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August 2004 Archives

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August 31

On rerun, watched the season opener "Mr. Monk Takes Manhattan". This episode takes over from Mr. Monk Goes to Prison where Dale the Whale tells Adrian that someone named Warrick Tennyson in New York holds the key to Trudy's murder. As Sharona, Stottlemeyer, Randy and Monk check into their hotel, the Latvian ambassador and his two bodyguards are shot and killed.

NYPD are very cagey about Warrick Tennyson, but they'll let the San Francisco guys talk to him if they can solve this assassination. Monk observes from the scene that the ambassador's coat is damp, but it was dry when he brushed against Adrian earlier. Also, the gunmen used a .22 and hit the bodyguards first. As a witness, Monk remembers the ambassador saying something about someone going meatless and getting a good look only at the suspect's left ear.

Sharona and Monk find a Latvian seeking asylum who had a grudge against the ambassador. The expatriate's chess opponent says the ambassador said,"This is not my coat," in a particular dialect. Later, on a jumbo television screen, Monk recognizes the ear as belonging to Steven Leight, whose wife got shot in Central Park.

Leight shot his wife, then took her necklace to make it look like a robbery. Shaken, he went to a bar to compose himself before calling the police. The incompetent coat check people gave him the coat of the ambassador, who was also in the bar. When Leight discovers his coat, with the necklace inside, is missing, he runs in the rain to the hotel, shoots the ambassador and takes back the coat.

With the case solved, they meet Warrick Tennyson. He is dying of multiple organ failure and admits to making the bomb that killed Trudy for a mysterious six-fingered man. I can see it now,"My name is Adrian Monk. You killed my wife. Prepare to die." In a brief act of sadism, Monk shuts off Tennyson's morphine drip, then turns it on again.

August 30

Lots of great fake sports news. First from the Athletic Reporter:
Spain's Inigo Montoya Wins Olympic Fencing Gold.
Iraqi Soccer Team Loses Bronze Medal Game, Tortures Itself Out of Habit.
Paul Hamm Keeps Gold Medal; Mia Hamm Gives Hers To That Korean Guy.

And from
Mets Acquire Charlie Brown in Waiver Trade.

August 29

The P.A. system at the finish of the marathon played Born to Run as American Dan Browne entered the stadium. He gingerly checked his aching calves as the Boss sang,"The highway's jammed with broken heroes on a last chance power drive."

August 28

Relaxed today due to last night's migraine...Miranda is breezing through 150 piece Buffy puzzles...I get so much pleasure from firing the Super Soaker at Ishtar as she tries to scratch the couch.

August 27

An update on Edgar Martinez. He got where he was with help from a guy named Brick. From Baseball Digest.

His current intricate stance is something he adapted from watching Jose Cruz, a Houston coach and father of Jose Cruz Jr., who held the bat over his head and moved his hands in a circular motion, and had a high front-leg lift.

"I remember one year in the minors I took batting practice that way every day," Martinez said. "Near the end of the season, Brick Smith, a big first baseman with us, said I didn't have the courage to do it in a game. The last game that year I did it.

"I got four hits, a home run. I thought I might do this for real some day."

August 26

The winners of the 100 meters is usually dubbed "The World's Fastest Man," but world class athletes actually reach higher speeds in the 200 meters. The world record for 200 meters is 19.32 seconds by Michael Johnson. The world record for 100 meters in 9.78 by Tim Montgomery. Double that and you get 19.56. Put into 'Murican numbers, Johnson was averaging 23.16 miles per hour, Montgomery only 22.87. In the 100 meters, the runners are still accelerating and still haven't reached their top speed.

This is why I hate automatic deductions of membership fees. I'll pay a year in advance but I won't let you tap my account.

St. Louis Rams Cheerleaders
The Sirens of the Rams
August 25

I get annoyed when someone refers to the Miami Dolphins as the Fish. They're Mammals!

August 24

I like Edgar Martinez. I even have a picture of him on the wall in my office.* However, he does not belong in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The primary argument in his favor is that a DH requires a whole new set of standards. Since Edgar is the greatest DH, he must go in the Hall of Fame.

