Thursday, April 27, 2006



The confused young man couldn't decide whether to marry Kathryn or
Edith. Try as he might, he just could not make up his mind. Unwilling
to give up either, he strung them along for far too long. This
indecision continued until both young women got tired of the situation
and left him for good. Moral of the story: ... You can't have your
Kate and Edith, too.

- Bennett Cerf

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


I stole the picture and the following link from a couple of different posts at Fred's Truth Serum blog (see my links). I think the POTUS may need to get out his crying towel soon:


"There really are a lot of people out there who don't pay attention to anything unless it involves sex. Ironically, most of them seem to be conservative Christians."

- Tom Tommorrow

Thursday, April 20, 2006


I'm sure most of you could care less about Major League Baseball, but I'll continue my predictions for 2006 with a fairly in-depth look at the National League's West Division. I have been trying to obsess less about politics lately, and when I don't obsess about politics or music or family matters... stuff like this happens:

NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST – This division may be the toughest to predict in all of major league baseball. It might be easiest to just put all five names into a hat, draw them out, and use that order for saying where I think they will finish. But based on what I do know about the five teams, this is how I believe they will finish.

1. San Francisco – The Giants have to have the oldest team in the majors. Their infield has lots of class, but SS Omar Vizquel is 39 next week, and 2B Ray Durham,, while still only 34, has had declining stats in recent years. 1B Mark Sweeney is 36, and catcher Mike Metheny is 35. Back-up OF Steve Finley is 41, and backup IF Jose Vizcaino is 38. The starting outfielders all have July birthdays; Barry Bonds will be 42, Moises Alou 39, and Randy Winn, a relative youngster, will be 32. The youngest player in the everyday lineup, 3B Pedro Feliz will be 31 next week. The rotation has some youth, and several starting pitchers who should prove better-than-average in Jason Schmidt, Noah Lowry and Jamey Wright. Matt Cain is a youngster with lots of potential. Then in the bullpen, Tim Worrell, 38, is the temporary closer while Armando Benitez starts the season on the disabled list. 43-year-old Jeff Fassero is still pitching, and so is veteran Steve Kline. All in all, this ballclub as the talent to finish around .500 or slightly better. If the ancient lineup can withstand the rigors of a full season, if Barry Bonds' personal soap opera doesnm't cause too much distraction, and if the bullpen can produce, I think the Giants could win 90 games. I'd look for something more in the vicinity of 85-88 wins.

2. San Diego – The Padres won this division in 2005 with a win-loss record of only 82-80. This season they once again balance inexperience (LF Ben Johnson, 2B Josh Barfield, 1B Adrian Gonzalez) with veteran presence in new C Mike Piazza, CF Dave Roberts, 3B Vinny Castilla and RF Brian Giles. Khalil Greene is steady at shortstop. After posting an 80-54 record during six seasons with the Dodgers, starting pitcher Chan Ho Park flailed his way to a 22-23 mark in his four years with Texas. The Padres hope he can team with other starters Jake Peavy, Chris Young and Woody Williams to form a formidable rotation. Look for Trevor Hoffman to continue pitching well as the team’s stopper. However, he has questionable support from the rest of the bullpen, outside of Scott Linebrink. Getting CF Mike Cameron healthy again could help. Anyway, I think this team should do about as well as it did last year, which was fairly mediocre... 85 wins tops.

3. Colorado – The Rockies want to prove a couple of things this year. One, that they can hit on the road, away from the mile-high Coors Field. The other thing? That their pitchers can throw well at Coors, and not just on the road. So far, so good. The Rocks have some young hitters in OFs Brad Hawpe, Corey Sullivan, and Matt Holliday, SS Clint Barmes, 3B Garrett Atkins and 2B Jason Smith. 1B Todd Helton has a career batting average of .337 and at age 32 he shows no signs of slowing down. As always, the question with the Rockies is their pitching staff. Their ERAs are usually inflated due to all the hitting that goes on at Coors Field, but Jason Jennings, Aaron Cook and Jeff Francis are all very capable starting pitchers. New SP Josh Fogg struggled in Pittsburgh but he is off to a good start with Colorado. Brian Fuentes has established himself as the stopper in the Rockies’ bullpen, with 31 saves in 2005. He and Scott Dohmann are the only holdovers from last season in what is now a mostly remade pen that includes ex-Pirate Jose Mesa, ex-Cardinal Ray King, ex-Brave Tom Martin and rookie David Cortes. With continuous improvement from all the young players on the team, and with consistently decent pitching, this team should finish around .500 The talent could be there for a nice year for the Rockies.

