The latest WMD debate So some ‘American intelligence analysts’ believe there’s no hard evidence Iran plans to build a nuclear bomb. Normally, I’d say this is good news. But a certain ghost will always hover over these types of WMD reports. … I was tempted to say, ‘Let’s sic Scott Ritter on this story.’ He was ultimately proven right about Saddam not having WMDs. But, ah, um, Scott’s busy these days. …
For the record, Hub Blog is preemptively declaring my bold stance on future pro-preemptive-strike stances: No to bombing. ... And can we please build the Keystone pipeline? A pipeline running through North America makes a heck of a lot more sense than keeping an entire U.S. aircraft carrier strike force on constant alert in the Strait of Hormuz. Correct? At the same time we can expand our use of alternative energies to reduce carbon emissions. It's really not that complicated.
¶ 8:31 AM
Lin-sanity: The proof it's not just hype
¶ 1:59 PM
Sunday, February 12, 2012
Keeping the Cruller dreams alive The Globe has a story about the never-ending campaign to bring back cruller donuts on a regular basis, though its seems the pro-cruller movement can’t agree on what exactly constitutes a cruller. There’s the French star-burst variety of crullers that the Globe writes about today. Then there’s the straight-with-a-twist variety of crullers (see donut on left within link) that I've long associated with crullers. But at least the issue is keeping the memory alive of Dunkin’s stab-in-the-back elimination of straight-twist crullers nine long years ago. …
P.S.P.S. – Here’s a decent web site on donuts, explaining the differences between crullers, among other things. … Growing up, I also never heard of the phrase “cake donuts.” They were just donuts, usually with crusty, slightly burnt, knobby exteriors, with more chewy and air-pocket filled interiors. Definitely not the type sold today at Dunkin’ Donuts, whose soft “cake donuts” taste and feel like they were cooked with ingredients straight out of a Dorothy Muriel’s cake box. They also can’t stand up to being dunked in coffee, adding further sad irony to their quality.
¶ 10:07 AM
Thursday, February 09, 2012
The reviews are coming in: Curt Schilling’s Reckoning is a hit Hiawatha Bray is an early admirer of Curt Schilling’s new video game. But I wanted to see what others were saying too. So I searched around and found the Amazon reviews, as well as reviews here, here and here. The general consensus: It's a hit. But that's the view of reviewers. Like in the movie industry, it's the consumes who count when it comes to success in the video-game industry, not the reviews of professional critics. So we'll see how Reckoning does commercially. ... It's good to see someone starting up a successful business in this tough economic environment -- and by someone you've long admired, i.e. Curt.
¶ 12:17 PM
The DeOssie File Hub Blog was barely aware of the broadcast existence of Steve DeOssie when a friend of mine last evening explained to me the media controversy swirling around him. DeOssie’s apparent offense: A pre-game suck-up to the Giants! … That bastard! I thought. … Anyway, my friend then explained, “You’re not going to hear too much about this in the mainstream sports media. They’re all going to circle the wagons around DeOssie. But there’s a real underground backlash forming. This isn’t over.” … Sure enough, this morning, a member of the mainstream sports media was circling the wagons around DeOssie, addressing his critics as “youse knuckle-dragging, nose-picking, mismatched-socks-wearin’, couldn’t-win-a-battle-of-wits-with-a-Pepsi-machine Patriots fans who are spitting up your Doritos over Steve DeOssie’s over-the-top passion for the New York Giants.” … For the record: My friend doesn’t resemble that description at all. …
Anyway, after watching the offending video (see second link), Hub Blog is prepared to render an objective verdict on DeOssie: Guilty as charged! … The most annoying thing, besides his bite-the-hand-that-feeds-you behavior: The thick New York accent he employed.