The other argument for putting a DH in the Hall is Harold Baines. Here's how they compare:


The last two columns are Games at DH and Games played in the field. Although Edgar has all the percentage numbers, Harold has him beaten for longevity. Baines has even played more games at DH even if Martinez plays every game till the end of the season. In the field Harold was more useful so Edgar doesn't get in until Baines gets in first.

The argument that there are no standards for DH falls flat on its face because there are standards for DH. They are the same ones for first base and left field, ratcheted up a notch for not playing the field. I think if Baines had 3000 hits, the writers would grudgingly elect him in a later year of eligibility, just like Don Sutton. That fact that he fell short of 3000, makes it easy to dismiss him. With Baines unqualified, Martinez has no shot.

The standards are so obvious for a DH, not so much for a reliever. Hoyt Wilhelm had longevity on his side. Rollie Fingers may not have been better than Goose Gossage, but he had three World Series rings, a Cy Young and an MVP in his favor. Dennis Eckersley had those years as a starter to bolster his case. The only relievers I can comfortably put in the Hall are Goose Gossage and Mariano Rivera. Lee Smith? I can't make a good argument for or against him. I'd say pretty much the same thing for any other relief candidate you might name.

*-Our computer system is called EDGAR for Electronic Data Gathering And Retrieval. As a joke, I have a frame in my office with pictures of Edgar Martinez, Edgar Mitchell, Edgar Allan Poe and Edgar Winter.

August 23

Matt Bruce referred to a piece by Emily Berns about the European attitude to Lance Armstrong. Although I do not disagree that the perception exists, certainly there are plenty of hard-working, lower-socioeconomic class athletes the Europeans love, especially in soccer. Also, while Harold Abrahams fought the establishment as an athlete, he later became part of that establishment, with all the privileges and faults that entails.

I loved Chariots of Fire and tried to find some academic competition parallels. After all, who doesn't want to be a young wealthy English lord who practices by balancing champagne glasses on hurdles? Looking back on my observation back in June, I wonder if quizbowl in my day had similarities to the early Modern Olympics - competition among upper-class elites, sheltered by the myth of amateurism from the professional tradesmen. There certainly was no effort to keep anybody out back then, but was limited by the opportunities then available. Everyone I know who has seen play back and then now has no doubts about the superiority of current participants.

The amateur ideal has cropped up again in the context of Ken Jennings. The founders of the Modern Olympics saw something unsavory about people who got paid for athletic performance. They had an unfair advantage in actually preparing for the competition so the elites kept them out of the Olympics. Now you hear people say that Ken Jennings has an unfair advantage because he writes for NAQT. Implicit in that statement is that Jeopardy! is supposed to be only for amateurs. Following the American penchant for more, better and bigger that almost suggests the necessity of a professional circuit. But I don't expect by the nature of television to see ACF-level questions on a quiz show anytime soon.

It's a shame that some people are directing their disdain for NBA players at the current Olympians. These are the ones who actually wanted to play, not the ones who stayed home. I'd also throw some scorn at the NBA who preferred to send stars who could sell replica jerseys rather than role-playing shooters who could win.

The Olympics should consider as the criteria on whether or not to keep a sport if the pinnacle of that competition is the Olympics itself. Otherwise, the Olympics is big enough that they don't need athletes who don't appreciate them. So I say, kick out tennis, kick out baseball and don't take in golf. Soccer has reached a reasonable compromise because it's an under-23 team.

August 22

Watched the Monk season finale "Mr. Monk Takes His Medicine". Captain Stottlemeyer is shot in the shoulder during the arrest of a biker. Monk is very depressed about his condition in his latest psychiatric session and the doctor prescribes some medication. Sharona interrupts with news of Stottlemeyer's shooting.

When Monk is unable to stop the biker fleeing arrest, Adrian breaks down and takes the pills. He soon becomes less Monkish, but more irritating to everyone else. He buys a new Mustang convertible and getting nowhere with the case, nonchalantly heads for New Orleans. Not far from San Francisco, Adrian becomes a pest to a quartet of college kids who ditch him. Monk has become what we recognize as the nerd trying on an ill-fitting suit of confidence and coolness with none of the social graces. He stops taking the medication and solves the case.

