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February 2006 Archives

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February 28

SportsCenter listed a bunch of alleged Wonderlic scores this morning and Ryan Leaf had the highest one - in the high 30s. That makes me question either the validity of the test or the validity of that score actually belonging to Ryan Leaf. You do a Google search and you can't find Leaf's Wonderlic score.

It's strange that football puts so much stock in an intelligence test while in baseball, that would be more terrifying than a raging mob of Baseball Prospectus writers. Earl Weaver is famous for giving IQ tests and that's how he found out how mentally challenged Steve Dalkowski was. Earl limited him to throwing just two pitches and the model for Nuke LaLoosh had his best year.

February 27

Octavia Butler died of an apparent stroke. I wasn't a huge fan of her work, but she was the first response to the claim that science fiction writers are all white men.

Watched the Numb3rs episode "The OG". FBI agent Anton Rhimes is deep undercover with the 23rd Street Gang and gets killed in a drive-by shooting. Since the feds want to maintain his cover, the investigation has to pretend his shooting is nothing special.

Charlie develops shooting chains whereby one leads to another. The killing of Rhimes, like nine other deaths, involved very high-profile gang members, shot alone, whose death created a particularly long chain of retaliation. Megan determines there's a serial killer at work who targets gang members because the rest of society won't miss them and who is very familiar with how gangs work.

The FBI look at the first chain and find a gang member named Jesse Orosco. He was the prime suspect in the death of the 15-year-old son of John Owens, a volunteer at a community center. So Owens killed someone to set off a chain reaction that resulted in Orosco's death. Afterwards, he just kept on killing prominent gang members to start another cycle of shootings. The SWAT team surrounds Owens' house and Sinclair tries to get him to surrender, but John kills himself.

February 26

The Natosphere is all abuzz over Nationals Farm Authority breaking the Brian Lawrence injury. I'm so excited for Scott I'm not yet as upset as Boswell.

February 25

Today is the birthday of Bob McHale. He played mostly center field for the Senators in May and June 1898.

Watched the Everybody Hates Chris episode "Everybody Hates Food Stamps". Julius finds $200 worth of food stamps, but Rochelle is too embarassed to use them. When she does go out shopping, she runs into a friend and pays with cash instead.

Chris and Greg fight over their solar system science project.

Went on to the Cold Case episode "The Letter". A black woman comes up from Virginia with letters and wants to re-open her grandmother Sadie's murder case from 1939.

There was a fire at a dairy and some of the white workers had burn scars. They resented the new black hires and formed a gang called The Fifth Day that beat up and killed blacks. One of them, Jonesy, had fallen in love with Sadie, but appeared to be just as mean to her in front of the group.

He learns that she will be the Fifth Day's next target and begs Sadie to leave with him for New York that night. She won't go until arrangements are made for her daughter to join them from Virginia. Jonesy wants Sadie to pass as white, but won't take in her daughter because she is too black.

The Fifth Day arrive and one of them rapes her. Jonesy suffocates Sadie before any more of the others can take their turn.

My sister graciously took Miranda in tonight to play with her cousins while Whitlock and I went to see Taylor 2 at BlackRock. They performed in the dance studio where seven rows of chairs in a slightly raised arrangement made up the audience.

Taylor 2 is like a AAA team made up of future coaches and managers. In addition to performing at less prestigious venues, they also teach classes. They are only six instead of the full company of a dozen or more.

Taylor 2 performed Company B, a series of dances to Andrew Sisters songs in World War II era costume. The song "Johnny O," where a number of female members swoon over a single male had the guy in horned rim glasses this time around. At one point, all the women jump on him as he's standing, wrapping arms and legs. It's not quite as impressive or funny with three girls as opposed to six.

Whitlock had never been so close to a dance performance before. Paul Taylor is one of those companies that can appeal to a non-dance fan. At least a couple of his dances in an evening's program are humorous in nature. There's usually one dance to Baroque music that appears traditional at first that has some funny moments.

Afterwards, we looked at an exhibition of slavery and desegregation in Montgomery County. There was mention of my high school vice-principal who left the colored school for Peary and was still there sixteen years later when I graduated. We saw the performers leave the building and pour into two vans. Whitlock said they looked a lot shorter in person.

February 24

I finally finished Summon the Keeper by Tanya Huff. In a world where Keepers are magical people who keep evil at bay, Claire Hansen is summoned to an old bed and breakfast in Kingston, Ontario to keep Hell in the basement furnace and a corrupted Keeper inside a protective shield. Accompanying her in this house are her talking cat, a hilariously competent young handyman and the horny ghost of a French-Canadian.

I've always said that a novel doesn't necessarily need a plot if there are characters and this is one of those books with no plot that relies heavily on the personality of its characters. Unfortunately, I didn't have affection for the characters, but you might if you're into the talking cat genre. I guess there's supposed to be sexual tension between the triangle of Claire, handyman Dean and Jacques the ghost, but it was mostly talked about and not felt.

Otherwise, there's no narrative tension. An interdimensional elevator provides some adventure, but it's like that gratuitous car chase that doesn't advance the plot. On Halloween, various forms of evil arrive at the doorstep in costume and not. The real Olympians gods, portrayed as crotchety senior citizens provide a laugh, but they all come across as cardboard sitcom characters.

We all know the major plot conflict is whether Sara, the evil Keeper will escape from her magical confinement. A deux ex machina plot twist is required to get her out. Although it sounds like Hell itself is working to free her, that's just a red herring. There is no legitimate evil force building tension towards the resolution.

It's a light book. Not my kind of thing. Maybe it's yours.

Silver Screen Test will be moving to Fridays at 9:30 pm, staring March 3.

Tom Boswell puts words together well. But as I've said before, his analysis is so far off, picking it apart is like shooting lawyers at the Armstrong ranch.

Seamheads love to pick holes in Soriano. He's the prototype of the player they think they've ID'ed as overrated.

I'll give him credit. He's dead on here.

But, funny thing, actual major league ballplayers think that extremely fast players who hit balls off walls and over fences are actually very good people to have on your side.

And actual major league ballplayers also believe evolution and men landing on the moon never happened. Doesn't mean what they believe is true. I'm not saying being extremely fast and hitting the ball off the walls and over fences is not helpful, but the player has to do it often enough to justify the times he's turning walks into outs.

Stats are important. But in the real game, there is an extra dimension of athleticism and charisma which changes the outcome of close games. (Forgive me, but 30+ years of observation counts for something.)

Translation: There is mystery to baseball you poor peons will never understand unless you've been in the locker room the last 30+ years.

Earl Weaver loved stats, loved on-base percentage. But he also loved three-run homers and guys who thought, with the game on the line, "I'm a great athlete. I'm going to win this gamne NOW because I'm the guy who can do it."

