Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Linky Links

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

- 100 years ago today. If Germany was able to drag Mexico into WWI then things may have been much different both back then and today.

- RIP Neil Fingleton (AKA Mag the Mighty)

- Excellent question!

- George W. Bush's new passion

- RIP Judge Wapner

- Ben Affleck is 100% checking out Matt Damon to see if this was a Jimmy Kimmel prank


An antiquarian is a person who studies or collects antiques or antiquities. But the prefix "anti" usually means "against" or "opposite of".

Why do I bring this up? Because in my mind if we have the word "antiquarian" we should also have the words "quarian" and "proquarian". But we don't and I needed to voice my disappointment.

And yes I am aware that the Quarians are a race of aliens from the game Mass Effect.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Darrelle Revis

While we are waiting to hear what the legal outcome will be for Darrelle Revis knocking out two guys in Pittsburgh and if the NFL will do anything about the fact that the Jets ABSOLUTELY tampered with Revis prior to him being a free agent - I thought I'd look back on a couple of predictions I made two seasons ago.
If you are into player comparisons think of Revis signing with the Jets this way; they basically just got Deion Sanders age and performance-wise during the last 4 years of his career. There was no fifth year because Deion was cooked by then.
Looks like old and washed up Deion Sanders would have been a best-case scenario. Revis may be done with the Jets after just 2-seasons.

And a prediction I made prior to the 2015 season:
Darrelle Revis will not make either first team NFL All Pro or second team All Pro. If he makes it on the Pro Bowl team it will because of his past performance. Revis was beat often in the playoffs last season (Steve Smith Sr. abused him) something not lost on the Patriots or more important on the rest of the NFL (except the Jets).
Turns out that he did make the Pro Bowl in 2015 on reputation alone but did not sniff an All Pro selection in either of the past two years.

Bill Belichick absolutely made the right decision to let Revis scurry away to New York. Once again showing why the Patriots are the Patriots and the Jets are the Jets.

Jackie Gleason - The Great One

Today would have been Jackie Gleason's 101st birthday. In his honor is a little something I wrote in 2005.

Long before Gretzky was tabbed as "the great one" - Jackie Gleason had lived up to that nickname and more. I never realized how much booze played a role in his life though.

Excellent essay on Gleason and booze - here's a small snippet:
With some time off before his first season as CBS’s golden boy, Jackie camped out at Toots Shor’s with Sinatra and his celebrity pals. One evening Frank showed up during Jackie’s morning eye-opener with four tickets to the sold-out final playoff game between the NY Giants and the Brooklyn Dodgers. J. Edgar Hoover, the head of the FBI, was having a tête-à-tête with Toots and Frank invited the trio to accompany him to the game. Everyone agreed except Jackie, who wanted to stay at the bar and drink. They finally talked him into it by renting a fully stocked limo. Sinatra recalls:

“We pile into that limousine, already feeling no pain, especially Gleason. Jackie guzzled booze all the way to the Polo Grounds and ate most of the food. When we get there Jackie switches to hot dogs and beer. Comes the last half of the ninth and the fans are going wild. The Giants are behind 4-2 and Bobby Thompson comes to bat.

“Right at the exact moment, with the crowd screaming, Gleason throws up right on me. Here is one of the all-time classic games that people will talk about and I am right in the stadium and I don’t see Bobby Thompson hit that home run. Only Gleason, a Brooklyn fan, would get sick at a time like that. But that’s not the punch line.

“On the drive back to Toots, Gleason keeps muttering to the chauffeur to pull over to the side of the road saying, “Let’s throw this bum Sinatra out of here. He’s smelling up the limo.”
Can you picture anyone else being able to treat Sinatra like that?

Happy Birthday Ralphie

Today is Ralph Nader's 83rd birthday and I for one would like to wish him a happy birthday and thank him once again for taking those votes away from Al Gore in the 2000 election. Nader got 3% of the vote nation-wide and who knows how many votes in the closely contested (to put it mildly) Florida vote.

