Saturday, December 13, 2008

And the money kept rolling in...and out....

The Yankees, apparently determined to sign every player in baseball, have come to an agreement with righthander AJ Burnett on a 5 year contract. This is somewhat along the lines of the Sabathia deal, in the sense that, if everything goes well, it's a great move-but Burnett's injury history is significant.

These deals could both be tremendous flameouts, but we will see.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Two Cathedrals

More West Wing this morning, and perhaps my favorite scene ever. President Bartlet's secretary, Mrs. Landingham, has been killed by a drunk driver, and after her funeral service, Bartlet locks the cathedral doors and lectures God. A moving scene, in my opinion, and a fine bit of acting from Martin Sheen.

"BARTLET [tired] You're a son-of-a-bitch, you know that?

He slowly walks up the center aisle.

BARTLET [tired] She bought her first new car and you hit her with a drunk driver. What,was that supposed to be funny? "You can't conceive, nor can I, the appalling
strangeness of the mercy of God," says Graham Greene. I don't know who's ass he was
kissing there 'cause I think you're just vindictive. What was Josh Lyman? A warning
shot? That was my son. What did I ever do to yours except praise his glory and praise his name? There's a tropical storm that gaining speed and power. They say we haven't
had a storm this bad since you took out the tender ship of mine last year in the north Atlantic last year... 68 crew. Do you know what a tender ship does? Fixes the other ships. Doesn't even carry guns. Floats around and fixes the other ships and delivers the mail. That's all it can do. [angry] Gratias tibi ago, domine. Yes, I lied. It was a sin. [holds out arms] I've committed many sins. Have I displeased you, you feckless thug? 3.8 million new jobs, that wasn't good? Bailed out Mexico, increased foreign trade, 30 million new acres for conservation, put Mendoza on the bench, we're not fighting a war, I've raised three children...

He ascends the stairs to the Inner Sanctuary.

BARTLET [pleading] That's not enough to buy me out of the doghouse? Haec credam a
deo pio? A deo iusto? A deo scito?

He stops at the top of the stairs and extends his arms.

BARTLET Cruciatus in crucem! Tuus in terra servus nuntius fui officium perfeci. [angry] Cruciatus in crucem. [waves dismissively] Eas in crucem!

Bartlet turns away in anger. He descends to the lower sanctuary and lights
a cigarette. He takes a single puff, drops the butt to the floor, and grinds it defiantly with his shoe. He looks back at the altar.

BARTLET [betrayed] You get Hoynes!

Bartlet holds back tears as he walks down the aisle."


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

CC to NY

Pitcher Carsten Charles Sabathia, the big (in more ways than one) fish in the free agent ocean, apparently agreed to sign with the New York Yankees, a 7 year, $160 million contract. Besides fulfilling Bill Simmons fondest wish, ("The thought of 365-pound CC Sabathia laboring through a 98° game at Yankee Stadium in 2012 with four more years and $105 million remaining on his contract. Please, God. I don't ask for much") this certainly puts the Yankees into a strong position in the American League East. They desperately needed pitching, but this sounds like they were bidding against themselves a wee bit. But since they're moving into the "ATM with foul poles", in Rob Neyer's phrase, of the New Yankee Stadium, they can afford it.

Of course, we don't really know what Sabathia's career is going to look like. He's 28, so this contract takes him through age 35. He is not, shall we say, a fitness nut, though I'm not one to talk. His arm has been remarkably durable, but it has some miles on it, in baseball terms. It will be interesting to see how this shakes out.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Get Blogfected!

Here are the rules of the story virus: Take the ongoing tale, continue it, and pass it on. Simple, eh?

Here goes:

The bus was more crowded than usual. It was bitterly cold outside, and I hadn't prepared for it. I noticed that a fair number of the riders were dressed curiously. As I glanced around, I stretched my feet and kicked up against a large, heavy cardboard box laying under the seat in front of me. (Splotchy)

I hunched down to see what it was, but as I did, the bus violently veered to left. I was thrown up against a heavyset Asian woman with blond hair. I pardoned myself, but she faced forward with no reply. Just then, a man wearing a jumpsuit of silver and gold stood up at the front of the bus. He was holding a megaphone and a box of graham crackers. He held the megaphone up to his face and began to speak... (Some Guy)

"Ladies and Gentlemen...please do not be afraid! I am here to help you" he said in a mighty booming voice. As he began to step towards me I felt a hand creep its way around my throat and all of a sudden I was pressed against the mighty bosom of the Asian woman as she she hauled me to my feet. She began to back away from the costumed crusader all the while holding me, feet dangling in the air. I panicked and my eyes searched the bus, hoping to connect with someone, anyone who would be able to help me. My eyes met those of the hero in gold and just as I began to gasp for air he yelled...(~E)

„Put her down and no one gets hurt“, he yelled at the Asian woman. All the passengers turned to see what was going on and, as they did, I noticed they were more panicked than I was. A small bespectacled man closest to us hissed at my captor and said in a low voice „Take me, just don't hurt her.“ My fear gave way to curiosity. Who were all these people, and why were they so concerned for my well being?
The Asian blonde's back was now pressed against the back of the bus, and she increased her grip on me as the megaphone man crept slowly towards us. As he passed through the bus people started getting up, and now they formed a small army behind him. He raised the box of graham crackers above his head and put his lips to the megaphone... (That Damn Expat)

