Tuesday, August 25, 2009

(This is the last post I'm bringing over from any of the other places, I think - if I'm forced to choose, the best writing I've ever done isn't coming to this blog, it's going to stay over at what remains of my myspace page, behind a firewall until they shut that place down like its Friendster.  That stuff was gutsy and vulgar and smart - if there was ever a chance that someone was going to think I was an actual, real live writer and whatnot, it would be based on that stuff.  But it's staying there; too hard to explain the concept of a fictional voice writing about real stuff. 

This post was written at the very beginning of this year upon the passing of my girlfriend's dog.  It's self indulgent only in that I recognize that the death of the dog in my life is no more heartbreaking to me than the death of the dog in your life is to you.  But I can't write about everyone; only so much ink in my pen.  Fundamentally, everything here remains the same; my friend and I are good, thanks, all matters unchanged.  And we still miss Sadie a ton.  We were happier when she was around.)

I’m a child.

Those of you who know me more than a little bit recognize this; my tastes in food and entertainment remain as lowbrow as did they 30 years ago (want to see me brighten up – give me a fried fruit pie and a wrestling match to watch); my emotional architecture still collapses when I feel abandoned (no, I haven’t been dumped again, that’s not where this is going); I have never evidenced the slightest ability to put on a face other than the one that best expressed my immediate essence (I’d be terrible at the strategic reality shows I most like; I can’t pretend to like people I do not like and I’m still the 8 year old squirming in terrible boredom when forced to do something I don’t want to do).

Arrested development isn’t just the name of one of the ten best television shows of the past quarter century (you’re not reading my blog, dammit) it clearly defines who I am. I am stuck, immobile, a boyman, all change and I remain the same. Just a little less cute with each passing year.

My principal failure to grow has been in my childlike inability to wrap my mind around death with anything other than a barbed wire bow of terror and pain. I would lie awake nights trying to reconcile how one lives in a world where god was dead (I wasn’t really reading Nietzsche when I was 8, I stuck with The Sporting News, but I recall articulating a similar idea). Every ambulance I ever saw racing down the street was one which, one day, would be headed for my house. Every sickness brought to mind that one day, there’d be a stomach ache from which I wouldn’t recover. Every night I fell asleep I thought, “one of these nights I won’t wake up.”

A constant sword dangling over my head.

Only question was how will it happen?

How will it happen to me?

Will I suffer a long, lingering illness – a steady erosion of my body until I can no longer care for my most basic physical functions? Will I battle – go through painful and expensive medical treatments – only to eventually succumb? Will I shuffle painfully through hospital hallways, a shell of the man I used to be until finally I beg for it to end? John Wooden, the legendary UCLA basketball coach is 98, he says he wishes death would come. His wife died in 1985, and still today, 23 years later, her half of the bed is untouched – when the sheets are washed and placed back on the bed, he returns her dressing gown and pillow arrangement exactly as was it 2 plus decades ago. Is that how it will be? Will I watch that sword crash down upon everyone I love – filling my last, weakest, loneliest years with agony and grief?

Will I lose my mind? My entire life, I have always understood the benefit of the Buckaroo Bonzai axiom, “wherever you go, there you are.” It’s comforted me – there’s never been an occasion where the ability to slip inside my head wasn’t an option. Somewhere in my youth, perhaps 3rd grade when I was given candy by Mr. Callan for getting A’s on spelling tests – or maybe preschool when I was one of two four year olds able to read on his own, thereby negating the need for teacher interference (I always resented being told what to do – parents, teachers, bosses – I fight authority and authority, well, doesn’t always win, if truth be told – and if it does leave me bloody and battered…well, you should see the other guy). I internalized at a pre-conscious level that I was “smart” and that my brain was my friend – and while living in my head has often been isolating and left me alone – I’ve never been lonely in here. I always have me.

Will I lose that? Will I forget the starting lineup for the 1989 National League Champion San Francisco Giants?

C – Kennedy

1B – Will

2B – Robby

SS – Uribe

3B – Riles/Matty

LF- Mitch

CF – Butler

RF – Candy/Sheridan

Oberkfell played a lot of 3rd, Matty played a little short. Tracy Jones played too in our seasonlong inability to fill the sucking hole that was RF. The rotation was Caveman and Big Daddy and Garrelts and Downs and Krukow or Atlee in the last spot.

What was I talking about?

Oh yeah.

Will I wander around the woods like Henry Fonda in On Golden Pond – will I stare vacantly at my family and friends – will people cry at the sight of me – will I be pitied-pathetic-Jesus – Jesus do I not want to be pitied – I’m the guy who gets angry if someone tries to help me pick up something I’ve dropped – it’s reflexive, automatic – leave me the fuck alone, I’m fine, I don’t need your help.

