Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Gettysburg Remembered

One hundred and forty-one years ago to this very day Confederate forces under the command of General Robert E. Lee were massed on one side of a small Pennsylvania town called Gettysburg while Union forces under newly appointed General George Meade were amassed on the other side of the small town. Over the next three days these forces were to fight the most important battle in the history of the United States. Yet today you will hear very little mentioned of the battle in either the newspapers or on TV.

Why was this the most important battle in the history of the United States?

General Lee had come North out of Virginia to find the Army of the Potomac and to beat it in open battle. If he was able to accomplish this – then Confederate President Jefferson Davis was to give Abraham Lincoln an offer of peace.

If Lincoln accepted this offer of peace then the country would have forevermore been divided into two nations. If Lincoln refused the offer of peace (which he would have) – then chances are that Lincoln would have lost his bid for re-election to the Presidency. His opponent General McClellan would have accepted the peace plan if elected and again – the nation would forevermore have been divided.

Think of the implications:

· How much longer would slavery had survived? Would it still exist today?

· Would a Spanish Mexico and an English Canada have taken over what are now the Western States?

· Would Nazi Germany been stoppable in WWII without a “united” United States?

· Would Communism have been defeated without a “united” United States?

Luckily we did not have to find out because Jeb Stuart did not return in time to inform General Lee of the Union’s strength; because General Heth ignored Lee’s order to not engage the enemy on the first day; because General Ewell lost his nerve and did not attack and take the high ground when he had the chance and because Colonel Joshua Chamberlain and the 20th Maine made their heroic stand on Little Round Top.

The North won the battle and went on to win the war. For that – we are thankful.

Months later after the battle, on November 19, 1863, a somber President Lincoln made the following speech:
Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation: conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war. . .testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated. . . can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war.

We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate. . .we cannot consecrate. . . we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.

It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us. . .that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion. . . that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain. . . that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom. . . and that government of the people. . .by the people. . .for the people. . . shall not perish from the earth.

Now it’s a 141 years later and you would be hard pressed to find mention of the battle anywhere. Funny – Lincoln thought we would remember the battle and forget his speech but the opposite has occurred.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The United States has always been a forward-looking nation. We tend to dream of the future instead of dwelling on our past. It is one of our strengths.

Still - we should remember the sacrifice men made today and the next three days 141 years ago to preserve for us the great Nation we have today.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Some Stream of Consciousness

OK the Red Sox are getting spanked by the Yankees 10-3 so I thought I would just kinda...well... type I guess.

Sometimes it is funny or interesting when people mis-speak or mis-type. My oldest daughter had a problem with "TR" words when she was young and we always had a good laugh by pointing to passing fire engine and asking her, "Honey - what's that?"

To this day when I see a fire engine I think "fire fuck" (or when I lose money to Phil or any of the other firefighters during Thursday night poker I also think "fire fuck").

Anyway - I thought of this because of something Lileks wrote on Monday (and yes Lileks has reached one-name stature on the web like Larry, Michael or Magic in basketball). On Monday many people linked to his Bleat because of his run-in with a Kerry supporter (which was interesting - granted - but heaven is found in the little things). The passage that caught my fancy was:
Friday I started on the MGM Marx Brother set, and started from the end with “The Big Store.” I knew it was lame, but there’s something fascinating about stars past their prime still cranking it out, especially if those stars are Groucho, Chico and Harpo. It has a few moments of amusement – you can’t get the Marx brothers together without something amusing happening. It’s like Liquor, Shiners and hotel rooms.

Now I'm pretty sure that he must have meant "Shriners" not "Shiners".

Shiners to me were either small black-eyes or minnows (you know bait fish). After reading that passage I had the instant image of Harpo either tossing minnows into a crowd below his fourth floor hotel window or actually fishing into a crowd of people (let's not forget the liquor - that would be the reason Harpo was doing these things - too much demon rum you know).

Now of course Harpo would be doing things with "shiners" (minnows) from his hotel room while trying to avoid being caught by the Hotel Dick (which is what they used to call a hotel detective - why they had a need for hotel detectives is a subject for another day). I have never claimed to be so sophisticated that the term "hotel dick" wouldn't make me chuckle. No - in fact I find the term "hotel dick" distractingly funny.

So distractingly funny that the image of Harpo fishing out the window is now completely gone and contemplation on the term "hotel dick" begins in earnest. A person unfamiar with the works of the Three Stooges, Bowery Boys or Marx Brothers would probably be puzzled by the term "hotel dick".

What do you do for work Mr. Smith? Why I'm a hotel dick! (Instant images of Fred Garvin Male Prostitute jump to mind).

Hotel dick as opposed to home dick? Hotel dick - is that like road penis? Yes sometimes I am so immature.

Looking back at what I've typed it occurs to me that people are just as likely to be confused about what a "Shriner" is as what a "Shiner" is - so maybe I should just stop typing now. (And no - I have not been drinking but taking another look at the score of the Red Sox game - maybe that would be a good idea.)
Top 5 Songs Written By Someone Named Ian

1. Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll (Ian Dury)
2. Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick (Ian Dury)
3. All the Young Dudes (Ian Hunter)
4. Cleveland Rocks (Ian Hunter)
5. Once Bitten (Twice Shy) (Ian Hunter)
July - American Beer Month

Another reason to love the month of July! Seriously - July is American Beer month.

What would American Beer Month be without some American beer quotes?
Beer is proof that God loves us. -- Ben Franklin

Not all chemicals are bad. Without chemicals such as hydrogen and oxygen, for example, there would be no way to make water, a vital ingredient in beer. -- Dave Barry

God made yeast, as well as dough, and loves fermentation just as dearly as he loves vegetation. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Beer, of course, is actually a depressant, but poor people will never stop hoping otherwise. -- Kurt Vonnegut

When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading. -- Henny Youngman

Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza. -- Dave Barry

I'll have some Simpsons beer quotes as well because who loves beer more than Homer? (Well maybe Barney.)

Lauren Jackson Naked

(Normally I would call this post "Miscellaneous Thoughts" but I get so many more hits on the site by titling it Lauren Jackson Naked)

It seems like much longer than four months since the Patriots won the Superbowl... You would think that the Patriots would be the early favorites to win Superbowl XXXIX but that honor currently goes to the Eagles. The Eagles are 11/2 to win it all while the Patriots are 6/1 (Indianapolis is a 7/1 pick)... In case you are curious - Duke is the early favorite to win the 2005 NCAA Basketball Championship at 9/2. North Carolina is the only other college in single digit odds at 8/1. Holy Cross is a surprising 14/1 (but of course that is part of the field bet - hope I didn't confuse non-gamblers out there although I would find it funny if people started to say that Holy Cross is one of the favorites to win March Madness next year)... Best game ever! I've named the drunk guy "Gordie" (hat tip to Hockey Goon)... David Bell became the 242nd player to hit for the cycle last night...
Top 5 Films With Ned Beatty

1. Deliverance (as Bobby Trippe aka the guy with the purdy mouth)
2. Superman (as Otis)
3. Back to School (as Dean Martin)
4. Hopscotch (as Myerson - a very underrated movie)
5. The Fourth Protocol

Monday, June 28, 2004

Political Prediction

George W. Bush has been anything except predictable (unless of course you just go by what he says because strangely enough when he says he's going to do something - he usually does it. This of course drives the press and the French crazy. Where's the nuance in doing what you say you are going to do?).

I will make a prediction though. Right now Bush has the election in the bag (Vegas odds Bush -$140 to Kerry +$100) but if things get close then I would look for Dick Cheney to step aside and Bush to name Colin Powell as VP and therefore also heir apparent. Bush could also then name Paul Bremer as Sec. of State. LANDSLIDE!

Now I know that Colin Powell isn't the favorite of many of the more conservative conservatives but a Bush / Powell ticket would be unstoppable.

Just as an aside - isn't it strange that the Democrats are wallowing in the limelight of the latest Michael Moore opus while the Republicans announce the new sovereignty of 26 million people without any real press fanfare. Between choosing a fantasy land and living in the real world - I pick the real world. How about you?

The Warning of Sideshow Bob!

From The Simpsons episode The Black Widower where Sideshow Bob marries Bart's aunt Selma with the intention of murdering her on their wedding night by blowing her up in a hotel room full of natural gas (oops sorry for the spoiler):
Sideshow Bob, "But wait, if you saved Selma, why did the room explode?"
Chief Wiggum: "Me and the boys were celebrating a job well done," [cut to Wiggum, Homer, and a few cops smoking cigars] "When I threw my match in the vicinity of the crime scene."
The police start to take Sideshow Bob away, and he yells, "I'll be back. You can't keep the democrats out of the White House forever. And when they get in, I'm back on the streets, with all my criminal buddies!" (Maniacal laughter).
Iraqi Freedom

Today is a great day for the country of Iraq and I think the United States has a lot to be proud of in our freeing 26,000,000 people from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein.

The turn-over of sovereignty came two days early supposedly to deprive terrorists the opportunity to mar the day with violence and murder. The turn-over also happened a couple days early because there was no reason to delay any further.

There is still much to do and our troops still must face great peril but they have been exemplary and I have every confidence in their ability to be no better friend to the people of Iraq and no worse enemy to those who would oppose freedom.

The days of the Coalition Provisional Authority are now over but the ripples of their accomplishments will be felt for decades to come.

