Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Today is he anniversary of the start of the Diet of Worms. This was actually a formal deliberative body in Worms, Germany assembled in 1521 to discuss Martin Luther. To most people unfamiliar with history or steeped in religious theology Diet of Worms sounds more like the title of a Stephen King short story... Cool - the New York filming locations of The Godfather - then and now... With the Yankees farm system so barren and having already broken the $189 million luxury tax threshold - you have to wonder if they will be a dumping ground for bad contracts come the July trading deadline... Interesting profile of Jay Glazer... I would like to put together a Justin Beiber cover band fronted by an Elvis impersonator. I would call the band Generic Ebola... Happy 30th birthday to Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski. Maybe the best complement is the fact that around New England nobody ever talks about missing Adam Vinatieri...

Monday, January 27, 2014

The Metal Detector Guy

A guy with a metal detector on the beach gets lots of people curious enough to greet him with the same question, over and over. "Do you ever find anything good?" The metal detector guy (sometimes its a woman) is always friendly. "Sometimes." "Every once in a while." And if the metal detector guy is extra friendly or if he just craves some sort of human contact he may launch into a list of some of his best finds.

I'm suspicious of the metal detector guy.

I would think that if the metal detector guy was as successful as he tries to make it sound - he would be less willing to share. I imagine if metal detector guy was finding valuables on a regular basis he'd be more likely to tell people he never finds anything - just to keep others from poaching on his metal detecting beaches and special places. If I saw a guy intently using a metal detector and when asked if he ever finds anything good - answers "Never!" I might be tempted to go out and buy a metal detector because that guy is on to something.

I'm suspicious of the metal detector guy.

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting and thought I'd share.

- If you are a Firefly fan - the new comic Leaves on the Wind take over where the movie Serenity left off.

- Interesting profile of Bob Hooks the forgotten Texas road gambler

- From back when men were men - Artic explorer Peter Freuchen and his wife Dagmar Gale (the photo just strikes me as amusing)

- Castle for sale - title of Baron of Cavers available separately

- Starting in August you'll be able to legally stream every episode of The Simpsons. Whoo hoo!

- 19 scathing political put-downs

- Heh heh - more NFL bad lip reading

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

One of the reasons I don't like Peyton Manning is because he seems like the type who needs to have that "C" on their chest to show people they are a "leader"... What if you put all the viruses in the world into one pile? Amazing especially when you think that all the HIV in the world could fit into a teaspoon... Meat Slurry would be a good name for a band. Or an entree companion to Golden Corral's Chocolate Waterfall... What if the average family spent money like the federal government?...  If I changed my name to Fausto Carmona - what are the chances I could trick the Mets into signing me to an MLB contract?... In season 3 of Sherlock they should have just had an animated Benedict Cumberbatch since they've decided to make Sherlock Holmes into such a cartoon character... General Arse Buiscuitses. As opposed to to Specific Arse Buiscuites?... Fantasy do not attempt! Do not let a woman drive you to work - she will attempt to jump onto a train if you're running late...

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Cool Photos

Here's some cool photos:

- Clint Eastwood getting some head in the 60's

- How they filmed the opening of Star Wars

- Heh heh - Not Even Once!

- Ronald Reagan posing for a sculpture class

- Voldemorte, Bellatrix Lestrange, Dumbledore and Harry Potter

- Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

- The Somerset Starling Roost

New England Patriots

Sunday was a bad day for Boston sports fans. The Bruins lost to Chicago 3-2. the Celtics lost to Orlando 93-91 and the Patriots lost to Denver 26-16. It was that last loss that obviously hurt the most. Hurt so bad that yesterday was basically a sports free day for me. I avoided ESPN, sports radio and anything sport related on the Internet. I couldn't bear to relive the psychic pain.

I know the Patriots may have overachieved to get to the AFC Championship but I wanted more. I know that Boston fans have been blessed these past dozen or so years - but I wanted more.

Celtics fans are excited to have Brad Stevens as coach and to see what this year's NBA draft will bring the team. The Bruins are among the top 5 teams favored to win the Stanley Cup by Vegas and the fans are appropriately stoked. The Red Sox are defending World Series champs and pitchers and catchers report in about a month. But the Patriots lost - I wanted more.

The Patriots have won 3 Super Bowls but to spoiled fans like me that's not enough. The two losses to the Giants hurt. The loss to the Colts in the 2006 AFC Championship was a game the Patriots blew - not a game the Colts won. The Bears that year would have been smeared by that 2006 Patriots team. Even last year's AFC Championship game against the Ravens was a game that easily could have been won and given another Super Bowl possibility. Boston fans have 3 Super Bowls during the Brady / Belichick era but I wanted more.

Boston sports plans have been blessed. I know that - but I wanted more.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Top 5 - People from History I'd Like to Play Pool With

Here's the Top 5 historical figures I'd like to play pool with:

1. Martin Luther King Jr. - ever since I've seen the above photo of MLK shooting pool I've wondered what it would have been like to play with him.
2. Willie Mosconi - who wouldn't like to play with the greatest pool player of all-time? Just let me break every once in a while and I'd be happy
3. Jackie Gleason - The stories, the drinking and the laughs would be epic with the "Great One".
4. Paul Newman - just seemed like such a genuine guy
5. Joe Rogan - comedian, MMA analyst and podcaster. Also said to be a big-time pool enthusiast.

This is my list and it assumes people like Jesus, Benjamin Franklin and Einstein didn't play pool.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

If Peyton Manning changed his audible from "Omaha! Omaha!" to "Obama! Obama!" would he lose half of his endorsements?... Dumb wrinkle in Mass gambling law may kill big casino action... Growing up Catholic many of the nuns I'd run into would explain their celibacy by saying that they were "married to Jesus." I always wondered - if that is the case then how do priests explain their celibacy? Are they married to Jesus too?... Dick Winters and Easy Company at the Eagle's Nest - Hitler's mountain hideaway...  Big honor - Boston Bruins' captain Zedano Chara has been chosen to carry the Slovakian flag at the Olympics opening ceremony. Big honor! It would be cool if the Bruins played the Slovakian national anthem along with the US national anthem in his honor the first home game after his return from the games... 10 of Shakespeare's best dirty jokes...

Saturday, January 18, 2014

US Pond Hockey Championships

This weekend is the US Pond Hockey Championships at Nokomis. With the TV success of the NHL playing outside at various stadiums and baseball parks - I'm surprised that someone like FS1 or NBC Sports don't snap up the rights for these games. Lots of cheap and interesting programming.

I'd watch pond hockey for hours.

Linky Links

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

- Rand Paul summarizes Barack Obama's NSA policies

- Projecting a Jon Lester contract extension. As an informed Red Sox fan I would be happy with a 4-year contract with a 5th year option at $20 million per year.

- Charlie Pierce is also not happy with Obama's NSA policies

- 5 epic drinking stories

- Jimmy Kimmel's take on Obamacare. As Homer would say, "It's funny because it's true".

Brady vs Manning XV

Tom E. Curran had the best take on tomorrow's AFC Championship match-up or as many are calling it - Brady vs Manning XV (sorry can't find link to his article). Basically what Curran said was if you call yourself a football fan then you've already taken sides in the "greatest QB of all-time" argument and if this one game is going to get you to switch then you were wrong in calling yourself a football fan to begin with.

I agree with that argument but as a Tom Brady guy let me say that the Patriots and Tom Brady are in a can't lose situation Sunday. If New England wins then Brady apologists get to crow that once again Tom Terrific comes up big in big games and once again Manning needs a playoff-Heimlich maneuver. If Denver wins then big deal. The Broncos had the best scoring offense in history while Brady was working with cast-offs from the Island of Misfit NFL Players. And even with the loss Brady would still be 10-5 all-time head-to-head against Peyton. All the pressure is on Manning.

One of my favorite takes on Brady vs Manning XV came from Kissing Suzy Kolber.

Then again - as a Brady guy I think this nicely sums up the situation.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

If I were a minor league baseball team in the bible-belt - I would make my mascot a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad. I imagine the hats would sell pretty well on the Internet. I also imagine the death threats would come in at a regular clip... Rich Eisen linked to this exclusive clip of A-Rod on the phone discussing his legal strategy... I wonder if Peyton Manning is ever tempted to use Papa John's time-machine car to go back and prevent Eli from ever being conceived...  Interesting interview with the author of Positive Poker... If the Patriots make the Super Bowl they really should vote a full playoff share to Greg Schiano for trading Legarrette Blount to New England...  Very cool photo of Jimmi Hendrix... I don't think I've ever eaten at McDonald's and thought "I'm lovin' it!" It's always been more along the lines of "I'm gonna regret this!"...

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Linky Links

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

- Awesome - two 90-year old guys decide to race in a 100-yard dash

- Cool photo - Aurora and the wolf 

- Interesting -was the Shire in Lord of the Rings based on Kentucky?

- Heh heh - Vintage ads

- Good article on former BC basketball coach Al Skinner. I think he'd make a great hire for some college

- Heh heh - Dearest Abigail, the fighting in Foxboro has been most violent

- Patriots trying out a new punter. Ernest "Papa" Hemingway

Alex Rodriguez

Was in the NY/NJ area the past couple of days and the news of A-Rod's churlish behavior has understandably been the major topic on sports radio. I have a couple of thoughts on the subject that I'd like to revisit or share.

