Sunday, October 31, 2004
-I am also ashamed to have David as my roommate. What, like 2 posts in the last 2 months? I hate you dave.
-World of Warcraft comes out november as well. I recommend only buying it and playing it if you have a bunch of friends who will commit to playing with you.
-Everquest 2 comes out in november. I don't know why I mention this.
-Nintendo DS comes out in november too. I don't plan on buying one unless i hear something incredible about it.
-I plan on sitting in front of the TV the entire day, tuesday.
-Look for more incredible science posts in the post-election era (post-election?! ha!). Nuclear technology, evolution, the scientific method, and more! That's called a teaser, folks. Write it down.
-The bears will go 4-0 in november. Write it down.
-Don't actually write that down.
-The NBA season also starts in november. The bulls will go 4-7, since we start the dreaded circus road trip then. and by 4-7 i mean 2-9.
-Are you still actually reading this?
-The steelers over the patriots today is my lock of the week. It's Berger time!
Well that's all for now folks. Have a good extra hour today.
Friday, October 29, 2004
November is upon us!
Anyway, only a few days till the fateful tuesday! For me, this election is like a national sporting event- I'm sure you noticed the electoral-vote counter at the top of the page. Watching it update daily is like gamecasting an incredibly close baseball game: you're not sure whether it's updating fast enough, you can't really trust that it's accurate at all, but it's all you've got, so you have to watch it regardless. And what an event it's turning out to be. There are a handful of variables coming down to the wire; are the undecideds going to come out 67% in favor of Kerry? or 75%? Are the young voters going to come out in force? Did the get-out-the-vote efforts work better for Bush or Kerry? Anyway, just look at the maps; it's Red America vs. Blue America. And what it's going to come down to is a handful of states.
I guess this is yet another indictment of the electoral college. All but a few states are wrapped up; in fact, most experts concede that it's going to come down to Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Doesn't this bother anyone else? The fate of the nation's next 4 years is going to come down to 5 states? I guess, in a way, these 5 states represent the nation pretty well; they're half-urban, half-rural, much like the way red and blue already dichotomize our country. So it shouldn't be a big surprise that these are the ones that are close enough to 50-50.
It's crazy to see all these polls fly back and forth; but at this point, you've got to like Kerry's chances. The history of undecideds going to the challenger helps him immensely, and much like 2000, there is evidence that the polls show a republican bias; in 2000, national polls predicted a 4% victory for Bush in the popular vote, Gore won by .5%. Florida may be lost to Kerry, but if Ohio and Pennsylvania go his way, it will be hard for Bush to pull out the victory. But then again, this is just relying on the polls.
Anyway, this national spectacle of a election should have an entertaining finish. I hope Kerry wins by at least 30 electoral votes; it'll make my prediction come true, and it will make it that much harder for Bush to challenge the outcome of the election. But I'm no longer going to live and die with the results of this election; I was disappointed that Bush won in 2000, I won't be much more disappointed if he wins on Tuesday. Bush may be a stubborn idiot, and I hate to think what he can do in four years without having to worry about re-election, but he can't possibly get any worse. Plus, we can always remember him as the worst two term president in the history of the nation. On the other hand, Kerry's campaign has been so insistent on getting the "we will hunt all terrorists down and kill them" that I really wonder if he isn't just going to make the same mistakes as Bush.
I imagine a scenario like this: if Bush wins, we'll almost certainly have a democratic president in 2008. If Kerry wins, we'll almost certainly have a republican president in 2008, because I can't imagine Kerry being a two-termer either. But I live in the present, and I think Kerry now, and hopefully a more fiscally conservative (and more socially moderate) republican in 2008 will put this country more on the right track.
But I'm not going to make the threat of leaving the country this time around. Especially when the rest of November holds so much promise: the OC season 2 on november 4th, Halo 2 on november 9th, and good old thanksgiving, on the 25th.
Thursday, October 28, 2004
It Changes Everything, It Changes Nothing
Our team dominated that crap out of the Cards, who were a totally inferior squad. We never trailed in the whole series, something that has happened only four times. The heart of the Cards order never got going, and without that strength, their mediocre depth and starting pitching couldn’t carry the load. Meanwhile, as has been the case since August 1st, everyone contributed something on our team. The future looks bright for the Red Sox, there hasn’t been an MLB team this good since the late 90s Yankees. Dynasty? Perhaps. We’ll see what happens in the offseason, as we have four major free agents (Cabrera, Pedro, Varitek, and Lowe.)
But who cares about the damn future? It’s all about the present. I loved seeing Manny win the MVP, he’s been so solid for us the last four years and has taken quite a bit of flack. No more. Same for Lowe, Pedro, and everyone else.
I was talking to my brother on the phone right after we won. He was in the process of going room to room in the Wash U dorms bumming shots of people so he could celebrate as only an 18-20 year old could. I ranted for a while about how this changes everything for Boston fans and he agreed. “It may even change the whole city!” he yelled. What does he mean by this?
Well I don’t buy into this whole win it for all the old fans who have been waiting their entire life to see this, spiel that Sports Guy, Shauhgnessy, and most writers are getting into. I will enjoy not hearing about the curse from casual baseball fans who don’t follow the Red Sox, and not seeing idiotic graphics like “World Championships since 1918: 0” on Fox. That annoying part of following the Sox vanishes forever, as does having to hear crap from Yankee fans. That is sweet.
