Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Guy Laliberté - Space Tourist

I'm a fan of Guy Laliberté. He's the billionaire founder of Cirque du Soleil who became a hero of mine after I watched him play poker on High Stakes Poker. He just seemed like such a likable and genuine guy.

Now Laliberté can add to his list of accomplishments the title of astronaut (or probably more accurately - cosmonaut).

$35 million to a guy like Guy for the chance to go into space? That's a bargain.
Morning Fun Stuff

Some morning links that hopefully will make you smile or think to get you day going.

- Carl Sagan and the Glorious Dawn (with backing vocals by Stephen Hawking).

- The awesomeness that is Mike Blowers. With a gift like this he should quit baseball and just pick Mega Millions numbers.

- Mel Gibson as Walter in Jodie Foster's The Beaver. This is so strange that it actually could be cool to see. (BTW - My mind first read the headline as "Mel Gibson in Jodie Foster's Beaver" and I thought it was about something else altogether.)

- Hey There Cthulhu

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Do Catchers Wear Down in September?

Interesting little study on the offensive performance of catchers in September.

You would think catching - being the most taxing position physically - would show the most drop in production but the conclusion was surprising.
Fixing Healthcare

Some very interesting ideas about how to lower the costs of healthcare - specifically the costs of doctor's visits. It seems like a very logical and well thought out plan.

One suggestion that I'd make. I would allow individuals and families to take unused monies put into PSA's and allow them to transfer those funds into 401K's or IRA with no tax penalties. I'd allow this transfer any time between January 1st and April 15th. Currently most PSA plans are calendar year "use it or lose it" and many people use this unused money on items that they don't really need just to avoid losing it. This wrinkle would allow better efficiencies and encourage retirement savings at the same time.
JP Riccardi

I'm starting to feel like the last guy on the JP Riccardi bandwagon. Reports are starting to more than trickle out that his job is in jeopardy. I don't think that's fair.

Riccardi was put in a damned if you do - damned if you don't situation. When he took the job in Toronto the Canadian dollar was strong and he was expected to spend some money by the fans of the team. Specifically he was expected to spend that money on fan favorite Vernon Wells. Now it is that contract, along with the deals given to Alex Rios and BJ Ryan that are coming back to haunt him. It was these three deals and how he handled the potential trade of Roy Halladay that have put him in this situation.

As I said - he HAD to sign Vernon Wells. Letting fan favorite Wells walk would have cost Riccardi his job. He gave the fans what they wanted and now the fans are mad at him for it. That's not fair.

At the time of the BJ Ryan signing - Riccardi was pretty much hailed for making a very savvy signing. Because of the strength of the Canadian dollar at the time - the money spent on Ryan wasn't as much as it seemed. Ryan was a guy who was used to the AL East and not just unafraid of the Yankees and Red Sox but successful pitching against them. The Yankees had Mo Rivera and the Red Sox had Jonathan Papelbon. BJ Ryan was supposed to be the Blue Jays answer to the other teams' closers. Remember - it was a very popular move at the time that propelled many people to make the Blue Jays the trendy pick to win the AL East that year.

Alex Rios? That was a bad signing plain and simple. However, like Vernon Wells - Alex Rios was a fan favorite. Riccardi signed him but I think it is only fair to give him credit for dumping him before the big money kicked in.

Riccardi doesn't get the credit he deserves for building a foundation that can be built upon and which can bring success in the near term. Aaron Hill and Adam Lind give the Blue Jays a 3-4 punch as good as any in baseball. The pitching when healthy is also among the best and deepest in baseball. JP Riccardi is under contract for 2010 and I think he deserves to come back.

I know that this isn't a popular opinion but I think I'm right about this.

Monday, September 28, 2009

More Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Tomorrow is National Coffee Day. I know it's a made up holiday made to get you drinking more coffee but I plan to be fully caffeinated anyway... President Obama is going to Denmark to lobby the IOC in support of Chicago's bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics. I wonder if President Obama would be spending the time and the resources if this was for another American city other than Chicago? Just another job that Mitt Romney would have been better qualified for. Dick Pound indeed!... Heh heh - from @Adam_Schefter Best headline about the Lions victory over the Redskins: "Washington Bails out Detroit Again."... When Sean Connery met Michael Caine... The Patriots won yesterday so I am loathe to link to something negative but I do have to say that this column on Randy Moss points out things that people I was watching the game with noticed as well...
Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

I'm so sick of Michael Vick. Enough already. The guy will never be a factor in the NFL ever again. Stop with the stories and updates. I don't think I'm alone in saying I just don't care anymore... On this day back in 1941 Ted Williams finished the season with a .406 batting average becoming perhaps the last major league batter to ever reach .400 for a season. Amazingly Williams did not win the MVP that season despite hitting with 37 HR, 120 RBI and 135 runs scored. The voters just like Joe DiMaggio and his 56-game hitting streak better.... Now we'll never have to hear about how Ben Roethlisberger has never lost a game in the state of Ohio ever again... Today is Ryan Zimmerman's 25th birthday. I like to think of Zimmerman as Kevin Youkilis if Youkilis was stuck on an awful team... There is a good chance that the Cleveland Browns could lose every game this year matching the Lions mark of futility from last season. Is it me or does Eric Mangini seem like Rick Kotite without the charisma?...
2007 NFL Draft - the QB's

In the 2007 NFL Draft there were 225 players taken of which 11 were quarterbacks.

