Las Vegas update: No bikini shot of Sam, but she's still in Hawaii next week, so there's still ample opportunity.
I was amused at how ham-handedly they disposed of Dean Cain's character. Upon word that Ed had been shot, Casey takes off (off-camera) and hides out, because he's "afraid of being kidnapped." At the end of the show, Mary breaks up with him over the phone. So zing! just like that the casino's friggin' OWNER and love interest of one of the main characters is gone, never to be seen again. I wonder if he'll sell the place off so they can bring in a new character to order everyone around.
Stay the course, bitches! Man, why does our craptacular media just let people lie all the damn time?
More Digby: What to do if the Dems actually do win in November.
As fine a rant as you shall ever see: Sifu Tweety on just how galling it is that we have to care about these idiots.
A FoolBlog favorite topic: Tort reform is still a buncha crap.
Interesting item on Jose Feliciano's performance of the National Anthem at the World Series in 1968. You can actually hear it on his site. Incredible that people would get so bent about it; it's really quite lovely.
And a hat tip to Tor for this last one: I like science for science's sake as much as anyone, but I'm still awaiting the practical applications of Ultrasonic Velocity in Cheddar Cheese as Affected by Temperature.
So evidently some people are bent out of shape that the Cardinals somehow don't deserve to be where they are, and some people are coming up with cockamamie schemes to "fix" the baseball playoffs, so a team with the worse record just about never wins. But why isn't anyone taking it to the logical conclusion? If you're so appalled that the team with the best record isn't the World Series winner, do away with the playoffs altogether. Put 'em all in one table, and the best team is the champeen.
Oh, right, people like the excitement of the playoffs, and MLB likes the extra revenue. Look, if you're going to have playoffs, eventually you're going to have upsets. Even in the supposedly wonderful pre-1995 four-division format, eventually some division would produce a mediocre 85-win division champ, who would then sneak into the World Series. Deal.
This beauty is a tarte tatin with an oatmeal-infused crust. The apples are cooked in a cast-iron frying pan with butter and sugar, then the crust is applied overtop and the whole thing baked. Flip it out onto a platter and enjoy. It's from the October '96 Bon Appetit, but for whatever reason the recipe isn't on their web site.
This capped off a menu that started with an extremely plain roast chicken with an "arugula and bread salad. My first thought was "Toasted bread crumbs soaked in the chicken juices? Most of us call that stuffing." But in fact the arugula is added at the end and doesn't wilt much, so it is sort of salad-esque. The result was OK; I really like arugula, so it was hard to go terribly wrong. But I can come up with other options, methinks.
I kinda called this World Series, though I must point out that my post selected who I wanted to be there out of the playoff field. My actual prediction was Twins-Padres, which, um, wasn't right. I had previously figured to be cheering for the Tigers throughout, but with so many people writing off the Cardinals as having no chance (one sportswriter apparently said "Tigers in three"), now I kind of want them to prove everyone wrong.
Then there's this matter of pine tar on Kenny Rogers' hand. My immediate thoughts were "If Tony LaRussa didn't make a big deal of it, it's not a big deal, because he'd exploit any possible advantage for his team," and "Rogers was still lights-out after he washed his hands." But now an anonymous bullpen coach is flat-out saying it was pine tar, used to get a better grip and put more movement on the ball.
Normally I'm not down with cheating at any level. But in our offense-happy era, I'm reluctant to call for a crack-down on something that will make pitchers' jobs even harder.
"Schtoompah, the Funny Austrian."
The Internet is being all weird right now; some sites are working, some aren't. So in some cases I'm just providing links and hoping I remember what they were.
Billmon asks tough questions, as we all should. Obligatory Glenn Greenwald post of the week. And if you still need proof that These People Have No Honor, enjoy this quote: "We know now that invading Iraq was the wrong decision, but that doesn't vindicate the antiwar crowd."
And finally, I haven't picked up the latest version of Roller Coaster Tycoon yet, but if I had, you can bet I'd have already done something like this.
I have previously admitted that NBC's "Las Vegas" is a guilty pleasure of mine. For whatever reason, they've put off the season premiere until next Friday. We already know that Ed gets shot (by an "armed gunman, as opposed to all the unarmed gunmen running around Vegas) and Delinda puts off her wedding to the Doctor Without Borders guy because she's more into Danny than she thought. But I was pleased to find this subplot in next Friday's premiere:
Elsewhere, Sam (Vanessa Marcil) travels to Hawaii to contend with a whale who won't vacate the Montecito's Hawaiian Villas.
In his Tuesday column, King Kaufman suggested that the Arizona Cardinals lost to the Chicago Bears in ghastly fashion because they ran up the middle too much. In an apparent effort to grind the clock starting late in the third quarter, they ran the ball repeatedly, usually for no gain. Kaufman argues that the Cardinals should have realized that wasn't working, and should have, you know, tried to gain some yards by throwing a little more, which they'd done successfully in the first half.
