Friday, October 31, 2008


  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • Survivor spoiler alert! Ace's departure was remarkably anti-climactic. Who from that team was going to win though, anyway? It will be one heck of an upset if the final three aren't Marcus, Charlie, and Corinne. Oh, and have I mentioned that it's a travesty that the show wasn't in HD until this year? I was close to drooling over the HD shots of the scenery from the reward.
    • This masterpiece of an essay from's Ta-Nehisi Coates discusses the culture of self-victimization among Democrats over the last two elections (NSFW because of an expletive on a photo).
    • Outside of the stand-by WJFK lineup, I've been working in a bit more NPR and also trying to listen to some left-wing talk radio. The problem is that the lefty stuff is so dry. None of them pull off anger as well as Rush or Beck or Hannity, while the only funny ones are Stephanie Miller (who isn't that funny) and, of course, Rachel Maddow (who's on after I get home).
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • The famous Drag Race was Tuesday night in the Dupont area of D.C. Here is the Post write-up and it's a funny one, as you'd expect. I've never gone to watch, but I have to do it one of these years.
    • McCain had two great flubs today. First, he appeared in Defiance, OH, where he called out his buddy Joe The Plumber, only to find out that Joe wasn't actually there. Whoops! Then, the campaign released an ad that has a freaking spelling error in it (13 seconds in)! Yo, J-Mac, you looking kinda unfamiliar right now.
  • Your List Sucks!:
    • As we get closer and closer, I thought I'd share (with apologies to First Read, Politico, and TPM) the updated list of the Top 5 political sites I visit everday.
    • 5. RealClearPolitics -- They are the gold standard of poll aggregation sites. However, their heavy lean to the right has affected their polling averages.
    • 4. Pollster -- Not only do they have fantastic interactive charts, they also have a blog that digs deep into the numbers. Mark Blumenthal (along with, of course, Nate Silver) is one of my stat geek heroes this year.
    • 3. Marc Ambinder -- Ambinder is well-respected, impartial, and challenging. That makes his stuff all the more worthwhile when so much of the political analysis out there leans one way or the other.
    • 2. The Daily Dish -- Andrew Sullivan has gone off the deep end a bit over Sarah Palin, but he does the best job of pulling together articles from all over the web and putting a mostly rational take on them.
    • 1. -- I'm fairly certain that Nate Silver's trackers and maps are burned onto my screen permanently at this point. Also, Sean Quinn's "On The Road" series, as I said last night, is great stuff.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • Lots of Barack tonight. We had the big infomercial, an interview on The Daily Show, and his first joint appearance with President Clinton. I caught all of the first two and a good bit of the third (on CSPAN). The Obama Show was done well with solid production values and it was moving at times. I thought the whole live thing was a little weird and maybe didn't fit so well because it didn't seem as different from the rest of the show as I might have liked it to be. As for Clinton, it's pretty inspiring, as a Democrat, to see those two together. We may have grown sour on him during the South Carolina primary fiasco, but we do love us some Bubba. But the best line of the night comes from The Daily Show, when Stewart got Obama to joke about how his white half may fall victim to the (thoroughly de-bunked) "Bradley Effect" and vote against his black half once he gets into the booth.
    • Congrats to the Phillies on am impressive, if slightly weird and anti-climactic, dismantling of the Rays. Both teams have a lot of young talent and I wouldn't be surprised to see either of them (especially the Rays) back in contention next year.
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • Psyched to have Cole Hamels on my keeper league fantasy baseball team.
    • I stepped outside tonight to walk my dog and I was taken aback by what looked to be, in the split second I saw it, a huge dog standing on my lawn and then running away. I turned to watch it go and saw it was actually a deer. Pretty cool, though now I'm afraid that it's waiting outside to eat me.
  • Daily Rant:
    • I was ready to go insane about the new faces of the Republican Party, Sarah Palin and Joe The Plumber. Specifically, both of them talk about Israel and how Obama will somehow destroy it, and it pisses me off. Since Gallup has found that Jewish voters prefer Obama by 74% to 22%, they must think we either hate Israel or we're horribly gullible. But... I lost my anger after watching Olbermann's "Campaign Comment" tonight on the farce of Sam The Unlicensed Plumber/Aspiring Country Singer/Aspiring Politician/Aspiring Writer/National Joke. Here it is:


Sorry to step on Steve's post, so I'll make it quick... Yahoo had a story earlier today that insinuated that Heroes had jumped the shark, but I thought this week's episode was pretty good with Robert Forster playing a solid bad guy. Kind of cool how he broke Maury Parkman's neck with his powers. Anyways, phone banked tonight at the Obama for America office in Bethesda. Crazy busy and all kinds of ages, races, and genders (well, two kinds of genders). I even saw someone I knew, which was nice. I'll leave the in-depth campaign reporting to Sean Quinn's great "On The Road" series on If you haven't read it and you're interested in stories from the grassroots part of the campaign, you need to check it out. Very compelling and they talk with both McCain and Obama staff and volunteers. A week to go -- here's your first taste of crack.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The 2nd Annual A. Noy Mee Awards

Things that annoy me:
1) People who spend more time posting what they are doing on Facebook than actually doing something worthy of posting on Facebook. I just don't care that you are brushing your teeth.
2) Customer Service reps who say "Can I access your account?" when you are obviously calling with a question about your account. I wasn't calling to see who they like in the World Series, for Pete's sake.
3) CVS advertises a whole bunch of Halloween candy at 2 bags for $3 but when you get to the store all they have left are Jujubees. Since I am in a new neighborhood, I can't give out Jujubees without risking getting my house egged. I need to find some cheap Skittles or M&M's pronto.
4) Going to work when it is dark and getting home when it is dark. Where the heck did the sun go?
5) People who talk on their cell phone while on a treadmill at the gym.

Other random thoughts:
  • Thanks to Mandy for pointing out the irony that I was watching Always Sunny in Philadelphia while it was actually raining cats and dogs in Philadelphia.
  • Did you ever want to knock on someone's car window and ask them what the story is behind their vanity plate? Today I saw a license plate that read "4some1x". It totally made me go hmmm... How did that get past any Maryland DMV sensors?
  • Celtics start their run for #18 this year. Too bad Houston will get in the way.

Monday, October 27, 2008


So I didn't watch Heroes tonight because of the baseball game and the baseball game didn't end because of the weather. So thanks, God! I was about to crown Carlos Pena's 6th inning RBI single as one of the biggest hits in baseball history because of the embarrassment it saved MLB, but then Bud Selig said in the press conference that they would have just used an indefinite delay since the World Series shouldn't end like it could have.

So instead of any pop culture or sports stuff...

