Wednesday, August 31, 2005


Wood update

Kerry Wood, to be specific.

According to today's telecast, the surgery went fine with Kerry. They found exactly what they expected and nothing more.

He should be ready for Spring Training right on time and he is expected to be ready for the DL about four weeks from then.


If you're watching the game will note that neither Murton nor Cedeno are in the lineup.

What was the need to start Corey? I mean, I understand that you can't take the glove out of Neifi's hand; he's our MVP, but Corey?

Is this the day we'll see Jermaine Van Buren?

If things continue in this manner, the answer is probably "yes". I fully expect JVB to only get used in a blowout. After all, he's just a kid. You don't want to ruin him.


What do you think?

Murton and Cedeno both played very well last night. Do you think they'll both make it back into the starting lineup today?

Personally, I doubt it. It would really be too much to expect Dusty to run the same lineup out on consecutive days.

Reason #37 to not like Corey

From the Trib:

The Cubs would like outfielder Corey Patterson to polish his batting stroke in winter ball, but he will not commit to that yet.

"I'm not going to think about it right now," Patterson said. "It's my decision. I have to do what I think is best for me, but I'm not saying one way or another. I just want to play the best I can [for the rest of the season]."

Hmmm, good thinkin', Lincoln. After the stellar year you've had, they really have no right to force you to play baseball. You know, it's really sad. With his defense, he would only need to be average with the bat to be a solid asset. Right now, though, that seems like a lot to ask.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


So foolish

I'm so cute when I'm being stupid.

Over at Goatriders, I foolishly suggested that Dusty was now forced to play Murton with the trade of Hollandsworth.

I'm so silly.

I'd forgotten all about Corey and Hairston! You see, Dusty just wants to win, and he's going to win with his proven veterans. You know, the one who's proven that he can hit a solid .230 and strike out every other at bat (I talking about Corey, in case that wasn't clear).

It seems, though, that there is a bit of confusion:

In the Suntimes we get:

"Murton's a guy we want to look at,'' Hendry said. "He did a commendable job when he was here.''

But in the Trib, Baker disagrees:

"Depends on how [much time] I can get Corey [Patterson] and [Jerry] Hairston—he's playing pretty good," Baker said. "You've still got to win games too.

"If you haven't noticed, I play everybody on my team. I always have. So it's not going to be any different. They're going to get at-bats big-time. You guys ask me the same questions every day."

Baker said Monday that Hendry "doesn't tell me who to play." On Saturday, Hendry told reporters that "if Cedeno and Murton are playing, that's a positive, and I think our fan base would appreciate that."

Well, Jim, we would appreciate it too. Too bad you hired a loose cannon. And not in the good "Lethal Weapon" sort of way, either. Man, that's a sweet movie.

So, good luck Matt, you should get a solid 4-5 AB's a week. We've got to win those games. But what about Cedeno? Surely he can get some PT? Dusty?

Cedeno sat again as Perez started, and his only start during the Dodgers series will be Tuesday against right-hander Brad Penny. Cedeno is hitting .324 against right-handers and .214 against left-handers.

"I just can't take the ball and glove out of Neifi's hands," Baker argued. "It's not fair to just sit him down for what he's done for us. So I've got to find a way, at least for a while, for both of them to play."

Right. Good point, Dusty. That extra win we might get if Neifi somehow manages to outplay Cedeno will make all the difference. But remember, Dusty is always willing to play the kids. You just have to give him some kids to play.

This all reminds me of when I was trying to get a job. You can't get hired without three years of experience, but you can't get the experience without getting hired. The solution? Get traded to the Braves.


More Intelligent Design

This time, the flaws of Intelligent Design are explained by someone full qualified.

Daniel Dennett, author of Darwin's Dangerous Idea, wrote an Op-Ed piece for the NY Times discussing Intellegent Design. He does a very nice job explaining why it should not be taught in a science class and looks are how this idea became so popular.

You may have to register, but it is worth a look:

Show me the Science

...the proponents of intelligent design use a ploy that works something like this. First you misuse or misdescribe some scientist's work. Then you get an angry rebuttal. Then, instead of dealing forthrightly with the charges leveled, you cite the rebuttal as evidence that there is a "controversy" to teach.

Monday, August 29, 2005


It's playoff time, baby and it's...

When we left off last time, much adulation was being showered upon the author (that's me) for his amazing offensive turn around. If memory serves, the previous two weeks saw Jason go 7 for his last 8. Bravo, Jason. Bravo.

Would this week see Jason bring more of the same brilliance to the field? Would Jason continue to shine?

Well, I'm not going to just tell you; you'll have to read the whole piece.

(but the answer's going to be yes)

It's playoff time, boys and girls, and this time it really counts. And not in that bullshit All-star game sort of way. No, this really counts. Like, for real. Those evil Boomers, the causers of much teeth-gnashing, were between us and our ultimate goal, the Championship. Would we reach these lofty heights? Only time will tell.
ed. note: You see, the author is pretending to be unaware of the actual final outcome of the playoffs, which ended last week. This literary device, used by many of the best writers, is known as "lying."
It was one of the more terrific games ever played, really. And I'm not just saying that because I went 3-4 on the day. That's the main reason I'm saying it, but not the sole reason. No, it was also a great day because the d0nuts tasted victory. And it tasted sweet. Not so sweet that is was gross, no, but sweet in a way that tasted good. Is that clear?
ed note (again): The author is now using another literary device where he gives away the ending at the beginning. I'm afraid I don't know the name of this device. This device is very useful when the author can't remember any details of the game and doesn't want to admit it. Not that I'm saying that is the case this time. Far from it. Did I meantion we won?
Let's see, what can I remember. ...thinking... Oh yes, I played second today. Below you will find an action shot of me manning my position.

I may not have the best range, but I block most of what I get to.

Getting back to the fun part of the game (hitting), I have just one word to describe it: Line drives. No, wait, "Linedrives". And if I could find just one more word to describe it, it would have to be "a'flyin'". So that gives us: linedrives a'flyin'. Oh, and "awesome". And, I suppose, we can throw in, "Pride of Fermilab".

And handsome.

Devastatingly handsome.

But that's neither here nor there. The point is, I smacked 3 liners and scored each time I was one base. One teammate of mine had an excellent line upon witnessing my second hit: "Looks like Corey was sent to the minors and learned to hit." (or something to that effect)

Ha ha, very funny.

And then I struck out in my next at bat.

Let's not mention Corey anymore, if that's okay with everyone.

Okay, so let's fast forward to the bottom of the 7th. The Boomers were down by 9 in the final frame...not an insurmountable lead, but the d0nuts had pretty much sealed a win. The guy leading off the inning singled to right and right fielder threw the ball in to the cutoff man. Okay, next batter, right?

Oh no. You see, time was never officially called by the ump and so the runner took off for second.

And, oh baby, you'd better believe chaos ensued. There was much yelling and gesturing and amidst the hubabaloo the runner made the turn and headed into third. By the time the ball was finally thrown, the runner was safe at third. Of course, once the dust settled, the ump sent him back to first. Because this is Fermiball.

This was some pretty bad sportsmanship. Time is implied in this league, especially on a clean single to lead off the inning. Like I said, this is Fermiball. If you win, you are the Fermiball. You know, you're King of the Physically Inept. Congrats.

**Note: It was just brought to my intention that this recounting was not entirely correct. In fact, the runner was not *leading off*, he was hitting with two outs. So he risked the last out of a 9 run game to get to third. Just mind boggling. Also, I was reminded that we were being accused of poor sportsmanship for taking walks. Hey, if you don't want us to take walks, then throw a friggin' strike. Geez. (Thanks to the Wife for having a decent memory)**

Why did I mention all this? Well, mainly because this is going to be the theme of next week's installment. Next week, when we go to the next level of bad sportsmanship.

So tune in!


