September 30, 2007


Dr. X posts this from The White Dog:

"Phillies clinch - The New York Times reports that 'now, for the first time in 14 years, the Phillies will be playing in the postseason. The franchise that defined collapse in 1964 completed an historic comeback on Sunday by beating the Washington Nationals, 6-1, while the Mets bungled away their season 90 miles to the north.'

"Mets go home - 'The Worst Day in Mets history?' asks the Daily News... '[Until now] no major league team had owned a lead of seven games or more with 17 to play, or been up by at least seven on Sept. 12 or later, and failed to finish in first place.'

"Do you bereave?"

The Big Finish

Dr. X posts this from Cooperstown, NY:

"Yes, cricket is a strange game. It is true that a test match can drag on for five days...and end in a tie. But this is small beer when compared with baseball. It doesn't always work this way, but when a major league pennant race gets into full swing, no other sport can compete. The action spreads out over weeks or even months, and intensifies in the last week or so as leaders collapse, upstarts surge ahead, and one crazy bounce of the ball determines the fate of a team that played its first regular season game in early April.

"Let me give you three examples - you can watch them using this terrific viewer (this is what the Internet is all about) - just load them up and play/pause your way through.

"1908, National League. By the 4th of July there are only three teams with a realistic chance to win: the Chicago Cubs (.621 winning pct), the Pittsburgh Pirates (.609, 1/2 a game back), and the New York Giants (.594, 1 and 1/2 games back). They play through that long, hot summer - all day games in wool uniforms - and on September 1st the Giants and Pirates are tied for first, with the Cubs one game back. On September 23rd we go into the twilight zone, and Fred Merkle becomes the most hated man in New York. On October 1st they are in a three-way tie for first place. At this point, it doesn't matter if you just got off the boat from Slovokia, every male citizen of those three cities is following the action. The Cubs win the re-play of Merkle's mistake, take the pennant race by one game over the Giants, and go on to win the World Series. (That was the last World Series the Cubs have won, by the way.)

"Then you have your epic collapses. 1978, American League East, for example. On the 4th of July the Boston Red Sox are running away with the division. They've lost just 24 games, while their closest pursuers (the NY Yankees and Milwaukee Brewers) have each lost 34. Boston holds off a late summer charge by the Yankees, and on August 25th they're still 7 1/2 games ahead. But then, the Boston Massacre - the Yankees wipe out the Sox in a series, and keep winning - in less than two weeks, they've closed the gap and tied for first. Boston keeps choking, and falls out of first place, but then mounts a last-minute comeback, tying the Yankees on the final day of the season. That sets the stage for a single playoff game in Fenway Park, and the single darkest moment in Red Sox history.

"But, as every schoolboy knows, the greatest pennant race collapse was the epic implosion of the Philadelphia Phillies in the 1964 National League race. The Phillies and San Francisco Giants played even through the 4th of July. But Philadelphia took over after the all-star break. The Giants dropped out of contention, and the Phillies ran to a comfortable 5-7 game lead over the pack. They looked ready to coast home, 6 1/2 games ahead of the Reds on September 20th. And then...disaster. They lost their next game...and the next...and the next... Before the streak was over they had gone 0-10 and dropped into third place. Two wins at the end came too late, and the Cardinals were champions.

"I tell you all this because right now, today, we are seeing a hell of a windup to the National League season. On the last day of scheduled games, four teams are chasing two playoff spots. A convoluted round of tie-breakers could be required, as described here.

"The most remarkable feature of the race so far: the historic collapse of the New York Mets, who led the National League by 7 games with 17 left to play, an act of seppuku matched only by the 1964 Philadelphia squad. Sports Illustrated gives the gruesome details here. And the team that has run down the Mets, and now stands poised to deliver the death blow? The Philadelphia Phillies, of course.

"Jayson Stark of ESPN writes: 'In 1964, the Phillies were the team on the wrong end of the Greatest Collapse in History. Now, 43 years later, they are just a win or two away from being the team on the right end of somebody else's Greatest Collapse in History.'

"But yesterday the Mets won and the Phillies lost (story here). And now, in this race that began six months ago, we are in a dead heat with one to play. It is too sweet for words. Play ball!"

September 29, 2007

You See, That's What I'm Talking About

Dr. X posts this from the The Center for the Advancement of Objectivism:

"Alan Greenspan does not support our President. In case you missed it, in his new book (reviewed here by The Wall Street Journal) and in his subsequent book tour, Greenspan offers the following disloyal opinions:
  • The administration's ideological rigidity was profoundly harmful to economic policy: 'Little value was placed on rigorous economic policy debate or the weighing of long-term consequences.'
  • This resulted in uncontrolled deficit spending that betrayed the ideals of the Republican Party.
  • The Iraq war is all about oil.
  • Bill Clinton was an extremely intelligent president whose economic policies consistently emphasized long-term economic growth.
  • To avoid major social problems due to income inequality, we should place greater emphasis on education and pay teachers more.

