Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Winter is Finally Over!

Yes, it's time for the annual "Red Sox Season Preview" edition of the blog.  This season is particularly exciting because it features the Sox's second attempt at defending at World Series title in the last few years.  The previous attempt (2005)...well, let's just say it was a bit problematic.

Let's have a quick rundown of the lineup, beginning with the pitching staff:

Josh Beckett -- The unquestionable ace of the staff.  The only 20 game winner in the majors last year.  The reason I knew Boston wouldn't lose Game 5 vs. Cleveland in the ALCS.  Currently on the DL for a bad back, but will likely pitch in early April.

Daisuke Matsuzaka -- After a largely mediocre first year, will he settle in this year?  Has difficulty at times throwing pitches for strikes, especially the changeup.  Also prone to "one bad inning" disease.  Boston will need him to be on.

John Lester -- Beat cancer, won the deciding game in the World Series.  Good: somehow always seems to pitch his way out of trouble.  Bad: somehow always seems to pitch his way into trouble.  Has trouble going deep into games.  Reportedly in best shape of career.

Tim Wakefield -- The only starting knuckleballer in the majors.  Typically has a fantastic first 2/3 of season and craps out late.  Pitches especially well in domes.  Enjoys archery.

Clay Buchholz -- Pitched a no-hitter in his second major league start last year.  Nuff said.

Hideki Okajima -- Little-acclaimed lefty reliever who absolutely befuddled hitters last year. Has added a two-seamer which, from all reports, is filthy.

Jonathan Papelbon -- Just got a new contract.  So intense on the mound that he got a few migraines last year.  The best closer in the game.  Enjoys dancing in spandex.

Now, the position players:

Dustin Pedroia -- AL Rookie of the Year last year.  Solid leadoff man despite unimpressive speed.  Spectacular playoffs last year.

Kevin Youkilis -- My favorite beard.  Gold Glove winner at 1st base last year -- made no errors all season.  Favorite target of Joba Chamberlain, who will pay for his sins this year.

David Ortiz -- Big Papi.  Last season, his homers were down, but virtually every other category was up.  He finally had knee surgery and is now healthier than he has been in years.  Look for another big year.

Manny Ramirez -- This is a contract year for Manny, and he knows it.  Last year wasn't his best, but he'll redeem himself this time around.  Reportedly in fantastic shape. Once tried to sell his barbecue grill on eBay.

Mike Lowell -- The MVP of last year's squad.  An absolute stud at the plate and in the field. Has one testicle due to cancer.  Most "experts" predict he can't match last year's numbers, but we'll see.

J.D. Drew -- Until his grand slam against the Indians in the ALCS, would have been my bet for "Player Most Likely to Be Killed by Crazed Fan."  His even demeanor at the plate, especially after strikeouts in key moments, infuriates fans.  Last year's numbers may have been down in part due to his son's health issues.  Has strong throwing arm in right field.

Jason Varitek -- The captain.  Notorious for strikeouts, yet still capable of the "Holy Crap?!!" home run in clutch moments.  Has not looked good in first two games this season.  My favorite Red Sox.

Jacoby Ellsbury -- Scored from 2nd on passed ball last year.  Blazing speed.  Questionable power.  Likely to be the starter in center this year -- will have to learn quirks of Fenway.  Picks up girls at will all over New England.

Julio Lugo -- Let's not talk about him.

That's all I've got for now.  The Sox have a very tough schedule at the beginning of the season. I'm predicting another 95-win season and a good playoff run, but I can't complain if it doesn't happen.  World Series victory count, this millennium: Boston - 2, Yankees - 0.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


I have a confession.  I used to have a problem. During my teenage years, for about 18 months, I watched professional wrestling. Religiously.  Each week, I watched the three hours of "Monday Night Nitro" and the two hours of "Thursday Night Thunder."  In a strange coincidence, I was also often available to watch the hour-long Saturday night special as well.
I remember being in southern California on a family vacation during this time. All my dad's family was there, and a beach volleyball game started up one night.  The sun was setting on the still-warm sand, and between the family and the beach, it was quite the idyllic setting.  I, however, was nowhere to be found on the beach.  I was inside, watching "Nitro."  That night, Lex Luger, aka the Total Package, finally defeated Hulk Hogan for the championship belt.  At long last!  I came running out onto the beach, screaming the good news to my family.  My dad looked as if he was going to just start wading out into the water, never to be heard from again. I came to my senses and quit watching, cold turkey, shortly thereafter.

