The Gray Pages

Friday, March 31, 2006

From my uncle Sid

A Priest, a Pentecostal Preacher and a Rabbi all served as chaplains to the students at a midwestern university. They would get together two or three times a week for coffee and to talk shop.

One day, someone said that preaching to people isn't really all that hard. A real challenge would be to preach to a bear. One thing led to another and they decided to do an experiment: they would all go out into the woods, find a bear, preach to it and attempt to convert it.

Seven days later, they met again.

Father Flannery, who has his arm in a sling, is on crutches, and has various bandages, goes first. "Well," he says, "I went into the woods to find me a bear. And when I found him I began to read to him from the Catechism. Well, that bear wanted nothing to do with me and began to slap me around. So I quickly grabbed my holy water, sprinkled him and, Holy Mary Mother of God, he became as gentle a lamb. The bishop is coming out next week to give him first communion and confirmation."

Reverend Billy Bob spoke next. He was in a wheelchair, with an arm and both legs in casts, and an IV drip. In his best fire and brimstone oratory he claimed, " WELL brothers, you KNOW that we don't sprinkle! I went out and I FOUND me a bear. And then I began to read to my bear from God's HOLY WORD! But that bear wanted nothing to do with me. So I took HOLD of him and we began to wrestle. We wrestled down one hill, UP another and DOWN another until we came to a creek. So I quick DUNKED him and BAPTIZED his hairy soul. And just like you said, he became as gentle as a lamb. We spent the rest of the day praising Jesus."

They both looked down at the rabbi, who was lying in a hospital bed. He was in a body cast and traction with IV's and monitors running in and out of him. He was in bad shape.

The rabbi looks up and says, "Looking back on it, circumcision may not have been the best way to start things out with my bear."

Congratulations, Zac!

... for your second-place finish in this screenwriting contest. And, yes, they better put a real press release up soon or I'm going to be pissed.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

One thousand runs

This guy is one of several that I've seen who suggests that the Yankees could score 1000 runs this year. Just a reminder: the Yankees scored 886 runs last year.

- They've replaced a multi-headed monster in centerfield with Johnny Damon. That should help.

- They've replaced Tony Womack with a full year of young-and-improving Robinson Cano.

- Derek Jeter, Gary Sheffield, Alex Rodriguez, Hideki Matsui, Jason Giambi, Jorge Posada, and Bernie Williams are over 30 and (like all of us) getting older. That should hurt.

Let's see: +2, -7.

They won't score 1000 runs.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Law and order

If I ruled the world, or at least the part of it that sets the rules for NCAA basketball:

1. One timeout per team per half. The TV timeouts are sufficient for coaches to coach.

Barring that ...

2. Timeouts could only be called -- and substitutions could only be made -- when your team has possession of the ball and is ready to inbound. After your team has made a field goal or a free throw, possesion has switched to the other team and you are not allowed to interrupt their attempts to score except with a little thing I like to call "defense."

3. Intentional: in·ten·tion·al. adj. Done deliberately; intended: an intentional slight. Everyone knows that a losing team in the last two minutes of the game is fouling intentionally. There are rules pertaining to intentional fouls; enforce them.

4. No timeouts after the ball has been inbounded. If your team can't make it over the half-court line in 10 seconds, that's your fault, and you should lose posession. Timeouts should not bail out your incomepetent offense from a full-court press. And none of this I'm-falling-out-of-bounds-timeout nonsense. Either you have possesion, or you do not.

5. No back-to-back timeouts. None. If the other team has called a timeout, you cannot call one until someone scores or there's another stoppage in play.


I made my turkey and swiss sandwich with dijon mustard today, just to change things up. It's not bad.


I was against Jerry Falwell before I was for him. So says John McCain:

U.S. Sen. John McCain - a likely 2008 presidential candidate who once labeled the Rev. Jerry Falwell an “agent of intolerance” - will be Liberty University’s graduation speaker on May 13.

“I was in Washington with him about three months ago,” Falwell said. “We dealt with every difference we have. There are no deal breakers now. But I told him, ‘You have a lot of fence mending to do.’”

Falwell, LU’s chancellor, said McCain, an Arizona Republican, is among the presidential candidates he could support in 2008.

Monday, March 27, 2006


Remember back when I said Pedro was underrated? (Okay, so I didn't have a blog then.) In light of the ongoing steroid revelations, I'd like to amend that. I underrated him, too. Throwing in a hitter's park, against the DH, the man's ERA was 2.07 at a time when the league average was 5.07 (1999). A year later, his ERA fell to 1.74.

Just look at 1998 to 2000 one more time. Look at it! And consider the stat ERA+, which adjusts for parks and for the quality of offenses in the era in which one plays. Pedro, as of today, is the best pitcher of all time. Better than Walter Johnson. Better than Cy Young. Better than Roger Clemens. The best ever.

Good news

Good people of Texas have made sure that indicted felons can't carry concealed weapons.

An entertaining farce is still a farce

GMU's win suggests that all college basketball is a farce. Duke hasn't been the best team for the past ten years, they've just played the most home games. (How often are tournament games played in North Carolina?) Play the tournament on the Gonzaga campus, Gonzaga wins. Play it in Indianapolis and watch the Hoisers succeed.

There's no best teams: there are home teams (which win), and there are road teams (which lose).

Thursday, March 23, 2006


Sheffield? Not Gary Sheffield! Not the guy whose drug provider has pled guilty to providing illegal drugs! Impossible.

