Monday, January 31, 2005

Just a Thought

The MSM has been calling those in Iraq who were trying to prevent people from voting "insurgents". Basically these people are the enemies of freedom and people who stoop to violence to get what they want.

What about the four people who worked for the Kerry Campaign in Milwaukee who were slashing the tires of the vans the Republicans had rented to bring people to the polling places? Shouldn't those four also be called "insurgents"? I mean they were trying to prevent people from voting too. All I'm asking for is some consistency.

Just a thought. [sarcasm off]

Travel Notes

Not to go all Peter King here and describe my "aggravating/interesting" travel notes of the week but yesterday's flight to Atlanta is worthy of note.

I flew out of Logan (and I hate Logan). My flight was at 7:45 so I was up at 4:30. I got to the airport no problem. I got on the plane no problem. We pull away from the gate and then the problems began.

First the Captain came on the intercom to say that they were having a radio problem and would have to return to the gate. Ten minutes later the Captain comes back on the intercom to inform us that due to weather issues in Atlanta - this flight has been canceled.

When I go back to the Delta desk - I'm told that I'm on standby for the 9:15 and if I miss that flight that I'm confirmed for the 7:00 PM flight. I was not looking forward to spending the whole day at Logan so I had my fingers crossed for getting on the 9:15.

I do get on the 9:15 which is a 767 with a setup of 2 seats, three seats in the middle and then another 2 seats. I'm supposed to be in 41B which is an aisle seat but there's a guy sitting in my seat (with the window seat open). My first assumption was that since this guy is a pretty big guy that he was just spreading out (by big I mean borderline asking him to buy two tickets big). Oh, have I mentioned that the second thing I noticed about the guy was his smell which was a pungent combination of cigarette smoke and dandruff.

The first thing I did when seated was to put down the arm rest between us as a way of saying "you paid for that seat and I paid for this one." I then gave full attention to my book but out of the corner of my eye I saw twitching. Pretty constant spasmodic hand movements and occasional shoulder spasms. I felt pity for the guy, sorry for my poor seating fate and thankful that this was a direct flight all at once.

Once in the air I decide to close my eyes and take a nap (did I mention I got up at 4:30?). Nap I did and it was a good nap but when I awoke I looked to my left and saw a black cat with pure green eyes staring at me. This freaked me out. The cat was sitting on heavyset-smokey-dandruff guys lap. Have I mentioned that this freaked me out?

I notice that the twitching had ceased - so I think if the cat has a calming effect no big deal to me if HSD guy has a cat on his lap. Then I wondered how he was able to smuggle a cat on the plane. Then I saw the stewardesses coming with the drink cart and I figure - "let them deal with this."

HSD guy also notices the stewardesses coming and he tried to put the cat into a gymbag-looking pet carrying case he had between his legs but the cat wanted no part of going back in the gymbag. At this point I was debating weather to stop the cat if he made a break for it or to just let the cat go and let the rest of the flight enjoy the symbolism of a black cat on a flight heading into bad weather.

The stewardess saw the cat and tells HSD guy that the cat has to go back into the carrying case. Now the cat complies and we get our drinks - gingerale for me and diet Coke for HSD guy. Now the twitching returns. Now HSD spills his drink on my leg. I got up to get some napkins from the stewardesses in back. When I ask for napkins they ask if I spilled my drink. "No, cat guy did", I reply. They thought this was funny and my spirits were lifted.

The rest of the flight was uneventful but then Delta lost my luggage. That's the sort of time I've been having down here in Atlanta.


Saturday, January 29, 2005

Sammy Sosa

Take a look at Sammy Sosa's numbers from the past four years:

HR: 64, 49, 40, 35
BA: .328, .288, .279, .253
OBP: .437, .399, .358, .332
SLG: .737, .594, .553, .517
TB: 425, 330, 286, 247
OPS+: 201, 160, 135, 110

Do see any positive trends there? I see a players who has gone from hitting at historic levels to being Rob Deer. Now I know that in this deal the Cubs will be paying about $10 million of Sosa's $16 million salary but that still means that the Orioles will be picking up $6 million of the tab and giving up some quality trading chips in the process. All that for the Dominican Rob Deer.

People like Peter Gammons see this as a win-win for both teams. They will argue that the Cubs are happy to be rid of Sosa and the Orioles get a big name star for what they see as a minimal cost. The Orioles think this deal will help them sell tickets.

I see this as a bad deal for the Orioles. Sure Sosa may sell some tickets now but he will drive away an equal amount of fans in the summer months if he continues his downward trends.
Super Bowl XXXIX

Let me say this right up front just so I don't bury the lede - the Patriots win this game by 18. Yup, you heard me - 18 points.

I'm tempted to end this post right here. What else is there to say after you just predicted a 18 point victory? I'm tempted but I figure I owe you an explanation of how I came to that 18 point figure.

The first and most basic question is "who wins the game?" As soon as we knew the match-up everyone said the Patriots would win. Now people are starting to talk themselves into the Eagles. People are talking about Andy Reid never losing a game which he had an extra week to prepare for and things like that. However, this is a situation where the first impression was the right one. The Patriots will win. And they'll win big!

The Eagles will continue to talk a good game but the truth is that they are happy just to be in the game. The Eagles gave their coach a Gatorade bath after their win last week because they had made their goal of getting to the Super Bowl. Bill Belichick didn't get a Gatorade bath after the win over the Steelers because the Patriots' players goal isn't to get to the Super Bowl. It's to win the Super Bowl. This isn't a minor difference.

Right now the line is Patriots by 7.5. The line started at 6.5 but the money has steadily come in on the Pats all week. Look for this line to come down to around 6 or 6.5 by game time as the Philly fans and the folks who talk themselves into believing this will be a close game and the people who see Terrell Owens practicing and who think he'll actually make an impact starting laying down their bets. Whatever the line ends up being it won't change the fact that the Patriots will win big.

This season both the Patriots and Eagles lost to the Steelers in Pittsburgh. The Patriots lost because they just had one of those days where everything went wrong and they were also missing key players like Corey Dillion. The Eagles got smoked 27-3 because Pittsburgh was just the better team. If the Steelers won last week, then they would be a 9 or 10 point favorite over the Eagles in the Super Bowl.

You might have guessed that I picked 18 points because that was the differential in the preseason game won by the Patriots over the Eagles - 24-6. You could guess that but you'd be wrong. Preseason games don't mean anything.

I picked 18 points specifically because this match-up reminds me so much of Super Bowl XI between the Oakland Raiders and Minnesota Vikings.

The Patriots remind me of the Raiders. The Pats receivers are like Fred Biletnikoff (minus the stick-um) - smart players who may not be the fastest or most physically gifted players on the field but who make sharp cuts and who never run the wrong route. The Patriots have a legendary player in the kicking game - Adam Vinatieri to Oakland's Ray Guy. The Patriots are balanced in all phases of the game - just like the Raiders. Then there's the head coaches. People forget how good a coach John Madden was but they do remember that he was overshadowed by Al Davis. People today realize how good a coach Bill Belichick is but even he is still overshadowed by his association with Bill Parcells. Both head coaches did nothing but win - almost every week.

On the other side of the ball, I see similarities between the Eagles and the Vikings from 1977. In Super Bowl XI, the Vikings put more All-Pro's on the field against the Raiders but they weren't the better "team". The Vikings featured a quarterback who could beat you with his arm or his legs but who was dogged by the idea that he couldn't win the big game. Fran Tarkenton meet Donovan McNabb. Then we have the head coaches - Andy Reid for the Eagles and Bud Grant for the Vikings. The first adjective you think of when either man comes to mind is "nice". There's no disputing that they are two nice guys but nice guys finish last.

The line on Super Bowl XI was 6.5 points but the favored Raiders ended up winning by 18 (32-14). Sunday's Super Bowl XXXIX has the Patriots favored by 7.5 right now but look for them to win by 18.


Friday, January 28, 2005

Lileks for FCC Chairman

With Michael Powell rumored to be resigning, I give you the only logical replacement to fill the top spot at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) - James Lileks.

Lileks is the logical choice because he understands media whether it be print, radio or Internet (his TV resume is spotty but work with me on this). He may not know what art is but he knows what he likes and he knows real obscenity when he sees it. Lileks is good enough, smart enough and dog-goneit people like him!

Lileks has said that he will not run for office but I'm sure if he was called to serve that he would.

Good government needs good men. James Lileks for FCC Chairman.

Make it so.
The Iraqi Ballot - Yikes!

It looks like the menu at the House of Beer.
Confession Time

Bearing my soul after just one cup of coffee.

In high school, me and my buddy Sean had the dream of both going to the University of Hawaii. We were going to get an apartment there where the central fixture was a keg-o-lator. That was our dream but we were so lame that neither of us even applied to the U of Hawaii.

