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Blog 2002-05 Archives

December 31, 2005
BLOG: By A Thousand Bites

Being attacked by a "pack of angry Chihuahuas" has to be as embarrassing as it is painful.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 5:36 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
December 22, 2005
BLOG: Quick Links 12/22/05

*Andrew McCarthy on the McCain torture bill. As I've said before (see here and here), I'm in favor of legislative action to make clearer what can and can't be done in the interrogation process going forward, at least as far as setting some outer limits and clear permissions. But I'm really concerned that this bill is a disaster. If there's one thing we don't need, it's getting the courts involved in this business or giving unlawful combatants anything like the rights of lawful combatants or common criminals.

*On a similar note, somehow, I doubt the people who loved Michael Scheuer's book are going to laud this op-ed.

*German cowardice frees a terrorist.

*Jack Abramoff could plead guilty and testify against people on Capitol Hill. That's the main development that's needed for the whole Abramoff business to get interesting.

*Megan McArdle on the choices we make and why they should affect the money we make.

*Jack Dunphy on "Tookie" Williams complete with the predictable involvement of Jesse Jackson and Jackson's equally predictable failure to even know the names of Williams' victims. And Patterico on executing the innocent.

*One of Nathan Newman's co-bloggers defends the TWU, but really ends up just demonstrating the pettiness of some of the issues involved. I still fail to see what makes bus drivers and token clerks' jobs so extraordinarily valuable to society that they can demand a right to retire at 55, something the rest of us can only dream about. Soldiers? Cops? Firemen? Yes. But token clerks?

Posted by Baseball Crank at 4:33 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
December 21, 2005
BLOG: Transit Strike

Sorry if blogging's a bit slow at the moment, on top of everything else - work has been crazy the past month - I'm slowed by the transit strike (the LIRR, in its infinite wisdom, has closed my train station at rush hour as part of a "contingency plan"). I'm taking tomorrow off from work, so maybe I'll get more done then.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:39 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
December 15, 2005
BLOG: Quick Links 12/15/05

*Ann Althouse wants cameras in the Supreme Court, in part as a way of subtly pressuring aging Justices to retire when they can't do the job anymore. I'm not sure how many cases that would work in, but I strongly agree with Althouse and Dahlia Lithwick on this one: unlike at the trial court level, where TV cameras can affect the behavior of non-lawyer participants (witnesses, jurors) whose impartiality the system makes great effort to preserve, the dangers of cameras in the appellate courts are pretty minor, and at their lowest ebb at the Supreme Court, whose members have life tenure and nearly never have any further career ambitions.

*The Phillies dump Vincente Padilla, apparently on the theory that they have too much quality starting pitching.

*I like the White Sox' acquisition of Javier Vazquez - unlike the Phillies, the ChiSox apparently aren't complacent about their pitching staff - who seems like he should still have some good years left, but I do wonder if homer-friendly US Cellular Field is the best place for him.

*McQ has some thoughts on Iranian mischief in the south of Iraq.

*Dean Barnett has a great post noting Kos' criteria for front-page contributors:

Markos made it clear what criteria he was and wasn’t using in selecting the new guard:
"I made my decisions, like I have in the past, based on two factors -- the first is merit. I don't concern myself with sex, race, ethnicity, or any of that stuff. This is a site about politics, and I wanted the best commenters on politics…That's how I like it, no matter how controversial that might be."

For clarity's sake, I should point out that Markos never got around to identifying the second factor.

*Per Jonah Goldberg here and here, this sure looks like a deliberate policy of subsidizing suicide bombings.

*So, Joe Lieberman is loved by the GOP and hated by Democrats. Meanwhile, conservatives hate Lincoln Chaffee and Arlen Specter. But if Republicans traded Chaffee or Specter for Lieberman - even leaving aside questions about re-electability (Lieberman and Chaffee are up in 2006, Specter was elected to his final term in 2004), would we Republicans get a good deal? I'm not so sure. All three, like George Pataki and Christie Whitman, represent to a greater or lesser degree a New Republic-style brand of socially liberal, tax-cut-supporting, strong-on-defense, tough-on-crime, moderate-to-liberal on spending and regulatory issues Northeasterner who is poorly represented by both parties. But at least on domestic policy, Lieberman's been a more loyal soldier for his party: the American Conservative Union gives lifetime ratings of 41 for Chaffee and 44 for Specter, compared to 17 for Lieberman.

*Scott Adams on good and bad jobs in the War on Terror.

*Don Rumsfeld on the media's incomplete picture of Iraq.

*This Angry Bear chart of federal spending growth is a keeper, and provides great context. Via Instapundit.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:13 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
December 6, 2005
BLOG: Servers

This story from Blez reminds us that if you don't hire a good hosting company, your servers can end up living in a van down by the river.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 5:18 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
December 5, 2005
BLOG: . . . Just to be Nominated

I am nominated once again for Best Sports Blog in the Weblog Awards. Really, go and check out the other blogs that have been nominated.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:39 PM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
BLOG: Warblogger Awards

John Hawkins announces the winners of his annual poll.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:58 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (1)
November 25, 2005
BLOG: Quick Links 11/25/05

*David Pinto notes some ridiculous puffery by Scott Boras about Johnny Damon, including an assertion that Damon is somehow better than Rickey Henderson. Of course, he's just advocating for his client, but there's a difference between honest and dishonest advocacy; any lawyer can tell you that, and dishonest advocacy doesn't help your credibility in the long run (not that Boras needs credibility, with the clients he has). Comparing Damon to Rickey is just stupid; between 1995 and 2002, Damon had a better OBP than Rickey only once. And that's for age 36-43 for Rickey compared to 21-28 for Damon. Also, over that same period Rickey stole 308 bases to Damon's 214.

*Jack Shafer predicts the predictable.

*Corruption in US efforts in Iraq is a Bad Thing, if predictable given the nature of government contracting and the general principle that in chaos there is opportunity. At least DOJ has caught some people.

*Patterico on executing the innocent.

*Ralph Peters is more than a little over the top in this column on Democrats' calls for withdrawal from Iraq, but it's not entirely unwarranted. For a more measured take, here's a fine post from Jon Henke on what separates the two sides in the Iraq debate as it exists today.

*Could Novak's source have been Armitage? That would be quite the letdown for the Josh Marshalls of the world who see the Plame story as all about neocon perfidy, if it's true.

*This doesn't seem to helpful for Samuel Alito. (via Bashman)

*Byron York on "Boogie to Baghdad" and why some people just don't want to remember it.


*This American Prospect article on Alito and machine guns is notable for its near-complete absence of analysis of the constitutional issues.

*The Rockefeller democrat. More here.

*The Win Shares system had Juan Uribe and Jhonny Peralta as by far the best defensive shortstops in the AL this year.

*The vanishing World War I vets.

*From a friend of the site: "Hopefully, more stories like this will eventually lead to less stories opening with five words like
this." This is also a good point.

*When athletes in the US get in trouble, machetes and gasoline are not usually the weapons of choice.

*Not Larry Lucchino's biggest fans.

*More goodies from QandO here and here.

*Brad Wilkerson on the block?

*This doesn't sound like a meritorious lawsuit, given the plaintiff's concession - why did his lawyer let him speak to the press? - that Home Depot wasn't responsible for gluing him to the toilet.

*Jeff Goldstein on Michael Steele.

*LOoking back, a friend wondered about Harriet Miers' financial disclosures why a single woman who spent so many years in private parctice as a law firm partner didn't have more money.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:05 AM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
November 21, 2005
BLOG: Temporarily Unavailable

Unfortunately, as happens from time to time, I'm just too swamped at work to blog this week. I should be back by Monday the 28th, or possibly by Friday. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

UPDATE: Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue. If I can get a few work things wrapped up, I'll have to weigh in later today on the Delgado deal.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:30 AM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)
November 7, 2005
BLOG: Closing Comments

I've got the MT Closecomments plugin installed on the blog (MT 3.121), so comments to old entries show up as needing approval. But I would like to block them entirely, as well as trackbacks to old entries; I'm getting inundated with hundreds of spam comments & spam trackbacks at a clip, which seriously eats into my blogging time. Anyone have suggestions?

Posted by Baseball Crank at 5:41 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
November 2, 2005
BLOG: Quick Links 11/2/05

*Ricky West has a nice tribute to his 23-year-old nephew. Go see why.

*Proof of a housing bubble - or a good omen for the future? Baghdad's real estate market is booming.

*Some social conservatives balk at a new vaccine for cervical cancer because it might encourage underage sex:

Because the vaccine protects against a sexually transmitted virus, many conservatives oppose making it mandatory, citing fears that it could send a subtle message condoning sexual activity before marriage. Several leading groups that promote abstinence are meeting this week to formulate official policies on the vaccine.

Via MBOnline. Sorry fellas, I'm as opposed to teenagers having unmarried sex as you are, but this is where I get off the bus. This is cancer we're talking about here (and who thinks STDs serve a useful purpose anyway?). Look, if you don't want kids to be encouraged to have sex, don't tell them what it's for, or warn them it won't stop them from getting pregnant, etc. But don't stop the vaccine.

*Gerry Daly on vote fraud and abuse of the old and the feeble by Detroit Democrats.

*How British are you? A (British) citizenship quiz from the BBC. Via Oxblog. I got six of 14 right, which sounds about right for a semi-informed foreigner who's never been there and hasn't read the pamphlet.

*Also from Oxblog, David Adesnik's one-step plan for Bush to survive Plamegate: "Win the war in Iraq. History will only rememeber Scootergate if America fails in Baghdad."

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:56 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
October 20, 2005
BLOG: Quick Links 10/20/05

*Judd Gregg wins $850,000 in the Powerball drawing

*Tom DeLay's mug shot is a picture of defiance.

*Mac Thomason on the grim economics that will force the Braves to use even fewer good players to win the division next year.

*Ed Moltzen on Kathleen Willey and Valerie Plame.

*Minas Tirith and the fall of Constantinople. (Via the rejuvenated American Scene).

*Blez is ready to do without umps calling pitches and have machines call balls and strikes. Is the technology really workable to give reliable ball-strike calls for each hitter's zone? If so, I could live with this.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:06 PM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
October 19, 2005
BLOG: Quick Links 10/19/05 (Non-Supreme Court Edition)

*Chris Lynch thinks it's time to start thinking about Larry Walker as a serious Hall of Fame candidate. I'm not sure about that one, but Walker shouldn't be penalized for his home park, as he really has been a fine hitter everywhere he's been.

*Powerline has the text of a motion to dismiss the second indictment of Tom DeLay. It certainly sounds like DeLay has valid grounds to dismiss the indictment, on the basis of the statutes at issue not covering his conduct and, possibly, improper venue. (There's no shame in being acquitted on technicalities when you are charged with a technical offense in the first place). But then, criminal defense attorneys often make arguments that sound persuasive until you see what the facts or law really are; I don't know enough about the Texas statutes in question to know if this holds water.

*Comedian/actor Charles Rocket has committed suicide. Maybe it's just me, but I could never keep Rocket straight from John Heard. I think it's just that they shared a similar stable of facial ticks.

*Jeff Goldstein notes the massive allocation of resources to arrests for marijuana possession. I'm generally - if somewhat weakly - in favor of criminalization of marijuana (in part on a broken-windows theory), but the problem with enforcing the law against pot is that you end up with a choice between (1) using vast resources better spent elsewhere or (2) enforcing the law in an arbitrary manner (and as we all know, a law arbitrarily enforced is far more susceptible to being a law discriminatorily enforced). This is one reason why I think the federal government, at least, should get out of the pot-busting business and leave to local governments the decision of what resources to allocate to this area.

*Leon H has a disturbing story about an affiliate of the American Girl doll company.

*Here's a bizarre headline about North Korea: "Report: Kim has chosen 2nd son, an NBA fan, to succeed him."

David Stern's long arm grows ever longer.

*Mike Brown should be thankful that in the US, scapegoats only get fired.

*A word in favor of today's soldiers. And a word about recruiting from someone who knows.

*I haven't looked at the legislation in detail, but I agree with Instapundit that a Congressional effort to promulgate rules for the handling of detainees is a good thing, for reasons I've explained before.

*This, also via Instapundit, just amazed me. Next up, UK Committee on Un-Islamic Activities? We're at war, and our allies are rotting from within.

*A stolen vote of the type you won't hear much about.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 8:44 AM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
October 14, 2005
BLOG: Welcome ESPN Readers!

As always, good to have visitors from Bill Simmons' place stopping by. Unfortunately, I've been too busy with work to post anything substantive the last few days . . . For those of you who are dropping by for the first time, look around; there's a lot of stuff here going back five years. This site covers politics, war, the law, pop culture and various other stuff; while I usually do more baseball during the playoffs, I've been writing a lot the last two weeks about the Supreme Court. You can hit the link at the top to just view the baseball posts.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:48 AM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
October 5, 2005
BLOG: It's An Honor Just To Be Nominated

I've been nominated for the "Best Political Blog" in the Small Dead Blog Awards over at The Roadkill Diaries.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 5:00 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
BLOG: Quick Links 10/5/05

*Duff McKagan of Guns n' Roses goes back to school to get an education in finance (via Kevin Cott). This does't sound like fun:

McKagan's drug abuse was so severe that his pancreas exploded, causing third-degree burns inside his intestines and stomach.

*Lileks: "Calling the contractors to find out why no one showed up is never as cathartic as you think it will be."

*Harriet Miers, Number 67.

*This would be a tough test to have to take for a clerkship.

*Kevin Drum makes sense on why the Democrats need the middle more than Republicans do. He quotes EJ Dionne:

According to the network exit polls, 21 percent of the voters who cast ballots in 2004 called themselves liberal, 34 percent said they were conservative and 45 percent called themselves moderate.

Drum, writing before the confirmation of Roberts and the Miers nomination:

These numbers have been rock steady for decades, and their meaning is simple: energizing the base just isn't enough for Democrats. Even if every hardcore liberal in the country votes Democratic, we have to win about three-quarters of the moderates to gain a majority. That means we have to win support pretty far into the conservative end of that moderate center, and people like that simply aren't going to respond to anti-war rallies and screaming campaigns against John Roberts.

This is one reason I haven't blogged much about Roberts. The liberal blogosphere has made opposition to Roberts practically a litmus test of "getting it," of understanding that liberals can play every bit as hard as conservatives. But you know what? It's the netroots that doesn't get it. They think unyielding opposition to Roberts shows how tough we are, but what most Americans see - including all those moderates whose votes we need - is a guy who seems conservative, but also mild mannered, intelligent, and well qualified. It's true that he took nonresponsiveness to whole new levels during his confirmation hearings, but let's face it: that particular Kabuki dance started after Robert Bork flamed out spectactularly for being a little too forthcoming to Senate questioners. Roberts just refined it a bit.

The fact is, by every previous standard of Supreme Court nominees, Roberts is well qualified for his position. Is he conservative? Of course he is. But that's because the American public elected a conservative president and a conservative Senate. If we want better nominees, that's what needs to change.

And the way to change that is to change the minds of centrist voters who are tiring of George Bush and the Republican party but still wary of Democrats. They may say they're fed up with Bush, but when it comes time to pull the lever on election day they also need to feel like it's safe to vote for a Democrat. Right now they still don't.

Of course, the corollary is that the GOP needs its base more than the Democrats do - which is something Bush seems to have forgotten with the Miers nomination. I'm not sure which is the more depressing possibility: that Bush, Cheney and Rove didn't know that this nomination would provoke a furious reaction from the base (which was entirely predictable), or that they didn't care. It was one thing to blow off the base on an issue like steel tarriffs, which are pretty small potatos to most people and could be explained in terms of obvious political benefits. But the Supreme Court is, for a large segment of the GOP, the #1 or #2 issue in presidential elections, often trailing only national security and/or taxes.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 8:45 AM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)
September 23, 2005
BLOG: Watching Your Own Death

Or, in this case, death averted. Saw this when I caught a few minutes of this twitchy, undernourished actress on the Craig Ferguson show last night (yes, I got home from work pretty late).

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:10 AM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
September 22, 2005
BLOG: Anderson Cooper

Interesting profile of CNN's Anderson Cooper. I did not know he was a Vanderbilt; he's one of those people who just suddenly appeared on TV and it seemed like everybody knew who he was. Cooper's had a rough life . . . the funny thing is, the anchors are such creatures of the Manhattan establishment, yet the Big Three were mostly self-made men haling from far from the East Coast, without much in terms of social or educational pedigree - Rather's a Texan, Brokaw's from South Dakota, Jennings was from Canada. Cooper is more from the background you'd expect in a big media guy, the background that most New York Times reporters come from.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 8:17 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
September 21, 2005
BLOG: Quick Links 9/21/05

*Instapundit thinks spending federal funds and law enforcement resources battling adult (i.e., not child) pornography is a waste of resources. I agree. Porn is a classic example of the sort of thing that, even if you are going to crack down on it, ought to be left to the local level; as the Supreme Court recognized decades ago, what counts as obscene in one community may be acceptable in another. And it's awfully difficult to argue that pornography has any truly national impact, except by making arguments under which any bad thing has a national impact.

*Unless I remember incorrectly, this represents the first indictment of a Bush Administration official. That's a marked difference from the record of prosecutions in the Clinton Administration (or the Reagan or Carter Administrations, for that matter). If the history of two-term presidencies is any indicator, this will not be the last.

*Youppi! is back, after a year spent living under an overpass in Montreal carrying a "Will Mascot For Food" sign (in French, of course). (via Kevin Cott).

*Now, Tom DeLay says, "There are programs all over the federal budget that are bloated or wasteful or inefficiently using the funds we provide them, and I'm very interested in identifying them." How long has DeLay been in Congress?

Some are arguing that it's time for divided government - that Democrats in Congress would at least produce some pork-killing gridlock. I mean to get to this point in more detail when it's time to discuss the McCain 2008 campaign, but while fighting pork is a good thing, the real battle is to change the structure of the budget process and rein in entitlements - neither of which would ever be helped even one little bit by electing more Democrats. But I'm not that optimistic that we're getting anywhere on that front under the GOP, either.

*This looks like a bad idea. So does this, if it means that partisan sniping has led the Bush White House to divert one of its best homeland security people to handle an investigation.

*Rafael Palmeiro is being investigated by Congress for perjury. Which serves him right, but if we're on the subject of waste of taxpayer money, this is a rather conspicuous example.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:29 AM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
September 16, 2005
BLOG: Quick Links 9/16/05

*The Washington Post:

Slightly more than half of American teenagers, ages 15 to 19, have engaged in oral sex, with females and males reporting similar levels of experience, according to the most comprehensive national survey of sexual behaviors ever released by the federal government.

The report today by the National Center for Health Statistics shows that the figure increases to about 70 percent of 18- and 19-year-olds.

The survey, according to those who work with young people, offers one more sign that young women are more sexually confident than they used to be.

As a friend writes, "One could, accurately, replace the word 'confident' with 'promiscuous.'"

*Is Anderson Hernandez on the way?

*Michael Newdow may have won another round in California, but the US District Court in DC rejected his attempt to get a permanent injunction against prayers at the inauguration of the President. (Link opens PDF file).

*Maybe you saw, or heard, the tearful story told on national TV by Jefferson Parish president Aaron Broussard:

The guy who runs this building I'm in, emergency management, he's responsible for everything. His mother was trapped in a St. Bernard nursing home and every day she called him and said, 'Are you coming, son? Is somebody coming?' And he said, 'Yeah, Mama, somebody's coming to get you. Somebody's coming to get you on Tuesday. Somebody's coming to get you on Wednesday. Somebody's coming to get you on Thursday. Somebody's coming to get you on Friday.' And she drowned Friday night. She drowned Friday night.

If so, you were lied to. Via Jeff Goldstein, who has been en fuego on the Hurricane Katrina story, to the point that he can barely keep his server running.

*Wonder if the people who got all bent out of shape over the Tom Delay-Homeland Security-Texas Legislature flap will go nuts over a Louisiana Democratic Congressman, who is perhaps not coincidentally under federal investigation, diverting the National Guard to clear possessions out of his house rather than save people.

*Speaking of DeLay, if he really believes Congress is doing a good job holding the line on spending and there is no fat left to cut in the budget, it is clearly past time for the House GOP to go get itself a new leader. Via NRO (and yes, I've seen subsequent reports putting the quote in context - they make it a little more understandable but no more defensible.

*Then there's the story of a 57-year-old New Orleans man who drew on his long-ago training as a Vietnam veteran and walked out of town. Via Brian Preston, who has likewise been all over Katrina and its aftermath.

*Classic George Will (via NRO). Favorite line: "You can no more embarrass a senator than you can a sofa."

*Go read Ann Althouse on John Roberts' view of the use of foreign law in interpreting the United States Constitution (hint: he's agin' it).

*So, what does the Chief Justice do? His main importance on the Court is that he picks who writes the opinions, out of the Justices in the majority (if he joins the majority - Burger used to switch sides just so he could control who wrote what). Rehnquist was reportedly less interested in using this power, except when he wanted one for himself. It was presumably Rehnquist who decided that the Bush v. Gore opinion should be an unsigned per curiam opinion.

However, the Chief has other jobs all to himself, such as heading the Judicial Conference and power of appointment for FISA court judges; this article explains these duties well. And more here. Also, as we recall, he presides at trial if the President gets impeached, although the way Rehnquist interpreted this role left most of the procedural rulings to be made by the Senate, not the Chief Justice.

*Some jokes never get old, especially #4 here.

*Mark Steyn, as usual, had the definitive word on the "Crescent of Embrace" design for the Flight 93 memorial, which has since been scrapped:

[T]he men who hijacked Flight 93 did it in the name of Islam and their last words as they hit the Pennsylvania sod were no doubt "Allahu Akhbar". One would be unlikely even today to come across an Allied D-Day memorial so misconceived in its spirit of reconciliation as to be called the Swastika of Embrace. Yet Paul Murdoch, the architect, has somehow managed to produce a design whose two most obvious interpretations are a) a big nothing or b) a splendid memorial to the hijackers rather than their victims.

*I agree with this.

*This is hilarious:

In order to draw attention to Wal-Mart's paying its workers an average of $10.17 an hour with benefits, the UFCW hired a bunch of temps at $6.00 an hour with no benefits. And while the oppressed, exploited Wal-Mart workers slave away in air-conditioned comfort, those blessed with the Union paychecks walk up and down outside in the sun until they get blisters on their feet. The Wal-Mart workers are coerced into taking regular breaks in a private area; the Union employees are dropped off at the beginning of their shift and left to fend for themselves for the entire day.

If the Democrats really want people who work and shop at Wal-Mart to vote Republican, and they get the people who hate the place, I'll take that deal. Dick Cheney understands that.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:13 AM | Blog 2002-05 • | Hurricane Katrina • | Law 2005 | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)
September 15, 2005
BLOG: The Googlesphere

Google Blog Search arrives. WaPo has the story.

Which reminds me of something I've noticed while searching Technorati and Blogpulse. In my ordinary blog reading, I am constantly amazed by how many talented writers there are out there, people with something to say and a knack for saying it. There are many hundreds of such blogs now, carrying on scores of conversations about every issue under the sun, although I mainly read blogs on politics and baseball.

But then, when you go outside of the widely-read and widely-linked parts of the blogosphere, and start running across things written on LiveJournal and Xanga and the like, you realize how many people there really are out there who just can't write - or, apparently, think - to save their lives. It's quite an eye-opener. Granted, some of them are teenagers who will learn eventually, but still.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:29 AM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
September 9, 2005
BLOG: Quick Links 9/9/05

Well, the Mets are officially dead - when you get swept in such backbreaking fashion and then roll over the next day and play dead, it's over. Stephen Keane and Faith and Fear in Flushing had some pointed thoughts on the final collapse at Turner Field; I hadn't seen the report about the likelihood of the Mets non-tendering Vic Zambrano, but it makes sense.

On to other things:

*Will the Saints go marching out of New Orleans? This from Deadspin, the new-to-me Gawker sports blog. I'm skeptical that there are enough sodomy jokes in sports to keep a Gawker/Wonkette/Defamer-style blog in business, but these guys do have a successful track record. Personally, I drop by a few of the Gawker blogs from time to time, and almost always come away disappointed.

*Mickey Kaus asks whether the NEA is using the hurricane as an excuse to evade standards imposed by No Child Left Behind. I can see exempting kids who just arrived in your school from the tests, but exempting whole districts and states is just a little too clever a trick.

*How crazy can the Kos/MoveOn left get? Plenty crazy. I dare you to guess what they're speculating about now, before you click this link and find out. Via Llama Butchers, who think Karl Rove has been spiking MoveOn's happy juice again.

*Varifrank has a thought-provoking essay on the possibility that mass tort lawsuits will render New Orleans uninhabitable and ruin the state and city governments (via Instapundit). Meanwhile, Prof. Bainbridge and the Wall Street Journal ($) ponder how the legal system in Louisiana will survive the inundation of courthouses and law offices and the destruction of evidence and docket files.

*From a few months back (obviously), Annika's guide to the Supreme Court. Hilarious.

*You don't usually see studies linking "Marines, Korean men, gays and transsexuals", but this one does. The LA Times' effort to come up with a politically palatable explanation is very amusing.

*Will Mitt Romney's Mormonism hurt him with evangelical Christians in the GOP primary? The author is obviously ill-disposed towards conservatives generally, but there are a few points in here I didn't know about the intensity of anti-Mormon sentiment.

*The latest here and here on medical reports about the death of Yasser Arafat.

*Long profile of Bill Clinton by a sympathetic liberal writer who nonetheless picks at a few of Clinton's flaws; I had intended to comment on this, including some of the sillier anti-Bush potshots, but there's too much in here and too much else going on. Read the whole thing.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:55 AM | Blog 2002-05 • | Hurricane Katrina | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)
September 6, 2005
BLOG: Behind the Curve

I am now officially back at one of those points where computer difficulties are eating up most of what would usually be my blogging time. I have a few not-quite-finished posts I'll try and get wrapped and posted later in the day.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:30 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
September 4, 2005
BLOG: No Comment

I'm getting comments emailed to me that are posted on the site, but for some reason they aren't showing up in my MT or on the blog. Anybody with any idea of why or of how to fix this, please let me know (by email, not by comments).

If I can get the comments working again, I'll re-post the ones that got swallowed.

UPDATE: Here's the error message I got while trying to post a comment:

An error occurred:

Rebuild failed: Building entry 'BLOG: No Comment' failed: Build error in template 'Individual Entry Archive': Error in tag:

Use of uninitialized value in numeric ge (>=) at lib/MT/App/Comments.pm line 151.
Use of uninitialized value in concatenation (.) or string at lib/MT/Builder.pm line 141.
Use of uninitialized value in concatenation (.) or string at lib/MT/Builder.pm line 141.

UPDATE #2 (Tuesday Morning): OK, now I can't find any sign on MT of the 3,000+ comments left on this site over the past two and a half years.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:43 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
September 2, 2005
BLOG: Quick Links 9/2/05

*Characteristically brilliant Mark Steyn column (reg. req.) taking the long view on why we should be optimistic about Iraq's future in general and its new constitution in particular, comparing it favorably to the failed EU constitution:

The Kurds drove a hard bargain and the Shia accepted it. The Sunnis did not. Sad, but not fatal. You wait around for unanimity, you wait for ever. The US framers said nine out of 13 states would be enough to proceed, and Rhode Island and North Carolina were still not on board at George Washington's inauguration. Quebec, incidentally, has still not signed the Canadian constitution.


There's nothing wrong with the hard-fought trade-offs of smoke-filled rooms: that's what the US constitution is, and, come to that, Magna Carta. The flop constitutions, on the other hand, are those that reflect the modish unanimity of a homogeneous ruling class - like the European constitution. The Iraqi document is a very subtle instrument: it effectively uses Sunni intransigence to give the Shia majority an interest in Kurdish federalism - and, if in the end that doesn't work, supplies the mechanism for 85 per cent of the Iraqi population not to get sucked down with the hold-outs. As the aerial TV shots of looters in New Orleans remind us, at defining moments not every citizen rises to the occasion. What matters is that enough do. The Iraqi constitution understands that.

As always, read the whole thing.

*John Hawkins asks whether we really should rebuild New Orleans. A hard question, but a necessary one in the weeks to come. Louisiana without New Orleans is all but unthinkable, and abandoning cities is emotionally hard to do (the Japanese rebuilt Hiroshima, after all). But it would be wise to consider whether the city can be structurally reconfigured as a smaller and less vulnerable one.

*New Orleans-based Ernie the Attorney, who's been dealing with the aftermath of the catastrophe himself, recommends this book about the 1927 flood of the Mississippi.

*Former Red Sox Ace Mel Parnell is apparently among the missing, as is rock legend Fats Domino (UPDATE: They found Domino). While the worst impact of the hurricane and the deluge - especially in New Orleans - predictably fell on the sick, the old and the very poor, many of whom are now dead or in mortal peril, the rich and powerful weren't spared the destruction of homes: among those who reportedly lost their homes include Trent Lott, Bobby Jindal and several other Louisiana Congressmen, and the Neville Brothers. The rain, as the Bible reminds us, falls on the rich and the poor, the just and the unjust.

*Rod Dreher suggests a way we can expect help from the French in rebuilding New Orleans.

*The finger-pointing can wait for later, but McQ does have some useful background here, and more here from the Wall Street Journal.

*Lost in the flood-related news was the sudden death of supply-side guru and all-around gadfly Jude Wanniski. Wanniski wasn't always right or even rational, and he allied himself with all sorts of horrendous people and ideas along the way, but he was provocative and influential, and should be duly remembered.

*I agree with Kevin Drum's thoughts on the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, Ann Althouse on Jon Stewart and Bill Maher, and these thoughts on looters from Ted Frank, Jonah Goldberg, and Instapundit (also here).

*Dean Barnett thinks Bill Weld will beat Spitzer. (via Ace). It's not likely, but it's possible, and a match between a true libertarian like Weld and a dedicated nanny-stater like Spitzer could provide an interesting contrast. Howie Carr, on the other hand, thinks the Bill Weld of 2005 is not the Bill Weld of 1990, and all but calls Weld a shiftless drunk. Obviously, the key question is whether Weld still has the fire in the belly to run a tough race against an unusually ruthless opponent.

*Ann Althouse discusses the issue of men who lose sexual desire for their wives after witnessing childbirth. My advice: as the dad, you're not delivering the baby, you're providing moral support. Stay up at the head of the bed, look your wife in the eye, and hold her hand. That's all she needs anyway.

*Interesting USA Today profile of Sandy Alderson.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 8:55 AM | Blog 2002-05 • | Hurricane Katrina | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)
September 1, 2005
BLOG: Off Wing Off Line

Eric McErlain sends word that he's blogging at a backup Blogspot site while waiting for HostingMatters to resolve a Denial of Service attack on another customer that's disabled his site.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 2:27 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
August 31, 2005
BLOG: Quick Links 8/31/05

*Chris Lawrence Lynch on Buddy Bell and anti-war protests at Arlington National Cemetary.

*This Michael Yon combat journal is a must-read, albeit of the "print and read at leisure" variety due to its length. Yon is that rare journalist who gets so close to the fight that, in this instance, he had to pick up and fire a weapon.

*Quote of the week, from Justice Scalia (of course):

Now the Senate is looking for moderate judges, mainstream judges. What in the world is a moderate interpretation of a constitutional text? Halfway between what it says and what we'd like it to say?

*LaShawn Barber on the DaVinci Code movie; I hadn't realized it was quite so perniciously anti-Christian. And yes, that bothers me a lot more in a movie than in a book; at least books are read by people who read. Of course, I agree with one of her readers that, in contrast to the Muslim reaction to similar provocations, "the DaVinci Code’s movie release may provide an opportunity for Christians to show that we can oppose such a blasphemous work without resorting to violence . . . "

*The US has, in fact, been quite fortunate not to have the sort of radicalized and subversive Muslim population that exists in Europe. But Wizbang notes that that doesn't always mean that American Muslims are sympathetic and cooperative in efforts to root out terrorists in their midst.

