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Barry Bonds and Athletic Greed

The new book on Barry Bonds isn't a hatchet job. The authors used a surgical knife, except where they used a chain saw. The excerpt in Sports Illustrated is as brutal as anything you'll ever see on The Sopranos.

Bonds, according to Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams, the San Francisco Chronicle reporters who have followed the story for years, didn't just take a few nips of juice here and there. We might forgive that. Guy gets old, he needs a little boost. Joints gets creaky, body doesn't recover from injuries as quickly. So maybe once in a while he has something a bit more than a multi-vitamin. Steroids, though illegal without a prescription, were not officially banned by Major League Baseball for most of the period in question.

But what happened was much more dismaying. Bonds, already a lock for the Hall of Fame, already by many measures the best all-around player in the game, already handsomely compensated -- when he signed a $43 million contract in 1993, it was the most lucrative contract in the history of baseball to that point -- simply wanted more. If the book is correct, this is a case of unbelievable athletic greed. This isn't a guy who has to choose between steroids and unemployment. No, he was just jealous of Mark McGwire. He couldn't stand to watch McGwire get accolades for hitting 70 home runs while he, Bonds, merely had another routine All-Star season with 37 home runs and a .303 batting average. Pride comes before the fall. Bonds is, like all great athletes, incredibly competitive. And so Bonds, according to the Chronicle reporters, embarked on a systematic steroid-fueled campaign to transform himself into the greatest slugger in the game.

As in all selling-your-soul stories, the thing he wanted so badly wasn't worth the price he paid for it. He lost his hair, went through personality changes, and wound up without any friends except those on his personal payroll. He hit 73 home runs in a season, setting a new mark, but the clapping was muted because something was obviously out of whack. Today everyone views him as a cheater. That'll be his legacy. As he continues to pursue Henry Aaron's all-time home run record, it appears that he has ruined what had been a great career.

[Kornheiser had a funny take on this yesterday. Last March I weighed in on Bonds vs. Aaron, and argued that Bonds still deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.]

By Joel Achenbach  |  March 9, 2006; 10:32 AM ET
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This is the strangest science Kit I have ever read.

Posted by: Loomis | March 9, 2006 10:49 AM | Report abuse

On an unrelated matter, it's being reported that NASA will have a major announcement about "life in our solar system" at 2 PM EST today. We presume Achenbach will break the story first.

Posted by: Aliens | March 9, 2006 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Actually, Commissioner Fay Vincent sent out a memo to all teams in 1991 (shortly after steroids were criminalized by Congress) that MLB would not tolerate steroid use by players. That memo was even re-sent by Big Bad Bud Selig a few years later. There was no testing program, but use of steroids was against the rules of baseball nonetheless.

Posted by: Brian | March 9, 2006 10:53 AM | Report abuse

GREED IS GOOD!!! For Ann Richards:

I Grew Up With the Marlboro Man
by Lala Corriere

I grew up with the Marlboro man. Man, he was my kind of man.
Now I look upon my mother, and I grieve for this great scam.
Marlboro man made my heart quiver,
Marlboro truth makes my soul shiver.
Today my mom is weak and listless,
When Marlboro man had left me breathless,
& so too my mom.

Mom’s been on a ventilator; it’s been 10 days in ICU,
A tragedy at 65, but hey, she’s had a puff or two.
Can it still be that the glamour of it all,
And the politics & smoke can cover up her fall?
Let’s hope her speech is all there,
For Big Tobacco doesn’t care.
But I do, mom.

Suddenly there are doctors: lung, heart, & therapy galore,
I like it better than finding mom lying on that floor,
I’ve done just that—no oxygen to her brain,
Her lungs not working, thanks to tobacco strain.
She & we have got a fighting chance,
If only we ignore the lobbyist’s stance,
I’m with you, mom.

Big Tobacco wants our children, with gorgeous ladies & Joe Cools.
They have their money & their power, & their bevy of political fools.
If it’s a tobacco farmer that needs a living,
Come by my mom’s bed and start care-giving.
Don’t worry that she’s lonely for her home, friends, pets, & her life,
Just offer her another smoke, or better yet, why not your knife.
I love you, mom.

Posted by: Loomis | March 9, 2006 10:53 AM | Report abuse

From the excerpt: "Although it was illegal to use the drugs without a prescription, baseball had never banned steroids."

Posted by: Achenbach | March 9, 2006 10:59 AM | Report abuse

One of the strange things to come out of this is the fact that Barry Bonds took Clomid, which is a fertility drug for WOMEN.

Hmmm... Maybe I should have my prostate checked.


Posted by: TBG | March 9, 2006 11:10 AM | Report abuse

I don't understand how these players think habitual steroid use won't be noticed. I'm sure it slips under the radar sometimes, but a lot of players have been caught for it.

