Monday, September 29, 2014

400 Richest Americans By State -- 294 Are From States Who Voted Obama in 2012.

Doesn't this map just lay waste to the argument that the rich will flee states with high taxes?  I mean, Cal, WA, Or = 104.  NY and the northeast is another 98 (if you include PA).  That's 202 in the highest tax states you can find right there. Add in high tax places like Illinois and MN and HI, you get another 23. 

The solid GOP areas?  Only Texas and Georgia really offer much.  And Georgia (about 54% Romney) is tied with 7 such residents with Maryland (62% Obama). 

The fact of the matter is that people like to live in areas that they consider nice and urban and near large bodies of water - be it NYC or LA or Chicago or Miami or Seattle or even Milwaukee and Detroit.  They do NOT like to live in land locked areas in the center of the country and do not generally care for the more rural states.  New York has taxed the shit out of these people for years, and so has California.  Apparently there are no hard feelings, as California still boasts more of the top 400 than Texas and Florida and Georgia combined.  If you take away Texas, the other 20 Romney GOP states total only 67 of the super wealthy.  These are the lands of "low taxes and low services."  Why aren't the super wealthy flocking to these states, which are so favorable (supposedly) to "job creators"?

Whose Butt?

Top pic is very recent, bottom one a few years old.  Not an American.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Chris Pratt Hosts SNL -- Maybe One of the Worst SNL Episodes I Have Ever Seen

While this reviewer said Pratt was good and the show "uneven", I honestly have to say that I almost never feel compelled enough by the quality or lack of quality of a show to write about it.  But this episode was an awful clunker.

Taking the show item by item would be a complete waste of time, and I already wasted enough time watching it, but suffice to say that Pratt forgot the words to his monologue song and that was one of the more endearing and better moments of the show.

The show started with a skit about the NFL and had all of the "players" introduce themselves by telling their various legal troubles.  Not funny.  To make things even LESS funny, one guy noted that he hit his wife and his sassy black wife replied - I am his wife and I hit him back.  Wow.  See Janey Rice, you should have just arisen from your near coma and hit Ray back, simple as that.

Pratt played NFL commish Roger Goodell as a buffoon.  Pratt, it appears, can only play clueless buffoons.  Andy Dwyer, Starlord.  Never mind that Roger Goodell is actually a knowing enabler to his outlaw players and makes $40M a year by keeping their legal troubles swept under the rug.  But Pratt can only play a buffoon, so he was a buffoon.

The joke, by the way, SHOULD have been that Goodell, under pressure from sponsors, populated the league with only nice white guys from the suburbs and they couldn't play a lick and no one watched.  That would have been funny.

Cecily Strong has been removed from the anchor desk by Michael Che.  Che, it appears, believes that he is actually reading the news to a local TV audience.  Colin Jost has a little more joy in his delivery, which is like saying that Matt Cassell is a slightly better QB than Christian Ponder.  Cecily Strong has now been forced to slim down some and try to be the new Kristen Wiig.  She lacks the high energy and love of herself required for that role.  Wiig could star in 5 terrible skits in a row and still come out as Gilly or the lady from 1950s Password thinking she was absolutely killing it all night long.  Strong looks pained when in an awful skit (of which there were many), and as a person I admire that realism in her, but if you are forced into doing crap, and a lot of it, you need to put your head down and pretend that you think you are funny - Wiig's greatest skill.

Aidy Bryant spent the night playing an oversexed fat women/chick.  OK, I get it, she is heavy.  Hilarious.  I don't need 5-6 minutes on her trying to get a guy to bang her fat bottom by saying "I have a big ass."  Awesome.  I hope the Emmy voters were watching intently.  ("See how they write for the heavy girl....she actually DOES have a big butt!")

Pete Davidson spent 5 minutes explaining that he would give a man a blow job for money.  Sadly, I didn't find any humor in it, as Davidson appeared to just be explaining in a factual manner why he would do it, how often and for how much money.  We would like humor, Pete, not a 21st Century Alfred E. Neuman telling us about his life choices.  On the plus side, Davidson could arguably be called the star of the night, because, despite his unfunny material, he actually appeared happy to be involved in the show.  In that way, he could be the Wiig-ian force of this cast -- maybe they will never have anything worthwhile to perform, but at least he is high energy and willing to try.  Sort of like a running back who rushes 34 times for 83 yards in a 10-0 loss.  Keep giving him the ball, at least he is trying.

