Going Dark


The big move is happening this weekend, right now our house is a mess of boxes and bubble wrap. Being that we’ve shut off our internet service, and my normal guest blogger is going to be even more drugged up than usual (the cats don’t travel well), I’m going on hiatus for a week or two whilst I get settled in Kansas and finish up here in Chicago.

I’m not planning on giving up the Ghost (get it?) so I should be back once everything is relatively normal.

Until then,

Big Mak

Seven Figures

New Music

The Giraffes – (Self-titled) – A louder, harder version of Queens of the Stone Age.  I like it OK, but nothing special or groundbreaking here.

Random Ten Songs

Hell – Foo Fighters – In Your Honor
Split Myself in Two – Meat Puppets – Meat Puppets II
Almost Cut My Hair – Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young – Deja Vu
Enough Space – Foo Fighters – The Colour and the Shape
Sun Will Set – Zoe Keating – One Cello x 16: Natoma
Tissue No. 2 – Wendy Sutter – Songs and Poems for Solo Cello (composed by Philip Glass, from the Naqoyqatsi soundtrack)
Miranda That Ghost Isn’t Holy Anymore – The Mars Volta – Frances the Mute
Song III – Wendy Sutter – Songs and Poems for Solo Cello (composed by Philip Glass)
90 Hour Sleep – Dredg – Live at the Fillmore
Weenie Beenie – Foo Fighters – (self-titled)

A triple shot of Foo Fighters with a cello interlude.  I’ll take it.

Random Ten Story

MIRANDA) Hell is trying to please everyone all the time.  I’m stretched so many ways I feel like I’m going to split myself in two, it feels like I’m in ‘The Pit and the Pendulum’, with everyone’s expectations swinging closer with each pass.  This afternoon the blade is close enough to almost cut my hair.  I’ve worked all day on [Person No. 2]’s requests.  If I’m lucky, I’ll have enough space in my schedule to get to [Person III]’s list before tonight.  I know the sun will set before I go home tonight because if I don’t get it done I’ll hear it from both of them and Mr. Beenan.  I’m sorry, now I’m crying from the stress, could I get a tissue?

No. 2) Ridiculous, it’s always the same story from her.  I know we’re all supposed to feel terrible for the martyr over there, but I’ve got news for Miranda.  That ghost isn’t holy anymore, you’ve pulled this crap out so often that no one buys it anymore.  It’s just the same old song.

III) I’m not sure she’s faking it this time though, she looks like she could use a good 90 hour sleep.  Of course I could say the same for myself, everyone works hard around here.  That’s the joy of working for ‘Weenie Beenie‘.  Can’t beat the pay though, seven figures heals a lot of wounds.

MIRANDA) Seven figures?  You make seven figures!?

No. 2) Great.  You shouldn’t have let that slip.  There she goes.  Now someone else is going to have to do all of this drudgery.  Looks like a long night for you.

Series Preview in Blog: St. Louis Cardinals

St. Louis is currently in first place in the NL Central, one game up on the Brewers.  They are returning from a 4-3 road trip, where they swept the Royals before losing 3 of 4 to the Mets.  The Cards have a pretty good home record (21-16) while the Twins road record is still looking to climb back to respectability

Cards manager Tony LaRussa has long been famous for his myriad pitching changes, constantly bringing in new relievers to exploit matchups.  Apparently this year, he has found a new toy, the late game defensive replacement.  The switches have become so regular and prevalent that a new statistic, the fielding save, has been invented to keep track of it.  Fortunately for those of us who tend to leave games early if they take too long, LaRussa hasn’t had to worry about the ninth inning at all this year.  His closer, Ryan Franklin has been a most pleasant surprise for the Cardinals (although it’s the kind of surprise that shouldn’t be discussed lest it fall victim to Heisenberg’s Principle of Uncertainty and be altered merely by a fan’s observance of it).

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Our Last Trip to Beloit


Due to our impending move to Kansas, catching Snappers games is about to become a lot more difficult just due to sheer distance.  Thus, we took advantage last weekend and took in the last game of the first half of the season for Beloit against the Quad Cities River Bandits (Cardinals A affiliate).

This was doubly exciting because earlier in the week Aaron Hicks had been called up to take a spot on the roster.  I was hoping to get a chance to see him play this year before I left, and he made it just in time.


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Series Preview in Blog: Milwaukee Brewers

The Brewers did the Twins no favors, getting swept by the Tigers this weekend.  How are the Twins supposed to catch the Tigers if they keep staying above .500?

