Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sam Lay shot himself in the balls

For the last few weeks I have been reading a biography of blues man Howlin' Wolf entitled "Moanin' At Midnight: The Life and Times of Howlin' Wolf". Tonight I was ready to get a few chapters done when I came across this line:

"In 1966, while playing with James Cotton, Sam (Lay) accidentally blew off one of his testicles when a loaded pistol discharged in his pants pocket during some particularly vigorous drumming."

I had to stop reading and put the book down. Ouch.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Why Joe Mauer Should Not Be 2009 AL MVP

As another baseball season comes to a close, tis the season for the rumblings and grumblings of media folks and bloggers telling us which player should win what award.

Vote for Pujols for NL MVP! He is the second coming of (insert legendary player).

Vote for (Grienke, Sabathia, Verlander, etc, etc.) for AL Cy Young!

Vote for Coghlan for NL Rookie of the Year! He plays for the Marlins! Yes, they are still a team!

Perhaps the most discussed awards race so far is for the American League MVP. There is no dispute several players are having great years. Players such as Mark Teixiera, Kendry Morales, Carl Crawford, and Miguel Cabrera.

Despite the great years by these players, most columns have focused on one of two players, either the Yankees' Derek Jeter or the Twins' Joe Mauer.

Mauer has the support of numerous writers, bloggers, statisticians, and analysis web sites. He is leading in most offensive categories, from traditional stats like batting average, slugging percentage, and on-base percentage, to advanced SABRmetric measurements such as Value Over Replacement Player (VORP), OPS+, Win Shares, etc, etc, etc. He is also playing Gold Glove caliber defense at perhaps the toughest position in baseball: catcher.

Jeter has his own supporters in the baseball media, including writers, columnists, reporters, and other die-hard fans. Although Jeter's on-the-field numbers maybe not be as good as Mauer's, Jeter-backers advocate Jeter's intangibles, such as leadership, presence, and clutchiness. They even bring up the fact that he now holds the all-time record for hits by a Yankee.

From reading what has been written so far, you would think the battle is Mauer's stats versus Jeter's reputation and body of work. It is of course impossible to make this comparison. There is no way to match performance data with intangibles. None.

So far, the Mauer-backers have taken the lead in matching up the two candidates. They point out that Mauer beats Jeter in every category, bar none. It is their conclusion that because Mauer has better numbers, he should be MVP.

In response, the Jeter-backers call the Mauer-backers "nerds" and "stat geeks".

End of conversation, right?

As Lee Corso would say, not so fast, my friend.

Where the Jeter-backers fail is that they don't level the playing field. They sit back and get destroyed by conceding that Mauer is having a better season. They never attempt to hold Mauer up to the standards they hold Jeter to. This is their Achilles Heel. They don't bring up the fact that while Jeter has led the pristine life of a living Yankee legend seemingly since birth, Mauer didn't become the man he is until after he put on a Twins uniform.

The bottom line is that Joe Mauer can't be trusted.

Before his professional baseball debut, Joe Mauer did something so heinous, so outrageous, and so destructive, it should be forever held against him during the consideration of any and all awards.

Joe Mauer turned his back on Bobby Bowden and the Florida State Seminoles.

Following his senior year in high school, Joe Mauer was the most highly recruited quarterback in the nation. According to reports, he won three national football player of the year awards, and had the poise and potential to be among the greatest ever.

One writer claimed, "it is possible that in 50 years people will sit around and talk about those who were football’s finest; they will speak of Sayers and Payton and Unitas and Montana and Marino, but they may very well save a sentence for someone else, and that someone might be Joe Mauer."

At the time, Florida State was the premier football program in the nation. They had come off three straight national championship appearances and were chock full of future NFL players. And they had Joe Mauer.

Mauer's verbal agreement that he would be wearing garnet and gold after high school made Florida State the number one recruiting class of 2001. Mauer was to fit in behind Chris Rix and compete with Adrian McPherson for future field general of the Seminoles. With hindsight being what it is, there was probably little doubt Mauer would have even taken the job from Rix before Rix's graduation. With Mauer, the Florida State dynasty was set to continue.

