Thursday, October 31, 2002

entries about quiz-bowl
(yeah, I promised that the lyrics post would be my last for the weekend; couldn't help myself. but hey, scroll down for a massive lyrics quiz!)

Sometimes I catch myself assuming that everybody who reads my weblog also reads every weblog that I read. Given that this is probably a bad assumption, here's a better-late-than-never heads-up (especially if you came here from casa Barrientos):

Lots of very good quiz-bowl discussion is happening on Dwight's weblog or on the pages that he links to.

I have yet to see Dwight write anything on the subject that I disagreed with. He's more passionate than I am about his vision of getting lots of players involved (like both Bushes, I've always been weak on the vision thing) but his goals dovetail with why most of us (me, at least) are involved with this in the first place.

Most things that can fairly take the "quiz-bowl" label are really fun to play, not to mention edifying. As with any activity, there are probably people who like it and people who don't; it's a little sad to think about the people who would have enjoyed something like this but never got a chance. Giving them a chance seems good.

Of the people he's linked to, Dwight already has done a good job rebutting people whose comments seemed to need a response. I'll add just one thing, about the profit motive. (Since I forget who mentioned this, forgive me if I end up making a straw man.)

There are people in college who spend time on quiz-bowl organization, for the good of their own teams and/or the rest of the circuit, who seem to resent any person who group who spends a lot of time on quiz-bowl and tries to make money off of it. How to put this? -- The work required to keep the circuit going is in fact time-consuming. When you're in college it's easy to underestimate the worth of time and overvalue money. Once you get out into the world... anyone who's spent any nontrivial time on NAQT work, almost certainly could have made far more money spending that time on our day jobs, or even just used that time to goof off and enjoy life. (This is probably true of TRASH and ACF, or any other organization that people do work for without getting full-time wage & benefits.)

There's an opportunity cost here; getting a little bit of money out of it may be the difference between finding the time commit viable and finding it non-viable. (This is a lot like the tip jar that many weblogs have. I won't put a tip jar here anytime soon because I think most of my readers are people I know too well anyway; it would be all awkward.)

Think about anything that you get paid to do, including what you do for a living. Do you do it for the money or for the love of whatever it is? Well, both, right? This is probably taking it too far, since I don't think anyone currently relies on NAQT literally to put food on the table. (Then again, depending on how long I'm between jobs myself...)

Suffice to say, you might not like the fact that money partly motivates people to do what they do, but sometimes that motivation is the catalyst for things actually getting done, things that make the world an all-around better place.

(Appendix: Months ago there was a Slashdot Q&A feature with the founders of Google. Somebody actually asked whether there were plans for Google to become a non-profit, as though that were an end in itself. I forget whether I blogged about this but I remember Chad Kubicek mentioning it to me over AIM and both of us just boggling.)

Wednesday, October 30, 2002

two more minutes of inadvertent exposure to The West Wing, twenty more minutes of gratuitous high blood pressure
In re the guy that some dead guy is running against, has Aaron Sorkin ever presented a Republican as anything other than the Straw-Man from Hell? F*ck him.
Lyrics Quiz
Because this is my last post until Monday (well, if it isn't, it darn well ought to be: time to pack, if not pretend to have a life), I'll leave you with an ad hoc lyrics quiz involving the next N songs that it occurs to me to ask you about (for some round-number value of N). You can guess in the comments widget if you want, or e-mail me. I can't promise to keep score but I'll give you answers when I get back. First prize is a warm, fuzzy feeling inside. Let's say five points each for title and artist, but again I probably won't bother to keep score myself.

(BONUS: Looking back over the list, I count three songs that, throughout the 2002 season, the Pacific Bell Park PA system repeatedly associated with particular San Francisco Giants. Name those three songs and those three players. Maybe this too hard if you're not local but so be it.)

1. "Burning the ground, I break from the crowd. I'm on the hunt, I'm after you."

2. "Red light, yellow light, green light, go! Crazy little woman in a one-man show. Mirror queen, mannequin, rhythm of love."

3. "Jackie, you set the world on fire. You came and gifted us, your love it lifted us higher and higher. Keep it up, and we'll be there at your side."

4. "My uncle has a country place that no one knows about. He says it used to be a farm before the Motor Law."

5. "Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one. Count down to the change in life that's sure to come."

6. "Every dark tunnel has a light of hope, so don't hang yourself with a celibate rope."

7. "I don't know what color your eyes are, baby but your hair is long and brown. You're legs are strong and so so long and you don't come from this town."

8. "All the crackheads, the critics, the cynics, and all my heroes at the methadone clinics."

9. "For a hill, men would kill. Why? They do not know. Suffered wounds there test their pride, men of five, still alive through the raging glow."

