Tuesday, June 30, 2009
So that gives me an excuse --as if I need one -- to throw up a swimsuit photo of Ms. Henderson.
In my opinion, there are only two sports more boring than soccer -- rednecks in cars making left turns for three hours and golf -- and I'm really sick and tired of the media shoving the sport down my throat and telling me it's the next big thing. Because, you know what, I've been hearing this for over 30 years. For over 30 years I've been hearing about how soccer is the U.S.A.'s next huge spectator sport. And do you know what: it hasn't happened, and it's never going to happen.
But what really pissed me off was one of the talk hosts saying the problem was racism. That those of who don't like soccer don't like it because most players are players of color -- especially those playing in other countries. And I've got to ask, just where did this come from? If racism was the problem, would basketball be as popular as it is? Or football? If racism was the problem, then hockey would be the country's biggest sport, and most of the country would worship at the altar of the rednecks making left turns for three hours.
I'm also tired of being told that I don't understand soccer. I understand. I just think it's boring. But above else, please stop shoving the damn sport down my throat. The country didn't watch it in the 70s. We didn't watch in the 90s after the World Cup was in the U.S. We're not watching now. So give it a break already.
And when callers say that they don't want to talk about soccer, but that they want to talk about real sports, don't call them racists idiots who don't understand the game. Take them as intelligent people who are just bored by games that end in 0-0 ties.
I think I have made it clear, often, in the past, that I think MMP needs to be blown up. There are no redeeming qualities to that cheap, plastic pastiche of better stadiums. But amazingly, there are people who come to the defense of the choo-choo train, Tal's Hill, the Crawford Boxes, the flagpoles, etc. And frankly, I think these people are too stupid to live.
But the primary reason the defenders of these idiotic gives is that the ideas came from things which had existed at other ballparks. Tal's Hill came from the old outfield in Cincinnati. The flagpoles in play came from Detroit. Etc. But here's the thing about those gimmicks. When those teams moved to new parks, they didn't bring those gimmicks with them. You would think that if they were so damn great, the clubs would have taken those gimmicks with them to their new parks, but they didn't.
As for the comparisons to Fenway Park's Green Monster when it comes to the Crawford Boxes, the reason for Boston's short left field was a space issue -- the team had to fit the ballpark into the land that was available. This wasn't a problem in Houston. The Astros could have made the dimensions whatever they wanted.
Then again, MMP is just like Houston. It's a ballpark designed by idiots, for idiots, who live in a city that has been designed and run by idiots for far too long.
[Note, I have fixed some typos since originally posting this.]
Monday, June 29, 2009
Now I'm not sure if this will help me out or not. I've already consolidated together all of my law school loans, and I took every known deferment known to man the last time I was out of a work, which happened to be about a decade ago. And what I learned is that it doesn't help too much, since the bastards keep adding on the interest. But I suppose I'll look into it. No matter what happens, though, it looks as if I'm stuck paying off these bastards for at least another decade, as part of the program is that, after 25 years of payment, the loans are forgiven, whether they're paid off, or not.
And that's definitely not going to help me out any, because, well when I consolidated all of my loans, I went on an extended, 25-year payment plan, of which I'm now in year 15. So, yeah, come 10 years from now, I should have the loans paid off.
But that's not the main reason I write, my loan payment problems, I write for another reason. I write to all of you kids just getting ready to enter college, or to go to graduate school. I write with advice. DON'T GET ANY STUDENT LOANS!
IT'S NOT FUCKING WORTH IT!
I don't care how you do it. Just don't get the loans.
I was talking about this with an old professor of mine the other day, who is still a professor. And I was bitching about my loans. And I mentioned that I happened to know a woman who actually paid for school by stripping -- I mean, the cliche was actually true, and I know because I helped her with a lot of her school work. For a business major, she wrote a lot of damn papers. She finished school with no loan debt. She got a decent job -- not one paying lots of money, but a decent one in her line of study that came with benefits -- and she doesn't strip anymore, and apparently, she's got no use for me anymore, either. And my old professor said she had a couple of her students who did this, as well.
So where am I going with this, well, stripping's not illegal, so ladies, if you can make money at it, do it. Trust me, it's a lot better to get out of school with no massive debt than to be stuck paying the damn things off for most of your working life. And we talked, and we decided this. Whatever you have to do to avoid getting these damn loans, do it. Strip. Sell drugs. Prostitution. Bookie. Scam the rich trust fund brats out of their tuition money. It doesn't matter what. Just do it.
Trust me on this. You'll be better off in the long run.
You don't want to end up like me, a bitter, broken down, bastard in his mid-40s who is nowhere near close to paying off his student loans and whose life is virtually destroyed. And hey, if you're damn church doesn't like the thought of you stripping or selling drugs, then tell them to pay your damn tuition, otherwise, they can shut the fuck up. After all, your damn pastor ain't going to be the one stuck paying off your damn tuition for the next three decades. That'll be you.
Anyway, here's the video.
I don't know how it happened, but he and Bill Brown got to talking about the Astros trying a six-man pitching rotation like the Boston Red Sox are contemplating doing. And they discussed how this might be a good thing for the Astros because Mike Hampton and Russ Ortiz are injury-prone and haven't pitched many innings the past several years, so this might be a way to preserve them.
There's just one thing that they failed to mention, especially Deshaies. The supposed sixth man to be in the Red Sox rotation is John Smoltz -- a guy who's going to be in the Baseball Hall of Fame once he retires. And the rest of the BoSox rotation includes Josh Beckett, Brad Penny, Tim Wakefield, Jon Lester, and Daisuke Matsuzaka, who is currently on the DL. The six guys for the Astros would be Roy Oswalt, Wandy Rodriguez, Russ Ortiz, Mike Hampton, Brian Moehler, and Felipe Paulino.
All six of the Red Sox pitchers would be a 1 or 2 starter on most clubs in the majors. Of the Astros pitchers, Roy Oswalt would be a 1. Wandy Rodriguez might be a 3-4 starter. And the only rotation the rest of the Astros losers could make would be the Washington Nationals.