"If only there were some political group in this country that believed Clinton had the right idea, that economic growth and a balanced budget are not incompatible objectives, and that we should do more to support education and address income inequality...

"Welcome to the Democratic Party, Mr. Greenspan."

Ben Stevens, About to Be Flushed, Starts Jumping on the Handle

An excerpt from a Ben Stevens radio interview with Bill Allen's replacement right-wing nut for the Daily News, Dan Fagan:

At one point, Fagan started to ask Stevens about Allen, but Stevens cut him off.

"I'm not at liberty to talk about that," Stevens said. "It's under investigation. I'm under investigation by the Department of Justice, the FBI, the IRS, the National Marine Fisheries Service. I'm not talking about that."

FAGAN: (Allen) has turned people against the oil industry and you were part of that.

STEVENS: Look, he might have done something wrong. You know, obviously he admits he did. You know. But I maintain my innocence, big man. I was working for the state of Alaska. I was pushing the governor's bill.

FAGAN: So when Bill Allen says that he paid you ... You, you think he's doing that just to save ...

STEVENS: Bill Allen will do anything at this point.

The Unholy Demon-Child Stevens (R) keeps calling Fagan "Big Man," which seems a little less like pushiness and a little more like borderline personality disorder. (Note to Fagan: Alas! the poor, blameless oil industry! Please. ) A reminder to our non-frontier brethern: Little Stevens is the guy who took $700,000 (you read that right) for his work as the Honorary Chairman of the 2001 Special Olympics. There is only one word for this service: Special.

It will take many years for Alaska - which is not yet grasping the ramifications to public and private investment - to recover from this clusterfuck of sleazebaggery, but only if the bribed of all parties come clean. If not, it will become decades, it will fester, and Alaskans will gain a unshakable and unfortunately deserved reputation.

September 27, 2007

Sexy Rexy Sits Down

Dr. X posts this from the new, improved, Soldier Field:

"Ah, where to begin. Here, I guess: our long national nightmare is over...Rex Grossman is grabbing some bench. Brian Griese starts Sunday.

"He had his defenders. Dr. Z said it wasn't all his fault (the Bears have lousy receivers). John Madden said a few gentle words in his defense last week (perhaps to atone for comparing him to Favre, Grossman's idol, last year).

"But, at the time of his benching, Grossman was, as he had been throughout 2006, one of the least effective quarterbacks in football. Football Outsiders ranked his value-per-play this season (VOA in their jargon) 32nd out of 35 ranked QBs. On their total value measure, points-above-replacement (PAR), he ranked 34th. Last year they had him 31st on PAR and 33rd on VOA.

"His NFL quarterback rating YTD is 45.2. In 2006 it was 73.9, lower than 50 other NFL quarterbacks. His IAYPAs have been bottom quintile for as long as he has been starting.

"Now of course, you say, this isn't baseball or backgammon. The NFL is a hard-nosed foot-ball league, and a man can be better than his statistics. You'd better do a reality check and talk to some real foot-ball players before passing judgment.

"Well, yes. Steve Young was on KNBR last night (Grossman topic starts around 6:00), and offered some thoughts on the subject:
  • 'It's brutal...'
  • '[In the Super Bowl] he throws the big pick... I don't think he even looked... the corner catches it like a fair catch... and I'm watching Rex Grossman - and he just stands there! ... The Championship's on the line - you could tackle him ... and he stands there!'
  • 'He can't concentrate because it's a holiday... You can tell he's just...flippant about stuff. It's like look, I play quarterback in the NFL, yeah, I whip the ball around a little bit, take it as it comes, yeah that's fine with me... '
"Well, ok, I grant you, Steve Young could be a bitter man - bitter, mean, and biased. (By the way, they tell me KNBR - the 68,000 watt flamethrower - is so powerful you can hear it in Hawaii.)

"But Young has a point. This is show biz, too. Screwing up is one thing - but not caring, that's a sin. Chicago hasn't seen a great quarterback in 50 years, so that's not what kills the fans. But that's a town where most men would give their left nut to put on the pads and play for the Bears. They take their football serious. And this guy just didn't seem to care.

"Perhaps we are being too harsh. Rex is young, but surely not without potential. His arm reminds some observers of a young Jeff George. Perhaps he'll be back soon? Let's ask someone who knows Rex Grossman well, a columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times:
The only football guy in America shocked by Rex's demotion was, well, Rex. He still thinks he's getting the job back soon, which Lovie Smith shot down in saying the position is Griese's until further notice. ''I was surprised. There's frustration,'' Grossman said. ''The frustrating part is, I know this offense is closer. I wish I could be the one pulling the trigger.''

Instead this week marks the merciful end of the Rex-periment, a mammoth failure that took years off the lives of fans. His demotion means that once again, the NFL's charter franchise has flopped in attempts to groom its first franchise QB. You can count Jim McMahon, but he couldn't stay healthy. You can count Sid Luckman, but he played in the leather helmet days. Continuing a particularly hideous line of recent stinkery that has included Cade McNown, Chad Hutchinson and Jonathan Quinn, Grossman was given every opportunity to make it big despite his short stature and inability to think on his feet.