The Sandberg Game

(no not that one, the one last night)

It seems that the Cubs decided to do the decent thing last night and win one for the old Second Sacker. It would have been true Cub fashion to drop the game after a nice opening ceremony, but for once fate was one our side.

And I really do mean "for once." I believe this is the first time fate has conspired to make something good happen for the Cubs all season.

Every break went to the Cubs and nothing went right for the evil Marlins. The end result? A 14-3 Cub victory. It doesn't get much sweeter than that.

A few comments from the game:
Another game tonight. From here on out, it is about personal achievement. I'm looking for:
Any others I'm missing?

Sunday, August 28, 2005


What does this even mean?

A quote from the good ship Dusty:

September song

The Cubs won't get a chance to see Felix Pie in September because of his season-ending ankle injury, but Baker isn't too disappointed.

"Generally speaking, if a guy does well in the minor leagues, he has a better chance of doing well in the major leagues, but sometimes it doesn't work like that," he said.

"Sometimes it's a situation like George Brett. He was a .280 hitter in the minor leagues and came up and led the league for years. So you really don't know how a young man responds until he gets here."

What the hell is this supposed to mean. He's not sad to not see Pie because sometimes minor league success doesn't translate to the majors.

Is that what I'm suppose to understand?

I've got to say. This doesn't help Dusty's reputation much.

What an idiot.


Next on the Pole


Saturday, August 27, 2005


Lee Smith

Somebody needs to sign this guy to a contract.

No, not as a pitcher (although...we could do worse), but as a broadcaster. I was listening to Pat and Ron on the way back to Chicago and they were doing their usual per-sing interview with Smith. I've got to say, the man has a beautiful voice and he didn't say anything especially stupid.

Sounds like a recipe for success to me.

If Joe Carter and Rick Sutcliff (not to mention Joe Morgan, Tim McCarver, ...) are permitted in the booth, then that shows the job is certianly not about posessing the ability to form coherent thoughts. I'm not sure exactly was it is about, but a pretty voice has to be as good a reason as any.

And great job with the singing, too, Lee.

Friday, August 26, 2005


Just a link

Nothing more for today. I just wanted to point everyone towards a great three part piece. Funny, funny stuff.

Still Life with Fish, Part I
Still Life with Fish, Part II
The Tragic tale of Crab Icarus

An excerpt:

I got a fishtank in my early twenties, because I needed to throw fistfulls of money at something and I hadn't really discovered bars yet. A fishtank is like a vending machine from hell--you feed dollar bills in at one end and a few seconds later a dead fish drops down out of the slot. "This can't be right," you say to yourself, scratching your head. More dollars. More dead fish. Maybe a sawbuck? A slightly bigger dead fish. And you just keep feeding in the money. "I know there's a Zagnut bar in there somewhere," you are thinking, as stone cold fish corpses start stacking up at your feet like cordwood.

Thursday, August 25, 2005


A new wife, a new life, and...A presidency?

I met my future wife during the War Against the Great Red North. I was leading forces up into Maine to slaughter the few remaining Mounties who refused to give in and it was then, while I was reducing the invaders to a quivering mass of Commie goo, that I caught her eye.

There she stood, her hair blowing in the wind, ankle deep in yak intestines (she was the local butcher, you see). I looked at her and she looked right back at me. There was a certain fire in her eyes, like the itching and burning that every soldier knows all too well. I tossed aside the disembodied head I was holding and sauntered on over to her.

Few words were spoken...but they were the right words.

We made sweet, sweet love that night and on into the morning (64 times in total). A few months later we were wed and I moved her and her butcher shop with me to Washington. I had long since move my permanent residence to the nation's capitol. At the time, I figured I could go one of two ways. I could go ahead and be the in-your-face sort of leader and take my rightful place at the head of the army, or I could head off into the sunset and be the mysterious, quiet leader who's mere existence gives comfort to the little people. It turns out the first option lends itself to much more lucrative endorsement deals, and so I moved into my new home in D.C., "The Command Center".

I soon discovered that my wife was as ambitious as I, a veritable fountain of passion and energy. She was a butcher, it's true, but her heart lay with something bigger...something grand. With a flash of the eyes and a toss of the head (not to mention a finger snap or two), she made it clear that she didn't marry me to sit at home, bake cookies, and gut the four legged...she wanted more.

A finger poked me in the chest (her finger, in case that wasn't clear) and a very pointed directive followed the finger poke. Get successful or get packin' (it did little good to point out that the title to our modest home was in my name).

It wasn't so much that I had the drive to be president, but that she had the drive to be first lady.

The campaign would be best described as whirlwind. My opponent was another war hero, but he was lucky enough to lose three of his four limbs in combat, and so the sympathy vote was hard to overcome.

His campaign centered around his one remaining arm.

My campaign was driven by the prevailing anti-Canadian fervor. A tag-line of "Our bacon will remain long, thin, and crispy! Now and forever!" was the exclamation point at the end of every campaign speech and "Death to the pointy-hatted" and "Whack the Yaks" adorned the lapels of each and every member of my campaign. I plied the voters with fear, a technique unheard of in previous elections (I even considered a "color-coded" system to rate the Canadian threat level, from happy white all the way up to Bolshevik red, but decided that would be going a bit too far).

Turns out the sympathy vote goes a little farther than I thought.

who knew?

Next: Is it really reasonable to expect a one limbed man to survive for long?

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


The tragically awkward teenage years

The continuation of The Life of Jason, an autobiographical account. If you missed The Early Years, they can be found here.

How does a growth spurt ruin a budding acting career? When it is all at one and all wrong.

I didn't so much as grow up as I was pulled, pulled like taffy. Taffy, that is, if it was pulled by a blind, thumbless child. You see, not only was I stretched far too thin, but one leg ended up a bit longer than the other. The end result was an unfortunate cross between a newborn deer and a drunken clubfoot.

Suffice to say, hollywood had little interest in a gangly, awkward teen who couldn't walk.

And so I was adrift...paddleless in a canoe on a river of filth (metaphorically speaking) with no rescue in sight. That is, until I found Darvocet.

Don't ever let anyone try and tell you drugs are bad. Drugs were the only friend I had. Reality's a bitch and, let me tell you, it's best viewed through a haze. If possible, a drug induced haze.

Things were finally looking up in my little life. I had my happy pills, the pink elephants were dancing, and I was content to sit in a pool of my own feces and vomit. That is, until fate interveaned...cruel, cruel fate. Yes, she is a harsh mistress.

The bugle rang out! The call to arms was raised!

The Commies had landed. Secretly conspiring for years, Canada and Russia had joined forces and built up an army consisting of fiercely loyal Mounties and slightly drunk Bolsheviks. The first wave consisted of a highly trained Yak army that stampeeded across the boarder and trampled the farms of upper Montana, slaughtering the women and raping the cattle (which makes sense, I think, given that they were yaks). With America's first line of defense down (sidenote: Montana's official slogan should be "the first line of defense against those damned Canadians), the Mounties galloped across the borders.

Many an American knew terror that day, and terror wore a pointy, red hat.

But despise this devasting blow, America was resilient as ever. With air raid sirens a' blazin', Americans everywhere took up arms. Just as in the Civil War, when the North was attacked by a nasty case of moral outrage and the south was attacked by a strong desire to keep on enslavin', every man, woman, and child took to fighting.

editor's note: We'd like to point out that the above is clearly just silly fiction. The War Between the States was about state's rights and nothing more. We apologize for the confusion. Remember: State's rights...and that's it.

Back in my home town, I was unceremoniously yanked from my drug-induced stupor by the sound of yaks bleating in the distance (or mooing...whatever yaks do) and quickly rushed to the window to see what the matter was. After an hour or so of watching my fellow townsmen attacked by the mounting (and mounted) hordes of evil, it finally dawned on me that there were some fairly serious happenings a' transpirin'. I gave out a little yelp (yelp) and lept to action.

