Sunday, December 30, 2007
Listening: Eagles Live, “Hotel California”
Would be a neat song for Guitar Hero.
This group always makes me think of Nicole, who I lusted after briefly in high school. She was a huge Eagles fan. Never got anywhere with her, though-she was one of those people who just seem disinterested in human interaction.
Nicole Fredette, where are you now?
Simon is ill. I know he’ll recover, of course, but I can’t help feeling a little bit of the gnawing fear that accompanies any illness in a child. When my own was that age, the slightest symptom would send me into circles of paranoia. I hope Simon’s parents aren’t going through that, although I know, secretly, to some degree, they probably are.
Or maybe everyone in the world is not exactly like me? That’s another theory.
I guess the Eagles settled whatever issues they had with ITunes, because when I was adding “Long Time In Eden” (verdict so far: blah) to my ITunes, the Eagles’ back catalog popped up, which it never had before. So I bought Eagles:Live, which we used to listen to hour upon hour back in the Apothecary days, my first real job. Sold Kevin McHale a newspaper on my birthday, 1987, and it was straight downhill after that.
Interesting thing, though: ITunes treats the downloaded Eagles: Live as a single 15 song unit-not Disc 1 and Disc 2, as I assume it would be if you bought it in a store and ripped it. I went to change it to the second disc, when I realized there was no second entry.
Got a reply to a post, but it was only a spammer. I thought the whole sign in business was supposed to discourage that. Ah well. Crappy New Year, everybody.
Got a reply to a post, but it was only a spammer. I thought the whole sign in business was supposed to discourage that. Ah well. Crappy New Year, everybody.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
It's wonderful. Beautiful, stunning, compelling, with an engaging story and compelling characters. I loved it.
As for the anti religiosity? Well, it's there, sort of. It is, frankly, critical of things about Christianity that need to be criticized-the silencing of dissent and the squelching of human desires.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
According to Marketplace, today is “Humbug Day”. For me, every day is Humbug Day.
Listening to smart people talk about business theory and business behavior reinforces for me the idiocy of so much of modern management. It’s really not hard to run a good business-you just have to really want to and really care enough to do it right. It’s much easier to just pretend to do it, instead.
December 22, 2007
Listening to NPR’s “Word for Word”, I was impressed with how good a speaker Chris Dodd is. Overall, I would have no problem at all voting for any Democrat, whereas I would have a problem voting for virtually every Republican.
As if that weren’t obvious.
Benjamin Barber, author of “Consumed”, on Bill Moyer’s Journal:
“Capitalism is producing needs in order to sell us all the goods it produces.”
“Those with bucks don’t have any needs, and those with needs don’t have any bucks.”
The profit in capitalism is supposed to reward risk. With the government bailing out failing businesses like Long Term Capital Management and helping with the subprime mess, where’s the risk? Why does personal responsibility only apply to us and not to them?
Another excellent point-we went crazy about the sale of port security to Dubai Ports World, screaming about our sovereignty and our safety. Guess what? Our sovereignty is gone. China and the oil sheikhs have bought this country, and they can shut us down in the blink of an eyelash. Suppose China decides to stop buying US government bonds? We shut down. Not someday-tomorrow.
Yet the local news leads with ice skating. Sigh.
Another brilliant Dan Carlin program this week: “The problem with America is you.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself. I decry our wasteful government spending-yet I’m in hock all the way up to my hair follicles. I know what’s wrong, but I am unable to do anything but whine about it.
The problem with America is me.
Carlin has another interesting argument-waste your vote, or you’re wasting your vote.
The current political system is so clogged with special interest money and rank corruption that, if you vote based on one of the major candidates’ beliefs, you won’t get what you want anyway. You may as well cast a protest vote for Gravel, or Kucinich, or Paul, because at least you know those men are honest, and they have a chance, if elected, to muck out the stalls.
And yet…I give money to a national organization that employs lobbyists to protect the interests of my profession, too. I am wrapped in contradiction.
I really am the problem.
December 23, 2007
Two days until Christmas. One day until I get to see Simon. Briefly, given the number of women that will be there.
I learned on “Seven Ages of Rock” last night that Motley Crue’s bass and drum sound on “Dr. Feelgood” was what inspired Metallica to hire him to produce the Black album. Listening to the two back to back, you can really hear a similarity that I never noticed before.
I also learned that Sting sings the intro, “I want my…I want my MTV…” on Dire Straits’ “Money for Nothing”. According to my wife, everybody knew that-including dogs, cats, and certain species of fish-except me.
Now listening: Jet, “Cold Hard Bitch”
What a great, straightforward, no bullshit rock and roll song.
Reminds me of the book I’ve been trying to write for 10 years-a story of a guy in a band who gets accused of murder. I can’t count how many times I’ve started it and given up.
Also on last night’s “Seven Ages of Rock”, Michael Stipe told a story I have heard before, that he tried to get Kurt Cobain to come to Georgia to record some music with him, in order to try to get him out of the mental space he was in and hopefully, avert his eventual suicide. Obviously, that didn’t work, but just imagine the work that we missed out on as well….sigh.
Metallica, “Until It Sleeps”
“…And The Hate Still Shapes Me…”
“Frayed Ends Of Sanity”
My ANTHEM in high school.
“Old habits reappear/
Fighting the fear of fear…”
Tesla, “We Can Work It Out”
I forget how much I loved this band.
Metallica, “Bleeding Me”
“I am the beast that feeds the beast…”
Billy Joel, “Light As The Breeze”
(Yeah, I know it’s a cover.) If you don’t want to throw your beloved down on the nearest flat surface and ravish them after hearing this song, then you’re just not human.
Elton John, “Kiss The Bride”
GREAT song. One of the best “girl I love is marrying an idiot and not me” songs. A little bit ironic in light of Sir Elton’s personal preference, but they are Taupin’s words anyhow.
Nirvana, “Oh Me”
I get two sorts of reactions when I reveal that we are closing early tomorrow. Either people expect us to have been closed all weekend, or they are annoyed that we ever close at all.
I think, if you asked someone in charge why we’re open on Christmas Eve and not on Christmas Day, they would say that’s what their customers want. Media gives you the same answer-why the same parade of idiotic reality shows? Why is sports radio a bunch of louts arguing about senseless things? That’s what the viewers want.
I think that’s a load of crap. I don’t think they have any idea what people really want.
Or at least, they don’t have any idea what I really want.
Which is kind of the same thing.
The answer to what people want is everything-people want the shows that they like, being broadcast when they are available to watch them, and the stores open whenever they want to patronize them.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
I’ve been doing some reading about Clemens and the steroid thing, and it’s getting harder and harder to think he was innocent.
Like Bonds, there’s no proof he did anything, just the word of a guy out to save his own skin. Like Bonds, he put up unreal, historically good numbers at extremely advanced ages. Like Bonds, he went through unbelievable physical changes, going from a relatively thin, athletic youngster to a huge veteran, rippling with muscles. (And yes, we all changed over the years 1986-2006. But not like that.)
And now apparently Andy Pettitte has confirmed McNamee’s story, as far as it goes, with regard to himself. So are we to believe that McNamee is lying about Clemens and telling the truth about Pettitte?
And Curt Schilling, even if he does support John McCain, had an excellent point on his blog-if Schilling’s name were on that list, he says he would have been on the phone to his attorneys, demanding that they sue. Bonds hasn’t sued about Game of Shadows, and Clemens hasn’t sued about the Mitchell Report. That gives them a ring of truth. It’s the OJ thing again-if the mother of your children is viciously slaughtered, you present yourself at the police station the next morning, demanding that they pursue the killers. Easy for us to say, but if you truly are innocent, it seems to me you say so. Loudly. Every bloody chance you get. Especially if you are facing a Pete Rose-ish fade out where your significant accomplishments become overshadowed by your misdeeds to the point where we have to remind ourselves how good of a player you were. I have no trouble remembering how good Walter Johnson and Cy Young were.
Of course, we don’t know what effect these drugs have, not at all. But it seems somewhat silly, at the very least, to see a guy go from barely 200 wins and washed up to 356 and the greatest pitcher ever, pitching amazingly well, far better than anyone his age has pitched, and not think something is going on.
Marketplace just did a report on Spa-Dee-Dah, a chain of beauty salons that specialize in manicures, pedicures, and facials for kids. In Los Angeles. Go figure.
S.T.F.U., as my wife would put it.
James “Cool Papa” Bell is this week’s “Baseball History” podcast biography. What a great, great story and a great, great player. I wonder if anyone has ever done a book length biography of him? Ernie Lombardi needs one, too.
Now Listening, Rush, “The Pass”
God, this song used to mean SO MUCH to me.
“Straining on invisible chains…”
Is it pathetic to continually Google the same old girlfriend, hoping against hope that….what? What am I hoping? What the hell would I even say to her? What would I have to offer? It’s not like I’m about to leave my wife. What the hell do I want? What am I trying to accomplish?
