Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting and thought I'd share.

- Very true Venn Diagram

- Venezuela more Deadly than Iraq (or even Detroit for that matter)

- How 17 Great American Cities Got Their Names

- Dan Wetzel on how Boise State could burst the BCS bubble. A Boise State and TCU National Championship game would go a long way to fixing the BCS mess.

- Very Interesting Read on Trader Joe's

Monday, August 30, 2010

Never Underestimate the Power of a Good Story

HT American Digest
Not Getting It

I was reading an article on how government safety net programs are at all time highs. Besides being alarmed at the numbers - two things jumped out at me:

1. The title on the article was Record number in government anti-poverty programs. Something in my gut is bothered by calling Medicaid, Welfare, Food Stamps and Unemployment anti-poverty programs. It is hard for me to explain but it just bothers me.

2. This paragraph is a microcosm of why the Democrats will lose in November:
Conservatives fear expanded safety-net programs won't contract after the economy recovers. "They're much harder to unwind in the long term," says Michael Tanner of the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank.
If the USA Today and other MSM outlets cannot tell the difference between a Conservative and a Libertarian - then what legitimacy do they have in any political analysis?

I know this is a sweeping generalization but to many like me it seems the hippy generation has gone from "get the government off our backs man" to "the government is the answer for everything man." Stinking hippies.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

The things you learn from the Internet, "Despite the horrific display, nearly two-thirds of those who were on board the Hindenburg survived its 1937 crash"... Last night's 30 for 30 film on Michael Jordan playing baseball was very "meh". It was stale. I think a surprise for viewers will be the 30 for 30 presentation of Unmatched which will have no narrator or host but will tell the story of the rivalry between Chrissy Evert and Martina Navratilova... Jeff Passan has an excellent piece of how the Marlins were lying when claiming to be broke when then got public financing for a new stadium. The piece makes me want to give more credit to Bob Kraft who built Gillette Stadium basically out of his own pockets (if I recall correctly public money only went to public improvements like the widening of roads, etc.)...
Johnny Damon

I like Johnny Damon. I like the Red Sox. I'm glad Johnny Damon turned down the chance to return to Boston. Let me explain.

Johnny Damon wasn't treated fairly on his way out of Boston. He signed as a free agent, gave Boston four solid years, helped the team win it's first World Series in 96 years and then the Red Sox made him what comes down to a take it or leave it offer. Damon wanted to stay but was basically shoved out the door. The Red Sox replaced him with Coco Crisp which if are honest was a step down especially when you factor in Damon's durability.

Damon went on to four productive years with the Yankees where he was an integral part of their latest championship. They too basically showed Damon the door this past season - and that was a mistake. Do you think if the Yankees were given a do-over that they would still choose Nick Johnson over Damon for their DH?

Having said the above - I'm glad Damon turned down the chance to return to Boston. Even with the Red Sox hurting for outfield depth - I would prefer they go with rookie Ryan Kalish over Damon. Kalish is a better defender and the offense is almost equal (with Kalish having the higher upside).

As an aside - the Red Sox used the draft pick they got for allowing Damon to sign with the Yankees to draft Daniel Bard. To me that's the one silver lining in this whole mess.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Top 5 Alice Cooper Songs

1. Under My Wheels
2. Only Women Bleed
3. No More Mr. Nice Guy
4. Elected
5. I'll Never Cry
Carl Yastrzemski

Carl Yastrzemski turned 71 today. Happy birthday Captain Carl. His birthday made me take a another look at his Baseball-Reference.com page.

In Boston Yaz still has to live in the shadow of Ted Williams. He played the same position as Teddy Ballgame and while Yaz was a great hitter - he wasn't the greatest hitter who ever lived. Having said that - how easily do we forget how good Yaz was with his glove? I had forgotten that Yaz had 7 Gold Gloves. Honestly Williams was a hack in the field. Not Yaz. And durable? Yaz is second in games played all-time. In 16 of his 23 seasons he played at least 148 games.

Yaz' name is mentioned every once in a while when a player has a chance to win the Triple Crown (Yaz was the last player to win the Triple Crown when he hit .326 with 44 HR and 121 RBI in 1967) but with his contributions to the game his name isn't mentioned enough.