More importantly, it will (hopefully) change the attitude of Boston sports fans towards their players and towards the Sox. Not the “woe is me,” attitude, that only existed in a small minority of fans in the first place. The part of Boston fandom I hope falls by the wayside is the turning on star players, the manipulation of angst by negative media of a paranoid fanbase. This paranoia was driven by the fact that no fans had actually seen the team win the World Series, and weren’t sure if it was actually possible. Well now we have discovered the simple formula for winning a championship: build a team, from top down that is good enough. How can we complain about Pedro falling off, or Millar being in a slump anymore? These guys gave us what we had been fiending for all these years. They are heroes. I want to hear no more bitching, rather enjoyment of a team that is almost always, win or lose, fun to follow.
During the game, when we were up 3-0 in the 7th I found myself thinking: “How will this change what the 2005 Red Sox season is like?” Almost instantly, I was hit with a stunning reality: it wouldn’t change things at all. When I move back to Boston, I’ll still catch as many games as possible, trying to see if they can pull out the game, the series, the division, a playoff spot, a championship. I’ll still listen to Sean and Jerry on Friday nights as they banter about meaningless crap on during some pointless game in June against the Devil Rays. I’ll still have my players that I unconditionally love, and those that drive me crazy. I’ll still think I could do a better job then whomever we have managing us. I’ll still go to the games when I can and complain about the seats being to small, as I enjoy a Fenway Frank and taunt the other team. In that way, nothing will have changed.
Having said that, I wish I was in Boston to celebrate. When I envisioned us winning in my dreams, I never thought it’d be in the Marly Bar at 130 in the afternoon in Newtown Australia, watching with one other Red Sox fan and a handful of half-hearted supporters. But you just never know where life will take you. And I’m thrilled I got to see our team win. For me, who became a fan in 1987, I only had to wait 17 years. That’s not so bad. I’m planning on celebrating properly all weekend. To Abe, Nick, my brother, my Dad, the Dans, (Leavitt and Harris) the Matts, (Dorfman and Carey) Chris Dunham, and everyone else who watched at Melissa’s apartment those lazy summers, or who went with me to a game, we will celebrate our victory in proper fashion in due time. We don’t have to rush, we will be champions forever. To anyone and everyone who has followed the Sox, I raise a toast. To the World Champion 2004 Boston Red Sox.
Wednesday, October 27, 2004
World Series Game 3: Viva El Gran Pedro
I was going to spend the rest of this entry complaining about Fox’s TV coverage, but everyone knows its terrible, so there reason to harp on them doing things like zooming on a Taco Bell sign, or McCarver pointing out that Pujols holds on runners at first no matter the situation because he feels more comfortable, followed by a shot of Pujols playing behind the runner the next inning, or a freaking interview with “Leon,” in the middle of a World Series game. (Seriously, why didn’t someone simply push Leon and Chris Myers off the balcony? I am pretty sure they would have been granted clemency for committing a charitable act.) So instead I will simply say this. Red Sox fans, take a deep breath. We’re almost there. Can you taste it?
Tuesday, October 26, 2004
More Thoughts on 80-20
My complaints back then were that 80-20 didn't seem to have a real direction, that they didn't seem to know who they wanted to endorse. Their incredibly late endorsement of John Kerry sort of points to this; neither candidate took the Asian American population seriously enough to make any effort to garner 80-20's support earlier. But that's not what I'm wanted to share. What I actually want to share, dear readers, is a retraction! Yikes! Not a full retraction, mind you; but I think I jumped the gun on condemning 80-20 for a few incorrect reasons.
I had thought that 50-50 voting splits demonstrate a sort of equality; caucasians vote 50-50, this shows that their needs are being served. This isn't totally true. Asian Americans vote 50-50 because usually their voting issues are not race-related. This might seem to imply that racism against Asian Americans is nonexistent. But all it really means is that blatant and flagrant discrimination is gone. Discrimination and racism can still occur in subtle, small ways that aren't big enough to raise a fit over, but are still wrong and need to be corrected. Like I said earlier, other people aren't going to fight this fight for you, so even though the discrimination may be slight, we do need groups to fight for equality. Although, would it really be so bad for a group to just fight for minority rights in general? Shouldn't the NAACP be concerned with racism of any kind? 80-20, too, for that matter?
It's things like this that still make me hesitant to actually like 80-20. I guess the idealist in me wants to point out that having a group fight for just Asian American rights is merely promoting racial divisiveness. But from a pragmatic standpoint, groups like this regrettably need to exist.
However, I do want to clarify my previous post. 80-20 doesn't want Asian Americans to just vote for the winning candidate as I implied. I thought that I had read an e-mail stating that fact, and maybe I did, but their main point is that they want 80% of them to vote for the candidate that they endorse, based on who serves their needs best. (Even if I think those needs are petty.) I still don't think this will work; not enough of us face discrimination to make it our hot-button issue. Most of us have already aligned ourselves with a party and will continue to vote on those lines. I suppose if enough racially minded Asian Americans vote based on 80-20's endorsement to give them a 65-35 split, that might be enough for 80-20 to consider themselves successful.
So there's my half-retraction. But... if you're an Asian American, don't vote for Kerry simply because 80-20. Vote for whoever you would have voted for.
Monday, October 25, 2004
What is a slut?
Dictionary.com defines slut as “A woman considered sexually promiscuous,” and it is that definition that inspires vitriol from girls. “Oh there are such double standards.” Or “If a guy sleeps with a lot of girls he is considered a player, but a girl is called a slut.” Cry me a River. First of all these standards and hating girls so fear doesn’t come from guys. Guys like promiscuous girls, and respect them equally as chaste girls, so long as promiscuous girls respect themselves. It is other girls that make catty comments and give each other looks. Self-doubt and discomfort is driven by members of their own gender. So don't blame guys for double standards. It is also girls that willingly sleep with men that are labeled so called players. If girls wanted to avoid the double standard, they could easily fix the problem in a two-fold manner. 1) Stop making catty comments about each other, and don’t hate on a girl for getting ass with different guys. 2) Spread the wealth. Hook up with some neglected guys who don’t get much ass. They’ll probably treat you much better anyways.
Anyways the definition dictionary.com provides is outdated. In the 21st century, “slut” is not gender-specific. The reality is young men and women are looking to get laid. There’s nothing wrong with this, and we shouldn't label or hate on people for having sex. It’s natural to explore when you’re young, to try out different partners, to find something that makes you feel comfortable, respected and loved. And if you are horny, or haven’t gotten laid in a while, or it’s a weekend night, what's wrong with getting girl to touch your penis? It's au natural baby.
What is a slut then? Is any promiscuity allowed? Are we all sluts? The answer depends on a person's standards, self-respect, and patterned behavior.
Lets take a hyopthetical (Ha!) example. You are a girl who hooks up with alot of guys. No I mean ALOT of guys. That won't necessairly get you labeled a slut. But then you start factoring in circumstantial evidence. You get drunk and say things like “I just want to find someone who will lick my pussy.” You have sex with someone on the dance floor with thousands of other people around you. You have sex with your boyfriends fraternity “big brother,”…on your boyfriends bed. Certainly this girl would be rightfully labelled the slut of all sluts.
Girls may cry out "A guy wouldnt be labelled a slut for doing this!" Well let's consider this. If you are a guy, you might often say before going out “I just want to get my dick sucked.” Or “I just want to get laid tonight.” Every guy has said this once. Many have probably gone out and accomplished that goal. Are these men all sluts? No. And a girl that does the same... occasionally is not either. But if you continually go out trying to just get off with the next guy or girl, or you commit some outrageous act like sucking off the entire Varsity hockey team one after the other then the collective can not help but react and call you what you are. You are a slut.
As Lee Roth says, “There is a fine line between slutiness and awesomeness.” In the end, only you can be the judge of your own standards. If you start feeling disrespected by others or yourself, or a tool for other people’s base sexual desires…you probably need to fully consider your behavior and see if you’re comfortable with it. If you treat yourself with respect and confidence, and are comfortable with your own actions, (and not just comfortable with them when you are shitfaced,) then it will be hard for other people to give you labels. You can only be a slut by acting like one.
Saturday, October 23, 2004
A view of the Red Sox
But it's good to root for the Red Sox because as of right now, they're still cursed, they're still the underdogs, and they've still had 86 years without a championship. But that will all change if they actually win the World Series.
In fact, if and when the Red Sox do win the World Series, I will switch from liking them to hating them. My reasons for cheering for them are three-fold: 1) Marmar deserves it, 2) It's been 86 years, and 3) They're enemies of the Yankees.
So when they win, the reasons will change 1) That bitch Marmar will have had 3 championships in 4 years, 2) It will have been 0 years, and 3) well, I'll still root for them over the Yankees. But it's not really like the Red Sox are that good for baseball either, they spend the second most money in the league. And for that matter, the Cubs are right up there too. Why do these teams deserve our sympathy just because they're too inept to spend the money right? From now on, I'm rooting for teams in the AL Central. Except for the Indians, who I wll never like.
I mean, right now I'm a little drunk off all the Red Sox hype. Even Curt Schilling's "God was with me" comments didn't bother me. Of course, come next year, I'll be able to hate him properly. Red Sox in 7.
Thursday, October 21, 2004
World View destroyed…Euphoric…Unfucking believable…Beer
World View Destroyed: What do I mean by this? In the world of sports, the Yankees have been the winners, and the Red Sox have been the losers. In dealing with New Yorkers, some of whom I like, and most of whom I find annoying, it has been a constant battle for me, and every Red Sox fan, to remain optimistic, to talk up our team, to bash the Yanks, because history was against us. Sometimes we lost to the Yankees because their team was better (1999.) Sometimes we lost to the Yankees because the teams were damn close, and things just didn’t go our way, which happens in baseball. (1978, 2003.) But we did always lose. That was true
And what did Yankees fans want from us? They wanted us to bow down to the great NY. To admit that there was a fundamental greatness about the Yankees, that somehow derived from them being placed in New York City. That they were winners, and we were losers. Not only losers, but naïve losers at that who should just accept fate, not care about our team, not get wrapped up in the team.
