Saturday, July 12, 2008

Timmeh! (Game 96)

In Boston, the Red Sox climbed back on the victory train, crushing Baltimore, 12-1. Tampa trails Cleveland in Cleveland, 7-4, so if that score stays the same, Boston will close to within 1/2 game of first place. That didn't take long.

Of course, the Yankees are coming up from behind, only 6 games off the pace. Something tells me they are going to be heard from before all is said and done. As much chaos as they have endured, you have to give them some credit for staying in this race. As much as the rest of America hates it, it looks like it may have to be Boston and New York again in September.


Bobby Murcer

Longtime major league outfielder Bobby Murcer has died. Murcer played mostly for the Yankees, with a brief midcareer detour to the Giants and Cubs.

Murcer was an all star in the 1970s, but managed to leave just before the Yankees got good, coming back just in time to fade out in the early 1980s. Murcer never achieved stardom, but was truly a useful, professional third outfielder.

RIP, Bobby Murcer.

BTW, excellent obituary of George Carlin by film director Kevin Smith.

And if you had any doubt that it's 1932 all over again, BANKS ARE FAILING. BANKS. I'm going to get my cup full of pencils ready.

Don't Meet Dave

Just saw "Meet Dave". Elizabeth Banks was luminous, but the rest of the film was pretty standard fare. A perfect example of a film where all the good jokes are in the trailer.

Snow has fallen

Former press secretary Tony Snow is dead at 53.

While I didn't agree with his politics, I'm sure his family will miss him. RIP. Say hi to Hunter S. Thompson for me.

We had one of those "big boss" meetings on Friday. You know, big man (and woman) coming from the central office, spend a whole week spitshining everything, running around like an idiot instead of concentrating on oh, you know, doing business.

First of all, if this is the way things are supposed to be, why don't we spend the time and money and other resources to make it that way all the time? Second of all, if you're the big boss, why do you announce your visit? I'd just walk in if I were they. That is, if you really want to know how things are really going.

What a senseless waste of money and people.

Friday, July 11, 2008

So Much For That Little Issue...

In Boston, the Red Sox lost to the Orioles, 7-3. Cowboy Clay gave up 4 runs over 5 innings, while Metropolitan District Commission and Mike "Firebug" Timlin gave up three more to put the game out of reach. On the plus side, BOTH Tampa and the Yankees were shut out, so we don't lose any more ground.

"The Bush administration, dismissing the recommendations of its top experts, rejected regulating the greenhouse gases blamed for global warming Friday, saying it would cripple the U.S. economy."

If I were a reporter, I would have a hotkey that allowed me to type, "The Bush administration, rejecting the claims of experts, " with one keystroke. It would save a lot of time.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Great Billy Joel Article

Great Billy Joel article coming in Sunday's New York Times.

What I have always loved about Joel is, similar to Vonnegut, he always has a soupcon of bitterness to go with the sweetness.

Day Off

The Boston Red Sox have the day off, before starting a weekend set against Baltimore.

Meme Time II

1. What time did you get up this morning? Way too early. 615AM, because I had to be at a Continuing Education lecture at 8AM.

2. Diamonds or pearls? "Diamonds Are Forever"(Bond movie) beats "Pearl Necklace" (ZZ Top)

3. What is your favorite t.v. show? Hard to say. I probably watch "Baseball Tonight" more than anything else, but in terms of story-ish shows, it would have to be FX's "The Riches" or Fox's "The Sarah Conner Chronicles".

