Monthly archives: April 2005
Ten Footnotes From My Unwritten Autobiography
1. These two events, the former at a costume ball in Stockholm, the latter in Seattle, happened on the same date, 135 years apart. Not only that, the years have the same exact four digits.
2. She claims she was 55 days younger, but this cannot be verified. The documentation was lost or destroyed during the Nazi occupation.
3. Perhaps the creative urge with sports is genetic. One of his more popular songs was called "Lawn Tennis."
4. His other film was, of course, one of the top-grossing films of all time. Lee Marvin, on the other hand, had no other films that year.
5. November 29, 1633, in Paris.
6. Vida Blue (twice), Bobby Valentine (twice), and Bob Oliver.
7. The game featured the fifth-to-last career home runs for two different hall-of-famers.
8. Joining Lou Gehrig, Al Kaline, Dave Winfield, and Tom Landry, among others.
9. It was the first overtime game in USFL history.
10. It featured the first female ape in outer space.
What have we learned after two weeks?
The Yankees are sitting in last.
Steinbrenner cries, "I'm aghast!
I have a bill
For 200 mill!
Gimme my victories, fast!"
The quickest teams out of the box:
The Twinkies, along with the Sox.
The Royals appear
To bring up the rear.
There's nothing to mention that shocks.
No failure, and no big success.
It's tied, so we cannot assess
Or give any spin.
Who's gonna win?
It still remains anyone's guess.
It's mentally hard to compete
When nobody fills up a seat,
And you live on a plane.
The Nats won't complain:
Having a home now is sweet.
The only thing anyone should
Declare to be now understood
In a definite way
After two weeks of play
Is the Pirates won't be any good.
Without having Gagne to close,
L.A. is still crushing its foes.
If DePo were me,
I'd be dancing with glee,
And be sticking my thumb on my nose.
A Great Teacher Passes
I shall tell a story. You will read it.
You're at a party, music blaring, people dancing, and suddenly, across the room, you spot the most beautiful girl you've ever seen in your life.
She's the one. You know it. So you work up your courage, walk up to her, and blurt out:
"Will we dance?"
I was saddened yesterday morning to open up the San Francisco Chronicle and find an obituary for my favorite professor at UC Berkeley, Julian Boyd.
Professor Boyd was, among other things, the world's leading expert on the difference between the words "shall" and "will". You may think that this is an incredibly mundane topic to be an expert on, but nothing about language or philosophy was mundane when Julian Boyd explained it. Profane, maybe, but never mundane.
When you went to a Julian Boyd lecture, you never had any idea what was going to happen. The lecture would always start off in one place, and then go off on all kinds of seemingly stream-of-consciousness tangents, every one of them incredibly fascinating and funny and entertaining at the same time. Try to imagine Robin Williams as a linguistics professor, and that's kind of what we're talking about.
Other lecturers are entertaining, but the thing that separated Professor Boyd was that he genuinely cared and paid attention to his students. I remember one time, he was in the middle of a lecture, and he suddenly stopped, and turned to my girlfriend (now my wife), and asked, "Is something wrong?"
She was confused. "No. Why do you ask?"
Professor Boyd said, "Usually, when I'm lecturing, you nod in agreement when I make a point. You didn't nod. I find it rather comforting when you nod, and when you don't, I worry I might be doing something wrong."
That just blew me away that he would not only notice such a small behavioral quirk of someone in the classroom, but also notice, in the middle of a lecture, that she wasn't doing it. That just shows how much he genuinely paid attention to his students, and why he was so universally beloved:
"...Julian's students unanimously adored him. Their write-ups had an unabating religious fervor. Nearly all of them said the same thing: that taking a course from Julian was a life-changing event and the apex of their Berkeley experience."
Steven Rubio has a wonderful tribute that does a great job of capturing the spirit of Julian Boyd. I love this description of his colorful language:
As perhaps befits a linguist, Julian had a way with words. And some of his favorite words were curse words. And so his lectures were the academic equivalent of an episode of Deadwood, and once in awhile he'd apologize and say he was going to do better in the future, but even his apologies usually contained a "fuck" or two. I was never sure if he just couldn't help himself, like a savant with Tourette's, or if he thoughtfully, consciously placed every word he spoke exactly where and when he wanted, like a good linguist. In any event, the result was marvelous. And, since his lectures were so famously dense, the fucks and shits also served to keep his audience alert ...
For all of those wonderful things about Professor Boyd, I haven't yet mentioned the most important thing of all: Julian Boyd had a genuine joy of language: a love, a wonder, a curiosity and a sense of fun about words that was positively infectious.
