Sunday, February 27, 2005

Yogi LaRussa (Or Is It Tony LaBerra)?

It's kind of late, I'm tired, and tomorrow's Monday. But I don't think it is just me. Can anyone make sense of the following excerpt, which is on the Cardinals official website 2005 spring training notes, in regards to Matt Morris' spring?

"Morris had surgery to clean some fraying in his right labrum during the offseason, leaving him somewhat behind his fellow hurlers when camp opened. However, that gap seems to be closing all the time, and the team is not ruling out the possibility that Morris could start the season on the active roster.
'It's safer to say that he's afraid of everything," manager Tony La Russa said when asked about that possibility. "Whether it's bullpen [sessions], when he's throwing batting practice, when he's gonna appear in a Grapefruit League game; right now, he's on schedule to be ahead of everything. And that's the farthest that we should go with it, because it is gonna depend on each step.' "

Huh? I'm not on drugs, so for that last paragraph I'm going to need an interpreter. It's safer to say that he's afraid of everything? What does that mean? I've never known Morris to be afraid of anything, he's too cool and laid back. The pier leading from Morris state of consciousness to a total coma is a short one.

And how about this line- he's on schedule to be ahead of everything? That is classic Yogi Berra-like stuff. But the reporter apparently had no follow up questions to this perfectly illogical analysis from our manager- like, for instance, "Tony, what the heck are you talking about?" That would have been my follow up question. On schedule to be ahead of everything? Doesn't that mean he's not on schedule, because he's ahead of schedule? Or does that mean he is on schedule now but the rate at which he is improving will soon put him ahead of schedule? But if he's on schedule, then he can't be ahead of everything, can he? Being ahead of everything kind of misses the definition of being on schedule, doesn't it? Now here's a quote from me: It's safer to say I'm afraid of everything LaRussa is saying about being ahead of everything on schedule. And that last sentence makes about as much sense as this whole quoted statement by LaRussa.

I haven't been this confused since the whole dateline thing in January. Right, Maria?

"LaRussa's comments confuse me too!"

And one last question. Do you think after getting paid $12 million last year, Matt Morris could show up to throw with a top that doesn't have an underarm hole? And either his beard has some grey in it, or Matt dribbled some milk on it at breakfast and forgot to wipe it off. (Sorry to pick on Matt; he's always been one of my favorites, although he's a bit flaky- kind of like me I guess). And I still love the beard.

Scottius Maximus Is Not A Happy Camper

What is this bull? Charging $7.95 a month ($79.95 for a year!)? For Cardinals Birdhouse? So I can find out from their inside sources that it's guaranteed Renteria is going to sign with the Red Sox, then guaranteed he's re-signing with the Cardinals, then guaranteed he's signing with the Red Sox again, all in the span of one week? Anybody else remember this happening this winter? This is a joke right? Anybody want to pay me $7.95 a month to read my opinions and act like a bigshot? Anybody else want me to ask one more question in this post? I didn't think so. I won't be visiting this website much anymore, and it's coming down off the links. So long Birdhouse, it's been nice knowing you. I'm not paying for something I can get for free (that sounds vaguely familiar to me, but I'm not sure). There are way too many other good Cardinal blogs and websites out there. Only Redbird Nation even deserves a mention of charging a fee to look at it, and I still wouldn't have paid for it. So, I hope no one else out there thinks about doing this.

And what kind of crap is this? KMOX and the Cardinals are a team, like Martin and Lewis, or Lucy and Desi, or Burton and Taylor, or Simon and Garfunkel, or...wait a minute, scratch all that, they all broke up. But you know what I mean. Fifty thousand watts of effective radiated power booming across the lower 48 states. You can't buy advertising like that for your ball club, and yet apparently that's not good enough. Because there's money to be made in the short run by the Cardinals owning their own station. Short-sided, fellas. You'll lose contact with those folks in Monkeys Eyebrow, KY, Smut Eye, AL, Umpire, AR, and Yeehaw Junction, FL that KMOX can reach at night. Not to mention all the St. Louis transplants all over the country. Mark my words, within a generation, the Cardinals will no longer have a national following like they do now if KMOX is not part of the picture.

Okay, enough of this griping. After all, tomorrow is another day.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Great Tunes For Great Closers

A great link to a great topic appears on the Birdwatch. What are the songs that should be played at the ballpark when the closer enters into the game? "Hell's Bells" by AC/DC and "Enter Sandman" by Metallica are probably the best known. Some funny comments to be found on this post.

I always thought "Dirty Deeds" by AC/DC would be a good tune, but it doesn't apply to a closer like Jason Isringhausen: $12.5 million this season ain't dirt cheap. So how about the theme from "The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly"? But if I were a closer, there is no doubt my entering song would be Carl Orff's "Carmina Burana".

