|And just to needle Matt even more, Minnesota has a new logo.
December 21 Permalink
Watched Miranda sing in the Christmas Pageant at Rockville United Methodist Church. I finished putting up the second Christmas tree with the magic and motion ornaments. Turns out the new mini-light strings have bulb sockets too small to accomodate the Hallmark ornaments.
Some comic recommendations. A great Cartoon Roundtable by Richard Thompson who I knew when he was just Pudsy, a guy I played D&D with. You gotta love this Pearls Before Swine.
December 20 Permalink
Had a visit today from the alpha male of our herd - a six point buck if I counted right.
Watched the CSI episode "Coming of Rage". A teen-ager is found bludgeoned to death at a home construction site. Blood from the kid is found on one of the worker's hammers and a bloodhound finds a trail to clothes belonging to the sister of said construction worker.
This girl Ashley claims Bobby the victim tried to rape her before someone she couldn't identify bludgeoned him and she ran away. Bloody footprints lead to a teen living unhappily at home with his drunk father and a basement room filled with smashed watermelons. A budding Gallagher? Or practicing for his victim? He cops a plea to escape his father.
Orthodontic rubber bands help lead to two more boys. It turns out Ashley resented Bobby for straightening out his life and lured him to the construction site where her three accomplices did him in. She just borrowed her brother's hammer for her friend to use. Her final scene, explaining how she will fool the jury, one of the creepiest scenes I've seen on television this year.
In the B-plot a woman is shot in her front yard breaking up a fight between her husband and her ex-husband. Once it is established that neither man had fired a gun, the shallow penetration of the bullet certainly led me to believe that the shot was fired accidentally some distance away. And so it was that someone a quarter mile away accidentally shot in the air and gets taken in for negligent homicide.
December 19 Permalink
Matt Bruce's response to the Miguel Tejada signing:
I'd more or less echo what Ken Arneson wrote on Barry Zito Forever, that Tejada managed to avoid
any of the teams that would especially break the hearts of an A's fan.
(Unlike Arneson I'd have been happy to see Tejada go to the Giants.
Apparently it's obvious that I'm a transplant, or at least not a lifelong
fan, given that I lack the antipathy for the Giants that many East Bay
lifelong A's fans seem to have.)
I understand the principle the union is standing up for in the Alex Rodriguez negotiations, but wouldn't the union be better served by allowing a deal A-Rod is happy with in exchange for finally getting the Expos sold? The rank-and-file would get higher salaries with a real owner in place and, given the likely relocation possibilities, the owner would be in a position to pursue free agents. In other words, trade an overt lowering of the ceiling for a mechanism that will raise the ceiling even higher.
Watched the CSI: Miami episode "Extreme". A couple engaging in outdoor sex late at night has a body drop from out of the sky near them. In what appears to be late morning, the CSI's are there and Alexx discovers the victim's in full rigor. They claim it's only been an hour since the body was reported by the couple, but it sure looks like ten hours on television.
Th victim, Nikki, was a rich girl who was abducted by a kidnapping for thrill service. You know you will be kidnapped, just not when or where. You pay $20,000 for the privilege, half up-front, the rest in the "ransom". Nora Dunn plays the president of Gotcha, the company in question.
Her boyfriend Tommy, supposedly paid for the kidnapping but he didn't have enough money to pull it off. Suspicion falls at first on Nikki's young stepmother, but it turns out Tommy's buddy Keith financed the kidnapping. Perhaps the two kidnappers were too rough and accidentally killed her. One of them did find her body and dumped it. Tommy himself killed Nikki, just for the sheer thrill.
In the B-plot, they can't find Delko and he was getting himself beaten up checking a chop shop on his own and jeopardizing an on-going homicide investigation. Eric manages to get enough evidence to make the homicide stick. He'd been visiting a widow with two kids and helping them out when he ran into the chop shop. Horatio gives him some lecture about separating work from personal business that totally didn't make sense.
