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December 2004 Archives

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December 31

Watched the Cold Case episode "Mindhunters". In 1985 an abused woman is in a convenience store with her 11-year-old daughter. Then that same woman is killed by a hunter, stripped to her undies after a long chase in the woods. Today, her body is found. There is a brief red herring where her ex-husband is investigated, but more bodies are found and we have a serial killer.

All of these women fought back against some attacker. Every November, the hunter stripped the women down and chased them through the woods before shooting them. We easily determine that John Billingsley, Phlox, is the killer. He's a file clerk who posed as a policeman in abducting the women while holding the identity of a retired cop. However, he's too smart and he walks. I expect he'll be back because he can't stop killing. He also has to be in a job to identify women with spirit. There can't be too many places for him to go. Billingsley easily proves why he's the best actor on Star Trek: Enterprise.

Today's Nats Birthdays: Just one - Tommy Byrne. He played for The Senators in 1953 during a three year exile from the Yankees.

December 30

From Chatological Humor:

Washington, D.C.: Hey Gene... given that Linda Cropp is kind of the one who is (right or wrong) responsible for stalling this whole thing with the Nationals, I had to laugh when I read what Tony Tavares said in your paper's article this morning about the Nats suspending business operations:

"From a baseball standpoint, the Nationals' next step is the same as it has been over the last month: pursuing free agent left-hander Odalis Perez. That, of course, depends on the D.C. Council's vote today.

"'The old saying applies here,' Tavares said. 'It's not over until the fat lady sings.'"

Gene Weingarten: Some of the best comedy is unintentional comedy.

Today's Nats Birthdays: Tom Connolly and Ray Prim. Connolly played 50 games for the Nats in 1915 and also played ball for the Hoyas. He is not to be confused with the man considered the first American League umpire. Prim pitched 10 games for the Nats and 29 for the Phillies before resurfacing in the majors with the Cubs. He pitched the four game in the Northsiders last World Series appearance, retiring the first 10 batters he faced before being knocked out by Tigers with four runs in the 4th inning.

December 29

Miranda got the Fairly Odd Parents board game for Christmas. It has some of the same nomenclature as Fluxx with the terms Keeper and Rule.

Took Miranda, Victoria and Ian to Winter Lights. The only thing I'm sure is new is a peacock which unfolds in the manner of the NBC mascot.

Today's Nats Birthday: Tom Upton who played 5 games for the Nats in 1952.

December 28

The Inner Light is the most overrated Next Generation episode. This is where an alien probe enters Picards brain and he lives the life of a person on a dying planet. The beings there send the probe that encounters Enterprise and is a means for telling their story to others, even as their world crumbles.

In this story, Picard gets the family he never had and Stewart gives a marvelous performance. But, other than possessing the ability to play an alien flute, how has Picard changed? Not one bit. It's a totally different story, shoehorned into the Star Trek universe.

From my economic training, every decision means another decision given up. And when you can have all the choices, then drama is gone. It doesn't matter whether you have Chinese or pizza tonight, you can have the other tomorrow night. But it does matter whether you choose to be a doctor or a lawyer and whether you spend the remainder of your life with one lover or another because society doesn't really allow you to have both.

Wouldn't it be a liberating experience, after a life in a lucrative but dull profession, or a stable but unexciting marriage to spend three hours of real time, but decades in subjective time, walking the road not taken? You wouldn't have to make that earth-shattering decision because you could still experience that other life. And that is what Picard does, albeit not of his own volition. Unlike other similar stories on other televisions shows, he doesn't merely glimpse the life he could have had, but actually lives it. There is no regret, since he does what he could have regretted. The empty life has been been fulfilled. He just won the emotional lottery. Picard got everything he wanted and all it cost was a few hours of his life.

Also, a dying civilization puts all its cultural eggs into being to able to shoot their life into one person's brain. This is the Trek equivalent of the Vl'hurgs and the G'Gugvuntts attacking the Earth and being swallowed by a small dog. This is no way to preserve your cultural history.

To summarize, "The Inner Light" is a story outside the Trek universe that shows no character development. It's certainly a what-if, but instead of asking something like,"What if we could travel faster than the speed of light?" it asks,"What if I didn't have to make important decisions?"

Watched the Hallmark Production of Frankenstein. Seemed faithful to Shelley in that the creature was pretty articulate. Otherwise, it got slow once the inevitable became clear.

Today's Nats Birthdays: Aurelio Rodriguez. He was traded to the Nats in April 1970 along with Rick Reichardt in an unpopular trade that sent Ken McMullen to the Angels. Aurelio went to Detroit in October 1970 in the even more unpopular Denny McLain deal. There he eventually unseated Brooks Robinson for the third base Gold Glove in 1976. Rodriguez played for the White Sox in 1982, then signed with the Orioles as a free agent in 1983. Released by the Orioles on August 13 of that year, he was picked up by the White Sox on August 31, perhaps in a hope to pick up secrets in time for the playoffs.

December 27

From the Ballpark Guys Nationals Board, an interesting observation:

Actually, I think Philadelphia is the real city with an inferiority complex. Baltimore is just strange and it likes to stay that way. There's a reason two iconoclastic crime series - Homicide and The Wire - are set in B-More. Don't get me wrong. I like Baltimore. But it's a very insular place and Baltimoreans really don't think of themselves as living in a major city. Philly, on the other hand, fancies itself a competitor to New York, or at least, a major stop on the Northeast Corridor. Problem is, if you ask most people in America what are the main three cities on the "East Coast" they'll say Boston, NY and DC. Philly is bigger than Boston or DC, yet it's off the cultural radar screen. And Philadelphians don't like it one bit. There's a reason the fans there are so mean. They have all the passion of New Yorkers, but none of the charm.

