December 19 Permalink
At this morning's Christmas pageant, Miranda was one of the angels. She also sang with the Children's Choir.
Watched the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "Kir'Shara". Tripp takes the ship and Soval to Andorian territory. Shran kidnaps Soval and tortures him, but eventually gives up when he's convinced the Vulcan is telling the truth. T'Pau and Archer reach the High Command with the help of Koss's access codes. Minister Kuvak, who voted against the war, now flip-flops and shoots V'Las. We find out V'Las was operating with the manipulation of the Romulans.
We saw the Ricky Williams interview. Whitlock wanted to see him talk more about his depression. I'm guessing the producers edited that part out because it wasn't sensational enough. I think characterizing Williams as selfish is unfair. A player who leaves a team to attend to the birth of a child, the illness of a parent, or his own battle with substance abuse is just as selfish, but would not get the same condemnation. Perhaps in the same situation, I might play, but tell management my heart wasn't in it, and try to reach an accomodation.
He's supporting three children. I think his agent must be to blame somewhere. The agency relies on his income for their income. Someone should have tried to get him help much earlier. Perhaps he could have found his true self and still played football.
Whitlock and I think Ricky wouldn't be out of place at a con. He could be part of the holistic medicine track. I think he could still make a reasonable living as a celebrity masseur.
Today's Nats Birthdays:
Tex Jeanes, which sounds a new clothing line at The Gap,
Tommy O'Brien and
December 18 Permalink
Watched the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "Awakening". T'Pol and Archer find the Syrannite enclave where T-Pau looks like a 1970s pop star, unlike the 1980s pop star. She attempts to remove Surak's katra from Archer, but Surak wants Archer to retrieve the Kir'Shara and save Vulcan himself. The Kir'Shara turns out to be an ancient stone Icehouse piece.
Mayweather attempts to rescue Archer and T'Pol, but is turned away by the Vulcan ships. T'Pol's mother T'Les is killed in the attack by the Vulcan High Command. Soval explains that Administrator V'Las wants to eradicate the Syrannites because they are pacifists who would get in the way of his war plans against Andoria. He created intelligence that the Andorians have a Xindi weapon as a pretext. I'm shocked...shocked...to find anyone would exaggerate enemy weapon capability to get into an unnecessary war.
Today's Nats Birthdays:
Moose Skowron and 1965 MVP
December 17 Permalink
Still optimistic here on the baseball front. There's hope that the good cops, Dupuy and Selig, will talk to Cropp, rather than Abu Ghraib Reinsdorf. There's also talk that any of the potential ownership groups may have the funds to step up and offer to pay for the 50% of private financing themselves. Although that's possible I find it unlikely. MLB would rather the potential owner give that money to them, rather than spend it on a stadium. The story from Messianic Fruitcake Central is that officials may just redefine the meaning of the term "private financing" and approve the original agreement.
Today's Nats Birthdays:
Just one today -
A holiday party with CDs among the door prizes. The four artists available were Destiny's Child, Toby Keith, Britney Spears and Tupac. The middle-aged white woman with the Tupac CD trying to figure out what to do with it.
Watched the CSI episode "Mea Culpa". Grissom is being investigated by Sofia Curtis because a fingerprint suddenly appeared on a matchbook cover. It seems a fingerprint can take years to develop if kept in plastic and there isn't much for the indicator to adhere to. This investigation of a hardware store murder results in the arrest of the first suspect's son. Nana Visitor appears as someone too young to have a 30-year-old son.
In the B-plot, Sidle and Sanders investigate what appears to be an accidental death due to an illegally altered firearm. The victim modified the gun himself and was planning to make a big sale. Turns out the buyer was an ATF agent.
The climax of the episode was the break-up of the graveyard shift unit. Ecklie makes Willows the swing shift supervisor and transfers Brown and Stokes to her. Curtis, who had been acting day shirt supervisor, is now working for Grissom with Sara and Greg. Look for Sofia to be the first to take Ecklie down.
December 16 Permalink
Baseball Rejects Council's Changes In Financing Plan for D.C. Stadium. Dupuy stepped up with the nuclear option. Recall that at least one former owner found the inner workings of baseball so sleazy, he turned to politics instead. The ramifications of voting for the stadium may be just getting voted out of office, then there's the case of Mary Rose Wilcox who voted for Bank One Ballpark and got shot for her efforts.
