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Monday, June 12, 2006

HISTORY of GRIMSLEY HIJINKS

Those of us who follow baseball are undoubtedly familiar with the Jason Grimsley HGH matter. (A brief summary appears at the bottom of the post for those who are not familiar with the matter but wish to be.)

What I had not been aware of was that Mr. Grimsley was also involved in the 1994 Albert Belle corked bat switcheroo. That story is laid out quite well here, and I can't resist reproducing a good bit of it below because, unlike the HGH thing, I find the bat story sadly amusing instead of just sad:
That day the Indians were playing in Chicago's Comiskey Park. The race between the two teams was tight that year. Early in the game, White Sox manager Gene Lamont, acting on a tip, asked the home-plate umpire to check for evidence of tampering in Belle's bat. The umpires saw nothing unusual with the bat on initial examination, but they exercised their right to confiscate it and locked it in the umpires' office/dressing room at Comiskey, from which it was to be sent to the league office in New York for X-ray inspection.
Perhaps it's worth interjecting that the figure at the center of this incident, Mr. Albert Belle, was...how best to put this...not a very nice fellow (see esp. paragraphs 3 and 4). In fact, he was quite possibly the surliest chap in the modern era of baseball. Anyway...
During the game, someone stealthily squirmed through the overhead crawl space connecting the visitors' locker room and the umpires' room, lowered himself into the umpires' room through a displaced ceiling tile, and switched the confiscated bat with a "clean" bat from the cache of Cleveland first baseman Paul Sorrento.
Interjection #2: Notice that the culprit didn't switch the confiscated bat with a clean bat from Albert Belle. Why not? Well, if the 2002 memoir of Omar Visquel (Mr. Belle's teammate) is to be believed, one of Mr. Sorrento's bats had to be used because “all of Albert's bats were corked.” That's right: the man didn't have a single legal bat at the ready.
The umpires noticed the switch after the game (not to mention pieces of broken ceiling tiles), demanded Belle's bat back, received it and sent it to New York. League officials found cork in the bat and suspended Belle for ten games (later reduced to seven on appeal).

Five years later, the mysterious bat switcher finally revealed himself to the New York Times's Buster Olney. Who was it?
I think by now you can probably guess:
[Former] Oriole reliever Jason Grimsley.

Mr. Grimsley was also one of the union leaders during the 1994 baseball strike -- the one that cancelled the world series for the first time since 1904.

With a 15 year career sporting a 4.76 ERA and 1.56 WHIP, Mr. Grimsley has got to have one of the highest Notoriety/On-field Accomplishment ratios in baseball history.

(Brief summary of affadavit: Grimsley, a since-released pitcher for Arizona, accepted a $3200 Human Growth Hormone shipment from an undercover inspector. His home was subsequently raided by federal agents. Grimsley cooperated at first, giving lots of information and naming names, both of players and suppliers. The information is detailed in the affadavit; the names are blacked out, but it is likely that they will be leaked or figured out sooner or later.

A google search will net you all sorts of analysis on the matter. This piece strikes me as pretty sensible, save for the requisite Congress-is-spending-time-on-this-rather-than-on-[insert favorite issues here] jab. As if Congress has the will, ideas, and means to balance the budget, kill Osama, et cetera, but simply lacks the time management skills to implement it.)

Sunday, May 21, 2006

READER MAIL

Know dear readers that your frequent pleadings for cunctipotent blogging have not gone unheard. To honor them, I open the reader e-mailbag:

Reader "renee roberson" sends a lovely missive entitled: Re: Your wealth., bastard granite.

I had been hoping that someone might reply to the many mentions of my wealth (see, for example, the post on last December 3rd entitled Lookee here at all this wealth! Wheeee!), and, although I think the term "bastard" is a trifle harsh, I must also acknowledge that yes, I was unmarried at the time that my first granite was mined.

Speaking, perhaps, in the royal plural, Ms. Roberson assures me that
Your credit doesn't matter to us!
and, after continuing in that vein for a while, adds that
card clothier rapture-smitten she-tongue appendix vermiformis poultry keeper telegraph boxsteel-tipped head tree pond cypress heaven-sprung Post-mishnic shoestring weed
So thank you Ms. Roberson; it is gratifying to know that my credit does not affect your opinion of me as a blogger, and I wish you the best in coping with your Tourrette's Syndrome.

Reader "tonymonto" queries: Do you want to do something useful in your life?

While I am glad that Mr. Monto is so concerned with the direction of my life, I would have hoped that he could have gleened the answer from my current field of study. I am, as I have mentioned on numerous occasions, studying to be an applied mathematician, so the answer is clearly "No."

