Sunday, December 16, 2018

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observation.

The NBA three-team trade gone bad over the wrong Brooks reminds me of the story of how Angels owner Gene Autry once told his GM to "get that outfielder from the Red Sox" so the GM signed Rick Miller. Autry meant Dwight Evans... This is such a great story. Charles Barkey is an American treasure... I think the maximum an NHL coach should be with any one team is 9-years. That's the longest Scottie Bowman coached with one team (the Redwings - he spent 8-years with the Canadiens). Just like a US President has a max of 2-terms an NHL coach should have a max of 9-seasons. Call it the Scottie Bowman rule... Cool - California election resolved with Dungeons & Dragons dice...  9 also happens to be the number of Stanley Cup Championships Bowman won as head coach... Excellent life advice... Studies suggest that there has been a big uptick in women watching male gay porn (like guys watching girl on girl I guess). This poses two real dangers for straight married guys. First friends may find the Internet history and assume it is the husband watching the porn or second the wives may come to think that the average male is much better endowed and can "last" much longer than their hubby. Congress should do something about this!... 

Saturday, December 15, 2018

London Calling

This week in 1979 The Clash released their third studio album London Calling. One of the great albums of all-time.

Today also happens to be the 63rd birthday of Clash bass player Paul Simonon. It is Simonon who is pictured smashing his bass guitar on the cover of London Calling.

Happy birthday Paul!

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- The DMZ in Korea is being dismantled. If unification or something close comes to North and South Korea how does President Trump not get awarded a Nobel Prize?

- We've all had days like this

- Quitter!

- This is sad - the annual Rolling Thunder ride is coming to an end. 2019 will be the last ride.

- Very cool

- An update on Craig James (who I still think is a dick)

- World GDP by Country - it is fascinating to watch

Einstein on God

“We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library, whose walls are covered to the ceiling with books in many different languages. The child knows that someone must have written those books. It does not know who or how. It does not understand the the languages in which they are written. The child notes a definite plan in the arrangement of the books, a mysterious order, which it does not comprehend but only dimly suspects.” - Albert Einstein

Friday, December 14, 2018

Pull the Plug

The other day I started thinking about the phrase "pull the plug". Most people think the phrase has to do with pulling out the electric cord and turning off the power on something and specifically many think of "pulling the plug" on someone plugged into life-support equipment at a hospital.

I, however, think the phrase originated with a bathtub or sink plug that you'd pull when you were done with your bath or whatever.

Couldn't find a definitive answer to this question but since there seems to be some use of the phrase in the 18th century - I'm going to go ahead and say that I was right. And now that I've written all this down - I can finally stop thinking about this stupid phrase.

US Blues - Grateful Dead

Just felt like hearing some Dead this morning.

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- And now it feels like Christmas!

- Cool - how Warren Buffett found Berkshire Hathaway: a 56-year love story

- This might be cheesy (and French) but as a dad it really hit home

- If you see this and don't immediately think of the movie Mystery Alaska then you aren't a true hockey fan

- Heh heh - awesome!

- Cool illustration of the Mercator projections vs the true size of countries

- Heh Heh

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Cheers to a Merrier World

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- Intuition vs Rationality: Where one stops and the other starts

- Why Uber's self-driving car killed that woman. Uber seems like the type of company that is only concerned about safety after the fact and only if bad PR is hurting the company. I don't think Uber will last long-term. A new technology or more customer friendly company will replace them.

- Have the feeling you may not be seeing Neil deGrasse Tyson much on TV till this is resolved.

- This is quite a booklist.

- GM Layoffs: A tragedy caused by embracing government subsidies not markets. Get woke go broke indeed!

- When the histories are written one of the main tragedies of our era will be recognized as the subversion of pure science to political or PC considerations

This Week in Musk World

We start off this week in Musk World with the above video of Jay Leno explaining why Americans should be rooting for Elon Musk and Tesla. I agree with Jay 100%! Tesla has created close to 50,000 new jobs. How can you not root for a company that does that?

To be fair not all the jobs at Tesla will be in the US with Gigafactory 3 set to open in China mid 2019.

Yet the big media attention story was Elon's appearance on 60 Minutes. Not exactly a love story but even 60 Minutes couldn't diminish the company's accomplishments.

Tesla is growing with 11 new stores opening this week. And as always no need to have an appointment for a test drive at any of the locations. These new locations also mean more new jobs - for the people who built these locations and those who will staff these locations.

In other Musk World related news - the SpaceX Dragon has visited the Space Station 16 times. The latest this past Saturday.

Tesla may also be getting into the GPS business. Which when you think about it would be a natural crossover expansion of their auto-driving electric cars and SpaceX experience.

Next week Musk World sees the Boring Company product launch. And as usual probably some surprises. Never "boring" in Musk World. (Sorry couldn't resist.)

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- NASA's Voyager 2 probe enters interstellar space. The second NASA probe to do this but still a tremendous accomplishment that should have garnered more attention than it did.