I think Yelena has way too cool hair to be a real working cop. I also don't know why Calleigh is at a crime scene wearing massively high-heeled boots with her boobs nearly falling out of her top.
Tried out Navy-NCIS episode "Marine Down". At the wake for a KIA Marine in which the widow got a sealed coffin with no explanation of how he died, she gets a msyterious phone call from her supposedly dead husband. The NCIS team investigate what is purportedly just a prank call, but find security blocks wherever they search.
There were two dead jarheads - Waddell and Peary. Their commanding officer meets secretly with the NCIS team explaining that the Marines were poisoned in a brothel - a death he doesn't want to break to the grieving widows. But when they check again with the colonel, they find the colonel they've been talking to was bogus.
When they dig up Waddell's body, they find he was embalmed while he was still alive and he's been stuffed with newspapers dated four days after he's been supposedly buried. Peary's coffin is just cinder blocks. A talk with the CIA suggests their fake colonel was in charge of ransoming the Marines with drug lords, but kept the money himself and killed the Marines. The NCIS go down to Columbia, assault the funeral home and free Peary from the rogue colonel.
The episode was okay, but I don't think we'll continue watching.
December 18 Permalink
With the popularity of the World Series of Poker and Celebrity Poker, somebody should package a pay-per-view event of sports stars famous for their gambling problems. Who wouldn't want to see a poker game between Pete Rose, Paul Hornung, Michael Jordan and Jaromir Jagr?
December 17 Permalink
After reading Matt Bruce's late arrival to the Tori Amos bandwagon, I Googled this blog and discovered I hadn't related my standard Tori Amos story. At this age, I've missed every bandwagon since 1989.
Anyway, Whitlock's R.A. was Tori's sister Mary. One of the duties of an R.A. was to create a program and this consisted of her 16-year-old sister "Ellen" performing on the rickety dorm piano. So Whitlock watched her perform for free way before she got famous.
As Tori's career has developed, most of her songs feature, monotonously to my ear, her floating vocals and piano. Take the two most famous piano men of pop music - Elton John and Billy Joel - and they've had plenty of pianoless hits. Tori's gotten to the point where a steady dependable audience wants a certain a sound so she won't change and no one can get her to change. I do wish she'd break out with more instrumental variety at the very least.
Matt also asked which Johnny Cash cover of a Tori Amos song would sound the silliest. There was a suggestion of Cornflake Girl, but the minor key is perfect for Johnny's slow, droning blues from his last songs. At first thought, Me and a Gun, but no there's no reason that song couldn't apply to a man as well. I'd nominate Leather, which has a certain playfulness that sure ain't A Boy Named Sue.
December 16 Permalink
From Tom FitzGerald in the San Francisco Chronicle:
-- Bob Lobel of WBZ-TV in Boston said during the Patriots' postgame show that he had received an 8 a.m. phone call and was greeted with "We got him!" He responded, "We got A-Rod?"
December 15 Permalink
Reaction to the Tejada signing from Barry Zito Forever:
Rules for not alienating A's fans when you leave for another team:
1. Don't go to the Yankees.
2. Don't go to another AL West team.
3. Don't go to the Giants.
4. Don't go to the Red Sox.
Tejada passes the test! He signed with the Orioles, which assures him of not getting the Jason Giambi treatment when he returns as an opposing player. I would be surprised if he didn't get a standing ovation in his first at-bat in Oakland.
He got a six-year deal for around $10M per year. Getting the long-term contract he wanted in this market is pretty good. I'm happy for him. Good luck, Miguel, and thanks for all the good times.
Baltimore finished in the bottom half of the standings, so the A's will get a supplemental round pick and a second-round pick from the Orioles, instead of the late first-round pick had Tejada signed with a winning team. With the picks from Boston for signing Foulke, the A's will have two first round picks, two supplemental picks, and two second-round picks in the 2004 draft.
