Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Top 5 Songs with the Word "Under" in The Title

1. Under My Skin - Frank Sinatra
2. Under My Thumb - Rolling Stones
3. Under My Wheels - Alice Cooper
4. Under Pressure - David Bowie and Queen
5. (tie) Under the Milky Way - The Church (tie) Under the Bridge - Red Hot Chili Peppers
John Kerry's Iraq Comments

Many people are talking about John Kerry's comment about Iraq:
"You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."
That was a stupid, insensitive thing to say. Make no mistake - Kerry was clearly pandering to the elitist-left. He can try and weasel out by saying he mis-spoke; he was making a joke or he was referring to Bush but we all know the truth.

I'm just surprised that anyone is surprised Kerry managed to make such a dumb statement. I'm also surprised that anybody would be listening to him in the first place. What candidacy can John Kerry give a boost too? Seriously - I'd be willing to bet that the opponent of any candidate Kerry stumps for sees in immediate uptick in his poll numbers. If I were a candidate - I wouldn't want Kerry within a thousand miles of my district.

Kerry has the stench of loserdom all over him and anyone who gets close will stink too. Can't people see that Kerry is far along the path to being the most made fun of person in politics?

I give Kerry a pass for his dumb remark because let's face it - John Kerry has ceased to matter.
Five Thoughts on the New England Patriots

Here are five thoughts that have occurred to me since watching the Patriots dismantle the Vikings last night.

1. Tom Brady truly is old school. As you may recall - I am a big fan of the subtle thing and if you saw Tom Brady's on the field interview right after the game last night you saw Brady bring back something that was real old school. Many people have commented on the fact that Brady was all "we" and no "I" last night but at the end of the interview the last thing he said was "Hi Mom." When's the last time you heard a "Hi Mom"? Back in the early 70's you couldn't see an interview without a "Hi Mom".

2. As it happened - in one of my fantasy football leagues I had Tom Brady and the guy I was playing had Brad Johnson. I got 36 points with Brady and my opponent got 1 point with Johnson. That basically told the story of how the game went.

3. Next up for the Patriots are the Colts. I must make the observation that the guy who really has hurt the Patriots the past few years was not Peyton Manning so much as Eggerin James. Now James is out of the picture and I would look for Bill Belichick to come up with some really good schemes for Manning.

4. The over for last night's game was 40 points. The combined total was 38 (31-7) after 3 quarters. I can't tell you how frustrating it was to me that neither team could manage that final field goal to push the total to 41. Very frustrating to me if you know what I'm trying to say.

5. The Patriots play the Bears at the end of November and I would like to remind folks that the Vikings almost beat the Bears at the end of September before falling to them 19-16. The Patriots on the other hand - destroyed the Vikings. Just saying that the Patriots may be better than people have been giving them credit for.

Monday, October 30, 2006

"New York" Times SportsMonday

I stepped out to get a quick bite and a copy of the New York Times was sitting near where I was waiting. Somebody had left it and I picked it up to grab the sports section to read while I ate.

Two things jumped out at me when I looked at the front page of the sport section:

1. There was an article on NASCAR. It is unusual for the NY Times to do articles on NASCAR unless it is about the business of NASCAR or a major race like Daytona. This was a "gamer" on Sunday's Pro Bass Shops 500.

2. There were two football stories on the front page - one on the Colts win and one on the Eagles loss. The NEW YORK Giants won and the NEW YORK Jets lost but those stories were relegated to D3 and D4 respectively.

The conclusion I came to was that the NY Times is trying to be more "national" in their sports coverage but that will prove to be a losing strategy. Colts or Eagles fans don't turn to the NY Times to read "gamers" about their teams and if I was a Giants or Jets fan I'd be put off by having to go a few pages into a supposed "local" paper to read about my team.

It's for damn sure that NASCAR fans don't think about checking the NY Times to see who won the big race over the weekend.

To me this was just another example of the MSM not having a clue. Be sure to sell NY Times stock short if you have the chance. The management is clearly operating without a clue and that has clearly been reflected in their stock price.
Baseball Crank and the Cardinals

The Baseball Crank is not happy with the Cardinals victory in the World Series. He sees it as a "defeat for rationality".

I see it as an affirmation of what Billy Beane has been saying in Oakland for years. Beane assembles his teams with the goal of making the playoffs. He uses stats and rationality to help find undervalued assets that could help a small market team like the A's (witness his signing Frank Thomas to a bargain contract this year). However, once in the playoffs - according to Beane - all bets are off. Rationality takes a back seat to chance and luck. That's why you get champions like this year's Cardinals.

The Crank is a fan of Moneyball - I'm surprised he didn't draw the same conclusion.

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

I think Bill Cowher starting Ben Roethlisberger yesterday against Oakland is proof that Cowher won't be back as the coach of the Steelers next year. If he cared about the long term well being of Roethlisberger there is no way that he plays him yesterday against the Raiders just a week after Big Ben suffered a concussion. I also think that if Charlie Batch started that game - then the Steelers cruise to victory because Batch would have simply handed off and protected the ball. Instead you had Roethlisberger getting knocked around (sacked 5 times) and throwing 4 interceptions. Roethlisberger cost his team the win yesterday... Have you seen that Toyota commercial where the pick-up truck gets grabbed by the Loch Ness monster? I'm a fan of subtle humor and I always laugh at that commercial because if you listen carefully the guys in the truck are yelling "Shoot it! Shoot it!" Cracks me up... Crazy it may sound - from an unsound mind it may come but I wonder if the reason that Barry Bonds declared his free agency so soon was because he doesn't think he'll get a decent offer? Follow me on this - Bonds declares right away - that way it takes away the excuse from a team that they filled his slot prior to him filing for free agency. If he doesn't get a big offer - Bonds may sue claiming collusion from the owners or that he was slandered by the Chronicle and by Game of Shadows authors. Bonds could go for a big pay day from the courts and not step on the playing field again. Remember - even I said it was a crazy thought but if someone offered me 1,000-1 odds against this happening - I'd probably plunk down $100...

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Red Auerbach

I was out on the town when I saw the news about Red Auerbach last night. I knew that Red had been doing poorly for months but still the news came as a shock.

It would take months to give Red his due in this space because he meant that much to sports fans in New England. However I will try to jot down some of my memories and thoughts of Red in hopes of sharing when interest is probably at its peak.

It is probably impossible to overstate what Red Auerbach was to basketball. He was the architect of all of the Celtics 16 World Championships. His "Red on Roundball" tutorials and his books probably taught more people basketball fundamentals than Tom Emansky did for baseball. He was more important as a GM in his sport than Branch Rickey was to his and he was a better coach in his sport than Bear Bryant was in his. One man accomplished all that.

It irks me to no end to see those graphics of coaches with the most championships and see Phil Jackson is listed first even though both Jackson and Auerbach are tied with 9 championships and Auerbach comes first alphabetically. Simply put - Phil Jackson couldn't carry Red's jockstrap.

Red was coach of the Celtics for just 16 years but during that time he won 9 championships (including 8 in a row). When it was time for him to step aside - he named Bill Russell as his replacement. It made no difference to Red that he was making history by naming the first black head coach. Red named Bill Russell player-coach because Red figured that after Red was gone - the only person who could get the best out of Bill Russell was Bill Russell himself.

Because of my age - I knew Red as a GM not as a coach and I would argue that he was not just the best coach of all-time but the best general manager as well. In the 1956 NBA draft, the Rochester Royals had the first pick and the Boston Celtics had the second pick (via a shrewd trade Red made with St. Louis). With the first pick Rochester selected 6'2" Sihugo Green of Duquesne. With the second pick, the Boston Celtics selected Bill Russell of San Francisco. Red drafted Larry Bird as a "junior eligible". He exposed that loophole and the NBA changed the rules because of Red. Dennis Johnson in exchange for Rick Robey? One of the great forgotten trades of all-time. Robert Parish and the third pick (Kevin McHale) in exchange for the first pick of the draft (Joe Barry Carroll) - perhaps the greatest trade of all-time. Taking a third round risk on a mediocre baseball player named Danny Ainge? The list could go on and on.

Speaking of Danny Ainge - it was of no small importance that the first thing he and the new owners did when taking over the Celtics was to reinstate Red as the "President" of the Celtics. Red was stripped of that honorary title by ego-maniac Rick Pitino whose name is now mud in New England.