*Via Instapundit, the international tribunal investigating the Rafik Hariri murder may be closing in on pointing the finger at the only plausible suspect, the Syrian government. Of course, that will once again front-burner the issue of what to do about Syria; we would desperately like to see the end of the Assad tyranny, which (as this investigation is likely to show) has grown incompetent in addition to brutal. But unlike in Iraq, Iran and Lebanon, there's not a lot of cause for optimism in the short term about a democracy movement arising to take Assad's place. Still, as always, there's no way out but forward.

*Stuart Buck catches Jack Balkin, who is a very smart liberal law professor, giving away the game in defending the "living constitution" as opposed to originalism:

Originalists are right that the Constitution is binding law, but they confuse the constitutional text -- which is binding -- with original understanding and original intentions, which are not. A living Constitution requires that judges faithfully apply the constitutional text, given the meanings the words had when they were first enacted, applying those words to today's circumstances.

(Emphasis mine). Of course, reading the words to mean what they meant when they were first enacted is precisely what originalists set out to do. But go read Stuart's whole analysis, which points to more concrete examples of why Balkin's framing of the issues doesn't get him where he wants to go.

*Buck again, on humorless liberals calling John Roberts a sexist for what any lawyer, or any person with a little perspective, would instantly recognize as a lawyer joke.

*The people losing their homes in the Kelo case in New London are now being billed by the city for rent for living in their own homes.

*From the Blogometer, yes, people on the left are eagerly blaming Bush for the hurricane:

For more than a few lefty bloggers, Pres. Bush bears a lot of responsibility for the suffering that is expected. Diarist Patricia Taylor at Daily Kos: "Historically, it is the National Guard, along with other emergency personnel, who attempt to provide emergency services to the community in disaster relief situations like Katrina. And where are these National Guard right now? Iraq." Wampum calls it "A Bush-made catastrophe in the making..." Skippy the Bush Kangaroo and Swing State Project make similar points. So does Steve Gilliard, who writes: "The next closest thing to this is a nuclear explosion." AMERICAblog suggests that New Orleans could get more attention from the Bush admin. by renaming the storm "Hurricane Terri"; a little Photoshop work places Terri Schiavo's face over the eye of the storm. TalkLeft: "One other point: we need to stop destroying the Louisiana wetland which serves as a buffer." Wizbang's Paul picks up the Daily Kos diary, and adds this comment: "Actually if the dumbass used google news they would have known the Guard is in the Superdome." Liberal BooMan Tribune: "It looks like it is time to put partisanship and politics aside. Dealing with this calamity is going to require a unified approach from all Americans."
Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:21 AM | Blog 2002-05 • | Hurricane Katrina | Comments (13) | TrackBack (0)
August 30, 2005

Due to technical difficulties, I wasn't able to log on to the blog this morning. Blogging to follow later.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 3:15 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
August 26, 2005
BLOG: The Toll Continues

My high school alumni newsletter came, and noted the death of a classmate. I Googled around and came up with a story on his death from my old hometown newspaper, from late July:

YONKERS — Timothy Langer, who lost his pregnant wife in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center, died Monday of liver failure at age 34.

His family is calling him an indirect victim of the attacks.

"He didn't quite know how to plug back into life," his brother, Thomas Langer, 35, said. "He had big shoulders that he carried all that pain with — and I say that's poison. In my opinion, that's what killed him."

Elaine Langer, his mother, said the death of his wife and unborn child destroyed her son.

"He was happy, he was well-adjusted. He just couldn't cope with the pain. He self-medicated," she said yesterday amid funeral preparations. "He was a wonderful kid. He was the life of the party. Everyone would talk to him, and then they would go away happy. Unfortunately, Timmy just carried all that pain. He couldn't get rid of it."

Langer, who ran in [sic] Internet business, called his mother every morning and every night to see how she was, she said tearfully. "You don't get too many sons like that. He was a sweet, sweet kid."

In his early 20s, Langer suffered a catastrophic motorcycle accident that left him paralyzed below the chest. Doctors gave him a 2 percent chance of recovery, his mother said. But with hope and determination, he learned to walk again.

Last I had heard of Langer was when I heard about the motorcycle accident, so it's good to hear he had gotten things going his way, for a while, anyway.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:21 PM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)
BLOG: Death Spiral

Russia now has more abortions than births, to go with the shortest life expectancy in Europe. If an animal population had this problem, they'd be on the Endangered Species List. And Russia doesn't have offsetting immigration the way Western Europe's declining societies do.

What's probably needed in Russia is a religious revival. Maybe the Mormons should get to work there.

UPDATE: I don't quote him very often (because I don't agree with him very often), but Pat Buchanan was all over this trend two years ago.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:34 PM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (11) | TrackBack (0)
August 24, 2005
BLOG: Quick Links 8/24/05

*The husband of Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey has cashed in $13 million in stock options, giving her a huge potential campaign war chest. Hint: nobody cashes in $13 million in options to run for Lt. Gov. Yet another sign that Mitt Romney is running for president, in which case he won't run for re-election in 2006, in which case Healey will be the GOP candidate.

*Bush is reading a book about the history of salt, as well as one on the 1918 flu pandemic.

*Ed Morrissey on Jamie Gorelick.

*Morrissey again, on the March 2001 arrest of Iraqi agents in Germany on suspicion of spying, including contemporaneous (i.e., pre-9/11) press reports that the arrests were related to contacts between Iraq and bin Laden. From a summary of a report in a Paris-based Arabic newspaper:

Al-Watan al-Arabi (Paris) reports that two Iraqis were arrested in Germany, charged with spying for Baghdad. The arrests came in the wake of reports that Iraq was reorganizing the external branches of its intelligence service and that it had drawn up a plan to strike at US interests around the world through a network of alliances with extremist fundamentalist parties.

The most serious report contained information that Iraq and Osama bin Ladin were working together. German authorities were surprised by the arrest of the two Iraqi agents and the discovery of Iraqi intelligence activities in several German cities. German authorities, acting on CIA recommendations, had been focused on monitoring the activities of Islamic groups linked to bin Ladin. They discovered the two Iraqi agents by chance and uncovered what they considered to be serious indications of cooperation between Iraq and bin Ladin. The matter was considered so important that a special team of CIA and FBI agents was sent to Germany to interrogate the two Iraqi spies.

Via Powerline.

*Andrew McCarthy looks more closely at how new information informs the longstanding controversy over a Czech intelligence finding that Mohammed Atta met with an Iraqi intelligence operative in Prague the following month, April 2001. The evidence remains contradictory and ambiguous. But the salient point is the extent to which the 9/11 Commission reached a predetermined conclusion on the issue without looking more carefully at the facts.

*Patrick Ruffini on how Rupert Murdoch's Fox News and NY Post may be pulling their punches on Hillary Clinton. And is Hillary "Joe Lieberman in a pants suit"?

*A response to Juan Cole's effort to blame the death of pro-war journalist Steven Vincent on Vincent having an alleged affair with his translator. Cole just can't resist kicking a man while he's dead. Via Stuart Buck.

*Mary Katherine Ham on whether newspaper reporters know more about the Iraq war than the people fighting the war, and other lessons for the media. Via Wizbang.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:17 AM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)
August 23, 2005
BLOG: Blogoversary 3.3

I know it's a bit hard to keep track, since I celebrate three different blogoversaries, but yesterday was the third anniversary of the start of my old Blogspot blog, and thus my transformation from an Internet columnist to a blogger. Boy, 2002 seems like a long time ago now, doesn't it?

Posted by Baseball Crank at 8:05 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
August 19, 2005
BLOG: The Moustache Did It!

The Moustache of Understanding. Via Matt Welch.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:24 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
August 18, 2005
BLOG: Conspiracy Theory

OK, this has to be one of my all time favorite ways someone reached this site through a Google search. (WARNING: Google search contains a Harry Potter #6 spoiler. Seriously.)

UPDATE: This is apparently what they were looking for (via Den Beste, yes, that Den Beste). It's pretty funny. (Same spolier warnings apply).

Posted by Baseball Crank at 4:43 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (1)
August 16, 2005
BLOG: California Blogging

So, I spent last week on vacation in Southern California with my wife and kids, visiting family and seeing all the touristy sights we could squeeze into a week. It was the first time I'd been to California - in fact, until this year I'd never been west of Chicago. It's not hard to see why people fall in love with the place the first time they see it. Thoughts and impressions:

*We stayed in Newport Beach, which is something like 50 miles south of downtown LA and thus turned out to be ideally strategically located to hit the sights ranging from the hills north of LA down to Seaworld in San Diego. It's also a very nice town with a beautiful public beach, and wasn't as expensive as some of the surrounding towns as far as hotel rooms. Highly recommended.

*We hit Dodger Stadium and four theme parks - Disneyland, Legoland, Seaworld, and Universal Studios (if we'd had more time, I'd have liked to see the Angels and Padres as well). All of them were fun, although there was a limit to how much the kids could do at Universal. The theme parks were all extremely expensive (especially Legoland and Universal), although in our case we were able to get, through family and other sources, a variety of free tickets, discounts, coupons, and even (in the case of Seaworld) half-priced scalped tickets outside the entrance. Seaworld probably had the best food and, by far, the most reasonably priced souvenirs. Disney, of course, had the worst parking situation (the exits to the trams to different parking areas are very badly marked at night). I was very impressed with Dodger Stadium, which is every bit as beautiful and peaceful a place to see a game as it looks on TV, although my one gripe was the difficulty of locating an exit (at Shea, this is never a problem, as there are ramps heading out everywhere you look), and the Dodger Dog is not up to the standards of a New York ballpark hot dog. Legoland, of course, is a geek's paradise, with miniature models of several American cities (go there now while they still have the original design of the Freedom Tower, the design that will now never be created in the actual Manhattan). At Universal, we saw the "Waterworld" show, which was billed, with a straight face, as "based on the hit movie." While the plot was really too thin even for an outdoor theme park show, the show was definitely worth seeing for the live special effects, which included a lot of things blowing up, catching fire, and plunging into the water (on the other hand, the actors in the show couldn't even meet minimal action-movie standards of realism in handling firearms). I hadn't realized that Seaworld is owned by Anheuser-Busch, which is why along with whales and dolphins you get a Clydesdale display and "beer school."

*We saw an awful lot of the freeways, putting over 900 miles on the rental car in 8 days. An observation: Californians refer to their highways as "the 405," "the 5," etc., which sounded strange to me - in New York, you would just say, "95," not "the 95." Also, the concept of "free" is so ingrained that when you get on a toll road, there are warnings after warnings for miles before you hit a single toll booth. Coming from Queens, the traffic did not seem nearly as bad as we'd heard; we hit some momentary traffic heading to San Diego and did get stuck a little going from Universal to the Dodger game, but nothing like an ordinary trip on the Cross-Bronx Expressway. Even from the highways - especially the Pacific Coast Highway - the natural beauty of California is staggering, and the manmade views aren't bad either. There was one view we saw a few times at night, on 73 heading north into Newport Beach, where you pass over a ridge and suddenly have the whole of LA laid out below you, not bunched in a Manhattan-ish skyline but with the lights of modern civilization at nighttime stretching as far in every direction as the eye can see. It looked like George Lucas' vision of the city-planet of Coruscant from space.

*We encountered, especially with the (very friendly) guys sitting behind us at Dodger Stadium, a number of people in LA who use the word "dude" as if it were a required form of punctuation, without which one can't conclude a sentence fragment, let alone a complete sentence. Another thing that surprised me: wine for sale everywhere, in supermarkets and convenience stores, and not just a bottle or two but rows and rows of the stuff.

*As to the Dodger game, we saw Tuesday night's game against the Phillies; all the better to miss the Mets, so we could root for the home team. The Dodgers were, once again, leading off Cesar Izturis, who has a .222 on base percentage since June 1, the worst in baseball by a margin of 42 points. And people wonder why they don't score any runs. The Phillies were pitching Robinson Tejeda, who may have a good arm - he struck out Jeff Kent three times with men on base - but just could not find the plate, which is borne out by his walk rate this season. Brad Penny was masterful for the Dodgers before the bullpen imploded.

*We saw a few more Bush bumperstickers than Kerry ones, although this may mean little enough nine months after the election (here in NY, the number of Kerry-Edwards stickers dropped off rapidly after the election), plus Newport Beach, at least, is in what used to be the heart of Republican territory. The hotel and the theme parks were also plagued with a ridiculous proliferation of state-law-mandated warnings and disclaimers, nearly none of which made much sense (did you know that Disney may contain tobacco and other potentially cancer-causing agents?). At Seaworld, they asked the people in the audience at the Shamu show who were military or military families to stand for applause, and quite a lot of people stood up - that's San Diego for you.

*Yes, we managed to see endless TV replays of the Beltran-Cameron collision in what was otherwise the all-Terrell-Owens sports networks. The only two OF collisions that scary that I can remember are (1) Johnny Damon and Damian Jackson in the 2003 ALDS and (2) the Mookie Wilson-Lenny Dykstra collision that ended with Mookie's teeth marks across Lenny's nose.

Anyway, a fine time was had by all. Regular blogging to resume tomorrow.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 8:33 AM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (12) | TrackBack (1)
August 15, 2005
BLOG: Jet Lagged

We just got back last night from a week's vacation in Southern California (preemptive disclaimer: we had a full schedule with family and sightseeing events, so I didn't get to touch base with half the people I know out there). Anyway, due to bad weather we didn't get in until 2 a.m. EST, so my best-laid plans to return to the blog this morning were for naught.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:27 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
August 5, 2005
BLOG: Quick Links 8/5/05

I had a bunch of things on my to-blog list but never got to them, and now I'll be out-of-blog for the next week. In the meantime, a few links:

*Alex Belth has a long excerpt about Barry Bonds from Howard Bryant's new book on steroids. Overlooked here is the extent to which tension has arisen from the fact that baseball writers thought they had come to terms, by 2000, with who Bonds was and his place in the game's history, before he abruptly violated everyone's expectations with his unnatural after-35 surge.

*Eugene Volokh notes that profanity makes him uneasy mainly because of its association with anger. I would add that this is a major reason why the likes of Kos and Atrios so frequently come off as nasty and unhinged: the endless use of foul language on their blogs gives the reader the distinct impression that these are angry, hate-filled guys, and that limits their ability to persuade people who aren't already like-minded. That's a major, major difference between Kos and RedState, where profanity is banned, and it really affects the tone.

I don't actually have anything against foul language, as I probably use too much of it myself in my daily life. And sometimes, it's hard to make quite the point you want to make without it. But there are real costs involved, which is one reason why I don't use that kind of language on the blog.

*Jeff Goldstein has some choice words for the lame excuses being peddled for the New York Times to investigate the adoption of John Roberts' two small children. The upside may be the Clarence Thomas Effect, which is the opposite of the "Greenhouse Effect": the more the Left personally attacks Roberts during his confirmation, the more likely it is that he will dig his heels in and resist drifting leftward on the bench.

*I had wanted to excerpt this, but you should go read this Seattle Times article and its accompanying sidebar (links via Simmons' intern) on conversations on the baseball field.

*Sports fans, don't try this at home. Um, to put it mildly . . .

*The White House should have tried this earlier.

*Interesting profile of Jon Corzine.

*Don Luskin has really been on a roll lately, skewering Paul Krugman here and here.

*Some good stuff from Bob Somerby on George Tenet's possible role in the Plame disclosure and the general incompetence of the CIA spokesman in waving Novak off.

*More on Matt McGough's book "Bat Boy" here and here.

*This executive summary is a good place to start in reviewing a thorough and detailed report on how the bulk of incidents of voter suppression, intimidation and fraud in 2004 were perpetrated by Democrats (link via Dales). The group behind the study is apparently technically nonpartisan, but obviously conservative. Go read the whole thing.


Read More »

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:35 PM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
August 3, 2005
BLOG: Pop(ulation) Quiz

Leaving aside the entries for the World and the EU, the eleven most populous nations on earth - the 11 with 100 million people apiece - according to the CIA Factbook, are as follows; see if you can fill in the blanks:

1. China
2. India
3. United States
5. Brazil
8. Russia
10. Japan

I left in the easier ones (including Russia, which is dropping like a rock on this list). The answers are below the fold.

Read More »

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:01 AM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
July 29, 2005
BLOG: Sweet Home Easthampton

Apparently, Easthampton, Massachusetts has had a little trouble putting up highway signs. Via War Liberal. (Pictures of the signs here).

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:59 AM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
July 28, 2005
BLOG: Unmanning The Post

Michele says that "I think Command Post has run its course. We might find some way to keep it alive, but for the most part, it's on the way out." Which is sad, as TCP provided a valuable service as a breaking-news source during the Iraq invasion, key moments in the 2004 election, and other times when new news was flying fast and furious. I hope the site sticks around to be used again, for the next big event.

That said, I haven't posted over there myself in some time, nor do I even read the site that much anymore, and the traffic numbers don't lie:


The main purpose of TCP after the invasion was to provide a one-stop-shop for news on the war on terror and the war in Iraq. Now, though, there are many more blogs covering those issues with depth and focus (Winds of Change comes to mind), and having a group blog dedicated to news aggregation where most of the bloggers are not even using it as their primary blog just doesn't seem to be cutting it any longer. If it is farewell, it's a sad day, but also a reminder that the only constant on the web is change.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:04 PM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
July 27, 2005
BLOG: Quick Links 7/27/05

*Gerry Daly has a must-read work of original research on John Roberts' Supreme Court arguments and the Justices he was able to win over to his side in non-unanimous cases.

*I do not find this reassuring.

*More bad thoughts on the Deuce Bigelow sequel; it's not just the left-wing politics that bother me about Hollywood, it's the stupid left-wing politics. And they wonder why box office is down.

*Frank Lautenberg thinks conservatives like the Vice President should not be permitted to enter New Jersey.

*Would it be bad of me to hope that this happens to this?

*Wuzzadem looks ahead to the Roberts hearings; I'm not sure they are likely to be this dignified. Via Malkin.

*I found Captain V through a link on NRO; check out this post on the CIA's use of cover:

I don't recall who first offered up the idea, but it is a good one: Don't let people who are destined for lives under cover near the DC area (CIA isn't the only agency that has people under cover). It invites carelessness and complacency.

*Stephen Green explains why he doesn't like unions.

*Encouraging news for pro-lifers from . . . Glamour magazine.

*More on the Ruth Bader Ginsburg precedent.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:46 AM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
July 22, 2005
BLOG: Damn You, Glenn!

So, I'm out of commission all day after having a tooth pulled, and I'm feeling like I have a good excuse - what with the painkillers, loss of blood, etc. - for neither working nor blogging today. And then I see that Instapundit had dental surgery today too and still managed to get 16 posts up. You're makin' me look bad!

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:52 PM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)
July 15, 2005
BLOG: Quick Links 7/15/05

*Go vote in Mac Thomason's tournament to determine the most annoying ESPN on-air personality!

*Charlie Cook thinks it's the Democrats who need to worry about party unity on judges, not Republicans. And check out The National Journal's daily Blogometer.

*Dr. Weevil notes the loathsome Juan Cole's insistence on using the term "guerilla" to describe what any sane person would call terrorism:

When you're firing mortars at a market full of unarmed civilians, or murdering unarmed barbers, you are a not a guerrilla, or even an unlawful combatant, but a common murderer. And when you do it to terrorize the general population, as is quite obviously the case here, you are a terrorist. Why can't Cole use that word?

This is of a piece with the BBC's decision to declare the term doubleplus ungood. I didn't necessarily think it was accurate for the Bush Administration to call the insurgents "terrorists" when they first started attacking US troops, but given that the bulk of the attacks these days are aimed at Iraqi civilians (indeed, if they weren't, we could leave without much consequence), the term obviously fits.

You know, I understand why there can't be universal agreement on a truly comprehensive definition of terrorism, but there's no morally defensible reason why there can't be common agreement on a minimum definition of terrorism: when non-regular combatants (i.e., no uniform, no accountable chain of command, etc.) direct violence at primarily civilian/non-combatant targets, that's terrorism, period. (When the same violence is directed by regular combatants in a declared war between combatant nations, that's a different story, albeit in most cases equally objectionable - different, because the offending nation and its own populace can be held directly accountable). People like Cole just can't bring themselves to condemn terrorism because that would undermine the noble and treasured endeavor of suicide bombings against Israeli civilians.

*You would think that this case is more important and interesting than the Aruba Police Blotter. And this may have been missed by the media altogether, and may not lend itself to any obvious solution, but that doesn't make it any less tragic.

*Tom Elia says rooting for both the Cubs and the White Sox is a sign of the sickness of our age.

*Dean Barnett writes for the Weekly Standard that the Democrats are making a mistake in following the lead of the left blogosphere (hat tip: RedState). I've made this point before.

*The list of things potentially (a) classified or (b) harmful to national security that have been leaked through the NY Times in the past five years would be so long as to defy enumeration; Powerline notes a prominent and egregious example. Yet, somehow, only one riles.

*Stephen Green predicts that an economic slowdown will lead to saber-rattling by China. His prediction is swiftly fulfilled.

*When they get to the movie of "Namor the Sub-Mariner," it's time for Hollywood to just throw in the towel.

*He who Laffs last Laffs best.

*The Pope thinks the Harry Potter books offer "subtle seductions that work imperceptibly, and because of that deeply, and erode Christianity in the soul before it can even grow properly. This was written by then-Cardinal Ratzinger in apparent approval of a book arguing that the Potter books (1) "blur the boundaries between good and evil and impair young readers' ability to distinguish between the two" and (2) "glorify the world of witches and magicians at the expense of the human world."

With all due respect to the Holy Father, the latter charge is silly - that's the nature of fantasy and sci-fi stories, even those written by ardent Catholics like Tolkein, and isn't a problem because in the real world there are no wizards - and the former charge just doesn't withstand contact with the actual books, which paint a very clear contrast between good and evil in all its forms, including cowardice, prejudice, snobbery, malicious gossip, jealousy, paranoia, overweening ambition, and joy in inflicting pain.

*John Cole has the latest on Abu Ghraib and Gitmo, with some news reports that bear very careful reading before you jump to conclusions.

*Blogger Chris Short discusses growing up in a cult. Hat tip: Jeff Quinton.


*They've dropped baseball and softball from the Olympics. Sad, but Olympic baseball was really never a main event in the baseball world. There's something to be said for my older brother's view that no sport should be in the Olympics if winning an Olympic gold medal isn't the biggest event on the sport's calendar.

*I missed this whole Jeter-A-Rod fight story when it happened, as well as the 100th anniversary of Moonlight Graham's cup of coffee.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:15 PM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (4) | TrackBack (1)
July 11, 2005
BLOG: Eyes on the Ball

Don't forget to keep checking RedState for the latest inside word on the Supreme Court. And Tom Maguire is still all over the Valerie Plame story, so the rest of us don't have to be.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:30 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
BLOG: Even Bo Diaz

Greg Gutfeld plumbs the true depths of Karl Rove's dark powers, and even fingers him in the death of Bo Diaz! (Link via NRO).

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:46 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
July 6, 2005
BLOG: I Must Be, The Bahamas Are Islands

Well, I'm back, if not entirely ready to pick up where I left off. My wife and I spent a few days in the Bahamas celebrating (a month early) our 10th wedding anniversary - we'd never been to a tropical island, so it seemed like a good time to finally spring for a big vacation.

Of course, the day we get there turns out to have been a big news day, but I was calmed by the fact that President Bush and Attorney General Gonzales were both out of the country, so it would be a few days, at least, before we get a big announcement.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:32 AM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
June 30, 2005
BLOG: Out of Blog

Taking a break from the blog for the long weekend - I should be back on Wednesday or so. Enjoy the 4th of July.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:02 PM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
BLOG: Quick Links 6/30/05

*John Hawkins interviews the incomparable Mark Steyn.

*"[B]eing a terrorist makes me a good Muslim". As the reader who sent this in points out, "It's also interesting - although not terribly surprising - that TIME seems to have better sources within the insurgency than they do within the US military."

*More Rehnquist and O'Connor rumors from RedState here and here. Ramesh is hearing the same things about replacements but nothing on resignations.

*This, via NRO, is classic:

COSTAS: If you had been elected president last November, by this point what would President John Kerry have done in Iraq?

KERRY: Well, I laid out -- you know, I don't want to get in -- I mean, I think that's not quite the way to go at it.

After that, Kerry launches back into his usual style, such as taking the words of unfriendly foreign leaders at face value. The man never changes.

*Drezner on the Iranian elections.

*One step at a time.

*I did not know that Evan Thomas of Newsweek was the grandson of Socialist presidential candidate Norman Thomas, but I can't say I'm surprised.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:42 AM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)
June 29, 2005
BLOG: Been There, Done That

What Jeff Jarvis said.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:15 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
June 26, 2005
BLOG: Ode to the Instalanche


"'Twas the day after Sunday, and all through my site,
Not a visitor was active, not getting a bite;
My posts had been writ with the greatest of care,
In the hopes that some comments would fill up dead air;

"My referrers log empty, most bloggers would scoff,
My visions of blogofame seemed quite far off;
No trolls came to visit, leaving posts in ALL CAPS,
So I settled my head for a sorrowful nap;

"But now my Sitemeter spun faster and faster,
I clicked "referred by", thinking 'who's the spam blaster';
When what to my bloodshot, wet eyes should be seen,
but "instapundit.com" that was filling the screen;

"Much faster than spambots the linkers they came,
I shouted and yelled as I called out their names:
'Oh Billy, oh Steven, oh Cut On the Bias,
Daimnation, Yay Chrenkoff, Atlas Shrugs, and the Argghhh!!! guys,
From the depths of all blogdom and blogrolls so small,
Now link away, link away, link away all!'"

via Ninme

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:36 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
June 23, 2005
BLOG: Quick Links 6/23/05

*Mike Lupica on Steinbrenner's decline with age. I'm not the biggest fan of the "he's being manipulated by his advisers" genre, with its inevitable vilification of some advisers and hosannas to others (i.e., sources). But Lupica does convincingly argue that George just isn't the same.

*The real corruption in Ronnie Earle's pursuit of supporters of Tom DeLay.

*Captain Ed notes Jaques Chirac bending on agricultural subsidies, one of France's most intransigent and damaging policies. It's worth considering as well this manifesto from the EU Referendum blog, setting out why "Euroscepticism" is about democratic accountability, which is under seige throughout the Western world.

*Cat got your tongue? Or the other way around? There's tough and then there's tough.

*Why do men with stay at home wives make more money? This article overlooks two possibilities: (1) Men who are married with stay at home wives have an increased incentive/need to work hard; (2) Women are more likely to stay at home if they have a reasonable expectation that their husband will make enough money to support them.

*This lawsuit, demanding a constitutional right for felons to vote, seems unlikely to go anywhere. (Via Bashman). The Fourteenth Amendment itself, for example, explicitly contemplates that states will deny felons the right to vote:

Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.

*Bush is interviewing candidates for the Supreme Court. Via Bashman.

*Interesting point about Dick Durbin's pressure points.

*The Onion sees Hollywood's future. In your heart, you know it's true. In fact, we're already there.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:54 AM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
June 22, 2005
BLOG: Quick Links 6/22/05

*So, we've been giving trials to the Guantanamo inmates all along?

*Patterico notes the final insult from Michael Schiavo.

*Chrenkoff has a visual roundup of the Coalition of the Willing. (Via Winds)

*If this Mitt Romney broadside against "people within our country, and most of them are Democrats, who take delight in attacking our own country, and the way we treat people" isn't a sign that Romney is running for president instead of running for re-election in heavily Democratic Massachusetts, I don't know what would be.

*WaPo thinks Alberto Gonzales may have the inside track to replace Rehnquist.

*The Third Rule of War. Via INDC.

*The National Taxpayers Union wants our money back from Senators who didn't show up for work last year. Just wait until 2008.

*Profile of political consultant Mike Murphy. Romney's association with Murphy worries me - his candidates never seem to have a coherent philosophy or much of a policy program.

*Joe Katzman has some helpful thoughts on same-sex marriage and its place in the larger marriage debate, with links; I should return to Katzman's points at some point.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:09 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (1)
June 17, 2005
BLOG: Attribution

A comment of mine at Maguire's place gets picked up by Instapundit.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:15 PM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
June 16, 2005
BLOG: Welcome, CNN Viewers!

Yes, you've come to the right place. Scroll down a bit for yesterday's post on the Vietnam Card. And feel free to put your feet up and look around a bit - besides politics, there's plenty of baseball and other stuff around the site, starting with the "Greatest Hits" on the sidebar.

(Transcript of CNN's Inside Politics here)

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:31 PM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (1)
June 10, 2005
BLOG: Quick Links 6/10/05

*Nobody dresses like this to go to Knick games.

*Fun facts from Drezner: the US makes up 47% of the world's military spending, and the supplemental appropriations to pay for Afghanistan, Iraq and the overall war on terror for Fiscal Years 2003-05

amounted to approximately $238 billion and exceeded the combined military spending of Africa, Latin America, Asia (except Japan but including China) and the Middle East in 2004 ($193 billion in current dollars)

*Oscar at the Columnist Manifesto has pictures from the Maginot Line. (via Althouse)

*This entry at QandO reminds me I'm long overdue to take the pledge.

*Kos discovers the perils of political correctness.

*Time for the Democrats to execute Order 66. Looks like the firing has commenced.

*Lileks finally saw Revenge of the Sith:

Not enough Wookies. And I don't see them as the kind of guys who'd use a bowcaster, frankly; they seem more like shotgun types. You would not want to fight an army of a pissed off Wookies with shotguns. I bet they drink, too. They're probably always drunk all the time, which is why their language seems so incoherent; for all we know they're not saying anything at all, just yelling. Because they're all hammered.

*Lucas may yet be tempted to do more prequels.

*Profile of our old friend Dave Holmes, now the host of CBS' "Fire Me . . . Please".

*Eric Neel ode to Vin Scully, which I missed when it first ran.

*More Rehnquist rumors: he's going (via NRO), he's staying. The Chief Justice is a well-known poker enthusiast; my bet is nobody knows but him what he's doing, and nobody will until very close to the day he announces.

*Next on Jerry Springer: political theory.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 8:45 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
June 8, 2005
BLOG: Object of Worship

I am in awe.

Link via Chris in Des Moines.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:47 PM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
BLOG: Quick Links 6/8/05

*So Dino Rossi's challenge to the Washington governor's election was rejected by the trial judge, and Rossi declinnes to appeal. I agree with John Hinderaker that the legal standard applied by the court - requiring not only proof that the number of illegal votes exceeded the margin of victory but also proof that those votes went to the winner - makes overturning an election result all but impossible in a system of secret ballots, at least without an express confession by one side that it orchestrated a decisive number of fraudulent ballots.

You could argue - and I'm not sure I would disagree - that imposing such a high standard is a good thing, to discourage election litigation except in the most egregious cases. Clearly, Washington is in desperate need of electoral reform. Anyway, the big question now is whether Rossi will challenge Maria Cantwell for the Senate in 2006, or keep his powder dry for a rematch in 2008 for the job he clearly prefers.

*Edward Jay Epstein reviews movie economics and offers reason to hope that economic necessity might push Hollywood to make more movies for adults.

*More tea leaves suggesting a Rehnquist retirement in the offing.

*OK, now the judicial system is getting out of hand.

*This may indeed be the only answer to the ever-growing atrocities in Zimbabwe.

*Frank Gaffney has a scare-the-pants-off scenario involving the "EMP" nuclear attack. I know I'm still missing some context here, though.

*A comparison of Braves and Mariners pitching prospects and their health.