And how many of those Philly fans still think the Eagles made a mistake by drafting Donovan McNabb instead of Ricky Williams?

Amazingly, no Nats birthdays today.

Tonight Yelena came over and I served pizza to the girls.

December 26

Miranda and I played a little bit of the CSI board game. The materials are very slick, but there are only eight "cases" which means you can only play the game eight times. Otherwise it seems to be a widget hunt. I suppose I'll have to finish this game to give my final verdict.

Today's Nats Birthdays: Jerry Freeman, John Henry and Bonnie Hollingsworth.

December 25

Merry Christmas! I wrap presents way too tight. Run a blade through the tape. It's easier.

Miranda is still scared of dogs so I went alone to Christmas dinner but gave mother-in-law Viola a ride over. Third cousins Angel from Manhattan and Lucian from Toronto were there. A statement was made that was probably repeated hundreds of times across the country,"Mom made so much food the Army should given the contract to her instead of Halliburton."

Today's Nats Birthdays: Red Barnes, Lloyd Brown, Ben Chapman, Frank Ellerbe, Barry McCormick and Joe Quinn. As part of the 1928 Nats, Red Barnes hit .300 along with his outfield partners Sam Rice and Goose Goslin. Lloyd Brown allowed the most home runs to Lou Gehrig, including two grand slams. Ben Chapman starred with the 1930s Yankees, but baited Jackie Robinson as Phillies manager. Frank Ellerbe is the only son of a state governor to make the majors, at least until Christopher Schwarzenegger. Barry McCormick, as a member of the Cubs, took part in their 1897 thrashing of Louisville 36-7. The 36 runs is still the record for most runs scored in a game by a major league team. Joe Quinn played 66 games at second for the 1901 Nats and was the only Australian-born player in the majors until Craig Shipley in 1986.

December 24

When this guy hits the winning home run in the bottom of the 9th, it's Ender's Game.

Today's Nats Birthdays: Evelio Hernandez, Owen Scheetz and Frank Trechock.

December 23

Old is when you hear about this song and think they're talking about this song.

Via Capitol Punishment, DC United says they will play on portable grass with a clay base over the infield. It will take two days to convert to soccer and three days to convert baseball.

Today's Nats Birthdays: Rick Adams, Al Cicotte, "Finding" Nemo Gaines, Doc Gessler, Mike Grady, Tony Roig, Danny Taylor and Tommy Thomas. Al Cicotte was nicknamed "Bozo" and was the grand-nephew of Eddie Cicotte. Which of these two was the greater burden to bear? The pre-Chris Berman nichname is strangely appropriate in that Nemo Gaines is the only Naval Academy attendee to play in the majors. Doc Gessler actually got a medical degree from Johns Hopkins. Mike Grady sounds so much like the father on a sitcom, but with Kid Gleason and George Davis, he helped three people escape from a fire while on their way to the Polo Grounds. Thomas pitched with the independent International League Baltimore Orioles of the 1920s and gave up two mammoth shots to Babe Ruth at old Comiskey in 1927.

December 22

Accord Reached on D.C. Stadium. The Nationals are back in business and selling jerseys. As you recall, I was optimistic, but not certain.

Today's Nats Birthdays: Jack Jenkins, Bill Kennedy and Owen Shannon. Jenkins wore #1 for the 1962 Senators. Kennedy struck out 456 in 1946 for Rocky Mount in the Western Carolinas League. Omahan Owen Shannon caught 4 games for the 1907 Nationals.

Took the day off to finish Christmas shopping.

Watched the Cold Case episode "The Boy in the Box". In 1958, boys play cowboys and indians. Another boy comes over the hill and is welcomed, especially by one of the girls. One of two nuns looks on disapprovingly. Later, a teenager follows a jackrabbit to a box where a boy is found dead.

Today, a suitcase turns up with clues to the case which has haunted the police department for decades. The information inside states that the boy's name was Arnold.

An Arnold was adopted out of Cathlic orphanage in 1958, just two days before he was found dead. When the papers track his parents, they turned out to have died in the 19th century. DNA and dental records confirm the boy in the box was Arnold, but totally unrelated to a woman who claims to be his sister.

The surviving Sister Vivian who ran the orphanage enjoyed her corporal punishment. In addition, the boys were undergoing radiation experments. None of the surviving boys had children of their own.

Turns out the late Sister Grace was the mother of Arnold. Wanting him to be adopted, she turns to a friend at the medical institute who tries electroshock treatment which does not go well. After Arnold dies of a fever, Vivian disposed of him in the box.

Perhaps it was naturally contradictory, but I couldn't understand Grace's behavior. If she wanted Arnold away, why didn't she leave him in a Pittsburgh orphanage like she was supposed to? If she wanted Arnold around, why did she try so hard to get him adopted? Finally, the story never tells us who left the suitcase.

December 21

Paul Di Filippo has a regular satirical feature in Fantasy & Science Fiction entitled Plumage from Pegasus. On the Internet, Nobody Knows You're Adorable appeared in the April 2004 issue. I never thought I'd see this juxtaposition to end a story:

"I want to meet Avril Lavigne and Hilary Duff."

"SALOON has a little cachet. I think that can be arranged."

