Bobby Bonds, RIP

Damn, Bobby Bonds passed away today. I feel for Barry Bonds – 59 was too young to lose my dad, and 57 is too young to lose his. Here is a page with some remembrances of Bonds. The first on the page is my favorite:

“I remember him telling me that if he’d known hitting 30 home runs and stealing 30 bases was such a big deal, he would have done it every year. But he wasn’t interested in padding his stats. He wanted to win ballgames.” — Former Giants teammate Gary Matthews.

Triple Play

The Braves ended up losing yesterday, but Rafael Furcal had an unassisted triple play in the game, the 12th in baseball history. I have always liked this kid as a player. He has the most errors of any shortstop in the majors, partly because he gets to balls to make an error that would have just been a hit past a lot of guys.

Wireless Net at PGE Park creates sparks

In Portland, free wifi at PGE stadium is causing a controversy. As I read the story, they are upset about the press release, not the wifi. Can you really regulate radio signals to keep them out of your facility? Of course not. If I have a free access point next to a Starbucks that is trying to charge for it, can anyone be pissed at me?

BTW, I used to go to this park when I lived there. They were the Portland Rockies back then, and we’d get the mini-season tickets. I like it when stadia are right in the downtown area. Turner Field is close, but I like this. Wrigley is the way to go. I think the SF Giants made a step up when they moved from Candlestick to Pac Bell park. It’s just cool having it right there, rather than a 20 mile shlep from the city.

Brush with Politics

Today’s brush with politics was standing behind Zell Miller in line at Fuddruckers near Perimeter Mall. That’s pretty much it. No interaction with him, although I did tell the cashier when I got up there “I’ll have what the senator is having.” I should have said “Hey, Max Cleland actually responded when I wrote letters! And why are you sitting as a Democrat and acting like a Republican?”

Everybody is a Star

We flew out of Chicago just as the All-Star game was cranking up there. Now it is the 5th and the NL has sprung to life, in part with some timely hitting from some Bravos, namely Furcal and Andruw Jones. This game is a good one, and I think the decision to make this game decide home field advantage for the World Series is brilliant. I only wish Marcus Giles hadn’t been hurt last week and unable to play in the game. That’s a heartbreaker, as the kid is a great player who was obviously very excited about being an all-star for the first time.

Bulldog notions

Being a Yellowjacket and a Ragin’ Cajun myself, I could care less about the Bulldog nation. I do think it is funny that the non-renewal of Vince Dooley’s contract is stirring up such a furor. Let’s be honest here, folks. The basketball team had to pull out of the NCAA tournament because of academic fraud perpetrated by the head coach’s son. This happened on Dooley’s watch, and ultimately he’s responsible for this. The man isn’t being fired, his contract is not being renewed when it runs out. It doesn’t seem like that big a deal to me. Tonight on the local news they had a story about how Dooley supporters are putting up billboards against UGA president Michael Adams and running an anti-Adams petition. They admit on the news that they don’t expect any of this to have any effect. Imaging that, rabid UGA fans spending time, energy and money to pointlessly be assholes. Now all summer can be just like game day! Have at it, bulldogs. I plan on ignoring the furor, up until Thanksgiving, when GT kicks UGA’s asses in the yearly meeting.

No Omaha

Both of my teams, the Georgia Tech Yellowjackets and the ULL Ragin’ Cajuns had their seasons end this weekend. I had said that if either team made it, I was hopping on a plane to Omaha to attend the College World Series. Oh well, ain’t happening this year.

Umpires Upset With System for Strike Calls

Got this one from Brian Buck’s blog, a story about how umpires are upset with the computerized system for measuring the strike zone. I think this machine is a horrible, awful idea. The value in baseball is as this oasis of pastoral, 19th century America. Putting in computers to validate the strike zone, using instant replay or other modern technology to affect the calls undoes what I like about it – that it is fallible, untimed, unrigorous about field dimensions. Unlike football, which has an identical gridlike structure everywhere, ballparks vary in distance and shape. Everything George Carlin says in this “Football Vs Baseball” routine holds. This computer needs to go.

[From Brian D. Buck’s Weblog]

Hell Yeah!

