Friday, November 30, 2007

Dear cable company

I will get back to baseball-related stuff on Monday or thereabouts, after a weekend in which I'm actually planning to get stranded out of town. See, a big old ice storm is looming over eastern Nebraska, and I have to be in Omaha tomorrow, but if I wait until tomorrow to drive there, I might get stuck and/or in a wreck. We try to avoid those.

But before I go, I'd like to let you all in on what I would say to the random guy at the cable company who hooked me up with a DVR box in August.

Dear random cable guy,
Thank you so much for telling me that the lovely low fee I'd be paying for my DVR service was temporary. It makes it so much easier to budget things when I know my cable bill will be doubling when the end of November rolls around. Your company (which I won't name, but it might rhyme with "Lime Corner") is so very courteous and you really consider what is good and fair for your customers.

Oh,wait a minute. You didn't tell me the price would be changing? Sorry, cable guy, I had you mistaken for NOT a lying, cheating bastard. It's really pleasant opening a bill that is double the amount I expected, with no notice and no explanation.

Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for being so honest and straightforward. It makes me want to do a lot more business with "Lime Corner Cable" in the future, and tell all my friends to do the same.

With hatred and contempt,

Now you know.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

When leftovers attack

I have discovered a sure-fire way to render somebody's brain completely ineffective, and it is completely legal. I also strongly advise against it in every way.

I speak of reheated egg rolls. This is not a knock on my roommate at all. We have a microwave for the purpose of enjoying leftovers at a later date; that's the point. I get that. But I was not prepared for the horrors of her reheated egg rolls last night. If you're unfortunate enough to have experienced this, you know that it is not just a smell; you can feel reheated egg rolls, you can almost see the stench, but you definitely cannot escape it. I've opened the windows and doors to try to air the room out, even though it's currently 20 degrees out. I've gone through most of a can of Febreze Air Effects, which usually does the trick.

But I can still smell it, 24 hours after the fact. What the hell, egg rolls? Why must you be such a terror? I hate you, reheated egg rolls!

Here's the thing; I have been completely unable to focus on anything all day. Even the Royals signing a pitcher I've been wanting didn't elicit more of an eloquent thought than, "Cool." For goodness' sake, I've barely been able to focus on an episode of Law & Order today. I want to get through all 10 or so episodes that are waiting for me on my DVR, but every time I start to get into Jack McCoy's badassery, the smell punches me in the nostrils, and I have to hit "pause" until I can see straight again through the nauseating essence.

So there you have it. A post about a blank mind and rancid cabbage and pork. ...yep.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

No doubt about it

Dear Bill Callahan,
I know you were doing an excellent job in every area -- you must have been, because you said so yourself, but please don't let the door hit you on your way out. We might miss those colorful comments about Oklahoma fans, because deep in our hearts we might agree with you, but we won't miss the way you ended long-standing streaks, the way you made our Huskers an embarrassment when they were once pillars of college football glory, the way you denied until your end that anything was even wrong.

No, Bill, you were not doing an excellent job in every area. How did you say that with a straight face a month ago? You brought down a dynasty. You recruited some of the best kids in the country, and wasted all of their talents. You introduced an offensive scheme that was...offensive. It didn't work out, but you never changed a thing. Please tell me how you thought that kind of stubbornness was going to do any good. Did you really think you were going to hang on to this job?

And did you not realize that your buddy Kevin Cosgrove's defense DID NOT WORK? I know he's your friend and all, but if he was a good a friend to you as you clearly were to him, he would understand if you let him go and got a new defensive coordinator. If he was a good friend to you, he would want your team to succeed, rather than fielding the worst defense in Nebraska's history. You let him put that defense on the field. You could have made a change, but you are too stubborn to do something good for the program when it's personally uncomfortable for you. Nice job, Callahan. Your friendship and loyalty cost you and Mr. Cosgrove your jobs, and cost Nebraska its recruiting classes for the next who-knows-how-many seasons. You embittered fans who previously would have sacrificed their firstborns for this team.