But, let's take this a step further. What songs should the stadium play if the visiting teams closer has to enter the game due to the home team's rally? For instance, what song should be played at Busch Stadium during a Cardinals rally in the 9th, when the Cubs are bringing in Borowski or Hawkins, to serenade the hooked pitcher or the enemy closer? (Hit the Road Jack by Ray Charles doesn't count- too easy).

Some thoughts:
Help! by The Beatles.
Do You Really Want To Hurt Me? by Culture Club.
Wipeout! by the Surfaris.
Separate Ways by Journey (just showing that hilarious video on the jumbotron would make this worthwhile).
Ramble On, When The Levee Breaks, or Nobody's Fault But Mine , by Led Zeppelin.
Heartache Tonight by The Eagles.

Any other ideas?

Friday, February 25, 2005

They're Still Ruining Our Lives

Good rant on Caffeine and Irony about over-cautious moms and lawyers. No doubt these moms were the uptight Penny Woods-types who when they were in school were constantly ratting out their classmates and sucking up to the teacher. Now they continue to make our lives miserable in their unholy alliance with attorneys. Life could be much funner(?) if it weren't for them.

Not that moms in general are bad things. In fact, fathers can be, and usually are, much worse. Like I tried to point out last week, left to their own devices, fathers can ruin their offspring quicker than Moises Alou can toughen his hands.

I'll Plead Guilty- And I Sentence Myself To 30 Days At The Bloomington Country Club

John Chaney, men's basketball coach of the Temple Owls, has a reputation of being one wave short of a shipwreck. As some may know in 1994, after U-Mass played Temple, he threatened then-Massachusetts-coach John Calipari, yelling out "I'll kill you" at Calipari's post-game press conference. Cheney was apparently restrained by some of the players in the room before he could get to Calipari.

The other night, when Temple played St. John's, he confessed he sent a "goon" on to the floor to wreak havoc because he didn't like how the game was being called by the refs. First of all, sending out a player to cause the other team physical damage, including breaking an opponent's arm, is a little out there. Then, calling your own player, 6-8 and 250 pound Nehemiah Ingram, a "goon" is going a little further out there. And then, to top it all off, Chaney admits he's done wrong, followed by announcing his punishment by suspending himself for one day.

Are you kidding me? Is this how the world works now? You act as your own judge and jury. Does that make you immune to further prosecution? "I'm sorry, officer, you are correct, that stereo equipment is stolen, but I've already served my time. I was under self-imposed house arrest for the past six months. You can't re-try me for the same crime."

You notice Mr. Cheney is willing to be his own judge and jury, but not his own executioner. At least not this time. He is, after all, knitting with only one needle.

Grow Up Already

I'm so tired of this Yankees-Red Sox thing. I'll admit, it was fun in the beginning, but the media, in it's usual manner, has run it in to the ground. Can't I live a day without there being something written about these two teams being "hated rivals"? It's getting old.

And how about this? People in Boston are upset that a building is going to be named the "Jeter Center" for one day. I was going to write for them to "get a life", but then, I realized with what I'm doing writing this web log, I should be asking myself to do that.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Spare Dentures, Anyone?

After forgetting to bring his glove to Florida for Spring Training, Scott Rolen practices catching ground balls with his mouth. Rolen expects his glove to arrive by Saturday. "I got the idea watching Taguchi's dog catch frisbees at the beach, and thought to myself 'I could do that'. Besides, I didn't want to use my hands and risk breaking them. I can still hit with broken teeth."

Steve Irwin, Law-breaker

Being the dreadful sinner I am, I have often read the Old Testament Mosaic laws and wondered to myself, why did God have to be so specific about everything? I mean, He had laws for practically every contingency in which a man could find himself. I've thought to my degenerate self, wouldn't it have been better to keep it simple, not make things too complicated, and have only a few laws to follow? Who would even think to do some of the things forbidden in His law? And then...

I remember this incident from last year, and I see now that Australians are enacting laws against dangling a baby in front of hungry crocodiles. So I once again understand why God had to spell everything out in such detail. Humans are so debased they can't even be trusted to not suspend their young in the vicinity of ravenous reptiles. They must spell it out on paper. Another fine moment in human history.

But while they were at it, the Australians forgot about outlawing:
Baby skydiving.
Class 5 rapids white water rafting with Junior.
Day-Cares at nuclear reactors.
Family swims with the Orcas at Sea World.
Toddler trapeze.
Infant spelunking.
"Children's Day" on Mt. Everest's summit.
Volcano Vacation Bible School.
Python-wearing at preschool "Casual Fridays".
"Electricity Day" at beaches.
Typhoon-season "Thriller Cruises".

Okay, so maybe I exaggerated a little. But not much. Humans are such freaks. I'm glad God is gracious.

Could It Have Ended Any Other Way?

I haven't been this happy with myself since I ripped open my Michelob with my teeth. But you read about this right here, first, didn't you? Congratulations, Minnesota and Oakland for listening to me (I'm sure they really didn't). You will both be better off. And Moss too. His true calling in life was to be a Raider.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

A Slow Spring So Far

So far the biggest buzz in the Cardinals spring training camp is about Matt Morris' beard. I guess that is a good thing. Usually, no news is good news in spring training. By the way, absolutely hilarious post at Get Up, Baby regarding "the beard".

Also, another stadium update picture, this one from a different perspective. It was taken from the top of the arch looking west-southwest and was posted by a fan on Cardinals Clubhouse. The right field stands are shaping up nicely, seen just beyond the top of the Millenium Hotel. We are viewing toward the eventual home plate area, with Busch Stadium, Jr. on the right. Obviously, therefore, those sitting behind home plate will have a perfect view of the arch.

Those Zany Russians Are At It Again!

I love the Russian scientific community. In their infinite quest to improve life on earth, they definitely are on the right track here. Forget curing cancer and other horrible diseases. Forget finding alternative fuel sources to lessen dependence on Middle Eastern oil. Forget improving transportation safety. Forget increasing crop yield in less than ideal soil conditions. Not when you are on the trail of the biggest scientific breakthrough of the 21st century- expanding the amount of time you can be lit up for as long as possible.

"Russian scientist" is now synonymous with the dreaded "mad" scientist of legend. Every picture in my mind that I ever had as a kid of the "mad" scientist is meeting its fulfillment in the "Russian" scientist. And maybe this isn't fair, but every issue of the Weekly World News seems to now include the words "Russian scientist" in one of the headlines. It's become a punch-line.

“'I’m not sure I’m going to market it in the U.S.A. I don’t want it to become a party drug. We are for responsible drinking,' Chiabery (the research lab co-founder) said."

Are you kidding me? Not going to market it here? Not wanting it to become a party drug? Like it has another purpose to exist. Then I guess you just wasted a few years of research, fella. Is this guy using his own product? Yeah, I am sure no one would use this as a party drug outside the USA. No sir, that would never happen. Maybe in a country with a high rate of substance abuse, like the USA, but not Russia. Everyone knows there are no boozehounds in Siberia.

And who can forget the past exploits of the Russian scientist. The Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Female Olympic athletes with 25 inch biceps and full beards. Ivan Drago.

Well, at least they are not content to rest on their laurels. Here's a toast to you, Russian scientist dudes. I am eagerly awaiting your next escapade.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

In Life, Sometimes Timing Is Everything

Too bad I don't have it. Just a day after linking an article about the oversaturation of reality TV shows, like Survivor, and hoping this would lead to their demise, I must admit that I now want to watch one of them, American Idol. Because of this guy:

That really is Osbourne Smith, Jr, (Nikko), son of the legendary Hall of Fame Cardinals shortstop, Ozzie. I have no idea what Nikko means. But I hope he wins (whatever that means, because I don't know much about the show other than there is singing and dancing). I do know this- if he has a voice like Freddie Mercury and can sing Unchained Melody on-key while doing this:

Then that's a winner!

Do I Know You?

Why yes, it's Matt Morris- I think. Yeah, that's him. He showed up in Florida with a full beard. I like it. Best facial hair since Johnny Damon. Now, if he'd only grow the lettuce a little longer.

The Fighting Nightmares

Illinois must be stopped. I mean that as badly as anything I have written. No, I'm not talking about the fact that they are unbeaten and ranked #1 in the country. I'm talking about this:

Here's your #1 team- The Fighting Tangerines. I'm so tired of looking at these dreadful uniforms. They are ghastly. Orange T-shirts, orange jersey, orange shorts, orange shoes. Why doesn't someone else speak up? And I get the feeling that Illinois thinks they're "hot". They wear them for almost every game. Away game you say? How about a nice repugnant orange for you? Home game you say? How about a nice gruesome orange? Who started this trend? It'd be fine if it was a once a year alternative uniform. But to show up to play looking like that every game- it's tasteless.

Does any one still have a black and white television? I know a lot of the portables are B&W. How can you tell the two teams playing apart when both the home and away teams are wearing non-white unis? It'd be a confusing mish-mash of scrambling players, with no identifying characteristics.

And in color, I think it looks even worse. It does not look like Division I basketball, it looks like a rec league wreck. Two weeks ago when Illinois played Michigan, it looked like two University of Starburst intramural teams running up and down the floor.

So, please, do something NCAA-powers-that-be-men. Do something about this before it's too late. Ban the orange uniform. I'm not dreaming of an orange Final Four, but I'm afraid I'm going to get one.

Just How Do You Think This Thing Works?

The following is a reenactment of a real scenario that played out between my wife and I this week. By the way, she laughed as much about it as I did, and have her permission to pass this on. Trust me, she is a better person than I am, and do not mean to imply that she is not smart, but only distracted by being too busy.

Scene: A busy weekday morning. Husband is working at one office, wife at another. A request for wife to fax husband a couple of papers he needs is made via telephone. After not receiving the fax for over 30 minutes, husband calls wife again to make a second request.

Husband: Could you please fax me those papers, I need them now.
Wife (a bit surprised): You didn't get them? I faxed them about a half hour ago.
Husband: I didn't get them. Are you sure you faxed them to the right place?
Wife: Oops, I sent it to the wrong number. I sent them to scheduling. Sorry.
Husband: That's okay. Just send them now, please.
Wife: Okay, I'll just call the scheduling department and have them fax the papers back to me as soon as possible. It shouldn't take too long.
Husband: Okay, I'll be--Wait, what did you say?
Wife: I'll have to call scheduling and have them fax the papers back, then I'll send them along to you.
Husband (confused): Huh? What, did you shred them or something?
Wife: No, I faxed them to the scheduling department. What do you mean?
Husband (voice volume starting to raise a little): What are you talking about?
Wife (voice volume rising in return): The papers you need. I've already faxed them, but I faxed them to the wrong place. When I get them back I'll send them to you.
Husband (not sure what is going on): WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? ARE THE PAPERS THERE OR NOT?
Wife: Oh, yeah, I guess they are. (Now starting to laugh). I'll send them right over.

Husband (sighing): Thank you my dear.

The End.

Moral: Then conveniences of life which were invented to simplify it are making us busier and more confused than we were before.

Tax Dollars Wasted Again?

Colin Cowherd, ESPN radio analyst, had an interesting point yesterday on his program. He asked why are there thousands of suicide prevention hotlines, and no "homicide hotlines" to talk a person out of homicide? As a member of society, is it more important to try to talk someone out of homicide than suicide? Isn't the price of homicide a little higher than suicide to our society? At least with suicide the perpetrator is only hurting himself. Homicide perps hurt one or more other people, and then, if caught, cost us thousands or millions, to try, convict, and imprison. The only hotlines I can find for homicide are there for reporting it after the fact, not for prevention. Does this once again have to do with our self absorption, that we are willing to spend money to help people not harm themselves, but do nothing to try to talk others out of hurting others?

The CDC spent over 2 million dollars on suicide prevention programs this fiscal year, and requests are being made to raise the amount another 5 million next fiscal year. That's fine, I guess. I am not saying suicide prevention is not a worthwhile goal. But I am personally a little more afraid of another person harming me or my family than us harming ourselves. Is that right? Or am I now the one being self-absorbed?

Friday, February 18, 2005

Oh Happy Day!

They're back! Pitchers and catchers have reported. Sometimes, ain't life grand?

Thursday, February 17, 2005

One Can Only Hope This Would Happen

Reality TV burnout? I sure hope so. TV executives must have a short memory. Can you say Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

By the way, the only "Survivor" worth watching was the old "Survivor Series" from the late '80s and early '90s. Pro wrestling was king back then. Maybe I just think that it was great then because I was a male in my middle and late 20s at the time. But the wrasslin' days at our house ended abruptly in the early 90s, the first time my young son said "OOOOH YEEAAHH!" It turns out that was a good thing, because wrestling evolved into what can now only be called obscene. Which brings me to this conclusion- a wife is a good thing for any man to have when you have small children.
My first reaction with this post was that this is hilarious. Mr. T? Clubber Lange? But then I thought, don't knock it till you have seen what he preaches. I mean, maybe he preaches the real gospel, not some other gospel, like you so often hear on TBN. That would actually be kind of cool. Don't mess with us. Mr. T. has our back.

And what about the whole TBN thing? What a money maker that outfit is. I admit it, I have watched that network a lot in the past. It is entertaining. Before I had cable, it was one of the few things I could get on TV. My reaction to it ping-ponged from hilarity to fright to sadness, usually coming to rest as a blend of the three. And then there's that chick with the pink wig. My son nick-named her furball. I can't believe I let him watch this, but God was gracious enough to let him discern that most of the preaching is of the "prosperity" kind. I am so thankful for our Lutheran Church.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

The King James Word Of The Year

A word I love and never hear any more is behold. I associate this word with the King James Version of the Bible. That's probably because the NIV only has 6 passages with behold in the entire translation, while there are 113 beholds in Genesis alone in the KJV. So, what has happened to its usage? I am going to start using it this year.

For instance:
Behold, a new post.
Behold, these pretzels shall make you thirsty.
Behold, the Cubs have lost again.
Behold, Matt Morris has given up another home run.
Behold, Kiihnworld is a good, Christian blog.

Behold is such a grand word. It really adds emphasis (and a little class) to what a person says. So, let's start using it again. But leave off the "lo and", please.

Behold, behold is going to make a comeback in 2005.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Here's A List I'd Like To Stay Off

The 50 most influential Christians 2005. I mean, I like Billy G. and Olasky (and a couple others), but if you are truly known by the company you keep, then I'd respectfully decline being on this.

Who decided this garbage anyway? Didn't our Lord tell us not to concern ourselves with this kind of worldly stuff? Did he not get after the disciples for having these sorts of debates among themselves? I'm sure he did. Why is it that preaching the law and gospel in truth and distributing the sacraments rightly are not mentioned as accomplishments for any of these people?

Jesse Jackson? Benny Hinn? Bill Hybels? BARACK OBAMA? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? With some of the jokers on here, why not put on Kobe Bryant, Britney Spears, or Amy Grant? They also claim Christianity, and would fit in well. They are rich, worldly-successful people, just like the others.

This makes me want to...SCREAM!

Boogity, Boogity, Boogity

Let's go racin'. NASCAR is back tonight.

Does This Man Look Trustworthy?

Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits.

Three men. All rich beyond my wildest dreams. They own luxury cars and homes. They work out in expensive gyms and have personal trainers. They have access to just about anywhere on the planet. And yet they inject steroids in each other in bathroom stalls inside a stadium?

Huh? Are you kidding me? Am I the only one that sees no logic in this at all? There may be some truth to what Canseco has to say in his new book, but come on. If you believe every word of this man, the cottage cheese that was your brain has passed the expiration date.

Is This Really Happening?

New stadium going up in downtown St. Louis. The right field stands are already up and visible in the top left quadrant of the picture. The picture is oriented facing east/southeast (Mississippi River just beyond the top edge of the picture). The current stadium is on the left (north). This is kind of exciting, yet sad, because I love the current Busch Stadium. Where the current stadium is now will be the left field stands (left of the picture). Construction on that will begin after the current stadium is torn down at the end of this baseball season, with opening day 2006 set as the opening date for the new stadium.

Friday, February 11, 2005

I Smell An Aerosmith Song

I know the world is going to hell. But still, did we really need this? Couldn't we have gone a few more years before this started to happen? The idea has been out there awhile. I know some men are desparate to play golf professionally. I mean, there is good money in it. But dude...did you have to go that far?

Is this the new way of breaking in to the professional game? Are we going to see a run of this behavior for the sake of a few bucks? Once this door has been opened, and it now has, look out.

New golf coach scenario:
Student: Gee coach, do you think if I work harder on my game, and practice longer hours, and spend more time in the gym, I might have a chance to make it on the PGA tour?
Golf coach: No, son, I am afraid not. You just don't have the power in your swing to drive the ball long. But have you considered the LPGA?
Student: LPGA?
Golf coach: Sit down son, I guess we need to talk...

I fear for my children's future. God help us.

We now have a little haiku about our ever sickening world:

A man's shown the way
To play the LPGA.
Dude sawed off his junk.

Gird Up Thy Loins

Yoo hoo. Wake up call. Come to attention, folks, and get ready for more.

But how many of us are ready? Are you ready for the FBI at your door? It is coming. Surely you can see that. I'm sure this is not what our Consitutional fathers envisioned when planning the country they wanted their descendants to live in. But I would hazard a guess that the majority of "Christians" in America are too distracted by Joel Osteen/Robert Schuller types to care. Prosperity rules, you know, so don't bother this earthly life with any controversy that might cause discomfort. Maybe the wheat and chaff will soon part ways, and our goverment looks like it will be a willing accomplice in the separation.

Monday, February 07, 2005

The Groin Kick Was Priceless

The Super Bowl is over and there were no surprises with the game. But I have heard some griping about the commercials. Some people are complaining that the commercials this year were too "tame" and not "adult" enough like in past years. If your life is so pathetic that you feel your commercials have to be more "adult" oriented, you might want to start scrubbing to remove that big fat "L" on your forehead, loser.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Another Ablaze! Story (Okay, Not Really)

Ablaze! Story Of The Week.
Personal Witness
London, England, Buckingham Palace, September 2004

Informal personal witness of two tourists to a guy in a Batman suit on the ledge of Buckingham Palace and two security people.

