Saturday, July 20, 2002

How to sound like Jon Miller
Seems so simple, right? And yet you'll fail, because only Jon Miller can sound like Jon Miller, partly because "sounding like Jon Miller" can vary if he's feeling playful or impersonating other people. The best impersonators have very generic "real" voices.

How to sound like Joe Angell
Try to do your best Jon Miller impression; instead of sounding like Miller you'll sound like Angell. It's possible to hear Angell and think it's Miller but only if you're not paying attention.

How to sound like Lon Simmons
Think of your grandfather. Think about California or the West Coast or whatever signifies "laid back" to you. Remove all traces of whininess (those are reseved for Ron Santo's Cub broadcasts); instead, speak a little slowly but generally fluidly other than the occasional "senior moment."

Instant Giants radio booth!
How to sound like Ken Korach
1. Start with a reasonably high-pitched voice, but
2. Spend a whole evening shouting, then
3. Try to do a Ben Stein impression, but not the cliched Ferris Buehler Ben Stein of the monotone, rather the actual personality-rich Ben Stein as seen on Comedy Central.

How to sound like Bill King
Start with Joe Castiglione but either take some valium or go out of your way not to impersonate the Castiglione mannerisms.

Better yet, pretend that you're Joe Castiglione but you're trying to call a game the way Sean McDonough would call it.

Voila! Instant A's radio booth.
The Tim McCarver Wannabe Drinking Game
Requires: Baseball game; baseball "expert" within earshot, saying things to baseball novice.

(Often this involves a dorky-looking guy and his stunningly beautiful female companion, though not always.)

Sip everytime the "expert" says something that sounds like what McCarver would say. Gulp if, on further reflection, it's actually more like something Joe Morgan would say.

Chug if he ever claims to have played with or under Steve Carlton, Bob Gibson, Johnny Bench, or Sparky Anderson.

Example:
Novice: "He's pitching really well tonight, isn't he?"
Expert: "Yeah, he's in a good rhythm. Although... they say hitting is about timing and pitching is about the disruption of timing."

McCarverism? Morganism? Bottoms up...
Oakland 10, Washington 0
She left this game while the no-hit bid was still in progress.

Cory Lidle is arguably the sixth most likely current Athletic pitcher to hurl a one-hit shutout, behind the Big Three, newly acquired Ted Lilly, and rookie Aaron Harang. Lidle's keeps his rotation spot in the short term and keeps Harang in the 'pen but perhaps also boosts his trade value.

My friend and I seemed to have a good time. She knew she had family-related plans that overlapped with the game and also knew that she doesn't like baseball much. She warned me of both. Should I have been less subtle in pointing out why her timing was odd? (I didn't want to jinx it!)

I like the circa 1972 A's throwback uni's. They should wear 'em more. The PA guy was briefly thrown for a loop but got accustomed to referring to the road team (normally known as the Texas Rangers) as the Washington Senators. The second Washington Senators, a baseball pedant (or Twins fan) might add.

Even if Montreal goes on a hot streak, how unlikely would it be for this year's World Series to be not only the "almost contracted" teams but also the first and third Washington Senators incarnations? (Has the "Senators" name become either retired or AL-specific?)

Friday, July 19, 2002

I'm afraid to even follow this link. There's no problem that Jimmy Carter can't make worse. Go back to building houses (sounds sarcastic but Habitat is the one thing Carter does that I deeply appreciate).
This is ludicrous
What group of morons set up this situation?

Lesson 1: File your paperwork on time.

Lesson 2: Don't wait until the controversy comes to head it off.

Lesson 3: More than one person trying to run baseball just doesn't give a damn about human beings. Then again...

Lesson 4: (forthcoming) You're not going to scuttle an entire deal over frickin' Graeme Lloyd. He's fungible. Replace him with a player or with a cash transfer. Settling should be trivial.... unless your legal team consists of the jackasses that MLB seems to use.
Don't try this at home
My inbox (surprisingly not my Yahoo! box - unclear how Yahoo! decided where to send these) now gets daily updates with my "latest matches" on Yahoo! Personals.

