Thursday, June 30, 2005


It's real damn hot out

...and so one might thing it to be a bad idea to run for 7 miles at 3 pm in 85 degree heat with no shade. Or water. Because, you know, that is what they generally advise. And you know what? Whoever "they" are, are right. It is too damn hot.

So, with that...

Current Marathon Training Status: Red. Beet Red.

...somebody fetch me a glass of water.


I knew it

I knew that as soon as I said something about getting to follow the game, that the game would go badly. And that, if I mention the pitching, then the Cubs would pitch poorly. It happens every time. Gah, geez, it's just unbelievable. Way to ruin my workday, Cubs.


Because it's you and me and Zambrano makes three tonight

Ho, doctor, it's a heck of a rotation the Cubs are swinging out there these days. You've got not one, not two, but three potential aces in the rotation, leaving opponents shaking their heads in disbelief. Yes folks, it's a brave new Cubs world out there, and I'm proud to be a part of it.

And by "be a part of it" I of course mean: "rehash tired cliches for the amusement of family members and myself." My mother always said, if you don't have anything original to say, say it on blogger. And I don't. Have anything original to say. Regarding the Cubs.

However, that may change, as I will finally get to follow the game today in real time, or at least the first two hours of it before I have to go run. For the last month or so, I have missed most every game for one of three reasons:
  1. It was a weekday 1:20 game and it directly overlapped with my 2 1/2 hour long C++ course
  2. It was a night game, and I missed all but 2 innings of it because I run at night
  3. It was a weekend game and I was out enjoying the city during the day or out of town
Most of the games I managed to catch were weekend games, especially on Sunday. But it has been a frustrating month in that regard as I really like to, at the minimum, follow the game in realtime on gamecast. But no more C++ course, and so today I will be free to follow the game. Go go Greg Maddux!


Jen, We Love You!!!

I swung by Wrigley on Monday to take in the ultimate spectator sport. It was a beautiful summer day (if a bit warm), a gentle breeze was blowing, and Ronnie Woo was doing his thing (oh that wacky). Yes, it was a perfect day for a little celebrity spotting.

Perhaps inspired by the dissolving of America's greatest relationship (if Brad and Jen can't make it, what chance do any of us have?), filming had begun for the soon-to-be blockbuster "The Break Up" starring Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaugn. And it was being filmed right there at Wrigley. And I live near Wrigley. So you can see why I'm excited. I can't stop using italics. Oh, I just peed myself.

Hmmm....maybe I should start at the beginning and gather my thoughts.


The Wife and I set out for our Monday run, an easy, relaxed run in which the route takes us right past Wrigley. So there we were, cruising by at Ludicrous Speed and right before we went to plaid, we noticed a crowd forming outside Wrigley. The run had just started so we went ahead and stopped for a minute to see what was happening with the happenings. Brief inquiries revealed that Jen and Vince were filming in our very own Wrigley Field! Jen! Vince! Wee! However, I wasn't real big on the idea of standing around watching the outside of a ballpark on the off chance that we would catch a glimpse of a famous person, so we pressed on with our run.

The run took us out to North Ave beach for a little swimming and by the time we walked back, it was almost 8 o'clock and the crew was still out there. As, of course, was the crowd. As it turned out, Jen had left the park and was now cornered in her trailer, surrounded by this crowd of gawkers. Not wanting to be some lame-ass celebrity gawker like the rest of the losers (seriously guys, come on, it's just another person) I stood there staring at the trailer but with a slightly bored expression on my face. You see, that's the key to gawking like a moron and hanging onto your dignity at the same time.

In an effort to "smoke out" Ms. Aniston, Ronnie Woo had started a "Jennifer Woo" chant the way only he can (you know what I'm talking about). A chant that went on for, like, 20 minutes straight. Without interruption. In case you're wondering, no I didn't kill myself but yes it would have been a more merciful end. But I couldn't end it all, no matter how appealing it seemed at the time, without first seeing Jennifer Aniston from "Friends". So I stood there. Ten minutes became 15, 15 minutes turned into 20, and then suddenly 30 heads craned at once as two tiny feet touched the ground and...


A wave and a smile (I'm 90% sure she was smiling at me) and then, just like that, she disappeared into the Suburban. And then she was gone.

And now comes the time when I play cultural anthropologist. Pay attention now as I shift the tone of the entry from playful self mockery to serious, intellectual pursuit.

So why does Jen create such a stir? I walk past Wrigley Field on a daily basis and very rarely do I garner either applause or autograph requests. Is she really better than me or is she just an ordinary person who's superiority is a construct of our own imaginations? Is there anything that legitimately places her above me?

The answer, of course, is yes. She is most definitely better than me. It took me a little while to pin down exactly what makes her superior, but I think I have it.

You see, when millions of women copy her hairstyle, it's called a "Jennifer Aniston."

When millions of men copy my hairstyle, they just call it "balding".

...and therein lies the difference.


Vote Derrek and Aramis


Derrek Lee is right behind Albert Pujols in the All-Star voting. Today is the last day and you can vote up to 25 times. Do it.

Vote now

Wednesday, June 29, 2005


Kotsay trade getting closer?

How's this for reliable? Overheard in a Baseball Thinkfactory Cubs Game Chatter: according to a Bay Area radio station, the Cubs were getting close on a Sergio Mitre and Jason DuBois for Kotsay trade. The person who mentioned it heard it second hand, however. So I'm taking a second hand rumor from a public forum and broadcasting it on my blog. Have I really sunk this low? Let me just say, though, that if this rumor is true (it probably isn't) the Cubs are getting taken in the long run, but this will help them in the short run. I would do the trade, however, without question.


What's that I taste? That's victory. That's...

If you haven't yet learned to fear the d0nuts, the time has come.

Last Wednesday, the Lightening Rods fell victim to one of the classic blunders, the most famous of which is "never get involved in a land war in Asia", but only slightly less well known is this: "never go up against the d0nuts, when Fermiball is on the line!"

Ahahahaha Ahahahaha Ahahaha -

Alright, enough frivolity. There's only two things I hate in this world, and one of them is people who don't take Fermiball seriously (the other, of course, being apes. Damned, dirty apes! DAMN YOU!! DAAAAAAAAAAMMMMMMMMMMNNN YOOOOOOOOOOUUUUU!!!!!!)

But before we get started, there are a couple things you should know to aid in the reading of this entry.
  1. I am frightfully dumb
  2. I make up for my stupidity with my looks
Okay, so you don't really need to know the second bit of information, but it couldn't hurt. And now that we have established a working knowledge of the writer in question (me), it is on to the game.

Onto the game

I know it is poor form to walk in softball, I really do. And I'm a big fan of every kind of etiquette, especially when it involves poorly played team sports. But sometimes the pitcher leaves you with little choice. I mean, I suppose I could try and hit the ball off the bounce, but, well, that isn't going to happen. So the first couple of innigs were a bit of a walk-a-thon (which, sadly, in no way benefitted JDRF).

The good news, though, is that it seems to be easier to score runs when you wait for your pitch and either take the walk or swing at a good pitch. That's right, walking seems to lead to more runs. Okay, now, I'm working on this theory (and hear me out, I'm just brainstorming here) that this strategy might somehow be applied at the major league level. Now, I obviously don't want every team to have access to my ideas, but if I could somehow relay this idea to the Cubs, we might really score some runs. I think this kind of "outside the box" thinking could really impress Mr. Hendry and, yep, I think you might be looking at (well, you know, not actually looking at. At least I hope not. That would be very creepy) a future assistant GM.

...or maybe I could sell out an write a book.

...and call it Fermiball.

I'm going to be rich.

Anyway, sorry for the digression. My first AB resulted in a walk. I'm not proud, but the bases were loaded, so at least I got an RBI out of it and then eventually a run. 11 runs or so later the first inning ended and for once the d0nuts were on top. And there we would stay. On top.

*insert glorious victory music here*

*and here*

*and here again*

Highlights, Lowlights, and Lessons

First the highlights...

At the plate, I did very little. I managed one more walk and an RBI fielders choice, but nothing else. And so, while I was an On Base Machine (one of my top five favorite types of machine, right after the Ronco Food Dehydrator and well ahead of Machine from 8MM), my slugging suffered again. I feel my swing is out of whack, that my stance has perhaps become too open (like my mind). I think it is time to Republican up my stance. So, for all that fans at tonights game, look for a more closed stance from me and, most likely, 3 or 4 homers. Also, I will be wearing a bow tie and insulting everyone who disagrees with me.

