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July 31 Permalink
Ryan George Zimmerman retired only one batter in seven last night against Nats affiliate Vermont. His ERA is 2.08 which holds out faint hope we might see that Ryan Zimmerman vs. Ryan Zimmerman match-up in the majors one day.
Misschatter chronicles the hatred Phillie fans now feel for John Lannan. She also has a commenter named Harper, but not the Harper from Oleanders and Morning Glories, who claimed Lannan said he was purposely throwing at Utley and Howard. However, the evidence cited was a satirical column entitled 3 Up and 3 Down. This is just like the Chinese news agency that mistook an Onion article for the real thing.
Watched the Cold Case episode "Cargo". In 2005, longshoreman Mike Chulaski is an honest, naive orphan whose pride and joy is the boat he lives on. He hears voices from a container and opens it, finding Eastern European girls being smuggled into a life of prostitution. He feels pity for Lena, a 15-year-old burning with fever whom he carries away. The opening ends with him lying bludgeoned to death, cigarette burns on the soles of his feet.
Today, ADA Alexandra Thomas reports the discovery of a Jane Doe, Eastern European prostitute with cigarette burns on the soles of her feet. The Feds want to find the shadowy boss Nachalneek and she's looking for any help from the cold case squad. Stillman was a longshoreman as a teen and recalls the cigarette burns on Chulaski.
Dock foreman Roy Gardecki admits taking payoffs to look the other way from an American gangster named Kiril. Lena escapes from Chulaski while visiting an immigration volunteer named Boyka. It turns out Boyka is Nachalneek. Kiril went underground when Chulaski died and is terrified of Boyka.
Chulaski attempts to buy Lena's freedom from Kiril with $8,000 in cash and the keys to his boat. While Kiril is looking at the boat, another prostitute, a glamorous blonde named Kateryna, tries to talk Chulaski into taking her and not Lena. When he refuses, she bludgeons him with a lamp, taking his cash and the keys to his boat. In addition, Kateryna put cigarette burns on the soles of Chulaski's feet to frame Boyka. She sold the boat and used the proceeds to start a business.
In the space of two years, the characters in this episode got really gray, really fast.
Nationals 6, Reds 3. The Reds stranded eight and the Nats stranded four over the first four innings without plating a run. Both teams broke through in the fifth and Washington's five-run outburst sealed the game. Chief earned a save throwing only nine pitches.
We will be seeing for years to come, Belliard's play forcing Freel, consisting of catching the ball and throwing it to FLop in one, behind-the-back motion.
July 30 Permalink
Chris De Luca reveals Tony Gwynn might have been a teensy bit self-centered and not universally loved:
There was a May team meeting in New York, and veterans Jack Clark, Garry Templeton and Mike Pagliarulo teed off on Gwynn. Pagliarulo complained about one player "who only cared about his hits." Gwynn instantly knew Pagliarulo was talking about him. What hurt the most was that not one player stood up and defended the man known as Mr. Padre -- especially Joe Carter, a veteran whom Gwynn had considered his best friend.
By early September, the Clark-led backlash against Gwynn turned remarkably ugly. Gwynn conducted a radio show for the Padres' flagship station in the same corner of the Padres' dugout before each game.
One day, he walked to his spot and found a Starting Lineup Tony Gwynn figurine with its arms and legs sliced off, suspended by a rusty chain around its neck swinging above his seat.
"I was shocked," Gwynn said at the time. "It fits in with the way this season has gone."
Gwynn was in a fit of rage, but not one of his teammates discussed the incident with him.
"It's not the kind of thing you talk about," he said that day.
"I've never seen that before. Somebody thought it was funny, I guess. I didn't think it was funny. But there are 24 other guys on this team who like to get a laugh. It's OK, it's just one byproduct of this season."
Later that month, I called Gwynn at his suburban San Diego home on a Monday night.
His season was over because of a broken right index finger. The Padres were playing the Dodgers in Los Angeles and Gwynn was watching on TV, though he planned to do some serious channel surfing.
"Why agonize watching those guys [the Padres] when I can watch the Chiefs and Broncos?" Gwynn said.
But Gwynn planned to rejoin his teammates when they returned to San Diego at the end of that week, right?
"Hell, no," he barked into the phone. "I ain't going there and hanging around those ass-----. I'm through with them."
Gwynn's comments finally hit home.
The Padres called a team meeting in Los Angeles. Some players were embarrassed. None, however, stood up for Gwynn.
Whatever Gwynn did to deserve this treatment, it's pretty low on the scale of offenses committed by other ballplayers. Regardless, whatever he got back was way out of of proportion to the offense.
July 29 Permalink
Watched the Doctor Who episode "Fear Her". The TARDIS lands in London in 2012, on the day the Olympic flame will be lit. Children have been disappearing, courtesy of the child Chloe Webber who can drew them and placed them in some dimension related to those pictures.
Rose and the Doctor talk to her mother Trish who explains that Chloe's been withdrawn since the death of the father who was abusive to both, although more to Chloe. He still comes to Chloe in her nightmares and that image has come to life in her closet. The Doctor does a Vulcan mind meld on Chloe and learns she's been possessed by an alien child of the Isolus species that is used to living with her four billion brothers and sisters. Solar storms separated her from her family and she drifted down to Earth, drawn by Chloe's loneliness.
The Isolus refuses to leave Chloe, so the Doctor and Rose hope to pinpoint where the pod is located so it can be sent back into space. Chloe has followed them so she draws the Doctor and TARDIS and makes them disappear into her artwork. Left alone, Rose deduces that the Isolus pod is attracted to heat and digs it out of a newly patched pothole in the street.
Rose tries to get the Isolus to take back the pod, but it insists it needs more than heat. At this point, Chloe has drawn the entire Olympic stadium and made the crowd and athletes disappear. Rose tosses the pod at the Olympic torch as the runner passes by. The Isolus is released as well as all the beings trapped in the drawings. Unfortunately, this also means Chloe's nightmare Dad. Together, she and her mother sing the "Kookaburra" song together and he fades away. The torchbearer falls and the Doctor picks it up to light the Olympic flame.
Of course in the real world, Torchwood and the nuclear alert status would be ramped up if 80,000 people suddenly disappeared. Also, the person who lights the flame is usually a celebrity athlete, already waiting in the stadium for the last 100 meters or so.
