October 28, 2004

Civic Duty

Janet and I voted today. You see, in NC, you can vote absentee before the election. We decided to get it over with. Unfortunately, we had to wait about an hour in line, but then I got my ballot and went to town. I even gave Janet a write in vote for a spot on the Wake County Soil & Water Conservation Board. She got a kick out of that. For the other stuff, I pretty much voted for the people listed, sometimes basing my vote on whose commercials I liked better, if I hadn't had the chance to do any real research. I did keep track of my Senate candidates though, and went with Richard Burr. Check out Erskine Bowles' glasses. I just couldn't vote for someone with goggles like that.

Anyhow, another thing I found in my research is that I might be a Libertarian, except on the drugs thing...they should still be illegal. I need to do some more checking, but I'll keep you posted.

October 27, 2004

Everyday Blogger

This is my post for the day. Oh, and DiamondCam was free for the whole game tonight on MLB.com, and during one of the commercials just before the game started, you could hear Joe Buck talking to people on the set. Then he started talking in a funny voice. I wish they skipped commercials on TV, and we got to see the Joe Buck comedy tour instead.

October 26, 2004

Of St. Louis Right Fielders

So they talked to some of Larry Walker's family today during the World Series. He has brothers named Kerry, Garry, and Barry. Unbelieveable parenting, that is.

October 25, 2004

Gator Gone

The University of Florida fired their football coach today. Ron Zook has compiled a 20-13 record in three years at the helm, but that is hardly up to the standards of the Gators in the preceding years coached by Steve Spurrier and his Fun'n'Gun offenses. I'm not here to debate whether or not Ron Zook deserved to lose his job following an upset loss to Mississippi State, or even if he deserved the job in the first place after Spurrier left for the Washington Redskins. What I do question is the timing of this announcement. It's one thing to fire a coach after a disappointing season, but it's quite another to make the announcement immediately following a midseason loss. How is it possibly better to make the announcement now, rather than wait until the last game has been played? It's unlikely the University will begin its search any sooner. In all likelihood, the next Gator coach is coaching somewhere else right now in Division I-A, so he's not available for interviews until at least January. As it is now, Zook and his staff will finish out the year and then be replaced by a yet unnamed coach. The only way this makes sense to me is if somehow it speeds up the hiring process at Florida, thus giving the new coach more time with the current players before next season and more time to spend on recruiting this spring, as the new coach both needs to build for the future as well as convince all the current players and new signees to stay at Florida. If firing Zook doesn't accomplish all that, then I feel the University of Florida made a group of men lame ducks for nothing.

October 24, 2004

Sunday Conversation

A few sporting related thoughts for a Sunday evening:

First, the Red Sox big win over the New York Yankers last week reminded me of some wrestling experiences I’ve had. Of course, the analogy isn’t perfect, but the anticlimactic last game is similar to some tournament finals matches I’ve had in my career that have had the same anticlimactic finish. At the beginning of the day you look at the bracket sheet and see the top two seeds on the opposite sides of the tournament on a collision course for the finals. The day progresses and it becomes obvious that no one else is going to challenge the two best guys until they meet in the finals. Then, when they finally meet, one of the guys scores a few points early, and the final result is never in doubt after the first period. Granted, there’s still the possibility of a comeback, but said comeback never materializes. Maybe it’s not as exciting as it could have been, but the winner’s fans can relax, and I doubt the victor feels like he’s lost out on anything.

Second, I was thinking today about a mental approach to wrestling matches. Everybody is different in this respect. Some guys need to be really relaxed and focused. Others have to get themselves worked up into a good lather. Still others are best when they aren’t really thinking about wrestling until they strip off their warm-ups and head out on the mat. I think one of the more important jobs a coach is to determine the best way to get each of his wrestlers ready for his match. Maybe he gives some last minute instructions about what to watch for or what to remember, or maybe he doesn’t say a word, knowing that’s the best thing for his wrestler. It’s important because the mental approach to a match is so crucial. The match is so short that you can’t afford to come out flat, and you don’t have any teammates out there to pick you up. I’ve seen the mental aspect of the sport derail wrestlers with a lot of talent and athletic ability. These are guys that look like national champions in practice, but they just can’t get it together when it they’re keeping score. It happens for a lot of reasons, but they’re all mental ones, since the physical ability is obviously there. An effective coach would focus on determining what causes the anxiety or whatever causes the problem, and then he would try to do what he could to fix the problem. I just feel like this is an important, yet often overlooked, part of coaching, and if I ever interview for a coaching job, I’m definitely bringing it up.

