In the clutch 

Is David Ortiz really a better clutch hitter than Alex Rodriguez? Here are some stats.


Working in LA sucks 

This weekend, I will be forced to miss:

Tina and Rob's wedding.

A chance to hang out with Bill Simmons while the cataclysmic Red Sox/Yankees series rages on.

A chance to party with John Buccigross at Monday's U2 show in the FleetCenter.

I would kill for the opportunity to be in Boston this weekend.

Who shot Curt Schilling? 

Fun game over at Boston Dirt Dogs.

Originally I thought it was Keith Foulke, the underappreciated World Series hero who has been injured and really stunk up the joint this season. But I wonder if Manny Ramirez made the comment in Spanish and meant to say "how come when Curt Schilling comes into the game, he gets treated like the potato?"


Another one from the log 

Someone from Johnny Bravo needs to start a blog.


Random NFL comment 

The NFL has got to get rid of the TV timeouts after changes of possession.

Why you should read the actual book 

I hear people speak of returning to school, or returning to normal life after an extended and exciting vacation, as comparable to Frodo returning to the Shire.

Somehow, I don't think they mean that their homeland has been conquered and their friends and family subjugated by an evil wizard.


LA sports fans are posers 

Around these parts, I've seen more Yankees caps than Dodgers and Angels caps combined. Now the Dodgers are one of the storied franchises in the history of baseball, while the Angels won the World Series three years ago and have been pretty strong since.

I went to the mall to purchase another Red Sox shirt for this year's stretch run. The cashier was wearing a Yankees cap, but didn't have a single word for me, even after I showed him my Massachusetts license, and even after the Yankees recently took over first place in the AL East. Disappointing.

Also, back in 2003 I was attending a conference at UCLA in the spring. The Detroit Red Wings were playing the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. (By the way, have I mentioned how much I detest Disney?)

Since there was no TV in my hotel room, I caught the first three games at a bar called Maloney's, eating bar food and drinking Guinness with another guy there who happened to be a Wings fan. As far as I could tell, we were the only hockey fans in attendance. Reverting back to pre-1997 form, the Wings lost each of the first three games by one goal each.

I returned for Game 4, and suddenly the bar was packed with Ducks "fans". Disgusting.


Scraping the bottom of the barrel 

Martha Burk is upset at one of the NHL's new ads, which features a NHL player being dressed by a scantily clad woman.

Jeezus. The NHL's games are showing on the Outdoor Life Network, NBC couldn't be convinced to pick up the entire Stanley Cup Finals, and they're the subject of a protest?


Washington Nationals' chaplain suspended 

The Washington Nationals have suspended their Christian clubhouse chaplain after a rabbi caused a big stink about something that happened in chapel a few days ago. A player asked if Jews were going to hell because they don't believe in Jesus. The chaplain nodded in assent, and the player spoke of the interaction in the paper.

I'm not sure what the source of this outrage is. Is it because (a) he believes it, (b) because he said it, or (c) because he didn't qualify the response by saying that Muslims, Hindus, atheists, and other non-believers in Jesus were similarly doomed?

EDIT: Wow, the rabbi got absolutely skewered by this blogger.

Another Ross alum sighting 

Konstantin Kakaes (Ross '94) assuages Gregg Easterbrook's (silly, misinformed) fears of high-energy experimental physicists creating another universe in the lab.


SoCal sectionals 

UCLA played with 11 guys on the first day and 9 the second. We beat a really chumpy college team (Occidental), and lost to the Condors, two Masters' teams and a decent college team (Cal Poly-SLO). I enjoyed meeting and playing with the UCLA guys, but none of us were in optimal shape, and it was quite evident that the team hadn't played together in months (or in my case, at all). I made a couple of difficult layout grabs, but other than that, there wasn't much to write home about.

The Condors beat PBR Streetgang 15-12 in the finals. The Condors got a couple of defensive breaks early to take half 8-6. PBR eventually tied the game up at 10s off a couple Condors miscues and an amazing footblock, but they made some terrible throwing decisions down the stretch to give the Condors the game.

Also, teams who bag on the second day of Sectionals should be shot.

UPDATE: Well, how about that. We actually qualified for regionals by finishing in eighth place out of ten. However, I think that we'll not be flying out to Colorado just to have the honor of being waxed by the Condors (again) and Johnny Bravo.


Another brainteaser 

Given 100 fair coins on a table, 10 of which are heads-up and 90 of which are tails-up, create two sets of coins such that each has an equal number of heads-up coins. The problem is that you are blindfolded and are wearing gloves, so you can't tell if a given coin is heads-up or tails-up. Every coin must be in exactly one of the two sets (i.e., two empty sets doesn't count).

Highlight the text below for a solution.

Separate the coins into a set of 90 and a set of 10. Suppose that there are a heads-up coins in the set of 10. There are then 10-a heads-up coins in the set of 90.

Flip all the coins in the set of 10. There are now 10-a heads-up coins in the set of 10.

LA ultimate 

Well, since the godfather of online ultimate frisbee spew mentioned me in a comment, I guess I better prepare for the incoming deluge (or trickle) of hits by posting something frisbee-related.

I'm playing in SoCal sectionals this weekend with the UCLA college team. Since UCLA is on the quarter system, we don't start school for another two weeks. As a result, we're bringing a team of 10 players. And to top it off, a recent alum tells me that the team doesn't really run a 1-3-3 or clam. I guess we better learn quickly.

