Tuesday, January 31, 2006

I Got Nothing

I don't have much time today and I planned to comment on Mike Piazza signing with the Padres and a bunch of other things but I'm flat out with work. So just to give you something - here's a picture of Mike Piazza's wife Alicia Rickter

What's Next for Sandra Day O'Connor

With the announcement that Sandra Day O'Connor plans to retire, I think it is fair to ask what's next for the first lady justice? I think she may be ready to be the first "lady" once again. This time at Augusta National.

I believe that I was the first to raise the possibility that Sandra Day O'Connor could be the first woman member at the home of the Masters (in November of 2002). Here is a follow-up column I did in April 2003.
Sandra Day O’Connor is a golf enthusiast (even scored a hole-in-one in 2000), well respected and most importantly – she is not “flashy”. Publicity seekers need not apply to Augusta, which is probably the most exclusive club (golf or otherwise) in the country.

Augusta National only has about 300 members and memberships are not easily granted. Bill Gates has been said to covet a membership at Augusta. What does that tell you when even the country’s wealthiest man can’t get in? They do not, however, seem to have anything against women. In fact women played over 1000 rounds of golf at Augusta last year.
Sandra Day O'Connor will be golfing in retirement and what better place to golf than Augusta National?

Monday, January 30, 2006

Stuck on Stupid - January 2006

I was disappointed that the phrase "stuck on stupid" didn't take off in 2005 the way I thought t would. It started out strong. Right after General Honore responded to a reporter by saying, "You are stuck on stupid and I'm not going to answer that question" - I thought we surely had the catch phrase for the next decade.

In an attempt to breathe life back into the phrase - I'm going to be keeping track of the people who get stuck on stupid in 2006. To qualify a person would have to be a reasoning adult who proves through actions or deeds that they are "stuck on stupid." (Note Cindy Sheehan does not qualify because I think she is not a reasoning adult - I think she needs professional help and it saddens me to see people use her the way she's being used.)

- Pat Robertson an original idiotarian deserves first listing for Stuck on Stupid (if stupid statements were traffic tickets - then Robertson would have lost his license long ago).

- Ted Kennedy is definitely stuck on stupid (or maybe he's stuck in a fantasy land where Goldwater was President and Mary Jo Kopechne did not die a horrible death)

- Microsoft - the concept that money lost via protest by free market economies far outweigh gains made by pandering to dictatorships is not exactly new.

- Joe Biden - no coincidence that "Joe Biden" and "Blow hard" both have 8 letters. Narcissus fell in love with his own reflection. Biden has fallen in love with the sound of his own voice.

- Senator Patty Murray is permanently stuck on stupid. I'm just surprised that she didn't say anything about politicians liking Jack Abramoff because he built day care centers.

- CNN - after being disgraced by the relevations that CNN bowed to Iraqi handlers under Saddam Hussein, CNN seems to be stuck on stupid by repeating the mistake with Iran.

- Walter Cronkite - less respected by the current generation than Kent Brockman

- Harry Belafonte - file under - tell me why is this person is famous again? Part of being Stuck on Stupid is being stupid over and over.

- Hillary Clinton - "run like a plantation" words not soon to be forgotten.

- Al Gore - Let's see - when Bill Clinton did this it was legal but the laws are different for George W. Bush. I somehow get the feeling I'll be posting Al Gore's name a lot.

- Ray Nagin - I think he's bidding to become the poster child for Stuck on Stupid. His "Chocolate City" comment is bound to become a classic.

- Joel Stein - I'm tempted to give this one to the LA Times though. Who told them that people would be interested in the rants about the military by someone who admits he knows absolutely nothing about the subject? The value-add by the LA Times to their readers actually went into negative numbers with this piece of excrement offering.

- Google - see Microsoft above

- George Galloway - at long last have you no decency?

- Jimmy Carter - it just wouldn't be Stuck on Stupid without Jimmy Carter

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Ben Stein Refutes Joel Stein

Good stuff:
The man from Iowa or South Carolina, the woman from Mississippi or Idaho or Oregon or New York or California or Washington, D.C. or anywhere in America who leaves the comfort of home to fight against an evil as monstrous as what did happen and what is happening in Iraq are great warriors. But they are something more. They are saints in body armor, men and women of staggering moral virtue in a time and place when those words mean very little in the modern world. Their lives have the most meaning of any lives being lived on this earth right this moment.
HT Betsy's Page
The Chronicles of Narnia

I went to see the movie yesterday and it was GREAT!

I'm ashamed to say that twice I've taken up the books only to get bored (even though they aren't very long books). After seeing the movie - I'm going to pick up the book again (my brother had the same reaction and has since read the entire Narnia series).

The movie is not too scary for little ones but it does deal with the subject of death. I recommend the movie to all Sons of Adam and to all the Daughters of Eve.

Morning Links

Stuff to check while you have your morning coffee.

- Just get them the damn Tim Hortons already! (BTW - Dunkin' Donuts is better)

- Excellent piece on blogger hero Michael Yon (HT Environmental Republican)

- Fun movie quiz (warning it can get addicting trying to figure out the answers - HT to Lou at Stream of (Semi)Consciousness who has most of the answers here)
Hockey and the Supreme Court

Real fans of the NHL are truly passionate about the sport. People who follow the Supreme Court are just as passionate. I've recently come to realize that I don't share the passion for either of those things.

I guess I'm more of a sports fan than a hockey fan. This fact dawned on me when I realized that I probably couldn't name you the top two lines for the Boston Bruins and would be hard pressed to name the top line of any other hockey team. When I was a kid I could name every player on the Bruins (and Canadiens) as well as the top line for just about every team. I just don't have the passion anymore.

In regards to the Supreme Court, something Big Stupid Tommy pointed out proved to me that this wasn't something I was passionate about either. Tommy had a test - who can you name more of - all 9 of the main characters from the Brady Bunch or all 9 Justices on the Supreme Court? Well I had no problem with the Brady Bunch but I missed one justice on the Supreme Court (damn you John Paul Stevens for being woodwork).

I'm not ashamed about not being passionate about the NHL or the Supreme Court. Just the opposite. I think my lack of passion for these two subjects is the norm. Something hit me the other night . I was watching a re-run of The West Wing. It was the episode where Jed Bartlett was going to nominate two justices for the Supreme Court (played by Glenn Close and William Fichtner who is a classic "that guy" - you know a guy who has been in a ton of roles and who you recognize but just can't remember his name). In that episode Bartlett complained a couple of times about four thousand protesters outside the White house who were there because they cared so much about the Supreme Court appointees. In real life there may be a couple of hand-fulls of protesters and most of them are not there for the Supreme Court. Likewise in real-life - the televised NHL All-Star game gets about the same ratings as the opening game of the Arena Football League.

Don't get me wrong - I still care about the NHL and the Supreme Court - just not as passionately as baseball or Presidential elections.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Joe Lieberman to Vote No on Alito

This really doesn't come as a surprise to me. Lieberman is first and foremost a politician and secondly a man of principle. We saw this when Lieberman abandoned his support of school vouchers in order to fall in line with Al(l) Gore and we are seeing it again here.

School vouchers was something that Lieberman believed in (and still believes in I bet) but in order to be on the ticket in 2000 - he had to fall in line with the party line and the teachers unions who are vehemently anti-vouchers.

Now in order to play to the base to help insure re-election in 2006 - Lieberman has to vote against a man who he probably knows in his heart is well qualified for the job. I like to think that Lieberman knows his vote equals just an empty protest and is the equivalent of throwing a bone to the hard left but if he knew it was to be a close vote that Lieberman who stick by his principles (like in his support of the war in Iraq) and vote for Alito.

HT Connecticut Conservative (who thinks the same of this as I do or vice versa)
Coco Crisp to Boston Trade Finally Official

The trade will send CF Coco Crisp, reliever David Riske and back-up catcher Josh Bard to Boston who in turn will send top prospect Andy Marte, reliever Guillermo Mota, prospect catcher Kelly Stoppach, a player to be named later and cash (supposedly $1 million) to Cleveland.

I'm very happy to have Crisp as the Red Sox centerfielder and I'm equally glad this trade is finally official. It should be noted that the PTBNL and the cash the Red Sox sent over to the Indians was basically extortion money. Cleveland knew they had Boston over a barrel and they used Mota supposedly failing his physical to squeeze a little extra out of Boston. I have no problem with that - I actually applaud Cleveland GM Mark Shapiro for maximizing his return.

Of the players being sent to Cleveland - only Kelly Stoppach actually played in a Red Sox uniform. Mota was thrown in as part of the Josh Beckett trade and Marte was acquired in exchange for SS Edgar Renteria.

The key player from the Indians side is Andy Marte who is rated by Baseball America as the 9th best prospect in baseball. I have no problem saying that I hope Donald B. our expert on all things related to Georgia sports (especially Braves baseball) is right when he says that Marte is nothing but the second coming of Melvin Nieves.