It began with a woman comitting suicide. She and her ex-husband had pulled off a robbery in Cincinnati two years earlier which resulted in the death of a security guard. Wracked with guilt, she leaves a suicide note which includes a confession and a warning about a similar crime planned for later in the week. She also called her ex-husband beforehand who rushed to her apartment only to find policemen surrounding her body in the street after she jumped. He drove to where Stottlemeyer was arresting the biker in order to pull the police off the scene so he could replace the suicide note. Monk finds the remnants of the original note and is able to help stop the latest heist in progress.

Tracy Burns
Diane FLyer and Tracy Burns
Happy Trails.
August 21

Saw my old College Bowl teammate Raj Kulkarni at Costco.

Finished reading Nine Lives to Murder by Marian Babson. The story begins with an act of ill will that causes a Shakespearian actor named Win Fortescue to fall of a ladder and hit his head against Monty, the theater cat. The resulting impact makes the two beings switch bodies. There are a few more attempts on Win's body with Monty's brain inside. Once the guilty part is identified, the cat and the actor accidentally bump heads again returning consciousness to the proper receptacles.

My expectation of a mystery is that once the crime takes place, the suspects should be arrayed before the reader, along with possible motives, means and opportunities. Only about two-thirds of the way through the book does the text begin to point finger, plant red herrings and get down to the business of mystery and solution. Otherwise, it's meant to be a tour of colorful British theater types, which was not enough to hold my interest for its own sake.

Also, if I sudddenly found myself in the body of a cat, I would go into immediate panic, which the central character doesn't seem to suffer. He doesn't seek methods to reverse the switch and only occassionally does he realize the gravity of being trapped forever in the feline form - it's about as frequently as you and I ponder our own mortality.

I suppose it's all a matter of taste - if you like theater people or the thought of living life as a cat. The mystery itself was pretty weak. It wasn't a slog to read, but just not my cup of tea.

Went to the going away party for Tracy Burns who is moving away to Los Angeles to pursue her screenwriting dreams. Tracy's good friend and Whitlock's former boss Diane Flyer will also be moving to Los Angeles, but continuing in her same job for Bearing Point. The people I knew were from the writers groups Tracy and I were both in. Some folks serenaded Tracy and Diane with "Happy Trails".

Ishtar and the column
Kauai and Ishtar
Friday cat blogging.
Mary Icon...

Baltimore Orioles television broadcasters Jim Hunter and Buck Martinez. Silver-haired clones.
August 20

Went to the Knossos meeting where the book was Nine Lives to Murder by Marian Babson. Didn't finish the book so I'll have more to say later on. Most of the group liked it. Gene Pappas has a pick coming up and is trying to live down selecting two of the worst books. The Silver Tower by Dale Brown and Nevermore by Harold Schecter.

August 19

Much has already been said about the coolness of holding an event, in this case the shot put, at the site of the first games in Olympia. I guessed we missed out in 1968 by not holding some event like handball at one of the Maya ballcourts. Of course in the modern case, the loser would not be ritually sacrificed.

The only event I'm taping for later viewing is the whitewater canoe and kayaking. The appeal for me begins with the hypnotic nature of the water itself. Add the proximity the sport affords to cameras, as opposed to surfing. The paddlers are not performing acrobatics like the extreme sport athletes, but taking on slightly unpredictable nature. These aren't the alpine skiiers who prefer the uniformity of man-made snow to the real stuff. There's the inevitable balance between going with the flow or paddling furiously and which technique will get you the faster time. Kind of a metaphor for life itself. Sheesh, who turned me into the Thomas Boswell-George F. Will of whitewater?

Both John Cooper and Tim Young have noted the resemblance of the Dodge Ram logo to a uterus. The sports logo crowd have long noted the resemblance of the Dallas Stars alternate logo to a uterus. This logo is known to that group as the Mooterus.

August 18

The online TV Guide says that Comedy Sickness is on the Open Channel Friday at 10:30 pm. TV Guide is wrong. Silver Screen Test is on at that time.

Replaced a knob on our range. You have such a knob on your stove - it's the thing you turn so that the pot heats up. Just a little piece of plastic that I ordered online from General Electric and cost me $17, with the shipping and handling it came to $23! Talk about price gouging.

August 17

Rather than take the word of Peter Angelos, let's look at the historical change in per game attendance when a new team moves into the area. Also included are changes in winning percentage since variations in gate also depend on the success of the team.