Right after college, me and my buddy Terry had another dream. We were going to quit our jobs and become strip club DJ's. We even used to practice our DJ voices, "Hey-da, how-da! Give it up for Brandi. Next up - China! And don't forget to tip your waitresses and bartenders."

What got me thinking about this was yesterday's article in the Dallas Observer about the life of a strip club DJ. It certainly deflated the fantasy:
The life of a strip club DJ is not the endless party people might expect. It's not illicit hand jobs and once-an-hour spins of Def Leppard's "Pour Some Sugar on Me." Despite the constant presence of women in various states of undress, it's not a very sexy gig. After a few hours on the job, the women all begin to look alike. Plus, there's too much work to do, between running the lights and keeping track of the order of dancers and making sure the computer is running properly and, oh yeah, playing a new song every three minutes or so. As for drinking and drugs? Well, you try making it through a 7 p.m.-to-4 a.m. shift while maintaining a buzz.
If you read the whoile article - the strip clb DJ's life doesn't sound too too bad. Hey-da, how-da!
Hide and Seek

There's no need to see the new Robert DeNiro movie Hide and Seek. The commercials for the movie scream out "bad movie!" First you have the fact that you see more ads for the movie now that it's opened than before it premiered. My big indicator that a movie is really bad is when it needs lots of ads after the opening to try and negate the negative word of mouth and reviews (remember all those commercials for Adam Sandler's Anger Management?).

Secondly, the new commercials are so desperate that they give away the plot twist - that DeNiro's character is the killer. Trust me - you'd be better off buying the Catwoman DVD than paying to see Hide and Seek.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

A New Sheriff in Town

Citizen Smash has an interesting email that Condi Rice sent out to all the employees at State. My favorite paragraph was:
In these momentous times, American diplomacy has three great tasks. We will unite the community of democracies in building an international system that is based on our shared values and the rule of law. We will strengthen the community of democracies to fight the threats to our common security and alleviate the hopelessness that feeds terror. And we will spread freedom and democracy throughout the world. That is the mission that President Bush has set for you and me, and the great mission of American diplomacy today.
No mention of Real-Politic, the UN, the "International Community". Just democracies - the Coalition of the Willing replacing the United Nations and that's just fine in my book.

Hat Tip - Instapundit
Impromptus Does Davos

Reading Jay Nordlinger's Impromptus columns at NRO are one of my favorite Internet pleasures. There aren't many who can as deftly wring the irony out of a statement or situation as Nordlinger (maybe Mark Steyn - and that is saying something).

For the past few years Impromptus has covered the World Economic Forums in Davos, Switzerland. This is Nordlinger's first report from this year's conference. The meeting is truly a who's who of the politically rich and famous.

Jay lists off the rich and famous and one thought kept coming to mind, "I wonder how many of these folks were on Saddam Hussein's payroll as part of the Oil for Food scam?" Jay continues on his reporting and ends describing Sharon Stone opining on the AIDS crisis:
The gist of her [Stone's] remarks is that AIDS is readily solvable, but that "greed and arrogance stop us." We — we richies — simply don't want to spend enough, simply don't care enough. We are stingy and callous. (No mention is made of the Bush administration's remarkable efforts in Africa — efforts that the most knowledgeable and fair-minded can't help hailing.) Finishing up, the actress says, "If we just stopped arrogantly killing people all over the world, and channeled the money into AIDS, we would have a solution."
In a certain symmetry to the article - Stone's comment left me wondering if all the money Saddam Hussein used to blackmail world leaders and opinion makers and all the money used to build his palaces were put to finding a cure for AIDS if the crisis would be over (or at least much closer to being over)? I wouldn't expect someone like Sharon Stone to ask that question though. Somehow I find Stone's comments more insulting than a UN representative calling us "stingy" in the face of the tsunami devestation.

To paraphrase something I once read on the A-List about Streisand - everything Sharon Stone says is charged with self-loving vulgarity. That about covers it.
Top 5 - Scott Glenn Movies

Yesterday was Scott Glenn's 64th birthday. Here are what I consider the top 5 Scott Glenn movies:

1. Silence of the Lambs
2. Hunt for Red October
3. All the Right Stuff
4. Silverado
5. Backdraft

Flotsam and Jetsam

I always found it ironic that one of the last towns I pass through in order to get to the casinos in Connecticut is named Hopeville. I always thought it would be funny if one of the first towns I had to pass through to get back home from the casinos was Whydidntileavewheniwasupville... I have a confession to make. Almost every day I check out Betsy's Page because she has great links and comments. However, every time I click on her link I think of Betty Page because the names are so similar. Therefore I now picture Betsy as a North Carolina high school teacher in bra and panties brandishing a whip. It was good to get that off my chest... Just thought I should mention that lists the most similar player to Carlos Delgado as being Mo Vaughn... Yesterday I was in New York City and one of my stops was One Penn Plaza. I was way up and the conference room I was meeting in over looked both Madison Square Garden and a good portion of the city skyline (including a nice view of the Statue of Liberty). Every time I looked out the window - the theme music to Barney Miller started playing in my head. Just thought I'd share that...

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Worcester Gets Pro Baseball Team

I meant to post this earlier but the folks at Baseball Zeitgeist. The team will play in the Can-Am League and will take the place of the Allentown Ambassadors.

The team is holding a naming contest. I would suggest the following:

The Worms - Worcester is also known as Worm-town
The Woo-Rats - that's what many college students call the locals
The Pills - Worcester is birthplace of the birth control pill
The Valentines - Worcester is birthplace of the valentine
The Rockets - home of Robert Goddard and the birthplace of modern rocketry
The Shopping Carts - Worcester is the birthplace of the shopping cart
The Smiley Faces - Worcester is birthplace of the Smiley Face
The H's - Worcester is often mis-spelled as Worchester - get the "H" out of Worcester

My favorite would be the Worcester Ruby Legs. That was the name of the pro team from the 1890's that later became the Philadelphia Phillies. Worcester was also home to the first professional perfect game in baseball history.

Go Ruby Legs!
Massachusetts Politics

Yesterday came word that Unfit for Command co-author Jerry Corsi may be running against John Kerry when the Massachusetts senator is up for re-election. Call me cynical but this seems like just a way for Corsi to get free publicity for his new book on a nuclear Iran.

No matter what - John Kerry won't see another term as US Senator for Massachusetts. Either he'll decide not to run or he'll get beat. My guess is that former Republican Governor Paul Cellucci will win this race for US Senate. Currently Cellucci is the US Ambassador to Cananda and as far as I know has not made any statements about running for Senate.

Ted Kennedy is another guy who won't see another term. Either he'll step aside for nephew and former US Congressman Joe Kennedy or he'll run and be defeated. My choice here is Libertarian talk radio host Jay Severin who would relish running and debating against Teddy Kennedy.

If Joe Kennedy doesn't run for uncle Teddy's seat - then a run for the Governorship may be in the cards for the most popular Kennedy extant. People like Joe and the one office that a Kennedy has not held is the governor's office.

Joe may be better going after Uncle Teddy's seat because the governor's office is currently occuppied by Republican Mitt Romney who needs re-election in 2006 to make his run for President possible in 2008. Massachusetts voters have shown that even though they live in the bluest of the blue states - they want a Republican in the Governor's office to keep state spending from getting out of hand.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

What Exactly Is Jonathan Rauch Trying To Say?

Hugh Hewitt has asked for some feedback on the following comment by Jonathan Rauch of the Atlantic.
On balance it is probably healthier if religious conservatives are inside the political system than if they operate as insurgents and provocateurs on the outside. Better they should write anti-abortion planks into the Republican platform than bomb abortion clinics. The same is true of the left. The clashes over civil rights and Vietnam turned into street warfare partly because activists were locked out of their own party establishments and had to fight, literally, to be heard. When Michael Moore receives a hero's welcome at the Democratic National Convention, we moderates grumble; but if the parties engage fierce activists while marginalizing tame centrists, that is probably better for the social peace than the other way around.
To be honest - when I read this I scratch my head and wonder what point Rauch is trying to make. Make the fringe the center and the center the fringe?

It is better to be a lawmaker than a person who plants bombs? Well duh. I half expect Rauch's next metaphor to be "it is better to be a hammer than a nail" and then break out into a Simon and Garfunkel medley. Bluntly put - the first part of Rauch's statement is just stupid.

Clashes over Vietnam led to Lyndon Johnson not seeking re-election, the rise of Eugene McCarthy, Bobby Kennedy going anti-war and joining the fray for the nomination and in 1972 to the nomination of McGovern as the Democratic nominee. That's being locked out of the process? The centrists in the Democratic Party have been marginalized since 1968. It is the centrists who are locked out. You can ask Zell Miller about that if you like.

It is not a voice in the process that is a problem for the Democrats. It is an identity.

With FDR they had a leader who literally embodied a "new deal" and who embraced unions. He gave the Democrats an identity and something to believe in. The Democrats became the party of the working family and the union man.

JFK gave them an additional identity with a simple phone call to Martin Luther King Jr. while he was in jail. With that call the Party of Lincoln was usurped as the party of civil rights.

The Vietnam War did not really add to the identity - it took away. How could the union Archie Bunker and the anti-war Meathead share the same party? You could replace Archie with Zell Miller or Meathead with Michael Moore and the analogy still works.

Today the Democrats have no real identity to hold their center together and this vacuum allows the pro-abortion folks and the gay rights folks to fill the void and take charge. The Republicans on the other hand have a clear identity (especially post 9/11) and I'd be willing to bet that the registered Democrat Archie Bunkers of the country put George W. Bush over the top the past two elections.

The last comment I'll make on the quote is that if by "better for the social peace" Rauch means better for the country because it keeps getting Republicans elected - then I guess I agree with him.

Jose Lima's Wife

I'll be driving to New York City in a few minutes - so I'll be out of pocket for a good portion of the day. Because I care about my readers - I'm leaving you with this picture of JLW and the twins.
Tom Brady's Playoff Beard

Last year I was disappointed when Tom Brady shaved off his playoff beard just before the Super Bowl. I was thinking in hockey terms where all the players refuse to shave until the playoffs are over. I was afraid that Brady was jinxing the team by breaking the "hockey" tradition. Tom Brady's playoff beard isn't about superstition or tradition, however, it's about an edge.

Having a beard and long hair helps keep you warm in cold weather games. It is an edge albeit a very slight one. A beard and long hair will not be an edge in warm Jacksonville - so look for Brady to shave and get a haircut.

These Patriots are all about having the edge.
Remembering Johnny Carson

Excellent piece from one of Johnny's writers.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Dancing Tampons

Yup - you heard me. Dancing Tampons.

MMQB Review

Here are the five things I think I think about today's Monday Morning Quarterback from Peter King.

1. Peter doesn't tell the whole second part of this story:
Two memorable pronouncements were made Sept. 14. The Patriots were in their Philadelphia hotel rooms -- kickoff wasn't until 4 p.m. ET -- when the first one was uttered. ESPN football analyst Tom Jackson looked straight into the camera and said the New England players hated coach Bill Belichick. Because Jackson is such a respected voice in football, and because ESPN is such a media power, the statement made the rounds among the Patriots by the time everyone got to the stadium that day.... Belichick was so ticked off by the Jackson comment that he stopped talking to ESPN. The only individual ESPN interviews he's done since, I believe, are with Chris Berman, an old friend. And last year when Berman got him to do a sit-down the night of the Super Bowl, Belichick walked onto the ESPN set and greeted Jackson's outstretched congratulatory hand with a bitter blast.
After the Super Bowl, Tom Jackson goes to shake Belichick's hand and Belichick just says "fuck you." That's the bitter blast Peter references. I love that.

2. I disagree with this:
Seems crazy, but the team that beat New England by 14 and Philadelphia by 24 in midseason falls to No. 3 entering Super Bowlmania ... all because its quarterback fell to earth with a thud in the last nine days.
Roethlisberger didn't fall to earth as much as he and his team ran into a superior game plan. Belichick and Crennel did the same to Peyton Manning (in fact Roethlisberger did much better against the Patriots D than did the current MVP). Credit should go to the Patriot coaches instead of fingers pointed at a rookie QB.

3. I used to not be able to read a Peter King column without it being in the voice of Fat Bastard from the Austin Powers movies. Recently the voice went away. Now after reading about a $449 tab for two people at a steak house - the Fat Bastard voice is back.

4. When I read stand-alone comments like, "That Rodney Harrison is one tough hombre" or "I love The Weather Channel. It's addicting." I get confused as to whether I'm reading Larry or Peter King.

5. The people at The Sports Frog's chat board call Peter King "Fatty McButterpants". That's right up their with SoSH's Slappy McBlueLips nickname for Alex Rodriguez. I can't get that nickname out of my head. Fatty McButterpants. Classic!


Holy crap - I really want to see this. It sounds like a cross between motorcycle smash-up derby and Best in Show.


After seeing this - I'll never be able to look at a basketball hoop the same ever again.

Hat tip Cosmic Tribune

Morning Stream of Consciousness

Yesterday when Adam Vinatieri hit that 48 yard field goal early in the first quarter - you just knew it was going to be the Patriots day. The whole story of the game was turnovers. If you looked at the stats - both teams were fairly even except in turnovers. Many people will credit this to Roethlisberger being a rookie but the true credit should go to the Patriots defense. Last week they made Peyton Manning look like a rookie too.

I went 2-3 in my picks yesterday. I had the Patriots and Eagles and the first half of my teased under came in but who knew the Patriots would roll and turn the game into a shootout?

One thing to get off my chest. I hate that new Becks commercial. You know the one that says, "You have friends, you have beer - never confuse the two." What the heck is that supposed to mean? Does drinking Becks beer make you stupid to the point that you confuse your beer and your friends? All I can picture is some guy trying to bum $50 off a six-pack or trying to drink his friend Steve (talk about socially awkward situations). This commercial is number one on my "hate" list. The Staples commercial with the "Easy Button" is number two. What idiot thought up that commercial?

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Johnny Carson - RIP

He was perhaps America's funniest man.

When I heard the news I ordered this so as to remember and appreciate him when he was at his peak.

Like a Cheese Cracker

Eat that I would.

Hat Tip BoDog Beat
Blizzard of 78

With all this snow - it has brought back memories of the Blizzard of 78 which remains the blizzard against which all other blizzards are measured in New England.

At the time of the Blizzard of 78, I was almost 12. I remember the time as being a time of lots of snow, no school and of financial opportunity.

I grew up in the inner city part of Worcester - near Clark University. Where I lived we had neighborhoods of immigrants (mostly Irish, Greek and French Canadian) and college students. We weren't rich (hardly) but there were plenty of kids in the neighborhood and we were never bored.

The snow was a financial windfall for me and my friends because we would roam the neighborhoods shoveling out people for money. If I recall correctly, it was normally $5 for a car and $10 for a driveway and front walk. Many of us had regular customers and it was fairly easy to find college students who either didn't have a shovel of their own or who would just rather not do the work themselves.

There wasn't any off-campus parking to speak of and most Clark students with cars would park on the street. When the plows cleared the streets - these cars were left under 3 feet of snow. Looking back, if I was a college student then - I would have paid a kid $5 to shovel my car too.

Back then (and the custom still remains throughout New England today) once a spot on the street was cleared - a folding chair or some other placekeeper would be placed in the spot when the person drove off. Pity the fool who took someone else's spot. It was not uncommon to see people break the windows of trespassers, blockade them in or cover the car in twice as much snow as had been removed in the first place.

The Blizzard of 78 was also a time of great fun.

The most popular activities were "snagging", sledding and throwing snowballs at cars. Each of these activities deserve some comment because they can easily be misunderstood when placed into today's context.

Snagging was my favorite and I plan a post soon just on the art of snagging. In other parts of the country snagging was also known as "skitching" or bumper riding. Basically, you would sneak behind a car, crouch down and grab the bumper and then ski away as the car pulled off. It was great! Snagging is one of those activities that most of the people from my generation and geography did but that is no longer done by today's generation (lots of reasons that I'll probably address in a longer post). I'll suffice it to say that I loved snagging.

Sledding is pretty common but it should be noted that we didn't sled with any of the plastic type sleds or inner-tube types they use today. We had the wooden sleds with the red metal runners. Every year at least one kid from the neighborhood broke an arm or a leg sledding. It was less safe but somehow more fun.

Throwing snowballs at cars is something I hesitate to mention in case my kids read this but it's what we did. Like snagging - this is another activity that has gone the way of the dinosaur now that kids have more entertainment options.

I know that "throwing snowballs at cars" must sound awful to some people but to us it was like a sport. It had certain rules. No old ladies (you would get a "white wash" for hitting an old lady's car - even if on accident). If a person was driving alert to the possibility of getting hit - they were normally left alone. We looked for people who were driving oblivious to their surroundings. Jarring them back to reality was good fun. Buses were great because they were big targets and the drivers were prohibited from stopping the bus and giving chase to us pesky kids. Oblivious drivers with a window cracked open because they were smoking a cigarette was the best. A good throw would hit the top of the window and at least half of the snowball would get the driver.

Probably the most memorable thing I did during the Blizzard of 78 was to jump from my friend's second floor balcony onto the snow drifts below. We would do this over and over until we got tired or bored.

Like I said - I know to many people this stuff will sound awful but it was what my childhood was like and I offer no apologies.