Mets 5, Nationals 0 (4 1/2 innings, rain). The odds were the Nats would have lost the game anyway. Behind by five runs at this point, the Nats are 1-5 this year. The only victory was the walk-off first win of the year when Josh Willingham let the ball bounce fair. Overall, the Nats did come closer to make average margin in those games 3.67 runs.
Watched the CSI episode "The Good, the Bad and the Dominatrix". In a Western town, a cowboy walks into a saloon to find Lady Heather waiting for him. Later a man is strangling her with a rope demanding,"Say it! You have to say it!" Still later she's taken away by the paramedics, clinging to life.
Her body was found by Vernon Porter a security guard and the location turns out to be a family theme park. Later, Brass and Willows find him dead at the park with a gunshot wound to the back. The truth comes out of Ben Oakley, the son of the owner of the theme park. His father Jake was Heather's client, but Porter saw it all and came first to Ben, asking for $50,000 in blackmail. When Ben went to the bank account to get the money, it had been drained by some $800,000. Angry, Ben went to the park to find his father and kill him. There he saw Jake kill Porter, but he missed shooting his father.
Heather had the $800,000 to pay for her granddaughter Alison's education. Heather's ex-husband Jerome Kessler had refused her visitation rights. This was what resulted in Heather's suicidal tendencies. She wouldn't give Jake Oakley the safe word because she wanted to die. At the end of the episode, Grissom convinces Jerome to let Heather see Alison.
In the other plot, kleptomaniac, shoplifter and pickpocket Faith Maroney is found dead in the street. Paint chips in her head wound trace back to the cab of immigrant driver Chandry Kambhatla. However, other chips show a mix of paint from Kamhatla's cab and another taxi. Turns out Gus Difusco, another cabbie was staging Kambhatla's fare. He rear-ended Kambhatla just as Maroney tripped in front of Kamhatla's taxi.
July 28 Permalink
El Duque dominates punchless Nats as Mets take opener. Redding's outing felt stronger than Bacsik's last night. Tim fanned eight and beat Bacsik in game score 62-52.
The hive mind generally hates when Manny makes the defensive substitution of Fick for Young. Today in the seventh, Reyes hit a double right by Da Meat Hook that Fick probably could have caught.
Watched the Monk episode "Mr. Monk and His Biggest Fan". Sarah Silverman is the title character, Marci Maven, who has to be kept away by a restraining order. John Ringel comes home from jogging to find his wife dead in the tool shed from an apparent animal mauling. He immediately blames Marci's dog Otto who is buried, dead in her yard.
Marci purchases six hours of Monk's services at a police charity bachelor auction. Otto had been dead for three days when Mrs. Ringel was found dead. However, the bite marks on her are a match to Otto's teeth.
It's pretty obvious to the audience that Ringel got a bite impression of Otto and used it to frame the dog. Marci says that Otto died of kidney failure, but didn't let anyone know he died. How could she identify kidney failure? A vet could diagnose kidney failure, but that would give a verifiable date of death.
In the re-creation, Ringel kidnaps Otto for most of a day, putting poisonous spackle in his mouth to make the tooth mold. That's probably what caused his kidney failure. Ringel is shown bludgeoning his wife before applying the maul marks. Wouldn't a cursory autopsy show signs of human violence inconsistent with an animal mauling?
Went on to the Criminal Minds episode "Revelations". A continuation of the episode "The Big Game". What began with a couple killed after hosting a small Super Bowl party, leads to Tobias Henkel, a troubled man played by James Van Der Beek. His neuroses are fueled by his dead abusive, hellfire father.
Reid and Jareau go to Henkel's house and Spencer identifies him as the unsub, but Henkel is able to kidnap him. Tobias is possessed of three personalities - himself, his father and a mediator personality named Raphael. Henkel sets a up a webcam by which the BAU can see Reid being tortured. However, Reid manages to leave clues about their location.
Spencer recalls how he had to commit his mother to a mental institution. Reid confesses to Henkel, in the personality of his father, of failing to honor his mother. Henkel takes him outside to dig his own grave. Reid manages to get a gun from Henkel and kill him, just minutes before th FBI find them.
Late RBI single helps Nats earn split of doubleheader vs. Mets. Joel Hanrahan started the hit parade in the three-run third by hitting a triple for his first major league hit. The Mets came back in the sixth with a two-run homer by Carlos Delgado.
The stellar Mets bullpen allowed two walks and a wild pitch in the 8th, and the Nats took a 6-3 lead. Washington needed all those runs as the Mets came back with two in the bottom of the 8th. Alou grounded into a double play which helped stem the rally, even as it scored the 5th run. Cordero retired the Mets on three groundouts including pinch-hitter Tom Glavine.
July 27 Permalink
Tim Marchman on the Ripken myth:
It was during this time that Ripken became a secular saint. Here was a man who stood for old-fashioned American values. Born and raised in Maryland, the son of a humble baseball journeyman, he played for his hometown team and made his name not with the obscene physical talent of a Henderson, but because of his hard work and dedication, best symbolized, of course, by his signature trait -- his overwhelming need to just show up for work. No pampered, spoiled athlete he; this was someone with whom any factory worker or policeman or smalltown mortgage broker could identify, someone who just punched the clock every day and tried his hardest, quietly and with pride.
This was, of course, the most ridiculous nonsense it's possible to imagine. Cal Ripken was 6 feet 4 inches, 225 pounds., built like a god, and blessed with enough athleticism that he probably would have been a truly great basketball player. He wasn't the best possible version of David Eckstein or Joe McEwing, but the most physically gifted player in the sport. What made him unique was the overwhelming effect of his personal dedication and discipline on his unparalleled natural gifts; by all accounts, no one worked harder. But the myth of Ripken located his greatness in his will, as if will were sufficient to command the greatest heights of achievement. It isn't.
I greatly admire Cal Ripken, but despise this myth. It grounded his appeal in resentment of supposedly lazy and greedy (and often black) modern players who didn't appreciate the gifts with which they were born and the rewards to which those gifts entitled them. That all the boogeymen and preening villains to whom Ripken was contrasted throughout his career, from the joyous Henderson to the odious Bonds, all worked just as hard as he did, and enjoyed the rightful fruits of their labor no more than he did, never really seemed to register. This weekend, we can honor him without pandering to this myth and thus implicitly denigrating players who were never held out as representative of values that existed in a mythic, hazily remembered past. The man was an incredible baseball player with an iron will, and he remains an icon of simple decency. That's more than enough, and more than worth honoring in its own right.