101-year old WWII vet credits his longevity to having a Coors Light every day. Coors hears of this and does the right thing.

- I was in Miami watching the Army/Navy game but this pre-game benediction brought tears to my eyes. Where do we find such men?

- Screw Nike. BTW - Nike's stock price is down about $7 since they announced the Kaepernick ad campaign.

- Godspeed former President George H.W. Bush from his Secret Service detail. Interesting - did not know his Secret Service code name was Timberwolf.

- Actor Philip Bosco has passed at age 88. I agree with Alan Sepinwall - my favorite role of his was as the bus driver (or "blufftony" driver if you like) in the movie Quick Change.

- Another story that was grossly under-reported was President Trump's progress in world trade at the recent G-20 meeting in Argentina.


"Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them." - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations


Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

At the time the final play of the Miami/Pats game was very, very disappointing because of my rooting (and not insubstantial monetary) interests but I must say the sense of elation and joy of the Dolphins fans really was something to see and experience... So crazy it just might work... This win over the Patriots was really the Super Bowl equivalent for Dolphins fans. The high point of their season and a highlight for them that will be cherished the way the Flutie miracle in Miami pass was for BC fans... Drinking with quiet determination is often the best form of drinking... America's sustained competitive advantage stems from our vast natural resources and our freedoms. Of the two our freedoms are by far the most important and irreplaceable... Heh heh... The way I view Sunday's loss to the Dolphins is it was an early gift from the Patriots. Merry Christmas Miami...

Net Neutrality

I can see both sides of the Net Neutrality "argument'. Honestly I'm pretty ambivalent. Yes I want the freedom to do what I want without ISP's favoring one website over another but treating the Internet like a utility or a Bell operating company with the regulations and commiserate paperwork will just serve to strangle new small providers. 

Here's what I propose - I will support whatever side that says their solution will require a $1 charge to leave a comment on YouTube videos or review items on Amazon. All of those funds would go directly to paying down the national debt.

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

Monday, December 10, 2018

Presidential Poker

Probably the two best poker players to occupy the Oval Office in the 20th century were Harry S. Truman and Richard Nixon. However, before I can discuss them in poker terms I need to point out that I hold to the theory that poker players fall into four basic categories. 

1. Players who don’t know what they are doing. These of course are the best ones to play against. 

2. Players who try to judge the others players around the table. Amateur psychologists who play the person as much or more than the cards. They try to figure out who raises when they have nothing and who raises when they are loaded and play accordingly. They will stay in to the end with shit cards if they think the other guy is bluffing. 

3. Players who play the odds. They know the probabilities and do not stay in a hand unless the odds are in their favor. An extreme example of this type of player is the guy who will only stay in a 7-stud game if his hole cards are a pair or Ace/King. (If you just played the odds you are almost guaranteed to win but poker wouldn't be much fun.) 

4. This guy is a combination of the player who can player the other players around the table as well as know the probabilities involved with the cards exposed at the table. This is the most dangerous type of player to play against. Basically, anyone who has ever made it to the final table at the World Series of Poker would fall into this category. (By the way - just like everyone thinks they have a sense of humor - everyone who plays poker sees themselves as a category 4 player.) 

Harry S. Truman fell into this forth category. Truman was a regular at Vice President John Nance Garner'’s poker game when Truman was a Senator. (Interestingly – Truman would later replace Garner as VP. Garner is also the man who described the job of VP not being worth a warm jug of spit.) At these games Truman became friends with Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn and members of the House from both parties. Truman’s reputation as honest, smart and humorous came in large part from participating in these poker games. 

Truman would often play poker a few nights a week. The games could be with friends from back home in Missouri, newspapermen when he was traveling or other Senators back in Washington. Poker is something Truman did for fun and relaxation. It is a habit he kept throughout his time in Washington including all his time as President. (I should note that although poker may have been a habit with Truman – losing was not. Truman was an excellent poker player.) 

Richard Nixon was a very different person from Truman and they also differed greatly when it came to poker. 

Nixon was raised a Quaker but that did not stop him from either joining the Navy or from making a tidy sum playing poker in the service. 

Nixon was poor (as was Truman) but didn’t have Truman’'s ease with people. Nixon, however, had a great analytical mind. At his height, Nixon was a category four player but in his heart he was really a category three player. Nixon knew the odds and liked to take advantage of them when they were in his favor. 

Nixon was such a good poker player that he was able to finance his first run for Congress with $10,000 he won playing poker in the service (that was quite a bit of money back then). The higher Nixon rose, however, the less poker he played. By the time he became Vice President – Nixon had stopped playing altogether, 

I have to think that if Nixon had kept his wit and person reading/interaction skills sharp by playing poker that his Presidency would have had a much different ending. 

Important To Remember

Especially this time of year it is important to remember that almost all setbacks are temporary. Let "This to shall pass" be your mantra.

Depression is a serious issue and if you or someone you know is struggling make sure they know there is help.

Suicide hotline (800) 273-8255. Please ask for help.

