a jim jividen blog

Here's the thing. I'm watching one of these shows on the Cooking Channel featuring food trucks. There's a Scottish expat making fish and chips; in a thick brogue he somewhat wearily explains his irritation with Americans who habitually order a side of tartar sauce: "tartar sauce is basically gherkins." That's this blog. I claim no particular insight, no revelation. If you enjoy the flavor, great, but this blog is basically gherkins.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Weekly Tendown July 31- August 6 2011

Dear Internet:



Tendown 88 = the week my car got recalled.

1. 396
It's August, that means it's pennant race time.  My Giants are in the first, 62-52, down from a high of 17 games over .500 and bleeding out of our eyeballs.

What's wrong with the Giants is the number 396.  It's how many runs we've scored this season.  That's fewer than our runs allowed, meaning that although we've been in first most of the season, our pythag is sub .500

396 is 20 runs fewer than the Padres, who play in a ballpark roughly the size of Wyoming.  It's 31 fewer than the Astros, who are 40 games under .500.  It's a hundred and two fewer than the Phillies, who are looking at sweeping 4 from us in San Francisco at the time of this writing.  For every thousand reasons there are to be happy about winning a world title, there's one to be grumpy; here's the one, the Giants front office has had a long, long, long lineup preference for guys labeled as veteran/character guys - we'll take a Michael Tucker, give him 700 below average plate appearances, and dare you to tell us he can't play.  What do you mean he can't play - here's his baseball card, right here!


Okay, that's someone else's card.

Brian Sabean's like the guy who spent a decade losing money at the craps table and then got white hot for a month straight.  Aubrey Huff and Andres Torres massively outhit any reasonable projection, aiding our offense to reach middling, and Edgar Renteria (whose OPS+ in 700 some odd Giants plate appearances was 75; that means he was 3/4 of an average bat) slugged almost .800 in the World Series.  This year - neither Torres or his veteran platoon partner, high character scrappy run through a wall Aaron Rowand has hit at all (Rowand+Zito=12 years 186 million dollars of replacement level baseball; there aren't too many other professions where Brian Sabean could have demonstrated that kind of massively expensive corporate incompetence and still keep his hands on the wheel) nor has Huff or Miguel Tejada (or will, given a large enough sample, Orlando Cabrera.  Greg Papa, hosting the Giants pregame on TV, said this week "I'd like to see Orlando Cabrera lead off.  Cabrera's OBP this season is well, well under .300; the only people who should want to see Orlando Cabrera lead off are Arizona Diamondback fans.  How you can say something in such stark contradiction with our known reality is startling).

The truth is we got lucky and that's what you need sometimes.  But it's a mistake to look at the 2010 Giants as a blueprint for success anymore than the 2009 or 2008 or 2007 or 2006 or 2005 Giants were.

We're going to win the west.  We have the pitching to win the tournament.  But right now, we are the worst of all 8 of the "if the season ended today" playoff teams and I'd like a new guy rolling our dice.

2. The Debt Deal.
Here's Bush speechwriter David Frum. the rare conservative willing to recognize reality:

Imagine, if you will, someone who read only the Wall Street Journal editorial page between 2000 and 2011, and someone in the same period who read only the collected columns of Paul Krugman. Which reader would have been better informed about the realities of the current economic crisis? The answer, I think, should give us pause. Can it be that our enemies were right?


Here's Krugman.

The worst thing you can do in these circumstances is slash government spending, since that will depress the economy even further. Pay no attention to those who invoke the confidence fairy, claiming that tough action on the budget will reassure businesses and consumers, leading them to spend more. It doesn’t work that way, a fact confirmed by many studies of the historical record.


Here's Taibbi


The Democrats aren't failing to stand up to Republicans and failing to enact sensible reforms that benefit the middle class because they genuinely believe there's political hay to be made moving to the right. They're doing it because they do not represent any actual voters. I know I've said this before, but they are not a progressive political party, not even secretly, deep inside. They just play one on television.

And the best piece, from Slate.

Some of the congressional Republicans who are preventing action to help the economy are simply intellectual primitives who reject modern economics on the same basis that they reject Darwin and climate science. Others are obviously cynical, desiring the worst possible economy as an aid to recapturing the White House and Senate in 2012. Still others simply do not believe that government action can ever be a force for good at any time or in any way. Whatever their motivations, there is something terribly sad about desperate and unemployed Americans looking for rescue to a party that lacks any inclination to alleviate their misery.

3. Moratorium
Idiot outfielder Luke Scott had surgery on his labrum this week; he tweeted about it afterward - how do you suppose he characterized how it "went"?

It went well.

My second baseman had the same surgery this week.  Bruce Bochy characterized how it "went".

It went well.

I googled surgery + "it went well".

                                                                About 2,370,000 results (0.07 seconds) 

Moratorium.  Unless you start reading about labrum surgeries where a utility infielder died on the table, I think we're going to assume that it went well.  If it's a year from now and Freddy Sanchez still can't play, the way Mark DeRosa has been trying to get over a wrist injury the past couple of seasons, will newspapers run corrections:

"Last July, this newspaper reported that surgery to repair a pinched nerve in Justin Morneau's neck went well..   Morneau today announced his retirement.  We apologize for the error."

If you're having brain surgery, I'm guessing any outcome that has you going home definitionally means the surgery went well - if you're Ahmad Bradshaw getting your ankle cleaned up, I'm uncertain we're able to pronounce how the surgery went until the 4th quarter against the Eagles two and a half months later.

Reporter:  You made a helluva sharp cutback on that 17 yard run, Ahmad.
Bradshaw: Glad you noticed.  All credit to my orthopedist.  I think we can safely say that my ankle surgery back in February went well.

It's meaningless.  Stop saying it.  Moratorium on "it went well."

4. 8%
Newt Gingrich has over a million twitter followers.

92% are fake.

5. I Write the Stories
3 more all time NFL 45 man rosters this week.  Coming next week - my preseason college football Top 25.

Here's a sneak preview.

1. Boise St.
2. Alabama
3. Virginia Tech
4. TCU
5. Oklahoma
6. Stanford
7. Oregon
8. Florida St.
9. Pitt
10. West Virginia
11. Wisconsin
12. Ohio St.
13. Oklahoma St.
14. Missouri
15. Arkansas
16. LSU
17. Auburn
18. USC
19. South Carolina
20. Iowa
21. South Florida
22. NC St.
23. Notre Dame
24. Michigan
25. Georgia

6. To The Student Who Decided to Try to Talk to me About the Establishment Clause at the Urinal This Week.


Don't do that.

7. Why Should We Tax Millionaires?
I've mentioned multiple times that my two word campaign on fixing America's economy would be Tax Millionaires.

Justification?

Tax rates for millionaires have fallen 25% since '95.




8. The Glee Project Worked Me.



My pick since episode one to win the Glee Project was Cameron; I wasn't for him specifically, I prefer Lindsay, but he was my prediction.  I got worked; my guess is the show was subtly pushing him as the favorite knowing what was coming. This week, he pushed the red button, walking off the show to avoid having to have full penetrative intercourse in an on camera audition designed to test his commitment to his craft.

This was treated as a serious moral issue; which presumably caused every other struggling actor trying to decide if this week they sell plasma or sperm to pay the next installment on those headshots to admire Cameron's fortitude.  Sure, they might be willing to have sex on camera to get a shot at a 7 episode arc on one of the more popular shows...

I'm sorry?

Yeah, that's right.  I was confusing that with something else.  Cameron didn't want to kiss a girl.  Cameron's 21 years old and has decided that being an actor on television somehow is compatible with never kissing a girl he isn't in real live love with.  Also, Cameron refuses to use contractions.  "Why should I say isn't when is not feels so much better in my brain?"

They were awfully nice to him.  Ryan Murphy said he could not kiss the girl and still get an automatic pass into the next round.  'Cause Glee's an awfully nice place.  If Cameron quit the MTV Challenge refusing to do some competition that required him to rub up against Paula Walnuts because of his deeply held religious beliefs, TJ Lavin would have kicked him square in the labrum.

Cameron, a reality contest on MTV's The Ruins had surgery last night to repair a torn labrum caused by an attack from host TJ Lavin.  It went well.  "Dr. Edwards killed it:" tweeted Lavin.  "He killed it."  

WWE has a reality show called Tough Enough where the winner gets a contract; historically, the wrestlers haven't much taken to the winners, believing they haven't had to pay their dues.  I don't know if SAG has a similar view of these matters, but if the cast of the recently canceled Traffic Light is arrested for beating Cameron half to death with pillowcases full of bars of soap, you'll know why they pulled the code red.

9. The Real World Contract
Here's the standard real world contract.  The kids waive their right to sue MTV if they get raped.

10.. American Family Association
One of the primary sponsors of Rick Perry's "Jesus is our stimulus package" Prayerapalooza yesterday was the American Family Association - a group absolutely as vile as any Holocaust denier.  Homosexuals were slaughtered in the Holocaust, targeted specifically and slaughtered, but the AFA has propagated a myth designed to further anti-gay hatred in the US, that the Nazis were a gay movement.

If we had a mainstream media that hadn't spent the last 30 years cowering in fear of conservatives, Republicans who associate themselves with groups like the American Family Association would be treated the same way we used to treat the batshit right wingers in this country who thought water fluoridation was part of a UN one world government conspiracy.

Instead, you know, of handing them Medicare.

That's all for this time.  I'll be back next time.  If there is a next time...

Your pal,

Jim