You say they could win enough games that they too will be above .500?  You mean more than one game above .500?  That sounds too scary, I’m cool with the Twins strategy this season – we’ll be at .500 and wait for the rest of the division to come to us.


The Brewers starters have been really poor recently, almost across the board.  Luckily for the Twins, they will be missing Yovanni Gallardo (I think), the one hurler who’s actually been pitching well for the Crew.  Couple that with the fact that the Brewers are right near the top of the NL Central as trade speculation season begins and that the guys being called on to step into the lineup, like Casey McGehee and Mat Gamel, are doing remarkably well, and you’ve got a ton of posts about the potential starting pitchers Milwaukee could be interested in.  Not only that, apparently Erik Bedard and Doug Davis have stated their case as to why the Milwaukee front office should target them, the card that Bedard made is awfully persuasive.

Liriano v. J. Suppan

Suppan has been about what you would expect from him at this point – nothing spectacularly good or bad, but serviceable.

Blackburn v. B. Looper

Looper had a very good start to the year, but he has quickly regressed and become part of the rotation-wide struggles for the Brewers.

??? v. ???

It should be Slowey here for Minnesota but MLB.com has Baker.  For the Brewers, it’s Dave Bush’s turn in the rotation, but he’s been so bad lately that the word is he’s suffering from arm fatigue.  So, manager Ken Macha (who may be the best personality on the Brewers.  Really? The manager?) deciding whether or not to skip him this time around, a decision made harder by the struggles of the other starters to pitch effectively.

Beat the Streak


Albert Pujols

(1 for 4, 2B)

Current Streak – 0
Longest Streak – 18

I. Kinsler
R. Zimmerman
A. Rowand
A. Rios
J. Morneau
S. Schumaker
I. Suzuki
J. Mauer
S. Victorino
F. Lopez
R. Braun
C. Crawford
M. Cabrera
C. Lee
C. Beltran
R. Branyan
F. Sanchez
A. Pujols

Chipper Jones

(0 for 3, BB)

For All The Marbles [Updated]

Big game today. The Skokie Rec League Hockey championship pitting the undefeated Nunavut Sled Dogs (that’s me) against the challengers, Macon Whoopee (seriously). I have to admit I’m a little nervous, we were assigned the black jerseys, so I can’t shake the feeling that we’re the villains of a Mighty Ducks movie and that the whole undefeated season was just a set-up for the dramatic reversal of fortune in the championship. Wish me luck!

[UPDATE: In your face plucky upstart team! Victory is ours!]


Random 10 Story: Lost Job


Before Nate or Billy realized where he was, the four year old hurricane had leaped from the table to the floor and sprinted past Nate, who was laying out his seventh game of solitaire, and with arms spread wide soared off to the uncharted wilderness of the living room, oblivious to the newly overturned pile of cards he left behind him. Nate began reordering the cards into a neat stack, shot Billy a dirty look and asked if he could leave.

“No, man. You have to stay.” Billy pleaded, “You need this money, and it’s hard enough to convince people to hire you in the first place, let alone re-elect the deadbeat moron who left in the middle of the morning while he was supposed to be watching their darling.”

On cue, the darling disaster came hurtling back through the dining room. He had picked up a candlestick and was using it as a sword to torment his supposed caretakers. He stopped in the middle of the room, where the sunlight fell through the window. Posing in the golden section of the room, candlestick raised, he prepared to launch into his familiar refrain.


And he was off.

“Next time you call and say ‘meet me in the morning’, I’m going back to bed.” Nate shook his head and returned to the card game. Billy was looking over his shoulder, about to point out the red eight he could play on a black nine, when a horrific crash came from the living room. Nate actually got there first, and in a horrified whisper informed Billy, “We’ve got a bleeder.”

Really it was an almost insignificant cut to the forehead, but it was enough that it required a few minutes of pressure with a towel to stop the blood. Nate did not take this well. “Thanks for setting up this job, this is going to work out just great! Remind me never to have you set me up on a blind date, I’d probably end up with a hooker with a penis!” With the flow of blood stopped, the child rocketed away from Billy, chanting a new favorite phrase, “Hooker with a penis! Hooker with a penis! Hooker with a penis!”

This was the scene the parents came home to, their blood-smeared darling running around looking like he survived an attack by an axe-murderer, shouting a borderline obscene phrase as he trotted from room to room. Just to get the whole picture, to really bring it on home; occasionally he would pass by a shellshocked duo of would-be babysitters holding the couple’s best towels soaked in their child’s blood.