We're getting close. At the least, I'm phone-banking tomorrow night, canvassing in Virginia on Saturday, and taking next Tuesday off to go work. It's time to ignore the generous polling numbers and get fired up. Or, well, I'll just let the man say it instead:

Sunday, October 26, 2008


  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • John McCain looked a bit out of sorts on Meet The Press this morning. To his credit, Brokaw asked him some very tough questions even if he was then really slanted against Obama during the panel discussion. The moment everyone is talking about was when McCain just looked plain old and confused as he tried to remember which Secretaries of State endorsed him.
    • I think Nick and Starr have a real serious shot of winning The Amazing Race. I do hate how they try to pretend that the final team is much closer to the pack than they really are. When this week's final team showed up, there was an obvious difference in the quality of the light from when the previous team arrived at the pit stop.
    • This is a "No on Prop 8" commercial that is fairly unremarkable, aside from the fact that it stars Tim Gunn, who is on the short list of coolest people on TV.
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • I wrote that if Jimmy Rollins got hot, the World Series could be over quickly. Ryan Howard too, apparently. The Rays are lucky to have a lefty for tomorrow night, but how the heck are they going to break out against Hamels? People say that this political year is reminiscent of 1980. Looks like the baseball year may be as well.
    • By the way, someone in Harrisburg just got bonked in the head when Howard's 8th inning home run ball finally came down.
    • Wow, did the Ravens screw with the Raiders today. They ran the option with Troy Smith and even had him throw a long pass to Joe Flacco. On the other side, you can tell that JaMarcus Russell has some skills, but his team is crap.
    • All three of my fantasy team's wide receivers -- Steve Smith, Santana Moss, and Roddy White -- scored two touchdowns today. And none of them scored as many points for me as Brian Westbrook. Glad to have him back, though probably not as glad as the Eagles are.
  • Daily Rant:
    • A fight nearly broke out at the Ravens game today, with me right in the middle. A Raiders fan sitting directly to my right decided to celebrate a meaningless touchdown and then milk it to get more boos. A woman to my left started screaming at him. The Ravens fan, also a woman, sitting on the other side of the Raiders fan, decided to scream back. It got more and more heated until another guy joined in the screaming and then finally the Raiders fan and his friend just left. Weirdly, a guy behind me yelled over and over at the Raiders fan, "At least we don't pee on people at Ravens games!" Well, if those are your standards, buddy, we may need to talk about manners.


  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • The cold open on SNL was not quite as funny as other recent ones. Goes to show, for whatever reason Joe Biden just isn't as mockable as other candidates.
    • We watched Gridiron Gang on the bus up to Philadelphia today. It's uplifting and all, but the football could not have been less believable. The team wins a game when, down one, their opponent punts the ball with one second left on the clock and the team runs it back. Maybe Scott Linehan or Marty Mornhinweg may coach like that, to be fair.
    • Really, when did Lorne Michaels and the brain trust decide that Kristen Wiig was John Belushi?
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • You read a lot about the ground game this election cycle, but today we went out with the unions in Greater Northeast Philadelphia. Different level of organization; a little less tight. We were in a white working class neighborhood though, which seemed to lean towards Obama. It's just fun to get out there and help run out the clock.
    • Monkeys, Go Home!, which is one of the movies in Balderdash, has a funnier plot synopsis for real than the abbreviated one in the game.
    • Eric Bruntlett's beard makes my face itch.
  • Your List Sucks!: Top 7 5 Teams in the NFL after Week 5 7:
    • 5. Carolina
    • 4. Tampa Bay
    • 3. Washington
    • 2. N.Y. Giants
    • 1. Tennessee

Saturday, October 25, 2008

True, True

  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • Rocco DiSpirito showed up on The Soup tonight, along with his run on Dancing With The Stars and guest appearances on the last two seasons of The Biggest Loser. He's being presented as this famous TV chef, but I can tell you one phrase you've never heard connected to him. "Iron Chef DiSpirito".
    • I know I've talked about how pretty Pushing Daisies is, especially in HD, but I've neglected to say how good it is also. It's one of the better paced shows and one of the better written comedies. There was an off-color joke in this past week's episode that was so quick and clever that it probably escaped at least a minor protest.
    • Mad Men is truly a great show, but sheesh. In the late '50s/early '60s, people were sexist, intolerant, and they smoked a lot. We get it.
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • You remember the "Wazzup" Budweiser commercial. For a quick refresher, here it is. They did a legit remake (not affiliated with Budweiser) for this year's election. You can see it here. If that's not genius, I don't know what is.
    • Hitting the ground game tomorrow for an up-close-and-personal look at the influx of border state volunteers into Pennsylvania.
  • Daily Rant:
    • After the news that the highest-paid person in the McCain campaign is Gov. Palin's makeup artist, I decided that she has now completely jumped the shark. So I went to the office next to mine and said just that. The co-worker, who is older, looked at me blankly and admitted that she had never heard that phrase before. I, flabbergasted, explained it. Then, I went to two co-workers who are my age and younger and expressed surprise that the first had never heard of "jumping the shark". Neither had ever heard of it as well. I made sure they weren't just kidding about that. That wasn't exactly an obscure phrase, right?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Kelly's #1!

  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • Crystal flipped the bird during her vote! I can't tell if I'm done with Ace or not. He has no prayer of winning and he's going from delightfully evil to annoyingly so. Also, Randy is an asshole.
    • The SNL Weekend Update intro was funny with Will Ferrell, but it was a little crazy. We all know that the ticket is not doing well and there are things about them of which you can make fun a bit, but how did they become such a total joke? The sketch was as brutal as anything I've seen all year.
    • I do really like Grey's Anatomy. Even with some of the extremely unbelievable situations, it flirts with being a great show. The only problem is that it can't even be close to the best medical show on TV in the face of the awesomeness of House.
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • The Ron Howard video is overrated. I like the idea, but the execution just isn't very funny.
    • What is funny? A crotchety Joe McCain calling 911 to complain about traffic.
    • The ump badly blew that call in the ninth where Rollins was hit by the pitch, but the Phillies had plenty of chances and couldn't get it done. Still no hit with runners in scoring position. I can't decide which joke to go with. 1) Did you hear that the groupies are telling the Phillies' players that they can't get past third base? Or 2) The Phillies went out drinking after the game and one of the players kept going from girl to girl, buying drinks and talking them up. Yeah, he was totally in scoring position, but he just wasn't able to go all the way, no matter how many dozens of times he tried.
  • Daily Rant:
    • Putting the anger aside in favor of compassion. I'm beginning to feel sorry for Alaskans. How much time has to pass before an Alaskan can visit a big city in the lower 48 without hearing snickers when they say where they're from?

Back To Work

  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • I read The Innocent Man, John Grisham's 2006 non-fiction work about false convictions and their relationship to the death penalty, while I was away. It's really a heck of a book, as compelling as most of the fiction he's written. I used to be unabashedly pro-death penalty, but as I've read things like this book and watched things like Penn and Teller's episode on the topic, I've changed my mind a bit. I don't know that it's a deterrent, but I do favor the dealth penalty under one condition. Only if you can guarantee me that nobody with even the slighest chance of being innocent would be put to death. There are people working to ensure that, but I don't know that we're there yet.
    • Hamels dominated, as expected. Nothing's must-win until an elimination game, but the Rays could use one tomorrow or else they may have effectively lost three, with Hamels set to go Game 5 in Philadelphia. The Phillies better start hitting, especially Rollins and Howard, and the bottom of their lineup really is pathetic. Be interesting to see if they use Stairs as DH tomorrow. I was struck by how silly Lidge made Pena, Longoria, and Crawford look in the ninth. You'd think Pena and Longoria could at least finish their swings.
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • How good is hot apple cider?
    • If you haven't seen any of the Chuck Todd craziness from Hardball this afternoon, it's here. He's been one of the most straight-laced and impartial news figures this year (which is saying something when he's on MSNBC), so for him to say these things means that times are bad and probably on their way to getting a lot worse.
  • Daily Rant:
    • The Jewish holidays are over. Boo!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Prelude To A Championship

All stats from Disclaimer: I tried to put this in layman terms as much as I could.