The District has less leverage than other cities because they must deal with Major League Baseball as a whole rather than an individual owner who might have a more personal commitment to the city. On the other hand, any other city would not provide the kind of revenue stream to a potential owner that Washington can, regardless of whether that other city can build a stadium entirely with public funds. Will an owner really pay in the $300m range anywhere but Washington or New Jersey?
If Major League Baseball just picks up and moves to San Juan, that would not be the worst-case scenario because at least the politicians would be blamed. They could continue to operate in Washington with the same indifference they did in Montreal. That would be the surest extinguisher to fan interest in the Nation's Capital and continue the myth of Washington as a bad baseball town.
Continuing optimistically with Nats Birthdays:
Hugh McMullen and
Bill Otey share their birthday with Ludwig van Beethoven. Chrisley got traded to the Tigers in 1958 with Eddie Yost and Rocky Bridges. In 1960, he broke up Bill Monbuquette's no-hit bid. McMullen's only Nats appearance was a strikeout in 1928. Bill Otey pitched two years for the Nats in relief in 1910 and 1911.
BallWonk has this to say in his comments section:
BallWonk suspects that you are forgetting one thing: MLB owners are crazy. Not funny "The Tick" crazy, but scary "The Joker" crazy. They've already thrown $200 million down the Expos hole to uphold the principle that no team will be sold or moved without first getting a free ballpark; if they say they're willing to lose $100 million off the sale price by re-relocating to a small-time city like Vegas or Portland to get a free new stadium, believe them. If they say they'd rather sink another $100 million into the franchise and then blow the whole $300 mil investment on contraction rather than relocate to a city that won't offer a brand-new, free ballpark, believe them. And if they say they'd rather play on a little-league field in Pocatello, Idaho, to a maximum crowd of 40 per game next year than stick around in RFK without a free new stadium in the works, believe them.
It is an easy mistake to look at MLB and assume that they are simple businessmen, chiefly interested in the bottom line, and amenable to reason. On the contrary. Imagine you're talking to an angry gangster holding a pistol to a puppy's head, and you'll have a better mental model of how MLB works. These are narcissistic sociopaths chiefly concerned with maintaining the unity of their cartel and their access to public subsidies. (Or "family loyalty" and "extortion racket," to describe this particular mafia more accurately.)
Watched the CSI:NY episode "Three Generations are Enough". It begins with a mysterious briefcase on the floor of the New York Mercantile Exchange that has a hint of nitrate on it, suggesting a bomb. When the robots blow it up, there is nothing dangerous inside.
The owner of the briefcase is a missing trader named Luke Sutton who had been investigating another trader for illegal activity. A cocaine dealer named Charles had also been stalking Sutton. They find Luke's body burned in his car. In Charles' lair the detectives find hand-rolled bullets that seem to be the origin of the nitrates on the briefcase.
In the B-plot, a social worker has fallen from a church rooftop. Neither a suicide nor a push, she was already dead when she was tossed, bludgeoned with a candlestick. The handyman, played by Peter O'Meara of Peacemakers, was the father of her child.
Both plots come together when we find the handyman and the trader were brothers and suffering from paranoid schizophrenia. Charles was a just a voice inside Sutton's head. When he found out his brother was having a child, he couldn't bear another generation of mental illness and killed the mother. Burdened with guilt, Sutton set himself on fire.
Which all makes sense except why didn't Sutton, being quite well-off seek, medical help for his problems? Because he was overcome by his cocaine addiction. It makes perfect sense, but they never bothered to tell us.
December 15 Permalink
Council Approves Altered Stadium Deal. Back when the announcement was made in September I said,"I'll believe it when the jerseys go on sale." Damned if they didn't halt the unveiling of the jerseys today. I still think some kind of stadium deal will go through for Washington, although the final private contribution will be closer to the 18% from the original agreement than the 50% approved yesterday. After two decades of studying these machinations, I'm fascinated by how these negotiations will turn out. I just wish it was a team in another city.
