30 July 2004


I'm shutting down all blog activities until August 9.  I am bound for Europe, spending four days each in Barcelona and London.

Catch ya when I get back from the other side of the pond!

Meow indeed

I have a cat, and I have wondered in the past what it would say to me if it had the chance, just one sentence.

I had Dexter declawed and "fixed" when I got him, since he was destined to be an indoor cat.  He now lives with two female cats, and there have been many times that I have seen him looking out the windows to the trees in the backyard, wishing he could go out there and help himself to a snack. 

So Dexter lives a life of quiet desperation, unable to romance his two roomies and unable to act on his predatory instincts.

There are times when he will sit in my vicinity and eyeball me, expressionless.  No matter what I do, his gaze stays upon me, and I have imagined many times what he would say to me then if he could.

I think it would be "You did this to me, made me less of a cat, denying me a life of pleasure; I shall avenge myself someday, when you are not looking, by doing vile things inside your box of Grape Nuts."

99% of the time Dex and I get along fine, of course.  He's well fed, lives in relative comfort and gets to do whatever he pleases, except reproduce and rip birds to shreds.  He deals with it.

Easter in July

Were I one who had mastered the art of including digital photos in this blog, you'd be looking at a rabbit that I saw in my backyard yesterday.  It was the size of Manitoba.  I thought it was a donkey when I first saw it.

I read something not long ago that 2003 was the Year of the Rabbit in the Chinese calendar.  I think they were off by a year.  Rabbits are everywhere this summer.  My mother plants a large amount of flowers and plants in her yard every year, and this is the only time I can recall seeing so much of her work devoured.  There is a chain link fence that separates the back yard from the parking spots by the garage here, and Mom planted some multi-stemmed flowers along it.  Today, it looks like she planted chopsticks for there is nothing left of those plants except the stems.

I discovered that we had a rabbit's nest (or is it den? lair? boudoir?) in the front yard early in June and carefully avoided it when cutting the lawn for the rest of it's time.  The baby rabbits (rabbitlings?  I kind of like that) are long gone now, though I'm sure that they have been helping themselves to the greenery we have provided them.

The "donkey rabbit" that I saw yesterday truly amazed me.  It didn't hop, it waddled.  I watched it wander over towards the garage where there are large hostas planted in front and saw as it casually reached over and ripped a whole stalk out with its mouth and inhaled it.  The thing was gone in two seconds.

I don't mind the rabbits, really.  When I was a kid they were a rare sight.  This year it is rare not to see one every time I am outside.

But if they ever decide to organize, we're all in big trouble. 

29 July 2004

Nailed it

All I will say about John Kerry's acceptance speech tonight is that he established himself as very different from President Bush, so whatever your preference, at least there will be a clear choice for all come November.

Kerry spoke well.  I thought he might stumble a little as I have seen him do so in the past.  I loved the level of speeches at this convention: Clinton, Obama, Edwards and Kerry.  The democrats did a fine job of running a positive convention.

So now we wait a few weeks, until the GOP gathers in NYC.  Despite my obvious preference for the democratic way, I will watch with interest what the republicans have to say when it is their turn.  I do not expect them to avoid the negativity like what I just saw in Boston.  I hope they prove me wrong.  I'd love to see an American presidential campaign that focused on accomplishments rather than slime.

26 July 2004

Send me!

I'm really not much of a fan of political conventions.  I don't see their point when the fact is each party has a rock-solid nominee before the convention anyway.  I've read about conventions back in the earlier parts of the 20th century, when there was doubt over who the nominee would be, and I sensed it to be very dramatic.  I don't think I've seen anything in any convention in my lifetime that I would define as dramatic.

However, I did see Bill Clinton's speech tonight, and I can say that I don't remember a more perfect presentation of the differences between the two main parties in America.  I loved the speech; I'm sure I will see and hear plenty of conservative pundits trash it tomorrow.  Like it or hate it, you cannot have seen that speech and not admit that Bill Clinton is one of the finest public speakers alive today.

And that may not be a good thing for the Democrats.  There will be a huge amount of pressure on John Kerry Thursday night when he gives his nomination acceptance speech.  He could easily be overshadowed by Clinton's speech tonight if he does not do as well. 

