JOURNAL: Current | Archives

31 October 2002

Justice Thomas

There's good stuff posted on Justice Thomas over at Caffeinspiration.

I particularly like Justice Thomas's answer to the question, "Should the Court do more to make its interpretations clear to the public?"

I don't think that's up to the Court. Our opinions are enlightened and accessible. It's up to the pundits to read and understand the opinions before they comment. I don't understand a lot about nuclear physics, and I don't go around talking about it. It doesn't take much on the part of the media to do a halfway decent job.
Sadly, they rarely do a halfway decent job.

[Posted at 21:05 CST on 10/31/02] [Link]


My friend Michael Duff has written some provocative stuff for Texas Tech's daily.


Would you trust a bus driver who let faith drive his bus? Would you trust a surgeon who let faith drive his instruments? Would you trust an airline pilot who let God do his landings for him? It sounds absurd, but those are the questions facing us today. What are the limits of faith? At what point does belief in God become a liability?

Those are the questions inspired by Michael Dini, a Texas Tech biology professor who will not write a recommendation letter unless the student can "truthfully and forthrightly" give a scientific explanation for the origin of the human species.

Now go read.

[Posted at 20:47 CST on 10/31/02] [Link]

Oh Those Dems

Orrin outlines the Dems' apparent strategy over the next few days:

So, they can't mention foreign policy or the economy, which leaves them election-fixing in NJ, SD, & MN; gay-bashing in MT, HI, and SC; exploiting the barely cold corpse of Paul Wellstone; and at some point this weekend we should see them trot out their Old Faithful--the race card. This is what's left of the Party of FDR.
Don't forget scaring the hell out of the old folks. That's part of it also.

[Posted at 20:40 CST on 10/31/02] [Link]


Alex Whitlock thinks the experience of David Dewhurst (flaky GOP candidate for lite gov) with that new-fangled internet is pretty amusing.

So do I.

[Posted at 20:35 CST on 10/31/02] [Link]

30 October 2002

I Just Don't Get This

I find the bitchy tone of this Washington Post article just bizarre.

It seems that illegal aliens crossing over from Mexico are being deported!

Heaven forbid, the U.S. enforce its borders.


The more hospitable border promised last year by President Bush and his Mexican counterpart, Vicente Fox, has not appeared. As Bush pursues the war on terror, the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border instead has become more dangerous and difficult to cross, especially along this desert stretch facing Arizona. Just about every day a Mexican dies trying to cross into the United States.
Umm, not to be too insensitive (well, okay, what the hell) -- but that's why there's a BORDER there.


[Posted at 21:44 CST on 10/30/02] [Link]


Watching bits and pieces of the Rockets opener against Indiana tonight, and I have a lot of trouble seeing why so many people think this is going to be a playoff team.

The motion offense that Rudy T promised going into the season is the same old 4-guys-standing on the perimeter and watching Cuttino or Steve cut to the basket.

Yao Ming is SLOW with his feet. Fast big men are going to scoot right past him all year.

And overall, there's just not a lot of talent when you get past Steve Francis and Cuttino Mobley.

Hard to see the playoffs for this team unless the West is just awful this year.

But what do I know? I'm not even a basketball fan really -- just watching the home guys a little out of curiosity tonight.

[Posted at 20:25 CST on 10/30/02] [Link]


Email should now be back to normal. Sorry if you've emailed and it bounced back.

[Posted at 06:55 CST on 10/30/02] [Link]

29 October 2002


Daschle's not Human. He's EVIL!
Dr. Loomis

Just one question....

Can we send Dr. Loomis after him?

(Dr. Loomis, of course, being the crazed psychiatrist over-played by Donald Pleasence in the Halloween movies, who regularly described Michael Myers as "EVIL!")

[Posted at 23:27 CST on 10/29/02] [Link]

Big Nick Benson, RIP

The guys from Cross Canadian Ragweed recently lost a friend to the war on terror: "Big" Nick Benson was a fighter pilot killed in training to defend his country (after one stint already in Afghanistan).

It's all well and good that the Steve Earles of the world think it's worth exploring the "societal forces" that "caused" John Walker Lindh to commit treason.

But I kind of prefer the sentiment expressed here:

Nick lost his life on October 18th on a training mission off the coast of California. We heard the news right before we took the stage at Stubb's and it shook us to our foundation. You can't explain life or death, you can't question God's plan, all you can do is live the life He blessed us with and thank the people that protect that life.

The justice in Nick's and the other airmen's deaths is that they died doing what they always dreamed of doing - "Protecting the USA" The war is never over, we have what everyone wants...FREEDOM! And whether CNN talks about it or not our brothers, sons, fathers, mothers, sisters, daughters, wives, husbands, and friends are dying to protect our freedom. So wave your flags, say your prayers, and sing your songs for these people.

And unlike the songs I've heard so far from Earle's latest effort, Ragweed's new CD Purple kicks some serious ass.

[Posted at 23:04 CST on 10/29/02] [Link]


I feel much more secure now.

Much like when they frisk frail little old ladies with walkers at the airport and tell us we are safe.


[Posted at 22:52 CST on 10/29/02] [Link]


A Cincinnati Bengals player has guaranteed a win against the Houston Texans on Sunday.

I don't know if that's bulletin board material or Laugh Stop material.

This would be the same Bengals team that hasn't won yet this year. It's the same Bengals team that has been terrible since a guy named Esiason was still in the league. It's the NFL equivalent of Major League Baseball's Milwaukee Brewers or the NBA's Golden State Warriors.

In other words, perennial losers. Hapless front office. Poor coaching. Awful football team.

They may beat the Texans, but I wouldn't think any players would be making guarantees.

[Posted at 21:55 CST on 10/29/02] [Link]


Aside from sports, I haven't watched much television since the end of 24 last television season.

But now it's back, and I imagine I'm going to be glued to the tube on Tuesday nights for a while.

Damn addictive show.

[Posted at 21:06 CST on 10/29/02] [Link]

Rockets Injuries

Last year, the Rockets started the season with a ton of injured players, and it just got worse through the season.

This year, they are starting the season with virtually all of their forwards injured.

You have to start wondering about their strength and conditioning program at some point, don't you?

[Posted at 06:50 CST on 10/29/02] [Link]

27 October 2002


There seems to be some difficulty at the moment with my email addy. Not sure what's up, but email seems to be going into a black hole. So if you've sent something and think I'm ignoring ya -- you could be right, but chances are that I haven't seen your email.

(10-28-02 Update) I'm definitely having email problems. If something has been bounced back to ya, please try resending to [email protected].

[Posted at 23:55 CST on 10/27/02] [Link]

Big 12 Wrap: Week Ten

Last Week's Wrap

Because the backpacking trip got shortened considerably, I actually got to see the tail end of Big 12 games this week. Since most of the early games were real stinkers, I don't think I missed all that much at all. Here's the wrap:

Texas 21, Iowa State 10
The Austin crowd had to be doubting the local heroes in the fourth quarter with the score only 14-10 in their favor, but then the Longhorns went on the drive that may propel them through the rest of the season: a 19-play, 80-yard, 9-minute drive in which the Horns just blew Iowa State off the field. There may not have been tons of spectacular plays or stats, but Texas played physical football, controlled Seneca Wallace, and beat a quality Big 12 opponent. That's what they needed to do. Iowa State probably must win the rest of its games to contend in the North, because...

Colorado 37, Texas Tech 13
Colorado runs its Big 12 record to 4-0 by outmuscling Texas Tech in the second half, making the Buffalos the team to beat in the North. As we've pointed out before, Texas Tech can compete with most teams when its offense is clicking. On the other hand, because they don't play defense, it's very difficult for Texas Tech to beat any decent team when Kliff Kingsbury throws four interceptions. This game ends whatever faint Heisman hopes he still possessed. And while Colorado is still in control of the North, four tough games (at OU, at Missouri, Iowa State at Boulder, and at Nebraska) will test their mettle. I still think it's possible that the Big 12 North winner comes out with two losses (although I like Colorado's chances).

Nebraska 38, Texas A&M 31
Texas A&M has been feeling good about its offense since demoting offensive coordinator Dino Babers, and has been feeling good about its defense all season. But Nebraska, even in its current state of decline, is still better than the terrible teams (La.Laf, La.Tech., Baylor, Kansas) the Aggies used to pad their stats and boost their self-esteem. Going into the fourth quarter, though, the Aggies seemed to have this one under control. And then Frank Solich's bunch steamrolled the vaunted Aggie defense, and maybe saved Nebraska's season and Solich's job. At 2-2 in the South and with tough games remaining, the Aggies probably have to win every game to win the South. That's not going to happen. Nebraska has the same difficulty in the North, with games left against Texas, Kansas State, and Colorado (along with the usual practice against Kansas).

Kansas State 44, Baylor 10
This game was tied 3-3 with just over 4 minutes left in the first half. That's as close to a victory as Baylor is likely to get the rest of the year as the Kevin Steele deathwatch continues.

Missouri 36, Kansas 12
Does anyone in Columbia care? I guess 60,000 or so do, because they showed up for it. But I'm pretty certain people in Lawrence are much more excited about the upcoming basketball season at this point.

[Posted at 23:15 CST on 10/27/02] [Link]

Oh Those Boys

It's nice that Emmitt Smith got the rushing record today, but MAN do his Cowboys stink this year. This team has mastered the art of playing just well enough to lose winnable games. And it's not just any one thing. The coaching is horrible. The defense can't stop teams on third and long when the game is on the line. The kicker can't hit field goals. The special teams rarely are special. The offense is inept even when Emmitt runs for 100+ yards.

Jerry Jones must be very proud that his team is now 3-5. It's going to be another tough season for us Cowboys fans.

Meanwhile, the Texans continue to grow up, and went on the road to beat a dirty Jacksonville team. I thought Tom Coughlin was going to have a heart attack. Man, that guy is such a hardass that I think he must sh!t diamonds. And after a number of dirty plays from his team (including a clothesline of David Carr), it was nice to see them lose.

[Posted at 22:38 CST on 10/27/02] [Link]

But We DID Elect Him

I'm about tired of the Tony Sanchez campaign's motto, "Rick Perry: We didn't elect him, we don't have to keep him."

I understand the implied point -- Rick Perry ascended to governor as lieutenant governor, and was never elected as governor.

But he was elected as lieutenant governor in a race in which then-Governor Bush campaigned hard for the Republican ticket (with sort of an implication he might run for President). In that sense, the election was about the person who might succeed Bush were he to head to higher office. And Rick Perry was elected.

I realize it's a minor point in a campaign where Perry and Sanchez continue to crank up nasty ads and essentially call each other liars, but I find this motto more grating than most of the retarded ads.

[Posted at 22:22 CST on 10/27/02] [Link]


I'm back a bit early from the trip to Oklahoma's Ouachita Mountains.

A combination of weather, equipment, and other problems led us to abort the backpacking trip, but we got in about 8 miles of hiking total, which was good. The Ouachitas are gorgeous this time of year, with the hardwoods in brilliant shades of red, green, and yellow, contrasted with the evergreens. If it hadn't been foggy, hazy, and rainy so much of the time, I might have snapped some photos of it. But photos probably wouldn't have done it justice anyway.

While we were driving lots of backroads in the country, we kept noticing signs to "Vote No on State Question 687 -- Protect Your Freedoms." I wasn't sure what the question was, but figured the LeftWingNuts were trying to impose some goofy tax or gun control or Outcomes Based Education measure on the good folks of Oklahoma.

But no. The countryfolks are up in arms because a group managed to get enough signatures to hold a referendum on the legality of cockfighting in the state, after the legislature effectively punted on the issue.

Yeah, Oklahoma is one of... 3 states, I think, that still allow the practice. And I'm sorry, but I just don't see such barbarism as one of John Locke's precious natural rights. I generally don't like to see government solutions to so many (non)problems in society, but I don't see it as a huge surrender of freedom that Oklahomans are going to vote on whether it's a good thing for folks to get all liquored up, gather around a pit, and wager all sorts of hard-earned cash on which bird will cut the hell out of the other one.

Call me a squishy libertarian if you will.

In any case, I was surprised to see the strong sentiment in rural eastern Oklahoma on this issue. I would have guessed people would have more important things on their minds.

[Posted at 22:19 CST on 10/27/02] [Link]

24 October 2002


About to head out of town for some backpacking.

It would be nice if we could get a little break in the rain on the way out.

It appears that the Ouachitas are getting some light rain, which is good. This is a really dry time of year up there, and that should make for a better experience. As long as it clears out by tomorrow, that is. :)

I hope everyone has a good weekend.

[Posted at 15:56 CST on 10/24/02] [Link]

23 October 2002

Enron Greed

Callie sent me this Chron piece on Enron, with the following paragraphs flagged:

She lost about $1 million in her retirement fund, and her earnings now fall far short of what she made at Enron, but she considers herself lucky because she can rely on her husband's income and health insurance.

She now has a small marketing consulting business and is not interested in working again for a big company.

"Having been burned in a big way, I'm a bit wary of going into that environment," said Nadasky. "Greed has definitely taken over corporate America."

Callie wonders if the woman described in this article -- who lost a million bucks, mind you (no doubt because she invested only in high-flying Enron stock) and who complains about corporate greed in America -- might have contributed just a little, her very self, to that culture of greed?

I mean, how the hell does a halfway normal person manage to piss away $1 million in a retirement fund without violating all of the rules regarding investment risk?!

The Chron sure can pick "victims" to feature.

[Posted at 23:09 CST on 10/23/02] [Link]

Houston Live Music About To Take A Hit

We first heard about the plans of the owners of Star Pizza to shut down the Fabulous Satellite Lounge ages ago, from a weird girl we were talking to at a show at the Continental Club (a Slobberbone show, if I recall correctly). But after a while, nothing seemed to be happening and the Satellite seemed to be doing just fine. So I sort of dismissed the weird girl's information.

But now, John Nova Lomax writes that it's true. The a-holes at Star Pizza are forcing a Houston live music institution (or at least as much of an institution as exists in Houston) to close its doors, because they claim to be concerned about parking for the pizza shop they are relocating to the area. It's a pretty bogus claim, because parking at the Satellite rarely gets tight until the bands start playing at 11, when Star Pizza closes.

I have to admit that I'm going to miss the Satellite. It could turn into a hellish experience when a popular band packed the place with raucous college kiddies (like a typical Reckless Kelly show), but it was a reliable room that had reasonably priced booze and quality sound, and they seemed to try and treat artists right. I suppose the Continental Club will probably take over most of its acts, and I like that room better, but still -- this is another hit for Houston's live music scene.

Thank you, Star Pizza.

[Posted at 18:55 CST on 10/23/02] [Link]


I hope there is some truth to rumors that UTEP is interested in Nolan Richardson for their coaching vacancy.

I didn't care for the way Nolan's tenure at Arkansas ended. I think Nolan would be a perfect fit for UTEP, and college basketball would be better off with Nolan in the game.

We'll see.

(Update) Apparently Nolan isn't interested.

[Posted at 06:55 CST on 10/23/02] [Link]

22 October 2002


Cardio work at the gym is great, but it doesn't fully prepare one for the rigors of backpacking the rugged Ouachitas. So in lieu of the gym this week, I've been walking Kiwi with the pack almost fully loaded (just leaving out some electronic and rain gear that I will take on the trail). I've been walking in the evening because it's cooler (but still HUMID *gag*), which draws its share of strange looks. But it must not look too weird, because a couple pulled up by us in their car and asked for directions.

I can't tell at the moment if the pack stays need more adjustment (it's a brand new pack and it's damned hard to tweak the fitting for one's self), or if I'm just feeling spots that I don't really hit at the gym. In any case, the Montrose 'packing is flat, but at least it's a little bit of a warmup for what awaits in a few days.

[Posted at 21:00 CST on 10/22/02] [Link]


Scott has rounded up all sorts of good articles on the goings on with the woeful Cowboys at the moment.

There's no team like the Cowboys for a little quarterback controversy! When I was a little kid, I grew up with the Roger Staubach Cowboys, and later watched the whole Hogeboom-White quarterback controversy. And later Steve Pelleur was going to be the answer. And, well, they were smart enough to take Troy Aikman when they had the chance (but still fooled around with Steve Walsh before coming to their senses). And then there has been the post-Troy experimentation. Best to get on with it, in my view, since the next draft is going to be deep at QB and it would be nice to know if Chad has NFL game.

The Cowboys made another good move today, cutting Micah Knorr, an inadequate punter who was kept around for his holding skills (and, consequently, messed up the hold on Sunday that contributed to defeat).

[Posted at 19:45 CST on 10/22/02] [Link]


Dear gawd, will Evita EVER go away?!

Surely I'm not the only one who wonders this.

[Posted at 18:41 CST on 10/22/02] [Link]

21 October 2002


If only he could rebuild the Cowboys like the surgeons rebuilt his face
Jerry Jones, aka The Devil

Way back in August, after watching the Cowboys/Texans scrimmage at UH, I wrote:

3) Quincy Carter does NOT have the velocity. He had better be able to run, because his arm is NOT the real deal.

4) Chad Hutchinson DOES have the velocity. If Carter can't get it done, Dallas has a backup with legit arm strength.

And much more recently, I wrote:
Quincy Carter is a joke as an NFL starting quarterback, which I've been saying since the first game. He just doesn't have the arm strength to make all the throws required in the NFL.
Today, the Cowboys came to the same conclusion after the latest disastrous performance and decided to bench Quincy Carter and give Chad Hutchinson a chance.

That's not enough to fix all the problems with the Cowboys (general manager/owner, head coach, offensive line, special teams), but it's a start at least. Hutchinson needs to play, because he is the only quarterback on the roster with any arm strength, and he is trained in the West Coast offense. It can't be any worse than that last game, which Cowboys commentator Babe Laufenberg referred to as "vomit" at one point.

[Posted at 23:48 CST on 10/21/02] [Link]


Posting will be light here and at Reductio for the rest of the week and through the weekend. I'm trying to get everything together to take off Thursday to the Ouachitas for an extended weekend backpacking trip, and I'd forgotten just how long it takes to do that when one hasn't been out in a while.

It should be the beginning of about three straight weekends of backpacking, which should improve my mood considerably. The country boy in me needs to get out of the city for a few days. :)

[Posted at 23:04 CST on 10/21/02] [Link]

20 October 2002

Big 12 Wrap: Week Nine

Last Week's Wrap

Week 9 in the Big 12 featured more good matchups, and a few surprises.

Here's the breakdown:

Oklahoma 49, Iowa State 3
Iowa State came into this game feeling good about themselves, and deservedly so: they feature a legitimate Heisman contender at quarterback and had played well enough all season to crack the Top 10. And then Oklahoma just dominated with their defense and special teams, and was coldly efficient on offense despite the rain. The Sooner D held Seneca Wallace and Iowa State to 60 total yards and dominated time of possession. It's probably the best defensive effort against a quality team we will see this year. Oklahoma now has a week off. Iowa State, on the other hand, must deal with Texas.

Texas 17, Kansas State 14
This may be a defining game for Texas. After the loss to Oklahoma, Texas came out and played tough defense. Their offense struggled at times, but Bill Snyder makes that happen quite a lot to teams that visit Manhattan. The Texas running game is still struggling, but a win is a win -- and the Longhorns are no doubt clutching at Nebraska's improbable run to the BCS title game last year despite not even playing for the conference championship. Iowa State will be another test next week in Austin, and then the Longhorns travel to Nebraska. Both are winnable games.

Colorado 34, Baylor 0
Baylor is just pitiful. This one was never a contest. The Kevin Steele deathwatch continues.

Texas A&M 47, Kansas 22
Kansas is just pitiful. This one was never a contest either. Texas A&M's offense continues to benefit from playing bad teams. They probably won't ring up 40+ points on Nebraska next week, but who knows given Nebraska's problems.

Oklahoma State 24, Nebraska 21
Oklahoma State had not beaten Nebraska since 1961 coming into this one. But Oklahoma State just outplayed the Huskers, who looked slow (and the rain was only partially to blame -- Nebraska's talent level is just down). It's been that kind of season for Nebraska. Rashaun Woods had another monster game for the Cowboys, but I actually saw something I've never seen before: he dropped a catchable ball (it's rare -- the guy is probably the best in the Big 12, UT's receivers notwithstanding). Oklahoma State has Texas A&M in Stillwater next week, and hopes to break out of a habit of playing well one week and poorly the next.

Texas Tech 52, Missouri 38
These two teams are both a notch below the best teams in their division, and fairly evenly matched, and this was a real show for the fans. Texas Tech never trailed, and Kliff Kingsbury completed 49 of 70 (!!!) for 510 yards, 5 TDS, and no picks -- but still, since Texas Tech doesn't play defense, no lead is ever really safe, keeping the fans in the seats. Imagine what Mike Leach's team could do if they ever put together a quality defense.

[Posted at 22:24 CST on 10/20/02] [Link]

19 October 2002


UH athletic director Dave Maggard is denying reports that Dana Dimel will be fired at the conclusion of the football season.

Well, actually he's not quite saying that.

He seems to be denying reports that he's already TOLD Dimel that he will be fired:

"That is absolutely not true," Maggard said. "Dana and the football staff have been told nothing of the kind. We are all unhappy with the way things have gone this season. We are all working to make it better in the six remaining games."
Not much of a vote of confidence.