Friday, December 07, 2018

Bowie and Bing

As big as David Bowie was - back in the day Bing Crosby was bigger. Much bigger.

Now Bing is mostly forgotten. As will be David Bowie in a few years. It's the way of the world.

Both Bowie and Bing would trade all of their fortune and fame to trade places with you today. No matter what your circumstances these past giants would love to breathe the air once again. And if given that choice do you think they would sweat the small stuff?

Think about that.

The Truth About the Island of Misfit Toys

It is the Christmas season which means soon holiday classics will be on TV constantly. I need to get off my chest the truth about Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the Island of Misfit Toys. The thing about the misfit toys wasn't that they were squirt-guns that shot jelly or cowboys who rode ostrich's. The really strange thing about these "toys" was the fact THEY WERE ALIVE!

Now any high school biology student can tell you that life comes from life. These misfit toys were probably the offspring of some sick minded magic elves who must have gotten too "friendly" with some of the toys they were working on and fondling day after day. They were put on the Island of Misfit Toys probably as an attempt by upper management of Santa's Workshop to cover up some of the sick shit that was going on when the lights got turned off at night.

Let's be clear here - we aren't talking about misfit toys either - we are talking about FREAKS! If my kids got a choo-choo with square wheels that was alive - I would freaking BURN IT WITH FIRE! I would also then have to start spending thousands of dollars on therapy probably for the whole family. You could bet that Christmas and Santa would take on whole new meanings (and nightmares) from that day forward.

God help the children who ended up getting those freak misfit toys on Christmas morning.

And don't even get me going on the heroin backstory to The Little Drummer Boy.

Thursday, December 06, 2018

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Periodic reminder to Steelers fans - your team lost playoffs games to both Blake Bortles and Tim Tebow... Talk about being consistent... Every time I'm tempted to give a Nobel Prize winner too much credit I remind myself that former Enron adviser Paul Krugman won one for economics and that Yasser Arafat won a Nobel Peace Prize...  Heh heh - Run, Tommy Run... Still on the fence about President Trump but if he were to name Alice Cooper US Poet Laureate that might put me over the top...  Remember - until you pin me Festivus is not over!

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- Amazon's eye for sports could shatter TV as we know it. Good!

- Love, Happiness, and Time. Interesting and gratifying way to view the world.

- Interesting - if the American Dream is for children to do better financially than their parents then the American Dream is not only alive and well it's thriving! Long read but worth it!

- Christopher Buckley with an excellent remembrance of George HW Bush (aka the Vishnu)

- A guide to tipping in the US. Agree 100% with the $1 per drink at a bar suggestion. In most of the places I go that works out to more than 20% but it's worth it for the shit they let me get away with or for what they have to put up with (insert smiley face emoticon here).

- Marriott had a data breach that could effect 500 million people. That's more more the population of the US.

- If this doesn't make you tear up even just a little - I serious don't want to know you.

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

This Week in Musk World

Another busy week in Musk World.

Tesla has now achieved production rates of 1,000 Model 3's a day. If Tesla is able to keep this up then the $35,000 Model 3 could be a reality as soon as May of 2019.

1,000 Model 3's a day is impressive but that's nothing compared to the 3.5 million battery cells produced by the GigaFactory which as this video points out is Elon Musk's key to Tesla's future.

Solving production issues has allowed the Model 3 to become the 4th best selling car in the US by volume and the best selling passenger car by revenue. The success of the Model 3 has spelled doom for hybrid electric vehicles like the Chevy Volt. GM vows that they will be jumping into the all-electric car market with both feet in the coming years. But based upon the continued progress of Elon Musk and Tesla - they might be too late.

The cars Tesla is producing are getting used in the real world with the company announcing over 10 billion miles have been driven in Tesla cars already. With an amazing 1 billion miles being driven while under the autopilot feature. And Tesla keeps on rolling out improvements to its Navigate and Autopilot functions. 

It wasn't all roses this week in Musk World though. Elon was once again chastised for smoking pot on the Joe Rogan podcast. This time by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. As NASA starts launching new moon based initiatives it will be interesting to see if people like Mr. Bridenstine emerge as villains in Musk World as behind the scenes politics may require NASA strongly leaning toward established partners like Boeing and Lockheed Martin's ULA instead of SpaceX.  I wouldn't bet against Elon and SpaceX though. Their more nimble approach has already allowed SpaceX to become the world's most prolific launcher of rockets and they also have the backing of Wall Street and Google. Remember the government also invested heavily in GM and the Chevy Volt - how did that work out?

And now your very cool moment of the week - double sonic booms as the SpaceX Falcon performs its vertical landing.

Killing Kennedy

Marilyn Monroe once famously sang Happy Birthday to You (Mister President) to JFK. What's lesser known is that Kennedy never paid the licensing fee for the song.

That was the real reason he was killed. The Happy Birthday to You folks don't mess around.

