Monday, February 28, 2011

Oscars Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations about last night's Academy Awards.

Seeing the for some reason bald-headed Geoffrey Rush sitting behind Colin Firth I couldn't help but hope that for their next film together that Geoffrey Rush would play Colonel Klink while Colin Firth would play Colonel Hogan in a movie version of Hogan's Heroes... OK I'll say it - Gwyneth Paltrow the singer is to Gwyneth Paltrow the actress what Chris Gaines was to Garth Brooks... Peter O'Toole was nominated for Best Actor 8 times. He never won... Good for Christian Bale for winning Best Supporting Actor but he's really a leading actor while John Hawkes is the perfect supporting actor in my opinion. This is like Ichiro playing on a Triple A team just so he can win the International League Batting Title. Speaking of Hawkes - I wonder if he makes an appearance on Justified this season (reuniting Sol Star and Seth Bullock)... If the Oscars really want a Bob Hope type to host then they should get Rich Eisen from the NFL Network. Eisen started off as a stand-up comedian and he's always reminded me of Bob Hope... Billy Crystal is about to turn 63 in March but I'm guessing next year he'll look older than Kirk Douglas... OK I'll say it! Oprah has humongous boobs! Yeah boobs!... Last night they had a piece on people's favorite songs from Oscar winning movies. They never mentioned mine. My favorite movie song was It Puts the Lotion in the Basket from Silence of the Lambs (the Musical)... My WTF moment last night was when Cate Blanchette saying The Lord of the Rings would have been unimaginable without the person who did the makeup. Personally my imagining of the book was much better than what ended up on screen. I'm guessing that's the same for any LOTR fan... OK I'll say it! Am I the only one who forgot that Kirk Douglas was still alive?... Gabriel Byrne would make a great Oscars host but he's not hip enough. Too bad for some reason ABC thinks they have to cater to people who think Paddy Chayefsky is some sort an expensive Scotch whiskey. That's why we get James Franco... Did you know that Orson Welles did not win Best Actor for Citizen Kane and neither did Humphrey Bogart for Casablanca?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Brian Cox, Brian May, Brian Cox, Howard Jones and Bryan Cox

When I saw this article about a rock-star scientist, my first thought was "Hey what has Brian May, the Queen guitarist turned astrophysicist done now?"

Then when I saw the name of Brian Cox - my next thought was "The guy who originally played Hannibal Lecktor in the Manhunter movie, the guy who was the villain in the second X-Men movie?" Obviously I was wrong.

This Brian Cox I recognized from the show Wonders Of The Solar System on the Science Channel. It was a really interesting show but I never knew the host of the show's name until I read the article I linked above.

When I saw that Brain Cox was the keyboardist in a band called D:ream - I was honestly confused. First how do you pronounce the name of that friggin band? Is it "D" Ream or is it "Dream"? Secondly the article says their 1994 number 1 hit was Things Can Only Get Better but wait wasn't that a Howard Jones song from like 1985? I looked up the D:Ream song and honestly thought it was crap but then again what do I know? I mean after admitting that I enjoy the music of Howard Jones am I really in any position to judge?

I any case - make sure you read the linked article or I'll have this Bryan Cox kick your ass.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Two and a Half Men Guest Stars

I think they should keep making Two and a Half Men episodes but with a different person playing Charlie Sheen's role each week. First week I'd have Ellen DeGeneres. How funny would that be?

Next episode I'd do a complete 180 and have Ernest Bognine. See the potential for this idea? Just have the guest star where a Charlie Sheen wig and a bowling shirt and let them roll. You could even go American idol on this and have people vote on who the next person to play Charlie would be. This could completely reboot the series and make life without Charlie Sheen so easy to take. Plus the production costs would decrease (which means additional profits for the show's owners).

So let it be written - so let it be done!
Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

This is an example of why David Ortiz is so well liked. According to Rob Bradford, today Ortiz went out of his way to shake the hands of every member of the Boston College baseball team who had gathered around the cage to watch Big Papi hit batting practice... I have to admit that I have never considered Jackie Kennedy to be attractive. Just never saw the big deal... Supposedly Jacquizz Rodgers measured UNDER 5-foot-6 at the NFL Combine. Just as an aside - Maurice Jone-Drew is listed at 5'8"... They couldn't remake the TV show The Six Million Dollar Man today because NASA no longer employs astronauts... Igor, Come!... Jerry Remy was asking for nicknames for Jacoby Ellsbury and I figured why not call Ellsbury "The Beav" since he's best position player ever from Oregon State and he's also a chick magnet. I think it's a perfect nickname... Bob Ryan says Jeff Green may be "the young Antonio McDyess; something like that" - that's high praise indeed... Attitudes Towards Poverty: Differing definitions in the U.S. and Europe. I think these attitudes speak volumes about the different outlooks. I do not want us to become more like Europe... Just saying but many of people complaining about Kendrick Perkins being traded are same ones who last year wanted Celtics to trade Ray Allen at the trade deadline... Fear of Clowns?...