Honestly, the UH athletics department has been making bad decisions for so long that we can probably count on them to make the wrong decision with Dimel.

And I don't think I even know what the right decision is. Dimel has recruited locally much better than his predecessor, who was more inclined to head off and recruit Florida (for inexplicable reasons, frankly). But Dimel's teams look completely clueless, even more so than Kim Helton's. And they aren't showing any real signs of improvement. But that may be due to the young athletes learning a new system. Hard to say.

So what if Dana Dimel has the potential to be another Dan McCarney, who suffered terrible seasons before turning Iowa State into probably the best team in the Big 12 North this year (the blowout loss to Oklahoma earlier notwithstanding). And who's to say the replacement is going to be any better?

It would be nice, of course, if Dave Maggard would look north and make a pitch to either Mike Stoops or Brent Venables (assistants at Oklahoma). As Oklahoma's offensive assistants have gotten Big 12 head jobs (Mike Leach to Texas Tech and Mark Mangino to Kansas), the leaders of the heart and soul of Oklahoma's team -- the defense -- have barely gotten sniffs from big schools. Those guys would probably turn down Houston because of its pitiful stadium and pitiful conference affiliation, but it's worth some informal discussion.

But if Maggard isn't pretty sure he can attract some assistant of that caliber (I would be surprised if any decent head coach would take the Houston job at this point), better to give Dimel a complete vote of confidence now, so as not to destroy Houston's recruiting.

And hope for the best.

[Posted at 22:25 CST on 10/19/02] [Link]

Weird Deaths

First there was the stupid SOB who got run over trying to retrieve a beer from a busy freeway.

And now some poor dude got shot while trying to steal a car in Houston. But here's the kicker -- he was shot with a bow and arrow!


[Posted at 21:54 CST on 10/19/02] [Link]


Reynolds gives himself an "Advantage: Instapundit" because it seems some Kuwaitis (as reported by the uneven Nicholas Kristof) believe that the U.S. might actually expend blood and treasure to liberate Iraq and then turn it into a Hashemite colony of sorts.

This idea is popular among some academics, but I just don't see it happening.

And I'm not sure that it's an advantage necessarily that one's thinking on international politics corresponds to that of Kuwaiti royals.

[Posted at 13:29 CST on 10/19/02] [Link]


I have several old computers lying around, one of which I haven't turned on in ages. It's an AMD-powered 450mhz machine originally built by Compaq, with a mish mash of parts that have been scavenged and swapped from elsewhere. For ages, I've been talking about sticking Linux on that box because it really REALLY lags running its original OS (Win 98), and it's just gathering dust as it is. So the last couple of evenings, I loaded up Red Hat 8.0 on it, which went pretty smoothly.

I'm impressed with the Linux GUI and how well it runs on that machine, which isn't exactly overpowering by today's standards. And it even recognized my cable connection coming off the router, which is good (at least it's a surfing machine now). And I can even get Samba to take a peek out there and see my Windows network.

And I'm officially at that point that separates the true geeks from the rest of us. You know, the point where you say, "Now what?"

See, I *know* that I could actually use Linux as a high tech firewall that could actually replace the non-wireless cable router on my network, which acts as a "dumb" firewall. I know that I could configure Apache as a server, upgrade my pipe at home, and run my websites off my own box. I know I could do all sorts of complicated things, if only I had the time and inclination to learn (and I may, one day).

But at the moment, I'd be really pleased just to figure out how to make my Windows network see the Linux box, and the Linux box see the Windows network (permanently), and the Linux box to become my print server. And I'd like to do it in about 10 minutes (the time I could do it in MSWin). I'm sure I can figure it out -- there's lots of stuff on Samba and Win networking all over the web -- and I will eventually, when I have the time to translate the "how-tos" I've found so far on the web into something the average end user can understand (i.e. by learning some linux).

I'm sort of a geek hobbyist -- I really do *like* tinkering around like this -- but if I have to put this sort of time into it, I can understand why most normal people are happy enough sticking with Windoze, as bad as the OS can be.

Anyway, I'm been having fun with it, but time to read some news and do some posting and watch some football and adjust the new backpack for next week's trip and get to the gym... and all that other stuff I've neglected the past couple of nights.

But if any of you can recommend a Win-Linux Networking For Total Linux Dummies guide, it would be much appreciated. :)

[Posted at 10:27 CST on 10/19/02] [Link]

17 October 2002

No Left Turns

The good folks at the Ashbrook Center have joined all the cool kids and have a blog up and running.

Good for them.

Now if their brethren at the Claremont Institute would get one going, the Claremonster presence in blogdom would be formidable indeed.

[Posted at 09:37 CST on 10/17/02] [Link]

16 October 2002

Server To Server Transfer

If you ever need to move a bunch of files from one server to another, this is a great website to bookmark in your "useful/geeky web utility" category.

You do have one of those, right?

[Posted at 18:24 CST on 10/16/02] [Link]

15 October 2002

War, Nepalese Style

When the two warring parties resort to blowing up each other's statues, you know they mean business in Nepal.

[Posted at 22:39 CST on 10/15/02] [Link]

A Darwin Award Candidate

I'm definitely opposed to wasting liquor. Especially beer.

But there are times when it's probably best just to let it go....

[Posted at 21:06 CST on 10/15/02] [Link]


Sometimes I think this is a cursed sports town.

Last season, despite a youth movement, the Rockets endured injuries that saw all of their key players out of the lineup for long stretches of the year, and they regressed from their near-playoff status of the prior year. (Incidentally, that Steve Francis is hurt already, albeit with a "minor injury," must be a concern).

And this year, the Astros had to endure Jeff Bagwell's shoulder and production from him that was well below what one might expect for someone with his contract. Also troubling are the persistent rumors that the injury is no longer really an injury, but a chronic condition that may never improve.

But nothing really compares to the announcement today that Tony Boselli will miss the rest of the season. The Texans made him the first pick in the expansion draft, and assumed one HELL of a contract for a player that they KNEW had some question marks about his health. Just a few weeks ago, the Texans were pretending that Boselli was just about ready to join the lineup after yet another surgery -- apparently to try to put down some persistent rumors that Boselli might never play again. Now, Boselli's agent even admits he may never play again (although you have to go to a source OTHER than the Chron for that tidbit:

Agent Tom Mills told that there has been much speculation that Boselli will retire, but the only immediate decision is that the tackle will shut things down for this season, with his future to be re-evaluated at another time.

"Who knows if he can ever play again?" Mills said. "But this isn't the time for that decision. He'll save that one for another day. The prudent thing was to decide he couldn't play this year, to keep rehabilitating, and to see where he's at heading into 2003."

Way back in August, I wrote that the Tony Boselli pick is probably the only bad move the Texans have made. But it's a REALLY bad one that's looking worse all the time.

It's the Houston curse.

(10-16-02) Tom Coughlin, coach of Boselli's former team, says his organization never misled anybody about Boselli's health. I actually believe him. The Texans made this blunder all on their own. But Coughlin still has to be happy they did, and freed up the Jags' cap space for a player who is physically unable to perform.

[Posted at 17:32 CST on 10/15/02] [Link]

14 October 2002


Lots and lots of server difficulties today. None of it should have been too apparent, other than the lack of new stuff (it has to do with the mySQL server). But dynamically generated sites -- like the next version of this one -- were apparently screwed. Wouldn't it be nice if things just worked?

In response to another annoyance, I had to put my No Soliciting sign back out on the door today. I have all the respect in the world for precinct walkers, because elections are won out in the trenches. But even when the good guys (Republican walkers) come by ringing the damn doorbell and riling up the dog after a LONG day at work followed by a really intense workout, it's annoying.

So the sign I put on the door reads:

NO SOLICITING [in very huge print]

No Direct Sales
No Political Campaigns
No Religious Proselytizing [all in smaller print]


So I'm grouchy. It's a cold (in Houston! the horror) rainy Monday, and I'm entitled.

[Posted at 22:10 CST on 10/14/02] [Link]

13 October 2002

A Flood


A Houston neighborhood is experiencing severe flooding.

Flash flooding caused by a storm that blew in?


Just another example of the city's deteriorating infrastructure and inability of Mayor Pothole's Public Works Department to act decisively on problems.

Public Works is claiming they were slow to shut down the water main break that has caused this flooding because they didn't want to cause further damage to the line or inconvenience other customers (like a breach in the line that causes contamination isn't enough of a potential inconvenience!). In reality, this is just the sort of passing-the-buck that characterizes all levels of City Administration under Mayor Pothole.


Hernandez began calling for help as the street in front of his house disappeared under the fast-rising water. A Houston Fire Department rescue boat was soon dispatched for them because the current was too strong to wade through.

"I was glad to be rescued. I can't swim," a shaken Hortencia Hernandez said. "Our cars are there under the water. . . ."

Firefighters compared the eruption to whitewater on the Colorado River.

"It looks like rapids right here in the middle of the 4100 block of Clay," HFD spokesman Jay Evans. "I've never seen anything this bad."

Well, there was the flooding caused by Allison -- but no, I don't think anyone has seen anything quite this bad related to Houston Public Works.

[Posted at 23:30 CST on 10/13/02] [Link]

Big 12 Wrap: Week Eight

Last Week's Wrap

This was a great week for the Big 12, mainly because the two best teams in the best football conference in the country met for their annual battle in Dallas. With no further intro, here are the games:

Oklahoma 35, Texas 24
The two quarterbacks struggled in this game, but part of that was surely attributable to two really good defenses. But Oklahoma answered with an innovative game plan that featured 5-6 Quentin Griffin, and sprang him for 248 yards rushing. The Sooner defense completely shut down UT's star running back, Cedric Benson, and Lance Mitchell, Teddy Lehman, Andre Woolfolk, and Tommie Harris came up big for the Sooners (as predicted). And the Sooner special teams dominated their UT counterparts. Overall, the Sooners outplayed and outcoached the Longhorns, leaving Chris Simms and Mack Brown (whose overly conservative game plan didn't help his team) befuddled for the third straight year. Next week, UT will try to avoid being outcoached again at Kansas State, and Oklahoma has to deal with Iowa State, whose quarterback Seneca Wallace is the sort who has given the Stoops/Venables defense difficulties this year.

Iowa State 31, Texas Tech 17
Mike Leach's teams don't play defense, and they don't stress special teams. Thus, Texas Tech can only beat quality opponents when Kliff Kingsbury and the offense play a nearly perfect game. In this one, Kingsbury was good, but not great, and the offense fumbled the ball away three times. That proved too much against a quality team. Iowa State's Seneca Wallace had another nice game, and is the sort of quarterback who has given Oklahoma -- the next opponent -- fits this year.

