Coming Out of Left Field

Monday, January 31, 2005

Sox quote of the day

"It's incredible. . . . What more can you ask for? Even being mentioned in the same sentence as Jesus or God. . . . I mean, those guys are awesome. I'm just a knucklehead."
- Red Sox center fielder Johnny Damon, whose long flowing locks attract comparisons to certain religious icons, as quoted in the Boston Globe. Damon's new book contract requires him to keep his hair uncut until after finishing the publicity tour.

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Friday, January 28, 2005

The West Wing: "King Corn"

Ths week's episode took us to Iowa with Josh, Donna, Will, and their respective candidates. I have to say that at this point I'd vote for Vinick (Alan Alda) over Santos (Jimmy Smits). For all his talk of making the big speeches and pushing the limits, Santos caved once he got up in front of the corn growers and told them what they wanted to hear -- unlike Vinick, who said what he thought and predictably was slammed for it. Overall the episode wasn't as witty as the last couple, but it did a good job showing the non-glamour of the campaign trail (the lighting in particular was rather harsh). I wonder how long Donna will stick it out; of the three perspectives presented, hers was the most peripheral. Even working for Josh she probably had more of a say-so. If only those two would patch things up already.

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Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Anti-bias activism

A couple of petitions that have come my way recently:

1. The DNC's petition to Bush, protesting a proposed linkage of Social Security benefits to race and gender. (related news story)

Yes, I know auto insurers and HMOs (among others) look at a number of factors to determine rates. But we pay them for a service. Social Security, on the other hand, is a payout from the government to us, using money we put into the system. Hey, here's a thought -- if my benefits are going to be cut since I'm a non-Caucasian woman, how about taking less money from me in the first place? No? Oh, well, it was worth a try.

2. The HRC's petition, urging senators to vote against the Federal Marriage Amendment. Thanks to misguided Republicans who think Bush's 3% margin of victory translates into a mandate, this discriminatory proposal is once more is rearing its ugly head. It doesn't even deserve a mention, let alone a vote of passage; sign the petition and make sure it doesn't earn one.


Go Pats!

Although I feel sad for my first hometown team, I'm very happy with the results of Sunday's game:

Patriots 41, Steelers 27

It was a fun game to watch: lots of points, some big defensive plays, and even a couple of instant-replay dramas. Even though the Pats beat Indianapolis by a greater margin in last week's game, the Colts never really threatened, which made it much less exciting. But Pittsburgh held up its end of the scoring; if it weren't for Roethlisberger's three interceptions, we would be having an all-Pennsylvania Super Bowl this year.

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Friday, January 21, 2005

One Dem dime

As a follow-up to yesterday's Not One Damn Dime boycott, why not take some of the money you normally would have spent (more, if you can spare it), and sending it to a Democratic organization? I sent a donation to last night, to support their plan to win back Congress; the DNC and state parties would also appreciate the support. That way, NODD will have even more of an impact.

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Thursday, January 20, 2005

The West Wing: "365 Days"

I don't know if it's just sheer escapism (Martin Sheen for president!), but lately The West Wing has been very, very good. Last night's episode featured some sharp writing and a well-constructed plot in which a number of situations -- Leo's return to duty, hostages in Bolivia, the State of the Union speech -- were tied together pretty neatly. It's a welcome change from the usual sweeps slop, and gives me reason to believe that the rest of the season will be smart, sophisticated fare. I just hope the episode theme doesn't mean that time is running out on the show as well ...

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Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Don't rubber-stamp Rice

Senator Barbara Boxer, the only one to vote against certifying Ohio's electoral votes, is making another stand. Today and tomorrow Condoleeza Rice appears at a confirmation hearing for her new role, Secretary of State, and Boxer has promised to ask her the hard questions about Iraq, Al Qaida, and other issues that have been glossed over or outright ignored. To show your support for this, please sign her petition:

Hold Condoleeza Rice accountable!

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Monday, January 17, 2005

Hard-fought football

So much for yesterday's game being a shootout:

New England 20, Indianapolis 3

I was quite happy about the outcome, and even happier that I got to watch it from the warmth of my own home instead of freezing in Foxboro. I did miss some bits here and there (including one TD, I think) because I was reading a book in between plays. That'll teach me to multi-task during the weekend ...

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Friday, January 14, 2005

Agenda ideas

My friend Psychovant's blog (1/7/2005 entry) highlights four simple yet sensible suggestions for Bush's second term. Wonder if I should forward them to the White House? There's probably time to work them into his State of the Union speech, and they'd be just as credible (or more so) than anything else he'll say that night.

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Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Money-making media

Art Levine wants to go Armstrong Williams one better, and has offered his services to the Bush administration. I think it'd be a good addition to the budget, since Levine's rates seem very reasonable. The whole thing raises a question, though: how is it that conservative credibility costs more, and is worth less?

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Two steps forward, three steps back

Now that the Red Sox have finally come through, the "defeat snatched from the jaws of victory" vibe has seemingly transferred itself to my attempts to get set up from home. The current situation:

1. The business line is on the third floor, in my study.
2. The cable modem is on the second floor, in the living room.

So either I get Comcast back in to move the cable modem (or to run some Ethernet cable between the second and third floor), or I split the office in two, and run back and forth between them whenever I'm on a conference call. I do need to exercise more, but that's not how I intended to do it. *sigh*

Update: my very smart wife came up with another solution, getting a portable phone. I still have to run upstairs whenever I'm expecting a fax, but this works out much better.


Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Globe goof

Ran across this typo in today's Boston Globe story about boxer Jack Johnson (italics mine):

Ward discovered ''100-something pages -- I can't remember exactly how many" of Johnson's writing that the boxer left after serving his nine-month sentence at Leavenworth prison in Kansas in 1920; the fighter had lived on the lamb for seven years in Canada, Europe, and Mexico before turning himself in ...

And before that, he probably lived high on the hog ...


Monday, January 10, 2005

DNC on board with blogs?

Simon Rosenberg, one of the candidates for Democratic National Committee chair, wants to blogify the DNC:

No matter who ends up being DNC chair, I'd love him/her to take this strategy and run with it. Blogs don't guarantee victory (exhibit A, Howard Dean), but the more people you reach out to, the better.

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Friday, January 07, 2005

Hanging on to the horsehide

For once, I wish Doug Mientkiewicz would drop the ball:

Sox first baseman keeps ball gloved for last Series out

Technically, the ball does belong to the first baseman (a MLB spokesman has said as much). But as a memento of the Sox's first World Series in forever, it's a piece of history, not just something to hawk on Ebay. And as Dan Shaughnessy points out, it was mostly luck that put Mientkiewicz in position to get the ball in the first place.

I guess I'd feel more sympathetic if it weren't so obviously about the money. Mientkiewicz's remarks about his "retirement fund" and college tuition for his kids sound pretty selfish, especially coming from a guy who signed a two-year, $7 million contract last February. Of course he's not guaranteed to get all the money, at least from the Sox. After the season, both Mientkiewicz and Kevin Millar went to Theo Epstein and basically said, "Play me full-time at first base, or trade me." By putting himself before the team, Mientkiewicz may have actually made Epstein's choice easier. Millar has said and done some wacky things in his time, but nothing as bad as this.

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Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Bye-bye, Barry?

Please, Dave. Say it ain't so. *sob*

The last word, for now; humorist gives jokes a rest

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