Sunday, September 25, 2005

Ridin' the wave...

Stop it. All of you morons who are stuck in 1985. You know who you are, the person at the baseball game that does not know what a change up is, the person at the football game who doesn't know what a strong safety is. The person who spends $40 on a ticket, and $60 on beer.


Everything that was wrong with sports in the 1970s and 1980s is pretty much gone. Domes and cookie-cutter stadiums? Gone, in favor of more true ballparks. Astroturf? Gone, in favor of synthetic grass- not as ugly, not as dangerous.

The Wave? not as prevalent as it used to be, but far from extinct. It seems pretty much extinct at football games, but for some reason, in about the sixth inning (right before last call, so everyone is nice and loaded...) at many ballparks, you see those late 20- mid 30 somethings trying to start the wave.


I hate to sound elitist (oh, who am I kidding? I love to sound elitist!), but you don't see this Wrigley Field. From an ESPN2 Column: "the usher ordered a bachelorette party to stop attempting The Wave. He said, 'We don't do the wave at Wrigley Field.'"

Anaheim? A rally monkey and those god-awful thunder stix, but no wave.

I have been to over a hundred baseball games. Over thirty pro football games. Over 50 hockey games. I have witnessed teams win championships, and I have watched teams play at a level so horrid it would make people with weak stomachs turn away in horror. In short, I have earned the right to tell you that you are being a MORON if you take part in doing a wave. And if you are the person starting the wave, you'd better hope your sitting twenty sections and two levels away from me.

This is 2005. Live in the now. Stop doing the wave.

And while you're at it, give the "YMCA" a rest too!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

"As you have been before our committee, I've tried to use my medical skills of observation of body language to ascertain your uncomfortableness and ill at ease with questions and responses. And I've honed that over about 23, 24 years. And the other thing that I believe is integrity is at the basis of what we want in judges. And I will tell you that I am very pleased, both in my observational capabilities as a physician to know that your answers have been honest and forthright as I watch the rest of your body respond to the stress that you're under." - Tom Coburn, to Judge Roberts.

Coburn is one of two physicians in the Senate. The other, Dr. Bill Frist, has a sterling record when it comes to applying his medical background to politics. On ABC's "This Week," he would not unequivocally state that tears and sweat cannot transmit the HIV virus, when it is a scientific fact they cannot. His keen observation of a videotape of Teri Schiavo led him to conclude that she was not in a persistent vegetative state. The autopsy concluded she was. So you'll forgive me if I'm a bit hesitant to believe doctors in the U.S. Senate when they make medical conclusions.

By the way, Tom, you do not have to be a doctor to know when someone is lying. As far as I know, my mother never went to med school.

Lots of us can read body language. For example:

Mr. Manning is saying, "We win! Yes! I'm so very happy!"

or this:

my brother-in-law is saying "Look how much I love my beautiful daughter. I'm so proud of her! Don't you wish your baby was this good-looking???"

or this:

Mr. Posada's body is saying, "Wow, that was close!"


Mr. Giambi's body is saying, "Damn, I hit that far!!!

(all photos of the Yankees taken by the owner of this blog...)

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Barbara Bush, wife of our 41st president. Mother of our 43rd President.

Queen of NIMBY?

Not in my back yard!

Taken from

Barbara Bush, who accompanied the former presidents on a tour of the Astrodome complex Monday, said the relocation to Houston is "working very well" for some of the poor people forced out of New Orleans.

"What I'm hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality," she said during a radio interview with the American Public Media program "Marketplace." "And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them."

Working vey well for them?

So much for compasionate conservative.


Scary that they want to stay in Texas? Why is that scary Mrs. Bush? Please, elaborate for those of us who are a bit slow on the uptake.


Oh, we should all have things work out so well for us. To lose our homes, have our city destroyed, to live in a sports complex with 15,000 other people...It's the American dream!

The Bush family seems to have great faith in religion and deep religious values (at least when it's convenient) so I thought I would pose an open question to Mrs. Bush: Ever heard of a book called Leviticus? It's the third book in what you know as the "Old Testament."

