March 4, 2011

Link-O-Rama

• Next time someone complains that professional athletes are overpaid, show them this.

• I'm convinced this will happen to me some day, except with Pizza Hut and chicken wings.

Rest in peace, Uncle Leo. And my condolences to Cousin Jeffrey at the parks department.

Mila Kunis wasn't actually nominated for anything, but the Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com still managed to win the Academy Awards. Hopefully she will always remember who blogged about her obsessively before it was cool.

Ozzie Guillen basically told Bobby Jenks to check himself before he wrecks himself.

Dr. Dre, Sedale Threatt's ex-wife, Burning Man, and the greatest sign-off to a hand-written love letter of all time: "I'm bout to pass out girl, wish I was up in that ass."

• It never occurred to me that "eating full boxes of Cap'n Crunch" was odd until a big deal was made of CC Sabathia stopping that practice, which is one of many reasons why we're around the same weight and he's 6-foot-7.

• On a related note, I'm not much for feet but there's no doubt Rex Ryan and I could hang.

• Phew. Glad that's settled, finally.

David Brauer of MinnPost writes that things are looking up for the Minneapolis Star Tribune's website, which is a good sign as mainstream outlets figure out how to make money online.

• Not sure if "Where's Waldo?" is even still around, but this needs to replace it immediately.

• Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke dances to "Single Ladies" by Beyonce. Sort of:

He seems very undecided about the hat's value.

Doc Gooden and Doc Drew is a sad combination.

• Oregon State defensive lineman Stephen Paea bench-pressed 225 pounds 49 times at the NFL scouting combine, which set the record and earned him the right to be called "hoss" by the always awesome John Lott.

• Such a simple concept and such an amazing site.

• In retrospect, I'm amazed that no one thought of this life-changing invention before now.

• I went into a Borders recently to use a gift certificate before they close up shop and just kept thinking "I can get this cheaper online." Big bookstores like Borders put a ton of mom-and-pop shops out of business because they could sell at a discount thanks to buying in such massive bulk and now Amazon.com is essentially doing the same thing to the big boys. The whole thing is kind of sad, but then again books are cheaper and more readily available now than ever.

Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch wrote a very good profile of Bill James.

• Baseball-Reference.com mastermind Sean Forman is among the recipients of the Society for American Baseball Research's annual Henry Chadwick award. Well-deserved and then some.

• I'll remember these rules if I ever make it back into another pressbox.

Alyssa Milano is having her first kid and Jessica Alba is having her second kid. Oh well.

Bill Simmons is launching a new, ESPN-funded website and some of the details have leaked out, including his hiring of personal favorites Chuck Klosterman and Katie Baker.

• Meanwhile one of my favorite sports sites, AOL Fanhouse, is no more, as Sporting News sadly bought the name and let go of the many excellent writers who deserved a much better fate.

• Fanhouse is gone, but at least this epic e-mail chain lives on. Craig Calcaterra is everywhere.

• Speaking of Craig, he fell in love at first sight with Jeff Francoeur.

• Way before Rob McElhenney was on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia ... well, just watch this:

My favorite part is the attempt to keep things casual with the ultra-scripted "hold up."

Funny podcast of the week: Zach Galifianakis on "Who Charted?" with Howard Kremer and Kulap Vilaysack.

Bryant McKinnie is doing his best to prepare for the potential NFL lockout.

Dennis Green's son and former ESPN.com writer Jeremy Green is expected to serve at least five years in prison after pleading guilty to child pornography charges in Connecticut.

• When great beards meet, everyone wins (except Baron Davis, who was traded to Cleveland a couple days later).

• ESPN just got a whole lot more stat-heady.

• Here's a unique look at how Kevin Love fills a statsheet by Matt Scribbins of HoopData.com, who actually e-mailed me saying I should give the article to my NBA-loving mom. I did and the last part made her sad.

• This is definitely one of the better bobblehead giveaways I've seen. Design and function!

• Here's the best argument yet for buying an iPad, although I wouldn't know where to begin.