You know, I hate to lose. But thanks for losing yesterday, so all of the pissed-off fans around Nebraska could go to bed with smiles on their faces, knowing you'd be gone by sunrise. It was a pleasant way to wake up today.

Good luck in whatever you do next. Maybe the NFL will take you back, or maybe this whole "coaching" thing is not what you've been called to do at all.


Thursday, November 22, 2007

Giving thanks

I'm typing this in the odd time between the end of football and when we're finally hungry enough for the pie that was ready by dinnertime. We never eat it until later, of course, but wouldn't it be sad to want pie right after Thanksgiving dinner and not have it ready yet? So year after year we make sure to have that pie baked and ready to go, but we never eat it till hours after dinner is finished. (And the turkey is done!)

I have a lot for which to be thankful this year. Both of my shoulders work, after over a full year of pretending to be left-handed because of an injury to the right side. I can even box on my brother's Nintendo Wii. That's progress if I've ever seen it.

In the last week, I've driven somewhere around 1200 miles in my aging Taurus, and it has carried me safely through all of those miles and many thousands before. Here's to many more miles.

Several rooms away, I can hear my brothers and my parents laughing about one thing or another while they eat their pumpkin pie. We're always laughing when we're together, so much so that my sides and face always hurt when we finally have to part ways. It's the best pain I could ever feel.

I have a new sister-in-law this year; after growing up with brothers, having Haley in the family is a welcome change.

The Royals are taking positive steps toward becoming something other than a joke. What's not to love there? Is it April yet?

And really, I have to be thankful that I'm a student at the University of Nebraska. $35 for a whole season of men's basketball? Yes please!

Lastly, I am quite thankful for pumpkin pie and Cool Whip. So I'm going to join my family in enjoying both.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Take THAT, communism!

Team USA brings home the gold!

Cuba did not!

Exclamation marks!

EDIT: I woke up this morning for the sole purpose of checking the IBAF World Cup results, then posted the festive hats here and immediately went back to bed. But here's how the Royals contributed:

Matt Wright and Neal Musser combined for 20.1 innings, giving up just one run on 10 hits in a total of 7 appearances between them. They walked only three, and struck out 17.

Here are the two Royals' individual numbers, with each appearance separated by a plus (+) sign.

IP .1 + 2 + 2 + 1
Runs 0 + 0 + 0 + 0
Walks 0 + 0 + 1 + 0
Hits 0 + 1 + 0 + 1
Ks 0 + 1 + 1 + 0

IP 6 + 3 + 6
Runs 0 + 1 + 0
Walks 0 + 0 + 2
Hits 3 + 1 + 4
Ks 5 + 4 + 6

Royals pitchers > the world.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Wright man for the job

I have to quit with this Matt Wright pun thing. But he's my very favorite pitcher in the world at the moment, and I can't help myself.

Wright pitched six shutout innings to lead Team USA to a 5-0 win over the Netherlands yesterday (well, it's already tomorrow where they are, so maybe it was today? I'm so confused; hold me!). This advanced Team USA to the gold medal game. Fellow Royals pitcher Neal Musser joined in the shutting-the-opponent-out party by contributing a scoreless seventh.

Chant with me now:
U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Stuff happens in baseball, White House is upset.

These are stories in baseball, all with fun hats. Something festive for the weekend, y'know.

Barry Bonds' indictment is "a sad day for baseball"?
While I think it's absurd that the White House is now providing us with official statements regarding baseball, I agree that it's sad that baseball has come to the point of Congressional investigations, grand jury trials, and big-time indictments. But it is sad that Bonds was indicted? I don't think so; I thought it was more of a warm-fuzzy-feeling, victory-for-justice day.

Based on the information that I have, Bonds is either guilty of perjury, or incredibly stupid (hence his hat). I'm pretty sure that he is not stupid; at least not to the extent that unknowingly pumping that many steroids into his body would require. But I'm just a girl with a keyboard; I'm pretty sure that someone out there has a lot more information than I do. I only hope that it is all dealt with responsibly, and Bonds' celebrity status and home run glory are left out of all court dealings. If his impending legal process is not dealt with like John Q. Citizen's perjury trial, that would be a sad day for baseball.

