Schizophrenic Earwig Men

Monday, November 28, 2005

Golly. I haven't flipping blogged in like, a billion years.

Ipso facto, I should blog now. About two (2) things. Harry Potter and the Goblet (Goblet) of Fire. Also, the NFL.

First, the NFL. It certainly appears as though the Colts are the best team in the league. They are 10-0. And they might well go undefeated, which would make them the first undefeated team since the 1972 Miami Dolphins. Golly. I don't like the Seahawks. They are 9-2, they have won seven in a row, and they just beat the Giants. They did not deserve to beat the Giants. Jay Feely should have made those damn field goals. But at least the Bears (bears) RULE!! They have won seven straight, they are 8-3, and they were ranked last in Sports Illustrated's preseason rankings. And now, without further ado, the Gavin NFL Power Rankings (rankings)

1. Indianapolis Colts (10-0): The Colts are outscoring their opponents by 153 points. Hot diggity. They have hardly even been challenged. Their notoriously sack-happy defense is death when their offense can get them a lead, which is always. Because they have flipping sick players like Peyton (peyton) Manning, Marvin "The Martian" Harrison, and Edgerrin "The Edge" James (bond). Yeah. Also Dwight (dwight) Freeney. Huh. Two of their stars, Harrison and Freeney, are from Syracuse. Curious. Yeah.

2. Denver Broncos (9-2): They are a bit lucky, having pulled out several close games, but they also lost a close one to the Giants. They have like 8 billion good running backs (exaggeration), and a good defense. Yeah. They are also 6-0 at home.

3. Seattle Seahawks (9-2): They did not deserve to beat the Giants, damn it. But oh well. They have won 7 straight. And they have Shaun Alexander. He is good. Yeah.

4. Chicago Bears (8-3): The Bears are quarterbacked by a rookie, a fourth round draft pick. They basically have no good offensive players. But their defense (defense). Ah, their defense. It is flipping amazing. 120 points allowed in 11 games. And they, like Seattle, have won seven straight. Golly.

5. Carolina Panthers (8-3): They are just good. Yeah. But they did lose to the Saints early, and the Bears. That's why they are ranked behind the Bears. But they have a good defense, and a decent offense, led by the explosive (POW) Steve Smith.

6. Cincinnati Bengals (8-3): The Bengals! Holy Cow! But Carson Palmer is really good. And they have T.J. Houshmandzadeh.

7. New York Giants (7-4): They have one of the best offenses around, and their defense has showed signs of greatness as well. They have a lot of very close losses, and they seem to mess up at critical junctures. Still my favorite team, though.

8. Atlanta Falcons (7-4): Michael Vick= good. Yeah.

9. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-3): If Big Ben comes back from injury ok, they'll move up. They could still certainly beat the Bengals. And maybe even the Colts.

10. Jacksonville Jaguars (8-3): What? The Jags are 8-3? Fooled me too. But now that Leftwich is out, they will go down.

11. Dallas Cowboys (7-4): I'm underrating them because I hate them. But they still don't have that great a team.

12. San Diego Chargers (7-4): The offense is explosive, but the D is just too suspect.

13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-4): They looked great until their QB got injured.

14. Kansas City Chiefs (7-4): See Chargers.

15. New England Patriots (6-5): They are the Patriots, after all. But they won't be going anywhere.

16. Washington Redskins (5-6): Their strong start was misleading. But they have some good players.

17. St. Louis Rams (5-6): A good offense, except for the QBs getting injured all the time.

18. Philadelphia Eagles (5-6): Now that McNabb is hurt and TO is gone, there's hardly anything left.

19. Miami Dolphins (4-7): They looked good against Oakland. And their point differential is decent. Ricky could finally be back.

20. Minnesota Vikings (6-5): What? They are 6-5? Weird. Their point differential still sucks.

21. Oakland Raiders (4-7): Once you cover Randy, there's not much else.

22. Cleveland Browns (4-7): So they don't actually have any good players, but they don't lose by that much.

23. Green Bay Packers (2-9): They are actually outscoring their opponents. Talk about a hard luck season.

24. Buffalo Bills (4-7): At least Willis is good.

25. Detroit Lions (4-7): They looked absolutely awful against the Falcons. Maybe in a few years, with their young receiving corps.

