Ever seen a congressman kick this much ass?
Now you have. And his name is Thaddeus.
Thanks to Cato for that one.
Ever seen a congressman kick this much ass?
Now you have. And his name is Thaddeus.
Thanks to Cato for that one.
I’d like to thank the 228 decent and honest members of the House of Representatives for refusing to turn the United States into a socialist dictatorship. My own representative, of course, is a typical big-government leftist twit, and voted in favour of the bill, but, hey. A win’s a win.
Not that I’m stupid enough to believe that we won’t see this same bullshit pop up again next week with a different name. Because we will. But defeating it once is better than not defeating it at all.
And, of course, exactly as expected, the mainstream media is busy trying to paint this as a case of the noble Democrats being stymied in their heroism by those horrible Republicans and their secret agendas. Not that I’m accusing the mainstream media of being a bunch of Democratic party mouthpieces. Certainly not that. I mean, when was the last time you can recall these nonpartisan news outlets stumping for bigger, more expensive, more powerful government? I don’t think that’s ever happened ever in the whole history of the whole history.
So again, kudos to the 228 members of the House who acted in the interest of the taxpayers and not in the interest of increasing their own power. And I’d suggest that everybody take some time to spot which of the 205 would-be tyrant assholes you’re responsible for and take steps to disenfranchise those sniveling nitwits. Since, if you recall, they’re all eligible for replacement in one short month.
Hey kids, guess what’s actually printed in the text of the Troubled Asset Relief Program proposal!
"Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency."
I’m serious. That’s in there. Look for yourself; it’s not very long.
What the fuck?
Government is getting completely insane and overbearing because of baseball? Say not so! Next thing you know Congress will be wasting our money launching probes into whether or not retired players ever used not-banned-at-the-time substances. Maybe while they’re at it they could investigate rock music and find out if it really does make kids worship Satan.
If you’re familiar with my attitude toward stuff like this, you’ll have no trouble guessing that my very favourite part was when Jr. Daley says that anybody who doesn’t go along with the "voluntary" ban will have his business taken away from him by the Mayoraliser and given to someone else. Hey, they’ve all "made enough money this year already." Also it’s the case that Mayor Daley has made enough money this year. So… I guess that means I can just kick him out and become mayor, yeah?
If I’m allowed to be mayor of two places at the same time. Which I’ll have to look into.
It’s near on the end of the season now, which means it’s time for writers to start giving out awards to all the wrong people. Since I write a lot about baseball, I’m going to be a part of the award process this season, which I think is pretty cool. The downside, of course, is that my part of the process is pretty much limited to ridiculing it on this blog, because those crotchety old baseball dudes don’t really give a rat’s ass what I say. So I’m going to give out my own awards. Note carefully that I’m not trying to predict what the actual award people will do; I’m telling you what I would do, which is more interesting. Since fuck those guys.
Rookie of the Year (AL): Evan Longoria (Tampa Bay Rays) — Longoria was leading a pretty strong pack for most of the season, but then he went on the DL for about six weeks with a broken hand and other names started to pop up. Then he came back from the DL and hit three home runs in the same game, and all those other names popped right back down. Not to mention he’s led his team to its first-ever playoff appearance only a few short months after they locked down their first-ever not-losing season. Not to mention there’s something about his name that’s just aesthetically pleasing.
Rookie of the Year (NL): Geovany Soto (Chicago Cubs) — There’s really no competition at all. Soto has already emerged as one of the best catchers in baseball in all respects — offense, defense, leadership, you name it. He’s in his rookie year and he’s already an All-Star. At the time of this writing, Soto is batting .286, which isn’t too shabby for a catcher, his OPS of .869 ranks third among catchers, and he’s leading with 23 home runs. That should be enough for a solid ROY right there.
Manager of the Year (AL): Joe Maddon (Tampa Bay Rays) — Have I mentioned yet that the Tampa Bay Rays — the Tampa Bay Rays — are going to be in the playoffs? That feat alone should get Maddon the award; it’s no joke to take the worst franchise in baseball, with the second-lowest payroll, and turn it into a team that can capture the AL’s toughest division in the space of one year.
Manager of the Year (NL): Tony La Russa (St. Louis Cardinals) — Yes, yes, I know; La Russa is an asshole. Everyone knows that. But, asshole or not, he took a team that was widely regarded as being in a rebuilding year and kept it in contention until the last week of the season, weathering holes and injuries, and did it in the toughest division in the NL.