Kansas State 44, Oklahoma State 7
Last year, Oklahoma State upset Oklahoma in Norman. Last week, OSU nearly beat Texas in Austin. But Les Miles can't get his teams to play to that level every week, and this week was an example of this inconsistency. OSU never challenged Kansas State, which only gave up 2.1 yards per carry on the ground and picked off OSU's quarterbacks four times. Bill Snyder's team may be catching Texas at a good time next week in Manhattan, after the post-Red River Shootout hangover.

Colorado 53, Kansas 29
The major weakness of Gary Barnett's teams at Colorado is they have been inconsistent on defense. Unlike Mike Leach's squads, they occasionally put a good game together, but it's the exception, not the rule. On offense, Colorado has plenty of playmakers, but any team that gives up 29 points and 400+ yards to hapless Kansas needs to improve defensively if it wants to challenge for a Big 12 Championship.

Nebraska 24, Missouri 13
Nebraska, on the other hand, stresses defense, but their defense has deteriorated since the retirement of Charlie McBride several years ago. This game could prove a turning point for the post-McBride blackshirts. The game was close at the half (14-13), but Nebraska's defense completely shut down Mizzou in the second half, allowing only two first downs (one of those on a penalty). Mizzou shredded the best defense in the conference last week, so there may be some hope in Lincoln after a disappointing start.

Texas A&M 41, Baylor 0
What is the best remedy to a tough home loss in the Big 12? Playing Baylor or Kansas, of course! Baylor's quarterbacks tossed 4 interceptions and threw for only 103 yards while completing only 13 of 32 passes. The A&M defense is good, and the Baylor offense is terrible. I don't see how Kevin Steele can survive as Baylor's head man beyond this season. A&M can still be a factor in the Big 12 South, as it has winnable road games (Kansas, Oklahoma State, Texas -- although that will be a hard one) and tough teams at home in friendly College Station (Nebraska, Oklahoma, Mizzou).

(Update) Pardon my self-indulgence, but the Chron's wrap isn't NEARLY as entertaining as what we offer here! And unlike Jerome Solomon, I write this stuff myself! :) Strangely, Mr. Solomon is quick to criticize Mack Brown, but he doesn't criticize himself for predicing the Longhorns would win easily.

(10-14-02 Update) I nearly forgot this. Kirk Bohls wrote the following last week:

Without Benson, Texas loses a distinct advantage over Oklahoma, which has three good backs and should rely more on its best back, Kejuan Jones.
I am SICK TO DEATH of football writers constantly telling Bob Stoops that Quentin Griffin isn't his best back. Look, the guy had nearly 250 yards against an allegedly great defense this week. He's been the best running back at OU since he stepped on the campus, and he keeps on proving it. What else do people want from the guy?!

(10-15-02 Update) Alex Whitlock offers a (quite reasonable) Longhorns' perspective on the current state of affairs. I think he's right to point out that whatever Mack Brown's perceived faults may be, he's brought consistent excitement and winning to Austin that had been missing for some years.

[Posted at 22:00 CST on 10/13/02] [Link]


I never understood the hiring of Ron Zook at Florida to replace Steve Spurrier.

Florida's AD made a play for Bob Stoops, who had the good sense not to try to replace a legend at Florida while he's well on his way to making his own legend at Oklahoma (ask Mack Brown). And Florida's AD made a play for Mike Shanahan, who had the good sense not to try to replace a legend when he has a legitimate NFL playoff contender in Denver.

And then Florida's AD turned to Ron Zook, who was an assistant that Spurrier once demoted.

And Zook's version of the Gators were totally embarrassed this weekend on their home field by LSU, losing consecutive conference games for the first time in a decade, dropping their record to a decidely un-Spurrier-like 4-3.

Steve Spurrier built Florida into such a powerhouse that they could have hired almost any coach but one likely to compete for a National Championship (Stoops) or Super Bowl (Shanahan). Instead, they hired a guy who just seems overmatched by it all -- just like he did when the old ballcoach demoted him. Florida's AD should be feeling as much heat right now as Zook for messing the thing up.

[Posted at 21:56 CST on 10/13/02] [Link]

Hashemite Fantasies

Sorry, but the United States is not going to expend blood and treasure in the liberation of Iraq only to turn it over to a non-democratic monarchy, no matter how much some members of academia might laud the idea.

It's a political non-starter for the Bush Administration, and a bad idea regardless.

[Posted at 21:14 CST on 10/13/02] [Link]


My boss is travelling on business, so we had use of his Houston Texans tickets today.

I HATED the Astrodome, which was a dreadful place to watch any sort of sporting event. I'm happy to say Reliant Stadium is a beautiful replacement (and should be, considering the price tag). Unlike the Astros' Juice Container, which has scores of obstructed view seats apparently as part of its "throwback" design, there doesn't appear to be a bad seat in the whole of Reliant. No sightlines blocked by overhangs or other stadium components. The only drawback was that the roof was closed.

The game, on the other hand, wasn't so great. The Texans sprinted out to a lead, but made too many mistakes to hold it (and were hurt on one drive by some very questionable officiating). The Texans are progressing, but they still look like an expansion team a lot of the time.

We also caught the Randy Rogers Band for the first time. Rogers and crew were playing the Budweiser stage outside the stadium, as part of the pre-game tailgating festivities. I like their sound, and they even opened with a Scott Melott tune (Scott produced their cd). I definitely want to catch those guys again. Randy even ripped on Kenny Chesney, which went RIGHT over the heads of the fans who were assembled and watching (it's a Texas Music/Americana thing: NASHVILLE SUCKS).

[Posted at 20:02 CST on 10/13/02] [Link]


Good gawd, I've been away from the 'net most of the day, and it seems all I've missed is lots of navel gazing over the practice, nay "forensic technique," of fisking.

[Posted at 19:51 CST on 10/13/02] [Link]

12 October 2002

Scott's Show

I never got around to writing about Scott Melott's show, which we roadtripped to New Braunfels to see last night (but Callie did).

I really enjoyed it. We've seen him with this band (aside from rotating guitarists) three different times now, and they have sounded tighter each time. Plus they keep tweaking some of the old Groobees songs to take advantage of the current lineup. It's really coming together.

We still haven't heard the permanent guitarist (supposed to debut November 16), but the guy that played last night is apparently set to be his backup. And he was excellent, so I can only imagine how good the main guy is going to be.

This was my first trip to Saengerhalle, which has really nice acoustics. It also had a more friendly feel to it than Tavern in the Gruene, right down to the guy who collected the cover charge and told us, "You guys hungry? There's sausage out back. It's free." The sausages were good. The bartender (who looked like the British chick on ER) also referred to me as Sweetie, which added to the charm. And there were lots of children running about, reminding me of the West Alabama Icehouse here in town. When the show started, their parents put four chairs up in the very front for the kids, and they seemed to enjoy the best seats in the house. Cute.

I know the RightWingNuts (yeah, some of them are my friends) would be aghast at the idea of a bar that has children running around, but I kind of like joints like this. I'm not sure what wrong with taking your kids out to a dancehall and hearing some alt-country music (pg-rated, for the most part). It probably beats what they're going to find at home on the premium cable channels or the internet. Or maybe even at the Catholic Church, given recent scandals!

But I digress. As I said, the show was good. The vocals with Libbi Bosworth are sounding tighter and tighter; I really like how she and Scott sound together (Susan WHO?). The rhythm section has been excellent. And the guitar was fine.

Even better, Scott came and chatted with me and Callie for a LONG time between sets, along with his family. What nice people! Is everyone in New Braunfels so friendly?

I'm really enjoying these intimate shows at the moment, because we're getting to hear all sorts of new stuff, and experiments, and things you're willing to try out for a relatively friendly room (i.e. family and true fans), when you don't have to try and promote a CD or headlining band. I know Scott plans on bigger and better things, and they will come (this is some GOOD music) -- but for the moment, intimate is fine.

The roadtrip back from New Braunfels last night (in order to be ready for football this afternoon) was LONG, however, and I wasn't even driving.

Up next: Texans football tomorrow, as I have my boss's season tix. Should be fun!

[Posted at 23:37 CST on 10/12/02] [Link]


Boss Hogg, Bob Stoops gave me another headache
Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane?

I know, everyone is sick of OU-UT posts... but I just can't help myself.

Robyn has put together this absolute gem. Priceless. Go look.

(Update) Mack Brown is SO LAME:

As for Brown, he threw blame to the wind -- literally. He pointed to the afternoon breeze, which was announced at 10 mph, as an excuse for Texas' inability to move the ball.

He also blamed the bounce of the ball, as OU pinned the 'Horns on the 1-yard line in the third quarter on a behind-the-back, off-the pylon save by Will Peoples after an OU punt.

The wind? The ball? Dude, OU played in the same wind with the same ball!

(Update 2) Kevin Sherrington rips Mack a new one. Ouch!

[Posted at 22:21 CST on 10/12/02] [Link]


Maybe Jerome Solomon should go back to copying the Daily Oklahoman's George Schroeder when it comes to Big 12 football.

Because he made this rather bold prediction earlier in the week:

Especially since Texas will beat Oklahoma by at least 10 points to tie the Brown-Stoops series 2-2
Nope, sorry Jerome.

Look, I thought going into this game that both teams had looked really good at times this season, and not-so-great other times. Most people thought it would be a really tight game, although given the outcome in 2000, a blowout was possible. But Texas in a blowout? Why did Solomon write that so boldly? What did he think he knew to write that?!

Way to go Chron!

[Posted at 22:18 CST on 10/12/02] [Link]


Is that a tear?

Goodness, how quickly they turn on their own in Austin.

Check out this quote from the American-Statesman: Texas quarterback Chris Simms was sacked on the last play of the game and nearly stepped on by photographers running onto the field to get the best angle on OU Coach Bob Stoops. It was that kind of day for Simms.Ouch! He's not wrong. It was that kind of day for Chrissy. But you'd think the hometown paper would give him a break.

The editors of Texas Monthly are looking rather foolish, but I guess that's nothing new.

(Update) Tim Cowlishaw was not impressed with Chrissy or Mack.

[Posted at 21:58 CST on 10/12/02] [Link]

Weblog Philosophy

My friend Michael Duff has written an excellent piece called "Weblog Philosophy."

I hope it gets linked all over the web, because there's lots of good stuff in it and a lot of weblogs would be better if they incorporated some of his suggestions (disclosure: it even mentions yours truly, but I'm not engaged in shameless plugging here because I get some criticism).

One thing I find interesting is that most of the sites Michael likes have been coded by their authors. That used to be the norm, but there's been a trend among the warbloggers to pay professional designers to produce a blog template for them (usually Movable Type powered). They are always slickly done (one of the prominent designers of such political blogs is a friend of mine), but I'm certain many future clients would benefit from reading Michael's piece and really thinking through what they are trying to accomplish with their blog, and what sort of layout might best achieve those goals.

