Pages

Top 200 Major League Baseball Players Ever #162-160 RICK REUSCHEL, JOSE CRUZ, ROBIN VENTURA

Sunday, June 29, 2008





EDIT - YOU CAN FIND THE UPDATED RANKINGS BY SEARCHING THE LABEL FOR BEST BASEBALL PLAYERS EVER

#162 RICK REUSCHEL RHP Cubs/Giants
1972-91
ERA+ 115
PW 23.2
WARP3 101.2

#161 JOSE CRUZ LF Astros
1970-88
OPS+ 121
BFW 20.5
WARP3 101.6

#160 ROBIN VENTURA 3B White Sox/Mets
1989-04
OPS+ 115
BFW 24.5
WARP3 108.8

Three modern ballplayers, higher than you'd think and higher than the Palmer number - but lower than the WARP3 numbers would rank them, as each tops 100 and Ventura, staking a claim as severely underrated given the value of his third base glove, solidly over 100.

159 to go.

Revelation 19 - The 2008 MLB All Star Rosters Should Be:




The parameters - 32 spots now on each roster, each team must be represented. I've gone with 20 position players and 12 pitchers for each league. Pictured are my two starting second basemen, Ian Kinsler and Chase Utley, who would get my midseason MVP votes.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

C BRIAN MCCANN ATL
RUSSELL MARTIN LA
RYAN DOUMIT PIT
1B LANCE BERKMAN HOU
ALBERT PUJOLS StL
ADRIAN GONZALEZ SD
2B CHASE UTLEY PHI
DAN UGGLA FLA
SS HANLEY RAMIREZ FLA
JOSE REYES NYM
RAFAEL FURCAL LAD
3B CHIPPER JONES ATL
DAVID WRIGHT NYM
OF PAT BURRELL PHI, MATT HOLLIDAY COL, JASON BAY PIT
NATE MCLOUTH PIT, CARLOS BELTRAN NYM, RYAN BRAUN MIL,
RYAN LUDWICK STL

P TIM LINCECUM SFG
BEN SHEETS MIL
EDINSON VOLQUEZ CIN
COLE HAMELS PHI
CARLOS ZAMBRANO CHI
DAN HAREN ARI
TIM HUDSON ATL
JOHAN SANTANA NYM
JAIR JURRJENS ATL
JON RAUCH WAS
KERRY WOOD CHC
BRAD LIDGE PHI

AMERICAN LEAGUE

C JOE MAUER MIN
DIONER NAVARRO TB
1B KEVIN YOUKILIS BOS
JASON GIAMBI NYY
2B IAN KINSLER TEX
BRIAN ROBERTS BAL
PLACIDO POLANCO DET
SS MICHAEL YOUNG TEX
DEREK JETER NYY
3B ALEX RODRIGUEZ NYY
CARLOS GUILLEN DET
EVAN LONGORIA TB
OF MILTON BRADLEY TEX, GRADY SIZEMORE CLE, JOSH HAMILTON TEX
JD DREW BOS, CARLOS QUENTIN CWS, JERMAINE DYE CWS,
MANNY RAMIREZ BOS

P CLIFF LEE CLE
JOHN DANKS CWS
SHAWN MARCUM TOR
JUSTIN DUCHSCHERER OAK
ROY HALLADAY TOR
FELIX HERNANDEZ SEA
RICH HARDEN OAK
ZACK GREINKE KC
JOE SAUNDERS LAA
JOE NATHAN MIN
JOAKIM SORIA KC
MARIANO RIVERA NYY

Entertainment Weekly's Top 100 Movies of the Past 25 Years, 41-50.



41. Dazed and Confused (1993)


It makes my list, but this is too high. It's the indie slice of life of the moment selection, I get it, but I get it about 50 spots lower.





The film that isn't on the list, that would occupy a similar slot, would be Clerks.





Clerks is in my top 20 and I might actually like it as high as number 12, just behind Spinal Tap.





I've been saving the mention of Clerks, and one other film - Leaving Las Vegas - as they're the last films that are sitting in my brain as obviously needing to be on my list. Their omissions glare.





I don't think Before Sunrise, speaking of Linklater, makes my list, but it's close - Clerks is the only Kevin Smith, but I also really liked Chasing Amy.





42. Clueless (1995)
I liked Clueless, funny and cute, both Alicia and the screenplay, but it wouldn't be within two hundred spots of the best 100 movies of the past quarter century. My apologies to Amy Heckerling as Ridgemont High was a year too early for the list.


43. Gladiator (2000)
No. Crowe's had 3-4 better films; my favorite is The Insider, which probably wouldn't make the list. Dude may be a pain in the ass, but he's crazy talented.


44. The Player (1992)
And higher. Top 25. Short Cuts also makes my list.


45. Rain Man (1988)
Yup. Right here too. Tom Cruise has always appeared to me to be hatched, Gatsby like, what's his real name, where did he grow up, did he have parents, did he hire Joey Potter to give birth to the Messiah - he has an interesting life. Now, I don't see any difference at all, literally none, in believing the Scientology rap, the aliens and L Ron and the thetans and meat bodies - and Christianity or any other theistic worldview. I'm not a man in the sky guy; I made reference to George Carlin the other day as the top stand up comic ever - I actually think he's more significant than that, I think he's Mark Twain except funnier and more prolific, and as important as any of his accomplishments was his willingness to stand out all by himself and offer the incredibly dangerous view that Christianity is just superstition with a better marketing campaign. To my eyes, do whatever you need to do to get you through the day; I'd just rather your particular worldview didn't run public policy. But I've been on the "Cruise is a curious cat" train for a couple decades.


To recap the Jerry Maguire thoughts: Risky Business is on the list and should be; I like both All the Right Moves and Color of Money for the list; his best performance was in Magnolia and that makes my list too.


You know what Hoffman would make my list?


Death of a Salesman.


No reason why TV movies don't count. I'm putting Death of a Salesman on my list.

46. Children of Men (2006)
It can take this spot right here. I don't get this choice at all; I rolled through this film as if it weren't even there; it's not that I disliked it (like the Lion King, for example) it's that it I thought of it as entirely disposable.


I've already said Closer's the best Julia Roberts, I think it's the best Clive Owen too, but it still doesn't make it, I don't think. Julianne Moore already has Boogie Nights, I'd add Short Cuts and Magnolia - I liked Far From Heaven a lot, but it wouldn't make it. Either would Safe or that Uncle Vanya version she did, but they're both good -- you know what might make it would be The Fugitive; in terms of action movies - I'll take The Fugitive over the Bond or Bourne movies.

47. Men in Black (1997)
I'll also take The Fugitive over MIB, speaking of Tommy Lee Jones. I didn't like MIB or the sequel or anything similar to either. Not to hit the JFK button again - but, you know, MIB is 47th and JFK isn't on the list? Will and I share a birthday; although he's 2 years older, but he isn't on my list.


48. Scarface (1983)
Spoiler Alert:
Scarface sucks.
I know you aren't allowed to say that anymore, and it means I have to turn in my cool kids club card, but Scarface is a cartoon and not a good one.


Let's consider Pacino - I've never made it all the way through Angels in America, since we've broken the TV movie seal. I think if I were to go with a multi-part long form film it would be The Staircase first. I've already mentioned Glengarry (in) and Insider (out, with regrets) Donnie Brasco's on the list, as I recall, and it would be close for me, as would Carlito's Way, which isn't on the list. I liked Frankie and Johnny and Sea of Love, neither make it. Pfeiffer should make it with Liaisons, as mentioned.


49. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
Nope. It's pretty, but that's as far as I go with it. If Requiem for a Dream doesn't make my list, I don't think I have a film from 2000.

50. The Piano (1993)
I really liked the Piano. I don't think it makes my list, but I liked it. Broadcast News is coming up lower, and I'd like to move it up here and I'd like to pair it with Accidental Tourist, so that's the film I'd have take Piano's place.

Halfway through.

So - let's do some bookkeeping.

I've taken out:
Lord of the Rings
Titanic
Toy Story
Moulin Rouge
Matrix
Scissorhands
Jerry Maguire
Casino Royale
Lion King
Schindlers List
Room with a View
Shrek
Aliens
Wings of Desire
Bourne Supremacy
Brokeback
Breakfast Club
Incredibles
Spider Man 2
Pretty Woman
Sixth Sense
Speed
Clueless
Gladiator
Children of Men
MIB
Scarface
Crouching Tiger
Piano

So - I'm keeping 21, eliminating 29, that gives me, at present, 29 spots to play with. Considering I want to put in every documentary shot in the last 25 years, I feel comfortable in saying I currently have too many films in the list. Fortunately, the back half of the top hundred will involve more paring then adding and...perhaps...somehow...it will work out at the back end.