*More on aetheism and meaning.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:35 AM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
June 7, 2005
BLOG: Not A Bushism


The United States and Britain are working to provide the world's richest nations with a plan to eliminate debt relief for African countries "on the path to reform," President Bush said Tuesday.
Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:34 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
May 26, 2005
BLOG: Quick Links 5/26/05

*Nobody Expects The Italian Inquisition! If ever there's a case where artists and writers the world over should be rising as one in protest of official censorship and incipient theocracy, this is it. Don't hold your breath waiting.

*Jeff Baxter, from rock star to counter-terrorist expert. (via Wizbang):

During one background interview, Mr. Baxter says, he was asked whether he could be bribed with money or drugs. He recalls telling the investigators not to worry because he had already "been there, done that, and given away the T-shirt" during his rock career.

*Slate has a fascinating article on how it was determined that the male-female population imbalance in some countries is largely the result of Hepatitis B.

*Dustbury links to "The Billboard Country Music Top Ten If Kenny Chesney Were Anakin Skywalker and Renée Zellweger Were Padmé Amidala." Such as, "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face (You Looked Exactly The Same As You Do Now. It's Weird.)"

*The nanny state strikes again, requiring contests to include math problems for Canadians.

*Historical perspective from NRO: Vintage Goldberg on one of Hillary Clinton's less than shining moments. I agree entirely with the concluding paragraph. And a classic example of unreality-based overwrought attacks on judges: Ted Kennedy on that dangerous, extremist right-winger David Souter.

*More historical perspective on judicial filibusters from Ann Althouse.

*Interesting and balanced NY Times Magazine profile of Rick Santorum. The Washington Post had a nearly identical profile last month.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:13 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
May 25, 2005
BLOG: As I Write This, A Man Is Waiting Downstairs To Murder Me

I dropped by Steven Den Beste's anime blog just to see if there was anything of more general interest there, and stumbled upon this entry, which you have to read to believe.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:03 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (2)
BLOG: No Joke

Ann Althouse discusses a Sunday NY Times article on the decline of joke-telling.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:01 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
May 19, 2005
BLOG: Quick Links 5/19/05

*Silent Running conducts a visual test of the plausibility of flushing a book down a toilet. (via Wizbang) And Jack Shafer notes the past proliferation of urban legends about the Koran and toilets. I should add that, if there's one journalistic practice I would hope that the media would be very careful about in the future after the Newsweek and Rathergate fiascos, it would be the practice of assuming that the failure of the government to deny a report is affirmative evidence of its truth. Anyone who's dealt with large organizations knows thatn it's hard to get them to commit to confirming or denying things with much confidence if some representative of the organization is hearing a charge for the first time.

*From the Day by Day archives: in the 1-year period after his return from drug rehab, Dwight Gooden went 23-8. But perhaps more interesting, look at Roger Clemens' workload in that stretch: 300+ innings and 20 complete games. At age 24. Presumably this took years off Clemens' career?

*Amusing article on Star Wars mania overseas. Even the French and the Chinese are not immune. (Heard on the morning news: "Many people who went to the late showing last night will be calling in Sith today." Ba dump bump.) Also, Slate's review. I don't get people reading anti-Bush-ism into Anakin saying a variant on "you are with me or against me," which (a) is a line from countless movie heroes and villains and (b) is a close cousin to that line beloved by left-wingers (as well as some on the Right), "you are part of the solution or part of the problem," which means almost exactly the same thing. Slate's Edelstein notes a different line, from the Emperor: "He stirs Anakin's ambitions and parries the young man's objection that the Jedi work for good with the line, 'Good is a point of view.'" Well, that plays perfectly into conservative themes about moral relativism.

Or, maybe it's just a movie, folks.

*I have to agree with John Derbyshire: George Galloway may be a nutty leftist, a crook, and a bought-and-paid-for Saddam apologist, but you have to admire the man's style.

*Instapundit offers some perspective for Andrew Sullivan, who has completely lost his.

*Cardinal fan the Birdwatch regrets the loss of the Mets-Cardinals rivalry and has to admit that Shea isn't such a bad place. I have to say, I've never understood why people don't like Shea, which is a very nice place to see a ballgame. (via Pinto)

*Megan McArdle notes some misguided assumptions in a New York Times piece on differences in health among rich and poor, specifically the idea - where they got this I have no idea - that poor people work longer hours. Are you kidding me?

*Hugh Hewitt asks why the same people who denounce any criticism of judges as some sort of mortal threat to the Republic have no problem denouncing Bush's judicial appointees as 'extremists' based on their records . . . as judges.

*The real 2004 election fraud. (Via Kaus and Mystery Pollster)

*Neat summary of what the War on Terror is about.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:45 AM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
May 18, 2005
BLOG: Quick Links 5/18/05

*Mark the Pundit wants to know who picks up the check for the evacuation of the Capitol & White House.

*Josh Marshall writes a surprisingly spin-free review of David McCullough's new book on George Washington, but in the course of it, he touches on the clash between the modern cult of authenticity and the way Washington forced himself to play a continuous role, that of the larger-than-life heroic figure, and the benefits that role had for his leadership of the nation in times of crisis. Nobody measures up to Washington, of course, but it's hard to read this and not think of more modern presidents - Reagan, Bush, FDR - who knew the importance of maintaining a consistent public persona (Clinton too had the ability to "put on" who he wanted to be in public, but what Clinton lacked was the constancy to make that public persona convincing - while the others succeeded by forcing themselves to be the same under every circumstance, Clinton's gift was to be different in every circumstance).

*On a related note, I can't stand articles like this one, on Bruce Springsteen, that trash a performer for inauthenticity for making that kind of effort to have a consistent public persona. Typical critic to love all Bruce's acoustic albums and not the really good stuff. This is implausible:

From the post-Landau period, the harrowing masterpiece Nebraska is the only record you can push on the nonbelievers, followed by the grossly underrated Tunnel of Love.

Um, no - he seems to have forgotten in this passage that Born in the USA had 7 top-10 hits on Top 40 Radio. (My wife doesn't love Bruce but she loved The Rising). I regard Nebraska more as fodder for the hardest-core Bruce fans; I've never met anyone who said it was their favorite Bruce record. On the other hand, he's right that Darkness on the Edge of Town is the album that separates true Bruce fans from the rest of the world. The new album doesn't have any really good songs, but has a few that are OK - Maria's Bed, Leah, and Long Time Comin' are all pretty good tunes. As for "All the Way Home," I preferred the original Southside Johnny version.

*John Fund wants to know why we don't use more commissions like the military base-closing commission. He has a point, although such commissions can only work in similar circumstances: when Congress agrees to overall spending cuts but can't agree on where to find them.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:44 AM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)
May 14, 2005
BLOG: Small World Redux

As I've noted before, it's always amusing to see people you've known pop up in the news, on TV, or in the blogosphere. I head on over to Drezner's place, and lo and behold, one of the guest bloggers subbing for him is Suzanne Nossel, a woman who was in my section my first year of law school. Of course, I've encountered law school classmates on the web before - see here for my discussion of another classmate's piece in Slate, and of course I also knew Orin Kerr of the Volokh site, who was a year behind me in law school and active in some of the same circles. Small, small, world.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:36 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
May 12, 2005
BLOG: Talk To The Animals

A South Korean company is selling a service purporting to translate your dog's barks into text messages:

KTF Corp., a South Korean mobile phone operator, said Thursday it will begin offering a service that will enable dog owners to know whether their pets are feeling happy or sad.

The users must first connect to Internet with their cell phones, and then register information of their dogs such as the breed and age. The service will then record the dog's bark.

The owner will receive text messages telling them how their pet is feeling, such as "I am happy" or "I am frustrated."

The service, which will begin on Friday, will also translate basic messages into dog sounds. The service will cost about one dollar.

I dunno, sounds like a scam to me.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:03 PM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
May 10, 2005
BLOG: No Place Like Home

American Cities That Best Fit You:

70% Austin
60% Denver
60% Las Vegas
60% Miami
55% Atlanta

Of course, this quiz assumes you would want to live in a city, and it also leaves out some important information, like whether the city has a major league baseball team. But it's true enough that, if I was picking from scratch based just on where I'd rather live, there's no way I'd live in New York. I don't make a lot of use of many of the city's virtues (I've only been to a Broadway show once and don't really go out all that much in Manhattan), and I could really do without the traffic, the commute, and the overall unpleasantness of Manhattan. (In a lot of ways, I'm more of a red-state guy by nature). So why do I live here? Mostly the traditional reasons - family's here, I grew up outside NYC, and my job is here - the kind of law I practice is hard to do in too many other markets. It also doesn't hurt to stay where I can follow the Mets (I live about a 15 minutes from Shea). So, home it is.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:41 AM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (5) | TrackBack (1)
May 3, 2005
BLOG: Quick Links 5/3/5

*Christina Hoff Summers has a hilarious account of a College Republicans counter-protest against "V-Day" and the Vagina Monologues (warning: extensive penis humor involved). It appears that the use of the costume is what got these guys in trouble. Yet again, proof that the conservative movement's vibrancy draws strength from the fact that humorless authority figures on college campuses are invariably on the Left. (Link via Althouse)

*I didn't do an obituary for Earl Wilson, but Attila recounts some memorable moments from Wilson's career. Of course, my all-time favorite pitcher baserunning moment remains the time Sid Fernandez got confused on a bunt and ran up the third base line.

*It's never too much - Matt Yglesias refuses to state any amount of taxation he would view as unfair or unjust. At most, he'll concede that "it's quite unjust to implement massively unwise or counterproductive policies". Kevin Drum, on the other hand, takes a whack at answering the question.

*John Perricone blows his top over Congress threatening action on steroids. As I've indicated before, I'm not as unconcerned as Perricone about steroids, but I'd agree that actually passing something like this into law would be a bad idea, in the sense of being a waste of government resources for a fairly localized problem.

*First Goering, now Hitler: a new interview with Hitler's nurse about his final days. I believe this is the first time someone who was there when Hitler killed himself has spoken publicly, but I could be wrong about that.

*The Washington Post had a good article a few weeks back about changing approaches to DC scandals, specifically a few cases where embattled figures seem to be succeeding in riding out the storm rather than putting it all behind them. Time will tell; I doubt this is a good strategy in most cases.

*A defense of everything that is wrong with the extreme Left: this article could be a parody, not only of the Left and political extremism generally but also of immaturity and the effort to justify immaturity as an end in itself. (Link via Althouse).

*I still think peace between India and Pakistan has to be the most underappreciated development of the past decade.

*If you missed it, a writeup of the first Medal of Honor awarded in Iraq, for a firefight at the airport during the invasion.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:33 AM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (3) | TrackBack (1)
April 30, 2005
BLOG: Following Tracks

One of the nice things about reaching a certain level of visibility as a blogger is that people you've never heard of link to you, and so just by checking your referrer logs you can stumble on interesting blogs. (I lost track of who was linking to me once I joined the massive, impersonal "Blogs for Bush" blogroll during the election).

The Frinklin and Fred Show seems to have a rather unique sense of humor, as you can see from these recent entries on eating popcorn with chopsticks and scented pencils. (Frinklin also links to an ecstatic, spoiler-filled review of the new Star Wars flick by director Kevin "Silent Bob" Smith).

Then, on a similar theme to the Star Wars fest, Matt Barr at New World Man (a Rush homage, I presume) says of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy movie:

I can't tell you how good it was. . . I had too much invested in it. I read the books when I was beginning my teen years, and they supplanted the Wrinkle In Time series as my favorite books.

If you collected X-Men comics when you were young, like I did, to the point where the numbers 94 and 137 mean something to you, you remember that when you saw the X-Men movies you couldn't really get a sense of how good or bad they were because they were, in their way, so faithful to what you were familiar with. Same with Hitchhiker's Guide. There's some new stuff, but they bent over backwards not to stray too far from the book. The sheer delight of watching something so "yours" from your youth come alive in a theater, right down to the bowl of petunias thinking "oh, no, not again" as it falls to the surface of Magrathea, is thrilling.

Put it this way. If you're my age, you remember how you felt when the score began and the words STAR WARS appeared on the screen at the beginning of Episode I. (That it was all downhill from there is immaterial.) Same deal.

I'd always heard about the Hitchhiker's Guide book, but never got around to reading it. Any opinions on whether (leaving aside the issue of persuading my wife to watch it) I should wait and read the book before seeing the movie?

UPDATE: I should add that, like Vodkapundit and Michele, I am getting very excited for the final Star Wars installment very much in spite of my better judgment, although I'm worried it may be a bit much to take the kids to despite the fact that they're dying to see it. Phantom Menace had its entertaining portions - particularly the scenes with Liam Neeson and the Darth Maul fight sequences - but it's hard to rewatch, due mainly to Jar Jar and those fish-face aliens with the Charlie Chan accents, as well as the unforgivable decision to turn The Force into a biological phenomenon. Attack of the Clones was better, and has been subjected to a lot of unfair criticism (although it too could have done without the fish-face guys), but it also had many disappointments, notably a display of Lucas' leaden touch with romance. Both films are better re-watched in spurts rather than trying to sit through the whole thing.

This one, though, really needs to have been done right. And I'm getting my hopes up that it has been.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:38 PM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)
April 13, 2005
BLOG: Quick Links 4/13/05

I've still got little or no time to read, let alone write (I've got a big brief to the Second Circuit due April 22, and between that and other stuff it will be crazy until then). But a few quick links collected in recent weeks, before they get totally out of date:

*Go check out Vodkapundit for color photos of World War I.

*Ann Althouse has some important background on CNN prosecutor Nancy Grace.

*This Instapundit post is a good place to start on the scandals brewing in Canada. Captain Ed has been all over this.

*The Soviets once had a false alert that could have launched a full-out nuclear war (via Studes).

*Speaking of Studes, his previous column had a funny excerpt from the Daily Show on Barry Bonds.

*Until he died, I didn't know that Barney Martin, who played Morty Seinfeld, had "served as a navigator in the Air Force during World War II before starting a 20-year career as a New York City police detective."

*I like Byung-Hyun Kim and all, but the guys has a 6.30 career ERA at Coors Field, mostly compiled in his Arizona heyday. In other words, even if he gets his act back together, don't expect this to end well.

*I begin to suspect Derek Zumsteg has too much time on his hands when he has time to come up with 26 different reasons to suspect Mariner Moose is not actually a moose at all, and many of them aren't even funny, they're just things like "Antlers are not wide, large, or heavy enough."

*The fact that Seymour Hersh says something does not make it even slightly more likely that it is true. (via Instapundit)

*More bad guys bite the dust

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:59 AM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
April 6, 2005
BLOG: You Can't Handle The Truth

This is just appalling:

At Daniels Farm Elementary School in Trumbull, Connecticut, [principal Gail] Karwoski's teachers grade papers by giving examples of better answers for those students who make mistakes. But that approach meant the kids often found their work covered in red, the color that teachers long have used to grade work.

Parents objected. Red writing, they said, was "stressful." The principal said teachers were just giving constructive advice and the color of ink used to convey that message should not matter. But some parents could not let it go.

So the school put red on the blacklist.

Read the whole thing . . . what on earth is wrong with these people? Criticism, constructive and otherwise, is one of the harsh realities of the world. Do they really think kids who are sheltered from this fact will prosper later in life? Heck, in high school - granted, I went to an all-boys Catholic high school - we had a history teacher, best teacher I ever had, who wrote the high and low grades on the board and handed back tests in descending order, meaning that some poor schlub got the indignity of being fingered as the guy who got a 22 on a test.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:49 AM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (5) | TrackBack (1)
March 30, 2005
BLOG: Your Call Is Important To Us. Please Stand By.

As you may have noticed, nearly all other blogging here has come to a standstill as I've been working on my division by division previews via the EWSL reports. The good news: only one more division to go. The bad news: the NL Central, being the biggest, is the most time-consuming. I'm still aiming to get it put to bed before the NL season opens on Monday.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:30 AM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
March 23, 2005
BLOG: Never Lift Alone

A lesson to remember. At least don't bench press.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:56 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
March 18, 2005
BLOG: All Politics Is Local . . .

. . . and so, apparently, is fast food, even at the usually one-menu-fits-all McDonald's. Behold the McTurco.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 5:52 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
March 16, 2005
BLOG: Technical Blegs

1. I am inundated with "Internal Server Error" messages every time I try to post, which keeps resulting in lost posts or double posts. Is there any solution to this?

2. Does anyone know if the new MT-Blacklist makes it possible, as the older version did, to delete multiple spam comments/trackbacks at once?

I always hate it when technical issues like this wind up consuming big chunks of the time I have to deal with the blog.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:36 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
February 25, 2005
BLOG: Quick Links 2/25/05

*Good catch: Lynn Swann announces that he'll be exploring a run for governor of Pennsylvania as a Republican in 2006, challenging incumbent Democrat Ed Rendell. (Yes, that's a picture of Captain Ed with Swann at the 2004 GOP Convention). Among other things, a Swann/Rendell race would be a classic East/West matchup between Pittsburgh and Philly, and would (in combination with what already promises to be a spirited effort by Democrats to knock off Rick Santorum) make Pennsylvania the highest-profile battleground in 2006.

*Has the tomb of the Apostle St. Paul been found?

*LaShawn Barber explains why Bill Cosby's private life is a disappointment. I remain skeptical of some of the allegations against Cosby, and doubly so because of their timing, coming on the heels of Cosby speaking out for more responsible parenting among some segments of the African-American community, statements that gave some people a vested interest in discrediting him. But, as Barber points out, Cos by his own admission has not been faithful to his wife.

*One of my commenters took me to task for having the temerity to implicitly question Alan Greenspan, in the comments to this post. Somehow, I haven't heard anything further about the issue since Greenspan came out in favor of private accounts in Social Security. Also, if you missed it, a debunking of the critics of Brit Hume's use of FDR to support the private accounts proposal. (via NRO). And the bottom line:

[I]t's important to remember that Social Security taxes and benefits have grown enormously since FDR's day. So cutting benefits two generations from now as a way of making some room for the financing of private accounts within the Social Security system today can't possibly be viewed as a violation of FDR's original vision -- and probably brings us closer to it.

*Rich Lowry on how critics of John Negroponte are the same people who made the perfect the enemy of the good in protesting the battle against Communism in Central America in the 1980s. On a related topic, some things are just too predictable. (via INDC)

*Druze for Jesusland? If you haven't seen it, check out David Ignatius' Washington Post column from Wednesday on how our progress in Iraq has energized the anti-Syria resistance in Lebanon, including this quote from Druze Muslim leader Walid Jumblatt, traditionally no friend to America:

"It's strange for me to say it, but this process of change has started because of the American invasion of Iraq," explains Jumblatt. "I was cynical about Iraq. But when I saw the Iraqi people voting three weeks ago, 8 million of them, it was the start of a new Arab world." Jumblatt says this spark of democratic revolt is spreading. "The Syrian people, the Egyptian people, all say that something is changing. The Berlin Wall has fallen. We can see it."

*This meet-the-president story is cool. (HT: Vodkapundit)

*Daniel Pearl: the movie? Story here, background here, and commentary by Christopher Hitchens here.

*Richard Holbrooke:

One of Russia's most serious actions has been ignored by Washington and the European Union: the continued presence of Russian troops in neighboring countries without their permission. In 1999 Russia promised to gradually withdraw troops stationed in parts of Georgia and Moldova -- troops supporting destabilizing separatist movements.

Six years later Russian troops are still in these "frozen conflict" zones.

*Freedom from fear - British edition. Tony Blair: "There is no greater civil liberty than to live free from terrorist attack"

Posted by Baseball Crank at 8:21 AM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
February 23, 2005
BLOG: Simmons Shaqs Up

No time to blog today, but make sure you didn't miss yesterday's must-read column from Bill Simmons on his NBA All-Star Weekend adventures.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:48 PM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
February 20, 2005
BLOG: Yo- Yo- Yo- Yo- Yoda

Gotta read it. (via Vodkapundit)

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February 19, 2005
BLOG: Thought for the Day, 2/19/05

Dave Barry on children's television:

Today's children watch shows like "Sesame Street," which teaches them that the world is full of friendly interracial adults and cute puppets and letters that form recognizable patterns. This is, of course, a pack of lies. When I was a kid, in New York, my friends and I watched shows like "Captain Video," which taught us that the world was full of evil forces trying to destroy the earth, which turns out to be absolutely correct.
Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:38 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
February 18, 2005
BLOG: Moms, Dads, and Newsweek

Michele has a great essay on how the stresses of motherhood get exacerbated by peer pressure:

This was at the height of the mommy wars. Stay at home moms and working moms were rumbling in the alleys, knives drawn and guns loaded. It was an ugly time to be a new mother, as you were constantly pressed upon to choose a side. The working mothers would attack you from one side: "You'll lose your sense of identity if you don't continue your career! You'll spend your days with formula spit on your shirt and strained pees in your hair and some day you will resent your children for making you live the life of a slave to their childhood and you'll end up an old, bitter hag with a dysfunctional family!" And the stay at home moms would counter attack: "Your child will grow up with a sense of abandonment! You'll be too tired to help her with homework or read to her! She'll look for love everywhere else besides home and eventually she'll end up on a street corner selling herself for crack!"


I realized about six months in to this mothering thing that there was a Perfect Mommy cult and half of the members lived within shouting distance of me. My kid shouted, they came running. "Pick her up immediately, or she'll feel like she can't trust you!" Ok, but my mother said to just let her cry if she's not hungry or dirty and.... "NO! Never let the baby cry, it causes irreparable damage!"


And all the while I was stuck in a game of tug-of-war between different parenting groups vying for my attention. When I say some of these women were bats**t crazy, I am not exaggerating. They followed trends like some people follow sports teams - with this undying devotion. I half expected to show up for the "How To Get Your Baby To Sleep" lecture and walk into an auditorium filled with face-painted women wearing Ferber t-shirts and holding up "Let Her Cry It Out!" posters.

I was finding new motherhood stressful not because being a mother made it so, but because dealing with the other mothers made it so. I could never be sure if what I was doing was right. My values were constantly called into question. My skills were tested. I spent half my time with other mothers defending myself and my parenting choices. When another mother would come to my rescue, two more would pop out of the woodwork to enter the fray.


And why do they want to drag everyone they know into their world of perceived perfectness? Because it justifies that world, of course. Karen, my super mom friend, was constantly trying to get me to go back to work full time. When she wasn't harping on that subject, she was throwing pamphlets at me for sports schools and dance schools. If I would just join her lifestyle, if I would just assimilate, then maybe she wouldn't feel quite so crappy over the life she was living. If all her friends jumped off a bridge....well, you know how that goes.


But it only had to be that way if you made it that way. I worked. I had friends. I had a life. I had two kids. But I didn't over schedule my kids and I didn't take on more than I can handle just so I could turn around and bitch about how much I had to handle. Martyrdom, anyone?

The whole thing is worth reading. Of course, the burdens and tradeoffs involved are real, but Michele and Lileks (who delivers a marvelous fisking of the same Newsweek article on parenting that touched off Michele's rant) have a point: if you internalize the escalating peer-group pressures, they only get worse. (I saw the same phenomenon in law school).

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:03 PM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
February 15, 2005
BLOG: Prayers

I didn't see this until yesterday, but please say a prayer for Ed Morrissey's wife, who had transplant surgery yesterday (latest update here).

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:28 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
February 13, 2005
BLOG: Quick Links 2/13/05

*Read Michael Totten's account of a night of drinking (what else?) and arguing (what else?) with Christopher Hitchens and some Iraqis (via Vodkapundit).

*Jane Galt notes that outrage over Brit Hume's characterization of FDR's long-term plan for something like private accounts has been overblown by the Left. Personally, I didn't get the big deal of the Hume quotation, maybe because I'd read the full quote first from the WSJ and got the basic point, which was not that FDR wanted total privatization of the system but that he foresaw some role private accounts by 1965 or so. Either way, too many Democrats are tied to leaving things just as they were in 1935 . . . well, except for the numerous times the system has been amended since then, mostly to raise the available benefits in 1950 and 1977.

*Steven Schwartz has an in-depth look at "On the Waterfront," including a comparison with a play by Arthur Miller. (via Powerline) I'm sure when Schwartz wrote this he didn't think Miller would die just as it was running on the web, since this is very harsh on Miller. Schwartz explores the parallels between the film and the experiences of director Elia Kazan and writer Budd Schulberg with Communism in Hollywood. As it happens, I (somewhat accidentally) attended a talk by Schulberg about a year or two ago on this movie, and he gave a great deal of detail on how the story arose from the real-life activities of a crusading priest fighting gangsters who controlled the longshoremen's union. The other issue Schulberg talked about, which isn't really a novel point of view but isn't mentioned in Schwartz's account, is the biblical imagery in the film, especially Brando's final scene.

*A Flashback I think I've linked to before: Bill Buckley's September 14, 2001 column calling for war with Iraq. I'm not sure if this was the first, but it was the first op-ed I read after the attacks that focused directly on the need for war with Saddam.

*An interesting and alarming look at the Law of the Sea Treaty with Frank Gaffney (via Right Wing News).

*Samizdata has an interesting review of Bernard Lewis' latest book, which is mostly a collection of essays over the past 5 decades. I believe Lewis is now close to or past 90, but you still see him writing, and the September 11 attacks have made the past few years the most prominent of his career; it's amazing to see public intellectuals still contributing to debate at that age (Milton Friedman is a prominent example of an over-90 intellectual who's still going, and I read an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal recently that quoted 95-year-old management expert Peter Drucker).

*Just when you think you understand women . . . Gil Grissom, Sex Symbol?

*This Reuters report skips over the part in al-Zawahri's latest diatribe where he complains of America's "freedom of AIDS, or the industry of prostitution and same sex marriages."

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:58 AM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
February 9, 2005
BLOG: On The Street Where You Live

This is really kinda creepy: Google will give away a map to your house with just a phone number.

And on an unrelated note, but from the same blog, I know it's wrong, but I just can't help myself linking to this.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:44 PM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
February 2, 2005
BLOG: Network Effect

Here's another little way the blogosphere has changed things: I went to check out Glenn Reynolds' book on conflicts of interest, and if you scroll down, Amazon advises:

Buy this book with Interior Desecrations by JAMES LILEKS today!

And further:

Customers who bought this book also bought

Interior Desecrations : Hideous Homes from the Horrible '70s by JAMES LILEKS
Scandal Proof: Do Ethics Laws Make Government Ethical by G. Calvin MacKenzie
Restoring the Lost Constitution : The Presumption of Liberty by Randy E. Barnett
Axis of Weasels by Scott Ott
Corruption and Government : Causes, Consequences, and Reform by Susan Rose-Ackerman
Warrior Politics: Why Leadership Demands a Pagan Ethos by ROBERT D. KAPLAN

Now, I'm sure Reynolds never expected, back when he started writing about the appearance of impropriety, that his book would be recommended alongside a humor book about interior decoration (or a book called "Axis of Weasels"). But, of course, Instapundit's audience is tied to Lileks' audience by the blogosphere, and that outweighs the fact that the books are about completely different subjects.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:20 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
January 30, 2005
BLOG: Choice and Reason

I got a complimentary copy about a week ago of "Choice, the best of Reason," a collection ostensibly showcasing the best of Reason Magazine, the hip monthly with a libertarian point of view. Being easily bought by free goodies, I started reading it right away so I could post about the book.

As a collection of lively and interesting magazine pieces, "Choice" doesn't disappoint. There are three pieces here I'd already read on the web - the interview with Dave Barry, Matt Welch's profile of Vaclav Havel, and the "35 Heroes of Freedom." I'd highly recommend the Barry and Havel profiles. In fact, much of what's in here is profiles, not all of people who fit in the libertarian box: there's also a perceptive and highly sympathetic profile of Clarence Thomas, plumbing the roots of his anger* leading up to the infamous "high-tech lynching" speech, as well as interviews with Milton Friedman, Christopher Hitchens, John Stossel, Norman Borlaug, and Drew Carey. More expected, there are skeptical looks at the War on Drugs, Gulf War Syndrome, the child-safety culture, and medical underuse of pain medication. The book is far less of a primer on libertarianism; you won't find anything here that reads like John Galt's speech in "Atlas Shrugged," and any number of issues are uncovered.

But one facet of the book is perhaps unintentionally revealing: while "Choice" is presented as "the best of Reason," more than half of the magazine's 35-year history is absent here; I believe the Thomas piece from 1992 is the oldest in the book. Annoyingly but tellingly, neither the table of contents nor the opening of each selection gives you the date, which appears only at the end of each article (the Hitchens interview, dated "November 2001," is either misdated or was conducted well before its publication, as I can't imagine Hitchens being interviewed in November 2001 and failing to mention the War on Terror while calling the war on drugs the most important issue in the world today). Editor Nick Gillespie apologizes, in the book's introduction, that many of the issues covered by the magazine's early years now seem "almost quaint." But it is inconceivable, by contrast, that, say, National Review would publish a retrospective limited exclusively to the past 15 years; the urge is too great, even in current issues of NR, to pay homage to forbears, recount battles won and foes vanquished, and otherwise invoke tradition and conservatism's ancient historical bona fides. I believe it was Burke (it's been variously attributed) who said, "experience is the school of mankind, he will learn at no other." Libertarianism, by contrast, seems remarkably unschooled by experience; as Hitchens notes in the interview, "I can't . . . picture a libertarian analysis of 1848 or 1914." In part, this is of a piece with the difficulty of finding a coherent "libertarian" view on foreign policy (domestic-policy libertarians are all over the map on foreign policy).

I'll write more again another day on why I'm not a libertarian, but this is part of why; libertarianism, to me, is more a useful set of questions than a workable portfolio of solutions. But those questions are worth asking, and this book asks a few good ones.

Read More »

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January 28, 2005
BLOG: Digital Bagpipes?

Check it out. Via Dave Barry.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:37 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
January 27, 2005
BLOG: Quick Links 1/27/05

*Remember the big terror alert in Boston? HOAX.

*Michele links to . . . well, just go see them. You will not be disappointed.

*Instapundit quotes a suggestion by Walter Williams to reduce concerns about civil liberties intrusions arising from the use of Patriot Act-type powers in non-terrorism cases:

How about an amendment to the Patriot Act whereby any information gathered under its provisions cannot be used in a court of law unless it can be tied to terrorist activity?

That sounds reasonable, and in theory I'd support it. In practice, though, you would want to make sure it doesn't become one more procedural trap to tie down the government. In particular, there are bound to be cases where the government brings charges unrelated to terrorism against someone as to whom it has good reason to believe is tied to terrorist groups (the Al-Capone's-taxes strategy). In such situations, particularly where the government hesitates to bring terrorism charges for fear of exposing its sources, it may be appropriate for the government's showing to be limited to an in camera submission to the court (i.e., the defense doesn't get to see it), and not bound by the strict rules of evidence.

*The Daily News has some amusing anecdotes from Bono about his meetings with Bush and Clinton, including Bush pounding the table to get Bono to shut up and listen and Bono's observation that Clinton "looked more like a pop star than I did. And I thought he might be thinking that, too.". There's also an interesting item on James Earl Jones backing Bill Cosby's recent comments about parental responsibilities.

*I see dead people and give them green cards. (Hat tip: Powerline). Our immigration system still seems to be the worst of both worlds, with a nativist, Kafka-esque approach to legal immigrants and a laissez-faire approach to illegals.

*Next time you hear someone try to draw a moral parallel between the US and the UN or the rest of the world, think of this account of what the USS Abraham Lincoln and its crew have to put up with to deliver aid to tsunami victims in Indonesia, from deadbeat, resource-hogging UN layabouts to aid recipients in Osama bin Laden T-shirts. (Hat tip: Mudville Gazette, where Greyhawk somehow manages more blogging from Iraq than I do from my own home).

*Let Democrats fume about "Memogate" (anything to distract from what was actually in the Senate Democrats' memos about who really calls the shots on judicial nominees), the Wall Street Journal reminds us it wasn't so long ago that House Democrats got caught doing precisely the same thing.

*Jane Galt notes the decline in last year's deficit, although this year's numbers are headed back up again thanks to Medicare prescription drugs and the war. Remember, always, the First Rule of Government Financial Forecasts: they are always, always, wrong.

*Stefan Sharkansky has more on King County voter irregularities. Washington Democrats are gonna need a bigger boat.

*Caroline Glick of the Jerusalem Post has a detailed look at the Palestinian problem and related issues facing Israel. Note her discussion of Egypt's nuclear program.

*Another one from Greyhawk: his Abu Ghraib quiz. Test your knowledge! I got 7 out of 10 right.

Of course, the last sentence of this excerpt grabbed me:

[P]ublic records indicate that Graner had troubles at work as a correctional officer in the state prison system in Greene County -- a history of disciplinary actions that culminated in his firing in 2000. He was later reinstated by an arbitrator.

You had to know the insanities of our legal system would show up somewhere in there.

*I just found Stephen Keane's jig over the Carlos Beltran signing entertaining.

*Did you know that Larry David's show freed a man wrongfully accused of murder? I didn't. (Hat tip: Will Carroll).

*Wonkette, of course, had the best reaction to Michael Chertoff's nomination as Homeland Security director. (UPDATE: Link appears to be busted). Amazing a guy would give up a lifetime post as an appeals judge to be Homeland Security chief. At least that guarantees a quick confirmation (what Democrat, other than Hillary!, will vote against removing a Bush judge from the Third Circuit?). Note how Bush's two appointments, both from New Jersey, make clear that he wants to head off the drift of DHS into a red-state pork dispenser. The appointment may also set up Chertoff as a possible Attorney General (if that's not a step down from DHS) or Supreme Court appointee some day.

*Apparently, to Harry Reid, stupid just means anti-Nevada. (Hat tip: Taranto).

*This wouldn't surprise me.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:23 AM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)
January 25, 2005
BLOG: Quick Links 1/25/05

*"No turbans in the government": Pejman notes an encouraging political development among the Shi'a in Iraq in advance of this weekend's elections.

*I found a few things amusing about last Thursday's profile of Lileks and his new book in the Washington Post. First, this quote on Lileks' own home in his youth:

The shag carpet, he lamented during a recent phone interview, was "an unusual brown, where if you ran your hand through it, it turned a light brown. A sofa was added, characterized by an unusually florid design that made the rococo period look like Mondrian. It was beige, white, black, brown, orange and cream, with flowers that would have come to God in a fever dream. As though we understood there was something wrong about it, the pattern was instantly covered with thick, translucent plastic to protect it."

Second, the phrase "Home Desecrations" - the author couldn't even get the title of the book right twice in one column.

Third, this:

Despite what seems to be a cult following -- he has complained about the cost of buying extra bandwidth to accommodate heavy Web site traffic -- he remains well below the mainstream media radar. This is his first big-time interview . . .

Well, under the mainstream media radar except for having a job as a columnist for the largest newspaper in Minnesota, that is.

*AnkleBitingPundits, the former CrushKerry.com, nails Barbara Boxer on misrepresenting the Iraq war resolution. On the other hand, ABP's speculation that Boxer may be dreaming of a 2008 Presidential run seems overwrought; it's just as likely she has her eye on other ways of becoming a power broker, perhaps running for governor or vice president or pushing for a leadership role within the Senate.

*Martyrs Home Journal? A women's magazine from Al Qaeda.

*Jonah Goldberg offers a history lesson and its lessons for today on El Salvador and Iraq.

*"Let us trim our hair in accordance with Socialist lifestyle"! (via Dave Barry). I guess Kim doesn't want anyone to compete with his bouffant.

*Howard Fineman welcomes his new blogging overlords. (via Instapundit) As well he should. Bloggers won't soon replace the mainstream media's ability to, say, get news footage from around the globe or entree to world leaders. But the sort of source-free conventional-wisdom-dispensing punditry offered up by Fineman is definitely threatened by the ability of amateurs to do the same.

*Who's the only major league ballplayer - still active - born in Saigon? Answer here.

*Quote classic: "Bananas would be something normally that would make monkeys go bananas." Read the whole thing.

*SoundPolitics on military voter problems in Washington.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:10 AM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
BLOG: New Blood

I'm very pleased to announce a new contributor to the Baseball Crank site. I noted over the weekend that Robert Tagorda was shutting down Priorities & Frivolities and moving over to Outside the Beltway, but I also noticed that he was still looking for a home for his baseball blogging. He has now graciously agreed to bring his blogging on the Dodgers, and baseball in general, to this site. You can check out his baseball work from 2004 here. Welcome aboard!

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:58 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
January 23, 2005
BLOG: Balancing Priorities With Frivoloities

One of the sad things in blogging is when people give up due to the time demands of running a blog. Fortunately, there's an answer for the talented but busy blogger: join up as a co-blogger to a more prolific blog. Robert Tagorda has now gone that route, shutting down regular operations at Priorities & Frivolities and joining forces with James Joyner at Outside the Beltway. Tagorda's a good blogger, so it's encouraging to see he won't be quitting altogether.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 3:40 PM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
January 19, 2005
BLOG: San Antonio

So, if you were wondering where I've been (OK, pretend you were wondering), I spent last Thursday through Monday in San Antonio for a family wedding. Of course, traveling is always a stark reminder of how big this country is and how little of it bears any resemblance to Manhattan. For the ninth largest city in the United States, San Antonio feels remarkably like a small town, with none of the heavy traffic and skyscraper canyons that I deal with back home. When we arrived on Thursday afternoon, the place seemed almost deserted.

Naturally, we took time to see the Alamo, the one can't-miss tourist attraction in the city. If you've never been there, well, I had a mental image of the Alamo as you might picture it from movies, surrounded by open land. In fact, it's right in the middle of the city, across the street from drug stores, shops and restaurants on all sides. Of course, the Alamo itself and one or two other structures are still standing, but the "long barrack" that formed a wide defensive perimeter around the old mission, and which served as the front line for the defense of the Alamo from January-March 1836, is long gone, with only a few segments preserved for posterity.

To the modern eye, the numbers of soldiers involved in the Battle of the Alamo, and indeed in the Texas Revolution as a whole, is astonishingly small. As I've mentioned before, I recently read John Keegan's book on the First World War (more on that later), and after a while you get numb to another 100,000 men dying every other paragraph or so; it was jarring to see that the Texan force defending the Alamo was just 180 men at the end, and Santa Anna's Mexican force was less than 4,000.

We also spent time at the Riverwalk, San Antonio's other big tourist destination. The Riverwalk is nothing much to see, just a narrow channel of shallow greenish water bounded on each side by a sidewalk. But it's still a pretty cool destination because of the long strip of restaurants (many with outdoor seating and hospitable weather) and stores, much like the South Street Seaport in Manhattan or Quincy Market in Boston.

Of course, the "welcome to a red state" effect - which we saw, for example, when the priest at Sunday Mass went off on people who file lawsuits against school prayer - was magnified by the presence of the U.S. Army-All American Bowl in San Antonio the weekend we were there, a high school all-star football game sponsored and, apparently, heavily attended by Army personnel. It seemed like every third person on the Riverwalk was a soldier in uniform, which among other things made me feel very, very old, given how many of these guys are just skinny teenagers. (A waiter actually asked me whether I was a captain or a major, which believe you me is the first time I've ever been mistaken for a soldier; I was able to set him straight on that one, but it's true that guys my age in the Army are getting up to those ranks). Of course, as for the wedding itself, the groom was my wife's cousin, who's a surgeon in the Air Force and was in Iraq for several months last year, and the bride is also an Air Force doctor; the groom's brother used to be in the Army, and the bride's brother was back on leave from Afghanistan. A little different group, there.

Anyway, I've been swamped at work lately; even this post was sitting half-written for the past day and a half, and I'm cutting it off here a bit arbitrarily. Hopefully, I'll be back to the blogging routine in another day or two.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 1:30 PM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)
January 17, 2005
BLOG: Small, Small World

It's always a little surprising to see people you know, even people you don't know that well, show up in the newspapers. This woman is a friend of my wife, has kids in our kids' classes (as does the author of the piece, for that matter). This guy is the husband of a former lawyer with my firm. This guy, a former college classmate, has a new reality show coming up for CBS called "Fire Me, Please," which is apparently based on a BBC show called "Sack Race." This guy, the creator of (and loosely-based inspiration for) this short-lived prime time show, is the brother of another friend of my wife and I from college.

Of course, the most disturbing example I've had (other than September 11) of someone you know showing up in the news was the time an elderly former next-door neighbor of ours here in Queens was identified in the NY Daily News as being targeted for deportation because he had been identified as a Nazi prison camp guard.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:43 PM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
January 12, 2005
BLOG: Quiet Period

I've been utterly swamped at work lately, and I'll be unable to get to the blog between now and next Monday evening (the 17th) at the earliest, so things should be quiet around here for a few days. Unfortunately, I'm back to basically a one-man band again now that the Mad Hibernian has finished school and started a job where he's not comfortable being heard from online (I keep telling him he can stick to baseball if he wants, but the greater blog itch is hard to scratch).

I've been pretty quiet on the politics front myself since the post-election rush wore off, partly due to time pressures, partly because there's been so much baseball news, and partly for some of the same reasons as Gerry Daly cites in explaining why he was on hiatus so long:

I found that there was little that was coming into my head to comment on, that I was not finding commented on elsewhere in a manner that I found sufficient. In other words, I was not finding much that I could bring to the table that was not being brought elsewhere. If I am going to spend time blogging, I want to be providing added value to the blogosphere, rather than simply taking advantage of whatever credibility I earned during the election run-up. For the pew months, I did not feel confident that I was in a position to do so.

There's no way I can top Tom Maguire's coverage of Social Security, for example. (Welcome back Gerry, by the way; now if we can get Avkash to come back - his site is now so dominated by nothing but spam comments it's getting blocked by my filter at work)

Anyway, if you're dropping by while I'm out and you're not a long-time reader, check out the columns and "Greatest Hits" linked along the side, wander through the archives, or just hit the blogroll and come back after the 17th.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:04 PM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
January 7, 2005
BLOG: Come Over To The Geek Side

Nothing quite says "I'm cool and I know it" like the willingness to publicly admit - and document! - that you are, in fact, a big giant nerd. I am, of course, insanely jealous: although I have certainly spent my share of time building Lego sets lately, if I tried to build this thing, it would wind up scattered about the basement with the rest of the kids' Harry Potter and Star Wars Lego sets, and I'd spend the rest of my days hunting for the pieces.

The difficulty of the task is clearly illustrated by the switch from empty wine bottle to empty Coke cans in mid-stream. Of course, the good news for the rest of us is that VodkaPundit is back in business.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:00 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (2)
January 6, 2005
BLOG: Getting off the Boeing

So, now we have the reverse of bloggers hitting it big: Dave Barry, who's been publishing newspaper columns and books for two decades and is - and I dare you to provide a better example - the funniest writer in the history of the English language - is going on a potentially permanent hiatus from his syndicated column. But, he is apparently keeping his blog.

Then there's Richard Posner and Gary Becker, who had matching op-eds in the Wall Street Journal Tuesday (hardly a first for either man), and listed their joint blog there, in what almost looks like an effort to use the WSJ platform to promote the blog.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:19 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
January 5, 2005
BLOG: Hugh Hewitt Melted My Brain!

I'm sure Lileks must realize that if My Size Barbie remains in that position against the radiator long enough to read Hugh Hewitt's entire book, her head will melt. If I were Hewitt, I'd be worried about the symbolism there . . .

Posted by Baseball Crank at 3:21 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
January 2, 2005
BLOG: Globalization

It's just astonishing to think that an undersea earthquake off the coast of Sumatra could be the largest natural disaster in the history of Sweden:

There are more than 3,000 visitors from Sweden among the missing in Thailand, and the Scandinavian nation is braced for what could be the worst natural disaster toll in its history. . .


Thailand's Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said Saturday many of those who were still listed as missing were likely to be dead. . . "Of the 6,500 missing, it is likely that they could mostly be dead as many days have passed."


It is thought around 20,000 Swedes had travelled to Thailand this holiday season, to escape the harsh winter of northern Europe.

While only 59 Swedes have so far been confirmed dead, authorities are fearing this tragedy may well become the worst natural disaster in the nation's history.

With a population of only 9 million, Sweden's expected loss of life proportionately matches that of Indonesia, and is exceeded only by Sri Lanka.


Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:37 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
December 31, 2004
BLOG: Turning Over A New Leaf

As I've done in the past, I'm creating brand-new categories for the new year. You'll now go to Baseball 2005 for new baseball entries, Politics 2005 for new politics entries, War 2005 for new war entries, and Law 2005 for new law entries (the Law category hadn't needed an overhaul last year). I'll shortly be updating the link to baseball-only posts at the top of the page as well to send you to Baseball 2005.

Happy New Year!

Posted by Baseball Crank at 5:18 PM | Baseball 2004 • | Baseball 2005 • | Blog 2002-05 • | Law 2002-04 • | Law 2005 • | Politics 2004 • | Politics 2005 • | War 2004 • | War 2005 | TrackBack (0)
December 30, 2004
BLOG: Where To Help

If you haven't already, check out the Command Post's list of links to donate to relief for the victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:00 PM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
BLOG: Small World, Part XVIII

Lileks complains today, in the course of discussing the Nick Coleman-Powerline dustup, about "the inability of Police Chief Tony Bouza’s police department make law-abiding citizens feel as though they had the momentum" in Minneapolis some years back. I don't have anything to add to that except that my dad knew Bouza from his NYPD days (he also knows plenty of people who knew Bernard Kerik at the NYPD, and who had a rather low opinion of Kerik, for what it's worth).

Posted by Baseball Crank at 5:39 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
BLOG: I'm Back

I'm still testing this out, but it looks like the upgrade on the blog is about done. More to follow.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 2:22 PM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
December 23, 2004
BLOG: Merry Christmas!

I'll be out-of-blog until after Christmas. Enjoy the holidays, everyone!

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:55 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
BLOG: Self-Esteem


SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN has an article on exploding the self-esteem myth. Bottom lines: "Boosting people's sense of self-worth has become a national preoccupation. Yet surprisingly, research shows that such efforts are of little value in fostering academic progress or preventing undesirable behavior." This isn't a big surprise. The Insta-Wife has noted for years that inflated self-esteem is often associated with negative behavior among teenagers, while teens with low self-esteem often behave well.

(Emphasis added). This is one of those so-obvious-they-shouldn't-have-to-study-it points. Let me ask you this - take two 16-year old boys, one of whom does well in school, but is scrawny, has lots of acne, and is unpopular with girls (I speak from personal experience here); the other is a big, good-looking guy who's successful in sports, has lots of sex, and is barely passing his classes. Which one do you think has higher self-esteem, really? Anyone who's remotely familiar with teenagers should be able to tell you that teen self-esteem tends to be closely tied to whether they are on the giving or receiving end of various types of social ostracism and abuse, while perhaps the best of academic motivators among teenage boys, at least, is the desire to have a better life later than one's crummy existence as a teenager.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 2:17 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
BLOG: Please Stand By

Yes, I'm aware that the comments section is plagued by many of the same error messages I've been getting whenever I try to post over the past week or so. For what it's worth, if anyone out there has had a similar issue, here's the error message:

Read More »

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:42 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
December 21, 2004
BLOG: Slate Sale

Things you don't really want to hear from your company's executives on the day of a new acquisition:

Ann McDaniel, a Post Co. vice president, said: "Our goal is not to in any way change Slate. We think it's important that it keep its personality. Over time, we hope to find a business model that will make money. You're not suddenly going to see a different kind of Slate."

Hope is not a business model. Then again, maybe the market believes that model is out there:

Following the news of the acquisition, Washington Post stock today rose and closed up more than $26, about a 2 percent increase. Microsoft was nearly unchanged, up about 13 cents.

via Instapundit

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:10 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
BLOG: Reading List

From the archives: my favorite books.

For what it's worth, what I'm reading right now: John Keegan, The First World War (more on this later; I can't put it down); Michael Kelly, Things Worth Fighting For; and a few others I started and have made slow progress on. I was very close to finishing John Fund's Stealing Elections and Stephen Hayes' The Connection before the election, but haven't made much headway since then. I also recently finished PJ O'Rourke's new book Peace Kills: America's Fun New Imperialism, which was OK but I'd already read the best stuff in article form.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:38 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
December 17, 2004
BLOG: Details

Lileks shows his eye for the telling detail, even in an otherwise innocuous essay about a trip to Chuck E. Cheese:

[W]hile we played air hockey some limber kids were hurling basketballs into the net a few feet away, and three Three! balls flew over the backboard and struck me in the head. A woman clad head to toe in Muslim clothing apologized; all I saw were her eyes, but they were wide and beseeching, and for the first time I wondered what it would be like to live in a culture where the eyes were all you had to read. Would it be enough? Would it be all you needed to know, really?

Posted by Baseball Crank at 3:34 PM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
December 16, 2004
BLOG: Another Lie Exposed!

Humpty Dumpty was no egg. (via Jane Galt).

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:53 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
December 14, 2004
BLOG: 2003-04 Traffic Report

I checked my traffic stats last night with the "Webalizer" feature at Hosting Matters. . . thought it would be interesting to chart this out. This is visits per day, but less important that what the actual number is is that it's a consistent measurement of the site's daily traffic since I moved to the Movable Type site:

Apr 2003115
May 2003192
Jun 2003243
Jul 2003321
Aug 2003283
Sep 2003329
Oct 2003403
Nov 2003394
Dec 2003410
Jan 2004544
Feb 2004726
Mar 2004735
Apr 2004798
May 2004799
Jun 2004837
Jul 2004879
Aug 2004982
Sep 20041152
Oct 20041513
Nov 20041580
Dec 20041781

Wow. And the thing is, you go around the blogosphere, you see a lot of people whose traffic patterns look something like this. Of course, it remains to be seen if I can keep up the momentum of the election, the 2004 postseason and some of the huge links I've had lately.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:54 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
December 13, 2004
BLOG: You Like Me! You Really Like Me!


Well, the voting is in, and I have to say that I'm just flabbergasted that I actually won the 2004 Weblog Award for Best Sports Blog, taking 19.7% of the vote to 10.9% for the Athletics Nation community and 10.8% to Eric McErlain's Off Wing Opinion. (I'll have to add Athletics Nation to my regular reads). Of course, particularly given that this blog covers only one sport and somewhat sporadically, this award probably should have gone to someone like David Pinto, but I'm flattered nonetheless that, by my calculations, more than 670 of you voted for me. I'll try to do my best to live up to the honor in the coming year.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 8:45 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
December 6, 2004
BLOG: Out of Service

I've been off line since Thursday night due to computer difficulties (I'll get into those later), so I'm just catching up here - blogging may be sporadic until our computers have been restored.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 8:22 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
BLOG: Small World

The woman who beat Jeopardy! champ Ken Jennings lost the next day to a woman named Katie Fitzgerald, who grew up with my wife. This is actually the second time we've known someone who won on Jeopardy! - we were on vacation last year, turned on the TV in mid-afternoon, and there on TV was Pete O'Malley, another college classmate who was known, back in the day, for performing as the school mascot, the Crusader (complete with sword and armor, decked out in his full infidel-slaughterin' glory).

Posted by Baseball Crank at 8:02 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
December 2, 2004
BLOG: Count Every Vote!

Yours truly is up against some fierce competition in the balloting for "Best Sports Blog" at the Wizbang-sponsored "2004 Weblog Awards." You can go here to vote or view the results in that category, or here for the whole poll.

Of course, there are always some anomalies in the categories. This blog isn't, of course, purely a sports blog. Vodkapundit and Ann Althouse are undoubtedly horrified to be listed under "Best Conservative Blog." Mark Steyn's site isn't really a blog at all. Powerline should have been nominated under "Best Conservative Blog" and "Best Group Blog," Kevin Drum should have been nominated for "Best Liberal Blog" (Powerline and Drum both appear in the "Best Overall Blog" category), and having a "Best LGBT Blog" category without Andrew Sullivan is like having a "Best Game Show Contestant" category and leaving off Ken Jennings. And the voting is skewed a bit in some ways - LGF is leading the "Best Blog" ballot, while the liberal blogs are all getting crushed there.

Still, it's a fun process; thanks to Kevin Aylward for putting it all together. And, of course, I'm flattered that anybody is voting for me.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:25 PM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)
November 30, 2004
BLOG: Who Am I? Why Am I Here?

Long-time readers may want to skip this, but I figure I get enough new readers (especially with the Big Link from our old friend Bill Simmons) to make it worthwhile posting something I can perma-link in FAQ format to introduce myself to new readers.

Read More »

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:30 PM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)
BLOG: Communications Stream of Conspiracy Commerce

Ah, the media food chain in action. As noted here and here, late Tuesday night, I banged out a quick email to Instapundit, with the following thought, in response to an item he posted about a statement by Vaclav Havel on the situation in Ukraine:

Is there any way to get Havel to come out of retirement to succeed Kofi Annan as head of the UN, please? I mean, if ever there were a guy with the guts and moral clarity to insist that the UN live up to its ideals, it's Havel.

Instapundit quoted me by name on this, crediting me with the (admittedly somewhat fanciful) idea, with the further comment:

The more I think about it, the more I like the Havel-for-S.G. idea.

Approving links to Glenn Reynolds' post followed from people at, among other things, the National Review, Weekly Standard and Reason Magazine. Fast forward to yesterday morning, and Reynolds had an op-ed piece on the Wall Street Journal editorial page (subscription only; it ran in the middle of the bottom of the page) promoting the idea:

Things have gotten bad enough that some are calling for Mr. Annan's resignation, amid talk of former Czech President Vaclav Havel as successor. ("Havel for Secretary General" bumper stickers are on the Web.)

OK, so it's not quite the same as getting published in the WSJ myself, but it took less than a week to get my suggestion onto one of the nation's most influential op-ed pages. I'll take that.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:10 AM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
November 16, 2004
BLOG: Steyn Offline

No, I don't know what's up with Mark Steyn, who's left a note up that "[f]or personal and family reasons, this website will be on hiatus for a while." Hopefully, all will be well and he'll be back writing again soon. Hey, the New York Times needs a new conservative . . .

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:37 AM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
BLOG: Power of the Blogs

Patrick Ruffini is back after a long "absence" running the Bush campaign blog. Ruffini notes something I had heard during the campaign: "Blogs for Bush, Power Line, Hugh Hewitt, PoliPundit, Captain Ed, Red State, Real Clear Politics and many more were religious reads at BC04."

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:31 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
November 14, 2004
BLOG: Who The Hell is James Wolcott?

James Wolcott of Vanity Fair magazine refers to Glenn Reynolds as "[a] racist-t-shirt wearing professor of Creationism at Wayback University". (Reynolds fires back here). I confess that I don't have much of an idea who Wolcott is, other than this quickie tongue-in-cheek bio on his site and my generally dim view of the low journalistic standards of his magazine's political hit jobs in the last several years. But you could hardly ask for a more extreme example of East Coast snobbery than to have a "columnist on media and pop culture" dismissing a guy like Reynolds as a know-nothing flat-earther. I mean, I'm certainly no worshipper of credentials as the sole basis for valuing a man's opinions, but Wolcott appears to fancy himself to be, by definition, Reynolds' intellectual superior simply because Wolcott is published in a glossy New York magazine and Reynolds lives in Tennessee, ignoring the fact that Reynolds is - in addition to his prolific internet profile - a respected and extensively published tenured law professor with a degree from Yale Law School and some depth of expertise on a staggering array of subjects. What is sadder is that I suspect that that self-image is reinforced by nearly everyone Wolcott knows.

I wouldn't want to overgeneralize, but it's not hard to see from extended observation that there are, at a minimum, more than a few people in the media world who think precisely the way Wolcott does: that a man who has succeeded in getting paid to be a full-time journalist must have more brains and sophistication than the people who have carved out careers in other endeavors, no matter how much more educated or accomplished those people are. And, of course, that attitude is precisely how journalists often wind up making hilarious errors when they try to cover specialized areas like the law, the military, etc., where a little bit of consultation with people who actually do the stuff for a living could have set them straight.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:38 AM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)
November 13, 2004
BLOG: Good One To Walk Away From

Jeff Quinton has photos of a car accident he was lucky to walk away from. Good reminder of the value of seatbelts.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:44 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
November 12, 2004
BLOG: Slow Week

No, I'm not suffering from blog-burnout or anything; just a busy week at work. Still lots to come on post-election analysis as well as the usual baseball stuff.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:40 AM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
November 2, 2004
BLOG: Advantage Mainstream Media

Blogosphere's been in over-bandwidth meltdown. I haven't blogged in hours and have been trapped in Tech Support Hell with Dell since 4:30.

Having the ability to support a lot of traffic turns out to be a Big Deal on Election Night.

UPDATE (8:45 pm): Gave up on the laptop, I had downloaded some bad software from Microsoft that the laptop told me to take. Bad idea. Will be blogging only when I can run downstairs from the TV.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:34 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
October 22, 2004
BLOG: Time Machine

You know what's pathetic? When I was a kid, the days of the year I looked forward to the most were Christmas, my birthday . . . I gotta say, as a grownup there isn't any day that I anticipate more eagerly (not even Opening Day) than when we get to set the clocks back in October and get an extra hour of sleep. I was very disappointed to discover that it's next weekend, not this weekend. After this week's LCS action, we sure could use the extra rest. On the other hand, we may yet need to be rested and ready for a long Election Night . . .

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:29 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
October 8, 2004
BLOG: The Playoffs

Yes, I'm aware, as one of my commenters noted below, that there's been a lot of politics and not so much baseball here lately. Hopefully, I'll be able to do a bit more baseball coverage as we get further on. But I'll be frank here: between my lack of much rooting interest in these playoffs, the dispiriting collapse of the Mets, the fact that I've been doing this for five years now and sometimes run out of new things to say about baseball, and the high stakes of this year's presidential election, yes, I expect to be doing a lot of politics between now and November 2. And if you do come just for the baseball - and I appreciate that many of you do - you can always hit the "Click Here For Baseball-Only Content" link at the top to make the rest of the posts disappear.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:07 PM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
October 4, 2004
BLOG: Captain's Blog: One Year and Counting

Happy one-year blogoversary to Captain's Quarters. "Captain" Ed Morrissey is absolutely one of the best in the business.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 4:09 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
September 29, 2004
BLOG: Programming Note

In theory, the next week and a half should be a booming time for this blog - my readership is way, way up, and we're simultaneously headed into the presidential debates, the end of the pennant races, and the beginning of the postseason. In something of an ironic repeat of October 2000, however, I am gearing up for trial (actually a securities arbitration), which is scheduled to cover most of next week. I'll keep posting here to the extent possible, but things may be slower than usual until we get through October 8.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:15 AM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
September 26, 2004
BLOG: When It Rains . . .

Traffic is usually way down on a Sunday, but I've had a gigantic traffic day, as Little Green Footballs and Instapundit link to my stroll through Josh Marshall's archives, in both cases without me having to do anything to publicize the link. Very gratifying. Once again: for anyone coming here for the first time, check out the "greatest hits" posts and scroll down to my sidebar of baseball columns from 2000-2003, if you want a sample of what I do here.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:11 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
September 22, 2004
BLOG: Blogjam

This about says it all about the booming traffic so many of us are experiencing as the first presidential election to be blogged approaches.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 8:47 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
September 17, 2004
BLOG: Seen and Heard

1. Charlie Rose asking Adam Nagourney of the NY Times and Mark Halperin of ABC News what John Kerry really believes about the Iraq war. They laugh. Eventually, they compose themselves enough to spout the party line about allies. This is followed by Bill Maher and Cornel West over on HBO lamenting how lame Kerry is.

2. Newt Gingrich and Bill O'Reilly congratulating themselves for not being those kind of right-wing crazies who think Dan Rather forged or knowingly used forged documents.

3. Walking in Manhattan, a guy on a bike runs a red light and almost runs me down - then turns around to yell at me for not watching where I'm going, as he bikes in front of a moving truck.

4. Long Island Railroad publishes new schedules every few months; the latest ones expired September 6. From what I could see at Penn Station, they didn't even bother to do September schedules for Shea Stadium.

5. Swift Boat Veterans running their latest ad on early morning TV - here in Queens. Is this a swing state, or have the Swifties suddenly come into more money than they know what to do with? Probably neither - with a modest budget, they are probably targeting NY to try to hit opinion leaders who will give them free publicity.

6. Vignette - young man and woman, probably dating, on the train platform, and the man casually twirls her around, like they're dancing. Older couple nearby, both looking - and you could see, watching them, they were just thinking - we don't do things like that anymore.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:37 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
BLOG: Instalanche!

Well, for the first time I was on the receiving end of a full-bore Instalanche yesterday, as the Blogfather linked to the item below on the Plame investigation. I'm normally getting 500-600 visits a day lately; yesterday, I had about 6,000 visits in two hours, and wound up with nearly half of a usual month's traffic in less than half a day. You can see the results here.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:48 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
September 16, 2004
BLOG: Citizen Dan

Hey, my entry got honorable mention in the Wizbang caption contest!

Posted by Baseball Crank at 8:33 AM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

My law school classmate Orin Kerr comments on the CBS frenzy:

[L]et me see if I understand things correctly. A presidential election is less than two months away, and there is a war going on right now in Iraq. The war in Iraq raises profound questions about United States policy with regard to the Muslim world for decades to come. But instead of debating the war that is going on right now, we're debating the war records of the two candidates from more than three decades ago. Wait, no, that's too direct: we're debating one network's story about one candidate's war record from three decades ago. Wait, maybe that's too direct, too: we're debating the fonts on different typewriters that may or may not have been used to write a memo that led to a story about one candidate's war record from three decades ago. Yeah, that's pretty much it.

C'mon, folks: don't we have more important things to blog about?

Dan Drezner concurs. I see their point about the extent of the coverage, but:

(1) Most of us have blogged many angles of the Iraq war to death, especially the justifications for the war in the first place.

(2) Getting a good picture of the facts on the ground to blog about the war's continuing progress can be quite frustrating for the U.S.-based civilian observer. Part of the problem is that we are so heavily dependent on the media to give us an accurate picture of what is going on.

In that context, the fact that one of the three major networks - in a story immediately disseminated by many other media outlets (including on the front page of numerous newspapers) - is being exposed for having used forged documents, perhaps knowingly and almost certainly recklessly, in pursuit of what looks like a partisan and/or personal vendetta against the president, is tremendously important. The problems being revealed go to the heart of CBS' newsgathering and editorial decisionmaking practices, which in turn affects the credibility of the news we rely on to interpret so many other stories.

In a way, then, this is about the Iraq war. It's about everything.

(3) I'll add a third point: I can blog until I'm blue in the face about the Iraq war, as we all have, without doing much to change the world. But as with the Trent Lott story, the blogosphere has actually affected the course of this story. That's where the emphasis comes from - bloggers are always going to be most attracted to the stories on which they can actually have some impact or uncover some new facts.

(Of course, for some websites, this story is their sole reason for being).

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:53 AM | Blog 2002-05 • | Politics 2004 | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
September 14, 2004
BLOG: What I'm Drinking

Although I'll have a beer now and then and - once upon a time - sampled harder liquors, my taste in drinks generally runs to wine, particularly red wine. I tend to drink the kind of mass-produced red wines that sell for $7-10 for a bottle, enough money to get you away from the real watery stuff but not expensive enough to bust my budget. Anyway, finding decent cabernets in that price range isn't hard; I've lately been drinking a California cabernet from Cooper Canyon, which is nice. What I'd heartily recommend, though, for a reasonably priced ($8.99 in my wine store) red with some body to it is wines from Norton vineyard, a vineyard in Argentina (South American reds tend to be the best bargains for the money), especially the Malbec.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:00 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
BLOG: Pajama Time

For the record, let it be recalled that Winston Churchill often conducted much of the business of the wartime leadership of Britain in his pajamas.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:21 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
September 10, 2004
BLOG: Good Sport

Bill Simmons is now the only sports columnist with his own personal ombudsman.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:59 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
September 5, 2004
BLOG/BASEBALL: New Blog Roundup, 9/5/04

Like many bloggers, I often get emails from people who have started new blogs. I have less and less free time these days to check these out and less and less room on my blogroll for new additions, and frankly - if you're thinking of doing this - while I'm sympathetic to new bloggers, I'm much more interested in getting an email with a link to an interesting post than just "look at my blog."

That said, here's a roundup of people who asked me to pass on a link, most of them baseball blogs; if you're in the mood to go exploring, check them out:

Baseball Addict

College Basketball Blog

The Senseless, Wacky, Crazy, Downright Twisted Dictionary to Major League Baseball

Bijan Bayne (the author of "Sky Kings: Black Pioneers of Professional Basketball")

Ump Is Blind (a humor site)


The Torch (a political site)

Balls, Sticks, & Stuff (Comments on sports...and other stuff too)

I'll have more in part two of this tour in the next few days.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:38 AM | Baseball 2004 • | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
August 26, 2004

OK, rant time. It's 1 in the morning, and I just got off the phone after two hours (most of it spent on hold) trying to get assistance from Dell with our wireless connection. I should have been in bed a long time ago, I've got to work in the morning, and for good measure I'd hoped to work on a long blog entry I've been working over. All out the window.

Here's the deal: my wife and I got a Dell laptop about two months ago. Although there were other uses for the laptop, we paid a lot of extra money to ensure that the laptop would have wireless service so that, among other things, I could blog without having to hibernate in the basement, where the desktop and cable modem are located. We paid for the wireless card, we paid for the router. I spent upwards of 90 minutes on the phone with tech support in early July to hook the ^%!^@! thing up.

Result: we can now use the internet . . . in our bedroom. It's the only place on the ground floor of the house where the wireless signal comes through (it's directly above the room in the basement where the desktop and router are located). To keep the connection, you need to walk very slowly out of the bedroom, and then it's a weak connection that can be lost at a moment's notice, which among other things means frequent saving or risk of losing lots of work on the blog.

So, tonight I got fed up and called Dell for help. 25 minutes on hold, get the call center in India on the line, get a few hugely time-consuming but ineffective pieces of advice. Get switched to the wireless specialist; almost an hour on hold ensues. Wireless specialist walks me througn a few items and then announces that (1) the problem may be that the wireless connection can't work in the presence of cordless phones (both our phones are cordless, and without one I could not call him from in front of the computer) or microwave ovens; (2) the router could be interfered with by walls, ceilings, etc., and (3) if we want it to work we have to buy yet another router. None of which cautions were mentioned anywhere by Dell or any of the other sources I looked at before plunking down the money for this thing. And I'll be damned if I'm going to buy another router only to be told I need to replace my telephone and unplug the microwave to use the computer.

Is wireless access really a mirage? Is it just Dell? Or did I just talk to an idiot in tech support? I don't know. I just know I'm unlikely to ever get what I paid for. And I'll be blogging in the basement for the foreseeable future. Grrrrr.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 1:13 AM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)
August 12, 2004
BLOG: On The Road

I'm on the road the next few days, so I won't be catching much baseball and posting will be slim to none.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:38 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
August 8, 2004
BLOG: Table Samples

Feel free to ignore this post; I'm posting some sample tables here as a test while I'm working on a larger project.

Read More »

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:41 AM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
August 7, 2004
BLOG: Fishy

Very fishy.

Via Dave Barry

Posted by Baseball Crank at 1:06 AM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
August 5, 2004
BLOG: Pop Quiz

Seen in various places, most recently Ricky West:

1. WHAT COLOR ARE YOUR BEDROOM WALLS? Without looking? Probably white. I don't stare at the walls much.

2. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW? I tend to bounce around between books. Books I just finished the last few weeks: Babe Ruth and the 1918 Red Sox, by Allan Wood; Fresh Lies, by James Lileks; Things Happen for a Reason, by Terry Leach. Books I'm actively reading: The Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers, by Rob Neyer and Bill James; The Connection, by Steven Hayes; re-reading Give War a Chance, by PJ O'Rourke. Books I'm in the middle of and intend to get back to at some point: My Life in Baseball, by Robin Roberts; The Two Faces of Islam, by Steven Schwartz; Men at Work, by George Will; After, by Stephen Brill; The Seekers, by Daniel Boorstin. I'm also reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire to my son.

3. WHAT'S ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? Picture of my son at about five months old, sitting up next to a teddy bear that's about his size.

4. FAVORITE BOARD GAME? Monopoly. We play it a lot with the kids. My son has a disastrous obsession with the most expensive properties; my daughter just likes to buy the light blue set and put up hotels.

5. FAVORITE MAGAZINE? National Review. I cancelled my SI subscription; I never found a weekly magazine a good format to read about baseball.

6. FAVORITE SMELL? Probably the smell of McDonald's french fries or Dunkin Donuts, the smells they pipe out to suck you in.

7. FAVORITE COLOR? Green. When you have kids, you need to be able to answer this question. Also fond of purple; this blog's purple and white layout is my school colors from college (Holy Cross).

8. LEAST FAVORITE COLOR? The color of the building across from my office that I have to look at out my window - it's an awful 70s yellowish brick.


10. MOST IMPORTANT MATERIAL THING IN MY LIFE? Photo albums. I used to take tons of pictures.

11. FAVORITE FLAVOR OF ICE CREAM? Vanilla, preferably with chocolate chips or in one of those chocolate chip cookie sandwich thingies. But ice cream is one of those things I like but mostly avoid (like donuts) because it's just not quite good enough to justify the nutritional issues.

12. DO YOU BREAK THE SPEED LIMIT DAILY? I don't like to walk slow or drive fast. I mostly just drive a mile or so to the train station, but I do probably slightly exceed the speed limit heading there.

13. DO YOU HAVE A STUFFED ANIMAL IN YOUR ROOM SOMEWHERE? My wife does - a dog, it was the first gift I bought her, long before we were dating.

14. STORMS - COOL OR SCARY? If I'm in the house? Cool. But I'm afraid of lightning when I'm outside, and I hate driving in rain..

15. FAVORITE DRINK? I basically live on orange juice, coffee, Coke, and red wine (in that chronological order). Each has its charms.

16. WHEN IS YOUR BIRTHDAY? October 13. Anniversary of Mazeroski's homer.

17. FAVORITE VEGETABLES? Broccoli. Yes, broccoli.

18. IF YOU COULD HAVE ANY JOB, WHAT WOULD IT BE? Fantasies? Owner/GM of the Mets. President. Closer to reality? Federal judge. Professional blogger. If I had a professional blogging gig, I'd just never run out of stuff to write about.

19. IF YOU COULD HAVE ANY COLOR HAIR, WHAT WOULD IT BE? I'm past 30, so I'm just happy to have hair.

20. HAVE YOU EVER BEEN IN LOVE? Met my wife August 20, 1989 - we were both 17, and she was literally the first person I met in college (it was an incoming-freshman event the week before school started). I was in love at first sight, but it took me four years to get her to go out with me. We were married almost six years to the day after we met.

21. TOP THREE FAVORITE MOVIES (IN ORDER)? Star Wars, of course. The Untouchables. Too hard to pick a third.

22. DO YOU TYPE WITH YOUR FINGERS ON THE RIGHT KEYS? I'm a two-finger typist. I type very quickly for using just two fingers, but my mom's efforts to teach me to type properly never took.


24. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE NUMBER? 13. Hey, if your birthday's on the 13th, you make a virtue of it.

25. FAVORITE SPORT TO WATCH ON TV & IN PERSON? Baseball, of course; specifically, postseason baseball. Although the sport that's most improved in person vs. on TV is hockey.

26. WHAT IS YOUR SINGLE BIGGEST FEAR? Heart attack, stroke, any kind of sudden death. Drowning as a result of a terrorist attack causing an explosion in the Queens Midtown Tunnel or a LIRR or subway tunnel is way up there, though.

27. FAVORITE CD OF ALL TIME & RIGHT NOW? Born in the USA. Lately, I've listened to a lot of the Saw Doctors Live from Galway.

28. FAVORITE TV SHOW OF ALL TIME & RIGHT NOW? Besides baseball? Probably Seinfeld, unless you count the Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Hour. Right now? The Sopranos isn't on again for a few years, so maybe The Daily Show, Monk or one of the Law & Order shows.

29. HAMBURGERS OR HOT DOGS? Burgers, although it was hot dogs for many years. Ah, maturity.

30. THE COOLEST PLACES YOU'VE EVER BEEN? Congress, for the State of the Union Address in 1992. The Hall of Fame for the 1982 Induction Weekend ceremonies. The Supreme Court, to meet Clarence Thomas.


32. DOES MCDONALD'S SKIMP ON YOUR FRIES & DO YOU CARE? No, but I don't eat there much.

33. FAVORITE CHAIN RESTAURANT? Pizzeria Uno. My wife and I should own stock.

34. IF YOU HAVE A BOY (OR HAVE ANOTHER BOY) WHAT WOULD YOU NAME HIM? My son's named after his grandfathers, who conveniently share the same name. If we have another, I will make more futile efforts to get "Ronald" as a middle name in honor of the 40th president, but don't bank on it. Maybe Patrick.

35. IF YOU COULD LEARN TO PLAY ONE INSTRUMENT OVERNIGHT, WHAT WOULD IT BE? Electric guitar . . . More realistically, I'd really like to be able to play the harmonica.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 8:19 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
August 4, 2004
BLOG: Daly Move

Update your bookmarks: Electoral College Breakdown and Dales' Blog have moved.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:09 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
August 3, 2004
BLOG: Welcome Back!

Dr. Manhattan is blogging again, and has an explanation for his hiatus. Prayers and best wishes to his family in dealing with this situation; there's just nothing worse than having something happen to a child.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:12 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
July 29, 2004
BLOG: Links 7/29/04

*Nothing to fear but George W. Bush? (By the way, I haven't heard every speaker yet, but . . . has anyone heard the name "Saddam Hussein" mentioned?)

*Ken Layne on Clinton and the Democrats:

In four days of stupid, patronizing speeches at the 2000 Democratic convention, there was exactly one flash of "Whoa, what the hell?" That was Clinton's speech. I remember briefly feeling human, like I wasn't being talked down to like a common retard. Even Tim Blair shut up and actually admitted to a little bit of admiration for Big Bill's skills.

*Bill Gates' mug shot! (Via Bill Simmons)

*Defamer had an amusing graphic comparing Catwoman's opening box office to other cat movies. The real lesson: please, no more cat movies.

*Help a blogger find his son's killer(s).

*Stuart Buck has some more fun with Bush conspiracy theories.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:11 AM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
July 26, 2004

Thoughts upon my return from vacationing in Lake George, NY:

*Saw a bunch of Bush/Cheney and W'04 bumper stickers. Saw tons of those yellow ribbon support-the-troops stickers. Did not see a Kerry or Kerry/Edwards sticker anywhere. Blue state, red country. Also on the sticker subject, I bought one of those magnetic Bush stickers advertised over at Smash's place; they're a great thing if (like my wife) you don't want permanent sticker residue on your car after the election (downside: the fear of the sticker getting swiped). I also saw a Bush TV ad, which seemed odd, given that the New York/Vermont TV market isn't exactly a swing state market.

*Ever have one of those stretches when you just keep having instant problems with stuff you buy? We had this - inedible/undercooked hot dog, corkscrew that won't open a bottle, overcharge for a food order, take-out entree that gets home without an essential element - and the solutions are always bad: I don't want to sit back and accept getting ripped off, but I also hate to be one of those people who goes back and complains about stuff all the time.

*Ricky Williams is retiring. Ricky Williams was born in 1977. Yes, I feel old.

*The Mets appear ready to decide that this team is worth making a few tinkers around the edges but otherwise be neither a buyer nor a seller in the summer deal market. Which is depressing, given how close they have come in so many games blown by the bullpen lately, but makes sense. Sometimes a pennant race just has to be enjoyed on its own terms, without high expectations.

*On Sandy Berger's pants-gate: man, Clinton scandals are just the gift that keeps on giving, aren't they?

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:45 AM | Baseball 2004 • | Blog 2002-05 • | Politics 2004 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
July 24, 2004
BLOG: Out of Blog Experience

Well, I'm off on vacation for a week, far from this place we call the internet. There'll be lots to catch up on when I return; hopefully the Mad Hibernian will keep things lively around here in my absence. I'm post-dating this entry so it stays up top; feel free to leave questions or comments if you've got ideas for me to blog on or stories to discuss when I return.

In the meantime, go check out Rich Lederer, who's running a tremendous series of excerpts from the original Bill James Abstracts going back to the Seventies. Trust me, there's plenty there to keep you occupied.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:00 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
July 16, 2004
BLOG: Fun for the Whole Family!

Amazing government websites for kids! (via Jane Galt). Some favorites:

Yucca Mountain for Kids!

Key quote:

What if we took out the garbage, but let it pile up in our yards? Over time, our neighborhoods would become very unhealthy places to live. So we have sanitary workers pick up our garbage and properly dispose of it in landfills.

Right now, nuclear waste is piling up in a lot of places around the country.

Asks a friend: "Does Homeland Security know about this?"

CIA for Kids!

ATF for Kids!

And perhaps my favorite, this classic parade of horribles from the Bureau of Mine Safety and Health Administration - for Kids!:

Piles of of rock, dirt, or sand are not safe to climb or slide on. They can slide down on top of you and cover you up.

Big trucks, trains, and other machines can run over you. If you're close to them, the drivers can't see you. And if they do see someone in the way, it takes a long time for a big truck to slow down and stop.

Power lines, cables, and electric machinery can give you a DEADLY electric shock.

Explosives could go off and hurt you.

Ponds and old quarry pits full of water can drown you. There are no life guards, and dangers can be out of sight under the water.

Mine roads and off-road areas are not safe places to ride a bike or all-terrain vehicle. You could run into hidden pits or other hazards, fall off a steep place, or roll over and be badly hurt.

Underground shafts and tunnels can trap you. You could get lost, fall down a shaft, have rocks fall on you, or run into poisonous gas.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:05 PM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
BLOG: Giant Fungus!

One of those amusing facts that always cracks me up. Via Dave Barry.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:01 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
July 14, 2004
BLOG: Busy Again

Sorry, too busy to blog once again this morning.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:40 AM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
July 4, 2004
BLOG: Same Dog, New Tricks

Ricky West has moved to http://www.rjwest.com/blog, abandoning the hassles and headaches of Movable Type for the wonderful city of Solla Sollew, where they never have troubles, at least very few.

Update your bookmarks accordingly.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:09 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
July 2, 2004
BLOG: Link Roundup 7/2/04

*Via Baseball Primer, comes word that the Twins have bowed to political pressure to take the guns away from a G.I. Joe figure they are giving out at the Humpdome on a night honoring local military personnel:

"I think the Twins are way off base with this idea,'' said John Varone, a Vietnam veteran and president of the Twin Cities chapter of Veterans for Peace. "For gosh sakes, the last place we need to promote war is at our national pastime.''

The Twins say Joe isn't glorifying war, but celebrating the efforts of servicemen and women. As part of that mission, the team asked Duke's maker, Hasbro Inc., to remove the customary gun from his side, bringing him in accordance with the Metrodome's no-gun policy. Hand grenades are still visible.

"I know there are people who are adamant about opposition to the war, but this is not about politics,'' Twins marketing vice president Patrick Klinger said. "And it's not just about this war. It's about what happened 60 years ago.''


[T]he Twins will admit current and former military personnel and their families at half price Monday, as part of what the Twins are calling Armed Services Appreciation Day. There also will be a flag ceremony involving Gov. Tim Pawlenty before the game.

The Twins' first such day was held last year, when, on the eve of the assault on Iraq, a soldier from Minnesota threw out the first ball to a fellow soldier from the state. The throw and catch occurred in Kuwait and were broadcast to Minnesota at the beginning of the game.

"I looked around the ballpark that night and there were tears everywhere,'' Klinger said. "It was the highlight of my career.''

Still, more than one peace group believes the combat-ready G.I. Joe, measuring just a bit shorter than 4 inches, is a big mistake, and they would like the Twins to cancel the promotion.

"It's not a credible way to honor those who've suffered the inhumanity of war,'' said Phil Steger, executive director of Friends for a Non-Violent World, a St. Paul-based group with about 4,000 members in Minnesota.

"One wonders whether a desire to increase ticket sales is masquerading as good intentions. We hope not. Minnesotans' moral sense and empathy with those who have lost life, limb and loved ones in war soldier and civilian rejects this kind of opportunism,'' Steger said.

Mary Beaudoin, a leader of Women Against Military Madness, Minneapolis, said she's "appalled'' by the giveaway.

"This is hideous a bad message to send kids,'' she said. "Kids need to be raised with the values of life, not killing.''

GI Joe: unarmed, defenseless and ready for his beheading! Brought to you by senseless Minnesota peaceniks.

*Wall Streeter Mindles Dreck has some thoughts on business models in the brokerage industry, which I found interesting even aside from his use of the analogy to Iraq.

*The BBC has some powerful pictures of a fetus in the womb at the end of the first trimester. Go look, and ask yourself if that's a human being; if you approach the question without political preconceptions, the answer's pretty easy.

*Via the Corner, Rush Limbaugh has some reflections on his encounters with Bill Buckley (did you know that Rush's odd way of pronouncing Jesse Jackson's name was a homage to Buckley? I didn't). Interesting piece, which in some ways says more about Rush, his influences and his insecurities than it does about Buckley.

*Chris Lawrence points us to Laura in Apartment 11D complaining about Steven den Beste mercilessly tearing apart a survey she sent him and about 70 other big bloggers. I love den Beste's writing, but he can really be unwarrantedly cruel sometimes to people who send him well-meaning stuff; in this case, he seems to have misunderstood the fact that you have to put some obvious questions in a survey sent to that many people.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:39 AM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
July 1, 2004
BLOG: Yummy, Yummy, Yummy, What's That In My Tummy?

Dana has a thought-provoking question (adult language used).

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:32 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
June 27, 2004
BLOG: Milestone

Man, that was ugly. More on the Mets-Yankees fiasco tomorrow. In the meantime, a milestone: I have passed 200,000 on the hit counter, less than six months after hitting 100,000 in late January - a milestone that had taken me 17 months to scale.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:49 PM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
June 24, 2004
BLOG: Mr. Subways

Via Gerard Vanderleun, we have the Rules for the New York Subway. I, of course, swear by these (except when I'm violating them by pacing back and forth on the platform), although I generally prefer to walk the 17 blocks to my office whenever possible rather than ride on what sooner or later will become a mobile anthrax lab.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:23 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
BLOG: It's Bill's World

If you haven't noticed, ESPN has now launched a separate site for Bill Simmons' columns (Page 2 1/2?); make sure to add it to your bookmarks. At the moment, it's just a page of columns, although there may be additional bells and whistles on the way, and Bill has plenty of stuff there now on the latest doings in the NBA. I doubt that Bill could re-create all the features of the old BSG site on a national platform even if he wanted to (the ones he wrote, that is, not that I'd exactly be adverse to contributing the occasional baseball column for old times' sake), but it will be interesting to see what else he and the ESPN team can come up with now that he's back to sportswriting full time.

(On the other hand, much as I like Bill, I personally wouldn't compare him to Einstein and Michael Jordan).

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:24 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
June 23, 2004
BLOG: Getting Back

Well, I'm back from my travels, but still catching up (I missed some great Mets action while I was away, although through the miracle of airplane TVs I did get to watch CC Sabathia mow down the White Sox).

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:53 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
June 21, 2004
BLOG: Out of Blog

Sorry, not much in the blogging mood this morning - I'm headed out of town on business, be back late Tuesday night, so things should be a bit quiet around here the next few days.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:57 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
June 14, 2004
BLOG: Wiley Passes On

ESPN reports the sudden death of Ralph Wiley, the Page 2 columnist and former regular on the Sports Reporters. Wow. Wiley was 52 and in apparent good health, and his heart just gave out on him. One bit of trivia I didn't know: Wiley coined the term "Billy Ball" for Billy Martin's hustling 1980 A's. Regular readers will recall that I've been no fan of Wiley, although he and Bill Simmons had played off each other quite well in some recent joint efforts, including a chat room session just last week. Say this much: Wiley won't be easily replaced or replicated.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 5:18 PM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
June 13, 2004
BLOG: Disney Spam?

I'm getting what appear to be spam comments . . . leading to the Disney Online website. What's with that?

I should add my particular annoyance that I tend to get comment spam attacks on weekends, especially holiday weekends, when I have the least time to deal (at least during the week I get an hour or so of uninterrupted blogging time every morning with breakfast).

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:22 PM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
June 10, 2004
BLOG: 6/10/4 Links

*Bill Simmons/Ralph Wiley chat wrap! Anarchically funny.

*Venomous Kate shares a look at the Toddler Diet.

*Captain Ed has some thoughts on Quaddafi trying to assasinate the leaders of Saudi Arabia; key quote:

Looking at this, one supposes that Prince Abdullah would want to reconsider his partnership with a country that hires assassins as spokespeople, but looking around his area, he'd be hard pressed to find a country that doesn't, and at least we don't do it on purpose.

*Powerline with an interesting anecdote on the Reagan Administration and sabotage.

*Women are more likely to have sex when they are ovulating and thus more likely to get pregnant. Well, duh.

*Now this is the kind of team-building exercise most law firms only dream of.

*Bruce Springsteen thinks Al Gore's lunatic rant is a good thing to read. Ugh.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:14 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
June 9, 2004
BLOG: Linky Linky 6/9/4

*Jay Jaffe has the story of 10-Cent Beer Night in Cleveland in 1974, which turned out to be particularly ill-advised because the Indians were playing the (Billy Martin-managed) Rangers and had a bench-clearing brawl with them the previous game that ended with Ranger fans pouring beer on the Indians. Key stat: attendance was 25,000, and approximately 65,000 beers were sold. (Link via Baseball News Blog).

*Has the lost, sunken city of Atlantis been located in southern Spain? (Link via Gary Farber at Winds of Change).

*QandO catches Paul Krugman playing games with the numbers to skew the Reagan record on taxes. (Maybe Krugman was just confused? It's not like he's a professional economist or anything). (Link via the MinuteMan).

*It's not just the Crisps: Allison Kaplan Sommer reports that Courtney Cox and husband David Arquette are considering naming their expected daughter Coco Cox.

*Functional Ambivalent, who never agreed with Reagan but can't really see today why he got so upset at him, has some useful thoughts on avoiding excesses of outrage in blogging and political discourse. While I don't agree with his assumption that overwrought anger is mostly on the Right these days - try spending a few hours at Atrios' place - it's a useful contribution. (Link via Conrad at Gweilo Diaries).

*Bill Hobbs tells you where to go in the minor leagues to get a Moses bobblehead.

*Is the UN resolution on the transfer of power in Iraq a big victory for Bush? Well, if you can't trust Communists to tell you if democracy is on the way, who can you trust? And the Germans feel the same way!

*Bill Russell has some thoughts on team defense as the essential characteristic of championship basketball teams.

*Ralph Peters on Reagan's impact on the military's morale and readiness. (via Will Collier at VodkaPundit)

*Collier again, on mistrust of the media.

*Peters again, on the unchanging nature of war. Good stuff in general, although I'm not sure he really has anything specific to add here on the knotty problems of figuring out when we're facing the enemy and when we're not. But the point stands that we can win only by killing. If the courts make it more difficult to hold prisoners, that focus only intensifies. (also via Vodkapundit).

*Engrish! (via the Functional Ambivalent).

*If you missed it at the time, this Dave Cullen piece on Columbine is fascinating.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:06 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
June 2, 2004
BLOG: One For The Ladies

Drezner and Michele discuss the relative paucity of female bloggers among the tippity-top of the A-List of bloggers who influence the media. Michele asks:

Lots of stuff going on today about women in the blogosphere. Are females underrepresented? Has Wonkette become the media's official spokesperson for the female portion of the blogosphere? Are we destined to just be cute and adorable playthings? Or is the whole idea of sexism in blogs just a manufactured tale thought up by people who just aren't making the time to find blogs that aren't already on their small links list?

Well, looking over my own blogroll - which, given the concentration of baseball blogs, is bound to be male-dominated - I see five female-authored blogs (Michele, Bookworm, Erin O'Connor, Meryl Yourish, and Jane Galt), plus NRO's Corner, which is male-dominated but moderated by Kathryn Jean Lopez, one of the most active contributors to the group, and The Command Post, at which Michele is one of the ringleaders. Other female bloggers I've linked to - only sporadically - would include Dana at Note-It Posts, law blogger Denise Howell of Bag and Baggage, Baldilocks, Jeralyn Merritt of TalkLeft, and, of course, Wonkette. Not nothing, but clearly a minority.

Here's the thing: at the dawn of blogilization (late 01-early 02), the leading blogs were overwhelmingly white, male, bespectacled, between 30 and 50, pro-war, centrist/libertarian on domestic issues, and dominated by academics and professional writers, especially those with ties to the New Republic (Reynolds, Sullivan, Lileks, Kaus, Volokh, Marshall, Goldberg, den Beste, Welch, Jarvis, C. Johnson . . . each of them hits several if not all of these points). The image stuck, and those guys ascended to a sort of firmament.

While people have to be pretty dim to ignore the likes of Michele, Jane Galt, and Yourish, Wonkette is indeed one of the few female bloggers who has the paid position, journalistic background, etc. to get instant credibility with the media - other female bloggers tend to be civilians, as it were, rather than journalists or academics (Merritt may be something of an exception, as a sometime TV pundit).

You see, in the blogosphere, when it comes to influencing the media, there are still two classes of bloggers: the credentialed in-crowd and the civilians. Bloggers who are professional journalists are in the in-crowd, however much they may (like Sullivan) maintain a contrarian pose that costs them with employers inside journalism. Bloggers who are academics get the entree as well; besides having jobs that permit them to blog at length during business hours, journalists respect academics. Look at how Drezner slid easily into a column at The New Republic. (If you're young enough, like Matt Yglesias, you can write your way into the in-crowd. If you're old enough to have a job and a mortgage, you're out of luck).

My conclusion here: Michele is among the best and brightest of the "civilian" bloggers. And we ought to be a happy bunch, since we've come a long way from the days when civilians had no hope of getting published. But except for Wonkette, few female bloggers are part of that in crowd. The fault isn't the blogs themselves; it's the who-you-know nature of journalism.

(It may also be that fewer women are interested in writing political blogs; Yglesias explains the gender gap as it pertains to men vs. women following politics).

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:55 PM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
June 1, 2004
BLOG: Long Weekend

Not much in the way of new content this morning, as I'm catching up at work from the long weekend, although if you're just checking in, I had a flurry of new stuff on Friday night and Saturday. Some longer stuff on Iraq is on the way tomorrow, plus some ongoing baseball projects (I'm still trying to finish up the Established Win Shares Levels review by wrapping up the NL Central).

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:26 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
May 28, 2004
BLOG: Love Pleads Guilty

OK, I don't follow Courtney Love stories, but just consider that headline: "Love Pleads Guilty." Doesn't that sound like a cheesy 80s album title?

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:17 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
May 26, 2004
BLOG: And That's Why I Wear The Bow Tie

Doctors' neckties may be hazardous to your health!

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:20 AM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
BLOG: Life Imitates The Onion

Tuesday's Wall Street Journal (subscription required) reports:

As food companies look for ways to cash in on the nation's obsession with healthy eating, an increasing number are copying marketing tactics that long have been used by the pharmaceuticals industry: They are pitching their products directly to doctors. The hope is that doctors will start recommending specific foods -- and even brand names -- to patients.

The follows on the heels of the story broken earlier in the week by The Onion:

At a press conference Monday, drug giant Pfizer formally introduced Hoagizine, a pharmaceutical-grade Turkey-Bacon-Guacamole Melt so delicious, it's only available by prescription.

It just gets harder and harder to do satire these days . . .

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:32 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
May 22, 2004
BLOG: End of The Week Non-Baseball Links

An accumulation:

*Gen. Anthony Zinni has a new book out this summer, entitled "Battle Ready," co-authored by Tom Clancy and chronicling Zinni's career. Sure sounds like a guy auditioning for VP to me.

*Michael King has some thoughts on a recent Bill Cosby speech that didn't go down so well with an assemblage of 'civil rights leaders'.

*Kevin Drum gets in a huff about the Texas state controller ruling that Unitarian-Universalists aren't a real religion. This is indeed pretty dumb, but only people on the Left could blame it on what evil cretins all Texans are. The problem here is one that's common throughout government: idiotic decisions driven by fear of litigation, in this case fear that the absence of a clear standard will render the controller vulnerable in future litigation with genuine crackpots. Horror stories are common of government officials - especially at the public school level - overreacting to stuff, especially where religious liberties are concerned, out of misunderstanding of the applicable law coupled with fear of litigation. The fault, dear Brutus, lies not in the Texans but in our courts.

*Daniel Drezner comes down hard on education school programs.

*Dana at Note-It Posts has some thoughts on abortion (via NGD).

*The MinuteMan comes down real hard on Brad Pitt's Troy.

*Pejman seeks to correct the common misperception that "being a law student is like being a Jew during the Inquisition." He has and links to some good advice; I'd heartily second the idea that law school is still less work than having a job (personally, I found that the stress of job-hunting was actually the main anxiety-builder in law school) and that it's just crucial to spend time with people who are not law students.

*Those swift boat vets just won't let up on Kerry.

*Venomous Kate is a good place to start for strange theories about Nicholas Berg (link via An Unsealed Room). I just want to know if this Zelig of the Terror War was related to Moe Berg, catcher and spy.

*Speaking of Berg, Michele tears into his father's fatuous editorial for the Guardian, the left-wing London rag. Read the whole thing. It's the Guardian that should really be ashamed for printing this drivel. I love this line, which is one of the best things I think I've ever read: "let me tell you, Mr. Berg - if George Bush had looked into your son's eyes, it wouldn't be while he was slicing his head off." A sample of the foolishness:

[S]tart honouring and respecting every human's need to live free and autonomously, to truly respect the sovereignty of every state. To stop making up rules by which others must live and then separate rules for ourselves.

Well, we can respect other humans, or we can respect sovereign states. We can't have both, not when other sovereign states are run with not the slightest regard for our fellow humans or for us.

Likewise, we can expect others to live up to the same rules we do - or we can accept that they don't. Again, we've gotta choose between the two. It's astounding how often the Left looks at homicidal dictatorships and assumes that this is how their subjects freely choose to live. If you start with the (rather indisputable) premise that the Saddams and the Zarqawis of the world wish to impose their will on a population that does not want to live that way, all the talk in the world about respecting how other people choose to live falls away to nonsense.

*Anything that gets William Donahue to blast the Vatican is pretty misguided. That's like Terry McAuliffe ripping Clinton.

*The NY Daily News' headline from Rudy Giuliani's testimony before the increasingly farcical September 11 commission: "We did all we could" (Underlining in the print headline on the front page). But that's not what he said; what Rudy said, which was much wiser and encompassed the failures of 9/11 and why we shouldn't rush to place blame for them, was "we did everything we could think of ... to protect the city." Ponder that one. We, as a nation, and our governments, federal, state and city, did not do everything we could. We did do, as Rudy said, everything we could think of. The problem was a collective failure of imagination.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:46 AM | Blog 2002-05 • | Law 2002-04 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
May 18, 2004
BLOG: When Cat-Kicking Alone Won't Do

Jonah Goldberg likes to conjure the mental image of Paul Krugman kicking his cat whenever there's good economic news. Via the now-defunct Amish Tech Support, we have the answer to the question: "what will Krugman's cat look like after six more months of economic good news?"

