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…and a pocketful of dreams

Hello, blogosphere! I’m writing today from the spacious, silent first floor of Kelvin Smith Library on the campus of the beautiful Case Western Reserve University. As far as walks to class go, today was probably about as good as it’s gonna’ get: 70 degrees, sunny and a slight breeze.

I’ve already noticed quite a few improvements around campus:

  • The lobby of Nord (and entire first floor) had the floor redone and is now wood. I can’t tell you how good of an idea this was – I think someone puked into the carpet last year and you could smell it all year long.
  • There’s an area in front of Yost by the fountain that used to have a couple of picnic tables on top of a cobblestone base. Well, those picnic tables are gone, and that area, with the exception of a small walkway around the fountain, is now grass. Nobody, and I mean nobody, used those tables. (I mean, seriously, hanging out in front of the math building is far less cool than hanging out in the library.) The area looks much more aesthetically pleasing now.
  • The oft-maligned Euclid Corridor project is finally starting to show some finish. The crosswalks are complete in both directions at Euclid and Adelbert, and while there are still some cones in front of Severance, it’s clear that the end is in sight. Also, they kept the crossing guard! It was interesting to watch all the students say hi to him again and catch up as they crossed Euclid this morning.

Onto this morning’s links. Incidentally, I’m listening to the mellow stylings of Blind Pilot.

  • I seem to remember something happening in Denver this week…and I’m pretty sure it has nothing to do with the Rockies, Broncos or Nuggets…anyone know?

    I’m being sarcastic of course, because you could not turn on a TV this weekend without hearing about the Democratic National Convention. I’m going to say something that may shock everyone: I put odds at 1 in 3 that Hillary Clinton walks out of the convention as the nominee. With Barack Obama’s free-fall of late and his, shall we say, “uninspiring” choice as vice president, Clinton might be able to convince those in power to cast delegates to her. It’s a longshot, but we’ll see.

  • Has anyone seen these posters around?

    To me, they bear a striking resemblance to the posters in a certain movie:

    And all you Bush-haters can come back with that Patriot Act mumbo-jumbo, but whether or not Obama wishes to tell you, you can guarantee that our freedoms will only shrink. The difference is that while Bush and McCain would freely share what is being done to protect our freedom, I do not believe Obama would do the same.
  • On that note, I should say that I’m no longer an Obama supporter. I am officially undecided. Thus, this is the time for both candidates to win me over by sending candy to my apartment.
  • Quote of the day:
    I was in a hotel the other day, and on the back of the door in the hotel they have the fire map. I’m flattered that they think I have it together enough to stand in a burning hotel room memorizing directions. “Yeah, I’ll go left by the stairs, right by the candy machine…” I’d probably get lost, have to go back to the room, check the map again…and they always tell you, no matter what, whatever you do in a hotel fire – do not panic. Hey, I got four minutes to live, I’ve never panicked in my whole life – it’s my option. Even if they find you, you have a perfect excuse…”Gee, I heard they saved you swingin’ from the shower curtain naked with an ice bucket on your head. What happened there?” “Well, I panicked.” “That’s understandable.”

    Jerry Seinfeld

That’s all for now. I’ll try to get back to some Indians stuff soon – hopefully now I’ll have some more time to post and more stuff to post about. Until then, later days!

I used to rule the world…

It’s actually turned into a beautiful Sunday evening in Cleveland – no better time to sit next to an open window, watching a baseball game (not the Indians, who stunk up another one today) and blogging.

  • I guess the Indians are a great place to start, actually. Last year, when I turned on the Indians game to watch, I would stay on SportsTime Ohio for the entirety of the game (and more, if it was a good game and I wanted to see highlights). This year, I don’t mind watching the Indians pitch, but if they’re at the plate I have a tendency to change the channel, particularly if Ryan Garko, Jhonny Peralta, or David Dellucci are batting. Last year you always had this feeling that victory was always just around the corner, and the Indians would find it or come very close to finding it. Even if they were down in the ninth, it seemed like they would always figure out a way to get guys on base and make it interesting and occasionally they’d pull it out. This year, we have had one walk-off win (if I recall correctly) and I don’t think we’ve won at all after trailing after 8 innings (except maybe very early in the year).

