Sunday, May 27, 2007


I’m going to write 2 or 3 things on practical jokes. If my reader has any examples please feel free to put them in the comments.

I really don’t like practical jokes. Okay, short-sheeting a guy in the barracks was funny now and then but not too often.

Here’s a trick I did that wasn’t very dirty. There was a guy in our barrack who liked to kibitz when I played solitaire on my bunk. He would hang over my game and point out every play before I had a chance to look. I completed the game and told him, “You won that game.” He walked off proudly, completely missing the sarcasm.

Next time he came by I cheated by getting a card from the bottom of the deck.

“You can’t do that,” he protested.

“Sure I can,” I said.

“That’s against the rules.”

“No it’s not. That’s the game I play.’

“But it’s cheating.”

“No in the game I play. It’s different. You’re allowed one wild card. That was my wild card.”

That stopped him for a moment while he stared at me, thinking about it. Then he exploded. “That’s bullshit!” He walked up and down the bay, exposing me. “He’s cheating,” he told everyone who would listen. I thought he might call the cops.

He looked at me differently after that. It was a sad look he gave me with a sort of slow head shake, as if I had disappointed him greatly.

On my part, I wondered why anyone would want to appoint themselves The Commissioner of Solitaire.

Saturday, May 26, 2007


I am not a make laws and jail ‘em guy. But the problem is that the laws and imprisonment are always a couple of decades behind what is happening to civilization. For instance, I think all non-violent drug offenders should be freed. Not all at once; there are probably more than a million of them, if you can believe that. But it pisses me off that internet vandals are let go with just a slap on the wrist. Perhaps *THIS* will result in alarm for our lawmakers in 20 years or so:

Look, for example, at what happened to Estonia last week. Ever since the government of the Baltic state decided … to remove a war memorial to the Red Army from a square in the capital, Tallinn, Russian outrage has ensued.

This took the form of demonstrations and even riots. But then something extraordinary happened: quickly, and wholly without warning, the whole country was subjected to a barrage of cyber-warfare, disabling the websites of government ministries, political parties, banks and newspapers.

Techniques normally employed by cybercriminals, such as huge remotely-controlled networks of hijacked computers, were used to cripple vital public services.

Nato has sent its top cyber-terrorism experts to Tallinn, with western democracies caught on the hop over the implications of such an attack.

The Estonian defence ministry said: "We've been lucky to survive this. If an airport, bank or state infrastructure is attacked by a missile, it's clear war. But if the same result is done by computers, then what do you call it? Is it a state of war? These questions must be addressed."

Estonia has blamed Russia, predictably enough - which, if true, would mean this is the first cyber attack by one sovereign state upon another.

There are good questions there and they will be addressed by lawmakers some time in the future, after another million or so users of relatively harmless drugs are imprisoned.

If such severe hacking can be compared to an act of war then your every day computer hackers should be declared to be terrorists. Penalties for that stuff ought to be severe, in proportion to the damage they do. No more gentle slaps on the wrist. Get the bastards!

But that’s just my opinion. I could be wrong.

Thursday, May 24, 2007


I’m getting a lot smarter. That doesn’t keep me from being just as big an a-hole, but I realize it sooner. It used to take me years to realize what an a-hole I’d been. Now I realize it in only days or even hours after the fact.

The other day a sweet old lady visited us. She spoke decent English and was quite polite. When I found that she was three years younger than me, I started bragging on my age and preening for her, hoping to get her to say how young I looked. I could see I hurt her feelings and there was no way out of it. I made an ass of myself.

I wonder if I’ll ever get smart enough to keep from being an a-hole in the first place.

Probably not.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


(PICTURE; Just a pretty Thai lady who has nothing to do with the story below.)

I wrote a year ago, in the archives from July 2006, about the “flat ass syndrome” and how it seemed more prevalent among women living in colder latitudes. That is something that is rare in Thailand, but the other day I spotted a lady with a flat ass on a Sky Train platform. I asked her if I could take her picture.

“Why,” she asked, not displeased.

“Well,” I explained, “it’s your flat ass. That is so rare in Thailand, I wanted to capture it on film. You are unique.”

Well sir, you’d have thought I’d insulted her or something. I thought she was going to hit me with her purse. What’s the matter with people nowadays?

(NOTE: The above is meant to be humor. The only part that is true is I did see a lady with a flat ass. The rest took place in my head. But the fact is that flat asses are extremely rare among Thai ladies. Yes, I do check them out. On the other hand, they wear clothing so tight that Stevie Wonder would notice their bulgy buns. And why not? It looks good so why not show it off?)


(PICTURE: "He got that name in the shower room? Does that mean...?"

Did you notice that Arizona manager, Bob Melvin, took Johnson out in his next start after six innings and 79 pitches? You’d think he got smart but then Melvin said before the game he was comfortable with a pitch count around 100 for Johnson, but he changed his mind after watching him work six spectacular innings.

“Feel comfortable?” What strange phrasing. Either he hasn’t learned a thing or we are hearing the words of Randy Johnson coming out of his mouth. I suspect the latter. How does a manager argue with a hall of fame pitcher?

(UPDATE: Johnson did throw 100 pitches in his next outing without much problem. It was reported that manager Melvin was so “comfortable” during this outing that they had to use a jackhammer to reopen his sphincter.)

(OBSERVATION: Knowing the humor of baseball players, I would guess that the six foot ten Randy Johnson got his nickname, The Big Unit, in the shower room. In fact I would bet my house on it and I love my house.)

Going back to my complaint about the Giant manager sending Russ Ortiz out there for that 9th inning. It may be a coincidence but Russ Ortiz never had another quality start and wound up on the disabled list. But then you have:


On the subject of starting pitching, how would you like Barry Zito as your No. 5 starter? Here are the five San Francisco Giant starters and their earned run averages:

Lowry 2.69
Morris 2.93
Cain 3.30
Lincecum 3.44
Zito 5.13

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


(Note: As usual I'm having a hell of a time navigating through all of this entry stuff which is all in Thai that I don't understand. That's why I can't post the picture I had set up of this essay. maybe later.)

(PICTURE: JOE TORRE. One of the funniest stories I’ve ever heard: A ball player went out on a blind date. He was trying to explain that his date wasn’t very good looking. His friend asks, “What did she look like?” The first guy replies, “Picture Joe Torre in a dress.”)

I’ve got to write something positive so here goes. Everything in the world fits into two categories: Things that piss me off and things that don’t piss me off yet. This is some stuff from the latter.

Rudy La Russo, the long time manager of the Cardinals, for instance. Some years ago half his team went down with injuries. So what does he say about it? He says, ‘This is a great opportunity to see what the players look like that we’ve got coming up,” or words to that effect. Now that’s a guy with character.

Then there’s Joe Torre, the Yankee manager. This is a guy who is admired by almost everyone who’s come in contact with him. People say he’s a poor handler of pitchers, especially relief pitchers, but look how long his pitcher’s careers last. If he’s so hard on pitchers, how come so many are still around?

Mike Scioscia, the manager of the Angels, may not have a clue about on base percentage or the value of a stolen base but he may be the best handler of pitchers around.

And then there’s Billy Beane, the Oakland General Manager. Who could help rooting for him? The way he rebuilt his outfield after injuries took most of them is incredible. He deserves Executive of the Year based on that alone. The wild thing is, he may have improved it. But whether or not, that was amazing. I’m glad he’s a part owner of the team so no one will grab him away. (After I wrote this, Oakland had to play Scutaro, a weak hitting infielder, in right field because 4 outfielders are sitting out with some sort of injuries in addition to all the others on the disabled list.)

Of course Bill James will never piss me off even when I think he’s wrong. I wonder if they’ll ever have a sabrematician section in baseball’s hall of fame. They should have and of course the first enshrined will be Bill James.