Defensively, I made my way around the diamond, taking a turn at all the defensive positions usually manned by women. After a few innings at catcher, I made my way over to second base and was involved in some very dramatic plays. "Higlights", if you will. Well, highlights might be exaggerating a bit. Let's just call them lights. I was at the far end of a very nice double play, the throw to third and back to second variety. I took the throw at second, and even did a little first base style stretch. Very, very dramatic, I assure you. And where will I play tonight? Your guess is as good as mine.

The Lowlights

Remember when I mentioned up front how I am an idiot? The reason I mentioned that is because I'm an idiot. In the bottom of the third, I made the last out (refusing to walk, I just swung at whatever crap came my way). And so, naturally, it made sense that I lead off the next inning, right? Okay, so it made sense in my head (right there next to my tiny brain). I took two balls before the mistake was realized and it cost us an out. Excellent work on my part, I think. I'm not really what you would call a "cerebral" ball player. I'm more what you would call a "very dumb" player. I'm the perfect stereotype of the "Million Dollar Arm, Ten Cent Head" type of player. Except without the Million Dollar Arm. Maybe a million Lira arm...what's the current conversion rate?'s a good thing I can get by on looks alone.

and finally, a Lesson

There needs to be taught a lesson regarding a little thing we call sportsmanship. The Wife was taking a throw at second while a runner barrelled down on her when the runner emitted what would only be described as a "barbaric yawp" (remember the Dead Poets Society? yeah, they sucked at softball too). As Len and Bob would say, that violates the unwritten rules of softball. It might actually violate a written rule of Fermiball. Either way, it's just dirty cricket. The jokes on him, though, as she made the catch anyway and he had to head back to the sidelines.

Which brings us to the conclusion of another exciting installment of Fermiball. Final Score? I'm not really sure, but I think it was 18-11 with the d0nuts pulling out the victory. Next up: Double header tonight, first against the evil Isotopes and then against the not-quite-so-evil Boomers. I'm taking bets on a) how many total innings these games go and b) how many times I have to mention the word "slaughter" in the next installment.

my line: 0-2, 2 walks, 2 runs, 2 RBIs. Total on the season: 5/13, 2 walks, a triple, 7 runs scored, 6 RBIs.


Well, I was certainly wrong...

I couldn't have been the only person to figure bad things were in store for Zambrano. I was really quite certain that Z's big toe was a serious issue. I just kept repeating "those toe injuries can be bad" and assumed that he was going to need a DL trip to get healthy.

Turns out it just took a little Maddux tudalage to turn Zambrano around. ...and the result?

8 inning, 3 hits, 0 runs.

So, although I never made it public, I was down on Zambrano last night. I love being wrong.

Kerry Wood goes today. Of course, I'll miss the game (not even following on gamecast) as I miss all the games anymore. Hopefully Wood can make it 5 innings (throw strikes!!) but Rusch is surely waiting in the wings in the event of a Kerry Wood Special.

Current Marathon Training Status: nice pale yellow. not over hydrated, not under hydrated.

Do you know what's unfair? That it is possible to be overhydrated while running. If you drink too much water, you thin your electrolytes and can get sick. So drink lots of water, but not too much. Geez.

But a weeks worth of good runs have left me nicely balanced.

Monday, June 27, 2005


Subject: Prior is very good

text of post: Prior is very good.

end post.

That is all I have to say regarding the Cubs and Prior, as his Majesty has left me quite speechless. How do you get hit on the elbow with a 100+ mph line drive and come back 4 weeks later to throw a 1 hitter?. The answer is: you don't...unless you are Mark Prior, pitching god.

For a little perspective on how much pain Prior had to be in, take a look over at the Cubdom for a discussion on getting hit with a 94 mph fastball and how much it would hurt. Okay, go read it.


Back now? Okay, now consider that this line drive was probably going much faster than 94 mph. And it hit him on the elbow. Honestly, his career should be over. So, in honor of his being very good, I have composed this poem:

Oh, Mark Prior
you are so very good.
I like when you pitch for the Cubs.
watch out for line drives
in the future

I'm still working on finding my poetic voice, but I like the shape it made. Very pretty.

For some cartoony fun, take a look at's Daily Changey Thing and then come back here for some of the resources necessary to understand it (or at least I found them necessary. If you know Crime and Punishment, you probably only need the first sentence of the first link. If you are much smarter than me, you probably need neither and are shaking your head at my stupidity right now. Well, good for you...ass).

Gregor Mendel

Sunday, June 26, 2005


Prior Returns!

Thank god my blog is here to inform as, otherwise, this news would fall under the radar.

Tonights game should be a brilliant one as Prior takes on Garland. This is going to be another tough win, but we won last night, so it can be done.

Okay, so, here's what's going on. Prior has returned to the rotation and so the reformation of the pitching staff has begun. Here's what is happening (at least as far as I can tell).

Wellemeyer has been sent down to make way for Novoa. This makes me sad as he is one of my favorites, but he has truly been terrible recently. I don't really understand what the problem is with Welley, but hopefully he can figure it out and give it another try. Novoa was great yesterday but has only been decent in the majors this year. Who know though, maybe he will be better.

Rusch and Mitre are swinging out to the bullpen in anticipation of Prior and Wood rejoining the rotation. I think this is a fine move as the pen could use some long relief help with Rusch, and Mitre has really struggled recently. But maybe he can induce some ground balls out of the pen.

So now the Cubs will probably send Rich Hill and Borowski down to free up a couple of roster spots and out rotation will be:


which I like better than


The bullpen would then be:


One more note: With Wood and Prior coming back, it is really essential to have someone like Rusch in the bullpen. Wood is starting out on a 90 pitch limit and so he may not make it out of the fourth. That is when someone like Rusch really becomes essential.

So the questions surrounding the Cubs right now:

Will Wood be the same crappy pitcher he was this year before hitting the DL or will he be better now that he's (theoretically) healthy?
Is Prior's elbow really okay?
What is up with Zambrano and does he need to go on the DL for his toe?

Answer me these questions three and this blog you will be allowed to leave.

Friday, June 24, 2005


A must win what today is. Mitre better have his good stuff going, because the Cubs could really use a couple wins, starting today.

I don't really ask for much, but I'd just like to be first in the wild card. I know the Cubs are good enough for that, so let's get some wins.

Game starts in 3 minutes. Go Cubs!

read GROTA.

Thursday, June 23, 2005


I don't want to speak out of line

...but I think I was just spontaneously impregnated with Derrek Lee's baby.


Another Capitol Hill pissing match

Democrats and Republicans are wrangling again. Apparently the Democrats feel that Corey Patterson should not be leading off, while House Republicans jumped all over this, calling it a typically un-American move by the Dems.

"Corey Patterson is a true American and this sort of criticism of a hero such as Corey is detrimental to National Security," stated Majority Leaer Tom DeLay*. When questioned on the issue of Patterson's On Base Percentage, DeLay shot back, "Hey, the Democrats just called our soldiers Nazis. What's up with that? This is a time for all Americans to band together, those of on base percentages both high and low. Unless you hate your country. You don't hate your country, do you?"

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean responded to these comments, noting that Democrats just want to put the issue out there and see if a more intellegent solution can't be found. "We're go to start off with Hairston! And we're not going to stop there, either! He's going to be followed by Walker, Lee, Burnitz, Ramirez, and then Barret, DuBois, and Perez! And then the Cubs are going all the way!! YAAAAAAARRRRRRRRGGGHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

President Bush** could not be reached for comment at his Texas ranch.

*Mr. DeLay, if you're reading this, please don't go all Patriot Act on me. I'm just playing.

**stupid head.


Corey gets his way again

Apparently Kid Korey is getting another shot at leading off again. Fan-damn-tastic. The dynamic duo are at the top of the order again, and Derrek Lee just shakes his head and watches his chances for an RBI title slip away.

It is worth noting that Patterson took the first pitch. Now he just needs to realize that taking a pitch doesn't give him free license to swing at every other pitch.

Oh, and today The Wife had her train pass stolen on the Metra today. She feel asleep and I was busy writting and someone stole it right out from in front of us. Un-freaking-believable. Who steal a metra pass? Who steals a metra pass?!?

Communists, that's who. Damn, dirty Communists.

...stupid Commies.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005


Late night (well, late for me anyway) blogging

So I get back to my car from a STUNNING Fermiball victory (tune in tomorrow for another scintillating recap) over the Lightning Rods (they vanquished us in our first game), turn on the radio, and hear the score become 8-2 on a Derrek Lee (god) double and I get pretty excited. The Cubs were on their way to clinching a series victory. I even went so far as to high five The Wife. Then, of course, Ramirez hit another double and the score changed to 8-3 and my heart dropped a bit. I hate premature high fiving.