Every Red Sox fan had to deal with this reality in their own way. Some attributed it to a curse. Some bought t-shirts with “Yankees Suck,” spread across them to advertise that they didn’t care, they refused to budge, they would back the loveable losers till the end of time.
Now we have reached the end of time. What does this really mean for Red Sox fans? We now have ammunition; and an H-bomb at that. An answer to “1918,” “Bucky Dent,” and “Babe Ruth.” And it’s fucking fantastic let me tell you. From now on, when an asshole New Yorker taunts me about my baseball team’s futility, I can reply “maybe so, but at least we never blew a 3-0 lead to you, like you did in 2004, when we won and your team pulled the biggest choke of all time, you team of chokers. Oh and your city sucks,” rather than mumbling “fuck off,” or trying to spin the positive “this year is different,” schtick. Because, ladies and gentlemen, this year finally is different.
Euphoric: I can’t explain how I felt afterwards. The emotion wasn’t the same as when the Pats won the Super Bowl the first time, that was more just sheer joy and exultation. This was more, “Did I just see what I thought I saw?” Followed by the realization that I had, that we had beaten those fuckers FINALLY. This was followed by giddy laughter, singing along to “Dirty Water,” pumping my fists and clapping as the people in the apartment across from me pointed and laughed. I don’t blame them. They can’t understand.
Unfucking believable: I have a bit of an imagination, and may have imagined how the Red Sox would win the World Series a time or two. Obviously it involved beating the Yankees. (It also involved beating the Cards in the World Series, after I moved to STL.) But rarely did I even imagine we would come back from a 3-0 deficit. If my imagination got going that strongly, my rational side would chime in “come on Patrick, that’s unrealistic.” Well we just did. Anything is possible, that’s how I feel.
Beer: A toast to the 2004 Red Sox: you were the better team and deserve to play for the World championship representing the American League. A toast also to the Yankees and Yankee fans. This is a tough loss I’m sure, but you’ve won your fair share of titles you can think about. Sure you choked, but if you try really hard, and maybe boost that payroll over 200 million, you may someday get back to the promised land. Sure this may be tough to swallow, but don’t worry. There is always next year.
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
24 hours from now
It pretty much has to come down to Pedro, pitching relief, against the Yankees in a tie game or with a small lead. He will either lead us to the promised land or be forced to bear the brunt of our sorrows. Blah Blah Blah. Can we start the game please?
And yes A-rod is a bitch, but didnt we all know this already?
Tuesday, October 19, 2004
a-rod slaps like a little girl
Monday, October 18, 2004
Jon Stewart vs. The Media? I want in!
But the clip shows more than that. It's clear that the show is indeed "theater" as Stewart accuses midway through the clip. They don't deny that. But what is interesting is that Tucker Carlson (the guy on the right, literally and figuratively) refuses to stop playing his part. It's clear that everyone involved knows that this isn't a forum for debate, it's news entertainment. Carlson isn't pissed just because Stewart is criticizing the show, he's pissed because he feels Stewart should know better. It's like someone coming onto a WWF Royal Rumble and trying to plead with the wrestlers that they are promoting violence. Come on, Jon Stewart, we all know what's going on, just play along!
At the end, Stewart says that although the alleged hacks themselves believe in their party, they don't make honest arguments, and that they believe the "ends justify the means". This is a point I've tried to touch on in the past. I realize that the Bush campaign isn't evil, that they are doing what they think is best for America, and I realize that sometimes they feel the need to bend the truth, with situations like Swift Boats Veterans for Truth, and Kerry's record on taxes. Basically, they believe the populace to be stupid and pliable, so they feel that the ends do indeed justify the means.
I've often said in the past that humanity is stupid and pliable. But maybe it's not so simple. Humanity... well, Americans, at least, are lazy. We switch on the TV or open up a newspaper/web browser and get our news from one or two sources. We can't help but be swayed by the media that presents us with a skewed picture. The media, and the politicians, have a responsibility to the truth. Americans can't possibly be expected to research for themselves whether SBVT had an actual case against Kerry (they did not), so when SBVT got media coverage as if they were a legitimate source, people assumed it to be a truthful story. Yes, you can blame the populace for being gullible, but you can't blame them for believing organizations that are supposed to be held to a higher standard. So is it a result of us being stupid or lazy? The answer is yes.
If we held the media to a higher standard of truth, wouldn't they then hold the politicians to that higher standard as well, holding their feet to the proverbial fire? Well, that's the theory. We want our media to be sacred, to be the Fourth Estate, to tell us the truth and to be objective. But the media is a business. Does the truth really make money? Or do shows like Crossfire, where people yell at each other, like a sort of intellectual sport? Couldn't we live in world where both sides presented logical, rational arguments, and let the people decide that way? I believe people to be stupid at times, but if they were exposed to less fluff and more substance, perhaps our votes would be less fluff and more substance. The real problem here is that not unlike a prisoner's dilemma, whichever side resorted to mudslinging would probably win the minds of the populace, and both sides would be forced to do it. I guess that's where we find ourselves today, stuck on the sub-optimal end of a nationwide prisoner's dilemma.
And to break it up, what can we do? Impose stricter libel laws? Have government oversight of the media? (yeah, that'll work) As citizens, I'd like to think we could switch off terrible shows like Crossfire. And I'd like to think journalists could hold themselves to a higher standard. But, dear reader, we both know those things aren't going to happen. So who will impose this order? I wish I knew. And unfortunately, Jon Stewart doesn't have all the answers for us. Please tell me somebody else does.
Friday, October 15, 2004
To the Nation: Nothing is Over
Why? Because we are playing the next three games in Fenway, and the rain out has assured we can manipulate our pitching staff to start Pedro in game 5. Kevin Brown and El Duque don’t scare me on the mound, we crushed them both as recently as a few weeks ago. We can get to their bullpen, to Gordon and Rivera. Arroyo can step up. Wakefield dominated the Yankees in the ALCS last year. Pedro can take a shot at redemption in the comfort of Boston, away from any “Who’s Your Daddy?” chants in Game 5.
That’s right folks, I am calling the 3 game sweep of the Yankees at Fenway. We are sending it back to the Bronx. The bats will take up in Game 3 for a 10 plus run victory. Any doubts surrounding our team’s ability will fade quickly as the home crowd rallies the team to 8 runs in the first two innings. Smiles and hugs will be the standard for the clubhouse and the stands tomorrow night.
In game 4, the Yankees will go for the jugular, but sparked by a late inning brawl, the Red Sox show their resilience and score the game-winning run off Rivera in the 8th for the hard fought victory. How the tides will have turned.
In game 5, Pedro will finally get some run support against the Yankees, as the Red Sox continue with their extreme hot/cold performance against Mussina by chasing him after 3. And with that, we will storm the Bronx to take them out on their turf.
2003 was tough, disheartening, whatever. It’s over. 1986 is over. 1978 is over. 1918 is over. 2004 is now what matters. We have a great team. We are better than the Yankees. We can come back from a 2-0 deficit with no problems. Let’s think positive, and not fear the future, not fear a collapse, not fear losing, but prepare for victory, prepare for redemption, prepare for glory. Onward you 2004 Red Sox.
Monday, October 11, 2004
Game 3...and Tribe V Outkast
On my AIM profile I have had a question of the week. I thought it might be a good idea to start posing them to the blog readership, feeble though it may be. So I am starting by answering last week’s question. I will then post on my AIM profile a new question for you to ruminate, and post an answer every week/10 days or so. People can post responses in the comments section. Anyways this week’s question was: Who is the better rap group, A Tribe Called Quest or Outkast?
Outkast is no doubt the more popular group of the two, which of course means very little in determining who is better. Both groups contain two MCs and associate themselves with certain producers, Organized Noise in the case of Outkast, and Shaeed Muhammad in the case of Tribe.
Up until this point, both groups have released 5 albums, with Tribe breaking up after their 5th in 1998. The difference between the two groups, popularly and musically is that Tribe’s last two albums, Beats Rhymes Life and The Love Movement, were considered disappointments following their first three, while Outkast’s 4th and 5th albums, Stankonia and Speakerboxx/Love Below transformed them from rap superstars to pop superstars. Thus one would assume Outkast would take the battle, but it’s not that simple.
Why? Because Tribe’s first three albums are so freaking good. Not to say Outkast’s aren’t: ATLiens, Aquemini, and Southernplayalisticcadillacmusic are all incredible. But I would say that no group has released three successive albums as good as Tribe’s first three. So you have to give Tribe credit for a higher peak.
With regards to later albums, Stankonia is better than Beats Rhymes Life, although the difference isn’t as great as popular sentiment would dictate. That’s because I think Stankonia is slightly overrated, while Beats, Rhymes is underrated. I also am not sure Speakerboxxx/The Love Below should even enter into the conversation. Big Boi has one appearance on The Love Below, the same amount as Norah Jones. Andre sings two choruses on Speakerboxxx, giving him the same amount of appearances as Killer Mike, with less impact. Really these are two solo albums, and only one of them is consitently good (Speakerboxxx.)
If you are breaking down the impact both groups have had on rap music, I would say it’s probably about equal overall, although Outkast clearly has greater influence in the present day. I love both groups’ producers and MCs, but forced to choose I would rate Tribe’s production as slightly better, with Big Boi and Andre being better rappers than Q-Tip and Phife. Of course this is somewhat muted by the fact Andre has regressed into a crooning caricature. Whatever you do, don’t believe the crap about Andre being a musically genius. He is basically selling out, but in such a weird way no one can call him on it. Very savvy. If I was Big Boi it would drive me crazy, until the royalty checks started coming in. For this, I would give Tribe a bonus for being loyal to the spirit of hip hop. Andre has admitted that hip hop no longer interests him, while Tribe still represents hip hop in its purest form, as I hope we will see on their new album.
Outkast, on the other hand, has to be given credit for releasing some amazing singles over the years. Elevators, ATLiens, Rosa Parks, BOB, Ms. Jackson. Just amazing, amazing songs with mass appeal. Tribe has several songs that can match up with these, including Buggin Out, Oh My God, etc., but other than Scenario and maybe Check the Rhime, none of their songs hold the same long lasting popular appeal as Outkast’s best. For that, I give Outkast the slight edge overall. But with these two groups, you can’t find too much wrong with anything they’ve done.
