Jason Varitek – 33 – Boston Red Sox

I don’t usually post twice in a day.  I usually gather my thoughts and make the most of one post.  However, today I’m making an exception for a very important reason.  At least, it’s important to me.

Jason Varitek is the catcher for the Boston Red Sox.  He is also the captain, one of only three named captains since 1923.  Today, the management of the Red Sox offered Tek (as he’s affectionately known throughout Red Sox Nation) a one-year deal to play for them next season.  This is probably due, in no small part to a) his dismal offensive season last year wherein he hit .220, the lowest total of his career and b) his age since he will be 37 by the time next season starts up.  This is important because catcher is one of the most in my opinion physically demanding positions in the game and a full 1/3 of Hall of Fame catchers have played only until age 37 (at least based on some quick analysis on which there is available data).  I’m also certain that Varitek’s agent, Scott Boras, will no doubt be seeking something much lengthier in terms of contract, as well as, more lucrative.

Thus, I’d like to say a couple of things:

  • Jason Varitek has been an absolutely terrific player for the Boston Red Sox.  He is in every way a captain both on the field and in the clubhouse.  You can see his immense concentration with every pitch.  He’s caught four no-hitters, more than any other catcher EVER in baseball history.  I think that the Red Sox are being prudent in their offer, but I think they could’ve at least afforded two years given that there’s not a lot on the market and they don’t have much in the farm system…to my knowledge.
  • I think that Jason Varitek is nearing the end of his career, and I’d love to see him finish it in a Boston uniform.  However, I understand he might want to latch on with another team and play another couple years.  Any team would benefit from Tek’s vast knowledge of how to guide a pitcher through a game.

With all that, he’s been a 3-time All-Star, a Gold Glove recipient, and he’s come through with some clutch hits in some tight situations for the Red Sox.  I don’t necessarily think he’s a Hall of Famer, although his career stats stack up to a certain degree with some of the greats.    All I know is that he’s a great player and he deserves at least a couple more years to show why.  I also think that the Red Sox should alter their somewhat draconian rules for retiring a number when Jason does finally leave and make sure that his 33 goes up on the facade in right field as soon as possible.  He deserves at least that much.

See you in the funny papers!

Well…I blew it again!

As you may have noticed, I failed to complete the NaBloPoMo challenge for a second year.  I’d like to make the excuse that our internet connection was not functioning properly (which it wasn’t).  But the truth is, I realized I had failed to post on Friday when I came back from an errand on Saturday.  However, the weekend was exciting and that was what partially led me to a lack of posts.

Friday night, I was sitting at home…like I usually do…and The Neighbors called to see if we wanted dinner.  We headed to Señor Iguanas for some Mexican and then, we settled back into the couch for an evening of Wii and movies.  We played Tetris Party for Wii which I suck at, but managed to make other peoples’ games miserable due to the exciting addition of “items” which enabled me to be a general nuisance.  Not the least of which caused my wife to call me a “little bitch.”  Seriously…she actually said that.  Then we watched Gone Baby Gone which was a really decent movie starring Casey Affleck and Morgan Freeman.  There’s no review up yet, but check back soon.

Saturday was when it really got busy.  I had errands to run in the morning, a little house upkeep to take care of, and then off to Voces Novae rehearsal.  Two and a half hours of joyous singing and then home again.  I was able to check out the Louisville basketball game which was fairly awesome, at least in the second half.  And, then, honestly, it was just so cold, I didn’t do anything else.  I wanted to go to the Dropkick Murphys concert, but I decided that was a bad idea before church AND a concert on Sunday.  Also, we’re pretty broke in anticipation of our going to Arizona for Thanksgiving, so spending extra money is sort of out of the question.

Sunday, there was church which went well considering we had a guest organist.  Y’know…whenever you have a guest anything really, church doesn’t flow the way it should.  And that’s understandable.  Sometimes it’s okay, sometimes it’s horrendous.  Even so, church on Sunday was not terrible.  After church, I grabbed a bite to eat, got all gussied up in my tux and headed to the concert.  The Voces Novae concert was incredible.  Most of the pieces were the best they’ve ever been, the dynamics were sharp, and I believe, given some early reports from friends, that the songs were incredibly moving.  It was, however, draining and even though I protested being tired, I believe I was exhausted.  I was in for the night and spent the evening watching SuperBad.  All in all, a wonderful weekend.  And now I’m looking forward to an encore performance this evening, since we had a sold-out crowd yesterday.