(Update) Oh, and I must get cereal tomorrow when I go to the grocery store. That Kashi high fiber/low sugar stuff. :)

(Update 2) A few thoughts of my own on weblog philosophy also. Like Michael, I used to keep a weblog of one-liners (he gave me the idea) that eventually morphed into Reductio ad Absurdum. And I appreciate that Michael's article wants more of the personal from bloggers, and less of the professional. But here's a suggestion -- some of the personal is the selection of stuff on Reductio. Sure, Michael and other smart people can go read NRO and TNR and OpinionJournal for analysis of politics and culture, and Google News even compiles it all for you in one spot. But most people don't go read all that stuff. They read blogs these days, instead. I WANT them to go read the really best stuff at least. And that's the personal part of Reductio, because I'm selecting the articles I think should be read. The selection is my personal comment: "this article should be read by libertarian-conservative-honest liberal types who are interested in politics, books, and culture (with a little Texas thrown in )." I just cheat, and don't say why. It's really not much different from the old one-line blog, except I'm not snarky. :)

While we're on the topic of personal blogging, I meant to link to these thoughts from Andrew on the topic ages ago, and forgot. I find this admission very interesting (and identify with it to a degree):

I quote others who are more composed. In most cases, the ones I quote are saying a healthy fraction of what I would say if I'd found the composure. I barely comment, I rarely even summarize. I let ambiguities stand, and I refuse to argue. All this serves two of my main purposes, to remember what I was thinking about and to get some small feel for how others (livejournalers) see the same data (my quote & paste posts).

[Posted at 18:57 CST on 10/12/02] [Link]

Get The Limo Ready

Phil Simms needs to get the limo ready for Chrissy, because it looks like he's going to need a good cry with daddy again.

Both teams have played some great defense (Texas faded pretty badly at the end, but they made some big plays earlier in the game), although the final score will be a little misleading in that regard. Neither quarterback has been particularly impressive, but give both defenses some credit for that (especially the Longhorn corners, who made a few really nice plays in the game). Overall, another great football game with a lot of momentum swings. Wow.

[Posted at 18:09 CST on 10/12/02] [Link]

Heh heh

I'm listening to the Sooners pregame show on the radio.

Merv Johnson, the Sooners color commentator, thinks offensive line play will be the key to the game.

That made me laugh.

Merv Johnson was the offensive line coach for the Sooners for many years, and quite possibly the best position coach they've ever had.

And of course, he's right about the offensive line on both sides being key. But what else would an offensive line guru be expected to say? :)

[Posted at 14:22 CST on 10/12/02] [Link]

Barney Fife

Scott Chaffrin had a run in with some local Barney Fifes last night, and now has a mess to sort out.

This sort of thing goes on ALL THE DAMN TIME in rural law enforcement, and it's a travesty. Having suffered through something similar a number of years ago, I'm probably more angry reading about Scott's experience than he is right now.


[Posted at 13:46 CST on 10/12/02] [Link]


Orrin Judd uses the terms "petulance" and "immaturity" in describing much of Bill Kristol's behavior over much of the last year. I think that's about right.

[Posted at 12:44 CST on 10/12/02] [Link]


This is a silly headline:

Falwell Remarks Prompt India Riots

I'm no fan of Jerry Falwell. But blaming Hindu-Muslim violence in India on him is to demonstrate an ignorance of Indian history and politics that is astounding even for the average American.

[Posted at 12:31 CST on 10/12/02] [Link]

What's A Sooner?

Since the Friends crew is wondering "What the hell is a Sooner?" it's probably useful to consult Robyn's site.

It's just hours away now. I like Oklahoma's chances. People keep wondering who's going to step up with Williams and Calmus gone from last year's great defense. I look for big games from Teddy Lehman, Andre Woolfolk, and Lance Mitchell. Tommie Harris will see lots of double teams, but he'll free up other guys to make some plays, and he'll probably get away to make a few himself.

[Posted at 11:18 CST on 10/12/02] [Link]

11 October 2002

Creeping Workday....

Boomer Sooner

Man, the workday is just CREEPING along....

I think I've got a bad case of the OU-Texas bug. After a week of following all the hype, I'm ready for the damn game! And hoping those Stoops boys have got it all figured out. I think they do.

I'm off to New Braunfels tonight, for another Scott Melott show.

I have my boss's Texans tickets for Sunday, where I'll also be able to catch Randy Rogers playing during the pre-game festivities.

And the weather is beautiful -- it's finally cooled off some in Houston.

Perfect weekend shaping up!

[Posted at 13:15 CST on 10/11/02] [Link]


I love the Libertarian candidate for Secretary of State in Illinois.

(link via The Fat Guy)

(corrected because I thought he was running in Florida, when it's really Illinois)

[Posted at 08:38 CST on 10/11/02] [Link]

Of Course

Saint Jimmy has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Since his royal ass kicking courtesy of Ronald Reagan, Jimmy has made a habit of chumming it up with all the world's great (or at least remaining) dictators, from Arafat to Chavez to Castro. He's also grown increasingly criticial of his own nation over the years. And the Nobel ImpotentEuroWeenies apparently like that:

"It should be interpreted as a criticism of the line that the current administration has taken," Gunnar Berge, chairman of the Nobel committee, said in Norwegian. "It's a kick in the leg to all that follow the same line as the United States."
This, from the group that awarded Palestinian butcher Yassir Arafat the prize.

It's too perfect. Really.

(Update) Orrin Judd argues that Hamid Karzai would have been a good choice. Indeed, he would have been, were the Nobel a serious prize awarded by serious people. That ended when the award went to Arafat. I'm going to have to adopt the term used by one of Orrin's commenters: the igNobel Peace Prize.

[Posted at 06:43 CST on 10/11/02] [Link]

10 October 2002


A router at the data center that hosts this website was pounded by a massive denial-of-service attack earlier tonight, which made access sporadic. They seem to have dealt with the problem now. My apologies if the site gave you problems.

[Posted at 22:12 CST on 10/10/02] [Link]

Our Chron

Mickey Herskowitz is one of the better sports columnists to write for the Dreadful Chron, although that really isn't saying much. Herskowitz today decides to tackle the upcoming Red River shootout. And it wouldn't be a terrible column if it weren't so obvious that Herskowitz really hasn't paid much attention to the game in, say, about 30 years.

He writes:

To add fuel to the inferno, the teams have not been ranked this high in the national polls (Oklahoma second, Texas third) since 1963. ... That year, the Sooners were No. 1, and the Horns second.
Mickey, Mickey. They were ranked 1-2 in 1984 in at least one poll. Welcome to the last 20 years!

He goes on:

But something is missing. The high-octane anger and personal slurs are missing. Perhaps the difference is that Oklahoma no longer stocks its roster with an unreasonable number of the finest Texas imports -- all-world recruits such as Jack Mildren, Greg Pruitt, Joe Washington and Brian Bosworth.
There is not the same level of trash-talking of the Bosworth era, but surely Trent Smith's comments were very Boz-like. And OU still recruits heavily in Texas -- surely Herskowitz hasn't missed an All-American candidate by the name of Tommie Harris?

And there's more:

But the most obvious reason the rivalry has turned almost civil is probably the fact that one team or the other, or both, slumbered for roughly 10 years. Yes, Oklahoma has won a national title recently, and Texas is contending for one, but the rage has not yet caught up with the reality.
What in the hell is this fool talking about? This game is a huge "hate game" even when one team is down (or both of 'em, for that matter). And even Herskowitz doesn't seem to believe what he just wrote, because he follows it with this: "In any case, this is still the week Dallas braces for all year." Not bad for a civil, almost dead, rivalry, huh Mickey? Does the Chron even bother to edit this crap? He then goes on to reminisce about the good old days of Barry Switzer and Darrel Royal. And the column just ends. Abruptly. No real conclusion. Kind of fitting for a rambling column with no real point and lots of factual errors, I guess.

Michael Murphy's column isn't much better. Everyone in Texas knows that Mack Brown inexplicably did not play Cedric Benson last year in the OU game. And a lot of UT whiners have used that as an excuse why Oklahoma beat them. This isn't really news. Unless, of course, you're Michael Murphy (who also breaks out the verb "spectating" in this column) and you write for the Dreadful Chron. Meanwhile, the real news was broken by Craig Bohls over at the American-Statesman, who reports that Cedric Benson may be hindered in the game because of a lingering turf toe injury. Who knows if UT didn't put that info out in an attempt to deceive OU coaches, but you wouldn't know about it at all if you live in Houston and the Dreadful Chron is your sources of Big 12 news.

In a city that has so many Big 12 fans, the coverage of the conference by Houston's (mis)Leading Information Source is just terrible. Along with the rest of their coverage.

(10/11/02 Update) A story from David Barron explains that OU continues to import talent from Texas, directly contradicting the Herskowitz story described above. Does anyone bother to edit the Dreadful Chron?

Elsewhere, John Lopez writes: "You might not even have known of Benson's foot injury." Nope, not if you read the Dreadful Chron.

(10/11/02 Update 2) Since Mickey Herskowitz has apparently been snoozing the last few years (which he thinks have been "civil"), here's Jim Dent's take:

The Bob Stoops-Mack Brown rivalry has required less than three years to flower into this bed of thorns, much like the Barry Switzer versus Darrell Royal back in the '70s. Royal hated Switzer the same way a roadhouse man hates a Wall Street man.

[Posted at 22:01 CST on 10/10/02] [Link]


I think OU is going to win the OU-Texas game for a number of reasons (Texas: Roy Williams not at full speed, Cedric Benson possibly not at full speed, Mack Brown choking in big games, Chris Simms choking in big games, soft schedule that hasn't tested the team; Oklahoma: coaching, everyone is healthy, Hybl is steady but not spectacular, two close games have the Sooners ready to play).

Whether or not anyone agrees, at least those are legitimate reasons. And then there are a couple of arguments that Texas will win that are just silly. Here's one from the Dreadful Chron:

Their vastly different personalities are obvious, but that has little to do with who is the better coach. Three years worth of head-to-head matchups give little indication either.

Especially since Texas will beat Oklahoma by at least 10 points to tie the Brown-Stoops series 2-2.

Next week, Brown will tell you how going to Kansas State after the big win scares him to death and right after they beat the Wildcats he'll tell how getting his team ready for that one was the most difficult week of coaching in his career.

Gibberish. But this is such bad writing, it seems almost certain that Jerome Solomon didn't steal it from Daily Oklahoman columnist George Schroeder this time.

And then there's Jim Donnan (who used to coach at OU):

Each teams is extremely well-coached, and as a former OU assistant it is hard for me to not pull for the Sooners. But having coached Mack Brown in college at Florida State I feel he needs this win more at this point in his career than Bob Stoops. I predict Texas will win in a tight game.
Good gawd, Mack Brown's entire career suggests he will LOSE a game if there's a lot on the line -- yet Donnan gives this as a reason UT will win? Retarded.

