Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Market

What happened today is a perfect example of why people like me believe in the value-investing principles set forth by Graham and made famous by Buffett.

Google's CFO announced that the company's growth would probably slow down at some point, something everyone had to have assumed.

Yet it still brought the whole market down. Stocks, specifically tech stocks, plunged.

And for what?

Looks like Mr Market is in one of his moods.

Weight Loss Blogs

I found this incredibly interesting and think it will be extremely helpful to anyone who wants to lose weight. Just seeing the whole thing for what it is—a long, steady process—should help.

I'll be rooting for them.

The Soriano situation

At first I didn't care about this, thinking it would be resolved soon, but it looks like we might be in for an unprecedented event here.

In case you don't know the details, here you go.

It begs the question: should a player have to move to a new position if the team wants him to?

This isn't about Soriano being able to play LF or not. It's about how much control a team should have over an individual's fate. He was traded, first of all, to another team. Now he may have to play in a place he doesn't like AND play a position he never has before.

And remember, this guy was a shortstop until he got to the bigs: Jeter pushed him out in NY and ARod in Texas.

But what if he feels his worth as a player will be diminished by playing LF. I'm sorry, but for once I find myself siding with the player. If he makes that move, will he ever be allowed to play 2B again? Will he be seen as a LF?

It reminds me of the discussion of being "labeled." Be it as a part-time player, a defensive liability, a bad guy, etc.

Soriano is trying to prevent that.

We'll see.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

More Language stuff

From Yahoo Sports:

"We'll see what happens," Rivera said on Saturday. "Hopefully this year I'll do a good job. I don't want to go ahead."

Friday, February 24, 2006


I went to the bathroom, was sitting there and it hit me: Wouldn't it be awesome if we could pick and choose which channels we wanted on TV? Pay like 1$ per channel per month (seems like the going rate for everything now)? I was thinking how great it was and which channels I would and wouldn't add and then I went back to work.

And saw this article.

And I freaked out.

Short story recommendation

I tried to get it online but the New Yorker removed it.

Just go to Borders and find the 2005 Best American Short Stories and read the last one. It's by George Saunders and it'll make you cry it's so funny. Plus it's short, not even 10 pages.

Odd quote

From the Toronto Star:

The prospect of free agency and of going into the season as a man without a position does not seem to faze Hillenbrand.

"There was talk about a long-term deal last year," Hillenbrand said. "It was presented to me from the team during the season. It didn't escalate from there. I like it here. As a player, you really can't think long-term. It's really tough to speculate.

Really, you can't? Why doesn't that make sense to me? Is this a sign of the new economics of baseball or am I just reading into it too much?

Why all the questions?

A real-life Memento?

Maybe, but there is already post-Frey controversy around this documentary.

A funny Michael Jordan Story

From the Daily Herald:

Weekend fling

ESPN.com’s Bill Simmons on watching Michael Jordan live it up at the hotel bar during all-star weekend, complete with cards, cigars and friends:

“MJ kept getting louder and louder, and he and (Charles) Oakley were cleaning up … and then suddenly … MJ’s wife shows up… and poor MJ looks like somebody who took a no-hitter into the ninth, then gave up a triple off the left-field wall.

“The trash-talking stops. He slumps in his seat like a little kid. The cigar goes out. No more hangin’ with the boys. Time to be a husband again … I lean over to (a friend) to say, ‘Look at that, he’s just like us.’ Just your average guy getting derailed by his wife. For once in my life, I didn’t want to be like Mike.’’

Cool conservatives?

With these shirts you can be as cool as liberals but express your conservative viewpoints.

They seem kind of silly to me, especially how it reeks of effort. They're getting the hang of it though.

More misquotes in MLB

Here's an interesting angle on this discussion of Spanish-speaking players being mis-quoted in order to make them "sound right":

From the Washington Post:

"The only thing that I know is that I'm happy to be here in Washington," Soriano said, in response to a question about a potential move to the outfield. "I have one week to practice second base because I have to go to the [WBC]. And that's what I have now in my mind. I no think about outfield."

Presumable the same quote, from the Washington Times:

"I have [12 days] to get ready to play in the world cup at second base," he said. "So I'm not thinking about outfield right now. We have plenty of time to think about it."

Considering that these reporters know the basics of English, I'm thinking that Soriano misspoke when he said "I no think about outfield." Which is fine, I sound like that too when I speak French, but what I'm getting at is that this reporter didn't change it.

What happened to the whole thing about not making players look like "idiots?" I'll email the writer and see what the story is on this.

The Holloway Case

I saw the thing on TV last night interviewing the van der Sloot kid and it struck me how much older he looked and spoke. Granted, he was probably coached pretty well before coming on, but it made me think of something completely unrelated to the missing girl.

That young people who are traveled or at least are aware of other cultures are so much more advanced, both intellectually and in other facets, than their American counterparts. Which can be bad, because they become adults quicker and can lie their way of things, but it just struck me how much more advanced this kid seemed than you average, 18-year-old American kid.

An American kid would've been on with his father or lawyer, probably would've cried, and wouldn't have been nearly as composed as this kid was.

Just a thought.

Throws with both arms?

If you go here and scroll down to the "In the Dugout" feature, you'll read about Pat Venditte, a sophomore at Creighton that pitches with both arms. Crazy huh? My coach used to be able to do that, at least for BP, and he could throw breaking stuff and everything, it was crazy.

Guatemala article

In the Washington Post. Talks more about the self-cleansing going on down there, and specifically in Atitlán, which sucks.

Thursday, February 23, 2006


Even the English-speaking players do it and in this case it didn't get corrected. I wonder why and I wonder how often it does.