The agony is over. A man has taken over the position.

"And yet, the Chicago Bears, with this guy at quarterback, almost won the world championship of football. (Has there ever been a Super Bowl team with a worse player at the QB position?) Grossman is a free agent next year, and The Globe and Mail reports, one can wonder if he even has a future in the game:

Compound an adversarial relationship with the fans and media, a reputation for partying and the kinds of mistakes Grossman makes and you've got your recipe for disaster...

A year ago, the Bears were the second best scoring team in the NFL - albeit many of those points came through defence and special teams - and were battling the Colts until the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl game.

Is it really possible for a 26-year-old quarterback to go from that stage to being out of football in a little more than a year?

He's about to find out.


September 26, 2007

Another Worth Watching

Dr. X posts this from Run Run Shaw's place:

"Hong Kong film is not dead. As Lao Tzu noted, stuff happens, things change. Good things end, making us sad. Bad things end, making us feel better.

"In that sense, current HK film is only a disappointment for those who cling to the memory of the golden era which arguably never existed. In 1997 people told me Hong Kong had been over for a decade. Today they tell me the same thing. But of the 103 best Chinese movies selected in 2005, 11 were made after 1997.

"There are still good Hong Kong films. Unlike Hollywood, where the signal/noise ratio is veering toward zero, you can still catch a recent HK film, enjoy it, and be challenged by it. Allow me to enter into evidence tonight's viewing, 2006's My Name is Fame (available on Netflix... LoveHKFilm review is here).

"It's nothing complicated. Lau Ching-Wan, a skilled but under-recognized actor in his 40s, plays a skilled but under-recognized actor in his 40s. In the twilight of his career, he plays Svengali to an ambitious but under-coached young actress (the smoking hot Huo Siyan). Of course she becomes successful, of course he falls in love with her, and of course she leaves him.

"That would be enough, but there is more, and it is good.

"The movie is an extended meditation on the trials of an artistic life and the simple twin virtues of sincerity and persistence. (This is not a cynical movie, so we don't have to visit the dark place occupied by Ed Wood, where sincerity and persistence are cast as handmaidens to willful incompetence.)

"At the end Lau delivers this succinct manifesto:

No matter what you think of me,
good or bad
I'd still give my all for my every effort.

To present that it's right when
it's not and turning a blind eye...
I can't do that.

Not then, not now,
and not in the future.

So, regardless of what you think,
I know I'm good.

"In 2006, the picture won Lau his first Hong Kong Film Award."

I am a Very Important Person, and the Situation is Dire Indeed

A good collection of the Tim Young's work has now been published at the Shunpiker Wiki page.

Poems here.

Prose here.

Quoting here from "How Not to Start a Cult."

"Look," she said, "We are on the Titanic, and we are going down. We are all going down together, get it? Now you can be one of those dumbasses running into the staterooms, stuffing their pockets with valuables, or you can be like that guy who just got into one of the boats reserved for women and children and refused to get out.."

She paused and took my hands in hers, fixing me with her hazel eyes, "Or you can be like the members of that glorious band. The ones who kept playing music through the mayhem....kept pumping out beauty even when they knew all was lost. Now who do you want to be?"

I took a deep breath, kissed her hands, and said, "Couldn't I just be one of those Swedish guys in the movie? They lost their tickets in the poker game, and never made it on the boat." She punched me in the arm, hard.

Claire did have a scheme for raising some funds for the cult. We had to cover printing costs, cat food, and donuts, after all. She had recently returned from a trip to Bangkok, and had brought back a big bag of enormous, brightly colored hats made by mountain tribes in the north. They had little beads around the crown, a large star pattern on the top, and in the center a tiny tassel that stood straight up at attention. They were beautiful.

Claire's idea was to sell them on the internet as anti-depressant devices. She had printed up an instruction pamphlet that read as follows:

 When one is feeling glum, blue or downcast, or if the situation seems particularly
desperate, bleak or hopeless, do the following:
 1) Enter a room with a large mirror and a straight backed chair facing it. (Nota bene:
standing in front of the bathroom mirror may be used if this is the only option.)
2) Dim the lights, or light candles.
3) Sit in front of the large mirror with the Hat on your lap.
4) With back straight, eyes focused on the mirror, slowly place the Hat on your head.
(Here Claire had drawn a diagram with arrows showing precisely how this move was to
be executed.
5) Then say the following: "I am a very serious and important person, and the situation
is dire indeed."
6) Keep the Hat on for as long as required.
7) One may repeat this treatment as often as needed with no side effects, other than a
drastic deflation of ego and a radical realignment of priorities.

We sold out in a week.

I've had a lot of great friends. Few were genuine wizards, fewer still Kali worshippers. Almost none were closeted lemurs. I am reading these poems today- and they recall me to my duty to Art in a country where the lawyers outnumber the poets 50-1.