Mr. Monto notes that
Your neighb0r$ I0st their alarm-clock.
I thank Mr. Monto for informing me of this tragedy and extend my condolences to the neighbors for their loss. Mr. Monto continues
Don’t worry, the sounds of your satisfaction from having sex with our new Soft Cialis Tabs will make them wake up every morning or even have sleepless nights if you enlarge your dose.
I hope Mr. Monto will understand that, although I am sure his "Soft Cialis Tabs" are charming in their way, I am not in the habit of having sexual intercourse with tabs that I have met only through the internet.

Reader "Desmond Espinosa" recommends that I impress chewy.

Let me assure Mr. Espinosa that I am doing everything in my power to make a good impression on Chewbacca, and I will be sure to share your stock tip with him at our next meeting.

Finally, reader "Bobbi Sargent" wonders re: will the investment invest Sara ?

Bobbi presents an interesting paradox: if the investment invests Sara, then Sara is herself the invested, but to invest in oneself is not an investment, and thus the investment cannot invest Sara. But if the investment does not invest Sara, then the investment is not invested, and thus the investment is not an investment, which cannot be. Thus the investment can neither invest nor not invest Sara.

Thankfully Bobbi sheds some light on the matter at the end of the e-mail:
Statements that involve discussions with respect to projections of future events are not statements of historical fact and may be forward looking statements. Don't rely on them to make a decision. [...] This company has a nominal cash position . Read the Company's Annual Report and Information Statement if one is available before you invest. This report shall not be construed as any kind of investment advice or solicitation. You can lose all your money by investing in this stock.
While we may not be able to decide whether the investment will invest Sara, we may at least infer from the caveats that Sara would be a very risky investment.

Thank you to all who wrote in. It is reassuring to know that, even when my blog has been silent, there are people out there who care, and who aren't afraid to say how much they care, about enlarging my penis.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

TEN WAYS DICK CHENEY CAN KILL YOU. (Not sure where I saw this first; perhaps The Rat.)

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

I WAS GOING TO MAKE SOME SORT OF "FALLACY" JOKE, BUT REALLY, WHAT'S THE POINT?

Here's a sentence whose sole purpose is to provide a Link.

WHOSE VOICE WILL YOU WAKE UP TO IN THE MORNING?

Until recently, probably not Alex Rodriguez (unless your name ends in "Jeter"). But now you can order a wake-up call from A-Rod, for you or your friends!

I find the message truly puzzling: "Mornings are the most valuable time of the day, and I should know." Huh? 10-year 252 million $ contract, zero morning games. The man never has to see another 6AM for the rest of his life if he doesn't want to.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

ONE MORE ENTRY IN THE DAMON-SIGNS-WITH-YANKEES-BITTERNESS LOG, AND THEN I PROMISE* TO SHUT UP ABOUT IT

*(Not really.)

Congratulations to the Alien Loves Predator comic for predicting this transaction over a year in advance. I await the unfolding of some of its other prognostications.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

WHY? WHY?

A few minutes ago the television -- normally a calm and predictable device -- which had been sitting peacefully and alone in the next room, spontaneously turned on. There was an air of darkness in this strange omen. I approached, at first intending only to put the device back to bed, but, possessed with a fateful temerity before this black foreboding, I turned up the volume. In so doing I caught the first reports of this.

Baseball Jesus sells out to the Evil Empire. What is this universe coming to?

UPDATE: This gets it just about right.

MATH IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR PUERILITY

Very nice, though I think one needs to qualify the "world's greatest" claim. Perhaps it's the world's greatest math limerick. Or at least the greatest math limerick not involving a mathematician from Nantucket.

And here's one more math joke for good measure.

Prerequisites: Calculus and analysis, respectively

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

NO, I'M NOT DEAD OR MISSING

My computer is currently, to borrow a euphemism, differently abled. Hence the lack of posts recently. As soon as the term ends I shall return with many things to write. Probably in complete sentences then. Or perhaps in enough sentences backwards and fragmentary that boggle will the mind.

In the meantime, here's to the principle that a legal precedent and its nickname should be commensurate in silliness.

Monday, August 22, 2005

You don't need me to tell you that Capital Phi is a male of the most very masculine kind. You can pretty much smell the Brut as soon as you've committed him to paper, I imagine Capital Phi to be one of those guys who spends a lot of time kissing his biceps as he patrols the testosterzone.

That's from a most enlightening post over at Gooseania; to learn the genders of some other symbols used in math, go read the whole thing.

For my part, I submit that capital sigma is an old woman in small round glasses, slightly stooped, with a haughty and austere glare -- something of an Aunt Agatha personality, if you've read the Jeeves books (e.g.). Upon her deployment she raises herself up, stares down her nose in your general direction, and very soon you regret ever having asked her to sum the terms from 1 to n for you.

Capital gamma is male all right. He's tall and gangly, with a mighty beak of a nose, his frequent half-smiles giving him an amiably awkward presence. A nice enough fellow, but you look at his younger sister, lower case gamma, a paragon of symmetry and grace, and wonder how the two could possibly be related.

