Saturday, September 30, 2006

I'm Not Happy About This

Bill Frist just jumped to the top of my shit list:
Many local bookmakers such as "Benny the Bullet" were seen partying and rejoicing in Central Park, New York late last night and into the early morning hours today. Their business is expected to quadruple, just as bootlegging did years ago.

I also imagine that some Poker houses are equally ecstatic to welcome back basement games.

The reason for all of this jubilation is due to Prohibition returning to the United States once again. Only this time, Prohibition is disguised in the mask of an Internet gambling bill.

Lawmakers stayed up late as well, making sure to throw our country back into the Dark Ages. It became apparent that Republicans spearheaded by Senator First would stop at nothing to prohibit Internet gambling. In a last ditch desperation move, the Senate majority leader was able to attach legislation to ban online gambling to a Port Security bill that had no correlation whatsoever with online betting. And it was automatically passed in the Senate without even a debate or a formal vote.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Odds to win 2006 World Series Championship

Here are the latest odds to win the 2006 World Series:

New York Yankees 3/2
New York Mets 4/1
Detroit Tigers 5/1
Minnesota Twins 5/1
Oakland Athletics 7/1
San Diego Padres 10/1
St Louis Cardinals 10/1
Los Angeles Dodgers 12/1
Philadelphia Phillies 19/1
Field (Any Other Team) 28/1

Is there a bigger loser bet than taking the field? I mean the only two teams that could possibly qualify are the Astros and the Reds. I would have liked to see what the odds were on the Mets prior to the news that Pedro Martinez was going to be out for the post season. Keep in mind that the low odds on the Mets is also a function of all the New York money that is historically bet on the Mets (which drives the odds down).

I think the Dodgers are the best value bet here but what do I know - two months ago I was convinced that either the White Sox or Red Sox were locks to win it all.
Today's Must Read Post

The Straight White Guy has some sentiments and history that should be read by all.

When you are done reading that - remember that any man who says "I support the troops" but then utters the word "but" - that man is a scoundrel.
Mike Post

Prolific music man Mike Post turns 62 today. When you consider all the TV show theme songs he's done over the years (Hill Street Blues, LA Law, Law & Order, Magnum PI, The A-Team, etc) - more people have probably heard his music than any other performer of the past 50 years (except maybe Elvis and the Beatles). This one is my favorite Mike Post piece of work:

The 20 Greatest Americans

John Hawkins had a list of the The Greatest Figures In American History as polled by some of the top right-leaning bloggers. Hawkins also posted his own personal list of the 20 greatest Americans. Hawkins personal list was as follows:
20) William Tecumseh Sherman
19) Douglas MacArthur
18) George S. Patton
17) Albert Einstein
16) Henry Ford
15) Martin Luther King
14) Alexander Graham Bell
13) Thomas Edison
12) John Adams
11) Ulysses S. Grant
10) Alexander Hamilton
9) Teddy Roosevelt
8) Tom Paine
7) Andrew Jackson
6) Ronald Reagan
5) James Madison
4) Ben Franklin
3) Thomas Jefferson
2) Abe Lincoln
1) George Washington
I came across this via Betsy Newmark who has her own list. Betsy also points to this list by Don Surber.

Personally I am very much in tune with the list John Hawkins came up with. So in tune that I won't even offer my own. I will make one observation though. It disappoints me that when lists like this about the greatest Americans are made that Otto Frederick Rohwedder never seems to get so much as an honorable mention. He's the man credited with inventing sliced bread. What's greater than sliced bread?

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Top 5 - NL ROY Award

I thought I'd revisit (for the last time) who I see as the top candidates for this year's NL Rookie of the Year Award.

1. (tie) Dan Uggla Marlins (tie) Hanley Ramirez Marlins
3. Ryan Zimmerman Nationals
4. Josh Barfield Padres
5. (tie) Josh Johnson Marlins (tie) Takashi Saito Dodgers (tie) Prince Fielder Brewers

Now I think Uggla and Ramirez probably deserve the award just slightly more than Ryan Zimmerman of the Nationals but I think Zimmerman will end up winning the award because so many candidates from the Marlins will split votes. I also think that the race is so close that an argument for the top 3 in any order could be made.
Top 5 - AL ROY Award

I thought I'd revisit (for the last time) who I see as the top candidates for this year's AL Rookie of the Year Award.

1. Jonathan Papelbon Red Sox
2. Justin Verlander Tigers
3. Kenji Johjima Mariners
4. Francisco Liriano Twins
5. (tie) Jared Weaver Angels (tie) Nick Markakis Orioles (tie) Melky Cabrera Yankees

Even though Papelbon missed basically the last month of the season - his 35 saves (7th in the AL) and his 0.92 ERA (best by far among AL relievers) still hold up to give him the award. I know Verlander supporters will argue and their argument will have merit but Verlander just falls short plus was Verlander any more valuable to his team than Liriano to the Twins (Liriano actually had more Win Shares if you like that stat)?

Probably the person who has the best case to make for ROY is Kenji Johjima who led AL rookies in HR and RBI while playing perhaps the toughest position for a rookie - catcher. Johjima has three things going against him though - 1. he's from Japan and many people don't view players from Japan as true rookies; 2. he plays for Seattle - a team which doesn't get much media exposure and was basically out of the race since opening day and 3. Papelbon made such a big impact early that other rookie stories didn't get the play they might have in other years.
Good King Wenceslas

Good King Wenceslas is one of my favorite Christmas carols. I did not know till this morning that he was a real person and that in 935 AD on this very day (September 28th) he was killed by his brother.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

OK I'll Say It!

Many people may be thinking it and maybe even the Associated Press /Sports Illustrated is hinting at it:
DALLAS (AP) -- Flamboyant Dallas Cowboys receiver Terrell Owens tried to kill himself by overdosing on pain medication, even putting two more pills into his mouth after a friend intervened, according to a police report obtained Wednesday.
Emphasis added.

The word "flamboyant" when used to describe a male entertainer is often code for homosexual. Pro sports is often described as an entertainment business. Could it be that it is being hinted at that Terrell Owens is gay? That's probably a stretch but you have to admit that it wouldn't be a far leap to make.

I'm often on guard against people who make allegations against others because often what the person is alleging is true of the person making the allegation. (And no I'm not gay - wiseass.) I'm referring to Owens trying out former teammate Jeff Garcia.

It is interesting that when asked if Garcia was gay Owens once said, "Like my boy tells me: 'If it looks like a rat and smells like a rat, by golly, it is a rat.'" Obviously I don't know what Owens situation is but if that same smell test was applied to Owens - the explanation that he was struggling to come to grips with his own sexual orientation would go a long way in explaining Owens behavior.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Craig Biggio

Most of the national exposure has been on Roger Clemens coming down to perhaps his final game (and rightly so) but another player may be close to closing out his career in Houston too. It is no lock that Craig Biggio will be back in an Astro uniform in 2007 and if he's not playing for Houston - I don't see him playing again.

Biggio should put himself into pretty elite company by the end of the season. Consider:

- Biggio currently has 4510 total bases. His next base will tie him with Mickey Mantle and Sammy Sosa for 35th place all-time in total bases. Two bases ties him with Tony Perez for 34th place. If Biggio plays next year he should pass Robin Yount for 26th place all-time.

- Biggio needs 4 games and 7 at bats to move past George Brett in both categories (into 25th place and 16th place respectively).

- Biggio has 1774 career runs. He needs one more to move past Charlie Gehringer for 18th place all-time. If he scores 9 more runs he'll pass Paul Molitor for 17th place.

- Biggio has 2926 career hits that puts him just 1 behind All Simmons for 33rd place. With 7 more hits - Biggio passes Willie Keeler for 30th place. Jake Beckley and Rogers Hornsby are tied for 31st with 2930.

- Biggio needs 4 doubles to pass Honus Wagner for 8th place on the all-time list (a side benefit of playing at the Astrodome all those years).

Those are just some marks Biggio can hit this year. The fact that he is so close to 3,000 hits tells me that if his body can handle another season then the Astros will have him back because the countdown to 3,000 hits will be a big ticket seller for the Astros (especially when you consider that the Astros are paying Biggio just $4 million this year).
Clinton's Ego

By now you have probably seen the Bill Clinton interview by Chris Wallace of Fox News. Much has been written about it since but I think this opening paragraph by Andrew Klavan sums it up best:
THERE'S NO LIMIT to what a man can do," President Reagan used to say, "...if he doesn't care who gets the credit."

Former President Clinton's motto seems to be a little different: "There's no limit to how much credit a man can get, if he doesn't care what he's actually done."
Many people have mentioned Reagan not defending himself but I think the better example was Harry Truman. It should be remembered that Truman was followed by 8 years of Eisenhower and Truman had many opportunities to snipe from the sidelines but the man known as "Give 'em hell" Harry remained silent because he knew that to do otherwise was counterproductive and not in the best interests of the country.

Bill Clinton on the other hand is turning into the guest who wouldn't leave and with each interview he gives he's just further tarnishing his Presidency. The man cannot take even the mildest criticism or help keep himself from shall we say "embellishing the truth." History will not be kind to Bill Clinton.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

The Red Sox

I'm sure the observation will be made by many that the Red Sox were officially eliminated from the playoffs on the official first day of Fall. Obviously I thought of that observation too but the observation that kept me awake in bed last night was the realization that every single position is a question mark this off-season. No position is etched in stone. I'm not sure how I feel about this level of uncertainty.

Follow me on this:

RF: Will this be the offseason that Manny is finally traded? You know the rumors will be ripe.

CF: Coco Crisp has many detractors and the Torii Hunter rumors have already begun. Will the Vernon Wells rumors be far behind?

RF: I'm pretty sure Trot Nixon won't be back. Does the position go to Wily Mo Pena or is someone else brought in?

3rd: Mike Lowell had a fine season. So good in fact that it is now much easier to move his 2007 contract. Kevin Youkilis can always go back to 3rd base or Eric Hinske for that matter.

SS: Alex Gonzalez is a free agent. Do they re-sign him or does the job go to Dustin Pedroia?

2nd: Mark Loretta is a free agent. Do they re-sign him or does the job go to Dustin Pedroia?

1st: Kevin Youkilis have proven to be very flexible. He can play 1st, 3rd or OF. Do the Red Sox move Lowell and put Youkilis at 3rd? Do they shake up the outfield and put him out there?

C: This is the one position you would think is locked in (and it probably is). Jason Varitek is signed for 2007 and 2008 but he is breaking down and his decline at the plate seems to be a slippery slope. Over the past three years his batting average has gone from .296 to .281 to .245 and his OPS has gone from .872 to .856 to .747. You'd have to be blind not to see a trend and dumb not to be concerned.

Ace: Next year will supposedly be Curt Schilling's last. Currently he's 14-7 with a 4.07 ERA - which is very good but he is 1-4 in his last 8 starts with a 5.44 ERA over that span. He's 40 and he has to be a question mark for next year.

#2: Josh Beckett is a grab bag - you never know what you'll get. The question about him is whether he'll exhibit ace stuff in Boston.

#3: Tim Wakefield - it used to be a given that Wakefield was a very valuable member of the team but if he requires Doug Mirabelli as his catcher to be effective - is that too high a price to pay?

#4: Supposedly Jon Papelbon will be moving into the rotation next year. Big question mark.

#5: Matt Clement - you may as well nickname him The Riddler for all the questions surrounding him.

Closer: If Jon Papelbon is moving to the rotation - then what do the Sox do for a closer? Hansen is not ready and Foulke may be over the hill?

Now do you see what I meant by every position has question marks? And I did not even mention the health questions surrounding Jon Lester (we are all pulling for him). It should be a very interesting off-season (at least much more interesting then the last month of the season turned out to be).

Saturday, September 23, 2006

My New Logo

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What do you think?
Top 5 Bruce Springsteen Songs

Today is Bruce's 57th birthday. Happy birthday Boss.

1. Darkness on the Edge of Town
2. Backstreets
3. Candy's Room
4. For You
5. (tie) Point Blank (tie) Racing in the Street (tie) Trapped (tie) Jungleland

Just missing the cut Open All Night and The River.
NCAA Football Picks - Early Games

Here are my 10 best bets for the early games on Saturday (in no particular order):

- Michigan / Wisconsin over 42 points

- Purdue / Minnesota over 61 points

- Kansas State (+14.5) over Louisville - K State is at home while Louisville has their starting QB and RB out for this game. Plus there may be some distractions as Brian Brohm celebrates his 21st birthday today and the team has to be worried about flooding back home in Louisville. Look for the Cardinals to be distracted and for K State to cover today.

- BYU is giving up a lot of points (29) vs Utah State but the Cougars are just 1-2 and need to establish themselves as a top team. BYU is capable of putting up big numbers and I look for them to blow out instate rival Utah State. Give the points and take BYU.

- Tulsa / Navy under 53 points

- Marshall +21 over Tennessee. It will be pouring rain in Knoxville and the Volunteers are a passing team while Marshall is a running team. Look for the clock to run and for the Thundering Herd to cover the spread.

- Rice +31 over Florida State. Don't get me wrong - Rice sucks but the Seminoles have had trouble on offense, they will be switching QB's to shake things up and the defense is really banged up. Florida state will just want to win this game while resting up for South Carolina next week.

- Ohio State -17 over Penn State. The Buckeyes lost to the Nittany Lions last year and they will be looking for revenge today. Penn State is really out-classed today and this game won't be close.

- Central Michigan -4.5 over Eastern Michigan. The Chippewas played Boston College tough and did as well against Michigan as Notre Dame did. I look for them to roll today.

- Air Force pick over Wyoming. Air Force played Tennessee tight losing 31-30 and they have had 2 weeks to prepare for this game. I look for the Falcons to win decisively.
Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

The US military has provided soldiers with chewing gum since WWI and now they are looking at gum that would not only help keep the teeth clean in the field but would also be caffinated (one stick would be equal to one cup of coffee). If you add vitamins to that mix - you'd have a gum that I think would be a big seller commercially... More proof that Hollywood is indeed out of ideas - a movie based on the cartoon The Jetsons is in development and scheduled for release in 2009... I had always thought of Nintendo as a modern company but they have been in business since 1889... Today is Marty Schottenheimer's 63rd birthday. He'll never win the big game.... This is pretty funny (although the girl does look a bit chunky)... Twenty-eight years ago today - Lyman Bostock was shot and killed. Bostock was a rising star in baseball and was well respected as one of the most charitable players in MLB. The guy who shot and killed Bostock didn't even know him but was trying to kill a woman who was also in the car. Incredibly the guy who shot Bostock spent only 21 months in custody for the murder. You would be hard pressed to say that justice was served in this case...
Don't Take Yourself Too Seriously

Three people got me thinking this week. Two of the people got me thinking because they had a birthday and the third got me thinking because I was slightly surprised he is still alive.

Adam West turned 78 on Tuesday and Pauly McGrupp turned 34 on Wednesday. I think it is fairly obvious that Adam West does not take himself too seriously and at 78 he is still regularly working doing a caricature of himself on the Family Guy. Pauly also does not take himself too seriously. In fact when cataloging what he's learned in his 34 years on this planet - Pauly put this first:
I place a high value on not taking life or myself too seriously. That's hard to do, but when I follow that attitude, I have the most fun and experience bursts of happiness. I do make an exception for writing. I'm dedicated to making myself a better writer which means discipline and effort in that aspect of my life.
The third person I thought of this week was Jack Palance who is 87-years old and probably could still kick my ass. I got to thinking about Palance because I happened to hear an old comedy bit by Bill Hicks. Palance is another guy who doesn't take himself too seriously and who is not afraid to laugh at himself.

I think it wouldn't be a stretch to say that both Adam West and Jack Palance also place a premium on keeping themselves physically fit. That has to be a big contributing factor to their longevity. I hope Pauly also sees the value of keeping himself in shape because not taking yourself too seriously is not enough. Just look at John Belushi.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Jason Whitlock

Very good interview of Jason Whitlock where Jason does not hold back.
Q: A Civil Rights movement? In 2006?

Dude, it’s in the air. Black people are tired of letting idiots define who we are. It’s dangerous. I grew up loving hip hop music. But the [bleep] is way out of hand now. Flavor Flav went from fighting the power with Chuck D to a minstrel show on VH1. You have all of these young rap idiots putting out negative images about black men and black women, and it’s on us to stop it and say enough is a enough. It’s not on white people. And it’s not on old black people like Cosby and Oprah. We have to police our own. W.E.B. Dubois talked about the talented 10 percent leading the black masses. We’re letting the Ignorant 5 lead us straight to hell. The Ignorant 5 are telling white folks, “Yeah, this is how we really is. Let me bojangle for ya, boss. You say step and I’ll show ya I can fetch.” And what’s even more dangerous, the Ignorant 5 are telling black kids, “It’s cool to be locked up. It makes a man out of you. And don’t embrace education. Dealing dope and playing basketball are better career choices.” The Ignorant 5 is the new KKK and twice as deadly. That’s why you don’t hear ‘bout the KKK anymore. The Klan is just sitting back letting 50 Cent and all the other bojanglers do all the heavy lifting.
His take on Mike Lupica being a clown is also spot on.

