November 01, 2002

Sorry for sharing this with you, but yesterday I had my blood work done, in preparation for my semi-annual "physical" next week. My HMO, Kaiser Permanente, pretty much zips you right through. I was in and out of there in less than ten minutes, which is only slightly longer than what I anticipate the physical will be; at Kaiser, it's pretty much a blood pressure check, a testicular tug, and an admonishment that I should quit smoking and take up exercise.

Anyways, the first needle the nurse tries to stick in me breaks in two as she's taking it out of its case and putting it on the syringe; she claimed that was the first time it had ever happened. That was reassuring. The real annoying thing, though, was when she bandaged the needlemark after the shot. Rather than just sticking a Band-Aid on the prickling, she dabs a cotton ball on it, and attaches it to my arm with what has to be industrial-strength tape. To make matters worse, the ball got moved slightly when she applied the tape, so the tape ended up covering the scar, which caused immense inconvenience when I tried to get some sleep last night. The pain of removing the tape exceeds ten-fold the momentary inconvenience of the shot. It's so f-----g stupid !! For the last two days, I have had this piece of tape stuck to my arm, knowing that if I pull it off, I will lose a substantial amount of hair, and all because Kaiser didn't want to spend money buying Band-Aids in bulk.
Sorry about the light blogging the past couple of days, but the dictates of the job necessitate.

With the election just four days away, I am going to spending more time obsessing about polls, trends and other horse race minutiae before Tuesday. Three blogs I wholeheartedly recommend for those of you who view the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November with the same reverence that most people find for the last Sunday of January, are MyDD, DailyKos, and RealClear Politics. The latter two have very clear political viewpoints, and come at races from opposite sides, but both leave their opinions at the wayside when it comes to prognosticating. The best site, MyDD, does have a strong liberal bias, and seems to be picking the races through an ideological lens, with a view that Tuesday is going to be a huge night for the Democrats. However, his hypothesis is that the polls and media have consistently underestimated Democratic strength in recent elections, and that the very real advantages Democrats have had in getting people out to vote on election day will lead to some unexpected victories, particularly in House races. As a hardened pessimist, I'm not sure I buy his hypothesis, but in any event, his is an informed opinion, and well worth reading.
Still plenty of time for interested contributors to my collaborative college football blog, Condredge's Acolytes. Any Rutgers fans out there? SMU?

October 31, 2002

Maybe it's just Jupiter aligning with Mars, or maybe things change when we're on the eve of an election, but Kausfiles has actually been rather interesting of late. I guess with a down-to-the-wire horse race, he has something else to write about other than welfare "reform", trivial corrections of Krugman columns, and the satanic conspiracy that is organized labor. He doesn't get a permalink here, as he still links to hate sites, but I had to give credit where due.
Now its Howard Kurtz' turn to take a dump on the memory of the late Senator Wellstone.
Isn't it time to start lobbying the Pulitzer Committee to honor Bob Somerby? This morning, he eviscerates the mythology created by the far right concerning the Wellstone Memorial.

October 30, 2002

Is there anything more idiotic than GOP demands for "equal time" over the Wellstone memorial. First, the Fairness Doctrine was ditched by Reagan back in the '80's; there's no such thing as "equal time" anymore. Second, if you want equal time, you have to earn it, and unless there's a prominent Republican politicians out there who wants to take one for the team, you ain't gonna get it.

I was disappointed, but not surprised, that Gov. Ventura had a hissy fit and walked out in the middle of the service. Anything that would reenergize the D-FL will likely hurt his own future prospects, as well as the prospects of his political party in this election. Hence, his announcement that he will appoint a successor from that party before the election.

As far as the notion that it was somehow inappropriate to urge attendees to carry on the battle of Paul Wellstone at a memorial, all I can say is, GROW UP !! This wasn't a funeral, where jokes, laughter and cheering would have been inappropriate. This was a memorial, a remembrance of a passionate, political animal, who lived and breathed causes, both when he was a professor and later as a Senator. The service reflected his life. If there aren't people laughing, cheering and crying at your memorial, than you have lived a very sad life indeed.

October 29, 2002

Cause I ain't got a dog-proof ass: Well, maybe "Michael Kelly" is trying to be a serious, albeit lame, pundit, and not the brilliant leftist satirist that I heretofore thought. Tonight's topic is on the now-dated topic of "chickenhawks", and their disproportionate leadership behind the President's imperial designs in Iraq. He too disapproves of the term, but for reasons different than what I expounded on earlier in the month. Raising the canard that people who use the term believe that only veterans should have the right to decide when a country goes to war, he manages to dis Lincoln and FDR (both of whom would have been too old to fight against Mexico and Germany, respectively, and both Lincoln and Roosevelt did perform some legitimate reservist duties in their lifetime), while at the same time arguing that it was the Founding Fathers' desire that life-or-death decisions always be made by a clique of middle-aged men who went out of their way to avoid military service in their youth. The thing that makes Kelly, and other neo-conservatives, so disagreeable, is the manner in which they demean all those who disagree as twisted and evil, without having to make any effort to empathize with the positions others might take (ie., like Sen. Wellstone). Kelly would have been much more comfortable living in another century, say, the sixteenth century, where he could have worked with the Inquisition, and followed a calling where he could pull the tongues out of "pacifists" and "heretics" for their own salvation.
Just a reminder, the other great show from last season, 24, debuts its second season premiere tonight. Don't expect Nina to return until mid-season. Don't expect Teri to return, period. She's dead.
As if the Angels haven't already given SoCal a sugar-high to last til X-mas, the three-time champion Lakers start their season tonight at Staples against San Antonio. On paper, there is little reason to believe that a quatro is likely; Shaq will be out for awhile recovering from off-season toe surgery, and the team did nothing in the off-season to improve. Sactown is younger, and should have won it all last season. There are at least three other teams in the Western Conference that can give the Lakers a run, and if LA starts off badly, they might find themselves in a hole that it can't dig itself out of come playoff time. Boston surged well at the end of last season, and might be the team to beat from the Eastern Conference.