JaMarcus Russell - Oakland - 1st
Brady Quinn - Cleveland - 22nd
Kevin Kolb - Philadelphia - 36th (2nd round)
John Beck - Miami - 40th (2nd round)
Drew Stanton - Detroit - 43rd (2nd round)
Trent Edwards - Buffalo - 92nd (3rd round)
Isaiah Stanback - Dallas 103rd (4th round)
Jeff Rowe - Cincinnati - 151st (5th round)
Troy Smith - Baltimore - 174th (5th round)
Jordan Palmer - Washington - 205th (6th round)
Tyler Thigpen - Minnesota - 217th (7th round)

Yesterday 4 of those QB's saw action in NFL games. Here's how they did in order of effectiveness.

Kevin Kolb 24/34 327 yds 2 TD
Trent Edwards 20/35 156 yds
JaMarcus Russell 12/21 61 yds
Brady Quinn 6/8 34 yds 1 INT

It almost seems that the earlier a QB was taken in the draft - the worse the performance. One other thing I found interesting about this class of QB's - compare the career numbers for these 2 players:

Player A - 2,649 yds / 18 TD / 13 INT / 74.8 Passer Rating
Player B - 3,174 yds / 16 TD / 16 INT / 68.8 Passer Rating

Player A is Tyler Thigpen, the last QB taken in the 2007 draft and Player A is JaMarcus Russell, the first player taken overall in the 2007 draft. I think you could easily make the argument that Thigpen has been the more effective QB.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Bizarro College Football Mirror of Erised

People see what they want to see when it comes to Notre Dame. They are a real-life college football version of the Mirror of Erised from Harry Potter (a magical mirror which would show a person what they desired to see most).

Preseason the Irish were ranked 23rd based on what? What people wanted to see in the team and certainly not on what the team has accomplished in recent history.

Notre Dame beat Nevada 35-0 to start the season. Fans of the team see the offensive production and start thinking maybe Lou Holtz is right and this team could compete for a national title. People who hate Notre Dame (and it seem people really do fall into either camp - nobody who follows college football seems neutral on the subject) say - it was just Nevada. Well Nevada is now 0-3 - so in hindsight what did this game really prove?

Next was Rich Rodriguez and the Michigan Wolverines up in Ann Arbor. ND lost the game when Michigan QB Tate Forcier threw a TD with just 11 seconds left in the game. The final was 38-34. The fans of the Irish said that their team was jobbed by the referees (and if you watched the game - this is a pretty valid point). Fans of Michigan said that beating ND showed that Michigan was back in the big-time (and this win did propel Michigan into the top 25). Fans of Michigan gave ND more credit than was maybe due because it served their desire to see their team back in the highlife. Yesterday Michigan just got past Indiana 36-33 on a very suspect interception (another gift from the referees in a home game in Ann Arbor?). I wish that Michigan was to play Ohio State next week instead of the last game of the season because Michigan's bubble will be burst by reality sometime soon and I'd like a good shot at making some money off an overinflated betting line before that happens (and yes - I had bought into the Michigan hype myself but now my eyes can see).

The third game of the season was a tilt against nemesis Michigan State - a team that seems to have Notre Dame's number the same way Iowa has Penn State's. The Irish were given a gift win when a last minute interception allowed them a 33-30 victory. Never mind the fact that Michigan State had lost to Central Michigan and is now just 1-3 on the season. The Irish fans rejoiced in vanquishing the traditional foe!

Last night was the cherry on the top. A last minute 24-21 victory over a questionable Purdue team was a complete gift. Charlie Weis went into a four-corners offense in the 3rd quarter when up by just 10 points against a team that wasn't stopping their run. The ND defense allows 2 late TD's and it was only the awful coaching job by Purdue's Danny Hope that allowed the last minute game-winning TD (calling a time out with 26 seconds when the clock was running and the Irish were out of time-outs - gack!). Purdue fans will look at this game and comfort themselves with the thought that even though they lost a squeaker and are now just 1-3 - they are in the same class as Notre Dame (conveniently forgetting they were completely outclassed by Northern Illinois). OK that last bit of snark may be harsh seeing how Purdue was able to hang with Oregon out in Oregon.

ND fans will point to their 3-1 record and in their heads they'll think "Hey that's the same record as Ohio State and USC!" Realists will look at the remaining schedule and think that a 1-7 record the rest of the way is not out of the question. People will continue to look at Notre Dame and see what they desire to see.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The 100 Worst Movies of the Last 10 Years

Interesting list of the 100 worst movies of the past 10 years.