Nicely done interview. Kudos to The Big Lead.
Smiling Bob the Enzyte Guy - Update

I originally spoke about Smiling Bob back in March of 2004. Now the company that makes the Enzyte product has been indicted on charges including conspiracy, money laundering, and mail, wire and bank fraud. If there has ever been a caveat emptor product - its Enzyte. For old time's sake - here's what I originally wrote about ole Smiling Bob and his Enzyte hardon.

No product or commercial is more insulting to your intelligence than Enzyte’s series of Smiling Bob commercials.

If you had never seen an Enzyte commercial and you were shown a picture of Smiling Bob would you think:

A: The guy is smiling because he’s an utter moron
B: The guy is smiling because he’s convinced his penis is growing because of a pill he took
C: The guy is a moron for thinking his penis is growing because of a pill he took

Just ask yourself – what exactly is the natural way to male enhancement? Is taking a pill natural? If there were natural ingredients – wouldn’t men from the dawn of time been gobbling the substance by the handful?

In our ultra politically correct society – I’m surprised nobody has said anything about the Enzyte commercials. Talk about stereotypes.

In the commercial where Bob dives into the pool and loses his shorts – it is the black woman who is most impressed because – well you know – it’s black guys who normally have the biggest penises but the black woman never saw a penis as enhanced as Bob’s before.

How about the commercial of Smiling Bob in Japan where all of the Japanese men are intimidated by “the big wood”? The stereotype is that Japanese men all have small penises (although come to think of it – you never do see any male Japanese porn stars).

And now we have Enzyte NASCAR commercials because – you know – NASCAR fans are just stupid enough to buy “male enhancement” products. Isn’t that the stereotype?

What is funniest about the Enzyte commercials is the offer of a 30-day sample pack. So let me get this straight – a guy is going to measure himself (think of the opening scene from Porky’s) – then take the Enzyte 30-day sample pack and then remeasure himself to see the “enhancement”? Doesn’t it sound more like a SNL skit than a real product?

Now I read where Enzyte is being sued by a man who did not experience any “enhancement” and wants his money back. Is it just me or does this have all the makings of a Jerry Springer show?

Oh and while I’m being so critical – the woman who plays Smiling Bob’s wife is ugly
Strange September Holidays

I'm saddened by the fact that Tuesday was International Talk Like a Pirate Day and I did not observe it.

Today is Hobbit Day (the day the birthdays of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins is celebrated) but is it also Dear Diary Day.

September 15th is Felt Hat Day and September 27th is Crush a Can Day. There are lots of strange holidays in September.

And don't forget that all of September is International Square Dancing Month.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Bad News for Joe Lieberman

Regular readers know that I'm not a big fan of political polls because so often they are not just wrong but way off. However, I do have great respect for Vegas betting lines because the people coming up with the line are literally putting their money where their mouths are.

The most recent betting line on Joe Lieberman getting re-elected is not good news for Liberman. Back on August 24th the betting line was:

YES [winning the election] -$260
NO [losing election] +$175

Meaning you would have had to risk $260 to win $100 betting on Lieberman back then or risk $100 to win $175 on Lamont. For perspective - that is the type of line you would see if Notre Dame played Temple in football.

Today that betting line is down to:

YES [winning the election] -$135
NO [losing election] -$105

Meaning you would have to risk $135 to win $100 betting on Lieberman or risk $105 to win $100 on Lamont. This is just a little above even money (with even money being a -$120 line). For perspective - the latest line is the type of line you would see between the Steelers and Bengals this Sunday in football.

I am scratching my head as to why the odds have dropped so much. Has Lieberman said something really stupid lately? I can't explain the change in betting odds. If I were Joe Lieberman - I'd be worried.
Top 5 - Best Bill Murray Movies

Today's Bill's 56th birthday. Happy birthday you wildman.

1. Groundhog Day
2. Stripes
3. Caddyshack
4. Lost in Translation
5. (tie) Meatballs (tie) Ghostbusters (tie) Quick Change
The Beast of Gévaudan

File this under "You learn something new every day." I had never heard of the beast of Gévaudan but I guess "some consider the creature to be the French equivalent of the Loch Ness Monster."

Robert Louis Stevenson described the beast as "the Napoleon Bonaparte of wolves" while some believe that it was a werewolve (although most attacks came in the morning) or an escaped lion or hyena. The beast is said to have killed eighty-nine people (fifteen women, sixty-eight children, and six men). The deaths were real and so you would have to think the beast was real too.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

A-Rod Agonistes

Excellent piece by Tom Verducci in Sports Illustrated on Alex Rodriguez. Excellent piece - perhaps the best bit of baseball writing I've seen this year.

Not sure about you but I was unfamiliar with the term "Agonistes" so I looked it up on Wikipedia:
The word Agonistes, found as an epithet following a person's name, means 'the struggler' or 'the combatant'. It is most often an allusion to John Milton's 1671 verse tragedy "Samson Agonistes," which recounts the end of Samson's life, when he is a blind captive of the Philistines (famous line: "Eyeless in Gaza at the mill with slaves"). The struggle that "Samson Agonistes" centers upon is the effort of Samson to renew his faith in God's support.

Probably the most famous post-Miltonic use of Agonistes is by T.S. Eliot, who titled one of his dramas Sweeney Agonistes, where Sweeney, who appeared in several of Eliot's poems, represents the materialistic and shallow modern man. Another well-known example is Garry Wills' 1969 political book Nixon Agonistes, discussing embattled president Richard Nixon. Today, the word occasionally appears in headlines in a similar fashion, e.g., Rumsfeld Agonistes, George W. Agonistes.
After reading the article - I came away thinking that maybe A-Rod is not a phony. Maybe he is just that transparent and innocent (like a Melvillian Billy Budd - see SI's not the only one who can drop literary gobsmacks). A-Rod is athletic and he knows it, he's perhaps the best baseball player the last 10 years and he knows it. He's been trying hard and is still as pretty as ever - I'm sure why the fans would boo him is a true mystery in his universe.

Jeter is just a big a phony but Jeter has the advantage of understanding how the real world works. Jason Giambi is a living advertisement for better living through chemicals and has had a worse slump this year than A-Rod but the fans give him a break because he acknowledges his foilables and he still scares the opposing team when its peanutbutter-jelly time.

All I know is that after this piece A-Rod is in an even bigger no-win situation than ever before. If the Yankees fail to win the World Series - A-Rod will be the goat no matter how well he does. If the Yankees win and A-Rod has an MVP performance it will be because Torre and Giambi and the boys made him behave more like a Yankee than a primadonna.

Can you imagine a world where Frank Burns was the greatest surgeon at the 4077th M*A*S*H unit and also the most handsome? In that universe people would still dislike Frank Burns and his co-workers would still snipe about him behind (and in front of) his back. Frank Burns would still be clueless to most of the animosity and at a complete loss to explain why people don't like him.

A-Rod is that Frank Burns and is equally clueless. And as a Red Sox fan let me add that A-Rod eats worms.
Happy Birthday Pauly

Pauly turned 34 today.
I turned 34 today. I have a gut, a bald spot, and an off-shore bank account. I outlived Jesus Christ, Jim Morrison, and Chris Farley. Considering that I was raised Catholic, developed a Doors and Jim Morrison infatuation in college, and considered Tommy Boy one of my Top 10 All Time films... I hung around the party much later than those three influential men.

I've been living on borrowed time. I once told that to Senor when we drove cross country nine summers ago. In my mid 20s, I never expected to make it age 30, let alone see the day when I'd actually be eligible to run for President of the United States. That qualification also groups me into a new demographic... middle-agedom.

34 is not a bad number. I'm still three decades away from retirement age and I can still get away sleeping with 18 year old girls.

Over the last three decades birthdays have come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some I don't even recall like when I turned 22. Some I vividly recall such as my 23rd birthday when a cunt-whorebag French chick who I dated broke up with me. While we stood on the corner of Astor Place in the East Village she made a point to tell me she waited until my birthday to break up with me so I'd always remember the pain for the rest of my life. I've never struck a woman (not counting sexual intercourse) in anger in my life, but she pissed me off so much that I wanted to tackled her down a flight of stairs and beat her face in with my shoe.
Read the whole post for a good dose of retrospection and introspection from one of the best writers on the web.
New York State of Mind

I drove down to the City yesterday for business. I don't mind the drive unless there is too much traffic on the Merritt Parkway and yesterday it was 65-75 MPH the whole way.

