Monday, November 28, 2005

Pete Rose's Ballot Eligibility Expires

Now maybe he will slither back under his rock and bother us no more.

Pete Rose's eligibility for the baseball writers' Hall of Fame ballot expired Monday when the 2006 candidates were announced, a group that includes Cy Young Award winners Orel Hershiser and Dwight Gooden.
Albert Belle, Will Clark and Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen were among 14 first-time candidates on the 29-man ballot. Bruce Sutter is the holdover who came closest to election, falling 43 votes shy last year.
Following an investigation of his gambling, Rose agreed in August 1989 to a lifetime ban. The Hall's board of directors voted unanimously in February 2001 that anyone on the permanently ineligible list couldn't appear on the BBWAA ballot.
Rose, baseball's career hits leader, applied for reinstatement in September 1997 and met with commissioner Bud Selig in November 2002. His efforts to end his suspension appeared to falter after he admitted in his 2004 autobiography, "Pete Rose: My Prison Without Bars," that he bet on the Cincinnati Reds while managing the teams in the late 1980s.

Empires of the Word : A Language History of the World

Since my house is so small I never buy books. Fortunately the library will let you borrow almost any book you want and they don't even charge you nothing. My next read is Empires of the Word : A Language History of the World an ambitious project due to my minuscule attention span and fertile loins. I find the subject matter fascinating. Not fascinating enough to study in earnest, but I'd like to learn enough to sound smart at cocktail parties which will help distract people from the stains on front of my shirt.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Weird Disease Of The Week - Dracunculiasis

What is dracunculiasis?
Dracunculiasis, more commonly known as Guinea worm disease (GWD), is a preventable infection caused by the parasite Dracunculus medinensis. Infection affects poor communities in remote parts of Africa that do not have safe water to drink.
In 2003, only 32,193 cases of GWD were reported. Most (63%) of those cases were from Sudan where the ongoing civil war makes it impossible to eradicate the disease. All affected countries except Sudan are aiming to eliminate Guinea worm disease as soon as possible.
How does Guinea worm disease spread?
Adult female Dracunculus worms emerge from the skin of Infected persons annually. Persons with worms protruding through the skin may enter sources of drinking water and unwittingly allow the worm to release larvae into the water. These larvae are ingested by fresh water copepods ("water fleas") where these develop into the infective stage in 10-14 days. Persons become infected by drinking water containing the water fleas harboring the infective stage larvae of Dracunculus medinensis.
Once inside the body, the stomach acid digests the water flea, but not the Guinea worm. These larvae find their way to the small intestine, where they penetrate the wall of the intestine and pass into the body cavity. During the next 10-14 months, the female Guinea worm grows to a full size adult 60-100 centimeters (2-3 feet) long and as wide as a cooked spaghetti noodle, and migrates to the site where she will emerge, usually the lower limbs.
A blister develops on the skin at the site where the worm will emerge. This blister causes a very painful burning sensation and it will eventually (within 24-72 hours) rupture. For relief, persons will immerse the affected limb into water, or may just walk in to fetch water. When someone with a Guinea worm ulcer enters the water, the adult female releases a milky white liquid containing millions of immature larvae into the water, thus contaminating the water supply. For several days after it has emerged from the ulcer, the female Guinea worm is capable of releasing more larvae whenever it comes in contact with water.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Sad News In West Hartford

Two police officers were killed tonight in West Hartford in what the local media are calling a murder - suicide. Details are sketchy, but it appears that State Trooper Victor Diaz shot and killed Newington Police officer Ciara McDermott in her West Hartford home. This is the second Newington police officer to be killed in the last twelve months after Master Police Officer Peter J. Lavery was killed on the job by former corrections officer Bruce Carrier in December 2004.
Victor Diaz (pictured above right) was the state trooper who was arrested by Cromwell Police in March 6, 2005 for drunk driving among numerous other infractions. He was granted accelerated rehabilitation last May, which is more or less the courts way of warning you about your first screw up as long as it wasn't too major. As of last May his status with the State Police was still pending. I wouldn't be surprised at all, and this is pure speculation, if today's sad events have something to do with this prior peccadillo.
I would assume that any person who becomes a cop does so with the best of intentions - to protect and serve the public. But it's a tough job and they routinely deal with stuff we rather not think about. Victor Diaz probably made some bad decisions and officer McDermott ended up paying for them with her life. Keep them in mind. Whenever some sixteen year old kid wraps his car around a tree or some yahoo beats his wife unconscious it's these people who clean it up for us. Some things once seen and experienced can't be unseen and they have a price.

