Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Saint Cornelius of Ireland

Though not widely remembered today - at one point Saint Cornelius of Ireland (not to be confused with Saint Cornelius of Antioch) was second in popularity in the Emerald Isle only to Saint Patrick. 

Saint Patrick is remembered for driving the snakes out of Ireland. Saint Cornelius was said to have driven the squirrels out of Ireland. This "miracle" of Saint Cornelius later proved to be his undoing. During the Great Potato Famine starving Irishmen and women wished they had tasty squirrel meat to eat and they cursed Saint Cornelius for driving out the furry rodents. In response to this outrage - Pope Pius IX removed Cornelius from the roll of official Catholic Saints.

Exclusive Video of What Happened to Ryan Braun's Urine Test!

Michigan Results in a Nutshell

Last night Ann Romney at the end of a long list thanked Kid Rock for helping her husband win the Michigan Primary. And last night Rick Santorum failed to thank Michael Moore even though Santorum's plea for Democrats to cross over and vote for him was a cause that the fat film-maker took up con mucho gusto.

Some people have speculated that the cross-over - voting as a joke - support was equal to about 6% of Santorum's overall total in Michigan. That 6% may get him a couple of delegates but it will in hindsight be the final nail in the coffin of his campaign. I hope the Romney campaign doesn't miss the opportunity to cudgel Santorum over the head with this issue. Stress things like "Santorum claims to be the real conservative in the race but then he looks for support from people like Michael Moore. Who does he think he is? Arlen Spector?"

Politics ain't beanbag.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

How Jason Varitek Came to Town

Alex Speier has an excellent look back at the trade that brought Jason Varitek and Derek Lowe to Boston. Great insight into how that trade came to be. I found it most interesting that the deal ended up being a compromise - the Red Sox actually wanted pitcher Ken Cloude for Heathcliff Slocumb but "settled" for Varitek and Lowe.

Whenever this great robbery of a trade is brought up by a Red Sox fan - I always like to remind people that Boston also traded Jamie Moyer to Seattle for Darren Bragg. Moyer went on to win 133 games over the next 10 seasons for the Mariners.

While we are looking back at the career of Varitek - here is something I wrote the day after he smushed his mitt in A-Rod's face.

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Conspiracy theory - this year's Daytona 500 was a result of EA Sports combining the classic game Spyhunter with a new NASCAR game... "I don't like violence Mr. Selig. I'm a businessman and urine is a big expense." Dialog from the new movie The Braunfather... My favorite bit of Oscars trivia is the fact that the Oscar Jimmy Stewart won for The Philadelphia Story was displayed in the window of his dad's hardware store in Pennsylvania... I'm still a little fuzzy about the science behind Hot Tub Time Machine... Did you know that during Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hit streak - he hit .408 while during that same stretch of games Ted Williams hit .414? Isn't that a great stat?... In modern money - the ransoms paid to free King Richard the Lionheart would be worth a little over $2 billion in today's dollars (34 tons of gold)... Who knew? The first basketball game ever on TV was Fordham vs Pittsburgh on this day in 1940. The game was played at Madison Square Garden... Speaking of college basketball - happy 81st birthday to basketball coaching legend Dean Smith...

Monday, February 27, 2012

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting and thought I'd share.
Jeff Passan takes a very critical look at Ryan Braun - tough to argue against what he wrote. The one exception is I don't think he takes the leak of what was supposed to be private testing seriously enough.
Story of Mitt Romney saving some strangers. Well known in Massachusetts but it is strange story hasn't gotten more play nationally. Maybe campaign was waiting until NJ primary?
5 Biggest Whoppers In Obama's Energy Speech
Interesting insight into some great TV history - Being Fred Mertz: The Life of William Frawley
In 1988 there was a live-action musical version of Puss in Boots starring Christopher Walken as Puss. One of the most awesome things on the Internet EVER! 

Government Motors

Mickey Kaus makes some good points. "GM's stock is in the basement for a reason" would make a good political bumper sticker or debate point. And just as a reminder what the GM bailout entailed - and how they really haven't paid the taxpayers back - here's a good minute and a half primer from Reason TV.