The radio makes the trip go by pretty quick and normally I listen to WEEI until just outside Hartford and then switch over to WFAN. Listening to the FAN made me think of baseball for the first time in days. The Mets had just clinched the Eastern Division title the night before and all the calls pretty much fell into two categories; "Hi Joe - Frank from Yonkers, long-time Mets fan and I'd just like to congratulate Willie Randolph and the boys" or "Hi Joe - Mickey from Queens and I just want to congratulate the JV team oh I mean the Mets on their celebration last night because as a Yankee fan all we are allowed to celebrate is World Championships."

Up in Massachusetts there is hardly any Red Sox talk anymore - everything is about the Patriots. The Sox are mentioned about as often as the BC football team. On the FAN everything yesterday was about the Mets with some Giants and Jets talk mixed in.

My meeting was at 2:00 and I got down there about 12:30 - just in time for lunch. I stopped at a local diner and read the NY Post while I ate. It was mostly the same pap I had been listening to on the radio with a bone-head idea by Joel Sherman about adding another wildcard team in baseball thrown in.

One thing did catch my eye though. The good news that Peter Gammons was ready to resume at least part of his duties for ESPN. Gammons was supposed to do a piece for both the 6:00 SportsCenter and the 7:00 Baseball Tonight. I was bummed because I wouldn't be home to see it but glad nonetheless that Peter Gammons was well enough to go back to work.

The announcement about Gammons returning to ESPN also mentioned that Jeff Brantley is being eased out of the BBTN broadcast team. Since the Red Sox had floundered I really haven't been watching BBTN but if it is true that Brantley is no longer in the plans - then that's good news indeed. Now if only they could jettison that human waste of breath John Kruk.

On my drive home I was pretty much waterlogged with WFAN talk so I switched to Sirius stations 103 and 104 to listen to some comedy. I heard the Jim Gaffigan Hot Pockets piece twice on the ride and laughed my ass off both times. For those who have never seen it:

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Adam West

Adam West turns 78-years old today. In his honor here is the theme song to the Batman TV series.

I hope the song gets stuck in your head for the whole day.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Astronaut Training

Cool site - click on the video to see astronauts doing underwater training.

Be sure to click on the "diver cam". Cool stuff.
Daunte Culpepper

I feel bad for anyone who had to do autodraft in their NFL fantasy league and wound up with Daunte Culpepper as their starting QB. However, I have no sympathy for you if you picked Culpepper of yor own free will or if you don't drop himfor whatever starter is still available - even if it is Chris Simms or Charlie Frye.

Culpepper is the fantasy football talisman of doom. He's got a QB rating of 69.2 which is better than both Drew Bledsoe and Jake Delhomme but you know both of those guys will rebound. Culpepper leads all QB's with an eye-popping 10 sacks (even the stationary Bledsoe only has 3) and Culpepper has only thrown for 1 TD while throwing 3 picks.

I laugh at all the sportswriters who picked Miami as the surprise team this year. With Culpepper leading the team - Miami is going nowhere and for the sportswriters to not see that tells you all you need to know about how well they really understand the NFL.
Top 5 - Music Stars Who Choked to Death on Their Own Vomit

On this day in 1970 - rock legend Jimi Hendrix was found dead after choking on his own vomit. Hendrix headlines a list of musicians who choked to death on their own vomit.

1. Jimi Hendrix - guitar god
2. Bonn Scott - original lead singer for AC/DC
3. John Bohnam - drummer Led Zepplin
4. Tommy Dorsey - bandleader and brother of Jimmy Dorsey
5. Mamma Cass - rock myth has her choking on a ham sandwich which technically isn't vomit but since she really died of a heart attack anyway - I thought I'd toss her in at #5 just to round off the list.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Video of the Day

Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Little Steven and Dave Grohl pay tribute to Joe Strummer of the Clash.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Reggie Bush

I have a slight problem with the allegations surrounding Reggie Bush but my issues may not be what you'd expect.

To me the NCAA rules are put into place for two main reasons:

1. To keep schools from "buying" athletes. They don't want boosters or institutions giving players money or benefits in order to play for the college.

2. To keep gambling elements away from NCAA sports to keep the integrity of the game intact.

Even if what is alleged is true - neither of these imperatives has been violated. The benefits did not entice Bush to play at USC and the benefits did affect his play on the field. I don't think this is a big deal.

Think about it - when colleges are recruiting high school players they as a matter of course bring the players and their parents to the campus and put them up at a hotel. The university regularly puts on a fine feedbag at top restaurants for the players with promises of free tuition plus free room and board (market value well above what Bush is alleged to have received). If it is a successful program then the university reaps the benefits of multi-million dollar pay days.

If the player is good enough then it is not unheard of for the university to find the mom or dad a nice paying job so that they can be close to junior. (You are naive beyond belief if you don't think this happens.)

What is alleged against Bush for the most part are not even allegations dealing with Bush's behavior. Most of the allegations have to do with Bush's parents or family. Is the NCAA saying that players have to responsible for the behavior of their parents and siblings too? Is the team supposed to put private detectives out to watch family members to insure no rules are broached? The idea is both just silly and repugnant (in other words - par for the course for the NCAA).

So Bush's step-dad and brothers got new threads for the Heisman presentation. Big fucking deal. It's like a guy who wants a girl to like him so he buys the girl's mom flowers. Except to follow through with the Bush analogy - the girl gets called a slut and has her name dragged through the mud because the mom accepted the flowers.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Must See

Go to this site and give it your full attention. I guaranty you will get chills of appreciation for perhaps our country's bravest soldier.

HT Grouchy Old Cripple
Religious Quandary

Tomorrow poses a big religious test for would-be Presidential candidate Mitt Romney. The Jesuit university Boston College faces off against the Mecca of Mormon higher education BYU. Some enterprising political journalist needs to corner Mitt Romney to find out where he stands on this game. Will he be for the hometown Catholics of BC or will be be a homeboy for the Mormons of BYU? Enquiring minds want to know.

As for me - I like the Boston College Eagles to cover the 7 points over the visiting Cougars of BYU.

So let it be written - so let it be done.
Title of 7th Harry Potter Book

I came across an interesting Internet bet regarding the title of the 7th (and final?) Harry Potter book. Only two choices were given for possible titles. Here are the titles and the odds offered:

Harry Potter and the Parseltongue Trophy -$130 (meaning you would have to risk $130 to win $100)
Harry Potter and the Great Revelation -$110 (meaning you would have to risk $110 to win $100)

This is the first I've heard about these two as possible titles even though I guess the news has been out there for a while. Just thought I'd pass it on.
Ripples of the 1994 Baseball Strike

Yesterday was the 12th anniversary of MLB strike which resulted in the canceling of the rest of the season, the canceling of the World Series and the introduction of replacement players the following spring. The games were cancelled over pure greed but even the greed of the players and owners wasn't enough to kill the game but it did change it in ways we still see today.

The post 1994 baseball landscape features "have" and "have-not" teams to an extent never seen before. For example - this year the payroll of the Yankees is equal to that of the Devil Rays, Royals, Pirates, Marlins and Rockies combined! Fans in Kansas City have virtually no hope of seeing a playoff team never mind a World Series champion under the current arrangement. The only way for them to see a playoff team is to go to see one of the better teams when they visit Kaufman Stadium.

It is almost as bad for fans of "have" teams. In an effort to squeeze every last dollar out of the fan - tickets to games, parking and food and beverage costs have become ridiculous. It is impossible for a blue collar fan to have season tickets any more. You have to drop the equivalent of a new car payment just to see one game at Fenway Park (with that new car being a BMW or Mercedes). Most fans see just one game a year if they are lucky and when they go to that game they aren't shy about booing the home nine if they feel like it. For the money they pay - the fan feels entitled.

The high cost of seeing a MLB game has had a positive consequence - the rise of minor league baseball. Single A or Double AA teams are popping up all over and giving families a relatively inexpensive option to see professional baseball.

The attendance figures for 1995 were down as fans stayed away from the ballpark in a big "screw you greedy bastards" gesture to the owners and players. When the fans started returning two things were cited as major reasons; Cal Ripken's chase of Lou Gehrig's consecutive game record and the HR chase of Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa of Roger Maris' sacred 61.

With the HR race came steroids and the complete blind-eye from players, owners and sportswriters. Mark McGwire was one giant bursting zit and nobody said anything about the possibility of steroids. Instead MLB had him star in a "chicks dig the long ball" commercial. Barry Bonds' head grew like the Grinch's heart on Christmas morning and yet nobody said anything. Personally what was most insulting was the omerta that told us "nothing to see here". Respected sportswriters expected us not to believe what we saw with our own eyes.