So what the hell is up with Zambrano? One and two thirds innings and 8 runs allowed? That is not such a good start. Maybe the turf toe has taken something off of his pitches because he really got hit around something special. Not good, my friends, not good at all.

But there are some definite positives that I can see from my computer. It appears that Rich Hill is dominating the Brewers. So far I see 4 and a third scoreless, hitless innings in the book to go along with 6 strikeouts and only 2 walks. Maybe he really is Sandy Koufax redux. Or maybe he's just looking over his shoulder at the return of Mark Prior and fears another trip back to Iowa. Either way, this is the biggest positive in tonights game.

One final comment...

Good idea starting Hairston, although I probably would have kept Walker in and sat Patterson again. But Patterson hits lefties decently so not a bad option. (I think you all know where I am going with this) But what do I see? Patterson leading off and Hairston hitting 8th?!? What sort of moronic logic is that? Sure, Hairston has a .360 OBP, so let's hit him 8th and give your two worst hitters the most at bats. As I type, Mr Leadoff is batting right now with two men on. Let's see what Patterson can do.


mind you, Enrique Wilson just walked in front of him, does he swing at the first pitch?


I can already guess the answer, but I'm waiting for gamecast to confirm my suspicion

... out to right. And he did swing at the first pitch.

But anyway, good job by Hill. Borowski then came in and gave up a homer to Carlos Lee, Cub killer. I'm assuming that Borowski has already packed his bags, as much as it pains me to say it.

Alright, Cub fans, that's all for my mid-game recap. Enjoy the rest of the game.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005


The Blind substituting for the Blind

Neifi! has really be struggling recently, there is no question about it. It was really time for him to take a seat and see if he can't transfer a little bit more of Nomar's soul back into him via the Vulcan mind meld.

So who do we get? Enrique Wilson. Mr. 095. God our bench sucks.

On the plus side, Hairston started over Patterson. I say the plus side, because Patterson has been sooooo bad with the bat and Haiston is one of our few On base threats, but I worry about his (Hairston's) defense. Maybe Hairston should take over in left and replace the Dubois/Holly platoon. After all, they never get on base either, and they already suck with the glove. I guess my ideal lineup would be (and I'm stealing a little from Kurt).

Hairston LF
Walker 2B
Lee 1B
Burnitz RF
Ramirez 3B
Barrett C
Patterson CF
Neifi! SS
Pitcher P

unless Zambrano or Prior pitch, and then it's

Hairston LF
Walker 2B
Lee 1B
Burnitz RF
Ramirez 3B
Barrett C
Zambrano/Prior P
Patterson CF
Neifi! SS

Not really that bad a lineup. 1/3 of it sucks, but the other 2/3 is really pretty good.

Alright, the more I think about it, the more I think I stole half this post from Kurt of Cub Fan Nation. Sorry Kurt, but I guess we just agree this time.

In my defense, I found the Star Trek picture all by myself.

And it is awesome.


Saddam likes Doritos?

I'll get back to the Cubs soon, I promise. But first, Saddam likes Doritos?!?

Go ahead and file that under "things that annoy me."

For me, being a poor grad student, Doritos and Froot Loops are luxury items. In fact, this is true of all junk food. When I buy some junk food, I have to give something else up. In general, I limit myself to Tortilla Chips (to go with Guacamole and Salsa), Sour Patch Kids, and Diet Coke. After that, I start to get really guilty.
But apparently, if you murder everyone in sight, you get your choice of crap to eat. Saddam used to love Cheetos but then he discovered Doritos and all bets were off. Froot Loops don't do it for him, so he gets Raisin Bran. For god's sake, people, this man is evil. He doesn't deserve Doritos. I deserve Doritos because, you see, I've never killed anyone. I guess I've never asked the Federal Gov't for Doritos, but I'm pretty sure I know the answer I would get.

And if I wasn't annoyed enough already, I see that they are again debating teaching intellegent design in public schools.



When is a train not a train?

When it's ajar!

Waaaaaaaaaaahahahaaaahaha...wait. Wait, no, that's not right. Actually, the correct answer appears to be "when it's a school bus."

Yesterday afternoon, the line connecting Wheaton to Chicago was swarmed by members of the teenage race or, as I like to call it, the missing link. Forget the seven-million year old Lucy, the evidence points to ages 13-19. Think about it; grammar based language has been replaced by a series of grunts and squeals and their purpose in life has been reduced to finding a mate and foraging for food.

College, while often thought of as an institute for higher learning, actually serves as an uber-monolith - sort of a crash course in evolution. After 4 years of exposure to the monolith, the majority of the evolutionarily-challenged are returned to the human race like so many lost puppies, going forth into society fully formed (the rest are shielded from this process by what's know as "The Greek System.").

But enough philosiphizing about the jagged path through life. The real question is: at what point did I get old enough to even consider writing this? Kids take over the upper level of the Metra and I want to bang on the drop ceiling yelling the obligatory "quiet you kids!" ...that can't be good. At almost 26, am I closer to the cranky old carnival owner having my ghost-mask pulled off than I am to the plucky young sleuths tooling around in the Mystery Machine? I'm just putting this out there: If you ever hear me utter the phrase: "And it would have worked too, if not for you meddling kids" well, you can go ahead and pull my feeding tube.

Alright, so I'm probably not actually on my way out just yet. There are a couple points in my favor:
Most importantly, though, we have to remember that teenagers are put on this earth for the sole purpose of annoyance. Everyone (age 20 or older) on that train was thinking the same things, I just happened to have pen and paper handy to put it all down.


I hope.

Current Marathon Training Status: I think I just threw up., I guess I'll call that orange


Monkey update

So three of the Chimpanzee's paintings sold for $26,000, according to "Good Morning America."

The chimp could not be reached for comment.

Paintings by Renoir and Andy Warhol, however, did not sell. I think the art paradigm has officially shifted.


I can relate

Dusty Baker on Winning and Losing:

"The one thing about this game that I haven't figured out yet is why the losses take you a lot lower than the wins take you high," Baker said. "When I figure that out, then I will really write a book."

You said it, Dusty (no really, that's not sarcasm). I've been trying to figure that out myself for some time now. It drives me crazy. And when I figure it out, I'm going to write a good blog (books are really long).

I think Saint Louis has some sort of weird voodoo thing going on. And I don't like it. No sir, I don't like it.

Monday, June 20, 2005



how awesome was he? Nothing but strikes and his slider was absolutely, incontrovertibly unhitable.


Ties Tom Seaver with a huge win. Last week was a fluke as Maddux is back to his usual quality starting self.



That is all.


Monkey Art

Alright, I know you see the title "Monkey Art" and expect to see something like this:

But, come on people, this is a serious blog and we tackle serious issues here at the Corner of Grace and Wayne. Besides, from now on I'm constraining the graphical portion of this blog to pictures of kittens sleeping in bowls. And I think that is something we can all get behind (unlike some local sports teams).

No, the topic of this post is really intended to be about a piece I saw this morning on "Good Morning America." Turns out, there is going to be an art exhibit featuring pieces from both abstract artists and a chimpanzee.

*pause for effect*

Yes, a chimpanzee. There were plans to also display the works of a Red-Assed Baboon, but he ended up dropping out due to a "conflict of interest" (the less said the better. Suffice to say, there were some harsh words and much feces thrown). Anyways, I degress. They then showed three pieces, one by the chimp and two by more evolved chimps (i.e. the artists). The question was: which one was painted by the chimp? And of course, as intended, I couldn't tell the people-art from the chimp-art. So, does this say more about art or the chimp? And furthermore, is what the chimp did art?

In another forum, the question was raised, can art be considered art if the "artist" has no intentions and no concept of the implications of his art? Does art need a purpose? Or maybe, does art need a foundation?

Anyone can smear paint on a canvas, but it seems to me that what makes art art is a desire for the artist to convey something (a cynic might say the artist is trying to convey the message: "you are an idiot for buying this"), to evoke a response from the viewer. And is it possible for the chimp to have any real concept of what he is doing when he puts the paint to the canvas? This is where I am unsure. Generally, I would say no. Chimpanzees have been shown to demonstrate a tremendous ability for empathy and love (or maybe compassion), but can they really grasp symbolic thought? This is where I'm a little out of my depth (alright, I was out of my depth after the monkey picture, but hear me out).

