Sunday morning mixed grill

T.A. Barnhart

I lived in England for five years, over half my life ago, and I loved it.  There were so many things I enjoyed about that ancient, beautiful country, and many things I learned to love.  Cricket was one, and the mixed grill another.  One of the consummate comfort foods in the UK, a mixed grill is also known as a "fry-up" because almost everything is fried: sausage, bacon, potatoes, tomatoes, mushrooms, perhaps a chop.  To this add toast (and marmalade, yum), baked beans (not so much), and, of course, tea.  Sit around the table with family and friends and a proper mixed grill, and all is right with the world.

The only reason I bring this up is because I have two topics this morning.  Two dissimilar topics tossed onto the same plate, yet, for me, combining to create a lovely, comforting goodness.  (I apologize for attempting to mimic Joss Whedon and Jason Linkins at the same time; I should aim for t.a. barnhart instead.  But that's the fried tomato portion.)  (Btw, the tomatoes are not battered; actually they are frequently canned stewed tomatoes; it's better than you think.)  So, pour another cuppa and grab the last piece of toast.

A-rod, Barry and the Greatest Player of His Generation

Through the 90s and early 00s, Barry Bonds was considered by almost all baseball observers to be the Greatest Player of His Generation, one of the best of all time.  It was hard to argue.  He not only hit an ungodly number of home runs, he hit for average, he stole bases and he could play the outfield.  He had the whole package, albeit wrapped up in total jerkwaddiness.  Then came the understanding how he did it:  He cheated.  

The mantle of GPoHG then fell on Alex Rodriquez, again a player with the whole package but, thankfully, not quite as jerky as Bonds.  But he did own his own special dickiness, especially after he bailed on the Mariners saying he wanted to win a championship -- and then signing with Texas for $250 million, thereby robbing them of any chance to pay for enough quality pitchers to even contend, much less win.  I still cherish his first visit back to Seattle after his dishonest escape: fans around the stadium rained Monopoly money on his greedhead.  But he was a damn good player, with one slight caveat:  It looks like he cheated, too.  

(Interestingly, both Bonds and A-rod are, for the most part, post-season failures.  Bonds had one good post-season, during Jeff Kent's MVP season when the Jints lost in the World Series to the Anaheim team; but that was at the height of his steroidy powers.  A-rod, in 2004, was an integral cog in the Greatest Collapse in Playoff History.  Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.  Except Bonds.)

Griffey Which brings me to the man who was, and remains, for me not merely the actual greatest of his generation but only a step behind Willie Mays (and Joe Dimaggio, loathe as I am to praise any Yankee) as the greatest ever.  Mays was, I believe, the greatest baseball player of all time; take him out of Candlestick and he hits 900 home runs.  Ken Griffey, Jr, did not cheat; his history of injuries and other demonstrations of physical mortality are proof that he decided to stick with the capabilities he was born with.  And what capabilities they were.  The ease with which he hit 400-foot home runs (and lest anyone give the Kingdome credit for his numbers, most of the homers he hit there went way past the wall; they were gone in any park -- and hundreds were hit in other parks).  He was one of those rare players you looked forward to watching in outfield as well, slamming into, or leaping high upon, walls to take away home runs.  The grace with which he turned sure doubles into easy, lovely fly-outs.  But more than anything else, what made Kid Griffey so special was the joy with which he played the game.  The ultimate Griffey image is his huge smile as his team dogpiles on him at home plate after he scored the Mariners' series-winning run against the Yankees on Edgar Martinez's double in 1995.  That is the essence of baseball greatness: he did his job, won the game and had a great time doing it.

Sadly, his refusal to give less than 100% -- I was at the Kingdome when he slammed his wrist into pieces catching a Kevin Bass blast off Randy Johnson; he made the catch, kids -- and the years of running on that heinous Kingdome padded concrete took their toll on his body.  He won't break Aaron's record -- or Bond's fake record -- but it won't matter.  When he enters the Hall of Fame, people will recall that he played the game right.  His love for the game, for playing the game, will always dominate any discussion of the Kid, and the fact that injuries kept his numbers down will be irrelevant.  Playing in the midst of so many high-profile cheaters, to be able to realize we saw true greatness, pure and unsullied, will bring tremendous comfort to those who love baseball -- or any human endeavor.  Cheating is eternal, but so are those who accept and make the most of their natural-born talents.