Will I need help? Help from strangers? Constant help, just to survive?

Will I be alone – no one to help – dying slowly, scared, confused – broken?

Or will it be quick?

A car crash. A homicide. Accidents are the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 44. Will I be texting on the way to work and never come home, smash into a crosstown bus and never think my thoughts ever again? There were a hundred two murders in my county last year, virtually all of them clustered around my home and work – will I be at the ATM – or a convenience store – or coming home from a late class and get shot for my watch or my ride or the 37 bucks in my wallet?

Who will tell my mom? Who will feed my kitten? Who will write my wrestling Counterfactual?

Will I be scared? Will I be alone? Will I hurt?

I’ve never stopped thinking about these things; if there has been a single day over the past 30 years where I haven’t had at least a fleeting moment of terror – I’m going to die, I’m going to die, I’m going to die – then I’m unaware of it.

And after death – nothing. No magical thinking for me. Ashes and dust and endless empty.

And yeah, I’m certain of it beyond a reasonable doubt. Guilty.

3 decades of existential terror. I’m a child. A chubby child who drinks diet soda all day long and listens to Lil Wayne.

My friend Sadie died last weekend.

Sadie was an 8 year old Labrador retriever.

I spent pretty much a portion of every day for the bulk of 2008 with her, a kinder, gentler, friendlier creature you would not meet. During her eight years, Sadie’s tail never stopped wagging with excitement and joy.

Kate and I were dating before her animals became a part of my life; she has 3 dogs and two cats; most of whom have been with her virtually their whole lives and most of Kate’s adult life – and were the animals to have indicated that I wasn’t a particularly good fit for the family, I’d have been cut loose.

They have seniority, after all.

But from the first day, Sadie seemed to rally all the others to give me a chance, “this chubby guy is okay, he likes to cuddle and play and smells like fried pie and Bret Hart dvds”

I didn’t think 2008 would be the year where I found “the one” – but as it turned out, I found a whole family.

I don’t live inside my head anymore. At 38 years old, I found my people.

And one of those people was Sadie.

What I really wanted to thank her for though were the years before we met.

When you meet the people you love, and hear about their lives – the one aspect which tears you apart is not having known them before you knew them. Because there were days when they could have used you, when you could have helped, when you could have made bad things better.

But you weren’t there, you didn’t exist yet.

I wasn’t there for Kate when she had those days – but Sadie was. As hard and painful (real pain as opposed to my boyman “will I get Parkinson’s disease like Alex P Keaton” pain) as anyone’s days could possibly be – and Sadie was there. There to take care of my friend Kate.

And I wanted to thank her.

So, I did, last weekend. I held Sadie’s head in my hands and thanked her for how she treated me and how she took care of Kate – and I told her I would do my best to be half as good a boyfriend as she had been a canine companion.

And not long after, she was gone.

And it hurt. And it hurts. There’s not a socially targeted way to grieve over a dog; my academic term started this week, I have five courses and I shuffled and danced and put on as high octane a performance as am I capable of at my rapidly advancing age. But inside I just felt empty.

I guess I can put on a face other than the one I want to wear.

I resisted my urge to write about it. Both because Sadie was not my dog and because it feels cliché; and really, talking about pet loss can lead to a dismissive “yeah, okay, I’ve got real problems” response.

But I don’t care. I’ve never written for anyone but me anyway. I never do anything for anyone but me.

I’m a child, that’s how I roll.

And tonight, I wanted to write about my friend Sadie. ‘Cause she deserves it. She deserves the words to be sent out into the world that she lived and she died and she mattered. I loved her, but that’s not why she mattered. She mattered because she mattered. She was all good and no bad. I don’t know how many people, places, or things you’ve ever encountered who were all good and no bad, but I have met two. One is Kate, and one was her Sadie.

And this is for both of them. They are my people after all.

Sadie Trimble


Thank you, Sadie.

The One I Wrote About OJ Simpson and Chris Benoit.

(Two years ago, Chris Benoit killed his wife and his son and then himself; a couple of days later I wrote this.)

My first hero was OJ Simpson.

In the late 1970s, I was a poor kid growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, as OJ Simpson had been a generation before. And I was a San Francisco sports fan, of which there were relatively few in the late 70s, a deathtrap of an era for local teams. It's actually a wonder why I didn't choose to weave my boyhood with local color that would have brought me more elementary school prestige. I could maybe have worn t-shirts and caps supporting the local bathhouse. "Heyyyy, Gloryhole Junction! Whoo-hoo." My grandparents, who humored my endless need to talk local sports, perhaps would have been less supportive had I structured our conversations around NAMBLA's righteous struggle to lower the age of consent.

