Commentary and musings on a diverse but well-defined set of topics, from a critical-minded conservative point of view, featuring a veritable library of original graphics and statistical information. Hence,
By a unanimous vote (30), Bryce Harper was selected by the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) as the 2015 National League Most Valuable Player. Harper was the first Washington player to be so honored since 1925. He is also the youngest player ever to be elected unanimously. Most Nationals fans expected him to win, since he was clearly the most likely candidate, but the overwhelming "mandate" from the experts was a pleasant surprise.
The Washington Post devoted almost the entire front page of the sports section to a painting of Bryce Harper, including a day-to-day chart showing Harpers on-base-plus-slugging percentage compared to the three other Nationals' players who hit decently this year: Yunel Escobar, Ryan Zimmerman, and Clint Robinson. Harper vastly outshown his team mates. The Post produced this online video summarizing what Harper accomplished. Here are the numbers that made Harper's selection almost a no-brainer:
Home runs: 42 (T-1st)
Runs: 118: (1st)
Average: .330 (2nd)
On-base %: .460 (1st)
Slugging %: .649 (1st)
The only reason to question Harper being the MVP is that there is a tradition of favoritism to players whose teams make it into the postseason. But neither Paul Goldschmidt (D-Backs) nor Joey Votto (Reds) played for postseason-qualifying teams this year, so that was that.
Bryce Harper, in some of his finer moments that I had the good fortune to see. Clockwise from top left: home run #31 on August 21, 2015; at bat on September 22, 2013; at Nats Fest in D.C. on January 26, 2013; sliding into second on September 28, 2014*; in left field on August 15, 2013.
* the same day that Jordan Zimmermann threw a no-hitter!
It was nice to hear that Harper expressed a hope to make Washington his career home, which will of course depend on whether the Lerner family is willing to fork over the megabucks it will take to keep him here. For a player with his amazing early accomplishments and enormous future potential, that could be one of the biggest baseball contracts ever.
I confess to being hesitant about believing in the hype surrounding Harper, but there is no doubt about it: He is for real!
Congratulations, Bryce! We look forward to many more years with you playing in D.C.!
Nationals annual records
Since Bryce Harper set so many records this year, I thought it would be appropriate to update the Washington Nationals page, which now includes a day-to-day graph of the team's winning percentage for the 2015 season, along with those for the previous ten years. As you can plainly see, from mid-July until late August it was just horrible:
That page also features the team's individual batting and pitching annual records going back to their inaugural year of 2005. I have only been keeping that data systematically for the last few years, so I had to refer to the Nationals' official MLB.com Web site for the older numbers. Here is a slightly "squeezed" version of that table:
Washington Nationals: Best batting and pitching annual records
R. Zimm. & L. Mill.
Schu will return
After being let go, along with the rest of the Nats coaching staff, Rick Schu has been rehired as the Nationals' hitting coach. It was new manager Dusty Baker's call, evidently. See the Washington Post
Josh Donaldson wins AL MVP
On the American League side, Josh Donaldson of the Toronto Blue Jays was chosen as Most Valuable Player. It wasn't unanimous, as with Bryce Harper, but he did receive 23 first-place votes and seven second-place votes from the 30 BBWAA voters. Mike Trout of the L.A. Angels came in second place. The last Blue Jay MVP was George Bell, in 1987. Donaldson batted .297, hit 41 homers, and had 123 RBIs. See MLB.com. Coincidentally, I saw Donaldson play in Toronto last July:
Josh Donaldson after drawing a walk in a game at Rogers Centre on July 19, when the Blue Jays beat the Tampa Bay Rays 4-0.
Best rookies: Bryant & Correa
The Chicago Cubs' Kris Bryant and the Houston Astros' shorstop Carlos Correa were awarded the 2015 Rookie of the Year awards, and few people argued. Bryant hit 26 home runs, batted in 99 runs, and had a batting average of .275. (He struck out 199 times, however, the most in the National League.) Correa hit 22 home runs, with 68 RBI and a batting average of .279, managing to outshine the Astros' other young star, Jose Altuve. See bleacherreport.com.
Football and "football" news...
On November 6, the Toronto Argonauts played their final game in the Rogers Centre, beating the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 21-11. Toronto failed to make the Canadian Football League playoffs, going 10-8 for the season. Because the Blue Jays made it to the MLB playoffs, the Argonauts were obliged to host their October home games in Ottawa. See argonauts.ca. Next year the Argonauts will play their home games in BMO Stadium, built primarily for soccer. It is located about a mile to the west, on the north edge of where Exhibition Stadium used to be. I saw it while driving into Toronto last July. Accordingly, I have updated the text on the Rogers Centre page.