December 14 Permalink
Put up the Christmas tree and shoveled the driveway and sidewalk after this morning's snowstorm. We hosted the Knossos December meeting where we didn't read a book but just had a party. I told Elaine Peterman that we actually got deer in the back, and she seemed amazed. While I was giving directions on the phone to Ellen Vartanoff, I saw the deer coming and told everyone. They rushed to the back door like schoolkids watching for the first snow. It was almost like a little zoo or menagerie right beyond the kitchen windows.
After the meeting I tossed the leftover pastries into the woods (I have decent arm - can't dent a radar gun though). The deer soon went for them.
December 13 Permalink
Went to the birthday party of world-famous media fan Martin Morse Wooster. He was relating a story of seeing Alan Greenspan and Andrea Mitchell having dinner at some restaurant. Someone called out,"I hope he wasn't rolling dice," to which I answered,"God does not play dice with the universe."
December 12 Permalink
The scary thing is I knew this song in its formative stages, spread only as it was sung at medieval campouts. I remember some other verses as well.
Watched the CSI episode "Gil vs. the Volcano". A car blows up in front of a hotel. When Gil and Catherine appear automatic gunfire erupts. When the shooting stops, it turns out the bomb-induced fire caused ammunition in the trunk to blow.
The bullets were a special non-penetrating variety used by air marshals. Why they didn't trace the driver before this, I don't know. But the bomb, which was triggered by the digital clock in the car, blew up only ten minutes after it was driven onto the lot by somebody else. Are rental agencies supposed to vacuum it before they rent it out again?
The car was just brought in by Roger Dunbar, who has a small, rather sparse, apartment. Turns out he's a bigamist with two families and a kid in each house. One of his wives built a volcano for one kid, while he learned enough to build a volcano for the other kid. One of the wives found out about the double life and planted the bomb. Unfortunately, there was a short in the wire and it killed other folks instead.
In the B-plot, the young wife of a soul singer is found dead in her jacuzzi of a heart attack. Suspicion falls both on the singer and the manager, but she committed suicide. I'm just surprised her death wasn't huge news to his fans, who'd make a big deal of it at his performances.
Also finally saw the Bravo production of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde starring John Hanna. In the central story, Mr. Hyde is a mental patient Dr. Jekyll is allowed to experiment on, but winds up dead before it ever begins. Jekyll keeps up the fiction of a Mr. Hyde to his servants while taking the drugs himself.
David Warner plays Sir Danvers Carew, an aspiring politician whose daughter takes an interest in Jekyll. Sir Danvers serves as a counterpoint, though not necessarily a moral paragon. When Jekyll/Hyde sexually assualts his daughter, Sir Danvers prefers the incident be kept out of the papers because of the scandal. Later we find he also fathered an illegitimate child by a prostitute. When Hyde finally kills Sir Danvers, the movie slows down and really needed to end.
I believe Jekyll never understood the duplicitous Victorian game. While civilized men appeared that way to society, they engaged in baser vices, such as Sir Danvers' prostitute. Jekyll believed the facade was real.
The idea of a bestial dark side never appealed to me since I consider myself relatively civilized. My vices consist of things like laziness. Even if I had a dark side I refuse to acknowledge, it is fully sated in today's society by all the crap we find on television or the internet.
Both CSI and this movie feature men who lead double lives. Add 24 to the list and it amazes me that these fictional characters don't crumble from exhaustion early in the story. I must really need my sleep.
December 11 Permalink
From this article in the Washington Post:
After his recent divorce, Eddy Hughes finally got to decorate his house for Christmas the way he'd always wanted to: bright, colorful and totally over-the-top.
My ex never let me do anything like this," says Hughes, 46, pointing to the garish glow emanating from the front of his rambler on a Manassas cul-de-sac.
Glittering trees, giant snowmen, sparkling reindeer, rosy candy canes, illuminated Nativity scene and blinking bushes light up every nook and cranny of the yard. His new wife, Melanie, 24, supports his flashy impulse. "It really puts me in the Christmas spirit," she says.
There's nothing that can put you in the Christmas spirit quite like a new wife young enough to be your daughter.
December 10 Permalink
Took the day off to see the doctor on an icky day that is melting away the snow.