As an aside - I was amused that Old Number 8 is 8th all-time in hits, total bases and doubles.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Hobbit

Before The Lord of the Rings came The Hobbit. JRR Tolkien wrote The Hobbit first and when I was a kid - I read The Hobbit first before becoming enchanted with The Lord of the Rings. The funny thing is over the years I've gone back and re-read The Lord of the Rings a number of times but never The Hobbit.

I don't know if over the years I was thinking of The Hobbit as just a children's tale or somehow an unworthy predecessor to The Lord of the Rings but I just never picked the book back up. However, recently I was sitting at my desk and as I looked into one of my bookcases - I saw the book The Hobbit and the urge to read it again struck me.

I'm glad it did.

It is a very entertaining book. And very fast paced (especially when compared to The Lord of the Rings). In the first chapter the reader is introduced to hobbits, dwarves and wizards. Then in the second chapter trolls enter the tale, in the third elves, in the fourth goblins, in the fifth Gollum and his magic ring, in the sixth the Wargs (evil wolves) and giant eagles, in the seventh Beorn (who can change himself into a giant bear), in the eighth giant spiders, in the ninth Wood-elves, and then in the twelfth chapter Smaug the dragon. Bang, bang bang.

A very quick (about 300 pages) and very fun read. If you haven't picked up the book since you were a kid - do yourself a favor and pick the The Hobbit once again. It makes excellent summer reading.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations (and some Linky Links).

$100 says Fair Game the Valerie Plame movie starring Sean Penn does less box office business than Police Academy 6: City Under Siege... If the White House was smart they would have just issued a picture of Obama drinking a beer and eating a BLT. Now more people than ever will think President Obama really is a secret Muslim... Why did Zima fail to become America's most popular adult beverage? I'll never figure that one out... They both have the same birthday but I wonder who is taller? Donnie Wahlberg or Dustin Pedroia?

- Possibly The Best Review Of Wendy's, Or Anything, Ever

- Six greatest fictional beers

- Crazy golf shot on a lake

- If Star Wars took place at the turn of last century. Cool
Roger Clemens - the Texas Con Man

Two thoughts on the recent Roger Clemens news.

First, Clemens getting indicted will hopefully remind people that the late great Will McDonough had Clemens pegged years ago when he nicknamed him "the Texas Con Man." I hope that nickname comes back into use with proper attribution. Although I'm guessing that even McDonough didn't think with the threat of jail time hanging over Clemens that the nickname could become literal.

Speaking of nicknames, yesterday Clemens once again announced his innocence this time via his Twitter account. I found this amusing because Clemens "signed" the Tweet. It's your Twitter account - there's no need to sign it. It already says @RogerClemens. Also signing it "Rocket" instead of Roger shows a huge ego. I mean who refers to themselves by their nickname? I could see Chipper Jones doing it because that was his "name" growing up but Rocket? I just found that small detail amusing and telling at the same time. They say that pride goeth before a fall and I'm guessing thinking of yourself in the third person using a nickname given because your fastball announced itself with authority is a tipoff to a tremendous amount of pride (or delusion).

It's like Clemens is determined to combine the Tim Robbins roles in Bull Durham and Cadillac Man in real life.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Bagwell vs. the Crime Dog

Here's a look at the case for Jeff Bagwell and the Hall of Fame. The story tries to take a middle-road - neither pro nor con. Whenever I see these things though I just have to point out how Bagwell compares to Fred McGriff:

- McGriff has more career HR, RBI and total bases.
- Bagwell has an MVP Award but McGriff has a World Series Ring. Both finished top 10 in MVP voting 6 times and both won 3 Silver Slugger awards at first base.
- McGriff was a post season monster with 10 HR in 10 series and a post season batting average of .303 and an OPS of .917. Bagwell had 2 HR in 9 post season series and hit an anemic .226 with a .675 OPS.

I have to wonder why you never see articles about Fred McGriff's case for the Hall of Fame?
Proof that Brett Favre has Always Been about Brett Favre

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting and thought I'd share.

- Enya, slowed down 800% sounds like... Enya (audio takes a while)

- Wall Street Journal proclaims Patriots' Zoltan as most interesting man in the NFL

- 2001: A Double Rainbow Odyssey

- Donald Rumsfeld on a Unicycle (just because - although "Rumsfeld on a unicycle" may work it's way into my euphemisms for my penis)

- Jesus, would you look at those
Top 5 - Reasons Jason Whitlock Left the KC Star

Jason Whitlock has left the Kansas City Star "to pursue other interests". Here are my top 5 guesses at what those other interests may be.