I guess I just don't understand why some people are stupid.

Posted by: Sara | March 9, 2006 11:12 AM | Report abuse

I am shocked, shocked, shocked by the Barry Bonds scandal. We Loomises do baseball (as does Doris Kearns Goodwin)!!!... Morgan Gardner Bulkeley being a Loomis descendant:

Already a respected member of the Connecticut business community, Morgan Bulkeley became involved in baseball as an executive with the National Association Hartford Dark Blues in 1874. With the creation of the National League in 1876, Bulkeley agreed to serve as its first president, where he helped to enhance the image of the game by targeting illegal gambling, drinking and fan rowdiness. He would later serve as mayor of Hartford, governor of Connecticut, and then as a United States Senator.

He was also one of the seven members of the Mills Commission formed by Albert Spalding, the group that gave credence to the myth that Abner Doubleday invented baseball.

Posted by: Loomis | March 9, 2006 11:12 AM | Report abuse

We are all acquainted with those pesky seven deadly sins. But I have yet to hear a good testable explanation for why some of us succumb so massively to their temptations and some of us do not. What makes a Barry Bonds?

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 9, 2006 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Padouk, why not attempt to answer, yourself, the question you posed? Or perhaps read David Brooks today in NYT Select, if you've access.

Posted by: Loomis | March 9, 2006 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Linda Loomis: I liked the Joe Chemo picture on the site you linked to above. Very poignant.

Posted by: CowTown | March 9, 2006 11:22 AM | Report abuse

I think Barry Bonds should be totally erased from the record books. Or, better yet, erase them all and have all records stated as either pre- or post-steroids. Kind of like track records that are in yards rather than meters.

Posted by: jw | March 9, 2006 11:25 AM | Report abuse

FYI, via Google I see that last March I opined that Bonds still ought to be in the Hall (see link added to the kit). It is conceivable I am wrong on this.

Posted by: Achenbach | March 9, 2006 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Lindaloo, the best anti-smoking ad I've ever seen: Marlboro Man replaced by a skeleton wearing a cowbody hat, riding a horse, cigarette dangling from his bony mouth is chasing and trying to lasso a herd of running, screaming children. Very effective. After a week or so, the ad was pulled and replaced by the same organization with a different, but not as compelling (in my opinion) anti-smoking commercial. As part of the huge tobacco settlement in Fla., Phillip Morris Co. issues flyers and ads aimed at helping folks to quit smoking and deterring young folks not to start. Weird, no? (Cartons of cigs with stop smoking ads inside?!) I wrote them a letter asking if they truly want to help kids, why not lobby to have the legal age to buy tobacco raised from 18 to 21. Still waiting for a response.

Posted by: Nani | March 9, 2006 11:36 AM | Report abuse

It should not be dismaying just because its in sport.

I would posit that this is the dark heart of man, wanting what others have. Greed, jealousy, covetousness have been part of history from the beginning. Covetting they neighbours goods features prominently in the Ten Commandments and the results of such coveting feature strongly in Hammurabi's Code.

There is a long history in all sports of trying to sucker the other guy, trying to gain every advantage, even by using means which are not honourable. The use of steroids was tolerated and encouraged since their invention because everybody likes a winner.

Perhaps this appalls us most because we set them on a pedastal, almost deifying them and we are upset because our little g sports gods are just human after all. "They say, best men are moulded out of faults,
And, for the most, become much more the better
For being a little bad. " William Shakespeare

I hope this will be the case for Mr. Bonds.

Posted by: dr | March 9, 2006 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps Mr. Bonds could use some public relations advice from Rove, Inc. In other words, attack the critics:

"If people opposed to the use of steroids had their way, all atheletes would be skinny, flacid, weaklings constantly mistaken for little girls."

Or, "Barry Bonds is a True American who has sacrificed his future health to enrich and preserve the game of baseball. But does he get any thanks from the Sissy Media? No, they're only too happy to tear down one of the last American Hero's."

It could work. Worked before.

Posted by: CowTown | March 9, 2006 11:45 AM | Report abuse

For Don from I-270

Posted by: nellie | March 9, 2006 11:48 AM | Report abuse

I think the answer to the Bonds riddle is contained in Joel's kit, quoting SI: Bonds couldn't stand watching McGwire and others eclipse him (especially knowing he was even better than they were).

For a lot of athletes it's about money. Bonds seems to be a little different, because it was about ego and competition. (Though it's possible he, too, wanted even more money that the 40-some million.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 9, 2006 11:55 AM | Report abuse

After re-reading your blog, I have to agree with JA on the Hall of Fame.

Posted by: dr | March 9, 2006 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Weapons of Mass Distraction:
Barry Bonds story vs. Congressional reaction to the administrations so-called wiretapping policy/ Katrina response/leaks -except for their own(see Plaume,Valerie).