Top 200 Baseball Players Ever, #165-163 HOYT WILHELM, DUCKY MEDWICK, ALBERT PUJOLS





EDIT - YOU CAN FIND THE CURRENT RANKINGS BY CLICKING ON THE LABEL BEST BASEBALL PLAYERS EVER
#165 HOYT WILHELM RHP Giants/Orioles/WSox
1952-72
ERA+ 146
PW 37.1
WARP3 90.9

Best ERA+ on the list to this point. Wilhelm's a better Goose Gossage; higher on the list than virtually every relief pitcher who ever played.

#164 DUCKY MEDWICK RF Cardinals
1932-48
OPS+ 133
BFW 25.6
WARP3 95.4

Second highest in his similarity score is Harry Heilmann, who will be appearing shortly.

#163 ALBERT PUJOLS 1B Cardinals
2001-
OPS+ 169
BFW 35.3
WARP3 87.2

Better question is where he'll wind up; he's got Joe Dimaggio's bat but without the ability to play CF; he's comfortably inside the top 100 and only longevity will dictate if he makes the top 50 or higher.

Entertainment Weekly's Top 100 Movies of the Past 25 Years - 26 through 40

Friday, June 27, 2008





26. Hoop Dreams (1994)


In the second post (10-25) I discussed the list of documentaries that would exist on my list, and then added to that list in the last post. I'd try to keep it capped at 10 of the 100, but it would be challenging. There's no circumstance where a list of the Top 100 films of the past 25 years should have fewer than 10 docs. It does allow for the discussion of sports films, however.


The one which has to be included is Bull Durham; for the life of me, there are some films the absence of which on the list is flat goofy, Bull Durham is one of them. I think its the best sports movie ever made and that includes Raging Bull.


I liked the other Shelton movies, White Men Can't Jump and Tin Cup a lot, but wouldn't be able to find places for them. I referenced Hoosiers, but don't think it gets a spot either. I liked Eight Men Out more than the more heralded baseball films of the era, but wouldn't find a place for it.


That's a Cusack film - you know a Cusack film which is kind of a sports movie and absolutely should be on the list, and would be in a world where people understood funny?


Better Off Dead. On the list.


I've mentioned my affection for Kingpin, but that wouldn't make it - League of Their Own would be close, but I'm bettin' it gets squeezed by one of my documentaries. If you add Color of Money and When We Were Kings, that's the sports run.


27. Aliens (1986)


Hmmm.

Aliens was good; it certainly shouldn't be this high; my guess is it wouldn't make my list. A better Sigourney Weaver was The Ice Storm, which probably doesn't make it either.



28. Wings of Desire (1988)

Wim Wenders was a fun choice; I don't think I like it or End of Violence enough to put them on my list, but I accept that makes mine even more US focused than EW's. I will throw here a film no one but me has ever seen though - Tom Noonan's What Happened Was.


29. The Bourne Supremacy (2004)

Huh. Okay - similar to Casino Royale; this was a good action movie and I really like Damon, but it wouldn't approach my list, much less 29. I'm not sure the argument that it's better than Good Will Hunting, which I don't think would make my list either. Damon's only film that makes it is Departed, which is on the EW list (oh yeah, he's Private Ryan too, that's right) I liked Mr. Ripley and Rounders but not enough for the list.


30. When Harry Met Sally... (1989)


Yup. Maybe high; I'll accept that it's high, but of romantic comedies of the era, this is the best going away.


31. Brokeback Mountain (2005)

Actually, I feel about Brokeback the way I feel about Wings of Desire, I liked them both and am glad to see them on a list like this - but if you're asking me what are the Best 100 Movies of the past 25 years, I wouldn't have room for either. I already mentioned The Ice Storm, an Ang Lee I'd rank higher. I've already mentioned Donnie Darko, a Gyllenhaal I'd rank higher, but which probably doesn't make the list - and I think my favorite Gyllenhaal film is The Good Girl, which also doesn't make it, but like To Die For is an excellent use of Nicole Kidman's lack of emotional accessibility, Good Girl really takes advantage of Jennifer Aniston's limitations. She's not a bad actor, she just needs to be used in a specific context; a comparison might be with Adam Dunn; he strikes out too much, can't field at all (I mean - he can't field at all - every time you've heard that 45 year old Barry Bonds couldn't play in the NL in 2008 because his fielding has deteriorated so much has been a lie of omission, because Adam Dunn, to borrow an old line, is taking fashion advice from 1980s Michael Jackson and wearing one glove for no apparent reason) Dunn drives broadcasters crazy; they've wanted to run him out of town for 3-4 years, but because he's got good power and because he can take a walk, he really can help you if used right. The Good Girl not only maximizes what Aniston can do, it gives her a character which uses what would be flaws in another setting.

Chuck and Buck didn't make EW and wouldn't make mine either, but it's a good movie too.


32. Fight Club (1999)
I like it and I like it right here. Good work. I've already mentioned Rounders as a really good Norton, who also had American History X as a film which wouldn't make the list, but deserves note. This is the best Brad Pitt; I've already said True Romance would make my list - as would Thelma and Louise. Se7en is a good film which wouldn't quite make it for me.


33. The Breakfast Club (1985)
I'm an 80s kid; I'm 37 years old as I write this in the summer of '08, making me 14 when I saw Breakfast Club; so I am as married to John Hughes as is everyone else who thinks Psychedelic Furs' "Love My Way" is criminally overlooked as one of the great pop songs ever written.


That said, I don't think Breakfast Club makes my list, and surely not at 33. It's an iconic film and relfective of the times and all of that - but when you use the word "Best" to modify "films" you've built a box in which Judd Nelson doesn't fit. As earlier mentioned, Say Anything makes my list and makes it easily..in terms of iconic 80s teen films, I'd like Ferris Bueller before Breakfast Club.


34. Fargo (1996)
As mentioned, I'm in and I'd like to see this a little higher. Also on my list would be Raising Arizona (top 10) Barton Fink and Millers Crossing. Blood Simple would be close. A non Coens movie doing a Coens thing that is good is Red Rock West. A Simple Plan is also good in that tone.


35. The Incredibles (2004)
Nope. All of these movies, wiped clean off the list. I liked Incredibles, but it's disposible. Why are there more cartoons than documentaries on the EW list? Fahrenheit 911 also came out in 2004, for example. Hotel Rwanda doesn't make my list, but it's another 2004 film I'd like more than Incredibles. Traffic was a better Cheadle than Rwanda, but I wouldn't put it on my list either - Out of Sight, I think, is better still - but still wouldn't make the list. A better Clooney than that is Three Kings, and that might make it.


36. Spider-Man 2 (2004)
Nope. Just a popcorn movie. A well made enough popcorn movie, but a popcorn movie. Pleasantville was a better Maguire, and that might make the list.


37. Pretty Woman (1990)

I watched Pretty Woman again for the first time in 15 years just a year or so ago - I liked it more than I did the first time; I get the whole Julia Roberts thing. Thumbs up.

That said, there's not really an argument it belongs on the list.

Closer, I think, is my favorite Julia Roberts movie. It wouldn't make the list. I think...Unfaithful would be my favorite Gere of the time period, and it wouldn't make it either.

38. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
Yup. And in my top 20. And behind Adaptation, which is my favorite Charlie Kauffman movie. I'd put them both in the top 10. If there's a Charlie Kauffman, I'm first in line; I don't think he's missed.


39. The Sixth Sense (1999)
I got off the M Night bus hard with Signs, which I thought was awful; I liked Unbreakable and Sixth Sense, but not enough to put either of them on the list. Know what I prefer in terms of "don't reveal the surprise twist" - David Mamet's psychological thrillers. On my list would be The Spanish Prisoner and maybe House of Games. And that brings up two more Mamets, Wag the Dog (which probably misses) and Glengarry Glen Ross (which does not miss). No Michael Moore and no David Mamet for EW. But a whole assload of trillion dollar budget cartoons. Okay.


