Saturday, May 08, 2010

Games 30 and 31: The Grownups Are Here

After four days of pretending like they were a real American League baseball team, the Red Sox were brought rudely back to earth by the New York Yankees, enduring a 10-3 whipping Friday night, followed by a 14-3 buttkicking on Saturday. A third whomping is scheduled for Sunday night on ESPN.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Game Twenty Nine: Come On Up For The Rising

Last night at Fenway, the Red Sox survived a horrendous Dice K outing (Dude needs a new pitch. We call it the "strike")(I stole that) to pound out an 11-6 win over the Angels on their way out of town.

Of course, the fun ends tonight, because the big boys are here.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

GAME Twenty Eight: OK, So Maybe I Panicked

Or maybe the Angels are just terrible?

Tonight at Fenway, Boston managed to allow just TWO hits to the Angels, while getting 11 knocks and three runs for themselves in a 3-1 win. John Lackey was as sharp as something that's really sharp, with the Bard of Avon and the Lord of the Dance finishing things off.

Boston has one more with the Angles tomorrow before welcoming...

...the New York Yankees to town.

Dan Carlin Depresses Me All Over Again

There's a classic moment on one of Bill Hicks' albums where he is talking about the LA Riots, and he describes a prototypical NRA member saying, "Ha-HA! Here comes the mob, and you-no gun." Hicks describes his response as, "Well, first of all, I'd try to figure out exactly what it is about me that keeps attracting mobs. That's how I'd work the problem."

Dan Carlin, on his latest "Common Sense" show, asks a similar question about US foreign policy. It's an obvious, common sense question, and it's a question that reminds me of the famous "God Damn America" speech by Reverend Jeremiah Wright that surfaced during the 2008 Presidential campaign. The question is twofold-what is it about the US (and not, say, Japan or Germany) that makes us such a desirable target for terrorists, and secondly, are we willing to trade the lives, dollars, and reduced quality of life necessary to continue to fight the war on terror in order to maintain what it is that makes us such a good target?

I don't know the answer either, but it makes you think.

L'Empereur Est Morte!

Napoleon Bonaparte, self made man and Emperor of the French, died 189 years ago today, in exile on St. Helena.

I never knew anything much about Napoleon, other than the standard jokes about him being short. As an adult, I picked up Alan Schom's biography of Napoleon, and was shocked with how little I knew during a supposedly good education. I subsequently listened eagerly to The Napoleon Bonaparte Podcast, ably co hosted by my Twitter pal @cameronreilly, which you can find here. I recommend it.

I'm Not Going To Keep Explaining This To You People...

The 100 Word Challenge-tell a story, based on a single word chosen for you, in exactly 100 words-comes from right here.

The word is "consent".

The title is "The Doctor".

Those don't count as any of the hundred words.

These do:

She looked at me evenly. Her brown eyes, behind cute cat's eye glasses, betrayed nothing.

“I need you to read all that, and sign at the bottom,” she said.

She was pretty, wearing the pink, shapeless clothes they call “scrubs”. I could still see she had a nice body.

I tried to read it. The words swam.

“You don't know if it will work?” I asked.


“You don't think it will?”


“But you'll learn something? Maybe save someone? Someday?”

“Yes, that's our hope.”

She didn't wear a ring.

I signed.

Oh, Correction, Correction!

The Wednesday Wickedness began here, not with dear Shakira. A thousand pardons, madams.

Oh, Shakira, Shakira...

Shakira CK has begun Wednesday Wickedness, taking quotes from a celebrity and making them into a set of ten questions, which you can read here. Always willing to take a shortcut to a blog post, here are my answers.

1. "I never want to change so much that people can't recognize me."
Do you believe people can truly change?

Yes. You almost have to, don't you? You'd never trust anyone if you didn't.
Being a weak, lily-livered Christian, I think Jesus tells us that you have to
believe that people can change and improve, despite abundant evidence to the contrary.

2. "People haven't always been there for me but music always has."
Do you have people in your life you could always count on?

My wife. My son, someday, once he grows up.
My mother and my brothers.

3. "I’m intimidated by the fear of being average."
Do you think there is anything wrong
with being average?

As the old joke goes, one half of the graduating class of
Harvard Medical School is below average.

There better not be anything wrong with being average-
if I have learned anything, it is that the world is
run by the average people.

4. "Never believe anyone who says
you don't deserve what you want."
Do you believe you deserve everything you want?

Absolutely not. I don't even deserve everything I have.

5. " I have to believe in fairy tales and I have to believe in love."
Do you believe in fairy tale love?

No. I believe in love, as Elton John once said. I don't believe that
fairy tale love, in the real world, with real people, is possible.

6. " I wouldn't want to date a pushover
who would let me make all the plans and have all the control."
Do you believe in sharing the control in your relationships?

My wife says I have to answer this question "yes".

7. "Sometimes [finding new friends] is the best thing about dating.
I've met so many friends through guys that I've dated.
And now, the guys are gone but the girls are still around."
Did you ever make a close friend
from someone that you've dated?

Yes. It's not easy, though.

8. "But there are a lot of rumors out there
that you just have to ignore."
Has anyone ever spread
something malicious about you?

I don't think anyone cares enough about me to make up gossip about
me. The things I've actually done are bad enough.

9. "I set goals that are just a little bit out of reach,
but not totally out of reach."
How do you go about setting your goals?

Every day, after lunch, I set a goal of dinner.

10. " I remember seeing girls crying in the bathroom
every Monday about what they did at a party that weekend.
I never wanted to be that girl."
Have you ever done something at a party
that you've ever regretted?

No, I never got invited to those sorts of parties.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Game Twenty Seven: The Patient Stirs....