They are the ones we will remember with pride.  Ken Griffey, Jr.  More than a great athlete.  A human being we should emulate and honor for living his life right.

And speaking of "natural-born"...

Happy birthday, Chuck.

Darwin The 200th birthday of Charles Darwin's birth, and the 150th anniversary of the publication of "The Origin of Species", comes at a profound moment in history.  
The unconstitutional, immoral, illegal and anti-science, anti-reality government of George W Bush has been replaced with that of Barack Obama: a man who believes in both God and science.  As we celebrate Darwin, we can do so in an atmosphere where the work he is known for is returned with honor to its proper place in the determination of human affairs.  Once again, science will be the basis of what our government decides to do rather than the superstitions and misguided religious beliefs of a powerful few people (willing to trash the beliefs of even other Christians).

I'm not good at science.  I appear to lack the mental ability to actually comprehend and recall the details of scientific theory.  I do get the general idea behind most science, however, and I know enough to recognize when the science is done right and can be trust.  Such is the case with evolution.  When I think of evolution, I think about how so much more than the development of species is evolution-based.  I see the process of evolution in virtually all aspects of human life, and not just our ability to create humans who are stronger, smarter and more able to cheat the bounds of nature for greater glory and bigger contracts ... sorry.  It's not an exact parallel; after all, in the development of species, there are so many factors not present in human social and political affairs: genes, physical birth, asteroids striking the planet, etc.  But it's close enough for a Sunday morning mixed grill at Cafe BlueOregon.

The thing about evolution that seems to escape its enemies, or perhaps which frightens them into incomprehensible stupidity, is its slow, inevitable pace throughout the history of the world.  It's neither accident nor the hand of god that the horse was once tiny and is now both large and able to converse with certain human beings.  The ability of a life form to pass along genetic traits that enable at least some of its offspring to survive a world that changes slowly but inexorably is amazing and undeniable.  To deny the science of evolution requires self-inflicted blindness, a willingness to decide that unprovable belief -- faith, which is meant to create spiritual enlightenment and not a diminution of the capabilities with which one was born -- leaves no place for rigorously demonstrated science.

I see the evolutionary process in so many areas.  Throughout the world, we have seen people develop from isolated, ignorant hut- or cave-dwellers into civilizations of culture, knowledge, conquest and greatness.  Over and over, each generation developing its capabilities to exist and prosper in the geographical, political and historical niches in which they found themselves.  Some failed.  Some rose and collapsed.  Contingencies of birth and nature hindered and assisted.  A nation is not a species, but the basic process holds and is evident.

Within a nation, the basic beliefs of the people evolve.  At our nation's founding, neither women nor the negro was considered fully human (and homosexuals were not even part of the discussion, despite their undeniable presence).  Each successive generation of Americans has come to believe differently.  This is for the benefit of us all:  As the planet gets smaller and all people find themselves either dependent on or threatened by other peoples, the most important lesson we need to learn is that what we decide separates us will end up destroying us.  The ability to accept other human beings as your equal is the ability to not want to kill them -- and induce them to kill you.

So here in America, we've developed the ability to know that women are fully human.  We've developed the same ability regarding those of African descent; hell, we went and elected one president.  Many of us, and in particular the generation now coming into adulthood, have experienced the same evolutionary step regarding GLBT people.  This is not an accident (nor, of course, is it a finished project; evolution never stops because evolution is a process, not an objective).  America has, from the beginning been a land where all kinds of different people were close enough to one another to stir up fear, hatred and violence.  Once upon a time, humans did need to fear one another, but, like any recessive trait, this reaction to members of the same species lost its original efficacy over time.  It is a trait that needs to be eliminated, the same way we no longer need a tail for hanging in trees or gills for living underwater.

So we evolve and are losing that part of our psychic/physical make-up that decides skin color means a difference to be feared, hated and killed.  This is not merely a matter of social norms that have been passed along; it is also, I am sure, a matter of our brains changing.  I'm not a geneticist, but I fail to see how such a profound change in how we brain-based creatures conceive the world cannot be, in large part, due to a change in that organ which holds and processes concepts: our brain.  We are getting bigger, our skin colors are changing (omg miscegenation, oh noes); of course, our brains are changing, too.  We don't need to evolve to find new sources of habitat or food as "lower" animals must; we need to evolve to find new sources of our own humanity.  