Here are all the players Earl Weaver had who played at least 140 games with an on-base percentage below Soriano's .309 and the years it happened:

Mark Belanger 68,70,73-75,77
Blair 68,71-72,76
Dauer 79
Johnson 68
LMay 75,77-78
BRobinson 68-69,72,75

Except for Lee May, all those players were Gold Glovers, so they provided something to make up for their lack of on-base production. You can pretty much throw out 1968, the Year of the Pitcher and Earl came onboard as manager part-way through the season. And of course he loved three-run homers, but you don't get them unless the first two guys get on-base first.

Soriano is one of those guys. And he makes everyone else around him more confident.

Now I remember those 2001-2003 New York Yankees when Derek Jeter, Jorge Posado, Tino Martinez, Bernie Williams and Paul O'Neill withered and cowered in fear during the playoffs until Alfonso Soriano stepped up to the plate and rallied the morale of the pinstripers with his overwhleming athleticism and charisma.

Don't worship stats so much that you forget that the game is played by real people. You need a few who SWAGGER. In Soriano, Vidro, Nick Johnson, Guillen, Livan, Patterson, Cordero, Schneider (defenisvely) and, probably, Zimmerman, the Nats actually have quite a few players who __in their specialties and their roles__ have this find of baseball presence.

Tom, you just named every decent player on the team according to the stats. Instead of bolstering your case that certain people are better than their stats you just proved that stats are the most important critera.

Loved Wilkerson. A gamer. Wonderful personality and respected teammate. I hope he hits 35 homers a year for the next seven years in Texas __and he might. But he was hurt a lot, has always struck out a ton and was totally spooked by RFK's deep fences. The team does NOT want to move in the RFK fences. So Wilkerson's effective power, IMO, was cut way down. And the Natys may be in RFK for three more years. When Soriano hits it, it's gone.

That's if he hits it.

Just more talent and a bigger up side.

Soriano is 18 months older and in a single season has never had a single OBP higher than .338. Wilkerson's lifetime OBP is .365. Soriano's only bigger upside is his paycheck.

He strikes out a lot, but so did Wilky. You lose Wilkerson's walks, but the Nats didn't score beans with him. So, try to score some more with somebody else.

Let me get this straight. You expect to score more runs with a guy who got on base twenty fewer times in eight more games in a hitters park?

Hate to lose the person. Have no problems with the switch of players. Yet. When do the Nats get an owner? Can he resign Soriano, who is in his walk year, to a long-term contract? Wilkerson is also in his walk year, so big dollars might have lured him away, too, even though he really liked D.C.

A lot of people will really miss Wilkerson, even though the guy hit .248 with 11 homers and 147 K's in 565 at bats and was only a nice smooth outfielder. That is a LOUSY season.

You want a lousy season? Just wait till you see what Soriano puts up. According to win shares, Wilkerson was the 51st best player in the majors in the last year, Soriano the 133rd. It just goes to show how much Boswell is blinded by the traditional stats. A .248 season is lousy if you're totally blind to the .351 on-base percentage and the ballpark Brad played in.

It shows how fast a town can fall in love with a player with some heart and style. Give Soriano a chance.

I realize Boswell can't be totally honest because he may want to interview Soriano sometime. He could have just said that last sentence without donning the kneepads to bolster Soriano and tear down Wilkerson. I leave you with the win share records of Soriano and Wilkerson:

Win Shares
Year Soriano Wilkerson
2001    16        1
2002    30       17
2003    27       18
2004    17       22
2005    16       23

Watched the How I Met Your Mother episode "The Limo". Ted hires a limo for New Year's Eve. Barney brings his get-psyched mix compiled under the belief that it should start high and just keep getting higher.

Lily and Marshall separate because her heels are killing her, but they find each other at the end. Ted takes along Mary Beth, a girl from work who hugs everybody, but she can tell he's still in love with Robin. At midnight the limo is stuck in traffic.

Went on to the CSI episode "Werewolves". An extremely hairy guy is killed with a single silver bullet through his heart. He suffers from a rare disease that grows hair on his entire body.

His sister also has the diseas and lives with him but stays in a hidden room. The victim was engaged to his best friend's sister. The friend didn't want him to marry into the family because he felt likely their children would continue to be genetic freaks.

February 23

While the rest of the world is wondering whatever happened to Brian Dunkleman, the other partner to Ryan Seacrest who quit American Idol after the first season, I wonder whatever happened to Sofie Formica. She co-hosted a television series called The Web with Seacrest back during the last millenium when we were still trying to figure out this interweb thing. Seems she's back in her native Australia, hosting a show called Queensland Weekender and appearing as a business speaker.

Only to prove how far behind I am in my science fiction reading, I found this passage in the short story "Viewschool" by Rajnar Vajra from the September 2004 issue of Analog:

I keep hoping that some saint of a technician will invent a way to put all needed information into a standard "heads-up" subjective display without essentially blinding the user. I also keep hoping the White Sox will take the pennant and the Bulls will find another Michael Jordan...

Despite the September 2004 cover date, it was probably on newsstands no later than June 2004, accepted before December 2003 and written prior to September 2003. How quickly the world changes. The story is set in September 2034 and although the Bulls haven't found any luck in forty years, it's possible the narrator could have been waiting only ten years for a ChiSox AL flag.

My entire February 12 Emily Hughes entry was stolen by The Sports Pulse and Deadspin.

February 22

Today is the birthday of John Halama. He started with the Red Sox and went 0-3 with the Nats last year. In 2001 Halama pitched the only solo nine-inning perfect game in Pacific Coast League history and he's now trying to continue his career up the road with the Orioles.

February 21

Today is the birthday of Jouett Meekin. He went 3-10 for the 1892 Senators. Meekin won 156 games over the course of his career and hit three triples on July 4, 1894.

February 20

Today is the birthday of Harry Raymond. He played four games at third base for the 1892 Senators.

The serviceman came for our refrigerator which is apparently has a defective door. We're taking the salvagable food down to the mini-fridge and defrosting the refrigerator. The big refrigerator will hold up for the three weeks until the new doors arrive.

Watched the Water Rats episode "Run for the Money". Terry Watson has returned. Dave McColl's son is arrested for pretty extensive marijuana selling. His friend was selling a rich kid some pot at his mansion and while Sam ran away to be caught by Rachel and Tommy, his friend hid in the fireplace and suffocated.

In the other plot, a right-wing militia guy steals a large amount of explosives that he plants on the Sydney Harbor Tunnel. The whole affair with his son has driven McColl just a little bit crazy. He dives down to disarm the bomb, disobeying direct orders from Hawker.