10. "The moment I let go of it was the moment I got more than I could handle. The moment I jumped off of it was the moment I touched down."

11. "When you were here before, I couldn't look you in the eye. You're just like an angel, your skin makes me cry."

12. "I'm always working, slaving, every day, trying to get away from the same ol' same ol'. I need a chance just to get away; if you could hear me think this is what I'd say."

13. "I was lying on the bench slide in the park across the street, l-a-t-e-r that week. My sticky paws were making straws out of big fat slurpy treats."

14. "You can't fight the tears that ain't coming, or the moment of truth in your lies. When everything feels like the movies, you'd bleed just to know you're alive."

15. "When the sun comes up, I'll be on top. You'll be way down there, looking up. And I might wave, come up here. But I don't see you waving now."

16. "I try to stand up, but I can't find my feet. I try to speak up, but only in you I'm complete."

17. "Stand up and be counted, for what you are about to receive. We are the dealers, we'll give you everything you need."

18. "Every time that I stare into the sun, angel dust and my dress just comes undone. Was she asking for it? Was she asking nice?"

19. "I try to keep her on a short leash. I try to calm her down. I try to ram her into the ground."

20. "The amusement park rises bold and stark; kids are huddled on the beach in a mist. I want to die with you, Wendy, on the streets tonight in an everlasting kiss."

21. "You could be my someone, you could be my scene. You know that I'll protect you from all of the obscene."

22. "I went to a party last Saturday night. Didn't get laid, got in a fight, uh-huh. It ain't no big thing."

23. "In the darkest depths of Mordor I met a girl so fair, but Gollum and the Evil One crept up and slipped away with her."

24. "You've used up your coupons and all you've got left is me, and somehow I'm full of forgiveness. I guess it's meant to be."

25. "Morning came and I was on my way, when you reminded me. I had too soon forgotten, it was you who set me free."

26. "Like painted skies, those days and nights they went flying by. The world was new, beneath the bright blue umbrella sky. Then softer than that piper man, one day it called to you, and I lost you."

27. "In this world we're just beginning to understand the miracle of living. Baby I was afraid before but I'm not afraid anymore."

28. "Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir"

29. "I met her in a pub down in old SoHo where you drink champagne and it tastes just like cherry Cola."

30. "We talked all night about the rest of our lives, where we're gonna be when we turn 25. I keep thinking times will never change."

31. "I'll live and I'll die for you, steal the sun from the sky for you. Words can't say what love can do."

32. "Girl we've been meant for this since we were born. No problems now, the coast is clear, it's just the calm before the storm."

33. "I remember blue skies, walking the block. I loved it when you held me high, I loved to hear you talk. You would take me to a movie, you would take me to the beach. You would take me to a place inside that is so hard to reach."

34. "Maybe if we think and wish and hope and pray it might come true. Baby then there wouldn't be a single thing we couldn't do."

35. "I was a game he would play. He brought the clouds to my day. Then like a ray of light, you came my way one night."

36. "Okay, here's the situation: My parents went away on a week's vacation and they left the keys to their brand new Porsche."

37. "He'd give up all his comfort, sleep out in the rain, if that's the way she said it ought to be."

38. "You say that we've got nothing on common, no common ground to start from, and we're falling apart."

39. "She said we must get together, but I knew it'd never be arranged. She handed me twenty dollars for a $2.50 fare and said, 'Harry, keep the change.'"

40. "I just could not believe she was the same girl I fell in love with long ago. She went in the back to get high; I sat down on my couch and cried."

41. "If you gave me half a chance you'd see my desire burning inside of me, but you choose to look the other way. I've had to work much harder than this for something I want."

42. "Train roll on, on down the line, won't you please take me far away? Now I feel the wind blow outside my door, means I'm leaving my woman behind."

43. "Every day I watch the tide roll in, stay until it rolls away. Though nothing's on the shore, I'm running back for more."

44. "I've been a bad, bad girl. I've been careless with a delicate man, and it's a sad, sad world when ag irl will break a boy just because she can."

45. "Got a picture of your house, you're standing by the door. It's black and white and fade, and looking pretty worn. See the factory that I work, silhouetted in the back. Memories are great but man they're really coming back."

46. "The phone rings, it's early, it's seven o'clock. He says 'sorry I woke you, but I just had to talk. You know last night, remember, when I tried to choke you? I didn't mean it, I was drunk, it was only a joke.'"

47. "She'll promise you more than the garden of Eden, then she'll carelessly cut you and laugh while you're bleeding. But she brings out the best and the worst you could be."

48. "Quiet and blue like the sky, I'm all over you. And if I can't find my way back home, it just wouldn't be fair."

49. "Emptiness is loneliness and loneliness is cleanliness and cleanliness is godliness and God is empty just like me."