One of my favorite stories about Red involves the landmark Boston restaurant Legal Seafoods who banned cigar smoking in their establishments with the written exception of Red Auerbach. One day Red was having lunch and after lunch he lit up a cigar. A lady complained (it's always a lady who complains isn't it?). Red asked her to read the asterix and then told her "I'm Red Auerbach" while blowing a big big cloud of smoke.

I've heard some people say that they would light up a cigar today in Red Auerbach's honor and that is a fine idea. However, if smoke is not your thing then how about getting some Chinese food? After his wife and kids and basketball - Chinese food was probably Red's greatest joy. I know where I'll be going for lunch today.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Rainy Saturday

Its a rainy Saturday here at casa Lynch. What better way to add some sun to a gray day than Rebecca Romijn? I still can't believe she was once married to John Stamos. Every time I see Full House I think - I can't believe John Stamos bagged Rebecca Romijn and I can't believe the Olsen twins are now of legal age.

You can see a full gallery of Rebecca Romijn pictures over at SI

As far as college football today - I really like BYU over Air Force.

Enjoy the day. I hope you are having better weather than we are.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Teddy Roosevelt

Today would have been Teddy Roosevelt's 148th birthday. Here's perhaps my favorite Roosevelt quote:
Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorius triumphs, even though checkered by failure... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.
Morning Links

I haven't done morning links in a while.

- Frank J hits the nail on the head. When I saw the ad in question the idea of it being racist never occurred to me. I did question if the blond was pretty enough to be a Playboy Bunny though. (HT Baseball Crank)

- Halloween in Middle Earth (some of these are quite funny)

- Interesting - the real reason Stan Musial did not throw out the first pitch the other night. For the record - I don't like Joe Garagiola either.

- Happy Extermination Order Day:
"...the Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the State if necessary for the public peace—their outrages are beyond all description."
Missouri Executive Order 44 passed on this day in 1838. The law made it legal to kill Mormons in Missouri. The law was not repealed until 1976.

- Two years ago today - the Red Sox reached baseball Nirvana and I live blogged it.
Massachusetts Politics

I just wanted to jot out a few thoughts on the state of politics in Massachusetts this morning. I'll probably be doing a few more posts along the same lines up to the elections.

This morning I wanted to look at the race for governor in the Bay State.

The latest polls show Democrat Deval Patrick with a big lead over Republican Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey. This is not surprising and I expect Patrick to be elected come November 7th. Some observations:

- Perhaps the biggest advantage Patrick has that has not really been commented on is the fact that he has Worcester Mayor Tim Murray on the ticket as Lieutenant Governor. Tim is popular and guys like me would consider voting for Patrick just because we like Tim Murray. Meanwhile you could point a gun at my head and I still could not tell you who is on the ticket with Kerry Healey. I expect Patrick to win big in Central Massachusetts because of the Murray factor.

- Healey has been running negative ads about Patrick's work as an attorney (he had/has an affinity for pretty violent criminals including cop killers). In my opinion Healey has over-done these ads. Just air them a couple of times so people get the idea. No need to hammer people over the head with them. Instead Healey should have been running ads about how the citizens of Massachusetts elect Republican governors because Democrats can't be trusted with the purse strings when having both the State House and the Governor's office. The fear of a return to Taxachusetts should have been her main message.

- If / when Healey loses - then some will portray this as a failure of Mitt Romney to supply sufficient coat-tails. This is true to a minor extent but the damage will be short term. Overall a Patrick victory will be good for Romney in the long run. If things get worse under Patrick then Romney will be able to point to Massachusetts as evidence of how the country can't afford to have a tax and spend Democrat in the corner office. If things stay the same or even improve - Romney can point out that he did all the heavy lifting to lay the groundwork of prosperity in the Commonwealth.

- If / when Healey loses - then all the major offices for Massachusetts will be held by Democrats. The Governor's office, both Senate seats and all 10 Congressional Districts will be held by Democrats.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Interview with David Zucker

NRO has an interesting interview with David Zucker (the creator of the Airplane and Naked Gun movies). This to me was the key passage:
And this whole idea of being loyal to a party — you know, generationally it probably shouldn’t stay the same. A lot of Democrats still think they’re voting for JFK, or Roosevelt, or Truman, but the party has changed so much. They don’t realize it. It’s a lot like the traffic in LA. In 1972 it was bad, and now it’s a lot worse, but I didn’t really notice the change because it happened so gradually.

The same thing is true for the Democrats. I don’t think people realize how much they’ve changed and what they really stand for now. It’s run by the far-out nutcases. I still consider myself a JFK Democrat. Strong defense and lower taxes. That’s what Kennedy stood for, and that’s what Bush wants, so if I have to be a Republican, I’ll swallow hard and be a Republican.
I feel the exact same way. Tax cuts were a JFK creation but since Reagan and Bush used them too - they have become taboo for Democrats. If there were any JFK type Democrats today - I have no doubt that the far left would run them out of the party on a rail.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Heh Heh

This is pretty funny.

HT Poindexter
Giant Inflatable Penis and Purdue Football

They go hand and hand I guess. Nothing says Purdue football like a giant inflatable penis!

When I read this my first reaction was pretty much to laugh but then I started to wonder if the reason the giant inflatable penis were being confiscated was because of fear of violating Title IX restrictions.

If there was an equal number of inflatable vagina - then would it be OK?

HT Sports Frog
Top 5 - Boston Celtics

Today is Dave Cowens' 58th birthday. So in honor of Big Red - here are my choices for the top 5 Boston Celtics of All-Time.

1. Bill Russell
2. Larry Bird
3. Bob Cousy
4. John Havlicek
5. Dave Cowens

Of course Arnold "Red" Auerbach is the greatest celtic of them all but he never played a minute. Tell me that those five players above wouldn't make the greatest team of all-time?
World Series TV Ratings

I've seen a number of articles like this one bemoaning the low TV ratings for this year's World series between the Tigers and Cardinals. Most articles don't mention that it could be a lot worse.

Can you imagine how bad the ratings for Game 2 would have been if the NFL decided to have a Sunday Night game up against it? Normally NBC has a Sunday night game (and they paid a boat load of money for this) but this week they did not and it had to have been because of the World Series. Why was the NFL being so charitable to MLB and the World Series? Almost any game they put up would have beaten baseball in the ratings. What better way to prove to the world what the real national sport of America is?

Why was the NFL so nice to MLB? Its not like MLB could have reciprocated if the NFL put a game up against the World Series - what could they do put an exibition game up against the Super Bowl? I guess its a gentleman's agreement. I'm not upset about it but I did think it was worth pointing out.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Why Should TV Money to the NCAA be Tax exempt?

George Will has been on fire lately and today's offering really gave me food for thought.

I read it and am now wondering why the money paid to collegiate sports teams should be tax exempt.
How does the NCAA fulfill its proclaimed purpose of maintaining "the athlete as an integral part of the student body''? Only 55 percent of football players and 38 percent of basketball players at Division I-A schools graduate. The New York Times has reported that at Auburn, a perennial football power, many athletes have received "high grades from the same professor for sociology and criminology courses that required no attendance and little work.'' Eighteen members of the undefeated 2004 team took a combined 97 hours of those courses while at Auburn. Who believes such behavior is confined to Auburn?

In recent decades the NCAA has increased the number of games that football and men's basketball teams are allowed to play. Thomas wonders how these changes help athletes improve their academic performances? Perhaps these changes have pecuniary purposes?
The universities and the NCAA have professional type TV contracts yet the players are supposed to be amateurs. Maybe taxing TV revenues to colleges would help restore an equilibrium of fair play and return the emphasis of the college to education. Or maybe it would just be an admitance that some colleges are closer to pro sports franchises than being educational institutions. Why not have them taxed the same as a pro team then? Tax the TV money - it would be a step in the right direction.
The Peter King Curse

Last night it hit me why the Dallas Cowboys are having a season with as many soap opera plot lines and ups and downs - its because Peter King picked them to go to the Super Bowl. Just look at the circus that the Cowboys have become and compare it to what happened to the Minnesota Vikings last year after King picked them to go to the Super Bowl.

Instead of the Super Bowl - the Vikings had sexcapades on the high seas (the Vikings off week is now enough in itself to raise the country's threat level). They had a coach get axed and the "franchise" QB booted out of town after ruining any fantasy football team that dared touch him and the bankroll of any gambler who bet on the Vikings to at least be half decent.