I'm pretty happy with the fact that I have not seen a single movie on the list.
Age Catching Up with Chipper?

I was surprised to notice that Chipper Jones' batting average was just .269 for the season. It seems like just yesterday that his batting average was well over .300. It turns out that wasn't yesterday. That was back in June.

Since the All-Star break Chipper has hit just .242 with a .763 OPS. In September those numbers are just .207 and .634. That's almost Varitek-esque. Chipper signed a 3-year extension for $13 million per year early this spring. You have to wonder if Chipper will start to face some boos if he starts off next year like he's been finishing this season.

I think Chipper is a Hall of Fame player but if he puts his current .308 career batting average at risk with 3-years of sub-par performance then he could also be putting his Hall of Fame election at risk as well. Jim Rice allowing his career batting average to dip below .300 (he finished at .298) was a major factor in the delay in his election.
College Football Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous college football thoughts and observations for Saturday's early games.

You really do have to hand it to Fresno State coach Pat Hill and his "Anybody, Anywhere, Anytime" philosophy. Today the Bulldogs have another tough non-conference game. This time against #14 Cincinnati. It should be noted that a focused Cincinnati team really could run the table. The talent is there and the Bearcats don't face a ranked team the rest of the way. If they slowly climbed the rankings from their current #14 - a potential Florida / Cincinnati championship game is not out of the realm of possibility. Remember where you read that possibility first... I think Indiana will take a page out of Tennessee's playbook against Florida and try to run and stall to keep the game against Michigan (at Michigan) close. The Wolverines are favored by 20 and as much as Urban Myer wanted to run it up against Tennessee - I see Michigan being more successful in covering the 20 points against Indiana... I'm amused by the name Southern Miss Golden Eagles. To me it sounds like a beauty queen winner. Is there a Northern Miss Golden Eagles? It could be a code - "hey look at the golden eagles on that one!" And yes sometimes I've got the sensibility of a 13-year old boy... Interesting - Southern Miss running back Damion Fletcher could become just the 8th player in FBS / Division 1 history to run for 1,000 years in each of his 4 seasons. He has 344 rushing yards already this season...

Buffalo (+3.5) at Temple
Fresno State (+17) at Cincinnati
Minnesota at Northwestern (over 49.5 points)
Indiana at Michigan (-20)
Southern Miss at Kansas (-13.5)
North Carolina at Georgia Tech (under 46 points)
LSU at Mississippi State (+12)

Edit Note: I'm posting this on the fly as I do my Saturday morning studying - so be sure to check back as I'll be adding stuff right up to 12:00 kickoff.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Bill Simmons on the Patriots

All good things do come to an end. Are the Patriots at the end of their run? Bill Simmons makes some excellent points in today's column on the Patriots.

I too find myself in the two camps that Simmons describes. I see the flaws but I don't want to see them. If that makes sense. The final analysis is that it is still way too early to write off the Patriots. Sunday against the Falcons will be an interesting test but it is not the end-all be-all that some people are making it out to be.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Poker Hall of Fame

Pauly has a vote on this year's Poker Hall of Fame ballot. Check it out and offer him your opinion.

I would vote for Phil Ivey and Barry Greenstein with the third vote going to Dan Harrington, Mike Sexton or Eric Seidel. Daniel Negreanu will be a Hall of Famer but he's not as good a player as Ivey and he hasn't had the length of contribution to the game as the others listed above.
Baseball Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous baseball thoughts and observations.

The Cleveland Indians are 1.5 games ahead (behind?) the Orioles for the worst record in the American League. Who saw that coming? I know I saw some people picking the Indians to go to the World Series in their pre-season picks. I can't recall anyone picking them to contend to be the worst team in the league... For all the complaining that their are no races this year in baseball - only less than half of the teams in the league (14) are numerically eliminated... Of all the teams that will make the playoffs - the Detroit Tigers have by far the worst road record (33-44). They also have the worst overall record of any team who will probably make the post-season. Which means they probably win their first round match-up with the Yankees... Alex Rodriguez needs one more RBI for 1696 and to pass Cal Ripken for 23rd place on the All-Time RBI list. He also needs just 1 more run for 1677 and to pass Mickey Mantle to move into a tie with Bid McFee for 26th place on the all-time runs list. I'm guessing that privately both these milestones mean a lot to A-Rod... Speaking of milestones - did you know that Todd Helton was tied with Babe Ruth for 44th place on the all-time doubles list with 506? Helton needs 4 more doubles to catch Rickey Henderson. As impressive as Helton's record of hitting doubles has been - he's only 5th among active players for two-baggers - behind Garrett Anderson (515), Ken Griffey (522), Manny Ramirez (530) and Ivan Rodriguez (547)... Quietly Florida's Chris Coghlan has made a pretty good case for NL ROY. Coghlan is hitting .314 with a respectable .836 OPS. I think JA Happ of the Phillies has the nod for the NL ROY though with a 10-4 record and a 2.77 ERA. In the AL - I think Rick Porcello of the Tigers deserves the award with a 14-9 record with a 4.14 ERA... Today is Rafael Palmeiro's 45th birthday. Has anyone ever fallen off the grid as quickly as finger-wagging Palmeiro?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Jason Varitek - worst regular in MLB?