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Conspiracy Theory - the NSA developed and started the whole Elf on a Shelf thing to acclimate future generations to 24/7 surveillance... I'm going to have business cards printed up that say "Chris Lynch - Public Intellectual and Thought Leader" because why not?... In the near future the word "distaff" will be replaced by the word "nodick" because people in the not-so-distant future will be morons... George HW Bush sledding with Arnold Schwarzenegger because why not... I'm going to try to mix in the phrase "it's like trying to take blood from a penguin" today in conversation. Don't even know what that means but I like the way it sounds... The ESPN "Fansville" commercials have me convinced that only stupid people drink Dr Pepper. If you're smart and drink Dr Pepper you should be insulted by these commercials... FACT: Donald Trump has not been defeated in the Octagon by any other President living or dead. You can't argue with facts!...


Actually a good basic explanation.

Sunday, December 02, 2018

Where are My Back-up Singers?

On a more existential plane - isn't that the question we are all asking this time of year? Where ARE OUR background singers?

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- The 7 basics to goal setting.

- Interesting - what if the Placebo Effect isn't a trick? Long read but worth it. Never knew about Ben Franklin's early role in this controversy.

- Heh Heh

- November 27th was an important anniversary in General Chuck Yeager's life. He shot down 4 enemy planes that day.

- Wrong on so many levels.

- Great life advice - life IS short

- The reasons you can't brings water bottles through airport security

Saturday, December 01, 2018

George HW Bush

George Herbert Walker Bush has passed away at age 94. He was a true gentleman of great character who spent much of his life in service to his country whether it be in uniform as a Navy combat pilot during World War II or in various government or elected positions culminating with his service as the 41st President of the United States.

His passing comes just 8 months after the death of his beloved wife of 73 years Barbara Bush. The photo to the left is of George and Barbara on their wedding day.

As a simple example of how great a person George HW Bush was - five years ago he shaved his head in support of the son of a secret service agent battling cancer. It should be noted that George and Barbara lost their first daughter Robin to childhood leukemia.

Many of the articles you will read today will speak about 41 as a one term President. If those articles do not mention H. Ross Perot you can be sure that you are reading an article from an outlet that is biased or incompetent. Perot's entry into the 1992 election as a third-party candidate is what cost Bush re-election.

Perot won almost 19% of the popular vote that year (the most ever by a modern third-party candidate). So any eulogies that ignore that piece of history should make you think twice about ever trusting that media outlet again.

His feelings about Perot aside, Bush was gracious and classy in defeat as this note to Bill Clinton shows.

HBO has an excellent documentary on the life of George HW Bush named simply 41. The documentary is completely narrated by 41 and goes through every aspect of his life - from childhood to the Presidency. When Perot is mentioned you can hear that hatred still for the man who Bush blames for not having a second term as President. Perhaps the only person Bush had those feelings about.

George HW Bush and George W Bush, of course, were just the second father-son to hold the office of President. They joined John and John Quincy Adams in that rare accomplishment.

I think history will look very favorably on George HW Bush and on his Presidency.

One of my favorite what-ifs in history is the fact that before picking Dan Quayle as his Vice President, Bush briefly considered giving that slot to Clint Eastwood instead. That's 100% true. Can you imagine how history would have been different if that happened?

Rest in peace you great and honorable man. Barbara is waiting for you.

Ho Ho Ho

(Now I have a machine gun)

If I still sent out Christmas cards - this is the one I'd send out this year.

And yes - Die Hard is indeed a Christmas movie (and Dick in a Box also qualifies as a Christmas song).

Friday, November 30, 2018

Georgia on My Mind - Steve Winwood and Eric Clapton

What a great version of a great song.

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

As we enter the Christmas season a gentle reminder - if you play The Christmas Shoes on the jukebox I should be allowed to throw darts at you. No exceptions!... In America the government DOES NOT exist to make us equal but to treat us equally. Any government agency or policy that treats citizens unequally is un-American... Muscular Church would be a good name for a Christian rock band... Heh heh - awesome!... "Coming of Age" stories are a little too spot on if you just reverse the order of those three words... Also as a reminder as we enter the Christmas season - we don't say the word "Hark!" enough these days. Who wouldn't like hearing someone calling attention to something important by exclaiming "Hark!" Or maybe it's just me...

Player Comparison

Here's a player comparison I've been thinking about.

Player A - 1988 G/ 1355 R/ 383 HR/ 1311 RBI/ .313 BA/ .400 OBP/ .965 OPS
Player B - 2439 G/ 1513 R/ 118 HR/ 1013 RBI/ .328 BA/ .415 OBP/ .858 OPS

Both players have impressive numbers - though Player B had 451 more games in which to compile stats. But here's the numbers I was really curious about:

Player A - .278 BA/  .370 OBP/ .495 SLG/ .865 OPS
Player B - .302  BA/ .387 .OBP/ .395 SLG/ .781 OPS

Those are the career road numbers for the two players. You can see a big drop off for both players but Player B basically becomes a slap singles player on the road.