Maybe I'm being too harsh. Maybe there is no Peter King curse on NFC teams. Maybe Peter King is a fraud. A gossip columnist disguised as football writer. I hope it is the latter and not the former because Peter King picked the Patriots to go to the Super Bowl too. Just like last year and we know how that worked out.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Separated at Birth

It hit me tonight watching Monday Night Football. Put the sunglasses on the Geico caveman and he's a dead ringer for Hank Williams Jr. Come to think of it - has anyone ever seen them in the same room?
Never Forget

Twenty-three years ago today - a suicide bomber drove a truck filled with explosives into a Marines barracks in Beirut. The bombing took the lives of 241 US Marines.

A total of 274 US servicemen died in Beirut between September of 1982 and July of 1990.

Most people remember the before and after pictures of the Twin Towers but do you recall this before and after?

Never forget.
CNN Targeting Soldiers?

Remember when the head of CNN's news division accused the US military of targeting journalists in Iraq? That was Eason Jordan and as they say - a fish stinks from the head down. Now CNN is showing video of snipers targeting US soldiers.

I may be cynical but I don't find it too hard to imagine some producers sitting around at CNN saying something like, "You know what we really neeed? Some footage of American soldiers being killed."

Eason Jordan accused the military of targeting journalists but from Iraq to Lebanon it seems that it is really the other way around.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Flags of Our Fathers

I wasn't able to see the movie yet this weekend but I was thinking of it and that reminded me of this letter that I've posted here a few times. I originally found this on a discussion board at the History Channel website a couple of years ago. It was so good and so moving that I immediately cut and pasted it and emailed it to myself. Everytime I read this I tear up:
Each year I am hired to go to Washington, DC, with the eighth grade class from Clinton, Wisconsin, where I grew up, to videotape their trip. I greatly enjoy visiting our nation's capitol, and each year I take some special memories back with me. This fall's trip was especially memorable.

On the last night of our trip we stopped at the Iwo Jima Memorial. This memorial is the largest bronze statue in the world and depicts one of the most famous photographs in history - that of the six brave soldiers raising the American Flag at the top of a rocky hill on the island of Iwo Jima, Japan, during WW II. Over one hundred students and chaperones piled off the buses and headed towards the memorial. I noticed a solitary figure at the base of the statue, and as I got closer he asked, "Where are you guys from?" I told him that we were from Wisconsin.

"Hey, I'm a cheese head, too! Come gather around Cheese heads, and I will tell you a story."

(James Bradley just happened to be in Washington, DC, to speak at the memorial the following day. He was there that night to say good night to his dad, who has since passed away. He was just about to leave when he saw the buses pull up. I videotaped him as he spoke to us, and received his permission to share what he said from my videotape. It is one thing to tour the incredible monuments filled with history in Washington, D.C., but it is quite another to get the kind of insight we received that night. When all had gathered around he reverently began to speak. Here are his words that night.)

"My name is James Bradley and I'm from Antigo, Wisconsin. My dad is on that statue, and I just wrote a book called "Flags of Our Fathers", which is #5 on the New York Times Best Seller list right now. It is the story of the six boys you see behind me. Six boys raised the flag. The first guy putting the pole in the ground is Harlon Block. Harlon was an all-state football player. He enlisted in the Marine Corps with all the senior members of his football team. They were off to play another type of game. A game called "War."

But it didn't turn out to be a game. Harlon, at the age of 21, died with his intestines in his hands. I don't say that to gross you out, I say that because there are generals who stand in front of this statue and talk about the glory of war. You guys need to know that most of the boys in Iwo Jima were 17, 18, and 19 years old. (He pointed to the statue) You see this next guy? That's Rene Gagnon from New Hampshire. If you took Rene's helmet off at the moment this photo was taken, and looked in the webbing of that helmet, you would find a photograph --- a photograph of his girlfriend. Rene put that in there for protection, because he was scared. He was 18 years old. Boys won the battle of Iwo Jima. Boys. Not old men.

The next guy here, the third guy in this tableau, was Sergeant Mike Strank. Mike is my hero. He was the hero of all these guys. They called him the "old man" because he was so old. He was already 24. When Mike would motivate his boys in training camp, he didn't say, "Let's go kill some Japanese," or "Let's die for our country." He knew he was talking to little boys. Instead he would say, "You do what I say, and I'll get you home to your mothers."

The last guy on this side of the statue is Ira Hayes, a Pima Indian from Arizona. Ira Hayes walked off Iwo Jima. He went into the White House with my dad. President Truman told him, "You're a hero." He told reporters, "How can I feel like a hero when 250 of my buddies hit the island with me, and only 27 of us walked off alive?" So you take your class at school. 250 of you spending a year together having fun, doing everything together. Then all 250 of you hit the beach, but only 27 of your classmates walk off alive. That was Ira Hayes. He had images of horror in his mind. Ira Hayes died dead drunk, face down at the age of 32 ... ten years after this picture was taken.

The next guy, going around the statue, is Franklin Sousley from Hilltop Kentucky. A fun-lovin' hillbilly boy. His best friend, who is now 70, told me, "Yeah, you know, we took two cows up on the porch of the Hilltop General Store. Then we strung wire across the stairs so the cows couldn't get down. Then we fed them Epsom salts. Those cows crapped all night." Yes he was a fun-lovin' hillbilly boy.. Franklin died on Iwo Jima at the age of 19. When the telegram came to tell his mother that he was dead, it went to the Hilltop General Store. A barefoot boy ran that telegram up to his mother's farm. The neighbors could hear her scream all night and into the morning. The neighbors lived a quarter of a mile away.

The next guy, as we continue to go around the statue is my dad, John Bradley from Antigo, Wisconsin, where I was raised. My dad lived until 1994, but he would never give interviews. When Walter Cronkite's producers, or the New York Times would call, we were trained as little kids to say, "No, I'm sorry sir, my dad's not here. He is in Canada fishing. No, there is no phone there, sir. No, we don't know when he is coming back."

My dad never fished or even went to Canada. Usually, he was sitting there right at the table eating his Campbell's soup. But we had to tell the press that he was out fishing. He didn't want to talk to the press. You see, my dad didn't see himself as a hero. Everyone thinks these guys are heroes, 'cause they are in a photo and a monument. My dad knew better. He was a medic. John Bradley from Wisconsin was a caregiver. In Iwo Jima he probably held over 200 boys as they died. And when boys died in Iwo Jima, they writhed and screamed in pain.

When I was a little boy, my third grade teacher told me that my dad was a hero. When I went home and told my dad that, he looked at me and said, "I want you always to remember that the heroes of Iwo Jima are the guys who did not come back. Did NOT come back."

So that's the story about six nice young boys. Three died on Iwo Jima, and three came back as national heroes. Overall 7000 boys died on Iwo Jima in the worst battle in the history of the Marine Corps. My voice is giving out, so I will end here. Thank you for your time."

Suddenly, the monument wasn't just a big old piece of metal with a flag sticking out of the top. It came to life before our eyes with the heartfelt words of a son who did indeed have a father who was a hero. Maybe not a hero for the reasons most people would believe, but a hero nonetheless.

We need to remember that God created this vast and glorious world for us to live in, freely, but also at great sacrifice. Let us never forget from the Revolutionary War to the Gulf War and all the wars in-between that sacrifice was made for our freedom. Remember to pray for those still in murderous unrest around the world....and thank God for being alive in the greatest country on earth.
Badass American Mo-Fo's

The Cold Hard Football Facts take a quick break from football to deliver a history lesson. Read the whle thing but for a taste - here's what they had to say about the Minutemen at Lexington and Concord:
Talk about iron balls. These ordinary farmers were living happy little lives carved out of the woods of New England when the most powerful army in the world decided to march into town. Most people in that part of the country today would do the popular dance known in nearby Cambridge as the "Noam Chomsky shuffle," in which you firmly embrace belligerent tyrants. The Americans back then grabbed their guns, stood their ground and stared down the imperial stormtroopers. In the space of hours, they forced the invaders to retreat and slaughtered the most feared army in the world as it fled 20 miles back to Boston. In a true show of patience, stones and determination that would shock modern Americans, the farmers laid siege to the Brits holed up in Boston for an entire year. The limeys finally fled town the following March. It’s the last time a foreign army, or enemy insurgents other than the Harvard faculty, stepped foot in New England. The only thing people in Lexington fight for today is the right to teach second graders about gay sex.
Sadly they aren't even joking about that last line. Even sadder still there was a movement a while back to change the UMass mascot from the Minuteman to something less military and to something that definitely wasn't holding a rifle. Thank goodness that common sense prevailed.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The Dartmouth / Holy Cross Brawl

A week later and the brawl that broke out after the end of the Dartmouth / Holy Cross game is still news. However, all the descriptions I've read or heard don't match up with the eye-witness accounts that were told to me.

