Saturday, February 27, 2010


Since I was quite young, I read everything I could find about James "Cool Papa" Bell.  The Bell Legend is that he was so fast (Due credit here to the great Buck O'Neill) he could "Flip the light switch in his hotel room and be in bed before the light actually went out."  Without question, Bell could play the outfield with great competence and virtually always hit over .300.  But the Negro League Stats are difficult to find and authenticate.  The opposition is difficult to evaluate.  There is little question the NL stars were as good many MLB players.  There can really be no doubt that the number one pitcher on most NL teams could have pitched in the big leagues.  But, in their primes, they didn't.  As a consequence, we don't know how good Bell and other NL standouts really were.  It is frustrating.  With modern stat conversion, we can approximate how Lou Gehrig compared to Adrian Gonzales.  We have context.  With the NL, we don't.

That brings us to modern Cuba.  Long a hotbed for some of the best players in the world, Cuba does not share its stars with the rest of the world (sometimes they break loose and we get to see them).  The shelf life a top end player is 8 or 9 years, less for most pitchers.  The world had missed out on being able to appreciate the skill of Cuba's top end contributors.  The U.S. should make an embargo exception for Baseball players and baseball diplomacy trips.  Cuba should allow its top talent to play in MLB and, if they want, tax Hell out of the compensation.  We would be able to tell how good some of those guys really are and some world class talent would not be wasted.

Yes, this is rather about the parochial topic of baseball but it's also a metaphor for the cost of any kind of apartheid.  Everybody loses, not just the embargoed class.

Friday, February 26, 2010


The last one I remember being created was "Borked".

I think we now have a new one.  Don't yet know whether it's transitive or intransitive.  To have "Kwame'd"

Paterson in New York has "Kwame'd" or has "Kwame'd himself".

"Spitzered" just doesn't have the same panache.


Whenever people tell you "it's not about the money," it is, of course, always about the money. Similarly, enough people said about yesterday's Blair House hoedown, "this is not going to be mere political theater," that was obvious it was going to be, uh........, mere political theater. This is not to say it wasn't damned interesting political theater. It beat hell out of, for example, Kentucky versus South Carolina.

In the end, even political theater has winners and losers. Hopefully, the President realizes he lost this one badly.  When an event is staged, particularly by the executive branch, there are no ties or close calls. The executive branch must clearly "win"for the event to have been a success from their perspective. That did not happen.  If the Executive branch doesn't hit a scheduled matter out of the park, it goes into the books as loss.

Worse, the president managed to play the role of the simultaneously bullying and evasive discussion leader who monopolizes the discussion and leads (or firewalls) the talk away from any area he finds unpleasant. A number of Republicans who began the day as essentially nameless, faceless ciphers were elevated to near peerage status with the president. I mean, c'mon: did anybody but the worshipful right even give a rat's ass who Eric Cantor was until yesterday? These ciphers managed to portray themselves as simultaneously victimized and having something useful to add. American people hate nothing worse than not being told what is behind door number three.  It doesn't matter that there's nothing much behind that door.  It felt like the President was preventing it from being opened.

Finally, the most -- replayed portion of the meeting, while innocently intended, looks suspiciously like the president gloating over the increasingly tragic and sympathetic figure of his former opponent.  Look for Saturday Night Live to reprise the blindfold and bowl of rice.

Without regard to the merits presented by either side, the interested viewer had only to watch a few innings of this game to come away with the inexorable opinion that Washington gridlock and gamesmanship are, indeed, bad now and getting worse.

It is a little difficult to figure out how the White House thought that the endgame for this exercise could possibly be a positive for them.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