What is this duty? Paint bright beauties hopelessly on infected wounds. Cut, to heal.

This position was of course disproved by rigorous criticism long ago. Tim would say: Hail, Rigorous Critic! Have some pie!*

A contributor to this blog described our late friend very well: if any man alive could have gotten him to believe in God, it would have been Tim.

Last year, The Viceroy and I performed a small funeral ceremony for Tim at the mouth of the Elwah on the Olympic Pennisula. It began in town when we went to the Dollar Store for supplies. ( I have often commented that the Dollar Store - or any craft store - occupies a place between the living and the dead. It seemed appropriate.)

We found a basket, filled with candles and honorary items. Among these was the Power Bear - the Viceroy's secret sports totem, a small reflective key chain aluminum and plastic Safety Bear, with it's secret words.

We walked out to the mouth of the Elwah river, hiking to the bellow of the digeridoo. We launched the basket into the river, drank a surprisingly good bottle of ordinary wine, dumped another into the green waters. Not the Ganges, but he'd been there already, in flames on the pyre of the cleansing fires of Kali.

It stayed a while, caught in whirlpool, unwilling to leave until it's flame extinguished. A friend later pointed out that the digeridoo calls the spirit close. I do not believe in spirits.

It ended with a joke - a pickup truck pulled up on the far bank playing Aerosmith. Maybe it was Journey. Some bloated classic rock. A joke. Jocko-serious, a phrase I learned from Tim.

The Serious Joke.

*Declare your own holiday.
Eat pie.
Have phone sex with a friend
while eating pie.
Tell the truth when it
scares you
just for the thrill of it,
then have some more pie.
Dream up a different
festival for tomorrow
and the day after that,
but always include pie.

September 24, 2007

Admit It, You Wondered About Picasso Collaborating

Picasso remained in Paris during the Nazi occupation; although a supporter of the French Communist party in later life, people have wondered why he wasn't dragged off to the camps.

Not a Resistance fighter himself, this Independent story on war-era letters suggests that he took considerable risks to support the French Resistance.

Part of the general story is that even the Nazis, dragging off minor poets along with everyone else to Auschwitz, were sensitive to criticism about killing world-famous artists.

September 22, 2007

Rainy Day Music

Dr. X posts this from a damp pumpkin patch in Mountain View:

"As we did not note here the passing of either Pavarotti or James Brown, let us rectify that by linking to their 2002 duet in Modena."

September 21, 2007

Review: A Man Like Me

Dr. X posts this from that quiet part of the human soul that still believes in the possibility of love:

"The package finally arrived today. After three years of blind alleys, and not-quite-complete cash wire transfers to Reykjavik, I finally obtained a DVD of the seminal Icelandic comedy, A Man Like Me. I had expected major compatibility problems with a Euro DVD, but it turns out the wife's new Hewlett-Packard laptop can play it with no trouble.

"My particular interest in A Man Like Me is threefold.

"First, Iceland is to Alaska as Bakersfield is to Tijuana. It is very similar to our homeland, but, one imagines, our homeland might do a little better if it tried to be a little more Icelandic. We are the wild, dumb, kid. Iceland has already produced a Nobel Prize-winner in literature. And, like its literary scene, the Icelandic film industry has quietly become a small but respected creative contributor to global culture.

"Second, A Man Like Me is an example of a new kind of movie, one which imports stars from other contexts, and, by transposing - or should I say transplanting - them, challenges the presuppositions of their home markets while creating interesting opportunities for creative ferment by making their old skills new for a new audience. In this case the cultural interloper is Chinese - the Estimable Stephanie Che Yuen-Yuen, who performed so brilliantly in the evergreen Hong Kong TV hit The Virtues of Harmony. We have praised her in this space before, so there is no need to belabor the point that she is a skilled, attractive, thoughtful, sensitive, and nuanced interpreter of roles that in lesser hands melt like snowflakes into thin air. Never the star, she nonetheless always brings a strong presence to supporting roles, particularly those, for some reason, which feature her as a designing person intent upon killing someone. That said, she is very capable in other roles, from ingenue to femme fatale, and everything in between. Nothing is lacking in her performances, and her addition to this cast must be seen as a complete coup.

"Third, the movie addresses some fundamental questions about masculinity in a way that certainly speaks to me, and, I suspect to others in our group. The protagonist, capably played by Icelandic comic institution Jón Gnarr, is a ne'er-do-well who finds himself in sort of a slacker mid-life crisis, prompted by an encounter with the Estimable Stephanie Che Yuen-Yuen, and catalyzed by a work of collaborative analysis with his friends culminating in the decision rule: 'what would Sylvester Stallone do?'

"Although predictably spotty in some areas of finish and production, and not the type of film that overwhelms moderate expectations, it nonetheless is a very worthwhile effort, and one everyone who reads this blog should see. You can order it direct over the Internet here. Don't worry, they'll handle the Dollar-Króna thing for you.

