kurt's nightmare

Generally, I post once a week. Topics are randomly selected and depend mostly upon whether it's baseball season or not. Other topics will include sex, politics, old girlfriends, music, and whatever else pops into my little brain. If you'd like to read, or ignore, my blog about China: http://meidabizi.blogspot.com/

Location: Dayton, OH, Heard & McDonald Islands

I'm an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Dayton. I represent no one but myself, and barely do that. I'm here mostly by accident.

Saturday, October 28, 2006



Friday, October 27, 2006

Uno mas!

The Gods of Baseball have been invoked. By Granderson, by Monroe, by Eckstein (and especially by Preston Wilson); what deity is involved in cursing the Tigers' pitching staff is a scary beast, indeed.

A fine and enjoyable game. These games have been for purists; few home runs, lots of good pitching, good defense (generally), crucial plays (taking an extra base, getting to first on a dropped third strike--what other sport has such a peculiar and engaging rule?).

As soon as Granderson slipped on Eckstein's ball (which wasn't, as Jayson Stark at ESPN said, "gently lifted"; it was hit very well, which seemed to surprise Granderson), I thought of Curt Flood's slip in '68 on Northrup's fly, which gave the Tigers that Series. Curt Flood's principled stand on the reserve clause is what, ultimately, made millionaires out of Albert Pujols and Greg Maddux (and Wayne Garland and Willie Mo Peña, for that matter). I thought every baseball player in the majors should have cut him a generous check for the sacrifice he made.

FOX almost immediately ran the clip. He slipped--he didn't fall--but just enough to prevent him from catching the ball. Now he's known for refusing to abide by the reserve clause and for not catching Northrup's ball. But he should also be remembered for having been as good a defensive center fielder as any of his era, a solid offensive player, and a contributor to a great Cardinal team. The team (including Cepeda, and Brock, and Gibson, and Javier, and Maxville, and McCarver and Shannon and, of course, Nelson Briles--announced by Harry Carey and Jack Buck) that convinced me to love baseball.

The Gods of Baseball may finally be extracting their revenge.

Sunday, October 22, 2006


Originally posted 10.20.

My son likes to characterize things as "sweet." Perhaps he doesn't remember Jackie Gleason's standard line "How sweet it is." In any case, the NLCS was . . . sweet. Fucking sweet.

A few things come to mind:

So's homerun (see above)

Yadie's homerun ('nuff said)

Weaver--who I tend to dismiss as a head case--coming up huge.

Suppan coming up even huger (and who will be very well rewarded, although most likely not by the Cardinals).

The ESPN geniuses. Not one picked the Tigers or the Cardinals to be in the Series; all picked the Padres to win the NLDS, all picked the Mets to win the NLCS. No doubt all (as would I) pick the Tigers to win the WS. Perhaps this is a weird year? Jayson Stark said it best the other night: the Mets-Cardinals series was one in which no logic obtained. Fine with me. Logic is overrated.

57,000 disgruntled New Yorkers, with their little signs and their arrogance. Go home, and get mugged on the way.

Joe Buck being an idiot. How long did it take him to figure out that when no one is on base, or when one is intentionally walked, that that made it quite a bit more difficult to drive in a run? Admittedly, if it is true of anyone, it is true that when Pujols is at bat with the bases empty, there is one "runner" in scoring position. I haven't seen the numbers, but what were Sir Albert's--El Hombre's--LOB numbers, and RISP numbers? I think he was pressing a bit--as Barry Bonds did when Pittsburgh was in the playoffs--but I still look forward to him in the WS. Pujols meets Zumaya. Like I said, Yikes!

It was a great game, and the last two games made it a great series. Next week, I may have more to say about baseball, but it is getting close to time to start looking at politics again.

Just make sure you don't count the Cards out, and make sure all those complacent Democrats you know go out to vote. As often as possible.

Friday, October 13, 2006

What rhymes with "Carpenter"?

The old saying in Milwaukee was "Spahn and Sain, Pray for Rain." The Cardinals got a terrific pitching performance from Jeff Weaver tonight, and hand the ball to Chris Carpenter. If Carpenter pitches as well as Weaver, the 'birds should head back to St. Louis 1-1. Otherwise; well, all along (since about August, actually), I thought any wins after the regular season concluded were lagniappe (I didn't even try to get tickets to the WS or NLCS this year, after getting them the last two years.) So I'm pretty happy they are even still playing. Harder to imagine is that after the first NLCS game, the concern isn't the pitching, but the hitting.

One should, of course, recognize that Glavine pitched a great game. One mistake by Weaver (to a very good hitter), solid defense (and in one case, spectacular), a couple of balls that didn't get through, and Glavine and a good bullpen: the Mets followed the recipe that worked for them all year. The Cards have to figure out some way to break that up. Not having Glavine pitch should help.

Eckstein isn't getting on base, and hitting the ball into the air too much. (His lineout to short was, along with Preston Wilson's 8th inning popup, the crucial AB of the game.) Wilson strikes out too much for a number two hitter and doesn't inspire confidence at moving the runner along. Pujols is, well, Pujols; he has had some pretty ugly ABs recently, but hit it hard twice last night (both "at'em" balls). Encarnacion sometimes looks like he's thinking about video games, drifting along offensively and defensively (while giving him his props for his triple against San Diego). Edmonds is doing ok, but doesn't have too many folks on base in front of him; Rolen seems clearly to be injured, and isn't helping offensively at all (and thus is hurting the offense). Belliard is a non-factor (although playing well in the field, albeit right field). Molina seems to be hitting better, but the comparison here isn't one that is inspiring; Weaver is hitting better than Rolen. My son Henry wonders "where's So Taguchi?"