You see, one of the nifty things evolution gave man was the ability to represent concepts with symbols, e.g. words. The spoken language is something unique to the human race. This ability popped up when we humans developed the frontal lobe, something which I generally thought was not shared with any member of the animal kingdom. But is that right? Because, as we all know, chimps can communicate with humans using sign language, which is obviously a form of communication that uses symbols to represent ideas (you know: hunger, love, here comes the poop...). So then I would think that they can understand the abstract. But, how much of this is real understanding, and how much is simply stimulus/response? Example: I feel hungry, so I'm going to make this gesture because that is what I should do when hungry. Sort of like a cat in heat: I am horny so I'm going to stick my ass in the air. Is the only difference between these two actions that one took millions of years of evolution to teach and the other took a couple years and a team of scientists? Well, I don't know.

A better man would do the google searching and probably find out all the answers to these questions before discussing the subject, but without people like me for the better man to be better than, he wouldn't be the better man. He'd just be Which isn't much of a title, really. For the more enlightened out there, I invite you to correct me if I'm wrong regarding a chimp's ability to grasp symbolic thought. Or, if you have a different concept of what art is, drop a line. Or if you have a different concept of what is is, that is fine too.

Finally, to get back to one of the original points of the post, just because a chimp can make "art" that looks like abstract art, doesn't invalidate the art form. The true artists attack their canvas with an intent and idea, while (as far as I can tell) a chimp is just putting paint to canvas. Which I could also do, but if I did, it wouldn't be art. Therein lies the difference.

In other news

The Wife and I have finally signed up for the Chicago marathon. We were waiting for a long run to go well before taking the plunge, and now there is no turning back. To help you track the progress of the training, the Corner of Grace and Wayne Marathon Alert Implementing Team (CoGaWMAIT for short) has implemented a color-coded system of alerts. These will be listed as Current Marathon Training Status: (insert color here). These color will range from Angels-Singing-my-Praises White to Blood-Squirting-from-my-Eyeballs Red. So, without firther ado...

Current Marathon Training Status: Pee-my-pants Yellow

Sunday, June 19, 2005


The Good and the Bad

So the bad is that the Cubs have lost three straight and are making plans for losing a fourth.

The good news is Prior and Wood are almost back.

The other bad news is the Cubs have loaded the bases twice this game and only have one run to show.

The other good news is Jerome Williams is heading to the majors to start in place of Koronka.

The other other bad news is the pod people have returned Mitre to earth.

The other other good news is...I got nothin'

But the most inportant thing to remember is, there are 95 games left after today:

Friday, June 17, 2005


Wait, wait wait...

This is too good, an absolute must-post. Here is a fantastic CNN headline that is a perfect example of why I ask myself everyday "how did we elect Bush...twice??"

Bush shifts focus to Iraq

Really?? Okay. And where was your focus before, Mr. President? Other than your Texas ranch? Maybe these headlines below are the reason he finally decided to shift his focus over to take a look at Iraq. Granted, these headlines are a carbon copy of what we see in the papers every day, but as we all know, Bush doesn't read the papers (well, except the comics. That Beetle Bailey is a hoot).

26 killed in blast in army mess hall
5 US Marines killed in Iraq
Is worst yet to come in Iraq?
11 more killed in Iraq
30 killed in Iraq blasts

I guess, for some reason, people seem uneasy about the war. It might have something to do with the 1700 dead, but it is hard to be sure. So Bush is going to launch a PR campaign to ease all of our minds. He will explain that he does, in fact, have a strategery for getting us out of some point. I assume.

Too bad, too, because I was just starting to get into the whole "Social Security reform" thing. Too bad he had to notice Iraq.

In other news...

Growing deserts a "global concern"

Cats of the world send up a triumphant "meow!" The world is their litter box, and they shall return to their former glory. Bow down before Miss Whiskers, Queen of the Tabbies!

Need a Star Wars fix? How about a sit-com?

Toyota aims for $50,000 hydrogen-fueled car

Maybe not a good idea to release this info on the same day as a blimp crash. Might evoke the wrong sort of imagery.

There is a serious consequence to this though. People seem to think that hydrogen cell cars will be a solution to a growing environmental concern. After all, these cell emit only water as a by-product. Water! But what people often don't realize is that the hydrogen is not pulled out of some sort of hydrogen well. They have to make hydrogen, usually from electrically splitting water. And how do they get the electricity? A coal plant. We are just transferring our problem from one point to another in the guise of environmental concern. And not only is coal burning a terrible pollutant, coal is also a non-renewable resource. This is going to be a step forward.

Using nuclear power to generate the hydrogen cells would be a possibility, but nuclear power has a nasty stigma against it. Too many bad movies about people mutating (okay, great movies, bad side-effects). Then the by-products would be water, water, and barrels of nuclear waste. Rather than water, coal exhaust, and loss of resources. The first is more of a step forward than the last. But wait, why not get really progressive about it? How about establishing some solar and wind power generators for the express purpose of generating hydrogen cells? That would result in zero pollution and the loss of zero non-renewable resources. But what fun is that? To quote from Mother Jones, and independent news magazine:

John Heywood, director of MIT's Sloan Automotive Lab, says a system that extracts hydrogen from oil and natural gas and stores it in fuel cells would actually be no more energy efficient than America's present gasoline- based system.

"If the hydrogen does not come from renewable sources," Heywood says, "then it is simply not worth doing, environmentally or economically."

Under the current administration, more progressive methods of hydrogen generation will not be permitted. Bush has ensured that 90% of all hydrogen will be generated using fossil fuel and the other 10% with nuclear power. This administration has always been good to the fuel industry, and this is no exception. Oh, and he wants to call the the hydrogen cell cars "freedom cars." This will revive the old joke: Did you ever notice when you drop a freedom fry under the front seat of your freedom car that it lasts, like, forever? What are those things made of?

Of course, the real answer lies somewhere in the realm of "drive less." I was forced to drive to work today, and no matter where I looked, it was all single car drivers. And people wonder why traffic is so bad on the expressways. The Wife and I were talking on our way up about ways to get people to carpool. Apparently, the savings in gas isn't incentive enough...people love their cars. The best I could come up with was a tax break for carpooling and to maybe try to enforce it through the workplace. Otherwise, I really don't know how one would prove that they carpooled.

I certainly don't have all the answers. I do know that the hydrogen cell issue is an insideous one, because it is being marketed as the solution to all of our problems. When I think about this, one thought comes to mind:

only 3 more years...only 3 more years...only 3 more years...


Guy: Knock knock

Other Guy: Who's there?

Guy: Go Cubs.

Other Guy: Go Cubs who?


Other Guy: Go Cubs who?

Guy: What do you mean "go Cubs who"? Go Cubs.

Other Guy: It's a joke right? A Knock knock joke?

Guy: Right, I've heard of knock knock jokes, but "Go Cubs who" doesn't even make sense. So I don't understand why you said it. It's just stupid.

Other Guy: o-kaaaay... I've got to go now.

Thank you. That was "Go Cubs Who," a play in one part. And this was a shining example of why off-days are a bad thing.

Thursday, June 16, 2005


News and Notes

Virus-laden poo edition (and if ever there was an edition that's going to be a collector's item, this is it)

as promised...

Mount McKinley Climbers threatened by 'virus-laden poo'

I don't think there is very much to say about this. We've all been there before, am I right?

However, I think we know what the subject of Michael Crichton's next book is going to be.

Review: Audi A3. Looks good, but what is it?

Okay, really, how does one become a reviewer for CNN? Do you have to know anything? Anything at all?

Audi is a car manufacturer. Odds are good you're not looking at a toaster oven.

and from the "Excessive Greed Rules" file...

Lottery Millionaire wants to be Billionaire

Actually, I take it back. While it sounds bad on the surface, I think this is a good approach to take. You got wildly lucky, so try and make the best of it. What really drives me nuts is when people win a huge lottery and can't come up with anything better to do with their money besides buy a bigger trailer. Get some imagination, people.

Scientists plan owl 'removal' experiment

Phase 1. Remove Owls
Phase 2. ...
Phase 3. Profit!

Seriously, people have been trying to remove owls for centuries now. Almost had that stupid spotted one until the damn hippies stepped in.

...damn hippies. And finally...

Kansas legal battles threaten to keep schools closed

Why do I have no sympathy? None at all? Because the first sentence reads "Still smarting from a fight over evolution..."