TeamYearPer Game
Attendance Change
Win Percentage Change
Washington Senators1954-19.3%-14.3%
Los Angeles Dodgers1961-19.9%8.5%
New York Yankees1962-13.5%-11.9%
San Francisco Giants1968-31.8%-3.3%

So while the claim for 25% losses is overstated, it's not unfounded, based on past history. Here's the Baltimore attendance since 1998, the first year of the fourth place rut. The 2004 numbers are through last night.

YearPer Game

My guess is that attendance effect of a second team has already taken place from a combination of a lousy team, anticipation of a Washington team and a backlash against Angelos. If there is a team in Washington next year, I think the per game attendance will be around 32,000, but definitely not below 27,000.

Here's another table with the effect of a team moving away. In 3 of the 5 cases, attendance actually dropped.

TeamYearPer Game
Attendance Change
Win Percentage Change
Boston Red Sox1953-6.8%11.2%
St. Louis Cardinals195419.7%13.3%
Philadelphia Phillies195526.5%2.7%
New York Yankees1958-5.8%-6.1%
Baltimore Orioles1972-12.0%-18.7%

August 16

I was recently reminded of friends from a while back. A divorced man and woman remarried, each bringing into the family a teenaged son named Sean. Fortunately, one was Sean Patrick, the other Sean Robert. Wendell Wagner joked that if they ever had a son together he could say,"This is my brother Sean. This is my other brother Sean." This brings to mind Larry, Darryl and Darryl from Newhart. A similar set of circumstances could explain how two brothers could have the same name. Maybe Darryl and Darryl had totally different parents. Then, after divorce and/or widowhood, they had parents who married each other.

Someone disagrees with me on the Coke commercial.

August 15

Replaced some bulbs on the lantern outside. Had to clean off all the bugs that had crawled inside, attracted by the light. The mysterious gourd in the garden was an old plastic Halloween decoration that had fallen off the porch. Kauai and Ishtar are now sleeping together in front of our bedroom door.

August 14

Hunkering down due to Hurricane Charley, we watched Monk episode "Mr. Monk and the Game Show". We begin with the assistant to a game show who discovers her boss has been facilitating cheating. Her brake line gets cut and she dies. Never mind she seems to drive way too far before noticing it.

The game show's producer is Trudy's father who asks Monk for help. Adrian is accompanied by Kevin who won the lottery in a previous episode. Now he's blown all the money, moved backto his old apartment and is filling in for Sharona this week.

Monk discovers how the host is tipping the answers: by the way he holds the card. There is an obnoxious reigning champion who is blackmailing the host because he knows how the assistant dies. On a live broadcast, Monk uncovers the plot.

First of all, game shows are almost never broadcast live. Secondly, producer fix shows, not hosts. Finally, there would have been a simple way to stop the fix: switch from multiple choice to non-multiple choice answers.

August 13

GREEK SECURITY TEAM FAILS TO NOTICE GIANT HORSE: Mysterious Wooden Structure Causing Pre-Olympic Jitters via Jim Henley.

I know there are weirder things than this on the net. How would you like to be applying for a job and find out your potential boss is asking the posters on a computer baseball game board to help him make his decision?

In watching the Olympic opening ceremonies, former Greek athletes passed the Olympic flag to Greek sailors and all I could think of was this song. And what's with this crazy singing lady who's got a purse of open Coke bottles?

August 12

Concentration camp advocate Michelle Malkin calls for the firing of Norman Mineta:

And then there's, if the Bush administration wants to do one single concrete thing, it could get rid of Norm Mineta, who embodies this problem. He is somebody who experienced the evacuation during World War II. He was evacuated to a camp in Heart Mountain, Wyoming. And it has clouded, it has absolutely clouded his view of what needs to be done now.

God forbid we have anyone in power who has their mind clouded with first-hand experience.

Downloaded some episodes of Silver Screen Test for computer editing.

August 11

Doctor Who's new companion is Rose Tyler, played by British pop star Billie Piper. I was expecting a Buffy-ization of the companion, but this is like having Hillary Duff as a new Star Trek co-star. A boyfriend has been cast for Billy which hints at gay Doctor suspicions I've had. She couldn't be worse than Mel or Peri, could she?

