Saturday, October 02, 2010

Game 160: Of course he did!

So, with the three games left on the schedule on the Yankees meaning nothing to the Red Sox and just north of nothing to the Yankees, what happens? Well, Tim Wakefield gets rocked in what may be his final appearance for Boston, or, indeed, in the majors, the Red Sox battle back to tie, and then Bad Bill Hall, who carries a glove because the rules say he has to, commits an error to give the Yankees the lead in the tenth of a 6-5 loss.


The nightcap begins at 9:05, and then this long Red Sox National nightmare of a season ends on Sunday with game #162.

Friday, October 01, 2010

It's Friday, Don't Forget to Flash!

Another week of 52/250 Flash is up. I have a piece in it, but I'm not too happy about it. There is a poor word choice in it that I should have noticed, and in general it, being part of something larger, just didn't work out the way I planned. But it's out there, and there's nothing to be done about it now. I think next week's is better.

Rock N Roll Fridays: Smashing Pumpkins

Janera's buddy DJ Kathy A brings us Rock N Roll Fridays, this week featuring mope rockers the Smashing Pumpkins. As always, the lyric first, and then a question based on the lyrics. My answers in italics. 

1. 1979 “Shakedown 1979, Cool kids never have the time. On a live wire right up off the street, You and I should meet”. 
Where were you in 1979?

Third grade, I think. Still twitching after Bucky Dent's home run ended the 1978 Red Sox season. 

2. BELIEVE “And if they steal your life, your heart is still mine. Your song, you sing, a truth, there’s no other. I want to believe in you dear.”
What song do you love to sing along with?

Lots and lots of things, to the chagrin of people who ride in the car with me. "Night Train" by Guns N Roses, "I Can't Tell You Why" by the Eagles, Billy Joel's "Somewhere Along The Line"

3. BULLIT WITH BUTTERFLY WINGS “Despite all my rage, I am still just a rat in a cage. Someone will say what is lost can never be saved. Despite all my rage, I am still just a rat in a cage”. 
When was the last time you felt like a rat in a cage?

The last time I was at work. 
4. CHRISTMASTIME “I remember dreaming, Wishing, Hoping, Praying for this day. Now I sit and watch them, the little ones I love”.
What day are you dreaming, wishing, hoping, praying for?

The day my debt is gone. 
5. DISARM “I used to be a little boy, so old in my shoes. And what I choose is my voice. What’s a boy supposed to do?” 
What did you bring to SHOW n TELL as a child to school?

Gosh. I think I brought in a stuffed dog once. I don't recall. 
6. THIRTY THREE “Supper’s waiting on the table. Tomorrow’s just an excuse away. So I pull my collar up and face the cold, on my own. The Earth laughs beneath my heavy feet.”
When and where do you generally eat supper?

When I'm at work, I don't. At home? We're kind of casual about that. Whereever. 

7. TODAY “To cleanse these regrets, my angel wings were bruised and restrained. My belly stings.
When was the last time your belly “stung”?

Stomach pain? I have bouts of that from time to time. On the outside? Probably the last time my nephew jumped on it. 

8. TONIGHT TONIGHT “Time is never time at all, you can never ever leave, without leaving a piece of youth. And our lives are forever changed. We will never be the same. The more you change the less you feel.”
Despite the number, what age do you think you really are?

9. APPELS AND ORANJES “What if the sun refused to shine? What if the clouds refused to rain? What if the wind refused to blow? What if the seas refused to wave? What if the world refused it’s turn?”
Do you believe the 2012 catastrophe will happen? If so, how are you preparing for it?

No. Even if it is, there's precious little I can do about it. 

10. CHERRY “Stay with me, I’ll set you free. ‘Cause I can tell you once were pretty. Rose, so sad you’ve lost your petals. Lost the luster off your tattle tales.”
What celebrity has not aged well?

Gee. I just saw an old Michael Douglas clip, so I guess I'll say him. But I'm not one to talk. 

11. CRESTFALLEN “Who am I to you? Along the way, I lost my faith. And as you were, you’ll be again. To mold like clay, to break like dirt. To tear me up in your sympathy.”
What was the last thing you made out of dirt or clay?

Probably high school art class. I don't remember, sadly. 

12. EYE “Is it any wonder I found peace through you? Turn to the gates of heaven, to myself be damned. Turn away from eye, it’s not enough, just a touch.”
How do you find peace?

I wish I knew. If anybody has any ideas, please let me know. 

13. MA BELLE “You must hold your truce alone. To make love happen, the moon must send you home. There’s no place that I’d rather be”.
When was the last time you walked in the moonlight?

