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October 2007 Archives

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October 31

Watched the Doctor Who episode "Human Nature". The Doctor is trying to hide from the Family of Blood, aliens who want his energy to achieve immortality. The only way he can do it is by becoming human until the Family die from lack of energy.

The Doctor has entrusted to keep his Time Lord identity safe, encased what looks an ordinary pocket watch. He takes on the identity of John Smith, a teacher at the Farringham School in 1913 while Martha is his maid. The Nurse, Joan Redfern, takes a liking to him and he shows her his book of amazing dreams which the audience recognizes as a chronicle of the Doctors adventures, including sketches of his previous incarnactions.

The Family land, taking posession the body of Baines, a student, Julia, a maid at the school, as a well as a farmer and a little girl. Timothy Latimer, a student who apparently has psychic powers, takes the watch and keeps it in his possession. The Family corner the Doctor at a dance, threatening to kill either Martha or Joan.

Red Sox Wags
The post-game celebration Sunday night showed the Red Sox wives and girlfriends in black shirts with the words "World Series Champs" in rhinestones. I thought this might be another attempt at MLB marketing to sell merchandise to women. My next thought was of some poor women in Africa with black rhinestone 2007 World Series Champions Colorado Rockies t-shirts. It turns out this idea originated from the Red Sox women themselves from a company called Chix Appeal.

The "B" on the cap glittered with rhinestones - Marie Mirabelli's idea, Stacy Wakefield said - and the T-shirts, the ones that sparkled with "Red Sox World Champs," those were Shonda Schilling's inspiration.

"The first one she had made, which I have on under this one, says, 'AL champs,' " said Stacey Wakefield, standing just to the side of the mound where her husband was to have pitched until his shoulder did not allow it, his place taken by Jon Lester in the reality-busting finale to a season already sprinkled with magic. "We kept them in our purses until they actually won. And then we were like, 'Yeah, put 'em on!' A few people had put them on beforehand, and I was like, 'You can't do that.' That was like 2003."

And Miranda went out trick or treating as Momo.

Jonathan AlbaladejoOctober 30

Today is the birthday of Jonathan Albaladejo. He finished with an ERA of 1.88 and got his first win against the Mets on September 17 when Manny Acta when quickly to a pinch-hitter for Tim Redding in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Rodriguez Not Greedy by Standard of Wall St.

"Not only do I have no problem with it, Iím cheering him on," said James L. Melcher, founder and chief executive at Balestra Capital, a hedge fund in New York. "Ballplayers work every day, they risk serious injury, and they travel all the time. I donít begrudge him a penny."

"Too many C.E.O.ís," Mr. Melcher added, "get appointed because they were just there, and then they stuff the board with their friends, and their compensation goes up and up and up regardless of how they perform. Thatís not the American way."

Even some Yankee fans who are crying about the loss of Rodriguez, who is favored to win the Most Valuable Player award, say he and his agent, Scott Boras, are right to seek whatever the market will bear.

"Boras has the No. 1 company in the baseball world, and if heís not taking the company public, heís an idiot," said Ty Wenger, the editor of Trader Monthly. "By going, he allows the other 29 teams to create a feeding frenzy."

Alex RodriguezOctober 29

After it was announced during last night's game that A-Rod would opt out of his Yankees contract, many bristled at the attempt to upstage the series. Peter Gammons said,"He's never played in a World Series. Maybe there's a reason."

Ernie Banks, Rod Carew, Ryne Sandberg and Billy Williams also never played in a World Series. Maybe there's a reason.

Ernie Banks, Rod Carew, Ryne Sandberg and Billy Williams
Watched the Doctor Who episode "42". Apparently the title was a take-off on 24 but any science fiction fan saw the reference to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. The TARDIS lands in a very hot room on the starship Pentallian.

The ship is heating up a ridiculous level as it will crash into a sun in 42 minutes and the TARDIS is now inaccessible because the room it's in is too hot. The Doctor sends Martha and a crewmember named Riley through a ridiculous series of doors in order to activate the auxiliary engines. The doors are password-locked and sometimes require answers to trivia questions. Martha has to call her mother on her "Universal Roaming" mobile in order to get an answer.

Korwin, the husband to Captain McDonnell says "Burn with me" to the doctor and turns her into ash on the wall. He goes on to fry another crew member and infect the aptly named Ashton. Ashton finds Martha and Riley hiding in an escape capsule and destroys the controls, sending them both floating into the sun.

The Doctor gets into a spacesuit and activates the magnetic controls pulling the escape capsule back to the ship. While outside, he becomes infected by the sun and realizes it's alive. When the ship came here to refuel, it trapped some living creatures who are now taking their revenge.

The Doctor is put into something that looks like an MRI with the intention of flash-freezing the sun creatures out of him. Korwin interrupts the process and the Doctor tells Martha to go to the front of the ship and dump the fuel. McDonnell meets her husband near and airlock and lures him out, apologizing for getting the crew in this mess. Dumping the fuel apparently works, but there are only two members left when the Doctor and Martha leave in the TARDIS.

Watched the CSI: Miami episode "Dangerous Son". In the new season, Tripp has made sergeant and is now in uniform. The SWAT team arrive at what appears to be a hostage situation involving parole officer Andrew Bennett. Bennett's dead body is thrown out the window as the suspect escapes out the back into a waiting powerboat, firing one shot at the pursuers. The parole officer's body was a diversion as he was shot a while earlier.

One of the suspects is Kyle Harmon, who makes Horatio stop when he's brought in for questioning. Horatio hires Yelena to investigate the boy. She finds he was born in Pensacola to Julia Eberly and the father was listed as John Walden. Horatio says Walden was his undercover name and he never even knew Julia was pregnant.

Kyle kidnaps Kathleen Newberry, wife of prison guard Mike Newberry, demanding the specific amount of $126,000. He then cuts off his ankle monitor, leaves Mrs. Newberry is a safe location, and escapes in a powerboat. The Coast Guard give chase, but Horatio convinces them stand down and Kyle gives himself up.

Bennett's shooter was Rick Bates, an ex-con out on parole and a co-worker with Kyle at the Mist Cafe. Back in prison, he smuggled drugs in with the help of Mike Newberry, who kept the money. Now that he's out, he wants his share. There was pretty ridiculous list of parolees under Bennett's supervision, which included a serial killer. It was getting so ludicrous, Whitlock and I joked about the rest of the list of potential suspects that would never be released on parole - this one's a nuclear terrorist and that one assassinated the President. Oh, and this entire episode apparently only took place in the course of one day.

October 28

Played the Titanomachy Maryland Mirror as "An Inconvenient Fruit" with world-famous media fan Martin Morse Wooster, Wendell Wagner and Raghu Mukkamalla.

I was a high enough individual finisher to win a book. We finished sixth out of fourteen. Wendell was incredulous that one undergrad player thought we were still students.

The conventional wisdom is that writing questions makes you a better player. I know that sometimes an embarassing eprsonal experience will lead you to answer. I discovered this time around that writing a blog can also help. If I hadn't found a link in the process of writing this blog, I never would have been able to answer a question about the Boston Molasses Disaster.

Watched the Criminal Minds episode "In Birth and Death". A serial killer in Milwaukee abducts mothers in their 30s, tortures them for a few days, then literally cuts out their heart before dumping their bodies. Jareau, Morgan and Reed, supervised by Assistant Director Strauss, are left to handle the case alone with Gideon AWOL, Hotchner seeking a transfer and Prentiss joining the foreign service.

