Monday, June 30, 2008
After the sun burned off the fog I was pretty happy. The hills are great just to the northwest of Madison. I would say at this point I was approximately 10 or 12 miles out.
I saw lots of the usual fields that I detailed last year, then stumbled upon this one. What the heck?
How about a closer look. Can you guess the crop? Amazingly, I did. I will put the answer in the comments.
Along part of the ride was this farm - I am assuming these are cages for veal. Either that, or this is an area that they keep the calves separated from the mothers for a while just after birth for wheatever reason. The calves you see are not immobilized by those head things, they can move around in the pen. Still, not a lot of exercise going to be seen by these guys.
Some of the hills in this area are pretty brutal. At the top of this one you are rewarded with a great view. When descending hills like these you can get going over 40 mph. I get skittish when I hit 30 so I usually back it down on the backsides of these larger hills.
This brings me to the halfway point, and my usual snack with dead people. Always good to be on this side of the ground, as I always say. I detailed this cemetery here and here last year.
What a horrible washed out photo. I guess that is what I get for using the timer, and not properly positioning the camera.
Went to Taste of Chicago on Sunday before the crowds over-ran everything. A couple of years ago when I visited the Taste someone threw a rock and it hit me on the head causing a big, noticable bump. This time - no rocks - so I consider it a mild success. We actually (no joke) saw Opr*h's boyfriend riding a bicycle right by us... since I am not a quick journalist I let the shot go right by.
This is a nice shot of a family of ducks off Lake Michigan. I like the little ducks streaking off ahead.
We went to Navy Pier and here a "mom" sat with her blue underwear out for all to see. Don't know exactly what she was trying to accomplish.
I was so happy with my Tour de Wisconsin Ag photos last year I thought I would do it again this year. I honestly didn't expect to get any new or great photos since it is essentially the same route, but as always, I was glad I brought my camera.
Here I am ready to go. The pitchfork I am throwing is for our girl jmac, who is going to be a contestant on Rock of Love 3 next year, for all the right reasons. The USN jersey is for my boy sk8 and all of his buds aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, doing their thing, so I can do mine. I dedicate this 60 mile ride to them.
The day started cool. Well, cold. It was under 60 degrees, and usually my threshold is 65 for biking. I put on a small jacket and that helped, but I needed the sun to come out. Ahead you can see some low hanging clouds, otherwise known as fog. No big deal...yet.
As I drove on north out of Madison, the stuff got super thick. The lens on my camera began to fog up, as were my shades. All in all, it was beginning to suck, and I hadn't even gone five stinking miles yet.
The fog did create some unique photo opportunities, I have to admit.
The sun eventually burned off the fog (you can still see some in this photo) and revealed flood damage from the torrential rains we had this spring. There were areas all over the place like this one that still had standing water in them. Perfect mosquito breeding grounds.
Whenever I stopped to take a photo I was immediately swarmed by millions of bugs of all shapes and sizes. All of the rain will make it a long summer around here in that regard. More parts to this series in the days to come.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Sit down kiddies and get close to the campfire. Unkie Ger will relive his personal experiences and opinionated history of this abysmal, filthy, over-rated, annual mess of a public festival at Chicago’s lakefront known as Taste Of Chicago.
Last year there were more than 200 cases of salmonella reported. Seems that there was a large batch of tainted hummus consumed. Justice is also served at the "Taste".
It wasn’t always that way. Chicago once held a pleasant, affordable lakefront music event they called Chicagofest. It has since morphed into the ghastly, sweaty, greasy, unsafe food bazaar now known as Taste of Chicago. Why? Politicians, a powerful restaurant lobby, unions and their lust for cash. Not that a lust for cash is a bad thing.
I’m sure you’ve heard of a place on the Chicago lakefront known as Navy Pier. In '79 it was an abandoned maritime shipping facility that extended into the lake. It was and is about 50 acres of concrete extending out into Lake Michigan. In years past it was a vibrant commercial port where cargo vessels unloaded goods for distribution. Before interstate highways and the Teamsters, everything from Wisconsin cheese to Christmas trees made the way into Chicago by rail or through Navy Pier. It also served as a military training facility during WWII. By '79 it degenerated into a series of compartmentalized, dilapidated empty warehouses. Thirty years later it is a cornucopia of multi-media entertainment that now rates as Illinois’ #1 tourist destination. Yep, it even tops that monument to futility and frat boy kegger party known as Wrigley Field. Who knew?
Jane Byrne was the mayor of Chicago in '79. Now, I do not know who dreamed up the idea and after googling my ass off there is little photographic evidence that Chicagofest actually existed. Wikipedia has published some info. Wiki gives credit to Mayor Blandic, but Chicago gives credit to their Mayor for everything.
The initial concept of Chicagofest was a winner. Take an abandoned series of warehouses on the Chicago lakefront (about a dozen or so) place a stage in front of each one, book entertainment acts (music mostly) and charge a reasonable fee to enter. Once inside you could attend any one of the many mini concert events. There was a country stage, rock stage, soul stage (etc.) and on the land side of the pier was a large outdoor main stage where big time feature acts performed.
Once inside you could roam and experience anything that caught your attention. Acts were booked and a schedule was printed. Annually, it may have lasted a week but possibly a four day weekend was more like it. I am too freaking old to remember exactly. But I do remember it being one hell of a good party.
Wikipedia claims Chicagofest was a rip-off of the Milwaukee Summerfest. Today, the Milwaukee Summerfest is reviewed by critics as far and away the best of the two. I believe it is because it holds to the concept of music first and food second, the opposite of TOC.
At Chicagofest, vendors were selling hot dogs and beer, maybe pizza too. It was simple, unique, quaint and very enjoyable. There was no BBQ’d tofu on a stick to be found. Local “fests” were not very common back then, unless you count a summer picnic at a local Greek church. Today, local economies use these fests to stimulate local commerce and I have no problem with that.
I was working at an upstart Chicago ad agency in '79 (I was 26 at the time and pre-family) on my way to having a very fulfilling career and enjoying one hell of a good time along the way. A co-worker friend was interested in attending the newly created event called Chicagofest. He suggesting having our wives ride the train downtown, meeting up and going to the fest after work one night. When I took a look at the schedule Muddy Waters was the opening act on opening night, a Friday. Looked good to me. On Friday morning I noticed a small blurb in The Sun-Times Kup’s column about John Belushi and Dan Akroyd possibly showing up to sit in with Waters. They were in town on location filming the Blues Brothers movie. That morning I told my friend, Mark that we had to do this. He called his wife and I called mine. Let’s go. Done.