June 28th will now be the Iraqi equivalent of our July 4th and I find some humor in the change of date from the original proposed date of June 30th.

June 28th used to be known as the day that Archduke Franz Ferdinand was shot and "Old Europe" was plunged into World War I. Now it will be known as a day of freedom. This juxtaposition also serves as a reminder on many levels. Our new coalition served to set men free. The "Old Europe" coalitions and alliances of 1914 served to imprison millions in the imperial wishes of the few.

June 30th would have also worked because it is the anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg. There would have been a certain symmetry in the turn over happening on the anniversary of the battle that is forever remembered through Lincoln's Gettysburg Address and through extension the Emancipation Proclamation. Personally - I like the idea of our "honored dead" from the Gettysburg still having the day to themselves.

(PS -I know the Emanciaption Proclamation actually came about a year earlier than the Gettysburg Address but work with me here.)
The Seattle Effect

Now that Seattle has traded Freddy Garcia - many people may expect that the Mariners to no longer be a factor in the American League playoff races. I think the opposite may be true. Don't get me wrong - I'm not saying that Seattle will make a run at the AL West or Wildcard spots but I am saying that they may be surprisingly improved for the final three-fifths of the season.

Consider the following:

- The Mariners just greatly improved the offense from the catcher's position with the acquisition of Miquel Olivo. Olivo averages a HR every 20 AB this season while Ben Davis averaged a HR every 42 AB in his career. Dan Wilson - the other Seattle catcher has just 2 HR and 24 RBI in 183 AB this year (Olivo 5 more HR and 2 more RBI in 42 fewer AB). The pressure will be on to play the kids so Dan Wilson - bench. Bench - Dan Wilson. This actually greatly helps the Mariners chances to win games.

- The Mariners also got Jeremy Reed in the deal. Reed may be able to step in and play every day for the Mariners in centerfield. Reed is one of the top prospects in all of baseball and I would think that he would easily replace the .260 / 3 HR / 22 RBI production that they have gotten from Randy Winn. (Or at the very least - maybe the presence of Reed lights a fire under Wynn's ass.) Let's be blunt - Wynn's a 30-year old stiff. Maybe the next move is for the Mariners to pawn him off on someone *cough*Yankees*cough* who need back-up help in centerfield.

- The Mariners big offensive guns of Ichiro, Brett Boone and Edgar Martinez have greatly underperformed this year. These guys are too good for the slumps to all continue and once one gets hot - at least one other will be sure to follow.

- Joel Pineiro and Gil Meche have been pretty bad this year and they are bound to improve.

- Many people are speculating that Jamie Moyer is the next to go but I disagree. Moyer is a bargain at his salary of $6.5 million and at most he could cost the Mariners $7.5 million for 2005 if he reaches all of his incentives. That's a bargain. Factor in that Moyer is just 5 wins away from matching Randy Johnson as the Mariners all-time wins leader and it spells out NO Trade (oh speaking of "no trade" - as a 10/5 guy - Moyer could veto any trade anyway). Why would the Mariners trade a guy who can bring in the fans during a meaningless season? "Come see Jamie Moyer become the all-time leader in wins!" I can see the banners now.

The Mariners will also win more games for another simple reason. They can't possibly do any worse.

So far the Mariners have been an abysmal 6-16 against the West and 6-12 against the East. More wins against the East and West will make it harder on the teams vying for the Wildcard (moreso on teams from the West - only 5 games against the Red Sox and 3 against the Yankees vs. 7 against Texas, 12 against Oakland and 14 against the Angels).

Say hello to the new Mariners. Now a major factor in the AL playoff races.
Miscellaneous Thoughts

The Wages of Sin Minus Taxes would be a good name for a band... Happy 55th birthday to Don Baylor the newly named Mets hitting coach. May you have plenty of rumors of you replacing Art Howe as manager for your birthday... Andy Roddick should legally change his first name to "Err"... Literally more than 3 times as many people see the Montreal Expos when they are on the road (average crowd 28,065) then when they are at home (average crowd 9,192). That is pretty sad... People always talk about guys like Andy Kaufman or Jim Morrison faking their own deaths but wouldn't it be kinda funny if the guy who faked his own death turns out to be Ted Knight? (OK maybe that would only be funny to me)... Art Howe should have his last name legally changed so that a question mark always follows it. Art Howe? Art Howe?... People talk about Barry Bonds "historic" slugging percentage but Jim Thome is right behind him this season (.764 vs. .720)... The fact that you see relatively few commercials for the movie Dodgeball probably means that it is better than you may expect and the studio doesn't need a ton of commercials to overcome bad word of mouth (Lynch's rule of movie commercials)... I have mentioned Manny Ramirez and Vlade Guerrero as potential triple crown candidates but what about David Ortiz? He's now up over .300 (just out of the top 20 in the AL) and he is second in HR (tied) and first in RBI...
Top 5 Robert DeNiro Movies

1. Raging Bull
2. Goodfellas
3. Taxi Driver
4. The Godfather II
5. (tie) Casino (tie) A Bronx Tale

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Lion King the Movie vs. Lion King the Broadway Show

This is GREAT

This is equally good!

Brought to you by the Ernest Hemingway Mount Kilimanjaro Preservation Society

Miscellaneous Baseball Thoughts

Possibly the most untradeable contract in baseball may belong to the Rockies' Todd Helton. Even though Helton is only 30 and one of the best players in baseball - his contract runs for 7 more years with $114.7 million due to him... OK now I'm starting to wonder. The Red Sox ran into Vlade Guerrero just as he started a red hot hitting streak (remember the 9 RBI game?) and now they run into a Jim Thome buzzsaw. Is it just bad luck or does the Red Sox pitching bring out the best in great hitters?... If Chipper Jones played for the Yankees - there would have been about a dozen magazine covers wondering about his slump. Jones has a career average of .306 but this year is just hitting .210 (which also happens to be how much he weighs)... I would say that Derek Jeter's contract with 6 more years and $126 due to him was worse than Helton's but you know that George would eat about half the contract in a pinch... It has now been 1 day since the Angels got a HR from a first baseman... Atlanta is 4.5 games out of first in the NL East and 6.5 games out in the race for the NL Wild Card. If they don't make up some ground by the All-Star break you would have to think that both Paul Byrd and Russ Ortiz will be placed on the market... Somewhere there is a gambler who went broke betting against the Devil Rays. Maybe the gambler saw the streak get to five games and said, "No way they win six in a row." After that loss - the gambler probably doubled up to even out. Then he was forced to double up again and again until after the 12th game in a row he was completely tapped out. Of course that's when the Devil Rays finally lost. I know that somewhere - somebody fell trap to that scenario. That's why the casinos put up those things that allow you to see the past rolls of the roulette wheel. "Hey five reds in a row? I'll load up on black!" It doesn't work that way... I wonder why Tim McCarver loves Derek Jeter so much because McCarver must realize that as soon as Jeter is done playing for the Yankees - Jeter takes McCarver's TV job in a flash. As that day gets close - I wonder if you start to see McCarver start dropping hints that Jeter drowns baby kittens and molests collies?...
Drunk Talk

New words to add to the drunk lexicon from Modern Drunkard magazine.

Some of my favorites:

- AWOG adj. Absent Without Saying Goodbye. Slipping out of a bar or party without telling your friends. (Note: there should also be a word for the look in a drunk friend's eyes when he is plotting on slipping away. You can spot that look a mile off.)

- bar-bar n. a bar with no discernible theme. (Note: Q - What kind of bar is it? A -It's a bar-bar.)

- beereft adj. bereft of beer.

- Canadian n. bar staff slang for a non-tipper.

- cowboy up v. to order a shot of whiskey. (Note: Take that Kevin Millar!)

- drinking with Godot adj. drinking while waiting for friends who may or may not arrive; from the Beckett play Waiting For Godot, wherein the title character never appears.

- jason n. a drunk who passes out briefly then rises again to drink; a reference to the irrepressible Jason Voorhees protagonist of the Friday the 13th horror film series.

- Monet v. someone who appears attractive from across the bar, but less so up close

Top 5 Baseball Movies of All-Time

1. Eight Men Out
2. Bull Durham
3. Bad News Bears
4. Major League
5. The Natural

Saturday, June 26, 2004

God - This Game is Addicting

Instead of asteroids - shoot the sheep.
Triple Crown Watch

Both Manny Ramirez and Vlade Guerroro have decent shots at being the first player to win a triple crown since Yaz.

Currently Manny is 5th in batting, 1st in HR and 4th in RBI.

Currently Vlade is 3rd in batting, 3rd in HR and 2nd in RBI.
More Miscellaneous Thoughts

I don't know how I missed the fact that Robin Ventura pitched an inning of mop-up relief last night for the Dodgers. Ventura gave up just one hit and no runs in one inning...For all the hype some people are trying to drum up for Michael Moore's new movie - the fact is it will probably be seen by less people than the new White Chicks movie... Supposedly Bill Simmons now has his own page at but how do you get to it? His columns still pop up on Page 2 and if you click on his face - it takes you to his archives. There is something called the Bill Simmons Home Page but it hasn't been updated since Thursday (and his NBA draft column isn't on it). Simmons is starting to look like the Joe Charboneau of sportswriters (PS - the cartoon of him makes me think of a gay Steve Marriucci)... With Aron Boone signing with the Indians - the stock in Joe Randa just went up... Tim Kurkjian is 100% right when he says the key to the Cardinals is their pitching depth. What team out there wouldn't want their 5th starter to be 6-5 with a 3.75 ERA?...
Tour de France Odds

Lance Armstrong is currently the overwhelming favorite to win the 2004 Tour de France (which would be his sixth consecutive win). Current odds:

L. Armstrong (11/10)
J. Ullrich (2/1)
I. Mayo (11/2)
T. Hamilton (13/2)
R. Heras (25/1)
I. Basso (33/1)
Quién es más atractivo?