Bruce Cassidy got fired today. Steve Spurrier is the senior coach in Washington. He was hired in January 2002 and people are still saying,"Give him some time." Marianne Stanley of the Mystics was hired in April 2002. Eddie Jordan came on in June 2003. DC United has no coach. Jim Cabarra would lead all, since he started in August 2000, but his team doesn't exist.
December 9 Permalink
My second season of OOTP has the Washington Senators in 2nd place out of 10 teams in the first week of May. We're 1.5 games behind the Mexico Diablos Rojos with whom we shared 6th place last year. The team is in the top 3rd in runs alloweed while in the bottom third in runs scored. It can't just be luck since we're right on our Pythogorean projection. Must be the lack of power since we lead in walks drawn.
The acquisition of Marshall Chamness has proved valuable, but he's hitting "only" .310. The pitching hangs on due to one above average and two great relievers in the bullpen. The average starters do the best they can, then I send in the nasty boys after 5 innings if I have a lead of two runs or less. Otherwise, the pitcher with the least innings pitched goes in.
There's a second base prospect who can supplant a mid-career Juan Samuel-type I have there now. One choice I have is to platoon both with the youngster as defensive replacement since the incumbent is such a butcher. The game only permits training at a new position in spring training so the kid could learn SS next year, but I risk him being a liability at two position rather than competent at one. The least-likely scenario is finding a shortstop on the free agent market that can actually hit. There seem to be no available A-Rods, Nomars or Tejadas.
December 8 Permalink
More BCS consternation, yadda, yadda. Here's this year's Bowl Playoff grid. Same spiel as before. The 28 places wanting to hold their big parties can still have them with this system. The selections and seeds, other than the conference champions, are open to debate. You may have different opinions on the matter.
The Bix Six Conferences want to keep the money. Even though a playoff would result in even more money, there's no guarantee the Bix Six would get more and the smaller conferences would also get more money, enabling them to compete better. Ignore the BS about academic integrity. It's all about preserving the monopoly.
December 7 Permalink
Watch the Enterprise episode "Carpenter Street". A guy is abducting bodies off the streets of Detroit and we all know it's for the Xindi. The abductor is Loomis, played by Leland Orsor who amazingly has been married to both Roma Downey and Jeanne Triceratops.
Daniels of the Temporal Police appears to Archer. Daniels is pretty clueless, but tells Archer he can take them to 21st century Detroit to fix the Xindi. Amazingly, Archer takes T'Pol rather say, Tripp, an American with a slight fascination for old Earth culture.
Archer and T-Pol steal a car with a tricorder. They track Loomis to the Xindi warehouse and his apartment. Loomis has the only real-looking apartment on television that looks like the apartments I've seen in real-life.
Loomis smuggles in Archer as one of his bodies. Archer sneaks around and some gun fight ensues killing two Xindi. The third gets killed as he tries to release the virus. Archer and T'Pol bring the bioweapons lab back to Enterprise. Loomis is trying to tell the story to the police as he's arrested.
I have a problem with these Xindi abductions. Can't they just pose as doctors and attend some interstellar medical conference to get all the information they need on humans? They could also abduct humans like in North Star with nobody noticing. This particular scenario seemed pointless.
December 6 Permalink
Big snowstorm overnight. We're all still sick. We have to cancel out of my godson Ian's birthday party.
Noonish I get in a good nap in the guest room just as the clouds begin to break. Miranda uses my ribcage as a pillow while she reads the Finding Nemo novelization.
I watch the Delaware-Northern Iowa game. The Blue Hens wear a helmet very similar to Michigan's. John Cooper, not this John Cooper, is doing color for the game. I immediately know the team with the Michigan-like helmets will win if John Cooper is in the house. I'm not wrong.
December 5 Permalink
Watched the CSI: Miami episode "Bait". The episode opens with a woman clinging to a buoy that is soon eaten by a shark in full view of three helpless fishermen.