Yankees slugger Gary Sheffield injected testosterone and human growth hormone in January 2002, according to the latest revelations in ''Game of Shadows," a book written by two San Francisco Chronicle reporters.

Excerpts from the book appeared earlier this month in Sports Illustrated, giving graphic detail of Barry Bonds's alleged use of a vast array of performance-enhancing drugs, including steroids and human growth hormone. The book by Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams is scheduled for release today.

Sheffield, who in 2003 reportedly admitted to a federal grand jury to unknowingly having used a steroid cream, also sought to maintain a relationship with Bonds's trainer Greg Anderson after Bonds and Sheffield had a falling out in 2002, according to the book's authors. Anderson was among four convicted in the BALCO steroid distribution scandal.

Yesterday in Tampa, Sheffield denied using the drugs mentioned in the book.

''What can I do? I'm not going to defend myself my whole life," he said. ''It doesn't matter to me. I don't have anything to say. No need to. It is what it is."

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

In retrospect

Maybe Glenn Reynolds was wrong when he said ...

Maybe we should rise above the temptation to point out that claims of a "quagmire" were wrong -- again! -- how efforts at moral equivalence were obscenely wrong -- again! -- how the antiwar folks are still, far too often, trying to move the goalposts rather than admit their error -- again -- and how an awful lot of the very same people who spoke lugubriously about "civilian casualties" now seem almost disappointed that there weren't more -- again -- and how many people who spoke darkly about the Arab Street and citizens rising up against American "liberators" were proven wrong -- again -- as the liberators were seen as just that by the people they were liberating.

On April 11, 2003. Nah.

Monday, March 13, 2006

My Rick Sutcliffe impersonation

"And look at Derek Jeter right here, doing anything he can to help his team win. Because Derek Jeter's only been about one thing: winning, no matter who he's playing for. Look how hard he runs down to first as he grounds into a double play. You're telling me he doesn't want to win?"

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Who's that other guy

On the cover? Did he do something wrong?

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Shocking news

Just stunning. I can't believe a guy who set a career high in homeruns at age 35 used steroids. Just stunning. I don't believe in nuthin' no more. I'm gonna be a lawyer.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Great event ever

For some reason, dl004d isn't interested.

Look away, Dixieland

North Carolina honors its heritage by waiving the Confederate flag and singing Dixie at an all-white rally. In the State House chamber.

Hey, hey, hey. Goodbye!

Post-9/11 Drive by Republicans To Attract Jewish Voters Stalls
The much-trumpeted effort by the Bush White House to make deep inroads on the Democrats' historic claims on Jewish voters -- and, even more important politically, the campaign contributions of Jewish donors -- has not materialized in any convincing fashion, according to poll data, fundraisers and campaign finance reports.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Who is Jose Vidro?

Year .. G. . .AB . .H. . 2B . HR . .BA . OBP . SLG
2002 . 152 . 604 . 190 . 43 . 19 . 315 . 378 . 490
2003 . 144 . 509 . 158 . 36 . 15 . 310 . 397 . 470
2004 . 110 . 412 . 121 . 24 . 14 . 294 . 367 . 454
2005 .. 87 . 309 .. 85 . 21 .. 7 . 275 . 339 . 424

Jose Vidro is a player without any trade value. We'd better hope he's heathy and playing for the team, because the Nationals aren't going to get anything in return for him.

What remains on his contract? 2006: $7 million; 2007: $7.5 million; 2008: 8.5 million.


I heard it here first:

Tom Boswell: THIS JUST IN...and I mean the PR release was just put in my hand 10 seconds ago by Nats PR man John Dever. All he said was, "Cruel sport."

Headline: "Nationals Rightfielder Jose Guillen To Miss Approximately Three Months Doe To Left Wrist Injury."

"Earlier today...per an MRI, Guillen has tenosynovitis of the extensor tendons in the left wrist. One of Guillen's tendons in the left wrist is damaged. "

Dr. St. Mary has recommended a surgical preocedure to repair the damaged tendon. The Nationals will seek a second opinion...If Guillen has surgery, he would miss approximately three months."

Lords of the Realm: The New Chapter

I think one of the reasons that I'm such a bad capitalist (I am one, just not enthuiastically) is because the only business that I think I know anything about is baseball. And the owners there are idiots, so what's the hope for the other people who control the means of production? (I also recall the line from the Wizard of Oz: "They are no smarter than you, Scarecrow. But they do have one thing you haven't got: a diploma." So there.)

Tom Boswell, nicely done:

The smartest thing baseball can do is realize that it took a midnight miracle last month to get a 9-4 vote out of the rebellious council for a stadium lease of any kind. Baseball should think: Let's nail this down before that crazy council votes again.

With one word ("yes"), baseball can lock up a $450-million sale of the Nats, set the new ballpark in motion, name a new owner for the team and, in short order, erase every iota of the vast ill will that the game has earned for itself in this town.

Or the game can say "no," and walk down a dark alley where public hostility and political intransigence are sure to lurk. The local media will likely join the baseball bashing party. (I'll bring an old Louisville slugger.) My guess is that baseball will do what it usually does: choose the worst available option. And say, "Not good enough."

For 30 years, when baseball has been in a showdown with big money, lawyers and huge egos in play, the sport has made the wrong decision almost every time. The lone exception was when MLB finally avoided a strike in its last labor negotiation. Time after time, Bud Selig and Jerry Reinsdorf were near the center of the negotiations that ended in stubborn expensive stalemates.