Non-baseball stuff first:
If you haven't read Chris Jones' Esquire feature on Roger Ebert, do so now.
But now everything he says must be written, either first on his laptop and funneled through speakers or, as he usually prefers, on some kind of paper. His new life is lived through Times New Roman and chicken scratch. So many words, so much writing — it's like a kind of explosion is taking place on the second floor of his brownstone. It's not the food or the drink he worries about anymore — I went thru a period when I obsessed about root beer + Steak + Shake malts, he writes on a blue Post-it note — but how many more words he can get out in the time he has left. In this living room, lined with thousands more books, words are the single most valuable thing in the world. They are gold bricks. Here idle chatter doesn't exist; that would be like lighting cigars with hundred-dollar bills. Here there are only sentences and paragraphs divided by section breaks. Every word has meaning.
Even the simplest expressions take on higher power here. Now his thumbs have become more than a trademark; they're an essential means for Ebert to communicate. He falls into a coughing fit, but he gives his thumbs-up, meaning he's okay. Thumbs-down would have meant he needed someone to call his full-time nurse, Millie, a spectral presence in the house.
Millie has premonitions. She sees ghosts. Sometimes she wakes in the night screaming — so vivid are her dreams.
Ebert's dreams are happier. Never yet a dream where I can't talk, he writes on another Post-it note, peeling it off the top of the blue stack. Sometimes I discover — oh, I see! I CAN talk! I just forget to do it.
Rapper Lil Wayne starts his one-year jail term today.
San Jose voters would approve of A's moving to town, poll says. However, Santa Clarans don't feel the same way about the 49ers.
San Jose voters polled approve the A's move by 53 to 35 percent — a significant jump from two previous polls done by the same firm in October and June of last year.
Prospect Justin Souza inspired by younger brother, who has cystic fibrosis.
"When my cardio gets hard and I have to push myself, I think of my brother, and I keep going," Souza said Monday. "He can't do this, so I will. I have to take advantage of my health, I can't forget that."
Cory Souza, now 20, received a double lung transplant when he was 9 years old. Doctors in Sacramento had told his parents, Rick and Kathy, that Cory's cystic fibrosis had advanced to the point that he had only three days to live.
Olympic fever struck Phoenix Muni. Don't worry, everyone's OK.
"I just jumped off my couch, yelling, I was so excited," Brad Ziegler said. "Anytime we have a team playing for national honor, I really get into it. There is so much grit and passion.
"When you see someone competing for your country ... I'll always be there supporting them as much as I can."
"What a great game!" exclaimed Jerry Blevins, replaying in his mind Canada's eventual 3-2 overtime victory over the United States in the Olympics' gold-medal game. "As much as I was disappointed by the outcome, you can't fault the U.S. team for how hard they played."
"Of course," Michael Wuertz said, "we're going to have to hear about that all year from players from Canada.
The A's do not have any Canadian natives in their Spring Training camp -- none of the 20 who played in the Majors last season -- so they'll be spared any up-close lip.
"I'll never have a six-pack (abs) or anything," said Anderson, who will be one of the starters in today's intrasquad game. "But I can see my kneecaps now."
SportsPickle, run by the hilarious DJ Gallo, has its first baseball preview of the year — the Washington Nationals.
STARTING PITCHING ... Stephen Strasburg is the name to know here. The phenom should fill seats for each one of his appearances. It's not too much of an exaggeration to say he should be Washington's best starting pitcher in almost 40 years. Beyond Strasburg there isn't much. If the Nationals really want to sell tickets, they should make Strasburg a long reliever so fans can see him pitch almost every game.
LINEUP ... Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Dunn in the three and four spots are fun to watch at the plate. That's probably why the Nationals are batting shortstop Cristian Guzman second in the order. Guzman had just 16 walks in 555 plate appearances last year. He does his job by quickly getting out so everyone can enjoy the main attractions. True team player.