These are two teams that are evenly matched. Good arguments can be made in favor of both teams, which makes this rivalry fun. But the two "arguments" above are just stupid.

[Posted at 20:25 CST on 10/10/02] [Link]

09 October 2002


In the latest installment of South Park Republicanism, Texas metal/alt-country rockers Slobberbone get some love from National Review Online, of all places.

I have two favorite (and very different) songs by those guys: Josephine and Gimme Back My Dog. That last song is especially fun live, because the bass player supplies backing vocals that are ... umm ... entertaining.

[Posted at 22:06 CST on 10/09/02] [Link]


19 years as a head coach, 0 Championships

Mack Brown: "So when I go back and see we beat Colorado at home last year and it wasn't a big one, but then we lose to them in the (Big 12) championship and it was, I get confused."

That confusion has produced ZERO championships in 19 years as a head coach.

I haven't said much about OU-Texas so far, but Robyn has been posting plenty of good stuff.

I can't wait for the game Saturday.

[Posted at 21:28 CST on 10/09/02] [Link]

Houston Budget Woes

Kuffner notes the budget difficulties brought on by overly optimistic (read hallucinatory) estimates on the amount of revenue to be obtained by court proceedings.

Frankly, I share the view of court director Barbara Sudhoff:

Bringing in money for the city is important, Sudhoff said, but it is not the courts' most important role.

"No one can forget that first we are a court of law," she said. "First and foremost, we must be fair and impartial."

That's exactly right. We need to view the municipal justice system primarily as a law and order mechanism, not a revenue device.

[Posted at 21:15 CST on 10/09/02] [Link]

Chief Bradford

Suspended police chief Bradford's trial for perjury has been set for January. Minister Robert Muhammed, a Bradford supporter, had this to say:

"This city will never be the same after this," Muhammad said. "... If a man with the stellar career of Clarence Bradford can be indicted on aggravated perjury and put before the world like this, then what do I tell my sons?
Here's a suggestion: Even the powerful are equal before the law, and shouldn't lie under oath.

[Posted at 20:44 CST on 10/09/02] [Link]


After Mayor Pothole rammed that poor SOB with the Mayoral Town Car a while back, there were some suggestions that it might be better for the Mayor use his personal driver to get around the city.

Well, if the Mayor's driver isn't any better than the Police Chief's driver, maybe that's not such a good idea. According to this KHOU report, the Police Chief's driver was involved in an accident that totaled the city vehicle he was driving (in Fort Bend County). But before a wrecker arrived, HPD had already picked up the vehicle and whisked it away.

Why were they in such a hurry? Surely they didn't want to cover up an accident caused by the Police Chief's driver who (OH BY THE WAY) blew a .129 and a .132 on his breathalyzer test AFTER being taken back to the HPD accident division. Nicely done!

The driver now joins Chief Bradford on paid leave (unfortunately, Mayor Pothole is still being paid AND is still on the job).



(10-10-02 Update) The Dreadful Chron has FINALLY posted a dreadfully written article on the matter, and unsurprisingly, the two writers don't bother to mention the BAC levels cited by KHOU. If those levels were that high TWO HOURS after the accident, imagine what they were when the drunk idiot totaled the HPD Expedition!

[Posted at 20:16 CST on 10/09/02] [Link]

Ooh Ahh

I wasn't on the web much yesterday because I was entertaining my delightful cousin, who was in town from Dallas (hadn't seen her since we were little kids) -- so I missed the new edition of Scott's site.

Bye bye Radio Userland, hello Movable Type. Nicely done, Scott! Now if you'd just install wi-fi in that campground of yours.... :)

(Update) And now he has trackback working. A pingable web is a happy web. :)

[Posted at 11:04 CST on 10/09/02] [Link]

08 October 2002

North fan?

Hmm... I'm listed as an example of a warblogger who holds Ollie North as a hero for a one-liner from the old version of Reductio ad Absurdum.

Where to start?

First, I don't consider myself a warblogger (been doing this a lot longer than a year -- sorry). The old version of Reductio wasn't a warblog, the new version of Reductio isn't a warblog, and this hybrid blog/journal certainly isn't a warblog.

That said, it's kind of funny that anyone would take a single one-liner from a non-warblog as evidence of much of anything, never mind "hero worship."

It's also a little sad that anyone would read THAT single one-liner as any kind of endorsement at all, which is something that Dr. Weevil (whose blog I keep forgetting to add to my portal) points out in a rejoinder:

Reductio ad Absurdum / Kevin Whited's Reason Forum v4.0 (9/28/01):

"On rare occasions, Oliver North is spot on; this is one of them." Quite a back-handed compliment: obviously Whited is not much of a fan in general.

Nope. I'm not.

I don't care what baggage or labels anyone has -- if I find what I think is a good column, I'll post it. Hence the North post (as an aside, there's not a single article from North on the new Reductio). But with North, it's rare to see a really good, insightful column. His television appearances are marginally better, but that's not of much interest to me.

[Posted at 23:46 CST on 10/08/02] [Link]


I'm not sure it's worth having the NFL back in Houston, if we must endure stories like this one.

Cutting edge sports journalism in the Chron. Insight on the Texans you just can't get anywhere else.


And there's more, for those who just can't get enough.

[Posted at 22:50 CST on 10/08/02] [Link]

07 October 2002

Can Someone Translate?

Good gawd, is it just me, or is this UH engineering prof's prose turgid beyond belief?

Here's one of my favorite lines:

Political correctness of the most flaccid variety reigns supreme.
Huh? What does that mean? What precisely is a flaccid variety of political correctness? And how do flaccid things reign supreme? And what does any of it have to do with the rest of the paragraph?

Here's another good one:

For example, there are precious few universities that can make the claim that their income from intellectual property (IP in the lingo) can actually rationalize the salaries of the staffs and the unavoidable lawyers purported to guard the IP. In the name of safeguarding the state's interests, UH has elevated this to an almost nonreproducible onerous level.
ALMOST NONREPRODUCIBLE ONEROUS LEVEL. Say it ten times fast. Go ahead. For even more fun, imagine President Bush doing the same.

And finally:

To paraphrase, though, William Allen White's famous aphorism about newspapers, a community gets the university it deserves.
Yes, that, does, seem, to, be, the, case.

[Posted at 23:18 CST on 10/07/02] [Link]

Creepy Bob

Hey, I'm Important! Notice me, damnit!
Bob Allen

We made a late-night run to Walgreen's last night, and saw Channel 13's sportcaster, the lispish Bob Allen, wandering around.

Bob only had a few items in his basket, and he didn't seem to be ADDING any items to his basket as he wandered around. Instead, he seemed to be looking around for anyone -- ANYONE -- to notice him and make a fuss. It was bizarre. The creep just kept going up and down the aisles trying to make eye contact with people. And the funny thing is, NOBODY would say, "Hey, aren't you Bob Allen?!"

Bob looks like he's been getting too much sun covering Texans' games. I thought it would be funny to hand him some sunscreen and say, "You need this dude, can't be too careful about skin cancer" but Callie wasn't enthusiastic about my idea.

Anyway, how pathetic are you when you have to go hang out at a Walgreen's and hope someone makes a fuss over you?

[Posted at 22:52 CST on 10/07/02] [Link]

Big 12 Quarterbacks

Callie sends me this sports column off the AP wire that was posted on the KHOU website (registration required).

The columnist gushes on and on about how great the Big 12's quarterbacks are doing this year, and what a great week some of them just had.

He likes Seneca Wallace (no surprise), Kliff Kingsbury (no surprise), Chris Simms (let's see how he fares against OU first, shall we?), Brad Smith (nice game against OU), Robert Hodge (started the season as Colorado's backup), Dustin Long (here, the author goes screwy; he actually talks about Texas A&M's "quarterback depth" giving new meaning to the term, "deep shit"), Bill Whittemore (Kansas QB completing just UNDER 50% of his passes this season), Aaron Karas (Baylor QB with more interceptions than TDs),and even Jammal Lord (to most analysts, a player representative of across-the-board decline in talent at Nebraska).

Conspicuously absent from the article is Oklahoma's Nate Hybl, who threw for 300 yards against Mizzou and is ranked #1 in QB efficiency in the Big 12 by one stats service.

Now, I'm not saying Hybl is the best QB in the Big 12, because he's not, and not by a longshot. But this writer obviously doesn't know his head from his ass when it comes to Big 12 football, and leaving Hybl (OU's backup going into the season, mind you) out of an article raving about the Big 12's quarterbacks at this point is just silly. But not nearly as silly as carrying on about Texas A&M's quarterbacks, I don't suppose.

Hell, the Chron should sign this guy up. He may not be very good, but at least he's better than the guy who just steals copy from the Daily Oklahoman website.

[Posted at 22:39 CST on 10/07/02] [Link]

Toss Up

Michael Duff linked to this old Salon article earlier with the line, "Who was the bigger scumbag here? I can't decide."

Neither can I.

[Posted at 20:21 CST on 10/07/02] [Link]

06 October 2002

Big 12 Wrap: Week Seven

Last Week's Wrap

What a great week of Big 12 football! There were upsets, near upsets, and highly competitive football all the way around. In fact, weeks like this make me think the Big 12 has finally surpassed the SEC as the top football conference in the land. Here are the games:

Texas 17, Oklahoma State 15
Last year, Oklahoma State marched into Norman and derailed Oklahoma's chances at a national championship. This year, Oklahoma State marched into Austin and gave the Longhorns all they could handle. This was a missed PAT (and hence an unsuccessful 2 point conversion) from going to overtime. OSU put together an excellent game for the most part, which is just proof that even the second-tier teams in the Big 12 are pretty good. Texas was probably looking ahead a little bit to next week's Red River shootout. Les Miles needs to figure out how to get OSU playing this well more than once a year.

Oklahoma 31, Missouri 24
Oklahoma survived a tough road game that saw Missouri freshman phenom Brad Smith just shred their vaunted defense. The Sooners actually trailed in this one with just under 7 minutes left, when Bob Stoops gambled on a fake field goal that didn't really fool Mizzou, but was executed perfectly for a touchdown. Nate Hybl quietly passed for 300 yards and had an excellent game, but he still has trouble in clutch situations. The Sooners were probably also looking ahead to next week's Red River shootout, which was not a good idea against a rapidly improving Mizzou squad.

Colorado 35, Kansas State 31
Two weeks ago, I wrote that Colorado "should scare every team in the Big 12. This team can still do a lot of damage." Count Kansas State among the damaged in the Big 12 North. They came into Boulder undefeated, and trailed Colorado most of this one. Gary Barnett probably has the most talented team in the North, and now has a leg up in that half of the conference, although I think it likely a team with two conference losses might win the North.