The point I'm trying to make is that it's one thing to go to a six man rotation when you have a staff of aces, but it's another thing to go to a six man rotation when you have a staff of losers. The Astros would just be adding another guaranteed loss by expanding the rotation. And I'm a little disappointed that Deshaies didn't point that out.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
GO SEE THESE:
UP: This is Disney/Pixar's latest creation. And frankly, I don't know how these guys do it. I didn't think it was possible to top Wall-E, which I truly thought was last year's best movie. But they did it. The first half-hour is, like with Wall-E, very sparse on the dialogue, but it's some of the most moving, emotional film making that I've seen in years. Truly, if you don't shed some tears in this section, you're not human.
But don't worry, there are lots of laughs and adventures later on in the film. The kids will love Kevin and Dug. The voice actors are exceptional, as always, and include Ed Asner, Christoper Plummer, Delroy Lindo, and Pixar regular John Ratzenberger. I think that what continues to amaze me most about these Pixar films is that these characters -- computer animated all -- are often some of the most fully-realized human characters captured on film in any given year.
Drag Me To Hell: I mentioned this some the other day, and while I feel the movie would have been even better had Bruce Campbell appeared, I've still got to say that this is a damn fun movie. Sam Raimi seems as liberated as he has been in years -- since at least the first Spider-Man. He's back with the dark humor and cheap effects he pioneered back in the 80s with the Evil Dead films. I saw the twist coming, but my best friend, who's a real horror film fan, didn't. I don't know if that means I just know Raimi better than he does, or else it just means I've read too much literature. Still, it's good, clean fun with lots of goofy effects and bodily fluids. Don't worry, though, the film is rated PG-13.
The Girlfriend Experience: I appreciate what Steven Soderbergh tries to do. He offsets his commercial stuff with more experimental work. It allows him to try new things, and I guess that it allows him to keep his street cred. But this movie just didn't do it for me. In quick, it's the story of a high-priced escort trying to deal with her life and her boyfriend who is becoming less willing to accept her job. I'm sure there's some promise in the story, but the problem is, I could never detect a story. He does some of that standard time-shifting crap he's a fan of -- see Out of Sight or The Ocean 11 movies or Solaris. But for the time-shifting to work, there's got to be something to serve as an anchor, and here, there's just no anchor.
For the lead role as the escort, he cast porn star Sasha Grey. She's fine, I guess. But the character just seemed kind of one note and monotone -- I could never care about what happened to her. I don't know if this is because of her lack of talent, or if it's what Soderbergh was trying to get from her, but it just didn't work. And any pervert fun from having a porn star cast as an escort in a legit film is lost by the fact that there's no nudity or sex. And the film committed the cardinal sin. It was boring. It's not even 80 minutes long, but I was constantly looking at my watch, amazed at just how slowly time was passing.
Well, that's it for today's edition of John Royal: At The Movies. And don't say I didn't warn you.
As for the why the Astros should be able to win the World Series this year, one moron states the following: "If the 1983 Philadelphia Phillies can win a World Series with a roster having an average age of 32 years old, then why can't the 2009 Houston Astros win a championship with a roster having an average age of 33 years old?"
Which leads me to provide the answer to today's question: how do you define idiot?
The answer to this question is rather simple. On some days, it was possible for that 1983 Phillies team to start four future members of the Baseball Hall of Fame (and one guy who would be in the hall were it not for a gambling addiction). Yep, starting most nights for that 1983 Phillies team was one Pete Rose at first base, one Joe Morgan at second base, and one Mike Schmidt at third base -- these just happen to be three of the greatest players in baseball history, especially Schmidt. Starting every five games for the Phillies was a multi-Cy Young Award winner by the name of Steve Carlton. And sitting on the bench, but ready to relieve Rose at first, and possibly start there with Rose able to play in the outfield, was one Tony Perez. That, ladies and gentlemen, is a roster of four Hall of Famers and gambling addict Rose.
Now let's look at the Astros roster. Of the old-timers on this roster, how many future Hall of Famers do you see? There's Pudge Rodriguez at catcher. And then there's, well, there's, well... Yeah, that's right, there aren't any. Lance Berkman's nowhere near Hall of Fame worthy. Neither is Carlos Lee or Miguel Tejada. Roy Oswalt's never even won a Cy Young. The only way Kaz Matsui's getting into the Hall is if he sets some kind of record for trips to the DL in a season.
So the answer to why the Phillies, with an average age of 32 could make it to the World Series in 1983, but the 2009 Astros, with an average age of 33 can't make it is that the Phillies were a good team loaded with Hall of Famers. The Astros are just an old team loaded down with old guys. (Oh, and the 1983 Phillies didn't win the World Series. They lost 4-1 to the Baltimore Orioles.)
But this has me thinking of the idiots I see on Jeopardy, so why not watch a little Turd Ferguson?
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Business/job news: None. I've gotten no bites for Royal Document Review. The word is out there. My network says that they're informing people on their networks, and that hopefully word is spreading, but other than that, nothing. And apparently, setting up a website is akin to advertising, which means that I'm now having to get clearance from the State Bar of Texas over what I say on it. That's also why there's no advertising, I need to get approval. And each time I want approval for something, I have to send the State Bar $75 along with what I want to say.
I love being an attorney (sarcasm).
I'm getting together with my best friend to develop some new software for document reviews. All of the software programs I've ever used have been crap. They're not attorney friendly in that the documents are always hard to see, you're always having to adjust sizes and rotate pages, and the logic is designed for the IT process. I want the logic designed for the person who is actually doing the review. When you're reviewing a document, you're attention should be on the document, and the information contained in that document. It shouldn't be on clicking buttons and trying to save things and constantly adjusting window sizes. I can't explain it better, but I think attorneys and paralegals out there know of what I'm speaking. My best friend happens to be a software designer, and he's bored, so we're going to give it a try.
Meanwhile, I'm still going through the temp agencies, etc. and still trying to find temp jobs or some kind of permanent placement. And most of that has just been insulting. I was making approximately $47 an hour at the job I lost. When I first interviewed with a temp agency -- back in March -- I was told I would get $35 an hour. Two weeks ago, I was begging for an assignment on a temp doc review that would pay $30, but apparently, I wasn't qualified enough -- yeah, I don't get that either since all I've been doing for the past decade is document review and production. This past week, I was begging for a placement on a doc review job that was going to pay $25 an hour, but the agency lost out to a competitor -- don't know which one -- which is going to pay $20 an hour.