• A pair of new blogs to check out: Twins Territory Talk and Off The Bench.

• Here are some highlights from my NBCSports.com blogging this week:

- Carlos Ruiz's wife gave birth exactly nine months after Roy Halladay's perfect game
- Elijah Dukes arrested, accused of hitting pregnant ex-girlfriend
- Brandon Phillips wants a long-term contract extension, but do the Reds?
- Ron Gardenhire says Brian Duensing will "absolutely" be in Twins' rotation
- Garret Anderson retires after 17 seasons and 2,529 hits
- White Sox giving Dayan Viciedo a look in the outfield
- Austin Kearns was arrested for a DUI in Kentucky last month
- Jeremy Bonderman is "likely going to sit this year out"
- Carl Pavano seriously considered one-year offer from Yankees

• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is "He Won't Go" by Adele:

December 23, 2010

Link-O-Rama

• In honor of Festivus, this week's Link-O-Rama is a day early and super-sized ...

And here's a little more about my favorite holiday:

On a related note: The Economics of Seinfeld.

• Be honest, you'd walk around all day with your hand there too if you could.

• I picked the right profession, apparently.

• On the other hand, suddenly "thief" is looking like a pretty easy gig for me.

• In fairness to Natalie Portman, it's tough to look that good next to the Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com.

• And as the Notorious B.I.G. once said: If you don't know, now you know.

• On a related note I almost don't want to see Black Swan because it can't possibly be as good as it is in my mind.

• One-liner of the week, from SI.com media writer Richard Dietsch about NFL pregame shows: "Outside of Michael Irvin, most NFL pregame analysts will eventually provide some interesting insight and analysis."

• Hopefully his new career will provide a better platform for showing people how we do it.

• How to go from being a Baseball Think Factory and The Hardball Times writer to international scouting director for an MLB team.

• I sometimes can't help but wonder if there's a marketing department somewhere inventing food specifically for me to buy.

• Sure, it seems like a lot of money, but $12,000 is really only $3,000 per inch.

• Here are highlights from Kevin Love's recent 43-point, 17-rebound game versus the Nuggets set to "God is Love" by Marvin Gaye:

If you didn't like that, we probably can't be friends.

Jose Canseco wants to show you his bat speed.

David Simon, the Washington Post, and how one little word can change everything.

• Next time someone makes that old joke about the book of famous Jewish athletes being just a pamphlet, I'll send them here. And then wait patiently for them to make a different joke.

• My latest podcast discovery: "Comedy and Everything Else" with Jimmy Dore and Stefane Zamorano (and for the first 60 episodes Todd Glass). They mix silly and serious as well as any podcast I've heard (albeit with a bit more politics and a bit less comedy than I'd prefer), and often have on great guests too.

• Speaking of good podcasts, here's a worlds colliding moment: One of my favorite podcasters, Jesse Thorn, talked baseball with Carson Cistulli of Fan Graphs. Not only is he a big baseball (and specifically Giants) fan, Thorn was nice enough to comment here after I wrote about liking his podcasts in a previous Link-O-Rama.

• And speaking of Fan Graphs interviews, Eno Sarris chatted with my main co-worker.

• IFC has rapidly become one of my favorite channels by resurrecting several of the best and most underrated shows of the 1990s and 2000s.

• I really, really wanted to like The Walking Dead on AMC, but throughout the first season I was bothered by the cheesy dialogue, over-acting, paper-thin characters, and silly decision-making needed to push certain plot lines along. Suffice it to say I wasn't surprised to read this.

Karl Pilkington is coming to the Science Channel, so hopefully they'll now study why he has "a head like a f***ing orange."

Miley Cyrus seems like fun.

• French bulldog puppy versus doorstop, who ya got?

Winner of that matchup takes on the winner of shadow versus light from flashlight in Round 2.

• They may not be quite as amazing as expected yet, but this photo is pretty badass. And the story behind it is interesting too.

