Monday, February 28, 2005

31

Today is it; I turn 31, officially at 10:25 PM or something like that. I will have to admit, 30 was a bit hard. I did not think it was going to be, but I was down for a bit after last year’s big day. This year, I don't feel that way at all. This feels like another day for me. My wife and I had a great weekend, we now have surround sound. I have been missing surround sound since we moved from Missoula 20 months ago.

As I turn 31, my dog Basil turns 1. Well, he is a leap year puppy, so I am not sure how the math works on these sorts of situations. I am not one of those odd owners that will have a party at the house, with some Pedigree cake and all the neighborhood dogs over. The visual image of a cake made from Pedigree...yuck! I will post an updated photo of our dog in the near future.

Another, rather large, accomplishment coming up, I will have worked at the U for 1 year as of March 8th. This is big only because I have not lasted a year at a job since I left APS in August of 2002. Very interesting how fast the last year of my life has been.

Well, that about wraps up my gloating session for today. I cannot believe the weather that SLC is having, 50 degrees! Looks like Missoula is suppose to be warmer than us! And they say global warming is a myth...huh.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

In Full Swing

Pitchers and catchers reported last week, position players are reporting as I type. I am looking forward to this Mariners season. The M's have historically done very poor in the FA market. I hope with Beltre and Sexson that our luck has changed. These two players have youth on their side, which also has been uncommon in recent years for the M's.

Our bullpen pitching staff is now rich in lefties. We have always lacked a strong lefty setup man, so I hope that we can deliver here. Again, we have youth on our side for a majority of our bullpen pitchers. I am not a huge fan of Jeff Nelson, but I hope he has some success years still in him.

How will we finish? Well, I am going to give my pre-season prediction that the M's will finish just over .500 and probably in third place in the AL West. Putting the 99 loses from last year behind us and building to prosperous years ahead. We are at a transitioning point for the M's. All signs are looking up as we build for a run of AL West domination.

Friday, February 18, 2005

"Do the chickens have large talons?"

Ah, Napoleon Dynamite. This movie is one of those that you either hate or love. I am on the love side of the Napoleon spectrum. For those of you that have not seen this movie yet, not sure how to describe it. It has some intellectual writing along with some comedic lines and physical humor. Monty Python meets "Dumb and Dumber" in Preston, Idaho. I personally laughed from start to finish. Unless you have zero sense of humor, I would recommend this movie.

Quietly, "Yesssss".

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Opening day for Fantasy Baseball

Feb 17th marks the day that fantasy baseball begins! Well, sign-up at least. Our commissioner is dragging his feet and waiting until after work to setup the league, the nerve! Oh well, I guess I can wait 12 hours before I can join the league. Now, time to do some research and get ready for draft day!

I would like to elaborate on my NHL post from yesterday. I am somewhat saddened to see a league have to shut down for the entire season. I have a few friends that follow hockey religiously. I know that they are down today about the shutdown. I would feel the same if MLB was to call it quits for an entire season. I am not sure where to point blame here, from the sounds of it; I am leaning towards the league. The only basis I have for this blame, the cap of 49 million was too much even though only 8 teams out of 30 were even close to that last year. However a cap of 45 million, the middle ground between players and owners, is not an unreasonable amount.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

What is the deal...with politics

Okay, I felt I went a bit overboard in my "morality" tussle a few blogs back. However, how can anyone just sit back and not voice their opinions about the direction this administration is taking the American people.

Last time I checked Iraq had WMD, Iran did not. Oh wait, did I reverse those? And really, just how successful were these elections in Iraq. If you are an Iraqi, great (your first free election in how many years?)..For America, not so great. Iraqis instead went to the polls and elected a government with a strong religious base -- and very close ties to the Islamic republic next door. So let’s think about this. We go back in time, and bomb Tehran, would that have made Baghdad happy? Now, with these "ties" anything we do to Iran will put our America on even more unfavorable ground with the world. I guess this outcome was always part of the plan. Well, that is not true; you have to have a plan first if you want to compare outcomes. The puppets master is going to have work overtime if Condi Rice is going to patch things up in the Middle East.