“The act of a noble warrior/
Who’s lost the will to fight…”
“Don’t turn your back and slam the door on me…”
Talking about music truly is like dancing about architecture.
Listening: The Beatles, “She Came In Through The Bathroom Window”
Listening: The Eagles, "New York Minute" (Live)
"You better take a fool's advice/
Take care of your own/
'Cause one day they're here/
The next day they're gone."
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
I have always loved Springsteen's idea about the Church of Rock and Roll. I've never seen him live, and I'm not sure I will ever get the chance at this point, but that idea of the music as salvation and the concert as the rite of purification has always resounded with me powerfully.
"It ain't no sin to be glad you're alive..."
I unintentionally learned that Jamie Lynn Spears, a 16 year old actress on Nickelodeon's Zoey 101 television show, not to mention the younger sister of human calamity Britney Spears, is pregnant.
Listening: "No Speak No Slave", Black Crowes
The Black Crowes seemed to get the Rock and Roll Church thing when they named their second album after a hymnal.
Most of the poorly punctuated commentary about the Spears situation seems to lament the situation, which I think any sensible person would, or blame her 19 year old boyfriend, going so far as to accuse him of rape, because, of course, a 15 or 16 year old girl can't possibly consent to sex.
No one would suggest that her pregnancy was a good or wise thing-she herself would probably agree to that. She's now a mother to be with limited future earnings (you think Nickelodeon is going to touch her with a ten foot pole now?) and a father with no discernible skills. You can even argue that her pregnancy argues that she was not capable of fully weighing the pros and cons. But to accuse this man of rape goes quite a bit beyond the pale. If I were 19 years old, and a girl who looked like Ms. Spears came on to me, I would have done whatever she said. And any other honest man would say the same. It's something that American culture doesn't want us to say, but that doesn't make it untrue.
In fact, in retrospect, when I was 19 years old, if I recall correctly, I was involved with a girl who was younger than I was as well. And like this poor chap, I did what I was told to do as well. I didn't get her pregnant, but I certainly could have, shall we say.
Listening: "Duets for One", Elton John
"He didn't say any more, but we've always been unusually communicative in a reserved way, and I understood that he meant a good deal more than that. In consequence, I'm inclined to reserve all judgements, a habit that has opened up many curious natures to me and also made me the victim of not a few veteran bores. The abnormal mind is quick to detect and attach itself to this quality when it appears in a normal person, and so it came about that in college I was unjustly accused of being a politician, because I was privy to the secret griefs of wild, unknown men. Most of the confidences were unsought-frequently I have feigned sleep, preoccupation, or a hostile levity when I realized by some unmistakable sign that an intimate revelation was quivering on the horizon; for the intimate revelations of young men, or at least the terms in which they express them, are usually plagiaristic and marred by obvious suppressions. Reserving judgments is a matter of infinite hope. I am still a little afraid of missing something if I forget that, as my father snobbishly suggested, and I snobbishly repeat, a sense of fundamental decenciesis parcelled out unequally at birth."
That's the third paragraph of The Great Gatsby. Someone (Kerouac?) wrote that they used to type pages of the classics, in order to feel what it felt like to write sentences like that. It does develop a rhythm of sorts, typing that kind of prose out.
I look at it and marvel at some of the constructions, every word seemingly exactly where it belongs. "A hostile levity", "intimate revelation was quivering on the horizon", "secret griefs of wild, unknown men"-you know exactly what he means. God, he was good.
I went to see Alvin and the Chipmunks today. It was cute enough. David Cross was pretty good as the villain.
Rev. Dr. Peter Gomes, author of “The Scandalous Gospel”:
If you’re going to Chicago, you buy a map that shows you the way. You don’t then worship and celebrate the map. Similarly, Scripture is the route to the Good News-not the Good News itself.
“We live in a world that values Jesus but doesn’t value what he had to say.”
“The question is not ‘What Would Jesus Do?’, but ‘What Would Jesus Have Me Do?’”
“The difference between hope and optimism is that the optimist has nothing to stand on when things do not go right. Christians have hope-the ability to stand against evil, because they have something to depend on when things have not gone as planned.”
Wow. He’s a great, brilliant speaker that I heard on NPR’s “Book Tour” podcast.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Apparently, Chris Dodd is taking to the Senate floor tomorrow to try to filibuster a bill that grants immunity to telecom companies for their allowing the government to tap phones and read emails without a warrant.
If I were he, I would simply read the Fourth Amendment, "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized," and read it over, and over, and over again, until they get it.
The Diamondbacks have apparently traded for Oakland’s Dan Haren, while sending Jose (Salsa) Valverde to Houston. That’s pretty big news, as Haren has a big upside and may perform pretty well with Chris Young running down those fly balls for him in the desert.
December 15, 2007
Mindblowing concept from Dan Carlin of Hardcore History: Isn’t it true that every civilization, throughout history, believes that they are the final stage of human evolution?
December 16, 2007
If I am among the MOST positive people at my company, we are in deep fucking trouble. Everybody I talk to lately is pretty pissy. Except Cousin Simon, who is also pissy, but he really can't help it. He's a baby.
It's good that babies are cute. As Steven Wright once wisely put it, "All my friends are having babies. I have lots of friends. Babies don't have any friends."
I look at him sometimes, with those huge eyes, and wonder if he knows, on some level, how fucking completely clueless I am.
It's good that he's probably just trying to think of new ways to drool on me.
Friday, December 14, 2007
Now listening: John Lennon, “Whatever Gets You Through The Night”
Indeed, brother, indeed.
Given my multipodcast habits, I don’t listen to music as much as I really should. It seems to put me in a better mood.
Like Bill Hicks, I wonder what Lennon would have to say about the current war. Watching the “Imagine” documentary on VH1 reminded me of just how pointed and political he was as a solo artist. No wonder he scared the crap out of Nixon.
I have no doubt he would be unreservedly against it, and would have pointed words for our President.
It still stuns me that Dana Perino admitted on “Wait Wait” that she didn’t know what the Cuban Missile Crisis was. And her explanation, basically, was that it happened before she was born. Jesus. It happened before I was born, too, and I’ve heard of it. And politics, which is somewhat involved with history, is her JOB. Don’t those people read books? Ever?
Now listening: The Cult, “Black Angel”
I saw the Cult, opening for Metallica on one of the legs of the “Justice” tour. I had already seen the tour once, with Queensryche opening in support of “Operation: Mindcrime”. (There’s actually a sequel to that album, which I have been kind of afraid to get. I’m afraid it is not going to be as good, or at least as good as I recall it being. So many things aren’t as good as you remember.) So I knew Metallica was going to be awesome, but the Cult was so disappointing. I really enjoyed their first two albums(“Love” and “Electric”), and they were dispirited and weak live. And then Metallica came on and blew them into little Cult sized pieces.
December 13, 2007
Careful, it’s Thursday the 13th.
The Mitchell Report is out. I’m sure there will be yards and yards of hemming and hawing about this on the Web already. So here’s some more.
I don’t know what names are on the list, (baseball players who have used PEDs, or Performance Enhancing Drugs) as I write this. I assume there will be some non surprises-Sosa, McGwire-and perhaps some stunners.
But whoever is named, I do know one thing. It’s not going to change how I feel about baseball.
If you know anything at all about baseball, you know that baseball occurs within a context-the run scoring environment in which it is played. Pre-1947, not all the best players were allowed to play. Pre-1920, there were rampant gambling allegations, some of which were undoubtedly more than allegations. Pre-1900, there was syndicate ball, within which owners would own more than one team in the league and stack one team with all the best players. The 1995-2005 era will be the PED/Steroids era, and we will look at the numbers within that context. That’s all it means.
December 14, 2007
Well, Roger Clemens is on the list. Mo Vaughn too.
There is some caterwauling from Yankees fans about the fact that Mitchell, who is on the board of directors of the Sox, has a conflict of interest when investigating Sox players. That may be true, and as the more thoughtful commenters have pointed out, it doesn't matter if he had a conflict or not, because it appears he did, thus rendering the whole report questionable.
That being said, Mo Vaughn and Roger Clemens are two of the most significant Red Sox of the last 20 years.
And the report, such as it is, depends on hearsay and the testimony of people who have something to gain by testifying. Not exactly evidence.
And we still don't know, for sure, the effect of PEDs on baseball players.
So, after all this, we have.....feh. Approximately.
Monday, December 10, 2007
Author Bruce Feller says that, in a private conversation, President George Bush told him that he does not believe that the US is a Christian nation, and that he does believe that the strength of the US and its values is in its multiculturalism and tolerance.
This is, of course, true, and I would be greatly comforted if there were any evidence from any of his actions that he believed this.
“Walking the Bible”, Feller’s book, sounds fascinating, though.