The Giants were bad.

The Warriors were worse.

The Niners were maybe the worst franchise in professional sports.

But we had OJ Simpson.

OJ Simpson, in the late 70s, was on his last legs (well, leg, as he was running on one knee at that point) but he was a 49er and his previous exploits left him still one of the most famous athletes in the world. I had an old OJ Buffalo Bills football card that I took to school 3 days out of 5; I began to follow USC football because that had been OJ's alma mater, a following that would, years later, lead to my brief, glorious, weekend stint as an undergrad there (everytime I go back to California, California kicks my ass – sometimes I consider heading back for a fourth tour of duty, as, were I to snap my fingers and be anywhere in the world, it would be San Francisco, but there's only so many times one dude can get thrashed about the head and neck areas).

Who knows what seminal influences go into making up a boy's identity, particularly a boy largely raised by women (although, admittedly, most of my influences were in the frosting family – dude liked to eat, yo) but probably OJ Simpson was significant, yeah.

I sat with Kirk Hiner in the brand new Subway restaurant in Ada, Ohio in the summer of 1994; I was 23, newly single, completely broken and about to start my 3rd year of law school; Kirk was visiting from New York where he was dating a girl with a great body and an unusual affinity for penguins; OJ Simpson, maybe as recently as a week or two previous, had just sliced off the heads of his ex wife and her ambiguous waiter friend.

It is a conversation that Kirk and I both vividly recall.

I recall it because I told him that I'd never be surprised by anything again.

He recalls it because he responded with the creation of a bumper sticker philosophy that I'm certain could be the basis of a new religion if he could write a couple of science fiction books to propagate it and maybe pick up a midlevel celebrity endorsement (my choice..Sandy Duncan): Everything Will Happen.

That was 13 years ago.

Since then, whether the event was something large and cataclysmic (9-11'ish) or whether it was smaller and more personal, like my winding up in a taxicab with Regis Philbin's pen – I have been able to pretty quickly synthesize every occurrence of my life into a digestible unit; I have been able to find the appropriate box inside my head in which I could fit whatever has presented itself.

Everything Will Happen.

I've been the youngest trial attorney in California and then made ten bucks an hour teaching high school history. I've gained and then lost 150 pounds. I've dodged student loan collection agents and then won six figures on a game show. I had a 4.0 in grad school and then couldn't get a community college professorship. Our play got produced by the first theater we ever submitted to and then we spent 10 months getting nothing but stage doors slammed in our faces.

Friends have come and gone. Family too. And Women.

Like a supernova, someone will flash into my life and then just as quickly fade away to nothing.

And I view it with something approximating Stoic equanimity.

Everything Will Happen.

OJ Simpson taught me that. Your first hero should teach you something.

My last hero was Chris Benoit.

I have a fair number of visitors to this blog, and they come in 3 types. There are those of you who are new. Welcome. You have a lot to catch up on. There are those of you who have been here awhile and maybe even have read the stuff from Thanks for sticking around; I apologize for the lack of output; I can't say that's about the change anytime soon, I really haven't decided what's the best outlet for what passes for my thoughts. I'm thinking about doing nothing but haiku, but it's tough to make my veiled references to ham products in 17 syllables.

Then there's the third group. There is a group of wrestling fans who have been with me since I wrote for a guy named Steve "Soundbite" Roberts in a freaky little internet wrestling subculture in the mid-late 1990s. They followed me to my Counterfactual (note, the lack of link is because this ain't a plug) a massive, ridiculously excessive in a very Jividen way, undertaking where I attempt to rewrite the last 25 years of professional wrestling in a way that could only be analogized to someone who spends his weekends piling on KISS makeup to look like Peter Criss or proudly proclaims to the Howard Stern interviewer that he is, in fact, Darth Nilus.

And some of those wrestling fans are still with me here; almost ten years later, still living on the margins of society with their Dragon's Gate DVDs and their unsettling knowledge of suplex variants (my favorite – the blockbuster – discuss…)

The rest of this isn't to them. They know all of it.

But it might be for them; if might be for them because this isn't going to get said anymore in polite conversation for a very long time.

Chris Benoit was arguably the finest professional wrestler who ever lived.

And the rest of you don't understand that, I know. You never heard of Chris Benoit until today and don't I know that it's not real so how could one fake athlete be better than another fake athlete and yeah, I get that, see.

