To Fuss is Human, To Rant, Divine!!

Location: Vienna, Virginia, United States

A graduate of Dartmouth College (2005) and Washington and Lee University School of Law (2010). These are my personal blogs, and the musings expressed on them do not reflect the positions of my employer. They do reflect my readings, thoughts, and aspirations, which I figure is good enough.

Sunday, February 27, 2005


Beyonce just performed with Josh Groban, so by my count she's 5/5 tonight.

And btw, Prince, or the Artist Formerly Known as the *Sign* Formerly Known as Prince Now Again Known As Prince is still Fucking Money.

And then

Wasn't Beyonce's impression of Antonio Banderas dead on?

Absolutely spectacular. Betcha she does that with Jay-Z all the time.

I'm going to go wash my mouth out with soap now.

That's What You Think

I'm watching the Oscars for no apparent reason, and I've noticed something.

There have been three performances of the songs nominated for Best Song.

Beyonce for some reason, has performed all of them. And she'll probably perform the other two as well.

And before you say "Wait, that wasn't Beyonce performing "Accidentally In Love", that was a balding Adam Duritz," let me say this.

That's why she's Beyonce. She's good like that. French? No problem (kind of). Phantom of the Opera? Sure! Freaky looking guy that once dated Courtney Cox and Jennifer Aniston? Piece of Cake.


All this hype over Barry Bonds and steroids. And for what? The integrity of the game? Keeping it clean?

Not really. It can all be summed up in three numbers. 7. 5. 5. As Barry gets closer to Hammerin' Hank's record, everyone is up in arms about the purity of the game, about the now endangered significance of Hank Aaron beating Babe Ruth's record and Barry assuming the position, for all intents and purposes, as the greatest home run hitter ever. (We can get into the fact that Barry is a black man that no one likes, while Aaron was a charismatic icon, but that's another blog for another day.)

Let's just say that if Wilton Guerrero was suddenly exposed as a juicer, you wouldn't hear another word about it. This is all about juicing, and the supposed results of said juicing. Juice Juice Juice.

I thought that was OJ Simpson. Nevermind.

Barry's record will taint baseball. At least that's what we're supposed to think. He taints it like he taints a media session. Taint taint taint.

He used something that's for sure. The clear? Check. The cream? Check. Clomid? Maybe. HGH? You never know. Uncle Vic's Testicle-Shrinking, Undetectable, Muscle-building Elixir? Probably. What's it mean though?

Enough apparently for our Social Security Privatizing, White House Press Credential Dropping, War-Loving Government to threaten involvement. Don't make me laugh.

I'm not convinced we need to worry. That there is, or ever was, anything to worry about. The way the game is going right now, Barry's record will stand for another 15 years. No more. We have Alex "Slappy" Rodriguez on a pace to break 800 in 12 years. If A-Rod can play until he's forty, he'll pass Barry. It's pure speculation at this point, but has anyone done as much as quickly? Maybe Albert Pujols. Miguel Cabrera should reach 150 before he's 25 at the rate he's going. The point is that it's not just Barry. And steroids doesn't explain all of it either.

Better conditioning, tighter balls (no, not the scrotal kind, the baseballs), smaller parks, the DH, etc. etc. Everything about today's game encourages increased offense, performance enhancing steroids or not. Even the way we analyze and rate players. No one cares if Adam Dunn strikes out 195 times. What matters are his OBP and his home runs.

So I say let Jose Canseco enjoy his last ten seconds in the spotlight. I think steroids are dangerous, and the MLB should be ashamed for ignoring it, but I don't think there needs to be a witch hunt, starting and ending with The Talented Jerk, Barry Bonds.

Let Barry have his day. Let him hit another 65 or so in the next two years, end up with around 770. The way things are going, his reign will last a decade or so.

That said, we shouldn't be writing Bonds off so fast. Sure, his head looks a few sizes larger now than it did when he was a scrawny kid working his groovy in the Pirates organization, but shave off some of these home runs, and Barry is still the only member of the 500 HR 500 steal club. Pretty elite company there. What with Barry and . . . Barry. One can make a good case on the numbers that he's the best baseball player ever, steroids or no.

Ruth was the greatest because when he started hitting home runs, he hit more than entire teams. Now I can't say Bonds ever did that, but his production over the past 20 years has been absolutely unparalleled by another other batter. That's a debate to be had over a couple of nice beers though, not an issue that needs to be at the center of everyone's attention as we approach the 2005 season.

Of course, that's what it's all about. Pure numbers are superficial, but an easy way to compare. Always has been that way, always will be. That's why there was an asterisk around Roger Maris' 61. That's why people wondered about placing one next to Ichiro's hits total last year. Nevermind the fact that you can't compare Ichiro to Sisler, just like you can't compare Barry to Ruth, or even Aaron. The game is different, it changes, whether its a dead ball era or a live ball era, or the spitball is legal or not, etc etc, and any sportswriter that would have you believe otherwise is trying to make an extra buck off of nostalgia and purity.

