Sunday, July 31, 2005
In the midst of the worst trade deadline in recent history (meaning, as far as I can remember), Hendry managed to pull off a deadline deal that should help for this season. He managed to plug one of the team's greatest weakness and this entry didn't have to involve the words "Soriano for Walker" (which, incidentally, would have also involved the words "manslaughter").
The Cubs needed a leadoff hitter and the Cubs got a leadoff hitter. The Cubs needed a lefty leftfielder and Cubs got a lefty leftfielder.
What's that you say, the Cubs had a lefty leftfielder? And they just traded him away?
Well, it doesn't matter that Gerut is possibly a better player than Lawton and certainly is better dollar for dollar. It doesn't matter because Gerut was blocked by Hollandsworth. Feel free to roll the illogic of that statement around in your mouth for awhile, but even if it leaves a bad taste in your mouth, it is true. Gerut was never going to get a chance in Wrigley.
Lawton is certainly overpaid and has some flaws in his game, but he is an established starter and brings with him whole buckets of veteran savvy that he should have no trouble slathering all over the Cubs. Dusty will love him and will almost certainly stick him in the leadoff position.
I don't really understand how the lineup is going to stack up. I know Lawton will leadoff, but will he play left? Probably, but then who plays center? Hairston? Sure, maybe, but then were does he end up in the lineup?
If it was up to me, this is the best I can come up with without consulting an spirits of ballplayers past:
as for Dusty? I have no idea, but I'm usre you can swap Ramirez and Burnitz as well as Barrett and Neifi...the rest is probably the same.
All in all, given the circumstances this season, this was a good trade. I'm just excited to have another player in the lineup willing to take a walk.
And once Nomar makes it back, the lineup is really going to start to look decent.
Saturday, July 30, 2005
Just a couple days left
But this year all the speculation has been lame. The guys I want (Dunn, Kearns) are supposedly not really available and the guys I don't want (Soriano) are sounding far too available. Now, mind you, I have oodles of faith in Hendry (after all, he didn't get Preston Wilson)- I just have less faith in this year's market. But, if my memory serves, it seems that Nomar came out of nowhere last year, which would be very much like Dunn this year. I just sort of feel the asking price for any Cincy outfielder is going to be a tad too high to tittilate Hendry's trade-buds.
But that is what is so fun about this year: speculation and hope.
Go make a trade.
Friday, July 29, 2005
So the Cubs were down 3-2 at the start of the 9th when I decided to go for a run. I know, I know...it seems lame to go running before the end of the game. But my route takes me right past Wrigley, so if I wait until after the game ends I have to deal with insane crowds, traffic, and many drunk people heckling me for running when I should be drinking.
I come back and what do I see? A big "W" flying over Wrigley. Man that's a great sight. This after spending the entire run talking with the Wife about "next year" and debating if there was any chance Baker might be back and ranting about all the stupid things he had done...and then a win. Sort of takes the wind out of my sails.
But I'll take a win over a smug "holier than Dusty" attitude any day.
So, I believe that Tom over at A Season with the Cubs has now correctly called the last 10 games. I think he has predicted a win for tomorrow, so I guess you can book it. Nice work, Tom (unless I'm wrong about your predictions and then nevermind).
Alright then. Until tomorrow, Go Cubs!
Why I like running
You see, the thing I like about running is that it is easy. Easy and cheap. The only equipment to buy is a good pair of running shoes. With all these other sports, there is so much gear to buy. Take cycling, for example. I like to ride my bike, but a good bike is expensive and there is *so much gear* available for purchase. And I want it all.
And also, with the so called "ball sports" (no giggling!) there is all this coordination required. I mean, really. First, I need to watch the ball, then get my body in position to strike the ball, and then strike the ball, placing it in the proper place (this would be for softball and volleyball). This is all very difficult. You've got the hand and the eye and somehow the two are supposed to coordinate. Running? Running is the easiest "sport" there is. You just run forward and don't stop. That is the entire sum of distance running. Don't stop. That's it.
Running of course has many side benefits. I can eat whatever I want and I never gain an ounce. I have endless energy and feel good about myself.
But really it is just good because it is something I can do.
Even with the coordination of a physicist.
So if I ever ask again why I'm torturing myself with all this running, just remind me that if it wasn't for running my entire athletic career would simply consist of sucking at many different sports.
And although I still haven't linked it, take a look at the Grace and Wayne running journal over at jasonleahrun.blogspot.com and you can follow our progress.
Thursday, July 28, 2005
I have nothing much to say
Do you remember when the Cubs scored all those runs a couple weeks back? You know how they did it? They did the exact opposite of what they did today.
Whatever they did today, reverse it, and you will have good baseball.
Just an absolute shame. And also, if I may, I'd like to request a little help for the bullpen. They are the suck.
Bad Cubs! Bad!
*smacks with rolled-up newspaper*
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
It may not be a winning tradition, but it's the next best thing. It's...
Last time on Fermiball...
When last we joined the d0nuts, it was a time of glorious celebration as our intrepid heroes vanquished the Lightening Rods. Your's truly had a solid, albeit hitless, game and there was much rejoicing (wee).
Next time on Fermiball...
The d0nuts take on their third (or maybe fourth) biggest rivals, Final Force, in what is sure to be a classic. An instant classic, actually. It is entirely possible that ESPN will show up but they have, as yet, not responded to my letters. Well, that's not entirely true, as my Stuart Scott Fan Club membership card arrived (Boo yah!). Nothing related to Fermiball though.
anyway, enough stalling. This time on Fermiball...
Tensions are at an all time high as the d0nuts face off against long time rivals The Isotopes. Those evil, evil Isotopes. Nasty, teeth-gnashing, devil horned Isotopes of CDF. Just bad, bad, nasty evil.
Actually, they aren't that bad.
To be honest, they're rather nice. But this is no time for nice, my friends, we are out for blood.
Blood and victory.