50. "Out of the ruins, out from the wreckage, can't make the same mistake this time. We are the children, the last generation. We are the ones they left behind."

51. "I will lie for you. I can steal for you. I will crawl on hands and knees until you see, you're just like me."

52. "Impassioned lovers wrestle as one; lonely man cries for love and has none. New mother picks up and suckles her son; senior citizens whish they were young."

53. "She says it's time she goes but wanted to be sure I know she hopes we can be friends. I think, yeah, 'I guess we can,' say I, but didn't think to ask her why. She blacked her eyes and drew the curtains with knots I have yet to untie."

54. "Ain't found a way to kill me yet; eyes burn with stinging sweat. Seems every path leads me to nowhere."

55. "Now I could understand your tears and your shame; she called you 'boy' instead of your name. When she wouldn't let you inside, when she turned and said, 'but honey, he's not our kind.'"

56. "Another day passes as the night closes in. The red light goes on to say it's time to begin. I see the man around the corner waiting; does he see me? I close my eyes and wait to hear the sound of someone screaming."

57. "I know you're lonely and I hope you'll be all right, 'cause me and the boys will be playing all night."

58. "Oceans apart, day after day, and I slowly go insane. I hear your voice on the line, but it doesn't stop the pain. If I see you next to never, how can we say 'forever'?"

59. "I can't be held responsible; she was touching her face. I won't be held responsible; she fell in love in the first place."

60. "I live my life by the moon: if it's high play it low, if it's harvest go slow, if it's full, then go."

61. "He just smiled and gave me a vegemite sandwich."

62. "I was dancing in the dark with strangers, no love around me when you suddenly found me."

63. "Who's to care if I grow my hair to the sky? I'll take a wish and a prayer, cross my fingers, cuz I always get by. Some fast-talkin' jerk for a dollar wiped the smile off my face. I'm driving all night, just to keep the rat in the race."

64. "Mama take this badge from me; I can't use it anymore. It's getting dark, too dark to see."

65. "How can I convince you what you see is real? Who am I to blame you for doubting what you feel? I was always reaching; you were just a girl I knew."

66. "As he came in through the window, with the sound of a crescendo, he came into her apartment, left the bloodstains on the carpet."

67. "The blonde waitresses take their trays, spin around, and they cross the floor. They got the moves: You drop your drink and they bring you more."

68. "I got up to wash my face; when I came back to bed, someone's taken my place."

69. "That's all I wanted, something special, something sacred in your eyes: Just for one moment to be bold and naked at your side."

70. "Pulled into town in a police car; your daddy said I took you just a little too far. Tellin' other things but your girlfriend lied. Can't catch me cuz the rabbit done died."

71. "It's been seven hours and fifteen days since you took your love away."

72. "It's been hours, seems like days, since you went away, and all I do is check the screen to see if you're okay."

73. "Can't keep my eyes from the circling skies; tongue-tied and twisted, just an earthbound misfit."

74. "Words are very unnecessary; they can only do harm."

75. "I used to think that love was just a fairy tale until that first hello, until that first smile."

76. "Like a heavyweight champion, knockin' em out, another bout without a doubt. Once again you can scream and shout when I rock the bells; yell out my name. This is what you've been missing. Listen to my heart beat, while I'm whispering."

77. "The night is young and so am I -- and we can dress real neat from our hats [sic] to our feet and surprise them with a vict'ry cry."

78. "Take me as I am, put your hand in mine now and forever. Darling here I stand, stand before you now. Deep inside I always knew."

79. "How many special people change? How many lives are living strange? Where were you when we were getting high?"

80. "I gave some to my dog when he began to beg, and then he licked his bowl and he looked at me and did the 'wild thing' on my leg."

81. "I still recall the taste of my tears, echoing your voice just like the ringing in my ears. My favorite dreams of you still wash ashore, scraping through my head 'til I don't wanna sleep anymore."

82. "What would you think if I told you I always wanted to hold you? I don't know what we're afraid of: nothing would change if we made love."

83. "Mother told me, yes she told me, I'd meet girls like you. She also told me, 'stay away, you never know what you'll catch.'"

84. "I hear the ticking of the clock. I'm lying here, the room's pitch dark. I wonder where you are tonight, no answer on the telephone."

85. "Last night the word came down: Ten dead in Chinatown. Innocent -- their only crime was being in the wrong place at the wrong time."

86. "He was high on intellectualism. I've never been there but the brochure looks nice."

87. "She said, 'there is no reason and the truth is plain to see,' but I wandered through my plaing cards and would not let her be -- one of sixteen vestal virgins who were leaving for the coast."

88. "Want some whiskey in your water? Sugar in your tea? What's all these crazy questions they're asking me?"

89. "He never really loved you from the start; the only thing he ever gave you was a broken heart. Don't be afraid to lose what was never meant to be."

