Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting and thought I'd share.

Interesting post on how to make yourself more productive.

Harry Potter would have turned 32 today - here are 11 things you may not have known about the Harry Potter series.

Pretty cool story and video (make sure you watch the video) about a legendary little island, a lizard and some young scientists.

I'm Barack Obama and I approved this message - sad but true metaphor

USA Basketball a Good Investment

The US men's basketball is a money-line favorite over Tunisia at an astonishing -$225,000 (meaning you'd have to risk $225,000 to win $100).  This sounds like an awful bet but consider that at 4% interest your single day interest return on $1 million would be just $109.59.

So if you have a million just collecting interest - you could basically quadruple your return for the day by putting it all on Kobe and LeBron. Then pray there isn't an act of God.

THE Olympics

Very interesting look at the original Olympics. Some great nuggets in there. Sophocles was a great handball fan. Plato was a great wrestling fan. The Olympics even spawned the first sports bars (though technically I guess they were wine bars).

The ancient games did not run a marathon - that was Victorian addition. And the Olympic torch? That was something Hitler thought would be cool.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

I think an Olympics Derby would be cool. Each country sends their best 2 racehorses and you hold a series of races until the big race. I'd watch that. It would be bigger than the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness combined... Another small factor to consider - if Josh Beckett was traded to Texas he'd probably save about $1 million per year in taxes... Jimmy Hoffa disappeared on this day back in 1975. I have a perfectly valid alibi... "If its a problem that can be solved with money, then its not a problem" - this is a saying people with money often use... Ancient Greek philosopher Chrysippus died of laughter. He got his donkey drunk and then couldn't stop laughing while watching the donkey trying to eat figs. That was the ancient equivalent of watching David Hasselhoff eat a cheeseburger I guess... 80% of all insects live in a jungle. Ergo I  will never live in a jungle... Bill Clinton suckles puppies with his teats - yes this was actually broadcast on TV.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Here's the Kicker

Just finished And Here's the Kicker: Conversations with 21 Top Humor Writers on their Craft by Mike Sacks. This is the second time I've read this book. Can there be a better recommendation than reading a book a second time just for pure enjoyment? If you like humor, writing or the history behind some of the major comedic touchstones of the past century then give this book a read. And buy it from my links!

Red Sox Thoughts

There are two things that I really hope the Red Sox front office realizes:

1. The chances of this team making the playoffs are very, very slim
2. This is not a likable team. Personally I can root for maybe Pedroia, Ellsbury, Ross and Big Papi

I have a friend who is a big Phillies fan. We recently discussed how pleased we are with the timing of the Olympics because the games will allow us to segue right into football season unofficially allowing us to minimize the misery of following either the Red Sox or Phillies. The big difference, that he also acknowledges, is that at least the Phillies are still a likable team.

Josh Beckett needs to be traded. The Rangers keep saying they aren't interested but their options keep dwindling as other teams make moves and what else are they supposed to say? Texas also needs a catcher - so package Beckett with Kelly Stoppach. The Braves also need a starter. Get Randall Delgado and a couple of prospects for Beckett and a few million. This is Chipper's last season - Atlanta wants to go all out. A deal is there to be made. Move the guy already!

The Red Sox are 1-5 in extra innings games and their Bill James Pythagorean winning percentage would have the team at 53-48 instead of their 50-51 record. Combined these two stats are an indictment of the job Bobby Valentine is doing with this team. I really hope this will be the only season Bobby V will be forced upon the good will of Red Sox fans. To this point of the season Valentine has managed the team to the same exact record as the Cleveland Indians. Think on that for a minute. The patience with his competence has worn thin.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Barack Obama should announce that he's become a Scientologist. That way if anyone criticizes him he can have the Church threaten to sue them... The things you learn on the Internet: According to Mental Floss the flags of Liechtenstein and Haiti were once identical - a fact that wasn't known until the flags were displayed at the 1936 Olympics... What an absolutely beautiful photo... Not sure about you but I was disappointed that the Olympic opening ceremonies didn't end with Lane Pryce from Mad Men hanging himself... I would love to listen to a podcast by actors pretending to be Andy Warhol and Muhammad Ali doing movie and TV show reviews... Penn State football coach Bill O'Brien had a clause in his contract that extended his deal a year for every year Penn State was put on NCAA sanctions. So with 4-years of scholarship reductions and bowl bans - Bill O'Brien's contract went from a 5-year deal to a 9-year deal... How to break the Internet - 1. Take all the Troy McLure scenes from The Simpsons 2 Have Ichiro record them in live action and 3 Post those scenes individually to YouTube...