We walked down Grand Ave. together, old ladies in tow, heading for Navy Pier after work carrying a plastic 6-pack stringers of 16oz. Old Style’s being gulped down. Quickly.
Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son. But every now and then it didn’t hurt. We were bullet-proof back then. It enhanced the experience too.
Arriving at the pier we staked out a spot close to the main stage about an hour before the opening act. It was probably 7pm when a local DJ showed up to introduce Waters. Everyone was jacked. Woo-freaking-hoo!
The announcer first introduced Mayor Jane Byrne and her daughter, Cathy. They came out in pork-pie hats and sunglasses too so I knew it was on. Everyone boo’d. Byrne took the mike and yelled, “Everyone sit down and shut the fuck up” or words to that effect. Seriously! It was as if your mom came home early to a party you were having. The place went silent. She spoke. We politely waited.
Mayor Byrne introduced Waters who came out and performed “Hoochee Coochie Man”. Then all hell broke loose when Jake and Elwood walked out. They performed for an hour or so doing their schtick with that fabulous horn section blowing backup. Steve Cropper was there, Lou Marini, Matt “Guitar” Murphy, the whole schmear. They finished up with “Sweet Home Chicago” along with Waters. It was a hell of a night and one I will never forget. Wish I had taken photos.
When they wrapped up we explored the acts on the small stages. My favorite was “Asleep At The Wheel” (never heard of them at the time) and that began a period where country music was my favorite.
Chicagofest lasted another year or so. Byrne lost the election to Harold Washington who gutted any expenses that did not benefit the inner city and reallocated them. Suburban yout’s were the first to suffer. Jesse Jackson was all over Chicagofest as being a wasteful expense. He held a boycott (how unusual). Stevie Wonder became a no-show at Jackson’s request. They won, Byrne lost, Harold Washington became mayor and that was that. They credit destroying Chicagofest for Harold's victory. Last Friday night at Taste of Chicago Wonder played, Jackson showed up and they used it to commemorate their victory.
Some more info on that from The New York Times:
At the same time another small festival took place at Michigan Avenue and the river. It was called “A Taste Of Chicago”. It featured local restaurants and it offered small, affordable sample portions of their menu items served at small tables. It did not draw much of a crowd the first time but it grew in popularity since Chicagofest was killed.
The Chicago restaurant lobby is a very influential group. At the time a powerful fat cat restauranteur named Arnie Morton led the group to convince the city council in supporting their proposition for an expanded Taste of Chicago. Morton’s place was Morton’s Steakhouse. He made his nut running the restaurant operations of the old Playboy Club. His son started the Hard Rock Café enterprise. They were very successful businessmen. The new event was blessed and expanded to Grant Park. It grew. Into a monster.
Today, Taste Of Chicago resembles nothing like the “taste” it started out to be. The restaurant owners offer larger portions of food that were never on their menu and the price is way out of line. The food is nothing more than typical fest food like ribs, hot dogs, cheezeborgers, turkey legs, Celtic corn (Celtic corn???) and elephant ears. And yes, BBQ tofu on a stick. I don't think Dr. Vegetable is there. Too bad.
One item being served this that is just shameful. From The Chicago Tribune:
Vienna Beef/Gold Coast Dogs (26) All-natural Vienna hot dog, a first for the 115-year-old Vienna, features meat from premium, hormone and antibiotic-free, vegetarian-fed cattle. It's naturally cured and formulated with no artificial colors or ingredients.
I like the fact that they are feeding vegetarians to cattle. Is THAT justice or what?
This time of year a lot is going on downtown. Today for instance, there is the Sox & Cubs series, TOC, and even the Gay Pride Parade. All in one day. Some will have to make a difficult decision.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
The main reason I like Weezer is that they play simple songs, usually under four minutes (many under three and a half). Their rhythms are always catchy, and there is no insane computer tinkering of the music - rock and roll stripped down.
Another reason I like this band is because they take simple songs and make them unique. How about these lyrics from the chorus of one of their latest songs, Pork and Beans:
I'mma do the things that I wanna do
I ain't got a thing to prove to you
I'll eat my candy with the pork and beans
Excuse my manners if I make a scene
I ain't gonna weart the clothes that you like
I'm finally dandy with the me inside
One look in the mirror and I'm tickled pink
I don't give a hoot about what you think
I can think of a few situations and people I can relate those lyrics to. But I digress.
I also like Weezer because they put out decent videos. Most bands just blow off videos now, but I really appreciate bands that still put out good vids. Here is the video for the previously mentioned "Pork and Beans":
Outstanding! There are a million funny things going on in that video - if you watch it a couple of times you will see all the gags.
Anyone who follows rock videos at all know of this award winning video where Weezer put themselves in the middle of a "Happy Days" episode, playing their song Buddy Holly:
And if you needed proof that they can actually play the song, here is Buddy Holly from the AOL Sessions series.
Here is the song I always play to start my podcasts, "Say It Ain't So":
Probably one of my favorite songs of all time, and again, a nice video.
Moving along, here is Hash Pipe:
How about those lyrics:
I can’t help my feelings;I’ll go out of my mind.
These players come to get me’ Cause they’d like my behind.
I can’t love my business, If I can’t get a trick.
Down on Santa Monica, Where tricks are for kids.
Oh, come on and kick me. Oh, come on and kick me.
(Oh.) Come on and kick me.
(Oh.) You’ve got your problems;
(Oh.) I’ve got my ass wipe
(Oh.) You’ve got your big G's;
I’ve got my hash pipe.
Yet another of my all time faves from Weezer is "My Name is Jonas" - this version is live from Japan:
They have so many great songs, it is hard for me to stop, but I will make this one my last one - El Scorcho:
One of the oldest lines goes something like "predictions are often wrong, especially if they are about the future". I thought about this line recently when I had an American Airlines flight from Washington DC to Chicago on a Sunday afternoon. We had just arrived at the airport when the gate agent just said that there was bad weather at O'Hare and they canceled all flights into Chicago.
In a past life as a consultant I flew literally hundreds of times and I know a bit about airports and airlines. In past eras, the airline would have continually postponed the flight, helped you with alternatives, and bravely kept chugging along, trying to get you to your destination. Nowadays, with current fuel prices and most airlines on the brink of bankruptcy, the equation has changed; the airline that you select is basically on price or your Frequent Flyer mile affiliation, and the airlines are returning the favor - they are cutting flights, packing flights full to the brim, and basically stripping all the excess capacity out of the system.
The more subtle outcome of this is that airlines have become a significantly less reliable way of getting you from place A to place B. Cruises are now telling passengers that they ought to arrive the day before the cruise; it is too risky to fly out the morning of your cruise because so many flights are delayed that you might miss your departure. When I go on vacations, I often leave a day in front and a day in back just for these sorts of situations; a significant percentage of my recent trips were like the one to Washington DC when an extra day (or 8+ hours late at arrival) was inadvertently tacked on to my return.
The airline is basically subsituting my personal time (which has a cost, especially if it is a day of work lost or vacation day) and my stress level (it is stressful not knowing whether you are going to get home that day to meet commitments or arrive at the start of your trip) for their financial survival. Flying on a plane nowadays is significantly more of a crap-shoot in terms of reliability and cancellation than it was in the past, and just try to fly stand-by if your flight is cancelled when all of the subsequent fights are packed to the gills - that is even more stressful.
The situation between airlines and electric power are actually very great, although this seems odd at first. For many years the airlines were focused on reliability and services beyond just the lowest price; they didn't fill every flight to the absolute brim and they had spare planes available in case of weather emergencies or mechanical issues. This extra level of investment helped service in many subtle ways, but cost money - money tied up in airplanes that weren't flying, ground crew to help with your experience, and in space in their schedule to re-jigger flights if needed.
Airlines and power have another subtle similiarity - they are both services dependent upon time. The price of power famously varies depending on the time of day and weather conditions; this is due to the fact that you don't want power "as a service" when it is best for the power company, you want it when it is best for YOU. If it is a hot day, you want air conditioning at noon. If you are running a company, you want power while the machines are running. The airlines aren't just offering to fly me from A to B at a price; they are also balancing my time into the equation. If I have a funeral to attend, I want reliability, not price. If I have to make a critical overseas connection, I need to be in the right airport at the right time. While the airlines are competing on price, they are dropping so much capacity from the system (spare machines, spare people, room in schedule) that they are trading off between the two in a way that is signficant and growing.
All of these items were important if the airlines were competing on service, or in a financially viable situation. However, the airlines now are mainly competing on price and with the cost of jet fuel where it is today, all excess capacity is being ruthlessly stripped out of the system.
The ticky-tack fees that the airlines are now hitting you with for checking extra bags are another way to pass on costs - with the price of jet fuel today it makes no sense to subsidize a passenger with more bags relative to someone with a carry on. These types of charges cause passenger dissatisfaction, but that isn't very relevant to the airlines now since most competition is on price.
CAPACITY AND RELIABILITY - POWER
As I have noted over and over in my posts, you can basically assume that no significant new baseload capacity is being added to the system. The significant baseload plants run continuously after a large capital investment and either run on coal, nuclear fuel or hydro power. You can wring your hands over this or dream that things will change, but they won't - the system is being stripped of excess capacity in the form of baseload power and this will significantly change the reliability footprint over time.
Given that electricity is a requirement and air travel is still partially a luxury, the price of electricity is less flexible than air travel. The price of power on peak days will soar, and it will also be less reliable. The reasons for this are very complex, since the system is intertwined between generation, transmission and distribution, but under-investment and the fact that all the money will be MADE by the generating companies (who will just sit on it, since no one is making new investments) but will be NEEDED by the transmission and distribution companies for investments in "smart" grids and "smart" meters.
Since generation won't be built and siting new transmision lines is virtually impossible, the likely alternatives are making the distribution grid more efficient. This will be done through time of use metering and punitive tariffs on peak (i.e. you want to run your A/C on the hottest day of the year - it will cost you $20).
The other, more subtle elements, are that businesses are buiding in backup power for their facilities. Since you can't rely on the grid (any more than you can count on an airline getting to your destination on time) you need to invest massive amounts of money in fault tolerant electrical systems on your premises, in the form of power units to allow your systems to "fail gracefully" as well as backup generators if you can't let it fail at all.
Even for individuals it will likely be more and more common for houses to be built with some sort of backup generation on site and some sort of "power quality monitoring" capability for sensitive electronics. I wouldn't be surprised to start seeing this as a feature on expensive residential condominiums, as well. These units are expensive and having the fuel onsite is complicated; and when these units turn on they will likely put more pollutants into the environment than an equivalent, monitored controlled generating plant (per capita).
THE TELEPHONE AND CELLULAR TECHNOLOGY
Telephones also have a cost / quality / time dimension to them. The AT&T system was famously reliable; in Motorola terms they would have shot for the "six sigma" level of defects (that is to say, very very low). However, there were obvious disadvantages - fixed lines were just that, fixed and not portable, and innovation was low.
Cell phones now are famously unreliable; since I am in a high rise my service is spotty, and dropped calls are the norm. It is now expected that calls will be dropped and people aren't necessarily offended if a call is broken off; this is the nature of the system.
The end state of this is "texting" - a new innovation that was originally kind of "tacked on" to the phone but now is critical and virtually everyone, including your grandparents, has caught on. I have a close family acquantence who knew Motorola quite well and said that originally they were building a system using high reliability machines and guaranteed delivery, since this is their history. Over time there isn't a sense of guaranteed delivery today with texting but this service is cheap and "good enough" - one of the hallmarks of "the age of unreliability".
It is important to note that the cellular industry has been the most subject to innovation because it has been the most deregulated of the industries being discussed here. While airlines were deregulated, the airports and traffic control are still heavily regulated and they burden the airlines with fees (gate fees) and other devices that impact the free flow of business. Cities used to lean on airlines to pay for new airports; it will be interesting to see how they are funded in the future since the airlines can't be relied upon to pay back anything in their current financial state. Power hasn't been deregulated for practical purposes; the funding mechanisms have been irrationally tampered with but essentially it is coasting on past successes. While there are many opportunities for innovation at the local level, who is going to pay for it?
It is important to note another subtle effect of all this - the elites are moving to their own "parallel" systems. Corporate and executive jets are exploding in usage - to bypass security and guarantee delivery at their time and choosing, while paying the high prices that this methodology costs.
For power, we will likely move to a similar regieme over time, when local builders, towns, or regions will "wall themselves" off from the rest of the grid in some way or provide local backup power for when the grid fails. You can be sure that this backup will be placed where the rich and the elite work and live - the poor will basically suffer the brunt of reliability while the rich suffer in their pocketbook.
This already occurs with schooling - you can segregate by location (move to a wealthy suburb) or by price (do what Cl*nton and O*ama do and send your kids to private schools) and then leave the poor to suffer through the terrible schools of the inner city.
Another subtle impact on this is patriotism - these "elite" worlds will often look the same around the world, whether they are in Chicago, Rio, Dubai, Moscow, or Lagos (don't laugh - there is a lot of oil wealth in Nigeria). They are self contained, with their own security, their own power, their own schools, their own travel cooridors, and their own communications. The people that travel between these worlds have more in common with the huddled masses in their own countries (regardless of origin), and over time their attitudes will likely become more and more similar as they disengage from the world.