If the school wants to treat evolution as anything other than fact, then that school doesn't deserve to be open. They are actively holding those kids back from the rest of society. And what's more, if they want to put stickers about how evolution is just a "theory" it should read:

Evolution is just a theory
Relativity is just a theory
Gravity is just a theory
Which do you want to test first?


-credit to Rocky Kolb for the "gravity as theory" part


Taking a look at the Yankees

So, I guess the Yankees are always good, except for this year, when they suck. Or at least that's what I hear, I don't really follow the American League. So, for the benefit of NL-only'ers like me, I will present you with a snappy little preview. Here I will highlight some of the key players on the Yankees and try and determine if Steinbrenner really is sitting on a 200 million dollar pile of poo.

First off, the record. The Yankees are sitting right at .500, with a 32-32 record. And they have a 200 million dollar payroll. Just to be very clear about this, at no point should you either laugh with glee or giggle maniacally at the Yankees suffering. At least not until the Cubs get out of New York (karma, you know). Okay, on to the "analysis":

The Pitching

So far, the Yankees have been shelling out big money for some decent, if thoroughly unspectacualr, pitching. Their current "big three" of Johnson, Mussina, and Pavano have ERAs of 3.76, 3.89, and 4.17 respectively and salaries of 15, 19(!), and 9 million dollars (also respectively). Again, no laughing. Bad karma.

As far the matchups this series, the Cubs will have Zambrano vs. Pavano, Rusch vs. Wang, and Mitre vs. Mussina. The Cubs are throwing their current-best pitchers out there, and the Yankees are sending out two of their three best. Should be some good baseball (since I said that, you can expect three blowouts). Rusch should be favored by the famed (albeit unproven) lefty-in-yankee-stadium advantage and so has a great opportunity to bounce back from a couple of rough starts. Zambrano will toe the rubber very gingerly (get it?) and hopefully suffer no side effects from his stubbed toe. And of course, Mitre is pod-people now, so he should be excellent.

Pavano has been hit pretty hard this year, giving up a .308 Batting average against. He strikes out very few (~5 per 9 innings) and walks fewer. In theory, the Cubs should hit this guy very hard. In theory. He does throw lots of ground balls, but somehow this year they have been scooting past Glove Glove shortstop Derek Jeter (I'm as shocked as you are). Honestly, I never know what to expect with this team anymore, but Pavano seems ripe for the picking.

Mussina is a very good pitcher having a decent year. His best pitch is the knuckle curve, which I've never had described to me in a satisfactory manner, but seems to baffle hitters. Couple that with good control and he is a tough guy to beat. Of course, so were Beckett and Halladay, but Mitre didn't seem bothered facing either of them.

Finally, Wang is really, really ripe for the picking (really). He has walked almost as many as he has struck out, has struck out almost nobody (3 K's per 9) and yet has given up less than a hit per inning. He has been tremendously lucky to only have a 4.44 ERA as he has pitched much worse from that, at least according to the numbers. Hopefully the Cubs can correct some of the luck that has been swinging his way.

Side note: Between Johnson and Wang, 2/5'ths of the Yankees' rotation is named after the male member. Doesn't that seem like a bad idea to anyone else? Sort of like the ex-Cub factor, only more juvenile. The "Curse of the Giggle-stick euphemism". I think releasing one of these two pitchers could really solve most of their problems.

The Bullpen - Rivera has re-found his dominate self and has been super-duper good. Fear him. Former Cubs Flash Gordon and Tanyon Sturtz (remember him?) have also been solid contributors to the pen, but after that it gets dicey. Everyone else has an ERA over 5, some have an ERA over 6, and one guy has an ERA over 7. That isn't really what you shoot for in a bullpen. Kinda bad, actually. So listen up boys. Work the count! Get into that bullpen! Please!

The Hitting

Really quick look at the hitting (now in stunning incomplete-sentence-o'-vision).

The Good -

A-Rod. - Having an amazing season. MVP candidate.
Gary Sheffield - declining. but slowly. Still makes me pee a drop when at the plate.
Derek Jeter - Now with Gold Glove defense!

The Decent -

Jorge Posada - Not bad. For a Catcher
Hideki Matsui - definition of average
Tino Martinez - Geh. lucky he still has some pop.
Robinson Cano - hope his defense is good. .299 OBP.

The Bad -

Bernie Williams - Fork. Back. Done.
Jason Giambi - *Snicker*

The Indescribably Bad -

Tony Womack - Think Neifi. Pre-Neifi!. Without the defense. And now an outfielder! (okay, in all fairness, who could have seen this coming. Answer: anyone)

Alright, thus ends the preview. The Yankees are officially average, but they could still beat the hell out of the Cubs if the Cubs don't show up ready to play. And frankly, if they can't get up to play the Yankees, then I - well, I don't know. Just win.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005


News and Notes

Just a few important tidbits...

Schiavo really was a vegetable

An autopsy revealed that Terry Schiavo, media darling, really was completely brain dead. No amount of therapy would have helped. She was brocolli. And while Michael Schiavo was unavailable for comment, sources indicate his response was something to the effect of "Oh, thank freakin' god."

At the time of her death, Terry's brain was about half that of a normal person, she was blind, and she would never have been able to feed through the mouth.

So, yeah, it was probably time for her to go.

Asthma suprises some atheletes

Which I find surprising, as you'd think you'd hear asthma coming from a mile away...what with all the wheazing and coughing.


Sorry, lame joke. Carry on.

Military: Gitmo detainees treated well

According to military, Gitmo promises:
Canada PM survies Common vote

Which, I think, is really a good thing. Getting rid of PM and going with an all AM day seems good on the surface, but some people just aren't morning people. A good portion of the Canadian population would certainly be dissatisfied, and that doesn't really go well with their socialist policy of pleasing everybody equally (or nobody, depending on the legislation).

...and to be filed under "seriously annoying":

Principal urges teachers to pass seniors

...and no, this has nothing to do with drivers' ed (get it? pass, like when driving). No, a principal has invited his teachers to "re-evaluate" certain senior with failing grades and see if maybe, just maybe, they didn't really deserve a D. And why? To try and meet No Child Left Behind requirements. Jones, the principal, indicated that their school needed to graduate 95% of seniors to meet federal standards. In actuality, they only needed to graduate 82.8% of seniors.


So what's the scary part, here? That the principal didn't even know the number of students he had to graduate? No, that shows either deceit or incompetence, but isn't too scary. How about the fact that only 82.8% of seniors are expected to graduate? Yeah, that's a little scary, but this might be an unusually bad school system. No, what I find scary is that some bureaucrat in Washington decided that education is a success should the school make a cutoff of exactly 82.8%. 82.7%? Nope, that's failure. These sort of rigid, arbitrary standards are just a symptom of what is wrong with public education right now, and No Child Left Behind in particular. I think we've forgotten what is really important in education and what we want to expect out of our teachers.

I'll give you a hint. It has nothing to do with ISAT, SAT, ACT, or whatever set of vowels and consonants you want to put together and capitalize. This drive to teach towards standardized tests is going to kill public education.

Forget capturing a kid's imagination or giving him an intuition! Get me another worksheet!


14-0 Cubs or...

I went to Wrigley Field and a football game broke out.

The game started so innocently. It was obvious from our vantage-point that Sergio was on. Very, very on. The Wife and I were sitting in section 429, which is right along the first base line and offers an excellent view of the game. I'm a big fan of the 400's; you get a birds-eye view of the game, but unlike the 500's, nothing seems particularily far away (no squinting). And the consessions and bathroons are right there, which is always key.

Beckett and Mitre were both cruising until the fourth when the Cubs broke through with a three spot. Ramirez's homer was a no-doubter, as were all the home runs hit last night. From the fourth inning on, the Cubs absolutely crushed the ball and Sergio continued to dazzle.

Beckett got one out in the sixth before he was forced to leave the game. The official report was that a blister formed on one of Beckett's pitching fingers, but I'm more of the opinion that the Cubs hurt his feelings by smacking him around so hard. Poor little fella.

It was an important win and it felt great to beat the Marlins so easily, but it felt really, really great to beat Beckett. Granted, it doesn't make up for 2003 (la la la, I can't hear you), but it's a start. Also, this game went a long way towards making me personally feel better. The Cubs had lost both of the games I attended this year and my career record is terrible. In fact, back in 2001 or 2002, I forget which, I attended a ton of home games in April. And they were all loses. The then-girlfriend now-Wife and I were actually instructed by a couple old ladies to not come back anymore. And they were quite serious. They were very annoyed that we kept coming to games even though we were obviously bad luck. Rough crowd.