We need to evolve to survive.  That's what evolution does: enables those creatures that have the right combination of genetics and luck to survive the changing universe.  The dinosaurs had the genetics, of course; their luck, however, sucked (frakking asteroid).  Human genetics have always been borderline.  We are fragile physically; we do, however, have a brain that makes up for a lot of other shortcomings.  If we can keep up with the changes we have dumped upon ourselves, our brains may be able to evolve sufficiently to help us survive.  Many of us have evolved enough to understand the commonality of all human beings, and that's absolutely critical to avoid the number one threat to our species: our owndamnselves.  

We need to evolve to survive.  That means we need to survive long enough to evolve.  We have to give our offspring a chance to produce offspring that are more adapted to life on earth than we are.  If we, those who control power at this point in human history, end up demonstrating our unfitness for life on earth, we will die and take our species (and many others) with us.  That's the way it works.  Nothing magical about it.  You either have what it takes to survive or you die.  Sometimes externalities take you out -- I nearly got removed from the equation by a bad driver, but then again, I've already reproduced -- just as they can benefit the genetic traits you are able to pass along to your offspring. But for the majority of creatures within a species, you either make it or don't based on what you were born with.  

The dinosaurs had trouble with non-tropic weather.  Humans seem to have trouble with being too smart for their own damn good.

So as we contemplate Darwin and evolution this week, right before we go nuts and celebrate our state's 150th anniversary, realize this:  You are part of evolution.  Somewhere in the past, a few creatures found the ability to breathe air; the migration from sea to land began, and the world changed enormously.  Evolutionary processes may start small, but if they do not get halted by the contingencies of uncontrollable forces in the universe (those frakking asteroids!), they have a single outcome: life.  When a species' evolutionary process fails, the outcome is singular as well: extinction.  We humans have been fortunate to get where we are, but we can no longer rely on mere evolution to save our species (and the world).  Now we must take what evolution has given us -- our intelligence and the understanding that we have to stop slaughtering one another -- or we will indeed face that least desirable of evolutionary outcomes.

We'll all be toast.

(Yes, I know: a very lame way to end back at my mixed grill.)
  • mrfearless47 (unverified)


    good effort on the Darwin part. But just to clarify something, Darwin never even used the term "evolution". He used "descent with modification", which may change slightly the tenor of your argument. A small nit, I realize, but being a Darwin scholar always makes me a bit touchy about these things. If you read "On The Origin of Species", you'll find the word "evolved" as the only form of the word evolution, and it is used in the last sentence of the book. "Evolution" had a very different meaning in 1858 than it does today and so Darwin tried actively to avoid the term. He did not want "evolution" equated with "progress" as the Victorians were wont to do. He merely meant change over time, which describes nearly everything - even politics - but the challenge for Darwin was to disconnect the typical equation of evolution with improvement. One of the unhappy outcomes of evolution (as descent with modification) is that it doesn't always improve things; it occasionally makes them worse.

    But, otherwise a good take on Darwin. Did you forget to mention that Darwin and Lincoln were born on the same day in the same year (February 12, 1809). That is serendipity, but outstanding serendipity nonetheless.


  • Zarathustra (unverified)

    OK. You've got the apartment bugged. I took your post on cyclists and grinning drivers to be coincidence that it came up the day three of us were vehemently discussing having nearly been killed by a motorist that day. It happens a lot. But how do I write off to coincidence that this is the first thing I see today, after having been up to 3am with mates, arguing the point that the problem with the England XI (cricket) is that ball players today aren't like the ball players of yesteryear?

    The stimulus was pretty much the same. Another revelation in a series that one doesn't think can get any worse. Test cricket is one of the few areas England continue to try to hold their end up in the game, so, being bowled out by a very average West Indies side for 50 and some odd runs led to much pondering what gives. You covered pretty much the same points, so I won't repeat. Funny too, you mention his injuries. I was saying that I thought that part of the diff was that, in the day, if you were injured, you didn't get paid. Another was your point about loving the game. I am constantly amazed today to find players that had a choice of sports and picked cricket due to purely career orientated reasons. Not faulting it, but it is a very different proposition than considering yourself lucky to be getting paid to do what you love most. So, we sat here eating beans and toast, drinking IPA and theorizing. Wasn't a plan; just happened to be what I had fixed. You can't underestimate the effect of seeing England go into day 4 of a Test where honors were pretty even, and not even finish out the day, losing by an innings and 25 runs. It was a nearly impossible feat of synchronized ineptitude.

