Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Rhodo

Well, yesterday I got back from Rhodo. I also developed a nasty little head cold. I slept all afternoon today and can't sleep right now so I guess I'll link to the Pictures I took this weekend.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Baseball Book

I've been reading another great baseball book for the last week or so. It's called Crazy '08 by Cait Murphy. Before I picked it up I had seen it had received more than a couple of very positive reviews. Any book about the dead ball era of baseball that is of good quality will get my attention.

This is baseball before the home run, before radio, before steel and concrete stadiums, baseball just asserting itself as the national past time and it's a game full of characters. That is what really drives this book is the character of the men on the field, umpires, players and managers. The reason there have been so many books written about baseball is because the length of the season and the pace of the game lend itself to storytelling. Because of that the game has always embraced its more colorful people. If you want to tell a good story it helps if the subject of your story is a little off the wall. This is not a problem in 1908. Cranks abound in this story and she brings in wonderful and funny anecdotal stories just as they are needed to illustrate a point she has made. I've always enjoyed baseball books that weave in short funny baseball stories into the main narrative and Murphy does it as good as anyone.

All the best baseball books are always about more than baseball. Baseball has always reflected what is happening in our country and Murphy takes that into account with some chapter length asides called "Time Outs." In each of these she examines what is going on in the United States in 1908. In the first one she describes the beautiful mess that is the city of Chicago and, in another one, she looks at the exclusion of Black Americans from the game and mainstream society.

The season is winding down and I'll probably finish it tomorrow. Now I got to go out there and find my next good read.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Awesome Picture

I just had to share a picture I found on one of my favorite blogs. I know I've mentioned this blog before. This guy collects, scans and posts pictures of Disneyland from the 1950's and 1960's. Some of his finds are precious. Recently he posted a picture not of Disneyland but of a parade from the 1950's that, to him, perfectly displayed what is so interesting about 1950's Americana. It's a beaut.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Interesting piece of art

Interested in purchasing a photograph of Patti Smith taken by Michael Stipe?

Monday, July 23, 2007

Library Closed again

As far as I can tell the Morrison Library will be open on Tuesday. Hopefully as the new roof cures it will stop releasing the fumes that have been the cause of this problem.

On a lighter note the comic Unshelved has a clever twist on the Harry Potter madness.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Rhodo?

You can tell we are nearing the end of July because I am starting to get hits on this blog from people searching for information on the Rhododendron Festival in Valle Crucis. I think that's what it's called. It's more commonly known as Rhodo. As I've mentioned before, I don't know much about it. I just go for the camping and the band. I've watched some of the softball games but I get jealous because I'm not playing. So I usually just chill at the campground.

I do know this, I will be going up on Friday, July 27th and coming home that Sunday. Remember, it's always the last full weekend in July.

If you are curious to see what the Valle Crucis area looks like may I recommend a website of a local photographer.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Charles Bukowski

His genius lives on the internets.
Holy Underwear

So, I guess you've heard about the study that announced Al-Qaeda is stronger now than it was a few years ago. My question is, if this is the most important struggle of our lifetime why has our retarded president allowed this to happen? Do you suppose it has anything at all to do with his misadventure in Iraq? Of course it does.

If you want to hear how desperate the administration is check out the dance Frances Townsend does on NPR. I love the reasoning here. It doesn't matter how badly Iraq was botched because whatever the U.S. was attempting to do internationally Al-Qaeda would be there trying to sabotage it. What I am hearing here is that it's been good for America that we have a president willing to create a quagmire in Iraq because it gives us a place to directly combat Al-Qaeda. If we had gone in there and done a good job then Al-Qaeda would have been forced to come to our shores. They can't do that now because they have Americans to kill in Iraq. President Bush's bungling of this war has saved American lives.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

More on 'roids

You know things are getting out of hand when Jesse Jackson gets involved. If you didn't think this was a big media event, Jackson's participation should convince you otherwise.

As far as Kevin's response yesterday, I personally think that no matter what Bonds does the home run record belongs to Hank Aaron until Alex Rodriguez or Pujols break it. The record for home runs in a season is 61, any season in the 'roid era where a player broke 61 is disregarded. Simple as that. Set the record books back to 1997 and prepare to accept a drop in attendance for a few years. The fans will come back, baseball has survived in spite of the best efforts of the owners to destroy the game for the last 100 years.

We all may be complicit in this travesty but that doesn't mean baseball can't, for once, do the right thing and reset the home run record book. The career home run record is the most important record in sports and for that reason alone action should be taken concerning Bonds and Mcguire and Sosa.

I give you this set of statistics to show you why Bonds is a cheater. Here is the ranking of home runs in a season hit by a player the year he hit 36 years old. The top two? An admitted 'roid user and Bonds. Why is there even a debate about this?

Home Runs
Rank Player HR Year
1. Barry Bonds 73 2001
2. Rafael Palmeiro 47 2001
3. Babe Ruth 46 1931
4. Andres Galarraga 41 1997
5. Reggie Jackson 39 1982
6. Hank Aaron 38 1970
7. Mike Schmidt 37 1986
8. Vinny Castilla 35 2004
Gary Gaetti 35 1995
10. Gary Sheffield 34 2005


These statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference (A dandy site if you like baseball stats even a little bit).