In Boston tonight, the Red Sox sent the real Jon Lester to the mound, and he did what Jon Lester does, throwing 8 one run innings. Powered by a three run double from Jeremy Hermida, who clearly spoke in class today, Boston pulled out a 5-1 victory, pushing them to 13-14 on the year.

RIP Mr. Harwell

Ernie Harwell, one of the great baseball broadcasters of all time, has passed away. Rob Neyer does a far better job of eulogizing him here than I ever could.

Game Twenty Six: Signs of Life

Last night in Boston, the Red Sox ripped the Angels up, down, and sideways, slashing their way to a 17-8 win. Homers from Adrian Beltre, Bill Hall, DP, and Youk powered the offense, while Cowboy Clay turned in a five and dive performance.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Mention Monday: The One Where We Talk About The Boys, Without Referring To The Milkshake, Or Indeed The Yard

I've been slacking on my Mention Mondays-longtime readers of this space are aware that I'm long on promising things, and famously, hugely, enormously short on delivering them.

But I'd like to mention a couple of things that deserve your attention:

Jason Calacanis, the infamous @jason on Twitter, has an email list that you can sign up for at Calacanis is a new dad, a poker player, a dog owner, a Knicks fan and an entrepreneur who has managed to get pretty filthy rich. He has appeared on the podcast "This Week In Tech", and is very passionate and evangelistic about his ideas. Somewhat similar to Dan Carlin, you may not agree with him, but I guarantee you will not finish a JCal email without having been made to think.

On a completely separate note, Michael Glen Schmidt (not, famously, the baseball player) is at He is a standup comic and writer, and has a longrunning podcast available at his website called The Forty Year Old Boy. Schmidt's podcast is very hard to describe-he arrives at the microphone with no set agenda, and still manages to weave more than 90 minutes of story, anecdote, bawdy humor, and occasional bursts of melancholy. He curses occasionally, and certainly delves into very adult themes, but he manages to make you keep listening, and he usually makes you laugh loudly, especially when you're somewhere public, like inside the Vatican.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

The 100 Word Challenge: "Confessed"

For those of you new to the garden party, or those of you particularly slow on the uptake, Velvet Verbosity's 100 Word Challenge-tell a story in exactly 100 words given a one word prompt, resides aqui. This week's word is "confessed". The title is "Father".

He stared at his face in the mirror. He felt old. He looked older.

Need a haircut, he thought. What's that down near your collar, he thought. A mole? Pimple?

He looked at the foreign object, which he couldn't remember seeing before. It was red, inflamed. It looked like anger sounded. Bodily corruption, he thought.

He fixed the collar, making it lay straight, pure and white against his imperfect neck. They were coming.

“I don't love him anymore,” they will say.

“I touched her,” they will say.

“I can't stop,” they will say.

He'll say something back.

Upon Us All A Little Rain Must Fall

Listening to Jimmy Page wailing away on the "Song Remains The Same" version of "No Quarter". Talk about a man on top of his game, with the whole world in front of him. No idea that, 30+ years on, I'll be listening to him playing those same notes again.

"Walking side by side with death..."


This is a remarkably well written post. Not really about anything, but it really caught my attention. Very adult content.


ESPN The Magazine is having a sports fiction contest. I plan to enter and not win, which is my usual SOP in such matters.


During an inappropriate book buying binge, which is not, as you might think, a binge for buying inappropriate books, I picked up a slim volume called "Ernest Hemingway on Writing". It's one of those cheapo clip jobs with thoughts from Hemingway on his craft, pulled from essays and letters. Hemingway wasn't a very good husband or father, to all appearances, (to be fair, neither am I) but he could put a sentence together.

It's kind of funny to read something out of context-he probably didn't intend for the words to see the light of day, but in the middle of an essay or a letter, he drops these absolute gems of brilliant, cold advice.

"I love to write. But it has never gotten any easier to do and you can't expect it to if you keep trying for something better than you can do."

"I think you should learn about writing from everybody who has ever written that has anything to teach you."

"All good books are alike in that they are truer then if they had really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you; the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was."

Whether or not an artist is phony seems to drive a lot of Hemingway's thoughts. Ron Rosenbaum's criticisms of Billy Joel, which I talked about here, also centered on phoniness. Holden Caulfield liked to talk about them too, I recall.

I don't know who is a phony and who isn't. Well, I am. I don't know who ELSE is a phony, I guess I should say.

Game Twenty Five: Of Course Not!

Win one out of three against Baltimore? Of course not.

Manage to score more than two runs off of Kevin Millwood? Of course not.

In Baltimore today, Boston dropped a 3-2 decision in 10 innings, Ty Wigginton slamming an RBI double off of Jonathan Papelbon, working in his second inning, a tactic which, upon reflection, never works, with none out in the 10th.

And we have the Angels next? Yeah, I'm sure Victor's problems throwing out runners will solve themselves. Nothing to worry about.

Game Twenty Four: Reason To Believe

I don't believe in Daisuke Matsuzaka.

I mean, I believe he exists. I believe that someone with that name cashes paychecks from the Boston Red Sox on the first and the fifteenth of every month. I believe that he claims to be a pitcher in the American League.

I used to be a big Dice K supporter, figuring his magic gyroball pitch would surely lead him to multiple Cy Young Awards. No more.

I don't believe is that he can effectively get hitters out. Ever. I'm done.

Matsuzaka was shelled by the Orioles yesterday, failing to escape the fifth inning in what became a 12-9 loss. Boston is 11-13 and fading into irrelevance, playing Baltimore once more today before returning home to face the Angles, the MFYs, and the Jays.

With luck, we'll win one or two games all week.