Mansfield Fox

Law student. Yankees fan. Massive fraggle. Just living the American dream.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

The Return

Back in New Haven, and (finally) with a functioning internet connection. I'll probably post wrap-ups of flyback week and Halloween at some point, possibly tonight. In the meantime, keep cool. Maybe make yourself a nice dry martini.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Imagine the Possibilities

Sen. Curt Schilling (R-Mass.)

I Got You, Babe.

Congratulations to the Red Sox. They finally brought a World Series title back to Yawkey Way. A few thoughts:

1) (Others have pointed this out, but:) it's entirely fitting ( Meta-ironic? Perhaps.) that the Red Sox' 86-year drought was finally ended by a man actually wearing a red sock.

2) For a washed-up former superstar and a flake who couldn't handle the pressure of a big situation, Pedro and Lowe sure pitched pretty well in the ALCS and World Series. That said, I think it would be a mistake to sign either of these guys to big-money long-term deals in the off-season. Pedro can still be Classic Pedro occasionally, but he's mostly New Pedro - a headcase who can't pitch in cold weather and who goes into mysterious four-game skids from time to time, while Lowe really is a flake. My predictions: Pedro to Anaheim, Lowe either stays in Boston or goes to St. Louis.

3) What're they going to do with all the "ESRUC: Reverse the Curse" merchandise in Boston? Apparently, keep selling it.

4) The better team won. Boston's lineup was at least the equal of St. Louis'. Neither Manny nor Ortiz are as dangerous a hitter as Pujols, but Boston sent nine good hitters to the plate (even Lowe was decent last night). In terms of pitching it was a laugher. The Sox worst starter, Wakefield, probably has better stuff than all but the Cardinals' best starter, Morris. When you're sending out Woody Williams, Matt Morris, Jeff Suppan and Jason Marquis to duel with Tim Wakefield, Curt Schilling, Pedro Martinez and Derek Lowe, you should probably expect to be swept. (This is, by the way, a source of tremendous frustration to us Yankees fans. We also would have killed these guys. What the F*** is wrong with the National League, that this is the best they have to offer? Any of the AL playoff teams could have beaten these guys.)

5) You have to hand it to the Sox: they saw their window was closing, they saw an opportunity, and they took it. (Unlike, say, Cleveland.) This season was basically the last hurrah for this Boston team: they're about 35% free agents to be, most of whom the Sox are probably going to have to let walk. Boston may be able to put together a championship-caliber team next season, but they may not, and at any rate it'll be a very different look team. So they took some chances to Win Now: they signed Schilling even though he was old, had had some injury problems, and had never pitched in the American League. They pulled the trigger on the Nomar trade, sending away a former superstar and fan favorite to upgrade their defense and bring in an untested guy out of Montreal. When Schilling went down with an injury, they stapled his skin to his ankle bone, potentially risking the rest of his career, to keep his tendons in place and Curt on the mound.

6) Aren't the Sox glad they didn't include Lowe for Matt Clement in the trade that sent Nomah to Chicago and Cabrera to Boston?

7) I like that the Sox broke a "curse" that was reputedly caused by trading away their star player in the same season that they threaten to let their star outfielder go via waivers (and to New York!) and do trade their star infielder to another cursed franchise. Symmetry.

8) This is a classy move.

9) The Red Sox swept each team they faced this postseason. They just had their streak interrupted briefly by being almost swept by the Yankees.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Bush Has a Higher IQ than Kerry?

Friday, October 22, 2004

Finally Watched Fahrenheit 9/11

The usual Michael Moore crap. OK, that's unfair; there's actually a lot of powerful stuff in the movie. Especially the Lipscombs grieving for their fallen son. That's one of the things that kills me about Michael Moore: I know some non-trivial portion of his movies are either outright lies or gross distortions, but not what portion or which parts are, and so I find myself doubting the whole thing, which means I'm doubting things which are in fact true. Grrrr....

I can't help but wonder what Michael Moore would've done with, say, the Battle of Bastogne. The American military leadership caught totally unawares by the German counter-attack. The exhausted 101st Airborne, having faced virtually non-stop fighting in Normandy and Holland since D-Day, is thrown, unequipped, into the frozen forests in a desperate attempt to stop the German advance. Soldiers spend Christmas 1944 freezing in half-dug foxholes, griping about Stimpson and their desire to get him fired, complaining about why it's kids from West Philly or Nowheresville, Iowa, rather than Roosevelt's boys dying in Belgium. And did you know that the Republic of Greater Germania had never killed a single American?

Pro-Life Rally at Yale

I'm sorry I missed this. The Law School is so isolated from the rest of Yale. Often that's a good thing, but sometimes you miss something you'd really like to do. Oh well.

Back to La Manzana Grande

I'll traveling to New York tonight, to stay for the next week or so. Anybody - blog-friends or real-world ones - who wants to get together for a drink, or a slice of pie, or a museum trip (I do more than just eat, y'know), drop me an email. The Fox is always up for a good time.

If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out

There's a gentleman in my parish, a nice guy and daily Mass-goer, who's almost completely tone-deaf. But man, does he love to belt it out: the processional and recessional hymns, the Gloria, the Sanctus, the Agnus Dei. He was there today, signing the O Salutaris Hostia, at the top of his lungs, totally off key.

I love it. He's singing, not because he's trying to impress the rest of the parish, nor because he loves to hear beautiful things, but because he's praising God and rejoicing in His presence. It doesn't matter that he sounds terrible. All of creation should rejoice in the Lord, even the tone-deaf. It's something the rest of us Catholics - who usually sing under our breath if at all - would do well to imitate.

When he's raised on the Last Day, I'm sure he'll be given a voice of silver. 'Til then, I'll relish his every ear-splitting note.

UPDATE: Originally posted the wrong St. Thomas-authored hymn. Changed 10/30/04.

Does a Bear Wolf in the Woods?

There's a decent amount of buzz about the Bush campaign's new "Wolves" ads. I'll be honest: I don't get it. Yeah, the wolves are a cool visual, but the substance of the ad is pretty thing gruel. Yes, Kerry proposed cutting intelligence spending after the first World Trade Center attack. Yes, weakness invites attack from those waiting to do us harm. And? We've heard all this before. I guess what I'm trying to say is that the ad has good visuals, but the script could have used another couple of revisions. This could have been one of the great political ads of all time; instead it's just OK. But then again: I'm not a swing voter, or a base voter contemplating not voting, so the ad wasn't directed at me - what do I know?

The Daily Recycler has a clip of the ad, and of the 1984 Reagan "Bear in the Woods" ad on which "Wolves" was presumably based. I'd never seen "Bear in the Woods" before (remember: I was 3 during the 1984 election). I really like it: it's got a wacky Zen-like quality. The ad begins "There's a bear in the woods..." and ends "If there is a bear?" Cosmic.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Congratulations to the Red Birds

If the Sox are going to reverse the curse, they're going to have to do it against the team that's beaten them in two of their four post-1918 attempts.

Why I'm for Boston

First and foremost, because I lost a bet. Before the ALCS started, Airdog and I made a friendly little wager: whoever's team lost would have to post a picture on his blog of himself in his rival's cap, and publicly endorse the victor. And so, being an honorable man, I will now say those horrible words I never thought I'd have to say: I am rooting for the Boston Red Sox to win the World Series.

There are other reasons I'm throwing my support to the BoSox, which I'll now lay out in ascending order of importance:

1) League Pride. I'm an American League man, through-and-through. I make it a point to root for my league's representative (admittedly an easy task since it's been my own team all but three years since 1996) unless there's some strong countervailing reason (the AL team is a hated rival; I've developed a quirky attachment to the NL team). The National League can keep it's "pure" style of baseball; give me the exciting ways of the American League, where no-one except Tony Clark is an easy out and no lead is ever safe. (I'm this way in all sports, by the way: my default is to root for the AFC team in the Super Bowl, and the Eastern Conference team in the NBA finals.)

2) "We was beaten by the best." If I have to get driven out of the playoffs, I want it to be to an unstoppable machine, to team nobody could have beaten. I want to lose to the best. That's a large part of why I supported Anaheim in 2002 - if the Yankees were going to get creamed like that, you wanted it to be to the eventual world champion. I said earlier that the Red Sox were the best team in the postseason, and even when we were up 3-0 I think I still believed it. If the Sox win the series, at least I have the comfort of knowing we lost to the best; if they get beaten by the Cardinals or Astros, where does that put us?

3) It's best for Yankees. So long as "The Curse" remains unbroken, every time a good Red Sox team makes the playoffs it's going to be, as it's been the last couple years, "BoSox vs. History", with the Yankees, primarily, playing the role of History. Well, we've been playing the role of history for the past two years and, frankly, it sucks. It drains a huge amount of the fun out of rooting for the team. You're not just trying to win a series and advance anymore, you're trying to keep an 85-year-old cold streak going. It takes a lot of the glory out of winning - since you had "The Curse" backing you up - and, as we've seen in the last day or so, magnifies the pain of losing a hundred-fold. If the Sox win the World Series, every subsequent playoff series will just be a titanic battle of arch-rivals, duking it out in an attempt to advance and win a world title. It'll be a regular great playoff series, without all that history bullsh*t. A huge weight will be lifted from our collective shoulders, and these games will be really, genuinely fun again. Yes, we'll have to give up "19-18!", one of the all-time great sports chants (four syllables that sum up the most deeply felt rivalry in American sports) and that pains me more than I can express in words, but if it has to happen, it has to happen.

4) It's best for New England. I firmly believe that "The Curse" (or more precisely, the idea of The Curse, since there is no actual Curse, it being just something George Vescey invented as a literary device in 1986 and Dan Shaunessey popularized as a way to sell books. I repeat: "The Curse" is less than 20 years old) has had a deeply warping effect on the collective character of the people of New England. Or rather: "The Curse" is the foundation of the whole culture of the "Red Sox Nation" thing, and that distorts the region's character. New Englanders are baseball fans like none other, and I don't mean that in a good way.

First off, there's the endless vitriol, the bile-spewing hatred, that the Nation has for the Yankees, for Jeter, and especially for Steinbrenner. Look: I understand feeling hostility towards your arch-rival team. And I recognize that Jeter's a pretty-boy whose reputation as clutch postseason player is more than a little overstated (he's not that dominant offensively or defensively in the playoffs - it's just that through a combination of luck and skill he's made a decent number of big plays in big moments that stick in the minds of sportswriters and fans). And I understand, all too well, that Steinbrenner's a jerk virtually without peer. He's a felon and a bully, he doesn't really understand baseball all that well, he does try to buy championships, and his free spending has made it much harder for small-market teams to compete. I understand all of these things. That said, you have to ask yourself: do these things mean you have to spend all of your time wishing ill of these guys, rejoicing in their setbacks and, generally, hating them? It's one of my core beliefs that hating someone else is one of the most self-destructive things a person can do. Living such a hate-filled life eats a person from the inside. I think it's the same way with groups, or even whole regions. I'm not sure how much a Sox victory can change this - Steinbrenner, especially, will always be a lightning-rod - but I think it would help.

The other thing is that breaking "The Curse" is that it will seriously undercut the quasi-messianic aspects of Red Sox fandom. There's a decidedly religious cast to the way Sox fans talk about their team: it's full of words like faith or belief. The documentary about the 2003 season was called Still We Believe. They're always comparing Johnny Damon to Jesus ("The Passion of the Damon", et al) and while I'll admit that with his long hair and beard he does look like the Son of Man, he also looks like a caveman (especially with his sloping brow) but virtually no-one makes that comparison anymore. "Unfrozen Caveman Outfielder" is a great nickname, and substantially less sacrilegious, but it goes almost totally unused now. There's also the Fenway Pledge of allegiance, with "one team, under Terry" instead of "one nation, under God". Even "The Curse" itself is a bit of neo-pagan superstitious nonsense: the idea that Babe Ruth's spirit remains on earth, with the power to render assistance or do harm, that he's still punishing New England for what Harry Frazee did 85 years ago, that you can deprive the spirit of power by destroying its earthly dwelling. It's a kind of perverse ancestor-worship.

But these are all just specific examples that may do as much to obscure as to reveal. The point is that being a Red Sox fan is a kind of civic religion for most of New England. Red Sox Nation is waiting for this world championship like Israel awaiting the Messiah. (I'm obviously overstating my point here.) They've been betrayed by false-messiahs in the past, but when the true messiah comes he'll throw down their enemies (the Yanks) establish a millennial kingdom of peace, joy and endless bragging rights.

Except it won't. Even when the Red Sox win the World Series, New England will still be an awful place to live. It'll still have frozen winters and wet, unpleasant springs. It'll still be governed by an incompetent and corrupt group of boobs. It'll still be mostly dead-and-dying mill-towns and emptying boroughs, with some small pockets of economic dynamism and some college towns. Nothing the Red Sox do can change that. Because it's all false-messianism. With a win that'll be revealed, and maybe New England can put this idolatry behind it. A loss, especially a seven-game loss, and we're back awaiting the eschaton all over again.

So that's it. That's how I became the newest and unlikeliest Sox fan of all. This offer's only good until the 31st, at which point I will revert to my usual Yanks-loving, Sox-bashing self, but 'til then I'll be rooting my ever-lovin' heart out for that bunch of idiots.

"I needed a Yankee fan to tell me how to feel"

I usually think Charlie Pierce articles are lousy - too full of his lefty politics, and chock-full of Mencken-ian disdain without Mencken's verbal gifts - but this one, about the Sox victory, is actually pretty good.

Argh! Grumble-Grumble...

What bothers me most is not that the Yankees lost, nor that the Yankees lost in seven, nor that the Yankees lost despite being up 3-0 in the series. It's that I now have to deal with one to three months of Red Sox fans being utterly insufferable about beating the Yankees. That's the real reason Yankees' fans are obsessed with beating the Red Sox: not because it's valued so highly in-and-of itself (it's going to take another twenty or so World Championships for New Yorkers to really feel that Boston is a "rival") but because we know that Boston fans feel the rivalry so intensely, so single-mindedly, so obsessively, that if their team should ever actually beat New York we'd never hear the end of it. Anyone who's ever lost a bet to a New Englander knows how petty and annoying they can be. We've been mentally multiplying that a thousand-fold, and the results ain't pretty. And now our nightmare scenario has arrived.

Well, I for one am wearing the interlocking N-Y out tomorrow, and every day hereafter. They're still the premiere franchise in American professional sports. They're still the 26-time world champions of baseball. They're still the team my father and grandfather rooted for, the team I was raised on from a pup. And there's next to nothing Derek Lowe, or anybody else, can do about it.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Game 7 by the Numbers

There's No Substance to the Flip-Flop Charge

None whatsoever. Change positions with the political winds? Make opportunistic attacks regardless of his past positions? Not my John Kerry!

DH Kenny Lofton!

Given that:

a) Ruben Sierra and Tony Clark are hit-or-miss batters (literally) who've killed the Yankees in big situations in the last two games, and
b) Whoever Boston starts tomorrow, whether Wakefield or Lowe, will be most vulnerable to contact hitters who can steal bases, and will be able to take advantage of free swingers who're looking to hit home runs,

It seems clear that:

a) The Yankees have to start Kenny Lofton over Sierra at DH
b) If they don't do that there's a real possibility that they'll lose
c) If they lose because they DH'd Sierra, Torre will be fired
d) And frankly, he should be fired if he does do that and we lose.

...Some Achieve Greatness...

For what it's worth, I think Curt Schilling pitched his way into the Hall of Fame tonight (technically, last night - I need to get to sleep). The hobbled ace, his team facing elimination against their hated rivals, his bullpen depleted from two epic extra-innings games the proceeding two nights, takes the mound in excruciating pain, his ankle dripping blood, and throws seven innings of shut-out ball. A mortal man, facing the kind of injury Schilling has, would be on crutches. Schilling sent the ALCS to seven games. That's what legends do. And legends go to Cooperstown.

Before tonight he was a good-but-not-great pitcher with no Cy Youngs, no dominant years, and a middling career record (from all those years played on lousy Philly teams). He'd had one career highlight: dominating the Yankees - the best team of his era - in the 2001 World Series. Now he's beaten that same team again, under much more dramatic circumstances. He's building a little bit of a legend here.

At any rate, he just got some part of the Big Dig named after him. And that ain't nothin'.

Another YLS Blog

If for no other reason than the sheer number of hits he's directed to me in the last few days, I'm going to blogroll The Fog of Warre, operated by Tim Schnabel, a fellow YLS '06er. I must say, though, that Tim's preference for Deep Space Nine over The Princess Bride is bewildering, even to a Star Trek-loving geek such as myself.

Things That Make Me Not-So-Happy

1) The Yankees' loss tonight. I still think the pitching match-up tomorrow favors us, but man-o-man the momentum is in Boston's corner.

2) The fact that this blog ranks 29th on the MSN search list for "porno blog". Honestly, this is a family establishment. We prefer to stick to inflatable doughboy costumes.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Happy Blogsday!

Today is my one-year blogoversary. A year ago today I put up my first Mansfield Fox post. In such a short time we've grown from a little mom'n'pop outfit to the web's number-one source for inflatable Pop'N'Fresh suits.

We've made some new friends, we've had some laughs, we've craved some pie. What will the next year bring? A robot sidekick? Amnesia? How 'bout a celebrity wedding? (Lindsay, you've still got my number, right?) Only time will tell.


The Empire's evil plan: bunt away! Force a hobbled Schilling to dive right and left on the wet infield grass, trying to re-aggravate his bum ankle. Genius! Bunting got us into this mess,* and bunting will get us out!

*By which I mean Torre's weird habit of having Jeter sacrifice himself every time Cairo got on base with no outs. You have one of the best postseason hitters of all time at the plate, backed up by the reigning AL MVP, a leading candidate for this year's AL MVP, and the probable ALCS MVP, and you're playing for one run??!?!?!

Monday, October 18, 2004

My Powerful Predictive Streak Continues...

My prediction that the game would be a 17-13 slugfest really panned out, eh?

Esteban Loiza looks pretty good out there. Where was this guy all year?

Bleg - Rule Against Perpetuities

Since I know there are some *actual* lawyers who read my blog, I was wondering if any of you could give me a quick break-down of the rule against perpetuities. It keeps coming up in my reading for Property, but it's never adequately explained. No need to go nuts on my account, but if you could email me a quick one-or-two sentence explanation I would be much obliged.

Ortiz Was Safe!

Terribly officiated game, with bad calls going against both sides. The consequential bad calls, however, have been going against Boston, particularly against Ortiz.


I'm absolutely amazed by the number of people who come to this blog looking for "inflatable pillsbury doughboy costumes" on Google. Three people since Thursday afternoon. I'm fast becoming the Web's #1 destination for Pop'n'Fresh suits.

My Kingdom for Some Middle Relief!

What's been killing the Yanks in the last 2 games has been the late-season mediocrity of Felix Heredia and Paul Quantrill. If Torre trusted his middle relievers to get outs in big situations, those guys would be coming in in the seventh, instead of Tom Gordon. But because those guys were so lousy down the stretch (Quantrill because of injury and overuse, Heredia because he's just no good) Torre has to try to get 3-4 innings at the end of the game out of his tired set-up man and closer. The result is that we're still seeing Heredia and Quantrill, just in the 10th, 11th and 12th innings instead of the 6th and 7th.

(That said, I actually thought Heredia pitched pretty well tonight. I liked his strikeout of Ortiz, although the truth is that Ortiz didn't in fact go around on strike three. But them's the breaks, and even Felix gets them sometimes.)

Nice Grab

Nixon makes a sliding catch to end the inning.

OK, no more live-blogging of the game. (Let's see how long that promise holds.)

Ain't He Grand

Jeter has still never hit a grand slam, in well over 120 career opportunities. Still, I'll take 3-run doubles, thank you.

Walk to Sheffield to load the bases for Godzilla.

Cap'n Clutch

Jeter doubles to bring in 3 runs, Yanks lead 4-2. Great (and I mean GREAT!) hook slide by Cairo. Miguel's been my favorite Yankee all season. The one average player on a team full of superstars, he did all the little things (like hook-slide) well.

Jeter's hit came on Pedro's hundredth pitch of the night. They should just automatically pull him after 99 pitches, regardless of the situation. Man alive, I hope the Yankees don't sign this guy in the off-season.

Pedro's hit two guys this inning (Cairo and Rodriguez). Can a brother get a warning?

He Did It Again!


What's the Big Idear?

Just clicked over to MSNBC coverage of a Kerry rally in Tampa, FL. He just pronounced "idea" as "eye-dear" twice consecutively. Somehow I don't think that's the diction they taught him at his Swiss boarding school.

(And yes, I am the same prep-school educated Manhattanite who uses "y'all" for the second-person plural. But I always use it, not just when I'm trying to convince the hicks I'm regular-folks.)

By the way, his mad hand-gesturing schtick really does make him look like a mime.

Here's My Yankees Worry

The Yankees are still in the cat-bird seat in the ALCS. They have to win only one of the next possible games, two of which will be played at home, to advance. They're hitting well (especially the Rodriguez-Sheffield-Matsui-Williams corridor), their starting pitching is better than it's been all season, and their pen (despite Mo's blown save last night) is playing well. (Especially Sturtze. Who knew?) I still think the Yankees are the prohibitive favorite to win the series, though it may take them six (or - gulp - seven) games to do it.

But that doesn't mean I don't have worries. For one, I have a hard time believing that Mussina, Leiber and Brown can keep pitching at the level they pitched at to start the series. Not against this Boston lineup. Moose isn't going to throw another perfect-game-through-six. We're not going to be able to win any of these games 3-2. If Boston can put together a series of good collective pitching performance in the next couple days, holding the Bombers at or below four runs a game, we could be in a lot of trouble.

Our best hope to close things out tonight may be the weather. It's projected to be in the low 50s during the game this afternoon. Pedro is a significantly worse pitcher in cold weather. So he'll probably be get-to-able this afternoon. But they've got to get to him early. With the heavy bullpen use last night and the ultra-rapid turnaround (Game 4 ended after 1:00am, Game 5 begins at 5:00pm), both sides' relief corps are in a bad way: I say game 5 goes to whoever forces their opponent's starter out first. (Sub-worry worry: Moose last pitched almost a week ago. He's a creature of habit who likes a specific amount of rest - will six days be too much?) Why do I feel like we're looking at another 17-13 slugfest?

S-s-s-s-so, C-c-c-cold...

My apartment's about 28 degrees right now. Honestly, there's a trio of penguins making breakfast in the kitchen as I speak. The big one's having Cherios. I don't know where they've come from, and I don't think they plan to leave anytime soon.

Still: must not... turn up thermostat... gas bill... outrageous as it is....

Hip Hip: Jorge!

Posada singles.

Like I Said, Washed Up

Williams flies out to center. That inning was our opportunity. Grrr....

Oh, Those Wacky Submariners!

They bring in Mike Myers *who Matsui tatooed last night* to pitch to the pride of the Yomiuri Giants. Naturally, he walks Matsui on four pitches, all way outside of the strike zone. He's the Anglo Felix Heredia! And now he's been pulled for Curtis Leskanic, to face Bernie Williams, who by the way is totally washed up, with the bases loaded and two outs.

I'm Too Tired to Make a "Halloween" Reference

Intentional walk to Sheffield, after going down 3-0 while trying to pitch to him. Francona pulls Embree in favor of Mike Myers to face Matsui. Two men on, two outs, Godzilla at the plate. Anybody up for an MVP moment?


Liner to Cabrera. Great play by the shortstop. 2 out, Cairo on second, Sheffield at the plate.

A Bunt, That's What

Cairo on second, one away.


Keep the Line Moving...

Cairo leads off with a single to right.

What now, Cap'n?


A very easy bottom of the 11th for Flash "Ahh-AHH, Savior of the Universe" Gordon, which is exactly what the Yankees needed. Coming up: Cairo, Jeter and A-Rod.

As I Said, Inauspicious

Ortiz homers over the right field wall. Sox win 6-4.

Who'd have thought the Sox would get their best pitching performance out of Derek Lowe? Tonight was a huge morale- and momentum-building win for the Red Sox. That said, they have to win three more, including two at the Stadium, to have it mean anything. I still like the Empire's chances.

A Nation of Gumbys

BoSox fans sure love Pokey Reese.


Manny singles to left.

Keep Your Save, Mo Wants the Win

I'll be honest: I'm having heart palpitations after that 9th inning.


Cairo strikes out to end the inning. Quantrill's coming up to face the heart of the Boston order (Manny, Ortiz and Varitek). Not feeling especially confident about the situation. A nice performance from Leskanic. Smart decision by Francona not to pull him.

6'8" of Suck

Tony Clark flies out, swinging at the first pitch.

Functional Bunt

Ruben Sierra lines it off Leskanic's thigh, advancing Posada to second.

In the bullpen, Wakefield continues to warm.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Who Are You and What Have You Done With 51?

Bernie Williams, who hasn't made a diving catch all season, throws himself after a fly ball from Orlando Cabrera to end the 7th. His extra effort keeps Manny from coming to the plate with a man on.

Whoever comes out of the NL should be worried. This team is firing on all cylinders.

Dink and Dunk

The Yanks take the lead, despite the fact that they haven't hit the ball more than 20 feet out of the infield since Matsui's triple. The Sox brought in Timlin to get ground balls. He has, just not the ground balls they were looking for.

Tie Game

Matsui scores on a chopper off the bat of Bernie Williams.

Go Go Godzilla!

Matsui triples. This man will win an MVP within five years. When he's locked in like he is now, there's no more dangerous hitter in baseball. Think of the learning curve. This time a year ago, he was a serious liability, a one-man double-play machine. And now he's unstoppable.

Imagine the Yankees' outfield next year: Matsui-Beltran-Sheffield. That's well over 100 home runs right there, and around 350 RBI. Be afraid America. Be very afraid.


They leave in the Duke to face Varitek. He falls behind 3-0 (featuring one B-S checked swing call), battles back to a full count, then makes him look silly whiffing on a nasty breaking ball that almost hits him in the ankles. Potential huge inning averted.

Sanity Prevails

But sometimes even sanity doesn't work. They leave El Duque in to face Ortiz, who singles in two runners. Sox up 3-2.

Heredia? Heredia!?!?!!!?

Felix Heredia is warming up, presumably so he can come in to face David Ortiz and walk him on five pitches. I can only assume Torre wants to play a game 5.

Back, Back, Back....It's Gone!

A-Rod just walloped one over the Monster, onto Landsdown Street. So much for him not being able to handle the pressure of playing in the post-season.

I wonder what John Henry is doing with the $12 million he wasn't willing to spend on Rodriguez. Probably another ivory back-scratcher.

HA! They threw it back onto the field from Landsdown Street. Then Damon threw it back out of the park. And then they threw it back again. We get it, we get it: nobody wants the ball. The umpire has pocketed it. Thanks.

Exclamation Marks!

! !!

The Ephus!

Again! I love it!


Matsui thrown out at home!


El Duque pitches into, and than out of, trouble in the bottom of the first. He walked Manny and Ortiz with two outs, then struck out Varitek.

The best moment wasn't him throwing one past Varitek to end the inning. It was the Ephus pitch he threw for a ball against Ortiz. The Ephus! I love it.

Al Leiter is Great

He just gave an impromptu "how to throw a curveball" lesson, almost elbowing McCarver in the jaw. Almost made the appearance of Scooter the talking baseball (who brought up the subject of the curve) worthwhile. Almost.

Also, he's rolled up the sleeves of his suit-jacket. It's 1986 all over again!

Not Baseball-Related, But:

I would really like some apple pie right now.

Anybody who brings some by my apartment will earn my undying love. A slice, a pie: whatever. Anyone who knows my love for pie knows this is not an idle promise.

Break Out the Brooms

I'll be doing a little bit of live-blogging during the Yankees-Sox game tonight.

Pre-game thoughts:

1. Johnny Damon cut his hair (a little) and trimmed his beard, presumably in an attempt to get out of his slump. (He was 0-8 in the first two games.) The result? He went 1-5, with an RBI and a run, and the Sox got hammered 19-8. So much for superstition.