With the Red Sox playing the Phillies - the question should be asked:

Miss Massachusetts - Maria Lekkakos

Or Miss Pennsylvania - Candace Otto (2003 winner - they are picking a new winner this week)?

Miscellaneous Thoughts

Some morning thoughts...

My wife is away for a ladies weekend and I'm watching the kids. I get emails from all sorts of things I've signed up for over the years. This morning I had an email newsletter from Christian History & Biography. The subject line had the question, "To Spank or Not to Spank?" Let's just say that since I was raised Catholic and my wife is away - I mistook the meaning of the question... Johan Santana of Minnesota has quietly taken over the AL lead in pitcher strikeouts with 100... Surprisingly - the AL leader in batting average allowed is Detroit's Nate Robertson with .217 (for comparison Pedro Martinez has a .238 BAA)... The rumors are that Michael Chiklis will play Ben Grimm (aka The Thing) in the movie version of The Fantastic Four... Holy crap! I guess Larry Walker still has some pop in his bat. Walker went 4-4 with 3-HR last night against Cleveland... Is there anyone more feast or famine in baseball than Ichiro? In April he hit .255, in May .400 and now in June he's hitting .274... Whooo Hooo! An Angels first baseman finally hit a home run! Darin Erstad hit his first of the year (and the first for an Angel's 1st bagger since last year)... Tampa Bay is at .500! Tampa Bay is at .500!...
Yup - I'm Still a Size 34 Waist

Women get to a certain age and then they go into denial. For instance I know a woman who has been 35 for 6 years now. Guys get to a certain waist size and then they go into denial. They might get to size 36 and then go into total denial about going up to the next waist size – no matter how much their pants are bursting at the seem. I think we all know some guys like that.

Wait - I am a guy like that!

Friday, June 25, 2004

Sports Guy's NBA Diary

Bill Simmons got his fastball back for the yearly NBA Draft Diary.

Still no expanation of how he came back to ESPN from the Jimmy Kimmel Show though.

Interesting Bets

Mark Cuban is auctioning off his services as caddy at the American Century Golf Championship.

You can actually place a bet on:

A: Whether the amount bid on Cuban is over $50,000 (-$110) or under $50,000 (-$130). A bet of -$130 means that you would have to risk $130 to win $100.

B: Whether the winning bidder is Donald Trump (+$200) or someone else (-$250).

You have to hand it to Trump. Not even his thing and he still gets tons of free publicity out of it.
Miscellaneous Thoughts

Has Jay Marriotti and Liza Minelli ever been seen in the same room?... More on the BALCO story. Tim Montgomery implicates himself and Barry Bonds. This story won't go away - look for it to get bigger and bigger as the Olympics approach... Do you realize that the Tigers are just 7 games under .500? I say "just" because at this time last year they were 40 games under .500. Is Ivan Rodriguez the MVP so far?... Donald Duck is usually singled out for not wearing pants but what about Winnie the Pooh?... The accoustics of ESPN's presentation of the draft last night were horrible. Haven't they ever heard of doing a sound check? And the latency in talking to Dick Vitale wasn't much better. Half the time Tirico would have best served saying "Over" when asking Vitale a question...

The Beltran Trade

First off let me say that I'm glad Carlos Beltran didn't get traded to the Red Sox. Outfield is not a problem for the Sox (especially with Trot Nixon back). Now let's take a look at how this trade helps the teams involved:

Houston - they get Beltran but lose their closer Octavio Dotel (and catcher prospect John Buck). Losing Dotel doesn't hurt so much because they have Brad Lidge ready to step in as closer (and I always thought Lidge was the better pitcher between him and Dotel). The Astros had added an extra arm by trading Richard Hidalgo for David Weathers but now that extra arm in the bullpen is gone (Dotel traded). So I would look for the Astros to either add another arm or get rid of Jimy Williams who doesn't have a clue as to how to use a bullpen. I would bet on the latter.

This trade also seems to jive with the idea that the owner in Houston is trying to win for today (2004 season) because tomorrow (this offseason) he's selling the club.

The trades for Houston have had a net zero effect on the payroll as well. Losing Hidalgo and Dotel's salaries make taking on Beltran's and Weathers' cost nothing.

Oakland - you have to like a GM that can admit when they are wrong and that's what Billy Beane just did. Arthur Rhodes as closer? Three year contract? Sorry Arthur - you're not a closer and for the next 2.5 years - you're back to doing set-up. (I must also admit that I thought Rhodes would be successful at closer.)

The difference between Dotel's 3 blown saves in 14 chances (and 3.12 ERA) and Rhodes 5 blown saves in 14 chances (and 5.28 ERA) is the difference between first and second place in the AL West (Oakland trails Texas by a single game right now). Second place this year probably means no playoffs (and no playoff revenue).

This deal also fits into Oakland's history of being frugal. Dotel has a salary of $2.8 million this year - so the A's will have to pick up less than $2 million and they got cash back (less than a million) from Kansas City in the deal. Plus Dotel is arbitration eligible after the season which gives Billy Beane even more options to deal with.

The A's lost prospects Mark Teahan and Mike Wood but with Eric Chavez one of the best 3rd baseman in baseball and signed long term - there wasn't much of a future for Teahan in Oakland to begin with. Mike Wood may be a number 3 starter some day but with the A's rotation - that day may never have come in Oakland.

Kansas City - the Royals were going to lose Beltran no matter what. By trading him - they got three players who really could step in and start for them right now. What did the Royals gain in the trade?

- first off don't forget that they saved a ton of money. Beltran had a $9 million salary for the year - so when you factor in the money Kansas City sent to Oakland - the net savings was about $5 million

- the Royals got three young players who can step in and play right away and they didn't have to pay them signing bonuses. These three will also be cheap talent for the Royals for years to come.

- Mark Teahan doesn't have a ton of power but who is to say he doesn't develop it? Jeff Bagwell didn't show much power at AAA level either. Plus - the guy Teahan will replace doesn't really have much power to begin with (Joe Randa - career high of 16 HR).

- Look for the Royals to move Joe Randa to make room for Teahan. This move will probably garner the Royals another young player and also save them a couple million (Randa makes $3.25 million this season).

- By putting Mike Wood into the rotation right away - the Royals get themselves a crowd draw. "Come see the pitcher we got in the Beltran trade!" He is also a decent player - 11-3 with a 2.80 ERA in 90 innings at AAA this year.

- The Royals are assembling what could be a good young staff of Greinke, Gobble, Affeldt, and now Wood

- Buck may allow the Royals to move Benito Santiago once he gets off the 15 day DL. This would also be a good cost savings move by the Royals (Santiago makes $2.15 million both this year and next).

- With both Santiago and Kelly Stinnett on the 15 day DL - the Royals needed a catcher NOW! and Buck fills that need nicely.

All-in-all I would have to say that this trade worked out nicely for all involved.

Where Do Lab Rats Come From?

Where do the white lab rats and mice come from? Think about it. Are they some sort of snow rodents? I don’t think so. They are probably some sort of genetic anomalies. I think scientists should have to note that fact in their findings. Instead of reading something like, “Scientists find that excessive caffeine causes cancer in lab mice” – the report should read, “Scientists find that excessive caffeine causes cancer in genetically altered rodents.” Makes a difference on your reaction doesn’t it?

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Heh Heh - Clinton Skips the Tab

From the chapter on Bill Clinton in Presidential Leadership: Rating the Best and the Worst in the White House, edited by James Taranto and Leonard Leo - a quick story about Clinton out of office in England:
In Notting Hill he was not running for office. The locals were not his voters. But he behaved as if they were and they loved it. The old con master was in his element. He found himself in a pub and ordered drinks all round. All cheered. The news spread to the vast crowd outside, and it cheered too. Adrenaline racing, fists thumping chests, hugging and handshaking, wisecracking and slogan swapping, Clinton worked that crowd for twenty minutes, leaving it hoarse and exhausted, delighted and deeply impressed when he swept off in his limo. The only unhappy man was the bartender, who was never paid for ol' Bill's round.

Miscellaneous Thoughts

Some thoughts while I have my second cup of coffee...

On my list of songs with the word 'Time" in the title - I should have had Jim Croce's Time in a Bottle as number five... Tampa Bay's winning streak ended just before they could climb up to .500... Is there anyone out there really excited about the NBA draft anymore? I used to be able to name all the players to be taken in the first round but now I am almost just as happy to read who went where the next day in the paper... On the AFI list of the top 100 songs from US movies - Jimmy Hendrix's Star Spangled Banner from the movie Woodstock should have made the list... Holy crap! Is Sean Casey hot or what? Last night he had 2 HR and 11 total bases. How would it be possible to keep him off the All-Star team?... And now for something completely annoying... Lou Merloni played first base for the Indians last night and he hit his second HR of the season. The Angels are still waiting to get a single HR from someone playing first base for them this season...
Why The Yankees Won't be in First Come the All-Star Game

With Kevin Brown on the DL - if you took away Javier Vazquez who has been every bit as good as advertised - the remaining 4 Yankee starters of Mussina, Contreras, Lieber and Sturtze have a combined ERA of 5.18.

