Carnival: the dream that was

My dream of visiting Rio for Carnival is disintegrating. All my wing men are dropping like flies, to marriage, kids, the types of things I don't really think about. I'm starting to realize what it means to only get to see the guys on the occasional guys night out because that's about how often I see them now. Well, it is what it is. No use raging against this machine. There's always next year.

The chase dream

This is my last week of work before I begin my personal leave (I've been told not to use the word sabbatical, though I'm not certain why). I feel calmer than about this than I did a few weeks ago, yet last night I had another pseudo-nightmare. I think it's related to my impending leave, but who knows? All I know is I've had lots of anxious dreams in recent weeks.
Last night's was a scene out of some bad movie, or maybe it was peeled off of an impression of Some Like It Hot, left over from Xmas break. I was standing on the ledge of some building (no idea why, as is typical in dreams) and looked down to witness a violent gunfight in the street. A whole bunch of men, standing around cars, shooting each other with machine guns. One group seemed to win out, led by a guy who looked like Peter Stormare (the guy who offs Steve Buscemi in Fargo). Then the Stormare character spots me on the roof and starts shooting bazookas at me. Debris is flying everywhere. I jump onto the roof of the building and head to the back of the building where I run down a fire escape into the courtyard and take off for cover. I spot two other guys, doing the same thing. Apparently they witnessed the gangland execution as well, and now we're all marked men.
I hope a few fences, run between a few buildings, and suddenly I'm out on the sidewalk by a beach. A few folks rollerblade or walk by. The ocean glimmers at the edge of the beach, reflecting the light of a high noontime sun. I start walking as casually as possible, trying not to draw attention to myself.
Suddenly I spot a suspicious looking character. He looks like a Tibetan monk. He's staring at me intently. I get this feeling that he's probably working for the Stormare character, and he's got his suspicions. He asks me what I'm doing out here. I say I'm just catching some afternoon sun. I ask him what business it is of his. He just smiles and turns to walk away. Then he turns to look over his shoulder and sees the look on my face. All at once we both realize we've got the goods on each other. We take off sprinting in opposite directions. I'm not sure who he's going to alert, but I'm not sticking around to find out.
I feel the heat coming over my shoulder. Then I'm awake.

Fresh-thinking baseball GMs

There's a small but influential contingent of so called sabermetric general managers in baseball now. Theo Epstein, 28 year old whiz kid and new GM of the Boston Red Sox. J. J. Ricciardi, GM of the Blue Jays, and one-time disciple of the most renowned of the group, Oakland GM Billy Beane. You have to be psyched if you're a Red Sox fan because of the brains in the front office, from owner John Henry to president Larry Lucchino to Epstein to Bill James, and the deep pockets which someone like Billy Beane will never have access to in Oakland. Let's hope these guys are successful, because they may just overturn some conventional thinking and herd behavior in baseball.
For example, sabermetricians have long wondered why all teams insist on finding one pitcher to serve as a closer when so few pitchers have the skills to justify that kind of responsibility. The Red Sox will take that heart this year as they plan to go with closer by committee. Hopefully the Cubs will have the sense to do the same, though I doubt Dusty Baker, spoiled by years of signaling for Rob Nenn, will have such wisdom.

The Big Anti-Aristotle

John Hollinger writes in his weekly CNNSI column:
"Tell Yao Ming, 'ching-chong-yang-wah-ah-soh.'" That's what Shaquille O'Neal said six months ago, but this week it ignited a firestorm after a columnist for AsianWeek complained about it. Shaq insisted the comments weren't racist, saying, "At times I try to be a comedian." At times Shaq tries to be a rapper too, and it works out about as well.
Shaq: great player, lousy interview, lousy actor, lousy rapper, terrible dresser, and let's add ignorant to that list now. It's unlikely to happen, but let's hope Yao takes him to school (and teaches Shaq some Chinese) this Friday.

Kids, don't feed the fat man

One thing about heading off for a leave of absence: it's tough to manage your diet, because everyone takes you out to eat to all your favorite restaurants. Dinner Friday was at Malay Satay Hut (a fascinating blend of Asian cuisines), Sunday was Le Pichet courtesy of Eric and Christina (the roast chicken entree and chicken terrine appetizer are to die for, and the wine menu is first class), and tonight my team took me to Tango (a rotating menu of tapas, always tasty, and half price bottles of wine on Monday nights). I'm supposed to do attend another dinner Tuesday night but I think I'll have to beg off one night to get an angioplasty.