Conventional wisdom has it that you can't buy love. However, thereis a furniture store in Oakland that will not only sell you love, but theywill also include a sofa for a mere $399! This particular store has alarge banner hanging off the front of their store advertising, "Sofaand Love $399!" While I'm sure this particular furniture store isselling love seats packaged with sofas, the phrasing of their sign could bea bit better.

If you've been following baseball's contraction fiasco, you might haveseen that Bud Selig testified in Congress recently. Selig maintainsthat baseball must contract because [freeagency and salary arbitration](http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2001/12/07/SP202264.

DTL) have made it impossible for team owners tomake money. Pray tell us, Bud, how will eliminating the two teamsleast likely to participate in free agency and salary arbitration help thissituation? The biggest players in free agency are also the teams inthe biggest markets: the Yankees, the Dodgers, and the Braves. Those teams, among others, are the biggest players in free agency. TheTwins and Expos almost never sign free agents simply because they eithercan't (in the case of the Expos) or won't (in the case of the Twins -remember that Carl Pohlad is the richest owner in baseball, even richer thanGeorge Steinbrenner). The Twins or Expos may get dragged into salaryarbitration but very rarely. Baseball doesn't really share that muchrevenue between teams (unlike the NFL), so eliminating two franchisesdoesn't really mean that the other teams will see tremendous sums placed intheir pockets. The whole contraction scheme is yet another in a longstring of completely bone-headed baseball owner schemes. Ira Tortoise continues to get more acclimated to his environment. He doesn't like to be out and about when we're around the house, but he'seating more and does occasionally poke his head out when we're around. Given enough time he should eventually be out and about even when we'revisible outside the glass walls of his pen.

We spent some time baking and wrapping present last night. We justneed to tie up a few more loose ends and our holiday preparations should becomplete.