Just sayin'.
Eddie Murray - Not Among the Greatest

Yesterday I came up with my Top 5 Firstbasemen of All-Time and I had them listed as:

1. Lou Gehrig
2. Mark McGwire
3. Jimmy Foxx
4. Jeff Bagwell
5. Todd Helton

Now I freely admit that Todd Helton was a mistake and upon further reflection I would make the list:

1. Lou Gehrig
2. Mark McGwire
3. Jimmy Foxx
4. Jeff Bagwell
5. (tie) Jim Thome (tie) Willie McCovey

One name you won't see on that list from me is Eddie Murray. Now don't get me wrong - Murray was a great player - just not a GREAT player.

At no point in his career was Murray the most feared hitter in his league (that would have been Jim Rice, George Brett, Reggie Jackson, or Dave Winfield). Murray in my eyes was a player who was very good for a very, very long time. Longevity - not greatness was the secret of his success.

Proponents of Murray will point out that he is only one of three players to have both 3,000 hits and 500 home runs. The other members of that exclusive club they will point out are Hank Aaron and Willie Mays. Pretty exclusive company they will point out.

I agree that is exclusive company but I hope the proponents aren't trying to infer that Murray was in the same class of a Mays or an Aaron. That's ludicrisp!

Murray's membership in that club is due to longevity not greatness. Just think - Rafael Palmeiro will be joining the club of 3,000 hits and 500 HR - would anyone in their right mind try to argue that he's among the top 4 players in history?

A great player is someone like Stan Musial - who I chose for comparison because he played the exact same number of games as Murray (3,026). During their careers Musial managed 375 more hits than Murray, three more MVP Awards (3-0), 12 more All-Star Game appearances, and 737 more total bases than Murray. In fact - since Musial played over 1,000 games at firstbase - I would say that Musial would be higher on the list of All-Time firstbasemen than Murray (although Musial is number 3 on the All-Time left-fielders list).

When comparing players from different era's - a helpful stat to look at is OPS+ because it takes into effect what the league averages of the day were and thus allows you to gauge how above average a particular player happened to be. Stan Musial had an OPS+ of 159 compared to Murray's OPS+ of just 129. How does Murray compare to the other players on the firstbasemen's list?

Murray OPS+ 129
McCovey OPS+ 148
Jim Thome OPS+ 151
Bagwell OPS+ 153
Foxx OPS+ 163
McGwire OPS+ 163
Gehrig OPS+ 179

For something else to dwell on - going into this season Fred McGriff had an OPS+ of 134 and Don Mattingly had a career OPS+ of 127. The only thing that really separated Murray from these two guys was longevity - not greatness (no slight intended to either McGriff or Mattingly).

Eddie Murray was simply not a GREAT player.
Top 5 Professional Coaches of All-Time

1. Red Auerbach
2. Scottie Bowman
3. Sparky Anderson
4. Chuck Noll
5. George Halas

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Ralph Nader Analogy

Homer: You know, when I was a boy, I really wanted a catcher's mitt, but my dad wouldn't get it for me. So I held my breath until I passed out and banged my head on the coffee table. [cheerily] The doctor thought I might have brain damage.

Bart: Dad, what's the point of this story?

Homer: I like stories.

Just substitute Ralph Nader for Homer and the American people for Bart. Then pretend Nader was just asked the question of why he wants to be President.
AFI - Top 100 Songs

Here is the American Film Institute's list of the top 100 all-time songs from US movies.

A couple of observations on the list:

- they have Goldfinger listed as the top song from a Bond movie but that honor should go to Wings' Live and Let Die (which isn't even on the list)

- the theme to Shaft makes the list but the theme music from The Godfather does not? (I know that the song Shaft probably outsold the theme to The Godfather but hey - these are my observations)

- Stuck in the Middle with You by Steeler's Wheel from Resevoir Dogs should be on the list (if you saw the movie - then you know exactly what I'm talking about)

- The End by the Doors from Apoclypse Now should be on the list

- James Brown's Living in America from Rocky IV should be on the list

- The Entertainer (theme from The Sting) should be top 10 but it's not even on the list. You hear that song and you automatically think Redford and Newman

- What about the guys from Jaws singing Show Me the Way To Go Home? OK - I'll give you that one.

- The theme song from The Excorcist isn't on the list. That's a travshamockery! You hear that song and immediately you see subconscious skulls and crossbones. The name of the song is Tubular Bells by the way.

- What about the Battle Hymn of the Republic from The Right Stuff? OK - I'll give you that one too.

(Found the list via Sports & Bremertonians)
Miscellaneous Baseball Thoughts

I'll be pissed if Joe Torre tries to sneak Mike Mussina and his 4.58 ERA onto the All-Star squad. The would make a travshamockery of the whole process... The Devil Rays won another one! They are now just one win away from being at .500 for the season. I wonder if they have ever been at .500 this late in the season?... The Devil Rays have a better record than the Atlanta Braves and the Seattle Mariners. Who could have called that one?... OK - here's a prediction - the Royals finally trade Carlos Beltran and then they get hot and make it back into the hunt for the division title before falling just short... Barry Bonds is a (blank)... Bartolo Colon pitched great in last night's win over the A's. He only gave up one run in seven plus innings. Someone must have bet him a cake before the game... I can't think of a single member of the Expos that really deserves to go to the All-Star game... Paul Wilson lost his first game of the season last night and is now 7-1... Aaron Miles of the Rockies continues to make a strong case for NL ROY. Miles is hitting .322 for the season (I would also like to point out that I may have been the only person in the country who picked him as my pre-season ROY)... OK - how many finished the sentence "Barry Bonds is a (blank)" by saying "prick (or asshole)"? How many said "great hitter"? That's his legacy in a nutshell...
Top 5 First Basemen of All-Time

1. Lou Gehrig
2. Mark McGwire
3. Jimmy Foxx
4. Jeff Bagwell
5. Todd Helton
Catchers - Slip Sliding Away

Javy Lopez - April .358, May .267, June .306
Jason Varitek - April .292, May .287, June .236
Jorge Posada - April .300, May .302, June .192
Paul Lo Duca - April .416, May .327, June .265

Catchers - Walking on Sunshine

Victor Martinez - April .246, May .314, June .403
Ivan Rodriguez - April .356, May .305, June .459
The Word Spree

I got to thinking about how the phrase "killing spree" just seems so incongruent to me. To my understanding a "spree" is a fun filled excursion or day (like spree day at school). Coupling the word "spree" with the word "killing" just didn't seem right (fun filled time of murder - see what I mean?).

The definitions from seemed to bear me out:

1. A carefree, lively outing.
2. A drinking bout.
3. A sudden indulgence in or outburst of an activity. See Synonyms at binge.

But the origin of the word told a different story altogether.
[Perhaps alteration of Scots spreath, cattle raid, from Irish and Scottish Gaelic spréidh, spré, cattle, wealth, from Middle Irish preit, preid, booty, ultimately from Latin praeda. See ghend- in Indo-European Roots.]
Word History: A spending spree seems a far cry from a cattle raid, yet etymologists have suggested that the word spree comes from the Scots word spreath, “cattle raid.” The word spree is first recorded in a poem in Scots dialect in 1804 in the sense of “a lively outing.” This sense is closely connected with a sense recorded soon afterward (in 1811), “a drinking bout,” while the familiar sense “an overindulgence in an activity,” as in a spending spree, is recorded in 1849. Scots and Irish dialects also have a sense “a fight,” which may help connect the word and the sense “lively outing” with the Scots word spreath, meaning variously, “booty,” “cattle taken as spoils,” “a herd of cattle taken in a raid,” and “cattle raid.” The Scots word comes from Irish and Scottish Gaelic spréidh, “cattle,” which in turn ultimately comes from Latin praeda, “booty.” This last link reveals both the importance of the Latin language to Gaelic and a connection between cattle and plunder in earlier Irish and Scottish societies.

So a Scots clan goes on a raid into an "enemy" clan's territory to steal cattle. Violence is most likely. And after a successful raid there is much drinking and rejoicing. A spree.

I guess the phrase "killing spree" isn't incongruent.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Top 5 Songs with the Word "Time" in the Title

1. Time - Pink Floyd
2. Good Riddance (Time of Our Life) - Green Day
3. Got the Time - Joe Jackson
4. As Time Goes By - From the movie Casablanca
5. Closing Time - Semisonic

Miscellaneous Thoughts

Aggravated Groin Injury would be a good name for a band... Kaz Matsui is only a couple hundred thousand votes behind the leading short stop candidate for the NL All-Star team. What are the odds that we see a late Internet voting push from the folks in Japan and in New York to make Matsui the starter?... Combined the starting outfield for the NL (Bonds, Griffey and Sosa) have more HR than the Devil Rays have hit in their history... On this day in 1990 - Bobby Cox took over as manager of the Atlanta Braves.... Right now the odds on the Presidential election stand at Bush -$150 (you would have to risk $150 to win $100) and Kerry +$110 (risk $100 to win $110)... Do you think Joe Torre will be tempted to add personal favorite Tino Martinez to the All-Star squad?...
Quién es más atractivo?

This past weekend's US Open failed to answer golf's most pressing question:

Tiger's Elin Nordegren

Or a Phil Michelson's wife Amy?

