Monday, January 30, 2012

Grendel by John Gardner

The book Grendel by John Gardner was a very interesting read. The book is a retelling of the epic poem Beowulf but from the first person viewpoint of the "monster" Grendel. How the monster sees the world and the spread of man is interesting and a stroke of genius on the part of Gardner. Grendel viewing Beowulf not as a hero but as a crazy berserker who just ripped off his arm is funny in the retelling.

I couldn't help but think of the book as a cross between Herman Hesse's Steppenwolf and Where the Wild Things Are.

How I came to read the book in the first place is amusing. I am a fan of the movie Layer Cake starring Daniel Craig and I read that the movie is based upon the book of the same name by JJ Connolly. One of the people commenting on the books says that first person books are a gimmick that can only be pulled off by a rare writer like John Gardner. So I bought Grendel and while I was halfway through it I began to think that a good number of the fiction books I read are first person and I consider myself a discerning reader. Herman Hesse, Chuck Palahniuk, W. Somerset Maugham, etc. all use first person viewpoints. The commentor was wrong about first person novels but he was not wrong about Grendel and John Gardner - it was a rare writer and a rare book.

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Just saying but it has been over a month since Philly sportswriter Bill Conlin was accused of being a serial child molester but the story has completely dropped off the radar. That seems strange to me. Some would say that since there has been no court action there is nothing to report. Others would say that this is too close to home and too difficult for journalists to cover properly. I think that this is a cross between sportswriters wanting to wish it away and a situation similar to how cops don't write tickets on other cops... Heh heh - BetOnline calls Birdman's bluff on $5 million bet on the Super Bowl. The prop bets are awesome... If the only prerequisite for high political office was superior debating skills - Christopher Hitchens would have been Prime Minister of Britain... Happy 71st birthday to former Vice President Dick Cheney a man whose contributions to the United States have been woefully under-appreciated... Some smokers protect their pack of cigarettes in their hand the way others protect their smart phones. I guess different people have different priorities... Joe Scarborough remembers Newt Gingrich in Congress. I love the Steve Largent story... In the old days $6 million would get you a cyborg ex-astronaut superhero. Today that sort of cash only gets you Marco Scutaro...  Today is Christian Bale's 38th birthday which just serves as a reminder how much I want to see the next Batman installment - The Dark Knight Rises

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting and thought I'd shre.
4 Bizarre Experiments That Should Never Be Repeated - people who think they are Jesus and finding out a human can satisfy a dolphin's sexual needs - what more could you want from an article?
Ha Ha - Awesome
Very Cool - Horse racing handicapper wins $1 million
Newt's debate skills not all they were cracked up to be
8 Fairy Tales and Their Not-So-Happy Original Endings
Pub landlord suspended for serving pints "too full" of beer - if I were a rival brewer I'd step in and help these people out. I hope I never have a Samuel Smith's Brewery beer in my life - their owner is a jackhole.
Read the speech Nixon prepared in case the Apollo 11 astronauts died on the moon

The Ides of March

I recently saw The Ides of March - the George Clooney political thriller (and yes I know that technically Ryan Gosling was the star but this was a Clooney movie). The movie was dark and maudlin but the feeling that really struck me after watching it was how misogynistic it was. Seriously - I am as surprised as you are.

I couldn't help thinking that there were just three women portrayed in the movie - a doting wife, a shrew New York Times reporter and the ultimately tragic nympho intern. Men in this movie had all the power and did all the thinking while the women were window dressing pigeon-holed into their assigned roles. Maybe the real world of politics is like this or maybe that's just how writer, director and  star George Clooney sees the world. Trying to figure out which of those two positions is more correct was what I was left thinking after seeing the movie.

I'm glad I saw the movie - and don't get me wrong - it wasn't a bad movie but it also wasn't a movie I'd be eager to see a second time. And BTW - the Ides of March in my house just means 2 days till Saint Patrick's Day.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Have a Good One

Leaving a restaurant today and the hostess says, "Have a good one." I turned my daughter and asked - "a good what? A good day? Why not just say that then? It's the same amount of syllables and effort. If it is a period of time - why wish me just a good day - wouldn't a good week be better? How about wishing me a good year?"

If it a random saying and word - then why not say "have a good pizza?" or "have a good cable box?"

If it is just numerical in basis - then why not wish me a good seven? That would be several times better than a good one.

This was the conversation I had with my daughter leaving the restaurant at lunch.

A Moon Colony Would Need Thorium Based Nuclear Power

The New York Times writes about the technology needed for a moon colony - yet fails to mention thorium based nuclear power. This would be both a necessity for a moon colony and also probably the most long-lasting technology benefit to life here on Earth.

I posted this before but worth posting again - Kirk Sorensen speaks about thorium as an alternative nuclear fuel:

History Lesson

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

It has been a while since Newt Gingrich threatened someone with a Lincoln-Douglas style debate. Do you think someone finally informed the historian that the historical record shows that Stephen Douglas - the guy who in the end defended slavery - won those debates?... Very cool - 50 Years of Doctor Who... It still blows my mind that Ronald Reagan was the original choice to play Rick Blaine in the classic Casablanca... Interesting - Pork barrel earmarks nearly doubled under Gingrich's tenure as speaker... Just for the heck of it - I am going to use the adjective "throbbing" on random words - "throbbing bacon", "throbbing muffler", etc.... The man who caught Billy Cundiff's missed field goal is selling it for a very good cause... On this day in 1986 the space shuttle  Challenger exploded 73 seconds after launch. One of the very few times in my life where I could tell you exactly where I was and what I was doing.

Friday, January 27, 2012

2012 NFL Pro Bowl Cheerleaders

Here are the 2012 NFL Pro Bowl Cheerleaders. Honestly - if I was the NFL Network I would have a channel that just showed the cheerleaders during the game. That channel would probably get better ratings than the actual Pro Bowl.

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting and thought I'd share. 
Nice math trick - if you divide 1 by 998,001 you get all three-digit numbers from 000 to 999 in order 
Example of life imitating art or vice versa  "As God as my witness - we will have casinos on the moon" 
Who said it: Steven Wright or Mitch Hedberg?
This was so unnecessary - LA Confidential was made into a TV movie in 2003
So it looks like I have 50 brands of beer I need to try -  RateBeer top 50 best beers 2012
Unlikely to recapture the Monty Python magic but I do like the idea of the gang getting back together
Comparisons like this are what the Internet was made for - Exploring the strange parallels between the writing of mythologist Joseph Campbell and the first 4 Police Academy films (HT Big Stupid Tommy)
Kool - 6 Hugely Successful Products Originally Invented for Something Else
So jealous -   Wes Welker is engaged to this woman:

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Jorge Posada is not a Hall of Famer

Peter Gammons tries to make the case that Jorge Posada has Hall of Fame credentials. I think Gammons is either doing public relations for the Yankees and Posada (who may be a friend of Gammons) or that Peter is just being willfully ignorant.

For example Gammons touts the fact that Posada is 6th in OPS+ among catchers since 1901. Problem is Gammons doesn't count Joe Mauer among the 6 and Mauer has a career OPS+ that is 15 points higher than Posada. Who else did Gammons neglect to include?

The article doesn't even mention Ivan Rodriguez who was a contemporary of Posada's but who has a much better case for the Hall of Fame. Pudge had 13 Gold Gloves and an MVP. Posada was a defensive liability and had just 2 Top 10 MVP finishes.

Jorge Posada is not going into the Hall of Fame. I gave the 4 reasons why last August.

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Just a reminder but when President Obama took office he was boasting about being able to stop the oceans from rising. Now three years in he's down to bragging about making it easier to clean up milk spills... Canadian teens launch Lego man into (near) space... Paul Newman would have been 87 today... Just saying but Boston College will have more players in the Super Bowl (6) than any other college... As a reminder - Rex Ryan will have to go 7-9 next season to equal Herm Edwards record in his first 4 years as New York Jets coach (35-29)... Very cool - FDR's 52nd birthday party was a Toga Party... The world's largest feet belong to Brahim Takioullah who sports a size 58 shoe (making my size 13's look pretty puny in comparison)... On this day in 1978 - New England was buried in snow as the great Blizzard of 78 was underway... Tweet of the Day from @pourmecoffee - "Goodnight Moon. Goodnight Newt colonizing the moon." I just find that so very clever and funny... Happy 51st birthday to Wayne Gretzky - the best hockey player who ever lived...

Newt Didn't Support Reagan - Newt Only Supports Newt

Very interesting look at how Newt Gingrich was more prone to criticize President Ronald Reagan than support him. I am glad that finally people are calling Newt on his hyperbolic boasts. Listening to Newt you would think he was Ronald Reagan's right hand man - not a guy who was publicly questioning his policies every step of the way.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting and thought I'd share.
Making sense of the Marco Scutaro trade. Shorter version - it was a salary dump.
What the biggest solar storm since 2005 looked like.
This female archer is wicked awesome! HT Chris Lindsay
Rob Gronkowski's famous "I am party" ESPN Desportes interview.  
Interesting - the Science of Sword Swallowing 

Familiar Rhetoric, Failed Record

You could argue that the State of the Union was just the same old, same old but at least he wasn't hectoring anyone to "pass this jobs bill now." Hey - what ever happened to that? I thought that the Stimulus Junior Bill was the key to the jobs recovery? Do you mean that the speech in front of the joint Houses of Congress was just political theater?

EDIT: Wow! If you watch just one video explaining why the rhetoric doesn't match up with the facts - make it this video from the CATO Institute

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Diana Nyad - VIP (Very Impressive Person)

Diana Nyad is an inspiration for many reasons.

Watch this video and I think you will agree.

Warren Zevon

Warren Zevon would have been 65 years old today. In his honor - here's The Wallflowers and Zevon's son Jordan doing a tribute version of Lawyers, Guns and Money

Tim Thomas

When the Boston Bruins announced their visit to the White House - Tim Thomas said he wasn't going. Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli tried to convince him to go but Tim Thomas said he wasn't going. Yesterday the Bruins met with President Obama and Tim Thomas wasn't there.

Some critics say if Thomas had something to say he should have said it to the President's face. Yeah - like that wouldn't have been a major distraction and the fall out would not have been spun to say Thomas ruined the day for the rest of his teammates.

Some critics of Thomas' action say he should have gone and just stood in the back. As one of only two Americans on the team - and the only big name American on the team there is no way he would have been allowed to be just wallpaper in this publicity opportunity. He would have basically been forced to be center ring of a circus he wanted no part of.

I think it would have been funny if one of the Canadian players skipped the event in protest of the President's actions regarding the Keystone XL pipeline. He could have said this President was disrespecting Canada. How the media would have had to deal with that would have been very amusing.

Speaking of Canada - when does the team visit the Canadian Prime Minister? Is it just the Americans who use these staged photo opportunities? Would Mayor Thomas Menino of Boston have gone up to stand with the team? I doubt it.

The bottom line is without Tim Thomas - the Bruins don't win the Stanley Cup. Without winning the Stanley Cup they don't get invited to the White House. Tim Thomas was interested in the first but uninterested in the second. What's wrong with that?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

It should be noted that the Patriots have now won 10 games in a row. The last team to beat them was actually the New York Giants... Had a dream last night that the Red Sox made a huge trade with the Marlins for Josh Johnson. I hope that dream comes true... Gov. Chris Christie calls Newt Gingrich an embarrassment to the Republican Party and I agree... So where does Rex Ryan watch the Super Bowl? No network would want him because how would he be able to answer the question of how do you beat the Patriots or the question of how to beat the Giants. Gasbag... I wonder if on the show Blue Bloods they ever show Tom Selleck and a sandwich and waterfall in the same scene. That would be a special episode... I wonder if Tiki Barber still thinks Eli Manning lacks leadership skills?... Definition of badass... So is Brian Orakpo banging the Geico cavemam? That's the takeaway I get seeing the caveman in the locker room in a cheerleader outfit... Just saw a guy with a "Will Work for Food" sign who looked just like Craig Kilborn. Pretty sure it wasn't him... I have a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach that the Red Sox trading both Marco Scutoro and Jed Lowrie will lead to a desperation move of switching Dustin Pedroia to shortstop. I also wouldn't be surprised if Ben Cherington's next move is to trade Mike Availes for another middle reliever.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

I don't think it will come to this because I think Newt Gingrich will either self-destruct or people will see him for the ego-maniacal fraud that he is but if it did come down to Gingrich vs. Obama in 2012 - I might just skip voting altogether to catch a movie... Very cool - the scale of the Universe... Vinny Testaverde was also only mentioned once in Reagan's diary. I would much rather vote for Vinnie than Newt Gingrich... Pretty amazing - Tom Brady has played in 10 full seasons (he did not play in a game in 2000 and only 1 game in 2008) and today will be his 6th AFC Championship game. If that's not Jordanesque I don't know what is... If Gingrich was President - would a "Wag the Dog" scenario involving Newt starting a war to cover up a mistake surprise anyone?... On this day in 1973 LBJ passed away taking with him to the grave the secret of how he had JFK killed...  Who knew? According to Mental Floss: "Cheerios and Circus Peanuts Candy" may not sound like a winning formula but that's the combo that inspired Lucky Charms... Today is Baltimore Ravens' Ray Rice's 25th birthday. I'd like to wish him a Happy Birthday but instead I really hope his playoff hopes are dashed by an onslaught of Patriots offense. Besides - his first name isn't Ray - it's Raymell. What kind of name is Raymell?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting and thought I'd share.
I don't care if this is real or Photoshop - still awesome
Heh heh - when you search for "Mendoza line" on it brings you to this page
Incredibly detailed panoramic virtual tour of the Sistine Chapel
Sterling Archer Draper Pryce
Awesome - The Scream
New Yorker cartoons with Rick Santorum captions
Tom Curran - Bill Belichick is the Steve Jobs of NFL coaches

King of New York

Last night I watched King of New York. It has to be about 15 years since I had seen the 1990 flick and I remembered it as a pretty cool Christopher Walken vehicle. I was correct in remembering that it was a Christopher Walken movie but I had no memory of the movie being so bad. I mean really bad. I mean mesmorizingly bad. It is billed as a stylized retelling of Robin Hood but it is just a tossed together shoot-em up. Even though it was made in 1990 - it has an 80's feel to it. The clothes, half the actors wearing sunglasses at night, the language, the whole movie had a 80's feel. Besides the 80's feel - the two things that stood out to me was the fact that Laurence Fishburne had magic pistols that could shoot hundreds of rounds without a new clip and also how badly people died in the movie. I don't mean that their deaths were gruesome - I mean the acting was just so very over the top. Master thespian sarcastic over the top. After watching the movie I found out via IMDB that the film was financed by Silvio Berlusconi - the future Italian Prime Minister. That was just the icing on the cake. If you remember King of New York as a decent flick - watch it again to have a good laugh at both how bad the movie really is and also how silly your younger self must have been to have liked it the first time around.

Friday, January 20, 2012

You're a Creep Charlie Brown

Player Comparison

Take a look at these numbers and tell me who seems like the better prospect:

Player A - 463 AB/ 18 HR/ 67 RBI/ .288 BA/ .348 OBP/ .814 OPS
Player B - 264 AB/ 18 HR/ 55 RBI/ .295 BA/ .390 OBP/ 1.002 OPS

Player A is two years younger than Player B but you cannot tell me that his numbers are better than Player B's. Both players are about the same size and both players play the same position - catcher. Player A is highly touted prospect Jesus Montero formerly of the Yankees and Player B is Ryan Lavarnway of the Red Sox.

What made me think of checking the numbers on this comparison was this Gordon Edes piece about Lavarnway.

EDIT: has a list of the Top 10 Catching Prospects - Montero is listed #1 and Lavarnway is listed #8

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

New Gingrich released his taxes last night in an attempt to redirect attention from his ex-wife's allegations that he wanted an open marriage. Pure and simple. If I was Mitt Romney I would be more than a little bit upset over that piece of politics. If I was Mitt - I'd have his wife Ann tape a spot talking about how when she was diagnosed with MS her husband stood by her. Newt may have gotten a good reaction to slamming John King for asking the question but he's done irreparable damage among women voters across the country (and they make up 50% of the electorate - making Newt radioactive in a general election)... According to a Tweet by Darren Rovell - the new Bud Light Platinum will be 6% alcohol while Bud is 5% and Bud Light is 4.2%. That just doesn't seem right to me that Bud Light is less alcohol than Bud. If that's really the case then I might have to switch back to Bud (or to the new Bud Light Platinum)... So Newt Gingrich supposedly converted to being a Catholic. I guess the 6 years of living in sin and the divorcing of two women doesn't mean as much to the church as they taught when I was a kid. The hypocrisy of the church is as big a story here as Newt's serial infidelity if you ask me... Who knew? Supposedly Brad Pitt was offered the role of Jason Bourne but turned it down to do Spy Game instead... Compare Rick Perry's fanfare entrance into the Presidential race with whimper of his exit. If Rick Perry was a month - he'd be March coming in like a lion and leaving like a lamb... Sherlock Series 2 won't air on PBS Masterpiece until May 6th, 13th and 20th? That's crap!... I bet secretly Newt Gingrich would like a much grander title than President. He might he happy being known as his Excellence the King of Bohemian Life and Ideas...

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Romney Answer I Wish I Heard

If I was Mitt Romney - I would have said the following at some point in tonight's debate:
My two favorite President's of the past 100 years are Harry Truman and Ronald Reagan. Harry Truman had on his desk a plaque that said "The Buck Stops Here". As an aside "the buck" is a poker term and poker should be legal in the United States - its an American game. The saying meant that President Truman would take responsibility for getting things done, for making the hard decisions. President Obama takes a completely opposite approach. He doesn't take responsibility for anything. Take the decision to punt on the Keystone XL pipeline for example. President Reagan had a plaque on his desk that said, "It's amazing how much can be accomplished when no one cares who gets the credit." This attitude was one of Reagan's secrets to success but it is an attitude that Speaker Gingrich would never be able to embrace because his ego is too big. Almost every other word out of his mouth tonight has been the word "I". His megalomania is his main problem.

Feist - The Bad In each Other

This song is really starting to grow on me. What does it say about my musical tastes that I'm more excited about finding this tune than I am about Bruce Springsteen's new single?

Bill Belichick an Anarchist? Ummm - NO

Charlie Pierce can really turn a phrase which helps to make him a fun writer to read. But the problem isn't how Pierce is saying something - it is the something he tries to say. In his latest Grantland offering Charlie Pierce puts forward the idea that Bill Belichick is the NFL's last anarchist. Ummm - NO!

Anarchists don't have a uniform way of doing things - the Patriot way. Anarchists aren't known for requiring people to just do their jobs. Any personal flair or on-field demonstrations of individuality are normally swiftly dealt with by Coach Belichick.

Bill Belichick isn't an anarchist. The very idea is stupid but that doesn't jive with Charlie Pierce's thinking. Describing Belichick as he is wouldn't allow Pierce to utilize his beloved quotes from Leftists such as Emma Goldman or Bob Dylan.

It is this mindset that will be the doom of Grantland. These people are writing more for each other than for a paying audience. It is a giant echo-chamber. The problem is the readers can only be sucked in so many times. For instance I was sucked into listening to the podcast of their TV critic guys mostly because they were going to talk about Justified. Problem is one of the critics couldn't get into Justified because he thought there was too much shooting - on a show about a US Marshall with a Western gunslinger mentality - too much shooting. Really. And the other critic agreed with him. Needless to say - you won't find me wasting any more time with those podcasts.

Grantland was a great idea. It was supposed to be this place you'd check every day because of the great content. But I'd guess I might check it once a week now (if that) because I already know what I'm going to see. What's the point of reading an article on Grantland if it is just the same viewpoint rehashed over and over?