...and emitted an earthly high scream. I was blown away, for I did not know I was in the presence of such being.
"Ar-are," I stammered. "Are you.... Rah-r-rob-robert Plant??" He gave me a sharp look, as if he knew that I am really bad at stammering.
"Did you let the dogs out, miss?" He asked, in a clipped tone.
"Wh-what?" I asked, trying to keep up the stutter, but failing quickly.
"The dogs, your chihuahua and your minature pincer. Before you left and got onto this most dangerous of public transportation vehicles, did you let your dogs out so that they could relieve themselves?"
I was flabbergasted, as I thought back, and gasped. Had I?
(Morgan the Muse)

I had to find out, and FAST. After realising that I did not have any home-automation in place, and so did not have any cameras to log into. There was only one option. I quickly grab my laptop from my bag, and use my uber 1337 skills to hack into the brain-chip of the driver, causing him to turn around, and break every road law, and several other laws, back to my house. I briefly wonder whether this is ethical, or even moral, but there is no time to decide, because...

With the screech of brakes, and the hiss of hydraulics, the bus was back at my house. The Asian woman, stunned at the force of Plant's vocalizations, had released me, and I stumbled off of the bus in a haze. The bus lurched back into traffic, when I realized what had happened. I don't even own any dogs! Robert Plant doesn't live anywhere near me! Either something is desperately wrong with my version of reality, or I am having a deeply psychotic nightmare.


I tag:

Who's the Boss?

Remarkable Malcolm Gladwell piece about success. How do we know who is going to succeed?

Monday, December 08, 2008

Get Your Pitchforks and Torches Ready

John Thain, CEO of Merrill Lynch, asked for a $10 million dollar bonus for his work in 2008. Yes, the story cites his withdrawal of this request, true. But still, after his company lost ELEVEN BILLION DOLLARS in 2008, he had the nerve to ask for a bonus.

I'm no financial genius or anything, but I probably could have done better than that.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Oh, yeah.

It snowed yesterday, the first snow to stick around so far this winter.

Katie's Got Questions...I've Got Answers (I Hope!)

The irrepressable Katie (whom I know better than to call Kathleen) ( has answered some questions from the opposite gender (that being men) on her blog, and had submitted some questions to a male to be answered on his blog. She calls this co-blogging, which is as good a word as any. Since her partner in crime has not yet answered, I will take up the baton of maleitude and attempt to answer them here. Bear in mind that I am looking at these questions from my own perspective, and since that is one of a married man approaching 40, I don't claim to represent randy young twentysomethings. I don't claim to represent 40 year olds either-as I point out in my disclaimer, I'm not even sure if I represent myself.

But now then, to the questions from the Katie:

"-What's up with the lack of interest in performing Oral Sex n a female? Is it ME or is it like men have adapted to a new religion that does not support giving oral sex?"

Ah. Er. OK. What?

Seriously, I am tempted to quote Chris Rock here. Referring to women who won't do the same on a male, he asks, "They still MAKE you?", meaning he was not aware women were still being constructed with that feature.

As will become a theme, guys don't TALK. About anything. But based on my own limited experience, and the few conversations I have had on the topic, I think men do, generally speaking, not have a problem doing that. I also wish to paraphrase film director Kevin Smith, who pointed out once on his podcast ( that a male who is not overburdened with physical beauty had darned well better get good at it. I think attractive men, maybe, don't have to work quite as hard, and thus may not feel the need to give what they would so eagerly recieve.

I, personally, love to do it.

I must say, briefly, in this anonymous, clueless male's defense, that it is HARD to do it, physically. The muscles involved get sore quite easily. But like anything worth doing, it is worth practicing until you get it right. Or get TMJ trying.

"-When out at a bar or any establishment created for males and females to co-exist and possibly mate - why is it that men consistently act egotistical, arrogant, and obnoxious ESPECIALLY when their goal is to get into a chick’s pants? Who are they trying to impress?"

Well, it seems to me a couple of explanations may be at work here:

1) The male in question is egotistical, arrogant, and obnoxious, and could not act otherwise any more than he could flap his arms and fly out the window.

2) The act is an elaborate ruse, meant to keep the group at ease by allowing them to deflate his ego. (IE I will tell my wife something like, "I'm sure you'll agree, because I'm a man, and therefore, naturally superior in all things." She will laugh hysterically, knowing that a) that is dramatically untrue, and b) I am simply setting her up for a joke to be made at my expense.

3) It's a cover. Men, more than almost anything, don't like being embarrassed. What's one of the first things an animal does if cornered? Make itself look bigger than it is. These men are bluffing, knowing they have nothing on the table, hoping they can steal a pot while no one else at the table is paying attention.

4) Men are jerks.

"- If you could perform oral sex on yourself, would you REALLY have no use for a romantic relationship with a female?"

No. While it is a tempting mental experiment, there are pleasures to be had with women that have no equal on this earthly plane.