So I haven't given much thought to wrestling lately. . .until yesterday.  Back in Salt Lake on spring break, I obviously had to hit up my all-time favorite restaurant, Hires Big H.  The Big H, their signature burger, is a marvel; the Double H is the burger that makes the Whopper cry. The Double Country H (with bacon) is simply culinary perfection -- that's what I usually order. So imagine my surprise when the waitress told me that, off the menu, one could order the Triple H.

What does this all have to do with wrestling?  Take a look at this walking steroid here: that's Hunter Hearst Helmsley, aka Triple H.  Also wrestling under the names Jean-Paul Lévesque, Terra Ryzing, and the Connecticut Blueblood, Triple H developed his famous but incomparably crappy finishing move, "the Pedigree."

As I sat in my blue vinyl chair at Hires, my mind flashed over the countless foes who suffered ignominious defeat at the hands of Triple H.  I myself had never squared off against such a massive burger in my storied burger-eating career. Would I be man enough to handle it?

Of course I was.  I pounded the burger and then chased it with Hires' signature fries and raspberry shake.  Take that, Triple H.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Mac OS X Leper

Let me mention two things up front.  First, thanks to my buddy Taylor for the free copy of Leopard. Second, I have been extremely satisfied with my Macbook up to this point.

So Mac's newest version of its operating system, titled "Leopard," arrived in my mailbox a few days ago. Despite being in the middle of finals and needing my computer to study for the following day's pathology test, I was so eager to get this bad boy up and running that I began the installation process right away. Foolish me.

It soon became apparent that I could go outside, track, and trap an actual leopard in the "wild" faster than my computer could finish the installation.  After a few hours, it finally finished.  I installed all updates.

No problems.  Things were quiet...too quiet.

The next evening, I discovered that I could not load certain websites anymore. One of these was  Obviously this was unacceptable and debilitating.  So I decided to go back to the old standby "Tiger" operating system.

Well, at 4:00 am later that same night, I was still working to recover all my files which apparently decided to enter the Witness Protection Program during this reversion. At one point it looked like I had lost everything; miraculously, everything was recovered.

After that, I've decided to stay away from Leopard for now.  One wonders what other big cats Mac can possibly use for titles here. Cheetah, Puma, Jaguar, Panther, Tiger, and now Leopard are taken.  What's next?  Lynx?  Cougar?  Ocelot?  For my money, this "leopard" would have been more appropriately named "Diseased Wildebeest" or "One-legged Nag."

P.S. Who voted "$100" in the poll?  My school would like your phone number.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Dr. DRE?

When you think of the letters "D-R-E," what comes to your mind is probably the man pictured here. Born André Romell Young, he adopted the well-known stage name and became a most influential rapper.  Not only did he develop the West Coast sound, he also discovered Snoop and the Dogg Pound, helped make rap mainstream, and won three Grammys in the process.  So yeah, you wouldn't be wrong to think of him when you think "D-R-E."  I am sad to report that I can no longer do this.

You want to know what I think of when I hear these letters?


Why a gloved hand, you ask?  I'll tell you why.  Because today, I administered my first but unfortunately not last Digital Rectal Exam.  Ahh yes, the dread DRE.  The bane of the male existence.  The one thing that sucks about being a guy (other than paying for everything while dating).  The ugly, stupid cousin of the female pelvic exam.  The perfect birthday present for that 50-year-old guy in your life.

Medical students learn all sorts of exams.  Usually, we just practice on each other.  This sort of thing isn't really a problem when we're learning the heart exam, or the lung exam, or the eye exam.  But I definitely did not sign up for free practice prostate exams.  So the school pays volunteers.

Now I know what you're thinking: "Where can I sign up?"  Before you do that, let me tell you what this volunteering entails.  You show up, enter an exam room, drop ya drawes, put on one of the incredibly modest patient gowns, and then....Uh....20 medical students, with no previous experience, practice the exam on you.  Males, females, come one come all.  This process lasts about two hours.

So here's the question:  How much would it take for you to be willing to do this for 20 unknown medical students?  Vote in the poll.  (I should mention that our volunteers get paid $200 for doing this exam, double the usual rate.)