Player A - .348 BA/ .431 OBP/ .637 SLG/ 1.068 OPS
Player B - .354 BA/ .443 OBP/ .491 SLG/ .934 OPS

Those are the home numbers for both players. It should be noted that Player A won an MVP and was a 7 time Gold Glove winner. At home his numbers were almost Ruthian but ironically it was largely his home numbers which played against him when it came time for Hall of Fame voting. Player A was Larry Walker who played the bulk of his career home games at Coors Field. Player B was Wade Boggs who I still say would not be a Hall of Fame player if A - he didn't stick around just to get his 3,000 hits (3,010) or B - didn't play the bulk of his career home games at Fenway Park.

And yes I have a serious dislike for Wade Boggs.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Rick Middleton

The Bruins are retiring Rick Middleton's number 16 tonight at the TD Garden.

It is a well-deserved, overdue honor for Nifty. He finished his 12-year career with 448 goals and 988 points. Both marks are easily in the top 100 all-time in NHL history.

For the Bruins Middleton is 3rd in all-time goals and 6th in all-time assists which makes him 4th on Boston's all-time points leader board.

Thanks for the memories Nifty. You were one of my favorite players growing up.

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- NASA's Lucy Mission scheduled to launch in October 2021 to explore the Jupiter Trojan steroids looks fascinating.

- Skydiving instructor who died in tandem jump took his own life police say. What a strange story. I have to wonder since it was a tandem jump if the person the instructor was jumping with was just so obnoxious that dropping to his death seemed like the best choice at the time? I know I'm an awful person for thinking that (but now you're wondering that too!)

- Looks like I won't be buying any headphones from Sennheiser. Not worth the security risk.

- Heh heh - dad photoshops daughter in dangerous situations to freak out relatives. I might be a bad dad because I might have done a couple of those in real life.

- Wow - NASCAR viewership has fallen off a cliff. Thanks Obama!

- Well I guess Peter Dinklage should be the next Fed Chair then

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

If Justin Beiber made a Christmas album - I'd give it as a gift to people I hate... Murphy Brown reboot cancelled after historically low ratings. Who could have seen this coming?... Confession: I have never seen the movie A Christmas Story. Have no plans to see it this year either... "A hero is one who knows how to hang on one minute longer" - Novalis... Not sure if this was just a Massachusetts saying but when I was a kid "book it" meant to run away as in, "the cops are here - book it!" Because kids in Mass naturally run away from books maybe?... Heh Heh... Speaking of Massachusetts things - I think Hollywood should remake a bunch of John Wayne movies but with a Mike Dukakis look-alike in the lead. I would definitely pay to see The Quiet Dukakis or She Wore a Yellow Dukakis... 


Who knew? Muggletonians and Muggletonianism were a real thing. And had nothing to do with the "Muggles" of the Harry Potter wizarding world.

In 1651 two London tailors announced that they were the last prophets foretold in the Book of Revelation. And a new Protestant sect was born.

Even though it was John Reeve who believed he received the "word of God" - the movement was named after his cousin Lodowicke Muggleton (pictured left) who joined Reeve in spreading their new Gospel.

If the movement was named after John Reeve I guess his followers would have been known as "Reevers' and would have put my modern mind to thinking of the "Reavers" of the Firefly universe. Whereas Muggletonians really do put your mind to Harry Potter.

Not for nothing but the tenets of Muggletonianism seem pretty reasonable.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Straight Lines - Silverchair

Not much into pop but just felt like hearing this song.

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

In an effort to help explain local customs let me start by saying a man blowing his nose into his napkin is the universal non-verbal signal to the waitress that he is done with dinner and that the waitress may now clear his plate in New England... OK this was funny... If I owned an NFL or MLB team with a losing record I would put myself on the roster as the the third punter or seventh outfielder because why not? I don't think there's an actual rule against it. I'd pay myself millions too!... But this was even funnier... One of the great put-downs of all-time was by Ernest Hemingway in A Moveable Feast where he described writer Wyndham Lewis as having "the eyes of an unsuccessful rapist"... I have to agree with James Woods here. People who consistently go after Melania Trump say more about themselves than about the First Lady... If I wrote for SNL I'd do a sketch about the Ginger Network which would be a regular TV network but on which all the actors had red hair. You could have Ginger DiNero and Ginger Pacino doing the coffee scene from Heat. You could have Ginger Jimmy Stewart doing a scene from It's a Wonderful Life. Comedians doing impressions of actors while wearing red wigs - simple but still funny (at least to me),,,

The Cliff


Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- Is that really the sound it makes? Awesome!

- All humans are descended from just two people. Scientists damn well better name those two Adam and Eve!

- Well this made me feel stupid. Jordan Peterson's list of his top 51 literature books. I've only read 14.

- Gross - half the DNA on the NYC subway matches no known organism

- Mitt Romney was right about the GM bailouts

- Very cool!