Kenny Rogers dumps Boras

Good for you, Kenny Rogers. I hate what your now-former agent, Scott Boras, is doing to baseball. He's bringing all the yucky stuff -- the politics, the money, the hard feelings -- to the mainstream of baseball media. Not even children are immune to the behind-the-scenes stuff, most notably Boras' ridiculous hard-bargaining, that takes away the ability to simply enjoy our Game. I'd love it if agents like Boras weren't around. It is beyond ridiculous, and maybe even a little evil, that athletes make the kind of money that they do, and even if he were to retire today, Scott Boras could be given much of the blame for the extent of the money-grubbing.

So Kenny Rogers, for dumping Boras, I give you this poorly MS-Painted crown and medal. You win my "Favorite Person of the Day" award, which, yes I do bestow every day. And to only one person every day.

Oh! Speaking of the ridiculous amounts of money teams pay players...

Alex "The Waffler" Rodriguez crawls back to the Bronx
Wouldn't it be a cool world if every man could crawl back to his ex-girlfriend and get a 10-year, $275MM contract?

A-Rod: "Sorry Yankees. It's not's me. I just need some space. I need to see if there are any sexier teams out there. You dig?"
Yankees: "Okbye."
A-Rod: [later, feebly] " wanna hang out sometime? I kinda miss you; I miss your scent, and the way you sing to me, and the way you always pay me so dearly."
Yankees: [Shovel wheelbarrows full of cash to A-Rod; act as though nothing bitter happened between them.] Marry me!

And for his hat, ummm....

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


This will be quick, because I have a lot of school stuff going on this week. Normally school stuff gets relegated to a burner somewhere behind baseball, Husker sports, reruns of House, MD, and lots of Sudoku puzzles.

Hopefully y'all are aware that Team USA is mowing down much of the rest of the world in the IBAF World Cup. The team is now 6-1, and you can follow all the medal round action, as well as catch up on the games that have already been played, here.

And while you do that, I'll go learn Spanish.
UPDATE: I think I did well at the whole "Learning Spanish" thing. Hopefully my grade on the test matches the good feeling I have about it (for once).

Monday, November 12, 2007

Home sweet home

It's weird to be back in front of my computer after a long, crazy weekend. Around Nebraska football and basketball games on Saturday, and my brilliant idea of driving from Lincoln to Minneapolis and back for a concert last night, I feel like I'm a little bit behind everything happening in my own little computery world. So here's some catching up:

Joe Ganz? More like Joe MANz!

If you follow college football, you might have heard about the insane beating that Nebraska handed to Kansas State on Saturday. It was at least as crazy as the score indicated; I had the pleasure of seeing it from Row 3 right behind the "B" in the word "Nebraska" painted in the south end zone. Some of MANz's seven (yes, seven) touchdown passes happened about 10 feet from me, and I loved each one more than the one before it.

After last week's embarrassingly large loss to Kansas (no, I am not consoled by the fact that nobody has beaten Kansas. I still hate losing.), it was refreshing to see the Huskers play with some heart again, the way they did against Texas two games ago.

I am a fan of gentlemanly, sportsmanlike play, but I was not at all offended by some of the penalties called on the fired-up Husker players. Excessive celebration? At least we're in the endzone. Roughing the passer? That means our defense got through someone's line... Hallelujah! I think a lot of Nebraska's losses this season can be attributed to lack of heart. All season, the team has lacked the intensity and attitude to incur the types of penalties I just named. I don't want my Husker players to act like thugs, but it was kind of fun to see them, for once, showing up at Memorial Stadium with a little bit of attitude, that "swagger" that can make winning even more satisfying for this year's beleaguered Husker fans to watch. After that game, I finally feel confident that the Huskers can beat Colorado in the annual day-after-Thanksgiving meeting.