40. Speed (1994)
I discussed Speed in the Matrix comment. I liked it. Not on my list. I don't have a Sandra Bullock on the list. I think actually Speed might be her best film, so I'll sign off on that one.

I'll be back with 41-100, probably in two chunks. And I'll also get to 160 on the baseball players list. Also - I'm watching old NBA Drafts in a marathon; I don't know if I'll have a blog post thereon, but there are amusing things to note regarding them. I have thoughts about Obama's hard right turn on FISA and the two hot Supreme Court rulings on the death penalty and gun control, but I don't know if that will be distilled into writing either. I have new courses to prepare for my upcoming academic term; my wrestling Counterfactual needs fed, as I'm building to Summer Slam '07, and I want one long, sprawling essay for my myspace blog about the current state of my union.


So, you know, only one boy with two hands. Thanks for reading. Readers. Craziness.

Top 200 Major League Baseball Players Ever - #167, 166 DICK BARTELL AND VLADIMIR GUERRERO

Thursday, June 26, 2008



EDIT - YOU CAN FIND THE UPDATED RANKINGS UNDER THE LABEL BEST BASEBALL PLAYERS EVER.

#167 DICK BARTELL SS Pirates/Phillies/Giants
1927-46
OPS+ 96
BFW 28.2
WARP3 96.4

Another member of the all-glove team; support for Vizquel on the list should point to Bartell as a comparable. Better than more famous HOF SS like Rizutto and Reese.

#166 VLADIMIR GUERRERO RF Expos/Angels
1996-
OPS+ 150
BFW 38.1
WARP3 83.7

At an OPS+ of 150, Vlad's got the 2nd best bat thusfar on the list (Shoeless Joe); he's getting pushed up a little bit, his WARP3 doesn't stretch far enough to make this rating, but again, I'm trying to be realistic with the active players; not projecting them beyond this year specifically, but not keeping my head in the sand either. The numbers, as with all the active players, are their numbers at date of posting, but were any of the active players to stop playing the second I hit publish post, some level of downward reassessment would be necessary. If you're waiting for Jim Rice or Dale Murphy or Don Mattingly, incidentally, you're going to be disappointed.

Revelation 18 - The Best Basketball Player On the Planet is Headed to Brooklyn


Basketball statistical analysis is somewhere between baseball and football in terms of the degree to which it can be counted to provide truth; the best is provided by John Hollinger on espn.com; his PER rating correctly demonstrated that LeBron James (and not Kobe Bryant) had the best season in the NBA in '07-08. At 23 years of age (Lebron's mother, by the way, is 38, only a handful of months older than I am; nothing has ever made me feel older than the idea that the best basketball player alive could be my son) it's a reasonable deduction that he'll hold this value into 2010.

In 2010, LeBron James is a free agent; one of the most important (and slowest burning) stories on the sports landscape is the courtship of James by the minority owner of the New Jersey Nets, Jay-Z --

--who has 99 problems, but the 11 million bucks the Nets owed to Richard Jefferson in 2010 ain't one.

The Nets are on track to move to Brooklyn - and with today's trade of Jefferson to Milwaukee for Yi Jianlian and Bobby Simmons - they're on track to sign King James. Put LeBron with Devin Harris and you're onto something.

If Yi can emerge as a capable complimentary player, such that his name value can tap into the Chinese market; the confluence of factors:

Jay Z
Brooklyn.
Yi
LeBron James

Has the potential to make the Brooklyn Nets a cross-cultural global phenomenon; fusing the marketing bonanzas that are hip hop and a post-Olympics China. The degree to which James uses his position on the Olympic team this summer as an outreach platform to the Chinese fan may be a precursor to his move to Brooklyn in 2010.

Entertainment Weekly's Top 100 Movies - An Interim Post





I may not get back to the EW list for a couple of days, but I will finish it.


But while I have a second - the following films not on the EW list are burning a hole in my head:


American Beauty, Requiem for a Dream, Donnie Darko.


I don't think any of them would make my Top 100, but they'd be in the conversation.


Princess Bride makes it.


So do Heathers and Election.

3 more documentaries that I neglected to mention in yesterday's post - the two wrestling documentaries, Beyond the Mat and Wrestling With Shadows, neither of which would make it, but I have boundless affection for the latter -- and a doc that not only makes it but makes it inside the top 25, Murder on a Sunday Morning, which is ahead of The Thin Blue Line as the best legal doc. ever made. I think The Staircase probably just misses the list, and Sin City Law is sitting on my DVD player right now this very second. French dudes can make them a movie about the US criminal justice system, yo.



Entertainment Weekly's Top 100 Movies, 11-25

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


In the previous post, I considered 1-10 of the EW list of the top 100 movies of the past 25 years, here's the next section.

11. This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
Not any complaints; I like it right here at number 11. It would be the second comedy in my list; my top comedy is Raising Arizona, which is not on the list. One assumes that with Fargo (too low) and No Country (a little high) the Coens were thought to be sufficiently represented. This is error. My list would also include Barton Fink and Millers Crossing. It might include Blood Simple. And Lebowski, while it wouldn't make it, wouldn't be far behind.

Oh - and a mockumentary that I'd like at about number 50 which isn't on this list - Bob Roberts.

12. The Matrix (1999)
I liked the Matrix. It wouldn't make my list, but I liked it. I've already mentioned that I'd put Dangerous Liaisons on my list - that might be the only Keanu that would make it, but River's Edge would be tough to leave off (it's not on the list). The other good Keanus - Parenthood, I Love You to Death, My Own Private Idaho, would miss by a little more, but I like all of them more than the Matrix. Speed, which I also liked, also makes this list, but shouldn't.

13. GoodFellas (1990)
Yup. And right here too. Departed, which I think is ranked correctly, is the only other Scorcese, meaning there's no Cape Fear on the list, which would be another very tough bottom list call for me. I also have an enormous amount of affection for Color of Money, which would have to find a bottom of the list spot.

14. Crumb (1995)
Hmmm. I liked Crumb and its an out of the box choice, but I don't think it makes my top 50 - I like it in the top 75 though.

The real problem is that there are only two documentaries on the list (Hoop Dreams, which is maybe a tick high) now, my bias is toward documentaries, but my list would conservatively have 10.

I'd like to have 15. Jim hearts documentaries.

4 Little Girls -
American Movie - which not only is on my list, it's in the top 20
Bowling for Columbine -
The Corporation -
Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room -
Fahrenheit 911 -
The Fog of War
Hearts of Darkness
The King of Kong
No End in Sight
Roger&Me -
Spellbound
When We Were Kings
Why We Fight
The Thin Blue Line

That's 15 more. Plus the two on the list - that's 17. If I had to, I could cut that to 10, but 10 would be the fewest number of documentaries which should be on the list of the top 100 films of the past 25 years.

15. Edward Scissorhands (1990)
I liked it, it wouldn't make my list, but it would be close. Donnie Brasco and Ed Wood are also both on the list for Depp -- I don't know if I'd have any, they'd all be close, but might be victims of the documentary onslaught. Brasco would make it before the other two.

16. Boogie Nights (1997)
This is a top 5 film for me. It might even be number 3. In fact, let's go ahead and say it - Boogie Nights is the 3rd best movie of the past 25 years. There Will Be Blood is the other PTA on the list, it wouldn't make it for me - but Magnolia would and I'd also really have to consider Hard Eight.

17. Jerry Maguire (1996)
I'm willing to say Jerry Maguire belongs on the list, but in the 90s - I like it, I don't hate Cruise or Cameron Crowe, it's sweet and pleasant and all good things and I'm good with its being at the bottom of the list. But 17 is just silly. Risky Business and Rain Man (properly ranked) are the other Cruises on the list; I've already mentioned Magnolia and Color of Money as being on my list - I'm also of a mind that All the Right Moves is the most underrated sports movie ever, and not just for Lea Thompson. Okay, maybe just for Lea Thompson, but seriously, that's good stuff. In fact, actually, even as I write this - I think Moves is a better film than Jerry Maguire. I'm knocking Maguire out of the top 100 - putting in All the Right Moves instead.
Oh - I would have Say Anything not only on my list, but in the Top 10.

18. Do the Right Thing (1989)
Recall my comment about Pulp Fiction, that the only conversation was 1 or 2?

This is the other film in that conversation. 18 is nutty low. It's either 1 or 2 and there's really no discussion beyond that. It's the only Spike on the list and the only one which should be, as Malcolm X just misses for me - I've already mentioned 4 Little Girls which would be one of those 7 I'd cut to get my docs down to 10.