"-Cheating: Why do so many men do it?"

Ah. The Big One. The Question To End All Questions.

Once again, several explanations present themselves. I have never done it, so I don't know, really. Haven't been offered a chance to, actually. But, like every male with a pulse, I've thought about it.

1)As with so many things in life, because they can.

2)Men are jerks.

3)There is something that goes out of a relationship after a while. I don't think it can be helped, I don't think it's anyone's fault, but I think it just happens. When you've been with someone for a while, you just stop trying. When the other person isn't trying, I think it becomes easier to step out.

4)There really is something to the biology/spread your seed argument. There's a cell phone commercial where a guy is sitting at a table at an outdoor cafe with a gorgeous blonde. (I have a feeling I should know who she is, but I don't.) She is talking, and he uses the reflective back of his phone to watch the butts of two women as they pass by on the sidewalk. She texts him, "OMG! UR A PIG!", and he kind of shrugs. There is a part of us that makes us want, in some tiny, lizard brained way, to reproduce with every woman of reproductive age we see. The fact that we don't is all that makes us civilized.

"-Why is one woman not satisfying to a man for an extended period of time?"

This is really kind of the same question. I don't think it is technically true.

Just like there are many kinds of pizza, there are many kinds of satisfaction. Kurt Vonnegut points out in many of his essays that humans evolved as part of extended families-for thousands of years, we had 40 or 50 people close by who knew us and loved us. It's hard for one person to be everything to another person, no matter how hard they try. Or, as Howard Stern pointed out in a magazine interview years ago, EVERYONE is hard to live with. Or, as Chris Rock says, every woman, no matter how beautiful, has some man, somewhere, who is just sick of them.

I think that a man can be satisfied by one woman, well enough, for a long time.

I hope so, anyway.

"-Why don't men communicate even to a smallest degree as much as women about their feelings? Seriously. Where is the communication gap, and why is it there?"

Another biggie.

Simple-men don't have feelings.


Seriously, this is something you could write a book on.

Men are conditioned, from very early on, that is perfectly okay to express feelings about a) your mother, and b) your sports team. And that's it. To express a feeling is to express a vulnerability, and men aren't supposed to be vulnerable.

We don't have the aptitude, or the language, or the grammar, to express feelings. We're afraid you'll leave, or you'll get mad, or you'll think less of us, if we express our feelings.

And there are whole areas of life to which, with men, feelings just aren't germane. I could fill a book with my wife and I fighting about just this topic.

I have a lot of discussions at work like this-how I feel about a policy or a rule just simply doesn't matter. I am much more interested in how we progress than in how we got here.

It's also part of what men like about sports-The Eagles beat the Giants today. There are many subsidiary storylines to go with this game, but there is a clarity to the fact that the Eagles add one to the win column, and the Giants add one to the loss column, no matter how you feel about it.

"-Mama's boy specific, but all men related: Why do you take your mother's side, even when she's wrong?"

Because she's Mom.

Seriously, I just listened to a Marc Maron comedy album recently, on which he admits, whenever a man is screaming at a woman, he is really saying, "Why can't you be like my MOMMY!"

I think this is overplayed a bit. She may be wrong, but a guy's mom and his girl are the two elemental forces in his life. There's got to be something serious at stake before he offends either one.

"-Is a woman's willingness to perform oral sex REALLY a deal breaker? Perfect girl in every sense of the word won't put your penis in her mouth.... do you really kick her to the curb?"

Absolutely not. Guys say this to be funny, and to sound tough and cool, but in reality? No.

"-Honestly, why are men so freaked out about male homosexuals? Is it really because you think they might pull you aside on the street and pork you? Do you honestly think you're THAT attractive to females?"

I think the last word is supposed to be "males", but this one is a mystery. I don't understand homophobia, never have, never will. I think guys pose on this one, too, so they won't be seen as less than manly.

I will joke with other men in just the opposite way-kidding about being homosexual. Of course, this is with men, like me, whose marital status is abundantly clear.

"-Which is REALLY better on a female; Shaved..or not Shaved? What are the benefits of both?"

Doesn't matter. The fact that we get to see it, and maybe touch it, is reward enough. I think shaved has a porn star/naughtiness vibe to it that is a bit of a rush, especially as a change of pace that implies, "look what I did for you". But it's not important, really.

"-Walking down the street - you scratch your nuts, its acceptable. Walking down the same street, you see a chick scratch her nether-region and she's got crabs? What's the deal?"

That's just crudeness, I think-someone is trying to make a nasty one liner at someone's expense. We all get sweaty down there, and scratching absent mindedly crosses gender barriers.

"-Pick Up Lines. WHY?! WHY?! WHY?!"

You have to say something, don't you?

I have never done the bar scene, so I really can't tell you. The only reason I can think you might use one is as a joke opener-say one so ridiculously hackneyed that you get a chuckle, and maybe that's your entry point.

I have to admit, the thought of approaching a group of women and trying to think of something to say sounds pretty terrifying.

Think about it from your perspective-what would you have them say?

Well, that's it. That was really a kick. I enjoyed it.

Begin the discussion, innuendo, and criticism below: