I've been daydreaming again about retiring. That glorious day is less than 9 years away, and truly I've got no business thinking about it like I do. Anyway, I found a site with some pictures of Slab City. This is a place in Imperial County CA that used to be a military base during WW2. After the war, the buildings were all torn down but the concrete foundations were left. They're slabs of concrete, hence the name. In the wintertime, hundreds of RVers head to Slab City and boondock, or dry camp. There's no hookups, in fact there's not much of anything except beautiful desert. This desolate area becomes a full flegded city. I feel a need to go to Slab City for a week or so. I want to bring a bunch of books I've yet to read and sit out and relax. Its a damn shame I can't take any time off and go. Still, I'm daydreaming about it. I've yet to get the White House out of the shop, and I'm having withdrawls. I'm getting itchy feet about taking off for the weekend. Slab City is a bit too far to go for a weekend, I'll probably go to Mercey Hot Springs again.
I got sad news this week. One of my old carriers, Bill, has cancer and gave up his route. He's had it for almost 20 years. He was my carrier when I managed a district along the San Jose/Santa Clara border. Bill is from Vietnam. He served in the S Viet army and was a Captain when the war ended. He was captured by the VC and spent a number of years in a "re-education" camp. He made a baby while on a visit from his wife, and didn't see the baby for 5 years. Finally, Bill came to the US and went to work on the route. His children all graduated from college and are sucessful in life. When I was bumped off my district, Bill took a couple of us out to breakfast. We had Pho, which is a Viet soup. He took us to his favorite place and made sure to introduce us to his pals. He was very proud that day that his "bosses" were eating with him. I'd see Bill every so often and would always say hello. He was especially proud when he became a US citizen and took his new name, Bill. I'm hoping he overcomes the cancer. He's a good man and my life was enriched by him being one of my carriers.
Josh called me today and I retuned his message. He told me he's going to have a baby. So, I'm going to be a grandpa come November or so. I was suprised he called me, I figured after the wedding fiasco he was done with me. I guess there's hope for him yet. We did speak a bit and he wants to talk to me in person. This should be interesting.
I was out in Stockton the other day, and was listening to 104.1. The lunch trivia was two questions on Blue Oyster Cult. The DJ read the questions: What is the guitar players real name, and what's the band's name when they tour in small clubs. Easy. Don Roser and Soft White Underbelly. What the hell, I'll give them a call. The phone rings and the DJ answers. Of course I know the answers and I win! Whoo Hoo! Then, I get to repeat my answers live on the air. First time I've ever won anything on the radio. I won 4 Wendy's meals and two movie tickets. It'll cost me to drive to Modesto and pick up the stuff, they won't mail it. Still, it made my day.
I played golf for the first time in 5 months today. I'm sore as hell and I suck. Golf is a game that you need to keep at, even in the winter time. There really is no excuse why I have not even picked up my clubs and hit at the driving range for the last 5 months. It can be too wet to play, but once the rain stops it is OK to practice at the range. The Fretias Bros (actually they're father and son) are good to get out and play with. They try and get into each other's heads, and are fairly matched in ability. They're better than I am. We played at San Jose Muni, which is around the corner from the Merc. The rainy weather has put the hammer to the course. Last week there was mush all over the course, at least today most of it had dried up. You could still tell where the mush was, as there was ground tanbark on almost every hole. I thought most of Muni drained better than that, but I was wrong. Muni is not the best draining course around. Jerry Sr says the new course in SJ, Los Lagos drains much better than Muni. We'll get around to it one day, its just so much easier to play Muni when I have to go to work after the round. I love to play golf. I'm not good at it, though I was making steady progress before my shoulder surgery in 2000. My current handicap is 26.1, I had it down in the 21's at one time. One thing I like about golf is you get what you put into it. You and only you are responsible for how well or crappy you play. I can't blame losing 6 balls and posting 108 on anyone but myself. Nobody made me not play for 5 months, its all on me. Golf is also a nice way to hang out with your pals for a couple of hours. I leave my cell phone in the car, though the damn Bros bring 'em out on the course. That should be outlawed!
I like the court decision that finds the banning of men-men and women-women marriage is against the California Constitution. If the men and women who want to marry someone of the same sex get to, I'm all for it. One of the things I like about it is how it pisses off the Christian Right in this country. Oh, the outrage! Its against God's law and all of that such silliness. Ugh, that in itself is a good reason to root for the legality of this kind of marriage. The larger point will be a Constitutional one. The "Full Faith and Credit" clause in the Federal Constitution of 1787 says that all states will honor a contract made in one of the states. This means if a gay/lesbian couple marry in California (once legal) or I guess marry in Massachutes (sp) now, all states must recognize said marriage. I'm sure this one will be challenged in the Bible Belt, (by the way the home of the most divorces per capita in the US) but I see no legal way around it. It only takes one state and they all have to abide. Gotta love it.
Actually, my rant is about the Congressional hearings that are being talked about. Why only baseball when the wrestlers in WWE are known roid heads. Why only baseball and not the WWE. Geez, look at the size of some of those guys.
Hawaiian shirt wiped his eyes with a bar napkin. “Jesus could beat George Bush.”“I need to pay my bill,” I said, signaling the bartender.“What? You don’t think Jesus could do it?”“No.”“Why not?” asked Birkenstock.I really didn’t want to get into this. “He’s not enough of a fundamentalist.”Even the bartender was taken aback at this. “He’s the Son of God. He’s why we have Christianity in the first place. How can he not be a fundamentalist?”“Christian fundamentalists tend to take the most literal view of things. They’re also fickle. For instance, they will tell you that they follow the New Testament not the old, but they sure will follow Leviticus, and it’s disapproval of homosexuality, because it suits them. I find it unlikely that Jesus would make such distinctions.”Hawaiian shirt patted my arm in drunken condescension, “Okay, it’s a given that Jesus is nicer than Jerry Falwell, but that doesn’t explain why he couldn’t beat Bush.”“That’s simple. Bush won, running on a platform based on the oversimplification of certain issues. For instance, instead of just coming out and saying abortion is bad, Bush talks about the murder of innocent, unborn babies.”“There’s nothing wrong with abortion…” he sniffed.I grabbed the front of his shirt and pulled him up close to my face. “What in the hell is wrong with you? Do you like killing innocent babies?!? Do you?!?” I shrieked.Panicking, Birkenstock tried to pull himself over the bar. “No, of course not.”I let him go and returned to my beer. “That’s the kind of thing that Bush and that freak, KarlRove like doing. They count on the masses not seeing the distinction between murdering babies, and abortion. They count on black and white. Jesus understood shades of gray. That’s why he didn’t spend a lot of time stoning prostitutes.”“Karl Rove is evil. It’s Jesus’ job to smite evil.”I shook my head. “I think that if the twelve disciples were NFL linebackers, and they walked into a room with Karl Rove, Rove would walk out with twelve autographed NFL jerseys. He‘s evil incarnate and he’s very good at it.”Hawaiian shirt started to sob again. “How could he beat Jesus, man? It’s inhuman.”“Look it works like this. Bush runs on the Republican ticket, Jesus runs for the Dems. Bush will spend the entire campaign season pointing out all of Jesus’ flaws and imperfections. By the time it was all over, you would have to pick between a cowboy, and a penniless, bisexual, Jewish hippy who only hangs around with men, and prostitutes.”Both Birkenstock and Hawaiian shirt stared at me, quizzically.“First, he runs around with twelve disciples, which means that he is quite obviously gay. Even if he wasn’t gay, he’s not hard on homosexuality… at least not in a good Christian way. Second, he saved Mary Magdalene from being stoned, which means that Jesus is anti-death penalty, and soft on crime. He’s anti-business because he chased the moneylenders out of the temple, which only confirms that Jesus is a liberal.”The bartender stepped forward at this point. “Now wait just a minute…”“Not only that, Jesus has an arrest record, and he’s from the Middle East, so therefore he must be a terrorist.”“I think you are over generalizing here,” said Birkenstock as he set his beer down.I turned, giving him the scariest stare I could. “Am I? Tell me, if Jesus were here today, would we treat him any different than we did two millennia ago? Those so called Christians, Falwell and Robertson would be the first to scream for his head.”
