Saturday, February 21, 2009

Kurt Vonnegut on History

My contribution to the collapse of consumption

I finished Baseball Prospectus 2009, my annual trip to the world of snarky player projections, and moved on to my pile of library books I was temporarily ignoring. First up is Kevin Kerrane's "Dollar Sign on the Muscle", a study of baseball scouting. It is one of those books that is relatively well known, at least in baseball circles, and is proving to be better than I had expected.

Friday, February 20, 2009

They're Both Right

I am pleased as punch to report "We're Both Right", one of my favorite podcasts, is back in the saddle again at

Rick Santelli's Rant

CNBC's Rick Santelli went off on a bender about Obama's housing plan. With a backdrop of stock traders behind him, Santelli decrys the notion of bailing out homeowners, half joking about a revolution and a "Chicago Tea Party".

Josh Hamilton is an outfielder for the Texas Rangers who batted .304 with 32 home runs during 2008. Drafted in 1999, Hamilton was one of the most promising young players in baseball, but essentially spent 2001-2007 inside of a crack pipe.


It is true that we need to know how we got to where we are. That's why we study history-understanding the past helps us understand the present.

But I think the larger point is that we need to go forward, and, as Bill Parcells used to say, you are what your record says you are. Spending time morally judging how we got here isn't helpful.

Santelli warns that the government is engaging in moral hazard by proposing to bail out homeowners who bought too much house. But they're in the house now-calling them names doesn't help them make the payment. And Santelli's trader pals were the bright folks who decided that bonds built on fairy dust and unicorn farming were a good investment strategy. And what ELSE are we going to do? Just let them drown, and take the banks down with them?

Josh Hamilton's not a hero, some people say. He did it to himself-no one forced him to pick up the pipe. He nearly kicked away a promising future-and possibly a slot in the Hall of Fame.

I don't believe in judging people for how they lived their lives. They did what they did-they made the mistakes they made. I'd rather ask- how can we help them going forward?

I'm not any happier about my tax money going to bail out homeowners than I was about it going to bail out bankers than I was about it buying exploding things that kill children. But government isn't a cafeteria, and these are our countrymen. They may not deserve it, but Americans help people when they need help, not necessarily when they deserve it.

Josh Hamilton crawled out of the crack pipe and back into his profession. Celebrating his return is not endorsing his drug abuse. Helping homeowners doesn't endorse poor decision making.

It's the smart thing to do-but more important, it's the right thing to do. The compassionate thing to do. The Christian thing to do.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A 200+ Word Palindrome?

Admittedly, I haven't verified this, but reportedly, this is a 224 word palindrome.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Another Cartoon Flap

Apparently, this cartoon, from the New York Post, has caused a fuss and bother. Some apparently think the chimp is supposed to represent the President, and some argue that the cartoon is making reference to an actual chimp that was shot in Stamford, Connecticut recently, I guess implying that the stimulus is so bad, even a chimp could have written it better.

I object to the cartoon mostly because it isn't funny.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Too priceless not to note

I can't say who it is, but let's just say I heard someone say the following.

"I'm going to cheat on my test so I can make it in time for my son's First Confession."

Scrapping with Honesty

You would think, had I nothing to say, I would stay quiet.

You would be wrong.

Thanks to Nik ( for the tip- Ten Things.

Just things. Not special things, or smart things, or funny things. Just things.

1. Can we stop with the anti-"25 Things About Me" columns in newspapers? So people are writing lists about themselves, so what?

2. I was in line behind a woman at Barnes and Noble. When the clerk signalled for her to come to the register, she made a point of saying that she was annoyed because "I don't like to wait."

I didn't say anything. I was thinking, "Oh Really? Because, gee, all these people BEHIND you in line? We LOVE waiting."

NO ONE likes to wait. But we live on Earth with other people, and sometimes we just have to. Tough beans.

3. I don't think it matters how long you live somewhere-you only have one home. Mine is Massachusetts, and a tiny part of me will always miss it.

4. Sometimes I think I was born at the wrong time-I never saw Jackie Robinson, or Jim Brown, or Bobby Orr (well, I DID, I just don't remember), or Bob Cousy. But then I think about the Internet. Maybe I was born at the right time after all.

5. I don't know what happened to my attention span. I don't dislike movies, I just never seem to see any. Name any semi important movie of the last ten years, and I probably haven't seen it.

6. I also seem to have poor taste. Really smart people will tell me that a movie or TV show is garbage-brain candy-and I will know they are right. Yet I will see it and still enjoy it.

7. I'm kind of afraid certain people will find me on Facebook. Not that afraid, but a little bit afraid.

8. On the other hand, there are some people I want to find who aren't there, at least not as far as I can tell. Are those people afraid I'm going to find them? Isn't it ironic?

9. If you go to and start reading, you will probably conclude that you are nowhere near as crazy as you think you are.

10. Rachel Maddow is so adorable I could just scream.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Death Defying Detonations of Derring Do

Thanks to Katie (, who is apparently as hard up for blog posts as I am, Ten Things I Love That Begin With The Letter D:

10. Depth-whether personally, or in chart form (the depth chart is the list of the players on a team, arranged by position). I like deep things.

9. Detonation-I know it's childish, but watching something blow up is still cool.

8. Diplomacy-whether personal or international, it's always better than fighting.

7. Dontrelle-Specifically Dontrelle Willis of the Detroit Tigers. I have always rooted for him, and I hope he has a nice comeback this year.

6. Diamonds-the baseball kind

5. Diapers-I know this sounds wierd, but changing diapers is kind of fun. And the era ends too soon. "No it doesn't", I can hear the parents of multiple children shouting.
"Write your own dang list!", I reply.

4. The Doors-My favorite D related musical act. I probably read "No One Here Gets Out Alive" a dozen times in high school.

3. Dad-the smartest person I've ever known.

2. David Ortiz-(again, too much baseball? Write your own dang list, then!)for 2004 and 2007 and all the hope from all the games, even the times he couldn't come through-nobody ever tried harder.

1. And at the number one spot...

I don't talk a lot about my personal life. I don't know why, exactly, except it never really seems relevant. I am only just barely interested in the goings on inside my own head, and thus it stretches credulity to believe anyone else may be. Which is why I tend to talk about sports, and politics, and sports, and uh...sports. And things. And stuff. But mostly sports.

But without a doubt, without fear of contradiction, the number one thing in my life that involves the letter D, the cream in my coffee, the pepperoni on my pizza, the person without whom I could not be and would not bother chewing through the straps each morning (h/t Emo Phillips) and getting on with it, is my wife, the patient, utterly adorable and cunningly smart Debbie.