But really mostly just victory.
disclaimer: the game in question took place about a month ago and at this point I'm a little hazy on the details. I've been working with a memory specialist in an attempt to reconstruct the events of that night - it involved an injection of some sort and many electrode thingies - all very "Alias," except without the benefit of Jennifer Garner hanging around. Below is what I managed to glean from those sessions.In this game, I return to my usual post at third base and my usual position in the lineup (somewhere near the bottom). I'm thinking back to the last time I got a hit...
disclaimer to the disclaimer: At this point I could go with a sort of Simpsons-esque montage where I remember events in a fashion that casts me in a good light. You know, like where I've got long, Fabio hair and huge
breastsbiceps and women have drapped themselves over me...but that would be lying, and lying makes baby Jesus cry. No, there will be nothing of that sort in this re-telling. Um, anyway, back to the story
Anyway, I'm sure things are sure to improve this game. I believe that last time I made a Fermiball post, I mentioned something about closing up my stance. I had been getting more and more open in my stance and I thought that perhaps this was causing me to pull off the ball and ground out to short. And so I did, with definite results. Bad results, but results nonetheless.
I will just summarize my exploits at the plate with ground out, strike out, ground out. Or something like that. I may have lucked into a hit, but I really don't think so. I was, I must admit, rather dreadful at the plate. So, the less this is discussed, the better. Instead I will focus on my improved defense and the fact that it was an excellent game. And the fact that, no matter how badly I hit, I'm still very, very pretty.
The only ball I missed that day was the first I saw, and really that was just a clean single. It went through my legs, mind you, but I scored it a single. After that, though, I picked everything and by the 3rd or 4th inning, I had figured out my throwing problems and was making clean throws to first. I had become the quinticential no-hit/good-glove guy - at least for this game.
But enough about me. I didn't really do anything interesting.
As I mentioned above, the conditions really favored the pitchers. And oh what a pitchers' duel it was! The lead was exchanged between the two teams multiple times, finally resting in the d0nuts hands in the 7th (and theoretically final) inning. The d0nuts lead something like 5-4 in the bottom of the 7th and the Isotopes were up to bat.
Oh the drama! Oh the pressure!
The details are sketchy, but somehow the Isotopes managed to scratch across a run before the final out could be recorded. A frustrating occurance, and one that was threatening our chances of beating the Isotopes. We still had hope, however, as it was onto the 8th. Victory was still within our grasp!
...but we went down 1,2,3.
...and the Isotopes scored in the bottom of the 8th
...and so we lost.
But this was, in many ways, a moral victory. This was the first time all season that the Isotopes had been held below 10 runs. And it demonstrated that we were capable of beating them, something which was not so clear last time we played when they won something like 20-3.
So I'm calling moral victory.
What was my point again? Oh yes, tune in next time when...well, you've already read about next time. And really, you should tune in everyday. There's some good stuff here. Read me! Love me!
Dusty hates me
Macias? Hollandsworth? GAH!
What does Matt Murton have to do to earn a start? Save a nun from a burning building?
No, of course not, that is just silly. All he has to do is play another 9 years at the major league level. He doesn't have to play well, mind you, just play.
What has Murton done to un-earn his playing time? Well, he went 4-5 on the 17th of July. He then managed 5 AB's over the next 7 days. Yesterday he went 3-4 and today he is on the bench.
What does he have to do to earn a start against a righty?!?
Hollandsworth? Over those same last 7 days has managed a .105 BA. He's hitting a solid .220 in July.
Macias? That doesn't even bother me. That is the typical insanity that you get with Dusty. No biggie. But his treatment of Murton has been criminal and detrimental to the team. For a full-out diatribe against Dusty, take a look over at GROTA.
If you missed it
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
All that's left will be Pig Latin
So what's next for Mel? What can he do for an encore? Well, Hollywood has been crying out for a movie made entirely in Mayan, and Gibson is delivering. His new movie, Apocalypto, will be spoken entirely in Mayan and be set 500 years in the past.
The Mayan's were a pretty awesome people before the European's crashed onto their coast. They did, after all, invent the number zero. Without their forward thinking, Coke would have been forced to stop at "Coke One," and since Pepsi got there first, Coke would surely go out of business. Scientists would be striving to approach "Absolute One" and the expression "From zero to hero" would be meaningless. So don't forget to thank the Mayans for that useful number.
The Mayans were also excellent astronomers and whipped up a nifty little calendar, the first people to do so. It is believed by some that the Mayan's ancestors came over across the Bering Strait almost 20,000 years ago. I don't see that being mentioned by Gibson, however, as that would be about 15,000 years before the creation of the earth which is, well, just awkward.
Here's a nifty little history of the Mayans. They were an interesting people.
Monday, July 25, 2005
What is happiness?
It is sleeping at night.
It is freaking awesome, of that much I'm sure.
This weekend was entirely techno-free, and when I say that, I'm referring to e-mail and internet, not Fat Boy Slim. It was a weekend with no Cubs, no blogging, and definitely no blogging about Cubs. It was a bit hard to break away from my internet addiction, I have to admit, but I managed - I found that heroin takes the edge off nicely.
Really, though, who needs internet when you have the lake? This weekend found me and the Wife up in Michigan at her uncle's lake house swimming, tubing, and relaxing. Happy days were here again. Not that I was unhappy before, mind you, it's just...the point is that I really like the lake. What does this have to do with the setup at the beginning of the post? Nothing really. I just thought that since this is a blog, I should share the mundane details of my life.
The real point is that I didn't get back to Chicago until Sunday at around 7 and was horrified to find that it was still 95 degrees out. I should point out at this point that our car doesn't have AC and the Skyway was under construction.
Remember when the Catholic Church told you Hell looked like this:
They lied, it clearly is a sea of the damned sitting in a pool of their own sweat in construction traffic, praying for either a cooling breeze or the sweet release of death. But, of course, in Hell you are already dead, so no such luck (and, suffice to say, a breeze is nothing more than a pipe dream).
But you've probably either a) guessed that death did not claim me last night or b) are really creeped out right now and are wondering why I haven't mentioned eating brains yet. Because, you know, I would be a zombie. A zombie typing 40 wpm, but a zombie nonetheless.
For those of you that guessed option "a", you are very much right. I managed to survive the evening and the traffic, and ended up back in the comfort of my 98 degree living room.
no, wait, I missed a constant or two. That should read:
IT BURNS!! IT BURNS!!!! OH GOD, I'M STICKING TO MY CHAIR!!!!!!!!
