Archive for December, 2010

Book Review: Christmas Is Good!

Friday, December 24th, 2010

The full title is “Christmas is Good! – Trixie’s Guide to a Happy Holiday”. It is written by Trixie Koontz, DOG, and edited by Dean Koontz.

The book features photographs by Monique Stauder and illustrations by Janet Cleland, and both the photographs and the illustrations are great! I should point out that, as this is a Christmas book, photographs feature Trixie with red bows in her hair (just above her ears).

The Koontz website ( describes this book as “an irresistible stocking stuffer full of furry tidbits to maximize your yuletide fun.”

Here is a quote from the dedication page:
– “Trixie, a former service dog for people with disabilities, retired at three with an elbow problem, and came to live with the Koontz family. She is donating all author royalties from this book to Canine Companions for Independence, the wonderful organization that originally raised and trained her.”

Trixie’s Holiday Wish List is included, and it comprises 37 items.

Here is one of my favorite quotes from Trixie’s Guide to a Happy Holiday:
– “Christmas is not about getting. Is about giving. So give me sausages!”

Trixie’s favorite Christmas movie is “Die Hard”.

A recipe for “Trixie’s Special Christmas Gift Dog Treats” (aka “Peanut Butter Training Bites”) is included at no extra charge.

I recommend this “Big Little Book of Holiday Fun” as a stocking stuffer “for Dogs and Their People”.

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Chet’s Corner: In Regards to 2010…..

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

The year in baseball has been a doozy.  Not just the actual 162 game season but the off-season too!

Without a bunch of blathering about the no hitters and the statistical minutia, which can be found here in a very interesting article by Jayson Stark,  I give you my highlights and low-lights for the 2010 season…..

*Many of the following are Cubs related, but not all……..

1) We found out in late January that the Ricketts family had purchased the Cubs for a mere $900 Million.  Not a bad margin for the Trib, considering the team was bought by the Tribune in 1981 for 20.5 million.  Just think,  we could almost field an entire team of ball players in today’s game making that much on a yearly basis….or at least we’ll be able to very soon.

2) This was Yahoo sports spring training outlook for the Cubs starting rotation in 2010….

Starting pitching has been a strength of the Cubs the last few years, and this season could be no different. You can pencil in Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster, and Randy Wells as the first three starters in the rotation. After that however, it gets dicey.

Does this look familiar? They should just copy and paste for 2011.

3) The San Francisco Giants won the World Series on the backs of a few young players and a bunch of journeyman ballplayers.  Their team payroll you ask??? Just shy of 99 Million.  That placed them ninth in MLB for the 2010 season.

4) If you told me prior to the 2010 season that Lou Piniella would leave his post as Cubs manager 3/4 of the way through the season I would not have raised my brow.  If you told me Mike Quade would be taking the reigns for the remainder of the season and have such success, and fall into such favor with the front office and players that he wins the job for the next two seasons, I would have asked you one thing…….”Who is Mike Quade?”

5) Stephen Strasburg looks a lot like Mark Prior…….all the way down to the pitching motion.  Hey Nationals, better luck with Harper!


These are just a few things that stuck out in my mind from this past season. What about you guys?  What were your highlights/lowlights from 2010?

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The Numbers Don’t Lie, Part 2

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

Back by popular demand (my wife likes this series)…

#16—Steve Lake and Aramis Ramirez: A-Ram has looked more like the weak-hitting Lake lately. Here’s hoping he gets back on track in 2011.  I think Anthony Young, the one-man loss machine, wore #16 as well.

#17—Of course we all remember Cub great Mark Grace, but my favorite 17 has to be Bump Wills. There aren’t enough people named “Bump” in the world.

#18—Richie Hebner, Dwight Smith, Jose Hernandez, and Moises Alou come to mind. Of course, Geo Soto sports it these days.

#19—Spike Owens’ little brother Dave wore this number in 1984, my all-time favorite Cubs season. If memory serves, Owens helped turn the famous double play off Lee Smith’s back. After that lucky play, Harry uttered the famous line, “The Good Lord wants the Cubs to win!”

