Sunday, April 30, 2006

K-Ray-Z!

Ahh, the delirium of finals! This time it's got me dancing in the library at 4 a.m., to, among other songs, "Can You Picture That" from The Muppet Movie.

I'm insane

Friday, April 28, 2006

I Wonder if They Still Have Naps in the Real World?

So I know Zhubin beat me to it, but I'm proud to announce that I've officially finished my last class of school. For ever. Or at least until I go back to get my Ph.D. in something. But basically, I'm never going to class again. Which means I'm only like 9 years behind those jerks that dropped out of high school in 10th grade. Man do I have some ground to make up!

I entered school when I was 5. I've had 1 year of kindergarten, 5 years of elementary school, 3 of middle school, 4 of high school, 4 of college and 3 of law school. That's a grand total of twenty straight years of education.

The thing about education is that, while you're in school, you're pretty much not a productive member of society. You're doing a lot of taking-in and not a whole lot of creating-productive-output-for-the-good-of-the-world. Oh sure, there's the summer. Except that in my 20 years of education I pretty much blew those on bike-riding, pestering my mom to take us to the pool, swimming for 6 minutes, pestering my mom to take us home from the pool, roofing, working in a box factory, and day dreaming that I was anywhere but at a box factory.

But now, at 25, that's all over, and I'm heading off into the real world. I'm not quite sure what to expect of the world outside academia. I still have some vague memories of that time before school, but pretty much they all involve me using my imagination or trying hard not to crap my pants.

Ah, those were the days.

Now, I don't mean to brag, but as I remember it, I had a ton of real-world skills. Especially when it came to not-shitting-myself. That's a difficult task to master. Way harder than Power Point. Heck, I was so good they even used to give me a cookie every time I managed to dump someplace other than my pants. Well, provided that someplace was in or around the toilet, and not, say, on our neighbor's driveway.

But pretty much that's how my experience with the real world leads me to picture it: sitting around, imagining stuff and trying hard not to crap in your pants. And since I'm not getting any jobs with my academically-oriented resume, I've decided it's time that I adjust my resume to highlight my real-world experience:

Matt Novak, Infant and Toddler,
The Novak Household 1981 - 1986

- Potty trained
- Able to count to 10 without use of fingers
- Finger-paint proficient
- A big boy

Time is marching on,
and time is still marching on

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Question:

First off, in my last post I forgot to give Maria grief for Sunday. Not because she got home well after 5, even though she explicitly promised me she'd be home by then so I could have the car in order to see the Johnnie crowd. No, not because she delayed us, but rather because she didn't hang out with us on Sunday. She had only 1 day to hang out with her brother and sister-in-law, and she chose to go over to her boyfriend's. The very same boyfriend who she had just spent prom with, the night before. She picked the guy she sees all the time, and can see all the time, over the brother she never gets to see. And that hurt our feelings. Maria, you're on notice.

Ok, but here's the question:

Should The Da Vinci Code have a disclaimer before it's shown in theaters? I haven't read the book, but I'm pumped to see the film. Hanks and Howard are a great team, and it looks like an excellent and exciting movie.

But should the film have some sort of notice, telling fans that the movie is a work of fiction, and that the historical theories are not being presented as fact? Or are those theories actually meant to be taken as fact? After all, there are people out there who actually believe and support them. Even regardless of how people take the theories, should there be some sort of disclaimer regarding the negative portrayal of Catholics and Opus Dei?

Certainly there is some precedent for these types of negative religious portrayals. When The Passion of the Christ came out, there were massive calls for a disclaimer regarding that film's treatment of the Jews. In response there was a waiver placed before the film, and I think that was a right and sensitive decision. So what about in the current case? The Code is clearly more fictional than The Passion, but the negative portrayal of a religious group is still putting some people on edge?

What do you think?

Well I ain't feeling happy 'bout the state of things in my life
But I'm working to make it better with a six of Miller high life

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Phickle Thoughts

Thank you Stephen Colbert, for point out that we now have 999 days of W left. That's 999 days of praying the federal government doesn't screw things up worse than they already have. And also of maybe praying for Stevens to retire from the court, since I think that's the one thing Bush hasn't screwed up yet.

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Well, it was a great trip home. Crazy chaotic though.

We got in late Thursday, and got up relatively early Friday morning to do some shopping and meet my sister for lunch. After that we got to see her lab at the dental school. Scary. Maybe other people would look at the gigantic books of statutes and case law sitting on my shelf and think the same thing. But for me, the molds and models and drills and scientific names for body parts and maladies, that's much scarier. I have a ton of respect for how demanding those advanced science degrees are.