I hope none of the women on those lists are as bad as this guy.
Decision Sunday Night
Supposedly I'll spend some meta-blog time Sunday night. This is on the same rainy-day pile as (and lower priority than) some NAQT work but I still imagine I'll get to it. Too little time/incentive (relative to sleep) before then to commit to something.

From that point on I'll be on one of these domains (in alpha order):

  • blogspot.com (same time/channel)

  • bantha.org (I already have a page and a UNIX account there; box run by a guy I know. not sure about disk quota issues)

  • greenfieldgerbil.com (probably w/hands-on tech support from someone who already comments here a lot -- thanks Matt!)

  • strategypattern.com (plus side, I frickin' own the domain, minus side it's "hosted" through Yahoo! with a deceptively complicated/expensive UI)


It's unclear whether I'll use Blogger or Moveable Type or some other ad hoc solution. Or just decide it's not worth the hassle but the whole point is avoiding that outcome.
Moveable Type and the Deathly Lazy
If it takes any effort at all to blog (other than the act of typing) then I probably won't. That's an exaggeration but not by much. Blogger used to be perfect for me. Think of it as the AOL of weblogging. I'm unashamed.

Someone who both reads this and knows of MT: Will it be relatively easy for me to set up and then go on auto-pilot? Alternatively, will I find the skills I pick up useful in the long run?

Thing is, w/Blogger Pro, other than the 100K limit I appear to be set. This server is lightning-fast, and I see no advantage to a BloggerPro-to-elsewhere FTP rather than staying here @ Blogspot. And I don't see any way around the 100K besides posting less, paying more, or abandoning Blogger (not just Blogspot) completely.
Oakland 2, Anaheim 0
ESPN recap

Went w/friend Mike & co-worker Seiken (QA mgr, Angel fan). Put up Z's for Zito (all four of his strikeouts). Angels got bases loaded, no out in the fourth; two on, no out in both 8th and 9th. Great outfield catches, back-to-back, preserved the shutout before Koch blew away PH Adam Kennedy to end the game.

Oakland currently on a 5-game homestand. I'm pondering going to all five games; definitely will have been to first three. Box seats tomorrow.
Did I just lose my amateur status?
At the very least I lost $35. Note: The monthly posting limits on Pro are 100K per user. I've never used less than 200K in a full month of usage. This should get interesting, or terse, or both.

Plans for migrating to a new host are on hold for now because I'm lazy. Ask me again when I hit my posting limit.

Thursday, July 18, 2002

I may get a new domain if I'm not too lazy
Do I want to migrate to greenfieldgerbil.com? So the funny thing is, I already have a domain that I'm not using appropriately (yet). Matt ("Captain Fancy") already has his weblog on the domain he owns. I could put mine there, maybe.

This would all require me to do actual web development, which in turn means either I think about computers outside the office or admit I'm just a poseur who would be completely helpless if there weren't a sysadmin around to set up my environment for me. (Tangent along those lines, I'm tired of sending data requests. I think I want to learn some PL SQL, learn from our DBA's where our scripts actually live, and -- pending their awareness/approval -- just go to town. It's all version-controlled, right? Plus this would save me from having to keep ad hoc SQL around plus remember which feature related to which request sent when.)

Funny thing about that tangential remark (other than that commenting on it is now "out of scope," since I'm not inside the same set of parentheses) is, why am I so comfortable with data but so uncomfortable with any web-based solo work more complicated than blogspot or GeoCities? The HTML is trivial, it's just the update system is all.

Anyway, I was supposed to test my new greenfieldgerbil.com account tonight but never had time. Between now and this weekend I'll play around enough with either it and/or my strategypattern.com site to know whether leaving blogspot is a good thing.

And if these last few posts haven't actually published (as it looks like they haven't), then the sooner the better.

Crap. Publish already.
I didn't know there existed Angel fans that boorish
ANA 2 0 0 0 0 3 0 4 1 - 10 15 0
OAK 0 0 2 1 0 0 0 1 0 - 4 9 2
Box Score et al

Some things pass from father to son, or maybe from father-figure to impressionable-boy.

