Awwwwwwww, skunked again

I’m more perturbed than I’m going to let on, but Dale Murphy just missed election to the Baseball Hall of Fame again. He received 43 votes, which amounts to 8.5% of the ballots. He needed 380 votes, or 75%, for election. At some point in the future, members of the Baseball Writers Association of America will realize that they can’t continue to ignore most of the stars of the 1980s.

When players like Dale Murphy and Ryne Sandberg continue to be ignored, there is something wrong. Player statistics were less spectacular in the ’80s, but that’s because the game was different. Murphy was near the league lead in home runs nearly every year throughout the decade. But there’s a big difference when the league leader hits 35 homers versus the 50+ for today’s star hitters.

A player should be judged on the merits of his accomplishments against those of his contemporaries, not against those who come after him. This is the same situation happening to Art Monk, who spent most of his 15+ years with the Washington Redskins. In 1992, he became the NFL’s All-time Receptions leader, passing Steve Largent. All-time leader. Monk was none too shabby compared to his contemporaries.

Consider these stats:

Receptions – Monk is now 5th with 940 and Largent is 8th with 819

Yards – Largent is 7th with 13,089 and Monk is 9th with 12,721

Touchdowns – Largent is 3rd with 100 and Monk is tied for 28th with 68

The only glaring stat is touchdowns. Largent had the benefit of being his team’s only legitimate target for the bulk of his career. Monk shared opportunities with the likes of John Riggins, Ricky Sanders, and Gary Clark. Monk waits for the Hall of Fame call that won’t ring. As for Largent? His career resides in the Hall of Fame.

Knowing that I’ve been let down by these votes for several years, I’m going to get sappy for a moment and quote myself.

I believe Dale Murphy will be in the Baseball Hall of Fame. It will be a magical day, with sunshine and laughter and cheers. I will be there and I’ll remember all of the joy I had watching him play. He defined my childhood and allowed me to grow into the beauty of baseball.

I still believe.

UPDATE: From Jayson Stark’s column about his Hall of Fame ballot, here’s what he had to say about Murphy:

Murphy: We don’t know what this guy did to deserve to have his vote total plummet from 116 to 43 in just four years. But apparently, this whole voting group wiped the ’80s out of its memory banks. Because in the decade of the ’80s, Murphy led all National Leaguers in runs and hits, tied Mike Schmidt for the most RBI and finished second to Schmidt in home runs. He also was a back-to-back MVP, a five-time Gold Glove winner, a 30-30 man, a leading vote-getter in the All-Star balloting and one of the great baseball citizens of modern times. That may not make him a Hall of Famer. But he’s sure the best player ever to fail to get 50 votes.

I agree.


On Sunday night, I put a book into my shopping cart. I put a book in my cart that I’d seen at the International Spy Museum. When I looked at it, I had four items in my cart. I realized I’d never buy one of the books, so I deleted it.

These are normal occurences for me because I heart I store everything in there that I want to remember to buy. I can save items for later, of which I had more than twenty, and will keep them until I buy or delete them.

After doing this, I thought nothing of it and browsed around the internet. I went back to order the book and found that my shopping cart looked like this:

Everything was gone. I logged out, cleared my cache, and logged in. This didn’t fix it. After some colorful verbal jousting with my monitor, I gave up on it for the night.

I e-mailed, explaining that everything was gone. They responded within hours, with a list of all items in my cart. My items still haven’t shown up for me to view, so I don’t know how I’ll resolve this. It’s very spooky.

Which made me think of my trip to Prague in May 1999. On that trip I visited Berlin, Krakow, and Prague. Prague was last on the trip, so I may have been nearing exhaustion by then. I do remember my journey onto the Charles Bridge (Karluv most). It was the last attraction I had to see in Prague before I returned to Berlin. I’d read that it’s impressive and overwhelming, which it is. I took a slow stroll across the bridge, viewing each of the 30 statues.

I remember being impressed with this statue at the time. I was ecstatic when the picture captured the feeling I had at the moment I saw it.

That statue is near the beginning of my journey on the bridge. I stopped every three or four statues to watch the street merchants, the tourists, and the river. I began to speed up a little as the sun set further. I wanted to see the remaining statues with sufficient sunlight, but darkness had set in by the end of the bridge.

I snapped pictures of the remaining statues in rapid succession of the statues that sparked my interest. This picture is a perfect example of the last pictures and the lighting.

I don’t remember snapping a second picture of this statue, but my developed film revealed that I had. I flipped past it quickly, assuming it was the double print. Once onto the next picture, a thought jumped into my head; something was different. I went back to the second picture of the statue and couldn’t believe what I saw. Look closely at both and compare.

I’ve looked at them numerous times, and it always makes my heart stop and my brain hurt. There is an explanation, but in nearly five years, I have yet to figure it out.

Feed our beef to the Mexicans!

Following up on my Mad Cow disease post, the U.S. Agriculture Department announced that it will kill 450 calves in Washington state. One of these calves is an offspring of the cow confirmed to have the disease. I quote:

Officials decided to kill all month-old calves in the Sunnyside, Wash., herd because they cannot determine which one was born to the infected cow. While officials have said contaminated feed is the most likely source of infection, they cannot rule out transmission of the disease from mother to calf.

These facts are reassuring. Quality control is so good in the meat industry that they have to kill 450 calves to be certain that they kill the right calf. That’s how I want my food supply monitored.