Posted by: ILL-logical | March 9, 2006 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Good column from ESPN the Mag:

Posted by: Achenbach | March 9, 2006 12:19 PM | Report abuse

The science kit will be late afternoon, fyi.

Posted by: Achenbach | March 9, 2006 12:26 PM | Report abuse

barry bonds has a narcissistic personality disorder. in its most severe presentation, men with NPD become delusional--thus his belief (continues to this day) that none of this can stick to him. in addition to that problem, he is a racist, and the biggest issue bonds had with the st. louis slugger was his skin color. same with his quest to surpass the Babe, but his apparent lack of interest in catching hank. mr. bonds deserves every bad thing that is about to befall him. i only feel sorry for his children.

Posted by: butlerguy | March 9, 2006 12:27 PM | Report abuse

So Bonds was jealous of Mark McGuire ? Perhaps you should review some pictures of Mark, say, some before and after pictures. Nobody in baseball bulked up more on steroids and the whole world could see it.
Why is McGuire given a pass ? If its about records and astericks (see Olberman), McGuire is the guy in question.

Posted by: Zal | March 9, 2006 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of narcissism, I posted on my blog. It's been a long time. Thought I'd do some updating. I actually do mention narcissism in the post, I wasn't just picking a random "speaking of" topic.

Posted by: Sara | March 9, 2006 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Oh my gosh, I have seriously killed the boodle. It's been over 10 minutes.

Posted by: Sara | March 9, 2006 12:46 PM | Report abuse

What have I done? I'm scum. This is worse than an SCC.

Posted by: Sara | March 9, 2006 12:48 PM | Report abuse

No fear Sara. Everyone is waiting for the Science Boodle to leave pithy commentary.

Posted by: dr | March 9, 2006 12:53 PM | Report abuse

So glad to see you here Sara! I'll go read your blog now. You didn't kill the boodle.

Posted by: TBG | March 9, 2006 12:55 PM | Report abuse

I think it was because I was watching it. I went away and now people are back. I was beginning to worry. It was one of those "watching it won't make it boil faster" things.

I'm hoping that NASA thing today isn't just, "We haven't found anything, yet." That would be disappointing. I'm kind of hoping it isn't something about bacteria, either. That's not all that exciting for me. I'd rather they find something out there like Orson Scott Card would dream up, just not hostile. Unlikely, but it would be exciting.

Posted by: Sara | March 9, 2006 12:58 PM | Report abuse

I understand that chemistry could be a big topic this afternoon, so this kit isn't entirely OT.

Bonds' alien chemistry has earned him an asterisk, IMO. Sorta like Maris had.


Posted by: bc | March 9, 2006 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Yikes. I'm beginning to think Bush has really lost his marbles. Now he's criticizing Congress, of all people, for dithering on the Katrina relief effort. THAT's sure a great way to win back the cooperation of his fellow Republicans, who are abandoning him in droves. (The House Appropriations Committee voted 62-2 AGAINST the Dubai deal, with only one Republican siding with Bush!!)

(And ironically, he's sorta half-right: Congress deleted $1.5 billion (with a b) from the Katrina clean-up. But here's where he's halfwrong: what's the point of blaming Congress, when they have a bill in front of them that restores that money? Talk about taking a self-destructive pot shot for no good reason whatsoever.)

Even if Bush was fully right (and that'll be the day), what's the point of trying to shift blame to Congress? How politically tone deaf can they get? They can't POSSIBLY think people will forget about the FEMA disaster.

Gotta be Cheney and Rove doing peyote buttons in the back room, I swear.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 9, 2006 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Great quote from Bud Selig yesterday, when asked if he planned to meet with Bonds to discuss the allegations. He said he wished he could be doing something else than talking about the accusations against Bonds. "If I had my choice, I would have gone for a root canal job," he said. I think this is a gross disservice to dentists everywhere.

Posted by: Slats | March 9, 2006 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Sara, is that you or a model in the elegant and beautiful Chanel gown? Since your b/w photo is upside down, it is impossible to tell unless I stand on my head. If it is you, you're more beautiful in the upright position. Jeremy is one fortunate young man. Don't worry about the in-laws, just concentrate on being happy. Achenfan/Tom fan/Dreamer and I mentioned having an Achenshower for you guys. Gifts could be tips for a successful marriage (that oughta be a hoot), recipes, funny wedding stories, etc. Have you set a date?

Posted by: Nani | March 9, 2006 1:10 PM | Report abuse

>Gotta be Cheney and Rove doing peyote buttons in the back room, I swear.

I dunno Mudge, I'd expect that would lead to a sense of connection with the natural world and compassion for something other than oil companies.

The way this administration works, I'm thinking meth.

