Just one of those days


I don’t really follow college football which is probably a good thing. Every once in a while though, I will scan the sports pages of the Sunday Washington Post to see how my three alma maters fared (Rutgers, ’65 BA, Harvard, ’66 MAT, Maryland, ’83 BA).

Both Rutgers and Maryland are now in the Big Ten,” which when I was a boy actually had ten schools. Now it has fourteen. When I was a student at Rutgers we weren’t in the “Big Anything” and played schools like Bucknell and Colgate and occasionally won a game. Not so yesterday:

Michigan State 40, Rutgers 7

OK, I’ll buy that. I’m not sure that Rutgers belongs in the Big Ten. But what about Maryland? They have a big time sports program.

Penn State 66, Maryland 3 (shouldn’t football have a “slaughter rule” like they have in Little League?)

Anyway, on to Harvard. Hopefully they are not in the Big Ten too. Nope, still the Ivy League.

Yale 24, Harvard 3

So, if my calculations are correct,

Opponents 130, Bill’s schools 13

Not a very good Saturday by any means. Desperately I look for a silver lining. How about my old high school? I do a search on Floral Park Memorial High School and discover that they did not play yesterday. Probably a good thing as they lost their previous two contests by a combined score of 68-21.

Is it any wonder that football is not my thing? Anyway, I have to run. I’m going to look up my grade school, good old Floral Park-Bellerose elementary school.  Perhaps they play in some peewee touch football league.


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Write a Novel in a Month


It was exactly two years ago when I attended a class at the Smithsonian titled “Write a Novel in a Month.” The instructor was Kathryn Johnson who has written over forty books. The core of the course was taken from her book, The Extreme Novelist, which is the best book I’ve seen of “How to write a novel.” She claimed that anyone in the class could crank out a 50,000 word first draft in a month (it took me six weeks). Two years and two novels later, I can’t say it’s given me any monetary success, but the enjoyment and satisfaction have been immeasurable. For the past few years November has been declared as “National Novel Writing Month.” If you’ve ever wondered and have some imaginary plot or situation or character or whatever that excites you, why not give it a shot?

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There’s still time…


…to vote in-person absentee. For those with a ‘good reason.’ For the rest of us, the November 7 Election Day is fast approaching.

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Would you buy a used car from this bunch?


Perhaps not, but we of the McLean In-person absentee satellite voting staff will be available to help you vote absentee during the next two weeks leading up to Election Day. Monday thru Friday 3:30 to 7 p.m. Saturday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Last day is November 4th. There are twenty valid reasons for voting absentee in Virginia.

And yes, there are eight other in-person absentee satellite locations in Fairfax County, plus the Government, Center itself (which has different hours). But we think we’re the best. See you at the polls!

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243, 257


Those are the number that resonate with me as we move toward the November 7 election.

243: The number of precincts in Fairfax County. For the last three weeks we have been preparing the supplies and testing the voting machines for each of those precincts and now they are ready for the big day.

257: The number of in-person absentee voters who voted today at the McLean in-person absentee satellite. This was about a hundred more than last Saturday. Starting Monday, in-person absentee voting moves to a six day schedule.

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Just a thought


All during the media circus these past few days about Stephen Strasburg’s health and competitive zeal (or lack thereof), I couldn’t stop thinking of Curly Ogden. I mean, didn’t everyone? OK, for the few of you who don’t know (or care) who Curly Ogden was, let’s hop into the Way back machine and travel to game seven of the 1924 World Series. That was the one that put the New York Giants of John McGraw against the Washington Senators, managed by their “Boy Wonder,” Bucky Harris (see photo of Bucky, taken some ten years later).

Curly Ogden was Bucky’s choice to be starting pitcher in that all important game. But it wasn’t for real. You see Ogden was a right handed pitcher and his starting the game meant that left handed hitting Bill Terry would start at first base for the Giants. (Contrary to popular myth, Casey Stengel did not invent platooning in the 1950s; McGraw used it extensively some thirty years earlier.

Bill Terry would go one to have a marvelous Hall of Fame career with a lifetime batting average of .341. In 1924 however, he was just a rookie who people thought would never hit lefties. Starting the right handed Ogden, caused McGraw to insert Terry into the starting lineup. But unknown to anyone, Harris had a left handed pitcher secretly warming up, and after Ogden pitched to two batters he was removed. The whole thing was a ruse to lure McGraw into starting Terry and it worked. McGraw eventually removed Terry from the lineup, depriving him of the potential use of him later in the game.

Now fast forward to the present day. For the past few days the media (and some Nats fans) have howled in frustration. Was Strasburg really sick? Did he lack the competitive drive? And when it became apparent that Strasburg would start the game, it became “Why didn’t the Nationals handle it better?” Different talking heads started pontificating over what information the Nationals should have released. What they should have said to the media. How they should have come clean with all the facts. Blah, blah, blah.

OK, point number one. Lighten up media. This is a baseball game, an important on I grant you, but still just a game. It’s not like Donald tweeting about North Korea.

More importantly, I wonder if the whole thing was one big ruse. Putting in the Cubs’ mind that they would be facing Tanner Roark (substituting hamburger for fillet mignon) or at best, a weakened version of Strasburg. Such ruse would accomplish a number of things.

  1. It would distract the media from writing more dribble about how the Nationals can’t win in the playoffs. This year’s team is their last best chance. How they can’t win the big one.
  2. It also distracts from the media fixating on any perceived managerial mistakes that may have been made in the earlier games.
  3. It just might sew a little confusion into the Cubs. Just who are we going to face in the game?

I offered this opinions to the SABR people at last evening’s monthly dinner and it was pretty much dismissed out of hand. Strasburg really was sick and thanks to fluid infusions, antibiotics, and lots of Gatorade he was able to perform at maximum performance level.

There’re probably right. Still I can’t help thinking of Curly Ogden.

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Getting on board


OK, here’s the deal. I’m not a Nationals fan. Not really. My team is the Red Sox and they are hanging by a thread (Yea, David Price; yea Hanley Ramirez) but I can’t do them much good from here. My number two team is the Orioles but well….

Then I saw Bryce and Ryan on the tube hit their homeruns on Saturday and I thought, “That’s nice but it doesn’t really affect me.”

Then I got this e-mail this morning from the Nats telling me that I can buy a ticket for the first NLCS game to be played in Nats Park. Then I start thinking. Cost is high but not outrageous. Metro closes early but for one night I can pay the outrageous parking lot fees. The more I think, the more excited I get. I’ll have to take a day off from election work but that should be manageable. Destiny seems to be calling. A few clicks of the mouse and I have my ticket. Of course there is still the issue of the Cubs but my Nats friends assure me that there is no problem there.

So I’m officially on board. Go Nats!

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