Is it wrong for me to wish ill to Marte? His success or failure only impacts my life only tangentially and only in a minor way but just the same I'd rather if he was the next Melvin Nieves instead of the next Mike Schmidt.

It should be noted that as highly regarded Marte is - Shoppach both out-homered him (26 to 20) and drove in more RBI last year in AAA ball (75 to 74) even though he played in fewer games (109 vs 102). Shoppach has the potential to be the steal of the trade. He'll make a very good back-up for the Indians and if he hits a hot streak look for some people to start talking about him as if he should start over Victor Martinez.

In my opinion Shoppach was going to be traded this off-season no matter what. The Sox have Jason Varitek blocking Stoppach's path to the big leagues and the rumor is that Stoppach and highly regarded first baseman Kevin Youkilis don't get along at all. I wish Shoppach all the luck in the world in Cleveland and I'll certainly be pulling for him.

From the Boston perspective - you can gauge how good this trade was by answering two questions:

1. Would you have traded Edgar Renteria for Coco Crisp straight-up? I'd answer that definitely YES. Renteria wasn't a good fit with Boston and he was playing older than his age. In Crisp you have a young guy who will be under team control for 4-more years. By trading Marte for Crisp - you are basically trading Renteria for Crisp.

2. Would you have traded Johnny Damon straight-up for Coco Crisp? Again - definitely YES. People keep comparing Crisp to a young Johnny Damon. Well I'd much rather have a young Johnny Damon who will be under team control for 4-years than an older Johnny Damon who most likely will be a shell of a player in 4-years. No brainer.

The one thing that bothers me about this trade is this quote from Shapiro:
"The question and the unknown on him [Crisp] is going to be how much more power he's got," Shapiro said. "That's an unknown. ... Last year, he was very bad against left-handed pitching. Very bad."
The Sox already have a starting outfielder who sucks against lefties (Trot Nixon - .215 BA and .632 OPS career vs lefties). This stresses the need for a 4th outfielder who can hit lefties but is should be noted that Crisp is not as bad as Shapiro advertised (career .288 with a .765 OPS vs lefties).

Friday, January 27, 2006

Kobe Bryant's Wife and Scoring at Home

I just listened to a discussion on how many points Kobe Bryant will score tonight (his first game back after scoring 81 vs the Raptors). I couldn't help but think that if Vanessa Bryant had her way - Kobe would do all of of his scoring at home. Kobe does have a pretty big home / road scoring split (40.9 points per game at home vs 31.7 points per game a home). I say that he pumps in 55 tonight.
Canadian Politics and Oil

Al Gore weighs in on Canadian politics:
Former U.S. vice-president Al Gore has accused the oil industry of financially backing the Tories and their "ultra-conservative leader" to protect its stake in Alberta's lucrative oilsands.

Canadians, Gore said, should vigilantly keep watch over prime minister-designate Stephen Harper because he has a pro-oil agenda and wants to pull out of the Kyoto accord -- an international agreement to combat climate change.
The shoot-from-the-hip accusations of former Vice President Gore reminded me of the facts of the matter in regards to Canadian politics and "big" oil.

- Jean Chrétien was Prime Minister of Canada from 1993 to 2003 - a time frame that encompasses most of the time that Al Gore was in office as Vice President of the United States.

- No "big" oil company had closer ties to Saddam Hussein than France's TotalFinaElf. The biggest shareholder in TotalFinaElf is Montreal's Paul Desmarais, whose youngest son Andre Desmarais is married to Prime Minister Jean Chrétien's daughter (I'm not making up the name) France Chrétien.

So we have a past Canadian Prime Minister with without a doubt ties to a oil company that was neck-deep in the corruption that came part and parcel of dealing with Saddam Hussein and yet neither the Clinton Administration nor the Vice President at the time has ever spoke out against or about these connections. Now on the heels of the Canadadians electing a Conservative - Al Gore makes unfounded accusations about having to keep tab on a Canadian Prime Minister and his connections to an oil company?

Al Gore - at long last have you no shame?

HT Betsy's Page for the link.

Samantha Burns
Captain's Quarters
Just Askin'

Who has a bigger forehead - Rosie Perez or Kelsey Grammer?
Celtics Trade

The Celtics and Timberwolves made a trade last night involving seven players and three draft picks. My initial reaction is to not like this trade because it involved sending Ricky Davis who had quickly become my favorite Celtics player.

Davis came to the Celtics from Cleveland with a reputation as a bad actor. During his time in Boston nothing could have been further from the truth. I'm sad to see Ricky go but I am willing to look at this trade logically and dispassionately.

Mark Blount went from the Celtics and the Timberwolves sent Michael Olowokandi to Boston. This is basically a you take my disappointing big man who can score (Blount) for your disappointing big man who can rebound (Kandyman). Big win for the Celtics here because Mark Blount's contract is awful (4 more years and $28 million - yikes!) while the Kandyman is just signed through this season.

Marcus Banks, Justin Reed and two second round picks from the Celtics for Dwayne Jones and a first round pick. Banks was completely expendable from the Celtics point of view because of the development of Delonte West (my new favorite Celtic now that Ricky Davis is gone) and Reed is flotsam. Dwayne Jones is the jetsam from the Minnesota point of view. The key here is the first round pick which is another big win for the Celtics. This has the potential to be Bob McAdoo for ML Carr in which the Celtics also got Detroit's first round pick (which turned out to be the number one in the draft and which the Celtics traded for Robert Parish and the number three pick which turned out to be Kevin McHale). How ironic would it be if the next Kevin McHale-type player for the Celtics is made possible by none other than Timberwolves VP Kevin McHale?

That brings us to Ricky Davis and Wally Szczerbiak. Davis is a shooter who can also drive to create his offense while Wally is more of a pure shooter. The contracts favor Minnesota big-time. Wally has three years and $36-million remaining while Ricky has just 2-years and $13 million left (a bargain!). The 28-year old Wally is averaging 20.1 points per game while the 26-year old Davis is averaging 19.7 points per game. The big advantage is in defense. Coach Doc Rivers thinks enough of Davis' defense to make him the key defender on the opposing team's best scorer late in the game. Wally is the guy other teams attack with match-ups late in the game. Make no mistake - Ricky Davis is a better player than Szczerbiak. This part of the trade is a big win for the Timberwolves.

One thing to note is I don't think Danny Ainge had the same confidence in Ricky's defense that Doc Rivers had. By trading Davis it will force Doc to put Paul Pierce on the other team's top scorer late in games. This should help the Celtics simply because the refs will be less likely to call ticky-tack fouls on Pierce (Davis has been called for some real ticky-tack fouls this season).

Overall - I think this is a short-term win for the Timberwolves but a long term win for the Celtics (because of shedding Blount's contract and the first round pick).

Aaron Gleeman

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Snow on the Beach

I had business up at HQ today but left before it got dark because I wanted to enjoy a ride down the New Hampshire coast. Driving along the coast is one of the simple pleasures I enjoy. The Atlantic is a joy in summer but it something altogether different in winter. It is something everyone should experience.

Today's drive was extra special. It was a clear, crisp day. Bright and sunny with temperatures just above freezing. It had snowed earlier this week and Southern New Hampshire was blanketed in about 5 inches of snow. It had not been warm enough for the snow to melt so that when I got to the ocean I was greeted by the wonderful sight of the beaches covered with snow from the breakwalls to the high tide mark.

As I drove down the coast I beheld something on Hampton Beach that I never dreamed I'd see and shall never forget. Just past the blue Red Cross building I saw an elderly couple cross country skiing on the beach.

Picture that in your mind's eye and tell me it doesn't bring a smile to your face.

Snow covered sand, bright sunshine, waves breaking in the background and an elderly couple bundled up and skiing on the beach.


I loved how Betsy ended this post on Wal-Mart:
But, go back to that original statistic: "25,000 applications for 325 positions" [at the new Wal-Mart in Evergreen Park, Illinois]. That means that only 1.3% of the applicants will get jobs. Applicants have a better chance of getting into Harvard (10.3% admission rate in 2004) or Yale (9.9% admission rate in 2004) than you do of getting a job at this Wal-Mart store. Ponder that.
OK - I'll Say It!

Chris Penn is dead and many people are saddened by that fact but honestly I don't see the big deal. I don't mean to be crass but as far as I know Chris Penn was famous for two things - playing Nice Guy Eddie in Reservoir Dogs and being Sean Penn's brother. I asked someone last night what else Chris Penn had done and they replied, "Well he was pretty good in Corky Romano." "Corky Romano?" asked I. "Yeah - I know the movie sucked but Penn was pretty good in it." "I'll have to take your word on that because I have no plans to ever watch Corky Romano," said I.

