Sunday, October 31, 2004

I think the election is going to be a disaster. Too many allegations of noneligible voters, intimidation of voters, signing up voters while ripping up the voter registration cards of those who sign up as Democrats (all of which are undoubtedly true).

I don't understand why the electronic voting machines don't keep paper records. It couldn't be too hard to have the machine print out a paper copy of what a voter selected immediately after the voter makes his decisions, could it? I don't understand why this doesn't happen already.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

I like Eminem.

I like him more after his new video.

I'm not sure why Bush has any popularity. The way I see it, he has one half of a success: Afghanistan. He was right to go in, he was right to prop up Hamid Karzai. But it's only half, because he was wrong to pull our troops away from there for his Ahab-ish Iraq war.

His more obvious failures include: (1) Iraq (was not and never was connected with terrorism); (2) economy; (3) lack of energy policy (giving handouts to energy companies doesn't reduce our dependence on the House of Saud; (4) the environment; (5) the attacks of Sept. 11 (he should have done more--after reading the report of the September 11 Commission, it's clear why Bush fought like hell to prevent it from coming into existence and then from doing its job).

Friday, October 29, 2004

This thread does a pretty good job of expressing my feelings about the World Series.

I'll add another: Bruno Einar Lindberg, my beloved grandfather.

Monday, October 25, 2004

I am in awe of Curt Schilling.

I don't use the words "heroic" or "courageous" to describe professional athletes getting paid millions of dollars, and I wouldn't use them here either. It is, however, astonishing.

The only comparable performance I can think of is when Michael Jordan had the flu, was puking, and had a temperature of about 102 and somehow put up about 40 points against Utah in the NBA finals. And I'd say that Schilling is even more impressive, because there was more pressure on him. Jordan could always get healthy for the next game. But throughout the playoffs the hopes of Red Sox Nation depend very heavily on Schilling.

The standard example seems to be Willis Reed. I don't think so. Willis Reed's appearance was electric, from what I've read, but he only scored about two baskets. Schilling and Jordan not only played in the game, they dominated it.

[As a sidenote, I read an entertaining quote from Bill Russell about that game, revealing about both him and Wilt Chamberlain. Reed went up against Chamberlain in that game. When Reed appeared, Chamberlain was shocked and spooked even though Reed could barely walk. This really gets Russell agitated. He says that if Reed had tried that on him, he'd have demanded the ball the next ten times down the court and scored on Reed every time. If some gimpy guy walked out of the locker room and lined up against him, Russell was insulted, not intimidated. Chamberlain never beat Russell.]

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Michigan is showing a happy ability to move the ball on offense, and a discouraging inability to score touchdowns. I'm not sure why this is. I'd give more fades to Braylon Edwards in the end zone, though. He's been pretty successful at plucking the ball from the air above cornerbacks.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Today I again tried to order my standard 0.4 pounds of ground beef for one hamburger. The conversation started with him asking me: "How many ounces is that?"
I was a little confused (remember, they use a digital scale) "I don't know, just over four"
Him: "A quarter pound"
Me: "Point four pounds"
He weighed out the requisite 0.04 pounds.
I relented and finally asked for "Point forty". These magic words got me my burger.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

The Sox against the Redbirds in the World Series. I'm so happy, I'm stunned. These are the two teams I like, the two teams I've always loved, the two teams I rooted for my entire life. When I was a kid, many were the nights I fell asleep listening to Jack Buck (yes, Joe Buck's father) announcing the Cardinals on KMOX.

I do remember the Redbirds winning in 1982. (Jim Kaat, who first pitched in 1907, was a reliever for that team.) I remember Willie McGee hitting two homers in one game, I remember Joaquin Andujar taking a line drive off his knee and coming back and winning Game 7, I remember the Cards scoring two runs on a sacrifice fly. But that's about it. My memories of 1985 and 1987 are more vivid and less pleasant. It's been a long time.

I also remember the Sox playoff history, and there's no need to recap any of it.

But now one of them is going to win the World Series, after *each* was down 3 games to 2. Ahhhhh, life is good.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Why not us?

Why not, indeed?

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Rule 2.00:

(a) Offensive interference is an act by the team at bat which interferes with, obstructs, impedes, hinders or confuses any fielder attempting to make a play. If the umpire declares the batter, batter runner, or a runner out for interference, all other runners shall return to the last base that was in the judgment of the umpire, legally touched at the time of the interference, unless otherwise provided by these rules. In the event the batter runner has not reached first base, all runners shall return to the base last occupied at the time of the pitch.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Another item in the Things I Don't Care About department:


Apparently they're on strike. Presumably the hockey season is being affected. I don't notice a bit.

I've been to one NHL game, a San Jose Sharks game. It was pretty dull, made worse by the absolute emptiness all around the arena. The University of Michigan has a great atmosphere for college hockey. The crowd is loud and obnoxious, the band (!) is deafening, the arena is ancient, with a low ceiling and brick walls, and the team is good (two national championships while I was in law school). I went to a couple of games. And was bored. Hockey doesn't interest me at all.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Every loss by Ohio State makes me more nervous. I sleep well when Ohio State is undefeated. I was at Michigan in 1995 and 1996, when Ohio State had two vastly superior teams and we won both years.