So I finally have a solid win under my belt. Now I just need to get back to Wrigley quickly before my luck runs out.

There's a new Daily Site

Same as the old non-daily site. has introduced a "Daily Changey Thing" to its site, and so now there is daily content. What fun. So, for those of you that enjoy what you have been reading over there, check it out, you know, daily. Today there is an entry regarding the star-nosed mole, or some such thing. Take a look. And fyi, the links on the left have been re-arranged somewhat, so now there is a humor section.

Finally, if this entry was a little boring and humorless...don't worry, there is nothing wrong with me. I just shouldn't try and blog immediately after lunch. Apparentley this is what happens.

Today's the rubber match against the Marlins. A.J. Burnett vs. Maddux. This is another must win. Go Cubs!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


News and Notes

Just some thoughts while waiting for tonights game against the Marlins. I have nothing much to say regarding the Cubs. They have played two bad games, and so here's hoping they respond with a positive effort today. Go Cubs!

Fermiball update: I finally found out that the d0nuts, giants of the softball world, have won their first game. I don't show up and the team wins? I see no connection. This week's game has also been postponed due to lack of players, so there will be no fermiball on friday, either. I know all my fans out there will be sorely disappointed (you know who you are).

Earth's bigger cousin detected

Astronomers have located a planet orbiting a very small star that is only 7.5 times the size of earth (the planet, not the star). This means they only need to improve their detection methods by a factor of 7.5 to find an actual earth-like planet. It's worth noting that the planet is a bit toasty, checking in at 200 to 400 degrees celsius (or 473-673 degrees kelvin, if you prefer). To give you some perspective on how hot that really is, it's already being zoned for phase 3 of Del Boca Vista! (ba dum bum)



...I said, Del Boca Vista! Eh, what do you know from funny. Anyway, in other news...

Soap Operas coming to Cell Phones

(*more crickets*)

246,000 Razor scooters recalled

Also to be recalled: Bag O' Glass and Teddy Chainsaw Bear.


Wood throws pain free

World stares on in disbelief.

Wood managed 46 pitches yesterday, 28 for strikes, and hit 92 on the radar gun. It would have been more if not for nature imposing herself on the game. Wood will make at least one more start before heading back up to Wrigley. Honestly, he should make at least two more starts. The Cubs have no need for a pitcher who can only last 80 pitches. After all, for Wood, that is roughly 2 innings.
More to come.

Monday, June 13, 2005


Let's up the quality

Last week saw some pretty lame writing from the 0l' Corner of Grace and Wayne. Sadly I was a bit swamped with issues of many varieties and there was little time left for blogging (and when I did, I rarely proof-read). There wasn't even time for Fermiball, although the weekly installment will pick up on Friday. If you didn't notice the drop-off in quality, please drop a line, because I've been considering replacing myself with an infinite number of monkey/typewriter combos and would be interesting in seeing if anyone notices a difference. I'm guessing it would be pretty hard to notice until the first copy of Hamlet popped out of the monkey-machine.

Until then, it is just this one monkey (several times evolved) working this entry. And so let's get to it.

Baseball Stuff

The Cubs were very much unable to hit Wakefield last night, and I attribute this lack of success in large part to my noting that the Cubs were hitting Boston very hard. Once again the jinx shone down upon the Cubs, and then bitch-slapped them a bit. So I'm going to try the old reverse-jinx by saying the the Marlins' pitching is freakishly good and the Cubs batters are going to be in much trouble. Unfortunately, I think this falls much more accurately into the category of "obvious truth" than "reverse jinx". And the Cubs are countering with Koronka, Mitre, and Maddux (when do Prior and Wood come back?). Should be a fun series. I will be at Tuesday's game thanks to more awesomeness by the wife's family. I will report back on the festivities.

To answer my own question, Wood and Prior will be back: soon. Wood is beginning rehab today in AAA Iowa and assuming he can get a few career minor-leaguers out without accumulating any more fluid in his shoulder, he will make another minor-league start and then maybe be back in Chicago. One time-table puts him back on a major-league mound as early as the June 20th series with Milwaukee. I will hopefully be at the June 21st game, so I might get a chance to see the triumphant return of Kerry Wood (and be able to say I was there when he went back on the DL).

Prior has finally thrown a spherical, rawhide object from the mound (as opposed to a soft, terry cloth object) and they have projected him to be back in about 4 weeks. Hopefully the Cubs can hang on for that long.


(doot doot doooo, do, doot doot do doo doo, The girl from ipanema goes walking...)

Non-Baseball Stuff

ADHD Adults struggle to focus

Well...yeah. Otherwise they wouldn't be ADHD adults. They'd just be adults. In all seriousness, though, this is a pretty big problem. The ADHD society has been trying to hammer out an agenda to further the awareness of Adult ADHD (or AADHD) for years now, but progress has been slowed due to the many spontaneous games of foosball breaking out during meetings. They hope to get this problem hey, what's that? A bird! Eating a bug!

King Tut returns to dazzle

Remarks Tut, "I had a side bet with JC as to who would return first. Lucky thing for the heathens that I'm here, because the Big Guy is bringing a whole bucket of plagues with him. I just bring style." JC was unavailable for comment.

Report: Head Start has some benefits

The main one being, of course, the head start.

144 arrested in largest "cock fight" in U.S.

You can stop drooling, I said "cock fight," not "cat fight." And if you've neven seen a cock fight busted up, well, let me tell you, it isn't pretty. Just getting the hand cuffs on the little rooster-claws is damn near impossible. Happily, this sordid ordeal was put to killing more than 300 roosters. I think it is definitely up to debate as to whether the rooster's lifestyle was improved. To answer that, one needs to know: do all roosters go to heaven?

You can't help but feel for some of the chicken owners. After all, take it from David Webb of Newport, Tennessee:

"I've been around this stuff all my life. Everything I've ever known is a chicken fight"
'Nuff said.

Tune in next time for more pithy comments about important news topics (and baseball).


I know I'm not the only one

to notice this, but Austin Kearns has been demoted to AAA. This trade value can't be much lower, so the Cubs should pounce on this. Kearns has shown some fantastic skill (and translated it into a couple great seasons) and I figure, if you can do it once, you can do it again...assuming no injury.

Go get him, Hendry!

Sunday, June 12, 2005


Super quick post

Apparently the Cubs like what Boston has to offer. I guess at this point there's no real reason to finish Boston's preview. Suffice to say, regarding their pitching, we like what we are seeing. Today the Cubs are going to be facing Wakefield. The best situation would be to have the wind blowing in...knucklers like the wind in their faces. Has anyone checked the flags recently?

In another note, I'm going to go ahead and withdrawl my criticism of Dusty. While I think he is a poor in-game manager, his ability to work the clubhouse mojo seems as solid as his reputation would suggest. Early in the season while the Cubs were losing, it was easy to criticize Dusty. And I did. Most of us did. But I think that was mostly born out of frustration (and a few too many appearances by Macias). As this recent 20-9 surge has shown, he has done a good job of keeping the team from flying apart with all the injuries. All teams are going to had is how you deal with them that is telling. And the Cubs have been great in the face of adversity.

So I officially withdrawl my non-support for Dusty.

Friday, June 10, 2005



With Boston finally defeating their curse and now arriving in Wrigley for the first time since yadda yadda yadda, it brings to mind the thought: is this the Cubs year?

Obviously there are those that think it could be.

There is no real point in trying to answer this question (I am less than clairvoyant) , but I decided to use it as a lead in to a Boston preview anyway. It's maybe not the best lead in, but you get what you pay for. I never promised quality.

Boston Preview

I'm a little surprised that Boston is not better than they are. Not that they should be better, just that I thought they were better. I have to admit, I don't pay a lot of attention to the American League. But, as it turns out, Boston is a mere 5 games above .500, which is exactly one more than the Cubs. Maybe the Cubs actually have a chance to pull out a few wins? Maybe. Let's take a closer look.

The Hitting

Boston has a couple of big hitters (Jason Varitek and David Ortiz) and plenty of solid/good hitters (Johnny Damon, Manny Ramirez, and Trot Nixon). But this is not quite the amazing lineup that it once was, in part due to the decline of Manny Ramirez. I don't really know why Ramirez has suffered at the plate this year, but it worries me as Wrigley is pretty good at awakening slumbering giants.