First off let me say how happy super agent Scott Boras must feel to be free of this circus. Boras got paid for the big contracts and is now free from this Bozo act. Second let me say that in the back of my mind I still feel like A-Rod's actions seem like those of a man who is for whatever reason building the foundation for an insanity plea. Exhibit A would be A-Rod's fetish for "walk-off helmets". Now I'm just waiting on the news that A-Rod also wanted to also name Santa Claus to his lawsuit because he felt he was promised a 2014 season for Christmas - only to have his lawyers talk him out of it.

With the news that A-Rod actually turned down a 50-game plea bargain I again say that I had the perfect strategy for A-Roid. All he had to do was take the 50-game suspension but then throw himself on the mercy of the court of public opinion. He could have said that he started taking steroids but only after he was bullied by Jason Varitek or even better he could have said yes he bought the steroids and HGH but it was never for him. It was always for his muscular girlfriends. He could have said "please forgive me I will take the suspension without complaint but please understand that I will not stop seeing ripped women." Some women like roses - A-Rod favors women who like free weights and HGH. Different strokes.

If he took my advice the Yankees would be opening the 2014 season with him at 3rd and over the $189 million luxury tax level. Now he's a pariah.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Advice for Men

Maybe the best advice I've seen ever in a TED Talk.

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

I know that the 11th Commandment is "Thou Shall Not Tease" but I think teasing Seattle down to -2.5 and the Patriots to -1 looks like a pretty good bet today... David Mamet's brilliant memo on drama...  Jerry Coleman was such a great guy. I bet he never thought twice about doing such a nice thing for a stranger... With Rangers GM Jon Daniels saying it is "highly unlikely" that Texas would re-sign Nelson Cruz - I think the odds that Cruz will wind up in Japan just went to even money... Roy Williams had a player who couldn't read at UNC? Can't help but think Duke kids will have a field day with this... With apologies to Marshawn Lynch - whenever I see "beast mode" in print - my mind reads it as "breast mode". Once I realize my mistake I wonder why there's no breast mode. I want a breast mode... Heh heh - Mama Spike...   Not a fan of movie re-makes in general but is the idea of a re-make of Point Break any worse than the idea to re-make the classic True Grit? That turned out OK...  Holy crap - Greg Maddux is a sick bastard...

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

As the Stephen Drew Turns

Today the Hall of Fame will announce the Class of 2014 and once that's done the baseball world can get back to the biggest off-season debate - where will Stephen Drew play in 2014?

Jeff Sullivan has a good look at the market for Stephen Drew. The key line is, "It's a small market because [Stephen] Drew isn't needed by any team with real money to spend." YES! YES! A thousand times YES!

Stephen Drew isn't a superstar. He may be a top 10 MLB shortstop but the difference between him and a team's existing option at short is not that great. In the case of Boston - many think (myself included) that Drew at short in 2014 would be a worse solution that having super prospect Xander Bogaerts at short and 25-year old Will Middlebrooks at third. Stephen Drew? DO NOT WANT!

Drew in Boston doesn't make any sense. Bogaerts and Middlebrooks are young, inexpensive and provide a better offensive combination than a Drew / Bogaerts combo. Plus if Drew signs elsewhere the Red Sox get a draft pick! If Drew signs with Boston it will put them over the luxury tax and most likely force them to immediately deal either Ryan Dempster ($13 million) or Jake Peavy ($14 million).

And please spare me the argument that the remaining free agents are getting squeezed by draft pick compensation issues. It is not a flawed system that is preventing Stephen Drew from signing with a team. It is the fact that Stephen Drew is just not that good and he and his agent Scott Boras greatly over-estimated his value. The current system means the Red Sox had to give Drew a qualifying one-year offer of $14.1 million. That was a risk on Boston's part. What if he accepted? Again - the Red Sox would have been immediately forced to deal a Dempster or Peavy to make that work. Instead Drew MIGHT get a 2-year deal worth $16 million. If that comes to pass who is to blame? The system? Or Drew / Boras for passing up a $14 million one year deal?

As far as the other remaining big name free-agents like Nelson Cruz, Kendrys Morales, Ervin Santana and Ubaldo Jimenez - each has issues not related to draft pick compensation. Santana and Jiminez have to wait on the Tanaka posting lottery to finalize. Cruz is a PED guy and people are afraid of signing the next Juan Gonzalez. Morales is really just a DH with limited appeal. Cruz, Drew and Morales all should have signed the $14 million qualifying offer.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

I remember this story vaguely - brothers make millions from NBA basically for not owning a team. Best money making deal since George Foreman lent his name to a grill... I'm a huge baseball fan but I'm getting pretty sick of the Hall of Fame... This coffee mug sounds like genius. I'd buy one... Fantasy do not attempt. Cars cannot jump on trains. Fantasy do not attempt. Bengals cannot win NFL playoff games... What it's like to freeze to death... Overweight guys in Spider Man costumes - not sure if more disgusting or disturbing. Maybe a cry for help?... Cool T-Rex illusion...

