23 June 2004

Irrational Hatred of People I Don't Know, Princess Obsession...

I have a borderline retarded hatred of a group of people I do not even know- they're celebrities- that at times borders on all-consuming. Thank god for an outlet like this. Here's my little list. I know this is total weblog cliche- ranting and raving- but I don't have anything else to write, and these people deserve singling out.

  • Usher

    This picture alone isn't even why I hate him... but it helps

    Ego and self possession take new forms with this marginally talented performer of pop music (more on the emphasis later). Once dated TLC's Chili and dumped her because, per his claims in "Rolling Stone," she didn't meet his needs... sexually.

    Musically, is he any different than any other odorous piece of shit on the radio? Of course not. He's just happens to be a walking, talking arrogant asshole regarding himself, and that would get on anyone's nerves that's paying attention. To boot, a lot of what certainly fuels this frustration is this willingness the opposite sex has to accepting said arrogance and total lack of any kind of humility as "sexy," or not even notice it at all. I'm not jealous- I have a girlfriend and certainly these are not the women a sane man strives to pair with. It just defies logic, and as such pisses me off royally. Here's a little quote about a colleague of his (the far more listenable Justin Timberlake) who, for some reason, he's deemed himself better than:
    "It's weird as hell to know that I'm possibly going to be on the same label as him. I feel like the guy is very smart, [but] I hate when [people] try to compare us... He's pop. I'm R&B, man. I create what pop is. He's falling victim to what pop is... I'm prettier, I'm faster, I'm stronger. I'm Ali, baby. They say Justin was live, but I'll take him in five."

    That quote needs nor deserves dissection. He's just an asshole.

  • Paris Hilton

    This miserable, worthless, nothing cunt has propogated her name nearly everywhere by teaming with her ugly, smackhead friend to look down their fake, coke-filled noses at unassuming, nice people in Middle America. Very fucking impressive. Oh yea, and she fucked a guy in night vision, and her dad owns hotels.

    And NO ONE calls her on it. MTV doesn't think, "actually, we're going to try and help cut this worthless cultural phenomenon at the root. She literally embodies everything wrong with our country and our culture, and we're going avoid her." Instead they say, "Great! Let's get that no-talent alien-looking girl to host our runway at one of our awards shows! AWESOME!" You can't blame MTV though, there are people dumb enough to watch because of her, and dumb enough to watch that show, "Simple Life," which, mark my words, will one day be a true milestone on the first steps towards the death of our culture.

    Anyway, I just hate her and her ass face.

  • Michael Kay

    With every bit of objectivity I have in the marrow of my bones and the constitution of my being, I KNOW Michael Kay is the single worst baseball broadcaster I have ever heard, and surely the most infuriating. Condescending while being misinformed, willfully ignorant, obnoxious, and self-righteous, Kay is even loathed by the best and brightest Yankee fans, who CERTAINLY deserve better. Yankee fans, who DO deserve the best team on the field, certainly deserve someone passably competent calling the games on said field.

    His outright ignorance on all things baseball takes a manifest form in his inexplicable disdain for statistics. He and his normally terrific partner Jim Kaat berate statistics at every chance they get- actually, more to the point, they berate every team that uses them. For instance, the Boston Red Sox. Or the Oakland A's. Not only should a play by play announcer NEVER have an opinion on the events of a game, if they DO- they should express it with at least a third grade level grasp of logic. Claiming it was a shame to trade someone like Shea Hillenbrand (from Boston to Arizona) just because he, in Kay's words, "didn't fit the statistical mode of the Boston organization" is just moronic. Beyond stupid. The only thing a team like Boston, or Oakland does in evaluating players is to get the most production for least, and attempting to find value where other teams miss it. Shea Hillenbrand had decent batting averages, and by that I mean he hit about .350 through May 25th, then went into the shitter, bringing him to, on the year, about .275. Now, by EVERY SINGLE OTHER MEANS OF EVALUATING A HITTER... Hillenbrand SUCKED. Terrible. AND we had a better 3B in line for his job at the time of the trade. AND we got a very promising young pitcher. There is valuable criticism...and there is willful ignorance. Corroborating examples are too many to chronicle.