December 10, 2007
Among the comments for the "Christmas in Fallujah" song on ITunes, there are a number of people slinging the same old "disloyal"/"support the troops" crap. I wonder what exactly they object to-the lyrics, which consist of words from soldier letters home, or the cause, which is wounded and crippled soldiers.
What they really object to is being shown that their ideology is busy burning to the ground.
Sunday, December 09, 2007
Steelers safety Anthony Smith, who had guaranteed a Pittsburgh victory, got toasted on both sides as the Patriots romp again.
Saturday, December 08, 2007
Tony Blankley, on KCRW’s “Left Right and Center”, argues that it is a positive thing that the CIA destroyed evidence of terrorist interrogations, because the tapes will not be available to terrorists to propagandize against us.
Gee, Tony, wouldn’t it be better if we didn’t have things to be ashamed of in the first place?
There was a time, at one point, when people actually asked for things, instead of demanding them. I miss those days.
Mitt Romney got a lot of press about his recent speech on religion, with plenty of comparisons being made to John Kennedy’s 1960 address about his Catholicism. Key differences include Kennedy being 10 times the man Romney could ever be, and Kennedy clearly delineating the fact that religion is personal-between you and your church and the Lord. Romney not only didn’t say that, he started throwing around the “secularism” word that keeps evangelicals up at night. Once again, keeping religion out of public life doesn’t hurt ANYONE. As Jefferson put it, it neither breaks my leg nor picks my pocket whether my neighbor has one god or many, or even none.
I am looking forward to the holidays being over, if only because people will have to stop saying, “just in time for the holiday season”.
The “Studio 360” show can be really, really uneven-but these last two have been great. Interesting people, engaging stories. Things that make me wish I had meaning to my life.
So this is Christmas…and what have you done?
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Getting Santana and keeping Ellsbury is a huge win for us, at least partially because it keeps him out of New York. It may just be me, but it seems like New York is becoming a little like Philadelphia, or like Boston used to be-perhaps the atmosphere is so toxic that you can't pay some people enough to go there?
I'm surprised the Tigers paid so little to get Willis AND Cabrera. There are questions with both players-heck, there are questions with every player, aren't there?-but I think it's a great deal for Detroit.
I don't think we have to defend ourselves against charges of overspending. I don't think we get people just to get people, the way the Yankees did back in the day, a la "Bronx is Burning". (I loved the series, although many others seemed not to.) The famous scene in the beginning comes when Martin brings up that he wants Grich, and Steinbrenner immediately overrules him and sets his sights on Jackson, seemingly only because he's "REGGIE!". Of course, the move worked, in a way-Jackson, in a way, was so good that he justified the hype.
And, as we always said about George at his Georgest, doesn't every fan want an owner who is completely obsessed with winning?
Monday, December 03, 2007
From her "Journals 1973-1982":
' "Keeping busy" is the remedy for all ills in America. It's also the means by which the creative impulse is destroyed. '
' The childless couple...can remain romance and love indefinitely, because the sense of being young lovers, still, is never damaged. The couple with children, however, is irreparably altered; one of the issues that contributes to their estrangement is the children-arguing over the children. '
'Do we ever "read" the same book twice? Do we "read" the same book others read?'
She's brilliant, even in journal form. So good I cannot finish it, I fear.
Saturday, December 01, 2007
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
-Rudy Giuliani, May 14, 2007
"Obscure New York City government agencies picked up tens of thousands of dollars in expenses racked up for security detail used by former mayor Rudy Giuliani during trips to the Hamptons, purportedly to visit paramour Judith Nathan, according to a news report out Wednesday."
-Fox News.com, November 28, 2007
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Jeff Zucker, CEO of NBC Universal, being interviewed by Ken Auletta of the New Yorker: “Apple destroyed the music business.”
No, Jeff, you and your cronies destroyed the music business by KEEPING THE PRICE POINT OF A CD AT $15.00 for 20 years. Your manufacturing costs went to nearly zero, and you kept charging me the same $15.00. You blew it. Your business model died, and you were too pig headed to adapt. Fool.
Zucker: “Nobody has figured out the economic model for digital yet.” No. Your customers have. What I want, when I want, where I want is the model, whether you like it or not. What you haven’t figured out is how you are going to make pots of money. That’s your problem, not ours. Maybe movie stars can’t make $30 million dollars per picture any more. Maybe you can’t have 80 vice presidents any more. Boo hoo.
The notion of CNBC being “anti business” is insane. The network that employs Larry Kudlow and Jim Kramer and was the major cheerleader for the tech bubble? PUH leeze.
New podcast today-(for me)-The Onramp Podcast. Politics, I guess, with some tin foil hattery, but they seem like decent guys. They’re going on and on about vaccines and mercury, which is a bogus controversy. Vaccines contain ETHYL mercury, not the METHYL mercury which causes nerve damage. There is no evidence that Ethyl Mercury causes damage.
November 27, 2007
Trent Lott announced he is going to resign.
Tee hee hee hee hee.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
It’s The Day After Thanksgiving. Hooray.
If nobody in my company gives a crap, then why should I? Seriously. The Day After Thanksgiving is not a holiday. Never has been, never will be. Yet I can’t reach anybody, and questions go unanswered, and nobody gives a crap. So I’m just going to stop trying. The hell with it.
My company, obviously concerned with having handed out perfectly good bonus money that they could have kept, has apparently realized that it’s much easier to simply raise the targets, thus making sure no one can collect the bonus. Way to motivate the team, guys.
One of the things that people don’t seem to get, in sports and in life, is that insisting isn’t enough. The manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates can insist that his team play winning baseball, but if they keep writing out a AAA lineup, they’re not going to win consistently. You have to motivate AND provide the tools for success in order to cause success.
But what the hell do I know?
I still hold on to this attitude, admittedly a selfish one, that if I’m working, everyone should be. I get bitterly resentful when I hear people saying, “Oh, I didn’t think you’d be open because of the holiday.” It’s not a holiday.
I’m such a crank.
LHP Joe Kennedy has died, my phone just told me. He’s a guy who was with the A’s, but never seemed to catch on anywhere. He’s one of those baseball guys that kind of disappears from view, never fulfilling his potential, turning up here and there when you watch a game. I usually have the reaction, “oh, THAT’s where he is now.”
Of course, you can also argue maybe he didn’t GET enough of a chance. And sometimes, with lefties, the light just goes on later, for whatever reason.
But now he’s gone. RIP.
I know I’m not playing up to my potential, exactly, either.
I have never been to a high school or college reunion. And I really don’t see the point. Never have. I didn’t like being there when I was there, and I don’t see how I would like going back. I do almost everything in my life because I have to, so I don’t see any point in doing anything voluntary that I won’t enjoy.
Then again, it’s hard to imagine anything that I can do voluntarily that I would enjoy. Other than being stranded on a deserted island, maybe.
I’m a cheerful bastard, eh?
November 24, 2007
Doug Stanhope was on TV last night. He’s pretty graphic, but very insightful at times. His most recent special is pretty reflective, the most Bill Hicks-ish stuff I have ever heard him do. I identify powerfully with his apology for thinking-constantly thinking about God, nature, society, mankind instead of thinking about real estate values and reality television is extremely draining and very distracting. But, like he says, it’s hard to turn off the carnival in your head.
It hurts. It hurts to think about art, and war, and sex, and health, and politics, and love, and baseball, and economics and physics and technology and God and the future. It hurts to try to contain all these thoughts and still do what needs to be done. I get depressed, and eat, and spend too much money, and continuously ruin my life.
It is becoming obvious that I hate my job beyond my ability to properly describe it. It is also becoming obvious that the economy is going to hell, and so I must hang on to it like a barnacle on a rowboat.
It’s great, though, life. It’s really super. I recommend it to everybody.
If I ever get old and retarded and helpless and out of control of my own affairs, please just shoot me in the head.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
It’s Thanksgiving tomorrow. Wahoo.
Interesting piece on “Marketplace” about what companies who advertise on sports programming think of their customers by Will Leitch, a well known sports blogger. Suffice it to say, he described how little they think of us. The easy stereotyping of guys really bothers me. He cited one of my least favorite, the Coors Light commercial involving the misunderstanding between the man and woman about her pregnancy test turning blue and his beer bottle turning blue.
That commercial has always bugged me, primarily because I want to defend the guy. It’s a misunderstanding, brought on by the fact that they are in two different rooms, talking about two different things. And he ends the commercial in trouble, and it isn’t really his fault.
Or am I reading too much into this?
There was something on VH1 Classic last night about the “10 Greatest Bands”. It was some kind of a marketing tie in with the video game “Rock Band”, one of the many “Guitar Hero” clones out there. It’s kind of fun to pop in to the middle of those (I was waiting for “Nirvana Unplugged” to come on at the end, which I haven’t watched since it aired.)and see how long it takes for you to guess a)what the category is and b) who’s next on the list. It was #7, IIRC, and it was The Clash.