90. "Please Mrs. Avery, I've just got to talk to her, I'll only keep her awhile. Please Mrs. Avery, I just want to tell her goodbye."

91. "Hello my name is Jimmy Pop and I'm a dumb white guy; I'm not old or new but middle school, fifth grade, like, junior high."

92. "We all came out to Montreaux on the Lake Geneva shoretime, to make records with a mobile. We didn't have much time."

93. "So gather up your jackets, move it to the exits; I hope you have found a friend."

94. "She never mentions the word addiction in certain company. She'll tell you she's an orphan after you meet her family."

95. "If tomorrow all the things were gone I'd worked for all my life and I had to start again with just my children and my wife, I'd thank my lucky stars to be living here today."

96. "You with the sad eyes, don't be discouraged. I realize it's hard to take courage in a world full of people -- you can lose sight of it all."

97. "Ricky was a young boy. He had a heart of stone. Lived 9 to 5 and worked his fingers to the bone. Just barely out of school, came from the edge of town, fought like a switchblade so no one could take him down."

98. "Someone's always playing corporation games. Who cares? They're always changing corporation names."

99. "The smell of your skin, the taste of your kiss, the way you whisper in the dark, your hair all around me, baby you surround me, you touch every place in my heart."

100. "Laughing in the playground; gets no kicks from little boys, would rather make it with a leching gray. Or maybe her attention is drawn by Aqualung, who watches through the railings as they play."
Vaguely amusing Halloween piece
Tim Cavanaugh riffs. Lately, Reason has reminded me a lot of what used to be like.

My only beef with Cavanaugh's article is the slap at webloggers in the paragraph about curfews. This may be a Nobody I know voted for Nixon experience bias, but the {random people writing about world events} weblogs I read tend to be very well-written, libertarian (admittedly hawkish, but almost as deeply opposed to silly anti-terrorism laws), and not at all conspiracy theory-driven.
Sorry, we're closed
No cable car rides for awhile.
High school sports omnibus
(note: as I began this post I thought I had an opinion, but the opinion shifted mid-post)

Should I be contrarian? How does this play (touching though it is) differ from Bret Favre taking a dive to give Michael Strahan the sack record?

I guess in the grand scheme of things it doesn't matter who wins a given high school football game.

Another point of comparison: the University of Connecticut women's college basketball scoring record. (Which gets even more complicated.)

For what it's worth I think people took both the Favre incident and the Sales incident too seriously (I lost a little respect for Favre--but only a little--and remained apathetic about UConn hoops), but the high school one...

Ah, on further reading it makes more sense:
"I told them (Waverly) ahead of time that he can’t take a hit or anything," Frantz said. "If the game’s not at stake on the last play, I wanted him to come in and take a knee."

Yet a week after their conversation, with Waverly leading 42-0 with five seconds remaining, coach DeWitt offered Frantz one better.

"During the timeout, he met me in the middle of the field and said ‘We’ll let him score,’" Frantz explained. "(Initially) I said ‘Nah.’ Then we talked about it with the referees, and they said ‘Hey coach, we understand."

That's beautiful, after all. It's not something you could ever ask an opposing coach to do but if he volunteers it, so much the better.

But as pure integrity goes, this one tops them all.
You know that feeling you get when you avoid blowing $10 on a movie that looks bad, then come to find out it was even worse than you suspected?
These days I get more--and better--news and opinion via InstaPundit than any other site. Today he threw in a link to this takedown of the Halberstam piece on Bonds that I'd skipped.

I'd skipped it because of who the author was, but my goodness, I didn't think even he could stoop that low.
Behold the power of the Internet
Earlier tonight I:
Booked a rental car reservation on-line
Booked a hotel reservation on-line
Dug my paperless itinerary out of an e-mail folder
E-mailed a reminder to my roommates asking if I can get a ride to the airport
Followed a link that my friend e-mailed me to her vacation pictures, available on-line

Getting back to the weekend trip: Almost (but not quite) got around to looking up MapQuest to see how far the hotel is from the airport

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

People who are bitches
(and no, I don't use the term lightly)

1. (Please excuse me for taking TV commercials too literally -- I get this from my mom.)

The woman in that life insurance commercial who's henpecking her husband about the stock market and what happens if it fails to go back up and he dies prematurely. Have you ever thought about that? she asks rhetorically.

Apart from the fact that her husband's investing strategy is completely sound (yes, honey, over the long haul the stock market REALLY DOES always come back up), he deserves better than to be hectored, especially in the tone of voice she uses. If she were really concerned that he wasn't thinking enough of her... well? It's a free country. Get a job, ma'am. Save some of your own money.

Knowing full well that they're fictional characters played by actors anyway, I still hope that (in the alternate universe where they're real) one day he up and leaves her for a sweet young thang about half his age.

