I'm at the beach. For work.
No, seriously. For WORK.
Though I did fly a kite yesterday.
Saturday night: Sauteed chicken with allspice and a lemon-wine pan sauce, lemon-pistachio rice, and baked cherry tomatoes with Parmesan. These were all part of a spring BA menu; I picked the tomato dish first, since we're overrun with 'em, and then noticed the associated dishes right there.
Sunday morning: I baked an apple pie to take to brunch at a friend's house. I was all going to make a raisin-apple pie (not sure what makes it Scottish), but when I bought Pillsbury pie crusts there was a package of "apple pie spice" in the box and an obscenely simple recipe on the back of the box. So I copped out. It was OK, but I can do better.
Going into the bottom of the ninth, this post was all set in my mind. I was going to lead with my 0-3 losing streak and 35-odd inning scoreless streak. It was going to be titled "A win? Hell, I'd like to see a run." And then Carlos Baerga stepped to the plate with two outs and a man on, and did the last thing I was expecting him to do: put one into the Mets bullpen. So for a moment, I was happy.
But only for a moment, because next Marlon Byrd was called back from the on-deck circle, and Gary Majewski was sent up to bat. And I was beside myself. I quickly realized why Majewski was hitting: nobody was up in the bullpen. Apparently no one in the dugout had considered the possibility of the Nats tying the game and needing a new pitcher. I'm not sure what they had planned if Baerga had only singled--had Byrd come up and doubled to the gap, scoring both runners (obviously Kenny Kelly would have come in to run for Baerga), and then Wilk made the final out, what then?
Outs are precious, especially late in the game. Two outs and nobody on in the bottom of the ninth of a tie game, I don't care, you have to give yourself a chance to finish off the opponent right then. Maybe Byrd would have homered, or maybe he would have gotten on and then Wilkerson put one in the corner to score him. We'll never know now. But Frank was content to concede that last out, in no small part because of the rookie-manager mistake of not having another pitcher ready, and gave the Mets another chance. The Mets made the most of that chance, as Beltran clocked a three-run homer, and that was that.
Interestingly enough, no mention of Majewski's at-bat in today's Post article. Blah blah blah respect Frank. Whatever. He makes the wrong decisions.
I have so many random observations from this game. The margins of my scorecard are full of notes.
I've got one game left, next Sunday. Will I see another win before the Void? Will that game matter for Philadelphia, and thus I'll end up cheering for the Phils? Will the Nats score some freakin' runs? Will Frank make a stupid decision that will hurt their chances? That last is a given, but the rest... stay tuned.
Props to DM.
Trying to make up for my lack of posts this week with an extra-rich LFF.
PZ Meyers has good stuff on dealing with the Intelligent Design types. The Editors wonder how we're defining pork. At Kos, excerpts of David Mamet on politics as poker--I wished for the exact response to the Swift Boat Vets thing. I couldn't believe they wanted to have that conversation. Virginians, be sure to visit the Virginia Blog Carnival... or is that CarnEvil.
Much ado over the "Mommy-tracking in the Ivy League" NYT article this week. Kieran has a good post on it, and the ensuing comment thread is good reading as well. Kevin Drum has more on the trend journalismining angle. Also on the education theme, Ezra discusses our unspoken education inequality. I suspect that the commenters there saying "Anyone in America who works really hard and really wants to go to college can do so!" has never actually set foot in a low-income-area public high school.
Teh wacky: thanks to Tor for sending cheese drums. He may be a fictional stuffed bear, but Cornelius knows a thing or two about gambling. And finally, August says this exactly how I would. Do as he says.
Sayeth the Nats ticket office in an e-mail:
All season ticket holders will receive an invoice for their seats to a potential Division or Wild Card tie-breaker game which would be played on Monday, October 3, if needed and all potential home Postseason games and parking option.
If the Nationals qualify for Postseason play but play less than ten home games or if the Nationals do not qualify for the Postseason, the balance on your account will go towards payment of your 2006 Nationals season tickets and show as a credit when your invoice is mailed in November. If you prefer a refund please check the box on your invoice.
To add insult, the embedded link in the e-mail to pay my invoice takes me to a TicketMaster page with a Yankees logo.
My invoice amount is $853 with all fees included. My 20-game package was $620. But this isn't for my wonderful seats in section 515, oh no, it's for section 552 which is way the hell out next to the right field foul pole. No indication as to how to try to get different seats.
I am skeptical as to the team's statements that they don't want people to have to rush for tickets at the last moment. I think it's a blatant attempt to get us to give them money, and then they can make interest on the float. At least they gave us until next Monday to pay, so that's six more games for the Nats to make a real run, or remove all doubt that they'll be playing golf in October.
Saturday: Grilled steaks with Montreal Steak Seasoning (which should, you know, have Youppi on the label). Scottish-style skillet potatoes, and a nice green bean-cherry tomato salad, with cherry tomatoes and fresh oregano from the back yard. The cherry tomato plant is the only one of my six tomato plants that's produced worth a damn this summer. I paid $1 for it at a local farmer's market.
