Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Universe Gets Revenge On Those Who Get Revenge on Their Mothers

A few years ago Mama Poop thought she was doing something nice for me when she bought me a huge soup pot.
But because of the size of our kitchen and the fact that we already had an adequate soup pot, I declined her gift.
She suggested I keep the pot for Passover but seeing as how we never host Seders, I didn't think this was an effective use of resources, so I suggested she return the pot and get her money back.
Knowing Mama Poop as I do, I knew she would never return the pot. Sure enough, several months later I went to her house and saw the pot sitting there. I abducted it, never telling Mama Poop what I had done.

The problem is, I put the pot with my Passover dishes in the basement and forgot all about it.

So this year, when Chase got sick before the first Seder scuttling our plans to go to Step On Me's we had to come up with a last minute meal. I had an idea. I'll make chicken soup. I just need a pot. So I went to Shop Rite and paid $15 for a soup pot and came home to make my soup. Which is about the time I found the other pot. So now I am stuck with two.

Mama Poop's pot on the left my new one on the right

I still have to go back to Shop Rite to return the unused pot. But I'm glad everything worked out and the soup was good.

The lesson as always: never try to trick your mom.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Ugga-Bugga Face

This is what Chase calls the Ugga-Bugga Face (the U is pronounced like booger not like bugger).
Guaranteed to make everyone smile for a picture.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn Plans to Use the "Why Didn't She Bite?" Defense

If French lothario Dominique Strauss-Kahn ever stands trial for an alleged sexual assault on a hotel chambermaid he's likely to use the "if she ain't bitin', she ain't fightin' defense."

Here's the maid's story:
She went to his room at around noon to clean it. She knocked and got no answer. She entered the room with her key and put her cleaning cart in the open door (a policy designed to prevent encounters such as the one alleged to have happened in this case). She then announced herself again. When she got no answer she entered the room. At this time she says Strauss-Kahn jumped out of the bathroom naked. He grabbed her from behind, fondled her breasts and threw her down. She got away but he chased her, caught her and at some point moved the cart out of the way and locked the door. At this point he allegedly stuck his dick in her mouth.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn will say the maid wanted it

Here's what the defense will likely say:
The blow job was consensual. Plus, why would he rape such an ugly woman? Have you seen her? She's an immigrant from West Africa (Guinea), a Muslim who wears a head scarf. And if he had assaulted her and stuck his dick in her mouth, why didn't she bite down? Not only did she not bite down, she blew him long enough that he actually came. Police have removed a piece of carpet believed to contain a sample of Strauss-Kahn's semen from where the maid spit (which if this was consensual is a horrible breach of ettiquette).

That brings up one of two possibilities: either DSK is a quick-draw McGraw, or he is such a sexual deviant he was so turned on by the prospect of raping this woman that he came before he even ripped her panties off.

Crazy as it might sound I think they can actually convince one out of 12 people that this was a consensual encounter.

But there are a couple big things working against him. First, the maid reported this immediately. So often in cases like this the woman waits days, weeks or even months to report it. It makes her seem not credible and evidence vanishes. Her immediate complaint would make the gathering of physical evidence (scratches or other signs of struggle on him -- or her, in addition to the supposed semen sample) much easier.

Also likely to hurt the defense, the haphazard way he nearly skipped town. He left his cell phone in the hotel room (they tracked him down when he called the hotel to retrieve it) and he was on a plane out of the country within 3 hours of the alleged attack. If they can prove he bought that ticket a week prior, that helps the defense. If he changed his flight sometime in those intervening hours, that would be a very damning piece of evidence.

But we may never know the truth about the flight, or the contents of that carpet patch because I don't think this case is going to trial.

Someone with a French accent and a briefcase full of money is going to offer this woman a settlement. Faced with the possibility of an embarrassing difficult trial at the end of which even if she succeeds she gets nothing, or the quick-fix cash settlement, I think a poor immigrant from Africa who lives in an apartment rented by a charity to house AIDS patients (though her lawyer says she does not have AIDS) would have to let the guilty man walk if it meant providing a better life for her family.

