The Baja Men Are Prophets

Friday, March 13th, 2020

It’s Friday the 13th, and we’re in the midst of a deadly global pandemic that’s changing life as we know it. How about a tiny bit of good news and levity?


[Link]

For more amusement, please enjoy an archived interview with Anselm Douglas, the original writer and performer of “Who Let the Dogs Out”.

RCM: So who did let the dogs out?

AD: On Facebook, everywhere, it’s “Hey, who let the dogs out? Did you find out who let the dogs out?” I have one response for them. I say, “Look, if I tell you who let the dogs out, then you’ll stop asking me.”

It will be, “Really Anslem, you’re 98 now and you’re on your dying bed. You want to tell us finally who let the dogs out?” That secret is gonna die with me.

I don’t know if Douglas got rich off this song, but he’s at least got a good sense of humor about it.


Update (March 14th, 2020): Several readers pointed me to the much deeper story of “Who Let the Dogs Out”, and the origins are far murkier than you’d imagine.

This Was a Scripted Speech 

Thursday, March 12th, 2020

Last night, Donald Trump briefly addressed the nation regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to accidentally airing the president of the United States muttering “Aww, fuck”, the speech contained a rather shocking number of errors and falsehood, which needed to be corrected immediately afterwards.

Rather than allaying fears, the speech proved the most clear evidence yet that Donald Trump is dangerously unqualified for his present job.

The Word from Wuhan 

Wednesday, March 11th, 2020

As COVID-19 continues to spread, the London Review of Books has Wang Xiuying’s detailed report from Wuhan, China, where the virus originated.

One day we’re told that children are less likely to be infected, the next day that pregnant women and children are more susceptible. One day they say the virus can’t survive outside the body, the next that it can live on hard surfaces for up to five days. One day we learn that the virus is capable of aerosol transmission via coughing or sneezing, the next day we’re told that’s not something to worry about. According to one piece of advice – perhaps issued on the basis that people can’t live on bad news alone – the chances of infection may be reduced by the moderate consumption of alcohol.

In the midst of a nearly endless torrent of bad news, though, there is one amusing tidbit:

Children were presumably glad to be off school – until, that is, an app called DingTalk was introduced. Students are meant to sign in and join their class for online lessons; teachers use the app to set homework. Somehow the little brats worked out that if enough users gave the app a one-star review it would get booted off the App Store. Tens of thousands of reviews flooded in, and DingTalk’s rating plummeted overnight from 4.9 to 1.4. The app has had to beg for mercy on social media: ‘I’m only five years old myself, please don’t kill me.’

Yes, children who were already out of school managed to game the system to get out of their remote schoolwork as well.

Hopefully, This Isn’t the High Point 

Tuesday, March 10th, 2020

For nearly a decade, this blog has been tracking the baseball exploits of one Christopher Michael “Mike” Carp, in the hopes that he could be added to this list. In 2015, Carp made it to the right city, though he was affiliated with the wrong team. In 2019, news of his independent league baseball success with the New Britain Bees of Connecticut was shared.

It appears the Bees experienced some sort of colony collapse, but never fear. Carp has been picked up by North Carolina’s High Point Rockers for the 2020 season.

Also signed for next season are pitchers Jake Buchanan and Drake Owenby, catcher Stuart Levy, outfielder Bryce Brentz, infielder Matt Fields and three from the disbanded New Britain Bees — Mike Carp, Darren Ford and Logan Moore.

Sure, the team’s logo is a rocking chair, an almost painfully on-point allusion to retirement. And yes, Carp hasn’t played in the big leagues since 2014. Of course, there’s little sense hiding from the fact that he’ll be turning 34 shortly, which is surely an unlikely age to return to pro ball. Nevertheless! Until Mike Carp hangs up his spikes for good, this blog will continue to track his career. If we can raise his profile enough, perhaps the Los Angeles Angels1 will finally see the light.


Footnotes:

  1. They’ve got a new/retro name, and it’s damned efficient! Truly, it just looks so good on them. Those wise team owners clearly know a good idea when they see it!↩︎

Attention, Misters Amazon and Ebay 

Monday, March 9th, 2020

In an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19, the state of New York is now producing their own hand sanitizer.

“We are introducing New York State Clean hand sanitizer, made conveniently by the State of New York,” he said while holding a bottle. Cuomo described it a “superior product to products now on the market,” citing its higher alcohol content than what’s found in competitors like Purell.

“It has a very nice floral bouquet,” Cuomo added of the scent, describing it as a mix of lilacs, hydrangea and tulips.

Price gouging for existing products has grown prevalent, and NYS Clean will seek to combat that, selling for $6.10 per gallon, $1.12 for a 7 oz. bottle, and $0.84 for a smaller travel bottle. The state can afford to do this in part because they’re using prison labor to make the product.

The sanitizer is being developed by Corcraft, a “brand” that is produced by the NYS Department of Corrections and Community Supervision. It uses inmates at correctional facilities throughout New York for low-cost labor.

It’s not clear if the product will be rolled out in wide release, but Cuomo is using it to threaten other retailers about raising prices.

“To Purell and Mr. Amazon and Mr. eBay, if you continue the price gouging, we will introduce our product, which is superior to your product, and you don’t even have the floral bouquet,” Cuomo said. “So stop price gouging.”

In the words of Jamiroquai, it’s a crazy world we’re living in.

The Clock Doesn’t Tell the Whole Story 

Friday, March 6th, 2020

Back in 2018, I mentioned my pal Peter Bromka and linked to his piece on the Boston Marathon. At the time, Bromka was already running ridiculous sub-2:30 marathons, and he’s only gotten faster since then.

