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September 2004 Archives

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September 30

Man that didn't take long.

What corporation will buy the stadium naming rights? Some top local company ideas:
Fannie Mae. Let's put more fannies in the Fannie.
PEPCO. Sounds too much like Petco.
M&M. Why is a stadium in DC named after a white Michigan rapper?
Geico. Just call them the geckos and be done with it.
Lockheed Martin or General Dynamics. Senators get bombed again.

Mascot will probably be an eagle. I Imagine they'll have an adult male - Natty, an adult female - Tori, and a male child - Senny. Tori has red hair and presents a video entitled Silent All These Years to images of events in baseball the past 33 seasons over an empty RFK Stadium. Senny also has red hair, is prone to underage drinking and can throw a football, too.

Manned the phones for two episodes of The Doctor's In. I believe that for the live broadcast there was not audio for the first half and no video for the second half. It was all taped so it will air again.

September 29

Finished Damn Senators by Mark Gauvreau Judge, the grandson of Senators first baseman Joe Judge. Joe was a Keith Hernandez-type player. The book focuses on Judge's life and the 1924 World Series-winning year.

The only useful bit of trash trivia was that Judge was probably the model for Joe Hardy in the original novel The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant which later became the musical Damn Yankees. The book also claims that everyone was rooting for Washington in the 1924 American League pennant race because of their love for Walter Johnson, a good guy right out of a dime novel. The unbelievable part was the claim that even Yankee fans rooted against the pinstripes in the Bronx that year.

It's a light read. There are probably some myths that continue to be propagated in it. The author gets the name of Coogan's Bluff wrong.

September 28

It was breaking news on ESPN. At Long Last, D.C. Lands the Expos. Remember that Topps had printed cards with Padres players and "Washington National League" on them before Ray Kroc stepped in. I'll believe it when the jerseys go on sale. Buried in the article was this nugget:

In addition, several baseball officials have said in the past week that Stan Kasten, former president of the Atlanta Braves, Hawks and Thrashers, might be trying to assemble a group.

Kasten is close to Selig, which likely would be an advantage during the bidding process.

As we saw with the bidding for the Red Sox, Bud will have in ownership whomever Bud wants. Supposedly, Angelos will have a revenue guarantee. There goes his incentive for putting a competitive team on the field.

Meanwhile, Omar Minaya is headed to the Mets. Good luck. That leaves the front office open for Frank Robinson, Cal Ripken or my personal favorite, David Forst. Okay, I never heard of him until I got his name from Joon Pahk of Barry Zito Forever. Forst is Billy Beane's assistant GM.

Saw the CSI episode "Viva Las Vegas I". A man is shot in a nightclub during the loudest moment of the night. He holds the photo of another dead man. Grissom traces the prescriptions he finds in the photo to the murder scene where the victim is the majority owner of the nightclub. The handgun belonged to the minority owner of the club, but it was duct taped to the toilet tank to avoid the metal detectors. The duct tape contains the fingerprints of one of the waitresses. She muled ecstacy for the majority owner and got arrested. She hired the hit man with money she got from the minority owner who didn't know what it was for. When the hit man demanded more money, she killed him.

The guys who got briefly fired find a body of an alien buried in Area 51. The body is actually a costume traced back to an outer space-themed wedding chapel. The guy in charge of the Graceland chapel next door, played by French Stewart, found the guy in the alien costume dead and buried him. Then Frenchy took over as both the E.T. and Elvis minister. Unfortunately, the alien guy was not dead yet, but just bleeding very badly from Marfan's Syndrome.

Catherine got a dead working girl in a hotel room with a very irate tourist. The victim's boyfriend was the prime suspect until Willows figured out it was an accident. Unfortunately, the girl couldn't get the very zonked john to call for help.

Warrick got an apparent suicide from a hotplate in the bathtub. He had just won a bunch of money from the slots. Unfortunately, he told a hot dog vendor who killed him and took the money.

