Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Say what?  How'd that happen?

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What is this Game?

Scott Ostler from The Chronicle has the best description ever of the Giants version of baseball this year:

(10-26) 22:45 PDT -- Giants baseball: It ain't baseball.

What is it? We're not sure, but we have watched baseball for decades, and what the Giants have been playing for the last month is not it.

It resembles baseball. The ball is a baseball. The players play on a baseball field, wear baseball uniforms and spit like baseball players.

But this is a strange new game, with subtle differences.

Baseball is boring. You go to a baseball game with your buddies or your family, you watch a couple of innings, you keep a box score for a while, then you get bored, lose track of the "action" and start buying $10 beers to pass the time.

Giantsball is much more demanding. You have to watch every pitch, every inning, because stuff keeps happening. You even have to participate. At the Giants' last home game against the Phillies, the crowd of 85,000 (give or take) was a nonstop Greek chorus, reacting and emoting loudly on every pitch. Every pitch.

The fan reactions were nuanced, ranging from (as we interpreted the yells and groans) "Good lord, ump, did a rogue seagull just peck out your eyeballs?" to "Whew, you gave us a break on that one, now you only owe us 10."

In baseball, the outcome is usually decided by the fifth inning, allowing fans to file out of the ballpark gradually, alleviating logjams at exits and in parking lots. A Giants game is never over 'til it's over.

Of the Giants' 10 playoff games, seven were decided by one run. Six of the Giants' seven wins were by one run. If you sliced baloney that thin, you'd have a riot in the jailhouse.

In the regular season, 115 Giants games were decided by three or fewer runs, the most for any big-league team in the last five seasons.

If you leave a Giants game early, you get to listen on your car radio to Kruk and Kuip describing the most dramatic finish in the history of sports, as the kids in the back seat burst into tears because they just missed the golden sports memory of a lifetime. Thanks, Dad!

In baseball, the last inning is a formality. At a Giants game, the last inning is a crazy one-run Giants rally, then some tattooed lunatic with a road-tar beard and fluorescent shoes walks the bases full and strikes out the next three guys.

In baseball, every team has one player you must watch; you can't be caught in the snack-stand line when this player bats because he is special. You didn't miss a Barry Bonds at-bat.

The Giants, after more than six months, still haven't figured out who their must-see guy is. Fans are unable to leave their seats for the entire game.

This isn't fair to the fans, but what can you do? If we told you a month ago that you wouldn't be able to run to the restroom during the World Series when Cody Ross was coming to bat, you would have said, "Whody Who?"

Aubrey Huff explained in the Giants' clubhouse after a recent game-winning hit by some Giant nobody knew four months ago, "You can go around this room and there are probably five game-winning hits at every locker."

Because every game is close, defense actually matters. Every groundball, every flyball, is important. This puts huge pressure on the fans. You're sitting behind home plate, you whip out the old BlackBerry to do some work on the Fisbee account, and bingo, you miss Buster Posey tagging out Carlos Ruiz on a play so dramatic and graceful that Posey now gets fan mail from matadors.

(Quick aside: Even Fox TV isn't sure what game the Giants are playing, or where. Fox's camera operators keep searching in the stands for the game. The entire "game" telecast is mostly shots of cute female fans pinching their noses with their praying hands, interspersed with occasional cutaway shots of action on the field, and by "action" we mean HD super-close-ups of the doughnut crumbs in Brian Wilson's beard.)

At a baseball game you stand up only once, in the seventh inning, to brush the peanut shells off your jacket and into your neighbor's beer. But the Giants have all these strikeout pitchers, and every time a pitcher gets two strikes on a batter, you must stand up and cheer. Watching a Timmy Lincecum performance is the equivalent of two hours in the gym doing power squats.

It's really interesting, this new sport that the Giants are inventing on the fly. It's great theater, it's riveting, it's fun. It ain't baseball.