This isn't an offense to strike much fear in an opponent. The Mets don't need to pitch around Pujols at this point; tonight, I assume Duncan will be providing a bit more of a threat, both to pitchers and to any tricky balls that come his way in the outfield. I like our chances with Carpenter, but LaRussa needs a chance to try some moves. I have discovered, in many years of watching baseball, that it becomes exponentially more difficult to hit and run if there is no one on base.

The ALCS has been a bit different; the Tigers have, after their first game against Satan's Farm Team, clearly been the superior team, in all facets of the game. Now, of course, we have to see how well they play in the snow.

Thursday, October 05, 2006


Well, I got back from Texas, having met all of my goals: barbecue (at both Sonny Bryant's in Dallas and Angelo's in Fort Worth) and comida mexicana (Joe T. Garcia's), catching up on family things, and letting my children see Texas. They had all sorts of Texas experiences, from Blue Bell Ice Cream to riding horses to watching football to going to church (to the extent that the last two can be distinguished). Good time, in spite of 2000+ miles of driving.

Most of the news I heard about was, naturally, about the former Representative from Florida, Mr. Foley. The Democrats seem to be playing this--for Democrats--pretty cagily. Namely, by staying out of it, reminding people on occasion that traditional family values usually don't include a congressional page and a Representative engaging in mutual masturbation while chatting over the Internet, and making sure that folks in the middle (not the Republican base, and not the "left") hear both the various explanations/excuses for Foley's behavior, and the timelime of just when and what the Congressional leadership knew about it (the old "what did you know and when did you know it" canonical question of Howard Baker).

My favorite spin is that of Rush Limbaugh, first posed by Matt Drudge, that this was the result of a Democratic dirty trick/October surprise. That the ABC reporter who broke this identified his sources as Republicans, and that the pages were able to keep this under wraps for three years, waiting until the perfect time to spring it on an unsuspecting public, credits Democrats with a remarkable skill at coordination and strategy that has been sorely lacking in virtually all other areas of their political work. Perhaps they were so busy coordinating this attack that they couldn't figure out how to return Paul Hackett's phone calls, in order for him to pick up Jean Schmidt's very vulnerable Congressional seat in Ohio?

Foley has blamed his behavior on a) being abused, when young, by a priest b) being gay and c) being an alcoholic. As has been noted elsewhere, this annoys a1) those abused by priests b1) gays and c1) alcoholics. Maybe all these things are true; it is interesting that the line being taken views a pathology generated by a sexual predator is taken as equivalent with one's sexual orientation. There are some controversial issues here, no doubt, but I guess I would be annoyed were one to tell me that my sexual orientation was one of a series of objectionable moral characteristics. "Ol' so-and-so: he was not only a sexual predator himself, but a drunk, a liar, kicked dogs, and was a heterosexual."

For W., this is sort of good news and bad news. The good news is that it has relegated the interest in the NIE that indicates that Iraq is making the US less secure and is generating, not preventing, terrorism, to the obscure parts of the media that deal with, say, content and significance. It has also muted the effect of Woodward's new book indicating--as if it needed confirmation--that the Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld troika (the "axis of omnipotence") has not been well-served by ignoring such trivialities as evidence and information from people actually in Iraq. It isn't really that they ignore those in the military (or those who were); it is just that such information is sorted a priori into "accurate information" (the material that confirms the troika's preconceived notions) and "treason" (the material that conflicts with those notions). This makes filing this information easier, to be sure, but it also seems to be generating news reports and official statements that sound, sometimes almost word-for-word, like the news reports and official statements coming out of the Johnson and Nixon White Houses, relative to "progess," "staying the course," "cutting and running," etc., in Viet Nam. Some enterprising blogger with more time and energy than I have will no doubt run such a list of parallel statements, if it hasn't already been done.

The bad news, of course, is that Bush's apparent single remaining strategy--to paint the opposition with wanting to abandon Iraq, to "cut and run," and thus to be inadequate to fight the Global War on Terror--is falling, if not on deaf ears, on the ears of those who are going to vote Republican even if Osama bin Laden was found naked in the Lincoln Bedroom underneath Condaleeza Rice. (The Democrats, of course, have a proud tradition of such "yellow dog" partisans.) It is also difficult for Bush to tout his economic success (if one measures such a thing by a surging Dow Jones average, with considerably less attention being paid to education costs, health care costs, retirement costs, and other minor factors in most people's economic lives). If the Republicans can't get people sufficiently scared to identify them as a solution to a genuine threat, they are in trouble.

My guess is that not much of content, argument, or civil discourse should be expected in the next month; we will see just how nasty each party can get, how they choose to play the various factors leading up to the election, and then, when it's over (as do many, I expect the Democrats to take the House, and narrow the margin in the Senate), and the dust clears, we will have to see where we are and what, if anything, has changed. If this scenario pans out, we are in for a couple of very ugly years, but, perhaps, a couple of years where neither party can do much damage (although neither will be able to do much good, which is problematic when one considers North Korea, Iran, Israel, Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Sudan).