Originally the elite vs. poor was by country but it is really moving to segregation across countries AND within countries. Certainly if your country is wracked by civil war, everyone will suffer. And if your country starts out richer (US, UK, Japan) you are that much further ahead of someone coming up the pack (India, China, South America). But over time the elites in all the major countries will be essentially walled off from their citizens to a larger or lesser degree and mostly be interchangable, moving their wealth with them from place to place depending on local tax laws, beauty, the weather, and fashion.
THE AGE OF UNRELIABILITY
Who would have predicted the age of unreliability, which is what is coming for us, as the public and semi-public infrastructure (travel, schools, electricity, security) rides off past investments and the elites build their own mechanisms to cope with this, becoming more and more alike in the process, and more and more unlike the citizenry in their own country of origin.
Some technologies, like cellular technology and texting, have empowered the poor and are a bright story to counter the overall gloom of disinvestment in infrastructure and systems. But these systems are the exception, not the rule, and they benefit from some items (Moore's law, wireless and not fixed grids) that don't apply to the other elements, which require massive capital investment, fixed infrastructure, and a heavy service component (which as we know goes UP in costs, while electronics go DOWN in costs).
I don't offer solutions because that isn't my business, my business is to look at the world "as it is" not "as the way it ought to be". And I have been frankly surprised by the "age of unreliability" since it hasn't been widely trumpeted to the best of my knowledge. I also think that this unreliability is closely linked to the walled-off nature and similarity of the world's elite, which I believe will become more and more pronounced in the future, for good or ill.
Cross posted at Chicago Boyz
Nine Inch Nails is primarily the creation of Trent Reznor. For years Trent contented himself with depression and self abuse, excellent topics considering his dark musical tone. In his album "Year Zero", his political beliefs were out on his sleeve, for what I personally consider his weakest album musically.
One of the best musical songs on the album is called "Capital G", which is a knee-jerk type song about George W Bush. I am certain that, in his head, Trent thinks that the Republicans are the worst people ever, war criminals on the par with Hitler, and such overheated tripe. However, the song's lyrics are good if you stand them on their head a bit.
Let's think about this a bit differently... and replace "Capital G" with "Capital M (small G)".
"I'm sick of hearing about the have and have not's
Have some personal accountability
The biggest problem with the way that we are doing things is
The more we let you have the less that I'll be keeping for me"
Well that pretty much sums up Mugabe and his "to the victor belong the spoils" scorched earth methodology for ruling Zimbabwe. He clearly doesn't care about the have-nots, or those not tied to his personal clan.
"Well I used to stand for something
Now I'm on my hands and knees
Turning in my god for this one
and he signs his name with a capital G"
Mugabe used to be a revolutionary, a freedom fighter who did time in prison while fighting the government of Rhodesia. Presumably he stood for something.
"Don't try to tell me that some power can corrupt a person
You hadn't had enough to know what its like
Your only angry cause you wish you were in my position
Now nod your head cause you know that I'm right..alright!"
It is difficult to find a more corrupt person than Mugabe, who is ruining his country by breaking its institutions, debasing the currency, and driving off the farmers who could have fed his citizenry (now the country is on the edge of starvation).
I wait in vain for the anti Mugabe protest song... how much easier it is to dream up fantasies about George W, and how he is "ruining" the USA, rather than to talk about someone who is ACTUALLY ruining another country. I'll bet that Trent believes his rant, but his rant is seriously misplaced. It's just that pointing out that a former revolutionary in Africa who became among the baddest of the bad dictators isn't as much left-wing fun as poking at the Republicans.
On a parallel note, "The Slip" was a far better album, and you can't beat the price - it's free.
I don't want to ruin any of the book for those planning on reading it, but past this point will reveal a few spoilers to help me make a larger point.
Beane typically never signs players who - call him crazy - have never proven themselves on a professional baseball field. On top of this, he is very particular about the type of player he signs, according to certain statistics.
What I want to concentrate on in this post is the fact that Beane would be very hard pressed to sign a kid right out of college who has never played an inning of professional baseball. Sure, players that do well in the minors for a period of time are brought up, but the fact remains that in Beane's mind, if you have never played well in a professional setting he doesn't really see the point in bringing you up to the very top level and take up a roster (and valuable salary) spot on the major league team.
Lets compare this to the National Football League. Jake Long, the massive offensive lineman from Michigan was the first pick in the last NFL draft, and he signed a contract for $57.75 million over five years. $30 million of this money is guaranteed. In other words, if Jake Long blows his knee up in training camp this summer and never even plays one down in the league, he will get $30 million. Incredible, no?
Even the commissioner of the NFL, Roger Goodell has had enough of this insanity, and even came out and said so. I don't know why these owners have taken the tack of rewarding players who have not proven themselves - it is totally upside down to the ways that Billy Beane preaches. I find it comical that the commissioner of the NFL had to come out and say it is insane that players who have played as much NFL football as myself are getting paid too much, when the owners of the teams have complete control over how much they offer these players.
Cross posted at ChicagoBoyz and SFU.
Since there is so much testing going on, the instructor hasn't been able to coach the fight team. Our fighters have a lot of matches coming up, so the option isn't there to just skip workouts.
Last week after class the instructor asked me if I could run the fighters through their paces while he took care of one of the other tests. I was glad to help out. He gave me a sheet of paper with all of the things on it that he wanted the fighters to do. I went at it.
I know almost all of the fighters from holding pads for them in the past, but it was odd to be the man in charge for the first time. I got everyone together, told them the general flow of the workout, and we got busy.
At first I was a bit timid in encouraging the fighters. But as the workout went on, I started getting louder and louder, and by the end I sounded like the head instructor, screaming and imploring everyone to push it - all in a positive and good way. I thought I did a pretty good job. I guess I did, since the instructor said that two people came to him to tell him that I did great and that he received one other complimentary email. I asked him if anyone said I sucked and he laughed and said "no".
Thursday it was the same thing. The instructor had a test and he asked me if I would run the fighters again. No problem. This time there was an odd number so I took part in many of the drills so got an extra workout. You usually run fight type drills in pairs, either with sparring or pad holding so it stinks when the number is odd. This is one of the reasons it was good to take the pad holding course - there is always someone there to make the count even.
We started with three rounds of sparring (I did my sparring doing just body boxing as I am not much into donning the headgear with these guys and girls) and then did a bunch more drills, with conditioning at the end. We were all exhausted, but felt great at the end.