To me Chris Penn was always Brian Doyle Penn. You know the brother of a famous actor who gets just enough roles to live a very decent lifestyle. Bill Murray had Brian Doyle Murray and Sean Penn had Chris Penn.

Speaking of the Penn's - I should say that I think Sean Penn is a great actor but pretty much an asswipe of a person. Chris Penn also had a brother Michael who I remember being at some award show back when he had that hit song No Myth. Anyway, Michael Penn was there all dressed in white as were every member of Penn's posse. I wouldn't have been one bit surprised to read somewhere that the entire entourage all donned their Reebok sneakers and drank the cool-aid to catch a ride on the nearest comet.

Don't get me wrong - I'm sure Chris Penn was a great guy and my heart goes out to his loved ones but I do feel bad that in our society people like Chris Penn get famous while people like Brian Chontosh live their lives in obscurity. Maybe if Chontosh was in Corky Romano he'd get the recognition he deserves.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


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.
Heh Heh

An oldie from the archives. I love how the guys are all high-fiving while the girl is rubbing her banged up head at the end.
Just Saying

I always found it ironic that one of the last towns I pass through in order to get to Foxwoods casino 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.
West Wing and Nuclear Power

I think it may be a genuine gauge of the quality of writing on the West Wing to say that the more mundane the problem the better the writing. The more catastrophic the problem - the worse the writing and the more loose the writers play with the facts.

When the show was at its peak, problems that formed the core of plot lines included things like Sam accidentally sleeping with a hooker and the President trying to find out if stuffing should be cooked before being placed in a turkey. Now the producers of the show are trying to cover up inferior writing with bigger problem situations. You had peace in the Middle East and now a potential melt down at a nuclear power plant. It's probably a good thing the show is going off the air otherwise next season we'd have episodes about how the administration is weathering the fall-out from a nuclear war with China.

It was always the dialog that made the show but the show always required a certain amount of suspention of reality - I mean the whole premise is that the Governor of New Hampshire gets elected President of the United States. Please believe me when I say that no Senator or Governor of New Hampshire will ever get elected President - one Franklin Pierce was enough.

Now that the dialog is in the toilet - people are less likely to suspend belief. Take the issue of a nuclear power plant with "leaky pipes". The people who know what they are talking about when it comes to nuclear power aren't happy with the show for playing fast and loose with the facts about nuclear power. Eric at Off Wing Opinion (who knows a thing or two about nuclear power himself) pointed me to two posts. The first's conclusions are scathing:
After watching the episode tonight, I was astounded that, in addition to the technical errors, they couldn't even get logistical and administrative details correct. Plants are required by federal law to have highly-developed and detailed evacuation plans. In the extremely unlikely event that an evacuation would be necessary, officials would not be playing it by ear. There is also a finely tuned communications plan, onsite NRC inspectors would know the details of the situation as they happened, and NRC headquarters would be directly linked to an emergency command center. The mass confusion among the heads of the affected government agencies would just not occur. Furthermore, the EPA doesn't set radiation dose limits, and the president would never have the authorization to make operational decisions.

In short, the writers didn't just make a small, obscure highly technical error here and there. They wrote a complete farce and made no attempt to make it plausible.

I did like that Alan Alda's character pointed out the contribution nuclear makes in combating climate change, but that still doesn't excuse NBC for perpetuating nuclear myths that make a fair public debate impossible.
The second continues in the relevation that the West Wing is using fantasy land logic to run down nuclear power:
Did you ever consider where all that steam being "pumped" to the auxiliary building was coming from? [Why am I suddenly reminded of the kid trying to collect fog in a bucket? "Pump steam to the auxiliary building?"] Simple physics will tell you that the steam is generated by taking heat away from the core. So, you can't have a lack of cooling and too much steam generated at the same time. Pick one problem or the other...
I'm frankly surprised that NBC allows this garbage to air seeing how the parent company of NBC is GE and that GE makes nuclear power plant components.

It is a shame that nuclear power has to get slandered like this. Just yesterday I ate lunch just 400 yards from a nuclear reactor and me and my friend were probably the only ones in the restaurant aware that we were so close to a reactor. The reactor I'm referring to is at Worcester Polytech (I think they are the only university in the US with their own reactor) and I was eating lunch at the Sole Proprietor (best seafood in Worcester).

I think every major university should have its own nuclear reactor because the energy generated to run campuses across the country would probably reduce greenhouse emissions more than if a third of the country converted to hybrid vehicles. I won't hold my breath for that idea to be proposed on the West Wing though. They are more likely to propose Lorax power (you remember how the Lorax was able to fly away at the end of the book simply by lifting himself by his pants?). That's it! If everyone had Lorax power we'd be able to do away with cars completely. Don't laugh - with the current writers and producers its more probably you'd see Lorax power proposed on the West Wing than for you to see any real facts about nuclear energy.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

US Pond Hockey Championships

The US Pond Hockey Championships - this is the first I've heard about this event and all I can say is "Why wasn't this broadcast on ESPN2?" I could spend hours watching the action from an event like this. I learned about the championships from Katie's Beer whose dad at 67 was still lacing 'em up and who had this insight:
The one observation my dad made was that playing on the difficult surface of the lake - choppy, dull and very bumpy - was that it made the ice the great equalizer. Teams of superstars were defeated by just regular guys. The difficult surface of the ice made the game fair for all. His team, champs in their age bracket on indoor ice, fell to other teams of less experienced guys. He didn't mind. In fact, he said that he understood the game - as played on the pond - and had a game plan set for next year's games.
Katie also informs us that Pond Hockey - The Movie is in the works and all I can say is where and when. I'll be there to see that in a heartbeat.
Fantasy Baseball Team Name

Right now I'm leaning towards naming my 2006 fantasy baseball team "Ginger Spam Salad". I have no explanation other than to say that the name just catches my fancy (this from the guy who used the names "Bette Midler Naked!" and "Pesky's Wrinkly Pole" as names in the past).

I am open to suggestions.
Baseball Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous baseball thoughts and observations.

Does anyone not think that Barry Bonds pulling out of the World baseball Classic is due to their more stringent drug testing policies? Anyone?.... OK - let me throw this conspiracy theory out there - the Red Sox may have finally moved to resolve their organizational differences that were keeping Theo Epstein from re-signing with the team because they knew that new Reds owner Bob Castellini was going to fire Dan O'Brien and create an opening that might have been attractive to Epstein. Look at the timing involved. The new owner of the Reds must have had this move to fire O'Brien planned but was just waiting to officially take over to pull the trigger. He may have put out unofficial feelers to Epstein about his interest in the job and that interest was the leverage Epstein needed to get the changes made that he wanted. Just sayin' its a possible scenario - that's all... Today's Ron Mexico name of the day is Dick Pole... Scott Podsednik may have to answer "yes" to that old first base jibe of "got any naked pictures of your wife?" as he is set to marry Playmate Lisa Dergan. (The first base joke is supposed to have the runner say "no" and the firstbaseman respond "want some?")... The best take on the Crisp for Marte deal that I've read anywhere...
Maybe This Explains Why Kennedy is So Pro-Abortion

From the New York Post:
Ted Kennedy's alleged love child, Christopher Allen, appears to have corroborated The National Enquirer's claim that he's the son of the senator. The tab was unable to get the 21-year-old to talk last week, but he told us in an E-mail: "It is kinda shocking to finally find out who my real father is." Asked about the photo Wonkette.com posted of him, he said, "I don't remember taking a picture but then again, I have the classic Kennedy drinking problem." Sen. Kennedy's office has branded the Enquirer story "irresponsible fiction."
The Day the Democratic Party Died and a New Democratic Party Was Born

An anniversary passed this week with little fanfare. The historical significance of the anniversary should not be underestimated though.

On January 22nd, 33-years ago former president Lyndon Johnson died and with him died the old ways of the Democratic Party. The backroom deals and arm twisting. The acknowledgement that the Democratic Party was first and foremost the party of the working man and his family. "God, country and a fair wage" could easily have been the motto of the old Democratic Party.

On that same day, 33-years ago the new Democratic Party was also born. On that day, 33-years ago, the Supreme Court handed down its Roe v Wade decision which in effect decriminalized abortion and magically turned it from a medical procedure into a woman's right in the process. Since Roe v Wade the Democratic Party has never been the same. Where do you stand on abortion is the first and foremost question any candidate for any office is asked. The abortion party has also become the protest party. "Judge - you and you wife have kids - so you obviously are against having abortions - therefore we must protest you and we must do it naked while throwing pies." Make no mistake this new Democratic Party is about abortion first - every other issue is secondary - including the economy and national defense.

Since January 22nd the Democratic Party has not run a candidate for President who has not been pro-abortion. This includes John Kerry who said he's a Catholic but that doesn't make sense since the Catholic Church is staunchly pro-life. I'm not optimistic that I'll see a pro-life Democratic candidate in my life.