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Also, did you know that Midwest Airline gives you fresh baked cookies in-flight? They actually bake them in flight. Though I'm confused at how they managed to sneak the ovens past the TSA.

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Friday night we drove up to visit a bunch of friends. On the way we got lost. That had a lot to do with the fact that all of the roads were named by someone with a total lack of creativity. See, we turned from 171st Ave onto 171st Lane. That wasn't so strange on its own, but from 171st we turned into a neighborhood that was like something out of Purple Planet (Yeah, that's a Mister Roger's Neighborhood reference. Crazy, huh?) - all the houses looked the same. To make matters worse, we had to turn onto Polk St. The first road we passed was Polk Road. The second was Polk Circle. The third was Polk Street, and we turned, but a little part of me died when I didn't keep driving to find out just how many Polks there were.

Seriously, city planners should be required to take creative writing courses. Or at least buy a thesaurus.

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Saturday was an awesome wedding, and it was great to see two good friends make each other so happy. Good luck to Rick and Jessica in their new life together!

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Brunch on Sunday morning was, well, delicious, but also completely, well, completely Novak. We went to the Novak household for my brother's First Communion. When we showed up people were already there, so we jumped right into helping with all that needed to get done. The preparation involved about two dozen people running around cooking, cleaning, messing up, setting up tables and chairs, talking, singing, shouting, obstructing the progress of those of us who were working, etc. The place was crowded, filled with dozens of conversations and about 14 kinds of breakfast foods... it was like IHOP on acid.

And perhaps the best part of it was that Laura's hair still smelled like bacon when we got back to D.C. 24 hours later. Mmmm.

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Sunday night we got together with the Johnnie/Bennie crowd. Even the Dykhoffs were back from Germany for a little while. They brought their new baby Josh, who already has more hair than his dad. It was really cool to have a baby in the crowd - just sort of a peek into the future in some ways; even as we're all growing up and moving away and starting our own families, we've still got our SJU family, and that'll always be home. And someday I'm sure Laura and I will bring our kids to these get-togethers, and the Dykhoffs will bring more, and the Marshes, and the Danielsons, and maybe even the Henrys (Insert your own joke here about Joel, Tesch, or Gavin). There's just something really cool about that.

It was great seeing everyone again. I miss that group so much. There was just something ridiculously special about St. John's and the relationships that you build with people when you're there. You just really can't understand it until you've experienced it, or at least seen it first hand. There's just no place else on Earth like SJU. It's really that special.

We were once so close to heaven

Thursday, April 20, 2006

And I Realize... I'm Going Home

Points if you get the title reference.

So the Chinese President came to the US to do business with Mr. Bush. I'm pretty sure he brought a large diplomatic/press cadre with him. And I'm pretty sure that diplomatic/press cadre was a very nicely-dressed crowd of mostly men all wearing clothes emblazoned with some sort of emblem displaying Chinese and American flags. And apparently after getting the "Welcome to America, please enjoy our beautiful monuments, educational museums, and, oh yeah, freedom from being shot for saying something critical of the government" speech the first place they all wanted to visit was Chinatown. As you would expect if you'd seen D.C.'s Chinatown, they all had looks of grave disappointment on their faces.

And ok, with that note, I'm happy to say, I'm almost done with class, and I'm soon to be on my way home to Minnesota for the weekend. This makes me very happy. It also means there will be no more posts for a few days. But if previous visits are any indication, there will be stories when I return.

And his shoes are laced with irony

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Did You Know the Hole's Only Natural Enemy is the Pile?

Ok, so I'm a bit of a late-comer to this phenomena, as other people have posted it already, but there's this new nifty thing that'll tell you where you'd end up if you went out on your lawn and dug straight through the Earth's core. Since digging straight through the core implies inverting your position with regard to both latitude and longitude, needless to say, you won't end up in China.

All those other people who posted about this before did a great job reporting on the sad reality that my childhood dream of digging through the bottom of my sand box, down, down, straight through those outer layers of Earth's crust (possibly stopping to secure a few dinosaur fossils on the way), deeper and deeper until I had to turn on the light on my miner's helmet (like the link, but with a light on it), down, through the molten core (perhaps I would have invested in some sort of shiny, reflective heat-resistant garment that resembled a space suit, or at least some shorts), back, up to where the light started to grow brighter and brighter, so that when my batteries ran out on the miner's helmet I could still see, up, through the Lair of the Chinese Mole-men, and finally out, above ground again, feet firmly planted on mainland China (or possibly one of those more controversial provinces), was no longer, indeed was never a real possibility. Because actually I'd end up not in China, but floating in the middle of the Indian Ocean.