There was a point in Clinton's speech where he mentioned how he has benefited from the tax cuts of the Bush White House, and how he found it ironic that for all the trouble the Republicans caused him when he was President, they helped him as soon as he left.  He was being satirical, of course, but as he made his point I could not help but think that Clinton could actually be doing Kerry a disservice by giving such a great speech. 

And it was exceptional.  I hope come Thursday I can say that it was the second-best of the convention.

24 July 2004

...and I know what's happenin'

Superhero time!  What boy doesn't spend most of his childhood dreaming of what he would do for humanity if he only had unlimited powers?  Well, me, for one, but now that I am grown and have time to think about it, all you have to do is ask.

I would enter into legend as "Matrimony Man."  Some would say that Jennifer Lopez has beaten me to that, but it's not what you think.  There was a time in my life when I had a tendency to be the next-to-last man a woman dated before she married, meaning that as soon as she and I were through, she'd meet the man of her dreams.  I can first recall this happening in college, and it went on through most of the last decade.  The time we spent together was irrelevant; all you had to do is go out with me once, then WHAM!, prepare to be dazzled-by whoever came along next.

Sometimes I think it would have been the right thing to do to try to actively seek out those distraught about the lack of companionship.  I can picture the scenario-it's a Friday night, and Ms. Smith sighs as she looks out her window, wondering when, if ever, she is going to meet "the one."  My nuptials sense tingles, I sprint into action with a bouquet of roses and reservations to the sleekest joint in town.  Next thing you know, Ms. Smith has a rock on her finger and is picking out a dress, but I am far away, waiting for my next call.

Who needs a marriage amendment anyway?

I am soon to be married myself, so "Matrimony Man" has seen his time come and go.  But it was a great run while it lasted.  Can superheroes consult?

23 July 2004

I have the touch

That was quick-the billboards I mentioned just seven or so hours ago are gone.

Anybody want something else done before the magic disappears? 

Just a moment...

Pardon me for just a sec, I need to clear my throat...ahem...ahem...ahem...

OK, I am ready:



A special visit

Last night just before 7 PM I was a few miles northeast of O'Hare airport, on my way to my fiance's house, when I noticed three helicopters traveling towards the airport.  This morning while reading the paper I discovered that one of these copters was shuttling the President to the airport after he appeared at a suburban rally.

Well, I thought, this certainly explains what happened as the helicopters passed over the highway...


As I noticed the helicopters approaching, I felt a sudden urge to pull over to the side of the road.  All the other cars did they same, and soon everyone was outside of their vehicles, standing on the road, looking up at the copters, which had slowed down as they crossed the plane of the highway. 

And then, suddenly, from the last helicopter, a steady stream of a greenish-brown substance fell from its open door.  Barrels and barrels of the stuff fell from the sky, and it landed with a splatteing THUMP!  Some people on the ground reacted with horror and got back into their cars to escape the deluge, but others reacted with excitement and positioned themselves so that the stuff covered them from head to toe.  Excitedly, they rubbed it fully into themselves, and helped others cover themselves with it as well.  Soon there were a large group of people standing in the road covered with the stuff falling from the skies, enthralled with their luck, chastising the people who had fled back to their cars.

Myself, I stood a few feet from my car, lucky enough to avoid the cascade, but close enough to see it, and more importantly, smell it.  The stench was easily detectable, we were being bombarded by bullshit.

I looked up and could see into the helicopter.  I could see a former Governor of Texas, a uniter, not a divider, a champion of "compassion", leaning over outside of the copter.  The stream falling onto the people in the road came straight out of his mouth.  It was all over in a few minutes.  As he sat back up into the helicopter he grabbed a megaphone and spoke to the people below:

"Don't worry," he said "there's plenty more where that came from."


Was it ever?


My mind is all over the place today...

Last week when I had the pleasure of spending 1500 miles on Interstates I noticed a lot of billboards that needed some attention.  There seems to be a profound shortage of skilled workers to change billboards in the Ohio Valley, especially those that trump candidates for primary elections that have already been held.  Almost as surprising where the amount of billboards under construction that I saw, assuming that all those implanted metal tubes I saw sprouting out of the ground are going to be billboards someday.

