Saturday, September 27, 2008

Oh, and RIP, Paul Newman

To paraphrase Douglas Adams....

First against the wall when the revolution comes.

Kevin Smith's New Movie!

Game 161: Rain, rain go away

OH: “Washcloths? Washcloths. WASHCLOTHS? Washcloths. And Towels.”

Five Things That I Think I Know:

1. There are a certain number of adults, who for some reason live near me, who never learned to use their inside voices. I can think of two reasons to shout in public-a small child or animal is about to wander onto a busy highway, or a sports team has just won a major championship.

2. There will never be major health reform in the United States. I don’t think anyone who has tried to obtain health care recently would argue that the US health care system is in good shape, though.

3. I will never receive Social Security payments. Nor retire. It has become increasingly clear to me that, aside from the system totally melting down, I’m just not going to live that long.

4. The Boston Red Sox are not going to win the World Series in 2008. The Angels and Rays are both better than they are, and fairly significantly so.

5. John McCain is going to win the election. I don’t believe the polls. I believe that Obama is going to lead right into election day, but a large number of people are going to lie to pollsters and vote McCain. This, of course, will be an unmitigated, terrifying disaster for the United States.

Someone in my company is doing a charity walk for diabetes next month, and they want us all to contribute as a group, to “show” our competitors, I guess, how serious we are. They even sent around an email chiding us because “less than 15%” of us have given so far. Now, I’m as anti diabetes as the Talented Mr. Roto is anti cancer, but this bugs me.

-I’ll be much more likely to give money to any cause when I am slightly more assured we’re not going to be heading for breadlines and soup kitchens and Hoovervilles. (However, if that leads to only 16 teams in the major leagues again, maybe its not all bad.)

-I would be much more likely to participate in these faux team building displays if I had the slightest hint that my company cared one whit about me aside from my ability to produce.

-Does anyone really believe that our competitors care one little bit about how charitable we are?

Just finished Jane Mayer’s “The Dark Side”. Chilling, as I expected it to be. She documents her claims very well, but even if she’s half wrong, there is enough material here to send Rumsfeld, Cheney, and several others to the Hague for war crimes trials. Don’t let anyone say that the United States does not, and has not, tortured innocent people and then lied about it. The evidence is clear, palpable, and deeply troubling. Another story that should lead the nightly news every night.

Fantastic Bill Moyers this week, featuring Andrew Bacevich, conservative author of “The Limits of American Power”. He had all kinds of interesting thoughts, including why Jimmy Carter (?) was the first one to really understand the threat of high oil prices and was scarily prescient about the financial collapse we’re in now.

Rachel Maddow’s radio show is available as a free podcast (one hour of it, anyhow) from a radio station in San Francisco. I love the Internet.

Alan Meltzer, an economist at Carnegie Mellon, had an interesting idea on NPR that echoes one that I keep having: why have a bailout at all? Let’s get back to local banks loaning to local people! Let the multinationals fail-someone with money will swoop in and snap up the assets at a distressed price.

New nomination, Greatest Song Title Ever, “I’m Home Getting Hammered, She’s Out Getting Nailed.”

Also placed in nomination:

“She Got The Gold Mine, I Got The Shaft”
“If The Phone Doesn’t Ring, It’s Me”
“Life Sucks, Then You Die”

In Boston, the Yankees-Red Sox game was postponed, which really, at this point, means cancelled.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Game 160: It's a Struggle

After a rain delay, the eliminated Yankees, a phrase that rolls off the tongue trippingly, are running roughshod over the playoff bound Red Sox, 13-4. I assume they will roll on to a loss here, but my faltering consciousness will not allow me to stay up much later to verify that fact.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Game 159-Bringing it all back home

Jon Lester worked 6 2 hit innings, helping push Boston to a 6-1 win over the Indians tonight.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Game 158: Strictly a Formality

With their playoff berth assured, Boston cruised to a 5-4 win over Cleveland tonight, win number 93 of the 2008 season.

And, just in case you had any doubts left about whether or not competence is of any import whatsoever in America these days, Matt Millen, general manager of the Detroit Lions, was fired today. Millen's teams were a stunning 31-84 during his SEVEN PLUS seasons.