Friday, February 25, 2011

Celtics Trade

Yesterday the Boston Celtics traded Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson to Oklahoma City for Jeff Green, Nenad Krstic (jeez buy a vowel) and a first round pick from the Clippers. I like the trade both looking at the numbers and looking at the track record of Danny Ainge.

If Kendrick Perkins was a baseball player he'd be Trot Nixon. A homegrown talent known more for his toughness, grittiness and his clubhouse chemistry than his actual production. Kendrick Perkins is a 10 point, 8 rebound guy who is a superior defender. Glen Davis is a 11 point, 5 rebound guy who is also a very tough presence (and offensive foul magnet - nobody in the league takes more charges than Big Baby). The fact of the matter is this summer both players are free agents and the team would only be able to sign one of these guys and it looks like with this trade they made their choice. If that choice was based upon talent or signability or both I don't know but I think Danny Ainge has earned our trust that he knows what he's doing.

Nenad Krstic isn't the player Perkins is but he isn't nothing. Many commentators on the deal are either completely discounting him or forgetting he was part of the deal. Krstic is an upgrade over Semih Erden (which explains why Erden was expendable).

Many people insist that if the Celtics had a healthy Kendrick Perkins for last year's game 7 against the Lakers that they would have won. I think the reason the Celtics lost had more to do with the Big 3 being gassed in the 4th quarter than missing the presence of Perkins. Jeff Green will help keep Paul Pierce and Ray Allen fresh and this point goes to the fact that many of the people who are deriding this trade keep asking about how the Celtics are going to deal with Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic in the playoffs. News flash - the Celtics are still the better team and I really don't think the Magic get past the Miami Heat anyway. Jeff Green helps the Celtics match up better against the Heat (a point that seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle).

As far as Nate Robinson - well I was never a Nate Robinson guy. I guess Doc Rivers and Danny Aigne feel comfortable with the health of Delonte West. And shouldn't they know best?

The long and short of it is Jeff Green may stick around and if he doesn't he helps the Celtics match up with the Heat better while it is most likely that the Celtics would have lost Kendrick Perkins this summer but at now they get a first round pick. Don't forget about this pick! It belongs to the Clippers so I'm guessing it will be somewhere between the 10th and 20th pick of the 2012 NBA Draft. Kendrick Perkins was the 27th pick the year he was drafted and Big Baby went in the 2nd round (coincidently the Celtics got a 2nd round pick from Cleveland for Erden). Five years from now it could be the best player in this deal ends up being the player taken with the draft pick.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

By my count - including states with former CBA teams - Isaiah Thomas has directly alienated the people of 19 states (and counting)... What historically will prove to be the worse investment? A fund run by Bernie Madoff or the Spiderman Broadway show?... I hate Isaiah Thomas! I hate him too! I hate him! He destroys cities! *Please*! This isn't your fault. I'll get you some pants... Sugar Bear was the Post Super Sugar Crisp mascot who spoke just like Bing Crosby. Kids today don't know Bing Crosby, Sugar Bear or Sugar Crisp. I'm old... I wonder if Cam Newton is getting his public relations advice from Isaiah Thomas... I've had perhaps over 100 different types of cereal but I'd be hard pressed to tell difference between Sugar Smacks and Honey Crisp... Remember, what happens in negotiations with Isaiah Thomas stays with Isaiah Thomas. Except for herpes. That shit'll come back with you... I've seen commercial for dieting product called FullBar several times now but every time I see it I hear "Fubar" instead of "FullBar"... Just a reminder - Leo McGarry knew how to correctly spell "Qaddafi". The NY Times crossword editor did not... Also as a reminder - in 1798 George Washington was the largest single producer of alcohol in the US... Who knew - William Petersen (Gil Grissom from CSI) was offered the role of Henry Hill in the movie Goodfellas but turned it down... Speaking of commercials - I saw a Jenny Craig commercial that talked about measuring calories in and calories "out". Does that mean what I think it means? Gross... Off your rocker means crazy but I haven't been on a rocker in years