Frankly, any law firm or corporation that is that cheap when it comes to a document review is going to lose it's case because the projects going to be staffed by a bunch of people who don't give a damn and will just be doing a half-assed job while they're searching for something different. Meanwhile, in a couple of months down the road, the firm is going to discover that the work product they've been paying for is absolute crap and they're going to have to do it all over again, but with different people. Which means they'll be paying to have the work done twice, which means that it would ultimately have been cheaper and easier to just pay decent rates the first time out so as to get the job done properly. But the bastards just don't think that way.
What else is there?
A little loneliness and isolation, I guess. The only people I seem to see are my family and best friend. I used to see more people and get chances to speak to more people during the day. And that kept me alive. I know if the business venture takes off, I'll be working alone, at home. But that's different. Then I'll be busy. But when you're not busy, there's nothing worse than having no one to speak to.
But the Chron doesn't think that way.
Believe it, or not, but little birdies have told me that even more changes are still to come. Apparently, corporate HQ in New York City think that it's better to keep changing things over time until the desired change is achieved instead of making one huge change at just one time.
Frankly, I just want them to get to something and stick with it. And I'd be more pleased if they spent as much time on the substance of the stories and news and decent writing, and less time on the style. The writing and editing staff is virtually non-existent after recent purgings and it's becoming nearly impossible for them to staff the events they cover -- at least with sports. But it appears that IT has plenty of cash.
But as long as New York is happy, it doesn't matter what those of us who actually still try and read the thing think. Which is probably why less and less of us are still trying to read the thing. Which is a loss for all of us.
I Got Tagged Again...
Don’t take too long to think about it! Fifteen books you’ve read that will always stick with you. First fifteen you can recall in no more than 15 minutes. Copy the instructions into your own note, tag 15 friends, and be sure to tag the person who tagged you.
And for any of you who have read any of my aborted (and/or finished) novels, things will suddenly make a lot more sense.
1. The Stand -- Stephen King. I've lost track of the number of times I've read this book.
2. American Tabloid/The Cold Six Thousand -- James Ellroy. Technically, these are two books, but they're part of a larger series and feature the same characters. They're dark, disturbing, compelling reads.
3. Around The World In 80 Days -- Jules Verne. This is why I've always wanted to travel.
4. A Tale of Two Cities -- Charles Dickens. I'm sure that one of my high school English teachers is still disappointed that I've haven't made this into the violent, bloody, dirty movie that she believes it is. Sorry, Ms. Sledge.
5. Fahrenheit 451 -- Ray Bradbury. One of the greatest, most under-appreciated writers ever. And this is his masterpiece.
6. The World According to Garp -- John Irving. I don't think this is Irving's best novel. But it's the first of his epics that I ever read, back when I was in high school, before the movie with Robin Williams, and it's stuck with me ever sense.
7. American Psycho -- Bret Easton Ellis. Get past the controversy and you find a fantastic social satire.
8. A Winter's Tale -- Mark Helprin. Prose as poetry that paints vivid and fantastic mental pictures.
9. Out of Sight -- Elmore Leonard. This was the first Leonard novel I ever read. And suddenly, the stylistic things I'd been trying with my works made sense -- though I'm nowhere near as good as him. This is also the novel that convinced me it was okay to make the so-called bad guy the hero of the book.
10. Slaughterhouse-Five -- Kurt Vonnegut. A study of war, fate, religion, and the human condition in a satirical sci-fi time travel novel.
11. The Grifters -- Jim Thompson. Probably Thompson's most realized work. The prose is spare. Not a word is wasted. The characters are hateful. But you can't put it down.
12. A Clockwork Orange -- Anthony Burgess. Ms. Sledge, my high school English teacher told me that I could write a thesis paper on a movie instead of book, and since I had this thing for Stanley Kubrick, I chose this movie since I hadn't seen it. Which led me to reading the book. Wow. This is another of those books I've read too many times to remember.
13. Robinson Crusoe -- Daniel Dafoe. Man stranded alone with seemingly no hope for rescue. Also does a pretty good job of tearing apart religion and faith.
14. Fair And Loathing In Las Vegas -- Hunter S. Thompson. After reading this, I never had to do drugs.
15. Frankenstein -- Mary Shelley. This is probably my all-time favorite book. And none of the movies have been able to capture what makes it so good and disturbing, though Kenneth Branaugh's version had it's moments when it was close.
Friday, June 26, 2009
And here's Texas native Jaclyn Smith.
And here is my all-time favorite Angel, Cheryl Ladd. I've got a Sixth Degree of Separation thing here, as a friend of mine was at a conference that was attended by Ms. Ladd's husband, and which Ms. Ladd herself showed up for a bit.
Miss Pop Rocks had another of her insipid posts yesterday, this one being about the lack of female late-night talk show hosts. First off, while wondering why someone like Kathy Griffin doesn't have such a show -- never mind that Griffin's not funny -- but she actually forgets about the existence of Chelsea Handler, who is a female stand-up comic that actually hosts a late-night talk show.
Then she makes a major mistake. She names off the guys that are currently hosting these late-night shows, including, or so she says, one Colin Ferguson. Now this is kind of surprising seeing as how I now watch a lot of TV -- a lot more than I used to -- and I'm not aware of a Colin Ferguson hosting a late-night talk show. Now, there is a Craig Ferguson that hosts a late-night talk show, and I watch him every night. So I'm guessing that's who she was talking about, but, the two are really kind of different.
This is Colin Ferguson.
Born in Montreal, he's a Canadian. He also happens to be the star of the Sci-Fi Channel show Eureka.
This is Craig Ferguson.
He's Scottish, and last year, he became an American citizen. He's a recovering alcoholic, and he's about 15 years older than Colin Ferguson. His hair's a different color, and he's got an accent. He's a former sitcom actor, and he's a stand-up comic. And, unlike Colin Ferguson, Craig Ferguson hosts a late-night talk show on CBS called The Late, Late Show With Craig Ferguson.
Yeah, they look a lot alike, so I can understand the mistake.
Anyway, here's the J. Geils Band and "Centerfold."
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Seriously, can anyone think of a bigger waste of outfield space than Lee? How many singles has he played into doubles with his slow jog after balls hit down the line? I've seen sun dials move faster than this guy while he's supposedly playing in the outfield.
So I really would like to hear how he breaks in his gloves, because I'm just not convinced that he knows what a glove is.
UPDATE (6:26): CNN makes it official, reporting that they've been told by the LA County Coroner's office that Jackson is dead.
And while I'm happy that Sam Raimi returned to horror films, it was kind of strange to see a Raimi film, especially a Raimi horror film, not feature Bruce Campbell, even in a cameo. And there were no "Shemps" in the credits.
Like I said, it was a really fun movie. But it just didn't seem like Sam Raimi without Bruce Campbell.
Here's the thing. I'm on Facebook. And I've found that to be a bit of a good thing. I've been able to get in touch with old friends I haven't seen, or heard from, in years -- there's my friend who I just found after 15 years, and she's a reality-TV producer -- she's got nothing to do with Jon and Kate though. There's one of my best friend's from college -- I was in her wedding -- but we lost track because her husband was in medical school and doing all of the internships and residencies and they kept moving and we just lost touch in one of the moves. Or there's my oldest ever friend, who I've known since kindergarten.
The thing about Facebook is you get to give these status updates -- it's a way to say whatever you want. I usually throw up some smart-ass statement, and somebody insults you back, etc. But the other day, I posted that I had a new slogan for my business: "Will sue for rent." That's an old law school joke. But some sort of friend -- someone I knew in high school, sent me a note wanting to know where I lost my way and what happened to me because I was so smart and on target in high school.
It's like I had somehow done something to harm her because I wasn't what she wanted me to be, or something. And frankly, it kind of hurt my feelings, and pissed me off. Sure, maybe I'm a bit lost now. I lost the job I've had for nearly a decade. I'm having trouble finding another. I'm spending my 401k. I'm trying to start a new business. I would think that most people would be a bit lost after what I've been through this year. But it's hard enough trying to live up to my expectations -- which, believe it or not, are rather high. I didn't know I was also trying to live up to the expectations of some person I haven't seen in over 20 years.
And frankly, I would never send a message like to one of my friends. I would never ask somebody who I know is struggling how they lost their way. Who does that? I have friends who are having problems -- some worse than me -- and I don't send them notes about how you screwed up your life, you know that, don't you? No, I ask if there's any way that I can help. Because, in my opinion, that's what friends are supposed to do. Then again, I am a bit of a loser, so I guess I'm different than everybody else.
Okay, the venting is over. Sorry about that.
And another thing that puzzles me is this. I keep hearing that I don't want the government involved in deciding what kind of medical care that I can get -- don't want the bureaucrat making the decision of the doctor. Well I don't know about you, but this happens to me already. I, or my doctor, often have to contact my insurance company for approval for certain treatments -- my brother deals with this all of the time as his insurance company continues to insist that my niece's Autism is not a medical problem and is thus not covered by his insurance.
And once again, I just stick with my doctor told me: $10,000 a year in insurance costs for a relatively healthy person is wrong, especially since they're going to try and find a way to not pay for my treatment is something serious ends up being wrong with me.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
But it also just so happens that Ms. Rhoda is dating Mark Sanchez, the brand new number one draft choice QB of the New York Jets. Which means that Ms. Rhoda is Sanchez's sloppy seconds. And we all know how Avery feels about sloppy seconds. Which, in turn, gives me an excuse to throw up a photo of Elisha Cuthbert, the target of the sloppy seconds comments.
But strangely, if I remember correctly, Rachel Hunter was also a target of Avery's "sloppy seconds" comment, as she had dated him, too, but nobody seemed to get upset about the insult to her.
Enough with the damn homepage redesigns already. Blue, green, orange. Lines, no lines. Columns, no columns. It doesn't matter. What's important is your content, and your content sucks. So no matter how many redesigns you do, it's not going to help make up for your awful lack of content.
That is all.
So I've got an idea. Hey, Governor Goodhair, you want some of my money, then get me a damn job or do something to expand my unemployment benefits as well as the amount of money I make in unemployment. Otherwise, shut up, and stay the fuck out of my e-mail inbox.
So I'm watching the Astros/Twins game on Sunday afternoon, and it gets to be that inning for the trivia question. The question this time asks Jim Deshaies and Bill Brown to name the four Minnesota Twins that have been named as American League MVPs. So they start tossing out names of great Minnesota Twin players. Kirby Puckett. Rod Carew. Tony Oliva. Harmon Killebrew. Mary-Kate Olsen. There's a slight pause after Deshaies names Mary-Kate, and you can just mentally picture Brownie looking at JD as JD answers that, well, she is a twin, right?
That's why Jim Deshaies is my favorite broadcaster in all of sports.
Forget the fact that the guy knows what he's talking about and he can break down every aspect of every play that happens within seconds. Forget about the fact that, unlike bigger names like Tim McCarver and Joe Morgan, Deshaies doesn't treat us all as idiots, or dwell on how much better the game was fifty years ago. Forget about the great chemistry between Deshaies and Brown, his broadcast partner. He's my favorite broadcaster because he makes watching the Astros, an otherwise old and boring team, fun to watch.
Every sportscaster has a shtick of some kind. Milo talks about everything but the actual game that is being played. Brett Dolan and Dave Raymond shout in attempts to make games sound exciting. Bob Costas thinks he's funny. Joe Buck is a pompous twit. Mark Grace acts like he's on the Jim Rome show. Tim McCarver is the grand old guardian. And Joe Morgan tells stories involving himself which might not have actually happened.
But Jim Deshaies just has fun.
I often long for the Astros to get involved in a blow-out because that's when JD's at his best. That's when he'll go off on tangents that have seemingly nothing to do with baseball, yet keep you riveted to the broadcast, unable to change the channel because you've just got to find out how far out he's going to go.