Posted by: Error Flynn | March 9, 2006 1:14 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Zal that Mark McGuire has a lot of explaining to do and also wonder why he's been given a free pass. Could there have been a more pathetic sight than McGuire squirming in his seat at the Congressional hearings on steroid use in baseball? I love Cowtown's suggestion that Bonds get PR advice from Rove.

Posted by: Susan | March 9, 2006 1:20 PM | Report abuse

That's not me in the dress, that's the model. Pictures were taken but they flew back to MN on my mother's digital camera before I could get them. And yes, the date is set for June 1st. And I would love tips and recipes and funny stories. Especially recipes. I need help in that area. I regularly screw up cooking.

Posted by: Sara | March 9, 2006 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Nani and Dreamer, that is a wonderful way to do an Achenshower. I will look forward to it.

Posted by: dr | March 9, 2006 1:21 PM | Report abuse

TBG suggested that Jeremy and I make our way to DC one of these times and attend a BPH. I agree. It probably won't be soon, but I'm gonna work on it. I've missed this place.

Posted by: Sara | March 9, 2006 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Oh, the humor of it all:

And Man knows it! Knows, moreover, that the Woman that God gave him
Must command but may not govern—shall enthral but not enslave him.
And She knows, because She warns him, and Her instincts never fail,
That the Female of Her Species is more deadly than the Male.

My editor Sydney thinks I haven't really thought this blog item through and that if he used steroids he's a cheater and no way ought to be in the Hall. She is usually right about everything. Nonetheless, I post this anyway, because, hey, it's just the blog.

Posted by: Loomis | March 9, 2006 1:25 PM | Report abuse

I'd talk to Bonds before having a root canal--any day of the week!

Posted by: Loomis | March 9, 2006 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Nani, does this mean a 'boodle shower? Co-ed?


Posted by: DoubleVision | March 9, 2006 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Work is over, and classes are starting. I'd best be going. I have to walk a mile to get to the other side of campus to get to class. And it's snowing. I hate snow. Especially because I'm short, so my pants are all a tab bit too long so they always get wet up to my knees during this kind of weather. Anyway, all that was to say that I'll see y'all tomorrow.

Posted by: Sara | March 9, 2006 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Appropos of nothing at all, in "Ball Four" by Jim Bouton, written back like 1969, he said then that if you offered any major leaque pitcher a pill that would gaurantee his winning 20 games but would take 20 years off of his life, most of them would take it. The only difference is now they have the stuff.

Posted by: Stick | March 9, 2006 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Joel, were you channeling Loomis at 1:25 PM?

You know my position on this, Joel: Do as Sydney Who Must Be Obeyed if you know what's good for you.

Setup for the wimmen: Men often refer to their female SO as "the rib".

What does that make *us*?


Posted by: bc | March 9, 2006 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Loomis, the question is: Would Bonds talk to *you*?


Posted by: bc | March 9, 2006 1:37 PM | Report abuse

DoubleVision - absolutely boodle style and co-ed!

Posted by: Nani | March 9, 2006 1:38 PM | Report abuse

bc asks:
What does that make us? (thanks for the set-up, bc)

It makes men the prehensile tail.

Posted by: Loomis | March 9, 2006 1:41 PM | Report abuse

No, the question, bc, is whether I'd talk to Bonds?

(yes, of course I would...what an interview that would be!!!)

Posted by: Loomis | March 9, 2006 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget to scroll to this part of the story...

The baby's curled prehensile tail is visible here. It functions as a fifth limb, able to grasp branches and allowing greater stability for climbing. Prehensile-tailed porcupines spend nearly their whole lives in trees. Some skinks, snakes, silky anteaters, and many New World monkeys have prehensile tails.

Posted by: Loomis | March 9, 2006 1:44 PM | Report abuse

No problem, Loomis.

You wrote:
"It makes men the prehensile tail."

My reply: You WISH.


Posted by: bc | March 9, 2006 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Loomis, brilliant.

Of course it is also why we love them. Awwwwww.

Posted by: dr | March 9, 2006 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Bonds generally does not talk to the press anymore, except in fairly controlled group circumstances (press conferences, etc), or to individuals he feels he knows and can trust with his interests.

Linda, what do you bring to the table that would encourage Bonds the Sphinx to engage?

(note: I am resisting making any comparison to Sheehan and Bush here)


Posted by: bc | March 9, 2006 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Being a life long baseball fan and in particular, a Cardinals fan and Cub disparager; I particularly remember the 1998 home run derby between McGwire and Sosa. What I remember most is the Cardinals were out of the race while the Cubs eventually got the wild card. But all anybody cared about was whether one of them hit a home run. I mourned the loss of perspective for winning and team play. And I particularly hated how Cardinal fans played up McGwire's record, when they should have been pissed the TEAM lost out to the hated Cubs.