• Speaking of LeBron James, this article about his longtime relationship with former Cavs and current Heat reporter Brian Windhorst is very interesting.

• I like to think of myself as the white, talentless version of Cee-Lo Green. Or in other words, just fat and weird.

• Hall of Fame or not, Ron Santo ranks among the all-time great third basemen.

• I'm probably a 5.5 on a 1-10 scale of Bruce Springsteen fandom, but I absolutely loved the recent HBO documentary on the making of his 1978 album "Darkness on the Edge of Town." If you like Springsteen even a little bit, try to catch a replay or rent it. Incredibly compelling.

• Speaking of documentaries, ESPN's film about Marcus Dupree was incredible. It was so good that I randomly spent 10 minutes recapping the whole story for my mom despite her having no interest. In fact, after I was finished her only response was to ask, "Is he married now?"

Joe Posnanski's latest bit of awesomeness was about Zack Greinke.

• The most underrated performer in radio history talks to my second-favorite radio personality of all time, largely about my favorite radio personality of all time. I liked it, shockingly.

According to the Pew Research Center eight percent of "online Americans" use Twitter, which makes me think I should have way more followers.

• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is "Tighten Up" by The Black Keys:

July 23, 2010

Link-O-Rama

• I'm not quoted in the article, but my tip for avoiding burnout is to never wear pants at work.

• I haven't watched Survivor in years, but might have to start tuning in again just to see what happens to Jimmy Johnson's hair on the island.

• Not only did Anthony Slama throw a scoreless inning with two strikeouts in his long-awaited MLB debut, he did so while sporting a fantastic mustache/stirrup combination.

• This was a banner week for pictures of Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com Mila Kunis looking cute on the set of some movie she's filming. Incidentally, this is the exact look I imagine Kunis giving if ever told about the title she holds. I've seen the look before in girls. It's called "not amused."

• As fans at last night's Twins game learned, Orioles security is even worse than the Orioles.

• I'm sure going to jail is a pretty big wake-up call too, but when Robert Shapiro can no longer stomach being your lawyer it's probably time to reassess pretty much everything in your life.

• I took my quarterly trip to a movie theater to see Inception last weekend. It was right up my alley in every possible way, from the plot and cast to the basic concept of the entire film, yet I didn't quite love it. I loved the idea of the movie and movie-going experience, but merely really liked the actual movie. With that said, a week later I still haven't stopped thinking and talking about it. I'm giving serious thought to turning my Al Newman bobble-head doll into a "totem."

• I really enjoyed Inception director Christopher Nolan as a guest on Elvis Mitchell's podcast "The Treatment" and also checked out some of the other interviews in the extensive archive.

• Speaking of my tendency to learn about a podcast and then manically burn through its entire archive in days, my latest discovery is "WTF with Marc Maron." I'd heard Marc Maron do some stand-up comedy before and was aware of his stint as a radio host, but the podcast is great in a totally unexpected way. He does laid-back, long-form interviews with fellow comedians, with plenty of laughs mixed in with genuinely interesting conversations about all kinds of topics.

I've hand-picked episodes based on my interest in the guest, but they've all been so good I'm planning to devour the entire 92-show archive. My favorites so far are Maron's interviews with Chelsea Peretti, Dave Attell, Maria Bamford, Jim JefferiesJim Norton, Jen Kirkman, and Doug Stanhope. If you enjoy stand-up comedy, talk radio, and being a fly on the wall for some super-intimate conversations between interesting/weird people, it's basically a perfect show.

• Twins fans are never going to believe this, but umpire Phil Cuzzi screwed up another call.

• Why yes, someone did splice together Seinfeld clips into a trailer for an action/thriller movie:

Wayne Knight is definitely one of the most underrated villains in television history.

• I'm thrilled to say that, for the most part, local media members no longer write this brand of tripe about the Twins' bad players.

