Friday, August 29, 2014

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

As if he wasn't going to be compared to Aaron Hernandez enough - new Patriots tight end Tim Wright will be wearing Hernandez's old number 81... Buying carbon off-sets to me always seemed like the modern equivalent of rich Northerners paying for replacements to fight for them in the Civil War. And just as hypocritical...  Carnal Acquaintance would be a good name for a band or a fantasy football team... Actual movie - MANBORG: a warrior who's half-man, half-machine, but all hero. Look awful... If Cubs fans were told before the season that Theo Epstein would have the team either ahead or tied by record with the Boston Red Sox - those Cubbie fans would have been pretty pleased.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

State of the Red Sox

The state of the Red Sox can be summed up in six words, "Too many outfielders, not enough starters."

Here's the outfielders Boston has under contract for next season; Yoenis Cespedes, Shane Victorino, Rusney Castillo, Allen Craig, Daniel Nava, Jackie Bradley Jr., Mookie Betts, and Brock Holt. You only play 3 outfielders at a time - so having 8 seems a bit much. Even if you say Brock Holt and Mookie Betts are really infielders - that still leaves 6 outfielders for 3 starting jobs. Something has to give.

Meanwhile - here are the starters that are under control for next year; Clay Buchholz, Joe Kelly, Brandon Workman, Rubby Del La Rosa, Anthony Ranaundo and Allen Webster. Does any of those names jump out at you as a number 1 or 2 starter? Me neither.

So what to do? The obvious first answer is to sign Jon Lester to a long term deal. At this point 6-years for $150 million is what it will probably take. Then you hope Lester is more like Andy Pettitte when it comes to durability and less like Jack McDowell. 

Even if you sign Lester - a rotation of Lester, Buchholz, Kelly, Del La Rosa and pick a name doesn't sound like a playoff contender. Signing free agent James Shields would obviously help but what are the odds of one team signing 2 of the top 3 free agent pitchers? That's why a starter is probably the number one trade priority for the team this off-season. The most obvious name would be Cole Hamels who is owed $94 million over the next 4 seasons. 

The good news is that the class of free agent outfielders this year is pretty weak - and guess who has outfielders to spare? Pretty sad but I'm looking forward more to the hot stove than to the rest of the season. I think many fans feel the same.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tim Horton's and Burger King

Tim Horton's and Burger King are merging. The new company HQ will be based out of Canada. I have an idea on how this news could be played to increase Burger King's market share in the US.

The minimum wage in Canada is Province by Province. The lowest is Alberta at $9.95 Canadian and the highest is Ontario at $11 per hour Canadian. That $9.95 Canadian works out to about $9.07 in US dollars. Only the State of Washington has a higher minimum wage ($9.32) in the US.

The new combined Tim Horton's and Burger King (Burger Horton's?) announces that they will now be paying at the very least the Canadian minimum wage of $9.07 to all employees in the US. They are probably already paying that to most employees so it wouldn't cost the company very much but it would differentiate itself from McDonald's. When the Occupy Wall Street / Never Shop at Walmart crowd decide where to eat lunch - now the choice would be clear - Burger Horton's! Most of those folks live off the dollar menu anyway.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Larry Bird - Determination

This is why Larry Bird was so beloved in Boston. Larry freakin' Bird!

ALS Bucket Challenge

Just this morning I read that David Beckham, Britney Spears and Dave Grohl had all separately and independently "won" the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

Sorry - to me Jacqueline Bisset is still the champ. Photos from her in the movie The Deep  single handedly created the wet t-shirt craze. I know no cause was involved but in my mind Jacqueline is still the champ.

Monday, August 18, 2014

GI Joe Villains

Strange how some morsels of information just jump out at you. I was reading this article on Amazon's fan-fiction portal Kindle Worlds when this tidbit jumped out at me; "In the case of GI Joe, for instance, the villain can't wear a Yankees cap."