    It was a rehash discussion, though, that we had had only two weeks ago after Sri Lanka decimated Pakistan, though those were limited overs matches. The main protagonist in that one was the bowling equivalent of ARod, and we were saying that we'd had pretty much enough of his steroid show. It used to be that Paki cricketers were of the highest character. Imran Khan, a former test captain, the "lion of Pakistan", was a leading PM candidate and is a strong voice for progressives in Pakistan. Ramiz Raja, Wassim Akram, Waqar Younis...all sterling individuals. Then, there was a period of people that weren't quite as solid, character wise, followed by today's doping and betting scandals. In that case, the verdict was education. Pakistan went from a proper English public school education to less and less until there is practically nothing today. Few complaining about the madrasas mention that they arose in an absolute educational vacuum. Today the kids learn by watching European football owners and players. Whoever called footy the beautiful game must think colon polyps are positively gorgeous.

    Amen, T.A. I say that we should fight the trend by supporting the less or nonprofessional forms of the game. Catch a Beav's game, umpire Saturdays at the sandlot, or whatever. Too many people only watch if they think they're seeing the highest echelons, which only drives competition bidding. If you truly love a sport, all that is required is that the setting be OK and the teams be playing to win, in the best spirit of the game.

    Not a fan of black pudding or spotted dick, I take it...but that's a bit more Irish breakfast. Oh, I also have it on first-hand account that your take on BB is accurate. A former secretary of mine came to our firm directly from the A's, and was not exactly a fan of his.

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)

    The greatest offensive player of my lifetime was Ted Williams, whose on-base percentage was better than Bonds', and whose batting average was far better. I agree that Mays was the best all-around.

    I must add, however, that I think Bonds (who is indeed an asshole) has gotten a raw deal. Modern players have benefited from advances in training methods and equipment, diet, "legal" dietary supplements, home run-oriented ballparks, video-playback, etc. Steroids and other illegal substances are just one other form of technological innovation. What we need to worry about is educating children about the dangers of alcohol, meth, steroids, etc., and not about Barry's effect on the record book.

    But there's an issue far more important than that. We are a nation of hypocrites. We commit unimaginably appalling atrocities daily, but we pride ourselves on our morality in dealing with baseball players' drug use. We assert the right to dominate the world economically and militarily, but we chide our politicians for their sexual behavior.

    Unless we soon change our priorities, we will deservedly descend to a world far more horrifying than the one we now occupy.

    As for Darwin, I suspect that he was using something.

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    Harry, yes, Darwin was using something. his brain.

  • joel dan walls (unverified)

    TA, you were supposed to be eating blackcurrant jam with that toast, and brown sauce on the potatoes. I became so enamored of the former while living in England that now I grow my own. The brown sauce is available at an exorbitant price in the "international" section at Fred Meyer. Hey, you have to enjoy the condiments with an English meal, because the main part of the meal is usually awful.

    Kershner sez: But there's an issue far more important than that. We are a nation of hypocrites.

    Just wondering whether you're using "we" inclusively or exclusively, Harry. I'll try to be generous and assume the former, not that I've ever seen any evidence in your commentaries of doubt in your self-defined superiority.

  • Ten Bears (unverified)

    Half a damned good post - baseball sucks, like basketball, football and, hell, like all arena sports, should be illegal. Think about it - a hundred thousand people packed into an enclosed space to rise up in unison: Seig Heil!.

    Good take on the Darwin stuff - damned good take.

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    joel, i do like HP Brown Sauce, but, damn, not at that price. i'll have to find a recipe of my own, i guess (although i suspect it's little more than ketchup with some extra malt vinegar added). i love any kind of jam, but i really love marmalade. i could eat toast (or english muffins, or crumpets, or bagels) and marm 3 times a day. yummers.