Without her cooperation prosecutors would have almost no choice but to drop the case and let Strauss-Kahn fly back to the France.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

If It Weren't For Bad Luck We'd Have No Luck At All

Justin Verlander recently pitched the second no-hitter of his career. While watching the celebration after that game Mrs. Poop seemed amazed that one pitcher could have two no-hitters, while an entire franchise, the Mets, never had one in 50 years.

Here is a Wall Street Journal article (from last season) by Carl Bialik (the first person references are his not mine) explaining the phenomenon:

In 1962, the New York Mets and the Houston Colt .45s (now the Astros) entered the National League. Seven years later, the San Diego Padres joined the NL, along with the Montreal Expos (now the Washington Nationals), while the AL added the Kansas City Royals and Seattle Pilots (now the Milwaukee Brewers). Since then, six more teams have joined the majors, most recently Arizona and Tampa Bay. After Matt Garza threw a no-hitter for the Tampa Bay Rays last season, every current major-league team has at least one no-hitter — except the Padres and Mets, beaten to the feat by at least six teams younger than them.

The Mets’ futility has been oft-lamented by their fans, and even has inspired a website ( which exists only to chronicle the hit that breaks up the Mets pitcher's no-hitter each night) all about the drought. (A drought which this Mets fan prefers to, say, a title drought such as the one experienced by fans of that other member of the class of ‘62, the Astros.) Padres’ pitchers inability to go a full game without yielding a hit also is surprising, since the team’s strength often has been its pitching.

Tom Seaver nearly pitched a no-hitter for the Mets on July 9, 1969.  His only career no-hitter came for the Cincinnati Reds.  That hurt

Just how unlucky have the Mets and Padres been? To answer the question, I developed a simplistic statistical framework to estimate the probability that a team would get a no-hitter in any particular game. For any given team, I compiled for each season of its history the number of games it played, the number of innings pitched (IP) and hits allowed. There are three outs in an inning, so the probability, on average, that any one batter makes an out is roughly equal to three times IP divided by three times IP plus hits allowed (events other than outs or hits are disregarded because they neither break up a no-hitter nor otherwise affect its probability — at least not in an obvious way). A no-hitter over nine innings requires 27 straight outs without a hit, so its probability is the probability that any one hitter makes an out, raised to the 27th power.

Then the probability that a team doesn’t get a no-hitter in a given season is one minus the probability in any single game, raised to the power of the number of games in that season. And the probability that it never has a no-hitter is the product of each of those probabilities of no no-hitters in each season.

This is, again, simplistic. The biggest problem is that the probability that a given batter makes an out will vary from game to game, and within games. This could mean that the statistical approach outlined above underestimates the probability of a no-hitter, because it fails to account for a hot pitcher meeting a cold team in propitious stadium and weather conditions. Also it fails to account for postseason no-hitters (though there’s been only two in major-league history: Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series and Roy Halladay's no-hitter last season).

Nolan Ryan threw 7 no-hitters after leaving the Mets

But it does surprisingly well despite such caveats. Applied to the New York Yankees, it predicts 9.76 regular-season no-hitters over their 110-year history. The Yankees have had 10 no-hitters in the regular season. Also, I applied it even more simplistically to major-league baseball as a whole, using just three numbers: The number of games, innings pitched and hits allowed in history. That yielded an expected total of 161 no-hitters. In reality, there have been 237, counting Larsen’s and Halladay's — so not far off.

So, back to the original question: How unlucky have the Mets and Padres been? There’s just a 3.9% probability that San Diego wouldn’t have gotten a no-hitter in its 42-year history, based on its pitching staff’s stats. And the Mets have been even unluckier — the chance of no no-hitter in their 49 seasons is 0.93%.