• Last month Detroit Free Press columnist Mitch Albom received the coveted Red Smith Award for lifetime achievement from the Associated Press Sports Editors and took the opportunity to lecture his fellow journalists on the morality of their profession, at which point Jason Whitlock, Tommy Craggs, and Dave Kindred all lit into Albom, the APSE, and the newspaper business for ... well, read this particularly eviscerating rant from Whitlock if you don't already know.

• Rotoworld contributor Glenn Colton was featured in the Wall Street Journal, but I'm mostly jealous to learn that he played in a fantasy baseball league with professional poker player and "The Scoop" co-host Adam Schoenfeld.

• I'll happily take the publicity, but this seems like an odd list in that AG.com probably gets like one percent as much traffic as the other "mega traffic" blogs listed.

• Paramedics in Columbus, Ohio own "18 stretchers that can move patients up to 650 pounds" and "those stretchers cost about $5,000 each." But guess what? Now "the city is considering buying even stronger equipment" for "when paramedics have to move patients weighing more than 650 pounds." The kicker? According to this very sad article, that "generally happens twice a month." As a longtime fatso I'm thinking about moving to Columbus so I can feel svelte.

• I finally got around to buying my plane ticket for the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) convention in Atlanta in a couple weeks. If any AG.com readers are going, let me know so I can add you to the list of people who can be counted on to buy me a beer.

• Thanks in part to Twins games and in part to what can only be described as the Phil Mackey Effect, the most recent ratings are pretty much dead even between local sports radio stations KFAN-1130 and ESPN-1500.

• Speaking of Mackey, he and Patrick Reusse interviewed David Kahn and the Timberwolves' general manager blamed Michael Beasley's problems in Miami on his being a "kid who smoked too much marijuana" and called Chris Webber "kind of a schmuck" for their recent on-air chat. I'm not sure if Webber has responded or not, but "takes one to know one" would work.

• I'm amused that a strip club opening several blocks from Target Field qualifies as news worth arguing about, as if men who go to baseball games (and men who play in baseball games) are something other than the exact target audience for such an establishment or just seeing the exterior of an adult-only business among other adult-only businesses will ruin children forever.

• Finally, all my contacts made before being expelled from Hebrew school are paying off.

• New(ish) blog to check out: Designated Sitter.

• Here are some highlights from my NBCSports.com blogging this week:

- Indians rookie catcher Carlos Santana is really, really good
- Ouch! Carl Crawford is day-to-day with a "testicular contusion"
- Ken Macha complains to MLB about Brewers being plunked
- Rocco Baldelli stops coaching to begin comeback at Single-A
- Oliver Perez as a "lefty-on-lefty specialist" might actually work
- Stephen Strasburg will beat you and yell stuff at your fans
- Mets manager Jerry Manuel is back on the hot seat again
- Astros reportedly reluctant to trade starter Brett Myers
- Phillies and Twins interested in Ben Sheets, but will A's trade him?

• Finally, in honor of Inception this week's AG.com-approved music video is Fiona Apple singing a live version of "Sleep to Dream":

April 30, 2010

Link-O-Rama

• One of the most underrated performers in the history of comedy has written a memoir that comes out later this year, and as if that wasn't enough it's apparently being ghost-written by the guy who covers gambling for ESPN.com.

Pam Grier surely thinks this story about Richard Pryor is something controversial to include in her new book, but the same thing happens to me all the time.

• I've always worked from home, but my goal is to some day have an office one-tenth as nice as new Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov's spectacular setup, particularly if the blond woman in the photo is part of the deal.

• Thanks to a few tips from inside sources, I wrote quite a bit on Hardball Talk this week about MLB.com beat writers being asked to cease using Twitter for non-baseball topics. If you missed it, here's my original report, here's the follow-up after speaking to an MLB spokesperson, and here's my final word on the story. An interesting experience to say the least, as it was picked up by, among other places, New York Magazine, Sporting News, The Big Lead, and Mediaite.

• I'm not a journalist, but I am a fat guy who likes to write about trying to become less fat.

• My favorite television writer, Alan Sepinwall, is leaving the newspaper business following 14 years at the Newark Star-Ledger, which is awful news for people in New Jersey and good news for everyone who reads him online anyway.

