Coming Out of Left Field

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Ogunquit getaway

The wife and I had a splendid weekend in Ogunquit, ME, though things looked iffy at first. A couple of days earlier, the owner-operator of our B&B had sent out an e-mail saying that she wasn't going to be there when people came, but that she would hopefully arrive Sunday, and that her niece and the niece's partner would take care of us in the interim. We thought, "Uh-oh," but since there wasn't any time to find anywhere else to stay, we couldn't do anything about it.

We became more nervous when we arrived Friday to find that there was no heat or hot water; even as we pulled in, the niece was on the phone trying to arrange a rush shipment of heating oil. That night we slept under our coats and my wife's emergency blankets from the car. The oil did come eventually, and the heat was on by the next day. The hot water took a little longer to fix, leading to a chilly wake-up of sorts on Saturday.

Fortunately, things got better. The B&B was in walking distance of both the beach and the Marginal Way, and we spent much of Saturday and Sunday strolling in one area or the other. We also picked up some new books at a local shop (where I momentarily got lost in the bookstore equivalent of L-space) and went out to a really nice French place for dinner Sunday night, which was part of an apology to my wife for an egregious chronological error. We also took advantage of the cable TV to catch parts of two Sox-Yankee games, Friday's disappointing loss and Sunday's much more satisfying win.

The owner-operator arrived late Sunday and told us that because of the heat/hot-water snafus (plus other stuff), she'd give us healthy discounts on both this stay and a return visit. She explained that the folks she'd trusted to do simple but necessary things, like turning on the heat and the phones, completely fell down on the job. We told her it was all right, and that we felt more sorry for her niece and her niece's partner, who found themselves dealing with a houseful of guests on top of their two kids. Talking among ourselves later, we realized one thing: even though we like making breakfast, running a B&B may not be a good second career for us after all.

Technorati: travel,

Sox quote of the day

"If I tell you, the IRS will be in here."
Sox pitcher David Wells, when asked how much shortstop Edgar Renteria had paid him to switch jersey numbers, as quoted in the Boston Globe. For Sunday's game, Wells appeared wearing Renteria's former number, 16, while Renteria wore no. 3.

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Monday, May 30, 2005

Cat quote

"Someone -- a dog owner -- once asked me why I kept cats. I just told him that it's because they're almost as funny as squirrels, and a lot easier to take care of."

rmthunter, in a thread titled Have you ever seen a cat (with the hiccups) on EasilyAddictive

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Friday, May 27, 2005

Hoist on my own petard

When I was watching "Fever Pitch" with my wife the other day, I felt glad that I wasn't as obsessed with the Sox as the male lead was. I remember one scene in particular: the part in which Jimmy Fallon's character goes to a party with Drew Barrymore's character and has a terrific time, up to the point when he learns that the Sox made an amazing comeback in extra innings. He is so upset about missing the game that the whole evening is suddenly ruined as far as he is concerned, an attitude I found pretty immature.

Then, while adding Technorati tags to my archived posts, I happened across proof that Fallon is not alone in his screwed-up priorities. Of course I wasn't in a relationship at the time, and it *was* a playoff game, but still. *rueful grin*

Update: um, so I'm more like Fallon's character than I thought. I was telling my wife about this post, and suddenly realized that something was wrong. After talking it over, we figured out that I had messed up the chronology. In October 2003, I was not only going out with her ...

... I had already moved in with her ...

... and we'd been engaged for nearly five months!

Fortunately she thought it was very funny, but I apologized profusely anyway, and took her out to a really nice dinner on Sunday as part of the weekend getaway.

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What is your world view?

Hat tip to Rogue Slayer for this quiz:


You scored as Cultural Creative. Cultural Creatives are probably the newest group to enter this realm. You are a modern thinker who tends to shy away from organized religion but still feels as if there is something greater than ourselves. You are very spiritual, even if you are not religious. Life has a meaning outside of the rational.

Cultural Creative


75%

Postmodernist


63%

Existentialist


56%

Materialist


50%

Idealist


44%

Modernist


25%

Romanticist


25%

Fundamentalist


25%

What is Your World View? (updated)
created with QuizFarm.com


I'm a little surprised by the Postmodernist rating (I'm not even sure what that is), and I would have thought I would've scored higher on Romanticist, but otherwise these seem accurate.

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Thursday, May 26, 2005

Dance, dance, dance!