Morgan calls desperately asking for Hotchner's help. Hotchner talks Prentiss into coming for just one last case. The unsub uses his seven-year-old son to lure women. While they team makes an attempt to profile the unsub, Reid gets the insight to profile the son. A counselor identifies young David Smith and his father Joe. The father was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor and the mother left them.

Joe has abducted a school nurse when the house is identified by the FBI. Prentiss talks her way into the house and the unsub is captured.

Went on to the CSI:NY episode "The Deep". Diving instructor Doug Holden floats up to the surface near Staten Island. His partner Matt Campbell is also missing.

Asbestos on Holden leads to an artificial reef consisting of old subway cars in the East River where Cambell's body turns up, along with 1783 Spanish escudos. Those escudos have been identified on the general coin market as forgeries only plated in gold. Out in the deeper water of the harbor, divers find the wreck, along with more gold coin forgeries. Both divers were killed with cyanide gas into their air hoses. Syringes are found at the wreck with traces of cyanide and cortisone.

Those clues lead them to the Albanian Duka brothers. Zamir is at their apartment, but Stella sees they're planning a bombing. Here's their complicated explanation - the Iraqi chief investigator of corruption is scheduled to speak at the U.N. The Albanians want to kill him because of their affiliation with the Iraqi insurgents. Never mind that much of the corruption in the Iraqi government goes right into the hands of Iraqi government officials, some of whom are also insurgents.

October 27

Going further down the Doctor Who inventory I watched the episode "The Lazarus Experiment". The TARDIS lands in Martha's bedroom and the Doctor is about to leave when he struck my Professor Richard Lazarus on television saying he will "change what it means to be human". Martha's sister Leticia or "Tish" is the director of public relations for Lazarus Labs so she gets invites for the Doctor, Martha, brother Leo and mother Francine to the reception where Lazarus will present his great discovery.

Lazarus steps into a booth which spins around, but soon segins to overload. The Doctor jumps over to some control panels and stops the process. Lazarus stumbles out of the machine looking forty years younger. During the previews I thought the was Peter Davison until one realizes it would have to be Peter Davison from 25 years ago.

The Doctor and Martha get a DNA sample from when Lazarus kisses her hand and in analysis they discover his DNA is constantly changing and unstable. Lazarus meets with his companion and benefactor Lady Thaw and she seems excited at the prospect of being rejuvenated as well and continuing their relationship. He rejects her and turns into a scorpion-like human and kills her.

Lazarus returns to the party human again and invites Tish to the roof. The Doctor and Martha find Lady Thaw, discovering she's had all the life energy sucked out of her. They find Tish and Lazarus on the roof and pull Tish away. The Doctor explains that Lazarus has become an evolutionary dead-end hidden somewhere in human DNA.

Martha initiates a security lockdown but Lazarus, in scorpion form, manages to pick off a party-goer in the lobby. The Doctor lures Lazarus away as Martha clears the building. The Doctor turns on all the gas vents in what seems to be a high school chemistry lab. Lazarus manages to survive the explosion anyway.

Back on the first floor, the Doctor and Martha hide in the manipulator and reverse the process to the outside, apparently killing Lazarus and returning him to human form. However, not long afterwards, he breaks free from the ambulance and takes two paramedics as snacks. Lazarus heads for Southwark Cathedral.

In the Cathedral, Lazarus sits in the presbytery covered in a blanket. He and the Doctor argue a bit and Lazarus turns into a monster again. Martha and Tish takes the stairs up into the bell tower to lure Lazarus up. The Doctor goes to the organ and intends to create a resonance with the sonic screwdriver. The monster goes up the tower chasing the sisters, then falls to his death after a blast from the organ.

Went on to the Everybody Hates Chris episode "Everybody Hates Baseball". Rochelle's brother Michael sells box seats to an upcoming Mets game to Julius. Unfortunately for Chris, Tasha asks him to go with her and her friends to see Back to the Future. Eventually Chris decides to go with his father to the game, and Tasha asks another guy to go with her.

When Julius, Chris and Drew get to the game, they find out Michael has sold them tickets from last year, April 1984. All tickets are sold out, but they go to a bar to watch the game. Meanwhile, Michael has asked out Vanessa, Rochelle's favorite stylist. She tries to talk Vanessa out of the date and Vanessa thinks it's because she thinks Rochelle believes she's not good enough for Michael. Of course the date is a disaster but Vanessa and Rochelle reconcile.

I was surpised at how accurate this episode was in terms of time. It seems to be set just before Memorial Day Weekend when a big blockbuster like Back to the Future would open. The Dodgers were in town that weekend. There is a shot of television screen showing the end of a game showing Hershiser as the loser. The audio said that Valenzuela and Gooden would start the next game which was alos true. This seems to be the game they missed, although it wasn't quite sellout.

Fnished up with the How I Met Your Mother episode "We're Not From Here". Barney and Ted realizes that part of Gael's secret may be that he's not a New Yorker, so they pose as Missouri rubes. They find Lindsey and Colleen who takes them to a lame chain restaurant, then to South Bronx where they are mugged. Barney tells Ted to hang on because "We Almost Died" sex is the best sex of all. That's when the girls reveal they live in West Orange and Ted blows their cover, being an indignant New Yorker that West Orange is not New York.

Meanwhile, Robin is getting tired of Gael. A bunch of Australian backpackers are drumming and crashing in her living room. She dreams of arguing with her wild, Argentian self, but also has sex with her.

Marshall and Lily prepare death folders and Marshall writes a poignant goodbye note. He prematurely reads Lily's note and finds passwords and account numbers.

Jesus FloresOctober 26

Today is the birthday of Jesus Flores. He was acquired by the Nationals during the last off-season in the Rule 5 Draft from the Mets.

I see a lot of suggestions that Flores should be playing in AA next year. Since Schneider is a left-handed hitter, he can platoon so he won't be languishing on the bench. He's not playing behind a Mike Piazza, Ivan Rodriguez or Jason Varitek. Flores is the second best catcher in the system, if not the first. So why should the Nats forgo hitting and catching for the big club for some less than replacement level "veteran", just to delay Flores' arbitration and free agent years?

Nationals Farm Authority posted this statement from Jim "Baltar" Callis in a Baseball America chat:

I think some teams use the commissionerís mandate as an excuse to not spend on the draft, but the real answer is that any team that doesnít take advantage of the system is just hurting itself. MLB has it set up so that anyone who wants more than slot money will fall to a team that will pay the freight, and only a few teams will do so. Why not take advantage? The average big league team spends $70 million on big league salaries and $5 million on the draft. If you made that $65 million and $10 million, you wouldnít notice much difference at the big league level but youíd grab a ton more talent in the draft. This is the only way for smaller-revenue teams to compete with the larger-revenue teams for talent, but only the larger-revenue teams are taking advantage of slotting.

So he's saying that the latest "Moneyball" advantage to be gained is in the draft bonuses. We'll see how long this lasts and whether any small revenue teams will take advantage. The trouble is the small revenue teams are the most likely to follow lock-step with Bud Lite.

Watched the Doctor Who episode "Daleks in Manhattan". The Doctor and Martha travel back in time to November 1930. The Empire State Building is still under incomplete with the Daleks directing the construction throught their foreman Mr. Diagoras.

Laszlo, the boyfriend of Talullah, a showgirl, is attacked backstage by a pig-headed human. The Doctor and Martha visit the Hooverville in Central Park, headed by Solomon. Under Dalek orders, Diagoras gets a group of workers to install Dalekenium plates on the mast of the tower in the dead of night.

The Doctor, Martha, Solomon and a young Tennesseean named Frank get themselves hired to clear a sewer collapse. Instead, they find a glowing green organic mass and are chased by pig slaves who capture Frank. The Doctor, Martha and Solomon appear above ground in the theater where they meet Talullah.

