Friday, May 31, 2013


Amazon's got the Complete Indiana Jones collection on Blu-Ray as a special deal today.

How much more would it be worth if it did not include Kingdom of the Crystal Skull?

Labels: , ,

| Links to this post

Thursday, May 30, 2013

There would have to have been one...

Ed Markey Can’t Remember A Single Tax Increase He’s Ever Opposed

Labels: , , , ,

| Links to this post

In which Barack Obama makes a comment which which I agree. At least in part...

According to a report in The Hill of an Obama campaign appearance...
"We’ve got a politics that's stuck right now. And the reason it’s stuck is because people spend more time thinking about the next election," [LB:  said the campaigning President] "than they do thinking about the next generation," [LB: already saddled with a mountain of debt to which this President's policies have greatly contributed.]

Labels: , ,

| Links to this post

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Irony. Unintentional, but irony nonetheless...

Maybe they should have thought three times...
“You’re going to take an institution that’s given us the kind of protections against some very bad ideas historically because there was a place where we had to think twice about what you were doing.”
- Former Senator (and Ted Kennedy drinking buddy) Chris Dodd, Obamacare supporter and namesake sponsor of Dodd-Frank...

Labels: ,

| Links to this post

Monday, May 27, 2013

Monday Pythagorean - 5/27/2013

Let's start with this - not all 4-3 weeks are created equal. On the scale of 1-10, this was an eleven...
  • After starting the week 0-2, they finish winning four-of-five.
  • After trailing from the top of the 1st on Saturday, they scored three in the bottom of the 8th and held on for the win.
  • After trailing from the top of the 1st on Sunday, they scored four in the bottom of the 9th for the walk-off win.
  • They finish the week having moved back into a tie for first in the AL East.
  • Did it seem as if they spent a lot of time trailing for a team that went 4-3? Yup. Of the 63 innings they played, they trailed at the end of 35 of them, were tied after 8 more, and led after only 20 of them. Of course, four of those were ninths, which is the important thing.
  • They were outscored in the first three innings 16-12. They were outscored in the 4th-6th innings, 13-3. But they outscored the opposition 20-4 in the last three innings, including 8-2 in the 8th and 6-1 in the 9th.
  • All that said, it was essentially a .500 week. They were mediocre offensively, mediocre on the pitching side (7th in the AL in both runs scored and allowed) and played pretty much .500 ball. They could easily have gone 3-4 or even 2-5 instead.
  • There were no great week's on the offensive side. There wasn't a single Sox player with at least 10 at-bats who had even a .900 OPS on the week, or 5 Runs Created/25 outs,which is unusual. On the flip side, Middlebrooks (in only 12 at-bats) was the only one with a negative RC, which is also unusual. What offense there was tended to be "bunched" and timely.
  • Two sentences I never, ever expected to be typing: "Replacing Middlebrooks with a combination of Ciriaco and Iglesias provided a big offensive upgrade," and "One of the keys to Sunday's ninth inning comeback was the disciplined at-bat from Iglesias, who walked to keep the inning alive."
  • Red Sox Player of the Week - The best per-plate-appearance performances were in short stints by Jose Iglesias (.500/.545/.625/1.170) and Pedro Ciriaco (.500/.500/.667/1.167). Since neither played much, and given how mediocre the overall list of performances is, the player of the week ends up being Daniel Nava (.304/.467/.348/.814).
  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - There were people who never wanted to see him in a Red Sox uniform again, but John Lackey has, coming off his elbow surgery, been good-to-very-good. And this week, he was excellent, giving up two hits and one unearned run in seven innings of a stellar win against the Indians, walking three and striking out eight.

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 5/27/2013
NY Yankees4.31(10)3.82(2)0.555(4)272230193
Tampa Bay4.84(5)4.63(10)0.52(8)252425240
Kansas City4.09(12)4.06(4)0.502(9)24232126-3
LA Angels4.69(7)4.82(12)0.488(10)24262327-1
Chicago Sox3.69(14)3.92(3)0.472(11)232524241

Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
NY Yankees9963

Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
NY Yankees9369

Standings for the week
LA Angels8.2(1)1.8(1)0.941(1)50601
Chicago Sox3.67(12)3(3)0.591(4)42511
NY Yankees4.5(8)4.67(6)0.483(9)33330
Tampa Bay4.5(8)5(9)0.452(10)3324-1
Kansas City3(14)4.86(8)0.293(13)2516-1