Afterward the instructor took me aside and told me how much he appreciated me helping out at the gym. That is nice, since I am doing it for nothing, after all. He also talked about some stuff that will be going on this fall at the gym. We will be having a mentoring program where advanced guys drop in on the beginning MT classes and help and encourage the newbies. There is a lot more going on also, but I will hit on some of that later.
I think I have found my niche not only in MT, but in life. I have found out that I love donating and also love teaching. Being at the gym donating my time to help others is almost like charity for me. I want to help others do the best that they can, and being the "coach" for the fighters was fun. I am beginning to realize that very few things in life are zero sum. I am happy when people advance in our gym, and when the fighters win their fights. I don't really receive any benefit other than knowing that I helped them along. Nor do I expect one.
I am just happy to help out the people at the gym who dedicate themselves and put in the time it takes to be the best they can.
Friday, June 27, 2008
As I mentioned a week or so ago, my dad and I took a trip up to Road America. I have lived up here for 14 years now and this was my first trip. My impressions are wow, just wow. It is about a two hour drive northeast from Madison.
I suppose it was fortunate that we went on a weekend where the draw wasn't massive. There were vintage motorcycle races. I am guessing that the crowds are enormous for things like a major auto road circuit coming to town.
I am making that assumption because all in and around this massive track there were areas where it looked like people could camp. There were garbage cans and porta johns everywhere as well. This day we had the run of the place however. But the place is so gigantic there could be ten or twenty thousand people there and you would never know it. There are many places to view the races. There were bleachers, grassy areas and a number of other vantage points to take in all the action. We made it a point to try to see as many different areas of the track as we possibly could.
Here is a pdf of the track. I am guessing that it is four or five miles long. The announcer kept calling the track "long legged". I don't know too much about these tracks, but I am guessing that he means that Road America has longer and more straitaways than most. The front stretch is very long. Here I am on turn five - note the New Glarus in the bottle. They had it for sale at the track. No need though, you could bring in your own if you wanted. Nobody really seemed to care much about anything anyone was doing.
This is a view of one of the straits. What a beautiful day, although it was really windy.
And here is a part of the track where you can see the road course in the foreground, with a motocross in the background. That was a half dirt, half asphalt course and was a separate event from the road race. Those guys were getting a lot of air at times.
Here is turn six.
And here is my dad. Just after this photo he almost dumped the bike on the ground. It made for a tense moment or two.
We had a great day at Road America and I highly recommend it for a day trip. I don't know what kind of a madhouse it turns into when the bigger events are there, but we had a great time.
Any Oprah show is like a melodrama but in this instance I could understand. Growing up there were always a few kids who drank and took drugs to a level that was way too far; a lot of them didn't make it to 40.
In this book the kid grew up in California; from my experience this was not a big surprise. You can't be too surprised that the hedonistic surfer lifestyle and laid back life full of distractions pulls a few people to the dark side. It is better to have few distractions like Champaign, IL (hey cow tipping isn't that bad), for instance.
The author (his father) talked about how hard it was to watch his son fall apart, become homeless, and a junkie. The father managed to get his son into rehab a few times, but his son relapsed each time. As of the Oprah show, however, the son was actually clean and sober and had been this way for a year or two.
The son talked about alcohol and drugs and how it impacted him; right away, as soon as he was drinking, it hit him harder than his friends and he was blacking out and graduating up to harder stuff. Ultimately it led to him being strung out on various hard drugs.
The son was being interviewed, and Oprah asked him what he would do if (the son) saw his little brother falling into drug addiction. And the son answered something to the effect of "I'd ask him why he felt bad inside that he was doing drugs."
It is interesting because the son missed the entire point of his own experience; drugs and alcohol hit him differently than others, and he soon developed an addiction. It wasn't because of the way he felt inside, it was the way that the drugs impacted him physically, and that he instantly experimented far more than others until it became an addiction.
People think that because they have been somewhere, and come out the other side, that this is communicable to others. Often however, it isn't. Think of the son, in the throes of his drug addiction, hearing from an ex-addict. Is the son listening? No. Maybe the son's description would turn someone who is on the edge or considering drugs away, but it is unlikely to sway a hard core user. The hard core user just needs to either run it into the grave, or find something inside, that lets them escape and change their life.
The son seemed to miss the entire point of his terrible experience; he had a weakness, a susceptibility for booze and drugs, and when he tried them they consumed his existence. Thus if this is his experience, why, for his brother, would he conclude that this could be chalked up to "feelings"?
Some things you just can't understand until you've been there, I guess.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
At the end of the article I had what was, for me, kind of a heretical thought:
"Why are we even in this alliance with Taiwan, anyways, and is it worth a war against China?"
In the past Taiwan has been seen, rightly so, as a bulwark against Communist expansion. In the years following WW2, when the Communists took power in China (in the late 1940's), the USA was looking for dedicated friends in the region, not only for Allied troops but for bases that could be used to counter the Communist threat (both Russia and China).
Over the years, however, the situation has changed. China has gone from being a nearly-insane, Mao led "cultural revolution" type of society to one that is fiercely free-market based and where most forms of expression, with the exception of political discourse, is not too severely repressed.
Hong Kong was integrated into the fold, and while human rights haven't increased in that country, they haven't noticeably decreased, either. Certainly the hand off went pretty smoothly, much better than the doomsayers (such as myself) would have predicted.
What I thought of was a friend I met who is from the Channel Islands, which are filled with citizens of British origin (mainly). These islands were occupied by the Germans in WW2, even though the Royal Navy controlled the English Channel.
The reason that the islands were occupied is that they were so close to the mainland that they were basically indefensible; the Germans could pound the islands with artillery fire, wrecking it militarily and inflicting unacceptable casualties on the non-soldier citizens.
While Taiwan is more defensible than the Channel Islands were in WW2, the concept is basically the same; these possessions can't reasonably be expected to be held if the enemy is willing to expend considerable effort (blockades, air attacks, missile attacks, as well as amphibious invasion) against the island.
And what is our cultural tie to Taiwan? Do you know any Taiwanese people? Do we have significant inter-family relationships? Other than a shared hatred of Communism, there isn't a lot that joins us together. We do want them to exist as a democracy, and should support them to the extent possible, but should we prepare to fight a major war with China on their behalf?
In WW2 the British and French fought a war to help the Poles, and although in the end Poland fell under the Iron Curtain until it fell in the late 80's, it made sense due to a shared history that Poland was part of a military alliance. Chicago is supposedly the largest Polish city after Warsaw in terms of # of Poles, after all.