There's no analyst out there who's better at breaking down the game -- I've had the MLB Extra Innings package, and I watch the in-game cut-ins on the MLB Network, so I've heard just about every TV broadcast team out there. He can tell you that the pitcher's arm slot is off, why it's off, and how to fix it, while telling the uninformed what a pitcher's arm slot is without either making them feel like an idiot or without dumbing down the game so much that the informed fans are turned off. He can tell you what the pitcher's thinking, what the catcher's seeing, and how the manager is juggling his lineup options. He truly is the best analyst out there with the chess game aspects of baseball.
But as good as Deshaies is at that aspect of the broadcast, there is no analyst that I've heard working who's as good as keeping one's attention riveted to the game when the game's out of reach. Vin Scully and Bob Uecker can do it as play-by-play guys -- and they often work alone -- but there's no analyst who comes close to matching JD's ability to riff on a player's name, or to go off on Seinfeld trivia, or just pull Mary-Kate Olsen's name from out of nowhere as part of an answer to a trivia question.
And it doesn't even sound likes he's trying. It's almost effortless. It's like he's at a bar with his buddies and he thinks of something and just throws it out into the flow of the conversation.
I don't know why he's never gotten a network spot on ESPN or FOX or the MLB Network. But Jim Deshaies makes bad baseball games fun to watch. And the Astros play a lot of boring and bad baseball. So I'm grateful that JD's still here in Houston. I don't even want to think about how bad Astros baseball would be to watch without him around.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
I guess my question, though, is why should I even bother hauling myself out of bed in the morning? What's the use? It's not like I have any work to do. And if I go out, I spend money, if even just a little bit, and I just really don't have a lot of cash to spare. So what's wrong with my staying in bed the entire day and just sleeping?
After all, it's not like I'm an actually contributing anything to society my presence anyway. So really, I'm serious, why should I even bother?
Monday, June 22, 2009
A big congratulations is in order to the Houstonist blog for the get of the month. The blog, after many failed attempts, was finally able to get Roger Clemens to go on the record and answer reader questions about his career, his future, and of course, Brian McNamee and the Mitchell Report. And you can read the entire thing here.
There’s not really much new information here. Clemens doesn’t change course and say that he’s been lying for all of these years, and that he did take HGH and steroids. He gives primarily vague answers about checking his previous testimony, and that he has been telling the truth ever since this whole thing started. Which leads to the question that is not asked, so it is not answered: to which version of the truth is Clemens referring?
First, McNamee never injected Clemens with anything. Then McNamee injected him with B-12 and lidocaine. First he was never at the Canseco party. Then it was he might have dropped by the party. Then it was the family spent the night at the Canseco house. Then it was he probably stopped by for lunch. First it was he never discussed HGH with Andy Pettitte; then it was that the two of them discussed had actually been discussing a TV show about HGH. First he and McNamee had never discussed HGH; then it was the two of them had had several detailed discussions of the topic because of Mrs. Clemens taking HGH. First it’s McNamee is the most disgusting, dishonest, vile human being on earth; then it’s McNamee was actually trusted by The Rocket and his family until the Mitchell Report went public. First is was Rocket didn’t know what was going to be in the Mitchell Report until the report was released; then it was admitted that he knew what was in the report days before it came out.
I could of course, go on.
This is all a matter of the record, and Clemens so helpfully reminds everybody of just where to go to read all of this as he provides a link to the Congressional Website where all of the testimony and evidence is contained. And for any of you who are interested in reliving that specific day that Rocket appeared before Congress and was nearly nailed for witness tampering, then just click here to go directly to that day’s testimony.
I think Houstonist did a good job in selecting questions, so it’s not their fault that the answers are essentially worthless. The blog author, Jason Bargas states several times that he attempted to talk to Clemens by phone, but that he could never get the interview, so he had to result to the e-mail. Thus, there are no follow-up questions regarding the many inconsistent statements Clemens has made. Not that I think Rocket would ever allow for an interview with actual follow-up.
But for those of you who are still curious, Rocket states that he is innocent. That he never took the HGH. He says the current MLB drug testing policy is very good -- but as Rocket reminds everybody, he has passed every drug test that he ever took (which, if I remember correctly, has also been the same answer as Alex Rodriguez, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro, and Barry Bonds). Also, Rocket states that the only place he will get to tell his story is in court, but if that fails -- which it all but has -- then just maybe he’ll write another book.
So once again, congratulations to the guys at Houstonist. Very nice work.
The Astros TV crew kept making a big deal about this being the team's last visit ever to the Metrodome, what with the Twins moving to Target Field next season. I know that lots of people don't like the Metrodome, and that they say that it's not got no personality and that it's plastic. But frankly, is it any worse than this thing we have in Houston with that stupid hill and the choo-choo train?
And I have a special fondness for the place as it was in the Metrodome in May 2006 in a game between the Twins and Mariners that I was in attendance for the only triple play I've ever seen live.
I don't really have much to say. They were just showing lots of clips of the city during the telecast, and it just reminded me of what a great place Minneapolis -- and St. Paul and all of Minnesota is -- and I hope that somehow, soon, I get some work and start making some money so that I can return and visit the state.
There's a slight pause that allows for the mental image of Bill Brown slowly turning his head to look at JD as Deshaies responds: "she's a twin, right?"
Jim Deshaies. My favorite sportscaster. Listening to this guy do a game is always a joy. Always.
Friday, June 19, 2009
So I'm taking a break. At least for the rest of this week and the weekend, there'll be nothing here. I've got to try and clear my head a bit, and that means no thinking about posting stuff over here. I'll probably be back on Monday -- it's not like I have anything else to do.
But until then.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
For the interested, after the trade, Seaver's career stats were only 122-99 with a 3.39 ERA.
Roger Clemens is no longer the only former professional baseball player under investigation for lying to Congress. With the Tuesday revelation that Sammy Sosa was one of the 104 MLB players to test positive for PED use in 2003 (along with Alex Rodriguez) comes the word that a congressional committee is looking into whether Sosa lied to Congress when he testified in 2005 that he had never used a PED. And this brings about a good time to check in on Clemens, about who there has been relatively little news recently. Actually, except for a vague claim that he’s willing to answer some questions for the blog Houstonist -- which from what I can tell has yet to happen -- there’s not been much news from the Rocket camp lately.
There have, however, been a couple of books published about Clemens in the past couple of months, and I thought I would discuss those. They are The Rocket That Fell To Earth: Roger Clemens And The Rage For Baseball Immortality by Jeff Pearlman, who also authored a bio of Barry Bonds several years ago, and American Icon: The Fall Of Roger Clemens And The Rise Of Steroids In America’s Pastime by the investigative team at the New York Daily News which has broken many of the hot stories on the Rocket since he was named in The Mitchell Report.
Pearlman’s book is more a biography than it is steroids expose, and he looks at the life of Rocket from his youth in Ohio through his team-jumping among Texas high schools and colleges and into his professional career. I was actually looking forward to this book the most because Pearlman’s Love Me, Hate Me about Barry Bonds was about the only thing I’ve ever read that exposed just about everything there was know about Bonds, yet was still able to portray him as a somewhat sympathetic human being, and I wanted to see what Pearlman could do with Clemens. But Pearlman’s unable to do anything sympathetic with Clemens.
The only real revelations from Pearlman’s book, besides Clemens being a lifelong ass, are that he actually was injured in Game Six of the 1986 World Series; Mindy McCready was 17, not 15, when the two met; and that the Chron’s sports department attempted to hire an investigative reporter to investigate Rocket in 2004, but that management denied the request. And reading the book, it’s amazing how easily most members of the media fell for the myth of Rocket -- Pearlman’s especially hard on some of the guys at the Chron. The book further reinforces the notion that Clemens was the one guy you didn’t want on the mound for an important game, and reminds everybody that maybe, just maybe Dan Duquette was right back in 1997 when he said Clemens was done.
American Icon is the steroids expose. It picks up with Clemens arriving in Toronto and getting his first shot from Brian McNamee. It doesn’t bother with a biography of Clemens though, since one of the main sources is Brian McNamee and his legal team, there is lots of background info on him. There’s lots of info regarding the infamous incidents with Mike Piazza, lots of stuff about Mindy McCready, and lots and lots of information regarding the infamous 1998 party at Jose Canseco’s where Rocket supposedly first got the steroids.
There is some great detail regarding the Feds (and George Mitchell) getting to McNamee. Though specifics aren’t divulged, nor witnesses or sources named, the authors make it clear that they’ve got another credible witness that has never been made public who places Clemens at the party, and they strongly imply that the Feds have fully tested and vetted the needles and bandages saved by McNamee, and that they are satisfied everything matches up and definitely ties them to Rocket.
Most interesting are the stories about the preparations and appearance before Congress. Rusty Hardin comes off as an even huger boob than he has previously appeared. There’s an exhaustive breakdown of nanny-gate, and how it would never have happened if Hardin hadn’t made Rocket’s so-called appearance at that Canseco party the linchpin of their defense. As in Pearlman’s book, the Chron comes off pretty bad. And the book is really good in exposing the steroids/HGH culture in Houston-area gyms.
Both books have problems. Neither one can spell Jimy Williams correctly, and there’s the conflict over the age of McCready when she met Rocket. Pearlman’s book is best in the younger years of Rocket’s life, before he reaches the majors, but somewhat superficial in the later years. The Daily News book suffers from being a bit too slanted towards McNamee, and it relies too much on anonymous sources. There’s nothing really earth-shattering in either book. Clemens is a womanizing jerk who used PEDs, constantly lied about his past, and still has no legitimate reason for throwing a part of a bat at Piazza.
And here’s some bonus trivia from the books: Andy Pettitte’s original attorney was Rusty Hardin. He then went to a guy based out of Pittsburgh known as Jay Reisinger. Reisinger is back in the news because he was the attorney sitting next to and representing one Sammy Sosa when Sosa appeared before Congress in 2005 and conveniently forgot how to speak English.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
So, as promised in yesterday’s Coming Attractions post, I am going to be on The Late Show with David Letterman tomorrow night.
Yeah, I know, but I promise not to forget about all of you little people when I’m famous. No. Really. I mean it.
Here’s the deal. I went from a little vacation time in Toronto over the weekend to a trip to New York City for a little work related function. I’ve just checked into my hotel – the New York Hilton on 6th Avenue – and I’ve unpacked and I’m roaming the streets. Actually, I’ve kind of meandered over to Broadway and I see the crowd standing outside of Letterman’s studio. It’s about 3:00, so I know that it’s the crowd waiting to go in for the taping of the Monday night show. I take a left and start heading down Broadway to 42nd Street. I’ve walked about 2 blocks when I hear this guy asking if anyone’s interested in Late Show tickets.
I’m thinking, there’s probably some scam going on, but I’ll bite. The tickets are supposed to be free, so if he starts asking for the credit card, I’ll just split. Instead the guy says that I’ve got to answer a trivia question: “who is Rupert?” When I say the guy from the Hello Deli, he says that I’ve got a ticket for a show taping tonight.
Now, I’ve just come from the studio, they’re getting ready to tape the thing. So I ask about that. He tells me that Letterman likes his three day weekends, and that to have one this week, he’s taping shows on Monday. The show that I will be attending is to start at 7:00 and it will air on Friday.
I pick up my ticket, and picking up the ticket involves standing in a long line for about half-an-hour. While I’m waiting, there are Late Show ushers standing outside, keeping order, and telling everybody that though the temp outside is about 100, it’s a nice chilly 52 inside and that we should all bring sweaters or sweatshirts to keep warm.
I haven’t packed any of this, so I hit the CBS store, right next door, and I buy a Late Show sweatshirt.
I’m told to return at 6:00 and that the seating will be random. So, I return and at 6:00 me and my group are squeezed into the lobby where we’re given all kinds of instructions, like no wolf whistles, no woo-woo’s, that kind of thing, because the microphone’s pick up every noise. We’re seated at about 6:30, and a stand-up comes out to get the crowd warmed a bit, then the band members are introduced one-by-one followed by Paul and the announcer Alan. Then, five minutes before the show starts, Dave comes running out and starts chatting with the crowd.
