September 9, 2011

Link-O-Rama

Otis Redding is my favorite musician of all time and the amazing thing about the quality and depth of his work is that he died in a plane crash at age 26. His music is often the soundtrack to my writing and it never ceases to make me sad when I think about how many great songs we missed out on. Today would have been his 70th birthday and to celebrate I'll be listening to non-stop Otis. Whether you're a fellow fan or unfamiliar with him, give these songs a try:

- "I've Got Dreams to Remember"
- "That's How Strong My Love Is"
- "Sittin' On The Dock Of The Bay"
- "Hard To Handle"
- "Try A Little Tenderness"
- "The Happy Song"
- "Your One And Only Man"
- "My Girl"
- "Shake"

And once you're done listening to those, you're encouraged to shake it like a bowl of soup.

• This is why I need an agent.

• It takes some real skill to write an article for MLB.com that would more easily fit in The Onion.

Adele is the Donovan McNabb of female British soul singers.

• I've always avoided marrying Hank Aaron for specifically this reason. Lauren Lauren!

Gus Johnson finally gets a much-deserved bigger stage by going from CBS to FOX and one of his broadcast partners for NFL games is Tim Brewster.

• One question was missing from this interview: "Why does Aaron Gleeman sound like you?"

• As a Minnesotan I'm firmly on the "pop" side of the heated pop-versus-soda debate, but we can hopefully all agree to make fun of the people who call it "coke" regardless of the brand.

• If you're going to sit directly behind Brooklyn Decker at an Andy Roddick tennis match, this is basically the perfect shirt to wear.

• As a rookie Jerome Williams was too scared to correct any Giants coaches or players when they called him by the wrong name, so they thought he was "Jeremy" for two years. Seriously.

• I'm going to be on 1500-ESPN before the Twins-Tigers game Saturday afternoon, talking with Darren Wolfson from 1:30 to 2:30. Tune in, listen online, and/or give us a call.

Larry David's rules of society are pretty, pretty, pretty good:

Words to live by, especially if you're really into having fights with strangers.

Louis C.K.'s great tribute to George Carlin was equal parts hilarious and touching.

• It's good to see that Elisha Cuthbert has finally recovered from being stripped of the Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com title in 2006.

• I hated Jonathan Taylor Thomas because every girl in my elementary school loved him. And now I hate him because his 30th birthday makes me feel very old. Other than that, we're cool.

Alex Rodriguez is so cheap that he spent less than one year's salary on his new house.

Brock Lesnar's first fight in 14 months will be one of the biggest in UFC history.

• My cooking show again wasn't mentioned, but everything else sounds good to me.

• In back-to-back games the Twins' official lineup card--which is typed out and signed by Ron Gardenhire--listed Brian Dinkelman as "Dinkleman" and Liam Hendriks as "Hendricks."

Stephen Strasburg returned to the big leagues 12 months and three days after Tommy John elbow surgery and averaged 96.7 miles per hour with his fastball.

• I finally watched Source Code. It was a B-minus execution of an A-plus concept, but still pretty enjoyable. Seems like it kinda flew under the radar, but definitely worth renting.

• On a related note, there won't be a problem as long as he stays away from Aubrey Plaza.

• Fantasy football continues to take over the world.

• Thanks to Kirsten Brown of K-Bro's Baseball Blog for the new "Gleeman and The Geek" logo.

• And if you haven't listened to this week's podcast yet, click here. It was a fun/weird one.

• My latest weight-loss effort reached the sixth-month mark Wednesday and I'm very happy to report that I'm down 102 pounds. That sounds impressive and it was definitely hard work, but without question the biggest key to losing 102 pounds in six months is being really, really fat to begin with. I also still have lots more work to do, so anyone who sees me can't be blamed for thinking: "Wait, he still looks like this after losing 102 pounds?!"