    My point is that when the Indians are playing, the fans aren’t having fun anymore. And I can’t imagine the players are having much fun. For those of you who get on me constantly about writing in this thing, remind me sometime in the coming weeks to write a midseason review of the Indians, once I have some time to gather my thoughts.

  • Anyone notice that traffic in Cleveland is especially bad? It seems like you can’t go anywhere without hitting construction (and it’s particularly bad right around where I live, on Euclid Avenue and Mayfield Road). I’m okay with construction, but I wish government projects were run like small business projects. If Lazorpoint were to run a project like these construction projects are being run, the client would have fired us or never done business with us again. I’ve told the guys I work with that if you live on the Ohio-Indiana border or Ohio-Pennsylvania border, you should hear a traffic report that sounds a little like this: “…and if you’re going to Ohio today…just don’t. Go around. Take the route through Kentucky and Virginia, because that whole state is just a mess. Back to you…”.

    And when you hit those construction free oases, it’s still very likely you’ll run into a driver that has absolutely no idea what they’re doing. I think if you were to give a driving test to every driver on the road, only 10% would pass.

    How do you solve this problem? Remedial drivers tests are an option, but I see both sides of that argument: on one hand, drivers who are adults in most cases absolutely need to drive in order to get to work, be productive and provide for their families; on the other hand, drivers who can’t drive are safety hazards to drivers who can.

    The only solution that really has any possibility of working is everyone taking responsibility for their actions.

    Hold your laughter please.

  • Anyone find it funny that one of Hillary Clinton’s campaign promises was ending our national debt, but now after her campaign is over, she finds herself $22 million in debt?

I’m kind of out of shape on this blogging thing – my endurance is low even though I didn’t write that much. Oh well…

The fiery pulpit

So I went to church this morning, and the weirdest thing happened: Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama weren’t mentioned in the sermon at all. Not even ONCE!

I believe I’ve posted here before about how it seems like most of Obama’s problems aren’t with something Obama has said or done, but rather someone who is associated with Obama. The main perpetrator, until this week, was Reverend Jeremiah Wright. You remember him – he’s the guy who is actually of the opinion that AIDS was invented by the government. Our government can’t even run a legitimate election, and this guy expects us to maniuplate complicated genetic structures. Riiight.

This week, the bar was raised by Reverend Michael Pfleger. It’s really too bad this guy chose preaching as a profession, because it was hysterical to listen to, even though completely inappropriate. (I can totally see a future Chris Rock routine that looks a little like that.) Of course, the media is playing it up again.

In all seriousness, though, what if I wrote here on my blog that I supported Obama, and then wrote something completely insane, offensive or treasonous? Say someone from the New York Times picks it up and whatever I wrote was so offensive that the New York Times runs a story (NYT Editor: “Free controversy? Sign me up!”). All of that would lead to one, very disturbing fact: My blog would be famous! I’d have so many hits I wouldn’t know what to do with myself!

So now, I need something that would be so offensive or scandalous that this blog would make it. And folks, here it is: Barack Obama…wait for it…plays World of Warcraft!

*Collective Gasp* Anti-nerds everywhere: unite and do not let this man into office!

Here I dreamt I was an architect…

Hello blogosphere! I bet you thought you got rid of me, but never fear, my faithful (or obsessive, in some cases) following. Lots to catch up on, so hopefully my fingers don’t get tired – there’s a lot of stuff to talk about.

  • I’ll start with some personal news, involving my ballpark tour thus far. I took a somewhat long-awaited trip to Ohio University this weekend, and thus unexpectedly went to a game at the Great American Ballpark in Cincinatti, OH.

    I say the visit was somewhat unexpected, because as you all may recall, Cincinatti was not on my to-visit list when I made the list back in March. However, given its close proximity to Ohio University (at least somewhat) and inexpensive tickets, I could hardly pass up the opportunity.