Honourable Mention: Ned Yost (Milwaukee Brewers) — Whoops!
Cy Young (AL): Cliff Lee (Cleveland Indians) — Lee’s 22 wins are what kept the Indians in contention even after they traded half their rotation. I don’t really have a whole lot more to say about Cliff Lee, since the whole world already knows he owns this award.
Cy Young (NL): Brad Lidge (Philadelphia Phillies) — Sure, Tim Lincecum and Brandon Webb get all the press, but Lidge is the NL’s real phenom this season. He’s been invincible so far, successfully closing out 40 games without blowing one single save. Lidge has a 1.87 ERA and opponents are batting an absurd .192 against him — neither Lincecum nor Webb can claim a sub-.200 BAA. Oh, and his team’s contending. Sorry, NL West!
Most Valuable Player (AL): Jermaine Dye (Chicago White Sox) — Well, hey, at least one member of the White Sox benefits from Carlos Quentin’s idiotic self-inflicted season-ending injury; the "other" guy who got them where they are today. Thanks, Carlos!
Most Valuable Player (NL): Albert Pujols (St. Louis Cardinals) — Prince Fielder and Jimmy Rollins have been off this season, Alfonso Soriano spent a bit too much time on the DL, and the Giants inexplicably still didn’t resign Barry Bonds. So pretty much we’re looking at a Pujols-or-Berkman field, and Pujols gets the nod because he’s hit just a hair better this season, and he once single-handedly destroyed an entire opposing team. I mean, sure, it was just the Padres, but still.
Least Valuable Player (AL): Alex Rodriguez (New York Yankees) — The curse of A-Rod once again prevents the Yankees from going to the World Series, and this time it does so in a most dramatic fashion: by elevating the Tampa Bay Rays to contending status and keeping the Yankees from even reaching the first round. Not that it’s anything mysical; A-rod’s well-documented lack of "clutch" is a major part of the problem. And this season it’s worse than usual; he was found to be the least clutch player in all of baseball. Science doesn’t lie!
Least Valuable Player (NL): Barry Zito (San Francisco Giants) — The Yankees are paying $300 million for A-rod to be not-clutch and leave his wife for gangrenous grizzled old whores, allegedly of course, but the Giants are in to Barry Zito for $127 million and all they get for their money is a few ads for designer jeans. Good ol’ Barry is 10-16 with a .273 BAA and a stunning 5.28 ERA — not to mention a K/BB very very close to 1 (114/98). Remember when this guy won a Cy Young? I wonder if his problem is the same as that of a certain other former Cy Young winner who now seems unable to pitch his way out of a burlap sack.
Asshole Award (AL): A.J. Pierzynski (Chicago White Sox) — Hey, news flash: A.J. Pierzynski is an asshole. But this year he went above and beyond the call of duty. Sure, that bit with the "passed ball" a few years ago was shady, but at least it was all within the rules. This year, though, A.J. actually resorted to cheating to try to get his lousy team a few more wins — and I don’t even mean the subtle form of cheating, like corking your bat, or the "everybody’s doing it" cheating of HGH. I mean he actually stuck out his arm and deliberately made contact with a defending player who was nothing like in his way and then hollared obstruction so he could get a free base. And he got the call, too; only a churl would suggest that there’s no coincidence that the umpire was the same one who gave him the "passed ball" call mentioned above.
Honourable Mention: Kenny Rogers (Detroit Tigers) — Hey, news flash: Kenny Rogers is an asshole. Basically he’s just here for whining about OMG YANKEES CONSPIRACY because he hates change and progress.
Asshole Award (NL): Manny Ramirez (Los Angeles Dodgers) — Manny can be really entertaining sometimes, and sometimes he can just be a gigantic dipshit. And the season-long temper-tantrum he threw to try to get the Red Sox to trade him definitely qualifies as the latter. He loafed and goldbricked and caused trouble in the clubhouse, and is undoubtedly part of the reason the Red Sox never did manage to catch up with the Rays. Of course, he’s been all sweetness and light since the trade, but that doesn’t excuse him.
Honourable Mention: Doug Brocail (Houston Astros) — I don’t normally have any issue with Doug Brocail; I don’t, in fact, normally have any thoughts about Doug Brocail at all. But he gets on here for whining about OMG YANKEES CONSPIRACY when the Astros sucked a dick or six after playing the Cubs at Miller Park.