Nationals 6, Mets 2. The Nats were incredibly lucky tonight. Knight and Carpenter gushed over Bacsik not striking out anybody over seven innings. That means the batting average for balls in play was .421. Well it did help that Jorge Sosa was throwing BP. His BABIP was .692.
July 26 Permalink
It took a while to get the leak in my car's air conditioner fixed so I had a loaner for most of the day. It had push-button start, which was a bit disconcerting to an old fogie like me. All you have to do is have the key in your pocket, step on the brake, push the button and the car starts.
Phillies All-Star Utley breaks hand in loss to Nationals. The headline was John Lannan, hitting Utley and Howard and getting thrown out of his first major league game. I was getting to my car so I didn't hear Sutton's tirade, only Slowes'. Manny Acta followed by getting himself thrown out for the first time.
From a 5-2 deficit, the Nats fought back with a two-run single by FLop and a three-run homer by Flores. Fortunately, Chief was given a two-run cushion.
And apparently, Lannan already has a nickname - Johnny Bravo.
July 25 Permalink
In the wake of NBA referee Tim Donaghy's point shaving scandal, I learned that the NBA keeps the identity of referees secret until just before gametime. If the NBA wanted to reduce the direct effect of gambling on the results, they should actually make that public, the same way the NFL makes injuries public.
Howard saves Phillies bullpen with two-run blast in 14th. We're going to remember this game for neither Church nor Langerhans catching Rollins' deep fly, for FLop mishandling the relay, and Rollins scoring. Forgotten will be the comeback in the top of 9th where doubles by Church, Batista and Flores gave the Nats the lead.
I wonder if the Ryans were done in by actual hustle. Both guys were trying to make a play. If they were lackadaisical, either or both might have pulled back from the ball and let Rollins have the triple. The outfielder would have thrown an easily catchable relay.
After the 10th inning, it was a matter of attrition. Who won didn't prove anything except a crapshoot. In this case, Ryan Howard blasted a two-run homer.
July 24 Permalink
Watched the Doctor Who episode "The Christmas Invasion". For David Tennant's first full episode, the Doctor and Rose return home to London for Christmas. Jackie and Mickey don't recognize him as the Doctor. He is in the early stages of his regeneration and spends most of the time in bed.
As the Guenevere I space probe reaches Mars, it is absorbed by a giant planet-shaped spaceship. Back on Earth, Rose is attacked by a gang of heavily armed Santas and a deadly spinning Christmas tree.
The aliens, called the Sycorax, communicate on screen with Prime Minister Harriet Jones. They demands Earth's surrender or people will die. The Prime Minister refuses and people walk like zombies to rooftops. Guenevere I project director Daniel Llewellyn realizes he put a sample of A+ blood in the probe and everyone on the rooftops has A+ blood. the Sycorax again demand surrender or those people will jump.
Rose and Mickey load the Doctor onto the TARDIS which the Sycorax teleport onboard their ship. Rose stumbles out, thinking they are still on the surface, but comes face-to-face with the Sycorax leader. She demands they leave Earth in peace, invoking the name of several aliens races she has encountered in her travels with the Doctor. The leader just laughs in her face.
The Doctor revives from an infusion of spilled tea. He discovers the button linked to the blood control of the people standing on the rooftops. The Doctor presses the button and the A+ people all suddenly come out of their trance. He explains that blood control only goes so far and the survival instinct will take over.
The Doctor challenges the Sycorax leader to a duel which resembles a lightsaber battle. The spaceship has an upper surface like that of a planet and they go out to continue the swashbuckling. The Sycorax leader cuts off the Doctor's arm like Luke Skywalker in The Empire Strikes Back. The arm immediately grows back because he is in the first fifteen hours of his regeneration cycle. The Doctor defeats the Sycorax leader and sends them on their way.
After everyone has been teleported to the surface, the Prime Minister orders Torchwood to blast the Sycorax ship out of the sky. The Doctor is angry and says he can bring down her government with six words,"Don't you think she looks tired?" While Jackie, Rose and Mickey celebrate Christmas, the Doctor works on his new outfit and the Prime Minister fights off concerns about her health.
Dmitri Young. Da Meat Locker. Loverro mentioned this. Fans dress up as butchers.
Ronnie Belliard. Belliard's Backyard. Fans dress up in picnic cookout clothes. Maybe the security guards will allow them to bring in empty grills.
Ryan Zimmerman. Zim's City. Is there a way to make yourself look like pixelated computer characters?
Ryan Church. Church's Congregation. Fans dress in choir robes. Maybe the PA system could play a spirited gospel tune everytume Ryan makes a big hit.
Ryan Langerhans. Islands of Langerhans. Fans dress up as if they're going to a Jimmy Buffet concert - Hawaiian shirt and big straw hats.
Nook Logan. Logan's Heroes. Leather jackets and other accoutrements from Hogan's Heroes. Alternatively, Logan's Run. Fans dressed as competitive runners or the Sandmen from Logan's Run. Or the Nook Worms with people dressed as worms.
Chad Cordero. Chief's Fire Chiefs. Fans wear slickers and fireman's hats. Maybe security couold allow them to bring a hose.
Ray King. All the King's Men. Pull out the medieval re-creation gear.
It's a start. I'm sure other bloggers and fans can come up with better ideas.
Phillies 4, Nationals 3. The Nats tried to tie up the score at one in the third when Tim Tolman sent Bergmann home. Usually, with two outs, it makes sense to send the runner home, forcing the defense to make a play. I guess with a pitcher running, this team might refrain, given the extent of pitcher injuries. So Bergmann hurt himself and Traber was sent in.
Scneider drove in all three Nats runs with a bases-clearing double. Aaron Rowand hit the game-winning homer off Luis Ayala in the 8th.
July 23 Permalink
Watched some of the Cal Ripken Sr. Collegiate Baseball League All-Star Game. Announcers Johnny Holliday and Dave Johnson were gushing over LJ Hoes who will still be a high school senior in the fall. Hoes has already committed to North Carolina but Johnson believes he will be drafted and go straight into the minors.