When I updated those diagrams in late September, I should have mentioned that the Buffalo Bills are no longer playing any of their "home" games in that stadium. The decision was announced in December 2014; see the CBC. The Bills only won one of the six games they played in Toronto since 2008, and the lack of fan enthusiasm seems to have hurt the team's performance. The Bills plan to build a new stadium to replace Ralph Wilson Stadium, one of the oldest NFL venues.
In Washington, meanwhile, the D.C. Government has undertaken eminent domain procedures to acquire land to be used for the future D.C. United soccer stadium. It will be located about three blocks southwest of Nationals Park in the Buzzards Point area of Washington. See the Washington Post. D.C. United had an excellent regular season, but once again fell flat in the playoffs, losing to the New York Red Bulls on November 8.
Now we know why Stephen Strasburg was having so much trouble with tightness in his back last summer: he had a painful skin growth that turned out to be a non-cancerous tumor. He had surgery to have it removed, and hopefully he'll be back to normal next spring. See ESPN.
Zimmermann, Desmond depart
As expected, both Jordan Zimmermann and Ian Desmond declined the "qualifying offers" from the Washington Nationals, which almost certainly means they're about to become free agents. If they accept an offer from another team, the Nationals will get a draft pick from the other team in compensation. See MLB.com. They'll probably both rake in top dollar multi-year contracts, and I wish them all the best -- except when they're playing against the Nationals, of course. They both played like champions for years with the Nats, and they will be remembered fondly.
(Milwaukee) County Stadium update
I took a quick "detour" in my diagramming work, and make some minor enhancements to the diagrams for Milwaukee County Stadium. That, of course, was the former home of both the Milwaukee Braves and Milwaukee Brewers. It mainly involved the upper-deck and lower-deck diagrams, with the entry portals being bigger and the support columns being much more prominent than before. Also, the bullpens were rendered more accurately in all the diagrams, with the pitching rubbers and home plates shown, among other details.
As my work on revising stadium diagrams heads into the final stretch, I updated the Diagram update log for the first time in several months. For nearly all current and past Major League Baseball stadiums, it shows when the diagram in question was last revised (aside from trivial "tweaks"). Currently, the oldest diagram is Forbes Field, which was last updated ten years ago. For most such stadiums, that log shows the history of diagram updates, with links to the blog posts when those updates were announced. For the remainder of the stadiums, there is simply a blank cell to indicate that the compilation of past updates is still underway. By the end of the year, that task should be completed.
Also, I have taken a big step in the transition toward a simpler layout for the stadium pages. For recently-updated stadium pages, and eventually on all such pages, the key displays interactively when you roll the mouse over the last of the "dynamic diagram" links. It no longer appears on the right side of those links. This is part of the ultimate plan of making the stadium pages easier to view on mobile devices such as iPhones. (Yes, I'm aware of that.)
Williams back to Phoenix
The Washington Nationals' former manager Matt Williams is going back to the Arizona Diamondbacks next year, serving as third-base coach. He played third base in Phoenix from 1998 through 2003, when he retired. See ESPN. I hope the experience does him good. He has many good potential qualities, but just needs more experience before managing a championship-caliber club.
Shea Stadium mini-update
Having finished my Citi Field diagrams after much laborious pixel-tweaking, it was fitting (and relatively easy) for me to make a slight enhancement to the Shea Stadium diagrams as well. Only two things changed that anyone would notice: First, the entry portals in the upper deck have been moved back a couple feet, and are rendered more accurately with the vertical discontinuity in back of the lateral walkway, and the small stairs (five steps) on either side of each entry portal. Second, the pitching rubbers and home plates in the bullpens are now shown.
In a press conference on Thursday, "Dusty" Baker was formally introduced by Mike Rizzo as the new manager of the Washington Nationals. The event was a big success, as Baker quickly developed a rapport with the journalists, answering their queries with wit and a big smile. He is determined to get the team to the postseason again, and is hopeful that he can win his first World Series ring as a manager. See the Washington Post, which had a photo of Baker wearing a business suit leaning on the dugout at Nationals Park.
The beginning may have been a little awkward, but Dusty is full of charm and optimism, as well as skilled leadership, and I'm guessing we'll forget all about that Bud Black mess before long. He is almost certainly the best "second-best" choice ever!
