Thursday, July 31, 2008

Too quiet of a neighborhood?

When Monique Reid and Quincy Davidson moved in to their last residence, they wanted their privacy.
"When they first were moving in they asked me if it was a peaceful place, if people around here kept to themselves. I told them they'd have no problems here."
They got more than they bargained for. When they were killed several days ago -- possibly as long as three weeks ago, or more -- no one noticed. They weren't found until around 7:30 last night. The father of one of the victims found the bodies. In the last three weeks, I probably drove by that residence nearly half of those days. Perhaps they were dead all that time. Where I live ... and it's not all that far from the victims' residence ... it's a nice, quiet neighborhood. But we got one advantage. When someone comes around here, everyone knows. Heck, it's not unusual for the phone to ring and a neighbor be on the other end telling us that the Jehovah's Witnesses are making their rounds. I'm sure if someone dangerous came around, they'd let us know about that, too. If only Monique Reid and Quincy Davidson had lived in a not quite so quiet neighborhood. Update: WRBL reports two arrests. WTVM says on the air that one of those arrested is Davidson's cousin. So, if he is involved, a less quiet neighborhood would not have stopped the murders. But the bodies would have been found sooner. Update: The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer names the two men arrested -- Terrance Mays and Brandon Hall.

Headline News

Real headlines from real news sites with not-so-real subheads

From BBC:

Fresh US sanctions for Zimbabwe

Old sanctions were stale, moldy

From New York Times:

Britain: Pair Sentenced in Faked Death

Sentenced to fake hanging

From AJC:

Minn. officers shoot bear with jar stuck on head

Winnie the Pooh killed

From BBC News:

Why Obama needs some jokes of his own

Michelle, Rev. Wright jokes are old

From BBC News:

Big reward after honeymoon murder

Ed Norton, Trixie sought

From CBS News:

Pest Exterminator Lost In Outback Survives On Bugs

Ran out of Chocolate Thunder From Down Under

From CBS News:

NASA Uses Remote Sand Dunes As Stand-in For Moon

Same as faked landings in 1969

From CBS News:

Cheech And Chong High On Reunion Plans

Cheech, Chong show up; Dave still not here

From Los Angeles Times:

Ancient T. rex tissue, or just old slime?

Debate over Sen. Robert Byrd continues

From Los Angeles Times:

Famine warning signs seen in North Korea

Leaders shocked to discover residents unable to eat enriched uranium, missile parts


Been fighting a cold.

Nearly over it.


I'm looking forward to getting back to work. Sort of.

Actually, I've been taking drugs and going to work. Apparently, I can work while under the influence of cold medicine.

Now that I have the drugs out of my system, I'm curious as to what I've got to fix. You see, I'm a little worried that I might have done that's not right, and need to be re-done.

Cold medicine can impair one's judgment, you see. Of course, if my judgment is impaired by default, then it shouldn't be an issue. That's what I'm banking on.

Otherwise, I'm looking forward to getting back to the ball park for some ball games. I've missed the last few.

On Saturday, the Catfish lost 15-9 to Greenville.

Sunday, I missed the Catfish 5-3 loss to Greenville.

Tuesday, I didn't get to see the Catfish beat Augusta 6-4.

And, last night, I missed the Catfish 7-4 loss to Augusta.

I'm looking forward to getting back to the ball park. And back to the blog.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Summer cold

Don't get summer colds very much.

In fact, not sure the last time I had one.

I've picked up a cold in winter time in recent years. Used to not get those, but apparently, I do in recent years.

But not a summer cold.

Until this year.

When we went to Chicago last week, The Wife picked up a cold or something. Monday, when we were dealing with Chicago traffic, she was miserable.

Part of it was the traffic. She hates difficult traffic. Not used to it.

But part of it was her coming down with a cold.

So, when we flew back from Chicago on Wednesday, she was miserable, suffering from a head cold.

I, on the other hand, felt just fine. Oh, sure, I felt bad for her. But my health? Just fine.

Until Friday.

Started feeling bad Friday night at the ball game. And, Saturday, I had a cold. Sunday, too. And Monday. And, yes, I know, today's Monday.

The Wife drove to work today, and I rode with her, as opposed to the normal situation: me driving and her riding with me.

I can't drive when I'm on cold medicine. And I am on cold medicine.

Apparently, I can work, though.

Lucky for me, I don't do anything important.

I just hope the folks at work don't figure that out.

Headline News

Real headlines from real news sites with not-so-real subheads

From ABC News:

Lawmakers Talk Bush Impeachment

Promise to have him out of office by January 21, 2009

From AJC:

Bodies of missing R.I. couple found in septic tank

Stewie Griffin arrested

From BBC:

Dead UK army dog handler is named

Looking forward to handling dead UK army dogs

From CBS:

Drop Smoking Without Picking Up Weight

Benefits of lung cancer touted

From CBS:

Fla. Woman Attacked By Fox, Then Shot In The Leg

Bill O'Reilly arrested

From Fox News:

Dwarf Tells Court Burglary Is Only Career for Man His Size

Life difficult since mine closed, Snow White moved away

From New York Times:

Mother Exhales After Son's Release in Colombia

Held breath until she turned blue

From NPR:

Sex Without Condoms Is The New Engagement Ring

How to show to friends, relatives, co-workers still being debated

From Reuters:

Dominatrix "sorry" for racing chief orgy row

Has been a bad girl and needs to be punished

From Reuters:

Underwear chicken dare puts man in hospital

Loses cockfight

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Chicago blows

Spent several days in Chicago this past week.