Now Leia was bouncing up and down like any excited teen. "And, and, oh yeah — Michael Dirda too!"

Today's Nats Birthdays: Paul Casanova, Jay Difani, Ralph Lumenti, Elliott Maddox and Steve White.

December 20

The coldest day of the year is when the folks at the Y fitness center decide to show up late. Fortunately, the security guard for the main part of the Y let us wait in the lobby. After a half-hour, I just went straight to work.

And on days like today, thank you BallWonk for your sense of humor.

Today's Nats Birthdays, a pair of Julios: Julio Becquer and Julio Gonzalez.

Miranda in angel costume
Cuter than Kylie Minogue.
December 19

At this morning's Christmas pageant, Miranda was one of the angels. She also sang with the Children's Choir.

Watched the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "Kir'Shara". Tripp takes the ship and Soval to Andorian territory. Shran kidnaps Soval and tortures him, but eventually gives up when he's convinced the Vulcan is telling the truth. T'Pau and Archer reach the High Command with the help of Koss's access codes. Minister Kuvak, who voted against the war, now flip-flops and shoots V'Las. We find out V'Las was operating with the manipulation of the Romulans.

We saw the Ricky Williams interview. Whitlock wanted to see him talk more about his depression. I'm guessing the producers edited that part out because it wasn't sensational enough. I think characterizing Williams as selfish is unfair. A player who leaves a team to attend to the birth of a child, the illness of a parent, or his own battle with substance abuse is just as selfish, but would not get the same condemnation. Perhaps in the same situation, I might play, but tell management my heart wasn't in it, and try to reach an accomodation.

He's supporting three children. I think his agent must be to blame somewhere. The agency relies on his income for their income. Someone should have tried to get him help much earlier. Perhaps he could have found his true self and still played football.

Whitlock and I think Ricky wouldn't be out of place at a con. He could be part of the holistic medicine track. I think he could still make a reasonable living as a celebrity masseur.

Today's Nats Birthdays: Tex Jeanes, which sounds a new clothing line at The Gap, Tommy O'Brien and Fred Thomas.

December 18

Watched the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "Awakening". T'Pol and Archer find the Syrannite enclave where T-Pau looks like a 1970s pop star, unlike the 1980s pop star. She attempts to remove Surak's katra from Archer, but Surak wants Archer to retrieve the Kir'Shara and save Vulcan himself. The Kir'Shara turns out to be an ancient stone Icehouse piece.

Mayweather attempts to rescue Archer and T'Pol, but is turned away by the Vulcan ships. T'Pol's mother T'Les is killed in the attack by the Vulcan High Command. Soval explains that Administrator V'Las wants to eradicate the Syrannites because they are pacifists who would get in the way of his war plans against Andoria. He created intelligence that the Andorians have a Xindi weapon as a pretext. I'm find anyone would exaggerate enemy weapon capability to get into an unnecessary war.

Today's Nats Birthdays: Dick Coffman, Lance Richbourg, Moose Skowron and 1965 MVP Zoilo Versalles.

December 17

Still optimistic here on the baseball front. There's hope that the good cops, Dupuy and Selig, will talk to Cropp, rather than Abu Ghraib Reinsdorf. There's also talk that any of the potential ownership groups may have the funds to step up and offer to pay for the 50% of private financing themselves. Although that's possible I find it unlikely. MLB would rather the potential owner give that money to them, rather than spend it on a stadium. The story from Messianic Fruitcake Central is that officials may just redefine the meaning of the term "private financing" and approve the original agreement.

Today's Nats Birthdays: Just one today - Cy Falkenberg.

A holiday party with CDs among the door prizes. The four artists available were Destiny's Child, Toby Keith, Britney Spears and Tupac. The middle-aged white woman with the Tupac CD trying to figure out what to do with it.

Watched the CSI episode "Mea Culpa". Grissom is being investigated by Sofia Curtis because a fingerprint suddenly appeared on a matchbook cover. It seems a fingerprint can take years to develop if kept in plastic and there isn't much for the indicator to adhere to. This investigation of a hardware store murder results in the arrest of the first suspect's son. Nana Visitor appears as someone too young to have a 30-year-old son.

In the B-plot, Sidle and Sanders investigate what appears to be an accidental death due to an illegally altered firearm. The victim modified the gun himself and was planning to make a big sale. Turns out the buyer was an ATF agent.

The climax of the episode was the break-up of the graveyard shift unit. Ecklie makes Willows the swing shift supervisor and transfers Brown and Stokes to her. Curtis, who had been acting day shirt supervisor, is now working for Grissom with Sara and Greg. Look for Sofia to be the first to take Ecklie down.

December 16

Baseball Rejects Council's Changes In Financing Plan for D.C. Stadium. Dupuy stepped up with the nuclear option. Recall that at least one former owner found the inner workings of baseball so sleazy, he turned to politics instead. The ramifications of voting for the stadium may be just getting voted out of office, then there's the case of Mary Rose Wilcox who voted for Bank One Ballpark and got shot for her efforts.

The District has less leverage than other cities because they must deal with Major League Baseball as a whole rather than an individual owner who might have a more personal commitment to the city. On the other hand, any other city would not provide the kind of revenue stream to a potential owner that Washington can, regardless of whether that other city can build a stadium entirely with public funds. Will an owner really pay in the $300m range anywhere but Washington or New Jersey?

If Major League Baseball just picks up and moves to San Juan, that would not be the worst-case scenario because at least the politicians would be blamed. They could continue to operate in Washington with the same indifference they did in Montreal. That would be the surest extinguisher to fan interest in the Nation's Capital and continue the myth of Washington as a bad baseball town.

