Friday, December 05, 2008

Farewell, #31

It is with some sadness that the Thinker waves goodbye to the best pitcher I've ever seen, twice-former Cub Greg Maddux, who is announcing his retirement after 21 years in major league baseball. There are two of us on this blog who, when chatting sports, use "Maddux" as part of our moniker, and I know I'm not the only one here who will miss watching him pitch. Even during his exile in Atlanta (okay, he piled up some rather extraordinary numbers in exile), my dad and I used to sit down and watch him every fifth day, because his outings were unlike any others. When he was at his best, hitters just were overmatched, not by staggering physical talent, but because he was so good at so many things that his arsenal of pitches just went beyond anything they could cope with.

Five years from now, his name will come up for a vote for the MLB Hall of Fame. He'll get in, on the first ballot, and by a large margin. Of course, he won't be unanimous, because no one ever is. The BBWAA is comprised, sadly, of too many morons of the sort who cannot abide greatness and must always find fault. They can go screw themselves.

Someday, if the Cubs are smart, they'll bring Maddux and Fergie Jenkins back and finally retire #31. Maddux won't seek the spotlight, but it is his.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Bush 2.0

So our most grotesquely failed president has decided to re-invent himself. In an interview with Charlie Gibson, and in a self-serving blatherfest with his sister, he gave us these gems:

"I think I was unprepared for war..."

Really? That's surprising, given that you talked about invading Iraq as GOVERNOR OF TEXAS in 1999? Given that the cronies that made up this war out of whole cloth published their stupidity in 1998 ? (see the Project for the New American Century)

"The biggest regret of all the presidency has to have been the intelligence failure in Iraq...a lot of leaders of nations around the world were all looking at the same intelligence."

Hmm, you mean the "intelligence" that your administration manufactured and misrepresented? That several countries told you was bullshit? You mean that "intelligence?"

"You know, I'm the president during this period of time, but I think when the history of this period is written, people will realize a lot of the decisions that were made on Wall Street took place over a decade or so, before I arrived in president"

You know, the Clinton years, our long national nightmare of peace and prosperity...The buck stops over there somewhere.

"And when people review the history of this administration, people will say that this administration tried hard to get a regulator."

WHAT??? YOU, wanted regulation? And now I suppose the pope now officiates at gay abortionist weddings????

"I'd like to be a president [known] as somebody who liberated 50 million people and helped achieve peace"--

You "liberated" people into death and chaos, and brought about a hellish cataclysm. And peace? We'll be waiting on that one for a while.

The grand question is...

Is this man the boy in the bubble? Does he really BELIEVE any of this nonsense?

Back in 1998, when the neocon cabal recruited him, he was "tutored" in foreign policy by the PNAC crowd, they considered him to be a blank slate. Bob Woodward paints him as a simple man, a Chance the Gardener character, who sees his little ugly war as the story of how many of "them" we killed.

Venal or clueless? Both, probably. The act may have worked in Austin but it will be remembered as one of our greatest national tragedies.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


It's a week later, and we're still embroiled in the saga of plumbing, although progress has indeed been made. The pipe hasn't leaked since the plumbers put the clamp on it, but they'll be coming back tomorrow to replace a sizable portion of the plumbing in our house with stuff that's not 74 year old galvanized steel. To make it easier for them (and so that we didn't have to pay two plumbers to do the work), I spent yesterday at home tearing out a 9' x 8' chunk (both drywall and plaster) of our living room ceiling. Of course, what made it a challenge was that we have checked and confirmed that, yes, some of the older paint in the house is lead-based, so we had to take a lot of precautions to try to prevent the spread of dust. It's quite bad for babymagoo, and since he's still partially on breast milk, that means mrsdrmagoo can't be involved in any of the work, either. So I put up a bunch of plastic around the area, wore masks (I couldn't find the right kind of mask, so hopefully two of almost the right kind of mask will be good enough), and then washed the whole area down with Trisodium Phosphate, which is what we were told to use to clean up the dust. That...was fun.

