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December 2007 Archives

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December 31

Watched the How I Met Your Mother episode "Spoiler Alert". Ted has a new girlfriend named Cathy and because he's in love with her no one has the heart to tell him what's wrong with her - namely that she talks too much. We learn that Lily chews too loud, Ted corrects people, Robin uses the word "literally" when she means "figuratively" and Marshall sings what he does. Barney has too many annoying habits, but they stick with his bizarre catchphrases. Ted later meets up with Cathy several months later and she's engaged to a deaf guy. Ted signs to him that she talks too much and ruins her for him as well.

Went on to the CSI:NY episode "Buzzkill". Drew Bedford invites Stella to a drink on a balcony overlooking Times Square. She is first at the scene of the death of model Jenna Donovan who died in a live martini ad. Across the street is an athletic research facility where a drunken Nick Conway got tired of the noise from the partying on the live billboard. He finally had enough and fired tennis balls from a launcher at the partiers, but Donovan was not killed by electrocution when the balls struck neon. Rival model Lia Ramsey was attempting to poison designer Damien Barnes with an irukanji jellyfish and accidentally killed Jenna instead.

In the other plot, a robbery at the cash-only restaurant Prowl, results in $35,000 stolen, a dead manager and a critically wounded waitress. Witnesses say the manager pulled off the gunman's mask. The shooter was almost out the door before he came back to fire at waitress Brandi Parsons. She is accompanied in the ambulance by boyfriend Paul Larkin.

At the hospital, the attending surgeon, Gavin Moore, confides to Mac that he's brother Charles, also a doctor, was kidnapped. He must allow Parsons to die, the only witness who can positively identify the shooter, or else the kidnappers will kill Charles. It turns out Paul Larkin is actually Paul Campbell. He seduced Brandi Parsons, then robbed Prowl. From evidence at the crime scene, the police are able to find where Campbell works. From there they find his home and a mysterious address to delivers packages to his house. From there they are able to find the place where Charles is held captive.

Finished off with the Numb3rs episode "Graphic". Wil Wheaton plays Miles Sklar, a Todd McFarlane-like comic book artist who sold out for the cash. He presents the original issue of UltraWorld #1 at a comic book convention where it is promptly stolen and a security guard is shot in the fray.

Seth Marlow is another artist who helps Charlie in the investigation. He believes UltraWorld #1 belongs to Ross Moore, the original creator, played by Christopher Lloyd, whose character is dying of cancer. The proceeds from the sale of the comic could pay his medical bills and help out his wife.

Of course, Marlow was behind the heist. He also created several forgeries to flood the market and make Sklar's copy, vene when recovered, worthless. Of course, Charlie can use math to determine which is the original. In the end, Sklar, gives the money from selling UltraWorld #1 to Moore for the publcity value.

December 30

Watched the CSI episode "You Kill Me". Hodges creates a board game and presents a series of cases for the techs to solve. In the first case, Archie is killed by by explosives while checking a shipment of cocaine. The bomb was made by Henry.

In the second case, Henry is trapped in the freezer. Wendy dosed his labcoat with PCP that entered his skin like a nicotine patch. Henry is accidentally locked in and the mergency release pin was pulled out.

Wendy is the next victim, claiming to be wearing sensible heels, but they're really not. She is electrocuted and falls off a ladder, but it involves an impossible connection of a motorcyle battery improbably located in heating duct and connected to the ladder.

In the final case, Grissom tries the game. Hodges himself is shot with a zipgun as he talks to the camera. The weapon was activated with a pre-1990 pager so the phone that called it is untraceable. The bullet was used twice, the first to acquire riffling from a gun that has seen been destroyed. Hodges straightened himself at the last moment because it was a suicide intended to frame Bobby the ballistics tech.

Went on to the Criminal Minds episode "Lucky". In 1988, a seriously disturbed young man is released from a penal mental institution because he is turning 18. Never mind that somebody this dangerous would never be allowed out of the hospital.

The first victim Abby Kelton is found dead with ten force-fed fingers in her stomach, none of which were hers and came from several victims. Tracey Lambert is the next victim, abducted from a park ladies room. A search party is assembled with many of the volunteers, parishioners from a church. Sheryl Timmons, one of the searchers is the next one taken.

Morgan finds a body propped up in the church of someone missing for nine months, but unfrozen three days ago. The killer is also a cannibal. With helpf the pastor, the killer is identified as Floyd Ferrel. Sheryl Timmons is found alive, but Floyd has fed Tracey Lambert to the search volunteers in a stew.

In the other plot, Garcia has a date with unlikely handsome mane named James Colby Baylor. At the end of their date, he shoots her at apartment building doorstep.

December 29

Went to the Quarry House to see some folks I knew from my days in Markland, including Beth Fuller. Her husband John was DJing in between sets of rockabilly bands. The big screen TV showed the Patriots-Giants game.

December 28

Gaylord Perry, a Hall of Fame cheater, has no problem with the most recent generation:

"When you look at those numbers, it'll be awfully difficult for voters not to let them in," Perry said. "You all [voters] have a very tough assignment ahead. I'm sure you'll all sort through it and do the right thing. I just think that, in the end, if you're a pitcher, I'm not sure if there's anything you can put in your body that allows you to throw strikes, and whether that stuff enables you to make the perfect pitch in the most crucial situation, or if it allows you to just know how to pitch. When all is said and done, I think that's what it comes down to."