Friday, July 27, 2012

Representative Mike Kelly

I had never heard of Rep. Mike Kelly before but based on this little speech - if I lived in his District I'd vote for him.

Olympic Boxing

There is very little enthusiasm for Olympic boxing anymore. I think there is a simple solution to help stem or reverse this lack of enthusiasm. Move boxing from the Summer Olympics to the Winter Olympics.

There is no reason boxing has to be part of the Summer Games. It's an indoor sport that can be held any time. If it is during the Summer it has to compete with swimming, track and field, gymnastics and lots of other sports. It were held during the Winter Games it would be a much bigger focus of attention - especially for the first few games where the change would be treated as a major story.

A simple solution . I can think of any reasons why this wouldn't work.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Romney and the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics

Very interesting article on Mitt Romney and the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics.

The fact that he took the 2002 Olympics from a $400 million deficit to a $100 million surplus is well known but what is interesting are the examples of how he spent money on the athletes and volunteers not on lavish IOC higher ups. Paying attention to the little things that mattered is why the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics are remembered as among the best run Olympics in history.

Contrast that to the stories you'll see coming out of London about not having enough security personnel or the fact that nobody thought to provide the athletes with air conditioning in their Olympic Village apartments. You can be sure that the IOC VIP's have air conditioning.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Boyd Crowder could not be reached for comment... I would love to hear Jon Lovitz read Obama's "You didn't build that" speech in his Master Thespian's voice. That would get a million YouTube hits easy... 18 Awesome Household Tips... Not sure who I find more heinous - Joe Paterno's son or Ted Williams' son. And yes I know John Henry Williams has passed away but he's still heinous... Very interesting story on Sherman Hemsley who just passed away. And by interesting - I mean bizarrely compelling... Orange barrel re-route! Orange barrel re-rout! Have you seen my baseball? Have you seen my baseball?... It would be cool if TV shows could trade actors the way MLB teams trade players... So it turns out that Ichiro was the player to be named later in the Jay Buhner deal... This is a real milk commercial...

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Bill O'Brien and Penn State

I think the NCAA sanctions against Penn State were both fair and predictable. You knew there would be reductions in scholarships and a bowl game ban. I'm glad they took away the program's wins because that punished Joe Paterno's legacy. Make no mistake - Joe Pa was one of the bad guys in this saga. The $60 million fine? That I have an issue with but it is more because does anyone really trust the NCAA with that $60 million? How much of that money will be wasted on "administration" fees?

Going from 25 to 15 scholarships shouldn't be that big a deal in the first year since I'm guessing the number of recruits who bail on the program will whittle that number down to around 15 anyway. Bill O'Brien can sell the remaining freshmen on either redshirting so that they get the chance of going to a bowl in their 5th year or having the chance of playing right away - something they probably won't get at any other major program.

The reduction in scholarship will certainly hurt Penn State's ability to get Blue Chip prospects and I agree that the depth chart may become an issue. But that too could be turned into a positive. Bill O'Brien could go after players who may want to play both ways. Highlight that the Patriots did this all the time and that this flexibility may make them more attractive to NFL scouts. No other major program could offer this up to players torn between playing offense or defense. At Penn State you could play both.

I think the NCAA sanctions were fair but now I'm rooting for Bill O'Brien to be successful.


Iran's nuclear program has been hacked again.

In general I'm not a fan of hackers but this is the exception that proves the rule. Hack on my friends. At this point the Iranians have to wonder if they did come up with a bomb whether they would be able to control it or if hackers have set a virus to make it blow up in their faces.

Monday, July 23, 2012


What's the worst prank you can play on an Egyptian? Make him think he's in the same room as a Jew.

Simply unbelievable.

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

This may be strange but the person I would really like to hear from regarding how Jeremy Lin was handled by the Knicks is writer William Goldman who happens to be a big Knicks fan... If Time is real and is subject to the forces of gravity doesn't that mean that Time somehow has mass or some sort of energy component?.. Whenever you read about Barack Obama saving Detroit - how come you never see any workers from Saturn or Pontiac quoted in the story?... JA Happ and Jon Lester have basically been the same pitcher this year. People who advocate trading Lester should consider that and look at how comparatively little the Astros got for Happ... Interesting - according to Todd Brunson the poker show Poker After Dark paid the players a flat rate of $5,000 for 8 hours while the show High Stakes Poker paid $1,250 per hour... The Democratic Convention is going to be a disaster. Having one of the least successful Conventions in recent memory will be a big drag on the Obama campaign. The stories will be more about who isn't there than who is attending. Also post Convention don't be shocked if there isn't a bunch of stories about local vendors getting stiffed by the DNC. I just want to say that now.... I would love it if Fred Willard's defense is that he had a cramp and was just trying to work it out...