See you in the funny papers!

P.S.  A big thank you to all regular readers and visitors to the Conspiracy of Happiness.  This month was the first time since the Conspiracy set up shop that the number of views increased for 3 months in a row.  Thank you for you support.

NaBloPoMo 20

nablo1108120x240Today I decided to give you a running update and I went looking for the last one and it was on October 23.  Interwebs, how did you let me go this long without an update?!  The good news is that I added almost 38 miles to my trip and broke the 200 mile barrier.  I’m almost to St. Louis on the MRH 570 run and as long as my knees hold up I should be able to make it the rest of the way.

The concern about my knees is that they’ve felt older lately.  I believe some of it has to do with the cold, some of it has to do with my poor stretching regimen Aside: hardly any stretching at all and some of it is probably directly related to the increase in mileage, although, it hasn’t been a huge increase.  Yesterday’s run was an abomination.  It was so cold I couldn’t catch my breath as I was running and I stopped after 15 minutes.  I wanted to stop after 3 minutes.  The 15 minutes, though, turned out to be a pretty decent jaunt.  I got almost a mile and a half in even with the stiff wind.  And the mile was a 9:46 mile which is pretty amazing.  I have, however, decided that due to the weather conditions and my prissy attitude about running, I will be going to the gym for my workouts from now on.

#18

So, where exactly am I?  Huegely, Illinois…which is nowhere!  Not even on the radar screen for the intertubes! Well, I’m not far from St. Louis which is cool, although…the last time I attempted this run, I got to about St. Louis and then became disenchanted and never finished.  The goal is to finish by June 3 which would’ve been Melisa’s birthday.  I know, I know…the goal has changed several times, but I hadn’t planned on breaking my ankle back in February either…so deal!  Anyway, there it is.

See you in the funny papers!

NaBloPoMo 19

nablo1108120x240I was pretty much an absolute slob today.  I didn’t really get out of bed until 11, which was nice.  I got some reading time in which was enjoyable.  Right now I’m reading Proust, which is thick and wonderful.  The language is enjoyable and the story is really nice at the moment.  I went for an abbreviated run Aside: hopefully there will be a running update soon in the cold and wind.  It was terrible and I coughed up winter all through my post-run shower.  From now on, only running at the gym when it is this cold outside.  I also started Apocalypto which, if you’re not a fan of blood and violence, I recommend skipping this one.  It’s been pretty much all that throughout the first half hour to 45 minutes of the film.  It’s interesting though.  Then, I got a haircut and I went to choir practice.  Nothing at all terribly exciting, but it was a nice day off.

I hate to cut this post short, but I’m tired.  I’m not feeling all that well…I think it might be fatigue from not having done anything today.  There’s not really much to say anyway.  Maybe tomorrow will be more entertaining.  We’ll see.

See you in the funny papers!

NaBloPoMo 18

nablo1108120x240Very often, I have the urge to travel.  I think it must be in my blood, what with my geography training and all.  The problem is, I don’t always have the money to travel.  However, that never stops me from imagining myself in various places.  I decided that I would share my top 5 destinations (currently) where, barring money, time, and political strangleholds, I would certainly pack up and go tomorrow.

Number One: Tik’al in Guatemala  Aside from being the largest city of the ancient Mayan civilization, Tik’al was also used as the backdrop for several rebel base scenes in the original Star Wars film.  I am fascinated by this culture and their massive pyramids.  As well, having been to the Yucatan, I would be interested to compare this area with those ruins as well.

Number Two: Vienna, Austria  This city intrigues me for its appearance in a multitude of great musician biographies.  I would love to visit the palaces and attend concerts at the various opera houses.  Plus, it apparently is the world capital of balls Aside: get your mind out of the gutter! and I can’t imagine living a full life without going to the ball with my lovely wife.  I mean, how Cinderella would that be?

Number Three: Mongolia  I know, I know…it seems to be a dry wasteland stuck between Russia and China.  But, I’ve always found beauty in unlikely places.  I think the drive across the Texas panhandle has its charm and I rather like places with lots of farmland.  I just find Mongolia intriguing.  It strikes me as one of the last great frontiers on the planet.  I suppose with its affection for horses, I picture it as more of a wild, wild, Far East sort of place.  This would also add a new continent to my travels.