As for me, I'll continue watching the game that grown men play for millions a year, that make grown men on and off the field act like idiots, and sometimes rejoice in that idiocy. I'll enjoy watching Juan Pierre lay down a nice bunt, and David Ortiz launching a home runs over the Coke Bottle above the Green Monster. I'll enjoy each Ichiro hit as he chases .400 this year, each Manny Ramirez fielding hiccup in left field, and each base Carl Crawford steals.

I'll enjoy Greg Maddux's consistency, Randy Johnson's freak of nature intimidation, Rick Ankiel's backstop strikes and Barry Zito's curveballs. I'll watch Zack Grienke or some other young pitcher make everyone that says that there will never be another 300 game winner after Glavine eat their socks.

I'll continune writing about this game because I like writing about it, about what I see, about what I like and don't like. But I'll let the BBWA worry about Hall of Fame credentials and whatnot. The Hall of Fame is a piece of crap anyway. Abner Doubleday? Give me a break. I'll take a nice doubleheader anyday over a tour of the Hall.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

sUper, thanks for asking

A little more news on the Ugueth Urbina front.

His mother was rescued a few days ago, and Ugueth reported to Spring Training. Fine and dandy. And this segment was in an article today.

"In Lakeland, Fla., Ugueth Urbina said he planned to report to spring training, even if his kidnapped mother still was being held. He didn't want to show her captors that he was weak. Now that Maura Villarreal is safe following a rescue operation Friday, Urbina said an indescribable weight has been lifted from his shoulders.

``I feel like I'm 18 years old,'' the Detroit Tigers reliever said, speaking publicly about the ordeal for the first time.

Villarreal, 54, was rescued by Venezuelan police during an 8-hour raid that left two of her abductors dead, two captured and seven others as fugitives. Police described the kidnappers as Venezuelan and Colombian drug smugglers.

She was held for 5 months, 18 days in a camp that police called a drug-traffickers' hideout in Venezuela's southern mountains.

Urbina and his two brothers, Ulmer and Ulises, were at a loss. "

Ugueth's bravery and their family's good fortune aside, who names their three kids Ugueth, Ulmer and Ulises? Does Ugueth have any sisters?

Una? Uma? Usanne?

Madre de Dios, estan Ugueth, Ulmer y Ulises!! Los Hermanos Urbina!!

Oh, and in other baseball news, Jason Kendall just slipped a couple of spots on my fantasy draft cheat sheet.

" 'In baseball today, everybody changes teams,' he said. `I couldn't tell you what 30 times 30 is, but I can tell what I threw Todd Helton three years ago on a 2-1 count.'"

Umm . . . some lesser primates can multiply thirty and thirty, Jason. I didn't know that the Oakland A's were employing lemurs nowadays. I don't think that's what Moneyball was about at least.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Fun with Pronouns

I love it when journalists make little errors like this that don't get caught in the editorial process:

'Daddy' heckler
irks Pedro


PORT ST. LUCIE - Pedro Martinez smiled and waved to fans who cheered him as he walked toward the clubhouse from his car yesterday morning. But when one aggressive heckler blurted, "Who's your daddy," Martinez wasn't amused and grabbed his crotch.

See if you can catch the error. Read it out loud if you have to. It's good for a laugh or three, I think, although I would bet that the guy whose "crotch Martinez grabbed" isn't attending any Mets games this year. Or laughing.

I know I'm nitpicking and being a grammar nazi, but if Mr. Rubin had turned this into his editor with the line "But when one aggressive heckler blurted, "Who's your daddy," Martinez grabbed his crotch", I'm sure the editor would have done a double-take. And edited the statement to make it say "Martinez wasn't amused and made an obscene gesture."

I also feel that aside from the humor value, this is the kind of thing that gets misquoted. Next thing you know, people will be saying that Piazza isn't the only gay Met. The rumors of Piazza's homosexuality, of course, were quelled when Piazza married a Playmate. Or was that Jeff Garcia?

No, Jeff Garcia is only dating one. Ok. In any case, neither man is gay. We think.

Can't say the same for that Pedro though. Grabbing heckler crotches? Next thing you know, he's going for Mr. Met, and then Kris Benson . . . What would Anna Benson do? Would she sleep with Pedro if Pedro was the one that Kris cheated with in the first place? These are things best left uninvestigated, I feel.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Flipping Out

There's been a lot of talk lately about the viability of the comics syndicates. Some people, like Scott Kurtz, of PVP, say that there's no reason to have them around anymore.

Kurtz then offered to run his strips in any newspaper that would have it for free, as long as the paper would provide a weblink for his site. His reasoning is that the added site traffic and increased marketing and sales would more than pay for his way of life. Considering he gets by fine right now, between his comics and a nice deal with Image Comics, I'd say he's got a good point.