I'll make a prediction right here - during a Presidential Debate President Obama will say or claim something that will cause the stock of GM to sharply decline even further. Something like the government will be selling (dumping) its share in GM by the end of the year or something like that.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Ryan Zimmerman's New Contract

Ryan Zimmerman has signed a new extension with the Washington Nationals so he will be under contract for $126 million up to 2019 or with the option $150 million up to 2020. Jon Heyman thinks the Nationals paid too much for a 1-time All-Star. Tom Verducci recently compared Zimmerman to Chase Headley - a comparison that was not meant to be flattering.

I wonder why the Nationals had to do a contract now (Zimmerman was under contract till after the 2013 season) but I'm not so sure if they over paid. If they get the next Eric Chavez with an injury prone career then Verducci and Heyman get to crow. But what if Ryan Zimmerman plays like Scott Rolen in his age 26-35 seasons where Rolen averaged 126 games and 19 HR. Would that be acceptable for the "face" of the franchise who would be making an average of $16.7 million for those 9 seasons? For the last 6-seasons Zimmerman has averaged a 137.5 games and a little over 21 HR per season so it would seem a Rolen comparison would be reasonable. Did the Phillies make a mistake in not wrapping up Scott Rolen when he was the same age as Zimmerman? During that span Rolen made 6 All-Star games and won 5 Gold Gloves.

The thing I keep thinking of is the fact that Jacoby Ellsbury was taken in the same draft and same round as Ryan Zimmermanand is basically the same age (Ellsbury is slightly older). If the Red Sox were to wrap him up for the next 9 seasons at an average of $16.7 million then I would think the Red Sox made a good deal. I wonder if Jon Heyman would argue then that the Red Sox were over-paying for a 1-time All-Star?

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting and thought I'd share.
Gary Sinise - An American Hero. If you support one of his charities great. If not you can indirectly support him by watching CSI New York or writing an email to CBS telling them how much you like Gary Sinise and his show CSI New York
Buck Showalter Signing Autographs For Three Amish Guys
Now that Tony La Russa is gone from Cardinals' camp, Ozzie Smith is back
"My Faith: What I learned from my 46-day beer-only fast" Many guys will read this and seriously think about a beer-only fast. But keep in mind that he was drinking just 5 beers max a day. Now if those 5 beers were 40 ounce then maybe we could talk
Cool - how a fly mimics a spider
WTF? The Badgermin
Jimmy Fallon sings Pearl Jams "Jeremy' (Lin)
Images of literary characters made from police sketch software
The penthouse where NASCAR was founded in 1947 is now a gay bar 

Johnny Cash

"Locusts and honey... not since John the Baptist has there been a voice like that crying in the wilderness... Every man knows he is a sissy compared to Johnny Cash." - Bono from U2
Today would have been Johnny Cash's 80th birthday. In his honor here's a few links to all-things Johnny Cash.
Alabama 3 singing their very underrated Hello I'm Johnny Cash
Norah Jones plays Johnny Cash at the Webbys
The story of A Boy Named Sue which was written by Shel Sliverstein (not some random convict)
One of the most iconic photos in Rock and Roll history
The Johnny Cash Project - the video used at Norah Jones performance at the Webbys but with Johnny Cash singing Ain't No Grave
And of course - what I consider the greatest cover song ever - Johnny Cash's version of Hurt.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

George Harrison

Today would have been George Harrison's 69th birthday. This seemed like a worthy tribute.

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

If they made this Ryan Braun saga into a movie - would Harrison Ford be too old to play Bud Selig?... 25 Photos of Mitt Romney looking perfectly normal. Call me a sap but I think these are cool... Just saying but if I was to go to the trouble to tamper with Ryan Braun's urine sample - I probably would have leaked the positive test results to ESPN too. It would be amusing if someone went to a lot of trouble to frame Ryan Braun but some Mr. Bean courier and his son screwed things up by being incompetent... Walter Arlington Latham (the Freshest Man on Earth) - they really did have much better nicknames back in the old days... I still think that if a player in any sport fails a drug test - the team should lose that roster spot for the entire length of the suspension. For example - if Braun was suspended for 50 games then the Brewers would lose a spot on their 25-man roster until Braun came back. I think that would end much of the cheating if the team had to share in the punishment... No conspiracy - Ron Paul and his people just don't like Rick Santorum... Ryan Braun may have a suit against MLB under HIPAA Privacy laws. The leaking of personal health information and the resultant damage that caused I'm guessing is very actionable. I wouldn't doubt if that is the potential legal action Braun was referring to yesterday... Flying owl filmed at 1000 frames per second - very cool... Nick Punto is the second player to wear number 5 since Nomar Garciaparra left town and both players wore the number in homage to Nomar (who they first checked with to make sure it was OK). Since Wade Boggs left town - 11 players have worn number 26 and none of them were honoring Boggs. Think of that the next time some uninformed sportswriter writes about retiring Boggs' number. The Red Sox aren't interested and neither are the fans... Kenny Fucking Powers!...