2. Announcer Joe Buck is wearing at least two, and possibly as many as four, rubber bands on his right wrist. One is the Lance Armstrong one. Another's bright orange. Can we put an end to this trend now, before it's too late? No, I will not wear your wrist-band to fight irritable bowel syndrome. Leave me alone.

3. The Sports Guy is right, as per usual. (Scroll down to 7:06) Al Leiter is a really good announcer. He has a real post-career career there for him. His comments are insightful, and he doesn't sound like he's got a list of the 20 things he wants to get in that he's fighting to get in.

4. Hideki Matsui is a monster. An absolute filthy MONSTER. FEAR HIM.

Fun with the Electoral College!

Funny ways to create a narrow Electoral College majority:

* States with names beginning in A-M over N-Z states (290-248)
* Territory of the U.S. in 1783 over subsequent acquisitions (286-252)
* 40 smallest states over 10 largest states (282-256)

In addition, the 11 largest vs. the 39 smallest produces a 269-269 tie.

Try it yourself. More time-wastin' fun than a barrel time-wastin' monkeys.

J! E! T! S! Jets! Jets! Jets!

5-0 baby! (First time ever!)

Gang Green is headed to Foxboro, and we want a win.

Two undefeateds enter, one undefeated leaves!
Two undefeateds enter, one undefeated leaves!
Two undefeateds enter, one undefeated leaves!

He's Very Good at Football. Very, Very Good.

Curtis Martin just passed Marcus Allen to move into eight place all-time on the NFL career rushing yards list. He's quietly put together an unbelievable career. A lock for Canton. Barring a major injury, he should move into fifth place by the end of the season, leapfrogging Jim Brown, Jerome Bettis and Tony Dorsett to get there. Plus he's only 31, and looks better than he has in years. He probably won't pass Emmitt Smith or Walter Payton, but it's not beyond the pale to imagine him forcing Barry Sanders out of the top three and retiring on the happy side of 16,000 career rushing yards. Not bad for a guy who was washed up three years ago.

And the Jets, once down 14-0, have battled back to take a 15-14 lead.

Very, very good.

26 Years and Counting

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Ahh! It Blogs!

Another old friend* has joined ye blogosphere. Caughtya, over at LiveJournal. Apparently "Katya" was taken. Ahh, rell.

*by which I mean, friend from the past. You're not that old, dearie.


I went out last night, in the pouring rain and flood, hoping to catch the Yanks-Sox game at TKs. When I arrived, they still hadn't cancelled the game, so I had to listen to the little TV in my booth (have I mentioned that TKs has little TVs in every booth? it's the original ESPN zone!!) for each announcement, while a sextet of noisy grad students with no interest in sports (not totally true: one seemed interested in the TCU-UAB game) gabbed on right next to me. So anyway, the game got postponed, and watched an ESPN2 special on shark-fishing and ate a Spicy Sloppy TK, which is basically a sloppy joe whose meat has been cooked in teriyaki, honey barbecue sauce and "suicide" buffalo sauce. muy spicy, muy delicious.

After that I went to GPSCY, where they were doing karaoke in honor of a guy's birthday. It was a small affair, populated mostly with timid law students, which meant that those who like doing karaoke (a.k.a., me and my friends) were able to totally dominate the mike. During the course of the night, I did:

1. "In the Ghetto", Elvis voice
2. "Build Me Up Buttercup", backup vocals
3. "What'd I Say", duet, just because it was the next song on the CD and no-one else was ready (I'd never heard the entire song before then. I know, I'm a savage).
4. "I Got You Babe", duet, in which I accidentally kissed my partner (a man, natch) as we attempted to fake-kiss for the audience. or at least that's what he claims. I don't remember our lips touching. I think maybe he just wants me. And who wouldn't?
5. "Come Sail Away", Cartman voice. This usually brings the house down, but last night I got cut off during the 58-measure musical break. No accounting for taste.
6. "I've Had the Time of My Life", duet, with me as the female part

Not a bad lineup, me thinks.

ANYWAY, the point is: all that trudging around in the 2-inch deep flood that was New Haven, and now my feets is a little bit itchy. Does that mean I have trench-foot?

Friday, October 15, 2004

New Blog

Fight4Terri, run by an RN who's, well, fighting for Terri (Schiavo, that is).

Thanks Be to St. Joseph

Just had a little moving excursion with a law school friend. Seeing as how he's the patron of home-relocations and carpentry, I invoked the assistance of the saint as tried to get the home entertainment center up the stairs. It was still heavy, but the extra set of hands was helpful. And God sent rain, which seemed bad at first but which actually helped cool us down. So thanks be to the saint, and also, of course, to God.

Random Thoughts From Within My Brain

Two things I like about English: "hors d'oeuvres" is pronounced "ore-derves" and "iron" is pronounced "eye-urn". Such beautiful nonsense.

One Last Cool Movie

If you haven't yet seen Rockfish, you really oughta. It's a cross of Moby Dick, ice fishing, and the desert planet Tatooine. Seriously.

For Those in History of the Common Law

I've been trying to figure out for weeks who Professor Langbein's voice reminded me of. It has this weird intonation, especially when he gets agitated. Only now do I know: it's Wallace Shawn, who played Vizzini in The Princess Bride. Just imagine Langbein saying "InconCEIVable!" or advising you to "never get involved in a land war in Asia".

That's what I thought.

Another Funny Flick

The Truth About the So-Called "War of the Ring"

Fellowship 9/11 (via Mark Shea)

"No blood for mithril! No blood for mithril!"

Speaking of Strange Ways to Get Here

At a little after 7 (which is, what? 2am there?) someone from an Amsterdam IP address was directed to the Fox from a Brazilian porno-blog (no, I won't provide the link). I'd like to believe whoever it was was sorely disappointed by what he found here.

That is So Cool...

At 8:00 last night somebody came here looking for "inflatable pillsbury doughboy costume". I am, apparently, the number one hit on the Yahoo search engine for that. Finally, a claim to fame. (I'm also the number one and number six entries for "Scalia" + "Harvard address" on Google, but that's so much less interesting.)

Thursday, October 14, 2004

ein anderes neues Blog

Death in the Afternoon

For those whose tastes run to death, academia, or absinthe.

Mysterious Visitors from the Legal Community

Someone from a Jones Day IP address just visited this blog. Whoever you are, O mysterious lawyer-stranger, I just wanted to say I'm sorry I had those free beers and delicious beef wraps at your reception, even though I never interviewed at your firm. Not sufficiently sorry that I wouldn't do it again given the opportunity, but sorry.

(By the way, this eXTReMe Tracking thing is pretty cool. It adds a whole new level of obsessiveness to blogging.)

From the Golden Dome to the Mosque of Ali

Notre Dame football is apparently popular in Iraq. And why not? Who doesn't love an Irish boy? Doubtless that'll make these guys happy.

(via NRO)


I'm writing this from my library carrel, scenic cubicle 551. My carrel-partner and I took possession of the property this afternoon. Were worried we might have to chase off some squatters, but luckily that wasn't required. "No Trespassing; No Hunting without Permission of Owner" sign to go up shortly.

(Also, we just got our first request to keep our voices down. Clucky as hens, we is.)

New Blog!