Went on to the CSI: Miami episode "Payback". Brian Lexington has been released from prison after six years when DNA evidence exonerates him for the rape of Valerie Neff. Further DNA testing positively identifies her real estate agent Jeff Colson as the rapist, but before he can be arrested, someone has beaten him to death at an open house. The killer was Valerie Neff herself who used a marble sculpture.

In the other plot, the young victim of a car accident turns out to have died from toxic shock because of a surgical sponge left behind during an appendectomy. At first Alexx suspects the surgeon has been taking Ecstacy but he's covering up an advancing case of Parkinson's Disease.

Finished up with the Water Rats episode "Soft Target". The mother who has lost her three-year-old on the beach turns out to be Megan, Terry Watson's ex-girlfriend. She suggests that Maddie, the missing girl, may be his.

Karen Thomas is a retarded woman who falls under suspicion, but she dies on the beach of a blow to the head. The jacket Karen wears leads to an abandoned boat shed where Maddie is found unharmed. Because Karen died quickly without defending herself, this information is used to trap Terry into a confession, but he's covering for Megan who eventually confesses herself.

Apparently, in Australia, a child can stay with their mother in jail until school age.

February 19

Today is the birthday of John Morrill. "Honest John" played mostly first base for the 1889 Senators and managed the team to a sparkling 13-38 record. He managed the 1883 Boston Beaneaters to a pennant.

Watched the CSI episode "A Bullet Runs Through It, Part Two". The teenaged boy in a coma was shot by a fleeing suspect for his bike. Brass accidentally killed officer Bell when both stood up in the gun battle. Bell's widow forgives Brass.

Went on to the Bones episode "The Man on Death Row". Howard Epps is scheduled to die for killing a 17-year-old girl named April Wright in Greenbelt Park. Defense attorney Amy Morton wants the case re-opened because of a male pubic hair found on the victim that was disallowed by two judges.

Brennan takes on the case and her investigations lead to David Ross, a lawyer for whom April worked on weekends, admitting to having sex with her that night. Exhumation of the victim shows traces of a rare grass pollen and complex chemicals, suggesting she was not killed in Greenbelt Park, but in a marsh near a chemical plant on Chesapeake Bay. The FBI find not just the murder weapon, but the bodies several other girls, apparently killed by Epps as well.

Epps did not want to be executed and the revelation of his additional murders should further delay his execution. He returned April to Greenbelt Park, rather than burying her by the Chesapeake because he saw her arguing with Ross, making him a likely candidate for her murder. Never during the story did we ever hear the crucial evidence that convicted Epps initially. The story also appeared to be incorrect on certain details of the Maryland Code.

Next up was the CSI:NY episode "Trapped". A stripper also wrestles in the lube with a patron. She is later found dead on a klieg light. She was killed by her ex-lover, a photographer. The murderer was discovered from the amber pendant the victim wore and because the photographer's latest work was out of focus, a result of being blinded by the klieg light.

In the other plot, the Howard Hughes of the computer industry is found with his throat cut in his apartment. While processing the scene, Danny is accidentally locked in the panic room with the body. In the thirteen hours it will take to cut him out, Messner improvises investigating tools before the heat and lack of circulation destroys the evidence.

Turns out the housekeeper, with the help of her boyfriend Jerry, the panic room technician, hypnotized the victim into slashing his own throat. The boyfriend finished the job and could have released Danny in a manner of minutes. When Jerry opens up the panic room door, he threatens Danny with a gun, but Stella and Flack soon come to the rescue.

On the Everybody Hates Chris episode "Everybody Hates Christmas," Chris hopes for a Walkman, but the family needs a new water heater and he's the only kid who won't get a present. Tanya learns there isn't a Santa Claus, Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy. Chris' teacher thinks his family is extremely poor and she brings a huge basket of food to their door on live television.

The Numb3rs episode "Scorched" begins with an arson at a car dealership. There have been a series of molotov cocktail bombings directed at SUVs with the initials of the Earth Liberation Front left at the scene. Suspicion falls on good-looking college student and ELF member Jake, but the audience suspects his 17-year-old sophomore roommate Ethan.

The ELF arsons were Ethan's, totally unauthorized by the main organization. There were other fires that seemed to be directed at the firefighters themselves. Seeing too many arson mysteries and real arson stories, we too easily figured an arson investigator played by Loren Dean as the firestarter.

Ethan is portrayed as the classic misunderstood boy genius and Charlie is brought in to relate to him, but he was too mature and normal-looking to be mistaken for a kid. This wasn't Charlie who was supposedly a 13-14-year-old sophomore at Princeton. I knew 17-year-old college sophomores and as long as they're tall and not young-looking, they can easily blend into the rest of the campus.

The Cold Case episode "Frank's Best" begins at a deli in December 2001. Frank is the owner of the establishment, a widower with a teenaged son. Frank is the homicide victim. His employee, a Salvadoran illegal immigrant (who I thought was Indian) named Ricardo has been jailed for five years for the murder.

The killer turned out to be Frank's son, a kid who had extremely frequent, but extremely violent bouts of anger. Ricardo ends the episode opening a new Salvadoran deli at the same location.

Finished off with the Everybody Hates Chris episode "Everybody Hates Fat Mike." Fat Mike is a kid about Chris' age who is not fat at all, but there are so many Mikes on the street, they all needed an additional identifier. Fat Mike runs off with Chris' bike and Chris thinks he stole it. Fat Mike left his own bike with Chris and he returns with Chris' bike two days later.

Julius has to stay home because of a trucker's strike. Rochelle gets a job as a secretary. Julius, as the oldest of ten children, cooks and cleans to perfection, which annoys Rochelle. Just as the strike ends, he tells the kids to mess up the house, just to make her happy.

February 18

Today is the birthday of Frank Fennelly, Larry Twitchell and George Winkelman. Fennelly played shortstop and second base for the 1884 Nats. At least one person puts him on the Reds 1880s All-Decade Team. Twitchell was a reserve left fielder for the 1892 Senators. He had six hits while hitting for the cycle with the 1889 Cleveland Spiders. Winkelman pitched six innings in his only major league appearance for the Senators on August 2, 1886. In 2005, SABR researchers discovered that an outfielder for the 1883 Louisville Eclipse named George Winkleman was a totally different person and not the Senators pitcher.

Watched the Criminal Minds episode "Natural Born Killer". BAU is brought into a double homicide in Baltimore because of the particular viciousness of the crime. The amount of blood in the bathtub indicates another victim has been taken away and his body is soon found dismembered in a garbage bag - a small-time gangster named Freddy Candore.

The Baltimore field office has been trying for three years to nail Freddy's boss, Michael Russo, and their agent, Jimmy Baker, has been under deep cover for two years on this case. A string of very violent unsolved murders in DC, Maryland and Virginia leads BAU to determine that a mob hit man has been freelancing on civilians just for fun. Russo calls in the guy, Vinny Perotta, and the FBI take him down to Quantico for interrogation.

