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November 2004 Archives

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November 30

Critics are worked up about JFK Reloaded. Why stop there? After all, Stephen Sondheim based an entire show on Presidential assassins. A computer game could put you in the shoes of the assassins and attempted assassins from Richard Lawrence who tried to shoot Andrew Jackson all the way to the present-day. Expand the possibilities beyond the United States. You're in the Roman Senate stabbing Julius Caesar.

Perhaps the modern day scenario should stay generic to avoid Secret Service attention. But third party mods (nudge-nudge, wink-wink) could put anyone in the Oval Office you don't particularly like, just so you can off him or her. Most people also have a visceral dislike for certain talentless attention-grabbing celebrities who might be nothing more than a hotel heiress. You can erase them, too! Is this really any sicker than Grand Theft Auto?

November 29

From Why Did the Chicken.
Q: What did the used-car salesman say to the monkey?
A: No, I want to be commisioner of Major League Baseball. You can be president of the United States.

November 28

Got some help from Merril Hessel on digital video.

Both Jeff Angus and Jon Couture have weighed in on the blandness of the Washington logo. Management by Baseball has failed to realize that there's a veritable hyena-pack of lobbyists and overpaid baby boomers who have already plunked down deposits for 15,000 season tickets. Personally, I preferred the logo of the failed 1991 campaign and the DC Diamond of Germantown resident Greg Chait. Still despite Angus crying out for pizzazz and Jim Bowden trying to make a splash in the free agent market, the locals have always known that this area was thirsting for baseball, regardless of the logo or even the quality of the team.

Most sports fans, in their capacity as fans, are generally conservative. They want the sport to be the same way it was when they first discovered it. Like science fiction, the golden age of sports is also 10 years old. The quality of play today is never as good as it was back then. When it comes to identity, rarely has the mainstream sporting press taken any nickname or logo to task for being too conservative. The New York Yankees, the Green Bay Packers, the Boston Celtics, the Montreal Canadiens, heck, D.C. United - these are all winning teams with conservative, untouchable identities. Put teal in the colors or choose an unorthodox nickname like Raptors and the critics come out of the wordwork.

After all, what other city or team has a better claim to the colors red, white and blue? Choosing a totally new nickname would admit the previous two franchises as failures of the city rather than failures of ownership. And as we know from prime examples of leadership, one never admits failure and blames someone else. Major League Baseball is returning to a city it left, not establishing a new identity in virgin territory. I think the league and the focus groups were looking for boring all the way around.

November 27

Started putting up the living room tree. The tree-topper fiber optic Santa no longer lights its fiber optic elements.

Watched the CSI episode "Formalities". It's homecoming night and the casino owner has reserved a suite for his daughter and her friends. One girl turns up dead from a combination of an overdose and seeing the casino daughter kidnapped.

Except that she wasn't kidnapped. She staged the whole thing. Then in a final cry for help and attention, she locks herself in her own trunk, hoping her Daddy will save her, but he doesn't.

November 26

Watched the Cold Case episode "The Sleepover". In 1990, a nerdy girl at an expensive prep school turns up dead with circles and X's on her body. Today, another body turns up at the same location with the same markings. Police suspect a serial killer who's started up again 14 years later. Fred Koehler, who played a gardener and rapist on CSI: NY, confesses to the current killing. Suffering from severe psychological disorders, he plays Neil Beaudry, the brother of the girl who hosted a sleepover where the 1990 victim was last seen alive. Neil says he didn't kill Rita, the victim, back then, but put markings on the current girl to make her look like Rita.

The cops put the three girls who were at the sleepover back together alone in an interrogation room and let the pot boil. The killer was played in 1990 by Daviegh Chase, the voice of Lilo. She was a nerd who got in with the popular crowd, but was ousted that night. In anger, she pushed Rita over a cliff to her death. The markings were just put there by the girls to humiliate Rita for her physical flaws.

Finally watched the CSI: Miami episode "Crime Wave". A tsunami hitting Miami is used as an excuse to mix in actual aerial footage of Florida heavily damaged and flooded by hurricanes. A mysterious double murder in a supermarket parking lot, leads Horatio and Delko to a bank robbery in progress. I have no idea why two guys with service revolvers walk into a robbery where they can clearly hear machine gune fire. In other words, they are seriously out gunned.