Memo to GLBT Bostonians: clear your calendar and shine up those dance shoes, because another Swingtime dance is on its way. The June 4 event will be the last of this season, and the theme will be Pre-Pride. Below is the listings info that goes out to Bay Windows, the Boston Globe and other places:

Event title: Swingtime
Date: Saturday, June 4, 2005
Time: 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Location: Brookline Academy of Dance, 136 Westbourne Terrace, Brookline.
Description: Partner dancing in a GLBT-friendly, alcohol- and smoke-free environment. Beginner’s dance lesson from 8 to 9 p.m.; dancing to music by The Mood Swings Orchestra from 9 to 11 p.m.
Admission: $12. Free parking and refreshments.
Phone number: 617-364-7207 before 9 p.m.
Website: http://www.djdee.com/swingtime/

Technorati: , LGBT, Boston, dance

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Outlook in Ogunquit

The weekend forecast for Ogunquit, ME, according to Weather.com:

Friday, May 27: Showers, high 57, low 46. Chance of precipitation: 40%.
Saturday, May 28: Showers, high 65, low 47. Chance of precipitation: 40%.
Sunday, May 29: Showers, high 64, low 47. Chance of precipitation: 40%.

Someday, my wife and I will actually go somewhere warm and dry for vacation. Not this time, apparently.

Technorati: , travel,

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Red Sox rumor

For quite a while now there've been stories about the Sox being interested in cricket star Adam Gilchrist. I was reminded of this the other day by a column on Sports Central asking if the 33-year-old Aussie would become the next Jason Varitek. Though it seems unlikely (a search on the Red Sox official site produced no results) and it makes very little sense, the story apparently won't die.

To satisfy my curiosity once and for all, I submitted a question to Gordon Edes' "mailbag" on Boston.com, then promptly forgot about it -- until today, when I checked his latest column. For those who don't want to scroll, here's my question along with Edes' answer:

Apologies if this has been answered before, but is there any truth to the story that the Sox made an offer to Australian cricket star Adam Gilchrist? If so, how serious was the offer? This has been floating around for at least a month now, and I just came across a fan editorial asking if Gilchrist is going to be the next Jason Varitek. According to an AP story cited in the editorial, first base coach Jon Deeble said Gilchrist was worth a look. But as people have learned, you can't believe everything you read on the Internet.
[soxfan], Somerville

A: Urban legend, [soxfan], according to the Sox. Deeble is a minor-league manager, not the first-base coach, and while he is an Aussie, he is not lobbying the Sox to sign what I believe is a 33-year-old cricket star who has never played baseball.

In other words, no go for Gilchrist, and one more baseball rumor for the folks who run Snopes.

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The DL strikes again

Yet another one of my EA fantasy baseball players -- reliever Frankie Rodriguez -- has landed on the disabled list. I can't afford to fall behind any farther than I can, so rather than wait for him to return I dropped him in favor of Scot Shields, who took F-Fod's place as the closer for the Angels. I also waived outfielder Carl Crawford, who has been slumping lately, and replaced him with Vernon Wells. With my luck, this means Wells will land on the disabled list sometime next week.

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Monday, May 23, 2005

Food, glorious food

The wife and I have had some pretty good meals recently:

-- For Friday breakfast, we made pancakes with bananas, walnuts and chocolate chips. They were very yummy with maple syrup, and much more interesting than our usual toast.

-- Saturday night we went downtown to have dinner with some friends. One of them (who turns out to be a fellow blogger) cooked an excellent meal: apricot chicken for the main course, with rice pilaf and carrots as sides, and molten chocolate cake in a pool of raspberry sauce for dessert, which was to die for. He also concocted some mixed drinks with fresh mint, lime and rum that were smooth (and just strong enough for us lightweights).

Tonight we get to meet Rogue Slayer and her fiancée (corrected per RS's comment) for Indian food. Mmmmm, mmmm, mmmmm. Is it time for lunch yet?

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Sunday, May 22, 2005

Say no to the nuclear option

Senate Republican leaders are trying to eliminate the filibuster, which right now is the only way standing between several of Bush's judicial nominees and confirmation. To urge your senator to fight this, sign Moveon.org's emergency petition.

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Friday, May 20, 2005

A new presidential challenge (Onion news story)

Let no one say that our president doesn't take this country's problems to heart:

Bush challenges America to produce the perfect romantic comedy by 2009

Forget raising interest rates -- this should be Alan Greenspan's next initiative.

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Thursday, May 19, 2005

Petition the APA to support marriage equality

Just received from the Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders:

Dear xxxxx,

The American Psychiatric Association's (APA) assembly will consider a proposal at its annual meeting in Atlanta this Sunday to amend the group's official position statement on marriage equality. Click here to read the statement!