However, unlike my blogging brethren, I refuse to settle for great reporting about the impossibility of my childhood dreams.

No, I say it is time for bold leadership, for vision, for courage and commitment! I say if we turn our backs on our childhood dreams then we are no better than our enemies who would deny us those dreams! Who these enemies are, I cannot say. Possibly Chinese Mole-men.

It is time we step forward with a new vision, a stronger dream! We must be bold, and reject the ways of cowardice. For it is the cowards' way to say what cannot be done. It is the coward who looks at this map and says "I cannot dig from my yard to China." It is the coward who gives up on his dreams!

That is why today I announce my commitment to our childhood dreams. If we want to dig straight through the Earth and end up in China, then dammit, I say we dig straight through the Earth and end up in China. We do not, we should not, we must not, give up on our dreams. Today, it is time for us to throw out the old question "where will I end up if I dig start digging from my front lawn?" If our dream is to dig straight through to China, then, dear friends, the question we must ask is:

"Where must I start digging from so that I end up in China?"

We have shared a dream of digging straight through the Earth's core, from our lawn to China. And we can succeed! All that we need to make our dream come true is vision, commitment, and courage! And perhaps a tract of land in Northern Argentina.

Also, if you farted in a revolving door, would it just be trapped there until someone else walked through? And could they smell it in the other turnstiles?

Spaghetti comes from China but Italians make it best

OR

Spent my whole life just digging up my music's shallow grave

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Phickle Thoughts

I realize that there haven't been a ton of posts lately. This is because I've been busy writing papers. In the past week I have written 60 pages worth of papers. And I'll be adding probably at least another 10 to that tonight and tomorrow. Though hopefully not too much tomorrow - it's Easter!

The papers all deal with this crazy theory I have about how to make health care better. I wrote one last semester on the topic, and I'm writing two more now. It's crazy, because I've hit on a really great idea, but in some ways it's very obvious. In addition, I'm trying to tackle a gigantic problem. With all of this, as I research and write my papers, I keep vacillating between the extreme where I feel like I'm in way over my head and my idea is too crazy, and the other extreme where I feel like what I'm saying is so obvious and stupid. The nice thing about bouncing between the two is the brief moment of joyful hope that I've managed to do something good.

...It usually fades quickly.

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Easter's tomorrow! Yay for Jesus! And Peeps! Now there's a question... why do people hate Peeps? I mean, I love me my Peeps. Yummy marshmallow-y sugary goodness. And while I love Peeps, I can certainly understand why other people wouldn't care for them. Some things, you just don't like to eat because they just don't taste good to you.

But I don't think I've ever met a person who just "doesn't like Peeps." No, if you don't like Peeps then it seems you also hate them. And I don't get that. I don't like eating olives, but I don't hate them either. So why is it that people hate Peeps?

All you Peep haters out there, I'm looking at you. You'd better come up with some good reasons for your spiteful preemptive strike on Peeps. And don't tell me it's because they're a weapon of mass destruction. I've heard that one before, and I ain't buying.

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Finally, for all you East/West/South coasters out there, what the heck do you call bars? And not the "let's go get a drink" kind of bars. I mean the Rice Krispy's Treats kind of bars. You know, that whole genre of pot-luck desserts. Rice Krispy bars, Special K bars, peanut butter bars, those-ones-that-are-all-chocolately-but-aren't-brownies-and-have-coconut-in-them bars, and so forth. Do you even have such a category of food? When did Rice Krispy's Treats become common place? Please tell me it was long before they were marketed commercially by Kellogg's as Rice Krispy's Treats. Because I'll be honest, I never ever heard them called "Treats" before that point - they were always "Bars" prior to that release. So really, what do you call them?

And there you have it, two good reasons for people to respond. We've got good questions about Peeps and good questions about bars. Now hop (in Easter Bunny fashion) to it!