Blogroll Update

I did some housecleaning this morning on the blogroll. Three came off and three went on. The three that went on are all great sports sites. Remember - if you've linked to me on your blogroll - let me know and I'll reciprocate. Going on the blogroll today were:

The Sports Frog (excellent links and commentary)

The Cold, Hard Football Facts

BoDog Beat (excellent links and commentary plus a babe of the day)
Morning Links

Some links while I watch the snow come down sideways outside my window

- Anna Benson speaks - says she was only kidding about sleeping with Kris' teammates

- Daryl Johnston has a good preview of today's Patriots / Steelers game (be sure to click all the links)

- Michael Barone - Bush as a revolutionary

- Hockey in Northern Ireland:
It is a genetic fact that all Irish men are short, have red hair, can’t skate and run off every time someone steals their Lucky Charms
Hat tip to Off Wing Opinion (I have to get one of those London Racers' jerseys)

- The Captain has the 411 on the Election Day tire slashing in Milwaukee. Captain wants conspiracy charges added but given the feelings of some toward Bush - couldn't this also be called a "Hate Crime"?

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Poker Lessons Taken From Nature

I found this article interesting and true. At the poker table it is wise to be patient and to get fat off the weaker animals - I mean players.

Championship Sunday NFL Picks

It's down to the final four. Just two more games until we have a Super Bowl Champion. I'm so excited and I just can't hide it. I'm about to lose control and I think I like it. On to the picks.

Atlanta at Philadelphia

The line opened with the Eagles giving 5 points. It went to 5.5 mid-week and it is now at Eagles giving 6.

When I first saw the line I thought the Falcons were the pick. I'm a big believer in sticking with first impressions but here I'm going to make an exception. Let me explain my thinking.

Both teams have excellent defenses. They're about equal as far as I'm concerned.

Both teams have MVP caliber quarterbacks but here I was giving the edge to Atlanta. Face it - if the draft was tomorrow Michael Vick gets picked ahead of Donovan McNabb.

My last impression of Vick was of him looking great against the Rams but that was against the Rams and it was inside at the Georgia Dome. Tomorrow's game is outside against the much tougher Iggle defense. Being against the Eagle D is key but playing outside is keyer (hey - just trying to add a word to the lexicon).

It will be cold. The ground will be frozen and slick and there may even be some snow flurries remaining from today's big storm (at the very least the wind will whip snow from the stands and sidelines onto the field). These kinds of conditions do not favor the quick-muscle twitch QB's. These conditions are perfect for bottling up the lightning in a bottle Michael Vick. These conditions are much better for the home town Donovan McNabb.

With Vick neutralized - what do the Falcons have left? Nothing. Thus the change of heart.

Take the Eagles and give the six points.

New England at Pittsburgh

The line for this game has the visiting Patriots giving the 16-1 Steelers 3 points. Incredible.

This game is being touted as the "game of the year" and one of the "all-time great matchups". All the angles on this game are being examined. Except for the two angles I really want to hear about.

I'm from Massachusetts and I want to read about how my Senators feel about this game.

First Ted Kennedy. This guy couldn't pronounce Barack Obama - somebody has to stick a microphone in his face and ask him to pronounce Ben Roethlisberger or Troy Polamalu. Kennedy couldn't even handle Sammy Sosa (Sammy Soooo-zah). I'd chip in $50 to make this happen. Secondly, Mary Jo Kopechne was from Pennsylvania and many people there still haven't forgotten. Senator - are you attending the game?

Then we have John Kerry who is married to Teresa Heinz-Kerry. Did I mention that Heinz Field is named after the Heinz family? Will Teresa let John into the family box only if he roots for the Steelers? (And yes - the mild double entendre was intentional - if I was forced into a mental picture of John and Teresa getting busy then everyone should feel that pain).

Now onto the game.

In my opinion the teams are very evenly matched. The defenses are about equal. The running games for both teams are about equal. The Patriots have the clear edge at QB but that could be cancelled out by the Steelers home field advantage and the crowd factor. That leaves two decisive factors.

First - head coach. With a win Bill Belichick ties Vince Lombardi for the best playoff record in history. On the other hand - Bill Cowher is trying to avoid being labeled as a coach who can't handle the pressure of the big game. Ask yourself - if you could choose a head coach for your team - do you take Cowher or Belichick? Advantage Patriots.

Secondly - with good defenses come red zone stops and field goal attempts. Both teams have good defenses - so I expect about 6-10 field goal attempts for the game and who has the best bad weather field goal kicker in NFL history? Adam Vinatieri will most likely be the difference in this game. Big advantage for the Patriots.

One last observation about the game. I can't tell you how lame I think the "Terrible Towels" are. What's terrible about a towel? I see all those Pittsburgh fans waving those yellow towels and I don't think "what great fans" - I think "look at the lemmings".

Take the Patriots and give the 3 points.

Bonus Pick

The over for the Atlanta/Philly game is 37 and the over for the Patriots/Steelers game is 35. These are low numbers but given the weather conditions and the quality defenses involved. The under may be a good choice.

Now I know that one of the 10 Commandments of betting football is "Thou Shall Not Tease" but I'm recommending you tease the unders for both games. The extra six points bumps the unders up to 43 and 41 respectively and I think that's enough buffer for the teased unders to come in.

Make it so.
A-Rod to Schilling - We'll Beat You Up

OK the actual quote from A-Fraud was, "I just hope he [Schilling] continues to talk about me and my teammates. It's going to give us great motivation to beat him up in the future." Here's the link to the story.

Schilling is right when he says "consider the source." The last time A-Rod tried to get into it with the Red Sox he got a faceful of catcher's mitt for his trouble and many people point to that day as the spark that lit the Sox championship run. It's not fair to ask Curt Schilling to psychoanalyize A-Rod - so I'll give it a shot.

To me - this is the key quote:
“I played well at times, I played terrible at times,” Rodriguez said. “And at the end of the day, I feel like my job was a failure because I was basically taken there to be the final part of a world championship team. So if you have to blame someone or point a finger at someone, you have to look in my direction, and I take 100 percent of the blame.”
The quote screams "look at me". I'm the superstar on this team. He has to scream this because it's not true. A-Rod is being paid to be the stud of the team but if you asked any Yankee fans who the MVP of the team was last year - I think you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who mentions A-Rod. You'd get a lot of Sheffield votes, some Jorge Posada votes, some for Hideki Matsui and even some for Derek Jeter based upon his hot second half. Nary a vote for the guy who now wants 100% of the blame.

Sure A-Rod put up great numbers last year but they were mostly meaningless. Something that Jason Varitek pointed out to A-Rod when he told him "we don't throw at .260 hitters." Ask any Yankee fan if A-Rod was a clutch hitter last year or if he pumped up his numbers with late inning HR and RBI's in games that were already out of reach.

More self-aggrandizement:
“Coming in for me was totally different than most players,” he said. “I think you have to ask Rocket (Roger Clemens), myself, probably Randy (Johnson) and the upper-echelon-type of player, because there’s a much grander responsibility that comes along with being who I am, and I understand that completely. ...
Umm... last year was also Gary Sheffield's first with the Yankees and he basically whipped your ass in every statistical category. How come you didn't mention Gary? Is it because you hit just .248 with runners in scoring position last year (just a .785 OPS with RISP) while Sheffield hit .325 with RISP with a .977 OPS? Is that .248 average with RISP part of that "grander responsibility." You're a Dandy - that's what you are.

A-Rod at heart is just one scared little boy who's afraid people will stop bowing down for him. He's chicken. When all that money, talent and arrogance are combined - it only leads to one conclusion.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Things that Make You Say - WTF?

Personally I liked the days back when Captain America and other comic book superhero's fought FOR America. I have no idea what to make of this except to think that somebody with too much time and talent has issues coming to grips with Red State values.

Digs at Christianity, Bush's courage, and even a Bush = Hitler reference (what appear to be torch bearing Hitler youth - umm... Bush was sworn-in during broad daylight) - all on a single page.

I really have no editorial problem with the thing. I'm just shaking my head that someone with talent spent their time on this because they thought it was cool. I'm also shaking my head at what appears to be either the lack of completion or the lack of forethought. I mean - Bush was sworn in yesterday. Either the artists ran out of ideas for what happened next, they got too lazy to do the work or they abandoned the idea. I mean they did have since November to come up with more than one page. Doing something like this so that the events occur in the past is just stupid.

I'm upset at myself for even spending this much time on this crap.
Schilling is Out There and Loving Every Minute of It

I agree with Daryl - this is too much information.

Celebrity Jeopardy - The Penis Mightier

No reason - just felt like posting this SNL classic skit:
Alex Trebek: Welcome back to "Celebrity Jeopardy" It's been an exciting first round. That being said, let's take a look at the scores. Sean Connery has negative 16,500 dollars.

Sean Connery: Damm you and your daily doubles you brigand! One day it'll be my turn, Trebek!

Alex Trebek: Great. Calista Flockhart, with an amazing negative $58,000. Good job.