Individual leaders from the APA who have been particularly strong advocates and allies for LGBT equality tell us that it would be extremely helpful for people to contact members of the APA, in particular, the leadership of the Assembly, with respect to this issue. As most of you know, having organizations like the APA support marriage equality is critical to winning in the courts and legislatures, particularly with respect to their ability to sign on to amicus briefs and provide legislative testimony.

Please contact the president elect of the APA, Steve Sharfstein M.D., at ssharfstein@sheppardpratt.org, and to the speaker, James Nininger M.D. at nininger@bestweb.net, to tell them to support the proposed statement.

Please forward this e-mail to other list serves you may be on, as well as to friends, family, and colleagues.

Technorati: , LGBT, marriage equality,

From Fed to film?

The economy's gotta be pretty bad if the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board needs to hold down a second job.

No idea if this guy was born as Alan Greenspan, or whether he changed his name to pique people's interest. It certainly got the attention of my wife, who spotted it in the credits to "Fever Pitch". TIME magazine was right: Alan Greenspan is indeed a man of surprises.

Technorati: movies

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Mission accomplished!

The wife and I found an apartment! *doing happy dance* It's a one-bedroom (could be two, but we'll use the other room as a study/home office) in Arlington with reasonable rent, good space, and a convenient location. We'd been a little dubious about the place across the street, which has graffiti on the garage door and lots of mailboxes in the yard, but it turns out to be a woodworking shop, so no worries there.

Next mission: pack up all our stuff so we can move, which will be a job and a half. Fortunately the move-in date isn't until July 1, giving us more time to get things sorted out. And if we wanted to we could always tell our current landlord that July would be our last month, and that he should keep the security deposit as that month's rent. That way the move could be gradual and somewhat organized instead of sudden and absolutely chaotic.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Mazel tov, Massachusetts!

One year ago today, Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage. Here are some ways to mark the occasion, courtesy of MassEquality.org:

Anniversary celebrations around the state

Share your pictures and personal stories about marriage equality

Sign the petition to defeat the anti-gay-marriage constitutional amendment

Give a donation to help fund the fight for marriage rights

This married woman (one year on the 30th) thanks you in advance. :)

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Monday, May 16, 2005

Same-sex marriage stats

This week's issue of Newsweek gives some figures relating to gay marriage in Massachusetts, dating back to last year:

Stats: Gay to Wed

Three particular numbers jump out at me:

Public support in Massachusetts for marriage equality in April 2005: 56%

Public support one year ago: 35%

Percentage of Massachusetts voters who believe gay marriage has had a positive or no impact on the quality of life in Massachusetts: 84%

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Odds and ends

Random thoughts from the past few days:

-- On our way to dinner/movie last Friday, we saw two geese and their chicks crossing the parking lot (single file, with one adult on either end). It was an adorable sight, one that temporarily halted traffic. My wife remarked that it reminded her of her preschoolers, except that the geese were a lot more orderly.

-- The other day I was registering an account and was asked to put in my last name. However, the site wouldn't accept my input, telling me that at least three letters were needed. I guess this is to prevent people from just entering initials, but I felt like e-mailing tech support and saying, "Look, I only have two letters in my last name. I don't have anymore give you!" In the end, I put down my married name (we have yet to change it legally), which was more than long enough to satisfy the requirement.

-- The weather report says it'll be partly or mostly cloudy every day this week. Summer can't get here soon enough.

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Saturday, May 14, 2005

8 o'clock, and all's well

I am feeling rather pampered at the moment thanks to my adorable wife, who has been showering me with gifts and attention the last two days. Last night she gave me two presents:

-- a T-shirt reading "Red Sox Girl" and, underneath it, "Enough Said"
-- "A Tale of Two Cities" (not the Dickens classic, but the more recent book about the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry)

She also treated me to dinner at Aquitaine Bis in Chestnut Hill (pricy but good), and to "Fever Pitch", the first time in a while we've actually seen a film in the theater, let alone during its first theatrical run. It's a good romantic comedy for Red Sox fans, and even non-baseball Bostonians will enjoy the local shots. My wife said it made her feel like she was watching a home movie. We agreed that it wasn't necessarily a movie for kids; although the Farrelly brothers were pretty restrained for them, they still put in some unnecessary gross-out humor. One thing for sure: it had one of the best movie endings as far as this Sox fan is concerned.

This morning I got another present, Terry Pratchett's Soul Music, and this afternoon we met up with some friends for ice cream. Plus, earlier this week, friend and fellow blogger Psychovant sent me a nice gift certificate to Amazon.com. All in all, not a bad way to turn a year older. :)

P.S. The only down-note yesterday was that we watched a little of last night's Sox-Mariners game, which ended up being a 14-7 disaster. Sometimes I do prefer reel life to real life.