Breaking the "In Case of Emergency" glass in my building's stairwell, I hefted a big ol' axe, the kind of axe that is just made for bashing in Commie skull. I threw on a belt (you tend to lose a bit of weight when you spend a couple years just pooping and vomitting) and charged out into the melee.

"To me! To me!" I cried, attempting to rally the good people of the lower 48 to, um, me. Unfortuantely, the only people that rallied were the pointy-hatted legions of doom, and I was quickly surrounded. But instinct took over, and I brandished my axe with a fervor I usual reserved for PlayStation 2 (as we all know, Grand Theft Auto 3 requires an above-average level of viscious intensity). Yak and Canadian head alike filled the sky as I separated them frofrom their corporal host and Ruskie blood ran in thick rivers through our quiet town. The day of reckoning had come. Bitch.

Slowly the other townspeople began to gather round, peering over the pile of headless corpses that littered the ground. When it finally dawned on them what had happened, a great cheer went up and I was hailed as savior. It was a small victory, yes, but I had saved our little town. And now I was their leader. And, in many ways, I was their god. Except I didn't have a beard. And I wasn't omnipotent. And no son of mine was going to die for anyone's sins. My son was going to play baseball. Shortstop, if possible.

But I digress.

In the battle against the great, red manace, the people had found their Jon Connor (see: Terminator). I taught them how to to to destroy those damned robots Canadians.

I was a hero, and victory was virtually guaranteed (unless somebody sent a moose or a yak or something back in time to kill my mother before I was born...that could cause problems). And the war waged on for years on end, a war we would eventually win (barring, again, the intervention of a time traveling quadruped).

Once again, life was good.

Next: Victory for America, marriage for Jason.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


Getting to know the author

Feeling that this blog was missing that "personal touch" that permeates most successful sites, I am going to introduce a series entitled "Getting to know the author" in which I detail my life story to date. Sort of a digital autobiography. With the completion of this series, I hope we will all be just a little closer.

Except that I still don't want to know anything about any of you.

My birth was an auspicious one, a portent of things to come (so to speak). With a sick thud, I fell to the ground, a child, but not easily identified as such. Grey, leathery skin and long, full whiskers took the place of the usual soft, pink exterior and button nose.

I still remember my first thoughts. I was not even out of the womb (well, not all the way out of the womb, anyway), but I was very self-aware.

Ow, ow, hey that hurts. Hey, guys, my head it getting pretty much squished here...


Oh, that's much better.

I caught my reflection in the doctor's eyes and thought to myself "Sweet Jesus, I'm ugly. What the hell's wrong with me, I look like a little, wet burrito." Young as I was, I didn't realize that all newborns look like little, wet burritos.

I quickly grew into my looks, though, and much as the ugly duckling grew into a beautiful swan, I developed into one of the best looking children of my generation. Modeling contracts were soon to follow, but my career didn't fully take off until I landed the role of "Ricky" on TGIF's "A Bushel and a Peck." All will, of course, remember the catch-phrase that resonated through the hearts of adolescent America: "No Problem, Chuckeeeeeeey!"

Life was good. The money kept rolling in and the hits kept on rolling out. Everything was all kittens and ponies until...I hit my first growth spurt (cue the music). And with that growth spurt began the awkward teenage years.

Next: The fall of an American Icon, the birth of an American hero.


a link

Catching up on the past week, I came across an excellent piece on the history of the Kings of Scotland over at

Here it is.

It is somewhat educational, I suppose, and might make you think. But, if you're careful, you can avoid the thinking part and just focus on the action scenes, which I quote:


Yes, there is much stabbing, and a bit of dying. All in all a very entertaining piece. Check it out and catch all the bits and pieces of Scottish history that Braveheart left out.


Vote of Confidence for Dusty, Hendry

Andy MacPhail seems to love the work put forth by one Johnny B. Baker.

Dusty seems to love the work put forth by one Johnny B. Baker.

Andy MacPhail seems to love the work put forth by one James Hendry

Dusty seems to love the work put forth by one Johnny B. Baker.

I'm confused. Are you confused? Because I'm confused. According to today's Suntimes article, MacPhail said that he was pleased with Hendry and that Hendry was pleased with Dusty and, well, contract extensions for everyone! Yes, that's right, clearly everyone is doing an fine job and nobody is underachieving!

"I can't say we underachieved, no way,'' [Dusty] said. "There's a lot of things -- the inexperience of our bullpen, and we haven't played good defense. I can't say we underachieved. That sounds like you're not playing good enough, and on many occasions, even though we haven't looked good, we played sometimes as hard as we could at that time.''

And this is the point where I get confused. If the Cubs aren't underachieving, as pointed out by Dusty, then does that mean they are playing up to par? Does it mean that they are playing at the expected level of the talent provided?

apparently. What that would mean, of course, is that Dusty has done a fine job given the players he was dealt. After all, what else can a manager do but get his player to play to their ability. No, the problem clearly is that he has subpar players. And that, of course, is the domain of our very own Jim Hendry. So Dusty has deftly shifted the blame from his shoulders over to those of Hendry. Good show, Dusty.

Does anybody really believe that these players should be sub-.500? Anybody?

Me neither.

One final quote from another Suntimes article:

"You have to be really thankful we have Neifi,'' Baker said.

Chances are, the Cubs will re-sign Perez for 2006 and not Garciaparra, whose health issues make him too big of a risk.


Monday, August 22, 2005


So what's up with the Cubs?

I go on vacation, miss 9 games, and come back to find more of the same. The Cubs win a series against the Cardinals and the Astros each and then drop one to the hapless Rockies...pathetic.

It's time for someone to explain to me the deal with the Cubs. How do things like this happen?

I think there is little doubt that next year's team will be completely different. Something has to give.

Anyway, that is not important. I can't really analyze a team I haven't watched. I did, however, get a chance to visit the Hall of Fame while I was in New York and will write about that experience in due time. Suffice to say, it is an awesome, awesome place.

I had a chance to do a fair amount of writing this trip, so lots of good stuff coming (this is not an example of that good stuff, don't worry).

Until then...


Back home again

Alright, vacation is over and happily I have returned to my home.

Original content sure to follow.

Friday, August 19, 2005


Classic Grace and Wayne: August 8th, 1708

Note: Jason is on vacation this week, so for that time we will be replaying "Classic Grace and Wayne," some of the more popular entries from years past. Jason will return on August 22nd with new content. This post originally appeared on "From the Corner of Grace and Wayne" on August 8th, 1708

Arrrr from aboard th' Devil`s Cruelty. This be me second entry from th' high seas as I`ve been findin' 't hard t' get wireless ou' here.

Last night we boarded a merchant vessel, stole all the'r goods, an' burned th' ship. 't be a long night, but 't be nice t' get some exercise.

't made me think: Why canna our GM do th' same? We be havin' many holes in our lineup an' none o' them ben fixed. He`s jus' sittin' on his arse an' waitin'. A gentleman o' fortune nerewaits an' neither ought a GM. Go ou' an' pilage! Capture th' other team`s players an' burn the'r stadium t' th' poop deck! Enough waitin', we`ve waited long enough. I want a victory.

This be why th' Cubs nerewin. They dasn't think like a Gentleman o' fortune.

Lily livered Cubs

Thursday, August 18, 2005


Classic Grace and Wayne: April 2nd, 2005

Note: Jason is on vacation this week, so for that time we will be replaying "Classic Grace and Wayne," some of the more popular entries from years past. Jason will return on August 22nd with new content. This post originally appeared on "From the Corner of Grace and Wayne" on April 2nd, 2005

This season is not going to be a good one. You know how I know?

First of all, the bullpen. LaTroy is clearly not fit to close. Does anyone remember last year? Hello? And come one, Michael Wuertz? He is going to lose his control eventually. Anyone can see that.