I'll carry on with the Nats Birthdays:
Only one today -
Eddie Robinson and this isn't the former Grambling coach. I don't what he was like, but his statline reads like a classic Moneyball player like Jeremy Giambi. A slow first baseman, he nevertheless hit 16 homers in just 173 at-bats for the Yankees. By that time, his Nats experience had been three teams and five years ago.
Took a day off to deal with household matters. Stopped off at The Great Indoors to look at all the overpriced merchandise. I thought I'd look at some possible kitchen flooring and ended up finding bathroom tile suitable for Pompeii.
Watched the CSI: Miami episode "Pirated". Five dead bodies are found by honeymoon divers. The victims came from a fishing boat that was hijacked by pirates. The owner says the ship had a crew of nine. Another floater is found along with two living and one dead aboard a lifeboat.
The boat was transporting weapons to Haiti and fishing bluegill tuna. The pirates were an anti-immigration militia. They paid $5000 to one of three college students onboard to deliver the location. The students were the ones on the lifeboat.
The pirates were repainting the boat and when the SWAT team came in, one of the thieves destroyed a police car with a rocket-propelled grenade. Later, another RPG does in a Cuban store. The head of the operation owned a used-car lot and nitroglycerine was found in one of the vehicles. One of the students admits to cannibalism, but is charged with giving up the boat.
December 14 Permalink
Marlins Told to Leave Stadium After 2010. This is the part that gets me:
Pro Player Stadium president Bruce Schulze said 2010 is the last of a series of one-year lease options for the Marlins, who share the complex with the Miami Dolphins. He said dropping the Marlins would let the stadium pursue such events as cricket and soccer.
That's what drove the Expos out of Montreal. All those Canadians prefering cricket and soccer.
We really don't hate Jim Bowden. As Ryan says at Distinguished Senators:
Bowden is here solely to create buzz for himself. The more he gets his name in papers and on the front page of ESPN.com, the more likely he'll be to get himself a real GM job. "Hey, Billy! How about Ohka for Hudson?" "No, Jim." "Nice talking to you, BB. Hey, Gammons! Guess who I was just talking to?"
Today's Nats Birthdays:
Jerry Schoonmaker and
Pete Whisenant. John Anderson did not receive any votes in the 1980 Presidential election, but he did play for the one-year-only 1901 Milwaukee Brewers. Greg Goosen backed up Jerry Grote for the Mets before moving on to the other Milwaukee Brewers and the Nats. Casey Stengel said of him in 1967, "He's 21. In 10 years, he's got a chance to be 31." Schoonmaker didn't have much of a Major League career, but he starred for College World Series winner Mizzou Tigers in 1954. With the Reds in 1957, Whisenant hit five pinch-hit homers, three of them off Vinegar Bend Mizell.
Watched the Cold Case episode "Red Glare". In 1953 an African-American boy joins a fourth grade class, but is soon taken out to the black school. The teacher is found beaten to death.
The case is reopened because his son, Howard, has a history of suicide. Howard had believed his father abandoned them only to recently discover the murder. The father, Elliot, had attended a meeting of integrationists which included some Communists. He is subpoenaed before the House Un-American Activities Committee. His life slowly unravels - he loses his teaching job, his older son is kicked off the baseball team and neighbors refuse to associate with the family.
But it all centered on a Czech woman who was in love with Elliot. An actual Communist named Harland was in love with her as well. If Elliot named her, she would be deported. To keep from divulging her name, Harland killed Elliot. There is a mysterious B-plot of Lily's sister Christina needing a place to crash. A possible political joke in that the two brothers are named Howard and Dean.
December 13 Permalink
Via Off Wing Opinion, a round-up of steroids opinions from Dayn Perry, Jacob Sullum, Jim Henley, Matt Welch and Bill James. And from Bijan Bayne on MasterCard dropping sponsorship of Bonds' pursuit of Babe Ruth and Henry Aaron:
Barry Bonds’ contract: $16 million a year, ticket to see Bonds play: $18.75, cost of the leaked BALCO grand jury testimony to the future of MLB- priceless.
And from The Nats Blog:
So, I wonder....will old-time baseball folks just shrug their shoulders since steroids weren't around when they played and just think "yeah we had wacky guys in the clubhouse who used to try weird things to make them think they would play better all the time, it's no big deal"?
I thought they would be the most vocal on "purity of the game" issues, but maybe that wasn't a correct assumption.
