" That's just the sort of blinkered, Philistine Pig ignorance I've come to expect from you non-creative garbage!"

John Cleese

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Christo's Movie Reviews


Frost/Nixon Left Me A Little Frosty

Aren't I clever?

I saw the trailer.  After seeing Frost/Nixon, I could have watched the trailer 120 times and gotten the same amount of information, suspense and pleasure.

I'm all for chronicling a critical cathartic moment in the collective consciousness of the country ("Don't practice your alliteration on me!"), but in the end, for a movie that tries to be part historical episode, part character study and part thriller, it never completely becomes any of those while never adding up to something greater than the sum of the parts.

Everybody (over 30) coming into the film knows two things:  Nixon will admit to a cover-up and upon admitting to that, Nixon will, for the first time, look like a broken man.

But essentially, that's all you get.  The suspense leading up to it doesn't create a framework that allows the viewer to momentarily think that's not going to happen.  And there aren't enough details to force the viewer to lose himself in a flurry of 'what ifs' and 'I didn't know thats.'

In short, it's a slightly better HBO movie and a slightly worse History Channel special.

Fine enough but really didn't add much to the understanding.


Wrastin' With The Wrestler 

Aren't I clever, part dos?

Part two of the double feature weekend, The Wrestler, proves once again that Christo seems to think people care about opinions on movies collectively formed months ago.

First, I have to say that there is really great acting here, especially from Mickey Rourke.  You care about him.  It's human and feels real.  And, for the most part, the film defies tired plot moves at every turn.

And it's, on the whole, a nice little film that isn't in love with itself nor does it bludgeon any theme to death.  For the most part.

There's part of me, though, that thinks it might have been a little cheap.

I don't expect the characters in the films I see to necessarily have to become something else.  In fact, a rumination of the inherent unchanging quality of man can be chockablock with spectacular spectacularness.  And that's not to say Rourke's character doesn't.  He does.  A page is definitely turned.  

But Aronofsky never breaks out of the paradigm of films simultaneously chronicling a fictional character and the actor playing that fictional character.  It's a balancing act that he successfully accomplishes but the film never really becomes more.

Which leads us to the 400 Blows-esque ending.  Lean in.  I have to whisper this to you.  

It was kinda cheap.  

If this film was made in the mid-90s, phrases like 'a film of unparalleled integrity' would have been thrown around.  But it feels more like Aronofsky played the 'angle' of integrity rather than organically creating it, clouding a bit everything that came before.  

For a film that avoids devices for the first 100 minutes, the use of one as a coda made me rethink the entire context.  

Momentarily, right before the end, Rourke was his character, allowing everything to fall on the right side of the fence.  And then, just like that, he wasn't.

By using such a device, I can't help but feel that Aronofsky knew he had something merely pleasant enough but that's about it, something following the script of the making of an independent film to the letter but losing it along the way by following the script of the making of an independent film to the letter.  In the end, it feels rather workshopy. 

And that's too bad.   
   

Mate's Musings: Special WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!!!! Edition



"Doctor, would you say it was time to panic?"

"Yes I would, Kent!"

Swine flu. I'm not here to say this isn't something you need to be cautious of but come on! Ya think the media could scare folks a tad bit more?
For those of you that are wondering, here are the symptoms:

High fever
Cough
Sore throat
Chills
Diarrhea

Y'know....the Fucking FLU!!! Let's all go by surgical masks and lock ourselves in our basement because 90 people in a country of 300 million have contracted it. Jesus, people are fucking stupid. But not just Americans. Egypt, in a sensationally idiotic case of overreaction has ordered the slaughter of all 300,000 pigs in the country despite it being proven that it is a complete waste of time. Nice delirium though.
And another thing, can we stop making lame jokes every time someone coughs or sneezes, please? Not funny. Never was. Extremely lame. Go home.
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Congrats to Ethel Paige of Bedford Park for winning the Big Red Egg's "When Will Jim Thome Go Lame" contest! Her correct pick of April 28th wins her an all expense paid trip to huddle with Christo, Mate and the BRE staff under a small roof at the next rain out at US Cellular Field!
Don't despair yet ,non winners. We still have "When Will Milton Bradley Go Completely Bat Shit?" "When Will Bartolo Colon pull fat this year?" and "The Day Alfonso Soriano Hurts Himself Catching a Pop Up" to get to.
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CNN was grading Obama last night and inviting all of us to do it as well. If you did you are functionally retarded.
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The dog chewed her 25 dollar harness this morning and ruined it. Sitting five inches to the left was a bone that cost 50 cents. Ah, the joys of pet ownership.
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I actually watched the last 10 minutes of the Bulls-Celtics the other night. I have to say, it was fairly entertaining. Of course, this just proves my theory on the NBA: Just watch the last ten minutes.
BTW, Kevin Garnett is a pud.
This fills my quota for NBA talk for the year.
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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Well...This Should Create Quite A Poop Storm



Now A Democrat.

Maybe he felt uncomfortable around so many tea-baggers.


Par For the Course

The next famine or drought let's just make sure I buy tickets to a White Sox game and we will have GUARANTEED rain. Also, some nice wind and cold at times too.

Not kidding.

Here's the last 6 games I've attended at US Cellular Field:

May 16, 2007: vs. Yankees -- High of 54 degrees with gale force winds of about 20 MPH making it feel like 34 degrees. Had the then girlfriend/now wife with me. One and a half hour fucking rain delay. BTW, Sox get their ass handed to them by a Yankee team in the midst of a massive slump. A precursor to the steaming turd the 2007 season would become.


April 13, 2008: vs. Tigers -- My bachelor party. 41 degrees and a constant, wet and bone shivering rain. First two innings we were inside but the last 7 were up in the right field stands. Thank God I was half in the bag. Shitty, shit, shit, shit weather. Gavin Floyd almost throws a no-no, which makes it somewhat bearable.