Social Security. If there is anyone that can mess this up, it will be GW. It is my opinion that his SS talk is meant to divert attention from his failure on the foreign front and focus attention to his failure on the domestic front. I am constantly belittling this man, but it is going to take someone with a lot of energy and thought to change my opinions about our current President. I do not feel we have the right man for the job. Granite, I don't fully understand how government money works, but I have seen articles where GW is borrowing money from the SS trust fund. Is he helping his own cause by hurting SS even more?

"Compassionate conservative". I am getting tired of this term. There is nothing neither compassionate nor conservative about GW and his administration. As I have spoken about before, the NCLB act, killing SS for my generation and generations to come, spends outrageous amounts of money on defense, Iraq and Afghanistan. Instead of being a "tax and spend" democrat, he is a "cut taxes and spend more" republican. I wonder what God would do if he was president?

mmm...beer

My wife and I started brewing our own beer last summer. I must say, that we have produced some of the best beer I have ever tasted. I am sure that I am biased here, but I would like to think others would agree.

So far, we have brewed a delightful Cream Ale. Our second batch included a fall Apricot Ale, and Canadian Ale, eh. We just complete our first lager, a Meiboch. Next on our list is an IPA. It is very nice having fresh beer in our house, screw this born on date stuff.

Am I a beer snob, well, of course. Growing up in Missoula (home to Moose Drool) you have access to some of the best beer available in the Northwest. The Rhino with its 50 beers on tap, how cool is that for a town of 50K in population. Wait a minute, 1 tap beer per 1K people...wouldn't that be great! Think about it, Belt, Montana has a microbrewery. Belt has about 1500 people in it and makes one heck of a pig's ass porter.

Microbreweries are still very trendy and sometimes are not focused on the beer as they are on capitalizing on the money hound that it can be. I have not found many of these, all of the ones I have visited have some really great beer. That list would also include those in Utah, believe it or not.

Maybe for our next alcohol project, we will start growing some blue Agave, and follow in the steps of Sammy Hagar. Oh wait, we don't live in Mexico.

The NHL...who cares?

I do not live in a hockey rich town, and really, anything south of Canada is not hockey rich. Okay, Michigan, North Dakota and Minnesota, I hear ya yelling. You three are the exception to hockey in America is dead.

I really enjoy playing this sport, no matter how bad I am. I believe I have 6 goals in 6 years...where is my award for consistency? I do like watching NHL playoffs, they tend to be very exciting. However, I can honestly say, that I won't miss them. Many American's do not understand the sport and really have little interest in the play as they do in the potential for a fight every night. Thanks to the NBA and high school basketball for filling that void nicely.

I am glad they did not make some feeble attempt to come back this year. It would have been a very short season, and no guarantee of money or success. I am even glad they did not allow scabs to play. That might have hurt them more then helped them.

Tune in next October to see what the NHL has in store for us. For now, Fantasy baseball sign up begins tomorrow...Play ball!

Monday, February 14, 2005

In regards to "Salami"

Well, I am assuming you are referring to the meat, and not the form of banker embezzlement.

I am a fan of most Italian meats, Salami, happens to be my favorite. I enjoy a good piece of Salami faceted to a hoagie roll with Dijon mustard. Perhaps with some American cheese, just for a more non-EU worldly taste. The Salami has to be of a fresher kind, not the stuff that Subway and Jared pass off for Salami; that is more like salamystery.

Salami is seen more like a delicate meat, one that when added with sliced cheese, can make even the most anti-saltine eater come around. Salami on Ritz, I think not. Lower a meat like this to an Akins cracker horror story, does not do the meat justice. I can only compare that to Gorgonzola on a spread of Lamb's hair.