And I think about the dirt that I'll be wearing for a shirt
And I hope that I get old before I die

I am a Sea. I am a Sea Age. I am a Sea Age Arrgh Eye Hiss Tea Eye Eh? End

Some thoughts from my Christian experience:

What are you supposed to do to celebrate Easter when you aren't anywhere near family? Obviously looking your best for church, maybe a nice meal, but what then? Is it ok to have friends over for a grill-out? Because that's what Laura and I are doing this year. We decided we wanted to spend the day with friends, as a consolation for not spending it with family. It just feels somehow strange. But it's totally acceptable, right? Though actually, as the day draws nearer, more and more people are dropping out... So we'll see if anyone comes over at all. That would be sad. If we didn't have any visitors...

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In other news, there's been another frustrating development in my home diocese of Minneapolis and St. Paul. There's this group, the "Defenders of Church Society". They're is basically a self-proclaimed watch dog over all the goings on in the diocese. They have no power, aren't an especially large group, and operate quite a ways over on the conservative fringe, yet they seem to keep making headlines.

It all started a few years ago when there was this group who was working to promote acceptance of homosexuals within the church. On Pentecost Sunday these folks worked to organize a large group to attend mass at the Cathedral and be a visible presence within the congregation. The group of supporters contained a large number of heterosexuals and non-sexually-active homosexuals, people who, according to Catholic doctrine, are not in a state of sin. So really, it shouldn't have been a hugely controversial thing. Except that the DOCS group decided they didn't like it, and so they actually got up during the distribution of the Eucharist to obstruct these individuals from receiving communion.

Huge no-no. The Eucharist is at the heart of Catholic worship, and members of the Church have a right to receive Communion. What the DOCS did was quite obviously 1. Wrong, 2. Not their place to do, 3. Contrary to Canon Law. So very very frustrating.

Now the DOCS are criticizing the Archdiocese because they think that it "is violating canon law by tolerating sexual activity by gay and straight priests and covering up a gay subculture." Basically, the leader of this group suspects that there are priests who are gay, that there are priests who act on this, and that there are priests who are sympathetic to homosexuals. In their mind, allowing these people to be priests is ruining the Church and is in violation of canon law. According to the DOCS group canon law says you are supposed to expel these people from the priesthood.

Now, I'm far from an expert, but if there's one thing I've learned in canon law it's that the rights you have as a Christian are interpreted broadly and any penalties (i.e. being booted from the priesthood) you might suffer are interpreted narrowly and can only apply after the individual is found to be in violation by a court. (Yeah, seriously, there are Catholic courts. Cool, huh?)

Furthermore, and maybe most important, Church doctrine and canon law are two totally different things. If you don't follow church doctrine it doesn't mean you are in violation of canon law. So even if everything this DOCS group says is true, that doesn't mean that canon law says they should be expelled from the priesthood.

And finally, it is not appropriate for the DOCS group to judge others. As a Christian I believe very firmly that my duty is to love. judgment is the Lord's duty and right. I have no power to condemn another person. Even the most heinous criminal must, in my eyes, be seen with love. I can call a sin a sin, but I cannot call one who commits that act a sinner. And maybe that seems like a fine distinction, but in light of Divine Forgiveness, I think it's one that makes sense. We cannot know what is written on other people's hearts, and so we cannot judge. Despite their obvious zeal for God, this DOCS group seems to have lost sight of this important truth. I pray they remember it.

In conflict with express instructions given by the brain
Why can't the message be sent?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

"What's Wrong With These People?" or "Neapolitan's Waterloo"

Laura and I recently made a gigantic batch of Monster Cookies. Having too many cookies meant we needed to freeze a large bunch for a while. Having a need to freeze many cookies gave rise to a demand for some sort of relatively large container. Having need for a relatively large container naturally brought to mind an old gallon ice cream pail.

See, that's one of those strange thing about being recently married... we've got 3 quilts, 21 hand towels, 9 serving platters, 6 hand-mixers, and 4 crock pots, but no empty ice cream pails. And frankly, right now, we could use an empty ice cream pail.

Now, if you're a normal family, you've probably got more empty ice cream pails than you know what to do with. You keep them in the least accessible kitchen cabinet, or in a closet in the basement. You use them for storage, for cleaning, for art projects, for puking, and if you've got children under 5, as drums. You could actually throw out every pail after you use it, and you'd still have enough to last you well into the after-life. It's almost like the things spontaneously reproduce.

But have you ever stopped to wonder about all the ice cream you must have consumed to build up such a ridiculous stash of empty pails? How much of that did you manage to eat yourself? And how much of it did you manage to spill on your shirt? Can you even imagine what all that ice cream would look like if it were all piled together in one place? Mount McFudge Ripple. How many people would it take to eat it all in one sitting? And how bad would that collective brain-freeze hurt?

