What a nightmare it’s been.

Contrary to the “experts”, I think the injury to Red Sox rookie third-baseman Will Middlebrooks officially ends Boston’s post-season hopes. There have been calls for manager Booby Valentine to hit the road ever since his ill-fated remarks about Kevin Youkilis, (doesn’t that seem like an eternity ago?) What a nightmare year it’s been.

When we limped across the finish line last year, Terry Francona – statistically the best manager in Sox history – was unceremoniously given the boot. Then Theo Epstein, The Architect, fled to Chicago. His protégé, Ben Cherington, took the helm and hired the worst candidate available to take Tito’s place: Bobby V.

With the retirements of Wake and The Captain, some changes would have to be made. How about we make the best setup man in baseball, Daniel Bard, a starter? Lesson not learned by watching what happened to Joba Chamberlain. Rookies like Iglesias, Lavarnway and Middlebrooks all deserved to be with the big boys on opening day; none were.

Arguably the best closer in baseball, Jonathan Papelbon, finally got his wish and signed a long-term contract with the Phillies, so who’s gonna fill his shoes? Let’s steal Mark Melancon, no wait, he’s not up to the challenge, let’s trade away the future for Andrew Bailey; roll the dice and hope he doesn’t get injured like he seems to every year.

Could we have traded Youk at the beginning of the season since everyone knew Middlebrooks was going to take his place eventually? Was putting A-Gon in right field a bad idea? His epic offensive fall might suggest so. How many bad decisions could one team make?

Now we have to watch the Yankees coast to the playoffs and wonder just how – or maybe if – we can get our act together for next year…

The final vignette

Sky falls from darkest moonglow

through the bottomless depths

of breathless regrets

a limitless plateau

like strawberry rosettes

and stale pirouettes

or nothingness, though

threaded through pairless sets

‘neath Orion’s octets

not a solo so low

beyond pity or threats

I’ll forget long ago

and scarcely outgrow

the final vignette

which must end in woe…

 

5 Things Mitt Doesn’t Want You to Know About Paul Ryan

By Elizabeth Hartfield – ABC News

The selection of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney’s running mate is sure to excite the Left almost as much as it does the Right.

Ryan, 42, has been considered a rising star in the party for years. He’s been the chairman of the House Budget Committee since Republicans took back control of the House in 2010, and he’s known for his keen fiscal knowledge. Plus, he hails from an important state. The GOP has been hoping to take Wisconsin this cycle. Although the state hasn’t gone red in a presidential race since 1984, Republicans have been buoyed by the successful gubernatorial race of Scott Walker, who became the first governor to face a recall election and win last June.

Ryan is an exciting pick, but there’s no such thing as a perfect candidate, and Ryan brings his own set of political risks to the table. Here’s a list of five things that Mitt Romney might not want highlighted about his VP candidate (hint: most of them have to do with his budget proposals).

1. His budget plans include big cuts, and there’s ample room for Democrats to continue with their “Romneyhood narrative.” The nonpartisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates 62 percent of Ryan’s cuts are to programs for the poor.

2. Ryan’s budget proposals have included big changes to Medicare – including gradually replacing the program with a voucher program for private health care, and gradually raising the retirement age. That could scare older Americans, a crucial voting bloc.

3. He voted for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP. While a lot of other Republicans did too, and it was proposed by the Bush administration, some have viewed it as a rejection of the conservative economic values Ryan and hard-line fiscal conservatives espouse.

4. He’s easily pegged as Washington insider. He’s been in Congress since 1999, and before that he worked as a congressional staffer. Congressional approval ratings are abysmally low- a recent CBS News/NY Times poll showed that only 12 percent of voters approve of the way Congress is doing its job.

5. This is both a pro and a con to Ryan, depending on who you ask, but he’s notably further to the left on the issue of lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender rights than the base of the party. He broke with a lot of his party to support the Employee Non-Discrimination Act in 2007. He explained his reasoning for the vote in this way: “They [his gay friends] didn’t roll out of bed one morning and choose to be gay. That’s who they are.”

That’s life

A ferris wheel ride to share,

whispered secrets no one would dare

speak out loud for fear of the crowd

down below looking up;

don’t let go, buttercup.

Lighthearted head in the clouds

loudly clamoring calliope melodies

stammering synchronicities

enlightened eccentricities.

Let it all fall together

like the wind in the heather

no prayers allowed

and please, death be not proud…

What’s next?

Please brace yourself for a shock: Lawyers for James Holmes are now saying the 24-year-old charged in last month’s deadly Aurora, Colo., theater shooting, is mentally ill.

In other I-can’t-believe-it news: Wade Michael Page, who shot himself in the head after killing six people at a Sikh temple outside Milwaukee, was a frustrated neo-Nazi who participated in the white-power music scene.

So why is the Fox News/Conservative Christian/Right-Wing Republican Party Machine going crazy all of a sudden? Because news services have reported that Page, unlike Holmes, was once in the military. By simply including that fact in his bio, the “lamestream media” has once again showed their utter hatred for all things American.

Look, Page got kicked out of the military because he was a drunken loser. This in no way reflects poorly on our military. Page was a drunken loser his entire miserable life. Period.

I haven’t heard anyone try to make the case that this evil person did what he did because he was once in the military. So, all you Right-Wingers, can we stop sniping just long enough to give the Sikh temple victims a moment of silence?

Forward?

Please remember that when you vote for a presidential candidate, you’re also voting for the team that will craft policy for the next four years. Many who hold high positions in the current Administration used to work for Bill Clinton. Many who would hold high positions in the next Administration used to work for George W. Bush.

Romney’s top two economic advisors are men who served as George W. Bush’s top two financial meltdown architects: Glenn Hubbard and Greg Mankiw. If you like tax-cuts for the rich and less financial regulation, you’ll love these guys. Then there’s Michael Hayden and Cofer Black, our nation’s two most fervent “enhanced interrogation” advocates. Want to invade Iran? Then Eliot Cohen, Dan Senor, and  Max Boot are your kinda guys.

Back in March the Rev. Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention told the Romney campaign it could win over “recalcitrant conservatives,” as reported the Washington Post, by “previewing a few Cabinet selections: Santorum as attorney general, Gingrich as ambassador to the United Nations and John Bolton as secretary of state.” All three selections now are seen as strong possibilities.

Lastly, a press secretary for the Republican National Committee, Alexandra Franceschi, provoked some Democratic chortling when she responded to a question asking whether the 2012 GOP agenda was any different from the Bush/Cheney agenda. “I think it’s that program, just updated,” she replied…