¶ 9:16 AM
Wednesday, February 08, 2012
'Paul Pierce passes Larry Bird in Celtics scoring' One of Boston's most underappreciated sports superstars surpasses one of Boston's undeniably greatest sports superstars. ... The Celtics' all-time highest scorer, John Havlicek, himself was and is underappreciated as a local superstar, in Hub Blog's humble opinion. Whenever you rattle off a list of the all-time greatest local athletes, it's usually Williams, Russell, Yaz, Orr, Bird and now Brady. But certain types of superstars, such as Hondo and Pierce, don't always make the list. I'm as guilty as others of leaving them off my lists (see 'She speaks for all of us' below). I really shouldn't. ... BTW: I've often thought Pierce's role on the Celts is similar to Havlicek's old role, so it's fitting they're now the top two Celts scorers.
Update -- Someone asked me to explain my Hondo-Pierce comparison. Basically, Hondo was a genuine swing man. Pierce is often mistaken as a genuine swing man. They both do a lot of things really well. Hondo was lucky to be part of an effective duo by the time he became the team's leader (i.e., with the arrival of Dave Cowens). Unfortunately, Pierce wasn't as lucky to be part of an effective duo for most of his career (unless you count Antoine Walker -- which I don't).
¶ 1:09 PM
TAMPA, FL—From coast to coast, town to town, and in nearly every public meeting place and private residence across America, millions have been captivated, inspired, and in some cases moved to tears by presidential candidate Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who now finds himself campaigning before a nation in the throes of full-scale Romneymania.
'She speaks for all of us' The Herald is having a field day with Gisele's comments about the Pats' receivers. But the best comment, email or text I received yesterday came from an old friend, who in a pseudo-solemn voice declared of Gisele, "She speaks for all of us." OK, she was technically wrong, especially about Welker, who, if he was any other normal receiver, wouldn't have been able to even make an attempt to catch the ball. (I mean, really, spinning backwards in the air and stretching for a mis-thrown ball over the wrong shoulder and still managing to get his hands on it? He didn't catch it? The bum!) So Gisele is guilty of being naive and overly passionate. But Gisele did have a point: There were a lot of lost, dropped and near-miss passes that everyone else in New England were bemoaning on Sunday night. ... She speaks for all of us! ... On other Pats matters:
-- Gerry thinks some Pats fans are losing their minds, especially those bitterly blaming Brady. Yes, he deserves some blame, but c'mon, Pats fans. ... Unfortunately, I think Brady is now discovering what Ted Williams, Bill Russell, Yaz, and even Larry Bird learned during their playing time here: New England fans can be brutally unforgiving toward their biggest superstars. At least Tom's in good company.
-- Dan thinks the Pats' loss on Sunday doesn't rank up there with the greatest Boston-sports losses. Agreed. The Bucky Dent, Bill Buckner, Pedro On the Mound Too Long and 2008 Super Bowl losses were far worse. Sunday's game might eke its way into the top five worst-losses list, but Dan has other nominees that can compete against Sunday's heart breaker. ... I disagree with him on one point: The Celts have their share of heartbreaking losses. I remember being stunned when the Lakers finally won a championship against the Celts in 1985 -- and at the old Boston Garden. Then there was the time John Havlicek, with a bum shoulder, could only take the Celts so far in some now forgotten '70s playoffs game, I think against the Knicks, and I practically cried my CYO-basketball eyes out afterward. (If anyone remembers the game, send me an email available in Hub Blog's About section. I'm foggy on the details. **See update note below. Reader No. 1 has ID'd the game.)
-- I was wrong yesterday about the Pats' offense being in good shape heading into next year. As it turns out, they have major off-season decisions to make. I can't imagine them not signing Welker.
Update -- Rich on the Welker pass:
I have to disagree with you :). I don't think the ball to Welker was actually that misthrown. Look at this video at the 1:24 mark. Brady had to throw it to Welker's left shoulder or else #21 was going to break up the pass and/or knock Welker into next month.
The "problem" was that Welker happened to initially look for the ball over his right shoulder. If he had looked for the ball over his left shoulder he'd have been able to keep stride and may well have had a TD.