Probably Back To School Night. Except it was cloudy, so maybe there wasn't a visible moon. 

Would You Like A Receipt With That?

Andrew Sullivan with a frightfully good idea: give each taxpayer a reciept, showing the amount of their Federal taxes that go towards various programs.

Game 159: Pointless

Last night in Chicago, the half dead Red Sox dropped another contest to the Chicagoans, 8-2, with Jon Lester taking another frightful beating.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

100 Words: Stepping Out

The 100 Word Challenge, back under the firm, loving control of Velvet Verbosity, resides at My entry this week is called "Stepping Out".

My friend Erin caught up to me right in front of the door to the lecture hall. The wood and frosted glass looked tired, just like the students who filed past us.

“Let’s ditch,” she said.

Tall, broad, smart, blonde and engaged to be married, Erin’s idea- to sit on the front steps in the March sun and talk about Robert Heinlein novels- beat the living heck out of listening to some idiot blather about biochemistry. Sensibly assenting, I grabbed an iced tea and joined her. I didn’t get my money’s worth from school that day, but I learned something.

Game 158: Playing Out The String

Tied in the seventh inning, the Red Sox got picked apart late, 3 runs on some bases loaded hits giving Chicago a 5-2 win last night. The Red Sox play one more game in Chicago today, then finish the year with three games against the Yankees to put to bed this dog's breakfast of a season.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

How I Joined The Tea Party (Well, Not Really)

A long time ago, on a blog far, far away, (and then again on this blog), I noted a tone of faint irrationality coming from the Tea Party movement, with their anger at taking back their government (which they voted for in an election) and their fury at out of control government spending (which, again, they voted for, and which they're not against when George Bush or Ronald Reagan did it or when the benefits accrue to them personally). I called them names, and probably cracked a joke or two. Yadda yadda. (Matt Taibbi has a nice article in Rolling Stone describing this particular cognitive dissonance.)

Then I listened to Dan Carlin this week, which is kind of like Control-Alt-Delete for your brain. Carlin points out one very key thing about the President currently in power. When George Bush did what President Obama is now doing (claiming the ability to kill Americans overseas without due process) (read this if you don't believe me), I ran around with my hair on (rhetorical) fire (I don't have much hair left, aflame or otherwise) calling him a tyrant. It doesn't get a whole lot more tyrannical than that- if someone, somewhere, says you're a terrorist, you run the risk of being killed. No judge, no trial, no warrant, just your car exploding in a ball of fire and you're done.

Carlin asks, pointedly, if you were against it then, and you're not against it now, because the guy you like is doing it, you are being at the very least inconsistent in your thinking. This is the flip side of my argument against the Tea Party madness- if you were OK with out of control spending on Medicare Part D and endless foreign wars and tax breaks without corresponding spending reductions then, and you're suddenly outraged now, then you're not being logically coherent.

Dan Carlin is absolutely right.

And furthermore, as Carlin notes on the discussion forums for his show, if this policy (again, read this in the Washington Post if you don't believe me) isn't an impeachable offense, what is? This policy takes the entire Bill of Rights and shreds it. (Well, all except the quartering of soldiers. So far.)

Mr. President, you have lost my vote.

Greg Giraldo, RIP

Comedian Greg Giraldo has died, apparently of a prescription drug overdose. I've enjoyed Giraldo's work for years-he was featured prominently on the Comedy Central series of roasts, and he has a very good comedy album called "Good Day To Cross A River".

Wednesday Wickedness On The Run

Wednesday Wickedness features Sir Paul McCartney this week. You've probably heard of him. 

1. “George wrote Taxman, and I played guitar on it. He wrote it in anger at finding out what the taxman did. He had never known before then what could happen to your money.” No one likes paying taxes. But do you think the tax system is fair?

Kind of. It's not as fair as it should be, and not as fair as it could be. It should be simpler and more straightforward. But fair in general? I think so. The things I need cost money, and I need to help pay for them. I don't think everything I pay for is worth paying for, but that's probably true of everyone. 

2. “I definitely did look up to John. We all looked up to John. He was older and he was very much the leader; he was the quickest wit and the smartest.”What did you think of John Lennon?

He was a poet, a visionary, a parent, and a husband. He loved his wife very much, but still cheated on her. He produced a lot of really brilliant, life changing, world changing music-and some dreck, too. He said wise things, and some foolish ones. He could have been a better person, but so could we all. He is missed. 

3. “I saw that Meryl Streep said, I just want to do my job well. And really, that's all I'm ever trying to do.” How do you approach your job whether in the workplace or at home?

With great reluctance. 