Why Entertainment Weekly ain't got no brothers on the wall?

19. Casino Royale (2006)
This is error.

I liked Casino Royale; it's the only Bond on the list or that should be anywhere near the list. But I wouldn't put it in the top 250. This choice won't hold up all that well, let me suggest.

I mean, JFK isn't on this list. JFK would be in my top 10. There's no argument that Casino Royale is a better film than JFK. And I liked Casino Royale.

20. The Lion King (1994)
See the Toy Story discussion for my thought about the merits of the big, sprawling kids movie. Shawshank Redemption is a 1994 movie that didn't make the list. I'm just sayin'.

21. Schindler's List (1993)
Since Jamelle Hill got thrown under the ESPN bus for making a Hitler joke last week, I wonder the degree to which I can criticize a movie about the Holocaust - but my favorite part of Schindler's List was when Jerry was making out with the girl who was on As the World Turns in the middle of it.

It wouldn't make my list.

There. I said it and feel better for having said it.

22. Rushmore (1998)
Loved me some Rushmore. I like it and like it right here. Lost in Translation (properly ranked) and Ghostbusters are the other Murray on the list (Ed Wood, too). I prefer Groundhog Day to Ghostbusters - and I like Kingpin more than a little bit, it wouldn't make the list, but I'd give it a wave.

23. Memento (2001)
Yup. And properly ranked. In fact, were it to be..21st...that wouldn't break my heart. Interestingly, not on the list is The Usual Suspects, a film with which Memento is often associated. Memento's better - but Suspects makes my list.

Appropos of absolutely nothing but it's in my head right now and I don't want it to slip away - Lone Star would also make my list.

24. A Room With a View (1986)
My favorite Merchant-Ivory was Howards End. I liked a Room With a View - I don't think either of them would make my list.

25. Shrek (2001)
-Rinse, repeat on the Toy Story discussion.

The only other Eddie Murphy on the list is Beverly Hills Cop; I don't know if that's better than Trading Places or not - I don't know if either of them should make the list - but that got me to think about Raw, which also shouldn't make the list - but, that, that makes me consider Stop Making Sense - and goddamn, that not only should have been in my list of docs - it would be in my top 100.

So, take out Shrek, put in Stop Making Sense.

25 down, I'll be back with more thoughts.

Entertainment Weekly Does Some Deciding - The Top 100 Movies of the Past 25 Years, 1-10.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


EW got all list-y this week in its 1000th issue. Below is its list of the best films of the past quarter century; films released from 83-08 were eligible. I have thoughts. Here's 1-10.

1. Pulp Fiction (1994)
-Yup. Only question for me would be 1 or 2. Interesting is that Forest Gump, Pulp's chief competition for critical acclaim in '94, is not on the list. I concur with that also. This is the only Tarantino, which is error. Reservoir Dogs is a Top 40 film, and maybe Jackie Brown at the bottom of the list.

2. The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-03)
-Wouldn't make my list. I sat in a theater through the first one and thought I'd only escape by cutting a hostage tape. Near as I can figure, these movies were about jewelry.

3. Titanic (1997)
-Did Titanic have a soundtrack? I can't recall. Little Children and Heavenly Creatures are better Kate Winslet movies not on the list. Gangs of New York, What's Eating Gilbert Grape, and that one episode of Growing Pains where Mike made a wisecrack about his sister being too fat to enter the kingdom of heaven were better DiCaprios that didn't make the list.

4. Blue Velvet (1986)
-I'd like it lower, say top 75; my brother Joe says Mulholland Drive is better. Hoosiers was another Dennis Hopper from '86, it didn't make the list. My favorite Hopper from the time period was True Romance, it would make my top 50 but didn't make this list.

5. Toy Story (1995)
-I gotta tell you, there aren't too many elements in our culture more overrated than kids movies. You can wrap up all of the various animated movies on this list in a big sack and throw them in the water with DiCaprio for my money. Neither Philadelphia nor A League of Their Own made the list; I take them both as Hanks films over the cartoon. Hell, I take Splash over Toy Story and it's not even close. Wouldn't make my list.

6. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
-Hanks goes back-to-back. I'm not in love with war movies; there's one later on the list that's way too low - but not on the list are Platoon and The Thin Red Line, both of which I'd like in the Top 80. I haven't seen Letters From Iwo Jima (not on the list) but I wouldn't have put Flags of Our Fathers (not on the list) on mine. This would probably make my list, but at the back.

7. Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
-I prefer Crimes and Misdemeanors (not on this list); that would crack my Top 20. I'd move Hannah down, bottom of the Top 50. Zelig was released in '83 and I'd consider it for the bottom of the list, it's not on this one.

8. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
-Yup. I like it right here. Yup. It's the only Jodie Foster here; Little Man Tate is a film I'd consider for the bottom of the list. It's the only Hopkins, there's one more I'd consider that I'll mention later. It's the only Demme; I've already mentioned Philadelphia, which would be on my list, and I'd consider Swimming to Cambodia for the bottom of the list.

9. Die Hard (1988)
-I love me some Die Hard too; it's my favorite action movie, and since abovee only kids movies in my cinematic circles of hell are heavy CGI films, it's unlikely an action film in the future will seriously challenge. And Die Hard would be on my list and be high on my list. However - not on this list from 1988 were Bull Durham (my favorite sports movie ever) and Dangerous Liaisons (Uma Thurman, young and shirtless). They'd both be on my list ahead of Die Hard. Also missing from '88, Midnight Run, and A Fish Called Wanda

I'd put all of them on my Top 100. Why you gotta hate '88, EW?

10. Moulin Rouge (2001)
-One asks, if all of those movies are going on your top 100 - what are you taking off, Jividen?

And then we find Moulin Rouge.

Thanks.

Moulin Rouge was fine. I prefer Once, which wouldn't make my list, although the soundtrack would make my list of the top albums of the time period. Of Nicole Kidman films - I'll take To Die For.

That's the top 10.

Here's the rest of the list, in case you haven't seen it yet. I'll have thoughts, again, when I have time.

11. This Is Spinal Tap (1984)

12. The Matrix (1999)

13. GoodFellas (1990)

14. Crumb (1995)

15. Edward Scissorhands (1990)

16. Boogie Nights (1997)

17. Jerry Maguire (1996)

18. Do the Right Thing (1989)

19. Casino Royale (2006)

20. The Lion King (1994)

21. Schindler's List (1993)

22. Rushmore (1998)

23. Memento (2001)

24. A Room With a View (1986)

25. Shrek (2001)

26. Hoop Dreams (1994)

27. Aliens (1986)

28. Wings of Desire (1988)

29. The Bourne Supremacy (2004)

30. When Harry Met Sally... (1989)

31. Brokeback Mountain (2005)

32. Fight Club (1999)

33. The Breakfast Club (1985)

34. Fargo (1996)

35. The Incredibles (2004)

36. Spider-Man 2 (2004)

37. Pretty Woman (1990)

38. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

39. The Sixth Sense (1999)

40. Speed (1994)

41. Dazed and Confused (1993)

42. Clueless (1995)

43. Gladiator (2000)

44. The Player (1992)

45. Rain Man (1988)

46. Children of Men (2006)

47. Men in Black (1997)

48. Scarface (1983)

49. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)

50. The Piano (1993)

51. There Will Be Blood (2007)

52. The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad (1988)

53. The Truman Show (1998)

54. Fatal Attraction (1987)

55. Risky Business (1983)

56. The Lives of Others (2006)

57. There’s Something About Mary (1998)

58. Ghostbusters (1984)

59. L.A. Confidential (1997)

60. Scream (1996)

61. Beverly Hills Cop (1984)

62. sex, lies and videotape (1989)

63. Big (1988)

64. No Country For Old Men (2007)

65. Dirty Dancing (1987)

66. Natural Born Killers (1994)

67. Donnie Brasco (1997)

68. Witness (1985)

69. All About My Mother (1999)

70. Broadcast News (1987)

71. Unforgiven (1992)

72. Thelma & Louise (1991)

73. Office Space (1999)

74. Drugstore Cowboy (1989)

75. Out of Africa (1985)

76. The Departed (2006)

77. Sid and Nancy (1986)

78. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

79. Waiting for Guffman (1996)

80. Michael Clayton (2007)

81. Moonstruck (1987)

82. Lost in Translation (2003)

83. Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn (1987)

84. Sideways (2004)

85. The 40 Year-Old Virgin (2005)

86. Y Tu Mamá También (2002)

87. Swingers (1996)

88. Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)

89. Breaking the Waves (1996)

90. Napoleon Dynamite (2004)

91. Back to the Future (1985)

92. Menace II Society (1993)

93. Ed Wood (1994)

94. Full Metal Jacket (1987)

95. In the Mood for Love (2001)

96. Far From Heaven (2002)

97. Glory (1989)

98. The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)

99. The Blair Witch Project (1999)

100. South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut (1999)

Revelation 17 - The Number One Pick in Thursday's NBA Draft Should Be...

