Friday, August 26, 2005


Today in the Sun-Times Mike Kiley wrote that "While Hendry is likely to examine trade possibilities for Patterson, his chances to get equal value in a one-for-one deal are slim with Patterson's stock deplenished."

I was unfamiliar with the word "deplenished" but thought I might be facing an "upsurge" situation, where a word that seems redundant to me turns out to be in the dictionary. I mean, "deplenished" certainly seems like it could be the opposite of "replenished." I don't know what "plenished" means either.

In any case, did not have an entry for it, and now I am wondering what the deal with this word is. Anyone with thoughts on the topic should feel free to leave a comment. My thoughts on the matter are thoroughly deplenished.

Thursday, August 25, 2005


The batboy in Miami who took the $1000 bet that he couldn't drink a gallon of milk in an hour without throwing up was suspended by the Florida Marlins for six games. So, if you're keeping score at home, the batboy drank either a gallon of milk, or very nearly a gallon of milk (news reports conflict), may have thrown up (news reports are conflicting), did NOT get $1000 (news reports do not conflict), and got suspended for 60% of the time Rafael Palmeiro got suspended for testing positive for steriods. That is a bad week.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


There is a saga going on in Los Angeles, where the Dodgers are imploding and two of their stars, Jeff Kent and Milton Bradley are starting to feud. I won't get into the details, other than to say that Kent, who is not only white, but drives a pick-up, ripped Bradley, who is black. Kent was previously a teammate of Barry Bonds' and ripped him too. Bradley has said that Kent "doesn't know how to deal with African-American people." Lots of drama, lots of losing, lots of bad baseball. None of that is worth a blog entry. Here's what is:

"It's a pattern of things that have been said--things said off the cuff that I don't interpret as funny. It may be funny to him, but it's not funny to Milton Bradley."

Now, how does he know what Milton Bradley finds funny. I mean, do they find Chutes and Ladders funny? Their commercials always had kids laughing while they played. What about "you sank my battleship!" They always laughed after they said that, but I always got pissed when my battleship sank. I guess the thing is, while life may be a Barrel of Monkees for Milton Bradley, I don't think its fair to judge the motives of a cracker like Jeff Kent based on a corporation's sense of humor.

Thank you and good night.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


Photo by: Reuters, Adrees Latif

I don't even know what to say. This was apparently on a runway in Bangkok (insert giggle here). It was meant to help solidify Bangkok (insert giggle here) as a regional fashion hub. Instead I picture Homer saying, "mmmmmm, pig."

The Chicago Tribune, which owns the shit-assed Cubs reported the following today:

Having fun as L.A. hopes sour

Published August 23, 2005

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Brad Penny bet a batboy $500 on Sunday that he couldn't drink a gallon of milk in under an hour without throwing up. Some of Penny's teammates kicked in on the wager, raising the ante to more than $1,000, according to the Miami Herald. The unidentified batboy managed to drink the gallon of milk, but was unable to fulfill the second part of the bargain. "He drank it down to the last drop," Penny said. "But he couldn't hold it in. I haven't laughed that hard in a long time." Penny was in pretty good spirits considering he was hammered by the Marlins 11-6 Saturday in his first visit back to Florida since last year's trade. After Sunday's loss L.A. found itself 10 games out in the wild-card chase.

The last two sentences are really harsh. I expect that sort of angry statement about any of the Cubs who are playing so far below expectations this year (I'm looking at you Patterson, Garciaparra, and anyone in left field on any given night).

For the record, I'd try that for $1,000 right now.

Monday, August 22, 2005


Reuters reported today that a train from South African Breweries derailed Friday night near Waterval Boven. The train contained cases of beer. As of Sunday, police continued to fire rubber bullets into the crowd surrounding the derailed train, and had recovered 500 cases of beer from nearby homes and arrested six people. The operation to recover the cargo and get the train back on the tracks could last a week. How many cases would you have to pilfer to make the airfare worth it?

Thursday, August 11, 2005


I finished Heinrich Böll’s The Clown, as discussed in the Garfield post. I did not love the book, but it did have a very funny characterization that I think is uniquely German. The protagonist’s family is from the Rhineland. This is a very, very Catholic area of Germany. So Catholic that after World War I the French thought the Rhinelanders might join France rather than stay in a (Protestant) Prussian dominated Germany. Oddly, the protagonist’s family is Protestant.