    Getting to Cincinatti was somewhat of an adventure, thanks to our fearless leader (ahem, Frankie) but we got there and the stadium looks very nice and new from the outside:

    Great American Ballpark

    The view from our seats was also nice:

    Great American Ballpark
    As nice as the stadium looked, something about it didn’t quite strike the right chord with me. Maybe it was the obnoxious (and dumb) Cincinatti fans, maybe it was the old fashioned organ music playing constantly in what is a very new ballpark, or maybe it was the fact that the Indians simply weren’t playing very well. On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d say the Great American Ballpark gets a solid 6. Nonetheless, a good time was had by all and some more pictures have been posted.

  • I have a suggestion for the people at Apple, particularly those making iTunes.

    One of the coolest features (in my opinion) of iTunes is the ability to generate Smart Playlists, ones which are automatically populated based on rules that you set. For example, one of the preset Smart Playlists is the “Recently Played” playlist, which creates a playlist of all of the items played in the last two weeks.

    But say, for example, you wanted to have all items played in the last three weeks. All you would do is right click on the playlist and click “Edit Smart Playlist”. You get this interface:
    iTunes Smart Playlist

    You can filter by date last played, rating, play count, whatever you want. But what the Smart Playlist feature basically boils down to is the ability to query the iTunes database. For example, the SQL query for the screenshot above (more or less) is:

    SELECT [songs] -- TOP 25 -- not needed here
    FROM TableOfSongs
    WHERE (UNIX_TIMESTAMP() - LastPlayedDate <= 2*7*24*3600)
    ORDER BY LastPlayedDate

    Before really discovering this feature, I made a playlist about once a month featuring my favorite songs at that time. But the last playlist I made was in August 2007, because I created a “Random Favorites” playlist which looks a little bit like this:
    iTunes Smart Playlist

    Notice the “match any” criterion. What I really wish is that there were more options, because as it stands right now, I can only have PlayCount > 5 OR (UNIX_TIMESTAMP() - DateAdded) < (1 * 7 * 24 * 3600) OR Rating = '*****'. What I'd really like is the ability to have PlayCount > 5 OR ((UNIX_TIMESTAMP() - DateAdded) < (1 * 7 * 24 * 3600) AND Rating = '*****'). You can't do that with the current tools, and while that's a meaningless example, if I were given the tools I may never have to create a real playlist again.

    Editor's note, 3/31/2013: I'm replacing these screenshots because the originals no longer exist, but since 2008, many of these features have been added.

  • Hillary Clinton is still alive - not only alive, but alive and kicking. The primaries in Kentucky and Oregon are tomorrow, and most experts expect that Clinton will win Kentucky while Obama will win Oregon. And "Operation Chaos" continues.

    Clinton should really drop out unless she wins Oregon tomorrow - meaning that she should simply drop out. She's hurting Obama, whether she likes it or not (and secretly, I think she enjoys the fact that she may not win the election but she'll still decide who is elected). But we'll see.

  • I saw Iron Man over the weekend, and let me just say this: I was floored. I totally did not expect that movie to be as good as it was, although I did figure it might give me a quote of the day:

    Army: Is it true that you went twelve-for-twelve with the Maxim Girls last year?
    Tony Stark: That is an excellent question. Yes and no. March and I had a scheduling conflict but fortunately the Christmas cover was twins.

It's still way too cold for the month of May - here's to global warming, everybody!

Update: Fixed the SQL to match.

There’s a place up ahead and I’m going…

I’m 3/4 done with my college career, and without a doubt the last year was the hardest. The good news is that this time next year, I’ll be planning for life after college and hopefully becoming more of the person I’d like to be.

  • After work tonight, a friend and I decided to try to get one of those famous 23 cent pizzas. Actually, the original plan was to get more than one – as many as possible, actually. Unfortunately, we weren’t counting on every single Clevelander having the same idea. The talk radio people like Mike Trivisonno (who is normally fun to listen to, for the record, but has his moments where he’s just an absolute moron) were very annoyed that so many people were taking advantage, and as the previous article states, there were some issues. But tomorrow is another day, and by this time tomorrow, we’ll all remember that Papa Johns doesn’t really make great pizza.
  • The Indians took a series in New York (mostly thanks to Cliff Lee and David Dellucci, two oft-maligned southpaws on this blog), but another southpaw, Travis Hafner, is really struggling.

