Saturday, April 04, 2009

One more day...

"The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it's a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. "

Opening Day (well, Night) is tomorrow.

King Simon the Merciless, Year Three

Today was Simon's second birthday party, aka Kidapalooza, as relatives and friends came from far and wide to celebrate the end of Year Two of the Reign of King Simon the Merciless. Naps were deferred, by Royal Decree, Tickling was the Order Of The Day, and Sandwiches Were Had, and Cake was Duly Consumed By Those Present, as per the Orders of King Simon. Storybooks were read, Trains Were Conducted, and Joy and Happiness Was Upon The Face Of His Royal Subjects. That is All.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Amanda Bynes and Pedro Martinez

..would make a good pairing for Dancing with the Stars, actually.

This is Pedro Martinez:

and this is Amanda Bynes:

Amanda Bynes is 23 today. She has made a string of somewhat forgettable movies, but her first star turn that I was aware of was The Amanda Show, a sketch comedy half hour on Nickelodeon that was surprisingly watchable, for children's television. It made gentle fun of gangster movies, Judge Judy, spy movies-things like that- with a cleverness and a light touch that made it watchable for an adult. It's a little hard for me to imagine her as a grownup, since my most vivid memory of her is as a teen.

Pedro Martinez is my personal marker-born a week after me, I have watched him progress from fireballing star, to dominant veteran, to fading star trying to summon a glistening reflection of what he used to be. Similarly, I'm not 23 years old any more either. Seeing Pedro struggle reminds me of that. And so it goes.

See? I can relate anything to baseball.

More important than all that, today is my wife's birthday, my mother in law's birthday(who literally made it all possible,since she gave birth to my wife and Simon's mother), and most important of all, the second birthday of Lord Simon, the most important boy what ever was, my beloved and pampered nephew.

Happy birthday to everyone.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Happy Birthday, Obi-Wan.

The late Sir Alec Guinness, who was renowned on stage and screen throughout a long career, who wound up being best known for a role in a science fiction film. It would be his birthday today.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The Miniature Earth

If we reduced the population of the Earth to 100 people, while keeping proportions the same as they are now:

47 would live in a city

33 would be Christian

6 would control 59% of the wealth

43 would live without basic sanitation

12 would have a computer

3 would have internet access

30 would have a bank account

18 would have less than $1 per day to live on.


"Clear The Way For The Prophets of Rage"

British columnist Charlie Brooker, almost one month ago, about politicians and the public.

"They do what they want, these people[politicians], and you and I are cut out of the conversation. I'm sure they're dimly aware we still exist. They must spot us occasionally, through the window, jumping up and down in the cold with our funny placards...It's all over. The politicians have finally shut us out of their game for good and we have nowhere left to turn. We're not part of their world any more. We don't even speak the same language. We're the ants in their garden. The bacteria in their stools. They have nothing but contempt for us. They snivel and lie and duck questions on torture - on torture, for Christ's sake - while demanding we respect their authority."

Dan Carlin, podcaster, former newsman and social gadfly, on why he won't vote for either of the two major political parties.

"The lesser of two evils is still evil."

It's hard to feel much hope these days.

No foolin'.

So I don't forget(again)...2009 Baseball Predictions

AL EAST: Carmine Hose
AL CENTRAL: Royales With Cheese
AL WEST: Angles
AL WILD CARD: Naughty Fish

NL EAST: Metropolitans
NL CENTRAL: Baby Bears
NL WEST: Trolley Dodgers


AL CHAMPION: Carmine Hose

WORLD CHAMPION: Baby Bears.......because the apocalypse is coming, you know, so they might as well!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

My Wife Is Funnier Than You, Part III

ME: I don't want to go to work.

HER: I don't want you to go to work, either.

ME: So it's unanimous.

HER: Unless you didn't wear your name tag. Then it would be anonymous.

ME: Or if I went to work under an assumed name. Then it would be pseudonymous.

Not only did we rhyme unanimous, we did it TWICE. Ha. So there.

In case Conficker destroys the Internet tomorrow, it's been great knowing everybody. See you in the 14th century.

Hey, at least those "" guys are ready-they are already at the Renaissance Faire.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Nixon's The One!

Tonight, History International is running a show about a Philadelphia man who was trying to assassinate President Nixon in February 1974. I don't think I'm giving anything away by describing that a somewhat critical part of the plot of "Watchmen" involves Richard Nixon winning the Vietnam War and being elected to a third and fourth (and fifth, I think) term.