Thanks Ralphie. Don't hold your breath for a birthday card from Al Gore though.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Actor Bill Paxton has passed away at age 61... Knowing that Neil Diamond wrote Sweet Caroline about a prepubescent Caroline Kennedy - his song Girl You'll Be a Woman Soon is even more creepy... What were people in the 1970's fucking thinking!... When people think of Bill Paxton's movie roles I think most think of him starring in Twister but I always think of him as Morgan Earp in the movie Tombstone... This remains one of the best "selfies" in history even though George Harrison took it before the word "selfie" even existed... According to Hammurabi's Code the fetus of a "superior" woman was worth 10 shekels of silver... This is the car I'd really like to own... When I hear the name Sean Spice for some reason my brain thinks of Dora the Explorer and Swiper. Spicer stop spicing!... It still blows my mind that the Patriots led the Super Bowl for ZERO minutes and still won...

Hurt by Johnny Cash

Today would have been Johnny Cash's 85th birthday.

Friday, February 24, 2017

When We Was Fab – George Harrison

Tomorrow would have been George Harrison's 74th birthday. 

This is what I consider one his better lesser remembered songs.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

101st Anniversary of the Battle of Verdun

Today marks the the 101st anniversary of one of the events that changed the world forever. On February 21st in 1916 - the Battle of Verdun began. The battle was to change the course of Western Civilization. 

The idea for the battle was from German Chief of Staff, Erich von Falkenhayn. He believed that if he could take-out France with a major set battle and discourage England to a point that Germany could be in a position to negotiate very favorable terms. To accomplish his goals - Falkenhayn proposed unrestricted submarine warfare to starve Britain and a knockout blow against France at Verdun. With this major battle at Verdun, Falkenhayn hoped to "bleed France white".

It was an ambitious plan - an aggressive plan. Falkenhayn knew that to attack at Verdun he'd have to take resources away from the Eastern Front and that unrestricted submarine warfare ran the risk of bringing the U.S. into the war. Falkenhayn reasoned that Russia was on the brink of revolution and internal civil war in Russia would allow them to take those resources from the Eastern Front and that the decisive blow to France would come before the US was dragged into the war. He was right on the former but wrong on the latter.

Verdun seemed the perfect place to attack. It actually jutted out into the German lines - so it could be attacked from three sides. It was also of historical and psychological significance to Frenchmen (somewhat akin to what the Alamo is to Americans).

The job of attacking Verdun fell to German Crown Prince Wilhelm. He planned to assault the town from both side of the surrounding Meuse River but that plan vetoed by Falkenhayn. After coming up with a daring, aggressive plan - Falkenhayn was suddenly cautious. Falkenhayn ordered the attack to be confined to one side of the river. Similar to a poker game, Falkenhayn was beaten on the river. Falkenhayn had pocket Aces of a plan but he failed to put enough chips at risk to drive the other player out. By not being aggressive when he should have he gave France free cards and allowed himself and Germany to literally be beaten on the river.

With so many people who eventually died in the battle, a poker analogy may seem flip but the fact is the Germans had one million troops against 200,000 defenders. They did hold Aces before the battle.

When the attack finally began, the Germans bombarded Verdun with 1,400 guns that rained Verdun with 100,000 shells every hour. The Germans failed to immediately follow up the bombardment with an full-scale infantry attack and what resulted was a stalemate which was to last for months and months.

The dead and wounded from both sides piled up so that both countries were being "bled white". The French begged Britain to open up a diversionary attack elsewhere on the Western Front to drain resources and men away from Verdun on the German side. Thus the Battle of the Somme was born. 

By the time the battle of Verdun ended almost one million casualties had been inflicted in roughly equal numbers for both sides. The Battle of the Somme resulted in about 1.1 million casualties (about 400,000 British, 200,000 French and 500,000 German). The unrestricted submarine warfare resulted in the Americans being dragged into the War (remember that President Woodrow Wilson was elected on a peace platform). The American joined the fight just as both sides were literally exhausted from being "bled white" from Verdun and the Somme and the rest is history (including the harsh terms imposed on Germany that led to the rise of Adolph Hitler and the Nazi Party).

Monday, February 20, 2017

Homer at the Bat Turns 25

Today marks the 25th anniversary of The Simpsons episode Homer at the Bat. Below is a parody of that episode I wrote in 2005. I think it still holds up.

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?”

Saturday, February 18, 2017

In Color - Jamey Johnson

Great song.

Sports Media Doesn't Get It

Before I go on this rant let me state for the record I did not vote for Donald Trump. Anyone who wants to accuse me of being a "Trumpkin" can suck a long brown snake out of my ass.