A couple interesting players on Boston are players who could have been on the Cubs. Mark Bellhorn had a tremendous year for the Cubs in 2002, but struggled early in '03 and was pushed out the door. I was sad to see him go; he is a player that I really liked because he was willing to take a walk had solid power. This year the power has deserted Bellhorn but he is still getting on base at a solid clip. Actually, this year he has been Jerry Hairston without the speed. Not without value, but less than I think he could be.

The other player that interests me is Edgar Renteria. He has been much worse than Neifi! this year and is making 8 million a year. I was really interested in signing Renteria back before Nomar reupped with the Cubs, and I have to admit that I was wrong. Many people noted that Renteria was going to be overpaid for average production, and they were right. I think Cub fans should be very relieved that they aren't going to have to worry about hauling around Renteria's decaying corpse for 4 more years. So far Renteria has managed a .314 on base percentage with no power...not good.

Boston still scores many runs because they get on base. a lot. It is almost like a high on base percentage leads to runs. Strange.

I'll get to the pitching half of this later.

Thursday, June 09, 2005


K or C, the Corey Debate

I really find it hard to dislike Corey. On the other hand, Corey is making it very hard for me to not dislike him. He has a sweet swing...on the rare occasion that he doesn't drop his shoulder and pop the ball up to the second baseman in a vain attempt to hit the ball out of the park. He's fast. very fast. And his defense is generally pretty tremendous.

Corey has a little bit of a special place in my heart. I always get very attached to players that develope through the Cubs' system, probably because this is such a rare occurance. It almost killed me when they traded Hee Sop (although I've gotten over that. A triple crown leader will do that for you). And what's more, Corey is the first player I can remember on the Cubs who was actually younger than me (at that time it seemed impossible to me that a baseball player could be younger than me). Not only that, but his birthday is pretty close to mine, so I've always felt a certain kinship with Corey. I'm starting to regret that association.

This season, Corey has quite rightly earned the nickname Korey in most Cubs' circles. His strikeouts are not really such a big deal; many good players strikeout at a very high rate. The problem is his unwillingness (or maybe inability) to work the count. I really doubt the inability part, not that he could become patient, but that lack of ability is not the source of the problem. Unless he has been hypnotized by some sort of sinister Cardinals' fan to swing at the first pitch every time, his issues are partly in his control. So I say to Corey, just don't swing at the first pitch. Repeat after me: You are not Nomar. Even Nomar doesn't swing at every first pitch. I think every Cubs fan can agree with me that it has begun to border on the absurd.

Many people are calling for Corey to be traded. Al Yellon suggests trading him for Ken Griffey, Jr. (which I don't agree with at all). Personally, I'm not sure I'm quite ready to trade him.

I have a feeling that he will hit a hot streak at some point and all of a sudden people will start to forgive his flaws. Corey, despite his obvious failings, holds enough defensive value that he isn't hurting the team, even if he isn't really helping. I'd really like to wait him out a little longer and see if Dusty/Clines.Matthews can't get him to take at least one pitch, and then we can go from there. After all, he's one of our own.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


Back home again (updated 12:15pm)

So maybe there is a problem with Wrigley. Or rather, maybe the players have gotten it into their heads that they can't win in Wrigley. Or maybe the Cubs got a little too much sweet California weather and the oppressive heat (trust me, I don't have air conditioning, it's oppressive) has wilted their spirits.

I do know that the heat is making everyone cranky. The Wife and I ride our bikes home from the downtown Metra station to our Wrigleyville home and it is a pretty great way to commute. Especially on gameday when the traffic is really, really bad. We just whip right past all the car-bound travelers inching forward. Having spent many days on I-290 moving at a slower-than-walking pace, it certainly feels good to have overcome the traffic. But anyway, the crankiness. Drivers were cutting each other off, honking, swearing...everything you expect from an 87 degree Chicago day. If you didn't pound the accelerator as soon as the light turned green, there was an earful awating you.

So maybe the Cubs are just cranky. I mean, if you had to go out into the hot Chicago air wearing a polyester suit, you might be cranky too. They might just not want to play baseball right now, and so they are trying to get the game over with as quickly as possible. And this would explain why Patterson feels the need to swing at every. first. pitch. But anyway...

Some News

Man Arrives at Border with Sword, Chainsaw

He's back. Ash is back! Just read the article, it is awesome. And be sure to check out the picture of the guy.

Okay, what I wanted to say regarding the article before I ran out of time:

This guy was carrying a homemade sword, hacket, knife, brass knuckles, and a chainsaw stained with blood. And crossed the boarder. But, don't worry, because they confiscated his weapons before the allowed the guy to make it onto US soil. If you haven't followed the link to check out what the guy looks like, please do so now. At least then you will know how stunning it is that he possibly crossed the boarder.

Turns out he most likely beheaded a guy in Canada. First of all, the order of events is supposed to be: behead friend, cross boarder into Canada. The fact that he screwed up something this simple should be the first warning flag. The blood-stained chainsaw should be the second clue.

In other news, Joe Aiello for A View from the Bleachers has a story up regarding his trip to the Diamond Jaxx. He should have some great reports on all the hot prospects. Check it out.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005


A little research

...and by little, I really mean little.

Tom over at A Season with the Cubs suggested a study into the claims that Wrigley is somehow bad for the Cubs because of various reasons (wind, sun, fans...whatever). And Dusty noted that the Cubs would win once they got on the road. You know, because Wrigley is apparently a tough place to win for the Cubs. Well, on this count, I call bullshit. Granted, I just clicked through (a wonderful site) looking at the Cubs' home/road split. It took about 5 minutes. What I found was, over the last 30 years, the Cubs had superior home records (as compared to road) in all by 3 seasons. And only one season, 1994, was the home record significantly worse than the home record. In general, the home record was far superior to the road record, as one would expect. In the last two years, the two records were almost identical.

So, if today's Cubs find it so hard to win, I have to ask why? Cub teams of old had no problems. And I find it hard to believe that the wind blows in more this year than any other year of the last 30. So, to the members of the Chicago Cubs that fear Wrigley I say: Shut up and play ball.


You'd be tired too

...if you just came off a West coast swing and then had to play the next day. Hey guys, how about a day off, already?

On the plus side, the Cubs may have lost, but at least they are still atop the Wild Card standings. This may end up being important as St. Louis is kind of a lot awesome (yes, I just said that).

Today is a day to reset and get the bats going again. Glendon is going today for the Cubs and that can only mean good things (unless they lose, in which case it would mean bad things).

Some news and notes to start the day: has a new post up today, a short story regarding those halcyon days when the toys were violent and we liked it, we loved it! (well, they loved it. I didn't exist yet). It is a quick read and quite good, probably especially for those over 30. An excerpt:

The Courageous Toys of the Carter Era

Star Wars perfectly encapsulated the mood and spirit of the American people in the late 1970s. Confident, cocky, bold, brash, moving fearlessly from challenge to challenge-we took risks in Jimmy Carter's America. We africanized bees, turned corn into gasoline, made John Travolta a star. We bought thirty-year savings bonds in a hyper-inflationary environment. We were cowboys in space.

Scientists put smack down on Bush

The British Royal Queen Mary...something...Scientists of the Royal Brigade in England called Bush out on his policy on climate change, calling it "misguided." Oh those British, always so polite. The correct word is "stupid." Stoooopid. Every serious scientist concedes that the greenhouse effect is a real thing (unless maybe it's one of those "theories" like "evolution" or "gravity"). I mean, it isn't that hard to figure out; there is data! But, I guess when you are the conduit from which an invisible (and, from what I hear, all powerful) being speaks, you don't need to listen to "facts" or "data." You create your own reality. Stupid reality based community. What do we know?

Oh, and in completely unrelated news, Hummer is releasing the new H3 (now cheaper, so everyone can own a military-grade vehicle) and now I see commercials for how the new GMC 9 passenger BigAss (or something to that effect) is absolutely essential for every family, regardless of size...that is, if you love your children. And I can totally relate, because back in the days of cars with backseats, there were times when my brother would spill over onto my side of the car (my personal space, dammit) and I kept thinking to myself: "If only this car had the capacity for 5 more people, I could divert my attention from how annoyed I am with my brother towards loving my country." Now that the personal space problem has been solved we are surely seeing a spike in patriotism. Or some kind of "ism", anyway. Wait, maybe I've stopped making sense. Anyway...

I could go on, but it's just too easy. There's only, what? Three more years of this guy? I suppose to ice caps will hold until a sane individual rules the White House.

Monday, June 06, 2005


What is Koronka?

I'm pretty sure it is the sound robots make when they walk.




