Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Your Patriotic American Duty

I have once again fulfilled my patriotic duties as an American and voted ... for the Major League Baseball All-Star Team. The good news is that it's really easy these days, since you can vote online at's online All-Star Ballot.

The bad news is that it's really easy these days, since you can vote up to 25 times per day online at's online All-Star Ballot. Worse yet, they make it really easy to stuff the ballot box this way. So over the past few years the All-Star fan voting has become a bit of ballot-box stuffing exercise for the big-market teams in New York and Boston.

But I like to fight back for El Tigres in my little way, and fortunately this year Detroit has several very deserving hitters. Here's who I voted for (25 times! Ugh!) this year:

American League:
1B - Cabrera, Miguel - Should've been last year's AL MVP.
2B - Cano, Robinson - Okay, the Yankee ballot-box stuffers have this one right.
SS - Peralta, Jhonny - A hometown vote for the Tiger, but he's also having a great season.
3B - Rodriguez, Alex - On the decline, but still an All-Star.
C - Avila, Alex - Monique's Tiger. Need I say more? Plus, he's actually the best catcher in the AL so far this year.
DH - Martinez, Victor - Having a great season protecting Miggy.
OF - Bautista, Jose - Out of nowhere, Babe Freaking Ruth materialized in Toronto.
OF - Granderson, Curtis - We miss you, Curtis!
OF - Suzuki, Ichiro - A down year, but a great player.
Write-in - N/A

National League:
1B - Votto, Joey - Last year's NL MVP. I might've voted for Pujols despite the down year, but his broken arm made it a bit academic.
2B - Weeks, Rickie - Having a surprisingly good season at a thin position.
SS - Reyes, Jose - Back to All-Star form in his contract year. Coincidence? I think not.
3B - Polanco, Placido - Monique's former Tiger.
C - McCann, Brian - He's no Alex Avila, but he's a pretty good catcher.
OF - Braun, Ryan - Living up the the hype.
OF - Holliday, Matt - A steady and perennially underrated batter.
OF - Kemp, Matt - If he's going to hit like this, he should break up with Rihanna every year!
Write-in - N/A

Monday, June 27, 2011

Back to our core competency...

... beagle haiku written by other people and provided to this site for the revolutionary new price of "free". In this case, we have an outstanding contribution from Arsen Darnay, who shared the beagle-watching duties while Monique was off in Wyoming preparing for the arrival of our new niece:

While Amelia
Was late, Katie chased rabbits
In rainy Grosse Pointe.

--Arsen Darnay

Thursday, June 23, 2011

This n'That

Yeah, yeah, yeah ... I'm a slothful blogger. However, this is not my fault. I blame my large staff of beagle-haiku freelancers, who have failed to crank out a beagle haiku in weeks. As a result, we have now fallen to #2 in the world Google beagle haiku rankings.

Do I have to do all the writing around here?

Eh, apparently so. Let's catch you all up on the last couple weeks.

The Wyoming Update: Yes, since I didn't deliver my promised update, Amelia Arden Magee was indeed finally born on Saturday, June 4, at 11:08 am Mountain Daylight Time. In defense of my non-updating from Wyoming, she didn't arrive until just moments after I departed for the airport to return to Michigan. Tardy baby. That slacker kid better start catching up, or she'll never get into a good college.

Fortunately, her very kind Aunt Monique was able to delay her return to Michigan for a few more days to help smooth the transition and watch Zoe while Mike and Cathy were busy with the new arrival.

Welcome, Amelia! And special thanks to Monique for being such an incredibly helpful wife!

Village Budget: We passed our village budget in June with the least hubbub we've had since in years, and the result is a village that is in the best financial shape it's been in since I moved here, despite the horrible municipal economics of Michigan.

Last year's budget cuts were the most painful period I've ever had in politics, and I say that as a man who endured George W. Bush's re-election in 2004. I really hated some of the things that we needed to do to put our finances in order for the next few years. But I felt that the results evident in this year's budget was a real vindication of the effort we put in last year into long-term planning for the Michigan fiscal apocalypse.

It gives me hope that it is possible to solve the seemingly unsolvable in politics, as long as everybody works together in good faith.

Random Political Thought: I was thinking about the Democratic Party's electoral flop in 2010. It occurred to me the real lesson of that election may be that activists get tired, while deep pockets never rest. An awful lot of Democratic activists were pretty burned out after 2008, while the Citizens' United decision pumped GOP coffers full of untraceable money. It'll be interesting to see how that dynamic plays out in 2012.

And no, I haven't really decided exactly what I'm doing with my activist self in 2012, but I'm sure that at the very least I'll be lending a hand with Andy Meisner's Oakland County Treasurer reelection campaign. (

Hmmn ... methinks the effort might need to start with a refreshing of the campaign website, which doesn't seem to have been touched since 2008.

Work: Busy, busy, busy and spending much of my time getting a new workflow up and running, which has turned out to take considerably more time and effort than I had anticipated. I could go on and on, but then I'd have to give this whole post the "Mr. Crankypants" tag. Mostly I'm just irritated at myself for not getting things done more quickly, and for not properly anticipating the work that would need to go into some of this stuff. Oh, how I wish I had a handy scapegoat!

Insomnia: For a variety of reasons (mostly adding up to "I've been even more blob-like than usual lately) I decided to lop sugar out of my diet a couple of months ago. This is worthy of its own post, and I've meant to write on it. But one of the interesting side effects is that for the last two months my general mild insomnia and late-night-nik-ness has really jumped up a notch.

I've spent a lot more time than usual staring at the ceiling at 3 am or 4 am lately, and I absolutely have to say one thing about the whole experience: I truly wish the spackle on our bedroom ceiling had been better sanded when our house was built.

Finally, and most importantly, the Patio Boat (The real patioboat, that is): The Ol' Stealth Pontoon finally launched upon Wolverine Lake yesterday, the latest launch ever. The sad delay was mostly due to some chewed-up wiring, rainy weekends, our time in Wyoming, and scheduling problems with our pontoon trailer guy. We're now back on the lake.


And good luck to you all in getting another post out of me now that the pontoonin' season has arrived.