My only football experience is playing fantasy and playing Madden, and I'm pretty sure I could win more than 31 games in SEVEN DAMN SEASONS.


The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

A letter that I just sent to my senators(my representative is retiring, thus his motivation to listen to me is nonexistent)

"I am extremely concerned about the nature of the bailout bill now being considered in Congress.

To spend one dollar of taxpayer money without oversight is wrong-to spend seven hundred million dollars without oversight is outright criminality.

I implore you to insist that any money given to bankers involve strict accountability and accountancy standards. It is simple common sense and fairness that a first grader will understand to state that, if you make a mess, you are responsible for cleaning it up.

Wall Street CEOs must be held accountable for the misconduct they have engaged in. Bonuses should be withheld and criminal investigations should be initiated.

Rest assured I will pay close attention to your actions on this matter, and I will remember what you did on Election Day."

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Game 157: Finishing The Hat

Boston finally punched their ticket for the postseason dance, Tim (Remember Me?) Wakefield beating The Unbeatable Cliff Lee, 5-4.

Boston is back in the postseason again.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Game 156: Playing out the string

Boston, while not technically in the playoffs, almost certainly is, yet they had to put off celebrating for one more day, falling 4-3 to the Clevelanders.

Josh "Half the Man I Used To Be" Beckett took the loss, and David Ortiz hit another homer.

Not sure how I feel about this...

Apparently the author of the Artemis Fowl books has been given permission to write another book in the "increasingly inaccurately named Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy trilogy". That's how the cover of the fifth book in the trilogy, "Mostly Harmless", put it.

Like many, I LOVED the Hitchhiker's Guide books. They were social satire, science fiction, comedy-like many of the best science fiction, you couldn't enjoy them if you HATE science fiction, but if you at least tolerated it, you could read them just fine.

Adams also wrote about Dirk Gently and his Holistic Detective Agency, a series that was also gone too soon along with its author.

I have to admit, as big an Adams fan as I am, I don't think he ever recaptured the magic of the first few books. Maybe you never can-maybe that's the curse of "The Stranger" or "Born To Run" or "The Joshua Tree"-what you have done is so epochal, so transforming, that nothing you or anyone else can do can help but be viewed in its shadow.

So I don't know if I even want Adams to continue it, really. But since he can't, I guess this person is going to have a go. I'll read it, and maybe it will be great. Who knows.

In Atari Bigby news, GB safety Atari Bigby did not play in Sunday's loss to the Packers, leaving his season totals at 4 tackles and one interception for the 2008 season. Longtime readers will note that Atari Bigby is the OFPWAFNOTB (Official Football Player With A Funny Name Of This Blog).

The Price of Klosterman

I finished Klosterman's novel, "Downtown Owl", this morning. It was sad, and funny, like everything he writes, but leaves you somewhat empty in the end. I don't know if I just didn't like the ending, or if it was too sad(I've read sadder books, goodness knows), or what-but he's a brilliant, funny young writer. It was a clearly, deeply imagined world, and I enjoyed being in it.

I started Richard Price's Lush Life this morning, but it's not really taking hold yet for me. I've heard him talk about it a couple of times, and it sure sounds like something I would enjoy, but it's real real jargony, and I haven't fallen deeply for it yet. I may drop it and come back to it later. Assuming I don't start bleeding uncontrollably again, I have plenty of time-too much time to spend any reading books I'm not enjoying.

I may go to Ethan Canin's novel "America America", or I may go to history-I have a Civil War, a Napoleonic War, and a Revolutionary War book I could dive into. Plus "The Dark Side", about torture, and that new David Foster Wallace book of essays I bought because I couldn't find the other one I have.

I think David Foster Wallace is chuckling somewhere over the fact that, since his death, I've bought two of his books. (I have a copy of "Infinite Jest" coming from Amazon, too.)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

In Bed

" ' What is going to happen in the course of my day that will be an improvement over lying on something very soft, underneath something very warm, wearing only underwear, doing absolutely nothing, all by myself? ' "

-Chuck Klosterman

Well, I can think of ONE thing that might be an improvement. But a good point nevertheless.