Outside of the plots, Greg is working to get out in the field and brings in Chandra as the new DNA girl. She's rude, can't take the heat and leaves. Catherine catches her boyfriend Chris screwing. Sara needs a meaningful discussion with Grissom as part of her rehab.

September 27

The power was out through most of the afternoon and early evening in our area serviced by Allegheny Power. We had dinner at Ruby Tuesday. The power had been restored when we came back. All I saw of the football game was the bad pass intereference call.

Toddler mitten saying 'USA Hoops'
Given the performance of the basketball team in Athens, this...
Toddler mitten saying 'USA Oops'
...should be changed to this.
Miranda in front of a growth chart. She looks to be 4 foot-8.
Miranda in playground train before Catoctin Mountains.
Miranda with her head inside bee cutout
Obligatory kid pictures at Catoctin.
Hershey's Kiss Character waving
Is this a kiss goodbye or a kiss hello?
Miranda at a table adding to a pile of candy wrappings
I don't know why but she really wanted this picture taken.
American Crocodile with mouth open
It cost $80 a tooth, but I'm glad I had them sealed.
Black Bear
Coach Ditka...Polish sausage...pork fat...
September 26

Today was supposed to be the day for outlet shopping, but we just ate at Red Robin and bought some gloves and slippers at the totes/Isotoner/SunglassWorld. On the way home, we stopped to buy some produce at Catoctin Mountain Orchard.

September 25

Spent the day at HersheyPark. We started at Chocolate World, which has a simulated tour of the chocolate-making process. Miranda was still a little bit scared despite no particularly disturbing elements. Afterwards, we ate lunch and bought a lot of stuff.

In the park itself, we rode the Carrousel. Miranda was too scared to ride a real up-and-down horse, so we sat in a chariot.

Admission to HersheyPark gets you a free admission to ZooAmerica, which you can also visit without going to HersheyPark. This is probably the most visitor friendly zoo I've ever seen in terms of getting to see the animals up close. As you can tell by the pictures, I got some great shots of the American crocodile and the black bear. It's not very large in terms of number of specimens, but they focus well on North America.

Whitlock spoke nostalgically of her past visits, pointing out what changed and what hadn't. Afterwards, we drove down Chocolate Avenue so Miranda could see the streetlights that look like kisses.

Whitlock and I had separate takeout orders at the Jade Buffet, within walking distance of the motel. The Wendy's which was closer was woefully understaffed. I drove out to the Giant of Pennsylvania for some groceries. It appears to be related to the Giant of Landover, Maryland, but I couldn't use my bonus card there.

September 24

Took the day off to prepare for weekend in Harrisburg and Hershey.

Been having discussions with Mike Burger peripherally related to the Twilight Zone. In all its revivals, it's been a pretty good show with lousy ratings.

Anthology programs have everything going for it terms of quality and against it terms of viewership. Usually scripts originate from a single outside source, rather than a harried staff. Especially in the genres, there is a wealth of award-winning short fiction to choose from. The writers are not leaning on tropes or cliches of the show as a crutch. The actors themselves are in there for only one program and aren't phoning in their performances. On the other hand, viewers like a steady cast to identify and be friends with.

The only successful shows in terms of ratings have been Spelling's The Love Boat and Fantasy Island. When Fantasy Island was revived in 1998 without Spelling, it bombed. If someone can figure out a way to thread an engaging cast through unrealted stories, maybe the anthology can return with serious staying power.

September 23

Another nailbiter between Baltimore and Boston.

Adding to the Gatorade Thank-You tribute to Mia Hamm, thank you for putting up with an idiot who wanted to have his picture taken with you.

September 22

More Ken Jennings material from National Review.

This was a tremendous game. Started off with great starting pitching, followed by lousy relieving that was overshadowed by clutch hitting. It would be a classic if it happened during the World Series. If the Red Sox finally win it all, this game might be remembered along with the brawl with the Yankees. Otherwise, just a nice night of baseball.

From the Counting Chickens Department, Peter Angelos makes an admission:

"My position remains unchanged for the reasons I have repeatedly articulated," Angelos said. "The facts don't alter that position." He declined to comment further.