The whole trip began as a trip to a Jimmy Buffett concert at Alpine Valley, Wisconsin.

Alpine Valley is pretty much equidistant Milwaukee, Madison, and Chicago. So, to get to Alpine Valley, it'd mean flying in to either Milwaukee, Madison, or Chicago.

So, where to fly to?

Well, when I think Chicago, I think pizza. Or steak.

When I think Milwaukee, I think beer.

When I think Madison, I think ... our 4th President.

So, since I don't drink beer, and I do like pizza and steak, Chicago was the choice.

Flew in to Chicago last Saturday, rented a vehicle, then drove to the hotel, then to Alpine Valley for the concert, then back to Chicago.

Went to a White Sox game on Sunday. Ate pizza for supper. Chicago style pizza, of course.

That left Monday and Tuesday for sight-seeing in Chicago.

Silly me. I had a vehicle. And figured I'd drive.

Like I said, silly me.

First thing I noticed was that drivers in Chicago blow their horns. A lot.

Thought it was at me, at first. But then, I realized, it wasn't me. Seemed like nearly every driver was blowing their horn.

Then I noticed a pattern.

They only blew their horns when there was a vehicle in front of them. Or behind them. Or beside them. Or in the lane traveling the other way. Or when the sun was out. Or ... well, you get the idea.

I imagine when folks learn to drive in Chicago, lesson one consists of blowing the horn. There is no lesson two.

Anyway, they drove like that on the interstate.

But I made the mistake of driving downtown.

What was I thinking? I wasn't.

It had to be one of the most nerve-wracking experiences I've encountered. But, as bad as it seemed to me, who was driving, it was worse on one other person: The Wife.

I didn't raise my voice. I didn't make any gestures. But I wasn't happy about everything. The Wife? She was very unhappy. Cars traveling fast when they could, hitting the brakes when they had to, running red lights, blocking intersections, and blowing their horns. Blowing and blowing their horns.

After a visit to one sight downtown -- the Hancock Observatory -- she was ready to leave downtown Chicago. She'd had enough of the traffic. Me, too, to be honest.

So, back to the interstate and back to the hotel.

Only, of course, the other cars on the roads there were mostly locals. Which meant that not many had to stop and pay tolls. They had I-Passes. So they'd move quickly through the toll booths. Me, though, I'd have to pay the toll.

The toll workers were all polite, smiling, and not at all what one might expect from someone doing a thankless job -- taking money from people who were paying to get in horrible traffic, then taking money from the same people who were paying to get out of that same horrible traffic.

No, the toll workers were the one bright spot. At least, the toll workers we encountered.

But the other drivers ... the Asses with I-Passes ... were often aggravating.

Blowing them horns. Flipping other drivers off. Yelling at other drivers.

I'll never complain about Atlanta traffic again.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Catfish drop one to Greenville, 4-1

The Columbus Catfish fell behind early and couldn't recover.

The Greenville Drive (Red Sox) held on to beat the Catfish tonight, 4-1, in the opener of a 4-game home series.

Headline News

Real headlines from real news sites with not-so-real subheads

From BBC News:

New white whale spotted

Now a spotted whale

From CBS News:

McCain Makes Gains In Four Key States

Obama still leads in Iran, North Korea, Venezuela

From CBS News:

Obama's Daughters Aim For "Normal" Lives

McCain offers to help in November

From CNN:

Obama wins hearts, not minds, in Berlin

Obama continues to lead in mindless voters

From Fox News:

Mass. Mom Saw Only 1 Way Out of Foreclosure: Suicide

Still doesn't get to keep house

From Fox News:

Policeman Killed as Communists Storm Philippines Banana Farm

297,000,000 bananas freed

From Fox News:

U.S. Fentanyl Deaths Topped 1,000 Over Two Years

Obama demands US troops pull out of Fentanyl

From Fox News:

Complete Baby Tyrannosaurid Unearthed in Mongolia

New Hide-And-Seek record set


Scientists discover Jupiter-sized planet

Located between orbits of Mars and Saturn


Group: China world's top executioner

Texas demands recount


I'm a Chevy guy.

Over the years, I've owned more Chevrolets than anything else. I've owned a couple of Caprice, a couple of Luminas, and currently own an Impala.

I've had other vehicles, too: Nissan Sentra, Mercury Cougar, Pontiac Grand Prix ... but I'm still a Chevy guy. My last four have been Chevys. My next will likely be a Chevy.

What brought all this up?

Spent a few days in Chicago this past week. And rented a car.

Usually, I rent from Hertz. Don't rent often, but having dealt with different companies, I've never had a problem with Hertz. I can't say that about the others I've used. And, to be fair, I have't used a lot of others. Never Avis, for example. No reason, just haven't. And, until recently, hadn't used Enterprise.

When someone backed into my car at a ball game last August, I ended up being furnished a car from Enterprise.

They furnished a car at the directions of the other insurance company. I didn't care for the car. It was okay except it was too small for my fat ass.

Still, Enterprise treated me fine. So, when we needed a car for the Chicago trip, I used Enterprise. And, since they showed that I'd be able to get an Impala -- I drive an Impala, remember -- it seemed perfect.