No matter. They shoot two robbers anyway and herd everybody else into the vault when the tsunami hits. The robbers actually intended to hit the vault on the second floor where gold bars were stored and the robbery downstairs was merely a diversion. When the wave came in, it carried the gold out to sea on floatation bags that had a GPS signal. CSI figure this out in time for Coast Guard to catch the guy.

In the B-plot, somebody kills then buries his stepfather in a cemetery. It is discovered when there are one too many dead bodies wash out by the water.

In the C-plot, it appears Stetler has been beating up on Yelina. There are two university professors in this episode that have offices that are way too luxurious.

November 25

Quiet Thanksgiving at my sister's house. The kids decided they are now camera shy.

November 24

Edited some of the early episodes of Silver Screen Test. I think I looked thinner.

Watched the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "Cold Station 12". Enterprise goes to the planet where Soong raised the Augments and find Urda, an Augment with shortcomings also known as Smike. Meanwhile, Soong and the Augments use torture to pry the Augment embryos out of Cold Station 12. When Enterprise, they prove to be only a minor inconvenience. Although not a lot happens plotwise, Brent Spiner does a marvelous acting job and his character shows great inner conflict.

November 23

I'm less critical of the Jose Guillen acquisition than I was about Guzman and Castilla. Last night Bowden spouted clutch drivel about Guillen driving in runs during crucial times and not in 8-0 blowouts. He also said the Angels fell apart after suspending him. No Jim, the Los Angeles/Anaheim MetroAngels went 6-2 with Jose. Sure they got swept in the playoffs by the Red Sox, but so did the Yankees and the Cardinals.

November 22

Good quizbowl philosophy post by Joe Wright. I've found that Silver Screen Test can expand its canon without getting too difficult by entering the realm of reckoning as opposed to pure knowledge. Although I think the non-buzzer format was a creative adaptation of a game that originally used a buzzer, I'm ultimately limited to asking short, answerable questions that inevitably repeat over time. With a pyramidal toss-up question, I can harvest a greater variety of obscure clues that eventually lead to a well-known giveaway.

It's official. The new name is the Washington Nationals. Let me be the first to make this lame joke. MLB wants to contract a team by merging the Nationals and the Orioles and calling them the NATOs.

November 21

They continue to show the NBA League Pass commercial which ends with Ron Artest banging his head on a table saying,"Stupid, stupid, stupid."

Watched the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "Borderland". A Klingon vessel is captured by genetically advanced humans called "Augments" and led by Alec Newman playing a character named Malik. Brent Spiner, playing an ancestor of Noonian Soong stole the Augment embryos 20 years ago and kept them hidden, even after being captured 10 years ago. We get the idea the Augments are related Khan's people which thus reveals the link between Khan Noonian Singh and Noonian Soong.

We know that the Augments will take over Enterprise because the show is so damned predictable. Along the way, some of the crew are temporarily captured by the Orion slavers. When the Augments take over, they only want to rescue Dr. Soong and their next task is to take back their brother embryos.

Whitlock wondered why the embryos weren't destroyed if they were so dangerous. Because a religious theocracy has taken over and killing embryos is murder. Don't you know that?

November 20

Marlene and Kevin came over. Kevin was here to fix our lights which was just a simple GFCI problem.

Watched the CSI:NY episode "Grand Master". After defeating a French DJ in a contest, young DJ Banner turns up dead. A Suge Knight-type without the bulk played by Master P coerced Banner into signing a contract a few days before. Banner's partner and the owner of the club got very angry and killed Banner. After establishing that the fight began on a fire escape, CSI took a long to investigate the office that could access the fire escape.

In the B-plot, a very demanding fashion designer is found dead in her apartment pool. Very early on, a chunk of nail polish with blowfish poison on it is found in her mouth, but they never investigate this angle until the end. The designer went to a naked sushi bar where one of her former assistants was a table. The woman poisoned her own toenail polish with fugu poison and the designer bit her toe.

It seems the New York show has a habit of overlooking the obvious until the plot calls for its investigation.

Went on to the CSI episode "Swap Meet". A woman is found dead in a fountain on common area in a gated community. She had just come from a home where swapping took place and discovered by a woman walking her dog. I suspected the finder first since she obviously wasn't invited to the party.

The host of the party explained the Rules which included condoms, no affairs outside the parties and not telling the kids. The Rules were probably meant to echo Fight Club but I kept being reminded of Da Rules from Fairly Odd Parents.