According to eye-witnesses at the game - the brawl was basically started by the coaches - Buddy Teevens of Dartmouth and Tom Gilmore of Holy Cross. These two guys don't like each other. I guess the animosity stems from the time they both spent as assistant coaches at Dartmouth. Accord to those at the game - the brawl started when the coaches shook hands. Gilmore placed his hand on Teevens' shoulder and Teevens shoved it away in a "don't you place a hand on me" gesture. A Dartmouth player thought his coach was getting in a tussle and shoved Gilmore. Then as they say "it was on!"

It looks like the beginning of a very heated rivalry (think Calipari / Cheney in basketball).
Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

I don't understand why Pat White of West Virginia doesn't get more love regarding the Heisman Trophy. I think if you put Pat White on Ohio State - then the Buckeyes are still number 1 in the country. However, I'm not sure if you put Troy Smith on West Virginia whether they are still a top 5 team.... This is pretty sick. I'm tempted to make a "but dogs need love too" crack. Instead I will point out that the "bestiality law, which took effect in June, was prompted by a case near Enumclaw in which a man died after having sex with a horse". So prior to the man dying having sex with a horse - it wasn't against the law to have sex with animals in Washington... Notre Dame is normally overvalued at home (they are just 1-5 against the spread in their last 6 home games) but I like them giving 13.5 points against UCLA today. Remember that the fighting Irish are coming off a bye week and I'm sure Charlie Weis will have them ready to play... Here's a pretty funny video. (Warning - don't even think of clicking if you are offendedby bad language)
Tigers vs Cardinals

In theory I should be rooting for the Tigers to win the World Series because they are the American League representative and I'm an American League guy. Well I am rooting for the Tigers but that's not the reason.

I'm rooting for the Tigers because I don't want Jeff Suppan to get a World Series ring. Is that petty and bitter on my part? You bet! Still doesn't change my feelings on the matter.

The Red Sox traded for Jeff Suppan in 2003. He was going to be that missing ingredient to help lead them to post season success. In order to obtain Suppan the Red Sox gave up the very popular Freddy Sanchez who by the way won the National League batting title this year. Meanwhile Suppan went just 3-4 with a 4.71 ERA for the Red Sox and was such a non-factor that he was left off the post-season roster. Now he's winning NLCS MVP awards? No way do I want the man who cost us Freddy Sanchez to win the World Series. Petty and bitter yes - but I don't care.

BTW - if you are interested - the Tigers are a huge favorite to win the World Series. Currently the odds are Tigers -$235 and Cardinals +$195 (meaning you would have to risk $235 to win $100 on the Tigers or risk just $100 to win $195 on the Cardinals).

Friday, October 20, 2006

The Ink Jet Printer as the Basis for Lethal Technology?

Fascinating stuff.

You can get more information at the Metal Storm company website.

HT The Royal Flush
Heh Heh - Today's Funny
In a recent Harris Online poll, 38,562 men across the US were asked to identify a woman’s ultimate fantasy.

97.8% of the respondents said that a woman’s ultimate fantasy is to have two men at once.

While this has been verified by a recent sociological study, it appears that most men do not realize that, in this fantasy, one man is cooking and the other is cleaning
HT Maddspace
Betting Lines vs Political Polls

If you have read this site for any period of time you'd know that I've long advocated reading the betting lines over poltical polls to get the true state of affairs when it comes to political races. Now Stephen Moore of the Wall Street Journal basically echoes this sentiment:
If you want a sneak peak into who's up and who's down in this year's elections, don't seek out John Zogby or some other pollster, call your bookie. Or better yet, go to a gambling Web site like tradesports.com, an online betting parlor headquartered in Dublin, Ireland. What will pop up on your screen are the latest odds on every Senate race. As of Oct. 18 at 4 p.m. Bob Casey was a 87% favorite to wrestle the Pennsylvania seat away from Rick Santorum.
Sir Richard Francis Burton

On this day (October 20th) in 1890, Sir Richard Francis Burton died. Most of you pobably never heard of Burton and some of a certain age may mistake this Richard Burton for the Richard Burton the actor who today is best remembered for tagging Elizabeth Taylor. The Richard Burton I'm talking about was an extraordinary person who truly lived a life of adventure. I would highly recommend reading the entry on Burton in Wikipedia.

If that peaks your interest than I would also highly recommend the book Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton: The Secret Agent Who Made the Pilgrimage to Mecca, Discovered the Kama Sutra, and Brought the Arabian Nights to the West by Edward Rice

Thursday, October 19, 2006

I'm a Big Shark

Certified Backlinks.
Site Class:
Are you a Big Fish?

Blog tests like this can be good for the blog ego. Competitive men like being called a "big shark". It's slightly more flattering than the being called a Large Mammal by the TTBL ecocsystem rankings (normally I rank between 600 and 350 in the TTLB Ecosystem)

But when tests like this swell my head about the popularity of this site I always remeber this test:

So one test says I'm a "big shark" and another test says my site is worth bupkis. I'm guessing the truth is somewhere in between but I'm not really concerned with any of it. Just a fun tests to take if you have a blog.

Hat tip to Samantha Burns for the fish test.
Top 5 - Strange Google Search Hits

Here are some of the stranger hits this site has gotten via strange Google search results in the past few hours.

1. "tv tourettes" top search choice - I think I actually invented this phrase
2. "jose limas wife" 2nd and 3rd choice on this search (I'm not sure why)
3. "warren spahn's penis" 19th choice - no clue where this came from
4. "varitek hitting arod" 3rd choice
5. "sportsjournalists fall-out shelter" 3rd choice (that site has been up and down the last day and for those who care Idaho said that Webby emailed him and said the problem lies with the domain registration company and should be fixed soon)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Joke of the Day
An Irishman applied for a job on a construction site, but the foreman wouldn't hire him until he passed a simple maths test.
Here is your first question, the foreman said. "Without using numbers, represent the number 9."
"Without numbers?" The Irishman says, "Dat is easy," and proceeded to draw three trees.

"What's this?" the boss asked.
"Ave you got no brain? Tree and tree and tree make nine," said the Irishman.
"Fair enough," said the boss. "Here's your second question. Use the same rules, but this time the number is 99."
The Irishman stared into space for a while, then picked up the picture that he has just drawn and made a smudge on each tree. "Ere you go."

The boss scratched his head and said, "How on earth do you get that to represent 99?"
"Each of da trees is dirty now. So, it's dirty tree, and dirty tree, and dirty tree. Dat is 99."
The boss was getting worried that he's going to actually have to hire this Irishman, so he said, "All right, last question. Same rules again, but represent the number 100."
The Irishman stared into space some more, then he picked up the picture again and made a little mark at the base of each tree and says, "Ere you go. One hundred."

The boss looked at the attempt. "You must be nuts if you think that represents a hundred!"
The Irishman leaned forward and pointed to the marks at the base of each tree and said, "A little dog came along and crapped by each tree. So now you got dirty tree and a turd, dirty tree and a turd, and dirty tree and a turd, which makes one hundred."
"So, when do I start?"
The Importance of a Single Vote

On this date in 1867 the United States purchased Alaska from Russia for the price of $7 million which worked out to about $.02 per acre. This purchase was known at the time as Sewards Folly after Secretary of State William Seward who arranged the purchase. Seward was also in charge of trying to get the Senate to ratify the treaty authorizing the purchase. The treaty was ratified on April 9th but it passed by a single vote.

Think of that. If one person changed their vote from yes to no - Alaska might not be part of the US today.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Iraqi Migration

Something I found interesting and wanted to share.

Many people in the media have been talking about how the US has wrecked or broken Iraq via our invasion and overthrow of Saddam Hussein. The media is also quick to toss out references to a supposed civil war breaking out in Iraq. But it seems to me that these claims are not supported by the reality of the situation.

When we first invaded there was a great fear of mass migration out of the country to avoid the mass bloodshed the media claimed was coming. Yet the refugee camps the Red Cross and the UN set up had to be closed because there was nobody leaving Iraq (except UN workers who fled at the first sign of trouble).