Number SEVEN? AHEAD of U2?
I can think of probably 50 bands better than the Clash, and probably 100 that I like better. I could buy the Clash as one of the top ten punk bands, or one of the top ten British bands, even, but top ten of all TIME? Come on.
Now, these lists are subjective, I get that, but SEVEN?
Monday, November 19, 2007
Sunday, November 18, 2007
It describes the Clinton Foundation, and specifically the work they did getting AIDS drugs into the third world. What they did was, essentially, work with the manufacturers to ensure a steady demand, then use the power of this demand to lower the price. Now this is a brilliant idea, and more specifically an example of why the free market will never solve our problems.
Clinton didn't demand they give the drugs away, nor did he browbeat the countries into buying expired drugs or anything like that. He simply used the power of the market to serve a public good.
There was a disconnect between the high price of the drugs and the low cost to manufacture them-the price was extremely high, but they were only being sold to the West, so the profits were low. The foundation could show them that there is a demand out there and a way to sell many, many more units at a reduced price. Patients get drugs, drug companies make profits.
What makes me crazy about politics today is that so many people will immediately dismiss this idea because Clinton's name is attached to it. It is exactly this kind of creative energy that is so desperately needed right now, and so utterly absent from the current President.
Here's a neat little toy. Put in your last name, and you can see how often it comes up per 100,000 Americans, according to the 2000 Census.
Mine is 137th, with 61 people per 100,000. That seems too high, but then again, I have met strangers who do share my name.
Plus we're all God's children.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Now listening: Dan Carlin’s “Common Sense” podcast. I already enjoyed his history podcast, and this is more like a current events/politics podcast. Not bad, so far anyway.
He’s talking about James Watson’s unfortunate racist comments about Africans not being as intelligent as Westerners. Carlin raises an interesting point-Watson is wrong, but it does get at the underlying lie that all men really aren’t created equal. We all know this, but it isn’t polite to say so. Carlin also raises the larger point that at times, science doesn’t always say what we want it to say, but that doesn’t make it any less true. He also makes the excellent analogy to the Nixon era presidential study of drugs that advocated legalization of marijuana and was quickly spiked.
Good “Car Talk” puzzler this week. Apparently there is a jacket photo on “Summer of 49” showing Ted and Joe together. (I have the book, but the jacket has long since bought the dust.) The puzzle is, since you can only see Ted and Joe in the picture, and it was obviously taken at a ballpark, although you can’t tell which one, you can tell that it was taken at an All Star Game. I don’t remember the picture, but I bet it’s the fact that both men are wearing home uniforms. If Ted’s uniform says “Red Sox” and Joe’s says “Yankees”, it has to be an All Star Game, because if it were a game at Fenway, Joe’s will say “New York”, and if it were at the Stadium, Ted’s will say “Boston”.
Funny bit on PRI’s “Fair Game” I just downloaded-the anti-gay rights, pro-gay sex ticket: Larry Craig and Ted Haggert.
November 12, 2007
From the “You have GOT to be fucking kidding me” Department: Apparently Senator Larry Craig circulated an email to his Senate colleagues reporting he had found a men’s wristwatch….
….wait for it…….
………on the floor of a men’s room.
If you are Senator Larry Craig, and you find a watch in a men’s room, you keep it. Seriously. How do you type that with a straight face?
Saturday, November 10, 2007
RIP, Norman Mailer
Two weeks until Thanksgiving. Yawn. What a pointless holiday.
I would be perfectly happy to stay at home and be left alone. Then again, that is true of me every minute of every day, so why should Thanksgiving be any different?
I hope the people in my life know that I appreciate them, through my words and actions. We don’t need a day for it.
And I don’t like the food either.
“My family thinks of me as a schmuck with a pen.”-Saul Bellow
Currently listening to: 90 minute lecture about Saul Bellow’s “Herzog” produced by a Canadian television station. I love the Internet.
Instead of being the one to talk other people in off the ledge, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to be the one talked back in instead?
Great Bill Moyers Journal about the death penalty. There are few things more American than the death penalty-accomplishes nothing, but makes you feel better.
Bernard Kerik got indicted, apparently. Mr. Love Nest above Ground Zero was apparently mobbed up, as well. On KCRW’s Left, Right and Center, Robert Scheer makes the point that Giuliani and Bush, who, if nothing else, claim to be able to defend us, wanted to make this guy the director of homeland security. That being said, you have to question their judgment.
According to Mark Shields on the News Hour Podcast, 65% of Americans are satisfied with their own lives. That sounds really, really high.
I would obviously be in the minority on that one.
Another special, this time on NOW, about the SCHIP program. The moral outrage of denying children health coverage makes me so angry I can barely see. The Federal government has $6 billion dollars they can LOSE in Iraq. Lose, as in gone, as in went away and is never coming back. The Federal government has billions and billions of dollars for Halliburton and Kellogg, Brown and Root. But children’s health care? That’s “irresponsible”, according to the president.
No, Mr. President, what is irresponsible is sending Americans to die in the desert for no good reason at all. What is irresponsible is letting CEOs and hedge fund managers grow obscenely wealthy while poor Americans die in the streets like dogs. What is irresponsible is two things-everything you have done, and everything you have said.
I just wish corporations would make up their mind-either they are part of this society or they’re not. If they’re going to get tax breaks, they have to act like citizens, and be held responsible for the things that they do.
“The Great Gatsby” again on Studio 360. I’ve heard it before, but it’s worth listening to again. One of my favorite novels, and the way Studio 360 deconstructs and retells it, it is an engaging way to spend an hour.
Thursday, November 08, 2007
Nothing good can happen during a conversation that begins with one of the following statements:
“You’re going to be mad at me.”
“I tried to clean it.”
“It looks like the condom broke.”
“Our young pitcher just left the mound holding his shoulder.”
David Frum, a former speechwriter for President Bush, on yesterday’s Marketplace, complains about the obesity epidemic, and, of course, blames the individual. OBESITY IS NOT A CHOICE. Yes, some people lose weight, just like some people quit smoking, and some people give up drinking. That doesn’t, of course, mean that the solution is everyone else should just buck up and follow their example. If we could, believe me, we would. It sucks being fat.
I’ve been thinking about what an example might be to help explain what it feels like. Jim Gaffigan has a joke about eating something, finishing it, and realizing that you didn’t even enjoy it. It’s kind of like that. Eating, for an overweight person, is much more than just eating. It’s sexual, in a weird way-in the sense that you don’t always do it for the right reason, or indeed for any reason, and that you sometimes regret it when it’s over.
John Dvorak reveals in today’s Tech5 report that the vaunted November 11 tech attack by Al Queda is an old crappy Trojan Horse virus that modern antiviral programs will chew up and spit out. I guess, if you’re reading this November 11, you know that turned out to be the case.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Horrible, horrible news, of course.
It strikes me that one argument we usually hear from US gun control opponents is that these sort of things happen in Europe, too, where gun control is more stringent.
If you read the story, Finland is the third most heavily armed country in the world.
Huh. I thought having lots of guns protected you?
Good thinking. Bring back the guy who was wrong about absolutely everything, and who is a crook to boot. Brought to you by the geniuses who brought you more than 3000 American dead for no good reason.
First of all, the activity, whatever it was, was stopped after game 1, a game in which they hammered a Jets team that has proven to be woeful. It seems easy to argue that they could have beaten them with one hand tied behind their back. Second of all, it's a stupid rule. It doesn't give them an advantage that any other team can't get. Third of all, undefeated is undefeated-the Dolphins, great as they are, didn't play the caliber of competition that there is today-guys the size of Larry Czonka are wide recievers and tight ends, not fullbacks.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Sunday, November 04, 2007
New England set a team record in penalty yardage, admittedly with a somewhat penalty-hungry gang of zebras, to go along with plenty of season marks-first Colt to gain 100 yards on the ground and in the air(Addai), first time New England trailed in the fourth quarter this year, first fumble Manning has lost at home since 2005, etc., etc.
To sum up, New England trailed 20-10 partway through the fourth quarter, but Brady put together two quick drives cemented by long passes to Randy Moss and (former Eagle) Donte Stallworth to steal away the win.
And giving up 14 unanswered, in the fourth, at home? Choke. No doubt about it.
And can we stop with the cheating business? New England is better than nearly everyone else. Period. And running up the score? Please. Both teams are professional.
Saturday, November 03, 2007
(courtesy Lee Sinins' Baseball Encyclopedia)
2007 American League Leaders
Alex Rodriguez 1.0672
David Ortiz 1.0663
Carlos Pena 1.0374
Magglio Ordonez 1.0295
Jim Thome .9736
Jorge Posada .9707
Vladimir Guerrero .9508
Curtis Granderson .9139
Jack Cust .91210
B.J. Upton .894
Thursday, November 01, 2007
"I believe the questions he's been asked are unfair," Bush said in an Oval Office session with reporters. "He's been asked to give opinions of a program -- or techniques of a program -- on which he has not been briefed."