2. (And much more importantly)

This woman on the golfing crusade. Here's the exchange that really says it all:
Woods has said he supports both causes -- there should be a female member, but the private club has a right to set its own membership policies.

Burk has criticized Woods for not taking a stronger position, saying two weeks ago, ''If others had taken that view, he'd be a caddie at Augusta. He wouldn't be a player.''

''I certainly understand her opinion,'' Woods said. ''I don't agree with it, but I respect it. I wish and hope she will feel the same way about my opinion.''

Tiger's view, as I understand it (and conveniently enough also mine): Augusta probably ought to let in a female member, but if they don't they don't. Her point on where he'd be without other people taking a stand may have merit but it's still really inane. People like her -- especially her literally -- didn't do anything to advance the civil rights cause, as much as in her heart of hearts she'd like to think she did. Rather, some black people took a heroic stand and common sense did the rest.

(Staying specific to the facts at hand: What Burk is doing won't get a woman into Augusta. What will get a woman into Augusta is that particular woman herself -- remember it will be a real person, not some "woman in a country club" abstract concept -- actually applying and getting in.)

Just try to imagine, if Martin Luther King were alive today, him trying to bully specific corporations into hiring more black people. No, wait, into hiring the right kind of black people, especially if it's his friends and relatives. Then again, Jesse Jackson is an entirely different bitch from Martha Burk, as bitches go.
Best campaign platform ever
I can't remember if I linked to this entry yet (scroll down a bit) but even if I have, it's worth mentioning twice.
If Barry were an adolescent girl
I was in the car yesterday when The Middle came on. Hadn't heard the song in a few days but the lyrics were as uplifting as usual.

For a split second I imagined the Giants listening to that song and somebody saying hey cheer up, we'll get 'em next year.

Then I realized that would never actually happen.
On writing like Barry Bonds
I guess this is vaguely similar to something he'd say. Seems only fair that if you want to write in the name of a star, you get the facts right.

(This post was in fact by me.)

Oops, crap, he'd have said "pass my godfather" instead of "pass Mays." Oh well, close enough.
Pardon the sudden broken-record here (about the spirit of competition and so on) but I have to say, the single most stomach-churning thing about Game 7 of the World Series was seeing Livan Hernandez screaming at the home plate umpire to get his pitches.

For one thing, it's unseemly. The umps are doing the best they can. For another, it seemed obvious (to me at least) that Livan was off his game, struggling, no foundation, needing to lash out at someone somewhere. Just heartbreaking.

And what made me so mad about how he acted is that it's exactly how I'd have reacted in that situation. I think he's the worst side of me, right down to the uniform number, the spare tire, and the undeserved reputation for big-game performance.

Granted, my first-guessing about starting Rueter over him related partly to Woody also being my alter ego; then again, Rueter represents me as I'd like to be seen: Determined, successful (if a bit charmed), using command and guile to make the most out of limited stuff.

(Of all the people who admire overachieving, undertalented athletes, I wonder how many secretly fear that in their own pursuits they're the opposite -- talented but underachieving?)

If you care, I've never felt the urge to identify with either Russ Ortiz or Jason Schmidt. I tried to strain an allegory that led to them representing different sides of my roommate Chris but it was too far-fetched.

(An irony I meant to mention above but never fit in: Livan's big-game reputation comes mainly from beating the Braves in a game in which he got the most absurd strike zone ever seen. Eric Gregg gave him strikes on pitches several inches off the corner. The irony-within-irony is that strike zone gifts are what Tom Glavine himself always made the most of -- did Glavine face Livan that game? I wonder if anyone's ever told Livan just how fortunate he was to get the calls he got in '97, or if he's come to see a wide strike zone as an entitlement.)
Attitude and "playing to win"
I guess it comes down to going all out in the game but then outside the lines taking the game exactly as casually/seriously as perspective suggests.

Or, failing that, acting like you've taken it all in stride.
More interesting things from Page 2
David Halberstam rips Barry Bonds for not looking like he's having fun. Excuse me? So many things I could say here but I'll leave it at this:

Didn't Jane Eyre, early in the book, endure a savage beating ostensibly because she "didn't look like she was having fun"? (For being an "unhappy child," or somesuch. Don't mind me, I haven't read that book since high school.)

Jeff Merron missed the Miracle at the Meadowlands. For work reasons I once left a Red Sox game early (Sox down a run in the 8th), only to find they'd won with consecutive solo home runs by Darren Lewis and Jeff Frye. Jeff Frye.

Obligatory box score link (yay Google!).
Playing to win
Now that the commissioner has officially blessed it, I'll retract any spirit-of-the-game based criticism of choosing teams-that-play-each-other (read: Bengals, Texans) in a cut-throat league. I'm going to avoid that game myself but just as a theoretical exercise I really do hope someone hedges the bets and does the Cincy-Houston combo.