On another note, I found an article about being a man, which means eating a burger. After reading it, I haven’t decided if I will scream or laugh. There are several annoying points and lame attempts at humor, but there are ideas that made me laugh at myself as a vegan. (I’m not going to recap most of it, but I do recommend that you read it. It’s worth the effort. And the link will open the article in a new window.)

I’ve never asked anyone if Pez is vegan because I’ve confirmed it for myself by reading the ingredients. I ask waiters about ingredients every time I go to a new restaraunt. I had planned to start claiming I had food allergies, but it’s my body and my money so I don’t need to lie.

Even though the writer is using humor, there are valid points in the following paragraph:

Tasty irony here. Cows are vegetarians who generally mind their own business, and never pick an argument over whether the guy they’re dating would store his meat in their refrigerator if they were married. They get sick when evil ranchers turn them into carnivores – and cannibals – by feeding them nasty remains of cattle and other livestock. It’s all very impolite.

This next statement from the article doesn’t apply to me (because I say so): “One of mad cow’s most horrifying symptoms is to make these people [vegetarians] even more self-righteous than usual.”

As much as I like to rant, I don’t want my posts to be about why you should go vegan since you can make that decision for yourself. It’s the stupidity of this situation that I despise. Thus, when Mark Rahner writes “This means we’re still at grave risk of the spread of obnoxious vegetarians. They can’t discreetly be euthanized, but other measures are being taken,” I’ll accept the humor because he’s trying to be funny rather than rude. Ha ha.

As I step down from my soapbox, I want to thank Mark Rahner since my thoughts were provoked by his article. But since I’m always right, Mr. Rahner, I will, in fact, tip my hat back. And I will do it jauntily. Always jauntily.

Gossip, gossip, gossip!

Scanning The Washington Post, I read an article about Britney Spears getting married over the weekend. With regard to this, I don’t care.

The article itself angered me. Reilly Capps, which I have to assume is a fake name, wrote the article. What Reilly wrote is not journalism fit for a respected newspaper like The Washington Post. When I search for news from my newspaper, I don’t want this:

Other cynics pointed out that Spears’s career has struggled to find direction in the roughly two years since she split with Justin Timberlake, who now dates Cameron Diaz despite spending a half-dozen years as lead singer of a dorky boy band.

“…Justin Timberlake, who now dates Cameron Diaz despite spending a half-dozen years as lead singer of a dorky boy band”? What gives Reilly the authority to judge who is worthy of whose affection? What gives Reilly the authority to use the adjective “dorky” outside of a source’s quote? This isn’t the Weekly World News.

Now consider this:

Whatever the motive, the fact that Spears has got her first marriage under her belt and will soon have her first divorce/annulment can only help her career. As Madonna, J. Lo and (soon) Jessica Simpson will testify, you ain’t a diva till you’ve been divorced.

It’s good to know that Reilly Capps has insider knowledge about Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey’s marriage. I admit, I mocked them in an earlier post, but I was mocking the show and how they’re portrayed. I’m smart enough to know that the show is edited to tell a story, which may or may not be the true story if MTV showed the film footage in its original linear flow. Apparently a cheap joke is worth ignorance for Reilly.

It continues:

Britney has been semi-famous ever since she joined the Mickey Mouse Club and became a Mouseketeer. She met Timberlake on the show and they dated for years, but she swears they didn’t, you know, do it until about two years ago. Really.

It’s good to know that Reilly resorts to cheap humor to nail down the point that we’re all better than Britney. That’s definitely easier than actual thought. Good work.

I’m glad I read this article online; no tree had to die for me to read this fine piece of journalism.

Trey Parker and Matt Stone were right

I’ve stated before that I’m a vegan, so the discovery of Mad Cow Disease in the U.S. doesn’t scare me. I don’t need to speak out about it or preach to you about your eating habits. Eat whatever makes you happy. All I ask is that you make an attempt to educate yourself, so that’s not the point of this post.

While searching the news this afternoon, I came across an insightful article about the government’s response to this crisis. More cows will be killed, more meat (probably already eaten) will be recalled, blah, blah, blah. It’s the same nonsense. But it’s only logical to assume that if there’s one infected cow, there are more that haven’t been discovered.

What disturbs me is this:

“Even though we know with a very good degree of certainty that there’s no direct disease spread animal-to-animal, simply being on the same farm there are some public perception issues related to those animals,” [Dr. Ron DeHaven, the Agriculture Department’s chief veterinarian] said.

Public perception issues? Rather than educate the public, it’s easier to slaughter animals? I’m not bitching about that from a vegan, “Please don’t kill the poor cows” mentality. The safety of humans should be the top priority.

I’m angry that this is how we’ve come to expect our government to treat us. We accept this. I’m not four, I can think for myself. Tell me the facts, the risks, and how to prevent the problem (yes, that should include vegetarianism/veganism). I can handle it.

Also, the spin has started. It’s not our fault. Let’s fix this problem, but we want the world to know that it’s someone else’s fault and we’re smarter than everyone. I give you this:

American officials have stressed that the diseased cow’s age and the date of the feed ban suggest the infection occurred in Canada. This idea, if proven, would underline the effectiveness of the ban and, what is more important, would allow U.S. authorities to place the root of the problem north of the border, in Canada.

Like I said in the beginning, Trey Parker and Matt Stone were right. Blame Canada.