Of course, the kids find out. One of them was a teen-ager who was having an affair with one of the adults. Then she found him with her stepmother and stabbed her.

In the B-plot, a landlord has been killed with a tablesaw inside a storefront containing 1980s videogames. Eventually the guy who owed back rent on the store front admits to killing his landlord. The videogame arcade guy was in business with his girlfriend and getting rent postponements on her back. The landlord's wife found out, killed her, then stuffed her in Ms. Pac-Man. This thread included a very funny crime scene cleaner named Marty.

November 19

Tony Dungy found the Terrell Owens-Nicolette Sheridan sketch racially offensive. If he thinks the skit was perpetuating some belief that being with a white woman is better than being with a black woman, then go ahead and say that. I don't watch the show, but is there a black Desperate Housewife at all? Why not?

Dungy said,"I think it's stereotypical in looking at the players and, on the heels of the Kobe Bryant incident, I think it's very insensitive." He saying one of two things here, neither of which sound good. One is that black athletes automatically want to rape white women. The other turns it around, given that Nicolette Sheridan was the aggressor in the clip. Is it that blondes are sluts who throw themselves at athletes and the accuser in Eagle, Colorado had it coming?

Everyone, myself included, has wasted too much time on this. But here's a link to half-naked cheerleaders anyway.

We hosted the Knossos meeting. The book was Holes by Louis Sachar. If you saw the movie it was pretty much the same thing. Bob Burroughs read some of the study questions in the back of his edition. The most interesting discussion concerned how luck affected the attitude of the Yelnats family. They were surprisingly upbeat despite their bad luck as opposed to others who seem to wallow in their bad fortune, such as Red Sox fans before October 27, 2004.

Wendell Wagner has an interesting answer to the Why Did the Chicken riddle Why does the president hate a light bulb? Because he always wanted a three-way.

November 18

Still haven't seen the CSI: Miami episode "Crime Wave" with the giant wave. Whitlock has frequent recurring tornado dreams. I definitely remember a disaster dream set in Miami. I don't quite recall whether a wave or a nuclear bomb took out Miami Beach.


Paul Tagilabue's head on Inspector Renault from CASABLANCA among cheerleaders and erectile dysfunction ads linked to the NFL
Inspector Tagliabue says,"I'm shocked... shocked... to find sex associated with the NFL."

November 17

It feels so good to be in the position to complain about a couple of lousy free agent signings. I hereby dub these two the Scream Twins. Right now, since the team doesn't have a name, ESPN's Bottom Line attributed the deal to the "Washington Franchise". There isn't the obligatory head shot with a Photoshopped cap, just file footage from last season. There also wasn't the press conference where they put on their new jersey, but I'm afraid they'll be the models when the gear comes out. You already know how I feel about Guzman. I predict that Castilla will be no better than 10% above his 2000 season in Tampa Bay, except for RBIs. If he gets jammed into the middle of the lineup, there may actually be enough opportunities there to inflate his totals. I present to you the 2005 line for Vinny Castilla:

94 364 24 80 20  1  7  46 15 45 .220 .251 .338 .589

Yep, that's $3.1m a year well spent.

The apologies from the NFL, ABC and the Philadelphia Eagles for Nicolette Sheridan shedding her towel and jumping into the arms of Terrell Owens are nothing but egregious acts of hypocrisy. Between the scantilty-clad cheerleaders shown in most bumps and the erectile dysfunction ads, outrage for this segment is laughable.

Watched the CSI: Miami episode "Hell Night". On Halloween, a jury goes to the home of the Florida shortstop who is on trial for killing his wife. A juror suffers a seizure and the defendant is found dead with a knife in his head and a paper with the word "guilty" on him.

The player was killed by a juror who lost his life after so long being sequestered. However, in looking over the evidence, Calleigh realizes the knife didn't go deep enough to be wielded by a strong man. Eventually the daughter confesses to the murder. In the B-plot, Horatio's nephew Ray Jr. is involved with kids who kill a homeless man with paintballs.

The investigation was pretty slipshod to realize so late in the game that a woman must have done the stabbing. J. August Richards makes an appearance as State's Attorney Bob Villa. The character feared that if charging the ballplayer was wrong, he might get sent down to traffic court, but he could always host home improvement shows. Jonathan Togo makes his first appearance in the opening credits in the character of Ryan Wolfe.