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:00 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
May 17, 2004
BLOG: Two Points

Wonkette complains about an event where "I have not had my rack checked out so brazenly and so often since I stopped going to Cozumel for Spring Break." Her post helpfully includes a photo that prominently shows off . . . well, the evidence in question.

Upside: at least she took a break from claiming that all conservatives are gay.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:06 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
BLOG: A Request To Readers

For 5 minutes of your time: click here to participate in a short online survey, run by Henry Copeland of Blogads, looking to determine the demographics of blog readership. Make sure to type "baseballcrank.com" in the answer to #22; if you do, Henry will be able to send me a report summarizing the results for readers of this blog.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:02 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
May 16, 2004
BLOG: Travelin' Man

I'm just back in town again after another 3-day weekend away - this time a wedding in DC - so bear with me if there's a bit of catching up to do the next few days.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:22 PM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
May 13, 2004
BLOG: Cockfighters!

The picture with this story is no less funny for the fact that it's so crudely photoshopped.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:12 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
May 10, 2004
BLOG: Canadian Adventure

So, I'm just getting organized here after a 3-day weekend away; we were in Canada (specifically, Brampton, a suburb of Toronto) from Friday to Sunday. This was, amazingly enough, only my second-ever foreign trip, the first being a honeymoon in Ireland. We were visiting for my great-uncle's 100th birthday party; he's my father's mother's brother and basically the last of the immigrant generation in my family (like all four of my grandparents, he came over in the 1920s). It was also a sort of family reunion, with a large contingent from Scotland joining the American and Canadian branches of the family.

We had a bit of anxiety on the trip up; the State Department travel advisory for Canada stated as follows:

In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian if not present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required, may facilitate entry/departure.

Unfortunately, on reading this, it didn't occur to me that the only form of ID that's acceptable at the border is a birth certificate (we had brought the kids' Social Security cards and even showed the cards showing that they are on our health insurance plan; not enough). Fortunately, we live close to the airport and could get them in time for a later flight.

It's hard, based on only a weekend, to put a finger on the aspects of Canada - other than obvious details like the money - that are "foreign" - I suspect a lot of the things I noticed as different from home had more to do with being in the Midwest than with being across the border. But even as an American, I was astounded at the wide open spaces and gigantic buildings - particularly since we were on the outskirts of Canada's largest city.

Anyway, regular blogging should resume tomorrow.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:05 AM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
May 5, 2004
BLOG: Four Years

Yes, it's been four years now that I've been doing this - four years ago today that my first "Baseball Crank" baseball column appeared on the internet. Wow. (Among other things, this means that I've been moonlighting as an internet sportswriter for more than half my career as a practicing lawyer). For those of you who are new to the site, a brief recap: I started out writing a weekly column for the Boston Sports Guy site, run by my former college classmate Bill Simmons, in May 2000. It was a great time to be writing for Bill's site - he was just starting to really reach a national audience - and I still think that the columns I did for the BSG site are some of the best writing I've done. (My one disappointment was the fact that I had a huge trial in October 2000 and wasn't able to write about the Subway Series as it was happening). Bill closed his site down a year later, moving up to a national platform at ESPN.com, where he remains to this day. I was fortunate to land a spot at the Providence Journal Online, thanks to Projo sports editor Art Martone, and I kept writing weekly columns there. (You can still access my full archive of columns from the BSG site and Projo here).

On September 11, 2001, of course, terrorists blew up my office in the World Trade Center; I wrote about the experience for Projo, which even published my column in the 'dead tree' paper that Sunday. After September 11, it became harder to just stick to baseball. After my mom died in August 2002, I was feeling pretty down and decided to do something new; on something of a whim, I set up a blogspot blog (also under the Baseball Crank name), and immediately got hooked, discovering that the flexibility of blogging worked much better with my work schedule and varied interests than a weekly column. Barely two weeks into blogging, I got linked by Andrew Sullivan (fifth item down, linking to this), and there was no going back. In March of 2003 I wrote my last column for Projo; in April 2003 I opened the Movable Type site here. It's been quite a ride thus far.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:30 AM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (3) | TrackBack (1)
May 1, 2004
BLOG: Crickets

I watched part of Chris Matthews' Hardball interview with Don Rumsfeld from Rumsfeld's office in the Pentagon the other night, and beyond Rumsfeld himself (who'd be any lawyer's dream witness, a guy who unpacks the assumptions in every question before answering it), one thing struck me: the strong background noise of crickets chirping, presumably outside Rumsfeld's window. It was definitely the TV - it stopped when we changed channels. (You can pull up part of the interview online here, but the crickets aren't in evidence). It seemed odd that Matthews' producers wouldn't shut the window or find a way to block out the sound, plus it was just a bit unsettling for what's supposed to be an indoor interview (kinda like the flies buzzing behind President Bush in his speech from the Crawford ranch on the stem cell issue in August 2001). Anyone else notice this?

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:03 PM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
BLOG: Higher and Higher Straight Up We'll Climb

Traffic stats for April: over 20,000 visits, up from the previous high of just above 15,000. Once again: thanks for stopping by, and hope you come back.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:35 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
BLOG: Secret Identity

Atrios revealed!

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:30 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
April 30, 2004
BLOG: All The Cool Kids Are Doing It

This one's from too many sources to mention, but seen most recently on Tim Blair's site:

1. Grab the nearest book. 2. Open the book to page 23. 3. Find the fifth sentence. 4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.

Well, the nearest book is a book of baseball stats, but the closest other thing at hand is, of course, The Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, the revised first edition in paperback (I'm so predictable, but that's how my desk in the basement is set up), the chapter on the 1880s. The sentence:

With the coming of professionalism - and professional umpires - this [respect for umpires] quickly went out the window.
Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:42 PM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
April 28, 2004
BLOG: 419 Is No Joke In Your Town

We've all gotten the infamous Nigerian "419" scam emails, and most of us just laugh at them (this one, I'll admit, is pretty amusing). But I got to see a different side of one today, when I got an email from a guy claiming to be a (fictional) son of a Nigerian politician who died last year. What particularly rankled is that this particular politician was the father of one of my close friends from law school (we lived in the same 6-room basement my first year). Some nitwit out there is trying to make money off this man's good name in the wake of his death. Which is, even aside from the fraud involved, a pretty rotten thing to do.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:55 PM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
BLOG: Lileks Says Give

Victory! Please donate here - last day of the drive.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:22 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
April 27, 2004
BLOG: Ask and Ye Shall Receive

Just a reminder (see above) - besides asking for donations for Spirit of America, the Victory Coalition is also auctioning off a variety of valuable prizes and services to raise money. See Wizbang and A Small Victory for details. Unlike me, they'll be updating throughout the day, so keep checking.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:30 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
BLOG: Something Completely Different

Sgt. Mom over at Stryker's place has a nice essay on the joys of homemade clothing.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:35 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
April 24, 2004
BLOG: Not Alone In Our Ignorance

Turns out that Americans aren't the only ones who are woefully ignorant about history. From a recent survey of more than 2,000 people in Britain:

*11% think Hitler was a fictional character; 9% think the same of Winston Churchill. Score one here for American use of our historical figures on money and commemorations of their birth for holidays; I doubt that 10% of Americans would think Washington or Lincoln was a fictional character. The rest of the results are also appalling, although the last group suggests that some of the respondents were either (i) high or (ii) pulling the survey takers' legs. Also, the 32% who believe the Cold War never happened may include a number of people who thought the same thing while it was still in progress.

The rest of the list:

Read More »

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:41 PM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

Like most bloggers, I get emails from time to time asking me to check out new blogs. Generally, like most bloggers, I'm more interested in someone sending me an interesting post they've written rather than a general "look at my blog" or "let's trade links." But I also remember when, not so long ago, this was a small blog in internet nowhere, so I hate to just blow people off.

My two cents, by the way, on getting linked? Here's a few tips:

1. Write regularly. Regular content is huge in getting noticed.
2. Write during the business day. Hard to do if you're employed, but let's face it - that's when a lot of blog reading happens, and if you're writing regularly, people will come back to see what's new.
3. Pitch the post, not the blog. See above - this is standard advice.
4. Know your audience - don't pitch everything to everyone. Every time I send an email about a post, I think hard about who might be interested in it.
5. Link the post. There's no better way to get a blogger's attention than to write about something they've written, preferably in a thoughtful way, whether you agree or not. It won't work with Glenn Reynolds or Andrew Sullivan or other really huge bloggers (den Beste is an exception to this), but for most of us, we check to see what's written about us.
6. Comments. Regular and thoughtful comments on a site will lead the blogger and other readers to click through and see how you write on your own.
7. Donate to Spirit of America and drop a line to me, Michele, and/or Kevin!

Anyway, presented without further introduction, here's a list of blogs who have dropped me a line the past few months, mostly baseball blogs and also some message boards, if you're looking for new content to read; some of these are no doubt good sites and some are not, but I haven't had time myself to tell the difference:

The Bug (Mudville Magazine Blog)
The Galvin Opinion (Holy Cross Grad!)
Mets Forever
Beer and Whiskey League American League Blog
News to Me
Detroit Sports Blog
Tops Seattle Mariner Forum
Oakland A's Fans Baseball Discussion Forum


Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:28 AM | Baseball 2004 • | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
April 22, 2004
BLOG: Massive Improvement

If you're like me, you regularly read Lileks' Bleats but don't often remember to check up on his other writings, such as at the Backfence (unfortunately, the Star-Tribune requires registration). If so, you're missing some great stuff. This one cracked me up:

Perhaps you've noticed that the Brawny towel guy has been retired, due to his anachronistic '70s style mustache. The facial hair no longer said "alluring fantasy object to the bored housewife"; it said, "creepy guy in rusty van playing Foghat too loud, wagging his tongue." There's a new giant spokesman grinning at Mrs. American Pulp Purchaser, and the Brawny roll now says:


I do believe this is the first time that any product has claimed to be MASSIVELY IMPROVED. It suggests improvements on such a scale that it's difficult to quantify. I can only imagine the meeting that led to this boast: "Gentleman, Project Brawny has resulted in breakthroughs in absorption technology the likes of which we could not possibly have anticipated. In light of these developments, I propose that we scrap plans to announce that Brawny has a 'great new look, same great soaker-upper strength' in favor of stronger language that reflects the nature of our discovery.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:03 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
April 18, 2004
BLOG: Blogrollin'

Made some more changes to the blogroll, including a few I should explain. First of all, I've given a prominent place to Gerry Dales' Electoral College projections site, which looks at the most recent state-by-state polls. I found this site through James Taranto's Best of the Web, which linked to Dales on Thursday; it's precisely what I've been looking for for the past few months in keeping tabs on the only polls that matter. I'm still stunned by the polls Dales cites showing Bush leading in Democrat-leaning New Jersey; then again, besides the September 11 effect in NY & NJ, there may be a backlash growing in the state against Democrat governor Jim McGreevey, or at least an end to the long backlash against the state's GOP governors (who rode to power on the backlash against Jim Florio . . . ).

Second, I've taken Wonkette off my blogroll; I still check the site daily and will still link to specific items; there's some good stuff there. But I can't really recommend it to readers. Wonkette's obsession with pushing her point of view on gay issues into just everything makes Andrew Sullivan's content seem varied by contrast. She's still great with one-liners, but the Atrios impersonation on that one issue is starting to wear thin.

Third, I've also taken down the link to the ever-controversial Little Green Footballs. There's been persistent controversy over whether LGF, which was (ironically) something of a center-left-leaning site until September 11, has crossed the line into an anti-Islamic/anti-Arab hate site. Joe Katzman has some good thoughts starting here (link via Meryl Yourish); a lot of the issue revolves around whether Charles Johnson can be held responsible for the bile that pours from some of his enormous stable of regular commenters.

Of course, nearly every site that features comments has more extreme stuff in the comments than the blogger; it's the nature of the medium. I was going to weigh in, but it would be unfair of me to rip Johnson and ignorant of me to defend him, since frankly I don't read the site that much myself. LGF is still a great news-aggregating (and sometimes news-gathering) resource, and I have no problem linking to specific posts; but I can't really be bothered at this point to be responsible for endorsing a site when I'm not that up to speed on its contents (which isn't to say I'm totally on top of every site on my blogroll, but I'm not aware of any of the others generating so much angst).

This brings me to a broader point. I've de-linked Kos because I couldn't in good conscience be associated with his deplorable endorsement of murdering American contractors in Iraq, and I've stopped regularly reading Atrios because he makes my blood boil (see here for an example). But I'd have no problem linking to either if I ran across some reason to do so on a particular point. My general philosophy with the likes of Kos and Atrios is that if they come up with something worthwhile, I'll hear about it from Kevin Drum, Josh Marshall and Paul Krugman soon enough.

There are only two sites I would really have a problem linking to. One is Hesiod, who's just out of his mind; the other is the Agonist, who got nailed for plaigarism. Anybody else, I may not want to blogroll them, but they're part of the conversation.

Read More »

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:56 AM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)
April 16, 2004
BLOG: An Unlikely Story

No, it's not the Onion. I swear I'm not making this up. The Reuters headline:

McDonald's Launches Anti-Obesity Campaign

and this, from the story:

McDonald's U.S. Marketing Director Alex Conti said the company was launching a new Web site to go along with its "Go Active" adult Happy Meals, which include a salad, bottled water and a pedometer to encourage walking.

The Web site, filled with pictures of celebrity athletes including basketball star Yao Ming, allows users to create fitness plans and track workouts.

Yao will presumably lecture us on the important obesity-avoiding benefits of being 7'2".

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:11 AM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
April 15, 2004
BLOG: Where Does He Get Those Wonderful Toys?

I really shouldn't be getting emails from the manufacturer about things like this. But buy a few toys for the kids, and the tempters return . . .

Posted by Baseball Crank at 5:14 AM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
BLOG: One-Year MT Blogoversary

Somehow, I let the 14th of April pass without noting that this marks one year since I moved this site over from Blogspot and went live with the new Movable Type blog (albeit at a domain I'd owned since 2000). Here's my daily average traffic in that period according to HostMatters:

Apr 2003115
May 2003192
Jun 2003243
Jul 2003321
Aug 2003283
Sep 2003329
Oct 2003403
Nov 2003394
Dec 2003410
Jan 2004544
Feb 2004726
Mar 2004735
Apr 2004755

Thanks to everyone who's dropped by, linked or otherwise supported the site, particularly early supporter David Pinto, the straw that stirs the baseball blogosphere.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 1:21 AM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
April 13, 2004
BLOG: New Search Engine!

The Onion has the scoop. Somehow, for us attorneys, the search keeps coming up "no results found."

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:30 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
April 3, 2004
BLOG: Anti-News

I have to say, there are just certain news stories - such as anything involving Michael Jackson, Paris Hilton or Courtney Love - that I don't just ignore in the papers . . . it's not just that I don't think they're news; it's that they form a sort of anti-news, positive evidence of the absence of news.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:35 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
BLOG: Showing The Flag

From the Volokh site, an amusing site in which some guy has set out to grade the relative ugliness and unoriginality of the world's flags (all of them!). I don't agree with all of his rankings - he's way too hard on Brazil, for example, and it's sometimes hard to see why some flags rank highly while very similar ones rank much lower - but the commentary is quite entertaining.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:30 AM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
April 2, 2004
BLOG: The Buck Has Not Stopped

Good to see Stuart Buck blogging again, however briefly. Sounds like his condition isn't as bad as "had two strokes" would sound, not that it makes it any less frightening. Get well soon, Stuart.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:12 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
April 1, 2004
BLOG: More Regrettable Food

Follow the links from yesterday's Bleat and you'll find a funny new entry in Lileks' Gallery of Regrettable Food (and I highly recommend the book as well).

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:01 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
BLOG: Radio Silence

No entries in almost two months over at The American Scene. I may take down the link soon. Too bad.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:54 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
BLOG: Your Moment of Yin

Tung Yin has moved; update your bookmarks and blogrolls accordingly. He also invites you to mock his fantasy baseball team, although I wonder about the sportsmanship of people in his league holding him to an accidental pick with his first choice, and besides the ill-considered first choice, his team looks pretty solid to me.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:10 AM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
March 29, 2004
BLOG: From the Blogfather

A big milestone today, as we've been added to Instapundit's blogroll, strategically wedged in between Grateful Dead songwriter John Perry Barlow and appellate law blogger Howard Bashman. For those of you visiting here for the first time, look around; we've been here a while, and there's plenty to read.

While I'm on the subject of benefactors, a word for a sponsor: you'll note that I'm currently running a Blogad for TimeWarner Cable's RoadRunner high-speed internet service. I've had RoadRunner since we upgraded to a new computer in the fall of 2000, and with one exception (last summer's blackout), I've had nothing but good to say about the service.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:26 PM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
BLOG: Prayers For Buck

Terrible, terrible news from Instapundit, who passes on word that Stuart Buck has suffered a pair of strokes and is hospitalized. Personally, that's really scary - Buck's three years younger than I am, was a few years behind me at Harvard Law, and he's also a big-firm lawyer with small children at home. He's also a religious guy and a fine blogger. Say a prayer for him and his family.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:30 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
March 28, 2004
BLOG: Dear Mr. Yard

Q: Mr. Yard - I'm a busy New York lawyer who prefers blogging to yard work on the weekends. Several months ago, I trimmed the hedges in front of my house, and put the clippings in overstuffed bags in two garbage cans. But it was getting dark and I had other stuff to do, so I left the cans (without lids) by the side of the house, where over the proceeding months they accumulated rainwater and melted ice and snow mixed with the branches and leaves. Now I'm ready to transfer the clippings into bags to put out with the trash. Any advice?

A: You are a moron. When you empty out the bags, they will smell like a herd of woolly mammoths took a dump in your driveway. You'll probably have to burn everything you were wearing, and hosing down the driveway won't make the stench go away. If you're fortunate, your neighbors will shun you. If not, your head will be mounted on a post as a warning to the other homeowners.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:31 PM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
March 27, 2004
BLOG: Why One Blog?

Rich Ceccarelli, who runs the Pearly Gates Angels blog and Neo Conservative Daily, a political blog, explains why he (like Mac Thomason and Jason Steffens) runs two blogs:

I know that many bloggers mix baseball and politics (most notably Baseball Crank), but I feel that it is wrong in some way to do so. Most people go to Pearly Gates for Angels news and opinion, and not to be preached at. I want to respect their right not to be bombarded with political opinions that they don't necessarily share. I know that it really annoys me when I'm looking at a Red Sox blog and I see nothing but left-wing rhetoric and petty name-calling.

I'm very sympathetic to this argument, which is why I've tried to make it as easy as possible for readers of this site to bypass the non-baseball content. Frankly, I run one blog rather than two partly for my own convenience and partly because - well, sometimes I feel like writing about one topic and sometimes another. Combining my various interests on a single blog ensures that there will be more regular content here.

If you can't stand my politics, you're certainly still welcome here - you can read the political stuff and bicker with it, or you can ignore it and skip to the baseball. Either way, I hope you enjoy your stay and come again. Play ball!

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:21 AM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
March 26, 2004
BLOG: Quizzed Again

It looks like I'm not the only one to do a John Kerry song. So I go over to Michele's place to remember where I got the link, and instead she sucks me in to another one of those dastardly online quizzes:

Read More »

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:33 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
March 19, 2004
BLOG: Guinness News

Yes, the bubbles do float down. Powerline has the details.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:29 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
March 18, 2004
BLOG: Nobody Expects The Spanish Inquisition!

Bonus link: I answer Ricky West's Ten Questions over at North Georgia Dogma.

UPDATE (2005): Here's the link today. And here's the full text of the Q&A:

Read More »

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:42 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
February 29, 2004
BLOG: Bissextile Pride Day

Happy birthday to Eugene Volokh and his fellow bissextiles.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:53 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
February 26, 2004
BLOG: This Is Breaking News?

So, the other day I registered with Washingtonpost.com, so I could continue to read their articles online, and in the process I checked the box to receive breaking news alerts. I figured, yeah, I get a lot of email, but signing up for alerts on the real 'hot news' stories can't hurt. So yesterday, I get my first one:

Spelman to Step Down
National Zoo director Lucy H. Spelman is planning to quit at the end of the year after a study found failings in animal care, a spokeswoman said today.

Now, I'm not saying that this isn't a story worth reporting in the newspaper . . . but breaking news? This couldn't wait until the morning paper?

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:08 AM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
February 25, 2004

I wrote this one up two three years ago, when my friends and I were turning 30. Obviously, not all of these apply to me ;) and #7 is rather dated now. But I thought I'd share:


1. You refer to college students as "kids."
2. You remember all the things that happened "twenty years ago this day."
3. You're the boss.
4. Athletes your age have started retiring.
5. They don't write 'em like that anymore.
6. You realize your children won't remember the 20th century.
7. You watched the Super Bowl halftime show and realized you were listening to Aerosmith when Britney Spears was in diapers.
8. Your mortgage is bigger than your student loans.
9. The first girl you kissed had a crush on Doug Flutie at the time.
10. You stop and listen when the TV news runs a story on Viagara.
11. You now have more hair on your arms than on your head.
12. You think they should do something about fake IDs.
13. "Relaxed fit" pants.
14. You remember when we wanted to party like it's 1999.
15. You still get excited at hearing "Do you believe in miracles?"
16. There used to be lots of things you didn't do because you had no money; now there are lots of things you don't do because you have no time.
17. You pay someone to mow your lawn.
18. You look at the stock tables before the box scores.
19. You spend a lot of time on the Internet reading things written by people younger than you are.
20. You can't believe Pete Rose is turning sixty.
21. You have fond memories . . . of reunions.
22. You don't go to that bar anymore, you can't even hear yourself think.
23. You just don't get Eminem.
24. You remember when people said "space age" the way they now say "internet age."
25. You've seen all four "Star Wars" films in the theater - the first time around.
26. In most photos of your childhood, you are wearing plaid pants.
27. Your first new car died.
28. Your year starts in January, not September.
29. You actually bothered to vote this time.
30. You know . . . whatsisname . . .

UPDATE: Yeah, when I wrote this I forgot how many years ago it was. Bad sign.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:44 PM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
February 19, 2004
BLOG: Alabama Song

John Derbyshire has a typically politically incorrect poem that I couldn't help but laugh at:

Laurie Lee done fell in love; She planned to marry Joe. She was so happy 'bout it all She told her Pappy so.

Pappy told her, "Laurie gal,
You'll have to find another.
I'd just as soon yer Ma don't know,
But Joe is yer half brother"

So Laurie put aside her Joe
And planned to marry Will.
But after telling Pappy this,
He said, "There's trouble still...

You cannot marry Will, my gal.,
And please don't tell yer Mother,
But Will and Joe and several mo'
I know is yer half brother"

But Mama knew and said, "My child,
Just do what makes you happy.
Marry Will or marry Joe.
You ain't no kin to Pappy.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:30 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
February 18, 2004
BLOG: Rummy Attacks!

From Tim Blair, the Fighting Styles of Don Rumsfeld. Hilarious.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:37 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
February 10, 2004
BLOG: Cracking Down

Another campus controversy at my alma mater; the Boston Herald reports that Holy Cross has imposed a 5-year ban on the school's rugby team, due to hazing rituals involving heavy drinking. I can remember my freshman year, when one of my roommates was on the rugby team and would be awakened at 4 or 5 am to go drink.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:09 AM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
February 6, 2004
BLOG: Hail To The Chief

President Bush, at yesterday's National Prayer Breakfast, specifically cited the good work of Chief Wiggles in establishing Operation Give:

A guardsman from Utah named Paul Holton has described seeing an Iraqi girl crying and decided then and there to help that child and others like her. By enlisting aid through the Internet, Chief Warrant Officer Holton had arranged the shipment of more than 1,600 aid packages from overseas. Here's how this man defines his own mission: "It is part of our heritage that the benefits of being free, enjoyed by all Americans, were set up by God, intended for all people. Bondage is not of God, and it is not right that any man should be in bondage at any time, in any way."

Think about this, from the perspective of the blogosphere's development and maturation: the President of the United States has cited something that started on a blog. We've had news events before where blogs were influential, like the fall of Trent Lott and the rise of Howard Dean. But the Lott story is typical of such events: it was an ordinary political event covered by traditional media. All the blogs did was fan the flames. Here, though, it was a comment on the Chief's blog that catalyzed the actions of other bloggers and got the ball rolling, and much of the organizational work of Operation Give was done over the internet. A lot of children have been helped, and a little corner of history has been made.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:50 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
January 25, 2004
BLOG: Closing In On 100,000

As you can see, the Digits.com counter on the left should pass 100,000 hits some time on Monday. Email me if you hit the site and see the counter go to 100,000 on the nose. (I installed the counter very early in my days on Blogger, so it should be an accurate count).

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:03 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
January 24, 2004

Congratulations are in order for David Pinto, who's moving on to a job with Baseball Info Solutions, the publishers of the new Bill James Handbook. David's been a great friend to this site, and I wish him well; he'll apparently be moving his blog to their site.

I have to wonder if the Sporting News, which bought out STATS, Inc. and shut down its annual baseball handbook (which competed with TSN's inferior publication), made a huge mistake common to arrogant baseball men by failing to consider that the key STATS employees, starting with John Dewan, might go and re-start essentially the same book with a new company. Had they thought about that, they could have (1) incorporated more of STATS' elements in the TSN annual or (2) included contract provisions in the sale requiring that key employees not compete with TSN for a number of years. Looks like they whiffed on that one.

On another note, David has this amusing nugget from Peter Gammons:

Gammons and [John] Kerry played hockey against each other in prep school, and Peter told me once that Kerry was the dirtiest hockey player he ever saw.
Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:30 AM | Baseball 2004 • | Blog 2002-05 • | Law 2002-04 • | Politics 2004 | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
January 23, 2004
BLOG/BASEBALL: Programming Note

Expect the baseball content around here to be more sporadic from now until at least mid-February, for at least three reasons:

1. There's usually not a lot of hard news coming out between late January and mid-February.

2. I'll be focusing a lot of my attention on the Democratic primaries, which are shaping up to be quite a race, at least for the next few weeks and possibly until March 2 or later.

And most importantly:

3. I'm hard at work on some bigger, more labor-intensive stuff, which I'll be rolling out intermittently over the next few weeks if I have the time; mainly, now that I have the Bill James Handbook to work from, I'll be trying to expand my look at Established Win Shares Levels to a team-by-team rundown of each division. Of course, it wouldn't be the first time if this blog started a series and couldn't finish it, but I'll get through what I can. But the EWSL stuff will eat up most of my baseball-blogging time.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:47 AM | Baseball 2004 • | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
January 17, 2004
BLOG: Vaporize Them!

Boing Boing notes the double meaning of a "baby vaporizer."

(Link via Denise Howell).

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:23 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
January 16, 2004
BLOG: All Quiet

I had a big, and I mean big brief due yesterday (70+ pages and a whole bunch of exhibits, and any lawyers out there know how much work goes into something like that), so apologies if there's been no time to blog the last two days. Hopefully, I'll be back on the horse soon, although next week has its own issues (jury duty!).

Cheap shot of the day: it's Ted Kennedy's new car!

Read More »

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:34 AM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
January 13, 2004
BLOG: The Power of Clutch Hits

Wow. This site had over 1,200 hits yesterday, a record by a fairly large margin, and due very heavily to a link from Baseball Primer's Clutch Hits late Sunday. From the flow of traffic around the site (such as a lot of hits to the "Greatest Hits" columns), it looks like a lot of those were first-time visitors looking around the place.

If you are one of those, glad to have you as a reader; hope you come back.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:21 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
January 12, 2004
BLOG: No 'Lanche

I shouldn't complain, since I had my biggest traffic day ever yesterday on a Sunday, but in response to the Paul O'Neill controversy, I emailed Instapundit my link to the Bush-Gore debate on Iraq, and he excerpted it with my boldface included but linked only to the original source. (It would have been ironic to get a link from Instaman, since this entry was from a year and a half ago and also generated my one and only link from Andrew Sullivan).

Of course, Glenn now complains that he's got a 3,500 message backlog on email, so I can't be too hard on him for linking without thanking. But a little link love would have been nice.

UPDATE: I get no credit when he re-uses the boldfaced quote over at GlennReynolds.com. I don't mean to pick on Instapundit, who's usually pretty good about sharing his traffic with less-trafficked bloggers. I'm just being petty. . . I guess if I had more free time I could try doctoring pictures of him putting puppies in a blender, but I'm not that desperate for traffic.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:19 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
January 10, 2004
BLOG: "They'd be microscopic Zionists"

Instapundit links to this predictable but nonetheless hilarious Lileks parody of an Islamist's reaction to the Mars landing. Key excerpt:

Which would make you more proud? Coming up with cunning ways to blow up men, women and children on airplanes, or putting rockets on other planets?

(Thoughtful silence) "This planet, it is an infidel planet?"

Depends if there is life there, I guess. That's what the probe is meant to find out.

"So the probe could discover Zionest infidels on another planet."

They'd be microscopic Zionists.

"But infidels nevertheless!"

Most probably.

"So! This robot you send -- when it finds these deviously small Zionists, it blows itself up! Correct?"

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:38 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
BLOG: Noooo! It Can't Be!

Well, you know I'm a sucker for those internet quizzes. I even took the one that sentenced me to eternal damnation. But this just goes too far:

Read More »

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:32 AM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)
December 31, 2003
BLOG: Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to you and yours - drive safely out there. I appreciate every one of this blog's readers, and hope to see you back in 2004 (with more baseball goodies on the way, I promise!)

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:38 PM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
BLOG: Plastic Corks

A timely thought: MSNBC has a look at those annoying rubberized wine corks. (I find them annoying because it takes me a while to get through a bottle of wine and the corks often won't go back in the bottle).

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:33 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
BLOG: Dave Barry's 2003

As usual, you owe it to yourself to read Dave Barry's year in review.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 8:43 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
December 30, 2003
BLOG: %!^$!^& Comment Spammers

Got hit with a battery of them last night. Add to your banned IP list, if you're keeping score at home.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:42 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
December 27, 2003
BLOG: New Categories

Those of you who prefer to skip to the baseball content, or who want to check the category archives, may have noticed that three of the categories here (Baseball, Politics and War, my three main areas of interest) load very slowly due to the huge number of entries since the blog started in August 2002 (as well as a few oddball archived emails from before that date). To remedy the problem for the new year, I've renamed the old categories ("Baseball 2002-03," etc.) and created a new set of categories ("Baseball 2004," etc.) to hold this year's entries. I've also changed the link at the top of the page so it goes to the Baseball 2004 category, and I'm notifying the few sites that link to my baseball category page rather than the main page to fix their URLs.

If you're looking for baseball entries from 2003 and earlier, click here for the Baseball 2002-03 category.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 1:52 PM | Baseball 2004 • | Blog 2002-05 • | Politics 2004 • | War 2004 | TrackBack (0)
December 26, 2003
BLOG: Horrors!