Well, guess what?

That's right. They didn't give me an Impala.

They gave me a Jeep.

A Jeep.

Sure, it used to be an American vehicle.

Used to be. It's owned by the Germans. Nothing wrong with Germans. If I was German, I'd be thrilled. But I'm not. I'm American. And I wanted an American car. Like an Impala.

I'd driven a Jeep before. Years ago. Didn't care for it. It wasn't mine. Not my kind of vehicle.

This Jeep drove okay. But it was a Jeep. Not an Impala.

Sure, some folks like Jeeps. But it's not my idea of a vehicle I want to drive.

I was really looking forward to driving an Impala. You see, not only do I like my Impala, I know where everything is.

The turn signals. The windshield wipers. The cruise control. The radio controls. The lights.

All that stuff, I know where it is in my car.

But in a Jeep, everything's different.

So, when I get the vehicle -- and yes, I did ask for something else, say, an Impala -- I had to spend the first few minutes -- several minutes, actually -- learning where everything is. Because, driving in a strange city, I don't need to be trying to figure out where any controls are; I need to know where everything is.

To be honest, it rode a lot better than the last Jeep I drove. But still, it's not my kind of vehicle.

I'm a Chevy guy.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Headline News

Real headlines from real news sites with not-so-real subheads

From AJC:

McDonald's finds way to get Europeans to embrace fast food

McHaggis, Frog Nuggets debut on menu

From CBS News:

Italian Court: Jeans Do Not Prevent Rape

Other rulings include: Water is wet, Fire is hot

From CBS News:

Obama Shows Hawkish Side On Mideast Trip

Still afraid to face O'Reilly on Fox News

From CBS News:

Couple Claim Mysterious Noise Plagues Their House

Only occur when MTV is on

From CNN:

McCain, Obama causing marital tension

California wedding between candidates on the rocks

From CNN:

Study: Girls equal to boys in math skills

Test scores equal over 130% of the time

From CNN:

Ladies: 5 ways to get your sex life going

Ten, if you count the other hand

From CNN:

Obama tells Berlin: I am citizen of world

Withdraws from US presidential race, announces run for president of world

From Fox News:

Pack of Giant Bears Attacks Miners, Eats Two of Them

Yogi, Boo Boo sought for questioning

From Fox News:

Fossils Reveal Much Warmer Antarctic in Recent Past

Environmentalists blame Bush, time machine

Fast service takes forever

Went to Chicago last weekend. It was a birthday / anniversary / vacation trip.

The plan was to head to Atlanta, catch a flight to Chicago, drive to Wisconsin for a Jimmy Buffett concert, then back to Chicago for a ball game, and other tourist kinda stuff.

So, how'd all that go?

Well, the concert was fun. As was the White Sox game.

The trip began, though, in Atlanta.

Now, Atlanta isn't my favorite place in the world. But it's not my least-favorite, either. Spent the night at the Fairfield Inn Airport North. Folks there were, as always, great. So, Atlanta wasn't a problem. Unless you count the airport.

And, really, the Atlanta airport is what it is: a very busy airport.

The only real issue was trying to get something to eat at the airport.

Since the flight was a short flight -- just over an hour in the air -- there was beverage service only. And I'd be in the air at lunch time.

I like to eat lunch at lunch time. Not before. Not after. But at lunch time. Now, it doesn't matter when lunch time is, as long as it's lunch time, relative to breakfast and supper. Usually, around noon.

So, I ran to the nearest place, something called "Miller Lite Victory Lane." They had a to-go area called "FastLane."

But that's just the name, not a description, I found out.

Part of the problem was the staff. They were in no hurry. None whatsoever.

They were polite. But slow.

The other problem? The jackasses who didn't want to get a to-go order, but ordered in the to-go section anyway. The staff did make an announcement asking that folks not do that, but some people are jackasses and do stuff like that anyway.

And that slowed everyone down.

Including me.

I did get my sandwich, though. And was the last one to board the plane.

Didn't delay the plane at all, but I felt like a jackass.

If only the jackasses who caused the delay at the to-go lone felt like jackasses.

Catfish drop finale, end 2-6 road trip

The Columbus Catfish were unable to earn a split with the Lexington Legends (Astros) Wednesday night.

The Catfish only allowed 4 hits by Lexington batters, but that was enough as they blanked the Catfish 2-0. The final hit by Lexington was a 2-run homer by Lexington's Kyle Miller that accounted for all the scoring.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Catfish beat Lexington

Strong starting pitching, perfect relief pitching, and a little long ball thrown in.

That's the recipe the Columbus Catfish used to down the Lexington Legends (Astros) Tuesday night, 5-2.

Jeremy Hall pitched into the 6th inning, allowing 2 runs on 8 hits, and Justin Garcia sat down all 9 batters he faced ... 5 by strike out ... to help the Catfish secure the win.

