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Found 9 results

  1. Ted Williams is the only person who can claim - along with Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb - to be the greatest hitter who ever lived. Here are some statistics which are so mind-boggling that they simply do not compute: * Williams had a lifetime batting average of .344 - the highest of any player with more than 302 home runs. * Williams had 521 home runs. * Williams missed 3 seasons in the prime of his career due to WWII. The three years before, he batted .344, .406 and .356; the three years after, he batted .342, .343, and .369. * Missing those 3 seasons cost him at least 100 home runs - he would have hit 625 for his career. * Even more remarkable than the above? His *career* on-base percentage was .482. That is not a misprint. * Perhaps even *more* remarkable? Not once did he ever have 200 hits in a season. See for yourselves. How can that be? I guess it's because he walked so much (he had 20-12 vision). There are *three people* on that list of *525-different 200-hit seasons* named Williams, none of which is Ted. * If Williams had played 20 years earlier, I might be able to comprehend these numbers, but he was a *generation* after the big-numbers hitters of the 1920s. * His batting average, his home runs, and his walks - in my mind - make him a perfectly legitimate choice for the moniker: Greatest Hitter of All-Time.
  2. Jeff Corey (1914-2002) is another fine character actor who merits his own thread (if I see about five different performances, I'm going to give any of these talented actors and actresses their own thread - they deserve it). For those of you who've heard the term, but have never really heard it defined, a "character actor" is someone whose face you've seen a million times, but can't come up with the person's name - there are a lot more of them, both in Hollywood and on television, than you think, and Jeff Corey was certainly one of them. This is but a small portion of what he has done - just what *I've* personally seen in the past couple of years, which should tell you he's done a *lot* more than this. Actively involved in television in the 1960s (Corey was blacklisted from Hollywood for refusing to name names before the House Committee on Un-American Activities in the 1950s), he played a major role as Byron Lomax in the somewhat Orwellian, 1963 episode of "The Outer Limits," - "O.B.I.T": It's fitting that Corey played in Hollywood during the seminal year of 1967, as Mr. Hickock (Dick Hickock's father), in Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood": In 1969, Corey played High Advisor Plasus in an episode of "Star Trek" clearly influenced by Fritz Lang's "Metropolis" - "The Cloud Minders": Back in Hollywood, he plays a vital role in the 1969 film, "True Grit," as Tom Chaney, committing the murder near the very beginning which is the raison d'être of the entire film: From that same, fertile year for Corey, 1969, he played Sheriff Bledsoe in "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid": The following year, 1970, he would play a well-received role as the logical Dr. Miles Talmadge on "Night Gallery's" "The Dead Man":
  3. I've always assumed that the "correct" stance about torture is, "Make it illegal under all circumstances, and if you do it, be prepared to pay the price if you're caught." Alan Dershowitz once said: Jan 22, 2002: "Want to Torture? Get a Warrant" by Alan M Dershowitz on sfgate.com In this editorial, Dershowitz advocates torture using clean needles shoved under people's fingernails to produce excruciating pain in a "ticking-time bomb scenario," which everyone dismissed as being nearly impossible. Well ... "NYC Bombing Suspect Nabbed, Charged in Shootout with Cops" by Andrew Wyrich, Tariq Zehwei, and John Bacon on usatoday.com This is pretty damned close to being a ticking-time bomb scenario. So, is Dershowitz right, or not? Should we be able to torture this man to extract information? Or do we treat him humanely? Do we make it absolutely illegal to torture people? If so, do we assign a scapegoat from the CIA to "break the law" by doing it illegally? Or do we come right out and say, "You won't be killed, but you're going to experience pain like you never thought was possible?" What if they we don't torture this man, and a bomb goes off in Times Square in two days, killing 200 people, all because we didn't have proper intelligence that we could have otherwise extracted? See how I used "they" in the preceding paragraph before I caught myself? It isn't they; it's "we." It's so easy to take a holier-than-thou stance regarding torture; it's a lot tougher when reality stares you in the face. I don't think there's a right or wrong answer here, but the moral implications are tremendous.
  4. For the younger folk out there, Rosemary Clooney was George Clooney's aunt. She had a remarkably warm and graceful way of singing. She fell out of sight in the 1960s because of some personal problems, but came back strong in the 1980s with some wonderful American-songbook type records. Here (in 1984) she sings one of Irving Berlin's greatest songs, "What'll I Do?". I tormented myself with this song after a particularly painful break-up, but now it's just an old, sweet friend.
  5. Although the Houston Texans are the only NFL franchise never to have played in a conference championship (they are the NFL's youngest franchise), they were the AFC South Division champions in 2011, 2012, 2015, and 2016. With both J.J. Watt and Deshaun Watson out for the 2017 season with injuries, it will be tough for the Texans this year, but look for them to come charging back next season, assuming these two men conquer their injuries. "Deshaun Watson, J.J. Watt, Bonding in Treatment Room (Video)" by Paul Jackiewicz on torotimes.com --- There's also one thing I don't understand: Media pundits have universally derided Bill O'Brien for starting Tom Savage over Deshaun Watson in the first game this season. I think that was *exactly* the correct thing to do, because it took all pressure off of Watson. Had he started the Texans' first game, fifty-million eyes would have been on him, and the pressure would have been enormous - with Watson on the bench for a tiny fraction of the season, he got to ease into his position (so to speak), and when he finally came out, nobody was even looking: pressure reduced by 50%, and Watson got to see what the game looks like from the sidelines - how could this have possibly harmed the Texans, with the possible exception of losing their first game? (Don't forget, Tom Savage took the Texans to the playoffs in both of the previous two seasons.) I contend that, even if O'Brien absolutely knew that Watson was His Man, he did the correct thing by letting Watson sit for a brief time.