Just about everyday I travel on a highway out here in suburban Chicago and I pass several billboards that are no longer relevant.  Two particularly annoy me: a truly creepy ad for the TNT version of "Salem's Lot" which aired on June 20, that features a black background with a crucifix containing Rob Lowe's face.  And lucky for us, the billboard is faced on both sides, which means I get to see it in my rear view mirror right after I cringe seeing it in front of me.  I cringe partly because it's creepy, and partly because it gives me the thought of Rob Lowe as a serious actor.  The second billboard advertises a religious crusade that took place at the United Center June 17-18 with some evangelical dude named Benny Hinn, whom I had never heard of before I saw this.  Apparently Mr. Hinn fancies white suits, which to me makes him look a lot like Steve Martin in the 1970's.  Given the possibilities that the average human might misconstrue the content of this billboard as they speed past it at 70 MPH, I wonder how many people were excited at the possibility of Steve Martin, or perhaps Benny Hill, playing two nights at the UC?


I just finished watching two hours of "Scrubs" that I taped on NBC last night.  Why isn't NBC doing anything to advertise this show?  I saw a few lame previews for "Joey" during this time, and it looks dumb, sorry to say.  I never thought much of "Friends" for the five years it was on, and I can't remember the last time I watched a sitcom that had some intelligence that made me laugh, except for "Scrubs."  So why isn't this show going to be on Thursday at 7 this fall?  I might be wrong, but I don't even think it's going to be on Thursday at all.  If I was running NBC (and anyone connected with a reality show there, yes even Donald Trump, should thank God I'm not) I'd have that show on 12 times a week.  If it works for "Fear Factor" it ought to work for "Scrubs."

And contrary to popular opinion, I am not related to Zach Braff.

21 July 2004

Belated thanks

I was whining last week about not being linked when the Technocrati craze began, and pretty much begged someone to link me.

I left for my trip afterwards and did not get around to thanking jcgeorgiapeach and Albert for their kind remarks.

And I owe big time thanks to Donah42 and Anita for writing an entry about my journal in their own journals.

You all made my day.  Thanks again!

20 July 2004

Good night, Chicago

I'm done.

Yep, you heard me, I'm done, finito, it's over, I can't take it anymore.

Today, July 20, 2004 at 9:07 PM, I hereby declare this:

I can't take being a Cubs' fan anymore.

I just spent the better part of a week traveling to a few cities to watch baseball games that have had no bearing on my sanity, and I enjoyed myself immensely.  Since my return, I have watched two Cubs-Cardinals games and frankly, I am amazed that I still have a television set.

Before I continue, let me say to those who live approximately 45 minutes northwest of St. Louis this: congratulations, you're going to the playoffs.  The NL Central race is over, the Cardinals will win it. 

I think it is safe to say something like that when a team is up by nine games in late July.  It would take a monumental collapse to blow such a lead.  So good for St. Louis.  They've played out of their minds.  I don't want to talk about them again until the playoffs.

Now that I've made nice, back to my dilemma.

Last night and today I watched the Cubs drop back-to-back games to St. Louis that they should have won.  Today's game was especially ugly as they blew a 7-1 second inning lead and lost 11-8.  They now trail the Cardinals by 10 games.  It's not even relevant to mention that deficit anymore.  There's no way the Cubs are going to repeat as central division champs.

I've followed this team for 35 years.  I can handle losing, hell, I've done it for most of my life.  I'm used to them losing games that they should have won.  I'm used to them wasting opportunities.  It's been part of my life.

I can list reasons for them not winning this year, and I'd sound like I was making excuses, so I won't, except for the amount of injuries they've had.  And while I have been disappointed a lot this season, up until today I still remained hopeful.

My feelings about this particular team have changed a lot these last two games.  They aren't mentally with it, they have been ragging on the umpires way too much, and they have reduced themselves to pointing fingers and jawing way too much with the other team.

They need to shut up and play the game.  The manager and coaches need to shut the door and do a little yelling.  And everyone involved needs to remember that they make an exceptional living playing a game.

Am I absolving myself of my allegiance to this team?  Not bloody likely.  However, I am taking a break.  I leave for Europe a week from Friday and will be gone a week and a half.  That means if I go cold turkey now, I can take almost a three week break from the Cubs.

So I'm done.  For now.  I swear.  I will not watch or listen to any games until Monday, August 9 at the earliest.  I will not read about them in the sports section.  I will not watch highlights on ESPN.  I need to flush this contempt from my system and concentrate on other things. 

There's always a chance that the Cubs will turn it around and make a run at the wild card.  And the last two teams that won the World Seriers, Florida and Anaheim, were wild card teams.