Lectures ensued. Blah, blah, blah, we put our trust in you, blah, blah, blah. Nate would later say he would rather eat a sandwich of razor blades than go back into that house. Fortunately, he never had to.

Ten Songs Picked At Random

Real quick post because I was out late last night (on a school night!).  Enjoy!

HYPERPOWER! – Nine Inch Nails – Year Zero
Stack Shot Billy – Black Keys – Rubber Factory
Elect the Dead – Serj Tankian – Elect the Dead
The Golden Section – Coil – Horse Rotorvator
Meet Me In the Morning – Bob Dylan – Blood On the Tracks
Bleeder – Nothingface – Violence
Hooker With a Penis – Tool – Aenima
Bring It On Home – Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin II
Trust in You – The Offspring – Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace
Razor – Foo Fighters – In Your Honor

Maybe a story will appear here later.  Maybe not.

Series Preview in Blog: Houston Astros

The Astros come to town finishing a nine-game road trip.  Houston lost 2 of 3 to Texas this week, which marked their first series loss in June (10-6 in the month).  That mild hot streak has not moved them up in the standings, as they remain in last place in the NL Central, six games back.

The Astros have one of the lowest run-scoring offenses in the NL (only ahead of Chicago, SF, and SD in runs scored) and a big part of that is that they’re just not hitting home runs.  That has resulted in a run-differential of -37 which makes it hard to believe this team is making a run for the top half of the division.  Normally, you would think that no power = scrappy hustling hitters (at least according to the classic baseball announcer logic).  At least in some cases that’s not true as Carlos Lee is catching some flak for not running out grounders.  Still, I’m not going to rag on the guy because he just extended my season long hit streak in Beat the Streak to 14 games last night (I might actually have to start thinking about my picks at this point).

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Twins and Wild: New Faces

This is a bit of a grab bag of stuff that should probably end up filling out a post.

Wild hire Richards as Head Coach:

So we’re shaking the Penguins tree to see what falls to us in the front office, apparently.  Todd Richards was a minor league coach for the Penguins before moving up to assistant coach of the San Jose Sharks.  He’s had success everywhere he’s coached, so we’ll see how he does with a roster that (at least partially) wasn’t designed with his systems in mind.  This hiring isn’t terribly surprising as new Wild GM Chuck Fletcher comes from the Pens organization and worked with Richards whilst there.  As far as organizations to pilfer from, it doesn’t get much better than the current holders of the Stanley Cup.

A note from Russo at the Strib points out that Fletcher will have his name on the Cup as part of the Penguins.  That’s pretty efficient work, he’s hired as the Wild GM, and within a month he’s got his name on the Stanley Cup.  A sign of things to come?

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Series Preview in Blog: Pittsburgh Pirates

“Ladies and gentlemen, we have our first mediocre Pirates team since 1997.”

– Burgher Jon @ The Pittsburgh Men’s Blogging Society

The Pirates come to Minnesota winners of four of their last five, and unbridled optimism is the mood of Pirates fans.  They are a mere four games out of first place (although also tied for last in the NL Central), are nearly at .500 (30-33), and BP has their playoff odds at 10%.  Maybe ‘cautious’ is the better modifier for optimism.  If ever there was a year for optimism in Pittsburgh sports, this is it, with the Penguins’ Stanley Cup run fresh in mind, maybe the Pirates are destined for greatness.  Sidney Crosby and the Pens were at the game Sunday (which was also turn back the clock day – love the old-time unis and scoreboard) showing off their new hardware.

The Pirates biggest move this year was the trade of Nate McLouth to the Atlanta Braves in early June.  Immediate reaction from what I can tell on the blogs, was a bit of “here we go again” and some “I see what they’re doing, I’m just not quite convinced“.  I’m sure the GM was excited when one of the returns of that trade, Charlie Morton, pitched all of one inning in his Pirates debut before injuring himself (it’s minor – he won’t miss his next start).  With all the trades of talent (Bay, Nady, McLouth) for prospects, the Pirates are collecting quite a few prospects. Along those lines, in the recent draft the Pirates had the fourth overall pick, but in a move widely viewed as budget-motivated, they reached and selected catcher Tony Sanchez.  Even though I don’t really follow the draft, I feel comfortable saying that this was a reach due to posts “defending” the pick.

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