The Nationals' new pitching coach, Mike Maddux, was also introduced to reporters.
Desi, J-Zimm get offers
Veterans Ian Desmond and Jordan Zimmermann both received "qualifying offers" from the Washington Nationals, which means that if they sign elsewhere (as expected), the Nats will get compensatory draft picks. (See MLB.com.) It is still possible that either or both could remain with the Nats next year, and I kind of hope both do. J-Zimm is a proven top-notch performer and would keep the pitching rotation in a championship caliber, while Desi had a solid record until this year which was a big disappointment. He's bound to improve next year, whatever team he's with.
Citi Field update update
OK, I get it, I'm way too much of a perfectionist. But is that really such a bad thing? Yes, sports fans, believe it or not, I made a few more tiny corrections and enhancements to my Citi Field diagrams. It mostly involved details such as the seam that divides the grandstand in left field from the rest of the grandstand. Also, I had to reconcile slight inconsistencies from one diagram version to another. New features in the lower-deck and second-deck diagrams include the entrances to the aisles, as well as a transparent color (thus showing the green background) to differentiate the field level from the main concourse level. I really hope that takes care of that.
As Matt Harvey took the mound in the top of the ninth inning on Sunday night, it appeared all but certain that the World Series would return to Kansas City for Game 6. But once again the Royals pulled off a highly unlike comeback to complete their triumph at Citi Field in Flushing Meadows -- a Royal Flushing! The Mets manager was going to use a relief pitcher in the ninth inning, but Harvey insisted on finishing the game, and the rest is history. He walked and gave up a double to the left field corner hit by Eric Hosmer (who had not been batting well up to that point). Hosmer then reached third and when Salvador Perez ground ball to short stop, he waited until the ball was thrown to first and then made a mad dash for home. Safe! It was a high-risk move, but it paid off, as the game was tied and went into extra innings. (It reminded me of a similar situation in the ninth inning of Game 7 of the World Series last year, when Alex Gordon held up on third base rather than going for an inside-the-park home run. He was stranded there, and the Royals lost.) Fortune favors the bold!
In the 12th inning, Salvador Perez singled and was replaced by pinch-runner Jarrod Dyson, who stole second base, made it to third on a ground ball out, and then scored when pinch-hitter Christian Colon (who??) hit a clutch single to left field. The Royals were ahead for the first time in the game! On the very next play Daniel Murphy misplayed a ground ball just like he had the night before, Alcides Escobar hit an RBI double, and after the bases were loaded, Lorenzo Cain hit a three-run double to make it a 7-2 game. Fans in New York were dismayed beyond belief at this gut-wrenching turn of events. No team had ever scored five runs in an extra inning of a World Series game before. It was a historic accomplishment, and the Royals savored the triumph in the locker room.
Salvador Perez was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2015 World Series, the Royals' first world championship since 1985.
Today on the streets of downtown Kansas City, about 800,000 fans gathered to pay tribute to the Royals. See the Kansas City Star.
Congratulations to the Royals!
Citi Field update
Well, wouldn't you know it, I found some more discrepancies in my Citi Field diagrams, and before you knew it I was hard at work with yet another update. Good grief, Charlie Brown! Foul territory is slightly larger than before, the bullpens are angled a bit more to the right, and a few other details have been corrected. I hope that takes care of that.
World Series tix
By amazing coincidence, I got hold of some World Series tickets (as well as a National League Championship Series ticket) yesterday, but they were 32 years out of date. They're of no practical use, but may be of significance to collectors. In the 1983 Fall Classic, the Baltimore Orioles beat the Philadelphia Phillies in four straight games (including Games 3 and 5 on the tickets below) after the Phillies won Game 1 in Baltimore.
Dusty Baker to manage Nationals
So much for unconfirmed rumors from reliable inside sources! Apparently negotiations with Bud Black broke down after it was all but announced that he would become the new manager of the Washington Nationals, and in his place Dusty Baker has been chosen to lead the Nats next year. He has a multi-year contract, so apparently this is a done deal. (As far as we know, at least!) It's an embarrassing turn of events, and seems to reflect poorly on the Lerner family's awareness of baseball negotiating protocols according to Thomas Boswell (not "Bosworth" as I originally wrote in my October 30 post, now corrected). For more, see the Washington Post.