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Johnny Damon needed only three pitches before being reminded how intimidating Randy Johnson can be.

Damon was grazed on the forearm by Johnson's pitch Thursday during the first day of batting practice against pitchers.

"I think the guys were pretty much teasing him saying he should have did that last year," said Damon, who played center field for the Boston Red Sox before signing a $52 million, four-year contract with the Yankees. "He's the best. I thought he threw the ball well. It was good to see the best right out the chute. I know exactly what I need to work on. Get my timing down. It was a good day."

This is the kind of thing you really can't opine fully on unless you're there and around the environment day in and day out.

Maybe one day I will be...

Where the hell is DFW?

Maybe it was last night's discussion with Tollo about Everything and More, but it got me wondering out loud about something I've been thinking for a long time:

Where the hell is DFW?

His new book came out Dec 13 and there hasn't been an interview to be seen. He's done some readings, as indicated over on The Howling Fantods. But no interviews. No quotes from him on this work. It's incredible frustrating.

It was refreshing to read a piece in last quarter's Poets & Writers about a guy trying to do just that: talk to him. He lived near him and tried him at the University he teaches—no go.

His agent told him he just didn't want to do anything and that she would try to convince him to do "maybe one big thing."

I'm bummed but it's exciting to think of him hard at work on his next novel...

Still though, I want more.

Spanish Speakers in MLB

A nice article on the Baltimore Orioles and how most of the players are Hispanic.

I can totally relate to stuff like this;

"You can say a joke in Spanish, but when you translate, people don't laugh. Even though we're away from home, we feel like we're close to home as much as we can be."

My Hairston prediction may come true

At least someone agrees with me...

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


Check out this post for an apartment on Craigslist:

$800 - Couple to Rent Haunted Apartment for Reduced Rent
Reply to: hous-136120314@craigslist.org
Date: 2006-02-22, 2:53PM CST

Got an unrentable space due to an active spirit? Can't find anyone to live in your rental that is actually a portal to a hellish, paranormal realm? Do you need tenants willing to deal with unexplainable noises in the night, floating orbs and disturbing apparitions?

We are gay couple looking to share a space with ghosts for a reduction in rent. Although a friendlier, yet active poltergeist would be preferable, a more demonic force contained within the property would be tolerated. As with our willingness for cohabitation with the deceased, a space in a safe yet hip area of town is required, along with a gracious cut in the required monthly rent. You must be open to letting us paint the apartment, cat-friendly and tolerant of our queer-hipster lifestyle. Credit must not be an issue.

Contact us soon!

* yes -- cats are OK - purrr
* this is in or around LSq/WP/UKV/LakeV/Etc
* no -- it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

You can't be fucking serious

From http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060221/ap_on_re_us/missing_show_dog

dog droppings consistent with the 30-pound whippet's were found Monday behind an airport cargo building

So now they have crazy people looking for a crazy person's dog. Sounds about right to me.

Note sent to Carrie Muskat at Cubs.com

Don't you agree that Felix Pie should be put in at AAA and just let alone? He should have a full season down there, something he hasn't had above A-ball yet. In light of the way Corey Patterson turned out, I hope Hendry and the Cubs see how foolish it is to promote a young guy too fast, especially when he hasn't learned plate discipline (16BB/53Ks in half a season at AA).

From me by the way.

And for those that are psycho about stats, I've been using www.thebaseballcube.com and it's awesome, lists minor and major league stats for most players, sometimes including college numbers. It's awesome.

Petagine signed by Mariners!


I knew someone had to give this guy a shot. I didn't even know he also won 2 gold gloves in Japan!

Typical Cubs fans

There is a poll on Chicagosports.com that asks fans who they think should be playing second base. The choices are Todd Walker (the favorite, but also likely to be traded), Jerry Hairston (who will probably take over if Walker is traded), and Neifi Perez (who will not be the starting second baseman), and "someone else."

I should've known what the answer was before I checked off Jerry Hairston and clicked VOTE.

Todd Walker is the leading vote getter, and next up is "someone else."

Cubs fans are trade happy, just like the Red Sox fans are (only not to that extent, at least not yet).

Monday, February 20, 2006

More Language issues in MLB

I'm telling you, these things come in bunches.

This time it's Livan Hernandez:

"The knee is going to be all right for the season," Hernandez said. "There's no hurt, last like year. Last year, sometimes I get out of the bed and feel pain."

"There's no hurt" is OK. Not perfect but you get the gist. "last like year" has to be a mistake on the writer's part. No way he flipped those two, no one ever does. Plus, he gets it right on the very next sentence.

He hurt his knee last season and after the game said he was 99% sure he was going to retire (he's only 31). Referring to that day:

"It was the day that everybody think I go crazy," Hernandez said.

This is exactly what I'm trying to discuss here. This sounds like what he would say. It sounds like a foreigner speaking English, which is what he is. The thing is, you don't see these sentences a whole lot in the papers. They get cleaned up to not embarass the player. I can see how some might feel embarassed by that, but that's the way they talk, it's part of their personality. It's not that I'm a stickler for reading EXACTLY what the player said, I just want to feel like I was there and I'm getting the player's personality too.

The whole thing about correcting the language for the sake of avoiding embarrassment is kind of a dumb idea since most MLB fans could care less about those kind of mistakes, and they probably don't even notice them themselves.

Julio Franco's advice

On how he's still playing baseball at age 47, Franco gives advice all of us should follow if we want to achieve our goals:

"You have to do things other people aren't willing to do"

Out of Context statement of the Day

"If it's a deal I feel is fair for me, I would sign it. It's still a business. I always look at it as if there is a deal that makes me happy now, why not sign it? I don't think $2-3 million a year more is going to change my life," he said.