All of a sudden I couldn't help thinking that this guy doesn't qualify as a GI Joe villain. And I found that amusing.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

You just know that one of the first real "practical" applications for Google Glass will be for POV porn movies... Who knew that I had this in common with Pedro Martinez?... 10,000 people a year die of drunk driving in the US. 5,000 people die from food poisoning. This message brought to you by MAEAEHC (Mothers Against Eating Anything Except Home Cooking)... I guess the best thing about Google Glass POV porn will be you'll never see the guy's goofy facial expressions during sex... Sounds like a plan... You know it's true! When Robin Williams died and then Lauren Bacall how many people wondered who would be the third celebrity to die?... Is it possible that Tony Stewart has raced his last race?... You also know that someone will film a Google Glass POV porn where the only audio from the guy is "I am Groot" or "Hodor, Hodor"... Just checking...

Friday, August 15, 2014

Scroobius Pip - Introdiction

Interesting song. Absolutely love the lyric; "You see a mousetrap. I see free cheese and a challenge."

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Robin Williams

Some tributes and remembrances of Robin Williams that I wanted to share.

- Robin's now poignant appearance on Louie

- Slightly NSFW bloopers from the first season of Mork & Mindy. Williams at his manic peak.

- Norm MacDonald's very personal tribute

- Ken Levine's thoughts on the passing of Williams

- David Simon's brief encounter and how Williams changed his life. It may not be a stretch to say without Williams' sacrifice in trying to help a friend's struggling show there may not have ever been The Wire

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Lauren Bacall

Hollywood icon Lauren Bacall has passed away. The news of her death was not greeted with the shock of news of Robin Williams' suicide. Sadly for many it was more of a "oh she was still alive?" reaction. It must be said that Bacall lived a life fully lived which is why the news of her passing has been greeted more with an appreciation of her joie de vivre than sadness. And that's the way it should be.

Some have said she was the "last of the Hollywood Golden Age stars" but that's not correct. At least not while Maureen O'Hara and Olivia de Havilland still draw breath.

I can't think of Bacall without thinking of her in this photo with then Vice President Harry Truman. Give 'em Hell Harry really caught hell for that photo from his boss. Not FDR the President - his real boss - Bess Truman his wife.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Robin Williams

Saddened by the death of comic genius Robin Williams.

Marc Maron reposted his poignant interview with Williams from 2010. I will probably listen to that hour a couple of times today.

Also when it comes to depression - please keep this in mind.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Bathroom Attendants

I can't think of anyone who is a fan of bathroom attendants. Other than being fodder for jokes (like this bit by Amy Schumer) they serve no purpose. I think at one point it may have been a sign that a place was classy but that day is long gone.

Over the weekend I was up at Saratoga and they have bathroom attendants at the race track. I got to thinking about how unnecessary they are after I went into the bathroom before the eighth race and the bathroom attendant was sitting there eating his lunch - an open faced roast beef sandwich. It was just wrong eating in the bathroom like that.

I got to thinking that it probably would be pretty easy to discontinue the practice of bathroom attendants. You would simply get a woman to sue for the right to be a men's room attendant and get a guy to sue for the reverse. With trans-gender folks able to use the bathroom of their choice these days and the inherent potential discrimination of men's only or women's only jobs - it's a good chance those cases would win. How classy would a place think it would be to have a male attendant in the women's room? Creepy right? And would a guy see a woman in the men's room without thinking "Is she a prostitute?"

Bam! No more bathroom attendants.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Jets fans who like Rex Ryan are like an inquus populus "a wicked, godless people" and Rex is their King...The head nurse at Emory explains why the American patients of Ebola needed to be treated in US... I went to years of Catholic school and we were never told that Saint Peter - the Rock on which Jesus built his church - the first Pope - was married... I so want the Burger King pies guy story to be true... Brown bears went extinct in England in the 10th century. I wonder if any radical environmentalists out there have proposed re-introducing them? Maybe just release a dozen or so in London and see how that goes?...

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

The Bill Burr Experience

In recent years a new formula has overtaken the world of stand-up comedy. It used to be (and still is the case for people like Jay Leno) that a comedian had an act and the act and jokes varied very little from year to year. Then comedians started developing an hour's worth of material, honing that material on the road and finally culminating in a taped hour (or so) special. After the special was done the comedian would basically retire the material and start work on a new hour's worth of jokes and stories. Let's call this the Louis CK Formula.

Keeping things new and fresh is absolutely the way to go for people like Louis CK, Jim Gaffigan, and other top comics. However, it almost seems a waste that after the specials are done the material only lives on in DVD sales, on Netflix or HBO Go or in YouTube clips. Here's my idea to fix that and we'll use Bill Burr as an excellent example.

Bill has two great recent specials - You People are All the Same  (2012) and Let It Go (2010). He could tighten the material to about 45 minutes of each by getting rid of anything current events related or stuff that didn't work as well as hoped. Then he could hire actors who looked like him (scrawny, sickly looking red heads) who would do the material. One would open with 45 minutes from Let It Go, then a 15 minute intermission followed by second guy doing 45 minutes from You People are All the Same. Curtain call, both actors take bows and then head off to the next city.

I'd go to see something like that. Bill Burr owns the rights to his own material and this would be a way of both making money off past labors and giving people an excellent entertainment option. Think of it this way - if AC/DC only played new songs in concert people would flock to AC/DC cover bands to hear the old songs.

Call it the Bill Burr Experience and let's get the show on the road. Release the Kracken!

Monday, August 04, 2014

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Now whenever I hear that Clay Buchholz is pitching for the Red Sox - my first thought is "take the over!"... Given his sexual conquests - the phrase "Jeter in the two hole" always cracks me up... Ernest Hemingway reacts to Jon Lester being traded... Part of me wonders if the Red Sox are tanking just so they can get the first pick in the NBA draft... What did Al Gore say about the Arctic Ice melting again?... Is the name Edmonton Eskimos that much less racist than the name Washington Redskins?... 19th century dude pranks 21st century guy...

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Linky Links

Things I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- Jon Lester says goodbye to Boston with full page ad. Two quick thoughts; I really hate the term "Red Sox Nation" - no Boston fan I know uses it and second if Lester really wanted to stick it to John Henry he would have placed the ad in the Boston Herald (Henry owns the Globe)

- Heh heh - Aboard Heaven's Choo Choo. (Someone should create an Urban Dictionary entry saying "Heaven's Choo Choo" is Vatican slang for vagina.)

- Fantastic review of movie The Big Chill by Lena Dunham

- Excellent video footage on shark behavior

- A-Rod's doping habits are beyond weird

State of the Red Sox

Here's five thoughts on the recent shake-up of the Red Sox roster.

1. The biggest difference between the pre-trade deadline line-up and the line-up today is the fact that Boston went from having two players (Ortiz, Napoli) with 25+ HR potential to having five (Ortiz, Napoli, Middlebrooks, Craig and Cespedes). I included Allen Craig even though the most HR he's hit in a season was 22 (but it was in just 119 games). That's a huge difference in pop in the line-up.

2. I have to wonder if Shane Victorino was healthy enough to pass a deadline physical whether he would have been traded too. My guess is he's shut down for the season and dealt once he's healthy. Did I say guess or hope?

3. How do the Red Sox hope to compete for top talent if they are not willing to pay the going rate? The Yankees gave Masahiro Tanaka a 7-year $155 million deal while Boston management looks like it was unwilling to give Jon Lester something comparable to a 5-year $110 million deal.

4. Conversely it should be noted that Oakland had the best record in baseball while relying mainly on young arms (plus 30-year olds Scott Kazmir and Jesse Chavez). Ace Sonny Gray 24, Tommy Milone 27, Dan Straily 25, and Drew Pomeranz 25 have made a combined 53 starts for the first place A's this season. Compare that to Boston's young arms of Brandon Workman 25, Rubby Del La Rosa 25, Allan Webster 24, and Anthony Ranaudo 24. It looks like Boston is looking to use the A's blueprint next season.

5. The speculation is that with payroll down to just $95 million for next season the Red Sox will use their stockpile of prospects to make a big splash in the trade market. The focus has been on Giancarlo Stanton but the two names I'd like to see on a Boston Opening Day roster next season are Troy Tulowitzki or Cole Hamels. Both would be great.