I was born near the end of Nixon's first term as President. I don't have any active memory of any President before Carter, so I don't remember Nixon actually being President, although my Mom tells me I watched the Watergate hearings with her as a tot. I am a bit of a Watergate buff, although this extends to only having read a lot of books on the subject, along with writing a little bit about it in college.

What interests me is not so much Nixon- a fascinating character by any respect, and a man about whom much could and has been written. But suppose this attempt succeeds. Do we view Nixon differently today? I would suggest that we'd almost have to. If Nixon is killed before he resigns, much of the popular rage against Nixon is vented. Does he get a posthumous halo around his Presidency, like Kennedy, where his flaws are papered over and his strengths exaggerated beyond reason?

What do you think?

Happy Birthday, God.

'Ol Slowhand himself, Eric Clapton, is 64 years old today.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


Just finished "PANIC!", a collection of financial news pieces edited by former stock trader and author Michael Lewis. I was a little disappointed by the fact that Lewis didn't write the book, but I did enjoy it. Overall, there were a couple of choice quotes that were not funny at the time, but are deeply ironic now.

"It was insanity. This thing was getting out of control."

-Bernie Madoff, talking about Internet stock mania in 2000, from Lewis' book "The New New Thing".

Apparently, Madoff was so scarred by the swings in stock valuations he decided to stop trading stocks altogether and instead form a Ponzi scheme and pretend to sell them.

I see his point-that is MUCH easier.

"We are not going to see the price of single-family homes fall. It ain't going to happen."

-Frank Nothaft, chief economist at Freddie Mac, quoted in the New York Times, 2002.

Nope. Not for six more years, anyway.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Award!

Denton True "Cy" Young, the pitcher for whom the Cy Young Award is named, was born on this date in 1867.

Young won 511 games in the major leagues, and also lost more than 300-both of which were records. Young was one of the few to survive the change in pitching distance from 50 feet to the 60 feet 6 inches it remains today.

Who's going to drive you home?

Listening to NPR this morning, they had a short piece about the British laws of royal succession. Not among the top 811,000 things I worry about on a daily basis, but they said two astonishing, gobsmacking things: there has never been a Catholic Prime Minister, and there is a law from 1701, still in force, that says no one in the royal line of succession may marry a Catholic. Apparently, a recent effort to overturn or overrule this law was just defeated-hence the news story.

Now, I’m not Catholic, nor British, nor do I play a Brit, or a Catholic, or a British Catholic, on television. But I get kind of prickly when anyone makes a rule about any adult’s ability to marry any other adult-for a significant portion of recorded history, I would not be allowed to wed my wife, and that offends me.

And I’m sure American legal codes have some equally heinous rules that are simply ignored, but are still technically on the books. I heard on some show that it took one Southern state until the mid 1990s to finally ratify the constitutional amendment banning slavery.

But seriously, England. Come on. It’s 2009 here, people. Get with it. Let’s stipulate that any law that predates the electric light by 200 years or more, save the Magna Carta and the Golden Rule ,maybe, should really be reevaluated pretty strongly.


If you’re one of our new readers, “***” is my new symbol for “radical change of tone, mood and/or topic”. Kind of like the same function as a “check engine” light-something weird and/or bad is about to happen.


Howard Feynman’s new book, “13 Arguments” sounds fascinating. I heard him talking about it on Bob Edwards’ podcast.


Wisconsin Public Radio’s “To The Best of Our Knowledge” ( is a consistently amazing podcast.


If you have ever had any interest at all in Napoleon or European history, the “Napoleon Podcast” ( is another winner.


I’m a little distressed that I know this, but Pringles has a new line of chips called “Restaurant Cravers” that taste like mozzarella sticks (one kind) and onion rings(another kind). Goodness me, they are tasty.


“Everything dies, baby, that’s a fact-
But maybe everything that dies someday comes back.”


Two artists that I am dying to see make a Guitar Hero game are the Eagles and Billy Joel


You know how you have certain songs that take you back to a specific time and place? Almost to the minute? For me, The Cars’ “Drive” was a dance in the fall of 8th grade. Not dancing with anyone, just diffuse, pure longing. I’ve never thought of anything else but that moment when I hear that song.


“I was thinking/
About a woman/
Who might’ve loved me/
And I never knew-

You know I’ve always been a dreamer/
Spent my life runnin’ round/
And it’s so hard to change/
Can’t seem to settle down-“