So he knows the facts aren't on his side. He's making his plea on other grounds.

Watched the CSI: Miami episode "Lost Son". A boat crashes into a bridge collapsing part of the structure. The only fatality was a guy had already been shot on the boat.

The victim was a very rich man with a young wife. The wife says he was out to pay the ransom for their young son who was kidnapped from his karate class.

Diving near the boat turns up a purse of non-natural jewels. When Horatio and Speedle investigate the jeweler where the stones were cleaned, a gun battle ensues resulting in Speedle's death.

Fingerprints on the car used to kidnap the boy turn up a former associate of the wife. The pair used to con rich men out of their money. His accomplice was the karate teacher who took the boy to an area infested with both gators and sharks, leaving him to die. The wife was not complicit in the kidnapping even though she was not the boy's mother. Apparently her partner had gotten angry when she stopped the con game and actually stayed permanently with one of her marks.

The karate teacher was killed by a shark and the boy is safe on a plank in the water. For some stupid reason, Horatio goes out alone to rescue the boy, rather than waiting for back-up to protect him from any creatures that might attack them. The boy was unlikely to be harmed in the time it would take for help to arrive.

Speedle was the victim of his gun which he failed to maintain. I'll miss him. He was a cool nerdy guy.

Jimmy Neutron and Speedy Alka Seltzer
It took me a while to figure out where I'd seen Jimmy Neutron before.
September 21

A mis-spelling of a recent Martin Scorsese film yields Ganges of New York.

September 20

Been playing Why Did the Chicken with Miranda. Some recent successful answers - first from her:

Q: What do you get when you cross an ice cream man with a postal worker?
A: Postachio!

And from me:

Q: Why does the president hate a light bulb?
A: Because it's brighter than him.

September 19

Cut the grass for what I hope will be the last time until spring so it was pretty close-cropped all over the yard. There's been a small hive inside the newspaper section of the mailbox. Using a hose and a paper towel, I shoved it into the street. I think the insects may have started it, then stopped. I also changed some lightbulbs on the front lantern and on the porch.

Being exhausted, I slept through most of the debacle at the Meadowlands. I think this week Joe will totally shut down the pass playbook and run the running backs through a million fumble avoidance drills.

Watched Jumanji. My impression was that you roll the dice and something bad happens. I recognize some serious deficiencies in game balance and mechanics here. Who was the guy in the 19th century that thought mysterious drums would be a good enough to lure children to their death? Why concoct such elaborate means of killing children instead of just killing them outright? I'm thinking way too much for a movie that was probably created just for the special effects.

September 18

Taped a couple more episodes of Silver Screen Test. My thanks to the crew of John Buckley, Dan Goff, James Katz, Andrea Lamphier, Nancy Poole, Larry Sheingorn, Faye Vaiseh and Greg Vontress.

September 17

Yet more Ken Jennings references from Montgomery Marty, a high school football prediction column in the Montgomery County Journal:

Magruder 20
Blake 14

Magruder coach Ed Ashwell credits the Colonels' intensity to new tackling dummies bearing likeness of "Jeopardy" genius Ken Jennings.

Saw the interview with John Rocker where he described Francisco's chair-throwing as lunacy. When John Rocker is calling your actions lunacy, you're in real trouble.

My thanks to Jimmy Albert, John Buckley, Michael Camillo, Larry Sheingorn and Dick Terrill for the setup tonight in the face of the hurricane.

September 16

The September 13-26 issue of Baseball America has an article called "Spitting Image" whereby the players of today are compared to players of the past. There's tendency for humans to look for racially similar people and not just look at the performance. To their benefit, the article also included the most statistically similar players according to similarity scores.

Adam Dunn - People say he reminds them of Eddie Matthews, Jimmie Foxx, Ted Kluszewski, Willie McCovey and Jim Thome. The stats say he's more like Darryl Strawberry, Reggie Jackson and Troy Glaus. At least one scout was open-minded enough to compare him to a black player. The two most statistically similar players to Dunn are black.