Let me be surprised when I come back from Europe.  I declare a moratorium on all things Cubs.

19 July 2004

Road trip to a happy doomsday

I'm wrapping up my baseball trip, spending the night at my sister's home near St. Louis.  My nephew and I drove here today from Pittsburgh.

I really enjoyed visiting Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, cities I had never been to before, and would consider living there someday (especially Pittsburgh).  Both places have new ballparks, and while we liked Great American in Cincy, PNC Park in Pittsburgh is the best of the "new" parks that I have seen in person so far.  I'm a sucker for tradition, so I can't say that PNC places higher than Wrigley Field or Fenway Park, but the Pirates play in a great modern stadium.  We will go back to Pittsburgh.

I have to pass on two short things we encountered on our trip: first, as we pulled into Cincinnati I was scanning the FM radio dial and came across an advertisement for a show coming on the station at 88.3 that billed itself as playing the "finest in science fiction folk music."  We kept it on long enough to hear a folk song (lots of acoustic guitar and a "happy" feeling about it) about the comet that wiped out the dinosaurs (yes, I know it was an asteroid, but the song called it a comment) and how they might have survived if they had heeded the warnings of an astronomically learned tortoise.  I am not making this up.  For the rest of our lives, my nephew and I will bond over these lines:

"There's a comet hurtling out of the sky/And when it hits we're all gonna die!"

"There'll be nowhere to run, no time to be a hero/and only the roaches will survive ground zero"

The next day, as we were driving towards Columbus on our way to Pennsylvania, I noticed a van in the right lane in front of us that continually swerved onto the shoulder.  As I nervously passed this van, I saw that the reason the driver kept swerving was due to the fact that he was trying to play a guitar as he was driving. 

I could not see his mouth moving, so I can only assume he was not singing about dinosaur-killing comets.

An evil picture

To my surprise, the kind folks at AOL music have featured me on their "music talk" page.  They asked me to send them a picture a few weeks ago, so I knew that I was being considered, but I had assumed that they had chosen someone else.

So it was a pleasant surprise to receive notification yesterday morning that I was on the page.  Originally they had my picture linked to the wrong journal, but it has been fixed now.  I am thankful and honored to have this exposure.

That's a brutal picture of me though.  I look like I'm plotting world domination.

14 July 2004

We interrupt this journal

My nephew and I are hitting the road tomorrow for some baseball.  We'll be in Cincinnati Thursday for a Cardinals-Reds game, then in Pittsburgh Saturday for a Marlins-Pirates game.  I'm looking forward to it; I haven't been on a road trip for a while.

So I'm taking a break from normal blogging activities for a while.  I may update from the road if I get the inspiration, if something happens out there worth sharing.

And yes, I am going to a Cardinals game tomorrow.  My nephew crossed over to the dark side five years ago, and since this trip is for his high school graduation, I'm indulging him.  Call me Uncle Sap.  And go Reds.

13 July 2004

Those who can't, coach

Mike Ditka said something once that is quoted often around Chicago:

"Living in the past is for losers and cowards."

I agree.  I'm not sure what context Ditka said it in, but I assume it had something to do with football, and probably the 1985 Chicago Bears, who went 18-1 and were Super Bowl champions.  In all my time as a Chicago sports fan (and as someone who feels rather in tune with sports in general in this country), I've never seen a city go as nuts over a winner as Chicago did for that Bears team. 

As we approach 20 years since that team's dream season, there are still plenty of fans in the city who pine for that team every time something goes wrong with the Bears.  And believe me, there's plenty that has gone wrong with that team since then.  There's a significant amount of die hard Bears fans that worship at the throne of 1985 way too much.  A big part of worship is towards the coach of that team, Mike Ditka.  He's revered.  He wasn't a bad coach, but he certainly wasn't as great as he is made out to be.  His ego was huge, as big as any player's, and despite having a deep and talented team for much of the remainder of his tenure in Chicago, the Bears never made it back to the Super Bowl again.

The media here fed the hype of course.  I stopped following the Bears religiously in the late 80's, when the ten o'clock news would make their pre-season games their lead story.  I just had my fill of it.  I guess I would prefer that they do well, but I already know what it fills like to have been a fan and see them win it all, you know, so it doesn't matter to me much anymore. 