May 20, 2008: vs. Indians -- Mate gets free tickets. Christo was here as well. The best of the bunch weather wise YET it still managed to spit rain for about an inning. I remember remarking to someone that "all I have to do is step foot inside this stadium and rain will fall." Seriously, it was 72 and sunny all day. I get to the park? Moisture. Sox win 4-1.


June 15. 2008: vs. Rockies -- 70 degrees yet spotty showers all day. The wife and I take in a cheap Sunday upper deck seat and try to enjoy the game. Spit rain all day yet playable until the 8th inning when a Thunderstorm from Hell comes barreling through sending everyone for the gates. Sox lose to lowly Rockies yet I don't see the last inning as I'm in my car with a wife who is scared shitless of the storm.


June 29, 2008: vs. Cubs-- 68 degrees with off and on light rain throughout game. JUST cold enough to be uncomfortable as ESPN has made this a night game. Rain comes through windows at top of Upper Deck for most of the first 3 innings. Mildly unpleasant but not terrible. Still, rain DID fall.


Yesterday: vs. Seattle-- Despite threats of rain all day, storms stay away for most of the afternoon giving hope. Fucking cockbag storm decides to hit about 20 minutes before game time and not stop. Shocker. It's unfucking real. Wash out.

* BTW, this isn't including the game I saw at Wrigley in 2007 vs. the Cubs in MAY that had a wind tunnel blowing though and a high temperature of about 40 degrees!


Getting...really...old.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Saturday Salmagundi


Oh, C'mon!!!

Are you kidding me?

Are you freakin' kidding me?

Larry King...is on Twitter?

I didn't pay attention to that whole Ashton Kutcher thing.

And this isn't any ordinary tweeting.  This is King's Things.  You know.  Like this stuff.

Larry King...is...tweeting...every inane thought!

To wit:

my boys just won their little league baseball game 8-4. They're in first place. off to dinner. have a good night everyone...updates tmrw

Or:

having dinner now - anybody ever done a study on tastebuds? why does something that tastes great to someone else, taste terrrible to me?

Or:

In office buildings, why do they lock bathrooms? What would you steal from a bathroom?!


It's like an elaborate social critique of Twitter itself.  The very thing that makes Twitter so ridiculous is now being done by the King of Ridiculum.  This is the most awesome thing in the history of awesome.

Follow it all right here!


Please!!  I'm On My Knees!!!

Trade.  Him!


And Watch Out For Flyin' Boobies!



Friday, April 24, 2009

This Is Just Sad....

Sorry about all the cutting and pasting today but I can't really make it any better than reality.

Didn't they make a crappy movie with Robin Williams and Kurt Russell about this?

'Sister-kissing' gridiron rivals to settle 1993 score

By John MurgatroydCNN

EASTON, Pennsylvania (CNN) -- It's been dubbed the No. 1 high school rivalry in the United States. But last decade, Phillipsburg High School and Easton Area High School left the football field without a clear winner: a 7-7 tie.

This weekend, Phillipsburg and Easton highs will settle 1993's "sister kiss" once and for all.

Back then, there was no overtime in high school games, and it's stung ever since. In gridiron parlance, it's known as "kissing your sister."
"I didn't know how to feel, stopping the end of my high school career being on a tie," said Bruce Lebitz, an inside linebacker for the 1993 Phillipsburg team.
That's about to change. The gridiron grudge match will be played this weekend. There will be no ties this time around. They're even breaking a century-old Turkey Day tradition, all in the name of who gets the bragging rights from that night so many years ago.
The players are now grown men in their early 30s. Hair is starting to turn gray, and waistlines have expanded. Some are family men, and most have full-time jobs. They had eight weeks to get back in game shape, and most jumped at the chance.
The Stateliners of Phillipsburg, New Jersey, and the Red Rovers of Easton, Pennsylvania, are separated by the Delaware River but connected by their bitter
football feud, played on Thanksgiving Day since 1906. The winner walks away with "The Fork of the Delaware" trophy.
"We're two blue-collar communities. A lot of factory workers, people like that, that have so much in common," said Steve Shiffert, a former coach for Easton. "I think that's what makes it so unique that for a couple of hours on Thanksgiving morning, then we consider ourselves different."
As the years go by, memories of games remain.
"Thanksgiving is the barometer at which you are judged in these communities," Shiffert said. "What you do on Thanksgiving sticks with you for life."

Perhaps one of the sharpest games was that 1993 contest. No one walked away with the Fork trophy.
Easton was heavily favored to win the game and scored the first touchdown. Phillipsburg immediately answered with a touchdown of its own. Then, the underdogs dug in.
The high-flying heroics of Timmy Flynn to save Phillipsburg from defeat were the stuff that legends are made of.
"We made three big plays during the course of the game. We had two goal-line stands," said Bruce Smith, Phillipsburg's coach in 1993. "With about five minutes to go, Easton was lining up for what should have been a gimme field goal, and Timmy Flynn broke through and blocked it. And then five minutes later, the game was over."
Although it was an unexpected showing from the Phillipsburg team, players from both teams left the field frustrated without a win.
"I didn't want it to end like that," Lebitz said.

