Archive for October, 2012

Against Voting…Again

You seriously want to vote for one of these guys?

It’s time for my biennial plea for you to abstain from voting. I’ve got my work cut out for me: As election season (mercifully) draws to an end, we’ve reached the time of year when everyone and their mother takes time to urge you to vote, no matter who you vote for, as if the mere act of casting a vote is somehow worthwhile.

What goes conspicuously unmentioned in all these pleas to vote is the simple fact that your vote is extremely unlikely to make a difference. This is nothing but a statement of mathematical fact: The odds of an election in which millions of votes are cast being decided by one vote* are essentially zero. Even in smaller, more local races, or elections that are extremely close, the odds of your vote being decisive are still incredibly small. The only elections that have been decided by one vote were races in which fewer than 10,000 votes were cast. Continue reading

Monday Medley

What we read while everyone misremembered Mary Shelley’s book…

Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Battle of the Seasons, Week 6 Power Rankings


“Strength comes into the gym, not personality.” —Frank

 

“I am furious. I should be swinging the fish.” —Marie

 

 

 

We’re more than halfway through this season of the Challenge now, and it’s officially clear who the villain is: Alton. It’s certainly a surprise to me, and anyone else who remembers Alton from his days of dominance on The Gauntlet II and The Inferno III, but it’s hard to defend him after last night’s episode.

In at least his partial defense, there comes a time for every veteran player when he is outnumbered by rookies who don’t know or like him, and often the vets don’t know how to handle this. Alton clearly resents the “children” in the house with him this season, and some of that is certainly justified based on their treatment of him and his team, but his response was equally childish. At the beginning of last night’s episode, for example, he denied the whole cast the opportunity to go to the beach because he didn’t feel like it. Continue reading

Talkin’ Baseball: World Series

TIM: John, the readers of NPI are in luck. San Francisco’s dramatic comeback — although Jayson Stark, let’s cool it on the overzealous use of the adjective “impossible” — means the Cardinals aren’t in the World Series, which means my personal boycott of previewing Cardinals postseason series doesn’t affect this Fall Classic.

I guess we should start by talking about the team that’s played in the last several weeks in the Giants. What do you think about this team, especially with the 2010 Giants in the back of your mind? I mean, Barry Zito in Game 1? LOL, right?

JOHN: Totes LOL. When Zito was shutting down the Cardinals lineup in Game 5, my brother and I got into a discussion about his absurd contract. We both seemed to entertain the idea that San Francisco has salvaged some value out of him. After all, he won 15 games this year and came up huge in the NLCS. But, really, when you look at his stats, he’s still a pretty lousy starting pitcher and has been throughout his time with the Giants.

I suppose, though, that pitching him in Game 1 at least works with the logic you brought a few years ago in a postseason preview: If you’re going up against someone like Justin Verlander, you might as well use someone like Zito. If he’s terrible, then you just shrug it off and say you probably weren’t going to beat Verlander no matter what. But if Zito has another performance like he did in St. Louis, then maybe SF can steal Game 1 and still have Baumgarner, Vogelsong, and Cain lined up for the rest of the series.

I know that’s not the Giants’ actual reasoning (and I also realize it doesn’t answer your question– what is this a Presidential debate? Am I right?), but should a San Francisco fan take comfort in that anyway?

Continue reading

Monday Medley

What we read while sorting through binders full of bad binders full of women jokes…

Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Battle of the Seasons, Week 5 Power Rankings

“There’s one thing I hate worse than everything else in the world, and that’s quitters.”—TJ Lavin

 

“You’re a disgrace to the humankind!” —Camila

 

 

You know, for someone who so vocally resents all the people who doubt and disrespect him, you’d think Eric wouldn’t want to give those people any more ammunition. And yet, he has repeatedly displayed a tendency towards failure and defeatism. The most obvious point against him in this regard is his collapse during the final challenge of The Gauntlet III—after which, he was allegedly back into to have a few drinks at the wrap party, according to the Reunion show—but at least that was a real medical issue. Twice this season, he has thrown in the towel for no real reason: In Week 1, when he DQed his team from the challenge, and last night, when he gave up in an elimination challenge because he didn’t like the way Camila was talking to him.

Of course, it’s possible that the fact that he was facing Devyn, who is apparently his soulmate, in the Arena, and thus one of them would have been eliminated no matter what, sapped his motivation. But it was still a pretty shitty thing for him to do to his teammate, who had no say in the matter. And though Camila was pretty nasty to Eric—showing shades of Laurel’s diatribe in Cutthroat—I can understand where she’s coming from. Like TJ, I have no patience for quitters, especially if there’s no strategic reason behind it. Continue reading

Monday Medley

What we read while picking the worst day to skydive from only 23 miles up…

MLB Postseason Preview: Tigers vs. Yankees

Detroit Tigers (88-74) at New York Yankees (95-67)

OVERVIEW

How the-opposite-of-fitting that in a year dominated by Cinderella stories—Chicago leading the AL Central for most the year; Oakland’s improbable comeback in the West; Baltimore’s first playoff appearance since before Monica Lewinsky was famous—it’s the Yankees and Tigers left in the ALCS. Both teams were expected to repeat as division winners, and both actually had somewhat disappointing regular seasons: Detroit trailed the White Sox for most of the year, and New York didn’t clinch until the last day of the season. The ALCS is also nothing new to either team, with both teams having taken turns losing to Texas the last two years. And if it weren’t for last night’s game in Washington, we’d be talking about the Tigers and Yankees as the biggest dream-killers of all: Justin Verlander stopped what looked like yet another improbable Oakland comeback in its tracks, and New York topped Baltimore with repeated late-inning heroics. In the regular season matchups between these two teams, the Yankees took six of ten from Detroit.

LINEUPS

Detroit didn’t hit much in its series against Oakland: The Tigers scored only 17 runs in five games, and six of those runs came on non-RBI plays. Nobody on the team had an especially good series offensively—Omar Infante was the only regular to hit over .300, and he had only one extra-base hit. A lot of the problem can likely be attributed to great pitching by the A’s, but Detroit needs to get more production out of its big hitters, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder. Though Fielder did homer in Game 4, neither of those guys did enough to carry the offense, which is the only way the Tigers offense can get carried. Perhaps most troubling: Cabrera and Fielder only walked once apiece in five games. Again, this is likely the result of facing a staff with great control—Oakland pitching walked only seven batters in the series—but Cabrera and Fielder need to at least get on base if they’re not driving in runs.

Continue reading

Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Battle of the Seasons, Week 4 Power Rankings

“This is a game.” —Knight (repeated about 50 times)

 

 

Man, MTV is starting early this season with the To Be Continued episodes, huh?

 

Not that this week’s episode lacked for drama. First, we had a night out ending in tears after Knight pulled the old “throw someone’s laundry into the pool” trick. Knight seemed to think soaking Nany’s clothes was some great strategic gambit, since it would “get in her head.” Nany did flip out and threaten to leave the game afterwards, but aren’t she and Knight on the same alliance? What’s the sense in picking a fight with someone who’s on your side?

In reality, Knight’s antics only solidified Las Vegas’ team bond and made everyone else in the house hate him. Plus, it wasn’t even original: Tonya did that back in Inferno II. Continue reading

Monday Medley

What we read while strategically placing our infield flies…

  • The San Francisco Weekly explains how Bleacher Report — home to, without hyperbole, the trashiest, most nonsensical sports “articles” on the web — grew to be worth $200 million.
  • The New York film locations of North by Northwest, then and now.