Monday, June 29, 2015

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Top 5 - Presidential Marriages

On this day in 1919 - Harry Truman married Bess Wallace. Their marriage was absolute and the epitome of love honor and obey (Harry obeying Bess that is). Here are what I consider the top 5 love affairs between Presidents and first ladies in US history.

1. Harry and Bess Truman
2. Ron and Nancy Reagan
3. George and Martha Washington
4. John and Abigail Adams
5. (tie) Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter (tie) George and Barbara Bush

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

There has to be more to the story behind why the Bruins traded Dougie Hamilton for such a small return... I love Sangria. At some point this summer I will be using this recipe... I like the word "turgid" but think it would be much more effective if it was spelled "turdgid"... The donut tent design actually looks pretty cool... If you were a hiring manager and your only two options were a guy with a large neck tattoo and a white guy with dreadlocks - who do you pick?... Meanwhile in Ireland... I wasn't aware that Michael Herr had a screenwriting credit on Full Metal Jacket. His book Dispatches is one of the best books you'll ever read on Vietnam... Who knew? Humans and giraffes actually have the same number of vertebrae... "Prohibited" means "not allowed". So does that mean "hibited" means "allowed"? I hope "hibited" is a word. I'll be very gruntled if it is...

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Defending Danny Ainge

Since Danny Ainge took over as President of Basketball Operations in 2003 only 11 teams have reached the NBA Finals (Boston did it twice) and only 7 teams have actually won (the Celtics won it all in 2008). Yet that level of success isn't enough for some in Boston. The griping of some people after the Celtics failed to make a blockbuster trade Thursday night is mind-boggling to me.

This is a guy who turned a disgruntled coach in Doc Rivers into a 1st round pick and Brad Stevens. Is there any NBA GM who would trade Rivers for Stevens straight up at this point? If in just 12-years Ainge accomplished two finals and a championship for the Knicks there would be a statue of him outside of Madison Square Garden right now. Can you imagine the roster Ainge could have assembled in Cleveland around LeBron James?

Ainge has put together a very deep roster for the Celtics. Sure there are no First Team All-NBA players but that's a tough order when you are constantly picking in the second half of the first round. The roster is deep and the quality is constantly improving. No NBA team looks forward to playing Boston and that's all Ainge's doing. No NBA front office feels comfortable when dealing with Danny because they know he's more savvy than they are. Yet that's not enough for some people.

It is more than enough for me. I not only trust that Ainge knows what he's doing - I am very grateful that he's in charge of the Boston Celtics.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Thomas Custer and the Little Big Horn

Many people realize that George Armstrong Custer died at the battle of the Little Big Horn but few realize that two of Custer's brothers also died that day and that one of his brothers was a two-time Medal of Honor winner. 

Thomas Custer died on this day 139 years ago at the Little Big Horn. He is one of just 19 soldiers to have earned more than one Medal of Honor.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Top 5 - Famous People who Started as Accountants

Here is my Top 5 list of famous people who started off as accountants.

1. Bob Newhart - started out in accounting. This isn't really surprising. Bob is a favorite of mine.

2. Peter Falk - before he was an actor he was a CPA - who knew?

3. John Grisham - I think most people knew that the famous novelist was a lawyer but did you know he received his undergraduate degree in accounting from Mississippi State University?

4. Chuck "The Iceman" Liddell - he graduated from Cal Poly University-San Luis Opispo with a degree in business and accounting. It would be kinda cool to bring a UFC champ to an IRS audit.

5. (Tie) Kevin Kennedy - the former MLB Manager was a CPA. Supposedly in the minor leagues he did his players’ tax returns to make extra money. He's the only guy on the list who was probably better as an accountant than in the profession he's best known for. (Tie) Gibby Haynes - lead singer of The Butthole Surfers. He went to Trinity University and earned his degree in accounting. After graduating he worked for over a year at an accounting firm before starting the band. Pepper is one of my favorite songs. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

State of the Red Sox

The Red Sox are 31-40, in last place in the AL East and 8.5 games out of first place. To say they have been a disappointment would be a major understatement. So what gives? What's been the problem(s) and what should the Red Sox do going forwards?