Watched the Bones episode "The Killer in the Concrete". Corpse-smelling dogs in Baltimore dam find a dead body buried in the cement, although the dam looks a lot like Los Angeles River. Brennan's father Max Keenan shows up at her mother's gravesite as she commemorates the first anniversary of her burial.
The autopsy reveals the victim died possibly from an icepick to the skull. He was Billy Ray McKenna, a career criminal. The icepick appears to be the MO of Hugh Kennedy. Both were members of Melvin Gallagher's crime syndicate. Kennedy died in a car accident three years ago while being pursued by a bounty hunter, leaving only a severed leg behind. However, McKenna has been dead for only two years, so how could Kennedy have killed him?
Booth interviews Veleska Miller, the bounty hunter who chased down Kennedy. Saroyan and Brennan tell Booth over the phone that Kennedy's leg was sawed off, not severed the way it would be in a car accident. Miller notices Booth acting funny and escapes. Whitlock believes she thinks Kennedy is still alive and is getting a head start on going after him. I think she helped Kennedy fake his death.
We meet Gallagher who looks like a hillbilly version of Bruce Villanch or Joe Eszterhas. His lawyer Clark Lightner is also his air piloting instructor. Gallagher invites Brennan and Booth to visit the roadhouse he owns at the intersection of 64 and 119, which is actually in downtown Charleston, West Virginia.
Keenan tells Brennan that Kennedy was a radio-controlled airplane enthusiast. Booth goes to a model airplane park and gets some advice from Addy about how to identify a guy with a prosthetic leg. Booth follows a likely suspect to his apartment who knocks Booth out.
Kennedy leaves Booth bound in his apartment and leaves. Before Booth can escape his bonds, Gallagher and Lightner show up to take Booth away and torture him. Brennan notices that Booth has been AWOL too long so she and Keenan do some investigating at the model airplane park. They find Miller at Kennedy's apartment. Under interrogation, she admits to helping Kennedy fake his death, but she doesn't know where Booth is.
Addy and Hodges find some trace metals off McKenna's body. With Gallagher's financial records they find where such metals were delivered. It's an airplane hanger in Oakville, Virginia. To the strains of "Keep on Tryin'" by Poco, Brennan and Keenan free Booth and capture Lightner. Gallagher escapes outside into the waiting FBI. Brennan allows Keenan to go free as well.
July 22 Permalink
Miranda and I went cruising down 270 the other way, first to Bethesda, then to Rockville with a stop for ice cream in between.
Watched the Numb3rs episode "The Janus List". On a traffic jam across a bridge, Sinclair drives past a distinguished-looking English gentleman standing by a disabled SUV. Then the Englishman sets off a bomb with a cellphone. He asks specifically to negotiate with the Eppes brothers, with whom he talks to via a monitor mounted on a robot. The Brit poses a set of questions to Charlie, saying he will disarm a cellphone and bomb for every correct answer. Charlie gets only one answer wrong, but Charlie is convinced he is right. One bomb goes off on the bridge and gentleman is shot, going into critical condition.
The man is Taylor Ashby, a former British cryptographer who last worked for Blackrain, an intelligence contractor. Charlie is convinced everything Ashby communicates has meaning, even the wrong answer to the question. Ashby is dying of thallium poisoning and his apartment has been bugged by several different national intelligence agencies.
While in intensive care, Ashby is able to alter his heartbeat readout and communicate that he has "The Janus List," a compilation of double agents. He also directs Charlie to Naomi Vaughn, a reporter who he hinted he would turn the Janus List over to. One night Charlie realizes the phone line has been cut and that an assassination attempt is forthcoming. He and the nurse take Ashby down to the basement and lure the hitman down to the MRI room. Then Charlie turn the MRI full blast, pulling the hired killer and knocking him out.
Most of the rest of the episode concerns trying to figure out Ashby's codes and who the mole is. Even Don gets an insight that Ashby's placement of bombs on the bridge represents a treble clef code. The key is a voicemail message hidden on Naomi Vaughn's answering machine. In Ashby's voice, it reveals that Colby Granger is a Chinese agent.
July 21 Permalink
Instead of running out to buy the new Harry Potter book, Miranda and I went cruising up 270 to Frederick.
Bacsik leads way as Nats blank Rockies on combined 3-hitter. No television for this game so I had to listen to it on radio. After the previously invisible D'Angelo Jimenez hit the game-winner last night, the only slightly more useful Tony Batista drove in two runs in the seventh.
July 20 Permalink
In today's column, Michael Wilbon said:
Soccer has already surpassed hockey on the American sports landscape.
As a much as I love soccer, that's delusional. Soccer has not yet passed hockey when the minimun NHL salary is $450,000 and the maximum standard MLS salary is $400,000.
Watched the How I Met Your Mother episode "Something Blue". During Lily and Marshall's wedding, Barney discovers Robin and Ted have been hiding a secret. As they tell the story Barney guesses first that they're getting married, they're breaking up, Robin is pregnant and they're moving to Argentina. It turns out they're breaking up because Robin wants to travel and Ted wants a family. Meanwhile, the guests are preventing Lily and Marshall from eating any real food so they're getting sloshed instead.
But it will be remembered for Ryan Zimmerman getting doubled off second in the 8th inning. With the tying run at the plate and Jorge Julio pitching, you can't let that happen.
July 19 Permalink
Blake Gray proclaims The End of Moneyball:
If the A's want to reap rich rewards in their sell-off, they're going to have to do it the old-fashioned way: through the efforts of cigar-chewing guys in cheap hats holding radar guns in rickety minor-league stadiums. Instead of a new way to crunch numbers, a scout's eye is the new edge.
That's right. The answer is one of those clowns who predicted the Nats would lose 130 games.
The Nats added a run in the sixth when they loaded the bases with one out but only managed to score one. Flores tied the score in the eighth with a single that plated two runs when the ball went through Brad Hawpe's legs. Kearns was on third with one out in the 10th when the Rockies brought the infield in. Under those circumstances, even D'Angelo Jimenez can punch a single through for the game-winning RBI.
July 18 Permalink
Watched the Doctor Who episode "Love and Monsters". This story is told through the eyes of the young man Elton Pope. He saw the Doctor as a boy and has become obsessed with him. Elton is also a great fan of Electric Light Orchestra.
"Mr. Blue Sky" plays frequently during the episode. I always thought of it as a John Lennon-penned Beatles song from 1977. It wasn't a hit single in the U.S., but it's been used for commercials for VW and Sears, among others.
