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Thursday, January 29, 2004

One Whale, Contents Under Pressure

The weird news continues. Exploding whales? I could comment on the story, but I think it'd be much more entertaining to read it and let your mind wander without any guidance from me. Besides, I could hardly be considered knowledgeable on the subject of large exploding sea-going mammals on flatbed trailers in Asian countries. And if anybody is an expert on such a thing, it looks like you've got your work cut out for you.

Monday, January 19, 2004

The Washington Post on the Caucus Process

Not a bad speech by Kerry tonight, but Edwards was still probably the best. Mike Barnicle said it best about Dean's speech: "After that speech, not only do I not want that guy president, but I wouldn't want him as my doctor in an operating room."

Here's a good article about the Iowa caucus process:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A26071-2004Jan17.html

Iowa Caucuses

I have great pride in my home state, and I think I missed Iowa more today than any day since I left. It happens only once every four years, but today all the national media focuses on the Iowa and its caucuses. Caucuses have to be one of the most fun political processes out there - a bunch of people gather in a gym, listen to a few speeches and discussions, then the "voting" begins. "Okay, everybody for John Kerry in this corner! Dean supporters to this corner! Edwards supporters over here!" And it continues on down the line. "Hey, you five people back there for Sharpton - your group's too small...either join a bigger group or drop out! Same with you Lieberman folks!" What a great process...I wish I could have been there.

My thoughts:
John Kerry - Great comeback and great win. Even if people don't know your policy, your war record and what it says about you is undeniable.
John Edwards - The trial lawyer turns out to be the nicest, cleanest campaigner in the group. Who'd a thunk it?
Howard Dean - Too much hype too early? I thought the Harkin endorsement would have put you over the top. Nobody's counting you out yet, and maybe being the underdog for a little while will be something you can use to your advantage. Unfortunately, that post-caucus speech I just saw you give was like watching a bus crash in slow motion.
Richard Gephardt - Like somebody has said...running for president isn't the hard part, it's knowing when to stop running for president. I guess a lot of Iowans just didn't care as much about NAFTA as you do. Bow out now while you can.
Dennis Kucinich - Congrats on getting 1% of the vote. I think you beat the spread. Stick in the race a little while longer - you're like Ross Perot without the Texas charm.
Al Sharpton - 0%. Too bad we don't elect presidents based solely on their entertainment value. You'd be the first president who was more fun in real life than anything SNL could put into a skit.
Everybody Else - Nobody else is talking about you right now, so I'm not going to either.

On to New Hampshire. LIVE FREE OR DIE!

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Pete Rose, WMD, and things people aren't talking about...

So Pete Rose finally admitted that he gambled on baseball. As a late-80s Mets fan who watched guys like Dwight Gooden and Darrell Strawberry practically throw away their careers for drugs, only to get a slap on the wrist, gambling never sounded all that bad as long as no games were thrown. So I've been quietly pulling for Pete all this time, and now that he's admitted he bet on baseball (with less-than-ideal timing, given the announcement of the new Hall of Fame class yesterday), I guess I'm still hoping he gets his lifetime ban from baseball lifted.

But what if Pete Rose is lying now? He doesn't seem any more or less sincere in his apology now than he was in denying he bet on baseball, so isn't there some chance that he figured his only opportunity to get back in the game was to tell people what they wanted to hear, regardless of the truth? And isn't it a productive way to cash in on a book deal? I imagine he's telling the truth now, but without any further evidence and with a bit of skepticism, we may never know. After all, people generally don't go looking for more evidence after a confession.

So what does this have to do with weapons of mass destruction? I remember being told, before we went into Iraq, that we needed to remove Saddam Hussein because he had WMD and would eventually use them on us or sell them to terrorists who would. Now that we're in Iraq and can't find the weapons, people (including all the talking heads on TV) want to question the intentions of our government. Were we lied to? Was the intelligence faulty or improperly used? Maybe. But there's another reason to explain the disappearance of those weapons, and it's the same reason our government told us before the war. What if Saddam did sell the weapons to terrorists, and that's why we can't find them? This is certainly nothing I want to believe, but why do I never hear people discuss this possibility? If there's proof this didn't happen, I'd sure take comfort in hearing it. Wouldn't you?

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

HOF

The new baseball hall of fame class was announced today, and for the 2nd year Ryne Sandberg didn't make it. Hall voters are certainly a particular bunch, and I can only take solace in knowing that Ryno will make it eventually. ESPN.com's baseball writers have done their usual great job covering all the ups and downs of hall voting, especially in regards to all these great players of the 80s whose stats seem to be overshadowed by the stats of the offensive explosion of the 90s. I'm of the camp who believes players should be judged as a part of their own era, not necessarily against current hall of famers or against the statistics of other eras. From 1982 to 1992, was there a better second baseman than Ryne Sandberg in all of baseball? No. Time will prove this one, if it isn't proven already.

As a Cubs fan I'm certainly pulling for Andre Dawson, Bruce Sutter, and Lee Smith, three guys who could be hanging around on HOF ballots for a while. I could enjoy the fact that Dennis Eckersley was a Cub for a few years, but I don't think there will be any question why he'll be wearing an A's cap on his hall plaque. The real guy to be rooting for now is Ron Santo, a guy who's suffered through 15 years of not being voted in by the baseball writers and whose fate now lies in the hands of the Veterans Committee. He's a hall of famer in my book any day, and few have given so much to the game with the enthusiasm that Ronnie brings. I remember listening to the Cubs on the radio last summer and hearing Pat Hughes and Ron Santo call a tough inning where Kerry Wood gave up some runs but worked himself out of a tough jam to keep the Cubs in the lead. In typical Santo style, after the 3rd out was recorded all Ronnie had to say was, "I can't take much more of this...I gotta go change my pants!" Now that's a fan's fan.

Friday, January 02, 2004

It's Official...

...I'm a horrible blogger. Maybe it's because I've never warmed up to the term "blog". But it's probably just because I'm too busy/lazy/uncreative to write often, then too guilty/embarrassed to write when I haven't in a long time.

I'm also a little annoyed by New Year's resolutions. Why wait for an arbitrary date to decide to improve yourself? I guess if that's what it takes for some people, then so be it. For me, I expect whatever good habits I have will continue, and the bad ones will drag on as well. IF that changes with the new year it will be entirely coincidental.

I finally finished reading Walt Unsworth's "Everest: The Mountaineering History". In a previous post I had accidentally referred to it as "A Mountaineering History", but it's definitely "The", as in the "Big The", meaning I can't imagine another single book containing more breadth and depth on the subject. Last night I picked up Ed Webster's " Snow in the Kingdom: My Storm Years on Everest". My first impression of the book is that it weighs more than any other book it's size, due to its almost 600 pages of glossy photographic paper. It covers an expedition I know practically nothing about (even after reading the Unsworth book) and it's said to be one of the best-written climbing books of recent times. My reading will slow down again Monday when school starts, but a few pages a night is better than none.