4. “I used to think anyone doing anything weird was weird. Now I know that it is the people that call others weird that are weird.” Have you found that you have more tolerance for unusual people as you get older?

Very much so. I have learned many times the virtue of letting other people do what they want- it doesn't hurt me. 

5. “I don't take me seriously. If we get some giggles, I don't mind.” How seriously do you take yourself?

Probably too much. 
6. “I think people who create and write, it actually does flow-just flows from into their head, into their hand, and they write it down. It's simple.” Does your blog writing just flow from your head, or is it a lot of effort?

Depends. Sometimes it flows easily, sometimes it is a struggle. Those who read me probably wish I would put in more effort. 

7. “Think globally, act locally.” Do you do anything to help your local community?

I really don't.
8. “When you first get money, you buy all these things so no one thinks you're mean, and you spread it around. You get a chauffeur and you find yourself thrown around the back of this car and you think, I was happier when I had my own little car! I could drive myself!” Have you ever had a period where you felt that you were set financially?

9. “Lyricists play with words.” Do you think what you write on your blog is clever or just ordinary and why?

Hmmmmm. I guess ordinary. I can turn a phrase now and then, but the ratio of good stuff to dreck is probably 1: 20. 

10. “Where I come from, you don't really talk about how much you're earning. Those things are private. My dad never told my mum how much he was earning. I'm certainly not going to tell the world. I'm doing well.” Who in your circle knows how much money your family makes?

Nobody. I never talk about money, ever. 

Game 157: Exeunt All

As the Red Sox took the field in the City of Big Shoulders last night, the flickering heartbeat of their playoff odds was registering, though just barely, on the EKG of the 2010 season. However, the Yankee win over Toronto killed their chances dead, and, just to pile on, Michael Bowden and the bullpen blew a lead, falling 5-4.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Game 156: Like a skunk at a garden party...

The Red Sox are winning just enough to make New Yorkers sweat. Boston beat the White Sox tonight, 6-1, with Cowboy Clay having his way with the Pale Hose. With a Yankee loss, the Red Sox remain 6 out with 6 to play.

Cliff Burton, RIP

Twenty four years ago, musician Cliff Burton was killed in a bus accident in Europe. Burton was the bass player for Metallica, at the time an up and coming heavy metal band, dreaming of the big time. Put up against other rock and roll casualties, Burton’s death is one of the most random and senseless- the other members of the band, any one of whom could have been killed, were essentially unhurt. Burton flew out of an open bus window and was crushed when the bus rolled over on an icy road.

Metallica, of course, has gone on to fame and fortune, relatively speaking. They have released more albums, and recorded more songs, and toured more countries, without Burton than they did with him. Metallica is now pretty close to being a household name-they have been staples of rock radio for nearly two decades now, after being anathema for the pre-1991 part of their careers. Even if you don’t enjoy their music, I think most people will at least recognize them as a musical group-a fate fans couldn’t imagine when they were underground sensations in the early 1980s.

I didn’t know Cliff Burton-I only became aware of Metallica in 1984 and 85, and he was gone by 1986. I never saw him perform live. I don’t understand music enough to know why he is well thought of by musicians and music fans-I have to take their word for it that his playing was as extraordinary as they say. My ears tell me he lended much to what became their sound-abrupt time changes, sweeping, orchestral instrumental sections, and a brooding intensity.

Of course, we don’t know how things may have played out differently. A Metallica with Burton may never have climbed to the heights they did- though that seems unlikely. But the band could have succumbed to infighting or substance abuse, as so many bands do. Of course, the whole band could have lost their lives on that road in the middle of the night, and Metallica would have remained a promising group with 3 albums and a tragic ending.

It seems impossible to cope with a world where the simplest decisions-I’m going to sleep with the window open, or I’m going to take the bottom bunk-have such enormous ramifications. Arbitrary, capricious chance-I missed my flight, I live, I don’t, I die. Seems to put the lie to Einstein’s rule, in a dramatically different context, about God not playing dice with the universe.

Here's a YouTube clip of Burton playing with Metallica in 1985:

Games 154 and 155: If you can't win, you might as well be annoying

On Saturday, Jon Lester and the Red Sox beat the Yankees again, 7-3, but the coup de grace, sadly, was lacking, as the Sunday night special gave us Jonathan Papelbon giving up a 3-2 lead in the ninth, followed by the Okey Doke walking in the winning run in the tenth.

For the deluded few who are still concerned with such things, the Red Sox trail the Yankees by 7 games with 7 to play, and trail a playoff spot by 6 1/2 games with those same 7 games to play. It looks like it was over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor, after all.