He's caught some flack from people like Wiley, who draws "Non Sequitur", but that really just draws a whole lot more attention to his cause. Wiley inexplicably devoted two strips to mocking Kurtz, and it seems to me that devoting valuable newspaper space to Kurtz's cause (in a way that only people already aware of it would understand, I might add; if you were confused about a Wiley comic in the past few months, that was likely the reason), would only serve to inflame people on Kurtz's side and confuse Wiley's everyday reader.

I'll link to them if I can find them, but considering Universal Comics has a limited archive for people without subscription, I probably won't be able to find either of them.

But if anything shows the decline of long-time comic syndicate staples, it's today's Garfield

Now, this, the Feb 21st Garfield, appears to suggest that Jon Arbuckle is either some kind of Satanist that enjoys sacrificing goats, or that goats like living in furnaces. I don't know what to make of it. Someone explain this to me.

Seriously. What. The. Heck. I know Jim Davis has a squad of people to draw his comics and stuff, but I have the feeling he's hired one too many jaded kids, or Satanists, or jaded Satanists. Either that or he's been chasing the dragon.

Of course, comics like "Peanuts" can rerun their contents forever, and it will never get old, but Charles Schulz was something special. For instance, this strip remains funny and will always be funny.

Schulz didn't need politically commentary, although he often included some (his NRA / Gun license strip remains the most blatant comic on gun control I've ever read).

He didn't need kitchy relationship humor, or cats kicking dogs off tables or sending other cats to Abu Dhabi.

Schulz was so good at what he did to the point that today, years after his passing, Peanuts is one of the few strips I will read on a consistent basis on Yahoo's comic page.

Boondocks, Foxtrot, Doonesbury, and Get Fuzzy pretty much round it out. And from today's Garfield, I'm not sure I'll ever be reading THAT comic ever again. Again.

What. The. Heck.

Oh yeah. RIP, Hunter S. Thompson. Your lunacy will be seriously missed.

I would really rather have heard that J.D. Salinger had shot himself. I don't think I would have minded as much. Hunter S. Thompson was a truly wacky, tripped out guy that had a way with words.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

A Mass for 24 Hr. Mass Media

CNN used to make me sad. Now I feel nothing for it as I watch it crap on its once pristine image. It used to be a fairly legitimate news network, where one could tune in to watch the World's Scariest Genocides or Today in British Monarchical Scandals, or every once in a while, even something as trite as Gambling with the Stock Market. But then it all went south. And by south, I mean from Atlanta (where CNN is based) to Hell.

Now they seem to cover celebrities and deliver random crap news that I'm pretty sure is only news because it was printed with the CNN letterhead and handed to a poor, drone-like excuse for a newscaster. Michael Jackson coverage? I get it, he's a freak. Brad and Jennifer? I get it, they're rich and attractive.

And why bother with Fox News when you have CNN? Everyone knows that Fox News is a vehicle for delivering an ultraconservative Christian agenda. But CNN should be better than a bunch of screaming idiots who don't know how to express opinions that stray from Republican or Democratic norms.

It was wonderful to see John Stewart go on Crossfire and tear them apart, enough that they got the point and cancelled Crossfire. But CNN is still only a little more objective than al-Jazeera, and that's kind of sad.

That's not where this blog is going, by the way. That's pretty much my opinion on CNN. If it's not inflammatory, black or white, A or B, crap it's who is fucking who in Hollywood. And if I want the latter, I'll watch Talk Soup (is that show still on? does anyone watch E! anymore? did anyone watch E! ever?)

I'd like to instead talk about another major source of news that is now falling into the dangerous territory of complacency - ESPN.

I used to love watching ESPN and reading their articles, especially the baseball articles. They were insightful and provided a lot of real news about teams and players. Now, it all seems like a lot of Red Sox vs. Yankees crap or stuff about how Kevin Millar is funny guy.

For example, go to the website and check out Buster Olney's AL or NL outlooks. He breaks down the teams one at a time with 4 headings. They are as follows: "What Must Go Right", "What Could Go Wrong" "X-Factor" and "Numerically Speaking". He's obviously taking no time on these, and it shows.

My question is this. What the hell is the difference between what must go right and what could go wrong? If his example of what must go right is say, Vladamir Guerrero has to hit well, isn't that also something that belongs in what could go wrong? This boggles the mind. If what must go right doesn't go right, is it worse than what could go wrong? Or not? It's enough to make you cross-eyed.

For example, for the Red Sox, he gives these points

What Must Go Right: Matt Clement must pitch well

What Could Go Wrong: The Red Sox's aging players might show their age.

I could just as switch them and write the following

What Must Go Right: The Red Sox's aging players, like Trot Nixon, need to have a healthy season so the Red Sox are not just Manny and David Ortiz.

What Could Go Wrong: Matt Clement could pitch like he did in Chicago, just enough NOT to win, and be a .500 pitcher, which would not make up for the loss of Pedro.

I understand the vague difference, but still, if you're going to differentiate between what a team needs to happen to have a good season, and what can bring their season crashing down, you better make your case damn clear for each section. And Olney does not do that.