Elton meets with four other Doctor enthusiasts and they soon become a social group, even forming a band. A large man named Victor Kennedy enters their lives and they end up working for him, using surveillance techniques to find the Doctor. The TARDIS is spotted in Woolwich and Elton encounters him there. There is also a Scooby-Doo-like sequence which also includes Rose and an alien.
Elton befriends Jackie over the course of several days and goes out to get them a pizza. When he returns, she shows him the picture of Rose and the TARDIS from his coat pocket and Jackie asks him to leave.
The other members of the group have been slowly disappearing in the presence of Kennedy with screams only the audience hears. Soon, the only two left are Elton, and the person he feels closest to, Ursula. They discover Victor is an alien dubbed an Abzorbaloff, that absorbs the bodies of other beings. He absorbs Ursula. Her face and the faces of the other members of the group are visible on the surface of Kennedy's body.
The Abzorbaloff chases Elton down the street and corners him in an alley. Just as the alien is about to touch him, the TARDIS appears and Rose is angry at Elton for upsetting her mum. The Abzorbaloff wants the Doctor to allow himself to be absorbed or he will absorb Elton.
The Doctor suggests the people that have been absorbed might have something to say about that. They pull apart the Abzorbaloff who drops his cane. Ursula tells Elton to break the cane and the alien melts into a puddle. The Doctor says they might be able to save Ursula, since she was the last one absorbed.
The Doctor explains that an elemental shade had haunted Elton's house and killed his mother. That was when Elton saw him. The episode ends with Elton in his room holding the block of pavement with Ursula's living face in it.
The ultimate enhancement, Jackson says, was the era when white ballplayers didn't have to compete against black athletes.
Really? That's the biggest performance-enhancer? Before the elimination of the color line, baseball was a big lie?
This line of thinking is based on what? That because blacks dominate in sports such as basketball, it logically follows that they would dominate in baseball?
Does it also follow that what Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig accomplished doesn't completely count because it happened before Jackie Robinson's historic 1947 entry into the big leagues? That, had blacks been allowed to play, they would have had such a huge impact on baseball that Walter Johnson wouldn't have been Walter Johnson?
I would say that's a huge stretch.
Not really. Morrissey must have been living in a cave for the last 30 years, because this argument has been advanced for at least that long.
There have been great black players—Larry Doby, Ernie Banks, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Bob Gibson, to name just a few—but there was never an era when blacks absolutely dominated baseball. There was a time in the 1950s and 1960s when blacks were very, very successful, winning many individual awards.
In the 21 seasons from 1949-1969, black players won the NL MVP 16 times. That's not absolute dominance?
If you use Jackson's logic, the stats of Negro leagues star Josh Gibson are suspect too. Because he wasn't allowed to compete against whites in the big leagues, how many of his reported 962 homers came against substandard talent? Shouldn't we call that number the ultimate enhancement too?
No one considers Josh Gibson's 962 homers a legitimate major league record, nor do they consider Saduharu Oh's 868 homers legitimate either.
Nationals 7, Astros 6. Jason Jennings opened the bottom of the first retiring FLop and Belliard on outfield outs. Then he walked Jeri Lynn and Da Meat Hook. Jennings allowed doubles to Church and Kearns to give the Nats an early 3-0 lead.
It looked like the Nats were cruising to victory after a three-run homer by Langerhans and a 7-2 lead, but the Astros came back with four runs in the sixth. Chief wriggled out of a lot of trouble in the ninth. An infield single to Munson was followed with a lot of pickoff attempts that resulted in an Orlando Palmeiro double play. Chris Burke reached and went to second on Jeri Lynn's throwing error. A wild pitch sent Burke to third, but Cordero retired Pence to earn the save.
July 17 Permalink
Drove Whitlock and Miranda to Children's Hospital. Jennifer Garner's Mickey Mouse statue is in the lobby, second from the right in this 2005 picture.
Astros 4, Nationals 2. All homers in this game except for Biggio's sac fly. Schneider got hit in the elbow in the bottom of the seventh, but didn't leave the game until the top of the ninth.
July 16 Permalink
Thom Loverro relates a recent conversation:
At the All-Star Game in San Francisco last week, a national baseball writer asked me how the team's new manager was doing. After spending a few minutes talking about Manny Acta's performance - without mentioning his name - the subject of Felipe Lopez came up.
The writer looked at me puzzled and said, "Felipe Lopez? He's not on the Orioles."
A He was asking me about the performance of Dave Trembley, the Baltimore Orioles' interim manager. The Nationals hadn't even crossed his mind.
July 15 Permalink
Cabrera smashes two homers, Willingham hits another for Fish. It could have been much worse. The Marlins pounded out seven extra-base hits, but only scored five runs. The Nats were behind by only two in the eighth with two runners on and nobody out. However, the trio of Flores, Fick and Batista came up empty.
Watched the CSI: Miami episode "Bloodline". A woman and man are preparing for an intimate moment when they suddenly collapse. The man is stabbed and scalped. The woman is Anna Sivarro, a stripper/hooker Horatio befriended in A Grizzly Murder. Since she is covered with blood, Tripp tells Horatio she is a prime suspect and adds,"Nothing personal."
Horatio replies,"It is now," which set both Whitlock and I into paroxysm of raucous laughter.
The victim was Doug Lansing, an executive with cable company Holcroft Communications who got himself onto the board of the Kipaya Indian Casino. Instead of putting the bulk of the profits into schools, Lansing pocketed some of the money himself and also funnelled cash to District Supervisor Scott O'Shay, played by Ed Begley, Jr. Anna Sivarro served as the courier for that cash to O'Shay. In exchange for serving as courier, O'Shay sent cash to Anna's son, currently living with her estranged husband in Atlanta.
Pretty much anybody on the reservation had a motive to kill Lansing. In addition, Anna has the client book of her late friend Tess. Casino head Reggie Veston's name turns up in the book and his wife Adrienne stabss him for it.
Bellman Ross Miller saw Lansing storing cash in the minibar fridge. Miller entered the room later on and saw Lansing and Sivarro out cold so he helped himself to the cash, putting beverages back in its place. Lansing's killer was room service attendant Jesse Stark, who is part Kipaya. He drugged Sivarro and Lansing and stabbed and scalped Lansing.