November 16

Ruling Clears Way for Expos Relocation. The RICO suit is now out of the way. In real baseball issues, I don't think Christian Guzman is an improvement over Maicer Izturis. He's older, more expensive, and not significantly better. Izturis could turn into an acceptable major league hitter like his brother Cesar. Did you know that Maicer is only 215 days AKA 7 months younger than Cesar? Is something fishy here or did they have different mothers?

By one day, RFK Stadium will be the second oldest ballpark in the National League. The first game was April 9, 1962, with John F. Kennedy throwing out the first pitch to leave the Senators in first place with a 4-1 victory over the Tigers. The first game at Dodger Stadium was April 10, 1962. Walter O'Malley's wife threw out the first pitch as the Reds spoiled the opener 6-3.

Watched the Cold Case episode "The House". In 1968, while most of a prison is listening to the Johnny Cash concert live from Folsom Prison, someone is digging out of a tunnel to escape. Today, some kids find a sinkhole and in that hole are prison clothes of someone who was supposedly murdered within the walls.

The warden then has since moved to another facility and admits to creating the murder plot to cover-up a successful escape. The escapee, Hank, was sentenced for 20 years, extended for his escape attempts, when his original term was only 2 years for stealing go-go boots for his girlfriend. They key comes when the body found in the tunnel does not have the characteristic two broken fingers everyone knew Hank had. Rush quickly figures he got out and the body was of his accomplice from the outside. The girlfriend claims there was a fight in the tunnel and the death was in self-defense. Her husband is actually Hank living under another name. The couple escape somewhere without extradition and the warden is arrested for prisoner abuse. Maybe he can get Alberto Gonzalez to defend his practices.

I think we were supposed to find Hank noble. I thought he just had some seriously misplaced priorities. Whitlock could never understand why women love men in prison. Roxanne Hart, who played the girlfriend today, is the only famous person I can say I saw naked in person. She played Jill in a production of Equus I saw at the National Theater.

November 15

Tony LaRussa may be similar to Earl Weaver. Both have been to four World Series and only won one. I'd still prefer Earl, who seemed to be winning games with smoke and mirrors and constructed rosters along Moneyball lines. LaRussa has a fascination with light-hitting utility fielders and of course over-manages the bullpen.

How they do College Bowl at Weber State.

Watched the CSI episode "What's Eating Gilbert Grissom?" A pledge dressed in a bikini is chased into a pile of maggots. Inspection of the pile reveals that someone was fed into a wood chipper, then dumped here. Further examination determines that this is the work of the "Blue Paint Killer," a serial killer at "Western Las Vegas University" who freshly painted railings near water fountains. Women would wipe their hands off on the fountain, leaving them vulnerable to assault.

Two years ago John Mathers was executed for one of the killings while another was committed. It was believed he was a copycat. The victim in the maggot pile was male and anyone can quickly figure out he was a pledge in a blonde wig who was mistaken for a woman.

The killer reveals himself my installing a new railing on campus and leaving a blow-up doll in a plastic bag. Inside the doll's mouth is a note which also includes an impression of a scene that is his latest victim, bound inside a van near an erotic store. The van belonged to Mathers who is now revealed to be an accomplice. The van also has copier toner which leads directly to an employee of the campus copy center.

The killer is Kevin Greer who turns himself in after the cops raid his home. He confesses to pretty much everything, then kills himself in the bathroom.

Sommer Glau AKA River Tam, makes an appearance as the roommate of the most recent victim.

November 14

Hang a fourth star above the badge for DC United. I rarely felt nervous in this game for some reason. Even being a man down, I remembered Monaco vs. Chelsea earlier this year. It's weird that my home team is the Yankees-equivalent, the one with all the championships everybody else hates.

Watched the CSI:NY episode "A Man a Mile". An explosion in the tunnel being dug for a major water canal turns up a dead body. The diggers are called Sand Hogs, a dedicated fraternity. The victim worked topside and was found downbelow, which is why CSI was involved. The dead man was an incompetent asthmatic no one really liked. His brother intended to trap him in the tunnels overnight as a lesson, not knowing he didn't have his inhaler. When he turned up dead, he was left in the area of an explosion to make it look like an accident.

In the B-plot, a floater is a poor girl at an exclusive school. She made friends with a rich family. The older brother and father both liked her, causing the classmate sister to kill her.