That may sound flippant, to dismiss 2-3 million dollars like it was nothing, which would ordinarily make me angry, especially from a baseball player. But this is Derek Lee, one of the good guys. The way he means it is, as opposed to most players, is that he won't be trying to squeeze every last drop out of a team. If he's happy, why not sign?

Freedom of Speech issue

The fact that this guy got sent to jail for saying something still shocks me. The article zeroes in on something I hadn't thought of that merits attention:

Irving's trial came amid new — and fierce — debate over freedom of expression in Europe, where the printing and reprinting of unflattering caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad has triggered deadly protests worldwide.

Does anyone else see a problem with this inconsistency?

This is the problem

Taken from Yahoo Finance, this a bio of an online columnist:

The Automatic Millionaire
by David Bach

Bestselling author David Bach shares his no-budget, no-discipline, no-nonsense system to help people achieve their financial goals -- and then some. With motivational stories, easy-to-follow tips, and advice based on proven financial principles, "The Automatic Millionaire" is a must read for anyone who wants to make -- and save -- more money. "The Automatic Millionaire" appears every other Tuesday, exclusively on Yahoo! Finance.

That's the same as the weight loss system that requires no dieting, no change in lifestyle, no effort on your part, no pain, no gym, no stress, no nothing that is guaranteed to work!

We've become so lazy that the marketers know they can't even sell things by saying "only 7 minutes a day!" or "with only a minimal amount of financial restraint."

It's sad because people get shielded from the truth: that they need to overhaul their lifestyle if they want to achieve their goals (which are usually their wants, not their needs), be they financial, physical, or otherwise.

NBA All Star Game...YAWN

Everything that's wrong with the NBA was front and center yesterday at the All Star Game so I didn't even bother to watch. When the two teams combine for over 240 points you know I'm not interested.

Sam Smith puts it best in his article:

Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant found something funny eight minutes into the game when Bryant dribbled around and between his legs and around O'Neal and spun past Dwyane Wade for a basket. Bryant and O'Neal then shared a laugh as they talked. It was surprising Beyonce didn't break into a verse of "Kumbaya."

Ahh....good times

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Cedeno Article

A nice article over on Cubs.com on Ronny Cedeño getting his opportunity to start and how valuable he'll be defensively.

It's really an idea situation for a minor leaguer—he gets to show off his defensive skills while hitting low enough in the order that he can learn to hit at this level without any pressure of being relied on to produce in order for the team to win.

I'm excited about the defense he brings.

The team in general has more speed and defense (Murton, Pierre, Cedeño, Jones, and Hairston) which is always good.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Statistics of Old vs New Blog

This isn't as precise as I'd like, but it's close enough.

The tracker on the old blog wasn't directly on the blog, it was on the general website, but that's pretty much the same thing because that's what most people read anyway.

The old blog has a total of 700 visits since March 31st, 2004. That's almost two years. It's such an insignificant amount that the "Average Time" spent on each visit was 0:00.

The new blog has been up since December 30th, 2005 and has 265 hits with an average of 0:32 minutes per visit.

I say the move to blogger was a good one.


I never really look at the blog itself, the place where I post is white and bright. But I do go on to check if I'm getting any traffic, and today I noticed it's too dark. Too dreary. So I switched it to this one, which is as close as I could find to the old blog.

So, what do you think, does it look better than before?

Chicago may get free internet

As I recall, Phillie was the first place that did/thought of this. Either way, it's exciting as hell. Not only because it would save me some money, but because a portable Wi-Fi device wouldn't just be for show anymore—it would actually be incredibly helpful and useful.

Imagine you're on your way to get a movie at Blockbuster (your free Netflix trial has ended) and OH NO! they don't have the movie you want. You whip out your Palm and check the movie times, hey we can make it to the Landmark's neverending run of Good Night Good Luck, and off to the movies you go. Or send a quick email and so on, the possibilities are endless.

Trib story here.

I thought this was pretty interesting too:

Houston, for example, determined that a Wi-Fi network would allow it to create a low-cost parking meter operation that accepts debit or credit cards.

Now that's using technology to help make everyday issues easier to deal with.

Coins and cash are slowly going the way of the dinosaur.

Cubs look to stay healthy

From the Trib:

New direction

The two most valuable employees this spring may be strength and conditioning coach Tim Buss and trainer Mark O'Neal. After two injury-plagued seasons, they're in charge of helping the Cubs avoid a three-peat.

It's not a repeat of Mac Newton, the controversial, new-age conditioning guru of the Don Baylor-era. But the spring training conditioning program will include what manager Dusty Baker called "more dynamic stretching and different flexibility" exercises.

"We're going to change our fitness program a little bit as far as working out after [practice] rather than before," Baker said. "For many years, most of my teams have done most of their work before. So we're just going to try something different and see if that works."

Notice the "working out after rather than before" part.

It surprises me because it's something my coach in Guatemala, one Duglio Gómez, would stress over and over and over every time we practiced. If you stretch out after practice (as well as before, that much is obvious) you'll be less sore the next day, which seems even more important if you're playing every day, as in MLB.

Skiles too is the man

From the Tribune:

Skiles said he was shocked by Ben Gordon's comments last week in which Gordon said video games were a distraction when preparing for home games. "That concerns me from a maturity standpoint," he said with a slight smile.

Why I love Andres Nocioni (aKa Chapu)

There a great article that's supposed to be about the All Star festivities over on Chicagosports.com (that's the Tribune's sports section), but it's really about my main man Noce.

