Sunday, January 11, 2009

Yankees going to trade with the Nats? is reporting that the Nationals are in trade discussions with the Yankees in hopes of acquiring outfielder Xavier Nady and first baseman Nick Swisher.  Who would the Yanks get in return?  

Let's take a look at the Yankee's needs:
Well, obviously, if they ship both of their right fielders to the Nats, they need to fill that slot.
They have Damon and Matsui for left field, and Melky for Center (plus newbie Brett Gardner, who could be a star).
ARod and Tex at the corners, with Jeter and Cano up the middle.  
Posada and Molina at Catcher. (Here is an obvious need -- look towards the future or upgrade this backup)
Sabathia, Burnett, Wang, Joba and Hughes/Kennedy for the starting rotation.
Rivera, Marte, Bruney and Albaladejo in the bullpen.  
I would assume they would be looking to shore up the bullpen in response to Saito going to the Red Sox, or looking for depth at catcher, right field or Starting pitcher.

And now a look at the Nationals' roster:
In right field they have Dukes and Kearns.  Either would be decent, but I don't know I'd give up Swisher for either.
As their backstop, they have Flores, Nieves and Montz.  Flores is a 2008 rookie who shows promise, hitting .256 with 8 home runs in 90 games.  I'm still looking bigger.  Josh Willingham is playing left field for the Nats -- I wonder if he would consider going back behind the plate?
Tyler Clippard is in the Nationals bullpen -- could they be trying to get the Yankee Clippard back?  And the Nats have some interesting possibilities in their rotation, including Bergmann, Lannan and Olsen.  
I have a feeling that this might be a package deal, but I don't see what the Nats want with more outfielders.  Adding Swisher and Nady just doesn't seem to be a great move for the Nats.  

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Smoltz is a Red Sox pitcher now?? Aw crap.

For crying out loud.

I'm obviously a Yankee fan. I've been a Yankee fan for as long as I have known about baseball. My little league team was named the Yankees, I worshipped Don Mattingly, and I collected all the baseball cards I could. I read every box score in every newspaper I could for summer after summer when I was younger.

I've been a Braves fan, somewhat reluctantly, since I've moved to the Deep South. I justify it by pointing out that while the Braves are a National league team, my allegiance to the American League's New York franchise is not sullied at all. Besides, I always root for the AL during the All Star Game.

So, for eight years I have been rooting for John Smoltz. I have a John Smoltz figure in my office and another in Little Bubba's bedroom. I've programmed my son to respond "John Smoltz" to the question, "Who was the first president of the United States?" (it wasn't intentional, and it's a story for another day). I enjoyed him as a starting pitcher and i thought he was lights out as a closer. I was at his record breaking 15-strikeouts-in-a-game on April 10, 2005, versus the New York Mets.

And now he will be a starting pitcher for the Red Sox. Sorry John, but i'm rooting against you now.

Yes, Yes, I'm moving! Sorta.

I may have mentioned on my Facebook page that I am packing up my house. I didn't explain it anymore than that. Perhaps I should have.

Here are some of the comments:

  • "Where you moving to? Come join me out in San Francisco!"
  • "?"
  • "Yea, where are Ack Estates going to be located?"
  • "Denver is ready for you."
  • "Hey ramblin boy why don't you settle down. Denver ain't your kind of town."
  • "Talked to your wife! Soooo glad you guys aren't moving to Denver. I was worried!"
  • "Jennifer, can you fill me in on the status of Chateau Ack? Or anybody?!?!?!"
  • "Yes, the goateed one has been very quiet the last few days on this"
  • "I think Matt wants to leave you all in suspense. I won't take away his fun!"
  • "Matt -- just talked to your wife -- good luck in your move to Kiev, Ukraine! What a bold an exciting move. I hear it's nice this time of year!"
  • "We're moving?" (that one was my wife)
  • "Where does one get a box big enough to pack a house into?"

Okay, so here's the news. We are clearing out the house in hopes that we can get it in a sellable condition. We are also going to be spending a lot of time with my Mother-In-Law as she recovers from her knee surgery. I'm hoping that we can sell the house quickly, camp at the MIL's house for a while (she has an expansive basement, almost an entire ranch house), and save up a whopper of a down payment.

We haven't started looking for a house. We haven't moved anywhere. We aren't going anywhere yet. Yet. And I'll try not to ask you to help move my stuff when that day comes.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The DeAnna Twist

No, it's not a new dance.