Videotapes Perotta has in his car show his tortures but also the background noise indicates he does his job near BWI. His father disappeared mysteriously on a hunting trip when he was 17 and he still lives in his father's house with all the utilities in his father's name. That's where the FBI find Baker about to be devoured by rats. Vinny, with a taste for torture and a penchant for hunting accidents seems perfectly qualified to be Vice-President. Is it a coincidence his initials are VP?

Whitlock had trouble with taking Perotta down to Quantico. With an agent deep undercover still out there, shouldn't Vinny have been taken to the Baltimore field office along with the necessary cast members to advance the story? The rest of the group could have been in Quantico in constant contact. Mapquest states that it takes an hour and a half to get from Quantico to Glen Burnie. That's time that shouldn't be wasted when an agent's life is at stake.

Went on to the CSI:NY episode "Bad Beat". After a new player at an apartment poker game is found cheating, the others beat him up and shove him out the door. Just thirty seconds later, there's a knock on the door. Joel the tenant checks the peephole and gets blown away with a shotgun.

The beaten-up cheater Kelly is brought in and he denies killing Joel. Stella examines the card setup and determines Kelly and Joel were scamming the other players, not a motive to blow away your partner. A couple reports in that same building report harassment by a man reeking of marijuana. The argument ended with the boyfriend punching out the man. Turns out this guy, James Moore, had been on a downward slide since a mugging two years earlier. Moore reacted to the fistfight by getting his shotgun, but he got off on the wrong floor and mistakenly killed Joel.

In the other plot, Tara, a local weathergirl is found dead near Strawberry Field. She'd been hit over the head and drowned in a few inches of water as the rains came. Tara had secretly recorded a sex tape with a news producer and intended to become as famous as Paris Hilton by selling the video. Her schoolteacher twin sister, talked Tara into destroying the tape, but her dweeby cameraman had kept a copy. It was the cameraman who knocked her out with a tripod and left her for dead.

February 17

Albert Belle recently did an interview with Street and Smith's. He sounds very articulate because he is a very smart guy. Belle has had offers to coach in spring training, but he would prefer to own a professional sports team. Then he comes along and does this:

Former baseball star Albert Belle was arrested yesterday and charged with stalking his ex-girlfriend, police said.

Scottsdale police said the 39-year-old Belle was taken into custody after a former girlfriend told police that he had stalked her.

Belle was being held without bond at the Maricopa County Jail in Phoenix, according to a county sheriff's department spokesman.

He's also a very disturbed smart guy. We should all not rush to judgement. The ex-girlfriend may be even more of a raving lunatic. She had a relationship with Albert and I'm sure at least one person in her life must have given her a warning. Then again, he's the one who's being held without bond.

There are people who decide that what makes them happy is to scare the crap out of people. That sort of person can become Stephen King. Or that sort of person can become Albert Belle.

Miranda decided she wanted to be a party animal by going to a Valentine's dance at her current school and a sock hop at her old school on the same night. I took her to Fox Chapel, then she went with her friend Nawal to Sally Ride.

February 16

Watched the Threshold episode "Pulse". The aliens sent their signal via a cellphone. One of the Navy sailors called his sister who listened to his voicemail several times, infecting her. She took the noise and put it in her DJ mix.

The DJ develops superstrength and is able throw her boyfriend out the window. The infection is now spreading, not through people, but through the computer system. Apparently an electromagnetic pulse that will wipe out all the systems in Miami overnight is the solution. Obviously the writers didn't realize that information travels through the networks at the speed of light.

Today is the birthday of Dan Coogan. He was a reserve shortstop for the 1895 Senators. A varsity player for the University of Pennsylvania, he returned as coach of the Quakers from 1904-1906.

Jim Bowden is right when he says:

I think we saw that this past year with Houston. I'm not sure they would have gotten into the playoffs as a wild card had the Phillies played the same schedule that (the Astros) had.

Check the Fair and Balanced Standings. The Phillies finish ahead of the Astros. Philadelphia also finishes ahead of Atlanta because for some reason the Phillies couldn't accumulate enough wins in the division.

The Nationals fans would like to thank Sammy Sosa for discovering his pride and his dignity.

February 15

Watched Las Vegas: An Unconventional History. During the 1950s and 1960s, the African-American headliners were forced to stay in flophouses and couldn't even have rooms in the very hotels they played in. Eventually they refused to play unless they got better accomodations and black audiences could attend their shows.

The hotels needed the African-American performers and Las Vegas integrated because the only color that mattered was green. Doctrinaire libertarians will tell you the free market will cure discrimination. But outside Las Vegas, there are other forces at work and, blasphemous as it may sound, people are sometimes movtivated by something other than money.

Saw Robert Novak at Union Station, probably to catch an Amtrak train. I last saw him in person a couple of decades ago sitting behind me at a University of Maryland function. He's a big Terps booster. The last celebrity I remember seeing at Union Station was Brian Lamb at the post office.

Today is the birthday of Carlton Molesworth, Charlie Reilly and Cub Stricker. Molesworth went 0-2 for the Senators in September 1895. He had Native American ancestry and, along with Willie Mays, was one of the four charter members of the Birmingham Barons Hall of Fame. Reilly was the third baseman for the 1897 Senators. He was reputed to be the first pinch hitter in 1892. Stricker never played for Chicago, but finished his career as utility player for the 1893 Senators. Future Wasington Senator Ed Delahanty injured his collarbone sliding into Cub in May 1889.

February 14

Today is the birthday of Joe Gerhardt and Arthur Irwin. Gerhardt played shortstop for the Washington Blue Legs, playing 13 games in September 1873. He was a member of the 1890 Brooklyn Gladiators, a team whose players never played in the majors again after 1891. Irwin played shortstop for the 1889 Nats. He managed the Nationals League Nats/Senators in 1889, 1892 and 1898-1899 to a record of 138-222. In July 1921, Arthur died on route aboard a ship sailing from New York to Boston, drowning in an apparent suicide. After his death it was discovered he had a common-law wife and three children in New York along with his legal wife and one child in Boston, an arrangement he'd kept secret for thirty years.

Watched the Criminal Minds episode "Blood Hungry". In a small Tennessee town, seven-year-old Wally Brisbane sings angelically for his music teacher. When her son escorts him home, a serial killer enters the house and kills the teacher.

The BAU arrives without Gideon who is back in Quantico, hobbled with a skydiving injury. The unsub had earlier killed a retired widower and he has removed organs, possibly also eaten them. Wally's grandmother is the next victim and Wally is kidnaped as well.

