Wednesday, May 30, 2007


I met a guy at the barber shop last night, an older gentleman, who (as the discussion in the shop made it's way to moneymaking schemes and pyramids) claimed to be Charles Ponzi's nephew. Yeah, that Ponzi, of Ponzi Scheme fame. Frankie the Barber is quite a character in his own right, and I hear a bunch of interesting stories every time I'm in there among the North End's Italian element. Fioremonkey's people. I keep going back as much for the atmosphere as the convenience of having a barber who knows what I want so I can just sit down without having to try to describe a haircut ... not to mention he only charges $10. Anyways, in the course of learning way more than I probably needed to about Frankie's credit situation, past bankruptcy, gambling problems, battles with drug addiction, etc. the guy next me perked up when Frankie started giving his pitch on some miracle drug he and some of his hustler buddies were peddling.

I got the whole story of how this product has been mentioned on Oprah, how Papelbon and Clemens are selling it, how it helped his buddy recover from cancer, how it battles free radicals in your body and is (ostensibly) the "number one food source" in the world -- I let that last bit go, having no idea what that could possibly mean. I couldn't catch the name of this wonderful snake oil pill ... Motiv8, or something like that? So as Frankie's giving the pitch and describing how you get involved in selling it and recruiting other sellers to work under you, this guy cautions Frankie how you don't want to get involved in these pyramids because his uncle invented them and they're a scam. I'm sitting there thinking, "What? You're going to tell us now you're uncle was Charles Ponzi?" and no sooner do I think it than he says, "my Uncle Charlie screwed a lot of people, people in my family, with his stamp scam."

He then described how Ponzi tried to take over the Hanover Bank and outlined roughly what's outlined in the Wikipedia article linked above. I didn't press him for names and dates or anything, but I think he really was Ponzi's nephew. Not exactly a brush with fame, but I thought it was kind of cool anyways. Mildly relevant given Cianci's release into halfway house today. It's Italian Heritage Day here at TC.

Another Jordan

The Legend of Jared Jordan []
Tracking the tiny point guard from Hartford from Kingswood-Oxford, to Marist, to the pre-Draft camp next week in Orlando. He's being called "the best point guard you never heard of" and "another John Stockton".
Link via To Wit

Who Would Win: Tiger vs. Shark?

In the water. No Ditka.


Is Hogzilla real? C-Dogzilla will get to the bottom of this!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Too Early to Bury the Yanks

It's tempting, and history says 6 games is usually enough by Memorial Day, but I'm not yet comfortable with our lead over the Yankees. 12 games in the loss in column over Baltimore and Toronto feels like enough. 13 games in the loss column over the Yankees ought to be enough ... but 'ought to' and 'are' are very different things.

Here's why I'm still worried about the Yankees:
  1. They can still score a ton of runs on any given day. Their RS and RA numbers would make you think they'd be ahead of Toronto and Baltimore right now, so I think as the season progresses things'll even out and we'll see them move well ahead of those teams.
  2. Clemens is coming. He's not going to make that much of a difference, but he will make a difference, and given that I think the numbers say their record could be better than it is, and that will start to balance out, the fact that Clemens probably pushes that RA rate down a little looks like accelerant on top of the natural corrective process.
  3. The Big Trade. The Yankees have a way (money, lots of money) to bring in impact players, even it means paying millions well beyond that player's prime. They come in, make an impact, then get moved out later. Eg., Sheffield, David Justice, and now possibly Giambi?
  4. The Red Sox have been injury free to this point and seem to be in great shape with Lester on the way. But one key injury could throw them off the rails. On the plus side, I don't think Manny will slump all year. J.D. Drew and Lugo also figure to bring their averages up a little. But the pitching has been even better than expected and it's hard to see all those guys pitching out of their minds all year. If the pitching comes back to earth and the injury bug bites, suddenly the objects in mirror are closer than they appear.
  5. Finally, and I hate to mention this, but the Sox had a 14 game lead over the 4th place Yankees on July 19, 1978. It was the summer after 2nd grade. Playing ball down in the Pit, I mimicked Yaz's stance. Jim Rice was simply awesome. That summer, into the fall, at the tender age of 7, I learned what it means to be a Sox fan. It wouldn't have been so bad if it had been the Brewers with Yount, Sal Bando, Don Money, (former Red Sox) Cecil Cooper and company. They were likeable. The Yankees on the other hand were thoroughly unlikeable. Billy Martin managing most of that year, Reggie (although I did like his round candy bar), Munson (I despised being called "Munson" on account of my last name), Guidry and Gossage. Couldn't stand those guys. It wasn't until the 163rd game that I had an opinion about their light-hitting shortstop, He Who Shouldn't Be Named.
So yeah, even with a double digit lead on the rest of the division, I'm nervous.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Songs To Which Baby Girl Dances (And Doesn't)

My 1 year old daughter loves to dance. She's got two main dances: a sway with left leg lift, and a bummy bouncer. She likes to watch Jack's Big Music Show and pretty much anything Laurie Berkner but she also likes ska; Hepcat, Bigger Thomas, UB40, and the English Beat seem to be her favorites.

I was flipping through the music channels tonight and noticed that she really liked Howard Jones's "Life in One Day" ... but stopped cold and looked irritated when "Rudebox" by Robbie Williams came on. I'm not saying that makes one good and one bad, but ...

Summing up:
Dances to Howard JonesLife in One Day
Irritated by Robbie WilliamsRudebox

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Good Feeling

Red Sox rally to edge Orioles, 6-5 - Yahoo! News
Now that's some kind of game -- another one for NESN's "Walk Off Sox" collection. Gotta worry about Beckett's finger, but this is the kind of win, when they're already running hot, that gets the True Believers thinking it's going to be one heck of summer ... and autumn.

Thursday, May 3, 2007


The right's explicit and candid rejection of "the rule of law"

'The rule of law has two defects, each of which suggests the need for one-man rule. That is what is on the Op-Ed page of The Wall St. Journal this morning. The article is then filled with one paragraph after the next paying homage to the need for a Great Leader who stomps on the rule of law when he chooses -- literally:
The best source of energy turns out to be the same as the best source of reason--one man. One man, or, to use Machiavelli's expression, uno solo, will be the greatest source of energy if he regards it as necessary to maintaining his own rule. Such a person will have the greatest incentive to be watchful, and to be both cruel and merciful in correct contrast and proportion. We are talking about Machiavelli's prince, the man whom in apparently unguarded moments he called a tyrant. . .
The president takes an oath "to execute the Office of President" of which only one function is to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed." In addition, he is commander-in-chief of the military, makes treaties (with the Senate), and receives ambassadors. He has the power of pardon, a power with more than a whiff of prerogative for the sake of a public good that cannot be achieved, indeed that is endangered, by executing the laws. . . .
In quiet times the rule of law will come to the fore, and the executive can be weak. In stormy times, the rule of law may seem to require the prudence and force that law, or present law, cannot supply, and the executive must be strong.
In the course of explaining how the rule of law applies only in "quiet times," Mansfield also argues that "civil liberties are subject to circumstances," not inalienable, and that "in time of war the greater dangers may be to the majority from a minority." Thus, he explains -- in what might be my favorite sentence -- "A free government should show its respect for freedom even when it has to take it away."'
Link via GITM
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...