Sunday, August 26, 2007
  I Just Lost a Buck...To Myself
Yeah, I haven't written in a while. Things have been so god-damned busy, I haven't even had a chance to think of witty stuff to write, let alone write it.

So, I'm going to plow through something here. Hope sense makes it.
This Michael Vick thing.

This thing, as his dad calls it.

I'm not sure what the to think. But with a little luck, it will go the route of rampant steroid use among baseball players and take a fast departure from the headlines. But before that, TLBR will take a rather unorganized look at it:

Personally, I think dog fighting is horrible. I have a dog - a terrific Irish setter who likes to eat, sleep, poop, sleep, play in the backyard, and sleep. She wouldn't be much of a fighter, but I'd hate to think of some of the terrible things that these dog fighting trainers put their canines through.

Then again, most of the time, the dogs are pit bulls. And they're not real cuddly and fun to play with, unless you like teeth marks and gashes in your extremities.

And for the folks who will claim that the Vick case is being pursued because of racial, not quite. It's a felony in 48 states. And, as Howard Bryant pointed out this morning on ESPN's The Sports Reporters, Utah and Wyoming are the only two states in which it's not a felony...not states known for their ethnic diversity.

Other folks will try to explain that dog fighting is a Southern cultural thing. And even more folks will point out its connection to the hip-hop generation of professional athletes.

Not quite.

The animal activism lobby - PETA and the ASPCA - are strong, loud, and often a bit off-kilter. As many have written or expressed in various mediums - locally, Jim Donaldson in the Providence Journal - why can't people have the same element of charity and desire to help humans as they do animals? If there was a dog and a man and they both got hit by cars while trying to cross a busy road, there'd be fundraisers and outreach to help defray veteranary costs. The man? Who cares? He doesn't have fur.

And the cynic in me thinks that if it were Peyton Manning, and not Michael Vick, involved in dog fighting, it'd be sponsored by Sprint and Mastercard. ESPN would air "The World Series of Dog Fighting, sponsored by Petco." And at the end, KeySpan or National Grid would sponsor the "Big Buzz" at the end, when the losing dog gets electrocuted.

As for the "will Vick play again?" line of questioning, that again opens a Pandora's Box. It is only now - when his Q rating is lower than an axle buried in the ground - that people are viewing Vick for what he actually is: a shitty quarterback. Sure, he's a great athlete and rushed for 1,000 yards once, and the Falcons won 12 games once, and they went to the NFC Championship or something... But suffice to say, in 2005, when I heard that Vick was out and Matt Schaub in for the Atlanta/New England game, I knew the Pats were in for it. They'd face a team with a decent QB who'd play within the framework of the offense.

Jim Brown, the former Cleveland Brown great, answered the question of Vick's future with a question of his own: why are people focusing on his playing career, when they should be focusing on his incarceration and rehabilitation?

And then there's the NFL and Roger Goodell and the Atlanta Falcons and Arthur Blank. Goodell wants a pound of flesh (as opposed to fur). Blank would start Vick in the season opener if he were allowed to.

Whew, there it is in a nutshell. Onto more important sports issues.
The magic number is at 25.

And the Red Sox/Yankee series coming up from Tuesday-Thursday should be a doozy. Dice-K and Pettitte on Tuesday. Josh Beckett vs. his idol, Roger Clemens on Wednesday. And then on Thursday, Curt Schilling and Chien Ming Wang (aka, the Taiwanese Kevin Brown) If the Yankees win tomorrow and sweep the series, they'll be four games out. The same distance they were a week ago. Spinning their wheels ain't gonna get it done.

If they were to lose tomorrow and the Sox sweep, it would mark an 11-game lead in the series - their largest lead over 2nd place in the AL East since June (approximately).

Anything in between, and it favors the Sox. The only thing that favors the Yanks is a sweep.
Is there anything unfunnier than Carlos Mencia?

Ok, that's it.

Bed time. Hope to get to a point where I'm writing more.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007
  Sawbuck Lists
You loved 'em back in the day, so they return.

The Mid-August installation of the TLBR Top 5ers.