I’m about six rows back, about 4 seats inside the row, sitting in the section on the band’s side of the stage. Letterman looks around and goes: “Hey, you, in the blue shirt.” Now, my sweatshirt is blue, but I don’t think it’s me, then he says it again, and points in my direction. I look down at my shirt, and he says, “yeah you,” and has me stand up. We chat a bit, and he asks me about the cost of the shirt. I tell him and he makes a big deal about how expensive it is. Then he has the warm-up comic come down into the audience and pay me for the shirt.
So, things are going great. I’ve just talked with Dave, and I’ve gotten a free Late Show sweatshirt. Then it’s time for the show to start.
Dave comes out and starts in on the monologue. He does some Friday the 13th jokes, then some Harry Potter jokes. Then he’s on about how hot it is in New York. About how it’s so hot that people will do crazy things, like spend $45 bucks for a sweatshirt. As I’m laughing, I notice the monitors overhead and I see that there’s a shot of me up there.
So, I’m going to be on national television on Friday night.
Oh, and the guests, besides me, are Queen Latifah, Alan Zweibel, and Smashing Pumpkins.
Oh, as to the Lindsay Lohan reference in the title, one of the ushers with whom we spent time while standing in line, inside and outside, was a dead ringer for the blond-era Lohan. Except that she wasn’t Nicole Ritchie skinny, and she didn’t appear to be drunk or high. But she did have freckles.
Apparently, there is. His name is Marc Payton and he lives in The Woodlands. He’s also the director of that god-awful Joe Buck sports/comedy show that premiered on HBO on Monday night. For some reason, they had Lange on a guest, along with Paul Rudd and Jason Sudeikis. And for some reason, Buck admitted, on a sports show, that his favorite website was TMZ.com.
I’ve seen Rudd on talk shows before, and normally, that little admission was something he wouldn’t let slip past without an insult or joke. But he and Buck went to high school together, so he let it slide. But next up was Lange, and the show was never the same. If you want to see the clip, you can go here. Let’s just say there were a lot of homosexual jokes at the expense of Buck and Tony Romo. And let’s also just say that afterwards, Buck gets to act all angry and outraged like he did when Randy Moss fake mooned the crowd at Lambeau Field years ago.
“I don't think anybody saw this coming (with Lange),” Payton told the Chron. “I think people were aware of the potential of something like that, but I don't think anybody believed it would happen. The general consensus was that (Lange) went way overboard, way over the line. He was inappropriate and downright rude to Joe and the audience and the other people in the panel.”
That leads me to ask the obvious question: you booked Artie Lange, so just what did you expect? Especially when the host of what is supposed to be a damn sports show admits to a bunch of comics -- including one who is Howard Stern’s sidekick -- that his favorite website is TMZ.com.
I’ve got no sympathy for Buck or Payton or any of the people at HBO claiming to be offended by Lange. Frankly, I’ve been offended by that douche bag Buck for years, and it’s about time someone wiped that sanctimonious grin off of his face. There are a lot of members of the lucky sperm club working in sports broadcasts booths, but Buck has to be the least talented, and most obnoxious of them all. So I issue a thanks to Artie Lange for bring the untalented Joe Buck down a peg or two.
And frankly, anybody who claims to be in broadcasting who didn’t see this coming from Lange, especially on HBO, needs to get out of broadcasting.
P.S.: And it continued for awhile on the internet.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Monday, June 15, 2009
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Saturday, June 13, 2009
For those of you who have never seen Chad Vader, Day Shift Manager, I give to you, Episode One in the story of Darth's younger, slightly less talented brother. And I encourage you to start watching all of the 5-6 minute episodes that follow. Very, very funny stuff.
No wonder, I guess, that their swings looked so deceptive.
It also makes me wonder why MLB Network repeats this, seeing as how 5 of the 8 participants are roiders. Isn't there something better they can show? Even at three in the morning?
Friday, June 12, 2009
No, Maria Sharapova is not on the list. But then again, neither are several of the female athletes who have taken it all in the past for Playboy. Sure, Ashley Harkleroad is probably not a top athlete, but she does appear to be pretty comfortable posing in the buff while posing at the tennis net. And I'm pretty shocked to not see Amanda Beard on the list. And while she's never posed nude, Danica Patrick does like to pose in bikinis, so I don't see it as a real stretch.
That said, I can't see where as I would have a problem with seeing Anna Rawson in the nude, nor Biba Golic.
But I can't help but wonder at what took ESPN so damn long to come to this conclusion about nudity and sports. Sports Illustrated's biggest issue of the year, every year, is the swimsuit issue, and aside from the occasional athlete or athlete wife or cheerleader who appears every year, it has absolutely nothing to do with sports and everything to do with sex. The issue even has nudity -- the women often wear nothing but body paint and are often posing without a top or a bottom or wearing nothing but an iPod and sand. And my numbers really shot up when I started going with my Sex Sells feature.
Frankly, however, I don't know if naked female (and male) athletes can save ESPN the Magazine. It's an awful publication that makes USA Today's articles appear long thought pieces ruminating on mankind. Maxim's articles are lengthy and involved when compared to the ESPN magazine. It's just a bad product. But hey, even I might be willing to buy it just this once.
Hey Astros fans. Are you tired of the exorbitant prices you have to pay for booze at Astros games? Well, I've got good news. And I've got bad news.
The good news is that the prices might be getting a lot damn cheaper real soon. The bad news is that the reason is that alcohol might no longer be served in the stadium. Oh, it's not because Drayton McLane is going all Christian and declaring alcohol to be one of the world's great sins, so he's now refusing to sell it. The problem is that Minute Maid Park might be losing its liquor license.
The Chron is reporting that Aramark, the company that holds the right to sell alcoholic beverages is currently being investigated by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission as part of an ongoing administrative complaint arising out of its actions at Minute Maid Park. Specifically, Aramark has been accused of serving a clearly intoxicated person at an Astros game last August.
Following the game, one Roy John Wilson veered around a TxDOT truck that was blocking a lane of traffic and struck and killed a pedestrian, David Hall, Jr., a TxDOT employee. Wilson fled the scene, but was later stopped by the police where he failed a field sobriety test and tested over the legal limit.