Yesterday of RealClearSports top two stories one was by Bryan Curtis of The Ringer titled "Sportswriting Has Become a Liberal Profession - Here's How It Happened" that "explained" that sportswriters inserting their liberal political opinions into their sports reporting is not just a good thing but a very good thing. He uses the example of Lester Rodney an avowed communist from the 1930's whose (according to Bryan Curtis) "moral clarity was keener than just about anybody's." Did I mention that Lester Rodney was an avowed communist? Communism is the most evil invention ever cooked up by the mind of man and at the same time Rodney was exhibiting this superior "moral clarity" millions of people were being exterminated in Communist Russia.

Lester Rodney might have been a useful idiot but Bryan Curtis with the hindsight of history available to him is just an idiot. (RealClearSports rightly labeled the link to the story "How Liberals Hijacked the Sportswriting Profession")

The second story was labeled by RealClearSports as "ESPN Pays for Becoming Social Justice Warrior Network". The link goes to a story about how ESPN is losing 10,000 subscribers a day from people "cutting the cord". If cable channels were to be unbundled - ESPN would completely implode. There are many, many people out there who resent being forced to pay $7 per month just to have Screaming Steven A. Smith and the WNBA jammed down their throats. I cut the cord more than 3-years ago and I don't miss ESPN one bit.

What Bryan Curtis and The Ringer doesn't understand (and ESPN for that matter) is their "we're right and you're stupid if you disagree with us" when it comes to politics attitude is not the way to win friends and influence people and certainly not the way to gain or retain customers. When I go to a sports site - I expect sports. Not a lecture on veganism or an Occupy Wall Street retrospective and especially not a fawning interview with Lena Dunham. I'm removing The Ringer from my blog list. Pretty sure I can do without Mr. Curtis and The Ringer's obsession with the TV show The Bachelor. I've also stopped following Deadspin on Twitter because only one in  five Tweets seem to be about sports these days.

History has proven communism to be a giant mistake. History will also prove that inserting your liberal politics into people's sports was a bad business decision.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Heh Heh

Even Patriots fans find this funny.

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

A sitcom about a relationship between All-State's Mayhem mascot guy and Progressive's crazy girlfriend Flo would actually be pretty fun to watch... Heh heh... Women complain that men don't understand "that time of the month" or remember six months out when their cycle will fall but in defense of men - most guys still don't understand why when we were kids the doctor grabbed our balls and told us to cough... Congratulations to Robinson Cano... Would Jack from the movie Titanic have survived if he knew the Wim Hof breathing method?... Lascivious Banabos would be a good name for a band... Good for them... Flooring store sign that says "We will come to your house and measure your kitchen" always seemed like a Mafia-style threat to me... There was a reason they called him Larry Legend...

I Can't Get Next to You - The Temptations

A song you don't hear nearly enough.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Claude Julien

So last week the Boston Bruins fired head coach Claude Julien, then this past weekend under new interim Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy Boston beats the Montreal Canadiens 4-0, and then yesterday Montreal named Claude Julien their new head coach. What a long short strange trip it's been!

When Julien was let go by the Bruins I wished him well in his next coaching job as did many. But we didn't know that next job was going to be with the Canadiens! Even still I wish Claude nothing but the best (unless Boston meets Les Habs in the playoffs then I wish him an awful stomach flu).

When I was a kid the Bruins were kings and the rivalry between the Bruins and Canadiens was as big or bigger than the rivalry between the Red Sox and Yankees. Over the years that rivalry has dulled to the point where I'm guessing not many Boston sports fans were even aware the Bruins were playing the Canadiens last Sunday.

Here's to hoping Claude Julien helps rekindle that spirit of rivalry. I miss it.

Good luck coach!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

I'm the Reason

Now it can be told. At half-time of Super Bowl 51 I switched from drinking Bud Light to Wachusett Nauti Seltzer. The bartender asked me why I was switching it up and I said, "To change the Patriots luck."

The rest is history.

I'm the reason the Pats luck changed in the second half but Tom Brady gets all the credit. I know it's not fair but I'm the silent hero type.

Linky Links

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

- Watching a bubble freeze is oddly satisfying.

- Oral sex in the Bible - praise the Lord!

- Mike Ilitch was a good man

- Pats fans can't wait to see what Belichick gets when he trades Jimmy Garappolo

- Heh heh

Hal Moore

American hero Lt General Hal Moore has passed away. He would have been 95 tomorrow.