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Top 5 - New England Patriots Trades

Recently Mike Reiss ranked the top trades in New England Patriots history. I've been thinking about his ranking off and on ever since reading the article. Let me first say that I think Reiss is top shelf and I think he did a fine job with his ranking but here's my Top 5 ranking.

1. Trading 2007 1st round pick (28th overall) to 49ers for 2008 1st round pick (which Patriots used to draft LB Jerod Mayo) and a 4th round pick (which Pats later traded to get Randy Moss). 49ers used Patriots 2007 pick to draft tackle Joe Staley.

2. Trading 4th round pick to Raiders in exchange for Randy Moss. Reiss doesn't treat this as a separate transaction but it was. In fact you could easily make this the top trade in Patriots history and I wouldn't argue.

3. Trading 2004 2nd round pick to Cincinnati for Corey Dillion. I rank Dillion's acquisition higher than acquiring Wes Welker for two reasons - Corey Dillion was a major part of a Super Bowl winning team and Dillion also proved a player with baggage elsewhere could play in New England in part paving the way for Randy Moss.

4. Acquiring Wes Welker from the Dolphins for a 2nd and 7th round picks.

5. Getting Aqib Talib and a 7th round pick from Tampa for a 4th round pick. Reiss has this transaction lower on his list than swapping picks with Baltimore which led to the Pats getting Vince Wilfork and the trade that brought in Ted Washington. I think the Talib trade was more of a steal than those deals or maybe Reiss just has a thing for huge nose tackles.

A trade that Reiss doesn't mention and which I'm not sure would be top 10 anyway was trading Randy Moss to the Vikings for a 3rd round pick which the team used to draft backup QB Ryan Mallet in the 2011 draft. Everything about Randy Moss in New England was a steal for the team.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Is it me or do all the "Stephen Drew will add depth to the Red Sox" stories you are seeing smack of desperation leaking by Scott Boras. It's like Stephen Drew is slowly morphing into Richard Gere in An Officer and a Gentleman, "I got no where else to go!" I liked Stephen Drew last year but I hope that ship has sailed... Nice article on poker Godfather Doyle Brunson... Would Dolph Lundgren have been a star if he went by Adolph Lundgren instead?... This is me when I drank Zima... When Barack Obama took office there were 37.9 million Americans living in poverty. Today there is 47.1 million - yet you won't see any stories about homelessness until a Republican is once again in the White House... Heh heh - Far Side comics in real life... If Bill Belichick played Ode to Joy on the accordion at his next press conference it would break the Internet... This week I vow to use the phrase, "Good day my jumentous fellow" and smile when saying it. Jumentous means "smelling like horse urine" but if you smile people will take it as a compliment...

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Bill O'Brien

Bill O'Brien is leaving Penn State to take the job as head coach of the Houston Texans. If you've been following the story - you've probably already read this excellent piece by David Jones.

As an outsider - I rooted for Bill O'Brien and his Penn State teams. I like O'Brien because he was from the Patriots but also because he just seems like a good man. Without O'Brien - I probably never would have rooted for Penn State - just the opposite. I would be wishing for them to lose every game because what they allowed Jerry Sandusky to do. And by "they" I mean both the University administration and Joe Paterno.

Penn State was Child Rape University before Bill O'Brien stepped in. His two years there haven't erased those painful memories but they have allowed the focus to come off of the innocent football players who were stuck in a very bad situation. A situation coach O'Brien gracefully helped them through.

The "Paterno people" make me sick. They make me think of this photo of a school in Northfield, MA burning while the football game continues. The "Paterno people" are so obtuse that they don't realize that without Bill O'Brien their chants of "We-are-Penn-State!" would be mocked everywhere with responding chants of "We-allow-child-rape!"

I'm done rooting for Penn State.

Player Comparison

With the college bowl season winding down thoughts will soon turn to the NFL Draft. In the next few months get ready to start seeing this quarterback comparison on a regular basis:

Player A - 6'5" 228 pounds
Player B - 6'0" 209 pounds

Based on my set-up you might think Player A was going to be Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater but he's 6'3" 196 pounds and you might have thought Player B was going to be Johnny Maziel who is very close at 6'1" 209 pounds. In reality Player A is Phillips Rivers and Player B is Drew Brees. I keep thinking that when it comes down to QB's in the 2014 NFL Draft that NFL GM's will be facing a similar situation to what the Chargers faced in 2005. The classic QB body athlete or the "under-sized" playmaker.