I would like to add that my body also looks very different in 2004 than it did in 1990. I've gained weight and may have more muscles in some areas and more fat in others. I have not taken any anabolic steroids or human growth hormones and have never failed a test for performance enhancing substances. I'm just happy the Nationals are not acquiring the only mistake George W. Bush will admit to.
Today's Nats Birthdays:
Bill Everitt and
Lou Thuman. Everitt stole 7 bases in just 33 games in his only season with the Nats in 1901. Thuman was wounded on D-Day.
December 12 Permalink
Watched the CSI episode "Ch-Ch-Changes". A woman found dead in a convertible was actually a trans-sexual who was too much in a hurry and unstable to go through the usual channels. She had engaged another trans-sexual to perform the procedure which was done in a storage facility.
We were all too tired or sick to make the various social gatherings we were invited to today, so I send my regrets out.
Watched the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "The Forge". Admiral Forrest is killed when a bomb goes off at the Earth Embassy. He died saving Ambassador Soval.
Suspicion falls on a Vulcan sect called the Syrannites and T'Pau. T'Pol and Archer go in search of T'Pol's mother who is also a Syrannite. On this journey through the Vulcan desert, they meet Arev, a Syrannite played by Michael Nouri. They take shelter in a cave during a sandfire. The disturbance dislodges their hiding place and kills Arev, but not before he transmits the katra of Surak himself into Archer. Archer leads T'Pol to the Syrannite sanctuary where the episode ends.
Meanwhile, Phlox discovers that T'Pau's DNA was planted. Soval performs a mindmeld on a human security guard and finds that the Vulcan investigating the bombing planted the bomb.
Today's Nats Birthdays:
Tom Brown, who gave up the expansion Senators after one year to play cornerback for the Green Bay Packers. He intercepted a Don Meredith pass to seal the 1966 NFL Championship and send to the Pack to the first Super Bowl. Also with birthdays today, the unfortunately named
Raul Sanchez and
December 11 Permalink
Taped a couple more episodes of Silver Screen Test. Usually, my interaction with the contestants is a like an interesting intimate discussion. Today it seemed like a small cocktail party. Former contestant Tim Young showed up as a spectator. My thanks to my crew: Jimmy Albert, John Buckley, Michael Camillo, Yen-Ming Chen, Adam Fine, Andrea Lamphier, Bob Mattia, Nancy Poole, Robin Schoen and Larry Sheingorn.
After that I went to my nephew and godson Ian's birthday party, which I figured would be breaking up by then. I had a Finding Neverland poster for him. Turned out my sister had sprained her ankle. Whitlock took her to the emergency room. I let Miranda hang around a little longer and play. When I drove her home, I forgot that I had the big Silver Screen Test that can only fit in the back seat, so she sat hidden behind it. Whitlock didn't come home till late.
At home we played Soccer Cards and got Walsall into automatic promotion to Division One. This version does not have the recent name changes so this is actually the current Coca-Cola Football Championship. Miranda was thrilled with the promotion and with our success. I took a better job with Queens Park Rangers.
Today's Nats Birthdays:
Merl Combs and
Lee Maye, not to be confused with All-Star and former Oriole
December 10 Permalink
I'm impressed with how well the Nationals blogs have gotten off the ground. They're generally well-versed sabermetrically and don't worship Jim Bowden the way the print media does. Distinguished Senators loves Tony Clark and would trade Nick Johnson for Alex Rios because he's worried about Johnson's durability. D.C. Baseball would rather keep Johnson. Washington Baseball Blog will also take Rios.
Today's Nats Birthdays:
Roy "Dizzy" Caryle,
Rudy Hernandez, who played for both the original and the Expansion Senators in 1960 and 1961, and
My thanks to the set-up crew of Jimmy Albert, John Buckley, Michael Camillo and Larry Sheingorn who put up the set for Silver Screen Test.
December 9 Permalink
We begin a new feature for as long as I can keep it up. It was made by possible by the Sean Lahman Database and some fiddling with Microsoft Access. It's the Nats Birthdays, featuring players of both incarnations of the Washington Senators and potential members of the 2005 team. For today we have Billy Klaus, Bob Kline and two members of the Ted Williams-managed teams, Del Unser and All-Star Darold Knowles.