I hate the way the game evolved in the 90s and 00s. Everybody waits around for someone to hit a home run. No hit and run, no base stealing. Bulked up guys that can't run or throw. The Cardinals did employ the suicide squeeze several times last year, but I long for the St. Louis teams of the 60s and 80s when practically the whole lineup could steal a base, and it was possible to win a pennant without a single player hitting as many as 20 home runs (1968, 1982).

Posted by: tl | March 9, 2006 1:52 PM | Report abuse

This is HUGE, IMO.

Think of the out-of-this-world water park they can set up there (I wrote that so kids would be interested..)!
More later.

Oh, I'm claiming water rights RIGHT NOW.


Posted by: bc | March 9, 2006 2:01 PM | Report abuse

bc, if I remember Genesis correctly, Man was created from dirt. So I guess that answers your question (which I kinda wished you hadn't asked, actually).

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 9, 2006 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Regarding the discovery of liquid water on Encephalitis: if it ain't got methane, I'm not interested.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 9, 2006 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Hm, life in this solar system? Impossible! Everybody knows that Earth isn't.... wait, it is...

If NASA makes such an announcement about the discovery of life on Earth, I think a lot of reporters are gonna wring their necks.
And Bush'll need to be stopped before he says "Good Job, NASA!"

I suspect this announcement will be based on the July comet fact-finding mission (wasn't that great? I stayed up until 3 AM to watch a very gritty NASA video, and I'm not an astrogeek.)

Fred Hoyle back in the 50's theorized that comets could carry the seeds of life. He was kind of laughed out of existence, but his scenario stuck in my mind.

Of course, it was only last July that we actually got around to scratching a comet to see what it held. We do know that complex molecules can form in space, including nucleic acids.
So let's see who will be laughed at tomorrow.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 9, 2006 2:10 PM | Report abuse

No problem, Loomis.

You wrote:
"It makes men the prehensile tail."

My reply: You WISH.


O.K., bc, you scored on that one...Lord Greystoke is on the family tree, as you may recall. That's why I'm so into Urdu and the bund thing.

What would bring Bonds to the table with me? I could make many a witty retort here but I tend to fear the Achencensor these past few days...

Posted by: Loomis | March 9, 2006 2:12 PM | Report abuse

03.06.06 - First Stardust Comet Sample Results
Results from the first studies of cometary samples returned to Earth by NASA’s Stardust spacecraft is the subject of a news conference at 3 p.m. EST, Monday, March 13, from NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston

..So it can't be an comet announcement today?
NASA did find that the ice sheets on our little blue planet ARE shrinking considerably. Can't find anything scheduled to be announced today on NASA's home site.

Maybe we need some alien technology.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 9, 2006 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Think of the out-of-this-world water park they can set up there (I wrote that so kids would be interested..)!
More later.

Oh, I'm claiming water rights RIGHT NOW.


bc, Schlitterbahn (photo gallery)!

Posted by: Loomis | March 9, 2006 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Loomis, who in hell named that water park? The Lone Mule?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 9, 2006 2:21 PM | Report abuse


God created the earth, then He rested.

Then God created man, and He rested.

Then God created woman.

Since then, neither God nor man has rested.

Posted by: Don from I-270 | March 9, 2006 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Amen, Brother Don. Amen

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 9, 2006 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, that thing men do with their beer cans, lounge chairs, and TV is really sweatin' hard work.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 9, 2006 2:25 PM | Report abuse


Thanks for that very great link about lists of books that are worthwile reading. It's not that I didn't want to think for myself. It's that I know that far better minds than mine have already done it for me. Now, if only I could apply that logic to physical fitness....

Posted by: Don from I-270 | March 9, 2006 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Sez here that Dubai Ports World just pulled out of the ports deal. Wonder if that 62-2 vote in the Appropriations Committee had anything to do with it.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 9, 2006 2:32 PM | Report abuse

my 2 cents;

This whole bonds-on-steroids thing makes a great metaphor for the great american past time and something to do with how the mighty hath fallen and the emporer wearing no clothes.

as you were.

Posted by: LP | March 9, 2006 2:34 PM | Report abuse

I want to vote in favor of the Achenshower. In my opinion, it needs to be a double shower for Sara and jw, and Joel should write a kit about the Meaning of Marriage--he's got lots of material, humorous and otherwise. (My comedian husband likes to say, "comedy comes easy to me: I'm married!" Ha ha--Henny Youngman, look out.)

Anyway, Joel, I give you permission to use my joke about how Sara and jw met and became acquainted on the Achenblog (if you go back to the day they met, there was talk of massage oils, if I remember correctly)--and now they are getting married! Not to each other, but still...

If *you* wrote that joke, JA, it would be funny.

Posted by: kbertocci | March 9, 2006 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Considering how cold it is up there, I was thinking about this:

Blizzard Beach II meets Great Wolf Lodge.