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting and thought I'd share.

Ha - I think this is great. Nobel laureate sets up table on street and lets people ask him physics questions.

Jerry Seinfeld's web video series is off to a funny start.

Golf writer/editor George Peper bought 2 bedroom flat overlooking 18th hole on Old Course in 1983 for $65,000 and is now selling it for over $2 million. Nice investment.

Really cool new photos of Saturn

I love stories like this - Man risks $66,200 on single roulette bet in Vegas and wins!

Interesting look at Portugal's drug policies and how decriminalizing drugs over 10-years ago changed things 

Swimming with the Shark (the Great White Shark)

Wow - this diver really has big balls! I'd guess that he doesn't always drink beer but when he does he makes it a Dos Equis.

Trade Josh Beckett

I've long been in the trade Josh Beckett camp. I think he'd also welcome a trade because I think he's as sick of the Boston media as the Boston fans are sick of him being a miserable prick (the guy has not only used up all the goodwill from the 2007 championship - he's now running a deficit). Get back a top prospect or two from the Rangers or the Nationals or some team in contention that Beckett gives his OK to and everyone gets to move on with their lives.

Beckett has been tested in the post-season and has produced like no other active pitcher except maybe Andy Pettitte. His numbers aren't great but keep in mind he hasn't given up a HR in his last 10 starts and for his career he's got a 3.48 ERA in 5 starts at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington (where I think he'd be easiest to trade). Beckett has two more years left on his contract at $15 million per year - so he's not even a rental either.

The Red Sox would get a couple of prospects and would allow Franklin Morales to go back to starting where he's been more productive than Beckett. The team would also then have $25 million of payroll flexibility (combining Beckett's and Dice-K's salaries coming off the books) to make the 2013 team more competitive. Plus this year's team would immediately become more likable.

Alex Speier has an excellent breakdown of Beckett's numbers. Too bad he doesn't come right out and say that the Red Sox should trade him now while they have the chance.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Drew Carey

Very interesting interview of Drew Carey by the AV Club.

Sort of a long read but well worth the time.

I was struck by Carey talking about living out of his car for a year and a half in pursuit of his dream of being a successful comedian and how that sacrifice seems to have been down-played. How many people do you know who would be willing to make that sort of sacrifice for their dreams or to better their craft?

Thoughts on the Election

I have a couple of thoughts on the 2012 Presidential Election to get off my chest.

1. President Obama made perhaps the biggest gaffe of the campaign so far when he said, "If you've got a business, you didn't build that." He said that at a speech in Roanoke - a speech where the President did not use his teleprompter. This is significant. Mitt Romney had to go through numerous unscripted, no-teleprompter debates to get his nomination. The President did not and hasn't done debate style speaking for years now. How is the President going to hold up in debates with Romney? Will he make even bigger gaffes than he did in Roanoke? His supporters say he is a great orator but I have not seen any evidence for that claim - especially in situations where he does not have access to a working teleprompter. The debates will be huge this election and my guess is that at this point Romney is better equipped for off-the-cuff speaking than the President (but will the President's ego allow him to recognize this?).

2. The "you didn't build that" comment is bound to hurt the President in his fund-raising efforts. The President  claims he's falling behind Romney but I'm guessing the message of "give me that money that I say you didn't earn so I can be re-elected and redistribute more of your wealth in the next four years" won't resonate with the people he wants to be donating. It may resonate with the true-believers but they are already maxed out in their contributions. This may hurt the President much worse than anyone seems to be saying.

3. Romney has the momentum. In Virginia Romney is now tied with the President. Obama was ahead 50-42 in March. Then Obama was ahead 47-42 in June. Now the two candidates are tied. Would anyone be surprised if Romney pulled ahead in August? This is despite the Obama Campaign's onslaught of negative advertising against Romney. Virginia is not a unique case. Michigan is now in play and Obama's lead has been shrinking in many other states.