There was an interesting, if obscure, story of about a representative of local travel agencies addressing a Community College Board Meeting, complaining that John Wood Community College did not use the services of any of these local providers.
My first impression of all this was something to the effect that "a junior college needs a travel agency like a pigeon needs rollerskates." 
Other people, however, present a school of thought that the Junior College arranges "bus tours". If this is something more than simply sending people to seminars or perhaps to present professional papers, then this becomes a topic worthy of discussion. 
The first, obvious, question that arises is "What is a junior/community college doing sponsoring bus tours, anyhow?" It should be noted that JWCC has an independent charitable foundation overseen by its own board and it is possible this independent foundation might be sponsoring bus tours as a fundraiser.
The second question is whether the College sought Requests for Proposals and whether any local travel outlets provided responses [for all the knucks out there, and is different from "bids"]. 
In any event, Your Friendly Basin is open to being educated on this topic and I hope some of the local travel agents/Commenter will come in here and state their position, with factual support, with more clarity. The coverage in the local media outlets was a little vague on what, exactly, the college is doing and what it is, exactly, that the agents wish the college to do. 
In any event, knowledgeable, informed contributors are invited. Opinionated/uninformed commenters are invited to put a sock in it.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


This just in--Sammy Sosa has been retained.

Monday, February 22, 2010


The President issued an eleven page, bullet-pointed white paper as to what, exactly, his minimum expectations were for the health reform package.

Now that's real leadership.  He's sworn in on January 20th and by February 22, he's got his core principles for health reform out there for the Congress to consider and vote upon........

Oh, wait!  That was January 20, 2009 and this is 2010.

Never Mind. 

Friday, February 19, 2010


Eldrick's speech didn't seem very good to me.  He did the usual: "If I weren't famous and rich and rich, I probably wouldn't have strayed"--boring.  Then he tossed in the Buddha thing--That'll really resonate with the golf fan demographic, public and private.  I'm sure his advisers begged him to stay away from the "Leave My Family Alone!" crap--Like he was their big protector.

But then, compare him to the other players.  Better than Sanford, Better than Clinton, way better than Edwards and light-years ahead of Mayor Kwame.  Oh, and who can forget the inimitable Larry Craig?  Eldrick wins that one, too.  

Like the Bush first term, He benefits from low standards and expectations.

I did wonder why his face was all swollen up.  And the blue curtains?  I was waiting for Ed McMahon to purr "Here's...........Eldrick"  or maybe for Carrot Top to pop out. 

Side Trip:  The estimable Notah Begay was there for Eldrick today.  When Notah had his troubles and held his press conferences, Eldrick was nowhere to be found.  Kind of makes you think that Eldrick's friendships might be relatively one way streets.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Bad News = She set her boyfriend's clothes on fire!

Good News = He wasn't in them at the time

Inconvenient News = the authorities have the unfortunate impression she threatened to stab him. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


People are actually having open discussions about "net neutrality," --just like here in the Basin for, like, the last three years.  It's a complicated situation and we've already given ground.  The debate is full of sunshine patriots (can you say "Sponsored Links"?) but still worth having.  Welcome aboard, midwest journalism.

Monday, February 15, 2010


Just today, I opened up my spam filter and I found the lawyer's opportunity of a lifetime.

A one hour webinar on how to use my SmartPhone to enhance my law practice for only $500.00.

Oh, and did I mention that they would email me the Power Point file?

Be Still, My Heart! 

Thursday, February 11, 2010


read carefully


As I have written here many times before, I hate "right-on-red-after-no-stop-and-barely-looking-or-slowing-down".  Still, I don't think red light cameras are the answer.  States and Cities have done a lot to minimize the impact of RLC's (different fine, no mover, no points) but that is almost an acknowledgment that there is something stinky about them.  Maybe if the RLC's were simply used to send safety reminders to the owner of the car (Dad) it would help young people drive more safely throughout a lifetime.

Without getting into all the constitutional arguments about them, your friendly Basin disapproves.

Saturday, February 06, 2010


This is in the nature of free advice for any and all candidates sharing the ticket with the now infamous lieutenant governor nominee. At least the advice is available to the ones who have not already engaged their vocal cords.

Having a disreputable nominee on your ticket is similar to having head lice in your home. It is not especially healthy in general, but treatable. The condition is excessively complicated by other families and households knowing that your home has the condition. They then become preoccupied with contracting the condition themselves and the condition becomes as socially severe as it is physically detrimental. 

The little critters themselves really do not care what you say about them. They will take absolutely no action based upon what you say they should do or, for that matter, what you think of them. They only depart when the host becomes absolutely and biologically inhospitable.

