Like Barry Bonds, Baseball Widow hasn't retired; she's just not playing.
Enjoy the archives. . .

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Baseball Widow is on Summer Hiatus. If you would like to be notified when Baseball Widow resumes, please email me. In the meantime, go out and enjoy a game.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Tom Martin Update
Baseball Widow hears that Tom Martin signed a minor league deal with the Astros. That's something good he's done.
Not a Rhetorical Question
Can someone explain to me why batters are allowed to hollow out their bats but they're not allowed to cork the bats? I know that corking supposedly affects the way the ball reacts to the bat, but it seems like a bizzare distinction.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Nobility is as Nobility Does

It's too bad that there was so much attention being paid to this Fenway/Sheffield Shenanigan on the day that has been set aside to honor Jackie Robinson, one of the really great men ever to play. Robinson's greatness, and the attribute that Branch Rickey thought separated him from the pack, was not his amazing speed or great fielding. Rather, Jackie Robinson had the strength to deal with the terrible racism he faced, and the nobility to avoid response to it. That nobility helped place him above the discussion of race and put him in the company of other greats.

It's not noble to take a swing at a fan. Sheff is lucky the drunk who brushed his face still had the reactions to dodge. He also seems lucky that people haven't noticed that he knocked over two women with his attempt to sock that guy. Last season, Milton Bradley incurred the wrath of the media for simply yelling at a fan who had thrown a bottle at him. I'm not certain that Sheff was attacked, but I know that he didn't have an object hurled at him. His reaction seems much more extreme that that of Bradley's. Baseball Widow isn't sure why Sheff's encounter hasn't resulted in media outcry. Is it because Sheff is a star and he wears pinstripes? Maybe. Either way, it's not sitting right with Baseball Widow.

Maybe Bradley and Sheff were each 100% justified to react the way they did; I don't know. I do know, however, that being justified isn't the same as being noble. Jackie Robinson took some abuse in his day--more abuse than Bradley or Sheff can imagine, and although Baseball Widow thinks he would have been well within his rights to do much more than throw a bottle on the ground or fake a swing at his detractors, Jackie took it in stride. Baseball Widow looks at Sheffield and says, "Yeah, I might do the same if I were him." Baseball Widow looks at Jackie's legacy and says, "I only hope I could endure hardship the way he did." I'm sorry that this story took time and attention on Robinson's day (even I am guilty of that, too), but it does serve as a reminder that Jackie was much more than a great baseball player: he was a great person.

N.B.: Baseball Widow does want to recognize that there is a flip side to her argument. Jackie could not have reacted to abuse the way a white player could have without compromising the future of blacks in baseball; Bradley and Sheff can do what they please to fans and their race doesn't even come up as part of the discussion. Baseball Widow likes to think this is a sign of some equality that has been achieved. Still, it probably would be nice if we didn't have to ponder player/fan assaults at all.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Tom Martin Update
Braves pitcher Tom Martin faced four batters in this afternoon's loss. The LOOGY gave up a double and two walks to three fellow lefties. He got the righty out. Baseball Widow has no official comment.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Another Big Deal that Isn't
Is there really nothing else to talk about? Who cares if Derrek Lowe and Dave Roberts wore Red Sox jerseys? Weren't they receiving their rings for playing with the Red Sox? Wouldn't non-Sox jerseys have looked less aesthetically pleasing? Besides, if the issue is really about disrespect, why aren't we talking about Pedro?
Call it Baseball Widow's version of Tommy John
Baseball Widow is nothing if not polite. Instead of writing about how terrible Tom Martin is or about how stupid John Kruk's comments are, I'm just going to note everytime either one of them does something good. Don't worry, Baseball Widow will post about other things, too. It's not like I'm looking for an excuse to cease writing the blog.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Conspiracy Theory

So, my strike against writing about steroids didn't last very long; I've fallen off the wagon. . .

Baseball Widow hasn't read anything anyone else has written lately--this may no longer be an original thought, but here goes:

Is it possible that Alex Sanchez's positive test result, announced on opening day, is what would be called in the legal field a "test case"--an event constructed to challenge a law or rule? (Other famous test cases include the Scopes "Monkey Trial" and the Rosa Parks bus sit-in.) Think about it. . .