Soooo...this seemed less than ideal. We left the apartment pretty quickly and headed down the street where there was a little street fair going on and listened to a little music. And melted a little more. And started to go a little insane. I may have cried, I'm not sure. I blacked out a bit. All I really remember is the music ending and we were back in our apartment. Time crept on and 10:30 approached but the sweating had not stopped. The Wife and I just sort of looked at each other and realized we were both thinking the same thing. It was time to bite the bullet. After an exhauting weekend at the lake, we had to sleep. And it was still over 90 degrees in our apartment.
So, to make a short story long, we jumped in the car and headed out to the Home Depot, which was luckily open until midnight. We were on a quest - a quest for cool. We passed one of those business signs that shows the outside temp and it was registering 93 degrees. Mind you, it was 11:30 at night by this point. I can't even work that out in my mind, so I'm not going to comment. My mind=blown.
The Home Depot was down to one model, but it was perfect for our needs. And by that I mean, it made cold and we could afford it. Weeee! Cold would soon be ours!
He hauled that puppy over to the self-checkout and proceeded to, you know, checkout. But what was great was turning around and seeing the line of couples with the exact same AC unit in their shopping carts. And the line was extensive, sort of like the end of Field of Dreams. Two by two the couples had been flushed out by the heat. Clearly, the Chicago Summer had won.
(aside: why all couples? I'm thinking because it is a lot easy to endure the heat when there isn't another 98 degree body sharing your bed. That and it is nice to be able to occasionally touch your wife.)
A half hour or so later we were smiling proudly at our handy-work. A beautifully installed AC window unit...propped up with Runner's World magazines and lined with towels. Perfect. Who knew a machine made of metal and white plastic could make me so happy.
Thursday, July 21, 2005
What do you know?
I'm going to try an experiment and predict good things for the Cubs during this next series at St. Louis (assuming I remember to do this). In the first half, whenever I did this, the Cubs would do the exact opposite of my prediction. This was obviously because I was jinxing them. But it is possible that the winds of change are blowing, the universe has shifted, and...some other stuff.
I figure, the Cubs are probably doomed against the Cardinals anyway, so it can't hurt to try. Maybe a little "power of positive thought" will swing things the Cubs' way.
In related news, Livan Hernandez is apparently thinking of quiting. This season. Next week acutally. He is, of course, the ace of the Nationals staff and were he to to this, it would greatly help the Cubs.
Whether he quits or not, I fully expect the Nationals to tank in the second half. I expect the Phillies and Astros will be the Cubs' most difficult competition, and by that I really just mean the Astros. I still fully expect the Cubs to win the Wild Card.
After all, if I don't have optimism, what do I have?
pessimism, I suppose. Or maybe just neutralism...
all things being equal, I prefer optimism...
okay, I'm going now.
Bottom of the 5th
I have nothing worthwhile to say today. However, I do recommend looking at today's offering from jamierieger.com.
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
So, moving right along, I want to mention that the marathon training at the Corner of Grace and Wayne has gone digital. We are now keeping our training log online because, really, paper is just much too difficult. I imagine this will be of interest to about 0.002% of the people out there as it is really just a training journal, but I wanted to put it out there for anyone who wants to track our progress and share the pain. It can be found at: jasonleahrun.blogspot.com. And if there are some more seasoned runners reading this, hop on over and feel free to leave suggestions on things that might improve our running.
I also haven't taken a look at the news in awhile, so let's see what's happening...
Bush calls for Dignified Confirmation
"After all," he continued, "This isn't a Presidential Election. This is important stuff."
A few differences between a Presidental Election and a Supreme Court Justice Confirmation:
- Decision to confirm/deny will not be based on the following:
- hair color/amount of hair
- folksy manner
- wife's wardrobe
- It is expected that everyone will vote during the Justice Confirmation process, not just the elderly.
- After much speculate that the candidate would be an minority, they settled on a white, Christian guy.
The selection process by the numbers:
Number of times we will hear the words "litmus test" in the next couple months: 1872
Number of times we will hear the words "activist judge" in the next couple months: 12,042 (9420 of which will be spoken by our president)
Speaking of which, what is an "activist judge"? Is it someone who does not strictly interpret the constitution? Maybe. I actually think it is someone who makes a decision that pisses off the current administration, but that is neither here nor there. Just curious, but do we really think that the constitution should be taken entirely literally? I mean, it was written over 200 years ago. Back when the only black people in the country were slaves and only white males could vote.
Does it seems like some things might have changed since then?
Maybe, just maybe, it would be a good idea to view the constitution as a living document and try to rule based on the spirit of the law, rather than sifting through the document to see if it it mentions, for example, abortion specifically (just to pick an extreme hot-button issue, you know). After all, it wasn't really an issue back then so it's no suprise it didn't make it into the final draft.
I don't know, the whole thing just leaves me clammy. Being a strick constructionist makes about as much sense to me as literally interpreting the Bible.
Which is to say...none.
Alright, enough of that. On to some more serious news:
James Doohan, 'Star Trek's' Scotty, dead
He's finally been beamed up.
Scotty...apparently in the middle of a twosie. Sorry Scotty!
But I'm sure we'll meet again some sunny day
Keep smiling through, just the way you used to do
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
What's up, Google?
How about: The Fonz!
Monday, July 18, 2005
My ego is *this big*
(little bit more)
So, as some of you may have heard, there is a new Harry Potter book out. I have a copy of said book (thanks to my brother. Thanks brother!1). What does this have to do with my blog? Well, you see, the thing is, when you find an entry on this site that is both interesting and enlightening2 it is the result of a long process of polishing and refining (a process that often takes upwards of 10 minutes). There is the first draft that I hand-write on the train, the insertion of humor while digitizing the entry, and finally the proofreading.
Some of you might wonder why I'm telling you this and how this relates to Harry Potter. Some of you might already have left this site to read something more interesting (I really don't blame you).