1) the take over of Hong Kong by China didn't involve mayhem or bloodshed, or significant suppression of human rights, as the worst-case may have suggested
2) China's capabilities are growing by the day militarily
3) Taiwan has a natural defensive barrier (the open ocean) but this is diminishing as a shield against Chinese military abilities
4) the US and Taiwan share a hatred of Communism, but not a lot of inter family ties, or shared culture. The current version of Chinese communism does not inspire the same level of intense feelings as did the version under Mao of the Great Leap Forward, for example
Maybe we ought to let Taiwan take a bigger part in its own defense, or pare back our desire to fight over this island. At a minimum, Taiwan ought to think twice before overly provoking the mainland. Or maybe we ought to realize that it is frankly indefensible.
Cross posted at Chicago Boyz
An email landed in the old inbox today. It came from a guy that I worked for about 20 years ago who I also consider to be a good friend. I opened it to see what he had sent.
It was forwarded content and in the subject line was "Charlton Heston's Basement". In no way do I mean any disrespect to Tom (who sent this email and occasionally reads this blog). But something did not seem right so I googled "Heston's basement" and it did not take long to verify the true source of the images.
The embedded photos were very impressive. Take a look.
Mr. Heston has no equal as far as I am concerned. After a career as a popular Hollywood leading man he "gave back".
He did not fight for the people of Darfur or promote the Gorebal Warming hoax or speak out against eating meat for PE*A. He fought for The Constitution of the United States of America which is constantly under siege by a growing number of Marxist entities that exist right here in the USA. Very rare for a Hollywood celebrity.
His contribution to a free America was to stand up specifically for our second amendment rights by becoming the President of the National Rifle Association and taking an active role.
Mr. Heston lent his name and visage to promote responsible, legal gun ownership and protect our Constitutional right for law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms. He didn't have to but he did and he has earned my respect forever for his noble efforts, may the great man rest in peace.
All these photos in said email depict military hardware. It made sense. Since Mr. Heston attended many NRA meetings and rallies he must have made friends with wealthy, notable collectors who may have given or donated rare firearms to him out of respect and gratitude for his fine work. Makes sense, no?
Hell, if I were in his position and someone came up to me at an NRA convention and said. "hey Gerry, since you do so much for me please accept this operable flame thrower that was used to incinerate Japs at Iwo Jima. You could use it to protect your country bunker from flesh-eating leftist Obama zombies intent on seizing more of your earnings, your property and your firearms". Gerry would say, "Thank you very much, SIR."
If you enlarge the third image you will see a flame thrower in the upper right corner.
Then I took a look at the final image which depicted what could have been a fine home in the midwest. Something wasn't right. Did Mr. Heston own this residence?
Here is a link to a site that claims to prove the real source of the images and who the gun collection belonged to.
Now, I don't care who these artifacts belong to but I sure wish I could own one of each.
The category you see on the sidebar titled "Motorcycles" is about to get much, much larger. As I noted in my Road America post a little while ago, my dad and I went there and saw vintage motorcycle races. Some of the motorcycles were pre 1940, some were from the seventies and eighties - and we saw everything in between. I took tons of photos of them, and hopefully you will enjoy taking a look at these machines from the past. These were high tech back in their day, and I like the fact that people are taking care of them and still racing them.
Today, a Ducati.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Classy... front of the shirt.
And the back of the shirt.
I even dropped him an email and didn't get a response. Hope he is OK.
Well, here's to Lou, he had a nice, long run.
What to replace him with in the blogroll...but what is a blogroll? For me, it is my personal portal to the intertubes. I check out each of those links on a daily basis.
I added Muay Thai Focus, but interest in that is pretty narrow to readers who aren't into MT. If you like MT, Rob is doing a great job there with very high quality photos of the fights from Thailand. If he could only post video.
If anyone has some good daily reads to recommend, I am all ears.
Monday, June 23, 2008
In my life one lesson I learned is that there are three kinds of people:
1) those you trust
2) those you don't trust
3) and those you can trust to f*ck you over
The WSJ, which is generally a fine publication, often is tripped up by the fact that their journalists are often myopic and even when they get the story right, they often miss the overall context. From the June 6 issue, here are two articles back to back, both good articles, but quite ironically placed.
The lower article is titled "Kremlin Seeks TNK-BP Detente". British Petroleum (BP) is part of "a 50-50 venture with a group of Russian billionaires that is Russia's No. 3 oil producer." Per the article:
"People close to BP charge the Russians with trying to take effective control over the venture through pressure tactics, possibly ahead of a sale to a state-controlled company such as OAO Gazprom."
There are many ways in which a gangster-state such as Russia can force their will on a foreign company. They can use the "law" (which they control) to generate adverse rulings, they can use customs to deny entry to key executives, or they can flat out threaten the lives of the foreign executives. If they are more clever, they can change the terms of the deal in ways that make it less and less economic (i.e. pay in rubles or dollars depending on the currency board, fail to pay needed bills, bring endless tax auditors, etc...).
Once BP's assets are built, on the ground, and running (with Russian personnel), BP's leverage is very limited. The Russians are saavy enough to ensure that BP won't engage in outright sabotage, so it is just a matter of time and pressure before BP sees the writing on the wall and catipulates, selling their assets for a fraction of their value to the crony-of-the-day or maybe straight to a government owned company. This is basically expropriation, and energy investments are very subject to this type of activity, especially if the local government and population has a reasonable degree of operating skill (i.e. in Russia this is a bigger risk than, say, the Congo).
Who could have seen that the Russians would "f*ck" over BP? Why, anyone who has picked up a single book on history or economics in the last century, perchance?
Like BP, the WSJ apparently hasn't read a history book in the last century. The article immediately above is titled "Some European Energy Companies Look to Russia for Growth".
"Several European companies are making big bets on Russia's power sector, and hoping that a wide-ranging deregulation program will help their wagers pay off. Hunting for growth outside of stagnating Western European markets, Italy's Enel SpA, Finland's Fortum Oyj and Germany's E.On AG and RWE AG have all invested hundreds of millions of Euros in the privatization of Russia's electricity sector over the past year. Russia hopes that the sales will boost investment in new generating capacity to power Russia's rapidly growing economy."
The article goes on to describe that Russia needs power and how the power will be sold into the market, and the ability of generators' to make a profit. The article fails to mention anywhere that ONCE THESE ASSETS ARE BUILT IT IS VERY LIKELY THAT THE RUSSIANS WILL CHANGE THE RULES TO ENSURE THAT THE WESTERN COMPANIES FAIL TO MAKE THE PROFITS THAT THEY PLAN ON EARNING.