Incidentally, Joba Chamberlain paid the stadium a visit, which got people pretty fired up. Before they introduced him, along with his father, Harlan, the good folks at HuskerVision treated the 84,665 in attendance with a Chamberlain highlight video, complete with many of those trademark fist pumps from his Husker days and his magical time with the Yankees. When he walked behind the endzone, right under my seats, I very shamelessly yelled "Holy crap! It's Joba!" He turned and did a thumbs-up/gun finger gesture in my general direction, which was my first encounter with a Yankee player. I may hate the Yankees with the fire of a thousand suns, but I love Joba Chamberlain. All this stuff that's written about's true. It's all true; it's the story that brought tears to my eyes every time I heard it during Joba's time in a Husker uniform. I was thrilled with his visit to Lincoln this weekend so I had an excuse to spend some time thinking about some of the good that's left in the world, the good that is impossible to ignore even when it's wrapped in Yankee pinstripes.

A father who raises his son to sincerely say things like this is a father more kids should get to have:
"I wake up with two purposes each day: Make at least one person smile and have fun. If I can make a wisecrack or give someone a hug, that day's been worthwhile, even if I give up 15 runs. No matter how bad it is, it'll get better. I mean, look at this ."

His hand sweeps across a beautiful ballyard -- Comerica in Detroit -- shimmering beneath a cloudless August sky. "This is what I do for a living. I get to come here on a weekend day and watch a major league game for free -- and maybe even get to pitch in it. What could be better than that?"

Wow, that was quite a tangent. This post was really supposed to be about Husker football, and then basketball. My bad.

Yesterday three friends and I made a car trip to Minneapolis to see my favorite band, the Dropkick Murphys, in concert. I learned many things, like driving 900 miles when gas is over $3 a gallon was not the most economically sound decision I've ever made. In fact, it may have been the least so. At least I didn't get a speeding ticket -- I'm looking at you, Mr. Posnanski -- and my car behaved splendidly. And my map was reliable and despite the fact that I was navigating, we got where we needed to go and back without getting lost. The weather was unseasonably warm, and most of the people we encountered were kind, even if they were ridiculously shocked that actual people live in Nebraska, and would travel such a great distance for a show. One patron who was not so kind was this kid who apparently loves his elbows so much that he has to share them with everybody by keeping them in the air at all times. In a crowded nightclub, this meant that those lovely (pointy!) elbows were embedded in the side of my neck for most of one of the opening bands' sets. My attempts to dislodge the elbow from my throat ended in him glaring at me and digging it in more deeply. Sigh.

But the really cool thing about seeing this particular show was that it was Veteran's Day, and the Dropkick Murphys' beliefs about war and service are delightfully different from most punk bands. When they offered up a song as a tribute to veterans and to those who are serving right now, the club was transformed, almost as if by magic, from a venue full of all the usual moshing, nosebleeds and chaos that are usual fare for a punk rock show, into a crowd full of people who were belting out the words to the song in respectful remembrance of a lot of people who are normally not respected by such crowds. After the song was over, the chaos resumed, but those three minutes alone were beautiful enough to make the whole trip worth it.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Must have done something Wright

Dear Matt Wright,
I hate puns, but your name begs for them. Please forgive me; I still think you're an awesome pitcher.



I've thought for a long time now that Matt Wright is a fantastic pitcher. All season long in Omaha, I loved watching him dominate the strike zone and make opponents' lineups look silly from top to bottom. As early as the beginning of June, I publicly heralded Wright as my favorite O-Royal. By August, I was relieved to see that it wasn't my imagination; someone else thought Wright's pitching deserved some attention.

And now it's November, and Wright was the Game 2 starter for Team USA. A bit of a fuss was raised about how long it took to come up with the starting rotation for the IBAF World Cup, but it looks like the decisions have worked well so far. And finally, in the wrapup from Game 2, someone else sees what I see in Wright:
Starter Matt Wright was great...


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

What, exactly, is being exhibited?