Aggghhh, run. It's a giant robot!

I'm not entirely sure why I decided to post this, except that Koronka is pitching and it is a funny name. And I have little else to offer. But really, what other blog gives you this kind of insight into the inner workings of it relates to comic book sounds.

And admit it, you thought the same thing.

The real reason for a post? To plug the entry I just put up over at goatriders, my "Just Past 1/3 of the way through, pitcher review." The stats have all been considered, but I present the evaluation in convenient snack-size (with grades and all). It is sort of a set of evaluation cliff notes. So, for those of you that fear my staty posts, that is not one of them.


Wild times

The Cubs are exploding all over the place, but that's a good thing.

I can't quite believe that the Cubs managed to go 6-1 on this last West coast swing as all my memories of California cruisin' involove just wishing the Cubs would come back home. That is partially true this time as I want to catch up on my sleep, but I totally enjoyed that trip.

And now the Cubs are in the Wild Card lead. Everywhere I read/hear, people claim that they don't even want to speak of such things as the Wild Card. It's too early. Division or nothing, baby! Well, as far as I'm concerned, screw that. I want the Cubs to be in first in something (other than men left on base) - all that matters is making the playoffs, it does't matter how it happens.

So I'm happy. I've long ago given up Neifi!-bashing, and I'm continuing my Derrek worship. Zambrano just keeps getting better and Rusch is stunning. And all this without Prior. I'm all a titter. You can tell because my sentences keep getting shorter and shorter.

Over at Goatriders, there are a couple nice articles. Death checks in regarding how the Cubs have faired in light of all they have faced, and I worked up a 1/3 season review of the Cubs' offense. Check it out, I kept my use of numbers to a fairly non-obscure subset of stats (no research should be required to read this).

Game time 1:20. Go Cubs!

Friday, June 03, 2005


Really, you guys have uniforms? It's only...

I am Jack's overwhelming sense of shame

I am Steve Sax. I am Chuck Knoblauch.

I can't throw to first.


Try me at first.


Really? Um, okay. That's only, like, 87 times scarier than third. I mean, aside from being involved in far too many plays, it also requires taking throws from ol' Lightnin' Arm (a.k.a. my replacement at third. He throws hard). None of this is good, trust me.

After falling behind 10-0 (not my fault), the experiment ended. While I was not involved in many plays, I think my general lack of confidence (I'm 90% sure I was making the "about to get hit by a train" face the whole time) had settled over the entire team and was dragging them down. Suffice to say, time for a change.

It was an ill-fated experiment and happily it ended after only 2 innings and I was back at third. However, there is still the fact that I still can't throw to first to deal with. The thing is, the arm is willing but the brain is stupid. My solution to this little predicament was to try and miss in the dirt rather than over the first baseman's head. And actually, this was a pretty good solution. Only one of my throws ended up out of play and I managed to record 2 out of 3 opportunities into outs (Victory!). You see, the things is, I can field the ball, I just can't throw the ball. And really, throwing is the most important part of the fielding process.

Steve Sax disease is not an easy thing to deal with. I'm just trying to take it one play at a time.

Hey! As long as I'm embarassing myself with tales of ineptitude, why not talk about my hitting? Do you want to know what shame is? Taking a called third strike in softball, that's shame. After that called third, my slump had reached epic proportions (I was now 0 for my last 5). But you don't blog about baseball as much as I do with learning a little something about clutch hitting (who can tell me what I just paraphrased? Who is still reading this?). Facing the ignominy of the mercy rule (we were down 17 in the 5th and needed 3 runs to continue) our team sucked it up (and why not, we'd been sucking it up all afternoon). A couple hits fall in and I found myself up to bat with men on base. I'd been pulling the ball in the last few ABs, which is not really my strength (actually, softball isn't me strength, but that's not important right now), and so I focused very hard on going to the opposite field and...success! A little flare over the 2nd baseman's head. Thus ends my 0-5 slump and we live to play another inning. Of course, they scored another million or so runs in the next inning, and so we were slaughtered anyway, but it wasn't as bad a slaughter. Baby steps. I did manage one more hit on the night, another shot over second (and I might mention that I scored each time on base. I'm a demon on the basepaths).

If you've made it this far and still care, you might be interested in knowing that it was a great day for The Wife. Shuffled out into right, she was Ichiro-lite, spreading 3 singles around the diamond and scoring each time she was on base (demon. basepaths.). And she's no Sammy Sosa, either, (a fact for which I'm eternally grateful) as her toe may have been turning black, but she still took right each and every inning. What a trooper!

And now is the point where I smoothly transition over to talking about the other team. However, I couldn't come up with an easy way to do this, so this will have to do., okay. I've transitioned. As you may have noticed from the title, multiple members of Final Force actually had uniforms on with the words "Final Force" right there on the front. This is the point where words fail me, and we all just move on. To the guy wearing shin guards. In 14" softball. I hope to god he was wearing a cup too, because otherwise I really have to question his priorities. I knew we were in trouble when I saw the uniforms and shin guards, and I was right. I'm very smart.

And so ends another adventure in Fermiball. Join us next week as we take on EuroTrash. Hopes and high for victory #1. Go 'Nuts!

My current stat line: 5-11, a triple, 5 runs scored, 4 RBIs
The Wife: 4-8, 2 walks, 3 runs scored.



Cubs win.

Regarding the game, everything that I have to say has been said over at Goatriders (by me, actually). Over there I do a little Glendon worship, bow towards Derrek Lee a few times, and speculate on the future of the Cubs. I also took a look at whether Zambrano is affected in his starts after a 120+ pitch outing.

Around here, I like to mix things up a bit. So let's take a very short look at the news today.

Dean rallies Liberal Activists

Okay, I really shouldn't make fun of this at all, because I like Dean. I really do, but he has already killed his career with one rally, so maybe he should cut his loses before he yawlps again. In all seriousness, though, I hope the Democrats reach out towards the more extreme left. It worked for the Republicans (you know, except that they reached a bit more to the right). Once they managed to secure their extremist base, they just had to get about half of the people that vote based on whether they like the candidate's wife or eye color or whatever random attribute sways the ill-informed. In my expert opinion, I think a combination of reaching out to the activists and referring to Republicans at "stupid heads" should clinch a Democrat in the White House in 2008.

Exploding Toilet Burned Man

I'm not sure there's anything left to say. These things happen. The man lit up a smoke in a port-a-potty when the damn thing blew up. If I were him, I'd sue Phillip Morris. Cigarettes are just bad for you.

CDC tries to deflate Obesity debate

Get it. "Deflate" obesity debate...not only does it rhyme, but you want to deflate the fat people. I tell you, it's genius (genius!). As far as the article goes, I guess a recent study had indicated that obesity is not a bad for you as people might have thought. You know, sort of like the way eggs were bad for you, but now their not. Except that one is a tasty breakfast treat and the other is a debilitating condition that completely restricts one's ability to live their life. Other than that, though, it's like the egg thing.

Probe to moon, Mars a priority

This certainly makes sense. It is sort of like credit card debt. If you are already $20k in debate, what's another 10 thousand? Our country may be running a tremendous deficit, but it is certainly important to put a man on the moon (for real this time. No more fake moon landings in a sound stage). And if you click on the picture, we see a shot of Tom DeLay climbing through a mock space station. Congressional ethics hearing? Hey look, a space station! War in Iraq? Let's go to Mars! Stem Cells? We love science!

Alright, that's all the news that's fit to report. Soon enough I will check back with a report on the quasi-slaughter that was softball.

Thursday, June 02, 2005


Cubs in 6 in a row

And I don't have any time to write about it. Figures. Suffice to say, I will say nothing bad about Neifi for at least another month, as he has taken his May slump and turned it right around. Also, it is June, so Derrek Lee should finally start to heat up. And right on cue, he had a 5-5 night last night, including a 3 run homer. I will now be expecting that from him every day (at least).

Tonight is another softball night, and I have high hopes that tomorrow's post will not involve the words "mercy" or "slaughter."

I have posted an article over at Goatriders. I am calling it an article because I had to actually do some "research" and "learn some things." For those that have any interest in some of the advanced pitching statistics out there (specifically DIPS, in this case), I have gone ahead and applied them to our good friend (and today's starting pitcher, coincidentally enough), Glendon Rusch. The goal of the article is to demonstrate that we shouldn't be shocked that Glendon has done so well for the Cubs after a less than stellar early career.

That's all for today. I promise to have content on this site again just as soon as I have a combination of time and something to say.

Go. Cubs.

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