--Who is Alex Sanchez but someone who just barely made the roster this year? A well-known athlete could never risk his reputation to be part of a challenge to the system, but a new name could.

--What has been the reaction by the people who talk about baseball? Whereas last week John Kruk was saying that anyone who tested positive once should be banned for life, today he was arguing that the policy needs clarification, that Sanchez could have unintentionally violated the rule, that we need to examine the issue before judging, etc.

--What the general public seemed to have been most upset about during the steroids furor was that the athletes were using illegal substances, but the new policy seems to place equal emphasis and punishment on the use of banned substances that are legal.

--Tampa Bay totally overreacted to the news--cleaning out the locker, removing the nameplate, suspending him from team activities. . . no one does this when a player gets a DUI.

--ESPN interviewed the Tampa Bay player rep Rocco Baldelli (who, by the way, appears to be approximately 16 years old), and he said nothing positive about supporting his teammate, and the anchors responded by saying that every player rep should become actively involved in this first suspension and use it as an opportunity to demand policy clarification.

I know that there's still some disagreement as to exactly what Sanchez tested positive for, but I don't think it's beyond the realm of possibility that it was just a mistake. During the Cubs/Diamondbacks game today, Rick Sutcliff compared the suspension policy of steroids to that of intentionally plunking a batter. He said that hitting a batter could be an accident, but testing positive for a banned substance is clearly intentional. . . sure, if Sanchez's story is true, he should still be responsible for reading a label, but, again, why would the steroids furor have to result in the banning of legal substances? There's not much clarity to the reasons behind the testing policy. Which substances give you an appropriate advantage (creatine?) and which are taboo (HGH, steroids?). What over-the-counter supplements might contain banned substances--remember the Olympic athlete who took cold medicine? Does anyone really believe that cold medicine helped her flip better? And what about false positives? This is something Sutcliff seems completely unaware of. He's so very sure that we should suspend a first time positive tester for half of the season, and yet he doesn't understand even the basics of the testing system. What will happen when someone who is universally considered clean (Shilling, for instance) tests positive? In the first place, Baseball Widow isn't sure it's fair to invade someone's privacy for drug testing, but I am sure it's tragically wrong to do so in a manner that might ruin someone's career.

Whew! I've said all that to say this: this suspension doesn't add up. Baseball Widow might just be paranoid, but I smell conspiracy, or at least, careful planning. Okay, at the very least, this looks like clever use of circumstances. How's that for backpedaling?

Wednesday, March 30, 2005


Baseball Widow, who readily admits that many nuances of baseball strategy escape her, turns to Hubby and says, "What's the theory behind having someone go from being the potential lead-off hitter of a big league club to losing your spot on the roster?"

Hubby responds, "Are you talking about Endy Chavez?"

Baseball Widow answers affirmatively.

Hubby quips, "I don't know, bad management?"

Well, Baseball Widow must have a better handle on strategy than she thought.
The check's in the email

Hey, Baseball Musings is doing a funds drive this month, and you should contribute.
Why? Funny you should ask, because Baseball Widow has compiled the top five reasons why you should help Dave Pinto out.

1. If you like Baseball Widow, you should contribute, because Baseball Widow gets all her news from Pinto. Otherwise, Baseball Widow might go new-mom on you and start talking about poopie diapers.

2. If you like having Baseball Musings as a free resource, you should contribute. No one would be happy if Pinto went to a subscription-only service, least of all Baseball Widow, who occasionally receives a respite from Baseball Hubby's obsession when he takes time to read what Dave has to say.

3. If you (and every other visitor) can stand to go without two Venti Frappuchinos this week, you'll contribute enough to help Pinto make Baseball Musings a full-time gig for a year. He's only part-timing now, and it's great. Just imagine how awesome it would be if he could focus all his energies to the blog.

4. If you're scared of the IRS or of hackers, you should contribute, 'cause Pinto's a genius with numbers, and if he ever turned to the dark side, we could all be in trouble.

5. Pinto's a Harvard grad, and everyone knows Harvard grads need more cash.

But, seriously, folks, you should read more here, and then you should at least consider donating. (Hey, Baseball Widow makes it a policy to consider just about everything.) And then, if you get money-happy, send Baseball Widow a check too. :)
Signs of the Times

The Braves are on FSN. Baseball Baby is sporting his Braves bib. Baseball Hubby is passed out on the couch, too exhausted by his duties as primary caregiver to watch his beloved team. Baseball Widow, who for once isn't being forced into a baseball discussion by an obsessed husband, is pondering the retirement of Andres Gallaraga, whose homeruns number "only" 399. . .These are signs that the world is changing.

The first comments I've heard seem to be "What a shame!" My question is, "What's the shame?" Is there shame in choosing to end a career when the career's productivity is over, rather than hanging around for a number's sake? Surely not. Is there shame in the fact that 399 homeruns is not good enough for the Hall? Maybe--to the extent that Hall voters tend to focus on benchmarks rather than actual off-bench performance. Of course, 400 homers is increasingly less impressive, so I'm not sure that we'll continue to talk about 399 as "a shame." It's possible that some people feel the homerun era is a "shame," because they prefer a prior era of the game. Or, some people might view the homerun era as a shame because they feel it's a scam brought on by the abuse of steroids. Or maybe people just want something to cluck about.

It's amazing the number of people who have definitive opinions on the shame that is baseball in America. Baseball Widow and Hubby were listening to "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me" the other day (for those of you not in the know, it's a public radio news quiz show, and it's fabulous). One of the contestants was asked about the author of a recent baseball memoir. The contestant responded, "I'm not a baseball fan, so I don't really know." Upon being prompted, the contestant remembered that Barry Bonds had recently been in the news. (Yeah, that's an understatement.) When the topic of asterisking baseball records came up, the contestant responded that, rather than an asterisk, there should be an eraser. Gee, for someone who isn't a baseball fan and doesn't follow baseball, you sure have an opinion. Bet there's something else you and everyone else have one of, too. . .

As far as Baseball Widow is concerned, there's not nearly as much shame in baseball these days as people like to think there is. It's not a shame that some people used drugs, and it's not a shame that stand-up guys like Gallaraga retire when they think they're ready to (to retire, that is. I just couldn't leave that preposition hanging there, naked.). It's only a shame that some people are ready to write off a centuries-old sport because of the latest scandal. Hey, we've been through gambling and we've been through drugs before. We've still got scandals to dish about, too. Collusion is a much bigger deal than anyone has ever fully appreciated. It's just a shame that no one in the media seems interested in talking about baseball, the game, this year.

Well, baseball is still being played, and played well. And the fans, at least, are paying attention, if Spring Training attendance is any indication. Now, of course, the only shame is that Baseball Widow and family aren't in Florida right now.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Mind over Matter
This is Baseball Widow resisting the urge to talk about the Congressional Hearings. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005


Baseball Widow thinks she might be on strike.

I haven't been able to watch any baseball coverage without running into a steroid discussion. I'm tired of it. No one is saying anything new, and it should go without saying that no one is saying anything intelligent. Please, someone give Baseball Widow something to write about.

Oh, well, guess it's about time to draft the Eye-Candies. . .

Friday, March 11, 2005

Hot Prospect Finds New Home with Baseball Widow
Check out this five tool player. He's got it all. . .good respiration, high levels of oxygen profusion, steady heartbeat, excellent blood pressure, and baby blue eyes. In case you're wondering, we're very grateful for the performance enhancing drugs that he has taken, and we're so pleased that he's home now.

Jamie is excited to watch his first Braves game on Monday. In case you were wondering, Tim Hudson is his favorite player.

Friday, March 04, 2005

As if the Tim Hudson deal weren't enough good news. . .

Baseball Widow and Hubby are pleased to announce the birth of Jamie, who arrived in the world on Sunday, February 27, 2005 with seven pounds three ounces of adorable baby fat on an almost 20 inch frame. I assume Jamie will join the blog as either Baseball Orphan or Baseball Baby. Seeing as how Baseball Hubby has already promised him season tickets to the Braves, I'm betting on the latter.

Jamie is currently in the Intensive Care Nursery at the University of Tennessee Medical Center, but we're hoping he'll join us home soon, now that Spring Training games are being televised. If you'd like more info on Jamie's status, check out The Jamie News Network

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Straight from the Horse's Mouth

Who caught Canseco on _Today_? Did you catch this jewel?
Canseco: "This book is devastating. It's the most interesting, fascinating sports book ever written." The part that was edited out was, "And it's not bragging for me to say that 'cause I didn't write it."