December 8 Permalink
Through Matt Bruce from Gary Huckaby:
We have federal agents hanging out at in Burlingame trying to track down people like Bill Romanowski and other athletes for acquiring or using drugs that really only represent a threat to themselves? Are you f***ing kidding me? Did we catch Osama Bin Laden over the weekend? Have these agents already finished working with the chemical and energy industries to harden soft terrorist targets like refineries and chemical plants? My tax dollars are being spent to go after people like Victor Conte, rather than building new schools or paying down the debt? Again, I'm forced to ask, are you f%^&ing kidding me?
December 7 Permalink
From Medicore Fred, this nugget:
Also, I should call attention to King Kaufman's NFL picks column today, which is quite amusing throughout, but deserves special mention for this passage:
"The Bears, with one of the worst offenses in the league, will try former Cowboys and NFL Europe non-standout Chad Hutchinson at quarterback. And waiting in the wings is the newly signed Jeff 'No! Not Jeff George!' George... A football team signing Jeff George is the equivalent of a sitcom adding a 3-year-old as a major character. It says, 'We know, we know, but we're desperate and we've run out of good ideas.' "
Anyone who's ever been forced to root for a team that has employed George will no doubt approve enthusiastically of the nickname Kaufman has bestowed on him. It certainly describes my reaction every day that George suited up for the Dreadskins.
I think Alison LaPlaca or Jumping the Shark would be better nicknames for Jeff George.
Watched the CSI:NY episode "Rain". A person on fire in a Chinatown in the street was would-be bank robber. Three bank robbers snuck into a low security bank. A gunshot ignited an acetylene tank, setting two robbers on fire. A third robber got away bleeding from a gunshot wound and a security guard ended up dead.
A bank clerk had her infant daughter kidnapped before the robbery to earn her cooperation in identifying the highest value safety deposit boxes. Evidence leads to a theater where the third robber was found. Another ransom notes appears which leads to the remaining security guard who has the baby. There were a number of holes in the logic if you thought about it later, it moved fast enough that you didn't notice.
December 6 Permalink
I find John McCain's threat of federal drug testing standards on professional athletes rather disingenous. Sports should be able to run their leagues the way they want. Steroids are illegal, though whether they should be is another question. The current investigation of BALCO enforces current laws on the books. The Justice Department could choose to target professional athletes further by escalating enforcement. Federal money can also be spent on real science to develop better testing methods that detect masking agents. What we don't need is the nanny state telling people how to run their business.
If McCain wished to do good in professional sports, he could start by enforcement of the anti-trust laws. That would keep public money from being spent on stadiums and arenas that largely benefit the billionaire owners and the millionaire players.
How I feel MLB should handle this can be found on May 29, 2002. If a manager suspects a corked bat or doctored baseballs, he can ask the umpire to confiscate said suspicious materials. I like the idea of a manager demanding an opposing superstar pee on command.
Watched the CSI: Miami episode "Speed Kills". A guy is speed-dating and is found dead. He was killed by a woman he previously dated and dumped. She is going through a bitter divorce and frames her husband.
In the B-plot, two of the suspects are gentlemen the victim witnessed assaulting a young man after a Miami Heat game. Evidence on scene leads to their arrest. The actual act was depicted very ambiguously in that you didn't believe a single punch delivered that quickly could put a guy in a coma unless there was a freak impact. In what amounted to a C-plot, a burglar is arrested who found his marks through speed-dating.
December 5 Permalink
Radio Blogger suggests Ken Jennings should replace Alex as host.
Of course I can think of at least two former Jeopardy contestants currently hosting game shows.
As I edit my own shows, did Jeopardy use different cutting when Nancy won? Usually, after the champion reveals their answer and Alex says,"Which means .... is our new champion," we cut to the winner and any hugs or handshakes with fellow contestants keep the new winner in the center. I guess they wanted to show Nancy's reaction as Ken's wrong answer was revealed, but kept the camera on Ken as he hugged Nancy. I would have stuck with the old style of cutting. Perhaps to show Nancy's reaction, I would have cut to that after Ken's total was shown, even if it was simultaneous with Ken's answer. Then continue to show the hug from her viewpoint. The segment might have run a tad longer and I would re-record Alex if necessary.