- Heh Heh

This Week in Musk World

The week started with Neil deGrasse Tyson explaining that Elon Musk is the most important person in tech. More important than Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg. While I don't necessarily disagree with Neil - doesn't it seem like he's always "explaining" things? Part of me is bugged by the idea of Neil deGrasse Tyson hogging the science spotlight that rightfully should go to some Nobel Prize winning physicist or you know someone who has actually accomplished something. You know - someone like Elon Musk.

Later in the week Elon tweeted out this list of every all-electric car available in the US. You wonder if he was honestly trying to be helpful or so cocky that he's actually saying "Here I'll save you some time - here's all the electric cars you can buy but Tesla is the best." I think it was probably a little bit of both.

And speaking of Tesla competitors, ex-GM Vice-Chair blasts Tesla, saying saying supporters "like members of religious cult."  The Motley Fool points out that GM's latest moves might be part of imitation being the sincerest form of flattery. Maybe that guy is an "ex" GM Vice-Chair because he didn't join the cult?

Meanwhile Bloomberg asks Did Elon Musk forget about Buffalo? The article is referencing the so-called GigaFactory 2 solar panel facility which received $750 million in NY State aid (before Tesla bought Solar City). One line from the article confused me. "It's a complete hoo-ha," says John Kaehny, executive director of Reinvent Albany. Wait isn't this a complement? In my world hoo-ha's are beautiful, beautiful things. 

Lastly the Wall Street Journal reports that Tesla is the hot spot for young job seekers. First you get the job, then you get the money, then you get the hoo-ha!

Heh Heh

Monday, November 26, 2018

Ricky Jay

The great Ricky Jay has passed away.

No offense to Penn & Teller but Ricky Jay was my favorite magician. If you watch the documentary about him Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay you'll understand why.

Besides Penn & Teller did not have a recurring role on one of my favorite shows like Ricky Jay did on Deadwood as Eddie Sawyer.

RIP Ricky.

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Goatex greatly reduces the urge to have sex with goats. "I don't even think about goats anymore." Lay Liotta celebrity spokesman... Trying to figure out if selling these in a hospital gift shop would be funny or cruel... "Do away with all fancies. Cease to be passions puppet. Limit time to the present. Learn to recognize every experience for what it is, whether it be your own or another's." Marcus Aurelius (as an aside Passions Puppets would be a good name for a band)... No matter what anyone says - it really is the best time ever to be alive (especially if you live in the US)... I'm all for small businesses but what sort of Main Street regular barber takes American Express?... Heh Heh... Passions Puppets would also be a good name for a sex doll brothel...

Thinking Clearly

Via the post 5 Pointers on How to Think Clearly

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- I agree - Clay Matthews should be in the football Hall of Fame

- 5 elements of effective thinking

- It always bugged me that Greenland looked twice the size of Australia on those globes we had growing up

- Frank Sinatra Has a Cold - one of the great examples of magazine writing ever.

- The only thing that makes me skeptical about this is the fact there was a video camera ready to capture the moment

- ESPN lost 2 million subscribers in 2018

- In case anyone was wondering what I'd like for Christmas - one of these would do very nicely

2019 Hall of Fame Ballot

Picking 10 names from that list is difficult. I'd break my choices into two categories; "No Doubt" and "Had to Think About It but Yes."

Here's my picks:

No Doubts:

Mariano Rivera, Fred McGriff (long been a supporter of the Crime Dog), Curt Schilling, and Larry Walker (people forget how crazy good he was)

Had to Think About It But Yes:

Roy Halladay (sentiment will make his selection easier but is his case actually better than Curt Schilling's?), Mike Mussina (but only after Schilling gets in - Schilling was the better pitcher who is now being punished for being a crazy uncle), Omar Vizquel (guy had 11 Gold Gloves and was every bit the fielder as Ozzie Smith).

That's only 7 choices but that's all I'd feel comfortable with.

As far as steroids guys like Bonds and Clemens - my view is these guys did steroids to get paid which they did handsomely. They knowingly sacrificed their chances to make the Hall for the opportunity to make millions with big contracts. That's the choice they made and they got paid. And now that's all they should get.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Nearly Lost You - Screaming Trees

Haven't heard this song is quite some time.

Linky Lnks

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- Geothermal heat source seems to be melting Antarctica from below.

- Heh Heh

- Lockheed Martin has started building NASA's X-59 experimental supersonic jet. Cool but why is NASA in the jet business? Isn't their purview space? Is this jet to be part of the new Space Force?

- The 70's were such a more sophisticated time

- This is such a good story. Now do a follow-up on the cadet who gave Bush a chest bump upon graduation.

- Heh Heh

- Started with Antarctic ice - let's end with Arctic ice. And for the record I am not a climate change denier. I am just not a fan of bad or incomplete science.

Amazon's H2Q Situation

There's a lot to be said about the process Amazon used to select its so-called H2Q location(s). Amazon ended up choosing Arlington, Virginia (aka Crystal City right next to DC) and New York City.

In no way do I blame Amazon for this very public playing of one State vs another to get the best deal. Big companies have been doing this forever. And it worked for Amazon.