"I will post some additional thoughts after I have watched the movie."

[UPDATE: It's actually quite good. A bit sentimental and perhaps it has a bit too much in the middle, but, hey, don't we all.]

[UPDATE UPDATE: Transposed, not transplanted. The word I wanted there was transposed. Or maybe transpositioned? Transubstantiated is too grand and promises too much. What I'm after is that connotation of alchemical reaction from the introduction albeit transient of a potent but unstable new catalyst that transforms the familiar into something rich and strange...I guess trans is the wrong prefix...too mechanistic...let me get back to you on that...]

On Yur Fon, Taping Yur Bribes

FBI Taped Stevens Calls

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September 20, 2007

Dennis Wolfberg

Dr. X posts this from Comic Strip Live:

"Thanks to Meebo, we have established that some of you are not familiar with the work of the late Dennis Wolfberg, one of the finest standup comedians of the late 80s and early 90s.

"Wolfberg was renowned as a technician, and I had forgotten until I saw these clips how detailed his routines were. That's not to say he was over-rehearsed, but he was a professional comedian. He didn't crack up at his own jokes, or forget punchlines, or come on stage drunk. He had an immense body of material, and every show was a different mix. I saw him with friends in Boston in '93 or '94 and we laughed so hard my sides literally ached the next day.

"On with the show:

"Warmup - The Bris
"One Night Stand - Part 1 Part 2 Part 3"

Ride With Mitch

Dr. X posts this from the Laff Shack:

"Mitch Hedburg was funny. Some quotes here. Some video here."


Dr. X post this from the South Side of Chicago:

"I was just wondering, for some reason, about Jim Croce. I hadn't thought about him for a long time. Turns out there's a lot on Youtube ("Operator" here). Good article on Wikipedia, too (here).

"He died 34 years ago, today."

Alaska Republicans: The Pilaichuat Party

From a comment on the coverage of the Kott trial in Anchorage, which is revealing the ingrained corruption of Alaska.

"The Inupaat have a term for those that get caught doing something and then try to deny doing it:'Pilaichuat'. "

A Brief Comment

Dr. X posts this from the Palo Alto chapter of Apolitical Anonymous:

"I don't have strong views on most policy matters, but I would like to note here that this latest decison is, in my opinion, a serious error in judgment by the current administration. A seriously stupid, asinine, inane, petty, and fucked-up piece of horseshit policy from people who have made horseshit policy their stock in trade.

"What do Schwarzenegger and Spitzer have in common? They're in favor of expanding the program. But what do the governors of New York, California, and 28 other states know?

"Some day, on Trent Lott's porch:
"- What did you do when you were President?
"- Well, I did my level best to keep poor kids from getting basic medical care. Didn't want to do it. I felt I...owed it to them."

Uh Oh


That New Kid

Dr. X posts this from Maracaibo Stadium:

"My practiced eye tells me this young talent, Kerlon, will be good. The story so far, here.

"AP story on the pros and cons of the 'seal dribble', here."

September 19, 2007

Aye, There Be Sometime A Bit of Progress

Over 49 years, there has been a fairly amazing reversal in American attitudes towards interracial marriage.

2007: 79% approve.

Comparable, 1958: 4% approve.

Score one for the human heart.

Timmy Revealed


You Know, For Kids

Dr. X posts this from Hodges' Café:

"Children's books don't get much better than Dodsworth in New York. It's interesting, funny, written perfectly for beginning readers, and beautifully illustrated. Highly recommended."

Pirate Talk Expressions For the Office

I know it's hard, but it is talk like a Pirate Day. Try not to say "Arr," instead go with any salty expression that comes to and sex it up with a little quasi Middle English.

This year, I recommend appropriate expressions for common office situations. Aye.


Getting someone to fetch a round of coffee:

"Where's that half-weaned intern, skylarking in the mizzentop? Ahoy! You there, whelk! 'Vast that sea-stare at the quarterdeck like a lugubrious grouper, and down the stores for coffee, hot, black and fast, and if I taste Raspberry I'll have yer good arm for a stern lantern! And shake a leg, there!"

Noticing a "muffintop: "

"Tighten up yer lines, there, lass, abaft the mizzen - yer petticoats is running free, and ye look like a ha'penny Bristol hartlot on twice-rations."

Answering the Telephone:

"Ahoy! What ship is that?"

And When they say "What?" Reply: "Show yer flag or heave-to and prepare be boarded."

When they say "What?" again,

Say "Last, chance, matey. Loosen yer tongue or eats ye a blue broadside of grape and chain, the devil's own waisters on yer deck, and a bloodthirsty gang of the kind of soddomites who ain't thar fer ye color samples!"

When handing a "TPS report" to your boss.

"There's yer signs and scratching's, ye gelded quill-idler! Ye've got me off soundings and tossed me quadrant to the nines! Curse ye for this wench's work, and damn yer assistant Cindy for a molasses-gobbling bilge-varmint!