"If we put a winning team on the field, new stars are created. "
This is a quote from Billy Beane from an Art Spander column that I saw on Athletics Nation today. I love this quote and it is so accurate. When a winning team takes the field, you have new stars. When the A's win 90+ games this year, without Mulder and Hudson, we'll see stars to replace those who have left.
www.minorleagueball.com is a new site hosted by John Sickles, who used to write for ESPN before he was canned. I've been to his site a time or three, and he writes a new blog most every day.
www.fieldofschemes.com talks about public funding of ballparks and arenas. The book (of the same name) was an eye opener. Mark loaned it to me. What a scam these ballparks are. And the feeding of the trough of public money. Arrrrgh.
After reading Field of Schems and Baseball and Billions, I'm convinced the owners can build their own damn parks. They cry poverty and never let the public (who they want to pay for the ballpark) look at their books. If you're going to cry poverty, you should have to prove it. The hue and cry about the A's needing a downtown ballpark is apalling. There is nothing wrong with the Coliseum. I'm not happy about the bleachers being ruined, but that is not enough of an excuse to not go at all. I'm more unhappy about the $9 for the bleachers than anything else. You can easily take BART to the ballpark and not pay the $12 parking. You can still bring in a small cooler of food and not have to be robbed at the concession stand. And, it isn't Pac Bell park. What's not to like?
One of the guys I work and play golf with is Jason's dad's cousin. Another way to say it is that Jason is Steve's cousin's son. Steve had told me about one of his relatives playing baseball in the Texas chain. Season before last, Jason was assigned to the Stockton Ports of the A+ Cal League. Early in the season, Steve and I were at a game and I got to meet Jason. I told him that I'd be rooting for him, but I would never buy a Texas hat! He played well in the Cal League and was moved up a level to the AA Texas League. At the end of the season he was selected to play in the Arizona Fall League. I went the last week of the season and saw him hit a big home run in Peoria, and otherwise play well. At the AFL, the players hear every word you say, and I was loud every time Jason came to the plate. When he hit the homer I was hooting and hollering at the top of my lungs. People in the stands were looking at me and even a player or two turned around. After the game I went down and spoke to Jason and he was very gracious. That and he remembered who I was, which I appreciated. Though he's in the Texas chain, I'm rooting for him to make it to the Show.
Below is a blog to a question I asked on John Sickles' site www.minorleagueball.com. The thread was concerning infield prospects of the Rangers.
