Monday, August 3, 2015

That 70's Binge

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That 70's Show was a show I always actively avoided. A Fox offering, I was predisposed to believe that it wasn't worth my time, and for it's entire run of eight years, I never saw a moment of it.

Now that Netflix has taken over so much of everyone's home entertainment, and mine too, the phenomenon of "binge watching" has become how many people consume their home entertainment. Binge watching is just plowing through an entire series of television shows, made possible first by the advent of DVDs and now by Netflix and other streaming services.

I don't know what made me start to watch episode one of the first season of That 70's Show (boredom?). It ended nearly ten years ago, and I knew nothing of the show at all, other than That 70's Show was always "That Show I'd Always Avoided".

Well, the show somehow tickled my funnybone, and the next thing I knew was that I was now binge watching That 70's Show! I am into the third season of the show, and I know that there are 200(!) shows in total to see and enjoy, commercial free.

I'm sure there are better ways to waste my time, but there may not be too many ways that are funnier. Go figure!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Remembering Sports Phone and 976-1313: When sports info was a phone call away | Newsday

Remembering Sports Phone and 976-1313: When sports info was a phone call away | Newsday:

'via Blog this'

In the prehistoric pre-Internet era, Sports Phone was a daily lifeline to sports news and scores. I rang up a lot of charges dialing the 976-1313 number in my day. The key was making the calls at work (not me, of course) to avoid those charges.

I did develop a workaround when businesses began to block those 976 numbers that was mildly successful at the time. You would call the long distance version of the number, these would typically not be blocked. The scores were the same whether served by the Los Angeles version, or the New York guys.

Now, I also remember the dial up weather services and the one for the correct time also. They were quite useful as well.

Rumor had it there were other lines where adult activities were purported to take place. Good thing they broke up AT&T. That's just plain dirty.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Trading With the Enemy

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One thing that I thought was a given, is that you don't make MLB trades with teams in your own division. Since the day the Red Sox gave the Yankees Babe Ruth, the lesson was spelled out for all to see. If you are going to trade with a a team you are directly competing with, what's the point of filling a hole in their roster only so they might come back and bite you in the rear end?

In the days leading up to this year's trading deadline, there have been several of these intra-division trades. The bottom dwellers, the usual sellers, are unloading high priced talent and the contenders are positioning themselves for the end of season push to the playoffs. There's nothing unusual about this activity, other than the transactions between teams in the same division.

The Braves sent a couple of players, Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson to the Mets for a couple of minor leaguers. Wha-a-at? The Mets have some of the best young starting pitchers in the game, but the Braves think nothing of helping to solve the Mets offensive woes. That doesn't make any sense to me. The Braves, once perennial playoff contenders, will have to deal with the improved Mets for the foreseeable future. Dopey.

The A's traded starting pitcher Scott Kazmir to Kansas City. Oakland is in last place, but last year played a tiebreaker with K.C. for the playoffs. Kazmir, a high priced free agent to be, is just a rental for the rest of the season, but even so, does business trump competitive rivalries in MLB now?

But, that's not enough. The A's traded jack-of-all-positions Ben Zobrist to the Royals also. Moneyballer Billy Beane doesn't seem to care how strong the Royals become. Moneyball, shmoneyball.

Today, the Phillies traded their elite close Jonathan Papelbon to the Washington Nationals! Yes, the Phils are awful, going nowhere, but come on! The Nats are division rivals, what sort of lunacy is this?

If we've learned anything in this expansion wild card parity luxury tax era, it's that bad teams can and have gone from "worst to first" from year to year. Enriching division rivals is going to make MLB start to resemble the WWE.

Monday, July 27, 2015

One Toke Over the Line

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Or is it Another One Bites the Dust?

It's really no different when celebrities crash and burn from their addictions, it's just that they tend to do it in the public eye.

There's nothing heroic or saintly when people's addictions engulf them, it's just plain tragic. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Cache is King

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I just noticed an odd thing about the Ticketmaster and Telecharge websites.

It appears (after about ten long minutes of noodling around), that the Ticketmaster site does not use "https" in all their browser addresses, while the Telecharge site seems to use it for all of their pages.

"Https" means that you have a secure connection, while "http" (without the last 's' for security) indicates a non secure connection.

The Ticketmaster site reverts to "https" when you log in to your account, but only seems to offer "http" when you are browsing through the site, checking out availability, dates or events. I would hope that "https" is used when actually making transactions, and I presume so.

The Telecharge site seems to make use of "https" for every page on the site, even if you are not logged in.

In and of itself, there doesn't seem to be any real problems for users with either of these set ups. Even the non secure connections on Ticketmaster don't present a problem, because no sensitive information is being transmitted on those particular pages.

The "https" pages are secure because those connections use an encryption protocol that shields sensitive information like credit card info and other identifying data. These connections require extra bandwidth for what's known as the "handshake" between the browser and the site serving information to the browser. That might make for potentially slower connections.

Idiot internet chat boards periodically complain about the speed and usability of the Telecharge website. I can't and have no way to verify those claims, but I wonder if the use of "https" connections exclusively by Telecharge play into these claims.

A lot goes into determining the speed of internet connections. The ISPs of the users and the websites, other traffic, time of day and types of connections. User error is often a source of problems.

I noticed no significant difference in the sites' response time, on a Sunday night with no major new productions going on sale (to my knowledge, anyway), using the Chrome browser.

The only conclusion I can state with absolute certainty is that I really have too much time on my hands.

Friday, July 24, 2015

PED-No, PES-Yes?

PEDs are bad. "Performance enhancing drugs" are now outlawed in all competitive sports, and have been for a long time now. All in the name of fairness, of course. The use of these substances gave the users an unfair competitive advantage, it is said, and they are also quite dangerous to the body over time.

In spite of the love affairs fans had with Barry Bonds, Mark McGuire, Sammy Sosa and many others, we now look at their achievements as tainted. They cheated.

But, what about PES? "Performance enhancing surgery"? Does this not also confer upon those that have it an advantage as opposed to those that don't have it?

In MLB, many pitchers have what has become routine surgery on their elbows and shoulders called colloquially "Tommy John" surgery, named for the first pitcher to undergo the procedure. It involves the transplanting of a tendon from the leg to replace the damage in the arm.

Many pitchers have had this procedure and have gone on to have successful careers. Some have said that their ability to pitch was enhanced by the surgery. It's a modern medical miracle that has become rather ho-hum in our jaded world. Medical science marches on. Who knows what the future holds in the field of sports medicine?

Since the events of 9/11, the United States has suffered a steady stream of casualties of war from the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. Great strides have been made in the use of prosthetics to help the wounded have better lives even in the face of lost limbs.

                 Image result for athletes and veterans prosthetic legsImage result for athletes and veterans prosthetic legs
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Aside from "special olympics" competitions, athletes have been prevented from competing against the "able bodied" due to the "advantages" that prosthetics confer to those that use them. Oscar Pistorius, the "Blade Runner", may be the most famous and notorious example of this.

But, what are we really protecting by excluding disabled athletes from competing on whatever level that they can? We've had a little person in baseball, a one handed pitcher, ambidextrous pitchers. The "sanctity" of MLB records has been despoiled already with interleague play, expansion, extended playoffs, and various other rule changes (looking at you, DH!).

The current whipping boy for PED usage in MLB is Alex Rodriguez. An admitted user, and liar about that usage, has had his share of health issues the last several years. Two surgically repaired hips have rendered the once fleet footed power hitter a walking double play threat. It is excruciating to watch him slowly make his way around the bases. Fortunately for him, and the Yankees, he still can hit homers and knock in runs as a designated hitter.

What if a new medical technique would have not only repaired his degenerated hips, but make them as "good as new"? Would it be "fair" if Rodriguez' hips and speed could be restored surgically? And what if PEDs, allowed to come out of the shadows, were developed without the dangerous side effects that they have?

It's only a matter of time before these and other questions will need to be addressed by the sports world. Science won't wait for these answers, as transgendered people are more easily and effectively allowed to change the gender their chromosomes claim they are. Renee Richards was a long time ago, but who thinks this question won't arise again?

Is any interest served by excluding anyone from competition for any physical reason? Should surgical enhancements and repairs that are already in common use logically mean that more dramatic methods can not be condoned?

Times have changed and will continue to change. Gambling, once the bane and bogeyman of MLB, resulted in the banning of Pete Rose, the all time hit leader. Now, MLB partners with gambling web sites and advocates for new laws allowing sports betting.

New medical advances will have an impact on sports, whether they are ready or not.

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Standing Small

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Steadfastly remains pro gun, pro NRA.

Even as a deranged gunman emulates Colorado lunatic Holmes in Louisiana.

Another example of pandering that rises to the level of evil.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Music to Travel By

Vacations are fun! (Usually, anyway.) When travelling, sometimes a popular song becomes attached to your memories of the trip. Typically, there is no choice as to the song that becomes the theme song to your vacation, but whenever you hear that song again, you are always reminded of the trip.

Here are a few songs that wound up becoming the triggers to the remembrances of a few of my long gone vacations:


                                   Pennsylvania, USA!  (Skiing! On real snow, even!)


                              Paradise Island, Bahamas! (American plan and casino!)


                             Costa Del Sol, Spain! (Hablo poco Espanol! Muy poco!)


                                 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil!  (Call me Senor Voce!)


                  Cruise to Halifax, Canada! (They tried, but couldn't overplay it!)

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Governors order National Guardsmen to be armed after attacks

Governors order National Guardsmen to be armed after attacks:

'via Blog this'

Wait a minute! Aren't the armed forces on the verge of invading and enslaving Texas and using underground Walmart tunnels to supply their nefarious schemes? Why in the world are they arming them now??? What about Jade Helm???

Oh, for their protection. I guess that adding more guns to volatile situations will solve the problem.

What could possibly go wrong?