Jesus H. Christ. He's talking about the question of whether or not waterboarding is torture.
How about we get to a place in this country where everybody knows the answer to a question like that? Goddamn it, torture is torture is torture.
I wish we still lived in America.
Nugget from Lee Sinins' new edition of the Complete Sabermetric Encyclopedia:
1 Ted Williams .482
2 Babe Ruth .474
3 John McGraw .465
4 Billy Hamilton .455
5 Lou Gehrig .447
6 Barry Bonds .444
7 Bill Joyce .435
8 Rogers Hornsby .434
9 Ty Cobb .433
10 Todd Helton .430
Todd Helton has the 10th highest OBP in history. Wow.
I never would have guessed that.
It doesn't take long to find out something cool with Lee's toy.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Listening: Black Crowes, “Thorn In My Pride”
One of my alltime favorites. Great, great song. Sure, a Zeppelin rip off, but there was something about the feel of this song, the serpentine pseudo religiousness, that just got to me. Wonderful track.
Andy Rooney is a doddering old coot.
My IPod speakers just shuffled off this mortal coil, so its time to get some new ones. Oh well. I have one working one, so I can listen to podcasts pretty well, but music comes through pretty crappily. Not the end of the world.
The Boston Red Sox, the only baseball team that matters (to me), won the World Series by sweeping an outmanned and outgunned Colorado Rockies team, 4 games to none. Yoo fucking hoo. You would think, given my harping upon the Red Sox here, I would be over the moon with joy. I’m really not, though. No one extra will be fed or clothed with the Red Sox as world champions.
I liked this team, though- Dusty and Ellsbury and the Dice Man. Papelbon and Okajima. The Big Schill. Becks. Papi and the Bad Man. Big Mike Lowell. Youk. Lugo and Coco. Even the Talented Mr. Drew. A fun team to root for. I’m happy, but not over the moon.
I’m back working after two weeks of vacation, in case you couldn’t tell. Is my cynicism showing?
It’s just been work-sleep-work-sleep since Monday, which is why I haven’t been posting. As if anyone on Earth reads this besides me.
Democratic debate last night. I didn’t watch it. Apparently, most everyone went after Clinton, which is the obvious thing to do, since she leads everywhere this side of Mars. I’m still an Edwards supporter, in general. I like Kucinich, too, but he hasn’t a snowball’s chance in a blast furnace. Neither does Edwards, either, really. I will vote for Edwards in the primary, and then Hillary, assuming she wins the nomination. Whatever Hillary’s flaws, she is still yards better than every single Republican candidate. The only one who doesn’t make me throw up in my mouth is Huckabee, who I could live with except for the fact that he actually doesn’t believe in evolution, if you can believe that. That’s kind of like not believing in the sun.
Romney is just too weird and psychotic, Giuliani is just plain psychotic, and John McCain drank the Kool Aid.
I don’t have a problem with Obama, necessarily. I just think there are a large number of Americans who will never, ever vote for him-too many for him to win. But if he’s the nominee, I’ll certainly vote for him. He’s way, way better than every single Republican, bar none.
Happy Halloween. Feh.
What a stupid holiday. I don’t have any holiday spirit, or warm, good feelings, or anything, for
this holiday at all. Or any holiday, really.
Just another sociopath, blogging for no one to hear.
“Banana Phone” rules, though. What a great song. I love “Banana Phone”.
Story on Marketplace about a wannabe singer named “DaVito” who wants Starbucks to sell his CD reminds me of the Hedberg joke about leaving his CD in stores. “ ‘You left this behind, sir.’ ‘No, I did not. That is for sale. Please alphabetize it.’”
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Led Zeppelin, “Carouselambra”
Interesting they are pushing a new Zeppelin release on TV, which, according to ITunes and everything I have been able to find out, is just another album of remasters. Which is fine, I just don’t see any need to buy it, though.
I still don’t have the How The West Was Won CDs, though. I will probably buy them on ITunes someday soon.
Someone asked me if I was going to be out of work for “a couple of weeks” following my surgery. I laughed so hard I choked. I’m uncomfortable as hell, but I’m functional, so I’m here.
We won game 3, in fairly convincing fashion. They trimmed it to 6-5, but we pulled away late again. Game four tonight. They may beat Lester, but I don’t think a 2004-esque comeback is in order. They’ll talk tough, but it ain’t gonna happen.
Now listening: Elton John/Leonard Cohen, “Born To Lose”
I wonder why I bother to take vacation. Everything is either not done or done wrong, so I just have to work twice as hard to catch up. I hate morons.
Now listening: Bruce Springsteen, “Reason to Believe”
I saw this great program the other night. It was hosted by George Martin, and he was talking to Lyle Lovett and BILLY FREAKING JOEL and a bunch of other musicians about the nature of melody. I can’t remember what it was called or what channel it was on, though. It will probably never be on again, now, and it will be one of those things I tell people about that they never really understand because they weren’t there and they don’t understand how good it was.
Now listening: Queen Latifah, “When You’re Good to Mama” (from Chicago)
I wonder if I’m going to be able to sell my wife on a trip to Cleveland this summer. That’s where the SABR Convention 2008 will be.
I’m thinking no.
I work all frakking year, and I can’t take a week to go hang out with baseball geeks.
No, you got married, you stupid shit. What the hell are you thinking?
Now listening: Billy Joel, “Highway 61 Revisited”
Great version, BTW.
I didn’t play nearly as much as I wanted during my vacations. I read four books, I guess, all together-The Battle, about Waterloo, Kevin Smith’s new blog postings book, Scott Adams’ blog postings book, and another Dilbert book. The last one doesn’t really count, though.
Now I have to work every day this week.
You can never get a fatal stroke when you really need one.
Now listening: REM, “The Ascent of Man”.
“Oh, I see. It’s my fault that you can’t read. I’m so sorry.”
Now listening: Guns N Roses, “Used to Love Her”
I’m starting to think about people having children the way I think about skydiving. If you’re brave enough, good for you.
A little ironic now that I’m out of that game forever.
Now listening: John Lennon, “Nobody Told Me”
This is a good sign, I think-one full day of work, and I’m already thinking about suicide again. Terrific. That vacation thing sure helps.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
"politicizing" the SCHIP battle. He said this because they weren't serious about passing the bill-which they would show by passing a bill that Bush "can sign".
First of all, why? Why should they attempt to work with a president and a party who ran roughshod over them? And secondly, as the host said, governing is about choices. Bush and the Republicans have made it clear that the profits of Blackwater, KBR, and Halliburton are more important than sick children. They should have to answer for this choice.
World Series Game Three tonight. Ortiz just doubled in the first run of the game, and Manny is now being walked to load the bases for Lowell.
Hilarious piece, with comments, about how Kenny Lofton is sure death for any hope of success in anything.
Friday, October 26, 2007
Romney responded, "The New York Times said I supported gay marriage?" That's not what the kid said, and that's not what the article said, and that's not what Romney said back then.
So apparently Mitt Romney is opposed to discrimination, except when it comes to marriage.
And it was cruel to browbeat a 16 year old like that.
Everytime I read Nick Hornby I get depressed, because it seems so easy to write like that, yet I somehow can't. I want to be that good at anything at all, never mind writing itself.
I had my first and only child at 26, so I can't really empathize, but I felt (and feel) many of the same emotions Sam does in the book. You'd think I'd have gotten the hang of it by now.
Interesting that thinking about doing something is now a crime.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Now reading Scott Adams' "Monkey Brain" book. Thought provoking and funny, as always. I especially like his notion of Pleasure Units. I am fat because the pleasure I get from food now outweighs the theoretical pleasure of thin later.
Apparently the president visited the site of the wildfires and told them that life was going to be better for them tomorrow than it is today. Seems to me he said that in Jackson Square, too.
Better stick to the day job, thing.
Seriously, I loved Kevin's book.
More surgery today, and vacation time is draining away.
At least we kicked butt in Game One of the Series last night. Game Two tonight.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
I am lukewarm about it. It's 20 new songs, and as good as their old songs were, it is pretty hard to imagine anything else being better or even as good. But given their track record, I am tempted to give them a try. I am always lukewarm about new music in general, but, as I said, they have a lot if credit in my book. The song titles are pretty Eagley-vaguely cowboy ish.
The World Series starts tonight, the Rockies in Boston to play the Red Sox. Game 1 in 2004 was a sloppy, rainy, error filled mess, and there is an 80% chance of rain tonight, according to Billyball. ( billy-ball.com)
I want the Red Sox to win, of course, but the Rocks can hit, so I don't think it is going to be that easy. My call is Sox in 6.