And, oh God, don't get me started on the starters. Kerry Wood? What are the odds that the duct tape keeping his shoulder together is going to hold? 5%? 10%? I'd say about as good as the Cubs' odds of winning this year.

But don't worry, we've got Nomar. The great Nomar. You know, great for the 15 games he will play during the season. What is he going to tear this year, huh? Hamstring? Groin? You know it will be something.

But I'm getting a little too negative. There may be some good things. I really think DLee is going to break out this year. It looks like he is getting his hands around on those inside pitches now which leaves him weakness free. That should translate to some good numbers. And Aramis? He will be alright.

But when you add it all up, this is not a good team. Not good at all. Bad, even. It will be a miracle if they break .500 for the season.

I guess we wait until next year...and the year hasn't even started!! God, I hate the Cubs.

But at least we have Dusty.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


Classic Grace and Wayne: November 1st, 2003

Note: Jason is on vacation this week, so for that time we will be replaying "Classic Grace and Wayne," some of the more popular entries from years past. Jason will return on August 22nd with new content. This post originally appeared on "From the Corner of Grace and Wayne" on November 1st, 2003

To my readers:

Sorry I haven't posted in the last couple of weeks. Honestly, I've spent my time trying to pretend that baseball doesn't exist. I didn't watch the World Series, I didn't read any baseball sites...nothing.

First off, I don't blame Bartman. I think he made a huge mistake, but he isn't the reason we lost. Honestly, I think Gonzalez should bear the brunt of the blame. If he turns that DP the inning is over and we move on. Secondly, I would blame Dusty for doing nothing to change the pace of the game after the two incidents to try and get Prior's head on straight. It was one of the worst non-moves in recent memory (worse that the Grady incident) and I find it basically unforgivable. Bartman I can forgive...these two are supposed to be pros.

And then game 7. I don't even know why I'm writing about it...I should just let it die. I truly thought the Cubs had a great chance with Wood going after he had been lights out in the postseason. I guess he was just tired or something. Or the Marlins just wanted it more, I don't know. But I do know that watching the Marlins pile on top of each other, stealing the celebration that should have belonged to the Cubs - it was too much. Yes, I cried. Call me a big girl if you want, but I personally blame the 85 or so Old Styles I downed that night. Believe me, I'm not usually that emotional.

Then an old Cubs' fan came over an bought the Girlfriend and me a shot and we reminiced about the 84 Cubs and we all sang the Jody Davis song. Not good times, but as far as wakes go, I suppose it was better than most.

Now that I'm talking about baseball again, I guess it is time to look at next year. There is reason for hope, I suppose, with all of our pitchers coming back. Could next year be a breakout year for Wood? I hope so. I do think Prior will win his first Cy Young next year.

I don't know what next year will bring, but I think it will be good things. And I'll tell you this: I don't want a 89 win season next year. I want to come out with all guns firing, jump out to a 10 game lead, and cruise to a 100 win season. I'm sick of being mediocre. I want to win now.

I don't believe in curses.

Let's get our World Series...I'm waiting until next year...the year.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


Classic Grace and Wayne: April 4th, 1994

Note: Jason is on vacation this week, so for that time we will be replaying "Classic Grace and Wayne," some of the more popular entries from years past. Jason will return on August 22nd with new content. This post originally appeared on "From the Corner of Grace and Wayne" on April 4th, 1994

I'm hoping this entry gets through as AOL has thrown me off three times before I could even get to this site to post. Hopefully I can finish typing before I get some sort of stupid network error. I wish we had CompuServ.

Anyway, I had to brave AOL to comment on Tuffy Rhodes. In theory, he is the Cubs' leadoff hitter, but maybe he should be the cleanup hitter. Three homers today! 3! homers! today!

I'm very impressed.

I hadn't really heard of Tuffy before the season, but in Spring Training they started talking this guy up as a possible solution to center and leadoff - and I can't say I'm disappointed. Last year was a good year despite the Cubs just missing the playoffs. I think, though, that this year could be better. Why?
Mark Grace just keeps getting better and Sosa had a breakout year last year. The only impact player not back from last year is Greg Hibbard.

Things are looking up for the Cubs. Let's get them tomorrow!

Go Cubs!

Monday, August 15, 2005


Classic Grace and Wayne: December 18th, 1985

Note: Jason is on vacation this week, so for that time we will be replaying "Classic Grace and Wayne," some of the more popular entries from years past. Jason will return on August 22nd with new content. This post originally appeared on "From the Corner of Grace and Wayne" on December 18th, 1985

It's almost Christmas.

For Christmas I want a Kitty.

I will name him Kitty Cat.

I like Cats.

Here is a picture of a kitty I drew.

Friday, August 12, 2005


Classic Grace and Wayne: September 25th, 1992

Note: Jason is on vacation this week, so for that time we will be replaying "Classic Grace and Wayne," some of the more popular entries from years past. Jason will return on August 23rd with new content. This post originally appeared on "From the Corner of Grace and Wayne" on September 25th, 1992

The Dominican? Oh no, my friends, Chicago's the cradle of shortstops. Apparently the Cubs grow shortstops down on the farm...I'm envisioning trees. Trees with little people hanging from them, attempting to ripen in the Iowa sun.

First Shawon Dunston started for the Cubs. I really thought he was going to be an All-Star this year. He was having an amazing defensive season, diving for balls and not making very many errors. Plus he was hitting over .300 for the season. But then his back gave. Man that was frustrating.

...but then guess what? Jose Vizcaino came in and he's awesome. Maybe he is best when he can play every position, but I still like him at short. That is, until he started to slump and the Cubs brought up Sanchez.

Rey Sanchez is awesome. He can field like nobody I've ever seen. And although he started off going the other way, he began pulling the ball recently and hit a couple homers. I think that he might only hit a few homers now, but so did Sandberg originally and I think Sanchez might have good power eventually.

But, of course, Sanchez got hurt. However, the best one of all of them came up in Alex Arias. Alex was hitting almost .400 for alot of the rest of the season and is still hitting over .300. If Dunston can't come back next year, I think Arias should be the starter. He is really awesome.

I think next year could be a really good year for us. We've got two of the best catchers in the majors, Wilkins and Girardi, as well as an awesome infield and a great pitching staff. If the Cubs resign Maddux, we will have Maddux and Morgan (M&M brothers) again next year. And Frank Castillo, my favorite pitcher, should be really good.

I can't wait 'till next year. The Cubs are going to be great.

Thursday, August 11, 2005


Classic Grace and Wayne: May 6th, 1998

Note: Jason is on vacation for the next 10 days, so for that time we will be replaying "Classic Grace and Wayne," some of the more popular entries from years past. Jason will return on August 22nd with new content. This post originally appeared on "From the Corner of Grace and Wayne" on May 6th, 1998

So I came home from class today and what do I find? Kerry Wood on the television and the Cubs winning. Good times. Good times.

A few observations from the game: Kerry Wood has the best breaking pitch I've ever seen. Ever. Everevereverever. I swear to god I just saw Vlad Guerrero swing at a pitch 4 feet outside. I mean, it is Vlad, but still...wicked. So far Wood has 10 strikeouts and is on pace for something like 22 strikeouts, which would obviously be a record. God, he has nasty stuff.

While I watch the game, let me ponder a bit on the future of the Cubs. First off, Kerry Wood is the future of the Cubs. Hands down. Of course, he is a pitcher, so there is always the possibility of an injury, but I really just don't see it happening. This kid is built like a horse. If they don't ride him too hard, he should be fine. And with stuff like his, we will be looking at multiple Cy-Youngs.

Aaaaand we're up to 14 strikeouts...I'm getting a little excited, I have to admit. It is like getting a glimpse at future pennants.