26. Tennessee Titans (3-8): McNair finally had a good week. Too little, too late.

27. New Orleans Saints (3-8): The sentimental pick, and they do have a couple decent victories.

28. Arizona Cardinals (3-8): They have good receivers.

29. Baltimore Ravens (3-8): Can you say anemic offense? I think you can. Go ahead. Say it out loud. And laugh when your family gives you odd looks (I totally stole that from Rob, my apologies)

30. San Francisco 49ers (2-9): Extra Credit for having a quarterback who was once in a rodeo.

31. New York Jets (2-9): Vinny and Brooks and pray for Reggie (Bush). But they're unlikely to get him, because of...

32. Houston Texans (1-10): Just when they seemed about to pull one out over St. Louis, they squandered a 21-point lead and a 10-point lead with 30 SECONDS REMAINING IN THE GAME! hot damn.

Harry Potter will have to wait. So long, and good night.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

so...I feel like I ought to update this piece of fresh bloggy goodness at the moment...stay tuned for a later update of my latest book review.

But the baseball season is OVER.

So what to write about?

well i could write about football and i will do that later but for now i will make an awesome mix cd that everyone should listen to.

So: The following is my rendering of at least one 80-minute CD with amazing songs that everyone should hear.

1. Admit It!!- Say Anything, 6:14
This song fricking rules. Its full of angry but intelligent shouting and a sick guitar riff.

2. Change Your Mind- The Killers, 3:11
This song has the most awesome harmony ever. Its so cool, and fun to sing.

3. London Calling- The Clash, 3:20
A Clash classic. Its just awesome.

4,5,6. Welcome To Paradise, Basketcase, When I Come Around- Green Day, 3:44, 3:01, 2:58
These songs have to go in order. They go perfectly together. Great for jumping around.

7. Konstantine- Something Corporate, 9:37
Now that you've finished jumping around, you can whine for a while. Great for lost, found, or unrequited love.

8. Walk Away- Franz Ferdinand, 3:38
Beautiful minor chord song by an excellent band.

9. Belt- Say Anything, 5:01
The last minute and a half of this song is indescribably amazing.

10. New Slang- The Shins, 3:51
A wonderful song in a wonderful movie.

11. Swallowed in the Sea- Coldplay, 3:58
This song is wonderful for being calm and peaceful

12. The Scientist- Coldplay, 5:11
Can be wonderful, or depressing. But its beautiful no matter what.

13. The Guns of Brixton- The Clash, 3:10
Awesomely raw song.

14. The Writhing South- Say Anything, 4:48
Another awesome anger song, with an infectious chorus.

15. Holiday- Green Day, 3:52
Just a great driving rock song.

16. Under The Tracks- Creeper Lagoon, 4:16
Beautiful calm acoustic guitar.

17. I Want To Save You- Something Corporate, 4:22
Another great one for feeling emo about someone you love.

18. I'm A Gangster- Josh Tobin, 3:14
Irreverent silliness and awesome rapping. Yeah.

19. Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)- Green Day, 2:33
In my opinion, the best song ever. It is so incredibly beautiful. Best song to end an album.

Total Tracks: 19
Total Time: 79:59
Best CD ever, find all the songs if you can.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

hey hey hey everyone we're updating this blog again!

Wait.

Wait, you say. But I Just UPDATED the blog the other day.

well folks today is your lucky day. Or maybe its not. Possibly you could go home and get run over by a train. But at least you get to read my blog.

Today's Blog Topic Is: A herring!

No, I was kidding. Actually I am going to reveal to you, my readers, the band with the greatest song titles ever. Minus the Bear.