Lyford takes a look at an interesting question - "Jason Varitek - worst regular in MLB?" My first thought was to shout Yuniesky Betancourt! However, Lyford makes an excellent case.

In fairness I do want to point out a couple of things - first off what was the alternative to Jason Varitek? George Kottaras - the greatest Canadian-born catcher in Red Sox history and his .690 OPS?

Secondly - as bad as Varitek has been this season - I think it more fair to look at Varitek's contribution over the whole season since we don't know if any injuries are involved (anyone who watches post game interviews has become accustomed to seeing Varitek completely covered in bandages and ice). As bad as Varitel has been - the catchers position (if you take away statistical anomaly Joe Mauer) - isn't really that potent to begin with. Was Varitek really as bad as big names Russell Martin (.689 OPS), Ivan Rodriguez (.681 OPS) or rookie stud Matt Wieters (.722 OPS)? What about non-stars Rod Barajas (.689 OPS), Jason Kendall (.613 OPS) or Dioner Navarro (.588 OPS). All those catchers have played about just as much or more than Varitek for their teams this season.

This past off-season many wanted the Red Sox to trade with Texas for stud Jarrod Saltalamaccia but would Salty's .661 OPS in 283 AB have been better for the Red Sox than Varitek's .717 OPS? This off-season it will be interesting to see what they do. As bad as Varitek has been I'm guessing he's back for one more year as Victor Martinez's backup.
College Football Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous college football thoughts and observations.

Week three in college football always seems to bring some big surprises and this year was no exception. The biggest surprise was of course USC getting beat by Washington. This was the 4th year in a row that USC was beaten by an unranked team. Two things about this game - first I hope that blame is not put solely on the shoulders of QB Aaron Corp. If freshman QB Matt Barkley comes back and leads USC to wins the rest of the way then Corp will be a target but it will be unfair. The whole team lost yesterday - not just the QB. Secondly, you have to wonder how this will effect Ohio State. It will be tough for voters to rank Ohio State ahead of USC for the rest of the way enabling maybe some lesser talented one-loss teams to leapfrog the Buckeyes in the rankings... Maybe the biggest winner of the weekend was Miami. First they dismantle 14th ranked Georgia Tech and then a team they beat - Florida State - dismantled number 7 BYU. Number 20 Miami will be sure to jump a number of spots in the rankings after the results of the past few days but the question is how many? The BYU loss causes a rankings conundrum. Oklahoma lost to BYU and is ranked 12th. Logic would seem to dictate that Miami be ranked higher with the thinking of Miami beat FSU, FSU beat BYU and BYU beat Oklahoma. But since when did logic and the NCAA ever really go together?... Notre Dame won yesterday but they did not cover the spread. Even with the win - many fans jumped off the Fighting Irish bandwagon. I know that Charlie Weis doesn't set the spread but his job nonetheless is to cover it (no I'm not bitter - much)... At gametime - Army was an 8.5 favorite over a fellow 1-A competitor Ball State. When was the last time Army was favored by that many points? With Army and Air Force victories yesterday - the service academies are now a combined 5-4 on the season. Good for them...

Saturday, September 19, 2009

College Football Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous college football thoughts and observations.

Just saying but Penn State faces Iowa - the team that ruined their national championship hopes NEXT WEEK. Can you say looking ahead? Today they are favored by 29.5 points over in state "rival" Temple. There actually isn't a real reason (other than practice) for Penn State to throw a single pass. Could the Nittany Lions be overlooking today's game?... Rice and Houston are just 6 miles apart but Michigan (-23.5) and Eastern Michigan are almost as close at just 7 miles apart. Rich Rodriguez may upset some boosters who went to Michigan but married a spouse from Eastern Michigan if he tries to run up the score against the Eagles. Besides Eastern Michigan has one of the best punters in the country in Zach Johnson and that's always helpful in slowing down a route... Not that he needs extra incentive but North Carolina's Butch Davis has never beat East Carolina as a head coach (0-2 at Miami and 0-1 at NC). The Tar Heels are favored by 7.5 points... In order for Minnesota to beat Cal - they will have to force turnovers but Cal (-13.5) hasn't turned the ball over yet in their first two games...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Lieutenant Michael Behenna

Please read this story of Lieutenant Michael Behenna.

If you can - please donate to his defense. If you can't - please sign the petition.

If you have a blog - please spread the word.

Thank you.
Friday Fun Stuff

Some fun links for a Friday night.