Continuing optimistically with Nats Birthdays: Neil Chrisley, Hugh McMullen and Bill Otey share their birthday with Ludwig van Beethoven. Chrisley got traded to the Tigers in 1958 with Eddie Yost and Rocky Bridges. In 1960, he broke up Bill Monbuquette's no-hit bid. McMullen's only Nats appearance was a strikeout in 1928. Bill Otey pitched two years for the Nats in relief in 1910 and 1911.

BallWonk has this to say in his comments section:

BallWonk suspects that you are forgetting one thing: MLB owners are crazy. Not funny "The Tick" crazy, but scary "The Joker" crazy. They've already thrown $200 million down the Expos hole to uphold the principle that no team will be sold or moved without first getting a free ballpark; if they say they're willing to lose $100 million off the sale price by re-relocating to a small-time city like Vegas or Portland to get a free new stadium, believe them. If they say they'd rather sink another $100 million into the franchise and then blow the whole $300 mil investment on contraction rather than relocate to a city that won't offer a brand-new, free ballpark, believe them. And if they say they'd rather play on a little-league field in Pocatello, Idaho, to a maximum crowd of 40 per game next year than stick around in RFK without a free new stadium in the works, believe them.

It is an easy mistake to look at MLB and assume that they are simple businessmen, chiefly interested in the bottom line, and amenable to reason. On the contrary. Imagine you're talking to an angry gangster holding a pistol to a puppy's head, and you'll have a better mental model of how MLB works. These are narcissistic sociopaths chiefly concerned with maintaining the unity of their cartel and their access to public subsidies. (Or "family loyalty" and "extortion racket," to describe this particular mafia more accurately.)

Watched the CSI:NY episode "Three Generations are Enough". It begins with a mysterious briefcase on the floor of the New York Mercantile Exchange that has a hint of nitrate on it, suggesting a bomb. When the robots blow it up, there is nothing dangerous inside.

The owner of the briefcase is a missing trader named Luke Sutton who had been investigating another trader for illegal activity. A cocaine dealer named Charles had also been stalking Sutton. They find Luke's body burned in his car. In Charles' lair the detectives find hand-rolled bullets that seem to be the origin of the nitrates on the briefcase.

In the B-plot, a social worker has fallen from a church rooftop. Neither a suicide nor a push, she was already dead when she was tossed, bludgeoned with a candlestick. The handyman, played by Peter O'Meara of Peacemakers, was the father of her child.

Both plots come together when we find the handyman and the trader were brothers and suffering from paranoid schizophrenia. Charles was a just a voice inside Sutton's head. When he found out his brother was having a child, he couldn't bear another generation of mental illness and killed the mother. Burdened with guilt, Sutton set himself on fire.

Which all makes sense except why didn't Sutton, being quite well-off seek, medical help for his problems? Because he was overcome by his cocaine addiction. It makes perfect sense, but they never bothered to tell us.

December 15

Council Approves Altered Stadium Deal. Back when the announcement was made in September I said,"I'll believe it when the jerseys go on sale." Damned if they didn't halt the unveiling of the jerseys today. I still think some kind of stadium deal will go through for Washington, although the final private contribution will be closer to the 18% from the original agreement than the 50% approved yesterday. After two decades of studying these machinations, I'm fascinated by how these negotiations will turn out. I just wish it was a team in another city.

I'll carry on with the Nats Birthdays: Only one today - Eddie Robinson and this isn't the former Grambling coach. I don't what he was like, but his statline reads like a classic Moneyball player like Jeremy Giambi. A slow first baseman, he nevertheless hit 16 homers in just 173 at-bats for the Yankees. By that time, his Nats experience had been three teams and five years ago.

Took a day off to deal with household matters. Stopped off at The Great Indoors to look at all the overpriced merchandise. I thought I'd look at some possible kitchen flooring and ended up finding bathroom tile suitable for Pompeii.

Watched the CSI: Miami episode "Pirated". Five dead bodies are found by honeymoon divers. The victims came from a fishing boat that was hijacked by pirates. The owner says the ship had a crew of nine. Another floater is found along with two living and one dead aboard a lifeboat.

The boat was transporting weapons to Haiti and fishing bluegill tuna. The pirates were an anti-immigration militia. They paid $5000 to one of three college students onboard to deliver the location. The students were the ones on the lifeboat.

The pirates were repainting the boat and when the SWAT team came in, one of the thieves destroyed a police car with a rocket-propelled grenade. Later, another RPG does in a Cuban store. The head of the operation owned a used-car lot and nitroglycerine was found in one of the vehicles. One of the students admits to cannibalism, but is charged with giving up the boat.

December 14

Marlins Told to Leave Stadium After 2010. This is the part that gets me:

Pro Player Stadium president Bruce Schulze said 2010 is the last of a series of one-year lease options for the Marlins, who share the complex with the Miami Dolphins. He said dropping the Marlins would let the stadium pursue such events as cricket and soccer.

That's what drove the Expos out of Montreal. All those Canadians prefering cricket and soccer.

We really don't hate Jim Bowden. As Ryan says at Distinguished Senators:

Bowden is here solely to create buzz for himself. The more he gets his name in papers and on the front page of, the more likely he'll be to get himself a real GM job. "Hey, Billy! How about Ohka for Hudson?" "No, Jim." "Nice talking to you, BB. Hey, Gammons! Guess who I was just talking to?"