Solomon returns to the Hooverville and the Doctor determines the glowing green mass comes from Skaro, the Dalek home planet. Dalek Sec opens himself up to Diagoras and seizes him into the Dalek case. While, she watches Talullah do her number, a pig slave drags Martha into the sewers.

The Doctor and Talullah goes down to and find Laszlo who explains he has only partially been transformed into a pig slave. In line with other human prisoners, Martha finds Frank. The Doctor and Laszlo sneak into the group as intelligent humans are brought before the Daleks in the Empire State Building. The episode ends with Dalek Sec emerging from inside his case as humanoid with a tentacled Dalek head.

Solomon is an African-American who says that poverty makes everyone equal. That's not exactly true. Poor Southern whites supported the slave system even if it was to their economic disadvantage. They were likely to be paid for work if slaveholders got slaves to do it for free. The poor whites went along with having a strata a society below them.

As for the actor who played Solomon, Hugh Quarshie is better known for playing Captain Panaka in The Phantom Menace, holding out for too much money, then getting replaced by Jay Laga'aia of Water Rats as Captain Typho. The only major character played by an American here was Andrew Garfield as Frank, but he came to Britain as an infant. Unlike in previous incarnations of the show, non-Americans managed to produce reasonably convincing American accents.

Continued with the Doctor Who episode "Evolution of the Daleks". Dalek Sec, now a humanoid hybrid, tells the Doctor he admires humanity's ambition and capacity for war. The Doctor says Sec does not understand humans at all as he uses the sonic screwdriver to emit a high-pitched that allows the humans to escape.

The other Daleks are beginning to express doubt at the direction Sec wants to take the Dalek race. The main characters return to the Central Park Hooverville where the the residents are armed to repel an attack by the pig slaves. The Daleks follow with an air assault. The Hooverville leader Solomon begs for peace and is exterminated. The Doctor agrees to meet the Daleks in exchange for the safety of the Hooverville humans.

Martha, Frank and Tallulah go to the top floor of the Empire State Building to figure out what's going on. Dalek Sec explains their plan to put Dalek minds combined with human emotions into shells, people they abducted. There is a Frankenstein-like scene where these shrounded bodies descend from the ceiling. The Daleks will use the entire power of the Empire State Building as a lightning rod to take the energy from a solar flare arriving on Earth in 11 minutes and bring the bodies to life. In eleven minutes, the Doctor is supposed to help make this happen. The Other Daleks abort the operation, putting only Dalek DNA in the shells. They also order the pig slaves to kill the Doctor and Laszlo who escape to the top floor.

The Doctor goes out on the mast to pry the Dalekenium from the mast. Meanwhile, Martha rigs pipes to conduct lightning against the pig slaves as the emerge from the elevator. Never mind that a solar flare and a lightning strike are two different things. So the gamma ray burst from the sun shoots through the doctor and electrocutes the attacking pig slaves.

The Dalek humans awaken and are armed with Dalek guns in machine gun mounts. The Doctor, Martha, Frank, Talullah and Laszlo head for the theater. The Doctor fires up the sonic screwdriver to attract the Daleks as his group since in the center of the audience seats. The Dalek humans arrive and arrange themselves in aisles while the Daleks appear on the stage. Sec tries to stop the carnage and is killed. When the order is given to kill the Doctor, the Dalek humans question it because when the lightning hit the Doctor, Time Lord DNA infected the Dalek humans. They kill two of the Daleks while Dalek Caan teleports back to the Empire State Building. He orders the Dalek humans to self-destruct and transports to another time.

Laszlo is dying because the pig slaves have a brief lifespan. The Doctor performs some unspecified cure on him. The Hoovervile residents allow to Laszlo to live with them.

October 25

I just realized how much Jason Segel looks like Peter Bonerz so I got the idea for a stunt jump the shark episode of How I Met Your Mother where they play characters from The Bob Newhart Show. So Marshall is Jerry, Lily is Carol, Barney is Howard, Ted is Bob and Robin is Emily.

October 24

Derek Jeter released a statement after Joe Torre left as manager of the Yankees:

I have known Mr. Torre for a good majority of my adult life, and there has been no bigger influence on my professional development. It was a privilege to play for him on the field, and an honor to learn from him off the field.

So was Joe Torre responsible for this?

October 23

Watched the How I Met Your Mother episode "Wait for It". Robin brings back to New York from Argentina her new boyfriend Gael, played by Enrique Iglesias. They have a double date with Marshall and Lily and his massage technique is so effective, he can release childhood trauma with it.

In revenge, Ted hits on Amy, a tough chick played by Mandy Moore, without any help from Barney. They soak in a hot tub which turns out to be condo of a family Amy used to nanny for. Ted gets incredibly drunk and winds up with a butterfly tramp stamp.

October 22

Before last night's game, McCarver said, these teams played 243 games this year and it comes down to this. I don't know where he got this number from. I count 162 regular season games plus 30 spring training games plus 12 post season games and only come up with 204 per team.

Have the both League Championship Series ever ended on such spectacular plays in the same season? Have any League Championsip Series ever ended on nice defensive plays? This year, a close ground ball had Eric Byrnes diving into first in the NLCS and Coco Crisp crashed into the centerfield wall in the ALCS. usually I seem to remember celebrations preceded by strikeouts, weak ground balls, or weak pop ups.

October 21

Watched the CSI episode "A La Cart". A head inside a football helmet is found along a desert road. The body of high school student Vincent Bartley is found at the end of a blood trail with his hand also severed from his body. Vincent had a go cart rivalry with "Hot Rod" Rodney Banks. Rodney claims he took the rivalry out on the road as the two of them drafted behind a tractor trailer. One second he turned around and there was Vincent's headless torso driving his go-cart off the road. By experimenting with jello models, Grissom is able to establish that a blown-out truck tire hit him with enough force to sever his head from his body.

In the other plot, an obvious Hugh Hefner reference named Hampton Huxley is stabbed through the temple in a bizarre lightless restaurant. The restaurant owner is Pippa Sanchez, a former Hux Magazine centerfold who claims she was inspired by a late blind lover who showed her the sensuous pleasure of food. However, this mysterious lover is actually Michael, one of her blind waiters. He was a chef and Pippa's lover, but he lost his sight three years ago. She stole his idea and made him a waiter. Michael finally had enough and demanded a share of the profits for which she promptly fired him. He killed Huxley in the dark to embarass her and the restaurant.

Just about the time I reached saturation on the Dane Cook ads during the first round of the playoffs, I thought of a parody. It centered around,"I've tried to get you to watch the playoffs because you like the teams. Now I'm going to try to get you to watch because you hate the teams." The next part had something to do with Derek Jeter, Jessica Alba and herpes.

Went on to the Bones episode "The Widow's Son in the Windshield". A skull falls off an overpass onto the windshield of an SUV full of weeded-up kids. The skull has a rare osteoma which identifies it as violin prodigy Gavin Nichols.

Scoring on the skull also indicates the skin chewed off by a human teeth. Hodgins finds a rare pink syenite on the bone. One of the only places in the Washington area with that stone is an abandoned bank on the Anacostia River.

Inside the bank vault, they find a collection of priceless artifacts and skeleton and partially from bones from six people including Gavin Nichols. The tooth marks on the skull indicate the person who bit into it had a diamond tooth. This leads them to Jason Harkness, a teen who did community service at the bank. He admits to cannibalism.

In jail, Harkness commits suicide, although it seems he had help. Hodgins indicates that the artifacts in the vault are connected with various conspiracies. There was also a second set of tooth marks on the skull, so there is at least one more person responsible out there.

