August 29, 2005

Management by preconceived notion

A recent article on the wisdom, or lack thereof, of bunting has been widely discussed in the Nats blogosphere, since Frank bunts so damn much. Count me among those who think it's ultimately detrimental to the team. A lot of Frank's decisions are like that--he gets an idea in his head that things need to be done this way, and who cares about computer modeling or the players' reactions or whether it means blowing out the bullpen and rendering them ineffective for a week.

Case in point: John Halama, starting in place of Armas (lousy AND injured, hooray!) throws five shutout innings, but in the 6th gives up a one-out double and a walk. Out plods Frank, and you can just feel the gears turning in his head: "Emergency starter. Must yank at the first sign of trouble after five innings." Never mind that Halama had thrown but 74 pitches at that point. Never mind that he's an experienced pitcher and has surely pitched more than five innings in a start before. At that point in the ballgame, I had as much if not more faith in Halama to get a DP ball than anyone else; he'd induced four 6-3 putouts to that point, including one from Einar Diaz, the next hitter. But out goes Halama, in comes Carrasco, up comes a pinch-hitter, and up go three runs on the board. Game as good as over.

Speaking of bunting, Jose Guillen of all people laid one down in the 4th, rather stupidly and apparently of his own accord. Perhaps he read the Post article too and sought to prove Frank a genius. Wilkerson tried to bunt for a hit to lead off the game and did something I've never seen before: bunted a liner to the second baseman. The Nats did double the offensive output of Saturday: four hits instead of two! And two times zero runs is... zero runs! Go team!

Random bits:

  • My first game in a month, and only my second in-person loss. Go figure.

  • Einar Diaz was in the ballgame because Pujols unexpectedly got himself ejected in the first. He got picked off of first, but may have actually beaten a throw back to second, so when he was called out on general principle he was unhappy. Apparently he said something to the ump when he came out to play first base and was immediately tossed, so we all missed it. When we finally realized there was a beef going on, we were waiting for him to get run but thought the umps might be reluctant to do that to the Cards' best player in the first inning. But Pujols schlepped back to the dugout without our ever seeing the ump dramatically eject him, so we were left wondering what was going on. At the time, it seemed like a good omen for the Nats.

  • Cards fans were generally low on the Annoying-o-Meter, except for one guy right behind us who yelled "BALK!" extremely loudly every time Halama threw to first. He had a point--Halama looked to be stepping closer to home than to first a la Mike Stanton--but it got old reeeeeeeeeeeeally quick.

  • Things the team must never do again: Play that terrible "Six Million Dollar Man" video when Carroll comes up. Have a bunch of little kids sing "Ballgame" without musical accompaniment--sorry kids, but that was the worst "Ballgame" ever.

  • As soon as my kids are old enough to wield a glove, I am so springing for seats in the front row next to where one of the ballgirls sits. "That's it, sweetie, lean over the railing with your glove and look cute."

I have tickets to three more games, next up being Atlanta on the 10th. I sure hope I get to see the Nats win one more before the season ends.

Posted by Carl at 12:36 PM | Comments (4)

August 26, 2005

Linking Fool Friday

Yesterday's post was the 500th since the FoolBlog went to the MT format. Whoo hoo!

Not too much stuff this week. Bob Harris provides information on what sounds like a worthy cause. Kos continues to explore how the American far right has a whole lot in common with Islamic fundamentalists.

Sports & humor together again: Canadia Rob supplies an interesting history of our Washington Wizards, and another piece that may be amusing if you follow the Sonics.

Good thing I'm going to Nats-Cards on Sunday, so I'll have something to write about next week.

Posted by Carl at 03:07 PM | Comments (0)

August 25, 2005

I'm tired too, can I have five weeks off?

Spotted this at Pandagon, and it's made its way to some other lefty blogs: a writer to Instapundit says the President is obviously tired, and we should take it easy on him.

The cumulative effect of all this, from what I can judge, has worn him out and drained him of his fire and energy. Lets face it, he is human, and the man has borne some unbelievable burdens over the last 5 years, where his choices were often between shades of the lesser of evils, and no choice was ever easy or apparent. HIs tank is low, and he needs some uplifting by those who believe in him. Nobody will please us 100% of the time.

But what do we do? We start criticizing him again for not being super-human, and we start asking "whats wrong with the president?", as if we ourselves never get tired, worn-out, run down, and just plain disocuraged in our jobs or lives. As a people, have we become this divorced from the realities of high-stakes leadership, and the toll it takes on those who take it on? Worse yet, have we no understanding and empathy for it?