When Windows fails for any reason:

"Lucifier's love-handles! We've misses stays on a lee cape and she's blown all aback! Helm a-larboard! To the catheads and drop anchor! Move ye sea-slugs! I'll take yer bones for belaying pins! (I did? Well, then.) To the starboard sheets! Axes to the larboard tacks!

At this point, take out an axe and methodically destroy your computer. You may now say:


Aye, time to pay Poseidon's share! Break the rum casks, lads, sing yer bastard hearts forgotten! We been done by, boys, and down the sea we go! "

September 17, 2007

IAYPA Update

Dr. X posts this from outside the offices of Football Outsiders:

"This year's IAYPA leader: LaDainian Tomlinson, with an IAYPA of 17.0. Granted, it was just one attempt, but he did complete it, and it did go for a TD.

"For players with more than five attempts, the top five are Jeff Garcia (10.3), Romo (9.1), Brady (8.9), David Garrard of your Jacksonville Jaguars (8.7), and the much-maligned Matt Hasselbeck (8.4). Garrard, BTW, also tore it up in preseason.

"But my question is: who is playing poorly, who also has a backup who played well in preseason?

"Surprisingly, I don't see too many situations where the QB is going to get the quick hook. There really are no surprises among the bottom performers - they're either guys who've always been bad (Rex Grossman) or guys who have just won the job and are seeing what real NFL defenses are like (Tarvaris Jackson).

"Perhaps Oakland, where Culpepper played ok in preseason and Josh McCown has not started well. On the numbers, Culpepper was an average NFL quarterback when Miami let him go. Average would be way better than what Oakland saw last year or has seen so far this year.

"Meanwhile Grossman has perfected the Bush strategy for survival - his backups are Griese (apparently is the victim of a Biblical curse forbidding him to ever start at quarterback) and the infamous Kyle Orton.

"Finally, let's light a candle for Joey Harrington, who has already been sacked 13 times this season."

So That's How He Does It...



you're welcome

Dear Santa

I know I said that this year I wanted a miniature pony. But I just saw this on youtube and I'd like to ammend my request.

September 16, 2007

Mother of All Blind Items Update

Dr. X posts this from his dressing room:

"Which award-winning actress of the past 50 years was really a man? This link brings you up to date. Some good guesses here. Did you get your t-shirt?

"Of the three candidates I originally mentioned, two - Kay Kendall and Judy Holliday - have been eliminated. The third, Alice Brady, hasn't been 'notted', but the hints suggest it isn't her either.

"Which, after reams of research and thousands of comments probably leaves us back at square one. The reveal will be sometime next week."

[Update 9/17 - Look like the AB train is getting ready to leave the station...]

Reference Point for Shooters


But What Do They Know?

Mayo Clinic Urges Universal Health Insurance

September 15, 2007

The Best Movie of the Decade


Hurry Up and Die

Dr. X posts this from Santa Cruz:

"Is out of money."

et tu, Alan?


Throwdown! Ted Stevens vs. Sleepy Kitten

Sleepy Kitten.

Ted Stevens.

Be sure to vote.

If It's This Cheap Being Self-Righteous, I'll take a Container Load

Sen. Ted Stevens was bribed. Flat out. By an oil company. At minimum, they rebuilt his house. They cut him in on real estate deals, had him find Native Alaskan fronts for sleazy defense contractors. Big Oil's best buddy. He took this all illegal privilege, and if he thought anything of this privilege, he thought it his fair due. Yet he was screaming all the while at the unfairness of his treatment, at the venality of people working modestly to stop the destruction of the earth, calling war opponents traitors, shrieking and ranting and whining and insulting and bullying all challengers.

Senator Stevens is a not a cheap felon. He is an expensive felon. The whole planet will bear the cost of his ceaseless, decades-long work to save gigantic energy multinationals from any responsibility for global environmental degradation. He can take all the credit he wants for building the redneck welfare state, the one where the myopic privileged reap most of the welfare. The Alaska he built spends less on higher education that before oil, sports a huge, bullying culture of public corruption, and recently featured the fastest growing child poverty in the United States. Ted Stevens took the palace of the wilderness and built a whorehouse. That Alaska is a now an international joke, notable even in a great nation that has lost the world's respect, is substantially his doing.

But the worst damage is that many Alaskans still can't* see the problem, still stick up for this troll, because this churning political cesspool has become normal.

Criminality in public office is the worst of crimes, because the damage to others is magnified immensely. Ted Stevens is a criminal, and the fact he has not resigned in disgrace is the strongest evidence of his absence of honor.

Ted's a WWII vet. I'd like to ask him if this was the system of government he fought for. I'd like to ask him if he really believes that putting the interest of multinationals ahead of his state and his nation in any way constitutes patriotism. I'd like to ask why doesn't he get the hell out of the way, and let his grandkids' generation try to get the train back on the tracks.

The answer is that Ted Stevens has an inexhaustible love of Ted Stevens.

