What a Weekend!

First, the Day of Upsets. Now the New York Mets complete one of the great collapses in baseball history (or, if you’re an optimist, the Phillies complete a great comeback). And Colorado wins 13 of 14 to force a one-game playoff.

I love baseball.

Here is Derek Jacques proving that he is the exact opposite of a Sports Media Twerp.

It wasn’t the wrong call two weeks ago, to declare that the Rockies’ playoff run was effectively over. It took an unbelievably good stretch of baseball for them to force this tiebreaker. But even though I stand by what I wrote then, I’ll admit that one of the great pleasures of this last week has been the Rockies proving me wrong. Following their games down the stretch has more than justified the expense of my Extra Innings package. Teams defying expectations like this is what makes baseball enjoyable.

So tomorrow, as the Rockies face Jake Peavy in Denver, I’ll be rooting for them to finish the job. Maybe I’ll wind up eating a bit of crow as a result, but I hear it doesn’t taste all that bad.

My TMQ Moment

One of the reasons I love Tuesday Morning Quarterback, despite the diatribe I will post later tonight, is that I’ve learned a lot about football. Today, Gary Kubiak of the Houston Texans is basically giving the game to the Atlanta Falcons:

  • He asks for a review of the spot on a 4th and short to try to push the Falcons back maybe a foot, so it’s 4th-and-0.5 instead of 4th and inches. Oops, it gets spotted for a first down.
  • On a short goal situation, he has Matt Schaub sprint back ten yards on a rollout, where he almost gets sacked.
  • On 3rd and a foot to the end zone, he calls an outside run for Ron Dayne, who gets stuffed.
  • The Falcons had called a time out, so he gets 3rd and a foot the goal again. Outside pitch to Dayne; fumble nearly recovered by the Falcons.
  • Jeez, Kubiak. Just run up the middle!

    Holy Crap!

    Why do I like college football? Days like today. West Virginia upended on Thursday by a USF program younger than my car; Oklahoma nipped by unranked Colorado (a 22.5 point underdog); California barely escapes Oregon with their ass intact; Clemson done in by a bunch of guys with slide rules (I love it when Tech upsets the football factories); Texas crushed by unranked K-state (14.5 point underdog); Rutgers bested by unranked Maryland (16.5 point underdog); Wisconsin frightened by unranked MSU; USC on life support against unranked Washington (20.5 point underdog); Alabama undone by unranked FSU; Florida chokes against unranked Auburn at home (18 point underdog).

    It’s not just that five of the top ten lost with two barely escaped with their hides intact. It’s that these seven teams were favored by a combined 116.5 points. Even LSU and Ohio State failed to cover the spread.

    I went 7/22 in picking football games this weekend. And I loved it.

    This just shows you what the SMTs know. Slowly, their pre-season picks are going down in flames.

    Early Redacted

    There’s some controversy brewing over Brian de Palma’s Redacted, a dramatization of the brutal Mahmudiyah Killings (Note that our “evil” military is tossing these assholes in prison for potentially the rest of their lives). The movie won the Silver Lion at Venice and the user ratings at IMDB show something interesting:

    US Voters: 3.4
    Non-US Voters: 8.2

    Now, raise your hand if you are surprised that a film portraying a brutal atrocity by Americans is very popular in Europe. (Put that hand down, Chris!). Europeans loved Loose Change and every other 9/11 conspiracy book/movie. My cat could make an anti-American movie and win, at minimum, the Palme d’Or.

    I’ll wait until the November release to try to decide whether or not to join in the inevitable Right Wing bloviation-fest. But I should note something about the newly certified Great Film-Maker Mr. De Palma.

    Number of Oscar Nominations for Brian de Palma: 0
    Number of Golden Globe Nomination for Brian de Palma: 0
    Number of Razzie Nominations for Brian de Palma: 5

    I’m just sayin’.

    Good thing he made this. Now he’ll get some nominations, even if the film itself is his usual crap. When your best film is The Untouchables and the best thing you’ve done in the last ten years is the lesbian scene in Femme Fatale, I guess it’s time to go political.

    Friday Morning Linkorama

  • I haven’t commented much on immigration on this site, since it seems to me everyone involved is using the issue to grind unrelated axes. But you have to grin at this story. A town in New Jersey outlawed illegal immigrants and..

    With the departure of so many people, the local economy suffered. Hair salons, restaurants and corner shops that catered to the immigrants saw business plummet; several closed. Once-boarded-up storefronts downtown were boarded up again.


  • One of the big breakthroughs in my political thinking was realizing when people were cherry-picking the facts. Cato has a classic example. Supporters of NCLB are crowing about the improving test scores of 4th and 8th graders. Ignored? The ongoing plunge of high school seniors.
  • Some people are actually interested in having a good debate on healthcare. In this corner, we have Michael Cannon and in this one Jesse Larner, who was kind enough to e-mail me after I disagreed with him over at Moorewatch.
  • An interesting article at The Economist explains why France’s healthcare system works to the extent that it does. Big reason? Medical school is paid for and lawsuits are rare.
  • Fisking Sully

    What Sullivan says:

    Three times as many black men will spend tonight in a prison cell as in a college dorm room. That number is almost as bad for Hispanics. A quarter of a century ago, the ratio was even.

