Spring Training

I was writing this last April, taking part in a hard fight with many avid bards (and an all-star grading). As it’s March again, I bring it back. Happy Spring! 🙂

All limbs in whirls that lash, craving maintaining.
A small rain falling in an arid land, draining
What was a farm. This day it’s scalding, blazing.
This fall, I cry, will flash with wins amazing.
In a mad wind, kids flip backwards and wind
Till arms display what avid fans will find.
I pass as a baby, rattling silly stats
That sat amid this mix; minds, balls and bats.

I’ll sit in any chair, skip that which is shaming
Past failings, past draws. It saps will, blaming
What was. In this dry warmth; again I’ll start
Planning against panic, playing any part.
Till that day wins banish a final wraith:
I am a fanatic, invisibility sparks faith.

Houston and Simplicity

Houston is this cohort’s Wisconsin: swapping circuits (and now divisions too). Changing this instills junior/non-junior parity, obviously, and forms six divisions without any big or small. But this also disrupts parity, as (barring lots of off days), a circuit can’t pit all its squads up against similar squads.

This Astros gang has many distinguishing marks; a circuit jump, a low payroll, and swinging and missing. A lot. So much that it almost got no-hit (and no-walk, no-thing at all, and so on) by Yu Darvish to start out this campaign. But a hit with an out to go would stop that goal.

So thinking about that, I thought, any string of at-bats is a rarity. Looking at pitch counts, balls and fouls, hits and outs, you will probably not watch many pairs of twin innings. Any play is particular, not always part of a broad class.

But so what? Just saying “a run, two hits, strand two” is jumping to conclusions. Simplicity of a notion–“wow, no hits at all!”–is what allows us to pin down cool honors. “This guy got a hit and this guy did and four in a row struck out and, following that…” is still an unusual thing, for most days will not show that particular of at-bats. But “cool occasion to honor and brag about” is not just “unusual.”

Might this play into stats? To bat in a run is a straightforward thing to do–obtain hit, push run in. Accomplish mission. So you can tally up RBI and say “look, this guy had this many,” and fans will nod and say “uh-huh, cool.” OBP should look similar. “How many occasions did you try to bat? How many saw you find your way to first? Now do a fraction.” So straightforward! I would say this is not as much a complication as BA: “what, hits slash at-bats? What’s an at-bat? You can’t count walks? Why? This is so arbitrary.” I would think a fan who’s not so much up with SABR’s doings could quickly go “Okay, OBP has a lot of simplicity going for it…I know what this is. I might not know what’s a good, bad, or outstanding mark, but I can grasp it.”

But what about WAR and VORP? This is hard. It’s so hard to pin down, that major blogs did not work from a common calculation to find such a statistic. How surprising is it, that not many fans catch on to this?

Simplicity is not a trivial notion.

Bookworm’s Soliloquy

So, @ranjit programs his glorious robot to cull spam floods. How, you ask? In lipogram fashion, with inspiration from…um…yours truly.

This is such a glorious honor that, obviously, I must post lots of lipograms, such as right now. Starting with a bit of angsty writing.

I am still trying to know who I am,
to find out without guilt,
how what is not can touch what is.
Not just distracting it,
pulling us away from work and from duty
only to drop us off following a short duration of play
without changing how our minds focus.
And not distorting it past what it is,
I am not so cool and hip as to
latch on to any passing fad,
throw away faith and truth for casual doubt.
No, it is how I can look into a book
and latch on, and find it latching back
so that I am caught up in it all,
having to find out what occurs
(though nothing occurs)
and caring, caring too much than I think I should,
frustration, mourning, loss,
an itch to craft my own finish,
a fool’s laugh–
what audacity that I’d know so much!
That I could find what I want–
but who can know what I’d want, but I?
And a crushing guilt,
an iron, unforgiving sound intoning
“bad you, bad you for caring
and not caring about a world full of pain.”
So I pull into my soul, out from this too-full world,
afraid to talk to anybody
(anybody would laugh at this stupid prioritization, I am paranoid),
trying not to cry.

Snowy Songs

This was a long post. I might talk about similar topics soon. Possibly not. Who knows.