In 2007, the Boston Red Sox defeated the Colorado Rockies in the World Series. The Rockies had never been in the Series before and had made only one other postseason appearance in franchise history. The Sox had won it all in 2004 and this was their fourth postseason appearance in five years. In 2006, the St. Louis Cardinals won only 83 games but beat the 95-win Detroit Tigers in the World Series. The Cardinals had earned their third consecutive postseason berth (including a 2004 pennant) and their fourth in five years. The Tigers had not made the playoffs since 1987.

So were the Rockies and Tigers just happy to be there? Or, to put it differently and quantifiably, did the postseason experience of Boston and St. Louis put them over the top? Can we use that to predict what will happen this year, with Philadelphia having been in the postseason and Tampa having never won more than 70 games?

Uh, no.

With the caveat that I am neither Nate Silver nor Rob Neyer, I charted out all of the World Series matchups since 1980, looking at the difference in consecutive postseason appearances by each team, the number of postseason appearances in five years, and each team's regular season wins. Then, I ran a regression analysis using an AL win as the dependent variable and the differences as the independent variables. This is the kind of stuff I do for a living and I obviously love my job.

You can find the spreadsheet here and the data on the regression analyses (I did one for all Series since 1980 and one for only those since the Wild Card started in 1995) here. Each of the independent variables are not anywhere near close to significant at any level you would want to use. Only the constant (the b in the y=mx+b best-fit line slope equation) was a predictor (as you'd expect) and that was because the AL has won 16 of 27 World Series since 1980 and 8 of 13 since 1995. So if, for the heck of it, you actually fill in the best-fit equation with this year's data, the Rays have about a 63% chance of winning but only because of how dominant the AL -- mostly the Yankees -- has been.

Well, shucks. With that out of the way, we actually have to look at what will happen on the field. Let's check out the platoon splits. The Phillies were a very strong offensive team this year. Using an index of the average Major League OPS at 100, the Phillies were 112 against LHP and 102 against RHP. Obviously, they'll see only one lefty starter (Game 1's Kazmir) from that Rays rotation. The Rays were at 108 against RHP but only 93 against LHP. They'll face two lefties (Hamels and Moyer). Of course, the Rays touched Boston lefty Jon Lester for 7 ER in 12-2/3 IP during the ALCS. When it comes to pitching, the Phillies had OPS against (again using 100 as the Major League index but lower being better) of 94 against righties and 102 against lefties. Tampa was equal against righties with 94, but scored a 87 against lefties. With Utley and Howard being left-handed, Burrell will have to come up big (as he has so far) along with Rollins and Victorino from the right sides.

Cole Hamels has been near untouchable this postseason and there's no reason for that to change. Matt Garza was equally as impressive against Boston, but not so much against the White Sox in the ALDS and he doesn't have the pedigree of Hamels. Also, Cole Hamels is married to Heidi (of Heidi and Jenna) from Survivor: Amazon. Which makes him that much more awesome.

Here is the Baseball Prospectus take. My take: This should be a very entertaining series and while I admit that I'm biased to rooting for the Phillies, I would in no way be disappointed if the Rays were to shock the world and win it all. I just think the Phillies can book two wins with Hamels and that makes the margin of error slim for Tampa. If Hamels breaks down and Jimmy Rollins is exceptionally bad, the Phillies may have problems. On the other hand, if Rollins gets hot, the series may be over quickly. I'll split the difference.

Philadelphia in 6.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Revolting Evolution

  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • It's true that nobody with any personality has been voted off of Survivor, but that means that the later weeks will be that much better. If you skipped this season, you're missing out. We're on a crash course towards the evil Ace and his crew vs. Marcus and his crew. Once we hit the merge, it's going to be one of the better seasons.
    • Picked up the latest Ben Folds while out in the Bay Area. If you like him, you'll like it. There are some "classic" Folds-style songs, but a lot of the music is more electronic than I'd expect. It has a definite ELO feel to it.
    • I did, as promised, watch Space Chimps on the flight this morning. It's a fine movie; I'm sure kids would love it and there's nothing stupid or bad about it. My problem is that it was a cartoon. That really kills a) the opportunity for a train wreck and b) the awesomeness of a movie with "chimp" in the title. So instead, please to enjoy this.
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • I don't mean to keep piling on, but I was surprised to find out that San Jose's airport code was SJC. I was positive it was WAE, as in Worst Airport Ever. Let me put it this way. I had the opportunity to see the classic Steve McQueen film Bullitt a few days ago. Great movie, great car chase, McQueen is the man, etc. The end of the film takes place at San Francisco International Airport. The movie was shot in 1968. In the movie, SFO is obviously more modern-looking than San Jose International is today.
    • Jewish holidays rock. Specifically, when you get them all off.
    • Rudy Ray Moore passed away today. Weirdly, all of the articles say he was 81, but he was born in 1937. Anyways, long live the original pimp. Hopefully he took some sucka's heart of their chest on the way out.
  • Heroes Questions/Comments of the Week:
    • Judging by how the show usually goes, Daphne has either a child or parent who is mixed up with the villains in some way.
    • I like how Hiro failed so miserably at being a bad-ass. He's a steady bright light as we go through all of this Peter and Sylar stuff.
    • When the African guy showed Hiro the villains, there were four faces on the wall with the Pinehearst/Kensei logo. Top left was Arthur Petrelli, bottom left was Knox, bottom right was Parkman's dad. Who was top right? The skin was too light to be Suresh. It could have been Sylar, but that doesn't make sense. Maybe Peter? But again, doesn't really make sense.

Wrapping Up Cali

Leaving early tomorrow morning to come back East (sidebar: I love how people on the West Coast refer to the East Coast as "back East", like we're still stuck in some weird manifest destiny romp across the nation). Got to spend the day today in San Francisco with all of the pretty views and ice-cold fog that accompany it. If I lived in San Francisco, besides being driven crazy by how laid back and crazily liberal everyone is, I think I would die within weeks with my arteries clogged by dim sum. It's too easily available from any number of places and it's all right next to the neighborhood with all of the great Italian bakeries.

