Thursday, May 28, 2009


i don't care what the cost. get him. get him now.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Today We Decide the BIG Issues

here on just a bit outside we deal with the tough issues: phish, phillies, and the occasional snarky comment at failblog.

but today, i would like to weigh in on sonua sotomayor's nomination to the supreme court. everyone knows why this is so important. we are about to grant a lifetime appointment to someone on the supreme court, and from what i can tell from the media, this person is either supposed to be either a strict constructionist or a pro-choicer or empathizer-in-chief or something like that. but i want to talk about when her decisions effect something that matters, and by that, i mean sports of course :)

apparently, judge soto (sotomayor is a horrible name to type) has decided on two crucial sports related cases: the 1994 MLB strike and the maurice clarett deal. i don't care that much about clarett and i don't remember how i felt about it (i think i was with clarett), but she sided against clarett. so thumbs down on that.

but, bigger and more importantly, she decided on the 1994 MLB players strike. i was 14 in '94 and i remember being crushed by the strike and i think the general public was against the players for being greedy and canceling the world series. so i guess i was too. but, if you think about it, we (the public) had no idea how much the owners were making. and historically MLB owners have been HORRENDOUS to the players in the league with the reserve clause and all. so, i don't really know how i feel now. i guess today, without looking into the issue further, i would side with the players.

as did judge soto. her decision effectively ended the strike. ESPN has a good write up.

so soto, in the coveted endorsement of just a bit outside, you have it.

Time Turns Elastic (first listen)

i will say one thing. the song has ENERGY! thats a good thing. its a bit more round room-y than it is old-school epic, but its a good way to make a statement that the phish from vermont is back.

fenway is a few days away. whoo-daddy!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Second Letter to the Inquirer

written in response to harold jackson's column this morning.

Oh, OK then. If being "pleasant" is all I need to do these days to get a job at a newspaper, I would like to submit my application for employment. I am a very pleasant individual. This probably bodes well for the future of the industry if all you have to do is be "pleasant" in order to write a column, no matter what your past transgressions are.

In case you need this spelled out for you a little more, those crazy Internet readers such as myself, do not protest to Yoo on ideological grounds. We protest his presence at the Inquirer because, as you wrote yourself in today's column, he was the author of the "torture memos". Let me say that again....he was the author of the "torture memos". He provided legal justification for people to be tortured. Even to say the words "torture memos" does not sit right with me. The fact that we are even having a debate over "torture memos" is something that I never thought we would do in the United States. It makes me sick. You also claim that Yoo's presence at the paper "has not changed our Editorial Board's opinion that torture can never be justified." Really? So to acknowledge this point is OK, but giving a forum to the author of the torture memos doesn't in any way mean that you think Yoo should be rewarded for his complicity in providing legal justification for an act that you believe should never be justified? How on earth does that make sense?

Your complete ignorance on this subject is quite appaling. You seem to want to confuse the issue in your column. Yoo started writing for the Inquirer in 2005, before the presence of the "torture memos" was known. Once those documents were released with Yoo's name all over them, you still thought he would be a good representative for the Inquirer. In a day in age when people are losing their jobs left and right because of issues that are no fault of their own, I'm glad that the man who made one of the worst legal blunders in history still got to keep his job. That is what this is all about. It's not the fault of some blogger (I must say thank you to Will is a guy you can actually learn something from in how newspapers can operate in the digital age) but the fault of the Inquirer to reward someone for committing actions that are against the very moral fiber of this country. Your arrogance in the face of the facts is truly unnerving.

I would also recommend you pick up a copy of Hannah Arendt's "The Banality of Evil". Even people who are "very pleasant" can sometimes do things that are morally indefensible and their pleasantness should not be a way to get let off the hook. John Yoo has no place at the Inquirer. If you are looking for a local to provide commentary on topical legal issues, pick up a yearbook for any area high school. I'm sure there are a number of people out of any class who went on to law school. And I am sure that quite a few of them might be able to provide interesting legal commentary to the paper. And I am positive that you chose the ONLY ONE with a background in justifying torture. Good work. If this speaks to how the Inquirer does its research and reporting then I am sure that the fate of the paper is nothing to worry about.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Friday May 15, 2009. 9 AM. BAM.