- William Shatner loves him some mountain

- Steve Nash with the greatest athlete / celebrity endorsement ever!

- These are awesome (and sad, and scary, and disturbing but I like to think mostly funny) - warning probably NSFW

- Heartwarming high school football story

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

The story of how Aaron Boone helped sportswriter Hal McCoy is always worthy of a retelling. And Aaron is right - now that the Red Sox have a couple of championships most fans can't even recall who he is or why they should dislike him... Repeat after me - there is no such thing as a sure thing. This past weekend Las Vegas and the local bookies made a ton of money off of people who thought they had a sure thing. Almost everyone thought USC was going to crush Ohio State on Saturday night and Monday everyone thought the Pats were going to crush the Bills (or at least that a tease between the Pats and Chargers would be a sure thing). How did that all work out? It just goes to show that when everyone is going one way - it is often the right move to go the other... I would be remiss if I didn't comment on the passing of Jim Carroll. I was a fan of Catholic Boy and of The Basketball Diaries but I would be kidding you if I didn't say that my first reaction to his death was "He's was still alive?"... Let me repeat once again - Jay Cutler = Jeff George (although I'm not sure if George ever threw 4 interceptions in a game)... Interesting poker hand. My reaction is that both players were in the wrong. It was a douche move on both sides but by the rules - once you muck your card(s) - the hand is dead to you. The guy with King high was trying to avoid showing his second card as to not give out more information when by rule he was supposed to show both cards...

Monday, September 14, 2009

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

I can't help but think about how Pete Carroll tried to talk Mark Sanchez into staying at USC for another year saying that he didn't think Sanchez was ready for the NFL. I like Pete Carroll but that purely selfish machination when it came to his star QB leaves me a bit cold when thinking about him... Have you seen the AARP commercial about healthcare reform that has the ambulance trying to get to the hospital but getting blocked by cars at every opportunity? I can't help but observe that all the cars doing the blocking are GM cars and I wonder at the unintended symbolism of one failing government program (the GM bailout) being subconsciously used in an effort to promote another massive government program... Let me repeat once again - Jay Cutler = Jeff George (although I'm not sure if George ever threw 4 interceptions in a game)... Cool - 11 hidden secrets from the movie Fight Club. Hidden Penis would be a good name for either a fantasy football team or a transvestite band... Imagine the fun Ray Guy could have had with that scoreboard in Dallas? Although I'm guessing that punters will go out of their way to miss hitting the giant TV because all a re-kick will do is wind the cover team making big returns more likely...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Casey Kotchman

Brian MacPherson spells out the situation with the Red Sox and Casey Kotchman (something I've also been thinking about):
But Casey Kotchman has just 49 plate appearances in the five weeks since the Red Sox acquired him from the Atlanta Braves. He's a perfect defensive infielder late in the season for a playoff-bound team, particularly because he's not going to gripe about his role. But to keep him on the roster as a part-time player next season will be a waste of resources.
Read the whole thing to see what options Brian thinks exist.
Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

I've long held that George Harrison's While My Guitar Gently Weeps is perhaps the greatest of the Beatles songs. When I listed the greatest Beatles covers I should have included this version - perhaps even at the top of the list (Prince's guitar solo is killer)... Just saying - Derek Jeter may now be the Yankees all-time hits leader but he's still 697 hits behind Carl Yastrzemski who is the Red Sox all-time hits leader.... Happy 42nd birthday to one of the funniest guys in the world - Louis CK... Today in college football I like Boston College (-21) over Kent State. The Eagles beat Kent State 21-0 last season on the road and held their main weapon 5-foot-5 senior running back Eugene Jarvis to just 51 yards. Today the turf at home in Chestnut Hill should be slick (because of the rain) making hit hard for Jarvis to cut on a dime plus BC is still trying to decide between two QB's meaning that each will be trying to put points on the board without letting up... On this day 50 years ago - Bonanza - the first regularly scheduled TV program in color premiered. Many people can recognize the music of the theme song but did you know the song also had lyrics?... I really wish I could be at this - the First Beer & Bacon Festival (on Talk Like a Pirate Day no less!)... Johnny Cash died six years ago to the day. The passing of an American icon still "hurts"...

Friday, September 11, 2009

9/11 - Never Forget

On this day since 2002 I have posted links to the names of the people who died on the various flights and also at the World Trade Centers and Pentagon. The same post every year.

I'm not reposting that information today because the links no longer work. The links were from I'm not sure exactly what that says but I do know that it certainly does not fall under the idea of "never forget" on CNN's part.

Instead of those links - watch this one.

And never forget.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Obama's Healthcare Speech

First and foremost it has to be said that President Obama is a tremendous orator. He gives a great speech. Second it has to be said that I agree with him in that the "devil is in the details". And there were lots of devils in his speech last night.

For example - in one part of the speech he talked about how people who pay for their health insurance are paying a hidden tax by subsidizing the emergency room treatment of people who do not have health insurance. In another part of the speech though he states unequivocally that no federal funding will go to subsidize healthcare for illegal immigrants.