A group sat behind us at the A's game (spontaneous Dollar Wednesday) tonight, all male. The group seemed to consist of Anaheim fans all 30-something, plus Oakland fans in the ages 8 to 10 range. Their idea of how to get along with each other was to talk trash and trade insults. On Anaheim's first couple run-scoring hits it was "who's your daddy?" and then "hey, I can't see it, what does that scoreboard say?" and then "oh, this is just embarrassing."

In the department of small favors, at least the adults weren't berating the children, much less physically abusing them. All the same it was crude. It was a bad example for the grown-ups to be setting, conditioning those kids to think that this kind of lack of respect is how you treat other people. Maybe I'm overreacting. Maybe this is just more "guy stuff" that my parents sheltered me from that I now recoil from. It still stinks. Don't be surprised when those kids turn into juvenile delinquents.

Not to mention the fact that few things on earth are more vile than bratty 8-to-10 year old boys. This is the single biggest reason why I'll never in my life understand same-sex pedophilia. Why would you want to go near kids like that? They're every bit as crude as the adults around them will let them be (especially if the grown-ups are encouraging them), they're unoriginal, and worst of all... so help me... they screech.

I think it's the parenting as much as anything. It's certainly possible to raise boys who aren't hellions, right? And I'm not even talking about Calvin clones. At least he shows basic human decency. Maybe these kids do too if I got to see more of them. But if you don't behave in a public place, where do you behave?

We left in the top of the 8th. When it was 5-3, a comeback was plausible enough that I visualized the score turning 6-5 and my loudly asking Mike, What does that scoreboard say? I can't see it. (By the way, Mike is back in town.) Once it got to 9-3, that wasn't gonna happen.

We went back to Mike et al's place, played some Smash Brothers, and taught Mike a couple poker games.

KSJO ROCKS


I love any station that will play Close My Eyes Forever and One back to back, especially if it's after midnight and I'm on the highway.

Wednesday, July 17, 2002

L-SAT Problem!
From the current ESPN home page:

Which result is least likely at the British Open?
Mickelson wins
Montgomerie wins
Tiger does not win
Tiger misses cut


If you don't why we can immediately rule out "Tiger does not win" then please just stop reading now and think about it a minute.

(Hint: Each of the other three options implies "Tiger does not win.")
Strike One
He wrote back to the entire list.

Strike Two
His message consisted of a single snide comment in front of quoting the entire message.

Strike Three
Blogger is so messed-up that you probably won't see this for another 48 hour or so.
Where are my comments?
Either blogger or YACCS is messed up right now. Actually I already know blogger is messed up. With luck this will be resolved shortly.
You Learn the Strangest Things From Opinion Journal's Best of the Web
Spanking not an acceptable part of the practice of law.

Sounds to me like someone got his real life confused with his on-line fantasies.
Future Crooked CEO's of America
(title stolen from Joanne Jacobs)

Just read this.
Then again, not all sports lawsuits are frivolous
I think these guys have a case. Everything Loria did in Montreal, taken as a whole, looks awfully conspiracy-theory-prone.
Squandering all the PC cred I'd built up
Give the Tigers a break. I'd read this story right after the Simmons piece and was about to be riled about athletes thinking they're special. Then again, when it's a charter flight (quasi-private environment), to some extent they are special. Let's run through the allegations...

  • Some players had porn on their computer screens. While you definitely wouldn't want to do this on a commercial flight, on a charter, hey, cut them some slack.

  • Yeah, cussing a flight attendant out when she won't let you light up is pretty bush league, but it's just not the stuff lawsuits are made of.

  • I'm shocked -- shocked -- that Bobby Higginson would swear in public.


If you're that brittle, then you probably shouldn't be taking jobs on charter flights transporting athletes around. There are all kinds of women out there who can take it and dish back. You don't have to sleep with the guys (unless you want a shorty, but do you really want your kid to look like this?), but at least make a token effort to be one of 'em.
Are Bill Simmons and I even from the same planet?
I've never seen a guy-talk column so thoroughly in need of deconstructing. Go read it if you haven't already, then come back here. Or keep both windows open and consider this entry as annotation.