When the steroids story broke we had sportswriters covering their asses with "absent a positive test how could we write about it" drivel and owners and Congress stepping in with "think of the children" pleas. Personally - I'm much more concerned about an average student shooting heroin into their arms and ruining their lives forever than I am about some athlete using steroids in hopes of winning a college scholarship. Heroin is much more prevalent in schools than steroids but where are the Congressional hearings on that?

What really brought professional baseball back to being the money making machine that it is today was numbers. Yes numbers. Sabremetrics and fantasy baseball saved MLB and yet nobody ever mentions numbers as the main reason baseball is where it is today.

Many of the pre-1994 fans stopped going to major league games because they were and are sick of the naked greed. The casual fan remains the casual fan. However, in 90% of the cases of the passionate fan - scratch the surface and you find a numbers guy. Chances are excellent that the passionate fan has sabremetric leanings or plays fantasy baseball. Just check out any of the blogs dedicated to baseball teams. How much of what you read from those blogs have to do with the numbers?

So what does MLB do to honor the very constituency that pumps cash into their coffers? They try to screw them by saying MLB owns the numbers. Luckily common sense prevailed in the courts.

The naked greed of MLB is still being felt today (and unfortunately always be a part of pro baseball). I know that Gordon Gecko said that greed is good but witnessing so much greed by MLB at some point makes you sick to your stomach.

The greed of the owners and players hasn't killed baseball yet but it hasn't been from a lack of trying.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Funny Band Names

This list of funny band names is hilarious. Some of my favorites include:

- A Cat Born In An Oven Isn't a Cake
- Almighty Lumberjacks of Death
- The Band Formerly Known As Sausage
- Buster Hymen & the Penetrators
- The Fat Chick from Wilson Phillips
- The Flaming Donuts of Jesus
- Gee That's A Large Beetle I Wonder If It's Poisonous
- Half Man, Half Biscuit
- Henry Kissinger's Tits
- Jehovah’s Witness Protection Program
- The Morbid Tavern Apple Choir
- Not Drowning, Waving
- Orange Juice After Toothpaste
- Sodom & Gomorrah Liberation Front
- The Well Hungarians
- When People Were Shorter and Lived By the Water

I also happen to think that Cluster Bombs for Jesus would be an excellent name for a band. I was surprised that F*U*C*T didn't make the list. They were an actual band whose name had to be spelled out on the radio whenever they had a big gig.
Segway Recall

News is that Segway is recalling all 23,500 units it has sold since 2002. I give credit to Segway for making the recall since the glitch seems very minor in nature.

I marvel at the exposure and publicity Segway has gotten (though in this case it is backfiring a bit). Consider that Segway has probably had just over $100 million in revenues in four years. That's the type of revenue you may get from a very busy McDonald's franchise or two.

Kudos for the marketing Segway. You've even made me want one (although I wouldn't want anyone to see me riding on it).
Why I'm Rooting for the Yankees

I am rooting for the Yankees to win the World Series. That may sound strange coming from a die-hard Red Sox fan but its true. And I'm doing it because its in the best interest of the Red Sox.

Follow me here.

If the Yankees win the World Series they will be less likely to make changes or to sign any major free agents. They are pretty well set at all the positions in the field (maybe 1st base is a bit of a question). For starters - they will have Johnson, Wang, Lidle, Wright and Pavano under contract and should resign Mike Mussina. The only thing they may do is add someone for the bullpen. Not having the Yankees bid for the top free agents is a good thing for the Red Sox because they then become the top dog as far as payroll is concerned.

If the Yankees win it all - that places pressure on the Red Sox front office. In theory the idea of growing the organization from within through the farm system is a solid one. However in reality - prospects you trade away end up throwing no-hitters and the one you keep develops cancer. Red Sox fans will be calling for Theo Epstein's head if no major upgrade is made to the pitching staff this off season. Plus I don't see how signing a major free agent pitcher hurts the idea of growing the farm system (I know you have to give up draft picks but have you looked at how hit-or-miss first round draft picks are in MLB?). Right now the Sox 2007 rotation is Schilling, Beckett and Wakefield. That's it. The Red Sox HAVE to go after a Jason Schmidt hard. I'd be curious what the NESN ratings for the last month have been. I hope the Red Sox are feeling the shortfall of advertising dollars in the pocketbook.

The Red Sox NEED to sign the best free agent starting pitcher available. Having the Yankees win the World Series helps make that happen. Go Yankees!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Bizarre Video

I found this so strange and humorous that I had to share.
Air America Bankrupt?

News is that Air America will file for bankruptcy on Friday. My first thought was whether the New York Boy's and Girl's Clubs will ever get their money back now. It seems that bankruptcy would be the way to shield the current organization from having to repay the money that was embezzled and that paid Al Franken's salary in the first place.

My second thought was who needs Air America anyway when you already have tax payer supported NPR.

It was funny to read the comments to the above link. A bunch of people were calling for Soros or some gazillionaire to step up and fund the money losing Air America. I don't think they understand how businesses actual work in the real world. I suppose I should give them credit for at least not saying that the government should foot the bill. I guess that's a step in the right direction.

Hat Tip NRO's Corner
Michael Yon on Afghanistan

It is sort of depressing news today from Michael Yon but if don't understand the good with the bad - then you'll never come close to the truth.
Our military and our allies kill Taliban by the dozens on a regular basis, but in an area the size of Afghanistan and the surrounding region, this is irrelevant. Combine the populations of Alabama, Georgia, and Florida; Afghanistan has more people. Killing a few dozen Taliban here and there is like coming to Florida and killing a few dozen rabbits. But in Afghanistan, we hunt using satellites, spy drones, and so forth, then swooping in on the killer rabbits with expensive airmobile operations. What does it really cost to kill one terrorist in Afghanistan? The answer is probably in the millions of dollars, and since reconstruction has been a failure, if the entire budget, along with the true long-term costs and soft-costs, of the war in Afghanistan is divided by the number of real terrorists killed, the price of killing one easily-replaceable, illiterate terrorist might be in the tens of millions, or more. It’s as if we were shooting diamonds at them, while dropping bombs made of gold. If killing bad guys is all we do, we will be spending a lot of money to lose a war.
Roald Dahl and Jacqueline Bisset

Today would have been the 90th birthday for Roald Dahl and it is the 61st birthday for Jacqueline Bisset. Both people have a special place in my heart.

It is strange but I think of Jacqueline Bisset as having an impact on my life before Roald Dahl. This is strange because Dahl is the children's writer and Bisset the sexy siren.

I read a lot as a kid (and still do read a lot come to think of it). I never read Peter Benchley's Jaws (though I did start the book several times only to become distracted and put it down). I, however, did read his novel The Deep and I read it before I saw the movie of the same name. It was the movie The Deep that made me a fan of Jacqueline Bisset. What young man bursting with hormones could see Bisset in that wet, white T-shirt and not be a fan?

Some people credit Bisset's wet T-shirt poster for the movie with starting the wet T-shirt contest craze that reached its height in the late 70's and early 80's. One of my fondest memories of high school is sneaking into the wet T-shirt contests at the Office Lounge with buddies who also had fake ID's. It may be strange but I have a fond place in my heart for the phrase "No skin - no win!"

Now it is true that technically I was introduced to the work of Dahl before I was introduced to the bosoms of Bisset but I did not realize it at the time. Everyone my age can remember watching Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory as a kid. I associated that movie in my mind with Gene Wilder the star of the movie and not the guy who wrote the book upon which it was based though.

As an aside - did you know that they changed the name of the movie from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory because the producers were afraid that movie goers would think the movie had something to do with the North Vietnamese (the movie came out in 1971 toward the end of the Vietnam war). Every time I think of why they changed the name I chuckle. Did they really believe that people would come away thinking things like "Charlie loves the smell of chocolate in the morning" or "Charlie don't surf but he does make chocolate"?

Anyway - my real introduction to Dahl was as a parent. My wife and I did a good job reading to our kids and one of our favorite "chapter books" (one or two chapters before bed) was James and the Giant Peach. I thank Dahl for making that reading time as interesting for the parent as it was for the kid (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was another good chapter book but the best was The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh).

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Grandpa's Lemonade

I really want to mix up a batch of this:
4 cups sweet tea
2 cups orange juice, not from concentrate
2 cups rum
1 cup water
3/4 cup frozen lemonade concentrate
1/2 cup pineapple juice, not from concentrate
1/4 cup triple sec
Note it's not my recipe - it came from The Happy Carpenter (and if he's drinking this stuff - I can see why he's happy)
Commercials Pilots and Guns

Five years after 9/11 and commercial pilots are still running into roadblocks regarding the common sense idea of allowing them to carry firearms in the cockpit.
Pilots disagree, saying the Transportation Security Administration, is discouraging them from signing up by requiring background and psychological checks, ordering pilots to carry guns in lockboxes and holding the training at a single remote site.