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting and thought I'd share.
Graham Yost explains the season premiere of Justified
Acting is hard (Moneyball out-take)
17 of the most bizarre, obscene, or pointless entries on Wikipedia
Awesome Q&A w/ Teri Garr (it may be old but it was new to me)
Rob Gronkowski’s Friend Bibi Jones To Perform At Stoughton Club (what a great potential Super Bowl promotion)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Awesome - Lionel Richie's "Hello" performed by movie characters... Via Mental Floss - "According to one survey, 29% of people who call for tech support end up swearing at their customer service rep." I'd add that 100% probably end up swearing if the customer service rep is an automated voice response system... The insurance commercial I'd like to see made is one of Tom Coughlin beating the Geico caveman to death with a baseball bat... Ball peen hammer really sounds like it should some sort of sex act. In a related thought - is the word "peen" ever used in any other context?... The reason DC comics is probably changing their logo... It is worth saying again - the Patriots have been a much better team since they cut Albert Haynesworth... If I had a business I'd add a small line item charge to each invoice for "opaque retraction". Who would notice and who would complain?... Movie idea: The Delonte West Story starring Tracy Jordan... Very interesting concept - thorium based nuclear reactors...

Monday, January 16, 2012

Mini Cannon

This is just plain cool! I want one!

Jon Huntsman and Mitt Romney

So Jon Huntsman Jr. has decided to drop out of the race. Meanwhile Mitt Romney is quietly running perhaps the most clinically effective campaign in history. Of the 92 Members of Congress who have endorsed any candidate - 63 endorsed Romney. Rick Perry is a distant 2nd with just 13. Romney has extensive state organizations in every state and a very healthy campaign war chest. This guy will have the nomination basically sewed up by February 1st.

I wouldn't be surprised if Jon Huntsman Jr. dropped out yesterday because Romney's people put pressure on Jon Huntsman Sr. to have his son stop his fantasy campaign and face up to the real-world realities that no member of the Huntsman clan would ever be welcome in a Romney administration if he kept it up. Call it quits before the Monday debate and endorse Romney or else. The message clearly got across.

People will keep underestimating the Romney campaign. Right up to and even past the point where he is sworn in as the 45th President of the United States.

MLK - Stabbed in Harlem

Martin Luther King Jr. was stabbed in the chest in Harlem? By a crazed black woman? I did not know that. Why is it that this little episode of his history is never discussed? He almost died. The day was September 20, 1958. I'm fascinated by history like this.

The story is worth reading even if just for some awesome MLK quotes:
Hatred paralyzes life, love releases it...
In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.
Powerful stuff.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Tim Tebow and Tom Brady

I imagine that many people last night were checking the Bible for the appropriate Bible quote based upon the score change (guilty as charged) and I think funny enough a proper quotation was found at the end of the game. Last week Tim Tebow had 316 yards passing and everyone immediately seized on John 3:16. Last night Tebow finished with 136 yards passing and John 1:26 seems fitting enough; "When he saw Jesus passing by he said, 'Look the Lamb of God'". Tebow was John the Baptist preaching football in the Wilderness and last night he saw what a real football Jesus looked like (Jesus passing - get it?).

I am far from a Tebow hater - the opposite would be true. I think this season he made the Broncos much more competitive and vastly more interesting. Orton or Quinn would have led this team to maybe 5 wins tops. Tebow took them to to not just the playoffs but also to a 1st round playoff victory. Broncos fans should be pleased - he exceeded expectations.

Now the Patriots will have to deal with the haters of their own. The "this defense isn't good enough to win the Super Bowl" haters. The "this team still hasn't beaten a team with a winning record" haters. I hope that puts a chip on their shoulders because we have seen in the past how a "us against the world" Bill Belichick coached team reacts in those situations.

All I know is that the team I saw last night looks mightily tough to beat. I see the Patriots making the Super Bowl. Belichick lo vult (Belichick wills it).

Friday, January 13, 2012

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

I have to wonder if after the debacle that was the Ryan Madson non-deal with the Phillies - if Scott Boras cannot get Prince Fielder a megadeal - will he try to use a big deal for Jacoby Ellsbury to try and restore some of his lost luster? As a Red Sox fan - I hope so... I don't care how good a Rick Reilly piece is or how highly recommended it comes - I've wasted too many hours of my life reading his mailed in pieces to ever take the chance of letting him cheat me out of any more slices of my lifetime...  Cool - old picture of Mitt Romney and Muhammad Ali... I wonder if Tim Tebow is going to wear wool socks and sandals when he comes out to New England. He would certainly fit the Jesus Boots profile... If Andrew Bynum was a baseball player - he'd be JD Drew... Heh heh - is Mitt Romney's large penis the new Bababooey?... Jets fans talking about getting Peyton Manning smells a lot like Penn State fans talking about getting Nick Saban to replace Joe Paterno... When did people switch from calling the NFL Playoffs "the playoffs" to calling it "the tournament"? Was there a memo?... Best pole dance move ever!!... Every time I see Newt Gingrich speak - I keep expecting a bad lip-reading bit to break out... Taking a trip on the Orient Express is definitely on my bucket list... Farts - an under appreciated threat to astronauts (listing this under science).