I Hate Lisa Simpson

Is it me or does everyone else in the civilized word dread it when Lisa Simpson is the main story line in the Simpsons? She's such a preachy, goody two shoes, vegan pain in the ass, I hope they kill her off and replace her Itchy the Mouse. I guess you can't win friends with salad.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Coens and McCarthy

Variety reports that the Coen brothers have agreed to write and direct the screen adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's latest novel No Country For Old Men. Wow. I can't wait.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Japanese Stork Gets Prosthetic Beak

TOKYO - An oriental white stork whose beak snapped off last year after getting stuck in metal wiring got a replacement Friday, a news report said. Taisa had lost weight since he broke his beak last November because he found it difficult to catch live fish, and no longer got along with his female breeding mate due to stress, Kyodo News agency quoted keepers at Akita's Omoriyama Zoo as saying.
Dentist Toshiaki Chiba attached a plastic resin prosthetic to the end of Taisa's broken beak using a dental adhesive, according to the report.
The birds are a specially protected species in Japan, but the country's last wild oriental white stork died in 1971. In September, a breeding center in western Japan released five captive-bred birds into the wild in an effort to revive the species

If they can help a hapless Japanese bird why can't they do something for a wealthy American celebrity?

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Russian Woman, Sons Accused of Cannibalism

Usually there is nothing funny about cannibalism, except the taste if you are eating clowns. But this throw away line is kind of funny - "According to Polyansky, there has been no cannibalism cases in the Rostov region in more than 10 years." Wow ten whole years, I wonder if there's a sign on the way into town that says "Cannibalism Free For Ten Years".

Xmas Wish List

For the man/woman who has everything - a five pound lump of silly putty.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Protective Head Wear

For those of you who might need protection from mind altering radiation, I present to you the Aluminum Foil Deflector Beanie:

Although the brainiacs over at MIT say foil hats actually attract radiation.

Lawn Darts

This toy was outlawed after some nimrod tossed one into his kid's coconut at a picnic. Perhaps it wasn't such a good idea to be throwing pointy metal objects around your yard to begin with. Still they were a lot of fun.

Weird Disease Of The Week - American Trypanosomiasis

What is Chagas disease?
Also called American trypanosomiasis (tri-PAN-o-so-MY-a-sis), Chagas disease is an infection caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi. Worldwide, it is estimated that 16 to 18 million people are infected with Chagas disease; of those infected, 50,000 will die each year.

Where is Chagas disease found?
Chagas disease is locally transmitted in Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela. It is sometimes transmitted in the United States.

How is Chagas disease spread?
Triatomine bugs (or "kissing" bugs) live in cracks and holes of substandard housing from the southern United States to southern Argentina . The blood sucking bugs are primarily found in Central and South America and Mexico. Triatomine (sometimes also called reduviid) bugs become infected after biting an animal or person, who is already infected with the parasite.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Happy Birthday Harriet - The Worlds Oldest Known Living Creature

I almost forgot, today is Harriet's Birthday. Happy Birthday Harriet! You don't look a day over 150.

Sparrow vs. Dominoes

They shot a sparrow because it had flown into a room where they were setting up millions of dominoes. Needless to say all the right people have their knickers in a knot over the needless carnage.

"That bird was flying around and knocking over a lot of dominoes. More than 100 people from 12 countries had worked for more than a month setting them up," said Endemol spokesman Jeroen van Waardenberg.

Dorland, the animal protection group spokesman, scoffed.
"I think they were awfully fast to pull out a rifle. If a person started knocking over a few (i.e. 23,000 ed.) dominoes they wouldn't shoot him would they?"

It depends on how many dominoes the SOB knocked over.

Ants Reportedly Eat Woman's Eye in India

All I can say is WTF?

