Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Defiance of fear

In case you've been living in a cave, on Pluto (which is a planet, by the way, astronomers be damned), you've probably become aware that the nation is by and large consumed by fear. I'll leave the debates as to who has cultivated that fear for another time.

But in defiance of that fear, I offer the following quote from some guy named John Cole, as stolen from Jeff:

It is absurd. You are safe. I am safe. This nation is safe. Quit being such a damned pussy. All of you.


Song lyric of the day:
"A generation always waiting
A revolution past its time
Another reason to take stock of
All these things that you have left behind"
- Lostprophets, For All These Times Son, For All These Times

Monday, August 27, 2007

Al Gon is all gone

Adios, Alberto. Honestly, I have to respect the fact that you hung in there as long as you did.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

30 runs in one game!

Speaking of impressive baseball numbers, we now have to add the Texas Rangers scoring 30 runs last in the first game of a doubleheader in Baltimore, the first time in the modern baseball era any team has has a 3 in the tens digit column. Some scoreboards around the league were unable to support any digit other than "1". We've seen home run records broken three times in the past 110 years (Ruth over Roger Connor, Aaron over Ruth, Bonds over Aaron), but only once have we seen 30 runs scored in a game, and that was last night. Amazing, simply amazing.

P.S. History will likely forget that the Orioles were ahead 3-0 through three innings, but dammit, as an Oriole fan I feel obliged to note that.

P.P.S. My favorite oddball stat related to this game might be that the last time the neighboring Baltimore Ravens gave up 30 points in a football game was over a season ago.

Song lyric of the day:
"The courts knew this and nothing more
And now it's my rights versus yours
The truth in one free afternoon
A new empire in rags"
- New Pornographers, My Rights Versus Yours

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Funny quote about preseason football

From John Romano of the St. Petersburg Times, on 97.1's Morning X: "Preseason football is like going to a Rolling Stones concert and watching Mick Jagger sing two songs then hand the microphone to his brother Ned and say, 'Here, you take over.'"

Monday, August 20, 2007

Because someone has to make the joke...

The following statement was just received by the National Weather Service. It was apparently transmitted by Hurricane Dean when it was a mere tropical storm, days before Dean unleashed his wrath on the Caribbean.

"We're gonna hit Haiti, and we're gonna hit the Dominican Republic, and we're gonna hit Jamaica, and we're gonna hit the Caymans, and we're gonna hit Cancun, and then we're gonna sweep up through Texas and take back the White House! YEEEEEEEAAAAAGGGGGHHHH!"

The chairman of the Democratic National Committee declined comment.

(Other White Meat contributed to this article.)

(Seriously, thoughts and prayers for all those in Dean's path.)

UPDATE: According to Jeff, Fark.com, a website I'm pretty sure I've never visited or particularly cared about and who URL may be wrong in that link due to those facts, shares the same sense of humor as me and OWM. Didn't want to seem like I was ripping them off, so wanted to give credit where credit was due, even though I arrived at the idea completely independently.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


When I arrived at Vanderbilt to begin the rollercoaster ride of college, one of the first things I did was go to the Parking Office to receive my assigned parking spot.

They gave me number 755. I'm a Braves fan. Henry "Hammerin' Hank" Aaron played for the Braves for most of his career. A career in which he hit 755 home runs.

P.S. I don't believe in coincidences.

People often ask me why I'm a baseball fan. Usually, they say they find the game boring, as if a game which nightly produces more palpable suspense than anything Hollywood has to offer could possibly be described as "boring". Of course, I'm more of a rabid student of baseball history, because baseball and the way the public approaches it is as reflective of the times as anything that happens on Capitol Hill.

But times change. Sports change. When Babe Ruth hit his 714 home runs, there were only 16 teams, and pitching talent wasn't stretched nearly as thin as it is today. But then, all the pitchers were white. When Aaron hit his 755 home runs, there were more teams (24), but at least pitchers could be found of all colors. Ruth accomplished his feat in a 154-game season. Aaron played 162 games a season.

Neither played in the era of steroids. Barry Bonds does. And now Barry Bonds has set a new standard for excellence in home run hitting.

