Friday, July 31, 2009

My Kind of To-Do List

Ben over at I Can't Believe It's Not Better! posted a very fun baseball 'bucket list' by ESPN's Jim Caple. Ben also included his status on each item. Being the unoriginal and shameless pilferer that I am, and because I loved the list so much, I thought I'd do the exact same thing.

Besides, it'll fun to go back in a few years and see how far I've gotten.

• Spend a week at spring training. (Nope. Maybe next spring?)

• Learn to keep score. (Learned from my dad at age 7.)

• Learn about Tommy John surgery by throwing out your arm at the stadium speed pitch station. (Done.)

• Watch "Field of Dreams," "Bull Durham," "A League of Their Own," "The Bad News Bears" (the original) and "The Natural." (Yes on all. And "Eight Men Out" should be on here.)

• Use a wood bat. (Yes.)

• Enjoy a beer in the bleachers at Wrigley Field on a sunny summer day. (Some day.)

• Listen to Vin Scully call an entire Dodgers game. (He's simply magical! And I'm a Giants fan.)

• Read "Ball Four," "The Boys of Summer," "Nine Innings," "The Glory of Their Times" and any (preferably all) of Roger Angell's collections. (Wow, only one. Okay, I need to do some reading. I'll add from Ben's list too. Note: "Seasons In Hell: With Billy Martin, Whitey Herzog and The Worst Team in Baseball History: The 1973-75 Texas Rangers" is a must-read.)

• Go to Japan's Koshien high school tournament (i.e., where Dice K threw his famous no-hitter). (I'd rather go to the Little League World Series, honestly.)

• Hit a home run. (No. I was a scrappy hitter.)

• Coach a Little League team. (Yes. Ugh. Parents.)

• Ump a Little League game. (No. But I did take an umpiring course.)

• Boo the Yankees in person. (Done. And at Yankee Stadium no less.)

• Play Strat-O-Matic, APBA, Dynasty League or a similar computer-simulation game. (Strat. Back in high school.)

Attend a fantasy camp and have more fun than you can imagine feeling old and young at the same time. (No.)

• Tour the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. (Maybe next summer!)

• Oil your glove and stuff it under your mattress for the winter, then play catch the first day of spring with your parent/child. (Absolutely!)

• Get to a game early enough to watch batting practice. (Too many to count.)

Go to the College World Series. (Meh.)

• Play pepper. (Yup.)

• Go to a batting cage and see what it's like to hit a 90 mph fastball. Or, more likely, fail to hit a 90 mph fastball. (Do foul tips count?)

• Attend a townball game in Minnesota (the smaller the town the better). (Bend, OR, isn't Minnesota, but I think it's acceptable.)

Visit the "Field of Dreams" site in Dyersville, Iowa and the old Durham Athletic Park (where "Bull Durham" takes place). (No.)

• Take your kids to see The Chicken or The Phanatic. (This is achievable.)

• Run around the bases after a big league game. (Done!)

• See Derek Jeter, Albert Pujols and Ichiro play in person and chant their names with a stadium packed with fans. (Homey don't chant.)

• Buy a fitted cap to replace the cheap stadium giveaway you got with the plastic adjustable strap in the back and the Piggly Wiggly logo on the side. (Who doesn't have a fitted cap?)

• Sing "Sweet Caroline" at Fenway Park. (They do this? Why?)

• Recite "Casey at the Bat" and "Tinker to Evers to Chance." (Yes.)

• Read the box scores religiously. (Follow them live.)

• Join SABR. (I'd like to.)

• Get your favorite player's autograph. (I've never run into Willie Mays.)

• Learn to throw a curveball. (Done. Murder on the elbow.)

• Take a week-long road trip through the minors, the lower the league the better, and make sure to include a team owned by Mike Veeck. (Now this would be fun!)

• Cheer the Rally Monkey. (As a Giants fan I can firmly reply, fuck no. Not now, not ever.)

• Eat at Boog's barbecue pit at Camden Yards, enjoy a Primanti Brothers sandwich at Pittsburgh's ballpark, the fish tacos in San Diego, a Dodger Dog at Dodger Stadium and garlic fries while circling the concourse in Seattle. (No, no, no, no and yes.)

• Attend a game in the Caribbean. (No.)

• Buy a bleacher ticket and sneak into a box seat. (It's an art form.)

• Passionately argue in a bar over who belongs in the Hall of Fame. (And Bert Blyleven belongs goddamnit!)