4. Arizona – This team had a pretty lousy 2005, but this year they have the potential to surprise a lot of people. Their pitching staff is fairly deep, and they have good talent in their everyday lineup with a good mix of vets and youngsters. OFs Luis Gonzalez and Shawn Green and C Johnny Estrada are names with which many fans are familiar. Names which could become familiar soon are those of 3B Chad Tracy, 1B Conor Jackson, and veteran OF Jeff DaVanon, who is off to a great start. Back-up 1B Tony Clark resurrected his career last season in Arizona by hitting 30 homers in 349 at-bats. Brandon Webb, Orlando Hernandez and Miguel Batista make a good “first three” in the rotation, and other starting pitchers Russ Ortiz and Claudio Vargas have had past successes. Closer Jose Valverde is physically fragile in that he has had a history of injuries, but if he is healthy he does a great job finishing ballgames. Valverde has capable bullpen helpers in Juan Cruz and Luis Vizcaino. I’m not sure this team has enough “oomph” to finish above .500. Their hitting is a bit suspect, as is their bullpen. I'm pegging them for about 75 wins.

5. Los Angeles – I’m sad to say this once-proud team is my pick for last place in the National League West. While I have never been a Dodgers fan, I always like it better when they are more competitive… but this his year doesn’t look like a good one for Dodger fans. Theballcub should try to resist the temptation to use the ancient Kenny Lofton in CF, and use Jason Repko instead. The usually-injured J.D. Drew is in RF at least for now, and the terminally-inconsistent Jose Cruz starts in LF. Steady veteran Bill Mueller starts at 3B, former Brave Rafael Furcal is at SS, and a number of players will fill in at 1B (including 2B Jeff Kent, rookie James Loney and veteran Olmedo Saenz) until Nomar Garciaparra gets healthy (if he can). When Nomar comes back he will also see some time at 3B. Young Dioner Navarro and veteran Sandy Alomar, Jr. form a doubtful duo behind the plate. Starting pitcher Brad Penny can be dominant at times, but he seems to visit the Disabled List too often. After him, the pitchers in the rotation are average, at best. Derek Lowe? Brett Tomko? Odalis Perez? The best they are capable of seems like.500 win-loss records with ERAs around 4.50. Fifth starter Jae Seo may be slightly better than those last three guys, but not by much. Closer Eric Gagne is out with elbow surgery, but L.A. was wise enough to acquire relievers Danys Baez and Lance Carter from Tampa Bay during the off-season; Baez is more than capable of filling Gagne’s role, at least for now if not for longer, and Carter is unspectacular but durable. After those two, the bullpen is highly suspect. It will be interesting to see if Japanese newcomer Takashi Saito can continue his impressive start enough to help the relief corps, but even if he can it won't be enough to keep the Dodgers out of the cellar. I'm thinking 75 wins tops, more likely slightly less than that.

San Francisco 88-74
San Diego 84-78
Colorado 80-82
Arizona 74-87
Los Angeles 73-89

The final installment won't be as in-depth, and it will look at the NL Central and NL East.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006



It's a Yamaha S-90 Synthesizer, with a whole slew of realistic sounds! It also has 88 keys, as opposed to the much smaller 61-key Yamaha PSR-540 I currently use. The public debut of my S-90 is April 28, so I will have about 10 days to learn how to use it once it arrives... which should happen between today and Friday if the shipping gods are smiling!

Monday, April 17, 2006


Too busy with band stuff, family stuff, etc. to post anything of real value.

I am going to have a "new baby" soon, and I will post a picture of it during the next day or two. I haven't decided yet if it will be son or a daughter, but I lean toward the latter. 8-)>

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


Saturday, April 08, 2006


We found ancient, undeveloped film at our house last week, and took it in to get developed. This is what happens when you let small children take pictures. As for Baby Mackie... isn't he majestic?

Friday, April 07, 2006


I know a lot of you could care less about major league baseball, but it is my favorite of the professional sports, regardless of steroids controversies, past work stoppages, a wimpy commissioner, etc.

Please bear with me while I make my early-season prognostications! Here I will give you my thoughts on the divisions in each league, and who might make it to the World Series this year. Today it will be the American League.


