Way overdue link paybacks

Haven’t done this since January so it’s time to point out all the good, friendly people who link to these friendly environs.

PJ Net — Blog of the Public Journalism Network.

Shake the Cat — “pardon me, but there’s a bear in your hot tub.”

Tinsley Spice — Santa Cruz, Ca., group blog.

Suburban Guerrilla — former newsie’s politics blog, mostly Democratic.

Beaneball — A baseball blog.

The Media Drop — Commentary by another blogger named Tom.

Hypergene Media Blog — All about participatory journalism.

True Blog — Miko Matsumura’s Java blog.

Just a Gwailo — Canadian techie guy’s blog.

Dubya’s Dayly Diary
Madeleine Begun Kane tracks presidential strangeness.

PR meets the WWW — Constantin Basturea’s public relations blog.

Cyberwriter — German media blogger.

Weirdwriter — “Giant monsters, giant squid and giant weirdness.”

Good thing there’s no WiFi
at the Oakland Coliseum

I checked the fine print on the stub to my last A’s game ticket. Here’s what it says:

The holder is admitted on condition and by use of the ticket agrees, a) He or she shall not transmit or aid in transmitting any information about the game to which it grants admission, including, but not limited to, any account, description, picture, video, audio, reproduction or other information concerning the game (the “Game Information”); b) the club issuing the ticket is exclusive owner of all copyrights and other proprietary rights in the Game Information; and c) the club, Major League Baseball Properties Inc. and Major League Baseball Enterprises Inc. shall have the unrestricted right to use his or her likeness as included in any broadcast, telecast or photograph taken in connection wtih the game. Breach of the foregoing will automatically terminate this license.

So, if a bench-clearing brawl gets out of hand, a ticketholder is prohibited from calling 911 on a cellphone.

And by buying a ticket you give the team and the league the right to do whatever they please with your likeness.

So it’s just as well that we won’t be gathering at SBC (formerly PacBell) Park, which has free wireless allowing you to suck in all the content you want but forbids you from sending out anything pertinent to the purpose for going to the ballgame.

Of course you could always apply for express-written consent from the team and the league.

My baseball blog-in: is it legal?

Dan Gillmor posted a link to my proposed blogger day at the ballgame, to which a commenter raised the following point:

Wouldn’t that be illegal? Are you allowed to broadcast updates on the game without express written permission of Major League Baseball?

I don’t think posting to a blog with an audience of 127 is exactly broadcasting, and it’s not like anybody’s going to follow a game on a blog when they can just tune into it on TV or radio. In any case, they can’t copyright the experience of being at a baseball game — which is all I’m interested in documenting.

Still, there’s an interesting issue afoot: SBC Park, where the San Francisco Giants play, offers free wireless internet access. What’s to stop somebody from sneaking a digital video recorder into the ballpark and shipping streaming video to the outside world? (I’m guessing they have a way to keep this from happening … or they will after the first time they catch somebody doing it).

As usual, the technology is miles ahead of the law.

Blog me out to the ballgame

The San Francisco Giants play the Oakland Athletics in Oakland in June, and I’m hoping to get as many bloggers as possible to the game and to write about it on their blogs.

The game I’ve chosen is at 1 p.m. Sunday, June 27. I picked an afternoon game because it’ll be sunny and great for taking pictures. I picked Giants-A’s to atttact the most local fan/bloggers.

I’ve already spoken to a couple local bloggers who say they’re game, so if you’re in the Bay Area, what say you come along for the fun?

This will not be a day for people to form into an unruly blob and talk tech. It’ll be a day to go to the ballpark and be a fan. We don’t have to sit together — it’d be better if we scattered ourselves around the park for the widest range of perspectives.

I’ll be in the outfield bleachers in straight-away center. Tickets for this game will go fast and might well be sold out before game day, so buy ’em in advance (a good idea even if you plan to sit in the bleachers — the ticket line for last Sunday’s game took 15-20 minutes, and that was a day when the stadium was half-full).

I’ll post reminders every few weeks to help jog your memory. If you usually work on Sunday (that means you, George), well, you’ve got two months to swap with somebody, so get busy.

Are contractors mercenaries?

Some of the lefty blogs have started calling the “civilian contractors” in Iraq mercenaries. The idea being: they’re mostly ex-military and they’re in Iraq for the big bucks. Guns for hire, mainly.

But my understanding of the term is that a mercenary would fight under any flag in any land if the paycheck is big enough. Does anybody seriously think former Navy Seals are going to hire on for brushfire wars in central Africa or take jobs protecting drug kingpins in Colombia? Could happen, I suppose, but it seems unlikely.

What’s really happening in Iraq is that guys who signed up for enormous risk as U.S. special-ops troops are finally getting some of the monetary rewards denied them by us, the U.S. taxpayers.

Having all these private employees and all their lethal training outside Pentagon control raises any number of worrisome issues, but that doesn’t really mean they’ve become mercenaries in the widest meaning of the term.

So keep an eye out: “mercenary” has a politically charged meaning these days … it’s become a fresh buzzword that we should be keeping out of news copy, except in direct quotes.