    All you can hope for with Travis Hafner is that he’s seen video of his swing from this year (and presumably last year – last year he wasn’t ever bad enough to merit drastic reconstruction on his swing, but it might have been enough for him to develop some bad habits) and compared it to video in 2006. To me, after watching the video, it’s pretty obvious. Of course, it’s far easier said than done – but the season is still young, and Hafner has plenty of time to turn it around.

    Ben Francisco is up, and is getting regular playing time, which is nice to see. He’s had some good solid hits already, and his defense in the corner outfield spots doesn’t leave me holding my breath as much as Dellucci.

  • And now a message from every mathematician in the world: “To Hillary Clinton: It’s Over”. She doesn’t seem to think so, and I guess when you have as much money as the Clintons do (although that amount is dwindling, because she keeps loaning herself money) you can alter math.

    One thing I’ve noticed about John McCain recently – his supporters are far easier to get along with than either of the Democratic candidates. Perhaps the Democrats are a little edgy because they see McCain gaining ground quickly while Obama and Clinton battle it out, but seriously, there is no need for the fawning on the message boards: “OMG PRESIDENT OBAMA I LOVE YOU” or the hatred: “OMG PRESIDENT CLINTON II BARACK OBAMA SUCKS”.

I’m typing this from my work laptop and I’m really not a fan of the keyboard or touchpad (I have a docking station and a mouse at work, but not with me at the moment), so I’m going to adjourn. Once again, I apologize for the lack of updates lately – hopefully I’ll be on a more regular schedule soon.

It’s the final countdown…

Some therapeutic blogging before tomorrow’s AI exam steals my soul away.

  • In politics, the big news is the primaries tomorrow in Indiana and North Carolina; Hillary is up in Indiana, while Obama is up in North Carolina. A couple controversies the last few days and weeks have made this pretty much a deadlocked race.

    First, Rush Limbaugh is calling for all Republicans to vote Hillary Clinton, in what he calls “Operation: Chaos”. I agree with Rush Limbaugh a lot of the time (definitely not all the time), but Operation: Chaos seems destined for disaster. Anytime you try and influence your opponent without worrying about yourself is a bad idea – although, Rush may realize that John McCain doesn’t really have much to brag about, so this may be his only move.

    Second, the gas tax holiday. Totally agree with Barack Obama on this one – it’s a classic Washington move that’ll save us maybe $5, once. Instead of worrying about a gas tax holiday, let’s figure out how to keep gas prices down. I’d much rather pay $3 for gas all the time than $3.50 most of the time and not have to pay tax once.

  • The Indians are struggling, and it looks like they’re finally going to take my advice and call up Ben Francisco. If it were me, I’d try and package Andy Marte and Jason Michaels in a deal for some single-A prospects and call up Francisco and Josh Barfield to take their places. Ben Francisco may not be the ideal situation, but it’s better than having career role players Jason Michaels and David Dellucci handle left field – Michaels is a liability offensively, and Dellucci is a liability defensively.

    I hope Travis Hafner watches Baseball Tonight, because for the first time since last year I’ve seen video evidence as to why Travis Hafner is struggling. Steve Phillips (I know, right? Second time he’s said something smart… like, ever) pointed out that Hafner’s stance is incredibly spread out at the plate and that instead of keeping his hands up and driving the ball for line drives, he’s dropping his hands before he swings and thus either hitting fly ball outs or rolling over top and hitting grounders. He needs to get it going, particularly with Victor Martinez’s power outage of late.

Sorry about the lack of updates lately – hopefully after tomorrow (or maybe the next day, got a lot of stuff to move), I’ll be able to update more regularly.

Just another way to survive…

Today I’m blogging from high atop the Nord building on campus, on the fifth floor with a comfy cubic meter of space in one of the hallways. I like sitting here sometimes when I’m bored because it’s quiet, it’s peaceful, and it makes me look like a hobo, which I’m a huge fan of.