July 14 Permalink
Today is the birthday of Bernie Castro. He is yet another player who wore both Oriole and National uniforms. His best game was probably when he hit two triples against Milwaukee last September 16. The event was overshadowed by Alfonso Soriano stealing his 40th base to join the 40/40 club.
Went to see the Washington Freedom play the New Jersey Wildcats with world-famous media fan Martin Morse Wooster. Interestingly, you need tickets only for the side of the grandstand where you can buy food. If you don't want to buy any food, you can sit on the other side for free.
Glory, the mascot from RFK days, was there and posed with Martin. He was eager to see a yellow card, but I don't think there were any. The Freedom won 2-0. Gifford Ice Cream had a small cart there.
I caught only snippets of the Nats game. The Marlins jumped out to a 3-0 lead and expanded that to 5-0 on homers by Cabrera, Willingham and Hermidia. The Nats caught up and had the tying run on the on-deck circle in the 8th inning.
July 13 Permalink
Watched the Everybody Hates Chris episode "Everybody Hates Cutting School". On the day Ms. Morello will be out of school to attend a funeral, Chris and Greg decide to cut class to see Ghostbusters. It turns out she's also there on a date.
Meanwhile Julius always waits until the last day to renew his driver's license. He is in line so long, he has to take his driver's test again. Rochelle helps at the book fair at Drew and Tanya's school and ends up alienating everybody.
Went on to the How I Met Your Mother episode "Something Borrowed". On the day of Lily and Marshall's wedding everything goes wrong. Among Lily's problems are her high school boyfriend Scooter who refuses to let go and the harp player who is going into labor. Marshall gets an unfortunate, but not disastrous spiking and streaking of his hair. He freaks out and shaves a random swath through it, forcing him to wear a hat for the rest of day.
Both parties take a walk and meet outside. They suddenly realize they have the wedding setup they wanted - outdoors in the company of a few close friends. With Barney officiating, Lily and Marshall have their first ceremony just moments before the second ceremony for the benefit of everybody else.
This was the largest offensive outburst by the Nats since moving from Montreal. The highest previous single game score was 12 - in Houston, on April 8 of last year and in Cincinnati on May 23 of this year. The highest Nats output at RFK is 11, on June 17 of last year in the celebrated nationally-televised comeback against the Yankees and this year on May 31 against the Dodgers.
The last time a Washington team scored more than 14 runs was on July 5, 1971 when the Senators beat Cleveland 15-6. In 1970, the Senators beat Milwaukee 12-2 on April 30 and beat Detroit 14-4 on April 7. Those were the last two instances a Washington team scored more than 11 runs at RFK.
July 12 Permalink
Watched the Doctor Who episode "The Satan Pit". Continuing from the cliffhanger in The Impossible Planet, the Ood are possessed by an alien force and are attacking everyone on the base. Getting back to the control panel Danny is able to destroy their telepathic field down to "Basic Zero" to stop the attack.
The Doctor gets down to the bottom of the pit to find a huge satanic beast. Danny, Zach, Toby and Rose escape in a rocket. The runes reappear on Toby's face as it appears the spirit of the Beast is within him.
The Doctor realizes there is a booby trap here that any attempt to free the Beast will result in it being sucked into the black hole. He smashes the jars which collapses the gravity fields and the rocket drifts back toward the black hole. Toby screams with the voice of the Beast. Rose shoots out the window and unbuckles Toby. He shoots out into space and the automatic resealing process takes place.
The pit shakes beneath the Doctor and he stumbles unto the TARDIS. The rocket is still drifting toward the black hole when the TARDIS comes along to pull the rocket away. The Doctor has also managed to save Ida in the wreckage.
Despite previous reports that the Alexandria Aces would be joining the Valley League, they will be joining the Cal Ripken Sr. Collegiate Baseball League, bringing that circuit to eight teams.
While in Tampa Bay, ex-Nat Brendan Harris is batting third.
July 11 Permalink
There have been discussions on some boards about why there is a need for the variants from toss-up and bonus in quizbowl. That traditional format has speed and individual prowess in the toss-ups with teamwork and deep knowledge in the bonuses.
The dirty little secret is that the lower levels need some round where a team has easy questions, all to itself so they can get on the board. In a local tournament or television program, the worst of the teams can be pretty bad. Not wanting to embarass them, they need a way to accumulate some points with no interference from the other, better team. In the toss-up and bonus format, the other team can conceivably shut out the bad team entirely.
Again, I emphasize these other formats are useful when an extremely low level of team might be expected. At the national level, you expect even the worse of the teams to hold their own and there's no need to throw them a bone.
Watched CSI:NY episode "What Schemes May Come". Stockbroker Derek Curson is found dead dressed in full medieval armor with a lance through his torso. Bob Smith rents an expensive penthouse suite complete with fireworks above the Statue of Liberty, then is killed with an icepick, similar to the victims of Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct.
The DNA of Jennie Parker is found in both locations and when the police reach her apartment, she is dead of an overdose looking like Marilyn Monroe. Isabella Cooksey explains that she and the other three were close friends in a terminal cancer support group who were participating in a suicide pact. She was to recreate Juliet's suicide, but she backed out.
In the other plot, the body of Cort Peterson is stolen from Peyton as she's bringing it to the morgue. The body bag is later pulled from the East River and as she opens to verify it's the stolen body, he revives. Peterson and his colleagues Quinn Brookman and Chris Bowfield worked for biotech firm and experimenting in cryogenics. He tooked too many oxygen inhibitors, escaped, apparently dead in the street. Brookman and Bowfield stole his body from the coroner and, after determining he was really dead, dumped his body in the river. Peterson body remains in a coma.
July 10 Permalink
The Hardball Times has side-by-side video of Detwiler and McGeary. They look identical. I'd give them similar bonuses. But then again it's not my money.
Watched the Cold Case episode "A Perfect Day". The remains of a child's body is found washed up on shore after more than 40 years. Facial reconstruction by somebody like Angela Montenegro turns up Maura, a woman in the prosecutor's office who admits to having been adopted as a child. She believes the dead girl to be her twin sister.
In 1965, Cindy Mulvaney had twin girls named Maura and Vivian. She was married to Roger, a decorated police officer who physically abused her and their daughters, though Vivian got the brunt of the damage. Cindy escapes to a safehouse for battered women and befriends another police officer named Art Balducci.