4. I think Mitt Romney should not fall trap to doing just negative ads. I think an ad that spells out his resume would be very successful. Just 30 seconds of pointing out he was a great success in business helping launch companies like Staples, the Sports Authority and Bright Horizons. Point out he was a great success turning the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics from a financial and public relations disaster into a profitable venture that the country was proud of. Point out that as Governor of Massachusetts he kept the unemployment rate under 5% while changing the State from having a deficit to having a surplus for the rainy-day fund. Don't run away from the accomplishments the way President Obama is running away from the Stimulus and Obamacare. Run the resume ad into the ground. make it at least 50% of the ad buy in every battle-ground state.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

They Make Great Wedding Gifts

I saw these T-shirts and my first though was "how funny would it be if people put these on their wedding gift registry." Kind of a double polical whammy.

Roger Waters - Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking

No idea why I thought of this song today but the song made me think two things 1 - this was actually the high-point of Roger Waters solo career (which makes it understandable why he just does Pink Floyd stuff now) and 2 - how many people born in 1984 or after even know what hitchhiking is?

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting and thought I'd share.

Heh heh - You Didn't Build That

Barack Obama - the Great Demotivator

How to awkwardly tell golf fans that you have a giant penis

Awesome self-written obituary from a life well lived

What happened to all of Bob Ross' paintings?

Lego Wire

The Wire if it was based in Legoland.

Beyond awesome.

Problems with Aquaman

Interesting look at the scientific and biologic problems Aquaman would face in the "real world".

A brittle-boned, neurotic eating machine doesn't sound like the traditional view of Aquaman but I would buy a comic that portrayed him facing the issues the article points out. For instance Michael Phelps isn't close to the swimmer Aquaman is and Phelps is continuously eating. Imagine the calories Aquaman would have to consume. We had Batman Begins - why not an Aquaman Eats?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Autism - Epidemic or Just Now Getting Noticed?

Interesting article in Discover Magazine about autism. The article gives the history of autism and how until recently it was diagnosed as other things.

The article argues that autism has probably not become more common in recent years - what has changed is how we identify and count the people stricken with it. The rate of 1 in 88 children or 1% of the population may be pretty static throughout history but we are no longer calling those people retarded, insane or schizophrenic. They are now classified as autistic.

It is important to understand the history so that circumstantial causes are not blamed. We know frighteningly little about autism. The resources are very limited so it is important to find true root causes and not go down wrong paths. 

Like I said - very interesting article. I'll probably have to read it a couple more times to grasp the true significance.

Alan Sepinwall on Goon

Alan Sepinwall has posted a review of the movie Goon.

I agree with Alan in his assessment of the film. Big fan. If you liked Slap Shot - you'll like Goon.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Lion vs Tiger

Very cool tale of the tape of what you'd expect if you pitted an African lion versus a Bengal tiger. Not to spoil it but science (and history - past track record if you will) says put your money on the tiger.

Not exactly shark vs bear but a lot more scientific.

Classic - Don Knotts as Frank Sinatra

Then again - maybe Don Knotts was playing Jason Kidd?

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

With Carmelo Anthony the defacto reason the Knicks are not going to match the Rockets offer to Jeremy Lin - I once again wonder if anyone will ask George Karl what was harder - beating cancer or trying to deal with Carmelo's ego... 5 things you might not know about US Army Special Forces... When you see a picture of Jay Marriotti - in your mind do you hear a sad trombone or do you hear Liza Minelli singing some Broadway tune?... Kevin Youkilis' letter to Boston fans (for the record I despise the phrase "Red Sox nation")... Little known fact - I ran Bain Capital from 1999 to 2002... Lawn chair balloon flight? OK now that's another thing I have to add to my bucket list...

Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra Burgers

Here are "recipes" from Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra for making burgers.

I like Sinatra's "recipe" better.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Eumir Deodato - Also Sprach Zarathustra

Feeling a little funky.

Tweet of the Day

Heh heh - to be sung to the old Spiderman cartoon theme music:

javi grillo-marxuach ‏@OKBJGM iron man iron man, does whatever an iron can, creases pants, flattens ties, leaves your shirts mighty fine look out! here comes the iron man

The Overlooked Marco Rubio Scandal

Marco Rubio recently released his book An American Son: A Memoir. You probably saw him on one of the dozens of shows he went on to promote the book. Many of his interviewers commented on Rubio playing football in his youth but all of them seem to have overlooked a potential scandal mentioned in his book.