There is a ridiculous movement afoot to have Ditka placed on the ticket as the GOP candidate for Senate in Illinois to replace Jack "I swear there's nothing embarrassing in there" Ryan.  Ditka at first downplayed it, but he's reportedly warming to the idea. 

Seems like I say this a lot lately, but you've got to be kidding me.

It makes no difference to me that Ditka is a Republican.  He's not qualified to run for the Senate under any party.  If he were running as a democrat, I wouldn't vote for him.  No way.  He has to know that if he is being taken seriously as a candidate, it is solely based upon his legacy as the only man to coach the beloved Bears to a Super Bowl championship.  Besides, he has a well documented history of gambling, which seems to be taboo in politics these days (thank you, William Bennet).  I don't agree with the right of the media to filet every portion of a candidate's personal life, but what is the GOP thinking?  Surely there's stuff in Ditka's past that would make Ryan look like an altar boy.

If Ditka does run, he is violating his own rule and living in the past.  Which makes him a loser.

Let's only hope the people of Illinois don't join him in that category be electing him.

UPDATE (7/14 10 PM): Ditka announced tonight that he is not going to run.  Watching him as he made his announcement, I am convinced he never seriously considered it.  He just liked all the attention he was getting.

Movin' on up

As I have grown older I have come to terms with the fact that people die, and that there are a whole bunch of people out there that will live their lives with me never knowing them, and them never knowing me.  Still, every once in a while someone I don't know dies, and when I hear about it, it makes me a little sad to know that person is gone.

Case in point: Isabel Sanford

I grew up watching "The Jeffersons" and thought it was an average show, but I loved watching Louise kick George's tail (mostly verbally) almost every episode.  Maybe I have a thing for strong women in sitcoms.  I don't know.  Maybe I'm just a little bit strange.

Or maybe it's the name.  To my knowledge I can only think of three people that I have ever heard with the name "Isabel."  One is a family friend who is the type of person that I remember always treating me like an adult when I was a child, very genuine and kind.  Another was one of my second grade teachers who was about as even-keeled an educator as I have ever encountered.  And the third was the woman who played "Weezie."

Movin' on up, indeed. 

They just make it too easy

You know, every day, when I think about what I might like to write about, I always come back to the "regulars."  I ask myself these questions: 1) What have the Cubs been doing lately? 2) Did something really moronic happen to me recently? 3) Any good stuff in the news?

And the question that I ask that I always have a "yes" answer to (so it seems):

"Did the President and/or the GOP do or say anything dumb today?"

I think I harp on politics a bit too much, perhaps, but it is an election year and there is so much out there to digest and convey. 

(So get on with it!)

President Bush is the first President since 1930 to decline an invite to speak at the NAACP convention.

Bush received 9% of votes cast by African-Americans in 2000, and he lost the popular vote.  One would think that as a follow up to such a close election that he would be doing everything he could to keep every vote he received.  By snubbing the NAACP, he ensures himself of losing some of that 9%.  Granted, 9% may not be much, but it's something.  I'm sure Al Gore would have liked to have 9% more of the votes in Florida, or 9% more electoral votes.  You get the idea...

This man is so arrogant.  Not only does he refuse to speak at the convention, he makes petty comments about how he has a "non-relationship" with NAACP leadership and whines about "the names they have called me."  What is he afraid of?  What happened to being a "uniter, not a divider"? 

(Side note: "uniter" isn't even a word, at least not on my spell check, nor in the dictionary I just referenced.  So Bush was using a "non-word" in his catch phrase of the 2000 election.  That is so GW!)

I'm happy when I read things like this, solely because I see another window of opportunity to get this man out of office and back to his ranch.  It infuriates me that he propagates the underlying feelings that the GOP couldn't care less about minority issues.  They build more walls with each passing day.

Someone recently sent me a chain email that began with a note that the death toll in Iraq last month was about even with the homicide rate in Detroit, that the situation in Iraq "wasn't that bad" because there was almost as much killing in an American city as there was in the war.  It then went on about how this war is no different from wars fought during Democratic administrations-total partisan BS where historical facts are twisted to prove a supposed point.  But I was struck at just how truly idiotic it is to make a comparison between Iraq and Detroit.  We should be much more concerned about those that are killed in the streets of our cities, yet this administration ignores it, focusing instead on what is happening half a world away, and I can't help but wonder if it is because, on average, most of those killed in Detroit were minorities.  What if it were Beverly Hills instead of the Motor City?