Thursday, October 07, 2004
The X-Prize is over!
Three days ago, the group from Scaled Composites won the prize, having completed the first trip a week earlier. Their ship, SpaceShipOne, launches from another plane after taking off from a normal runway. (It also looks incredibly cool.) In any case, is this really a reason to get excited? Well, in one sense, yes, because it will be remembered in the history books. But for a few other reasons, I'm just not as excited as I thought I would be. For one, 100 km is sort of a weird cut-off. It's not as if you've escaped the earth's gravity well. You haven't really escaped the atmosphere. But those are nitpicks. I'm mainly not excited because it still seems a way off before actual commercial space flight is viable for the masses. And what's the point of going up in space if you're just going to come back to the same spot? I'd rather go skydiving.
For a few other reasons, I think the newly announced X Prize Cup is more interesting. Taking the idea a little bit further, the X Prize Cup is just a bunch of small competitions, like who can send the most people up at a time, who can make the most flights at a time, etc.
But still, what's the point of space travel if you're just going to come back to earth? Isn't the whole thrill of sci-fi space travel that you could go to crazy places like other planets, other solar systems? Call me up when I can go to the moon. Otherwise, it's basically the same as going up really high into an airplane. But I guess, small steps will get us there, and I have to give credit to them, because it's got to start with something, and they've got the ball rolling.
Sox-Angels Game 2 Thoughts
-Both starters had to deal with the additional burden of the home plate umpire's miniscule strike zone. In general, this benefited the Sox, as they are a much more walk-oriented team than the Angels; the small strike zone magnified this advantage. While I appreciate the benefit for the Sox, as a baseball fan, everyone was a loser, since the game took 4 fucking hours.
- We smoked their bullpen, which is supposedly the Angels overwhelming strength. Whoops.
-I try not to get clichey about players, but damn Pedro's got heart. Two ten pitch ABs to close out the 7th, finishing with the K of Figgins. (Never mind that 99 Pedro would have simply gassed both Figgins and Eckstein, thats not important.) Viva El Gran Pedro.
-Bellhorn needs to be benched. Getting picked off second with the bases loaded, two outs and one of the top 10 hitters in the league up is beyond unacceptable. If I had done this in high school, I'd have ended up in Suffolk County Prison after the game. I'm not kidding, my coach was a psycho prison guard. Bellhorn deserves no less for pulling this stunt in the freaking playoffs.
Confidence: High as Dan Harris
Tuesday, October 05, 2004
Sox-Angels Game One
-Offense looked good in that Damon was getting on base and Manny was hitting everything well. I missed the double and the home run, but he smoked the ball off the pitcher in his AB in the 8th. If they are both hot in the playoffs, thats a very very good sign. Plus we scored on an freaking RBI bunt single, for the first time since the glory days of Otis Nixon.
-Schilling pitched ok, 6 2/3 3 runs 2 walks, 4 Ks, 2 HRs. Had Pedro done this, people would be complaining. It's easy to be a "clutch" pitcher when your team score 9 runs for you. No doubt Colon will shut us out tomorrow while Pedro gives up 3 runs, 2 earned, and people panic...no wait I am supposed to be optimistic.
-I miss watching baseball on TV. I most certainly do not miss baseball commentators. It's amazing that I can love Chris Berman on NFL Primetime, yet hate him so when he calls baseball games. (Tangent: Someone told me a story once that he had seen Berman in a strip club with Jim Kelly tag teaming girls. No wonder he is such a Bills fan.) And it only took an inning of Rick Suttcliffe before my ears started bleeding. Ear rupture occured when Ricky started talking about how the Angels were proving a point by closing the score from 8-1 to 8-3, and that they wouldnt quit. Gee Rick it's the fucking playoffs...I would sure hope a team wouldnt quit that easy.
-We are better than the Angels. And the Yankees. And the Twins. And any of the teams in that other league where the pitchers hit. Of course it's the postseason, anything can happen, our team is by no means perfect, (can any baseball team be perfect?) and if we get into close games, I worry our manager will blow it. But I like our chances. And with that said, time to start looking at airfares to Boston for about two weeks from now.
The comprehensive armed forces post
Firstly, I want to clarify my previous post. What I essentially wanted to say in my previous post, but was too ineloquent to say was that I don't agree with Tillman's belief that joining the army was the right thing to do, although I wanted to make sure I complimented him for his strength of conviction. Basically, I would have felt similarly about him had he decided to become a missionary trying to spread christianity to Afghanistan, or if he decided to quit football and work for the Bush campaign.
Enough of that. What I want to discuss here is whether or not the armed forces really are a noble or worthwhile institution. On the surface, almost certainly not. They are a group of people designed and trained to kill and make war, and the age-old argument is that if nobody fought, there'd be no war. Well, I'm not going to pretend that it is that simple, because sometimes wars do need to be fought and regardless of what one person wants, other people are going to want to fight. But that doesn't excuse most wars in human history. As Marmaniac pointed out, WWII was not fought to prevent or stop genocide (maybe the only good reason to go to war, human rights violations) but really to stop an a landgrab by the Germans and prevent a fascist rise to power. But have we ever gone to war to stop human rights violations? Arguably, in more recent times, maybe in Bosnia. But why not Rwanda, why not Darfur, why not in various regions of South America? No, more often that not, armies and war are a tool to promot genocide and murder than to stop it.