4. What do you usually have for breakfast? Nothing. 

5. What is your middle name? Frederick. My father's name, and my son's name.

6. What food do you dislike? Vegetables.

7. What is your favorite song at the moment? "Vienna", Billy Joel

8. What kind of car do you drive? Hyundai Santa Fe

9. Favorite sandwich? Hard to say. At the moment, a meatball sandwich with cheese.

10. What characteristic do you despise? Mindless obedience

11. Favorite item of clothing? Red Sox t shirt

12. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go? Paris

13. Favorite brand of clothing? Lands End

14. Where would you retire to? Doesn't matter. I'd retire tomorrow.

15. What was your most recent memorable birthday? I can't think of one.

16. Favorite sport to watch? Baseball

17. Furthest place you are sending this? Everywhere.

18. Person you expect to send it back first? K?

19. Missing? A sense of purpose.

20. When is your birthday? October

21. Are you a morning person or a night person? Night. No doubt.

22. What is your shoe size? 10, I think. I don't know.

23. Pets? Nope.

24. Any exciting news you would like to share with us? Nope.

25. What did you want to be when you were little? Right fielder for the Boston Red Sox.

26. How are you today? Distressed.

27. What is your favorite flower? None.

28. What is a day on the calendar that you are looking forward to? The day I'm not working,

29. What is your full name? Easy to mock.

30. What are you listening to right now? Jimmy Pardo's "Never Not Funny" podcast

31. What was the last thing you ate? Casserole that my wife made for my son

32. Do you wish on stars? No.

33. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Black.

34. How is the weather right now? Calm. A little humid. Feels like it might rain.

35. Last person you spoke to on the phone? My mother.

***This meme is missing #36. I have no idea what the question was. ***

36. Suggested replacement- If you could have dinner with one American President, who would you pick? Lincoln.

37. Favorite restaurant? Fridays. I know, no taste.

38. Hair color? Light brown and thinning.

39. What was your favorite toy as a child? Star Wars figurines.

40. Summer or winter? Fall.

41. Chocolate or vanilla? Vanilla

42. Coffee or tea? Tea, but Diet Soda more than both (Coke Zero)

43. Do you want your friends to email you back? Sure, I like these. Spread 'em around.

44. When was the last time you cried? I don't remember. 

45. What is under your bed? Baseball cards.

46. What did you do last night? Played a tabletop baseball game, then went to bed.

47. What are you afraid of? My son living as unhappily as I am.

48. Salty or sweet? Both!

49. How many keys on your key ring? I don't know. Maybe 8.

50. How many years at your current job? 3+

51. Favorite day of the week? Days off.

52. How many towns have you lived in? Four

53. Do you make friends easily? Nope.

54. How many people will you send this to? Smoke em if you got em

55. How many will respond? No clue.

56. Do you like finding out all this stuff about your friends? Yes, these are fun. 

Yes, You're Right. (Phil Gramm is a Ninny)

Yes, Senator Gramm, you're right.

It's MY fault Gas is $4 per gallon.

"We have sort of become a nation of whiners. You just hear this constant whining, complaining about a loss of competitiveness, America in decline," Gramm said.

That's basically because America is in decline. The barbarians are at the gates, and it was deregulation-mad idiots like you who brought us here.

"These national and congressional leaders 'blame speculators and oil companies for our problems, instead of presenting concrete programs for using energy more efficiently, or leaders who don't think we can compete with Mexico.' "

Well, that's because speculators and oil companies are responsible for our problems. It is your Republican Party who has mocked and killed any efforts to use energy more efficiently, and we CAN'T COMPETE WITH MEXICO PAYING $1.00 AN HOUR, YOU NINNY!

Rock ribbed Republicans like Phil Gramm love to talk about competition and worshipping at the altar of the free market, until it's time to pay the bill. Heaven knows, it isn't capitalism's fault. Of course not.

I wish Republicans would just come out and say it, "I'm not going to be really happy until I drive over the bodies of poor people on my way to the store."

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

That Went Well (Game 94)

On a mere 23 hits, Boston scored 18 runs tonight to sweep the Twins and come one step closer to first place. New York beat Tampa to trim the lead to 2 games.

Inconvenient Fact

Can't say this often enough.

George W. Bush is a felon. He has committed crimes, and should be impeached, convicted, and removed from office.