Headline News

Real headlines from real news sites with not-so-real subheads

From ABC News:

Bank of America Beats Expectations

Expectations threaten to sue

From ABC News:

NASA Collects Urine to Test Space Toilet

If experiment fails, will really be pissed

From BBC:

Lesbos locals lose attempt to ban use of the term 'lesbian'

Plan B: Change city name to "Dykesville"

From BBC:

Computer mouse faces extinction

Sierra Club calls for ban on touch screens

From CNN:

Cruise ship dancer killed by police

Isaac, Gopher escape

From CBS News:

Obama: Surge Doesn't Meet Long-Term Goals

Has made US surrender nearly impossible

From Fox News:

Mars Phoenix Lander Pulls All-Nighter

"Space Probes Gone Wild" video series released

From Fox News:

Animal Shelter Will House Dogs Trained to Have Sex With Woman

Will attempt to teach dogs missionary position

From Fox News:

'View' Host Sherri Shepherd: 'I Had More Abortions Than I Would Like to Count'

Mother had one too few

From Fox News:

Star Explodes Unnotice

Al Qaeda claims credit

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Casino clientele

While in the Chicago area, The Wife was surprised to find a brochure for a Casino. Actually, a couple.

One was for a casino near Milwaukee ... about an hour and a half drive from the hotel.

The other was for a Casino in Elgin, the Grand Victoria.

Since it's closer, that's where we went.

The Wife likes casinos. She'll sometimes head over to Shorter, Alabama for a visit to Quincy's. She's likely to go with her mother or others, not me. I'm not that big a fan of casinos, you see.

Anyway, to Elgin we went.

Now, there was nothing wrong with the place ... but it's a casino. And, like I said, not my favorite place to go.

Didn't stay there long. We really didn't plan on visiting any casinos, so we didn't pack a lot of cash to lose.

Let me offer this bit of advise: If you plan to gamble, don't ever gamble more than you an afford to lose; because, odds are, you will lose.

Anyhow, I did some quick math, and figured if I lost $60, I'd be okay. Could lose more, but didn't want to. So, I had my limit.

The Wife reached into her casino stash that she always has hidden away -- that is, she thinks it's hidden away, but I know about it -- and got out her mad money. Also, only about $60. Like I said, she wasn't planning on hitting a casino, so she didn't pack any extra cash, just what she has squirreled away a little bit at a time.

After about 30 minutes, we were down 12 cents. That includes the $60 I had already lost. So, combined with her $59.88 in winnings, we were down 12 cents.

That's when I decided I needed a Coke.

Since it's Pepsi country, I had to settle for a Dr Pepper.

In a little bit, she came out, having lost all her winnings, and having reached her limit on losses.

But, while she was finding new and clever ways to lose money, I had the chance to watch the others in the casino.

I noticed that some of them were young women, usually in pairs or threes, who all went to the restroom a the same time. But those were the only young ones I noticed, other than employees.

Others were old cripples. Many of those included folks with walkers. And there was this one old fellow on crutches, whose right knee bent backwards when he walked. In mid-step, his legs formed the silhouette of a house.

I wasn't the only one who noticed him. Near where I was sitting, a man spoke to his wife, mentioning the man with the backwards knee: "You see that poor guy? His knee bends the wrong way!"

He said that through breathes from his oxygen tank. And he said it to his wife in the neck brace.

Others were of advanced age, many were my age, but most all had physical problems.

Oh, and then there was the other type of casino visitor. That's the folks that had lost all there money, and had nothing else to do than look at others in the casino.

I didn't see any of them.

But the others there did. I wonder what they thought of me.

Headline News

Real headlines from real news sites with not-so-real subheads

From CBS News:

$550K "Wardrobe Malfunction" Fine Tossed

FCC now officially biggest boobs in Super Bowl half-time show

From CBS News:

Men Sentenced For Setting Friend's Crotch Ablaze

Barred for life from singing "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire"

From CNN:

Missing soldier found; husband charged

Obama calls for U.S. troops to pull out of Texas

From Fox News:

Doctors Say Baby Has Liver of 35-Year-Old Alcoholic

Alcoholic wants liver back

From Boston Globe:

9 alleged adulterers to be stoned to death

Clinton cancels trip to Iran

From Philadelphia Inquirer:

Ex-con sues AmEx, says it aided search for him

New slogan: Don't leave prison without it

From Philadelphia Inquirer:

Man flees police in underwear after traffic stop

Arrested after brief chase

From San Francisco Chronicle:

Man Awaiting Trial Tries To Slice Off Genitals

Tries to show prosecutor he's nuts

From AJC:

Wendy Williams, Omarosa battle on air

Dog fighting still illegal, bitch fights attract audience

From CNN:

Pay to have fish nibble the skin off your feet

Piranha 'R' Us opens first store

4-run 7th does in Catfish

After jumping to an early 4-0 lead, the Columbus Catfish couldn't manage to hold on.

The Lexington Legends (Astros) chipped away at the lead, before scoring 4 runs in the 7th inning, to take a 7-4 decision over the Catfish Monday night.

The loss denied Catfish P Brian Flores his 8th win; he left the game after 5 innings with a 4-2 lead. Lexington P Luis Pardo finally got his first professional win.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Cubs win ... but we were at the White Sox game

While on vacation in Chicago, I just couldn't resist going to a baseball game.

The second-oldest professional baseball team resides in Chicago: the Cubs, who have played since the founding of the National League in 1876. Of course, they were the original Chicago White Sox (actually, the Chicago White Stockings), before becoming the Colts (1890), and then the Cubs (1906).

Only, the Cubs are out of town.

But, the White Sox (the minor league team from the Western League that became a major league team in 1901) were in town. So, we caught a game at Comiskey Park.