Cindy agrees to run away with Art, but can't resist going back to Roger. Art and some of his fellow officers beat up Roger for abusing his wife. When Roger finds out Cindy was going to run away with Balducci, he drops Vivian off a bridge. Cindy is able to leave Maura in a church from where she's adopted out.
Cindy never remarries and teaches piano on the Jersey Shore. Art also never remarries and is retired. Roger died in the line of duty late in 1965.
Ichiro inside-the-parks one; AL knocks off NL again. Ichiro is now yet another trivia answer. Although the ball got away from Griffey, I'll cut him a little slack on this one. The ball bounced off a banner that would not normally be there on a non-All-Star Game night and ricocheted in an unexpected direction.
Da Meat Hook reached base bouncing the ball off BrownO Brian Roberts. And ex-Nat Alfonso Soriano followed with a homer to make the end more interesting.
July 9 Permalink
Peter being a Schmuck said:
I can remember what a big deal it was when Willie Mays hit his 500th and 600th career home runs, even though I didn't live in San Francisco. It was still a huge event when I covered Reggie Jackson's 500th homer, and the coincidence was quite notable when Rod Carew (3,000th hit) and Tom Seaver (300th win) had to compete for national headlines on the same afternoon...
Clemens might be the greatest pitcher in the history of the game, especially when you consider that he registered most of his 349 victories in an era that was tilted heavily in favor of hitters, and his latest attempt to become the first pitcher since Warren Spahn to reach 350 wins didn't even rate one of the top 10 headlines on the ESPN Web site the morning after.
I think Biggio's 3000th and Thomas' 500th were both big deals. I just wish Bagwell had been healthy enough to hit 500 himself.
And I'm tired of people equating offensive output with pitchers wins. There is exactly one win every game in Coors Field, just as there is in every ballpark. And just because Clemens has pitched in a higher offensive environment, doesn't affect his ability to win games. There are still 162 games to win every year, just as there was in the pitching era of the 1960s. What's truly amazing, though Schmuck never refers to it, is that Clemens and Maddux have accumulated their win totals with a five-man rotation, unlike the four-man rotation common before the 1980s.
But they keep score in the minors, don't they? They have standings and championships, right? There is no disclaimer on the tickets purchased for these games that indicates the team isn't trying to win, is there?
I seem to remember Bill James did a study where there was a positive correlation between AAA percentage one year and major league percentage the next year, but Thom has latched onto a dirty little secret: sometimes the team isn't really trying to win. A star player will be called away to an higher league regardless of the lower level teams' needs. A player may be butchering a position in order to learn it, losing games so that the parent club can get him into the lineup one day. Sometimes there's a major leaguer on rehab assignment. He will bring in the fans, but he may be "working on his pitches" - not trying to win. So what if he loses the game if can see how his repertoire has responded to the Tommy John surgery?
Watched the CSI episode "Leapin' Lizards". The SWAT converges on the country homestead of Hank Connors. He shoots down a police officer and as they start to close in, he shoots himself through the chin. Connors is a prime suspect in the disappearance of Chyna De Vere and Grissom and Brown find her taxidermied head mounted on the wall of his barn.
Also missing is Chyna's husband Preston who led a cult of individuals who believed reptilian aliens had infiltrated every level of government and authority all over the world. Aging sexpots of the 1980s Ally Sheedy and Julie Haggerty play two more cultists - Shannon Turner and Clarissa Niles. Eventually Preston is found naked wandering the desert, claiming to have been briefly abducted by aliens.
It turns out Preston was a conman who wanted to get rid of his wife. He talked Turner into befriending Chyna and inviting her to her apartment. Shannon stunned her with a huge sword and Connors shot and killed her. Hank took the body to the farm, cut off the head to mount and fed the rest to his hogs. Preston steam-cleaned the apartment, leaving the equipment in the trunk of Clarissa Niles' car. She also took his clothes and dropped Preston off, naked in the desert.
July 8 Permalink
On the drive home we stopped at a conference center in Camp Hill. It was there that I heard the end of this game. The Nats exploded for six runs in the sixth, capped off by Belliard's bases-clearing double.
July 7 Permalink
Went to Callie's Candy Kitchen, a candy store in Canadensis/Mountainhome. They sell all kinds of candy, but I was drawn to their collections of milk chocolate in novelty shapes. There was a set in the shape of videogame controllers, although they didn't seem to have a Wii yet. They also sell templates and nuggets of milk chocolate for you to make your own choclate bars at home.
After that we went to Dingmans Falls. There is an easy boardwalk walk here, as opposed to the many steps at Bushman Falls. Miranda couldn't make it all the way to Dingmans Falls, so we just saw Silverthread Falls while Whitlock walked the whole way. Silverthread is a tall Angel-like falls, althought of course, nowhere near as high.
As Miranda was feeling sick, I was the only in our family going to Petrizzo's Restaurant. I had a nice chicken marsala.
Nationals rally past Suppan, Brewers to stop two-game skid. I heard some of this game on the radio after dinner. The Nats went ahead on five cosecutive hits in the fifth, but Fielder immediately answered with a homer in the sixth. Cordero hung on allowing an Estrada homer, but its good he was given a two-run lead to protect.
July 6 Permalink
Watched Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The major deviation from the book is that we learn about Willy Wonka's childhood and that he had a cruel destist for a father. Wonka has a strange resemblance to the real life Milton Hershey in that both are childless and leave their fortune to non-relatives.
As is well documented, Deep Roy plays all the Oompa-Loompas. I first saw him in the Doctor Who episode "The Talons of Weng Chiang" playing Mr. Sin AKA the Peking Homunculos. I once asked Dave Choat to draw for me cyberpunk Oompa-Loompas for the prize badge for a Balticon trivia contest. In some of the scenes, the hairdos and suits made them look exactly like that.
Mike Teevee is teleported into 2001: A Space Odyssey while "Also Sprach Zarathustra" plays.
Finished up Johnny Depp night with Finding Neverland. It tells the story of the friendship James Barrie strikes up with a family that helped inspire Peter Pan. The cliches were pretty obvious when they happened. As soon as Kate Winslet started coughing you thought,"That's it, she's dead meat." And you knew that the really Barrie wouldn't have left opening night of Peter Pan to be at her side.