The fact that the anniversary of the death of the old and birth of the new Democratic Party does not get any recognition is not surprising. Nobody celebrates or notes May 30th as the birth of the Republican Party.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Heh Heh

38 Things to Ponder Today
To Which Race of Middle-Earth Race Do You Belong?

I normally don't in go for these quizes but I had to take this one.


To which race of Middle Earth do you belong?
brought to you by Quizilla
Money Matters - Oh to Be 19 Again

This chart blew me away. Although to be honest - if were 19 again - I'd probably blow my money on having a good time just like I did the first time around.
Dick Winters Should Get the Medal of Honor

I just ran across this post over at Captain's Quarters and I couldn't agree more. Dick Winters should get the medal of Honor for his heroics on D-Day Plus 1.

I've thought that since I read Stephen Ambrose's book and saw the Band of Brothers series on HBO.

Do I Need a Good Reason?

To post this?

The West Wing

Last night's episode about a potential nuclear melt down in Southern California was a thinly veiled analogy to the Katrina disaster. It was as if the writers wanted to show how a "real" President handles a disaster.

In the episode there are some pipes that leak at a nuclear plant and right away Jed Bartlett takes charge. He calls the governor of California and tells him that the Federal government will give California every available resource and that the area around the plant is now a disaster area. That's pretty much it for the role of the governor in the show even though in real life the governor is the person in charge and federal support cannot come in without the invitation of the governor.

The writers make it a point to have "one voice" in the disaster (as opposed to the chaos caused by babbling Blanco and empty noggin Nagin in real life). I had to laugh when Jed Bartlett asked if there were enough buses available to evacuate the people from the area.

The show also took swipes at nuclear power in general (Matt Santos' wife came right out and called it "unsafe"). As for what I think of nuclear power - to quote a great man, "Lord, we are especially thankful for nuclear power, the cleanest, safest energy source there is. Except for solar, which is just a pipe dream."

Last night's show also comes on the heels of the announcement that West Wing has been canceled.

Have you ever seen those commercials where the guy is working with a bunch of monkeys? I think that guy works at NBC.

They cancel West Wing which is still compelling enough to take a guy like me away from one of the biggest football games of the year and they decide to give Howie Mandel his own game show? Things are bad right now at NBC - so what do they decide to do? They're going to tinker with two of the shows that are already a success - moving Law and Order and Vegas to new time slots. No doubt - an office full of monkeys.
Seattle vs Pittsburgh

Let's be honest - yesterday's games were boring if you didn't have a team involved. There I said it.

I am very happy for Seattle though. They have a Massachusetts connection with both Hasselbeck and Tatupu having Massachusetts roots but the main reason I'm happy for the Seahawks is because of Jeremy at Sports and Bremertonians.

Jeremy used to blog at SportsPages.com with me but then started his own blog (with his buddy David) - Sports and Bremertonians. They were the first ones to link to A Large Regular and that meant (and means) a lot to me. I pulling for the Seahawks in the Super Bowl because of that. Isn't blogging and the Internet grand?

If you have a moment - you may want to check out the comments to this post to witness the anguish and ultimately the jubilation involved with a team you love getting to the big game for the first time.
They're Not Real and to Call Them Spectacular Would be Stretching It

Anna Benson's boobs are fake:
Q: Are those your real boobs?

A: No, actually, these are not my real fun-bags. After breastfeeding three kids, I was constantly tripping over my jugs whenever I tried to walk anywhere. So, I got a much deserved boobie job. If anyone has a problem with it, they just might get slapped in the face with one of my ripe melons.
HT Eric at Off Wing Opinion

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Coco Crisp for Marte and Mota

The rumors are rife about a deal between the Red Sox and Indians that would send Coco Crisp and a prospect from the Indians for highly touted 3rd base prospect Andy Marte, reliever Guillermo Mota and a prospect from the Red Sox.

Coco Crisp would really fill the hole in centerfield and as a bonus he's young (26) and would be under control by the Red Sox contract wise until 2009. He'd be an instant fan favorite. By midseason people could be asking "Johnny who?"

The big piece the Sox would be giving up is Andy Marte, who is currently rated the 8th best prospect in baseball by many Internet sites and who some people have projected to be the next David Wright. I would feel awful if the Red Sox gave up on the next David Wright but there's no guarantee that Marte will be a success. The opposite actually probably has a greater chance of being true.

Nobody knows what Marte will end up doing at the big league level but one thing we can do is look at past history. Here are how 3rd baseman drafted in the first round between 1990 and 2000 have done in MLB (I'm figuring this is a good way to look at other highly thought of 3rd base prospects). I'm simply dividing them into successes or F&J categories (success being guys with proven success and F&J being flotsam and jetsam).

Chipper Jones (#1 1990 by Braves)
Alex Rodriguez (#1 1993 by Seattle)
Eric Chavez (#10 in 1996 by Oakland)
Troy Glaus (#3 in 1997 by Angels)

Phil Nevin (#1 1992 by Astros)
Calvin Murray (#7 1992 by Giants)
Eddie Pearson (#24 1992 by White Sox)
Tony Wilson (#4 in 1994 by Brewers)
Jeff Liefer (#25 in 1995 by White Sox)
Sean Burroughs (#9 in 1998 by Padres)
Tony Torcato (#19 in 1998 by Giants)
Alex Rios (#19 in 1999 by Blue Jays)
Scott Thorman (#30 in 2000 by Braves)
Damian Rolls (#23 in 1996 by Dodgers)

Over 70% of the 3rd basemen taken in the first round between 1990 and 2000 ended up being pretty much busts.

Consider that Marte was pretty much a flop in his big league debut going .140 BA / .227 OBP / .438 OPS with no HR in 57 AB. Compare that to David Wright (just a year older) who was a smashing success when he came up to the bigs - going .293 BA / .332 OBP / .857 OPS with 14 HR in 263 AB. Of the four guys I list as successes above - only Troy Glaus and Alex Rodriguez struggled as bad as Marte in their original big league tastes.

I should note that A-Rod is on this list only because he now plays 3rd (he was drafted as a short stop and would be playing short for any other team in the league). I should also note that he first came up to the bigs when he was 17. By the time he was 20-years old he was a phenom.

Glaus also struggled when he came up but has since become an all-star caliber player. I have to say that I would trade a young Troy Glaus (career 120 OPS+) for the promise of Coco Crisp (who had an OPS+ of 119 last season). Given that the Sox have an extreme need at center - I'd have no problem trading Marte for Crisp even if I knew he'd put up Troy Glaus type numbers.

When you consider that both Sean Burroughs and Phil Nevin were at one time more highly thought of than Marte - I have to say that the risk outweighs the reward for the Red Sox in this deal. You also have to consider that Trot Nixon is in the last year of his deal and Crisp could easily be moved over to right field (the spacious right field at Fenway demands a defender with CF skills) then this deal really makes sense from the Red Sox perspective.

Related Posts
Baseball Musings
House that Dewey Built
Large Bill
Tribe Report
Decorum and Politics - Part II

I had no intention of touching on this subject again this morning but the first thing I read today was this post by Gary Gross at the California Conservative.
Actually, Charlie, you're only half right. When lefty bloggers ratchet up the hatred, their readership jumps. The more outrageous, the better the "ratings". When center-right bloggers ratchet up the hatred and nonsense, their readership drops like a rock There's an easy explanation for that: When I read a righty blogger like Hugh Hewitt or Captains Quarters, it's because I expect to gain new insight based on verifiable information. As an example, just in the last 2 weeks, Hugh's taught a ConLaw class as it pertains to the NSA wiretapping and Captain Ed's schooled us on Tuesday's Canadian elections.

When a lefty blogger says of Mrs. Alito "Do we want a judge who would marry such a weak-willed bitch?", am I supposed to take that seriously? And this is the norm, not the exception. It's impossible to not notice the total lack of seriousness. The lefty bloggers are indeed the wild, wild west, Charlie, but I'd dare you to prove that on the right.
He's makes a very valid point. The Charlie that Gross refers to is Charlie Cook who has this piece up at Real Clear Politics. Gross disagrees with Cook's conclusions and I guess so do I. Cook says:
But an unreasonable share of today's political conversation is venomous and lacking any effort at accuracy or fairness. I blame this problem first on the rise of political food-fight shows on cable television, on radio talk shows, and most recently on the Internet, where political discourse has become the Wild West.
I say that the root of the problem Cook is trying to explain stems from two things:

1. The protest movement of the 60's devolved into a shout to be heard, don't let the other guy speak, any form of protest is conceivable and acceptable (which gets us the taking over of government or university buildings, naked protests, the throwing of pies, food or feces and even worse). If you look at any of the driving force protest groups of the left today (MoveOn.org, Code Pink, etc) you'd see them led by college age kids who don't know any better and who have never held a real job and older "hippy-types" who are trying to relive their glory days of the 60's. Those are the people who are determining the course of the discussion on the left.