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Post Secret

I didn't send this one in, but I could have. Post Secret started as an art project and has become a very poplar blog, book and soon a major motion picture - I kid of course. Some of the secrets are tragic others are banal. I find it interesting to read what others conceal or think they conceal. Like the one about becoming a total hedonist, can that really be kept secret from those around you?
Check it out:

Thursday, November 10, 2005

The Original Cocktail

Take two heavy-bottomed 3 1/2-oz. Bar glasses; fill one with cracked ice and allow it to chill while placing a lump of sugar with just enough water to moisten it. Crush the saturated lump of sugar with a bar spoon. Add a few drops of Peychaud's Bitters, a jigger of rye whisky and several lumps of ice and stir briskly. Empty the first glass of ice, dash in several drops of Herbsaint, twirl the glass rapidly and shake out the absinthe. Enough of it will cling to the glass to impart the desired flavor. Strain into this glass the rye whisky mixture prepared in the other glass. Twist a lemon peel over the glass, but do not put it in the drink.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Autumn In New England

Fall stayed late this year, usually by the end of October the trees are all bare, but not this year.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Dishonorable Mention

Marcus Camby and Allen Iverson:

Camby wants stipend for dress code
With NBA commissioner David Stern set to implement of a dress code, some players are finding fault with the possible change. Denver Nuggets center Marcus Camby, who is in the midst of a $45 million contract, thinks the players should have additional compensation. "I don't see it happening unless every NBA player is given a stipend to buy clothes," Camby told WOAI.
Philadelphia 76ers guard Allen Iverson has been a vocal critic of the proposed change. "It sends a bad message to kids," Iverson told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "If you don't have a suit when you go to school, is your teacher going to think you're a bad kid because you don't have a suit

Marcus - forgo your daily dime bag and before long you will be able to afford a pair of pants and a collared shirt.
Allen - thank you for monitoring the messages athletes send our children. I can think of no better role model for America's youth than you.

Asshats in Sports

I love sports when they bring out the best in people, when they unite a community or divide it in a spirit of well played competition. With the huge sums of money involved and nearly unlimited media exposure there are some athletes I have come to despise. Whether it's abhorrent off field behavior or toxic self absorption her is my list of athletes I can't stand. Most all of them are gifted beyond belief.

#1 Barry Bonds. CHEATER. Speaks of himself in the third person, can change a light bulb by himself as long as the world revolves around him, not above using his children as rhetorical devices when needed, is alleged to have refused an autograph on racial reasons. Oh and I almost forgot he has more foreign male hormones in blood stream than Monica Lewinsky's dress.

#2 Manny Ramirez. SLACKER. While he's not as big a jerk as Bonds, (who is?) he is maddening when in his own words he is "Manny being Manny" which is to say be a gifted slugger who trots down to first, daydreams in the outfield, sits out important games in a funk and generally gives the impression that he has something more important to do. Here's a tip numbnuts you get paid a billion dollars a day for playing a child's game how about some bleeding effort? Take a look at David Ekstein, you have 30 times the talent but he plays the game better than you do.

#3 Pete Rose. GAMBLER/WHINER. The anti Manny, Charlie Hustle. Pete Rose is probably in the top five ball players of all time, but he gambled on baseball. He knows it, we know it. But instead of a genuine mea culpa, he parses it thinner than a Bill Clinton definition of "is". Come clean you low life, it's your only chance. And Pete, buy hats lots and lots of hats, never take one off.

#4 Terrell Owens. DISRUPTOR. I hate football so I don't much care how he affects the Eagles, but this guy is the working definition of asshat. Yeah he's good. So was Lou Gehrig but he didn't find it necessary to criticize his, team, team mates, organization, town, state, country , planet.... Talk about a prima donna, I hope he's flipping burgers in two years so he can appreciate how good he once had it.

#5 Roger Clemens. WEASEL. The Sports Guy says why:

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Varminting Iron

CZ 527 Varmint Kevlar
I love everything about hunting except for the killing, gutting and eating of animals, which is why I like to shoot varmints. You can tell yourself that you are helping the ecosystem by removing excess predators or harmful disease carrying marmots, you don't have to gut them and you certainly don't have to eat them and I hate to admit it but it's fun to shoot prairie dogs and woodchucks.
Two of my brothers and I went out to Wyoming a couple of years ago to hunt coyotes, which is kind of odd since there plenty of coyotes here in New England which are usually much bigger than the western coyotes. They each got one. I was shut out, which is fine because I bear no animus towards them, the coyotes that is.
Coming from Connecticut where you can only shoot an animal after it exhausts it's last appeal to the s.p.c.a.. the a.c.l.u. and the state supreme court, Wyoming was a a different world. If there are rules for the hunting of coyotes or prairie dogs in Wyoming they are few and far between. You don't need a license, there are no bag limits, no restriction on firearms. When you talk to a rancher this live and let kill attitude begins to make sense. Coyotes can be very harmful to livestock particularly when the cows are calving. Most rancher will shoot any coyote on sight if that were to ever happen as coyotes are indeed sneaky little bastards. Prairie dogs can carry plague and if left unchecked will breed beyond belief creating prairie dog towns with gigantic populations. These prairie dogs towns consist of innumerable holes in the ground where man and domesticated beast can twist and break a leg and lots and lots of prairie dog shite.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