For those of you who have stuck around this far, the point is that I will have to spend my time on the train reading Harry Potter rather than writing. Have to, you say? Yes, have to. You see, I started reading the fifth book recently because I couldn't remember it very well and I hoped to finish it before the 6th book can out. At the same time I started reading the 5th, the Wife started reading the 4th. She would then read the 5th while I read the 6th, and there would be no fights over the book (got all that?). Of course, the only problem is that she has finished the 4th book and we own the 6th, but I still have 200 pages to go in the 5th (it's very long). This leads me to the inevitable conclusion that if I don't want a divorce, I'd better get crackin' (ha ha, just kidding. heh heh. heh. *uncomforable silence*).
So I would expect many short entries this week that, while timely and accurate, are less than fullfilling. But, on the bright side, this gives you all (especially the relatively new readers) a chance to catch up on all the classic Grace and Wayne. So, as a temporary measure, I have posted links to some of the "best of" Grace and Wayne. They are in reverse chronological order, so the ones at the bottom are oldest. Certainly all very exciting stuff and sure to entertain. In due time there will be a link to the Fermiball entries as well.
Still check in though, as I will be posting every day. And probably several times a day.
1. I mean that in the "blood relative" way, not the black way. Wait, no, I can say that. I was paraphrasing Zoolander. Don't take away my Liberal membership card!
2. Any day now, I promise
My new favorite quote
"Leading off is about getting on base,'' Baker said. "You want your on-base percentage at about .350 or better, and you hope he has speed and can get some stolen bases and put pressure on the opposing pitcher. And you'd like him to drive in some runs -- 50 to 60 in our league is good. You want him to score runs first and occasionally drive in some big runs.''Yeah, no kidding. So, you know, do you think it was maybe a bad idea to bat Corey leadoff?
State of the Cub
They were heading towards "lovely" before the loss against the Duke on Saturday, a game I had the good fortune to miss half of. However, I will settle for "good" heading into a quasi-important series against Cincy. It is only quasi-important because, come on, it's
I'm babbling. Badly.
The point is, the Cubs had really better take 3 out of 4. Cincy has terrible pitching and terrible Karma, so in theory the Cubs should win the majority of these games. But they don't play the games in theory, they play them in Cincinnati. Land of the Free and home of the Reds.
Today's matchup? Jerome Williams goes up against Brandon Claussen. Game time, 6:10 CT.
Friday, July 15, 2005
Cubs are winning
But as I was following the Cubbies on gamecast, as soon as I saw the lineup I thought "I totally bet that Neifi! and Blanco are going to produce today. Neifi! is going to start out really hot this second half." And what do you know, it happened. Maybe it worked because I didn't put the prediction in writing or maybe my luck has just changed. I'm going to try it out again, silently making predictions inside my own head and see if it works.
Should this prove fruitful, I promise to use my powers for good and not evil.
Relative good anyway.
Or at least neutral.
Thursday, July 14, 2005
Raging against the wind
Running into the wind sucks. It's even worse than running up hills; because when you run up a hill, you inevitably will get to run back down a hill to balance things out. Running into the wind is like running up a 5 mile hill. It makes my knees ache and is pretty tiring.
But what are you going to do? Chicago is always windy, especially by the lakefront (where I always run). That wind comes whipping off the lake and some fraction of it is almost always in my face for at least half the run (by some miracle, it often manages to blow in my face for both halves of my run, despite my running in opposite directions). I guess that's why the call Chicago "the City of Big Shoulders."
"Windy City." That should have been "Windy City."
Anyway, blah blah blah wind. The point of this is, the wind is going to be there no matter what I do, so there is no point in getting all upset about it. And I think the same thing can be applied to the second half of the Cubs' season.
Most of us don't like Dusty very much, but he's not going anywhere. And actually, one should hope that he sticks around this year, because otherwise that means the Cubs are losing. There is no point in constantly screaming in impotent fury at Dusty's moronic moves; Dusty is Dusty and he is unlikely to change. Also, there is no point in crying about the numberous injuries the Cubs have suffered through. Injuries are going to happen and such is life. Better to just roll with the punches than...um, not roll with the punches.
The Cubs are what they are and no amount of bitching on the internet is going to change that. It is just raging against the storm, and unless you are Poseidon, this has little effect.
Now that I've said that, here's the reality. If people didn't bitch uselessly about the things that displease them, then the blogging world wouldn't exist. And then this post would never make it to the internet. So if people followed my post's advice, then my post would never exist. Whoa. I'm freaking myself out.
Whatever. So I guess the moral is: Go ahead and rage against the wind if you want, but don't if you don't want to. Anything goes. And the squeaky wheel gets the grease. And a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
And a stitch in time saves nine.
I could go on.
But I won't.
seeing as how this was a running related post...
Current Marathon Training Status: in two parts:
- toe: blackening
- rest of me: still mostly a pinkish, tannish color
Final Installment in
Step Three: Clean and Disinfect
And if you missed the setup and steps one through two, here they are as well:
Elkhart Indiana: Nightmare City on the Edge of Darkness?
Spiritual Warfare, Step One
Spiritual Warfare, Step Two
Good stuff, take a look (lots of pictures!)
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
And the Final Battle shall involve Spandex Shorts
a period of civil
war (sort of). Bike-bound
commuters, striking from a hidden
base, have won their first victory against
the evil Gas-Guzzling Empire. During the battle,
Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire's
ultimate weapon, the DEATH CAR, an armored suburban assault
vehicle with enough power to destroy an entire bike - rider and all. Pursued
by the Empire's sinister agents, Jason races home aboard his Gray Trek, custodian of
the stolen plans that can save his people and restore freedom to the galaxy - er, rather, the streets of Chicago....
I propose drastic measures! We must rise up against tyranny (or, I guess, cars in this case) - a rebellion if you will. And if bikes are the rebels, I suppose cars would be...the empire?
Yes, that should good.
So, the point is, the war has just begun. A war that will be waged...in space!
A war that will be waged...in the streets of Chicago!
yeah, okay, that makes a lot more sense. Anyway, there will be a war one way or the other. We riders of the bike may be smaller, we may not have the technology, or the speed, or...wait, what was my point? Oh yes, the point was, they may have all the advantages, but we have pluck! And if there's one thing history has taught us, it is that pluck wins out over big, nasty evil empires every time, and this shall be no exception.
The need to act is growing increasingly desperate. The empire keeps rolling out bigger and stronger death machines. But, as Burger King's Enormous Omelette Sandwich has shown us, bigger is not always better.