When Marco was young his family moved from Miami out to Las Vegas. It was there that his family converted to being Mormons but it was also there where the football scandal happened. In Chapter 7 - Growing Up Vegas Rubio describes his third year in Pop Warner football. He describes how he switched teams from the Sooners to the Cavaliers in the hopes of getting more playing time and how his dad became the equipment manager of the Cavaliers - also in an attempt to get Marco more playing time at quarterback. No big deal. That's a story that is played out in almost every town in the country in almost every sport. What makes this story different is what Rubio's dad did as equipment manager.
After Cavaliers games, the parents hung around the field for a while, drinking beer and joking with each other, and my father was welcome in their company. He joined and eventually led an effort to collect money to give as cash prizes to players who scored touchdowns or made the hardest tackles. [Emphasis added]
On the surface a small thing. Just a couple of throw-away sentences describing his third year in Pop Warner. But Rubio had to know what he was describing was wrong.

Rubio is a big football fan. He had to be aware of ESPN doing a big expose on gambling in South Florida on Pop Warner football games. The Outside the Lines piece probably came out just as Rubio was working on his first draft for his book. Playing his youth games in Las Vegas - the gambling capital of the world - isn't it an easy jump to suggest the parents of the Cavaliers were betting on their own kids? Isn't "paying bounties" another way of saying paying cash prizes for the hardest tackles? As a football fan Rubio could not possibly say he doesn't understand what a bounty is.

Of course at this point I admit that this is making a mountain out of a molehill. But the point is Rubio wrote this book as a preemptive vetting process as his name is being tossed around as one of the favorites for Mitt Romney's VP choice. Oftentimes it is the molehills that bring people down or at the least cause out of scale distractions. Just ask former Majority Leader Tom Daschle how the molehill of not paying for a livery service can kill any chance of serving in an Administration. Or ask Barack Obama about the stir caused by a few sentences in his book describing a meal made of dog and how it can be used as a punchline.

Pop Warner pay for play - the overlooked Marco Rubio scandal.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

George Shultz

Very interesting article on George Shultz and how he assesses the current situation for the US.

I would say that he's very optimistic in his outlook but I think that outlook is assuming Mitt Romney will be the next President. Seeing how Shultz is currently at Stanford - I'm surprised he wasn't asked about Condi Rice.

Well worth the read.

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Happy National Nude Day! If you are arrested for public nudity today - Hallmark will pay your bail and your fines!... Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog to air on The CW. Funny - just watched this last night for the first time. For the record - I want a Captain Hammer t-shirt... The 2012 Olympic team vs the 92 Dream Team talk is as silly as Batman vs Superman debates. The 92 team and Superman would win every time... One of the things on my bucket list is to learn how to surf. This video is a painful reminder that I'm not close to checking it off the list... 31 Bizarre Foreign Titles for American Films... When you take taxes into account - the Celtics offer to Ray Allen was only $1.4 million better than what he got from the Heat(s)... Neil Gaiman announced a new Sandman series.My understanding it that it will be a sort of prequel telling the story of Morpheus the Lord of Dreams. I haven't read any of the Sandman books but this may just be the reason I was looking for... Tweet of the Day:
I'd rather cuddle then have sex.. If you're good at grammar, you'll get that.


The Secret Benefits of Creatine Revealed.

Are they really secrets or just things the public doesn't know about creatine? I wasn't aware of them and now that I am - I just may head out to GNC to buy some creatine powder.

One of the things I've always feared is that steroids would get such a bad connotation that proper studies wouldn't be done and the real potential benefits for average people would be overlooked. Creatine has been touted by the media as a steroids precursor. This study seems to show creatine in a very positive light.

Interesting stuff.

Bruce Wayne's Big Adventure?

The Dark Knight Rises trailer with Pee Wee Herman's voice.

Excellent work by Jimmy Fallon.

Throbbing Pain Not Related to Heartbeat

If you are like me you have always associated a throbbing pain being in synch with and in part caused by your heartbeat. Not so says a recent study.

I love when science takes a look at things like this where the answer seems to be so straightforward but never tested.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Michael Keaton

Very interesting Grantland interview of Michael Keaton.

Very enjoyable read. Grantland should do more of these.

Five Favorite Films

I saw this and started wondering what my five favorite films are. After some thought here's what I came up with (and note that the order is pretty interchangeable).