I make a dangerous assumption there, but I live outside of Chicago, and the homicide rate here reflects that unfortunate trend as well.  Too many people die at the hand of violence in the inner cities.

Maybe GW is afraid someone at the NAACP is going to ask him why he is so hell bent on "fighting terror" overseas when he chooses to ignore a lot of the "terror" that goes on in his own country.

John Kerry is going to address the NAACP on the last day of the convention this week.  I will be waiting to see what he says and will offer my opinions on that as well. 


12 July 2004

So who's it gonna be?

I've seen a few entries the last few days about the ranking of the top 100 journals.  I'm confused as to what this means, if it means people have to link your journal in one of their entries, or if they have your journal listed in the "other journal" column on their main journal page.

So I did a little exploring, and while I was not surprised that my journal does not appear on the list (I haven't been doing this as long as most others have) I was kind of surprised to see that I haven't been linked once.  Ouch.  Not that I am taking that personally, of course.  Still, recognition is nice.  I get a fair amount of comments on my journal, which I appreciate.

I write this journal for me, to keep my desire to write going, in the hope that it makes me better and helps me decide what I want to do with the rest of my life.  The best thing about this is that it has helped me develop a routine, where I feel like I have to continually work on being prolific and effective.  The fact that others might read it is an extra.

But I am going to make a shameless plug: won't someone please link me, just once?

Currently (still) at "zero blogs, zero links."

10 July 2004

The trampling of the idiots

Ernest Hemingway's "The Sun Also Rises" is my favorite book of all time.  I first read it in high school and have read it many times more since.  Later this month I am going to Spain for the first time in my life, and when there I will close my eyes and imagine that I am Jake (minus a certain war wound), sitting in a cafe with a drink, worrying most about where I am going to eat dinner that night.

I thought about trying to go to Pamplona sometime (I am going to Barcelona on this trip) for the summer festival, but even if I did, I wouldn't go anywhere near a bull.  I've never understood the allure of running down a narrow cobblestone street with a pack of angry steer each equipped with sharp, skin-piercing appendages racing towards me. 

The comic strip "Pearls Before Swine" summed it all up last week. 

I would have to be severly inebriated to even think about running with the bulls, and then I hope that there are officials there making sure that anyone who has celebrated too much doesn't get anywhere near the street.  I would want to attend a bullfight though, just to experience that tradition once.  And I think that the world's largest tomato fight occurs in Spain around this time as well.  I wouldn't mind participating in that sometime.

Now I must shove it along, old sport.  What rot!

In the mood for food

I'm hip to Japanese poetry.  Therefore I offer the following:

A shout for the Stout

'Tis good for you, Irish say

Brilliant!  That's Guinness 

Or perhaps:

Ruffles have ridges

But not a funky straight can

God Bless the Pringle

And since we owe all this to the Japanese:

Turn rice into wine

You can drink with wasabi

And call it saki



09 July 2004

What goes up must come down

I am not surprised that John Kerry chose John Edwards as his running mate.  It makes the most sense: Edwards was the second most preferred of the democratic presidential nominees, he's from the South, and he is personable.

And I am also not surprised that Kerry chose Edwards despite making repeated comments during the primary campaign that Edwards wasn't qualified to be president.  I suppose you could look at that and determine that truly to be a "flip-flop".  It just further demonstrates that a politician will say anything he thinks he needs to get elected.  Now that Kerry is the nominee, he can say that Edwards is the second best qualified man to be President.  Doesn't do much for credibility, but there you go.

HUZZAH!  Did I finally just say something negative about a Democrat?  I think I did!  Judges?

The running mates will now become an interesting sidebar for the remainder of the campaign.  The first thing to realize and accept is that there is no way Bush will dump Cheney.  GW's daddy will spank him if he even thinks about it.  Remember, this president does not make mistakes, and dumping Cheney would be admitting to a mistake.  Besides, I seriously doubt John McCain wants anything to do with this administration.  McCain just wants to represent Arizona until he decides to retire, so that is why he gives an appearance of support to Bush.  That's a shame.  A guy like McCain needs to be in the White House.  I will never understand how the GOP voters of 2000 decided that Bush was a better choice than McCain.  It has to drive McCain nuts.