E-mail Scott Ostler at

This article appeared on page B - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle

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GO Knuckleheads! (aka GIANTS!)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Boost your immune system (or not)

Wouldn't it be nice if we could eat certain foods or take certain "magical" vitamins and "Boost your immune system?"  Sadly reality doesn't work that way :-(  

Listen to Brian Dunning from on the immune boosting frauds:

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Minimalism and Gifts

I got an early birthday gift from my Aunt Bella and Uncle Frank, a very cool coffee table type book about Gnomes :-)  I love it!

But as I sat reading through it at my desk and began to ponder where to keep it (on the desk with my set of essential books is what I decided) it occurred to me that gifts could be a problem if one is seeking to get into a more minimalist sort of lifestyle.  That's what I'm trying to do, with only a very little progress so far, but I'm trying to have fewer material possessions tying me down because they are hard to move, hard to keep tidy and get in the way a lot and force you to have bigger and more rooms than you would have if you were a true minimalist.  But if people keep giving me "stuff" I'm just treading water when I get rid of my older stuff.  Of course none of this applies to my Gnome book, that is so perfect and so me that I'm not going to get rid of it no matter how minimalist I get :-)

Of course giving gifts to that vast majority of people who just love having more and more "stuff" and bigger and bigger houses and cars and such, is pretty easy.  You just get them some more "glittery shiny stuff" and they put it somewhere in their giant house and everyone from the manufacturer of the "glittery shiny stuff" to the retailer who sells the "glittery shiny stuff" to the truck drivers who transports the "glittery shiny stuff" from one place to the other and all the way on down to the recipient of your gift of "glittery shiny stuff" is happy.  More or less :-)

But what about giving to someone who is trying to get rid of almost all of their stuff?  If you give them a gift of more stuff that's just one more thing they have to find a place for, and it's one more thing they will find hard to get rid of because, after all it was a gift and you can't just say thank you for a gift and then give it away or sell it or something, that would seem rude and uncaring. 

What a dilemma this is.  No one ever believes you when they ask what you want for your birthday or Christmas if you say, "Nothing."  It's just too hard to make that lie sound convincing ;-).  Saying, "Just give me money" sounds sort of crass, even though it's about the most useful gift you can give to anyone.  But then what do you do for a minimalist?  I am thinking that what I want are things that are less bulky, like write me a poem or a story if you have that talent, and send it via the interwebs ;-)  Or some art you could do or send on the web.  Or some music, like an iTunes gift card or a Barnes and Noble or Amazon gift card for eBooks, that would work too.  Unless you are like my Aunt Bella and discover some physical item like that Gnome book that is just so absolutely perfect for the recipient, then I guess the physical item is still the best way to go.  Of course food is good too, that only takes up space for a little while :-)

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Infant Baptism?

Rev. Fisk has a good video here on Infant Baptism...

Plus:  SHARK BOXING!  Woo Hoo!

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Saturday, October 9, 2010

Mom got us busted!

So, Mom, Lora and me were sitting around tonight playing cards, laughing and having a good time, the windows were open because it’s warm out, and some numb skull neighbor, I have no way of knowing wich low life idiot it was, called security on us!  It was 9:30 at night, not midnight or anything, besides it was a Saturday night, not Tuesday at 2:00 am or something!  Now, I can understand someone thinking we were a bit too noisy and wanting us to quiet down, even early on a Saturday night, but the adult, mature and American thing to have done would have been to simply knock on our door and ask if we could quiet down.  We would have said sure and that would have been the end of that, but to call the authorities, even just an overweight useless git of a security drone, is just plain rude and offensive.  I told the fat slob that we were not in violation of any law or clause of our lease as quiet time is 10 PM, I also said I understood it was not his call.  We had just finished our game and we were done anyway but I can’t wait until our lease is up because I’m out of here the day after. 
What totally absurd nonsense. 
Oh, and it was Mom's card game so it's all her fault :-)

Friday, October 8, 2010