Only, it's not called Comiskey Park any more. New Comiskey Park (opened 1991) goes by the name "US Cellular Field" (since 2003).

We had a good view of the field.

The entire field.

Which can be seen from way up high.

Where we were.

Way up high.

If we'd have been any higher, we'd have been at a Jimmy Buffett concert.

We were so high up, that when we looked over the edge of the stadium, we saw the tops of other buildings.

Okay, okay. That's not a picture from the top of US Cellular Field/New Comiskey Park. It's actually from the Hancock Observatory, on the 94th floor of the Hancock Center.

Still, our seats at the ball game were pretty high up.

But we did get to see some action. Some good, some not so good.

Before the game, the White Sox unveiled a statue honoring Harold Baines, who had his number retired by the Sox several years ago.

Among the good, was witnessing Jim Thome get his 2000th career hit, a double to the corner in left field.

Yes, 18 active players have more career hits. As do 251 players overall. But, considering how many players have played the game since 1876 (the earliest "official" records), that's not a slight accomplishment.

But not all was well for the White Sox. They lost Jermaine Dye in the 4th inning when he was hit by a pitch.

Oh, and, unlike their cross-town rivals, the Cubs, the White Sox lost on Sunday.

The Cubs won their game in Houston.

Despite the loss, the White Sox kept their lead in the AL Central. And with the Cubs winning to stay up on St. Louis in the NL Central, Chicago has two teams in first place.

Anyway, now that I've been to a White Sox home game, I've now been to games in Chicago and Atlanta.

Only 28 more teams to visit.

The Wife is all excited over that.

She's already said that when I'm ready to go to see a major league game in another city, she'll help me pack. Of course, she'll also change the locks while I'm gone.

Catfish fall in opener at Lexington

Next year, the Columbus Catfish will play ball in Bowling Green, Kentucky. They won't be the Catfish, but they already have a cross-state rival waiting for them.

The Lexington Legends (Astros) beat the Catfish 16-10 in a slugfest Sunday night, opening a 4-game series on a down note.

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Went to the Jimmy Buffett concert at Alpine Valley, in Wisconsin, last night.

A few years ago, The Wife promised to take me to see Buffett in concert for my 50th birthday.

She meant actually on my birthday.

So, when she found out he was in East Troy, Wisconsin, on the day I turned two quarters of a century old, she got tickets. And we flew to Wisconsin.

Actually, to Chicago, then drove to Alpine Valley, which isn't all that far away.

It was my first Jimmy Buffett concert. So, I wasn't sure what to expect.

Okay, I did know what to expect. I mean, it's a Jimmy Buffett concert.

First, it was sold out. Naturally.

But, since she got tickets the day they went on sale back in March, we had tickets.

The weather was a concern.

As we made out way through Chicago after landing, it was raining.

It rained all the way to the hotel.

It rained after we go to the hotel.

But, when we got ready to leave for the concert, it had stopped raining.

There were some wet roads, particularly after we made it to the concert site. After pulling off the paved road, we worked our way across the dirt roads at a slow crawl, stopping every so often while someone jumped out of the car ahead and got another drink from the cooler in the trunk.

We finally got parked, walked what seemed like a couple of miles to the entrance to the actual theatre area, then down the other couple of miles to the seats.

While it seemed we were far away from the stage -- and there was only one row of seats behind us -- there were others that were even further away.

While waiting for the show, I noticed that it seemed to be popular with several men to wear bikini tops. We saw one fellow dressed in a grass skirt and bikini top and thought, "Well, isn't it cute what damaged brain cells will cause one to do?"

Then we saw another. And another. And another.

Apparently, it's the thing to do at a Jimmy Buffett concert. And I went and left mine at home.

But, truth be told, it wasn't all the guys dressed that way. And, really, there were only a few dressed that way.

But, I did notice that some guys who ought to be wearing a bathing suit top ... weren't wearing one.

Not a pretty site.

But, it wasn't just the guys.

Lots of folks weren't dressed right. And by "not dressed right," I mean they could have worn something a little different and spared others. Oh, I'm not talking about wearing your Sunday best.

No, I'm thinking of the woman who walked by wearing a ... well, it wasn't a bikini top. I'm not quite sure what it was. Sort of a halter top. But it had lots of cloth. Lots and lots of cloth.

Yes, it covered everything it needed to cover. Just didn't support it all very well.

Let's just say, I know why Wisconsin is called "America's Dairyland." And I hope she didn't get bruises on her knees from all the pounding they took as she walked.

Not that I'm any prize to look at. I certainly know better. But I wasn't one of those 60-somethings ... or maybe they were 70-somethings ... that were singing along with "You Shook Me All Night Long" as they sound system prepared the crowd for the concert.

Soon enough, though, the concert started. The crowd was certainly ready for Jimmy Buffett. Lots of drinking and smoking ... including smoking tobacco, believe it or not ... and partying and such.

I was worried about the couple next to us.

Early on, she spilled some beer on my knee and thigh. Which is to be expected. Her wiping it off wasn't expected. And that was before it got dark.

After dark, though, she had leveled off. He, though, continued his downward spiral. He was drunk on his ass. Or would have been if he had been able to fall down. But he didn't fall down. Too drunk to fall.

But lots of folks got drunk, so I'm not picking on him. This girl on the row in front of us was doing some sort of caveman dance. I don't think she meant too. And didn't start out that way. But as the night wore on, her dancing became a cross between the "Caveman" and "Girls Gone Wild."