Didn't get a chance to watch any football, but I did catch all of Game 7 and here are some thoughts on that and some other random things:
  • As I watched the Rays celebrate, I realized something else that the 2007 Rockies and 2006 Tigers potentially had in common besides just a long rest. So, either tomorrow or Tuesday, look for my next postseason analysis on the existence/myth of the "Just Happy To Be Here" syndrome.
  • I'm putting off my pick for the Series until then, but it should be quite entertaining and a lot of fun to see new teams with a lot of young talent on the national scene.
  • One of the trendy baseball topics of the last few years has been the dearth of young African-American talent, as inner city kids focus on basketball or football. In this series, just thinking off-hand, we'll have Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, David Price, and Carl Crawford.
  • Speaking of Price, it bodes well for the future that with him and Longoria, the Rays have the most-hyped rookie pitcher and hitter of 2008.
  • It's interesting that Tampa took off after dropping "Devil" from their names. I'm looking at you, Buffalo Sabres, N.Y. Islanders, and Pittsburgh Penguins.
  • Two hotly contested (not so much swing) states in the World Series! Who will John McCain pick? Obama is already on record as saying he's rooting for the Phillies.
  • The one non-baseball note and a good story. We were driving into the city today when we got stopped cold at a toll both. No traffic, just one idiot. The toll was four dollars and the woman in the car in front of us didn't seem to have the money. She fumbled through change for a while. We even saw some pennies as she leaned to the person next to her to scrape together whatever they could. Finally after two or three minutes, she finally reached into her pocket and pulled out a twenty. It reminded me of something:

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Let's Go After Lorne Michaels, Not Loving Couples

I'm watching the NBC affiliate in the Bay Area to get ready for Saturday Night Live, which is not really live on the West Coast, so they were able to show clips of Palin on the news. Part of me wants to go crazy about how we're making fun of the fact that we have a VP candidate who refuses to speak to the press, as if we live in China. Part of me wants to question why the hell every skit seems to focus on the tragically unfunny Kristen Wiig, Will Forte, or the two really horrible new people; even those skits that include Bill Hader, Amy Poehler, or Andy Samberg. When did SNL become Mad TV? But instead I saw the below commercial twice. Disgusting. I went to a wedding today and it's nice to see two people in love and happy, even if the wedding I attended was a traditional one. Not excited for the government to legislate social issues.

But seriously, if Kristen Wiig stars in one more skit I'm going to scalp myself.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Waiting Game

I brought up yesterday that the Phillies may be happy that the Red Sox are sending the ALCS back to Tampa for a sixth game. My point on the Phillies was that it gives them a chance to set up Hamels for Game 1 and that it means their opponent (presumably Tampa) will have at least one more game in which to risk injury or tire out their pitchers. However, Steve and Angie threw down the gauntlet in yesterday's comments section by bringing up the 2007 Colorado Rockies and 2006 Detroit Tigers as examples of teams that had a long wait between the LCS and the Word Series and lost.

So, thanks to the vast amount of information at -- one of the three best sites on the internets, along with IMDB and Wikipedia -- I was able to do a quick analysis to see if this is really the case. Does a longer wait hurt a team going into the World Series? I looked at the postseasons since 1995, the Wild Card era, and calculated the days wait for the winner of each league, the regular season wins by each league champion, and the number of World Series wins by the team that had the longer wait. You can find the chart here.

True, the '07 Rockies and the '06 Tigers had the longest wait differences at six and five games, respectively, and both lost. However, the three other teams who had wait differences longer than one day -- the 2005 White Sox, 1996 Yankees, and 1995 Braves -- all won. Besides the Rockies and Tigers, only one other team with a longer wait of any length lost, the 2000 Mets. You can't even take into account which team was better, using regular season wins, as three out of the five teams with fewer regular season wins and wait differences longer than one day won (and, weirdly, eight out of the thirteen World Champions had lesser regular season records).

Bottom line: There's no correlation, no proof that a team gets rusty with a longer wait. It sounds good, but doesn't bear out in practice.

Friday, October 17, 2008

From The Land Of Governor Freeze

  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • I want you to know that I posted the blurb about Continental and Batman and Robin via my cell phone (the mobile Blogger actually works pretty well) from inside the George Bush (the good, er, better one!) International Airport in Houston. I just felt that strongly about it. And nice joke, Tom. Much better than any I could come up with about Freeze-quent Flier miles or the plane needing to be de-iced.
    • On the car trip to and from Tahoe (which you should take at some point in your life, the views are amazing), we were able to get the Mike O'Meara Show. Awesome to be able to hear something familiar so far away from home, especially with a really long drive each way. A little weird, maybe dirty-feeling, about listening on the Sacramento affiliate.
    • I still can't quite believe that the Sox came back from 7-0 in the 7th. Let's see... The Rays overused Wheeler, should have used a lefty to face Ortiz, and what the heck is the right-fielder doing playing shallow with two out in the bottom of the ninth and a lefty up against a soft-thrower! Momentum changer the other way? It's going to be tough for Boston to win twice in Tampa, but not out of the question. They need to stop giving up so many homers. At this point, there are more people rounding the bases at a Tampa game than there are at the Bunny Ranch. Either way, the Phillies (and congratulations to them, and me for winning money on them) have to be happy that the series is going longer.
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • Watched the debate from the hotel room at the beautiful Mont-Bleu casino in Stateline, NV, and my take? Meh. Boring again, except for the bit at the beginning when McCain was actually in it. I'd say that this was a tie and McCain was winning for a while, but Obama absolutely creamed him on health care (he has no better winning argument) and education. At this point, the people expect Obama to win the debates and the Presidency, so they'll gladly pick him as the winner in the post-game polls. Oh, and that rustling sound you heard when McCain was asked if his running mate was ready to be President? That was tens of millions of people squirming awkwardly on their sofas.
    • The movie on the second leg of the flight, from Houston to San Jose, was Baby Mama. I slept through both flights. However, rumor has it that the movie from San Jose to Houston will be Space Chimps. I will watch and report back.
    • San Jose's airport has to be the worst major city airport ever. You have to walk on the tarmac and go up the stairs to get onto any size plane. They have no jetways, though they are building a new terminal that will have them. The current terminal looks so old that I'm fairly certain the only restaurant is a Hot Shoppe. Nobody will get that joke.
  • Daily Rant:
    • Multi-Strike is a fickle lover. But nickel Multi-Strike can abuse me all it wants and I will still come back like Lloyd Dobler.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Dispatch From The Road

On my flight this morning from BWI to Houston, Continental showed Batman And Robin. Seriously. At what point does the act of showing a movie become a net negative? There are a number of people in this world whose idea of Hell is being trapped in a small room and being forced to watch that film. Continental just made that happen.

And They Are Indisputable

These are the facts:
  • A quick late night edition as I get ready to leave for California very early Wednesday morning. We'll be in Tahoe tomorrow night and gambling on Cole Hamels and the Phillies. So, if there's no internet out there, we'll be up with debate thoughts on Thursday.
  • I'd say that House is back, but it's always been great. They did a nice job of stepping away from the House-Wilson relationship so that an episode like tonight's felt all the sweeter.
  • The Red Sox just don't have the fire. Their leaders are old and Manny sure would be nice right about now.
  • It's time for John McCain to do the one thing that can change the momentum in this race, the one thing that will kill his opponent's popularity. Yes, it's time for John McCain to use tomorrow night's debate to endorse Barack Obama.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tampa and Philly Aim to Clash In... Wait, Tampa and Philly?!?

  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • I have beef with NBC, but more on that below.
    • You may have seen that Eminem was named the Best Rapper Alive by Vibe readers and rightfully so, in my opinion. Psyched for King Mathers (or The Empact, whichever) to drop late this year with Dr. Dre's Detox coming in the spring. So the best rapper is white and the best Presidential candidate is black. And why exactly do all of the Palin voters think the End of Days is coming soon?
    • Just began to delve into Mad Men. Besides the fact that it has some of the best theme music on TV and Jon Hamm is ridiculously good as main character Don Draper, the show really is reminiscent of The Sopranos in its style. Looking forwards to catching up on it.
  • Random Thoughts (MLB Edition):
    • I've been following the playoffs and watching when I could, but I took the time today to focus on the two games (and the epic ass-whooping that Cleveland put on the Giants).
    • First, the AL. I may have been seriously wrong about Boston's chances. Tampa is made up of the type of scrappers that can throw together a rally at will, exactly the type of guys that the 2004 Red Sox had with Damon and Millar and Varitek. Just about everyone in the Rays' lineup can put pressure on the pitcher with their hustle or with their pop. Jason Bartlett has gotten the credit for turning the team around defensively, but he can get on base when he needs to, just like Iwamura and Upton and Crawford and Baldelli and Navarro. Plus, Upton, Crawford, and Baldelli can take the ball out and they can cover a whole lot of ground in the outfield. As for the mashers -- Pena and Floyd do a great job of protecting the superstar Longoria in the middle of the lineup. The Rays get an all-around team effort, but it's Longoria that makes this team go with his bat and his glove. Now Beckett is hurt which doesn't bode well for deeper in the series and the Sox, needing a win tomorrow, will send Tim Wakefield to the mound. Wakefield (who shares a birthday with such luminaries as Peter O'Toole, Mary Louise Parker, and yours truly) has been clutch in his career, but if he puts guys on base, the Rays will run at will on him. The biggest question that this series will turn on: What the heck is going on with David Ortiz?
    • In the NL, I was surprised tonight, having apparently not followed the Phillies as closely as I thought I had. While the Dodgers famously have Nomar and Kent coming off the bench, I had no idea that Matt Stairs was in Philadelphia until he hit the game-winner tonight. There are plenty of likeable guys in the majors, but Matt Stairs is right near the top of the list. How can you hate him? The guy either walks, homers, or strikes out -- exactly the way Babe Ruth meant the game to be played. More than anything, he fits right in with the Phillies of Kruk and Daulton and that's a fun addition to a team with so much young talent. It's not just Utley, Howard, Rollins, and Burrell, but soon-to-be NLCS MVP Shane Victorino and a great pen anchored by perfect closer Brad Lidge. And now they send Cole Hamels (2-0, 1.2o ERA, 0.73 WHIP, 3BB, 17K in the postseason) to the mound for Game 5. The big question in this series: Will the Phillies be rusty when the World Series starts next Wednesday, the 22nd?
  • Heroes Questions/Comments of the Week:
    • Bubbles! Two Wire actors on Entourage last night and now two on Heroes.
    • Anything to the fact that, when it comes to the genetic testing, Tracy was one of three siblings, as were Peter, Nathan, and Sylar? We know that Hiro has a sister, but was there another Nakamura kid that we don't know about?
    • Adam's power is obviously cool, but at what point does immortality not accomplish anything other than just living through things? See: Claire vs. any of the villains.
    • Was Hiro "killing" Ando the least shocking thing they've ever done? Nobody can believe for a second that Hiro won't bring him back somehow.
    • Didn't Parkman drive his dad insane? He looked okay tonight, but that could be due to someone else's power.
    • Which brings me to the beef: thanks NBC, for screwing up the surprise! Season one was full of last-second shockers like future Hiro or Nathan being Claire's dad, but when the commercials say that Peter's dad is going to show up, it's not so shocking when you find out in the last line of the episode that Peter's dad has shown up. At least they got a good actor to play him.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Something I Might Be Interested In

  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • I was actually going to go with just some NFL thoughts, but then Martin Landau showed up on Entourage tonight. Any rational Entourage fans know that the show was about 90% over the shark when Martin Landau saved it.
    • Too bad for the ghetto Mythbusters. I was sure the blondes were the lock of locks to be the next to go.
    • I'm kind of hoping that Dexter isn't as predictable as I'm fearing it is, in regards to the Jimmy Smits character and his dark side.
    • Great Meet The Press this morning. The seatbelt fiasco tainted my views; Governor Corzine is quite impressive as a surrogate and an analyst.
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • I don't remember hearing anything about this Larry Fitzgerald guy when he was in college, but I think he may just have a future in this league.
    • Way to go, Skins! Not a banner day for the NFC East.
    • Was the scrappy Rays win a momentum changer? Probably not, but if Longoria can keep hitting...
  • Daily Rant:
    • I know the Colts are just as guilty with Jim Sorgi, but if you're the Patriots and you know that injury is as big a part of the league as it is (see: Bledsoe, Drew), how the hell do you go to war with Matt Cassel as a backup?

Fight For Old D.C.

  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • I suppose we're beginning to get into the very beginnings of Oscar season. We went to see Body of Lies today, the new film from Ridley Scott. It's a film about the War on Terror, but it's not quite like most other terror-related films. Whereas Syriana was just a tad confusing (I admit it!), this one hits the U.S. on policy and mindset while keeping a plot that is easy to follow and a bit more standard for Hollywood with the requisite twists. There is some Best Supporting Actor buzz for Mark Strong, who plays the chief of Jordanian Intelligence. He is very good, but he didn't blow me away (granted, not everyone is going to give Javier Bardem's performance from last year) and one would think that Heath Ledger is still the favorite for that. Overall, the movie is very good, well worth seeing, but I'm betting that it will be viewed like Scott's last film, American Gangster. It's better than a summer blockbuster, but once the real Oscar movies come out, we'll realize it's not quite that good.
    • As for those real Oscar movies, we had some previews for a few of them. One was Defiance, starring Daniel Craig, dealing with Jewish rebels who fight the Nazis in the woods of Belarus. Another was Changeling, starring Angelina Jolie and John Malkovich. Oh yeah, and it's a Clint Eastwood movie, which equals Oscar. Finally, we had the much-buzzed-about Valkyrie, the Tom Cruise about the plot to assasinate Hitler. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it's directed by Bryan Singer (Usual Suspects, X-Men, Superman Returns), who's a personal favorite.
    • Oh, and there's a new Vince Vaughn Christmas movie. Can't wait for that one!
    • Marcus still has to be, far and away, the favorite to win Survivor: Gabon, with Matty as the dark horse. Nothing has changed from my initial read.
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • I don't think I've posted this yet, but this site allows you to create your own Palin speech. Great entertainment, whether you like her or not.
    • Atonement premiered tonight on HBO. If you haven't yet seen it, please do. You won't regret it. It's most definitely not a chick flick.
    • Tomorrow (Sunday) is the tenth anniversary of the death of Matthew Shepard. One of the great civil rights tragedies of recent history, the murder was best summed up in The Laramie Project, the 2002 HBO adaptation of the play with the same name. On a related note, I'm sure you saw that Connecticut now has equal marriage rights. Three down, forty-seven to go.
  • Your List Sucks!: Top 5 Teams in the NFL after Week 5:
    • 5. Dallas -- Hard to choose between them and Pittsburgh, because I'm not sold on either.
    • 4. Carolina -- The team most likely to keep an NFC East team out of the Super Bowl.
    • 3. Tennessee -- They do sort of remind me of the 2000 Ravens. The defense isn't quite as good, but the team has that same sort of feel.
    • 2. N.Y. Giants -- Eli's having a heck of a year. Waiting for them to play somebody real (I'm discounting the Washington win, as you'll see below).
    • 1. Washington -- Yes, they lost to the Giants, but it was the first week at New York with all of the Super Bowl hoopla. If they met on a neutral field this week, I'll take the Skins.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Kindly Blow It

  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • This clip, starting at 4:16 until the obvious payoff line, from The Amazing Race (which I think Tom mentioned in a comment) was not on "Reality Show Clip Time" on tonight's The Soup, but it should have been.
    • I didn't read it until today, but David Brooks wrote a column about the same thing that I pondered last night regarding the GOP. It goes a long way towards explaining why places with fast-growing intellectual populations like Virginia, Colorado, and North Carolina are quickly turning blue.
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • I dare you to watch this video and not get emotional at all.
    • My wife and I celebrated our anniversary with a very nice dinner tonight along the river in Annapolis. I just can't imagine not living in a place with real water (i.e., an ocean or a Great Lake). It's so relaxing. I suppose that someone in Iowa or Nebraska would say the same thing about amber waves of grain, but they'd be wrong.
  • Daily Rant:
    • Ta-Nehisi Coates of The Atlantic is writing some good stuff, none better (or scarier) than this piece about the potential consequences of the Ayers fear-mongering. So, today McCain finally began to walk back some of this craziness and here's video proof. Unfortunately, on this same day, the McCain campaign took Obama to task for commenting on the racism and threats screamed out at McCain-Palin rallies over the last week. What's the message going to be? I do believe that McCain knows this is getting out of hand and, if nothing else, is beginning to seriously hurt him with rational voters. But when will Palin denounce these cries? It's Palin that is loved by the anti-intellectuals that David Brooks wrote about. Go to a site like FreeRepublic and read the comments about how great Palin is and how weak McCain is. Her words could calm this fire because she's one of them. But after all, McCain began to lose rational voters when he picked her in the first place, didn't he? And now she's found to have abused her authority -- the same thing that has become so unpopular about the current administration. So let's hope her culture warfare doesn't get anybody hurt between now and the night of November 4th (it's violence against African-Americans at polling places in the South that I fear the most, certainly more than any credible threat against Obama) and we can show how hope can prevail over hatred when all of God's children—black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics—will be able to join hands and say: Good f***ing riddance.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • I called that the chick on 90210 was a Narc. Just wanted to let you know. Maybe it was only a minute before the reveal, but it was before the reveal.
    • Fasting takes a lot out of you, so after a late-ending break fast, I'm forgoing Thursday night TV for bed. I probably won't be able to report on Survivor or the big C.S.I.: premiere until Saturday.
    • I finished the Star Wars game (or at least one of the multiple endings). Solid plot and the graphics during one of the final battles are really good.
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • Today marks one year of Random Babbles. So whoop-de-do on that.
    • This post by Andrew Sullivan (based on a post by Nate Silver) got me thinking about the future of the GOP. Now, I'm no expert on this, so I may be very wrong. You hear about the "Reagan Democrats", people who ID as Dems but are more conservative, voted for Reagan, and didn't come back until Clinton took the center in 1992. Reagan got 489 electoral votes in 1980 and I have Obama's top-top ceiling at 395 (in the unlikely chance that he wins MO, IN, WV, and GA), so Obama certainly won't take as many Republicans as Reagan took Democrats (though Reagan won by "only" 10 points that year). You can feel an ideological divide though between the "values voters", the social conservatives who are crazy about Palin, and the fiscal conservatives who don't much like McCain and his ticket, especially after this housing bailout nonsense. One side has fallen victim to the culture war that Karl Rove started and the other has more rational reasons for disliking Obama. It's hard to imagine these two sides co-existing in the same party for much longer, especially if it seems that with the economy McCain would have been better served with Romney or with a more respected populist like Huckabee. Can the David Frums of the world support a Palin candidacy in 2012? I bet not. Are we going to see a stretch of Democratic dominance while the Republicans sort out what party they want to be? I wouldn't be surprised. Will we end up with a liberal party, a fiscal conservative party, and a social conservative party? Most definitely not, but it would be really interesting to see what would happen if we did and we went to a parliamentary style of government.
  • League Championship Series Preview:
    • Once again, I'm a little late, but once again I expected Cole Hamels to win Game 1 and once again he did. So with no surprise there, I'll stick with Phillies in 7. Home field, a tough 1-2 combo, and clutch hitting from both sides of the plate with Utley and Burrell.
    • I really want to pick Tampa in the AL, but how could I? The Sox have been there many times and they handled the Angels, who had the best record in baseball this year, with good pitching and timely hitting and defense. The same stuff that led them to their other recent championships. As much as it pains me, I have to go with Red Sox in 5.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

In Observance

Sundown comes any minute and it will bring with it the start of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement and the single most sacred day of the Jewish calendar. I wrote about my thoughts on repentance last week, but there is no doubt that the act of self-denial (no food or drink is allowed) can be very centering. So, in observance, I'm forgoing the usual crap for the night and we'll be back tomorrow.

The Music City Massacre

It's as easy as this: The McCain campaign needs a national change of opinion. They are too far back on their heels to win by contesting state-by-state. Theoretically (barring a major Obama gaffe or some other unforeseen crisis of a non-economic nature), tonight and next Wednesday are McCain's only chances to change the momentum.

We all know that he failed miserably tonight.

Even a tie would have been a failure, but this was certainly no tie. Obama's physical advantage (height, looks, fluidity, youth) was apparent. Maybe that's not fair to McCain, but that's the way it goes. McCain looked very old. But it wasn't just that. Obama's advantage in demeanor was on display and here are three things that jumped out among many other examples:
  • 3. "Bomb, bomb Iran" -- McCain kept trying to make corny jokes throughout and Obama stayed serious, until the joke at the end about his wife. McCain should have learned from the first debate that jokes don't work when the audience has been instructed not to react in any way (although there was the woman in purple who looked like she wanted to jump Obama's bones). So how great was it when Obama goaded McCain into making a joke and then fired off the line about Iran that left McCain stunned? This was as close to verbal sparring as they got all night (it starts at 0:49 at this link: look how ashamed McCain immediately looks).
  • 2. "Health care is a responsibility" -- Well, this was just stupid. This was the single easiest question of the night. The obvious political answer is that health care is a right, you banter about your plans, and then you move on. But McCain, in blowing the answer, made Obama's plan look that much better.
  • 1. "That one" -- I have a feeling this line will be remembered for a very long time. When I first heard it, I thought nothing of it. Yeah, I guess it's disrespectful because Obama is a Senator and, as such, deserves to be called by his title. I didn't read the obvious racial undertones into it. I guarantee you that John McCain did not mean this is in a racial way. I can't stress that strongly enough. But, after his disrespect in the first debate and the dangerous tone that his campaign has taken the last few days, people are going to be offended by this. Word is that the GOP may use "that one" in some ads. It probably doesn't even matter at this point with the way the national sentiment is, but this would be one hell of a mistake.

McCain needed a miracle comeback in Nashville. Instead, he played weakly to the middle with his housing bailout proposal and no mention of his running mate. He needed that Music City Miracle. Instead, the Obamas stayed around, shaking hands and signing autographs for twenty minutes, as John McCain and his wife quickly escaped from the Music City Massacre.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Raving and Ranting

  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • As always, Heroes thoughts below.
    • On SNL's "Weekend Update" this week, Will Forte (who is always so good) sang a song where he implied that there were, for the bailout, 538 voting members of the House. It's 435, dummy.
    • I had been sleeping on a great new amusement, but no longer! I read a certain number of blogs every day: 538, Pollster, Sullivan, Ambinder, TPM, Politico. All of them that have opinion slants (so Ambinder excluded) are leaning towards Obama (even Politico's Jonathan Martin does a bit), so I'm reading the same stuff I've been thinking. Frankly, it's getting a little boring. So today, I decided to check out what was going on at one of the many conservative blogs, specifically the commenters. The bloggers themselves are a little annoying and self-important (ahem, all bloggers are), but the comments are where the real crazies hang out. Is there a word that means awesome and hilarious? Awesilarious? Hilarisome? Is it the people who say that the polls are all lying because the whole world wants to suppress GOP turnout? Those who legitimately want racism in order to win the election? Is it the daily prayer thread, where people can ask God to help McCain in the debate? Or the absolute inability to believe anything other than that their favorite VP candidate (who's always referred to by only her first name) is the key to winning the whole thing? I can't wait to read their predictions of doom for the country on election night!
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • Dana Milbank's piece in tomorrow's Post includes a line where someone at today's Palin rally, when hearing about Obama, yelled, "Kill him!" Of course, this video has been making the rounds today where a McCain rally attendee yells that Obama is a terrorist (props to McCain for his obvious visceral reaction). There are crazies on all sides, but campaigns need to think before they unleash attacks. Not everyone sees them as desperate and unserious stabs in the dark.
    • You might have missed Jim Cramer on Today this morning where he said that people should divest themselves of the stock market immediately if they need the money within the next five years. I'm going to let people with more expertise in market futures determine whether that statement is perceptive or irresponsible. I know where I stand on it. However, people who have put money in stocks that they may need in the next five years have been led horribly astray by either their advisor or the freedom of the internet. I don't care if the market is going up; stocks are essentially gambling. I've written about this before (a year ago, long before this mess), but stocks are great for long-term investment and not much else unless you can afford to lose what you're wagering. It's another example of overly bullish people reaping what they sowed.
  • Heroes Questions/Comments of the Week:
    • Nikki was told that Jessica was her sister who died young. Apparently not the case, since Nikki was one of a set of triplets. So where's the third one, Barbara?
    • Why didn't future Peter heal when Claire shot him? Maybe because the Haitian was there, but wouldn't he heal when present Peter knocked the Haitian out?
    • Which side is really the villains? That's obviously going to be one of those questions that will be answered, but not until the end of the season.
    • I know Daphne has super speed, but how did Knox and Claire get to the Bennett house so quickly? Also, the whole strength through fear thing is a pretty cool power.
    • The parallels with the first season continue with Nathan as President and Sylar going nuclear (the episode title was a quote made famous by Oppenheimer).

Sunday, October 5, 2008


  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • So far on The Amazing Race, I've determined that a) Mark and Bill are the poor man's Mythbusters and b) Sara (of Terrence and Sara) is a grown-up female version of Jared from Kid Nation (maybe not as funny).
    • I miss Kid Nation.
    • Funny Entourage tonight. Very good comic timing during the tripping scenes.
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • According to NBC tonight, the Detroit Lions have yet to lead at any point this season.
    • The Phils have it set up for Hamels and Myers to go in Games 1 and 2. The Dodgers are red hot, but it's hard to pick against that kind of pitching.
  • Daily Rant:
    • I can't take some of the idiots that sit near me at the Ravens games. One guy today yelled and yelled about how great Kyle Boller was when he began his career (he wasn't) and how people should stop cheering the new coach and QB. This is the same guy who booed the old coach and QB. I'd love to point that out to the guy, but he takes this crap so seriously. As big into sports as I am, I can't imagine putting so much of my own sanity into a game, especially a random one in week five.

101 Years And Counting

  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • Heck of a last swing, Soriano. The Cubs choke again. I think they may need Pastor Thomas Muthee to lay hands on them.
    • Last week, the debate sketch on SNL made fun of both candidates equally. This week, they made fun of both candidates but not so equally. I really could have just watched them do that for the entire 90 minutes of the show.
    • E.T. happened to be on HBO Family today and since it has been at least a decade since I've watched it, I had to go with it. I don't have to tell you that it's one of the very best movies ever made, but it drives home how great Spielberg was before he even started making the big Oscar movies like Saving Private Ryan or Schindler's List. How about a run from the mid '70s to the early '80s of Jaws, Close Encounters, Raiders, and E.T.?
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • Jackie Mason does a very unfunny response to Sarah Silverman's Great Schlep video. What has Barack Obama ever done? Well, here's one thing: he didn't make Caddyshack II!
    • Phillies-Dodgers should be a heck of a series. Ditto Rays-Sox.
  • Your List Sucks!: Top 5 Teams in the NFL after Week 4:
    • 5. N.Y. Giants -- Let's see what they can do coming out of the bye and without Burress for a week.
    • 4. Buffalo -- I'm still not 100% sold on them because of their offense, but they should be able to take the division.
    • 3. Carolina -- They are explosive with Steve Smith, great in the red zone with Jonathan Stewart, and they still have that defense.
    • 2. Washington -- Have to give them their props. Campbell is playing his ass off and Santana Moss has become an elite receiver. Their defense, sparked by 7th round pick Chris Horton, is opportunistic.
    • 1. Tennessee -- I'll see them live tomorrow when they play the surprising Ravens. That defense is just nasty and they can run the ball.