Watched the Cold Case episode "Fly Away". In May 2001, a mother and her little girl are cowering in the child's bedroom from some male abuser. The mother hears footsteps and soon we see both flying through the glass onto the street.

It's two years later and we learn the girl died, but Rosie, the mother has just awakened from her coma. The best the original primary had was a black man running away from the scene. The usual suspects such as a boyfriend, Rosie's father and their social worker are interviewed.

The social worker did not kill them, but had a history of abusing the girls in his case file and threatened to take away the girl. That night, the black man was a friendly young pizza deliverer who was bringing over leftovers. Rosie thought it was the social worker and took the dive with her daughter. The pizza guy never recovered from the guilt and slid into a derelict state.

Typically shallow piece on ESPN about Native American major leaguers in connection with the start of Bobby Madritsch. They showed Jim Thorpe because he was a great Olympian, but he was a lousy major leaguer. ESPN also showed Allie Reynolds because they actually had old video of him. Totally ignored was Hall of Famer Charles Albert Bender.

August 10

Watched the new Pax game shows On the Cover and Balderdash. On the Cover stars Mark Wahlberg but the online biography does not mention his gig hosting the Texaco Star National Academic Championship. This Pax offering is a passable pop culture show where most of the questions are based on magazine, CD or DVD covers. The worst segment is when they concoct their own covers of fake magazines. This could be tolerable if the punchlines simply consisted of the bogus magazine name and the celebrity pictured, but no. We have to read the lame tagline or tease like "The comedy stylings of Teddy Roosevelt - Speak softly and carry a big schtick". You're not funny. Just show the covers and ask some more damn questions.

I couldn't sit through all of Balderdash. Hearing fake explanations works better in the sardonic British format of the radio show My Word. The celebrity panelists were not particularly funny and one of them was Eric Roberts for heavens sake.

Mission Control Gets the Wiggles. These are the days I'm glad my daughter has outgrown this stuff.

Constantia needs an audience.

If the Expos actually move next year and don't go to San Juan or Portland, the National League, which introduced artificial turf in 1966, will have grass fields in all their stadiums.

August 9

Been watching some PBS documentaries. 1421: The Year China Discovered America? was interesting and accurate with respect to what can be historically verified about the Treasure fleet commanded by Zheng He. When it comes to the contention that they reached America, the evidence was reaching Von Daniken territory. The Bimini Road could not have sunk so far in 600 years if it was a slipway. Also, the Shark Mounds should have artifacts if they are in fact shipwrecks.

Nothing really new to me in Apollo One: Tragedy to Triumph. I just hadn't seen it before. I didn't catch the copyright date, but since Alan Shepard appeared, it must have been made before 1998. From what I can gather, Apollo 1 remained unnumbered until 1969. It was just called the Apollo Fire. AS-201 in February 1966, AS-202 in August 1966 and AS-203 in July 1966 were designated Apollo 1,2 and 3 respectively. After the fire was restored to Apollo 1, AS-201 became Apollo 2, AS-202 became Apollo 3 and AS-203 lost official status because neither a command module or lunar module flew on this mission. AS-203 tested the Saturn S-IVB and therefore none of the manned Apollo capablities.

August 8

Cut the grass and put some mulch down around the bushes in the well. There's a weird gourd-like object in the garden now. There's an area quizbowl get-together at Tricia Southard's apartment because James Quintong is in town that I couldn't make because of the backlog of yardwork.

Everyone seems to believe Greg Maddux will be the last 300-game winner. No one mentions Mike Mussina who is currently 35 years old with 208 wins. This would require him to average 16.7 wins over the next 5.5 seasons to reach 300 by age 40 and 12.2 wins per season to reach 300 by age 42. He's had 11 seasons of 13 wins or more and 7 seasons of 17 wins or more. Bill James' Favorite Toy gives him a 1% chance. Here are some favorite toy projections using numbers from the end of the 2003 season:

PitcherAgeCurrent WinsChance of Reaching 300 Wins
Mark Mulder266812%
Barry Zito277912%
Mark Buehrle25638%
Andy Pettitte321555%
C.C. Sabathia24514%
Pedro Martinez321783%

There's a 63% that none of them will win 300 games, but that also means there is a 37% chance one of them will.