Of course, he actually cheated. The steroid users didn't actually break any rules so didn't cheat.

December 27

Watched the Cold Case episode "World's End". On the night of Orson Welles' War of the Worlds broadcast, housewife Audrey Mertz disappeared. Today, her body is found in a well.

Audrey's husband Felton had lost his white collar job, but he pretended as if he was still actually working for the benefit of their son Robert. She took a job as a taxi dancer and fell in love with retired inventor Will Paige who bought up all her tickets. He was ready to go away with her, even taking her son along, until Audrey discovered he was still married to a lobotomized woman.

Thinking the world was really being invaded by the Martians, husband Felton and son Robert leave, but wife Audrey says she needs to go get the dog. In reality she was going to meet Will one last time. Rush interrogates the aged Felton, portrayed by Ralph Waite and suffering from Alzheimer's, he believes she's Aud rey. He confesses to killing her.

December 26

Watched the Everybody Hates Chris episode "Everybody Hates Thanksgiving". In 1984, Julius invites his Uncle Louis, the chiropractor played by Wayne Brady, to Thanksgiving. The guest list grows adding Uncle Michael, Vanessa and Mr. Omar and his latest widow.

Chris burns the Mac and Cheese and there's not enough time to cook the turkey. Doc save the day with his mac and cheese, which isn't made with real mac and cheese, but we're not told what it's really made with. The turkey is eventually ready at 1 am the next day and Julius wakes up the family then.

Went on to the CSI: Miami episode "Sunblock". Ronnie Temple is garotted at poolside where everybody else is too busy watching a solar eclipse. The scene is presented as if the sun bimbos of both sexes didn't realize the eclipse was coming. In reality, the event would dominate the local news for the last two weeks or more. But hey, they're pool bimbos, maybe they're just that stupid.

This was the most incoherently told story I've seen. It's bad even for CSI: Miami. The cliffhangers before the commercial were in heavy need of Viagra. They didn't even have Horatio's sunglasses-punctuated attempts at wit to hold them up. After it was all over, you could see original elements that could have been the story quite compelling, but even a non-professional teleplay writer like me was screaming in anguish at the incomptence.

So we find out Temple was a meth addict and drug dealer. There's actually a nice scene where Alexx is knocked out during the autopsy by a blast of gas that had built up in his body from the addiction. Mario Montero was buying wolf hormones from Temple to turn himself into a werewolf. Montero is a prime suspect, especially since his DNA was found on Diana Long, another victim of the killer, but he's taken off the list when he is nearly garotted himself only to have his dog scare the assailant off.

The killer is Nicholas Pike, a nightclub owner with a phototoxicity disease that prevents himfrom going out during the day. He saw Ronnie the drug dealer, Mario the werewolf wanna-be and Diana the internet addict and hated the way they were wasting their lives away while he had to stay hidden at night. When Horatio gets into Pike's apartment, the memory in his telescope reveals his next victim is a college student addicted to videogames. The police stop Pike before he kills again.

December 25

Celso, Miranda, Victoria and Ian play Wii Bowling.

Had Christmas afternoon at my sister's house. I played Wii bowling with the kids and managed not to embarass myself, finishing ahead of Miranda. My father played Wii bowling with the kids as well.

Watched the Bones episode "The Intern in the Incinerator". The body of intern Kristen Reardon is found tossed into the incinerator. The likely weapon was in the Gormogon vault so most of the Jeffersonian suspects the anti-Masonic Gorgomon killed Kristen rather that one of their own.

She'd been having an affair with Kyle Aldridge who headed the Middle East Division. Not long afterwards, he turns up hanged in his office. Aldridge sent an e-mail to his wife in Europe, confessing to the affair. However, the cause of death was a massive dose of a muscle relaxant and the suicide was staged.

Kristen was killed with the horns of an antelope from an artifact, which unfortunately is not in the museum. Antiquities stolen from Iraq were authenticated through the Jeffersonian and the curators never bothered to check if they were looted. The antelope was sent to a post office box in Arlington. Booth stakes out the post office and there's a ridiculous huge Capitol Building looming over Arlington?

Kristen's supervisor Evan Klimkew was the smuggler. He saw Aldridge fighting with Reardon and he accidentally pushed her onto the horns of the antelope. Klimkew helped Aldridge dispose of the body to keep his silence about the smuggling operation. Later though, Klimkew drugged Aldridge and staged the hanging.

December 24

We had our usual Christmas Eve dinner of Chinese food. I bought a bottle of Linganore Winecellars Terrapin White at our local beer and wine store. It tasted a little bitter for me.

Watched the How I Met Your Mother episode "Dowisetrepla". Marshall and Lily look for an apartment in the Dowisetrepla neighborhood. Because of Lily's credit history, the banker, played by Phill Lewis, grants a loan with a ridiculously high interest rate. The Ericksons discover Dowistrepla stands for "Downwind of the Sewage Treatment Plant".

Jesus ColomeDecember 23

Today is the birthday of Jesus Colome. He went 5-1 in 66 innings, although Jesus struggled in September. Of course, most Nats fans will remember the abscess on his right buttock that kept hit out for two months. As Jim Bowden said:

It's a serious situation. We pray for his buttocks and his family.

Watched the Battlestar Galactica episode "The Son Also Rises". Apollo joins Romo Lampkin as part of Baltar's legal team. William Adama's father was a weel-known attorney.