Check it out here.

What he says is refreshing as hell, especially in the NBA, but the way he says it says as much about him and who he is. This goes back to my idea about foreign athletes (or just very incomepent speaker-athletes) that have translators get them and their words across. Sometimes reporters do it.

But it's refreshing to see Noce in this article as is. You can hear him talking to you because you know that the way it's written is the way he talks.

I know because it's the way my father talks in English.

A sampling of my favorite quotes in the article:

"I am not like Manu. He makes 30 points every game. I make 14 points, seven rebounds. My game is not a talent game—more attitude, passion. I know I do not have the talent like these other guys in the NBA. They are unbelievable."

Noce on the All Star festivities and how players just want to dunk and look good:

"A charge? Yes, I am sure," Nocioni said about seeking out his favorite defensive play in the game that was such an embarrassing lob-dunk fest two years ago that NBA Commissioner David Stern personally appealed to the participants last season to try to play basketball.

"The people want to see a show," Nocioni acknowledged. "But the people want to see basketball sometimes. Sometimes the game is too much show and the people sometimes think this is boring. Why don't they just play a basketball game?

"You can make showtime, but sometimes it is too much. It is just basketball."

"For me [this] is an honor," Nocioni said. "It is important to me. But [it is also] difficult because if I play hard somebody may be angry with me. I play soft, somebody may be angry with me.

"I have to put my body on a guy to check him. The guy will look at the ref and say 'He is a dirty player.' I say, 'Hey, c'mon man. That is my job. I need to check you.'

"I just play. I play like Nocioni. I play aggressive, with passion. I try to work hard for my team. This is my style."

Note the brackets on the "For me" paragraph. It's the writer trying to do what the Sammy Sosa incident from way back mentioned: not make the athlete sound like a moron. In this case I think he (the reporter) did just enough—not too much, which is good.

Just take the brackets out and you get 100% Noce.

What makes me wonder is when public officials have brackets inserted. Sometimes it's because the quote lacks context, other times it's because they're speaking incorrectly and the reporter is trying to be nice and make it sound good.

Either way, Noce is the man.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

New Investing Book out soon

Check it out here. It's called Rule #1 and comes out March 21. It's basically all of Graham and Buffett's ideas that have withstood the test of time, only they are packaged in a more user-friendly, how-to format, which is good. I wonder if people will buy into it or not.

Check out the guy's blog here.

Molto Interesante

Free Speech

From an email I got from DePaul today:

Dear Carlos,

Recently, a student organization held what has become known on college campuses across the nation as an "affirmative action bake sale." It was a provocative event viewed by many as an affront to DePaul's values of respect and dignity, inclusiveness and diversity. Concurrently, it raised questions about our commitment to free speech.

DePaul has completed a comprehensive review of the event to determine whether it violated our Student Code of Conduct or our new Anti-Discriminatory Harassment Policy. The reviewer interviewed or consulted with 20 people, including members of the DePaul Conservative Alliance (DCA), which hosted the event, and students who challenged the message it sent.

DCA explained in the review that its event was designed to be a "satirical protest" against affirmative action, particularly as it relates to admission policies, that would generate awareness and prompt discourse on the topic. The event, which included a menu board with prices based on one's race and gender, has been viewed by members of the university community as blatantly offensive and contrary to many of DePaul's core values.

The review concluded that the bake sale was a protest and was intentionally misrepresented by DCA in its promotion table application, violating the Student Code of Conduct. As a result of these findings, the organization has been censured, and sanctions have been applied. Our review also determined that the event did not violate the Anti-Discriminatory Harassment Policy because it was not directed at an individual, did not disrupt academic activity and did not demonstrate a pattern necessary to create a hostile environment.

DePaul has always been a pioneer in enrolling a broad array of students when other institutions would not. This proud legacy extends beyond racial minorities, to female, Jewish and Catholic students early in the 20th century. DePaul is proud of its history of welcoming students of many traditions and backgrounds to the university and then creating an atmosphere of respect and care for them. I support DCA's right to hold a protest on the topic of affirmative action. What I find troubling is that the protest was intentionally located across from the university's Cultural Center, a place where our students of color organize numerous enriching events for the campus community. I am not objecting that the event was, in DCA's own words, meant "to be incendiary." I am concerned that there is an appearance of having been directed specifically toward one group of the university community rather than the university community as a whole. In my opinion, this doesn't rise to the level of DePaul's commitment to create a welcoming atmosphere for all.

DePaul is committed to free speech, and as part of that commitment, we understand that we must allow even those activities that might startle or offend to take place, as long as those activities do not violate campus behavior policies. I hope our campus community knows that the university itself does not endorse a message merely because it permits it to be expressed. Our ancestors, who gave us the gift of free speech, understood that if we limit freedom of _expression for one, then we limit it for all. They taught us that the best way to counter speech with which we disagree is to greet it with more speech. Because of that, I am particularly grateful to the many student groups, faculty and staff who took the time to respond to this bake sale. They demonstrated both DePaul's deepest values and its commitment to vigorous debate.

To add to this response, I have asked Helmut Epp, executive vice president for Academic Affairs, and Elizabeth Ortiz, senior executive for Institutional Diversity, to sponsor a series of forums on free speech and affirmative action at DePaul. These events will engage the academic units, Faculty Council, Student Affairs, University Mission and Values, Institutional Diversity, Staff Council, the Student Government Association and student organizations in forums that will be open to faculty, staff and students. Information about these events will be posted on the Student Affairs Web site and available in the DePaulia once they are scheduled. This will complement the number of meetings and forums that already have been held to discuss the impact of this event on the DePaul community. I am very pleased that a diverse group of students have participated in these meetings and discussions.