Now as I mentioned above there is rampant talk about the country being in shambles and in the midst of a civil war. Yet according to the CIA World Handbook's page on Iraq (last updated October 5, 2006) - the net migration rate for Iraq is 0/1000. Nobody is fleeing the country.

I could see if it was really difficult for people to leave and get to somewhere they could feel safe (or safer). That's not the case. The Kurds in the North could easily migrate to neighboring Turkey where there is a significant Kurdish population. The Shi'a Muslims could easily move East to Iran (which is almost 90% Shi'a). The Sunni's could likewise move South to neighboring Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia. Yet nobody is leaving.

If there was chaos and civil war wouldn't you expect people to be getting out of Dodge as quick as possible? The reality doesn't seem to support the media's assertions. I know some of you will find that shocking.
The Arizona Cardinals Lose to the Bears 24-23

There is much gnashing of teeth over the Cardinals failure to protect a 20 point lead last night throughout the blogosphere today. Peter King calls it a historic choke. Jason Whitlock wonders if Denny Green should be fired. I wonder what the big deal is?

Read my headline again:
The Arizona Cardinals Lose to the Bears 24-23
If you didn't see the game and just saw the score you would think this was a huge moral victory for the Cardinals. They were supposed to be crushed by the Bears last night but instead the Bears were lucky to escape with a W. Bottom line - the Cardinals just don't know how to win yet.

Funny thing is I bet that many of the people most pissed off that the Cardinals didn't hang on for the win were people who bet on the Bears giving 12.5 points last night. Many bettors feel that "if I'm going to lose my bet then I want the team to lose too." Last night the Bears squeezed out a W while the people who bet on them have to go to the ATM today to pay off Vinnie Bag'o'donuts.

If you are a Cardinals fan - of course you are peeved that the team lost last night but Matt Leinart proving to be the real deal has to be comforting silver lining (plus if you took the points - I bet that lessens the blow). Leinart could prove to be the absolute steal of this years draft. How many people do you think rushed to their computers this morning to pick him up for their fantasy teams?

Monday, October 16, 2006

ESPN Disses Deadspin

When I read this "announcement" on Deadspin:
Per ESPN editorial policy, the use of "underground" web sites as a source of credible information within any ESPN platform is strongly discouraged. Specifically speaking, the use of the site "Deadspin.com" as a source of credible information is not allowed under any circumstance. As always, any breaking hard news story off of any site must be approved through the proper channels.

Please see me or another programming manager if you have any questions or seek clarification on the web sites called into question. Thank you.
I immediately saw this as probably being from the desk of Don Skwar, formerly the head of the Boston Globe's sports department. Skwar left the Globe to be a (or the) senior news editor at ESPN (which means policy like this would have to at least get his approval). Skwar left the Globe back in February of 2004. Skwar was still at the Globe when Boston Dirt Dogs (a Boston sports web site geared mainly to the Red Sox) was acquired by the Globe's parent company. Skwar's sports department at the Globe was badly sullied by the association with the Dirt Dogs where it seemed no rumor was too unverified not to print.

Once burned twice shy I guess.

I can understand why ESPN would be apprehensive about sourcing news from websites. However, I think mentioning Deadspin by name is wholely unfair to Deadspin which is a much more professional, funny and intelligent site than Boston Dirt Dogs ever dreamed of being.

The funny thing is that mentioning Deadspin by name - whoever put out the email on underground web sites just guaranteed that everyone at ESPN with a computer will make Deadspin a can't miss site for daily perusal.

HT Off Wing Opinion
Top 5 - Heavyweight Boxing Champs

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

Today is Sue Bird's 26th birthday and I don't mind saying that I find Sue Bird attractive. I have a thing for athletic women. I do have to say that I'm positive that the folks who make bobble head dolls slapped a man's head on the Sue Bird bobble head though. I'm positive of it. I'd even bet they used the same head from the Trent Green bobble head.
John Brown's Raid on Harpers Ferry

Many people look at the firing upon Fort Sumpter as the spark that lit the Civil War but I think the real spark came on this day 147 years ago when John Brown and his "army" of 21 attacked and occupied the armory at Harpers Ferry, VA.

The next day, US Marines under the command of US Army Colonel Robert E. Lee attacked Brown and his men. When the gunsmoke cleared, 10 of Brown's men were dead (including 2 of his sons) and Brown was taken prisoner and shortly thereafter he was hanged.

I find it slightly amusing that most history books and mentions of Brown on the web either gloss over or ommit completely the fact that Brown was almost certainly insane.

I'm not making any moral judgements on Brown's actions. I'm just saying that he was crazy. Seriously. When I first saw a picture of John Brown - I thought I was looking at Charlie Manson circa 1850.

The John Brown / Charles Manson analogy isn't that bad. Brown raided the armory because he wanted to arm slaves to start a full-fledged slave revolt. Charles Manson has said that he killed those folks in the Hollywood Hills because he hoped that blacks would be blamed and that would spark a race war in the US. This may be one of those things that I only find interesting.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Steve Lyons

Yesterday I stepped out to watch some football and as it turned out some baseball. I went over to the local American Legion where the bottle beers are still less than $2 ($1.95) and ice cold. I took a seat at the bar next to Dave (a cop who I went to high school with) and as luck would have it the TV closest to us was on the just starting Tigers / A's game. Tom Brennerman came on and was soon joined by Lou Pinella. Dave immediately started ripping Pinella for being a marble mouthed joke of an announcer. I had to agree because it always seemed to me like Pinella is slurring his words like he's just had a couple of pops.

Then Brennerman and Pinella were joined by a third guy and the guy on my right immediately asked "Who's that?" I watch a lot of baseball and I had no idea. I thought it strange that Fox would trot out a new guy in the middle of the playoffs but I didn't let the thought linger - instead I turned my attention to the Ohio State game because I had Ohio State giving 14.5 points (oooh rah!).

This morning things became clear about that third guy in the Fox broadcast booth. That third guy was Jose Mota who is to the Angels what Jerry Remy is to the Red Sox. Mota was there because Psycho Steve Lyons had been fired.

If you read the link - its seems what Lyons said was basically innocent enough which leads me to believe that Fox was just fed up with his act. This move smells of an excuse to get rid of Lyons and probably opens the door for Al Leiter to step into the broadcast booth as the number 2 baseball color commentator for Fox next year (behind the piece of crap Tim McCarver).

I dislike Lyons as an announcer but I dislike using uber PC tactics as a weapon to fire someone even more. Fox hired Lyons because he was unpredictable and he gets fired for proving them right? When Lyons was hired it could have easily been predicted that it would not end well. I don't think anyone could have predicted the weasel way Fox chose to end the relationship though.
Walter Payton Award

The equivalent to the Heisman Award for 1-AA football players is the Walter Payton Award. This is the time of year that Heisman starts to take on real meaning so I thought I'd give an early glimpse into who I see in 1-AA who could be finalists for this year's Walter Payton Award.

1. Clifton Dawson Harvard - averaging 137.2 yards rushing per game (5th in the nation) but I put him tops because he will probably break the all time 1-AA rushing record this year (although he probably won't win the Payton award)
2. Scott Knapp Duquesne - 290 yards passing per game 19 TD and 2035 yards passing in 7 games
3. Justise Hairston Central Connecticut State - 1247 rushing yards in 7 games
4. Tyler Thigpen Coastal Carolina - leads the nation in total offense with 327 yards per game
5. (tie) Scott Phaydavong Drake - 1066 yards rushing in 7 games (tie) Liam Coen U Mass - leads the nation in QB passing efficiency and plays for one of the best teams in the country (tie) Josh Johnson San Diego - 19 TD and 1607 yards passing in just 6 games

Honorable Mention:
- Marcus Mason Youngstown St - averaging 150 yards rushing per game
- Mike McLeod Yale - averaging 148 yards rushing per game (but just a sophomore which could hurt him with some voters)
- Ricky Santos New Hampshire - the loss yesterday may have dropped him from the top candidates but Santos is the heart of one of the best teams in the country

I know I could have added five or more players to the list. It is still early and I'll update my standings periodically.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Errol Flynn

I'm an Errol Flynn fan. On this day (October 14th) in 1959 - Flynn died of a heart attack at age 50. Two tidbits made me chuckle from his Wikipedia entry.
He was interred in Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery, in Glendale, California. He shares coffin space with six bottles of whiskey, a parting gift from his drinking buddies
Although I respect the gesture - I hope my drinking buddies have better sense than to waste good whiskey. Besides - I plan to be cremated.
In his 1980 short-story collection Music for Chameleons, author Truman Capote recounts a conversation he had with Marilyn Monroe in which Monroe refers to once attending a Hollywood party where Errol Flynn entertained guests by playing "You Are My Sunshine" and "The Star-Spangled Banner" on a piano using only his penis.
While an amusing anecdote - I'm skeptical about this one. Not that I don't think he could do it. I just don't see him taking the time to rehearse the songs.