I've heard two themes repeated over and over by the Republicans since Kerry named Edwards: Cheney is presidential while Edwards is not qualified, and Edwards, as a lawyer, represents everything that is wrong with the legal system.  Regarding the latter statement, I would think that eventually the Bush team would not want to compare standards of ethics when it comes to running mates.  Admittedly, I do not have the sufficient knowledge (yet) of Edwards' legal career to comment on whether or not he is a shrike, but I would be stunned if his record has the "conflict of interest" stench that Cheney's does.  The fact that Cheney has refused to distance himself from Halliburton since he became vice-president, along with the enormous amount of business the company has received from the government since 2000, leaves me aching for the Edwards-Cheney debates.  I can only hope that the Kerry-Edwards campaign will make Halliburton an issue.

And of course, I am amused by the comments by the president that Cheney can be president while Edwards is not qualified.  I am assuming that GW is referring to the fact that Cheney has held many positions in Washington, while Edwards' political experience consists solely of one six-year term as Senator from North Carolina. 

It's not like we have ever seen a president elected on the basis of his experience in politics consisting of only one prior position, held for six years, like say, being governor of Texas, right?

(George W. Bush, governor of Texas 1994-2000, his only elected position.  YEEHAW!!!)

One assumes maybe that John Edwards' father did not spend any time in Washington.

Speaking of fathers and Washington, anyone remember the last time there was serious "he isn't qualified" rhetoric directed towards a running mate?  Dan Quayle (gone but not forgotten) in 1988, running mate of one George HW Bush.  One assumes that the yet-to-be enamored in politics George W. Bush felt his father's VP choice was more than qualified back then.  Can you imagine how Junior felt back then, seeing Dan Quayle a heartbeat from the presidency? 

This is indeed what I love most about politics, the fact that no matter how much spinning is done, eventually when you are able to get through all the muck, you find things that make fine people like GW look like fools.  I'm sure that they don't figure on this when speeches are written and appearances are planned.  No politician gives much of their electorate credit for intelligence or believes that they can put pieces together and determine that things don't quite fit.


The state of baseball

I'm thinking that it would be a good idea to devote an entry every Friday to baseball.  Two weeks ago, in anticipation of the first Cubs-Sox series of the season, I said that the only reason I want the Cubs to beat the Sox is because the Cubs were chasing the Cardinals in the NL Central.  St. Louis was playing Kansas City that weekend, and I mentioned that I was just as much a Royals fan that weekend as a Cubs fan.

The Sox beat the Cubs two out of three, and the Cardinals swept three from the Royals.  So much for passive aggression.

Last Friday before the Cubs and Sox started a series at Wrigley, I contemplated writing about it but decided not to, and it's a good thing I didn't, because everything I would have mentioned would have been wrong.  For example, I would have mentioned how the Sox can hit.  They scored 5 runs in three games at Wrigley.  I would have mentioned how the Sox seem to have the Cubs number these last few years; the Cubs won all three games last weekend.  No complaints, of course, except that they gained absolutely no ground on St. Louis, who won all three games against Seattle.

As it stands, the Cubs start a three game series in St. Louis tonight, and they trail the Cards by six games.  Baseball lore says that most of the time, teams that lead their division on July 4 go on to win the division that season.  Six games is not a huge deficit to make up, especially when you can make up three games in a hurry this weekend, but it is also worth noting that when the Cubs won the NL Central last year, they were never six games behind.

Of course, the Cubs could wake up Monday morning nine games out of first if things go horribly wrong this weekend.  The teams are 7-7 against each other this season, with only two games left in Wrigley later this month after this weekend (and if that is not the dumbest scheduling decision, to have these rivals not play in August or September, then what is?  Do you think the Red Sox and Yankees don't play in September?  I think they play seven times the last ten days of the season). 

I said it at the beginning of the year, and I will say it again now halfway through: the Cubs biggest rival is St. Louis, no matter what the average White Sox fan says.  At the beginning of the year I recounted a few instances where I felt a cardinal was taunting me (here and here) , whether soiling the finish of my car or trying to break through a window.  I haven't seen too many cardinals lately, probably because they are too far ahead of me. 

Let's hope after this weekend they are a little bit closer.

08 July 2004

A message from Tom Ridge


I'm sure that this has nothing, repeat nothing, to do with the bump in the polls that John Kerry has seen since he named John Edwards his running mate.

It's going to be a long, fear-factored summer, folks.

More later, when I stop laughing.