Chapter 19.

"9 ¶ And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harvest.

10 And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger:

17 ¶ Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbor, and not suffer sin upon him.

37 Therefore shall ye observe all my statutes, and all my judgments, and do them: I am the LORD."

And there's some other stuff in there about loving your neighbor, and giving to the poor, yadda yadda yadda. There's even some good stuff on the subject in the "New Testament." Most of it was spoken by a man named Jesus.

Hey Barbara- What would Jesus do?

The Gospel of St. Matthew, Chapter 5:

4 ¶ Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Is. 61.2

5 ¶ Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Ps. 37.11

6 ¶ Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Is. 55.1, 2

7 ¶ Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

8 ¶ Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Ps. 24.4, 5

9 ¶ Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Chapter 8:

2 And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.

3 And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.

Start reading, Barbara. You're never too old to learn!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

So, two southpaws and a righty walk into the oval office...

Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush (#41) are two of five left-handed presidents, along with James Garfield, Harry Truman, and Gerald Ford. Ford was a bit odd- he was only left handed when seated (writing, eating.) He played golf and wrote on a chalkboard right-handed.

"Right-handers are a bunch of chocolate soldiers. If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. But left-handers are something else again." Joseph Bogan, Neurologist.

Sunday, September 04, 2005


Mr. Chief Justice Rehnquist, dead at 80.

I thought I would share some thoughts on Justice Rehnquist, partly in his own words.

The handsome devil on the right is John Marshall. Since chief justices are today's subject, I thought I would pay my respects to the man who made the court what it is today.

A 1952 memo from William Rehnquist, then a clerk to Justice Robert Jackson, on Plessy v. Ferguson.

The memo was called "A Random Thought on the Segregation Cases." It was initialed at the bottom, "whr," signaling that it had been written by none other than William H. Rehnquist, still less than 30 years old and two decades away from being appointed to the court.
Rehnquist's memo unambiguously stated that "Plessy vs. Ferguson was right and should be reaffirmed." It acknowledged that this "is an unpopular and unhumanitarian position for which I have been excoriated by 'liberal' colleagues." But in its key passage, it insisted that "one hundred and fifty years of attempts on the part of this court to protect minority rights of any kind — whether those of business, slaveholders, or Jehovah's Witnesses — have all met the same fate. One by one the cases establishing such rights have been sloughed off, and crept silently to rest. If the present court is unable to profit by this example, it must be prepared to see its work fade in time, too, as embodying only the sentiments of a transient majority of nine men."

Rehnquist went on: "To the argument … that a majority may not deprive a minority of its constitutional right, the answer must be made that while this is sound in theory, in the long run it is the majority who will determine what the constitutional rights of the minority are."

Rehnquist's memo concluded that the court should uphold segregation and refuse to protect "special claims" merely "because its members individually are 'liberals' and dislike segregation."

Or how about this one?

During elections from 1958 to 1962, Rehnquist was the director for the Republican Party’s “Operation Eagle Eye” program in Arizona. Leading teams of lawyers to various polling stations in Arizona, members of Operation Eagle Eye (dubbed “ballot security”) attempted to use legal methods to dissuade black voters. Before the passage of the Voting Rights Act, Rehnquist and his colleagues were often quite successful at using legal methods to rig ballots, thereby creating an undemocratic election.

The house in which Rehnquist lived during this time had a deed stating that the home could not be sold to any person not of the Caucasian race. Upon moving in 1974 Rehnquist bought a home in Vermont that contained a covenant prohibiting the sale of the property to “any member of the Hebrew race.”

Rehnquist, at his confirmation hearings in 1986, told the Senate Judiciary Committee he hadn't examined his deeds and knew nothing of the covenants.

Some lawyer!

The distinguished gentleman on the left is Earl Warren. If he had never been Chief Justice, I sincerely doubt that Barak Obama would be a Senator or Ron Brown would have been Secretary of Commerce under President Clinton.

In 1980, Rehnquist made his thoughts on the case of United States v Sioux Nations known to the press: “We conquered them, why should we pay for their land?”