Being old and worn out, I didn't stand up the whole show. I sat down from time to time, when I was able to see. That happened when those in front of me sat down.

In fact, the only people who never sat down once the whole night were the ones who were too drunk to stand. Doesn't seem possible, but it's true.

Buffett was great. He was funny, he was grateful, and he was having a good time.

I was sober -- I don't drink -- and had a blast.

And other 39,998 of God's Own Drunks that were there enjoyed the show.

Would I do it again?

Well, I wouldn't fly out of Atlanta, rent a car in Chicago, and drive to East Troy, Wisconsin, sit (or stand) through a 3-hour show, then drive back to Chicago, all in one day.

I might take two or three days.

And, we are taking a few more days in Chicago before we head home. But all that in one day?

I'm getting too old for that.

It's Sunday night, and I'm still tired. Of course, we got up and went to a White Sox game today.

But Come Monday, it'll be alright.

Headline News

Real headlines from real news site with not-so-real subheads

From Chicago Tribune:

Hotels get hip to the needs of 21st Century travelers

First lesson: No one says 'get hip' any more

From CNN:

Obama takes campaign overseas

Effort to meet with most vocal supporters

From CBS:

Iran Rules Out Suspending Uranium Program

Israel offers to help with suspending program

From Fox News:

Petraeus: Al Qaeda Could Be Moving Away From Iraq

Group plans move into White House in 2009

From Reuters:

Wal-Mart's fashion show previews back-to-school

Other Wal-Mart fashions include flip-flops, ripped jeans, and black bras with white t-shirts

From WTOV:

Weighed down body found in river

Tried to swim with more cement blocks than he could carry

From KIRO:

Experts mull elevator to space

Will skip 13th, 1300th, 13000th floors

From CNN:

Bush 'a total failure,' Pelosi says

Cites failure to achieve third term

From CNN:

Mount McKinley tour goes green

Tour will now be conducted outdoors

From New York Times:

As Gas Prices Rise, Police Turn to Foot Patrols

Ask gangs to convert to 'walk-by' shootings

Catfish avoid sweep

The Columbus Catfish managed to avoid a sweep Saturday night, and scored the fewest runs of the road trip in the process.

After scoring 4 runs in each of the first 3 games of the series with the West Virginia Power (Brewers), the Catfish managed but two runs Saturday night. But that was enough, as they held West Virginia to a single run.

The 2-1 win helped the Catfish avoid a sweep by West Virginia.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Headline News

Real headlines from real news site with not-so-real subheads

From Fox News:

Woman Has Surgery on Giant 110-Pound Legs

Hillary expects full recovery

From Fox News:

Scientist: Pregnancy at 100 Possible in 30 Years

Still finds 70-year-old girlfriend 'hot'

From CNN:

Jimi Hendrix featured in 'Guitar Hero'

Game spinoff, 'Died-In-Own-Vomit Hero' expected in stores by Christmas

From CNN:

SciTechBlog: A "Green Pope"

Bishop of Mars leading candidate to replace pontiff

From ABC News:

Do Dems Have a Better Sense of Humor?

Obama candidacy revealed to be elaborate joke

From AJC:

Soccer players subdue nude man on plane

Team sprang into action once balls were in play

From LA Times:

Verne Troyer drops lawsuit over sex tape

So much fuss over such a little thing

From NY Times:

Obama Fund-Raiser Excludes a Senator-Turned-Lobbyist

Terrorists still welcome, supporters assured

From Reuters:

Ed McMahon sues hospital over injury

Summons notifies administrator, 'You may already be a plaintiff'

From Reuters:

Man claims Subway baked knife into sandwich

New 'Jailbreak Sub' flops

A blogger looks at fifty

Heading out of town.

Got tickets to a concert.

In Wisconsin.

Yes, Jimmy Buffett.

No, we couldn't see Buffett when he's in Atlanta.


So, we're going to Wisconsin.

Actually, we're flying into Chicago. Cheaper than Milwaukee. Which surprised me.

Cubs are out of town, so we'll catch a White Sox game Sunday. Yeah, The Wife is all excited about that.

Anyway, what better way to celebrate half a century than with a bunch of Parrotheads.

West Virginia blasts Catfish again

The West Virginia Power (Brewers) are just one win away from sweeping the Columbus Catfish.

Friday night in Charleston, WV, West Virginia ... for the third straight game ... use a big inning to run away from the Catfish. Friday night's score was 9-4, and leaves West Virginia poised for a sweep.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Part 5: Departure of baseball, 1988 style

This week, WTVM sports anchors Dave Platta and Andrew Whittenberg are running a series on the departure of the Columbus Catfish.

The Catfish will leave Columbus for Bowling Green, KY after this season is over.

But the Catfish aren't the first team to leave Columbus. In 2002, the RedStixx left, moving to Eastlake, OH, and becoming the Lake County Captains.

And before the RedStixx, there were the Columbus Mudcats, who where known as the Astros from 1970-1988. The Mudcats still exist, though as the Carolina Mudcats.

Back in 1988, it was feared the Astros would be sold and leave town. And Dave Platta did a 5-part series on that situation.

I've shared parts one, two, three and four. Here's part five.

I really enjoyed watching Dave's series from '88. Not that it had a happy ending, because it didn't.