2. The Democratic Party's lock step Party Platform. Woe to the Democrat who's Pro-Life or pro school vouchers. That candidate may win a local election but he'd never win nationally if he remained a Democrat. I'm surprised the Democratic party hasn't lost more Catholics to the Republicans. My Catholic parents would be aghast at the abortion on demand policies of the Democrats today and the fact that they sent six kids to parochial schools probably gives you a good idea where they would stand on school vouchers. The only candidate I think my parents would look up to today would be Joe Lieberman who is being ostrcized by the party because of his views on the War on Terror (Joe's not marching in lock step - so Joe must pay a price in today's Democratic Party).

You can find Part I of my argument from yesterday here.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Anna Benson's Husband Traded to Baltimore

The husband of former stripper Anna Benson has been traded to the Orioles. The deal has Kris Benson going south to Baltimore and relievers Jorge Julio and John Maine going to the New York Mets. Here are my thoughts on the trade:

- I have a hard time picturing Kris Benson as a team ace as some people have described his new role with the Orioles. My guess is that Rodrigo Lopez is still the opening day starter for the Orioles.

- The Orioles staff is pretty interesting now with Benson. Its like having five number 2 (or 3) starters (Lopez, Benson, Eric Bedard, Daniel Cabrera and Bruce Chen). If Leo Mazzone can get these guys to lead the AL in ERA then I think sportwriters would have to seriously consider voting for Mazzone for the Hall of Fame.

- Mets GM Omar Minaya has now traded two legitimate number 3 starters - Jae Seo and Benson for four relievers when his big hole is 2nd base. Does that make sense to anyone? The Nationals have two excellent secondbasemen. The Red Sox have Tony Graffanino available. Whats with Minaya's fascination with relievers? If if he likes relievers so much - why did he let Roberto Hernandez walk to the Pirates for just $2.75 million?

- Yes the Orioles could use a starter like Benson but with Jorge Julio out of the picture - who is going to be the closer in Baltimore? How much do you want to bet that both the Braves and the Orioles have been talking to the Royals about Mike McDougal?

- Speaking of Graffanino - I would think the Sox have probably called Minaya about a Graffanino for Xavier Nady deal. It would make perfect sense from both sides and that's why I doubt if it happens. Nady would be a great cheap stop-gap in center for the Sox and Graffanino would be an excellent veteran addition to the Mets. Too bad Minaya hates the Red Sox and his hate clouds his judgment.

- It has to be noted that this could be a financial move by the Mets. They save about $7 million over two years with this trade. Prior to the trade they were at about $102 million for just 17 roster players. Last year their payroll was $109 million (if I recall correctly). Minaya may have been told it was OK to exceed last year's number but he may have been getting too close to his threshold (which made a dump of Benson necessary).

- Anna Benson has some serious naughty pillows.
Theo Epstein Back with Red Sox

Theo's back and my reaction is "meh!"

While he was gone I noticed a resemblance between Epstein and Mr. Smithers. That got me to thinking how Larry Lucchino got Theo to return to the fold.
Decorum and Politics

Hugh Hewitt posts a very interesting speech given by Karl Rove. There's a few points Rove makes I'd like to comment on:
Let me stipulate a few important things. Our opponents are our fellow citizens, not our enemies. Honorable people can have honest political differences. And we should strive for civility and intellectual integrity in our debates.
This is a very important point. The key to Republican electoral victory in fact. Voters are extremely tired of shrill, partisan politics devoid of decorum and respect. I think negative advertising has reached its tipping point and will just backfire. Left leaning shows and movies like the West Wing or The American President or The Daily Show always call for an honest, open discussion of the issues but in real life when people try to debate they get shouted down in the rudest of fashions. The far left is even doing it to their own now. Did you see recently when the Code Pink people shouted down Nancy Pelosi? Who in the world ever told them this is an effective way to change minds or gather support? If the Right remains civil and the Left allows their more radical folks to continue to man the bullhorns then hope is lost for the Democrats.
In 2001 Congress passed this law with a large, bipartisan majority -including a vote of 98-1 in the Senate. The Patriot Act has protected the United States from attack and saved American lives - and yet the Democrat leader in the Senate, Harry Reid, recently boasted that Democrats had "killed the Patriot Act."

Republicans want to renew the Patriot Act - and Democrat leaders take special delight in trying to kill it. This is an issue worthy of a public debate.
The message is that the Republicans want to protect you and your family while the Democrats want to protect the ACLU. An open discussion about the facts shows that the FBI doesn't track people's library books (besides who goes to the library anymore?) and the government is not wire tapping average peoples phones (although they are monitoring calls outside the country to suspected terrorists which gets us back to protecting you vs protecting the ACLU).

Rove points out that the economy is growing at an excellent rate, unemployment is under 5% and taxes are being cut. People know there is no more wasteful group of people than Congress (other than drunken sailors). Arguing against putting more money into people's pockets but instead putting more into Congress' is the side Democrats are trying to take and its a losing argument. The government does not know what's best for you or your family.
Recently, the American people have witnessed something like a national seminar on judicial philosophy. On one side of the divide were eight Democrat Senators: Kennedy, Biden, Leahy, Schumer, Durbin, Kohl, Feinstein, and Feingold. On the other side of the divide were two extraordinary judges: John Roberts and Samuel Alito.

The contest wasn't even close. The Democrats talked a whole lot longer - but John Roberts and Samuel Alito spoke a whole lot better.
This brings us back to decorum. Brow beating upstanding people like Roberts or Alito may play to the far left but to most average people its just rude. More than rude - its disturbing. Voters won't want to vote for unhinged, crybabies who lack decorum. The Democrats need more dapper Harry Truman types and less slob Abbie Hoffman types. Yet the reverse is true. The Democrats are making their own bed. They should, however, remember that Abbie Hoffman never won an election.

People are worried about the US becoming a one party state but if the Libertarians conduct themselves with decorum and speak about their ideas and views - I wouldn't be surprised to see them get support from many moderate Democrats who are ashamed of what their party is becoming. The Democratic Party is in danger of becoming the 21st century Whigs.
Bode Miller's NFL Playoff Picks

Champion skier amd stoner Bode Miller has agreed to make this week's NFL picks here at A Large Regular.

BM: Aloha, Mr. Chris. As far as the first game tomorrow - Pittsburgh ain't got no mountains so you'd think that I'd be rooting for Denver but this is a game of people and location is just a state of mind. My mom taught me that when she home schooled me in our cabin that had no running water or electricity. It was like growing up like a mountain man and I think its going to take a mountain man to win this game. Both Jake Plummer and Ben Roethlisberger have mountain man beards going but I think Big Ben's beard is more mountain manish. That guy is cool under fire. He's like, "All I need are a few seconds in the pocket, a cool buzz, and I'm fine." What kind of nickname is Jake the Snake? That's so uncool. He looks like he'd panick and be hitting gates all the way down the mountain in a close downhill race. That's why I'm taking Pittsburgh and the points.

BM: Wait a second... Did you hear that? That was my skull! I'm so wasted! Did you know that you can ski in the Carolinas? Yeah - water ski - heh heh. [Miller mumbles something stares off into the distance and munches some gorp] This second game is going to be close and I think the advantage goes to the team that goes balls to the wall speed wise and that would be the Panthers. I mean just look at the coaches. You have a Fox vs a walrus and the Fox will always beat the walrus in a race unless its underwater and even though its been raining a ton in Seattle the game will still be above water. Right? I'm taking Carolina and the points.

Friday, January 20, 2006

The Replacements vs the Royals

I was wondering how a team made up of players from the remaining free agents would stack up against the projected starters for the Kansas City Royals. To conduct the experiment - I'm picking 8 position players, a DH, 5 starting pitchers and a closer. I will then compare what their win shares were last year vs what the win shares were for the projected starters for the Royals (using the MLB depth chart). First the replacement team:

C: Bengie Molina 15
1B: Frank Thomas 3
2B: Desi Relaford 2
SS: Alex Gonzalez 13
3B: Alex S. Gonzalez 6
LF: Terrence Long 9
CF: Richard Hidalgo 5
RF: Sammy Sosa 4
DH: Mike Piazza 13

Starter 1: Roger Clemens 25
Starter 2: Jeff Weaver 13
Starter 3: Wade Miller 4
Starter 4: Pedro Astacio 4
Starter 5: Jamey Wright 4

Closer: Uggie Urbina 5

The above replacement team had 110 win shares. The starters for the Royals according to their MLB site depth chart would have 143. No knock on the Royals but if I was a KC fan I'd be looking at another 100 loss season. I know that a good portion of the replacement's win shares came from Clemens but it should also be pointed out that a number of the other players were hurt much of last year which is why their win shares are so low. I'm also sure that if I spent more time I could come up with some better choices than Sammy Sosa and a few others.
Lima Time

Just wanted to remind you that Jose Lima is still a free agent (plus I don't have time to post anything this morning - feel free to suggest topics I should tackle this afternoon).