Went on to the Numb3rs episode "Tabu". Heiress Ella Pierce is kidnapped by a group called the People's Nationalist Agenda. It follows the Patty Hearst script with Ella firing at the FBI and engaging in a robbery. It turns out this was her idea the entire time as rebellion against her father. It ends in a shootout at an L.A. craftmans house.

December 22

Watched the Battlestar Galactica episode "Maelstrom". The Sybil tells Starbuck that Leoben will return for her. The fleet is refueling on a gas giant loaded with synchrotron radiation and while on patrol, Starbuck thinks she sees a raider and nearly crashes into a storm that resembles the mandala from her memory.

Recordings of the dogfight reveal no raider, although it sure looked to me like an old-style Viper from the 1978 show. From flashbacks, we learn her mother, Corporal Socrata Thrace was dying of cancer the day she presented herself as a newly commissioned officer. It turns out the Leoben in Starbuck's mind was means to making peace with her dead mother. Starbuck's fighter breaks apart in the storm.

Went on to the CSI:NY episode "Commuted Sentences". Fern Lazlow has the blood of recently murdered Mitchell Bentley III all over her. He'd been acquitted in her rape.

Meanwhile, advertising executive Joanna Morgan is found shot to death on the steps of the museum. Suspicion in the Bentley murder falls on Amber Stanton, a book publisher who had dinner with him the night he died at the same restaurant he ate with Fern Laslow before he raped her. It turns out both Stanton and Morgan were victims of unpunished assaults. Together they became friends on the commuter rail. Stanton avenged Lazlows rape while Morgan attempted to avenge a murder of a model by Steve Kaplan. Morgan tried to shoot Kaplan at the museum so that the model's fiance, an employee at the museum, would find his body. Instead, Kaplan is able to wrestle away the gun and she died instead.

D'Angelo JimenezDecember 21

Today is the birthday of D'Angelo Jimenez. He had a decent year as a switch-hitting pinch hitter with .379 OBP, but D'Angelo was a disaster in the field with 3 errors in 11 games at short. He's since signed with the Cardinals.

Took Miranda to Ian's birthday party at Earth Treks. She's recovering from a cold so she didn't do any climbing. Kelly, the girl in charge of the party was so short, I had to keep reminding myself,"She must be at least 16." Miranda enjoyed taking pictures of the other party attendees climbing, but didn't like me taking her picture. Bea and Greg brought in a pirate-themed cake with pirate-themed cupcakes. Whitlock would like to visit a place like this and try the climbing herself. I suppose I could try it also. Most of the other Zen Pirates were also climbers except me who just went to the gym. It was a pretty fit unfat group for gamers.
Miranda taking pictures at Earth Treks.Miranda and Victoria both taking pictures Earth Treks.
Victoria taking pictures and Miranda not liking getting her picture taken.Ian the birthday boy

December 20

You can't take the Christ out of Christmas. Well, actually you can, just as easily as you can take the Saturn out of Saturnalia and the pagan sacrifice out of winter solstice celebrations and turn it into the birth of the central figure of a totally different religion. I understand the writer's point about the spiritual bankruptcy of materialism at Christmastime, but the U.S. economy kind of depends on that materialism. If everybody followed his directive, they'd feel good about putting religion, family and friends above stuff, until the retailers started laying off employees and reducing orders to manufacturers. America depends on the notion that you can solve your problems by buying something. He's got all the good intentions in the world, but that kind of thinking sounds dangerous, and possibly un-American.

December 19

The new game show Duel is not terrible. It suffers from the Millionaire syndrome which is a dark studio, high tension, and too few questions.

The questions try to be tricky without actually being difficult, such as knowing how many children Tony Soprano has or who hasn't been married to a million-selling recording artist.

The game is simpler than what Shales makes it out to be. Each player has ten chips. Each question has one of four possible answers. The player uses the chips to cover the choices they think are are correct. If you're sure, you only use one chip. If you're unsure, you hedge your bets on the other chips. If you haven't covered the right answer, you lose the duel. If one of your chips is on the right answer, you stay alive, but you lose all the chips covering the other wrong answers. As the game goes on, players will lose chips and are more likely to have guessed the wrong asnwer. The survivor earns $5,000 for each chip they have left. The players aren't too bright like the ATM technician who had to hedge what denomination had the White House on the back.

There's other crap like the computer selects three possible opponents from which the champion tries to select the dumbest one to play. All used chips go into a jackpot for the end of the week.

Then there's Mike Greenberg who plays a dork, but is too slick good-looking to be real dork. Like Ugly Betty is not really ugly.

December 18

Poppy Z. Brite is a fiction writer and you can tell from this account of a man shot across the street from her house:

The victim lay with his body in the street and his head on the sidewalk, gravel and broken glass a glittering halo around him, the front of his white T-shirt blotched with spreading bloody flowers, his eyes open and aware.

December 17

Mitch Albom says:

Or say that juiced player is a guy like Clemens, who has hundreds of thousands of young fans. And now they see his name and accounts of him allegedly having needles stuck in his body to get an edge. And those thousands of kids lose their belief in him, or the sport. And when they grow up they tell their kids you can't trust these guys. And on and on. This is no small pond, the sport of baseball, and a rock in these waters can ripple forever.

When all logic has been abandoned in the PED jihad, the moralists resort to destruction of childhood fantasies. As if professional athletes are immune from infidelity, divorce, substance abuse and depression, just like a child's parents or relatives. If a child believes in the myth of his heroes, he grows into an adult who still believes the myth of his heroes-a pathetically naive boy in a man's body ripe for swindling by a scam.