    What's funniest about his disdain for statistical analysis is the inference he makes that the Yankees do not play this way, and that for them, it's all about managerial guts, performance in the clutch, and blood, sweat, tears, and come. Well fine- but if you're going to spend 200 Million dollars on a baseball team, who are you going to pick? The Mighty Mouse underdogs with spirit like David Eckstein? Or the gigantic pieces of shit like Kevin Brown and Gary Sheffield who can play better than nearly everyone else? Think they got A-Rod cos he was a hard worker? Or cos it was a "hunch"? No. They looked at his numbers and saw what was blatantly obvious- he's the best, so get him. The Red Sox and A's (and Blue Jays and Dodgers) do the same thing, but on a different scale- they try to get the best for the least amount of money and therefore have to fly under statistical radars to find it. So "Moneyball" is NOT about OBP, it's about how many retarded GMS (cough*Omar Minaya*cough) fall in love with RBIs, and pass up the more valuable players, which is where Oakland and Boston come in. I'm not suggesting Boston is small market, of course... I AM suggesting they have a limited budget though, and this is the best way to go about business for them.

    I can't believe I've spent this much space on Michael Fucking Kay. But one quick thing. Kay wrote this article early in the year, about how the Sox and Cubs won't make the playoffs:
    Click here.

    My favorite part was this:
    If you need a hint of what type of job Francona has done so far, you need only look at the appearance of center fielder Johnny Damon, who is sporting long hair and a beard that makes him look like the frozen caveman we've all seen at the museum. Damon looking the way he does shows a decided lack of respect to the game and the organization. It is incumbent upon Francona to step up and tell Damon to clean up his act. He hasn't and he probably won't. Bad sign.

    Stupid, huh? It was one of many tasty idiot-nuggets. So I wrote an email (with no response to date):

    I'd expect better from a fellow Fordham grad, though I've seen your YES broadcasts and I can tell that Yankee Kool Aid must taste delicious.

    I can concede that neither the Cubs or Red Sox may make the playoffs- its why they play the games. You can guess against popular opinion as your mode of prediction and make out fine in baseball, as evidenced by these last few seasons of Arizona, Anaheim, and Florida chamionships (you guys are familiar with those teams, right?). Michael, I get that you work at YES, but some of your column "Lovable Losers Still Losers" is flat out wrong. Sure, I'll tell you why.

    First the Cubs. You contend that the Chicago Cubs won't make the playoffs. Again, fine, you're allowed. And to be sure, The Astros have assembled a fine club, and the Cardinals have a powerful offense. OK, thats established. So you go on the attack, sizing up the Cubs defense.

    "Defense, to me is also a problem. Neither Mark Grudzielanek nor Todd Walker is a wizard with the glove at second base. The Cubbies are also weak at third with the inconsistent Aramis Ramirez, and about average at short with Alex Gonzalez."

    First of all, Grudzielanek is the starting 2B (one can only guess why Walker was brought on board), and is a fine defensive 2B. No Pokey Reese, but won't cost you a surfeit of runs either. Ramirez is inconsistent, but they also added a Gold Glove 1B in Derek Lee. Their outfield is a little slow at the corners, but I think that can be made up for by a quick, athletic CF in Corey Patterson. And Alex Gonzalez at SS- I can tell by your characterization of his defense that you're also pretty fond of Mr. Jeter's work at the same position. By that I mean you've not read many range or zone statistics, which list Alex Gonzalez as a pretty good defensive SS.

    "Cracks began to show when star right-hander Mark Prior was shut down for most of spring training because of an Achilles problem that has mysteriously traveled to his right shoulder. They say he should be back by May, while he says he will not rush it and will get back when he feels right. Doesn't sound too good."

    Of course, since you're citing this injury, even though you didn't mention it, you must be aware that his shoulder has checked out fine, and that the time of rest given should actually make him stronger during the course of the season. Like Nomar, numerous medical officials have signed off on the health of his Achilles, deeming rest the only prescription (in contrast to Cliff Floyd's very different injury involving the Achilles and bone spurs).