The price will be making happy for you

I love spammers. They're so clever.

They have begun somehow installing addresses from my address book into the headers of their messages, to make me open them.

Elton Brand is a Sixer. That's pretty big news. Suddenly the balance of power in the Eastern Conference gets a little less balanced.

Another day, another dollar.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Game 93: Made it by that much

In another tight contest, the Bad Man slams a two run homer to key a 4 run eighth to push Boston past those pesky Twins, 6-5. Since the Ray-Rays lose in New Jack City, we are now 3 games out of first. W00t!

Everyone goes south every now and then

The “new” Billy Joel is out, at least in ITunes. Being the crusty old fogey that I am, I really should have waited and bought the CD, but being the impatient, unreasonable person that I also am, I just downloaded it.

It is the “30th Anniversary Edition” of “The Stranger”, which, IIRC, is by far Billy’s best selling record. In fact, for a while it was the second best seller in the history of Columbia Records, right behind, I believe, “Thriller”. I could be wrong. It has, of course, a remastered version of the album, plus a live “Stranger” era concert recording, recorded, IIRC, somewhere in New York City. I could look, but I don’t have Internet access at the moment.

I can’t really tell about the remastering. Perhaps my music expert wife can tell the difference, but I really can’t. I listened to it once, all the way through, and all I can really say, to be far, is that maybe the mix is a little cleaner. That’s all. It’s fine-don’t get me wrong. I’m a fanboy, so I have no objections towards buying the same album for the 3rd time, and in some cases the same song for the 8th or 9th time.

But, similar to the Led Zeppelin box set that I bought in the early nineties, my ear is not keen enough to hear the difference between the “original” CD and the remaster. I drew the line, though, at the new new remaster of Zeppelin that they put out in preparation for the concert they played in London. Not going to pay for that again again.

There’s a new verse to the live version of “The Entertainer” that I’ve never heard before. That’s interesting. The “Brenda and Eddie” section of the live “Scenes” is a little stripped down, which is different. The horns are much brassier-obviously live horns, instead of the synthesized ones that became more common later.

It’s nice to have another 1970s era Joel live recording to listen to. They are hard to find, and the whole thing from that era is just more energized. As Henry Rollins would put it, he’s out there defending his music against a public and a world of critics that didn’t yet anoint him as a genius. The band seems to work harder, Billy seems to play faster, the whole thing is just a little more rock and roll than a live album like “12 Gardens Live”. To my untrained ears, “Angry Young Man” is quite a bit faster.

Then again, I have to cut the man some slack. I’m comparing him from his twenties and thirties to his fifties and sixties. I can’t think of anyone except Tina Turner who doesn’t suffer with that comparison.

From the “Are you HIGH?” department, the SEC is considering loosening accounting rules. LOOSENING. Yeah, because it was all those tight rules that got us into this mess in the first place. What a fiasco.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Most Delusional Statement Ever

Douglas Feith, on 60 Minutes, on the Iraq War, “our goal was to prevent the next attack.” So, naturally, you invaded a country who didn’t attack us and had no terrorists there.

“I think the president made the right decision, given what he knew then, and given what we’ve learned since.” That is the clubhouse leader for Most Delusional Statement in Human History, right up there with “Sure, General Custer, I don’t think the Indians will attack today,” and “An air attack? On Pearl Harbor? They wouldn’t dare.”

No, wait, here’s a better one: Condeleeza Rice- “I am proud of the Iraq War.” Really? Wow. That’s a stunner.

Security is improving, they say.

Bombings kill 11.

I guess, going from utterly horrible to just horrible is improvement, of sorts. What a disaster.

In Boston, the Red Sox scratched out an 8th inning run on an RBI single from the Bad Man. Dice K threw seven shutout innings, and Okey Doke vultured a win, which will, if nothing else, help my fantasy team.

Anyone have any nominations for "Most Delusional Statement in the History of Statements"?

