Sunday, September 30, 2012

The GQ Cheers Oral History

Such a great program - and such a great oral history.

Living in Massachusetts I cannot tell you the number of times I had to bring out of town guests to the Cheers bar so they could get a picture. The bar is still going strong (but a serious tourist trap - save your money just get the picture with the sign outside on the street). I may have to re-watch every episode on Netflix.

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Stats show that Mike Aviles defense was just fine for the Red Sox. It was his offense that was the problem. His batting average was just .250 and his OBP was an anemic .282. You could get better defense from Jose Iglesias if you are willing to live with the 76 OPS+ that Aviles put up... If ESPN still did that "You got jacked up" segment then Vince Wilfork's hit against Buffalo would be shown 17 times straight. As Tom Curran pointed out - I think that's the last time you see any team try a middle screen against the Patriots this season.. If there was a Church of Bacon I'd be a parishioner - maybe even a priest... I think it would be funny to see a re-make of the musical Paint Your Wagon made with just on-air personalities from the NFL Network. Rich Eisen can play the Lee Marvin role... I have to think this is the end of the road for Jason Giambi. Not a Hall of Famer but considering he's made over $131 million in salary in baseball - I don't think we'll see him panhandling any time soon... I have to agree with this cartoon...

Ken Levine Remember the Night Cheers First Aired

Ken Levine reminisces about the night Cheers first aired - 30-years ago today.

Ken and his writing partner were responsible of 40 Cheers scrips over a 9-year period. You really should bookmark his blog or follow him on Twitter.

Daisuke Matsuzaka

Tim Britton has a piece on Daisuke Matsuzaka and how Dice-K's next start will not only be the last for the 2012 season but also his last in a Boston uniform.

One thing that Tim doesn't point out is that Dice-K has actually been better away from Fenway in his MLB career (4.76 ERA in 57 Fenway starts vs 4.19 ERA in 58 career road starts). I think Dice-K, if healthy,  could be a very nice pickup for another team. Many teams would be happy will a third or fourth starter posting a 4.19 ERA. And if Dice-K winds up with an NL team - then it is not too unrealistic to see that ERA in the 3.50 range.

I just wouldn't sign him to a longterm deal - just in case I'm completely wrong.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Amateur

Just finished reading The Amateurby Edward Klein.  It was a good quick read but if you have been paying attention politically - then there were no real bombshells. The only real bombshell was former President Clinton urging his wife Hillary to run against Barack Obama in the 2012 primaries and of him giving Obama the nickname which graces the cover of the book.

If anything - things have gotten worse for the Obama Administration since the release of the book. There's plenty in the book with Obama's issues with Israel and the Jewish vote in the US. But the book couldn't predict that the Administration would be so confused by its own stance towards Israel that senior people couldn't name the capital with the status of Jerusalem being one of the negotiating items the Administration wanted "on the table" (even though that's a complete non-starter for anyone who is even briefly acquainted with Jewish history).

Foreign policy? The book details the root issues with American involvement in Libya but how was Klein to know that just months before the election these amateur foreign policy decisions would cost a US Ambassador his life? And that the Administration would basically lie about the cause of his death?

I don't think history will be kind to Barack Obama but after reading The Amateur by Edward Klein - I am very much convinced that history will not be kind to Valerie Jarrett and Michele Obama. Just wait - stories about their meddling will start to come out in dribs and drabs and if Obama loses the election those stories will come out in a flood.

Friday, September 28, 2012


Recently I saw the movie Anonymous and I still find myself thinking about it days afterward. That is the mark of a good movie.

The premise of the movie is that Shakespeare did not write the plays for which he is famous but instead the real author was Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford. The movie is in no way historically accurate when it comes to this "theory" but the movie gives enough twists and turns to make you wonder at the end if this could have happened.

If there is a criticism to the movie I'd say that at the beginning the movie jumps around from time and place too much. It is confusing but maybe that was the idea. Get the viewer a bit disoriented so that the later twists and turns are more acceptable to the mind that just settled who is where and who is what. (I know that's confusing but trust me the movie does that to the viewer.) Also at the end we watch a theater crowd exiting the theater. Too slow.

If you like Shakespeare (which I do) and like movies that you have to think to follow - then Anonymous is worth the two hours.

Grant Desme: From Prospect to Priest

Fascinating story by Jeff Passan on Grant Desme who went from being one of the Oakland A's top prospects to being a monk and priest in training.

The guy gave it all up - even his name. He's now called Frater Matthew.

Fascinating story. I hope he finds peace.

Keith Foulke

Gordon Edes has a very nice column catching up with 2004 playoff hero Keith Foulke. Many Red Sox fans feel that Foulke was the real playoff MVP in 2004 though those official honors went to Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz.

One follow up question I wish Edes had asked though is if Foulke would have had the knee surgery in Spring training of 2005 if Doctor Bill Morgan were still the Red Sox medical director instead of Dr. Gill who Foulke did not listen to. I have long felt that this change in team doctors (which was done primarily because of marketing considerations) hasn't been an under-reported issue affecting on the field performance. Every year since the change was made it seems the Red Sox lose key players because of un-diagnosed or misdiagnosed ailments.

New Hobby

I've decided that my new hobby is going to local music open mic nights and singing O Canada acapella.

New real reason for this. Just my own private amusement.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

I missed South Park last night but I understand they were brutal to Tom Brady. I'll have to watch it!... One of my favorite quotes is Ronald Reagan asking, "How do you insult a pig by calling it a pig?" It is so straightforward but at the same time can be used in so many situations... What an awesome correction... Good advice - never turn your back on a unicorn. Those bastards will stab you in the back as soon as they see you aren't looking... Every time I see a sign for the new JK Rowling book the Casual Vacancy - I think the sign says Carnal Vacancy. I'm guessing that porn version of the book has already been written by some fan fiction writer... The best praying mantis photo you may ever see... Supposedly France will be banning the words "mother" and "father" from all official documents. Remember the Coneheads were from France and they only used the term "parental units". I think France should go with that term...

Monday, September 24, 2012

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

I watched the first half of last night's game at one bar and the second half of the game at another. The one thing the patrons at each place had in common was the opinion that the replacement refs in the Patriots / Ravens game were awful... So let me get this straight - Elizabeth Warren is technically only an Indian and a licensed lawyer in her own mind. Well OK then... Did blowing into Nintendo cartridges actually help? I admit to blowing on the connectors. I think it helped no matter what studies say... Ronald Reagan thought that unemployment was a major problem in 1976 when 7.5 million Americans were out of a job. You have to wonder what he'd say today when that number is at 23 million (and growing)... The son of the most interesting man in the world... If I'm ever in a relationship with a woman who keeps Moet et Chandon in a cabinet - I'm pretty sure I'm going to bail. Thanks Queen's Lyrics for the dating advice... Awesome photo of the space shuttle Endeavor.. The Jetsons was set in 2062. I don't think we should have to wait that long for flying cars or robot maids... If I had unlimited cash - I'd buy the Atlanta Braves just so I could rename Turner Field to Hank Aaron Field. That's a wrong that's been waiting to be righted for too long... Mitt Romney made less money last year than Jon Stewart but the Daily Show will keep poking fun at Romney as the rich guy...

End the ATF

The ATF (technically the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) has changed its name to the Violent Crime Bureau.

I have to laugh at this. Who does the ATF think it is? A spin-off of the Law and Order TV franchise?

If I were President one of the first things I'd do is dismantle the ATF. Every President seems to have a scandal originating from the ATF (Waco, Ruby Ridge, Fast and Furious, etc.). Nothing but bad news. Offer any ATF employee within 5-years of retirement a package. Let all qualified field agents go to work at the FBI. Give the rest of the ATF employees 4 weeks severance. Done. No more ATF. No more need for a name change.

Who would complain about doing this? Who out there is pro-ATF?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Thomas Jefferson Quote

Thomas Jefferson said, "The American people won't make a mistake if they are given all the facts."

I have a feeling that some author is going to use that quote as the foundation for a book about the 2008 election. The American people were not given all the facts by the media and many people feel that a mistake was made.

West Wing Reunion

I don't live in Michigan but if I did I'd vote for Mary McCormack's sister just on the basis of this video.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting and thought I'd share.

- Happy birthday funnyman. Bill Murray turns 62 and here's 62 reasons he's complete awesomesause.

- Holy crap! I thought this was something from The Onion - the Effect of Country Music on Suicide. The more airtime devoted to country music - the greater the suicide rate. Effect independent of "southernness" (which I didn't even know was a word).

- Gordon Edes on the players the Red Sox either traded or let get away. He should have mentioned that the team would be managed by Terry Francona.

- The Onion pegs Bobby Valentine. If you add "he said in his head" after every Bobby V quote the spoof becomes 100% believable.

- Beatnik Slang - some are pretty clever

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Is it bad that I'm a Red Sox fan and yet I want them to finish in last? I just think that would be just punishment for them for the way they treated Terry Francona on his way out and also a reminder to ownership what happens when you let Larry Lucchino meddle with baseball operations... Just something magical about this picture... One thing I'd like to see is Rob Gronkowski running with the ball out of the backfield like the Patriots sometimes do with Aaron Hernandez. I think Gronk would be Larry Czonka like as a running back... I renamed one of my fantasy football teams The Shirtless Tebows... If Mitt Romney came to the first debate without wearing a tie - that's what all the media organizations would lede with. No matter the substance of what Mitt had to say. Barack Obama could say he plans to bomb Israel in his second term but if Mitt wasn't wearing a tie - that would be the story.

Friday, September 21, 2012

A Moveable Feast

I just recently finished re-reading Ernest Hemingway's A Moveable Feast. I've always found it to be my favorite work by Hemingway. I think that is because the book is both historical and biographical and I tend to favor works on history and biographies in my reading habits.

The book's unsung hero is Ezra Pound. The book's villain is Zelda Fitzgerald and the book's fool is F. Scott Fitzgerald who Hemingway paints as an alcoholic buffoon with wasted talent. Hemingway's kind sentiments towards Pound are interesting given Pound's political leanings around WWII. I feel guilty that I've never even once felt the urge to pick up and read anything by Pound. I also feel guilty because each time I read A Moveable Feast and Hemingway sings the praises of the book Out of Africa I say to myself that I will read that book!  But I never have.

Hemingway wrote the book three decades removed from the Paris of the 1920's. In the book Hemingway makes clear that he disagreed with the idea of a "Lost Generation". I tend to agree with Hemingway. It would be one thing if the label of a "Lost Generation" was referring to a generation wiped out by war but the label was a slight originating from Gertrude Stein referring to a generation without direction. A generation adrift. I'm of a mind that generally every generation looks at the generation that comes after it as being adrift and without the same sense of purpose that they themselves possessed. The Great Depression generation probably thought the generation that followed them was a Lost Generation - even though that generation would later be given the moniker of the Greatest Generation.

Youth is wasted on the young. The saying has been true since the days of the Ancient Greeks and it is true today. I guess one of the reasons I keep coming back to A Moveable Feast is because the book allows you to get a feeling of what it was like to be young in the Paris of the 1920's. And that's a good thing.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations. This is fantastic. What makes it great is the fact that you could totally picture Jay Cutler bumming around with a butt hanging out of his mouth... On a related note - I would pay to see a re-make of the movie Barfly if it had Jay Cutler playing the Mickey Roarke role... What's the difference between nude and naked?... Stories about Mitt Romney's kindness and generosity have been popping up here and there in the media. How come we never hear from people Barack Obama helped when he was a community organizer? Where are those stories?... Bobby Valentine is just 16-20 in one run games and a miserable 2-8 in extra innings. If he was halfway competent he'd be back next year but he's not so it will be adios to Sideshow Bobby Valentine... If low calorie beer was called "skim beer" instead of "light beer" - I don't think it would be quite so popular... Heh heh - Tony Stewart - sneaky ass-grabber...

Heh Heh

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

What if Hemingway was Typecast?

Ernest Hemingway wrote a lot of stories about horse racing and during his early years in Paris much of his time was spent at race tracks or studying the racing forum looking for a good horse to bet. This side of Hemingway is not widely known mainly because almost all of his stories about horse racing were lost when his wife Hadley had a briefcase full of Hemingway's original works along with the carbon copies stolen off a train.

I keep wondering what would have happened if those stories had not been lost to history. Would Hemingway the writer have turned out very different?

Imagine if some of those horse racing stories were published and they were met with some acclaim. Would Hemingway have been known as the renown horse racing writer?  If Hemingway branched out to other subjects would the critics have told him to stick to horse racing? "Hemingway writes about an old fisherman struggling to land a giant marlin and the story is surprisingly well told coming from a writer who normally covers steeple chase."

My mind works differently than most people.

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Last week Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said that Kevin Youkilis was hitting the same for the White Sox as he was hitting for the Red Sox. He said this out of the blue as if to explain that Valentine wasn't the problem with Youkilis' early season batting woes. The problem is Youkilis is not hitting the same for the White Sox as he was hitting for the Red Sox. His OBP is almost 50 points higher and his OPS is 140 points better. Valentine's failure to grasp this simple fact is a huge red flag regarding his ability to manage in the major leagues today... Interesting read on the role of Wes Welker with the Patriots... Just a reminder but Art Modell was so popular in Cleveland in the late 70's that the Republican Party wanted to run his for Governor... Am I bad person because I thought this was really funny? The Cheers opening turned into Jihad.... I am still coming to grips with the Patriots losing to Arizona on Sunday. Did that really happen?... More awesome photos from the Hubble space telescope...

Monday, September 17, 2012

Mitt Romney's "Secret Video"

Mother Jones has what they are calling a "Secret Video" of Mitt Romney speaking freely at a fund-raiser. They seem to think this is somehow some sort of blockbuster, game-changer. I don't see what the big deal is. Yes - people who are getting government benefits and union workers are going to be overwhelmingly for Obama. Yes - bogging down people with wonkish details of policy plans is boring and will turn off many people. This is common sense stuff - not game over revelations. Yeesh!

As an aside - I uncovered a secret video of my own. Here is an Obama supported spelling out what she expects from a second Obama term.

Mitt Romney's Acts of Kindness

These are four pretty powerful stories. I don't listen to Glenn Beck much but kudos to him for having these people on his show.

As an aside - I did a quick calculation and Mitt Romney's donation to the veteran's homeless shelter probably cost him around $200,000 over two years. A donation he made anonymously because he just felt it was the right thing to do.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012


A little late in the day for 9/11 related items but here are two perspectives that were new to me and which helped me think about that terrible day a little differently.

- Second grade soldier.

- 9/11 from the International Space Station.

11 years later and strangers still share stories of where they were when the towers were hit. The scar has not healed.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

The following sentence does a good job summarizing the Boston Red Sox' 2012 season: In the first week of September the Red Sox and the Kansas City Royals have almost the exact same record... Heh heh - this took me a minute... Josh Beckett has been decent for the Dodgers since the big trade from Boston. He's averaged better than 6 inning per start with a 3.86 ERA in his first 3 games for LA... Is High Fructose Tampons a good name for fantasy football team?... Winston Churchill once said, "To do justice to a great man, discriminating criticism is always necessary." If he was alive today and he criticized Barack Obama - he'd just be called discriminating... Adrian Gonzalez hit a HR for the Dodgers in his first game but none in the 12 games since. His OPS in LA is a miserable .663... This picture always makes my day... "Kevin Youkilis THE MUSICAL" would make a great off-Broadway show. Tell me you wouldn't buy a ticket to that!

Friday, September 07, 2012

What People are Missing About the Bobby Valentine Hiring

I saw what the Bobby Valentine hiring by the Red Sox was from the very start. It was not a bad hire at all as some pundits and personalities now claim. Bobby Valentine has completely succeeded for the purpose for which he was hired.

Let me explain. But first let me get a little geeky.

In the book (and movie) Dune - Baron Harkonnen first sends his nephew the Beast Rabban in to rule the desert planet Arrakis after the defeat and overthrow of the popular Duke Leto Atreides. However, Baron Harkonnen's real goal is to have Rabban crush the will of the people on Arrakis so that when he has his favorite nephew - Feyd-Rautha (played by Sting in the first Dune movie) replace Rabban - Feyd-Rautha will be hailed as a savior.

In the Red Sox example - Bobby Valentine is the Beast Rabban.

If you recall - originally the new Red Sox ownership had planned to make Billy Beane their GM in charge of baseball operations. There is no way that Beane would have tolerated any interference in baseball operations by Larry Lucchino. But at the last minute Beane turned the Sox down and Theo Epstein became GM. Now Theo had no choice but to tolerate interference from Lucchino and his minions because Epstein held much less power in the organization and because Lucchino was his "mentor".

I am convinced that it was the interference of Lucchino and his ilk that undermined Terry Francona and cost him his job and who also eventually caused Their to cry "enough!" and ask for exile to the Cubs.

Red Sox principal owner John Henry is no dummy (you don't get to be a billionaire by being stupid). He knew what was happening but what to do about it? Simple - you give Lucchino enough rope to hang himself. You let Lucchino hand-pick Bobby Valentine as the new manager but you saddle Valentine with enough handicaps that failure is all-but guaranteed. Don't let Valentine pick his own coaches and give him a contract that emphasizes Bobby V's weak position to anyone paying attention.

With the failure almost complete - John Henry can turn to Lucchino and order no more interference in baseball operations and then bring in a likable manager like John Farrell or DeMarco Hale (who will look like Sting compared to Valentine's Sideshow Bob act). The new manager also doesn't have to bear the burden of being compared to the well-loved Terry Francona. They just have to be better than the comical Bobby Valentine.

Just as it was planned.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Mitt Romney and the 2002 Olympics

Caleb Whitmer has a nice article on Mitt Romney's leadership at the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics. I had not heard of this anecdote about Bonnie Blair before but it is very telling of the quality of Mitt's character:

Gillespie said the 2002 games were not only revealing of Romney’s character as a leader but as a good man. She told me a revealing story: Flying a plane to the United States in 2002, Romney and an IOC official argued over who would carry the Olympic flame onto American soil: Romney or six-time gold medalist Bonnie Blair.
Traditionally, the CEO of the current Olympic Planning Committee was supposed to have the honors, but Romney wanted Blair to do it. The relay was supposed to be about heroes, and Romney wanted Blair and her mother to be the first off the plane carrying the torch, with Romney walking behind them. But the IOC member wouldn’t budge and after arguing for a while, Gillespie, who was on the plane as well, recalls that Romney abruptly ended the conversation, saying, “Okay, fine,” and walked away.
The plane landed at the airport and the group positioned itself near the plane doors, as photographers and the press waited for them on the tarmac.
“There’s Mitt holding the little lantern with Bonnie and her mom behind him and the doors open, and, as those doors open, he steps back to the side and hands Bonnie the lantern, pushes them out in front of him, and they went down the stairs.”

Monday, September 03, 2012

Romney the New Eisenhower?

The quip from President Barack Obama that Mitt Romney's speech at the RNC could have been in black and white on a TV with rabbit ears made me wonder if Obama was somehow thinking about this quote from President Eisenhower:
"All middle-class citizens of education have a common belief that the tendencies toward centralization and paternalism must be halted and reversed," Dwight Eisenhower July 1949
The quote certainly fits today's situation pretty much to a tee. I'm guessing that if Eisenhower's remarks were broadcast that it would have been in black and white.

Mark Knopfler - What It Is

Mark Knopfler - What It Is. A vastly under-rated and underplayed song.

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting and thought I'd share.

Jerry Seinfeld's Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee - Bob Einstein episode

Official Trailer for animated Graham Chapman biopic A Liar's Autobiography. I'm a sucker for anything Monty Python related.

The certainly has been a lot of turn-over in the Red Sox roster since opening day.

Excellent shot-by-shot review of the chase scene in The Dark Knight. That scene has always bugged me - now I know why.

The free agent market for Josh Hamilton may not be as big as he thinks. I wouldn't be surprised if Texas was the only real bidder.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Mad Men Perform Rick Astley's Never Gonna Give You Up

Clearly the greatest thing on the Internets today. Wicked awesome!

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

I've said it before but if the Israelis were to bomb Iran's nuclear facilities - during or right before President Obama's speech at the DNC would be the perfect time... Good advice for poker players - how to play Ace/King if you miss the flop... I have to guess that the TV ratings on NESN for this West Coast swing by the Red Sox will be the worst since the new ownership bought the team. There is simply no reason to watch this lousy team full of malcontents... Some people poke fun of the US Coast Guard and others always seem to forget them when it comes to thinking of branches of the US military. I have to wonder though - if you took the Coast Guard on its own - I'm guessing it is bigger than the military's of half the nations of the world... Another example of why Johnny Carson was the King. It is sad that his memory seems to be fading... Protesters dressed as giant vaginas at the RNC. I'm guessing that if male protesters dressed as giant penises at the DNC - they'd get arrested. Seriously - Karl Rove get on this. Pay some frat guys a few hundred to dress up as giant penises (not much of a stretch for many of them) and then put out press releases about the war on men and a man's reproductive rights. So let it be written - so let it be done.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

The Mormon Way of Doing Business

I recently read The Mormon Way of Doing Business: How Nine Western Boys Reached the Top of Corporate America by Jeff Benedict. The book was written in 2007 and was a discussion of the lives and habits of 9 prominent Mormon businessmen. The men discussed are David Neeleman, founder and CEO of JetBlue Airways; Kevin Rollins, former CEO of Dell; Jim Quigley, CEO of Deloitte-Touche USA; Dave Checketts, former CEO of Madison Square Garden Corporation; Gary Crittenden, CFO at American Express; Rod Hawes, founder and former CEO of Life Re Corporation; Kim Clark, former Dean of the Harvard Business School; and Clayton Christensen, leading Harvard Business professor and consultant to major corporations.

And of course Mitt Romney - founder of Bain Capital and current Republican nominee for President of the United States. The chapter for Mitt Romney was added and the book was re-issued to take advantage of the connection. You would think that the re-issue was a little cynical until it gets pointed out that Kevin Rollins, former CEO of Dell; Dave Checkett, former CEO of Madison Garden Corp.; and Gary Crittenden, CFO for American Express - all got their starts in business as consultants at Bain.

Frankly - I'm surprised that these business leaders haven't been more outspoken for Mitt Romney. Of course Staples is probably Mitt's biggest success story (outside Bain Capital itself) and make no mistake - Mitt Romney was very involved in the founding and success of Staples.

Also - here's a must see video of author Jeff Benedict discussing the book and Mitt Romney from back in April.