** Update II -- Reader No. 1 has ID'd the Celts game(s) I was referring to:
It was the 1973 NBA Eastern Conference finals - we lost game 7 at home 94-78 to the eventual NBA champion Knicks, Havlicek fighting through a strapped up shoulder separation.
But the real tear-jerker in that series was game 4, a double-overtime loss in MSG on Sunday afternoon national TV, where a 16-point lead slipped away in the fourth quarter playing without Hondo. A heroic effort by all hands; nevertheless, in my personal top 10 for painful Boston losses - I never want to hear the name "John Gianelli" again.
FYI: Giselle speaks for many, but more to the point: she's a member of the Patriots family and speaking ill of teammates is just not done, no matter whether a stalwart (like Welker), or someone who just doesn't fit (Albert Haynesworth). Fortunately the team culture is strong enough to shrug it off.
Many thanks for the excellent Celts info. And a good point on Gisele.
¶ 9:18 AM
Monday, February 06, 2012
Well, Gisele was right. Right? Gisele is getting some grief for standing by her man. But she was fundamentally right about bemoaning the dropped passes. Don't forget that. ... Not blaming Wes et gang. Chris Collinsworth said last night that Welker catches those those types of passes 100 out of 100 times. Actually, it's more like 99.9 percent of the time. But most other receivers don't even catch them 70 percent of the time, if that. But of all all the moments for Wes to act normal, he had to do it last night. Sigh. ... The game would have been over at that point.
¶ 12:59 PM
Thanks you, Pats I had major trouble sleeping last night, tossing and turning and suffering flashbacks and mulling the significance of a 53-year-old man tossing and turning and suffering flashbacks over the loss of a televised football game. It’s not like I just lost a pal on Omaha Beach.
But I did take a lot of solace, and I really did, in thinking the following: If the Patriots weren’t the Patriots, they would have been called a Cinderella team this year -- and a few thousand die-hard fans would have been at Logan this morning welcoming the Pats back from Indy. The Pats were a team that never should have been in the Super Bowl this year. How many practice-squad, undrafted, walk-on and last-minute call-up players did they tape together this year to go 13-3 in the regular season and plow through two teams to get to the Super Bowl, only to lose it on one pass (the Welker pass, dummies, not that other pass)? The Pats played way above themselves. They were scrappy, lucky winners. They managed to surprise almost every week. No wonder Bill loved this team so much. So, thank you, Pats. It was a great season, until those last four minutes last night, of course.
Some other thoughts:
-- This year’s loss was heartbreaking. But not nearly as heartbreaking as 2008. Several other armchair generals confirmed the same sentiment to me after last night’s game. The 2008 loss was so crushing because: A.) The Pats seemed to have that game in the bag even more than they did last night. B.) The 2008 loss destroyed the Pats’ perfect season, making it that much more painful and suspect to choke accusations. C.) After going 3-0 in Super Bowls under Belichick and Brady, Pats fans were a little cocky, if not spoiled, when it came to expectations five years ago. D.) Let’s face it, in 2008, Eli Manning hadn’t yet earned the respect that he enjoys today, making his clutch Super Bowl win in 2008 more than a little jarring. E.) Few people underestimated the Giants and Eli going into last night’s game.
-- Giants fans will always relieve Manningham’s reception in the Giant’s last march down the field last night. Patriot fans will always remember the non-receptions in their second-to-last march down the field last night.
-- Eli’s in the “elite” quarterback category. OK? I can’t believe the whining over this. He’s generally played great since 2008. No doubt. But there was an erratic nature to his and the Giants’ play since 2008 and before the last quarter of this season. He just needed a little more confirmation before people let the NY media elevate him to his brother’s and Brady’s status. Now he’s there. Two Super Bowls speak for themselves. He’s in the elite. So stop the whining.