1. Los Angeles Angels – Probably the strongest team in a division that really isn’t all that strong. OF Vladimir Guerrero leads the hitting, and ’05 Cy Young Award winner Bartolo Colon leads a deep pitching staff. 3B Chone Figgins not only has a great name, but he is an exciting player who can hit for average and steal bases. New free-agent pitcher Jeff Weaver has never quite fulfilled expectations wherever he has played, but if he and P Kelvim Escobar can throw well this season, he will combine with them and John Lackey to make a very formidable rotation.

2. Oakland Athletics – GM Billy Beane is a master at making good trades and signing decent free agents despite his organization’s limited budget. If this winter’s additions (DH Frank Thomas and OF Milton Bradley) stay healthy, they will join 1B Dan Johnson and 3B Eric Chavez in an already potent lineup. Young pitchers Rich Harden, Danny Haren and Joe Blanton should help the rotation stay great for the next few years, and Huston Street is a good young stopper for their bullpen. They may have enough talent to overtake the Angels.

3. Seattle Mariners – My favorite team. Generally chosen for 4th place in the division this year, the M’s will surprise a lot of people by being competitive most of the season, reaching the .500 mark for the first time in several years. New P Jarrod Washburn will anchor the rotation, and phenom P Felix Hernandez will provide plenty of excitement. The rest of the rotation and the bullpen are a bit suspect. Second-year players SS Yuniesky Betancourt , 2B Jose Lopez and CF Jeremy Reed are already showing signs of maturation, and newcomers C Kenji Johjima and DH/LF Carl Everett may add some pop. Look for returning vets RF Ichiro ,1B Richie Sexson and LF/DH Raul Ibanez to continue their good hitting. Will 3B Adrian Beltre regain his 48-HR form from two years ago? If so, and if pitchers Gil Meche and Joel Pineiro realize their potential, the M’s could challenge for second place.

4. Texas Rangers – This team plays in one of the worst ballparks in the majors for pitchers: the stadium is primarily for hitters, and the heat can get unbearable in Arlington late in the season. While the team usually has good hitting (i.e. 1B Mark Teixeira, SS Michael Young, 3B Hank Blalock, to name but a few), the pitching is almost always poor. During the winter, Texas signed free-agent Kevin Millwood, who led the AL in ERA last year while with Cleveland. They also traded with San Diego for P Adam Eaton. Millwood got rocked in his first outing, and Eaton is already injured. If this team could ever have some good fortune with its pitching, it would challenge for second , or maybe even first place.


1. Chicago White Sox – I have to go with the champs to repeat this year. They have a deep pitching staff, and their roster has loads of talent and many interchangeable parts. Manager Ozzie Guillen did a great job with using his players last year, and this year should be no different.

2. Detroit Tigers – I may be going out on a limb here, but I have always been a Tigers fan, and it looks like new manager Jim Leyland has things going in the right direction after a few miserable years with Alan Trammell at the helm. Free-agent P Kenny Rogers should help Mike Maroth, Jeremy Bonderman and Nate Robertson in the rotation. Young OF Curtis Granderson has great skills. OF veteran Magglio Ordonez and veteran C Ivan Rodriguez look healthy this spring. Young 1B Chris Shelton has been lights-out at the plate thus far, and if SS Carlos Guillen can stay healthy for a full season, their lineup will be a sort of Murderer’s Row. With decent pitching this year, the Tigers will surprise a lot of people.

3. Cleveland Indians – This is a team with some great young talent at their positions in C Victor Martinez, 2B Ronnie Belliard, OF Grady Sizemore, SS Jhonny Peralta (yes, that is spelled correctly) and RF Casey Blake. Cliff Lee and Jake Westbrook will anchor the rotation, with veterans Paul Byrd and Jason Johnson contributing. Bob Wickman is a good closer when he is healthy; the rest of the bullpen should be adequate. I think the Indians’ pitching may not be strong enough to carry them to a division title, but they are a good ballclub.

4. Minnesota Twins – This smaller-market team usually finds ways to be competitive. Few of their players are household names. This year’s edition of the Twins includes four veterans (OFs Shannon Stewart and Torii Hunter, 3B Tony Batista and 2B Luis Castillo) who should carry the lineup along, with youngsters C Joe Mauer and 1B Justin Morneau helping out. Minnesota also has some of the better versatility in the AL from utility players such as Michael Cuddyer, Nick Punto and Lew Ford. In the rotation, young Johan Santana is outstanding, and veteran Brad Radke defines consistency. After those two, the rotation seems somewhat lacking. The bullpen, after the excellent closer Joe Nathan, appears similar to the rotation in quality. Despite choosing the Twins to finish fourth in their division, I view them as a .500 team, or better. Manager Ron Gardenhire always finds a way to get the best out of his roster.