Case in point: The evil empire believed they had achieved victory once they unveiled their ultimate machine (their "Death Car," if you will), the Hummer H2. When the H2 rolled out, many eyes rolled with disbelief. A military vehicle tabbed as a suburban cruiser? That couldn't be a good idea. But saftely experts were no match for the will of the car manufacturers:
Inspectors: We don't need to see your emission test.
Hummer: This is a perfectly safe vehicle.
Inspectors: This is a perfectly safe vehicle.
Hummer: We can go about our business.
Inspectors: You can go about your business.
Hummer: (*whispering* maybe we should ask for a subsidy, too)
So the H2 was unveiled and the spirit of many members of the biking community was broken. What was the point anymore? And so it was a dark time in the biking world; it seemed the empire had won. And they may have, if not for a rag-tag band of biking enthusiasts who refused to be taken down by "The Man" ("The Man" is always causing trouble). And so the bikers of the world (okay, the greater Chicago-land area) banded together - Road and Mountain Bikers alike - and devised a plan.
Huddled together around an old Thinkpad, their messenger bags slung jauntily across their backs, the "band of the bike" focused intently as the plans were unveiled. To protect the rebellion, the names have been changed. So, the leader of the rebellion will be called "Leader", I will go as "Me," and the other guy that appears in this little story will be called "Other Guy."
Leader: The H2 is eqipped with a fuel tank approximately 3 inches in diameter.
After refueling, this opening will be exposed, allowing a passing biker the chance
to fire a sugar cube into the tank, causing a chain reaction that will destroy the engine.
Other Guy: That's impossible, even for a commuter!
Me: That's not impossible. I used to bullseye field mice on my Huffy back home,
and they can't be more than 2-3 inches.
Other Guy: Are you sure you're not thinking of Little Bunny Foo-Foo? You know,
scooping up the field mice and bopping them on the head?
Me: Oh, right, that was Little Bunny Foo-Foo. Damn, this sugar cube
thing is going to be hard. Is this really the best we could some up with?
Leader: There's nothing wrong with the stupid plan. Just go do it.
And so the first squadron rolled out, helmets perched atop our heads, ready to defeat the Death Car...or die trying.
Die trying? Yeah, okay, maybe not. But I was fully prepared to fall off my bike and possibly scrape my knee. And given the fact that I generally ride my bike with the devil-may-care attitude of an 85 year old man, that is saying a lot.
And so this was to be the day. A day that would go down in history as the greatest victory in the history of bike-kind.
The skies were angry that day, black clouds rolling overhead, thunder rumbling in the distance.
The H2 was spotted in the distance - a cry went up! We all turned our heads towards the Doomsday Device. It was yellow...shiny and yellow...and evil.
Shiny and yellow and evil.
And what happened then? Was the fight for good a success? Well, I'm afraid you will just have to wait for the next installment to find out. You see, this was just the setup. The denouement is still to come. Will the Hummer win? Will good win? Check back next week for the exciting conclusion (well, the conclusion anyway. I probably shouldn't promise exciting).
Until then, take a look over at jamierieger.com for the second installment of Spirtual Warfare. Step Two: Disinvite the Enemy.
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Things will never be the same
It isn't the "wed" part that bothers me, it is that Tiffani part. What ever happened to Tiffani-Amber? The Tiffani-Amber who chose to skip the prom because her dad lost his job. Tiffani-Amber the cheerleader and prom queen. The happy Tiffani-Amber. Now we are left with Tiffani Thiessen - professional vixen.
Where has the time gone. Now she is just another Tiffani. Just another Tiffani with an "i".
Anyone know what Lark Vorhees is up to these days?
Some women, however, still have character. Take Scarlett Johansson, for example. She nearly refused to do a love scene in The Island, this year's summer blockbuster, because she was required to keep her clothes on. Nude? sure. Bra? Well, a lady has her limits.
Let me just say I admire her convictions, although the director won out. It is PG-13, after all.
And finally, we have the almost-women. A transgender woman's death was linked to a silicone-injection party she attended on June 19th. It turns out, some of the silicone they use is industrial grade, like sealant. I can definitely see how that might have some negative consequences.
Ladies, when you want to smooth out your skin, steer away from industrial-grade silicone. All you need is Dove Firming. I've seen the commericals, and they are dramatic.
Thus ends ladies night at the Corner of Grace and Wayne. Tomorrow we will return to our regularly scheduled programming.
News and Notes
...if you're lucky.
- First off, as promised, the first link to the Spiritual Warfare series over at jamierieger.com. Step One: Identifying the Enemy.
- Second off, today is my birthday. If you didn't get my something, shame on you. It's not too late though. Click on a google ad (or click on all four of them) and I might have enough money to buy myself something. You know you want to.
- And third off, of relevance to this site is that the Wife bought me Cub Nation for my birthday. Finally I will get to read the book that I have linked on my page (the link, of course, being nothing more than a shameless attempt to cash in on my Cub fan readership). Of less relevance (to the site, not to me) is that she also bought me one of those nifty timbuk2 mesanger bags to ease the daily commute. Not only is it practical, but it is all shiny and colorful. A definite step up from my old Jansport.
That's all. Have a great All-Star day.
Monday, July 11, 2005
Mad cow herd tests negative
get it? mad...negative. get it?
Yes, I made up a whole entry for that stupid joke. Well, that and this:
Cows with Guns.
The above is really old in internet years, but still really funny. Oh, and there's sound.
(and yes, it will say more than "It's loading, please wait." You must learn patience)
All things spiritual
It has come to my attention that wonderful things are going on in Elkhart, IN (also known as "Indiana's answer to Rockford"). And by wonderful, I mean "spiritual war". And by spiritual war, I mean "publicly-elected insanity". All good things, without a doubt. Over at jamierieger.com, a disection of this "spiritual war" has begun and is quite funny (not funny "ha ha," but rather funny "I'm terrified, hold me."
Okay, I lied, it is funny "ha ha")
This look at "Spiritual Warfare" will continue into the week as he begins a three-part series on this warfare of the spirit. Check back as I will post the daily links.