October 20

Watched the Doctor Who episode "Gridlock". The Doctor takes Martha to New Earth and New New York, landing in the Undercity called Pharmacytown where the shopkeepers sell various moods. Suddenly a couple named Milo and Cheen abduct Martha for the purpose of having three passengers to use the fast lane.

Apparently, millions of RV-like vans have been stuck on the motorway for 23 years, expecting to go somewhere, but they never do. Everthing is recyclable including waste and fuel. The Doctor hitches ad ride with Brannigan, a cat person, his human wife Valerie, and their kitten children. As the Doctor talks to people in other vehicles, he realizes that perhaps the government and police may have abandoned these people.

The Doctor proceeds to drop his way down to the Fast Lane, one vehicle at a time. In a van just above the Fast Lane, he sees Macra, giant devolved beasts that feed on gas. As he tries to figure out how to get to the Fast Lane, Novice Hame, a nurse and nun he met in a previous episode, teleports in and takes the Doctor with her as she teleports out.

They awake inside the Senate of New York. She explains that a virus mutated from a popular drug called Bliss and killed everyone on New Earth. The Face of Boe found the power to save her and seal off the Undercity. However, he no longer has the power to release them so they've been stuck there for 23 years.

The Doctor figures out how to restore the power, but it's not enough. In his last act the Face of Boe gives his life force. The roof of undercity opens and the people in the vehicles are free to see the sun.

Went on to the Numb3rs episode "Hollywood Homicide". A home video taken at the mansion of star Brett Chandler reveals a dead girl in the tub. Megan explains this video arrived anonymously at the FBI.

Using math and refraction, Charlie is able to deduce a face for the girl. She is Andrea Barton, who is in the morgue, recently found dumped in Runyon Canyon. Reeves and Sinclair go to Andrea Barton's apartment and someone runs out the back door. When David gives chase the driver is Andrea Barton.

Andrea's plastic surgeon Dr. Jacobsen reveals that he worked on another girl named Tracy Meade so she looked like Andrea's twin. Both worked for the escort service of the "Melrose Madam". Logan Oliver, who worked security for Brett Chandler, admits he had a romance with Tracy and she gave advance copies of movies to DVD piraters.

As Charlie works through his math, he realizes there is a threat still out there. Logan calls Liz Warner trying to arrange a meeting and he is found dead with a bullet in his head. Andrea comes out with the big secret that Brett accidentally shot his brother Brian after getting drunk celebrating winning his first role. The incident was reported to the police as a botched carjacking. Brett allowed Logan and Josh as members of his entourage to keep them quiet. His manager Mark Green also knew their secret. Andrea tried to blackmail them because Tracy told her. Mark killed Tracy and Logan in an attempt to reduce the damage.

Throughout this episode, Amita is trying to get Charlie to work ona friendship matrix paper. Also, David is upset that Colby deceived him for so many years, pretending to be his friend and partner. Whitlock was annoyed by this attitude. I felt that FBI culture is so seeped in paranoia that one shouldn't be surprised to find that a co-worker is not what they appeared to be. If David is to be upset about anything, it should be at himself, that he was fooled.

October 19

Went to Gifford's in the evening. We finally had that soaking rainstorm.

Finished Warriors: Rising Storm by Erin Hunter. It's your classic middle volume of trilogy except it's the fourth volume of a hexalogy. It just pushes the action along except for the rescue of Cloudpaw from Twolegs. The fire which destroys the Thunderclan seems almost an afterthought to justify moving the plot along.

Cloudpaw hanging around the Twolegs could be considered something like an addiction and his rescue was sort of an intervention. Miranda believes that Cloudpaw was with the same family which moved not too far away. I was certain, he was about to get fixed when he was taken away. There's a section in Secrets of the Clans I have to read to understand exactly what happened to him in that time.

It's hard to figure out whether the clans are supposed to be in a perpetual state of war. Cinderpelt apparently violates the code when she aids two sick Shadowclan members. Wouldn't it be "human" to help the ill. Even during war you're still supposed to treat your prisoners.

October 18

Finished The Numbers Game by Alan Schwarz. It's a history of statistics in baseball. Aside from the usual suspects like Bill James and Voros McCracken, it starts from the very beginning with Henry Chadwick and covers every major numbers-obsessed baseball figure along the way.

One thing inescapable fact is that because there wasn't any shared knowledge until recently, you see the wheel continually being reinvented. Henry Chadwick liked something akin to Bill James' range factor. The linera weights given to specific hits by Pete Palmer in the 1970s was pretty close to the value calculated by Ferdinand Lane in the 1910s and George and Charles Lindsey in the 1950s.

The most compelling individual story was the creation of the Macmillan Encylopedia in 1969. Macmillan executives thought nobody would pay the $25 price tag in 1969, but over 100,000 copies sold easily. The Numbers Game was published in 2004, so there isn't anything on Sean Forman. I'm sure if it were updated today, you couldn't leave him out.

October 17

Watched the Cold Case episode "Thrill Kill". In 1994, three fifth grade boys are found dead in a empty public swimming pool. Two 17-year-olds were convicted. Today, one of them, Teddy Nimmo, commits suicide in his prison cell on his 30th birthday.

Ted's mother Myrna comes into homicide with a mysterious note, indicating the writer knew the boys had their eye taped shut with duct tape, a detail never released to the media. This note also appears to be once recorded as evidence, then disappeared. Apparently someone from homicide knew of a cover-up. There was a lot of pressure to pin the murders on someone and Detective Jack Connelly coerced Teddy Nimmo to confess.

The murderer turned out to be Henry Raymes, the father of one of the boys. Because of a history of abuse he was afraid of the dark. The boys lured him into the dark basement, laughing at him, and he freaked out.

October 16

Watched the CSI:NY episode "Can You Hear Me Now". Mac returns from London alone. Apparently Peyton can take a longer vacation.

Paint or blood has been splattered against the nose of the Statue of Liberty. Inside the crown, security guard Georgia Morrison had her throat cut with a piece of plexiglas. Danny finds blood has been used to vandalized the statue, but its not from the victim.

A coin-operated sightseeing binocular has been tied down with piano wire to point to a man on a roof in Battery Park. His name is Damian Brock, out on parole for money laundering. He's been embalmed and his t-shirt has been marked with the words "Two More Will Die".

When the police arrive at Brock's apartment, Stella recalls coming here a year ago investigating the still unsolved murder of Marie Casimira. The super Morton Brite was the prime suspect then, but he says he was in love with Maria. The police determine Brock was embalmed in his bathtub while still alive. The phone rings and the outgoing message is Brock desperately giving a description of a van and a partial license plate number.

A Viewmaster in Brock's apartment shows another man being tortured. Examining those photgraphs and a 911 call lead to Alistair Friedman Hall. He describes a man. When Mac and Danny arrive, they find him imprisoned in a timpani with his tongue cut out. That victim is Kent Nakashima, a Japanese exchange student who also lived in the same apartment as Brock, Casamira and Brite.

Stuffed inside Nakashima's mouth was a ticket to a concert given by musician Nova Kent. A special music box cylinder she owned was stuffed into Brock's throat, she'd been receiving mysterious black orchids and she also lived in the same apartment building as Marie Casamira. At the concert, the police see a man holding a mysterious bunch of flowers. He tries to run away but is brought in.

This suspect is Anthony Colton. He confesses to killing Marie Casamira and threatening Nova Kent, but he denies killing the two men. It's pretty clear to the audience that Morton Brite killed them. Stella realizes this when she is in his apartment and the A key on his piano fails. It was an A string that held down the coin-operated binoculars. She chases him down and shoots him.