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Libya and Broadcast News

Muammar Gaddafi and Libya have been in the news the past few days. Normally when I think of Libya or Gaddafi - I think of three things:

1. The US Marines (and the shores of Tripoli)
2. Ronald Reagan ordering the bombing of Libya in response to the bombing of a West Berlin disco which killed two American servicemen
3. The 1987 movie Broadcast News where Tom's big break comes during an emergency involving a Libyan fighter pilot bombing a US base in Egypt

I was looking for the quote in the movie where they described Gaddafi as "presidential" when I came across the entire script for the movie. Last night I was hooked - I had to read the whole thing. I came away surprised.

I've seen the movie perhaps a dozen times and my take-away has always been that the movie was a defense of journalistic ethics and the demise of those ethics in modern TV media. I am not sure if it was even intentional but reading the actual script you can't come away not liking Tom Grunick. The people defending journalistic ethics come off as jerks who are more likely defending their intellectual superiority more than anything else.

Tom is written as everyman - except much better looking. He becomes successful not just because he's good looking though but because he's a decent person who treats people with respect. In the script Tom gets an important source of hard news because he simply treats the person nicely while Aaron (Albert Brooks in the movie) is dismissive of the person as not worth his time. While others treat the female reporter Jennifer as a tramp who slept her way to her position - Tom treats her as the girl next door. The assistant producer who is the butt of everyone’s joke he treats with respect. He’s the only one to ask the opinion of the guy who runs the editing machine. In the script Aaron is taken aback when Tom helps him because such camaraderie is foreign to him. Tom is the only decent person (besides his father) in the script.

Aaron ends up thinking Tom is the Devil because in his world the Golden Rule doesn't apply when you always consider yourself the smartest person in the room.

I couldn't help but think how much has changed since the movie came out in 1987. A Tom Grunick couldn't exist today because the role and influence of broadcast news has been so diminished. A Tom Grunick of today probably would have stayed in sports and if the movie Broadcast News came out today it would be a complete flop.

Monday, February 21, 2011


Today marks a very important date - the anniversary of one of those things that changed the world forever. On February 21st in 1916 - the Battle of Verdun was begun. This battle was to change the course of Western Civilization.

The idea for the battle was from German Chief of Staff, Erich von Falkenhayn. He believed that if he could take-out France with a major set battle and discourage England to a point that Germany could be in a position to negotiate very favorable terms. To accomplish his goals - Falkenhayn proposed unrestricted submarine warfare to starve Britain and a knockout blow against France at Verdun. With this major battle at Verdun, Falkenhayn hoped to "bleed France white".

It was an ambitious plan - an aggressive plan. Falkenhayn knew that to attack at Verdun he'd have to take resources away from the Eastern Front and that unrestricted submarine warfare ran the risk of bringing the U.S. into the war. Falkenhayn reasoned that Russia was on the brink of revolution and internal civil war in Russia would allow them to take those resourses from the Eastern Front and that the decisive blow to France would come before the US was dragged into the war. He was right on the former but wrong on the latter.

Verdun seemed the perfect place to attack. It actually jutted out into the German lines - so it could be attacked from three sides. It was also of historical and psychological significance to Frenchmen (somewhat akin to what the Alamo is to Americans).

The job of attacking Verdun fell to German Crown Prince Wilhelm. He planned to assault the town from both side of the surrounding Meuse River but that plan vetoed by Falkenhayn. After coming up with a daring, aggressive plan - Falkenhayn was suddenly cautious. Falkenhayn ordered the attack to be confined to one side of the river. Similar to a poker game, Falkenhayn was beaten on the river. Falkenhayn had pocket Aces of a plan but he failed to put enough chips at risk to drive the other player out. By not being aggressive when he should have he gave France free cards and allowed himself and Germany to literally be beaten on the river.

With so many people who eventually died in the battle, a poker analogy may seem flip but the fact is the Germans had one million troops against 200,000 defenders. They did hold Aces before the battle.

When the attack finally began, the Germans bomarded Verdun with 1,400 guns that rained Verdun with 100,000 shells every hour. The Germans failed to immediately follow up the bombardment with an full-scale infantry attack and what resulted was a stalemate which was to last for months and months.