So I will give credit to the US armies in that regard. As far as armies go, they're pretty benign, and most of the soldiers in the armed forces are in there for the right reasons: (including Tillman) they believe that they can help promote peace in Iraq, Afghanistan, stop terrorism, etc. At least those are partly the reasons. Obviously many of the soldiers in the armed forces are there for their careers and scholarships. But I'm talking about how they feel about their service in the armed forces. And barring a few bad eggs, like the ones that humiliated the prisoners in Iraq, most are probably more aware of human rights than any other soldiers in the past.
But the fact remains; they're still allying themselves with an institution that in theory, kills people, and in practice, kills people. And the US army, more than ever, is being used as a political tool rather than as a group that is only used in the most dire circumstances. So in one regard, the US army is shifting away from the traditional role of conquerors and murderers, which is good, but also shifting away from the ideal role of armies, which is to be used only in self-defense. With the US sending its armies pre-emptively and into countries which are of no threat to the US, it's hard to see the armed forces as that noble.
Another thing I want to talk about is the public perception of wars. Two good cases in point are WWII and Vietnam. The perception of each was/is vastly different; WWII being the good war and Vietnam being the bad war. Yet somehow the Bush campaign has turned Kerry's war protests as unamerican and disrespectful. On one hand, the Vietnam war was more recent, and veterans and contemporaries of that war are in power, but on the other hand, it has been largely blasted on all sides by anybody with a brain. But WWII was a war that was deemed good, necessary, useful. Our boys didn't kill too many innocents, they sort of helped the Jews (a little late), and we asserted ourselves as the dominant nation in the world. Vietnam, we committed massacres, we fought against people that had done no wrong to us, and we involved ourselves in a civil war that we really had no business in. It was a largely political war, designed to give us a military foothold in a region with an uncertain future and where the US thought its interests should be protected. Sound familiar? Oh yeah, and of course, we lost.
The armed forces are neccessary in the world today, unfortunately. As I see it, there should be two acceptable ways to use an army- 1) Use them only defensively and when your own country's security and safety are threatened, and 2) Use them offensively to protect human rights.
But the US has instead gotten a weird perversion of the two. We don't defend human rights, as is evident in Rwanda and Darfur. But we did use them offensively, ostensibly to protect our security... in Iraq. Afghanistan would have fallen into use 1. But Iraq and Vietnam reeked of political wars that were done to do preemptively protect our interests. And we violated the sovereignty of those nations.
And why I am discussing all these past wars with respect to the nobility of joining up? Well, that's the nature of the beast. When you join up, you're beinc controlled by a bunch of politicians who may or may not be using the soldiers for the right reasons. If you don't agree with the war in Iraq, then it's too bad. You don't get to make the decision to go to war. Some suits in Washington do. And they probably don't care about nobility and the individual soldier's values.
So that's what you're joining when you ally yourself with the armed forces: something useful, practical, necessary probably not evil, but not noble, at least not by my standards.
Friday, October 01, 2004
Generic MLB Awards Column
Player who had the Worst Year: Nomar Garciaparra. Gets hurt with an injury that is supposed to cause him to miss a week, and ends up being out two months. Sees his value in the free agent market drop by at least 20 million dollars. Gets traded from the team where he was considered a legend, only to see his trade spark a 20-2 run by his ex-team to secure a playoff berth. Team he ends up on blows Wild Card lead with a series of excruciating one-run losses to the dregs of the NL. Nomar must have done something real bad to deserve this karma
Team that Foolishly Thought They had a Chance: Did you know that the Brewers were over .500 at the All-Star Break? They are now 66-92. No one will ever feel bad for them however, since they are Selig’s team. You know what’s amazing about the baseball world? That the owners will keep supporting a commissioner who runs one of the three worst franchises in the entire industry, in terms of team performance. Of course he is much better at important things like getting publically funded stadia, which is all that actually matters to the owners.
Team I most enjoyed watching suck: The 65-93 Toronto Blue Jays. To BP and Rob Neyer: where are those J.P. Ricciardi is the next genius columns now? Ricciardi was one of two GMs, (along with wonder-boy Theo) who was profiled in the book Chasing Steinbrenner. Looks like they should change the name to Chasing Steinbrenner/Chasing Pinella, as the Blue Jays will finish behind the Devil Rays, of all teams. According to Ricciardi, the Blue Jays are in the third year of a 5 year rebuilding plan. Of course, in the three years before the rebuilding began, the Jays averaged 85 wins. Since then they’ve gone from 80 to 78, to this year’s 65ish. Nice plan. Now, doesn’t Ricciardi’s record insinuate he should be fired? Or does he get a free pass because he knows what VORP is?
Sucky Team I felt the most Sorry for: I would say Seattle, but you made your own bed with crappy signings, and hoping ancient players like Edgar, Tee-Ball, and Olerud wouldn’t fall off the wagon. Thus, no one.