Top 5 Movies With LA in the Title

1. LA Confidential
2. LA Story
3. To Live and Die in LA
4. Escape from LA
5. LA Bamba
Godfather Though for the Day

Michael Corleone is often thought of as a poor husband and father. He tried to be like his father Don Vito but it just didn't work out. Sure he loved his kids but it just wasn't enough. In the end his family is a mess.

How come Kaye never gets any of the blame for this? Seriously.

Keep in mind that Kaye was Michael's second choice (in fact second wife). If Appolonia had lived - do you think Michael would have had so many family problems? Do you think Appolonia would have ever had an abortion? Divorced Michael? I don't think so.

Maybe the real lesson to be learned from the Godfather trilogy is to not marry a WASP.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Air America Radio

Interesting look at what may have been fraudulent dealings at Air America Radio.

Player Comparison

Who is playing the best 3rd base in the AL right now?

Alex Rodriguez - Yankees - 48 R / 76 H / 16 HR / 39 RBI / .292 BA / .913 OPS

Hank Blalock - Rangers - 44 R / 81 H / 17 HR / 47 RBI / .303 BA / .942 OPS

I think Blalock may be more deserving of the All-Star starting position.
Fun Time Waster

Do you remember the game Battleships? Well here you go.
Ben Affleck - No Poker Rookie

Affleck won the Cal State Poker Championship and its $356k first prize. Almost more importantly (to Affleck probably) - he gets a seat at the World Poker Tour's Championship event next April at Bellagio.

You can read the Final Table Poker article by Max Shapiro by clicking here (free registration may be required).
Miscellaneous Thoughts

Some observations while I have my first cup of java...

Jason Schmidt must be hating Kevin Youkilis today. Schmidt one-hits the Red Sox and Youkilis gets the only hit. Schmidt has to be the NL front-runner for the Cy Young. Without Schmidt the Giants are waving the white flag on the season by now. It can be argued that he is more valuable to the Giants than Barry Bonds... The other day I was channel flipping and I came upon the Chevy Chase / Bill Murray scene in Caddyshack. The only thing was that it was on the Spanish language channel. I still watched it and it was still funny... Jason Schmidt has a good chance at winning the pitcher's version of the triple crown this year. He's 3rd in ERA, tied for first in wins and 2nd in strikeouts... Tampa Bay - 11 wins in a row!... Jose Lima won his 6th game of the season yesterday for the Dodgers. Mr. Lima is pictured above with his wife...

Father's Day at Pawtucket

Yesterday was a great day for me. From the moment I woke up to the moment I went to bed I had a blast.

I was awoken with breakfast in bed. An egg, bacon and cheese on a toasted bagel, with coffee, OJ and a toasted bagel with cream cheese. Then came the presents which turned out to be my uniform for the day - new shorts, a "Greatest Dad" shirt and a "Greatest Dad" hat.

After breakfast came the let's leave dad alone to read the papers time and then we were off for McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket for a family outing at the ball park.

Pawtucket is a great place to watch a game. No bad seats in the house and it is quite inexpensive when compared to Fenway Park (come to think of it - every other major league park is inexpensive when compared to Fenway). It was $30 for tickets for a family of six - how can you beat that? The movies are more expensive than that!

It was a beautiful day for baseball and the stadium was almost at capacity. I would love to see a comparison between crowd statistics between Pawtucket and the Montreal Expos because I bet the PawSox have them beat. Maybe the one disappointment was the fact that I wouldn't be able to get together with SportZine publisher and Hot Club raconteaur Jim Dawson who has season tickets but was missing the game today to go out to dinner with the family.

The opponent for the day was the Norfolk Tides (the Mets AAA team). The starters for the day were Frank Castillo (and his 82 major league wins) against Aaron Heilman (a once very highly thought of prospect for the Mets who seems destined for Brian Rose-ville).

The PawSox ended up losing the game 6-5 but the game featured six-HR and was very entertaining. Brian Daubach took the donut and looked awful at the plate (but I will give Daubach the benefit of the doubt and chalk it up to just an off day). Earl Snyder and Kelly Shoppach were the offensive standouts for the Paw Sox while Craig Brazell was the standout for the Tides. If I was Ty Wiggington - I would be nervous about Brazell because this kid can really pound the ball.

After the game the Paw Sox allowed kids on the field to run the bases with their dads. The line took about 1/2 an hour to get through but I must admit it was fun to run the bases with the kids. Once you got to home plate there was another line. This time the line was to get an autograph from a player who I didn't recognize and who my wife couldn't find in the program. The kids got an autograph anyway and just after the line I asked the usher who was guarding one of the dugouts who the player signing autographs was.

"Oh that's Joe (something something). He's the bullpen catcher. He's not in the program because - well he's not really a player," she said with a good natured - glad to be of help smile. Both my wife and I thought that this was just hilarious. (I'm not sure if we share the same warped sense of humor or if she has kinda adapted mine after all these years.)

We stopped on the way home at Appleby's for dinner (more because it was on the way home than any other reason). Dessert was an ice cream cake at home and I ended my day by reading my youngest two stories. After the two stories were read - we closed our eyes and both of us were out for the count.

The perfect end to a perfect day.
Top 5 James Bond Songs

1. Live and Let Die - Paul McCartney & Wings
2. Nobody Does it Better - Carly Simon
3. Gold Finger - Shirley Bassey
4. View to a Kill - Duran Duran
5. For Your Eyes Only - Sheena Easton

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Miscellaneous Thoughts

Some observations while I enjoy my fathers day breakfast (which came to me in bed)...

I got an email last night from someone who promised "results so good you'll need new underwear". Now I assume this was a penis enlargement deal but it also could have been something so good that I shit my pants. Now we will never know because it went straight to the trash... Nice baserunning by David Ortiz in the 9th inning yesterday... Brett Tomko was supposed to pitch yesterday for the Giants. Everytime I see his name I wonder if he is related to the poker player Dewey Tomko... In case you missed it. Ortiz got thrown out trying to stretch a single in yesterday's game. The Sox were down two and Manny was up next. Even if Ortiz made it to second - the Giants probably would have walked Manny. These are things the FIRST BASE coach should have known and HE should have stopped Ortiz from stumbling into second... Wow - Paul Byrd makes his first start of the year for the Braves and he throws 7 innings of shut-out ball. This may be just the jump start the Braves need. (Just to remind everyone - Byrd won 17 games 2 years ago for the Royals but has been out since with Tommy John Surgery)... Devil Rays - 10 in a row! Am I right in saying that they Devil Rays haven't lost since the Lightning won the Stanley Cup?... Has anyone else had problems getting into either the Yahoo fantasy leagues or GMail the past two days?...
The Passion of the Christ - Part II

The Payback of the Christ

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Miscellaneous Thoughts

I don't think it could be possible for me to be more sick of the phrase, "if you can dodge a wrench - you can dodge a ball"... Do Jewish vampires avoid crosses or Stars of David?... Homer Simpson: "Beer - now there's a temporary solution." Today I think I will seek a temporary solution (not that there is a problem)... Things that make you go hmmm...
WNBA Most Valuable Player Lauren Jackson posed nude in an Australian magazine that features Olympic athletes who will compete in Athens. The Seattle Storm forward participated in a seven-hour photo shoot last off-season in Sydney. The publication, called Black + White, includes 35 athletes and is expected to hit international newsstands next week.
I found news of Lauren stripping off her clothes at Off Wing Opinion - where Eric is probably either very drunk or nursing a hang-over as you read this (batchelor party weekend). This is what Lauren Jackson looks like for those curious... How many people had a "Lew Ford is white?" type moment after clicking on the link to a picture of Lauren Jackson?...
Funny Band Names

This list of funny band names is hilarious. Some of my favorites include:

- A Cat Born In An Oven Isn't a Cake
- Almighty Lumberjacks of Death
- The Band Formerly Known As Sausage
- Buster Hymen & the Penetrators
- The Fat Chick from Wilson Phillips
- The Flaming Donuts of Jesus
- Gee That's A Large Beetle I Wonder If It's Poisonous
- Half Man, Half Biscuit
- Henry Kissinger's Tits
- Jehovah’s Witness Protection Program
- The Morbid Tavern Apple Choir
- Not Drowning, Waving
- Orange Juice After Toothpaste
- Sodom & Gomorrah Liberation Front
- The Well Hungarians
- When People Were Shorter and Lived By the Water

I also happen to think that Cluster Bombs for Jesus would be an excellent name for a band. I was surprised that F*U*C*T didn't make the list. They were an actual band whose name had to be spelled out on the radio whenever they had a big gig.

Found this list over at
The Death Penalty

Excellent column by Mike "Baltimore Sports Guy" Paskoff on the first hand effects of the death penalty. For the record - I am pro-death penalty but I try to keep an open mind.
Jack Handy - Deep Thought for the Day

Thought of the Day: Sometimes when I reflect back on all the beer I drink I feel ashamed. Then I look into the glass and think about the workers in the brewery and all of their hopes and dreams. If I didn't drink this beer, they might be out of work and their dreams would be shattered. Then I say to myself, "It is better that I drink this beer and let their dreams come true than be selfish and worry about my liver" -- Jack Handy
Miscellaneous Thoughts

Some observations while I have my first cup of coffee...