Morton had down this all, including pouring blood down the front of the Statue of Liberty, to get the attention of the police. Three witnesses had come forward and said nothing. Stella noted that even when he knew who the murderer was, he didn't just kill him. In a continuing plot element, Mac received silent phone calls in London at precisely 3:33 am. In New York, he's getting them again.

Concurrently finished the Doctor Who episode "The Shakespeare Code". The Doctor takes Martha back to 1599. Lilith and her two "mothers" appear to be witches but are in fact aliens that called Carrionites who want to take over the Earth.

Martha and the Doctor visit the Globe and Shakespeare proclaims that the next night, there will be the premiere of a sequel entitled "Love's Labours Won". Shakespeare is not bald and looks more like Viggo Mortenson. When he meets Martha, he is very enamoured with her.

Lilith hypnotises Shakespeare to write exactly want she wants for the last scene of "Love's Labours Won". When the actors rehearse this scene, strange portals appear to open before the stage. The official censor and the wench at the inn mysteriously die. The Doctor talks to the Peter Streete, the Globe architect now housed in Bedlam. All this information and the 14 sides of the Globe leads the Doctor to conclude that the Carrionites are behind the plot.

The Doctor sends Shakespeare to stop the play while the Doctor and Martha try to stop the witches. One of the Carrionite mothers knocks Shakespeare out with a doll and the actors take him backstage thinking he is drunk. Lilith is able to breifly stall the Doctor by stopping one of his hearts.

At the theater, the portal to release the Carrionites has opened above the Globe. The Doctor tells Shakespeare to use his words of genius to close the portal. He lamost gets there but can't think of the last word until Martha suggests,"Expelliarmus!"

Afterwards, Shakespeare recites the "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?" sonnet to Martha and proclaims her his "Dark Lady". The Doctor tells him not to rub his head so much or he'll go bald. Queen Elizabeth arrives and orders the guards to seize him. Obviously the Doctor has offended her in some subsequent adventure.

October 15

The Fair and Balanced Standings

It's time for the Fair and Balanced Standings again. I use it to remove the effects of an unbalanced schedule. The head-to-head record of each team against its league opponents is weighted equally, then applied evenly across 146 games for NL teams and 144 games for AL teams. I added to that, each team's interleague winning percentage across 16 games for NL teams and 18 games for AL teams. The results are standings not overly weighted by division rivals.

Fair and Balanced NL Standings
Team  W    L    Pct   GB
Ari  93.9 68.1 .580  ---
NYM  91.7 70.3 .566  2.0
SD   89.5 72.5 .552  4.5
Col  87.2 74.8 .538  6.5
Phi  86.2 75.8 .532  7.5
LAD  85.8 76.2 .530  8.0
Atl  84.1 77.9 .519 10.0
ChC  81.6 80.4 .504 12.0
Mil  80.4 81.6 .496 13.5
SF   75.2 86.8 .464 18.5
StL  74.2 87.8 .458 19.5
Hou  73.7 88.3 .455 20.0
Was  72.6 89.4 .448 21.5
Cin  71.3 90.7 .440 22.5
Fla  70.7 91.3 .436 23.0
Pit  66.8 95.2 .413 27.0

Fair and Balanced AL Standings Team W L Pct GB NYY 97.3 64.7 .601 --- Bos 95.8 66.2 .591 1.5 LAA 93.2 68.8 .575 4.0 Cle 90.2 71.8 .557 7.0 Det 89.7 72.3 .554 7.5 Sea 88.6 73.4 .547 8.5 Min 84.0 78.0 .519 13.5 Tor 82.8 79.2 .511 14.5 Oak 77.9 84.1 .481 19.5 Tex 73.5 88.5 .454 24.0 KC 70.0 92.0 .432 27.5 CWS 68.4 93.6 .422 29.0 Bal 67.3 94.7 .415 30.0 TB 66.4 95.6 .410 31.0

The Nats were helped by a 9-9 interleague record which included going 4-2 versus the Orioles. Florida and Houston also went 9-9. Only six NL teams had a winning interleague record.

Fair and Balanced NL-Only Standings
Team   W     L    Pct  GB
Ari  94.7 67.3 .585  ---
NYM  92.2 69.8 .569  2.5
SD   92.2 69.8 .569  2.5
LAD  89.3 72.7 .551  5.5
Atl  88.5 73.5 .547  6.0
Col  86.9 75.1 .536  8.0
Phi  86.1 75.9 .532  8.5
Mil  79.8 82.2 .492 15.0
ChC  78.8 83.2 .486 16.0
SF   77.5 84.5 .478 17.0
StL  75.3 86.7 .465 19.5
Hou  72.9 89.1 .450 22.0
Cin  72.3 89.7 .446 22.5
Was  71.7 90.3 .442 23.0
Fla  69.5 92.5 .429 25.0
Pit  68.2 93.8 .421 26.5

Fair and Balanced AL-Only Standings Team W L Pct GB NYY 98.2 63.8 .606 --- Bos 94.3 67.7 .582 4.0 Cle 91.3 70.7 .564 7.0 Sea 89.5 72.5 .553 8.5 LAA 89.1 72.9 .550 9.0 Det 85.2 76.8 .526 13.0 Min 82.1 79.9 .507 16.0 Tor 81.9 80.1 .506 16.5 Oak 76.3 85.7 .471 22.0 CWS 72.4 89.6 .447 26.0 Tex 70.3 91.7 .434 28.0 Bal 68.9 93.1 .425 29.5 KC 67.5 94.5 .416 30.5 TB 66.8 95.2 .412 31.5

The Mets finished above the Phillies in these standings. That's because Philadelphia had a seven game advantage in divisional play, owing mostly to the Phillies taking 12 out of 18 head-to-head against the Metropolitans. The balanced standings weigh those games less so the Mets come out ahead.

The Dodgers finish ahead of the Rockies without interleague play because the Rockies had a 10-8 record against the AL vs. 5-10 for Los Angeles of Los Angeles.

The Yankees finish ahead of the Red Sox in the balanced standings, partially because of Boston's better record in divisional play. Also, The Bronx Bombers went 9-1 vs. Kansas City while the Bosox only went 3-3. That difference put the Yankees ahead in these standings.

October 14

In watching the final episode of Grand Slam, the loser interview of Ogi Ogas by Amanda Byrum came off as sounding so funny that I wanted enter MST3K replies by Ogi:

Is your heart pounding as fast as mine is right now?

Absolutely. I've never been this close to a girl before...

Must have felt great, though, to stand up there against Ken Jennings, almost whupping his behind.

Could you say "whupping" and "behind" again?

Watched the CSI: Miami episode "Born to Kill". Alexis and Shelly are two college-age girls leaving a club at dawn who decide to go to Nikki Beach. Alexis the brunette gets a ride from a mysterious man on a motorcycle, but when she returns home to their apartment, it's Shelly who's been stabbed with a "Y" carved in her chest.

Tripp goes to the computer and finds three unsolved murders in Boston where three college-age blondes were stabbed and had a "Y" carved in their chest. Redfish scales were found at the scene of the first Boston murder and Mosquito Lagoon is the only place in Miami where you can catch them. In addition, Alexx says the suspect should have recent fresh scars from Shelly's nails diggin into him. Tripp and Horatio find such someone who fits that description - Lucas Wade.

The Boston murders stopped after Lucas moved out of Boston. His sister Lindsay arrives at the station to bail him out. She explains he has an extra "Y" chromosome, a characteristic that was once thought to indicate a criminal gene. Lucas acted that out and got into a lot of trouble. Meanwhile, another woman is stabbed with a "Y" in her chest, but she is a brunette mother - Jennifer Royce.