People Reached: 3

For more information about Ablaze!
go here.

Could You Look Yourself In The Mirror?

A fan goes to the ballpark. He can't miss the warnings that exist everywhere, and are reiterated by the PA announcers, to watch out for balls flying around the park. A player hits a screeching foul ball. It's heading right for him. And in that split second, instead of taking cover, his brain short-circuits, deceiving him, and betraying the rest of his body. "Hey, I can catch this little white object whistling toward by head", the mind concludes. In a few milliseconds, calculations are made in the dude's gray matter, calculating the time and position of the sphere's arrival, and maneuvering his hands to the coordinates calculated in hopes of capturing it. Well, let's just say, he "missed it by that much, Chief". His brain wasn't as sharp as it thought it was, and his dexterity was not what it should have been.


Right in the melon. Mr. Fan is temporarily blinded, and despite 3 1/2 years of waiting, claims his vision is not yet returned to normal.

Well, one would hope the story would end here with our hero learning a valuable lesson and being more careful next time he's attending a contest of our national pastime.

BUT NOOOOOOO! Mr. Hands Of Stone is engaging in our new national pastime...blaming someone else for his buffoonery and botched play making. That's right. He is suing the ballpark and the team who plays there. Read all about it here.

The most embarrasing part for this guy has got to be the fact that he is a dentist. Supposedly a master artist, skillful with his hands. Well, you'd be wrong. Not this guy. And not only were his hands made of concrete, but his cerebral cortex is made of the same materials. And what about his vision? Would you want those hands guided by those eyes and manipulated by that mind coming at your mouth?

But let's blame someone else. Makes me sick.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Scott McCloud, Space Angel

I can remember, as a very young ape in the 1960s, watching our old black and white TV and a cartoon called Space Angel. Freaky is a good description of this program. And I loved it! I used to pretend I was Scott McCloud and I was the captain of the Starduster. McCloud and his two cohorts traveled through space fighting bad guys.

The Starduster was this cool rocket/plane spaceship in which the heroes rode around the galaxy. I remember being totally absorbed into this alternate hipster goofball universe. I might be wrong, but I think I remember the picture of the rocket with an actual flame superimposed over the back end to make it look like the Starduster was haulin' arse. Isn't she a beaut'?

This was not a cartoon in the traditional sense. It was more like a comic book. The animation was almost non-existent, consisting of cool frame drawings of scenes with dialog voiced over. But the wackiest part of it all was that the characters, although paralyzed in every other way, moved their lips when they talked. Very much like on Conan O'Brien's show, when he would "interview" Bill Clinton, and they would have a picture of Clinton with a pair of live-action lips superimposed on the photo where his lips would be. It is hard to describe if you haven't seen it. The technique was called Synchro-Vox. So they would film the actor's lips while speaking the dialog, and superimpose this on the character's drawing. Nothing else would happen in the frame of the cartoon except the moving of the lips.

The main character on the show (Scott McCloud) wore an eye patch. A freaking eye patch! So let's get this straight- civilization had advanced to the point where we could build space stations and zip around the universe in complicated rocketry, but nothing else had yet been found suitable to replace a simple black eye patch. At any rate, it did give our hero quite an interesting look.

The other characters on the show, besides Scott McCloud (who was Space Angel) were Taurus, the Scottish mechanic/engineer (yes, this was before Star Trek), and Crystal Mace, the navigator babe. Taurus was voiced by Mayberry town drunk Otis Campbell (Hal Smith). As a preschooler, my favorite character was Space Angel himself, but my older brother liked Taurus the best. Probably because of his thick accent. There was also a guy who as I remember was sort of Space Angel's boss, and also a scientist guy who I found out was Crystal's daddy. But these two never traveled with McCloud, Taurus, or Mace.

You can kind of tell from the picture below that their lips are real persons lips, and you can sort of visualize them moving, perfectly synchronized, as the character talked. The technology I thought was kind of cool, but I've read elsewhere that this was nothing more than a cheap way to animate. Even funnier, to save even more money, they would sometimes place a microphone in front of the character's mouth, so they didn't even have to employ the Synchro-Vox (like in the middle picture above). The same people who did this cartoon did one a few years earlier called Clutch Cargo, using the same technique.

I had almost totally forgot about this until in 2002 I stumbled across the website Toon Tracker. If you love old cartoons, this is a great website. They even have the Space Angel theme you can play. It was not until then that I even discovered this series was in color. Since we had a black and white TV, I never knew. I recently found out from Amazon that there are actual episodes out there. I would guarantee if some cable network got a hold of these, this program would make a comeback and become a cult classic. That's a lead pipe lock. It is that fascinating to watch. Google Space Angel and there are a lot of great links.