Someone correct me if I got the quote wrong, but I think that's it.
This guy's a nut.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Odds and Ends

Couple of things to talk about now that Baseball Widow is gearing up for the season.

First, check out this Dave Pinto post about Roger Clemens's "cheating". More specifically, read Capybara's insightful comment. Baseball Widow won't retread old ground here, but she will pause long enough to say once again: the legal/illegal distinction should be inconsequential to the discussion of Performance Enhancing Drugs in baseball. It's simply not germane, and it belittles the true seriousness of the possible consequences to the game to argue the simplistic (not to mention simply wrong) line that, "It's only cheating if it's illegal."

Isn't the issue (or, at least, shouldn't it be): what substances have what effects on the game, and which of those effects are undesirable? Marijuana, cocaine, and heroin were all legal at some point in baseball history, but no one's really concerned that the players who used them harmed the game. Why? Because no one really thinks that smoking pot will magically make you a better player. The myth persists, however, when people talk about steroids.

Speaking of cheating and people who make stupid arguments. . .I was flipping channels the other day and saw a New York Daily News reporter yapping about steroids in baseball. He made a comment along the lines of "the only thing connecting the past of baseball to the present is the records, and they're now tainted." He went on to say something like "the homerun records that have been made in the last few years aren't real." Aren't real? Look, crazy guy, they happened. We all saw the replays. We had lawsuits over the record-setting balls. Just because you might feel that some players had advantages over others doesn't erase the fact that those players played (and changed) the game. Besides, with your reasoning, all pitching records set in the post-Tommy Johns surgery era "aren't real" because that particular advantage didn't exist previously. And for goodness's sake, don't anyone respond to that argument by saying, "Yeah, but Tommy Johns surgery is legal," 'cause if you do, Baseball Widow will come after you.

Crazy New York Daily News Guy did make one astute observation, however. He said you can't prosecute the past. There's no way to find out with scientific proof who was using in the summer of 1998--or any other time, for that matter. The only thing to do is to talk about the game today. Since CNYDNG seems to argue against his own ideas pretty well, I'll let that comment end this post.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Baseball Widow, the BCS, and Dale Murphy

Ask anyone who's married to an Auburn fan (perhaps Baseball Widow, for example), and s/he'll tell you about the college football Bowl Championship System: it's bunk. Actually, Baseball Widow could have told you that well before this year. Prior to BCS, there existed the polling system. It was arbitrary. We all knew it was arbitrary. So, if we liked the #1 choice, we cheered the system, and if we didn't, well, we wrote the system off as arbitrary.

Post-BCS, we have a system that is just as arbitrary. Preseason rankings, unevenly skilled conferences, pre-delegated votes--it's all pseduo-scientific, and the result is the same. . . If we like the winner, we cheer the system, and if we don't, well, we write about how arbitrary the system is.

So, that's the BCS part of the post. I suppose now it's time to talk about Dale Murphy. In Baseball Widow's utterly unscientific poll, she stumbled across some common arguments utilized in discussions about Murphy's increasingly less likely Hall of Fame bid. (For a more scientific take, check out Rich's Weekend Baseball BEAT.)

Strongest Pro-Murphy Arguments:
398 Homers before the offensive boom of the 90s. (Seriously, in the homerun era, how long is 400 going to remain impressive?)
Back-to-back MVP Awards while he was on a crappy team.

Stupidest Anti-Murphy Arguments:
398 isn't 400.
Short career.

Baseball Widow isn't the first to have said this, but who cares about a long career? Murphy could have stuck around to hit two more homers, but what would have been the point? Four hundred is an arbitrary number. Would the existence of those two homers have radically altered anything about Murphy as a player? Why not respect those who leave when it's time rather than stick around well past their primes, prolonging their careers and therefore inflating their stats (ahem, Pete Rose)?

There's one more pro-Murphy argument that Baseball Widow hears a lot: the "He's a Good Guy" line of reasoning. Yes, Hall of Fame voting is supposed to consider character, but Baseball Widow thinks it cheapens Murphy's independently impressive accomplishments to use that argument. Sure, he's a great guy, but he was a great player, too. Lately, Baseball Widow has come to realize that Murphy's absence from the Hall might be the greatest testament to his nice guy status.