"We estimate 40,000 pilots would volunteer if it were properly managed by the TSA," said Capt. Bob Lambert, president of the Airline Pilots' Security Alliance, who was speaking at a Tuesday news conference. Pilots are trying to pressure the Bush administration to move ahead quickly with the training program.
To me it seems obvious that the TSA is trying to kill the program with red tape and bureaucracy.
The agency had opposed arming pilots, believing tighter airport security, bulletproof cockpit doors and more vigilant passengers made it unnecessary. Critics also said adding guns to airplanes was inherently dangerous.

But after it became obvious that Congress would support the program, TSA chief James Loy reluctantly went along.
Dick Vermeil and Ron Jaworski For Monday Night Football

I tried to stay up for the Chargers / Raiders game last night and made it to the 3rd quarter before falling asleep on the couch. However, I did see enough of the game to be blown away by how good Dick Vermeil and Ron Jaworski were as analysts. They were smart, they were funny and they were insightful. They made me want to turn up the volume to hear what they were saying instead of turning on the mute button (hello Joe Theisman).

Eric at Off Win Opinion felt the same way.

I thought Brad Nessler was OK. In my mind though he was a spare part and it was the dynamic between ex-QB (Jaworski) and ex-coach (Vermeil) that made it something special. Add in a Sean McDonoungh and you probably have the best broadcasting booth in football.

One last comment - I'm an Arnold Schwarzenegger fan (more politically than movie wise) but last night he came off as a complete moron when he went into the broadcast booth. I hope his advisors keep him away from live micrphones at all future sporting events.
The Hot War in Afghanistan

Michael Yon offers a sobering view of where the fighting in Afghanistan stands today.
There is a widespread notion that Afghanistan is safer for our troops than Iraq, yet Coalition and NATO combat deaths in Afghanistan are per capita nearly identical to those in Iraq. In 2007, it looks as if per capita combat deaths will likely be significantly higher in Afghanistan than in Iraq. Why? There are many reasons, but one of the most important is that our European allies have been slow to recognize the reality that a monster really is under the bed. After years of neglect and dawdling, they are finally beginning to adjust, but they are still not keeping pace with the threat. They are still not providing their people with proper equipment, all while the Taliban is getting stronger from the billion-dollar narcotics backwash that floods enemy coffers. As in Iraq, troop numbers are also dangerously low in Afghanistan, and the handfuls of friendly forces there lack sufficient air power to stretch their security resources.
We have to destroy those poppy crops. I can't see any other way.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Ground Rules

In baseball each park has idiosyncrasies which require going over "ground rules" particular to that park before each game so that each team knows what the rules are going into the game. Each state in our Union has laws or rules particular to that state. It is illegal to swear in front of women and children in Michigan and in Pennsylvania a person is not eligible to be governor if they have participated in a duel. Each state has their own set of ground rules and as Americans we are cool with that. Some states for instance may have the death penalty and you may disagree with the death penalty but the law for that state remains the same.

Each country around the world has their own set of laws or "ground rules" but it seems to me that the US wants to extend their laws to other countries as if to say that our laws are better than the laws of the countries that we may be in. It as if someone from Connecticut going to Nevada thinking that gambling must be illegal to them because they are from Connecticut and will be returning to Connecticut.

What got me thinking this was watching The Path to 9/11 last night and in particular the scene where Ramzi Yousef is captured in Pakistan and the US agents are asking him questions, suddenly the Pakistani colonel stops the car and says "Give me an hour alone with him and I'll get you the information you need." We were in Pakistan and Yousef was in Pakistani custody. If their "interrogation" methods were brutal - so be it. We should have played by their ground rules. Instead our law says that we have to play by our "ground rules" no matter where we are in the world.

Having to play by our ground rules no matter where we are in the world puts us at a disadvantage. In a war - being at a disadvantage gets people killed. I say US laws for US soil. If a terrorists want to hide out in countries where torture is par for the course - well they made their bed as far as I'm concerned who are we to say they need Miranda rights on foreign soil?
Never forget.

American Airlines Flight 11

American Airlines Flight 77

United Airlines Flight 175

United Airlines Flight 93

The Pentagon

The World Trade Center

Let’s Roll

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The $2 Million Screw-up

The was a HUGE screw-up in this year's WSOP but you won't hear anything about it from ESPN or the mainstream media. Luckily is on the case. They had three articles that explain the problem and solve the question of where the extra $2 million in chips came from. Interesting reading for fans of poker and the WSOP.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

I can't wait for Part 4 where players and officials respond to why nobody said anything about the introduction of $2 million of chips.

HT Tao of Poker
What Does a Yellow light Mean?

An all-time classic TV momment.

HT Big Stupid Tommy

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Top 5 Songs with the Word "Time" in the Title

1. Time - Pink Floyd
2. Good Riddance (Time of Our Life) - Green Day
3. Got the Time - Joe Jackson
4. Time in a Bottle - Jim Croce
5. (tie) Closing Time - Semisonic (tie) As Time Goes By - From the movie Casablanca
Rachel Hunter's Saturday Picks

I was over at Rachel Hunter's place last night giving her a pre-birthday backrub (she turns 37 today) and while I was kneading the small of her back I turned to small talk. Knowing that she was a sports fan I asked her if she followed American football as well as English "football".

I was surprised to find her a big fan of college football and very knowledgeable too boot. Assuming that the knowledge of an "older" woman is the best - I asked her who she liked in today's games and she gave me the following picks and comments:

- I like Central Florida getting 23 1/2 points over Florida. I mean Central Florida may be an unknown program but they did go to a bowl game last year (the Hawaii Bowl) and they have a good coach. I know George O'Leary may be best known for padding his resume but I look at that like a girl padding her bra. Its what's underneath that counts and underneath my padded bra is something real and fantastic. I think O'Leary's football savvy is something real and fantastic too. Take the points.

- Take Vanderbuilt and the 16 points against Alabama. I mean I was a huge fan of Gloria Vanderbuilt. Besides the Commadores are 5-0-1 against the spread in their last 6 road games.

- I'm going to have to take Virginia Tech and give the 13 1/2 points against North Carolina. Last fall Va Tech beat the Tar Heels 30-3 and I don't think anything will be different this time. Have I mentioned that Rod Stewart used to like to wear my silk undies?

Friday, September 08, 2006

Nomar Garciaparra

This year Nomar is hitting .309 for the Dodgers. That's a career year for most people but that average actually drops Nomar's career average down a point from .320 to .319.

One of the whispers about Nomar after he left the Red Sox was that he was a possible steroids guy. That's how insiduous steroids and steroid rumors have become. In Nomar's defense I would like to point out that in his career he has hit a HR on average every 23.1 AB and this year that has decreased just slightly to a HR every 25.3 AB even though he's playing most of his games in the expanse of Chavez Ravine and not Frendly Fenway.

It's interesting to me that Nomar's career batting average of .319 basically puts him into a tie for 55th place all-time with two Massachusetts born players - Pie Traynor and Mickey Cochrane - both of whom are Hall of Famers. I hope Nomar someday makes it to Cooperstown but I fear that's going to be an uphill battle.

EDIT: Updated stats to reflect last night's game as well
Jason Varitek

Jason Varitek hit a HR tonight against the Royals. That HR gives him 131 as a member of the Red Sox and ties him for 18th place on the Red Sox all-time list. The top 18 for the Red Sox is as follows:

1. Ted Williams 521
2. Carl Yastrzemski 452
3. Jim Rice 382
4. Dwight Evans 379
5. Manny Ramirez 233
6. Mo Vaughn 230
7. Bobby Doerr 223
8. Jimmy Foxx 222
9. Rico Petrocelli 210
10 Nomar Garciaparra 178
11 Jackie Jensen 170
12 David Ortiz 166
13 (tie) Tony Conigliaro 162
13 (tie) Carlton Fisk 162
15 George Scott 154
16 Reggie Smith 149
17 Trot Nixon 132
18 (tie) Frank Malzone 131
18 (tie) Jason Varitek

Varitek was tied with Mike Greenwell with 130. I don't think he'll break the top 10 but Varitek really has a shot at tying or beating Carlton Fisk's record for HR by a catcher of 162.
Star Trek

Today is actually the 40th anniversary of the airing of first Star Trek episode "The Man Trap". In honor of that auspicious event here is a video I think you'll get a kick out of (warning some NSFW lyrics). Star Trek meets Seven meets Nine Inch Nails - what's not to like?

EDIT: I should probably warn you that I have a sick sense of humor. If you click the video you'll confirm that.