On a scale of 1-10, because I really love scales of 1-10, I would say that my love for college basketball is somewhere around a 9.999998. Even if I don't know the ins and outs of every team the way I try to know, say, pro baseball, I still love the energy that exudes from college courts all around the country. It's one of those sports that I can watch at any time, regardless of who is playing.

However, I despise exhibition games. I didn't even really realize that until last night, when I caught Nebraska's exhibition game against Wayne State University. (It was NU's second such game, but I missed the first one due to academic engagement.) I happily indulged in all the spectacle of the Husker student section, known as the Red Zone. It was fun as always, though I was dismayed to find new bleachers with wide stairways that seem to cut down on the number of seats. On the other hand, the new bleachers have no gaps under the benches, so I will never again drop my coat, cell phone, rally towel, or pizza down to the floor.

Anydangway, I had this happy little vision in mind where I'd go to this game, and get a really clear sense of how the Huskers were going to be this year. But I forgot just how bad exhibition games were for that purpose. The opponents are small state colleges that, considering Nebraska is a Division I school, should not stand a chance. It could really be embarrassing for them. But nobody plays hard, so I'm not sure why it's given a title other than "scrimmage which some fans pay to attend." Most of the older players play like they take for granted that we know who they are and what they can do, and that brings the level of play of the younger players down a notch or two as well.

However, I saw enough last night to know I should be excited about two new faces on the Husker team this year. They're both small, scrappy guys who I'm guessing can put up a good fight. They are junior guard Steve Harley and freshman guard Cookie (yes, Cookie) Miller.

In addition to having hair I could be friends with, Harley (shown at right) has already shown he's willing to work hard, after pushing to finish enough school during the summer so that he could be eligible to attend the University. Even though last night was a "blah" exhibition game, I could see why the Sporting News said he's the #4 shooting guard in the country.

Miller's bio page describes him as "explosive," which is unfortunate because that's the word I wanted to use, but it's been done. But "explosive" is what he is, and I can't wait to see him get rolling once the real season starts.

Which reminds me (hat tip to Mikhail for this), the mascot of Presbyterian College, the team against which Nebraska opens the regular season on Saturday, is...the Blue Hose.

Like...this one?

Saturday, November 03, 2007

On renovations and HDTV

I'm not entirely sure what it was, but when I saw photos and videos of the (de)construction at Kaffman Stadium, I actually felt a little ill. This is how I've known The K for as long as I can remember:

The Kauffman Stadium that I've remembered my whole life doesn't look anything like this:

And definitely not like this one:

It feels kind of wrong. By the way, I am excited about the renovations. I kind of want to fast forward time a few seasons to see it when it's all done. It's going to be wonderful. But it's weird to see the images now (which, by the way, are from that show it in anything other than its be-crowned glory. I'm young enough that the Crown-and-Jumbotron combo is all I can remember, but I'm old enough that I have boatloads of those memories. It is, quite frankly, uncomfortable for me to see my stadium undergoing changes, no matter how spectacular the end result will be. (It actually reminds me a little bit of the endless road construction all over the state of Nebraska. Our motto with every project is, "This is annoying now, but it will be nice when it's finished!")

Is it appropriate to be this emotionally attached to a stadium? I don't see why not. Kansas City fans should be proud of our stadium: It's beautiful, loved by fans from all over MLB, and is not a stupid cookie-cutter. We may not have 50 flags boasting of pennant and World Series wins, nor more retired numbers than we have room to display, but it's still Our House. And not in the obnoxious, college football sense of the word. No, The K is "Our House" in the sense that we welcome anybody for an afternoon or evening of friendly enjoyment of the game of baseball. The K may not have a welcome mat and a cute little mailbox, but it is a friendly home just like the homes of KC fans all throughout the Midwest.

That much is not likely to change with the renovations. It will simply become a home like your cool, slightly-more-wealthy-than-most-of-us neighbor who was the first to get his paws on a sweet (and massive) hi-def TV. We'll still invite visiting fans over for the opportunity to enjoy a ballgame with us, but with the new scoreboard/video board, we'll all enjoy it in something that's higher definition than real life.