Today's Nats Birthdays: John Anderson, Greg Goossen, Jerry Schoonmaker and Pete Whisenant. John Anderson did not receive any votes in the 1980 Presidential election, but he did play for the one-year-only 1901 Milwaukee Brewers. Greg Goosen backed up Jerry Grote for the Mets before moving on to the other Milwaukee Brewers and the Nats. Casey Stengel said of him in 1967, "He's 21. In 10 years, he's got a chance to be 31." Schoonmaker didn't have much of a Major League career, but he starred for College World Series winner Mizzou Tigers in 1954. With the Reds in 1957, Whisenant hit five pinch-hit homers, three of them off Vinegar Bend Mizell.

Watched the Cold Case episode "Red Glare". In 1953 an African-American boy joins a fourth grade class, but is soon taken out to the black school. The teacher is found beaten to death.

The case is reopened because his son, Howard, has a history of suicide. Howard had believed his father abandoned them only to recently discover the murder. The father, Elliot, had attended a meeting of integrationists which included some Communists. He is subpoenaed before the House Un-American Activities Committee. His life slowly unravels - he loses his teaching job, his older son is kicked off the baseball team and neighbors refuse to associate with the family.

But it all centered on a Czech woman who was in love with Elliot. An actual Communist named Harland was in love with her as well. If Elliot named her, she would be deported. To keep from divulging her name, Harland killed Elliot. There is a mysterious B-plot of Lily's sister Christina needing a place to crash. A possible political joke in that the two brothers are named Howard and Dean.

December 13

Via Off Wing Opinion, a round-up of steroids opinions from Dayn Perry, Jacob Sullum, Jim Henley, Matt Welch and Bill James. And from Bijan Bayne on MasterCard dropping sponsorship of Bonds' pursuit of Babe Ruth and Henry Aaron:

Barry Bonds’ contract: $16 million a year, ticket to see Bonds play: $18.75, cost of the leaked BALCO grand jury testimony to the future of MLB- priceless.

And from The Nats Blog:

So, I wonder....will old-time baseball folks just shrug their shoulders since steroids weren't around when they played and just think "yeah we had wacky guys in the clubhouse who used to try weird things to make them think they would play better all the time, it's no big deal"?
I thought they would be the most vocal on "purity of the game" issues, but maybe that wasn't a correct assumption.

I would like to add that my body also looks very different in 2004 than it did in 1990. I've gained weight and may have more muscles in some areas and more fat in others. I have not taken any anabolic steroids or human growth hormones and have never failed a test for performance enhancing substances. I'm just happy the Nationals are not acquiring the only mistake George W. Bush will admit to.

Today's Nats Birthdays: Bill Everitt and Lou Thuman. Everitt stole 7 bases in just 33 games in his only season with the Nats in 1901. Thuman was wounded on D-Day.

December 12

Watched the CSI episode "Ch-Ch-Changes". A woman found dead in a convertible was actually a trans-sexual who was too much in a hurry and unstable to go through the usual channels. She had engaged another trans-sexual to perform the procedure which was done in a storage facility.

We were all too tired or sick to make the various social gatherings we were invited to today, so I send my regrets out.

Watched the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "The Forge". Admiral Forrest is killed when a bomb goes off at the Earth Embassy. He died saving Ambassador Soval.

Suspicion falls on a Vulcan sect called the Syrannites and T'Pau. T'Pol and Archer go in search of T'Pol's mother who is also a Syrannite. On this journey through the Vulcan desert, they meet Arev, a Syrannite played by Michael Nouri. They take shelter in a cave during a sandfire. The disturbance dislodges their hiding place and kills Arev, but not before he transmits the katra of Surak himself into Archer. Archer leads T'Pol to the Syrannite sanctuary where the episode ends.

Meanwhile, Phlox discovers that T'Pau's DNA was planted. Soval performs a mindmeld on a human security guard and finds that the Vulcan investigating the bombing planted the bomb.

Today's Nats Birthdays: Tom Brown, who gave up the expansion Senators after one year to play cornerback for the Green Bay Packers. He intercepted a Don Meredith pass to seal the 1966 NFL Championship and send to the Pack to the first Super Bowl. Also with birthdays today, the unfortunately named Clyde Kluttz, Mike Mitchell, Raul Sanchez and Allie Watt.

December 11

Taped a couple more episodes of Silver Screen Test. Usually, my interaction with the contestants is a like an interesting intimate discussion. Today it seemed like a small cocktail party. Former contestant Tim Young showed up as a spectator. My thanks to my crew: Jimmy Albert, John Buckley, Michael Camillo, Yen-Ming Chen, Adam Fine, Andrea Lamphier, Bob Mattia, Nancy Poole, Robin Schoen and Larry Sheingorn.

After that I went to my nephew and godson Ian's birthday party, which I figured would be breaking up by then. I had a Finding Neverland poster for him. Turned out my sister had sprained her ankle. Whitlock took her to the emergency room. I let Miranda hang around a little longer and play. When I drove her home, I forgot that I had the big Silver Screen Test that can only fit in the back seat, so she sat hidden behind it. Whitlock didn't come home till late.

At home we played Soccer Cards and got Walsall into automatic promotion to Division One. This version does not have the recent name changes so this is actually the current Coca-Cola Football Championship. Miranda was thrilled with the promotion and with our success. I took a better job with Queens Park Rangers.

Today's Nats Birthdays: Merl Combs and Lee Maye, not to be confused with All-Star and former Oriole Lee May.