The family has a Protestant maid from Potsdam. The maid had a problem because “the mere fact that, although we are Protestants, we speak the local dialect of the Rhine country seems somehow weird, almost unnatural to her. I believe that she would think a Protestant who spoke with a Bavarian accent was the devil incarnate.” That is so funny to me. It's like a Catholic with a Southern accent. It just isn't right.

Monday, August 08, 2005


After I posted about Sudoku yesterday, the Sun-Times announced today that they are carrying a sudoku Mondays through Saturdays. I am visionary.

Sunday, August 07, 2005


There are a number of Federal law enforement jobs. Some are in the Department of Homeland Security, like Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Transportation Security Administration. Others are in the Department of Justice, like the Federal Bureau of Investigation. However, I bet you would never guess the most individually dangerous of the Federal law enforcement jobs.

The Christian Science Monitor has an article on the rising personal danger that Park Rangers face in the national parks. Part of the relative (apparent) disparity between Park Rangers, and for instance, FBI agents is the small number of Park Rangers. Thus, when a Park Ranger is assaulted, it proportionally impacts the relative assault totals more than a single FBI agent. Still, it turns out that between thugs at the national parks in New York and Washington and rednecks and drug growers in the parks out west, Park Ranger is a pretty dangerous gig.

They ought to teach Smokey to kick some ass. That would make a difference, I bet.

Saturday, August 06, 2005


I have always heard that doing things like crossword puzzles and other puzzles helped older people keep their wits. I like crosswords, but I sort of got addicted to the New York Times. Now I get bored by anything earlier in the week than Wednesday or Thursday, since the Times gets harder as the week goes on.

Anyway, I was reading the Christian Science Monitor and they had a story about a puzzle that is sweeping England. Apparently the puzzle came from Japan, where it is called Sudoku. "The aim of the puzzle is to enter a numeral from 1 through 9 in each cell of a grid, most frequently a 9×9 grid made up of 3×3 subgrids (called "regions"), starting with various numerals given in some cells (the "givens"). Each row, column and region must contain only one instance of each numeral. Completing the puzzle requires patience and modest logical ability (although some puzzles can be very difficult)." More on this quote later.

I did a quick google of the term and came across some useful stuff. I downloaded the trial software and enjoyed it. Good enough, but not $15 good. I started hunting down sudoku resources that were not $15 and restricted to my computer. Low and behold, the Red Eye, which I have mocked in the past, had started running sudoku every day. I was hooked, but embarassed to by the Red Eye. I didn't want anyone to think I was illiterate.

Looking again for resources on the web, I came across the Wikipedia article on sudoku, which described the term thus: "Sudoku (Japanese: 数独, sūdoku), sometimes spelled Su Doku, is a placement puzzle, also known as Number Place in the United States."

Number place? Never heard of it. I googled that. Lo and behold, Dell, maker of crappy "pencil puzzles" invented sudoku, and sells entire BOOKS of sudoku puzzles for $5. The funniest thing is that they give you the answers at the back. Why? It's a number-based logic puzzle. You either figured it out, or you didn't.

Friday, August 05, 2005


Today a Southwest Airlines flight from Dallas landed in Houston after a "bomb scare." The "bomb scare" happened when some rube on Southwest found a crumpled up piece of paper on the plane that said there was a bomb on board. That's right. Some rube was sitting on a plane, found a balled up piece of paper and didn't say "ew, I wonder if this is used gum." They said "wonder what this says."

And they landed and evacuated the plane. Unbelieveable.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005


L and I needed a break. Too much work. Too many new things going on. Not enough fun. L was screwing around on-line and went to the Milwaukee Germanfest web page. We had gone five years before with friends D, and K & D (get married, become one entity). We had a great time. There was a Japanese yodeler who only spoke Japanese and German. He rocked.

Anyway, L was looking at their page and saw that they were bringing back the Japanese yodeler. Go to the link. There is a downloadable sample of his music. It rocks. Anyway, we started thinking about it and thought it would be fun to go see ol' Takeo Ischi the Japanese yodeler. I jumped on line and lo and behold but the Brewers were playing the Giants at Miller Park. The beauty of Miller Park and Milwaukee is that we got seats six rows from home plate, behind home for thirty five dollars per ducat. Are you kidding me?

In the event, we went up Friday and took pictures. A few are on the photopage. All we had was a tourist map from the hotel. Anyone who has ever chased old steeples in old cities knows that the good churches are not in the sorts of areas on tourist maps. We spent most of Friday in the sorts of areas I expected to be marked with "Here Be Dragones" on the map. Anyway, that was pretty cool.