After reading the entry in Wikipedia - I was left wanting to re-read Michael Herr's classic Vietnam book Dispatches because Errol Flynn's son Sean "co-stars" so to speak as another war correspondent in the book. I also added the movie My Favorite Year to my Netflix queue because the Alan Swann character (played by Peter O'Toole) was based on Errol Flynn.

This is Talent

My fingers cramped just watching this guy. What talent!

HT Grouchy Old Cripple
Michael Monsoor

When I read this story I immediately thought of two quotes (while having chills). The first quote was:
Greater love hath no man than to lay down his life for another.
Navy Seal Monsoor certainly showed no greater love for his comrades on September 29th. The second quote I immediately thought of was:
Where do we find such men?
I'm sure that Petty Officer 2nd Class Monsoor had no time to think about his actions. I'm sure that what he did was a reaction - a reflex. But I'd bet that if Michael Monsoor was given the opportunity that he'd do it again without hesitation. Where do we find such men?

My thoughts and condolences go out to the family of hero Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael A. Monsoor.

EDIT: Large Bill notes that the Medal of Honor was created to recognize men such as Michael Monsoor

Friday, October 13, 2006

Heh Heh

These are pretty funny.

HT Samantha Burns (you should check Samantha's site on a regular basis - she always has amusing stuff)
Air America Radio

You may have heard by now that Air America Radio has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. It looks like Adam Smith's "invisible hand" has been tuning the radio dial to anything but Air America. Capitalism can be a bitch I guess but I can't help but think that this could have all been avoided if only the folks at Air America commissioned the folks at The Lancet to do a study of their audience numbers. The study would have allowed Air America to boast to potential advertisers that they have an audience three-times the size of Rush Limbaugh.

Of course the numbers from the Lancet study would be bogus and based upon a methodology of not actually measuring listeners but simply asking people if they know of anyone who has heard of anyone who listens to Air America. Still the study would have been effective. Don't laugh. Many well educated lefties would buy the audience numbers from the Lancet hook line and sinker.

Thanos has an idea of how Rush Limbaugh could get involved. I've long been an advocate that Rush should buy some ads on Al Franken's show just to gloat (they would have to book the ads now being in chapter 11 - beggars can't be choosers). How funny would it be if Rush ran a contest for listeners to come up with his commercial to run on Air America?

I guess it turns out that the investors in Air America Radio would have been better off putting their money in jump to conclusions mats.
Tom Smykowski: It's a "Jump to Conclusions mat". You see, you have this mat, with different CONCLUSIONS written on it that you could JUMP TO.
Michael Bolton: That's the worst idea I've ever heard in my life, Tom.
Samir: Yes, this is horrible, this idea.
A horrible idea yes - but not as horrible as Air America Radio.
Tom Glavine

With his stellar performance last night combined with his 6 innings of shutout pitching in the NLDS series - Tom Glavine has lowered his post-season ERA from 3.47 to 3.27. That's quite an accomplishment seeing how his 220 plus innings of post season pitching is just under his average for a full 162-game season.

I think Glavine is a lock for the Hall of Fame. No left handed pitcher with as many or more wins as Glavine has failed to be elected to the Hall. Glavine has 290 wins and next year should top 300. No retired pitcher with 300 wins has been denied entrance to Cooperstown.

Glavine's 15 post season wins also ties him with John Smoltz for the most in baseball history.

Tom Glavine will be enshrined in Cooperstown five years after he retires. You can take that to the bank.
Friday the 13th

The book and movie The DaVinci Code have helped make people aware the the origin of Friday the 13th as a day of bad luck dates back to 1307 when the king of France had the Knights Templar in France all rounded up and arrested on (you guessed it) Friday the 13th. Most of the captured Templars were tortured and killed while the king seized their lands and re-negged on his debts to the organization. Real bad luck for the Templars but good luck for the king.

Less popularly known is that on Friday the 13th in 1917 the "Miracle of the Sun" occurred.
According to many witness statements, after a downfall of rain, the clouds broke and the sun appeared as an opaque, spinning disk in the sky. [10] It was said to be significantly less bright than normal, and cast multicolored lights across the landscape, the shadows on the landscape, the people, and the surrounding clouds. [10] The sun was reported to have careened towards the earth in a zigzag pattern [10], frightening some of those present who thought it meant the end of the world [11]. Witnesses reported that the ground and their previously wet clothes became completely dry. [12]

According to witness reports, the alleged miracle of the sun lasted approximately ten minutes [13]. The three shepherd children, in addition to reporting seeing the actions of the sun that day [14], also reported seeing a panorama of visions, including those of Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and of Saint Joseph blessing the people [15].
Pretty freaky huh?

I think if I saw that - I would have gone to Mass every day for the rest of my life.

I think another bit of Friday the 13th trivia that is interesting to note is the fact that comedian Lenny Bruce and Iron Lady Margaret Thatcher were born on the same day - Friday the 13th 1925. Can you think of two more diametrically opposed people?

Happy Friday the 13th everyone.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Caddyshack (In 30 Seconds and Acted by Bunnies)

Maybe this will get me out of my funk.
Only in Kenya

A little something to bump me out of my funk.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Cory Lidle 1972-2006
Ugarte: Too bad about those two German couriers, wasn't it?
Rick: They got a lucky break. Yesterday they were just two German clerks. Today they're the "Honored Dead".
Ugarte: You are a very cynical person, Rick, if you'll forgive me for saying so.
Rick: [shortly] I forgive you.
I hope you forgive me but that above dialog from the movie Casablanca was among the first things I thought of when I learned it was Corey Lidle and his flight instructor who died in the plane crash in New York City.

Of course my first thought was whether this was a terrorist act or not. Then when I learned that it was Corey Lidle my thoughts went out to his wife and son and how awful it would be for them to learn of his death watching TV in some airport terminal or having some stranger break the news to them.

Then - honestly - my sympathy for Lidle dried up. At one point I even cynically wondered to what ends George Steinbrenner will go to keep the Mets off the back pages of the NY tabloids.

Sorry. Just being honest.

I didn't know Corey Lidle and again to be honest - I wasn't a fan of him as a player. What I do know is that Lidle was an athlete with a multimillion dollar contract and he died engaging in a hobby that is pretty much relegated to the very rich and that he crashed into a building where the condos go for $1 million a pop.

As I said earlier - I feel terrible for Lidle's wife and child but they will be financially set for life (assuming Lidle had insurance on his plane and his net worth won't be lost to lawsuits from the building owners). What about the regular guys working at the Cirrus factory? I'm much more worried about how this will effect them to be bothered feeling sorry for Lidle.

Lidle reportedly died in a Cirrus SR 20. I saw on ESPN where they reported that his plane cost $187,000. That means he either got a deal on a new one or he bought a used plane (the list price for the base model SR 20 is $250,000). For many people this will be the first they ever heard of Cirrus aircraft and the first impression association will not exactly be a positive one. There could be a number of people trying to decide on buying a plane right now and the questions over what caused this crash may lead them to buy a competitive model to the Cirrus SR 20 and that may lead to layoffs at the company.

I admit my concern over the plight of the Cirrus factory workers is not 100% altruistic. My first exposure to the Cirrus SR 20 was in Outside Magazine and when I saw it I knew that some day I wanted to own one. My hope was that personal airplanes would become more popular and that the price would come down to the point where a guy like me could afford one.

When I was a kid - science promised the dawn of flying cars. Now I'm an adult and I want one (or at least a private plane). Corey Lidle probably wished for a flying car when he was a kid too but he was rich enough to make his dream come true. Are we supposed to mourn him for that?

Yesterday Cory Lidle was an average starter on a baseball team in a city where average just isn't good enough. Today Cory Lidle is the honored dead. Excuse me if I don't shed a tear.
What team will Alex Rodriguez be traded to?