HT Something Awful for the video
A Real American Hero

On this day in 1828 Joshua Chamberlain was born. Chamberlain is without a doubt the greatest native son that Maine has ever produced. It is criminal that Maine does not have a day every year to celibrate his accomplishments.

It is not too much of a stretch to say that if not for the heroics of Chamberlain and the 20th Maine at Little Round Top - the Confederate Army under Robert E. Lee could have won the Battle of Gettysburg and with that battle maybe won the Civil War. The respect of Chamberlain as a leader was such that General Grant chose Chamberlain to receive the formal surrender of the Confederate Army at Appomattox.

Chamberlain won the Medal of Honor for his actions at Little Round Top and post war he served both as Governor of Maine and President of Bowdoin College. What else does a guy have to do to get a day in his honor in the state of Maine?
Football is Hard Work and Groin Pulls

Miscellaneous NFL thoughts and observations.

Daunte Culpeper is the new Drew Bledsoe as far as getting sacked is concerned. Culpeper is more nimble but his decsion making process is slower. The only thing that will keep him from leading the NFL in times sacked will be all those three and outs he'll be leading the Dolphins to this season... Already I am so sick of seeing Peyton Manning in TV commercails. Is it wrong from me to wish a broken leg on him after a single snap this season? I guess Peyton has the time to film those commercials while Tom Brady is busy playing playoff games... I wonder how the people who picked the Dolphins to win the AFC East feel about their prediction this morning?... One of the picks I like on Sunday is the over (36.5 points) in the Dallas / Jacksonville game... So many people seem to be saying that the Patriots will have a down season this year and I don't understand it. To me - this Patriot team could be one of the better ones in recent year. The defensive line may be the best it ever had and for the first time in a very long time - the Patriots have two running backs which teams will have to always be aware of. The running backs mean defenses will have to keep more men in the box which is the equivalent of telling Tom Brady - "go ahead try and beat us." Look for Brady to have a HUGE year....

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Blogging Success Story

Aaron Gleeman has a new job. I'll let him explain the new gig:
As part of the site's re-launch, has brought in mainstream media veterans like Tom Curran of the Providence Journal, Alan Abrahamson of the Los Angeles Times, Darren Rovell of ESPN, and John Walters of Sports Illustrated to anchor the football coverage, and will roll out a similarly impressive roster of writers for other sports in the coming months.

Which is where I come into the picture. I've agreed to a multi-year contract to join the stable of writers, covering both baseball and football. I'll be focusing on the same RotoWorld-based fantasy content during the site's infancy, with my role expanding gradually once begins to fully take shape.
Good luck Aaron.
Where Rumors Get Started

Here's what I wrote on August 14th:
If Lieberman loses in November – I wouldn’t be surprised if he is offered up as a replacement for Donald Rumsfeld to head the Department of Defense. I don’t think Lieberman will lose but if he does – the above scenario is not unlikely.
Here's what the New York Times wrote today:
Mr. Lieberman, now running as an independent, has denied any interest in the job, and the White House has said it stands behind Mr. Rumsfeld. But that did not stop Ned Lamont, the primary victor, from alluding to the rumor on Wednesday to criticize Mr. Lieberman’s support for the war in Iraq.

“It doesn’t matter if Donald Rumsfeld retires and somebody who thinks just like him goes into place,” Mr. Lamont said at a Sperling Breakfast here, named for the journalist who started the gatherings years ago.

“If you’re replacing Rumsfeld with Lieberman, that would be what we call in my world a lateral move.”
Buy the Dress!

Maybe my last excuse to post this picture of Melissa Lima and "the boys". She is selling her now famous brown dress on ebay.

Hat tip to Large Bill
Blame Game at New York Times?

News came today that Richard Gilman will be replaced as publisher of the Boston Globe basically effective immediately (his replacement Steven Ainsley will start Septemeber 12th).

It has to be said that the Boston Globe is a shadow of its former self and I'm sure that Richard Gilman is not blameless for that decline. It also has to be said though that the general decline of the Boston Globe started in 1994 when the paper was acquired by the New York Times Company. The blame for the decline in circulation and quality was today fixed on Richard Gilman but the underlying problems really to blame were left unaddressed.

The Boston Globe of my youth was a paper with the best sports section in the country and a reputation for reporting news that was unmatched and well deserved. Under the management of the New York Time the sports section has been gutted while the paper itself has become a shill rag for liberal causes.

The daily circulation of the Boston Globe is roughly 413,000. That means that nationaly the Boston Globe is seen by less than half the people who would watch a re-run of Family Guy on the Cartoon Netwok. Think about that for a minute.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Investing in Bad Idea Jeans - Again

Jane Fonda, Gloria Steinem, and Rosie O'Donnell are backing a new left-wing radio network called GreenStone. Haven't we been down this road before with Air America?

I guess "Yes and No" would be the answer to that question. This new network is going to impose their political views in a supposed stealth manner through humor, cooking tips and how I broke that glass ceiling interviews (as opposed to Air America whose plan was to just call anyone who disagreed with their political views a moron). Of course, though, all hosts and guess for the new network will need the Planned Parenthood seal of approval before going on air.

You have to wonder if the investors really have nothing better to do with their money. I guess the investors view this as a worthy cause (and just burning the money on the front lawn would anger the global warming folks). The cause you ask? Why unseating Rush Limbaugh as the king of talk radio of course. Talk about tilting at windmills.

My guess is that these people don't realize that Rush grew his audience from the ground up. It took him 18-years to get the audience he has today. Air America and now GreenStone are looking for overnight success (which is why they will face big-time disappointment). I also don't think that GreenStone has really thought through their target audience.

The big tip-off that these folks are clueless was this quote from Gloria Steinem:
"AM talk radio does not reflect the fact that only 30 percent of the country, at the most, is anywhere near Rush Limbaugh," Steinem said.
30 percent of the country is roughly 90 million people. Rush "only" gets a few million people a day to listen to his show. Steinem must think that because women make up slightly more than half our population that their target audience is really slightly more than 150 million. However if you break it down it spells bad news for GreenStone:

Young Women - they'll be listening to music via their Ipod or somewhere.
Old Women - probably not listening to anything (or maybe Rush)
Women of Childbearing age - if they are childless they will be at work and not listening to the radio. If they have children then they will be listening to The Wiggles or a DVD of Dora the Explorer will be playing in the back seat. When the kids aren't in the car - chances are the mom will have nothing on just to get a few moments of peace and quiet.

Steinem will be sorely disappointed when the audience for GreenStone comes in at the tens of thousands and not in the millions. I wish there was someplace I could go to bet that Green Stone would be an awful failure. The investors would be better just burning their money on the front lawn. It would be quicker.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Deion Branch Arbitration

Deion Branch is still holding out and it is starting to bug me that he's not in Patriot's training camp yet. It has gotten to the point where I have decided to take it upon myself to arbitrate the issues that seem to be separating the two sides.

Issue One - the 5-year Rookie Deal: Deion wants a new contract. He thinks it was unfair that the Patriots signed him to a 5-year rookie deal when most other players only got 4-year deals. Now that Deion is playing at elite levels he wants to be paid like an elite player.

The Patriots say that nobody held a gun to Branch's head when he signed that contract. It was Branch's decision to go with the player representation that had him signing a 5-year deal with the Patriots. Branch picked his agent and Branch signed a 5-year deal. Bottom line - Branch is under contract for 2006.

Arbiter's decision - Patriots: Has it gotten to the point that you not only can't take someone at their word but even binding contracts mean nothing? Branch can decide to not play for the Patriots but that will also be a decision to not play in the NFL anytime soon as far as the arbiter is concerned.

Issue Two - the Franchise Tag: Branch doesn't want to get hit with the franchise tag next season and wants the Patriots to promise that they won't use it on him.

Patriots - so you want us to promise you something when your name signed on the dotted line of a contract isn't even enough for you to keep your word?

Arbiter's Decision - Patriots: When you look at the franchise tag you find three things of interest:

1. It means that the player gets paid the average of the top 5 paid players at the same position for a one year deal.

2. It means the team gets compensation (normally 1 or 2 first round draft picks) if the player signs with another team.

3. The franchise tag was something agreed to under the collective bargaining agreement. It is part of the rules of engagement (so to speak).

It is very arguable that Deion Branch is not among the top 5 receivers in the game (and this is coming from a Patriots fan). It should also be noted that when Deion tried to arrange a trade - the best compensation he came up with for the Patriots was a 2nd round pick. Why would the Patriots settle for a 2nd round pick when they can use the franchise tag to get at least one number one?

Issue Three - Deion trade grievance: Deion said the Patriots gave him permission to make a deal with another team. Both the Jets and Seahawks had deals for him but the Patriots renegged.