Labels: ,

| Links to this post

Monday, May 20, 2013

Monday Pythagorean - 5/20/2013

A 5-1 week is a little more like what we're looking for...
  • The week certainly began as if the slump were going to continue, when they lost a game in Tampa in which each team scored in only one half-inning. And for those who dispute my usage of the term "luck," go back and take a look at that five-run fifth that the Rays put up. The first run scored on, and the next two were set up by, a check-swing where Scott tried to stop and didn't manage in time, but the ball bounced off of his bat into no-man's land for a double. After reaching a 3-3 tie with two out, the final two runs scored on a pop-fly that hit a catwalk (or just missed one - it's not clear to me) and landed 70 feet from home plate.
  • And then, we see the fatal flaw with all planning and discussion of "streaks" and "momentum" in baseball. All streaks end. And you never know, a priori, when. Was there a worse bet in baseball than Boston against Tampa's David Price on Wednesday night? Of course, as we now know, the Red Sox, losers of nine of their previous 11 games, knocked Price out of the game while scoring eight runs in the third, cruised to a 9-2 win, and haven't lost since.
  • There were some people who thought that the 2-9 stretch was more representative of this team's "true ability" than the 20-8 that preceded it. It's pretty clear, at this point, that that's not the case.
  • It's too simplistic to say that "as David Ortiz goes, so go the Red Sox." But obviously, if you've got a great hitter hitting well in the middle of the lineup, it's a lot easier to score runs than if your great hitter in the middle of the lineup is struggling mightily.
  • It also helps - a lot - when the guys at the top and the bottom of the lineup (yes, I'm looking at you, Jacoby Ellsbury and Will Middlebrooks) are reaching base occasionally. The fewer "easy out" one-two-three innings the opposition pitcher gets, the better.
  • So, we've reached the point where I think, "hey, Middlebrooks had a pretty productive week" and look over and see .250/.308/.583/.891, and just shrug. It's not very good, with far too many of those "easy outs" to which I'm referring, but there were a couple of timely hits, and some power to make up for some of the outs. .308 is a very bad OBP, but if you get that from a good defensive 3rd baseman, and a .550 SLG comes with it, you can live with it. Not love it, probably, but live with it.
  • Jacoby Ellsbury (.150/.292/.150/.442 on the week, down to .246/.309/.342/.651 for the season) continues to struggle.
  • I'm sure there are some "leather fetishists" out there lamenting the plight of poor Jose Iglesias, and some die-hard JD Drew haters resenting anyone sharing any part of his name, that are not happy to have Stephen Drew on this team. I'm not one of them. After another productive week (.308/.471/.769/1.240) he's brought his season numbers up to Stephen Drew .238/.336/.410/.746, having overcome an injury-shortened spring and very slow start to do so, while playing very good defense at SS. They are signficantly better with Drew at short than they would be with Iglesias (career line - .202/.265/.277/.541), and I hope that most people recognize that.
  • Red Sox Player of the Week - Dustin Pedroia (.375/.464/.625/1.089) had a very good week, which is good to see. Stephen Drew (.308/.471/.769/1.240) had a great week, and would likely have been awarded if he'd been able to do it for six days instead of four. But he wasn't, so the player of the week award goes, again, to David Ortiz (.458/.519/.833/1.352), who came out of a slump in spectacular fashion.
  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - The starters were, with the exception of Dempster on Saturday, pretty good, but nothing stands out as award-worthy. So we look over to the bullpen, where we see that Andrew Miller pitched four innings over four appearances, and gave up only two hits, no walks and no runs, while striking out six.

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 5/20/2013
NY Yankees4.28(10)3.7(2)0.566(5)241927163
Kansas City4.28(11)3.93(3)0.539(7)22182020-2
Tampa Bay4.88(5)4.58(11)0.529(8)232023200
Chicago Sox3.69(14)4.05(4)0.458(11)192319230
LA Angels4.3(9)5.16(13)0.417(13)18261727-1

Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
NY Yankees10260

Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
NY Yankees9468

Standings for the week
NY Yankees3.86(13)3(1)0.613(3)43430
Kansas City4.5(9)3.83(5)0.573(5)3324-1
Tampa Bay5.83(3)5.5(11)0.527(8)33421
Chicago Sox5(6)5.43(10)0.462(10)34431
LA Angels5.29(5)5.86(13)0.453(11)34340

Labels: ,

| Links to this post

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A brief note to the folks at NESN...

If a hockey team is behind 4-1 in the 3rd period of game seven of a playoff series, I don't care what happened before or after that point - the goalie is not the first star.