One Year Ago Today

Dutch film maker Theo Van Gogh the great, great, grandson of art dealer Theo Van Gogh was murdered on the streets of Amsterdam by Islamicist Mohammed Bouyeri. Here is a poem by the ever charming Bouyeri:

So these are my last words…
riddled with bullets…
baptized in blood…
as I had hoped.
I am leaving a message…
for you… the fighter…
the Tawheed tree is waiting…
yearning for your blood…
enter the bargain…
and Allah opens the way…
He gives you a garden…
instead of the Earthly rubble.
To the enemy I say…
You will surely die…
Wherever in the world you go…
Death is waiting for you…
Chased by the knights of DEATH…
who paint the streets with Red.
For the hypocrites I have one final word…
Wish DEATH or hold your tongue… and sit.
Dear Brothers and Sisters, my end is nigh…
But this does not end the story.

You can watch Van Gogh's short film the one that got him killed, Submission, here:

Don't be a Tiny Tim

Take the BBC Dickens Quiz. I avoided the ignominy of Tiny Timdom but I still had three wrong.

UPDATE: As Dexter points out so eloquently I was an English major and I did get three wrong. But it's worse than that. The only reason I did as well as I did was because I visited Dickens' home in Portsmouth. Maybe two or three answers were informed by my formal education, keep that in mind when somebody asks you to pony up $40,000.00 plus for college.

Man, The Red Sox Are Screwed!

I've been doing some reading up on the Red Sox situation which makes the Bonnie situation seem like Sunday School Choir Practice. Theo is gone, Wells and Manny want to be traded, still no new help in the bullpen or starting pitching, Damon is unsigned and even the usually stoic Varitek is sounding worried. So am I. It a shame I'm not from New York then I could just switch to the local NL team when things get hairy.
"It's frustrating as players," said Varitek, who won his first Gold Glove Award on Tuesday. "We're seeing a lot of turnover and a lot of things changing. We've lost our GM, our assistant GM, so we've got to find a way to right the ship. It's got to start from the top down.
"It seems like we've had a lot of changes in this organization for a team that has just come off a world championship and was able to work its way back into the playoffs. Obviously, it starts from the top down. They had a huge part in getting the right people here. Yes, it was a shock. I was really surprised that [Epstein] is not coming back. Hopefully, for him, it's the best decision for himself."

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Rainer Maria Rilke

Because One wanted so much to have you,
I know that we can all want you.
Even when we throw all depths away from us:
suppose a mountain has gold
and no one is allowed to mine it anymore;
the water will bring it to light, the water
which reaches into the silence of stone,
it does the wanting.

Even when we do not use our will:

God is growing

Translated by Robert Bly

My friend Dean gave me a collection of Rilke poetry in college, (or did I steal it?) and despite every other inclination of my noisy nature I enjoyed it very much. Rilke's "object poems" were used to describe as clearly and succinctly as possible actual physical objects, to describe as he put it the "silence of their concentrated reality".

At the time I thought this advice in Letters to a Young Poet, #4 to be very apt:
"You are so young, so before all beginning, and I want to beg you, as much as I can, dear sir, to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer."

So Long Theo

So the Boston Red Sox will not resign Theo Epstein, the boy wonder general manager who managed generally the Sox to three consecutive post seasons including their first world series victory since 1918. Smooth move exlax, I hear Heathcliff Slocumb is looking for a front office job.
I don't have a good feeling about this, but at least he's not going to the Yankees. At least not right away.

So You Want To Have Kids?

Desmond is excited about the possibility of candy. Mind you, this is before the sugar craziness.

To Sleep by John Keats

To sleep

O soft embalmer of the still midnight,
Shutting, with careful fingers and benign,
Our gloom-pleased eyes, embowered from
the light,
Enshaded in forgetfulness divine:
O soothest Sleep! if so it please thee, close,
In midst of this thine hymn, my willing
Or wait the «Amen», ere thy hoppy throws
Around my bed its lulling charities.
Then save me, or the passed day will
Upon my pillow, breeding many woes, -
Save me from curious conscience, that still
Its strength for darkness, bun-owing like a
Turn the key deftly in the oiled wards,
And. seal the hushed casket of my soul.