"Saturn's Enceladus Lodge® is a first-class, full-service neo-family destination resort designed to capture (and retain) the atmosphere and adventure of the early colonization of the Solar System. Serving as Saturn's Premier Year-Round Family Last Resort™, Enceladus Lodge® provides a comprehensive package of destination lodging and life support amenities. As the Solar System's Largest Chain of Domed and Pressurized Waterpark Resorts™, Enceladus Lodge® breaks seasonal tourist traffic patterns and constraints of orbial mechanics by providing water-based entertainment throughout the year. Ski on Enceladus' icy slopes all day, then swim, slide, and play in Enceladus Lodge® Waterpark all evening, then drift off into a peaceful and dream-free hypersleep all night. Here's a perfect family vacation desination that the enire nuclear neofamily will enjoy! Book your tickets through ScienceTim Space Cruise Lines, and enjoy the in-transit travel fun planned by your cruise directors, LindaLoo and Curmudgeon. Reserve your orbital insertion today!

Coming next Spring: the Achenbach Celebrity Cruise! You and the Famous Joel Achenbach Achencruising the Solar System for months on end for the new low price of One Brazillian Arbustodollars!"


Posted by: bc | March 9, 2006 2:51 PM | Report abuse

One more thing:

Am I the only one that's concerned that we're seeing effects of Gloabl Warming as far away as Enceladus?

Enceladus is *melting*!


Posted by: bc | March 9, 2006 2:54 PM | Report abuse

re: "gloabl warming" on Encephalitis: I'm telling ya, bc, it's all that methane.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 9, 2006 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Enceladus: It's not global warming, it's how bad LoneMule smells.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 9, 2006 2:59 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: HAL 9000 | March 9, 2006 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Okay, so I got the press release. Water volcanism on Enceladus, implying liquid water reservoirs near enough to the surface that they can geyser into space. It's scientifically interesting. It is being presented to the public as a startling revelation, unprecedented in human history, opening a breathtaking new vista of accomplishment and achievement before our eyes! Excuse me, I gotta go catch my breath.


Okay, I'm back now. I don't like this kind of breathless progress by press release. It's an attempt to sell the public on scientific-progress-by-divine-revelation. I realize that the concern is that you want to get positive feelings from the public on why you spent over a billion government dollars to send a spacecraft to Saturn. This approach, however, seems like a big mistake. Just how many divine revelations can you have and still claim that you don't yet know enough that you need to go sit down and ponder it all for a decade or two? Real scientific progress is not so startling -- we wouldn't be doing the experiment if we didn't think that we'd see something interesting, which means that we already have an idea of what we should look for. In this case, all the fundamental facts in this press release were announced months ago, from infrared observations of hot spots near Enceladus' south pole and observations of particles in nearby space. The visible images in today's press release are a productive addition, but they aren't opening a new vista. I know I'm a bad salesman, but I think that a more sober and measured approach will pay off better for science in the long run.


I took a while to finish this item because I had to give computer-buying advice (buy a Mac!) to somebody from the Cassini team, who agreed that the discovery of water in Enceladus was pretty exciting back when it was done -- months ago.

Posted by: ScienceTim | March 9, 2006 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Don from I-270,

Clifton Fadiman wrote a book called "Lifetime Reading Plan" that contained his comments on books he thought worth reading. If you look it up on Amazon (for some reason I couldn't copy the link) it mentions some other books that have the same premise.

Of course, that was also the idea behind the "Great Books" series, which you can read about on Britannica's Web site.

Posted by: pj | March 9, 2006 3:15 PM | Report abuse

More BPH business (sorry out-of-towners): Have we decided on a date? Is Thursday, April 6 a good day?

Posted by: TBG | March 9, 2006 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Schlitter = slippery
bahn (die, feminine) = road, path, course
AND in astronomy means/= orbit
also, railway line

Posted by: Loomis | March 9, 2006 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Science Tim,
great post...Joel will have a hard act to educational.

water vulcanism--how common or uncommon?

Posted by: Loomis | March 9, 2006 3:21 PM | Report abuse

ScienceTim: Oh, so you expected newspaper reporters to understand that scientists already NEW this stuff? And, it wasn't leaked? What fun is that?

Posted by: CowTown | March 9, 2006 3:23 PM | Report abuse

I remember hearing about ice ejecta near the south pole in - what - November, December?

I agree the new images are cool.
No pun intended.

There's water vulcanism on Earth (geysers, springs, etc.)...

SciTim: Isn't any publicity *good* publicity (well, except for that flap over the NASA PO a couple months back...)?


Posted by: bc | March 9, 2006 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Sara I'm way late to this but I love your webpage. I love the random Sara facts, they're so adorable and funny. I have a myspace too, but mine is lame and I only have one friend so far.

Posted by: Sirin | March 9, 2006 3:31 PM | Report abuse

TBG, last night I proposed a BPH change to April 11, to accomodate myself and pj.