If you love the game, corruption will just make you seek the game in an unadulterated form - if not the major leagues, then the minor leagues, or college or high school or t-ball if you have to. Or a computerized version. But if you love a player, then your interest will be gone when that player is.

Albom is wishing for a childhood that hasn't existed for anyone under 50. And you can only cheat if you've broken a rule.

December 16

Watched the Everybody Hates Chris episode "Everybody Hates the Last Day". Chris plots revenge against Caruso, framing for a prank where cat food is planted in the school heating system.

Went on to the Criminal Minds episode "Identity". In Great Falls, Montana, 42-year-old Francis Goehring is driving in the car he stole from Angela Miller. When he is stopped by police, he blows himself and the car up.

Apparently, Goehring was so crazy, even the Montana Militia kicked him out. He lived on several acres his wife inherited from her parents and he subsequently wrestled from her in the divorce. At Goehring's home, the BAU find he abducted women from gas stations or grocery stores, then brought them home, trying to enslave them before killing them. However, the video indicates he had a partner who videotaped the proceedings, not so much for the enjoyment of the torture, but for the love of Goehring.

The partner is Henry Frost who proceeds to die his hair and scar his face to look like Goehring. He abducts a woman and holds her at a Black Eagles Peak. While the FBI negotiate with him, the leader of the Montana Militia is deputized and succeeds in taking out Frost with a sniper shot.

December 15

Watched the Cold Case episode "Wunderkind". In June 2002, 14-year-old math whiz Terence Carter was shot and killed on a rooftop. His father Gerald arrives today to ask for his personal effects and it is discovered that three credit cards have been opened on Terence's social security number.

Terence befriended Augustine Bennett, a recluse known as "Birdman" who was a disgraced aeronautical engineer. Terence's half-brother Michael is now paralyzed from a 2003 shooting. Michael says Terence was a card-counting whiz who suddenly drew the attention of gangster boss Delonte.

One night Delonte brought Terrence to count cards in blackjack at an illegal casino run by Fat Ray. Terrence decides to double-cross Delonte and go to Atlantic City with his father. Michael wants to get in the good graces of Delonte and his jealous of the attention their father is giving Terrence. Michael shot Terrence.

Went on to the How I Met Your Mother episode "I'm Not That Guy". Ted discovers there's another Ted Mosby who's a pornstar. It turns out the pornstar's real name was Steve Beal. Back in 7th grade, 9th grader Ted saved him from a beating so Steve honors him by using it as his screen name. There's a humorous scene where Ted has a phone interview with a reporter for an adult video magazine, but he thinks it's for an architecture publication.

In the other plot, Marshall is lured into a job with the evil law firm Nicholson, Hewitt and West. Lily allows him to take the job instead of joining the Environmental Defense Fund because she has a massive credit card debt. However, Marshall's client will be Tuckahoe Funland, an amusement park that is the least evil of the NH&M clients. That is until Ted tells us that in the future, Tuckahoe Funland will be the target of class action suits.

Finished off with the CSI episode "Goodbye and Good Luck". Kira Dellinger from McLean, Virginia, falls from her high-rise dorm room at the ubiquitous Western Las Vegas University. She was in the band Death Crusade with Marlon West. We last saw him in the episode The Unusual Suspect when he was charged with killing a girl in high school by putting sodium in a showerhead, but her creepy accelerated 12-year-old sister Hannah confessed instead at the trial.

Hannah couldn't be charged and both got off. Now she is graduate assistant WLVU. It seems Kira was getting between Hannah and her brother, so she helped him spike her lubricant with GHB. Hannah pushed Kira out the window and Kira's latest lover Jordan Rockwell got into car accident on the way home. Marlon wears a wire while talking to Hannah, but she won't confess. Distraught, he hangs himself in his jail cell and even Hannah breaks down.

In a parallel plot, Sara investigates a domestic dispute with Ronnie Lake. Sara has become cynical, knowing the woman will never press charges and just go back to get beaten again. Ronnie is still new and reaches out to the woman. Both cases get to Sara and she leaves Las Vegas and Grissom.

December 14

Howard Bryant reports:

"The problem was, what did they want us to say?" said a team trainer who was interviewed by Mitchellís investigators in 2006. "They wanted us to speculate. And I wouldnít do that. They wanted me to say who I thought was using steroids. And when I said, 'I donít know,' they would say, 'Well, you work most closely with these guys. You work on their bodies every day. You werenít the least bit suspicious when you saw their bodies change?'

"This was the kind of stuff I was most afraid of, because they didnít ask me about specific people with specific information that they had. They asked me to guess. I said my guess was no guess at all, because what would happen to me if I said a guy was using steroids who wasnít? What if I guessed wrong? Then my name is out there, I get fired, and Iím easily replaceable."

Over on the Gameday board, the posters picked five players they believed woudl appear on the Mitchell Report. I pretty much guessed at random and only included Gary Bennett just to be rude. Damned if he wasn't the only name I got right.

The problem with performance enhancing drugs is that they are acquired from doctors and others with dubious health credentials or reliability. Under proper supervision, steroids and HGH could be helpful in recovering more quickly from injury. Perhaps in the near future, each team or player will have a Licensed Sports Performance Enhancing Drug Specialist - LSPEDS - pronounced Elspeth.