Because of all that I'm always sort of embarrassed to talk about losing weight, but hopefully it serves as motivation for me to keep going and maybe even for other people to make a change as well. Certainly if I can do it, you can do it. I didn't have any surgeries or go on any extreme diets, so simply cutting way back on calorie intake and working out on an elliptical machine for a half-hour or so each day can have a significant impact. Now we'll see if I can avoid relapsing.

• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is the King of Soul performing "You Left The Water Running":

August 12, 2011

Link-O-Rama

This week's Link-O-Rama is sponsored by Wholesale Gold and Diamond Distributors in Minneapolis, so please help support AG.com by considering them for your jewelry needs ...

• I have so many questions about this photo that I don't even know where to start.

• You had me at "McNulty."

• Good news for people who like funny things on the television: FX renewed "Louie" for a third season and picked up "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia" for two more seasons.

• And if you haven't seen it the "Louie" scene between Louis C.K. and Dane Cook is amazing.

Brett Favre thinks Fedor Emelianenko is sticking around too long.

• On a related note, UFC president Dana White revealed that Emelianenko once turned down a huge multi-fight offer to join the UFC and debut against Brock Lesnar.

Dirty pictures of Bar Refaeli. Literally.

• Not only did 1500-ESPN dump Colin Cowherd, his replacement is Judd Zulgad, who's leaving the Minneapolis Star Tribune to host his own show and be a columnist for the station's website. Congratulations to one of the nicest, best, and hardest-working media members in Minnesota.

• Oh, and if you want his old gig the Star Tribune has a "help wanted" listing.

Bryce Harper freaked out on an umpire after being ejected from a Double-A game.

• I'm guessing this is the best anyone has ever looked going through airport security.

• It must have been her "nice smile and personality" that snagged Derek Jeter.

• Best use of Win Probability Added ever? David Cameron versus leukemia.

Sentence of the week: "His marketing agent said Dennis Rodman is spending $60,000 to fly in Penny Marshall, Howard Stern, and other friends."

• A video tribute to one of the most essentially non-essential characters in television history:

It's still not too late for Bob Sacamano spin-off show.

Sarah Silverman to Deadspin: "Eat a dick."

• Some pretty compelling evidence that George Clooney is a genius.

• Being a baseball reporter is apparently more dangerous than it sounds, which is why it's far safer to stay in your parents' basement.

• SoccerTalk, anyone?

• They should be solid lead-ins for my cooking show.

LaVelle E. Neal III and Al Newman were finally spotted in the same place at the same time.

• Confession: I'm a 28-year-old man and one night this week I watched "WWE: Greatest Cage Matches Of All Time" on Netflix instant.

Lenny Dykstra looks good in orange.

• Just a couple 51-year-old former big leaguers brawling in a game managed by Jose Canseco.

• What were the biggest tactical mistakes that Stringer Bell made? I'm glad you asked.

• Podcast recommendation: Erin Gibson is hilarious on Twitter, so it's no surprise that she was an excellent guest on "Totally Laime" with Elizabeth Laime.

• I haven't posted a Fat-O-Meter update in quite a while and am feeling pretty good about my progress, so: I'm down 90 pounds since March 1. No real secrets, other than being very fat to begin with helps a lot. My initial goal was to have lost more pounds than Twins victories by the end of the season, but even if they finish the year on a 45-0 run I'm pretty safe.

• Speaking of which, Mila Kunis should write a dieting book. I'd buy it just for the pictures.

• If you like fiction and baseball, check out friend of AG.com Axel Kohagen's online novel.

• Reminder: If you're interested in advertising your product, service, local business, or website please consider helping to support AG.com by becoming a sponsor of the week.

• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is Delta Spirit singing a live version of "Devil Knows You're Dead":

May 13, 2011

Link-O-Rama

• If only click on one link today, make it this photo of Kevin Garnett and his date at prom.

• According to a recent study people who sit for most of their day are 54 percent more likely to die of a heart attack, which is exactly why I've done all my blogging lying in bed for the past 10 years. Gotta be smart (or at least super lazy) to beat the system.

Cedric Daniels meeting Frank Reynolds is proof that television producers can read my mind.