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Friday, May 13, 2005

Damn the DL!

It's a good thing I picked up Chone Figgins the other day for my EA baseball squad. When I checked in today, I found out the Cards put Scott Rolen on the disabled list, leaving a hole at third. Plus, for some reason I'd set up the league to allow only one DL spot per team, which for me was already occupied by Ben Shields. *shakes head at herself*

To shore up the roster, I dropped Shields, moved Rolen to the DL, put Melvin Mora at third, and put Figgins in the utility spot. I used the extra spot for J. Phillips (catcher/first base), which now means that for once in my life I have a backup at every fielding position. I'll have some hard decisions to make once Rolen comes back to reclaim his spot, but I'll jump off that bridge when I get to it.

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Thursday, May 12, 2005

More squirrel stuff

A follow-up to yesterday's entry about mutant rodents: I sent my brother (who likes taking photos of animals, particularly squirrels) the link to the white squirrel pics. He e-mailed back and said that the graphic on a related site, the Albino Squirrel Preservation Society was a little disturbing. After I took a look, I had to agree.



As for the "normal" gray squirrels, fellow blogger JP found a couple of links for a simple activity involving string, peanuts and a squirrel's natural curiosity and hunger:

Squirrel Fishing: A new approach to rodent performance evaluation

squirrel fishing - a photoset on Flickr

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Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Nerd test

Good thing I changed the name of my blog a while back. According to one test, I'm not as geeky as I thought:

I am nerdier than 28% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

I think my score would've been higher a couple of years ago, when I was spending more time surfing than socializing or just doing stuff offline. Now that I'm an old married lady, the balance has shifted the other way, and that's just fine with me.

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Mutant rodents

One of the current discussions on Easily Addictive involves squirrels -- specifically, which color squirrels are normal and which aren't. So far, the consensus seems to be that ...

-- gray squirrels are normal
-- red squirrels are rarer than gray ones, but thought of as normal by some folks
-- black squirrels are mutants
-- white squirrels are also mutants
-- a black squirrel with a red tail, which one poster thinks she saw, would definitely be weird

No pics yet of the black/red squirrel, but someone found a link to some white squirrels. I have no way of telling if these have been Photoshopped, but John Ashcroft did once proclaim White Squirrel Week, possibly the highlight of his career to date.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2005

It's all in our heads ...

...or brains, to be exact:

Differing brain response seen in gays, heterosexuals

I'm a little more inclined to believe this than the 1998 lesbian ears study, but both do point to nature over nurture when it comes to the cause of homosexuality.

Technorati: , LGBT, science

Monday, May 09, 2005

Packer or pack rat?

Work has been slow lately, so I've been using some of the downtime to sort through things, recycle, etc. so we have less to pack. Today, I'm tackling my wife's pile -- er, piles -- of back issues of The New Yorker. The only problem is, as I flip through the magazines to remove subscription cards, I keep coming across articles I want to read. I've been tempted to start a pile labeled "Issues soxfan wants to keep", but since it might be larger than any of the other piles, I've had to restrain myself. Though maybe I should relax, since I'll need much willpower once we get to the books!

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Moving on up

Our landlord has begun the process of selling our current house, so my wife and I are starting to look for other living arrangements. Last week we'd gone to a few open houses in Medford with the intent of finding something to buy, and had actually though we'd come across a likely place. But after talking to someone knowledgeable in real estate, who was able to diagnose mold, unstable bathroom tiles and other signs of nice-looking but low-quality renovations just from looking at photos, we decided we felt much more uneasy about committing years and money to such a house. The wife and I had already been concerned about many of the current owners' changes, which were in such a specific style that if you wanted to do things your way, you'd have to rip everything out and start over.

The friend also recommended that, given our deadline and our desire to find a good house, not just any old shack, we rent and then buy. Even if the housing market doesn't "fall off a cliff" (his words), we'd be giving ourselves more time to find something. So for now we'll just look for a nice one-bedroom while keeping an eye on the new houses. It's a step forward, at least -- our own place, with nobody but the stuffed animals to share it with.

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Calling all pitchers

Made some roster changes for my EA Fantasy baseball team, hoping (a la Joe Torre and Boss George) that a shakeup will help in the standings:

Dropped: J. Schmidt (SP), B. Sheets (SP/DL), J. Thome (1B/DL), M. Giles (2B)
Added: C. Zambrano (SP), M. Mulder (SP), J. Vazquez (SP), C. Figgins (2B/3B/SS/OF)

I loaded up on starters because a) I'm behind in the pitching categories, and b) I'm fairly confident with most of my batters, so I don't feel as much a need to have backups who would just end up sitting anyway. I am a little nervous about having just Figgins on the bench, but since this league allows daily transactions, if I check in every day I should be able to plug up any gaps that develop.