December 13

Watched the Battlestar Galactica episode "A Day in the Life". Seelix, Galen and Cally got to repair Airlock 12. A slow leak traps Galen and Cally. They discuss their failing marriage. Eventually the only solution is to pilot a raptor over the opening into space. Athena maneuvers the raptor into position while Starbuck and Apollo catch them as they are blasted out.

In the other plot, Adama is haunted by his ex-wife Carolanne on this day, their anniversary. It this a common trait of these humans? Do they still have a bicameral mind?

December 12

Watched the Battlestar Galactica episode "The Woman King". Helo is in charge of 300 Sagittaron refugees who have a religious and cultural opposition to medical treatment. Many of them are suffering from a communicable kidney ailment called Mellorah sickness.

Dr. Micah Robert, played by Bruce Davison, is in charge of taking of the Sagitarrons. Nineteen-year-old Willie King is brought in by his mother, contrary to Sagitarron practices. He dies anyway, even though he is that far along. Mrs. King insists to Helo that Robert killed him, as well as other Sagittarons. Robert's records and an autopsy of Willie reveals that Robert has been selectively euthanizing Sagittarons as a rationing tool for the medicine. In other plot, Six is having visions of Baltar the way he has visions of her.

Finished up with the CSI: Miami episode "Deep Freeze". Doug McClain, retired pro quaterback for 12 years, is stabbed through the neck, not shot through the groin. Reporter Wendy LeGassic was on the phone with him when he died, pretending to be a groupie, but really fishing him for biographical details for his obituary. What was amazing was that she kept him on the phone for 25 minutes until her cellphone battery died, not bothering to call 911.

Doug had a son Caleb by Rita Sullivan. Caleb was six when he died recently of kidney disease, although a photo in Doug's home makes Caleb appear much older. Rita stabbed Doug for not donating his kidney and allowing Caleb to die.

However, she left the knife in his neck, making it theoretically possible for Doug to survive. His manager Martin Wilson came by, did not remove the knife, but did not call 911. Doug's wife Elissa removed the knife, allowing him to die. The title refers to a cryogenic facility to which was Doug was to be transferred that kept getting in the way of the investigation.

December 11

I'm not happy with the Nats signing Paul Lo Duca. I think Jesus Flores should be in the majors, thrown to the wolves, if necessary. I suppose we can look forward to spotting Lo Duca's new 19-year-old DC slumpbuster.

December 10

Watched the Bones episode "The Mummy in the Maze". The mummified body of Stella Higgins is found in a Halloween corn maze. She was fifteen years old when disappeared from Shoreline Amusement Park a year ago.

The mummified body of Judith Suzanne Evans turns up at the haunted house at Shoreline Amusement Park. She disappeared two years ago from Shoreline. The killer kept the women in enclosed areas alone with their particular fears - claustrophobia for Judith, Spiders for Stella.

The scientists take the evidence - a dry location where bodies are naturally mummified, near transportation vehicles and Hawaiian flowers and pinpoint a location. Booth and Brennan target a florist shop between Bethesda and Friendship Heights. In reality, the Red Line is buried very deep at that point, not a level or two below the ground as depicted here. The killer is an EMT stationed near Shoreline. His latest victim Megan Shaw is still alive, but tortured by snakes.

In the other plot, Azura Skye, Cassie Newton from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Susie Keaton from CSI: Miami, plays Amber Kippler from Doyley Private Investigations. She has visited Grayson Barasa, Angela's husband, where he has built a house for them in Florida. Grayson still refuses to grant the divorce.

Tony BatistaDecember 9

Today is the birthday of Leocadio "Tony" Batista. Primarily a pinch-hitter, he .257 with two home runs for the Nats in 2007. His best performance was September 25, the fifth of six complete games he played. Tony homered in the first to follow Kearns' three-run jack in the same inning. That's the game where the Nats went out to a 10-3 lead in the ninth at Shea and almost lost. I'm sure Mets fans won't forget it.

The picture is of Batista signing autographs at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in Puerto Rico, wearing the Expos throwback uniform, the night he got his 1,000th hit. Here's his characteristically open batting stance while playing with the Orioles.

More about Tony's quirkiness in this pdf along with this interesting factoid:

Out of every dollar he earns, 20 cents goes to the church. Immediately. If payday comes while his team is on the road, he takes a cab to the nearest church and hands over a stack of cash, or sometimes a check.

Batista has earned around $19 million as a major leaguer (before taxes), which means he probably has donated somewhere in the neighborhood of $2 million to the church.

"The Bible says the tithe should be 10 percent," Batista said. "But God has blessed me so much, I give 20."

Kory Casto and Paige DutroDecember 8

Today is the birthday of Kory Casto, pictured at right with his wife, hairdresser Paige Dutro, at least I hope he's still married to her. He came up for Nook Logan, he managed to get on-base twice in a game just once. Last I heard he was in Columbus and no one is knocking down his door even for AAA outfield-third base depth.

Taped a couple of episodes of Silver Screen Test. Thanks to my crew of Yen-Ming Chen, David Kamm, Pam Mandel, Christian Murray, James Osioyibo and Robin Schoen.

Watched the Everybody Hates Chris episode "Everybody Hates Math". Chris needs tutoring so that the class scores high enough on the math test to get a pizza lunch. Rochelle is a demoralizing teacher, so Chris has to sneak over to Rochelle's mother Maxine. In the other plot, Risky tries working for Julius.