Professional wrestling's not a sport, but it's a craft; like acting, for example. And you recognize that, say Phillip Seymour Hoffman is just better at the craft of acting than Scott Baio.

There's probably an actor you admire. Someone whose work is consistently great, but who doesn't get the recognition of Tim Cruise.

And you've loved him for years in the little roles, the supporting parts, the small movies. You go see him in anything; you hope he gets recognized come awards season; you talk him up to all your friends, remind everyone when he's gonna be on Conan.

I know he exists for you. He's an actor. Or a rock band. Or a painter. Or a poet. Or a playwright. Or a professor.

He's a craftsman. An artisan. He's great. He's a genius. He's on your personal Mt. Rushmore of dudes you really dig, who really speak to you in a deep and profound way.

And I have to be honest with you.

As good as he is, as brilliant as he is at what he does – he couldn't lace Chris Benoit's boots.

He, me, you, none of anyone who will ever read this will ever be as good at anything as Chris Benoit was at being a professional wrestler.  I know that sounds like the hyperbole of the moment.  But it's not.  Because these last three sentences I didn't write back in 2007; I'm writing them in August of '09.

And somewhere that just has to be said. 'Cause…the thing of it is…the thing of it is that he was great because his work was so…admirable. There was a dignity to Chris Benoit's work, to his craft – that was undeniable even when surrounded by the slop that makes up so much of what "sports entertainment" is in the 21st century.

You could…we could, my nerd brethren and I, safely watch a Chris Benoit match with one of you – with someone in straight society – and say see – see – do you see how hard he works, do you see how dramatic it is – do you see how real, how pure, how….how…good that guy is?

I've met someone recently, and she's coming to visit. This is a rare occurrence for me; not meeting someone, that's pretty common, but having a woman enjoy my company (and let's be honest, for me to enjoy hers, I know that cuts against my normal schtick, but I'm not gonna kayfabe this blog) sufficiently to spend time with me inside my home is a more rare happening than you'd guess.

My middle brother, with whom I have watched wrestling, usually taped from Japanese television, for two hours every week for the better part of the last ten years, gave me the following two pieces of advice about the impending visit of my new friend.

(And since both my brothers, despite being much younger than I am, are much more married than I will likely ever be, I tend to listen to their advice on such things.)

1. Don't talk. You know, like you do. You're only gonna fuck it up.

2. Tell her you only own six wrestling DVDs. Hide your shame.

No one was ever ashamed about Chris Benoit. He was who you wanted to watch. I am 36 years old; I have two graduate degrees; I am a professional and my closet is filled with suits and ties.

I have one professional wrestling t-shirt.

It's a Chris Benoit t-shirt.

I started writing the Counterfactual, hundreds of pages of reconstructed history, with a hidden goal I revealed to Kirk at one point; to fictionally save the life of Owen Hart, who was my favorite wrestler when I was a child, and who died in a ring stunt gone wrong 8 years ago.

But the more I dig in the dirt, the more I change the flapping of one butterfly's wings, the more it just keeps going wrong. I should probably take a lesson from this.

As a teenager, Chris Benoit trained with Owen Hart in Calgary. And for nearly fifteen years, Chris Benoit wrestled with or against a man named Eddy Guerrero; they were best friends and embraced in Madison Square Garden at the close of a major wrestling show in a moment akin to that favorite guy of yours winning the Academy Award for Best Actor.

Owen's dead. Eddy's dead. Chris is dead.

Chris Benoit killed his wife, his young son, and himself over the weekend. It was grizzly; it was indefensible; and it is about to turn him into a monster.

He's about to become OJ Simpson. He's about to become a thing. An issue. Fodder for talk radio and cable news shows and blogs. And he'll never be Chris Benoit again.


And that needs to be said too. Because it's true and it's real and it happened and it is literally the last thing you would expect.

But it didn't surprise me.

Because nothing surprises me.

And it needs to be said; it needs to be said because when a man kills his family it needs to be said that he did it.

It also needs to be said that same man performed his craft with a dignity that is beyond peer.

Both things can be true.

A man can be hero, and deservedly so. And also a monster, and deservedly so.

Both things can be true.

My last hero taught me that.

The One About My Mom

(I wrote the first version of this in 1996; a decade later this specific piece appeared as part of my production blog for at  At some point, that site will be gone.  So, I'm moving this piece here.)

My mom is probably better than your mom. 