It infected me, and happily, I've never been cured. That, for me, is his legacy. This blog, and all the things that have happened to me because of it, would never have happened if not for Julian Boyd.
So thanks, Professor Boyd, and may could might should you rest in peace.
Now This Is Ambitious
Trying to write a complete dictionary using limericks.
I would ask what the point is, but that would be a self-defeating question.
NL East Predictions
Turner on, Turner off:
NL East titles will
Fatally killing the
Have to feel sorry for
Fans of the Phillies who
Think they will win.
Hitting is decent, but
Pitching is thin.
Florida's pitchers are
Gifted but fragile, so
Handle with care.
Carlos Delgado will
Hit thirty homers but
Average fifteen when he's
Teamed with Pierre.
Adding great talent like
Carlos and Pedro will
Lift up New York.
Only to fall when their
Act like their age and get
Stuck with a fork.
Youppi less, Yuppie more:
Moving to Washington
Gives 'em a ballpark with
Fans in the seats.
Wilkerson answers quite
Leading the Nats to the
NL Central Predictions
Mulder continues his yips.
Izzy has pain in the hips.
Join in the chorus
Of Cardinals with injury trips.
A plantar faciitis attack
Knocks Pujols off of his track.
Then what finally got 'em
Down to the bottom
Is when Rolen's bad knee strains his back.
What is an offense to do
When Sosa is gone, and Alou?
Um, nothing, I guess.
The lineup's a mess.
The runs the Cubs score will be few.
Which is fine if the pitching is good.
But when Prior is hurt, and then Wood,
And when no one can close,
You'll know how it goes:
You'll finish much worse than you should.
The Astros lost Beltran and Kent
While Bagwell and Biggio went
And got older.
The team made no bolder
Move than to pay Roger's rent.
With talent like that down the drain
They need to allow Burke and Lane
To develop their skill.
But I'm not sure they will.
Fourth is the best they'll attain.
Last year's whole outfield returns;
Dunn, Pena, Griffey and Kearns,
It seems such a waste
That one gets displaced
I guess that they'll have to take turns.
Too bad one can't fill a niche
The Reds need, like maybe, say, pitch?
They have enough pop
To hit to the top,
But the arms are a third-rated glitch.
It is the belief of this blog
That Williams, Redman and Fogg
Will trade W's and L's
Leaving Perez and Wells
To be the pitching staff cogs.
Then all that remains for McClendon
Is to get some more hitters to blendon
With Wilson and Bay
Then Pittsburgh can say
They're a team that is always contendon.
The Brewers have guys in the pipe
Who've been give a whole lot of hype.
Some say, "Not yet",
But I'm gonna bet
This is the year they turn ripe.
With Davis and Sheets at their peaks,
When Hardy, Prince Fielder and Weeks
Start to mature,
The crown is secure,
And wins will come often in streaks.
NL West Predictions
First, Klesko and Nevin complain
That hitting at Petco's a pain.
Next Giles and Greene
Go venting their spleen:
The batters start going insane.
With straitjackets on, it is hard
To hit the ball out of the yard
Then you slam into walls
But they're padded so you can't hurt yourself which makes you angry because you want to slam into something and have painful falls
But they won't let you
They're out to get you
They just want to keep you down
They want to see you frown
They want to define your borders
And when you don't let them they say you have disorders
They want to control your head
So you laugh at them hahahahahahahahaha instead
Then you spit in their face
And they tell you "that's why we have to keep you locked down here in last place"
Which madly, you still disregard.
When Gagne has pain in his arm
The Dodgers should sound the alarm.
He's so messianic
Without him, they'll panic
And say whatdowedowhatdowedowhatdowedo until they gather themselves for a moment and look for a replacement down on the farm.
And panic again ohnoohno when they find
That Gagne is one of a kind.
Without him, they're stuck.
They'll probably suck
And fourth place is where they're consigned.
The Giants lose Bonds the Apostle.
But panic? No, they will be docile.
You can contend
With losing a friend
When you're as old as a fossil.
The pitchers, like Lowry and Schmidt,
Won't let the Giants just quit.
They won't be deterred,
But they'll finish in third.
Without Bonds, they simply can't hit.
The Dbacks improved by degrees
When Randy's great arm and bad knees
Brought Vazquez and Green,
While the free agent scene
Yielded Troy Glaus and Ortiz.
When three teams above them have aches,
That is good news for the Snakes.