Sunday, July 06, 2008

In other news....(Game 91 Liveblogging)

Apparently, the Sabathia deal has gone through-Sabathia to Milwaukee for Matt Laporta and some loose change they found behind the sofa. Doesn't really affect Boston at all except, like the Santana deal, it keeps him away from the Yankees, who could have used him but didn't have the chips to cash in.

1 on, 1 out in the seventh now, 4-2. 8 outs to go, with Javy (Not That One) Lopez on. Facing Posada, who has fallen off a cliff, at least compared to his 2007 performance. He got old very quickly. But I won't say that he doesn't scare me, and he just showed me up by serving a soft single into right center to push AFraud to third. Nice little hit and run single.

Robby Cano now, who is a good young hitter, but has also had pretty much a lost season. And he jerks one into the gap for a triple that ties the score.

(Bad word.) (Very bad word.) (Obscene modifier-Bad Word.) Javy Lopez can really go (perform an anatomically impossible act). (Very, very bad word!)

Now ESPN is telling us that Girardi's ejection, earlier in the game, inspired the Yankees to begin hitting. What a bunch of (excrement).

Now a grounder to second by the Melkman, and Pedroia throws out Cano trying to score. Gutsy play that could have turned out badly, that wound up resounding in our favor. Phew.

Does every game between these teams have to last longer than the director's cut of Gandhi?

I completely missed the Wimbeldon final, which apparently was a doozy, won by Nadal. Federer is really one of the greatest to ever play the game, and because no one cares about his sport, practically no one notices.

Metropolitan District Commission is on now, who has great stuff but gets lit UP from time to time. The Red Sox seem to specialize in that sort of hurler. Dice K and Aardsma are like that, too.

But MDC strikes out the Flying Molina Brother to escape the jam. Love and 97 mph heat means never having to say you're sorry.

Drew leads off the next inning, and I think it's time for a patented JD "THIS is what I'm here for, bitches" homers to right center. We can give him the official Trot Nixon "I Own The Yankees" t shirt.

And Farnsworthless pops up Drew. Guess I jinxed him.

Yankee Stadium has a really, really short right field fence. Boston does too, but ours balloons immediately to 380, whereas theirs does not. Supposedly, back in the day, the owners of the Yankees and Red Sox agreed to trade Joe DiMaggio for Ted Williams, straight up. They sobered up before completing the trade, though, but ironically Yankee Stadium was suited for Williams, and Fenway for Joe. Would have been fun if it happened.

Lowell flied out, so now it's The Greek God of Walks. He's not Greek, but the name was given to him by Billy Beane in the book Moneyball, and I like to use it. So sue me.

And Farnsworthless blows away Youkilis for the 1-2-3 inning.

So now we move on to the bottom of the 8th, and our continually shaky bullpen. I sense bad tidings.

Brett Gardner, who looks a little bit like Paul O'Neill, yet hits more like Eugene O'Neill, against the mighty MDC, who strikes him out.

Now it's Captain Terrific, who does everything perfectly and is only thought in anything other than glowing terms by Communist terrorists who don't love their mothers. He grounds out to short.

Seriously, he's one hell of a baseball player. He's not as good as people think he is, but he's real, real good. If I has a baseball team, I would want him on it. Not as a shortstop, though.

Now it's Bobby, the former Phillie who sold out to The Man. He's a real good hitter, too-I wonder how he's going to be viewed when he retires. He has really solid numbers, but quiet ones. Not outsized, Ruth numbers, just quiet, same old same old Aaron numbers. Not as good, not as long, but consistent.

Abreu lines out to Ellsbury in short left to end the inning. Every time the Yankees are retired, I breathe a little easier.

Top of the ninth now. Let's scratch out a run, then shut them down and run like hell for the exit.

Mo is on to pitch, and Sean "Mighty" Casey singles, then pinch runner Brandon (Rolling Stone Gathers No) Moss advances to second on a Crisp bunt. Varitek pinch hits, squirting a fielder's choice that shoots Moss to third.