Owww.

But getting back to my story: Laura and I didn't have any empty ice cream pails. Like I said, we're recently married, and like most recently married couples, we haven't yet managed to eat (or spill) enough ice cream to build up our empty pail collection. So we made a special note of taking a trip down the ice cream aisle on our latest trip to the grocery store. Only to find that there weren't any gallon ice cream pails! Eventually we located 3. Of some extremely generic ice-cream brand. Their fanciest flavor was vanilla. How crazy is that? Back in Minnesota you really have to scour the freezer aisle for anything smaller than a gallon pail of ice cream, but out in D.C. it's just the opposite. What is wrong with these people? Ice cream should be purchased exactly like it should be eaten: in large quantities.

In what may be a related note, according to the CDC's Body Mass Index, I am officially obese.

I'd ask you, if you don't mind
To kiss you a hundred times

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Wacky Question:

Inspired largely by the strange Muppet reference in the last post, and the fact that despite the strange Muppet reference in the last post one of my friends found it to be a less-wacky-than-normal post, I'm going to go ahead and ask people the following series of questions:

What Muppet are you?
Which do you resemble the most?
Which do you act the most like?
Which Muppet would you aspire to be?
Also, anyone who went to high school with me, when was the last time you talked to Muppet, and how're she and James doing? (We had a friend... we called her 'Muppet'...)

Ok, answer the dang question. I'm still thinking about my answer. But I know which Muppet I think my wife acts like...

Update
For your assistance, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muppets. You can be any Muppet you think of. Even one from Sesame Street, or, I suppose, Fraggle Rock.

Now you're the only one here who can tell me if it's true
That you love me and I love me

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Open Your Closed Mind

What in the world are you supposed to do when someone accuses you of close-mindedness (or worse) simply because you disagree with what they have to say? What are you supposed to do when someone who refuses to listen to your side of the issue wrongly accuses you of not listening to their side?

I've been pondering this question of late. It's certainly happened to me before. Recently in my Family Law class when I defended the idea of civil unions for same-sex couples I was called a bigot because I didn't go far enough, in demanding that there be same-sex marriages allowed as well. I was told, in no uncertain terms, that the only reason to be opposed to same-sex marriage was not a moral objection (founded on well-established religious and ethical grounds (i.e. natural law)), but rather because I was motivated by animus and hatred of homosexuals. I think my life speaks for itself in this regard, and that's plainly false. But it was immensely frustrating to have people in the course who supported same-sex marriage tell me that there wasn't even the possibility of a counter-argument which they would consider listening to. And yet, for their close-mindedness, I was labeled the bigot (and for supporting civil unions!).

Ben put up a terrific quote about basically the same idea.

"If there's one thing that annoys me more than a close-minded, self-righteous conservative, it's a close-minded, self-righteous liberal."

And my sister Emily is obviously dealing with the same problem. She writes, "everybody in the class makes me feel like if I say anything different from what they say I'm a horrible, close-minded, prejudiced and discriminatory person. I hate [my school] sometimes, because they're all so freaking 'open-minded' that you can't be 'conservative' about anything anymore because you're automatically close-minded. Freaking people."

So since it's been on my mind, I'm trying to figure out how to deal with the problem. In response to Emily's post I suggested that she try throwing dead seafood at the offenders. After all, there would be something very cathartic about flinging fish at a deserving target.

But as wonderful as it might be to make like Lew Zealand, there's gotta be a more reasonable way to respond when these things happen. Any ideas?

Also, huge bonus points for anyone that gets the Lew Zealand reference. Without looking it up.
Also, I've decided that for the rest of April, all my song quotes will be from They Might Be Giants Songs. There's just too many good lines that I've been neglecting.

Speak softly drive a Sherman tank

Sunday, April 02, 2006

2006 Baseball Preview

Hey you! How would you like a new holiday? Well, here's a prime candidate for you:

Opening Day!

Every year around this time I renew my call for a new holiday, one that celebrates Americana and family and baseball. As I wrote last year:

"Workers should be free to go to the park, even though their team is playing a day game. School children should run the base paths of their neighborhood diamond, freed from the shackles of learning (I doubt I'll use that phrase again). Our heroes should be paraded in front of a national audience. CBS should play The Sandlot, The Natural, and Field of Dreams back-to-back-to-back in a continuous loop, and ABC should play the same three in reverse order. Americans should take a day to relax, grab a 'dog and a beer, root for the home team, and speculate on the season to come."