Greenaway and Morgan stake out a church and catch the unsub, a psychotic recent college dropout named Eddy Mays. He's not lucid enough to say where Wally is, but Hotch suspects that Eddy's mother Mary, an old money Southern lady played by Lindsay Crouse, knows and is protecting her son. The GPS in Mrs. Mays' Cadillac leads to a shed were Wally sits beneath a blanket.

Back in Quantico, Gideon is driving Garcia crazy. The episode ends with Gideon calling his estranged son.

Eddy was rebelling from his overprotective mother with drugs, clubbing and inappropriate women. So why, when he was released from the mental hospital and his mother did not pick him up, did he find his way home anyway? Whitlock wondered what the mother hoped to eventually do with Wally by just leaving him in that shed.

February 13

While I wasn't paying attention Jamey Carroll got sold to the Rockies, Soriano lost his arbitration case and the Nationals waived Rasner. The last URL gave me pause because it was at montreal.expos.mlb.com.

I liked the end of the Washington Post article about Tony Tavares sharing an apartment with Executive Vice President Kevin Uhlich:

Meantime, Tavares, whose real home is in Lake Tahoe, Nev., laughs at the irony of living life like a ballplayer -- in an apartment in a city thousands of miles from home, with a roommate who is also a teammate, on a year-to-year lease.

Would he be living like this were it not for the Nationals' unique situation?

"I would hope not," he said, "unless my roommate were very beautiful, and as long as my wife didn't mind."

February 12

I'm probably not the first one to notice Emily Hughes looks like Alyson Hannigan, right down to the grin. It brings to mind a line that begins,"This one year at skating camp..."

Took only about an hour and a half to shovel the driveway and the sidewalk. It was a powdery, low-density snowfall.

Watched the How I Met Your Mother episode "Okay Awesome". Robin swings admittance into an exclusive nightclub called Okay for Ted and Barney. Ted doesn't enjoy the place because it's too loud. Barney spends all night grinding behind a girl. They never see each other's face until late in the evening when Barney discovers it's his cousin.

Meanwhile, Lily and Marshall are trying to be adult by holding a wine tasting party, but it is deadly dull and Marshall escapes out the bathroom. When she discovers he's gone, Lily follows out the same window. Now Robin can't get in and she and Lily gain entrance by flashing their breasts. Lily and Marshall reconcile as Marshall has become the king of the dance floor.

Went on to another How I Met Your Mother episode entitled "The Duel". Lily hasn't been to her apartment in Queens for three months and discovers her landlady died and it's been turned into a Chinese restaurant with a lot of her stuff still there. She officially moves in with Marshall and Ted feels like he's being pushed out.

The conflict between Ted and Marshall escalates to a duel using the swords hanging on the wall. The argument decreases in ferocity as they truly enjoy the swordfight. It ends when Marshall accidentally stabs Lily as she walks in the front door.

Meanwhile, Barney is beginning the "Lemon Law" meme. He believes that anyone should be allowed to walk out of a date in the first five minutes with no repercussions.

Finished off with the Bones episode "The Man in the Fallout Shelter". A body has been found from a 1950s fallout shelter from an apparent suicide but Brennan is not so sure. As Zack cuts into the bones, Hodgins doesn't have his mask on and a fungal toxin is released, forcing the credited cast to spend Christmas in quarantine.

The vicitm is Lionel Little, an accountant from Tulsa. He got a black woman named Ida Gillespie pregnant sometime in 1958. He came to Washington, bought two tickets to Paris for them to start a new life together. However, Little was selling the valuable coins to a fence named Gil Atkins who killed him and dumped him in the fallout shelter in his own house. Atkins eventually got $8,000 for those coins.

Meanwhile, everyone can only see their family through a glass partition. Goodman sees his wife and twin daughters. Hodgins sees the masseuse he'd planned to spend Christmas in Quebec with. Angela's father is a member of ZZ Top. Zach has a large family from Michigan. Booth sees his son, whose mother had refused to marry him.

Brennan's parents had disappeared just before Christmas. Her older brother was just four years older and left her to the foster system. She discovers Little still had on his person a rare 1943 bronze penny worth some $100,000. Temperance gives it to Ida Gillespie and her granddaughter who can't afford medical school.

February 11

Watched the Criminal Minds episode "The Popular Kids". In the non-existent MacAllister County, Virginia, we see a high school cheerleader and football player jogging in the mountains and then killed. The BAU is called in, only knowing about the young man's death and because there are Satanic symbols around a long decomposed body with similar head wounds as the recent murder.

The cheerleader's mother says her daughter is missing. A search party is organized among the locals because the FBI believes the killer will attempt to insinuate himself into the investigation. A girl tells Gideon that the older body was a visiting hiker who died accidentally. However, all the local kids knew about the body and enjoyed watching it decompose. The killer was the son of the sheriff who created the Satanic symbols to draw attention away from himself.

Read at the NAQT East Sectional Championship held at the University of Maryland-College Park. Michael Philby and Kevin Olmstead came from Michigan to work some Division II games. Results can be found here. Dwight Kidder told me Rochester was appearing in three Sectionals including this one, although one-person teams were participating in Montreal and Austin.

Lunch was scheduled for 12:55-2:00 because the Maryland-Duke game was at 1:00 and the Student Union should have cleared enough for our teams. A rabbit ears tv was brought into the headquarters room for the officials to watch the debacle.

The snow was heavy on the way home, like a driving rainstorm, but it didn't stick until around midnight.

Watched the CSI:NY episode "Jamalot". The starlet of the Manhattan Minx roller derby team is dead after an apparent pummeling. However the cause of death was overheating from DNP, a chemical that can be used to increase metabolism to induce weight loss. I figured out pretty quickly that the wife half of the couple owning the team did it. She wanted the girls to be media stars, but she didn't want them getting fat, hence the chemical.

In the other plot, a young man is found in a dumpster, wrapped in a very expensive rug. Under UV light, there is an entire chapter of a novel on his body. The victim, Griffin, was having an affair with an editor played by Mia Sara and she believed he'd written the great American novel, except for the last chapter. However, the novel was actually written by her husband who suffered from hypergraphia and wrote it in UV light all over their apartment. The husband killed Griffin when he found out he'd been plagiarizing his work.

Finished up with the Water Rats episode "Sympathy for the Devil". A burning yacht quickly sinks. Divers find a naked teenaged boy named Gary Gilette inside.

We quickly figure out the owner of the boat had a thing for young boys, but claims he merely photographed them nude. One of the boys torched the boat, not really caring there was someone inside. He escalates his crimes by threatening the boat owner with a crossbow.

Rachel has her son David with her while his father is away on business and his stepmother is battling with pregnancy. David has drawn a particularly violent picture which causes Rachel to have some concern for the teen who committed the boat arson.