My mom's a good egg; nice to me when other people aren't nice to me, which sometimes can cover a significant stretch of time. Not that everyone should be as nice to me as the mom; I realized long ago that the constant in all of my relationships was me, and people who wonder why the world doesn't turn and rock their way are fools. The thing that most interested me about that cyclist, Floyd Landis, getting busted was this quote from his Mennonite (if you don't know the Mennonites, they're like the Amish without the glitz—dude's a Mennonite turned world class cyclist; they're lucky it's only steroids he was taking, and not drinking bald eagle's blood or something; it's like the Randy Quaid character in Kingpin winning the Tour de France, give the dude the fucking trophy) mother, "I know that this is a temptation to every rider, but I'm not going to jump to conclusions," she said. "It disappoints me."

Yeah, that's the sound of Mrs. Landis throwing her embattled baby boy right under the bus.

And my mom wouldn't do that. So, when the day comes (and it will) when I am accused of something sufficiently dark that reporters call her for comment, I'm expecting she'll completely cover up for whatever horrible thing I', that's it, wrongfully, yeah, wrongfully accused of doing.

"I'm 100% innocent; and I'm confident that I will be completely vindicated! I would never smoke that rock/touch that girl/drink that bald eagle's blood 'till it's dry! Sweet, sweet nectar of the gods! I will be immortal! I am the Lizard King! Wait...where are those stem cells! I need embryos! Human baby embryos, calling out to Sam Brownback—'Please, please, don't kill me—I know I am as small as the head of a pin right now—but one day I will be a snowflake baby and I might become a nun or a nurse or a hotass college cheerleader!' Who among you dares call it murder? Who among you thinks you got the testicular fortitude to stop me! I will grab me ten thousand blastocysts and spread them all over my goddamn nachos so I can form an Unholy Nacho Army of the Night! Who are you to doubt El Dandy? I will ask you again, Who are you to doubt El Dandy?"

Yeah, the mom would help me out there. The mom's good that way, and I appreciate that. A boy generally only gets the one mom, and I wouldn't trade mine in. Sometimes, admittedly, I think of that BB King lyric, "Nobody loves me but my momma, and she could be jivin' too," but generally, the mom and I are cool. Which is why I told her about

"Whoa. Have you read us? The language, the themes, the overt attacks on all things decent and good? Why would you want to disappoint your mother like that? Why? Why? Why?"

I like the repetition of the "why," Voice in My Head. It's a rhetorical device. Antistrophe. Like Antony's repeating of "Brutus is an honorable man." Good craftsmanship. Yeah, see, I'm 35, no wife, no children, I'm not practicing law anymore—I figure the mom's pretty much comfortable with being disappointed in her eldest son. This blog's a drop in the bucket.

And truthfully, she deserves it. Why? 'Cause the mom's a goddamn liar.

"Okay, that's just...I could..."

Hey, that's aposiopesis. The deliberate failure to complete a sentence.

Excellent. You're doing a thing here, voice in my head! Tremendous.

"Just trying to class up the joint."

I appreciate it. I'll take all the help I can get.

Okay, here's the story. When I was in the first grade, I overheard a couple of the older kids, probably battle-scarred, wizened 8-year-olds, debating the existence of the Easter Bunny. It wasn't exactly Lincoln vs. Douglas; I believe the extent of the intellectual nuance to the dialectic was, "There is too an Easter Bunny!" "No sir." "Yeah huh."

To be fair, however, Honest Abe often considered "yeah huh" to be a rhetorically sound comeback.

Jefferson Davis: Mr. President, given the explicit reservation of the 10th Amendment, you simply haven't the power to compel the Southern states to abandon our...peculiar institution.

Lincoln: Yeah huh.

Which explains why the Gettysburg Address was only 24 seconds long. Either that or Lincoln had to beat the shot clock. Dude was a giant, crow-like; he had to be a baller. Actually, Lincoln was kinda built like Howard Stern; perhaps if he could have gotten Mary to ride the sybian, he wouldn't have written this letter to his law partner in '41:

 I am now the most miserable man living. If what I feel were equally distributed to the whole human family, there would not be one cheerful face on the earth. Whether I shall ever be better I can not tell; I awfully forebode I shall not. To remain as I am is impossible; I must die or be better, it appears to me.

There's probably a message there about redemption, about hope, about Fitzgerald's being wrong when he said there were no second acts in American life, as the future 16th President couldn't have imagined that his leadership would aid in bringing about the end of slavery a quarter-century later. Were this a different blog, it might resonate as a message of hope. Life's long; things improve; people will like your play; people other than your mother will enjoy spending time with you; you'll meet your future bride; you don't keep your left foot in a jar on the porch.

"Hey, you didn't use any conjunctions there. That's asyndeton. And you said they didn't teach you anything in those communications classes at Ohio Northern."