    10B, to each her own. baseball sucks when the Yankees win. baseball is the key element to life's glory when the Dodgers are playing. there is a reason the sky is blue.

    and on a serious side note: there's a very strong argument to be made that Jackie Robinson returning black players to major league baseball was one of the critical moments of the 20th Century civil rights movement. that was followed by Truman integrating the military and Brown, but the country had seen black and white men competing, and winning, together. Jackie was MVP, he was a Worlds Series champ, and others followed him. Willie Mays made his amazing catch in 1954 - only a few months after Brown v Board of Education. Americans may be good at holding contradictory ideas in the heads, but popular culture has a way of undermining even bigotry. you may not enjoy baseball or other such sports yourself (omg, Brandon does it again!!) but i would argue sports have served a key role in "normalizing" the otherness between different ethnicities.

    then again, a good college education can do that as well.

  • Aaron V. (unverified)

    Ten Bears - what a sorry and sad person you are.

    Sports as fascism? Sports has always been ahead of the curve in allowing the truly talented excel.

    Tell me - how is a sporting event "fascism" and a performing arts event not, in your opinion? In both instances, people are seeing experts in their recreational field attempt to excel; sports is often collaborative in that teams versus each other are necessary for the performance.

  • Zarathustra (unverified)

    Just wondering whether you're using "we" inclusively or exclusively, Harry. I'll try to be generous and assume the former, not that I've ever seen any evidence in your commentaries of doubt in your self-defined superiority.

    Give him a break. It's a prophetic tone. "You" is problematic in English anyway. Suffice to say it doesn't mean you think you're superior. Glad to know that's all anyone's thinking when I write, as I use that tone a lot too. 95% of "you" isn't posting.

    I was watching BBC 1's retrospective on Darwin last night and it brought back memories of wading through Origin. BTW, it is a deadly boring read, and I'm a philosopher that finds cricket exciting. If you think Melville's chapter on Cetology is bad, try Darwin's on the rock pigeons he kept in his basement. Anyway, the point for human evolution would be that evolution really doesn't concentrate on specialization; that isn't the goal. In fact, nature views specialization as a very dangerous strategy that should be backed out of the design as soon as possible.

    We're an imaginative, aggressive species, so we like to imagine what nature is building, changing, manipulating. Of course, it's a dumb, blind numbers process, and specialization involves making assumptions about the environment. When those assumptions change, you can find yourself SOL real quick. My favorite example is the teeth on the sabre toothed lion. They grew down and back up at least a dozen times in history. Every time, as soon as they weren't needed, they went away. We say that they became a disadvantage, but Jay Gould has shown empirically that it often- actually, usually- makes no sense in terms. It's very much like thinking about dark matter. We have done physics thinking about energy positively expanding the universe, but there is evidence that there is dark energy pushing back. Evolution isn't just a process of specialization, it's runs in reverse with as great force. The best don't always survive. Mollusks got a niche with very few assumptions and have really never changed. In a sense, saying something is most evolved is to admit that every previous version failed, but didn't become a dead end. To be most evolved is to be luckiest, too, but it doesn't mean you have a real good track record in terms of adaptations. Why did only the cat's teeth change? There must be metagenes that regulate how much variance to allow where. Gene therapy probably seems so promising because our metagenes must not be very good, since we're so advanced.

    So, every species becomes extinct. When we say it about humans with horror, we mean too soon extinct, as in we've had a rather short run in species terms. To be fair the genus is spectacularly unsuccessful. Of hundreds of hominids that evolved in a very short time, we are the only ones left (unless you can find a yeti, and he turns out to be a hominid). Since our environment is not consistently selecting for much, we must assume that the reverse process is underway. Devo were right, though maybe the lowly spud is pushing it a bit far. ALL domesticated forms are dumber than wild forms of ANY species.

    Your point on the brain is well taken. In fact you see all kinds of weird, extreme, things in nature that probably were an adaptation, but have become exaggerated. The peacock's tail or the proboscis monkey's nose come to mind. 99 times out of 100 that is due to the females' selecting the trait because that's what the females of that species do. It is unrelated anymore to evolution. Humans have big brains, bigger than is strictly required for the task, as I believe T.A. was observing, because women select men they think are clever. What's the best way to get a woman thinking about you as a romantic partner? Make her laugh. Humor is humanity's de facto IQ test. That's why adolescent males act goofy around girls. They do think they're being funny...and innately know that if they succeed they increase their chances of mating. That's why humor is frowned on in business; it doesn't do to hand the other side the IQ's of everyone on your team. The essence of all humor is error. What makes it funny is it is just erroneous. By stating what you find funny, you state the level of facts that you can judge as being accurate or inaccurate. Knowing that lets the other side know how much they have to tell the truth.