Labels: ,

| Links to this post

Monday, May 13, 2013

Monday Pythagorean, 5/13/2013

Let's look on the bright side - they put together two scintillating wins this week, and one more late-inning comeback!
  • Ok, yeah, that's weak. It was a disaster, and there's no shine to be put on this particular sneaker.
  • The pitching was bad, with games of 12 and 15 runs allowed, and ninth-inning runs allowed that turned wins into ties and ties into losses.
  • The offense was weak, with games of one, three, two and four runs scored.
  • The defense was porous, with eight errors on the week, including seven total, and at least one in each game, in the four games against the Twins.
  • Their timing was bad. They scored eight runs, their biggest output of the week, in one of the two games that they allowed double digits, and lost, when eight runs would have won five of the games they played. They scored five runs in Lester's shutout, sandwiched between 5-3 and 3-2 losses.
  • Having lost, now, 5-of-7 and 8-of-10, they've dropped back in to a second-place tie with Baltimore behind the Yankees.
  • They started the season with two closers. They put them both on the the DL this week, one of them (Hanrahan) for the year.
  • The Ortiz hitting streak came to an end at 27 games.
  • The Buchholz winning streak came to an end at six. The winning streak in Buchholz' starts ended at seven.
  • Have I mentioned that the pitching was bad? Out of 15 teams in the AL, the Red Sox 6.571 runs allowed per game this week was ... 15th.
  • The second Allen Webster start (8 runs, 8 2/3) was not good. Of course, given what Doubront did when Webster got knocked out of the game (5 1/3, six runs, plus one inherited), it probably didn't matter which of them got that start.
  • Superficially, with six hits, five of which were doubles, and a .261 batting average, it looked like an OK week for Middlebrooks. Uh, no. He had no walks, so his OBP on the week was also .261/.261/.478/.739. That's not productive. It's just not. And it was one of his better weeks on the year thus far.
  • Dustin Pedroia (.483/.531/.655/1.186), Shane Victorino (.393/.433/.643/1.076) and Jarrod Saltalamacchia (.444/.474/.833/1.307) had great weeks. Stephen Drew (.346/.393/.500/.893) had a very good one. But there wasn't much beyond that, which is why the team's production was poor.
  • Jacoby Ellsbury is hitting .257/.311/.365/.676 for the year. If he wants that big free agent contract, he's going to have to pick it up significantly.
  • Red Sox Player of the Week - The best per-plate-appearance production came from Jarrod Saltalamacchia (.444/.474/.833/1.307), but he only had 19 of them. The most production came from, and the award goes to, Dustin Pedroia (.483/.531/.655/1.186).
  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - One of the few bright spots this week was provided by the performance of Jon Lester, who retired 27 of the 28 Blue Jays he faced in Friday night's game, just one hit away from a perfect game.

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 5/13/2013
NY Yankees4.36(9)3.83(3)0.559(5)201623133
Kansas City4.24(10)3.94(5)0.533(7)181618160
Tampa Bay4.73(6)4.43(10)0.53(8)20171918-1
Chicago Sox3.43(15)3.77(2)0.457(11)16191520-1
LA Angels4.11(11)5.03(13)0.409(13)15221423-1

Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
NY Yankees10458

Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
NY Yankees9369

Standings for the week
NY Yankees4(10)2.5(1)0.703(1)42511
Tampa Bay6.29(2)4.86(9)0.616(4)43521
Chicago Sox3(14)2.5(1)0.583(5)33330
LA Angels3.83(11)4.17(5)0.462(11)33330
Kansas City3.29(13)4.43(7)0.367(13)3416-2

Labels: ,

| Links to this post

Friday, May 10, 2013

How Government Wrecked the Gas Can

I haven't bought a gas can in the last three years, so I was unaware that apparently, you can't, anymore. At least, not one that works...
“Hmmm, I just hate how slow these gas cans are these days,” he grumbled. “There’s no vent on them.”

That sound of frustration in this guy’s voice was strangely familiar, the grumble that comes when something that used to work but doesn’t work anymore, for some odd reason we can’t identify.

I’m pretty alert to such problems these days. Soap doesn’t work. Toilets don’t flush. Clothes washers don’t clean. Light bulbs don’t illuminate. Refrigerators break too soon. Paint discolors. Lawnmowers have to be hacked. It’s all caused by idiotic government regulations that are wrecking our lives one consumer product at a time, all in ways we hardly notice.

It’s like the barbarian invasions that wrecked Rome, taking away the gains we’ve made in bettering our lives. It’s the bureaucrats’ way of reminding market producers and consumers who is in charge.

Surely, the gas can is protected. It’s just a can, for goodness sake. Yet he was right. This one doesn’t have a vent. Who would make a can without a vent unless it was done under duress? After all, everyone knows to vent anything that pours. Otherwise, it doesn’t pour right and is likely to spill.

It took one quick search. The whole trend began in (wait for it) California. Regulations began in 2000, with the idea of preventing spillage. The notion spread and was picked up by the EPA, which is always looking for new and innovative ways to spread as much human misery as possible.

An ominous regulatory announcement from the EPA came in 2007: “Starting with containers manufactured in 2009… it is expected that the new cans will be built with a simple and inexpensive permeation barrier and new spouts that close automatically.”