Friday, February 24, 2012

Ryan Braun

Here are some of my thoughts on the Ryan Braun saga.

First off - we are not talking about a crime here so let's stop with the talk about due process. Ken Rosenthal had a very good take on the subject but his one flaw was thinking this was a matter of due process. It was a case of contractual process and arbitration. If Braun was "guilty" he wasn't going to jail.

The Collective Bargaining Agreement calls for certain processes to be in place and those processes were violated by agents in the employ of MLB. If the lack of adherence had come on the part of the player - say if the player did not provide the urine sample in the presence of a MLB tester - then the sample would have been ruled invalid and rightly so. That is not to assume that the player would have tried to use a Whizzinator if the tester wasn't watching but that same adherence to the agreed upon rules has to apply on the flip side of the coin. Who's to say the courier who failed in his duties doesn't have a Matt Kemp shrine in his apartment and access to synthetic testosterone?

It has been said that the arbitrator was also influenced that Braun's sample was rumored to have three-times the testosterone of the next highest sample ever recorded. Unprecedented levels of testosterone coupled with an unprecedented breaking of the testing process guidelines really left the arbitrator with no choice but to rule the way he did.

In unrelated news - the Milwaukee Brewers announced today that Rocky Mountain Oysters will no longer be served in the Brewers clubhouse. Ryan Braun was the only player eating them anyways.

Let me just say that MLB looks bad in this episode. They responded by saying they "vehemently disagreed" with the arbitrator's decision. They "vehemently disagree"? Is that how it works? MLB disagrees. Overruled. No, no, no - we VEHEMENTLY disagree! Oh, well if you vehemently disagree then the arbitrator should take some time to reconsider - NOT! (Someone at ESPN should definitely get Kevin Pollack to read MLB's statement.)

According to a Tweet from Ken Rosenthal - the 2-1 vote was the result of Union chief Michael Weiner and independent arbitrator Shyam Das siding with Braun while Rob Manfred of MLB voting against Braun. Is it just me or does this seem like a strange arrangement that would always result in any case starting off at 1-1? Why bother having the Union and MLB voters in the first place? Just have the arbitrator. Saying it was a 2-1 vote instead of an arbitrator's decision just makes it worse in my opinion.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting and thought I'd share.
FX renews "Archer." Hooray!
Is Andruw Jones a Hall of Famer? I'm on the fence
What was Ryan Braun guilty of? He was guilty of this!
Is the girl in the background Mr. Bean's daughter
Tom Izzo is an amazing 23-1-1 against the spread in 2nd half lines this season 
Pat Forde with a very interesting look at Larry Eustachy's rise from the ashes of alcoholism
The Theory of (almost) Everything!
Wilt Chamberlain, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Andre the Giant on the set of Conan. Awesome!


I have a soft spot for this Fleetwood Mac song. I also think the video gives you a good idea of why Mick Fleetwood was the model for Animal from The Muppet's Show.

Homer at the Bat - the Parody

This past week The Simpsons aired its 500th episode. This sparked many Simpsons conversations and Deadspin actually did a very good look back at one of the most famous Simpsons episodes - Homer at the Bat. Seven years ago I did a parody of that very episode. I think it stands up pretty well against the test of time so - I'm posting it again today.

The Curse of the Simpsons

Hello, my name is Bob Ley and welcome to Outside the Lines. Tonight we look at what is being called “the Curse of the Simpsons.”

On February 20, 1992 the Simpsons’ episode “Homer at the Bat” aired and featured some of baseball’s brightest stars but the question now comes up – what did these stars have to do in order to be on the show and what price did they pay for that momentary bit of extra fame?

According to the Official Simpsons Website the episode’s plot was the following:
Mr. Burns makes a million dollar bet with his arch-rival Aristotle Amadopolis that the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant team will beat the Shelbyville Nuclear Power Plant team in the softball championships. To ensure victory, Burns hires a number of ringers, including pro baseball players Darryl Strawberry, Ken Griffey, Jr., Steve Sax, Roger Clemens, Jose Canseco, Don Mattingly, Ozzie Smith, Wade Boggs and Mike Scioscia to replace the plant employees he cut from the team. But as game day approaches, the pros all succumb to various strange ailments and accidents that prevent them from playing and it's up to Homer and his teammates to beat the Shelbyville team. With bases loaded and the score tied in the ninth inning, Homer is sent to bat and wins the game when the pitch hits him in the head and accidentally scores a homer."
Most of the stars were at the top of their game before agreeing to appear on the show but after the show most started hitting the skids. Coincidence – Outside the Lines thinks not.

In studio we have one of the stars of the show – Homer Simpson. Homer, welcome to Outside the Lines. You get many big name stars on the show – is there any special arrangement to get these stars? What about the baseball players featured in “Homer at the Bat”?

Homer: To answer your question Kent – normally guest stars work for scale to be on our show because it is such a status symbol to be on the Simpsons. However, in this case the boss wanted something extra.

Who is your boss? What was the something extra required of the baseball players?

Homer: Well I report directly to Satan or as we like to call him – Ned. In order to be on the show the baseball players had to sign over their souls. You know standard stuff.

Wait a second are you saying that Ned Flanders is Satan and that the baseball players had to sign over their souls to be on the show?

Homer: Yep. You deaf or something? All the players really wanted to be on the show and Ned made them pay.

Darryl Strawberry?

Homer: Hmmmmmm strawberries……….Oops – sorry. I felt bad about Straw. He was such a good kid before he came on the show. I’m afraid we introduced him to a little too much of the Hollywood lifestyle. You know constant drugs and hookers. I guess it made quite the impression on him.

Ken Griffey Jr.?

Homer: Yep. Satan is still screwing with him. I guess Griffey has become sort of a hobby for Ned.

Steve Sax?

Homer: Oh boy! That was a good one. You know the throws to first were my idea.

Jose Canseco?

Homer: Do you even have to ask on that one? The guy slept with Madonna. I guess he figured he was doomed anyway.

Don Mattingly?

Homer: You know Don started off as a really nice guy but working for so long with Steinbrenner just sorta wore him down. I still remember watching Mattingly’s last game on the set of the Simpsons. Ned comes over - sees Don on the TV and says, “Next year the Yankees win the World Series" and then he starts with that laugh of his.

Mike Scioscia?

Homer: Well Mike was sorta of a charity case. He sold his soul to get into the major leagues.

Wade Boggs? You can't say Wade Boggs sold his soul - I mean he was just elected to the Hall of Fame.

Homer: Actually Wade Boggs was the only one that wasn’t asked to sign away his soul. If you remember - in the show Wade gets beat up by Barney Gumble. Ned had Wade Boggs on as a favor to all the cast. We all wanted to beat him up but Barney won the lottery.

Wait a minute Homer. What about Ozzie Smith? I grant you all the other stars did seem to rapidly dim after being on the show but Ozzie was also voted into the Hall of Fame. You can’t ask us to believe that Ozzie sold his soul.

Homer: Well - you know how we all thought it kinda funny to portray Ned as the devil knowing full well that he really was the devil. Who knew that Ozzie really was a Wizard? The Wizard of Oz! We all thought it was just something people called him. That summersault he does before all his games is really a kind of counter curse you know.

Roger Clemens has over 300 wins and has won multiple Cy Young Awards. Surely he didn’t sign his soul away.

Homer: Roger was the first to sign. That guy is as dumb as a post. The funny thing is that by signing with Toronto – Clemens proved that he didn’t have a soul so the deal was null and void.

Please hold on just a second. I understand from our producers that joining us via a telephone hook-up is Ned Flanders. Mr. Flanders on this show tonight Homer Simpson has alleged that you are in fact the devil and that in 1992 you required a number of all-star baseball players to sign away their souls in order to be on the show the Simpsons. Can you comment on this?

Ned Flanders (aka Satan): Okily dokily Bob-arino. All that Homer said is as right as rain. Baseball players are some of my best customers next to SportsCenter anchors of course but you know I wasn’t going to take their souls until my boss insisted.

Your boss? Who would that be?

Ned Flanders (aka Satan): James L. Brooks of course.

Well that makes sense. I’m Bob Ley and this has been Outside the Lines. Please join us tomorrow night when our topic will be “Are we ready for an openly gay football mascot?”

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

If you had bet $100 on the first game of the first game in the Detroit Red Wings 23-game winning streak and let it ride for every game - that $100 would be up to over $3.9 million today...  Damn it! I started watching Downton Abbey and now I can't stop!!.... If anyone ever asked me if they could pay me in gum - I think I would punch them in the face... The Detroit Tigers are such huge favorites to win the AL Central (-$1800) that if you placed $100 on the other 4 teams in the division you would be guaranteed to win at least $1400 if the Tigers failed to win... How the greatest prankster in political history messed with Richard Nixon... Two things that I am giving up are playing solitaire on my computer and playing Keno when out at a bar. They are both wastes - one of time and one of money... The over / under for wins for the Red Sox is set at 87.5 games. I really like the over. Last year they got off to an awful start and completely collapsed in September and still managed to win 90 games... Happy 66th birthday to Boston Globe great Bob Ryan who announced his his retirement recently.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting and thought I'd share.
Gingrich Papers, Speeches Show Frequent Criticism of Reagan. It is also amusing that some of Reagan's positions today would be considered Liberal and Newt was to the left on some of those positions.
BetOnline is the first offshore to release MLB over/under win totals. I really like the Red Sox over of 87.5. Last year they completely collapsed in September and still had 90 wins.
I love this T-shirt 
Heh Heh - How to Write a Novel by Neil Gaiman
The Bell Centre in Montreal puts an image of Gary Carter's baseball card on the ice

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

There was a heavyweight title fight last night. Did anyone notice?... The fact that Mike Cameron has more career Wins Above Replacement (WAR) that Kirby Puckett shows how flawed any stat can be. How many people who saw both players in real life would have pegged Cameron as the better player? Zero maybe? Yet you can make that argument using WAR. Lies, damned lies and statistics... I wonder if Harvard is selling Jeremy Lin jerseys in their bookstore. I would think that would be a big seller...  As a Red Sox fan - I would laugh my ass off if AJ Burnett flunked the physical for the Pirates and had to return to the Yankees. Please God make it so... The highest unemployment rate under President George W. Bush was 7.7% and he was crucified for it. The unemployment rate under President Obama has been over 8% basically his whole time in office. When does President Obama get held responsible for that?... FWIW - Casey Blake has a career batting average of .311 and an OPS of .999 in 103 plate appearances at Coors Field. He could be a sleeper at 3rd base if you play fantasy baseball... On this day in 1980 - Bon Scott the lead singer for AC/DC passed away. He was 34. His death remains one of the great "what might have been" moments in rock history.

Mr. Jones - Counting Crows

I love this song. I even once tried to do this song at a karaoke night. It was then that I realized that this song really has a lot of words and that I really can't sing.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Gordon Edes pointed out in a Tweet that Tim Wakefield did not mention either Theo Epstein or Terry Francona in his retirement speech. Supposedly Wakefield was not a real big fan of Francona because Tito pulled Wakefield from the rotation. I wouldn't be surprised if Wakefield doesn't blame Francona for not breaking the Red Sox record for wins... Watched Cedar Rapids last night. I thought it was a great movie. Then again - after watching Crocodile Dundee for the first time I was convinced it was the best movie ever made... 11 Brilliant Lifehacks. Some very cool ideas here... I knew that Shaefer is the one beer to have when you are having more than one but who knew that Shaefer was the top selling beer in Puerto Rico during the 70's and 80's?... For some perspective on Curt Schilling's overall career consider that Roy Halladay would have to have about 200 strikeouts a year for the next 6 seasons to match Schilling career strikeout mark... Keith Olbermann seems to be like one of those old world gods who ceased to exist if you stopped worshiping them... Meet a black guy in Aspen. Improv Everywhere's latest prank. I thought it was pretty funny.

Tim Wakefield

Tim Wakefield retired yesterday. It was time.

Wakefield was a fan favorite not just for his longevity in the league and with the Red Sox but also because many looked at him and thought, "I could do that." He was our surrogate. If only we had learned the knuckleball at an early age we too could have had a major league career. He was living the dream for us. Unfortunately the past two seasons as he went a combined 11-19 with a 5.22 ERA - many fans derisively also thought to themselves, "I could do that." It was time to retire.

Real Red Sox fans won't let the last two seasons sully the memory of what Tim Wakefield meant to the team. Consider the fact that since Wakefield came to the Red Sox in 1995 - only 8 pitchers had more wins in the majors and the list reads like a who's who; Jamie Moyer, Mike Mussina, Andy Pettitte, Roy Halladay, Tom Glavine, Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson and Greg Maddux. With Wakefield retiring - Roy Halladay becomes the active MLB leader in wins with 188.

I hope the Red Sox do the right thing and have Tim Wakefield throw out the first pitch on Opening Day.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Presidential Over-reach

Charles Krauthammer makes a very interesting point regarding President Obama's "compromise" on birth control and the Catholic Church.
The President of the United States has just ordered private companies to give away for free a service that his own health and human services secretary has repeatedly called a major financial burden.

On what authority? Where does it say that the President can unilaterally order a private company to provide an allegedly free-standing service at no cost to certain select beneficiaries?
Very interesting observation on the pivot from an attack on the free exercise of religion to an attack on free enterprise. If you own or run a business - the President has basically just said that he can make you give away one or more of your services or goods for free and (according to his administration) there is nothing you can do about it.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

How can the Red Sox give new closer Andrew Bailey number 40 for his uniform. That was Calvin Schiraldi's number. Very bad juju... Insane rope swing... The things you learn on the Internet - according to Mental Floss dropping two aspirin tablets into a dead car battery might actually revive it... One big problem with Roy Oswalt that many people seem to be overlooking is the fact that he's a Type A free agent. That means the team signing him will lose a 1st round draft pick. If he wasn't going to cost a draft pick he's probably have a 1-year $10 million contract by now... I really like Dick Vermeil. I just do... I am surprised that no team has signed starter Chris Young. Sure he's coming off an injury and is not 100% yet but he has great upside and easily could be a solid number 3 starter for 20 or so starts this season... I couldn't help but laugh at this. Silly - I know - but sometimes silly is good.

EDIT: Roy Oswalt was classified as a Type-A free agent but since he was not offered arbitration by the Phillies he would not cost a team signing him a draft pick.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Flotsam and Jetsam

I hope you are having a great Valentine's Day. On this day in 1884 - Teddy Roosevelt's mother and wife both passed away. As you can see from his entry in his diary - it was not a good day for Teddy... Jimmy Kimmel really doesn't seem to like Jay Leno... I love David Ortiz but there is NO WAY the Red Sox offer David Ortiz arbitration next season. If they knew they would be paying over $14 million then I doubt they would have offered arbitration this year either... Heh heh - nursery rhymes as read by Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin...  In a person's life a split second can often do as much damage as a split atom... Just saying - I have never seen the movie The Bodyguard and God willing - I never will... I really want one of these - the new Tesla Model X SUV with gull wings.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting and thought I'd share.
Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter - this looks like a very cool movie. What a great idea!
$300k for the Senate Barbershop? You could argue this is in microcosm the problem with government spending
Who is Paul McCartney? Perfect example on how Americans in general have no sense of history. Ringo Starr must be spinning in his grave. 
Anus Magillicutty - title of a real movie - perhaps the worst movie ever made but a great name for a fantasy baseball team

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The 5-Hour Energy Guy

Very interesting profile of Manoj Bhargava - the man behind 5-Hour Energy.
"5-Hour Energy is not an energy drink, it's a focus drink," he says, turning one of the pomegranate-flavor bottles around in his hands. "But we can't say that. The FDA doesn't like the word 'focus'. I have no idea why."
I've never tried 5-Hour Energy but I could use some additional focus and energy on occasion so I'll probably be dropping $3 on a bottle or two.

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Happy 78th birthday to the greatest winner in pro sports history - Mr. Bill Russell... I sooo want one of these... Todd Pletcher, one of and perhaps the greatest horse trainers in history got his 3,000th victory yesterday. His horses have made over $213 million and more than a few dollars for me and my friends. My buddy Paul makes any Pletcher and Johnny Velazquez horse an automatic bet... 11 Cool Thank You notes sent by famous people... Happy Georgia Day! On this day in 1733 James "Oggie" Oglethorpe founded Georgia - the last of the Original 13 Colonies... The Eastwood Chrysler ad gets the story exactly backwards. First you have growth then you get the jobs. You don't do jobs hoping the growth will follow... In an attempt to change the conversation about contraceptive services the Obama Administration orders all oral contraceptives to be bacon flavored so Muslims and Jews can be as outraged as the Catholics...  The strangest tattoo parlor ad you will ever see...

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Neil Gaiman

I've long heard about Neil Gaiman but had never read any of his work. I knew he wrote the Sandman series of books and I knew people highly recommended him. Yet I never made an attempt to read anything by Neil Gaiman.

Two things changed that.

First - Gaiman wrote an episode of Doctor Who called The Doctor's Wife. I thought both the premise and dialog were very good even by Doctor Who standards (which means the bar was set high to begin with). After watching the episode and learning it was written by Gaiman - I made a mental note to read some of his other stuff.

Second - I was in a store called That's Entertainment that is known mostly for comic books and RPG accessories when I came across a copy of Neil Gaiman's Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders. I bought it and read it and was impressed. From the Sherlock Holmes parallel world inspired A Study in Emerald to the very entertaining The Monarch of the Glen (which I think would make a very cool movie) - I found Gaiman's writing to be compelling, humorous and that his twisted sensibility fit in very well with my tastes (although I do admit that I just couldn't get through the short story Sunbird for whatever reason).

I will be adding American Gods: A Novel to my Amazon wish list. Maybe some day I will get to read one of Gaiman's works in Gaiman's library.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

To make it up to Catholics - the Obama Administration has announced that to even off requiring all healthcare providers to carry contraception services it has announced that as of today all medical plans have to cover stigmata - even if it is a pre-existing condition... Who knew? According to Mental Floss - Marie Curie's notebooks are still radioactive and researchers hoping to view them must sign a disclaimer... If I was a GOP consultant - I would create an ad showing a Catholic nun being forced to hand out condoms to 13-year old punks under threat of arrest because of the new health care laws... If you ever describe yourself as having moves like Jagger - there's something seriously wrong with you. Or you are horribly drunk... Just saying but last night I dreamt that Johnny Damon signed a 2-year incentive laden deal with the Oakland A's.

Super Bowl Thoughts

"Is it wrong to gamble, or only to lose?" - Sky Masterson, Guys and Dolls
For the past several years I've spend Super Bowl Sunday at my friend Tim's house where the schedule has been start playing poker around 1:00, watch first half, play poker at half and then play poker after the Super Bowl until the poker game breaks up or the sun rises. When the teams in the Super Bowl have no rooting interest for us - we often play poker during the game too.

This past Sunday we had a rooting interest - a big one. To say we were disappointed in the outcome would be an understatement.

When the Boston Red Sox lose a game I've always avoided reading about the loss in the newspaper and when I got older - I also avoided sports radio as well. I don't need "the sky is falling" negativity in my life. Needless to say - I still haven't watched ESPN or listened to sports radio never mind reading about the game in the paper. I haven't even watched the local news on TV because I knew it would be all about the game. I've gotten my sports fix since Sunday night by watching the MLB Network where the Super Bowl hasn't been mentioned at all.

Having said the above - here are my thoughts (and some from my friends):

- On the ride home we mused that the loss sucked but anyone from New England who complains hasn't been paying attention these past several years. Boston fans have been blessed like no other fan group in the history of pro sports. All my friends were in agreement on this.
- Under Brady and Belichick - the Patriots have won 2 Super Bowls in the last minute and lost 2 Super Bowls in the last minute. All you will hear on sports radio are the yahoos complaining about the 2 that were lost.
- On the ride home I predicted that some idiots would even go so far as to say Tom Brady (who just passed for over 5,000 yards) is past his prime and that maybe one of the other QB's should be given a shot. My friends laughed at this as ridiculous but I'm sure some jackass has waited an hour on hold to make this point on WEEI. I also predicted that Wes Welker's dropped pass may actually help with his contract negotiations. My friend cynically agreed to that.
- When it comes to Welker's dropped pass - we all agreed that if he catches that pass then the game would have been over and the tune everyone was singing would have been different. But we also agreed that blame should not be placed on Welker. Rob Ninkovitch jumping off-sides on 3rd down was just as big a play. And if Brady hadn't had an intentional grounding in the end zone then the Patriots probably would have been down by just 2 points and a fieldgoal would have won it.
- When the Giants were called for 12 men on the field - everyone in the room thought the Giants did it on purpose and since it ran the clock down it was more like a penalty on the Patriots. Everyone figured this was a rule that would be changed in the offseason (and it seems like we were not alone in thinking this as Large Bill was thinking the same thing in Ohio).
- On the ride home, the three of us in the car all agreed that losing sucks but we were all happy for Tom Coughlin. He's a class guy and the job he did at Boston College has not been forgotten.