Cities and States made very significant offers trying to lure Amazon to their locales. Some of these offers are now being criticized. Others are poking fun at them - I mean how can you not laugh at NY Governor Andrew Cuomo when he publicly admits, "It's not a level playing field to begin with. All things being equal, if we do nothing, they're going to Texas." Hey Gov how about lowering business taxes to make your state more attractive to business as a general rule? And aren't you the same guy passing out tax cuts to Amazon who wants to sue Trump because of his tax cuts?

And Columbus Ohio offered to create a task force to prevent an "unacceptable murder rate" if only Amazon would deign to select their fine city. Hey Columbus - how about creating that task force anyway. And just what murder rate do you find "acceptable"? 

Some local politicians are criticizing the NY deal because the land Amazon will now use was supposed to go towards affordable housing.

Cynically I think Crystal City was chosen because its proximity to Washington, DC gives Jeff Bezos a base from which to protest any government action he views as not being in the best interest of Amazon. Bezos may organize mobs the way Cinna did in ancient Rome to get what he wants. And who's to blame him the way the Democrats have been turning a blind eye to "their" mobs?

This story is not over and it will be interesting to see how the rest plays out.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- On needing to find something to worry about. I'm not a worrier by nature but I understand this can be a real issue for many.

- Amazon bids on Disney's 22 regional sports networks including the YES Network. This will be a very interesting story to watch unfold.

- 34-years ago today!

- On this day in 1963

- This Farnam Street podcast with Naval Ravikant is worth re-listening to every once and a while.

- Interesting - Universal Quantum Phenomenon found in Strange Metals

- Is there an Alzheimer's vaccine on the horizon?

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Went to a cigar bar last night for a post meal smoke and to watch some football. After just a few minutes I heard them playing Dick in a Box over the speakers. Even at a cigar bar you can't get away from the Christmas music...  Clinton Foundation "donations" down 90%. On positive note - at least this makes it easier for authorities to identify the 10% who are using the Clinton Foundation to launder money... Thanksgiving in Philadelphia... "Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." - Albert Einstein... Heh Heh... Free business idea: T-shirts that say "Got Fists?" on the front with an NHL team's logo. On the back a picture of that team's best fighter with the gloves dropped... How long can people live?...

Very Cool

When you put these British coins together - they form a shield. Via

Thursday, November 22, 2018

A Thanksgiving Toast to the Old Breed

Victor Davis Hanson's A Thanksgiving Toast to the Old Breed is worth your time on this Thanksgiving Day.

I am thankful for our vets and our military servicemen and women. 

Fairytale of New York - The Pogues

It being Thanksgiving the radio stations will now turn to playing Christmas music. For my money Fairytale of New York is the best Christmas song ever made.

Bar none.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Great Thanksgiving Story

My favorite Thanksgiving story comes from Gabe Kaplan (of Welcome Back Kotter fame). 

When Gabe was a kid – his older sister was embarrassed about becoming a young woman. She used to have the young Kaplan go into the drug store to buy her Sanitary Napkins. Gabe was curious and asked his sister just what these things were. 

“Oh, they’re special occasion napkins,” she would reply. 

This explanation was enough for Kaplan and he didn’t give it another thought. 

Then one Thanksgiving morning – young Gabe was left alone at home while his parents and older sister drove to the airport to pick up his uncle. Gabe was left with the job of setting the table for Thanksgiving. Then it occurred to him, “what could be more of a special occasion than Thanksgiving?” 

Needless to say – his parents were confused, his sister was very embarrassed but his uncle couldn’t stop laughing when they came home and saw the creative way young Gabe had set the table for Thanksgiving. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Top 5 - Best Third Basemen All-Time

Adrian Beltre has announced his retirement. In my mind he's a sure-fire first ballot Hall of Famer. Anyone who votes against him is ignorant to where Beltre stands in regards to the All-Time greats who have played third. Here's my list of the Top 5 All-Time Third Basemen:

1. Mike Schmidt - averaged 37 HR, 107 RBI and 101 runs scored in his career. The 12-time All-Star finished his career with 548 HR, 3 League MVP's and 10 Gold Gloves. The best all-around third baseman in history.

2. George Brett - averaged 19 HR, 96 RBI and 95 runs scored plus a career .305 batting average. Brett was also a 12-time All-Star and he won the 1980 AL MVP.

3. Adrian Beltre - averaged 26 HR, 94 RBI and 84 runs scored. Finished his career with 3,166 hits and 5 Gold Gloves.

4. Brooks Robinson - averaged 15 HR, 76 RBI and 69 runs scored. He was a 15-time All-Star and won an incredible 16 Gold Gloves. He was the 1964 AL MVP and the 1970 World Series MVP

5. Eddie Mathews - averaged 35 HR, 98 RBI and 102 runs scored. Hit 512 HR back when 500 HR really meant something.

If you wanted to switch the order around after Mike Schmidt - I wouldn't argue too much but this is the way I view the list.