Went on to the CSI:NY episode "Boo". On Halloween night 1976 in Amityville, Bill Willens shot himself and family members while his daughter went missing. On Halloween 2007, four members of the Duncan family are shot to death and the young daughter Rose has gone missing.

Messer and Monroe are sent in to help the overworked Amityville police. The home has mysterious secret passageways, possibly used to smuggle liquor during prohibition. There they find Rose, unconscious and bleeding from a gunshot wound. A hag accosts Lindsay, tells her to get out, and disappears.

It turns out that in 1976, young Henry Willens accidentally shot his sister and the body was kept in an attic suitcase. For some ridiculous reason, the house remained unoccupied for 30 years. Haunted or not, location near New York would compel someone to buy that house. Eventually the Duncans did and the adult Henry climbed a tree and snuck in the attic to retrieve the body. However, the Duncan family came home early and he had to shoot them.

In the other plot, Dexter Nevins, found dead in a zombie parade, may actually have emerged from a coffin. He faked his death in an insurance scam, but was double-crossed by his wife and her lover. Nevins got hit in the head with a cricket bat when he found them together.

Finished off with the Numb3rs episode "Primacy". A Kansas prosecutor falls from the roof of a Los Angeles building in an incident that seems to be connected to the online game Primacy. Amita reveals she's been playing since undergrad.

At one point, she is lured to a dam and nearly drowned when water is released according to a regular schedule. Instead, Granger is swept away, but is saved by Charlie downstream.

December 7

Set up for Silver Screen Test. Thanks to Mike Camillo and Jimmy Albert.

December 6

When wealthy people get in trouble with the law, I always assume they will use all of their financial resources to avoid prison. Barry Bonds on the other hand, seems contrary to that, according to the Wall Street Journal:

Over two days last week, baseball star Barry Bonds tried to persuade top San Francisco defense lawyer John Keker to represent him in a federal perjury case. But the talks started faltering when the multimillionaire slugger asked Mr. Keker to handle his case at a steep discount, say several people briefed on the conversations.

Mr. Keker, who charges a $900 hourly rate, thought the request was ridiculous, these people say -- especially since Mr. Bonds made nearly $60 million in salary between 2005 and 2007 alone. Mr. Keker also balked at the player's demand to have an out-of-town law firm review the bills. Most importantly, Mr. Keker was concerned he wouldn't have control over Mr. Bonds's public relations and legal strategies and bridled at the prospect of collaborating with the player's current legal team.

Yesterday, Mr. Bonds was nearing a deal with Cristina Arguedas, a well-regarded defense lawyer based in Berkeley, Calif., said people familiar with the situation. Her last-minute hiring after the failed overture to Mr. just the latest trouble to hit Mr. Bonds's legal strategy. Mr. Bonds...has seen his legal moves repeatedly backfire as his lawyers have angered prosecutors and squabbled with one another.

Much of the disarray can be traced back to Mr. Bonds's advisers. Unlike many celebrity defendants who respond to legal woes with flotillas of high-paid lawyers and public-relations experts, Mr. Bonds has largely depended on a high-school friend who works as a private investigator and bodyguard for guidance on hiring lawyers and laying out legal strategy, say several people working on the case. Meanwhile, his legal team has been spearheaded by Michael Rains, an attorney who usually defends police officers accused of misconduct in state court and who has little federal experience. In August, the slugger added John Burris, a plaintiffs lawyer with whom Mr. Rains has a contentious history, and whom Mr. Rains didn't want on the case.

Under this team, Mr. Bonds has done little to polish his troubled public image and has seen his legal team blindsided by an indictment for which they had no ready public response...

When it became clear to Mr. Bonds in 2003 that he would be called as a witness in the investigation of Balco, a Burlingame, Calif., supplement maker that he had been a client of, he turned to Danny Molieri, a high-school friend and former police officer. It was Mr. Molieri who referred the ballplayer to Mr. Rains, a Pleasant Hill, Calif., attorney who is known in local police circles for being the go-to lawyer for police officers with legal problems, say people involved with the case. Mr. Molieri declined to comment.

After he was hired, Mr. Rains, a 57-year-old former police officer himself, quickly went on the offensive. While defense lawyers and prosecutors involved in federal criminal probes in San Francisco usually stay in regular contact, Mr. Rains did the opposite. He publicly accused Mr. Bonds's prosecutors of using the grand jury as a "perjury trap" for the baseball player. Later, he was quoted by the New York Daily News as saying, "I've kicked their [prosecutors'] ass in private, I'll continue to kick their ass in public." Since then, his only communication with prosecutors has been a series of critical letters he has sent them, says Laura Enos, a San Francisco lawyer who handles Mr. Bonds's business matters...

Mr. Bonds remains concerned about attorney pricing. One Bay Area defense lawyer who charges substantially lower rates than Mr. Keker says that when the the Bonds camp recently contacted him about joining the case, his representatives again asked to have legal bills reviewed by an independent firm -- something he had never before heard.

December 5

Many Nats fans are upset at the acquisition of Elijah Dukes. If I were in the position of Ted Lerner, Stan Kasten or Jim Bowden, I wouldn't acquire Dukes. I would be too afraid at the fallout if he got in trouble with the law again. As owner, it would reflect poorly on the organization. As team president or general manager, it would mean I was a poor judge of character.

As a player, I wouldn't want Dukes on my team, because he seems unstable - in other words, someone I couldn't depend on. I wouldn't want to be in a subservient position - such as a clubhouse attendant or groundskeeper. If Dukes treated his lovers and children harshly, what I could expect in my position?