December 10

I'm impressed with how well the Nationals blogs have gotten off the ground. They're generally well-versed sabermetrically and don't worship Jim Bowden the way the print media does. Distinguished Senators loves Tony Clark and would trade Nick Johnson for Alex Rios because he's worried about Johnson's durability. D.C. Baseball would rather keep Johnson. Washington Baseball Blog will also take Rios.

Today's Nats Birthdays: Roy "Dizzy" Caryle, Rudy Hernandez, who played for both the original and the Expansion Senators in 1960 and 1961, and Bob Priddy.

My thanks to the set-up crew of Jimmy Albert, John Buckley, Michael Camillo and Larry Sheingorn who put up the set for Silver Screen Test.

December 9

We begin a new feature for as long as I can keep it up. It was made by possible by the Sean Lahman Database and some fiddling with Microsoft Access. It's the Nats Birthdays, featuring players of both incarnations of the Washington Senators and potential members of the 2005 team. For today we have Billy Klaus, Bob Kline and two members of the Ted Williams-managed teams, Del Unser and All-Star Darold Knowles.

December 8

Through Matt Bruce from Gary Huckaby:

We have federal agents hanging out at in Burlingame trying to track down people like Bill Romanowski and other athletes for acquiring or using drugs that really only represent a threat to themselves? Are you f***ing kidding me? Did we catch Osama Bin Laden over the weekend? Have these agents already finished working with the chemical and energy industries to harden soft terrorist targets like refineries and chemical plants? My tax dollars are being spent to go after people like Victor Conte, rather than building new schools or paying down the debt? Again, I'm forced to ask, are you f%^&ing kidding me?

December 7

From Medicore Fred, this nugget:

Also, I should call attention to King Kaufman's NFL picks column today, which is quite amusing throughout, but deserves special mention for this passage:

"The Bears, with one of the worst offenses in the league, will try former Cowboys and NFL Europe non-standout Chad Hutchinson at quarterback. And waiting in the wings is the newly signed Jeff 'No! Not Jeff George!' George... A football team signing Jeff George is the equivalent of a sitcom adding a 3-year-old as a major character. It says, 'We know, we know, but we're desperate and we've run out of good ideas.' "

Anyone who's ever been forced to root for a team that has employed George will no doubt approve enthusiastically of the nickname Kaufman has bestowed on him. It certainly describes my reaction every day that George suited up for the Dreadskins.

I think Alison LaPlaca or Jumping the Shark would be better nicknames for Jeff George.

Watched the CSI:NY episode "Rain". A person on fire in a Chinatown in the street was would-be bank robber. Three bank robbers snuck into a low security bank. A gunshot ignited an acetylene tank, setting two robbers on fire. A third robber got away bleeding from a gunshot wound and a security guard ended up dead.

A bank clerk had her infant daughter kidnapped before the robbery to earn her cooperation in identifying the highest value safety deposit boxes. Evidence leads to a theater where the third robber was found. Another ransom notes appears which leads to the remaining security guard who has the baby. There were a number of holes in the logic if you thought about it later, it moved fast enough that you didn't notice.

December 6

I find John McCain's threat of federal drug testing standards on professional athletes rather disingenous. Sports should be able to run their leagues the way they want. Steroids are illegal, though whether they should be is another question. The current investigation of BALCO enforces current laws on the books. The Justice Department could choose to target professional athletes further by escalating enforcement. Federal money can also be spent on real science to develop better testing methods that detect masking agents. What we don't need is the nanny state telling people how to run their business.

If McCain wished to do good in professional sports, he could start by enforcement of the anti-trust laws. That would keep public money from being spent on stadiums and arenas that largely benefit the billionaire owners and the millionaire players.

How I feel MLB should handle this can be found on May 29, 2002. If a manager suspects a corked bat or doctored baseballs, he can ask the umpire to confiscate said suspicious materials. I like the idea of a manager demanding an opposing superstar pee on command.

Watched the CSI: Miami episode "Speed Kills". A guy is speed-dating and is found dead. He was killed by a woman he previously dated and dumped. She is going through a bitter divorce and frames her husband.

In the B-plot, two of the suspects are gentlemen the victim witnessed assaulting a young man after a Miami Heat game. Evidence on scene leads to their arrest. The actual act was depicted very ambiguously in that you didn't believe a single punch delivered that quickly could put a guy in a coma unless there was a freak impact. In what amounted to a C-plot, a burglar is arrested who found his marks through speed-dating.

December 5

Radio Blogger suggests Ken Jennings should replace Alex as host. Of course I can think of at least two former Jeopardy contestants currently hosting game shows.

As I edit my own shows, did Jeopardy use different cutting when Nancy won? Usually, after the champion reveals their answer and Alex says,"Which means .... is our new champion," we cut to the winner and any hugs or handshakes with fellow contestants keep the new winner in the center. I guess they wanted to show Nancy's reaction as Ken's wrong answer was revealed, but kept the camera on Ken as he hugged Nancy. I would have stuck with the old style of cutting. Perhaps to show Nancy's reaction, I would have cut to that after Ken's total was shown, even if it was simultaneous with Ken's answer. Then continue to show the hug from her viewpoint. The segment might have run a tad longer and I would re-record Alex if necessary.

Sholey and Zahra.
Walter and Zara
Proof: Walter Miles holding a baby.
Martin in a Birthday King hat.
World-famous media fan and Birthday King.
December 4

Yesterday, we had our HVAC serviced. Our home has two different units - one for the lower two floors and one for the upper level. The upper level systems are accessed through a panel that is stupidly located in Whitlock's closet. This means that every time we need work on the furnace, she has to pull clothes out of the closet and clean up the mess left behind before putting her clothes back.