There's no question that Baker is a good choice. He was chosen as National League manager of the year in 1993, 1997, and 2000 while with the Giants, whom he led to the 2002 World Series. Later he managed the Chicago Cubs, whom he led to the NL Championship Series in 2003 (ouch!), and then the Cincinnati Reds, whom he led to the 2013 Wild Card Game. Twenty years is a lot of managerial experience indeed. Baker is 66 years old, not as old as I thought he was, so maybe he can fill the job of manager for a few years. Davey Johnson was 70 years old when he retired as manager of the Nationals after the 2013 season.
I expected this to be a fairly even World Series, with the Kansas City Royals' relentless hitting and base-running offsetting the New York Mets' stellar pitching and slugging. Game 4 was another classic back-and-forth affair, full of dramatic twists of fate and cruel ironies. It looked like the Mets were about to even the series 2-2, with a 3-2 lead going into the eighth inning. Then all of a sudden, Daniel Murphy misplayed a ground ball hit by Eric Hosmer, and the Royals seized the opportunity to stage a three-run rally that ended up deciding the game. Final score: Royals 5, Mets 3. So now the Mets are on the brink of elimination.
In tonight's game, which started about an hour ago, Curtis Granderson put the Mets on the board with a leadoff home run in the bottom of the first inning. (I was actually uploading the revised diagrams at the time, and missed seeing it live!) I kind of hope that the series returns to K.C., but I'll be rooting for the Royals in any case.
For the record, I am not happy at all about baseball extending into the month of November. MLB officials need to consider ways to compress the regular season, either with fewer games (perhaps going back to 154 games, like it was before 1961) or else having scheduled double-headers throughout the season.
Citi Field tweak
After seeing aerial shots of Citi Field on TV, I noticed some discrepancies in my diagrams in the area around the bullpens in right-center field. So, I went back and consulted some photos that Mike Zurawski had brought to my attention a few months ago, and made some small revisions to the Citi Field diagrams. One detail that I had failed to account for is that the former "385" distance marker in deep left center field was removed prior to the 2015 season, and a new "370" marker has been put in the power alley in left-center field. As with yesterday's "tweak" of my Kauffman Stadium diagrams, it is not worth considering a diagram update per se.
I was hoping the World Series wouldn't end in a premature sweep, and sure enough the Mets rose to the occasion last night, beating the Royals 9-3 and thereby assuring that there will at least be a Game 6 back in Kansas City. [Oops -- me and my hasty calculations.] The Royals struck first with a run in the first inning, but then David Wright hit a two-run homer for the Mets in the bottom of the inning. The Royals retook the lead in the second inning, and then the Mets did likewise in the third, making it 4-3. The Mets put the icing on the cake with a four-run sixth inning, and the Mets' bullpen held firm for the last three innings, not allowing any hits or walks.
In Game 4 tonight, the Royals' pitcher Chris Young (whose age of 36 belies his name) faces the Mets' Steven Matz (age 24).
Kauffman Stadium tweak
For the record, I made some tiny revisions to the Kauffman Stadium diagrams. All that changed was the entry portals in the upper deck, which are larger than before, and some small "balconies" directly behind home plate and near the far ends of the upper deck. It is not worth considering a diagram update per se.
Mike Zurawski informs me that Tal's Hill [the steep slope in center field in Minute Maid Park] will be around for another year, because of delays in construction and other factors. That's good news to me, but I wish they would just leave it the way it is on a permanent basis. See ESPN.
In Georgia, meanwhile, the shady stadium deal between the Atlanta Braves and Cobb County is revealing some funding gaps that no one seems to want to fill, such as a vital pedestrian bridge over the adjacent interstate. Unless someone shoulders the responsibility soon, the result could be a traffic disaster once Sun Trust Field opens for business in April 2017. Read all about it at streetsblog.org; hat tip to David Finkel.
Game 1 of the 2015 World Series started off with a bang on Tuesday night, as Kansas City's Alcides Escobar hit an inside-the-park home run on the first pitch from the vaunted Mets ace Matt Harvey. The Mets managed to prevent further damage, and later pulled ahead 3-1 with one run each in the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings. The Royals rallied to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth, thanks to clutch RBIs by Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas, cheering the home crowd, but then the Mets took the lead in the top of the eighth inning after Hosmer failed to stop a ground ball to first base, reminisicent of the Bill Buckner error in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. The Royals were on the verge of what would have been a devastating loss, when Alex Gordon hit a solo home run to tie the game 4-4 in the bottom of the ninth, sending the game into extra innings. Finally, the Royals wore out Mets veteran pitcher Bartolo Colon, loading the bases in the bottom of the 14th inning, and all it took was a long sacrifice fly to right field by Eric Hosmer to win the game, 5-4. Amazin'!