Baseball is just that important.

And on that note, I'll launch into my 2006 predictions, hoping deeply that I do better than I did last year (actually, I got 2 divisions and the WC right in the AL, and 2 right in the NL, plus NL MVP. But nothing else). So, here goes:

National League

East: If the past 327 seasons have taught us anything, it's don't pick against the Braves in the regular season. Which is why I have a feeling I'm going to regret picking the Mets to win the NL East. But I think the Mets added a few too many pieces for the Braves to keep up. I still like Atlanta, but NY's offense is going to be too strong. They're aggressive, they'll run and hit, and they'll pitch well enough to win the division. I'm also afraid that my Nats aren't going to be as good as they were last year, though I wish them the best.

Central: Once again, St. Louis is going to run away this division. Chicago's still good, but those injuries to Prior and Wood will lead to a slow start that they can't recover from. Houston's loss of Clemens is likewise too big a hole to come out of, and an improved Milwaukee is still a couple years away from being post-season worthy. With their big bats and excellent coaching, St. Louis is the team to beat in the Central.

West: Just like last year, I dread picking the NL West. It's pretty much a crap shoot, since every team is pretty much mediocre. The Barry Bonds shadow will keep the sun from shining on the Giants - his personality and the steroids scandal won't make for a happy clubhouse, and you can't win with a clubhouse in turmoil. San Diego won it last year, but I think this will be a year where they - like many teams that take a big jump in a single year - come back to Earth. In my mind, that leaves the Dodgers. I like some of the pieces they added. They weren't the flashiest, but I think they'll work, so I'm gonna take the Dodgers.

Wild Card: Just like last year, I'm gonna pick the Braves here. I think this year the NL Central will beat up on each other a little more, and the Braves will be the benefactors.

MVP: He didn't fail me last year, and he won't this year either. The best player on the best NL team, Albert Pujols, will get the MVP award.

Cy Young: Carlos Zambrano looks good in my mind. I like Tim Hudson too, who has another year of NL experience, but the energy of Zambrano will strike a cord with the voters.

Rookie: Possibly the easiest pick of all. Prince Fielder. The kid can hit. I was on hand to watch his first HR, and let me tell you, he's gonna hit a lot more of 'em.


American League

AL East: The two writers who I most respect on ESPN.com both picked the Yankees to win the World Series. I can at least give some deference to their picks. Plus, I think Toronto's additions will take a year or two to put it together, and I still hate Boston. So I refuse to pick them. Thus, NY gets my pick.

AL Central: This is one of the toughest picks. A year ago everyone loved the Twins and they were a trendy World Series pick. In the year since, they've only improved their team - both in pitching and offensively. So picking against them seems silly to me. Yet, no one is picking them because they underperformed last year. But they underperformed in one of baseball's best divisions, while two other teams had unbelievable seasons. So I'm still going to go with the Twins. Partially out of love for my team, but largely because I just think it's a smart call. Cleveland, like San Diego, will back slide a bit, and Chicago will have at least one thing go wrong, which just didn't happen last year.

AL West: A's or Angels. That's the question. I think the experience of the Angels will make them the team. But I'm nervous about that, because I like the A's too. So this is probably the most up in the air of all my picks.

Wild Card: Like I said before, the Central is one of the strongest divisions. So is the West. It'll be a tight battle between Oakland and Chicago, but in the end, I think the A's will come out on top, and the West will provide the AL Wild Card.

MVP: A-Rod. Just can't pick against a player who gets so much exposure, and who, besides that, is so good and plays for a great team.

Cy Young: Johan got ripped off last year, and he's gonna win it this year hands down. After the WBC he's ready early this year, and that'll lead to even more ridiculous numbers.

Rookie: I like Kenji Johima, but I think the game-calling duties are going to eat into his ability to knock in runs. So I guess that leaves me free to make one of my Twinkies the call, since both Kubel and Liriano are possible candidates. So I'll just pick the offense, and hope it's there for Kubel, and say he's my ROY pick.

Playoffs:

NLS: Cardinals over Braves, Mets over Dodgers
NLCS: Cardinals over Mets
ALS: Twins over Angels, A's over Yankees
ALCS: A's over Twins

World Series: Cardinals over A's in 5.

For it's root root root for the home team