Let's start with the pitching - a staff whose ERA of 4.46 is dead last in the American League. First there's the Rick Porcello in theory and the Rick Porcello in reality. I admit that I too was high on Porcello who has shown flashes of what he was last season. If Porcello was 7-4 with an ERA around 4.00 instead of 4-8 with an ERA of 5.61 then Boston would still be in last in the AL East but only 5 games out of first and talk radio would be hammering about a trade for Cole Hamels. Instead Boston has tied their wagon to a guy whose career ERA+ is not even league average (95). Sadly at this point Red Sox fans can only cross our fingers and hope for the best.

Justin Masterson has been a mess. The Red Sox gave him 7 starts and he gave them a 6.37 ERA in return. Those 7 starts should have gone to Steven Wright and now that Eduardo Rodriguez has taken Masterson's rotation spot for good - when Masterson comes back from his "rehab" in Pawtucket he may force Wright out of the bullpen as the long-relief guy. Wright can't buy a break. I'd prefer for Boston to just admit that the Justin Masterson reclamation project was a mistake and move on.

Then there's the case for Brian Johnson who has been pitching even better than Eduardo Rodriguez in Pawtucket and is 2-years older. Is it wrong to hope that either Porcello or Joe Kelly develops "fatigue" and has to be put on the DL so we can see what Johnson has to offer at the MLB level? Or here's an idea - with the Red Sox out of it why not trade Koji Uehara and see if Kelly can close?

Then there's the position players and hitting where there's been basically 3 sore spots for Boston - catcher, 1st base and right field. Not much you can do about catching. Christian Vazquez and Ryan Hannigan sounded like a great defensive combo before the season but injury ruined that. Now we'll see what Blake Swihart (who has been heating up at the plate) and Hannigan (once he's healthy) can do for the rest of the season.

1st base? Mike Napoli has been hitting well below his career averages but what's the alternative at this point? Allen Craig? Sure Craig has been hitting at Pawtucket but does anyone think if things had been reversed that Napoli wouldn't be raking on AAA-pitching? Best to leave 1st as is and hope Napoli gets on another hot streak that brings his numbers back to where they should be.

That leaves right field where the answer is simple - bring back Jackie Bradley Jr.

And for those of us optimists out there - the Red Sox magic number is an even 100!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

The Red Sox to retire Pedro Martinez' number 45 on July 28th at Fenway Park... Cool - every American bar Anthony Bourdain has visited on TV... The Gnomon (One Who Knows or Examines) would be a good name for a blog... Heh heh... Who knew? Combined the 27 countries that make up the European Union would only cover half of the the area of the United States... In Search of the One Last Original Joke in the Universe would be a good name for a blog on stand-up comedy... Devo's cover of Satisfaction is one of the best cover songs in rock history...  Glove box? Glove compartment? Why? Do you know anyone who actually keeps gloves in there?...

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Attention IRS - I have decided to self-identify as a snowy owl and we all know that owls don't pay taxes. Call me Hedwig... Both interesting and a reminder of what barbarians fundamentalist Islamists can be... I don't think that probe on that comet mysteriously came back to life. I think it was just laying low until the stupid controversy over the guy's shirt died down... Interesting look at the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) and the lying hordes of native Hawaiians who oppose it. After reading the article and knowing some of the background I think I now fall into the anti-TMT camp... Song of the Pelican would be a good name for a band... I would guess that one of the real reasons Darrelle Revis is no longer with the Patriots is because he almost single-handedly cost New England the playoff game against the Ravens. Watch the highlights some time - Steve Smith completely undressed him... Speaking of the Jets...

Monday, June 15, 2015

Top 5 - Movie Theme Music

Here are my choices for the best movie theme music of all-time.

1. The Godfather
2. The Exorcist
3. Patton
4. Jaws
5. (tie) The Last of the Mohicans (tie) Rocky

Honorable mention to The Sting.

Other movies have had some great songs but when you hear these instrumentals - your brain automatically thinks of the movie. 

Interesting to note that all of the movies except Last of the Mohicans (1992) were from the 1970's. Also all the songs except The Exorcist (Tubular Bells) and The Sting (The Entertainer) were original scores. Do movies these days need hit songs associated with them to help increase profits and marketability? An exception to this was the Harry Potter theme music (which has a good argument to be in the Top 5). Did the folks producing Harry Potter (knowing they already had a guaranteed jackpot) feel they needed music more to suit the movie and not to suit the suits (producers and marketing folk)?