In World Series Game 2, Johnny Cueto pitched a superb two-hit complete game, in which the only two hits were by Lucas Duda, whose solo homer in the fourth inning was the Mets' only score. As expected, Jacob deGrom was almost unhittable -- until the fifth inning. All of a sudden, the Royals started to connect, and before you knew it, four runs had crossed the plate. They added three more runs in the eighth inning to wrap up a huge 7-1 victory. Interestingly, none of the Royals had a home run in that game. And so, the Mets return to New York in a rather desperate situation, down two games to none. But that happens to be the exact same situation they were in versus the Boston Red Sox in 1986, and we all know how that turned out!
By amazing coincidence, I saw Johnny Cueto pitch a two-hit complete game on July 7 in Washington, when the Cincinnati Reds shut out the Nationals, And that leads to this "slightly edited" photograph which I took that day:
Royals' pitching ace Johnny Cueto, winner of World Series Game 2. (Photo taken July 7, when Cueto was pitching for the Reds. Roll your mouse over the image to see the unaltered original. )
Admit it, you'd never guess that the above photo was a complete fake, would you? The Royals' uniform in it was "borrowed" from a photo I took of Billy Butler on July 25, 2014.
Citi Field update
Right on schedule, I finished updating the Citi Field diagrams yesterday. The main thing was getting the precise configuration of the bullpens just right, and contrary to my earlier supposition, it is no different than before this year, when the fence in right center field was brought in several more feet. On one of the NLCS games, I saw a good view of the back end of the bullpens, which lie beneath the "bridge." That pretty much cleared up my remaining uncertainties. There is an all-new second deck diagram, which draws attention to the complicated multi-level configuration behind home plate. As before, the lower-deck diagram shows the small triangular seating sections added just inside of each bullpen for games with high attendance -- such as tonight's World Series Game 3! Otherwise, there are a few minor corrections here and there. My estimate of fair territory is now 109,600 square feet, or 1,000 square feet less than was the case from 2012 through 2014. For the first three years (2009-2011), fair territory was about 114,100 square feet.
World Series stadia
Just like last year, and several years before that, I present the home ballparks of the two World Series teams, for easy comparison. Just roll over the thumbnail images to switch between the respective full-size diagrams.
One thing you can notice right away is that, even with the original (2009) dimensions in Citi Field, Kauffman Stadium still had a deeper outfield in almost every direction.
Bud Black to manage Nationals
The rumors broke out during Game 2 of the World Series, and multple reports since then would seem to confirm that Bud Black, current manager of the San Diego Padres, has been chosen to manage the Washington Nationals. I was surprised how quickly the decision was reached, but apparently several teams are head-hunting for new managers, and the Nats front office couldn't afford to wait. In the Washington Post, Tom [Boswell] writes that the Nationals got the managerial experience they were looking for.
Meanwhile, the Miami Marlins have hired as their new manager Don Mattingly, who just ended his tenure as manager of the L.A. Dodgers on mutually-agreeable terms.
Well, here we are at the beginning of another World Series, and you can't deny that it's a top-notch matchup. Both the Mets and the Royals deserve to be playing for a championship title. Both League Championship Series provided plenty of excitement, although on the National League side, the outcome was pretty lopsided. Game 1 of the 2015 World Series has just gone into extra innings, with the score at 4-4, so I'll wait until tomorrow or Thursday to comment on that.
The last team to reach the World Series two years in a row was the Texas Rangers, who ended up losing in both 2010 (to the Giants) and 2011 (to the Cardinals). The Philadelphia Phillies did likewise in 2008 and 2009, winning the first time only.
Mets sweep the Cubs
The New York Mets beat the Chicago Cubs 8-3 in the deciding NLCS Game 4 last Wednesday night, therby advancing to the World Series for the first time since 2000 -- 15 years ago. It would have been the Cubs' first World Series appearance since 1945, i.e. 70 years ago. I wonder when the last time was that two teams in a League Divisional Series had such a high combined cumulative World Series "drought" (85 years)? I'll have to check on that.
As if the Mets' young starting rotation with Matt Harvey, Jayson DeGrom, and Noah Syndergaard wasn't impressive enough, some young guy name Matz outpitched the Cubs' Jason Hammel. After such a thrilling above-expectations season, capped with a victory over their arch-rivals in St. Louis in the NLDS, getting swept four games straight by the Mets was a melancholy win. In Game 4, Daniel Murphy set a new MLB record by hitting a home run in six consecutive postseason games. As for the Cubs, it's "Wait till next year!"