Michael Beasley.

And Kevin Love should be second.

Top 200 Major League Baseball Players Ever, #169-168, RUSTY STAUB and HOME RUN BAKER



EDIT - YOU CAN FIND THE UPDATED RANKINGS UNDER THE LABEL BEST BASEBAL PLAYERS EVER
#169 RUSTY STAUB RF/1B Astros/Tigers/Expos/Mets
1963-85
OPS+ 124
BFW 23.1
WARP3 97.4

The strongest criticism of the list is my bias is for career as opposed to peak value; for example, on BP, Jay Jaffe has a JAWS number, a metric combining WARP3 with the 7 best seasons from each player's career; were one to argue the merits of that, I wouldn't bark that loudly. I really have grown in my appreciation for career value as opposed to peak; there's value, in my view, in the post-prime years for ballplayers who remain productive. A player who can hold above replacement value long after his top years are behind him, who maintains his health enough to keep his roster spot, is credited in this list.

#168 HOME RUN BAKER 3B Athletics/Yankees
1908-22
OPS+ 136
BFW 33.7
WARP3 89.5

Not on the list - Carlos Delgado, Ken Caminiti, Minnie Minoso, Frank Howard, Nomar Garciaparra, Frank Chance, Rocky Colavito, Silver King, Hughie Jennings, Bob Caruthers, Hoss Radbourn.

Revelation 16 - George Carlin Had Balls

Monday, June 23, 2008

It was just a few days ago when I noted in this space that were I to do a top stand up comedians list of all time in the manner of my baseball list - that number one would be George Carlin.

"The real owners are the big wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions. Forget the politicians, they're an irrelevancy. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don't. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They've long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the statehouses, the city halls. They've got the judges in their back pockets. And they own all the big media companies, so that they control just about all of the news and information you hear. They've got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying -- lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want; they want more for themselves and less for everybody else."

"But I'll tell you what they don't want," Carlin continued. "They don't want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don't want well-informed, well-educated people capable of critical thinking. They're not interested in that. That doesn't help them. That's against their interests. They don't want people who are smart enough to sit around the kitchen table and figure out how badly they're getting fucked by a system that threw them overboard 30 fucking years ago. You know what they want? Obedient workers -- people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork but just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shittier jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, reduced benefits, the end of overtime and the vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it. And, now, they're coming for your Social Security. They want your fucking retirement money. They want it back, so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street. And you know something? They'll get it. They'll get it all, sooner or later, because they own this fucking place. It's a big club, and you ain't in it. You and I are not in the big club."

RIP.

Revelation 15 - Kevin Garnett is Happier Than You Are

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A common refrain in sports analysis has been that the modern athlete doesn't care enough. That he's only in it for the check, that he's all attitude and swagger. Seems to me that fans would appreciate an athlete willing to take performance enhancing drugs, putting his physical well being at risk in order to give his all on the field, but that's a different discussion. Kevin Garnett won an NBA Title last week. He was happy. He got criticized by some as overly effusive. 'Cause, you know - we want you to care, but only the right amount.

I had no dog in the finals fight, but I watched this on DVR at 6 the following morning and teared up. Good for KG, good for the Celtics.

Life's hard. Bad things happen. If you are able to be happy, be as happy as you can be.

Congratulations to the Celtics.

Top 200 Major League Baseball Players Ever, #172-170, CHUCK FINLEY, BILLY HAMILTON, JAKE BECKLEY





EDIT - YOU CAN FIND THE UPDATED RANKINGS UNDER THE LABEL BEST BASEBALL PLAYERS EVER

#172 CHUCK FINLEY LHP Angels
1986-02
ERA+ 115
PW 20.2
WARP3 99.2

Pitchers, note, from the recent era are better than you think. Finley does well after the era adjustment. And, you know, it gives the ability to make Whitesnake jokes.

#171 BILLY HAMILTON OF Phils/Braves
1888-01
OPS+ 139
BFW 27.2
WARP3 95.9

#170 JAKE BECKLEY 1B Pirates/Reds/Cardinals
1888-07
OPS+ 126
BFW 23
WARP3 98.2

The hits don't stop 'till we get to the top. 31 down, 169 to go.

Revelation 14 - Apples Are Better Than Oranges


The next time someone uses the phrase, "it's apples and oranges" recognize that if he is saying "these two things aren't comparable" he's using that phrase incorrectly.

Because apples are better.
<>
Apples taste better on their own, and the body of apple products, from pies to crisps to cobblers and brown bettys to martinis to jacks are superior to the body of orange related products, juices and roughys and whathaveyous.

I don't hate oranges.

But if there's one point I'd like you to take away from the totality of this blog - if this blog has a mission statement it's this:

There are no ties. Pushing is for pussies.

Everything can be evaluated as superior or inferior. Everything is either over or underrated.

Everything.

Money, for example, is underrated.

"But it's so highly rated - everyone knows money is huge - huge - how can it be underrated?"

Because it isn't overrated. So it's underrated. Make a goddamn decision please.

If you won't, I will. Someone has to.

So, the next time you hear "it's like apples and oranges" recognize that's code for "I don't have the stones to make that evaluation, so I'm going to punt."

If he won't make it - you make it.

And if you won't. I will. Hell, I'll make it even if you do. That's how I roll, sister.

Apples are better than oranges. It's just that easy. Next.

Top 200 Baseball Players Ever - #175-173 BILL MAZEROSKI, JOE SEWELL, JOE GORDON

Saturday, June 21, 2008





EDIT - YOU CAN FIND THE UPDATED RANKINGS UNDER THE LABEL BEST BASEBALL PLAYERS EVER

#175 BILL MAZEROSKI 2B Pirates
1956-72
OPS+ 84
BFW 35.2
WARP3 91

Worst bat in the list; only sub 100 OPS bats on the list - Concepcion, Bancroft, Maz, Dick Bartell, Ozzie Smith. Maz and Ozzie, without debate really, are considered the best gloves ever at their positions.

#174 JOE SEWELL SS Indians
1920-33
OPS+ 109
BFW 35.2
WARP3 91.5

Interesting is where the Pete Palmer metrics, BFW/PW, radically diverge from the BP metric WARP3. Also interesting are situations like Maz and Sewell, almost twins in their end product; that shows just how much value is ascribed to Maz's glove; Sewell's 109 OPS+ isn't special, but with a SS glove he makes the list solidly - but his glove isn't in the same universe as Mazeroski's, who lugs a bad bat, not an average bat - but with an OPS+ of 84, a bad bat, all the way to a BFW and WARP3 that reach Sewell's exactly.

Mazeroski had a great glove. That's the point.

#173 JOE GORDON 2B Yankees/Indians
1938-50
OPS+ 121
BFW 28.8
WARP3 94.2

Spoiler alert - Joe Gordon was not the greatest Yankee second baseman of all time.

Revelation 13 - Mike Myers Is Not Funny

Friday, June 20, 2008




From Tony Scott in today's NYT:




The word "unfunny" surely applies to Mr. Myers's obnoxious attempts to find
mirth in physical and cultural differences but does not quite capture the
strenuous unpleasantness of his performance. No, The Love Guru is downright
antifunny, an experience that makes you wonder if you will ever laugh
again.



The funny's a tenuous thing; you can lose it at any point and similar to one's virginity, once it's lost, it takes a helluva magic trick to get it back. It's as close to being an athlete as any other human endeavor in that quality; except athletes have predictable career arcs and a decline that usually occurs over a protacted period of time. The funny can leave anyone at anytime. I don't know that it happens to everyone; George Carlin, let me suggest, still has the funny, which is why, based on career value, were one doing a ranking of stand up comedians in the way that I'm currently ranking baseball players - you'd have to rank Carlin at #1 ahead of Pryor; you'd like Pryor for peak value, but Carlin runs over him in terms of longevity.


