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Archive for February 17th, 2011

Health Update:
All in all, well, I suppose.  My right ear still “feels” swollen and my head is kind of tipsy, but most of the dizziness is gone.  I had the day off of work to go see an ENT (Ears, Nose and Throat) specialist.  He cleaned the wax out of both ears.  He said there was a buildup but not sufficient to be a problem.  The Doctor said to try to relax for the next few days and it should pass.  He believes it was some strange type of head cold.  He gave me a sheet of exercises to build up my balance.  He asked me to sit a hearing test, but the earliest they could do one is tomorrow.  So, I called work to get the day off to do that.  I then called my friend Donnie to get a ride there and back as it’s not safe to drive with the bouts of dizziness coming on suddenly.  
 

Tonight I went out for a 30 minute walk.  It’s raining here in the Bay Area, so I just walked in the school yard across the street, under their awning.  It’s about a minute and a half loop.  No pain, no dizziness, but my inner ear was throbbing at the end.
 

Book Review:
I spent most of the day finishing off one of the twelve books I was going to take on my detail to Baltimore.  (That makes number three, in case you’ve lost count.)  This book is title: “Winners: How Good Baseball Teams Become Great Ones (And It’s Not The Way  You Think)“, and was written by Dayn Perry (2006©). 
 

I picked the book on the $2 rack outside of my Half Priced Books store, purely on a whim just before my scheduled departure for my detail.  My intent was to carry it on the plane, and because it’s short (230-ish pages), I’d use it as a change of pace read while I was at the airport and on the flight.  Obviously, I didn’t make the trip, but I did put the book aside for ASAP read because baseball spring training is ready to start (actually, just started this week).  I really got back into baseball after watching the Giants win the World Series last year.  Anyway, I was hoping to glean a little more understanding of the “game” as a precursor to watching the up-coming season.
 

The book doesn’t get into how the teams’ managements decided how to pick those players or tactics.  The author implies that’s the topic for another book (maybe a sequel?).  In any case, I did feel I learned some interesting information about the game.  For example, I’ve always thought of team speed in terms of base stealing, however, the author explains base stealing doesn’t really help you score points or win games (obviously there will be exceptions which prove the rule).  Instead, overall team speed is important because it allows you to score from tag-ups and run down fly balls in the outfield.  This makes sense “intuitively” after you hear it, but base stealing remains the crowd-pleaser.
 

I found the book to be well written and entertaining.  It liberally mixes statistics, game history and personnel / personal stories to make a surprisingly fast read.  I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in trying to get a better understanding of how winning teams have been built over the last 30 odd seasons – that is, types of players and ways to play the game tactically. 
 

Blogging Notes (aka free association):
I’ve been posting now for almost a year and a half.   I am rapidly approaching 4,000 views on my blog!  Curiously, there are relatively few (60) comments and almost no “Likes/Dislikes” on my actual blog site.  I am getting FAR more responses on Facebook.  I am assuming this is due to most of my posts being read from Facebook and other links.   I suppose it (the lack of comments) could also be I’m simply not ranting and raving enough about my (and other people’s) pet issues.  I guess I have to mull that over…  My initial impetus for starting a blog was to rant and rave.  Somehow, this has become more of a journal than a soapbox.   As  a tool for practicing and improving my writing, I think the blog is useful so far…  As a tool for stimulating passionate expression of positions (comments from others), much less so…  As I said, it’s interesting and I’ll have to come to terms with being both “El Lobo” and just another disturbance in the time-space continuum…
 

One last note – my last book was about probability, statistics and risk, the book reviewed today was about statistics and baseball.  I’ve just started a biography on Warren Buffett and the end of the most recent chapter explains how he’s learned to use numbers to understand how things work and the problem is being able to gather enough information (and numbers).  All three books were picked at random from the $2 rack on unrelated topics – economics, sports and biography.  Serendipity, chaos /complexity theory, or intelligent design?  Probably just coincidence…

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The more extraordinary the event, the greater the need of it being supported by stong proofs.
 

—  Marquis Pierre Simon de Laplace
 

[I have never heard this statement / quote before.  In a bit of serendipity / coincidence, I heard this quote used twice in the same week.  The first time (paraphrased) in a blog I was reading about false / unsupported political statements, and the second time, in the book I’m currently reading about probability.  The blog and book are otherwise unrelated (to my knowledge).  —  KMAB]

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