...could also be referred to as "the mad," as in, "I'm mad." (geez, enough with all the "quotes" and "parenthesis" (this entry is almost impossible to follow with all these asides)). Anyway, our country's response to the ravings of the spiritually enamoured was a cause for much angst last week and I'm sorry I couldn't write about it sooner. The young man who wrote "Big Lie" in shoe polish across the salt stain that looked like the Virgin Mary is now facing charges for criminal defacing of public property. Oh god, I don't even want to start with this.
First of all, it was just shoe polish. It washes off pretty easily. And maybe it will take some of that salt stain with it that has marred an otherwise lovely overpass.
Second of all, and much more importantly, is the fact that this is an absurb reaction to an already absurd situation. Why do we decide to prosecute one person while letting all the other who deface public property run free. Not only that, these same people flagrantly littered with no regard for the beauty of our Chicago highways. Yes, that's right, these true believers were all scribbling prayers on the overpass right next to the salt stain - in permanent marker!! Permanent!! Now that is true vandalism. Not only that, but they left their candles and what-nots all over the ground when they left. That should be a $500 fine for littering. And what really gets me is, they did it in front of cameras! We know who they are. It would be a simple matter of rounding up these truants and prosecuting them to the full extent of the law.
Of course, this will never happen. Somehow our society has been so twisted around that it is okay to commit a crime if it is done in the name of religious hysteria. This is a dangerous road to follow, though, as excessive tollerance for religious fanaticism has caused many problems for many countries.
I have my doubts that I would be un-prosecuted were I to start scribbling non-religious phrases on public property, all the while droping candles and beads and the like all over the ground. Of course I would never do this, as it is wrong, but I guess therein lies the difference.
A few things to be happy about
I don't think I'm going to watch the All-Star game this year. In general, it is a fun thing to watch, no doubt, but not something I go out of my way to see. And this year I will be away, so I will be silently hoping that Derrek and Aramis have big days and the NL wins in a landslide.
The real reason that I'm happy about the All-star break is that hopefully our bullpen will get whatever rest they need and can hopefully stop giving up runs at break-neck pace. This little sweep of the Marlins was nice and all, but I still think the Cubs can use the break.
Speaking off...what an amazing series against the Marlins. Just amazing. Really, really amazing. I had no idea that Cubs could hit like that. I think yesterday's game was as patient as I have even seen the Cubs. Five days ago, Leiter would have had no trouble against the Cubs and I would have thrown my ottoman (the foot rest, not the empire) through the TV. As it is, the Cubs have a win, and I still have a TV (wow, five sentences in a row with the word "Cubs" contained within. Somebody fetch me a synonym).
I was going to say just now that the Cubs were this patient back when they had their little 7 game win streak, and then they reverted back to form. But then I recalled a little research that I had done at the end of the streak where I found that the Cubs were no more patient during those 7 games than before. They just hit better but without taking more pitches per plate appearance. If the Cubs can hang onto these walk-tastic ways, then they will be in great, great shape. Of course, any time the Cubs take a couple walks I think this, and it never happens. But hope spring eternal. After all...
Nomar is only half a month away from returning!! What does that really mean? Neifichiro is only half a month away from returning...to the bench! I don't know which part of that makes me happier. I really should have hung onto my hatred of the Neifi, it really would have come in handy right now. A health Nomar inserted in the six spot(?) would be a huge boost to this lineup. That puts our lineup at:
which is starting to almost look reasonable. Plus Hendry will almost certainly make a trade, which might make the lineup look even reasonable-er.
Like I said, hope springs eternal, and I can't help but hope. There are about 75 game left in the season and the Cubs are only (only?) six games out of the Wild Card. It totally sucks, no doubt, but it could be worse. It the Cubs can just play like the team we all though they would be, good things could happen. Here's hoping.
Friday, July 08, 2005
Not much to be happy about
Puns, courtesy of Andrea (you probably don't know Andrea, but I do, and that's what counts):
A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France would result in Linoleum Blownapart.
What do you call cheese that is not yours? Nacho Cheese.
And thanks to Mike for these next two (once again, you don't know him, I don't care)
Two Eskimos were out in a kayak when they began to get cold. They decided to light a fire to keep warm, but the fire spread and the boat sank - proving once and for all that you can't have your kayak and heat it, too.
A group of chess enthusiasts checked into a hotel and were standing in the lobby discussing their recent tournament victories. After about an hour, the manager came out of the office and
asked them to disperse. "But why?," they asked, as they moved off. "Because," he said, "I can't
stand chess nuts boasting in an open foyer."
Ahhh, now that was satisfying. Cubs lose at 6:35 tonight.
I've said my piece regarding Corey
Youth for Youth
Matt Murton and Adam Greenberg come up.
My thought on this in due time. Just one quick word - "good." Patterson needed to be sent down and hopefully this will help. God knows it couldn't hurt.
Thursday, July 07, 2005
nope, not a loser.
Anyway, the way it works is as follows:
I answer the following questions, and then you read them and are so inspired by the answers that you go on to lead a better and fuller life. Maybe you become a Tibetan monk...maybe not. Either way, it's an easy entry for me and frees up time for me to pursue my other interests (let's just say it involves farming sea monkeys and leave it at that).
I don't know the exact answer to this (who does?), but I have about 2 bookshelves worth, which puts me at somewhere around...300? Something like that. Of course, the number of books out of those that I've actually read? Um, well, its not 300, I'm sure of that.
2. What is the last book you bought
I must claim ignorance on this one. I recently inherited a ton of books and I always get several books for Christmas/birthdays, so I haven't had to buy a book (for myself) in a very long time. I do know the next book that I'm going to buy, and it comes out on July 16th.
3. What is the last book you read
I just finished the excellent Amazing Adventures of Cavalier and Clay and it was brilliant. It was full deserving of a prize and I suppose the Pulitzer will do. You know, it seems every book I read these days is about Jews in Brooklyn in the 40's. First it was The Plot against America (fantastic book, btw) and then The Chosen (also awesome) and now this book. I don't have a problem with this, mind you, as it always makes for a great story.
4. List Five books that meant a lot to you and why
- This one's easy. It's a tie between Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. These books have, by far, influenced my life and view of the world more than any other books I've read. Plus, they are just great books in general. Hmmm...I think it is getting to be about time for a re-read.
- Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace - Certainly the most...unique book I've ever read. It simultaneously maintains an incredibly intricate plot while at the same time keeping the plot completely in the background and dealing almost entirely with the characters. You can do this when you have 1100 pages to work with.
- Lamb:The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal - Too damn funny for words. I try to use Christopher Moore as inspiration for my writing...and generally fall far short. I've got a long ways to go before I even stratch the surface of being half as funny at Moore is in this book....a long, long ways
- Most any book/compilation by Dave Barry
- News happens, comment on it, and take nothing seriously. Sounds like a formula for success
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
7.5 miles were completed without incident, and although everything else hurts, the ankle was not a problem.
Disaster averted...for now.
Current Marathon Training Status: we're heading back to: Yellow!
Whatever, it's now neither ominous nor gloomy.
Notes while hoping the Cubs game is cancelled
...in related news, I myself am nearing hurricane strength.
First of all, "Wind Farm?" We seriously farm wind in this country? I mean, not to be glib, but is wind really something you have to work to harvest? Because, if they are having trouble, there's plenty coming off Lake Michigan that I could do without.
Seriously, though, those bird activists need to shut the hell up. I'm sorry that birds aren't smart enough to not run into moving blades, but maybe we shouldn't attack the one industry that's producing clean energy. Just a thought. Activism is all great and lovely, but take a look over at the coal and oil plants - you know, the ones with black smoke billowing from their stacks. Those might be a cause for concern also.
Let me think for a minute. Think...think...think. If the environment is ruined by unclean energy sources...that might negatively affect the birds too! Hey, I made the connection. Let's see if these activists can make the same one.
Also threatened by Windmills, but because he has to duck
I have a pretty good understanding of Bigfoot, having seen most all of the Harry and the Hendersons episodes, but I still found this enlightening. BigFoots (BigFeet?) like Dr. Pepper, it seems. I wonder if they like Diet Dr. Pepper. It tastes more like regular Dr. Pepper, you know.
I've always found that to be a very misleading commerical. "Diet Dr. Pepper tastes more like regular Dr. Pepper." Than what? Pepsi? Kool-Aid? Battery Fluid?
I hate these undefined statements.
Current Marathon Training Status: Growing Dark. Dark and Ominous
Things had been going pretty well. Sunday's run was really hard (at one point I would have loved to quit) but I finished and all was well. But then on Monday the Wife fell off of her bike and twisted her ankle a bit. So today she gets to see if she can run on it. Very scary stuff...stay tuned.
It's okay to be a nerd
What I'm trying to say is, nerds are everywhere. Oh sure, the scientific community is basically the spawning ground for little nerdlings (minus, you know, the spawning part), but we nerds are everywhere. Don't think so? Just check out your local indy-music store some time. And don't be fooled by the Radiohead t-shirt, we are everywhere.
You see, that's the thing. People think you need to wear black socks with shorts or a calculator watch to be a nerd. Now granted, those are big, screaming red flags, but they are hardly requirements for admission to our little club. When it comes down to it, being a nerd is mostly just a matter of being overly enthusiastic about a singular topic, whatever it may be.
Take music, for example. Nothing's cooler than Rock 'n Roll. I know this to be true as otherwise Steven Tyler would never have managed to procreate (come on, you know I'm right). But, despite all this, the music (including rock) community is up to its pierced-nipples in nerds. Case-in-point: I was taking the Metra home after work one day and ended up behind two enormous nerds. Now, it was fairly obvious they were nerds from their appearance - quasi-goth nerds, to be specific. You know, the kind that think wearing a black band t-shirt and black jeans (and black shoes...but white socks, oddly enough), coupled with long/shaggy hair compensates for a certain hidden dork-waddiness. Any question I might have had about the matter was quickly squelched once they opened their mouths.
Fact after fact was vomitted up regarding all things 80's rock. Long hair jabbed with an obscure Smiths reference only to be neatly parried by his partner, Johnny bad-goatee, who deftly noted that the guitarist for the Smiths played back up for...um, I don't know, some random band. Maybe that band that sang Blue Monday? I'm afraid I'm a little out of my depth as I am not a music nerd, nor could I ever be one. The reason, you see, is that if you are going to be a niche-based nerd, that's all you have, because god is it time consuming. Between posting scathing (and lengthy, I might add) retorts on alt.fan.80s-indie against those who actually believe that, get this, Blondie had a higher career peak than the Pixies (feh) and, of course, playing Warcraft...well, there's just not a lot of time for much else.
Now, is this a case of the pot calling the kettle black? Definitely not. I've got far too much white-people guilt to even use the word black. No, you see, I'm no better than all the other nerds (well, I'm a little better, but still..). I am a nerd, no doubt, just a well rounded one. I'm the Mario of nerds. There is no *one thing* that I do that hampers me socially, but my interests definitely lie in the nerdly-realm.
I could recite to you Episodes 4-6 verbatim (how many of you knew I was talking about Star Wars?) and I can wax poetic about Star Trek (both old and next Gen.)...but I usually don't. I know my share of physics and math and have strong opinions about cartoons...but you'll never hear them. Because, I've learned to keep it on the inside when in polite company.
And I think that's the key. When in a social situation, everything in moderation. Embrace being a nerd! Star Trek is good! Captain Kirk is a true leader (and don't you forget it). But always watch for that glazed look that is sure to follow once hour two is reached of your soliloquy on the idyllic nature of Gene Roddenberry's vision (a vision that has us all ending up Socialists...which, you know, may not work out quite as well as he thinks, if history is any indication).
So yes, everything in moderation. Except this piece, which has droned on for far too long. Because, you see, there is a time an place for long-winded, boring, pointless stories and (I'll give you a hint) it ends in .blogspot.com.
The Wife thought that it might be appropriate for me to mention that, as I typed this, I was wearing an Empire Strike Back T-shirt. Nothing wrong with that. And it just occured to me that I should also mention, in the interest of full disclosure, that my cell phone looks like it has a Federation Insignia (you know, from Star Trek) on the front of it. But in no way would I ever flip it up and make a beep-beep noise, telling Scotty "Two to beam up." Because, really, that'd be just silly.
