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Whew. We're back as of last night from one of the best trips of my life. I never did post my itinerary -- meant to. Maybe I'll work up a photo show with captions, instead.

The plan for the rest of the day is to take care of this pile of life that accumulated while we were chasing whales. Get a prescription refilled, get some cash (from a considerably reduced stash after our travels), go to the Y and work out while I watch the Fish destroy the Cubs. Actually, as much as I would like to see Florida win this series, I have to give the edge to the Cubs. Their pitching is unreal right now. Kerry Wood has ceased to be mortal. If Wood and Prior hold up, the Cubs could pull a Diamondbackesque feat and win the whole thing on the strength of two pitchers. Lots of ifs...

There's a certain kind of "fan" that springs up this time of year that I try to avoid. They sneer and taunt and point fingers, hurling ad hominem attacks that have nothing to do with whether their team deserves to win. They're graceless winners and even worse losers. They can't take the slightest squidge of bittersweet pleasure from an astounding play that doesn't go their way or a thrilling series like Boston and Oakland. I don't expect fans to praise their opponents, or even to like them. There's such a thing as rooting for your team. Nobody exclaims over the beauty of the throw that picks off their last best hope (at least not right away). But if it's the kind of throw you're lucky enough to see once in a lifetime, why sneer at the player who made it? Does it honestly feel good? Shake your head in sorrow and give the player his due. To do otherwise is, as the guy who got thrown out will probably tell you, bush league.

But I'm not stupid enough to pretend that's not a big part of sports for a lot of people. Folks get into it for the hate just as much (or more than) for the love, and the hate is what keeps 'em interested. Rivalry can be exciting--I participate now and then. What irks me is the classless personal attack on individuals rather than the rival team. But I'm not even a good team hater. I'm more a "root for the guys who done us in" sort, preferring the solace that being knocked out by the best team provides to the knowledge that we lost to a less-than-peerless team. I've got a kindred baseball spirit in a coworker, fortunately. When my Astros ignobly folded, he sympathized, and then we talked about what matters for the rest of the season--the sheer kickassedness of October baseball. Of course, he's a BoSox fan, so what's HE got to cry about?

Ok, at some point I have to set down some impressions of the lovely northern latitudes. But it won't happen right now. SEE WHAT BASEBALL DOES?