I also think his numbers are pretty trite, sometimes absolutely meaningless, like this one:

"Numerically speaking: The Yankees' staff ERA last season was 4.69 -- the team's worst ERA since 1930, with the exception of the 2000 season (4.76), when the club's record was bloated by a rash of late-season blowout defeats."

Umm . . . worst ERA since 1930 except 2000 . . . ok . . . they WON THE WORLD SERIES in 2000!! And if you take away the blowouts, their ERA was still pretty damn high . . . so what's your point again? I understand that Olney was trying to say the Yankees pitching staff was bad last year, but I would have given this statistic: Javier Vazquez' ERA before the All Star break, and his ERA afterwards. nuff said.

Last, the term X-Factor needs to disappear. Dante Hall should copyright it or something.

This is just the start though. Over half their content is subscription only, and Jayson Stark is the only reason to regularly visit their MLB site, with Peter Gammons contributing sporadically. Two guys who can really write, Rob Neyer and Jerry Crasnick, never write anything for the free site. The amount of stuff labelled "Insider", for their pay site, is increasing every day and is now all over the page.

That's the funny thing. Buster Olney can actually write. His book "The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty", was hailed as a great work of journalism, objective and well written.

Their Hot Stove Heaters section has gone from nice spring training previews to random questions, like who's the most exciting outfielder or who has the best arm, or who kisses the most ass in the clubhouse. Actually, that last one would have been cool, but the ones they did are pretty dumb.

The problem is that they aren't original or thought provoking. Last year, the best guy at calling a game would have been Pudge, after he led the Marlins to a championship. This year, it's Varitek because he's now the team captain and the Sox just won a series. This year's Heaters are just spouting the trendy thoughts of the moment, no matter how much they claim to be taking polls from various scouts and GM's.

Bill Simmons on their Page 2, color column and various op-ed stuff, is damn funny. He's a great reason to visit the site. But that's even more of a problem if ESPN stops reporting like it used to.

If ESPN turns into a bunch of op-ed pieces and some shoddy, opinionated reporting, they're just going the way of CNN.

Initial Here

Good news from the baseball world. Great news from the baseball world. And it's not that Jose Canseco's book is selling like hotcakes.

They found Ugie Urbina's mom.

For those of you who don't know about what happened, Urbina's mother (Urbina is a relief pitcher for the Tigers) was kidnapped five months ago and held for three millions dollars (US dollars, I assume) ransom.

Kidnapping is apparently a huge problem in Venezuela, and earlier this month, there were rumors that former MLB player Rich Garces, aka El Guapo, nicknamed for obvious reasons (see pic), had also been kidnapped. That proved not to be the case ten days later when he came back from a trip to the beach. No, I'm not making this up. Apparently Guapo went to the beach for ten days and didn't tell anyone. Not a teammate, a family member, a wife, his butler, his pool boy. . . . mayhaps he's embarrassed by his man-boobs.

In any case, it's a pleasant surprise that they got Ms. Ugie back without any problem. It's more surprising that the Venezeulans performed a daring mountain raid correctly and got the hostage back.

I can picture some commandos storming a mountain villa as Willem Defoe holds a large gun to the head of a 50 something woman in a floral print dress while standing in front of a heap of cocaine.

He screams at his underlings to fight off the damn Venezuelan feds, when all of a sudden, Charlie Sheen and Ving Rhames (I'm thinking black/white buddy flick) parachute through the window (didn't see that one coming, did you?) A nice standoff ensues, before Sheen puts one between Defoe's eyes a la "The Untouchables"'s. Defoe flies back in slow motion and lands in the pile of coke, a just ending for the cruel, but charismatic druglord.

Ms. Urbina is rescued, and reunited with her MLB playing son. All's well that ends well, until Charlie Sheen makes Major League 4: Mexican League, Urbina, of course, having to make a grateful cameo.

Ok, so it probably didn't happen that way. But I am very glad that Ugie's mom is safe. That's the important thing. No Willem Defoes were hurt in the making of this rescue.

On the thesis side, I emailed my professor my chapters last night at around 2 AM (I had until 10 AM before he left for the Carribbean, but I was tired and I wanted to play it safe). Total length at this point? At the beginning of the week I had 34 + 22 + 12, or 68 pages done. By 2 AM today, I had 36 + 24 + 19 + 10, or 89 pages. I feel pretty good about this, although the scary thing is that I still need to tack on ten pages to my last chapter, tweak my third chapter to about 23 pages, and write a 5-10 page intro.

Not today, I'm not.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Things that I Wish

I'll divide this one into non-baseball and baseball.


1) I wish I had a job. Not knowing where I'll be next year isn't scary or anything, it's just annoying. I'm not looking for anything special. Just something that will pay the student loans and the rent, keep me fed, and build me resume a little. Future career considerations / grad-school feeders a plus.