I wouldn't even want Dukes on my fantasy team in the conventional rotisserie varities. The cost of getting him is probably so huge, it wouldn't be worth it. You can't trade the equivalent of a Glenn Gibson, even in a keeper league. The rosters aren't that deep.

But I would acquire Dukes in OOTP, because there are large rosters where fringe players could be traded. Also, there isn't very much in the way of chronic off-field problems in the game.

I would not be ashamed of Dukes as a fan as long as he helped the Nats win. Any taint he might bring would be wpied away by a ring. Heck a playoff appearance would excuse any lingering embarassment.

And if Dukes doesn't pan out, I think Gibson is a reasonable risk for the upside. And it's not my reputation that takes a hit.

Jerome WilliamsDecember 4

Today is the birthday of Jerome Williams. He went 0-5 with a 7.20 ERA in 2007. His April 22 performance in Miami Gardens registered a Game Score of 14, but he still lasted 6 innings in allowing ten runs on the day Ryan Church was pulled for not hustling.

In Williams' best game, he held the Mets scoreless for six innings only to have Chief blow the save. New York eventually blew the game open with six runs in the 12th. Despite the generally lousy six-game performance, he still lasted at least five innings in four of the starts.

From what I could determine, the Nats sent him to Harrisburg in June and the Twins signed Williams to a minor league contract in August, assigning him to Rochester.

Five Elected to Hall by Vets Commitee. In this case, Barney Dreyfuss, Bowie Kuhn, Walter O'Malley, Billy Southworth, Dick Williams. Southworth won four pennants with the Cardinals and Braves, winning two World Series. Can't argue with that. Dreyfuss owned the Pirates from 1900-1932 and is credited with arranging the first World Series.

I'm more familiar the resumes of the others. Walter O'Malley moved the Dodgers out of Brooklyn, so I'm sure this is going over well in New York City - at least as well as the thought of Art Modell going into the Pro Football Hall of Fame will go over in Cleveland. Dick Williams managed the Red Sox, A's and Padres to the World Series. There's a lot of handwringing over Bowie Kuhn getting in over Marvin Miller, but then again the Little Bighorn battle site was named after the losing commander.

Chris SnellingDecember 3

Today is the birthday of Chris Snelling. The stathead Mariner fans called him Doyle, his middle name, an ancient practice of luring away bad luck by calling something a different names. The Northwest was up in arms when he was sent East along with Emiliano Fruto in exchange for Jose Vidro.

Snelling only played 30 games for the Nats before being traded to Oakland for Ryan Langerhans. The injury bug continued to plague him, though as he went down injured just eight days later. In October, the still-Devil Rays picked Doyle up off waivers, then sold him to the Phillies in November.

Although an Aussie, he was born in North Miami. Fruto was traded to the Diamondbacks for Chris Carter, who was immediatley sent to Boston to complete the Wily Mo Peña deal. So the trade ends up being Vidro for Langerhans and Wily Mo.

Snelling's best game was on April 14 at Shea, a memorable game all around. He hit a two-run homer that El Duque followed by plunking Shawn Hill in the hand. Home plate Mike Winters immediately threw out Hernandez who vehemently apologized from the dugout to Hill standing at first. Also in this game, Snelling lured Wright into tagging him out on a slow roller instead of throwing out Lopez at first, allowing Schneider to score.

Watched the Criminal Minds episode "About Face". Joe Mantegna joins the cast as David Rossi. A priceless quote from him was,"The jet? Are you serious?"

At Halloween, Michelle Collucci of Carrollton, Texas finds a "Have You Seen Me?" flyer on her door, like the ones posted for missing persons, except that her face is on it. She goes missing and her home office is papered with the "Have You Seen Me?" flyers. Collucci turns up dead and raped with her faced removed, floating in a pond.

Another woman, Enid White, goes missing in Metro Dallas while walking her dog. She manages a cellphone call from where she's being held captive, but the FBI is just twenty minutes too late in saving her. The connection between the victims is that both were stalking targets of a lonely tech worker named Max Pool. He is shot near the elevator when the FBI corner him at his workplace.

December 2

Watched the Battlestar Galactica episode "The Eye of Jupiter". The humans are loading algae-based food from some planet. Meanwhile, Apollo and Starbuck have some semblance of an affair but Starbuck won't divorce and Apollo won't cheat.

Tyrol is drawn to a cave where he finds an ancient temple, believed to be the Temple of the Five. I don't know who the humans think the Five are, but the cylons believe it is the other five humanoid Cylons, which they don't seem to know. The cave apparently houses the Eye of Jupiter.

The Cylons want the Eye of Jupiter. In exchange for it, the Cyclons will let the humans go and get Baltar as well. The Eye of Jupiter is supposedly a pointer to Earth. The star is about to supernova and the Cylons have landed centurions on the surface. Anders leads civilian military units and Starbuck is shot down. Adama is ready to use nukes to keep the Cylons off the planet while Anders only wants to rescue Starbuck. The episode ends with a cliffhanger of Apollo ready to shoot Anders.

Went on to the Battlestar Galactica episode "Rapture". The Cylons pull from the brink and only one raider lands with Cavil, D'Anna and Baltar onboard. Anders agrees to lead the civilian guerillas and Apollo orders Dualla to rescue Starbuck.