Compared to Boston, LA is an ultimate wasteland. As far as I can tell, there's one club men's team, one women's team, and one mixed team in an area with a population of 10 million. At last count, Boston (metro area population 4 million or so) was sending four men's teams, four women's teams, and six or seven mixed teams to sectionals.


fookin n00bs I pWN u 

Transcript from a Warcraft game. It might be real.

Sadly, no ASCII pictures of male body parts, though.


Kanye West gets ownt (or, Celebrities Should Think Before They Speak) 

From last night's Patriots game:

But much of the rest of the show was just plain weird. For the first 30 minutes of the one-hour event, we didn't even hear acts that were in the stadium. Instead, we got two Rolling Stones songs (the obligatory ''Start Me Up" and surprise choice ''Rough Justice") beamed on video from a taped broadcast in Detroit. And we got remotes of rapper Kanye West and pop rockers Maroon 5 from a generic-looking, red-white-and-blue stage in Los Angeles.

Maroon 5 came off vapidly (doing just one song, ''Harder to Breathe"), while West did one tune, ''Heard 'Em Say." Yet it was disconcerting to hear his name booed loudly by Patriots fans who evidently didn't appreciate his nationally televised comment (link added -- ed.) the other night on a Hurricane Katrina benefit that President Bush ''doesn't care about black people." The boos were thunderous and lasted for much of his number.

This happened in a state that Bush lost to Kerry, 62-37.



I just spent the last hour working on this brainteaser:

There is an irregularly shaped castle wall with 12 irregularly spaced guard towers around the perimeter. The towers may be evenly spaced; they may all be clustered together; they may be somewhere in between those two options. There is a guard at each tower. Each guard patrols the castle perimeter, walking at a pace that allows him to make a complete loop around the perimeter in exactly one hour. (Thus, all 12 guards walk at the same pace as each other.) At noon, each guard starts at his own station and begins to walk either clockwise or counterclockwise (to be determined randomly). Whenever two guards meet each other, they immediately each turn around and start walking back in the direction from which they came. Their turnaround is immediate and they lose no time in switching directions.

Prove that at midnight each guard is back at his original tower.

My solution is below; highlight over it to read it.

Number the guards 1 to 12. Let's march with guard 1 around the castle, but everytime there's a collision, let's switch to following the other guard (so that we maintain the same direction). After one hour, we've walked around the castle once, but we may be following a different guard. So after one hour, there's a guard at each tower, and that guard is walking the same direction as the guard who was stationed there one hour ago.

Now let's consider the actual path that each guard walks. Since each guard walks at the same pace, and since guards reverse direction every time there's a collision, no guard passes another. Hence the ordering of the guards remains constant. So after 1 hour, the guards need not be at their original tower, but they will all have advanced the same number of towers. Furthermore, the number of towers advanced is the same each hour. Therefore, after 12 hours, each guard will return to his original tower.

Note that this puzzle works for all integer values of 12.


A blackjack story 

I'm sitting in the middle of the table. Dealing the cards is a trainee, being supervised by a dealer and a pit boss.

I get dealt a hard 15, the guy to my left gets dealt a 13, the dealer has a 6 showing. When it's my turn, I swipe my hand sideways.

The dealer deals me a 7.

I say, calmly but firmly, "I said stand." Fortunately the other players at the table vouch for me, and the pit boss and dealer nod in agreement, so the trainee takes the card away.

Since the house screwed up, they really have no choice but to offer the card to the next player. He gladly takes it and makes a 20. The dealer ends up busting.

And there was much rejoicing.

Later on, I saw a guy double a hard 15 versus a 6 and win. Ridiculous.


Banned from the airwaves 

Here's the list of songs that Clear Channel "suggested" that its affiliates take off the air shortly after 9/11.

Here's what the post-Katrina list might look like:

More to come.


It's Rickey's world, and the rest of us are just living in it 

Just heard on tonight's broadcast of the Sox-Devil Rays game on FSN Florida:

So John Olerud wears a batting helmet throughout the game, even on defense, because of some head trauma he suffered when he was a kid.

Once when he was with Seattle, Rickey Henderson asked him about the helmet. Olerud told him about it. Rickey then said, "that's weird. When I played in Toronto, there was a guy who did the same thing."

UPDATE: Dammit, apparently it's an urban legend. But if we've learned nothing else from our last two presidents, and we haven't, it's never to let facts get in the way of a good story.


The war in Iraq siphoned federal funds away from the re-engineering of the levees in New Orleans.

And by this, we of course mean that the funds were going to be used to finance a study, to be finished in 2008, of how to reinforce the levees so that they'd hold up against a Class 4 or 5 hurricane.

Other hurricane and flooding defense measures like rebuilding the wetlands seem to me to be rather marginal measures at best -- there isn't much of a difference between 20 feet of water and 18 feet of water, is there? The major issue was making sure the levees held up, and that seems to be a problem that had been neglected for a long time.

Josh Marshall blames Bush's tax cuts. I'll agree with him as far as federal functions go (e.g. the downsizing/restructuring of FEMA). But most of the money that the IRS collects goes back to the states, and I'm pretty sure that Louisiana is a net taker in this transaction. (States like California and Massachusetts tend to be net losers, at least if I remember correctly from numerous TMQ columns.) Is a task like rebuilding the levees something that can't be accomplished at the state level?

(Actually, now that I think about it, I wonder: are massive tasks like this possible at all? Cf. Big Dig.)


A quote from the Washington Post:

"This is mass chaos," said Sgt. Jason Defess, 27, a National Guard military policeman who had been stationed on a ramp outside the Superdome since Monday. "To tell you the truth, I'd rather be in Iraq," where he was deployed for 14 months until January.

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