Well, new to me. Nomen est Numen. She's an Amherst classmate of mine, working as a grief counselor in San Jose. Another age-cohort member out there doing important work, while I sit here in Elm City studying law-ampersand-something. Sigh, indeed.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Happy Quinzaine of Michaelmas, Everybody!

Today is both my father's birthday (happy birthday, pa!) and the feast of St. Edward the Confessor. Unlike St. Edward, my father has children (tautology alert!), so it's unlikely that any two-bit post-Viking hordes will overrun our lands, claiming to be the true Dwyer heirs, when he's gone. Then again, one never knows.

FEC to Regulate Political Activity on the 'Net?

Senior Pic Banned for Featuring Shotgun

Count Every Vote!

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Dum-Dum-Dum Dum-Da-Dum Dum-Da-Dum...

Everything that has transpired has done so according to my design. Your friends, up there on the sanctuary moon, are walking into a trap, as is your Rebel fleet. It was *I* who allowed the Alliance to know the location of the shield generator! It is quite safe from your pitiful little band. An entire legion of my best troops awaits them! Oh, I'm afraid the deflector shield will be quite operational when your friends arrive.

* * *

As you can see, my young apprentice, your friends have failed. Now witness the firepower of this fully armed and operational battle station!

* * *

"It's a trap!"

For another view, click.
(For best results, turn on sound.)

"A Blessing in Disguise"

Monday, October 11, 2004

"Is Derrida Dead?"

"A conceptual foundation for the deconstruction of mortality"

(via Zorak, who's got a lot of good Derrida material over there)

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Department of Great Names Department

The Jacksonville-San Diego game featured a one yard TD run by Jaguars RB Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala. I love that name!

To add a little more nominal spice to the day, perhaps Dodgers reliever Yhency Brazoban will pitch in the LA-StLouis game.

By the way, how much fun was Jose Lima having last night? Pumping his arms in the air, smiling. During the post-game interview, he said, "I love everybody!" and started singing. Now, throwing a complete-game shut-out in the playoffs would make me little-kid happy too, but so many of these guys make this stuff seem like a chore.

J! E! T! S! Jets! Jets! Jets!

They're 4-0, baby! Bring on the Niners!

Saturday, October 09, 2004

"America, F*** Yeah!"

Didn't catch the end of the Yankees' 11th-inning victory over the Twinkies, or Ruben Sierra's game-tying homer. (I'm glad it was Sierra, because I love to be proved wrong; I'd been arguing that Torre should play Lofton at DH in the series, that Sierra was overmatched. Obviously this is why I'm not being paid to manage.)

Why didn't I see the Yanks' glorious victory? I was attending a preview screening of Team America: World Police. It was hilarious. Recommended to all, except children and those whose tastes don't go to the bawdy or low, to whom it is most decidedly not recommended. Of note: there is one extraordinarily graphic puppet-sex scene, lots of F-bombs, and an extended geopolitical metaphor using the reproductive and excretory systems. But, other than that, funny funny funny. I want to hit you with specific examples, but I fear being a spoiler.

Can We Stop Pitching Him, Please?

The Yanks are up 2-1 in the ALDS, no thanks to Felix Heredia, who came in with the team up 8-1 in the 9th and proceeded to hit two batters. He always does this! (Well, not this necessarily. But something bad. There are always skidmarks on the bedsheets after he gets pulled.) Why do we keep pitching this guy?(!?!!?) I know he's our only Lefty Specialist, but, I mean: his specialty is WALKING PEOPLE. C'mon, Joe. We love you, but keep Felix in the pen.

The "Sauronic Empire" of Porn

New Social-Teachings Catechism Coming!

At the end of October. Hint, hint: if anyone's looking for a birthday or Christmas present to get me.... (via Amy Welborn)

My Feet... Still... Hurt...

The "nickel-sized" blisters have become "thumb-sized". And I've been reduced to wrapping my feet in duct tape to keep the bandages over the wounds, so tight are those infernal shoes. Oh athletic tape, athletic tape, my kingdom for a roll of athletic tape!

In other news, congratulations to "Joe Millionaire" butler Paul Hogan, I mean Aussie PM John Howard, for winning the Australian election.

UPDATE: Link fixed. (12:41 PM)

Friday, October 08, 2004

Ranking the Playoff Teams

As of right now:

1) Boston Red Sox
2) St. Louis Cardinals
3) New York Yankees
4) Minnesota Twins
5) Houston Astros
6) Anaheim Angels
7) Atlanta Braves
8) Los Angeles Dodgers

Credit Where Credit is Due

As much as it pains me to admit (and believe me, it pains me to admit this) the Red Sox are the best overall team right now. They have the best combination of an explosive (and versatile) offense, dominating (and healthy) starting pitching, and a dangerous bullpen. They're earning their sweep of Anaheim. They're just an incredibly deep team. Obviously they have Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz (or is that Manny Ortez?) but they get a ton of clutch hits from second-tier guys like Johnny "Unfrozen Caveman Centerfielder" Damon and Kevin "I Look Amish Today"* Millar. And they have Bronson Arroyo, who's extraordinarily dangerous when he's on his stuff, to compliment Pedro and Schilling. Top to bottom, very dangerous.

I still think the Yanks match up well against them. We know how to play with their front-line starters. And there's the small matter of a certain Curse. And a little Mystique and Aura. So I'm going to give the Yanks a slight edge in an ALCS matchup. Of course, we still have to beat the Twinkies.

*Actual quote from today.


Mista Fox say: Mista Dog, he funny.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

THE Most Underreported Story of the Election

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Balfour Declaration

No sooner do I mention Grant Balfour then he comes in to face Gary Sheffield with A-Rod (who's just driven in an insurance run) on first, and gets him to ground into an inning-ending double play. And here I was hoping for a four-pitch walk.

Unfortunately Named Relievers

The Twins have a right-handed reliever by the name of Grant Balfour. Bal...four? Ironically (or at least non-eponymously) he has pretty good control: only 21 walks in 39.1 innings pitched this season, versus 42 strikeouts. Still, not a name I'd want my reliever to sport.

A Shout Out from Nomination Nation

A friend directs me to this post over at Nomination Nation, which discusses mine and Senor Baude's discussion on allowing the Supreme Court to appoint lower court justices.

I think the strongest argument against the idea is the basic-conservatism argument: even if the advise-and-consent rule isn't strictly necessary for lower court judges, we've always done it that way, our system works fairly well, there's no reason to make radical changes just because we can, especially since those changes can lead to unpredictable, and possibly quite negative, outcomes.

And yet, while I'm a conservative guy and thus inclined to buy into the "don't rock the historical boat" argument, I'm not sure that it's necessarily dispositive here. I mean: I've no doubt that adopting the appointments scheme outlined in the initial post would represent a radical change in the nature of the federal judiciary. But maybe that's what we want. We may want a judiciary that's more professionalized, that's even more independent from the political branches, that's more (gasp! I can't believe I'm arguing this) European. I'm not saying that we do. We probably actually don't. But if we did, we could do this, probably without much constitutional difficulty, regardless of whether or not it would have pleased any of the Founding Fathers.