But this is this blog. And in this blog, I think about Booth yelling out sic simper tyrannis and putting a bullet into the back of Lincoln's head.

And I think...dude got off easy. If my trip to the theater only goes twice that badly, I'll think I caught a break.

"You were talking about the Easter Bunny, tangent boy."

Yeah, see, I had never really given its existence any critical examination. Of course there was an Easter Bunny. Mom said so. There was an Easter Bunny the same way there was an orange Nerf football stuck in the tree outside. I had never heard any speculation to the contrary, and while, no, I hadn't actually seen the Easter Bunny—I had never seen China, either, but I figured it was real. And China never brought me candy. Anyone who brings me candy oughta get the benefit of the doubt. 'Cause, not for nothing, but I am really, really hungry. Between you and me, I've lost a little weight since I was on TV a few years ago; some people congratulate me, I say it's less a diet and more a cry for help. Give me a goddamn sammich you sick sons of bitches—can't you see I'm dying here?

"Easter. Bunny. Please."

Okay...there are some bells that are tough to unring. And the introduction of this alternate belief into my consciousness was enough to get my first grade neurons firing:

On the night before Easter, a giant candy lovin' rabbit comes to my house to hide eggs in the living room.


I slavishly composed my anti-Bunny argument, which was comprised primarily of obvious violations of Godel's incompleteness theorem and the middle plank of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, and took it to a bench conference with the primary font of my prior understanding of the Easter Bunny—my mommy.

Me: Given the evolutionary issues alone, wouldn't it be fair to say that your so-called "Easter Bunny" is actually a fabrication of Nixonian proportion?

Mommy: Nuh huh.

My memory is perhaps a little fuzzy on the exact language of the conversation, but the bottom line was that, eventually, she broke and copped to being the Easter Bunny herself. Incidentally, my mother also confessed her identities as Aquaman, D.B. Cooper, and the lyricist to "I'm a Little Bit Country; I'm a Little Bit Rock-n-Roll."

Once I sorted out that the mom hid the eggs...well, there was a next step that, although painful, was unavoidable:

On the night before Christmas, a fat dude in a red suit comes down a chimney that we don't have to leave me presents in the living room.

Ah, hell. As a wise man once said, "There is a saying in Texas and probably here in Tennessee: 'Fool me once...shame...on me. Fool me twice...can't fool me twice...won't get fooled again!' "

Me: I'm beginning to see a disconcerting pattern of duplicity, mommy—if in fact that is your real name. Perhaps you'd like to take a moment to consider your role as one of the twin demons of deception? What about Rudolph? What about Rudolph? The craven use of a lonely animal shunned by his peers to manipulate the minds of impressionable children. What about the elves? Working all year round in freezeshop conditions to make my pitiful orange football which no one ever bothers to get out of that tree. Can't you see how wrong that is? Exploiting the least among us who are most in need of our protection?

"Least...most...that's antithesis. Sweet."

Me: Does Santa run a union workshop? Is the North a right-to-work Pole? What about the mining of the Cambodian harbors? What about CREEP and the enemies' lists? What about the 18-1/2 minute gap? What about Donny's purple socks? For the love of god, (note to imaginary editor, lower case, please—I never use upper case, both because in scholarly works under the Chicago style, one uses lower case—and because uppercase means there's one true god, and I don't go that way—always lower case) how can you possibly respond to the purple socks??

Mommy: Nuh huh.

I guess at that point I developed somewhat of a skeptical soul. Skeptical enough to not believe the soul exists, frankly. I mean, "soul" exists. As in "I got soul, and I'm Superbad." But "the soul"? Nah. Psychics? Nah. Astrology? Nah. Angels? Nah. Ghosts? Nah. Noah's Flood? Nah. UFOs? Nah. Life after death? Nah. Creationism? Nah. The guy in the sky who knows when you're sleeping, knows when you're awake, knows if you've been bad or good so be good for goodness sake?

Sorry. Nah.

"Hypophora. Nice."

Pascal wrote that humans are "thinking reeds" and I'm not going to turn that off for convention. I am; therefore, I think.

I don't believe in Beatles; I just believe in me.

A Half Century of SFG Shortstops

A Half Century of San Francisco Giants Shortstops

I've already done 2B (Kent) and RF (Bonds the elder) in compiling the all time San Francisco Giant lineup. Let's do SS. A reminder, the primary SS for each season is listed - the WARP3 includes all the value for that player for his full SF tenure, not his whole career and not just the value in those seasons he was the primary SS.