Sunday, June 14, 2015


Ernest Hemingway (or Mark Twain - I forget which) once suggested that editors should replace every word "very" they come across in works they are editing with the word "Goddamn" instead to show just how useless and extraneous the word "very" is to good writing.

I had no idea there was such aversion to the word "moist" but given these facts maybe editors should use that word instead of "Goddamn". Or maybe even more fun - editors should attach the word "moist" to every seventh or random nouns (just to get a reaction from the readers).

New England moist Patriots, moist NASA lunar probes, remote moist island communities, venture capital moist investments, etc. This is kinda fun.

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

An interesting "what if"? In 2007 the Red Sox considered trading Jon Lester to the White Sox for Mark Buehrle. If Boston signed Buehrle long-term would they have won the World Series in either 2007 or 2013? Could they have won more?... If you think about it - shoplifting food is both hunting and gathering... Our incredible solar system 1 - view of Venus transiting in front of the Sun... Jon Lester since 2007 has been 109-70 while Mark Buehrle has gone 99-71... Bill Lear, founder of the Lear Jet Corp., named his daughter Shanda. Yup - Shanda Lear... Our incredible solar system 2 - view of Saturn eclipsing the Sun... If MSNBC ran re-runs of Seinfeld it would be their highest rated show by a wide margin... I have grey hair and self-identify as a wizard. Call me Gandalf... Since 2007 Jon Lester has made roughly $63 million while Mark Buehrle has made about $110 million. I guess the "what if" wasn't as interesting as I originally thought.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Linky Links

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

- If you've been following the news - this photo is hilarious.

- Deflating "DeflateGate" - please God let Tom Brady sue the NFL for $300 million!

- I love this guy's sense of humor

- I think this should go without saying

- Heh heh

Friday, June 12, 2015


One of Christopher Lee's lesser known roles was as Death (with a capital D not a small d) in the Discworld BBC productions. I recently got into Terry Pratchett's Discworld series with The Color of Magic. I found the book entertaining. About half way in I began picturing the main two protagonists Rincewind and Twoflower as a sort of Hope and Crosby starring in a Monty Pythonesque On the Road in Space adventure. Late to the game with this but I imagine there will be many Discworld books involved in my summer reading.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Christopher Lee was a badass. RIP... I don't know why but lately I've developed a fondness for jelly stick donuts. I hope this phase passes soon (or I gain some level of will power)... From the owner on down - the Cleveland Indians seem like a very easy team to root for... If I had Donald Trump's money - I would buy a town in Central America and force every adult male to wear a Donald Trump wig. Not even kidding about this. I think it would make a great reality show... Every time I see Wheel of Fortune I can't help but think they should bring back the part of the game where the contestants went shopping with their winnings... The Wages of Sin Minus Taxes would be a good name for a band...

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Linky Links

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

- Good on ya mate - one Australian man estimated to have saved lives of 2 million babies

Marco Rubio's driving record? Really?

Good list of movie oral histories.

- Interesting look at behind the scenes at Augusta. More like the Soup Nazi of golf than the North Korea of golf if you ask me.

- Heh heh. Not sure if this chart is from Audubon.

- Interesting - how do water towers work? Never considered that height was a function of water pressure.

- Be careful when donating money to charities

- This is funny because it is so true!

King Phillip's War

One of the least remembered episodes in New England's history is King Phillip's War.
The bloodiest war in America's history, on a per capita basis, took place in New England in 1675.
At the center of this cataclysm was one man, Metacom, leader of the Pokanokets, a tribe within the Wampanoag Indian Federation. At an early age, when relations between the natives and settlers were less stressed, Metacom was given the nickname of King Philip by the English, because of his haughty mannerisms. One of the many ironies of this conflict is that Philip was the son of Massasoit - the same Massasoit who had helped the Plymouth Pilgrims survive their first winter in the New World. A father's kindness would became a son's curse.
This war almost drove "white" settlers from New England but the settlers prevailed by killing scores upon scores of Indians. It is no coincidence that beyond that first Thanksgiving you never really hear about Indians in conjunction with New England history. That's because they were almost all dead.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Jack Handy - Deep Thought for the Day

Thought of the Day: Sometimes when I reflect back on all the beer I drink I feel ashamed. Then I look into the glass and think about the workers in the brewery and all of their hopes and dreams. If I didn't drink this beer, they might be out of work and their dreams would be shattered. Then I say to myself, "It is better that I drink this beer and let their dreams come true than be selfish and worry about my liver" -- Jack Handy

Monday, June 08, 2015

Otto Frederick Rohwedder

It bothers me that whenever you see a list of great Americans these lists always seem to exclude Otto Frederick Rohwedder. He's the man credited with inventing sliced bread. What's greater than sliced bread?