Will that work?


Posted by: bc | March 9, 2006 3:32 PM | Report abuse

kbertocci, actually we agreed on a combined Achenshower for jw and Sara. I just forgot to mention that earlier. (haha Henny Youngman - "Take my wife. PLEASE!") I don't have access to a computer at home, so if jw checks in after work hours or on the weekend, would you ask him if his wedding date has been set? Sara and her jw's is June 1.

Posted by: Nani | March 9, 2006 3:41 PM | Report abuse

One more thing to add - considering how many cometary snowcones are orbiting all over the heavens, it was only a matter of time before we found some of the stuff that manages to stay liquid occasionally.

Hopefully all the investigations of undersea thermal vents and icebound biologies will help us find some company out there. Even if they're Enceladus Sea Monkeys (not to be confused with the Tempel-1 Sea Monkeys which are a completely different thing).


Posted by: bc | March 9, 2006 3:43 PM | Report abuse

tl-I'm for the Cubs, and whoever's playing St. Louis, but I couldn't agree more with your post re: the demise of team play in baseball.

Mourning the loss of Kirby Puckett and glad my grandfather is already dead because the current state of baseball would kill him.

Stick-Thanks for the Jim Bouton quote.

Posted by: missingVA | March 9, 2006 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Back to Bonds for a second, after reading Mr. Tony's item:

[Caution: Star Trek reference approaching.]

Test Bonds for the White. Ketracel White.


Posted by: bc | March 9, 2006 3:49 PM | Report abuse

April 11 is during Spring Break and we're planning to be out of town.

Maybe we could do it the week AFTER that if Thu, Apr 6 doesn't work for you and pj?

I have a standing meeting every First Tuesday of the Month that I blew off last time (and had to leave early for the time before that--no fun at all). I really can't miss another one--especially if anyone finds out why I'm missing them ("Well, you see I had to go out drinking. It's an Achen Thing; you wouldn't understand.")

Posted by: TBG | March 9, 2006 3:49 PM | Report abuse

All right, let me see about the 6th, TBG.

Gonna have to play marital "Let's Make a Deal". What do I have to offer...? hmmm.


Posted by: bc | March 9, 2006 4:01 PM | Report abuse

ScienceTim, think maybe they're trying to get some public support given NASA's plans to scrap missions to save money for the proposed manned flights? It makes me crazy to see they're going to cancel "Dawn" for instance because Mr. Bush needed a "visionary" manned Mars plan for a speech.

>I had to give computer-buying advice (buy a Mac!)

I'll second that, and I still have the Hardware Ref. manual (with BIOS listing!) from the original IBM PC. Got my new Mac mini yesterday. Transferred everything over from the PowerBook via Firewire in about 2 hrs and hooked it up to a 1920x1200 37" LCD HD monitor.

Awesome. And I can still use the 23" Cinema Display with the PowerBook!

Posted by: Error Flynn | March 9, 2006 4:01 PM | Report abuse

tl - in the early 50s my dad and I would watch the Yankees games on tv. Wish I could recall the name of an Hispanic (I think) player who was a base stealer par excellence. Could it have been Jose Canseco (sp)? He wasn't a very big fellow. He and the pitcher put on quite a show, taunting, teasing, whirling, prancing, sliding, etc. The batter would have to stand there forever before the pitcher could finally throw to him. It made the game so very exciting especially because the base stealer always won.

Posted by: Nani | March 9, 2006 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Oops. Couldn't have been Canseco; he wasn't even born yet.

Posted by: Nani | March 9, 2006 4:19 PM | Report abuse

missingVa, I'm not so sure the "death of team play" is much worse now than it ever was. Back in the day (even before MY day, so we're talking medieval times), there was no player LESS team-oriented than Ty Cobb. I'll grant today's salaries don't help, though. But there's still some team people out there--look at Ripken.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 9, 2006 4:30 PM | Report abuse

'mudge, Ripken Jr.'s zenith qualifies as "back in the day" to many people.

It's been - what - 11 years (roughly half of Sara's life) since he broke Gehrig's record?


Posted by: bc | March 9, 2006 4:39 PM | Report abuse

uhoh. I just passed a colleague in the hall and asked me a question and I said the answer is the e-mail I just posted. It's official: My brain is achenblogaddled.

Posted by: omni | March 9, 2006 4:47 PM | Report abuse

mudge-point well taken on Cobb, but I
believe he is notable for being an exception. Team play, in all sports, at all levels, is getting rarer and rarer. As a teacher I observe so many kids who haven't mastered even the rudimentary skills of their favorite sports-but they have their solo celebration moves down pat.

Ripken deserves every accolade, but as bc pointed out he has become part of "back in the day."

Posted by: missingVA | March 9, 2006 4:48 PM | Report abuse

New kit, folks.