For 14 months, Bromka took aim at the U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon, working to run the 2:19 race necessary to qualify for it. It was an incredible journey, and I couldn’t be more impressed.

Those Are Some Bad Hats, New Era

Thursday, March 5th, 2020

While researching last month’s feature on ugly spring training caps, I came upon an entirely different set of awful Major League Baseball hats, one worthy of its own post. Seemingly released in early 2020, the New Era “Big Boys Lil Player” series is aimed specifically at kids. The name of the collection is a clunky, contradictory mouthful, and things just get worse when it comes to the artwork. Here’s a quick appetizer:

A hat with a poorly drawn cartoon of Aaron Judge

Remarkably, this is actually not the most awful New Era cap featuring a cartoon Aaron Judge. It takes second place, behind this ghoulish monstrosity:

Another hat with a terribly drawn image of Aaron Judge, this one looking quite like a stereotypical zombie
I get the feeling somebody at New Era really doesn’t like Aaron Judge.
[Photo courtesy of P. Kafasis]

But let’s return to the Big Boys Lil Player 9Fifty caps. If you try to locate these hats on New Era’s website, you’ll strike out. Their site offers what has to be the worst online search I’ve ever seen. It’s truly astounding in its awfulness. To give just one example, a search for “Votto” returns 18 hits: 1 “Rocket Power Otto” hat, along with 17 hats that have the word “cotton” in their names. Adding search terms, which ought to narrow the results, only compounds the folly. A search for “Joey Votto” gives 675 results, starting with a completely unrelated “Joey Logano” hat.

Instead, you’ll need to head to Macys.com to find the New Era Big Boys Lil Player 9FIFTY Snapback caps. It appears Macy’s is the exclusive retailer for this line aimed at kids, and what a coup that must be for them. On the Macy’s website, you can find 25 different New Era® Big Boys Lil Player 9FIFTY Snapback caps. Of course, there are 30 teams in Major League Baseball. The five teams missing from the New Era® Big Boys™ Lil Player 9FIFTY Snapback cap series are:

  • Atlanta Braves

  • Baltimore Orioles

  • Chicago Cubs

  • Houston Astros

  • Toronto Blue Jays

Frankly, those clubs are the lucky ones, as they can simply be ignored. There are two additional hats show players who are no longer on the relevant team:

  • Arizona Diamondbacks: Featuring Zack Greinke, who was traded to the Houston Astros in the middle of the 2019 season. The hat’s price has been cut more than 50% off, which is nice, but hardly enough.

  • Boston Red Sox: Featuring Mookie Betts, who was sadly traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers just last month. This one gets a pass, though it should also now get a steep discount.

The rest of the New Era® Big Boys™ Lil Player® 9FIFTY Snapback caps can be seen in all its awfulness over at Macy’s, but here’s a further sampling:


Nolan Arenado, in cartoon form


Mike Trout, in cartoon form


Christian Yelich, in cartoon form

While some of the representations look vaguely like the named player, most really do not. In fact, even with the name stitched on the cap, the Cardinals “Paul Goldschmidt” hat is listed as being for Matt Carpenter, and no one has noticed or cared:

A hat that says Paul Goldschmidt, while the listing refers to Matt Carpenter

To be sure, those two men look not at all alike:

A hat that says Paul Goldschmidt, while the listing refers to Matt Carpenter
Paul Goldschmidt on the left; Matt Carpenter on the right

And yet, if one simply adds a beard to the cartoon rendering, it’s clear that it can work equally well for either of them:

A hat that says Paul Goldschmidt, while the listing refers to Matt Carpenter

My favorite cap of all is the offering for the Washington Nationals, which features Max Scherzer. Scherzer has heterochromia iridum, which means his eyes are two different colors. His left eye is brown, while his right eye is blue.


[Photo credit: MLB.com]

As you can see, heterochromia iridum is tremendously distinctive. They could have made the rendering on this hat incredibly obvious, just by including this very rare trait. Did they?

Swing and a miss!

Ultimately, the drawings on the New Era® Big Boys™ Lil Player® 9FIFTY™ Snapback caps are just plain bad. For the most part, they don’t look like the players they’re supposedly modeled after, nor do they look very good at all. Worse still, they seem to be ripping off a lot of the style of Gen X favorite “Beavis and Butthead”:

Jacob deGrom next to Butthead
Jacob deGrom does not actually look like Butt-Head.

Macy’s has probably sold scores of terrible New Era® Big Boys™ Lil Player® 9FIFTY™ Snapback® caps to well-meaning grandparents around the country. Perhaps Mike Judge should sue for royalties.

Perhaps Democracy Can’t Be Bought 

Wednesday, March 4th, 2020

As of this morning, Michael Bloomberg has dropped out of the race for the presidency. In total, he spent approximately $500 million dollars, and won just one primary contest, taking first place in American Samoa with 175 votes. That’s not a typo. American Samoa has about 55,000 residents, and their Democratic primary caucus had just 351 participants. Even in victory, Bloomberg didn’t manage to woo a majority of the voters.

Over at The American Prospect, David Dayen argues that this utter flop is a good thing for American democracy.

You Probably Don’t Qualify 

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2020

If you’d like to see proof of how much your dog misses you, or you just want to get off this planet, NASA is hiring the next crop of astronauts.

A Hidden Marmot 

Monday, March 2nd, 2020

Swiss cartographers have hidden many fanciful illustrations in the country’s official maps.