And now the Jackets have defeated NC State 6-5 in the 10th to take the ACC championship. These boys played 28 innings of ball today, scoring 26 runs. I don’t believe that anyone could accuse them of not earning this. What a fabulous day of ball! My boy Richard was calling the games unassisted all day, 12 hours of play by play with about an hour of rest in there. Yowza, I’m sure he’s ready to stop talking.

Over the course of this tournament, Tech beat Duke, Wake Forest, North Carolina and now NC State (who also beat Tech once to send them to the losers bracket.) Tech has defeated all the North Carolina teams during the tournament. Pretty good!

Go Jackets, Part 2

It’s been a stunning day in Georgia Tech baseball. The Jackets played their first game at 9:15 AM (?!!) due to the delays caused by storms earlier in the week. They came back from 5-0 at one point to beat North Carolina 10-6. Then, after 30 minutes rest they turned around and played Florida State. In that game, they were down 7-2 in the 8th and came back to win 10-7. 45 more minutes of rest, and they play NC State for the title. If they win that game, this might very well be the “miracle team.” They entered this day with a tough row to hoe, and so far they are getting it done.

Go Cajuns

Actually, it’s already too late. The UL – Lafayette Lady Cajuns softball team was knocked out of the NCAA tourney today by UCLA. Because I used to park right next to the ladies softball field to work out at the gym there, so I stood around and watched parts of lots of their softball games. I haven’t been keeping up with Cajun sports as much as I should, so I didn’t realize they were even in the tourney until I saw this game starting on ESPN. I’m still keeping my eye on the men’s team. If ULL or Georgia Tech makes it to Omaha, I’m going.

Even though the Cajuns lost, GT beat Duke by an astonishing score of 23-4. I’d rather be in the winners bracket, but the good thing about the losers bracket is that every team you beat you get to send home. Bye bye, Duke. In other good news, the Braves kicked the Mets in their first game against the defecting Tom Glavine.

Go Annika!

I haven’t yet posted about this, but Vijay Singh really set off my hypocritometer with his comments about how Annika doesn’t deserve to play in the men’s tour and how he hoped she wouldn’t make the cut. This is strong stuff from a guy whose ethnicity would have also kept him of the tour in living memory. It hasn’t been that long that dusky foreign types were allowed to play in the old boys club, so he of anyone should feel for her. But he doesn’t. It is probably best for him to not play this tournament, because it would just increase the media circus aspect. I do think this photo is quite hilarious.

Here is the hole by hole account of
Annika Sorenstam’s first round at the PGA Colonial
. In general, I could give one good goddamn about anything to do with golf. I care nothing about the Masters, despite having lived in Augusta and having family there. All it meant to me this year was bad traffic leaving town after a visit. However, for this weekend I’m a golf fan and I’m firmly rooting for Team Sorenstam. Go go go!

From [BBC News]

Go Jackets

I’m listening to the WREK streaming feed of Georgia Tech playing Wake Forest in the ACC baseball tournament game. As it happens, the guy calling the game is my old friend Richard. He was the sports guy when we were both young undergrads at GT in the mid 80’s. Last year when GT made the college world series I was strongly considering just getting on a plane and flying to Omaha. Not only could I root for my boys, but I would have been able to visit Omaha, which was a big deal when I was a little kid in farm towns in Nebraska and Kansas. I’ve said that if they do it this year, I won’t thing about it I’ll just do it. Last year I was really rooting for University of Lousiana – Lafayette to also make it. Then I’d have both my alma mater represented. I’d dig that.

No Title

Happy St. Patricks day. Maybe someone could celebrate by driving the
snakes out of America. The ones I’m thinking of wear suits and ties.

TV TopicLast night I watched the story of Michael Larson, the guy who
cracked the Press Your Luck patterns
on the documentary “Big
Bucks: The Press Your Luck Scandal” on the Game Show Central. It was
pretty interesting viewing. The aired the entirety of the original
program including bits that had to be edited out of the broadcast
version because it didn’t fit, even in two episodes. One of the things
said in the interview segments with some of the show personel was that
they knew they were at risk with the relatively small number of
patterns. Larsen figured out the pattern and he also figured out there
were two squares that never got whammies, and so he went. Since those
two squares were heavily tilted towards large cash values and “plus a
spin” he just hit them over and over, racking up over $100,000 by the
time he was done. From what I gleaned from the show, he was kind of a
creepy scumbag.