Any person who has ever worked in an emergency room can tell you that a large percentage of people without healthcare who come into the hospital are illegal immigrants. Was President Obama suggesting that we now turn away the kid with a broken leg or the old woman with pneumonia who cannot prove citizenship? If he wasn't advocating anything so harsh - then how can he guarantee that no federal funds would be spent on illegals getting healthcare in this country? The reality of the situation and the rhetoric do not match up.

There is an old saying that states, "Fool me once - shame on you. Fool me twice - shame on me." President Obama earlier told us that a massive stimulus plan had to be passed right away otherwise the unemployment rate would soar to 9% if we did nothing. He also promised that no pork spending would be part of the package. How did those promises work out?

Now he's saying explicitly to "trust him" that the plan he puts into place will not cost one dime over what we are paying today. And some people wonder why his credibility is questioned?

What scares me is that President Obama seems not to be calling for solutions but instead wants an over-arching plan. When he says we cannot afford to do nothing what he actually seems to be saying is that we must do everything.

For example - President Obama spoke about how 90% of the citizens of Alabama have a single choice for health insurance. Overnight a bill could be passed that allowed the citizens of Alabama the right to sign up for health insurance from providers in Alabama or from providers in Georgia, Mississippi or any other state. Over night the citizens would have not just more choices but more affordable choices and at no cost whatsoever to the American taxpayer.

That would be a common sense solution though and it seems that solutions are not whats going to be forced upon us. The President doesn't want solutions. He wants a "plan". He wants his plan.

Frankly - I don't trust him.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Top 5 - Favorite Beatles Covers

Here are my favorite (not saying they are the best ever) Beatles covers:

1. U2 - Helter Skelter

2. Joe Cocker - With a Little Help from My Friends

3. Siouxsie And The Banshees - Dear Prudence

4. Aerosmith - Come Together

5. (tie) Elliott Smith - Because / (tie) Fiona Apple - Across The Universe

I'm also fond of Telly Savalas singing Something and William Shatner singing Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
Interesting Read

Barack Ozymandias By J.R. Dunn - Perception and reality of what Obama would be and what he actually is collide (long read). And just to save some of you the time - no giant squid was involved.
Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Apropos of nothing a lefty comparison - before he was 26-yrs old Tom Glavine had 53 wins and had won a Cy Young Award. Jon Lester has 39 wins and has beat cancer... Good news for geeks - the lawsuit between the Tolkien Trust and New Line Cinema is over. This clears the way for The Hobbit to be made into a movie by Warner Brothers... Today should be called naming day in the US. In 1776 the Continental Congress officially adopted the name "the United States" as the name for the new country. Twenty five years later in 1791 - the capital of the new country was officially named Washington... If before the season you told Mariner fans that this late in the season their team would have the same record as Tampa Bay - they would have been happy. Funny - they don't seem happy... This is pretty cool - the Leningrad Cowboys and the Red Army Choir singing Sweet Home Alabama... Today is Red Sox prospect Michael Bowden's 23rd birthday. Bowden is the 2nd best prospect in the Red Sox organization according to Baseball America (behind Lars Anderson) but just the 83rd best prospect in baseball (also according to Baseball America)...

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

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 celebrate 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.
Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Just saying but doesn't Richard Seymour still have to pass a physical for the trade to the Raiders to be official? Maybe the Raider doctors (under orders from the adults in the organization) look extra hard to find something wrong to void the one sided trade? Just saying but this could help explain the delay here... Wow - these are awful tattoos... It's been 11 years to the day that Mark McGwire hit his 62nd HR to break Roger Maris' single season record. This "achievement" certainly seems to have gone down the memory hole - hasn't it?... Dominic Randolph got off on the right foot to win this year's Walter Peyton Award. Remember the name - Randolph will be an NFL QB some day. He is way ahead of where Joe Flacco was at this point in his career... TCU is looking forward to playing Virginia this Saturday... Today is Phil Laak's 37th birthday. Laak became one of my favorite pro poker players after I learned he graduated from UMass Amherst with a degree in mechanical engineering...

Monday, September 07, 2009

Franklin and Winston

Finished this very interesting look at the relationship of two of the 20th century's great men - Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship.

The book was an unflinching history of the relationship between Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt. I came away from the reading with a much different picture of the two men. Even though he was the younger of the two, Roosevelt played what best seemed to fit the role of the older brother in the relationship. He could be patronizing and dismissive but at the same time patient and encouraging. However, also like a big brother he could be mean spirited when trying to impress someone he wanted to befriend (in this case Roosevelt was often awful to Churchill when he was with Joseph Stalin).

Churchill for his part did seem to play the role of a younger brother who badly wanted the approval and friendship of Roosevelt. Churchill easily forgot slights at the hands of Roosevelt and choose just to remember the high points and good times. That's certainly not how I pictured Churchill before reading the book.