#20—Bob Dernier, Jerome Walton, and Corey Patterson: I guess you have to be a speedy CF who doesn’t like to walk.

#21—“Sammy, Sammy, Sammy, Sammy!” And don’t forget the great Scott Sanderson. “Sandy, Sandy, Sandy, Sandy!”

#22—A tear forms in my eye as I fondly recall the days of Billy Buck. A different kind of tear forms in my eye as I painfully remember Mark Prior. What might have been?

#23—How lucky we were to watch the amazing career of Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg. The only other 23 I could think of was Pete LaCock. I believe he’s related to Peter Marshall from “The Hollywood Squares.” I’ll take Paul Lynde to block.

#24—Jerry Morales, Gary Varsho, and Bobby Scales: Another run of crappy Cubs.

#25—D-Lee is a no-brainer. My favorite player from this bunch was Rafael Palmeiro. I was crushed when the Cubs traded him in the Mitch Williams deal. I was embarrassed by how his career ended.  Honorable mention goes to Gary Woods and Tuffy Rhodes.

#26—Billy Williams (number retired). For some reason, 26 doesn’t seem to be a popular number in MLB.  Who am I missing?

#27—Who could forget the great Mel Hall, who was packaged with Joe Carter in the Rick Sutcliffe deal? Others include Derrick May (ugh) and Thad Bosley.

#28—Ladies and gentlemen, Randall Kirk Myers. Easily my favorite Cubs closer.

#29—Now here’s a depressing list: Tom Veryzer, Chico Walker, Doug Dascenzo, Jeff Huson, and Rey Ordonez. Sometimes I think it wouldn’t be that difficult to be a general manager.

#30—Chuck Rainey and Ozzie Timmons: Speaking of Chuck Rainey, he started 1984 as a member of the Cubs rotation. Fortunately, he didn’t finish. With apologies to the Rainey family, the best thing you can say about Chuck is that he brought Davy Lopes (#15) to Chicago in a trade with the Oakland A’s.

Stayed tuned for part 3, numbers 31-45. Mike Proly and George Frazier are right around the corner!

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GirlieView (12/20/2010)

Monday, December 20th, 2010

If Christmas is your thing, this is your week! And in case you still have shopping, wrapping and decorating to do, we’ll not waste any time. Especially since there was a ton of fantastic conversation this week, even in the off-season! Enjoy the week in review, and don’t miss the discussion question at the end!