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Linky Links

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

- Rob Gronkowski's heart really is in the right place

- A city's government losing the support of the police and fire departments is never a good sign (no pun intended)

- Good news as my prostrate maintenance regime is fully justified! Ernest Borgnine was ahead of his time!

- Interesting - how much does a cloud weigh?

- The way of the monastic warrior - lessons from Dick Winters

- Dick Van Dyke was one of the best physical comedians of all time. His grace was amazing!

- Why did people wear powdered wigs? It always comes down to syphilis and lice doesn't it?

- Story behind Bill Belichick wearing Armenian pin at White House. Good for Belichick!

- I want this print!

- MLB Players who use 80's music for their walk up songs.  I would use God Bless America by Kate Smith just to confuse the hell out of the crowd.

John Harvard, Ungutted Mackerel and Goat Dung

You may recognize the name John Harvard as belonging to the man for whom Harvard University was named. Did you know that he had no real connection to the school? He wasn't a founder, he wasn't a teacher, he wasn't even a student.

John Harvard's connection to the fledgling university in Cambridge, Mass. was via Nathaniel Eaton who was Harvard's schoolmate, friend and with whom Harvard had sailed to "the New World". John Harvard died in 1638 of tuberculosis and because he liked what his friend Eaton was doing as the first "master" of the newly formed college in Cambridge - Harvard bequeathed his library of 400 books and a pretty good sum of money. Because of the size of the gift - the good people of the Bay Colony named their university after him.

If Harvard died a year later - everything might have been different because his friend Eaton was fired.

Nathaniel Eaton was fired in 1639 in part because he was a stern taskmaster who beat his students but he was fired mostly because his wife was a lousy cook.

Like today - students paid for not just an education but also for room and board. Back then all the students and the teachers lived under the same roof and the wife of the master provided the meals. Eaton's wife was a lousy provider.

At the hearing there were allegations that Eaton's wife provided no beef and instead served ungutted mackerel (an allegation she denied) and that there was goat dung in her hasty pudding (another allegation she denied). Personally I think Eaton's wife would have been all set if she just served the students more beer (students haven't changed all that much).

So if Harvard died a year later - would he still have bequeathed the money to the college that fired his friend? Would the school have a different name today? Wouldn't "Ungutted Mackerel" be a good name for a band? Will you be able to think of Harvard's Hasty Pudding Award without thinking of the words "goat dung" from now on? Inquiring minds want to know.

Saturday, June 06, 2015


Some things to consider on this 71st anniversary of the Allied Invasion of Europe (D-Day).

- General Eisenhower's D-Day Speech

- Here's the speech Eisenhower planned to give if things went badly. He planned to take full responsibility. Thank God he never had to give that speech.

- Cool - D-Day landing scenes then and now.

And if you find yourself watching a baseball game today remember that on this day in 1944 Major League Baseball cancelled all games because they didn't think it was appropriate to be playing games while men were fighting and dying on the beaches of Normandy.

The Bubbler

Do you know what a bubbler is? If you do - there's a good chance you're from New England.

For those not in the know - a bubbler (pronounced "bub-lah") is what you'd probably call a drinking fountain. 

Bubbler is one of those words or phrases that are particularly New England. Others include "packie" (short for package store - what you would call a liquor store), "basement" (growing up - kids in school all asked if they could go to the "basement" instead of asking if they could go to the bathroom or restroom) and of course "a large regular" (which is a large coffee with cream and sugar).

I'm not sure if elementary kids in New England even know what a bubbler is anymore. I've been trying to think of the last time I saw a public drinking fountain. My health club has one but people seem to use it to fill their water bottles. Bubbler may just be one of those words that will shortly be lost to history.