This is the man who presided over the institution responsible for protecting our Constitution.

This was a man who could have benefited from reading Amendment XIV to the Constitution, at least once. For that matter, he would have done well to read the amendments it's sandwiched between, XIII and XV, as well. Looks like Rehnquist was all for equal protection- just as long as you didn't try to buy his house!

God bless Earl Warren. God bless William O. Douglas. God bless Thurogood Marshall. God bless John Marshall. God bless Brandeis, Cardozo, Fortas, Black, Brennan, Powell, White, Blackmun, Harlan, Harlan, and Stewart.

God save this court.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

The greatest left-handed pitcher of all time?

While watching Randy Johnson pitch last night, I heard the announcer say he was perhaps the best left-handed pitcher ever to play the game. While he certainly is one of the best, who is number one? Let's go to the stats- and while we're at it, let's throw in some crazy comparisons.

I will narrow the field to four: Johnson (all-time strike out leader among lefties), Steve Carlton (Once the all-time strikeout king), Warren Spahn (more wins than any other lefty) and Sandy Koufax (perhaps the greatest pitcher to ever play).

Koufax had a short career, while the other three had careers that were quite long. Spahn and Johnson pitched well even in their 40s, while Carlton declined at that age. Carlton retired with four Cy Young Awards, the most by any pitcher ever at the time of his retirement.

One way to establish how dominant a player was is to compare him to his peers, players of his era. Each one of these pitchers had their own decade of dominance- Spahn in the 1950s, Koufax in the 1960s, Carlton in the 1970s, and Johnson from 1994-2004. Let's go to the numbers.

Number of times leading league in strikeouts:

Spahn- 4
Koufax- 4
Carlton- 5
Johnson- 9

Number of times leading league in wins:

Spahn- 8
Koufax- 3
Carlton- 4
Johnson- 1

Number of ERA titles:

Spahn- 3
Koufax- 5
Carlton- 1
Johnson- 4

Based on these numbers alone, it looks like Carlton needs to be dropped from consideration. Despite being a workhorse and a dominant pitcher, he just can not stack up to the others.

Three to go.

How much should durability count? Is longevity an importnat ingredient in greatness? Certainly, Spahn and Johnson are considered greats in part because of their ability to rack up wins year after year. Koufax was forced to retire at 30 due to an arthritic shoulder. He retired in the same year he led the league in wins, strikeouts, and ERA. While longevity can contribute to greatness, Koufax should not be penalized (at least too much) for not having a long career.

Winning percentage-

Spahn .597
Koufax .655
Johnson .658

While Johnson has the lead, he also had the benefit of pitching in an era where relief pitching is far more dominant than it was in the 50s-60s. Look at the complete game stats:

Spahn 382
Koufax 137
Johnson 95

and Koufax compiled that number in 155 less starts than Johnson.

This is not to say that Johnson is a lesser pitcher- but it does make the winning percentage of Koufax at .655 far more impressive than Johnson's .658. What would Spahn's winning percentage be if he had a 40 save closer pitching behind him?

In every strikeout category, Koufax has the edge. Johnson led the league in Ks/9IP an astounding 9 times, but over the course of 15 seasons. Foufax did it 6 times, in only 9 seasons. Johnson has led the league three times in Walks+Hits/IP. Koufax did it four times.

Bye bye Randy. You ain't no Sandy.

And then there were two. Spahn vs. Koufax.

Spahn also led the league in Walks+Hits/IP four times, but over a much longer career. Each was named The Sporting News' Pitcher of the Year four times, back when TSN was THE baseball authority. Koufax has an equal number of statistical league leads equal to Spahn, in a far shorter span. Koufax won three Cy Young awards in four years, in an era when only won award was given out for all of baseball. In that four year span, the one time he did not win the award was 1964, when it was given to Dean Chance. In 1964, Koufax was 19-5 with a 1.74 ERA.

The career of Koufax is the epitome of dominance. No other pitcher distanced himself from his peers as Koufax did, and the numbers back that up.