This is one of my all-time favorite stats: Did you know that Tris Speaker actually had more triples in his career (222) than strikeouts (220)?.... Can you believe that tickets for this weekend's Giants / Red Sox series are as hard to come by as World Series tickets? I know that there are a lot of Boston transplants in the Bay area but the number of Red Sox fans at last night's game was very surprising. I guess there still wasn't enough to get a good "cheater, cheater, hormone eater" chant going whenever Bonds came to the plate though.... Jeff Maggert is in third place at the US Open. I can't help myself. Everytime I see his name I think of the way Jerry Seinfeld said Neuman. "Hello - Maggert."... If you subtracted Barry Bonds' numbers from the Giants - then they would be hitting only .254 as a team with just 52 HR... Seven teams in MLB have winning records both at home and on the road. Five are division leaders and the other two would be the AL and NL wild-cards if the season ended today... Break up the Lakers! Oh - what? Nevermind... Matt Stairs now has 9 HR and 27 RBI while hitting .274 with an OPS of .809. The guy he replaced, Raul Ibanez has 11 HR and 28 RBI while hitting .268 with an OPS of .835. However, Ibanez has had 26 more at bats and will cost $3.4 million more in salary than Stairs and because of the timing of the Ibanez signing - he also cost the Mariners a first round pick in the draft... Mike Hampton is a train-wreck. Opponents are hitting .331 against him.... Hey John "Way-back" Wasdin is still pitching in the bigs. He made his second appearance of the season yesterday for the Rangers... Break-up the Devil Rays! They've won 9 games in a row!... San Diego continues to hate interleague play - they have now lost 6 games straight...

Friday, June 18, 2004

Bill Simmons on Poker

The Bill Simmons sell-out continues. I found this column by Simmons over at (it wasn't exactly advertised - it was as if they were hiding the article away).

After reading the column I was struck by two things:

1. Simmons was afraid to play poker at a casino for 4 years until he overcame his fear. What a wussy.

2. Even though the 2004 World Series of Poker has been over for weeks - Simmons doesn't dare offer any clue about who did what in the tournament (except Cousin Sal) out of fear of cheesing off the ESPN folks who will be broadcasting the 2004 WSOP highlights in a month's time. Again what a wus.

Simmons doesn't even go into detail about how Cousin Sal did - even though there must have been some good one-liners from Sal or some interesting observations to share. I'm guessing that he didn't go into detail because the Jimmy Kimmel Show will be running the piece to coincide with ESPN's broadcast of the 2004 WSOP highlights. (I don't know this for sure because I don't watch the Kimmel Show. It's not that I live in Detroit or anything - I just don't think it's too funny. Maybe the piece already ran. I don't know.)

If you are going to write a column about poker and the poker craze - then do that but don't mention the 2004 WSOP knowing it has to be off limits because of limits placed on you by your employer. Don't complain that poker has become too mainstream and then write a column that can only appeal to people who don't realize that the WSOP is already over.

If you take the time to read his column - you'll probably agree that it was pretty crappy. I know they all can't be gems but for the past year - the good ones have been the exception not the rule.

If this column was in ESPN the Magazine and I read it in the Irish library - I would have wiped my ass with it.
Miscellaneous Thoughts

Gordon Edes has a good piece on Barry Bonds this morning in the Boston Globe. I had to quit reading half-way through because Bonds is such a jerk and I went well over my jerk quotient... On this day in 1976 - Joe Rudi and Rollie Fingers briefly became members of the Boston Red Sox but commissioner Kuhn nixed the trade on the grounds of "best interests of baseball"... Richard at Pearly Gates has a neat counter up showing the last time the Angels got a HR from a firstbaseman... You know Barry Bonds won't get close to a unanimous election to the HOF when his time comes. With the steroids thing and him being a complete asshole - right or wrong - Bonds will only get a little better than 90% of the BBWAA vote... John McCain may have officially shot down the idea of him being on the ticket with John Kerry but it seems like he hasn't completely closed the door on Dennis Kucinich. Just sayin'...
Quién es más atractivo?

This question has to be asked:

Wade Boggs

Or a goat?

Miscellaneous Thoughts

Some observations while I have my first cup of java...

I am amused at "news" articles about Andy Dick because the writers always seem unsure what to call him. So you may get "comedian-Andy Dick" or "actor-Andy Dick". I always though they should just use "annoying-Andy Dick" or more plainly "dick-Andy Dick." I can't think of anyone I have found more un-funny the past several years... Todd Van Poppel pitched 7 strong innings for the Reds last night to earn his 3rd win of the season. Many people view Van Poppel as a first round bust but of the 13 pitchers taken in the first round of the 1990 draft - only Alex Fernandez, Donovan Osborne, Steve Karsay and Mike Mussina have had better MLB success. Alex Fernandez was the first pitcher taken in 1990 but he hasn't pitched in MLB since 2000 while Van Poppel is still going strong (well going at least)... Christopher Walken news of the day... Seven shutout innings from Derek Lowe yesterday. I'll probably have more to say about that later today... You know for all the grief Pedro Martinez has taken this season - he is still within shouting distance of pitching's triple crown. Pedro is 13th in ERA, tied for 5th in wins and 1st in strikeouts. Fans in Boston have become spoiled... Fred McGriff hit his second HR of the season yesterday and now has 493 for his career (just 7 away from the magic 500). For those McGriff detractors out there - I would point out that Crime Dog's 2 HR are 2 more than what the Angels have gotten from 1st base this year... Eric Gagne has the same number of saves (16) as Jose Mesa. Who knew?... You have to think that San Diego is hating interleague play...
Shrek 2 Review

I went to see Shrek 2 with the kiddos on Wednesday night. I came away thinking that it was a very good movie but just not on par with the original. The first Shrek movie was a satire a comedy and a love story all wrapped into one. You left the movie theater after seeing the first one with a good feeling in the pit of your stomach.

The second Shrek movie comes off as sorta "next in a series of wacky adventures" and you may leave the theater with a smile on your face but it just wasn't the same.

If you saw Rocky in the theater - then you remember the great feeling of being able to take on the world you had when leaving the theater. None of the subsequent Rocky movies were able to duplicate that same original good feeling but that didn't stop them from making four sequels. The same will be true of Shrek. The sequels will never truly equal the original but that won't stop the studio from pumping out the movies (Shrek 3 and Shrek 4 are already on the drawing boards - wait do CGI folks use drawing boards?).

Probably the most enjoyable thing about the movie is picking out the subtle references like the sign for "Burger Prince", the theater showing "Lethal Arrow 4", etc.

At the end of the movie there is a brief "In Memory of William Steig" who passed away this October at age 95. I didn't recognize the name but Steig was the creator of the Shrek characters (just thought you should know in case you had the same question).

I will also point out that there is no extra scene at the end of the credits - so wait till the end of the credits if you want but all you'll get is credits.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Miscellaneous Thoughts

I'm about 6% through James Joyce's Ulysses and I must say that Jack Keroac or Allen Ginsburg have nothing on James Joyce. Uylsses is literature on acid before there was acid... Fear and Loathing in Dublin?... Today was a day of endings. It was the end of school for my four kids and my daughter's team lost in the playoffs so it was also the end of softball season... I am amazed at how many Red Sox fans were in Colorado. The Red Sox seemed to get more applause than the home team Rockies... Everytime I'm at a kid's softball or baseball game - I think of the abusive dad skit on SNL starring Will Ferrell... On this date in 1960 - Ted Williams hit his 500th HR in Cleveland... Did you ever sit in church and wonder who the hottest women of the bible were?... Happy 49th birthday to Joe Charboneau and his bottle opening eye-socket... Tomorrow is the first day of summer vacation for the kids - so they get to stay up late tonight...
Hidalgo Trade

Richard Hildago has been on the trading block for a long, long time and now he has finally been moved. The Mets will get Hidalgo and $4 million - meaning that the Mets will only be paying Hidalgo $6 million for the rest of his contract, unless....

Hidalgo has a $15 million option for 2005. Given the way things work out for the Mets - can't you see Hidalgo getting hot over the final 2/3 of the season and putting the Mets into a situation where there is pressure to take the option? Here's the scenerio - Hidalgo gets hot, the Mets can't sign Carlos Beltran or Maglio Ordonez and the front office cannot come up empty handed so they exercise the 2005 option. Hidalgo then puts on 400 pounds.

The Astros got David Weathers in return from the Mets. This works good for the Astros because they got a needed set-up man, they save about $4 million, they rid themselves of a clubhouse dark cloud in Hidalgo and they send a message to Jimy Williams about who really is in charge in the organization.
AstrosMike Reply

In an earlier post - I replied to AstrosMike's email about some of the players I may have overlooked in my list of the best pitchers since WWII. I think it is only right to give Mike the last word.
Hi Chris!

To defend my memorables, Reynolds was Allie "Superchief" Reynolds, not Shane. Allie was 7-2 in the WS with four saves in 15 appearances (9 starts) and played on six winning WS teams for the Yanks from 1947-53. His career regular season record was 182-107, 3.30, with 49 saves.

Burdette won 203, going 157-95 from 1953-61, including a no-hitter. He was one of the great spitballers. His 1957 WS vs. the Yanks was incredible with three complete games including two shutouts and a 0.67 ERA. Spahn and Burdette preceded the Koufax and Drysdale combo.

