Archive for July, 2008

Words and Phrases that Cause Me to Close a Music Review

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Weird Spam Blog

I'll admit to Googling around when doing NYT crosswords when something tickles my head. Today I was trying to remember the spelling of the sequel to Shogun (I was way off; only had the T right). The top Google hit for "shogun sequel" is currently this blog post, which has the text of a bunch of today's crossword clues in it. Clicking on the video got me an ActiveX error on a Mac, but the page tried to force a .dmg download. Class.

A Confession

I bought GTA IV, played it for a week and then stopped. Some of it is Rock Band's fault, but mainly the game doesn't do it for me anymore. GTA III was an amazing experience. Vice City was more of the same fun. By San Andreas, it just feels like work: go here, get this, do that, drive around. Even driving around looking for new stuff doesn't thrill me. I bought the most recent copy hoping all the glowing reviews reflected something new. Junot Diaz sums it up for the WSJ:

GTA III was the tipping point: Everything else after was, no matter how awesome, just another better brighter, smoother version of the same . . . What else is the new GTA not? Well, despite all the critical adulation over GTA IV's characters and purported subtlety, this isn't a game that is nuanced or subtle.

If you like the article even just a tiny bit, I heartily recommend Diaz's The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. And it's nice to think of the WSJ copyeditors having to ok the article's language as is.

Getting Ready for the iPhone 2.0

First Mike Lowell steals a cellphone, now this:

Nick Cafardo

For a senior writer at the Globe, you sure manage to anchor the Bell Curve on the weekly notes columns. Scattered amongst the feel-good crap about players he likes and the baseless trade rumors, he managed to throw in a testable hypothesis: "[Pat] Burrell always has been overpaid - he's making $14 million this season in the final year of his contract - but has hit at least 20 homers in each of the last eight years". Not sure what 20 homers means; it's a pretty context-free observation. Burrell's OPS+ and salary from 2005 to present:

  • 128, $7,250,000
  • 122, $9,750,000
  • 127, $13,250,000
  • 155, $14,250,000

So he's been 20% better than league average (admittedly, that includes hitters at all positions, which is a bit deceptive, especially in the NL) and is now 50% better than average and he's "overpaid". I think there are better ways to spend $14 million in MLB salary money, but it's the last year of a back-loaded contract. Burrell doesn't quite make the top 25 salaries for 2008 and, looking at that list, there are worse ways to be spending that money. I don't remember what Burrell's misdeed was that made him a Bad Guy for out-of-town sportswriters, but I think the Globe could find better uses for their ink budget. Cafardo's always been overpaid.