Many universities are confronting these issues, and I anticipate a continuing conversation here as well. We engage in a daily balancing act as we affirm our strong commitment to free speech and academic freedom while living the values that are integral to our mission. Both intellectual discourse and the Vincentian tradition itself always begin with respect and dignity. Our community must hold firm to these foundational values as we explore these critical issues together.


Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M.

I had heard about this from the grapevine and it never really did anything for me. The undergrads were pretty worked up about it, "Charging prices based on your gender or color! Oh my GOD!!!"

Maybe I'm cynical or maybe I've matured (a little, at least), but this was all "blah" to me.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

New McDonalds

I went to the new McDonalds here in Chicago. It’s not “new” in the sense that it just opened, it’s new in the sense that it’s a new type of design for the franchise. First of all, it’s huge. Two floors connected by an escalator. There are like 10 cash registers. The windows look like they’re fused together by huge jacks.

I went upstairs to sit down and eat my burger and there were a few sections that seemed to fancy for me to even think of sitting in. Yes, fancy, at a McDonalds. Crazy. The trash receptacles have “Merci” inscribed on them. There is a counter upstairs for ice cream or coffee, like a diner-type area. It’s very pleasing to the eye and makes you feel like you’re somewhere in the future. The only thing missing was a waiter in a silver jump suit.

It reminded me of Demolition Man and how Taco Bell was this fancy restaurant in the future. It really did.

Here’s what the Tribune had to say about it.

A precursor to Born into Brothels

And it started in Guatemala.

I remember briefly reading something about it and how the kids were getting beaten or even arrested for theft because no one believed the cameras had been given to them.

Guatemala is getting worse

Bodies of supposed gang member were found yesterday in what appear to be vigilante killings. Gangs have gotten out of control in Guatemala recently and it seems someone decided to do something about it. Though historically this has not been the solution to this problem, I'm sure that I'm not the only one that sees dead gansters in a ditch as an "at last" insofar as positive news coming out of the country. Which, yeah is bad, but that's how bad it's gotten down there.

100th post on new blog...a lot?

So this is my 100th post and I have to admit that most of them have been posted while at work (will this come back to bite me in the ass? Stay tuned...). So the inevitable question arises: How do you have the time? Are you a lazy worker?

The answer is simple. No I am not a lazy worker. Most of the work I do is computer-dependent and therefore processor dependent. The computer can only do so much at a time, especially when resizing or transferring images, which is what I'm doing right now. It's all automatic mostly, I just have to overlook the whole thing and make sure it gets done. Which gives me spurts of time (10-15 seconds) to read and post.

Which reminds me of something Mindy saw on the internet the other day about some company finding out that the employers were spending over 40 hours a week online instead of working. That seems a bit much, who stays overtime to chill out on the Net?

Not I. I'll only post from 9-5, like a good, processor-dependent worker.

Happy 100th

Sosa rejects Nats offer, may retire

Latest countries visiting the blog

Spain, Portugal, India, and Canada.

The regulars remain Guatemala and the USA (Georgia and (mysteriously) the Northwest)

Great Article on 14-year-old trader

This was from a while back, but I had never heard of it. Plus it was written by Michael Lewis, author of Moneyball. A very interesting read about the moral/legal aspects of what is "wrong" about stock speculation and opinions.


More language quirks

Here is something from the Daily Herald:

But the absolute worst part, the statement that frightens you when you think about Tejada joining a Chicago club, is this Miggy quote from the winter:

“I am not asking for a team of superstars, I only want a good group that helps me to win.’’

A good group that helps me to win.

If that doesn’t reek of Sammy Sosa disease, what does?

Sure it reeks of Sammy Sosa disease, but this reporter seems to have been looking for the connection and trying to find evidence of it rather than the other way around. I assume he's focusing on the "helps me to win" part.

Does it sound selfish? Sure. Is it? That depends.

If he said it in English then you have to leave room for him misspeaking. A malapropism. Non-native speakers do it all the time, it gives them color and personality.

But it also gives reporters a chance to focus on details and make something out of nothing.

Sammy Sosa and Miguel Tejada in the same boat? Come on...

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

I'm not a conservative but....

It's still weird seeing the things that are happening in guatemala: pornography, gang warfare, drug crime, organized crime, and so on. It's like we are leaving the 3rd world slowly behind. Ignorance is being replaced by some of these things, it's inevitable.

Sure, but when it's your home and you remember it a certain way it's kind of sad and frustrating.

I'm not a conservative but....

It's still weird seeing the things that are happening in guatemala: pornography, gang warfare, drug crime, organized crime, and so on. It's like we are leaving the 3rd world slowly behind. Ignorance is being replaced by some of these things, it's inevitable.

Sure, but when it's your home and you remember it a certain way it's kind of sad and frustrating.

Me watch figure skating? That's unpossible!

But I did. I watched Dan and Hao Zhang in their quest to pull off a move that has never been completed in competition. That's some exciting shit right there.

It's a move where the guy picks up the girl by the waist and throws her as far as he can, she spins in the air like a rag doll, and is supposed to come down into a spin. But Dan (the girl) came down hard on her knee and was obviously injured. She cried but she got up, tested the knee, and continued to skate. Then finished her routing. Amazing. They won a medal for it. It was awe inspiring. Incredible.

Read here for more and try to ignore the awful writing and cheesy picture of the primadonna that wrote this drivel.

