January 25th, 2003


I have the weekend off. Woo hoo!

The audits went well enough. There were a few deficiencies in the quality system documentation stuff (my responsibility), but I expected that. It happens whenever you upgrade to a new version of the standard, and we were upgrading two standards at the same time(ISO 9001 and ISO 17025). You always miss or misinterpret something in the standard. Fortunately, they were all easy fixes, and I was able to provide the auditor with the required revisions before he left. So my part's basically done. We also got hit with a bunch of deficiencies in the technical part of the 17025 accreditation, but that's the QC Manager's responsibility. I just have to approve what he gives me. Stress free, that's me...

I spent most of today relaxing, letting the meds do their stuff on whatever it is I've got. Was a bit better yesterday, even at work, but had a real bad night last night, so today I drank cough syrup, and read. I also humidified the house to the point where it feels like the rain forest exhibit at the Aquarium of the Americas in here. Vaporizer going at one end of the house, big pot of boiling water on the stove at the other end. Still coughing some, but not as bad as it's been.

Anyway, reading. I finished the last couple of hundred pages of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The whole perfect disguise thing disappointed me muchly. It would be one thing if no one at Hogwarts was really familiar with the person being simulated (there must be a better word... imposterized?), but this was someone that Dumbledore had known for years. How easily he was taken in. Doesn't bode well for the future. He also trusts Snape. I'm hoping that now both Snape and Harry will GET OVER IT. Yeah, you don't like each other, but for four books now you've always wound up on the same side. Unless Snape really is playing Dumbledore. I half afeared that Snape will be the real villain in book seven, at which point I will have to throw the book across the room because Dumbledore is an idiot again. I'll get #5 when it comes out in paperback.

Another time,
I devised a left-hander
Even more gifted
Than Whitey Ford: a Dodger.
People were amazed by him.
Once, when he was young,
He refused to pitch on Yom Kippur.

- from "The Night Game," by Robert Pinsky

Started Sandy Koufax, A Lefty's Legacy, by Jane Leavy. Koufax was my hero as a boy, and still is, because he's a genuinely good man. He is also a man of principle. In 1965, he refused to pitch the opening game of the World Series, because it was scheduled for Yom Kippur. I was surprised when I first saw the book, because he has so steadfastly avoided the spotlight for the last thirty-five years that there is little information to be had about him. Leavy's tack in approaching him was that she wanted to compare the way things were when he played to how they have become, because although most fans would agree that Koufax is one of the players they think of when remembering the good old days, he was in many ways the catalyst for what the business of baseball became. In 1965, he and Don Drysdale held out for more money during spring training, and the Dodgers caved. The team had no choice in the matter. Without their two best pitchers, they had no shot at the pennant. Ticket sales (the main source of revenue in those days) rose an average of 10,000 seats on days Koufax was scheduled to pitch. It was really the first time that players forced the owners to recognize their value to the business of baseball.

I got to meet Koufax at Dodgertown in Vero Beach during spring training some years ago, amongst a crush of fans swarming to get his autograph. He was signing balls for folks, sometimes two or three for the same guy, and he joked about the possibility that some of these guys might be trying to profit at his expense. (Koufax, as far as I know, has never charged for an autograph.) He smiled at me, because the ball I handed him was already covered with autographs I collected from other Dodgers, knowns and unknowns. Pretty much unsellable. And he signed it right on the sweet spot. I treasure that ball.

Man, I could go on about Koufax for hours, and I suspect I probably will while I'm reading this book.

I did do one other thing today. I watched Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones for the first time. It's the first Star Wars film that I didn't see in the theatre, and I'm not really sorry I missed it. Ewan is good, Christopher Lee is great, and there are fabulous chases and stuff blowing up, but my god, who wrote the dialogue? The stuff that came out of Anakin and Padme's mouths was beyond awful. Samuel L. Jackson was way off his game, too. At least the DVD was cheap.
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