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Arroyo Signs Three Year Deal

Bronson Arroyo signed a three year deal with the Red Sox today for a total of $11.25 million. I see three possible outcomes here:

1. Arroyo stays with the Red Sox and becomes a valuable (and affordable) 3rd or 4th starter.

2. Since Arroyo is so cost effective now - he gets traded for a centerfielder. Most wags are saying he could be traded to Tampa for Julio Lugo - I don't see that happening. Terry Francona and the Red Sox keep saying they are happy to go into 2006 with Alex Cora as the starting SS. Why isn't anyone listening to them? If Arroyo does get traded I see it for one of the following; Jeremy Reed, Coco Crisp (probably need more than Arroyo), Brad Wilkerson of the Rangers, Jason Michaels of the Phillies or Joey Gathright of Tampa. Arroyo could also be part of a deal for Torii Hunter or Rocco Baldelli.

3. Arroyo stays with the Red Sox but the Sox keep him in the bullpen. The Red Sox don't know if Keith Foulke can close anymore and Arroyo has the make-up to be a top closer. He's fearless and he forgets mistakes easily. I'd feel better about him as a closer if he did better against lefties (they hit better than .280 against him) and if he didn't so often struggle in the first inning of his starts. I do think that Arroyo has more than a bit of Dennis Eckersley in him and wouldn't be surprised to see him pitching the 9th inning for someone someday.
Roller Hockey Bench Clearing Brawl

Old time Hockey? Eddie Shore? Screw that shit!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Celebrity Jeopfactor of Fortune

I've had this idea for a new game / reality show that I thought I'd bring up again today. The show would draw on elements of Jeopardy, Celebrity Fear Factor and the old Wheel of Fortune.

The game show would be set up Jeopardy style with three contestants who would answer sports questions from different categories. The harder the question the more it would be worth. There would be three rounds and the winner of each round would get to go “shopping.”

The “shopping” is where the Celebrity Fear Factor and old Wheel of Fortune elements would come into play.

For celebrities - we would be looking for ex-sports stars that had the world at their fingertips but threw it away - like Darryl Strawberry or Tonya Harding. We could also go for people who had 15 minutes of sports fame – like Mark Henderson, the work release convict driver of the snow plow during the famous Miami / New England Snowplow game. Each show would feature three celebrities.

Do you remember when Wheel of Fortune first came out? At the end of each round the person who solved the puzzle would get to go shopping and buy things from a showcase. The prizes ranged from trips to exotic locations to Gucci ashtrays. It was pretty cool. Everyone watching got involved because they all wanted the winner to buy something different. I would want the winner to buy the jet ski’s but they would go for the dining room set.

Here’s how we combine these aspects.

Only the contestant who won each round would get to keep the money they won. So if Bob finished round one with $1000 and Sue and Tim finished at $800 each – only Bob would get to keep the money. This would make it competitive but we would keep the dollar amounts low (like in Win Ben Stein’s Money) so that contestants care more about participation than losing a million dollars.

The contestant who won the round would be given an equal amount of money that would have to be spent “shopping” but instead of prizes there would be little tasks that the celebrities would have to perform. These tasks could range from things like eating a bug for $100 to getting a Dutch Oven from a teamster for $1,000.

The contestant who won the round would spend the matching money on various tasks and would also get to select the celebrity that would have to perform them. I can hear it now – people screaming at their TV’s, “No, no – make Tonya Harding eat the pig rectum not Fernando.”

The celebrities would be given an appearance fee and a bonus for each task they completed. If a celebrity refused to do a task they would get nothing, zilch, nadda, zero.

The tasks could be the result of viewer participation. New tasks could be selected from suggestions sent in by the viewers at home who could also recommend the celebrities they want to see. We could have a special prize for the viewer whose task is selected for the show finale that would come at the end of the third round.

There could be a sports version, a TV version and a movie version of the show.

The only detail I am having trouble with would be what to call it. The best I can come up with so far is Celebrity Jeopfactor of Fortune.

What do you think? Is this something you would tune into watch?
When You're Wrong You're Wrong

The day Aaron Boone went done with a bad knee - I called it that the Yankees would trade for Alex Rodriguez. I've had a number of similar times when I called it right. I say this because I'm not afraid to laugh at myself when I'm wrong.

Well you can't get much more wrong than this:
LeBron James: He's a high school kid who hasn't done anything in the NBA. Sure he has tremendous potential but doesn't anyone remember Felipe Lopez who was supposed to be the second coming at St. John's? Now Felipe is just one of those guys at the end of the bench in the NBA. Now chances are LeBron will be much better than Felipe but I'm willing to bet that in 3 years time Lebron won't even be the best player on his own team - never mind one of the top players in the NBA.
Chris Lynch on Sportspages.com 8/22/03.

At least I was right about him being better than Felipe Lopez.
Brilliant Blog!

His humor may not be your cup of tea but I think this blog is brilliant!

I'm going to spend lots of time going through the archives. This bit about flying on British Airways was genius:
Going on a trip? Don’t forget to take some cigarette butts in your hand luggage. Leave them lying around the plane, it really pisses them off. They can’t work out why their nerdish smoke detectors aren’t working, and the look on their miserable faces sends my pleasure sensors soaring. I’ll show those fucks.
For some reason the blog reminds me of Latigo Flint.

HT Sports Frog
Bud Selig Schedules Owners Meeting So He can Visit Grandkids

I saw this post over at David Pinto's talking about the agenda for the upcoming owners meeting in Scottsdale.
In addition to hearing about the classic, owners will get a detailed briefing on the Western operations center that opened in Phoenix last summer. The office works with teams in the western divisions of both the National and American leagues as well as the Cactus League, and it houses the West Coast operations of Major League Baseball Advanced Media, which, among other things, runs baseball's Internet site, MLB.com.
I would like to point out that the person who runs the Western Operations Center for MLB is none other than Selig's son in-law Laurel Prieb. I've written about this before. I have to wonder if this meeting was scheduled in Scottsdale just as an excuse for Selig to visit his grandchildren. Sadly I'm not even joking.

Maybe the MLB policy on nepotism can also be added to the agenda.
Baseball Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous baseball thoughts and observations.

My guess is that the Red Sox are waiting on Bronson Arroyo to settle his arbitration case before making a deal to ship him off for a centerfielder (or as part of a deal for a centerfielder). According to the Red Sox website - Arroyo asked for $4.2 million for 2006 and the Red Sox countered with $2.95 million. They will probably settle more in the middle but the closer to Arroyo's number the more likely the Sox may have to add a B-type prospect into any deal.... I think THE team to look out for next year is the Oakland A's. They have the deepest roster in baseball. In the outfield they currently start three centerfielders who can hit (Payton, Bradley and Kotsay) and their pitching staff is the deepest in baseball. They have Zito, Harden, Loiaza, Haren and Blanton in the starting five with Huston Street as the closer. If one of the starters goes down (or is traded to fill a hole) they can backfill with Joe Kennedy and Kirk Saarloos. Defense at first and a right handed power hitter may be their only weaknesses.... Manny Ramirez (199 HR as a member of the Red Sox) needs just 32 HR next year to move into 5th place on the Red Sox all-time HR list. He would trail just Dwight Evans (379), Jim Rice (382), Yaz (452) and Ted Williams (521). Manny is an RBI machine but he would need 638 more in a Red Sox uniform to move into the top 5 all-time for the Red Sox. With 32 HR next year Manny will also move into the top 25 in MLB history and with a typical RBI year Manny will move into the top 40 all-time for RBI as well... The continuing saga of the most expensive blow job in history since Gary Hart told Donna Rice, "I told you to lick my erection, not wreck my election."... Is a Bronson Arroyo and Trot Nixon for Torii Hunter deal too much to hope for?
Richard Scarry's Best Bastardized for PC Reasons Word Book Ever

This has been out there for a while but I just happened upon it (view it as slideshow). Just a couple of thoughts:

1. I can see changing "police man" and "mail man" to "police officer" and "mail carrier" but what bugs me is completely getting rid of the cowboy hippo and army aligator. Although with the success of Brokeback Mountain - the PC police at the publishing company may add back in the cowboy.

2. The more PC schools get the worse the test scores get. Don't tell me there's no connection. The more time spent talking about "diversity" the less time spent practicing the "four R's". I'm for school vouchers right now!

3. The "Politically Correct" stories by James Finn Garner are funny because they're satire of how bad things can get in the PC world. The Richard Scarry book is just sad.