    Perhaps it is most illustrative that only recently is consensus forming around the notion that we really can't even properly define species. It is a constant fascination of mine, that though it is the bedrock of all civilization, law and custom, we have no proper definition of "human". We work out reams of legal logic, every assumption prefaced on another, yet the most fundamental concept, the defining the entity to whom the laws apply, is left undefined, left as another "well I know it when I see it. Everyone does."

    Ten Bears, I agree. That was the point about going low brow if you really love a sport, you don't need the flash. Personally, I'd love to see sport go virtual. Good example: no one cares about hockey much in the US. People in Europe pay up to $10/hit to catch regular season NHL action. Why should a franchise only market to the city that it happens to be in, if there are vastly more people around the world that care? So, why not create virtual arenas, where display screens let other virtual groups see each other, everone sees the action, and around the actual stadium those physically present see those virtually present.

    You also should check out a South African stadium if you get the chance. Everything from sections of seating that have been enclosed and remodeled into a room where you can have your own party to wading pools and dunk tanks right on the boundary. Often they're built in natural bowls and spectators line the grassy sides with picnic lunches or playing cricket, making out, etc. Of course our security concerns would never let us do anything that naive. Really is a wake-up call when Americans accept as too insecure what South Africans do every day. South Africa. Not exactly the no security hassles beauty spot of the planet.

    So, on the Lincoln/Darwin thing, which one was a huge cricket fan? Right, Lincoln. The civil war tore up the pitches and, well, things weren't really cricket there for a while, and baseball took over.

    Come one, give Bears a break too. How is it fascism? I don't know, maybe it would involved making everyone sing God Bless America instead of Take Me Out to the Ballgame? Go to an Texas A&M game sometime and tell me you haven't just re-enacted the Nuremburg Rally.

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    Aaron, if Ten Bears is who i think she (?) is, she's not sad or sorry. her interpretation of team sports as fascism is not very accurate, but there are many aspects of team sports that are sad, sorry & ugly. from the NFL to Barry Bonds to bicycle cheats (Lance is not a cheat, nor do i believe Floyd cheated, either) -- if there's money in it, it becomes a corporate gig. a truly evil corporation, Rupert Murdoch's, owned the Dodgers for a time. really. and to save money, they traded off one of the great catchers of all-time, Mike Piazza. in baseball, and even human, terms, that was a heinous thing to do. they were just trying to maximize profit. it took the Dodgers years to recover from that disaster. thankfully, they are now owned by a couple from Boston who, while still trying to make money, are also working just as hard to honor the game & the community. so sports does not have to resort to fascism; it can actually be a decent enterprise. it's up to the people involved. like everything else in life.

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)

    t.a.: Mike Piazza was not one of the greatest catchers of all time. He was one of the greatest hitting catchers. The Dodgers wasted him by subjecting him to the destructive effects of catching, one of many examples of why the dumbest people in sports are the owners and management (just like business in general). Even great defensive catchers (of which Piazza was not one) were wasted if they could hit, e.g., think of what Johnny Bench could have done as a first baseman.

    Regarding the politics of professional sports: Dave Zirin writes regularly on these topics, but BO regulars should be forwarned: He is to the left of center, so you probably won't like what he has to say.

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    Harry, i remember thinking as i typed that "hitting..." and still left the word out! his defense was fine, but it was his bat that was dominant. i wouldn't say he was wasted -- many catchers are glad to trade a number of years of productivity for playing the position -- but i am looking forward to Russell Martin moving to 3rd base permanently in 2 or 3 years!

    and if you haven't noticed, i'm beyond left of center. i would expect i'd dig Zirin; i will check him out.

  • Gil Johnson (unverified)

    Alas, we know far too much about baseball stars these days and thus all are found wanting in one way or another. The Bonds vs. Griffey debate has some interesting twists, both being the sons of baseball stars. Some will say it was Bonds passion for the game and his Williams-like obsession for perfection that led him to steroids after 12 unenhanced years in which he was still arguably the best player in baseball. And people will point out that Griffey may have looked as if he was having fun playing the game, but the injuries that diminished him in this decade were the result of a lazy training regimen, not working out in the off-season and not doing the stretching and other things to stay healthy during the season.