    What the study actually says:

    The numbers, driven by men, do not include college students who live off campus. Previously released census data show that black and Hispanic college students — commuters and those in dorms — far outnumber black and Hispanic prison inmates.

    Now my reading of this is that blacks and hispanics have moved off campus — much like the rest of the student body. The crowing headline that “three times as many black are in jail as in college” is pure hysterical race-baiting that misses and obfuscates the more important point:

    The data show that big increases in black and Hispanic inmates occurred since 1980.

    Not stated is how big the increases have been for whites. I went to the Census Bureau website but their data is almost deliberately opaque. I couldn’t get a handle on what it actually said and nor find the answer to the real question: Over the last 25 years, how has the incarceration rate changed for blacks, white and hispanics?

    One things I’ve learned about social scientists. When they present you with answers to the wrong question, it’s because the answer to the right question didn’t fit their agenda.

    The real story here is that our prison population has exploded over the last thirty years, primarily because of the War on Drugs. That’s something that affects all of us, not just black people. The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world. That needs to change. For everone.


    MSNBC has a fantastic article on the “more fame than talent club“. So I just know you want my opinion:

  • Jessica Alba. OK, she’s not that good an actress. But I don’t really care. She can be good given the right role – she was the only reason to watch Dark Angel and was very sexy in Sin City. But she needs to put some weight on. She’s gotten way too skinny.
  • Jessica Biel. Agreed, but she was effective in The Illusionist. Another actress who picks bad movies.
  • Jessica Simpson. I don’t even think she’s that hot. She looks like a barbie doll.
  • Adrian Grenier. To be honest, I don’t know who the hell this is.
  • Elton John. Perhaps today, but the man has been show business for decades. Give me a break. I don’t like his music either but the man is an icon.
  • Nicole Kidman. I have to think about this one. Kidman is supposed to be this great actress. But I actually think she just picks really good movies to be in. I don’t think I’ve ever watched on of her movies and said, “Wow, Nicole made that movie!” My aussie wife will now kill me.
  • Carlos Mencia. Oh, abso-fricking-lutely. He is making a career out of being politlcally incorrect. He’s sometimes funny. But he’s an infamous joke-stealer and, once you get past the shock value, not that funny after all.
  • John Travolta. Don’t get me started.
  • Renee Zellweger. I have to agree with this one. Her career is one of the more unfortunate things to come out of that repulsive Jerry Maguire film. At least Cuba Gooding, Jr. has charisma if not talent. But, funny me, I think acting involves more elements than making squinty faces. I will, however, say, that Zellweger was great in Bridget Jones’ Diary. If they wanted to give her an oscar, that was the film.
  • There are many times I could add to that list, if I weren’t gooned on cold medication. Ben Affleck is a name that immediately jumps to mind. Michael Bay is another. Martin Lawrence. Richard Gere. Sandra Bullock. So many pretty not-so-talented people; so little time until I have to give my talk tomorrow.

    Death Rattle

    Today, I bought my daughter her first toy. Or at least tried. All I wanted was a simple straight-forward rattle. Just a damned stick with a damned ball on one end that made a lot of noise and that I will one day step on and subsequently fall down the stairs.

    You can’t buy one. Babies R’ Us doesn’t have them. Nor does Amazon, nor does Ebay – except for expensive souvenier rattles. They have plenty of soft stuff and “natural” or “educational” toys but not just a simple God-damned rattle that my little girl can pick up and shake and make happy goo-goo noises as a result of her burgeoning musical talent.

    What the hell?

    More BS Research

    In a study that brings back memories of the one that “proved” that a four-minute mile was impossible, a professor is claiming that steroids can increase homerun production 50-100%.

    The such a study could be taken seriously beggers belief. Among other things, if such a benefit from steroids were real, home run rate would have exploded across the league and this is clearly not the case. The people who have tested positive for steroid use, including many pitchers, have not had anywhere near the power explosion this guy is guessing at.

    (Although it clearly would depend on the type of hitter. You could add 4% to the speed of the balls I hit and they might just reach the outfield. Adding 4% to Barry Bonds is a different story, clearly.)


    It’s Yom Kippur tonight, so I’ll be observing radio silence on all my blogs. Having woken up late (sloth), publicly expressed both anger and lust, gone to a department meeting so I could feel like a big lasagna (vanity) and on the verge of gorging myself pre-fast (gluttony), I just need to work in some envy and avarice over dinner and I’ll be set for repentance.

    Maybe I’ll stiff the waiter on the tip and covet the guy at the next table’s girlfriend.