It's all about the teaser trailer at the end of the first episode of the 2009 season of The Bachelor.  It looks like our leading male, Jason Mesnick, has some tough choices to make.  Among them could be whether or not to take former Bachelorette star DeAnna Pappas back!  

Well, at least that is what they lead us to believe.  It looks that Jason has some
 stressful decisions coming up, and that the girls don't make it easy on him.  While I think that it would make for some interesting TV to bring her back, especially if she had ditched Jesse Csincsak in order to get Jason back.  We can only hope -- what drama!

DeAnna mentions that her relationship is over with Jesse on her myspace page, but there is no update as of this writing on her blog.

My wife has also written up her prediction list for this year.  She has chosen a few of the girls who she thinks will make it into the later rounds.  Among them are Melissa, Molly and Raquel.  Who are your favorites?

Reality TV hasn't changed much

I am not a huge fan of Reality TV in general.  Recently I enjoyed Wipeout, until it went off the air. My son loved it too, especially the punching wall.  This week I have started watching two new reality programs, and I've noticed some shocking similarities.   Basically, there isn't much different between The Bachelor and Rock of Love Bus.

Let's go over the similarities --

  1. Both shows try to find the leading male character a love interest from a large pool of women.
  2. The women generally "compete" for the attention of the leading male.
  3. There is an elimination ceremony where the leading male chooses who he wants to keep around, and who he wants to let go.
  4. There are lots of scenes where the women are in candid scenarios, talking with each other, plotting against each other.  You really get to learn about the girls this way.
  5. There are times where the leading male gives commentary about what was happening in the particular episode.
  6. The season culminates in a final episode where the leading male chooses his leading lady.
Here are some of the similarities that you probably didn't realize -- 
  1. There are heaps of unusually good-looking women with a few duds sprinkled into each group.  
  2. They all like to wear some form of cleavage-revealing attire, albeit they come off more often in the presence of Bret Michaels.
  3. The women can be catty, in ways that make reality TV worth watching, but can't be anywhere near real.
  4. There is always one "spiritual" or "cosmic" girl in the running.  She is usually getting jokes made about her by the other girls.
  5. There is at least one crazy girl, a girl who doesn't quite have a grip on how things are going, what she wants to be someday, where she is right now...
  6. Most girls refer to "fate" or "destiny", and how they are "ready to fall in love".  
  7. Many of the girls have an inordinate amount of "backstory" on the leading male, which makes them think that they have a lot of similar qualities to the leading male.  This also gives them the opinion that they have some advantage over the other girls.
  8. There is usually some drinking episodes and at least one girl needs to excuse herself to release some of that extra booze they consumed into a nearby toilet.  Ok, maybe not so much in The Bachelor.  At least they don't show it.
I'm sure there are other similarities.  I just watch 'em because they have the funniest drama.  Cat fights rock!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

The best of You Tube, with Caitlin Upton!

Miss Teen USA 2007 contestant, Caitlin Upton, representing South Carolina had an interesting response to her question. I'm sure you have already seen this, but in case you haven't, it's a hoot.

Here is the link to the transcript -- it helps to have this available to understand what she said.
I thought she tried to sneak an "Osama" in there, but it's just a "some" with flair.

Pre-Season Rankings

By the way, I'm always looking for reliable pre-season fantasy baseball rankings. If you have a good source, let me know. I'd even settle for decent 2008 end-of-season rankings with a list of the probable rookies for 2009.

It's almost baseball time again!

Ok, so it's just January.  Opening Day hasn't come.  Spring Training hasn't started.  Pitchers and Catchers haven't even reported.

None of that matters.  Baseball is in the air.

Christmas came early last month for my New York Yankees when they acquired Mark Teixeria to replace Jason Giambi at first base.  They had already scored the pitching services of CC. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett, adding to an already stacked pitching staff.  They may still acquire Andy Pettitte for another year.  Of course the cherry on top would be nailing down Manny Ramirez as well, but it's unlikely that the Yankees will continue to spend at this current rate.

The Yankees are heading to Atlanta for the first time in over six years this summer, and I am anxiously anticipating my opportunity to purchase tickets to each game of the series.  Yes, that's right, I'LL GO TO EVERY GAME IF I CAN.  If you are within the sound of my blog, and you have tickets, invite me.  I'll go.  Unless someone already invited me.  Which isn't likely, so invite me anyway no matter what you think.