Royals defeat the Blue Jays
The Toronto Blue Jays had an uphill battle as the ALCS returned to Kansas City behind the Royals three games to two, staying alive after an impressive 7-1 Game 5 victory in Toronto. Jose Bautista hit two home runs, the second of which tied the game 3-3 late in the game, but the Royals still beat them 4-3 to finish the series.
It's a shame that David Price was charged with seven losses in seven postseason starts. After giving up two early home runs in ALCS Game 6, he settled down and went deep into the game before the Royals pounced on him to take the lead for good.
Wrigley Field major update
In hopes that the Cubbies might somehow stage a historic comeback in the NLCS, I put everything else aside and got to work on the Wrigley Field diagrams. As of today, they are now fully up to date, showing the enlarged bleachers which were added added this year, along with a new video scoreboard. There is a new upper-deck diagram, as well as a October 1932 diagram of when they built temporary bleachers over the adjoining streets (Waveland and Sheffield) for the extra big crowds. Of course, the inclusion of entry portals was a crucial part of getting the details just right. For example, the position of the "creases" in the grandstand, the bullpens, etc. are all now much more accurate than before. There are other enhancements (such as more prominent display of the support beams) as well. As usual, it took longer than I expected, but the results paid off. Enjoy!
For the record...
During the National League Wild Card Game (Cubs vs. Pirates, a.k.a. "Bucs") I wondered how many other team-pairs contain exactly the same letters? Cubs & Bucs.
While looking at some old photos of the Astrodome, I noticed that that the lateral walkway in the upper deck was not continuous, i.e., that there was an extra row of eight seats between each successive entry portal. The walkways were longer on the right of entry portal than on the left. So, I made that minor correction to the Astrodome diagrams.
I was watching a recorded Nats Xtra program from the final week of the season, in which Johnny and Ray pointed out that Max Scherzer was the first pitcher since Nolan Ryan to throw two no-hitters in one season, and that Max and Nolan are the only two who ever threw 17 strikeouts in a no-hitter.
Complete blog entries for the current month:
November 2015 (with links to archives of previous months)
My general practice is to make no more than one blog post per day on any one category. For this reason, some blog posts may address more than one specific issue, as indicated by separate headings. If something important happens during the day after I make a blog post, I may add an updated paragraph or section to it, using the word "UPDATE" and sometimes a horizontal rule to distinguish the new material from the original material. For each successive day, blog posts are listed on the central blog page (which brings together all topics) from top to bottom in the following (reverse alphabetical) order, which may differ from the order in which the posts were originally made:
Wild birds (LAST)
Science & Technology *
Culture & Travel *
Canaries ("Home birds")
* part of "Macintosh & Miscellanous" until Feb. 2007
The date of each blog post refers to when the bulk of it was written, in the Eastern Time Zone. For each blog post, the time and date of the original posting (or the last update or comment thereupon) is displayed on the individual archival blog post page that appears (just before the comments section) when you click the [LINK / comments] link next to the date. Non-trivial corrections and clarifications to original blog entries are indicated by the use of [brackets] and/or strikethroughs, as appropriate so as to accurately convey both the factual truth and my original representation of it. Nobody's perfect, but I strive for continual improvement. That is also why some of the nature photos that appear on the archive pages may differ from the (inferior) ones that were originally posted.
The current "home made" blog organization system that I created, featuring real permalinks, was instituted on November 1, 2004. Prior to that date, blog posts were handled inconsistently, and for that reason the pre-2005 archives pages are something of a mess. Furthermore, my blogging prior to June 1, 2004 was often sporadic in terms of frequency.
This blog is distinguished in many ways from the rest of the "blogosphere." My blog entries cover a rigidly defined set of topics, with varying degrees of intensity according to how much is going on in each area, and how much time I have. Being somewhat of a "do-it-yourselfer," I chose a "home-made" approach rather than conforming to the common blogging systems such as Blogger or WordPress. The blog entries and archives are arranged in a sort of "proprietary" scheme that I have gradually developed over time. Finally, being an old-fashioned, soft-spoken kind of guy, I avoid attention-grabbing sensationalism and strident rhetoric, and strive instead to maintain a reasonable, dignified, respectful tone.
Number of visitors to this page since June 13, 2004: