Celtics go to the Finals

I can’t believe I actually called this one right!

Boy, we look like a completely different team when Allen is hitting his shots. Rondo and Garnett and Perkins call all be mediocre and it doesn’t matter. That’s the nice thing about having the big three. They don’t all have to be on every night. Any two will do. For the most part, my analysis last week still holds, so I won’t add much.

I’m glad we’re playing Los Angeles. Not because of the historical Lakers-Celtics stuff, though that is a bonus. I think we have a better chance against them than we do against San Antonio. Fundamentally, the Lakers are a one player team, similar to Cleveland. Sure Pau Gasol is a great player. But if you can shut down Kobe, you shut down the Lakers. There are no other huge weapons to speak of. The Spurs have two or three big players depending how you count. You can triple team Duncan, but someone else will show up and kill you. Who’s going to do it on the Lakers?

Against Cleveland, you shut down LeBron you shut down the team. Sure Ilgauskis might hurt you, Wallace might hurt you, but you’ll take your chances with them. Similarly, I’ll take my chances with Odom, Walton, and Derek Fisher. (And remember that LA won game 4 under shaky circumstances. I think they still would have won, but it was not truly a 4-1 victory, it probably would have been a 4-2 victory like ours.)

Of course, this all assumes that we can shut Kobe down. Even the best defensive team of the decade is going to have a big challenge with that. Holy cow that guy is amazing.

Hospital Nuttiness

While in recovery, a photography firm that works with the hospital tried to sell us their services. They were working with the hospital, they were allowed personal and direct access to the room and patients. It’s must be a good business. Those announcement cards cost money. And especially with a first child, you naturally want to treasure every moment.

For some reason we were given a form. The form must be filled out, with the appropriate section completed to accept or refuse the photography. Yes, we had to fill out paperwork to refuse an upsell. We even had to have a witness! We didn’t need a witness to cover what happened if the epidural paralyzed Mrs. Muttrox for life, but we did for this. I wonder what would have happened if we hadn’t signed anything. Would we have been stuck at the hospital, never to leave the grounds, a new century’s Charlie on the MTA? Would photographers have snuck up on us in the hall, sneaking shots like papparazzi and then charging us $200 for them?

They took our answer of no graciously, and left two copies of the form. Why do I need copies of this form? I will file it under “D”. For donut.

In unrelated nuttiness, one of the nurses was named Joyce DeWitt. No relation I assume.
Joyce DeWitt

More Media Absurdity

You may have seen some coverage of Clinton’s enormous “gaffe” regarding Bobby Kennedy. Oh, it was so outrageous. Oh, it was so tasteless. Oh, it just shows what an uncaring manipulative crone she is!

Watch the actual video.

So, what exactly is the problem? She is clearly referring to the fact that Kennedy was still campaigning in June. There is no judgment made about the assasination, just stating the facts.

It doesn’t matter anymore, she’s done and done, but it is yet one more example of the bull she has had to put up with the whole campaign. McCain can say that he directed Oceans 11 and no one will blink an eye. If Hilary mentions that she likes cereal for breakfast, the media will find a reason to rake her over the coals for it.

Update: Just found this – Krugman nailing it as usual, Andrew Sullivan having a psychopathic hissy fit as usual.

Welcome to Elise

Elise  at 12 hours old

Elise was born very very early Sunday morning, May 25th. She’s 7 lbs, 19 inches, and a whole lot of beautiful. She was a few days early, which took us by surprise. For instance, Daddy had been planning to study up on the labor phases on Sunday, which seemed like plenty of time for a planned Wednesday birth. Instead, we were in the hospital late on Saturday night. I remembered there was something about breathing and visualization and stuff, that was it. Fortunately, Mrs. Muttrox is an old pro at this and it didn’t matter. The delivery was quick and easy. At least from where I was sitting. She didn’t even mind that I watched the Celtics game between contractions.

Seriously, Mom is in fine shape, resting easy. We are doing great and are delighted with our new addition.

Movie Review: Indiana Jones and the… uh… Skulldome. Or something

Warning: Spoilers ahead. Don’t read if you don’t want to know what happens.

This was a lot of fun. Was it fun because it’s one of our last nights out before the baby comes, or was it genuinely fun? I think the latter. Much like the first one there was hardly ever a rest of more than two minutes before the action got going again. Marion comes back again (she was great), the music, the jumps, the Nazis – it’s all there.

And yet, it didn’t hold together. None of them hold together that well, but this one in particular. It was next to impossible to suspend disbelief. Within the first twenty minutes, Indiana Jones survives a nuclear bomb. Yes, that’s right, a nuclear bomb. How? By climbing in a lead-lined refrigerator, which is thrown end over end for miles. When I.J. gets out, he seems a little bruised. If this made any sense, when the government found this out they would train the populace in how to survive a nuclear blast this way. Why didn’t they? Because it’s ridiculous.

This was typical of the plot. New elements would be introduced and then forgotten about. Complications were thrown in for no apparent reason. The central secret (SPOILERS!) deals with an interdimensional alien. Who is one being incorporated into thirteen bodies. Why? No reason. Just seemed cool to have thirteen bodies in the movie. It has no effect on the plot. Why is it interdimensional instead of normal space travel? No reason. Just seemed cool to have dimensions. What kind of dimensions? Who knows. No one seems curious enough to ask. The mind control that the alien has? Forgotten about. Besides creating some kind of link in their insane guide (who used to be their best friend but no one seems to be emotionally distraught about it) that little plot line is never heard from again. We even see the Ark again in this movie. It’s funny, but you kind of think that might some reprecussions? The McCarthy era red-hunting plot is unnecessary. The natives attacking Indy as he explores their ruins are unnecessary and never seen again. The actions of his friend and betrayer are inconsistent and don’t add up. Etc.

At one point, Jones is captured and being lectured about mind control. He sneeringly dismisses the whole idea, “I don’t believe in that stuff, that’s just a legend!” Just a legend? Really? This is the same guy who has personally witnessed the power of The Lord! This is a man who has personally met King Arthur’s knight, held The Holy Grail and again witnessed the power of the Almighty! But a legend!? That’s crazy talk lady!

Check your brain at the door and then you’ll enjoy it.

Celtics

Well, that didn’t go like planned. I guess we need to steal one. I am optimistic we will.

A few notes after watching every playoff game:

* Perkins picks up dumb fouls. After a switch, he will often find himself on a guard. He’ll try for a steal as they blow past him, and pick up a foul. You’re a center, don’t try to be quicker than a guard!
* Rondo has got to shoot. Every commentator has been saying this throughout the playoffs. It is absolutely killing our offense that he doesn’t need to be guarded. It was understandable against Cleveland. After getting blocked by Ilguaskus and Wallace a dozen times it’s no wonder he didn’t want to penetrate. But his is not Cleveland. Rondo can penetrate and finish the play himself. Instead he looks scared to get near any defender.
* Allen has been an obvious liability. I hope he has finally found his shot again and last night was the comeback. Sadly, he was one of the reasons we lost last night. Hamilton would come around multiple screens and Allen could not keep up. Hamilton was wide open, allowing him to shoot drive or pass easily. C’mon Ray, keep up!
* What happened to my Leon Powe? True, his team defense needs work. But this is a guy who good thing always seemed to happen around. Quick steals, cheap rebounds, drawing charges… what happened to all that?
* Garnett is amazing. I do not hold it against him that he does not have a higher level. He doesn’t have a higher level because he is always playing at 100%. I wish he was more aggressive, but it seems childish to demand that he be something he isn’t. It’s enough that he’s a very very good player, he doesn’t have to be legendary.
* I’ve always loved Pierce. I hate the commentators talking about he just discovered defense. He has always been a great defensive player. But what’s the point when you’re playing with a bunch of scrubs? I suspect that as much as Garnett brought the defensive attitude, Pierce was the first to buy into it.
* I am sick of Big Baby Davis. He looks worse every game. Every move he makes seems lacking in technique. He’s always a half-second slow, two inches short, slightly out of position, etc. If he would quit playing like a spaz and settle down, he could be very good.

Celtics vs. Pistons

Call me optimistic, but I think we match up better against Detroit than we did against Cleveland. Detroit doesn’t have any superstars, just a lot of good players. They play good team ball, both on offense and defense. It sounds a lot like us. Except we have more raw talent. I think the Celtics finally get that road game victory and put them away in 6.

Poker Update

Yesterday’s excellent BBQ party turned into a poker game. This was not a surprise, as ten out ten attendees were players!

We were playing with 3,500 in chips. One player had boasted how he always plays and wins the first hand. On that first hand, I had a pair of 5s and another came up on the board. I sucked 2,000 even from him and another player as well as some blinds. I was already up 7,700 or so. I played fairly tight by my standards. (Sorry Pete, I know you want me to push push push!) I bullied people out of the occasional pot, played the occasional one straight up, but mostly waited for the blinds to kill everyone. There was so much talking that each round was less than one time around the table.

This succeeded. We got down to five players. I was still big stack and started playing more aggressively. Whenever I went in, I went in big. I was making everyone else pay if they wanted to face me down.

At four players with blinds at 500-1000, one player had only 400 in chips. In four out of the next five hands we went all-in against each other. Each one turned out to be a coin flip. I lost every one. Arrgh! What are you gonna do, that’s poker.

Now down at three players, I was slightly short stacked. In dealer position I had A-3. I raised to 5,000 – a bit over half my money. Small blind instantly went all-in. What do I do? I am fairly confident he does have a decent hand. On the other hand, K-J suited is considered a decent hand here, I at least have a high card. And if I fold, I’m effectively out – I would need to play every hand because of the blinds and would need to double up twice to get back in contention. What the heck, I’m in. He had a pair of 10s. Pretty much what I figured. I had a lot of outs. By the river, I had four to the nut flush, four to a straight, and an ace would win it for me. It was not to be, I took 3rd place. I’m still not sure if that was the right call. Maybe the mistake was putting the first 5,000 in, but you also want to play aggressive at 3-handed, having an ace is a good hand.

Tonight: $10
Overall: -$54

Housing Price Forecast

According to Money Magazine, the value of my home is going down 2.3% next year. That sounds right. It looks pretty good against the national average of -9.7%.

Florida looks the worst, the “top” three markets are Orlando, Ft. Lauderdale, and Miami. All are predicted to go down by over 20%.

What think you, my geographically dispersed readership? How accurate do you think their prediction are?

Poker Update

I felt good going in tonight. I played tighter than usual. It seemed to pay off, I was looking good in the early going. Converted good hands, threw away weak ones, bluffed just enough to keep ’em honest. With K-Q suited I put in 3x preflop. Flop was K-J-6. I put in a lot. The turn was a Q. I was sitting pretty with two pair, put in a lot again. Someone went all in. I was very pot commited, had to go for it. He had A-10 for the straight.

I rebought. Maybe not smart, I got 2500 in chips and blinds were at 100-200. I grew that very quickly. I was getting just enough good hands to bring in the occasional big pot.

Eh, not an exciting night. I’ll skip to the end. It was three-handed. The other two players are the best players there. We played for a long time with no one gaining a big advantage. I eventually got knocked out calling an all-in with Q-J. I was right that the other guy was bluffing, but he was bluffing with K-5, and my outs never came up.

Tonight: Even
Overall: $-64

On the good side, remember the insanely lucky guy who beat everyone so badly a couple weeks back? He was there again today, rebought 4 times and finished in 6th out of 6 people. Turns out he is a terrible player who got lucky that week.

Van Halen II: The Case for Rehab

Eddie Van Halen went from looking like the Wicked Witch of Rock:


To Ray Liotta:
2

Check out this cancer weirdness. Rock n’ Roll baby!

During the late 1990s Eddie Van Halen was treated twice for tongue and mouth cancer. During an interview with Howard Stern on September 8, 2006, Eddie claimed that holding a metal pick in his mouth 12-14 hours per day while immersed in the electromagnetic radiation of his music studio caused his tongue cancer. He said he continues to smoke because “cigarettes didn’t cause the cancer”,[15] despite the fact that they could in fact contribute to the cancer’s potential for resurgence.

Eddie also revealed that he stopped the cancer via an illegal method (the nature of which he declined to specify) in conjunction with a pharmaceutical lab with which he’s affiliated in New York state. He said a portion of his tongue was removed and experimented on, and then the technique was performed on him. He said he has lost one third of his tongue, though his speech is virtually unaffected. Despite his battles with oral cancer, Eddie has been photographed in public as recently as June 2006 smoking cigarettes.

And for no reason at all, here’s a couple more excellent pix:

4
3

Links o’ Interest

A rather good essay on everyday vegetarianism. Strong ending.

An interesting article on subconscious bias.

Zip Decoding, a neat visualization of the USA zipcodes. A map of the USA, roads only.

America’s Foreign Policy choices, as seen through The Godfather. Serious and insightful.

50 best ad parodies. I particularly enjoyed 41, 12, and 9.

Subversive license plate

Photo-bombers – those people in the background who ruin nice pictures. Check out Mike Matusow in the last one.

78-year old man bowls a perfect 300. Did I mention he’s blind?

Bears on the playground

Things that are younger than John McCain. Alaska for instance.

An amazing animated graffiti. I linked to an excerpt of this before.

Fail! Fail Again! Fail some more!

Van Halen (Concert Review)

They still got it! Wow, do they got it!

By they, I mean Alex & Eddie of course. They are incredible. As always, the high point of the show was when Eddie came out and noodled for ten minutes. Six minutes or so were devoted to riffing on Cathedral. Everything he does looks so effortless. I remember trying to learn part of the guitar break in Running With The Devil. It was a very simple A-chord arpeggiation. After two weeks I gave up. That riff is so far down from the kinds of stuff he does without trying hard. Not to mention his incredible right hand. Between two-hand tapping, working the volume knob and the whammy bar it’s a whole second guitarist.

Wolfgang is competent. I don’t see the point of firing your bassist of twenty five years and replacing him with your kid unless your kid is significantly better in some way.

The background vocals were excellent. Eddie & Wolfang harmonize very well together. Normally I don’t review the background vocals but here they stand in contrast.

…To Diamond Dave. I wanted to like him. I could not. His day has come and gone. Every bit of music was great except him. Maybe he was good at the beginning of the tour. Last night he was a poor karoake singer. He really seemed like some crazy uncle crashing the family jam session at the annual picnic. Grabs a mic, knows half the words, doesn’t sing on pitch, refuses to phrase anything the same way twice in a row, keeps making goofy faces at everyone through his drunken slurring, and points to himself a lot. It was painful to watch. He wouldn’t sing the lyrics. He knew everyone in the audience knew all the words so he would sing just enough of them to suggest that he could darn well sing them all if he really wanted to, he just didn’t want to. Yeah right.

Speaking of singing guitar players, I did like Dave’s guitar playing. He did a flatpicking demo which led into Ice Cream Man. I had always assumed that was Eddie on the acoustic, it was him? Maybe he’s the second guitar on Could This be Magic also.

I suppose my review is the same as every other time I see them (this was my third and a halfth time). Eddie is God. Alex is Godlike. There are allegedly some other people in the band but why would you pay attention to them?

Update: Here’s a quote from Fargo Rock City reinforcing my view of ol’ Daimond Dave.

At every wedding dance, there is always one uncle who drinks too much, dances too much, and tells the most ridiculous stoiries over and over and over again. He’s the hero or the goat of every story he tells, and you can never quite tell if he’s the most boorish jackass in your family or the most charming fellow you’ve ever met. David Lee Roth is that uncle

Poker Update

I hosted last night. It was with a different group of people. It was much looser and more social.

How’d I do? I think I played great. I outplayed everyone else. (I think. You never really know.) In the first round, I dominated. I had some good cards and some good bluffs. I confused the table by doing a lot of checking in the dark with first action – they didn’t know whether that meant weakness or strength.

But the bad beat streak continued. I think I was involved in about 10 bad beat hands. 2 of them were in my favor. 8 of them were the other guy bad beating me. Is it worth telling about any of them? No, but I will anyhow.

I went into heads up play with a 3-1 chip advantage. I ended up going all in with A-9. He had K-9. He got his K on the river. I was struggling after that. I went all in with a pair of 8s. He called me with J-8. He got his jack on the river, I got second place.

I felt like Phil Helmuth. I was going in with the right cards. I was making the right folds – I had to dump J-J one time and Q-Q another when overcards drew heavy betting. I went all-in with the best hand at least a half-dozen times. And it didn’t matter, I still got knocked out by bad beats. I also talked like Phil Helmuth, I was jawing at everyone. I like to tell everyone else what they should do. I’m always surprised how much they listen.

My favorite hand no one saw. I was short-stacked and drew Ad-4. It was enough for a semi-bluff, I went with 300 (3x) preflop. The chip leader called. The flop came 3-4-5 of diamonds. I had middle pair and a draw to both the straight and nut flush. I put in another 200. Partially because I thought my 4s were good, partially as a test to see if I could push him off the pot. He raised me up to 500. He was a conservative player who just played the value of his cards (I doubt he bluffed during the whole night). I called. The turn was something unremarkable, maybe 9c. I checked. He put in 400. I only had 1,000 left with 100-200 blinds coming next hand. Tough call. If I went all in, would he fold? I had checked already, could I represent strength? Was he sophisticated enough to be using his chip lead to bully my short stack on a bluff? It would be calling something like 1/4th of the pot, and there were 9 diamonds, 4 2s, and 2 4s for my outs. 15 outs said I should call him.

But I folded. For what it’s worth, he said he had something good, I think he had the flush already. Even though the math says I should have called him, I think it was a good fold. Sometimes the math has to give way to the read.

It was a very fun night. I’m tempted to not report financials, because it was a great night of entertainment for the price. But I suppose I have to keep it honest.

Net winnings: $-10
Overall: $-64

P.S. Mrs Muttrox played also. She played an early nut straight perfectly, getting two other players all in and getting a large chip lead. But from then on, she was very tentative. It’s only her second game, she has a hard time playing with anything less than super-premium hands. She got blinded down until she was forced to go all in and lose with a K.

Knock-knock jokes

Tonight we did knock-knock jokes. Here’s a typical knock-knock joke from a 5-year old:

Knock knock!
Who’s there?
Table.
Table who?
Table shirt! Ha ha!

We did this for twenty minutes. Then the two-year old wanted to play.

Him: Daddy, daddy! Knock-knock!
Me: Who’s there?
Him: Sugar!
Me: Sugar who?
Him: (looking confused and desperate) I don’t know!

Political Links o’ Interest

This might be the dumbest editorial I’ve ever read. An astounding display of sheer stupidity. I was looking forward to reading Caplan’s book, now I’m not sure I’ll bother. Read it and behold the stupidity.

Bert & Ernie discuss the primary.

Another brilliant mashup on the end of Hillary’s campaign.

The complete Democratic Primary, in 7 minutes.

Monty Pythons’ Dead Parrot sketch, for the Clinton campaign.

A Tale of Three Lawyers: Read about Matthew Diaz, this years winner of the Ridenhour Prize for Truth-Telling.

Political dorks unite! Fantasy Congress is here!

Ronald Reagan’s losing battle with Alzhiemers. The last paragraph was particularly sad.

The 5 most badass presidents of all time.

William Buckley on Laugh-In. I had no idea he was so witty. You can also the predecessor to Fred Admunsen’s “Nicholas Fein political comic” schtick.

Poker Update

Just a nightmare. Couldn’t get a hand to save my life. I bluffed, everyone calls. I do the exact same bet with a good hand (A-10 suited), they all fold. I foolishly chased twice so it wasn’t all because of bad cards. Just a lot of it.

I went all-in with a pair of 9s on the final hand. I was called with J-9. He pulled a straight. Once again I was all-in with the best hand and lost anyhow. However, even if I had won that, the blinds were about to make the big jump and I would have had only 3.5 big blinds. So I’m not too mad about it, I was already in bad shape.

Tonight: $-20
Overall: $-54

Links o’ Interest

Perspective

The dumbest human being in the entire world.

Kobe Byrant jumps over an Aston-Martin.

ABC does the Lincoln-Douglas debates

A collection of funny graffiti.

It’s the 30th anniversary of spam (the technology kind). Here is the first spam ever.

Dissapearing Rabbit Trick (amazing pic)

Dumb protester Here’s another.

Chickipedia. Fun for men.

Fun with auto-looping, Reggie Watts does a sort of Bobbi McFerrin thing

Now that is a great website intro.

A ten-year old’s letters to serial killers. Answered.

The best (worst) weathermen names.

The mentos-mint world record is broken.

Everything is made in China. Even “Free Tibet” flags.

Teenage hijinx in Saudi Arabia

The Lord is Everywhere

We were fifteen minutes into Game 6. The boy turns to me and asked, “Why does everyone keep saying Jesus?”
“Who’s saying it?”
“Everybody!”
“You mean, on the TV?”
“Yes!”
“They’re saying Jesus?”
“Yes, they all are!”

I had no idea what he was going on about. I blew it off. “Sure, let’s just watch the game, see there’s a dunk.”

Fifteen minutes later, I got it.

“Oh, defense! They’re not saying Jesus, they’re saying `Defense!`”
(Long pause)
“I don’t like it when they say defense that sounds like Jesus.”

Later that day when I cut my thumb I yelled “Defense Christ!” It felt good to have a new swear.