22 Oct

Yankees at the Bat

In time-honored “Casey at the Bat” style, Peter David tells the story of the Red Sox’ victory:

“The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Red Sox fans that day
The series, three to zip, with surely one game left to play.
For the Yankees were their daddy, and the Red Sox Nation wept
At the prospect of their team being ignominiously swept…”

That’s just the beginning — follow the link and read on.

21 Oct

Spamusement

I hate spam. No, I really hate spam. But even so, sometimes I have been amused by the odd poetry and random surrealism found in some spam-mail subject lines. Apparently Steven Frank has too. His Spamusement! site is billed as “Poorly-drawn cartoons inspired by actual spam subject lines,” and it’s much funnier than it ought to be. Check out his blog, too — this post about the “Husky or Maltese Whatever” restaurant is too funny.

18 Oct

Real tips for studying Japanese

Thinking of studying Japanese? A graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst with a degree in Japanese Language and Literature
has some suggestions for you.

“I don’t care how many anime tapes you’ve watched, how many Japanese girlfriends you’ve had, or books you’ve read, you don’t know Japanese. Not only that, majoring in the godforsaken language is NOT fun or even remotely sensible. Iraqi war prisoners are often forced to major in Japanese. The term ‘Holocaust’ comes from the Latin roots ‘Holi’ and ‘Causm’, meaning ‘to major in Japanese’. You get the idea.”

I studied Japanese, and enjoyed it, but I understand quite well what he means when he says “You should just be ready for a whole lot of pain.”

11 Oct

Almost good as new

I’ve always been fascinated by the ghosts of old advertising signs painted on the sides of old buildings. This sign, though, isn’t very ghost-like. It’s so bright that it seems as if it was covered up only shortly after it was painted. Either that, or that Sherwin-Williams paint really is good stuff. I wonder if that store has been a hardware store the whole time.

06 Oct

Renters may be underrepresented in voter polls

You may think you’re a frequent voter. You vote in most elections. But are you a renter? Have you moved lately? The pollsters may categorize you differently. As this post from the Slacktivist blog points out, this may affect polls of “likely” voters, which could then underrepresent renters, who are frequently urban and young — a demographic far more likely to vote Democratic.

05 Oct

Scary — but maybe not in the way they intended

You may have heard of Hell Houses — a fundamentalist Christian spin on haunted houses, in which guests are frightened not by ghosts and goblins, but by rock and roll, abortions, AIDS, and Satan himself. Ian Williams has written a fascinating post about the Hollywood Hell House, a celebrity production based on the “official” Hell House blueprint:

“Among the high(low)lights: in one room a kid listens to some rock’n’roll and then blows away his entire classroom with a .357 magnum. In another, a woman has a botched abortion and tries to grab the unborn fetus from the doctor. In the best scene, a man with AIDS – pockmarked and covered in sores – is eaten in his hospital bed by a giant monster. And lastly, after descending into Hell itself, you meet a Hasidic Jew who is being ground into meat – and then you are granted audience with Lucifer himself.”

(Edited to add: A pastor involved in producing Hell Houses stopped by to proselytize in the comments on Ian’s page. I’m not sure that’s the most receptive audience…)

05 Oct

Edgar Day

Saturday night was Edgar Martinez night at Safeco Field, and Jason and I were there. It was really a wonderful day for baseball, and considering it was October 2, the weather was pretty close to miraculous — sunny, warm, no wind, not a cloud in the sky. The roof was open and the park was all decked out in playoff finery; bittersweet decor, under the circumstances. We missed seeing Ichiro break the hits record the night before, so we didn’t have that to look forward to, but this was Edgar’s day, so it was OK.

It was a weird day at the park. No one seemed to care that much if we won or lost, but everyone stayed until the end anyway. Edgar got a ton of standing ovations (as did Ichiro) throughout the game. The Hat Trick became the “Edgar Martinez Bat Trick.” It was an odd mixture of celebration and sadness.

Evil commissioner Bud Selig, who had been booed (deservedly — Seattle has a long history of Bud hate) twice already, managed to come up with a way to get a standing ovation himself — he announced that the Designated Hitter of the Year award will henceforth be known as the Edgar Martinez Award. I never thought that I would be cheering Bud Selig, but there you go.

I feel old. The players my age (well, Edgar’s just slightly older) are all retired or retiring. The Mariners are back to losing again. Autumn is coming — the sky is still blue, but the leaves are turning. There will be baseball and spring again, but it is hard to look forward to it now.

(Hey A-Rod? Junior? You see that outpouring of love for Edgar from the Seattle fans and from the other players and teams? That could have been the way it will be for you when you retire. But, no, I don’t think that will happen. Whining and money-grubbing might get you what you want in the short-run, but it doesn’t get you love and respect.)

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