The experiences of that day gathered cobwebs in the back of the players' minds, unresolved, until one fateful moment.
Gatorade, the sports beverage company, announced that it was organizing a replay: the same players, same coaches and the same field. NFL stars Peyton and Eli Manning will serve as honorary coaches for the rival teams. Ten thousand tickets to the game were sold in 90 minutes.
"Typically, you don't get second chances in life. And to get this kind of second chance means the world to both sides of the river," Smith said.
And who wouldn't jump at the chance?
"I don't think there's a guy who's strapped the pads on in the country at one point in time in their life who hasn't said, 'Wouldn't it be awesome if I can do that one more time?' " said Mike Cerimele, the director of Velocity Sports Performance in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
Cerimele has been leading the workouts for the players on both teams, along with members of the Gatorade Sports Science Institute, which designed a training and nutrition program. They have watched many players drop more than 30 pounds in recent weeks. One player was able to stop taking medication for high blood pressure and cholesterol because of the improvements in his health.
"The inspiration is really hearing some of these guys going, 'You know what ... this has really made a difference in my life,' " said John Stofan, a scientist with the Gatorade Sports Science Institute. "This is a lifestyle now."
Training or not, a full-contact, four-quarter game will take a toll on a person who has been away from the game for 15 years.
"When you actually run out on the field for the game and you just see that wall of people, I believe I will act 16 or 17 again," said Flynn, who hopes to provide another highlight-reel moment for Phillipsburg on Sunday. "The next day I think I will feel about 45 or 50."
Tim Gadwell, a player for Easton, said, "I'm going to kiss the ground, and then I'm going to get up, and I'm going to listen to that crowd roar one more time. I can't wait."
The game will be played at 3 p.m. Sunday at Lafayette College's Fisher Stadium in Easton.

That Crackling Sound You Heard? The Heavens Opening.

Media Man Crush Overload! Media Man Crush Overload! Abort! Abort!


Friday Fatuousness


News From Another BRETOA3 Participant

I don't know. Every business I've ever worked for would have gone belly up if they cut their prices by 20%. 

But Jewel-Osco, with all their benevolent heart, is here for us in these harsh economic times.

From Crains:
(Crain’s) — Jewel-Osco is cutting prices up to 20% on thousands of items in a push to attract cash-strapped shoppers and fend off discounters.
Jewel, the largest grocery chain in Chicago, with around 185 stores, has seen its leading share of the roughly $12-billion local market reduced in recent years by the aggressive expansion of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which often sells grocery items up to 15% cheaper.
“This is a significant move,” said Bill Bishop, a Barrington-based grocery consultant. “It's an expensive move, but it shows the company recognizes that it was vulnerable from a price point.”
Mr. Bishop said the move will force Jewel's long-time rival Dominick's, the No. 2 grocer in Chicago with about 85 stores, to either lower prices or likely lose customers.
Much of this is bullshit.  Grocery stores are only now adjusting their prices back to the pre-"ridiculous gas price skulduggery" levels from last winter.  They held out as long as they could, sticking it to the morons.  

Only when they saw places like Trader Joe's and Wal-Mart continue to set sales records over the last few months did they re-think their "flawless" logic.  Mrs. Ney's place of employment, a store that's been in existence for something like seven years, has seemingly been setting single-day sales records every weekend.

So you loyal Jewel shoppers.  Add up all the money you've spent at Jewel over the last year and half.  Now figure out 20%.  That's how much you were raped for "convenience."  

Let's call it your "stupid tax." 


Well.  At Least We Know Who To Blame

On the possibility of an NCAA playoff, who is clogging up the works?

The Big Ten and Pac-10.

From AJC via The Big Lead:
If the past is a guide, there will be very little support from the Big Six presidents. Georgia’s Michael Adams and Florida’s Bernie Machen have publicly supported such a playoff. Florida State’s T.K. Wetherell has been in that camp for a while. But that’s about it in the South. The Big Ten and Pac-10 don’t even want to discuss it. They have threatened to walk away from the BCS if such a thing is forced upon them. They are making a ton of money from the Rose Bowl and want you to believe they could survive just fine without the BCS.
So next time you hear any Big Ten fans try to bitch and moan about being screwed out of a BCS Championship Game, have them take a long, hard look squarely in the mirror.

And tell them to shut the pie hole.


Inter Alia

Lenny Dykstra isn't a financial genius after all.  But he's still kinda batshit loony.

Might want to avoid the West Loop for...oh...the next 10 years.

Milton Bradley was upset at Gordon Wittenmyer?  Who gets upset at Gordon Wittenmyer? 

Learn the lingo before the NFL Draft.  12,000 terms for "this guy's good and this guy sucks." 

Assbaggery 101

Gee, didn't see any of this happening. You mean people don't want to buy 2500 tickets when the economy is in the shitter? Since when?

Baseball (and in particular the Yankees and Mets) and Bud Selig's arrogance is finally being knocked down a peg or two.



Selig: Yankees, Mets to discuss prices

Associated Press
NEW YORK -- Bud Selig has noticed those empty seats at the new ballparks in New York, too. Should the Yankees and
Mets ;ower their tickets prices? The commissioner said that's up to them.
Selig said Thursday the teams will discuss the ticket situation. The Yankees declined comment, and the Mets said they weren't thinking about making changes.