Royce's elementary school age son recovers the knife, which was used in the Shelly's murder as well. A fingerprint underneath the hilt leads to Lucas' girlfriend Rita Bolton, who only admits to packing a fishing kit for Lucas. This would convict him of Shelly's murder since it connects him to the murder weapon.

Jake Berkeley escorts Lucas in a van to the jail. The lug nuts on the prison van have been loosened and the vehicle overturns, killing the driver and seriously injuring Jake as Lucas escapes. Why the driver didn't slow once he started to lose control is beyond me.

Travis Peck, the mystery motorcycle man is pinned for loosening the lug nuts. He was in prison with Lucas in Boston and acted as the his wingman, getting the brunettes out of the way. Calleigh searches newspaper Boston newspaper articles and finds that when Lucas was eight, he was blamed for the death of his four-year-old sister Emma. Also, the death of Jennifer Royce was found to be committed by a left-handed person, pointing the finger at Lindsey.

When Lindsey was six, she was the one responsible for Emma's death. However, it was easy to blame it on her extra Y chromosome brother. Now she tried to pay her brother back with a murder that could clear him. After escaping, Lucas went to Lindsey's home and abducted her daughter Holly. Ryan discovers he wrote Lucas ticket when he was a traffic cop. That location where Lucas cited is where the police find him and Holly.

October 13

Went on to the Everybody Hates Chris episode "Everybody Hates DJs". Chris attends a party where the DJ gets arrested by the police. Chris quickly substitutes can Malvo asks him to DJ at next week's party.

Chris spends the next week looking for DJ equipment including turntable and headphones. He has to borrow his mother's James Brown record.

In the other plot, Drew wants to learn about magic and attend a free magic show. Julius takes him and we learn he's deadly afraid of rabbits since watching Night of the Lepus.

Watched the Monk episode "Mr. Monk is Up All Night". Natalie and Adrian are walking down the street when a Latino woman bumps into him and he must follow her. He chases for two blocks before losing her. The audience obviously believes she's picked his pocket.

The incident haunts Monk so much, he can't sleep. One night, he takes Natalie's advice to take a walk. While straightening a pile of newspapers thrown out by a distribution truck, the mystery woman driving a cab asks him if he needs a ride before Monk realizes who she is. At this point, I don't know why he can't use his photographic memory to recall the cab number or the tag number to find her.

He hears a drug deal gone bad in the kitchen of a restaurant. Through the window Monk sees a long-haired drug dealer, a nerdy little man just looking to score some coke and an Asian man claiming to be undercover cop. A fight and a gun battle ensue, leaving the undercover cop dead as the other two escape and drive away, not seeing Adrian.

Monk calls the police, but the kitchen is undisturbed. Zena the restaurant cleaning woman heared nothing. All Monk finds is a money clip with the initials "J.P." on it. Zena claims it belongs to Jeremy Peters, a cook.

Stottlemeyer sends Monk to the Pearl Street Bar where he meets Gully, a conman played by Donal Logue of Grounded for Life. Gully walks off with Monk's wallet, but he correctly leads him to Essie, the taxi dispatcher at the train station. Essie say the woman in question is Maria Cordova who won't be coming into work until the morning.

Monk sees the supposedly dead Asian undercover cop dumping something into a trash can. Adrian calls the police and the man identifies himself as William Lee who has not been shot and just waiting for a train to Portland. Monk looks in the trash can and finds envelopes from the Jacob Posner coin shop, a possible J.P. that the money belt belongs to.

Adrian talks Stottlemeyer and Disher into visiting the coin shop. The proprietor is the nerdy guy Monk saw before. Posner claims to have been home in his apartment behind the store all night. He owns a .22 that has not been fired recently.

Back at the train station waiting for Maria Cordova, Monk hears a gunshot. William Lee is dead from a .22 slug. Monk realizes Posner was the victim of a con. The "drug dealer" was able to con him out of valuable coins in exchange for keeping the death of the "undercover cop" quiet. When Posner got the visit from the police, he realized he'd been conned and shot Lee.

Posner goes back to the restaurant, leading out the "drug dealer" and Zena the cleaning woman who was also in on the scam. Monk rides by in a commandeered newspaper truck and knocks out Posner with a bundle of papers. Stottlemeyer and Disher arrive to arrest the two grifters.

Monk finally meets Maria Cordova, who has the date of Trudy's death tatooed on her arm. She received Trudy's corneas on that day. Adrian looks into her eyes and looks into Trudy's eyes again.

The conmen clean up the restaurant kitchen scene in less than half an hour, making Monk look like a foolish witness. Did they need to clean up that quickly? Also, if Turdy was killed by a bomb, could her corneas have survived?

October 12

Basil may not been the face of Federal Baseball anymore, but he passed along some interesting links that the Nats have a long way to go to reach the Rockies' level of success. Tracy Ringolsby said Colorado's investment in the Dominican Republic took nearly ten years to bear fruit. Rox Girl says:

As for the Nationals, they should be careful to note that it took products of six drafts/international signing periods (2000-2005) to construct the current Rockies team. Arizona's a similar story, with Brandon Webb coming from that 2000 class and Justin Upton the 2005 group, with the rest mostly in between. I'm not as familiar with Cleveland, but I think it's probably a similar story.

Sally Jenkins says this about steroids:

Anti-doping efforts rest on a basically faulty premise: That elite sport is an inherently healthy endeavor. Well, it's not. World-class athletes are in the business of torturing their bodies unnaturally. According to Mark Sisson, a former anti-doping official in the sport of triathlon, the consequences of training at that level is the dead opposite of physical well-being.

"Most people don't realize it, but training at the elite level is actually the antithesis of a healthy lifestyle," said Sisson, who is also a founder and owner of a nutritional supplement company. "The definition of peak fitness means that you are constantly at or near a state of physical breakdown."

He adds: "It's ironic that the professional leagues and the IOC, the ones who dangle that carrot of millions of dollars in salary or gold medal endorsements, are the same ones who actually created this overtrained, injured and beat-up army of young people. They don't care. These organizations then deny the athletes the very same drugs and even some natural 'health-enhancing' substances that the rest of society can easily receive whenever they feel the least bit uncomfortable. If you walk in a doctor's office and say, 'I feel terrible, I can't work,' he says, 'Let's fix you up.' "

All sport is an effort to alter the body and change its chemistry. Nice as it is to believe that it should be a matter of pure hard work, just look at how athletes starve themselves on extreme diets or swallow insane dosages and mixtures of vitamins, manipulating their intake and fuels in "legal" but hardly natural ways. You can't take a diuretic without getting a ban, but you can be anorexic. What sense does that make? You get a sanction for using EPO, but you can artificially -- and legally -- raise your red blood cells by 2 or 3 percentage points by sleeping in a $20,000 altitude tent, which is not especially good for you, and that's if you can afford and find one, which a lot of athletes in Africa or Central America can't.

"So how is that fair to anyone?" Sisson asks.

Steroids without proper medical supervision can be harmful, which is why they're classified as controlled substances by the government, legal only with prescription from a doctor. But Sisson believes athletes should have some access to them, given the extreme nature of what they do. Doing away with the current anti-doping rules would at least allow athletes legal medical access to what he calls "therapeutic use of these systems, most of which were originally designed to enhance health and are available to general population." It might actually be healthier -- and less unfairly criminalizing -- than the current system.