But I thought all that last year, and the Lakers still won.
No doubt you've heard that the media "got it wrong" when it supposedly was speculating the last couple of weeks that the Maryland Sniper was an "angry white male". Well, someone actually took the time to do a NEXIS search, and discovered that, in fact, almost no one made that assertion, either in TV or print. That's right, it's an urban legend, invented by people who cum everytime they get to blame a crime on an African American or a Muslim.
The Frog and the Poodle: Remember when the Times of London was viewed as the world's most prestigious newspaper? When it stood apart from the rest of the tabloid rags in Europe? Well, Murdoch bought it a while back, and did to the Times what he's done to the LA Dodgers and the NY Post: vulgarized and cheapened what had once been classy institutions. This editorial, which compares the war against the villains of 9/11 with "a search for the perfect cosmetic surgery", all the while attacking French President Jacques Chirac for opposing an invasion of Iraq (which it compares with research for a cancer cure), must represent a nadir in punditry [registration required]. It's nice that the voice of the British establishment views our efforts to capture the Al Qaeda murderers as being equivalent to Princess Di's search for the ideal hair coloring, or the right nose job for Posh Spice. Don't worry, Brits: we'll make Baghdad safe for B.P. !!
Lord, and I thought James Traficant had a lame rug....
It appears that there is at least one loose end still remaining from the sniper investigation.

October 28, 2002

As one would expect, Lileks has an interesting and moving take on the death of Paul Wellstone.
GAME 7: The most remarkable World Series of my lifetime. Well, maybe 1975 was better, but then again, Cincy and Boston don't have a natural rivalry. The Angels went eight innings with rookie pitchers, two of whom weren't even on the roster at the All-Star Break, and captured their first World Championship, 4-1. In typical Angel fashion, they went ahead not with power but through a barrage of hits, the key one being a three-run double to right by Garrett Anderson, a player ripped earlier in the week by an LA Times columnist for being a lazy choker. As the Giants' bullpen shut the Angels down thereafter, the decision by Dusty Baker to start Livan Hernandez over Kirk Rueter will be scrutinized in the off-season; Hernandez had a solid post-season rep going back to 1997, when he won the MVP award for the Fall Classic, but he had a mediocre season, and didn't belong out on the mound last night. In reality, the Giants seemed broken by their collapse in Game 6.

Having said that, Barry Bonds deserved the MVP, even in defeat. Glaus had a great series, but in reality, Bones was the dominant figure in every game. His mammoth home run in Game 1 put the Giants ahead to stay, and his numbers thereafter were astonishing: .700 OBP, batting average of .471, 4 home runs, 8 runs scored, 6 RBI's. The latter number is a bit deceptive, since the Angels put him on base almost every time there were runners on. The whole key to stopping the Giants was making sure there was no one on base when Bones was up; that way, the staff could challenge him, knowing that if he went deep, the damage would be minimal. The alternative strategy was to walk Bonds if a base was open, even in the first inning; that tactic had less success, as Benito Santiago had a pair of big hits in Games 4 and 5. The point being, every move Mike Scioscia made in the Series was to minimize the harm that one player could impose on his team, and he still hit .471 !! The fact of the matter is, Troy Glaus won the Series MVP because the Angels won (duh!!).

Poor Darren Baker !!!

October 27, 2002

GAME 6: If I live to be a thousand (or more likely, 55), I will never again see a team like the Anaheim Angels. Through 6 1/2 innings, a feeling of unqualified gloom settled at Joxer's: Ross Ortiz was cutting a gem; Bones had hit his fourth of the series, this time off of the heretofore fearless and invincible K-Rod; and the Angels were down, 5-0. After that, pure orgasma !! The Angels get a couple of men on, knock out Ortiz. Scott Spiezio, a career journeyman, hits a wind-aided three-run homer to get the Angels back in--the bar gets loud again. In the eighth, Darren Erstad crushes a Tim Worrell fastball, and the Batterychucks are starting to feel the pinch of having used their top middle relievers in the Game 5 blow-out. Tim Salmon singles. Garrett Anderson, ripped by the local fishwrap for not coming through in the clutch in the World Series (by Bill Platchke, natch; Anderson had a glorious September, while his beloved Shawn Green disappeared during the Dodgers tank-job, yet that hack somehow always manages to rip the African American), bloops a single into right that Bones mishandles, putting the tying and go-ahead runs into scoring position. Baker panics for the second straight game, bringing his closer, Robb Nenn, with no one out in the eighth. Troy Glaus, again, comes through, blasting the ball into the right-center field gap, giving the Angels the lead. And in the ninth, Percy completely out-classes the top of the Giants order. Allah Akbar !!!

Tonight is a bit more problematic. The Halos start John Lackey on three days rest. Lackey pitched well for five innings in Game 4, but he is a rookie. Livan Hernandez goes for the Giants on four days rest, and he was unbeaten in post-season play until his poor outing in Game 3. The Angels have definitely got the momentum back, but in this series, that and $4.25 gets you a cappuccino at Starbucks. The Giants will have to get the Angels on the ropes early and knock them out, or they will probably have to settle for watching another team from California celebrate a world championship. GO ANGELS !! RALLY MONKEY IS ALL-POWERFUL AND KIND !!!