Shea Stadium Swan Song.

After several years of talk and no action, the New York Mets organization announced recently that they’ll be building a new ballpark for the team.

Tentatively named “Mets Ballpark”, instead of the one-size-fits-all symmetrical stadium meant to host rock stars as well as sports stars, the new field is more intimate (only about 45,000 fans instead of the 55,000-60,000 fans Shea can hold), and has asymmetrical sizing, more befitting a “classic” park, like Brooklyn’s Ebbet’s Field and several of the “new classic” parks like San Diego’s Petco Park. Here’s a comparison of the dimensions for Shea Stadium and Mets Ballpark:

Field Shea Stadium Mets Ballpark
Left 338′ 335′
Left-Center 378′ 379′
Center 410′ 408′
Right-Center 378′ 391′
Right 338′ 330′

Of interest is the short right-field porch: the eight foot difference will be an overhang that sticks out into the field. That should be fun. Kind of like Pac Bell.. I mean SBC… I mean AT&T Park’s right field. (Yes, I’m bitter. And we can expect more of the same with Mets Ballpark, since they’re looking to sell corporate naming rights.)

The Mets have a website describing the park, with a 3D tour and a video of the unveiling.

The new ballpark will be built in the parking lot of Shea, and Shea will be torn down. That will be a sad day for New Yorkers, definitely a sad day for me. If I find out the schedule, perhaps I’ll find myself there on the day they take it down.

Baseball’s “boo birds” are back.

Spring is here and with it, the national pastime, baseball. Baseball fans are a dedicated and knowledgeable bunch, and they will boo you lustily for any reason or no reason at all.

And so it was Tuesday. The team in our nation’s capital is called the Nationals, and in Washington, DC they called on a very familiar figure, Vice President Dick Cheney, to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at their first game at home.

And the fans were ready to let him know just what the thought of him. The boo birds of Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium ripped into the VP, loudly and repeatedly. It wouldn’t be a stretch to assume that the sustained booing was what caused the VP to bounce his pitch into the dirt, several feet in front of the catcher.

I love baseball.

Italy has us beat.

It’s sad really. Turns out the next two days are election days in Italy. Yep, I said the next two days. Strike One. Then, they stop any kind of election advertising for a few weeks before the vote. Strike two. Then, they expect an 80% turn out of registered voters, and they’re complaining because 80% is considered low.

Strike three, you’re out America! Grab some pine, meat!

Apple releases software to run Windows™

If I had written an entry with this headline on April 1, everyone would have assumed it was a big ol’ joke for the geekerati. I may have even had people call me nuts for even suggesting such a thing. But no, it’s not a joke, it is in fact exactly what Apple has gone and done: new software from my favorite company will allow you to run Windows XP™ on an Intel-based Mac, like the diminutive Mac mini. The software is named Boot Camp and is available as a public beta.

Of course, as Apple notes on the Boot Camp website:

Windows running on a Mac is like Windows running on a PC. That means it’ll be subject to the same attacks that plague the Windows world. So be sure to keep it updated with the latest Microsoft Windows security fixes.

And never let it be said that Apple doesn’t enjoy taking a good swipe at long-time partner Microsoft. The Boot Camp website also snarks:

Macs use an ultra-modern industry standard technology called EFI to handle booting. Sadly, Windows XP, and even the upcoming Vista, are stuck in the 1980s with old-fashioned BIOS. But with Boot Camp, the Mac can operate smoothly in both centuries.

Man, you have to love Apple.

Without Delay.

Tom Delay quits. And good riddance to the man who, among other things, asked the FAA to track a plane with Texas state Democratic legislatures when they protested his redistricting plan, and faces money-laundering charges. It apparently took him “months of prayer and contemplation” to make this decision.

My biggest concern? Who do the Democrats rally against now?

Response from Senator Boxer on Senator Feingold’s censure resolution.

Below is the email I received from Senator Boxer’s office in response to my email encouraging her to support Senator Feingold’s resolution of censure of Mr. Bush.

Thank you for contacting me regarding Senator Russell Feingold’s (D-WI) resolution to censure President Bush. I want to you know that I appreciate hearing from you, and I am a co-sponsor of this resolution.

On March 13, 2006, Senator Feingold introduced Senate Resolution 398, which would admonish President Bush for his unlawful authorization of the National Security Agency’s warrantless wiretapping program, his failure to keep Congress fully informed of this program as required by law, and his efforts to mislead the American people about the legality of the program and the legal authorities relied upon by his administration to conduct it.

The Feingold Resolution has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee at the request of Chairman Arlen Specter (R-PA), and Senator Feingold has called for the Committee to hold hearings, debate, and then vote on the resolution. I share Senator Feingold’s strong objections to the administration’s warrantless domestic wiretapping program, and I intend to vote for Senator Feingold’s resolution should it come before the Senate.

Again, thank you for writing me.

Barbara Boxer
United States Senator

Response from Senator Boxer on illegal wiretapping.

Below is the email I received from Senator Boxer’s office in response to my email encouraging the continued investigation of the illegal wiretapping programs authorized by Mr. Bush.

Thank you for contacting me regarding recent reports of domestic spying. I appreciate the opportunity to review your comments on this important issue.

On December 16, 2005, the New York Times reported that President Bush had repeatedly authorized the National Security Agency (NSA) to eavesdrop on American citizens and others without the necessary approvals from Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Courts. Until this program, which began in 2002, no widespread wiretapping had been conducted within U.S. borders without a court warrant.

I have worked very hard to help provide our law enforcement and intelligence communities with the tools they need to effectively combat terrorism; at the same time, I have fought to protect the civil liberties and privacy protections that define our nation. It is unacceptable that the Bush Administration has sanctioned programs that so blatantly violate this balance.