Actually, this article (http://sports.yahoo.com/olympics/torino2006/news?slug=reu-figureskatingchinajudgingdc&prov=reuters&type=lgns) is much better.

Also interesting was that the coach of the Chinese team was one of the first figure skaters the country ever had. He learned only from pictures and the girl wore a helmet throughout their rather bad performance to protect her from the falls.

I saw the tape and it was embarassing. They were laughed out of the arena.

Now he's back and is presiding over medal winners. A great story.



Check out sweet tool to find out how much any house you have an address for costs. Scope out your neighborhood or even that friend of yours that won't tell you how much he paid.

Tejada becomes eloquent

From the Washington Post:

"How is it possible that everything I've worked so hard for has been damaged because I used B-12?" said Tejada, drowning out the buzz from low-hung fluorescent lights. "I've been in a baseball for nine years now and my name is tarnished now because of this? Why? I know I am good role model. And up until now I've proven to be as such. The only time I've had a problem is now. And the only thing I did was to try to help a friend by giving him B-12, and to tell him how to use it. I didn't commit any crime."

This is what gets me curious about newspaper reporting. Did Tejada really say "And up until now I've proven to be as such"? Of course not. Did he say the equivalent in Spanish and the writer translated it? We don't know, but the writer's name is Jorge Arangure Jr. and he was there in the DR, so it's likely he knows Spanish and spoke to Tejada in Spanish.

But we'll never know because there are no rules about disclosing whether or not the interview was translated by the writer or not, which sucks because - for all we know this guy isn't very good at translating. Who knows what Tejada really said. Did he get the gist of it down? Sure, he probably did, but we didn't get the nuances and intricacies that tell us about Tejada's personality and rhetorical "voice" in this translation.

Or, even worse, we get a voice that is markedly different from his real one.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Any Madonna's left?

Mindy and I were discussing this on our drive back from Detroit.

I was saying that I don't like artists that feel contrived, pointing out that one easy way to spot them is if they don't ever say anything controversial. I said that, if you don't have anything controversial to say you are bulshitting everyone. You're acting.

Mindy pointed out that not everyone has strong opinions on "important things," that they rarely even think about them. Which is true, I sometimes forget.

But still, I was bashing Britney Spears and how she peaked so early that she had to find something to do in her life (get married, have a family, become trash) to keep her busy. She had sold more records than she ever will so now what do you do?

Madonna came on the stereo and I tried to come up with an equivalent - not in stature and panache, but just in relative talent and longevity.

Someone current.

SOmeone who is controversial and not fake.

Someone like Alanis Morissette but with more long term success.

And I couldn't. How sad, I thought.

So who is out there that isn't fake, that is incredibly successful, and will be for a long time?

Help me out here.

Sosa "humiliated"

So Sosa feels like it is an insult to not have more offers on the table. This talk of willing to retire is a ploy, nothing else.

He'll play somewhere. He needs to if he wants to be in the hall of fame for sure.

He's full of shit. It just goes to show you how messed up his mind is - he really does equate money with respect as he said many times during contract negotiations with the Cubs.

THat's how out of whack things can get when you grow up with nothing and are inserted into a society (and the subsociety of MLB) that values money over everything else.

You know it's sad but true.

Detroit for the weekend

As much as I love Chicago, getting away is always good. It gets your mind out of your everyday mentalities and reminds you of the things that are of actual worth: friends, family, people, stuff like that.

God bless us everyone.

Credit Card companies are "evil"

Here is an article (there are many out there) villifying credit card companies as "thiefs."

Now that's just about the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. It reminds me of the people who sued Apple because the Ipod's volume was "too high" and was causing deafness.

If you aren't responsible and you are spending money you don't have...well then that's your own fault for allowing companies to "take advantage" of you. It's your own fault, no one elses. You are enabling them to exploit you.

Don't spend what you don't have.

Cedeno vs Murton

Which one of the two rookies that the Cubs have penciled in as starters will fare better?

Matt Murton.

Offensively, at least.

He draws twice as many walks as Cedeno and that's the best indicator when you're looking at how a player will adjust to the major leagues. Plus, Cedeno just started hitting a couple years ago.

Murton: .275 .350 OBP 18HRs 15 Steals
Cedeno: .257 .300 OBP 7HRs 20 Steals

With Cedeno playing gold-glove D at SS.

Friday, February 10, 2006


There's a lot of debate out there about what a brokerage house offers clients and how much it costs. There's an article here that kind of compares "full service" brokers against the "discount" brokers.

You've seen the Waking Life-looking commercial with the guy that says that you either get charged up the ying yang or you get a "website, and a good luck wish."

The thing is, there are incredible conflicts of interest at work here when a broker recommends or gives advice. Plus, historically, money managers can't even beat the S&P 500. So why bother?

Well, it makes us feel better about giving our money out. Like we are being more responsible.

I say go to Scottrade (which is curiously not mentioned in the above article) and trade with them. They won't give you any advice, but it's cheap and there are no hidden fees ($7 a trade). I tried to find out if they sold a certain type of fund and they replied that they couldn't answer that because it would be tantamount to endorsing it.

Which was weird but OK, for $7, I understand.

The thing is, this is for the do-it-yourselfer. Learn about what you're doing, the basics anyway, and you can make your money grow over the long term with very little risk.

You can even open IRAs and such.

It's really the best place to go if you are willing to learn on your own before jumping into new things (which is what you should do instead of relying on someone who just wants your money to do it for you).

Scottrade, I salute you.

Thursday, February 9, 2006


Are you tired of staring at Playboy trying to cause erection?