If you haven't seen the movie or read the book, We Were Soldiers Once (And Young) you really should. Hal Moore was the real deal and our nation is poorer for his passing.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Linky Links

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

- The Science Behind Miracles. Wim Hof, "headroom" and the placebo effect.

- Matt Patricia's choice in T-shirt hurt wittle Woger Goodell's feelings.

- Yesterday was the anniversary of the Bruins "Kraut line" of Schmidt, Bauer and Dumart being carried off the ice for the trio's last game before heading off for service in WWII It was a different time then.

- Heh heh

- Tom Brady and Kipling (appropriate since Kipling lived a good part of his life in New England)

Knicks vs Oakley

The New York Knicks under James Dolan are a mess. This stupid feud vs Charles Oakley is just the cherry on top. I would love to see the Celtics or another team add Oakley to their coaching staff just to force a showdown the next time they visit Madison Square Garden. If the Knicks try to bar a "coach" then the Celtics would have a grievance to file with the NBA front office.

It also bugs me that James Dolan actually makes a profit from people buying official NBA gear with Oakley's name and number. Maybe buy this shirt instead?

How long before someone comes out with a red baseball cap saying "Make the Knicks Great Again"? Even Knick fans who hate Donald Trump would buy those.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Claude Julien was the best coach the Boston Bruins ever had but I agree with many Bruins fans in that it was time for a change. Even Scotty Bowman never coached in one city for more than 9 seasons. Claude was in Boston for 10... What the weather was like in my city yesterday... Charles Dolan should never sit down among the fans at Madison square Garden. His very presence is a provocation to Knick fans... It is still a punishment - right?... Samurai Jack is coming back? Awesome!... Wherever he lands Julien will make some franchise a great coach... I've stopped following Deadspin on Twitter because only one in three tweets are now about sports... Little known fact but no human speaks faster than an NHL player or coach during a post game interview. Breathless... Is Ben Roethlisberger still playing the diva about coming back next season?...

Thursday, February 09, 2017

While My Guitar Gently Weeps - Regina Specktor

Very good cover from a very entertaining movie - Kubo and the Two Strings.

Like I said - very entertaining movie good for adults and kids alike.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Linky Links

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

- Christie Brinkley - like a cheese cracker!

- Very cool!

- America F*ck Yeah!

- WTF! (Lots of exclamation points this morning)

- Fun vs rewarding - should be required reading for all high school coaches

- Goodell mocked mercilessly at Patriots victory parade. If anyone thinks Pats fans will let this go then they forget that New England gave us Hester Prynne.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Boston Sports

It's a good time to be a Boston sports fan.

Patriots Super Bowl Victors

Recently I wrote about how Pats fans were not all that worked up about the Atlanta Falcons. There's absolutely no rivalry there. In reality is pretty much the opposite. Matt Ryan is a Boston College icon and the Falcons front office is pretty much Patriots South. Playing and honestly all Pats fans just  assumed beating them wasn't personal just business.

The real rivalry was with Roger Goodell and the NFL. And a better Godfather quote to explain the situation was "today we settled all family business."

Robert Kraft said that this fifth Super Bowl victory was "extra special" and all Pats fans knew exactly what he mean although it's not clear if the doofus handing him the Lombardi Trophy had a clue. And speaking of Goodell - did anyone hear his speech in presenting the trophy to Kraft? I didn't and not just because I was drunk at the time but also because of all the boos drowning out what the ass-monkey was trying to articulate.

Pretty sure neither Tom Brady nor Bill Belichick heard Goodell's speech either. They were too busy talking and joking around in the background. No respect was shown to the Commissioner because no respect has been earned by the Ginger C*nt.

Upon receiving the Super Bowl MVP, Tom Brady may have had a subtle message for the Commissioner. Upon arriving back in Boston, Defensive Coordinator Matt Patricia had a much less subtle message for the team's feelings toward Goodell. And at today's victory parade don't be surprised if chants of "Goodell sucks!" and other forms of Goodell based bashing are commonplace.

Sunday night the Patriots settled all family business. All that's left is the gloating.

EDIT: Heh heh

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Budweiser Upside-down Clown

My favorite Super Bowl commercial of all-time. It only ran once because it was so disturbing (and funny).