The musical guest, Ariana Grande, appeared scared to perform.  There is really no other way to put it.  She sang adequately, and danced adequately, even appeared for a couple lines in the wretched "toys come to life" skit (in which Bryant anticipates a four-way with the toys).  But you always felt like Grande was being told that if she made one dancing mistake or missed a high note there was a sniper in the audience who would take her out.  And the cat ears hair?  Wow.

Perhaps the skit that epitomized the night was the focus group of young adults (maybe supposedly teens?) who were paid $25 to play and rate a children's video game where you solved puzzles that a 3 year old could solve and then the characters on the screen would engage in inappropriate romantic behavior.  Vanessa Bayer and Pratt played the young lovers, Pratt again taking advantage of his ability to appear wooden and clueless.  The testers got upset with how horrible the game was and quit  -- I know exactly how they must have felt.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Lakers to Rely Less On Kobe.....More on.......Jeremy Lin!?!?!?

This is akin to saying, "Cavs to rely less upon LeBron James, more on Shawn Marion."

Good Christ, how do you sell this to your season ticket holders?  "Well, we MAY lose 35-40 games because we are not going to play our best guy much, but we figure when we get to that 8-1 matchup against the Spurs that he will be fresh enough to lead us to the promised land!"

That, of course, assumes that the team makes the playoffs at all.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Happy 65th Birthday Bruce Springsteen -- My Top 51 Bruce Springsteen Songs

Rolling Stone has decided to rank Bruce's top 100 songs.

I have loved Springsteen since 1979 when I was allowed to buy a copy of the Born to Run album.  I have only attended two Springsteen concerts - one in Buffalo, NY in 1985 and one in Durham, NC circa 1988 (I could look it up, but I won't).  The 1985 show was magic.  The 1988 show was very good.

Look, has Springsteen had some good songs post-Tunnel of Love?  Sure.  Can you honestly rank any of them ahead of songs he did 1972-1990?  I could only find a couple.  I am not going to sit down and listen to songs I have never heard before that were ranked by Rolling Stone.  So I need to concede that, but for 2-3 songs, my list is pretty much limited to the time I was 26 and younger.

I tried desperately to pare my list to 50.  Some of the last 10 cuts were like choosing between a crushed finger and a severe scar, so I just stopped at 51.  I am sorry.  I just couldn't make myself cut that last one.

Here are my 51 favorites in alphabetical order (most have hyperlinks):

  10th Avenue Freeze-Out 4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy) Atlantic City Backstreets
Badlands Because The Night Blinded by The Light Born in The U.S.A.
Born to Run Brilliant Disguise Candy’s Room Dancing in The Dark
Darkness on The Edge of Town Drive All Night Factory Fire
For You Growin' up Highway Patrolman Human Touch Hungry Heart
I'm on Fire If I Should Fall Behind It's Hard to Be a Saint in The City
Jersey Girl Jungleland Lost in The Flood Mansion on The Hill
Mary Queen of Arkansas Murder Incorporated My Hometown
Point Blank Prove It All Night Racing in The Street Reason to Believe
Rosalita (Come Out Tonight) Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town Sherry Darling
She's The One Something in The Night Spirit in The Night
Stolen Car Streets Of Philadelphia Tenth Avenue Freeze-out The Price You Pay
The Promised Land The Rising The River Thunder Road
Tunnel of Love Wrecking Ball

Top 20 alphabetically:
4th of July, Atlantic City, Because the Night, Blinded by the Light, Born in the USA, Born to Run, Darkness on the Edge of Town, For You, If I Should Fall Behind, Jungleland, Point Blank, Prove It All Night, Racing In the Street, Rosalita, Sherry Darling, Stolen Car, Streets of Philadelphia, The Promised Land, The River, Thunder Road.

Top 10 alphabetically

4th of July, Atlantic City, Born in the USA, Born to Run, If I Should Fall Behind, Jungleland,  Racing in the Street, Rosalita, The River, Thunder Road

Top 5
Atlantic City
The River
Thunder Road

Ranked Top 10 Springsteen Songs

10.  Born to Run - always somewhat overrated in my opinion, but if you are in the right mood, a great anthem...  I use the term "overrated" in the manner that one might say that Larry Bird is somewhat overrated.  Is he a top 20 player?  Certainly.  Top 10 - probably.  Best ever?  No.

9.  Born in the USA - as Bruce said in 1985, this is a song about how "what is supposed to be tricklin' down to the folks at the bottom ain't tricklin' very much."