I love the misuse of English in most of these, it adds a certain je ne sais qua

Cubs screw fans

The Cubs continue to neglect their fans. First they tell us one thing about the Wrigley Expansion, then they get approval for it, then they change it when it's too late to complain about it.

We could stop showing up...but that'll never happen.

Wednesday, February 8, 2006


Interesting concept, but why would I pay for it when I can just download an emulator and play for free?

The only catch is that they sometimes can't run REALLY old games like Space Quest and such. But still, it's free.

Captain Buffett?

Warren Buffett will star in a cartoon that will teach kids about investing.

Finally someone is teaching kids what they need to know about money management.

Look for people of all ages adding this one to their Netflix queue.

Monday, February 6, 2006

Credit Card News

As someone who has never (and will never) paid a late fee on his credit card, news that Barclays, a British credit card company, will be moving up their due dates in order to catch more people paying late, makes me laugh.

People that pay in full every month aren't going to be missing any fucking dates that are "moved up." They are responsible and so will a)spend less or b)pay in full anyway.

It should be a lesson to those millions who make credit card companies rich - don't let those fuckers keep your money just because you "have" to have something NOW.

Fuck the credit card companies.

Spam News

So Yahoo and AOL will charge from 1/2 a cent to a cent for every email sent if you want it to bypass soam filters. How does this help anyone? All it does it allow Spam senders to bypass the filters. Only now AOL and Yahoo can make a buck or two out of it. Great.

Friday, February 3, 2006

Is the US government a fucking child?

This story really is ridiculous. Then when countries like Brazil do it all they can do is complain. It seems really childish:

McCormack said the U.S. expulsion of the Venezuelan diplomat was a direct response to the action taken against Correa.

"They initiated this and we were forced to respond," he said. Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Mark Ballesteros said Correa has returned to the United States.

"We were forced to respond"?


The NBA and the slow death of Effort

I've been following the Bulls closely since last year (in this post-Jordan era), and last year they showed what a team can do with many good players (none great, not yet) that max out on effort every game: they can win and they can go to the playoffs. They can compete with anyone, no matter how talented.

How is that?

It's called defense.

Boring though it may be to this era of revolutionary touchdown celebrations, it's true.

The Bulls are a good team composed of good, young, energetic players (without a lot of experience) that hustle with a very good coach that stresses fundamentals.

In all, they have everything they need to win.

So why are they under .500?
Why do analysts continue to say that they are "a superstar away from being legit"?

Because effort (which is directly related to defense) has lost its value in the NBA. Talent is in. Dunks are in. Selfish players scoring lots of points are in. Effort is no longer a mark of pride, it's something players have to do if they aren't "good enough," if they don't have enough talent.

In this time of vanity and egos, effort is something to be laughed off and left by the wayside.

Effort gives you good defense. Good defense wins games. Winning is good.

No magic formula here.

But if it's true, why isn't effort given the importance it deserves? Well, effort is inconsistent. Especially in an environment like the NBA. Once you make it to the NBA, you learn that you no longer have to put in all that effort. You've arrived, and it's time for all that hard work to pay off, not to keep on working.

Look at the Bulls: they're essentially the same team (Curry and Sweetney are a wash, although Antonio Davis (a big effort guy) is gone) and are below .500. How come?

Watch the games and you'll see, especially the last two. They were down by 30 in the 3rd quarter and came back, then lost. It happened again two nights ago. They come into the games relaxed and by the time they turn on the effort they had going all of last season (after the 0-9 start), it's too late. They're in the game, but it's too late.

What's sad is that the Bulls have a chance to bring effort back into the forefront. No big-ego guys on this team. All young, they don't know any better. But they won't be given a chance. Even Paxson, wise sage though he is, will conform to the laws of the NBA (after all, that is the environment he works in) and he will bring in a superstar. Will the Bulls win more then?

Sure they will, but watch the effort dissipate to nothing and watch the players slowly turn into every other player in the NBA—selfish, greedy, and obnoxious.

Except for Hinrich and Nocioni, I have high hopes for them.

Another Stupid Lawsuit

Apple is the victim this time.

I thought the government was going to crack down on this frivolous bullshit. If the volume gets too high, they cry about it—boom, lawsuit. If it's too low—boom, lawsuit.

Get a grip people.

The Language of PR

I googled my name today (I do this often) and found some newspaper articles from a Guatemalan paper that quoted my dad (same name as mine, or I guess I have his name). I've always been fascinated at the language people use when quoted in newspapers—it sounds so surreal. Especially in Guatemala when they quote, poor, uneducated people. All of the sudden they are eloquent people, which makes you wonder how much "translating" the reporters end up doing or if people just go into PR mode when they have a microphone in their face.

Either way, I was reading the quotes from my father and it hit me how foreign it sounded. What he does was in a bit of a controversy down there last year and I knew why—it basically has to do with corrupt and greedy people. My dad had done nothing wrong, but these quotes (like all quotes from high-ranking officials) reeked of guilt.

The language is indirect, passive, and obtuse. It doesn't sound like my father and it definitely makes it tough to believe what the person is saying.

This is PR. That's the way it works. There has to be some sort of revolution on the rise here because things can't keep going this way. People are jaded and this kind of language is meaningless now. This is NOT the way companies and officials are going to communicate in the future.

How will it change? What will it evolve into?

I don't know, but when I read what my father said to the papers and it gets across his honesty and sincerity, then I'll know we've gotten there: the perfect balance between effective communication and professional intimacy.

Thursday, February 2, 2006


Just discovered the wonderful world of ETFs today.

My oh my, and here I was searching for the right mutual fund when all I needed was to find these puppies - they got everything covered.

