Thursday, July 24, 2014

Vladimir Putin and I are not on the same page when it comes to daylight savings time

In 2011 Russian President Dmitry Medvedev decided that Russia would no longer change its clocks for daylight savings time, and put the country on a permanent "summer" setting (where it's light an hour later in the evening).  Now Vladimir Putin has decided to go the opposite route, and will switch the country to a state of permanent "winter" (so the sun comes up an hour earlier in the morning).

Either way I like Russia's notion that changing the clocks twice a year is dumb, but I think that extra hour of daylight is way more valuable in the evening.

On the other hand, I don't live in Russia.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

It's impossible to judge the Celtics' Evan Turner signing without knowing the length of his contract

I'd always been under the impression that Evan Turner was a pretty talented NBA player, in large part because he knocked off the Celtics with a clutch buzzer-beater in each of the past two seasons (oddly enough by identical 95-94 scores):

12/7/12



1/29/14



Neither Jeff Green nor Evan Turner is the go-to guy you want.
With the Sixers last year, Turner posted 17.4 points, 6 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game.  But here's the thing: Philadelphia was a terrible basketball team.  It's easy for guys who aren't very good to put up big numbers on bad ball clubs; the points have to come from somewhere.

After Turner was traded to the Pacers his averages dropped off to just 7.1 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.4 assists.  So which guy is Boston getting?  Probably the second.

The Celtics are in line to have a ton of salary cap room next summer to go after big-time free agents.  I'll be a lot happier about this Turner signing if it doesn't mess that up.

For whatever reason, the details of Turner's contract still aren't known.  It's probably going to be around $3 or $4 million per season, but I'm a lot more concerned about the length.  If it's just for one year, or a two-year deal with a team option for the second, great.  But if it's guaranteed for more than one season, I think it's a very bad idea.  I'm a little shocked that this hasn't been mentioned more.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Some numbers behind the Red Sox becoming the hottest team in baseball

On July 9, the 39-51 Red Sox trailed the White Sox 4-0 heading into the bottom of the 8th inning.  Boston rallied for 3 runs in the 8th, 2 in the 9th (partially inspired by my tweet?), and beat Chicago 5-4.

The Sox have only lost once since (an annoying 3-2 defeat in Houston in which Boston actually pounded out 13 hits), and now sit at 47-52.  Winning 5 straight and 8 of 9 makes the Red Sox baseball's hottest team (although their fellow AL East basement dwellers down in Tampa have also won 5 in a row and 16 of 21, keeping the entire division just 8 games apart; things could get very interesting down the stretch).

The Boston outfield, which was so pathetic at the plate for much of the year, has suddenly come alive (more on this in the days ahead).  In each of the past two games all three Sox starting outfielders have posted at least two hits.

Yesterday the Red Sox plated 14 runs in just 5 innings.  Twice this season Boston went 7 full games without even scoring a total of 14 runs (May 16-23 and June 15-21).

The hot streak directly coincides with the release of catcher A.J. Pierzynski and the promotion of Christian Vazquez from Pawtucket.  Boston is undefeated (5-0) in games in which Vazquez has played.


Monday, July 21, 2014

Not all $1 hot dogs are created equal (and other thoughts on Atlantic City)


All over the boardwalk there are signs advertising hot dogs for $1 (also sunglasses, hats and maybe even t-shirts too, although shirts tend to cost $2.99 and up).  I sampled three of them.  One was solid, another not so good, and a third downright spectacular.  I don't think there's any way to know ahead of time though, it's a crap shoot (see what I did there?  AC gambling analogy).  The place with the best $1 hot dog looked the grossest, and one I expected to be good was the worst.

I stayed in a hotel that cost $2.4 billion to build, and has already filed for bankruptcy twice (including last month) since it opened in 2012.  Below is what it looks like from the ground, and what I saw outside my room in the tower:


Now here's a zoomed in view of the beachfront properties next to it:


My best guess is that's another hotel that either never got finished, or was abandoned a long time ago.  You'd think the people who spent $2.4 billion on the place I was in might have considered that ahead of time (rumors are it may shut down in September).

And finally, I'd say roughly 50% of all people on vacation in Atlantic City this time of year are there for bachelor/bachelorette parties; I'm not sure there's enough of them around to keep the whole boardwalk functioning though.  Also, apparently it's mandatory for every bride-to-be to wear a pink sash across her chest like she's in the Miss America Pageant (another AC tradition that probably won't keep the city from going under).

RELATED: I may be starring in 'The Hangover Part IV'

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Awesome New Song of the Week: "Word Crimes" by "Weird Al" Yankovic


Twenty five years ago I was a huge fan of "Weird Al" Yankovic (Examples A, and B).  Amazingly he's still around making fun of contemporary pop music.  Yankovic just released a new album entitled Mandatory Fun, and each day this week he's revealed a new video on his website WeirdAl.com.  After 30+ years in the business, his Blurred Lines parody "Word Crimes" may be his best work yet:





RELATED: The difference between "less" and "fewer"


Saturday, July 19, 2014

My favorite parade float ever

Two weeks ago in an annual July 5th parade (I mean 4th, but bad weather bumped back the festivities this year) I saw my favorite parade float of all time.  It wasn't extravagant, artistic, or even particularly creative; it was just fun:



As the van slowly moved along a group of kids rebounded shots and passed basketballs to spectators lining the street.

I've always been proud of my extremely-long-range shooting abilities.  In fact I'm convinced I'm one of the best potential candidates out there for those half-court shot contests at NBA games.  But in this case, by the time I got a ball in my hands the hoop was already about 35 feet away from me.  Had the van stopped I think I might have made it, but the extra few feet that the rim moved while my shot was in flight caused it to be an airball slightly to the left.  I maintain that it was fairly impressive as far as airballs go though; I think the people nearby thought it was crazy for me to even attempt a shot at that distance on a moving target.

And while I'm on the subject of July 5th, here's my best shot of the fireworks that night over Edgartown (Martha's Vineyard, MA) harbor:




Friday, July 18, 2014

I may be starring in "The Hangover Part IV"

I'm flying to Atlantic City for a bachelor party this weekend.  We're staying here (not the one on the left, and not the one on the right, but the insane one in the middle):




I fully expect it to be exactly like this:





I love that clip.  One it's hysterical.  Two, the actress behind the counter is awesome; and not just for her looks, she's really funny too (here's the full scene of them checking in, definitely worth watching).  And three, it's got a great song in the background, T.I.'s Live Your Life (featuring Rihanna, who I'm a big fan of).

The actresses' name is Nathalie Fay.  She also played tiny roles as a flight attendant in Robert Downey Jr./Zach Galifianakis' Due Date, and a high school student in Old School (pictured).  I have no idea how she didn't land any bigger parts based off of the above scene.

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