So this was why she didn't make it to the 47th birthday party of world-famous media fan Martin Morse Wooster at O'Brien's Pit Barbecue. When Whitlock decided she was too exhausted to go, we gave Miranda the option of staying home or going and she surprisingly came along. She spent most of the afternoon reading The Children of Green Knowe or trading jokes with me and Wendell Wagner.

Walter and his wife Sholey were there with four-month-old daughter Zahra. Risa and Sandy Stewart were also there. Martin wore his Birthday King hat that he got at Medieval Times. He showed the certificate and picture of his knighthood.

Watched what turned out to be the last Clubhouse, "Spectator Interference". In the A-plot, Lou the equipment manager can't handle the new computerized inventory system so Pete deals with it. When the office dweeb challenges Lou on whether he actually prepared the report, Lou quits.

The new guy, Burt, spent 22 years in the minors, but the bat boys cruelly make his life difficult. The Empires take Lou back, but Lou recommends Burt for the St. Louis job.

In the B-plot, Betsy is reamed out by Maggie's mom for getting her drunk. Betsy is shocked her mom didn't defend her. Mother and daughter sort of achieve a reconciliation. In the C-plot, Mike runs Pete for student council president.

Went on to the Cold Case episode "It's Raining Men". In 1983, a gay man discovers his partner has AIDS, but it's the one without HIV who is found murdered.

The victim, Jeff, came from a wealthy family with a father who disowned him. Jeff went to work for a bathhouse and spread posters targeting a positive young man who knowingly spread the virus the others. Jeff also got together wealthy closeted gays to spearhead political action. He apparently was ready to out them if they didn't go along.

He didn't get a chance because he was killed by his brother Paul, who was also closeted even to their father. The clue was in the quilt Paul made for Jeff which included the line "He who is lost is now found," from the Prodigal Son parable. Jeff was the favorite and Paul was afraid of what he happened if he reconciled with the father. Throw in Cain and Abel also for good measure.

The only musical anachronism I caught was "Time After Time," which in the Cyndi Lauper version wasn't a hit until late in 1983. However, they may have fudged by not using the Cyndi Lauper version.

December 3

As news of Jason Giambi's steroid use heats up, the on-line polls say the steroid users have harmed baseball more than Pete Rose has, which is an absurd set of values. I don't know how the Yankees can void his contract for conduct detrimental to the team since he was clearly trying to help himself and thus the team.

Although correlation does not imply causality, fans continue to attend baseball games in increasing numbers despite steroid allegations. I know there are people who go to games featuring big boppers hoping to see monster shots.

As long as there were a few homers, their distance matters little to me. I'm there for the drama. What was the Red Sox Championship but some bizarre morality play? Sports is the original reality show with game shows coming in second.

The leagues decide their own rules and whether they legalize steroids doesn't matter to me. If I had a preference, I would prohibit them. They weren't even illegal in baseball until recently. You couldn't even treat the steroid users like the pitchers who doctored the baseball or hitters who corked their bats.

December 2

From The Nats Blog:

So, I was reading semi-frequent commentator El Gran's blog today and I saw that he is anti-public funding for the stadium and hates that people make untrue arguments that baseball will help the city, etc. and wishes someone would come out and say:

"I don't care if it's a bad deal for DC. I want baseball here. Baseball is important to me. If it costs the city tons of money it doesn't bother me, because I'll gain a lot from having a team here and I won't be cognizant of where the money was being lost from anyway"

Well, I'll go you one further Gran. I live in Northern Virginia, probably 10 minutes from where the NoVa stadium was proposed to be. I was soooooo against that. Well, for one, my only altruistic reason: baseball belongs in DC, not the suburbs. But, frankly, I didn't want my commute affected. I didn't want my taxes affected. I didn't want the horrendous economic results/neighborhood blight in my neck of the woods (even if that scenario was supposedly going to be more private funding, they would have found a way to get a bunch of public funds). There I've said it. Everyone with any business/economics education knows that bringing teams in and paying for stadiums with public funds is an economy killer and sucks for the locals. But now, I get a baseball team nearby that I can love from the start...and I don't have to pay anything more than the price of my ticket.

You want honesty? You've got it.

December 1

Looks like A&E's Biography will feature a killer of his pregnant wife and a Utah software engineer tonight. These are not the same person.

Watched the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "The Augments" which ends that arc. When last we left the show, Malik released a biological toxin that would kill everybody on Cold Station 12 and Archer was going to fix the problem. He manages to isolate everybody else from the toxins, but not himself. He orders Enterprise to shoot at his location, sending him unprotected into hard vacuum from which he is transported out.

Soong wants to hide in a gas cloud in Klingon space. Malik wants to send a biological toxin onto a Klingon world, sparking a war between the humans and the Klingons that will leave both too busy to follow the Augments. Soong objects and gets locked up, but he escapes with the help of Persis.

Soong helps Enterprise stop Malik. Malik kills Persis for letting Soong go. As the Augment ship is being destroyed, Malik crawls around in a scene reminiscent of Khan in his most wrathful moment saying,"I'll see you soon, father." We think he intends to destroy Enterprise as well, but he mysteriously appears onboard, perhaps traveling through space unprotected, to kill Soong. Archer blows a hole through Malik.