Of course, with the Renteria signing, this list will radically change in a few years. The glory that is late career Edgar coming to San Francisco!

(yes, the WARP numbers have changed)
2008 - 2005 Omar Vizquel

WARP3 16.7

The first half of Omar-by-the-Bay was solid stuff, but his bat fell off the table in 2007. His much lauded glove was a tick overrated by media; his career fielding runs above position is the same as Bartell's, but he didn't have the same pop that Dick did.

2004 Deivi Cruz

WARP3 5.0

2003 - 1996 Rich Aurilia

WARP3 42.6

Richie's Giants value might still be ongoing; if we head to spring with Ishikawa/Sandoval as our corners, I'd expect another year of Aurilia. His out of nowhere 11.6 in 2001 is, I'd expect, easily the best season for a SF SS and just pops off the back of his baseball card in a "maybe they should check the BALCO records again" type of way. We don't want to head to spring with Ishikawa/Sandoval, incidentally. His name is Adam Dunn. Give him a first baseman's glove and stick him in the middle of the lineup. Richie finished 12th in the MVP vote in '01; his teammate finished first and deservedly so - Sosa finished second and deservedly so - Bonds was 15+ and Sosa 14+, which might have been the greatest same year seasons of all time. Gonzo had a WARP3 of 12 - so 4th makes sense for Aurlia. Pujols was at 11, Berkman over 10, chicks dug the longball and whatnot. Jose Vizcaino played more short than Richie did in '97, he had a 4.7 WARP3 that season.

1995 - 1992 Royce Clayton

WARP3 15.8

Royce Clayton's still in the league? No one's going to carry Clayton on their roster in 2009, right? He hasn't had a WARP3 over 4.0 since the White Sox in '01. He wasn't so bad, an approximation of Vizquel, really.

1991-1985 Jose Uribe

WARP3 29

Giants SS can seem like a lifetime position; sort of like a federal judgeship. Uribe fits right in with the Clayton/Vizquel line of no hit shortstops; he had a helluva glove, 57 runs above position in a ten year career.

1984-1978 Johnny LeMaster

WARP3 8.6

And this is why I'm not as tough on Giants shortstops as was I, say, on the second basemen or right fielders. My first Giants shortstop was LeMaster, his translated career line was .229/.285/.300 and he finished 78 fielding runs below, that's below, position for his career. It could be that Johnny LeMaster's continued employment, despite any rational basis, was my initial experience with raging against the machine. 8 year old Jim Jividen, reading The Sporting Green (San Francisco reference) and slapping his palm to his forehead at the sight of another LeMaster 0-4. He was without redemption.

1977 Tim Foli

WARP3 1.8

I have no memory of Foli as a Giant; the first baseball I remember is the '77 Series, to which, shockingly, the Giants were not invited.

1976-1971 Chris Speier

WARP3 48.1

I'm already wrong about Aurilia; Speier had an 11.7 in '72 - which either edges Richie's 11.6, or finishes behind his 12.0 (BP has two different WARP3 numbers for Aurilia's 2001...grrrrrr....) Speier is clearly the top SS thusfar, beating Aurilia out - and (spoiler alert) he's gonna win this game. Speier had a sneaky good career - a career WARP3 over 80, 101 fielding runs over position. Yup - a better Giants glove that Vizquel, and not by a little bit either, was Speier. Line him up next to Kent, with Bonds Sr. in RF on your all time SF Giants squad.

1970 - 1967 Hal Lanier

WARP3 24.7

-This includes his time at second also.

1966 Tito Fuentes

WARP3 31.1

-Most of this is his time at second also.

1965 Dick Schofield


1964-1961 Jose Pagan

WARP3 11.9

We got his career year in '62 - so take that!

1960 - 1959 Eddie Bressoud

WARP3 13.3

1958 Darryl Spencer

WARP 3 16.2

-A WARP3 over 8, a translated slugging pct of .433 - it would be a long time before we had a shortstop as good as Darryl Spencer

Your all time best SF SS - Chris Speier.

MVPQ - 1960s

Here's the story.


Willie Mays CF Giants (RMVP)
Hank Aaron RF Braves
Eddie Mathews 3B Braves

Mickey Mantle CF Yanks (RMVP sub 10)

1961 - MVPQ

Hank Aaron RF/CF Braves (RMVP sub 10)

Mickey Mantle CF Yankees
Norm Cash 1B Tigers (RMVP)


Willie Mays CF Giants (RMVP)

Hank Aguirre P Tigers (RMVP sub 10)

-That's two for the best player of the 60s.  Willie Mays. 