The problem with getting Yankees-Braves tickets, is that you can't.  You can't just buy them.  Oh no no no no... you have to register to win the chance to buy them.  Or I can get season tickets and purchase them at my leisure, but I don't have the money to spend on season tickets nor the wife who would let me go to 20+ games in a season.  (She let me do that one summer, and that was enough for her)

I enjoyed my Braves season tickets while I had them, but it really is hard to get to the stadium that often.  And it's expensive!  Jeez, a dog and a Coke will crack you over the head for 10 bucks at least, and I'm not usually drinkin' Coke!  I like to get to Turner Field as often as possible, but it still only works out to about 4-5 times a year.

I added a few stadiums to my list last summer: Camden Yard, Angel Stadium in Anaheim, and the park where the Myrtle Beach Pelicans play (BB&T Coastal Field).  I'm hoping to add a few this year, but we'll see where I can get to.  I'll be in Boston in May, but the Sox will be playing away games.  Maybe I can visit my buddy Jeremy in St. Louis for the All Star game!

I always know when it is about time to start thinking about baseball when my email box fills up with league invites and roster notifications.  The one league i plan on focusing on is actually Jeremy's Friend and Family league.  It is fairly high competition, and good to keep my baseball senses sharp.  Jer's dad, Walt, emailed me my end of season roster from 2008.  I get to pick six keepers from the following list to start off 2009:
Chone Figgins
Kosuke Fukudome
Vladmir Guerrero
Brad Hawpe
Ryan Howard
Evan Longoria
Ryan Ludwick
Dioner Navarro
Jose Reyes
Willy Taveras
Joa Chamberlain
Ryan Dempster
Brian Fuentes
Trevor Hoffman
Jair Jurrjens
Gil Meche
Mike Mussina
Roy Oswalt
Joakim Soria
It's a great list, but a tough one to pick only six keepers from.  I can eliminate Mussina (retired) off the bat, and I don't keep closers as a rule so you can eliminate Soria, Hoffman and Fuentes.  Fuentes is so good, though, I might reconsider that.  Others like Navarro, Ludwick, Taveras, Meche... they don't even get a second glance.  But I have a bunch who are rock solid.  Maybe I can work out a trade.

More to come... thank goodness for baseball.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Lars and the Real Girl

It was my Wonderful Wife's turn to pick out the movie.  She decided on "Lars and the Real Girl."  I can't explain exactly why, except that she was trying to pick out something lighter and funnier than our last pick, "Burn After Reading."  And I was waiting in the car with my daughter, so she claims she felt rushed into making a quick choice.

I was a little surprised when she climbed into the car with this one.  I thought, wow, my wife picked out a movie where one of the lead actors (and characters) is a sex doll.  I kept it out of sight from my daughter.

One hundred and five minutes after the movie began, and the credits rolled, my Wonderful Wife turned to me and said, "That was a lot more dull than I expected."
"Oh, no," I said.  "I knew it was going to be that dull."
"No," she replied, "I said doll."

Yep, it was a lot more doll than I expected too. 

Spoiler alert.  Quit reading now if you were planning on watching this movie with wonder and awe.

Okay, it was kinda cute and heartwarming at the end.  The way the town accepts the doll as a part of the community is awkward and funny and amazing -- right up to how she was "elected to the school board."  Very creative.  It doesn't make up for how strange the entire idea is, and how awkwardly uncomfortable it feels.  Beyond that, I can't quite imagine a town small enough and so closely knit that they would all agree to go along with this one single person's delusion.

I have a difficult time recommending this movie to anyone for a few reasons.  Mainly, it takes a lot of guts to look into your loved ones eyes and say, "I want to watch a movie about a sex doll" without laughing.  And frankly I don't recommend ever doing that.  My wife didn't, she just rented it without asking.  
Additionally, it also takes a huge leap of faith to allow yourself to commit the time to watch this movie about this mentally ill person's delusion when you thought that this movie was going to be funny.  
The acting in it was very good -- I have high praise for Ryan Gosling, who was able to sell the delusion well enough that you can easily see and understand how he affects everyone around him.  The actress, unnamed, who plays his girlfriend Bianca, was also good, although she didn't have a speaking part.

I really don't know what else to say about this movie.  I liked it well enough not to trash it, but I'm not happy about it.  