2) I wish I time to write a friggin short story or two. As much as I am kind of enjoying writing my thesis, I mean, it's a little like picking a scab at this point, I would really like some more time. Recently, I've been getting better (I think) ideas in my head for stories, random plots, and when I don't write them down I lose them. Part of me likes to think that I've missed out on some decent stuff (read: publishable) just because I neglected to write it down and remember it. Most of that is probably delusion, but I swear, some of them were really good. No really.

3) I wish I had more of a sense of closure as I approach graduation. I mean, the thesis is one thing. Major cards, degree applications, yadda yadda. What do I have to do to get a sense of closure? I think I might have to curse someone out, or assault someone I despise. Maybe that will complete my college experience.

Because I can't shake the feeling that the new college smell (you know the one I'm talking about), refreshing as a freshman (sorry), now kind of annoying and old, is going to haunt me after I graduate. It's kind of like when you got to college, and you were meeting people and finding out you weren't as smart as you thought you were, that was all nice and part of the experience. Now it's like those feelings don't have a place any more because in June, Dartmouth is going to hit the ejector button on the class of 2005 and we'll all have to do our own thing.

Don't get me wrong. I want to do my own thing. I just want to leave with a clean conscience, so to speak, and I'm not sure how to do it. It's not going to be one last drunken binge or anything like that. Certainly not a smashing concert experience, considering we had Dashboard Confessional in the fall, and not much since. Maybe a couple of killer games of pool.

Still, I'm thinking property destruction or theft. Even that's too cliche though. Maybe a jaunt through the graveyard and down to the river in the Spring would do it. Not sure.


1) It would be so cool if the Washington Nationals, after realizing that they were playing in front of real crowds, turned in a stellar season and got into the playoffs. I mean, it would be poetic justice if they beat the Braves, seeing as how the Expos last contended and were in first place during the 1994 strike season. But even if they don't, I hope the Mets keep building (David Wright, MVP, 2006, you heard it here), the Phillies choke, and Josh Beckett erupts in blisters. The Nationals deserve it. I mean, I know they're millionaires all, but it must be depressing to play in front of empty stadiums all the time.

Maybe they'll draw big crowds and then Jose Vidro will sparkle. And Livan Hernandez will be the horse he is and throw 200 innings again. Maybe Brad Wilkerson will drive in 100 runs when he's not hitting all his home runs out of the leadoff spot. Maybe Vinny Castilla and Christian Guzman won't be one of the worst 5-6 men in the MLB. That last one is kind of the deal-breaker, I suppose.

2) I actually want Jason Giambi to hit 40 homers next year. I know, steroids, blah blah, whatever. They help you heal, prolonging your career while turning you into a mongoloid psycho. And maybe some psychosomatic effect. Actual distance added to hits is probably minimal. I would say marginally more than the production increase you might see with a corked bat. I want Giambi to hit a crapload of homers with a decent average. I feel bad for the guy. He's a great player at Oakland, a beach bum surfer type, and he never fit in in NYC. Never. Never comfortable. This whole steroid, tumor thing. And then he gets blasted for telling the truth about his drug use to a grand jury, when all the other juicers are talking about flaxseed oil.

If Giambi comes back strong, then everyone would be so confused about steroids and the "purity" of the game. The only way to really tell users (it's too late to back out now, Selig - you actually have to test under your new agreement), would be to actually test players consistently and fairly. You wouldn't be able to label one or two musclemen as juicers and throw them to the media dogs. Plenty of pitchers would fall along with power hitters, and I bet some speedsters would go down too. Baseball might stumble headlong into accountability and better steroid testing while Jose Canseco would turn into a motivational speaker living in a van down by the river. A van that he bought by selling his 2000 World Series ring (he was a Yankee - curse of the Canseco?)

Amphetamine testing will never happen, because upwards of 80% of players would lose their jobs, so I'm not even going to bother wasting a wish on that one.

3) I wish the Oakland A's would get to the World Series after stomping the Yankees in the ALCS. I want Zito to throw knee-buckling curves all year. I want Rich Harden to pitch like Mark Prior is supposed to pitch. I want Joe Blanton and Dan Meyer to be rookie of the year candidates, and Jason Kendall to be the man that makes it all happen, a la Pudge 2003. I want all those guys that rip Billy Beane for having the Big Three to be shut up once and for all. I mean, I'm not all for the Moneyball thing, but Beane consistently deals with losing centerpieces of his team and manages to contend perenially. Tejada, Giambi, now Mulder and Hudson. I want the A's to win at least 90 games.

I kind of just painted a playoff picture. It's incredibly impossible, has nothing to do with my allegiance to any team, but I would just like to see it for the game.

Might as well run with it. Pigs might fly.


NY wins division (sorry) - Giambi hits 40 + HR, Big Unit breaks down after May but Mike Mussina finally wins 20 games.

Minnesota wins division - Lew Ford goes 25/25 after Shannon Stewart goes down injured with an ankle injury. Bela Karolyi carries him off. No wait, that's Shannon Miller. Or was it Keri Strugg? Whatever. Johan Santana wins 22 games with an ERA under 3.20

Oakland wins division - Rotation ERA ridiculously low. Erubiel Durazo is an All-Star, with 25 HR at the break.