Monday, July 16, 2007

Barry Bonds

I see where Barry Bonds has been having a rough week and he claims he is ashamed by his quality of play and that he has disgraced his uniform. I think he's feeling guilty about dishonoring, due to his drug use, a hallowed record by passing one of the bravest and most honorable men that has ever played the game. Barry Bonds is not in a slump. He's ashamed of himself. It's about goddamn time.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Movie I done watched

Last night, with a little reluctance, I watched Smokin' Aces. I was reluctant to watch it because when it was first released theatrically, it looked like a big stupid modern action movie to me. It was a big stupid action movie but what at first was a confusing music video type of movie with quick cuts and washed out colors turned into a fun movie where a bunch of whacked out assassins are racing each other to collect a million dollar purse for knocking off a mob informant. With the cast of characters they had, along with the pretty good casting, they had a fun movie going for about an hour.

For some reason this movie fell into the same trap many science fiction novels do, it had to tell a bigger story. Our hero can't just save his own ass, he's got to save the world. There's a subplot concerning a dying mob boss and his true identity that just gets in the way of what could have a been a bloody hit-man style retelling of It's a Mad, Mad, Mad World. This movie reminds me of the time I saw Kirk Gibson hit a ball out of Tiger Stadium back in the 80's. It was a majestic towering fly ball that was foul by a good ten yards. People in the stands were stunned. We were witnessing what could be an exciting baseball moment. On the next pitch Gibson struck out on a ball that was almost over his head.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Space tours

Pretty fun tour of space through Hubble photos.

Top fifty web site

Time Magazine has come out with their list again. It's usually pretty informative. You can view it here.

I was just screwing around on that site and I found a site that allows you to text yourself in the future. I am very down with that.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Sleazebag president

I was just reading this blog over at The Nation's website and it really is pretty slimy of our beloved president to commute the sentence of an associate that helped cover his ass when before he was willing to put death row in Texas in overdrive when he was governor there. Jesus, he must wake up screaming every night. 30 months is prison is 'excessive' but killing retarded people is just fine.
To close to true to be funny

George Bush video blog.
A Question

Does this look like me?


Make your own Simpsons avatar here.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Howdy

Sometime Friday night I came across a showing of Lethal Weapon. I hadn't seen the movie in several years and after a few minutes I realized what a piece of shit it is. I admit I had been out to the Comet Grill that evening and I had had more than a few beers before I even got to the Comet Grill. I'm still pretty convinced that what I was watching on the screen was nothing but a warm turd sammich.

I don't know how I missed how glorified the violence is in that movie. I also am not sure if I would have been so aware of the fetish-like enjoyment of violence that you see in it if Gibson hadn't made that bloody Jesus movie and Southpark hadn't made its responding episode.

I think my favorite moment in that movie is the faux family ending. After these two just spent the last two hours punching and shooting their way through L.A. only pausing long enough to get tortured they then meet for a family Christmas dinner. I guess that is what passes for the proper remembrance of Jesus. You kill a lot of folks but your OK if you pause long enough to honor the invisible man in the sky.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Boys and their toys

I was trying to catch this all night. I wanted to get a picture of a mortar shot right as it went off. Got one good one. You can see it here.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Great piece of writing

To further add to my regret that he has passed, Vanity Fair has published an amazing essay that David Halberstam finished shortly before he died. You can read it here.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Downtown Panorama

Yesterday I drove downtown and attempted a couple of panorama shots. I find a nice area by the Panthers' stadium where some construction was being done. Whenever a building is torn down downtown there is a chance it will open up a view that you haven't seen before. Yesterday I saw this
Fascist and fascister

I see Putin and Bush are still having some kind of debate over where to place the worthless missile defense system. This thing can barely hit a missile they know will be in the air. Not just in the air but its exact location and speed. What does it mean when two world leaders are publicly debating the placement of a weapons system that doesn't work? Even in the surreal bubble Bush lives in this is a little strange.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

MP3 Blog

The last weekend of every July I go camping in the mountains. The reason I go is the Rhododendron Festival I have mentioned dozens of times over the years. I always meet new and interesting people up there and last year I met a guy who was a huge, huge fan of Guy Clark. I was familiar with Guy Clark but hadn't really gone out of my way to hear any of his albums from start to finish. A few months ago I purchased a CD that has his first two albums.

The one song that really has stood out to me is Desperados Waiting for a Train. It's the story about the relationship between and young an old man. It's a tribute to an old, long gone friend. It's a song my step Dad (an admirer of old men) would have loved. It's a song I played while driving north for my Grandfather's funeral that I almost had to turn off. I have never heard another song that even approaches this song in how it portrays the way a younger man feels about an older mentor, that first person that treats him like one of the guys and not some stupid kid.

I present Desperados Waiting for a Train by Guy Clark off his first album called Old No. 1. It came out in 1975.