HT William Stewart

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Bill Simmons vs Isaiah Thomas

This is funny to me because it may mean that the answer to "who wants to fight Bill Simmons?" may also be the same answer to the question "who wants to sex Mutombo?"
Battle of Cowpens

Today is the anniversary of one of the most significant battles in the history of the United States and nobody seems to notice. A short history of the Revolutionary War could read like:

- The British surrendered at Yorktown after being surrounded by the Continental Army on land and bottled up by the French fleet at sea.
- The British were stuck at Yorktown because they had been so long occupied in the South by battles like the disaster (for the British) at Cowpens
- Cowpens was made possible by Valley Forge and the victory over the Hessians at Trenton
- The French navy was brought into the war because of the overwhelming victory over the British at Saratoga.
- Trenton was made possible by the Continental Army slipping out of Long Island where they really should have been trapped and destroyed by the British
- Long Island was made possible by the victory over the British in the siege of Boston which in turn was made possible by the guns taken from Fort Ticonderoga and by the start of the war at Lexington and Concord.

Of the above - the Battle of Cowpens (which happened 225 years ago today) is probably the least remembered.

If it is remember it is probably the version that was put forth in the Mel Gibson movie The Patriot. In the movie there is a battle without a name in which Gibson's character asks the infantry to get off two shots and then retreat to trick the British into chasing after them. This is the same basic "plot" to the Battle of Cowpens. The Jason Isaacs character of the dark-hearted Col. Tavington is loosely based on Col. Banastre Tarleton who led the British troops at Cowpens. Unlike the battle in the movie, however, in real life Tarleton (nee Tavington) escapes to fight another day.

One other note that may only interest me. In the movie The Patriot, Gibson's character uses straw soldiers to convince the British to let captives escape. In real life this trick was used but it was used by the British to allow the "captive" loyalists to escape Boston via ships in the harbor under the cover of "troops" placed overlooking the city on Bunker Hill. The troops later turned out to be straw dummies.
Morning Links

Here are some morning links to read over your morning coffee.

- Does the NY Times have any credibility left? FARK has more credibility and at least their photoshop contests are funny. Fat drunk and stupid is no way to go through life and fake but accurate is no motto for a newspaper.

- Does anyone out there really care about who is on the US baseball team for the World classic? I may watch the games but I view it as an exhibition. I'd just as soon not have Barry Bonds or A-Rod on the team though.

- DJ Gallo is now writing for ESPN's Page 2? When did that happen? I'm a fan because of thoughts like this:
I pull absolutely zero weight in the sports media world, but is it too much for me to ask that this week's AFC Championship Game quarterback matchup between Jake Plummer and Ben Roethlisberger be officially dubbed the Beard Bowl? And, more importantly, that the winner be given Katie Holmes for a week? I feel I've earned that much.
- I think Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel waited too long to get head coaching jobs and that Eric Mangini is being plucked before he's ready.

- Great point by Michael Felger on when the real seeds of defeat were sown by the Patriots:
No one is expecting those kind of fireworks this offseason, but it can’t be any worse than last year, when the acquisitions of Duane Starks, Monty Beisel, Chad Brown and David Terrell set the stage for what happened Saturday night in Denver.
- Top 20 Fantasy 1st Baseman (Kevin Youkilis should have been on the list somewhere around 15 and where the heck is Travis Hafner or David Ortiz? They should be top 5. I know they are primarily DH's but they also play a tiny bit of 1st and qualify as such in most Fantasy Leagues)

Monday, January 16, 2006

Heh Heh

FARK had a photoshop contest based on Teddy Kennedy's new children's book.
Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Tom Brady probably blames himself for the Patriots loss on Saturday. Peyton Manning probably blames his offensive line (oh - wait - he did blame his offensive line). This is the main difference between the two quarterbacks. Our high school football coach used to put up inspirational or teaching slogans around the lockerroom. One I always remembered was "only losers yell at teammates". I can easily picture Manning yelling at his teammates. Quint was right - Manning's got soft hands, city hands from counting money all his life... If one of the Mariners starting five gets injured - their Plan B for 5th starter is Kevin Appier. The only way that could be worse is if Plan B was Hideo Nomo. This is why the Mariners are interested in trading Jeremy Reed for Bronson Arroyo... Who is more annoying and unfunny? Jimmy Fallon or Rob Schneider?... Today is John Carpenter's 58th birthday and I was going to do a top 5 for for his movies but I came to the conclusion that he only had 4 movies worthy of mention (Halloween, Escape from New York, The Thing and They Live)... Take a look at the commercials that Tom Brady and Peyton Manning have done. Brady's commercials always involve his teammates (the Visa commercial with the O-line and the XM commercial with his recievers and John Madden). Manning's commercials are all about him (cut that meat!). Its a little thing but I think its worth mentioning because football is a team game.... Put me in the camp of people who have not been able to sit through Big Trouble in Little China.
The Best Piece I've Seen on the Alito Hearings Yet

The Alito hearings were pretty boring but this piece by Vandeleun is anything but. I'm especially pleased that the phrase "no more sense than a gnat's woody" has entered into my vocabulary.
Mike Vanderjagt - Sacrificial Goat

Somebody will have to pay for yesterday's loss by Indianapoplis and the goat who will pay with his job will be kicker Mike Vanderjagt. So let it be writen - so let it be done.

Yes you could lay the blame for yesterday's loss to Pittsburgh squarely on the shoulders of Peyton Manning (but he would just turn around and blame his offensive line). You could blame Tony Dungy for his team once again being bounced out of the playoffs but Tony just underwent an unspeakable tragedy and you would have to be a heartless bastard to blame Dungy now (he'll take the fall next year when once again Indy chokes in the playoffs).

Someone has to take the blame and that someone will be Vanderjagt (idiot kicker). It makes sense. The team needs someone to publiclly take the blame and the heat. Vanderjagt choked (no other way to describe that kick) and his contract pays him $2.9 million when you can hire a kicker with just a good a chance of choking in the playoffs for a third of that price.

No way is Vanderjagt on the Colts roster when they open up their season in 2006.
Cronkite and Coughlin

If you are 40-years old or younger - Walter Cronkite (if you recognize the name at all) was never much to you except some old guy who used to read the news or something like that. If you are over 40-years old then Cronkite is remembered as the most trusted person in journalism. Point being - Cronkite long ago became irrelevant and the number of people to whom his name means anything is dwindling.

When I read the latest rantings of Cronkite today - the first person I thought of was Father Charles Coughlin. I imagine most of you just said, "Father who?"

Father Coughlin was one of the first people to use the medium of radio for evangelical preaching. He became very, very famous doing that and also very very influential. At his peak Coughlin had about 30 million listeners a week at a time when the US population was just about 123 million. Almost one out of four Americans tuned into hear him speak and the things Father Coughlin chose to speak about became very political and partisan. Today, if anyone remembers him at all, it is as a anti-Semite barking moonbat.

I'm not saying Cronkite is an anti-Semite like Coughlin but I am saying that like Coughlin - he's just a guy who was very popular at one time but whose radical viewpoints will relegate him to the memory hole of history. I can't ever recall caring about what Cronkite's viewpoint was on any subject and now my feeling about Cronkite is the mass majority one.
NFL Weekend, 5 Turnovers and Tequila Kicks My Ass

I had way too much to drink on Saturday and yesterday I was a big slug watching games prone from the couch. I picked three out of the four games right but it was the one game that I got wrong that I cared about and it was that one game that I loaded up on.

Saturday I was out with the boys and honestly I could have paced myself much better. I started off by drinking large Tanqueray and cranberry drinks (or gin and juice as my friend likes to call it) during the Seattle game. I switched over to drinking straight Tequila during the Patriots game. If I was driving then my friends would have intervened but as it was I didn't even get shut off (even though I was probably in the black on the buddy wheel). Funny enough on Sunday I didn't feel hung over (I didn't have a headache) - more beat up and sore all over.

Subconsciously I may have been numbing myself because I knew that the Patriots run was over.

5 turnovers! 5 friggin' turnovers! There's no way you win a game when you turn the ball over 5 times (unless you are playing the Jets). I won't say that the Patriots beat themselves though. If the shoe was on the other foot I would be talking about how good teams create turnovers by the other team and protect the ball themselves. If it was the Broncos with 5 turnovers then I would be praising the Patriots for causing those turnovers. Denver was just the better team on Saturday.

With the Patriots out of it - my zest for the NFL has dropped off a cliff. Last week SI's Dr. Z spoke about being at his saturation point and that feeling rang true for me as well. I'll still watch the games but I probably won't read much about them. For what its worth - I'm rooting for either Seattle or Pittsburgh to win it all.

I can't get into the Bruins or Celtics because neither team is going anywhere. How can you get excited by teams that would consider just making the playoffs a success and would surely be first round fodder? College ball? Well March Madness will be upon us fairly soon but again I have no passion for any team.