5. Kansas City Royals – Alas, poor Kansas City. During the winter, they hired some journeyman free agent players in an effort to try and be competitive, but the talent just doesn’t seem to be enough for more than about 65 to 70 wins at best unless the planets align perfectly, and then they might only be good for 75. Mark Grudzialanek at 2B? Matt Stairs and Doug Mientkewicz at 1B? A rotation that appears to have Scott Elarton as the #1 starter? Their better relievers Zach Greinke and Mike MacDougal are on the disabled list, and unproven Ambiorix Burgos is leading the bullpen? At least he has a great name. All in all? It just doesn't look good.


1. New York Yankees – The Satan of baseball, the Yanks are eternally good due to the largesse of owner George Steinbrenner, universally loathed by major league fans unless they are fans of the Yankees. Who wouldn’t love to have an owner who buys the best players in the game every winter? Their OF of Johnny Damon, Gary Sheffield and Hideki Matsui is excellent. Their infield of Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano and Jason Giambi is a great one. Jorge Posada is a good catcher. All of the above are good hitters. In the pitching department, future Hall-Of-Famer Randy Johnson, now 42, leads the rotation. The also-ancient Mike Mussina contributes, as do the younger Shawn Chacon and Chien-Ming Wang. Mariano Rivera is still one of the best relievers in the game. After those pitchers, the rest of the staff is “iffy”. Pitching could be the Yankees’ achilles’ heel, but I’m not sure if the other teams in the division are loaded-up enough to surpass New York.

2. Boston Red Sox –One has to admire the hitting of DH David Ortiz and OF Manny Ramirez. New 3B Mike Lowell, a winter Florida Marlins castoff, hopes to return to form after an off-year last season, and new CF Coco Crisp may have the best name in the majors this year (he also hits well). Trot Nixon hopes to return to form in RF, and C Jason Varitek is steady and workmanlike behind the plate. If starting pitcher Curt Schilling is healthy, the rotation will be average. If not, I doubt that fellow rotation members Matt Clement, Tim Wakefield and Josh Beckett are going to provide enough outs to get the Sox into first. Young Jon Papelbon might get to start some games, and if he is ready he can help. Keith Foulke is a good closer when he is healthy, and the rest of the bullpen is generally dependable. All in all, the main concerns are 1) can everyone stay healthy, 2) will the new infield work out, and 3) will the rotation hold together?

3. Baltimore Orioles – Sorry, but this franchise needs a new owner. The once-proud O’s have been been driven into the ground by owner Peter Angelos and some poor decisions from their GMs. However, there is a very positive note this year: the acquisition of pitching coach Leo Mazzone, who guided Atlanta Braves pitching to high levels for years. Baltimore has some good young pitchers, and a key to team success may be how much magic Mazzone really has with the kids and with a sort-of reclaimation project like veteran P Kris Benson. I happen to believe his presence will make a big difference this year. Their young closer Chris Ray is going to be a good one. The O’s have a very good everyday lineup, which features SS Miguel Tejada, CF Luis Matos, 3B Melvin Mora, 2B Brian Roberts, RF Jay Gibbons and C Ramon Hernandez.

4. Tampa Bay Devil Rays – You heard this here first. I doubt if any other people around the country are thinking the Rays can finish above last place in the AL East. Why do I think they’ll do this well? Their offense. OF Jonny Gomes, 2B Jorge Cantu, OF Carl Crawford and OF Rocco Baldelli are highly-skilled youngsters on the verge of being stars. The same goes for young pitchers Scott Kazmir and Seth McClung, although I think it is pitching that will inevitably kill the Rays’ chances of being much more than a .500 team. They don’t really have a very good bullpen, at least on paper, but the team should score a lot of runs, steal a lot of bases, and play an aggressive style of ball that will be lots of fun to watch.

5. Toronto Blue Jays – I am probably one of the few people who believe Toronto has a meciocre-to-bad ballclub. The Jays were one of the winter’s biggest spenders. For starters, they forked out loads of cash for free agent P A.J. Burnett, who already has a sore right elbow. P Roy Halladay is excellent, but the rest of the rotation is pretty average at best. Outside of OF Vernon Wells and 3B Troy Glaus, the everyday lineup is not what I would call scary by any means. Closer B.J. Ryan will save ballgames, but I think this ballclub is destined to win 70-75 games tops due to injuries and due to basically just not being terrifically good.

Next: the National League

Sunday, April 02, 2006