Let's kick it off with something that happened the other day in the car (no, not that)

Top Five Amazing Songs that the Trusty iPod gave me upon turning it one (one short of a Chase Wright consective bomb drop)
*and this is in order
1. All Things Must Pass, George Harrison
2. Kathy's Song, Simon & Garfunkel
3. Fools Gold, Stone Roses
4. Most Likely You'll Go Your Way and I'll Go Mine, Bob Dylan
5. Shipbuilding, Elvis Costello

Top Five Least Favorite Scott Boras Clients (at the moment)
1. JD Drew
2. Alex Rodriguez
3. Craig Hansen
4. Kevin Brown
5. Eric Gagne

Top Five Scott Boras Clients I Like (at the moment)
1-5. Varitek is 8-for-his-last-37 (.216), so no one (at the moment)

Top Five Jobs I'd Like to See Karl Rove Try
1. Miner in Utah
2. Miner in West Virginia
3. Chinese toothpaste taster
4. Hot dog cart, Darfur
5. Chew toy for one of Mike Vick's pit bulls

Ok, that's it for now. Need to find some creativity somewhere.

This whole blogger's block thing blows. (holy alliteration, Batman)

  Gooooooooooooooooooooooood Afternoon, Everybody! How are you today????
Classic impression of Mad Dog.

For contrast and comparison sake, here is the actual rant on WFAN. (I miss WFAN. I can't believe I just said that.)
Sunday, August 12, 2007
  Mea Culpa
When the deal was made to bring Eric Gagne to Boston a little more than a week ago, the good folks here at TLBR were particularly tickled with the notion that the AL East race would be over.

Red Sox games would now become academic, with starters taking it through the 7th, and the bullpen shutting the door in the 8th and 9th.

The good folks here at TLBR - and Yawkey Way - were wrong.

Way wrong.

And, with the results of the day (8/12 @ Baltimore), it's more like way back.
Entering today's game, the former NL Cy Young winning closer had compiled a 16.20 earned run average. Today, Miguel Tejada (he of the former AL MVP Tejada's) launched a 3-2 pitch that was belt buckle high, laser-measure middle of the plate into the left centerfield stands. From 3-1 to 3-3.

And since Camden Yards assumed its three-day role as Red Sox fan vacationland, Gagne heard it from the Fenway South Faithful. For us here at TLBR, Gagne is fast rising to the top of our "Beloved Aunt" List.

It took a game that, in the 8th inning, had all the feelings of a well-deserved win for Curt Schilling and set it up for Kevin Shampooing Millar to win it on a three-run shot in the 10th off Kyle Snyder. (And why was it Kyle Snyder? Why not Papelbon? Win with your best. Snyder was available for the 12th, 13th, 14th, what the shampoo ever...)
I recognize the need for the move. Okajima is quickly approaching the career-high for innings pitched in his career, and heaven forbid Papelbon throws more than an inning or two a week.

Manny Delcarmen is up and down, but for the most part has been consistent. Mike Timlin's got his moments.

On paper, Gagne was a no-brainer. Now putting him into any game in which there's a remote chance he'll shampoo it up (read: ever) is just foolish managing. Tito needs to put him into the role of Joel Piniero, even if it means bumping Julian Tavarez off of it.
So entering tomorrow, August 13, the lead in the AL East is four games. And not a comfortable four-games, as the surging Yankees face these shampooing Baltimore Orioles. And you know these POS are just gonna roll over, because that's what they do. And that's why 46,000 rival fans fill their stadium on an August weekend. Sorry if I offend any O's fans out there, but WTF?

The Sox still have a four-game lead. It's not like it's tied with a game to go. The Sox still have six out of their next 10 against the AAA Devil Rays. And there's a good chance that they can go 8-2 during that span. It better be. It better be no worse than 7-3.

Otherwise, that four-game lead turns into a tie atop the AL East, with three for the money on August 28-29-30.

Monday, August 06, 2007
  I asked of my reflection, tell me what is there to do?
ESPN's telecast of the Padres/Cardinals game had talk of Brian Hunter, Dave McCarty, and Mark Carrion.

Who are they?

Guys who threw left-handed, yet batted on the right side of the plate.

Yeah, they're TLBR's.

And you know the game was a blowout if Jon Sciambi and Dusty Baker were talking about those sorts of things.

The least they could do is give the website a plug. Or, the least I could do would be to update the damn thing once in a while.
Can Barry Bonds please hit this damned 756th home run tonight, so we can begin the process of forgetting this colossal POS?