1. Casablanca
2. Slap Shot
3. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
4. LA Confidential
5. The Princess Bride

Not making the list but anytime I have the chance to watch the endings of either Groundhog Day or My Cousin Vinny - I have to stop what I'm doing to watch.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Red Sox Should be Sellers

In 1990 the Red Sox made  a trade with the Astros sending an infielder for a bullpen guy. The infielder was Jeff Bagwell and the bullpen guy was Larry Andersen who ended up pitching 15 games for the Red Sox. This year the Red Sox made another trade with the Astros where they send an infielder for a bullpen guy. The infielder was Jed Lowrie and the bullpen guy was Mark Melancon who has also pitched in 15 games for the Red Sox. Here's how those 15 games compare:

Andersen - 0-0 / 1.23 ERA / 22 IP / 1 Save / 25 K / 3 BB
Melancon - 0-2 / 7.04 ERA / 15 IP / 0 Save / 13 K / 4 BB

I'm not seriously comparing these two trades because the Bagwell trade was one of the biggest heists in baseball history (although I will point out that Bagwell only had 15 HR in his first full season with Houston while Lowrie already had 14). The real reason I bring this up is because the people who defend the trade from the Red Sox perspective always fire back with "well how could you project Lowrie being healthy for a full season"? These are the same people who will change their rationalization when it comes to the trade for Andrew Bailey who had an injury history just as bad as Lowrie's. Oh and the guy the Sox traded for Bailey - Josh Reddick - now has 20 HR for the A's. Meanwhile Bailey hasn't pitched a game for Boston.

The reason I bring up those trades is because I think the Red Sox should be sellers at the trade deadline but as those trades above show - I'm not sure if I have confidence with Ben Cherington's ability to make a good deal. And the Catch-22 is if the Red Sox become sellers then that gives Bobby Valentine an excuse for a poor record (and I despise Valentine). Part of me wants to keep this team together so that they could be humbled by a bad season. The realistic part of me says that these players won't be humbled though as much as exposed as petulant spoiled children (which would just made them even more unlikable than they already are).

OK - who to trade?

I'd start by trading Josh Beckett to the Rangers for a top prospect. Beckett has 2-years left on his contract and Texas needs to win now. Beckett would most likely waive his 10/5 rights for Texas. If you trade Beckett it also gives you payroll flexibility going forward for 2013 and 2014.

Kelly Shoppach could bring a minor prospect and the Sox could promote Ryan Lavarnway who fans want to see anyway. Promote Jose Iglesias to be the shortstop, trade Nick Punto and make Mike Aviles the utility guy. Ryan Sweeney - trade him.  I wouldn't trade Jacoby Ellsbury at the trade deadline though.

You'll get more for Ellsbury in the offseason.

Monday, July 09, 2012

The Fly - U2

You don't seem to hear U2 as much these days. Haven't heard this song in quite some time. It holds up very well.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Nobody nailed the story of Why Ray Allen left the Celtics for the Miami Heat like Adrian Wojnarowski who is by far the best NBA writer going... Just saying but Adrian Gonzalez has an OPS of .747 while Anthony Rizzo (one of the guys the Red Sox traded to get Gonzo) has an OPS of 1.150 with the Cubs. I know it is a small sample size for Rizzo and that Gonzo is bound to post better numbers but people are starting to wonder if the trade was worth it... Not the first person to make this observation but the Celtics going out and signing Jason Terry before making deal with Ray Allen feels like something the Patriots would do. In the end the Celtics got younger and saved salary for other things. Just like something the Patriots would do... If you like the movie Slap Shot - do yourself a favor and rent Goon. I give it two big thumbs up. Very fun movie for any hockey fan... Will Ray Allen be one of those rare Hall of Fame players whose number does not get retired by any teams? The Celtics are not going to do it now. The Sonics don't even exist any more and Ray has no history with OKC. Milwaukee may be his best shot... These are wicked awesome!

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Ray Allen and Demi Moore

I have all the respect in the world for Ray Allen but I have a comparison in my head I just can't shake. Is Ray Allen just like Demi Moore?

Hear me out. The comparison works on several levels. What first got me thinking about the comparison is the movie A Few Good Men. Demi Moore got third billing in that movie behind Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson - just like Ray Allen always seemed to get third billing in the Big Three behind Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. But was that third billing justified? I mean was Demi Moore more important to that movie than Kevin Bacon or Kevin Pollack? Was Ray Allen more important to those Celtics NBA finals teams than Rajon Rondo or Kendrick Perkins? The somewhat bitchy big-boobed potential love interest is the easiest thing in Hollywood to replace. I can't see A Few Good Men being close to the same movie without Cruise or Nicholson but I honestly could see a few other actresses filling out Demi Moore's uniform in that movie. Linda Hamilton for example was considered for the part. Many people also say that shooting guard in the NBA is the easiest position to fill.