  6. I'd been casually fascinated by this band in the early 90s. They came and went in my music rotation over the years and then resurfaced shortly before (and after) the death of my oldest brother (my musical Obi Wan). As much as these gents can really rock it, they also can really sometimes just hit you in the gut. "Nutshell" is one of those songs for me: And studio ... because you need to hear it twice:
  7. Jayson Werth, organic farmer (article from The Washington Post sports bog) Don, you might want to move this somewhere else, but it's a fascinating article.
  8. My knowledge of mid-19th-century Manhattan is something approaching zero. I had absolutely no idea about the gang wars of the 1840s (likewise Five Points), nor Blackwell's Island, nor the nefarious activity that occurred during the 1860s (some of it also at Five Points), and in this regard, "Gangs of New York" does a good job at teaching this important, yet little known, part of American History. I can't sit here and claim it's faithful to the truth, when I don't even know what the truth is, but it seems like it's at least trying to be. Yes, Martin Scorsese is going to throw in some drama, but that doesn't mean the history lesson is worthless; just embellished. Let me warn you, before writing any spoilers, that this is a very long and difficult film to follow - you'll be doing yourself a favor to write down names, positions, actors, or have the Wikipedia window open if you're watching it on your computer - otherwise, you might easily get confused. I did all this and *still* got confused, so be mindful. If you get lost (and don't be ashamed if you do), there's a very thorough synopsis on IMDB.com. *** SPOILER ALERT *** It's surprising that Liam Neeson ("Priest" Vallon, Amsterdam Vallon's (Leonardo DiCaprio's) father) is killed off so early in the film, but that does set the stage for the rest of the movie. Plus with other major stars such as William Cutting (Daniel Day-Lewis), and Jenny Everdeane (Cameron Diaz), this might have saved some on what must have been substantial salary costs (*) Speaking of history, I find it both fascinating and timely that Abraham Lincoln's Conscription Act of 1863 - the first-ever mandatory draft for American men - could be circumvented either by paying $300, or by finding a suitable substitute (this is both in the film, but also occurred in real-life). Needless to say, this caused a great deal of civil unrest, as accusations were made that wealthier people could avoid the draft, whereas poorer people were stuck with it - the more things change, the more they stay the same. It's amazing to me how Amsterdam had the wits about him to sell the recently killed corpse to medical science (it's even more amazing to me how that ended up in the papers, considering the transaction was made in complete secrecy). Notice the tribute paid to Nosferatu in the newspaper article - the drawing of the man second-from-the-right - even the man on the far-right has similar ears: My goodness - I just realized I'm only forty minutes into this film, and I have over two hours remaining. Ha! I knew when they were talking about Jenny (Cameron Diaz) being a "turtledove," that it was Martin Scorsese making a cameo as a wealthy homeowner. (*) Interesting - when I was confirming that about Scorsese, I also read that both DiCaprio and Scorsese both took salary reductions to preserve the budget. Huh! And shortly afterwards, Horace Greeley (Michael Byrne) makes a formidable appearance. Here's an interesting piece of information about the 1872 Presidential Election (it's too important to be called "trivia."). Likewise, P.T. Barnum (Roger Ashton-Griffiths) makes a significant appearance in the movie. Wikipedia describes "Gangs of New York" as an "epic period drama," and that it certainly is. Who would know that the New York City Draft Riots of 1863 were the largest civil and racial insurrection in American history, aside from the Civil War - I certainly didn't, and wouldn't have if I hadn't watched this film. For this reason alone, the film is worth watching - I'm not even sure I knew this film even existed (it was released four months after Karen died, and I only have a vague recollection of the Space Shuttle Columbia explosion - I mean, I have a memory of noticing the headlines when it happened, but I didn't care, and know almost nothing about it (contrast to the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion, which was one of the few incidents during my lifetime that I remember where I was when I heard the news (some others being the O.J. Simpson Trial, the World Trade Center attacks, the Apollo 11 moon landing, and Martin Luther King's assassination). "Gangs of New York" may not be to everyone's taste, but there's no denying that it's an important, historical film, and one which I will remember for a long time. It's so long (2'45") that you *must* be dragged into its atmosphere if you're going to watch it, and you're unlikely to forget it for that reason alone. To show how out of touch I was with life during that time period, I've never even heard of "Chicago," which won the Best Picture Academy Award that year.
  9. I post this not because I like David Ortiz (I am, after all, a Yankees fan) but for a number of reasons both positive and negative. On the positive side, and setting aside my Yankee fandom, he is an icon for the Red Sox. He is a beloved character in Boston and was a member of three world championships ... after 86 years without a championship in Fenway Park. And there have only been four players to play on three world championships and hit 500 HRs, with Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth, and Reggie Jackson preceding him. On the negative side, he has an association with PEDs. Of course, there is no "proof" per se, but his best friend on the Red Sox during those championship years was Manny Ramirez, who was caught and suspended multiple times for PEDs use. A few others of those Red Sox players during that period of time were also suspected of PEDs use, and Big Papi (or "Big Sloppy" to Yankees fans) was at least gulty by association. Besides, how did he lose that hole in his swing that he had when he was David Arias of the Twins? (But my primary gripe about any and all of this is simply that the 500 HR Club is not what it once was. When I was growing up, it was the absolute power hitter mark of excellence, the line of demarcation between the very good and the great. Now, it has been removed from that status by the stench of PEDs use. And that is a shame, pure and simple.) Anyway, from a Yankees fan, here is a tip of the cap to Ortiz, for his accomplishments, for what he means to his fan base, and for his eventual enshrinement in baseball's Hall of Fame.
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