Calista Flockhart: [ quietly like all of her lines ] Thank you.

Alex Trebek: And finally, Nicholas Cage is in the lead with $8.

Nicholas Cage: You got lights, you've got cameras - bitchin' technology!

Alex Trebek: I don't know how anyone could get $8, but better luck to all of you in the next round. It's time for Double Jeopardy. Let's take a look at the board. The categories are.. Potent Potables; The Pen is Mightier.. that category is all about quotes from famous authors, so you'll all probably be more comfortable with our next category..; Shiny Objects; continuing with Opposites; Things you Shouldn't Put in Your Mouth; What Time is It?; and, finally, Months That Start With Feb. Mr. Cage you're in the lead, so let's start with you.

Nicholas Cage: Hmm.. what? Where...

Alex Trebek: Okay, Calista Flockhart, why don't you pick a category?

Calista Flockhart: Um no.. pass.

Alex Trebek: You'll pass. Very smart. Mr. Connery, why don't you pick?

Sean Connery: Ah! Well met! I'll take Months That Start With Feb, Trebek.

Alex Trebek: For how much?

Sean Connery: Suprise me, you filthy bastard!

Alex Trebek: Okay, that's completely unnecessary. Months That Start With Feb for $800. This is the only month that starts with Feb. [ Sean Connery buzzes in ] Mr. Connery?

Sean Connery: Febtober!

Alex Trebek:No. [ Calista Flockhart buzzes in ] Calista Flockhart.

Calista Flockhart: What is.. Febturday?

Alex Trebek: No.

Sean Connery: She said turd!

Alex Trebek: I hate you! The answer was February. That's the month that starts with Feb. It was last month!

Sean Connery: Aha! A trick question!

Alex Trebek: Yeah, it was a trick question, Mr. Connery. Why don't you pick a category?

Sean Connery: I've got to ask you about the Penis Mightier.

Alex Trebek: What? No. No, no, that is The Pen is Mightier.

Sean Connery: Gussy it up however you want, Trebek. What matters is does it work? Will it really mighty my penis, man?

Alex Trebek: It's not a product, Mr. Connery.

Sean Connery: Because I've ordered devices like that before - wasted a pretty penny, I don't mind telling you. And if The Penis Mightier works, I'll order a dozen.

Alex Trebek: It's not a Penis Mightier, Mr. Connery. There's no such thing!

Nicholas Cage: Wait, wait, wait.. are you selling Penis Mightiers?

Alex Trebek: No! No, I'm not.

Sean Connery: Well, you're sitting on a gold mine, Trebek!

Comma Man

Bill Simmons latest offering is about a Red Sox fan who missed the Red Sox winning the World Series because he was in a coma. I didn't think it was one of Bill's better pieces. His columns for ESPN the Magazine never seem to meet the same quality as his regular Page 2 pieces or his epic Boston Sports Guy pieces of yore. I remember a recent piece on poker that was just awful. In that piece Simmons confessed to being afraid of playing the poker tables at Foxwoods for months before he worked up the courage to sit down and play. Ever since then I thought of him as sort of a wuss.

Oops - sorry went off on a tangent there.

The reason I'm bringing this up at all is because when I saw the column on the "Coma Man" - my brain misfired and read it as "Comma Man." Once the idea of Comma Man instead of Coma Man had a foothold into my consciousness, it kicked the door wide open, went right to the fridge to make a sandwich and then camped out on the couch with the clicker while I tried to keep from being distracted by it and get some work done. I tried but failed.

I couldn't stop wondering what a super hero like Comma Man would be like. I picture him as the younger, less well known, younger brother of Letterman from The Electric Company fame (you remember the Electric Company right? It had a young Morgan Freeman and the show was on right before or right after Zoom). I am starting to even imagine what the Adventures of Comma Man would be like.

Man I need to weekend to get here soon.

Mid-Morning Links

- VDH on the true meaning of "neo-con"

- Peggy Noonan on the Inagural

- GOP and the City has a very interesting West Wing observation

- Jason Stark on this year's free agent crazy money
A Morning Stream of Consciousness

Normally I have a good idea of what I want to post about in the morning. It comes from thinking about it as I lay in bed in that state of being awake but just barely and into then the transition to full awake-hood.

This morning I got nothing. So I thought I'd just ramble for a bit.

Has anyone else noticed that football now stretches all the way to pitchers and catchers in baseball? I wonder how many people have become just two sport fans because of that. Personally I don't miss the NHL much and I don't pay much attention to basketball at all (and basketball used to be my favorite).

100 years from now will future generations look back at the way Condi Rice is treated and conclude that the Democratic Party was racist? Look at some of the political cartoons of her and tell me there isn't truth in that statement.

I'm glad that Bush had his inauguration. People who complain that he shouldn't have had the parties and such just don't get it. Inauguaration Day is the traditional day where power is transferred peacefully in this country. It is an example to the world. It should be celebrated con mucho gusto. All the talk about "we should have donated that $40 million to tsunami relief" bugs me to no end.

First - does anyone think that John Kerry would have put off having Inauguaral Balls and galas? Fat chance. The Hollywood types would have been tripping over themselves, spending money left and right on their parties. I noticd that they still held their Peoples Choice Awards. They didn't say "ooh maybe we should donate the production costs to tsunami relief and then maybe we can all auction off our awards on eBay to raise more money." They hold many of these "look-at-us-fests" disguised as Awards shows but they think the Inauguaration is garish? Yesterday was the celebration of the real people's choice award and George W. Bush got his time on stage to accept his award. Get over it.

Finally - if I were casting a movie about the Blogosphere - I'd cast Richard Moll (from Night Court fame) as Big Stupid Tommy. No reason. I'd just like to get Richard Moll some work. I haven't seen him for a while.

Thursday, January 20, 2005


Did you know that if you added together all the numbers on a roulette wheel (1 to 36) – that the total would be the number 666? Yes roulette is an evil game. You cannot play roulette and expect to make money (it’s almost as bad as playing Keno).

You can play roulette for fun. Here is what I would suggest as a way to enjoy roulette without getting too hurt in the wallet or pocketbook. (I originally read about this method in Cigar Aficionado magazine.)

Get $40 worth of chips and pick five numbers. Play $1 on each of the five numbers for 8 spins. Even if you never hit a number – you would have only lost $40 but will have had about a half hour worth of excitement (and maybe one comped drink).

If you hit a number – then double your bets to $2. Remember to quit after 8 spins of the wheel. Now the most you could possibly lose is $38 (you can use that $2 to tip your waitress). If you hit a second time – double your remaining bets to $4. Now you are guaranteed to win at least $26. If you hit a third time – then you can pay for a nice steak dinner with martinis. Just remember to quit after 8 spins. Get up and look around the casino – the worst thing you can do is just sit at a table forever – because at some point you’ll run out of money.
Morning Links

- Boston College off to 15-0 start in basketball

- John Kerry - still acting the baffoon - Hat tip Betsy's Page

- Heh heh - Cox and Forkum weigh in

- The Belmont Club has the MUST read post of the day

- Mike Piazza and Alicia Rickter's Wedding Gift Registry - Hat Tip to Joe

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Oh My Gawd! My Eyes!

I hope this isn't the first thing you see in the morning because the image will stay with you all day. Lousy German icon!

Remember - once a thing is seen - it can't be unseen.

Hat tip to Mememto Moron

Jib Jab's Second Term

Heh Heh - this may be their best work yet.

The Dean Scream Lileks Style

It has been a year since the Dean Scream and nobody has come close to beating Lileks version. I could listen to this all day.

Heh Heh

I laughed my ass off at this. If you're a LOTR fan - you'll laugh your ass off too.

Hat tip to American Digest.

Mike Piazza - from Rumors to Too Much Information

Mike Piazza is getting married to Baywatch babe Alicia Rickter
The marriage should finally put an end to those unfounded rumors that Piazza is a switch hitter. During the 2002 season, the perennial All-Star called an unprecedented news conference to explicitly state he is not gay.

"The truth is that I'm heterosexual and date women," he said.

[Darlene] Bernaola, the former Playmate of the Millennium [and former Piazza girlfriend], knew it all along.

"Our sex life was very, very healthy," she said at the time.

Beyond that, the couple also shared a cutesy pre-game ritual: Piazza would bite a Halls cough lozenge in half, and share it with Bernaola.
Hat tip to the Cosmic Tribune
Unforgivable Blackness

Indulge me while I share my thoughts and observations on the Ken Burns film Unforgivable Blackness.

Sometimes it is tough to look back at our history and see how racially ignorant we were as a country. As a former history major - this was nothing new but still striking. The only solace is the fact that as a person who came of age after the Civil Rights movement - the racial beliefs of the 1900's strike me as bizarre and incomprehensible. I'm sure that they look even more bizarre and incomprehensible to my kids. We are moving in the right direction.