Here are some of the many great song titles by Minus The Bear:

I'm Totally Not Down With Rob's Alien
Hey! Is That A Ninja Up There?
Let's Play Clowns
Dog Park
Pony Up!
Fine + 2 Pts.
Hey, Wanna Throw Up? Get Me Naked!
Lemurs, Man, Lemurs
Just Kickin' It Like A Wild Donkey
Potato Juice and Liquid Bread
Pantsuit...Uggghhh
Spritz! Spritz!
Women We Haven't Met Yet
I Lost All My Money At The Cock Fights
Thanks For The Killer Game Of Crisco Twister
Monkey!!! Knife!!! Fight!!!
Absinthe Party At The Fly Honey Warehouse
Get Me Naked 2: Electric Boogaloo
We Are Not The Football Team
You Kill Bugs Good, Man
Damn Bugs Whacked Him, Johnny
Let's Play Guitar In A Five-Guitar Band
Booyah Achieved
The Pig War
This Ain't A Surfin' Movie

And Finally:

You're Like Some Sort Of Big, Fat, Smart-Bug, Aren't You?

Unfortunately, I have listened to some Minus The Bear and it was disappointing. Still worth a shot, though.

also the white sox won again yesterday so it looks like they'll be winning the world series. huzzah.

Monday, October 24, 2005

So. It's time to update the ol' Schizophrenic Earwig Men. Heh. This purple font rules.

The World Series appears to be in the hands of the Chicago White Sox, who lead the Astros 2-0 behind their timely hitting and reliable pitching. Personally, I think Bobby Jenks is basically the coolest person ever. Despite nearly blowing Game 2, Jenks is still ridiculously cool and throws really hard and is just generally awesome.

Today's topic is the MVP race for the AL and NL.

American League:

David Ortiz, Boston, DH, .300, 47, 148, 1001 OPS, 32 Win Shares

Why he could win: Ortiz led the majors in RBI, a typically overrated statistic in consideration of MVP voting. He also was a leader on a playoff team, and finished second in the AL in home runs, and third in OPS.

Why he won't: The Red Sox faltered in the playoffs, and Ortiz, as a DH, makes only a one-dimensional contribution to the team. Plus, A-Rod had an even better season.

Manny Ramirez, Boston, LF, .292, 45, 144, 982 OPS, 34 WS

Why he could win: Obviously great stats, and played for a great team.

Why he won't: Manny is an awful defensive player, and A-Rod was too good.

Mark Teixeira, Texas, 1B, .301, 43, 144, 954 OPS, 32 WS

Why he could win: 300 30 100, a young star.

Why he won't: Texas didn't have a good enough season, and his OPS was not among the leaders.

Michael Young, Texas, SS, .331, 24, 91, 899 OPS, 27 WS

Why he could win: He led the AL in batting average, and he plays shortstop.

Why he won't: He's not actually that good, compared to the competition.

Gary Sheffield, Yankees, RF, .291, 34, 123, 891 OPS, 33 WS

Why he could win: Lots of Win Shares, playing for the Yankees

Why he won't: Low OPS, not a great average, and being worse than A-Rod.

Alex Rodriguez, Yankees, 3B, . 321, 48, 130, 1031 OPS, 37 WS

Why he could lose: The Yankees also faltered in the playoffs, and...that's it.

Why he will win: Best OPS, HR and WS in the AL, good defensive third baseman, he's simply the best.

National League:

Andruw Jones, Atlanta, CF, .263, 51, 128, 922 OPS, 23 WS

Why he could win: He led the league in HR, and took an injury-riddled young team to the playoffs. Plus, he's arguably the greatest defensive center fielder ever.

Why he won't: He wasn't actually that good besides the home runs; his OPS is nothing special, and he had a subpar year in the field.

Brian Giles, LF, San Diego, .301, 15, 83, 906 OPS, 35 WS

Why he could win: He is incredibly underrated. Pitcher's park, great OBP, a ton of Win Shares.

Why he won't: Few people realize this, especially the MVP voters.

Derrek Lee, 1B, Chicago, .335, 46, 107, 1080 OPS, 37 WS

Why he could win: Triple Crown chaser much of the year, career year, league leader in OPS

Why he won't: He slumped a bit second half, the Cubs missed the playoffs, and his RBI are very low for a player with his stats.

Jason Bay, OF, Pittsburgh, .306, 32, 101, 961 OPS, 34 WS

Why he could win: He's cool, he's young, he plays in a pitcher's park, he has a lot of Win Shares.

Why he won't: Sucky team, and not good enough stats.