Speaking to the Associated Press Sports Editors, Selig said it was not an issue for Major League Baseball to decide, and added he wouldn't make any recommendation.
"They're going to discuss it, and whatever adjustments they want to make, they should make," Selig said. "I wouldn't be presumptuous talking about what they should or shouldn't do."
The Yankees are charging $500-$2,625 for Legends Suite tickets in 25 sections at the new Yankee Stadium in the first nine rows around the infield, an area that contains 1,895 seats.
While those seats were filled for the April 16 opener, they were more than half-empty for the remaining five games on the homestand. Some entire sections were unfilled, but it's possible tickets for other seats were bought by people who didn't attend or spent much time in the three exclusive restaurants and lounges.
The Mets have fewer premium seats near home plate and far lower prices. They are charging an average of $175-$495 for 1,567 seats in the Delta Club, which includes 20 rows between the dugouts.
"Hal Steinbrenner did say a couple of weeks ago that he thought that, you know, they may have overpriced tickets and they'll look at it. Well, good for him," Selig said of the Yankees managing general partner.
"And I know the Wilpons. They're very sensitive about all this," he added of the family that owns the Mets.
Yankees spokeswoman Alice McGillion wouldn't discuss Selig's remarks, saying: "We're still not talking about ticket prices."
Mets spokesman David Newman said his team wouldn't revisit what it is charging.
"Ticket prices start at $11. Interest in coming to games at Citi Field is strong. Sales of season tickets and ticket plans are up 8 percent over 2008. Sale of single game tickets for April and May games are double what they were for 2008," he said in an e-mail.
Selig said too much is being made in the media of the top-priced seats.
"They're off to a very good attendance start. One team is averaging 44,000 -- the Yankees are at 44 -- and the Metsies are averaging 37,000," he said. "So it would be hard if I went to Pittsburgh or somewhere today and tell them, gee, you know, those two New York clubs are really struggling."
Selig said he was pleased with overall attendance. Through Wednesday, the 30 clubs were averaging 29,612, which he said was down 5 percent from a similar point last year.
"Nobody can draw conclusions because it's way too early," he said. "I can't forecast. There's just too many factors involved here, but we seem to be doing pretty well."
At a separate APSE meeting earlier in the day, Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber said he had taken notice of the unsold seats at New York's baseball parks.
"It's incomprehensible that you watch a game, and there will be front row seats empty," he said.
Garber said the league's law firm had canceled its Yankees season tickets this year. Proskauer Rose represents both MLB and MLS, but Proskauer spokesman Josh Epstein said no cancellation had been made.
"We had only 20 games in the old stadium and we decided to upgrade to a full season of 81 games behind the New York Yankees dugout," he said.



And, BTW, Thank God we got the Soccer Commissioner's take on all this!
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MILTON MAD!! MILTON SMASH!!

Oh and another one I wish we here at the BRE (or anyone who has a faint clue about baseball) had somehow foreseen:

I thought he'd at least get until Memorial Day before he became an Ass Bag!

Paranoid much? Coo-Coo! Coo-Coo!

Mr. Bradley, your bus is leaving...

Bradley: Media trying to make him 'snap'
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ESPN.com news services
CHICAGO -- After playing one game at far less than full speed,
Chicago Cubs outfielder Milton Bradley said Thursday he's not close to returning from a lingering groin injury.
Bradley
"I want to say I am, but I'm not," Bradley told Cubs.com.
Bradley has not spoken to the media in at least a week. He spoke to Cubs.com because it is affiliated with the Cubs organization, the Web site said.
Speaking of the fourth estate, the at times-volatile Bradley accused Chicago's media of trying to make him "snap," a remark that comes on the heels of his ejection for arguing a called third strike during his April 16 pinch-hitting appearance, and the subsequent two-game suspension for making contact with umpire Larry Vanover.
"I'm just not into negativity," he said. "I can see already I'm going to be that guy that since nothing else is going on in here, 'We're going to harp on Bradley all year and see if we can get him to snap.' I'm not going to go for it. You can't get a good story if I don't talk to [the media]. You'll make something up, like you always do."
"If I talk to you, you're going to make something up, and if I don't talk to you, you're going to make something up. So just go ahead and make something up and leave me out of it."
Rather than serve the suspension while he recuperates, Bradley has appealed, telling manager Lou Piniella it's a matter of "principle." Bradley doesn't believe he made contact with Vanover and told Cubs.com that "they need a forensic scientist to find a frame that shows I touched him with the bill of my helmet."
Meanwhile, the Cubs might have to put Bradley on the 15-day disabled list this weekend if he doesn't show signs of being ready to play regularly.
"When he's 100 percent, I'll put him out there," Piniella said Thursday, one day after Bradley played right field for the first time in more than a week. "Until then, I'll use
[Reed] Johnson and [Micah] Hoffpauir in the outfield."
Despite Bradley's long history of serious injuries, the Cubs signed the switch-hitter to a three-year, $30 million contract during the offseason to bat cleanup and provide balance to what had been a predominantly right-handed lineup.
"I don't play people unless they're totally healthy," Piniella said. "When I get him out there, I expect him to run hard and play hard the way he always has."
When Bradley does return, he'll be dropped from cleanup to the No. 6 spot, Piniella said, "where he might be a little more comfortable."
Piniella said Bradley would be available to pinch-hit.
Bradley had only one hit in the season's first week before suffering the groin injury April 12 at Milwaukee. After going hitless in two pinch-hitting appearances, he returned to right field Wednesday and went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.
The one time he did hit a grounder, he didn't run to first base and was out even though the ball was bobbled. He was booed repeatedly throughout the 3-0 loss to Cincinnati.
A career .280 hitter, Bradley is batting .043 this season. He's 1-for-23 and has struck out seven times.

Friday Isn't For Thinking


Turned on the Score this morning figuring I'd hear Bulls, Sox or Cubs talk (y'know seeing as it's IN SEASON) but found them talking about, (SIGH) the Bears. Jesus, guys. Its April! Why do I bother with this shit anymore?

Yes, I know, the draft is this weekend.
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Speaking of the most overrated and overhyped event in sports...No, not Danica Patrick, the NFL Draft!
I refuse to watch this bloated elephant. It's essentially a barely organized crap shoot. This thing goes on for two days! And to call it a clusterfuck is being kind. Noone (NO ONE) knows how these guys are going to turn out. Not Todd McShay. Not Chris Mortensen. Not Mel Fucking Kiper.
God, what a bunch of snake oil that douchebag is peddling. Mel is the type of "sports fan" I hate. He doesn't really have a team, nor is he terribly astute. He's just a geek who belches out stats and tries very hard to suck the fun out of it.
I do what any normal person would do: I check online on Sunday what players my team drafted, I go "Oh. OK." and then I move along. It takes about 3 minutes.
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Speaking of "my team", they traded Tony Gonzalez yesterday. I don't really care. The Chiefs are in rebuilding mode BIG TIME, so, trading him makes sense. BUT a Second rounder NEXT year?! I'm thinking he was worth a little more than that. But what do I know?
It's baseball season. I'll worry about that shit in August.
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It's my anniversary on Sunday. Jesus, where did THAT year go?
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Who would've thought this was gonna cause an uproar?
God, people are fucking stupid.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I'd Like To Add One Thing To Mate's Six Things


If someone put a spear to my scrotal area and said I had to bet $1000 on one NL Central team to win the division, it would be the Cubs.