Armed with this information, sensible people do not try to talk to the critters out of their homes or out of their hair. They take discrete, almost covert action in the privacy of their own bathrooms, kitchens and bedrooms. With no one from outside the family in attendance, they first kill the active critters with various unpleasant chemical potions. They then sanitize the environment in such a way as to deny the critter anyplace to get a toehold. Ultimately critter family responds to this discrete assault by finding a new host and a new hobby. The important parallel is that only private, targeted action gets rid of the pestilence. No amount of oratory cures head lice.
The disreputable candidate is similarly situated to the lice.  In fact he has the same "louse-ay fairre" attitude.  There are about 1 million things skilled politicians, lawyers and public officials can lawfully do to make the political environment "biologically inhospitable" for the disreputable candidate. Many of these could impact the disreputable candidate's income. Where the disreputable candidate is a high net worth person, this can ultimately induce him to find another hobby and another host.

Thus the advice for all the candidates, up and down the ballot, would be the same. Do not talk about the head lice and start every known step (and make up some new ones) to create biological inhospitality. If asked any question having to do with the head lice, reply by directing the questioner to the Head Louse and emphasizing that you, the candidate, are focused solely on the (fill in the blank) election and how best to serve the people of (fill in the jurisdiction).

And I would add the following to this commentary: to those of you who have managed not to shoot off your mouths on this topic, congratulations on your sound political judgment.

Friday, February 05, 2010


About 1000 years ago, I bought a wonderful little journaling program from Parsons technology called "Daily Journal 2.0." I think it was designed for windows 3.1. DJ was basically a personal and professional diary system in an easy to organize and totally searchable format. Like so many other Parsons products, it was slick, not a memory hog and quite inexpensive. I used it for years. In 1998 or 99 Parsons, which was now Broderbund, put out an updated version labeled, logically enough, Daily Journal 3.0. It did everything that 2.0 did and had some prettier graphics. I still use it and it still works great.

Here is the rub: it does not work with Windows 7. It does not work in the 64-bit environment. You cannot "force- install it". You cannot "virtual session" it.  And you cannot run it with DOS commands. Since all of my machines will soon be in Windows 7, 64-bit, I need a successor or comparable program, preferably one that will accommodate the 15 years or so of entries that I have in the Daily Journal proprietary document format.

Parsons is no help. Parsons it became Broderbund, became Mattell, became Broderbund again and then became Broderbund Lite (under new ownership). I'm not even sure they actually develop software anymore (cool stuff never stays the same.) I have trolled CNet and ZDNet, Kim Komando and a couple of European sites. I tried one Journal program that was, at best, crude. So my current situation is that I am on the cusp of having no useful journaling program and nothing that can print and read my previous 15 years of journaling data.

My help request is essentially in two parts: first, can you point me to a good, topically indexed journaling program? And; can you point me to a journaling program (whether really good or not) that will allow me to print, access and/or search my existing Daily Journal 3.0 proprietary journal data? If you would rather provide the assistance privately by e-mail is

This process is like putting one's old, trusty dog down. It is not easy. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thursday, February 04, 2010


It's Everywhere!


"The people of Adams County are strongly against zoning of any kind."  We've heard that since 1975 at least.

Perhaps we should add "Except when they're not."  Supposedly thousands of them are now prepared to urge the County to bar a planned wind farm because those structures would disrupt their...get this....quality of life.

Surely The Basin is not the only one who gets the irony of this--NIMBY meets "It's my land to do with what I want".

Somehow, I'm guessing this one doesn't play out with anybody making into the next edition of "Profiles in Courage."

[Basin disclosure: Several of the born again NIMBY's are dear friends of mine and were never in the vanguard of the Anti-Zoning Movement.]

Wednesday, February 03, 2010


In order of my preference:

1.  Adrian;

2.  Downey;

3.  Brenner.

(Prepared January 31, 2010 and set up to autopost February 3, 2010 @ 0300)

Tuesday, February 02, 2010


I think it's appropriate that someone named Matt Murphy is a candidate for statewide office.

Matt "Guitar" Murphy was a fixture in the Chicago music scene for years.

Some of the most exciting words in entertainment had to be "Ladies and Gentlemen, Matt "Guitar" Murphy !

Monday, February 01, 2010


read if you dare


I've never heard one kid say "I'd like to run a Puppy Mill."