Just finished The Battle by Alessandro Barbero, an exacting account of the Battle of Waterloo. Moved on to Kevin Smith's blog posting collection, My Boring Ass Life, which is great, as long as you're a Smith fan. Basically either book will fail you if you're not a geek.
One day post-vasectomy. Uncomfortable, but functioning.
What bothers me most is, while trying to ignore what was going on and trying to name my All Time All Red Sox Team, I forgot Bobby Doerr. I can't even blame it on anesthesia.
Monday, October 22, 2007
I was kidding about Larry Craig as a running mate. Seriously.
They're both professional football teams. Badly matched high school or college teams, sure, you call off the dogs, run some draw plays.
Pros? No. You bury them, put your foot on their throat and don't let them up.
One of the panelists mentioned the Buffal0-Houston playoff game where Houston led 35-3 at the half and lost, and that's exactly the point. If you don't like trick plays being pulled on you, then defend them. Stop them from scoring.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
My favorite paragraph: "And oh, what masters of deflection Republicans have become. A debate about whether to invade Iraq becomes a debate about whether Joe Wilson's undercover CIA wife hooked him up with a sweet junket overseas. A debate on stem cell research becomes a debate about whether Michael J. Fox exaggerates his symptoms. A debate about the right to privacy becomes a debate about whether Terri's blinks were voluntary. A debate on Iraq policy becomes a debate about how mean people are to General Petraeus. A debate about health care becomes a full-blown investigation into the lifestyles of 12 year old Graeme Frost and 2 year old Bethany Wilkerson. A debate about curbing global climate change becomes a debate about how many compact fluorescent light bulbs Al Gore has in his house. A debate about the shameful level of poverty in this country becomes a debate about how much money John Edwards spent on a haircut. A debate about who's qualified to be president becomes a debate about who does or does not wear a lapel pin. A debate about executive accountability becomes a debate about whether Representative Stark hurt Mr. Bush's feelings."
Amen, brother man.
To bring out the money shot, this is the quote from Congressman Pete Stark:
"You don't have money to fund the war or children, but you're gonna spend it blow up innocent people if we can get enough kids to grow old enough for you to send to Iraq to get their head blown off for the president's amusement."
I bought into the Dice K hype early on, and I still think he's not as bad as some people say. I have to tell you, I feel a lot better than the Spiders fans, who have to turn to Jake Westbrook to save your season. With Dice K, you have at least the chance of a great game. With Jake Westbrook....he just continues to be Jake Westbrook.
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Just bought this with one of my birthday gift cards. Screamingly, jawdroppingly, amazingly funny, intelligent, high quality comedy from probably the sharpest mind out there. Brilliant.
Friday, October 19, 2007
Steve Padilla, who is in charge of military obituaries at the Los Angeles Times, had a great piece on NPR’s Day to Day on Wednesday.
First of all, there is a military obituaries SECTION? What the hell?
Second of all, it is an obscenity against God and nature to bury our youth like this. Mothers burying sons and daughters is just wrong. Period.
End the war.
Interesting piece on Studio 360 about the Boston accent in various films. Being a native, people often comment to me that I don’t have the accent. And I don’t. I can put it on if I need to, but I usually don’t. I’ve always felt it sounded a bit ignorant.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
"This season may depend on Bobby Kielty."
Kielty just flew out to right off of a struggling CC Sabathia to end the top of the 5th with the BASES LOADED. I think we're going to regret this one at bat at some point tonight.
All together now…
“Yesterday it was my birthday/
I hung one more year on the line/
I should be depressed/
My life’s a mess/
But I’m havin’ a good time.
I’ve been lovin’ and lovin’ and lovin’
I’m exhausted from lovin’ so well
I should go to bed but a voice in my head says,
‘Oh, what the hell.’ ”
Time for my yearly ritual blog posting. Longtime readers of the blog will note that I do this every October 18. Or try to, That is, if there were any longtime readers of this blog. Which there aren’t.
Apparently Joe Torre has been offered a 1 year deal to continue managing the Yankees, and he has turned it down. I can’t say that I blame him. I fully understand if he wants to take a year off, or run a farm system, or do TV.
Hard to imagine anyone else doing any better than he has done-all the division titles and 4 crowns. But, on the other hand, Yankee seasons are a disappointment unless they end in a championship. And it’s equally hard to imagine another manager, other than maybe Francona, getting more resources than Torre has. Is it fair to fire a guy based on the outcomes of a few short series? No, but that appears to be what is happening.
Great point by Robert Reich on yesterday’s Marketplace. Corporations don’t do things to be nice-they do things to make money, or at the very least, to save money. So every time a company tells you that they are being environmentally friendly, remember that they are doing so because they believe it will be a plus on their balance sheet-making a profit or avoiding a regulatory penalty. That is why it is necessary for government to continue to regulate business.
Game Five tonight. I’m on the fence again about whether or not to tune it in. I didn’t in game four, and we lost, and I did in game 3, and we lost, etc, etc, etc. It certainly isn’t impossible for us to win, but it sure is a tough row to hoe. The discussion I’ve read online seems to put tonight’s game in the bag-Beckett wins easily, and then Schilling turns into Schilling 2004 and wins, and then Dice K finds himself and wins game 7. It’s not impossible, but I don’t think it’s bloody likely.
I’m listening to Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History podcast, though, and he can be fairly compelling to listen to. I might just see that through, then pick up the game at home.
Apparently Larry Craig gave an interview to Matt Lauer, and he’s screaming entrapment, saying that he went into the men’s room to use the men’s room. Of course. And the rubbing of the officer’s foot, and the running your hand under the stall…that’s all just natural behavior, right? What a fool. Does he think anyone really believes that?
Steven Colbert for President? That should be fun to watch.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
If you need to beat Jake Westbrook and Paul Byrd to save your season, and you can't, then you're not a World Series team. It's not impossible for us to win three straight and move on- anyone who lived through 2004 can tell you that. But it's darned hard.
If the Indians do lose this, though, it's an agonizing choke for them.
Game One was a win-we got to Sabathia, then stomped around the bullpen, and Beckett was masterful. Game Two was a tossup-we got into extra innings tied, and after that, it's kind of a tossup. That kind of loss hurts, but not so bad. Games Three and Four we got throttled by inferior pitchers-and there really isn't any excuse for that kind of thing. Neither one was really a blowout, but the Indians pitched well enough to win, so you have to tip your hat to them,
We shall see....
I wrote another nasty note to my representative about his failure to override the SCHIP veto. Billions of dollars for Halliburton, but not one cent for sick kids. Nice policy, guys.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
And it's Asdoobiedoobiedo Cabrera, and he pops up, but Youkilis DROPS it.
Damn it all.
Infield single, all hands safe, 2-0 Tribe.
It’s my birthday tomorrow. Woo fucking hoo.
I’m deliberately not listening to Game Four. I’m not sure exactly why. Steeling myself against disappointment, I suppose.
Great article on Dennis Kucinich in this month’s Esquire. His wife is SMOKIN’ hot. If I didn’t have such a man crush on John Edwards, I would definitely have one on Kucinich. I can’t disagree with anything the man says. And his wife is hot. He doesn’t have a flaming chance, though. Much as I’d love either Edwards or Kucinich to win the nomination and take it to the right wing fascisti, they won’t. It’s going to be Hillary. I just hope she can overcome the fact that there is a solid 30-40% of this country that will never vote for her.
This Yankee postseason should be fascinating. Whether or not they let Torre go is one question, and whether or not ARod opts out is another. They also have to decide whether or not to resign Posada and Rivera, both of whom have been mainstays and both of whom are getting older. Although Posada put up great numbers this season, he’s 36, if memory serves, and he can’t last much longer, logic would dictate.
Boston faced a very similar problem with the question of whether or not to resign Varitek a year or two ago. They did, obviously, and, while it is nice to see him back there and it’s easy, as a Boston partisan, to root for him, we now have our own 30+ year old catcher who will not get any younger.
You hear constantly from announcer bots that Varitek calls a great game, and all the pitchers love working with him, and blah blah blah blah blah. Any study on the issue seems to hint that there is no such thing as a catcher affecting ERA. Is this another one of those things, like clutch hitting, that everyone knows is there but no one can show?
I’m sure he does call a great game, and I’m sure the pitchers love working with him. And, so far, I’m also sure that the Kevin Cashs and Molinas of the world couldn’t hit any better than he is hitting right now. I just have this uncomfortable feeling that, in the years to come, I’m going to regret us having paid him that much money. It remains to be seen if the Yankees will make the same decision, and if they do, how it will affect them.
Monday, October 15, 2007
Boston (1-1) at Cleveland (1-1), Game Three
American League Championship Series
Boy, the Cleveland announcers are really excitable. Westbrook struck out Pedroia to open the game, and they made it sound like he had discovered the cure for cancer. Then, after a walk, he got a double play and they had kittens over it.