I fight through paranoia. It is not an abrupt rush of panic that looms and stops, but I am still afraid.

I try to follow an obvious standard. I try to do to my cohort of humans what I would want that cohort to do in my position. To do this is to think of my wants as normal things. I’m normal, right? Just as I would not want a punch or kick or slap from you, so too will I not punch or kick or slap you. Just as I want food and clothing for survival, so too should I do donations, so that all might own food and clothing.

Just as I am fond of my thoughts, not wanting you to jump in my way and say “NO, YOUR THOUGHT IS WRONG, STOP THINKING THINGS THAT YOU THINK, YOU MORONIC IDIOT,” so too will I not jump in anybody’s way saying “SHUT UP AND STOP YOUR WRONG THOUGHTS.”

Now, no pair of individuals is isomorphic; my goals will not match up with yours in all ways. I might want a maroon hat and you might want a gold scarf; that is okay, isn’t it?

What if it wasn’t? If a bit of individuality is common, I cannot say that what I want is what all would want. So how should I know what to do? I am not psychic. I cannot look into anybody’s mind to find out.

If I try to say “no, I am not just a copy of all of you, I am built funnily, I don’t think in normal ways,” you will laugh and say “shut up, you just want to look cool, you cannot axiomatically show that you think distinctly, all you liars just want to act dumb and not worry about anything.” I cannot say “but I am not a liar, look;” too many liars cry wolf, and my truth is spit upon.

And if I say “okay, you all think how I do, and I think how you do, hooray,” that sounds all right. For a bit. So I start humming a song…a Christmas carol, why not. And you say “Christmas! Hooray! Sing us a song about snow and cold days.”

I say “okay, it’s almost January. Good plan. I will sing about cold days in January. And in July, I will sing about a mosquito and hot sunlight.”

You say “No, not hot sunlight in July. Just cold snow in and around January. Christmas.”

I say “I am glad your liturgical savvy knows that Christmas lasts until January fifth, okay, but no songs for various months? Just snow?”

You say “okay, skip that, sing a song about falling in lust and kissing Santa or wanting a ring or last Christmas you took my vital organs and stuff.”

I say “but I didn’t fall in lust or do any of that, and what has that got to do with Christmas?”

You say “nothing but who isn’t a fan of kissing?”

I say “kids?”

You say “kids don’t count, kids will stop kidding around and throw away childish convictions and just want to kiss stuff.”

I say “I didn’t.”

You say “I thought you said you didn’t want to stand out, you would shut up now as standing out is bad. So shut up and lust for Santa.”

I say “This is so dumb. Okay. I will sing an actual hymn about Christ.”

You say “Stop talking now, okay?”

I say “I am not standing out. Christianity is a common thing. So I will sing carols. How about a Latin chant? Or a translation of a song from Spain? Four-part harmony is always good.”

You say “Christianity is so common a thing that lots of Christians obtain political control and do bad things.”

I say “It is a fact! Sin is a common thing!”

You say “You look smart, and your political inclination is on many affairs similar to ours!”

I say “On many topics, that’s right! Which is why I cast my ballot for your politicians! Look, I’m so old I cast ballots, I am not just a kid.”

You say “Not a kid? Huh? So why your faith and your conviction? Grow up and look cool!”

I say nothing.

I say nothing so I can sit by you and pick up on your story, your humor, your wit, your smart thoughts.

But I am not cool.

Nor am I normal.

I am just too afraid to talk.

Paranoid reflections

Another (very short) poem that began on Twitter and was reworked when I realized that the last line was, by mistake, a total lipogram.

I get defensive next to those who don’t know they’re unlike me
Turning my cheek before they see how close they come to strike me.

No blood is drawn so I think that should work out, good and dandy.
But I don’t know if I’m too proud or too much of a pansy.

ChiSox Win

Words count; or pairs of words at an instant, or words that you link with a dash until nobody can know just how many sit in a row.

With insults or put-downs, words push along in a train. Today you can say “Bob is an (a).” Tomorrow, “a” is out, it’s too hurtful. But to talk about a guy such as Bob, you call him a “(b)”. Until, with a not okay, taunting kids say, “oh, Bob is a b” with a wink. And so adults stop using “b” in a non-insulting way. Bob is, from now on, a c. And so on.