Texas gets wild card - Chan Ho Park returns to the form he never had, winning 15 games. Ryan Drese somehow pitches well. Their monster infield helps them score the most runs in baseball and Richard Hidalgo and Kevin Mench both hit 30 HR.


Braves win division - again. Smoltz wins 18, but again doesn't contribute in playoffs due to a tired arm. Hudson miraculously re-signs before March 1, to a multiyear deal worth scads of money. Andruw Jones trade talks bandied about, but the Braves wait until the offseason, sending him to the Yankees for whatever prospects the Yankees have left and cash.

Cubs win division - No Sammy, no problem. Aramis Ramirez hits 50 HR, shows up Adrian Beltre and sets a new standard for slugging third basemen. Nomar goes .330/25/100. Prior and Wood strike out 550 between the two of them. Maddux wins another 15 and keeps his career ERA under 3.00. Carlos Zambrano only wins 12 after punching a wall and breaking enough bones in his hand to keep himself out until 2006.

Dodgers win division - Behind the pitching of Derek Lowe (Cy Young), 20 game winner, and Yhency Brazonban and Gagne being a ridiculous 8-9 combo, and JD Drew somehow staying healthy, Dodgers run away with division. Jeff Kent a non-factor after a freak surfing accident. No, I can't imagine Jeff Kent surfing either. Maybe if he's got a 12-gauge and a hankering for mahi-mahi.

Nationals win wild card - Jose Vidro has a huge year. Termmel "Sister" Sledge puts his name on the map. Brad Wilkerson hits 30 HR.

Playoffs -


Yankees over Texas - Alfonso Soriano goes hitless as Texas gets swept. Chan Ho Park takes a no-hitter into the eighth before allowing 3 runs and blowing the game. New York Post's prematurely printed papers with the headline "Chan Ho No-No" become an instant EBay seller. Along similar lines, after Hideo Nomo's bid for a comeback fails, the pitcher returns to Japan and the New York Post runs the headline "No-mo Nomo".

Oakland over Minnesota - Harden/Santana have one of the greatest pitching duels EVER in a pivotal game 5. Oakland wins when Mark Kotsay steals a sign for a changeup and hits a two-run home run to break up the shutout in the ninth.


Oakland over NY - With their starting pitching in shambles (Unit injured, Pavano Vazquez-ed, Wright injured), NY can only manage a win by Mussina before bowing out in 5.


Nationals beat Cubs - in an ironic turn of events, the Cubs get beat by the team they didn't send Sosa to (conspiracy there, people). Nomar goes cold, Christian Guzman somehow is the hero of the series, and Steve Bartman does something something.

Braves over Dodgers - JD Drew and Marcus Giles are both knocked out of the playoffs when Drew collides with Giles on the basepaths. Hudson pitches well, but the real story is Jose Lima, who the Braves trade for before the July 31 deadine, as the wacky pitcher throws a complete game shutout against his former team. Every time he gets an out, he motions for Derek Lowe to "suck it". Leo Mazzone rocks, both literally and figuratively.

NLCS - Braves over Nationals - Nick Green replaces Giles to great effect, hitting .400 for this 6 game series. The Nationals just don't have enough depth. Julio Franco puts the series away with a game winning home run. Signs lucrative promotional deal with Viagra immediately after game.

World Series - Oakland over Braves in 7. Best pitching series ever. No team scores more than 3 runs in the regulation of any game before game 7. Two games go to extra innings tied 1-1. Peter Gammons suggests a rule change involving penalty kicks. MLB somehow says they will consider it, ultimately rejects it 48 hours later after the Yankees try to sign David Beckham. Fans rejoice for a day in between when his wife Posh Spice pulls an Anna Benson. Then the rule gets shot down, Beckham signing is shut down and fans leave the game in droves. Series ends with a positively apocalyptic game 7 in which no team gets a hit for 7 innings, and then tee off on each other's bullpens in an eruption of offensive production. Oakland wins the game when Eric Byrnes steals home off a Johnny Estrada passed ball. Final score 8-7.

If anything in above baseball predictions comes true, I will become a fortune teller next year.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Finish Him!!


I feel that once you've referenced your thesis in terms of Mortal Kombat, there's no going back. And by back I mean the back to the happy land of sanity in which one can sit on the couch, watch "Law and Order" (RIP, Jerry Orbach), and work sporadically.

And so, I embark on this week's journey, a harrowing descent into the depths of liminality, allegory, semantics, and other literary type stuff, and try to finish a draft of my thesis this week.

This needs to happen because my dear advisor is escaping at the end of the week for seven days in the Carribbean with his family, scuba diving and enjoying the 80 degree water temperature. He has promised to proofread a draft of my thesis on the plane.

Will our hero successfully navigate the obscure, trap-laden path ahead of him? Or will he awaken a Cthulhu-ian nightmare from beyond the beginning of time in his quest for an Honors thesis?