Bases loaded on a walk, a single, an error in the second for Boston, nobody out, Varitek up. A nice, quality extra base hit would do nicely here.
Fly out to left, not deep enough. 1 out.
Crisp up. GIDP. DAMMIT.
We may regret this inning later. Bases loaded, nobody out, you gotta score. You just have to.
Sounds like the umpire (Brian Gorman) has a nice, big zone, because Dice K is getting called strikes.
Sounds like Kenny Lofton just smacked a two run homer.
I think we can hit Westbrook, but we better get started.
These Indians might be just too damn good to beat.
I fell asleep, but apparently it was old friend Trot Nixon who got the hit to beat us Saturday night. Typical Nixon. I always liked him-a real Pete Reiser/Hal McRae/Butch Hobson type. 110%, all the time.
I have to admit, the Cleveland announcer just got pretty excited on a stop by Lugo, to end the inning, too. After 2, 2-0 Cleveland.
Now it’s two on, two out for Cleveland. 3-2 to Victor Martinez. Sounds like another Dice K start-lots of pitches, lots of baserunners.
SWING AND A MISS ON A SLIDER! Way to go, Dice Man. Nicely done, sir.
I just wish this guy would trust his stuff. I wonder if it’s a Japanese thing-maybe the strike zone is bigger there, or maybe the code of honor is to never give into the hitter. I have to keep remembering this guy is only 27.
Top 4th , JD Drew up, runner on 2nd, 2 out. Time to bring home the bacon, big guy. You haven’t earned a red cent this year, time to pony up.
Groundout, 3-1. Jerk.
Bottom 5, 2 on, 1 out. Dice Man in trouble again. Asdrubal Cabrera, the only Asdrubal in major league history, up.
Base hit, run scores, 3-0 Cleveland.
Fielder’s choice RBI groundout, 4-0 Tribe.
Well, beats a three run homer.
Cheap-ass base hit from Martinez, and Matsuzaka is done.
And so is the game.
Dusty Baker was hired as manager of the Cincinnati Reds, agreeing to a three-year deal and hoping to bring the Reds to respectability. 2007 was its seventh straight losing season. Baker, 58, worked in television this past season after the Chicago Cubs fired him after the 2006 season."
From Bill Chuck, the indomitable Billy Ball ( www.billy-ball.com )
Yeah, that'll do it.
Somewhere, Homer Bailey's agent is sobbing uncontrollably.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
1) These boys came to play.
2) Sabathia and Carmona are tough, but mortal, mothers.
3) The Bad Man is no joke.
4) Somebody abducted John Wasdin, dressed him up as Eric Gagne, and put him on the mound last night.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Ryan is wrong on Danny Vinik. He had every right to tip the ball away from an enemy fielder, as long as the ball was in the stands.
Excellent piece on the coming financial apocalypse.
Things are worth what someone is willing to pay for them. When no one knows what something is worth or what someone is willing to pay for them, nothing good can ensue.
Another excellent point is that the growing inequality in society and the gnawing insecurity so many of us feel are directly linked.
"It's also important for people to know that you can still have a family and be in business."
No. No, you can't. You're either a good employee or a good parent. The two are mutually exclusive, and I don't know anyone who doesn't feel that way. Business does not want its employees to be happy, it wants them to shut up and work. Period.
Friday, October 12, 2007
Monday, October 08, 2007
Sunday, October 07, 2007
The Yankees won, so they are still alive, even losing Clemens in the third to some sort of injury. The fan of drama in me wants to see them come back and win so we can smoke their asses, but the realist knows that, to some extent, Cleveland is easier pickings.
Apparently, Steinbrenner has all but said he will fire Torre if the team doesn't win the series. I can understand both points of view-his performance, given all the tools you should need, has been lacking.
Then again, the devastating slate of injuries wasn't his fault, and he did a pretty good job getting them back into it.
Then again again, how much brilliance does it really take to keep writing D. Jeter and A. Rodriguez on the lineup card?
Saturday, October 06, 2007
Manuel Aristides Ramirez y Onelcida.
Manny Ramirez, left fielder for the Boston Red Sox. Manny Ramirez, whose defense, and indeed, attitude towards life, can best be described as casual. Manny. Slow afoot, and with 2007 statistics that, though fine for most of baseballkind, did not live up to his own, Cooperstownian, standards.
Manny, who missed nearly a month as the Red Sox stumbled and slid to the division title, shook off the rust of seeing few hittable pitches, and took to the dish against Francisco (K Rod) Rodriguez last night with two men on and two out in a tie game. After a leadoff single by Julio Lugo and an intentional walk to David Ortiz, Rodriguez faced Ramirez. Rodriguez is one of the best relievers in the game, with a 95+ MPH fastball and a hard, vicious breaking ball.
He got a hard fastball, inside, and Manny jacked it.
He crushed it. He slammed it, pulverized it, nailed it. He punched its ticket. He gave it a few quarters and sent it onto the Massachusetts Turnpike.
Manny hit a long, arching, no doubt about it, soul crushing, spine tingling, back breaking 3 run homer deep into the warm night, winning the game and pushing Anaheim to the brink of elimination, going back to the Coast down 0-2 in games.
Manny put both hands straight into the air, an act which is somewhat bush, I must admit, but I can't entirely blame him for, before beginning his home run trot. He better stay loose in the batter's box in game three.
Manny did it. Manny being Manny.
Friday, October 05, 2007
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
These shutouts go quick, don't dey?
Kotchman grounds out, 3-1. First pitch swinging? If you say so, guys......
Weak single by Kendrick off of a hook.
Fielder's choice. 2 down. Just looking for outs now.
CALLED STRIKE THREE. Yeah, baby.
Youk flies out to right.
Santana is dealing.
Ortiz flies out to center.
Manny fouls out.
Cabrera grounds out.
Rollin, rollin, rollin.....
I got the trivia right. Yay, me!
Vlad couldn't have hit Beckett's last curve with a canoe paddle.
But Vlad rips a ball into short left for their SECOND hit of the day.
Popup to third.
Fielder's choice, three outs. Wow. Beckett is sharp as hell.
Ervin Santana pitching. Crisp pops out.
Santana whipped our asses once during his rookie year.
1-2-3 inning for Santana.
The WHIFF.....one down.
Trivia: Last AL ERA winner on a Series winner?
Another whiff....Becks is on FIRE.
Nice sliding catch by Coco. Inning over.
Lowell grounds out.
Drew CRUSHES an infield single. Well, looks like a line drive in the boxscore.
Separated at birth: TBS' Ernie Johnson and Tojo, Japanese leader in WWII.
Tek: 3-6-1 DP to end the inning.
Izturis pops up.
Becks looks sharp, dispatching these guys with cold, ruthless efficiency.
Kotchman whiffs, on a nasty high heater.
Kendrick grounds out.
15 straight outs. Wow.
Dusty grounds out.
Youk rung up on strikes.
Lackey is at 90 pitches already.
Ramirez called out on strikes.
Both Manny and Youk barked at the home plate ump, but the pitches didnt seem that close.
Napoli is retired on a fine play.
Here's a hint-if you're missing the first pitch of the inning, there are too many damn commercials.
Taking pitches is a "modern approach to hitting"? Don't tell Rogers Hornsby that.
Flyout to Manny, two down.
Figgins strikes out to end the frame, looking overmatched. Nice.
Dusty pops up to short.
YOUK cranks a double into the corner.
Lugo was out on what APPEARED to be a missed call? Only to people with eyes.
Papi cranks one around the pole for a 2 run JACK. 3-0.
A walk to Manny. Trouble for the Lackman.
Ball gets away from Napoli, Manny to second.
Base hit for Lowell-4-0.
Drew hits into a 4-6-3 DP, inning over.
Izturis is retired easily, 5-3.
Kotchman rolls out, 4-3. Becks seems to be mixing in the breaking stuff now.
The presence of CB Bucknor on this crew scares me little.
Kendrick flies out.
Nice 1-2-3 inning.
Single from Varitek, who is looking semi respectable. Like he shaved, but shaved a week ago.
Crisp hits into a 4-4-3 double play.
Lugo is thrown out stealing on a crappy call.
Beckett allows a first inning single, but no further damage.
Beckett seems to be pumping a lot of fastballs. That's fine, but I still think he would be better off by mixing in more breaking pitches.
Youk takes Lackey into the MONSTAH seats. 1-0 Sox. We own this chump.
Base hit for Papi, now Manny, and his hair. I think Manny's hair could hit John Lackey by itself.
A wicked shot by Manny inside the third base bag. This dude is toast.
Lowell pops up. Well, maybe not.
Weak dribbler by Drew, Izturis makes a nice play to retire the side.
"I wouldn't be a good baseball fan if I didn't make preseason picks:
AL WILD CARD:New York
NL EAST:New York
NL WILD CARD: St. Louis"
AL CENTRAL:Good Call
AL WEST: D'OH!