Helo shoots Athena so she'll reincarnate to the baseship. She spots at intestinal blockage, but Boomer thinks Hera should be killed because her model is a failure. Six shoots Boomer and helps Athena escape with Hera.

Starbuck survives her crash and Dualla flies her out. The humans plant explosives on the Eye of Jupiter. Cavil and D'Anna disarm the detonators. Baltar shoots Cavil and D'Anna dies in Baltar's arms. Apparently the Eye of Jupiter is the supernova. Tyrol knocks out and captures Baltar.

The ships escape just ahead of the supernova wavefront. Helo notices Starbuck had painted the Eye of Jupiter in her apartment. Meanwhile, the D'Anna Cylon model is boxed into storage.

The Battlestar Galactica triple play ended with "Taking a Break From All Your Worries". Baltar hangs himself and discovers he's not a Cyclon. Gaeta stops him just in time. Baltar is given a hallucinogenic interrogation drug that goes nowhere.

Finished off with the two-parter that began with the CSI episode "Who and What". Single woman Carmen Davis is killed with a hammer and a boy staying with her. Jack Malone from Without a Trace comes out to Las Vegas because a palmprint at the crime scene is the same as an unsolved missing persons he had six years ago.

Six years ago a boy named Jason Taylor was kidnapped from a house in New York and her babysitter killed. There was a mystery house guest, a poker player, staying with Davis. The poker player is identified as Tom Michaels who identifies the dead boy as soon. Michaels admits to embezzling money from a Utah church for the entry money for the tournament. He brought the boy and had his ex-girlfriend Davis take care of him.

The killer pawned Davis jewels and beats to death an elderly couple for their money and gun. The culprit is Terry Lee Wicker who got out of Sing Sing four months before the Taylor kidnapping. He was once married to Gino Forentino who work as a waitress at the South Point Casino in Boulder City.

Wicker kills Gina and takes off with her in the trunk of her car. He takes their son Kobe with him and he kills a state trooper at a traffic stop. The episode ends with Wicker and Kobe aboard a bus.

The story ends with Without a Trace episode "Where and Why". Wicker and Kobe are dropped off near Hillside, AZ and steal a 1980s Buick from a lot. They take a plane back to New York from Tucson. In Tucson, Malone digs at a particular location, but we don't exactly understand why. There he finds a child's skull later identified as Jason Taylor who didn't die from violence.

Grissom follows Malone to New York. They figure out that Wicker went to Jason Taylor's babysitter because she was also Kobe's babysitter. He took Jason, thinking he's Kobe, where he mysteriously died.

Wicker returns to his old apartment and kills his the current tenant. A hooker who had contact with him says Wicker called her to comfort Kobe, not for sex. Over in Newark, someone unloading a truck sees Kobe escape from Wicker and gets slashed on the arm for his trouble.

Wicker's psychiatrist, played by Ken Lerner, Principal Flutie from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, says that Wicker killed his favored brother with a rock when they were children. Wicker calls his sister Sylvia and Malone is there listening. He threatens Wicker with charging Sylvia with accepting stolen goods as inducement to give himself up.

The FBI find Wicker in a New Jersey railyard where he shoots himself. Kobe is a few miles away, taking shelter in a railcar.

Martin Wooster blowing at the candles at his 50th birthday party.
December 1

Went to the annual birthday party of world-famous media fan Martin Morse Wooster held once again at O'Brien's Pit Barbecue. I can't tell you how old he is now. He received a Jaromir Jagr bobblehead from us dressed in his Caps uniform.

Watched the CSI: Miami episode "Bang Bang Your Debt". College students Jessica Taylor and Brandon Fox are burned in an SUV, but Brandon survives. Jessica's boyfriend Andrew Hillman had cut the brake line, hoping to disable the brakes, but it ended being the accidental accelerant for the fire. Still, that was not direct cause of Jessica's death as she died of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Jessica had gotten way over her head on credit card debt to the point where she was trading sexual favors for debt reduction with account executive Keith Reynolds of Liberty Coast Credit. As Calleigh and Eric question Reynolds at an outdoor fair where attractive coeds hawk credit card applications to unsuspecting males, he gets shot dead.

It turns out both Jessica and Brandon were deep in credit card debt and were attempting suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning. Jessica was too far gone when the fire broke out, by Brandon was awake enough to get out. Amazingly, from his hospital room bed, he managed to sneak out onto a ferry boat from where he shot Reynolds at long distance.

Eric gets ghostly visitations from Tim Speedle, which helps him find some key evidence. This is scientifically explained away as a by-product of his brain injury. However, Speedle's credit card has been used in the last three weeks, it turns out by CSI tech Dan Cooper, who wanted to be a field agent. In real life, there's no way a credit card not in use for three years would not be flagged, if not rejected, when used again. Also for some reason, Speedle's locker hasn't been cleaned out, which is how Coper found the credit card.

Finished up with the Cold Case episode "Thick as Thieves". A Jane Doe finally dies after being in a coma since 1989. Her saline breast implants identify her as Margo Chambers who disappeared with poolboy Spencer Mason.

It turns out Margo had several aliases for a number of scams she pulled over the years. Spencer was actually her the partner in the scams and, as it turns out, her biological son. He fell for a maid named Kylie at the fleabag motel they were staying in. She looked a lot like Margo so Margo plans to fake her own death, but killing Kylie and using her body, in order to collect on the insurance. Kylie and had been in a few scams herself and she convinces Spencer to double cross Margo and kill her instead.

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