Saturday, September 05, 2009

Game 135: Carried off on his shield

Tim Wakefield, clearly not ready for combat, was cuffed around a bit early in the game, while his mates were being mystified by Chicago's Gavin Floyd. Floyd carried a perfect game into the sixth inning, finishing with 8 innings of work, allowing 1 run on 3 hits, pushing Boston to a 5-1 loss.

If the Rangers fall to the Orioles (to whom they are currently losing in the 9th inning), they will remain 2 games behind Boston in the Wild Card race.

The Violence of The Lambs

A track from the rapper Paris, using the words of Reverend Jeremiah Wright against a musical backdrop.

Hard to listen to, hard to swallow, but with civilians still dying at the other end of American bombs and missles that we paid for, something that we should all consider. We are all complicit when that happens, like it or not, and ignoring it doesn't make it go away.

Game 134: Remember all that stuff that I took back? I take it all back!

Paul Byrd, all is not forgiven.

The Chicago White Sox beat Paul Byrd like he stole something, rapping the right hander for 7 runs and ten hits in 2 1/3 innings, and then continued the beating on Junichi Tazawa, who continued the impersonation of a pitching machine to the tune of 5 more runs.

12-2 was the final score, and it wasn't even that close.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Recent readings

Recently read: "I'm Dying Up Here", a book about the Comedy Store in LA and early moments from the careers of Jay Leno, David Letterman, and Robin Williams, and "Bloody Confused", a nonfiction account of an American spending a year following the fortunes of an English soccer team.

Paul Krugman has a Nobel Prize, and you don't.

Paul Krugman suggests we're not living in the End Times. So there's that.

What the heck happened on Tuesday?

A nugget from my friends at

On Tuesday, I got 70 page views, a high for the week. It appeared to have something to do with Don Draper quotes, which I can't really take any credit for. Those are just picked from, who had the patience to collect them all.

Oh well, traffic is traffic I suppose.


According to former radio and TV host and current podcasting titan Adam Carolla, ESPN has issued an edict that none of its employees (namely, his pals Bill Simmons and Dave Damechek) may henceforth appear on his very highly rated podcast. Carolla unleashed a colorful, profane rant about this decision on his podcast, to the effect that ESPN is making a grave mistake here.

Carolla is a colorful personality, with a standup's wit and timing, but is also profane and almost scatological at times. Like a lot of other hosts, he is more or less a Howard Stern clone-and if you asked him, he would probably admit as much.

Carolla's point was that, even if ESPN (or Disney) did recieve complaints about Simmons and Damechek appearing on his show, which seems dubious, so what? The proper response for ESPN would be to simply say, "What Bill Simmons does on his own time, as long as it is legal, is simply none of ESPN's business or concern." Carolla's audience is much, much larger than either Simmons' or Damechek's, and they are largely the same demographic-as Carolla puts it, white alcoholic men with gambling problems. Every time a listener downloads an ESPN podcast, ESPN makes money, because it can sell advertisements on it. Anything ESPN can do to increase listeners is good for ESPN-and if even 0.1% of Carolla's audience samples Simmons or Damechek because of their appearance with Carolla, ESPN wins.

Does ESPN have a responsibility to make sure its product is family friendly? Surely. But does anyone seriously believe ESPN faces a boycott threat? If a group of moralistic bluenoses somewhere wants to try to bring down ESPN because of ESPN personalities appearing on a non ESPN property, well, as Spongebob Squarepants once said, Good Luck With That.

It makes an interesting parallel to the Glenn Beck affair. Apparently, organized online campaigns have convinced some advertisers to pull their spots from Beck's program. The reason why he is still on the air is simply the fact that Fox News still sees it as a win for them-as long as the dollars keep rolling in, Beck will stay on the air. When they don't, he won't.

I forget where I saw it, but I saw a reference somewhere to an interview with Rupert Murdoch, the publishing titan and majordomo of Fox News, where he explained his financial support for Hillary Clinton during the 2008 primaries simply-he is a broadcaster, and he goes where the money leads him. He may have private views that are conservative, but in terms of a corporate philosophy, Fox News is the way it is because it makes financial sense for them to be that way. Similarly, at the time he was supporting Clinton, it made sense for him to do so-not so much because he liked Clinton's policies, but because it makes sense for the Fox empire to have friends within a potential presidential administration.

I'm not sure how I ended up here, but since I'm here-corporations (and unions, and other pressure groups) having such an outsized voice in our political system is the roots of the poisoned tree that creates so much of the dysfunction we have in our political system.

But there isn't any way to limit their impact without frankly violating the Constitution-the Supreme Court has said that in politics, money is speech, and Congress cannot limit speech.

If I keel over because of an aneurysm, circles of thought like this will be the reason why.


Also, aneurysm is a really hard word to spell.

It's Like Being Famous, Except It Isn't Like Being Famous At All

If you go here, and click on both "ESPN Fantasy Focus: Baseball" and "ESPN Football Today", and listen to the programs from yesterday, 9/3/09, you will hear emails read that were written by 'lil 'ol me.

God knows why you would want to, though. I'm certain you have something better to do.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Game 133: The Price is Right

Boston gave some lumps to phenom lefty David Price, who has been less than world beating in his first full MLB season for Tampa, and then thumped retreads Brian Shouse and Chad Bradford out of the bullpen on the way to a 6-3 win in the Tampa Bay Juice Box. On the hill, we got a perfectly adequate response from our friend Cowboy Clay, combined with three shutdown innings from new friend Billy Wags, raw rookie Danny Ocean, and the Lord of the Dance to put a bow on top. The Pride of Rhode Island, Rocco Baldelli, even slapped a homer over the wall to make all the Rhodies very happy.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Game 132: The Dome Claims Another Victim

Commander Kick Ass did not, suffering through another tough day at the office, surrendering two long balls on the way to a 5-1 deficit. The Red Sox struggled all the way back, tying the game at 5 before the Desperate Third Baseman, just like that, took MDC over the wall for a two run blast to seal an 8-5 loss.