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.  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. The sun was reported to have careened towards the earth in a zigzag pattern, frightening some of those present who thought it meant the end of the world. Witnesses reported that the ground and their previously wet clothes became completely dry.

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

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Romney's Tax Returns

Mitt Romney has not released his tax returns and some people seem to be up in arms about this. Why? At this point - what's in it for Romney? Will releasing his tax returns make it easier or harder to win the Republican nomination? If you think about it you'll realize that it will not make it easier for Romney - it would make it harder as people like Perry and Gingrich would just nitpick the returns. Why would Romney volunteer to take that flack?

However, once Romney has the nomination I would not be surprised to see him offer a challenge to Barack Obama - "You release your college transcripts and I'll release my tax returns." That would change the dynamic completely. How can the press complain about Romney not releasing his tax returns when Obama hasn't released his transcripts? If Obama does release his transcripts would you be surprised if it showed that Romney was the vastly superior student? The myth of Obama being this super smart guy could evaporate. What would Romney's tax returns show - that he's a rich guy who gives 10% to his church? We already know that.

Romney hasn't released his tax returns because he's not stupid. Barack Obama may not be releasing his college grades because maybe he is.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

All day yesterday I was wondering where Rex Ryan was watching the playoffs. It certainly wasn't from the sidelines... Not to toot my own horn but I did predict Denver winning the game last Thursday... I hope next year the Patriots use the money they wasted on Albert Haynesworth and Ochocinco to get the fans something nice... I am waiting for Rick Santorum to confess that he enjoys accubation - the practice of eating or drinking while lying down. That would be cool... Ever see the World's Strongest Man competitions where they have those huge guys running a 100-yard dash carrying hundreds of pounds? Wouldn't one of those guys make a great short-yardage back in the NFL? Assuming of course they could pass the steroids tests... There is a species of fish that hides from prey by swimming into the anus of a sea cucumber. The fish is called a Pearlfish but I wonder if science would be willing to rename the species the JimmyCarterfish... Just when you think Stephen Hawking couldn't get any more awesome you learn that he likes to go to top shelf whiskey tasting events... Newt Gingrich is annoying in large part because he is a constant autohagiorapher - one who speaks or writes about themselves in a smug fashion... So what did Bill Maher Tweet about Tim Tebow today? Yeah - thought so... Man who creates amazing Rube-Goldberg machines in his apartment... Am I the only one who has trouble sleeping because I'm worried about the status of Tom Brady's playoff beard?... Just saying it for the record - Jorge Posada is not a Hall of Fame player... How big of a surprise would it be if Mitt Romney admitted he was a autotonsorilist - one who cuts his own hair. Just a Flowbee and some "product" he buys from WalMart... Just a reminder but Hall of Famer Barry Larkin was basically kicked to the curb in Cincinnati for one and a half seasons of Felipe Lopez.

MMQB Thoughts

Here's 5 things I think I think about today's MMQB column from Peter King.

1. I agree 100% that one of the big winners of Denver's win over Pittsburgh was Josh McDaniels. He picked Tim Tebow and Demaryius Thomas just for day's like last night. That one game has maybe done more for McDaniels' reputation than for anyone else's other than Tim Tebow.
2. The Rams practice facility is in Earth City, MO. I so want to open a bar there and name it Journey to the Center.
3. The Tony Corrente story was very touching. Wishing Mr. Corrente all the best in his fight against cancer.
4. Peter King warns personnel men interested in Alabama's Trent Richardson that runningback diamonds can be found in the rough in later rounds of the draft. This is plain stupid. Of the runningbacks who gained over 1,000 yards this season - 8 out of 15 were 1st round picks. King's point is the equivalent of saying why waste the first pick on Andrew Luck when a guy like Tom Brady went in the 7th round.
5. Peter wasn't happy with Ben Roethlisberger's decision to play in the last couple of regular season games. What - was Big Ben's coach supposed to tell him "No, you can't play"? To Ben "no" means "yes" - everyone knows that.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

It is hard to believe that it has just been a little over 2 months since the Penn State Athletic Director was charged with perjury which was first domino in chain that led to Jerry Sandusky being arrested, Joe Paterno being fired and Bill O'Brien hired as Paterno's replacement as head football coach... Not to be racist but if you have fears that your penis is shrinking then you are probably Asian. If you suffer from anorexia - you are probably not from Africa. Culture bound syndromes... Congratulations to Romeo Crennel on being named head coach for the Kansas City Chiefs. When good things happen to good people... People wonder why Bill O'Brien left the Patriots to take the Penn State job but that is simple. O'Brien will be paid much more money than he was making and his contract is for 5-years. Does anyone think Tom Brady will still be the QB for the Patriots in 5-years?... The highest unemployment rate under George W Bush was 7.7% and he was crucified for it. President Obama has an unemployment rate of 8.5% (the real rate is 10.9% but that's another story) and he is getting praised for it?...  The two best teams in the NHL may be the Bruins and the Rangers. They are also the two teams that lead the NHL in fights. There is some correlation there...

The Liberal Mindset

The Liberal mindset seems to think that it is OK for a 12-year old girl to get contraceptive devices without parental knowledge or permission but it is not OK for that same girl to buy cigarettes. Think about that for a minute. On the one hand in the Liberal mindset the girl is capable of making adult decisions for herself but on the other the Liberal mindset demands that the 12-year old girl be protected from herself because she is not capable of making adult decisions on her own.

These two contradictory beliefs can exist side by side in the Liberal mind without that person never noticing or acknowledging the contradictory rationalizations for governmental interference.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Prior to this NFL season what do you think the Las Vegas odds on a prop bet that a QB could break Dan Marino's 28-year old single season passing record but still not win the MVP? I'd have to guess that the odds on that prop bet would have to have been at least 500-1... American's deadliest sniper punched Jesse Ventura in the face... George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both grew hemp using slave labor. The part of that statement that Newt Gingrich doesn't like is the fact they grew hemp... What will happen first - the Red Sox finally get the compensation for letting Theo Epstein go to the Cubs or 2012 Opening Day? Only 90 days till Opening Day... Heh heh - Ron Paul pictures with Ron Swanson's words... Last year the Patriots had veteran tight end Alge Crumpler on the roster where he was both a productive player and valuable role model for rookies Aaron Hernandez and Ron Gronkowski on how to be a NFL tight end. I think that example by Crumpler is really paying dividends this season. I would not be surprised to see Crumpler become a coach some day... Very amusing - Issac Newton's list of sins... I thought of a new dessert. You make Rice Krispie squares but instead of Rice Krispies you use Cocoa Pebbles. You have a dessert that is brown, sticky and maybe even a little frothy. I'd call them Santorum Squares... Today's Tweet of the day:

Obama plans campaign decrying "do-nothing" congress. Did he forget that as a senator all he did was vote "Present" and look for another job?

Denver Broncos

I have a hunch and I wanted to share. I think the Denver Broncos may win Sunday's game outright.

Even before seeing the fact that the last 5 teams in the NFL playoffs with a record of .500 or worse are 5-0 against the spread the past 5 years - I had a hunch about the Broncos. Even before seeing that Denver coach John Fox is 6-2 ATS in the playoffs and 5-1 ATS when an underdog - I had a hunch about the Broncos.

The Steelers are very banged up. Many pundits are saying Tim Tebow is the worst QB in the playoffs but I would take Tebow over an completely immobile Ben Roethlisberger. Who would you take - Tebow or Charlie Batch? Remember how the Steelers fared against the 49ers - a team with a strong running game and defense? Remember how the Steelers lost twice to the Ravens - a team with a strong running game and defense? Remember how the Steelers got beat by the Texans - a team with a strong running game and defense? Three out of four of those games were on the road. This Sunday the Steelers will be facing a team with a strong running game and dense and they will be on the road.

And they will be without Rashad Mendenhall and maybe Ben Roethlisberger. Last year the Saints lost to the Seahawks as prohibitive favorites. On the road. Against a team with a strong running game and defense. And their QB and running backs were healthy.

The Steelers are 9 point favorites and -$400 on the moneyline. I may be taking the Broncos on both.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Craig James for Senate

Just a reminder - Craig James for Senate is an anagram for "A Magnesia for Rejects".

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Mitt Romney and the crowd handle some hecklers quite deftly... With Bill Polian now out with the Colts - will we finally learn the truth about him piping in crowd noise at the RCS Dome?... Who knew? There is a World Series of Beer Pong. It is being held this week (finals on Thursday) with the winner getting $50,000 first place cash. I would actually like to watch this on the Internet...  Jason Varitek is not coming back to the Red Sox no matter what Jon Heyman tries to throw up against the wall. Just like Coco Crisp is not signing with the Orioles (which was another Heyman bon mot)...  Interesting look at how St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke wants to rebuild his team in the Patriots mold. It is also interesting that he specifically mentions Michael Holley's War Room: The Legacy of Bill Belichick and the Art of Building the Perfect Team as his blueprint. Could there be a front office opening for Michael Holley? That would be a very interesting wrinkle... Just a reminder that in January 2007 when Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid took over Congress - the unemployment rate was 4.6% and the national debt was $8.6 trillion... According to Mental Floss "A 1913 New York Times article on portmanteaus includes the word 'alcoholiday' which describes leisure time spent drinking." With the NFL playoffs in the near future I may be taking a couple alcoholidays myself.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting and thought I'd share.
Victor Davis Hanson remembers Christopher Hitchens
Larry Fitzgerald at the Fiesta Bowl with Condoleezza Rice
I wonder if Norm Chad being so down on sports has anything to do with Randy Edsall
21 professional violinists asked to play 6 violins, couldn't tell Stradivari/Guarneri ones from new ones
Awesome shot of Oregon chrome helmet 

NBA Forever

God, No!