Here are the odds on what team Alex Rodriguez will be traded to.If A-Rod is not traded before the first game of the 2007 season - then all bets are off.

Los Angeles Angels 3/1
St. Louis Cardinals 9/2
Boston Red Sox 5/1
Chicago White Sox 7/1
Atlanta Braves 7/1
Chicago Cubs 8/1
Philadelphia Phillies 9/1
Los Angeles Dodgers 9/1
Seattle Mariners 11/1

Field (other MLB not named above and not including the Yankees) 7/2

I don't know why the Cardinals are such favorites. They already have a big ticket 3rd baseman in Scott Rolen who is very popular with the fans.

Odds via BoDog.com
New York Times Propaganda on the Iraqi Death Count

The New York Times has an article that touts that as many as 600,000 civilians may have died of violence since the 2003 US invasion. Personally the only line I found convincing in the story was the final one:
Donald Berry, chairman of biostatistics at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, was even more troubled by the study, which he said had “a tone of accuracy that’s just inappropriate.”
Just this week it was reported that the US Department of Labor had underestimated the number of jobs created in the US from March 2005 to March 2006 by 810,000. So the US Department of Labor with the best available statistical tools is off by 810,000 but we are expected to believe that the numbers collected by a few folks from Johns Hopkins in a war zone can be fairly accurate? No thanks.

You want reason to doubt the accuracy of this study? Consider this line from the article:
The mortality rate before the American invasion was about 5.5 people per 1,000 per year, the study found. That rate rose to 19.8 deaths per 1,000 people in the year ending in June.
The current mortality rate in the US is 8.26 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est. according to the CIA World Handbook). So according to the authors of this study - pre-war Iraq had a lower mortality rate than the US today. Yeah - no reason whatsoever to question the numbers in this study.

Chances are that the pre-war mortality rates in Iraq were double or triple the reported rates. That coupled with the fact that Iraq is a war zone should lead every one to the shocking revelation that the death rate has risen.
Tigers 5 - A's 1

Last night the Tigers took it to the A's in the first game of the ALCS. Barry Zito was the starter for the A's and he got knocked around (5 ER on 7 hits and 3 walks in 3 and 2/3 innings). After Zito out-dueled Johan Santana in the ALDS and the Yankees lost - the "experts" crowed that Zito just earned himself an extra $5 million a year from the Yankees. That line of thinking begs the question - did last night's egg cost him a couple of million a year?

To me Barry Zito has always been a more glamorous Tim Wakefield. Both are innings eating pitchers who rely on offspeed pitches (Zito his sweeping curveball and Wakefield his knuckleball). Both have a tendency to give up a HR (Zito has averaged one per 9.77 innings and Wakefield one per every 7.72 innings) and both have a less than 2-1 career strikeout to walk ratio. Both also have similar WHIP's (Zito 1.25 and Wakefield 1.36).

If Wakefield's knuckleball isn't fooling anyone - chances are good that he'll get shelled. If Zito's curve isn't fooling batters - chances are he'll get shelled too (like last night).

Most of the stats are clearly in Zito's favor but one that isn't may end up being the most important. In his career - Wakefield has an ERA of just 3.15 at Yankee Stadium while Zito has an ERA of 4.24. Don't get me wrong - an ERA of 4.24 at Yankee Stadium vs that great Yankee lineup is pretty impressive - just not Tim Wakefield impressive.

Please don't take this post as a knock on Barry Zito. I just wanted to point out that some Yankee fans may think they're getting the next Sandy Koufax but in reality - they're getting the next Tim Wakefield (and for $15 million plus per year - you'd expect closer to Koufax). This is assuming that Zito signs with the Yankees.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Not Necessarily

ESPN has this AP story on the Twins picking up Torii Hunter's $12 million option for 2007. I have a bone to pick with the lede:
MINNEAPOLIS -- Torii Hunter will be back with the Minnesota Twins for at least one more year.
That's not necessarily the case. The Twins had two choices regarding Hunter - they could pick up his $12 million option or they could have paid him a $2 million buyout. Let me repeat that - letting Hunter walk away would have cost them $2 million.

Now that they have picked up the option on Hunter - the Twins now have two new options; they can keep him around for 2007 or they can trade him to another team. If they trade him then he won't be around in Minnesota for at least one more year will he?

I bring this up because there have been a number of rumors of Hunter getting traded to the Red Sox for Coco Crisp. The Twins could have crisp for 3-years at a total of $15 million or they could have Hunter for one year at $12 million. My guess is that the Twins won't be signing Hunter to a long term contract but the Red Sox could (if they believe that Crisp is not in their plans). Of course maybe the Red Sox make a pitch for Hunter to be their right fielder in which a different set of players is offered to Minnesota.
This is Funny

The Democrats say they support the military and their families but they had to use a "stock photo" to show them showing that support?

Here's the Democrats' site.

Here's where the stock photo came from.

This is a fairly minor thing but the devil is in the details and the Democrats seem to be screwing up the details. I'm also fairly sure that if they needed a "support flag-burning" or "bring the troops home now" picture that they probably wouldn't have needed an outside source for that.

HT Poindexter
Internet Poker and Gambling
The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly. - Abraham Lincoln
Two good takes on the recently passed bill. The first comes from Geoffrey Norman from NRO:
I also assumed that the government had bigger fish to fry. I might have been willing to fly to Las Vegas to make my bets if air travel hadn’t been made into such an ordeal by the TSA (Thousands Standing Around). The pols still had some fine tuning to do there, I thought. Surely they wouldn’t be wasting time and money trying to stamp out gambling online as long as there was a passenger somewhere trying to bring a bottle of shampoo on an airplane in his hand luggage.

But I hadn’t counted on the relentless dedication of the people sent to Washington to do the nation’s business. I’d neglected the strength of their conviction that they know what is best for me, and if I disagree, well then, I’ll just have to go to jail for a while and think about it. I might believe that taking the Patriots and the points against the Bengals (won that one) is harmless and unlikely to cost me more than what some of the K-Street commandos spend on a single cocktail…but what do I know?
The second comes from Dr. Pauly at the Tao of Poker:
Poker players are gamblers at heart and some will take risks to maintain their fix. The world is filled with greedy people and they'll be several ruthless companies who'll flip the bird to the American courts and lawmakers that will take risks to gain access to the subculture of online poker players.

Then I look at a place like my hometown of New York City and try to figue out the future. Without online poker, the demand for new poker rooms and underground clubs will increase dramatically. Some daring entrepreneurs will open up new clubs and the players will come in droves. Whichever ethnic mafia running rooms is about to make a shitload of money in the Big Apple. Of course the police will have to get involved and spend time shutting down the rooms, just like cops in the 1920s busted up bathtub gins and speakeasies.

The right-wingers who were in favor of the anti-online poker legislation pulled out the terrorist card and said that online gambling sites can be a haven for terrorists to launder money. But by banning online poker, the NYPD will have to exhaust their already limited resources on busting up poker games rather than focusing on protecting our city from terrorists... which we're severely underprepared. Instead of cops breaking up terror cells, they'll be wasting their time keeping my brother, F Train, and The Rooster out of poker clubs in Chinatown. By trying to make our nation safer... the suits in Washington made my city more vulnerable.
My take (and my hope) is that there will some sort of backlash. Today a poker player or gambler can get a (fairly) honest game or bet online. If that is denied to them - then they will look toward a local home game for poker or local bookie for betting. If teachers, firemen and just regular Joes start getting arrested or fined - then there will be a political price to pay. It wouldn't surprise me if states started revising their poker laws to allow for home games or for bars to hold "poker nights". Such laws would be fairly popular. It also wouldn't surprise me if the state of Connecticut passed a law allowing the casinos at Foxwoods or Mohegan Sun to start taking bets on pro sports just like Las Vegas. The only thing that prevents that today is the threat of a pro team not wanting to move to Connecticut because of the gaming issue. I think Connecticut can come to grips with the fact that a pro team isn't relocating to Hartford and just go for the millions (possibly billions) in new taxable betting revenue.

If this new law is strictly enforced - then there will be hell to pay for the politicans who put it in place.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Manny for A-Rod?

Ken emailed me and asked me about the potential for a Manny Ramirez for Alex Rodriguez trade and the question got me thinking.

I'll first give my thoughts on a potential Manny for A-Rod trade but then I'll look at the underlying question of whether Manny or A-Rod would be traded in the first place.