October 21, 2004

Of Course

Amy Hall . . . Still the coolest

Live from Raleigh, it's Game Seven

Here it is, my running diary of game 7 in the Bronx. This one's for Squeeze, wherever he is.

8:23 - Rocky music playing as Joe Buck gives the requisite schlocky Fox introduction that I’m sure Vikki loved.

8:25 – Does anyone know Tim McCarver’s real hair color?

8:30 – And we’re under way. Let’s hope Johnny Damon’s haircut and beard trim doesn’t sap his strength, Samson style.

8:36 – I think Manny Ortez is up.

8:40 – Big Papiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!

8:46 – Just for the record, Derek Lowe scares the heck out of Janet and me.

9:00 – Don’t want to jinx it, but it doesn’t look like Brown has it tonight.

9:07 – And it’s the showers for Kevin Brown, who has had a series to forget. He’s the Skin of ALCS pitchers.

9:10 – I think it’s safe to say Johnny Damon should go shave his head right now, since the haircut has done him good. His new nickname is “Slammy.”

9:33 – I’m sure Terry Francona wants to get to the World Series as much as any of them, but it is keeping him from his usual job as David Letterman’s band leader.

9:46 – How many former ballplayers do you think would be better announcers than Tim McCarver? 300? 400?

9:52 – Slammy goes yard again. 8-1 Sox. Janet’s catatonic right now.

9:59 – It’s the top of the fourth, and the Yankees have already burned through $25 million worth of pitchers.

10:00 – You’re risking a patient’s life!!!

10:15 – We’re through four, and Derek Lowe is looking frisky, if I do say so myself.

10:20 – Mueller just kicked the ball into short right field on a grounder by Slammy. This kind of good fortune is supposed to happen to the Yankees, not the Sox.

10:23 – The Sox have now squandered both a bases loaded with one out and a second and third with one out, yet they still lead by seven runs. Of course, I’m sure the Sons of Sam Horn message board is buzzing with doom and gloom.

10:36 – By the way, Janet thinks Jeanne Zelasko is ugly.

10:40 – You’d never know it listening to the announcers, but Derek Jeter is having a seriously crappy series. His plate discipline is awful and his fielding is its usual atrocious self.

10:55 – Stretch time in New York. Ok, I’ll say it; Ronan Tynan walks like a duck. The guys in the St. Louis-Houston game sounded way better, and they didn’t look like a heart attack waiting to happen.

11:00 – Pedro comes in to pitch on one day of rest. Is this a reverse Grady Little or what? Why couldn’t Lowe keep working on his one hitter? This better work out.

11:10 – This is one nerve wracking 7th inning. Francona only knows why Pedro is in this game, but we’ll let it slide on two conditions: 1) Only one inning for Pedro, and 2) Pedro keeps tossing mid-90’s heaters.

11:12 – And Pedro gets out of it. Somebody sit him down until the World Series.

11:15 – Mark Bellhorn! Whooooooooooooo!!!! I’m usually in bed an hour and a half ago.

11:17 – Is there such a thing as a good mustache? Can I get a ruling here?

11:21 – All right, I admit I’m intrigued by National Treasure.

11:26 – We’re approaching Greg Norman territory here.

11:30 – Three More Outs! Three More Outs!

11:47 – The Sox tack on an insurance run as Red Sox Nation starts to realize what’s going on here. They aren’t going to blow this one, are they?

11:52 – Yankee fans are the worst, aren’t they? Ok, so they’re losing, but do they need to throw stuff on the field for the second straight day?

11:55 – One out from pandemonium. Torre really got outmanaged this series, didn’t he? He wore out his relievers down the stretch, and then misused them in the playoffs.

12:00 – As the clock strikes 12, it’s Reese to first for the final out. We’ll see you back in Boston on Saturday. I’ll have more analysis later. Now, I’m going to bed.


October 20, 2004

Game's Starting

I think I'm going to get elective ankle tendon suturing, so I can be like Curt Schilling.

WWJDD? (What Would Johnny Damon Do?)

I've got my Manny Ramirez shirt on and I haven't shaved in a week in honor of Johnny Damon. Now it's up to Papi and the boys to send the Yankees home early.

