Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Foofaraw - Or what I've learned so far this week (and it's only Wednesday!)

Here's what I've learned so far this week:
  1. Teleprompters only malfunction when your anchor is live on the air.
  2. Time Warner Cable sucks. Sucks beyond belief, actually. At work, the cable was out for a whole day, an entire day cut off from our own air because the cable company owned by the same people who pay my salary can't figure out how to get service to us for an entire day. At home, the DVR just decides to stop recording things in the middle (if it records them at all) and sometimes, when you change the channel, all you get is a blank screen. Sucks. They suck. And they know they suck, so they stock their call centers with double-digit IQs who call you "Mr. David" and treat you like a ping pong ball. Sucks.
  3. When you have to say publicly "I'm not gay. I've never been gay" --- you're gay. (more on this to come)

Friday, August 24, 2007

Story of the Week -- August 20-24

Diary of a Baltimore Oriole

Wednesday, August 22

Dear Diary:

I'm feeling a little sad today.

My team, the Orioles, had a double-header today against the Rangers. It should have been a good day for me. I mean, two games, I'm bound to get some action today.

Since I came back in June from 4 complicated hip surgeries and 3 years out of baseball, I haven't been terrible. I haven't been great, 30 hits and 21 walks in 24 innings isn't so hot, but we stink and really I'm just happy to be pitching. Or I was.

So game one starts and we look good. I mean we've got a one run lead before I've made the trip out to the bullpen from the clubhouse. And by the time I settle in with the rest of the guys, we've made it 3-0.

A couple of timely hits by the Rangers makes it 3-2 in the top of the fourth and Leo doesn't like what he's seeing, so he goes to the mound and talks to our starter, Daniel Cabrera. He's young, gets rattled, but I think he's got good stuff. But Leo leaves and Danny can't find the strike zone against Ramon Vazquez and he grooves a 2-0 pitch. 3 run homer, 5 run inning and it's 5-3. But Cabby gets the next two and pitches a scoreless fifth. Nice bounce back.

Still, he had thrown a lot of pitches, so our guys started to get ready. And when Jarrod Saltalamacchia led off the sixth with a home run, Brian Burres was brought in for relief. Not so much, though. Poor Brian, he just couldn't get anybody out. A grand slam made it 10-3, and four more crossed home before he came out of the game. And the sixth inning still wasn't over.

I was itching to get in to this game and stop the bleeding. I've got a streak of 3 scoreless innings going, but I haven't pitched in 5 days. Today could be a real chance to keep the streak going, in a pressure-free outing. But they leave in Rob Bell to start the 8th, and he's earned it after ending the disastrous 6th and tossing a scoreless 7th.

Boy did that wear off quickly. the first 7 Rangers reach base, and 6 of them score, and I get the call to come put out the fire in a 20-3 game that is completely out of hand.

3 strikeouts in one inning is usually pretty good. I'm proud of myself for that. Not so proud of the 4 more runs sandwiched between those strikeouts though. It's a 10 run inning, and it's 24-3. For the ninth inning, I have one job to do - put us out of our misery. And I did, but not before I gave up (eesh) 6 more runs to these guys. And that's an American League record. 30-3. No team has scored 30 runs in a game since 1897. And 9 of them are charged to me. My ERA just jumped to 9.49. Maybe I shouldn't have come back after all.

Like I said, I'm feeling a little sad today.

I have to say, though, I admire our regular players. They got their butts whooped and then had to take a shower, change and go out and play a second game (we lost that one, too, 9-7)

Oh well. I'll do better next time. I can't do much worse.

Yours Truly,

More fun facts about this game:
The last team to score 30 or more runs in a game was the 1897 Chicago Colts, when they scored 36 in a game against Louisville.

The Rangers scored 26 runs in a game against the same Baltimore Orioles in 1996.

Rangers P Wes Littleton picked up his first save of the year in this game. According to the rule, a save is recorded when a pitcher pitches 3 or more innings to finish a game. So Littleton "saved" a 27 run lead for Texas. To be fair, when he entered the game, they were only up by 11.

The Rangers hit 6 home runs in the game, including 2 grand slams. Strangely enough, there were only 2 doubles.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Story of the Week -- Aug 6-10

No Style Points

NEWARK -- (AP) Three friends were forced to kneel against a wall behind an elementary school and were shot to death at close range, and a fourth was found about 30 feet away with gunshot and knife wounds to her head, police said.

Hmm, if only there was a word that could sum up this horrific tragedy:

Three victims, two males and a female, were shot to death execution style around 11:30 p.m. Saturday on steps behind Mount Vernon School in the city's Vailsburg section...

N.J. Police Seek Clues To Execution-Style Shooting

AP/Jennnifer Brown Police in Newark, NJ, said this morning that no arrests were made overnight in the execution-style shooting that left three dead, ...

"This appears to have been an execution-style type of murder," said a spokesman for the Essex County prosecutor...

They were made to kneel before they were shot execution style...

Newark police don't have a motive or any suspects in an execution-style shooting that left 3 friends dead...

By the time they arrived, three of the four young students were already dead, shot execution style in the back of the head...

Three pals shot execution-style behind Newark school

Police say they were lined up and shot execution style....

While police continue to await the recovery of the sole survivor of Saturday night's execution-style shootings outside of a Newark elementary ... *

I'm sorry, how did they die?

Elocution-style? They were forced to speak perfectly until they passed out?