As for the seemingly feminine number 8, I believe the sad truth about the evens which was divulged earlier renders the point moot.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

'In my opinion you and Lady Florence were quite unsuitably matched. Her ladyship is of a highly determined and arbitrary temperament, quite opposed to your own. [...] And I have it from her ladyship's own maid, who happened to overhear a conversation between her ladyship and one of the gentlemen staying here -- Mr. Maxwell, who is employed in an editorial capacity by one of the reviews -- that it was her intention to start you almost immediately upon Nietzsche. You would not enjoy Nietzsche, sir. He is fundamentally unsound.'
-- Jeeves to Wooster, from Carry On, Jeeves

Sunday, August 07, 2005

SAD, BUT TRUE:

Niether "cunctipotent" nor "cunctator" is among the 86,800 most popular words in the English language. At least not according to this site, which has a searchable list. (Via the Rat).

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

SO HOW 'BOUT THOSE [INSERT BASEBALL TEAM OF YOUR CHOICE, OR, FAILING THAT, THE TEAM-ISH SOUNDING BIRD, BEAST, OR RACIAL STEREOTYPE OF YOUR CHOICE]?

It seems that Rafael Palmeiro of the Baltimore Orioles is the newest member of the accidentally ingested performance-enhancing drugs-of-the-month club. (Click here for last December's inductee). Mr. Palmeiro seems to have worked quite hard for the honor, having accidentally ingested Stanozolol, an anabolic steroid which is not available in over-the-counter supplements. While Mr. Palmeiro, who currently does not "have a specific answer to give", struggles to determine "how the banned substance entered [his] body", I have decided to commemorate the occasion by replacing the nouns in his public statement (same link as above) with the nouns (and associated hangers-on) from the beginning of Douglas Adams's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:

Thank you very much for joining me on this uncharted backwater of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy today. I am saddened that we are here to address this small unregarded yellow sun, but because of the importance of it, I feel the need to make a brief ninety-eight million miles and address your utterly insignificant little blue-green planet. At the ape-descended life-forms, let me say that under the digital watches of the pretty neat idea and the planet of the problem, there is a people of time governing the solutions of this problem. I will attempt to state as much as I can and be as forthright as possible, but there will be movements of small green pieces of paper I can't address based on problems imposed on me by people and digital watches.

I am here to make it very clear that I have never intentionally used opinions. Never. Ever. Period.

When I found out that I failed a big mistake under the new trees, I filed a tree and challenged the bad move on the oceans that I have never intentionally taken two thousand years. Ultimately, although I never intentionally put a man into my tree - the independent people ruled that I had to be suspended under the girl sitting on her own in a small café in Rickmansworth of the time.

I am sure you will ask how I tested positive for a good and happy place. As I look back, I don't have a specific phone to give. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to explain to the terrible, stupid catastrophe how the idea entered my story. The terrible, stupid catastrophe did not find that I used a consequence intentionally - in fact, he said he found my book to be compelling - but he ruled that I could not meet the heavy book imposed on hitchhikers who test positive under the new guide.

I accept this Galaxy and want to address it publicly. I want to apologize to Earth books, the Earth, my terrible catastrophe, and most of all, my Earthmen. Given my book with the great publishing corporations of Ursa Minor and my books with the Celestial Home, I feel the need to communicate a serious care to my fellow omnibuses and to things everywhere. All of us have to be responsible and exercise extreme care in what we put in zero gravity. I hope that all trilogies and philosophical blockbusters will learn from what has happened to me. I have never intentionally used a God, but I unfortunately wasn't careful enough.

I take my greatest mistakes as a professional God Person seriously. I love relaxed civilizations and have great Eastern rims for all of the Galaxies who played before me. I have always done my best to live each hitchhiker in guides that would make my encyclopedia proud. Everything I have accomplished is the standard repository of all knowledge and wisdom to being the best possible omission I can be.

I feel terrible that this has happened, but I think there is more pedestrian work to be gained from it. If my words result in the large friendly letters of current and future covers about the terrible, stupid Thursdays of taking anything without an extraordinary consequence from a licensed book -- that is a house. At the end of the day, it is important for all houses to understand the slight rise of the edge of the village and to be very careful about what they put in their spread of West Country farmland.

This house is going to be incredibly difficult for me, my three years and my two things. Over the next radio, I am going to spend friends with my advertising. I am going to come back and will be as determined as ever to help the Wednesday nights win this lane that we are in. We have worked very hard to be in a Thursday morning to bring our sun a house, and I will not let this be a last time.

Finally, I would like to thank Commissioner Selig and Mr. Angelos for their strong council of bypass. I had the window to speak with both of them and I am extremely appreciative of their bulldozer and slippers.