8.  If I Should Fall Behind - beautiful love song especially performed live

7.  4th of July, Asbury Park -- "Sandy, the fireworks are hailin' over Little Eden tonight"....and it just gets more descriptive from there.  You feel like you are at the Jersey Shore, many years pre-Snooki.

6.  Racing in the Street -- "Now some guys they just give up livin' and start dyin' little by little piece by piece..."  The remedy?  Racing in the street.  I used to sing this song to my now-20 year old daughter to put her to sleep.

5.  Rosalita -- if you cannot be happy while listening to "Rosalita", you really should seek immediate help.  "Hold on tight, stay up all night, 'cause Rosie I'm coming on strong.  By the time we reach the morning light, I will hold you in my arms."  A rare up tempo and upbeat Springsteen song without an underlying hint of pain.

4.  The River -- "No wedding day smiles, no walk down the aisle, no flowers no wedding dress...." Like many Springsteen songs it digs deep into the desperation of those not so well off, asking "is a dream a lie if it don't come true?  Or is it something worse...."

3.  Atlantic City  -- while the lyrics purport to go through some sort of pseudo-expose of Atlantic City life, the general message of vague (and perhaps unjustified) hope that the song conveys is very powerful.  "Maybe everything that dies, some day comes back....."

2.  Thunder Road --  Having grown up in an area I badly wanted to get out of, the thought of driving by a girl's house and getting her to come away with me from the "town full of losers" was an awfully powerful message.  As a song, I don't think it is any coincidence that no one other than Bruce does the song.  I mean, you NEVER hear a cover of Thunder Road.   Who in the world is going to make an effort at trying out the wonderfully harmonized, "There were ghosts in the eyes of all the boys you sent away.  They haunt this dusty beach road in the skeleton frames of burned out Chevrolets." 
No one.  A quintessential Springsteen song, in my opinion far superior to its album mate "Born to Run."

1.  Jungleland -- The funny thing is that it is a song about the city and the edginess of city life, guns and knives and all.  But as a kid growing up in the sticks I always connected it to my own life as being a song about the desperation of youth and the general shittiness of life and how no one really cares what the hell happens to you.  From a song writing standpoint, you start with the violin and piano, move on to the very interesting story-telling lyrics, then listen to the absolutely wonderful  saxophone solo, finishing with Springsteen's plaintive wailing over the top of the piano.  It is probably my favorite song, period.

Friday, September 19, 2014

9 NBA Young Guys Statistically Poised to Have Big Improvement Years in 2014-15

Sadly, a couple of Spurs on the list.  Westbrook and Bledsoe were hurt.   
1Kawhi Leonard2013-1422SASNBA6665192333764526846369182101126763364121331145080127844.522.579.379.802.1937.7
2Patrick Mills2013-1425SASNBA812152730966617434813531873823413516914968963114826.464.500.425.890.1755.6
3Russell Westbrook2013-1425OKCNBA4646141234679127857768214242293552082633198871771041002.437.482.318.826.1785.2
4Mason Plumlee2013-1423BRKNBA70221275199302199299031221959920930860495577171520.659.666.000.626.1764.7
5Eric Bledsoe2013-1424PHONBA434014162655562154165014018323727175202235691414399763.477.517.357.772.1404.1
6Kosta Koufos2013-1424MEMNBA8022134922745922745900609316025841839327167182514.495.495.645.1243.5
7DeJuan Blair2013-1424DALNBA78131214210393210391027712113922936870602177192497.534.537.000.636.1333.4
8Bismack Biyombo2013-1421CHANBA77910728814488144004689105261366878640124222.611.611.517.1443.2
9Tyler Zeller2013-1424CLENBA7091049156290156289018712110317928236183860137399.538.540.000.719.1202.6

Big Booty Video

This is the Kind of Girl That You are Glad You Took To the Falcons Game!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Adrian Peterson and Beating Your Kid

My wife's parents never spanked her.  My parents sometimes spanked me when I misbehaved.  So we are talking about 1970-75 level discipline.  I can recall once finding a book to shove down my pants so that when I got spanked it wouldn't hurt so much.

My dad once backhanded me across my face so hard I saw stars.  I was being annoying on a long car trip, and I probably deserved it.  My dad is the absolute nicest guy in the world.  I was probably 10-12.