Miranda in an irregularly shaped pool
Smirking pool bunny.
August 7

Went to the pool party of Dave and Diane. Here are their pictures. Miranda had a great time at the pool until she had to go the bathroom inside, then fell down the stairs. I'd recommend Dave and Diane put a railing there before the ambulance chasers come knocking.

Saw many people I hadn't seen in years, learned that some of them had married. Chort told a story he'd heard from an Army intelligence officer who found himself in a two vehicle convoy approaching a possibly hostile crowd in Iraq. Said officer took off his helmet, revealing blonde hair, and said something to the multitude like "Aurance," AKA Lawrence of Arabia. The assemblance then began to chant Aurance! and the guy told the driver to hit accelerator before the Iraqis changed their mind. Later in an intelligence briefing, the commander in charge mentioned something about reports of Lawrence of Arabia at which the storyteller sunk in his chair, hiding. This story is similar to another I'd heard concerning an oil executive, father of an acquaintance of mine. His limo found itself in Tehran in 1979 in the middle of an anti-Shah demonstration as he headed to work. Also blond, he got out of the car, yelled,"Death to the Shah!" and was allowed to pass. I have no reason to doubt these stories, but it's like there's this meme running around about the reaction of Middle Eastern crowds to blonde men in their midst.

Watched the Monk episode "Mr. Monk and the Employee of the Month". Monk investigates the death of a "Mega-Mart" employee. The store is obviously a famous retailing giant based in Arkansas that drives smaller stores out of business.

Although the police judge the death accidental, a security guard at the store believes otherwise. The guard is Joe Christie, Monk's former partner who lost seized cocaine that resulted in the release of a drug lord who later killed two cops. Monk goes undercover which results in much hilarity.

Adrian figures out the murderer and the motive was to become Employee of the Month. What he couldn't determine was which of the prizes was worth killing someone for. It turned out to be the parking space. It sat over a sewer grate. The grate was used to dig into a bank to perform a robbery.

Monk also figures out who stole the missing cocaine which reinstates Christie. However, Monk could easily have solved this case back when he was still Joe's partner.

August 6

Tigger cleared. Now headed for Eagle, Colorado.

Thank you, Mike Burger. Does James Dinan sometimes feel like this?

Watched the Monk episode "Mr. Monk and the Girl Who Cried Wolf". Sharona sees a guy with a screwdriver in his head and a knife in his chest in a parking garage. When she goes to get Monk, there is not guy. He sees this same guy several times and many are convinced she's hallucinating.

Sharona is also taking a creative writing class from Emma Caulfield, which immediately makes the audience suspect her. Emma, acting with a janitor at the community college, poison her rich husband, using material from the murder mystery Sharona wrote. It wasn't clear why they needed to make Sharona believe she was going insane. The conspirators could have waited a few months after Sharona stopped taking the class to commit the murder.

In the B-plot, Sharona needs a break from Monk and her classmate Varla substitutes with humorous results.

Went on to the Cold Case episode "Sherry Darlin' ". In 1989, a 19-year-old boy with a girlfriend is living with his grandmother. She was reported missing but we know there was foul play. Today, the grandson calls Rush with mysterious confessions. In this episode, what happened was clear, the only question was whether the girlfriend was involved.

The girlfriend from 1989 looked too old to be dating a 19-year-old and didn't look much younger than the same woman at 33. She apparently was a Nirvana fan in 1989, which was rather progressive.

Kauai and Ishtar on the stairs
Ishtar on the stairs
Ishtar by the curtains
Today's substitute for the Random Kitten Generator
August 5

Cancel those lovefest predictions. Whitlock saw Kauai smack Ishtar and Ishtar got sick on the carpet.

August 4

I thought I'd turned in two episodes of Silver Screen Test, but I had one small detail to finish. So I turned in three episodes today. Also downloaded an episode for digital editing.

Whitlock thought she saw a bat outside our arch window. I took a few pictures with the film camera, but I think it was a very large moth. After further reflection, Whitlock agrees. It had a very thin body and seemed to be attracted to the light, rather than flying by echo-location like a bat. It reminded me too much of the slake moths from Perdido Street Station.