Salami on "gourmet" crackers, what a delight! The selection of crackers here is crucial. You never want to go on a pick-nick with salami in one hand, and a dry-rye cracker that could be used to cut mortar in the other.

Thank you Mr. Felix, if that is your real name, for the idea. Hey, weren't you in a cartoon awhile back?

the '95 season and Howard Dean

It was 10 years ago this upcoming Oct that the M's were in the playoffs for the first time. They came back from a 0-2 deficit to the evil empire in 5 games. For those of you not familiar with this huge event in Mariner history, allow me to give you a very brief description.

This was the first year of the wild card. Owners of the M's had talked about selling the team, potentially to some folks in Florida. In '95, there was also a new stadium build in the state legislature. The M's defeated the Angels in a playoff game to win the AL West title. They faced the dreaded "evil empire" in Round 1. They lost both games in NY, and returned to Seattle for 3 games. It was Edgar's double in the bottom of the 9th in game 5 that drove in Griffey Jr from first to capture the win. It saved baseball in the NW and the momentum from that magical moment still has M's fans coming back for more. That '95 team is responsible for Safeco Field.

After that awesome victory, they went on to lose to Cleveland. The manager of that Cleveland team is the current M's manager, Mike Hargrove.

On a different note...

I am very glad that Terry McAuliffe is no longer the Democratic chairman. I did not like how aggressive he was. I feel that he is partially responsible for dividing this nation, not as responsible as GW, but he still did play a role. (Perhaps 10% responsible.) I feel that Howard Dean will patch our relationship with those on the other side of the aisle, as long as he does not scream. He brings the proper amount of tenacity with a balanced approached to arguments. I always felt that Terry was defensive during arguments and, personally, seemed to allow his emotions get the better of him. More so than any scream by Dean. I hope this is the start of something good.

Friday, February 11, 2005

In response to "Tony"

Tony, If that is your real name, I would like thank you for posting. You are correct, a majority of what is classified as a "good" sitcom has some sort of dumb husband type of role. Even the Simpson's has this.

The one thing the Simpson's can do very well is drag American citizen and American political behavior down with it. I think we can tell what direction on the political fence Matt Groening sits.

Again, thanks for the post. To bad blogging cannot be setup like a talk radio show.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Can anyone write a sitcom anymore?

According to George Castanza, this is a job that "anyone" can do. However, in channel surfing last night, it was painful to watch the attempted witty banter on a show called "Committed". Not sure how many of you have seen this show, but it severely lacks the writing that is necessary to keep it around for a long time.

I have similar thoughts about "Joey". How long can America be in love with the village idiot? I am all for physical comedy and idiotic behavior, but give me a break. Those things usually only work in the movies were it is 90 minutes of it and you are done. Here, they are trying to build a long running sitcom on that premise. Sure, the show has its moments, however, spin offs can be difficult. The only successful one that I enjoyed was "Frazier". They took the witty psychologist from "Cheers" and put him into an environment in which he flourished, surrounding him with a more intellectual style of humor.

One of the few shows that have successfully achieved wittiness is "Scrubs". They have put the right players in place to develop odd moments were the show just seems to flow from start to finish.

Another show that I have only recently started to enjoy is "Everybody Loves Raymond". I remember watching Ray Romano on A&E's "Live at the Improv" back in the mid to late 80's. The man was, and still is, extremely funny. In a Seinfeld-esk style, he takes family life and turns it into a weekly comedy. It is scary how often I catch myself saying "it's funny cause its true." With Ray leaving his network post for syndication, I do not see a show that has the ability to replace him.

I feel that most of the new and upcoming sitcoms that are trying to make it big on the big 3 networks seem to lack that comedy that grabs you and has you watching for years. The fair and balanced Fox has some of the better sitcoms with "Malcolm in the Middle", "Arrested Development", "King of the Hill", and of course, "The Simpson’s".