    "Also, the big acquisition for the Cubs, pitching-wise, was the signing of Greg Maddux. But how big was it? Has anyone noticed that Maddux has become a 90-pitch, five- or six-inning pitcher? Games in Wrigley Field are far from over at that point and Maddux is simply going to overtax a bullpen. Can he still win with his vast array or weapons and smarts? Of course, but more to the tune of 12 wins rather than 18."

    Michael. He's their 5th starter. Hardly a damning point on a pitching staff that will be frighteningly good. 12 wins from your 5th starter is, as a baseball analyst should know, excellent. Maddux will be fine, and with Dusty at the helm, the bullpen probably won't be too taxed anyway. Sure the closer role is suspect, but its surrounded by some extremely quality arms (Farnsworth, Hawkins, Remlinger, Reitsma). Not a perfect team, but a damn good one to be sure.

    But you are right- not perfect. So of course, that, coupled with a history of failure that has nothing to do with the current team, they must be destined to finish OUT of the playoffs, even without an overwhelming NL presence. So let's see, greater imperfection from the Cardinals (a AAA pitching staff and an old, tired bullpen) puts them ahead of the Cubs? Why? Because Mark Prior might miss his first 4 starts? Because the Cardinal defense is a bit better (and not much- after Renteria, Edmonds and Rolen everyone else on the club is less than stellar)? This seems like an extremely weak argument. Could it happen? Sure, but not for the reasons you've given us. And the Astros- good, but like the Cardinals, not great. Horrendous defense save for Ensberg and Everett, a core of players on the wrong side of 35, no wiggle room for trades. They are a good team, and the case can be made theyre better than the Cubs- though I suspect they're not- but that rotation is VERY overrated. Oswalt is the great ace, to be sure, but to worry openly about Prior's health and not even wonder about about Oswalt's is patently ridiculous. Pettitte, as any amount of numbers will show you, is a 16 win pitcher with an offense such as Houston's. Clemens is another year older- and Wade Miller may be Houston's one sure thing. Their 5th starter would be lucky to win 12 (like someone in Chicago), and just as there is "question" over Chicago's bullpen, there should be "question" over Houston's and the loss of Wagner (though Dotel should be fine). You make an interesting prediction regarding Chicago staying home in October, but condescension and poorly chosen arguments aren't the way to show it.

    The Red Sox. Now, this following comment would be enough to discredit the entire column-

    "The Red Sox might have to deal with those same demons. A five-run lead in Game 7 against the Yankees with Pedro Martinez on the mound squandered and a season ruined by Aaron Boone's 11th inning home run will be constantly on the front of the Sox' faithful brain lobes. If the fans fixate on it, then the media will fixate on it and it will trickle down to the players, no matter how much they deny it."

    The media fixates on what the fans fixate on? The players fixate what the writers fixate on? Are you serious? Ever been to Boston, Mike? Furthermore, if you'd picked up a Boston newspaper between November and now, you'd know that Aaron Boone comes up next to never. More is made of the expectations and how we'll fall short of them- just like every year. It has zero to do with the players. Nothing. This is baseball, Mike, not Field of Dreams. There are no ghosts in Yankee Stadium, and baseball players move on. Its what theyre payed to do. Do you really think that on a hot day in August, in a pivotal game against, say, Toronto, Bill Mueller will start thinking too hard about Game 7 and squeeze the bat too hard, finally striking out to end the game? Its silly. Stick to the numbers, things we can actually constructively analyze.

    Then there's this asinine statement:

    "If you need a hint of what type of job Francona has done so far, you need only look at the appearance of center fielder Johnny Damon, who is sporting long hair and a beard that makes him look like the frozen caveman we've all seen at the museum. Damon looking the way he does shows a decided lack of respect to the game and the organization. It is incumbent upon Francona to step up and tell Damon to clean up his act. He hasn't and he probably won't. Bad sign."