Albert Pujols - People say he reminds them of Orlando Cepeda, Frank Robinson, Dick Allen, Barry Bonds and Tony Gwynn. The stats say he's more like Joe Dimaggio, Foxx and Ted Williams. Albert Pujols will remind you of Tony Gwynn as much as Hideo Nomo will remind you of Benny Agbayani. Dan Kolb of the Brewers was credited with that comparison. The opinions listed all thought of dark-skinned players even though Pujols is most similar to white players.

Hank Blalock - People say he reminds them of George Brett, Roger Maris, Thome, Will Clark and Mickey Mantle. The stats say he's more like Eric Chavez, Scott Rolen and Glaus. No Hall-of-Famers statistically unless we are seeing a burst of great third basemen they way we saw great shortstops in the early 80s and the late 90s.

Victor Martinez - People say he reminds them of Roberto Alomar, Jason Varitek, Sandy Alomar, Ivan Rodriguez and Pete Rose. The stats say he's more like Bill Delancey, Ben Petrick and Earl Smith. Here, the tendency was to look for Hispanic names, although two came up with Varitek and Rose. The humans may seriously over-estimate him. At age 25, we're not even seeing a Hall-of-Pretty Good player here.

Roy Oswalt - People say he reminds them of Tom Seaver, Tim Hudson, Elroy Face, Dave Stieb, Pedro Martinez and Bret Saberhagen. The stats say he's more like Hudson, Mike Mussina and Don Newcombe. Give a raise to that scout who said Tim Hudson.

Mark Prior - People say he reminds them of Robin Roberts, Herb Score, Seaver, Roger Clemens, and Jim Palmer. The stats say he's more like Scott Sanderson, Bob Welch and Bill Gullickson. Only the scout who said Herb Score was close. At this point he's a Hall-of-Pretty Good guy.

Miguel Cabrera - People say he reminds them of Roberto Clemente, Amos Otis, Gary Matthews, Sammy Sosa, and Manny Ramirez. The stats say he's more like Henry Aaron, Sam Crawford and Bob Horner. Again, another tendency to choose the Hispanics. Obviously, as a 21-year-old regular, he has a tremendous potential for greatness. I guess it's just a question of injuries whether he turns into the Hammer or the Horner.

Carlos Zambrano - People say he reminds them of Joaquin Andujar, Lee Smith, Don Drysdale, Dwight Gooden, and Kevin Brown. The stats say he's more like Ray Culp, Andy Benes and Gullickson. Mike Lowell also compared him to Prior which is verified by their mutual similarity to Gullickson.

Ben Sheets - People say he reminds them of Gary Gentry, Catfish Hunter, Gary Nolan, Bert Blyleven, and Nolan Ryan. The stats say he's more like Jeff Weaver, Joe Niekro and Don Robinson. He may have velocity, but he's not overpowering anybody with it.

Francisco Rodriguez - People say he reminds them of John Smoltz, David Cone and Pascual Perez. The stats say he's more like Lance McCullers, Gregg Olson and Tom Niedenfuer. People tend to compare pitchers overall, not differentiating between starters and relievers. I've always had a soft spot for Gregg Olson. I thought he could temporarily hold the lifetime saves record. Tom Niedenduer married Judy Landers.

September 15

From Poppy Z. Brite, a mnemonic for remembering the taxonomic hierarchy:


But as the people who read this blog can tell, there's something missing and it should really be:


In which case we can call it the priest mnemonic.

September 14

From the The Daily Inter Lake, Kalispell, Montana:

Five people were injured Friday evening when a vehicle drove off Going-to-the-Sun Road near the Loop above the West Tunnel, according to a Glacier National Park official.

Park spokesperson Lindy Allen said the vehicle rolled down a steep embankment, but wasn't sure which direction it was traveling when it left the road. She didn't think that road conditions were hazardous at the time of the crash.

And I bet the driver was steadfast, strong and unwavering the entire time, not a flip-flopper.

September 13

Everytime I download an update or renew my subscription to McAfee, I keep hearing this voice out of Santa Clara saying,"Nice computer you got here. Be a shame if anything happened to it."