Hall of Fame balloting is like any other popularity contest. Namely, it's a contest. It involves campaigning and butt-kissing and self-glorification. Remember, Randy Johnson's trade deal was held up because Wade Boggs was inducted this year. (The two share an agent.) Yeah, that's right, for some reason Boggs needed his agent to help negotiate a deal FIVE YEARS AFTER HE RETIRED! He needed negotiation (in some form or another) to make it to the Hall.

Can anyone even imagine Murphy running his own campaign for the Hall? I don't think so.

Every year, Baseball Widow and Hubby hope in vain that Murph will get his due. This year, however, Baseball Widow realized that, like the BCS, it just doesn't matter: it's bunk. From now on, Baseball Widow is going to keep in mind the pseudo-science of Cooperstown induction. If I like the new inductees, that's fine, and if I don't, well, it's arbitrary, and it has absolutely zero effect on how well my favorites actually performed.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

False Positives

Seriously, you'd think that Baseball Widow would tire of the Performance Enhancing Drugs conversation by now, but she's still not over it--probably because this seems to be one of those issues where people are most likely to spew mindless babble and least likely to engage in meaningful dialogue.

Baseball Widow has made her views regarding PEDs fairly well known, but she isn't afraid to admit that there are some aspects that still stump her. Yes, I fervently argue the difference between a violently-inclined drug dealer and a professional athlete who uses steroids. I think that one should be discouraged as a blight on society and one probably harms no one. Where would I draw the line 'twixt the two? I have no idea, but that just means that I'm going to think about and discuss the issue until my ideas are clearer. It is not a reason to belittle or ignore the intelligent thoughts of others.

Baseball Widow wants to make two points tonight about PEDs.

First, regarding the Dave Pinto discussion I referenced last week, I want to emphasize one more time how logically inaccurate it is to classify behavior as "good" or "bad" based solely upon that behavior's status as it pertains to the law. I can think of no better story to illustrate this than one I ran across elsewhere on the web.

. . .In 1932 if Jack and Jill were walking down a street in New York City, and if Jack was carrying a pint of whiskey in his back pocket and Jill was carrying some gold coins in her pocket, Jack would have been violation of the 18th amendment to the U.S. Constitution. . . .However, Jill would have been carrying the currency of the land and would have been in no legal peril.

A scant two years later, Jack’s behavior would have been legal, as the 21st amendment of 1933 repealed the 18th. However, in 1933, during the height of the Great Depression, Franklin Roosevelt issued an executive order forcing Americans to turn in their gold coins in exchange for paper money; the coins were melted down to form gold bars, which were then used to pay the national debt. . . .Hence, Jill would have been the criminal.

My second point, and one that I feel is more interesting, deals specifically with the processes through which baseball players are going to be tested for banned substances. Actually, I suppose it's more observation than point, and I again thank Dave Pinto for hosting a most stimulating discussion on the issue.

Let's assume for a moment that it is possible to suspend all of the thorny issues that surround the existence of PEDs in baseball. Let's assume that there are, in fact, a finite number of specifically identifiable substances that should be banned in all circumstances due to their documentable negative impact upon the game. Even if Baseball Widow were to buy into that line of reasoning, mandatory testing simply doesn't make sense at this point.

The currently available testing methods are woefully inadequate. Baseball Widow doesn't need to rehash the science here, but she does strongly encourage everyone who supports immediate mandatory year-round testing to educate him/herself upon the real science that underlies the tests that now exist.

False positives in the baseball world could ruin careers, but false positives in the legal arena have ruined lives. This is a transcript of an ABC news broadcast about junk science. It's basically just an amusing collection of common myths and mistakes in "science". This is a collection of much more sobering facts. Everyday, junk science is accepted as fact in the legal system. Sometimes the scientists themselves are wrong. Sometimes the science itself is faulty. On the diamond or in the courtroom, false positives are a dangerous thing.