Face was 18-1 in relief in 1959. He would come into the games in the 7th and 8th innings, even with his team down by a run or two, so he was part vulture that year. In those days, there was no such official thing as a "save" in the stats. That stat came in the 60's. He was one of the original split-fingered fastball pitchers with his forkball. In the 1960 WS, in four games, he had three saves of two innings or more and would have been the winner in Game 7 had not Friend and Haddix blown it for him in the ninth, leading up to Maz' HR. He won almost 100 games in relief with almost 200 saves.

Maglie was 119-62 (.657), 3.15 in his career. He was suspended for four years for jumping to the Mexican League in 1946 where he excelled. Add that to his three years in the military during WWII and he almost lost seven years. He joined the Giants at age 33 in 1950, winning 114 games from then until his 1958 retirement. He pitched for all three NY teams. He pitched a no-hitter at age 39 for Brooklyn.

Newcombe was 149-90 (.623) in his career. He was 1949 Rookie of the Year with five shutouts. He missed two plus seasons to military service during the Korean War, that probably cost him close to forty wins. When he came back in 1954 he wasn't sharp (9-8) after winning 20 in 1951. In 1955 and 1956 he was incredible going 20-5 and 27-7 (Cy Young). He was an excellent hitter with a .271 BA and .339 OBP. He would pinch hit when a lefty hitter wasn't available late in a game. He started having alcohol problems after that and his career went down the tubes. He counseled baseball alcoholics while working for the Dodgers in later years.

Quién es más atractivo?

This is one of the top debates among males of a certain age. I have very strong feelings on this one but I won't tip my hand and bias the debate. Without further ado - the women of WKRP in Cincinnati:

Jennifer (played by Loni Anderson)

Or Bailey Quarters (played by Jan Smithers)?

Miscellaneous Thoughts

Some observations while I have my first cup of coffee...

Dave Barry looks at the current poker craze. Barry is normally very funny but he just doesn't get poker. I should also mention that there are fewer things more purely American than poker. The game of poker is woven through the very fabric of our history - so to bash poker is to be anti-American, there is no people more anti-American than the French - ergo Dave Barry is French... When searching for something on the web - always click on the "printer friendly version" because it almost always gets rid of the ads... The Red Sox should make Derek Lowe watch film of each of Carl Pavano's starts to show him how a guy facing free-agency is supposed to pitch. Last night Pavano threw a complete game shut-out against the White Sox to improve to 7-2 on the season (with a 2.81 ERA). Unfortunately - given Lowe's low self esteem - he would probably view the films with the idea that the Red Sox are making him watch film of the guy who will be replacing him next year (which isn't a bad idea)... Richard at Pearly Gates points out that the Angels still have yet to get a HR from anyone who has played 1st base this year. That's incredible.... Talk about conficted feelings. I'm very happy for Tanyon Sturtze (the pride of St. Peter-Marian CCHS) who pitched 6 innings, only allowed 3 runs and improved to 2-0 on the season but his win for the Yankees allowed the Evil Empire to move 5.5 games ahead of the Red Sox... If the Astros are to make any sort of run for the playoffs - they need to upgrade their fifth starter. Tim Redding (3-5 and 5.30 ERA) just won't get the job done... I have to admit that I have been completely wrong about Jason Schmidt. I expected him to have a very bad year and instead he would have to be considered a front-runner for the NL Cy Young Award... I would expect San Diego to move either veteran Ryan Klesko or youngster Xavier Nady in the near future...

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Mark Cuban Observation

Cuban has a number of observations about the Pistons win last night but this one has a lot of resonance with me:
Will NBA announcers always talk in generalities and stereotypes? Doc Rivers was great, but my goodness, could he be any more politically correct? Could he and Al say possibly say things with less substance? I am so tired of hearing about the same 5 topics and no details, such as this team came out with more energy, that team hit the open man. Compare this to football. There isn’t a football fan who can’t name at least 5 or 6 plays that teams run. Can the casual basketball fan name a single play NBA teams run? Do they even know NBA teams call plays almost every possession?

The fan exposure to strategy in the NBA is almost non-existent. If it doesn't have a catchy name like "Hack-A-Shaq" - it doesn't get mentioned. Compare that to football and baseball where the average fan can tell you the general offensive and defensive schemes of the coaches. When the Celtics and Jim O'Brien were at an impass this year - it was mainly due to O'Brien's (really Dick Harter's) defensive scheme of fronting the post which Danny Ainge thought was being exploited by the opposition and was now a detriment. How many NBA writers mentioned this in their articles on O'Brien leaving Boston?
I love James Lileks!

This picture is just one of the funniest things I have ever seen on the Internet. I can't explain why I find it so amusing.

The picture was part of his Stagworld feature. Have I mentioned that I love Lileks?

Top 5 Marion's (or Marian's of all-time)

1. Maid Marian - from Robin Hood fame
2. John Wayne (real name Marion Michael Morrison)
3. Marion Cunningham - Richie's mom on Happy Day's (played by Marion Ross)
4. Marion Berry (crack addict mayor of DC)
5. (tie) Marion Jones - track star/ steroids user and (tie) Francis Marion - Revolutionary War hero and basis of Mel Gibson's character in The Patriot

(Jut missing the cut - Brock Marion, Marian Anderson and Shawn Marion)
Happy Bloomsday!

Today marks the 100th anniversary of Leopold Bloom's fictional adventures on June 16, 1904 which were the basis of James Joyce's masterpiece Ulysses. Many people (including Ernest Hemingway) consider Ulysses to be the greatest work of 20th century fiction.

The book begins:
Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed. A yellow dressinggown, ungirdled, was sustained gently behind him by the mild morning air. He held the bowl aloft and intoned:
- Introibo ad altare Dei

I feel it is my duty as an Irishman to finally read this masterpiece and I will let you know what I think once I am done (because that is what I do here).
Revisiting Lewis & Clark

Outside Magazine has long been one of my favorites (I think they have the best young writers anywhere) and I just realized that they are also available on the web at

Recently they had an acticle by John Fox that retraced the steps of Lewis & Clark on the upper Missouri river (registration may be required). I just loved this particular passage:
The highs and lows of our trip offered no comparison to those experienced by Lewis and Clark. They gnawed on greasy beaver tail; we savored cornmeal-encrusted salmon. They were allotted a gill (four ounces) of "ardent spirits" per man daily; we allotted ourselves, well, more. They suffered from boils, dysentery, and dislocated bones; I broke a nail opening a beer can.
Miscellaneous Thoughts

Some observations while I have my first cup of coffee...

Last night when Chauncy Billups raised the MVP trophy - thousands of people in New England simultaneously said, "Fuck you Rick Pitino"... The San Francisco Chronicle has an article about Tiger Woods whose headline proclaims that Woods wants to return to being a "majordomo". Not sure if the folks at the Chronicle are aware that "majordomo" means servant (like a butler). Why would the ultra-PC Chronicle say that a guy who is half-black wants to return to servitude? In the words of Inigo Montoya - "You keep using that word but I do not think it means what you think it means"... Speaking of the US Open - I admit to being so immature that I chuckle whenever I hear someone say "Shinnecock"... The Mets fired their batting coach and replaced him with Don Baylor. How long will it take for one of the NY writers to post a column suggesting that Baylor should also replace Art Howe? I'd put the over/under in days.... The Mariners were shutout last night and are only hitting .260 as a team for the year.... The folks at the Chronicle would probably defend their use of the word "majordomo" by saying that in the "majors" Woods used to "dom"-inate. Get it? Well that's just a travshamockery... Jose Lima (pictured above with his wife) won his fifth game of the season last night for the Dodgers... I keep waiting for Lyle Overbay to turn back into a pumpkin but it never happens. For the last seven days Overbay is hitting a blistering .478 with 1 HR and 7 RBI... So did more "experts" predict the Berlin Wall coming down under Reagan or the Detroit Pistons beating the Lakers in the finals under Larry Brown?...

I feel uptight on a Saturday night
Nine o' clock, the radio's the only light
I hear my song and it pulls me through
Comes on strong, tells me what I got to do
I got to

Get up
Everybody's gonna move their feet
Get down
Everybody's gonna leave their seat
You gotta lose your mind in Detroit Rock City

Get up
Everybody's gonna move their feet
Get down
Everybody's gonna leave their seat

Getting late
I just can't wait

Ten o'clock and I know I gotta hit the road
First I drink, then I smoke
Start the car, and I try to make the midnight show

Get up
Everybody's gonna move their feet
Get down
Everybody's gonna leave their seat

Movin' fast, doin' 95
Hit top speed but I'm still movin' much too slow
I feel so good, I'm so alive
I hear my song playin' on the radio
It goes

Get up
Everybody's gonna move their feet
Get down
Everybody's gonna leave their seat

Twelve o'clock, I gotta rock
There's a truck ahead, lights starin' at my eyes
Oh my God, no time to turn
I got to laugh 'cause I know I'm gonna die

Get up
Everybody's gonna move their feet
Get up
Everybody's gonna leave their seat

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Rating the Great Pitchers - Feedback

The great AstrosMike (one of the top NFL handicappers in the country) sent me a quick note about some of the pitchers I may have missed:

Some other possibilities that you may have overlooked or never saw:

Hall of Famers - Wynn, Lemon

Memorables - Newcombe, Reynolds, Gossage, Burdette, John, Face, Pierce, Lyle, Sutter, Quisenberry, Maglie

Mike G.

I though it was worthwile to address the names that Mike brought up. (I should also fess up and acknowledge that I pretty much completely overlooked most of these guys and as usual I bow to the sports historical knowledge of Mike.)