Sunday: Venison daube with cumin and coriander (recipe in the current Bon Appetit). Served with egg noodles, and steamed broccoli and carrots. A very nice South African cabernet sauvignon went into both the stew and the diners.
Breaking news! As has been speculated, crazy ol' Youppi is apparently joining the Montreal Canadiens.
As the mascot. Not as a player.
Thanks to Andrew F. for the tip.
I seem to have posted all my links during the week, because they just couldn't wait. Fine, be mad, but you were happy when there were posts on those other days, weren't you?
Those things I do have: I can second these mighty props given to the Italian Store in Arlington. And this video of a high school percussion group doing the works of DJ Shadow live is pretty cool.
That's the hat I wear to mow the lawn. Which I had just done. On a hot day. So that hat is nice 'n' sweaty.
Yet another installment of "If you didn't want cat hair on it, you shouldn't have left it here."
Sure, Linking Fool Friday is but a day away, but I just can't wait to post these.
And everyone loves Cats in Sinks.
Shout-out to Paul for providing such EXTREME WACKINESS!
Couple of good columns by King Kaufman lately. In today's he examines what Barry Bonds might have done without steroids, if we assume he did in fact use them for a prolonged period. His estimate, with sound methodology backing it up: 556 home runs, ninth all-time, still sure-fire Hall of Fame material. The point is not to excuse Bonds, but to put a stop to speculation that he, or Giambi, or whoever, would have been nothing without steroids--it's not enough just to be big, you have to have some talent, too. I could take steroids and I still couldn't hit a big-league home run.
I also like Monday's column, in which Kaufman expresses reservations about the heaping of praise on the New Orleans Saints. I'm with him on this one. I don't doubt that the Saints' win was difficult, and that it gave a lift to some people who needed it. But honestly, any particular win by any particular team in the NFL isn't that remarkable--any given Sunday, as they say. Hell, the 49ers beat the Rams this weekend, the Bucs won at Minnesota, even the Redskins won a game. There's a reason sports books make so much money on NFL games, and why you're almost as well off flipping a coin to pick winners in your pool than by using any other method. So call me a curmudgeon--yeah, it's a nice story, but I find it tiresome having every single sports personality (other than Kaufman) tell us how uplifting and inspirational the New Orleans Saints are. I'm over it.
I don't expect much of the Post's letters to the editor, but I can't figure out why they ran this one:
How pathetic that in the aftermath of Katrina, Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) are devoting their energies to criticizing the president for his alleged nonchalance and indifference toward the dire conditions of those affected by this tragic event. If that is the mind-set of those who are supposed to be the Democratic Party's top representatives, then the party is in a sad state of affairs.
MIGUEL A. GUANIPA
Refernce to prior article that made the letter seem longer removed.
I don't have a problem with them running a letter criticizing the Democrats, but you'd think they'd at least pick one with, you know, some thought to it. No premise, all conclusion. They might as well have run a letter saying "DEMOCRATS BAD!"
Spotted yesterday: a dude wearing a #12 Mark Bellhorn Red Sox shirt. Now, I'm not all "You must throw away your player name/number clothing immediately if a guy goes to another team," but jeez, you do realize Bellhorn now plays for the Yankees?
I and others have sung the praises of Livan Hernandez, his ability to pace himself and to stay in control even with guys on base. Yesterday, however, his lassiez-faire attitude towards walking a guy to pitch to the next bum seemed to come back to bite him in the ass, and by extention the team as a whole.
Now, the home run to Andruw Jones I can live with. The way he's hitting now, I don't know why you give him anything good to hit, even with nobody on base in the 4th inning of a scoreless game. But still, these things happen, and it could have been a perfect pitch for all I know and Andruw could still hit it out of the park. And you'd like to think even the Nats could come back from down 1-0. But then Francouer doubles. Langerhans comes up, Livan goes 3-0 on him, gets his automatic 3-0 strike, and the next pitch is ball four. You could hear Livan thinking "I won't give this guy anything to hit, walk him, and get to their #8 hitter." But Langerhans is a .253 hitter--I think you have to go after him. He goes 2-0 on McCann (a .262 hitter), and then finally decides he'd better throw a strike. Bang, three-run homer, by their #8 hitter. Game as good as over. I don't think the Nats even saw third base.
The announced crowd was 44K, but that was a joke. Maybe 30K there. I counted at least 7 no-shows among Plan B holders who sit right around me. The Metro on the way in was as packed as I've seen it all season, so I was expecting a bigger crowd, but that probably says more about the price of gas than anything. Braves fans were in abundance--more Braves fans than I thought were even in Atlanta--but fortunately they didn't do the annoying Tomahawk Chop. Three or four goobers tried to break it out after McCann's home run, but mercifully it didn't catch on.
Julio Franco is 47. Forty-freaking-seven.
After I started the season 12-1, at the last two games I've attended the Nats have been outscored 10-0. Like the team itself, I seem to be seriously regressing to the mean. I have two games left; can I see one more win, please?
Oh but that I still lived a couple blocks from the Birchmere. Look who's coming September 22!
One guess as to the focus of this week's LFF.