Texas Tech 48, Texas A&M 47
I don't gamble on college football or anything else, but had anyone wanted to bet me prior to Saturday that Texas A&M would score 47 and LOSE in College Station in OT, I might have taken 'em up on that one. This is Mike Leach's biggest victory as coach of Texas Tech. I've written that Tech won't beat quality opponents until it starts playing some defense, but when Leach's offense is really clicking, it's good enough to prove me wrong every once in a while. And it's really been clicking the last two games, in which Kliff Kingsbury has thrown for a total of 881 yards and 11 touchdowns. With 22 touchdowns on the year, Kingsbury must again be considered a Heisman contender after a slow start. Since Tech doesn't play defense, it's a little too early to say that A&M has solved its offensive problems.

Nebraska 38, McNeese State 14
Nebraska rolled up nearly 600 yards against an overmatched opponent, following last week's stomping at the hands of Iowa State. Credit Frank Solich for remaining calm and continuing to plug away when his team could have quit. A home game against Mizzou and a road game against Oklahoma State are winnable games before Nebraska has to venture to College Station, but this Nebraska team cannot take any opponents lightly.

Baylor 35, Kansas 32
There are two truly terrible teams in the Big 12, one in the North (Kansas) and one in the south (Baylor). How fitting that they determined the conference's worst football team by playing each other! It looks like 22,000 fans actually saw a fairly competitive game, as Baylor won a Big 12 contest for the first time IN FOUR YEARS, to up its all-time conference record to 4-45. Ann Richards must be very proud.

[Posted at 20:44 CST on 10/06/02] [Link]


The Dallas Cowboys are just inept.

And it's not any one thing:

It's finally to the point in Dallas that I don't see any way to fix things. Putting Chad Hutchinson in at QB won't fix the mess. Hiring another lackey yes-man suckup as head coach won't fix the mess. Hiring a general manager with ultimate authority might fix the mess, but Jerry Jones actually thinks he is a good general manager, and that the problems are elsewhere. Ugh.

I just hope to gawd that when this crappy season mercifully ends, Jerry Jones doesn't convince Bob Stoops that HE would be a good fit as Cowboys head coach. Although maybe that windbag loser Mack Brown would be a good fit. :)

(Update) The organization has become such a joke that it can't even manage to put in a field surface without problems:

The game was played on new turf at Texas Stadium, and the RealGrass caused some real problems.

For Dallas, offensive lineman Larry Allen aggravated an ankle sprain, safety Darren Woodson sprained an ankle, safety Lynn Scott sprained a toe, and special teams player Randal Williams sprained an ankle. The Giants lost tight end Jeremy Shockey to turf toe, cornerback Will Peterson aggravated a toe injury, and offensive lineman Jason Whittle suffered back spasms.


[Posted at 15:10 CST on 10/06/02] [Link]


Den Beste's post on the global telecom saga of 3G is outstanding, on many different levels (politics, business, technology for the layman, etc).

Some magazine should be paying Den Beste for stuff like this. Instead, we're lucky enough that he posts it on the net for free (to us, that is; it's at some cost to himself).

[Posted at 14:10 CST on 10/06/02] [Link]


I really like Welch's post on the Angels-Yankees series that just concluded.

A lot of people have rooted against this Yankees team because of ownership's willingness to carry a huge payroll, and that's fair enough. But too much of the hatred of these guys seems to be either because they win so much of the time (much like the hatred of Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls that developed over the latter years of the dynasty) or because of the sins of Yankees past (i.e. the old arrogant bunch epitomized by Reggie Jackson).

It's nice to see a true baseball fan -- and an Angels fan at that -- pay the current classy group of Yankees a compliment.

[Posted at 13:46 CST on 10/06/02] [Link]

05 October 2002

Big 12 Nervousness

Halftime of OU game, and they aren't looking all that great against Mizzou.

This must just be the week for nervousness in the Big 12... A&M was upset by Tech earlier in College Station, K-State was upset by Colorado (not a huge upset, because Colorado has huge talent and they played in Boulder), and Texas was nearly upset by OSU in Austin.

I hope there are no more upsets today.

[Posted at 19:49 CST on 10/05/02] [Link]

Oh Man

Florida isn't supposed to lose to Ole Miss.

It doesn't matter it it's on the road or not.

Florida isn't supposed to lose to Ole Miss.

And Florida SURE isn't supposed to lose to Ole Miss because they only could muster 14 points.

So far, the Ron Zook era at Florida is looking a little wobbly.

[Posted at 19:35 CST on 10/05/02] [Link]

Damage Control


Cathy flags the damage control coming from the Astros camp and Richard Hidalgo's camp. Both sides are now asserting an earlier Chron article was erroneous in claiming that Hidalgo had asked for a trade. But note the language:

Astros general manager Gerry Hunsicker and representatives from Peter Greenberg and Associates separately denied recent reports stating that Richard Hidalgo formally requested that the Astros trade him this offseason.
Semantics. Further down in the article, everyone admits that Hidalgo had earlier raised the possibility of a trade:
Hunsicker confirmed that during his meeting with Hidalgo, the outfielder expressed his frustration with how he was used -- or not used -- this year, but the closest they got to talking trade occurred when Hidalgo said if he was not going to be a regular starter in the future then he would like to go somewhere else.
That's not a formal trade request, but more of an if-then threat. So who spoke to Jose De Jesus Ortiz, who reported this: "Richard Hidalgo has made public his unhappiness all summer, but he has now officially requested a trade, according to his agent, Peter Greenberg." I am a tough critic of the Chron, but even I have trouble believing they just made this quote up. Maybe.

In any case, it doesn't change my thoughts from a few days ago. The Hidalgo camp needs to quit whining about Jimy Williams and his communication skills, and get their fat outfielder to drop about 40 pounds (that will do WONDERS for his agility) and come to camp ready to play baseball next year.

Because there's probably NOT going to be a trade (who would give up cheap prospects for an overweight, overpaid, underproducing outfielder?), both the Astros and Hidalgo, Inc. need to make the best of things as they are. And if Hidalgo comes into camp leaner and ready to play baseball next year, I don't think he'll have trouble getting playing time from Jimy Williams.

[Posted at 19:17 CST on 10/05/02] [Link]


Britain goes Monica

[Posted at 10:18 CST on 10/05/02] [Link]

04 October 2002

Bora 65

Arc'Teryx Bora 65 in Inkspot
Bora 65, in Inkspot

My Bora 65 just arrived, and she's quite nice.

I sold my Bora 80 earlier this summer so I could downsize when it was time for fall backpacking. And it's getting close to time for fall backpacking. :)

I highly recommend Altitude Sports, whose standard shipping from Canada (love that exchange rate!) got the thing here in about a week's time in perfect shape.

And of course, Arc'Teryx is the bomb. I wouldn't own any other backpack.

[Posted at 10:53 CST on 10/04/02] [Link]


Drudge can really be a pain in the ass sometimes.

How funny.

[Posted at 00:02 CST on 10/04/02] [Link]

03 October 2002

A Little Slow

Well, whaddya know -- the Dreadful Chron decided to devote some column space to the proposal to divert traffic through Montrose while making improvements to Spur 527.

Callie posted something on this several days ago, and I commented on it also.

It's good to see the Dreadful Chron is behind a couple of Houston bloggers on covering the important news of the city.

[Posted at 23:50 CST on 10/03/02] [Link]

Our Chron

At the bottom of his Big 12 football column, Jerome Solomon has an interesting story on the upcoming Oklahoma-Missouri game, and a bogus quote that was being attributed to the Mizzou coach for a while. Unfortunately, Solomon appears to get all of his facts from this article that appeared in the Daily Oklahoman. He credits the Daily Oklahoman (at least for part of his story), a practice that is rare for the Dreadful Chron, so it's clearly not plagiarism. But it's really kind of pathetic that a sports columnist for a major (?) daily in the city with probably the most grads from two schools in the Big 12 (UT and Texas A&M) and a huge number from a third (OU) must resort to rewriting another newspaper's coverage of one of best football conferences in the country. He didn't even bother to call and get ANY quotes of his own, but just ran the ones (without proper attribution, really) from the Daily Oklahoman.

I thought Mr. Jeff Cohen wanted his columnists to stop doing that? I guess Jerome didn't get the memo.

[Posted at 23:26 CST on 10/03/02] [Link]

A New One

There's a LeftWingVeganNut on the public access channel who is bitching and moaning about the exploitation of cows and chickens at the moment. She just dropped a new (to me) line:

Eggs are not food. They are the exploitation of the female reproductive system.
That's fine. I like my exploitation of the female reproductive system scrambled. With lots of bacon. Mmm... bacon.

[Posted at 23:06 CST on 10/03/02] [Link]

New Jersey

I think the Forrester campaign is making a tactical mistake going to the Supreme Court.

On purely technical legal terms, I think they have a gripe of sorts. But ultimately, this is a political problem. And if you really believe the Dems have gotten away with dirty, possibly illegal, and certainly desperate tricks, why not make it a major issue the rest of the campaign?

Except if you go to the Supreme Court, and they turn down your request, it's effectively an endorsement of the New Jersey Dem shenanigans as fair -- and you've lost it as a campaign issue.

It might be better to keep that as a campaign issue, along with the fact that Frank Lautenberg has been wrong about damn near every important issue.

(Update) As John Fund notes, the Senate ultimately will be the judge of whether this election was conducted properly, and things could get really ugly. The cynic limited-government conservative in me isn't necessarily distressed by this though, since it will probably mean gridlock and a swing in public opinion against government.

(Update 2) The argument that federal courts should have no interest in a federal election because of the principles of federalism is a curious one to me. Not compelling, mind you, but curious.

[Posted at 20:30 CST on 10/03/02] [Link]


My friend John is back up and running again, and argues that war is not a bad thing.

[Posted at 20:23 CST on 10/03/02] [Link]

02 October 2002

Pothole, TX

For the third time in 18 months, Houston's Public Works Department has changed the way it keeps track of potholes it repairs.

Wouldn't the time be better spent actually repairing some of the potholes?

Compliments to the Dreadful Chron for reporting Channel 13's role in exposing some of the problems in Public Works this spring. Usually the Chron doesn't bother to credit sources in that manner.

Sylvia Garcia isn't that impressed with Public Works, however:

City Controller Sylvia Garcia scoffed at charting pothole repair work on the basis of asphalt used, saying, "They don't even know how much asphalt they bought."

Garcia's office recently completed an audit showing that Public Works had failed to ensure that the city got the amount and quality of asphalt it had paid for over a two-year period.

According to the latest monthly report, Public Works used more than 3,600 tons of asphalt on potholes during the first two months of this fiscal year. At that rate, it would exceed its goal for the year.