October 19, 2004

Will they do it?

It's 4-0 Sox after 6, and I'm going to bed. Hope this works out.

October 17, 2004

The dates we have selected

Amy: August 10, 2005
Andy: Anniversary (October 10), 2005
James: February 28, 2005
Janet: Valentine's Day, 2005
Katie: Christmas 2005
Liz: May 2005
Vikki: Christmas 2004

More selections may be added as they arise

October 15, 2004

Ramble On

At our benefits fair, T. Rowe Price passed out Retiremints. I don't even have a joke here.

If I was coaching Powder Puff football, my team would definitely run the option, with some end-arounds, reverses, and flea flickers thrown in for good measure.

James Carville might be a moron, but calling Pennsylvania, "Pittsburgh on one side, Philadelphia on the other, and Alabama in between" was a stroke of genius.

Janet thinks Jeanne Zelasko is ugly, but I think she's about to set a record for most hairdos in a playoff season.

It's a stirring three way race for worst baseball innovation on Fox this year, with Scooter, Diamond Cam, and the exploding radar gun reading in a dead heat.

My least favorite office statement is "Excel Sheet." When did this replace the simple term "spreadsheet?"

My second least favorite is when people refer to presentation slides as "foils." Is this a European thing, or what?

I buy Janet a watch for our wedding, and Tiger Woods goes and buys a 498 ton yacht for his. Life isn't fair. At least the Coast Guard never interrupted my honeymoon.

I'm going to claim to be a swing voter for the rest of my life, just for all the free stuff and attention.

What's the minimum level of obnoxiousness that you have to achieve before you can be cast in a reality television show? I think I, and most people I know, are way, way below that threshold.

Nurses and Doctors never get outsourced. Just a tip to you future college students out there.

Does Eric Piatkowski have the coolest nickname in sports? He's the Polish Rifle, by the way.

After Michael Richards played janitor/TV personality Stanley Spadowski in UHF, was there any doubt Seinfeld would be a big hit?

Whether or not Bono can successfully count in Spanish (1,2,3,14?), I can hardly wait for the new U2 CD.

By my calculations, anyone who owns both a cell phone and an iPod has no business complaining about a $300 tuition increase.

Isn't the possibility that John Kerry's actions and speeches in the aftermath of his Vietnam service kept some POWs imprisoned longer than they would have way worse than the possibility that Bush missed a physical? Am I the only one thinking this?

I get really annoyed when I purchase an entree with "spicy" in the name, only to find it's not spicy at all. Wendy's supposedly spicy chicken sandwich is a big culprit here.

Under no circumstances do I want to see a commercial for a soccer game during the baseball playoffs. You got that, Fox Sports Net?

If House, M.D. makes it past two episodes, I'm calling it a raging success, based solely on the two episode runs of the previous two shows hyped on Fox during the playoffs. Girls Club or Skin, anyone? His father is the district attorney!!!

Does anyone remember the SNL skit where Dana Carvey plays Tom Brokaw filming a bunch of possible Gerald Ford death stories so he can go on vacation to Barbados? Just thinking about it cracks me up... "Gerald Ford was eaten by wolves today..."

October 13, 2004

Messiah Through the Years

In thinking about the upcoming Messiah wrestling season, I tried to determine which of the six most recent Messiah teams would win a dual meet tournament with the other five. First, here are the lineups, as much as I could recall for the end of the year lineup. I've included a probable lineup for this year's team.

A few notes on each team:

2000 Luciano Fields Vogel Lippert Helm Roggie Pickett Musser Kolb Knapp
2001 Clackett Ewig Aiello Vogel Logee Falk Stone Kolb Williams
2002 Clackett Ewig Harner Vogel Logee Miner Pentz Stone Kolb
2003 Clackett Alexander Harner Vogel Logee McGann Valenti Pentz Kolb Towers
2004 Clackett Ewig Harner Gorkos Logee Ricker Pentz Valenti Bucarey English
2005 Pollock Harner Gorkos McGann Dill Ricker Valenti Pentz Orfanos Bucarey

2000: Six seniors in the lineup and one 32 match winning freshman. Helm wins the title while Roggie picks up his third All-American award. Big holes at 133 and 285, with a smaller one at 197 once Graber went to student teaching.

2001: Could have been worse after mass graduation. Return of Falk helps to prop up the lineup as well as the arrival of Clackett, Ewig, and Logee as four year stalwarts, not to mention the first of three All-American seasons for Vogel.