July 5 Permalink
Before the vacation, I thought the cable at the resort would carry Phillies, Mets and Yankees games and I was right - Comcast Sportsnet Philadelphia, SNY and YES. Whitlock thought there might me Pirates games, but she didn't realize how big Pennsylvania is.
The SNY opener for Mets games has the players pitching, hitting and fielding against stylized representations of buildings and subways. The names of boroughs flash by in the Arial-like font of the subway - all except the Bronx. Have the Mets surrendered the bronx to the Yankees the way Virginia Baseball had surrendered Maryland and the District to the Orioles? Shame on them!
The cable network also carries a Lehigh Valley station that shows Reading Phillies highlights. Next year they'll have their own AAA team and won't show so much Reading.
I took a visit to The Christmas Factory. It's huge, but I found a relatively lame, undated Poconos ornament of a deer. The place is huge and has plenty of other non-Christmas nick-knack stuff.
How lame is Who's Now? Craig Barker has been doing this for years and his commenters are some of the smartest people around while ESPN has Keeshawn Johnson and Kirk Herbstreit. To compare the two groups is like throwing Roger Clemens fastballs past little leaguers. There is no comparison.
I finally read Warriors: Into the Wild by Erin Hunter, the first novel in the Warriors series which Miranda loves very much. Loosely, it's the story of housecat of "kittypet" named Rusty who joins Thunderclan, a group of wild cats who live near a "thunderpath" or road. There are surprising few predictabilities in it, most notably that Thunderclaw has much in common with Dick Cheney.
I asked Miranda whether Rusty, who takes the name Firepaw and later Fireheart is the child of great Warriors, she says that they were ordinary kittypets. So this tale doesn't make the hero a long-lost heir like Arthur or Luke Skywalker.
The Warrior Code requires that warriors or apprentices who are hunting for the clan to not eat until the clan is fed. If your hunters aren't well-fed, they won't be able to hunt efficiently.
The authors are obviously English or European. Their cats act in a socialist collective, unlike the bullies real cats are ruled by. I think given a chance to pursue similar material, both liberal and conservative American writers would have rugged individualist hero cats. The left would fight against fascist cat organizations and the right against intrusive nannyish cat organizations.
Cubs continue hot tear, take three of four from Nats. The Nats tied the score when Da Meat Hook tripled. He fricking tripled! Mike Fontenot drove in the game-winner for the Cubs. A night for bad timing. If the walks and hits had been distributed a little better, the Nats could have won.
July 4 Permalink
Young, Chico lead D.C.'s team to victory over Cubs. What the hell happened? Two homers, including a grand slam? And a shutout? Ray King finishing?
Didn't go out to watch fireworks. Instead, there always seem to be some people staying at the resort who set off fireworks of their own. I saw some tonight in the parking spaces across the street.
Tried some Chinese carryout at a place called Hong Kong I. Not really very good, but I could digest it. Whitlock on the other hand, couldn't. I brought home a menu and she thought chop suey was always a bad sign. I think it's just some New York area quirk.
July 3 Permalink
Went to the Majestic Outlet in Pen Argyll. I saw a billboard on Sunday indicating the outlet was in Bangor, but an internet search and some phone calls led me to Pen Argyll.
The prices are maybe about 20% off. The only ridiculous bargains a got were a $5 long-sleeved 2006 World Series t-shirt and an authentic 2005 Nats home jersey with the "Established 1905" patch at about 70% off. I also got a 2007 Nats batting practice jersey, the blue one with a curly W at mid left chest and a 2007 All-Star Game t-shirt with the logos from the 1961 and 1984 all-star games, the last two hosted in San Francisco. Whitlock bought a couple of Roberto Clemente t-shirts because Miranda is going to Roberto Clemente Middle School next year.
While I was checking out, I got a phone call from my father, which I totally couldn't understand because his reception was breaking up. As long as Miranda was okay, I really didn't care what he was saying.
So went to The Crossings, a Premium Outlet in Tannersville and went immediately to the food court and information desk for AAA discount coupons. There was Miranda with my family, sitting right by the information desk. She was happily eating a white pizza. Miranda went home with them while we continued shopping. On the way home, I realized I could pick up WTWP from way out there.
Zambrano wins 10th game as streaking Cubs down Nationals. Redding didn't pitch too bad for this first appearance in two years. The Islets had a double and two walks.
July 2 Permalink
Got up to buy donuts for breakfast. Then I went back to buy groceries at Mignosi's Food Town.
July 1 Permalink
Nationals 3, Pirates 2. Bacsik allowed only two runs and Jesus Flores provided a two-run homer.
With this victory the Nats have won 33 games, making it mathematically impossible for them to lose 130 games, contrary to the prediction made by a "scout" in Florida during spring training. Buster Olney has been quoted:
For the record, I did not hype them as a 130-loss team; I reported that in a scouts' pool, 130 losses were the lowest projected range for Washington, and 105 losses were on the high end. But there is no question that they have played much better than I ever thought they would (and a lot better than a lot of folks in baseball expected, I'm sure). You have every right to say "I told you so." I've got black feathers sticking out of my mouth.
I have no idea who this "scout" is and the general public will never know. Still, I will use the common columnist trick of letting this idiot, who may be among the worst of his craft, serve as the example for the entire occupation, the same way a dumb statistical statement is ascribed to all sabermetricians.
Thom Loverro himself has admitted to being blinded by the allure of "major leaguers" in Baltimore, falling to the illusion that there is really a difference between players you've heard of before of no quality and players you've never heard of before of no quality. Mike Bacsik, Matt Chico and Jason Bergmann can lose games just as easily, though more cheaply, than Ramon Ortiz and Pedro Astacio.
Drove up to Treetops Villas in Bushkill, PA in the Poconos. Whitlock expected to see more broken rocks by the roadside with water flowing down the side. Apparently, there's not so much of it along I-78 as opposed to I-81.
We met my parents and my sister's family at the Four Seasons Diner in Marshalls Creek. Both my father's and my brother-in-law Greg's T-Mobile cellphones wouldn't work at the resort. Of course mine and Whitlock's Verizon phones both worked. Can you hear me now?
My parents and my sister's family were in one unit. Our family was in the other unit. Instead of the bedroom in the lower level, Miranda chose the loft, accessible by a spiral staircase. Actually Victoria and Ian both spent the night in the loft with Miranda tonight.
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Last revised July 22, 2007
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