There's a more systematic way to approach this; really, what I should do is do some research and chart this more methodically, but I feel comfortable in saying that you've observed the same phenomenon ; The Case of the Disappearing Funny. Robin Williams, for example, once had funny and no longer does. Same with Billy Crystal. Makes you wonder about the funny sucking powers of Comic Relief; I wonder if you went back and looked at the tapes, could you see the precise moment when the funny left each of their bodies; in my mind, if you watched it frame by frame, it would look like when Buffy would stake the vamps - you could see their funny just turn to dust.


I'd throw Whoopi into that basket too, but she's never had the funny, let's be honest.


If you can't find all of those old Comic Reliefs on the youtubes or the whatnot, consider Bowfinger, a set on which both Steve Martin and Eddie Murphy clearly left their funny.

Top 200 Baseball Players Ever, #177-176, REGGIE SMITH and BOBBY ABREU



edit - you can find the updated rankings under the label - best baseball players ever
#177 REGGIE SMITH RF Red Sox/Dodgers
1966-82
OPS+ 136
BFW 31.5
WARP3 92.4

Not on the list - the Dodger infield from the 70s. Cey was very, very close. Garvey was not.

#176 BOBBY ABREU RF Phillies/Yankees
1996-
OPS+ 136
BFW 30.1
WARP3 88.6

Note that he and Smith have the same bat, adjusted for era. Abreu right now, this second, would be lower, he benefits from a nudge upward that active players are getting. It's a small nudge for Abreu. He and Andruw Jones, who has already appeared, are good examples of guys who have been in sharp decline since the heightened steroid scrutiny, but who haven't been tarred at all with the "cheater" brush. Abreu's power disappeared seemingly overnight, and Jones is in total freefall. This isn't to say they (1) used steroids or (2) gave up steroids or (3) that steroids are a significant factor in their declines even given (1) or (2). It's to say that even within baseball, the tarnishing of guy X as opposed to guy Y has been capricious. And considering the entire sports landscape - I heard Terry Bradshaw just this week talk about using steroids under a Dr. care - and why is it that Evander Holyfield gets to keep his reputation as a good guy; look at the evidence connecting him with steroids. One of the tests of any system, be it legal or ethical, is its ability to be applied consistently. The scarlet letters we've thrown onto certain baseball players of this era as opposed to other athletes serve as examples of how wrongheaded our approach to steroids has been; and while I'm largely wishcasting with this next part - I think history will not be kind to this period of sports commentary regarding PED use.

200 Greatest Major League Baseball Players Ever, #179-178 TIM KEEFE and BOB JOHNSON

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


EDIT - YOU CAN FIND THE UPDATED RANKINGS UNDER THE LABEL BEST BASEBALL PLAYERS EVER
#179 TIM KEEFE RHP Giants
1880-93
ERA+ 125
PW 35.6
WARP3 88.1

Another example of a pre 20th C player downgraded with the most recent adjustments. I recently read Bill James saying something to the effect that he regrets pushing the 19th century players as high up his rankings as he did, given the vastness in the differences between the game they played and the modern game. Worth noting here that this list is just for the top MLB players, there aren't the types of statistical adjustments that we've got for Negro league statistics, for example, that would put them on the list.

#178 BOB JOHNSON LF Athletics
1933-45
OPS+ 139
BFW 35.7
WARP3 89.8

Not on the list - the other Bob Johnson.

Beavers Were Once the Size of Bears - Part 2

Sunday, June 15, 2008





(read part one first, please. it's right below. Thank you.)

Now I'm waking up - and I realize, unlike Dexter Manley, I can read. It’s a miracle! Kind of like Helen Keller, I place my face against the mighty, ravenous water heater, trying to find the rules, trying to look for lightning bolts or skulls and cross bones or some indicia that if I do X, that's the last thing I'll ever do.

I own this hot water heater.

That was my second fully formed thought this morning.

I own this hot water heater. I own this shit. Like my Joe Montana rookie card and my lucky pants. This hot water heater belongs to me.

And now it's going to kill me.

It didn't.

I was able to figure out how to turn it off; I cleaned up as much of the flooded area as was I capable, I made - and then pushed back a plumbing appointment, recognizing I had a 7 AM class that would last 5 hours and that if I wasn't there to tell the first quarter students about the tactile/kinesthetic style of learning - by god, they'd never learn to unlock their scholarly potential by doodling rainbows or swastikas or “Future Mrs. Timberlake” hearts during my lecture.

Got home at noon, still without sleep since 3 or a shower since...well, since Saturday.

Yes, it was Monday. Don’t judge me, people! I was depressed and lounging in my own funk and I am unashamed!

The plumber who I had already hired twice before to fix broken toilets remembered me and asked if I had a room in which he could stay permanently.

Funny. Hi-larious.

Also funny is that I have also hired two plumbers to fix my shower, one to fix my sink, and then another to fix yet another toilet problem.

I've owned my home for 6 years.

7 plumbers in 6 years.

Not to mention that I've had 3 roof leaks and 5 ceiling repairs. A new 14 hundred dollar AC compressor, a year and a half of power outages that led to my needing a new refrigerator and TV, a hurricane caused busted window, an attack of hundreds of bees. Hundreds of bees that I was able to fend off with a half bottle of Kaboom and my plucky spirit.

Oh - And my complex once tried to tow my car.

Total cost for the new water heater.

$949.70.

And ceiling repair.

$150

And I'm five pounds too heavy. Okay, 15 pounds.

But I’m still better off than Mike Vick.

Real quick – I have zero sympathy for Michael Vick, imprisoned for dog fighting. I’m just glad he’s not one of my guys.

Except…not for nothing, but I eat pork.

And in terms of measurable brain activity, the only difference between dogs and pigs is pigs are smarter.

So – we torture a dog and call it prison.

We torture a pig and call it breakfast.

(I don’t want to walk down the road with you regarding how pigs are raised and treated on their way to slaughter, but it’s bad, sister, b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-ad.)

Maybe there’s some small difference between the two things, some small difference that one could point to between torturing dogs and torturing pigs.

But probably not enough difference to justify the difference in treatment.

One is prison. One is breakfast.

Don’t misunderstand, I do it too. Not only wouldn’t I torture a dog, I’ve stopped kids from being cruel to animals in a way I’d never stop someone from being cruel to a, you know, person. If you were to tell me “yup, I regularly kill and eat kittens for the meat” there is literally zero chance I would ever speak civilly to you regardless of what level of beaver worship you promised me.

But I eat pork.

It’s delicious.

And I have no moral justification for it. None.

If it turns out that I’m wrong, and above us isn’t only sky, and someone is there at the pearly gates after I’m dead to say I’m not allowed in because I didn’t pray to Mecca five times a day or I didn’t confess my sins to a guy in a robe or I never had my head dunked in a lake to be born again –

Well, you know, okay.

That stuff is so antithetical to the way I view the world, that if the world actually works that way, it would seem incomprehensible to me that this was the result. I wouldn’t want to be a member of that club. I’ll go somewhere else, thanks.

But if St. Peter is actually a giant bear sized beaver, and he says I’m going to hell for all the bacon I ate.

I’d have absolutely no defense.

I’m guilty.

100% Guilty.

My only hope is I’m serving some purgatory time right now.

7 plumbers in 6 years.

Revelation 12 - Beavers Were Once the Size of Bears, Part 1







Me (about 3:30 AM last Sunday night): What...what...what....what...whathwatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhat?

That's my groggy, "there's something happening that should not be happening at 3:30 in the morning" interior monologue. My pre-thought thought was the cat was scratching my downstairs leather chair really loudly. The cat, as mentioned in a previous blog, is my emergency contact, and I think she accepts payment for services rendered in the form of destroying all of my furniture.

The Cat: Next time, let’s pick up some brown leather. I like the way my claws dig into the brown leather especially. Oooh, microfiber! Score!

It wasn’t the cat.

My subsequent, still completely asleep thought, no more cogent than a typical dream I might have about Will Smith, his skin so taut and creamy, was that back a couple years ago when the pipe burst in my upstairs shower and I could hear the water leaking through the downstairs ceiling to the tile in cat beach, that it sounded a lot like this.