My feelings on Bonds have remained pretty consistent. While I have very little doubt in my mind that he used performance-enhancing drugs, deep down I have to admit I hope he gets exonerated of all charges. There are several reasons for this: first, he was a great ballplayer long before steroids came into the picture, and I hate that what would have been a sterling reputation and a Hall-of-Fame career has been tarnished by steroids; and second, because it would maintain baseball's statistical purity, such as it is.

What really gets me is that, ultimately, we'll never know for sure. There will always be a lingering doubt for me, partly because I so want it to not be true. I suspect many baseball fans feel the same. But ultimately, we all realize that, from a statistical perspective, the game will probably never be what it once was.

Regardless, whatever number of home runs Bonds ends up with will never carry as much weight as 714 or 755. Or 868 (the number of home runs smacked by "Japanese Base Ruth" Sadaharu Oh). Or .406 (Ted Williams' batting average in 1941, the last to break the .400 barrier). Or 2632 (the number of consecutive games played in by Cal Ripken). Or 56 (Joe DiMaggio's hit streak in 1941 - and call me when someone breaks that record, in my opinion the most impressive in baseball).

It's a different era in a different game. That's both Barry Bonds' loss and ours.

Song lyric of the day:
"And I suppose that's the price you pay
Well it isn't what it was
She's thinking he looks different today
And there's nothing left to guess now"
- Arctic Monkeys, Leave Before the Lights Come On

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Sometimes you have to see it to believe it

I gotta hand it to Dick Cheney: he's pretty clairvoyant.

Does anyone else feel like the man giving that interview seems much more compassionate and reasonable than the one who has served as our vice president for the last 6.5 years? Maybe he was just using a "pre-9/11 mindset"...

Song lyric of the day:
"Well, I could stay in bed all day
Is that such an awful thing for me to say?
That's a problem and it's anybody's guess"
- White Rabbits, The Plot

Thursday, August 09, 2007

God speed, Endeavour

It doesn't appear the national media has covered it at all (a brief scan of CNN's website this morning revealed, among other headlines, "Sexually suspect panda has twins"), so some of my readers as well as the public at large may be unaware that an historic space shuttle launch went off yesterday without a hitch. Not only was I there to witness it (my first ever space launch, an historical occasion in and of itself), but more importantly, among the crew was teacher-turned-astronaut Barbara Morgan. Morgan was Christa McAuliffe's alternate on the Challenger mission that came to a horribly tragic early conclusion in January 1986. She returned in 1998 intent on finishing the mission of getting an educator into space, and yesterday that dream came to fruition. The mission is also critical to the completion of the International Space Station.

Space exploration in most of our lifetimes has failed to captivate the way it did during the Apollo program, when we were sending people to other worlds. But the importance of the space program in those years and since cannot be overlooked for the scientific achievements it has afforded and will continue to offer. Even if the nation and world at large seems largely apathetic, I am proud to say that I for one have witnessed first-hand what commitment and ambition can accomplish.

God speed, Endeavour.

(Of course, this wasn't the only historical event of the past few days, and the other will also receive its due attention on this blog, when I have more time.)

Song lyric of the day:
"Sitting in a tin can
Far above the world
Planet Earth is blue
And there's nothing I can do"
- David Bowie, Space Oddity

Friday, August 03, 2007

Of drunken astronauts

It's rare when it happens, but I have to admit, I agree with Post columnist Charles Krauthammer on this one. Since none of us have done it (unless there are other astronauts reading this blog, which I guess is not outside the realm of possibility), none of us can imagine the psychological impact of ascending away from our home planet into the cold confines of outer space strapped onto a gigantic explosive device. This is why a team of scientists recently devised an experiment to monitor the physical and mental health of a crew on a simulated mission to Mars. Not to mention Krauthammer's excellent points about how much control the crew has during the initial takeoff (basically nil). It takes hours between the time the crew boards the shuttle to when takeoff actually occurs anyway.

So let's stop dwelling on silly, unimportant "scandals" and get our space exploring asses back to the moon and onto Mars.

Song lyric of the day:
"We got so drunk that night
I hardly remember driving you home
Or was I driving you away?"
- Superchunk, Iron On