  • An executive decision from the offices of Jimmy Sawczuk: no more regular game recaps. They didn’t seem to be that popular, they’re kind of a pain to write because I usually have to adhere to that format, and writing those every day kept me away from blogging about other things. Never fear, if there’s a game I want to talk about, I’ll talk about it.
  • While on the topic of the game recaps, I’d like to thank aimable for his comment on my last post. Part of his comment, the part before he starts spamming, reads:
    Yankees are the best team in the MLB, as far as I m concerned, we have great fans, and really the whole city of New York will say that. In New York if you want to watch the Yankees in style good luck with that, all the Yankees premium seats get sold out and are highly priced.

    Why, aimable, would you ever say that? They’re not even the best in their division, much less the rest of the league. I like the Yankees hitters (when they’re hitting anyway) and I like the back end of the bullpen, but most of that team is just old – and as much as it pains me to say this, Boston should wipe the floor with them this year.

    aimable did manage to prove my point about Yankees fans and Red Sox Nation however: no matter what the numbers say, no matter what the facts are, their teams, to them, are the absolute best in baseball. Right now, the Oakland Athletics are three games better than the Yankees, and you don’t see them walking around saying, “worship the Oakland A’s!”. I don’t doubt the Yankees will make the playoffs this year (although I think I had them missing the Wild Card to the Tigers), but I can’t imagine them getting out of the Division series.

  • I noticed something new on CNN.com today. Next to a few of the headlines, they have a little T-shirt icon:

    Being the inquisitive soul that I am, I clicked it, and was directed to this page:

    I can’t make this stuff up, folks. Seriously! You can have a T-shirt with the words: “Smuggled workers turned into slaves.” At first, I had to look at my calendar, I was sure it was an April Fool’s joke. But no, this is completely legitimate.

    Now, I chose a headline that is controversial to show the bad side of this little ploy. But what’s the good side? Are there some Democrats just sitting on CNN.com 24/7 waiting for the headline: “Bush says he’s an idiot”, or maybe some Ron Paul supporters waiting for the headline: “Everyone cheated, Ron Paul wins by default”, or maybe some Mitt Romney supporters: “Romney washes his hair”? I can’t think of one good headline for a T-shirt. And by the way, CNN.com charges $15 per shirt; if you’re really that desperate, make your own shirt and you can write whatever you want! (And put pretty pictures, too, from what I hear…)

  • Today is the last day of classes here at Case, meaning that in about one week (my last final is a week from tomorrow), I’ll be exactly 3/4 done with college. It’ll be nice to get out of this place and become a productive member of society again, and with any luck I’ll find a company who picks a name and sticks with it, unlike CWRU Case Case Western Reserve University Case Western Reserve.
  • By the way, someone needs to teach the Democratic party how to do math, because between Obama and Clinton, someone is absolutely wrong when they say they’re winning. I’d say Obama has the edge right now, because of, you know, 5000 years of mathematical knowledge, but maybe when Hillary is president she’ll pass legislation banning advanced math so her win is justified.

    In either case, you can’t have two candidates who are both winning. You can have candidate A beating candidate B, meaning candidate A is winning. You can have candidate B beating candidate A, meaning candidate B is winning. You can have a tie, meaning that no one is winning. Or, and I think this is the case lately, you can have candidate A and candidate B slapping each other like two middle schoolers over the stupidest little things, meaning they’re both losing.

    Seriously, if you’re the Democratic party, how do you possibly justify not giving the nomination to Obama? He’s ahead. He’s going to stay ahead. Clinton can debate it all she wants, but in the end, under the system of rules agreed upon before the primaries began, Obama will be the winner.

    I wonder why the Democratic party has superdelegates anyway. Not to pick sides or throw cheap shots, but superdelegates screams “Republican”. The Democratic party is all about equality in every aspect, almost to a point of socialism… except when it comes to picking a presidential nominee. If you were to read the beliefs of the Democratic party, with things as they are, it should say “The Democrats believe all people are created equal… except not all people.”

  • Thank God, the NFL Draft is over. Now ESPN can get back to covering sports.
  • Quote of the Day:
    It’s one of the oldest laws in security: the strength of the security should only rely on the secrecy of the key, not the algorithm. We’ve known this forever, and yet people still do it. Don’t be one of those people.