(Author’s note – In my kitchen, I keep the cat’s litter box inside a children’s plastic swimming pool; she’s always seemed to enjoy it and I call it cat beach and I’m hoping she’ll challenge Michael Phelps at the next Olympics. Perhaps dedicating her gold medal to the people of Tibet. That is all.

Oh…mosquitoes have 47 teeth and beavers were once the size of bears. That is all.)

I have no recollection of getting out of bed, only that I found myself, naked, still asleep, downstairs, staring at buckets full of water coming through my ceiling.

Fuck me. The pipe's burst again.

But I never made it to the shower to check - because now as I went back upstairs I could hear the death rattle of my hot water heater, which is in my spare bedroom's walk in closet along with my Wrestlemania XIII poster and class notes for the Reason and Value discussion sections I taught at Florida Atlantic University in 2003.

(Author’s note – I was talking some Bertrand Russell and did a bit…I had about a hundred students in an amphitheater type lecture hall, and was making the point about how fundamentally they didn’t care about human life as much as they thought they did…

….oh, oh…this reminds me, I want to talk about Michael Vick and Jimmy Dean pure pork sausage…don’t let me leave this blog without doing that run….maybe I'll do that in Part 2, hells yeah, Part 2.

…because all the students wanted to say that their highest value was human life, but when confronted with this hypothetical:

Me (not at 3:30 in the morning, but probably similarly groggy): Pretend for a second that you could enter an alternate universe where this happens – you come to the next class and I’m not here. Some substitute sadly says that Professor Jividen passed away over the past week…his head was sheared from his shoulders in a motorcycle accident…or he was murdered while making torrid man on man love with an oily 50 year old toupee wearing dude, burying his love juices inside toupee dude’s exposed chesthair…or he was eaten alive by a beaver who had escaped the ravages of evolution and was still the size of a bear…

And sure, some of you would be momentarily sad, because a person you kinda knew a little bit was dead.

But imagine the story value.

For years, for years you’d be able to say “I had a professor get eaten by a beaver.”

And people would be fascinated by that story.

Are you telling me it wouldn’t be worth it?

And then I walked around the room and asked each student to slap their desk if my dying would be worth it to him.

I’ve replicated this experiment at my current gig. Results are these: some go for it immediately, readily, perhaps even eagerly.

I failed them, of course.

Some needed more prodding…would there be a tangible benefit to them, say an automatic A in the course given the trauma associated with having a professor eaten by a beaver? More slapping of desks. What about tuition reimbursement? There have to be students whose psyches are sufficiently fragile that the occasion of their beloved Professor Jividen’s head being separated from his shoulders by wilding beavers would render them unable to fruitfully continue as students absent some type of set off…

By the end, I could see the frenzied looks in my students eyes. Florida hadn’t seen such beaver worship since (insert your own pornographic reference here, I can't do everything for you people).

And now I’m in this walk in closet and I’m still dead solid asleep, and the carpet around the water heater is soaked - I still haven't grasped what's happening, but I'm waking up now - I know it's the water heater. I know it's making a noise. I know there's water there and water downstairs and I know the cat is staring at me like she did just five hours earlier when I failed to notice the dead cockroach near her food dish.

The Cat: Fix it, asshole. Don't you have any responsibilities around this place? I’d do it myself but I t’aint got thumbs, son. I’m your emergency contact; if you want to “make it rain” go to the strip club, but keep that shit away from my house. I got scratching to do. Dig?

And I know something else, as I stood with my feet engulfed by the flooded carpet staring at the electric outlet in which the water heater was plugged.

It was really my first fully formed thought of the morning.

Water + electricity = bad.

Top 200 Major League Baseball Players Ever - #181, 180 BOB LEMON and JIMMY WYNN



edit - you can find the updated rankings under the label best baseball players ever
#181 BOB LEMON RHP Indians
1946-58
ERA+ 119
PW 34.2
WARP3 84.4

Not on the list - Urban Shocker, Stan Coveleski, Ed Cicotte, David Cone, Dutch Leonard
#180 JIMMY WYNN CF Astros
1963-77
OPS+ 129
BFW 29.6
WARP3 94.6

Not on the list - Lenny Dykstra, Rocky Colavito, Wally Berger, Eric Davis, Darryl Strawberry, Kevin Mitchell

Which means we've got 200-180 all knocked out.
#200 Elmer Flick
#199 Tony Fernandez
#198 Ken Boyer
#197 Andruw Jones
#196 Hank Greenberg
#195 Shoeless Joe Jackson
#194 Tony Phillips
#193 Frank Tanana
#192 Zack Wheat
#191 Bret Saberhagen
#190 Early Wynn
#189 Dazzy Vance
#188 Dave Concepcion
#187 Brian Giles
#186 Goose Gossage
#185 Dave Bancroft
#184 Mickey Cochrane
#183 Jack Clark
#182 John Clarkson
#181 Bob Lemon
#180 Jimmy Wynn

Top 179 to go...

Top 200 Baseball Players Ever - #183,182 JACK CLARK and JOHN CLARKSON

Friday, June 13, 2008



edit - you can find the updated rankings under the label best baseball players ever
#183 JACK CLARK RF Giants
1975-92
OPS+ 137
BFW 29.6
WARP3 91.9

Not on the list - Ralph Kiner, Jason Giambi, Duke Snider, Lance Berkman
#182 JOHN CLARKSON RHP Cubs/Braves
1882-94
ERA+ 134
PW 42.5
WARP3 87.3

If there are two modifications in the recent equivalency calculations, they've been an increase in the value of defense and a decrease in the value of pre 20th century ballplayers. Clarkson and Kid Nichols, who will appear later, take some hits, for example.

Fox News is Still What You Thought it Was.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

video

Meanwhile, I paid $4.08 for a gallon of gas yesterday.

In a country whose record on treatment of African-Americans is shameful, that the occasion of the first major party African-American presidential candidacy is marked by "terrorist fist jab" and "baby mama" is a disgrace.

What it's not is unexpected.

Fox News is what you think it is.

And Exxon-Mobil made 12 billion in profits in the first quarter of 2008.

The 200 Greatest Major League Baseball Players Ever #185 DAVE BANCROFT, #184 MICKEY COCHRANE



EDIT - YOU CAN FIND THE UPDATED RANKINGS UNDER THE LABEL BEST BASEBALL PLAYERS EVER

#185 DAVE BANCROFT SS Giants/Braves/Phils
1915-30
OPS+ 98
BFW 36.2
WARP3 82.2
Jose Canseco's not on the list. I thought you'd like to know.
#184 MICKEY COCHRANE C A's/Tigers
1925-37
OPS+ 127
BFW 34.7
WARP3 81.9
Cochrane's the 11th greatest catcher of all time. Not on the list - RCampanella, JPosada, GTenace, RBreshnahan, LParrish, ELombardi, DPorter, WSchang, BDowning, best catcher not on the list - Ted Simmons

Revelation 11 - Anna Kornikova/George Bush 41=Terrorist Fist Jab!


We are fighting them over there because we don't want to fight them over here.

Fox News...Still Who You Thought They Were

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Apparently, every athlete since 1994 has enjoyed the terrorist fist jab.

TFJ, baby dolls. TFJ.

The 200 Greatest Baseball Players Ever, #187-186: BRIAN GILES AND GOOSE GOSSAGE




#187 BRIAN GILES LF/RF Pirates/Padres
1995 -
OPS+ 138
BFW 29.2
WARP3 92.4
Giles is the first active player on the list (I mean, except for Andruw, but his career has check the pulse written all over it) I've given active players a bump, trying not to be blind as to their ability to still add to their totals. Giles is nearing the end of his productive career; it's possible that he's not going to hold his position in the Top 200 4-5 years from now.

#186 GOOSE GOSSAGE RHRP WSox/Yanks/Padres
1972-94
ERA+ 126
PW 29.7
WARP3 90.5
You won't see many closers on the list; there's no BSutter and he's not close - closer to making it awere LSmith and JFranco and THoffman. Closer still is Billy Wagner, who will wind up in the top 200 before he's done. Thurman Munson didn't make the list, but he's underappreciated and I wanted his pic in the blog.