By the way, I'm not making light of this tragedy, my beef is with the media buzz word. I heard the phrase "execution-style" so much this week that I don't know what it means anymore. You know what? Three teenagers were forced to kneel down on hot asphalt and then were shot from point-blank range in the back of the head. There's no style involved. The buzz word reduces the act to something you hear on "Iron Chef":

"The lobster is prepared execution-style, and I've put it on a bed of arugula and alfalfa sprouts..."

"Triple Homicide and assault with a deadly weapon" doesn't get the point across? "Triple murder" not good enough? How about some alliteration: "schoolyard shootings" "cold-blooded killings"? What caused the media to grab on to "execution-style" and never let go?
The lack of creativity and variation cheapens the incident, makes it seem like these are just three more Newark murders to go along with the other 60 or so this year. It makes it sound as ridiculous as Newark mayor Corey Booker sounds when he says the murder rate is down this year because it's not over 100.

I think it's time to go with another phrase for a while. Time to take "execution style" out back and shoot it. But how?

*all above story pieces came from various news outlets via Google News

Friday, August 3, 2007

Story of the Week -- July 30 - Aug 3

Left Behind

I was clicking around aimlessly on Facebook, going through random profiles, like most of us do when there's downtime at work and you've read all the blogs you can stand, and I came across the profile of someone from camp who is on staff this year. And under jobs it said "counsler".

There are, I think, four things you should be able to, no matter, what, spell correctly: your name, your address, the name of your school or place of business, and your job title. Certainly, I hate to see his resume some day.

But that's not what bothered me. What bothered me is what happened when I clicked the word "counsler" and up came a list of almost forty people who were "counslers." And that got me thinking.

The debate re-opened this week on a little piece of Republican wunder-legislation called No Child Left Behind. And I think it's pretty clear: shit's not working.

Actually, children aren't left behind per se.

Of the 40 or so people who listed that they are or were once "counslers", (and these are completely unscientific and mostly meaningless numbers) 10 of them are high school graduates, at least 8 of them are in college, 3 are college graduates and at least 1 made it into graduate school. One of them, sad to say, graduated from my alma mater. So it seems in this country, we are dragging everyone along whether they are ready or not. Can't spell? Can't read? doesn't matter, we need the federal funding, so you pass.

That is the main beef with NCLB. The law places too much emphasis on math and reading test scores and then penalizes schools that score poorly. Shouldn't it be the opposite? But then, that penalizes schools who do well, doesn't it? So then, who's being left where?

Congressman George Miller (D-CA), chairman of the House education committee, is trying to rewrite NCLB and change the measures for achievement that determine the level of funding. Mostly, he's trying to take the emphasis away from the tests. He wants a law that makes sense, that focuses on more than just Math and Reading, and that actually holds schools accountable and you know, doesn't leave anyone behind, literally more than symbolically.

But the Republicans will have none of that. They'd like everything to stay the way it is. (Sound familiar?) As the Bush administration continues to be one of "if it's broken, pretend like it ain't."

“Throughout our schools and communities, the American people have a very strong sense that the No Child Left Behind Act is not fair. That it is not flexible. And that it is not funded. And they are not wrong.” said Miller. And Republicans say any attempt to change the bill will ruin the reauthorization.

Now you're saying something! Throw out NCLB. It's a stupid law and it doesn't work. All it does is force schools to fudge test results, force teachers to teach to state tests rather than teach a wide and creative curriculum, and it drags kids up grade by grade who aren't ready. If you finish second grade, but you can't read, you need to go do second grade again. If you're old enough to be a camp counselor, and you can't spell camp counselor, somewhere along the way, you got left behind.

Assuming you weren't left behind, read on.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Ok, Time for some Foofaraw

In case you're just tuning in:

Foofaraw -- n. a great fuss or disturbance about something very insignificant

Here we go:

I can't help feeling today like I was "that guy" on the train and, worse, "that guy" on the Subway and in the Subway station. You know, that guy who schleps on a ton of luggage, takes up extra seats, clogs up the turnstiles, stops at the bottom of the stairs to pick up his inordinately heavy bag. You know, that guy. Normally, I hate that guy. But today, I was that guy.

See, I'm moving on Saturday but my lease starts today, so I schlepped in a suitcase and an air mattress for my first night in the new apartment. But that meant commuting in with all that stuff. And it meant getting slightly stuck in a subway turnstile, taking up an extra seat or general area in the subway car, then pausing ever so slightly to pick up my inordinately heavy rolling suitcase to climb up the stairs.

So if I held you up today by being that guy, I'm sorry. I'm fully aware of my transgression, but it was unavoidable. Oh what's the difference, you're not reading this anyway...


Looking for somebody, anybody, who either has used or knows someone who has used or bought HeadOn. Did you apply directly to the forehead? Did it work? I have to know.

Then again, I could watch the commercials over and over until I give myself a headache and try it for myself.

Today my co-worker told me that male sharks have two penises, and nobody knows exactly why.


The following is a transcript of the monologue from what I think might be the most overlooked commercial ever:

(internal monologue) wait a minute!
This feels all wrong. Just because they're doing it doesn't mean I have to.
Why eat a hamburger made from frozen beef? It'll be all dry!
Instead of fresh. And juicy.
Frozen hamburger? This is ridiculous!

(out loud) I deserve a hot...juicy burger.
That's right, you heard me! I deserve a hot juicy burger.
And not because I can tear a phone book with my bare hands! No!
I deserve a hot juicy burger because I have a mouth, and it wants one.
And so do you.

And so do you!

Hot juicy burger!

Hot juicy burger!

Hot juicy burger!

Hot juicy burger!