    David Singer, MATH 408 professor

    Indians play the Yankees tonight, going for the series win against the Bronx Bombers – it’ll be Aaron Laffey against Mike Mussina, who’s not the same pitcher these days. Let’s get the win, guys… put aimable in his place.

    And by the way, I just realized I used the word “slaves” in this entry. Thus, if Google Ads decides to try and sell you slaves a few days from now, I feel it is my duty to inform you that slavery is in fact illegal and you shouldn’t do it. I wonder what the penalty is for Google if those ads were ever run though? …

    …and I’ve rocked them all

    One of the things I don’t like about college (and trust me, there are many) is how difficult it is to maintain a constant schedule. I’m pretty much sleeping during the day now and working at nights because once again my sleep schedule is off. Oh well. On to some links.

    • Hillary Clinton needs to hire some new writers (and by the way, CNN, that title is not what she said…at all). She has used, and continues to use, the same “There are some folks saying we ought to stop these elections” line everywhere she goes. It’s as if we’re all sitting at home saying, “oh, the nerve of those people!” After saying that line, she looks around, smiles at everyone who is booing, and inevitably decides that she’s not quitting and its un-American to force her to quit.

      I’m really not sure what to make of this anymore. Hillary Clinton wants to stay in the race. Barack Obama has said, “she wants to stay in? Let her stay in.” That should be the end of it. But everyone, from Nancy Pelosi to 50 Cent has weighed in on this issue, and somehow, no matter who makes the suggestion, it always gets to someone asking Obama about it. He’s got to be sick of this by now.

    • Speaking of Nancy Pelosi, our favorite Speaker of the House has decided it’d be a good idea to boycott the Olympic opening ceremonies in Beijing in lieu of boycotting the Olympics altogether. This seems weird to me – for the democrats, who are all about “restoring our good image” with the world, how does it look good to basically say “we’re the US, we’re too good for the opening ceremony”? How is that different than saying “we’re the US, we’re too good for the United Nations” in 2003? I understand China is not so fond of human rights and thus perhaps its not a country we should be fully behind, but I’d rather not tick them off either. The fact is that most countries in the world are far behind the US in terms of granting basic human rights to all citizens (Germany, France and the UK are good examples of countries in which many of the issues we face with the CIA/NSA eavesdropping cases would be solved because those countries just do it anyway and no one thinks anything of it).

      To me, the Olympics represent a chance for all nations to put their differences behind them and take a break from being countries with self-interests and just have some good, old-fashioned fun. To boycott the Olympic opening ceremonies would be a huge mistake in my opinion, and might smear one of the greatest traditions in human history.

    • Now that baseball season is underway I’m hoping to actually write a little about each game after it happens. I’m not sure how much it’ll be (and its doubtful it’ll be as long as last night’s) but hopefully it’s something I can accomplish.
    • The Yankees will try to have Opening Day again tonight, and I learned yesterday that in the history of Yankee Stadium, no game has ever been played in March; that record was saved thanks to the rain yesterday. The game should be on ESPN2 for those of you interested.
    • Today is April Fool’s Day, meaning that websites and organizations all over the place play jokes on their websites. There’s a huge list on Wikipedia of all the known jokes, but I think my personal favorite is the Google Docs joke, which added a “New Airplane” option along with “New Document”, “New Spreadsheet”, and “New Presentation”. A “New Airplane” would create a document with folding guidelines for a paper airplane. I want this…pretty much always, and maybe even with cool designs like Microsoft Publisher used to have.
    • Completely off-topic, I watched The Last Mimzy a couple nights ago for the first time, mostly because Rainn Wilson is in it. It was pretty good, but pretty weird too.
    • Quote of the Day:
      I have to admit I’m still at square one. Not that I really object to square one. It’s the only numbered square in the game. At least you know where you are. Nobody ever screws up and goes, “Well, back to oval seven.”