Once again, not all investments in Russia are bad. If you are selling consumer or luxury goods, your risk is your inventory on hand, and you can just stop sending more. If you have a service, you can just scale back and bring back your staff. But if you are building an asset that will reside on Russian territory, and be run by Russians with local manpower, you can look at category #3 for the front of this post to determine your ultimate fate. It is the same fate that BP met, since your leverage, once built and running, is minimal.
I do find it profoundly ironic that these two articles appear, back to back on the SAME PAGE, with no one at the WSJ connecting the dots.
Cross posted at Chicago Boyz
I was able to get four seats in not too bad of a location. We weren't on the aisle but it was a short row and the people sitting around us were pretty cool, not totally intoxicated to the point that they were getting into fights and throwing up on our backs, which was all we asked. I had to hold the seats until reinforcements arrived. It rained (you can see the ominous skies in the first line photo, above) which also allowed me to hold out since many people fled in back so they didn't get soaked. Note how everyone coming to their seats (the girl, the guy in the Sox jersey, and the guy in the rain poncho) each have two beers; that is a Chicago crowd. It is maybe 10:30 or so, you can see that the other fans aren't in their seats aside from the bleachers. Dan and I have gone to sporting events elsewhere and the Chicago fans outdrink them by some insane multiple; I would guess that Green Bay is even heavier but I'll never know since I have no plans to go there.
Here is a view of the right field bleachers. There wasn't an open seat anywhere, not even in those bleachers that they built atop buildings looking into Wrigley Field. You can also see the Miller Lite billboard, which is kind of a guerrila campaign since Budweiser is the official sponsor of the Cubs and you can't buy Miller products in the stadium.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
It got me to googling for the old US30 drag racing commercials that were unavoidable to radio listeners near Chicago in the late 60's. Me and my friends went to US30 Drag Raceway often on summer nights back then.
Found a few youtuber's featuring Jan Gabriel, the voice of racing on radio in the old days (I refuse to use the cliche "back in the day"). I was unable to embed the video from youtube but here are a few links.
Sunday Sunday Sunday at US30 Drag Raceway, where the great ones run run run......
When I was young (late seventies/early eighties) my dad used to take me to the Byron Dragway. We would sit out there all day and watch the drags as well as saunter through the pits. For a while we knew a guy who was racing a motorcycle there and he ended up being pretty successful at it. When we would get home we would be totally deaf (we should have used better ear protection) and stink of burned rubber.
Back then Byron featured "handicap" racing. What this entailed was each driver taking a few passes down the strip and coming up with a "dial in" time. Then they would put all of the drivers into an elimination bracket. You not only had to beat your opponent to the finish line, but you could not go under your dial in time or you would lose. In addition, the person with the slower time gets to leave the line first. So it looks like this.
- Driver 1 dial in time is 11.50.
- Driver 2 dial in time is 11.00.
- Driver 1 gets to leave the start line one half second before driver 2.
- The winner is the one that gets to the finish line first without going under his dial in time (called "breaking out").
If both drivers "break out" the one who breaks out by the least wins. Red lights take precedence over breakouts so if someone red lights, the race is over.The huge attractions, of course, were when the big circuits would come through. My favorite car was always the Blue Max (great website complete with babes here), for whatever reason.
The local favorite was the Chitown Hustler. I think it is now called the Rislone Hustler.
I can't express to you how loud these things are when you are sitting twenty or so rows up in the bleachers. It is literally insane. Don't believe me? Check out the guy trying to plug his ears THROUGH his ear protection headset during this burnout of the Chitown Hustler.
These funny cars didn't do any of that handicap style stuff - they just went like hell and the first one to the end was the winner.
In addition to the big funny cars, they would on occasion have a jet car. I remember one called the Natural High that did the quarter mile in under 4 seconds. The whole crowd would yell "holy sh1t" when this guy was done making a pass.
Hey, it has a website! Take a look at the specs. There are some cool PDFs on the site that explain how this thing works. This car was the fastest car I have ever seen before or since. 400 mph in a quarter mile! I remember the staff of the dragway having to clear everyone out from behind the rocket car when it was at the starting line.
I also remember seeing a rocket semi once. It had three rocket engines stacked in a pyramid shape, one on top of two. It made quite a show as well, but only did the quarter mile in six or seven seconds, far slower than the conventional funny cars. After googling for a bit I think I found it - the Shockwave.I see from the website they now have the Super Shockwave, worlds fastest chevy truck - I would like to see that.
I saw a rocket motorcycle once as well. I don't remember how fast that thing went, but it looked like a pretty hairy ride.
The dragway days were good times. It helped that we lived only 20 minutes or so from Byron. I should head on over to Great Lakes Dragaway someday and take a look around. That dragway is about an hour from where I live now but would be worth checking out.
Growing up, I also attended a few races at the Rockford Speedway. These were fun as well. I specifically remember the demo derbies. To this day I love to see a good smash 'em up. But I wasn't as enthralled with the "roundy roundy" races as I was with the drags.
After the age of about 16 the only exposure I had to racing was on TV. I just cannot get into NASCAR, or the Indy oval circuit. Again, the roundy roundy doesn't do it for me. From what Gerry and Carl have said, I need to go to the Indy 500 to check out the party if nothing else.
I still like to watch the drags when on TV, but it isn't even close to being there. I went through a phase where I was following Formula One pretty closely. I really like the road racing and the crazy amounts of power and speed that the F1 cars generate. I still like to have F1 races on in the background when I am doing things on Sundays around the house - that is, of course, when football season isn't going on. One of the things I need to do before I die is go to the race in Monte Carlo. It is certainly up there on my top five things I need to get done.
Which brings me to this visit I took to Road America. In part two I will share some thoughts about the track and bring a bunch of videos and photos to the table.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Me? I love shotguns but not the kind that hang on a wall or get displayed in a glass case. I can (and do) visit Cabela's gun library to appreciate fine art.
A shotgun is a tool that belongs in every household. It can put food on the table or splatter a home intruder. If I could find this one on sale it would be bought in a nanosecond.
Found this little beauty here:
I want one.
Two of the players that I love to watch when I go to Bear games are Lance Briggs and number 91 above, Tommie Harris.
The Bears just locked up Harris for several years and as Martha Stewart says "its a good thing". This guy is practically unblockable by one guy. He smashes running backs and quarterbacks on a regular basis. The double teams that he draws free up other guys to make plays. He is fast. Basically a total homewrecker on the D line.
On defense the Bears will be pretty good this year IF we can stay healthy (a very big "if" I will admit). On offense...well...lets just say that if we get one first down per drive to give the D a little rest it will be an accomplishment.