Now the marquee matchup. Manny Ramirez, the Bad Man himself, against Rivera, lead run at third base. Do you walk him? I would. Even in a slump, as he is, he's a Bad Man.

They're not going to walk him. Ballsy.

Strike one, called.

Strike two, called.

Manny's a good two strike hitter, but Jeez, man. Come on.

Strike three called.

(Very bad word.) (Expletive.) Mother(expletive)! (One of the Seven Dirty Words)!

So it's the Okey Doke, who has been ok, but at times gets rocked.

I sense a theme developing.

And the leadoff man is AFraud. Lovely.

Hanging curve way too high for ball one.

Smaller, tighter curve for called strike one.

Fastball way too low. Ball two.

Another curve, shot straight at Lowell. One out.

Now it's Thong Boy, the Giambino.

Fastball missed, ball one.

Fastball too low, ball two.

Curve outside, called strike.

Fastball too low, ball three.

Popped out to third-two out.

Posada, who John Sterling calls "Jorgie".

Called strike on a curve.

Missed with fastball ball one.

Called strike on a fastball.

Fouled off a curve.

Swing and a miss at another curve for strike three.

Phew. Nice piece of pitching by the Okey Doke.


On to the tenth.

Another inning for Rivera.

Ellsbury pops up on a 1-1 cutter.

One out.

Pedroia whiffs.

Two out.

If we lose this game, Tampa goes up 5 full games, with New York only 4 behind us. Mentally, I laugh at Tampa, but we're running out of time. Those Naughty Fish have won seven straight.

Drew grounds out to short.


Bottom 10

Now it's time for Riverdance, Mister Jonathan Papelbon. Papelbon looks a little silly, like an kid wearing adult clothes, when he does his Pettite like gaze under the brim of his hat.

However, since Papelbon has only two pitches, one of which is usually a ball (the splitter), if they can get a bat on it, it can go a long way.

Cano grounds a base hit up the middle.

The Melkman now. He gets it near the mound, Papelbon retiring him at first with Cano advancing. Now Wilson (You Can) Betemit, hitting for a Flying Molina Brother.

Papelbon strikes out Betemit, and Brett (The Constant) Gardner is next.

The kid battles, and battles, and battles, and finally dribbles a splitter back up the middle, which sneaks by Lugo and Pedroia and into center field for a base hit that wins it.


Well, you have to hand it to them. We had the lead, and we gave it back to them, thanks to Firebug and Gasoline out there in the pen.

Ah, well.

Now back to my life.

Dictatorship of the proletariat

“The Woman Who Can’t Forget” was on To The Best of Our Knowledge. She, well, can’t forget. She has clear memories of every day of her life since age 14, and as far as scientists can tell, she’s legit. She made an interesting point that you don’t immediately think of (at least, I didn’t): Not only do you remember birthdays and first kisses, but also every lie you ever told, every person you ever slighted, every cutting remark you ever made. What a puzzling, awful burden.

Attention, people of Earth: You have to wait. You really, really do. I’m sorry, but that’s the way it is. Unless my pants are on fire (or, alternately, yours are), no matter what you have on your mind, you just have to wait until I’m finished talking with the person I was talking with. Sorry. That is all.

Cameron Reilly, who is the president of the Podcast Network, which brings me the marvelous Napoleon Podcast and the Biography Show, has been both twittering about and talking about, on his G’Day World podcast, his apparent affinity for socialism. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Personally, in my heart of hearts, I’m a socialist, too. The greatest good for the greatest number, all that. It’s all over the Bible, too-camel through the eye of the needle, etc. In an ideal world, that’s what I’d like to have happen.

Of course, we don’t live in an ideal world. Socialism, in my opinion, when it has been put into practice, has resulted in monstrously evil things. I am almost done with the CIA book I mentioned yesterday-it has progressed from postwar Berlin all the way to Yeltsin/Gorbachev era Russia-and one of the things the Russian characters mention is the Soviet belief that capitalism and the West bring out the worst parts of human nature. Don’t they, though?