How Effing Clutch is CHOOCH?

sure, his career average is somewhere just north of the mendoza line, but this guy hits in the clutch fo'sho!

i remember him having a few clutch hits towards the end of last season.

and he was AMAZING in the world series. he hit .375. he was stellar behind the plate with the way he managed games. and he had the winning hit in game 3, a game i had the honor to attend. as sports illustrated said about his postseason performance:
After a fine rookie season in which he hit .259 with 54 RBIs, Ruiz struggled this year, finishing at .219 and driving in just 31 runs. In the World Series, though, his .375 batting average trailed only Werth's; his 11 total bases trailed only Werth and Howard; and his Game 3 performance, in which he homered in the bottom of the second to give the Phillies a 2-1 lead, and then hit the bottom of the ninth, bases-loaded infield single that won the game at 1:47 a.m., turned the Series in Philadelphia's favor for good.
and today, his clutch hit in the bottom of the 9th sent the game into extra innings. sure, the phillies didn't win, but his clutch hitting put them in a position to win the game.

he was my vote for world series MVP. dude is clutch.

Sarah Palin STILL Does Not Understand What the First Amendment Means

since i didn't blog during election season, please consider this my make-up post for all the sarah palin bashing i missed. this is her latest statement regarding the whole miss california broo-ha-ha, which i admitedly have not been following all that much because i really don't give two shits what a contestant for miss california, or any beauty pagent contestant (with the notable exception of that miss teen USA south carolina a few years back) thinks about anything, let alone gay marriage:
"The liberal onslaught of malicious attacks against Carrie Prejean for expressing her opinion is despicable. Carrie and I spoke soon after the attacks started; I can relate as a liberal target myself. What I find so remarkable is that these politically-motivated attacks fail to show that what Carrie and I believe is also what President Obama and Secretary Clinton believe - marriage is between a man and a woman. I applaud Donald Trump for standing with Carrie during this time. And I respect Carrie for standing strong and staying true to herself, and for not letting those who disagree with her deny her protection under the nation's First Amendment Rights. Our Constitution protects us all - not just those who agree with the far left."

-Governor Sarah Palin
oy. where to begin. for starters, let me say that i think it is wrong for pagent judges to punish someone for their personal views. she was asked a question about gay marriage and she answered truthfully. there is nothing wrong with that. i don't really know how these things are judged, but it would seem to me that the context of a statement is not the criteria under which it should be judged.

now on with the palin bashing. its amazing that this woman was a heartbeat of a heartbeat from being a heartbeat away from the presidency. she clearly has no idea what the first amendment means. to help her out, allow me to reprint the text of the first amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." i would like to invite the erstwhile governor of the great state of alaska to please explain how miss california is being denied her first amendment rights to freedom of speech.

it seems to me that she got herself into hot water because of her first amendment protections, not in spite of it. the first amendment has to do with congress restricting the freedom of speech, not perez hilton. this is the twisted logic of the republican party these days. they clearly have absolutely NO IDEA what the constitution says or means. those parts about due process and protection against cruel and unusual punishment? optional. equal protection of the laws? for everyone but the gays. that part in the preamble that talks about providing for the general welfare? clearly not universal health care, but the part in the preamble about providing for the common defense? that part is all that matters.

this isn't the first time palin has used some weak-ass first amendment defense to shed some crocodile tears. even though i am loathe to help the republicans with anything, my advice to her before 2012 is this: please read the constitution at least once. it might help.

someone needs to buy these people a clue.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Day 1 of My Inquirer Free Lifestyle

and the world continues to turn!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I Will No Longer Read the Philadelphia Inquirer

update: cross posted at philebrity.

below is a letter i sent to the philadelphia inquirer this morning upon learning that they have hired john yoo, the chief architect of the bush-cheney torture policies, to write a monthly column for the paper.
I wanted to inform you that I will no longer be reading the Philadelphia Inquirer due to the paper's hiring of John Yoo to provide a monthly column.