In the Mets’ case, at least, it doesn’t appear to be for lack of good chances. The team has had 34 one-hitters in its history — compared to an expected total of 41, using a similar approach to the one used to calculate expected no-hitters.

The bad news for the Mets is that their best chances may be behind them. The franchise’s best 14 seasons in terms of hits allowed per inning all were 20 or more years ago.

The no-hitter that hruts the most: Dwight Gooden, because he threw it for the Yankees

The above article is a great example of the strength and weakness of the modern age of statistical analysis. Everything that can't be measured is ascribed to luck. And in most cases when things that should happen don't, it is because of simple chance. But as the case with clutch hitting, human factors are often discounted. I don't think that's the case here, it's unlikely that say for instance a Mets pitcher carrying a no-hitter into the later innings would be more likely to get adversely affected by nerves because of his desire to break the team's string of no-hitterless years than a pitcher on another team that has had a no-hitter more recently.

But it does discount two important factors:

1) Papa Poop has called me during every near no-hitter in recent Mets history in an effort to prove that he is unable to jinx a no-hitter by calling me. So far he is failing.

2) The Mets are a jinxed, cursed organization. Though we do have two titles in 50 years (roughly in line with expected value were the conditions for success in major league baseball more even) Mets fans have also suffered through many heartbreaks, including the nightly one when the opposing team inevitably gets its first hit.

But someday that streak will end, I hope. And as Mets fans we still have hope, maybe that's all we have.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Song of the Week

"Your Man" - Josh Turner
The song that launched Scott McCreery, the douchiest contestant to ever make it this far on American Idol.
I'm sure you know the lyrics "baby lock them doors and turn them lights down low..."

I'll Raise My Own Kids Thank You Very Much

Anyone who ever did a 3rd grade science project can tell you a simple requirement of research: eliminate the variables. We can only find out if plants grow better when listening to classical musical as opposed to rock if everything else is the same.

One of my favorite fallacious arguments of all-time is a commercial voiced by Jamie-Lee Curtis which professes that simply eating dinner with your children will stop them from doing drugs. The research shows children from families that eat dinner together regularly are less likely to do drugs than children from families where family sit-down dinners are not as frequent. I am sure this is correct, but post hoc ergo propter hoc. Just because something happened after something else doesn't mean it is caused by something else.

Eating dinner with your kids doesn't keep them from doing drugs. And banning toys from Happy Meals doesn't make kids healthier.

Although that is the argument being used by New York City Councilman Leroy Comrie. He wants to ban meals with more than 500 calories from being marketed to kids, because he thinks that will solve the problem.

Leroy Comrie is a fat fuck who never learned proper eating habits so he wants to teach them to my kids

The only way to get people to have proper eating habits is to teach them proper eating habits. And the best people to teach proper eating habits are parents. The government can't do it, and the government shouldn't do it. I am sick and tired of the government seeking to ban things that I do in moderation just because other irresponsible people abuse them.

I am talking about poker, but also McDonald's. The night before Passover we had no food in our house. So we went to McDonald's. We got Chase a Happy Meal. 4 chicken mcnuggets, some french fries, a ton of ketchup and a toy of a little dog named Luiz from the movie "Rio." I can't remember the last time before that we had McDonald's but we are teaching him it is a treat, only to be used occassionally.

Luiz is not responsible for the childhood obesity epidemic and neither am I

I always say the biggest problem in this country is a lack of personal responsibility. It's easier to blame someone else for your shortcomings, than to accept them and fix them. And my biggest problem with liberals in general, too often, out of guilt or misguided sympathy, they offer these excuses for people. It's not your fault your kids are fat, McDonald's is marketing Happy meals directly to their malleable little minds and there's nothing you can do about it.

But there is something you can do about it. Teach your kids proper eating habits, which can include the occassional visit to McDonald's.

I'm sure there will be a time in the future when between soccer and baseball and trumpet and whatever other activities, we don't have time for a home-cooked meal. So we decide to take our kids to McDonald's.