I don't see a Manny for A-Rod trade happening because Manny does not fill a need for the Yankees. They have Hideki Matsui, Johnny Damon, Bobby Abreu and Melky Cabrera under contract for outfielders and Jason Giambi under contract at DH. Where would Manny fit in? To make the deal work it would have to be a 2-2 deal - say Mike Lowell and Manny for A-Rod and Melky Cabrera (or Bobby Abreu). That deal would be too complicated to make plus this all hinges on the assumption that the Yankees would deal with the Red Sox in the first place.

I just don't see the Yankees and Red Sox directly swapping stars but that doesn't rule out a three team trade such as Manny going to the Orioles, Miguel Tejada going to the Yankees and A-Rod going to the Red Sox. Since this scenario depends on all three players waiving no-trade provisions and Tejada agreeing to move positions - I don't see it happening.

Now we get to the question of whether the Yankees will trade A-Rod or if the Red Sox will trade Manny.

A-Rod would be best served by being out of NYC but if he did agree to be traded his career would always be dogged by the "can't handle the heat" label. My guess is that he won't agree to be traded and will be in Yankee camp come spring. If he did agree to be traded - the Yankees would have Aramis Ramirez and Nomar Garciaparra available as replacements at 3rd base or they could trade A-Rod for a top 3rd baseman (but why would a team trade for A-Rod if they already have a top 3rd baseman?).

I think the Angels or Cubs (if Aramis Ramirez opts for free agentcy) would be the most likely trade partners for A-Rod if a trade is truly a possibility.

As far as Manny is concerned - I hope he's not traded. This year Manny became a 10/5 player giving him the right to veto any trade. Maybe the only two teams that could both afford the contract and give back talent to the Sox would be the Mets and the Angels. I think the front office wouldn't goof and make a trade with the Mets that included Lastings Milledge who just can't handle Fenway Park. Another possibility would be a Manny for Tejada swap but I don't see that playing out (plus I would hate to be put into the position of rooting for Tejada who I think is a steroids guy).

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Two Heroes

Today is a great day to remember two of America's greatest World War I heroes - Eddie Rickenbacker and Alvin York.

On this day (October 8th) in 1890 - Eddie Rickenbacker was born. Rickenbacker is a personal hero of mine. His was a life of accomplishment. Before the war he was famous but after the war - he was really famous.

Rickenbacker was a famous racecar driver before the war and when he signed up - he was assigned to be General Black Jack Pershing's driver. He essentially begged to become a pilot and to see combat action. He ended up being the American "Ace of Aces" with 26 enemy planes shot down.

After the war he started his own automobile company that incorporated both front wheel drive and four wheel braking. Two improvements that were ridiculed at the time but today are commonplace. He also bought the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (he would own it until 1945) and he helped turn the Indianapolis 500 into the American icon it has become. Rickenbacker's fame only grew when he formed Eastern Airlines and served with distinction in WWII.

It is a shame that he is not still famous today with many people mistaking him for a guy who makes popcorn.

Also on this day in 1918 - Sergeant Alvin York became a household name when he (along with others) killed 32 Germans and captured 132 others in the Argonne Forest in France. York was awarded the Medal of Honor for his deeds (joining Eddie Rickenbacker who also won the nation's highest military award).

Sergeant York's fame was spread by the 1941 movie Sergeant York, with Gary Cooper starring in the title role.

Some people may ask why we don't have heroes like this in today's military. The answer is that we do still have such men but the media today just doesn't celebrate them like they used to. Check out the story of Brian Chontosh for a prime example.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

The Budget Deficit

When you talk about the economy to some Democrats and mention the great numbers in regards to low interest rates, low unemployment and record stock prices - they always come back with the talking points about the budget deficit.

It turns out that the budget deficit is actually running very, very low in historical terms.

We are now well below the the average budget deficit over the last 30 years, which is 2.6%. And look at that trend over the last 3 years. It's better than anyone predicted as recently as 6 months ago. You can see that we had a surplus during the Clinton years, but everyone agrees that it was an illusion due in large part to the stock market bubble that finally burst shortly after Bush took office. The end of that speculative market, the attacks of 9/11, and the subsequent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq all took their toll on the federal budget. Viewed in that light, it is simply amazing that the deficit is as small as it is now.
We are living in a boom time. Its morning in America again.

HT Instapundit
Buck O'Neil

I feel compelled to write something about the death of Buck O'Neil.

But I don't think anything I could write would do justice to such a great human being.

Buck O'Neil has always been and always shall be a Hall of Famer in my heart.

90 years ago today (October 7th) - Georgia Tech beat Cumberland University 222-0 in a college football game. So if you had Cumberland and 221 points - YOU LOST!

The biggest point spread for today's games is 37 points.

Ohio State is favored by 37 over Bowling Green and Boise State is favored over Louisiana Tech also by 37. Given the anniversary of the Georgia Tech / Cumberland game - I wouldn't be surprised if both Ohio State and Boise State covered.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Top 5 Seinfeld Episodes of All-Time

1. The Contest (I'm out!)
2. The Fusilli Jerry (AKA The Assman episode)
3. The Marine Biologist (It was an angry sea)
4. The Opposite (Bizarro George)
5. The Rye (Beefarino!)
Morning Chuckles

Three things that made me chuckle this morning

Mute Tourettes Syndrome (HT Straight White Guy)

No Tennessee Parent Left Behind

Worst Bowler Ever
Iron Man

Tony Stark makes you feel
He's a cool exec with a heart of steel
Those are the opening lines to the theme song from the old Iron Man cartoon. Why am I bringing this up? Because last week it was announced that Robert Downey Jr. has been chosen to play Tony Stark in the upcoming (2008) Iron Man movie. This news has not been well received by fans of the super hero. Never mind the fact that in the Marvel Universe Tony Stark was in his early 20's when he created his Iron Man persona and Downey Jr. is 41.
Downey Jr. makes you think
He's a washed up actor from pills and drink
Tony Stark is supposed to be young and dynamic - like Christian Bale in Batman Begins. With this choice of lead actor - it is almost a guaranty that special effects will have to take front and center if this movie is to be any type of success.

I think the fact that Robert Downey Jr. was a bad choice as Tony Stark is highlighted by the fact that the MySpace discussion group set up by director Jon Favreau has been down for days since the announcement. I guess Favreau got sick of reading posts titled "What the Fuji were you thinking casting Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark?"

I'm not willing to say that this casting decision was as bad as Sofia Coppola as Mary Corleone in Godfather III but I am saying that I'm the type of person who would be excited to see the movie but Downey Jr. as Tony Stark has acted like a cold bucket of water on my enthusiasm.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Political Odds

Two interesting political proposition bets to consider.

First - lets take another look at Joe Lieberman's chances of winning re-election this November as an independent. Today the odds of him winning re-election are:

YES [winning the election] -$280
NO [losing election] +$185

That means you would have to risk $280 to win $100 betting that Lieberman wins and risk just $100 to win $185 saying he'll lose. These odds are interesting because just two weeks ago (September 21) the odds were:

YES [winning the election] -$135
NO [losing election] -$105

That was almost even money that he'd win or lose. Today's odds make Lieberman a huge favorite to win re-election. Today's odds also return Lieberman to roughly the same odds he was at back on August 24th. I have no idea what caused the odds to dip two weeks ago or what caused them to return to the level that probably should have been at today. It's curious to say the least.

Another interesting political proposition bet is whether House Speaker Dennis Hastert will resign from his position as Speaker of the House by October 31st, 2006.

YES [he'll resign] Even
NO [he won't resign] -$140

I really haven't been following the Congressman Foley affair (because I have a life) so I don't really have an opinion on this but I thought I'd pass it on.
Funny and Sad

I found this site funny and sad at the same time. It was funny for obvious reasons. I mean just read this:
I see successful people and want to become like them. I understand that I spend most of my time in masturbation and that they don't and I am willing to take the action to overcome this habit once for all.
As if the difference between Donald Trump and some regular real estate guy is the difference in how often they masturbate. This question from the FAQ also made me chuckle:
Do I need special equipment?
Special equipment like what? A male chastity belt? A hammer? I mean one good whack could put a real damper on shaking hands with the bishop.

I found the site sad because I know that some of the readers of A Large Regular probably looked at that site and said, "You know I really do need to get my chronic masturbating in hand."

HT Something Awful