Bathroom fixture company American Standard is holding an "America's Ugliest Bathroom" contest. Check out the seven finalists between now and the end of January for a true parade of horrible decor (A brown mosaic-tiled bathtub! A lime green tub laid in pink plush carpeting!) as well as an object lesson on why the Fifties, the Sixties, and the Seventies should never return.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 2:42 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
December 20, 2003
BLOG: Speaking Seuss

We've had my son (age 6) reading to us every night to develop his reading skills, and he often picks Dr. Seuss books. These are good enough for his reading level, but what strikes me in particular is that Dr. Seuss' books are especially good training for public speaking, because their natural rythms and obvious stresses give the reader clear cues to modulate his or her voice. I've been wondering if Dr. Seuss' books might be good training, even for teaching older kids to speak in public, kids as old as 11-15 or so. I've dealt a bit with kids that age in mock trial programs, as well as remembering what they can be like from my own high school days, and you can see that, when called on to speal in public, most of them -- even the smart ones -- give off a dull, mumbling monotone. I would think that a good way to break that habit would be to give them something simple to read that forces them to be more expressive, and perhaps the more advanced Dr. Seuss books - the Horton books, Thidwick, Solla Sollew, etc. -- are just the trick.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:34 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
December 19, 2003
BLOG: Block Head

As you can see, I've discovered a new code for block quotes, and I'm going back and forth between the quote-in-a-box look and just doing italics. I'd still prefer to find a way to indent quotes without the box surrounding them, plus the box appears to interfere with the line breaks inside the block. Useful suggestions are appreciated.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 5:46 PM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
BLOG: Holiday!

As you can tell from the fact that I've been blogging during the business day, I'm home today, and will be off from work with a much-needed vacation until the new year. There will still be some days when I'm too busy to blog with holiday commitments, but I'll try to keep things going around here, plus I've got a few major baseball projects (the first of which was the Alexander vs. Gibson column) in the pipeline that I'll be getting ready behind the scenes.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 4:35 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
December 16, 2003
BLOG/WAR: Manning The Post

I've signed on as a contributor to The Command Post; you can see my first entry here. Given my already busy schedule, I don't expect to be a regular contributor, least of all during times like this when the more regular contributors are posting breaking news at a frantic pace, but it made sense to get posting privileges over there for those times when I do see something noteworthy that hasn't been posted, especially during the slower periods in what still promises to be a very long war against terrorism and the tyrannies that support it. It's not a big part, but I'll do my bit.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:08 AM | Blog 2002-05 • | War 2002-03 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
December 15, 2003
BLOG: State of the Blog

Well, I'm starting to come out of my work-related crisis, and hopefully will be back to having a bit of time each day to blog again some time very soon. As you can see below, I did my share of warblogging this weekend. But there's been baseball news galore as well, and I'll be turning my attention to the battery of recent moves soon, as well as some larger baseball-related projects still in the pipeline.

As always, thanks for dropping by.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:05 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
December 5, 2003
BLOG: Snowed Under

Apologies for the minimal baseball blogging around here -- I'm still up to my eyeballs in work. Hopefully, I'll get to my rundown on the various moves around the majors some time in the next week or so. For now, I'm just thankful that the Yankees have taken the Braves' best hitter and the Expos' best pitcher out of the NL East.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 3:52 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
BLOG: Neither Snow, Nor . . .

Congratulations to lawblogger Denise Howell, who gave birth to a baby boy over Thanksgiving; fellow bloggers, next time you are considering slacking off, recall that Denise was still blogging after she went into labor.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:03 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
December 3, 2003
BLOG: Wednesday Night Links

Al Bethke (start here and keep on scrollin') is all over the Richie Sexson trade. Mark Steyn has the must-read list of regimes that must go, but forgets to include Arafatistan. WaPo columnist Courtland Milloy has an uncharacteristically sage column about PCP and the Cincinnati incident. Reason has a bizarrely eclectic but thought-provoking list of its "35 Heroes of Freedom." (Hat tip to Robert Tagorda). Doctor Weevil explains why "if babies are being born with [Jimmy] Carter's initials preprinted on their cheeks, he must be the AntiChrist. " And Gregg Easterbrook gets it precisely right in explaining why The Reagans deserved to be canceled:

[A]ll docudramas should be cancelled. News programs are good and pure fiction is fine; docudramas are the enemy of thought, history, fact, and public understanding. When a viewer sees something in a docudrama, he or she has no way of knowing, not the slightest clue, whether what's being presented is real or fabricated. . . . The networks, whose news divisions are profit centers, of all actors ought to resist anything that inclines viewers not to believe what they see on the tube.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:36 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
November 24, 2003
BLOG: Status

Still swamped at work, and in any event it's been a slow news time for baseball. On the legal front, I got to read the Ninth Circuit's gun case this weekend -- I should have my analysis up by tomorrow -- but I haven't had the chance to read through the Massachusetts Supreme Court's gay marriage opinion yet (more on that another day).

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:00 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
November 19, 2003
BLOG: You Know What They Say . . .

Location, location, location. This story reminded me of the old Saturday Night Live sketch: "In New York City, a man is mugged every 11 seconds. This is that man . . . "

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:51 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
November 3, 2003
BLOG: Cub Reporter

I'll add my voice to those suggesting you should head on over to the Cub Reporter and hit the PayPal button to lend a hand to a baseball blogger who lost his house in the California wildfires.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:53 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
October 31, 2003
BLOG: A Good October

Here's one benefit of the gripping baseball postseason:

Read More »

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:33 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
October 29, 2003
BLOG: More Good News

Now I'm really gonna live forever.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:09 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
October 21, 2003
BLOG: Thataway

While David Pinto is live-blogging tonight's game, I'm just getting ready to head home from the office after a conference call. So check out Baseball Musings and I'll have more later.

(If Baseball Musings goes down again, you can catch up at his backup site, but hopefully the latest round of attacks on HostingMatters blogs has subsided).

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:45 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
October 14, 2003
BLOG: Link Roundup

Sergeant Stryker and Winds of Change point us to the beyond-bizarre Yankees-Red Sox rantings over at Allah in the House. (Yes, it's satire). Volokh points to a hilarious collection of law firm versions of literary works; the rewritten Book of Job had me in stitches. From Drudge: the man who taught his dog the Hitler salute; yes, the animal control woman who took the dog in is actually named "Ruff." Maureen Dowd recalls a dinner date with Rush Limbaugh (!) ten years ago. James Joyner has a priceless caption contest. And monkeys control prosthetic limbs with brain waves!

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:29 PM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)
October 13, 2003
BLOG: Filth

If you blog, you may have run across this problem addressed over at Winds of Change.net: porn spam in your comments. I banned some IP addresses from this site today for the first time.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:14 AM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
October 10, 2003
BLOG: Lileks Was Here

Imagine my surprise reading that Lileks was not only here in New York; he had lunch in a restaurant in my office building while he was here.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:54 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
October 5, 2003
BLOG: Bloggers at HLS

I can't believe they're having a conference on blogging at my alma mater and I never heard about it until Friday. Too bad. Glenn Reynolds is blogging from there, as are many others, and David Pinto got me all nostalgic for Harvard Square with this picture.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:03 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
October 4, 2003
BLOG: For The European Traveler

This "European Travel Guide" from The Lemon from a few weeks back is just sidesplittingly funny. Don't miss the guide to common French phrases at the bottom.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:00 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
October 3, 2003
BLOG: Crackpots Like Us

Checking out my Technorati inbound links and discovered that I'd been linked by a site called The Crackpot Chronicles. The odd things: the site just started today, I'm one of just two links on the blogroll, and the site's operator is a woman named Ellen Sander -- and since my inbound links and (I suspect) my readership tilts heavily male, that's always noteworthy.

Anyway, always good to see a reader start a new blog. Happy hunting!

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:59 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
BLOG: Happy Thoughts

Mike at Miniluv wants us all to blog good things. These days, good news is in short supply, but hey! the Cubs won and the Giants lost, and I'll take that. Oh, and Andrew Sullivan reports that the case for war on grounds that Saddam Hussein was continuing and concealing a program to develop biological and chemical weapons in violation of innumerable UN resolutions has been completely vindicated. But more on that later.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:54 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
BLOG: Be Back

Got interrupted here just as I was getting rolling for the morning -- more baseball stuff when I have time to blog next.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:49 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
October 2, 2003
BLOG: Hating Yale

So it turns out that the reason people hate Bush and Clinton so much is that they both went to Yale.

Hey, maybe that explains why people hate Hillary, Clarence Thomas, Pat Robertson and Howard Dean, too!

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:43 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
October 1, 2003
BLOG: Potato

Mr. Potato Head has been kidnapped! (Link from Dave Barry's Blog). But the article says Mr. Potato Head is 6'0 and 150 pounds -- that's not a potato, that's a french fry.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:29 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
BLOG: Traffic Report

As you can see, the digit counter says I passed 50,000 hits on Monday. I've been having some record traffic days lately, particularly the day David Pinto got linked to by Instapundit, which cascaded a bunch of people over here. Pinto, of course, has been my main source of steady traffic since the beginning here; besides my blogiversaries, I should be celebrating September 14 as the 1-year anniversary of getting a link from Baseball Musings.

From looking at the SiteMeter and HostMatters reports, it seems that my traffic is very much driven by three things:

1. Links to my posts. On days when someone links to a post, I get a disproportionate amount of traffic. This, of course, reminds me that traffic here is driven by people coming to read specific stuff, which keeps me honest.

2. Secondary traffic, like when someone who links to me gets a big link, usually an Instalanche.

3. Search engines. For example, my post on the new strike zone in 2002 gets a lot of incoming traffic because it appears prominently when you Google "boston sports guy". My post on sabermetrics and warbloggers is top of the list if you Google bill james sabermetrics. Some of that seems like random traffic, but if you came here looking for something and stuck with the site, all the better.

Of course, you'll notice that #1 and #3 are both much bigger sources of traffic ever since I moved to Movable Type, with its superior (and Googlable) archives and easier-to-permalink posts.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:18 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
September 20, 2003
BLOG: The Inscrutable Cartoon

By the way, Mark Steyn answered a question I posed in this week's Mark's Mailbox:

Q: OK, I'm sure you've had this question before, but why is the online edition of your Spectator column invariably interrupted by a cartoon that has absolutely nothing to do with the column? Is this some abstruse form of British humor (excuse me, humour) that I don't get? Or is it just an attempt to replicate online the layout of the magazine, regardless of the sometimes jarring contrast between the cartoons and the subject matter?

PS. Of course - keep giving 'em hell.

MARK REPLIES: It doesnt always have nothing to do with the column. Sometimes its a subtle attempt by the editors to undermine it.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:28 AM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
September 19, 2003
BLOG: Speaking of Marketing

This is pretty outrageous.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:47 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
BLOG: Telemarketing

Michele Catalano proves that it is, in fact, possible to be both clever and rude enough to get a telemarketer to hang up on you, and without erupting in a stream of obscenity or vitriol.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:45 AM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
September 17, 2003
BLOG/POLITICS: Starting Back Up

OK, I've been off the blogging routine a bit lately. Yesterday I finished a gigantic time suck, as we wrapped up refinancing our mortgage, so that's out of the way.

Of course, it's also been a depressing time to write. The Mets have long since been down the crapper, their one exciting young player is done for the season, and the Hated Yankees are leaving the Red Sox in the dust again. And, of course, the Bush Administration went through its usual pre-Labor Day snooze (a trend dating back to the 2000 campaign); while I don't think things are going that badly overall, it's hard to deny that conservatism and the Bush Administration have been playing nothing but defense all summer, with no major initiatives out there -- on the domestic or foreign policy fronts that promise to do anything but consolidate recent gains.

But the fray needs to be rejoined, so I hope to be starting to get back on schedule soon.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:20 AM | Blog 2002-05 • | Politics 2002-03 | TrackBack (0)
August 28, 2003
BLOG: Oops

Overslept my blogging hour this morning . . . I'll give you a link - Vodkapundit with a laughable example of U.N. impotence - and a thought - the injury that prevents Mike Sweeney from playing first base (leaving him blocking the DH slot) has a ripple effect in that the acquisition of Rondell White sends hot-hitting Aaron Guiel to the bench instead of the relatively punchless Ken Harvey.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:19 AM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
August 27, 2003
BLOG: Status

Sorry it's been a little quiet around here -- crises at work and some distracting errand-running at home have cut into my blogging time. There has been major progress at the site, though, on two fronts: I've finished loading my old columns from Projo and the BSG site to the "Baseball Columns" category, and I've finally finished classifying all the old (from the Blogspot site) entries into categories and giving them titles.

A more regular posting schedule should return by some time next week. But stay tuned, I won't be completely quiet in the interim.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:41 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
August 25, 2003
BLOG: There Is No Try

Well, this was inevitable, given my self-image as a "venerated sage with vast power and knowledge":

Read More »

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:33 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
August 24, 2003
BLOG: Much From Musil

One of the bloggers I read far too infrequently is Robert Musil. But I've just added him to my blogroll, and if you haven't been to his site lately, you should check out entries like these:

+Noting an issue that I've been concerned about myself, Musil looks in more depth at the weakness of the California economy compared to the nation. Musil's been one of the best sources for punditry on the recall.

+A hilarious "Guide to the Lesser Husseins"

+Thoughts on a Mississippi ruling equating a fetus with a person under state law.

+A fascinating observation on the new ABA rules for lawyers' ability to blow the whistle on clients engaged in potential financial fraud: while the new SEC rules under Sarbanes-Oxley create a duty to disclose client confidences in certain circumstances when the client is a public company, the new model professional rules simply give the lawyer discretion to do so. Musil notes that this gives lawyers the effective ability to at least implicitly blackmail their clients.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:05 PM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
August 22, 2003
BLOG: A Blogoversary

Today is the one year anniversary of my blog! Here's the inaugural post. In my second post, I noted a long overdue hot streak for Adrian Beltre, which come to think of it he's having again right now. Traffic remained stalled at about 3 regular readers for the first three weeks until I got linked by Andrew Sullivan, and now seems to hover around 220 visitors a day during the week.

(So, I've got a few of these -- my first baseball column appeared on the internet on May 5, 2000, and the Movable Type site was launched on April 14, 2003.)

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:30 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
August 15, 2003
BLOG/WAR: That Old Feeling

Major flashback to September 11 yesterday, as the lights went out and this time I was inside the building, and had to descend 24 floors to ground level (while wondering if another shoe was about to drop) and then repeat my September 11 experience of toting my briefcase through Midtown and Central Park before locating what may have been the last empty cab in the city. I wasn't taking any chances; the guy balked at leaving Manhattan, so I told him I'd give him $100 (for once, I had some cash on me) to get me to Queens. 2 1/2 hours later, I was home, grilling some burgers before they went bad.

We got power back this morning, but only just got the internet and TV back about 15 minutes ago (#^*!!@ Time Warner). Spent today at home doing some work; as with after September 11, I was calling in to a 1-800 hotline my firm set up to get status updates on when we'd be able to return to work. I would have preferred not to repeat the feeling.

If you want some good blogging on the blackout and its ramifications, check out Jane Galt and Mindles Dreck.

I'm here and then I'm gone, off on vacation. Blogging will resume some time Wednesday or Thursday.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 8:52 PM | Blog 2002-05 • | War 2002-03 | TrackBack (0)
August 12, 2003
BLOG: Stupid Forgers

Here's a story about a government employee in Massachusetts who stumbled across a forgery on a petition -- of her own name.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:42 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
BLOG: Reduced Blogging

Sorry if things are a bit quieter around here -- I've got some errands to take care of this week (car registration, refinancing the mortgage), and some other stuff to deal with, including a very annoying infection on one of my fingers.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:31 AM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
August 11, 2003
BLOG: Dam It

I know I got this as an email a few years ago and maybe you did too -- from Snopes.com, a classic exchange of letters about an unauthorized dam, and the story behind it.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:57 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
July 31, 2003
BLOG: Blogrolling

Added a new link to the blogroll: Dan Lewis' Sports Blog, which covers other sports as well as baseball. And Alex Belth's Bronx Banter has moved and can now be found here; another refugee escapes Blogger.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:09 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
BLOG: Three Years Old

This report of how a 3-year-old boy in Germany stole the keys to his father's car and started driving it is wild enough, but then when a film crew came to do a story on the incident, he started driving again.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:57 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
July 28, 2003
BLOG: Oops

Overslept my alarm clock this morning and missed my time to blog. Oh well, I feel better this morning than Chris Hammond does.

Breaking news I just saw as I turned on my PC: Bob Hope has died. Mark Steyn, of course, had the definitive tribute to Hope back in May.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:41 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
July 26, 2003
BLOG: Look at the Bones, Man!

It's a dog-eating catfish! Unfortunately, as with the Brothers Hussein, some people just can't be convinced that the catfish is dead.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:10 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
July 25, 2003
BLOG: Off Morning

No time to blog this morning -- late night last night at the Springsteen concert (more on that later), and I'm back to work this morning.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:43 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
July 22, 2003
BLOG: Quote of the Day

Mac Thomason, on the fire at the Eiffel Tower: "Only the French could manage to set a steel tower on fire."

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:44 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
July 14, 2003
BLOG: A Rough Business

Russia's only caviar-sniffing cat gets rubbed out by the mob. (Link via Musil).

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:40 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
July 13, 2003
BLOG: Department of Screwing?

Chaz over at Dustbury, in a hilarious skewering of the Totally Insane Mark Morford, asks the question: "do we really need national sexual role models?"

For the record, waiting until you are married is not an impediment to, shall we say, well, a healthy and satisfying marital relationship, is all I'm saying. I mean, seriously: what the hell is wrong with grown men and women who can't figure out how to have sex and enjoy it? It's not rocket science, you know.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:27 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
July 11, 2003
BLOG: Bear vs. Sub

A funny picture from Lionel Mandrake at Sgt. Stryker.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:23 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
June 28, 2003
BLOG: I'm Back

Got back late Thursday night from a family vacation at Disney World, and I've been digging out ever since. There's much to blog about, from the Mets-Yankees series to the Supreme Court's busy week, although I see that The Mad Hibernian has been manning the battlements here all week. Unfortunately, because I was traveling and for reasons I'll explain later, I didn't get to see much baseball this week.

If I was really ambitious, I could make an Al Haig declaration ("I'm in charge here!") while Glenn Reynolds is on vacation. As usual, though, I'll just be scrambling for enough time to catch up.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:10 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
June 21, 2003
BLOG: Out of Blog Experience

I'll be away from the blog for a few days; blogging will resume next Friday or next weekend (other than my co-bloggers, that is). See ya then.

I did have one milestone this week: I finally got the last of my blog archives moved over from Blogger (the September and August stuff).

Posted by Baseball Crank at 8:43 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
June 17, 2003
BLOG: Lowering The Curtain

Samizdata goes ballistic, and rightly so, over a trial balloon floated by an EU entity suggesting that blogs in Europe could be subject to content regulation including "equal time" mandates.

Thank God I'm an American.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:04 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
BLOG: Back in the Vodka

Stephen "Vodkapundit" Green is back after a long layoff. I can well understand the need to take a break from blogging. But I have to say, as somebody who blogs around the edges of a 60-70-hour-a-week job, I had some trouble understanding why Green couldn't drop by once a week or so and write 2-3 lines to let us know he was still there (from reading his bio, it's not even clear that Green needs to work for a living).

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:17 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
June 13, 2003
BLOG: It's a Small Blogosphere After All

So on Tuesday I read an item by David Pinto pointing out a St. Louis Cardinals blog by "the Gunn brothers," and I go over to Redbird Nation to take a look, and sure enough, there's a Brian and Mark Gunn, at least one of whom noted that he'd been to college in New England . . . to make a long story short, it turns out that these are two guys I knew in college at Holy Cross, and I'd been completely unaware that they were out there running a baseball blog, and an excellent one at that. Go check it out.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:03 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
June 10, 2003
BLOG: In The Cup

Sergeant Stryker reminds me of another reason why I never joined the Army.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:08 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
June 7, 2003
BLOG: Ricky's Got Some 'Splainin'

Now that I've resolved the technical difficulties that kept my entries from posting the past 2 days (the numerical IP address for this site has changed, so from now on you should make sure to come here through www.baseballcrank.com), it's time to wish a Happy Blogiversary to Ricky West at North Georgia Dogma.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:37 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
BLOG: The Big Four?

Much commentary lately on Hugh Hewitt's designation of Instapundit, Andrew Sullivan, Mickey Kaus, and The Volokh Conspiracy as the "Big Four" blogs that drive news cycles. I have to disagree with his selection on one point; I don't tend to think of the Volokh site as one of the real news-cycle-driving sites like Sullivan, Instapundit, Kaus and Josh Marshall (Hewitt cites Marshall, but as the lone liberal in the group and a Big Media guy in his own right, via his connection with The Washington Monthly, Marshall has proven his ability to set news agendas). Maybe it's just me, but the Volokh site is more reflective, less apt to pile onto hot stories just to spread news on them, and more lawyerly; I go there for analysis, not news.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 4:28 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
BLOG: How Novel Is Google?

I've had nearly no time to post this week -- I returned from my reunion to a crisis at work that has expanded to fill all available time and then some. But I did see one item that I wanted to comment on: Glenn Reynolds' latest Tech Central Station column. What bugged me is Reynolds' sense that Google was really some sort of radical innovation in its ability to search and retrieve information across the Web.

The reason I found this odd is that I'd encountered the kind of searchability found in Google before I'd ever heard of the Internet -- on Westlaw and LEXIS/NEXIS, the online legal search engines, which for many years have offered the ability to log on and search not only legal resources but news sources as well. They're expensive as sin, but the services give free access to law students (to get us hooked), so while I first saw the internet in 1996, I'd already spent 3 years surfing the newsgathering features of Westlaw online.

Which is to take nothing from Google, which searches a much vaster wilderness of web pages and does so at no charge to the reader. But when Google came out, my reaction wasn't "wow, how can they do this?" It was "finally, the web has a search engine that rivals what you can get on Westlaw."

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:28 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
June 2, 2003
BLOG: Class of 1993

Like Orin Kerr and Jacob Levy, I was away at my 10-year college reunion this weekend, at Holy Cross; co-blogger Kiner's Korner (our Boston correspondent) was in attendance as well. Blogging should return as usual in a day or two, about the same time my legs recover from a traditional reunion game of softball.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:02 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
May 27, 2003
BLOG: Pinto

Just posting this to pass on our condolences to David Pinto, whose mom passed away this morning.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:26 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
May 15, 2003
BLOG: Smell Like I Sound

Oh, you know I can't resist a good internet quiz:

Read More »

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:08 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
May 11, 2003
BLOG: The Power of the Post

Check out the jump in sites linking to Bill Hobbs' blog between May 8 and May 10 for a graphic illustration of the power of a good post to attract attention in the blogosphere.

For our part, we've now evolved all the way up to Slithering Reptiles, at #676 in the Blogosphere Ecosystem.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:39 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
May 10, 2003
BLOG: Happy Anniversary To Me

This week was so busy, I forgot to celebrate a milestone that passed on Monday: my three-year anniversary as an internet columnist. Here's my first piece, from May 5, 2000, on a proposed baseball rule change. Of course, back then, I had never heard of a blog (and people like Glenn Reynolds were still completely unknown), although my columns were running on the Boston Sports Guy website, which really did all the things you would expect from a blog - a daily battery of links accompanied by snide commentary, a breezy, first-person interactive dialogue with the readers - and wound up making Bill Simmons, the site's proprietor since the mid-90s, into one of the earliest internet-only celebrities. My location and format have changed since then (although I've owned the www.baseballcrank.com domain for almost the whole 3 years), moving to the outskirts of Big Media (the Providence Journal) and back. If you're new to the site, check out the "Baseball Columns" category - while some of the stuff is dated and I'm far from getting all the old stuff loaded, there are a number of pieces there that I'd humbly submit are still worth reading.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:24 AM | Baseball Columns • | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
BLOG: Shotgun

According to a recent poll, adulthood begins at age 26. One interesting finding: respondents, on average, said that people should get married at age 25.7 and have children at age 26.2.

You do the math.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:02 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
May 9, 2003

Steven Den Beste says we're "even worse than West Virginia rednecks..."

But in a good way.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 1:13 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
BLOG: Don't Try This At Home

Didn't this happen to Wile E. Coyote? (From Tim Blair)

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:39 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
May 7, 2003
BLOG: Eat Up!

Any parent of a small child can sympathize with Lileks' ironic complaint:

Once again I heard myself tell my daughter she couldnt have raisins until she finished her mac and cheese. No fruit for you unless you finish that processed grain-and-reconstituted-cheddar glue. It's habit - do this, then that. Finish your cookie or you won't get your vitamins.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:38 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
May 6, 2003
BLOG: The Revolving Door

This admission by Eugene Volokh exposes the seamy reality of the revolving door between the federal government and the blogosphere. Hey, Professor Volokh, didn't anyone ever tell you that you can't withdraw from a conspiracy if you intend to rejoin it?

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:06 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
May 5, 2003
BASEBALL/BLOG: Dr. Manhattan's Return

Our old friend Dr. Manhattan is back after a 3-month blogus interruptus, with more on the influence of Bill James (including on your truly). Welcome back, Doc!

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:19 PM | Baseball 2002-03 • | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
BLOG: Quiet Morning

I'm heading in to the office early, so no time to blog much this morning. Check out Lileks for a sobering moment - he's rendered speechless.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 4:59 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
April 30, 2003
BLOG: Alligators

I don't know what's stranger, the fact that an alligator turned up in Alley Pond Park in Queens, which is practically in my back yard, or the fact that I first noticed the story in a report from an Alabama newspaper on Mac Thomason's site.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:29 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
April 27, 2003
BLOG: 15,000

Back on March 4, I noted that (on the previous day, I believe) the site meter had passed 10,000 page views from August to March. This past Thursday, April 24, we cleared 15,000, meaning half as many visits in seven weeks as in the first 5 1/2 months. And the Hosting Matters stats say we've had just under 600 unique visitors in the last 13 days.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:17 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
April 21, 2003

This site is now the proud sponsors of the memory of Eddie Grant, an infielder with the Phillies, Reds and Giants (and Harvard alum) who was killed in action in the Argonne Forest in October 1918.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:51 PM | Baseball 2002-03 • | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
BLOG: Two Announcements

Now that the new site's been up and running a week, I have two major announcements:

The first, which I made last week over at the Projo discussion boards, is that I am ending my affiliation with the Providence Journal. I enjoyed my time writing for Projo, and I have nothing but good to say about Projo sports editor Art Martone, who offered me a spot to keep writing about baseball when Bill Simmons' Boston Sports Guy site closed down in May of 2001. Art remains one of the voices of reason in baseball writing, and of course I'll keep checking out his columns.

I intend to eventually load all my columns from Projo and the BSG site into the archives here, and put links to many of them up on the front page; there's already a bunch loaded, including many of my Hall of Fame columns. I'll still write longer column-length posts here when I have the time, but as long-time readers are aware, I've found it harder ever since September 11 to confine my interests to just baseball. In fact, I started writing columns, back in college, mostly as a writer on politics and world affairs (the sports columnist job on the school paper was taken already by Bill Simmons when I got there). Of course, the world has changed a lot since I was a college student writing columns calling for war with Saddam . . . if I really get ambitious some day I may break out the old WordPerfect for DOS floppies and dig up one or two of those old columns.

By the way, for those of you who are fans of my baseball writing but want to avoid the political stuff - or vice versa - you can do so by clicking on the "Categories" in the left-hand column; I believe you can actually bookmark them.

Second, this site - following the lead of successful blogs like the Volokh site, Asymmetrical Information, Oxblog, The American Scene, The Buck Stops Here, and others, will now be a group blog. While there are obviously some advantages to getting all the credit for a site yourself, this is another move that will assure more content, and more continuous content, on the site even when my work and family commitments don't leave me time for writing (and thus avoid long silences like the one Dr. Manhattan is now enduring; come back, Doc!).

I am very pleased to introduce my first two co-bloggers, who have chosen to remain pseudonymous. I'll leave it to them to do their introductions, but they will be writing under the names "The Mad Hibernian" and "Kiner's Korner." What I will say is that both are lawyers, both are Mets fans, and both are likely to bring a similar perspective to issues of war and politics to the table to ensure a consistent tone for the content at this site.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:31 AM | Blog 2002-05 • | Kiner's Korner | TrackBack (0)
April 20, 2003
BLOG: Happy Easter

No blogging today. Major announcement coming soon. Happy Easter!

Posted by Baseball Crank at 5:07 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
April 19, 2003
BLOG: What To Learn In College

Harvard Law blogger Philip Greenspun offers an overly rational argument on why colleges should abolish dormitories, put students in cubicles by day, and otherwise treat their students more like employees. It's a provocative idea, and I could imagine some small college trying it, but let's face it: American society has long since decided that social development is as important to the college experience as education. The fact that we nonetheless have the world's best university system suggests that this is the least of our worries.

Also, to take Greenspun's cynical-economist tack, an important purpose of college is to prevent youth unemployment by keeping marginally employable young people (i.e., most of them) busy with something else. If we make college less attractive, more kids that age will just try to enter the workforce.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:21 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
April 18, 2003
BLOG: One-Liners

Rod Dreher urges us to "[l]ift a glass of ranch dressing at lunch today to Dr. Robert Atkins", in memory of his death. Tommy Franks, quoted in this GlennReynolds.com item, refers to the U.N.'s "oil for palace" program. Dr. Weevil, baiting some troll in his comments section and showing why he's no ordinary pedant: "that's "Dr. Weevil" to you, 'bobbyp': I didn't spend five years in graduate school to be an ordinary 'Weevil'."

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:44 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
LAW: Is an Ungoogled Life Worth Living?

Harvard Law Professor Jonathan Zittrain on the Google Death Penalty. Google's enormous influence does raise some interesting issues, perhaps more in the nature of policy than legal issues. I'm not an expert in antitrust economics, but it seems to me that Google is what you might call an ephemeral monopoly: the reach and influence of a monopolist, but coupled with the certainty that it could be easily unseated from its position in a heartbeat if it attempted to exploit the consumer, or - and this is key - if it was suddenly subjected to added regulatory/legal burdens that impeded the flexibility that got it where it is. I can see why that's frustrating to sites that get banned from Google, but the social downside of imposing any sort of hightened legal duty on an entity like Google solely due to its prominence would be counterproductive.

Of course, I've still never heard a good explanation of how Google makes any money, either.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:36 AM | Blog 2002-05 • | Law 2002-04 | TrackBack (0)
April 16, 2003
Blog: Bad Marketing

More than a few people have noted the bitter irony of Hong Kong's current tourist marketing campaign slogan, "Hong Kong will take your breath away." But this one was nearly as bad: The back of the Houston Astros 2001 media guide carries an ad . . . Big, bold letters proclaim, "Sometimes, it's the things you don't see that have the biggest impact." The ad is for Enron . . .

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:00 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
April 14, 2003

As you would expect for a site created by a lawyer, there are important disclaimers and Terms of Use that you should be aware of in observing this site:

1. All statements herein are the statements of the author (i.e., the person whose pseudonym is listed with the entry) and do not represent the views of the author's employer, the author's clients (if the author is an attorney), the author's family, the other authors, or anyone else who has anything to do with the author.

2. All statements on this blog are opinions based on publicly disclosed facts and are accordingly protected expression under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. No attempt has been made to independently verify any statement of fact.

3. Notwithstanding the fact that the authors of this blog are lawyers, nothing on this site should be taken to constitute legal advice or the practice of law, or to create an attorney-client relationship between the authors and the reader.

4. The maintenance and updating of this website does not constitute an intent to avail the authors of the benefits and protections of any jurisdiction other than the one in which each author resides. Readers may not be able to obtain jurisdiction over the authors.

5. The authors of the blog are not responsible for statements made in the comment boards, and make no representation that we can or will read all comments. We do, however, reserve the right - in our sole discretion - to remove comments, edit comments to excise offensive language, ban specific individuals from posting comments, or abolish the comment feature entirely.

6. CONFLICTS POLICY: The authors of this blog are lawyers. While it would be the better journalistic practice to disclose when we comment on something that we or our employers or clients may have an interest in, we generally do not make such disclosures, on the theory that doing so might involve disclosing more than we should about our employers and clients. So, take that for what it's worth.