Went to Capclave at the Hilton Washington DC/Rockville Executive Meeting Center. The convention rooms were nestled way in the back corner of the hotel. As a matter fact, the most prominent signs in the front lobby were for the Coolidge High School Class of 1952 Reunion. I bought Miranda a t-shirt with a cat lording over a bunch of computer mice.

The first panel was about gaming centering on The Settlers of Catan. It was in a room that looked liked it was set up for gaming. The panelists and the audience sat around a single circular table. The panel reminded how much I miss playing board games.

For two hours I sat in the consuite with world famous media fan Martin Morse Wooster and Wendell Wagner. Then I went to a panel on books and stories people wanted to turn into movies. Jim Freund swore that if The Golden Compass bombs, that may kill the fantasy YA franchise trend spawned by Harry Potter, except for Harry Potter itself. On the way out someone else leaving the con said to me,"I've never seen such an empty lobby at a convention. You'd almost think we were in the wrong hotel."

Dmitri YoungOctober 11

Today is the birthday of Dmitri Young. Out of sheer laziness, I've recycled his 2003 Tigers head shot. Back in September 2003, I made the case that both Da Meat Hook and Nick Johnson had at least a better case for AL MVP than David Ortiz. Of course, it's well known that he was named NL Comeback Player of the Year as soon as the human growth hormone allegations came out about Rick Ankiel.

October 10

Elijah Dukes will be playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic. Because Nats third base coach Tim Tolman is managing the team, rumors immediately circulated that JimBow might have an interest. The web hivemind is against such an acquisition. After all, we wouldn't somebody who violated the Mann Act to play for Manny Acta.

October 9

Ball-Wonk asked the bloggers to make predictions at the start of the season. I can't speak for anyone else, but here were mine:

1. Nationals season record - 69-93. (73-89) Enough said here. The Nats exceeded my expectations and the expectations of every major media member.
2. Nationals NL East division place and games back (if any) - 5th place, 21 games back. (4th,16) Not only did the Nats exceed my expectations, the NL East winner fell a little short of my prediction. The Phillies won only 89 games instead of 90 as a I expected. Okay, I thought the Mets would win the division.
3. Date on which Nick Johnson first appears in a Nationals game - September 1. (Never) I'm shocked.
4. Date on which Nick Johnson suffers season-ending injury - September 2. (Still) NOT!
5. Nationals team leader in pitching starts, with number of starts - Shawn Hill - 26 starts. (Matt Chico-31) Got both the guy and the number of starts wrong. Just for starting 31 games, Chico should get a Rookie of the Year vote from somebody.
6. Total number of starting pitchers used - 16. (13) Bowden for assembling them, St. Clair for teaching them and Acta for handling them and the bullpen. All three deserve kudos for the minor miracle.
7. Number of ejections for Manny Acta - 3. (1) He didn't seem the argumentative type and I was right.
8. Guzman's batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging average - .240/.279/.344. (.328/.380/.466) Guzmania was alive however briefly.
9. Nationals home runs at RFK - 70. (48) The offense, on the other hand, was deader than Larry Craig's political career.
10. Paid attendance for the July 21 game against Colorado at RFK (our only Fox national broadcast of 2007) = 20,014. (31,674) Nice attendance once they found out the game wouldn't be on television.

October 8

Watched the Criminal Minds episode "Doubt". On a Flagstaff, Arizona campus, someone has been killing brunettes, then leaving their arms crossed. Since there are no defensive wounds, suspicion falls on those in a position of trust, especially security guards.

Garcia quickly zeroes in on Nathan Tubbs, a security guard rejected four years ago by the police and, just before the killings started, was denied visitation rights to his daughter. The police and FBI take him into custody, but then another girl dies. Tubbs is released, but Gideon is still convinced they got the right guy.

The last killing was done by Anna Begley, a blonde fan who dyed her black, just to get him out of jail. She lures Tubbs to a location and stabs herself. He gets shot by the FBI. Through it all Gideon narrates and appears to contemplate suicide.

Went on to the CSI episode "Dead Doll". Natalie Davis has left Sara beneath a red sportscar in the desert and is not too catatonic to answer questions. Thunderstorms and flash floods threaten to drown Sara before she can get out.

We learn that Sara got out of Natalie's trunk and fought with her as she drove, but lost and was drugged with tainted bottled water. Sara used the rear view mirror to get out from under the sports car, then wandered the desert, when it might have made more sense to just find shade and stay there. Nick finds her from the reflection in the rear view mirror she continues to carry with her.

October 7

Whitlock and I had lunch at Taste of Saigon. I had a nice Bo - Vietnamese beef. Afterwards, we went to Rockville Town Square. The parking garage has a sensor over every parking space so that an empty one has a green light and every occupied space has a red light.

We stopped first at the Rockville Library. Like the Germantown Library, stairs circle around the outside of a cylindrical center. The atrium also contains quotes about education, reading and libraries. There is a very obvious typographical error if you're willing to look.

Afterwards, Whitlock took me to Ten Thousands Villages a store of assorted authentic knicknacks from around the world. She had already bought earrings from the Philippines made from recycled paper. At this time of the year, there are many Christmas items, especially nativity depictions, produced from different countries. I found interesting that the store is categorized by color, as if it was catering to designers looking for accessories to accent a living room. Then we went to Gifford's bought a lot of ice cream.

Joel HanrahanOctober 6

Today is the birthday of Joel Hanrahan. He was, by far, the best batter among Nats pitchers in 2007. Only Saul Rivera and Jerome Williams were in positive OPS+ territory at all. Joel batted .286 with a .571 sluggin percentage. His best game on the mound was September 1 when he stopped a Nats losing skid by beating the Giants.

Finished the book Space Race by Deborah Cadbury. It's pretty much a printed version of the docudrama Space Race: The Untold Story. There were a few details the printed word captured better. For example, while von Braun was trying to get his team captured by the Americans, he broke his arm and had to have it re-broken in order to set properly.

Also, Cadbury set forth in detail the absurd accusations that sent Korolev to the gulag in the 1930s. He broke his jaw in Siberia and failed to tell the surgeon while undergoing the operation that eventually killed him. As a result, improper anesthesia weakened his heart.

Otherwise, the facts are pretty solid where von Braun and Korolev are concerned. In other aspects of the space program, Cadbury tended to go with stereotypes or cliches passed down as common knowledge.

Watched the Doctor Who episode "Smith and Jones". On her way to work, medical student Martha Jones is on her cellphone with her father, mother, brother and sister. Tonight is her brother Leo's 21st birthday party, but her parents are divorced and her mother does not want her father's trophy wife/girlfriend to attend.

The head doctor is B. Stoker who asks the students to diagnose Florence Finnegan, whose sickness is a mere salt deficiency. The Doctor is also there as undercover as patient Mr. Smith. A thundercloud hangs over only the hospital that that teleports the entire building to the moon.

Mrs. Finnegan is a plasmavore that sucks fluid out of a being with a bendy straw, not just for the nourishment, but to take on the physical characteristics of that creature. Her first victim is Dr. Stoker. The hospital is inside a force field, that retains the oxygen, but doesn't produce any new gas.

The hospital has been transported by the Judoon, a bureaucratic police force that only seeks to identify the alien among the humans and execute them. The Judoon have rhinoceros heads, but for special effects reasons, only one of them takes off their helmet. This reminds of the time in college when a dormmate and I, inspired by having just seen Eraserhead, wrote a script for our own absurdist, surreal movie. The camera dollied back from a portrait of rhinoceros head in the clothing of Queen Elizabeth II. The audio consisted of schoolchildren singing to the tune of "Mary Had a Little Lamb":

Lizzie had a rhinoceros head
From too much nasal sex

The Judoon scan everyone individually and those who pass as human get the back of their hand marked with an "X". Mrs. Finnegan passes from having sucked the DNA out of Dr. Stoker. With the help of Martha, the Doctor determines that Mrs. Finnegan is the plasmavore and corners in the MRI room.