Testing won't solve any problems related to PEDs in baseball, and, at this point, it will definitely create more.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Fun with other people’s ideas

A combination of inspiration (other bloggers) and desperation (an utter lack of ballgames . . . anyone else notice that?) has led me once again to fiddle with the numbers. I was really interested in the evaluation of the Mets’ 2005 roster by Mike Carminati at Mike’s Baseball Rants. Using Win Shares and his own estimations, Mike projected that the new Mets are about an 87 win team – good, but probably not Division Champion good. I’ve basically copied Mike’s procedure to see what the Mets’ division rivals the Braves might perform like next year. I suggest you take a look at his post before continuing with this one.

For information on the Braves potential 2005 roster I looked to Mac Thomason at Braves Journal, and for help with players possible 2005 performance I looked at Dan Szymborski’s 2005 ZiPS Projections.

Name2004 G2004 WS2005 WS Proj2005 G ProjPOS
Rafael Furcal1432121143SS
Marcus Giles10218251432B
Chipper Jones13719211503B
Andruw Jones1541919154CF
Raul Mondesi33011143RF
Johnny Estrada1341919134C
Adam LaRoche125991251B
Julio Franco12512121251B
Ryan Langerhans0010145LF
Tim Hudson2702033SP
John Smoltz73121530SP
John Thomson33121233SP
Mike Hampton299929SP
Horacio Ramirez1041230SP
Brian Jordan00690LF
Wilson Betemet220022IF
Nick Green959331IF
Eddie Perez722272C
Dan Kolb640964CL
Tom Martin761276RP
Kevin Gryboski695569RP
Chris Reitsma846684RP
Gabe White640346RP
Roman Colon182654RP
Sam McConnell101440RP
Others 1110
Total WS290260

Guessing Guide:
Giles – 40% more playing time
Chipper – 10% more playing time
Mondesi – 2003 values
Langerhans and Jordan – this is really just a guess, and not a particularly educated one either. I’m just not sure how management is going to handle the outfield – will they let Langerhans play or are they going to use Brian Jordan. Will they platoon the two? In addition, I’m not really sure how to project win shares for a guy like Langerhans who hasn’t had a full season of major league experience. I’d love to hear educated guesses by someone who does.
Green – one third 2004 playing time
Roman Colon – three times more playing time
McConnell – four times more playing time
Gabe White -- 2003 values
Smoltz – This is another mystery spot. Will Smoltz fire it up or flame out in his return to the rotation. It’s anyone’s guess, and mine is optimistic.
Martin – 2004 totals for Dodgers and Braves

The hardest thing about this estimation was figuring the contributions and the playing times of the bench and bullpen. It showed me just how little I understand about the difficult task managers face juggling backups and pitching changes.

As for the result? Well, the Braves are looking like an 87 win team, quite similar to the Mets. The biggest question mark for this roster is the outfield. How will Mondesi perform? Who’s in left? Who’s the fourth outfielder? Will management entrust Ryan Langerhans with major playing time or waste ABs on Brian Jordan? There’s a lot of production missing out there.

The other question is John Smoltz. I don’t know how he’ll do, but I’m not betting against him.

If the Braves can figure out the outfield, and if Smoltz’s arm holds up, they look like they’re going to be competitive again.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Long time. . .
Insert usual apologies for Baseball Widow's protracted absence.

It's not that there hasn't been baseball news during the last month. It's a rare occasion indeed when a January episode of SportsCenter leads with a baseball story (as it did a few days ago with the Beltran and Johnson deals). Hot stove season has certainly been, well, hot. And the newly-minted disaster that is steroid testing also promises to be interesting at the least. Don't forget the Hall of Fame voting which, of course, never manages to surprise anyone despite the host of sports writers (many of whom actually get to vote) complaining about the short-sightedness of those who are enfranchised in the matter.

Honestly, Baseball Widow tends to become distracted during December, and she doesn't usually ponder much baseball until Hubby starts the countdown to pitchers and catchers. Baseball Widow's not particularly interested in trade talk--Braves loyalty excepted, she's a fan of the game more than the teams, so she doesn't usually care who's traded or signed where. Still, if Baseball Widow doesn't express her opinions, I suppose no one else will do it for her, so consider me back on my usual semi-regular basis.

You know Baseball Widow has her pet issues, and Performance Enhancing Drugs have topped that list for a while. Dave Pinto has posted a series of thoughts that are worth pondering. In fact, I'm going to ponder them tonight and try to write more tomorrow. Now, be good readers and go do your homework.