I wish I hadn't sounded so moralistic in the first place, since one thing that vaguely annoys me is situations where people use false ethics to discredit perfectly valid strategies. Examples in no particular order:

1. People who object to the intentional walk. Putting a runner on base is almost always a bad idea anyway (one more player who can score, go through the lineup one batter more quickly, and so on) but I can't fault Scioscia for walking Bonds so much.

2. A few years ago, when college quiz play was predominantly timed, I knew people who objected to clock-management strategies. How dare you slow down (or speed up) on bonuses!

3. The one that half-inspired this post (didn't make me post at the time but stayed in my head until now):
Oh, you mean they didn't have a DH? Yeah, I'm really bummed they didn't have Jose Canseco on the bench this Series
--friend of Brian Murphy.

Look, as much as you may hate the rules of a given game, when you play the game you agree to the rules. If you don't like the rules, get out of the game. If the DH (and by extension the AL) is an abomination then why do you bother with the World Series? Take your (you, the unnamed Giants fan quoted by Murphy) NL pennant and just go home.

I suppose in some situations there's a line you don't cross. Quiz-bowl example: I used to protest seemingly all the time, if there was something that seemed to be worth extra attention. Nothing personal, it's just that the rules are there to get things right. At some point -- not sure when -- it dawned on me (years after it dawned on the rest of the world, no doubt) just how little these games meant in the grand scheme of things. Let it go is almost always the right attitude, except maybe in a championship competition or something.

It's all about knowing what is and isn't part of the game maybe. I'm reading this book about poker, and near the beginning of the book it mentions how one really good player had a quote about how he'd bid his grandmother out of a hand if the pot was big enough. I'm mangling the words but what shocked me about the quote is that I honestly can't think of a poker bidding strategy that would actually offend someone. Or at least, it shouldn't be offensive. You always have three choices: fold, call, or raise. Those are always the options, even if sometimes one or more of those choices are stupid. What on earth would piss someone off about aggressive (or even passive) bidding?

Now, I've seen people get upset by bad bidding, but that's just because I have a strange combination of playing too loosely, playing too unpredictably, and just all-around sucking. It's not nearly as on-purpose as you'd think, since if it were you'd think I'd find a way to play that actually led to better results.
Avril QOTD
In short: all I need to know about her I will learn in 14 months, when she does a Bally fitness center commercial.
--James Lileks on a certain pop star
Ask a stupid question...
Ejected from the game at Baltimore, Plaxico Burress was accompanied off the field and up the tunnel by a police officer. Police officers usually accompany ejected players to the showers. Why? --Tuesday Morning Quarterback, "Page 2"

Everything was proceeding nicely -- a week of research, copious notes, opinions slowly forming -- until last Friday's Doug Christie-Rick Fox catfight rattled me to my very core. Honestly, I'm not even sure what to do with myself right now. Do we retire the Christie Jersey jokes because he slugged the most annoying player in the league? Why didn't Christie hand-signal his wife during the fight? Has there been a federal investigation to determine whether Mrs. Christie really jumped into the fray in the tunnel, swinging her purse to defend her husband, as some eyewitnesses have claimed? --Bill Simmons, "Page 2" (from the same day that TMQ ran)

After both players were ejected, they left the court in opposite directions, but Fox raced around the back, past the locker room. He met up with Christie in the tunnel that leads to the locker room area and grabbed the Kings guard in a headlock. Because a fan had thrown an object at Christie as he was being escorted off the court, security guards had temporarily left his side before Fox caught up with him. --Peter Vecsey, NY Post
The Cut-Throat Blues
Finally got screwed, by Jacksonville of all teams. (Worse yet it was almost a double-whammy.)

For me, it actually could have been a double-whammy had I stuck with original instincts and gone with the milestone Cowboys and not-resurgent-after-all Jets.

So now comes the ethical dilemma, as the Bengals visit the Texans. Would it be kosher to pick both teams, and get them out of the way with even a win to boot?

Assuming that's just not done (there's nothing against it in the rules but to me it violates the spirit; also, I'm greedy -- enough people are still making picks that I yield no ground nowhere if I don't have to), is the higher percentage play to guess on that game or steer clear from it? On the one hand, I think avoiding it has a higher expected value; on the other, I have a gut feeling whoever wins the whole thing will be someone who gets this game right and otherwise picks almost flawlessly.

Monday, October 28, 2002

The evils of ClearChannel
Heh. Serves them right for trying to automate everything like that.