Then Mauer "turned down (his) football scholarship from Florida State University to enter the Major League Baseball Draft". Despite a verbal commitment, Mauer was off to play baseball. According to Sam Mellinger of The Kansas City Star, Bobby Bowden remained so enamored by Mauer's potential he claimed he would "keep a scholarship open for Mauer 12 years after he was done with baseball".

Would Derek Jeter dare break a verbal agreement of that magnitude? Although Jeter received a scholarship to play baseball in Michigan, there is no evidence he let the Wolverine program hang out to dry. Jeter is a class act and a gentleman. Had someone with Jeter's character and the skills of Mauer committed to FSU, there is little doubt he would have been a Seminole. He would have followed his word.

It is for that reason that I can not possibly endorse Joe Mauer for AL MVP. Mauer may have the statistical advantage, he may be the greatest player in the American League, and he may even be seven feet tall and shoot fireballs from his eyes and bolts of lightning from his arse. But after what he did to Florida State University, Joe Mauer does not have the moral composition to be a most valuable player.

(This post was of course written by an FSU alumnus.)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

How to Talk To Girls on Twitter

E-migo Brian Spaeth is doing a virtual tour promoting his new movie and other ventures. You know what that means: Guest Post!


I've known Jordi for several years now, and pretty much at every turn I screw him over in some way - one time I had him write on my old website for like 4 months (more like 18 months, ed.), and then I deleted all his posts later.

What's wrong with me.

Anyway, I know he's been getting active in social networking and social media and social internetting and being social online and also Twitter. As such - and because I am a self-perceived expert in these areas - I've decided to give Jordi something for his website blog.

Here is - as clearly as I can state them - the best ways to meet - and not meet - girls on Twitter. I didn't create all of these, but I've certainly perfected them.

1) Don't swear. Look at it this way - there are many girls who are offended by swearing, but very few who are offended by not swearing. Swearing was impressive when you were 12.

Be action-packed in your picture. There's a reason I have a picture that's action-packed looking. It's so girls think I'm always on an exciting adventure while I do my important Twitter typing.

3) Never, ever talk about how raw Green Lantern is in your profile. Stuff like this maybe only works for me.

4) Legalities aside, if you're over 24 or so, don't follow 18-year olds. For real - the 25-year olds find it off-setting, and like...just don't do it. 19-year olds are fine.

NOTE: In an odd bit of counter-point, I just looked, and 75% of the people I follow are 18-year old girls.

Along those same lines, is it "18-year olds" or "18 year-olds". Hyphen placement perplexes me, especially since my personal abandonment of the question mark. Oh - don't mess with grammar at all, or imply you lack education. Girls hate this.

6) Don't do sexual innuendo in public. Like any males who follow you are just gonna think it's weird, and any females who respond to it are just giggling at you with their friends. They're not giggling with you.


7) Don't talk about how you hate dogs. This only works for me. In cases where this is done and it's not me, it's unsettling for females.

8) Don't be arrogant and self-absorbed. This is another that only I seem able to pull off.

9) You shouldn't Tweet about how you're going to the gym, unless you're doing it with fake bad grammar with an implication of an aversion to dogs, and also to meet 18-year old girls.

10) Be yourself. Also, if you search for "Grey's Anatomy", that's where all the good-looking girls are. Also "Gossip Girl", but that's only for 18-year olds, and you know you shouldn't be talking to them on Twitter anyway.

Which of these do you think are real and which are not. Also, do you think Jordi should delete this post one day -

Brian Spaeth is the writer and star of Who Shot Mamba?, a Broadband Motion Picture debuting October 13th on You can see the first teaser-trailer on the website, and the second exclusively at the Facebook Page. Brian has also published two novels, and writes regularly at his own blog.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Happy 3rd Birthday to The Serious Tip

Today is The Serious Tip's 3rd birthday. Three years. In Internet years, that's a long time to be blogging. Here in the online world, where a week of popularity gets you a million hits and a cup of coffee, I've been around for an eon. I've seen 'em come and seen them go. I've seen people turn their blogging habit into a living and others who have walked away and moved to other pastures.