1. Starting a Rap Singer Management Company
2. Decided to run for Mayor of Wasilla, Alaska
3. Working on his new book The Fans Complete Guide to The Wire
4. Taking over as agent for Jeff George under the belief that George isn't that old and hasn't worn out his welcome with all of the NFL teams
5. Making pilgrimages to all of the top BBQ joints in the country

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Blogroll Additions

I'm adding some links to my blogroll.

- Steven Pressfield Online

- Bad Postcards (some are pretty funny and they add new ones constantly)

- Unusual Words (I would love to use a word a day from this list in my daily dialogs)

- Outside Online
True Grit

I'm an unapologetic fan of John Wayne and when I think of John Wayne the first image I come up with is of him as Rooster Cogburn. I bring this up because the iconic True Grit is being remade with Jeff Bridges in the role of Marshall Reuben J. Cogburn. The remake is being directed by the Coen brothers and co-stars Matt Damon as La Boef. I'm looking forward to seeing the movie so much so that I went out and bought the Charles Portis book.

True Grit by Charles Portis is an enjoyable quick read (less than 200 pages). The original movie was pretty true to the book (except for the ending) but it was the dry wit Portis employs via Matty Ross as narrator that made the book special. It was that wit that was lost in translation in the original movie that perhaps the Coen brothers can recapture.

Back to John Wayne for a minute. Recently I learned of two movies he turned down that could have really put him over the top as an American icon. First he turned down the lead in the movie The Dirty Dozen. That role went to Lee Marvin and was perhaps the greatest role of Marvin's career. John Wayne turned down The Dirty Dozen to make The Green Berets - the most controversial movie of the Duke's career. Secondly - John Wayne turned down the role of Taggart in Blazing Saddles. That role went to Slim Pickens. It blows my mind to think of John Wayne in that role. The Duke had a healthy sense of humor and I think he would have enjoyed working up a Number 6.

Two Jonathans

Jonathan Broxton has been demoted by Joe Torre and the Dodgers from his role as the team's closer. Fans in Boston are hoping Terry Francona does the same to Jonathan Papelbon.

Broxton - 3.42 ERA / 47.1 IP / 21 Saves / 5 Blown Saves
Papelbon - 3.20 ERA / 50.2 IP / 29 Saves / 6 Blown Saves

Papelbon's 6 blown saves are 4 more than either Tampa Bay's or New York's closers. If the Red Sox had those 4 games back then they would be tied for the Wild Card with the Rays and would be just 2 games back from the Yankees in the AL East. If the Red Sox miss the payoffs then Papelbon's poor performance will be the main reason in my mind. If the Red Sox miss the playoffs this year - then look for the front office to trade Papelbon in the offseason.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Chipper Jones

Chipper Jones came in second in the 1995 NL ROY voting to Hideo Nomo. Nobody in the top 10 in voting from that year in the NL is still in the bigs though Jason Isringhausen could make a comeback. The AL ROY that year went to Marty Cordoba of the Twins. Only Andy Pettite and Garrett Anderson from the top 10 in votes for 1995 AL ROY are still active and Anderson just barely.

Jones could retire tomorrow and in my mind he's a first ballot Hall of Fame guy. He's already in the top 50 all-time in on base percentage (46th), slugging percent (41st), OPS (30th), and home runs (37th). Chipper needs 18 more RBI to tie Mickey Mantle for 50th on that list.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Dolph Lundgren and The Expendables

I've started seeing some Dolph Lundgren appearances in conjunction with his role in the new movie The Expendables.

Every time I see Dolph Lundgren - I think about this kick-ass performance.

If Dolph Lundgren isn't singing Elvis, playing the drums and doing some impressive Karate feats in the new movie - then the audience isn't getting the most out of Dolph Lundgren,

Monday, August 09, 2010

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

The girl in the Progressive Insurance commercials is named Flo. I wonder if she has a sister or brother with kids?... This would be funny if it wasn't so pathetic - Harry Reid finally reads health care bill, discovers it hurts Nevada hospitals... It occurred to me how much Winona Ryder has fallen off the radar. When's the last time you heard about or thought about her?... If the Red Sox can't win the World Series - the Braves are my second choice to root for. I've always like the Braves and it is Bobby Cox's last season... Interesting look at lab rats and how they react to choices between sugar and cocaine. 15% of rats will get addicted to the cocaine - just about the same percentage of humans.... Cindy Brunson of ESPN has crazy eyes (and a grandmother's voice). I don't think I could handle a SportsCenter hosted by her and Stu Scott... Business term I hate most is "best effort". If not specified does that mean you're getting whatever effort the vendor feels like?....
Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting and thought I'd share.