The last thing I want is to play a .500 Ohio State team. That prospect really does scare me.

Friday, October 15, 2004

I'm not sure why Kerry has pretty much forgot about the environment as a theme.

There can be no doubt that this administration is atrocious on the environment. I'm not sure, off the top of my head, that I can think of a single thing it's done that's friendly to the environment. In spite of the fact that the American people are generally in favor of preserving the environment, Kerry doesn't seem to emphasize this. I dunno why.

Monday, October 11, 2004

The report of the commission investigating the attacks of September should be required reading for every adult American. One familiar name is Richard Clarke (the former counter-terrorism guy the Bushies tried to smear after he pointed out that attacking Iraq made us more vulnerable to terrorism).

It's unambiguously clear that Clarke (and to a lesser degree George Tenet, director of the CIA) absolutely understood the danger posed by Osama Bin Ladin as early as 1998. In Clinton's White House, he was effectively a member of the Cabinet, and he was completely obsessed with killing Bin Ladin (Chapter 4 of the Commission's Report). He was ridiculously focused, probably to the point of annoying people. But he was right all along. He sent a memo to Condoleeza Rice: "[A]re we serious about dealing with the al Qida threat? . . . Is al Qida a big deal? . . . Decision makers should imagine themselves on a future day when the CSG [Clarke's group in the White House] has not succeeded in stopping al Qida attacks and hundreds of Americans lay dead in several countries, includig the US. What would those decision makers wish that they had done earlier? That future day could happen at any time." This memo was dated September 4, 2001..... (p. 212 of the Report)

Blame goes to Louis Freeh (and to the extent she was his boss Janet Reno), who did a poor job at the FBI on fighting terrorists. FBI agents were confused about what they were allowed to share with each other and they ended up erring on the side of not sharing information.

Blame also goes to Rice, an expert on the Soviet Union, who demoted Clarke as soon as the Bush adminstration took over (p. 200) and stopped listening to him.

More blame should go to John Ashcroft, who speechified about how important it was to fight terrorists, but didn't make them a real priority (pp. 209, 265). [Of course, Ashcroft did make it a priority to make sure he was never seen in a picture with the statue of a woman's breast. Whew! Good job!]

Essentially, the Bush administration just didn't make Osama Bin Ladin a high priority--arguably he was a higher priority for the Clinton administration than for the Bushies. Oops.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

I went to Atlanta last week for work for a conference. I got in early enough to go for a quick run before the reception, although once I started I got a few odd looks--"What's this crazy white yankee [I was wearing a Michigan shirt] doing running in the middle of the afternoon in Georgia?" I unwittingly ended up on the Georgia Tech campus. At first, it looked roughly similar to the other campuses I've lived on. Then I ran past a dorm. On the first room on the corner, however, I saw a big confederate flag on the wall. Suddenly, the campus was much less like any I'd ever lived on...

Anyway, on the way to the airport, I talked with the shuttle bus driver guy. His son's a Marine presently stationed in Iraq. I'm always interested in trying to figure out what's going on in Iraq, as opposed to what we read about here. According to this guy, things in Iraq are much worse than we hear. Which is bad.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Another good sports day. Sox win, Cards win, Yankees lose.

But it's only the first game. One year ago I sat in the Oakland Coliseum and watched the Sox lose two heartbreaking games (Game 1 on a bunt in the 12th!). I figured it was over.
But after those two games I also got to see the Sox win in Game 5, the most fun I've ever had at a baseball game. My conclusion? I'd rather be happy after Game 5 than Game 1.....

Monday, October 04, 2004

For some reason, yesterday I inexplicably decided I wanted to make myself chili for dinner. I've never made chili, never really thought much about making it, but I figured I'd give it a try.

It turns out that I'm an absolute natural. I make fantastic chili, especially for a first attempt. Or maybe all chili made with ground buffalo is good. Who knew I had this gift?

Sunday, October 03, 2004

It was a good day in college football, Michigan won, and looked good (although that's somewhat easier when one plays Indiana); Notre Dame and Ohio State lost.

I've long believed that the coaches poll should be ignored. For one, head coaches don't actually do the voting in the poll, they have better things to do. It shows that coaches are good at coaching, but not at ranking. For instance, this week, Northwestern got a vote in the coaches poll. This is preposterous. Granted they had a good win against Ohio State, but they are 2-3. How can a team with a 2-3 record (losses to Minnesota, Arizona State, and, uh, TCU) be one of the top 25 teams in the country? If they win the rest of their games and finish 8-3, they deserve to be ranked, but how can anyone vote for them?

Another problem with the coaches poll is that it's anonymous, so no one knows how they vote. So whoever made this miserable choice will not have to face public ridicule.

Some day when I have time, I'd like to go back and compare how the two polls actually do at predicting game results. But not tonight.