Sunday, July 17, 2005

'I beg your pardon, sir?'
'Don't call me "sir". Call me Comrade. Do you know what you are, my lad? You're an obsolete relic of an exploded feudal system.'
'Very good, sir.'
--An exchange between Jeeves and Comrade Butt, from Wodehouse's The Inimitable Jeeves

Monday, July 11, 2005

"BLOG"? WHAT IS "BLOG"?

I haven't any good excuse for not posting in a while, and I haven't even anything snappy to say about it. Sorry. Moreover, the following post almost certainly will not interest you as much as it interests me (unless you are me when I reread the post, in which case it will interest you exactly as much as it interests me).

I've been away from my internet reading for a while ("Internet"? What is "internet"?), and I've only today begun to catch up. I have a fairly small number of regular haunts, basically just the sites you see permalinked on the right, visited with varying degrees of regularity.

One of these sites is Language Log. I was skimming through the last month's posts (my Language Log backlog, if you will), reading the ones that caught my eye, when I came upon What is this "Snowclone" of which you Speak? . (If you're not familiar with the term "snowclone", follow the links and infer from the examples; they explain things much better than I could).

The snowclone here is, of course, "What is this 'X' of which you speak?" Ben Zimmer of the American Dialect Society explains that:
The origin seems to be in the collective memory of big-screen and small-screen science fiction from the '50s and '60s. It has the sound of a clichéd line spoken by an alien to a human exploring other planets (often the vocative "earthling" is appended). In such "first contact" scenes, aliens can of course speak perfect English yet lack certain key concepts and their associated significations, which the humans can then explain. (It's also possible to imagine the line spoken in intra-human settings involving time travel, lost tribes, unfrozen cavemen, etc.)
The connection from matters Language Log (a regular haunt of mine) to matters MST3K (a strong interest of mine, to say the least, and a second regular internet haunt) is then established:
Closely related to this snowclone is the line, "'Kiss'? What is 'kiss'?"-- emblematic of campy interplanetary romance, which of course is invariably between a male human and a female alien. (It was a favorite catchphrase of the crew on Mystery Science Theater 3000.) The line is often attributed to Altaira (Anne Francis) in The Forbidden Planet (1956) or to one of Kirk's conquests in the original series of Star Trek. This was investigated on the rec.arts.sf.tv newsgroup, and they've ruled out The Forbidden Planet and Star Trek.
If you follow the newsgroup link as I did, you arrive at a thread beginning thus:
I have been trying to track down the original use of the quote:
Kiss? What is kiss?
As many of you know, this is the shorthand often used to mock SF storylines in which a beautiful alien woman, ignorant of human customs, receives her initiation in the arts of love by a virile human male. Frequent references occur in many 1950s B-movies and pretty much every Star Trek series, most notably the original series.

However, I have failed utterly to locate the true origin of this quote. ...
The query's (noble) purpose is disclosed a few posts later:
The purpose behind my question is to help me with an MST3K quote project, in which I'm taking considerable care to provide EXACT quotes and DEFINITIVE sources.
It so happens that I had about a week ago watched MST3K's treatment of Time Chasers, in which the " 'Kiss'? What is 'Kiss'? " line was used. I caught the humor, insofar as I gathered that "it has the sound of a clichéd line spoken by an alien to a human exploring other planets" and that it's "the shorthand often used to mock SF storylines in which a beautiful alien woman, ignorant of human customs, receives her initiation in the arts of love by a virile human male." Accordingly, I assumed it was some Star Trek thing.

In this respect, I was wrong (as the newsgroup posters' frightening Star Trek knowledge demonstrates).

The right answer, which as far as Google and I can tell seems to appear in only one place on the internet, turns out to be in a post on Eve Tushnet's blog, one of my other main internet haunts:

"Kiss? What is kiss?"

--Scantily-clad island woman to washed-ashore sailor, "Pagan Island"

In fact, it's likely that I read that very post when she first published it, having no idea that years later it would be the only way for me to finally get a joke that I already pretty much got.

So thank you Internet. I guess.







"I can't wait 'til they invent the Internet."

--Crow, in the voice of Troy (pictured in link),
from MST3K's treatment of The Final Sacrifice.

UPDATE 8/19/2005: A reader who seems to have Googled harder than I did e-mails with an earlier instance of "Kiss? What is Kiss?" being attributed to Pagan Island here. This older instance (it's from Feb. 2002) cites "The 365 Stupidest Things Ever Said by Ross & Kathryn Petras in Page A Day Calendar, http://www.page-a-day.com/". Whether the calendar is accurate, and whether Eve Tushnet took the quote from the calendar I cannot say (although it would be highly uncharacteristic of her I think). Anyway, to people Googling for the origin of "Kiss? What is kiss?", what's here is all I know on the matter. I suspect one can't do terribly much better without actually getting the movie and watching it.

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