September 12

Nice opening for Joe Gibbs. I'm still not veering from 7-9. 8-8, 9-7 prediction. 10-6 would really shock me.

What's with the Bacardi commercial with the mannequin?

September 11

Northwood High School has reopened after 19 years, although it's been a temporary location for several other schools under renovation. Their old nickname was the Indians, but in our politically correct days, they are now the Gladiators. Does that make their girls teams the Gladiatrixes? Or do they soften it by calling them the Glad Girls?

September 10

From the Noreascon Blog, word on future Worldcons:

2005-Glasgow. NASFiC will be in Seattle.
2006-Los Angeles. Both Scotland and LA were selected in previous years.
2007-Yokohama. This was just voted in Boston over the weekend. Seattle and St. Louis are bidding for NASFiC.
2008-Chicago, Denver and Geneva are bidding. Okay, the Geneva Convention is a hoax bid.
2009-Kansas City and Montreal. And with luck the Expos will still be there.
2010-Australia. Probably Melbourne.
2011-DC proto-bid by TR Smith. The last Washington Worldcon was 1974. There was an aborted bid for 1992.

September 9

Watched pieces of the CBS preview show. I was right about the CSI:NY theme. All I can say about Listen Up is that it was on 29% of the LaPlaca entries, though not on mine.

And a possible Ken Jennings rumor from John Cooper.

September 8

From USA Today, September 15, 2003:

Starting times for major league baseball games in Baltimore, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh were moved earlier Thursday as teams looked to avoid the worst of Hurricane Isabel.

The Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees were able to get in five innings of action before the rain came with the score tied 1-1 after five innings.

The Yankees are scheduled to play the Devil Rays in Tampa on Friday night, but the team could have difficulty getting a flight out of Baltimore due to the rain and high winds.

The individual statistics will count, and the commissioner's office will determine whether the game will be made up — the teams play in New York on the final weekend of the season. Umpires called the game after a 44-minute wait.

Yankees owner George Steinbrenner issued a statement that said the commissioner's office showed "terrible judgment and overall stupidity" in proceeding with the game.

From the Manila Times, September 20, 2003:

“It’s not good,” Yankees pitcher David Wells said after Wednesday night’s game in Baltimore. “The whole city is shut down, and we’re playing. It’s just not good.”

Added Yankees slugger Jason Giambi: “It’s pretty idiotic to play tomorrow. I mean, the Navy are moving their ships, but we’re going to play a baseball game?”

From Jason Stark, September 7, 2004:

As early as Friday, Yankees president Randy Levine told, the Yankees called the commissioner's office and said: "There's a hurricane coming. What do you want us to do (about Monday's doubleheader)?"

"If they had just told us Friday, 'The Devil Rays are not coming,' all of this would have been avoided," Levine said...

There should have been a simple announcement from Selig or DuPuy on Sunday, if not earlier: "The health and safety of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and their families is more important to us than any Labor Day doubleheader. Therefore, we're postponing both games and we're telling the Devil Rays to wait out this storm. We'll stay in constant communication with all sides. And when it's safe for them to leave for New York, we'll have a further announcement on rescheduling these games."

How complicated is that, huh?

September 7

Just a little more British soccer. Inverness Caledonia Thistle finished at the top of Scotland Division One last season, which earned them a promotion to the Scottish Premier League. However, their stadium is too small so they are playing all their home games more than a hundred miles away in Aberdeen. The sad thing is they are leaving the most beautiful location for a stadium in the world.

September 6

Picked up my annual issue of FourFourTwo, the English soccer magazine, for the guide to every team in the top 5 divisions. The regular issue section had the standard 101 Ways to Fix the Game layout. Some interesting bits:

Decide All Draws By Penalties-I thought this was a purely American desire to have an outcome. MLS has gone this way already and we didn't like it. At least a shoot-out from the 35-yard-line involves some athleticism. I prefer the way, I think it was Randy Brunk, who said they should play a 10-minute overtime. After that remove one player from each side every ten minutes until somebody scores.