Honourable Mention: The rest of the Houston Astros (Houston Astros) — I singled out Doug for the Yankee whining, but, seriously, guys. Get over the fantasy that those two losses to Chicago a) would have been wins if played in Turner Field and b) would have been enough to change a damn thing. You lost to Florida, and to Pittsburgh, and now you’re losing to Cincinatti. The problem is with you.
Mega Man 9 is out. Get it. Seriously, get it. It’s ten bucks, and it’ll kick your ass like it’s 1989. It looks, sounds, and plays like any NES Mega Man title, but it’s loaded with modern features like save games, downloadable content, achievements, online leaderboards, and competent translation. This time around it looks like Dr. Wily is (wait for it) attacking the world with evil robots again, only this time he’s sort of hilariously also running a protection racket. If you send him money, he’ll make sure no evil robots blow you up. So it’s up to you, as the good robot, to blow him up.
That’s really about all the plot I need. The gameplay is delightfully retro, and hard as balls, and the presentation really takes me back (there’s even an option to enable sprite flicker — score!). Some of the achievements are completely insane (beat the game without getting hit?), the extra play modes are a nice bonus, and one of the evil Mans is actually an evil Woman this time around. Is that the first time that’s happened? I have all eight Mega Man games, so I should probably know that.
Let me make one thing perfectly clear: The Houston Astros need to shut the fuck up. Bud Selig’s decision to have two of your home games played in Milwaukee due to hurricane Ike rendering Minute Maid Park temporarily unsuitable for baseball did not kill your season. What killed your season was how much you fucking sucked after those two games. Or was I just not looking when you were forced to play that series against the Marlins in Milwaukee too? You know, the one where you got completely wiped out? And how about that loss to Pittsburgh — Pittsburgh! — on Saturday? Was that Bud Selig’s fault too?
Don’t get the wrong idea, now; I’m nothing if not sympathetic to dudes whose hometowns are presently being forcibly renovated by hurricanes. Hurricanes, tornadoes, monsoons, tsunamis, fire, flood, Godzilla, you name it, I’m sorry about it. And, yeah, it was a bit stupid for MLB to make you play last Sunday. Come on, Bud, admit it; that was a pretty idiotic decision. But the choice of venue? That’s where you start to lose me. You see, kids, it was the Cubs you were playing against. You really think a home game at Turner Field instead of Miller Park would have had more Astros fans in attendance? That’s just silly. The Red sox and the Yankees can carp on about their "nations" until they’re blue in the face — and they will, believe you me — but the fact remains that the Cubs have something a bit bigger than a nation. Picture it as some giant multi-national religious organisation. So if the Red Sox are France and the Yankees are Germany, the Cubs would be the Catholic Church. You get it?
Okay, sure, the Yankees would be France. But that’s not the point.
Also, hey Astros, if you felt bad about those two home games you had to play against the Cubs in Miller Park, how do you think the fucking Brewers felt about the nine such games they had to play? And do you see them goddamn crying about it even while they try to salvage their much more expensively-mortgaged playoff chase? No you do not. Crying about other things, yes. Sacking their manager pretty much arbitrarily, also yes. But they’re not crying to Bud because the evil baseball gods made them play nine home games with the other team’s fans massively outnumbering theirs. According to this chart here, you’re 3.5 back with 7 to play, so maybe it’s a bit early for goddamn boo-hooing anyhow. You have the godawful Reds and the Braves left to play, it’s a big old homestand, and the two teams in front of you in the wild card race have been completely terrible lately. And both still have to play the Cubs this season. So quit your stupid whining, dust yourselves off, and win some fucking games already. Then you can say, hey look, we beat you assholes anyway. And that’s way more satisfying than crying about how disadvantaged you are, believe me.
In other baseball news, picture me as the Red Sox, and I’m dry-firing my long-empty handgun at the dessicated zombie head of the New York Yankees and screaming "WHY WON’T YOU DIE?" That pretty much gives you the gist of what’s going on right now in the AL right now. The Rays have the East all but sown up, so here we have the Red Sox attempting to clinch the wild card, ONLY THEY CAN’T, because the Yankees stubbornly refuse to drop quite all the way out of contention. By losing to the Indians today, the Red Sox allowed the Yankees to survive for yet another day, and possibly threaten a wild-card tie (though against stunningly long odds). The best part is that the last series they’ll play this season is against each other. Wouldn’t it be a crack-up if the Yankees were still hanging on to that one game?