The dead and wounded from both sides piled up so that both countries were being "bled white". The French begged Britain to open up a diversionary attack elsewhere on the Western Front to drain resources and men away from Verdun on the German side. Thus the Battle of the Somme was born.

By the time the battle of Verdun ended almost one million casualties had been inflicted in roughly equal numbers for both sides. The Battle of the Somme resulted in about 1.1 million casualties (about 400,000 British, 200,000 French and 500,000 German). The unrestricted submarine warfare resulted in the Americans being dragged into the War (remember that President Woodrow Wilson was elected on a peace platform). The American joined the fight just as both sides were literally exhausted from being "bled white" from Verdun and the Somme and the rest is history (including the harsh terms imposed on Germany that led to the rise of Adolph Hitler and the Nazi Party).

I just wanted to make sure an anniversary this important to the course of Western Civilization did not pass without proper mention.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


It's been 30 years to the day since Bonn Scott passed away. It's a Long Way to the Top may just be the perfect rock and roll song. Bonn Scott remains one of the great "what if's" in rock history.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Fascinating - Rudy Guiliani's impact on Law & Order's conviction rate... Just saying but the Latin you took in high school to improve your SAT scores is much more useful in real life than the ballroom dancing your wife made you take after you were married... I agree 100% with Bruce Allen on the release of Bob Sanders by the Colts: "Can you imagine if Bill Belichick released a star player over Twitter, like the Colts did? The vitriol would be off the charts"... Life lessons from science - at the event horizon a negative particle gets sucked into a black hole while a positive particle escape. I'm going to do my best be a positive particle... Awkward ad... The Wisconsin teacher walkout could have the effect of more support across the country for school vouchers. Good!... I scream, you scream... Today would have been John Hughes' 61st birthday. Everyone knows his great hits but to me his Only the Lonely and She's Having a Baby remain both vastly under-rated and personal favorites... This does look like a good idea... Maybe people have blacked out any memory of him or maybe because he came and went so fast but Michael Smith from BYU should be on the list since he was the 13th pick in 1989 draft and he was actually publicized by some as the next Larry Bird - Top College Players Who Failed in NBA

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Heh Heh

I couldn't even think of anything to say after watching that. It was that funny!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

The Yankees have to give CC Sabathia an extension or redo his 7-year $152 million contract. There are no aces available in the 2012 free agent class and CC would make a fortune. I am amused by the situation because it seems like the perfect storm of controversy and unmet expectations is brewing for New York this season... Am I a heretic for wanting to own this painting? I also have to note that a Christian can look at that an laugh while if it was Mohammed and not Christ - a fatwah would be issued for the artist's death... The things you learn on the Internet (via Mental Floss): "Replacement players used during the 1987 NFL strike included current Saints coach Sean Payton, UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel, and Suge Knight"... I am trying to think of a more despicable athlete from my lifetime than Art Schlichter and I can only think of Rae Carruth and OJ. Schlichter was just charged with felony for allegedly ripping off Columbus widow for more than $1 million... The Patriots will be retiring Drew Bledsoe's #11 in 2011 - kind of symmetrical if you think about it. Bledsoe is also eligible for the Football Hall of Fame starting this year. I think he deserves to be voted in... As a pretty much hard and fast rule - real men should wear neither Capri pants nor yoga pants. So let it be written, so let it be done... Congratulations to Bill Russell who is getting the Presidential Medal of Freedom today. It still bugs me that there is no statue to Russell in Boston...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Albert Pujols

Tom Verducci makes some excellent points in discussing Albert Pujols.
The biggest obstacle between Albert Pujols and a contract extension with the Cardinals is age -- and more specifically, what clubs know about how players age in the Testing Era. Pujols will play next season at 32, so an Alex Rodriguez-styled 10-year deal would pay him boatloads of money through his age 41 season. Look around baseball: The days of the superstar player in his late 30s are over.
While I agree in general with Verducci's thinking I also think there's something fundamentally wrong with a comparison that in any way lumps Albert Pujols in with Raul Ibanez.

The real comparisons to Albert Pujols are some of the hitting greats of history. If you look at OPS+ (which is perhaps the best stat to use when comparing players from different points in time) you find that great hitters also pretty much also had great longevity. Babe Ruth played until he was 40; Ted Williams until he was 41, Barry Bonds until he was 42, Lou Gehrig until he was 36, Rogers Hornsby until he was 41, Mickey Mantle until he was 36 and Ty Cobb until he was 41.