      Jerry Seinfeld

    That’s all from Cleveland. Only 172 wins to go, and the Indians will be 173-0, the perfect season! I’m going to start making the T-shirts now…

    I’ve seen a million faces…

    Hello from the first floor of Kelvin Smith Library in the “heart of campus” of Case Western Reserve University! It’s sunny, about 40 degrees, and baseball season is less than 36 hours away from getting underway!

    • On that note, I was watching the Indians play their final exhibition game of the spring thanks to a free preview of MLB.tv (don’t get me started…):

      It was raining in Atlanta (actually, thunderstorming, which was kind of cool) so rather than risk injury to players they put the game on rain delay. Now, for those of you who don’t know, MLB.tv basically rebroadcasts the local network’s broadcast over the Internet, so I was watching the PeachtreeTV (I don’t know either, I guess Atlanta is like that) broadcast, and they switched into the rain delay programming…which was a rerun of Cheers. That’s right: for a minute (until MLB.tv realized what was happening) I was watching a rerun of Cheers on MLB.tv. The irony is amazing.

    • In other sports news, the latest “Cinderella Story” Davidson destroyed Wisconsin last night. I watched most of that game (from a random bar in Parma) – it’d be pretty tough to beat a team that was raining down threes like Davidson was. They play UCLA next, so that story is probably over.
    • And now a message to the voters that will be deciding our next president: you’re not voting for the candidate’s pastor, you’re voting for that candidate. Look, what Jeremiah Wright said (and perhaps what he believes) is wrong, but that doesn’t mean a) that Barack Obama believes the same thing by extension, and b) that the guy doesn’t have other good qualities that makes him a guy Obama would have hung around with all those years. Obama’s been defending himself since those videos surfaced – and he’s not even in them!
    • From the Clinton campaign, Chelsea Clinton defended herself the other day against a Monica Lewinsky question. Basically, it was a fair question, but in Chelsea’s defense (she’s not as evil as her parents yet, it’s easier to defend her) it was a fair answer. I don’t know that Hillary has ever answered that question, but it’s certainly not Chelsea’s responsibility.
    • While the Democrats are bickering about seemingly everything, John McCain is, all of the sudden, becoming less annoying. The fact is that he shouldn’t even be close in this race – he supports a war that most Americans do not support and on the number one issue (apparently) to most Americans, the economy, he “doesn’t know that much”. But the longer the Democrats fight this out, the better he does.

      That’s NOT to say that I agree with Howard Dean (YEAHHHHHHHH!), that we should end the “fight” before the convention. Even worse, there is speculation within this piece that if the Democrats don’t resolve this that Al Gore will be at the top of the ticket with Obama or Clinton as the Vice President. First, how does that solve anything? Then they both are still fighting about who gets to be the VP. Secondly…are you kidding? What’s the point of a primary if we can just choose a new candidate at the convention? It’s like Al Gore is the father figure of the Democratic party (I don’t really know why, he hasn’t held public office in eight years) and he’d be saying, “well, you kids can’t settle this yourself so I’m going to settle it for you.”

    • Saw this article on the front of CNN.com the other day. Now, yes, you feel sorry for the woman in the article, but notice a couple things. First, she somehow can afford all of that nice furniture and lamps in the background but not food for her family? And how is it possible that you go from $70000 a year to, “weeks later”, having no money for food? This is the point of having savings accounts and not racking up debt! As we enter these hard times with the economy, make sure you know what you’re reading, what the angle of the reporter is, and think about it a bit before jumping to any conclusions.
    • Finally, the quote of the day:
      MICHAEL: We can no longer be friends and when we talk about things here we must only discuss,ah, work associated things, and uh, we can consider this my retirement from comedy and in the future if I want to say something funny or witty or do an impression I will no longer, EVER, do any of those things.
      JIM: Does that include “That’s what she said?”
      MICHAEL: Mmm-hmm…yes.
      JIM: Wow that is really hard…you really think you can go all day long?…well, you always left me satisfied and smiling, so…
      MICHAEL: That’s what she said!

    Hope everyone has a happy Saturday and a nice weekend!

    The commencement

    …of the 2008 Major League Baseball season! Yes, I woke up at 6 AM to watch the first few pitches of what I hope will be an outstanding season, and then went back to sleep.

