Friday, June 03, 2011

Would You Bang? Jennifer Hudson

Would you bang Jennifer Hudson? When she was on American Idol this question didn't even seem possible. But now she lost 80 pounds on Weight Watchers and straightened her hair. Is that enough for you? And remember this is a right now question, so we're voting on what we see today.

Also remember, a vote is not enough, you need to comment and explain your rationale. Unless it's racist bigotry.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Is it Weiner's Weiner?

The big question in Washington DC this week is did Representative Anthony Weiner send this picture

to this woman?

Let's start at the beginning. The above photo of someone's weiner, in boxer briefs was sent from the Congressman's twitter account, purportedly to a young female follower/admirer. Gennette Cordova of Seattle is one of roughly 40,000 people who follow Weiner on Twitter. She's one of very few, 200 or so, followed by him. And probably the one of those who has described Weiner as her boyfriend in a tweet.

But the picture actually went to all of Weiner's followers, not just her.

Weiner says his account was hacked. His name is Weiner, it's the internet, people play jokes. And that's why he does not wish to file a police report to apprehend the perpetrator of this crime. Surely hacking the twitter account of a United States Congressman is an offense serious enough to warrent police intervention.

To make matters worse, Weiner responded with his typical sarcasm and obnoxiousness to questions about the picture, even calling one respected reporter a jackass.

The PR nightmare this begat forced Weiner to sit down with every single cable network and try to tell his story. But he may have only made things worse.

He insisted he never sent the photo. But he would not say for sure that it is not a picture of him.

That leads to only one conclusion: this is a picture of him. The picture had to have been taken by the person in it. And he would have to know if he had ever taken this picture or one like it.

So now there are two choices: either he sent the picture. Or a hacker knew about the existence of the picture and hacked into his personal computer to get it.

If there were a hacker going into his personal computer, stealing his intimate photos and disseminating them on Twitter and he doesn't want to prosecute that person, I find that odd.

In order for Weiner's story there are just too many coincidences that would have had to have taken place. According to Occam's Razor, we have to believe it was Weiner's weiner and he meant to send the picture.

Lance Armstrong All-American

Here are a few well-established facts:
Cycling has a significant doping problem
Lance Armstrong won 7 Tours De France
Lance Armstrong had cancer

If you accept those three things as fact then it would be hard to believe one (of the very few) clean rider can dominate the sport overrun with cheaters.

Armstrong's defense is that he never failed a drug test -- which is true (but there are allegations he bribed his way out of one failed test and got out of another on a technicality) -- but most likely because he was using stuff like EPO that is or was undetectable.

So why won't this go away? Because so many people who were once close to Armstrong are coming out against him.

Armstrong's former masseuse, Emma O'Reilly, claimed Armstrong once asked her to dispose of used syringes and to give him makeup to conceal needle marks on his arms.

Former teammate Steve Swart, claims he and other riders, including Armstrong, began using drugs in 1995 while members of the Motorola team.

Former personal assistant Mike Anderson claimed he discovered a box of androstenone while cleaning a bathroom in Armstrong's apartment in Girona, Spain.

Former teammate Frankie Andreu and his wife Betsy said Armstrong admitted using performance-enhancing drugs to his physician just after brain surgery in 1996.

Former U.S. Postal teammate Floyd Landis accused Armstrong of doping in 2002 and 2003. Landis said he witnessed Armstrong receiving multiple blood transfusions, and dispensing testosterone patches to his teammates.

Former teammate Tyler Hamilton said he and Armstrong had together taken EPO before and during the 1999, 2000, and 2001 Tours de France.

In each case Armstrong attacks the credibility of his accuser saying they have an axe to grind with him, or they're looking for a book deal. And maybe Armstrong is such a dick that it's actually working in his favor because he really does have some kind of negative personal history with nearly all these people.

But this is a lot of circumstantial evidence piling up against him. Either Armstrong is pretty much the worst person in the world and so many people who used to be his friends are completely fabricating stories just to hurt him -- or their stories are true.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Baseball is Poop

Let's Check the Numbers
We're roughly a third of the way through the season. Most teams have played roughly 54 games. If we simply multiply everything by 3 we'll see what pace people are on:

Jose Bautista is on pace for 60 homers. He might actually be able to break the clean home run record if he stays healthy. He missed 8 games in the first part of the season. If those are the only 8 he misses all season his pace would be closer to 65 or 66. His OPS is down under 1300 though.