I'm also excited about a couple of other future All-Stars on the Cubs. Kevin Orie is off to a rough start so far this season, but if the Cubs ride it out, I think he will recover and finish the season strong. I see a future Raffie Palmerio in Kevin Orie. Or maybe Ryne Sandberg would be a better comp. Orie only has doubles power now, but I think it is only a matter of time before he learns to pull the ball and starts to build a great career. He is already a plus defender. The other future All-Star, I think, is Terry Adams. He has really decent stuff and I think he has a chance to be the Cubs' closer for a long time after Rod Beck's time is done with the Cubs (side note: Rod Beck rules). Other than those two, the minors are stacked with young pitchers - Todd Noel and Jon Garland to name a couple. You can never have enough young pitcher who throw in the mid 90s. The future is looking bright, my friends. Oh yes, it is.

17 strikeouts and now...18! Unbelievable! Absolutely unbelievable. I love Terry Mullholland, but it was totally worth bumping him from the rotation for this kid.

Before I forget, let me just say: nice job by Shane Reynolds. I think his great outing really helped to keep Wood focused.

Oh, and again, before I forget: Wood should totally have a perfect game going. Orie made a weak, weak attempt at that roller in the hole. Had it been the 8th inning, I bet he would have gotten there - or they would have ruled it an error. But, so it goes, I guess.

Astros are back up...and there's 19!!!!!!

Oh Lord, this kid is good. And he's only 20? Why do I think I'll have accomplished a bit less when I hit 20? Well, I guess one of these days I'll have a college degree and what will he have? Millions of dollars, gorgeous women hanging all over him, and the beginnings of a HOF resume...piffle, I say. piffle.

There's 20!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I think I just peed my pants.

Come on Kerry, you've got one more to go. Comeoncomeonecomeoncomeon...

GAH! Ground out to short. That was weak. Biggio should have struck out just to let Wood get the record. God I hate Biggio. grrr...I've never been annoyed by a groundout before.

Oh well, I'm pretty sure that counts at the greatest game I've ever seen.

I'll have more on this game tomorrow when I've had time to stop freaking out.




Wednesday, August 10, 2005



Alright, I'm heading out tomorrow.

I've got tickets to the Cubs/St. Louis game tomorrow and then I hit the road. Where am I going?

It is going to be the first anniversary of my marriage to my wife (what a fortunate coincidence that I married my wife) and so we are going to road trip it out east. There will be a stop in the Niagra Falls, another in Cooperstown, then NYC, and Philly.

Upon my return, I will be reporting on my experience at the Baseball Hall of Fame (a place which I've never visited) and all that good stuff.

Any suggestions before I go (polite suggestions, I mean)? Things to not miss in Cooperstown? Or Niagra Falls?

Just to be clear, the blogging will continue while I'm on vacation. So, if you're a regular reader, be sure to continue, um, regularly reading.

Also, tonight the playoffs continue, as the fearless d0nuts take on the evil, evil Boomers. This is the most important game of the season. The playoffs follow some ungodly double-elimination format and so I guess it will be much harder to win the championship if we lose today. We beat the Boomers last week, but they are very good so we will have to play another perfect game.

And, as always, a Fermiball entry will be soon to follow.

That's all from here. Cubs go for the swept today at 1:20. Will anyone be watching?

go cubs...i suppose.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005


It's a beautiful day, let's blog two. Why not! It's...

Hey! Who wants to get caught up with these stupid Fermiball things! (*raises hand*)

Me too, so I'm condensing two entries into one. This entry has the results for both the final game with the evil, evil Boomers (evil, I tell you) and the hapless EuroTrash (no offense guys, you can win at soccer) and it will be called "Jason learns to hit."

Why? Because, "Jason learned to hit!"

The battle between me and the bat had begun to reach epic proportions. I would clearly swing for the fences, but the bat would betray me and roll the ball out to the third baseman. It was a clear case of mutiny and the bat has since been put to death.

Ha ha! Just kidding! Ha ha, the bat was never alive!

But if it was...oooo...I would angry...

Aaaaanyway, long story short, I finally managed some hits. And not only that, they were line drives into the outfield. Wait, that's not right. They were


So, with that, let's get to the games.

No, check that, I don't care about the games. Let's talk more about me. I'm special. And very handsome (although that is neither here nor there). In short, I'm better than everyone else and deserve my own stage. Maybe I'll start a blog...

As I was saying, I finally managed to hit like a pro. The reason I was struggling? Well, to put it in layman's terms: I was swinging like I little girl. It's not that I don't know how to swing the bat, it's just that I started trying to hit it to the opposite field (my natural stroke). This is a pretty good strategy in softball as the right fielder is usually pretty weak, but it only works if you execute. And then, after I lost the ability to hit to the opposite field, I just started trying to get any kind of hit. But the damage was done.

What was the damage?

I had stopped striding. No stride. So my swing was pretty much all arms and, um, my arms aren't *exactly* huge. Basically, they're big enough to ground out the third, but not big enough to hit line drives.

What is big enough to hit line drives? That would be my whole body. Once I discovered the problem, I began to stride into the ball and finally made some solid contact with a little juice (not that kind) behind it. The result? In the first game I managed a single to right, a double to left center, and a single to right...all line drives. I grounded out in my final AB, but I was very happy with my adjustments.

The team managed a pretty easy win over the evil, evil Boomers. We were hitting on all cylinders, and fielding like pros. We kept every hit in front of us and made few errors. It was the perfect game, and it gave us the victory. I got to play rover for the first half (and made a catch) and DH the second half. The Boomers are a very, very good team. We had to play perfectly to beat them.

When did we not play perfectly? What would be against EuroTrash. EuroTrash played the game against us that we played against the Boomers. They caught everything that came to them and hit lots of line drives that fell in the perfect spots. And, in the bottom of the 6th, we found ourselves tied. There was actually a pretty good chance that we would lose this game.

And that would be bad. Losing the first game of the playoffs against EuroTrash would be, well, very "Cubs" of us. But, unlike the Cubs, we rallied. In the bottom of the 6th we racked up 8 runs to make the win look much easier than it actually was.

But hey, what about me? I'm glad I asked. I went 4-4 with 3 singles and a double. These weren't line drives (except the double), but they were well hit, well placed grounders. One was up the middle, and one was in the hole between third and short. That gives me a 2 week line of 7-8, with 2 doubles and some runs and RBIs. Now that's how you boost your stat line.

Okay, so this entry wasn't funny or anything. It is, however, done now. And I am, thankfully, finally caught up. Tomorrow we play the evil, evil Boomers again and I will have a more thorough write up of the Boomers as a team.

It will be better, I promise. It might even be good.

But I can't promise good. Just better.

My current line: 13-30, 1 triple, 2 doubles, 3 walks, ~10 RBIs, 10 Runs


Is it bad when you are rooting against your team?

I was. I was rooting for the Cubs to get shut out going into the 9th.

I figured after 8 innings of complete garbage, they deserved a shutout.

So is it bad?

I think so.

Monday, August 08, 2005


All the leaves are brown

...although, oddly enough, the sky is blue.

It was a cold, cold winter in Chicago. Hardly a stunning statement, I know, but last winter was colder than most and lasted, I swear to God, until June. So, naturally, this summer has been hotter than the fiery pits of deepest, darkest hell (roughly speaking).

We have a tree next to our third-floor balcony (how's that for a transition).

I can't help but feel sorry for our tree. Our poor, poor tree.

I think the reason for my tree-pity is the winter. Last summer was a great summer for the tree (or so I assume, I didn't live by the tree last summer). It rained, it was only moderately warm...annoying for people, nice for trees. And then came the cold. The tree began to shiver with the cold, shaking its leaves right off. Which is great for people (people that like to hear the crunching of leaves underfoot), but bad for trees.

And then came the first blanket of snow. The tree pulled itself further into its little tree shell, begging for the cold to stop. It missed the birds and the sun and everything that is great about the summer. And the winter simply dragged on. And on, and on, and on. And on.