Morgan Ensberg, 3B, Houston, .283, 36, 101, 945 OPS, 29 WS

Why he could win: Offensive leader of the NL representative in the World Series

Why he won't: Not good enough stats.

Albert Pujols, 1B, St. Louis, .330, 41, 117, 1039 OPS, 38 WS

Why he could lose: St. Louis was rather disappointing in the playoffs, and Pujols always seems to get snubbed. Plus he didn't lead the league in any of the Triple Crown categories.

Why he will win: Pujols is due for an MVP. His OPS was second in the majors, his WS were first, and he led his team to the division title. He's simply the best player in the majors.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Hey Hey Hey folks, it's been a pretty darn long time since the last update of this blog. So, to quench the thirst of my readers, who were about to lynch me for not updating sooner (cough cough mr. montas cough cough), I'm right about to update this ol' piece of writing once again.

Today's edition of Schizophrenic Earwig Men is a super-dee-duper DELUXE version comprising two topics, and therefore (cough cough mr. montas cough cough) should be considered as though it were two different entries. So, without further ado, the new stuff.

First on the agenda is the current baseball playoff situation. In the American League, the Boston Red Sox are playing the Chicago White Sox while the New York Yankees play the Los Angeles Angels, and in the National League, the matchups are the Atlanta Braves versus the Houston Astros and the San Diego Padres versus the St. Louis Cardinals.

Boston vs. Chicago: As of today, the resurgent White Sox have a 2-0 lead over the Red Sox. Notwithstanding Boston's remarkable comeback from down 3 games to none last year in the ALCS against the Yankees, the White Sox will win the Battle of the Sock Drawer because they have the momentum, and because they have better pitching. The Red Sox's game 3 starter, Tim Wakefield, has struggled recently, especially against the Yankees in the final series of the regular season, and Boston's big bats have thus far been silenced by the White Sox, while the White Sox have put up an alarming 19 runs in 2 games. White Sox in 3.

New York vs. Los Angeles: This series currently stands at 1-1, heading to New York for games 3 and 4. As much as I hate the Yankees, I have to expect them to win. Derek Jeter simply finds ways to win in the playoffs, and the fact is that the Yankees have more playoff experience, and will find a way to win. Randy Johnson starts game 3, and I can't see the Yankees losing two out of three here. Yankees in 5.

Atlanta vs. Houston: Houston leads this series 1-0, pending tonight's game at 8. Houston faltered a bit at the end of the season, barely winning the wild card over the Phillies. That notwithstanding, pitching wins in a short series, and that is why Houston will pull out the series over the Braves. Roger Clemens starts tonight (another of my least favorite players), but he has been close to unhittable this year. Astros in 4.

San Diego vs. St. Louis: St. Louis leads this series 1-0, and will win all three games easily. San Diego barely finished above .500, finishing behind nearly every NL East team, and is no match for the high-powered, good-pitching Cardinals. Albert Pujols, who is having the best career ever for his age, will ensure that the Padres go down without much of a fight. Cardinals in 3.

ALCS: Chicago vs. Yankees. I predict that the White Sox and Yankees will face off in the ALCS. The White Sox, coming off a sweep of the Indians and a possible sweep of the Red Sox, will be riding high on momentum, and the Yankees' pitching is simply not enough to hold up. It's always dangerous to pick against the Yankees, and they could certainly pull it out, but I like the White Sox, especially if they sweep Boston and have won 6 in a row. White Sox in 6.

NLCS: Houston vs. St. Louis: St. Louis won the division over Houston, and they will win the NLCS as well. While Houston has three dominant starters, St. Louis also has good pitching, and their batting is much better than the Astros. Houston hasn't done well against St. Louis, they never manage to win the division, and Bagwell, Biggio, and Berkman have a history of fading in the playoffs. St. Louis in 6.

World Series: St. Louis vs. Chicago. The teams that jumped out early and stayed at the top of their divisions all year meet in the World Series. St. Louis is due for a Series win, after being embarrassed last season, and Chicago did falter in the latter half of the year. St. Louis' batting and pitching combination is too strong. St. Louis in 6.