Oh, and Dont Forget...

Don't forget that these same people have shouted themselves hoarse telling us that we CANT socialize health care because we can't let the government control such a huge slice of the economy.

Don't Want To Let My Chance Go By...

A blog post from the aptly named Crooks and Liars about privatizing health care.

As if anything about health care is public now.

I have been waiting to start to comment about the financial disaster that America has become in the last week. I'm not sure why. I guess I'm kind of afraid I'll just start cursing.

But Kurt Vonnegut is dead, and Vonnegut is quite possibly the only man who could explain how it is that we privatize profits and socialize losses. All we heard from these people-ALL we heard-was that we need to get the government off of the backs of private industry, off of the backs of the taxpayer, and let a thousand flowers bloom.

That is all we heard-that was their gospel. We can handle it-the grownups are in charge.

And asset values started to slide downwards, and they rushed onto TV shows-it's going to be fine! We're going to be OK! This is just a brief slide! Things will turn around! We don't need any crazy rules about how to operate! Stop telling us how to do our jobs!

And then the ride stopped.

Now they come with their hands out, expecting us to write a $700 million check to bail them out of the mess that they made. They made it. They had some help from greedy consumers, but they made it. They made it by lying about what they were doing, and lying about what it would cost, and lying and lying and lying.

If I was as incompetent at my job as these people were, I'd be on trial.

Why does individual ability and achievement and responsibility stop mattering in the executive suites?

And they want no Congressional oversight? They get a blank check, and we get a pile of paper?

The thieves. The rotten, stinking, thieving bastards.

They take all the money, and we take all the risk.

Why am I surprised? Why did I think it was going to be any other way? The rich always win. Always.

It's the brazenness that gets me. They're thieves, and they don't even have the decency to be ashamed of it.

Wont Get Fooled Again

Brilliant blog post by Dave Winer about the apocalypse that still, I hasten to remind you, has not played out.

The Watchmen

Being a follower rather than a leader, I just finished "The Watchmen", a graphic novel republished by DC Comics in a "look, there's a movie coming out!" edition.

It was marvelous. It feels a little geeky and stupid to read what is, essentially, a comic book, but as the story progresses, you pretty swiftly forget that there are pictures. It is set in an alternate universe, mostly during the 1980s, but with outings various other time periods. It is somewhat similar to "The Incredibles"- "TI" borrowed the plot point of the population revolting against superheroes. Its a superhero story, and a quasi-sci fi story, but, more importantly, its a brilliant story, with complex characters and a fast moving plot. Brilliant. I loved it.

Now moving on to Chuck Klosterman's "Downtown Owl", his first novel.

There's a new Survivor? Really? You'd think they'd run a commercial or something.

Currently watching the Eagles and Steelers on CBS, and they are packing it chock full of previews of their fall shows. The Eagles lost McNabb for a short time, and have lost Westbrook, seemingly for the rest of the game, but their defense is smothering Roethlisberger and the Steelers. Currently Philly leads 10-6.

I root for the Eagles, if only because it makes people in this area so happy. I also kind of root for McNabb in the same way I rooted for Marino and Elway and Peyton Manning-their greatness assured because of other achievements, they need a title so the yahoos will give it a rest. (Marino never got his, I know. He'll just have to settle for the mad phat Nutri System bucks. )

Rating professional players on the basis of titles is kind of like evaluating mothers on the basis of how many children they have. It's a measurement, but not a fair one.

Havin' Fun With Win 91 (Game 155)

Dice K was simply Kaibatsu-7 innings, only 2 hits and two walks, powering Boston to a 3-0 win over the Jays in Toronto. David Ortiz, who seems to have found his power stroke, hit his 22nd homer of the year.

New England lost a somewhat shocking game to the Dolphins, 38-13. The legend of Matty Ice, apparently, is on hold.

Somewhat more importantly, Yankee Stadium closes tonight, hosting its final baseball game. It's been a Cathedral of Horrors, where Red Sox dreams died in 1949 and 2003 and at other times, and it was, of course, where we slayed the dragon in 2004.