Or so it says.

I just love that last line, "Or so it says." It contributes not at all to the story factually, but it just oozes condescension. And it's important for newsreporting to OOZE condescension at a quality paper, right?

And the paper does aspire to quality (because Mr. Jeff Cohen says so).

Of course, quality requires editors. And writers. And sense.

And those are still in short supply at the Dreadful Chron.

[Posted at 23:13 CST on 10/02/02] [Link]


Poor Richard Hidalgo does not want to play for Jimy Williams any longer.

Unlike his predecessor, Jimy stopped pencilling Hidalgo in to the lineup every day (when his body wasn't breaking down, that is) and gave players who were producing (Merced) a chance for some playing time.

Astros GM Gerry Hunsicker really doesn't sound very sympathetic:

"Richard and I had a very candid conversation about it. In Richard's case, he went from being a budding young star to a player reduced to a role player. I also made it clear to Richard you have to earn your stripes no matter what the size of your contract. You've got to earn things in this game."
Hidalgo hasn't been the same since his breakout season in 2000, when he appeared on the verge of becoming a superstar and won a hefty contract from the Astros. He promptly gained about 40 pounds and showed up for camp in 2001 out of shape. Consequently, his body gave him trouble all year and he had a subpar year. This year, he was still 40 pounds overweight, his body continued to give him trouble, and he had an even worse year. This part of the story speaks volumes:
Greenberg made special mention that Hunsicker and the training staff have set up a workout program to get the former phenom back on track. Hunsicker is optimistic Hidalgo will embrace the new workout program and come into spring training healthy.
Let me translate: the Astros hope Richard will shed the extra weight, train like an athlete in the offseason, and come into camp ready to play baseball next season. And if he does that, I'll bet he has a bounceback year, and wins plenty of playing time from Jimy.

I really like this line from Hidalgo's agent:

"He was demoralized all year," Greenberg said. "Everybody knows this is a mental game. Maybe they needed to communicate a little bit more and give him more encouragement.
Umm... what was Jimy supposed to do, hold up a Butterfinger or Snickers each at-bat?

[Posted at 21:14 CST on 10/02/02] [Link]

Baseball Playoffs

As chunks of the baseball playoffs continue to be shown on ABC-Family (?!), I can't help but think that Major League Baseball is continuing an accelerating decline to the status of a second-tier sport.

Can baseball REALLY be happy with this arrangement?

Hell, my Oklahoma Sooners at least get Fox Sports Net this week, and they're playing Mizzou!

[Posted at 19:57 CST on 10/02/02] [Link]

Black Bears

Of COURSE these hunters are going to get attacked by a black bear if she senses her cubs are in danger.

But otherwise, black bears really aren't too interested in humans. In a trip to the Ouachitas about a year ago, we found black bear droppings on the perimeter of our campsite overnight, indicating one had paid a visit. But all our food was bearbagged and away from our tent, and we had no problems.

[Posted at 19:45 CST on 10/02/02] [Link]

Arraigned Mensch

Andrew Fastow, Mensch In Cuffs?
The face of a mensch criminal?

Now that (alleged) Enron criminal Andrew Fastow has surrendered to authorities, one would think that the Dreadful Chron would stop calling him a mensch.

But that wouldn't be our Dreadful Chron, now would it? And so they have run a piece that points out the bad and good points of accused defendant, including that some think of him as a mensch.

The Dreadful Chron is an embarrassingly poor big city daily.

(Update) The view from Kudlow and Cramer (the best show on television for stuff like this) is that Fastow is in deep doo-doo, especially if he continues to refuse to cooperate with the feds.

[Posted at 18:46 CST on 10/02/02] [Link]


My friend John Hutchison emails the following observation, which will probably only interest the baseball fans among the readership (and may gross out a fair number of those):

Is it just me, or do Don Zimmer's Preparation-H commercials always seem to air shortly after Rafael Palmeiro's Viagra commercials?

Coincidence, or something more?

[Posted at 18:19 CST on 10/02/02] [Link]

Houston Is Too Damn Flat

Ouachita National Forest
Ouachita Visions

I got a clean bill of health from the oral surgeon today after last week's surgery, and have spent much of the afternoon thinking about fall backpacking.

I should be able to manage two trips to the Ouachitas during the splendid fall color season, one late in October and one early in November. And because the week after Thanksgiving falls into a new fiscal year at work this time around, I'll have additional vacation days for a backpacking trip just after Thanksgiving as well.

Now, if the Bora 65 (downsizing from an 80) I ordered last week would just make its way here, all will be well. Well, it would be better if Houston weren't so flat, and were a little cooler.

I can't wait to get out. But I need to get back to the gym in earnest for a few weeks first.

[Posted at 18:04 CST on 10/02/02] [Link]


When is a legislatively stipulated deadline NOT a deadline?

When the highest state court in FloridaNew Jersey is asked to rewriteinterpret a statute.

Mr. Forrester needs to make Democratic disregard for the state's political process a political -- rather than legal -- issue and get on with things. There's no point really in further lawsuits on this one. Unless, of course, the GOP decides it would rather switch candidates. And why not? That would make things more fun!

(Update) Seriously, go read Orrin on this. He's writing everything I would (more, actually, and better) if I could get my mind off going backpacking. See, Orrin challenged conservatives a while back to start thinking about a conservative environmentalism, but I'd rather be engaged in the effort than thinking about it. :)

(Update 2) Here's some related political gossip from the American Prowler, for what it's worth.

[Posted at 17:55 CST on 10/02/02] [Link]

01 October 2002

Too Predictable

The LeftWingNuts are just too predictably FUNNY sometimes (or is it funnily predictable?). And sometimes I (of all people!) forget this.

Let me backtrack to earlier this evening, when I was reading Peter Beinart's new article on TNR's website. Beinart argues that hawks have not addressed the arguments of antiwar leftists that any attack on Iraq will be driven by oil. Such an argument seemed so nonsensical to me as I read it that I didn't figure it was worth posting the article to Reductio, even in the headlines sections (disclosure: I work in the evil oil industry, giving me some reason to think that antiwar lefties are just nuts on this one; the industry HATES the idea of war in Iraq).

But then I read Jonah Goldberg's NRO article, which picked up on Beinart's article, and other concerns. Writes Jonah:

I can't remember where I read it or even who said it, but an old story keeps popping into my head. A former leftist-turned-conservative (from the old Partisan Review crowd, I think) encounters an unreconstructed lefty at a party. The lefty starts spouting all kinds of silliness about capitalist robber barons or American imperialism or some such. The conservative responds, "Your arguments are so old, I've forgotten the answer to them."

The debate over Iraq is cluttered with these kinds of arguments. You can't turn on a radio or see a TV debate on the issue without someone throwing around something you know is stupid, but you can't quite remember why. So I thought I'd start compiling a list. It's not exhaustive, but it's a start.

Well, okay, but sometimes Jonah stretches a point because he's a humorist, and he likes to find the hilarity in matters political (especially when it involves the Left). And his column is short on specifics.

So I'm left thinking... well, sure, maybe Katrina vanden Heuvel and Phil Donahue and a couple of other LeftWingNuts (and throw in Pat Buchanan for good measure, but with him it's all about the Jews of course) may actually put forth the sort of silliness Jonah describes, but it's really not that prevalent among serious people or syndicated columnists (who are sometimes considered, rightly or wrongly, to be a member of the former group).

And then I run across Robert Scheer's column in the LA Times. Important newspaper. Journalist of the Left. Surely it won't be as silly as Jonah suggests.

Ha ha ha ha ha.

What was I thinking? Of course it is, beginning with the title: "The Sun Can't Set on This Empire Too Soon: The U.S. has no right to indulge in imperialism." It's full of almost everything Jonah suggests (and a few less polite things). There's oil:

Imperialist greed is what "regime change" in Iraq and "anticipatory self-defense" are all about, and all of the rest of the Bush administration's talk about security and democracy is a bunch of malarkey.

In the laundry list of reasons the Bush team has been trotting out in defense of a unilateral invasion of Iraq, oil is never mentioned. Is the fact that Iraq holds a huge pool of oil a piddling footnote to this debate? Is that Gulf War protest sign, "No Blood for Oil," too cynical, even passe? Perhaps we should ask National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, who served as a Chevron director and had an oil tanker named after her.

And here's another Scheer quote:
That is why our CIA facilitated the rise to power of Iraq's Baath party and ultimately the succession of Saddam Hussein as its current leader. The first Bush administration supported Hussein, providing him with the means to wage chemical and biological war, up to the day he invaded Kuwait, another of our client states.
Two of Jonah's "Silly Lefty Arguments" right off the bat! And the handy thing is, all one really needs to do is go read his column and have a good chuckle at Scheer's expense. Pre-emptive political humor, if you will.

Oh those LeftWingNuts.... I underestimate their ability to make me laugh sometimes. I really do.

(10-02-02 Update) Matt Welch points us to this little gem in the LA Times: a helpful gathering of all the AntiWarLeftWingNuts. Priceless.

(10-02-02 Update 2) Jonah has even more today.

[Posted at 22:09 CST on 10/01/02] [Link]

GOP Should Torch Hutchinson

Yesterday, I proposed that if New Jersey Dems are successful in skirting that state's election laws and replacing their corrupt Senator on the ballot, that the GOP should consider a similar tactic for California's gubernatorial race.

An even better place to start might well be Arkansas, however. And I'm sure the New York Times would approve, yes?

Who needs primaries and a stinking democratic process!?

Then again, maybe we really DID NOT need the the Seventeenth Amendment....

[Posted at 21:13 CST on 10/01/02] [Link]


As usual, Nordlinger's column is well worth reading in its entirety, but this struck me as particularly interesting:

I thought of this in reading about the governor�s race in New Mexico. It features Bill Richardson, the large-egoed man who served in Congress, then at the U.N. (under Clinton), then at the Department of Energy. He is the Democratic nominee. His great claim to fame is that he is a Hispanic (through his mother). That�s why he was on the short list for vice president in 2000, before problems at nuclear labs put Richardson, as energy secretary, under a cloud. (One good thing came out of his VP efforts, however: He lost a ton of weight, in anticipation of being in the national spotlight. You used to know that Ted K. was running for office again that way: by noting whether he was slimming down. Nixon liked to make this point.)

Anyway, Richardson is running against John Sanchez, a state representative whose past jobs include flight attendant. And what snide little remark came out of the Richardson �camp,� as the New York Times put it? �While Bill Richardson was cutting taxes for New Mexico [he did?], John Sanchez was serving orange juice at 30,000 feet.�

That�s the Democratic party, all right: champion of the dignity of the working man. Until, of course, it comes time to belittle a Republican opponent.

[Posted at 20:16 CST on 10/01/02] [Link]

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