Mainly because I like my prairie oysters but also because they have what constitutes, by definition, a good team, better than the other rabbits in the race.

And sure, I'm looking for reasons to not simply hand the division crown to the Cubs, but consider this...

Since August 9 of last year, Carlos Zambrano, the de-facto ace on the Cubs' staff, the guy who the team has committed $18 million per year through 2013, hasn't been good at throwing baseballs.

On August 9 of 2008, the NL Central was very much a division race.  The Brewers were four games back and the Cardinals were six games back.  Sure, the Cardinals didn't have the horses (what's with all the animals references, Christo?) but the Brewers were very much a team with the bats and arms to take the division. 

By September 1, the Cubs took care of the Cardinals with a 20-8 record in August with some out-of-their-gourd hitting by DeRosa, Ramirez, Soto and Reed Mantle and great pitching by nearly every pitcher on the staff.  In fact, 80% of the staff had their best month of the year in August.

But the Brewers were still hanging around, still only 4.5 games back.  The Cubs didn't exactly shut the door, going 12-12 in the last month of the season.  It's just that the Brewers did the proverbial "crapping of the pants," going 10-16 to finish the season.

The Cubs won the division by 7.5 games, making it look like a pretty cushy ride to the finish but it was anything but.  

A lot of things out of their control, like the Brewers sucking, and scheduling, like playing the Pirates, Nationals, Reds and Braves - four of the worst teams in the league - a total of 15 times in August helped.

And they stayed healthy down the stretch.  I know you can't predict injuries but with full-season additions of Bradley (has averaged 90 games played since 2005) and Harden (hasn't started more than 25 games since 2004) to this year's team, the ears are certainly perked up because they certainly rely on both to contribute heavily to their projected success.

Now, back to my original point.  Zambrano may be the catalyst that causes the dominoes to fall.

Since August 9 of last year, he's had 11 starts.  In those starts, Zambrano pitched 60.2 innings, giving up 48 earned runs, 63 hits, 34 walks and 12 home runs.  

That works out to a 7.12 ERA and a 1.60 WHIP.

For context, 266 pitchers threw 60 innings or more in 2008.  Taking Zambrano's numbers over those 11 starts and putting him into that 2008 ERA leaderboard, he's pitched worse than 263 of them.  Only Josh Fogg, Luis Mendoza and Greg Reynolds were worse.  

His WHIP would have been 234th and his home runs allowed would have been the worst in the league.

Is something physically wrong?  I don't know.  But if his ineffectiveness continues and he misses a significant amount of starts for one reason or another, that bumps everyone up a slot and the back end of the rotation goes to Marshall and Smardzija, taking the latter out of the already-bad bullpen mix and putting Cub fans on their knees, praying that Harden's shoulder doesn't fall off.

And if it does, the Peavy talk will begin again.  But please tell me what the Cubs have to offer in the minors with the 4th-worst minor league talent right now.  Vitters?  The Padres don't really need more third basemen.

I'm just sayin'.  I think the situation is more precarious than many are letting on.  They are going to need more breaks to fall their way than most people think.

Oh, and that bullpen blows.

On another note, Matt Palmer starts for the Angels tonight.  

Who is Matt Palmer?  I HAVE NO FREAKIN' IDEA!!!  It's gettin' ugly, guys.


Some Cub Observations...

I did my Sox 6 things so might as well do the Cubs...

1. Milton Bradley hasn't disappointed in his ability to distract and antagonize. Nice, pickup, Hendry. Hey, the guy may end up being decent at the plate but he's a Cro-Magnon lunatic. He' also hitting .048 right now. I know it's April but he's already been "injured" and had a blow up on a call 3rd strike. This is an improvement over DeRosa how?

2. That is one bad bullpen. Bad. Other than Marmol. Kevin Gregg? Luis Vizcaino? Neil Cotts? Tell me again why this division is a foregone conclusion? Bringing up Smardzija may help but still...

3. Fukodome is having a nice start but didn't that happen last year, too? But I still think the guy is a damn good hitter who hit a major wall last year. I expect him to be .300 or better and a major part of why they may (MAY) win that division because...

4. The entire division is better than last year except the Brewers. The Cardinals aren't bad, folks. I don't buy that they are all that much poorer than the Cubs. Yes, losing Carpenter will hurt but the guy's made of balsa. They're used to it. And that's a pretty good lineup. Sleeper? The Reds. They're not going to win that division but they're not the automatic 2 out of 3 they used to be. Yes, I know the lineup is weak.

5. Derek Lee looks better at the plate but he is without a doubt the boringest good player in the Majors. Hands down.

6. Did I mention how bad the bullpen is?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

This Isn't That Hard Of A Job, Guys

The Boo Ya Network's Niagra Fall descent into horse shit continues...