And on.

It was boring, it was cold, and it was just generally unpleasant. But then a bird arrived. A bird arrived and settled right down on one of the tree's cold branches. And it chirped and hopped around and did all the things a good bird will do. And if you are thinking the tree didn't notice, well, think again. The tree perked right up. The tree felt a stirring it hadn't felt in months and that very week the tree pushed out its first bud. The first bud of the spring! Oh, thank freakin' god, it was about time to bloom. The winter was almost over.

The spring flew by in a whirlwind. Birds would visit the tree's flowers, leaves started the grow...the tree could barely contain its excitement. Because, you see, spring was nice, but summer was even better. Summer promised a full, daily dose of sun. Oh, photosynthesis...sweet, sweet photosynthesis.

And the summer came.

And it was nice and warm.

But then it was hot. And then it was hotter. And then, holy crap, it was really, really hot. And hey, wait a minute, where is the rain that was promised me? Seriously, just a drop of rain would be quite alright.

And the tree started to grow dry. It started to wither. The tree's leaves began to brown around the edges. Just a little at first, but then more and more. The sun that had excited the tree so much was now a source of much pain for the tree. Seriously, this sucked.

What was the deal with this summer? The tree had waited all winter (and it was an especially rough winter, mind you) for the dawn of another summer. The season for the trees! I mean, come on, what else does a tree have to look forward to if not the summer. Honestly, the winter can be dealt with for only one reason: the knowledge that soon it will be summer and then all the trees will be happy again. And to get a crappy summer, one almost as bad as the winter? Well, it's just really, really disappointing.

And you know.

You know that you are going to have to wait an entire winter for the next summer and there is no reason to think the next will be any better than the last. This crappy summer has killed much of the optimism for the next which just makes the winter that much colder.


Next chance you get, go hug a tree. They know what it is to be a Cub fan.

Sunday, August 07, 2005


When is EuroTrash not an insult? When it's...

I don't know if it's the Versaci shirts or the Alligator skin loafers...I don't know what the problem is, but for whatever reason, EuroTrash (the team, not the class of people) just isn't very good at softball.

I must say, they look like they'd be brilliant Cricket players, but this isn't Cricket, it's...

Oh wait, I've already done that bit. Sorry. Seven games and I'm already running out of Schtick. I'm Schtickless (and that's a bad way to be).

But if there's one thing I've learned during my time as a blogger it's that, if you run out of wacky things to say, you can always make fun of the Europeans. So, let's give it a go, shall we?
  • Hey, British kids! You need someone to bail you out of this game like we did in WW2?
  • Listen, Frenchie, this game is lost. Why don't you go ahead and surrender already?
  • Listen, Germans-
Actually, nevermind. My cube is right next to a cube full of Germans. Any, you know, let's just so I don't want to give them any reason to...well, you know...Lebensraum and all.

Anyway, let's just pretend none of the above happened. Very tacky, I must say. How about that game of softball, eh?

I was given the great honor of manning left field for the first couple of innings and had exactly zero chances. Unfortunately, I have developed quite a reputation for my fielding prowess and nobody wanted to challenge me with a fly to left. But let me tell you this, my friends. Had the challenge been extended, the challenge would have been met...with a glove. A baseball glove. They call me Venus for a reason (and not, as previously thought, because I have the skin of a goddess. No, it's the flytrap thing).

On the "not revolving around me" ledger, we miraculously feel behind 4-0 in the first but then rallied back to take the lead. Lots of exciting drama...yada yada yada...and then there was some real excitement.

Somewhere around the third, the d0nuts held a tenuous lead over Eurotrash when our DH hit a liner out to right. First and second were guaranteed to him, that was certain, but he had greater ambitions. He lumbered into third...the throw...the slide and... SAFE! He was safe at third and I was coming up to bat with an RBI opportunity.

Not coming back up, however, was our DH. You see, he had violated the one sacred rule of Fermiball: "Never sacrafice your body for the good of the team." He slid into third, but his arm didn't come with, and we had a dislocated shoulder on our hands.

So, okay, I think that means it's time for a break in the action. Luckily, there was an actual doctor in the house (actually, there were probably several, but I'm thinking of the MD type) and she took care of him and he was taken off to the hospital by our third baseman. But guess who got to take over third?

The answer is "me", in case that wasn't obvious.

Turns out, when you play against a bunch of cricketeers, there is a lot of action at the hot corner. A little more action than I prefer, actually, but that's okay. It was just a busy day.

It was a busy day for me, for the medical staff, and for the Pride of America. Because, you see, the d0nuts defended America's honor with a triumphant victory over Eurotrash, I finally broke out of my hitless streak, and the d0nuts were only one game under .500 with one left to play. This is after starting out 0-3, mind you. The final game over the Boomers would determine it all. Were we destined to be mediocre or somewhat worse than mediocre?

Tune in next time when the d0nuts face the evil Boomers. Next time shouldn't be very far off, either, as I'd like to get done with these stupid installments and get to the playoffs.

Go 'Nuts!

Saturday, August 06, 2005


Okay, bugs (sort of) fixed

So I've now had 3 posts eaten by blogger. I'm not sure what's going on, but I type in composer, I hit publish, and then only the title posts. It's a little off-putting.

But, you see, I now know why this bug popped up when it did. You see, my first post eaten was "I don't really want to..." and it was a post where I official give up on the season and look towards next year. It wasn't a good or interesting post, but it was an important one, as it signaled the surrender of a total optimist.

But no more! The implication of these lost bits is clear. Obviously that post was wrong of me to write and the season is not lost.

The Cubs are still going to win.

Hey, I find it odd too...but who can argue with the evidence at hand?

Not me.

Go Cubs!

Friday, August 05, 2005



Horror of horrors...

Meet your new Center Fielder...Jose Macias.

Is that really the best we can do?


The moves, they are a makin'

Alright, here's the rundown.

Remlinger DFA'd
Mitre sent down
Hairston to the DL

Hairston apparently has hurt his shoulder pretty badly. So, then, what does this mean for tonight's lineup?

Will Macias be our new CF? No, I can't believe that. Actually, I simply refuse to believe that.

I'm guessing the lineup will sport an OF of Lawton, Burnitz, and Hollandsworth with Baker doing a nifty little dance of joy at being "forced" to re-insert Holly in the lineup. This lineup is get the perfect balance of bad defense and bad offense. Now that's I've mentioned two possible OF scenarios, I can't wait to see what Baker actually does (Neifi in Center?).

What would I do? Lawton, Burnitz, and Murton would work.

Cedeno lives to earn a Major League paycheck for another day.

And the world keeps on turning. But let me just ask this: What is the conservation law that requires the Cubs to always have someone injured. Who it have been so bad to simply have Nomar, Williamson, and Wood come of theDL without replacing them with someone else?

Thursday, August 04, 2005



Angry Baseball Gods! I said cautiously optimistic. cau-tious-ly. There is no reason to go an treat that like a jinx.

You suck.




Mr. Barrett?

Dear Micheal,

Time to stop losing games singlehandedly

Nobody likes to wear the goat head.

Mr Barrett...a suggestion. Fish will make you smarter. Brain food, you know. Something about Omega 3. Eat up.

Cubs' record: 1-1 A.L.

Today Prior goes to the hill for the Cubs in an attempt to get a series win. I am going with "cautiously optimistic". I think Prior will be fine, I'm just concerned that the Cubs won't score enough runs to snag a win.

Nomar's Return

Apparently he will be a starter, which is a big relief as it was apparently not a foregone conclusion. He will start Friday, rest Saturday, and then start Sunday. I can already tell that there is going to be an uproar over Neifi's Saturday start, but I think that is wrong. Nomar should be treated with kid gloves for a few weeks. Saturday will be a day game after a night game and, from what softball has taught me, you are going to be a little tight/sore the morning after playing a full game (unless it is just incredibly pathetic that softball makes me more sore than running...nah, I rule).