KTRK got a response from Aramark saying "We take the responsible service of alcoholic beverages very seriously and have industry-leading standards in place at each venue where we provide food and beverage services. We do not comment on pending matters."
The TABC also didn't provide many comments on the matter. So it's not known which of Aramark's licenses at the stadium are up for revocation. Aramark has two licenses, one for beer and one for liquor, and they cover different areas of the ballpark. Only one license is at stake, so it's possible that if you sit in the right section, you will still be able to get nice and drunk while watching Carlos Lee loaf after balls hit to left field.
The Astros could not be reached for comment, but knowing Drayton McLane, I wouldn't be surprised to see him use this as an excuse to jack up prices even more because of a thought process that would indicate that if a person could afford to get drunk off of the current prices, then he's just not charging enough for the stadium booze.
The TABC has not set a date for the administrative hearing regarding the license, so it's possible you can continue to go on getting smashed at the games. It's also possible that, should Aramark lose one of the licenses, another vendor can take over from Aramark.
It's also worth noting that, if the Astros find themselves unable to sell alcohol in the stadium they won't be the first major league team to face this punishment this season. Earlier this season, the Toronto Blue Jays got in trouble with Canadian authorities because of the actions of drunk fans, and alcohol sales were prohibited for several games.
You can find a not safe for work photo here.
Now seeing as Matt Schaub is the team's number one QB. And seeing as how Schaub makes Kaz Matsui look like Cal Ripken, one can kind of understand why the team felt a need to sign a backup QB. Especially as how a Detroit Lions reject, Dan Orlovsky, and a guy who has yet to get off the training squad, Alex Brink, are the current Schaub rejects.
But Rex Grossman?
First, the guy's not quite known for his ability to withstand punishment, which makes him like Schaub. Then there's the fact that he sucks. The Bears played Kyle Orton instead of this guy.
But seeing as how the Texans signed a guy known as The Sex Cannon -- because of the way he slings the ball downfield with no concern as to who's waiting to catch/intercept it -- perhaps they should have taken up that adult video company sponsorship offer. The Texans -- who have made it known that sponsorship space is available on the team's practice jerseys -- turned down an offer by adult video company Zero Tolerance. The company was seeking to buy that space on the player's practice jerseys. And with the way the Texans play, that might have been one of the few things to get excited about with the team.
The Sex Cannon and porn. That would've been a Texans team worth cheering for. Instead, we just get to hope that maybe The Sex Cannon will throw a few thousand INTs while playing for the injured Schaub -- if he can beat out Orlovsky and Brink that is.
The team announced yesterday that there will be 2-free tickets for children 14 and under with the purchase of full-price adult ticket for the Mezzanine section ($20), View Deck 1 ($15) and View Deck 2 ($12). The deal starts in two weeks, June 23, when the Astros return from a road trip. And though the team says it will last all summer, it actually only goes through August 23, which is a long way from being the of summer.
The Astros did not, however, mention anything about reducing concession stand prices, or allowing families to bring food and beverages into Minute Maid Park, so you can still expect to be ripped off at any game you attend.
So, is it really asking for too damn much for them to acknowledge my fucking existence? Seriously, is that asking for too much for at least one to acknowledge me? Literary agents are supposed to be possible to contact once they've taken you on as a client, but as someone who actually had an agent for a year before firing him, I can confidently state that it's easier to get one of those bastards to return a phone call or e-mail than it is to get a head hunter/recruiter to return a phone call or e-mail.
It's as if, after they meet with you, you no longer exist.
But damn it, to quote the Elephant Man, I'm a human being. I want one of those bastards to acknowledge me for once.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
The insurance companies, of course, don't like this option because they don't do well with competition. And supposedly the AMA doesn't like it because, supposedly, a public option plan would limit patient choices. I guess that is a bad thing, because as we all know, the private insurance never restrict patient choices. I mean, we never have to get insurance company approval for certain medical procedures or have to find new doctors if we switch insurance companies.
(It needs to be noted that the AMA opposed Medicare back in the 60s and claimed it would lead to socialism.)
Before I go much further, just let me say that if government-funded medical insurance is so damn bad, then why don't all of those asshole Republican Congressmen drop their government-funded medical coverage and get private insurance -- they should also force all of their staffers to go into private insurance as well because they should have the same standard of care as the constituents.
But here's where I call b.s. on the whole AMA thing. My personal doctor is not the most liberal of people. But I had a check-up last week, and when he found out how much COBRA costs were, he just couldn't believe that a healthy person should have to pay $10,000 a year for insurance. He called the private insurance system broken, and used the word "scam" a couple of times, and thought that a public option was the best thing for everybody.
Now maybe he just had gotten the memo from the AMA yet, but I think it's more likely that the AMA doesn't speak for a majority of the doctors. Because as much as I hear the nutjob GOPers bitching about how evil it is for a government bureaucrat to be making medical decisions, is it really all that different from an insurance company bureaucrat making these same decisions? I've seen the results of the insurance company bureaucrats as my brother and sister-in-law have had to constantly battle these assholes for about three years so that they can get treatment for my niece's autism. And I've been told I can't take certain medications because they're too expensive and was ordered to take a different one despite my doctor getting on the phone in my presence and telling the insurance company bureaucrat that medications were his decision, not theirs.
The truth of the matter is that the insurance industry is nothing but a huge scam. They love to collect the money, but will work to find any loophole to keep from paying off on rightful claims. I used to represent auto-insurance companies in automobile accident litigation. And the insurance company didn't care about the insured, and often went opposite of what was in the interest of their client.
So okay, enough of my rant. But frankly, the AMA and the insurance companies can go fuck themselves. And if the GOPer Congressmen think government medical insurance is so damn evil, then I would really like for them to refuse their government coverage and get on a private plan. Not that those hypocritical assholes would ever do something like that.
You're talking to the newest member of the Football Writers Association of America.
Yep, that's right. I'm a member. My application was accepted yesterday, and I paid my dues. Unfortunately, I don't make any extra money off of this, just what I'm already getting through the mothership, which ain't much. But it does give me a little more credibility.
And yes, I do write about college football for the mothership.