Second Topic: Don't Say Anything, but listen to this band

Courtesy of my blogmate Rob Frenay (geek-out, see my links), I have now acquired a cd by the band Say Anything, which I highly recommend. Say Anything's eclectic sound, with a clever, irreverant punkiness, is unique, funny, and fun to listen to. In fact, on an allmusic.com search, Say Anything had no smiilar artists, but Rob's dad, the "light pop songwriter" Gary Frenay, did. Say Anything's lead singer's voice is especially unique. My favorite track, The Writhing South, has a hard-driving but infectiously catchy chorus, as well as a bit of fun yelling. Alive With The Glory Of Love, a love story set during the Holocaust, is touching and mournful, without losing its edge and punky guitar. The album I have, ...Is A Real Boy, is chock full of good songs, and their other albums are good as well.

Songs By Say Anything You Should Acquire:
1. Alive With The Glory Of Love
2. Woe
3. The Writhing South
4. Yellow Cat/ Red Cat
5. Belt

And finally, a song that is so indescribably awesome that my humble opinion hardly does it justice, I'm A Gangster, by Josh Tobin. Josh's incredibly stupid rhymes, simplistic beat that he can't stay on, indictment of his own white race, professed love of imprisonment, and Gandhi-voiced gangsters brought me to laughing tears. Get this song, by any means necessary.

This just in: The Killers have plans for a follow-up album to their hit, Hot Fuss. They already have 12 songs written, including one that is to be a sequel to their hit (one of my favorites) All These Things That I've Done.

Until next time, stay classy and go _ yourself, San Diego.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

On today's fine fun edition of Schizophrenic Earwig Men, we discuss music.

10 Good Songs You Might Not Have Heard That You Should:

1. New Slang- The Shins

One of many excellent songs on the Garden State movie soundtrack, New Slang has clever, well-written lyrics, an infectious, simple beat, and as Natalie Portman says in Garden State, "Listen to this song, it'll change your life." The Shins in general are a great band for pretty, simple melodies, with poetic lyrics. Off the album Oh, Inverted World.

2. Konstantine- Something Corporate

If you ever feel emo about life, love, or anything at all, this song is the perfect thing. 9 minutes and 37 seconds of anguished whining, and yet it is one of the most beautiful songs you'll ever hear. One of the greatest piano ballads ever made, it is seamless and flowing, with interjections of pain and beauty.

3. Under The Tracks- Coldplay

This unreleased song is a Coldplay classic, with a pretty piano melody, catchy lyrics, and just a pleasant song overall.

4. One Tin Soldier- Many different artists

There are many versions of this old classic from 1969; my favorite is a hard-driving rock version. The melody is uplifting while the stark, ironic lyrics bring you down. What a beautiful song.

5. I Fought The Law- The Clash

Anything by The Clash is good to listen to; early punk with a unique reggae feel. This particular song, with incredibly catchy and simple lyrics, is just really fun to listen to. Album: Any Clash Greatest Hits, or one of their earlier albums

6. Bring 'em Out- T.I.

Even if you don't like hip-hop, it's hard not to like T.I.'s happy, rollicking, hip-hop staple Bring 'em Out. His talented voice meanders through clever lines, and the chorus is as catchy as they come. Album: Urban Legend

7. I Want To Save You- Something Corporate

More emo-ness; I find personally that this song resonates with wishing you could save someone from their frustration and sadness, as per the title. Its beauty is hard to describe. Album: Leaving Through The Window

8. Saint Simon- The Shins

Odd as this may seem, this song is basically a combination between The Grateful Dead and flute music from the Middle Ages. You have to hear it to believe it, but the lyrics are catchy and the melody beautiful. Album: Chutes Too Narrow

9. Casey Jones- The Grateful Dead

If you like songs about train drivers on cocaine, look no further than Casey Jones. The lyrics are fun and irreverent, and the chorus and verses are catchy and well-rendered.

10. Swallowed In The Sea- Coldplay

This song, off the recent album X and Y, has not yet achieved widespread popularity, but is still recent enough that it could. In my opinion, it is the best song on the album, better even than such favorites as Speed of Sound and Fix You. It slowly builds to an exciting and beautiful climax, with amazing verses and a wonderful Coldplay sound.