Revelation 10 - I Play Yahtzee


The math's off 3 points in Game 2; so, my apologies, that's a two game total of only 776. I hit five Yahtzees in two games. Five, bitches! Five!
You can have your graduate degrees and the play and the game show. This may be my proudest achievement. In a world that operated in a way that made sense, I'd be treated like Bob Beamon for this. It's like I went Johnny Vander Meer all over the glass coffee table in my living room. Tell Billy Mitchell I'm comin' to get him. I'm comin' Mitchell! I gots 5 die, a plastic cup, and I'm comin' to bust your ass.

200 Best Major League Baseball Players Ever, #189-188 DAZZY VANCE and DAVE CONCEPCION

Saturday, June 7, 2008




#189 DAZZY VANCE RHP Dodgers
1915-35
ERA+ 125
PW 29.5
WARP3 90
Not on the list - Dizzy Dean, Dizzy Trout

#188 DAVE CONCEPCION SS Reds
1970-88
OPS+ 88
BFW 18
WARP3 105.2
Won the coin flip over Vizquel. Not on the list - Rizzuto and Reese.

Revelation 9 - You Are Not As Good As Onion Rings

Friday, June 6, 2008


I'm sure you're fabulous. With your "soul" and whatnot. 'Cause you're a person, capable of reflecting on your own existence. Like Socrates. And the Jonas Brothers. Superproud of you. Mean it. Seriously.

I'd step over your barely breathing body to eat onion rings. If the choice is performing mouth to mouth on you, saving your precious human life or eating me some goddamn onion rings; my mouth's about to gets greasy, yo.

Nothin' personal. I just like onion rings. For reals.

The Greatest Major League Baseball Players Ever, #192-190, ZACK WHEAT, BRET SABERHAGEN, EARLY WYNN

Thursday, June 5, 2008




YOU CAN FIND THE UPDATED RANKINGS UNDER THE LABEL BEST BASEBALL PLAYERS EVER
#192 ZACK WHEAT LF Dodgers
1909-27
OPS+ 129
BFW 24.1
WARP3 94.7
Not on the list - Bill Terry and George Sisler

#191 BRET SABERHAGEN RHP Royals
1984-2001
ERA+126
PW 27.9
WARP3 91.8
Who does Sabes finish above - Juan Marichal. Not on the list.

#190 EARLY WYNN RHP White Sox/Senators/Indians
1939-63
ERA+106
PW 19.5
WARP3 107.4
Not on the list - Dave Stieb, Carl Mays, Three Finger Brown

Revelation 8 - How a Bill Becomes a Law


When a Senator or a Representative introduces a bill, he sends it to the Clerk of the House (whose name is Mort, consider sending him a card for his birthday) who gives it a number and title ("Led Zeppelin IV" as Mort is always disappointed to find, is already taken) This is called the first reading and the bill is then referred to the proper committee (one not staffed, note, by lumberjacks).

Rules for dealing with Congressional Committees Staffed by Lumberjacks:

Don't look lumberjacks directly in the eye while they are feeding. Lumberjacks are bearded, brawny men and should not be challenged when they are "gettin' they grub on."

Unless they are eating spiral cut ham. But then, only look in the left eye of the lumberjack. The left eye of the lumberjack who consumes an entire spiral cut ham is captivating. It's enchanting. It's a dreamworld of magic and will take you to a transcendent place much like ecstasy or ramming your head over and over into the refrigerator.

Quit that, by the way. That's not cool.

Lumberjacks do not know the meaning of the word "naugahyde." Do not lord this over them. They are simple, hardworking folk and they don't cotton to you big city types and your 'tudes.

Do not taunt lumberjacks. Your words crack their souls.

The committee may decide the bill is unwise or unnecessary and table it, thus killing it immediately.

I was tabled once.
Best weekend of my life.

Or it may decide the bill is worthwhile and hold hearings to listen to facts and opinions presented by experts and other persons of interest (I, for example, am interested in Moby. His head so round and shiny…it haunts me in the nighttime. Come to me, Moby. Come to me, be with me, let my powerful arms envelope you and keep your tears at bay. Sweet, beautiful, heartbreaking Moby. Let me sing to you my song of love.)

Oh, Moby. Well you came and you gave without taking but I sent you away,

oh Moby

well you kissed me and stopped me from shaking And I need you today, oh Moby

After members of the committee have debated the bill and perhaps even offered amendments (for example, I continually write my congressman hoping to get the following jingle from the Kewpies restaurant in Lima, Ohio as the replacement National Anthem for the overly militaristic Star Spangled Banner:


Hamburg, pickle on top
Makes my heart go flippity-flop)


...a vote is taken; and if the vote is favorable, the bill is sent to the floor of the house. The clerk (Happy Birthday, Mort!) reads the bill sentence by sentence to the house, and this is known as the second reading (in cooking class in 8th grade, I made twice baked potatoes...I recall them as being tasty, but I was a chubby kid, so the bar wasn't real high with me..in sewing, I made a shirt, it was blue with a yellow collar, I wore it, it was scratchy. Hey, here's a good story, I took square dancing in 9th grade gym. I'll tell you that one sometime…no, not you, you I won't tell…you, yeah, you, I'll tell you.) Members can then debate the bill and offer amendments. In the House of Representatives, the time for debate is limited by a cloture rule (cloture is a great smart guy word for time limits - next time you're in a position where you want to get rid of someone who has overstayed his welcome, say, you know some random dude who you have desperately tried to let down gently, but, for some unknowable reason, just won't get the hint, invoke cloture on his ass. You don't got to go home, but you can't stay here, people.) but there is no such restriction in the Senate for cloture, where 60 votes are required (I voted 60 times for that Katherine McPhee to win American Idol, for example. Goddamn Taylor Hicks. Why do bad things happen to good people? My God – Why Hath Thou Forsaken Hotass Katherine McPhee?). This makes possible a filibuster in which one or more opponents hold the floor to defeat the bill.


I swore I’d stop talking about Katherine McPhee. I may need to invoke cloture on this blog.


The third reading is by title only ("Led Zeppelin IV?" Mort whispers hopefully) and the bill is put to a vote, which may be by voice or roll call depending on the circumstances and parliamentary rules (Rule 128 of Robert's Rules of Order - all meetings will begin with a kickass acoustic rendition of The Killers' "Mr. Brightside".) Members who must be absent at the time but who wish to record their vote may be paired if each negative vote has a balancing affirmative one (this one time, at band camp....I don't know how that fits there, but it struck me funny to say).


The bill then goes to the other house of Congress, where it may be defeated or passed with or without amendments (With or Without Amendments, best U2 song on parliamentary procedure ever). If the bill is defeated, it dies (can we have a funeral for it in the backyard, Daddy? Will the bill go to heaven with grandma and Red Auerbach?) If it is passed with amendments, a joint Congressional committee must be appointed by both houses to iron out the differences (I don't own an iron, but I do have this wrinkle remover spray thing that doesn't contain any ingredient listings...what type of magical aerosol substance exists that removes wrinkles and can I make sweet love to it? These are the questions on the minds of the American public, I am just the messenger. If there's one thing, as the midterm election approaches, that the average American cares about, it's how many canned consumer products exist into which Jim can insert his mighty dong and when do they go on sale?)


After its final passage by both houses, the bill is sent to the President. If he approves, he signs it, and the bill becomes a law ("that's right, bitches, now I'm a law - suck on that, you loser bills") However, if he disapproves, he may veto the bill by refusing to sign it and sending it back to the house of origin with the reason for the veto ("this bill is crackin' on my sexy" or "it doesn't contain a single mention about Jack Griffin, NCAA amateur wrestling champion in 1910 at 118 pounds" or "BaBa Booey"). The objections are read and debated and a roll call vote is taken. If the bill receives less than a two-thirds vote, it is defeated and goes no farther (farther's a funny word, say it five times, people, just let it roll around your throat, it's funny to say). But if it receives a two-thirds vote or greater it is sent to the other house for a vote. If that house also passes it by a two-thirds vote, the veto is overridden.


Should the President decide neither to sign nor veto the bill, he may retain it for ten days, Sundays excepted, after it automatically becomes a law without signature. However, if Congress has adjourned within those ten days, the bill is automatically killed, that process of indirect rejection being known as a pocket veto.


I said…a pocket veto.


The process of indirect rejection known as a pocket veto…


I had a pocket veto once.


Best weekend of my life.


And that's how a bill becomes a law.

Blogger Template created by Just Blog It