A’s win a sizzler

It sweltering out there in the bleachers in the Oakland Coliseum this afternoon — good pitching weather for A’s starter Tim Hudson, who threw 86 pitches in nine innings and dropped the Seattle Mariners to 0-5 on the season.

This story says Hudson was 6-0 in daytime starts last year. It looked like his luck was running out out when Mariners’ phenom Ichiro Suzuki popped the game’s first pitch into the right field corner for a double.

We’re thinking: Hmm, a double on the first pitch is not a good omen. Couple batters later and Suzuki is across the plate to put the Mariners up 1-0. Then future hall-of-famer Edgar Martinez gets on base with aging-but-able John Olerud behind him and it looks like they’re about to put the hurt on Hudson. But Olerud went nowhere — Hudson pitched his way out of that jam, and that’s all the damage the Mariners could muster.

The A’s are off to a great start at 4-1, but it was a long hard slog besting the Mariners today. The Mariners’ starter, Gil Meche, stranded all sorts of A’s batters on base, but I noticed as the game wore on that he was throwing a lot more pitches than Hudson. His arm failed him in the 7th, when Erubial Durazo singled and Marco Scutaro (are those great names or what?) doubled to score Durazo. Meche got benched, but the luck of lefty reliever Eddie Guardado wasn’t much better. Mark Kotsay singled to left to score Scutaro and give the A’s the go-ahead run. It was all they needed.

I can’t believe my luck: this is my second A’s game ever and they’ve won both. And remarkable things have happened in both. Last year an A’s batter hit a grand slam — the first time I’d ever seen it happen when I was in the ballpark. This time, Hudson pitches superbly for nine innings and throws, on average, fewer than 10 pitches per inning. Not a no-hitter or anything but still an impressive day on the pitcher’s mound.

It’s also been incredibly warm both times I’ve gone to A’s games. Last fall, it was in the 90s with no breeze. Today it was in the ’80s with only a bit of a breeze. We’d be lobsters if not for all that sunscreen.

The great thing about the bleachers is that they attract a certain kind of fan — someone who needs to be in the ballpark for lots of games but doesn’t want to shell out 30 bucks for a seat closer to the action. They seem to understand what the guys on that field are doing is play — not work. It’s supposed to be fun to do, and fun to watch. And something about it being the cheap seats seals the deal.

This was the A’s opening weekend at home, and lots of folks who hadn’t seen each other since last fall were swapping friendly hugs with the bleacherites they rooted alongside last summer. The sun was so merciless that we had to duck out to the concession area — which had a wonderful breeze blowing across a million tons of concrete — for a couple innings, but we got back just in time for the A’s game-winning drama.

Definitely on my “let’s do this again this summer” list.

Hot rods in Pleasanton

The Goodguys Rod & Custom Association’s 22nd All-American Get-together is happening this weekend at the Alameda
County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton, which is just down the road from us. Thousands
of people and cars show up at a massive car show/swap meet/flea market. These
are some highlights.

This wacky yellow inflated guy zig-zags about at the entrance to the show.
I was there Saturday, the first day.

This old Ford has a beautiful paint job — though you can’t tell so much in
this photograph. I love the torpedo grille on this model.

My dad and I rebuilt a 1965 Ford Ranchero like this one. Ours wasn’t quite
as slick but we had the satisfaction of knowing we’d built it ourselves.

In California, people will make a stretch limo out of anything, including a
’57 Chevy.

Some folks are prone to getting carried away with the Stars and Stripes.

The ’55 Chevy Nomad was the coolest car ever manufactured in North America.
I strongly suspect this is not the factory paint job.

The grille makes this big ol’ Buick look like somebody’s crabby uncle.

A chopped-and-channeled ’51 Mercury with exquisite custom paint. This body
style was immortalized in the movie "Rebel Without a Cause," though
James Dean drove a ’49 Merc. My dad owned a snazzy ’50 Merc that he gave to
his brother, who promptly wrecked it.

No word on whether Jack Nicholson posed for this paint job.

I’m pretty sure this is a 1940 Mercury; I just love that robin-egg-blue color.
Seems like it ought to have Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall in the front seat.

There’s something vaguely pornograhic about all these cars having their hoods
open and their engines wagging in the breeze — this classy Jaguar seems a bit
shamed by the experience.

Cadillac’s tailfins got totally out of hand when the ’59s came out. Which makes
this model the second-coolest ever built in North America.

Remember how Bob Seger talked about doing the nasty in the back seat of his
’60 Chevy? Well, this is the back seat of a ’60 Chevy. It looks better without
fumbling teens practicing their Night Moves in it.

These dolls could well be possessed by the devil.

Think of "Time" by Pink Floyd. And ask yourself why the organizers
of these things think we all want to listen to classic rock over the intercom.

At least half the fun was checking out all the spare parts for sale, like these

$250 or best offer buys you this swell Continental kit. You must supply your
own Continental. (NOTE THIS IS NOT FOR SALE TODAY — this event was in 2004).

These are necessary because, you know, the car manufacturers have this strange
defect which causes them to install really sucky steering wheels.

At last, some collector cars that I can afford.

One guy was even selling these really snazzy antique gas pumps.