In real-life Demi Moore left veteran actor Bruce Willis for Ashton Kutcher who was the hottest thing in Hollywood at the time. Ray Allen is leaving the veteran Boston Celtics for the hotter than hot Miami Heat(s).

I can't get this comparison out of my head. Is Ray Allen the Demi Moore of the NBA?

Ray Allen and the Celtics

Ray Allen has decided to sign with the Miami Heat(s). I wish Ray nothing but the best.

Ray Allen agreeing to come to Boston made it possible for Kevin Garnett to want to come to Boston. The creation of the new Big Three allowed the Celtics to become relevant again and to win another World Championship. For all that I say thank you to Ray Allen.

During his time in Boston Ray Allen always handled himself with nothing but class and dignity. When Ray was injured or when he was the center of trade rumors - he never complained or made himself a distraction. Now he wants to play in Miami - how can any Celtics fan in good conscience begrudge him that?

Meanwhile, I can't help but think that the Boston Celtics are quietly assembling a very deep team. You already have Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Brandon Bass, Jason Terry, Jeff Green, Avery Bradley, Fab Melo, and Jared Sullinger. That's a nine-deep rotation. Jason Terry easily replaces Ray Allen's minutes and contributions and if he stays healthy then will most likely be an upgrade. Jeff Green will be a huge wild-card for next season. Green has the potential to be the best sixth-man in the NBA. If that's the case then the Celtics are serious contenders.

Doc Rivers generally doesn't play rookies but all he needs from Melo and Sullinger are a few minutes per game to learn the NBA and to give KG and Pierce a breather. Danny Ainge will probably bring back Greg Stiemsma as the back-up center but I'd love to see him sign Marcus Camby. That would be a huge upgrade and potentially a situation that would be attractive to Camby. The Celtics could use the mid-level exemption on him ($3 million), the Celtics would only need him to log 20 minutes per game and Camby would be coming back home (he's from Connecticut and went to UMass). That would just leave back-up PG which will probably be Keyon Dooling and if that's the case fine but I'd like an upgrade here as well.

The bottom line is the Celtics look poised for a very deep run next year. And that was going to be the case with or without Ray Allen.

Thank you Ray Allen for your time here in Boston. You were the consummate professional. May the road rise to meet you and may the wind always be at your back and may your ankles not be issue.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Interesting Bar Bets

HT Boing Boing

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Brad Pitt's mom writes anti-Obama editorial. What I love about this story is the idea that Brad Pitt's mom's vote will basically cancel out her son's vote in November but since she's from a battleground state (Missouri) her vote actually carries more weight (Brad lives in California which is sure to go for Obama)... Seth MacFarlane is making it possible for Carl Sagan's paper to be donated to the Library of Congress. Nice job Mr. Family Guy... I thought last night's Louie was pretty funny but I'm still haunted by the fact that the woman who played Louie's girlfriend last week was the little girl from Field of Dreams. I know Gaby Hoffman is now 30 but she'll always be little Karin Kinsella in many ways (I also find it creepy that Louie was college aged when Field of Dreams came out)... How all 57 50 states got their names... Tom Glavine had a career batting average of .186. Meanwhile Richie Weeks of the Brewers is hitting just .192 (and it was .182 last week)... Sam Trickett won $10.1 million for coming in second place in the WSOP One Drop Million Dollar Buy-in event but later that night gets beat up by six guys. I'd love to know the whole story on this...

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Are You Experienced

Have you ever lost the ability to spell a certain word? For the past two weeks I swear I have lost the ability to spell the word "experience". I get the red-squiggly auto-correct line and have to fix it. Every single time (including this paragraph).

It may be because I thought this cartoon was funny.

Top 5 - Red Sox All-Time HR Leaders

David Ortiz hit his 400th HR today and his 342nd as a member of the Boston Red Sox. Ortiz is in 5th place on the Red Sox all-time HR list. If he stays one more season - then both Dewey and Rice could be in his sights. That's pretty incredible when you stop to think about it.

1. Ted Williams - 521
2. Carl Yastrzemski - 452
3. Jim Rice - 382
4. Dwight Evans - 379
5. David Ortiz - 342

The Amazing Thrips

That's a picture of a wasp (Megaphragma mymaripenne), a Paramecium, and an amoeba all at the same scale. A multi-celled animal smaller than single cell organisms. Amazing. I would love to see that tiny wasp compared to a gnat or a Sandfly at scale.