He managed to blow the cash in less than two years,
including getting $40,000 of it stolen out of the house where he kept
it in cash. Here was apparently involved in various shaky investment
deals, and at the time he died was on the run from the IRS, the SEC
and the FBI. He was sort of an idiot savant on this topic. He was
proto-cipherpunk enough to recognize the patterns and once on that
game run it at will. He didn’t have much sense though. The reason that
he had all the cash in the house was to try to win a radio contest
where a $30,000 prize was available if you could match a dollar bill’s
serial number. He withdrew his entire Press Your Luck winnings in one
dollar bills to try to win that contest. I’m sure this made the
neighborhood thief very happy. All in all, it was fascinating
viewing.

No Title

I used to watch Bill O’Reilly on Fox News for a while, until his
schtick of sloppy journalism and deliberately failing to see the point
got really really old. At this point I haven’t watched it in
years. Today I ran across a piece entitled Bill O’Reilly vs
Hip-Hop
that serves as a far better critique than I could write
about why I stopped watching his show. It is great on the titular
topic as well as an overall portrait of why his show purports to be
incisive journalism but is anything but. This blog article is far
better researched than any story O’Reilly has ever reported. I found
this via a link to a different article on Electrolite.

No Title

I hope this one is not as dire as it sounds, but given what we see
every day out of our current government, I fear it is. According to
BBC reporter Kate Adie, the Pentagon
is willing to shoot journalists in Iraq
.

The Pentagon has threatened to fire on the satellite uplink positions
of independent journalists in Iraq, according to veteran BBC war
correspondent, Kate Adie. In an interview with Irish radio, Ms. Adie
said that questioned about the consequences of such potentially fatal
actions, a senior Pentagon officer had said: “Who cares.. ..They’ve
been warned.”

According to Ms. Adie, who twelve years ago covered the last Gulf War,
the Pentagon attitude is: “entirely hostile to the the free spread of
information.”

“I am enormously pessimistic of the chance of decent on-the-spot
reporting, as the war occurs,” she told Irish national broadcaster,
Tom McGurk on the RTE1 Radio “Sunday Show.”

Ms. Adie made the startling revelations during a discussion of media
freedom issues in the likely upcoming war in Iraq. She also warned
that the Pentagon is vetting journalists according to their stance on
the war, and intends to take control of US journalists’ satellite
equipment –in order to control access to the airwaves.

So – America and the world – do you feel safer? I sure do, but then
I’m not a journalist. If the journalists of our allies are considered
fair targets, what exactly is not a fair target? This certainly is a
media-savvy slide to totalitarianism we are engaged in.

No Title

Maybe today is the day some politician gets stabbed in the back by a
close ally. It’s happened before. “E tu, Vladamir?”

Technology TopicI think I’m officially done modifying Blogmax. If there was one
more thing
I’d like to change, it would be to give each entry a title and then
have the RSS title come from that. I’m not up to that much Lisp
anytime soon, so it will stay like this for a while. As it stands,
entries with no links (like this one) will show up as “No Link” in the
title, which means Zoe will not aggregate it. No link means “we don’t
want to see it” in the Zoe world, I guess. Are all aggregators like
that? Regardless, it’s enough like I want it now that I can stop
looking for alternatives. I didn’t really want to change, because I
like this method of operation. On the road, at work, at Georgia Tech,
I’m always blogging from the same place, just SSH’d in. I also have
all my reposting to newsgroups mechanisms in place with this system
and I’d prefer to leave all that as it stands.

Now I need to get a show and go give blood.

No Title

I changed my mind on this blogging tool issue. I though about it and
rather than abandoning Blogmax, I am a geek so why
not alter the RSS function so that it makes it to my satisfaction? I
can find my way around Lisp (barely) so I went for it. First thing, I
removed the call to automatically upload it (I don’t use that.) Then I
altered it so that rather than breaking a story on the <p> tag
it breaks at the </div>. I already altered it so that my entries
are bracketed by div tags anyway and use that and CSS to draw the
box. By breaking this way I can have
multi-paragraph entries.

Having solved that, I dug on how it found the link, and noticed that
it was looking for the literal string “<a href="”. Mystery
solved! I added a step to skip whitespaces and newlines and voila! The
combination of all this stuff was enough to make me happy so I’m no
longer in the market for a different blogging tool.