It is unconscionable to me how the Inquirer could hire a columnist who was the architect for Bush & Cheney's torture policies. You are now giving a public forum to a man who swore an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States, a document that has so much meaning to the city of Philadelphia, yet his body of work is one that is decidedly against the values and principles the Constitution stands for.

Let me be clear: this is not just about Yoo's right-wing ideology, although it is somewhat curious that the Inquirer's op-ed contributors are decidedly right-wing (Rick Santorum & Michael Smerconish come to mind) in a city that is one of the most liberal and Democratic in the nation (ever stop to think that maybe this is one of the contributing factors in the Inquirer's decline in readership?). This is about Yoo's role as a defender of torture. This is about Yoo's role as the architect of the previous administration's torture policy. This is about Yoo's complete disregard for human rights and the values of the United States of America. He SHOULD NOT be rewarded for his cowardice and poor judgment. The previous 8 years under Bush-Cheney are a black eye on this country and it pains me to see the architects of failure being so handsomely rewarded.

Because the Inquirer has shown a complete lack of judgment in this hiring, I hereby inform you that I will not read this newspaper until Yoo's employment is terminated. Fortunately for me we live in an age where Tiebout sorting for news on the Internet is as easy as 1-2-3, so I don't think I will miss the Inquirer much in my daily news consumption.


i would like to take this opportunity to welcome the philadelphia union into the philadelphia sports family. the union is the name of the philly MLS franchise, and i think the team's owners did a fantastic job of picking the correct colors, look, and symbolic gestures to honor the city, the sport, and our history. see the below image for an explanation of the genesis of the team's name, colors, and crest.

even though the MLS sucks, i am still excited to have the union. soccer is a great sport to watch as anyone who has seen good soccer can attest (i saw a match in italy between as roma and lazio...that was a trip!). the mls still has a ways to go before it reaches the level of play that exists in europe, but i hope that the sport's continued growth in the US means that more talent will be playing on this side of the atlantic.

the only remaining question is why did it take so long for the MLS to add a philadelphia franchise? is the 4th largest television market in the country not good enough for the MLS? i guess they needed TWO franchises in LA before they put one in philly (on one hand, LA has a HUGE hispanic population...on the other hand LA sucks as a sports town)? and kansas city? i imagine they have a large hispanic population too, but there are more people that live in center city than probably live in the entire state of kansas! but i don't want to bash the MLS. i hope the league succeeds. now its time for the renowned philadelphia fanbase to show soccer hooligans how its done!


Saturday, May 9, 2009

Is There Really a Brotherhood of Fans?

to borrow a line from one of my favorite musicals, "how to succeed in business without really trying", is there really a brotherhood of fans?

one of my favorite activities since moving to new york has been to greet any phillies or philadephia sports fan i see on the street with a warm hello and smile. im not exactly sure why i started doing it...i think part of the reason was because there are so many stinking mets fans in the city and this was a way to show my companionship and brotherhood towards those of us who root for the good guys. it always makes me feel good to do this, and it always brings a smile to the face of the person i meet.

take today, for example. i was walking down the street wearing my phillies hat when i came upon a gentleman wearing a sixers hat. i gently touched the bill of my cap and gave a quick nod of my head as we passed and i saw the glimmer of recognition in his eye and a smile creep onto his face. a little while later i came across a dude wearing a phillies hat. i touched the bill of my cap and nodded. he smiled and did the same.

its a fun thing to do. it makes me smile, as it does the passer-by. its a fun game to play while living in enemy territory.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Best Non-Jerry Jerry Solo Ever

i wanted to post the video for eddie brickell & the new bohemian's classic "what i am", but, of course, her stupid record company has disabled the embedding of the youtube video, so you are going to have to take my word for it. the solo in this song really gets me. it sounds exactly like jerry circa '89 with a twinge of his fire on the mountain tone, combined with a little estimated prophet reggae vibe. its a great, classic song with a classic solo.