AL WILD CARD: No brainer
Although I have to mark myself down, because I make that pick every year-Boston for the division, New York for the wild card. It had to come true eventually.
NL EAST: Double D'OH!
NL CENTRAL: Well, that was close, anyway.
NL WEST: Wow, I didn't even remember that pick. Good call.
NL WILD CARD: Not even close.
I got 3 divisions right out of six, and 4 playoff spots out of 8. Not bad, I suppose.
So, in the tradition of foolish futurism, my playoff picks.
Boston over Anaheim Angels of California of the United States of Earth of Alpha Centauri
New York over Cleveland
Boston over New York
Philadelphia over Colorado
Arizona over Chicago
Arizona over Philadelphia
Boston over Arizona for the World Series
Game One tonight, as the three weeks of madness begins.............now.
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
Harry, he said, very seriously, whoever put your name in that
passed since I became headmaster of this school when I havent had at
Harry looked up. Mr. Weasley, Mr. Diggory, and Cedric were still
beam of understanding shot between them.
Petunia conversing in terse mutters in the living room.
Yeah, thanks! Ron shouted over his shoulder.
rotten that was contaminating his over-shined shoes. "
The peculiar poetry of the spammer.
Monday, October 01, 2007
"Brick walls are there for a reason-they let us prove how badly we want things."
"Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted."
"Wait long enough, and people will surprise and amaze you."
"Respect authority while questioning it."
"Don't bail-the best gold is at the bottom of barrels of crap."
"Don't complain-just work harder."
Sunday, September 30, 2007
Another great couple of Radio Labs from the IPod. Sleep, and now Time.
The Sleep program mentions how maladaptive sleep is-which it is, if you really think about it. It wonders why humans have evolved to sleep deeply, whereas other animals sleep “with one eye open,” as James Hetfield once put it. It occurs to me that the evolution of human society allows for deep sleep-since others from the tribe can stay on guard, humans can more fully rest. Plus the increased rigor of human mental activity must require the near total shutdown of physical processes and the cleanup of the mental junkheap.
Jocelyn Ford probably has the loveliest voice in radio.
Listening to all these smart, courageous, funny people doing all this great work reminds me of how much I have wasted. The co founder of Wired Magazine (I heard on On The Media) has put a reminder on his computer desktop of how much, according to the actuarial tables, life he has left to live. Mine would be even shorter, due to all my health issues. And I’m wasting so damn much of it.
September 30, 2007
Great story on Bill Moyers’ Journal with the founder of the Vanguard Group on the turning of health care,and all of business, really, from focusing on patients/clients to focusing on profits to the exclusion of duty.
More from the Journal…$90+ Billion Dollars of fraudulent defense contracting? Why should anyone be surprised, with the kleptocrats we elected? Weren’t these people supposed to be the business geniuses? The MBA Presidency?
Then again, most of the MBAs I have met have been out of touch morons, so there you go.
“It shouldn’t be hard for a veteran who has served his country to get health care.” (From PBS’ NOW program.) I’d love to hear the Administration defend their treatment of Iraq War veterans.
Another great Radio Lab-Musical Language, with the story of Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring”, with its discordant, riotous first performance and its much more accepting later performances. Lots of good neurotransmitter talk about variations in dopamine activity and the ‘ol fine line between genius and madness. I love public radio.
Friday, September 28, 2007
US Soccer goalie Hope Solo is upset because she was yanked in favor of vet Briana Scurry, who got shelled (for soccer) in a 4-0 loss.
I think she's got a point. Scurry was 12-0 against Brazil, but that's since the dawn of time. Like any career numbers, I doubt they are very meaningful, considering the fact that the first Brazil team Scurry faced is doubtless different than today's team.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
I never thought I'd link to a WorldNetDaily story, but it's a strange, strange world.
I couldn't remember where I had seen it, until this Bill Press column told me it was Newsweek. There is a barber in Jena, Louisiana, the town where that horrible "White Tree" business went town, who says he will not cut black people's hair because his white customers might object to their hair touching the same equipment.
Sometimes I think we are an evolved species, and then I read something like that and I reconsider.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
I resubscribed to TWIT again (This Week In Tech), and I have fallen back in love with it again. I don’t know a lot about what they’re talking about, but I can follow it well enough.
They’re talking about monopolies, like Apple/ITunes/IPod/IPhone and about how once one gets ahold of you, the price gets jacked way up. The same thing seems to be happening in retail-big chains swallow up the little guys, then all of a sudden you can’t get anyone to help you and everything is too damn expensive.
I think I missed “International Talk Like A Pirate” Day.
The Phillies are now tied for the wild card lead, which is quite a feat, given their horrific injury history this season. There’s a welcome purity to their situation-6 games left, win or go home. They do have to beat the Braves, though.
TWIT is talking about the Forbes list, which continues to be led by Mr. Gates, of course. Gates’ wealth has gone down significantly since he started giving away serious amounts of money. Say what you will about Microsoft, Bill Gates may be responsible for saving more lives than nearly anyone else on Earth. Pretty good for a college dropout.
Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy was 100% right in his postgame rant.
We give entirely too much attention to amateur athletics in this country.
The reporter claimed she wanted to know what was inaccurate in her story-but during the rant, he told you exactly what it was he objected to. He objected to characterizing the kid who was benched as being gutless, and about the benching as being an attitude issue and the new starter having threatened a transfer. If those things are true, stand by them. If they're not, you shouldn't have written them.
Monday, September 24, 2007
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Saturday, September 22, 2007
But my fantasy 1977 Red Sox died like dogs, getting swept by Toronto, so something good has to happen? RIGHT?
Friday, September 21, 2007
What makes anyone think that the war in Iraq is winnable? Seriously, what?
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Who has freedom to choose their health care today? The super rich. Nobody else chooses their health care.
How can government making decisions about health care POSSIBLY be worse than insurance companies making decisions about health care?
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Assuming Boston makes the playoffs, (a pretty safe assumption, but still…) I still don’t like our chances. The Indians are very tough, as are the Angels. And the Yankees are…the Yankees. If their bats are going, they beat anyone, including probably the 1927 Yankees.
The Phillies are on fire, and the Mets seem to be in free fall. The Mets are going to play tough in the playoffs, though, with El Duque and Glavine and Pedro, three guys that have been through the wars. I hope I get to watch at least one El Duque start in the postseason-he reminds me of El Tiante a little bit-although much thinner, obviously.
Bob Ryan says “Should Red Sox fans be worried?” Uh…yeah?
If Youkilis is out, we’re in major league trouble.
Dice K has looked awful lately…I hope he can turn it around, because I love watching him pitch. His command looks very rough. He is only 26, don’t forget…but we need him to be special, and soon.
It’s silly season on the TV news…Court TV is having kittens, going from coverage of the Phil Spector trial, to OJ (again), to the Crazy Astronaut case. Meanwhile, the dying continues in Iraq. I keep seeing those FreedomWatch.org commercials on the Philadelphia stations, and they are irritating as heck. “THEY attacked US,” the narrator keeps emphasizing. The perfect, racist generalization to stir up the meatheads in Drexel Hill. Why don’t they just say it? The brown people attacked us! That’s what they mean.
And also….uh…no, no they didn’t. The Iraqis didn’t attack us, the Saudis did. There is no evidence Al Queda was in Iraq before WE were in Iraq. None. But they’re allowed to just keep saying it, over and over and over again.
I’m relistening to the entire Napoleon Podcast series, (www.thepodcastnetwork.com) and really, really enjoying it.
I’m in last place in my Fantasy Football League, and its not even close. I am underwhelming in every way, but especially at quarterback. I’m starting Joey Harrington and me, essentially-and Harrington is about to lose his job to Byron Leftwich. Nearly everyone is disappointing-except maybe Deion Branch, who should still be playing in New England.
As for Cameragate, is it possible that this is just what Belichick says it is…a misunderstanding? What I’m thinking is that Belichick thought you could tape whoever you wanted, as long as you didn’t use it during the game in progress. I mean, you can tape formations, and players, and everything else that happens during the game…what’s so special about the coaches? And what’s to prevent a fan from sitting in the front row and doing it? It seems like a silly rule to me.
He was warned about it, though, but again, if he thought it was ok as long as you didn’t use it until later, that would explain it.
All this “cheating” talk sounds like sour grapes to me. An old baseball coach of mine used to tell us that if we executed, it didn’t matter if they stole our signals or not. I can’t imagine, even if you stole their signals, you would have that much of an advantage. And you have coaches in the booth, don’t you? No reason to think they can’t steal signals.
Andre Johnson is out, according to the BS Report. I better check and see if his owner will trade a QB for Deion Branch.
5 teams have made the playoffs since 1999 after starting 0-2? Uh-oh, Philadelphia. If this team is 4-10, there’s going to be a lynch mob formed.