As a side note, has anyone else ever noticed the slots in old medicine cabinets for used razor blades? The blades go somewhere, of course, which is into the walls of the house. Until renovation is started, in which case they fall on your head.

Tomorrow, the plumbers will be back, and when I get home from work at 6:30 or so, I'll clean up any mess they make (in case they need to make access holes to the downstairs bath) and then let Beth know it's safe to bring the boy back home. Then, we will try to find a drywall contractor to come in and replace the drywall and make the seams as clean as possible. Whee!

On the plus side, the trip out to WV went well. My family is doing pretty well (actually, the economy hasn't hurt us that much....yet), and everyone loves spending time with babymagoo. On the way back, we stopped for a tour of the Woodford Reserve distillery. That was pretty cool, and it's in a gorgeous part of Kentucky, right outside of Lexington (the whole area just screams Kentucky, with rolling hills and horse farms). The beverage they produce is pretty dang good, too.

This weekend, we'll be up in the city for our annual pilgrimage to the Christkindlmarkt for German food and freezing.

I find this guy humorous....

China Buys Naming Rights to U.S.
Nation to be renamed 'Panda Garden'
by Andy Borowitz

In a landmark deal that could provide much-needed cash to America's anemic economy, China agreed today to acquire the naming rights to the U.S. for a reported $1.4 trillion.

The deal, which is expected to be signed by President George W. Bush and Chinese President Hu Jintao sometime before Inauguration Day on January 20, was hailed today by Mr. Bush as a "win-win" for both countries.

"We get 1.4 trillion dollars, and all we have to do is change our name to ‘Panda Garden,'" Mr. Bush told reporters at the White House.

The president said he decided to make the extraordinary deal after being shocked to learn that the U.S. was in a recession, when it was reported yesterday in Duh magazine.

According to President Hu, the Chinese had originally inquired about purchasing the rights to two American sports facilities named after troubled companies, Ford Field in Detroit and Citi Field in New York, but then decided it might be more cost-efficient to buy the rights "to the whole shebang."

In addition to the $1.4 trillion, the Chinese government said that it would provide $10 million to commission a new national anthem that would somehow incorporate the words "Panda Garden" in the lyrics, and to redesign the nation's flag, which will henceforth be known as "the stars, stripes, and adorable bear."

Has China effectively become our banker?

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Singh'in the the Rain

Be thankful that there is not (yet) a "Singh Doctrine," with the Indian prime minister claiming the right of preemptive war against any enemy, no matter how hypothetical. India and Pakistan came close to nuclear blows earlier this decade. Let us hope cooler heads prevail.

Reality, what a concept!

The president-elect becomes more impressive every day.

He rolled out a heavyweight national security team, largely centrist in nature, and mentioned two concepts in dealing with international security that had been confined to the dustbin of the Bush disaster--DIPLOMACY and LAW ENFORCEMENT.

So far, so good, Mr. Obama.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Don't know much about history

Read 'em and weep. These Illinois historic sites are now closed because of our state government's ineptness. In addition, many other state sites have seen reductions in staff and opening days/hours. A short-sighted waste of our cultural heritage.

Dana-Thomas House, Springfield (Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece pictured below)

Lincoln log cabin
Fort de Chartres
Vandalia statehouse
State center at Bishop Hill
Carl Sandburg birthplace
Cahokia courthouse
Hauberg Indian Museum
Jubilee College
Apple River Fort
Fort Kaskaskia

Pierre Menard home

Gone. Lost. Wasted.

My World and Welcome to It

Ah, holidays with family...

Three days with my mother-in-law who

1) was ASHAMED that Indiana went for Obama;

2) LOVES Wal-Mart and

3) won't watch ABC news any more because Charlie Gibson was mean to Caribou Barbie!

And then there's my side, but we'll just say that we put the fun in dysfunctional!

The turkey was great, and the secret word is...BRINING!