Listen to these songs, they'll change your life.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Hi. My name, for all intents and purposes, is Vladimir Partridge, and this is my blog.

Schizophrenic Earwig Men (this blog) will be primarily concerned with statistical analysis of sports, and my own particular views on music. When I discuss baseball, I will explain in detail all of the statistics I use, although I assume that most people will understand the vast majority of them. I will occasionally sprinkle in some random analysis or some of my own virulently leftist political views. So, without further ado:

One thing that really pisses me off is Batting Average. It infuriates me that many baseball fans and even scholars continue to use this outmoded statistic as the be all and the end all of batting performance. The batting average, with its simple formula of hits divided by at bats, is useful for a quick and dirty analysis, but it can be very easily misleading. Consider the following true baseball players' seasons:

Gene Tenace in 1977 batted only .233, with 102 hits in 437 at bats. On the contrary, Doc Cramer in 1943 batted a cool .300, conisdered the mark of excellence by the batting average. He had 182 hits in 606 at bats.

On the surface, it appears that Cramer had the better year. His batting average was far higher, he played more, and he was a more skilled defensive player (a good center fielder as opposed to a poor catcher and first baseman). However, what the batting average leaves out is the equally important statistics of extra base hits and walks. Tenace had 43 extra base hits, 15 of them home runs, while Cramer had only 23, with one homer. Furthermore, Tenace walked 125 times, for an On-Base Percentage of .415 (hits plus walks plus hit by pitches divided by at bats plus walks plus hit by pitches plus sacrifice hits). Cramer only walked 31 times, for an OBP of .335.

When their statistics are tabulated Tenace's OBP and SLG (slugging percentage, total bases divided by at bats) are .415 and .410, clearly superior to Cramer's .335 and .348. Their Runs Created (an incredibly complicated formula that can best be approximated as total bases times on-base percentage) are 72 for Tenace and 71 for Cramer, even though Cramer played so much more. Cramer's On-Base plus Slugging was 94% of the league average, while Tenace's was 133% of his league average. There are many such examples of players like this; One must always make sure not to overestimate the value of the batting average; look instead at OBP, SLG, Runs Created, and Bill James' all-encompassing statistic, Win Shares.

Second on my blogging agenda is music. My taste in music varies greatly, but I am most intrigued by punk rock, pop rock, alternative, and emo. The following constitutes my strongest musical opinion.

My biggest frustration in the world of music is when I am told that Green Day, my favorite band, sold out to the pop and rock world with the release of their hit album American Idiot in 2004. These critics say that Green Day left behind their punk roots with the release of hit singles that more closely fit the standard rock format.

Just because a punk band becomes popular in the mainstream does not mean that they have lost their edge. They do not control their popularity, and it is simply an attestment to their skill and appeal to Americans. I own four Green Day albums: Dookie, Insomniac, International Superhits, and American Idiot. While it is true that the oldest albums contain a higher concentration of angry, punky anti-melodies and lyrics, American Idiot is not without its share of angst as well. The entire premise of the album, as a punk rock opera, is a story of disaffected youth. The title track, American Idiot, not only has the punky, dark rhythm of Dookie, is a scathing indictment of President Bush and his government. Other tracks, like St. Jimmy and Letterbomb, have this rhythm as well. Even one of the major hits, Holiday, is easily recognizable as driving punk rock, as well as asserting Green Day's anger towards Bush. Some of the songs are calmer than Dookie, but who's to say that a punk band can never have ballads? Consider Good Riddance (Time of Your Life), possibly my favorite song ever, also by Green Day. It does not detract from their punkiness, but simply attests to their ability to reach out to different audiences. The fact that The Who wrote the beautiful quasi-ballad Behind Blue Eyes does not mean that they were not angry punks on drugs. I credit Green Day with helping to introduce punk rock to a greater audience (including me; because of Green Day, I now count The Clash and My Chemical Romance as two of my favorite bands).

If anyone reads this, please feel free to comment attacking my opinions, supporting them, or presenting your own.

War in (peace out), so long, good night, see you next time.