Whitlock and Miranda left Ishtar and Kauai alone while they went out. There appeared to be no ill effects. Tonight, Kauai is sleeping again in front of our bedroom door while Ishtar has appropriated one of Kauai's sleeping beds.

August 3

With Ishtar in the powder room, Kauai slept outside our bedroom. When Ishtar is around, he seems to prefer to hide underneath an old dresser in the basement, next to the furnace room.

Yesterday, Whitlock got a flat tire which I helped her replace today.

August 2

Whitlock brought home an orange tabby we have named Ishtar. She's very lively and noticed Kauai when he walked in the room more than Kauai noticed her. Kauai was more freaked out by the cat carrier which he associates with the vet. Ishtar will sleep in the powder room and will only be allowed to wander free when we are awake to protect her from Kauai.

August 1

Finished reading Moneyball. It's worth it to wait for the paperback that includes an Afterword about the furor the initial publication caused, especially the people who kept blasting Billy Beane for writing the book.

Michael Lewis says that Sandy Alderson first introduced the concept of on-base percentage to the Athletics in 1995. In April of that year, I watched the White Sox High-A team, the Prince William Cannons. They had a first baseman named Juan Thomas, although unrelated to Frank, made you think when you saw him of Frank. When I looked at his stats, 23 years old with no propensity to walk, I knew right then he'd never make the majors. He did walk once and I cheered him saying something,"All right, you're finally walking." Whitlock said that immediately, the bullpen swiveled their heads to look at me. Did they think I was full of it or that I knew something?

Jim Callis has an article in Baseball America saying that there is no significant risk to signing high school or college righthanded pitchers, at least in the 1990s. This would be irrelevant to low budget teams following the Moneyball philosophy since any high school player that could be drafted that early would be too expensive to sign. I'd be interested to examine the data myself and make my own conclusions.

On the Sports Reporters, Mike Lupica stated that thinking Greg Maddux could be better than Sandy Koufax in his prime was preposterous. Through 2001, Greg Maddux had ten seasons of 20-29 win shares and one 30 win share season. Koufax had two 20-29 win share seasons and three 30+ win share seasons. Discount Koufax's win shares for pitching in a 4-man rather than a 5-man rotation, then he suddenly loses his 30 win share seasons and Maddux still has his in a 5-man rotation. Over the course of career, take Maddux every time. A good argument cam be made that even comparing peaks, if both were playing under the same conditions, Maddux may have been better. The argument is far from preposterous, but that's what Lupica gets paid to do, make preposterous propositions.

The Undertow...
|Doctor Who Photonovels|
|Electoral Vote Predictor|
|How Do You Do. Welcome to the Human Race. You’re a Mess.|
|Shame on the Swift Boat Veterans for Bush|
|US Children 'Abandoned in Africa'|
|Prosecutors Admit Error in Terror Sting|
|Paul's Major League Baseball Stadium Page|
|More Failures|
|Safety Second|
|MLB Style Guide 2004|
|Jim Crow Today|
|Suppress the Vote|
|The Why Files Baseball|
|Librarians in Pornography|
|Tulsa Zoo Painted Penguins|
|How They Could Steal the Election This Time|
|The Brains Thing|
|New York Lockdown|
|Ann Coulter of SF|
|Real Science Using Quackery|
|The Choice|
|Willie Mays Forgives|
|More Flip-Flopping|
|Baseball Simulations Group|
|Bethesda Center of Excellence|
|Using the Threat of Terrorism to Scare Voters|
|Is This America?|
|What a Shame|
|Little Fluffy Industries|
|No Voice Unheard|
|The Press and the Election (pdf)|
|Do These People Know the Meaning of "Covert Operative"?|
|The Balance of Barack Obama and Bill Cosby|
|Doing Politics|
|Secret Weapon: Astronauts|
|There Are Terrorists Among Us|
|Physical Theories as Women|
|A Great Story of Racial Harmony in the DC Subway|
|Miss Georgia Sex Offenders 2004 Pageant|
|Emerson Middle School Relocation Research Project|
|Key to the City|
|Privatize Marriage|
|...and Neither Do We|
|The Business of America Is...|
|Convention Fandom Field Guide|
|Aaron's Baseball Blog|
|Justice Department Attempting to Remove Public Documents from Libraries|
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