I think you can toss out Barry Bonds for obvious reasons and I'm hoping that Albert Pujols doesn't develop Lou Gehrig's disease which cut down the Yankee great in his prime. That leaves Mickey Mantle among Pujols' compatibles in OPS+ who did not play until at least 40 years old. Obviously Mantle playing the outfield with bad knees pretty much ended his career but Pujols is a first baseman which is much less demanding. And I'm guessing that Pujols doesn't have some of Mantle's self-destructing tendencies.

What I'd suggest is a 10-year deal starting this season (rip up the 2011 agreement) which would pay Pujols $30 million per year. That gets Pujols to 40-years old still in a Cardinals uniform. The two sides could even work out a deferment schedule that makes the contract less onerous.

Keep in mind that Stan Musial played for St. Louis until he was 42. I think Albert Pujols has much more in common with Stan the Man than Raul Ibanez.
Hallmark Recordable Storybook

Have you seen the commercial for the Hallmark recordable storybook? It's the one where the grandfather is acting out the stories for the grandson and the recordable storybooks allow the grandson to hear grandpa even after "he returns to Nevada."

I can't help but think of the backstory to the commercial. Why is grandpa staying with the parents in the first place? How come you don't see the parents in the commercial? Here's what I think - grandpa got into a little bit of trouble over gambling debts and has to lay low at the kid's parents house until he can come up with the scratch which allows him to return to Nevada. You don't see the parents because they aren't really happy with grandpa.

Maybe I'm reading too much into the commercial.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Top 5 - Peter Gabriel Songs

Today is Peter Gabriel's 58th birthday and in his honor here are what I consider his top 5 songs.

1. Solsbury Hill
2. Red Rain
3. Here Comes the Flood (Shaking the Tree version)
4. In Your Eyes
5. (tie) Big Time (tie) I Have the Touch

Just missing the list San Jacinto, D.I.Y., Come Talk to Me, Love to be Loved and Don't Give Up. For your enjoyment - here's Peter singing Here Comes the Flood.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Player Comparison

I was intrigued by a comparison of two players who have been in the news these past few months:

Player A: 2150 G/ 449 HR/ 1529 RBI/ .297 BA/ 149 OPS+
Player B: 2035 G/ 473 HR/ 1512 RBI/ .280 BA/ 138 OPS+

Player A recently was up for his first year of Hall of Fame eligibility and his lower than expected vote total upset many stats oriented folks. Player B is considering a comeback but has not played in the Major Leagues since logging 26 games in 2009. Of course Player A is Jeff Bagwell while Player B is Carlos Delgado.

I was surprised by how close the numbers were for the two players (except really for OPS+ which seems close but Bagwell is tied for 34th all-time while Delgado is tied for 83rd). What has me curious is whether Delgado will get close to the support Bagwell got. Heck he may even get more since very few have ever connected Delgado with steroids allegations while that has been a constant thought regarding Bagwell.

Like I said - I just found the comparison interesting.
Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting and thought I'd share.

- Heroes

- Norm McDonald in and Gabe Kaplan out at High Stakes Poker - not happy about this but I will still watch

- The time George H.W. Bush took Mubarak to an Orioles game

- So wrong but yet so funny
Ray Allen and the 3-Point Crown

Congrats to Ray Allen who became the NBA all-time leader in 3-pointers during Thursday's game against the Lakers. Celtics fans like me are very excited for Ray but yet during the game I kept having two thoughts.

First - Ray Allen's real first name is Walter. Ray is his middle name. Why doesn't he use Walter?

Secondly - I couldn't help but wonder what Pistol Pete Maravich's career would have been like if the 3-pointer existed from the day he joined the NBA. There's no doubt in my mind that if the 3-pointer existed for the NBA in 1970 and if Maravich had the benefit of modern medicine for his knees that he would have set a mark that would have been tough to touch. Consider that the 3-pointer didn't exist in the NBA until Pete Maravich's final season when he was at the end of the line and broken down. He hit 10-15 of his 3's that season for a .667 shooting percentage. For his career Ray Allen has hit .398 percent of his 3's. Think about that .667 shooting percentage for a minute. I know it's a small sample size but holy crap.

Also - Ray Allen was not the only player chasing a milestone Thursday. With his 15 points Paul Pierce passed Bob Pettit for 36th place on all-time NBA scoring list.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Gerald Ford was eaten by wolves and he was delicious... Reportedly Theo Epstein said today that he wouldn't bet against Josh Beckett this season. It seems to me that the natural follow up question would be "who he would bet against?" No reporter at the press conference asked the question... Wow - I never knew that Aspartame was so bad for you. I'll be sure to start checking labels to eliminate it from my diet... Lady Beiber would be a good name for a band... WSOP Champion Peter Eastgate returns to poker... It just occurred to me that Rio de Janeiro means "River of January". I wonder if somewhere there's a Río de Febrero?... Cool - George Bernard Shaw's rotating shed. David McCullough also did his writing out of a shed but it did not rotate...

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Derek Jeter and the Yankees

With Derek Jeter's performance last year and the discussion of him potentially moving from shortstop to another position I got to wondering about how settled the position was for the Yankees before Jeter took over. What I found is that the position was worse for the pre-Jeter Yankees than it has been for the post-Nomar Red Sox:

- 1995 Tony Fernandez
- 1994 Mike Gallego
- 1993 Spike Owen
- 1992 Andy Stankiewicz
- 1991-1989 Alvaro Espinoza

Look at that list and ask just who do people think will displace Derek Jeter at shortstop? There are no real options in the 2012 free agent class and what do they have in the minors? Eduardo Nunez? Cito Culver? I don't think so.

Don't get me wrong - as a objective baseball fan I think that for all his faults Derek Jeter is by far the best option for the Yankees at short but as a Red Sox fan I hope this "controversy" continues throughout the season.
The NFL and Fraud

Many people are having fun with the NFL trying to make some sort of restitution to the 400 people who were sold tickets to seats that did not exist for the Super Bowl. I have to wonder if the NFL is trying to be so accommodating because they are afraid of a lawsuit or worse. I can't hep wondering if what the NFL did was criminal.

It seems to me that what happened to those 400 people seems to fit the definition of all sorts of fraud; wire fraud, bait and switch, and false advertising just off the top of my head. According to Wikipedia:
Common law fraud has nine elements:
a representation of an existing fact;
its materiality;
its falsity;
the speaker's knowledge of its falsity;
the speaker's intent that it shall be acted upon by the plaintiff;
plaintiff's ignorance of its falsity;
plaintiff's reliance on the truth of the representation;
plaintiff's right to rely upon it; and
consequent damages suffered by plaintiff.
Am I wrong or did what the NFL did to those 400 people meet all 9 criteria?
Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting and thought I'd share.

- My new goal in life is to beat Jack Ury's record as the oldest ever participant in the WSOP

- ESPN promo featuring Chris Farley as Christian Laettner - a fat, less athletic Christian Laettner

- Do you need any copywriting?

- Wow - Tony Hawk is either sexually myopic or a real man-whore

- Nathan Fillion gets to be Green Lantern!

- The Catholic Church Gives Blessing to Confession iPhone App

- One of the few things that all 50 states agree on

- Very interesting read in Vanity Fair on Mark Wahlberg and Stephen "Lev" Levinson's rise as power producers in Hollywood

- Walton Goggins talks "Justified" and "The Shield" with Alan Sepinwall

- 30 Rock Rocks

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Joe Posnanski

The always interesting Joe Posnanski has a post up looking at Hall of Fame pitchers through the prism of which year they were born. It is a great read but I do have one nit to pick with the article.

He started off by talking about the round numbers that normally denote a Hall of Famer. For pitchers he notes 300 wins and 3,000 strikeouts. He then says the following:
And the players coming with 300 wins or 3,000 Ks will all sail into the Hall of Fame with the possible exceptions of Clemens (and any other pitcher deemed to be PED stained) and Schilling (who has 3,000 Ks but only 216 wins which makes him borderline).
Emphasis added because I thought only people like Joe Morgan not people like Joe Posnanski thought that wins and losses were the measuring stick for a pitcher's greatness.

The seeming hypocrisy regarding Curt Schilling pops up later in Posnanski's post in the advocacy of Billy Pierce:
He [Billy Pierce] only won 211 games in his career, and his 3.27 ERA, while good on its own, doesn’t really do him justice (his 119 ERA+ is better than Steve Carlton or Nolan Ryan).
Wait - Schilling has that supposedly magic number of 3,116 strikeouts but is borderline because he has just 216 wins. That's 5 more wins than Billy Pierce in a similar number of innings pitched (3,261 for Schilling vs 3,306 for Pierce). And if you want to talk about ERA+ then Schilling's 128 is better than Pierce, Steve Carlton and Nolan Ryan along with Jim Palmer, John Smoltz, Juan Marichal, Bob Feller and Don Drysdale among others.

EDIT: Per Joe - he is on record as supporting Curt Schilling when he comes up for election. I was probably just reading too much into things (as usual)

Saturday, February 05, 2011

The Real Reagan

In honor of what would have been President Reagan's 100th birthday tomorrow.

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Happy Birthday to Henry Aaron! Hammering Hank, one of the classiest guys in baseball, turns 77 today...Very cool pictures of the world’s biggest cave which was discovered in Vietnam. I'm proud of myself that I didn't make a Madonna crack but I do have to question the timing of this with James Cameron's movie Sanctum just being released... Hah hah - this woman is awesome... According to reports - the Yankees have signed Eric Chavez to a minor league deal. Normally I'd think of this as a low risk high potential reward move but honestly this move has me scratching my head. On the Yankees end do they do this because they have questions about Alex Rodriguez's health? On the A's end - why didn't they offer Chavez a minor league deal? It would make more sense for him to stay with that organization unless the A's have just had all they wanted out of Chavez and didn't see the point... It turns out that the guy who robbed the Bellagio of an estimated $1.5 million was caught basically because he's an idiot... As a Red Sox fan I am please to hear that Robinson Cano has hired Scott Boras as his agent. Boras will really stick it to the Yankees and as great as I think Cano is I have to wonder if he'll keep his drive once he gets his huge contract... A new report suggests that polygamous mice have more "agile" sperm. I really don't care about the science here - I was just amused by the phrase "polygamous mice". That would make a great name for a band... Hah hah - ESPN's Buster Olney: "The Mets' best defense in Madoff suit: We signed Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo to $60m deals-and WE were supposed to sniff out Ponzi scheme?"... So wrong but so funny... Amused to think that people who run into him on the street will now tell Rob Lowe to "stop pooping" because of his role on Parks and Recreation. They used to say "stop filming underage girls"... With all the waivers being given to opt out of Obamacare isn't next step to just offer waivers to the states and let all 57 just opt out too?

Friday, February 04, 2011

Curt Schilling vs Andy Pettitte

I happened to hear a debate on WEEI regarding Andy Pettitte's chance for the Baseball Hall of Fame vs Curt Schilling's chances. One major thing they overlooked while I was listening was the fact that Curt Schilling has over 3,000 strikeouts for his career.

Now I don't happen to think that Andy Pettitte is a Hall of Fame player but I do think Schilling is just over the threshold. I think it is his 3,116 strikeouts that put Schilling over the top (Pettitte had just 2,251).

There have been just 16 players in baseball history with more than 3,000 strikeouts. Of that number 10 are already in the Hall of Fame. The other players have names like Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz and Curt Schilling. That group pretty much says it all. I know that as the strikeout lost its stigma to batters that it became easier for pitchers to get a K but also consider that this change in attitude also coincided with a move to a five-man rotation.

Think of it this way - there have been 27 players with 3,000 hits in baseball history making 3,000 strikeouts the more rare feat. For another comparison - players like Marquis Grissom and Jose Cruz finished with 2,251 hits (the number of K's Pettitte had). Now Cruz and Grissom were good players but I don't think anyone would argue they were Hall of Fame players.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Is Andy Pettitte a Hall of Fame Pitcher?

Is Andy Pettitte a Hall of Fame Pitcher? The answer to that is - no he is not.

Pettitte has 240 wins, a career ERA of 3.88 (ERA+ of 117) and just 2,251 strikeouts. Those are not Hall of Fame numbers.

His supporters will point out that he has more post season wins than any player in history. His detractors will point out that he also had the most post season starts. They will point out that Jack Morris had a better post season ERA and is better known for his post season exploits but that isn't helping Morris into the Hall.

His Yankee supporters will point out that he was great for the Yankees. His detractors will point out that Mike Mussina had a better career and if Mussina isn't in the Hall five years from now what chance does Andy have?

His supporters will say Andy was one of the nicest and most humble men in baseball. His detractors will point out that he was also a steroids cheat.

Today there is a groundswell among his supporters that Andy is a Hall of Fame player. The bottom line is five years from now the reality that he is not will have set in.
Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting and thought I'd share.

- Bellagio robber who stole $1.5 mil in chips got caught - he was the son of a judge who I'm guessing won't be re-elected. Heidi Almasebe the judge's opponent in the election has to be one of the happiest people in Las Vegas this morning.

- The Volkswagen "Force" commercial is pretty funny

- Awesome - McBain: The Movie

- Couldn't agree more - What's the difference between regular coffee and decaf?

- Mickey Mantle was a funny guy

- 12 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About The Movie ‘Groundhog Day’

- Cool Samsung stunt: Paper Planes Launched in Germany Fly Around the Globe

- The Big Lebowski and other movies in the style of Little Golden Books

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Movie Hitmen Part 2

Can't stop thinking about movie hitmen. It occurred to me that no list would be complete with out Leon from The Professional played by Jean Reno. He was one of the most badass of all hitmen in this classic.

Other hitmen worthy of note:

- If you think of it - Martin Sheen's Captain Willard in Apocalypse Now was basically a hitman
- Salino from The Sting was the first "wait the hitman is a hitwoman" twist I can recall in a film.
- Speaking of women hitmen - what about Kathleen Turner in Prizzi's Honor?

I know there are others that I'm overlooking and that's bugging me still.
Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Supposedly CNN's Anderson Cooper was punched 10 times in head by a mob in Egypt. This could have nothing to do with the protests in Egypt it could be an issue of Cooper being an openly gay man in a Muslim country. Cooper is in much more danger going to a Middle Eastern Muslim country than he ever was braving a hurricane. Wouldn't be surprised if CNN had Cooper do a tour of those countries hoping something happened just so that they could get some good ratings... Very interesting story. Sort of the anti-Ari Gold (or I guess Ari Emanuel)... February is Black History Month and Dunkin Donuts makes it Chocolate Lovers Month? Is that some sort of code?... With the Yankees signing all these has-been starters to minor league deals - you know they have placed several calls to Mike Mussina just to see if he's been working out... The things you learn via the Internet (via Mental Floss): "Although it's featured on California's state flag, the grizzly bear has been extinct in the state since the 1920s"... Holy crap - this guy is badass. Good for him. Is it bad that now I'll think of him each time I fire up a Gurkha cigar?... Julio Lugo was the Meister Brau of Red Sox shortstops. Just thinking of him leaves a bad taste in my mouth and gives me a headache... The new NFL overtime rules could play havoc with Super Bowl pools. The final score payouts and score change payouts could be chaos... I was praying that Ben Roethlisberger would be quoted saying "Giggity giggity" during yesterday's Super Bowl media day. No such luck...

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Movie Hitmen

I hate sloppy lists and I found this list of movie hitmen to be awfully sloppy. I found myself driven to post just to get thinking of the sloppy list off my mind (like getting a crappy song stuck in your head).

The article starts by mentioning Clint Eastwood in the first sentence but the article never mentions Clint's Eiger Sanction one of his most under-rated movies in which he plays a mountain-climbing, art-loving hitman. Oh and for the record - Eastwood didn't play a hitman in The Outlaw Josey Wales. You could make the case for Unforgiven but not Josey Wales. Sloppy.

The article also mentions Quentin Tarantino but fails to mention perhaps the most menacing hitman Tarantino created - Virgil from True Romance played by a pre-Sopranos James Gandolfini.

If I had written an article about movie hitmen I'd probably mention Timothy Olyphant's title role in the movie Hitman. Not rocket science.

I'd also give a final shout-out to the scene-stealing hitmen, Mr. Kid and Mr. Wint, from the James Bond classic Diamonds are Forever.

Those were just off the top of my head. If I got paid to do a list you could be sure it wouldn't have been as sloppy as the one I linked to.
Cracking the Scratch Lottery Code

Fascinating look at a potential flaw in some scratch ticket games and how a geological statistician living in Toronto figured it out. It does not seem like he's the only one to figure out the flaw:
Consider a series of reports by the Massachusetts state auditor. The reports describe a long list of troubling findings, such as the fact that one person cashed in 1,588 winning tickets between 2002 and 2004 for a grand total of $2.84 million.
You wonder if the lucky winner was a MIT grad or Whitey Bulger. Interesting stuff.
Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting and thought I'd share.

- Tolstoy's "10 Rules of Life" - good advice

- Uh oh...

- Gene Roddenberry's original 1964 pitch for Star Trek (pdf)

- Interesting look at the retirement of the engine who ran the Patriots finances for the past 19-years

- Yikes! Side Effects May Include Drowsiness, Diarrhea, and Gay Sex Addiction

- This really could be a commercial for TLC. The History Channel has become just as ridiculous.