Part one of the film aired on Monday night, which I thought had a certain symmetry since it was Muhammad Ali's birthday. Part two aired last night.

Let me ask if I was the only one who watched part one and wondered as Johnson's sexual appetite was chronicled if Johnson and Wilt Chamberlain have gotten together in heaven to compare notes. Just listening to how often Johnson got busy made me tired.

It was very interesting to see the intersections of history in the film. For instance how Johnson's path crossed that of both Judge Kennisaw Mountain Landis and Harry Frazee (the owner of the Boston Red Sox who sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees). It was good to also see Woodrow Wilson depicted as the racist that he was. Wilson may have been the most bigoted man to hold the office of President. I was disappointed that how Wilson was elected wasn't discussed (the Republican Party split between Taft and Teddy Roosevelt's Bull Moose Party). I have to wonder if things for Johnson would have been completely different if Roosevelt was elected for a third term (Roosevelt was a big fan of boxing who even boxed on the White house lawn).

As a film, Unforgivable Blackness was very well done. Burns with his A game. Samuel L. Jackson was excellent as the voice of Jack Johnson. You can't have a boxing documentary without Bert Sugar but where was Pete Hammill? Not sure about you but during the film I played "name that voice" and got Samuel L., Alan Rickman, Eli Wallach and Billy Bob Thorton right off. I'll have to watch it a second time to pick out the voices of Adam Arkin, Brian Cox, Ed Harris, Amy Madigan and Studs Terkel.

I remember watching part one thinking that a Ken Burns movie just isn't the same without George Plimpton giving voice to one of the characters. It was later just eerie to see Plimpton at the end of part two speaking of ghosts (eerie because he's one now himself).

If there was one disappointment with the film, it was the lack of even a mention of Major Taylor. At the turn of the century, cycling was a huge sport both in the US and in the world. Major Taylor was perhaps the best cyclist in the world and because he was black he had to face and overcome many of the same prejudices that Johnson had to overcome but he did it first. Unforgivable Blackness is being promoted as being about the forgotten Jack Johnson but the real forgotten sports hero is Major Taylor.

Top 5 - Heavyweight Boxing Champs

1. Jack Johnson
2. Muhammad Ali
3. Rocky Marciano
4. Joe Louis
5. George Foreman

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Carlos Delgado?

Maybe the last big name free agent yet to signed is Carlos Delgado. There is no denying that Delgado can mash the ball. Last year he hit 32 HR and had a "down year" OPS of .907 in just 128 games played. Delgado started off very slow last year but came on strong by hitting 22 HR with a 1.033 OPS after the All-Star break.

I'm writing this to say that I think that whatever team signs him will end up regretting it.

You have to believe that there is a reason that Delgado is the last big-name player standing. Is it because some question his desire to win? He did turn down a mid-season trade to the playoff bound Dodgers when it was clear that Toronto no longer wanted or could afford him. Is it because of his political stand regarding the National Anthem? In Toronto that stuff isn't news (in fact it is respected) but that act won't play in Arlington, Texas - the heart of Bush country. It also won't play at Shea after any game where Delgado goes 0-4.

The big reason I think Delgado will prove to be a mistake is because he reminds me so much of Mo Vaughn. There I said it.

When Mo Vaughn was 32 - he hit 36 HR and drove in 117 runs. True Vaughn was damaged goods by that point but he did manage to play 139 games that year. Did I already mention that Delgado only played 128 games this year or that he turns 33 in June? I see Carlos Delgado and I think Mo Vaughn. (That's what surprises me about the Mets pursuit of Delgado - don't they ever learn?)

The Orioles and the Marlins are the two other teams interested in Delgado. The Marlins have a limited budget and would be MUCH better off giving that money to Josh Beckett in a long-term deal. The Orioles are desperate for starting pitching and yet they will end up proposing a 3-year $36 million plus deal?

The only thing that gives me pause is the fact that Theo Epstein was also interested in Delgado. That doesn't stop me from thinking Mo Vaughn when I see Carlos Delgado.

Mark my words - whatever team that signs Delgado will come to regret it.
Ashley Faulkner to Attend Inaugural

I found this via California Yankee. Just thinking about that ad gives me chills.

One thing to point out - Alex Spanos who owns the San Diego Chargers is the largest donor to the group Progress for America who is sending Ashley to the Inaugural. That's one of the reasons I was rooting for the Chargers.
Inaugural Day Stuff

PJ O'Rouke wrote about the type of Inaugural Address he'd like to see from George Bush:
MY FELLOW AMERICANS, I had intended to reach out to all of you and bring a divided nation together. But I changed my mind. America isn't divided by political ethos or ethnic origin. America isn't divided by region or religion. America is divided by jerks. Who wants to bring a bunch of jerks together with the rest of us? Let them stew in Berkeley, Boston, and Ann Arbor.

The media say that I won the election on the strength of moral values. If the other fellow had become president, would the media have said that he won the election on the strength of immoral values? For once the media would have been right.

We are all sinners. But jerks revel in their sins. You can tell by their reaction to the Ten Commandments. Post those Ten Commandments in a courthouse or a statehouse, in a public school or a public park, and the jerks go crazy. Why is that? Christians believe in the Ten Commandments. So do Muslims. Jews, too, obviously. Show the Ten Commandments to Hindus, Buddhists, Confucians, or to people with just good will and common sense and nobody says, "Whoa! That's all wrong!"
Hat tip to Large Bill for the link.

Recently I posted some Inaugural Day trivia that I found interesting. That trivia had the benefit of being true but sometimes made up stuff is even funnier. Something Awful has some faux Inaugural Day trivia like:
At the after-inaugural reception, whoever catches the president's flower bouquet becomes the ambassador to Sweden.

Richard Nixon is the only president to drop the F-bomb in his inaugural address.

The shortest inaugural address in history was given by George Washington in 1793, when he famously remarked, "What, am I supposed to do this again?"

NFL Playoff and Super Bowl Odds

Here are the latest NFL lines and odds:

Atlanta Falcons (+5) at Philadelphia Eagles

New England Patriots (-3) at Pittsburgh Steelers

These are the latest odds for the remaining 4 teams to win the Super Bowl

Patriots - 7/5
Steelers - 2/1
Eagles - 3/1
Falcons - 13/2

Monday, January 17, 2005

Blogroll Update

Today I added three sites:

Real Clear Politics (if it is good enough for VDH - it's damn sure good enough for me)

What Attitude Problem (good stuff)

Transaction Guy (your home for baseball transactions)
MLB Meets Office Space

This was announced on Friday (probably with the idea that it would go under the radar):
Major League Baseball announced today it will open a Western Office in the Phoenix, Ariz., area this season. The office is meant to provide special attention to and coordination between the Office of the Commissioner and the Major League Clubs in the Mountain and Pacific Time Zones.

Laurel Prieb, formerly the Vice President of Corporate Affairs for the Milwaukee Brewers, has been hired to run the office as the MLB Vice President for Western Operations and Special Projects. Prieb has 28 years of baseball experience, having worked for the Minnesota Twins before joining the Brewers in 1991. Before serving the Brewers as the VP, Corporate Affairs, Prieb was the club's VP, Communications and then VP, Marketing.
What it doesn't say is that Laurel Prieb is Bud Selig's son in law. So what will the job description look like?
The MLB Western Operations Office will further serve as a point of support and contact for the Baseball Academy in Compton, Calif., which currently is under construction, the Arizona Fall League, the Cactus League, MLB's burgeoning business activities in the countries of the Pacific Rim, and international play.
This made me think of the movie Office Space where Tom Smykowski tries to explain what he does for the company to Bob and Bob the consultants:
Tom Smykowski: Well-well look. I already told you: I deal with the god damn customers so the engineers don't have to. I have people skills; I am good at dealing with people. Can't you understand that? What the hell is wrong with you people?
So son in law Prieb's cushy job will allow him to deal with the West Coast and Mountain time zone folks so that the MLB offices don't have to. What the hell is wrong with you people?

Flotsam and Jetsam

The Patriots win! The Patriots win! Theeeeeeeeeeeeeee Patriots win! (said in best John Sterling voice)... Foxboro is to Peyton Manning as Daytona was to Dale Earnhart. Does that mean that the year after he finally wins a game at Foxboro that he'll die?.... Let's go insurance adjusters! Let's go!..... Cut that meat! Cut that meat!...

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Football and Beer Time

I'm off to enjoy a day of watching football and drinking the world's coldest bottled beer at Mahoney's Pub. Here's a time waster I first posted about 6 months ago. I'm posting it again today because by the time the Patriots beat the Colts - I'll probably be as drunk as the guy in the game (you need to use your mouse to keep him from falling over and passing out).

I call the guy in the game "Gordie" but for today you can call him Chris.