1. Women who "annoyingly" ask questions at sporting events.
Is the guy attention span really that fragile? I dunno. Maybe the games I care about most I watch by myself. Still, I can't remember ever having been successfully distracted during a sporting event. You say something noncommital, you move on. You stay thankful for the little things, like that your loved ones are interested in the game in the first place.

More importantly, if this were that big of a problem, what does it say about the Simmons family taste in women that they can't find women who don't do that? Women who care about the game just as much as you do and so know when to shut up and take it in? Don't tell me they don't exist. I know... okay, at least one. And yeah, she's happily married, as you might expect.

Actually, you know what's far more annoying than The Girl Who Asks Questions? Without a doubt, it's The Guy Who Overreacts. You know the type. He gives up on his team about five minutes too soon, loudly proclaims to anyone who'll listen that it's over, sulks a little. Ironically (if you think of me as high-strung, and if you've met me I can't see how you wouldn't), I'm not that guy. When I watch a game in public I sit stone silent. The Guy Who Overreacts makes me simultaneously smug and psychic. He's just wrong, and he doesn't to realize it. No, only I realize it, and boy am I gonna be happy in about ten minutes... at least if I'm right. Like I was about Game 1 of the 2001 NBA finals.

2. So help me, I lived through the synchronized swimming sketch and didn't like it all that much. At least, it's hardly any funnier than what they put on now. It just got old too soon.

3. Hoover Dam. I've been there ("done that"?). Had a catered meal there, even though civilians weren't supposed to get that kind of privilege. It's not the worst idea, not even for a bachelor party. Oh, don't tell me you're going to do the gambling and hookers thing 24/7. Don't turn this into a pissing contest.

4. "Stay away from my little cousin, Carrie." Maybe I overreact to this sort of thing, and heaven forbid I actually start to take a "guy-talk" column seriously, but for pete's sake. She's going to do what she wants to do. And hey, maybe some of the guys she'll meet actually treat women better than you treat them. F*ckhead.

Maybe that's too strong a reaction.

5. Actually the "best dunks" segment is pretty good.

Tuesday, July 16, 2002

Today instead of writing for you people, I wrote trivia questions like I was supposed to
I was also too sick to go to work. Over/under on # of co-workers who assumed that I played hooky to see Randy Johnson in a matinee: 3.

Should I link to Dwight's weblog (I know it exists because Craig linked to it)? What about my old girlfriend?

Sensible-seeming policy: I don't link to someone unless they ask, in case for some reason they're trying to hide their on-line presence from who-knows-who. (Exception: Quasi-celebrity weblogs kept by complete strangers whose existence I learned from other complete strangers. Hence Jane Galt and the like.)

In theory the links on my own homepage help determine which sites I visit daily and which ones I just like-in-theory. But there's a vicious cycle where I have to visit a site often enough (or be asked, I guess) before I get around to "putting it in the rotation."

Has Vanessa Carlton been my cover-girl for too long?

Monday, July 15, 2002

Yet again I fail to be offended
Pop-up TV ads: if you don't like them, change the frickin' channel already.

So I was going to say something snide about TV being free but
1. This is a cable network.
2. If it were a broadcast network, well, come to think of it, the Big Three (four counting Fox?) and their local affiliates all get a massive government subsidy in the form of spectrum.

Eh, used to. Well, they get the same raw good, but the value of that good has plummeted (at least I'd like to hope) in the digital age. Any thoughts from the audience (Captain Fancy, say)?
I love Brian Sabean
"F---the Yankees. Are they supposed to get everyone in baseball?"
--Brian Sabean, Giants GM, on rumors that Jeff Kent might be traded to New York

--reprinted in Baseball Prospectus

It's not exactly The Crying Game but...
I'd never realized The Human League had a spoiler ending in their biggest hit. Almost like an O. Henry short story, you might say. Or not.
The Kitty Genovese of computer viruses?
This internal mailing list I'm on keeps repeatedly getting the same obviously-virus-infected message from the same (presumably innocent) sender. I wonder if he knows he's been infected. Looks like I've avoided infection but Norton Utilities has gone bonkers every time one of them hits my inbox.

(I hate MS Outlook.)

So far, nobody else on the list has actually commented on this. Oh wait, someone else on the list is now the "sender" of this thing. You can tell it's not a work-related thing since nobody's sent the message that says Do not open mail from [NAME].