I didn't think that could last forever.

Adrian Gonazlez is on pace for 148 RBI. He is the one thing standing between Jose Bautista and a Triple Crown. But this brings up the argument about RBI being the worst stat according to most sabremetricians. A-Gone has had 33 more runners on base during his plate appearances than Bautista has had.

Jose Reyes is on pace for 51 doubles and 24 triples. Both would lead the NL. He's on pace for 228 hits overall. The best pace in the majors.

Someone named Matt Joyce is batting .370. Only Bautista and Lance Berkman have higher OPS.

Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels would both have 20 wins for the Phillies. Young guns Jair Jurrjens and Yovani Gallardo would too. Jon Lester would win 20. Those 5 sound fine, but what about Kyle Lohse and Kevin Correia.

And I know we all expected the Phillies rotation to dominate, but both Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay are on pace for 270 strikeouts. No one has struck out that many since Randy Johnson in 2004 (290).

Some named Leo Nunez would have 57 saves. Other saves leaders this season include JJ Putz, Craig Kimbrel and Brandon League. Closing is just too fickle (if you are not Mariano Rivera) which is why you should never sign or trade for a big name closer.

Ass-Dribble No More
Asdrubal Cabrera is going to force baseball fans to start pronouncing his name correctly, if he keeps making plays like this one.

Aside from his amazing defense though, Cabrera's offense has really come around this season. Through his first four season he never had an OPS of 800. So far this year he is hanging around 900. Among shortstops he is 2nd in homers, 2nd in OPS and 1st in RBI. And that's the key, he's putting up these numbers as a shortstop making him very valuable according to advanced metrics. He's 8th overall in VORP, not quite as good in WAR because his defense actually detracts. But if Cleveland keeps winning we could be talking about Ass-Dribble for MVP.

29th Time is the Charm
Blue Jays pitcher Jo-Jo Reyes finally getting off the schneid, winning for the first time in 29 starts. It's amazing they kept Reyes in the rotation that long, but he actually didn't pitch terribly. He had some games when he got bombed, sure, but there were also plently of times he pitched well enough to win but either his offense or his defense deserted him.

For most Mets fans this will call to mind the plight of Anthony Young who lost 27 straight decisions for the New York Mets in 1992 and 1993.

Picture of the Week
Phillies fans welcoming back Chase Utley after he missed the beginning of the season with an injury. I love looking at crowd shots and scanning the faces and the reactions. Pay particular attention to the gentleman in the lower left.

Video of the Week
I have never caught a foul ball or a home run at a Major League Baseball game. Someday I want to. I would love to be at a game with Chase and Julain and pluck one out of the air. But I don't think it's worth dropping your kid over.

Not only did he drop the ball, the kid hit him afterwards.

But Wait, There's More
Another incident of parental neglect at a baseball game. This time a guy crushes his kid while diving for a foul ball.

But in this case I think I would have done the same thing. Pain is temporary, glory is forever. At least this guy got the ball.

Song of the Week

"Never Gonna Let You Go" - Sergio Mendes
For some reason this was my favorite song when I was younger. I saw the songwriter recently and I realized I still remember nearly every word.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

How Did the Hindus Beat Us?

Fascinating study out from the Pew Forum on Religious and Public Life.
The study breaks down incomes by religion. The highest earning group? Hindus. 65% earn more than $75,000 a year. Compared to only 58% of Jews. But if you take out people who actually practice Judaism from that category, 67% of Reform Jews earn more than $75k.
The worst performing groups are Jehovah's Witness and members of historically black churches like Pentecostals and Baptists. More than 2/3s of those groups earn less than $50,000.
It's an interesting study but I think we knew for the most part Jews are very successful and black people still have less than average incomes -- as a group. But I am not sure if there are any conclusions we can make about cause and effect here.
And I also am not sure what the hell the Hindus are doing to make themselves so rich.
Either running a 7/Eleven is a suprisingly lucrative business or that offensive stereotype I just used is not accurate.

I guess Apu from the Simpsons chose the right career path