Maybe the real question is, whats wrong with us?

What is wrong with us is that too many of us fell for the "He's a reg'lar guy like you 'n' me!" schtick, and somehow thought that qualified him to be president. I don't want the president to be a regular guy, because being president is not a regular job. It's a nigh-impossible job, and we need someone who is super-smart and has boundless energy (Bush is obviously not the former, and now we learn not the latter either). I expect the president to bust ass for four or eight years, and then never work again unless by choice.

People hold the president to lower standards than they'd hold their doctor. It's mind-boggling.

Posted by Carl at 10:32 AM | Comments (0)

August 22, 2005

Jesus save me from your followers

Digby provides us with links and quotes from some interviews with Red Staters. Choice quote:

Where do you get your information about the war?

The Bible and the 700 Club. I also listen to preachers who know what's going on. Pat Robertson.

Yeah, because the Bible is so frequently updated with the latest from Baghdad.


Digby continues the discussion here. He describes the speaker above as what we'd call Type 3: Flim-Flammed, and thinks that convincing these types that the Republican party doesn't really stand for what they think it does is the key to winning future elections. I think he's right, but given the sorry state of our modern media, I don't know if it can be done.

Posted by Carl at 11:21 AM | Comments (2)

August 19, 2005

Random thought for those who use Yahoo mail

Hasn't Missy of Watertown, NY gotten a freakin' date yet?

UPDATE: Shoulda known, the referrer log hits for "Missy, Watertown NY" are rolling in. Attention Chumps: You will not get to date this girl.

Posted by Carl at 01:42 PM | Comments (10)

Linking Fool Friday

I won't bother elaborating, just go read: Orcinus on Sheehan. A Poor Man trifecta: the war as the Python's parrot, Keyboard Kommandos, and some happy friendly quotes from our friends on the right. Going hand-in-hand with the latter is this collection of Clinton-era GOP quotes on the war in Bosnia, a time when it was apparently OK to not support the President and undermine our troops in the field (and all this for a conflict where we didn't lose a single man).

Scalzi is tired of the argumentative fallacy of claiming your opponent's position is wrong because s/he is partisan. Generally, it's the other way around--I am Democratically aligned and dislike Bushco BECAUSE I disagree with their policies and positions. And anyway, that's the psychogenetic fallacy--pointing out the underlying motivations for your opponent's argument, no matter how distasteful you find them, does not by itself render your opponent's argument wrong.

August brings to our attention a "documentary" about someone eating at McDonald's every day and losing weight, no doubt by eating the same salad every day. He's right that this completely misses the point of Super Size Me. Criminy, I got a seemingly healthy tuna salad on multigrain sandwich at Au Bon Pain the other day, then looked up the nutrition info on their web site to discover it was loaded with fat. Fast food joints don't make it easy for consumers to make informed, quality decisions about what they're eating.

And finally, capturing the obligatory sports and humor items in one link, enjoy an open letter to TO.

Posted by Carl at 01:38 PM | Comments (0)

Kids TV is bad for you: Hearing Voices

Something I find curious about the current generation of kids' TV shows is the casting of voice talent. Back in my day, cartoon characters all had crazy voices. Mel Blanc, Daws Butler, Scatman Crothers, all giving distinct voice to their characters.

On some of today's shows, they seem to make a point of casting actual kids as the younger animated characters. I'm not sure what the idea is--maybe it makes it easier for kids watching to identify with the characters, or it could just be that child actors work for cheap. It sure doesn't make the shows any better, though. I find Little Bear to be pretty much intolerable, in no small part because the title character sounds like a little nancy boy who is reading his lines off a piece of paper rather than, you know, acting. The only interesting voice among the main characters on psycho-Weebles Disney show Higglytown Heroes is Fran the squirrel, played by Edie McClurg (who I will always remember as the "You're fucked" rental car agent in Planes, Trains and Automobiles); the other lead characters are all voiced by largely unknown kids. Recently Nick Jr. has inflicted upon us the Backyardigans, whose young anthropomorphic animals all sound like the same mildly precocious 8-year-old boy. I have no idea what's going on in that cartoon.

You could play two-second snippets of dialogue by every character in the old Bugs-Daffy Warner Brothers pantheon, and here 25 years later I could identify every single one of them by voice alone. I doubt my kids will be able to say the same of much of today's cartoons.