Number Four: Patagonia, Argentina  I’m not opposed to all of Argentina, but if I have to choose only part, I would love to see this area.  Again, more open wildness calls to me from the map.  Plus, if the food is anything like the local Argentinian restaurant, I will certainly want to spend a lot of time there.  Plus, this would add another continent to my ever-growing list.

Number Five: Havana, Cuba  I hope that someday I’m able to go here.  I’m certain that I’ve romanticized it in my head and it’s quite possibly not all it’s cracked up to be, but if I go, the first thing I’ll do is have my first cigar.  I want to sit at a local café, smoke a cigar, listen to a little guitar music, drink mojitos in my guayabera and dream of a long life.  That should do it.  The next day, I’ll find an old Chevy convertible and drive down the streets of Havana enjoying the sunshine.  Wow…maybe I should move it further up the list.

Runners up: Scotland and/or Ireland; New Zealand; India; Sweden; Banff, Canada

A guy can dream can’t he?  See you in the funny papers!

NaBloPoMo 17

nablo1108120x240Do you remember a time in school when you turned in crap just to get it done because you had so much other stuff going on in your life that you didn’t really have time to do it?  And this crap may have been directly proportional to the amount of time you spent procrastinating?  And you sort of felt bad about handing in the crap, but you were relieved that it was done and you didn’t have to think about it anymore?  Well…this is that crap.

Sorry for the terrible post, but I had a very busy day today and I will not have time to write tonight due to choir rehearsal.  However, let me take the time to shamelessly plug the concert.  The choir I sing with Voces Novae is having a concert at 3 p.m. on November 23.  There are more details available at the link.  Please come, I would love to see you there as it will be a wonderful concert.  Music written by Harry Pickens based on Wendell Berry poems.  And…ME in a tuxedo!  

See you in the funny papers!

NaBloPoMo 16

nablo1108120x240I may have mentioned the other day that we were cleaning out closets.  It seems that two of the closets upstairs still contained boxes upon boxes of things that had been moved in but never sorted.  Naturally, there was a ton of stuff that could be donated, a lot of trash, and a few keepsakes.  My most treasured find Aside: most of the stuff was C.’s was a box containing birthday/graduation/Christmas cards and another box filled with my life from the early 90s.

The early 90s, specifically 1991-1994 was an amazing period of my life.  I was graduating from high school and starting college and all of this was happening before the Internet existed.  Well, okay, not existed…but before it was a part of our lives, and by “our”, I mean pretty much anybody with a pulse.  Since this was really before email as well, I wrote a lot of letters.  My parents will also tell you that I racked up some pretty hefty phone bills in the early 90s as well, but the important thing here is the letters.  These letters were, by and large, written to friends from summer camp.  And some of them troll the depths of human experience and some are no more than a few lines of small talk.  But…wow, the memories.  I managed to read through several and while I must not have been a very reliable communicator back then Aside: several letters admonish me for not writing them sooner I was apparently somewhat sullen, but a really wonderful charming guy and the best counselor-in-training (C.I.T.) ever!  These are things I, of course, knew already…but it’s fun to see them in print.  I’m very modest as well.

I look forward to reading a lot of them over the next few months…and who knows, you might even get a letter from me if I can find you again.  Some of you are easy to find on Facebook and I already know where you are anyway.  Some of you are going to take some of my best investigative skills…and some of you may not even want to be found.  That’s fine too.  I can take a hint.  

See you in the funny papers!

NaBloPoMo 15

nablo1108120x240OHMYGAWD!  So, the funniest teaser just came up on the local news:

“Why the growing meth problem is affecting deer hunting season…at eleven!”

I mean, seriously folks.  That’s hilarious.  Only in Kentucky, or maybe a few other states.  I don’t really know how big deer hunting is in the United States.  I’m guessing it might be huge in other places as well.  But the meth problem affecting deer hunting?!  Absolutely some of the funniest shit I’ve heard all day.

Other than that, it’s raining; I had early morning church choir rehearsal…ON A SATURDAY!!; and C. and I cleaned out closets that we’ve barely looked in since we moved in five years ago.  So, it’s been a long day and not all that exciting.  That’s really all there is to say.

Seriously…meth problem affecting deer hunting.  I promise to check this out more.  If only for the laughs.

See you in the funny papers!