Go Pats!
Wow - What a Jerk

I seriously hope someone drills Pierzynski in the head. The White Sox interleague schedule is against the NL West - too bad it doesn't include the Giants:
One of those now-it-can-be-told stories the White Sox, A.J. Pierzynski's new employer, surely haven't heard: During a Giants exhibition game last spring, Pierzynski took a shot to his, shall we say, private parts. Trainer Stan Conte rushed to the scene, placed his hands on Pierzynski's shoulders in a reassuring way, and asked how it felt. "Like this," said Pierzynski, viciously delivering a knee to Conte's groin. It was a real test of professionalism for the enraged Conte, who vowed to ignore Pierzynski for the rest of the season until Conte realized how that would look. The incident went unreported because all of the beat writers happened to be doing in-game interviews in the clubhouse, but it was corroborated by a half-dozen eyewitnesses who could hardly believe their eyes. Said one source, as reliable as they come: "There is absolutely no doubt that it happened." ...
Here's the link. That Joe Nathan for Pierzynski trade looks better every day. Found via SoSH.

In Good Company - The Screening

A few people have asked about Thursday's private screening of In Good Company. The folks at Grace Hill Media couldn't have been nicer and I really appreciated their kindness and professionalism during the whole experience.

Anyway, here are some details that may be of interest.

On Wednesday I got a FedEx package from Grace Hill Media that included a In Good Company baseball hat and T-shirt. The enclosed noted said something about there not being any scheduled screenings in my area and to please take the shirt and hat instead. That was a nice thing for them to do - all the bloggers who signed up got something. Some got the free tickets, some the hat and T-Shirt and I got the free screening (and the hat and T-shirt).

The theater had 110 seats. I invited about 70 people (if everyone accepted it would have 140 people because the invitation was for 2). I knew that many would not be able to attend because of the short notice (I found out the time of the screening late Tuesday night) and because let's face it - most of my friends have kids and babysitting isn't always convenient. I knew that I wouldn't fill the theater and I really didn't want to - the more room to spread out the better.

We ended up with about 30 people which was impressive because Thursday night Central Mass saw the worst fog I can ever recall seeing (and that includes the stuff I've seen in San Fran and the stuff in San Diego). It was literally dangerous driving in that fog - you could see at max 15 feet of road in front of you. If I didn't have to be there - I don't think I would have ventured out in the stuff.

At the theater, nobody knew what to expect. I went to the cashier (no lines because of the weather) and told her I was there for the 7:30 screening. "Around the corner to the left. Screen seven." Ummm.... thanks.

The coolest thing of the night was the fact that inside the theater the manager approached me and asked when I wanted the movie to start. That was so cool. "Start the movie in 5 minutes Mr. Manager. Make it so!"

At the end of the movie (which I thought was a bit weird and certainly not the expected Hollywood ending) everyone spontaneously clapped. That was also cool.

I later spoke with Jonathan Block from Grace Hill Media and he told me that the response was excellent on the movie from the blogger community and that they may try something similar with the upcoming movie Constantine.

I told him to count me in.
Morning Links

- CIA Predicts Downfall of European Union (I was going to make a crack about how well they predicted the downfall of communism but read the whole article - the analysis seems spot on)

- 10 Years - based on what this guy did to the Army's reputation - he probably won't have many friends in military jail

- Bill Simmons did not do well with his NFL bets last weekend (FWIW - he went 0-2 with yesterday's picks and today he likes the Eagles and Patriots)

- Mark Steyn = Must Read Today's offering is MUST reading.

- Syria Should Be Next

- Gordon Edes Baseball Notes

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Numa Numa - Must See Video

I've meant to post to this video for a few days now. The video is like the offspring between the Star Wars Kid video and David Hasselhoff's Hooked on a Feeling music video.

If anyone out there has a link to that Hasselhoff classic - I'd love to see it again.

Hat tip to American Digest

Blogroll Update

I once again updated my blogroll! Today I added:

Yahoo! Sports (it's been in my favorites forever and I visit there at least once a day)

INDC Journal (a slight I should have rectified long ago)

Denis Gorman (he's a buddy)

Brown Hound (a blog that I just found and I liked)

NFL Picks

Last week I went 1 for 5 so I'm duty bound to try and prove I'm not an idiot by offering more picks and hopefully doing much, much better this week. (It should also be noted that professional NFL analyst Ron Jaworski went 1 for 4 last week - so I got that going for me... which is nice.)

Jets at Steelers

The Steelers are giving 9 points and the over is a ridiculously low 35 points.

Back in December these two teams met in Pittsburgh with the Steelers coming away with a 17-6 victory. That day the QB's for both teams were awful. Chad Pennington threw 3 interceptions and Ben Roethlisberger threw 2. The only passing TD that day came from Jerome Bettis.

I'm tempted to pick the Steelers simply because Roethlisberger has a hot looking girlfriend (have I mentioned that my picks are done purely with scientific method?). However, Pennington threw only 9 INT's all year and 3 of them came in that one game against Pittsburgh. It was those picks that killed the Jets that day and I don't see Pennington repeating his awful performance. Therefore my pick is the Jets with the points and also take the over because I'm a sucker for an over that low.

Rams at Falcons

The Falcons are favored by 7 points in this game.

This is a tough one. The Rams are a great offense in a Dome but their defense is soft. The Falcons have an excellent defense but their offense is dependent on Michael Vick improvising.

These two teams met early in the season at the Georgia Dome with the Falcons coming away with a convincing 34-17 victory. The Falcons scored 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to win. Michael Vick was the leading rusher for either team with 102 yards and he also went 14-19 passing with a QB rating of 120. The problem is - a game that early in the season doesn't mean much now that we are in the playoffs.

I am so up in the air on this game. On one hand, I always thought the Falcons were overrated (but I also thought that about the Rams). On the other hand, every year the one week layoff hurts at least one team (but by the same token you just know that Mike Martz will find a way to screw the pooch).

When I come to difficult crossroads in my life - I normally ask myself, "What would Kevin Bacon in Footloose do in this situation?" That doesn't help with NFL picks though so I have to turn to the oracle that is David Hasselhoff (more reliable than a Magic Eightball).
CL: Will the Rams cover the spread against the Falcons?

DH: Vanity is a state of mind, body and soul
Well there you have it. Take the Rams and the points (I assume the vanity thing was a reference to Mike Martz and his super ego).

Vikings at Eagles

Terrell Owens is out - oh no! Whatever will the Eagles do? I'll tell you what they'll do - they'll win the damn game. The question is, "Will they win by more than 8.5 points?" The answer to that question is no.

The Eagles win but don't cover. This will set up another NFC Championship game at home for the Eagles where Donovan McNabb will once again choke and single handedly cause spousal abuse to go up by 3,000% in the City of Brotherly Love. Sadly - I'm not joking about that last comment.

Colts at Patriots

The line started at Patriots -3. Then it went down to Patriots -1.5 as all the money flowed in on the Colts. Now the line is back at Patriots -3. Follow the money.

Personally, I think the Patriots romp by the Colts by at least 2 touchdowns but for the sake of this post - I'll suffice it to say that they'll cover the 3 points. The last thing the Colts should have done is challenge the champions. Now they may not have meant it but all this focus on Peyton Manning has frosted Tom Brady and Brady will once again show that head-to-head he's the better QB. All the talk about not being able to stop the Colts offense has also challenged Bill Belichick who had an extra week to scheme for the game.

The field will be slick on Sunday and there should be snow starting around game time. Colts receivers will slip and the field conditions will get in their heads. Manning will over throw a receiver because the receiver slipped and Belichick and the weather conditions will get into his head.

Look for a steady dose of Corey Dillon from the Patriots. Dillon is a straight ahead "smash-mouth" runner. That coupled with a precise day from Brady will lead to a big victory by the Patriots.

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

Friday, January 14, 2005

Separated at Birth?

Jerome Bettis and Ice Cube.

Blogroll Update

To the blogroll I added:

Balls, Sticks & Stuff (Philly baseball and stuff)
The Anchoress (she just lost a loved one - stop by to offer your condolences)
Steeler Dirt Freak (linking to him even though he's a Steelers fan)

Variety is the spice of life (or as they say on Arrakis - the spice is the life).

I'm sorry but I'm worked up over the "faux" mooning by Randy Moss but I'm not worked up for the reason you might think.

Did I think that what Moss did was a disgrace? No. Not really.

When I wrestle with my son and he gets away - sometimes he wiggles his butt at me as a way of saying "nana nana boo boo - you can't get me". Sure it's childish but there's no malicious intent. Just the same with Moss. Sure it was childish but there was no malicious intent.

Moss got fined $10,000 for his actions. That same weekend Jets linebacker Eric Barton tried to take off Chargers QB Drew Brees head with a forearm shot and he was fined just $7,500. So the "pretend" act with no malicious intent got fined more than the real act that was malicious in its very nature. Ridiculous.