If you are a fan of history or a World War II buff - I'd highly recommend this most readable of books.

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Happy Labor Day!... With the win over Oklahoma - many people are asking "can an undefeated BYU team realistically reach the national championship game?" I say yes. If BYU can also beat TCU, Florida State and Utah and if they are the only one or two undefeated teams in college football then they deserve to be in the championship game. SI's Stewart Mandel looks at the question in depth... If I'm a Detroit fan - then I'm hoping that Jim Leyland names Rick Pocello as the #3 starter in the playoffs over Jarrod Washburn. Good line-ups like the Red Sox or Yankees will pound Washburn... In most articles about Richard Seymour you'll notice that people bring up D-lineman Ron Brace as a reason the depth was there to trade Seymour. I'd appreciate it if people started referring to him as "Worcester's Ron Brace". Thanks... As pointed out at the Sports Frog - one of the rules to live by for every young man is never dip your wick in crazy. Shawn Merriman obviously never heard that piece of advice... It's been six years to the day since the passing of legend Warren Zevon. Play some Zevon today. Play it all night long...

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Richard Seymour

To be honest - I've had the feeling that Richard Seymour is not as great a player as his reputation suggests for a while now. Yes he's a very good player - maybe even a Pro-Bowl level player - but when given the chance to pick up a probable high 1st round pick from the Raiders then that trade has to be made. Especially when you factor in that Seymour was in his walk year and probably would have taken the money elsewhere in 2010.

I was shocked that Seymour was just 10th on the all-time Patriots sacks list. Tied with a guy named named Houston Antwine who I frankly had never heard of.

I'm not alone among Patriots fans who first were shocked by the news, then shocked by what they got in return and who finally justified the deal in our minds by thinking of Lawyer Milloy and Deion Branch. In Bill we trust.

I'm just waiting for Tom Jackson to say on ESPN that the team hates the coach because of this move.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

I Question the Timing!

President Obama is scheduled to deliver a speech to school children across the nation on Tuesday September 8th at noon Eastern Time.

I question the timing!

Many children in both the Eastern and Central time zones will be scheduled to have lunch during this time. One thing you don't screw with for kids (and school administrators for that matter) is the lunch periods. Does anyone think kids will pay attention to the speech if they are in the cafeteria? Does Obama want some kids to go hungry?

Did anyone at the white House think this through? This is a disaster waiting to happen. The next few days after the speech should be chock full of scheduling problems with only Dear Leader and the Minions (a great name for a band by the way) to blame.

EDIT: West Coast is 3 hours behind. Oops.
College Football Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous college football thoughts and observations.

Ohio State is a 22 point favorite over Navy today and I'm tempted to take the Midshipmen. The Buckeyes will not be familiar with the triple-option and will probably be looking ahead to USC next week. No matter what happens since Navy is getting $1.4 million to play this game - they already come out ahead. Amateur sports my ass... Another potential look-ahead trap game is Kentucky vs. Miami of Ohio. The Wildcats next opponent is in-state rival Louisville but Kentucky has an off week next Saturday so I think they keep their concentration enough to cover the 15.5 points against the Red Hawks... The last time Ohio State played Navy - Art Schlichter was the QB for the Buckeyes. I'm guessing he's betting Ohio State today... The Purdue vs Toledo game features new coaches for each team but only Purdue's coach expects to win. I like Purdue giving 10 but I also don't like the idea of all those fans bunched together in the midst of a potential swine flu outbreak... Thinking about Art Schlichter makes me think about never placing another bet again in my life...
Obama and the Kids

Many parents are upset about President Obama addressing the school kids this upcoming Tuesday. They see it as meddling into an area where the President has no business meddling. I don't really disagree but I see it more as gross incompetence.

As others have pointed out - there are a many school districts that won't even be in school on Tuesday. Is there something else behind the choosing of September 8th as the day to address the kids or is the Obama Department of Education that inept that it doesn't even know when the kids will be in school? Either way it was a stumbling and bumbling scheduling error.

Then you had the initial idea of having the kids write a letter to the President. This was both creepy in a "Dear Leader" sort of way but also stupid politically. It was so creepy that the Department of Education had to backtrack and change the assignment from writing a letter of how the kids could help the President to writing about what educational goals the kids should set for themselves. Let me make a couple of points about this:

1. The backtracking shows more incompetence. The idea clearly wasn't thought through and once it reached the light of day it had to be changed. Incompetence.

2. What a long way we have come from JFK and "ask not what your country can do for you" to "hey kids - what can you do for the President?"

3. You are giving kids a homework assignment on what will be the first day of school for many of them! Millions of kids will have the same "I have to do a stupid paper for the stupid President" reaction.

4. What about the teachers who don't assign the recommended letter as homework? They are basically sending the message - you don't have to listen to this guy. It's a lose-lose situation and the President's people will have done this to themselves.