November 13

Watched the Cold Case episode "Who's Your Daddy". In 1991 someone comes to the door of a Cambodian family. The daughter hides in a back room and a few minutes later, finds her parents shot to death. Today, the 18-year-old daughter comes to the police with a bracelet from eBay that she believes was stolen from her family. The bracelet is traced to back to a teacher's aide at her school who was also an addict. He stole the bracelet, but several weeks before the murders.

The family took on the identity and papers of another Cambodian family who were deported back and executed. The mother was a member of the royal family who never quite got used to her demotion. The father was an architect who resorted to working for a construction company. The owner of the construction company skimmed off his illegals and also used their wives. He was the one who came that night, looking for someone to lick his boots and shot the couple in frustration.

November 12

Miranda is still at that age when her parents are cool. She wants to play Why Did the Chicken while in the tub. I still don't get Brandy and Mr. Whiskers.

November 11

My elementary school, Glenallan Elementary, is next door to Wheaton Regional Park so we had an open-ended year-round permission slip to go there. There was a geology class where we picked up rocks in the stream. I took a fishing class where we fished in Pine Lake, but the entire class only caught two fish over the course of two weeks. A single snakehead was found there earlier this year. The park also contains a sniper victims memorial.

November 10

Stealing a Friday Five meme, the nicest things people have said about me involved saving someone's butt. In any organization, there are the leaders and there are those following behind them with a pooper scooper. Whitlock and I both turned out to be detailed-oriented people with that job. When we're working together at home somebody's gotta be boss and the other one has to sub-ordinate themselves.

Watched the CSI episode "Crow's Feet". A biological hazard situation is a false alarm. The marks that look like ebola on a dead body actually consists of laser scars. The woman in question was engaged in various weird anti-aging practices including ingestion of urine and arsenic. A few days later, an even younger woman turns up dead with many of the same symptoms and is also a client of a rejuvenation spa. Cause of death is revealed to be a huge concentration of hydrogen peroxide that caused the red blood cells to explode. The spa will not be prosecuted, but the evidence is turned over to the surviving family members for a civil suit.

In the B-plot, the owner of a house being fumigated for termites turns up dead in his tented home. A next-door neighbor is suspected because he suffering effects of the gas but it turns out his house has a vent into his neighbor. The perpetrator was an employee of the extermination company who stole from clients. He was caught by the owner stealing and panicking, knocked the owner out and left him there to die.

November 9

I have no idea what Linda Cropp is up to. First she proposed building a stadium at RFK. Now she claims she's found someone who will build the stadium on the Anacostia River where the mayor and Major League Baseball want with mostly private money. I don't think this mystery sugar daddy or mommy really exists, although there are rumors it is Dan Snyder, Bill Gates, Bob Johnson or Oprah Winfrey.

I don't know why someone willing to build stadium wouldn't want to own the team as well. Any potential owner would prefer a governmental landlord, rather than a private one. Governments are easier to manipulate when it comes time to threaten to move. And if someone has money for both the stadium and the team, why don't they just step up and be an 800-pound gorilla no one can refuse?

MLB doesn't like privately financed stadiums. SBC Park/Pacific Bell Park is a boil on their collective glutes, a constant reminder to every governmental body that private financing can happen. They wants that option off the table. After all, if an owner has $800m for a team and a stadium, MLB would prefer all that money go in their pockets while the municipality paying for the stadium.

So far Cropp has just delayed the vote. I don't think any private financier will materialize. The mayor's plan will be approved, along with whatever neighborhood inducements are required to get the votes. Again, I'm holding out on believing this is real until the replica uniforms go on sale.

November 8

Are there certain famous women that other women find beautiful that men may not necessarily put at the top of their list? I'm thinking of Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren, Marg Helgenberger and Michelle Pfeiffer. They're more classy than sleazy and perhaps there's a perception that they come by their good looks more honestly.

On the other side, I tend to consider men good-looking that reinforce Whitlock's perceptions of my better characteristics. So this means, Jason Carter, Brad Pitt, Orlando Bloom and Viggo Mortenson rather than Tom Cruise, David Boreanaz, Sylvester Stallone or Kyle McLaughlin.

Watched the Clubhouse epsiode "Trade Talks". Pete is afraid Dean will be traded so he gets together a petition that he presents to the owner, played by Larry King the CNN talk show host, who just laughs at him. He also tells a reporter the same petition story along with a rumor that Hayes wants to be traded. Dean kills the petition story but Hayes gets really upset. Dean eventually decides to stay.