Some British cops want a tour of Sydney aboard the Nemesis and Tayler takes a shine to the younger one. However, he's married and the older one shoves the boat throttle forward before Gavin can stop him. Johnson has to save the younger Brit from drowning.

February 10

Push To Ban 'Yankees' From Little Leagues

Some youth teams are turning in their Yankee jerseys forever.

In fact, the Lowell Spinners, who are owned by the Red Sox, are offering to replace all youth league Yankee jerseys with Spinners jerseys for free.

“You look at these kids that have to put on Yankee uniforms and not all of them are happy,” says Tim Bawman of the Spinner. “This is Red Sox nation.”

Four Little League teams have already agreed to shed the Yankee jersey. In fact one coach told me he is tired of seen and eight year-old kids in Yankee jersey getting booed at hometown parades.

Not only are the Lowell Spinners offering to pay for new jerseys for towns around New England, they are also offering those little league teams a chance to play in their brand new ball park.

“This is a $17 million facility. You get a chance to play on the field before one of our games,” says Jon Goode of the Spinners. “We got Tewksbury, Methuen, Chelmsford kids a chance to come out and actually play on the same field.”

Does it strike you as weird that the writer of this article was Joe Shortsleeve? Is there an Ed Wifebeaters out there?

I'm sure there's a contingent at Ballpark Guys that would love the Nats to buy up all the Orioles Little League teams. It might be harder in the Babe Ruth League since the 5-12 age group in Babe Ruth baseball is called Cal Ripken Baseball.

An evil part of me finds it real cute that 'Tienne (scroll down to February 1) and DistSen were both pimping Puppy Bowl. It sounds like the set-up for a Nora Ephron film if you can imagine Meg Ryan having buttsex or maybe there's already been a romantic comedy about dog lovers. Take a screenplay by the ex-Mrs. Bernstein and cast a brunette Scarlett Johansson as Jessica, Reese Witherspoon as 'Kette and Aaron Carter as the Sen.

Matt LeCroyLooks like the Nats signed Silent Bob. Does Jay come along in the package as well?

Basil admits to Star Wars as his nerdy obsession. There's a new movie in production about just such people. One might argue it would be hard to find anyone as attractive as Kristen Bell camping line for ROTS last May. Yet in my not-nearly-as-wild-as-this-sounds youth, I swapped spit with a fair young lady in a geeky context who was the sister of Rebel pilot. His big line was "Two fighters against a Star Destroyer?" The family resemblance was more obvious in The Omen where he got mauled by beagles. He was the handsome young American in Emily, but the old, bald guy nailed Koo Stark and not him. And to bring it back to Star Wars again, Koo played Camie in ANH but got left on the cutting room floor.

Playing in the BSBL has gotten to me when I see a headline about Chris Witty and immediately think it's about Rupert.

Watched the CSI: Miami episode "Shattered". While investigating the death of a drug dealer named Fisher in his home, a suspect falls from the skylight onto the body of the victim. The falling man is Johnny Nixon, a small-time drug dealer who claims he was peeing when the shooting started, then fled to the roof, not seeing Fisher's killer.

Nixon hopes for leniency by admitting to selling marijuana to Delko. Fingerprints on the outside of Fisher's house lead to "Bull" Merrick, a California bounty hunter played by legendary NFL bust Brian Bosworth. He was after another man he says was Fisher's shooter, but refuses to reveal his name to get the bounty. According to Merrick, he delivered a non-fatal gunshot wound to Fisher and the other man finished him off.

Pictures taken by Merrick are seized by police and facial recognition software lead to the identification of the other man as Diller, who's had several identities and faces. Tripp knows a plastic surgeon who caters to the criminal crowd and he and Horatio get to his office just as Merrick is pulling away with Diller in the doctor's boat. Merrick gets his booking receipt and turns Diller over to the police. Diller says Merrick killed Fisher.

The 9mm that killed Fisher is found with Merrick's fingerprints on it. He says Nixon tipped him off to the drug feud, making Johnny as accomplice to the murdr as well.

Which leads to other plot where Stetler is investigating Delko for buying drugs. The IA officer admits he's coming down hard on CSI because Horatio got an undeserved promotion to lieutenant that Stetler believes should have gone to him. Delko tests positive for THC because of passive smoke. His sister Marisol tells Horatio she's been smoking marijuana to ease the nausea from chemotherapy. Since Nixon is the prime witness and an accomplice to murder, the state's attorney doesn't think a jury would convict Delko so she drops the case.

Went on to the Bones episode "The Girl in the Fridge". Said girl in the title was a 19-year-old who was estranged from her family. Evidence is pretty clear that she was involved in extreme bondage with a couple called the Costellos who started a ransom dialogue with the the family. The couple used "hospital heroin" to keep her quiet, but they overdosed her and she died. The ransom discussions stopped and they dumped her in a refrigerator. The resolution was pretty easy and the rest of the episode involved the trial.

Brennan's former professor Michael Stires reappears in town for an interview with the anthrolopology department at GWU. They resume the sexual portion of their relationship, but he's working as an expert witness for the Costellos' lawyer. The jury consultant tries to get Brennan to open up because Stires will destroy her in comparison because of his friendly manner. Michael says some unprofessionally personal things on the stand about Brennan and the prosecutor is forced to ambush her with questions about her background to humanize Temperance before the jury.

A major gaffe was the establishing shot of the district court as a neoclassical building with the U.S. Capitol in the background. Then every witness has a Maryland flag behind them. Why would a trial held in DC have the Maryland flag prominently displayed?

February 9

Today is the birthday of Lyman Drake. He played right field on June 29 and July 1, 1884 for the American Association Nats.

Stadium Lease Deal Leaves Questions. Tom Boswell said he'd believe there was really a team in Washington when they played their second game. It seems that I won't believe the new stadium is real until the Nats play their second regular season game there.

Rich Lederer shoots fish in a barrel by picking Alfonso Soriano as the hitter most likely to fall off the cliff:

I feel guilty choosing Alfonso Soriano as my hitter. It's no secret that the second baseman (outfielder?) is going from one of the best to one of the worst ballparks for hitters. But, hey, I'll take a lay-up when I can get it. No use trying to tomahawk a slam dunk just to get on ESPN when I can kiss it off the glass and into the net nice and easy.

Besides, anybody making $10M-$12M per year who hits just .260/.300/.450 with 15-18 HR (as I predict) deserves to be recognized for his ineptness as much as the general manager who traded for him. You know, the same guy who acquired Vinny Castilla and Cristian Guzman last year and the 36-year-old Royce Clayton a few days ago because he wants to be sure he's got a backup in case his starting shortstop goes .219/.260/.314 again.

February 8

Council Forges Deal on Stadium. Apparently the lease deal was approved at 12:40 am this morning. My entire attitude has been,"Wake me when it's over." So maybe it's really over.