    • The Boston Red Sox are alone on top of the AL East, after a win earlier this morning in Japan against Oakland. Oakland, by all rights, should have won that game. Huston Street, the closer for the Athletics, is a good pitcher and I don’t expect him to blow many more saves this year, but as it happened, the backup right fielder Brandon Moss tied the game in the ninth with a solo homerun, opening the gate for the return of Manny Ramirez to untie the game in the tenth with a two-run double.

      We’ve barely started the 2008 season and already Manny Ramirez has done two things which are completely stupid: 1) on hitting the double, he stood at home plate for a while and watched as his majestic homerun hit the ground before the wall and then realized he should run somewhere, and 2) when asked about being named “Hero of the Game” and getting a check for $10000, said “That’s going to be some gas money. I love it.” This is fourth highest paid player in baseball, he gets paid more than $10000 an inning. Ugh. But at least it brings me to my next point…

    • For every time the Red Sox lose this season, I’m going to donate one dollar to my sister‘s El Salvador fund. I encourage you to do the same, perhaps with a charity closer to you, or maybe in a different amount. It makes rooting against the Red Sox much more fun.
    • From the “ruh-roh” department, Facebook was hacked. I haven’t been on Facebook in a little over six months now (mostly because I’m jealous of Mark Zuckerberg), but I realize I’ve said that Facebook is a much more secure application than Myspace or similar sites. However, that doesn’t mean it’s perfect! It’s common sense that the more features you have in an application, the more vulnerable it is to attack, and I guess that’s what happened with Facebook. Never fear though, apparently the hole was plugged in less than an hour.
    • I generally enjoy following politics but lately it seems like it’s getting more and more depressing. I’m getting tired of the “Obama campaign” and the “Clinton campaign” fighting it out; why can’t “Obama” say something to “Clinton” and vice versa?
    • In happier news, the Indians are only six days away from Opening Day. The weather for Opening Day appears to be getting better, which would be nice. Also, the rotation was finalized yesterday with Cliff Lee getting the 5th spot. I hope Cliff Lee proves me wrong, but for some reason he doesn’t seem like the type of pitcher the Indians need. Also from that article, Aaron Fultz is out, and I can’t say I’ll miss him all that much.

      I caught a little of the game yesterday and a little of the game today: yesterday Jake Westbrook threw six perfect innings against the Braves, and today, last time I checked, Paul Byrd hadn’t allowed an earned run against the vaunted Yankees.

      But for some reason, Andy Marte is still on the big league roster. TRADE HIM! I watched him boot two balls in 4 innings today, and both weren’t especially hard grounders to field. The defense I could forgive if the guy could hit, but I’m not seeing a lot of hope there either. Everyone talks about trying to avoid another “Brandon Phillips”-like trade with Marte, where he would go to a new team and then tear it up. First of all, Brandon Phillips had a decent year with Cincinatti when he was traded (2006) but wasn’t quite as impressive last year. It’s not like we lost a heck of a lot. And secondly, we have two second basemen who I would take over Phillips any day. Same goes for Casey Blake over Andy Marte (and maybe Jhonny Peralta over Andy Marte).

    • Caught Britney Spears’ guest star appearance on How I Met Your Mother last night, and I’ll say this: her role was mercifully small.
    • And now the quote of the day, this time talking to our friend George Costanza:
      I don’t even want to talk about it anymore. What were you thinking? What was going on in your mind? Artistic integrity? Where, where did you come up with that? You’re not artistic and you have no integrity. You know you really need some help. A regular psychiatrist couldn’t even help you. You need to go to like Vienna or something. You know what I mean? You need to get involved at the University level. Like where Freud studied and have all those people looking at you and checking up on you. That’s the kind of help you need. Not the once a week for eighty bucks. No. You need a team. A team of psychiatrists working round the clock thinking about you, having conferences, observing you, like the way they did with the Elephant Man. That’s what I’m talking about because that’s the only way you’re going to get better.

      Jerry, Seinfeld

    I think that’s all from within the legendary walls of Case Western Reserve University. Stay well, go Tribe, and boo Red Sox!