In the B-plot, sister Betsy still has her boyfriend in her bedroom in the morning as she's getting ready to go to school. Mom retaliates by removing her door and considers moving to New Hampshire. Betsy gets a job as a waitress.

In the C-plot, Christopher Wiehl, who's been Owen on Buffy and quarterback Derek McConnell on Playmakers, is Baines, a left fielder who had steroids in his car. Pete was driving the car when it was stopped and fingered Baines. Now back from suspension, Baines is forgiving and they become friends, shooting potatoes at a cat food ad. At the end of the episode, Baines is traded.

November 7

Watched the CSI: Miami episode "Legal". At a night club where the bathrooms are mostly used for sex, a woman is murdered. She turns out to be an 18-year-old undercover alcohol and beverage control agent catching people who buy drinks for her. Although the prime suspect is an heir who has to stay clean so that he can inherit an island, the killer was his buddy who the agent really liked. She didn't want to write him up, so she kept refusing his offer to buy her drinks. Eventually he got so angry he killed her.

In the B-plot, Horatio undercovers a slavery ring trafficking in Hungarian women. They find a storage facility where the women are warehoused through some incredibly vague memories of one of them who got out. When the police find the women, Horatio hasn't bothered to learn any words of Hungarian to comfort them.

November 6

Someone outside the genres could easily mistake Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings for the George Lucas' Star Wars. After all, both climax with huge battle scenes of digital creatures that after a while get quite overwhleming. The genre serves to illuminate and exaggerate certain elements of the human condition that can appear trivialized in a mudane context. Buffy the Vampire Slayer did this by taking the "High School is Hell" concept literally.

Frodo is conflicted with evil. He wants to take the easy way out, which is how evil wants its way. I think Anakin was already too old even in The Phantom Menace to be the evil that is Darth Vader. Vader is psychopathic with no second thoughts, while Anakin can only be the evil that has deluded itself into believing he is performing good. Darth Vader would have no compunction, at any point in his life, in wiping out an entire Tusken Raider village.

Gollum is the greatest digital character so far. He swings back and forth between the helpful servant and the jealous thief of the ring. Yoda may be Lucas' best digital character, but he started as a rubber puppet. He is as one-dimensional as Vader. As much as he warns of arrogance, he is also very arrogant. Jar-Jar Binks is about as real as Roger Rabbit. Dexter Jettster from the diner is interesting, but he barely gets a scene at all.

As a producer, I was amazed at the massive coordination effort required to make The Lord of the Rings. On the other hand, Lucas now makes Star Wars digitally with very little location shooting. Jackson's method seems more and more like an elaborate stunt. But in the end, Lucas just doesn't have the characters to match his flashy effects. I wish he'd leave the screenplays to someone else.

November 5

Since baseball season has been over I've been watching the Star Wars movies in the morning. George Lucas said there were better actors than Jake Lloyd who auditioned for young Anakin Skywalker, but he had a touch of portending evil to him. That is if you consider annoyingly cute to be evil. I remember after the tremendous performance of Haley Joel Osment in the Sixth Sense, you could see Lucas had made a big mistake in never giving him a callback. Osment has also been in AI, Pay it Forward and Second Hand Lions since then. Jake Lloyd has done Madison and Die with Me, neither of which you've ever heard of.

During the previews for Attack of the Clones, before the Fellowship of the Ring, they showed the romantic version of the trailer with the original Princess Leia theme as the accompaniment. Somehow the editing of that trailer really got to me, a naive sort of teenage romanticism dredged out of the muck. Too bad all the lines between Hayden Christiansen and Natalie Portman are among the most embarassing in film history - all except for the term "aggressive negotiations".

And the whole midichlorians explanation has got to be the worse pseudo-science/pseudo-mysticism in mainstream filmmaking. Qui-Gon described mitochondria perfectly, but they have no mystical powers to guide us and nobody has any more mitochondria than anybody else. It makes as much sense as ascribing mystical powers to a more familiar real organ like the liver. He should have left the mysteries of the force to non-existent waves or particles the way Star Trek or Doctor Who does.

Watched the Cold Case episode "Daniela". In March 1979, a young girl walks the red light district, claiming to not be turning tricks. A bag with rose petals and bloody clothes turns up and filed as a Jane Doe.