Posted by Carl at 12:05 PM | Comments (2)

August 18, 2005

Mascot news

Congrats to the Phanatic, the Chicken, and the Phoenix Gorilla on their induction into the Mascot Hall of Fame. Personally, I am cheesed that I was not contacted to be on the executive committee.

Posted by Carl at 09:53 AM | Comments (0)

August 16, 2005

mmmm... broccoli

Being on a diet sucks ass, but I've dropped 20 pounds thus far so I guess it's worth it. Hooray for the WWCalc Palm app (loyal readers, e-mail me if you want a copy). I have a ways to go to my goal, to weigh the same as Emmitt Smith who is my height, but it's a start. Some thoughts:

  • Restaurants need more diet drink options. I'm not a fan of diet Coke, but usually it's either that or water.

  • I hate it when places like Chicken Out claim their chicken is all healthy without the skin. Look, the skin is what makes your chicken good, it's where all the spices and stuff are. If I got rotisserie chicken and took off the skin, I'd feel like I was wasting my money.

  • I loves me some burritos, but despite all of Baja Fresh's posturing about "fresh ingredients," goddamn are those things bad for you. My usual there caculates out to 23 WW points, which also happens to be my maximum allocation for a day. So if I had one, I couldn't eat another thing all day, not even the chips that come with it.

  • You can eat desserts... so long as you plan your entire day around it. I made a frikkin' awesome peach cobbler the other night, but had to eat no other snacks all day to fit it in.

  • Better than you'd think: deli meat, beans (the fiber cancels out the calories in the WW equation), pasta (so long as you eat the recommended 2 ounces, not spaghetti until you wanna 'splode) and Crunch Berries, only 100 calories a bowl (pre-milk).

  • Worse than you'd think: rice, bagels (300 calories before you even put anything on it!), and salmon. Yeah, a 3 ounce salmon portion is fine, but 3 ounces of salmon is about the size of a pack of cigarettes.

  • Cheese is not your friend. Nor is mayo, which is basically spreading pure fat on your sandwich.

  • Most salad recipes have way too much oil. I made this here chef salad the other night using half the oil, and it was still really good.

  • Places where I now can't eat any freaking thing: RFK Stadium, and the Costco food court. The numbers on their salad have to be wrong, though, unless the dressing is made of 100% pure lard.

Posted by Carl at 01:05 PM | Comments (1)

It's a cruel world. It's time.

Have you downloaded the Broken Social Scene new album preview track yet? No?!? What's your freakin' problem?

In other music news: I used to be really good at the music-describing game, where you're telling a friend about a new band and you say "They sound like Dinosaur Jr. with an accordian player," "They sound like Metallica meets the Innocence Mission," that kind of crap that is a poor substitute for, you know, actually listening to it. I hadn't done much of that for a while, but last week when I was listening to Doves' Some Cities, it occurred to me that they are "Urge Overkill meets the Smiths." And then I picked up Bloc Party's Silent Alarm, and I thought, "they're what the Cure should sound like, if the Cure was actually cool." Both albums have the seal of approval.

Posted by Carl at 10:24 AM | Comments (1)

August 15, 2005

July/August search terms

Haven't done one of these in a while. The searcher's satisfaction is 100% guaranteed or no money back!

"big ass" OR "big butt" clinton hilary OR hillary
donkey steak u.s.
altoids midget
don johnson fat
alka seltzer exploding sea gulls
all classified ads for laptops in kuwait updated
kicking someone down a stairs game
SeerSucker Nats Hats
crap that doesnt mater but we care anyway
karl rove blog lawn
carpet carl

Posted by Carl at 02:54 PM | Comments (0)

Have one of these pills. Now, let's talk this out.

Guess who's volunteered to arbitrate the TO-McNabb hoo-hah. Dr. Phil? Judge Judy? Even better, it's Rush Limbaugh.

Cuz, y'know, Limbaugh has so endeared himself to McNabb over the years.

(Via Football Outsiders.)

Posted by Carl at 10:38 AM | Comments (0)

I, too, condemn Republican puppy blood-drinkers

The beauty of blogs, the Internet, and particularly of writing in HTML, is that there's ample fodder to prove your point. Drop in links. Show us the evidence.

So it's sad to see how rarely that happens. Ted at Crooked Timber lays some smack on Eugene Volokh, as the latter condemns those who are actively rooting for our own troops to be defeated, but when pressed as a hard time telling us who exactly these traitors are. His smear is typical of the Mighty Wurlitzer, trying to paint all who are against the war with a broad slimy brush, but I'd expect better from a generally smart guy like Volokh.