Friday, June 05, 2015

Top 5 - Movies Based in Massachusetts

2. Good Will Hunting
3. The Departed
4. The Thomas Crown Affair (w/ Steve McQueen)
5. The Verdict

Just missing the cut were The Paper Chase, The Boondock Saints, The Perfect Storm, The Brinks Job and The Last Hurrah. I gave no consideration whatsoever to Love Story. It will be interesting to see if Black Mass (the Whitey Bulger biopic) makes the list.

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Godfather Though for the Day

Michael Corleone is often thought of as a poor husband and father. He tried to be like his father Don Vito but it just didn't work out. Sure he loved his kids but it just wasn't enough. In the end his family is a mess. 

How come Kaye never gets any of the blame for this? Seriously. 

Keep in mind that Kaye was Michael's second choice (in fact second wife). If Appolonia had lived - do you think Michael would have had so many family problems? Do you think Appolonia would have ever had an abortion? Divorced Michael? I don't think so. 

Maybe the real lesson to be learned from the Godfather trilogy is to not marry a WASP. 

Player Comparison

Here's a player comparison I've been wondering about lately:

Player A - 7 HR/ 24 RBI/ .241 BA/ .271 OBP/ .412 SLG/ .682 OPS
Player B - 5 HR/ 17 RBI/ .244 BA/ .312 OBP/ .360 SLG/ .673 OPS

Both players man the same position but Player B is making $17 million more than Player A. If you haven't figured it out Player A is Will Middlebrooks who is starting to get hot for the Padres while Player B is Pablo Sandoval who has been pretty disappointing so far for the Red Sox.

Middlebrooks probably needed a change of scenery and I wish him all the best. It's just that this comparison has been bothering me these past few days. The fact that Middlebrooks is also 7-years younger also makes this comparison a little harder to take on a full stomach (no Panda pun intended).

Linky Links

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

- 15 common expressions the younger generation will not understand

- Roger Goodell is a lying liar who lies. I still think Delfategate was made such a big deal in part to change the subject from Ray Rice.

- Really interesting story on the reporter who brought down FIFA

- 12 facts you might not have known about Einstein's Theory of Relativity (missing Einstein did not win the Nobel Prize for E=MC2 mostly because the voting members were anti-Semitic)

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Where Do Lab Rats Come From?

Where do the white lab rats and mice come from? Think about it. Are they some sort of snow rodents? I don’t think so. They are probably some sort of genetic anomalies. I think scientists should have to note that fact in their findings. Instead of reading something like, “Scientists find that excessive caffeine causes cancer in lab mice” – the report should read, “Scientists find that excessive caffeine causes cancer in genetically altered rodents.” Makes a difference on your reaction doesn't it? 

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Yes Caitlyn Jenner looks like Jessica Lange and yes I'd have sex with Jessica Lange. Suddenly I don't want to talk about his... In the drink V8 is one of the 8 ingredients ass? Sure tastes like ass to me... Playing off the success of Christian Mingle - I'd like to create a website Christian Divorce - "Jesus wants you to separate"... Fantastic look back at Stevie Cauthen - the last jockey to win the Triple Crown... What would I do for a Klondike Bar? I guess go to the store and pay a buck and a half. That's what I'd do for a Klondike Bar... Nick Swisher's career numbers aren't close to being Hall of Fame caliber but you know some writer will vote for him as a favor... Hillary has to be the worst possible name for a stripper...


I've decided that I'm not going to believe in ghosts. Why? Well the reason is pretty simple.

Every kid is taught that ghosts say "boo!" Who decided this? It's become unanimous. According to our culture and accepted norms - ghosts say "boo". But why would your spirit in death be saying something you never said in life? When was the last time you said "boo"? Were you impersonating a ghost?

The only explanation is that nobody has ever spoken with a ghost. And that must be because they don't exist. Logic.

As an aside - I think it would be funny if someone re-cut the movie Ghost so that Patrick Swayze's dialog after he dies is replaced by someone just repeating "boo!" over and over.

Monday, June 01, 2015

How History Could Have Been Different

Fidel Castro had a law degree and when he was young he joined the firm of Azpiazo, Castro and Resende. He didn't do very well in the practice. Castro was a young lawyer without any clients.

I can't help but wonder how history could have been different if only Castro had been a better lawyer. Or if he happened to get a big case or client. Would Fidel have been so hot for communism if he was sitting on a pile of money?