-- As much as Belichick deserves credit for stitching together an effective rag-tag defense this year, he also deserves some blame for having to stitch together a rag-tag defense this year. Let’s hope he does better in the off-season rebuilding the D. They need it. The offense is in good shape heading into next season, as far removed as next year may seem to Pats fans this morning. But the defense needs a lot of work. They ain't going to be surprising anyone next year.
-- Speaking of next year, I'm already looking forward to it, assuming there's isn't a surprise Belichick or Brady retirement announcement. Going into yesterday's game, I was tempted to predict that either Belichick or Brady would use the cover of a Super Bowl win to call it quits. I don't know why I thought that. It was just a hunch.
Update -- From Reader No. 1: "Everybody hurts. But no one hurts more than the quarterback." ... Actually, a somewhat odd component of my restless post-game sleep last night was feeling bad about how Brady and other Pats were going to be feeling bad. They were a great group of guys this year.
Update II -- Yes, I'm aware that I kept referring to the last Pats-Giants Super Bowl as being in 2007. It was 2008. Fixed the references above, thanks to a couple of alert readers. I keep thinking in terms of the 2007 regular season. (I still sometimes refer to the Pats 2002 Super Bowl as the 2001 Super Bowl, btw. I'll probably make the same mistake with this year's Super Bowl, though I'd rather forget about it in general).
¶ 8:21 AM
Sunday, February 05, 2012
The Super Bowl predictions: the good, the bad, the ugly Reader No. 1 sends in links to some pre-game Super Bowl predictions:
-- Joe Posnanski. From Reader No. 1: "First of several superbowl links, all of which in their own way point at difficulty of thinking about this game."
-- Bill Simmons. Reader No. 1: “Local guy Bill Simmons leans towards despair.”
-- Bill Barnwell. Reader No. 1: “Bill Barnwell with about the best job of pulling it all together. In Bill and Tom we trust!”
Hub Blog’s prediction: Giants. My reasons for pessimism: Pats defense, Giants offense, Brady’s recent post-season performances. But my pessimism is actually good. The Pats usually win the big ones when I’m filled with genuine dread and gloom.
P.S. – I have refused to even entertain the thought of returning to the scene of the crime to watch this year's game, i.e. the normally glorious dive-bar where I watched the last Pats-Giants Super Bowl five years ago. It’s Hub Blog’s small superstitious contribution to today’s game.
Update -- Wait! Three out of four fortune tellers are predicting the Pats. I'm growing more optimistic. But that's bad. ... OK, I can feel the genuine dread and gloom slowly returning to my body as I write. It's going to be the Giants.
¶ 10:25 AM
Saturday, February 04, 2012
Providence, R.I. facing bankruptcy Exhibit 1,943,674 that public-employee pensions and benefits are bankrupting local and state governments. ...
¶ 10:05 AM
'Until the New York Knicks failed again' Hopefully, the Celts win over the Knicks last night was a harbinger of good things to come tomorrow. It wasn't a pretty win. But it was a win. ... Rondo was back, Btw. ... After the Pats season ends tomorrow, I'm looking forward to following the Celts a little more closely. There's something in the air surrounding this team. Not predicting a championship. But they seem determined to prove wrong the they're-too-old-to-win skeptics.
¶ 7:23 AM
Friday, February 03, 2012
'Kevin White: The mayor who wanted more' Marjorie Arons-Barron has a terrific post on Kevin White's legacy and his non-stop dream of moving up the political ladder. He definitely had a bad case of Potomac fever. She also makes a point that I failed to mention in a previous post: how bored White seemed during his last years in office. As good a mayor as he was for most of his time at City Hall, White and the public were definitely ready for a change by 1984. ... Via DK.