I'm not necessarily arguing that the proposed new system is a good idea. I think in many ways we're better off with the bizarro system we have now. I'm just exploring new ideas and yadda-yadda-yadda, y'know, typical law school crap.

Sorry for the abrupt ending. It's just I've been interviewing, and my verbosity store is running dangerously low. Maybe more better later.

I've Got Those New Shoe Blues...

It's interview time here at Yale Law School. What better time to break in a new pair of dress shoes? And so now I've got a nickel-sized blister on my left heel, with all the gut-wrenching pain that implies. It's affected my gait horribly: I look nice, but I walk like Frankenstein's fricken' monster. Luckily, on account of my partial WASP ancestry (thanks Ma!) I'm able to bear it, stony-faced, for about thirty seconds, which hopefully will be enough to get me from the hotel room door to the desk and back again, without the interviewer noticing my Boris Karlow-esque demeanor.

I've also got some kind of congestion, probably the result of the rapid temperature fluctuations of late. Don't be surprised if you hear the phrase "Ah bood bay bush ike do burke po juh perm."

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

VP Debate Reax

As indicated below, I was watching Yanks-Twinkies Game 1, though I did manage to catch some of the VP debate during commercials (which, the game being on Fox, were plentiful).

The best moment I saw (not necessarily the best moment overall) was when Cheney attacked Edwards' assertion that the US was bearing 90% of the coalition casualties in Iraq, pointing out that the figure ignores the contributions of free Iraqi forces, both police and national guardsmen, to the fight. If you factor in the Iraqis, he pointed out, Americans make up only 50% of casualties.

There's a kind of subtle racism, a kind of Orientalism, in the 90% figure. Iraqis aren't subjects, aren't independent actors working for the freedom and security of their country. They're objects, to be acted upon by white Westerners. Insurgents kill Iraqi police and national guardsmen by the hundreds, but that's just background noise. Third-worlders killing third-worlders, brown people killing brown people: so has it ever been, so shall it ever be. They don't count as allies.

But of course they are our allies, the most important kind we could have in Iraq. And the 90% figure denigrates them in the worst possible way.

"I Ordered The Double-Double..."

"...but they gave me the double-double-double-double."

The Yanks have hit into, what, a dozen double plays tonight? (Actual number so far: five.) What a waste of a good start by Mike Mussina, and a not-so-great one by Johan Santana. ugh...

Woo-Hoo! I'm a "File Clerk"!

Guess I have some brushing up to do before next fall. Take the Supreme Court clerk quiz, also via Volokh.

Oh, To Have Known This Last Week...

...when we were discussing intellectual property in my Property class. The comb-over was patented in 1977. That has to be the most under-enforced patent in US history. (via da Conspiracy)

Monday, October 04, 2004

"Preach Always. If Necessary, Use Words."

Today was the feast of the Seraphic Father, St. Francis of Assisi.

Media Cocooning

Been watching various cable news shows this evening. It's been an interesting example of the "cocooning" phenomenon. Both shows talked about the latest round of post-debate polls. FoxNews' "Special Report with Brit Hume" emphasized the ABC-News/Washington Post poll and the Pew Poll, both of which showed the President continuing to lead, didn't talk about the Gallup/CNN/USA-Today poll that showed a tie, and more-or-less dismissed the Newsweek poll, which showed a Kerry lead, because of it's sampling irregularities. The core narrative of the Fox programming was that Kerry's strong debate performance had failed to shift voter preferences.

Then I watched two MSNBC programs, "Hardball" and "Countdown with Keith Olbermann". Both programs left undiscussed the two polls showing Bush still up, instead declaring that Kerry had successfully made it a race with his victory in Coral Gables, using the Gallup poll and especially the Newsweek poll as evidence. "Countdown" was especially guilty of this, spending the entire first segment of the show talking with a representative of Newsweek about the Newsweek poll, treating its results as gospel and never once mentioning that other polls had yielded different results.

If you only watched Fox, you'd have the impression that the polls clearly suggest Bush is still winning, and that there's very little Kerry can do to effect that, even if he continues to win the debates. You would believe, in the words of Fred Barnes from that same show, that "America prefers a strong leader to a strong debater."

If you only watched MSNBC, you'd have the impression that Kerry had catapulted himself back into the race (even into a lead), opening up a wide gap on handling the economy while narrowing the gap on Iraq and foreign policy.

Now either, or neither, of these things could be the truth. There's no real way to know. But both networks did nobody any good by telling their viewers only part of the story, especially since it was the part of the story that their respective audiences wanted to hear. As Mickey Kaus has pointed out repeatedly, cocooning is ultimately self-defeating. You begin to believe your own spin, to assume yours is the only rational perspective, and to stop trying to persuade others, at which point you lose. I want to hear the lousy news about the Bush campaign, as much as it ruins my mood some days, because I want to know what's actually going on in the world. I don't want Brit Hume acting as Walyon Smithers to my C.M. Burns. Don't hide the ugly truth. I'm a big boy, I can take it.

As an aside, can we call off fretting about how Florida is going to produce another Florida-style disaster until Kerry gets within five points of the President in the state? In 2000, Florida was a nightmare both because the results were extraordinarily close and because certain parts of the state have royally fouled-up voting systems. Many parts of the state still have royally fouled-up voting systems (I share the general liberal anger that the electronic voting machines don't produce any kind of paper ballot) but if the election isn't close, it won't really matter. Bush - up nine even in the Newsweek poll - will win the state by at least 3 points, which will translate into well over 100,000 votes. It would take error or fraud on a monumental scale to throw that result into question.

A second aside: did you know that in 2000 Bush got more votes in California than in any other state, beating his vote total from Texas by almost 600,000? Yep, he did indeed. And yet he got clobbered in California, 53-42-4. The Golden State is just that big.

For Those in New Haven

My father's boss, David Boies, will be speaking at the law school tomorrow. 6pm, Room 122. I feel obliged to recommend attendance at his lecture, since Mr. Boies is the one who keeps my family in tickets to athletic events.

"No Park Can Hold Him."

A nice Kagan piece on the Yankees, Iraq, and lifetime averages. (via TKS)

Attention: There Are NO Slippery Slopes

Nothing to see here. Move along, move along. (cf the Corner)

Saturday, October 02, 2004

There Were No Utensils IN Medieval Times...

...hence there are no utensils AT Medieval Times. Would you like a refill on your Pepsi?

Spent the day at a Renaissance Faire. An experience beyond strange. A more detailed report may follow. Then again, it may not.

The Hits Just Kept on Coming

Ichiro Suzuki has surpassed the 84-year-old single-season hits record. That's quite a feat. I think the question of whether Ichiro's accomplishment is "better" than that of the man he passed, George Sissler, is a meaningless (or at least unanswerable) question. Yes, Sissler did it in 154 games, whereas Ichiro required 159. On the other hand, the overall quality of play was so much lower in 1920 that it was easier for a good player to dominate than it is today. And nobody - not all-time hit king Pete Rose, not active batting average leader Todd Helton, not Carl Yastrzemski, not Barry Bonds, not Willie Mays, not Hank Aaron, not Cal Ripken - has hit more than 250 in a single season in 70 years. Ty Cobb never hit more than 250, nor Tris Speaker, nor Cap Anson, nor Honus Wagner, nor Nap Lajoie (not even when he hit .426, the modern-era record, in 1901), nor Babe Ruth.