Many of my colleagues – both Republicans and Democrats – share my shock and disappointment that President Bush went outside the law and subverted the system of checks and balances that is so vital to our democracy. The Senate Judiciary and Intelligence Committees are currently holding hearings on this matter.

Rest assured, I will do all I can to make sure that this matter is fully explored and resolved. The American people should not have to choose to between their security and their liberty.

Again, thank you for writing to me. Please do not hesitate to contact me about this or any other issue of concern to you.

Barbara Boxer
United States Senator

A new year, a new effort.

Yes, it’s been a while. My journey of political discovery has been, at times, painful. George W. Bush has continued to grasp on the title of “Worst. President. Ever.” and shows no signs of wanting to let it go.

A lot’s happened since I last wrote here, too much to catch up. But, I expect to be around a bit more often, as 2006 is an important Congressional race, and will define the remainder of Mr. Bush’s term in office, and quite likely determine what happens in 2008.

One item I’ll note is I wrote into my two senators (Boxer and Feinstein). Twice, in fact. The first time was to express my support for continued investigation of the illegal wiretapping programs Mr. Bush has admitted to authorizing; the second was in support of Senator Feingold‘s censure resolution against Mr. Bush for this illegal wiretapping.

I know it’s not much, but I found myself feeling somewhat thrilled by my actions. I don’t expect much to come of these email messages (and in fact only Senator Boxer has responded to either of my messages), but if I can add my voice to a chorus of others, perhaps our elected officials will hear us and take action.

Don't call it the stomach flu

Back in college, everyone drank way too much alcohol, leading to the inevitable purging in front of the porcelain god. When it was bad enough that we couldn’t make it into work that day, we used the standard excuse: “I had some kind of stomach flu”. This was code for “I had way too much to drink last night, and I am still paying for it” and everyone knew it.

Had any of us experienced the real “stomach flu”, we might not have been so cavalier in throwing the phrase around. This week, I had the dubious pleasure of catching the real “stomach flu”, and after spending four-plus hours in the Emergency Room flat on my back with an I.V. sticking out of my arm, I’ve gained a whole new level of respect for this “stomach flu”.

In fact, “stomach flu” doesn’t really begin to explain the extent to which this nasty bug can wreck havoc on your system. When even plain water gets forcefully expelled, and the yellowish bile that is your stomach acid is all that’s coming out and you’re still trying to vomit up more, you need stronger language, scientific language, language with lots of syllables. Gastroenteritis is the right language here. What did gastroenteritis feel like? Kind of like Mother Nature had grabbed me by the balls, flipped me upside down, and shook me until I’d released all the contents of my stomach, shook me some more until vital bodily fluids had likewise been expelled, and then kept shaking me, simply because, apparently, she liked the sound I made.

It all began Monday night. Since my girlfriend’s plane was delayed a day, I picked her up on Monday afternoon instead of Sunday evening, and we grabbed an early dinner at an Indian restaurant a few blocks from her house. Immediately after I finished eating, I felt a knot in the top of my stomach, just below the breastbone. I knew something was wrong, but it felt like I’d just eaten too much, or too fast. I figured I’d be spending too much time in the toilet that night.

We got home, and the feeling didn’t get any worse, but it didn’t go away either. We went through our activities, finally going to sleep about midnight. I awoke about 3AM with a desperate urge to evacuate my bowels, and then, a few minutes later, started to vomit.

I still had no idea what I was in for.

I spent all of Tuesday vomiting. Everything I tried to eat or drink eventually found its way back up, including Pepto Bismol and plain water. It had gotten so bad that even with nothing on my stomach, I was vomiting, meaning I was bringing up stomach bile.

As you might imagine, that’s neither a pretty sight nor a good thing for your body to be doing.

About 9PM I started thinking that I might want to go to the E.R. since I wasn’t keeping food or liquid down, and my body would start dehydrating. About 10PM I called my health insurance’s nurse hotline, described my symptoms and answered a bunch of questions, and was told “based on what you’ve told me, you should go to an emergency room”.

In all honestly, that’s not what I was expecting to hear.

So about 10:30PM, Ying drove me to the E.R. which is conveniently located about five minutes from my house. A 30 minute wait and I was in to see a doctor. A few forms, and the charging of my co-pay (nothing happened until they had my credit card in hand…) and suddenly I was getting poked in my arm and hooked into an I.V. drip.

They say there’s a first time for everything, and this was one of those times. Never had I been connected to an I.V. drip, and never did I think it would happen. I associate that with sick people, and I just don’t get that kind of sick.

When it was all over, I’d had three liters of fluid pumped into me (the body gets chilled when this is happening, since the fluid is not warmed), had my blood drawn for testing, and received a third needle in my rear to calm the nausea I was feeling. And, at 3:30AM  I walked out of the E.R., with a couple of prescriptions to fill. (Ying found a 24 hour Walgreens to fill the prescription.)

I returned home, took the prescription, and passed out in bed. I awoke several hours later, and Ying, who was an angel of mercy during this, went out and grabbed the few staples I was allowed to eat, including bread and apple juice. I lived on this diet for another day, and by the end of the third day I finally felt like I was at about 90%.

(Ying really was great throughout this, by-the-way. She stayed with me the first day, took me to the E.R., spent the next day with me, did some grocery shopping and even managed to do some cleaning around the house. I’m very lucky to have her.)

By Friday I was eating normal food (though very cautiously), and Saturday night I had my first large meal in almost a week. I’m still not back to “normal”, however, as I still cringe at the slightest stomach rumble or twinge. It’ll take a while before eating isn’t given a second thought.