I have never hit my kids.  Never.  God knows I wanted to, and God knows that they deserved it.  But I never hit my kids with a hand, a belt or a stick, or anything else.  They got "time outs."  I also gave them all of the psychological pain I could inflict - telling them how dumb their decisions were and how I was most hurt by the fact that they would misbehave, lie to me, and then think I was so stupid that I wouldn't catch them.

Anyway, in this country we have laws against child abuse.  Those laws against child abuse, however, do not include hitting your kid to discipline them.  We generally leave that up to the parent.  Now imagine this -- imagine if there were specific laws that said that if your wife or girlfriend pissed you off that you could hit them.  You are the husband, you may strike them with a stick no bigger in diameter than your thumb (the Rule of Thumb).  There used to be such laws.  Today, the rule is basically you cannot ever hit a woman unless she is actually beating the living hell out of you....and even then, you are better off to just take the beating.

But we do not have the same legal or societal rule for hitting your kid.  In Texas, for example, you can authorize OTHER people to hit your kid (the school system allows you to send in a note saying "if my child misbehaves, you may paddle them" - in a weird twist, you may also only allow same sex paddling.....think about that a little).  So we obviously do not treat kids the same as women (imagine, "hey, waiter, if my wife comes to your place of business and gives you a hard time, you may strike her").

We could make it illegal to spank or paddle or whip kids.  We generally have not done so.  Why?  Well, one reason is that society as a whole says that it is an acceptable practice.  I got spanked, I didn't expect my parents would end up in jail.  The other reason -- one I think is probably becoming the bigger policy reason that the rule hasn't changed -- is that we don't want the government involved in parenting every kid in the state.  I don't think you would find any psychologist who would deny that a parent being mean to a kid and playing psychological games with the kid can be a lot more devastating and do a lot more long lasting harm to the child than hitting them with a stick.  So, if that is true, then how many calls are county prosecutors going to be taking from young kids complaining, "My mom is mean to me." or "My dad sent me to bed without dinner."  or "My dad said I was stupid."   Are these actions CRIMES???  Will there need to be a 7-month grand jury prosecution where I will need to come and testify about exactly HOW mean I was to my kid?  Can I say, "I am concerned about your weight" but not "You could stand to lose a few...."?   Do we sit in a courtroom for a week and decide whether I am going to be convicted by a jury of my peers?

Peterson hit his kid and he says he hit the kid too hard.  Isn't that a child custody matter or a child protective services matter?  Take the kid away from him.  But if we allow the parents to discipline kids through corporal punishment, I think we gotta start drawing the line a little more clearly.  You can only use your hand, you can only hit the butt, you gotta leave their clothes on, you can never leave a mark.  If you do that, then your average parent has notice of what is and is not proper and a criminal prosecution is justified.  But I do not believe that society can have it both ways.  In Texas, you cannot allow paddling in school and then turn around and say, "You accidentally hit your own kid too hard - that is a crime."  Decide, Texas.  And I think if you put it to a vote in Texas, they would decide that they will give the parents more leeway. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Sorry Ms. Rousey - I Really Doubt It;_ylt=A0LEVyEhOhNUWS8Aw4lXNyoA

I used to be pretty tough (I know it is almost impossible to believe looking at me now).  I grew up on a farm.  I got run over by a hay wagon and fell 10 feet into shit and then got trampled by a startled cow.  I got run over by a 240 pound pig.  I played 4 years of football, and I was actually pretty good.  But I got blindsided in practice by a 300 pound guy one day.  I wasn't so tough.  I went down like I was shot.  Then he just laid on me with his enormous heft.  I could do nothing except beg to be let up.

Ray Rice outweighs Ms. Rousey by 100 pounds.  If he sucker punched her with that short left hook, she also goes down like she was shot.  That is just the truth.  We don't have "open class" boxing.  We don't let 130 pound women fight 230 pound men.  There is a reason for that. 


Whose Butt?

All I can say is - thank goodness for spray tanning.  Clue - wants to think she is young, but she is not.

And.....This Was Almost Our Vice President

Family is brawling at a kegger and then she is yelling out "You know who we are, don't you!?!?!?"   Fox News then immediately has her on as some sort of foreign policy expert. 

She was a failed sportscaster who banged Glen Rice while on the job.
She managed to become mayor of a tiny town in Alaska
She miraculously became Governor of Alaska and quit before her term was out because it didn't pay enough and she had to sometimes justify her personal vendettas and graft.

Stop me when you determine what qualifies her to comment on U.S. foreign policy.

She does, however, have a nice body.