• Collect baseball cards. Get your favorite player's rookie card and store it in a plastic sleeve. Treat all others the way God intended: by clothes-pinning them to the spokes of your bicycle in a pathetic attempt to make an engine noise. (Shit, I can't afford Mays' rookie card. I have a nice collection, I think.)

• Rub the Babe's nose in Monument Park. (Done.)

• Camp out in front of the stadium for tickets to see your favorite team in the postseason. (Done. Well, it was the Giants team store. '89 playoffs vs. Cubs.)

• Try to throw a knuckleball. (Done.)

Try to catch a knuckleball. (Caught it! With my shin.)

• Catch a foul ball. And then hand it to the nearest kid. (Oddly, I've never caught one.)

• Disobey your parents by staying up late to listen to a game with your transistor radio/iPhone tucked under your pillow. (Countless times listening to Giants announcer Hank Greenwald.)

• Go to the All-Star Game. (Nope.)

Kayak in McCovey Cove (yeah, Barry Bonds is gone, but San Francisco Bay is still there) (I love kayaking, but I like being inside at the game more.)

• Eat a hot-fudge sundae in a mini batting helmet. (Mmmm, yes.)

And finally …

• See your team play in the World Series. (Sorry, this might not be applicable to Cubs, Mariners, Rangers and Nationals fans.) (In person? No. On TV? Yes. And Dusty Baker is still a fuckwit for pulling Russ Ortiz when he did in Game 6 of the '02 Series....)

I'd like to add a few at some point. Hmm, maybe that would make a good post, too!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Teleprompter Malfunction or Freudian Slip?*

Oopsy! Glossed right over that one, didn't he?

Now, let's get back to cramming HR 3200 down Americans' throats with little debate while dismissing those who question the costs and unintended consequences of such an expenditure.

*Sorry about the Applebee's commerical.

The Road to Hell is Paved with Courteous Drivers

Yet another beautiful Seattle morning. Sun shining bright, the air already warm, sunroof open on the Pilot and driving the wife to work.

That's when I encounter it. That hideous, foul, maddening Pacific Northwest creature from hell. No, not Bigfoot. The Dangerously Courteous Seattle Driver. And I encountered not just one but two of them at once!

Let me set the scene.

Driving northbound on 1st Ave, a four-lane street reduced to 3 due to construction with 2 northbound lanes and a single lane going southbound. We're traveling in the far right lane doing 30–35MPH only one car in front of me and one to my left, otherwise clear sailing in front of us, the next light a good 1/4 mile away. Yee-hah!

All of a sudden the car in the left lane slows down, as does the car in front of me. 'What the....why are we stoppi....oh fuck, you gotta be kidding me.' The driver in the southbound lane wants to turn left into a driveway and these two assclowns are stopping an entire two lanes of traffic to let make the driver perform his move.

WHAAAAAAA! WHAAAAAAAAAA!, goes the beefy horn on the Pilot.

"Honey," snaps the wife, "what are you doing!?"

"Honking at fuckwits", I snap back, 'that's what."

"Why? They're just..."

"What they're doing is not only against the rules of the road, it's fucking dangerous. So they get the horn."

"You have no idea who might be driving that car. They could have a gun!"

Only now am I thinking that the proper response should've been, 'Good, they should shoot themselves for being asshats.'

"Honey, one's driving a Subaru, the other a 4Runner. I doubt they're packing heat."

Silence for a few blocks. And it got me thinking: Yeah, I could've shown more patience and not honked. I mean, after all, I'm only going to be slightly delayed in getting to my destination, and that's just work. Is it worth getting my blood pressure all out of whack for 5 minutes after laying on the horn? And Seattle does have a anti-honking ordinance, I could have gotten a ticket had an officer of the law been around.

All that got me replying to myself thus: Yeah, that's all very true and probably the proper way to deal with such a minor situation. But fuck all that. Multiple this occurrence by the infinite number of times it happens in this passive-aggressive town and it's worth the $124, but-rarely-enforced honking ticket to blare the horn at drivers acting like the Miss Fucking Manners of Asphalt. As a driver you have a one damn job to do: Drive your car as not to endanger yourself or others. To stop flowing traffic simply because you think it would 'nice' to let that guy turn is a bad and dangerous idea.

So, Dangerously Courteous Seattle Driver, the next time I see you pull a stunt like this, expect the horn. Maybe even the One Fingered Salute. And P.S.: Remove the Kerry/Edwards sticker from your car already.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Cink Doesn't Stink

Pardon me, mate, but let's put this in terms any limey could understand: You can sod off if you think today's Open Champion, Stewart Cink, is a 'villain'.