Nationals make Sosa offer. Slugger offered guaranteed deal with Washington. Couldn't the stadium deal have been delayed just long enough for Sosa to sign elsewhere? Why do I get the feeling this was the signal Bowden was waiting for to pull the trigger?

February 7

Today is the birthday of Tom Daly and John Fox. Daly was catcher for the 1889 Nats, but also played every other position except pitcher, third base and center field. In the 20th Century he was President of the Ball Players' Protective Association, an early form of a players union. John Fox was not the coach of the Carolina Panthers but a pitcher for the 1886 Nats who lost the only game he pitched for the team on August 9, 1886.

Watched the Veronica Mars episode "My Mother the Fiend". Vice-Principal Clemmons assigns Veronica detention, consisting of cleaning up the permanent record files as punishment for breaking into his office in what eventually turned into a drug testing scandal. She finds her mother's permanent record and discovers she was suspended for scurrilous gossip.

Veronica finds out her mother Lianne Reynolds had been dating Jake Kane, but Celeste may have lured Jake away by saying she was pregnant with his child. Veronica suspects the "Prom Baby" found in the Neptune High bathroom may have been Celeste's baby. The prom baby was in fact, Trina Echolls, born to Lianne's friend Mary, now known as Doris the lunch lady, and fathered by now Principal Moorehead. At the end, Veronica comes to the realization that her detention was just a plot by Vice Principal Clemmons to oust the current Principal.

In other developments, Beav is hiring Kendall to be CEO and the face of his REIT. Meg is still in a coma but pregnant. Logan and Weevil are still beating each other up but are working together to find Felix's killer.

Alyson Hannigan and Charisma Carpenter have a scene together but there are not inside jokes in the sniping. Trina wants to fake a videotape pleading for a bone marrow transplant in order to find her birth mother. She says,"You know, if we hurry, that tape can make tonight's entertainment news. Oh, it's the least big Pat can do for me after leaving all those pervy messages on my voicemail." Thought the Yudites might appreciated that.

For Whitlock's birthday, we went out to see The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. This is not my favorite book in the Narnia series. That would be The Silver Chair for its psychological implications.

I love helicopter shots. Whitlock doesn't like them when they got too fast. She prefers Sound of Music speed.

The special effects creatures looked like them, especially that characteristic CGI hop. The battle scenes were an inevitable reaction to the Lord of the Rings, even though Narnia is not The Lord of the Rings the way Star Trek is not Babylon 5. The cloth took way too long to come off the wardrobe and was a ridiculously self-conscious piece of filmmaking.

Tilda Swinton played a subtly evil witch, unlike Barbara Kellerman who played a campy Anjelica Huston type in the BBC version. I liked the unique yet feminine fighting style with which she battled Peter. The silver dress with the back of the neck 6-12 inches behind her body's neck looked it was made for a nose tackle with a neck brace. She has an unusual face, as shown by such films as Orlando, that makes this role hers. I'm glad Nicole Kidman didn't get the part. All the Dads would just be obsessed with how hot she was.

We went back home and watched the Numb3rs episode "Toxin". A disgruntled chemist fired by a pharmaceutical firm is tampering with drugs made by his former employer. This chemist then goes into the Angeles mountains seeking a fugitive cattle rancher who allegedly shot a federal marshal. Unfortunately, the chemist is a black guy who gets killed and never gets a second of moving main camera screen time.

Connor Trinneer plays the rancher and he didn't kill the federal agent. The pharmaceutical company sent their hitman to shoot the marshal and botch the negotiations, hopefully killing Trinneer's character McHugh in the crossfire. He was charged with selling beef that was probably tainted by antibiotics made by the pharmaceutical company under fire. McHugh ate his own beef and if he is taken alive, the antibiotic will still show up in his bloodstream. Lord knows why they didn't just test his wife who probably ate the same beef, also.

Lou Diamond Phillips returns as Edgerton, the legendary sniper. The mountains where this story was set looked like a ridiculous place to raise cattle.

Next up was the How I Met Your Mother episode "The Pineapple Incident". Ted wakes up with a woman he can't remember sleeping with and whose face we don't see until later in the episode. Apparently, he got really drunk and Marshall and Lily put him to bed.

Ted returns to the bar and falls off a table, spraining his ankle. Barney put him to bed, but Ted again returns to the bar. Since he can't remember a thing, Ted has gotten all his information from everybody else, including Carl the bartender and Robin.

Eventually, Ted thinks he slept with Robin, but instead a girl named Trudy, played by Danica McKellar, comes out of the bedroom. When Robin arrives, Ted hides Trudy in her bedroom. Ted and Robin have a talk about their relationship and when Ted tries to show Trudy, she's snuck out the window.

Finished up with the Water Rats episode "Not Fade Away". Frank chases a crazy robber named Kiwi Dave and it ends up with Dave putting a gun to Frank's head and pulling the trigger. Frank survives because the gun explodes.

Kiwi Dave escapes from his guard at the hospital and eventually ends up at Frank's house where Holloway defeats him with a golf club. The gun exploded because it was made illegally by an unemployed machinist. This near death experience makes Frank reconsider his life choices.

February 6

World-famous media fan Martin Morse Wooster sent me a Financial Times article on Sven-Göran Ericksson that ended with:

If England wins the 2006 World Cup, Ericksson can sleep with a TV weather girl in Trafalger Square in broad daylight if he wants, and the nation will queue to plump up their pillows.

Waiting in line at the supermarket, Reader's Digest is the only thing I feel like reading. In an article about confidence, it mentions how Tom McCraw paid $100 to players who hit the game-winning RBI when he was hitting coach for the Astros from 1997-2000. In the first three of those four seasons, Houston won the NL Central and McCraw didn't just get a park illusion pass because of Enron Field. All those division-winning seasons were in the Astrodome. I guess if Bagwell and Biggio are hitting well, nobody complains about the hitting coach.

February 5

Ladell Betts should get a share of the Seahawks Super Bowl winnings. He's in every Super Bowl promo, getting tackled by Lofa Tatupu.

Watched some of the Puppy Bowl. Everytime the field had to be cleaned up for a mess, the referee called a puppy penalty. I was watching mainly for the kitty halftime show. It's true what they same about halftime shows these days - nothing but pussy.

Went out to dinner at O'Donnell's which was totally dead because it was Super Bowl Sunday. If you don't care too much about the game, its' a great night to go out to dinner because the restaurants are empty if they don't cater to the sports crowd. You'll still be home for halftime.

February 4

Today is the birthday of Lou Say. He played shortstop, second base and outfield for the 1875 National Association Nats.

Watched the Everybody Hates Chris episode "Everybody Hates Greg". Greg has Atari and Chris comes over to play, but he stays too late. Chris hides in the closet because Greg is not supposed to have company while he's alone in the house.