Ted Stevens has brought decades of shame on the once great state of Alaska. But Alaska has yet to recognize it's own collective shame.

*(Of course, Can't lives on Won't Street.)

September 13, 2007

I'll See Your Third Man and Raise You...

Dr. X posts this from Los Robles:

"Touch of Evil opening shot
"(more here)

"As the man said: 'A policeman's job is only easy in a police state.'

Art Project?


How to Pitch a Movie: Odenkirk vs. Odenkirk


September 12, 2007

Forward With NOAA

If I were back in college, I’d seriously consider a career in the NOAA Corp. For those of you who don’t know me well, I work for a small division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or “NOAA”. Most of us know NOAA when a hurricane or tornado hits, but NOAA does allot of other stuff including management of coastal waters, fisheries and sanctuaries, oceanic studies and general “sciency” things, including fun with submarines!. I manage a small computer network. But the most interesting and least known field within NOAA has got to be the NOAA Corp.

In order to accomplish their mission, NOAA maintains a fleet of ships and a group of officers to manage them. The NOAA Corp cadets are trained at The U. S. Merchant Marine Acedamy in Kings Point, New York. They have their own fight song! (lyrics here) They wear uniforms, salute and have ranks similar to the Navy. The NOAA Corp even maintains a website were interested people can track their ships as they conduct SCIENCE! A friend of mine servers on the Oscar Dyson stationed in Kodiak, Ak. Looking at the ship tracker, I hope he brought his mittens!

So three cheers and a huzzah for the NOAA Corp, a military branch for pacifists.

September 11, 2007

$500 For the Video

I hold onto to my opinion that odd news is the lowest form of blogging.


BOGOTA (Reuters) - A karate academy was not the best target for a robbery, a Colombian thief found when his attempt got the chop from practicing students, police said on Friday.

The robber was recovering in a hospital in Santander province north of Bogota after the martial artists used their combat skills and took away his gun.

"An individual entered a martial arts school with a firearm but they managed to react, put their knowledge to use and disarmed him," Santander police commander Col. Julio Cesar Santoyo told local Caracol radio.

What I like to imagine is the moment precisely after the gunman has made his threat, but slightly before the first student realizes the true situation.

The Third Man

The shooting script for The Third Man, what is increasingly becoming my favorite movie .)

Incredibly taut, hilarious, atmospheric, and morally frightening; and a testament in itself to the paradox of all movies: film glorifies it's subject - as it does friendship. The latter paradox drives the movie. Yet try to watch this place full of desperation, danger, murder, betrayal, people grubbing a tenuous life out of rubble with only the possibility of things getting worse to look forward to, and not want to visit Vienna.

Especially as the plot is hardly abstract, even today.

Which reminds me, I need that hat.

September 08, 2007

"Goodbye, Mr. Flatfoot!"

A relative sends along a deeply silly Hal Roach comedy short from 1931, "High Gear," with my Dad's cousin, Betty Bolen, as the smart alec girl at the breakfast table and general instigator of trouble. Roach was often a director for Laurel and Hardy.

September 06, 2007

Two News Items

Dr. X posts this from Al Davis's office:

"1) Matt Hasselbeck met with President Bush last week and declared him an 'Honorary Seahawk'.

"2) In an unrelated development, Matt Hasselbeck has been cut from the Semi-Seahawks, and the team has been renamed Occam's Razors.

"Go All-Blacks!"

The NFL Jumps the Shark

Dr. X posts this from The Ring of Fire:

"The NFL has come to this. We have got to find a new sport."

September 05, 2007

Pastrana on the Fly

Dr. X posts this from the X-Dome:

"The latest X-Games were not without sporting interest. Here, Travis Pastrana executes the first double backflip on a motorcycle. Here is some video of his practice sessions."

September 04, 2007

Achtung Flanker!

Dr. X posts this from Heinz Guderian Stadium at Stanford University:

"This must be true, because it is on The Internet:
[Stanford football coach] Shaughnessy was fond of quoting General Douglas MacArthur, who said that the training on the athletic field provided much of the courage, mental agility and physical development necessary for combat. But one military hero of Shaughnessy’s was one he didn’t tell anyone for many years after World War II. But he adapted some of his strategies to the football field in the late 1930s. He didn’t even tell his players where he got his ideas. That was because his hero was a Nazi general named Heinz Guderian, who revolutionized land warfare with the panzer-led blitzkrieg that brought about the fall of France.

"More here."

September 03, 2007

Now That the Campaign is Underway

Dr. X posts this from the Chartreuse Zone:

"The following was originally posted on another site, November 13, 2004. I believe the questions posed at the end of the post should be asked of all candidates in the coming election, and waffling, dissembling, casuistry &c. should be dealt with harshly:


"For those of you who view the U.S. presence in Iraq as an indefensible Republican adventure, I suggest to you that Bill Clinton would also have pursued this war, and has, in fact, defended Bush's decision to undertake it:

"Moreover, Clinton's former CIA director James Woolsey has argued that Saddam Hussein was complicit in the first World Trade Center bombing, and in 2002 said "Iraq can only be dealt with effectively by military action... Iraq is like Hitler's Germany in the mid-1930s. There's no sense waiting, as the situation will only get worse." That's not Dick Cheney, people, that's a Democratic appointee.