also, in music...i am sitting in think coffee on mercer street applying to jobs when the 10,000 maniacs song "like the weather" came on pandora. i haven't thought about this song in forever, but when i heard it, the first line hit me like a ton of bricks: "the color of the sky as far as i can see, is coal grey". does that not sum up the recent weather we have been having? it reminds me exactly of the first time i graduated college. that may it rained and rained and rained and all i wanted to do was sit outside at lindy's and drink beer and eat wildcatters. there is still one week to go before this graduation, so here's to hoping that the clouds clear.

below is the video for "like the weather". i never thought i would say this, but clearly natalie merchant is smarter than eddie brickell.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Take That, You Stupid Lion!

oh man!  those crazy afghanis.  what will they think of next?  btw, the headline is hilarious: "afghanistan's only pig quarantined in flu fear".  this is up there with other muslim countries suspending the importation of pork products.  that will certainly teach those mexicans a lesson!  keep on reading the article to get to the part about the lion.

and since we talked about graph jam! earlier, i would like to post a graph about how i feel about swine flu:

can you guess what my (x,y) coordinates are?

More Television

two TV shows to talk about today. of course, one is deadliest catch (natch) but the other is a first for the i met your mother (HIMYM).

some people have called HIMYM the "friends" of the aughts. while i don't necessarily agree with that (i never liked friends much), i do see some similarities. both are VERY contemporary. friends dealt with being in your late 20s-early 30s in the 1990s and HIMYM deals with the same age group in the 2000s. i particularly liked the contemporary-ness of this week's episode. the marshall sub-plot was basically one large graph jam! shout-out (graph jam! is part of the cheezburger network, which is home to one of my newest favorite websites, failblog. im sure i will write about failblog in the future). the marshall sub-plot was easily the funniest part of the episode.

but the real point of this post is to weigh in on whether or not we met the mother monday night (for those who don't know, HIMYM is a sitcom about how the main character, ted, met his children's mother. each episode starts with adult ted telling his kids this long and convoluted tale of how he met their mother and hilarity ensues. it is a mystery who the mother is, but its a great plot device to keep the story moving forward). i am going to go out on a limb here and assume that none of my reader(s) watch the show, so i am going to throw some spoilers out, so if you do watch the show and haven't seen monday's episode, stop reading.

at the end of monday's episode, after all the twists of fate that lead ted to stand on the corner under the yellow umbrella, we find out that it is stella who taps ted on the shoulder. the entire episode leads us to believe that at the end, we are going to meet the mother. however, after careful review and analysis, i DO NOT THINK that stella is the mother. there are a few hints and giveaways that led me to this conclusion. first of all, the ted-stella relationship sucked, and i think the producers know that. even if you like sarah chalke (of scrubs fame), you had to hate the ted-stella dynamic. the ted-stella relationship turned ted into what i hate the most about his character: a whiney, whimpy, post-modern, metrosexual, with "feelings". those character traits are most certainly un-funny. the show is at its best when ted is free to mess around with marshall, barney, robin, and lilly, not looking like a lost puppy hanging onto stella. second, they can't make stella the mother. the show needs the conflict & resolution of wondering who the mother is to sustain itself, and as far as i know, the show isn't planning on ending anytime soon. third, the wording of the episode never EXPLICITLY said "this is when i met your mother" or something of that nature. the narration leads you to believe that ted meets the mother on the corner, but the wording is crafted in such a way that there is enough wiggle room for it not to be the mother.

one more comment about HIMYM before i get onto the deadliest catch part of this post (sometimes these things get long, don't they?). the character of ted - i have always kinda been on the fence about ted. there are times when i cannot stand him (see stella, relationship with) and there are times when he is great. i have always thought that the producers of HIMYM wanted ted to be a modern john cusack-type character. the first season of HIMYM, ted is clearly a cusack wannabe. they kinda look the same. his character tries to be witty like cusack. ted is an architect - can you imagine any profession more suited for a cusack character than a misanthropic architect? i can't. however, when ted is in john cusack mode, he sucks. the show excels when ted is "just one of the guys", giving shit to marshall and barney. that is the ted i like. i hope there is more of that ted left.