    I never was a big fan of either guy. There always was Vlad Guerrero and later Albert Pujols and now Evan Longoria. There never will be another Willie Mays.

  • Vida Blue Oregon (unverified)

    Mays and Williams had the same non-regimen off-season and didn't suffer much. I heard a fascinating theory the other day that the reason today's athletes are more injury prone is that they grow up skinny, then bulk up. They never learned how to move and do things with their built-up bodies and get injured. Back in the day, your middle line backer might have just stepped off the farm where he regularly pushed the tractor out of the mud and had bulked up slowly, while growing up, learning how far to go so that he could go out and work again tomorrow. On that note, I've always been shocked that more athletes don't follow Kareem Abdul-Jabar's lead, and result, using yoga for greater flexibility as a way to extend the career and prevent injuries.

    I disagree about scrutiny. The more you got to know the Kid or Johnny B the more you liked them. Scrutiny is only a problem because today's crew lack the same character.

  • Jiang (unverified)

    It's funny, on this and Jeff's thread, how folks that aren't civil about politics, are, when the context is sport. Have we learned nothing from Nixon? Maybe it says that while there little civility in society, people still know how to be sporting. Shrub wasn't civil, but he was capable of being sporting. That's why Cheney was such a nadir. He wasn't sporting, literally.

  • Jiang (unverified)

    brown sauce on the potatoes. I became so enamored of the former while living in England that now I grow my own. The brown sauce is available at an exorbitant price in the "international" section at Fred Meyer. Hey, you have to enjoy the condiments with an English meal, because the main part of the meal is usually awful.

    or just bland. You have totally ruined what was going to be a perfectly good snack of beans and toast. Hold on; I've a bit of time. All right. This is a recipe that I got off the 'net a ways back and have tried a few times. It is a perfect clone, imo. It's a bit gnarly, so there's a quickie version afterward.

    HP Sauce (British, not Canuck stylee)

    1 cup water 1 cup white vinegar 1/2 cup tomato paste (1 small can) 3/4 cup dark corn syrup 1/4 cup frozen orange juice concentrate 1/4 cup pitted dates (chopped fine) 3 tablespoons blackstrap molasses 3 tablespoons apple juice 3 tablespoons tamarind pulp 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar 1/2 teaspoon onion powder 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns 1/2 teaspoon cardamom (ground) 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds 1 teaspoon coarse salt 1 inch cinnamon sticks

    1. In a large pot, add water, white vinegar, tomato paste, corn syrup, orange juice concentrate, dates, molasses, apple juice, and tamarind pulp. Stir to blend. Over medium heat and covered, bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to a slow simmer and simmer covered for 15 - 20 minutes.
    2. Using a spice grinder, thoroughly grind onion powder, cloves, black peppercorns, cardamom, garlic powder, mustard seed, cayenne, salt, and cinnamon.
    3. After simmering in step #1, use an immersion Blender to purée mixture and reduce lumps. Add ground spice mixture to pot, stir to blend and simmer (covered) for another 30 - 45 minutes.
    4. Add cider vinegar to pot, stir to blend and return to a simmer. When pot has reached a simmer, remove from heat and strain hot mixture through a wire strainer into a clean pot. Keep liquid, discard pulp. Rinse original pot and restrain mixture back into original pot, return to heat and simmer until thick.
    5. Ladle hot sauce mixture into hot, prepared sealable bottles and seal. Allow to cool. Keeps indefinitely in cupboard, refrigerate after opening.

    Simple HP: 10 tomatoes, chopped 1 cup brown sugar (or molasses absorbed onto fructose is better) 1 onion, chopped 1 lemon, sliced 1/4 cup white vinegar 1 tablespoon salt 1 tablespoon allspice 1 teaspoon pepper 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce (I use Tabasco)

    1. Combine all ingredients in a dutch oven.
    2. Bring to a boil, lower heat& cook, uncovered, for an hour, stirring occasionally.
    3. Strain through a food mill & bottle in hot, sterilized jars.
  • Zarathustra (unverified)
    <h2>For what it's worth, I've tried those recipes and thought they worked better with malt vinegar instead of white. They are spot on.</h2>

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