Most annoying outcome of season: Tie between Roger Clemens not retiring and perhaps winning a Cy Young, and the Braves winning the NL East AGAIN. Clemens makes me mad because we had to go through this whole Clemens love-fest last year including giving him undeserving All-Star game spots when everyone in the world knew he was coming back. The Braves, I mean what can you say? Bobby Cox may have a record of playoff failure, but he has to be in the HOF. Jaret Wright? Mike Hampton? If I was Derek Lowe, I’d sign a one year deal with Atlanta, use Cox and Mazzone to win a Cy Young, then hit the market a year later and clean up.
Outcome I am most Rooting for this Weekend: The Angels to beat the A’s, which is foolish, since the Sox will almost certainly play the winner of this series in the first round, and we have owned the A’s the last two years. But I just want to see the Moneyball teams all fail out of principle. What can I say I’m a hater. Oh yea, I’d also like to see the Cubbies make the WC, but I think we all know they have no chance.
And now its time for some Red Sox related awards…
Tenth Player Award: Given to the “non-star” player whose performance lifted us to victory; past winners include Joe Hesketh and of course, Mike “Gator” Greenwell, before he blossomed into the superstar we all knew and loved. This year’s winner is Johnny Damon, who not only batted over .300 with 20 homers from the leadoff stop (and will finish with 25 plus win shares,) but entertained us throughout the year with his hair/beard combo, inspiring me to grow out my hair, which has led to a remarkably increase in my attractiveness to the opposite sex. Now if that isn’t tenth player award worthy, I don’t know what is.
Caucasian Superstar that all the fans connect to Award: Curt Schilling. Not only has he pitched great, but he also calls in to WEEI and is a member of the Sons of Sam Horn Red Sox chat board! So this makes all us stupid fans love him because we get to pretend that he is our friend. What must the other players in the clubhouse be thinking of Schilling? Maybe “what a giant fucking loser this guy is.” Seriously, when I am spending a lot of time lurking at Red Sox message boards and listening to sports talk radio, I consider it a sign of depression and that I need to find much better thing to do with my time. And I am an out-of-college scrub. This guy is getting paid 10 mil a year and still does it. What a loser. Of course, we all knew this about Schilling after the story where he beaned Doug Glanville over a dispute about Everquest etiquette.
Shunned superstar we will drive out of town to our Heart’s Regret Award: Pedro Martinez. I, like the rest of Red Sox nation, am wholly concerned by Pedro’s performance. Everyone is focusing on the games against the Yankees, of course he also got shelled by Tampa and Baltimore, which is of much greater concern. My Dad and I were discussing Pedro, and both think it actually is time for him to move on. I am not saying I want him to, I still love watching him pitch and want him on my team. But its hard being a star in Boston, you can only do it for so long. And Pedro needs some warm weather for his body. I think he’d have a better career if he move to say…Anaheim. Here’s hoping if this is his last hurrah, he leaves with a few playoff shutouts for us to remember him by.
Finally, what you’ve all been waiting for, the real awards
AL Rookie of the Year: Cesar Crespo
NL Rookie of the Year: Khalil Greene (only because he is white and name Khalil)
AL Manager of the Year: Terry Francona, (because it will be that much more painful when he stands there blowing playoff game after playoff game.)
NL Manager of the Year: Bobby Cox.
AL Cy Young: Johan Santana. Dave has given you a few numbers on this site about how dominant he has been the last four months or so. Should be a lock, even for the idiots at BBWA.
NL Cy Young: No One. I abstain from voting. I refuse to acknowledge Clemens because he is a lying scum who should have been off my sports radar years ago. Will it ever end? Johnson has shown himself to be a giant prick this year, which is something fans in Seattle already knew. Jason Schmidt disgusted me by blowing this in the last two months and letting the AARP crew back into the running.
AL MVP: Manny Ramirez. Manny is having an average year, and may not break 30 win shares according to Hardball Times, who I don’t believe because I don’t like their numbers. Some other website has Manny with 35 Win Shares, a number I like much better, so I think I’ll believe them. People have made arguments for Sheffield and Vlad, including the brilliant argument that Vlad has more At Bats than Manny, thus deserves the award, which is basically arguing Vlad deserves the award for walking less. I will say this about Manny, when he stops hitting, our offense TANKS, and he is vital the the Red Sox' offensive success. But of course you could probably say that about any of the great players. So how bout I justify his selection by saying, I like it when players on my team win awards?
NL MVP: For all the Bonds creaming by the statheads, Albert Pujols actually had a better year than him last year. No seriously, Pujols had 41 Win Shares to Bonds’ 38 and should have won MVP. Of course the Cards weren’t the paper tiger juggernaut they appear to be this year. Anyways the writers missed their chance in 03 to break Bonds’ hold on the award, because in 2004 his numbers are just too good. .600 OBP. .800 SLG. Over 200 walks, while hitting .365 and leading a god awful team to a possible playoff spot, simply because his production (which will equal about 50 win shares,) is about the same as say, David Ortiz and Johnny Damon’s combined. Unbelievable. If you go back and look at a hitter like Ramirez’ best WEEK of the season, it may measure up to what Bonds does all year. Of course this is partly because pitchers are giant wusses and afraid of him, but until this changes, he’ll keep winning MVPs.
Coming Soon: Playoffs? Playoffs!