Saturday we were all krauted up. We went to Germanfest early and stayed late. Bier, Wurst, Sauerkraut, Mandeln, Potato Pancakes, and many other excellent Germanic consumables were consumed. We met a woman who knew my high school German teacher, Yudita Mauersberger. I suspect that Frau Mauersberger is still not the sort of woman one forgets. We saw the Japanese yodeler, we sang "Alice, Who the Hell is Alice," we participated in a few Prosits (surprisingly few) and still successfully navigated the shuttle bus back to the hotel. We are troopers. Not Sturm Truppen, just troopers. Smartasses.

Sunday I convinced L that we would be in the shade at Miller Park. In my defense I was partially right. We were. From the third inning on. Those first two innings made me appreciate what a bagel inside a toaster feels like. I have the burn marks to prove it. L got it worse than I did, which is probably more painful for me than if I had just gotten burned. Oh well. She should've known I was full of crap. I mean, that's hardly a new development. The Brewers pitcher had a no-no going for five, which was fun, but it clearly couldn't last. The Giants hit about six rockets right at people over those first 15 outs. That will not a no-no make. Anyway, the Brewers won, former Cub Damian Miller went yard and we were home by six.

The moral of the story: visit Milwaukee. It is Chicago's nicest suburb.

Monday, August 01, 2005


Today ESPN broke the story that Rafael Palmiero tested postitive for steriods. An excerpt is below:

"In remarks prepared for a conference call Monday, Palmeiro said he had accepted his punishment and could not explain how the steroids got into his body.

'I have never intentionally used steroids. Never. Ever. Period,' he said. 'Ultimately, although I never intentionally put a banned substance into my body, the independent arbitrator ruled that I had to be suspended under the terms of the program.'"

Suffice it to say that Raffie was a Cub. There were ugly rumors that tied Raffie to Ryno's very, very messy divorce and Raffie's subsequently being traded. Then Ryno takes a poke at home run-hitting 'roid monsters. Maybe Raffie was on his mind as well.

By the way, Raffie could not explain how the steriods got into his body? Oh, for Pete's sake, that is lame. Sure, he could be looking at a perjury beef if he says he lied before Congress. Still, this is ridiculous.

Ryne Sandberg, Mr. Cub for my generation, was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame yesterday. The Chicago Tribune excerpted his speech below. Please keep in mind that this is the Tribune's work, and I take no credit for it:

What a beautiful day this is.

I stand here before you today humbled, and a grateful baseball player. I am truly honored and in awe, honored to be in a class with my fellow inductee, WADE BOGGS.

And as I look behind me here--wow--at the greatest players in the history of the game, I am in awe. I know that if I ever allowed myself to think this was possible, if I had ever taken one day of pro ball for granted, I am sure I would not be here today.

This will come as a shock, I know. But I am almost speechless.

The reason I am here, they tell me, is that I played the game a certain way. That I played the game the way it was supposed to be played. I don't know about that. But I do know this. I had too much respect for the game to play it any other way.

And if there is a single reason I am here today it is because of one word: respect. I love to play baseball. I'm a baseball player. I've always been a baseball player. I'm still a baseball player. That's who I am.

The game fit me because it was all about doing things right. If you played the game the right way, played the game for the team, good things would happen.

That's what I love most about the game. How a groundout to second with a man on second and nobody out was a great thing.

Respect. I was taught coming up in the Phillies organization to be seen and not heard by people like Pete Rose--my hero growing up--and players like Mike Schmidt and Steve Carlton and Manny Trillo. I understood that.

My parents, Durant and Elizabeth, who are no longer with us, understood that. My mom was at every single game I played as a kid, rain or shine. My dad always said, "Keep your nose clean, your mouth shut and your eyes and ears open because you might learn something."

I was taught you never, ever disrespect your opponent or your teammates or your organization or your manager and never, ever your uniform.

Make a great play? Act like you've done it before.

Get a big hit? Look for the third-base coach and get ready to run the bases.

Hit a home run? Put your head down, drop the bat and run around the bases.

My managers, like Don Zimmer and Jim Frey, they always said I made things easy on them by showing up on time, never getting into trouble, being ready to play every day, leading by example, being unselfish.

I made things easy on them? These things they talk about [like] playing every day? That was my job. I had too much respect for them and for the game to let them down. I was afraid to let them down.