Mrs. Finnegan is able to suck the life out of the Doctor. When the Judoon arrive, they identify her as alien, because she didn't realize the Doctor was not human. They execute Mrs. Finnegan and leave because their duty is done.

Unfortunately, Mrs. Finnegan has set the MRI to destroy all life on the moon and the half of Earth facing the moon. Martha revives the Doctor who turns the machine off. The Judoon return the hospital to London.

Leo's birthday party is a family disaster. Martha joins the Doctor for a trip through time on the TARDIS.

October 5

Watched the Doctor Who episode "The Runaway Bride". The end of the episode "Doomsday", Donna Noble suddenly appeared inside the TARDIS. After the opening, Donna is about to marry co-worker Lance Bennett before she dematerialzed to the TARDIS while walking down the aisle.

She thinks the Doctor is part of a prank by her rival Nerys. He was not expecting her and he lands the TARDIS on Oxford Street while unfortunately her mother and Lance are trying to call her from the church in Chiswick, a distance of 10 miles or eighteen minutes. They get into a taxi, but are immediately ejected because they have no money.

The Doctor uses his sonic screwdriver to enable Donna to use a pay phone. The Doctor notices alien robotic Santas who caused trouble last year when the Sycorax attacked. When he tries to warn Donna, she's already borrowed money and jumped into a cab. As the Santas point their musical instrument projectile weapons at the Doctor, he uses the sonic screwdriver to eject cash from an ATM and a lot of people get between him and the Santas.

The cab is driven by Santa who locks Donna in and is driving her nowhere near Chiswick. The Doctor flies the TARDIS a few feet above the highway and unlocks the taxi with the sonic screwdriver. He rescues Donna who jumps from the cab window to the TARDIS.

The TARDIS lands on top of a building and Donna explains her background. She explains she was a secretary at the security firm H.C. Clements. Lance was the head of Human Resources who offered her coffee which began their relationship. As Donna tells the story, the audience quickly learns she can be an exasperating partner.

The Doctor conceals Donna from the robotic Santas with a biodamper that takes the form of a wedding ring. They arrive at the reception which has gone on without her. The Doctor discovers through the Internet that H.C. Clements was once owned by Torchwood. He views the videographer's recording of the exact moment Donna disappeared and determines was composed of Huon particles when she dematerialized and was immediately drawn to the Huon particles inside the TARDIS.

Unfortunately, Huon particles cannot be hidden by a biodamper, which is confirmed by the robotic Santas assembling outside. The ornaments on the Christmas tree float off and become explosive. The Doctor rushes to the DJ station and uses the sonic screwdriver to deliver a high-frequency sound that disables the robotic Santas.

The Doctor, Donna and Lance go to H.C. Clements and descend to a mysterious floor. Riding on Segways, the travel down a long underground corridor to hatches that reveal the complex is beneath the Thames Barrier. They also find a laboratory where liquid Huon particles are being produced. Donna had been ingesting the particles for several months.

From a spaceship orbiting the Earth, the being behind this plot finally reveals herself as Empress of the Rachnos, a giant humanoid-spider alien. Lance reveals himself to be working in the employ of the Rachnos, feeding Donna her liquid Huon particles. The Doctor realizes that when the wedding stressed out Donna, that's what activated the Huon particles to transport her to the TARDIS.

The robots aim their guns at the Doctor, but he enables the Huon particles to make TARDIS materialize around him and Donna. They travel back to the origin of the Earth and find a Rachnos ship was the initial material around which the Earth formed. It is in fact the core today.

The Rachnos Empress force-feeds Huon particles to Lance which pulls the TARDIS back out of the distant past. Donna is captured as she and Lance are trapped in a web above a pit that leads to center of the Earth where Rachnos children await their feed. The Empress slices Lance out of the web and he falls into the pit.

The Rachnos spaceship droves to a hover above London and begins firing laser blasts at the humans. The Doctor frees Donna and gived the Empress one last chance to surrender peacefully to be relocated to another planet. When she refuses, he disables the robots and sets off explosions that releases water from the Thames into the complex.

The Empress teleports back to her spaceship, but the lack of Huon particles as weakened. An ordinary shot from a tank destroys the ship. Donna does not want to join the Doctor as a companion, but he uses the TARDIS to make it snow in London.

Ate dinner at The Rustic Oven, an Italian restuarant in Germantown. I had a veal gorgonzola which was pretty much a veal marsala with gorgonzola cheese.

Afterwards, Whitlock went into the Giant while Miranda and I sat in the car listening to the Yankees and Indians. I picked the game up on WTAM which was WWWE in the old days. It was the crucial eighth inning when Joba Chamberlain was attacked by gnats. I couldn't help chanting,"Let's go (g)Nats!"

I wonder if Joba has something akin to an allergy whereby the gnats were particularly attracted to him. Does anyone find it ironic that real "Indian" on the field isn't pitching for the Indians?

October 4

Rejected Warrior Cat Names

Redstripe (Hurray, Beer!)

October 3

Ate dinner at Sakura in Germantown. The chef had a cute trick where he re-arranged an onion into "Mount Fuji" and turned it into a flaming, smoking volcano. He was actually Malaysian, not Japanese. An African-American woman correctly identified me and my parents Filipinos without even hearing our last names.

October 2

An amazing thirteen inning victory by the Rockies. I don't know why Jorge Julio still has a job, much less one with a play-off quality team that puts him in situations to blow saves. Is there any ex-Nat factor? Ramon Ortiz got the win, Jamey Carroll drove in the winning run and Terrmel Sledge got a pinch-hit walk. I still think Holliday never touched the plate.

October 1

This historians can go back and forth about whether the 2007 Mets collapse was bigger than the 1964 Phillies collapse. The Mets lost their last eight head-to-head match-ups against the Phillies. No team expecting to make the playoffs loses eight in a row to anybody. If the Mets won just one of those games, they would have won the division.

Even more damning was going 5-8 in their last thirteen games against the Nats and the Marlins. Forget about the fact that Washington and Florida are major league rosters. They are still sub-standard major league teams. No team expecting to make the playoffs goes 5-8 against such teams. If the Mets won just two of those games for a 7-6 record, they would have won the division.

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|Jailbreak Toys|
|131 Productivity Boosters|
|Wow, That's Depressing|
|Stan Sulzmann|
|Incident on Niihau Island|
|You Can't Use the O-word|
|Play This Thing|
|An Atheist's Take on Paul Byrd|
|Baseball Pilgrimages|
|Reporting While Black|
|Pleajhai Mervin|
|Savage Dragon Art|
|Mark_Venture's Verizon Phone Info Page|
|May I Have This Dance?|
|Right Brain vs. Left Brain|
|Fo' Paws Productions|
|How to Win a Nobel Peace Prize|
|Do It Yourself Ideas|
|Least Popular Back to School Lunchboxes|
|Meanies And Hypocrites|
|10 Zen Monkeys|
|Where Numbers Go Next|
|Squawking Baseball|
|Painted Demons|
|How to Conquer the New York Times Crossword Puzzle|
|Pats' Tapes Are Gone, But Questions Remain|
|Joe Posnanski|
|Doc, What's Up with Snooping?|
|Drive, He Wrote|
|Bed-Wetter Nation|
The opinions expressed here are those of the authors' alone and do not necessarily represent the views of the persons or the institutions with which they are associated.

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