All Cink did was drain one of his patent gorgeous putts on 18 for a birdie to force the playoff. He didn't Sally Saladeater his putt for par and The Open on 18. And it wasn't his fault he drew Uncle Snappy out of his bag and put his ball into the Scottish Shit on the third playoff hole to eliminate any hope of winning.

Moreover, this isn't Nameless Turd Winning The US Open (really, I can't remember his name) a few weeks ago. This is Stewart Cink, one of the most respected guys on Tour.* (It causes groans and nausea over how good of a putter a guy is with the name of Cink.)

Here's the deal: Cink put himself into contention to win. As sometimes happens in Majors, the field comes back to you. The thing is, you still have to play incredibly solid for 72 holes to get to that point. Cink did. Watson didn't. Well-respected, long-tour with victories-under-his belt guy wins. Old guy loses with grace. That simple. No villain here.

Yeah, it's a bummer Tom didn't win one for the old guys; I was really rooting for him too. But Cink won one for bald guys with odd, hat-caused tanlines everywhere.

* No, not that fucking Tour, you yellow Spandex-wearing dweeb.

"Did you watch the Tour today?"

"Oh yeah," I replied in each instance, "Isn't it great how a 60-year old geezer like Watson is leading a bunch of upstart no name Euros and Americans!?"

"Huh?", the response has been in the first two instances.

"Okay, okay. It's not actually part of the PGA Tour, but The Open....Watson....what could be better?"

"Oh, you mean golf. No, no, did you watch the Tour de France?"

Oh, wow. I didn't see that coming. I thought you were talking about a sport that involves a ball. So, um, no, actually I didn't watch the Tour de France. In fact, no, I've never watched the Tour de France. Who the fuck in America—in the middle of great baseball season and of an incredible story unfolding in Tom Watson—watches the Tour de France, except for uncoordinated douchebags whose disinterested, America-hating father never taught him to throw a baseball? God, you probably follow Seattle FC soccer too, don't you? Fuck no, I didn't watch.

"Um, no, I didn't catch it. How's Lance doing? In first again?"

"No! There was actually this big thing about his ex wingman dude who was riding for the other team who did this thing that was really politically driven and uncalled for by Lance's team, but he was cool about it...."

I'm stuck in a Peanuts special. 'Wha, wha. Wha, wha, wha, wha,' goes the teacher. Give me NASCAR, I'd be more interested. And by the way, Lance Armstrong? Brett Favre in fucking tights. Retire al-fucking-ready. No one wants to talk about the strategy of the events on the Tour, outside of Eurpoeans. And Americans who wish they were Europeans. Or Americans who wish America was some Eurpoean country of their choosing because said country is so much more fucking awesome in their eyes due to their limited knowledge of how bankrupt and flatout shitty their healthcare system actually is.

Whoa, easy fella. Deep breath, don't go there.

"Sounds like an interesting story unfolding, " I say. God bless me for not being the dick I wish I could be.

"Oh yeah, it really is. This Contradors guy...." Contras? Contras are in the Tour de France? Now that would be interesting. It certainly would make the guy in the yellow jersey a bit more intriguing, other than looking like a wuss wearing yellow. Maybe even do a cyclist exchange for first place and the Iranians could be involved.

Huh? What the hell is going through my brain? I'm even losing myself in myself now. This isn't good. I hope this ends. Maybe I can help.

"Wow, yeah, that is interesting," I reply, still repressing my inner dick. "And can you believe NFL training camps start this week?"

I can read their eyes, 'Isn't the NFL for uneducated, beer-swilling, crotch-itching, nose-picking Neanderthals who voted for Bush?'

Why yes, it is. And fuck you. Now hold still while I beat you silly with your bike pump....

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

You Know You're Obsessed With Golf When.... create a mural out of 104,000 golf tees!

See it in detail at DudeCraft*.

*An old friend of mine's very cool art blog.

Monday, July 13, 2009

So That ESPN Home Run Derby Ball Tracker Thingy.... "so fucking out"!*

Remember when Fox Sports had the Puck Tracker a while back? It actually worked too. This? Not so much.

In the Golden Age of Technology you'd think the graphic geeks could track the ball without having the line get all squiggly and jerky. Even worse, the line changed colors like some stoner's bad acid trip the further the ball flew.

The whole concept was about as pointless and mysterious as having Brandon Inge in the Home Run Derby.

*See the awesome trailer for Eastbound and Down over at Ben's blog and you'll understand this reference.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Dogs Rule

Happy Birthday, Nikola Tesla

Today's Google home page honors the electrifying genius of one cool dude, Nikola Tesla.