2002: Last year's freshmen gain some seasoning and Kolb continues his improvement. Harner and Pentz arrive to eventually become four year starters, with Pentz likely reaching 100 wins this year. Miner gets his one year of college wrestling.

2003: Vogel wraps up his record setting career. Towers becomes the first Messiah heavyweight in three years, though he weighs 190 pounds; he's also the only freshman in the lineup. The last of Messiah's 6 year streak of having at least one All-American, though Vogel is the only qualifier for three straight years.

2004: Three seniors is the most in the lineup since 2000. Clackett finally beats Marcks and goes to Nationals, failing to place. Logee finishes a star crossed career. Ben Ewig finishes without ever having been tired in a match. Freshman Derek Ricker shows promise for the future.

2005: Who knows what the future will bring. Another year of Harner, Pentz, and Ricker, along with the arrival of state runner-up Pollock. Questions: will Harner and Gorkos make the weight drop? Is a heavyweight with a 1-25 record an asset? Can the Falcons qualify more than one, if any, to Nationals? What will Tim McGann do in his last go round?

There you have it. I'm pretty sure the 2000 team is the best of the six, but I'm not sure who is second. I'm taking suggestions, though.

October 12, 2004

Traffic Request

An article I read inspired this post. I wondered how many people read this blog. Here's my request. If you read this blog, please leave a comment with this post. You can leave the comment anonymously, if you like, or you can leave your name. Just make sure you only leave your comment once. I think I have an idea of who my most regular readers are, but I'd like to get a feel for how many people are really looking in on my corner of the web. My counter to the left logs page views, but it doesn't record unique views, so a person who checks the blog every day for a week counts as seven hits. Thanks for your help.

October 11, 2004

In case you were wondering

Why yes, we will be taking our Saab in for $1500 worth of repairs in the next week. Thanks for asking.

Keystone State, Here We Come

That's right, readers. Janet and I will be on our way to Grantham come Friday night. There's a wrestling clinic featuring Brandon Slay in Mechanicsburg, so we're coming. It turns out, it's also Homecoming weekend at the old alma mater, so perhaps we'll take in some of those festivities. Just a heads up to anyone I didn't email about our upcoming visit. See you this weekend.

October 10, 2004

Kerry in Church?

My dad directed us to a story about John Kerry speaking at a church in Cleveland. Sadly, my first thought upon reading this post was that it must be a black church. Of course, I was dead on. One will rarely, if ever, see a Democrat campaigning at a church that is predominantly white. This is because most white Christians are Republicans and wouldn't likely be inviting Senator Kerry or any other Democrat to their church. This is not to say that white churches are better than black at all, as plenty of churches with members of all races are involved in politics in some way or another. I'm not sure that it's a good idea to get involved in politics as a church. As individuals, absolutely, but probably not as a church. Here is the article that my dad tried to post in his blog about why Tenth Presbyterian in Philadelphia is non-partisan, in case you want to see some good rationale for my position.

In a political sense, the fact that it was a black church is not surprising, but it is sad, in a sense. Basically, the Democratic party leaders assume that they will have the black vote, and for the most part, they're absolutely right. The unfortunate thing is how sure they are about it. There is no incentive for either party to appeal to the black vote, at least in terms of offering real programs and policies to affect them. The Democrats have that group all wrapped up, while the Republicans can avoid putting precious party resources toward a lost cause. Unfortunately, the black community is willing to play right along with this. Like Al Sharpton said, the black vote is not for sale. If I were black, my answer would be, "Why not?" Announcing to the world that your mind is totally made up and will not change is a sure way to be ignored by both sides. In his speech to the National Urban League, Bush asked if the Democrats were taking the black vote for granted. I think the answer is an emphatic yes. It's not hard to see why. Election after election, voters hear a lot of campaigning about the elderly. Medicare, Medicaid, and other programs aimed at retirees are trumpeted endlessly, even though roughly only 1/4 of all eligible voters are older than 60. There are three reasons for this. First, the elderly vote in droves. Secondly, they make a lot of noise when they feel some injustice has been perpetrated. This is why no candidate will suggest that perhaps the federal government shouldn't buy prescription drugs for retirees who own more than three yachts. The response would be huge. Finally, retirees don't all vote the same way, so no one takes them for granted.