Those are always fun.
Questions about Na Na Hey Hey Goodbye
1. Are The Nylons a one-hit wonder?

2. Am I the only person who learned of the song via the Nylons' cover rather than the original Steam recording?

3. How much does the Nylons cover contribute, if any, to the pop culture stature of this song?
(Even though I first heard almost exclusively the Nylons' version, these days other than on '80s stations one only hears the original.)
Thought For Today
I tell novice writers to pretend words cost $1; facts and ideas pay $10. Try to write profitably.
--Joanne Jacobs

Sunday, July 14, 2002

If nothing else, the movies are fantastic.
Thanks to fX cable, I saw most of Die Hard 3 today. Looks like the only part I missed was the part at the beginning that would have caused it all to make sense.

This isn't a movie I'd have ever considered lying about having seen, though maybe it's a movie you're surprised I never saw. To be honest I haven't seen any of them and now I really want to.

On Wednesday a friend e-mailed me suggesting that we do something this weekend before she went out of town. On Friday it occurred to me that responding to this e-mail would be a good idea. I suggested doing "something fun and lighthearted" late Sunday afternoon. We ended up just meeting at her place. I got into the movie before we could make firm plans to go anywhere in particular. She then spent much of the movie asleep on my shoulder. When it ended we went out for Thai food. Then I came home, given that I have a meeting first thing tomorrow morning.
Things that go boom...

I'm very thankful to have had a high-quality science education. I know at least one unemployed smart person who probably should look into teaching science.
I love a properly scathing book review
Nick Gillespie was feeling cranky. Although I haven't read anything by Zevin, I can't blame him. Eggers was annoying enough for me.

I wonder how many people look at any given public work and think to themselves, I could do better than that.

As writing goes I think it all the time, to the point that right after thinking it I always assume I'm wrong. In the case of Gen-X voice of a generation prose, though, there's no way I could possibly do worse than what's already out there.

I'm actually vaguely interested in what other people think here. (i.e. trolling for compliments, or for a well-needed takedown if that's more appropriate)
Land of the Fifth Starters
Avert your eyes from these pitching matchups. This is what happens when teams get time off and get to reset their rotations. Let's just say that Thursday's matchups were -- and Tuesday's will be -- just a little better than this.

I wonder what the cumulative W-L and ERA are.
Fay Vincent sighting!!
This is telling. I used to strongly dislike Vincent, especially relative to A. Bartlett Giamatti or even Peter Ueberroth, in that Vincent didn't seem to actually enjoy the game of baseball.

Then two things happened: Vincent was screwed in the palace coup that brought the Prince of Darkness into power, and aforementioned Prince of Darkness demonstrated just how much disdain a sports commissioner can show to his own game.

Come back Fay!
Schadencloser
That's the new word I made up.

You know that anguished "oowwWW!!" noise the peons make in Age of Empires as they die? I imagine Yankee fans making that noise today, not to mention Mariano Rivera owners.

It's probably a sign that one spends too much time thinking of baseball in roto/fantasy terms, when one gets such joy out of a star player's catastrophic failure.
"If there's no baseball, the terrorists will have won."
Both Jayson Stark and Peter Gammons pointed out this week what a PR nightmare it would be if baseball had a strike coinciding with either September 11 or further U.S. military action. It was a good point to read the first time, but already the second time was tiresome. Maybe it's just the Gammons writing style.

From that same Gammons column:
This has not been easy on Selig or his wife, Sue. "You wonder," says one owner, "whether or not Bud's just sick and tired of taking all the heat for baseball's problems. He wouldn't admit it, because he's like a public servant. But if he can get a meaningful settlement, maybe he'll want to take a bow and leave."

1. Like a public servant? Okay, this one I'll grant you, in that he's surly, inefficient, incompetent, yet secure in his job.

2. "If he can get a meaningful settlement." Translation: If he can take the money and run. It's unclear what's worse: The Satans who already have their money or the ones who still have to shill and stooge for it.
P-funk, nappy hair, and playing the dozens
Kaus spots a trend.

I wonder where Stacy is these days?