The day before Christmas Eve I received Penn Jillette's God, No!: Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales as a Christmas gift. I found that very amusing. A book by a guy who doesn't recognize Christ and who doesn't celebrate Christmas but yet in a round-about way is now benefiting from the holiday.

I like Penn Jillette. I have always found him entertaining and I should say off the top that I found the book entertaining but you will find no spiritual epiphany from reading the book (unless perhaps this is the only book you've read in years and in that case maybe you should read more). This book is just mind candy.

Penn's argument for atheism comes down to if you answer "I don't know" when it comes to the question "Is there a God" then you are an atheist. Joseph Campbell found that certain mythological beliefs are universal, archaeologists have proven that Jesus lived and walked the earth, Paul of Tarsus had some sort of conversion on the road to Damascus and Albert Einstein found the evidence of God in the order of the universe. If you asked Joseph Campbell or Albert Einstein if there was a God, their reply of "I don't know" certainly wouldn't indicate that they were closet atheists. Far from it and they are much more brilliant people than Penn Jillette.

God, No! is one of those books that famous people write when their business manager gets them a book deal because they happen to be famous. Sometimes the famous person has a ghost writer spill out the words but this is not the case with God, No! You cannot help but read the book with Jillette's voice ringing in your head. The stories he tells are amusing and sometimes very touching.

I recommend the book but just don't think you are going to have your life changed by reading it.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

I'll say it again - Norv Turner would have had this year's Jets team in the playoffs. Think of it this way - Rex Ryan needs to go 7-9 next season to equal Herm Edwards record in Edwards first 4 years in New York (35-29). I think that would make a great prop bet for a casino... This will be trouble - a UK craft brewer has come out with a Viagra beer. It's bad enough hanging out in a bar full of guys but hanging out in a bar full of guys with wood is just so - I don't even want to think about it... Busy week for New Orleans and the Superdome. The Sugar Bowl on Tuesday, the Saints play the Lions on Saturday and on Monday it's LSU vs Alabama on Monday for all the Tostitos... Tom Brady closing in on history... With all the Page 6 mentions you have to wonder if Mark Sanchez is single handedly bringing back the debate about too much sex hurting athletic performance. I also like the idea Eric MacErlain brought up about Sanchez making Jets fans pine for the days of Richard Todd... Four bettor win the Hilton SuperContest and turn $1,500 into a minimum of $313,533. I would love to give that contest a try... I think the over / under on the number of episodes before CBS cancels their new "comedy" Rob should be 5 shows... Will 2012 be the year that ABC finally agrees to remake the classic Barney Miller?


The term "asshat" became popular a few years back. Basically it was a snarky hip way of saying "stupid asshole" but at the same time getting around any potential censorship since "asshat" wasn't on any lists of proscribed words. But if you think about the term for any amount of time - it doesn't make any sense.

A hat is an item of clothing used to cover up the head. An item of clothing used to cover up the ass would most likely be a pair of pants or some shorts. Calling someone a pair of pants instead of asshat wouldn't be as snarky and would make no logical sense at all even if you are Brick Tamland from Anchorman. Maybe it's time to just go back to calling a jerk a stupid asshole.

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Traditionally New Year's Day was THE big day for college bowl games. This year - NO bowl games at all - not even a lousy Beef O Brady bowl. Tradition don't mean shit to the NCAA. Only TV money is important to those humunculuses in suits... This morning I was thinking that Chris Young would be a good signing for the Red Sox but then I saw that this thought and the reasoning behind it was already recently voiced... I wonder how former Patriots LB Ted Johnson is doing? I hope his early Alzheimer's and concussion related issues haven't worsened... Interesting - Christopher Hitchens a religious man? Father Barron says "Yes"... Huston Street is the highest paid player on the Padres but that should change after Carlos Quentin's arbitration is squared away. It just strikes me as strange that the two biggest salaries on any MLB payroll would come via trade weeks apart... "There are two kinds of people in his up-tight world: his victims and his women. And sometimes you can't tell them apart." That's the tagline from the 1967 Lee Marvin movie Point Blank. Can you imagine that tagline being used for a movie today?... Of course a contract has yet to be signed and who knows Scott Boras could pull a rabbit out of his hat but I think the most overlooked story this Hot Stove Winter is how Boras screwed over Ryan Madson trying to squeeze a 4th year out of the Phillies. Do you think Madson would be happy with a 3-year $33 million deal about now?... Washington fired its entire defensive staff including coordinator Nick Holt following the Alamo Bowl loss... The Texas Rangers have a prospect named Rougned Odor. I love that name! I just hope someone has that sense to make his walk-up music That Smell by Lynyrd Skynyrd... Imagine planning to go to Buffalo Wild Wings to watch your favorite team play its bowl game only to be turned away because Rick Santorum is taking up all the available seating with his entourage and press coverage? I doubt you'd be inclined to vote for Santorum after that. And I have to say that the phrase "Santorum found at Buffalo Wild Wings" sounds very much like a health code violation... Just a reminder - when the Twins traded Johan Santana to the Mets they got prospects Deolis Guerra, Carlos Gomez, Philip Humber and Kevin Mulvey in the deal. How's that working out for ya Twins fans?