"Let us go forth a while, and get better air in our lungs. Let us leave our closed rooms...
The game of ball is glorious."

--Walt Whitman

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Who Needs New Hiking Socks? Anyone?

Somebody, please, hold me down and take my credit cards away.

You may recall that I often knit with Lion Brand Yarn because they make a whole passel of quality yarns at nice low prices. You may also recall that I'm something of a treehugger, in the same way that Jesse Owens was something of a runner.

Well, folks, Lion Brand has just come out with organic cotton yarn.

I have worked with organic cotton yarn, and it is the buttery-softest, most wonderful stuff in the world. I'll take it over cashmere, and I loves me some cashmere. And now, thanks to those wonderful folks at Lion, I have a cheap, ready supply of organic cotton yarn--color-grown organic cotton, even!

Ah, well, I didn't really want my own house, did I?

Read More

Thursday, January 11, 2007


Author's note: This post is not about baseball, or knitting, or indeed anything either constructive or happy.

I am so very angry right now.

Last night I was hanging out with my girlfriends and we'd gotten a few cocktails in us when Shrub came on the TV and we decided to MST3K his little speech. And as usual, when he said:

"Blah blah blah blah sectarian violence blah blah steadfast blah blah blah achieve victory blah",

all I heard was:

"I am Emperor Bushus Augustus! Bring me a fiddle! And some matches."

Because really, that's all he ever says, if not in those exact words. But we sat there and we mocked him (it's a bit like shooting fish in a barrel) and it was fun.

And then I woke up this morning to the news that the Minnesota National Guard's 1st Brigade, 34th Infantry Division, which was due to come home in March after 15 months in Iraq, has had their tour extended "indefinitely".

I have been fortunate enough to know only one person who had the bad luck to be sent to that hellhole our wise and gracious leaders have created in Iraq. That one person, however, is a very dear friend. The closest thing I have to a brother, actually.

He serves with the Minnesota National Guard's 1st Brigade, 34th Infantry Division. He was supposed to come home in March. We were starting to make plans, nothing earth-shaking. He was going to come see my new apartment. I was going to make dinner for him and his wife. We were going to have a beer. These were not plans which would have changed the world. But they were there to be anticipated. The days were being marked off in the calendar of the mind, and March did not seem so very far away.

My temper, when roused, normally burns hot and bright and very briefly. Not today. Today my anger is a cold and heavy thing, and I feel chilled from the inside out. I do not think this chill will be readily banished.

I gave up trying to make sense of this godforsaken war a long time ago, and chose instead to count off the days with all the patience I could muster, and to live in hope. That hope is not dead, not by any means, but it has been given a good swift kick in the teeth. Yesterday was one day closer to his return. Today is one more day in this seemingly endless parade of dangers. Yesterday it was easy to believe that everything would be okay. Today it is difficult.

I am so very angry right now.

He was supposed to come home in March.

Read More

Friday, January 05, 2007

Worth a Shot, I Suppose...

Twins Ink Ponson to Minor League Deal

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins have been searching for experienced arms to boost their starting rotation, and on Tuesday they added at least one well-known pitcher to compete for a starting spot in Sidney Ponson.

Ponson, 30, was one of two pitchers that the Twins signed to Minor League deals with invitations to Spring Training. The team also inked right-handed pitcher Brad Voyles, who spent last season with the Cardinals' Triple-A affiliate in Memphis.

A career 80-96 pitcher, Ponson went 4-5 with a 6.25 ERA in 2006 during stints with the Cardinals and the Yankees, both of which released him during the year. Ponson has also seen his ERA rise over each of the last three seasons after going 17-12 with a 3.75 ERA with Baltimore and San Francisco in 2003.

And while Ponson's recent numbers are of concern to the Twins, the hope is that the pitcher who showed the ability to be an innings eater at one time can find that form once again.

Eating innings is one thing. Whether or not they stay down is entirely another.

Ponson has, in his career, had two pretty good seasons (defined, for a starter, as a sub-4.00 ERA), four decent seasons (sub-5.00 ERA), two poor seasons (ERA in the 5's) and two shoot-me-now seasons (ERA over 6.00). The good seasons were three and four years ago, respectively, and the decent ones were all before that.

This does not look promising.

That said, it's just a minor league contract. He'll have to (one would assume) have an awfully good spring training to actually make the club. Of course, one also assumes he's not the only veteran pitcher we'll be signing to a minor league contract in the next month or so, but one could be wrong.

Read More

Monday, January 01, 2007

Back in '06...

Hello again. Long time, no blog.

In the six weeks or so since last I posted, Casa TBL has relocated and downsized by a number of square feet and one person. And that, frankly, is all I have to say about that. At least for now.

I still have no broadband connection (TBL is currently holed up in the local coffee shop, riding their free wireless and nursing a gingerbread latte), but if the nice folks at my ISP are to be believed, that will change on Wednesday. Of course, they previously told me December 15th, 21st, and 27th. So...yeah.

I've missed a number of events in Twinsland, and I'll touch on them now. No point in going into the depth I might have at the time, however. This is just playing catch-up, putting the old year to bed in order to better greet the new.

And by the way, happy new year to you all. May it be better than the last.

Morneau the MVP (November)
Well, color TBL stunned. TBL was quite sure the MVP would go to a certain east coast shortstop whose only extraordinary talents are smirking and making routine plays look wildly difficult. Apparently the baseball writers were actually paying attention this year. Who knew?

Willie Eyre Released (December)
Hrm. TBL's gut tells her this wasn't the greatest move in the world. He wasn't arbitration-eligible, and despite a lackluster rookie year, the kid's got some nice stuff and definite potential. Surely enough to merit the (relatively) cheap major league minimum salary. Eyre has since signed with the Rangers.

Jeff Cirillo Joins the Twins (December)
The former Brewers infielder passed a physical and signed a one-year deal for $1.5 million. It sounds like he's expected to be the next Juan Castro, only with hitting. A good move, sez TBL, for the price.

Rondell White Re-Signed (December)
Surely this raised many a groan of despair, but considering how well he did once he finally got that shoulder loosened up, TBL is cautiously optimistic. However, there are hints that he's expected to be the starting left fielder rather than the DH, and that does make TBL scratch the ol' noggin. He's not, ah, particularly fleet of foot, is he?

Brad Radke Retires (December)
We all knew this was coming. The man pitched on a shoulder that was a fiery cauldron of agony for what, a season and a half? He's a freakin' hero in TBL's book, and not just for that. He stayed with the Twins when he could have made more money elsewhere, and when he could have left a pathetic Minnesota club to pitch for a contender. When the Twins became contenders, they did so partly because of his mentoring of young pitchers and his willingness to pitch through rain, sleet and torn ligaments. Now he wants to fish and finally let that shoulder heal. TBL has hopes that he will someday reappear within the Twins organization as a coach.

And that's it for 2006. Next up...who knows? Maybe Terry Ryan will go out and get TBL that pitcher she's been begging for.

Read More