Wood's Return

The headline? Wood as closer? No one's saying no. Well, they may not say "no", but they should think it. Dempster has been excellent as closer. The problem is in the setup department. Wood will probably pitch every other game or so in the 7th and 8th inning, and that makes sense. Use him too much and you are risking a blown shoulder. And, as closer, Dusty would be pressured to throw him too often. Remember our good friend Chad Fox? No need for a repeat.

Williamson's Return

Setup man number two. Our bullpen just became a lot better. It's a cliche, but this is just like a midseason trade.

This will all happen tomorrow in New York. Hopefully this will give the team a boost and we will sweep the New Yorkers. Do it for Santo! Do it for me!

Go Cubs!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005


Intelligent Design...Not just another TLC show

Warning: This entry is not particularly funny. It is good for you, broccoli. Which is also not funny, but can prevent cancer. I can't promise that this entry will prevent cancer, but I can't promise that it won't, either. Just to be on the safe side, I would go ahead and read it. And eat some broccoli.
President Bush...not my favorite president of all time. Probably not even in my top ten (he's a little ways below Taft). But just as I'd gotten used to unnecessary wars and various assaults on civil liberties, he goes and does something to piss me off just a bit more. What is it this time, you ask? This time, President Bush has come out to advocate the teaching of intelligent design in public schools along side evolution.

side note: Is this important? Not according to CNN. I could find this nowhere on their webpage. Pretty lame on their part.

Am I shocked? No. While Bush would not state his own personal beliefs for the record, I'm guessing that they involve a benevolent being with a snowy white beard and a very large index finger. And maybe a cloud of smoke. And the word poof.

And, to be certain, it involves a big, deep, echoing void of logic. Sort of a logic black hole, where no reasonable thought can escape.

But, the point of this post is not to insult the president. That is the point of all my other posts. No, the point of this post is to present an argument against the teaching of intelligent design in schools. I will briefly explain what intelligent design is, the arguments for intelligent design, the arguments against, and my personal view on the matter.

In the end, you will see that there is nothing scientific or reasonable about intelligent design and it will be clear that this is just a thinly veiled religious argument.

The Reasoning:

The argument is, if schools teach a "theory like evolution" (it's just a theory, dammit!), then they should also teach alternate theories. You know, just in the interest of completeness. You gotta be fair. Of course, I would then argue that if you are going to teach those two theories (I'm using theory loosely here, intelligent design is not a theory) then you should teach all possibilities. I'm rounding up all my lobbyists to push my "Invisible gnomes shaped life through interpretive dance" theory into the biology textbooks. After all, there is no way to disprove it. Go ahead and try. Anyway, this idea that evolution is no more valid than any other theory is why we have reached this point. What is never mentioned is that there are a few more theories out there that nobody seems to attack, namely Gravity and Relativity. Really, though, they are just theories too.

Intelligent Design is not a theory

But seriously, why do I think it is absolutely, unequivocally wrong to teach intelligent design in the classroom? The answer is that it is not a theory, but more a flight of fancy. Like most Republican agendas, it is based more on scoffing and insults than on bearing the burden of proof. Let's look at some of the arguments brought up against evolution by proponents of intelligent design and see why they don't hold water.

The Classical

"If you find a watch in the desert, odds are someone put it there; it didn't form on its own." This is paraphrasing an argument put forth by William Paley in 1802 in response to Darwin's work.

Life is incredibly complex, it's true, and so one can see how the idea of a super-being guiding the formation of life would be a popular one. But I think the problem is an inability to grasp just how long hundreds of millions of years really is. Over these hundreds of years, environment drives life to adapt, to change...or die. Those that fail to develop don't win in the quest for food and mates and don't get to proceed on to the next generation. I'm sure this isn't really news to anyone as I'm really just summarizing the idea of survival of the fittest. After all, nobody claims that evolution is "random" or "spontaneous." I agree that it is unlikely that a bunch of molecules would suddenly decided to form a monkey, but give it 100 million years and the forces or environment and before you know it you are dodging feces.

If you break down the argument of the watch in the desert to its true essence, the argument is really "it just seems too hard, it couldn't happen." That isn't such a good argument for science, but it is perfect for theology. While it makes for great Sunday School, it has no place in a biology class. The more interesting part to this argument is the more sophicated arguments put forth again evolution, particularly the idea of irreducible complexity.

Irreducible Complexity

This is the point where the proponents give their argument a fancy name and start using big words. And I've got to hand it to them, Irreducible and Complexity are both big, fancy words. They sound very scientific...if only the argument sounded as good as its name.

What is irreducible a nutshell, if possible? The idea is, some things are so complex that they could never have come about through evolution. The canonical example is the mousetrap; it could not function if a single piece was missing and each individual piece has no value in and of itself. If you've ever played the game "Mousetrap," you know that the little basket won't fall if even one of those pieces is set up incorrectly. It is a compelling argument, and one that becomes even more compelling when one looks at a real biological process.

The example most often cited is the bacterial flagellum, the propeller of the bacteria. In an amazing feat of engineering evolution engineering an amazing feat, the parts of the flagellum are all arranged into motor components and joints that are just as if an engineer had designed it (maybe an engineer with a big white beard? Hmmm...could be). Michael J. Behe, author of Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution, argues that the possibility that these parts arranged themselves through an evolutionary process is basically zero and this implies intelligent design.

But this ignores the fact that a) there exist simpler flagellum out there that work without being so complex and b) These parts could have served a non-flagellum purpose originally and then combined together to form the flagellum. In fact, the bubonic plague bacteria's toxin injector is extremely similar to the flagellum.

Another popular example of the an irreducibly complex system is the blood-clotting system. Creationists argue that this is yet another wildly complex system and, in fact, if this system was incomplete it could be damaging to the body. But studies by Russell F. Doolittle of UC San Diego demonstrate that the blood-clotting system appears to have evolved from digestive system proteins. Hardly irreducible, I think.

The Larger Point and the Dramatic Conclusion

But I don't care. You know what? For every biological process that scientists explain creationist will come up with a new, harder to explain system. But that is entirely besides the point. Science can't explain everything right now. We can't explain how gravity fits in with the rest of the quantum world, but nobody doubts gravity despite the fact that gravity is nothing more than a theory.

The thing is, irreducible complexity is once again built on the foundation of "damn, that's really hard. Let's invent a superbeing." Even if we had no idea how the flagellum worked, it would be bad, bad science to just give up and not try to figure it out. Why does there have to be a stopping point? Why do we have to assume that, at some point, things are just unexplainable and it is time to give up? I can't emphasize enough that that is not science, that is religion, and it has no place in a science class.

What I wonder is, how did the burden of proof get shifted onto the scientists. Scientists are just trying to explain how the world works. They look at the facts at hand, try to come up with an explanation, and they only introduce new ideas when the evidence requires. Then they exhaustively test the hypothesis before allowing it to become a fact (or theory, depending on the nature of the hypothesis). But creationists have gone well beyond the introduction of an invisible force like gravity or magnetism to explain something observed, they have introduced an entire Super Being. One that is everywhere but nowhere at the same time. All knowing and all powerful. And there is absolutely no way to detect this being or prove his existence, you just have to believe. And if you don't believe there will be eternal punishment.


Which of these seems like more of a stretch? But the scientists have to refute every argument brought up by creationists or else the creationists will view it as a victory. Stump the scientist, go to heaven! I'll never understand this.

So the final point of this all? A summary of the argument, if you will. I don't give a damn about any of the creationist arguments. I don't care if the creationist come up with an example of a really complex system that no biologist can explain. I just don't care.





It just isn't. Scientists should, never, ever accept an endpoint to their research. There is always a next step and it is never acceptable to say "I'm stumped, somebody fetch me a big, pointing finger."