Thank God pitchers and catcher report in 33 days.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

"I Hate that F***ing Christmas Tree - The Tree HAS to Come Down"

I know this news is a bit dated but I just came across it and was amused enough to share it. This was my favorite part of the whole story:
Kiefer warned staff: “I’m smashing it - can I pay for it?”

A staff member replied: “I’m absolutely sure you can, sir.”
For some reason I picture the staffer looking just like Rowan Atkinson.
Cheryl Tiegs' NFL Playoff Picks

Cheryl Tiegs who has been around the block several times - shares her NFL picks with A Large Regular.

Take it away Cheryl.

CT: In today's matinee - I like the Seahawks. People are always confusing me with other super models. They ask me why I divorced Billy Joel or why I divorced Rod Stewart. Well I was never married to either of those guys. That was other super models that made those poor choices. It makes me very angy when people confuse me with other super models and that's why I'm taking the Seahawks. People are always confusing Shaun Alexander with other runningbacks - calling him Tiki and stuff. And Matt Hasselbeck - people are always confusing him with that hockey player Mark Messier or some other bald guy. That has to make the Seahawks angry and I bet they take out their anger on the Redskins today. I'm taking Seattle and giving the points.

CT: Tom Brady is dreamy. The Patriots win this game out-right. I'm taking the Patriots on the money line with this one.

CT: Did you know that I was in a movie called Brown Bunny? I wasn't comfortable acting in that movie. I'm more comfortable acting when I play myself. Anyway, I bring up Brown Bunny because Jerome Bettis looks like a big brown energizer bunny and that's why I think the Steelers will win. Then again, my movie Brown Bunny ws a complete flop - so maybe the Steelers flop. Bill Cohwer does have a history of choking big time. Nope - I'm taking the points and the Steelers. Go my big fat brown bunny! Go!

CT: I'm from Minnesota which isn't far from Chicago. That's why I'm picking Carolina and taking the points.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Wow! Shark vs Octopus

This is fascinating.

I knew shark vs bear would be won by the bear but this was surprising.

HT NRO's Corner
Heh Heh

Thinking about Ted Kennedy reminded me of this gem:
"Just about a half hour ago, the U.S. Senate finished a marathon session on judicial nominees that lasted 30 straight hours. In fact, at 5 a.m. Ted Kennedy was so tired he put his head down on several desks." —Conan O'Brien
Sports Guy Wrong About the Celtics

Bill Simmons goes off on a rant about Doc Rivers and the Celtics in his latest column but his conclusions are all wrong.
There's a decent chance that the Celtics could trade Paul Pierce within the next six weeks. I don't want that to happen because you can always find another head coach, but you can't always find another Paul Pierce. Still, the "Should we trade Paul?" question has been lingering over this team since November, when it became apparent that Pierce was heading for a career season on a subpar team. Playing his heart out every night, playing the most efficient basketball of his career, Pierce stands out the same way Tom Hanks stood out in late-'80s movies like "The Money Pit" and "Turner and Hooch." Back then, you always felt like Hanks could do better, that he would do better. Same with Pierce.
Pierce is on the downward slope of his career. He's a cross between Antoine Walker and Mark Aguirre who never averaged more than 14 points per game after he hit 30-years old (Piece is almost 30). Bill - the Tom Hanks analogy just makes you look stupid. It just reminds me that you were the same guy who lost an NFL betting contest to a dog.
Pierce rarely forces anything, leads by example and does it with a smile on his face.
Sports Guy obviously hasn't seen any Celtics games these past two years. The Pierce Pout has become famous in Boston. Doesn't force anything? Leads by example? Simmons must have wiped the memory of what Pierce did in the playoffs against Indiana last year out of his memory banks. Just to refresh everyone - here's how Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe described Pierce's "leadership" in that game:
Try this. There are 12.9 seconds left in regulation. The Celtics have a 1-point lead. Paul Pierce receives an inbounds pass and is fouled by Jamaal Tinsley. OK, he is fouled pretty hard by Jamaal Tinsley. OK, he is fouled very hard by Jamaal Tinsley, and he is hit in the face, and that's no fun. But all Pierce has to do is walk to the line, sink the two free throws that will put his team up by 3, engage in a little team defense, and walk off the floor, W in hand.

But nooo. Pierce has to be macho. He lashes out with his left arm and is hit with a technical foul. No, seriously. He is thinking about Paul Pierce instead of the team. Reggie Miller sinks the technical free throw, of course. The game winds up in OT. Oh, and the OT is played without Pierce because it is his second technical. He also exits in a classless manner, pulling off his jersey and waving it at the crowd.
Again - Bill how many Celtics games have you watched this year? What color is the sky on your planet?
That leaves the Celtics with two options:

1. Trade Pierce now. I mean, RIGHT NOW. Get what you can, whether it's Luol Deng and picks from Chicago, Corey Maggette and Shaun Livingston from the Clippers or whatever. If they can convince Isiah to take Pierce and the Mark Blount/Raef LaFrentz/Brian Scalabrine/Dan Dickau "Salary Cap Poison Package" for expiring contracts and Channing Frye, even better.

2. Fire Doc Rivers and see if the 2005-2006 Celtics could be salvaged with a competent coach.

I vote for Option No. 2. You can always find another coach. You can't always find another Paul Pierce.
When Reggie Lewis was playing you easily could have said that you'll never find another Reggie Lewis but shortly after his tragic death the Celtics drafted Paul Pierce. The Celtics were never going to win a championship with Reggie Lewis as their star player and these current Celtics will never win a championship with Paul Pierce as their best player. Its as simple as that. And saying all-star 6'6" small forwards don't grow on trees is just stupid. There is no commodity as available in the NBA as a 6'6" all-star small forward. Every offseason two or three change teams.

The rest of the column is a screed against Celtics Coach Doc Rivers where Simmons pretends to have expert knowledge about basketball. This charade is exposed with nuggets like this:
The Celtics average 16.6 turnovers a game ... only the Knicks (17.0) are worse. Well coached teams take care of the basketball.
And this:
The Celts grab 10.0 offensive rebounds a game (26th in the league) and give up 12.2 (24th) for a differential of minus-2.2 (only Phoenix is worse). Well-coached teams don't give up second chance points.
Larry Brown coaches the Knicks so by Simmons "logic" Doc Rivers is this a better coach than Larry Brown. The Suns are coached by Mike D'Antoni. By Simmons' logic Doc Rivers is thus a better coach than D'Antoni.

The real give-away that Simmons is just bloviating and does not truly know what he's talking about is the fact that he never once mentions Jim O'Brien who was Rivers predecessor and who by using Simmons points would have been considered a better coach than Rivers. Yet the reality is that O'Brien was exposed as a bad coach by his time in Philadelphia.

The truth is Doc Rivers and Danny Ainge work well together and this season is not about making the playoffs. It is about making things look close, look entertaining and yet still making the Draft Lottery because getting a good player out of the lottery is the only way the Celtics will get back to championship levels and that's what it is all about for true Celtics fans.
If Kennedy was Really Concerned with the Truth

I had tried to stay away from all things Alito but this one thought has bothered me all morning. If one wanted proof that Senator Kennedy was only interested in partisan politics instead of finding the truth in those decades old Concerned Alumni of Princeton papers he wants subpoenaed and that Alito was only tangentially associated with - you would only have to look as far as the fact that the Senior Senator from Massachusetts never called for John Kerry to make public either his health records or his military records. Alito is hoping to become just one of nine Supreme Court Justices and those CAP papers aren't about him and don't define him. John Kerry was running for THE most powerful job in the world and his health records and military records certainly did define who he is and was. Yet Kennedy never said "boo" about Kerry releasing those records.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

I'm no fan of Kevin Millar and that's all I'm going to say about the Orioles wasting their $2.1 million... Q: What did the fish say when it bumped its head on a cement wall? A: Dam!... Allan Embree is a good gamble for the Padres. Every year you see two or three older relievers reclaim their control and become valuable members of a pitching staff (see Bob Howry, Todd Jones and Rudy Seanez last year)... I watched Miller's Crossing again last night. Man - that s one great movie! IMDB has it rated as # 238 in the top 250 and that is much too low... I haven't written anything on the Alito hearings because like much of America, I'm bored with it. The plot is worn out by now. Lets see - qualified candidate gets grilled by leftist Senators who are more concerned with grandstanding to special interests groups like MoveOn.org and NARAL than with asking actual questions, candidate wonders if process is worth the hassle, candidate gets confirmed, people write about how Ted Kennedy made an ass out of himself. How many times do we have to see this same plot play out? It's gotten boring. It would only be exciting if it had a deus ex machina moment like Bush bursting into the hearings, point his finger at the committee, yell "stop being such a bunch of damn jackasses and confirm this good man" and storm out. Now that would be good TV...