5. A less charitable guy might observe that the President was actually really asking for help as an admission that he's over his head but afraid to ask the adults.

So first you have President Obama messing with the economy and people's livelihood with the pork-laden Stimulus plan - a move which gave rise to the Tea Party Protests. Then you had the President trying to ram through healthcare reform - a move which gave rise to Townhall meetings bashing the President and anyone who supported him. Now you have the president messing with education? So in short first he messed with people's jobs, then their healthcare and now he's messing with their kids? It's as if he's purposely trying to aggravate the blue-collar core of the Democratic Party.

Gross incompetence.

Friday, September 04, 2009

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
Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

I love that football is back! Yeah baby!... I also love that the old Pedro is back. I was somewhat afraid that he'd come back and embarrass himself. He could actually walk away from this season back on top no matter what he does with the rest of his starts. And given how John Smoltz and Brad Penny fared - it was a good thing that he did not attempt to come back with the Red Sox... At a poker game on Wednesday two guys were going on about how Oregon was going to route Boise State. I should have known that if these two guys were so far into the Oregon camp that Boise State would be a lock... Rimshot... Last night also (re)taught us that when you have an SEC team matched up against an ACC team - take the SEC team! I know that last season ACC teams were 6-4 against the SEC in the regular season - so why does it seem like the SEC always beats ACC teams? Having said that - I'm not sure about Alabama against Virginia Tech...

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

God is this Funny

Not sure if you have to be (lapsed) Catholic to get some of the humor but God is this funny!

I'll be laughing at this all day.
Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Sometimes I lay in bed after waking up - waiting to be energized enough to get up and at 'em. During this waiting time I think with my eyes closed and this morning I was thinking that the Dodgers really don't have the starters to go far in the playoffs. It looks like Bill Plaschke was thinking the same thing. Both the Phillies and Cardinals have a 1-2 punch that could knock the Dodgers out in the first round... This morning I was also thinking how funny it would have been if someone had hacked the White House web site so that those "turn in suspicious activity regarding health care information" emails went to That would seem fitting... On this day in 44 BC - Cleopatra of Egypt declares her son Caesarion co-ruler as Ptolemy XV. What she didn't reveal was that the boy's real father was Titus Pullo... Today would have been Albert Spalding's 159th birthday. If you like history and you like baseball - Albert Spalding should be your cup of tea... Of course football coaches tend to be Republicans.
"You aren't entitled to anything. You don't inherit anything. You get what you earn—your position on the team," Mr. [Lou] Holtz said. "You're treated like everybody else. You're held accountable for your actions. You understand that your decisions affect other people on that team... There's winners, there's losers, and there's competitiveness."
Not entitled to anything? Quick someone report Lou Holtz to! As a side note - I'm pretty sure Rich Kotite was a Democrat... I didn't know that Keanu Reeves is Canadian. That explains a lot... Happy 61st birthday to Nate "Tiny" Archibald. Hard to believe that Tiny is that old... Happy VJ Day!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Heh Heh

Some of these are pretty funny. Here's a couple I liked:
Q: Doctor, how many autopsies have you performed on dead people?
A: All my autopsies are performed on dead people.

Q: All your responses must be oral, OK? What school did you go to?
A: Oral.
Primordial Soup With Julia Child

This is just fascinating on so many different levels.
Julia Child cooks up a batch of primordial soup and explains how these simple ingredients produce amino acids - the building blocks of life. This video played in the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.
Canadian Stimulus Money At Work

This is pretty amusing.
After two weeks of sluggish ticket sales to hear Bill Clinton speak, the Canadian National Exhibition has slashed prices from $20 to five dollars plus admission... Organizers were hoping to fill the 25,000-seat BMO Field, but to-date have only sold 7,000... to the marquee event, paid for in part by federal stimulus dollars.
All I could think about was the catch line from the movie The Running Man - I'd buy that for a dollar! (But not for $5 I guess.)
Leave Coach Rich Rodriguez Alone!

How dare anyone make fun of Coach Rich Rodriguez after all he's been through! He loves Michigan football! He divorced his old team to coach here. He had to go through a bad contract battle to coach here! All the NCAA cares about is their stupid rules and making money off coaches like Rich Rodriguez. HE'S A HUMAN! What you don't realize is that Rich Rodriguez is making Michigan football all this money and the sportswriters following the program just write a bunch of crap about her - I mean him. He hasn't performed on a stage this big for a program this big before. All you people want is more, more, MORE, MORE! Leave him alone! You're lucky he even coaches for you bastards! Leave Coach Rodriguez alone! Please! I don't even want to talk about Coach Rich-Rod's professionalism. Speaking of professionalism - where was that professionalism by the sportswriters when he was going through a 9 loss season? LEAVE COACH RODRIGUEZ ALONE! PLEASE! Leave Coach Rich Rodriguez alone RIGHT NOW! I mean it! Anyone who has a problem with him crying like a little girl - you deal with me because he's not well right now. Leave him alone....