7. The authors of this blog may, from time to time, be in possession of material, nonpublic information regarding companies whose securities are publicly traded. Nothing on this blog shall be read to create any duty to disclose such information or otherwise to create any liability relating in any way to purchases or sales of securities.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:54 PM | Blog 2002-05 • | Law 2002-04 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (1)

Welcome to the new site! As you can see, there's a lot of work going on here before the new site is fully functional, so posting will probably be very light this week until the bugs are worked out (and I figure out how to use Movable Type).

You want a link? For old time's sake, I'll extend the first link at the new site to Bill Simmons, who follows Mike Tyson's imitation of Marlon Brando in 'On the Waterfront' and even includes a picture showing that Bill has a reach advantage on the Champ.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:56 PM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
April 11, 2003
BLOG: Baby Names

An interesting story in the New York Daily News has the most popular baby names in New York City in 2001. #1? Michael and Ashley. What I found most interesting was the top names for Latinos: for boys, Justin, Christopher and Kevin; for girls, Ashley, Jennifer and Destiny (I'm working off a table in the print edition, which has more detail than the link). I was really surprised that there wasn't a single traditional Latino name in the bunch (the same was true, although less surprising, for Asian & Pacific Islander babies).

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:28 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
BLOG: Hesiod and Atrios

I do try to read left- or liberal-leaning blogs, both to fairly hear the other side and to find bad ideas to stamp out; sometimes I'll even try to engage people in the comment sections. But two blogs that I've about had it with are Atrios and mini-Atrios (aka Hesiod). There are many reasons for this; Hesiod in particular has become totally unhinged by the war, lurching off into 'black helicopter' territory and mumbling about a 'Bush Fedayeen' that's out to murder critics of the president. But another reason is their hatred and contempt for Christianity. Check out this post from Hesiod, which is an extreme example. And there's this, from Atrios, who basically quotes a preacher preaching and thinks it's a punchline.

Gotta find me the loyal opposition. These clowns ain't where it's at.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:16 PM | Blog 2002-05 • | Politics 2002-03 | TrackBack (1)
April 9, 2003
BLOG: Ouch

Now, this can't have been any fun to clean up after.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:48 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
April 8, 2003
BLOG: On the DL

I came down with something unpleasant this morning . . . check back Thursday or so.

Meanwhile, check out this Den Beste link with a great cartoon and a link to a devastating Mark Steyn column.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 8:44 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
April 4, 2003
BLOG: The Carnivores

Tung Yin has some scary thoughts about one of the members of the coalition in Iraq: dolphins.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 8:53 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
April 2, 2003
WAR: The Command Post

OK, I'm off to work. Don't forget to check The Command Post all day and night for the latest war news.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:03 AM | Blog 2002-05 • | War 2002-03 | TrackBack (0)
BLOG: Misery

Samizdata has a funny post about why even smart people wind up with jobs that don't make them happy. (Link via N.Z. Bear)

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:34 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
March 29, 2003
BLOG: Big Changes Coming

Some big changes coming around here -- watch for more to come, but activity on the blog and the Projo column may be relatively quiet for a few weeks in the interim.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:35 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
March 11, 2003
BLOG: An Announcement

An announcement: unless something really outrageous compels me to break silence, I'm pulling the plug on non-baseball content on this blog until . . . well, at least until (1) my rotisserie baseball draft on March 22 and/or (2) the war finally starts. I may keep the ban in place until Opening Day. Basically, I've gotten sick of the same old war debate -- there's no more persuasion to be done, and no more real news to report -- and the whole subject has kept me from getting geared up mentally for baseball season. And isn't that the very freedom we're fighting for? Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion, Freedom to Pretend The Mets Are Going To Be A Contending Team While I Still Can . . .

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:58 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
BLOG: Air Travel

I flew in to Atlanta over the weekend for a wedding. Two observations:

+I got through airport security with a bunch of uni-ball pens in my carry-on bag; this surprised me a bit, since the pens could clearly be used as lethal weapons in a pinch. Still, for precisely that reason, I was glad to have them.

+I wasn't sure the crowd at LaGuardia was paying attention to Paula Zahn's show on the TV overhead until Jonah Goldberg mentioned how PETA was protesting the designation of France, Germany and Belgium as the 'Axis of Weasel' on the grounds that it was unfair to weasels. That drew a big laugh -- ah, the American street.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:23 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
March 10, 2003

I recently received one of those scam emails asking me to help a person purporting to be "Mr samuel savimbi of Angola," purportedly the son of Jonas Savimbi, transfer $25 million out of accounts in the Netherlands. Anyway, here's the key sentence:

I got your contact through"The world bussness journal" when i was desperately looking for a thrust worthy person to assist me in this confidential bussness.

I had no idea that the "world bussness journal" considered me "a thrust worthy person." You learn something new every day.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 4:09 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
March 9, 2003
BLOG: I'm Back

I'm back from my trip to Atlanta; more on that later as time permits.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 8:45 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
March 6, 2003
BLOG: Flame War

I think the moral of this story is, don't mess with den Beste.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:34 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
March 4, 2003
BLOG: 10,000

As you can see above, we've reached 10,000 page views! A milestone of sorts, albeit a reminder of how small this blog is compared to some of the bigger ones.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:30 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
February 22, 2003
BLOG: Important Message


Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:08 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
February 18, 2003
BLOG: Light Blogging This Week

Light blogging this week, for the most banal of reasons: I need all the free time I can get to shovel snow.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 5:52 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
February 17, 2003

Mmmmmmm . . . snow day, just like being a kid. Of course, it's only a snow day because it's already a national holiday; otherwise I'd have had to slog through the maelstrom to get to the Long Island Rail Road, and Lord knows if that's even running. Instead, home watching movies with the kids. Check the news; no war, nothing else is worth worrying about.

Still, there's Orioles rookie pitcher Steve Bechler, who died this morning at age 23 of as yet undetermined causes after feeling lightheaded at a workout yesterday. So much for the innocent glow of spring training. Prayers for his family, please.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:35 PM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
February 11, 2003
BLOG: Distracted

Yeah, I know, not much baseball content here lately. My mind has been on the war. I've also been bogged down trying to finish Part 2 of the latest Projo piece.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:00 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
February 6, 2003
BASEBALL/WAR/POLITICS: Bill James, Sabermetrics, Conservatives, and Bloggers

Dr. Manhattan has a great post - with links aplenty -- discussing the influence of Bill James on the thinking of 'warbloggers' including yours truly. I can't agree more - when I first read the 1983 Abstract (I was 11), James taught me how to think critically, a skill I regularly employ in my baseball columns, my blogging on war and politics, and my day job as a litigator. No one outside my immediate family has had a more profound impact on my life.

Two points:

1. Dr. Manhattan argues that "When you consider his methodology and the amount of BS he hacked through, Bill James has a valid claim to be the first anti-idiotarian." I'd agree that he fits the profile, but no way is James the first - while it depends how far back you want to go in your intellectual histories, George Orwell would fit that description to a T, and would probably also be cited as a direct inspiration by many in the blogosphere, most notably Andrew Sullivan. Not only did Orwell take a buzzsaw to cant of all types, but he often used the 'Fisking' modus operandi, quoting and methodically demolishing the foolish notions of even the highest and mightiest (read his assault on Leo Tolstoy's pamphlet on Shakespeare, where he starts off picking apart Tolstoy's reading of King Lear and winds up indicting Tolstoy's entire life).

2. I've long wanted to expand on the parallels between sabermetric baseball analysts and political conservative media:

+Both distrust and despise mainstream media, especially the NY Times and network talking heads and their tendencies to echo each others' smug assumptions.

+Both often refer derisively to "conventional wisdom".

+Both took to the Web early, seeking to connect with like-minded people alienated by the mainstream media.

+Both have a near-unshakeable faith in logic, a suspicion of emotional decisionmaking, and a belief that their ideas will ultimately triumph.

+Both tend to rely heavily on principles of basic economics and statistics, with a little Social Darwinism (not the racial type, but the basic idea that better ideas will invariably prevail) thrown in.

+Both are heavily populated by males age 25-40, who were heavily influenced by ideas that have a long pedigree (ask John McGraw or Bill Buckley) but that came of age in the 1980s.

+Both rely heavily on sarcasm, wit and other sometimes impolitic but entertaining methods common to 'outsiders,' due in part to a lack of connections with those on the 'inside.'

+Both are often denounced by the 'mainstream' on charges of being disconnected from reality.

+The ideas of either are rarely confronted on the merits by mainstream analysts who take them seriously.

February 3, 2003
BLOG: Dave Barry's Blog

I'm enjoying Dave Barry's sparsely-posted but characteristically humorous blog.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:47 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
WAR/BLOG: Chickenbloggers?

NZ Bear linked not long ago to a pro-war, but anti-war-blogger post by the Agonist, basically calling bloggers who support the war but won't bear arms in it "pathetic."

It's periodically helpful to remind us all of the costs of war, but one thing I take very serious issue with is the sense that we all blog in safety, far from violence and danger. I was four blocks from my office in the World Trade Center when I saw the second plane hit; I could easily have been inside, with my co-workers who escaped death by minutes. Everyone in New York saw more horrors than we care to recall. My city is still in the bullseye of every fanatic with access to chem/bio/nuke WMD. I want war now because I want peace later, and I want me and my children to live to see it. And I'm greatful for those who volunteer to the front lines.

Are we hypocrites, we who call for a war we will not fight? No more than we who call 911 but decline to wear the uniforms of the police and firefighters who rush to danger to save us. No more than we who send money (or vote to send others' tax money) to overseas charities, but decline to live in squalor and disease to tend to the neediest, or who attend churches but decline to live the calling of the religious, or who drive over bridges men died to build.

Nobody ever says the mayor can't tell the firefighters to run into burning buildings because he never did so himself. Some people take on more of life's risks than others; it's not fair, but it's the way of the world.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:56 AM | Blog 2002-05 • | War 2002-03 | TrackBack (0)
WAR/BLOG: Good News From Israel

It's the Good News From Israel blog!

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:51 AM | Blog 2002-05 • | War 2002-03 | TrackBack (0)
January 2, 2003
BLOG: Collision Course

Ernie the Attorney answers the question: how can a helicopter collide with a submarine?

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:29 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
BLOG: d6auygd gytqu 71ggh baseballcrank

I'm really baffled by the increasing amount of nonsense spam I get lately. I mean, all the silly and stupid sales pitches and get-rich-quick schemes, the nasty porn, the Nigerian scams - those I can understand. Someone is trying to sell something, and hoping that somebody on the other end is buying. But I'm increasinly getting spammed emails full of gibberish, things you just know from one look not to open, no matter what you're hoping to find in your inbox. Who spends their time creating this stuff, and why?

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:14 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)

Weekend before Christmas, my wife and I took the kids in to Manhattan to see Santa at Macy's, and the Rockefeller Center tree. I know, we're idiots, but we had planned to go the prior weekend and got scared away by the thought that too many people would be rushing in to town to beat the transit strike.

Anyway, after a day of sheer bedlam fighting high-density crowds, we decided to head downtown and catch dinner at a restaurant at the South Street Seaport (OK, Pizzaria Uno; you go with the familiar and dependable chain when you have kids). It was like a different city; the Seaport is beautiful that time of year, lights strung everywhere, broad stone boulevards to wander with nearly nobody around. There place has nice shops, too (leaving aisde the smell of fish). I wound up wondering why we went to midtown at all - but also, wondering whether the Seaport was different before.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:00 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
BLOG: Balance

New Year's resolution is to figure out how to balance this blog with the Projo column, work, family and other obligations. Lately, the Projo column has been suffering as a result. There are two ways to go with the blog - fewer, longer entries, or more quick links. Quick-link entries may be more expendable - there's a million sites you can go to - but they're also faster and easier to do. I'll keep you posted. So to speak.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 4:08 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
December 23, 2002
BLOG: Merry Christmas

With Christmas upon us, it's time to cut back the blog for the next two weeks; I'll be blogging either sporadically or not at all between now and January 3 or so. Merry Christmas, and a happy and healthy New Year to all!

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:55 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
December 19, 2002
BLOG: Inside Blogball

This is as inside-blogball as it gets, but at the bottom of the page I have a script that tells me where visitors are coming from, if 2 or more come here from the same page in 24 hours. Today, I noticed a bunch of visitors from Dr. Manhattan's Blissful Knowledge page, which has a permalink to this site. I checked his site to see if he'd mentioned something here today, but no. Then I'm cruising on Instapundit's site, and lo and behold - a link to Dr. Manhattan! It was the extra traffic (the "Instalanche," as it's known) from Instaman's site that provided spillover traffic here.

However you arrived here, welcome.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:11 PM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
December 16, 2002
BLOG: Baseball Blogging

Maybe it's just me, but I find it harder to make a battery of casual blog entries about baseball than politics, despite having much to say about the former. I think it's because politics lends itself more to straight-out application of opinion, logic and principle - at least the issues I tend to talk about often do, and I tend to shy away from the fact-based heavy lifting, beyond easily checked stuff like debate transcripts and vote totals. On baseball, though, I'm more inclined to assume that people read my stuff looking for harder-edged analysis with citations to the evidence, and it's harder to find the time to do that on my schedule. It's ironic, really.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:28 PM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
December 9, 2002
BLOG: Still Busy

Still too busy, check back tomorrow. Hopefully, by then, we'll have war in Iraq, a new government in Iran, a new GM for the Mets who doesn't think that a youth movement involves dumping your only good hitter under 30 to sign a 37-year-old finesse pitcher, and a new leader for Senate Republicans who knows when to stop listening to the voices in his hair . . .

Hey, a guy can dream, can't he?

Posted by Baseball Crank at 8:30 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
December 4, 2002
BLOG: Cold

Today's the kind of day when you want to do a victory lap every time you get in the door of a heated building. I'm starting to wish my car had heat . . .

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:40 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
BLOG: Headliner

Who else but the NY Post would run the headline, "QUACK BACK IN BUTT BIZ"?

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:41 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
December 2, 2002
BLOG: Slow

I posted a few links over the weekend as well as updating the perma-links on the left, but there may be some slow going on the blog this week, as I'm heading down the home stretch on a big project at work and won't have much time for anything else.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:57 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
November 28, 2002


Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:02 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
November 26, 2002
BLOG: Bill Simmons Leaves Home

Bill Simmons goes down memory lane as he says goodbye to that little town in Massachusetts he's called home the last 10 years.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:41 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)

I've been linked by another page - War Liberal. Welcome, strange bedfellow.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:59 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
November 13, 2002
BLOG: Marriage

We husbands get the credit we deserve.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:41 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
November 11, 2002
BLOG: Blogdown

Blog will be quieter as my work schedule gets very busy the next few weeks. I'll try to post some thoughts, but I can't promise regular content. Plus, I'm overdue for another Projo column.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:43 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
November 10, 2002

I just finally visited (on my home PC) Eric Raymond's "Armed and Dangerous" blog, which in the past I've clicked on from links at Instapundit, only to be told that my law firm's software bars me from visiting this site. This has never happened with any other blog. I'm still not sure exactly why, but I suppose I could guess.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:14 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
November 9, 2002

I don't think this will be on my Christmas list . . . the part that says "I THINK . . . THAT THIS ITEM WAS USED" is enough for me.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:09 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
November 8, 2002


Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:21 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
BLOG: Guns

This picture should warm the hearts of gun enthusiasts . .

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:11 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
November 4, 2002
BLOG: To Blog or Not To Blog

Stuart Buck isn't sure he can find time to blog in addition to his job as a lawyer. Amen, brother! I ask the same question myself. For now, I'm still blogging.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:39 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
November 1, 2002
BLOG: Sports Guy News

Yes, our good friend Bill Simmons is trading in his Celtics season tickets for a Ralley Monkey headband and a Kareem jersey. Well, maybe not. Through the magic of the internet, he'll still be the LA-based Boston Sports Guy, just like I keep writing in Queens and publishing in Providence.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 1:58 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
October 30, 2002

Want to know what's really popular on the net? GOOGLEFIGHT!

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:14 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (1)
October 27, 2002

Been busy . . . lots to blog about. I'll get around to it all later in the week. One thought: as so often happens with championship teams, how these Angels will be remembered will be heavily influenced by the future development of Francisco Rodriguez (a/k/a Danny Almonte) and John Lackey.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:45 PM | Baseball 2002-03 • | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
October 24, 2002
BLOG: ScrappleFace On MSNBC vs. LGF

ScrappleFace has the real dirt on why MSNBC doesn't owe Charles Johnson an apology.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:09 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
POLITICS/WAR/BLOG: Random Blog Goodies

Some random blog goodies:

Lawyer/Blogger Stuart Buck with the transcript of a FOX interview of liberal journalist Juan Williams, on why some in the African-American community see him as a "black conservative".

Economist/Blogger 'Jane Galt' on intellectual honesty in debates about the budget, Social Security and economics in general.

A link from Buck, on the Iraq-Oklahoma City investigation.

How To Argue on Usenet, from Brunching Shuttlecocks.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:02 AM | Blog 2002-05 • | Politics 2002-03 • | War 2002-03 | TrackBack (0)
October 23, 2002
BLOG: Test of the Emergency Blogcast System

I've been having some posting problems - this is a test. In the meantime, police have warned me to be on the lookout for John David Stutz.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:46 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
October 18, 2002
BLOG: Can This Internet Last?

Reading Andrew Sullivan's latest column on the economics of the internet made me wonder about sustainability. Today, internet sites work hand-in-glove with old media mostly because the audiences are separate: some people read Sullivan's work on the web, for example, and some people read it in the papers. The demographic figures he quotes only underline this. What happens when the web-reading public ages? Sure, the National Review model -- cross-sell a dead-tree magazine to people who get hooked on the web version -- will still work, but even that isn't as useful a model for general interest newspapers as for hard-core opinion mags. The Baseball Prospectus model will work too, because the daily in-season commentary and the data-laden annual book are naturally complementary. The Wall Street Journal can afford to give away its political opinions for free because its business is based on people buying the business news. ESPN.com works because sports on the web is no substitute for television, so the name brand recognition built by the web can't cannibalize the network. And so on: there are plenty of unique examples that will prosper.

A question: NR, for example, is a success because its ideological purity builds a fanatically devoted base of readers. Sullivan's quirkier, but he too has strong opinions that form an emotional bond with readers. Does this mean that the real winners on the net will be those with sufficiently clear points of view that they attract the like-minded - and the losers will be those who try to hew to the old media pretense of being 'objective'?

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:06 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
October 15, 2002
BLOG: Blogrolling

I am waaaaaay overdue to update the link list on the left side of the site. I've got to add more of the baseball blogs. Also among the blogs to add is one linking to this site: Howard Bashman's How Appealing, a blog focused on (mostly federal, I think) appeals courts. In addition to the usual suspects - Instapundit and Eugene Volokh are both law professors (another of the Volokhs is at Harvard Law School)-- other law blogs include Goldstein & Howe's Supreme Court blog - yes, this actually seems to be a firm-endorsed and operated-blog (I've had a few dealings with my firm's website, but I can't see an official firm blog in the near future) - which has some interesting stuff today on the dismissal of cert, previously granted, in a case raising class action jurisdictional issues, and the blog of another HLS grad, Stuart Buck.

I know, I know, too many lawyers with too many opinions. So sue us.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:47 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
October 11, 2002
BLOG: Swamped

Swamped, utterly swamped at work this week - hence, no Projo column, little bloggage, and I haven't even gotten to see any of the LCS games (nothing worse than missing a good brawl, too). Yuck.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 8:44 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
October 9, 2002
BLOG/WAR: Latest From Lileks

Lileks has stumbled on another blogger who may wish to remain anonymous. Oh, and Lileks himself has some good smack talk for the fatuities that constitute "dissent" from the President's Iraq policy.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:38 AM | Blog 2002-05 • | War 2002-03 | TrackBack (0)
October 7, 2002
BLOG: Pseudonymity

You may notice that my name is no longer at the top here . . . those of you who have followed my baseball columns over the years know who I am, and I don't intend this blog to be wholly anonymous. On the other hand, as long as I'm in the private practice of law, it's probably the better part of valor to keep a lower personal profile here. That's life.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:37 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
September 30, 2002
BLOG/WAR: The Financial Center

If you haven't guessed yet, I'm facing another crisis-filled week at the office, and need to guard scarce free time for the playoffs. Result: very little bloggage this week. But I'll leave you with this: I was down at the World Financial Center for meetings this morning. The Winter Garden, the beautiful glass-roofed atrium between two of the Financial Center's towers that was crushed by falling debris, has been rebuilt and reopened. They had to fix the part with the bridge to the Trade Center, so it's now a big panoramic window on the construction site at "Ground Zero." I walked by some streets down there that I hadn't crossed since . . . well, if you're in the neighborhood, it doesn't take that much to bring it all back.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:13 PM | Blog 2002-05 • | War 2002-03 | TrackBack (0)
September 24, 2002

Google is into the news-searching business! I've already sampled this new search engine and it sure looks fun and useful. We'll see how long it stays free.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:53 PM | Blog 2002-05 • | Business | TrackBack (0)
September 20, 2002
BLOG: Hiatus

I got half the column in to Projo earlier this week, but it never got posted and I got sidetracked at work and didn't finish the second half, so the blog may be the only word for now.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:20 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
September 18, 2002
BLOG: Quiet Period

There's much to blog about, from the revival of Jeromy Burnitz to the retirement of Patrick Ewing to the endgame of the propaganda war in Iraq, but I've just got to finish my long-overdue next Projo column, and with a busy week at work, writing time is in short supply. Expect the blog to go quiet most of the rest of this week.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 1:32 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
September 15, 2002
BLOG: Pinto

More traffic comes in from a link by David Pinto over at his Baseball Musings blog. I'll add Pinto to the blogs on the left next time I'm doing a big update.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 8:56 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
September 9, 2002
BLOG: Talk Like A Pirate

Dave Barry wrote a bizarre (even for him) column Saturday on "Talk Like A Pirate Day." It got me wondering: were there ever actual pirates who talked anything like this, used any expressions like "avast, ye mateys?" If so, how did they wind up talking like that? If not, where did the theatrical stereotype of 'pirate talk' come from? Without having read the book or studied the issue, I'm guessing Robert Louis Stevenson's "Treasure Island," but I could be wrong.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:45 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
BLOG: For Your Reading Pleasure

As you may have noticed, I've started putting categories before each post. I know some of you come for the baseball stuff and some for the politics and war stuff, so this should make it easier to find the content you want.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:30 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
September 6, 2002

It's always fun to get some recognition (and traffic - welcome to all the new visitors). Uber-blogger Andrew Sullivan links to my excerpt from the Second Bush-Gore debate.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 3:34 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
BLOG: What's New

My latest column is up over at Projo, on why 2002 is The Year of The Bullpen.

Busy day today at home and at work, so the blog will be pretty quiet for the rest of the day unless I see something that demands a quick link.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:26 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
September 5, 2002
BLOG: Sponsorship

Kilroy was here.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:41 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
BLOG: WhatIfSports

It's official: I'm the Marv Levy of WhatIfSports. Season after season, the best record in the league, 100+ wins . . . and a flameout in the playoffs. Damn.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:34 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
August 31, 2002
BLOG: Bad Neighbors

A friend sent me this link a while back - it's a pretty amusing story about a neighbor from hell.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:36 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
August 29, 2002
BLOG: Escalators

This article speaks volumes about how economists think, but this guy obviously does not live in Manhattan if he thinks people don't walk, and walk fast, up (and down) escalators.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:29 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
August 28, 2002
WAR/BLOG: 'Very Smart Inactivist'

I'm obviously still at the stage of just dropping some archival and random stuff in here while I figure out whether there's time in my schedule to blog. Here's one of my little scraps of broader publicity: an email I sent to Jonah Goldberg that got posted in The Corner on the National Review Online.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:28 PM | Blog 2002-05 • | War 2002-03 • | Writings Elsewhere | TrackBack (0)
August 22, 2002
BLOG: Here We Go

It's The Baseball Crank's blog! Will it work? I'm not making any promises about the regularity of content at this site, but this medium is too good to pass up. Some of you may know my work from Bill Simmons' "Boston Sports Guy" website, where I got my start as an internet pundit on things baseball, or from my allegedly weekly column (barely monthly, these days) at the Providence Journal's website (which, sadly, is now registration-only, although it's still free). Some may also know me from the Baseball Primer website, where I participate in posts every once and a while and where my article on the simple solution to baseball's competitive balance issues appeared. If I can find the time, I'm hoping to make this site a place for posting those of my short thoughts on baseball, politics and anything else that I deem web-worthy. Thanks for stopping by.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:10 PM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
September 13, 2001

On Tuesday, they tried to kill me.

I am ordinarily at my desk between 7:30 and 8:30 in the morning, in my office on the 54th floor of one of the World Trade Center's towers. Tuesday, I was running late - I stopped to vote in the primary election for mayor, an election that has now been postponed indefinitely. Thank God for petty partisan politics.

Around 20 minutes to 9, as I have done every day for the past five years, I got on the number 2/3 train heading to Park Place, an underground stop roughly a block and a half, connected underground, to the Trade Center. The train made its usual stop at Chambers Street, five blocks north of my office, where you can switch to the local 1/9 that runs directly into the Trade Center mall. The subway announcer - in a rare, audible announcement - was telling people to stay on the 2/3 because the tunnel was blocked by a train ahead of us. Then he mentioned that there had been "an explosion at the World Trade Center."

Now, I grew up in the suburbs, so maybe I'm not as street smart as I should be, but after living in the city a few years, you develop a sense of the signs of trouble (like the time there were shots fired in the next subway car from mine). I didn't know what the explosion was, maybe a gas leak or something, but I knew that I was better off getting above ground to see what was going on rather than enter the complex underground. So I got off the train to walk to work.

When I got above ground, there was a crowd gathering to see the horror above: a big hole somewhere in the top 15-20 stories of the north tower (having no sense of direction, I thought that was Number 2 at the time, not Number 1 where my office was), with flames and smoke shooting out. I quickly realized it would not be safe to go into the office, despite a number of things I had waiting for me to do, so as I heard the chatter around about there having been a plane crash into the building (onlookers were saying "a small plane" at that point) and a possible terrorist attack, I turned away to start looking for a place to get coffee and read the newspaper until I could find out what had happened. That was when it happened.

The sound was a large BANG!, the unmistakable sound of an explosion but with almost the tone of cars colliding, except much louder. My initial thought was that something had exploded out of the cavity atop the tower closer to us and gone . . . where? It was followed by a scene straight out of every bad TV movie and Japanese monster flick: simultaneously, everyone around me was screaming and running away. I didn't have time to look and see what I was running from; I just took off, hoping to get away from whatever it was, in case it was falling towards us. Nothing else can compare to the adrenaline rush of feeling the imminent presence of deadly danger. And I kept moving north.

Once people said that a second plane had hit the other tower, and I saw it was around halfway up - right where my office was, I thought, still confused about which tower was which - it also appeared that the towers had survived the assault. I used to joke about this, telling people we worked in the only office building in America that had been proven to be bomb-resistant. I stopped now and then, first at a pay phone where I called my family, but couldn't hear the other end. I stopped in a few bars, calling to say I was OK, but I still didn't feel safe, and I kept moving north. In one bar I saw the south tower collapse, and had a sick feeling in my stomach, which increased exponentially when I saw Tower Number One, with my office in it and (so far as I knew) many of the people I work with as well, cave in. Official business hours start at 9:30, but I started reeling off in my head all the lawyers who get in early in the morning, and have for years. I thought of the guy who cleans the coffee machines, someone I barely speak to but see every day, who has to be in at that hour. I was still nervous, and decided not to think about anything but getting out alive. A friend has an apartment on 109th street, so I called him and kept walking, arriving on his doorstep around 1 p.m., and finally sat down, with my briefcase, the last remnant of my office. I had carried a bunch of newspapers and my brown-bag lunch more than 120 blocks. The TV was on, but only CBS was broadcasting - everyone else's signal had gone out of the Trade Center's antenna.

Finally, the news got better. I jumped when there were planes overhead, but they were F-15s, ours. American combat aircraft flying with deadly seriousness over Manhattan. My wife was home, and she had heard from people at the office who got out alive. It turns out that my law firm was extraordinarily lucky to get so many people out - nearly everyone is now accounted for, although you hold your breath and pray until it's absolutely everyone. The architect who designed the towers - well, we used to complain a lot that the windows were too narrow, but the strength of those buildings, how they stayed standing for an hour and an hour and a half, respectively, after taking a direct hit by a plane full of gasoline - there are probably 10 to 15,000 people walking around New York today because they stayed up so long.


By Wednesday night, the adrenaline was finally wearing off, and I was just angry. They had tried to kill me, had nearly killed many of the people I work with, and destroyed the chair I sit in everyday, the desk I work at and the computer I do my work on. And that's before you even begin to count the other lives lost. Words fail to capture the mourning, and in this area it's everywhere. I finally broke down Thursday morning, reading newspaper accounts of all the firemen who were missing or dead, so many who had survived so many dangers before, and ran headlong into something far more serious, far more intentional. My dad was a cop, my uncle a fireman. It was too close.

The mind starts to grasp onto the little things, photos of the kids and from my wedding; the radio in my office that I listened to so many Mets games on, working late; a copy of my picture with Ted Williams (more on that some other day); the little Shea Stadium tin on my desk that played "take me out to the ballgame" when you opened it to get a binder clip, the new calculator I bought over the weekend. All vaporized or strewn halfway across the harbor. The things can mostly be replaced, they're just things, but it's staggering to see the whole context of your daily routine disappear because somebody - not "faceless cowards," really, but somebody in particular with a particular agenda and particular friends around the world - wants you dead.


There's a scene that comes to mind, and I'm placing it in the Lord of the Rings because that's where I remember it, but feel free to let me know if I've mangled it or made it up. Frodo the hobbit has lived all his life in the Shire, where the world of hobbits (short, human-like creatures) revolves around hospitality and particular etiquette and family snobbery and all the silliest little things, silly at least in comparison to the great and dangerous adventure he finds himself embarked on. Aragorn, one of the Men, has been patrolling the area around the Shire for years, warding off invading creatures of all varieties of evil. Frodo asks Aragorn, eventually, whether he isn't frustrated with and contemptuous of hobbits and the small, simple concerns that dominate their existence, when such dangers are all at hand. Aragorn responds that, to the contrary, it is the simpleness and even the pettiness of the hobbits that makes the task worthwhile, because it's proof that he has done his job - kept them so safe and insulated from the horrors all around them that they see no irony, no embarrassment in concerning themselves with such trivial things in such a hazardous world. It has often struck me that you could ask no better description of the role of law enforcement and the military, keeping us so safe that we may while our days on the ups and downs of made-up games.


And that's why baseball still matters. There must be time for mourning, of course, so much mourning, and time as well to feel secure that 55,000 people can gather safely in one place. The merciful thing is that because, save for the Super Bowl and the Olympics, U.S. sports are so little followed in the places these evildoers breed - murderous men, by contrast, have little interest in pennant races - that they have not acquired the symbolic power of our financial and military centers. But that may not be forever.

But once we feel secure to try, we owe it most of all to those who protect us as well as those who died to resume the most trivial of our pursuits. Our freedom is best expressed not when we stand in defiance or strike back with collective will, but when we are able again to view Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens as the yardsticks by which we measure nastiness, to bicker over games. That's why the Baseball Crank will be back. This column may be on hiatus for an undetermined time while the demands of work intrude - we intend to be back in business next week, and this will not be without considerable effort - but in time, I will offer again my opinion of why it would be positively criminal to give Ichiro the MVP, and why it is scandalous that Bill Mazeroski is in the Hall of Fame. And then I'll be free again.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:00 PM | Baseball Columns • | Blog 2002-05 • | In Print • | War 2002-03 | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
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