Still not ready for ESPN or sports radio but I did want to get these thoughts off my chest so that you wouldn't think I was locked in some bunker somewhere.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Happy Ice Cream for Breakfast Day! 15 offbeat holidays in February... Ernest Hemingway said the roar of a lion in the wild is first felt in the scrotum. The same is true of a Rob Gronkowski TD spike... Happy 64th birthday to Alice Cooper - one of the most under-rated rock stars in history. His music still stands up very well... Dan McLaughlin has some very eye-opening statistics on abortion. I was surprised by the numbers... Does any casino have a prop bet about the Giants defense faking an injury to slow down the Patriots no-huddle? The Giants have done it before - just saying...  According to some statistics I've seen there are 1.5 million fewer people working now than in January of 2009 and there are 13 million more people on food stamps in this country. Yet some would argue that we are heading in the right direction... Just 60 days until Opening Day... If God took a day off your life each time you masturbated - I would have been dead several years ago. Conversely if masturbating added a day to your life then I'm going to live to well past 100...

Friday, February 03, 2012

Just Incredible

Just incredible. The woman is so strong and graceful. I'm speechless.

Cogan's Trade by George V. Higgins

Recently I read the book Cogan's Trade by George V. Higgins. Even though I am a life-long resident of Massachusetts, I was unfamiliar with the work of Higgins. He was just before my time I guess.

I was compelled to buy and read the book by two unrelated issues. First in a Boston based episode of No Reservations - Anthony Bourdain said that The Friends of Eddie Coyle was the basis for the best movie on crime ever made. The I saw that Brad Pitt is planning on taking the title role and making Cogan's Trade into a movie. Cool. I figured I had to get into Higgins' work.

First I read Cogan's Trade. The book was a quick read - almost like one long series of conversations. You could see how this could easily could be converted into a screenplay. I recommend the book and look forward to the movie. Which leads me to The Friends of Eddie Coyle.

I was intrigued to see the movie and tried to find it on Netflix. It wasn't there! Strangely enough the movie is available on YouTube.  Worth a watch if you haven't seen it already.

Did Newt Resign in Disgrace?

I must admit that I found this article - Newt Did Not Resign in Disgrace by former Congressman Mark Souder pretty amusing. I especially found Souder sitting with fellow Congressman Mark Sanford during the vote on whether Newt would remain as Speaker to be unintentionally funny.

Why did I find this amusing? Well I couldn't help but remember that Souter later resigned from office because he was having an affair with a female staffer (basically at the same time Newt was having an affair with one of his female staffers). Then talking about agonizing about the decision with Mark Sanford who later resigned from the Governorship of South Carolina because he too was having an affair was just the extra bit of obtuseness needed to make me shake my head in disbelief.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Bad Lip Reading - Rick Santorum

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

This is basically the state of Rick Santorum's campaign. I don't know whether to laugh or feel sorry for him... Supposedly the Blue Jays turned down a trade that would have sent Brett Lawrie to the Mariner's for Michael Pineda. I think Toronto was correct to reject that trade. Lawrie could be a monster every day player and a sleeper in many fantasy baseball leagues... On this day in 2004 we got to see Janet Jackson's breast at halftime of the Super Bowl. I was not impressed... Who knew? Bradbury Robinson threw the first forward pass in football history on September 5, 1906. He was playing for Saint Louis University. You would think that Bradbury Robinson would be better known...  Mara likes Coughlin because he's focused on winning not his image (unlike some other head coach in NYC)... I wonder if players who donate to Peter Gammons' Hot Stove charity get better and more positive coverage during the season?... Just saying but Eli Manning had a poster of Tonya Harding on his wall growing up. I think there is still some yearning there... Who knew? Joel Murray who played Freddie Rumsen on Mad Men is Bill Murray's brother...