(Disclaimer: I'm a proud(?) owner of ClearChannel stock, also of Microsoft. It's the unofficial Evil Monopolist index. Come to think of it one of my regular readers works for a company that I should probably add to my portfolio on similar grounds.)
Hilarious story here
I really do think I'm this guy's alter ego (normal usage would be to phrase it the other way around but at this point he's a quasi-celebrity and I'm not). His sex life is better than mine though. (Duh -- he's married.)
I just got an e-mail forward
Of the engineers on a train joke (if you think you haven't heard it: two groups board a train -- one group has a ticket per person, the other group has just one ticket; if you still don't think you've heard it I can either elaborate or find a link to it), only instead of engineers it was Yankees and Southerners en route to the Super Bowl.

Update: Here's one example of the joke in its original form. Mathematicians, engineers, accountants, lawyers, MBAs, Southerners, they're all pretty interchangeable. As a folklore issue, odds seem pretty strong that this joke originated somewhere in Russia.
you'll find the darnedest things online
This article (presumed parody) from this google search, which was a desperate attempt to verify this dubious claim.
Might not be work safe
Follow this link to and then click on the link to the Willie Velazquez Institute. It's allegedly porn. (I copied and pasted the link without following it, being in an office.)

Odds are somebody's domain registration expired and a porn person swooped it up, right? And then the Dems hadn't updated their site in awhile and somebody at National Review got wind of it.
Journalism, Politics, etc.
Interesting link on this guy's personal experience with media bias.
Woof! Woof! Bang!
"Murray admits there is a certain amount of notoriety that goes along with getting shot by your dog. 'That's the hard part, talking to people, because you feel like such a fool,' he said."
--dog shoots owner, arguably the Best Off-Beat News Story Ever

Incidentally, this is why--even though felines are much better hunters than canines--nobody ever goes hunting with his cat. I think there'd be a lot more "accidents" if that happened.
Weird Demographic
I just got a Louisiana tourism ad on Rhymes With Orange.
Have my archives always been busted?
I'll leave you tonight with a weird observation about sports viewers and emotions
Whenever I watch a televised sporting event with exactly one other person, astonishingly often I'm the person who shows less emotion of the two.

My roommate Scott managed to out-react me tonight, stage-whispering cursewords after every late-inning Giant out.

I might actually have a very long consecutive-TV-games streak of being the calmer person of two. The only recent exception might be this game (ironically, also against the Angels) but that's only because Mike showed his emotion the same passive-aggressive way then that I did tonight.

Sunday, October 27, 2002

Bittersweet Inbox
--- "" wrote:
> Date: Sun, 27 Oct 2002 23:32:54 EST
> From: ""
> Subject: Giants Postgame Alert
> +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
> Sunday, October 27, 2002 4:30 p.m. PT start
> Giants battle but fall short in Game 7
> Angels defeat Giants, 4-1 at Edison Field
> Angels win World Series, 4-3
> Winning Pitcher - John Lackey (1-0)
> Losing Pitcher - Livan Hernandez (0-2)
> Save - Troy Percival (3)
> R H E
> SF 1 6 0
> ANA 4 5 0
> For more information >>
> Thank you for supporting your 2002 National League Champions!
> Pitchers' World Series record represented above.
> +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
> Gotta show your colors. Visit the shop
> for your official Giants merchandise.
> +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
> Download images from the Giants' 2002 season and postseason
> to your desktop. Be the ultimate fan - get your Giants
> screensaver!
> +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
> You received this special Postgame Alert because
> you are a registered member of
Good things about Anaheim winning tonight
In no particular order...

The feel-good story of the blah blah blah.

The team of guys in their late 20s all having their peak season at the same time beat the team of geezers. Maybe I'd feel differently ten years from now but I'm so sick of hearing that a team needs to go out and get veterans for their experience and clubhouse presence and so on. The reason I'm sick of hearing it is that it's counterproductive.

(Rebuttal: Are the 2002 Anaheim Angels the blondest team you've ever seen or what? They seem to have ONE black guy and then a whole lot of albino.)

But the single best thing about Anaheim winning is what it does to this quote:
"They ain't got no flags hanging at friggin' Edison Field, so the hell with them."
--Mo Vaughn
I'm like a bird
About an hour ago I went off on a drive, one of those times when it's unclear where you're going until you get there.

I got to the Krispy Kreme and devoured a dozen original plus a seasonal pumpkin-spice donut (not bad but nothing to write home about). In the store I saw two people with Angels garb, including a ten-year-old twerpy blonde kid as Eckstein/22. The Inn-N-Out next door was surprisingly packed, maybe less surprising considering how many other places I saw were closed at that hour.

Cathartic music:
Metallica, "One" (this was by design)
Nellie Furtado, "I'm Like A Bird" (on the radio right as I left Krispy Kreme)
Creed, "Six Feet Under" (the very next radio song)

"I'm Like A Bird" reminded me not only of the evanescence of the Giants' championship hopes but also of the first few dozen pages of Anna Karenina, if that makes sense.