Who's Tesla? Well, you plugged in your computer to one of his inventions: the alternating current electric power system—aka: the plug in your wall. In fact, any electrical motor we turn on today is all thanks to him. He revolutionized industry and lit up our nights more efficiently and less dangerously than did Edison's direct current system.

But that wasn't all!

Tesla invented the induction motor, wireless transmission of electricity, the Tesla Coil, bladeless turbines (like in dams), electrotherapy, x-rays, the floursecent lamp and much, much more. In fact, many scientists today think he was far more of a prolific and important inventor than Edison.

And yet, like many geniuses, he died penniless and alone.

Anyway, if you get a chance, try to catch the Modern Marvels epsidode "Mad Electricity." I think you'll become just as enthralled by Tesla's incredible genius and contributions to modern life as I am.

Home of the SwindleUs Package

More D.C. pics

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Boys Don't Cry, The Sequel

If Oscar voters thought Hillary Swank's performance as a hermaphrodite was spellbinding, just wait until she plays a Swedish teenager who has been raised to be neither boy or girl.

And just like her Oscar-winning performance, this will be a true story too.

According to the report, a Swedish couple refuses to reveal their child's gender young child to the world, citing "their decision was rooted in the feminist philosophy that gender is a social construction"

“We want Pop to grow up more freely and avoid being forced into a specific gender mould from the outset,” Pop’s mother said. “It's cruel to bring a child into the world with a blue or pink stamp on their forehead.”

The child's parents said so long as they keep Pop’s gender a secret, he or she will be able to avoid preconceived notions of how people should be treated if male or female.

So let me see if I have this right: My penis is a societal construct and isn't really a part of me but an illusion. Okay, got it. This will be extraordinarily disappointing to my wife.

Pop's wardrobe includes everything from dresses to trousers and Pop's hairstyle changes on a regular basis. And Pop usually decides how Pop is going to dress on a given morning.

Although Pop knows that there are physical differences between a boy and a girl, Pop's parents never use personal pronouns when referring to the child – they just say Pop.

Yeah, those pesky personal pronouns are so repressive and confining.

Well, I'm inspired! Tonight when I go home I will no longer have a son. From now on, it's name will be "Gelatinous Goo" because that's really what we are underneath it all.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


President Palin?

Not after placing a huge, benign tumor on her political future by quitting her post as Gov. of Alaska and citing tenuous and specious reasons for doing so.

Am I shocked in shame to discover how the right is trying to spin this as some grand move for POTUS '12? No, there's not an apologist in either party that, if placed in the same situation, wouldn't attempt to defend or save a potential strong POTUS candidate from such a reckless strategic move. But doing so smacks of fecklessness and defending the indefensible.

Plain quit her post, plain and simple. She quit on Alaskans and the GOP.

Do I think she had other reasons for quitting? I do, but it's just a theory. I think the whole tasteless Letterman fiasco was the final straw. Maybe it dawned her that, 'Hey, if it's this bad just as Gov. of Alaska, then it's going to be hell running for POTUS." And she wouldn't be wrong about that. Every left-leaning media outlet (far more than lonely old Fox News) from Hollywood to New York would be unmerciful in tearing her down, just as they did in the 2008 election. (The fact that the NY Times spent 5 front page stories covering Palin's $150,000 wardrobe while giving unequal coverage to Obama's nefarious ties to an unrepentant domestic terrorist and election-fraud masters over at ACORN speaks volumes.)

But quitting? That's not acceptable. That's not honorable. So I can't and won't defend such a reckless and thoughtless move.

Sorry, Sarah, I like you as a person, but you blew it. Big time.

And to my GOP brethren who think she's got a shot 2012: Much love, but you're delusional.

In Light of Today's Spectacle in Los Angeles....

....and where I was standing in Arlington National Cemetery less than a week ago witnessing a Marine color guard burial, I can say this: When it comes to whom we reverently honor and pay our respects as a society, our priorities are seriously fucked up.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Yes, We Do

From the World War II National Memorial.

Whoever Doth Hold This Office

It matters not.

It's quite breathtaking and inspiring to see the unassuming and understated granduer of The White House for the first time—particularly in the quiet of a late evening.

A Little Inspiration on an Early Monday Afternoon

Click on the picture to make it bigger.

Friday, July 3, 2009

I Know You Don't Miss Me...

....but I miss you, dear 3.5 readers!

Never fear, I shall return next week. And with some cool pics of my Philly and D.C. visits!