It's my turn to pick out the next movie.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Burn After Reading, a Coen Brothers film

My Wonderful Wife and I rented a move in lieu of any hardcore partying so that we could keep our sick kid home with us and keep an eye on her.  I rented Burn After Reading, mostly on my hopes that this would be another stellar Coen Brothers film.  

The first Coen Brothers film I ever saw, Raising Arizona, is one of my wife's favorite movies.  Back when I saw it, I didn't quite get it.  There were some funny parts, but overall it just didn't hit me right. But my wife loves it, so I figure that I can't go wrong with that.  She and I also saw O Brother, Where Art Thou together shortly after we started dating, and saw Intolerable Cruelty together a few years later.  We really liked both, so I figured that in the small world of movies that we can both watch and enjoy, I have a good chance to hit with this one.

My friend, Howie, asked me what I thought of the movie.  I couldn't tell him I loved it.  I did tell him that I liked it a lot, but not for any obvious reason.  

Frankly, I thought that the movie was genius.  It was supposed to be a comedy, I had thought.  It was such a dark, black comedy, that there wasn't a lot of actual comedy there.  In fact, in the way a classic Greek comedy would end, with a marriage or a generally happy ending, this movie missed entirely.  Ironically, as far as Greek comedies and marriage goes, this movie ends with at least two divorces and a few other broken relationships.

There were fantastic characters in this film.  There was no single "main" character, and throughout the film you aren't entirely sure which character's story you should be following more closely.  What struck me as especially strange, was that none of the characters were at all likable.  Even the ones that were well intentioned in some way, had some sort of flaw that made them unappealing.  I watched the entire film not really rooting for any one character to succeed over any other.  

And when it was over, it was over.  Credits rolled, and music played.  But I didn't have that "the story is over" feeling at all until i talked about it for a few minutes with the WW afterwards.  In fact, I think we half-laughed at some memorable movie quotes while the credits rolled just to make it feel like it was funnier than it actually was.  

I think i would recommend it to others, but not to anyone who does not have the time or the patience for an unusual, indirect sort of comedy such as this.  It was overall an entertaining movie with great acting and characters, but it left me feeling a little empty at the end.

Which reminds me... funny YouTube videos

I found a funny YouTube video capturing a newly hired sportcaster mangling his newscast and I shared it with my family.  My sisters thought it was a hoot, my Wonderful Wife questioned my sense of humor (again, ha!), but the best part is that my kids walk around the house quoting the tagline, "Boom goes the dynamite".  It is all worth it.

Which reminds me, I have posted a few of our own videos on YouTube. Some I've shared on the blog before, but you can find them all here:

I love Microsoft Parodies

I love any parody of Microsoft.  I can't help it, but the mega-giant of computer software deserves a few jabs now and then.  I relish every one.  Maybe it's because I have been a slave to Microsoft products at the job I have been working for the past 9 years.  Maybe it's because I felt alienated by Windows 95 when I first saw it, almost the same way I feel out-of-sorts when I look at Vista.  (I'm a Mac kid anyway).  

I recently found a website that cracks me up, not because of how directly funny it is, but because of how it speaks to ME.  Sarcastic Gamer has a way of making me laugh, mostly by its video parody of recent Microsoft products.  They are very smart, while being very silly.

Check out my recent favorite.

Other websites I'm working on

I am certainly no web guru.  I can barely hold my own, but I know enough to make a few basic things happen.  

I am working on a few different sites, and you are welcome to see the ones that are up and running. is a website designed for a local community chorus that I helped establish.  The site is currently in its V2.0 state, and is a real basic website I created with the help of my macbook.
Another site I am working on is -- a site for my Mother-In-Law that will have some updates soon.  
Lastly, I am helping a friend launch his brand of barbecue sauce, an excellent condiment named Natty Patty's Bar-B-Q sauce.  As soon as this launches, I'll let you know.  I'm pretty stoked about this one because it will include a paypal order form for his sauce -- it's the first time I've done anything like that.  

Small tweaks and changes

I realize that it doesn't substitute for a new post, but I have been adding and editing some of the elements in this blog.  Hopefully I will quit tweaking it soon and get back to the writing.

I have found some old stories and college newspaper articles that I wrote a long time ago.  I am going to get them up here some how soon.  I'm not sure how great they are, but it is an interesting look at how I was writing with a blog-voice over 15 years ago.

Happy New Year, by the way.  Got an interesting resolutions?