Today's Alberto Gonzales Update

This is from Randy Cohen's blog, "The Moral of The Story". Randy is "The Ethicist", the ethics columnist for the New York Times.

Texas Tech has hired the disgraced former Attorney General (not to be confused with the former Yankee backup infielder) to teach a seminar course in political science. Apparently a fuss has developed over this fact, asserting that Gonzales is overpaid (50 times more than a comparable professor) and unsuited to a role as a professor (due to his numerous ethical failings while in office).

Heck, I'm overpaid. We are paid in proportion to what we are thought to be worth. Since people aren't willing to pay to watch me work, I don't get paid as much as Donovan McNabb.

Is Gonzales unsuited to teach? He is certainly unethical-or at least, performed his duties unethically. But he does bring experience that few others do at the performance of government, however inept.

My feeling is, if the powers that be at Texas Tech see this as a good hire, it's their baby to rock. I certainly would reconsider contributing if I were an alumni, though.

Today's Out Of Context Don Draper Quote

“Mourning is just extended self-pity. In New Guinea, Pygmies grind up their ancestors and drink the powder in a beer.”


Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Game 131: Appointment on Showdown Street

With time growing short on the 2009 baseball season, Boston pulled into Tampa Bay to try and take out the Tampa Bay Naughty Fish, thus clarifying the playoff picture a bit. They took one step closer tonight with an 8-4 win, Jon Lester pitching 6 fine innings while his mates stomped poor Andy Sonnanstine for 5 runs over four innings. New friend Billy Wagner pitched another scoreless inning, and when the Okey Doke gave up a couple of counters to tighten the score a tad, the Lord of The Dance came in to lock down a rare 2 inning save.

Jason Bay, JD Drew, and Kevin Youkilis homered, and Jacoby Ellsbury chipped in with a triple and two tremendous catches in center field. Boston ends the day 3 1/2 games in front of the Rangers and 6 full games ahead of the Rays for the wild card slot.

Jack Wakes Up

Harwood, Seth. "Jack Wakes Up". Random House: New York, 2008.


Harwood's Jack Palms is an out of work actor, out of rehab and out of options, when his friend Ralph dragoons him into playing nursemaid over a drug deal. When Ralph turns up dead, Jack finds himself tied into a real life version of his film adventures, with gunplay, romance and derring do aplenty.

Harwood writes strong, confident prose, with vibrant scenes and vivid characters. There is violence and some sex here, but as long as that isn't a big problem for you, "Jack Wakes Up" is well worth your time. A fantastic, very quick read-I picked the book up midafternoon today and finished right after dinner.

I don't know why I don't read more books like these-potboilers like this. I always enjoy them, but they have a kind of sameness to them. I have a feeling, though, that Jack Palms may stick with me for a while. Very well done story, and an enjoyable time.

Promotional Considerations

Through the 21st century miracle that is Twitter, Grammar Girl, aka Mignon Fogarty, connected me with Seth Harwood, an author who sent me a free copy of his novel, Jack Wakes Up. You can buy the book here.

In exchange, I need only review the book here, which I will do willingly.

Just know, in the interests of full disclosure, that I was in some sense compensated for this review, by, you know, getting the book for free.

That is all.

Dave Winer on Health Care

Dave Winer, programmer and inventor of RSS, with the simplest, clearest health care description I've ever seen.

Just a Soda?

A really interesting video about the Soda Pop Stop that I saw here

Monday, August 31, 2009

Today's Out Of Context Don Draper Quote

“Well, I’ll break it to you, but there is no big lie. There is no system. The universe is indifferent.”


Burn Down The Mission

Adam Savage of Mythbusters is on Twitter, just like all the cool kids are (@donttrythis). He suggested the other day that the young Elton John performing "Burn Down The Mission" was worthy of reappreciation. I listened to it on the way home tonight, and, to the surprise of no one, Savage is correct.

The Red Sox are off tonight.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

All we have to do to fail is do nothing...

Nicholas Kristof on the woman who had to divorce her husband to avoid being bankrupted by his health expenses.

No More Mr. Nice Blog

This, from No More Mr. Nice Blog, is a nice, pithy account on why the Republican argument on health care reform is winning the day.

Today's Out Of Context Don Draper Quote

“Here. I’ll give you $50 tomorrow. I guess when you try to forget something, you have to forget everything.”


Game 130: Come home, Paul Byrd, all is forgiven.

Emergency starter Paul Byrd came up aces for the Red Sox, spinning 6 three hit shutout innings, and handing a 4-0 lead to the bullpen, who locked it down to seal a 7-0 win. Billy Wagner made his debut for the Sox, striking out the side in the 8th, and Rocco Baldelli, the pride of Rhode Island, knocked one over the wall to power the win.

Mo Rocca thinks I'm funny.

Mo Rocca, panelist on NPR's "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me" and former correspondent for the "Daily Show", thinks I'm funny.

Rocca tweeted ("How can Kim Jong-Il show that he loves his gay son? Start up a PFLAG-Pyongyang chapter?"

And I replied to him, "Isn't KJI already a little gay? He already makes everyone wear uniforms."

To which Rocca retweeted, "RT @spudrph isn't KJI already a little gay? He already makes everyone wear uniforms// & how bout those NK parades? Super gay!"

Mo Rocca thinks I'm funny.