The government never said “no vents.” It abolished them de facto with new standards that every state had to adopt by 2009. So for the last three years, you have not been able to buy gas cans that work properly. They are not permitted to have a separate vent. The top has to close automatically. There are other silly things now, too, but the biggest problem is that they do not do well what cans are supposed to do.
Of course, this is a logical result of the utopian mindset that believes that we can establish a legislative framework that will bring about heaven on earth. And a statist mindset that believes that people should be protected from themselves by preventing their being allowed to do anything whatsoever that might possibly involve risk, no matter how small.

And I'm sure that no one set out to make gas cans unusable. Just like no one set out to destroy the private health care system. Or the family. Or the educational system. Or the banking system. No, it's just one little tweak at a time, one thing that, in someone's opinion, could be - should be - a little bit better, if only Uncle Sam can step in with his mighty power and stop all of the people doing it wrong from doing it wrong.

"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
-- C.S. Lewis

Haven't bought a gas can for three years, and skeptical?  Click over to Home Depot's website and look at the cans.  And the reviews.  Preposterous, of course.  And apparently true...

Labels: , , ,

| Links to this post

Monday, May 06, 2013

Monday Pythagorean, 5/6/2013

Sooner or later, they were bound to have a down week. And they sure did...
  • It's very easy to overreact to a bad stretch. Did anyone think that they'd go the entire season without being swept in a three game series? Did anyone think that the season would feature a winning record in each and every week? That the the lead in the AL East would be monotonically non-decreasing? If not, and of course no one believed any of those things, there's no reason to look at this week as anything other than a single bad week.
  • Of course, all Red Sox fans have a certain amount of historical and cultural bias towards the negative, where it's easy to look at four good weeks and one bad, and think, "yeah, that's more like what I expected..."
  • For those who greatly feared that this wouldn't be a good offensive team, the last four games (3, 0, 1, 3) might have exacerbated those fears. But it's important to maintain perspective - in the seven games preceding those, they had scored 6, 7, 7, 8, 6, 7 and 10. The Rangers good pitching matched up with a Red Sox slump. Those things happen.
  • And, of course, despite the lost weekend in Texas, the Red Sox are still leading the East by a game and a half, and are still tied for the best record in baseball. And they're home this week.
  • Is Clay Buchholz doctoring the ball? Who knows? He does, obviously, but does anyone else? More to the point, does anyone really care? I'd prefer that he weren't, because if he is, the possibility exists for him getting caught, and the Red Sox really don't need him getting suspended and missing a start. But I saw a lot of moral dudgeon exercised last week that was just silly. First, from the Toronto guys who were outraged that he was getting away with obvious cheating. And then, just as silly, were the Red Sox fans who were outraged that someone would dare to suggest that a highly-paid, driven, professional athlete might possibly do something - anything! - that wasn't strictly entirely 100% by-the-rule book in order to succeed. The only emotional energy I've got for this particular issue is being spent in the form of amusement at both sides.
  • Middlebrooks Watch: Another putrid week (.158/.238/.158/.396) brings his major league career numbers to .261/.298/.474/.772 in 105 games. Kind of Dave (.236/.302/.478/.780) Kingman-lite. If you're not worried about Middlebrooks, you're not paying attention.
  • He had company in putrescence this week. Dustin Pedroia (.160/.222/.160/.382) and Jarrod Saltalamacchia(.100/.250/.200/.450) did more than their fair share of lineup-deadening, too.
  • Red Sox Player of the Week - David Ross (.250/.538/.750/1.288, with a HR and 5BB) certainly made the most of his limited playing time. As did Jonny Gomes (.364/.533/.727/1.261). And Mike Carp (.300/.364/.900/1.264). But the player of the week, with the most production, was, again, David Ortiz (.316/.381/.789/1.170).
  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - Clay Buchholz continues his domination of AL batters, with another short-shutout of seven innings and only two hits allowed in Toronto.

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 5/6/2013
Kansas City4.48(6)3.81(4)0.573(5)151217102
NY Yankees4.43(7)4.1(6)0.536(8)161418122
Tampa Bay4.37(9)4.33(9)0.504(9)15151416-1
Chicago Sox3.52(15)4.03(5)0.438(11)13161217-1
LA Angels4.16(10)5.19(14)0.4(13)12191120-1

Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
Kansas City10260
NY Yankees9765

Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
Kansas City9468

Standings for the week
Kansas City5(5)4.8(11)0.519(6)32411
Chicago Sox3.8(12)4.2(6)0.454(8)23230
Tampa Bay5.6(3)6.6(14)0.425(10)23230
NY Yankees3.5(15)4.33(7)0.404(12)24331
LA Angels4.57(8)6(13)0.378(13)3425-1

Labels: ,

| Links to this post

Sunday, May 05, 2013

William Diamond Jrs - Standpiece - 2013 Lexington Muster

Saturday's featured entertainment:

 William Diamond Jrs - Standpiece - 2013 Lexington Muster

Labels: , ,

| Links to this post