I've started to read, mainly because I bought those books when I thought I'd be waiting overnight on the sidewalk for Giants' tickets. This week I'd begun to attach baseball superstition to a combination of the Anna Karenina book with my discman (containing Creed's Human Clay, mainly to hear "Higher").

In any case not only I'm 75 pages (of 800-something) through AK (it sucks that I already know the biggest plot spoiler of the novel) but also 50 pages (of 500-something) through The Corrections (no, my copy doesn't mention Oprah's book club either way). If it sounds like I'm bragging, that's because this is two more books than I've ever been in the middle of in recent memory.

I don't read (didn't read?), even though I really really should. The problem with reading is attention span but the problem with not reading is that life is short and there are so many things I'm ashamed never to have read.
Why couldn't McCovey...
Granting that all sorts of copyright law probably applies here, if you could get me an image file of a certain Peanuts cartoon, I'd be your friend for life.
Okay now what?
The baseball season has ended.

I'm single.

I have contract work that's scheduled to end on Wednesday. (Actually it's milestone-based and for a flat fee, so in theory the end date is irrelevant to me other than "as soon as possible.")

There's the trip to Arizona this weekend. (By the way, these blogs will probably be silent over the weekend.) (If you care, the events are all free for me but the airfare wasn't and the hotel won't be... assuming I remember to book a room.)

After that... do I reinvent myself? Go on another attempted fitness binge?

Wasted opportunities: Had I either become hawkish about Iraq sooner or else not gotten the original Vectiv contract, for all we know I could be battle-ready somewhere by now.
My first-guessing on Rueter
Get your I (sort of) told you so right here.

I guess the post is pretty vague.

At least one co-worker can vouch for me on the Rueter-Livan decision though.

There's also this but it seems to be irrelevant.
having just impersonated Mo Vaughn
I will get deep self-accolates if I'm prescient, or be forgotten if not.

damn, someone beat me to the same idea by a good three minutes
Actual bulletin board post
(here if I got the link right)

Obviously I didn't write this; whoever did is demented.









I, Tolaxor, will use lowercase in one post.

Stay tuned for Woody
San Francisco's correct Game 7 starter will come into the bottom of the fourth, three innings and four runs too late.

(Then again, had Livan doen as well as Dusty Baker hoped, you might have seen a bright orange "61" in the upper left of the template here. If anyone wondered, the green "20" refers to Oakland's winning streak back in August and the orange "16" to the runs the Giants scored in Game 5.)

Note that I am on record somewhere before the fact questioning Livan as Game 7 starter... I'll find it at some point.
Great Moments in Post-Game Press Conferences
(if this were a sports talk station, here's where you'd hear the obligatory Jim Mora PLAYOFFS?!? clip)

Most of you know about Tommy Lasorda's most famous tirade. Maybe less of you know about Lee Elia's.

Seattle fans, it will be as though Lou Piniella never left.
Misquoted Tennyson line of the day
Do or die, the headline says.

I know that's what the cliche was but in the original poem, the whole idea was that you do and die.

Ours not to reason why, ours but to do and die.

Obviously I hope this isn't what the Giants have in store for them.
Urban Coastal Living Tip
Never get in a fight on a booze cruise.
The "me" sentence
The majestic white comet streaked across the welcoming black sky, halfway to the moon and all the way to legend, and it seemed Barry Bonds had packed two John Elway moments inside one forever night.
--USA Today

Part of me claims that only I am allowed to compare Barry Bonds to John Elway, having become fanatical about them both.

Anyway, this is a very well overwritten column, if it makes sense to compliment someone on overwriting something. He uses all the right cliches.
My long walks this afternoon
First this, then this, and finally this.

I may have picked a suboptimal place to park but it wasn't bad ($10) for five hours of downtown parking on a Saturday afternoon/evening. Muni may have been better still except that after a game like tonight the ride home would have been terrible.
On monkeys, tomahawks, Harvard, and so on
One thing that disturbs me a little (only a little) about this series is that the dominant PR symbol is entirely the monkey. It seems as though a vast majority of pro-Angels signage is pro-monkey, whereas pro-Giants signage is primarily anti-monkey.

My intuition is that when somebody introduces that dominant a meme, the team with the meme enjoys a nontrivial short-term advantage, at least until the backlash begins, and then maybe even afterwards.

I suspect that the tomahawk chop, early on, helped the Braves more than it hurt. Maybe not much but it almost certainly did help -- and drove other teams' fans to distraction.

Likewise, when I was a senior in high school, my college decision boiled down at least partly to the fact that one of the schools I visited was the subject of joking/carping/jealosy by nearly every other school I visited.