Chris slips out and Greg's father Art figures out he's had company. Greg and Art save Chris from a rampaging mob of Italians. They bring Chris home and Julius has an argument with Art. Greg visits Chris after school one afternoon and Julius brings Greg home, making up with Art.

Went on to the CSI episode "Dog Eat Dog". A man found dead in a dumpster died when his stomach distended, crowding out his other organs, especially his lungs. He'd come in third place as a walk-on at a hot dog eating competition.

The victim, named Jerry, had a disease whereby his stomach couldn't tell his brain to stop eating. He always felt hungry. Jerry's sister Susan took care of him, regularly keeping him in restraints, but this week she had surgery and left him with her boyfriend. The boyfriend entered him in the hot dog eating contest for the prize money to finance his gambling. He eventually lost Jerry who ate himself to death.

In the other plot, a married couple are found dead, the husband from a bullet wound, the wife from an apparent dog bite. Their golden retriever Kahlua is found at the scene, but the bite is not a match to him. The husband's girlfriend explains they were going through a divorce, arguing over everything including custody of the dog.

The couple let the dog himself decide on custody and the wife cheated by putting bacon grease on her hands. The husband adopted another golden retriever and registered him as Kahlua. He broke into the house, hoping to switch dogs, but his wife was home and she shot him. Kahlua II was apparently trained to react violently to gunshots and he killed the wife and ran off.

February 3

A round-up of the Nats news. Baseball America likes the position of three first round draft picks for the Nationals. Scouting director Dana Brown seems to be eyeing college relievers. Will the Nats trade an overpriced and overworked Chad Cordero after the end of the 2007 season? Maybe this is the plan to leverage college closers into other holes on the team while continuing to reload in the first round of the draft.

Nats sign reliever Rodriguez, Clayton. Just want to make sure no one thinks they signed third baseman/shortstop American/Dominican Rodriguez or catcher/bicurious Rodriguez. Chris has already called him Frodo but Victoria nicknamed him F-rodo three years ago.

Royce Clayton has been dubbed Predator. Does this mean two of the current Nats will become governors? Clayton got into a tussle with Chad Curtis while with the Rangers. Chad, an evangelical Christian, didn't appreciate Royce's rap music being played in the clubhouse. Think Clayton's locker will be next to Jamey Carroll?

George Lombard has been signed to spend the summer in Metarie. He's 31 but he's no Rick Short. Lombard is one of those names like Lombardi (Vince) and Lombardo (Guy) that I associate with the distant past. Strange that I feel that way about a last name when they're not subject to the same whims as first names.

Watched the Water Rats episode "Let the Dead". A body is found on an archaelogical site and there's the usual conflict between the European-descended archaeologists and the natives. However, since the victim seems to have been killed within the last five years, it's a crime scene.

Among the effects found at the dig are a club medal and car keys belonging to crime boss Terry Madigan. Suddenly, Jeff Hawker's friend, best man, brother-in-law, and retired cop Billy Smith turns up. The victim was Vincent "Mad Dog" Blake, a notorious hitman.

Blake killed some drug dealers and old school cops were only happy to have him do their job for them. Mad Dog also paid off some police officers. When he is arrested on a minor assault charge, Smith asked Hawker to lose Blake's criminal record just before sentencing. When Hawker refused, Smith killed Mad Dog with Jeff's gun while Hawker was out of the country on holiday. Billy also left some some effects of Terry Madigan in the grave to frame the crime boss.

Smith explains that Blake would have come after Hawker, which is why he killed him. This confession is told to Jeff who is wearing a wire.

Went on the Criminal Minds episode "Derailed". A train traveling between El Paso and Dallas has on board Elle, a recently expelled college student, a pregnant woman going for an abortion, a businessman packing a gun who is going through a divorce, and a psychiatrist who is taking one of her patients to a conference.

The psychiatrist is played by Susan Gibney, Leah Brahms from Star Trek. The train is stopped because of a suicide and the psychiatric patient Ted grabs the train guard's gun, kills him, and takes Elle's gun. So we have a hostage situation and Ted is taking orders from Leo, his hallucination.

The unit arrives and Ted wants a microchip taken out of his arm that he believes the government implanted. Reid formulates a plan whereby he performs the operation and produce a microchip he hides on his person. All goes according to plan, but Ted refuses to let him go. When Ted finally acts as if he is going to end it all, Elle wrestles with him and the businessman shoots him.

I have a difficult time believing the Bahavioral Analysis Unit got from Washington to West Texas that fast without a supersonic jet. The hostages have apparently not been eating. However, I liked the episode because I really had no idea how it would end, except that all the regulars would live.

Finished off with the CSI:NY episode "City of the Dolls". The victim is the doctor in a "doll hospital," a repair shop for dolls. He held tightly in death to a doll that held a short message or secret that can be recorded on it. This particular message was recorded by the little girl who owned her, saying she saw some couple having sex.

The couple in question was the girl's mother, a teacher, and one of her mom's male students. The doctor played the recording over the phone to the mother who automatically thought the recording directly implicated her, although it was much too vague. The mother instructs her lover to steal the doll from the store. He does so by climbing through an upper window from on top of a delivery truck parked in the alley. He accidentally killed the doll doctor but still forgot to take the doll with him.

Beyond feeling guilty about the message, there were other things the mother could have done. She could have just destroyed the doll when she picked it up and told her daughter it was beyond repair.

In the other plot, a waitress in a high-rent apartment is dead of arsenic poisoning she got from a tampered tea bag. She was going to die anyway due to stomach cancer but none of her friends or aquaintances knew. One next-door neighbor was angry because a customer of hers had left her that apartment in the will. The killer was the husband of the couple that lived on the other side of her. He wanted her dead so they could buy the apartment to put up a nursery.

February 2

Today is the birthday of Jerry O'Brien. He played one game at second base on August 2, 1887 for the Nats.

Dwight Kidder had a post a while back on using closed captioning to teach reading. I figured that out some time ago and it's my first recommendation to parents wanting to get their children to read early.

Shot a quick fifteen-second promo for Silver Screen Test. Somebody at MCT is putting in the middle of a 30-second "donut". The 7 1/2 seconds before and after it will contain information on showtimes and maybe the still of the set and the graphic of the logo I gave them.

February 1

Marc Fisher has also been watching the Maryland Nighthawks. Their ambulance chaser owner is a former graduate of my now non-existent high school.

Dexy's Midnight reads Tom Verducci and believes the Nats may be dumping ground for Bud's favorite people such as Sosa and Smulyan. Those people with last names beginning with "S" - they stick together, you know.

The opinions expressed here are those of the authors' alone and do not necessarily represent the views of the persons or the institutions with which they are associated.

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