So I'm passing the time with a viewing of "College Football Live" last night and noticed that they were going to do a Big Ten Preview. Since the Sox were in the middle of pissing themselves in Baltimore I decided to keep it on.
The "expert" was one Andre Ware. Remember him? The Heisman winner/NFL Super Bust?
Apparently he's an announcer for ESPN now. I have successfully let the Force flow through me and have unlearned what I have learned (i.e. I ignore the announcers) so whether or not he's decent or bad I have no idea.
Now, he had his top 5 teams in the Big Ten being Ohio State, Minnesota (red flag), Michigan State, Illinois (red flag 2) and Wisconsin (red flag 3)...Now, ok, whatever. I'm not one of these meatball Hawk fans that thinks there's a massive conspiracy against Iowa but I was a tad bit surprised that he was picking the teams he was picking. Minnesota was smoke and mirrors in 2008 and didn't just fade down the stretch but completely imploded and Wisconsin was, well, just awful. And we all know what a great coach Ron Zook is. (Cough)...But I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.
But then he started to talk and when an e-mailer asked him about Iowa he said (Paraphrasing) "Well, the Iowa offensive line gave up 46 sacks last year (perk up) and they were just awful..Shonn Greene bailed them out of alot of situations...blah, blah, blah.." It became entirely clear after about 3 minutes that Andre was citing 2007 STATS!!! OH MY GOD! He also was basing his predictions for the coming year based on 2007...Hence the Illinois and Wisconsin picks. Double OH MY GOD!!
He had clearly got onto the internet and punched in "Iowa Football Stats" and just regurgitated them on air. Problem is, he got the year wrong! This is a national college football correspondent apparently. For ESPN. And he's belching out the wrong stats.
And we're one inch closer to the WWL becoming an absolutely complete train wreck.

WOW.

He Gone!!

Our long national nightmare is over!



Chicago White Sox say farewell to Mike MacDougal
Reliever never conquered control problem
By Mark Gonzales Tribune reporter
April 22, 2009
BALTIMORE — The White Sox finally ran out of roles for Mike MacDougal as they designated the embattled reliever for assignment before Tuesday night's game at Baltimore.Actually, MacDougal was informed Sunday night he was off the team before it left St. Petersburg, Fla. A lack of control, whether it was in a middle relief role or seventh-inning situation, was his downfall.MacDougal walked three and threw two wild pitches in a two-inning stint April 15 at Detroit, and then walked the only batter he faced in Friday's loss at Tampa Bay.The Sox have 10 days to trade, waive or release MacDougal, 32, who will receive $2.65 million this year with a $350,000 club buyout for 2010.
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"We tried to do different things with him because we believe he has one of the best arms in the game," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "[But] you cannot keep believing in him when he doesn't give you any ammunition. It was hard for me to use him because I didn't know what role he was going to have."MacDougal, acquired in a 2006 mid-season trade with Kansas City for two pitching prospects, had a 12.46 ERA with seven walks in five games."When I said goodbye to him, I said, 'I'm rooting for you, even if you might not believe it,' " said Guillen, who said he pulled for MacDougal to make the 25-man roster as a non-roster invitee because he struck out 22 in 14 innings.The Sox promoted pitcher Jack Egbert despite a 6.43 ERA at Triple-A Charlotte. But Egbert, 25, allowed only two runs in his last 51/3 innings and was a 12-game winner at Double-A Birmingham in 2007."I think we all knew this was an important spring for me," said Egbert, who added that about 30 family members and friends were commuting from northern New Jersey to see him. "Being able to pitch well put me in a position if something happened … which was very rewarding."

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Christo's Five Things - Baseball Edition


1.  What have you gone Emilio Bonifacio?  

'Member when everybody thought Bonifacio was the next great leadoff hitter?
  
'Member that?  That was awesome.  He's hitting .121 since April 11 with no extra-base hits, striking out 11 times in 33 at-bats.  In fact, take out his 4-5, one home run, 2 Rsbi and 3 stolen bases on Opening Day and he's hitting .269 with two extra-base hits and one stolen base in 57 abs.  He's on pace to strike out 162 times while taking 20 walks according to ESPN's projected stats.


2.  The Angels are one Torii Hunter injury from fielding a complete minor-league team. 

Everyone keeps talking about the starting pitching.  It's not the starting pitching!  They're #2 in the majors right now in terms of ERA right now.  That won't hold up.  I get that.  But the Angels' bullpen is the worst in the majors through 12 games.  Oh, and they can't hit.  

I officially give up on saying Howie Kendrick will be a batting champ very soon.  Throw him a slider off the plate and he's like a monkey trying to hump a football.  "Oh, My God!  What the hell is this new-fangled pitch?!  I've never seen such trickery!"


3.  Paid attendance in Washington last night was 12,473.

Tack on a two hour rain delay before the game and an hour delay in the eighth.  What you were left with at midnight, DC time last night was MAYBE 40 people.  It was just odd to see.

This on the night that Jordan Zimmerman had a nice debut and they locked up Ryan Zimmerman long-term.  New ballpark last year and they couldn't draw 30,000 a game.  I don't care if they sucked.  Go to a game, DCers.


4.  Bad hitters doing bad baseball things.

The San Francisco Giants have scored 37 runs in 12 games.  It gets worse.  They've scored 18 runs in the last nine games.  And they've struck out the fifth-most times in the majors while taking the least amount of walks.  That's one bad lineup so far.

The second-worst offense in baseball last year and they added Edgar Renteria.  That'll cure what ails ya.


5.  Get ready for the Jake Fox talk.

He'll be this year's Micah Hoffpauir for Cub fans.  He's hitting .460 with seven hrs and 24 rsbi in 50 abs at Iowa.  The clock is ticking.  I have around May 12, right after a three-game Cub slide and a minor hamstring injury to Soriano.  

That is the date Jake Fox becomes Jake Mantle. 

Can a team carry two guys on the same roster just chockablock with such Cub White Boy Awesomeness in Jake Fox and Reed Johnson?  We'll find out.    


