March 6, 2006

Random thoughts while dancing around my cube after hearing David “Boomer” Wells has rescinded his trade request and decided he will pitch for the Boston Red Sox this year after all:

Potentially, the Red Sox have the deepest pitching staff in baseball – a starting rotation of Wells, Josh Beckett, Curt Schilling, Matt Clement, and Tim Wakefield, with “baby Clemens” Jon Papelbon, Bronson Arroyo (two pitchers who could start for any other team right now), and (hopefully) a healthy and rejuvenated Keith Foulke anchoring the bullpen.

A sad baseball note: one day after suffering a massive stroke, former Minnesota Twins’ centerfielder and Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett was pulled off life support and died at the age of 45. A fabulous athletic ballplayer, he was the sparkplug that led the Twins to two World Series championships in 1987 and 1991. You don’t and won’t see many ballplayers play their entire careers with one team and therefore be so tightly associated with his team and city. That’s why I’m certain I join his family and his many fans and former teammates in the Twin Cities in mourning his loss. May God grant him eternal life and peace.

Another Tiger field at a PGA Tour event, another Tiger win. I think Rob sums up the PGA’s dilemma perfectly: “Tiger’s begrudging critics keep looking for material but they cannot escape this fact: The PGA Tour is a one man show. When he plays, he wins. When he doesn’t play, no one watches.”

President Bush’s state visit to southern Asia was, as Rich Lowry points out, an astounding success, with important implications for the future. So, what was the mainstream media’s headline as he jets back to the USA? Priests Purify Shrine After Bush Visit. Of course, the shrine’s purification had nothing to do with the President’s visit – it was a result of “the sniffer-dogs who scoured the area ahead of his visit” – but that’s not what the headline as written would have you believe. Maybe the AP and other news organizations get their jollies from such sophomoric reporting, but it’s yet another example of their anti-Bush bias in reporting anything to do with the President, and further evidence of their descent into irrelevancy when it comes to respectable and responsible journalism.

Via Powerline, this seems ominous:

U.S. military and intelligence officials tell ABC News that they have caught shipments of deadly new bombs at the Iran-Iraq border.

They are a very nasty piece of business, capable of penetrating U.S. troops’ strongest armor.

What the United States says links them to Iran are tell-tale manufacturing signatures — certain types of machine-shop welds and material indicating they are built by the same bomb factory.

“The signature is the same because they are exactly the same in production,” says explosives expert Kevin Barry. “So it’s the same make and model.”

U.S. officials say roadside bomb attacks against American forces in Iraq have become much more deadly as more and more of the Iran-designed and Iran-produced bombs have been smuggled in from the country since last October.

I think it’s pretty obvious the game Iran is playing: it is deliberately doing whatever it can to force the Bush Administration’s hand in deciding whether to take military action or not. Perhaps in Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s warped mind, it’s a win/win solution: if the US attacks, Iran’s nuclear program might be setback temporarily – perhaps even more than temporarily – but the Muslim world would be aroused against the US, perhaps to the point of engaging Iraq to drive the US out. He would also be free, then, to militarily attack Israel (as he has already said he would do), and strike against the West’s economies via the oil price spikes and tightening supplies that would surely result. If the US doesn’t attack, it looks weak in the face of a showdown with a fundamentalist Muslim power, and Iran becomes the big kahuna in the Middle East who stared down the neighborhood bully.

The storm clouds continue to build, and I still think things are about to get a whole lot worse before they get better, and in a way few of us could ever imagine. Something to pray about, for sure.

Back to more trivial matters: I’m really annoyed with Travelocity & Yahoo! Travel. My recommendation is, even if you’re secretly carrying the latest rodent-borne hantavirus**, or have emergency open-heart surgery scheduled for that particular day, do not – I repeat, DO NOT under any circumstances, not force yourself to take that plane trip. If you do, and attempt to get satisfaction from Yahoo! Travel in rebooking a replacement flight somewhere down the line, you’re just in for mucho frustration and aggravation.

Oh, Yahoo! Travel will tell you that you’ll have to pay a penalty for doing so (which is understandable), but that’s OK, they’ll give you a credit dollar amount you can use down the line. Here’s the kicker: theoretically you do, of course, and they’ll tell you that the credit is there for you when you book a new flight (as long as you use the same carrier within 60 days or so), but what they won’t tell you is that you’ll still end up paying a $100-$150 rebooking charge that goes against the credit you were given! Meaning that, you’re $200-some-odd credit is, in actuality, only about $50-$75. And, you’ll only find that out after being on the phone for an hour or so and meandering through the williwags with 2 or more call representatives from India or South America who you can barely understand and/or who can barely understand you. That’s offshoing for ya.

**I don’t think I have to tell the sophisticated visitors to this site that I’m just kidding about getting on a plane knowingly carrying a hantavirus, do I? 🙂

Another thing really annoying about Yahoo! Travel – tell me if you haven’t had this happen to you before – is that they’ll show you a decent air fare, so you decide to book the flight. You work through all the return flight options until you’re all set to go. Then (and Northwest Airlines is REALLY bad about this), just when you’re thinking, “life is good, I’ve got myself a good trip here”, you get a message saying that the fare is no longer valid and has been changed – upwards of course, most times a lot upwards. I suppose it’s the price we all pay for convenience and avoiding the whole travel agent route, but it still is very annoying.

Filed in: Golf & Sports,Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 23:24 | Comments (3)
  1. I’m excited about them signing Josh Beckett. Their staff is probably deeper than it needs to be and that’s hard for me to say. They’ll undoubtedly want to deal one of those guys.

    Comment by Rob — March 7, 2006 @ 10:11 am

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    We’ve noticed the same problem with Yahoo travel….

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