They won't go from worst
Clear up to first,
But they'll certainly get better breaks.
The Rockies are Helton and...who?
They have an anonymous crew.
Atkins and Mohr
Will help the team score,
While Francis and Tsao will debut.
The team here that has the best health
Is likely to claim all the wealth.
The talented Rox
Will send out some shocks
By winning the West under stealth.
AL East Predictions
How many decades until
The Red Sox repeat such a thrill?
This year, Murphy's Law
Will refuse to withdraw.
All things that could go wrong, will.
Last year's team was a best-seller.
The story this year is less stellar.
They'll find ways to lose,
With constant bad news,
And end by themselves in the cellar.
The noise about Jason's confession
Has served as a welcome digression
To the forthcoming news
About Yankee blues:
The team has begun its regression.
The Yankees will have a good start,
Then old guys will all fall apart.
This team isn't deep;
Their drop will be steep;
Then Cashman gets forced to depart.
With Sosa, Tejada, Palmeiro,
Their scoreboard won't show a sombrero;
Runs will be plentiful,
And sometimes be twentiful,
But their ace ain't exactly too narrow.
With Ponson--and who else have they got?
Javy will live in his squat.
Each run that they wield,
Their pitchers will yield.
Third place is Baltimore's lot.
Now that the Jays own their dome,
And their turf is less concrete, more foam,
I predict the team gels
While Hinske and Wells
Drive hundreds of baserunners home.
Roy will return to an ace,
Lilly will follow his pace.
Down to the letter,
This team will be better
And end in a strong second place.
Their dome is an ugly umbrella,
But it's sure fun to watch Lou Piniella.
I think Tampa Bay
In a shocking display,
Is baseball's brand new Cinderella.
With Kazmir, the starters will rise;
The bullpen will be a surprise;
And with Aubrey's eruption,
Combined with some Uption,
The Rays win the ultimate prize.
AL Central Predictions
Oh Johan, my Johan Santana!
There's no one like Johan Santana!
Three cheers for Johan Santana!
He's where the Central begins.
Too bad the rest of the Twins
Will fall in a ditch
Forget how to pitch,
And fight to get fifty-five wins.
Been hearing that quite a few scribes
Have taken to picking the Tribe.
They should not be believed.
You're being decieved.
Those writers have all taken bribes.
The Millwood deal was a mistake.
When fluke years by Hafner and Blake
And Westbrook revert,
Then others get hurt,
It's fourth for the team at the Jake.
Though Percy was packing his bags
To join up with I-Rod and Maggs,
This team still is boring.
They'll have trouble scoring.
I doubt they will win any flags.
And while Bonderman's one to behold,
All of those veterans are old.
To not finish third
It is strongly preferred
That you have some young stars in your fold.
Get rid of the fat, slow, and surly!
The White Sox will run now, both early
A great run creator
To add to Garcia and Buehrle!
But will all of that speed be enough
To win a division so tough?
From what I have reckoned,
They'll still finish second,
They lack a few arms with good stuff.
Except for Santana the Twinkie
The pitcher who is the least stinky
Is a young pitcher who
Now wears Royal blue
And goes by the name of Zack Greinke.
And although their lineup's not pretty
Pena will have them be gritty.
They'll play the game right,
Win every key fight;
The Central will crown Kansas City.
AL West Predictions
In Oakland, the new billionaire in
The owner's box won't put a scare in
The other teams' eyes
Like the two traded guys.
Nor will Blanton or Meyer or Haren.
Beane set his old team ablaze.
Now last place belongs to the A's.
When each rookie tanks
They're less like the Yanks
And more like poor Royals or Rays.
Angeles Angelheim Los?
Well, Arte Moreno's the boss.
He'll start a new era
With Finley, Cabrera;
Not Percival, Eckstein, or Glaus.
Although they're the team to be watched,
I predict that their year will be botched.
It may sound absurd,
But they'll finish third
'Cause first base is Darrened, not Kotched.
The Mariners' staff lacks an ace.
I fear that they'll fall off the pace
'Til Felix the King
Readies his wing
And brings them back into the race.
Until that time, Beltre and Sexson
Will be raking the Mariners' checks in.
These powerful swingers
Will hit lots of dingers
But less than the team that is Texan.
So now it is time to declare a
Completely new AL West era
Where Texas is ruling.
Am I April Fooling
With Blalock and Young and Teixeira?
Lying is simply immoral.
No one should have any quarrel
With Arlington's bats,
And a pitching staff that's
Led by the wisdom of Orel.