The girl had a wire, but she didn't work for any law enforcement agency. Instead she trolled for a private investigation service that lured men to stray into affairs.
There is a subplot of a detective that Delko determines had his fingerprints on the dead woman's hotel key. This is just a red herring about unwritten rules between CSI and cops.
One of suspects is a mark who had his fingerprints all over the crime scene, but it turns out he was in love with the woman who helped ruin his life. The wife killed her, because she would marry the husband.
The motives were sensible enough, but it involved the wife shooting the victim in a 12th floor hotel room, then having a struggle ensue that led all the way to the water - with no one noticing two women acting strangely. There are plot holes I allow in other shows that I don't stand for in CSI.
December 4 Permalink
Watched the Tru Calling episode "Past Tense". It starts with a frat party at graduation time and a dead girl in an upstairs room. After going through what appears to be an uneventful day, five bodies appear in the morgue - males in their mid-to-late 20s. Immediately we think, those are awfully old to be recent graduates. They all cry out from their sheets for Tru to help them.
In reliving the day, all Tru's got is a name on a card. Lo and behold, it's a strip club she and Harrison are standing in front of. The lamest strip joint in existence - the dancers wear way too many clothers - Harrison gets the name of the girl who performed.
Tru insinuates herself into the bachelor party as the bartender. Forrest from the Initiative is one of the attendees. There are six guys which means that one of them is the murderer.
With deft deduction, Tru learns from Harrison that the wedding was called off - the groom is not getting married at all. So it's the bachelor, who killed that girl five years ago in that frat party. The others helped cover it up, but one of them is wavering. The groom brought them together to kill them and keep it quiet.
In the other sub-plot, there's a hot guy named Luc who goes for a job interview as a crime scene photographer in the dead of night.
December 3 Permalink
I've been so late with my reading that only now am I getting to the August 2003 issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction. I point to the story "The Chambered Fruit" by M. Rickert which is a typical tale of the dangers of the Internet that turns into the Persophone story. It's not exactly uplifting, but on this day it felt good. I'm going to take off the next two days from work to see if that helps.
December 2 Permalink
Watched the Tru Calling episode "Brother's Keeper". It starts with Harrison breaking into a house, getting into a fight with some man, then pointing a gun at him. Then with an establishing shot of the big beautiful house, a gunshot rings out.
Flash back to the beginning of the day. Tru gets to meet Harrison's new girlfriend, a Jennifer Connolly-look-alike named Sarah. Later that evening, Tru says Sarah meets with her approval, but Harrison has to abruptly leave.
A body appears in the morgue and Tru discovers it was Sarah's ex-husband. Then she gets a call from Meredith saying that Harrison is being charged with the murder of Andrew (the ex-husband). In a preposterously tense moment, Tru stands before his dead body begging for him to ask for her help.
So the day starts again and Tru hears the battered wife story while trying to tell Harrison to stay away. Tru meets the husband who only has a houseboat to call home. Eventually we learn that Sarah wants Harrison to kill Andrew for her. Sarah does it herself, but this time around, Andrew is wearing a bulletproof vest.
At the very least, we get the idea Harrison has a good heart, though very little sense.
December 1 Permalink
Watched the Angel episode "Destiny". The previews foreshadowed this would reveal some heretofore unknown fact about Spike, Drusilla and Angel. All we find is that Julie Benz was too busy to make the episode.
A package shows upat Wolfram and Hart for Spike. Harmony opens it and a flash of light makes Spike corporeal again. However, the phones don't work and the fabric of the universe is unraveling. This is because suddenly, there are two vampires with a soul on the same television network.
Rutherford, one of Wesley's subordinates, says that the vampire with the soul must go to an opera house in Death Valley to drink from the cup of eternal torment. It reminded me of Armagossa.
Spike and Angel go to this abandoned opera house and have a big fight. Spike wins, but the cup is a ruse and filled only with Mountain Dew. Back home, the senior partners have temporarily fixed the fabric of the universe.
But it's all a ruse and Eve is really working for Lindsey.