All I know is that if on Wednesday, I blog and write something about an Aztec monkey God who came to me and handed me a copy of my thesis, only written in some kind of Aztec script, someone needs to call for a straitjacket and some heavy sedatives.

So how much is this exactly? Well, I have 12 pages of my third and/or fourth chapters, which are kind running together for some reason. Theoretically, I'm shooting for 40 (for both chapters), although if I can have 35 in a rough draft, I'll be happy. So that's 23 more pages to get through in a week. In addition, I will need at least a day to edit my first two chapters and restructure them so my advisor does not make the same comments he did the first time he read them. And make all the grammatical change he suggested.

I have today (Monday), tomorrow, and Wednesday to essentially write 23 pages on the typology of shadows in classical myth and Puritan tradition as they are presented in Milton's Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained and how such a reading reflects Milton's concepts of gender. And then Thursday I edit everything so I can send it to Prof. Luxon by Friday afternoon. Can I do it? Stick around and find out. It's going to be an adventure. And cross your fingers. If Cthulhu rises, or any Elder God from the lost city of Ry'leh for that matter, we're all screwed.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005


Have you ever fallen asleep in a class? Sure you have. Have you ever partially fallen asleep in a class, and started thinking the professor was saying something, only there was no way that's what they were saying? Or started writing something random in your notebook?

Had one of those moments today. Usually I'll be awake in physiology class, since Prof. Velez's thick accent and rapid lecturing makes it impossible to keep up unless you're paying attention. But Gilman 101 has been a sauna lately for no apparent reason; seriously, 70 degrees in there. Sweltering. Damn annoying. So, seeing as how I got 3 hours of sleep last night, I wasn't surprised when I started nodding a little.

I was surprised, however, when I wrote down the following sentence in my notes:

"The chain reaction goes all the way back to Saruman"

No joke. Actually what I wrote. I was supposed to write something to the effect of "The chain reaction goes all the way back to the beginning of the pathway", but somehow, Saruman and his Technicolor Dreamcoat got involved. Bizzare.

That'll teach me not to doze in class again. At least I didn't yell out "They've taken the little ones" or anything like that.

On a slightly related note, the best/worst line in "The Fellowship of the Ring" was Boromir poking his head out of the Chamber of Marzarbul, pulling it back in to avoid two arrows, and saying in a matter-of-fact tone "They have a cave troll". It seems so out of character for him, and I couldn't help but laugh. It was like he said "They have a 6'11'' power forward" or "They have a board with a nail in it".

Although I suppose in Orcish terms, a Cave Troll would be the equivalent of a good low-post power forward. Moria goblins running point, Uruk Hai at small forward, everyday Orcs at shooting guard, nice big Oliphaunt at center.

I need to get a life.

"And starting at shooting guard . . . 6'3'' out of NC (North Caradhras) State . . . Gooooooorbaaaaaaag!!!!"

I'm done here

Monday, February 07, 2005

The Foot in Football

Super Bowl 39 is over, and the Patriots are winners, by a score closer than most people predicted. The 24-21 game wasn't pretty and was largely a battle of attrition (and even though I hate it when people use war terms to describe sports, I just did it).

Deion Branch walked away with the MVP and he played a great game; he had a couple of great catches that looked like his gloves were magnets for the football, and tied the record for receptions in a Super Bowl while he was at it.

But for what it's worth (not much), my MVP doesn't go to Branch, or to Brady, who had a solid game, or even Rodney Harrison, who played a phenomenal game leading a patchwork secondary, had 2 interceptions, and helped on another takeaway (the forced fumble on LJ Smith). My MVP is Josh Miller, the punter.

Let's go through his punts one by one

1) 48 yards to the Philly 7 yard line, no return. Final result: 3 and out.

2) 44 yards to the Philly 16 yard line, 10 yard return. Final result: 55 yard drive with INT at the end by Harrison

3) 44 yards to the Philly 46 yard line, 9 yard return. Final result: fumble recovered by Eugene Wilson

4) 48 yards to the Philly 19, no return. Final result: Philly TD, 9 plays, 81 yards

5) 48 yards to the Philly 38, no return. Final result: Philly TD, 10 plays, 62 yards

6) 50 yards to the Philly 21, no return. Final result: Philly TD, 13 plays, 79 yards

7) 22 yards to the Philly 4, no return. Final result: NE interception, game over.

Total: 7 punts, 316 yards, avg. 45.1 yards. 19 return yards.

Now, aside from the last punt, which was short because it had to be, he averages over 46 yards a punt, better than his 42 yard per season average. Philly scored on three of the possession they got, but it took them a total of 32 plays and 222 yards to get those points, taking precious time off the clock. Time which really cost Philly at the end of the game. More possessions today would have favored the Eagles, who, despite takeaways, were racking up yards against New England's depleted secondary. By driving for longer distances, they had to use up more clock. Today, the Patriots needed the wasted time too, considering the three-and-outs NE kept spitting up on offense.