- 7 Stolen Movie Props

- Are you suggesting coconuts migrate?

- Probably the single best headline of all time

- I really want to visit this brewpub

- Lindsay Lohan - so thats what happened!

- Amazing that Arnold was elected Governor

- Mark Cuban explains what happened with his pursuit of the Rangers

Saturday, August 07, 2010

State Farm Commercials

State Farm Insurance is currently running two commercials - one aimed at men and one aimed at women. Comparing the two commercials makes me laugh.

In the women's commercial the car is dinged but the girl owner has no worries because all she has to do is say out loud the State Farm jingle, "Like a good neighbor - State Farm is there" and the handsome State Farm rep magically appears. Her friends then specify what kind of handsome rep they really want (for an insurance providing relationship).

In the men's commercial the State Farm rep is pretty but the friends don't want her - they want the hot girl from the other apartment in the building. They do want the girl State Farm rep to get them a sandwich though. That's funny!

As an aside - the girls final choice is for a handsome rep with a dark side. What if his dark side was really dark - like wanting to rape and kill girls who submit insurance claims?

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Wow - Christian Ponder the senior QB for Florida State already received both his undergrad and Master’s degrees. This fall he'll be working on a second Master's Degree... Maybe the veterans thought this rookie was a bit of a dickhead?... Strange coincidence - both Clemson starting QB Kyle Parker and NC State starting QB Russell Wilson are draft picks of the Colorado Rockies... It occurred to me that if Al Gore and John Kerry had a baby - that baby would be Spaulding Smails from Caddyshack... Heh heh - the final season of Mad Men... So last night Ricky Williams was tweeting about how he uses coconut water to replenish after a workout. I was thinking about looking into coconut water when I came across this post asking Is Coconut Water Really Better Than Gatorade? I'm still curious to see how coconut water tastes... It took Alex Rodriguez 46 at bats to hit his 600th home run. It's taken Jason Giambi 126 AB to hit his last 3 HR. Steroid testing is a bitch

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Strange Reception

Driving back to Worcester from Syracuse tonight I had a strange smörgåsbord of radio listening sequences. I started out listening to the Red Sox pregame in Syracuse. Deep in Yankee country the local Syracuse ESPN radio outlet carries the Red Sox - I just find that strange (and interesting). Once that signal drifted out I started listening to the Yankees / Blue Jay game first on one channel then another. (As an aside - how can the Yankees keep Suzyn Waldman employed? She is beyond awful.) Then the Mets / Braves broadcast became my clearest sports option. Then - just east of Albany - it got weird. I started picking up the Red Sox game again but it was from a channel out of Cleveland.

In upstate New York I started picking up WTAM - 1100 AM out of Cleveland. That was just weird. I listened to their broadcast for the 7th and 8th innings. It was amusing to hear their take on the "scrum" between the two teams after Adrian Beltre took exception to a pitch thrown behind him. The Cleveland broadcasters went right after Josh Beckett as the root cause of the belligerence. One broadcaster went as far as to exclaim, "Josh Beckett has always been a punk!" I found that amusing.

Once east of the Berkshires I listened to the 9th inning on the Red Sox radio network channels.

Listening to the Cleveland channel reminded me of the time in July of 2007 when I somehow picked up a Red Sox broadcast while in the middle of Pennsylvania. Funnily - they were playing the Idians that night too.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Johnny Damon - Hall of Famer?

Amid his Sunday Baseball Notes - Nick Carfardo offers this throw away line, "Johnny Damon is getting more and more support for Hall of Fame consideration."

Really? Is Carfardo serious? Or is he just giving Damon a nod while protecting himself by saying "consideration" instead of "support" because Johnny Damon is clearly not a Hall of Fame player. Damon is not in the top 50 for any offensive category and is well-known as a noodle-arm on defense. Jim Edmonds has a much better claim. Dwight Evans had a much better claim.

Combining Johnny Damon and Hall of Fame in the same sentence is perhaps the silliest thing I've seem Carfardo commit to print. I like reading Nick but come on. If Carfardo needed to boost his word count he could used Mad Libs to come up with a more coherent sentence.