I'd love for the Nationals to win the National League East. Taking all the reality-based factors into consideration, though--five and a half games out, Braves playing really well, Nats' offense questionable--I don't think they will. This does not mean I want the Nats to lose, and if they don't win the division it won't be for my lack of cheering for them. See how that works? And so it goes for the Iraq war, except that continuing the Iraq war means that American soldiers and Iraqi civilians get freakin' killed and maimed, not to mention all the money we're flushing down the toilet, so it's a bit more costly on the whole than the Nats playing out the rest of their season.

Similarly, here is a do-not-miss post from The Poorman, in which John Cole is taken to task for saying those of us who oppose the war just do so because we hate Bush so much, and that Cindy Sheehan has no mind of her own but is being pushed around by crazy-ass liberals. Given the opportunity to explain the "noble cause," Cole seemingly says "If you don't know, I'm not telling you," and goes off on how calling Sheehan a "media whore" is not really as offensive as just "whore."

Zippity doo dah. Tell us why we started this fucking war, already.

Posted by Carl at 10:24 AM | Comments (0)

August 12, 2005

Linking Fool Friday

Didn't I just do this four days ago?

Ass-whoopins: Paul Hackett vs. Rush Limbaugh. TBogg vs. Michelle Malkin. And Tom Tomorrow vs. everyone who thinks the war is great but doesn't want to fight in it.

Tor sends this item: the RNC is footing the legal bill for James Tobin, who is charged with screwing with Democratic GOTV efforts in 2002 (try bugmenot if you don't want to register). Yeah, great commitment to fair elections you've got, there.

Kung Fu Monkey on the Preznit and Intelligent Design.

Sports section: Nats Inquirer on the inanity of recent moves by GM Jim Bowden.

And finally, The Lighter Side: Remember The Super Bowl is Gay? Kinda freaky to see that guy on the front of the Post's Style section yesterday. Evidently he's got a show on MTV now. Oh, and he's 29.

Posted by Carl at 02:36 PM | Comments (0)

August 11, 2005

Truckloads of Explosives

I have blogged previously about the band I sang for in college. The truly, truly connected will remember the song "Truckloads of Explosives," which I don't think ever made it out of the practice room, but was about ordnance transportation through Las Vegas, and also touched on the irony of being worried about the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste site driving away tourists when the state is a haven of prostitution and gambling. The bridge contained some of the finest lyrics I ever wrote (which isn't saying much):

They dug a big hole for their nuclear cores
Out there in the desert we've got no use for
People might get scared and not come here no more
You can see it there right behind the whores

So props to Jeff, who saw this story about a truck full of explosives blowing up on a Utah highway, and immediately e-mailed me saying "Didn't you write a song about this?"

Posted by Carl at 10:22 AM | Comments (0)

August 10, 2005

Enjoy you propaganda!

Everyone's rightfully kicking the crap out of Rumsfeld's September 11th commemorative pep rally. I am mostly amused by the goofy name, ""America Supports You Freedom Walk." Shouldn't it be "America Support Your Freedom Walk?" Or is it like, "America Supports You, Freedom! Walk?"

Or maybe they like "Enjoy You Shank!" as much as Quev and I do.

Posted by Carl at 01:08 PM | Comments (2)

News flash: Dan Snyder still evil

The Redskins are kind of like a public utility company. Their customers are pretty well locked in, so they don't have to treat them well. Don't like it? Fine, dump your season tickets, we've got ten thousand people waiting to buy them.

The latest: the Redskins are revoking season tickets if they're sold on eBay. Now, if they were cracking down on ticket brokers who have season tickets only to make a profit selling them, I could live with it. But sometimes, you just can't make it to a particular game. Why not make back a little money on your huge season ticket investment? Apparently, it's too much for Snyder to take, someone else making money on his product. Screw that guy.

Posted by Carl at 12:47 PM | Comments (0)

August 08, 2005

I need a new lunch bag

An open request: I'm looking to score one of the Nationals six-pack coolers that were given away at Friday's game. Anyone who can get me one can have their choice of a six-pack of decent beer, two crappy beers at RFK, OR a ticket to either Nats-Braves on September 10 or Nats-Mets on September 23. E-mail me if you've got one to spare.