Anyway, Cameron mentioned on Twitter that he didn’t think there was any evidence of the crimes of the Castro regime, and then on his podcast he brought up the 80th birthday of the late guerilla leader Ernesto “Che” Stadium.

Sorry, old joke. Che Guevara.

Cameron made the point that, if you believe Guevara committed crimes and committed terrorism, then you need to “read a book”. He recommends “Legacy of Ashes”, which I have also blogged about before and really need to pick up, it looks like.

Now, I know very little about Che Guevara and only a little bit more about Castro. I am fully willing to posit that what I know, and what I may learn, is almost certainly at least slanted, and in places possibly falsified, by simple ignorance on the part of historians as well as CIA/Western disinformation.

That being said, is there any real doubt that secret prisons, murder, rape, and torture occur under Castro? I will give you the fact that the CIA, only based on what we have been able to learn, has been involved with not only morally dubious, but downright heinous adventures from the very beginning. I will also give you the fact that the American government from the very beginning has desperately wanted Castro’s government to fall and has actively sought to make it do so.

Cameron tried to argue on Twitter that Cuban prisoners have violated Cuban law, just like in any other country, therefore Castro is not a dictator. If you have to pass a law to forbid dissent, as I think you pretty much do in a Communist state, isn’t that de facto a dictatorship? Is there a single example of a Communist state without a horrific human rights record? Doesn’t it follow that Cuba must be the same?

Is it possible that how ever many millions of people have decided, no, we’d rather have laws forbidding dissent and giving us free health care and education? With no one disagreeing? And, if the system is so perfect in every way, why not expose it to an election and let the people flock to your banner?

The right to freedom of thought-to freely think what one wishes and express it whenever one wishes-simply has to be a fundamental one. It’s messy, sure-it opens up the stage to Holocaust deniers, racists, sexists, anti Semites, and all manner of other subhuman refuse. But the solution to hate speech, as Alan Dershowitz wisely notes, is not speech codes but more speech-better speech-the will of the majority saying to the spittle drenched morons, “Sorry- that’s not the way the rest of us feel. Go ahead and say it, but we’re going to stand here and ignore you. We-our union, our laws- are stronger than you are- so strong that we can allow you to act like an irresponsible idiot without it damaging the rest of us. ”

I see the contradiction-a Stalinist state can’t allow freedom of speech, because if people see what they don’t have, as they sing in “Chess”, “trinkets in airports” will be “sufficient to lead them astray”. But given that they have to do that, they wind up being dictatorships. I don’t know of any counterexamples, nor can I imagine any other way it can turn out.

Once again, I am not arguing that America’s hands are clean in all this. We have tortured, murdered, and done all sorts of awful things in the name of defending freedom over the years. I guess the difference is we meant well-some of the time, anyway-and we’re trying to do better-some of us, anyway. And, of course, the largest point of all is that I won’t get thrown into jail for writing this.

Reminds me of the old joke Ronald Reagan used to tell about an American and a Russian meeting on the street. The American says, “You know what’s great about my system? I can stand in front of the White House with a sign that says ‘President Reagan is a no good scoundrel’, and nothing will happen to me.” The Russian replies, “I can do that, too. I could stand in front of the Kremlin with a sign that says ‘President Reagan is a no good scoundrel’, and nothing would happen to me, either.”

In New York City, Boston is clinging to a 3-2 advantage in the top of the seventh. After a Kevin "Dollar Dollar Bill Y'All" Cash double scores Lugo, that pushes the lead to 4-2, with nine outs to go. I'd feel a little better with a 14-2 advantage, but it will do. If we can hold on, that would make it 3 out of 4 from New York and a (somewhat) decisive blow.

Jason Giambi looks funny with a mustache.