An angry wife turns in what appears to be a snuff film of her husband as a teen killing a hooker, the young girl known as Daniela. The suspects include the two teen boys who knew her, their teen-aged girl friend, the victim's landlord, and the father of one of the boys. Also suspected is her Hispanic boyfriend Edwin. When Rush and Valens find Edwin's mother, she reveals that Edwin and Daniela are one and the same.

It was a weird relationship where Edwin wanted to go to the prom as Daniela, to have the world see him as a girl. However, after a confrontation with the father, Edwin/Daniela commits suicide. The songs "Bad Girls" and "My Sharona" appeared a little too early in 1979 to be accurate.

November 4

Yesterday around noon, an empty Metrorail train with faulty breaks crashed downhill into a stopped train at Woodley Park. When I got into the system, single-tracking had begun and the train was maybe 10 minutes later than usual at Shady Grove. On the way in this morning, the damaged trains were curtained off. The rest of the train in the station was blocked off with a police line. Again, the train ran about ten minutes late. Given the extent of the damage, this wasn't too bad. It was longer this evening, maybe because of the rain. The delay was 20-30 minutes which included some extended stops at some stations and unloading an entire train at Farragut North.

Watched the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "Storm Front, Part 2". On board the ship, Alicia wants to return to the resistance, rather than to a safe place elsewhere on the planet. The alien Nazis, led by an individual named Vosk, trade Mayweather and Tucker in return for a discussion to work with Enterprise.

When Tucker is examined, he turns out to be Silik. Archer agrees to work with Silik to free Tucker and disable Vosk's shield generator. What an original idea! The Germans get impatient and Vosk has to kill them. Vosk is convinced destiny will allow their time conduit to open long enough to get them home.

Silik gets shot and killed. Archer rescues Tripp. Enterprise destroys Vosk's complex after fighting Luftwaffe armed with photonic weapons. Daniels returns Enterprise to their proper time and I hope this show never has another time travel episode.

November 3

Over in the California League, The Modesto Athletics Era is History. Unfortunately the new nickname will be selected from among Crop Dusters, Derailers, Nuts, Steel and Strike. As every columnist without an idea has mined thinking up a name for the Washington baseball team, I'll do the same for Modesto. As a wine-growing area, I immediately thought of Stompers. That's also the name of the Oakland Athletics mascot. The Modesto mascot Peanut apparently will remain suggesting that Nuts will be the eventual choice. I can see the television ad campaign now:

Nurses love the


As the Modesto Bee article suggests, the Crop Dusters may remind people of bioterrorists. Steel was a bad Shaquille O'Neal movie. I'm afraid Strike will remind fans of the cancellation of the 1994 World Series.

As far as Derailers is concerned, it's not as if bioterrorism, horrible movies and sports labor stoppages were enough, now we have vehicle disasters. Sure there's a history of forces of nature as nickames: Blizzard, Hurricanes, Tornadoes, Lightning, Earthquakes, but they suggest something unstoppable, not something that results from mechanical failure or human error. Why not the Denver DWI, the Alexandria Accident, the Jacksonville Jackknife, the Pittsburgh Pilot Error, the Houston Hydraulic Failure, the Florida Faulty Signal Crossing, the Carolina Capsize and the Oklahoma Oil Spill?

Watched the CSI episode "Harvest". A mom played by Melissa Leo comes to pick up her daughter from a Catholic school, only to find she's been playing hooky with the older daughter. April, the older daughter says a black man with a beard took Alicia, the younger daughter away. An Amber alert goes up.

The husband is Hispanic and all three children seem to take more after him. April has been kicked out of the house for her heroin habit. The son Daniel has leukemia and Alicia has been donating bone marrow and other body parts to him.

They pick up a registered sex offender played by Principal Robin Wood. He admits to having a Jones for the boy that walks to Alicia to school. He's got boys underwear in his house, but everything there is his. He's been playing games all alone in his own house.

Turns out the son was dying anyway and drugged his sister to keep her from donating her kidney. When she was found dead, the family went into cover-up mode and staged the kidnapping, framing the neighborhood sex offender.

In the B-plot, Catherine's daughter Lindsey has been hitchhiking and everyone give Ms. Willows parenting advice.

November 2

The importance of Theo Epstein has been downplayed because no one buys jerseys of the general managers. I think it's time for all geeks to get custom GM jerseys and wear them proudly. All that matters is getting the number right. I think a Red Sox Epstein jersey should be "0" as in "The-O". Billy Beane wore 11 for the Athletics. I could get a 27 Expos jersey with the name Not Watson. Since he didn't play in the big leagues, I don't know what number would be appropriate for Jim Bowden.