The current series that Dave and Andrew are doing won't have a happy ending, either.

You win some, you lose some.

That's baseball.

10-run 5th does in Catfish

ColumbusCatfishThe Columbus Catfish were done in by a big inning Thursday night.

The West Virginia Power (Brewers) bested the Catfish for the 2nd straight night. The 11-4 loss was the 3rd in 4 games for the Catfish and knocked them out of first place in the South Atlantic League Southern Division.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Part 4: Bye-bye baseball

After this season, my baseball team is leaving.

I call it "my" team, but I don't own it. The folks that do own it are moving it to Bowling Green, KY.

Fans like me in the Columbus area will be without baseball. The good news is, not many people will be affected.

Why do I say that?

Because if you don't care, you aren't affected.

I'm affected, because I care. But most folks in the area don't care, because most folks in the area don't go to the games.

But I'm a fan, and I go.

And so do sports reporters.

Sure, it's there job. But I've seen some of them at games when they aren't working. For instance, it's not unusual to see Andrew Whittenberg of WTVM and WXTX sitting behind home plate on his day off if the Catfish are in town.

Sure, he's got a life. And one of the ways he enjoys life is to take in a ball game.

Andrew works with Dave Platta, who's been doing sports in Columbus since the mid-1980s.

Dave's a baseball fan, too. He enjoys covering the games, because, despite the fact it's work, it's also fun for him.

The sports guys will be two of the local fans who will miss baseball when it's gone.

We've been through this before. I've only been in the Columbus area since the mid-1990s. And I was here when the Columbus RedStixx left. I wasn't here when the team before them, the Columbus Mudcats (nee Astros) left.

Dave was. He did a 5-part report on the Columbus Astros in 1988. When he told me about it one day earlier this season, I told him I'd love to see it if he could locate it.

Well, the series was located, and WTVM is sharing it, not just with me, but with everybody. They have the entire series posted on their Website. You gotta dig a little for it. But it's not too hard to find.

I'm posting the series here, too. I've already shared parts one, two and three. Here's part four. Oh, a warning. Part four has some noise in it. Think nails on a blackboard. It's not that bad, but it's annoying. Still, all in all, I enjoyed it.

The Charleston Wheelers still exists, though they went through a couple of transformations. They became the Charleston Alley Cats, then finally, the West Virginia Power.

The Catfish beat the Power for the South Atlantic League title last year in a 3-game sweep. But in Columbus, winning it all isn't enough.

And, if everything isn't enough, nothing is.

Making the call

As a baseball fan, I have a slight love-hate relationship with umpires.

Like all fans, I am frustrated when a call goes the other way. Not so much if the call is correct. But when a call is obviously wrong -- at least, obvious to me -- I do get ticked off.

"Hate" is a strong word, and the wrong word. When the man in blue blows a call, it's more like, "What the heck are you doing?" and less like "Kill the umpire!"

I've met some umpires at various levels of baseball, but none above the minor league level. During the Minor League umpire strike back in 2006, one of the replacement umpires agreed to talk with me after the season was over.

That was easy, since I have known the guy for years.

Other umpires in other leagues that I've met seem like nice guys. They're out there doing their jobs, doing their best. And, like any job, sometimes mistakes happen.

Organized baseball doesn't talk much about any situation where umpires are involved in any disciplinary action. That goes for Major League Baseball as well as Minor League Baseball. And the independent leagues.

But, every so often, you do find out about actions involving umpires.

And I'm wondering now, if organized baseball is looking at a particular Minor League umpire's performance.

Earlier this month, I noticed an umpiring performance that looked a little off.

Sure, umps make mistakes. But this one game, on July 8, between the Columbus Catfish and the Kannapolis Intimidators (White Sox), caught my attention.

Now, I wonder if it's caught the attention of Major League Baseball.

The reason?

Someone at Major League Baseball was searching Google for "ben robinson umpire."

Now, sure, it could be that someone, maybe a relative or friend, is simply doing a search for someone they know. I could easily have been a search for anything -- say, Jamie Lynn Spears -- but it's coincidentally an umpire I blogged about.

Or, it could be that Minor League Baseball, which is affiliated with Major League Baseball, has received complaints, and they're using the Internet in their research.

Or, it could be something else entirely.

But, I followed the Google search. And found a few things I thought were interesting.

First, the top search result was my post about the July 8 game where the umpires blew some calls.

Then, I saw where many of the search results included phrases like "ejected by HP umpire Ben Robinson," "ejected by 1B umpire Ben Robinson," "confronts plate umpire Ben Robinson," and "Plate umpire Ben Robinson then threw out" among others.

That could mean a couple of things.

One, it could be that lots of folks argue with Ben Robinson.

Two, it's news when someone is thrown out of a game, and not news when they're not.

How many ejections occur when Robinson is calling plays? What's more important is how many happen when he umps compared to other umps.

If there's a large variance, then that indicates a problem.

But I'm not in a position to say that Robinson is a problem. I've seem him umpire more than just the one game. I didn't notice a problem other than that one game.

But there are others who see him a lot more than I do.

If there's a question about his abilities and performance, I'm certain Minor and Major League Baseball will speak with those: players, managers, other umpires, baseball scouts, media, and others.

And, I'd like to feel confident that Minor and Major League Baseball will handle things properly, if there is a concern.