so FINALLY, deadliest catch. some interesting developments:
  • i wonder how long matt has aboard the northwestern.  last season he didn't get along with jake very well and this season matt looks like he is slipping a bit and jake is really trying to earn his share as a full deckhand.
  • charlie gaspar, the old hungarian dude aboard the new boat lisa marie, is AWESOME.  i can't wait to get to know him better.
  • speaking of the lisa marie, man is that boat small!
  • i wonder how many boats used to be the size of the lisa marie.  if you go back to the first season of deadliest catch it featured the last season of derby fishing for crab.  derby fishing was a system where the season was open for a set amount of time and the boats could catch as much as they wanted in the alloted timeframe.  however, that changed a few years back  and the state of alaska instituted a quota system where a certain amount of crab could be caught each year.  i don't know if its an overall quota or a per-boat quota, but my guess is that the bigger boats (cornelia marie, time bandit, northwestern) bought up other boats permits so they could increase the size of their catch.  this led to a drastic reduction in the size of the king crab fleet, and i guess was a system that favored the bigger boats.  how the lisa marie, a 75ft. boat can compete with the big boys (some are 150ft. +) is beyond me, but it will be very interesting watching how that boat fishes and comparing it to the others.

The Genius of Arlen Specter

arlen specter's greatest gift has always been his knack for self-preservation. in fact, that is the hallmark of a great politician: someone who is like a chameleon and can change his color to meet the times. that is exactly what specter is doing right now except he is doing it for reasons you might not expect.

even though specter's instincts for survival are strong, another hallmark of a great politician is being able to make things happen without it seeming like they were the one pulling the strings. let me explain.

specter switched parties because he was going to lose to toomey in the primary which would guarantee that any democrat, whether it be allyson schwartz, patrick murphy, or joe sestak, would win the seat. once specter switched, the democratic establishment both inside pennsylvania and in washington, quickly jumped on the specter bandwagon in an attempt to clear the democratic field for him knowing that specter could beat toomey in a race in front of the general electorate of pennsylvania. at this point, it would seem like an open-and-shut case for specter: toomey wins the republican primary, specter the democratic and eventually specter would win in the fall of 2010. but this is where things start to go a little haywire and have led me to believe that there is more going on here than meets the eye...

one would expect that specter, having switched to the democratic party, would start to, well...act like a democrat! you would expect him to start embracing some of the democratic positions like health care, EFCA, and support for al franken over norm coleman, but specter being specter he has done none of this. because of these positions specter has riled up the democratic base of pennsylvania and has led to joe sestak to start openly talking about challenging specter in the democratic primary. at the same time there is now talk of tom ridge challenging pat toomey in the republican primary and early polls (taken with a grain of salt - ridge has near 100% name recognition in the state) show ridge beating toomey handily. so now we have a situation where there may be contested primaries on both sides: specter vs. sestak and ridge vs. toomey. this creates a situation that no one could have thought about just a week ago...that is no one could have thought about this except arlen specter!

think about how this might play out. ridge beats toomey. specter continues being a thorn in the side of the democrats and sestak beats specter. its now ridge vs. sestak. ridge wins, republicans keep the seat. we can also imagine a scenario where ridge beats toomey, but specter beats sestak. this is a win-win for specter: if he beats ridge (which i think is doubtful), he keeps the seat. if he loses to ridge, republicans keep the seat. the only way the dems hold this seat is if toomey somehow beats ridge in the primary, which is not impossible, but in my mind unlikely.

this is the genius of arlen specter. he has managed to pull the wool over everyones eyes. only i see the real truth!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

And In Keeping With That Theme AGAIN!

i guess i just can't get enough of these pseudo-reality/documentary shows about the outdoors. last night i watched a show on the national geographic channel called "cowboys of the sea". COTS is clearly nat geo's attempt at a deadliest catch ripoff show. the filming style is the same, as are some of the sound effects and storytelling devices the show's producers and directors use. the one difference between COTS and deadliest catch is that COTS features a different kind of fisherman every week, whereas deadliest catch just focuses on the bering sea crab boats.