Wow..HD Really Brings Out the Green In Those Empty Seats

Got the HD put in yesterday and since I find the NBA playoffs only slightly more interesting than a lecture on armpit hair I was stuck having to watch "Yankees vs. A's Got Rained Out, Folks, And It's Monday So This Is the Best We Got" on ESPN...and I really think Christo and Mate's High school team played in front of more people than last nights Marlins-Pirates game.
The expanded picture really let me see how fucking morgue like PNC Park was and can be. Seriously, I've been to Pittsburgh. What else is there to do on a Monday night? Count your chins?
It's a nice ballpark, folks. I know you're a football town but the Steelers don't start for 4 months. Go see a baseball game. Cripes. It's not that expensive, Losers. (That's my Rick Santelli impression)
That said, HD is fucking awesome!



6 Things About the Sox So Far...


1. If Contreras OR Colon can be average in the 4 slot in the rotation than the Sox are the team to beat in that division. I see nothing in the AL Central that challenges them. IF that’s the case. If either one of them falter than we have a Danny Wright situation again..and nobody wants that. For the good of baseball.

2. I keep forgetting that the Sox won the division last year with Konerko having a shit stain of a season. He’s still the third leg of the Trinity of Slow in the middle of that lineup but if he has a decent season this may not be a bad team. In fact, it may be downright above average.


3. Clayton Richard is pretty good. He WILL be good. But he’s not good enough for me to want to put him in the rotation yet. He’s a nice long relief and stop the bleeding guy. But I’ll go with Contreras for the time being.

4.Ummm….All of the Carlos Quentin “One year wonder” guys can now officially take a seat and shut the fuck up. The guy can flat out hit the baseball.


5.You can, however, still say that about Alexi Ramirez.

6. Brian Anderson continues to miss pitches on the outer half of the plate by approximately 4 feet.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Problems...


A roundup of the week's problems (or not)...

Parks & Recreation

Verdict:  Problem

Reason:  Not funny.  I'll give it a couple more shows but that's all you're getting, Michael Schur.  

I've always wanted to find Amy Poehler funny but this show is demonstrating how important Steve Carell is to the execution of The Office.  

Oh, and surrounding main characters with a well-defined and boxed-in supporting cast is a good thing.  C'mon.  Give me a chuckle or two.


GlobalPost.com

Verdict:  Not a problem

Reason:  Worth the time.  Yeah, it's narrative journalism to the nth degree, but it's basically a flurry of quick hits (most under 1000 words) from around the world and that's a good thing.  As newspapers closed their foreign bureaus at a record place over the last ten years, a glut of foreign journalists living all over the world were left without a steady stream of income.  
Enter GlobalPost.com.  They pay underutilized writers from virtually everywhere on the planet $1000 for four articles a month to create a site just chockablock with pretty good content.

I've been following it for a couple of months now and they have built an effective niche.  While it remains to be seen if their subscription model that offers direct access to the writers will work, early reports are that traffic has been well above expectations (New York Times profile).  

Toronto

Verdict:  Not a problem

Reason:  The Ney household will visit the wondrous Canadian playground of Toronto in a month to do sum eatin'.

We plan to try that odd Canadian concoction that screams heart attack, the poutine, and maybe catch the White Sox and Blue Jays.

The restaurants:


...and more.

Plans are in the works for London in September.  Fat Duck is a goal.


The Obama/Chavez Handshake

Verdict:  Problem with qualification

Reason:  We'll see how this plays out but I choose to not so easily shake hands with a bona-fide, looney tunes ass-bag, especially when that ass-bag called me an ignoramus just one month ago.

This better be merely symbolic.  If the play here is to see if Chavez can even fuck up such an obviously open door, then bravo!  It might be a genius play.  Obama is more popular in Venezuela than Chavez right now so screwing this up might be the death knell in Chavez's coffin.  He can no longer play the foil to the "Imperialist Americans" but...we'll see.  

Let him fall on his own sword.  


Mado on Milwaukee

Verdict:  Not a problem

Reason:  Great meal.  The guy that owns this place was the chef of the group that took over the Pottery Barn of a restaurant that I used to work at in Lincoln Square and boy, can the guy cook.

It's farm-to-table, all local products, all made in-house and it's just plain delicious.  

We ordered six appetizers, two entrees and two desserts with a final bill right at $100.  Great charcuterie, savory crepes, herb and ricotta tart, baby octopus with smoked paprika, radishes with radish green butter and the chicken and trout entrees.  

Mostly what we came away with was how well-seasoned everything was.  And that well-prepared chicken is gggooooooddd chicken.  And it's BYO.  Bring a lighter red or a bigger white.      


Ahmadinejad at the United Nations   

Verdict:  Problem

Reason:  And Ahmadinejad continues to add to his growing résumé of douchebaggery.  It's called grace, Mahmoud. 



Double Features

Verdict:  Not a problem

Reason:  It was a double feature last Thursday for Christo. 

Tell No One, a nicely constructed French thriller, offers a stylized take on the standard American formula that proves repeated plot twists don't have to devolve into the ridiculous.

The Visitor likewise shows that pointed political commentary doesn't have to bludgeon the viewer into submission.

It was a nice way to spend the night.

Mate's Monday Musings

Got to the office this morning (ten minutes late! Thanks, train!) to find it completely flooded! My cubicle smells like old people.
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3 out of 4 in Tampa Bay?! Should've been a sweep. 3 out of 4? Really? In a dome?! This is The White Sox we're talking about? The same team that looked like a dying Rhinoceros anytime they played on Field Turf last year?
Christo felt the fun of a weekend series against the Twins in the Abortion Dome. Nick Punto pretty much sums up why I hate them. Nick Punto.
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Hey, did ya hear? Bank of America posted a profit! So did Chase, Goldman and Well Fargo!
Do people not see the crock of shit sitting in front of them or are they just blissfully stupid?
When I asked my mom for help during college I often used the same measuring stick, "Hey, Mom gave me 100 bucks! I just made a profit on my douchbagginess!"
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I watched 'the Simpsons' last night for the first time in years. I'm a bit of a 'Simpsons' snob. Anything after 1998 I tend to think of as lesser and anything from the last 5 years is just worthy of my ignorance. But, know what? Last night's episode was damn funny. I laughed hard at least 5 times. It wasn't exactly "Mr. Plow" or "Homer Goes to College" hilarious but it beat the hell out of an episode of "Two and a Half Men"...(which I still haven't seen yet continue to rip)
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Getting HD put in tonight! And, of course, the Sox are off. Bulls? Meh. Maybe I'll watch hockey...