Posted by: bc | March 9, 2006 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Geysers don't recally count as water vulcanism, at least, not in my book as a member of a different specialty. Here on Earth, water seeps into an underground chamber through ordinary hydrological processes, gets het up by geothermal heating from a more ordinary type of vulcanism, then the superheated water pushes open some sort of valve and explosively converts to vapor. Vulcanism cycles material through geological processes that exchange surface solids, which convert from solid to liquid phase.

Of course, I also have read about mud volcanoes, without any explanation, and some sort of volcanic process called diapirism, which I don't understand at all. It's nonbiological, or I would understand what the diapirs are for (somebody had to say it). I need to consult with my neighborhood professional vulcanologist. Although actually, she recently moved to another neighborhood. With her hubby, the former heavy-metal guitar hero. Isn't life odd?

Posted by: ScienceTim | March 9, 2006 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Whenever anyone critizes America's absurd preoccupation with spectator sports the answer is given about sportsmanship and all that. We see clearly now that sports are a business no more and perhaps less ethical than the rest of the free market economy.

Posted by: candide | March 9, 2006 5:33 PM | Report abuse

There is still no proof that Barry has done anything wrong. Whaterver happened to innocence until proven guilty? People have been hating on Barry since he was in high school, and the most outspoken person against him is his ex-girlfriend (wow that's a surprise). People need to wait until something is really proved before they doubt the greatness.

Posted by: Daniel | March 9, 2006 7:11 PM | Report abuse

So much greed in hollywood and the sports arena -- this is true and sickening, no doubt. But what about the greed among elitist reporters like Woodward who hold back on the truths they have uncovered so they can write multi-million dollar books. Of course, it's the athletes -- and a black one at that -- that good old Achenblog writes about. They're the scum.

You want to write about greed? Write about the white house, this administration, the halliburton crowd, all the maggot republicans caught up in the Abramoff scandal, all the bottom feeders getting rich off this war -- won't happen though, will it Achenblog?

Here's to Bob Woodward and his book deals!!

Posted by: thersitz | March 9, 2006 7:24 PM | Report abuse

You write as if McGwire's 70 HRs season should be considered legitimate. He is just Are you supposed to be a reporter? Did you see him plead the 5th before Congress? How many times did he say "I'm not here to talk about the past" It really miffs me how lots of writers are ignoring the fact the McGwire was cheating too, and are still going to vote for him first ballot. Their both cheaters, Bonds dealers just got caught by the feds, and the grand jury testimony leaked

Posted by: Keith | March 9, 2006 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Ironic all this is happening just a few days after Kirby Puckett died. Given his tree stump build while playing, ballooning afterwards, his change of personality from nice guy to wife beater after retirement and his stroke and death at a very early age--I don't think Bonds was the only steroid user

Posted by: GG | March 9, 2006 11:02 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, Cardinal fans...the Cubs rock. So do the Indians. Mr. Bonds will have to do a fancy spin to counter this body blow. Baseball needs some naturals, ala Boog Powell, Frank Howard, or (dare I mention)Reggie Jackson. By the way, Boeheim's bobby knight tirade was interesting in the context of the upset win this afternoon. I like their chances against the Hoyas, provided JMac hasn't fizzled out.

Posted by: jack | March 9, 2006 11:43 PM | Report abuse

I am unclear re Bonds. Did he lie? Did he violate the baseball rules during his alleged steroid hayday?

I have been a baseball/Giants fan since 1951, when, as a young lad, I thought every year meant overcoming a 13-1/2 game deficit. Later, it turns out the Giants were stealing signs to accomplish their feat.


Of course, there have always been cheaters in baseball. The spit ballers, the bat corkers, the sign stealers, etc. It's ingrained in the game.

As the money has increased, so has the level and sophistication of the cheating.

Sadly, the degree to which the money and cheating has increased is directly proportional to my loss of interest in The Game.

I think the Bonds situation mirrors our culture generally, particularly our political culture. But we tend to regard The Game as a symbol of National sanctity and ethos. When the Hot Dogs cost $5 or $7 or whatever, this is naive and foolhardy. It's a business and Bonds may be it's corallary to Lay/Skilling/Fastow, et. al.

Still, did he break the rules? He certainly contiributed to his and The Game's bottom line. And, I had never seen anyone like him in his hayday.

Perhaps we will all owe some kind of medical research debt someday to the whole population of steroid-using athletes who seem to be doing dangerous medical experimentation at their own expense?

An aside: When will we have the first publication concerning the identity of gays in The Game? "Brokeback Mountain" opens endless possibilites, methinks.

Posted by: Spectator | March 10, 2006 12:37 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Anonymous | March 10, 2006 8:46 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: Tuki Medaber | September 21, 2006 10:46 AM | Report abuse

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