• Not only have I grown to like Patrick Reusse on the radio since he teamed up with friend of AG.com Phil Mackey, we're starting to think alike. Not sure who should be more disturbed.

George Costanza is such an amazing character that his story is almost as good as a drama:

Also proof that anything can be dramatic with the right music behind it.

• Catching isn't tough enough for Miguel Olivo, so he passed kidney stones during a game.

• Between her being naked on True Blood and incredibly funny on Party Down, it's probably time to make Lizzy Caplan an Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com candidate.

A.J. Daulerio and Sarah Silverman star in When Live Chats Get Ugly. Actually, the notion of sports bloggers getting into feuds with female comedians is so amusing to me that I'm giving serious thought to starting a beef with Rita Rudner.

• Speaking of Deadspin, my idol Adam Carolla was the guest on Drew Magary's podcast this week. Good times.

• And speaking of Carolla, one of the guests on his podcast this week was Nick Offerman. I'm actually so excited about Ace Man chatting with Ron "F***ing" Swanson that I haven't even listened yet. I'm saving it for a special occasion or something.

• The genius responsible for creating Swanson and Fire Joe Morgan is now really, really rich.

• If you're into a funnier, online version of Charlie Rose's long-form interviews, check out Kevin Pollak's Chat Show, where Kevin Pollak interviews people from comedy and movies for at least an hour, uninterrupted. His guest list is packed with interesting names and the laid-back chats are great. I've been devouring the archives and my favorites are Jon Hamm, Jason Reitman, Seth MacFarlane, Matthew PerryHank Azaria, Josh Malina, and of course Carolla.

Eastbound and Down will be back for another season on HBO, but Kenny Powers is taking his comeback to Mexico and there are reportedly a shit-ton of changes within the cast.

• My favorite e-mail of the week came from a reader named Chad who sent this link and wrote, "The blond girl in the foreground is what Elisha Cuthbert would look like if she was really hot and holding a giant beer."

• If you threaten to blow up his airplane, Kevin Kennedy will take you out.

• I'm a big fan of SI.com's Richard Deitsch, so this made my week.

Fred Hoiberg left his job as Timberwolves assistant general manager to coach Iowa State.

• Some of the highlights from my NBCSports.com blogging this week:

- Bobby Cox thinks slumping Jason Heyward is being too patient
- Rangers prospect Tanner Scheppers is toying with Double-A hitters
- Dusty Baker denies asking the Reds for contract extension
- Carlos Beltran fitted for custom knee brace and "not close to returning"
- Diamondbacks put Kris Benson on disabled list, call up Kevin Mulvey
- Rockies demote Opening Day catcher Chris Iannetta to Triple-A
- A flop in Boston, Brad Penny thriving back in National League

• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is a "mash-up" combining "99 Problems" by Jay-Z and "Voodoo Chile" by Jimi Hendrix:

March 18, 2010

“Look away, I’m hideous”

This is how I feel right now:

To make a long and boring story marginally shorter and less boring, Blogger has recently made some big changes that forced me to alter the way this blog is published and in the process of making that switch earlier this week everything basically fell apart. Suddenly all the pictures ceased displaying, none of the links to old entries worked, and I saw my blogging life flash before my eyes. Rather than attempt to patch things back together, I got fed up and decided to ditch Blogger after seven years and switch to WordPress.

I've since learned that this is a fairly huge undertaking, particularly when it wasn't even planned, so you'll notice that things look slightly different and quite a few aspects of the blog are out of whack. Hopefully by Monday things will be mostly back to normal, but in the meantime I apologize for the mess and also for the lack of new content.

In the long run WordPress should be a better experience for everyone involved, although as a control freak with some weird OCD-like tendencies for the appearance of this blog the whole process may forever haunt me. Thanks for being patient during the blog makeover and please feel free to leave comments or drop me an e-mail with suggestions for the overhaul or notes about anything that just seems "off."

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