i saw one previous episode of COTS about the herring (i think it was herring) runs in SE alaska outside valdez. it was very interesting to see how that fishery operates. last night's episode was about halibut and black cod (aka sable fish) fishing off the kenai. the show featured two boats: one was a modern boat equipped with automated fishing gear (baiting of the hooks, setting the lines, reeling in the lines, taking the fish off the hooks, etc..) and an on-board processor, and the other boat was a little more old-school where the crew had to bait and set the lines by hand, as well as taking the fish off the hooks when they came on board. the second boat did not have a processor on-board; they had to pack their fish in ice and deliver it to a processor on the mainland.

one of the interesting things about the show last night was a scene where they were talking to a crewman aboard the modern boat (the crewman looked suspiciously like matt bradley of the northwestern but had a different surname). he was commenting on the automated fishing process aboard the boat. he said something to the effect of how wonderful technology was that they have a machine that baits hooks, and that "who would have thought" there was someone sitting around inventing this technology for them. he couldn't get over the fact that someone would invent this machine.

i thought it was interesting that this guy could feel like that. people invent things all the time. what is that old saying? necessity is the mother of invention? why should fishing be any different? in fact, i thought about this very issue a while back and wrote about it here. if some jewish kid from philadelphia who won't even step foot on a boat in the ocean anymore (i get HORRIBLE sea sickness) has been thinking about this, then someone else closer to the situation certainly has as well.

Monday, May 4, 2009

And In Keeping With That Theme...

...i would like to talk about my newest favorite show: mantracker! mantracker may be a greater show than deadliest catch and the office put together!

so here is the premise for the show: mantracker hunts people. mantracker, aka terry grant, is:
"is a full-blooded cowboy living in the wrong century. This Albertan has been a full time ranch cowboy for almost 25 years. An expert horseman and wilderness professional, hunting, guiding and tracking come second nature. Whether man or beast, he will track them down. His keen instincts, intense character, and specialized skills have made him a crucial member of the Foothills Search and Rescue Team. His reputation is always on the line and he doesn’t let up for a second. A steely-eyed cowboy with a killer, never-say-die attitude, Terry Grant is MANTRACKER."

each week mantracker has to hunt down and catch his "prey", two individuals who are dropped in the middle of the woods and have to cover approximately 25 miles in 30 hours to escape mantracker. the prey have a compass and a map and know the location of where they have to go, mantracker has nothing - just a local guide who knows the terrain (the location of the chase changes every week, but they are normally located in remote places like the yukon, british columbia, and northern ontario. mantracker is a canadian show, btw.) and horses to track them down. the prey get a 2km headstart as well. a flare goes off to signal the start of the chase, and mantracker's first objective is to find the flare site so he can start tracking!

this is where things get good. the prey, which can consist of two males, a male and a female, or two females, normally know each other, but in some cases don't. the prey have varying ranges of outdoor skills and fitness levels...sometimes this works to the prey's advantage, sometimes it doesn't. once the prey get started, it is all up to mantracker to find them, and this is where mantracker shines. you would not believe what this guy does to track his prey. he can spot a boot print in the dirt from 100 yards out. he can see stones that have been turned over from onto his horse and know that stone was overturned by a human footprint. he knows human behavior in the bush. its really amazing to see.

the best part about mantracker, however, is how truly freaked out about mantracker the prey get. the prey doesn't get to meet mantracker before the show starts, so when he tracks them down (as he always does), the prey get super spooked. its really awesome to watch. and mantracker is always there with a pithy statement aimed at getting under the prey's skin and throwing them off their game. mantracker is a man of few words, but when he does speak, he chooses them wisely. he has a great sense of humor.

the prey actually have a decent level of success in the show. i would say the prey have about a 1/3 chance of getting captured, 1/3 chance of running out of time (technically a loss), and a 1/3 chance of winning. it all depends on the group chemistry, the terrain (even though mantracker is on horseback and can go faster, there is some terrain the prey can traverse that mantracker can't), the weather, how crafty the prey are, and how good mantracker is on that particular hunt.

its a fascinating show. you should watch it. in new york, its on the science channel, but according to the mantracker website, its also on OLN. seriously, watch mantracker. you won't be disappointed.