But for us with faith in a jinx, no such supplanting occurs. No, our substitutions occur through broad words. And now, in short spurts of words, information skips along quickly, without slowing down to watch grammar. On any random day, I could go “sox struggling to hit, chisox anyway, bosox with lots of runs but yanks catching up. that’s your junior circuit. also cubs won which was good. all-star ballot box is a thing right now and wait what. it’s april.” That’s stuff, that small a thing; it’s too long to fit as a twitting thought, anyway. It’s off of a cuff, on a fly, I wouldn’t stop to put in many dots or commas or capitals.

But now watch this, a bit of focusing: “sox Struggling to hit.” Just through typing, my nod is in my words, saying “look at this.” As data go flying, this is a saying with a saying: “watch this, now.” Possibly, if I do not do much talking to start with, anything I say is a sign.

Or not. But still, I pass my words along.

(Stick around for a follow-up post that talks about what I’m doing with this forthcoming string of posts.)

That Trojan War guy

It will not profit an old languid king
By this still ash, among bland arid crags
Stuck with an cranky woman, just to script
Unjust laws for a group of louts and fools
That hoard, and nap, and drink, and know not him.

I cannot stop voyaging. I will drink
All drops of this world. I had lots of fun
And had a lot of pain, both on my own
And with my good companions. On land and
As rainy stars through scuddding drifts would haunt
A dim bay. Now I am a titular
Man, always roaming with a hungry mind.
I saw and know a lot; towns and harbors
And customs, tropics, councils, and monarchs.
And I was not last among this grand crowd.
I drunk in giddy joy of war with troops
Far on a ringing plain of windy Troy.
I am a part of all I run across.
But all I do is just an arch, through which
To squint at that unfound world. Its margin
Will blur always and always as I walk.
How dull it is to halt, to call a stop,
To rust in a scabbard and not to glow!
As though surviving was living. Just hours
Is all too small, and not a lot is still
Around, but any hour I clutch
From that still that will not stop. It’s a thing
That can bring many things with it. How wrong
Just for four suns to sit and hoard my mind
And this gray spirit craving a long trip
To follow truth as if a sinking star
Until an utmost bound of human thought.

This my son, my own only offspring
For whom I put down this crown and island,
I’m a fan of him, who’ll try to fulfill
This labor, by slow toil to turn mild
A brutal folk, and through soft urgings to
Instil productivity, show what’s good.
Without any guilt, working in a job
Of common duty, kind, happy, won’t fail
In pansy hugging work or stuff, and pay
Fair adoration to our local gods
Ruling on his own. His work works for him.

That is my port; my boat puffs out its sail
A dark broad bay now glooms. My sailors, you
Souls that would toil, and wrought, and thought as I,
That always with a joyful frolic took
Storms and fair days, in opposition to
Brows, scalps and minds–you know I’m also old.
Saturn still has his honor and his toil
And all will pass away, but not right now.
A work of nobility can occur
Fitting of warriors that could fight Gods.
And now lights will start shining down from rocks.
A long day rolls on. A slow lunar climb
Occurs, and many sounds moan round us. Hark,
‘Tis not too hard to look for a far world.
Push off, and sitting all in a row, lash
At sounding furrows, for it is my goal
To sail past that horizon, and all baths
Of all far-off stars, until I cannot.
Possibly distant gulfs will wash us down.
Possibly our boat shall find islands fair
And run across grand champions of Troy.
Though much is fading, much will last, and though,
I am not now as strong as, in old days
I was to push on land and sky, that which
I am, I am. A mix of all of you
Not as strong as in past, but strong in will
To fight, to look, to find, and not to quit.


Out of night that will still surround,
Black as a pit, no start, no goal,
I thank what gods may watch unfound
For my rigid, unflinching soul.

In a tight clutch of random luck
I do not turn nor cry aloud.
Through assault, still I will not duck
I am bloody, but I stand proud.

This wrath cannot but push down ways
In which horror looms. But I’m staid
And so risks of oncoming days
Find, and shall find, I’m unafraid.

Of no import if a gap’s strait,
How full of judging doom a scroll,
How tall my climb, how long my wait,
For I am captain of my soul.