Frigging Space Angel. Hilarious. What a trip.

Kansas, Give Your Self A Hand

Kansas head basketball coach Bill Self spoke out against obnoxious fans and their use of profanity- and the fans were his own team's. That took a lot of guts and character to do. And it is what being a leader is all about. So relish what you have Kansas- a real winner. Where are all the other coaches on this issue? Their silence shows them to be classless next to Self.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

I'm Not This Desperate

Want more hits on your website? Don't do this. It's a sick world, my friends.

I Think Weathermen Are Starting To Make Things Up

In my 41 years, I had never heard the term "freezing fog" until this year. And now I'm hearing it frequently. Just last week we had a "freezing fog advisory". Freezing fog? What the heck is that? Does that mean there are tiny ice particles floating in the air? If you walk outside, are you suddenly pelted by suspended crystals of H2O which are defying gravity? Or does it attack a person like some living monster, encasing its victim in a terrifying lattice of suspended icey horror? Freezing fog? Good grief, I already have enough problems.

For those of you like me that have to find out what freezing fog is, look here.

Oh, and another thing. Why do they have to add that little line in the warning about conditions becoming hazardous or even dangerous? I see this all the time when a weather advisory comes on. If you're going to raise my anxiety level by giving me an advisory about a weather condition, it pretty darn well be a hazardous situation. I don't want you issuing an advisory that there will be mild conditions with a light breeze today. When I see an advisory about the weather, I don't need the extra warning about conditions being hazardous. I can assume that. What else would you be warning me about?

Let's Hear It For Yogi

Yogi is the man! I love this. Get 'em Yogi. If you've got Yogi Berra after you, you better just give up now. Because everybody loves him. There is one guy I'd hate to have to square off against in court. And I'm sure he'll have something interesting to say about this situation in due time.

You'll Watch This Clip A Little Closer Now

At the Cardinals Caravan I attended this January, Jack Clark and Danny Cox appeared. Clark is best remembered for his pennant winning home run in game 6 of the 1985 NLCS. He reminisced about the home run and his hatred of the Dodgers. On video footage of this blast, you can see Clark yell something as he is running the bases. "Take that, bitches", were the words coming out when you see his mouth move, according to Clark's account of the home run, which drew a few gasps from the crowd. By the way, Clark looks so different now. I think it is because he has washed off all the eye black.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

The Upside To Infectious Disease

C.C.C.! What is C.C.C.? Complete Clicker Control. Since I came down with a cold Sunday night, no one wants to touch the remote after me. So I've been using it to my advantage. I am the master of my CRT domain.

NFL Runway Part Drei

Next up, NFC East. Folks, there is not a whole lot going on in this division, which is good. Only two alternative unis? Thank you, NFC East powers, for having some taste and common sense. I still am using suppositories to combat my post-AFC Central nausea.

Dallas Cowboys.
Helmet Design: A definite classic. Silver-gray base. Blue star double bordered creating contrast. The triple stripe is always bad on a busy helmet, but this one ain't busy. In fact, I think a more bald look would not work with this helmet. I like the stripe on this one.
Score: +2

Color Scheme: Blue, silver-gray, and white. Perfectly well matched.
Score: +2

Jersey: For football teams, this one is backwards. I have never understood why the Cowboys wear white at home. Because the blue jersey is about the best looking thing on the planet, and we only get to see it once, maybe twice, a year. Not that the white is bad, but it is plain next to the deep blue with double bordered numbers. White is after all, white. I don't go for the numbers on the shoulders (personal taste). Put them on the sleeves where they belong.
Score: 0 for white, +2 for blue, average of +1.

Leg Wear: Silver with white stripe bordered by blue. Sensational. Blue stockings. White shoes.
Score: +2

Overall Effect: Classy, simple, and professional. But again, I've got to ask, why not blue jersey at home? It's a better look.
Score: +2 blue, +1 white, average +1.5.

Historic Factor: I like the Cowboy tradition. Not much change over the years. Looks as good now as it did in the 1960s.
Score: +1.

HD: +2
CS: +2
J: +1
LW: +2
OE: +1.5
HF: +1


Philadelphia Eagles.
Helmet Design: The White/Silver Wing thing is kind of cool. But I think a whole eagle or eagle head a la the Raven on Baltimore's helmet would look better. I don't care for the black border or black cage. When in doubt, keep things simple. I like the fact the rest of the helmet is a solid color, although the color leaves something to be desired. I do have to admit, this is better than the hideous early '70s white helmet with bright green wings. This is okay, I guess.
Score: 1.