I would love to hear your thoughts on the current state of the sitcom.

Canseco

I am not talking about the investment house here either. All the off season steroid talk will either bring back fans or turn them away.

Ways to bring back fans: Now with a steroid/drug policy in place, perhaps those fans that thought baseball was "dirty" will return.

Ways to lose fans: Since no one will be "juiced", I am not sure if we will ever see HR totals as we have in the recent past.

However, last year was not a huge offensive year. We are seeing more players in the 20 HR range than before, but Bonds hit 73 back in 2001. Since then, he has not broken the 50 mark. I think attendance for MLB games is better than what you will see at an NBA game.

I do hope that this will bring back more fans, and help keep those die-hard MLB fans still in their seats. Feel free to tell me how you feel about drugs in MLB and perhaps sports in general.

Monday, February 07, 2005

The Village

Lora and I watched "The Village" this weekend. Does anyone else think that this is a political commentary on the reaction of 9/11?

Lora had some great points about this movie, some I saw, some I missed. I will not spoil it for those that have not seen it. However, if you have, I would love to see our comments on how you feel about it.

The Moral Party?

Moral party…my ass!

<>Here is a topic that has been bouncing around my head for sometime. Basically, there was nothing there to stop the bouncing.

<>How can a president who is currently fighting an unjust war and on the verge of ruining Social Security claim to have “morals”? Just because you see gay marriage as “morally wrong” does not necessarily mean it is. Ask any one that is a homosexual. I mow my yard on a Sunday in the state of Utah; does that make me morally a bad person? But yet, sending 130K worth of troops to Iraq to find WMD and the terrorist that Saddam has been harboring IS moral? Here’s a shocker, no WMD and no link to terrorism. However, now with the US there, this is the best training grounds any terrorists could have asked for. What is or is not moral, is about perception.

<>The “No child left behind act” leaves plenty of children behind. In Oregon, they are discussion taking away the PE requirement to focus more on the tests that GW has put into place. And you think America if fat now…just wait. I have also heard of other states taking back funding from certain programs and funneling that into classes that will help the schools pass their required tests. In order to get the best funding or really, any funding, a school has to suck. How does this maintain funding at those schools that do well. Do they need to drop their scores to get funding? Personally, this is a crazy idea. Last time I checked, most of this “federal” funding was actually coming out of the states, not Washington DC. Amazing how the name of a bill or Act can care some serious weight. Did anyone read the Patriot Act?

His new budget cuts funding to some of the very people that helped him win reelection, the farmer. He wants to trim funding to them by $587 million in 2006 and by $5.7 billion over the next decade. Bend over farmers, here is your president! I know that is a bit severe, but give me a break. I wonder if this was another one of his “gut” decisions. I understand the record deficit needs to be addressed, but the best way in my opinion is for job growth and roll back some, if not all, tax cuts. You can only blame the war for a portion of his deficit.

Super Bowl and more snow

Well, I am kind of glad the Pats won. I like seeing some sort of dynasty in this era of free agency. However, I heavily doubt they will be able to make it 3 in a row.

Well, it snowed in the SLC valley today, about 6 inches of wet, thick snow. I have already vented about shoveling last month, so I will spare you today. As I type it is still snowing, so I know what I will be doing this evening.

Well, now that football is done, we can move forward with baseball, and specifically the M's season. I am cautiously optimistic about this upcoming year. I hope the potential improvement in offense helps our pitching. I think in 2 weeks, pitchers and catchers report to Tempe.

Basil has come down with sort of ear infection. There is nothing like trying to get an 80 pound dog down on the ground to put stuff in his ears. I hope the infection will be gone by Thursday, not sure how much longer Lora and I can take the physical beating.

I don't have any opinions on the current world of politics. My new position at work has severally taken its toll on my internet surfing time. I need to find that nice balance of work and surfing. Otherwise, my current events knowledge will take a huge hit.