NLCS Jottings

How tall must you stand, how far
From this world
Until, as a cloud,
Nobody knows what your shadow is?

Wisconsin. Wisconsin! Unsaid,
Too casual to show up in discussion
(or is it just a constraint pointing my way?)
Wisconsin, divisional champions. Missouri, wild cards,
Though I too can pull away
St. Louis from Kansas City.
An arbitrary imposition–
nobody would claim arbitration
Is arbitrary, if not
Judging from far away
And much that is not just discussions of salary.

Judging in words, if words that sound halfway
Grammatical, can sound broad.
Lash out at a sign,
A stand-in for many similar or
Dissimilar things.
A proxy, a symbol,
A goat.
Or throw off grammar, form, constraint,
Writing for your bright cohorts
Who know with a wink what you want to
(Though you wouldn’t, you know, not in just that way)

A young man…not so young, not as young
As all who mock. And not as old
As all who stand tall and jab softly.

What can you watch on TV? An at-bat.
A pitch thrown towards a man in a mask.
A batsman, bat in hands, not facing you, not facing
A backstop. So in a right look
At southpaws anyway.
Or a hit ball–a shortstop grabs, runs, throws,
A tiny blur in uniform runs backwards
Towards a far wall, puts his hand up, and?

Or it can zoom in, not at action, not at anything,
Just a thing to look at,
A moundsman, light, bill down,
Not looking at you
But how far from far!

Or cut away
To Tony La Russa.
I am not good with knowing
Who is who, who looks how
But now I think I know
Tony La Russa’s staring stand.
I think.

Vikings Stink

Administrator’s apology: I told this blog author to whip up a lipogrammatic post about a Vikings loss. Sadly, said author is a dumb idiot and was just totally plagiarizing an actual, non-lipogrammatic thing! Phrasings such as in football is “0-2, talking about a must-win situation in” and “turn as quickly and as dramatically as it did is frustrating” sound convincing at first, I know, but look on and you find out that it’s not a lipogram at all.

So, I cut out words that didn’t fit, but what I was stuck with was ungrammatical slop. So I put in a bunch of words to try and fix it all up but I think I just wound up making it bad still. I’m not much into gridiron football, you know. So…sorry. And sorry to Vikings columnist Mark Craig, who I’m still kind of plagiarizing. Alas.


in football is 0-2, talking about a must-win situation in his foosball pool

and blaming his punt-handling guys

for not playing all that much


half of its first two.

“I think our trinity of

word for

day is, ‘Wow, not again,’ ” Vikings

Fan #1

said and now wants to go to

Tampa Bay in Florida

a warm location, which is host

to a good squad, which can now and again obtain

victory in front of happy

fans in contrast to

Vikings’ thralls.

at. last!

Vikings sail across tumultuous storms and stuff in

a big boat

at San Francisco, until

losing a captain to nasty piranhas

in. said storms.

But as bad as that was, it

was much not as bad as that day poor Olaf, said boat’s cook, got scurvy

to which hungry



Old-World trading paths

at odds with said piranhas

at.tacking wildly, wound up tossing Olaf to a shark.

Vikings brought

in total yards, of masts,

first downs,

rushing yards,



playing a long round of Whist,

This was just a horrid night,” your mom

said. But

now, and I don’t think

you should try sailing until fall or so, on

a boat

that fits

from Scandinavia

half to


Obviously, a slow start

has all

Vikings fans worrying

a lot

in a. tizzy

And Vikings

trail in Find Hudson

Bay standings, against Britain’s

Lions by two months going

in to a big

NFC North match which will burst

into Sunday’s ordinarily tranquil sanctuary.

against a Lions squad

that has won six coin flips in a row! Talk about random odds! That’s just a shot in sixty-four, guys!

and is coming off a glorious crusading

victory in

Kansas City.


said Vikings coach

Donovan McNabb, “ want of a nail, our ship was lost. And truth

is, it’s a must-win situation.”