Seems pretty reasonable, but I immediately predicted that Gregg Easterbrook would tell us the Cardinals lost because they didn't run enough. And he did not disappoint. Easterbrook frequently suggests that teams that blow leads should have run more late in the game to grind the clock, which is not a bad suggestion, but he always assumes that everything would have played out exactly the same if the trailing team got the ball back with, say, 30 seconds on the clock instead of 90, and thus the game-winning drive would have run out of time. I think they might call slightly different plays in that scenario, but I could be wrong.
I suggest a duel TO THE DEATH to decide this one.
Apparently Tony LaRussa does, that's who. Fortunately (?) for the Cardinals, Encarnacion bunted two pitches foul before singling to right.
I read the La Russa's brain book (I was going to write a rant about Bissinger's comment that stat-heads couldn't possibly love baseball, but never got around to it), and while it had its moments and made me appreciate just how much a big-league manager should have going on in his head, it also made me think La Russa thinks he's smarter than he really is. Classic case of overmanaging here.
I may have already recommended Fire Joe Morgan, a blog that takes on the unenviable task of taking what baseball commentators say and actually applying thought, logic, and statistical analysis to the situation. It's a tough row to hoe, and this week they came upon one of the stupidest suggestions yet: that Mike Mussina is to blame for the Yankees' playoff failures.
Lastly, an enjoyable Slate piece on one ex-musician's fond memories of CBGB's. I could have written it myself, you see: December 29, 1992, the Tuesday between Christmas and New Years'. There were maybe 40 people there, about 15 of whom had come up from Pennsylvania with us. But still... highlight of my musical career.
WAIT WAIT I GOT ANOTHER ONE: Yes yes, it's the liberals who want to crush dissent, and the Republicans--you know, the party IN POWER--are always willing to listen carefully to every counter-argument.
My Buck O'Neil story here.
Good post from Sara at Orcinus on the real scoop on Canadian health care.
The Nats were 7-6 at games I attended this season (including the loss up at Camden Yards). I saw Ortiz and O'Connor pitch four times each, Livan three times, and one start each for Armas and Hill.
The best thing I saw in person? Duh, Zimmerman's walk-off home run against the Yankees. Other highlights were whoopin' the O's at home, Zimmerman's single to beat the Marlins in 11, leaving Bonds in the on-deck circle with runners on in beating the Giants, and Frank's send-off on the last day of the season. Gotta love running the bases with the Little Fool, too.
And now, the annual exercise of deciding who to root for in the playoffs, since none of my craptacular favorite teams made it. In the NL, the Mets are right out, owing to the fact that I loathe them. Under other circumstances, I might like the Dodgers, but I hold them and the Padres responsible for keeping the Phillies out. So I guess I'm pulling for the Cardinals again. My man Otis has a ticket for an NLCS game, and hopefully he gets to use it.
In the AL, the Yankees, as always, are evil and must be destroyed. I have no particular grudge against any of the A's, Twins, or Tigers. I think I'm with Detroit on this one, because of my hometown connection to their last Series title, and just because they haven't won anything in a while. A's and Twins fans are welcome to post their arguments in the comments (Yankees fans are welcome to cram it).
Have no doubt, Frank Robinson should no longer be manager of the Washington Nationals. His loathing of pitchers and over-reliance on veterans make him the wrong manager for this team at this time. I'd actually like to see him take over a more veteran, underachieving team (say, Boston?) and see what he can do.
Still, it felt good to join in saying thanks to Frank on Sunday at RFK. Maybe not so much for his two years in DC--the bunts! the bungling of the pitching staff! Tomo Ohka!--but for his overall contribution to the game, and just in "what a life" capacity. 51 years is a long time in any field. Frank rambled a bit when they put the mic in front of him, but he seemed genuinely grateful to the District and to the game itself.
Oh, the Nats got whipped, 6-2. Both teams pulled most of their starters by the sixth inning or so; the only Nats regular to play the whole game was Brian Schneider, and he ended the game playing first. And in an oddly fitting end to Frank's managerial career, no one was left to bat for Cordero with two outs in the ninth, and he struck out looking to end it. Coupla random bits after the jump.
Had a different perspective for this one--sat in the outfield mezzanine with a buncha Nats bloggers. The mezzanine is not bad if you're in the front row; the back two rows are a bit claustraphobic, and we were also behind a pole.
When I saw that the Astros had lost, I called my man Otis, who was at the game in St. Louis. He said they'd been doing the tomahawk chop there. I guess I can forgive him under the circumstances.
George, Abe and Tom all stopped and let Teddy take the lead in the President's Race, but for reasons we couldn't comprehend, Teddy was led off the field before he crossed the finish line. BOOOOOOOOOOO! On the lead-up to the race, Teddy is always designated for the mezzanine and suites; I'm guessing that in 2008, when the Nats are in their shiny new luxury box-centric stadium, Teddy starts winning all the damn time.