Seriously. Let's just end the hype.

Hit the shot, so that Barry can just be an overpaid member of a really bad baseball team. ESPN can stop cutting in on all his chemically-fueled and stop with the Barry saturation.
Speaking of saturation, the 2008 Presidential race has already got to that point.

Having this many debates, this much coverage this far out of the November '08 elections is akin to the NFL playing 19 preseason games before playing 16 regular season games.

By the time December rolls around, I won't want ANY of the candidates.

But, in case you haven't been following it too closely, here's the official TLBR 2008 Presidential Candidate List, So Far:

Hillary Clinton: Toronto's expensive, but I could definitely live there.
Barack Obama: Not exactly Nixon when it comes to international affairs, but I'm still listening
Chris Dodd: Connecticut Senators haven't fared too well in Presidential elections since, um, ever. (and yes, I know W was born in the Nutmeg State.)
John Edwards: One John Edwards talks to dead people. Another was a Senator and John Kerry's running mate in 2004. Perhaps the first John Edwards can talk to the second John Edwards' campaign hopes. Because they're just about dead.
Joe Biden: I hope he gets it, just so he can start the inaugural address talking about the fact that he has a dream. Or that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. Or ich bin ein berliner. Or he could copy an NFL Sunday notebook from a Tacoma, Washington newspaper.
Mike Gravel: Um.
Dennis Kuchinich: He was the Mayor of Cleveland. Which is better than being the Mayor of Cincinnati (Jerry Springer).
Bill Richardson: Playing the role of the Governor of New Mexico, Oliver Platt.

Sam Brownback: Two quick facts on Brownie. One, he's from Kansas. Two, he is a hatemonger. 0-for-2.
Newt Gingrich: Why bother? Make high six figures on CNN, write books, and never be wrong.
Rudy Giuliani: I'm still listening. But I also remember that on Sept. 10, 2001, you were widely seen as an asshole.
Chuck Hagel: He wants the troops out of Iraq yesterday. You're welcome at my house, Chuck.
Mike Huckabee: He has a permanent shit-eating grin, lost about 150 lbs., and can't make any sort of point without thanking or referencing the Baby Jesus. Can you believe he's from Arkansas? Yeah, seriously. Arkansas.
Duncan Hunter: He's doing a great job for the Yankees since being called up from AAA Scranton. Oh, wait, that's Shelley Duncan. Nevermind.
John McCain: Just stop. Just. Stop.
Ron Paul: Beano Cook predicted he'd win four Heismans as the quarterback of Notre Dame. Man, was he way off. Oh, wait. That was Ron Paulus. Nevermind.
Mitt Romney: His hair never moves, and he comes from a family where the men are named Mitt and Tad. Whatever happened to manly names, like Rod or Brutus? Or Newt?
Tom Tancredo: Get a load of this shampooing guy. He has two simple platforms with one singular message: Brown people are bad. If the terrorists attack the U.S. again, he wants to bomb Mecca. (great effing idea, that'll take the Islam v. Zion interpersonal relationship to the next level...) And in the meantime, while we're waiting for the next attack, he wants to keep Mexicans out. Tom Tancredo, my friends, is an ass.
Fred Thompson: The guy never lost a major case when serving as district attorney in New York City from 2002-07. Plus, you can tell he's a patient guy, having to deal with the insufferable ADA Jack McCoy all the time. Wait, that wasn't real? Nevermind.
Tommy Thompson: Former Republican governor of Wisconsin. I used to live in Wisconsin. And I can safely say that in my time there, I met very few folks who were Presidential.
Don't let Chone Figgins get on base.
Bobby Kielty's signing by the Red Sox effectively ends the run of Wily Mo Pena in a Sox uniform, I fear.
One sentence that I can live without on a daily basis: "For the first time tonight, let's check in with Tina Cervasio."
Train wreck. Back in rehab.

I guess it's better than driving onto someone's lawn in your SUV and passing out, pissing yourself. Not that I've ever done that.

(I don't own an SUV.)
that's all for tonight. Sleepy time.

A daily - or every-other-day - account of all there is in my head
that's dying to get out, via my fingers.
(I vow to attack this endeavor with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind.)

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