But, the fact is, I don't feel confident about how they'll handle it.

I mean, they let Barry Bonds keep playing. And now the all-time and single-season home run records are suspect.

Baseball didn't do the right thing.

I have confidence that most minor league ball players are doing their best. The field staff of the teams, too.

And the umpires.

But Major League Baseball?

No confidence at all.

They struck out with me a long time ago.

West Virginia overpowers Catfish

At the end of the 2007 season, the Columbus Catfish swept the West Virginia Power (Brewers) in three games to win the South Atlantic League title. In those games, the Catfish outscored West Virginia by a combined score of 16-4

That's ancient history.

West Virginia outscored the Catfish 14-4 Wednesday night in the first meeting of the teams since last season's league championship.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Part 3: Looking back on a departed baseball team

Earlier this year, the Columbus Catfish were sold. The new owner wanted a team to move to Bowling Green, KY.

He got it.

And I'm losing a baseball team.

Oh, not just me. The whole Columbus area. But don't but a few people care. Because, if they did, they'd have been at the games and the team wouldn't be packing up and moving out.

Columbus has been through this before.

Back in 1988, Dave Platta of WTVM did a report on the plight, and possible departure, of the Columbus Astros.

The Astros didn't leave in '88. But they were gone just a couple of years later.

This year, it's a done deal about the Catfish. They are leaving.

And speaking with Dave earlier in the season, he had mentioned his 5-part series from 1988. Naturally, I wanted to see it. Only he couldn't lay his hands on it.

Well, the series was finally located, and WTVM has posted them on their Website.

And, I'm taking advantage of their offer to share it over the Web.

I've already posted videos of parts one and two. Here's part three.

Dave, along with another WTVM sports anchor, Andrew Whittenberg, are running a series this week on their 11 PM newscasts, about the Catfish departure. I'm enjoying it immensely.

But the thing is, the current report is a lot like the 1988 report: no fan support, old facility, no money for improvements, and so on.

History repeats itself. Except for one thing. The last two teams to leave -- the Astros/Mudcats in 1990 and the RedStixx in 2002 -- each had another team to replace them. The Mudcats (nee Astros) were replaced the next year by the Indians (who renamed themselves "RedStixx"). The RedStixx were replaced by the South Georgia Waves (who renamed themselves "Columbus Catfish").

There's nobody waiting in the wings this time.

Bye-bye baseball, part two

WTVM/WXTX sports anchor Dave Platta is a baseball fan. He's a sports fan. I mean, you don't do his job for as long as he has without loving it. And, no, he's not the only long-time news or sports anchor in Columbus.

But I like Dave. And, truth be told, the others sports reporters I've met at the ball park. Both those that are still here and those that have moved on. Still, Dave's a fixture here in Columbus. It just wouldn't be the same without him.

But enough of that.

Dave and I share a love for baseball, and a frustration that baseball will leave Columbus.

Only, Dave's been through it before. Twice before.

There used to be a team in Columbus called the Columbus Astros. They were, of course, an Astros affiliate. They called Columbus home for 21 years: 1970-1990, the last two years with the nickname "Mudcats."

In 1988, there was fear the team would move. They didn't. Not in that year. They were sold, and moved two years later.

And, when that team moved out and another moved in -- the Columbus Indians/RedStixx -- Columbus stll had a team. Then they were sold and moved. Columbus got the South Georgia Waves, who changed their name to the Columbus Catfish, and they've been here since 2003. This is their last year. They were sold. And they're moving.

I was here for the RedStixx departure. But Dave was here for, not only the RedStixx leaving town, but the Astros/Mudcats exodus.

Back in 1988, Dave had a report on the situation with the Columbus Astros. And I've enjoyed watching it on WTVM's Website.

That report is all too familiar, even though I hadn't seen it before (I didn't move here until the mid '90s).

Anyway, I've enjoyed watching it. Yesterday, I shared part 1 of the 1988 report. Today, part two.

By the way, Dave, along with anchor Andrew Whittenberg (who I also enjoy; they guy's a good reporter and funny as heck in person), is currently running a report on WTVM about the Catfish departure, and the reasons behind it.

It's an interesting series, and I'm looking forward to seeing it all as it airs this week.

The thing, though. The current series reminds me a lot of the 1988 series. I hope it ends with Columbus getting another team.

But I'm afraid it won't.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Catfish won't be first team to leave Columbus

One of the joys I have attending the Columbus Catfish games isn't just the game, or meeting the other fans, but it's also meeting the media representatives.

Most of them are baseball fans. And people you enjoy being around.

One of the local reporters in Columbus I enjoy talking with and spending time around is Dave Platta, Sports Director for WTVM (ABC) and WXTX (Fox).

He's been in Columbus since 1985, a heckuva lot longer than I have lived in the area. And, back in 1988, he aired a series on the Columbus Astros, the Double-A Southern League team that was here. They were rumored to be leaving town. They eventually did, but not in 1988.

Anyway, the Columbus Catfish aren't the first team to experience attendance woes. Dave's 5-part series from 1988 is now available online at WTVM. And since I enjoyed it so much, I'm posting it here.

Dave looks a little different. Heck, we all look different than we did 20 years ago. But his voice is unmistakable.

Anyway, I enjoyed the series. And I'll have another installment of the series tomorrow.

Update: part 2