Color Scheme: Green, silver, white, and black. Lose the black. The eagle is such a majestic animal, so why this color green? This green has too much of a blue tone for my taste. It's kind of teal-esque. How about a nice military army-issue green?
Score: 0

Jersey: The home version does look good in a photo. But that alternative black thing is hideous. I can't justify putting up a picture of it (go to the Eagles official website if you must look, but consider yourself warned). The eagle on the sleeves is a nice fit. The white numbers are cool with the black border. The white away jersey with green numbers passes.
Score: 1 for home green, -2 for black, 1 for white, average 0.

Leg Wear: The home version rules. I love the look of the black shoes, black socks, and white pants with black and green stripe. But look at the traveling pants- grade A ugly. Something about it makes me hungry, whatever could it be? The black socks and black shoes bring it some redemption.
Score: 2 for home, -1 for away, average +0.5.

Overall Effect: I've got it! I finally figured out what I don't like about this uniform and why I salivate looking at it. It IS the colors. It's chocolate mint ice cream colors. Nice for food, bad for uniforms.
Score: 1 for home, -1 for away, and -2 for that black monstrous thing. Average -0.67.

Historic Factor: I am giving this a +1 for the improvement over that late 60s and early 70s Medusa outfit.

HD: +1
CS: 0
J: 0
LW: +0.5
OE: -0.67
HF: +1


Washington Redskins.
Helmet Design: Umm. How do I put this? It's kind of busy, but not in a Bengals sort of way. I hate the 5 stripes down the middle. Hate it. It looks awful. It might go well with a polka dot shirt and striped pants, though. The decal is kind of cool. The American Indian guy doesn't offend me like it does others. But why are there feathers on the dude, and then feathers coming off the decal. Too much. The yellow cage is goofy too. I guess I'm a fan of simplicity; the old Redskin helmet with the spear and solid red rocked. If the stripes suddenly went AWOL, I'd actually like this helmet.
Score: -1.

Color Scheme: Dark red, white, and yellow. (I say dark red because I have heard it called maroon and burgundy). Not a bad concept. But the way these 3 are used is a mistake. The only yellow utilization on this puppy is for striping. Let's just say this combination is not tastefully done.
Score: -1.

Jersey: Another backwards use of the jersey. Wearing white at home would make sense if the white jersey were more attractive than the dark, but as with the Cowboys, it's not. The Redskins used to wear red at home. What form of dementia would make the team's leaders conclude this white version looks better? I do like the numbers on the sleeves rather than shoulders. The dark jersey has a very rich appearance.
Score: +2 for dark, 0 for white, average of +1.

Leg Wear: I don't want to sound like a broken record, but compare the above clown-wear to the classy white below. No one not on digitalis would prefer the former. Even the stripes clash on the home rendition, running vertical on the pants and horizontal on the socks. The red and yellow stripe on the white pants looks okay but keeps this from a +2.
Score: -2 home version, +1 white version, average of -0.5.

Overall Effect: Ugly home uniform. Very attractive dark road uniform. Redskins fans, revolt.
Score: -2 home, +1 dark, average -0.5.

Historic Factor: The old school Redskin helmet and outfit rules over all of its domain. So a -1 for drifting away from it. And that hideous yellow monster from the early 70s is worth another -1.
Score: -2.

HD: -1
CS: -1
J: +1
LW: -0.5
OE: -0.5
HF: -2


New York Giants.
Helmet Design: At first glance, I was ready to call this baby a beauty, but there are some minor details I don't care for. I love the color and the simplicity of the lower case ny. But I have to deduct points for the red stripe and little numbers on the front. I like the gray cage.
Score: +1.

Color Scheme: Red, white, and blue...and gray? If your heart is just set on a fourth color, silver would look better. But I'm a red, white and blue fan, so it's a thumbs up.
Score: +1.

Jersey: Three versions. I like them all. You have the traditional home blue, alternate red, and away white. I like the look of the red numbers on the white jersey. Still don't like the shoulder numbers though. No busy striping. All very simple designs.
Score: +1 home, +1 alternate, +1 white, average of +1.

Leg Wear: The gray pants are all the same, home, alternate, or away. By themselves they look okay, but with the jersey choices, they don't fit. And could you picker a duller looking gray? I love the red socks and black shoes on the alternate uniform.
Score: -1 for home, -1 for away, and +1 for alternate, average -0.3.

Overall Effect: This is a kind of throwback uniform design. I would have liked it more, but those gray pants might as well be brown. They just are not sharp when taken in with the uniform as a whole. Make them silver, and we might have something.
Score: 0 home, 0 away, +1 alternate, average of +0.3.

Historic Factor: The Giants have always had a pretty decent looking uniform.
Score: +1.

HD: +1
CS: +1
J: +1
LW: -0.3
OE: +0.3
HF: +1