Two For the Money

This is a really weird movie. The premise, the story, is pretty good, considering it was based on a true story. But the acting sucks. Pacino sucks, Russo sucked (which was a surprise, I didn't think she could), and McConoughey was his good ol' self.

This movie was so cheesy it hurt - all the way to the end. Especially the end.

A lot of it is unclear, the TV sequences are horrible, as are the football sequences.

Just bad all around.

If you get the DVD, watch the interview with the real guy, that's much more interesting than the movie. Plus, look at the filmmaker and listen to him - no wonder this movie is so bad.

It's even more shocking that Roger Ebert gave this movie one of it's most positive (and there weren't many) reviews out there.

Very weird.

Wednesday, February 1, 2006

Cubs up the middle

Cubs.com Posted a thing today about the middle infield on each team. The one for the Cubs finally addresses an issue I've been wondering about since last season.

Who will start at 2B? According to Cubs.com, the race is between Walker, Hairston, and Neifi Perez, and not necessarily in that order. Every article I read includes Neifi and mentions that he "saved the Cubs" last season after Garciaparra got all busted up.

I don't know about "saved," but he definitely filled a sore spot and filled it admirably for someone who came in as a backup.

Which is what he was before the season started.

Which is what he still is.

Which the Cubs seem to have forgotten, although my hope is that they're just posturing to keep him happy and push Hairston and Walker to do better.

Neifi hit .274, which is great for a backup getting over 500 ABs. His defense was awesome. He could be an everyday player, just not on this team.

Not when you have a guy that hits over .300 with a good OBP (Walker) and medium power (15-20HRs).

But the Cubs seem to have soured on Walker, yearning to turn this team into more of small-ball type team, emphasizing defense and fundamentals.

Enter Jerry Hairston Jr. He's healthy now, finally, which is something Cubs fans haven't seen.

While he hasn't seen a full season of success at the ML Level, I think he's ready to break out in a big way, and I think the Cubs are going to try and give him every opportunity to grab that 2B spot.

Let's look at some numbers:
In the minors he's shown he can hit over .300 and with an OBP approaching .400, all the while stealing bases at a decent clip.

But his ML numbers tell the tale, here's what he's done with his playing time in the past few years:

In 2003, in 218 ABs: .271 AVG, .353OBP, 12 2Bs, 2 HRs, 25R, and 14/19 steals.
In 2004, in 287 ABs: .303 AVG, .378OBP, 19 2Bs, 2 HRs, 43R, and 13/21 steals.

Last season he was hurt, putting up:

.261, .336, 25 2B, 4HRs, 53Rs, and 8/17 steals (injury evident especially in these last numbers as well as interviews with him and personnel).

I predict a breakout from him. He's perfectly suited for the number 2 hole in the lineup. Walker is probably on his way out. As much as I would like to see his high OBP and power (and lefthandedness) in the lineup every day, I'm getting a feeling it won't happen.

But injury is the wild card here, and Hairston has that history so maybe we won't see a move until the very end of Spring Training. If Hairston shows he's healthy, I think you'll see him get the job.

Walker will be traded (he's very attractive not only for his skills but because he's cheap) for some relief help or a low-level prospect.

Plus you always have Neifi just in case something happens to Hairston.

This isn't quite as bad as if Bronson Arroyo gets traded out of Boston, but it's similar because Walker signed on for less money with an unspoken understanding that he wouldn't be traded. He signed for less because he wanted to be here.

We'll see how it plays out.


I have to say that this website is now on par with Amazon and wikipedia when it comes to reference help. Whenever I want more info on a book or CD, it's Amazon. Historical stuff, definitions, or profiles, wikipedia. And when you want to learn something you know nothing about, it's About.com.

It's where I learned a TON about investing (http://beginnersinvest.about.com/), golf (http://golf.about.com/od/beginners/), and freelancing (http://freelancewrite.about.com/od/freelancewriting101/index.htm).

It's a great learning guide that takes things more seriously and gives you more practical information that something like the For Dummies series.

I feel I should mention that I'll probably be buying some New York Times Corporation stock soon and that About.com is owned by them. Trust me, it's just a happy coincidence.

Stupid French newspaper

I don't think it's the right time for this kind of hostile attempt at debate and expression of certain "rights." Not after all the crap that happened in Paris recently. I mean seriously, some people just want to cause a ruckus.

Postal employee shoots up place

From that story on Yahoo News:

Monday night, Sanmarco shot six postal employees at the mail processing plant, killing five before committing suicide in what is believed to be the deadliest workplace shooting by a woman. The survivor remained hospitalized Wednesday in critical condition.

I counter with this pearl from the everlasting Mr. Baseball:

"I led this club in ninth inning doubles in the month of May!"

State of the Union

I was thinking of doing another analysis of this year's speech, like I did a couple years ago. But I had class and couldn't watch it live, which is a big part of it.

I was trying to read the transcript this morning to maybe to a briefer version but I couldn't get through the whole thing. I just got tired of hearing the same shit over and over.

It's called the State of the Union, but it's turned into a show of rhetoric (which is why I like to analyze these things). I remember someone once mentioning that Lincoln used to make his Union speeches short, around 20 minutes, and he actually just talked about how the country was doing—he wasn't trying to sell us on any kind of speculative rhetoric about his party.

Those were probably the days, back when there were politicians you could trust. I know that sounds trite and old, but god damn it's so annoying to know that it's true.

I was trying to see how impartial I could be yesterday and asked myself to say something good about Bush.

I couldn't.

Then, I said, think of something good to say about Clinton.

I couldn't.

And that's pretty much all you need to know right there.