Patriots - we never said we were going to give him away. Getting just a 2nd round pick in exchange is not a good deal for the Patriots.

Arbiter's Decision - Patriots: Branch wants a multi-year deal that will pay him as one of the top players but he expects the Patriots to get just a second round pick in exchange if he's traded? Deion - if you think you are worth that much money than you are also worth at least a first round pick in exchange.

Missing this much of training camp (essentially the entire camp) will make it very difficult for Branch to pick up another team's system. As it is - the conditioning factor will make it difficult for Branch to even help the Patriots much for the first 4 or so games.

Deion Branch needs to get back into camp because he's not doing himself or his team or his future earnings potential any favors.

Arbiters decision: Here is my way to resolve this loggerneck.

1. Branch is given 24 hours to come up with a list of teams that will trade the Patriots a 2007 first round draft pick in exchange for Branch.
2. The Patriots pick from one of those teams and trade Branch. It is then up to Branch to get a new contract from the team he was traded to.
3. If no team is willing to trade a first rounder for Branch - then the Patriots take the fine money from Branch's holdout and use it to purchase an insurance policy for the amount of $20 million in case Branch suffers a career ending injury this year (the fines and the premium should about balance out). Branch plays the 2007 season at his signed contract rate but has the peace of mind of knowing he is covered if he gets hurt.
Touching All the Red Sox Bases

Chad Finn basically covers everything I was thinking about the Red Sox in his latest Touching All the Bases. I will quibble somewhat on one thing:
So the Sox are six back in the wild-card and nine in the division with 24 games left to play. While stranger things have happened, I'd say the more reasonable among us agree that the 2006 playoffs will go on without the Boston Red Sox' participation. And you know what? I find myself feeling strangely fine about this.
The Red Sox have just enough games left with the White Sox and Twins to make you say that you don't believe even though you still harbor hope - a hope you know is silly to hold. That hope will seem real at some point in the next month only to be dashed and leave you feeling like a fool for falling for Lucy and her football trick once more.

That's what being a Red Sox fan is like.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Steve Irwin

By now you've no doubt heard that "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin was killed in a freak accident involving a him catching the barb of a sting ray to the heart. News of Irwin's death came as a shock and it seems everyone is talking about it. I go to the super market and people are talking about Irwin on the radio. I go into the super market and CNN is talking about Irwin on the TV. At home my daughters are IMing their friends. The topic? How sad they are about Steve Irwin dying.

I like to think that Steve Irwin was one of those rare celebrities who were exactly like what they appeared as on TV. I feel awful for his wife and kids. And I hope that the video footage of his death is never aired anywhere. His kids deserve better than that.
Top 5 Schoolhouse Rock Songs

1. I'm Just a Bill
2. Conjunction Junction
3. My Hero, Zero
4. No More Kings
5. Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, Get Your Adverbs Here

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Holy Cross 26 - Georgetown 13

On a day when it was either raining, drizzling or waiting to rain - Holy Cross played Georgetown down in DC. It was a day when the cloud cover was so thick that you couldn't see the jets from Reagan national airport as they boomed overhead.

Pre-game I set the over/under at 45 points for a friendly bet with my buddy Eddie. He took the under and I had the over.

The first half was pretty uneventful. At 11:13 in the second quarter Crusader QB sophomore Dominic Randolph went down with an ankle injury and was replaced by junior QB Brian McSherry. For most teams losing the starting QB would be devastating but the race to be starter for the Crusaders between Randolph and McSherry was so close that nothing was lost for Holy Cross.

The half-time score was 13-0 Holy Cross and the MVP's of the first half were probably the punters. With the game fairly boring I thought it would be good to turn the attention to various trivia matters:

- Did you know that "Hoya" (as in Georgetown Hoya) come from the Latin term "hoya saxa" (which loosely means "what rocks!")? So the team mascot is basically a luck of the draw - it sounded good in Latin deal. It just as easily could have been the Georgetown Oscilas (as in "que oscila" - Spanish for "what rocks!").

- Pre-game I had a question which still hasn't been answered. What is the protocol on umbrellas and the singing of the National Anthem? You remove your hat when the anthem is played - should you also put down your umbrella to uncover your head in respect? Still don't know about that one.

- The game program talks about Georgetown and touts the following:
Distinguished professors include former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former Director of the CIA George Tenet, best selling author and linguist Deborah Tannen, former National Security Advisor Anthony Lake and former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar. Recent visiting faculty include Grammy-winner Bobby McFerrin and acclaimed author Mario Vargas Llosa.
Talk about putting the "liberal" into a liberal arts education.

- One "politically correct" thing that kinda bugged me - the campus police at Georgetown aren't called campus police. They are called "public safety". That's a bit much. Just call them campus police. The word "police" shouldn't be a dirty word.

Georgetown has a nice little tradition. Each year they give the jersey number 35 to the top student-athlete to honor and remember Joe Eacobacci who worked for Cantor Fitzgerald and who died on September 11th. This year the #35 jersey was given to senior defensive end Alex Buzbee who was the best Hoya player on defense by far. What puzzled me was the fact that Buzbee missed the entire 3rd quarter and no report on the game that I've seen explained why.

The final score was 26-13 but Georgetown was driving in the final minutes and I was rooting for them. One more score and I would have covered the over and won my bet with Eddie.

Neither the HC offense or defense did anything unusual. It was very vanilla on both sides of the ball as if the coaches had made up their minds not to expose anything that next week's opponent Northeastern could gleam from game film.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Holy Cross / Georgetown

No blogging today. I'm down in DC for the Holy Cross / Georgetown football game. I wish I knew a site that took 1-AA football action because I would load up on Holy Cross. They are going to cruise to victory today.

So let it be written - so let it be done.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Morning Links

I haven't done morning links in quite some time but here are some articles worthy of your attention.

- Parallels between Bush in Iraq and Truman in Korea (I've been making that case for some time)

- USA Basketball loses to Greece? Is this like the Canadian National hockey team losing to Argentina?

- VDH Friday - you are always a smarter person after reading a Victor Davis Hanson essay. Highlight from today's:
Here at home we witness “al-Qaedism” — fanatics shooting Jews in Seattle, murder at the Los Angeles airport, an SUV running over innocent pedestrians in San Francisco or driving over students in North Carolina, sniping in Maryland. And we shrug them all off. Surely such incidents can be explained, are not connected, occur at random — anything other than the truth that the constant harangues of the Islamic fascists really do filter down, even if randomly and spontaneously, to a number of angry and alienated young Muslim males in the West.
- Tommy has some pretty good Price Is Right observations
The Scream Recovered

Good news from Oslo - Edward Munch's masterpiece The Scream has been recovered. There is also good news from Boston as the Red Sox have finally won a game.

It was just over 2-years ago that The Scream was stolen and it was just under 2-years ago that the Red Sox won their first World Series in 86 years. Many fans of Munch were depressed at the thought that the masterpiece would never be recovered while many fans of the Red Sox thought that the new found good times would last forever while also proclaiming at least a 5-year grace period in complaining about the team (hello Bill Simmons).

What a difference 2-years makes.

This morning the Red Sox stand 8 games behind the Yankees in the AL East and 6.5 games back of the White Sox for the AL Wildcard. In case Red Sox fans haven't gotten the message that the BoSox are out of it - GM Theo Epstein sent even the most optimistic member of Red Sox Nation a reality check by trading pitcher David Wells to the Padres. The Red Sox will supposedly get prospect catcher George Kottaras in the deal. This is another message to the faithful that the season is over (if the Sox thought they were still in it they at least would have traded for someone who could help the big league club today).

One thing that kinda bugged me in that ESPN story linked above was the last paragraph:
The Padres signed right-handed reliever Rudy Seanez, who's making his fourth career stop in San Diego. He was designated for assignment by Boston on Aug. 19.
Seanez was signed by the Red Sox in the offseason. Along with Julian Tavarez - Seanez was supposed to anchor the Red Sox bullpen (and I guess he was a sort of anchor to the team but not in the good sense). It was down to the Padres and Red Sox last offseason for Seanez's services. The Red Sox won out but now Seanez will be playing for the Padres basically for free and I can almost guarantee that he will be great for the rest of the season.

The Padres have really helped themselves with the acquisition of Wells and the signing of Seanez. However, they are 3 games back of the Dodgers and personally I'll be rooting for the West Coast Red Sox (aka Dodgers) to win the NL West. I will be rooting for David Wells though. In his time in Boston I've come to really like him.

Wells is one of the best big game pitchers in baseball history. He owns a 10-4 post season record with a 3.15 ERA. Last year he was the lone pitching highlight in the Red Sox playoff disaster against the White Sox. Good luck and Godspeed Boomer.