November 1

If you're looking for a job, the new Washington baseball team is hiring.

Watched the Clubhouse epsiode "Chin Music". The main plot was about Pete the batboy staying overnight at the stadium after a night game because there'll be another game in the morning. This doesn't happen except for the Patriot's Day game in Boston and the occasional Saturday morning at the Metrodome so that the facility has time to convert the field in time for the Gophers.

During that evening, the senior batboys conduct a hazing that climaxes in one of the rookies throwing up after a tumble inside the clothes dryer. The rookies fight back by locking two of the veterans in a room and stealing the lucky St. Sebastian medal of Jose, the incumbent in the home locker room. Since Jose is afraid of heights Pete says he put the medal on a light tower. After part of the climb, Jose gets sick and the two come down and Pete says some face-saving things.

In the other plots, Pete's mom Lynne finally has a date with doctor she's been showing houses to. Pete's sister using her fake ID to enter a SoHo bar and gets picked up by a guy who assaults her. Mom has to interrupt her date to pick up her daughter. Third baseman Dean goes on a date with a Brazilian supermodel only to fall for her translator, who turns out to be his date's mother. This mother is played by Fabiana Udenio, previously seen as Adira Tyree on Babylon 5 and as Alotta Fagina in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery.

The Undertow...
|Real Emergency Preparedness |
|A Convenient Smokescreen|
|Shaune Bagwell|
|Fact vs. Fantasy in the Election|
|United States Newspapers|
|Online Newspapers|
|Three Bits o Trivia|
|Mr. Santorum, Give the Money Back!|
|In Search of Utopia|
|The Daou Report|
|John Kerry Scrapbook|
|Ashcroft's Retirement Card|
|Democratic Freedom|
|Fallujah in Pictures|
|Blinded by Science|
|The Urban Archipelago|
|PCAOB Registered Firms (pdf)|
|The Nats Blog|
|The Things I Will Not Do When I Direct a Shakespeare Production, On Stage or Film|
|OOTP Tools and Files|
|Mr. Irrelevant's AOL Sports Blog|
|:):):):) Funny and Interesting Observations (:(:(:(: |
|In Terror War, Citizen Feels Like Suspect|
|Beyond Avatars|
|Censorship by the Tyranny of the Few|
|Wonder Woman and the Star Riders|
|The 100 Greatest Movie Sequences of All Time|
|Paranoid Past the Fringe|
|School Talent Show Draws Secret Service|
|WUNC-FM Sponsor Can't Say 'Rights'|
|Doctor Discovers the 'Orgasmatron'|
|Instawares Restaurant Supply|
|We Sell Coffee|
|I Drew This|
|Verified Voting|
|Arlington West|
|Access Denied: the New Birth Control Ban|
|Maps and Cartograms of the 2004 US Presidential Election Results|
|That's What You Get|
|For Voting Bush|
|A Tale of Two Osamas|
|Billboards in Arizona|
|The Reverend Brendan Powell Smith|
|Bruce Sterling|
|Possible Evidence of Voter Fraud in Ohio|
|Cognitive Dissonance|
|No Child Left Behind ... Alive|
|Porn Dealer Scoffs at Feds|
|Washington Baseball Blog|
|1 Man Army|
|Bonus Babies|
|Still Missing the Big Picture About This Election|
|Steady Leadership in Troubled Times|
|OOTP 6 Utility Front-Ends|
|Freedom Tax|
|Yard Sign Project|
|A Gift for My Father|
|Drought Unearths a Buried Treasure|
|How Past Girlfriends Could Have Changed History|
|Transcripts of The Power of Nightmares|
|The First Stooge|
|Card Says President Sees America as a Child Needing a Parent|
|Darth Vader's Address to the United Nations|
|2004's Scariest Halloween Costumes|
|Donald Duck Family Tree|
|Free Speech Bush Style|
|Senators and Sabermetrics|
|Tentative Washington Baseball Schedule|
|Mediocre Fred's Mediocre Blog|
|Cool Words That Are Fun To Say!|
|Capitol Punishment|
|Off Wing Opinion|
|New Florida Vote Scandal Feared|

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

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Last revised November 30, 2004
2001-2004 B. Barrientos. All rights reserved.