Against all


it may

look as if Vikings can find a way to blow this upcoming match


Only two


backups who saw

that ugly

0-2 start will go

on to

play in a third match. Don’t put cash on any to go to

playoffs. Of sorts

Vikings did it in back of Kristoff’s shack last Monday. It was hot and probably in violation of most Nordic law, but so totally worth it, if you know what I’m talking about.


York Giants won a Union Jack

Bowl following

an 0-2 start.

“It’s tough to swallow,” coach McNabb

said. “If

you play as badly

as my squad was

playing, to watch luck

turn as quickly and as dramatically as it did is frustrating. I

got to rub down my

back Monday, find

out what Ragnarok

is and stop


in a hurry.”


Vikings can’t work

for Odin or any particular crony of Odin’s

in forty-hour stints. Or

half. In fact,

only four

of NFL squads

was a round for

that odd occasion

as saints would go marching in. And not a Louisianan sort.


“I’m almost happy

to call it a

fact that it couldn’t possibly occur


Chad Ochocinco


“with our bad

way of

playing and Adrian

was flying around making plays and showing

off his spiffy uniform. I’m talking flying, right? Through air

on third down [in

first half].”


simply could not play football with skill

in any

half. Opposing mascot


of San Antonio

and Josh Groban

of Tampa Bay would call this “a shocking display”

of “gargantuan proportions”

for fantasy football fans who had to rack up, I don’t know, a thousand

yards and two touchdowns in

half. An hour

McNabb ran out

of gas, passing

for 77 yards and no TDs.

On Sunday, dozing

Vikings got stuck

0-for-4 on

third downs of pillows

Bucs, conscious

going 5-for-6.

Bucs also had good luck against

Vikings in total yards both front AND back yards!

In plots of land, about a

half. Furlong by a half furlong.


first half, Adrian

ran for sixty

yards and two touchdowns on crisp Astroturf


Bucs running back Jim

Blount ran for 4 yards on A boat, at which I took a good hard look.

In said day’s third

half, Randy Moss


to obtain just two

yards on top of four from his first night, for a (baby) grand total of six. Actually you would want a total of a thousand to wind up truly “grand.” Good luck, Randy.

Blount ran for six

yards and two touchdowns on his lucky socks. Actually lucky socks, not just a psyching-him-into-thinking-it’s-good-luck thing.

Vikings’ prognosis, obviously, is not too good. Possibly Yggdrasil will fall on top of opposition but don’t bank on it.

On, Friday

right back

Phil Loadholt sat

on. his foot and is probably out for a month.



a first-down pass, running back Fats

was consuming bluish (with a hint of pink) folks

for holding in pass.

A short

punt got

Bucs a short sharp shot


Vikings. Two plays,

Blount ran away

from a goalpost fifty

yards. away

Vikings did not panic

and had

Bucs thirty points down

down in a good

situation to hold onto. But

Brian Robison couldn’t stay cool

on a play on which

Bucs. Ran for sixty yards and a touchdown.

That was good for

Bucs but not Vikings.

To, try and rally back

which didn’t actually occur, Vikings

did with a long

pass to Smith


up a trick play off a

goal post

in bounds. On its

third. Try, it did finally work, but at that point it was not important.

Midway through his

fourth, play-calling discussion, McNabb

was angry at his running back

for roughing up his clipboard

on a rusty old drinking fountain.



touchdown pass to Um, I don’t know. Zobrist plays for Tampa Bay, right?

With half an hour

on that stadium’s clock, a TV guy said, “Oh


on TV, fans had not run across good ads until

kickoff, in an AFC fight.

Picking up a

ball from 6 yards


from Tampa Bay’s hash, Adrian ran

and was brought down


a “push him out of bounds” play.

Bucs won


It was a hard-fought win

, too:

six of Tampa Bay’s touchdowns will count for fantasy stats

for 51 yards against a soft down pillow



first half, didn’t apply much. to

Vikings scalps. But possibly a good nap would assist said squad?

Johnson wants to know

what should his gang do with

an imbibing sailor

on first down from his own forty. Curious

Vikings all don’t know what to do

with him

, and Blount thinks you should find a way for him to rack up a

4-yard TD with two plays

to go.

I got a lot of

crap out of us in

half,” of my bathroom

said. A furious McNabb. “But you all

got to find a way to play for not a lot of cash.