These reasons are both applicable to the black community. If the black community would quit following Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Julian Bond, and Louis Farrakhan and instead make their own political decisions, perhaps their voice would be heard. They won't garner sufficient attention until both parties think the black vote is in play. You can bet they would receive more than cursory mentions by each party if each party was genuinely concerned with winning the black vote. Perhaps then black voters would feel that their opinions mattered and this would bring up black voter turnout at the polls.

October 8, 2004

I'm surprised

that this group doesn't have more members.

October 7, 2004

How weird is this?

The picture below is not an animated gif. If you stare at one spot long enough, it will appear to stop moving, which is good, since it isn't moving to begin with. Just try to tell your eyes that, though.

October 5, 2004

MLB gets it right

I'm talking about MLB's live gamecast on the internet. Basically, it's like a living scorebook. At any point in a game, it tells you who is up, who's pitching, who's on, the count, the score...pretty much everything you'd want to know. They even show pitch locations, and you can see where every ball in play went. I've looked at Yahoo!'s and ESPN's, and they just don't compare to what MLB has been putting out. If you ever want to know what's going on in a game you can't watch, go to MLB.com and check it out.

Of course, this won't be necessary for a while, since every game is on TV now that it's the playoffs. My feeling on the playoffs is this: most importantly, I want the Yankees to lose so maybe Tim McCarver and Rick Sutcliffe would shut the heck up about them. After that, I'm rooting for Boston, if for no other reason than to never have to hear about the curse again. Also, it might keep some of these Boston fans a little more calm. It's a close call for the most obnoxious fans in sports, with New York and Boston duking it out. So there you have it. I'd like to see the Red Sox win, but mostly I want the Yankees and their $184 million payroll to lose.

October 4, 2004

Marriage and Sports

I'm sure the interaction between marriage and sports is different for every couple. For example, not many people will have this exchange:
Me: I'll be home after 6, I'm wrestling tonight.
Janet: OK, see you when you get home
We do have some common ground, though. We both like baseball. Janet will watch a whole game if the Red Sox are involved or if it's the playoffs. Heck, if she wants, she can watch 10 straight hours of baseball tomorrow as soon as she gets home from work, but I doubt she will. The other sports/marriage dynamic is the TLC show issue. She loves these things, so I've seen my share. I can name a whole host of characters on such wonderful shows as Trading Spaces, While You Were Out, Surprise by Design, Househunters, What Not to Wear, Trading Spaces Family and so on. She couldn't name a single Dallas Cowboy this weekend, though she did know the coach's name, which counts I guess. I'm not really bothered by this. I really don't need her to know who Billy Cundiff or Richie Anderson are as long as she'll watch a little with me sometimes. She's good at that. She can read a book or whatever while I watch the Cowboys or Ohio State and explain to her that Nordonia High School is a mixture of the cities of Northefield and Macedonia, so it works out. I try to keep the sports watching to reasonable levels, since a lot of times I'd much rather read about some sports than actually watch them. For example, I've never actually watched a boxing match that was as exciting as the story written about it, but that's just my personal opinion.

So that's sports and marriage. I'm sure you will, or already have, figured out how it will work in your marriage.

October 3, 2004

A Picture

In light of nothing to say, I will post this random picture. It's a clownfish, like the ones in Finding Nemo. I took it (the picture, not the fish) at the aquarium in Charleston, South Carolina, while I was there on a job interview. I ultimately didn't take the job, but I recommend the aquarium. It's fantastic.

October 1, 2004

Big Baseball Weekend

It's a big old weekend in the world of baseball. Actually, the regular season ends Sunday. In the AL West, Oakland and Anaheim will play best two of three to decide who makes the playoffs. It's like extending the playoffs a whole extra week. In the NL West, the Dodgers' magic number is 1, so they control their own destiny. The Giants, who play the Dodgers this weekend can storm into the playoffs with a good showing. The Cubs, while not out of it, have been doing their best Greg Norman impersonation the past week and a half to put themselves in serious jeopardy. The Astros, after having been left for dead a few months ago, have played some good ball to get within striking distance, thus proving the Carlos Beltran trade wasn't all for nought. Obviously, the drama is higher in the NL, as more teams are still in it, compared to the AL, where it's just the A's and Angels. Everything else was sewn up a long time ago. I will tell you this, right now, no one wants to go anywhere near Johan Santana and his magic slider come playoff time.