Via Mikel, CamWorld on Katrina and terrorism. Tom Engelhardt on similarities between New Orleans and Iraq. Wolcott with really depressing perspectives on the long-term effects. Wolcott cites an article by Alexander Coburn at Counterpunch (no direct link, apparently) with this money quote:
Once you stop believing in universal betterment, you stop investing in social defenses, like health care, or flood control. You build your shining condo on the hill, put a fence round it, and cancel the local bus service so the poor can't get at you...
So collective effort goes out the window, and soon the society forgets how collective effort works. Tens of thousands of poor people standing on roofs in the Delta and they haven't the slightest idea how to get them off. The ones they have brought to dry land they dump on the highway, where they stand as the Army trucks roll by.
And in case you weren't outraged enough, check out the lovely treatment of evacuees who ended up in Oklahoma. Sounds more like a prison camp. There's also the tale of conference attendees, who, like other would-be evacuees, were treated like criminals at every turn.
As has been documented elsewhere, I find the whole "Now is not the time to point fingers" to be a blatant cop-out, code for "Please don't say anything bad about Republicans." Arianna explains why now is precisely the time.
In non-Katrina content, Kramer sent along information on the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, of interest to anyone who cares about evolution vs. intelligent design. And finally, via August: On Sunday we will celebrate our sweet and precious freedom here in DC with the infamous Enjoy You Freedom walk, and to drive the point home we'll arrest anyone who shows up without registering first. Irony is, in fact, alive and well.
Mrs. Fool: "You know the gay guy on HGTV?"
Carl: "Um, you're going to have to be more specific."
Of all the crazy crap surrounding the administration's handling of Hurricane Katrina, this one takes the cake: the White House's declaration of emergency in Louisiana posted on August 26 didn't cover the whole state. Which parishes do you think it covered?
Bob generously thinks it was just a colossal goof. In my ever-dimmer view of the administration, I can't help but wonder if the declaration was an effort to look like they cared, but gave them an out if anything bad actually happened in the coastal parishes. A terrible assumption on my part, I know, but I can't put anything past these people at this point.
Oh, and Bush apparently thinks everything went great last week.
Official explanation of "Deko Boko Friends":
The twelve characters represent 12 types of personality traits. Each character is an amalgamation and condensation of traits found in a variety of people. The creators would like to see children develop tolerance and a broad-minded mental outlook that would enable them to accept each person they encounter. The concept uses the element of surprise to introduce this series of animted short stories. Each animated short focuses on one chacarcter and brings his or her personality trait to life.
What really happens: A giant sticks his head through a door and shows us his hat, which contains a poodle who says "Moo! Moo!" Then a cactus comes through the door, does a little dance with maracas, and is embarassed as hell for no apparent reason. Carl says "What the HELL was that?!?"
If you don't watch Noggin, you can try to comprehend this barrel of weirdness here.
Not much to say today, as I posted my best Katrina-related links yesterday. I did leave out one from the Rude Pundit, suggesting that Katrina gives us good cover to get out of Iraq. Oh, and the idea that people are stupid for living in a flood-prone place like New Orleans and we shouldn't rebuild it is a short-sighted and dumb idea.
You shouldn't need much more incentive to donate some money to the Red Cross, but just in case: fax in a donation receipt of $50 or more to get 500 frequent flier miles from United or American. Most of the airlines have FF mile donation programs as well; I just dumped my whopping 8,000 Delta miles to the Red Cross, so they can buy one-third of a ticket. Now if only US Airways would do the same, so I could put my largely worthless miles there to good use.
Various relief efforts in NoVA/DC listed here. This one sounds mighty tasty; I have to figure out a reason to be downtown on the 12th. Elsewhere in NoVA, the Post has started a Fairfax blog, which is pretty boring, but will probably have useful information from time to time.
Catherine turns two months on the 26th.
Good thing half the National Guard is over in Iraq, eh? And good thing we took money from USACE flood control projects in NOLA in order to support Halliburton in Iraq. Note to the right-wing blogosphere: If you think the Clinton administration is to blame for 9/11 because they failed to arrest Mohammed Atta as a result of Able Danger, then you logically have to hold the Bush administration accountable for throwing New Orleans to the wolves here. Love that strong, decisive leadership.
Flogged relentlessly, but still worth repeating: Looting or "found?"
I agree with Amanada that we'll soon hear about how the people still stuck in New Orleans brought this on themselves. I've already heard that around my office. Are there a few people who could've, should've gotten out, but chose not to? Probably. But I suspect the vast majority of them just didn't have the means. As a wise man once said, it's not a crime to be poor in America, but it might as well be.
I feel fortunate to have been to New Orleans, though it was only a few days for a conference. My main memory is that every meal I ate there was fantastic. Even eating in the mall food court was the best mall food court meal I've ever had--I got a shrimp po'boy, and it was delicious. I saw a picture on one of the news web sites of the New Orleans Hyatt, with all its windows broken and curtains and insulation hanging out. Guess where I stayed when I was there?
Thankfully, my company just announced a matching donation program. You don't need me to tell you where to give. Do what you can.