• FOX no doubt gave Gus Johnson more money and a higher overall profile than he previously had at CBS, but the one thing they can't offer is an announcing gig as perfect for Johnson as calling the NCAA tournament. He deserved to get paid and CBS never fully appreciated what it had in Johnson, but selfishly I'll miss him calling buzzer-beaters every March.

Kyle Lohse plays a pretty convincing Tony La Russa, but his cover was blown when he failed to make more than two pitching changes in an inning.

• Maybe I'm just getting old, but the idea of a state full of Masons and Avas is disconcerting.

Brock Lesnar's mixed martial arts career is once again in limbo after his June 11 fight against Junior Dos Santos was canceled yesterday due to more health problems.

• As a former baseball card fanatic who later became a stat-head this illustrated history of how the statistics displayed on the backs of cards have evolved over the years is a must-read from Larry Granillo at Baseball Prospectus.

• ESPN and FOX teamed up to keep NBC away from college football.

• You've probably never heard of Jesse Heiman, but you've definitely seen him on screen:

He's a five o'clock shadow away from having the perfect look to play the lead in my life story.

• Pandora now has stand-up comedy stations, which I've been listening to non-stop all week.

Ozzie Guillen, romantic wine connoisseur.

• Congrats to the Minnesota Daily for being named the best student newspaper in the country by the Society of Professional Journalists. I'll probably never get over repeatedly being turned down by the Daily while in college--the final rejection count was nine, including three in-person interviews--but the reason I wanted so badly to join the staff in the first place is because it's a tremendous newspaper that churns out quality writers and reporters every year.

• Speaking of journalism school, Rick Reilly had awful advice while giving the commencement address at the University of Colorado school of journalism and mass communication:

When you get out there, all I ask is that you: Don't write for free! Nobody asks strippers to strip for free, doctors to doctor for free or professors to profess for free. Have some pride! What you know how to do now is a skill that 99.9 percent of the people don't have. If you do it for free, they won't respect you in the morning. Or the next day. Or the day after that. You sink everybody's boat in the harbor, not just yours. So just don't!

Every job I've ever gotten and every dollar I've ever earned ultimately stems from starting this blog as a 19-year-old and devoting myself to writing hundreds of thousands of words for free. Through that I gained an audience that otherwise wouldn't have been available to me, which allowed me to improve through experience and eventually get my work in front of people who actually pay. Listening to Reilly's advice would have been the worst decision I've ever made.

• When is the last time a longtime couple breaking up had both men and women this excited?

• On a related note, this breakup means there has to be a new "most confusing couple" vote.

Jon Heyman of SI.com has an odd way of evaluating contracts.

• Sad to hear about the death of 34-year-old former University of Michigan star and NBA player Robert "Tractor" Traylor, whose need to pull up his shorts after every dunk made me a fan in the mid-90s. Traylor had a fantastic college career, but his NBA days will likely be remembered most for the Mavericks picking him sixth overall in the 1998 draft and then swapping him to the Bucks for the ninth pick, a little-known German teenager named Dirk Nowitzki.

Alexi Casilla's first experience with hail earlier this week at Target Field was amusing:

"I'm trying to get better with my hands."

• These pictures of a pregnant Jessica Alba at the beach with her infant child are probably the most visually confusing things my brain has ever had to process.

Bill James was a guest on The Colbert Report.

• Mets catcher Josh Thole deleted his Twitter account after getting too many mean messages, which is funny because I've become obsessed with Twitter partly thanks to the interactions on there generally involving a higher level of discourse and a lower percentage of trolls than blog comment sections. In fairness to Thole, my Twitter followers may just be nicer than Mets fans.

• Young Me/Now Me is an interesting website where people match photos from their childhood with the same pose as adults. I'd contribute, but there aren't any pictures of me in bed typing on a laptop from 1988.

Jay Mariotti is no longer a newspaper columnist, but he's still a scumbag.

• As part of their combining with NBC Universal the regional Comcast sports networks will soon be re-branded as, for instance, NBC Sports Philadelphia and NBC Sports Chicago.

Kent Youngblood of the Minneapolis Star Tribune wrote a lengthy piece about the Twin Cities' sports radio landscape, which has undergone a ton of changes over the past year. I'm biased because 1500-ESPN occasionally invites me on their airwaves, but more than that I've always been a huge fan of talk radio and increased competition leading to more options and better content is a good thing for everyone.

• Newish podcast recommendation: "The Mental Illness Happy Hour" with Paul Gilmartin, who talks to comedians, actors and artists about depression and other serious stuff in a funny way.

• One of my favorite MLB reporters, Yankees beat writer Marc Carig of the Newark Star Ledger, is now also contributing columns to Baseball Prospectus. The lines, they are a blurring.

• As perhaps the only 20-something male who watches the underrated show, I'm happy that NBC picked up Parenthood for a third season despite mediocre ratings.

• Fat-O-Meter update: I'm down 55 pounds since March 7 and am getting dangerously close to being merely "really fat." My initial goal was to have my pounds lost be higher than the Twins' win total, but that may not be so impressive this year. Right now they're on pace for 56 wins.

• How much rain would be required for this to happen to the Twins' entire season?

• Finally, in honor of that Daily-sized chip on my shoulder , this week's AG.com-approved music video is "Shot Down" by The Sonics:

April 22, 2011

Link-O-Rama

• Every cop's fantasy, starring Sofia Vergara.

• Humble bragging is sweeping the nation and the Wall Street Journal talked to the man behind the phenomenon, Harris Wittels, who once upon a time left a comment here. #humblebrag

• I'm not sure what took them so damn long, but better late than never: NFL Network will be replacing Matt Millen and Joe Theisman with Mike Mayock for their Thursday night games.

• Quote of the week: Royals manager Ned Yost on Billy Butler wanting to play first base: "I'd like to be an astronaut."

• This was the same excuse I used for skipping class in college, with the only difference being that no one on the entire campus knew who I was.

Elisha Cuthbert is back on television. I'm unlikely to watch the former Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com's new show, but I am fully committed to looking at any screen caps posted online.

• Friend of AG.com Phil Mackey has been named "best sports talk radio host" in Minnesota by City Pages, which is remarkable considering he didn't have a full-time on-air spot until leaving 1130-KFAN for 1500-ESPN about 18 months ago and might be even better covering the Twins as a beat reporter than he is as the co-host of an afternoon show. Not bad for a stat-head.

• Stat-head setup man? Red Sox reliever Daniel Bard reads Fan Graphs.

• As a white, point guard-playing kid I owned his Sacramento Kings jersey and proudly wore it while attempting ill-advised but fancy passes, so this news makes me feel both sad and old.

David Carr of the New York Times wrote an interesting profile of Michael Klingensmith, who has helped turn the Minneapolis Star Tribune around since taking over as publisher in mid-2008. He's a native Minnesotan and "a serious Twins fan" who utilizes "statistical data to help guide product improvements." And under his watch the newspaper is one of the few in the country on an upswing. Meanwhile, the St. Paul Pioneer Press' website sadly remains nearly unusable.

• As someone who greatly prefers using Tweetdeck to the actual Twitter interface I'm worried about what may happen now that Twitter is in talks to buy Tweetdeck for "around $50 million."

• Marlins left fielder Logan Morrison has become one of my favorite players thanks to his great tweeting.

• Not that you can tell a ton from a 92-second clip, but HBO's upcoming new series Lucky looks pretty good and it's definitely star-studded.

Bonus points for using the World Series of Poker intro jingle.

• Thanks to a government crackdown the online poker world has basically been ruined, leaving tons of people out of work, taking away recreational enjoyment from part-timers like me, and even impacting television programming on numerous channels.

• Now that online poker is banned I feel the same about playing poker as I do about hosting a podcast. I'd really like to do both, but ultimately it takes a backseat to my even stronger desire not to leave the house or invite relative strangers over to my house. Helluva catch-22.

Buster Posey's sister can out-hit your sister.

• My mom's all-time favorite athlete is much better at pistol-whipping than he was at dieting.

• After six weeks of dieting I'm down 40 pounds, which sounds misleadingly great because of how much weight fatsos like me have to shed in the first place. I'm still fat enough that telling someone how much weight I've lost only leads to them thinking: "And you still look this bad?!" I've been counting every calorie and working out an elliptical machine every day, but once my calorie intake loosens up a bit this alcohol-to-calorie chart will be very helpful.

• Up until six weeks ago I was one of the leading donut consumers in the country, yet I had no idea that many (and perhaps even most) people spell it "doughnut." I also had no idea that a "free year's supply of donuts" could cost you $237.

Bill Simmons continues to build an excellent writing staff for his upcoming ESPN-funded site, hiring Bill Barnwell away from Football Outsiders.

Evangeline Lilly is either pregnant or there will soon be a disheveled yet still incredibly great looking blond woman with an Australian accent looking for her son again. Whatever the case, I think we can all agree that the kid's name should be Aaron.

• Following the latest veteran media member to write a really dumb thing about sports, David Matthews of The Good Men Project wonders how long before more of the higher-quality online writers land full-time gigs and how many of them will be forced to quit in search of non-writing jobs that actually pay the bills. I've been fortunate in that respect, but many good writers are not as lucky and having to live on income from AG.com would have forced me to quit long ago.

• After reading this news I'm thinking about suing myself for being paid almost no money from 10 years of blogging here. We'd probably settle out of court.

• Speaking of real life getting in the way of good blogging, Stick and Ball Guy has hung up the keyboard. I enjoyed SBG's community of bloggers and readers so much that it remains the only other blog on which I've ever regularly posted comments and I also enjoyed attending several in-person get-togethers with SBG and friends. He'll be missed, but the community has decided to go on without SBG by starting up a spinoff site that is definitely worth checking out.

• I was surprised to learn that an average of just 22,000 television sets were tuned into each Timberwolves game this season and even more shocked to find out that didn't even rank them among the NBA's least-watched teams.

• I'm not sure $105 million in added risk makes much sense for the Brewers, but Ryan Braun is now signed through 2020.

• I'm excited that Friday Night Lights is back for a final season, although the scene in the first episode where the new guy dribbles and shoots free throws like he's never played the sport before despite supposedly being a basketball star has me re-thinking my love for the first four seasons. It might even keep me from bidding on more than a dozen items in this auction.

Vanessa Hudgens either needs to get much fatter or hire a new public relations person.

• Reds pitcher Mike Leake was arrested for allegedly stealing $60 in shirts from Macy's.

• When the Timberwolves fired Dwane Casey they were 20-20. They are 90-280 since then.

• I saw these guys do a presentation at last year's SABR convention. Very interesting stuff.

• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is The Black Keys doing "Heavy Soul" live:

May 28, 2010

Link-O-Rama

Zach Randolph makes just $17 million a year playing basketball, so naturally he supplements his income with a second job as a "a major marijuana supplier in Indianapolis."

• My take on Roy Oswalt is that he'd probably be too costly for the Twins. Steve Phillips' take on Oswalt is that the Nationals should trade Stephen Strasburg for him. Seriously.

• After reading this story, I'd advise Joe Mauer to avoid any suspicious-looking twins.

Daunte Culpepper will be reunited with Denny Green in something called the United Football League. Sounds about right.

50 Cent looks scary after going from 214 pounds to 160 pounds for a movie role, but I'm still jealous. And it annoys me when someone who's in fantastic shape to begin with can so easily shed weight.

Bob Davidson furthered his reputation as one of baseball's worst, most combative umpires this week. And yes, I know he's from Minnesota. He's still a terrible umpire.

• Speaking of umpires going out of their way to find confrontation, Joe West was on a mission to mess with the White Sox on Wednesday. Mission accomplished, I guess. Ozzie Guillen then earned himself a big fine by speaking the truth afterward. Obviously no one likes it when umps blow calls, but for whatever reason that doesn't bother me nearly as much as when they seek out confrontation (although usually that's in conjunction with a blown call).

As you might expect, Hawk Harrelson's reaction on WGN was priceless:

It sounds like West will be disciplined by MLB, at least.

• An interesting contrast of managerial personalities was Guillen calling West "a f-ing a-hole" while Brewers skipper Ken Macha complained about "negativism" and "poppycock."

• This picture says a thousand words and all of them are "Ron Swanson is awesome."

• On a related note, this news is the opposite of awesome.

• I've linked to him before, but Joe Posnanski's brother Tony Posnanski has lost 221 pounds. If you're like me and are always looking for weight-loss motivation, check out his blog for the amazing progress in picture form. As for me, I'm holding steady at around 70 pounds lost due to a few dieting slip-ups this month. For me the two biggest struggles are avoiding boredom while exercising and avoiding the seemingly random urge to eat a whole bunch of bad stuff.

• In related news, Pizza Hut's honey BBQ "bone-out wings" are really good even if they aren't really "wings."

Drew Magary also has some helpful (and very funny) dieting tips.

• I'm probably just bitter because I've been doing this for eight years and have made almost enough to buy a Luis Rivas rookie card, but the notion that someone might pay $20 million for Perez Hilton's blog makes me want to shut down the internet. Or maybe start blogging about Lindsay Lohan rather than Delmon Young.

• Do you think Amar'e Stoudemire ever confuses Robin Lopez for his mother?

David Brown of Yahoo! Sports was in town this week and wrote an amusing review of his first trip to Target Field.

• I'm looking forward to the inevitable moment when the Target Field hawk attacks the Target Field squirrel, if only for Brendan Harris' reaction.

• Not surprisingly, 89-year-old Mickey Rooney seems to have a pretty good handle on the ins and outs of Twitter:

"Do you find this fun and interesting?"

• Maybe the Twins could do something like this, but with Anthony LaPanta instead of Elvis?

• I'm a huge Lost fan, but because I didn't start watching the show until last year and blitzed through the old episodes in the span of about a month my time devoted to the series is lower than most. With that said, I thought the finale was good without being satisfying, although in fairness people seem to overestimate the number of truly excellent series finales in television history. I'll definitely remember the characters and acting more than the mythology.

Actually, the thing I'll probably remember most about Lost is the pilot episode that ranks as my all-time favorite (and not just because of the "Kate bathing in the ocean" scene). No show has ever hooked me so thoroughly with a single episode, although re-watching the pilot on ABC the day before the finale was a totally different experience and it actually struck me as sort of quaint. My favorite quote from the finale: "It's a helluva long con, Doc."

• Oh, and as an MMA fan I also enjoyed Jack's odd attempt at a "Superman punch."

• At this point I'll be shocked if the Moneyball film is even decent, with Jonah Hill playing Paul DePodesta, Philip Seymour Hoffman playing Art Howe, and Robin Wright playing someone who didn't actually exist in the book.

Gus Johnson taking over as the voice of the Madden video game franchise may convince me to finally buy a Playstation 3 after years of letting my Playstation 2 simply collect dust.

R.A. Dickey wasn't much good for the Twins last season, but the 35-year-old knuckleballer tossed six shutout innings for the Mets this week after being hit on the elbow by a line drive.

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

- Are the Phillies overworking Roy Halladay?
- Angels may be giving up on Brandon Wood
- Rockies bringing Chris Iannetta back to majors
- Kyle Lohse needs forearm surgery or a move to the bullpen
- Carlos Zambrano rejoining rotation next week
- Tim Lincecum's rare struggles bring up questions about cracked nails
- Jake Peavy has a 6.05 ERA and a "tired arm"

• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is Ray Charles performing a live version of "What'd I Say" from 1963:

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