Willie Mays CF Giants (RMVP)
Dick Groat SS Cards
Sandy Koufax P Dodgers

Gary Peters P WSox (RMVP sub 10)
Camilio Pascual P Twins (RMVP sub 10)

-That's three for the best player of the 60s.  Willie Mays. 

1964 - MVPQ


Willie Mays CF Giants (RMVP)
Ron Santo 3B Cubs
Dick Allen 3B Phils

Dick Radatz P RSox
Dean Chance P Angels (RMVP)
Ron Hansen SS WSox

-That's four for the best player of the 60s.  Willie Mays.
1965 - MVPQ

Willie Mays CF Giants (RMVP)
Juan Marichal P Giants

Mel Stottlemyre P Yanks (RMVP sub 10)

-And that's 5.  4 straight; Bonds will tie that in the 2000s, and 5 overall. 

1966 - MVPQ

Ron Santo 3B Cubs
Juan Marichal P Giants (RMVP )
Joe Torre C Braves

Frank Robinson RF Orioles (RMVP)

-The Giant domination of the RMVP Award continues unabated!  So many titles must have been won!
1967 - MVPQ

Ron Santo 3B Cubs (RMVP sub 10)

Carl Yastrzemski LF RSox (RMVP)

1968 - MVPQ

Bob Gibson P Cards (RMVP)

Carl Yastrzemski LF RSox (RMVP)

-Yaz goes back to back. 


Reggie Jackson RF Athletics (RMVP)

Larry Dierker P Astros (RMVP)

-Because who doesn't think Reggie Jackson without Larry Dierker?

MVPQ - 1970s

Here's what's happenin'.

1970 - MVPQ

Johnny Bench C Reds
Ferguson Jenkins P Cubs (RMVP)

Jim Fregosi SS Angels (RMVP sub 10)

1971 - MVPQ

Wilbur Wood P WSox (RMVP)

Tom Seaver P Mets
Ferguson Jenkins P Cubs (RMVP)
Dave Roberts P Padres

-Fergie Jenkins opens the decade with back to back RMVP Awards

1972- MVPQ

Steve Carlton P Phils (RMVP 16+ )
Joe Morgan 2B Reds
Johnny Bench C Reds
Cesar Cedeno CF Astros

Gaylord Perry P Indians (RMVP)

-Lefty joins Maddux with a 16+ season in the past 50 years. 

MVPQ 1973

Joe Morgan 2B Reds
Tom Seaver P Mets (RMVP)

Bobby Grich 2B Orioles (RMVP)

MVPQ - 1974

Joe Morgan 2B Reds (RMVP)
Johnny Bench C Reds
Jon Matlack P Mets

Gaylord Perry P Indians (RMVP sub 10)

-Perry's second RMVP of the decade.

1975- MVPQ

Joe Morgan 2B Reds (RMVP)
Randy Jones P Padres

Bobby Grich 2B Orioles (RMVP)

-Grich gets his second RMVP Award

1976 - MVPQ

Joe Morgan 2B Reds (RMVP)
Mike Schmidt 3B Phils

George Brett 3B Royals (RMVP)

-3 consecutive RMVP Awards for Joe Morgan, the best player on the Big Red Machine. 

1977 - MVPQ

Rick Reuschel P Cubs (RMVP)

Rod Carew 1B Twins (RMVP sub 10)


Ron Guidry P Yankees (RMVP sub 10)

Phil Niekro P Braves (RMVP)

MVPQ 1979

Phil Niekro P Braves (MVPQ)

George Brett 3B Royals (MVPQ)

-Brett and Niekro each pick up their second RMVPs of the decade.

Some Say the World Will End in Fire. Some Say Ice.

We said goodbye to the 2009 San Francico Giants last night. As a volunteer member of one of those Obamacare death panels, I'm proposing the plug be pulled on the ballclub. I'll call Conrad Murray to see if he saved a couple extra vials of propofol.

Actually, just the offense. If only there were a way someone could have seen this coming. Like if there could have been a spring training brief entitled "National League Pitching Determined to Attack Inside the Giants Lineup."

Last night is in the inner circle of devastating losses in a franchise with a history of them. If it happened to the pre-2004 Red Sox Dan Shaughnessy would have already written a book entitled The Curse of Freddy Sanchez

A walk off grand slam home run. And you thought this would be the worst torture uncovered yesterday.

I slipped in the torture link (which you need to click) but can't find a similar way to incorporate this plug - you need to buy the current issue of Rolling Stone (there is an interview at, but not the piece itself) to read Matt Taibbi's health care piece.  It's really not optional, you need to read it.

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