More importantly, every time the Patriots had to punt from deep in their own territory, he put the ball in Philly territory (aside from a 9 yard Westbrook return). Consider that a bad punt from deep in NE territory places Philly in field goal range. David Akers didn't get a chance to use his foot today, and while it was largely due to takeaways, Josh Miller played a role as well, setting the table for the New England D.

A punter has to kick it deep, and he has to prevent any return yards, whether it's good angles or getting it out of bounds. He certainly did that, limiting return man Brian Westbrook to 19 yards of punt returns. Anyone that discounts the potential power of punt returns didn't watch either the Jets-Steelers game or the Atlanta-Rams game.

Santana Moss's punt return TD got the Jets precious points and jump started the team when their offense was stalling and except for a brainfart on the part of the coaching staff, nearly got the Jets into the AFC Championships. The Atlanta special teams squad made the Rams look idiotic, even though Mike Martz does a good enough job by himself.

Brian Westbrook was hailed a today's X-factor with the ability to rush, catch, and return punts. He only did 1 out of 3, and it wasn't enough. The Pats D didn't stop Westbrook's receiving game when the Eagles were on offense, and it led to 64 receiving yards and a TD. They did however, stop his running game, limiting him to 40 yards on the ground.

But Josh Miller single-footedly stifled Westbrook's dangerous return game, and it could have been the difference in the game. Westbrook didn't take punt returns this year, but he averaged over 15 yards a return in 2003 and returned two for touchdowns. If Westbrook gets 200 all purpose yards (pass, rush, return), the Eagles win the game. He didn't come close thanks to a good Patriots defensive line and the foot of Josh Miller.

Miller's counterpart, Dirk Johnson (now there's a porn star name), did well too, but was helped by a holding penalty that negated a 45 yard Troy Brown return.

Also, if Miller's last punt results in the touchback, and punting from the opponent's 36 usually does, the Eagles get the ball on their own 20 and a couple of chances at long passes with a minute left. Nothing is more daunting than passing out of one's own end zone, and that's precisely what Josh Miller made Donovan McNabb do.

On a day when New England's offense was struggling to get first downs, Josh Miller acted as a failsafe, erasing the team's offensive woes with his punts that kept Westbrook from gaining many return yards and preventing Philly from good starting field positions. Although a lot of people did talk about David Akers and Adam Vinatieri, it was Josh Miller whose foot did the most talking on this Super Bowl Sunday.

Friday, February 04, 2005


Looks like I'm ahead of my time again.

Kind of.

New legislation in Georgia might allow parents to really ground their kids and suspend their licenses for 90 days. And restrict how many people teens under 18 can have in their car. It's smart legislation, and I like the idea.

They might not believe in evolution, but at least they'll be driving safe. Yee ha.

In even better news gay marriage is back and better than ever in New York. New York first, and possibly Ohio next. I wonder if the President will stand by a constitutional amendment striking down gay marriage if the eleven states that passed them into state law start repealing them. A Constitutional amendment would have to be ratified by 3/4 of the states, and considering state courts are already starting to come around, at this rate, Congress won't even try. Sweet.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005


No one really cares, but the Toronto Blue Jays are increasing payroll and renaming their stadium.

SkyDome actually had a nice ring to it, and it pretty much covered all the bases. It's a stadium with a dome, and the team that plays in it wears the color sky-blue (are blue jays sky blue?) with a bird as their mascot. Makes total sense.

So instead, they're renaming it the Rogers Center. It's not an ugly name, but it sure is a conceited one, as it will be named after the current owner, Ted Rogers, owner of Rogers Communications. This guy's not very creative is he?

I just want to know how many players are going to tell people that they're going up to Toronto for a good rogering. Or how many fans will try to "do it" in the stadium; you know, rogering in the Rogers Center. My money is on Kris and Anna Benson getting it done first. God knows they've done it everywhere else.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005


Update on the thesis:

Chapter One on Milton's "Mask at Ludlow" is 34 pages, unedited, workshopped it today with a couple of profs. Lot of edits to be made, final formatting and stuff like that, but it's pretty final at this point.

Chapter Two on Milton's "Paradise Lost", the character Sin is 22 pages, unedited, I like it better than the first one. It flows better and I present a more solid argument. Still need to format it and stick in all notations and stuff like that.

Chapter Three on Eve's narcissism, and tangentially, Adam's, in "Paradise Lost" is ongoing and should be done by later this week. I hope. Shooting for 20-25 pages

Chapter Four on The Son of God in "Paradise Lost" and "Paradise Regained" should get done by Feb. 18th. Shooting for 20-25 pages.

My advisor is leaving for the Caribbean to go scuba diving (no joke), so I need to get all four chapters to him for proofreading while he's in Paradise. That happens on the 18th. The final thesis is due on March 2nd. Final length will be somewhere between 97-110 pages. I've got 40-50 left, plus a 5 page introduction to be written after I've got my chapters done.