Sunday, April 29, 2007

Ballet and Baseball

As Katrina's anniversary gift last month, I bought us tickets to today's local performance of the ballet "Sleeping Beauty."

This was my first ballet (I think), so I went in with low expectations for my enjoyment potential. The first act wasn't too bad, but the second act had no plot and was hard to follow, so I got bored. I think I still much prefer theater, but I told Katrina she might be able to get me to go back to the ballet again.

In other news, I listened to an interesting book on tape on the way to and from the office this week: Bob Costas' "Fair Ball: A Fan's Case for Baseball." Although it's about seven years old, he still made some great points about baseball: its problems, its strengths and its needs for the future.

His No. 1 priority was finding a way to institute a salary cap (both for individuals and teams) and revenue sharing. He made a compelling case that the majority of owners and players, and the fans and the game itself, would benefit from this arrangement. The ultra-elite players and top few owners would be sacrificing, but doing so for the greater good, ultimately growing the game and making everyone involved with it richer.

His other big objection is to the wild card and the way it removes all hope of a real pennant race. When you think about it, he's right. The only way there is really a life-or-death battle for a division title now is if both teams are so mediocre that they have no hope of the wild card. His solution is to only allow three teams from each league into the playoffs and give the team with the best record in each league a first-round bye. This, he says, would restore the drama of real races for division titles, plus give a true advantage to the team that has the best regular season. It's an interesting proposal, to say the least.

I don't have the time or the memory to summarize the whole book here, but it comes recommended if you have a chance to pick it up at your local library.

Bonus joke for making it to the end of the post
On the way home from evening services tonight, I pointed out a little sign on the side of the road advertising a "psychic fair" last weekend. Without missing a beat, Katrina asked me: "Why do psychics need to advertise?"

Bonus news for making it to the end of the post
For those of you who didn't see on Facebook, our next ultrasound is scheduled for Thursday, so tune in later this week for official boy-or-girl news.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Cool News

Not that I usually care that much about the women's soccer World Cup, but this year's event is being held in China. Not only in China, but in several cities around the nation -- including Wuhan.

The draw for the 16-team event was held over the weekend, with the U.S. team getting a tough group of Nigeria, North Korea and Sweeden. (Apparently NK has a good women's soccer team, unlike anything else.)

Sadly, the US women will play most of their group games in Chengdu, but they could have a quarterfinal match in Wuhan if they come in second in their group. The full listing of groups and matches is here.

Makes me wish I still were over in Wuhan. It would be awesome to be able to cheer for a U.S. national team in any sport at an event like that. I might even travel to Chengdu just for the experience and the chance to be on ESPN.

Wuhan's group-stage matches will include China, New Zealand, Brazil and Denmark.

I know I have a few occasional readers in Wuhan. Anyone planning on going to any of the matches?

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The possible end of an era

In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: The police who investigate crime and the district attorneys who prosecute the offenders. These are their stories. (bum bum)

Our chances to hear those famous lines on NBC might be coming to an end.

With the constant slip in the ratings the last few years, the following news from The New York Times doesn't come as a shock: Both the original "Law & Order" and the spinoff "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" are in danger of being canceled after this season.

It's not a done deal yet, the article reports, but they're both in danger. NBC says they're too expensive to make and aren't as profitable as their ratings slip. The other long-lived spinoff, "Law & Order: SVU" is still a hit and in no danger.

Of course, the series' creator, Dick Wolf, is in no hurry to see the original's 17-year run end. The article says he's still hoping it can pass "Gunsmoke" and become the longest-running prime-time entertainment series. That would take three more seasons to tie the record.

I know the original show just isn't the same without Lennie (the late Jerry Orbach), but I'd hate to see it go. But, as the article mentions, the show surely will live on for years with its copious reruns on NBC-owned cable networks.

Anyone else a L&O addict? Who's your favorite character?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


They're back. Tonight's batch was a great one, including several that were too long to clearly recount here.

3. (in an ad) "Mammogrammed towels and T-shirts"
2. (in a classified ad) "My girlfriend just died. Want to go to Puerto Vallarta?"
1. (in an ad) "Burger King unveils new low-fat cashier!"

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Note: I haven't been interesting enough to get many comments lately, so this is going to be an attempt at an interactive post. Take your shot at any or all of the three questions below, if you'd like.

I'm sure you've all heard about the Cubs being up for sale at the end of this season. If 599 of you can come up with $1 million each to go with my million, they're all ours! A Midwestern guy can dream, can't he? First player to go: Bob Howry (o-2).

Question 1A: What MLB team would you like to own? Why?
Question 1B: What would you do if you owned the Cubs?

In association with another longtime dream, I've been reading several books written by famous Jeopardy! champions -- Ken Jennings, Bob Harris, etc. Katrina and I grew up dreaming of being on the show. I even tried out for the college edition once. The next time they have an audition in this area, we're there. It would be a great way to pay off HU once and for all, or maybe get enough for a down payment on a house.

Question 2: Do you have a secret desire to get on Jeopardy!? Or is Wheel of Fortune more your style?

My fantasy baseball league finally is underway, although I don't think a few of the guys have realized we've started. Kind of by default, I'm in second place after the first day. It was the first time I'd had a team picked by an auto draft, so it was weird waking up and "meeting" my team.

C Michael Barrett (ChC)
1B Adrián González (SD)
2B Ray Durham (SF)
3B David Wright (NYM)
SS Felipe López (Was)
OF Carlos Beltrán (NYM)
OF Chris Burke (Hou)
OF Mark DeRosa (ChC)
Util Aramis Ramírez (ChC)
SP Roy Oswalt (Hou)
SP Aaron Harang (Cin)
SP Brett Myers (Phi)
RP Trevor Hoffman (SD)
RP José Valverde (Ari)
P Clay Hensley (SD)
P Jason Schmidt (LAD)
P Jonathan Broxton (LAD)

Nomar Garciaparra (LAD)
Edwin Encarnación (Cin)
Rich Aurilia (SF)
Roger Clemens (Hou?)
Scott Olsen (Fla)

Question 3: Turned out pretty lame, didn't it?

Let's just hope:
A. Roger Clemens actually plays this year.
B. Adrian Gonzalez has many more days like yesterday.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

New Job

I have a new job.

OK, not exactly. I have a new job title. What I do on a day-to-day basis isn't substantially changing. We're in the middle of bit of newsroom upheaval to better align our resources for the different things we do. I can't elaborate too much yet, as the full details won't be public until later this week.

But I can talk about my job. It sounds a like a demotion (Assistant City Editor to Evening Web/Copy Editor), but it's really the same thing with a new name. My two primary duties are keeping our Web site updated and reviewing local content for all platforms. There are dozens of other things I do from time to time, so it keeps my job interesting. (And I recently was added to our key staff list on the Web site, so that's something.)

What will really be interesting is seeing what kind of reaction the changes bring. We've been really blessed with low turnover since September, which is uncommon at a paper of this size. Here's hoping that trend continues, as it makes all of our jobs easier and allows us to put out a better product.

In other news:
-Katrina had another pregnancy checkup last Thursday. It was short and uneventful. Everything is looking good. We'll have another checkup at the end of April and then the big ultrasound sometime in May.

-We went on a tour of OSU Hospital's maternity ward Sunday afternoon. It was a fun experience, if a bit early. It's good to know what to expect in September. Not sure who put maternity on the sixth floor, though ...

-Apparently, this is Spring Sing week at Harding. Oh, the memories. As ordered, I shared my thoughts on the subject over at Miller's Menial Musings.

-I think I'm going to be playing fantasy baseball this year. I'll share my team once we get around to drafting them ...