The Serious Tip started during the Great Sports Blog Emergence of 2006, when sports-related blogs were popping out of the wazoo. Back then I would definitely call myself a "sports blog". I wrote about the Mets, Knicks, and Noles nearly every post. As the days, months, and years went on, I wrote less about sports, although I have written a lot about the Rays. Even with the success of the local teams on my mind, I have drifted further and further from the sports label. Now, I wouldn't even call myself a sports blogger. I am more of a "whatever I feel like" blogger.

If I would have to venture a guess as to why The Serious Tip is drifting, I would say that I am getting bored. I still love writing. I love knowing that someone is reading what I write. I love telling stories. I love delving into views and aspects that most people don't think of. Most of all, I love creating. But unfortunately I am not sure if I am attaining those goals here currently at The Serious Tip.

Don't get me wrong, I am not planning on abandoning my group of very loyal readers. Some of you have been here since day one. For that I am definitely appreciative. Don't worry, whatever happens I fully want this site to be part of my personal expansion and development. I have put too much work in to walk away from The Serious Tip. But if you see a few changes around here, please be patient and embrace them. After three years, it is time for The Serious Tip and my writing career to grow up.

Thanks for three great years and here's to many more. Happy SeriousTipMas.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Adventures in computer buying and the art of patience

Like the able grasshopper of ancient Samurai-era Japan, getting myself back online took skill, determination, persistance, and plenty of patience. Fortunately, it didn't involve the use of any swords. Almost, but not quite.

My ancient computer went kaput ten days ago. A stupid virus took out my windows registry. It was a sad moment as my machine had been with me for six years, through thick and thin, grad school, over 500 blog posts, and one or two excusions into the deepest, darkest dungeons of cyberspace.

(Not that one of those excursions caused me to download the virus. Nope. No way. Not at all.)

Unfortunately, as there is no cash for clunkers program for computers, I had to scrounge up a few hundred thousand pennies for buying a new machine. Something I had not planned for following my sojourn to Memphis only a month ago. Not helping matters was the fact that some slimy scoundrel stole some money from me via a fraudulent transaction in Surprise, Arizona.

(Yes, I caught a computer virus and was a victim of bank fraud in the same week. How very 21st century of me.)

After laboriously counting the nickels, dimes, and a few quarters I did have and cancelling all my cards, I went to Best Buy to check out their wares and find a laptop. Although not intending to buy, I brought the Blackberry and reviewed every single laptop they had. At first I wasn't too impressed, both with the selection and the service. I'm not a big salesperson person, and I hate when I see several salesfolks lead customers to the same item. It makes it seem like they are pushing something they are trying to get rid of.

Frustrated, I left computer-less.

The next day I went back, once again ready to buy at Best Buy. This time I brought my checkbook, since of course my cards were no good. After once again going through the options, I settled on an HP. I strolled on up to the cashier, wrote the check, and lo and behold, my check was no good. Apparently, my check fit the profile of a fraudulent check. I think that's irony.

I left without a computer for the second day.

On day three, I was intent on buying a new computer, problems be damned. As Puffy sang, can't nothing hold me down. For the third time, I went to Best Buy around 1pm. Unfortunately, they were sold out of my machine. By this time, I didn't care if I had to drive to Miami to get this computer, no deity was going to stop me from buying the computer I wanted.

After asking where I can buy the computer of my dreams, I had to drive nearly 30 minutes to the next closest Best Buy. Supposedly, they had eight of my computer left. Of course, when I got there, they had only two. Two of my dream machines, with one little catch: they were both already tinkered with by the Geek Squad and would cost an additional 70 bucks. At this point, I didn't care.

I walked out with my computer, finally happy.

Then I discovered it didn't come with an AC adapter.