Is there not enough dap to go around?

A Pot-Bellied Haiku

That familiar smell:
Of cigarettes and woman.
Echo of spoilt happiness,
Smoke through fingertips.

News of the Blog Spreads Like Wildfire

People keep mentioning that they've heard I have a blog and plan to check it out. I suppose this is a good thing - I didn't set up a blog because I'm desperate for privacy. But I can't shake the feeling that I'm going to regret developing a higher profile, that soon I'll long for the days when I toiled in obscurity and the only ones who read this thing were ultramontane Catholics and blood-relatives.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Apropos of that Shitty Lineup

El Duque, the Yanks' starter tonight, looks like he's going to have a bad night. He's already down 2-0 off a Vernon Wells HR. I don't think this should, or will, keep him out of the post-season rotation, even with his "stiff and fatigued" shoulder (the reason he was scratched from his Tuesday start). The crappy lineup also means crappy defensive play backing him up. Escalona's not exactly playing Jeteresque shortstop, and Flaherty just had a passed ball. (Editor's note: that said, Tony Clark just made a nice grab to end the inning.) Plus he's had a long rest, which seems to have gotten him out of his groove.

Most importantly, it's not as if the Yankees have a surfeit of good starting pitching. Does "Game Four starter Tanyon Sturtze" sound good to you?

Now That's a Lineup!

Tonight's Yankees batting order:

CF Kenny Lofton
LF Hideki Matsui
DH Jason Giambi
RF Ruben Sierra
1B Tony Clark
3B Andy Phillips
2B Enrique Williams
C John Flaherty
SS Felix Escalona

And Matsui, who was only in the lineup to keep his consecutive games played streak going (a cheap way - I thought Torre & Matsui would be above that kind of lameness), is going to be replaced by Bubba "My Brother's Won AL Rookie of the Year and All I Got Was a World Series Ring and This Lousy T-Shirt"* Crosby. Now that's Murderer's Row, Redux! (On the other hand, there may be some monster pinch hits in the late innings.)

*T-shirts available starting 10/31/04.

The Twelve Tribes of American Politics

An interesting taxonomy. I still think the list obscures much. But it's far more revealing than the usual Red/Blue split. (via Marcus Sheavius)

You Can Put Away the Lube.

Apparently, Scalia was only *kidding* when he endorsed orgies at a recent Harvard address. Whew! That was a close shave.

The best part of the story was the number of otherwise reasonable people who seemed to genuinely believe that Scalia not only supports group sex but would admit as much publicly. (I'll admit I was worried for a minute.) Not shockingly, this too-good-to-be-true story turned out to be, well, too good to be true. It turns out that the author the original account in the Harvard Crimson probably missed Scalia's sarcasm. Anyone who's had any experience with college journalism shouldn't be too surprised by that.

Another Debate Take

From my pa, who compares the debate to
an Adam Sandler movie – each candidate had about 10 minutes of material, which wasn’t bad when first used, but got dreadfully boring when used repeatedly to fill up the 90-minute movie. That’s one of the reason Kerry looked better – his long, traditional debate style laundry lists, while not always effective (or even accurate) had enough variation that they didn’t seem as repetitive as Bush’s 5 mantras by the third half hour.
I can't say I disagree, except that I like Adam Sandler movies.

Unspoiled Debate Thoughts

I watched the debate, but haven't yet read any of the post-debate spin or horserace-handicapping, so here are my untrammelled-by-Spin-Alley reflections on the event:

I thought it was a narrow Kerry win. Bush was awful in the beginning, stumbling over his words, giving painfully evasive answers (Kerry's answers were evasive too, but less obviously). But he did better as the debate went on, pulling even with the Senator and at times even surpassing him. I thought his best moment was his response to the question of whether the thousand-plus lives lost in Iraq were "worth it". He used the question as an opportunity to tell a story about meeting with the widow of an Iraq War casualty, about how they prayed together and he told her that her husband gave his life for a noble cause, and how she said she believed it, and that her husband believed it. It was a very Bush moment, and very effective. (Incidentally, it was also a very Clinton moment. Bush really is the Republican Clinton. In moments like this we're reminded.)

My favorite moment of the debate was when, in his response to a question about the genocide in Darfur, Bush declared that the rainy season in the region is almost over, making it easier to send in forces to stabilize the area. What a wonderful piece of random meteorological trivia! I have no idea if it's true, but it was a strange and subtle way to suggest that Bush really is well versed on the issues (whether or not that's true). Kudos to Karl Rove and the debate prep team.

The most peculiar thing was Bush's decision to turn Kerry's statement that Iraq was "the wrong war at the wrong place at the wrong time" as a mantra against him. He repeated the phrase "Wrong War, Wrong Place, Wrong Time" what seemed like two or three dozen times during the debate. Did this line test well? I can't imagine it did. Verbally, it's a clunker. And it contains within it a subconscious message - that maybe this was the wrong war, etc - that Bush probably doesn't want to be putting in people's heads.

In retrospect, the lights designed to indicate when a candidate has gone over his allotted time were a huge tactical mistake for the Bush team. Bush went over the time limit more often, and more egregiously, than his famously long-winded opponent, who almost always ended right as the red light flashed. Kerry seemed to be using the lights to his advantage, using them to time himself so he kept his answers succinct. Bush, on the other hand, was lured buy the lights on several occasions to stretch his answers to fill the entire two minutes. There were several occasions in which Bush had given one-minute responses that said everything he needed to say, but when he saw that the lights hadn't gone on he moved into mantra-recital mode, diluting the original response. Bush's reputation (deserved or no) is as a plain-talker. Plain-talkers can give one-minute responses to questions. Don't fear brevity, Dubya.

As for Kerry, I thought he did a good job, but never hit anything out of the park. He's a very good debater though. It's interesting how much better a speaker he is when he's speaking extemporaneously than when he's giving prepared remarks. It's the curse of his eloquence; when he has time to prepare, he can't resist the temptation to get all New Frontier-ish, and winds up sounding like a cut-rate Kennedy. When he's speaking off the cuff, he just sounds like an intelligent, well-informed, eloquent, somewhat pompous guy, which is a huge step up.

The debate itself was extraordinarily lame. I remembered almost immediately why I didn't watch any of the debates in 2000. Ninety minutes of substance free platitudes and accusations. Well, not entirely. There were debates on issues of substance, briefly, on North Korea (will bilateral negotiations resolve the crisis, or do they just play into Kim Jong Il's plans?) and Darfur (how best to persuade the African Union to send in troops so we don't have to). It's ironic (or perhaps not) that it was only on those issues, sideshows compared to the main foreign policy issues of the campaign (Iraq and the War on Terror), that we can get our leaders to have a substantive debate. Iraq is too important to be left to the facts! Let the invective-hurling begin!

I myself wasn't persuaded to change my vote, but I'm probably not in the "persuadables" category. We'll just have to see how things pan out. My guess is a small move in Kerry's favor, maybe two points. Not enough to close the gap, but enough to make it a real race again, at least for a little while. But who knows? Lets see what the experts say.