Saturday, January 11, 2014

Something you don't usually see at the grocery store

How do you decide which grocery store to shop at?  Proximity to where you live?  Quality of products?  Variety of what's available?  Price?  Healthiness?  All of these are viable options.  But for me, I prefer to choose based on which one has the best entertainment; so if I'm going shopping on a Friday evening I like to hit up the Shaws by UMass Boston to check out the guy on the grand piano with accompanying trumpet player.  OK, not really, but that does happen.  And obviously Shaws must think it brings people in or else they wouldn't do it.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Did the Patriots make the right choice in letting Wes Welker go?

Last March when New England refused to overpay Wes Welker he decided to sign with Denver instead, and the Patriots attempted to replace him with Danny Amendola.  The average Pats fan was far from pleased with this.  I wrote a piece trying to be optimistic about it, suggesting the theory that maybe the Brady/Belichick combination was a big part of what made Welker great.  Over 6 seasons in New England Welker only missed 3 regular season games, while averaging 112 catches, 1,243 yards, 11 yards per catch, 80 yards per game, and 6.2 touchdowns per year.

The knock on Amendola was that he couldn't stay healthy.  It turned out to be somewhat accurate, as he played in 12 of 16 contests.  However, Welker only suited up in 13 for the Broncos, and his season totals were just marginally better than Amendola's:

The thing nobody saw coming was the emergence of Julian Edelman, who's 2013 numbers blew both Welker's and Amedola's out of the water.  Edelman played in all 16 games as well, and even if you project Welker's stats over a full season (90 catches, 957 yards) they still wouldn't have been as good.  This definitely supports the notion that Tom Brady and the Patriots system has a lot to do with the success of these undersized slot receivers.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

"Low hanging fruit" is a very popular expression in sports broadcasting right now

This is probably more worthy of a tweet than a blog.  Kind of like way back when I wrote a post called "It's weird you can't refrigerate bananas," the title is really the whole thing.  Anyway, I've noticed a lot of sports announcer type people use this expression a lot lately.  The context is usually something like "it's low hanging fruit to pick on Tony Romo for always throwing the big interception, but he's actually one of the best..."  I don't think I'd ever heard it on a sports news broadcast in my life until sometime in the last several months, and now I feel like it gets used all the time.

It reminds me of a couple years ago when everybody started saying "standing on his head" in reference to a hockey goalie playing really well; just the hot expression of the moment.  Am I weird for thinking this?  Anybody else notice this phenomenon too?

And I like the cow in this picture, so I decided to go with it.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Introducing the Boston Celtics "Tankometer"

To begin with, I'm a little annoyed with myself for not thinking of this sooner, it would've been great to have started it before the season.  But it's too late for that now, so I'll just do a quick little summary.

The job of the Celtics "Tankometer" is to measure my perceived level of how hard they (and by they I mean the players, coaches, and front office combined) are trying to win games.  At the Beginning of the year Boston would have ranked at 50%, taking a wait and see approach on trying to make the playoffs vs grabbing a top lottery pick.  When the Celtics were in first place at 12-14 I would have had them all the way up in the mid 90s, as a division title seemed well within reach.  Today I rate the C's at 47%, and dropping rapidly.

The Tankometer dial can be significantly moved by both on and off court occurrences.  For example, if it was used to measure the Bulls and Cavaliers, the recent Luol Deng trade would send Cleveland way up and Chicago way down.  For the Celtics, the Courtney Lee for Jerryd Bayless deal has some minor negative effects.  While I don't think it'll make much of a difference skill wise, it sets the precedent that Danny Ainge is plotting future minded moves (anyone could end up gone), and that probably weighs slightly on the psyche of the team.

As far as on court play goes, even worse than dropping 8 of their last 9 games may be the fact that Boston has allowed season high point totals (119 on Sunday in OKC, 129 last night in Denver) in consecutive contests.  No effort on defense is the #1 indication of a lack of interest in competing.  Given all this, 47% may seem rather high; but the C's are still just one game back of a playoff spot, and Rajon Rondo should be back fairly soon.

Also, it's pronounced Tank-ah-meh-ter, like speedometer or thermometer, not tank-o-me-ter.

RELATED: The Stiemsmometer, and the critically acclaimed Tebometer series.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

"Ruby Soho" by Rancid: Awesome Old Song of the Week

Rancid landed two big hits in 1995 from their album "...And Out Come the Wolves," Time Bomb, and Ruby Soho.  While Time Bomb was probably a little catchier, I have to give a slight edge to Ruby Soho for being the cooler of the two.

I'll admit, I never really got into that whole ska/punk rock thing that was huge in the mid '90s, and for the most part I only took a liking to the songs from the genre that crossed the boundaries into mainstream pop.  I'm sure Rancid had plenty of other good tunes that their real fans enjoyed, they're just not for me.

Also, you may have noticed I switched the title to put the song and group before "Awesome Old Song of the Week."  I've been reading up on SEO and keyword strategies, and supposedly this is going to make a difference.

Monday, January 6, 2014

My 37 second take on the Celtics trading Courtney Lee for Jerryd Bayless

About six weeks ago I wrote an article for Yahoo Sports (my first, actually) entitled "Boston Celtics Likely to Embrace Unorthodox Trade Philosophy."  Here's what I said about Courtney Lee then:

"Lee is a similar situation at shooting guard, although not as much value for the price [as Brandon Bass] at slightly more than $5 million. But if the Celtics can work a deal for someone who's contract is up a year or two earlier, it's a beneficial move regardless of who it is."

The main point of the article was that Boston would make trades this year that had nothing to do with the actual players involved, just their contracts.  This Lee for Jerryd Bayless deal is exactly that; the Celtics got rid of Lee's $5.2 million salary in exchange for Bayless' $3.1 million (normally this wouldn't be allowed under the NBA's salary cap rules in which the money has to match up in every deal, but Memphis has something called a "trade exemption" that allowed them to take on extra).

However, what really matters to the C's is not what each guy is making now, but rather next year and the year after that.  Bayless is a free agent at the end of the season, so Boston has no further financial obligations to him.  Lee on the other hand is under contract for $5.5 mil in 2014-2015, and $5.7 mil in 2015-2016.  The Celtics now have a lot more flexibility and can use that salary cap space in other ways as they try to rebuild.  While Lee is a decent shooting guard, he's easily replaceable for less money.

I'm actually shocked the Grizzlies wanted to make this deal.  Lee might be slightly better, but as players he and Bayless are fairly similar.  I assumed that in order to convince another team to take on Lee's contract Boston would have to offer more value in return as an incentive, but in this case they were able to unload it without giving up anything they care about.  It's a clear win for the Celtics, and a great move for the future.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

What the $#*& is going on in this creepy Old Spice mom song commercial???

1) I feel bad posting this picture, it's seriously disturbing.  If you have kids, probably don't show it to them.  It looks like Michael Myers from Friday the 13th attached to the back of Meredith from The Office.  As horrifying as this entire ad is, that part in particular will be what gives me nightmares.

2) If you've already seen it, please don't watch it again.  There's just no need for that.

3) And if you haven't, I'm sorry to be the one to subject you to it.

Two more things: I have a theory that commercials don't work, in part because I often don't remember what the funny ones are actually for.  While this ad scares the bejeezus out of me, after seeing it only once there was no chance I was going to forget what the product was.  So in that sense, I guess good job Old Spice?  And I'm not sure why, but this commercial freaks me out in the same way that that Snickers Halloween ad from three years ago did.

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