Players Are Paid Too Much-Blah, blah, blah. It would be nice if the money that didn't go to salaries went to lowering ticket prices, food prices, or at the very least going to the shareholders. Remember, most English teams are publicly owned companies. I'm afraid the cash just ends up going to the chairman.

Get rid of Red, Orange and Yellow for Referees and Goalkeepers-I have never understood the color rationale for alternate strips. They are white, yellow, light blue - anything but a color actually associated with the team. It would be like the Raiders going to play the Ravens. Oakland can't wear black so they wear - teal. I say, wear white or black if you don't have a secondary color. I have no trouble with the referees colors as long as they are solid. The goalie patterns get a little bit much for me. Wear a design you wouldn't be embarassed to put on the other ten players. Here's an idea - just wear the alternate jersey as long as it doesn't clash with the opposition.

September 5

Watched the TV movie See Jane Date only because it starred Charisma Carpenter. The whole program was pretty lame and Jane spends a lot of time flirting with the guy you know she'll end up with without asking his name. Also, Marie Claire would seek an excerpt for a book close to the publication date, not six months before.

The only reason to watch was Charisma Carpenter who is moving even closer to the title of the new Mary Tyler Moore. Somebody give this girl a sitcom. Also, Evan Marriott AKA Joe Millionaire had a thirty second scene as the Assertive Guy.

September 4

Kauai was hissing at Ishtar today. I suspect she's emitting a different set of hormones since her operation

The U.S.-El Salvador game was only available on Telemundo. Salvador looked hopelessly overmatched. In 1982, in the midst of a civil war, they qualified for the World Cup final ahead of the United States.

September 3

Miss Jacobs Field 2004 has been selected as Miss Baseball 2004. She also has a blog. Do these guys hate the Yankees or was there no New York woman willing to have her picture taken with them?

Ishtar got snipped today so she's a little bit less frisky.

Watched The Cell. Jennifer Lopez is Catherine, a social worker who now regularly undergoes a process where she can enter the mind of a boy in a coma. Carl, a serial killer played by Vincent D'Onofrio, is believed to be holding his latest victim alive somewhere to soon be automatically killed, but he too, is in a coma. Catherine undergoes the procedure to enter his mind and find out where his latest victim is being held.

I don't think I'd ever seen J-Lo act, but considering her paparazzi image, I was pleasantly surprised by her non-bimbo performance. Because Catherine believes the mind world is real, Peter, an FBI agent played by Vince Vaughn has to go into Carl's mind to rescue her. He finds a key while in there that he could have found while on the outside.

If I had written the screenplay, I would have one team of standard law enforcement agents researching Carl's life. His set-up to kill his victims has too much of a paper trail to hide. Eventually J-Lo would make the breakthrough because she's the star, but the parallel storyline would add extra tension.

There were some humorous attempts at pretension. Much of the action takes place at an office complex the size of a small university where apparently only twelve people work and looks like an art museum. The boy in a coma is named Edward, but Catherine calls him Mr. E as in "mystery". Carl frequently breaks into "Mairzy Doats," which is what Leland Palmer sang when he got out of a coma.

September 2

Bitty Schram and Sharona will no longer appear on Monk. They will dismiss her with a line and Monk takes up with a no-nonsense bartender who picks right up where Sharona left off according to FilmForce. So the change appears to be contract related, not linked to character development.

I would have liked Sharona to be sent off in a three epsiode arc. In the first epsiode, she meets someone. In the second episode, her boyfriend sees Monk in action and realizes what a big heart Sharona must have to be his nurse. In the third episode, they marry. Meanwhile, Monk finally solves Trudy's murder which creates closure for him, allowing some of his OCD to diminish. He can carry his own wipes now. The new character becomes a love interest. So much for character-driven cast changes.

September 1

Stolen from Metafilter, some mysterious bottles have been found in Clopper Lake. The pictures of the bottles themselves can be found here in the June 21 entry. Seneca Creek State Park is contiguous to the North Germantown Greenway behind our house.

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