7) Jason Bourgeois (2b) Hopes were high for Jason Bourgeois entering the 2004 season. He had performed very well in the Arizona Fall League (.283 / .386 / .367), was added to the 40 man roster in December, 2003, got a big league camp invitation and made a fan out of Buck Showalter in the process, prompting the skipper to tell writers that "Booj has the good face." Bourgeois and his good friend Jason Botts have risen through the system in tandem, beginning on the 2000 GCL club together. Through the first half of 2003, the Mutt-and-Jeff pair powered Stockton to a first-half championship and then moved on to Frisco together. Both struggled a bit during their first couple of months in double A, but both figured to adjust and post impressive numbers in 2004. Only one of them did. Botts, of course, challenged for the Texas League MVP while Bourgeois' stock fell precipitously. He has now reached nearly 200 games at double A without much success, going .255 / .313 / .328 in 2004. In spite of his struggles this season, Bourgeois held on to his spot on the Rangers 40 man roster and for all of its disappointments, Bourgeois' 2004 season finished on an upswing, as the Houston native went .287 / .365 / .386 in August and .421 / .421 / .579 in the Texas League playoffs. He ended the regular season second in the Texas League in triples (7), fifth in stolen bases (30), 11th in base hits (133), 20th in RBIs (57), and 17th in runs scored (73). Going deep inside of Booj's stats reveals an array of strange things. One thing that immediately stands out is how horribly he performed leading off (.176) and another is how well he did in scoring opportunities (.348 in 23 at-bats with the bases loaded). Moreover, Bourgeois' home-road splits were dramatic. He hit .287 / .358 / .364 at Dr. Pepper / Seven Up Ballpark and .223 / .267 / .294 in other Texas League venues. Defensively, Bourgeois is a solid second baseman and could probably hold down left field. Although he played shortstop in high school and in his first couple of professional seasons, he lacks the arm strength for the left side of the infield. As a 5'9", 180 pound, African-American second baseman with great speed, high character and great leadership skills, Booj frequently draws comparisons to Eric Young. PROJECTION: There are few players in this system as well respected as individuals as Jason Bourgeois and the club clearly wants him to succeed, but it is hard to imagine that he won't lose his spot on the 40 at some point this spring. He will return to Frisco where he will lead what figures to be a very young team including new double-play partner Joaquin Arias. He has to return to his early 2003 form in order to move forward.
Yep, the most magical of times has finally come. Pitchers and Catchers reported last week, and the first games of Spring Training start this week. To hear the call of the bat and the ball, the joy that surrounds us all.........
I found it par for the course that the guy arrested in the BTK killings in Wichita had been elected president of his church. Why does God choose so poorly in his representives? Sure makes me want to rush right down and join.
Sandra took a few days off and we went to Calistoga. We did the whole mud bath and massage package. First off, the swimming pool at the Roman Spa is filled with warm mineral water. So, even in March, we swam outside at night. And the pool isn't sissy sized either. The outside tub is warmest, and we sat in that with the jets on our tired old bones more than once. Monday is when we went to the spa. First, we got into the mudbath. It really is mud. I compare it to crawling back into the womb. You warm right up once you're in the mud. The attendant comes in and puts a cool cloth on your head and gives you a drink of water. He does this every five minutes and in 15-20 mintues your time is up and you shower the mud off. Let me assure you that the mud gets into EVERY nook and cranny that your body has. Next is the 5 minute mineral tub bath that turns into 15 minutes. This helps to get what mud is still hiding on you. Once all clean, the hour massage is next. Sandra's massuse was pretty strong, and he worked Sandra over. She almost cried "Uncle" a time or two, but he knew just when to ease off the pressure. After the massage, Sandra mentioned she hadn't felt that loose and flexible in quite a number of years. Dinner was next on the program, and we ate at Brannan's. This is a fancy place and the food was quite good, though the service was rather on the slow side. I guess since I'm used to a quicker pace of service, (get you in and get you out) that a dinner house pace seems slow. Sandra had salmon and I ate rib eye. I also drank a beer, which I pretty much never do. And, drinking a beer in wine country, well, what is the world coming to? We also made a donation to one of the local tribes in the Twin Pine casino on SH-29. I lost $3.25 and Sandra, well, the tribe was happy she came in. All in all, a nice quiet couple of days.......
This blog is for me (Joe) to keep in contact with my friends and family who I don't see too much of because I work nights. If you're wandering by checking out the blog from the Internet, well, you're welcome too, I'm 50 years old and live in California. I'm married with two bonus daughters and three grandchildren. I write about sports, scooters, vacations in the RV, my atheism, funny pictures, and pretty much anything else I can think of. I welcome all opposing views as long as you can keep it civil, my mom does come by on occasion. And, as always, the true focus of my life is my marriage to Sandra and fulfilling The Plan. Though the blog is in the top 5.