There are many references to other aspects of the mythos. Persis is named for the late actress from Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Megaforce and Warrior of the Lost World. The Botany Bay where Khan's people went into cold sleep is regarded as mere myth. Soong ends the episode deciding to turn towards cybernetics. He may be too old to have children, but Noonian Soong may not have been a direct descendant. Perhaps he took the name Noonian because of Arik's admiration for Khan.

Soong and Archer have the classic nature vs. nurture argument. Soong laments not being there for the Augments in their formative years. Archer brings up the quote,"Superior ability breeds superior ambition." Boy is that a load of crap. There are plenty of people with ability and no ambition, probably reading this blog right now. Others have almost no talent except for ambition.

Malik says that the Augments shouldn't run away like Soong suggests and Khan did. He wants to stand and fight. The Augments are too small a group to fight ordinary humans on their own. And there's no place to stand and fight until they actually have a planet to defend.

I liked this arc, not for the predictable plot, but for the fine acting and the misguided, yet discussable ideas.

The Undertow...
|Texas Philatelic Association|
|Tear Down the Cross|
|Help America Recount|
|Sore Losers|
|Presidential Candidates? They look Like Brat Packers to Us|
|Understanding Terror Networks|
|Up Front|
|World Wide Words|
|People Will Sign Anything|
|The Gray Pages|
|Sports Logos by Donna Goodlet|
|The Who Boys|
|Will the White House Disable Civilian Use of the GPS Sytem in a Crisis?|
|Like You Sent Him Over There Yourself|
|Corporations Cash in on Smut, Fill GOP Coffers|
|Exploding Zamboni|
|Building the Washington Metro|
|Buying Into Failure|
|Still Crazy After All These Years|
|Free-Agency and the Competititveness of Major League Baseball|
|Dusty Girl Desktops|
|The Drugstore Pricing Codes|
|Texas to Florida:|
|Dream Anatomy|
|Paul Di Filippo Mail Art Galleries|
|The Sex Files|
|Twenty Types of Law Students, Each Keyed to a Particular Baseball Player|
|Barry Larkin Can Do Anything?|
|The Fish Stinks from the Head|
|Daily Musings...|
|Inner Workings|
|Excess Ain't Rebellion|
|His First Straight Horror Movie Since The Hand|
|The Ten Least Successful Holiday Specials of All Time|
|Common Fraud|
|Corp Reform|
|Retail Therapy|
|NBA Blog Squad|
|Will That Be Regular, Premium, Red, or Blue?|
|Australian Baseball History|
|This F- War|
|Smart Growth and MLB: A Virtual History|
|MLB Has Great Holiday Gifts for the Yankee Fan on Your List|
|Cheap Flights|
|SideStep Travel|
|Mobissimo Travel|
|The Mallet O' Understanding|
|Top U.S. Universities|
|Casey's Random Batting Trial|
|Maryland State Archives|
|Liberals are from Conceptual, Conservatives are from Phatic|
|Why the Mets Are Lining Up Women for Kris Benson|
|D.C. Baseball Blog|
|Iraq Adopts Terror Alerts System|
|First National Blog|
|The College of Champions|
|How to Learn a Language|
|Flagman's Flag Page|
|William Gibson's Blog|
|The Coincidence Theorist's Guide to 9/11|
|Christmas CD Rom Tree|
|Another Strike Against Abortion|
|The Doctrine Left Behind|
|World City Photo Archive|
|Obituaries of the Future|
|Wardrobe Malfunction|
|Somethingawful Twisted Children's Books|
|Blog Maverick|
|Open Letter to Devil Dogs of the 3.1|

|128 Hours|
|Aaron's Baseball Blog|
|Alarums and Excursions|
|The Answer Guy|
|Athletic Reporter|
|Back to the Beginning|
|BallPark Digest|
|Dave Barry|
|Bijan Bayne's Pop Culture|
|Bears Will Attack|
|The Black Table|
|Boing Boing|
|Capitol Punishment|
|Margaret Cho|
|Chronicles of Ednoria|
|Bill Conlin|
|Jessie Connolly|
|Cooch's World|
|Kathryn Cramer|
|The Daou Report|
|James Dinan|
|Dispatches from Tanganyika|
|Distinguished Senators|
|Sean Eustis|
|Fables of the Reconstruction|
|Fancy Store-Bought Dirt|
|The Al Franken Show Blog|
|The Gadflyer|
|Games * Design * Art * Culture|
|Ginohn News|
|Girls Are Pretty|
|Heck's Kitchen|
|How Awkward|
|The Humbug Journal|
|I Drew This|
|Idle Words|
|It's Not Me, It's Him, Right?|
|Juliepede's Bug House|
|Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Your Boyfriend|
|Making Light|
|Management by Baseball|
|Meanderings of a Wanderer|
|Media Matters for America|
|Mediocre Fred's Mediocre Blog|
|The Nats Blog|
|Nuclear Ember|
|Penguin in the City|
|Political Animal|
|Random Neuron Firings of a Unique Individual|
|The Sideshow|
|The Slumbering Lungfish|
|Sports Economist|
|Bruce Sterling|
|Stochastic Thoughts|
|Supermodel Personals|
|S/V Windom Logs |
|Things You Don't Talk About in Polite Company|
|Thought for the Day|
|Three Bits o Trivia|
|TRASH Times|
|Unqualified Offerings|
|Washington Baseball Blog|
|What You Leave Behind|
|William World News|
|Oliver Willis|
|Would you Eva?|

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Last revised December 31, 2004
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