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
Okay, I have a question
What compels people to shame others?
Last Wednesday the Wife and I swung down to the Taste of Chicago on our way home from work for a little, um, taste of Chicago. So, at the corner of Jackson and Michigan (the name of my next blog, btw), there are two places one can cross - only one of which has a cross walk. Are you with me so far? Okay. Of course the Wife and I - and a couple others - crossed at the bad place. Why is it the bad place? Well, you see, cars are turning left and so one has to wait for them to pass before crossing the entirety of the street. You say it doesn't sound bad? Oh, ho ho, you couldn't be more wrong and I know this thanks to a kind lady who was nice enough to offer her opinion on the matter.
So anyway, we were crossing the street and we stopped in the middle to allow the left-turners to pass when one of those cars piped up (well, the driver actually, not the car) and shouted in her shrill little voice: "You stupid people, that's not a crosswalk! You're supposed to cross on the other side!"
Okay, now, I'd be lying if I said that didn't sting. Right down to my very core. (*tear rolls down cheek*) This complete stranger had just gone out of her way to call me stupid...for jay-walking. And I really didn't know how to respond, I was so stunned (okay, that's a lie, I actually responded with some combination of "bite me" and "shut the fuck up", but I was stunned nonetheless).
And just to be clear, in no way did I cause her to slow down, change her course, or swerve and hit a kitten. So why did she go out of her way to lay down such a healthy dose of shame upon my soul? What purpose did that serve? Are we so devoid of common curtesy anymore that it has become okay to shout insults out the window at strangers? For jay-walking?!? This was a verbal drive-by.
I'm sure you will be relieved to know that we all made it across the street safely, and the car-bound lady managed to complete her turn without further incident, despite my stupidity. But her insult still lingers to this day (I'm guessing it will wear off by Friday, just in time for the weekend).
So listen well, my friends, for this is my public service to you:
"There's no hope, with dope!"
no, wait, that's not it. How about:
"If you walk, drivers will talk!"
It's a "The More you Know" just waiting to happen.
The Cubs, after losing 3 straight and winning 4 straight, have now lost five straight. Yikes. I know that I'm not the only one who got excited when the three aces (plus one) were reunited. It seemed that the Cubs should never lose. After all, how many runs could we posibly give up with this caliber of pitching.
It turns out we were all asking the wrong question.
The question should have been: How many runs can we possibly score with this lineup. The starting pitching has not struggled in the last week, but the margin of error has been nil, and the losses have begun to pile up.
Not good times.
But things are going to change soon. There is no reason that the Cubs offense should be this bad. They should score a few runs at some point. It just happens to be the case that everyone is struggling at once....something that happens all too often. Tonight the Cubs have Maddux going again a pitcher with a 6+ era, just like yesterday (except the Maddux part). I can't say I'm optimistic.
The encouraging sign was the presence of a resonable top-of-the-lineup. Hairston and Walker and Lee, oh my! (yes, I did just say that. No, I'm not proud). But it seems like that surge of intellegence must end, as the Patterson exile is apparently over. Hairston excelled in the leadoff roll for two whole game, but Patterson can't be stopped, he can only hope to be contained. With that in mind, how about this lineup (it'll never happen).
Looks good to me, although Holly will never sit, and maybe shouldn't. So I give you an alternate lineup, which will also never happen, but incorporates all of Dusty's favorites.
Notice a trend? Ah yes, the OBP twins are anchoring the bottom of the lineup, right where they belong. Will this ever happen? No. Patterson and Neifi! are too speedy/scrappy...one will be in the 1 or 2 slot no matter what.
These, however, are all just suggestions. I've given up on trying to make any predictions.
Friday, July 01, 2005
I no longer fear hell
- The have relocated the Serengeti to the Corner of Grace and Wayne in a cost cutting measure
- My apartment is 30% closer to the Sun than all other points on Earth.
- Cooking Hamburgers has never been easier. Just set them on the kitchen counter for 5 minutes on each side and you are good to go. No need to fire up the grill.
- The constant layer of moisture coating my body has eliminated the need for bathing.
- The Wife has set up a ten foot "No, it's too hot" buffer zone.
- Nice, restful sleep has been replaced by no sleep and creeping insanity.
And I can't blame her, seeing as how she's trapped in a furry hell of nature's design. Really though, she couldn't possibly be making it worse on herself. She seems to seek out the places in the house with the worst ventilation and just lays on the floor (which has approximately the same surface temperature as our George Forman Lean Mean Grilling Machine). And suffers. Her favorite rooms appear to be the bathroom (a.k.a. "the suffocation chamber") and the kitchen, especially right next to the oven (but only if it is on). And so, being very lovely people, we move her. We will move her to the window sill or next to a fan. It seems like she should like the window sill as she gets a (relatively) cooling breeze with the added benifit of a scenic view (I've often heard cats love a nice view). However, a minute later, she is right back on the floor being all hot and crabby. My personal belief is that she is intentionally torturing herself to work off whatever bad karma has brought her into this life as a kitty in our tiny, hot Chicago apartment.
At this point, you might be asking yourself "Why doesn't this guy just buy and Air Conditioner?" Seems like a bit of a personal question, considering you probably have never met me, but I'm a good sport so I'll answer. The answer, of course, is that I'm a cheap, cheap bastard (and poor too! Wee!). Currently, my utilities bills are really quite low and I just can't bring myself to install an AC unit, thereby doubling my electric bill.
Now, this logic breaks down if you consider the fact that, in order to escape my little hell on earth, I will head out to most anyplace that has air conditioning. Movies, bars...wherever.
But who needs logic when you've got unbearable heat and inflated bar tabs.
Because I'm living, in a microbial world
...the end result has slowed my typing some.
...but on the plus side, I have nifty little claw-hands now
No More Jinx
Friday! Friday! Friday!
Prior vs. Hernandez.
But I won't do that. I won't. For some reason, I have been given powers beyond my control. Really, beyond my comprehension. So it is my desire, nay my duty, to no longer predict game outcomes or extoll the virtues of Cub players until the result is in.
So I'm not going to talk about how excited I am to have Prior pitch. I'm not going to talk about how great he is.
It's not going to happen.
It's the least I can do.