If there is divine intervention, who can say at what point it occurs? When do we give up? When did intelligent design occur? At the DNA level...the cellular level? Clearly we have no answer to this question so there is some work to be done and no, it isn't okay to look in your 2000 year old textbook for the answer. This isn't an open book test.

Let's keep science in the classroom and religion in the church. Creationism has no place in a science class. And that, my friends, is the bottom line.

Source: 15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense, Scientific American, July 2002.

...which can be read in its entirety here.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005






This season will forever be divided in two:
Like Lofton before him, Lawton's leadoff styling will propel the Cubs to a Wild Card victory and the playoffs.

Thus speaks Jason.


I've added a new link, Scott and Sue Sail Away, to the "nifty links" section. This blog follows two people on their journey from Chicago out to Key West and beyond. After New Years, they should be island-hopping in the Carribean.

How did they do it? Well, at age 55 Scott went ahead and retired from teaching, Scott and Sue sold all their belongings (house, car, um...everything) , and they boarded their 30' Catalina and started sailing in the wet water of the US. All they own is their boat and whatever fits in it. So far they have made it to Rochester, NY and will be in New York City by mid-August.

This is a very addicting site, I have to say, as they blog about their adventures when they hit various ports and there is a map with some big red arrows that shows their progress. It is also quite the popular site and will sure grow more popular as they wend their way down the coast.

Oh, and did I mention that they're my in-laws? What sort of family did I marry into?

I think we all wish we could just sail away sometimes. They just actually did it.


Revenge: a dish best served with a side of...

So, Final Force, we meet again. For the first time. For the last time.

Wait...that made more sense in my head. We meet again...not for the first time, but certainly for the last time.

Unless we meet in the playoffs, in which case that will be the last time.

Until next year.

I suppose the point is, this is a rematch. A glorious rematch fraught with playoff implications. Just simply, really, a whole lot fraught with every manner of playoff implication. Both implied and explicit. But not explicit in a dirty way...this is a family site.

And oh what a game it was! A game bubbling with every manner of excitement you can imagine (assuming you agree to only imagine softball-related happenings).
At this point you might start to wonder why I'm stalling. Of course, it is pretty hard to tell when I'm stalling considering the fact that my writting has a tendency to meander. But in this case, I am stalling. I stall because I have very little idea what actually happened in that game. I'm trying to decide whether to just make stuff up or keep it short. Keeping it short isn't really an option so, if I forget some stuff, I'm just going to make some other stuff up to fill in the gaps. The end result will be the same, I imagine.
starting actual Fermiball!

It was a lusty evening, ripe with the scent of impending victory...and nachos (but I think that was because one guy was eating Doritos). This was an important rematch for the d0nuts as our last meeting resulted in a 5 inning slaughter. But this was a new night and it was clear something grand was going to happen as we finally had a full compliment of players - enough to even allow a DH.

And who did they call upon to fill the trickiest of all positions? Tricky? Yes tricky, because one has to maintain an intense focus throughout the entire game despite spending half the game on the sidelines. It takes the ultimate professional to man this position, so naturally they turned to me. (because, you know, I'm the ultimate professional. I'd rather be the Ultimate Warrior, but that post was already taken)

I paced the sidelines with anticipation, eager to try my hand at the plate. When my turn finally came in the second inning, we had already built an early lead...things were going well. I gave the pitcher the old "evil eye," perhaps putting the thought in the back of his head "this is one batter not to be triffled with." He pitched to me carefully, but I managed to square the ball with the bat and ground out solidly to short! As I took the right turn back to the bench I held my head high. I may not have made it to first, but I had clearly gotten into the pitcher's head.

And my mind games worked...and worked well. Every other player in the lineup managed hit after hit, racking up runs in a rapid fashion. Although I never managed a hit, I fullfilled my duty. In a typically unselfish manner, I sacraficed my own hits so that others could prosper. I went 0-4 so my fellow mates could dominate the offensive side of the game. I was a hero. Like Snoopy battling the Red Baron, I singlehandedly allowed my teammates to defeat Final Force by a score of 15-8 (a rare reference to the little known "Snoopy battles the Red Baron in Softball"). It was a brilliant victory. Even better? The Wife had a fantastic day at the plate with 3 hits and 4 times on base. She was in rare form.

(shhhh! Everyone get quite. This is going to get serious)

But there is one thing I failed to mention. Every night it fills my mind's eye and won't leave me. It is with great hesitation that I even share this with my readers as I fear I may cause a panic. But what I observed that day must be shared as ignorance is our biggest enemy.

...except for commies, but that is an entry for another day.

The ants are mobilizing. Yes, it's true.

The ants are marching.




This is not a joke! This is not a ploy for attention! (not entirely, anyway) This is a serious problem as ants outnumber humans about a billion to one (give or take a billion). A cluster of ants can skeletonize a cow in under an hour.


I've seen them convening at some of their favorite haunts: The half-eaten lollipop, the sidewalk crack, and the melting ice cream. They are organized this time. And they are angry.

I'm proposing the construction of a giant magnifying glass. A "doomsday-ifier", if you will. We must get the ants at their source (that would be anthills, naturally) and get them soon before they have a chance to rally the fire-ants. Or, god help us, the bullet-ant.

I'm not sure how much time we have left. I have to go now. All I have to say is: stay away from honey. And for the love of all that is good, don't step on any anthills.

Okay then. The next game is against EuroTrash. Should be a win. Go 'Nuts!

Monday, August 01, 2005



I was interviewed by Famine over at GROTA regarding my take on the recent trade. Take a look.


9th Planet Discovered

The headline actually says: 10th planet discovered, but as any astronomy nerd aficionado knows, Pluto has been recently discredited as a complete fraud of a planet. Despite being nothing more than a glorifies asteroid, Pluto has been given the same privledges that would generally only be afforded to such titans as Jupiter or Saturn. Pluto even has a loveable Disney character named after it while such notable asteroids such as Ceres, the largest known asteroid, orbit above our heads in relate obscurity.

Recently however, there has been a great deal of infighting in the astronomical community as to whether Pluto should retain it's planetary status given mounting evidence against it. Pro-Plutonians argue that the entire foundation on which 7th grade Science Fair projects are based would be compromised and we would face a breakdown in the educational system. The opponents gently pointed out that the majority of middle school science is complete crap and has to be unlearned at the high school level anyway.

My opinion? I feel that nothing smaller than Earth should be considered a Planet. I am also of the opinion that, in the interest of the children, Uranus should be renamed something more innocent - like, say, Shmagina. For years teachers have had to deal with giggling school children upon reaching the 8th planet in the solar system, and really, isn't teaching hard enough already.

My plan calls for a 5 planet solar system, which would alleviate many of the problems facing school children as they attempt early astronomy. Firstly, the planets could be ticked off on one hand as the child tries to remember all the planets and their orbits. Secondly, the new solar system would be smaller and easier to model, thus creating a more level playing field where to put this...dumb kids can more easily compete with the irritating little brown-nosers in the Science Fair.

Under my proposal, the planetary system would be as follows:

(starting closest to the sun and moving outward)

  • Earth
  • Jupiter
  • Saturn
  • Neptune
  • Shmagina

While it is true that Neptune and Shmagina generally change order on occasion, I personally find it hard to remember which comes first and find it a lot easier to pick an order and stick with it.

And lest you fear that we might have forgotten some of our old friends, don't worry. The new asteroid Mercury, Venus, Earth, Pluto, as well as the yet un-named newbie, will most certainly be covered at the collegiate level where they introduce things like the asteroid belt and moons and all that.

Getting the new system rolling will be difficult, I won't lie to you. But as long as we are facing changes in the system, we might as well go ahead and attempt a wholesale overhaul in the interest of future simplicity. Astronomers have has their way long enough; it's time to think of the children for once.

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