Posted by Carl at 12:43 PM | Comments (2)

We need more like this one

Via Gilliard, meet Bunny Greenhouse:

She has asked many questions: Why is Halliburton -- a giant Texas firm that holds more than 50 percent of all rebuilding efforts in Iraq -- getting billions in contracts without competitive bidding? Do the durations of those contracts make sense? Have there been violations of federal laws regulating how the government can spend its money?

Halliburton denies any wrongdoing. "These false allegations have been recycled in the media ad nauseam," the company said in response to a list of e-mailed questions from The Associated Press.

Now Bunny Greenhouse may lose her job -- and her reputation, which she spent a lifetime building.

There was a similar article in the Post a while back about a contracting officer on the ground in Iraq who asked similar questions, and was similarly squashed. African-American woman, a little older, career contracting officer. I'll say the same thing about Ms. Greenhouse that I said about that KO: I believe her, anything she says. I've worked in government contracting in some form or other for a while now, and I've met a lot of contracting officers, particularly female ones, like these two. I respect their honesty and integrity, and I'll accept anything they say at just about face value. The opposite is true for anyone from Halliburton.

When I was working for the government, we were told repeatedly that even the appearance of impropriety was bad. Accepting a pair of Redskins tickets from a would-be contractor could be the end of my career. Apparently, those kind of rules only apply to the little people, the worker bees, and as you go up the pyramid you can get away with bigger and bigger things.

Posted by Carl at 12:25 PM | Comments (0)

Linking Fool Friday (Monday Edition)

I was busy on Friday.

Teh serious: Define Support Our Troops, will ya? The Poor Man on stupid photo essays in support of the Iraq War (warning, disturbing images, though if you're a "Have You Forgotten?" type you really need to look at them). Preznit Bush is taking a five week vacation; we should all be so forutnate (I am a little suspicious of that petition though, it may sign you up for spam).

Teh sports: Why I Hate DC's Redskins preview, pointing out the shocking news that Dan Snyder is evil.

Teh blogroll: Waiter Rant has a new home; it's high time I blogrolled him anyway. Mobtown Blues has new digs as well.

Teh funny: OWNED!

Posted by Carl at 09:43 AM | Comments (0)

August 04, 2005


My belated two cents on the latest and greatest steroid flap: I really want to believe Rafael Palmeiro. I really do. His testimony before the Senate was so straightforward and so adamant that I believed him then. And I'd like to believe him now when he says he didn't knowingly take anything.

But in order for me to believe that, he has to come clean with what he did take. If he's using some supplement that is causing a false positive on his steroid test, he needs to say what it is, so MLB's powers that be can decide if it's legal or not, and clear it up for everyone. But he won't do that. He lamely hides behind confidentiality rules--rules that are designed to protect him and nobody else. Just like you can waive your right to remain silent (BLLLAAAAAAAHHHHHH!), he could waive the confidentiality and explain what happened.

But he won't. And until he does so, I have to consider him a big ol' cheater.

Posted by Carl at 12:42 PM | Comments (2)

August 03, 2005

Mmmmm... zucchini

It's not every day I read the Post and see mention of someone I know (this despite my living in the Washington area and knowing lots of important and powerful people). It's even rarer that I see mention of Canadian bloggers who I've hung out with in Montreal. So I got quite a kick out of reading this morning's Food section and spotting ol' Blork (sans URL, unfortunately) in an article about what to do with all your home-grown zucchini.

Apparently complaining about too much produce can get you into the Post's Food section. Did I ever tell you about the summer the CSA had too much eggplant? Some weeks, it was literally "Take as much as you want." Every party we went to that summer, we took baba gnanouj. We got really sick of eggplant.

Posted by Carl at 08:41 AM | Comments (2)

August 01, 2005

I am a grocery bag

My mom is here for a few days. She ran over to the grocery store the other day, and while bagging up accidentally picked up someone else's receipt. At least, I hope this wasn't hers:

Two packages of Twinkies.
A box of Krispy Kremes.
Three Tastykake fruit pies.
Milk. Yoplait Lite.
Some sort of ravioli.
Diet Coke. Fritos.
"PNTBTR&CO DRK CH"; not sure what it is but obviously candy-esque.
Buffalo wings from the hot food bar.
Iceberg lettuce, always highly nutritious.
And three instances of "MELON-SPRITE," which is listed under Produce. So I guess it's not soda, but some kinda melon. $4.99 a pop.

The clincher: Purchased with food stamps. "Poor Americans can't be all that poor, cuz they're so fat!" Something is seriously wrong here.

Posted by Carl at 08:58 PM | Comments (1)