People like Harry Caray and Don Zimmer used to compare me to Jackie Robinson. Can you think of a better tribute than that?

But Harry, who was a huge supporter of mine, used to say how nice it is that a guy who can hit 40 homers or steal 50 bases or drive in 100 runs is the best bunter on the team.

Nice? That was my job. When did it become OK for someone to hit home runs and forget how to play the rest of the game?

When we went home every winter, they warned us not to lift heavy weights because they didn't want us to lose flexibility. They wanted us to be baseball players, not only home run hitters.

These guys sitting up here (other Hall of Famers) did not pave the way for the rest of us so the players could swing for the fences every time up and forget how to move a runner over to third.

It's disrespectful to them and to you and to the game of baseball that we all played growing up.


A lot of people say this honor validates my career. But I didn't work hard for validation. I didn't play the game right because I saw a reward at the end of the tunnel. I played it right because that's what you're supposed to do--play it right and with respect.

If this validates anything, it's that learning how to bunt and hit and run and turning two is more important than knowing where to find the little red light on the dugout camera.

Teammates like Larry Bowa, who took me under his wing; Rick Sutcliffe, who was like an older brother; Bob Dernier, half of the daily double.

They did what they were supposed to do and I did what I was supposed to do.

There was Gary Matthews, the Sarge, he wouldn't let me down. He was always in the on-deck circle when I was batting. And if there was a pitch that almost hit me or knocked me down, Sarge would be halfway to the mound screaming at the pitcher, "Get the ball over the plate." Or face the consequences.

There were guys like Bill Buckner, an incredible big-league hitter, the first pure hitter I spent time with in the big leagues.

There was Shawon Dunston and MARK GRACE. And together we were a double-play combination for 10 years. Shawon Dunston, who knew three weeks in advance that we were facing Nolan Ryan and always had a hamstring pull planned for the day before.

Mark Grace, who made sure Shawon knew he was supposed to get every popup from foul line to foul line on the infield.

We could read each others' minds on the field and off. They worked hard. How could I let them down by not being prepared for everything that might happen in the field, at the plate or on the bases?


ANDRE DAWSON. The Hawk. No player in baseball history worked harder, suffered more or did it better than Andre Dawson. He's the best I've ever seen. And I hope he will stand up here some day.

We didn't get to a World Series together. We almost got there, Hawk. That's my regret, that we didn't get to a World Series for Cub fans. I was in the postseason twice and I'm thankful for that. Twice we came close.

Baseball wasn't easy for me. I struggled many times when maybe it didn't look like I was struggling. And I had to work hard every day. I had to prepare mentally every day and I had to prepare physically every day.

As great a public speaker as I am, I don't have the words to describe Cub fans, who welcomed me as a rookie, who were patient during my 1-for-32 start and took me into their homes and into their hearts. You treated me like a member of your family.

I know there are a lot of Cub fans here today and I feel like every Cub fan in the world is here with me today.

And by the way, for what it's worth, Ron Santo just gained one more vote from the Veterans Committee.

Thank you to these men here, these Hall of Famers, who have welcomed me in and treated me as an equal. It's going to take some getting used to, but I thank you for your kindness and respect.

This is the second-best thing that's ever happened to me.

My wife, Margaret, is the best thing that has ever happened to me. She is my best friend, she is the love of my life, she is my salvation. She's my past, my present, my future. She is my sun, my moon, my stars. She is everything that is good in life and I thank her for entering my life at a time when I needed her most.

I love you.

I wish you all could feel what I feel standing here. This is my last big game, this my last big at-bat, this is my last time catching the final out.

I dreamed of this as a child, but I had too much respect for baseball to think this was ever possible. I believe it is because I had so much respect for the game and getting the most out of my abilities that I stand here today.

I hope others in the future will know this feeling for the same reasons--respect for the game of baseball. When we all played it, it was mandatory. It is something I hope we will one day see again.

Thank you, and go Cubs!"

Copyright © 2005, Chicago Tribune

OK, this is me again. I **love** the fact that Ryno, the quiet guy who just worked hard, took shots at the half-assed baseball that is being played now. The shots at Mr. I-Know-I-Can-Reach-the-Low-and-Outside-Slider-From-Back-of-the-Batter's-Box-But-Can't Sosa were particularly beautiful. I could not be any happier than I am, particularly since he was THE Cub for people like me in their mid to late 30s.