Friday, April 17, 2009

Hmmff...


Friday Isn't For Thinking



14 hits and 3 runs. Yeah, that sounds about right. The Sox lineup has changed around the edges but they are still a station to station team with lumbering turds in the middle of the lineup. It’s amazing how the insurance run was scored by putting runners in motion, hitting and running and aggressive baseball. And then Thome and Dye (who had a good night) struck out with ducks on the pond.
Get used to it but I guess we already should be.
And Jenks’ save was not “shaky”…Not one of those balls were hit hard. And how the hell do you get a bad hop on Turf?!
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Do you think the media could’ve possibly overblown those dopey ass tea parties that went on across the country Wednesday? I think the most that showed up to a rally was a couple thousand in San Antonio. Everywhere else were a handful to a couple hundred Right wing yahoos who still don’t like the idea of a Colored in the White House.
Completely meaningless bullshit done by a scared group of White people who are realizing that their stranglehold on power is diminishing. Are taxes too high? Yeah, probably. But where was this outrage when Bush wasted trillions on an illegal war based on bullshit intelligence? Huh? Oh, that’s right. You were too busy beating up people who disagreed with you and questioning their patriotism.
Douchebags.

And guess who was at the forefront of all this? Yep. Rick Santelli. A clear front runner for the SNC’s Fuckstick of the Year. It’s gonna take a Herculean effort of assbaggery to beat him.
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I have a Facebook account but I don’t get Twitter at all. Why should I care if some guy I went to high school with and have spoken to maybe 4 times in my life is doing his laundry? Again, must be in constant contact. Constant.
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I’m starting to eat a lot of Indian and Japanese food lately. I’m in love with Sushi. Where has it been all my life? I guess I never really gave it much of a chance. Goddamn it’s good. And Indian food is a bit hit or miss but I’m digging that too. Am I becoming one of those pretentious foodie assholes? No. I had T of A participant Jimmy John’s for Lunch yesterday and again only for convenience. The only reason anyone would eat there. The TURKEY sandwich I got tasted like lightly buttered bread with a hint of lettuce. In other words, bland as lady’s golf.
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And, folks, the Cubs winning the division is NOT a foregone conclusion. That’s one bad bullpen.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I Kind Of Wish They Would

Our retarded , gigantic Lennie Small cousin has once again shown that they are, indeed, the breeding ground for the most idiotic lunkheads in the Union. And that's including Arkansas.

I always wondered who Karl Rove and the Bat Shitters were gonna pluck out of Texas like Paplatine to Anakin. It's amazing how these boneheads didn't seem to have a problem when President Blockhead was racking up trillion dollar deficits with a Republican controlled Congress.
I'm beginning to think Populism should've won T of A.


Behold the latest Republican to say something asinine at an asinine event attended by asinine asshats:
Texas Governor Floats Possibility Of Secession

Does Gov. Rick Perry want his state of Texas to secede from the union? Perry is making headlines for suggesting yesterday that people in his state are so fed up with high taxes and President Obama's stimulus spending that breaking away from the Union might be an option. Later, Perry backed away from his earlier comments, however. He emphasized in an interview with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that he never specifically stated that Texas should think about seceding. Still, Perry’s comments are generating plenty of attention, both in Texas and nationwide. "There's a lot of different scenarios," Perry said in Austin, according to the Associated Press. "We've got a great union. There's absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that. But Texas is a very unique place, and we're a pretty independent lot to boot." Speaking to an anti-tax "tea party,” the Republican governor also dismissed criticism that people protesting taxes across Texas and throughout the country were "right wing extremists," The Dallas Morning News reports. Rather, he said that only by affirming states' rights would Texans be able to stop the federal government's reckless tax and spending policies. "They're overturning the rights we had one by one, making choices that would leave our founding fathers scratching their heads," Perry told the crowd. Perry is facing a tough primary challenge from U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson. A recent poll by the University of Texas at Austin's Department of Government had him trailing the Texas senator 36%-30%, with 24% still undecided. Perry attracted national attention recently by refusing $550 million in federal stimulus money for the state's unemployment funds. He said it came with too many strings attached and would leave Texas on the hook to fund the program once federal money dried up, the Houston Chronicle reported last March. Perry spoke at three "tea party" rallies across his state. Hundreds of similar protests were held nationally yesterday as Americans hurried to meet the April 15th deadline for filing their federal and state taxes. Despite his later clarification, Perry's fiery words may have helped shore up the conservative base for his primary challenge – at least among Texas Republicans fed up with taxes. According to Politico, the governor has effectively transformed himself into the "tea party darling."

Aren't I Clever - Part Deux


Eight games does not a hot start make.

The meatheadery is coming early this year in Christo's baseball world so let's do an exercise.

Here are the projected standings for this season based on each team's current winning percentage.

Nine teams will win 100 games or more with Florida destroying all baseball records with 142 wins.

Washington won't win a game and there will be riots in Boston, floods in Milwaukee and locusts in Cleveland.

Who knew Toronto and Detroit had the pitching?

And San Diego ain't in no rebuilding mode, brah!


Will the season even approach this?  No.  SO SHUT THE HELL UP!!! CRIPES!!!

Let's get to mid-May at least before getting all stupid.