That's right. We decide, because they're our kids, not the government's.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Baseball is Poop

Vin Mazzaro and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Outing
Kansas City's Vin Mazzaro gave up 14 runs in 2 1/3 innings. That's the shortest outing in history in which anyone has allowed 14 runs. Amazingly his first inning went pretty well, he got his first three batters in order. And gave up two singles and a walk while getting two outs in his second inning of work. So here's the situation. 2 outs, 2 on, 1 run in. Then this happened: walk, double, single, single, double, single, home run. That's 10 runs in the 4th inning. And they still let him come back for the 5th. He gave up 3 more hits and a walk before he was mercifully yanked. All of those runners scored.

2 1/3 innings 11 hits 14 runs 3 walks 2 strikeouts.
That's an ERA of 73.29 for that appearance raising his season ERA to 22.74 and earning him an immediate demotion to the minors.

and you think you had a bad day?

He's For Real, or He's Juicing for Real
Many savvy baseball watchers, including myself had serious doubts about whether Jose Bautista could repeat his numbers (54 HRs, 995 OPS) from his breakout season last year. So far Bautista is doing much better. Through 40 games (a quarter of the season) this year Bautista has a ridiclous 1388 OPS. To put that in perspective, if he keeps that up for an entire season it will be the second best single-season OPS in history. And if you want to exclude known steroid users and only count the last 50 seasons you are left with Jeff Bagwell, Frank Thomas and Albert Belle (all in 1994 strike shortened) and Larry Walker (un circuit) and Todd Helton (both in pre-humidor Coors Field). So if you want a season with comparable conditions, the best OPS you will find is Carlos Delgado whose OPS was 1134 in 2000.
Some other great numbers from Bautista at the quarter pole: He only played 32 of the Blue Jays games, so he is homering in 50% of games played. He is also walking at an incredible rate, about a quarter of his plate appearances. That's pace for 150 over a full season.

Under-rated (clap clap, clap clap clap)
I think Paul Konerko is one of the most underrated players of his generation. Assuming he is clean, he has been overshadowed most of his career by steroid users. But has put together a very solid career. Starting in 2004 his OPS by year: 894, 909, 932, 841, 782, 842, 977 and 946 so far this year. The one year he was below 840, he was hurt, it was the only season he didn't play at least 149 games.

But Konerko has never been known as a good glove man until he made this ridiculous behind the back toss to end a game.

Note: stats for Konerko and Bautista are through Sunday 5/15

Let Him Pitch
On May 6, Cliff Lee was pulled from the game trailing 3-0 after 7 innings. He had given up 9 hits and 3 runs. If he had been pitching a no-hitter (and suspend disbelief, still trailing by 3 runs) would the manager have pulled him, even after 117 pitches? Maybe but perhaps Charlie Manuel would have let him pitch in a nod to history. But there have been 228 no-hitters since 1900. Only three times has a pitchers strike out 20 batters. Yet Lee didn't even get the chance to equal or match that mark. He had 16 strikeouts through 7. If he could have gotten 4 in the next two innings (below his rate for the first 7 innings) he would have equaled the Kerry Wood/Roger Clemens mark, and if got 5 he would have broken it. I doubt he would have been able to do it, and I commend the Phillies for not risking him throwing 150 pitches or more, but I would have liked to have seen him try.

The Great Escape
Normally I don't condone fans on the field, but in this case I have to make an exception. This is the best on-field evasion I've ever seen.

Unfortunately this joker was arrested outside the stadium.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

I Guess I Wasn't the Only One Smitten With Pippa

Pippa Middleton's ass-hugging white dress caught the attention of the entire world. One British guy may have gone too far. He told his girlfriend Pippa's ass (they call it a bum over there) was better than hers, and bitch went crazy and defaced his car.

So you like Pippa's ass?

"Is Pippa's bum still better than mine?"

Thank god Mrs. Poop is a little more understanding.

Story suggested by Golzilla