The Baseball Update
All glory be to Rick Ankiel on a truly massive day today. 2 HRs, 7 RBIs. Cards win. Still have hope. He was the first starting pitcher I took in my roto draft the year after he melted down in the playoffs (I had taken Benitez before him - ugh). Needless to say, my pitching was not fantastic that year. Anyway, it really is a tremendous story - not quite the real life Natural (maybe Tommy John is a better analogy - someone who truly had to reinvent himself), but quite impressive.
The Viva el Birdos blog captures the true excitement and joy of a fan watching an amazing event involving his team better than I could. Check today's thread out here and scroll down to the comments around 4:30. Just tremendous.
Sox, as I write this, are p 7-6 in the top of the 9th against the Orioles. Covelli (a/k/a Oscar Gamble Jr.) is having a tremendous night - 3 run HR, 2 singles, stolen base, fantastic catch of a Tejada liner on a dead sprint toward the centerfield wall. I like him better and better each game, even with his struggles. Three things I noticed: (1) I think we are seeing the beginning of the inevitable Mike Lowell slow-down. I think at age 33 (my god - I am older than someone who has gray hair in his beard), on pace for high ABs, and based on his second half track record, he appears to be slowing down and needs rest down the stretch, the race for top 5 in the MVP vote notwithstanding. (2) The Sox have at least 3 guys who do not use batting gloves - Crisp, Mirabelli and Kielty. This must be some kind of high among major league teams. I wonder if they all do the Alou to keep their hands supple. (3) Gary Thorne is possibly the worst play by play guy in MLB (yes, I am including Michael Kay who at least tries to instigate discussions among his myriad color guys). He insists on calling a three run home run a "3 RBI home run". He also continually misidentifies hitters, pitches, etc. Palmer is especially prescient, so he almost covers for him, but yeesh. Awful.
The Taxes update
Huge day in Congress as twenty witnesses testified before the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee regarding all manner of tax issues, from taxation of carried interest in investment funds to AMT to taxation of publicly traded partnerships. I'll have a full report later once I am able to review the testimony, but initial thoughts after reading prepared remarks and seeing initial commentary is that nothing will get done this year unless it is part of an enormous tax bill which proposed a major overhaul of the AMT, nothing will ultimately end up getting done on taxation of carried interest because (1) not enough revenue there to make it worthwhile and (2) lawmakers will be convinced that taxpayers will just develop a workaround anyway (which they will) and (3) they're deathly afraid of doing anything to harm the economy in the current climate. This is an initiative that would have better been taken up when consumer confidence was higher, people could feel comfortable spending against the equity in their houses and the debt markets weren't in the crapper.
IRS also released more liberal rules on reverse 704(c) allocations for hedge funds. I am reviewing.
The Death Update
Former DC first lady Effi Barry passed away today at the age of 63. She had been suffering from Leukimia. To paraphrase Dave Chappelle as Rick James, Cancer is a hell of a disease. One could argue that Ms. Barry did more for the poor of DC than Marion ever did. Anyway, the story is here and of course my thoughts and prayers go out to her entire family.
It was about a year ago, after we told that the TaxBoy was in fact going to be a boy (and hopefully a lefty), that I decided I'd better fly home and see dad. We knew he was terminal at this point, but didn't know how long he would have. Patients with small cell lung cancer at his stage have an amazingly short life expectancy so I figured 6-12 months, even with treatment. Maybe double that if we were lucky. Anyway, I hadn't seen him since the July 4 holiday (and a stressful one at that) and so wanted to see him. I booked a flight on American Eagle for the week of 9/22. I really wanted to show him the movie review book Ernest Ng and I had put together (ranking the Top 10 movies each year since the advent of commercial film - to see how many I had wrong). Didn't get to really show it to him.