And speaking of the Hall of Fame, Lefty O’Doul should be in there. Not because he was one of the premier hitters in the National League from ’28 to ’34, winning two batting titles, but because he was the guy who introduced baseball to Japan.

This is just the baseball section of things that don’t piss me off yet.


Friday, May 11, 2007


I was going to write something positive because I have been so negative recently. Then I realized I wasn’t finished being pissed off. At what? Hell, I don’t know. Do I need a reason?

It pisses me off every time Seattle wins a game because that guy, Bavasi, runs their team. Even when he does something right it pisses me off because he’s screwing up my reasons for being pissed off.

I love it when Adrian Beltre goes 0 for 4 because of that phony big season he had in his walk year.

I love it when Shea Hillenbrand goes hitless because of the two ships he sank last year and what a loser he is and he’s getting 6 mil this year.

Every time Pedro Feliz comes up with two runners on base I’m afraid he will hit a homer and they will keep him in the lineup another month because of it. This is a guy who will hit 24 homers, knock in 80 runs and make 500 outs in a season. Then someone says he’s a great fielder. They say that just to piss me off.

That brings me to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. (Isn’t it ironic that just when blacks are getting over that profiling for being black, they are getting profiled for having A-rab names?) I tried to never miss the beginning of a Laker game just to watch the players stand on the court and disrespect the national anthem. I’m sure they had good reason. They were probably only making 10 mil that year when they deserved 12 mil. What a lousy country to do that to a man.

I never watched a Laker game, just the opening. (In fact I never watched a pro basketball game since. The NBA is the only sport that allows open disrespect of the country. But I guess that’s my problem.)

Then I heard that Kareem was getting these terrible migraine headaches. See, who says prayers don’t work?

Now Kareem is disappointed he can’t get a job in the sport. No one wants him as a coach or an analyst. That’s just more proof of what a lousy country it is.


Yeah, Google has improved Blogspot. They improved it so much I and thousands of other bloggers couldn’t get on it. They bragged about how many languages they’ve added to the system. That’s great, but they also turned my English language blog into a Thai language blog. Everything except what I put in there is now in Thai.

I am not the sharpest pencil in the drawer. When it comes to computers and the internet, I am a maroon. It has taken me weeks to figure it out. When I tried to go to their “help” departments there was no place to tell them about “wrong language.” They had a comment type blog that I’m sure they never read. Everything on there was about the “wrong language.” An English language blog in Germany was now in German. A guy from China wrote that everything was now in Chinese.

Just to add to it, when I try to comment on another blog all that is also in Thai. My comment is always erased.

Wouldn’t you think they would give us some way to choose what language we want to use? If that option is on the page I can’t read it because it’s in Thai.

All I ask is please Google, please, no more improvements.


(PICTURE: The author finally finds a room somewhere with one enormous chair and no worries about cold night air.)

All I want is a room somewhere,

Far away from the cold night air,

With one enormous chair,

Aow, wouldn't it be loverly?

Those lyrics from My Fair Lady hit my ambitions as a youth on the nose. They are an amazingly accurate description of the lowest class English. My family, having come to the US illegally from Birmingham England, is perfectly described in those lyrics. But we had a lot of company in America. The rednecks, so accurately portrayed by Jeff Foxworthy, come from the same roots, as do the hill billies of Al Capp. Perhaps half the population of the US comes from lower class English stock.

I can relate to Foxworthy’s one liners about his relatives. Almost all my relatives have abandoned cars in front of their houses. My brother, for years, kept a used commode on the porch alongside his front door. My relatives think there are only two kinds of wine: sweet and sour. When a kid visits they only want to know one thing: does he get up early in the morning? Early rising kids are pariahs.

So when I was a kid it was in my blood to only want a room somewhere with one enormous chair. The only problem was I would have to work for that room and chair. And so I did. My basic ambition actually never changed but there was one problem I hadn’t counted on. I had a low threshold of boredom. That has plagued me throughout my life.

I’ll tell how I coped later.