Jason Stark had this nugget about Beltre - he's the only player other than Willie Mays to have at least 3,166 hits, 477 HR, an .819 OPS and 5 Gold Gloves. Mays and Beltre - that's it!  First ballot Hall of Famer!

Heh Heh


Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- Good stuff - rules for writers

- But wasn't curling invented as an excuse to drink?

- Interesting - the Trump Administration has saved Americans $26 billion on prescription drugs through increased competition fueled by the approval of 1,617 new generic drugs

- Another of the great pranks in college sports history

- Tom E. Curran with a sobering look at where the Patriots will find themselves next season

- Hawaii's Mars simulations are turning into moon missions. There is a very real race for the moon going on.

- Northern Exposure reboot in the works at CBS. Cool but how about releasing the original episodes on Netflix or something first?

Gunga Galunga

The flowing robes, the Grace, bald, the Boston Bruins hat... striking! Big hitter the Lama.

Love this photo.

Go Bruins!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

The Boxer - Alison Krauss and Shawn Colvin

Never knew this cover existed. Hat tip to Mitigating Chaos

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

I've long said that Condoleezza Rice would make an excellent NFL Commissioner (a big improvement on joke currently holding the office)... The Kansas City Chiefs last night (as played by Glenn Close)... One of the biggest political / football "what ifs" of history is if there was no World War II there was a good chance that Dwight Eisenhower would have been made the head football coach at West Point... An update on NASA's Mars InSight lander (which is due to land on the red planet next week)... I wonder if Jeff Fisher sat at home last night thinking to himself, "There's no way one of my defenses would give up that many points!"... True US history - in the early 1900's there was a prostitute in Chicago named Suzy Poon Tang. She was so good in bed that her name became slang for - well you know... "We live two lives. The second one begins when we realize we only have one life to live." - Steven Sotloff...

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- This letter is awesome - be sure to read until the end

- Mother Jones - A century of fire suppression is why California is in flames (and this was written a year ago!)

- Trump's sanctions are crushing Iran's job market and potentially destabilizing the regime. Keep the pressure on! That's what you deserve when your biggest export is terrorism.

- Awesome - farting controversy "clouds" dart championship. Let he who hasn't cropdusted while playing Cricket cast the first stone.

- Why you should always take the high road

- Interesting - Lebron James specifically asked Cleveland not to trade Kyrie Irving and especially not to the Celtics

- Outstanding!

Monday, November 19, 2018

Thank You

Cultural Offering kindly listed A Large Regular among 25 Blogs Guaranteed to Make You Smarter. Thank you for that honor.

It's really a list of 26 Blogs Guaranteed to Make You Smarter because Cultural Offering should also be included in any such list.

Only a couple of blogs listed that I follow regularly which means I know what I'll be perusing over the normally slow holiday week.

This Week in Musk World

Mostly good news in Musk World this week.

The SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket is certified to launch NASA's top missions. Practically this means the Falcon 9 can now compete with ULA's Atlas V for NASA's big launches. Up next for certification - the Falcon Heavy. It should be noted that both the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy will be much more cost effective for NASA. With that in mind it will be interesting to watch the politics involved here as the Atlas V is a joint venture of the very politically connected Boeing and Lockheed Martin companies.

Tesla shows off the Model 3 in Japan for the first time. Foreign markets being added and production profitable for the first time seems to indicate blue skies ahead for Tesla.

CNBC takes an "exclusive" look inside Telsa's Gigafactory where the Tesla batteries are made.

Perhaps the big news of the week is the Boring Company finished the LA/Hawthorne tunnel. At the LA end of the tunnel will be a watchtower and Elon Musk would like to hire a knight with a French accent to guard the watchtower and maybe taunt you a second time. I hope that really happens!

The Gettysburg Address

155-years ago today.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

The universe has been cooling since the Big Bang. So wouldn't Global Warming be viewed as a sort of anti-aging? Who's against anti-aging?... Heh Heh... Has an American President ever attended an NHL game? Off the top of my head I can't recall it ever happening... Adele should do a cover of the Bee Gees' To Love Somebody - that would be awesome!... Has the show Murphy Brown been cancelled yet? Is anyone watching that show?... 7 of the most bizarre ways to die... Unpopular opinion: John Ford's The Quiet Man was a better movie than Orson Welles' Citizen Kane....

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- "Too short" Tom Cruise to be replaced in Jack Reacher reboot. Jack Reacher is 6'5" and a beast in the books but I think if Cruise agreed to do a third film Lee Child would cash that check in a heartbeat.

- Giant meteorite creator bigger than Paris found under Greenland's ice sheet. Randall Carlson proven correct!

- Kevin Durant to the Celtics? Actually I believe I had that "hot take" first.

- Cool - how to make 40 different paper airplanes

- Heh Heh

- Iowa Nation Guard soldiers told to return overpaid wages. The soldiers did nothing wrong and if I were a billionaire I would just write a check to cover all of these funds. Isn't there some billionaire from Iowa willing to step up?

- This is the best college prank of all-time