¶ 5:29 PM
Thursday, February 02, 2012
The New GOP Mantra: Criticizing Capitalism = Embracing Communism, Part II Jon Stewart nails it. He’s as frustrated as I was a few weeks ago, i.e, we’ve reached the point where criticism of any aspect of capitalism is viewed by some Republicans as not only undermining capitalism, but also embracing socialism, communism etc. It’s crazy. … Can you imagine the same establishment mindset when others moved to pass common sense child-labor laws or sensible anti-snake-oil regulations? … You can’t do that! … But why? … Because it’s anti-capitalism!
Throwing this one out for thought: The no-compromise defense of everything capitalism might tend to, ironically, confirm Marx's belief that capitalists were incapable of reforming their own capitalist system, thus requiring radical and revolutionary change. But capitalism did reform and transform itself in the 19th and 20th Centuries, passing common-sense economic regulations and protections, via the democratic process, and utterly confounding Marxists in the process. Yet now we have these clowns who say reforming or even criticizing capitalism equates to Marxism? Weird times.
¶ 8:26 AM
Wednesday, February 01, 2012
Still fighting like cats and dogs All these years later, Peter Lucas, the former Herald columnist, and George Regan, Kevin White's former press secretary, are still battling over the famous 'White Will Run' story and headline. Dan has more. I'll just say two things: A.) I believe Peter too. B.) The two just displayed the old-style passion for local politics that's now long gone in the city. I miss it.
¶ 11:38 AM
Mitt Romney and the Curse of the Massachusetts Nominees Michael Dukakis couldn’t do it. Neither could John Kerry. Can Massachusetts’ latest party nominee for president of the United States finally win the big one? We’ll see. Technically, Mitt Romney hasn’t won the GOP nomination yet. But his win in Florida yesterday makes his party coronation almost inevitable at this point.
If he does win the nomination, it would mean a Massachusetts pol has run in a general presidential race in three of the past seven election cycles. The Bay Staters have already lost two of them. Mitt could well be the third strike for Massachusetts. Then again, maybe not. A general-election victory by Mitt would be rich in irony. Here’s a Republican former governor from one of the bluest of blue states – and he’s poised to possibly break the Massachusetts curse in presidential elections. The Dem establishment in Massachusetts must be gnashing its collective teeth. The injustice of it!
But, wait, there’s another delicious irony: The Republican Party, which for the past three years has strutted around touting its conservative credentials, is about to nominate a moderate Republican from one of the bluest of blue states. So much for America being a conservative country. Not even the Republican Party can nominate a conservative!
P.S. - Massachusetts’ cloying involvement in presidential races actually runs deeper than just counting up the state’s party nominees over the years. Ted Kennedy was a major challenger for the Dem nomination in 1980. Paul Tsongas briefly gave Bill Clinton a run for his money in the ’92 Dem primary. So over the past three decades, state pols have been major players in five of the last nine U.S. presidential election cycles. … The count is six out of the past 14 presidential contests if you reach back to JFK in ’60.
P.S. II - One could go on and on about how Massachusetts has managed to nab such an oversized role for itself in U.S. presidential elections. Hub Blog’s short answer: Massachusetts has a big head. Despite hackerama and pessimistic streaks that run deep through the collective psyche, Massachusetts still retains a pompous, almost aristocratic, view of itself, fed partly by the perceived elegance of JFK, the Camelot era, Harvard, etc., etc. It’s extremely safe to say the rest of the nation doesn’t share Massachusetts’ high regard for itself. But the rest of the nation keeps nominating our dolts. So what can you say?
P.S. III - Hub Blog has found a shameless way to weave a Super Bowl analogy into this post, to wit: If Mitt wins the GOP nomination and goes on to lose the general election, it would make the Bay State the Buffalo Bills of presidential politics, i.e., it can scrap its way into the Big Game but can never quite win the Big Game. But if Mitt wins the GOP nomination and general election, it would make the Bay State the Denver Broncos of presidential elections, i.e., it took a few losses before it could finally win the Big One. … There’s no way Hub Blog would ever compare Mitt or any other Mass pol to the mighty Pats. The pattern doesn’t align.