"Note also that Kerry did not run against the war, he ran against Bush's handling of it. One of the keys to his platform was getting Europe and the rest of the world more involved.

"The involvement of Britain is also a bit of a tipoff - Tony Blair is not a member of the Republican party.

"So, my question is this. Which of the following options do you think the U.S. should now adopt?:

1) Pull out of Iraq and leave it to its fate
2) Energetically fight the insurgents and try to stabilize the country
3) Retreat to our bases and let the Iraqi government try to handle things
4) ???

"And please don't suggest we turn this over to the UN. The UN has a horrific track record, as the survivors of this situation can attest:

"And their current performance in Darfur is not inspiring.

"It's easy enough to vilify this administration, and God knows they have earned the disrespect of millions, but seriously, what do you think America should do?"

September 02, 2007

Investigational Exhibits

Dr. X posts this from the top-secret Hollywood X-Files archives:

"Herewith, a few bits of evidence...

"Some analysts see, in this Kay Kendall clip, fake boobs, big feet, and an Adam's apple. Her voice certainly could be a man's.

"Others note that this picture of Alice Brady and this picture do not appear to be of the same woman. Perhaps Timmy, working on the road and on the west coast where no one knew better, took the bio a New York silent film girl?

"...or...could Josephine Hull have, it couldn't be..."

When the Cupcake Bites Back

Dr. X posts this from the Ohio State Alumnae Club of Palo Alto:

"After losing the most important game in the history of the school last year, and in so doing failing to honor the memory of their recently-deceased coach Bo Schembechler, you could see how Michigan's football program might have lost a little momentum coming into this season.

"They may have had that in mind when they put the schedule together. They decided to open at home against a relatively weak opponent - er, a very weak opponent - that is, an opponent that does not play Division I-A football.

"That is correct. The #5 ranked Michigan Wolverines - America's winningest college team, playing in the largest stadium (capacity: 109,000) - opened their season against the unranked Division I-AA Mountaineers of Appalachian State University.

"And lost.

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"This is momentous. It was the first time in history a Division I-AA team had beaten a school ranked in the top 25. For those of you who are not up-to-date on American college football - and trust me, there's no reason to be - the World Cup equivalent would be Estonia taking down Brazil.

"The Detroit Free Press
reports that the Wolverines' season is essentially over, and demands the head of the Head Coach. The New York Times is at Appalachian State University for reaction (here). The Ann Arbor News fan reaction story is here (don't miss the part about the seven year old boy whose heart was broken at his first Michigan game). The ESPN in-depth analysis is here. The Youtube taunting is here.

"Reminds me of something Wilt Chamberlain once said - 'no one roots for Goliath.' There is some truth to that. The Michigan football dorm, with its capuccino makers, and massage beds, and cheerleaders on speed-dial, must be a sad and lonely place right now. As I reflect on it, I realize I am unable to form even the remotest twinge of sympathy for Michigan. They scheduled a cupcake, and the cupcake kicked their ass."

September 01, 2007

Greatest Blind Item Ever

Dr. X posts this from Sunset Boulevard:

"Like many people, I have seen the Intertubes change my life. And if I had to point to one thing that is utterly indispensable, and maddeningly addicting, it would be Blind Item Rehash, which I have been following in its various forms since the late 90's.

"A blind item, of course, is a salacious story about a famous person, usually in the entertainment industry. The only catch is, the subject of the story is not named. As with haiku, there are many practitioners and few masters. The reigning Blind Item King is probably Ted Casblanca, whose bitchy and wittily-worded bon mots appear on E! Online.

"Ted's forte seems to be needling closeted gay stars, although he also effectively covers the celebutard beat, particularly a not-so-hard-to-guess Miss "Morgan Mayhem". But, despite his apparently limitless supply of gay pillow talk and teen trainwreck stories, Ted doesn't get the really really good stuff. For that job, you want Entertainment Lawyer.

"Entertainment Lawyer's blind items take a while to set up - sometimes the situation's complicated - but some of the stories are amazing. And this one is The Topper. I don't care who named the Space Needle - I want to know who Timmy was, and I want to know now. EL says he'll reveal the answer around Christmas.

"In the meantime - clarifications from EL and many comments from blind item buffs here.

"Some guesses:
"Alice Brady - Won Oscar for In Old Chicago in 1937, supposed to have died in 1939.
"Kaye Kendall - Won Golden Globe for Les Girls in 1957, supposed to have died in 1959.

"Whomever 'Timmy' turns out to be...damn!"

[Update - All the cool kids are working on this problem here. Guys: It wasn't Mary Pickford! One intriguing guess is here...though the son and grave need explaining...]