Happy Birthday to Jim Bouton, 73. I have this theory of The Who that while they were a terrific band, their influence was entirely negative. I suspect that's the same of Bouton. Are there great books which would have never existed if it wasn't for him? Not that I know of -- but surely there's tons and tons of junk. I haven't read Ball Four in years, so I'm not sure how it holds up, but in my memory at least it's very good, well worth the hype.
A bit of a detour (feel free to skip): Minor life stuff got in the way of blogging here yesterda (it's been that kind of week; I just now realized as I was grabbing a newspaper section to read when I have a snack in a few minutes that we seem to have received not two, not three, but five copies of the Sunday Styles section in our NYT this past weekend. I probably should have noticed that before Wednesday night). Blogging is a funny thing. I started doing these daily links posts a while ago, and now it's a ritual for me to dig up someone for the birthday thing every night, and of course to collect the links...sometimes they're all there by the end of the afternoon, and sometimes I'm scrambling around to find them before I go to bed or even early in the morning (which defeats the purpose a bit, since part of the idea was to have something easy to post first thing in the morning while I'm doing my elsewhere writing). Anyway, I'm having fun with the new feature, but I have no sense of whether it's a good use of my time, especially since looking for the birthday person is...well, it can lead to distraction fairly easily. So I hope everyone is enjoying it, but I suppose as long as I am I'll keep doing it.
Oh, and Happy Purim to all who are observing the holiday. On to the good stuff:
1. Didn't get a chance to link to my own stuff yesterday, so I'll slip it in here. One is about Romney and the GOP war on budgeting; the other about where Obama stands right now in Gallup compared with other presidents at this point -- he's moved ahead of GHW Bush, and is just now passing Carter.
2. Amy Fried on where the center of things is in Maine.
3. Terrific (and insanely detailed) post by Matt Glassman about how Democrats choose committee/subcommittee chairs in the House -- and especially about how Approps subcommittee selection works.
4. I really like the last paragraph of this Jamelle Bouie post about the state of the GOP race right now.
5. And Bill James campaigns for Dwight Evans for the HOF. And I agree -- indeed, I've always thought that Jim Rice was the third-best player in that outstanding Red Sox OF, and that's not counting Yaz, who was still around for the first few years of it. So fair enough, but what about Darrell Evans for the HOF?