Cross posted at SFU.
Friday, June 20, 2008
Looks like a lot of dealing was done.
- The BTN will be on expanded basic on Comcast for one year, then Comcast has the option to move it to a premium sports tier
- The price was negotiated from $1.10 per viewer to $.70
- Outside of the states that don't have Big Ten schools, Comcast has the option to not offer the BTN at all, or put it on a premium sports tier
Lots of compromise on the part of the BTN.
Of course none of this means that I can watch it yet, since no deal has been struck with Charter as of this writing. I think that after this deal that Charter will get one done. They better, or Badger fans up here will go nuts come football season.
Like I said all along, the BTN needed to soften its demands to be a little more realistic. I am sure that there were more things that were dealt to get this done. Usually when two behemoth companies (the ones that own Fox/BTN and Comcast) do deals they are not one offs, but a combination of you do "this" for me over here and we will do "this" for you over there.
The end game through this whole debacle has been super bad PR for the Big Ten and a further weakening of the brand name. In football we have turned into a second class conference, behind the Pac 10, Big 12 and, of course the behemoth SEC.
Hopefully the BTN can get all of the deals done that they need to before the football season starts and I can watch the Illini a few extra times this fall.
Several things were apparent. The most conspicuous one to me was the people that kept coming up to me and congratulating me on my test and orange sash. After about the sixth person I asked what the hell was going on. Apparently the instructor is bragging me up around the gym to the other students - and he said that I had the best test in the advanced class. I was terribly flattered but a little blindsided by all of the (good) attention. It is very strange - people think that I am a bad ass now, something I am definitely not used to. I have routinely considered myself eighth or ninth best out of the ten regulars in the advanced class but maybe I am underestimating myself. I will continue to think humbly though and to work hard.
The test started as they always do and I was paired to hold pads with a 37 year old woman. The level of skills from there to here was amazing. You have to remember that I have been sparring and holding pads for the very best guys in the gym including the instructors and things move very quickly and powerfully in those sessions. The first time I broke out the focus mitts and started to catch some punches for this woman I was sort of freaking out - it was like I had just started Muay Thai. What I mean is that the level I have been playing at is at an IMMENSELY higher plane than the one I was dealing with last night. I really needed to crank it down big time but it was extremely difficult for me.
We went into a clench drill and I realized quickly that I was annihilating this poor woman and I immediately softened the drill up for her. She gave me many thanks. A few times I thought she was going to puke, and she started to cry a few times. I told her NO CRYING and NO QUITTING. She made it and gave me a huge hug and thanks after she received her shorts at the end.
Some of the beginners were very good. I think that the class I was in back then was better, but I think everyone would probably say that. In addition, I think my test was tougher. Part of this has to do with the small amount of people in my test. The other guys from my advanced class who showed up agreed on that point. As the gym gets larger and larger I think they will maybe have to segregate levels a bit better, but that isn't my business.
An interesting side note that I just thought of. I am the only one of the four in my class that got thai shorts who is advancing in rank at the gym. I have only seen one other guy from that class around and he has been only attending once in a while. Strange.
I stuck around afterwards and clapped for each person when they got their shorts - I remembered what a great day it was for me and wanted them to see that I supported them. I can't wait for classes to start up again - I need my fix.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
It's more real than the one the Cubs HOPE to win.
During pre season the 2008 AL Central was said to be the best in MLB with a strong Cleveland team and a Detroit team that went deeper into debt than Ed McMahon by acquiring the best free agents money could buy. Minnesota is no slouch, either. So I am very pleased with our streaky Sox team that manages to beat division rivals when it counts.
The Sox have played a lot of division teams at home and away so far. Since I am not a “stat” guy or a “fantasy” player there are no comparative numbers for me to report. I have been way too busy and have much better things to do with my free time. What I know is that the Sox have a great head-to-head record vs. Cleveland, Detroit and Minnesota. Oddly, Kansas City took a series that I remember, but hey!
There are times this season when I get frustrated watching. It’s definitely not 2005, you know, when the Sox won the World Series. By being a long-time Sox fan we always expect the worst and hope for the best. No need to get excited about the post season until late August when the chips are down for good. But with the pitching rotation we have that should get us in or near post season play. The Boo Pehn (Ozzie Speak) is in great shape too. What we need to do is bring in the runners stranded on base. Playing an upcoming schedule of mediocre NL teams should bring a glut of Sox wins since most NL teams aren’t much better than most AAA farm teams anyway.
Going all the way in MLB depends on consistent good play for sure, but most important is keeping the top players off the DL.
On the north side of Chicago the fans act differently, even when they aren’t projectile vomiting in a Wrigleyville alley.
FACT: MLB corporate has dictated that NL umpires are to be trained on how to apply the Heimlich on certain NL managers during late summer divisional games. Choking on national television hasn't been seen since 1969. It's not a pretty sight.
Recently in the local media they’re already telling Cub fans what they want to hear, “This Is The Year.” And it’s only June. We’ve seen this before. Its a rerun I hope to watch.
Tell me lies
Tell me sweet little lies
(tell me lies, tell me, tell me lies)
Oh, no, no you cant disguise
(you cant disguise, no you cant disguise)
Tell me lies
Tell me sweet little lies
So let's just crown their ass! ;)
Losing Zambrano and/or Dempster to injury will hasten my glee. Soriano is good for at least two more trips to the DL. Kerry Wood is due for a bad shoulder too. Derrick Lee won’t last the entire season either. (UPDATE: As of tonight, Big Z is "iffy" and should be on the 15 day DL).
Each time the Cubs play a top team the local media experts report that “This could be a World Series (or playoff) Preview”. They said it about this weekend’s Crosstown Series with the Sox and they said it about the Rays on the current road trip to Tampa Bay (BTW, the AL Rays just swept the NL Cubs tonight and the Sox murdered the Pirates to sweep their last three). So much for the local "experts". What a set-up!
It is published in the newspaper and boasted in the local sports broadcast media daily...this IS going to be the Cubs year!. Who knows? Maybe it is. Maybe it won' (more Ozzie speak).
This is a good sign, counting your Domician fighting chickens before they come home…to roost. Better yet, it’s like counting the gallons before your goat gets milked.
White Sox fans know better. We expect the worst and hope for the best.
Is it possible that one or both Chicago teams will enter post season play? It's June. It's a long shot.
This weekend's series will be fascinating to watch.
I say bring it on!
At Road America last weekend (of which I will write more about later) we stumbled upon this Austin-Healey. What a sweet car - I had to snap a couple of photos. My dad said he owned one of these in his youth, and that he was considering buying one again. I hope he does because I want to drive it and