  • Your husbands name is ‘Snow’?
  • Ghetto fabulous.
  • Why does frosty the snowman hang out on the sidewalk?
  • In return, I ask for your critical comments and snide remarks
  • 7. Alfonso Soriano (LF) – This won’t stroke the ego of the over-priced slugger, but where else should he be?
  • I wonder how much Soriano would pout if you stuck him 7th.
  • I would trade Z to the Yanks for nothing if they agree to take Soriano as well.
  • Unfortunately, it would also mean that the top of the lineup ran at glacial speeds.
  • I’m fed up with shoddy play & shoddy fundamentals
  • you are a day late and $120M short. Lee is a Philly now.
  • check with Lizzie regarding use of “asswipe”
  • Maybe Quade has a sense of humor…
  • Considering the options at 1B, I think the Cubs did quite well.
  • Koyie Hill didn’t get non-tendered? What is going on around here?
  • I’m also worried Hendry is gonna get into these deferred dollars contracts like he got into No-Trade Clauses
  • Hendry isn’t paying Pena $10M to be platooned.
  • Let’s just say my Favre dangled in the wind more then I would like to say!
  • I shared the Cliff Lee signing shock with everybody else.  Then of course, was subjected to eighty different baseball writers breaking down his contract like it is the national deficit or something.
  • Cubs:
    Carlos Zamrano
    Ryan Dempster
    The Bee Gees
    Eat Me
    I don’t care……..
  • How can you hope to keep your loyal and large fan base happy by raising ticket prices year over year and saying you need to curtail spending……all the while your counterparts are out throwing money at good players to become even better then they were?
  • Zambrano could fall anywhere from top 10 on his best days and outside of 100 on his worst.
  • They have scouts that find the right players, they have coaches that help them improve, and they have management that can tell which ones have it and which ones don’t. Do the Cubs have any of these things?
  • What a time to be a Phillies fan…
  • I feel like the Phillies are prepared to show up to the gun fight with M-16’s and we have swiss army knives
  • It will be interesting to see how the talking heads react if the Phillies don’t win the World Series.
  • I met Harry Hamlin in L.A. once. He seemed nice, but I don’t want him pitching for the Cubs either.
  • I read somewhere that the key to hitting Harry Hamlin is to step in looking for a first pitch fastball.
  • Hamlin hasn’t been the same since LA Law, his tommy john surgery took 10mph off his fastball.
  • Too bad. He could have been the next Jimmy Smits.
  • I met James Bond. Not 007, just some guy named James Bond.
  • how can you not like a movie with Pussy Galore in it.
  • We Got Wood
  • If you have Wood in the Morning, all of your problems are psychological, and not physical. Therefore, we should infer that this team can come thru given the proper attention. I’m looking for a bang-up new year.
  • I respect his baseball knowledge when he’s talking about something he’s not biased on, but he obviously just wants to stick it to the cubs whenever he can. And quite frankly Steve, it’s getting old.
  • I think the only thing that ruined Pie was Pie, specifically his love for swinging at pitches out of the strike zone.
  • I like Hendry, I think he runs the front office with honesty and integrity but I think his philosophy of depending on declining veterans is an expensive way to fail which minimizes the teams ability to develop young players.
  • Paul Reuschel
  • Must be tough even to be the “handsome Reuschel”
  • If I’m gonna wake up with a man, at least I want him experienced
  • the question was IF YOU COULD LOOK LIKE ONE OF THESE GUYS, not wake up with one of these guys. Put it on your list for Santa and leave us out of that wish.
  • Hector Villanueva
  • The kid still has his hair, and these days, that’s a bug improvement for me.
  • I don’t want to look like any of them, just want their contract.
  • the idea of not getting my inflated head through the door doesn’t sound appealing .
  • I always wanted hair like Henry Cotto.
  • Rudy Meoli
  • I had hair like Jose Cardinal back in the day of big hair.


  • Like my wife, he is tall and slim with long, dark hair.

Monday Morning Discussion Question

Last week Seymour Butts raised an interesting point I’d like to discuss further. To refresh your memory, here is the main context of Seymour’s post:

[Re: Kerry Wood] I have met him twice and it provides a neat case study in context. The first time I was a about 50 yr old in the stands trying to get him to autograph a ball. He eventually did but seemed miffed that an old guy wanted his autograph. I was decked out in cub regalia, but I suppose could have been an autograph seller, so I understood his standoffishness.
The second time I met him was in a restaurant in Scottsdale. Jody Davis introduced him to me (and the rest of my fantasy team). He was friendly, talkative and courteous. Where you see people , and under what circumstances makes a huge difference.

So here’s the question. Do you feel pleasant fan interaction is part of a ballplayer’s job duties? Or do you feel they have a right to be aloof? I’ve got mixed feelings, which is why I’m anxious to hear yours. I think for the millions of dollars they are being paid, they take on a certain responsibility to their fans and need to make themselves courteously available. On the other hand, people are nasty. I wouldn’t want to have to deal with rude, pushy fans who feel they have the right to be as obnoxious as possible, seeming even to enjoy it. So it’s a tossup for me. You?

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GO: Hotties

Saturday, December 18th, 2010

If you could wake up one morning and look like one of these current or former Cubs, which would you choose? (Note to the fellas, answering this does not make you gay!)

  • Marlon Byrd
  • Tyler Colvin
  • Derrek Lee
  • Xavier Nady
  • Carlos Pena
  • Jeff Samardzija
  • Geovany Soto
  • Ryan Theriot
  • Kerry Wood
  • Carlos Zambrano

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