    Mike, if I hadn't seen you on TV, I'd be inclined to picture you as that obnoxious 75 year old man at every game I've ever gone too who has a problem with these "darned modern players." You tell me- just what, exactly, is disrespectful about Johnny Damon's appearance? Is this 1965 again? Guys can't have long hair? I understand the organization that employs you likes, for some reason, their players to be cleaner shaven than a Skinhead party, but for most clubs, appearance and performance don't have anything to do with one another. These are grown men who play baseball, and someone's hair being too long doesn't effect that. Question- how long does his hair have to be before it becomes "disrespectful"? How much facial hair before it becomes necessary for him to "clean up his act" (an act that includes, I'll point out, very active participation in community programs and charities)? So Giambi "cleaned up his act" upon arriving in NYC? You think he wouldnt go back if he could? What I don't understand is what could possibly be bad about a player being an individual and doing something different. What's wrong about a guy sticking out in baseball, about being eccentric? Shouldn't that be valued? Isn't it fun, in the end? Or is it still objectionable to you and the ridiculous old guard that you seem to want to join? Please explain.

    Michael, certainly a lot of your concerns about the Red Sox this season are fair- the injury bug is scary, and there are some quality teams in the West to look out for. But the contract thing is tired- if anything, as well you know, they'll play their asses off from a huge payday so your boss can come in and overpay at least a couple of them by 5 million a year. Francona has shown NOTHING to discredit his potential yet, and Johnny Damon isn't entering any beauty pageants anytime soon, so he should be fine.

    Also, about Pedro- why this stuff with him losing it is a story is beyond me. First of all, save for a rough open to the 2nd inning- in TWENTY EIGHT DEGREE WEATHER- he pitched very well. This is how its gone for him the last 3 years at the start of the season, only to show him pitch extremely well the remainder. The "lower arm slot" stuff got spread around and reported by ONE man- Mr. David Segui. No one else has noticed it enough in the Sox organization to lay claim to worry over it. He'll be fine, unfortunately for you guys.

    Also- we didn't blow a 5 run lead. Didn't you call that game? Was that hard to remember?

    Now, lets talk about that Yankee starting pitching and defense...

    This was an absolutely terrible article from someone employed by a baseball team to analyze the sport. I just wonder how some of you get jobs, Michael. You give a great interview, and you have a great voice- but they must be paying you, a very smart man, a whole lot to look this dumb in the name of baseball propoganda. Trust me- everyone notices.

    Regards (not hate mail),
    Timothy Rogan
    New York, NY

    One of my favorite responses to a Kay-ism came from Paul O'Neill, who has been great for YES this year:
    KAY: But Paul, you guys always got inside Pedro's head, right?
    O'NEILL (mockingly): Yea Mike, he struck 17 of us out in a pennant race in September...

    Everyone else at YES is very good- Singleton (my favorite), Murcer, Kaat, Girardi, O'Neill. They are all homers- but that's fine, cos it's a Yankee network, and that isn't even the point. Nothing should bother the informed more than the willfuly misinformed who show an arrogance about what they don't know. Mortifying.

  • That's all I got for now. I really hate Jessica Simpson too, but she's harmless, and I will always hold an almost affectionate hate for Aaron and Nick Carter. They're just funny. These are people though, that if I EVER saw them on the street...well, I'd keep walking, cos I'm a pussy. But you get the idea.

    Anybody else noticing this weird princesses thing going on in movies? Is it me, or has this movie been made like 54 times in the last 3 years? To wit:
    The Princess Diaries with Anne Hathaway
    The Princess Diaries 2 with Anne Hathaway
    The Prince and Me with Julia Stiles
    Cinderella Story with Hilary Duff
    What a Girl Wants with Amanda Bynes
    Chasing Liberty with Mandy Moore

    Just thought it warranted mentioning. Nothing surprising, though.

    Still plugging along through Ulysses in a passage I don't totally understand. I'll certainly try to keep my wits about me and soldier on. I think relief is just around the corner, as each "chapter" brings at least some new exposition, which is something I can at least hang my hat on. Keep posted...

    Records listened to...
    Modest Mouse- Good News For People Who Love Bad News

    Wilco- A Ghost Is Born

    Pixies- Surfer Rosa

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