Hall of Famers - Wynn and Lemon. Completely forgot about Early Winn and Bob Lemon. Wynn did have 300 wins but it took 23 seasons and his ERA+ was just 106. Bob Lemon was inducted into the HOF as a player (but I think it because he was such a gentleman as a manager that put him over the top). It took 18 years to get Lemon elected to the HOF (Lemon had 207 wins over 13 season - including seven 20 win seasons).

Memorables - Don Newcombe (one great season in 1956 when he won the MVP and Cy Young but he only played 10 years - obviously he wasn't memorable to me but I would put him on the list); Shane Reynolds (umm... no. I know you're an Astros fan but he was no more memorable than Al Nipper); Goose Gossage (310 saves - many people would argue that he deserves to be in the HOF but I'm not one of those people. I do agree that he should have been on the memorable list); Lew Burdette (again - I have to say no on this one - career ERA+ was less than the league average); Tommy John (I should have remembered Tommy John and a very good case could be made for him being in the HOF); Roy Face (again no); Billy Pierce (before my time but I could see putting him on the memorable list); Sparky Lyle (Danny fucking Cater - yeah I guess I find Sparky memorable); Bruce Sutter (excellent case can be made for Sutter for the HOF - at the very least he's on the memorable list); Dan Quisenberry (more dominating than Gossage or Lyle but he played in KC - on the memorable list) and Sal Maglie (more memorable for his nickname of "The Barber" than for being HOF caliber - kinda like Al Hyrboskie).

A bunch of other pitchers could have been mentioned like David Cone, Lee Smith, Jeff Readon, and Dave Righetti but I wanted to focus on the top of the list more than the bottom of the list.
Miscellaneous Thoughts's Page 2 will be dedicated to the best of Ralph Wiley today and I'm willing to bet that many of the Page 2 regulars like Jason Whitlock and Bill Simmons do tributes to him on Wednesday. That's all well and fine but on a practical level I think it would be better if ESPN gave the ad revenue for Page 2 from those two days to a college fund for Wiley's two children... Question for Nancy Kerigan; "What skater did you admire most growing up?" Answer from Nancy: "I watched the guys more than the girl[s] because I enjoyed their strength and their triple jumps. Mark Cockerell inspired me to do the triple-triple when I was fifteen." Nancy just loves Cockerell!... Lee Elia's tirade never grows old... Nancy Kerrigan's dream breakfast would include a fresh croissant, fruit, cheese and tomatos. Tomatos for breakfast? Oh Nancy you rebel... Reese Schonfeld - a co-founder of CNN - has called for greater scrutinization of government news releases from various agencies. Schonfeld wants better fact checking which I think is a good idea. I also think it would be a good idea if CNN (given their history) had to put a disclaimer on all their news feeds that clarifies whether kickbacks were paid to tyrants in order to gain the access for the remote broadcast or whether the reporter has to "report" to foreign government minders before making on-air comments... Nancy Kerrigan - fish killer! "I do not have any pets. We travel too much. It is hard enough to keep a house clean with a five year old, never mind having a pet. Although, we had many goldfish, which have all passed on to a fish heaven."
Rating the Great Pitchers

Over at - I have a column up rating the great pitchers since WWII. Take a look and let me know what you think.

Did I miss anyone? Did I have anyone rated different than what you believe?
Player Comparison

Atlanta signed John Thomson after losing Greg Maddux to free agency. Lets take a look at how they compare so far this year;

Maddux - 5-5, 13 starts, 83.1 IP, 4.10 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, .274 BAA

Thomson - 5-4, 13 starts, 77.1 IP, 4.31 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, .306 BAA

Maddux is the better pitcher (a first ballot Hall of Famer) but at this stage of his career his edge is only slight over Thomson and probably not worth the $4.5 million difference in player salary.
Top 5 Catchers in Baseball

1. Ivan Rodriguez - Detroit
2. Jorge Posada - Yankees
3. Mike Piazza - Mets
4. Jason Varitek - Boston
5. Johnny Estrada - Braves

Monday, June 14, 2004

Flag Day

My daughter said at supper that today was Flag Day. I completely forgot. For a history of Flag Day - click here.

Ralph Wiley RIP 1952-2004

This news was nothing less than a shock.

Wiley was 52 and died of heart-failure. He is survived by his son, Colen, and daughter, Maggie; his mother, Dorothy Brown, of Washington, D.C.; and his fiancé, Susan Peacock.

My condolences to the family.
Miscellaneous Thoughts

At this time last year - Nomar Garciaparra was leading the AL in triples with 11. So far this year - Nomar has oly 2 hits total for the Red Sox... Pete Rose may not have had a single season when he was THE best player on his team. Back in Cincinnati he had Bench, Morgan and a couple of monster George Foster seasons to contend with and with the Phillies he had Mike Schmidt and Steve Carlton. This probably means nothing – I just found it to be interesting... Keep this in the back of your mind: Mitt Romney will be the Republican Candidate for President in 2008. He has excellent name recognition from his work on the Salt Lake Olympics and he has bases of support in the Rust belt (his dad was Governor of Michigan), the East (he is Governor of Massachusetts) and the West (he owns Utah after saving Salt Lake from humiliation). He also will not have any trouble raising money... Is it me or is Sergio Garcia really starting to look like a young Bruno Kirby (circa Godfather II)?...
Bill Simmons on OJ

The Sports Guy wrote an opus on the OJ trial. This piece is classic Simmons - thousands and thousands of words, thoughtfully done and humorously entertaining. The piece hopefully signifies that the Sports Guy is truly back!

As far as the piece is concerned - I must admit that I was never one to follow the OJ trial much. I remember stopping off from work with a friend to have a beer when I first learned of the murders. I asked my friend if he thought OJ did it and my friend replied, "In these cases it's always the husband."

I remember vaguely going to a pre-nup dinner when the Bronco chase started. After dinner we went back to the home of the parents of the groom and the chase was still going on. The guys weren't too interested in a low speed chase so we went out back to drink and throw some horseshoes.

I have vivid memories of the Challenger disaster and of 9/11 but of the OJ trial - just vague recollections. The whole thing didn't engross me the way I guess it did for Simmons. (And I don't think I'm alone there - most of my friends didn't watch or read much about it.)

Where was I when the verdict was announced? Couldn't tell you because I can't remember. It just wasn't that big a deal to me.

When I read Simmons piece - I was left wondering why there was no mention of Klaus Von Bulow (who was the murder trial of the century before OJ). Why no mention of Edward Bennett Williams who was the Michael Jordan of defense attorneys (and a Holy Cross grad just like Simmons)? Why no mention of the birth of Court TV and the change from basic to digital cable with 150+ channels?

Don't get me wrong - it was a great piece of work by Simmons but great pieces are supposed to make you think and ask questions.
Quién es más atractivo?

Thinking about Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack got me thinking about Frank's wife Ava Gardner who was a big star in her own right. They were the glamour couple of the time -much like a later Sean Penn / Madonna match. So the question is;

Ava Gardner

Or Madonna?

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Miscellaneous Thoughts

Old friend Jeff Fassero is still pitching in the big leagues. In fact his 5.24 ERA is much better than either Sidney Ponson or Derek Lowe (or Bartolo Colon for that matter). Fassero looks even better when you consider his road ERA is just 3.09 (over 10.00 at Coors Field). Don't get me wrong - I wouldn't want Fassero on my staff - I just wanted to point out that he's still pitching and pitching better than many "stars"... If the Twins' Corey Koskie gets a hit - chances are it is for extra bases. So far this season 45% of Koskie's hits have been for extra bases (of course the flip side is that he is only hitting .247)... Raise you hand if you can remember Jose Offerman's hot start to begin the season. Jose is now just hitting just .222... I'm pretty shocked that the Boston Globe didn't subject us to an opus from Doris Kearns Goodwin on this weekend's Red Sox / Dodgers series...
Marital Disbliss?

A happy marriage is said to be a state of marital bliss. If that's the case - then is a unhappy marriage a state of marital disbliss? Unbliss?

Normally I wouldn't comment on the status of someone else's marriage because it is patently unfair (walk a mile in someone else's shoes and all that) but I can't shake the observation that Rush Limbaugh is getting divorced from Marta (his wife of 10 years) meanwhile Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston are set to renew their wedding vows after 12 years of marriage.

I just found this observation to be amusing, ironic and just plain funny. (Does that make me a bad person?)
Time Waster

An oldy but a goodie (by oldie - I mean that it is months old). I have to believe that this is the result of someone betting you couldn't make a song out of just three words (badger, mushroom and snake).

The new version is even better. Soccer (OK football) Badgers rule!
Favorite Presidential Photo

The above photo with Harry Truman at the piano (he was quite good) and a young (19 I think) Lauren Bacall on top of the piano is among my favorite Presidential photos. Harry caught hell from his wife Bess when she saw the picture.
Homer Simpson Discusses Sunday School Teachings

Marge: Lisa, Bart, what did you two learn in Sunday School today?
Lisa: The answers to deep theological questions.
Bart: Yeah, among other things, apes can't get into heaven.
Homer: What? Those cute little monkeys? That's terrible. Who told you that?
Bart: Our teacher.
Homer: I can understand how they wouldn't let in those wild jungle apes, but what about those really smart ones who live among us? Who roller-skate and smoke cigars?