton, “Wonderful Tonight”

Proof John Bonham’s death was a real tragedy: “We’re Gonna Groove” Led Zeppelin had more music in them, no doubt.

“What better place than here, what better time than now?”-Rage Against The Machine

I turned off the music and started listening to my free Audible book, “Plato and a platypus walk into a bar”. It’s okay. I started listening to it some time ago. It’s basically an introduction to philosophy told through the medium of jokes. For example, “Why are elephants big, gray, and wrinkled? Because if they were small, round, and white, they’d be aspirin.”

Stupid, I know, but I giggled.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Getting Dark, Too Dark To See....

May 24, 2008
The stupidity of health insurance executives never ceases to amaze me. “We’d rather pay for a $2000 emergency room visit than a $200 medication.” Smart. Good call, genius.

I just read a Robert Ludlum novel, The Bancroft Strategy. Those kind of books are enjoyable, but really kind of disposable. This one was a little different, because it featured a villain with a somewhat interesting plan.

The “villain”, Paul Bancroft, controls a massive charitable endowment. Without going into too much detail or giving anything away, Bancroft attempts to do what they call “venture philanthropy”- giving with defined benefits in mind, monitoring for outcomes and defunding programs that don’t perform. Bancroft takes it one step further, using sophisticated computer modeling to determine possible outcomes for their various plans, and at times using actual paramilitary types to carry out their more nefarious plots-ie killing bureaucrats or ministers or even presidents who won’t allow their plans to go forward.

There’s a twist, of course, and plenty of whiz bang stuff that would make a fine Matt Damon movie, but the notion of full analysis of potential outcomes, and outcomes of outcomes, makes the mind spin with counterfactual possibilities. Remove Saddam Hussein? Fine. Is the next guy even worse? Interesting stuff from an author who doesn’t always provide you with such grist for thought.

May 25, 2008
“To strive, to seek, to find and not to yield.”

“Word for Word” consists of a selection of Ted Kennedy’s speeches, including the 1980 Democratic Convention “The Dream Will Never Die” speech. It was excellent, of course, and really reminds you why he is one of the titans of American politics. Even his more recent work, exhorting the Senate to pass an increase in the minimum wage, was exhilarating. Of course, he’s not dead yet, but these kind of retrospectives are probably coming in buckets now.

Interesting discussion on “No Agenda” about the rise of inappropriate informality. I have long been against this. You don’t know me, don’t use my first name. My company always tries to claim that use of a first name is friendly and inviting. I think that’s wrong-it’s inappropriate and rude to use first names with someone you don’t have a relationship with.

The rest of “No Agenda” was borderline unlistenable, which it usually isn’t. They both didn’t know things they should have known, like the nature of US campaign finance law, and talked about things they knew nothing about, like art. It sets my teeth on edge when people who are smarter than me don’t act that way.
It is interesting how much of today’s world is really built on nothing at all-real estate values, fine art, money. There’s no inherent value in it unless we all agree there is. And when we stop believing in it, or when a group of someones does, we have problems.

Twitter seems to be going bananas. This morning, I had 20 minutes or so of uninterrupted messages, and now it’s just started again-50 messages and climbing, one right after the next. It’s mostly the same stuff, too. Thank goodness I have unlimited messaging.

The Obama team just apologized for the twitbombing. They’re having issues. Then again, aren’t we all?

I’m so tired. Mentally, physically, psychosocially. Tired of mankind.

I think this week’s On The Media is a repeat. They mentioned a “Twelve Word Novel” contest that they ran, that I think I mentioned before. It dovetails nicely with the “Six Word Memoir” concept.

Here’s mine:

“Alone again, he mused. ‘This kidnapping stuff is getting old,’ she said.”

Douglas Feith is on To The Best of Our Knowledge. Douglas Feith is a tool. That being said, he’s repeating the same old line-well, it was a confusing time, and we just wanted to prevent another 9/11. Yeah, Doug, but what separates human beings from the bunch of moral degenerates that populate the Bush Administration is that a human being will slow down and reassess actions already taken, whereas all you people have ever done is deny and obfuscate and confuse and refuse to back down on anything. Mistakes we can tolerate-hamhanded hardheaded refusal to admit a mistake costs human lives and is inexcusable.

Today in Oakland, Boston lost again, Jon Lester going down this time. After the triumphant homestand, Boston has lost 3 straight.