Last night I went to see In Good Company - a movie that is rated PG-13 because of sexual content and drug references. In the movie the Dennis Quaid character moons the guests at his surprise 52nd birthday party. Why is there no mention of this nudity in the rating? Maybe because it's no big deal? Yeah probably. Dennis Quaid's pasty white ass doesn't even deserve mention because it was no big deal.

Butt Randy Moss pretending to show his black ass is outrageous? Please.

I remember years ago when Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster teamed up in the movie Tough Guys. In the movie Kirk Douglas mooned the police and all the critics thought it was just great.

The hypocrisy being spewed over the Randy Moss "Moon" Dance is just disgusting.
The Derek Lowe Dodger Face

Hat tip to Singapore Sox fan who also notes that Terry Francona is the new Metamucil spokesman.
Morning Links

- Clint Eastwood to Michael Moore - "I'll kill you."

- 7 points total in a HS basketball game - Sean Sweeney (SportsPages alum) with the story

- Krauthammer on the obvious - the media is biased

- Ralph Peters - let Iraqis vote (hey they can't do any worse than the folks in Washington State)

- Sosa to Washington? ($100 bucks say that this rumor was started by Nationals GM Jim Bowden over drinks with reporters. JB "So I says to the Cubs 'the only way I'm taking Sosa is if you pay (hick) if you pay (hick) 100% of his salary - oh yeah and throw in Kerry Wood while your at it.'")
In Good Company - The Review

In Good Company is a good movie. You'll laugh, you'll care about the characters and you'll leave the theater with a smile on your face.

What In Good Company is not is easily classifiable. It is definitely not an action thriller. It's not even a romantic comedy since the romance doesn't come till halfway into the movie and then it only lasts for 15 minutes (excuse me while my wife inserts analogy about our marriage here). Is it a chick flick? Well as the clerk at Blockbuster would say "Is that a young chick flick or an older chick flick?" I guess in the end it is both.

I went into the theater not knowing what to expect. The last movie I saw with Dennis Quaid was Disney's The Rookie which was an uplifting family movie. With Topher Grace from That 70's Show starring and the guys who brought American Pie to theaters directing - you expect some laughs. In the end you get both a uplifting film about a family and lots of laughs (don't get me wrong though - the movie isn't a comedy if anything it's a dramedy - hey is that a new word?).

In Good Company traces the tribulations in the family life of Dan Foreman (played by Dennis Quaid) against the void except for business that is the life of Carter Duryea (played by Topher Grace) over a nine month arc. Quaid plays a 51-year old ad sales manager for a major sports magazine *cough*Sports Illustrated*cough* who suddenly has the 26-year old Grace as his boss after a corporate take over. Scarlett Johanson is very believable (and very pretty) as the just out of braces, college student, daughter, love interest.

It is hard to compare In Good Company to any other movie but the comparison that sticks with me is to HG Wells The War of the Worlds with Quaid playing the Gene Barry smart, grounded character and Topher Grace playing the Martian machine (Topher at one point calls himself a machine). In War of the Worlds, contact with the humans kills the Martians but in In Good Company Topher's character becomes human through contact with Dennis Quaid's family.

Go see In Good Company with someone you love. You won't be disappointed.

Thursday, January 13, 2005


Going to see the movie In Good Company tonight (still have plenty of tickets - so if you're in Central Mass let me know - show's at 7:30 at Showcase North). One of the things that has interested me is one of the star's names - Topher Grace (one of the stars of That 70's Show).

Many people don't recognize the name Topher as a shortening of the name Christopher (much like Beth is a shortening of the name Elizabeth). I guess Christopher Grace didn't have the same pizazz as Topher Grace.

I had never thought of shortening the name Christopher to Topher. The common shortening is to Chris (which is what I go by). The problem with Chris though is the fact that it is a uni-sex name. It could be a boy or a girl (I guess Topher could also be a boy or girl but I've never heard of a girl named Topher though I have heard a Boy Named Sue by Johnny Cash).

I've always been Chris except for when I took standardized tests as a kid. The standardized tests always gave you six letters for your first name. In those cases I always chose to write in C-H-R-I-S-T with the idea that nobody would flunk Christ on a test.

As a kid I always thought it would be cool if my first name had an extra "S". That way it could be Chris-stop-her. That would be a good name for a guard at a women's prison.

Topher has the extra utility of specifically being a shortening of Christopher whereas Chris could also be short for Christian. Also with a name Topher - nobody would ever ask you if that was with a "C" or a "K".

With the success of Topher Grace - I bet there are some parents and parents to be that think Topher is a cool name to name a kid without even realizing that it is in fact a shortening of Christopher. The name Christopher actually means "follower of Christ" - so I wonder if this next generation of Topher's will realize that their name means "follower of T"?

Anyway - I thought the name Topher was pretty interesting and worthy of comment.


Topher Lynch
Morning Links

- Peggy Noonan - MSM Requiem
Remember the movie "Broadcast News"? The bland young reporter played by William Hurt who yearned to be a star and a member of the establishment would be a major network anchor or producer now, his hair gone a distinguished gray. The character played by Albert Brooks--the bright, mischievous and ultimately more talented journalist--would be a blogger now
- Chick fight! Remember Terrell Owens called Jeff Garcia gay. I wish I could be this gay.

- Oedipus explained (do not read this if you are easily offended or for that matter if it is even hard to offend you - also possibly NSFW)

- CBS' Holy Grail or How Dumb is Mary Mapes?

- Nice article on Josh Miller by Jackie MacMullan

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

CQ's World Relief Day - I'm Keeping this Post at the Top - Scroll Down for New Stuff

Ed Morrisey at Captain Quarter's has mobilized the blog troops to make January 12th an international day of giving across the blogosphere. The charity of choice to aid the tsunami victims is World Vision.

My family has donated via our church and via the American Red Cross but I want to assist here as well. This is where you the readers of this humble blog come in.

About three months ago I added the Google ads you see at the top of the page. At times they have been humorous (I particularly thought it funny to see ads for Wade Boggs and Derek Jeter autographs on my site) but the ads really don't pay much. I've had the ads up over 3 months and I've only got $66 in my account and Google doesn't pay until the account reaches $100.

What I'm simply asking you to do is click one of the Google ads. That's all you have to do. Every click adds to my account. Let's drive the account up over $100 and I'll donate that to World Vision. Every $100 helps and all it takes is a click of the mouse on your end. (Note: the Amazon book ads are different - you have to buy a book for any money to be added to my account which is up to a whopping $9.22. So feel free to buy a book to help me with my reading habits - the books I links to are the ones on my wish list but you can buy anything via the links and I get some credit.)

If you have a blog - link to this post and ask you readers to click the ads. If you have Google ads - think about maybe doing the same thing.

Also - if you are the sort of person who prays. Please pray for my friend Mike Ganis. He's 75 and he flew over to volunteer to help out in Malaysia.

EDIT: 7:00 am and the account is already up to $80. I'm going to nail this post up to the top to make sure people see it first. Welcome to all the folks from Captain's Quarters

UPDATE: 7:15 PM and the account is up to $87.25. Please keep clicking the ads.
Morning Links

- Mel Gibson met with one of the witnesses of the miracle of Fatima

- Interesting - why we call the French "frogs"

- Howard Fineman - The Media Party is Over - UPDATE: The Anchoress has a definite opinion on Fineman's piece (I don't think I'd want her upset at me)

- A VDH column that I overlooked.

- The Belmont Club tackles the "troops on the ground" argument

In Good Company - I Won!

You may recall that Grace Hill Media, who is promoting the new Universal film In Good Company, is trying to harness the power of the blogosphere (via Hugh Hewitt).

Basically, Grace Hill Media is providing bloggers 2 tickets to advance screenings of the movie with the understanding that the bloggers will write a review of the movie. Since Grace Hill Media knows that this is a good film - they feel confident that the reviews will fuel positive word of mouth and movies like this only really succeed via positive word of mouth. I wrote about my feelings on this marketing approach here.

You may also recall that Grace Hill Media sweetened the pot by offering a private screening to one lucky blogger. Anyway - I WON!

Woo hoo! I won!

I get a private screening of In Good Company tomorrow (Thursday January 13th) at 7:30 pm at the Showcase Cinemas North in Worcester.

There are 110 seats and I will be inviting family, friends, the teachers at my kids' schools (I'm sure they will appreciate a free movie) and I would also like to extend invitations to any of my readers or any fellow bloggers who happen to live in the Central Mass area. Just drop me a line (either in the comments or via email) and I'll put you on the list.

Special thanks go out to Jonathan Bock (who is a big Dodgers fan) and Emily McKnight (who is as nice a person as I've ever talked to on the phone) both from Grace Hill Media. Also thank you to Hugh Hewitt whose support and understanding of the blogoshere is opening up new doorways of opportunity for bloggers like me.