NaBloPoMo 14

nablo1108120x240As I’ve said before, I don’t know much about this bailout business, but I’m starting to glean things here and there.  Seeing as how the DJIA swings wildly from day to day, I’m pretty sure that we’re not out of the woods yet.  Consumer confidence is low and you hardly ever hear of a major corporation posting a profit Aside: unless it’s an oil company and there’s already talk of this being a bad retail Christmas.  Yes, Virginia, a bad retail Christmas.  Santa will have a short ride this year.

Supposedly, we’ve Aside: and by we’ve, I mean nobody knows who gone through about 290 billion of the 700 billion that was approved by Congress.  This doesn’t really mean much to me except I know I haven’t gotten anything.  And I’m not likely to.  Apparently, those of us who did things the way we were supposed to regarding mortgages, and investing, and money-saving…we get a pat on the back and a “thank you” for being a darn good citizen.  

Now they’re talking about bailing out the auto industry.  Well, this is where I draw the line.  The auto industry, by which I mean The Big Three Aside: and what an ego-tastic nickname that is, has screwed around far too long with its behemoth enviro-suckers and is now reaping what it sowed.  When you make the least fuel-efficient vehicles on the market, and gas goes up to $4/gallon, then you have to assume that people are going to start buying something else.  The smallest amount of foresight could’ve seen this, but no, you just continued to make larger and larger vehicles with bigger and bigger names like the Ford Universe or the GMC Annihilator Aside: These are not real vehicles, but we weren’t far from getting them.  And now you want us to pay for your inability to discern a decent marketing strategy?  I don’t think so.  This is something that should’ve been covered in your basic Econ 101 class…assuming, that is, that you went to class that day.  The American public should not be forced to pay for your errors.  

I realize that the auto industry is probably one of the largest employers in our nation, but it has to end somewhere.  I mean, what’s the next bailout?!  The fast-food industry because no one can afford to drive through the drive-thru anymore?  The healthcare industry because everyone got healthy because they couldn’t afford to drive through to get fast-food?  Plus, these numbers that are continually thrown around are preposterous.  Fifty billion for this thing, a hundred twenty billion for that thing.   Come on, NASA put together the Apollo program which put men on the moon for about $25 billion and that was considered to be the ultimate technological achievement of the last millenium.  Something’s got to give folks and I’ll be damned if it’s going to be my wallet.

See you in the funny papers!

NaBloPoMo 13

nablo1108120x240So, now that the election is over Aside: although, how would you know with Palin’s face popping up all over the place…Geesh, doesn’t she know it’s 15 MINUTES of fame, not 15 MONTHS…I digress. my thoughts naturally drift off to topics wherein I’m a little more capable of making a stand, namely the environment.  Bolstered by a helpful comment (Thanks Gleemonex) on my last environmental post, I thought I’d share this latest article from the New York Times regarding pollution in Asia.  Referencing a report from the United Nations, this article talks about brown clouds that stretch from the Arabian Peninsula to the Yellow Sea.  These clouds are a mix of byproducts from automobiles, wood burning stoves, and coal-fired power plants among other things.  As well, these clouds, at times, blot out the sun.

BLOT OUT THE SUN!?!  Seriously?!  Okay…well, 10 to 25 percent of the sunlight available on a given day, but still.  These clouds are sometimes a mile thick.  Think that’s not a lot…go outside right now and walk a mile, I’ll wait.  Okay, good you’re back.  Pretty far huh?  Now you see what I’m talking about.  So, not only is most of the Asian continent breathing this stuff in, when it rains, this soot mixture falls down into the potable water supply and is ingested.  Now, I know some of you are thinking, but it’s Asia, how does that affect me?!  Some of these brown clouds have been known to “migrate” as far as California.  A little scarier now right?  And there’s not border patrol for clouds.  We can’t just stop them at the port and say “Sorry folks, we’re full up with pollution right now, you’ll have to wait a few days or go back to your home country.”  So it affects the health of humans on several continents as well as the health of several species of migratory animals.  

The point is that all of this pollution is anthropogenic.  This means that we, as humans, are creating our own destruction.  By that logic, one would think we would be able to alter our destiny and figure out a way to eliminate, or at the very least reduce, the causes or creation of this pollution.  Failure to do this will result in this being a very dirty, very lonely planet.  

So, the next time you fire up your car, think about whether or not you can make that same trip on your bike or your own two feet.  And when you decide to leave the lights on in your house or turn the heat up, consider the coal necessary to power those activities.  Every decision makes a difference.

See you in the funny papers!