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Friday, May 06, 2005

60-minute seder

Got this from an e-mail ... just the thing to make your Passover pass that much quicker:

http://haggadah.z-kit.com/h.swf

(Requires Flash, and at least a nodding acquaintance with what a seder entails)

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Thursday, May 05, 2005

Same-sex marriage essay

Lemonlime of Epinions is running a writeoff on Homosexuality, Marriage and Religion. Though I'm not religious, I am gay and married as well as somewhat informed, so the lack of denominational affiliation didn't stop me from having an opinion. Here's the beginning of my entry:

(Optional)

What are your spiritual beliefs or religious affiliations? Leaning Jewish/Taoist.

What is your sexual orientation? Gay or lesbian -- I use them interchangeably.

How do you see your own religious/spiritual views as influencing your opinion of sexuality? Not having been raised in any particular religion, I don't associate sexuality with sin.

(Required)

How do you define marriage? In two ways. Privately, it's a lifelong commitment between two people who love each other. Publicly, it's a legal status conferred by the government. While many people have religious ceremonies, I consider that a personal choice, not an intrinsic part of marriage.

What thoughts or reactions do you have to these two pictures? (all completely safe for work, home, etc.)

Image 1
Image 2

Happy sighs and a flash of recognition, as I know exactly what those two couples must be thinking and feeling. I'm guessing that the two women in the second picture have been in a relationship for a long time, which makes the moment even sweeter.

Continue reading (on Epinions)

Technorati: , LGBT, marriage equality

Hints for homebuyers

I'm usually not a fan of the Evil Empire (Microsoft, not the Yanks for once), but the MSN site does have a pretty good financial info site. I was catching up on some reading and ran across this article for new homebuyers, of whom I'll be one sooner or later:

Ten nasty new-home surprises

Though much of the article is tongue-in-cheek, it does make some valid points. I know that when we start packing up things in earnest, we might be tempted just to say, "Let's toss that out, we can always get a new one, and that way we don't have to move it." Fortunately, we're by and large fairly careful, so we would concentrate just on the essentials and make do with card tables, folding chairs, etc. for the rest. Besides, her parents have said more than once they want us to get a house, so they can give us some stuff -- and in the process free up space in their house.

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Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Island library

Yep, it's one of those "what books would you want with you on a desert island" posts. I don't think I've ever sat down and figured it out before, and I really don't expect to refer to this list anytime soon (we are not house-hunting anywhere near huge bodies of water). But just in case Caribbean real estate prices suddenly become much more attractive, here goes:

For entertainment
The Oxford English Dictionary, so I would never get stuck on a word
William Shakespeare: The Complete Works, because his plays are classics
Almost any one of Dorothy Dunnett's books, because they're so richly detailed and well-written
Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire, so I could actually finish reading it

For survival
Shelters, Shacks & Shanties and How to Build Them
Backcountry First Aid and Extended Care
Finding Your Way Without Map or Compass
SAS Survival Handbook: How to Survive in the Wild, in any Climate, on Land or at Sea
Basic Essentials Cooking in the Outdoors

And for when I finish reading all these books and feel like a change of scenery
How to Build a Wooden Boat

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Monday, May 02, 2005

Is it naptime yet?

In a perfect world, the wife and I like to have a few quiet days after a big trip just to get back into the flow of things. But life has a funny way of interfering, and last week was no exception, as we plunged right back into the thick of things:

Wednesday -- finished getting over jet lag
Thursday -- shopped for groceries for the next night's seder; went to Target and picked up a folding table so that everyone actually has a spot to sit down at this year
Friday -- shopped for more seder stuff; made charoset
Saturday -- figured out how to fit twelve people into our common area; read through the women's haggadah my wife helped put together; ate and talked the night away
Sunday -- made pancakes with some of the leftover charoset; spent the afternoon house-hunting

Today is much more relaxed by comparison. Thank heavens for slow work days.

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Cursed Cubs

After the Sox won the World Series, folks started thinking it was the Cubs' turn. The problem (according to the Roto Times' Mike Rainey) is that their curse is still very much alive:

Bad News Cubs

Note that this column was written before Kerry Wood's start on Saturday, which might be his last appearance for a while thanks to tendinitis. If I were Dusty Baker, I'd call up a few farms and inquire about goat rentals. Since I'm not, I dropped Wood from my EA fantasy team and replaced him with Roy Halladay. (It's nice having so many options. Wonder if this is how George Steinbrenner feels all the time?)

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