Very interesting stuff by the always interesting Ed Yong. Extra goodness in the comments section.

Higgs Boson Discovered

Very big news out of CERN - the Higgs boson has been discovered - or I guess more correctly - the Higgs boson has been scientifically detected. This is very big news for science but probably my last chance to repeat this joke:
The Higgs boson walks into a bar. Bartender says, "What's the matter?" "Exactly."”
EDIT: Stephen Hawking's reaction to the news is beyond awesome.

What It Was Like in 1776

Interesting article in the Wall Street Journal about what it was like in the Colonies back in 1776. Couldn't help but note  that the word "slavery"doesn't appear in the article - so take it with a grain of salt.

As an aside - currently reading David McCullough's chronicle of that most important year 1776. The book is well worth your time if you have a chance to read it.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Justice Roberts Takes Another Argument Away from Obama

One of the consequences from the recent Obamacare ruling that has gone under the radar is the fact that Chief Justice Roberts may have rendered another one of the traditional Democratic arguments moot.

All my life Democrats have warned that one of the most important reasons to vote for a Democratic President is to prevent a Republican President from stacking the Supreme Court with neanderthal judges who would strip citizens of their liberties. Now with Justice Roberts being praised by the likes of the New York Times - that argument gets much harder to make. What's Obama going to say? "Vote for me or else Mitt Romney will put more people like Justice Roberts on the bench!" That may actually lead people to vote for Romney.

How is the President supposed to raise funds based on the Supreme Court appointments now? He can't go after Clarence Thomas because that could be spun as black on black crime. He can't go after Anthony Kennedy because the last name will confuse some liberals who aren't paying attention. David Souter? Heck Democrats want more Justices like Souter. That just leaves Samuel Alito and Antonin Scalia both of whose name recognition among non-engaged likely voters is probably in the single digits.

Chief Justice Roberts did save Obamacare but in doing so he kept it alive as a campaign issue, re-branded it as a tax and he took away appointing Supreme Court judges as a major reason to vote Democrat. President Obama will still try to sell it but Justice Roberts just made neanderthal Republican Justice appointments as believable as shovel ready jobs.

Bravo Chief Justice Roberts. Bravo.

Player Comparison

Here's a player comparison that I found interesting - keep in mind that both players are 29 years old with not much big league experience:

Player A: 211 AB/ 30 R/ 13 HR/ 28 RBI/ .284 BA/ .890 OPS
Player B: 143 AB/ 26 R/  3 HR/ 26 RBI/ .294 BA/ .873 OPS

The numbers are fairly close. Player A has more power but he also has a third more AB this season. The big difference is the hype around the players. Player A is Cubs prospect (and pride of Worcester) Brian LaHair while Player B is the vastly under-heralded Daniel Nava.

It is supposed to be the on the field performance that counts. It will be interesting to see if that holds for good guy Nava.

Why Penn State Won't Get Death Penalty

Many people are either talking about or calling for Penn State to get the NCAA "death penalty" but there is one simple reason why that won't happen - money.

Just as a guess the school will end up paying between $20-30 million per victim. With potentially 50 or more victims that's between $1 and $1.5 billion dollars in damages. Minimum. The school will need the football program to pay off those suits and if the program gets shut down for a year or more that might not be possible. The NCAA will have to punish the school in some way but the death penalty is not going to be part of the equation.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Baby Trashes Bar

This always makes me laugh.

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Today is National Creative Ice Cream Flavor Day - this flavor name is creative but if its literal then I'd say its disgusting... It still blows my mind that Ronald Reagan was the original choice to play Rick Blaine in the classic Casablanca... Ray Allen already has a championship ring. He's a smart guy - he's not going to Miami to be Dwayne Wade's back-up for half the money he could make from the Celtics...  Candidates for Congress should have to take and pass the test immigrants have to take to become Citizens. Candidates should have to pass this test before their name ever gets on a ballot... A surgeon cuts to the heart of why Obamacare is awful for healthcare in this country... In 1892 Benjamin Harrison became the first US President to attend a baseball game. Jack McKeon managed one of the teams... They say it takes 10,000 hours of doing something to become an expert. If that's the case then I'm an expert on watching the Boston Red Sox... Next season on Game of Thrones a great wizard and conjurer is introduced. Some call him Tim... There must be some higher purpose to the Tom / Katy divorce. Cthulhu doesn't play dice with the universe...  The Red Sox are now 0-5 in extra innings games this season. That's because the other teams have had better managers... Punch him again Pudge!!!