Friday, October 3, 2008

No Strangers To Love

  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • I think Ace has the potential to be one of the all-time great Survivor villains. There's just something about him and his attitude.
    • One of the two great Earl episodes this week included both Jerry Van Dyke and John Amos. I was surprised to see that Van Dyke is still alive, but maybe even more surprised that he's been a ghost since Coach left the air.
    • Here is the Lou video from tonight's The Soup. It's funny enough, but the key moment is the very end when Lou tries to scratch the bandana off of his head.
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • If you hate the Yankees and the Red Sox, you must root for Tampa and the Dodgers. Especially the Dodgers, with Torre and Manny.
    • Sucks to be a Chicago baseball fan right about now. But, hey, your boy's going to be President, so you have that going for you. Which is nice.
    • This one amuses me. John McCain gets "BarackRoll'd".
    • That reminds me... I was listening to NPR and they discussed how Rick Astley has been nominated for "Best Act Ever" at the MTV Europe Music Awards. Seriously. I guess the RickRoll has given him a big boost in popularity. The best part of the report was the last line: "Good luck beating U2."
  • Daily Rant:
    • Guest blogger Bailey, official dog of Random Babbles, decided to walk across the keyboard as I pondered what to write. His own take on the Daily Rant follows:
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Moving Past

I was ready to rain indignation down on all of my readers. I was ready to go off about how I cursed at the TV when a candidate for Vice President winked at me and I was ready to dare any Palin supporter who may read this to explain to me how they can actually consider her a serious candidate for an office of such import. I was ready to make the Emperor happy by unleashing my hate and finding solace in the Dark Side. But then I realized something so simple that it calmed me down within seconds.

Sarah Palin is finished. She's a non-entity.

I don't mean that she's a joke, though of course I think she is. I don't mean that she won't campaign for McCain anymore or show her face in public, because of course she will. But she's of no importance to the 2008 campaign anymore. You know what else? Neither is Joe Biden.

As of tonight, Joe Biden and Sarah Palin are officially non-factors.

They had their moment. Maybe Biden won because he was serious and showed that amazing touch of emotion. Maybe Palin won because she didn't screw up. But who cares? It won't move the polls, there are too few undecideds left and neither of them won by enough to really change the game anyway. We'll have another debate on Tuesday and then one the week after, and both of them will be about Barack Obama and John McCain. When people go into the voting booth, they will be voting for either Barack Obama or John McCain. It's freeing to know that we are beyond this silliness.

I'm going to work my ass off and enjoy the hell out of the next month and, besides Tina Fey on Saturday, not give one more thought to Sarah Palin.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

It's October

  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • Filled in some sorely missing pop culture by watching The American President (thanks, Louise). It's pretty good, though certainly not the best Sorkin-Reiner collaboration (duh). I also prefer The Contender, as far as President movies go, and Jeff Bridges' speech at the end of said movie, as far as big President speeches go, but I did like the movie a lot.
    • Tonight marked the season premiere of Pushing Daisies. That would be the show that I loved last year and forgot just how much. It's so sleek and well-directed with wonderful dialogue and beautiful colors. The sound mix seemed to be a touch off tonight and there was one sexual reference (which is not usual for the show), but I was pleasantly re-surprised by it.
    • Watched the Palin interview tonight. The rumor was that she was asked to name any Supreme Court decision, but it turned out to be any Supreme Court decision that she disagreed with (other than Roe). Biden, of course, had a nice answer that also highlighted his work in the Senate. Palin couldn't come up with a case. I can think of two off the top of my head with which I disagree, Bush v. Gore and the one about gun control in the District. I can also think of a recent one with which Palin most likely disagreed, the one allowing habeas corpus at Guantanamo Bay. The point is that it's not okay if she can't think of one. You can't excuse it by saying that she doesn't have a list of Supreme Court decisions in front of her. She's running for freaking Vice President and she shouldn't just be a regular person.
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • A bunch of Hollywood liberals (and no, I don't mean "Jews" like the GOP did during their convention speeches) made this video (NSFW) about registering to vote. Shocker that Sarah Silverman and Jonah Hill are the funniest.
    • If you think Palin hits the wrong notes with voters, you should see this: Sarah Heath, beauty pageant contestant, plays the flute. It's just a little flat, but, to be honest, this isn't so much about Palin as it is about a bad '80s video of someone playing the flute out of tune.
  • MLB Playoff Preview:
    • I kind of forgot last night to do a preview of the playoffs, so here's a quick one (granted, this is after the Phillies and Dodgers had already won tonight).
    • Brewers vs. Phillies -- The Phils have a year under their belt and a great bullpen. I fully expected Hamels to dominate today and he did, so I'm sticking with my original prediction: Phillies in 4.
    • Dodgers vs. Cubs -- We all know the Cubs will blow this at some point. They should be better enough than the Dodgers (barring Manny exploding) to take this. Original pick: Cubs in 3. Obviously, the Dodgers won tonight. Adjusted pick: Dodgers in 5.
    • White Sox vs. Rays -- I have to go with the heart on this one and you're heartless if you're not from Chicago and you're not rooting for the Rays. Also Shields and Kazmir are nasty. Rays in 4.
    • Red Sox vs. Angels -- Oy. This should be the World Series. The Angels had the best record in baseball this year and, after having seen their homefield advantage personally this year, I can't pick against them. This should be a heck of a show. Angels in 5.

Ask The Alaskan Gentry

  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • The Biggest Loser should be renamed The Biggest Whore. Granted, that was the working title of A Shot At Love With Tila Tequila. But seriously, the show pimps products like Don "Magic" Juan pimps ladies. Be it gum, plastic bags, sandwiches, or anything else they can squeeze a dime out of, you can hear about wonderful things on that show.
    • Also, the great twist tonight was that the family that lost the least weight had to choose one of their own to go home. Sort of a reality show Sophie's Choice.
    • I got bored with the Friedman book; not into reading about the global economy. But then I realized I had David Sedaris' new book laying around. So there you go.
  • Random Thought (Mini-Essay):
    • I read the transcript of Palin's latest with Couric and it was fine. Maybe a touch controversial with her saying that homosexuality is a choice, but totally fine. Although, word is that something super embarrassing is coming down the pike over the next couple of days (think: Brown vs. Board of Education or Plessy vs. Ferguson). The bottom line is that while she may not be the brightest bulb, she's certainly not worthless mentally. She's had plenty of interviews in the past and done well with them. I think what this comes down to is that she's getting so stuffed full of talking points that she's trying to hit them all and has lost her ability to actually think for herself. She can't answer naturally because she has too much other stuff to remember. This reminds me of something from pop culture. In the episode of Married... With Children entitled "Kelly Knows Something" (Season 8, Episode 26 -- unfortunately, one of the few not available on Hulu), the family is in need of money and, upon discovering that Kelly can remember anything told to her, they send her on a sports trivia show. The rub, as Hamlet might say, is that Kelly forgets something for everything forced into her head. This doesn't hurt them until the final question when she's asked who scored four touchdowns for Polk High in one game and can't remember. Let's hope that they don't force feed Palin too many talking points for fear of a question about which of the presidential candidates was a POW.
  • Daily Rant:
    • Just not feeling yom tov this year. I don't know if this is a rant so much as a sad reality. I could say it's the election and the economy, but those would probably just be bad excuses.