Boy, the Mets sure are bad these days. Can you believe our starting pitcher hit a goddamn grand slam against them today? If you believe that, do you also believe that it was off of their starter, and not their notoriously awful bullpen? And if you believe that, how about I sell you on the idea that it was goddamn Jason Marquis who did the slamming? Calling bullshit? No. Oh no.
Come on, that was good. Anyhow, as of today, the Chicago Cubs are going to the playoffs, and there’s nothing any of you can do about that. The Brewers and the Astros in particular can’t do anything about that — they tried a couple of weeks ago, and look what happened. You don’t cross the Cubs unless you want the Mets all up in your grill like that. And, uh, apparently the Marlins. WTF is up with that?
Anyhow, I’d especially like to thank the Cardinals for being completely rotten and awful, not least because whipping the tar out of them tonight is what finally clinched us a damn division.
I’ve just picked up The Witcher: Enhanced Edition, which updates an action RPG from 2006 which I never played due to my policy of completely ignoring the PC games market unless I can get it from Steam. I haven’t put a lot of time into it yet, but it’s fun so far; it appears to be like a highly refined version of Neverwinter Nights, and has interesting dialogue and meaningful dialogue choices, which puts it one up on the entire PC RPG genre.
But that’s not what I want to talk about tonight. Tonight, I’m here to talk about sex. The Witcher, I’m pleased to say, has quite a bit of sex in it. The people you’ll meet along your journey are not the pristine innocents you encounter in most RPGs — these people are aware of sex, and, as Oscar Wilde probably never actually said, the proletariat are largely concerned with it as their primary source of recreation. More interestingly, though, throughout your travels you’ll encounter a variety of fetching young women that you can attempt (through various means) to get into bed.
Now I realise I’m on the edge of coming off like a snickering fifteen-year-old — heh heh, heh heh, score! — but that is not, in fact, the case. I’m an adult who has had sex (yes, smart-asses, including the kind that involves another person), and I appreciate when video games can be straightforward and honest about the subject. Neverwinter Nights had a bit of sex in it, but tended to view it through a weird lens that was half paperback romance novel-coloured and half women’s liberation-coloured. Nobody in Neverwinter Nights ever had sex just for fun; it was always part of a plot, unless it was one of the members of the most politically-correct system of prostitution since Firefly. The Witcher’s not like that; people have sex just because they’ll actually enjoy it, or because Geralt is toooo smoooooth and totally sweet-talks them into it. This is a much more adult attitude toward sex; we really don’t need it to be presented to us as some sort of odd ritual. We’re all adults here, and we can handle the concept of recreational sex.
The comedy part is that, if Neverwinter Nights was a romance novel, The Witcher is one of those cable-TV un-pornified porno movies where the actual sex scenes are replaced with soft-focus closeups of people’s faces while they breathe heavily and some sleazy sax music throbs in the background. And before you get on my case for the seriously wordy and laboured metaphor, I’d like to point out that that wasn’t a metaphor; that’s pretty much what actually happens when you get one of the women into bed. And then they give you a sexy picture to remember them by, which is the one respect in which this game actually improves on real sex.
Don’t get the wrong idea here, now; I’m not asking for every video game to include hours of hardcore porn — lord knows my eyes have been unwillingly subjected to enough animated GIFs of Mario banging the Princess without that actually showing up in a game. I’m just saying that maybe games that are ostensibly for adults and about adult themes could take a break from their gory slaughter and heavy-handed plotting to include some of the things that real adults do with each other for mutual enjoyment. Like sex, sure, or at least maybe going to baseball games and getting way drunk and screaming at the other team’s pitcher. I mean, take the Metal Gear Solid games — the first one treats sex like a running gag, with Snake pouring bad pickup line after bad pickup line on all the women he talks to and getting rebuffed. In the second one sex is pretty much what you might think it is if all your information about it came from nu-metal videos and Lifetime original movies; it’s very serious and overwrought and a subject for some serious angry brooding. The Witcher’s portrayal may not be ideal, but it’s a damn sight better than any of that nonsense. So let’s see you game designers get to work on getting actual, healthy, adult sexuality into your professed adult-oriented games.
This blog wasn’t running at the time, so I never got the opportunity to comment on it when it happened, but this AP story about Theo Epstein’s contract negotiations brings it to light again: when Epstein’s previous contract expired, he had a mysterious disagreement with the team president, and ended up leaving Fenway in a gorilla suit to avoid attention from the media.
I repeat: to avoid media attention, he left Fenway in a gorilla suit.
Only in Boston, friends.