Last Update : August 29th, 2006
August 29th, 2006 : Time for predictions again. What are going to be the hot, hard-to-find toys for this Christmas?  Any new "Cars" die-casts (from the Pixar movie) are going to be hard to nail down in the stores. It was definitely a pain trying to track down the first wave of die-casts after the movie came out this summer. I've seen these new I-DOG PUPs that come in different colors and play their own style of music when not reacting to other sounds around them. Probably the Go Diego Go toys will be popular, but there should be plenty of those on the shelves. Guitar Hero 2 for the PS2 should be hot as well and may be hard to find if it comes with a new guitar controller.

August 26th, 2006
: It looks like the Red Sox are headed for an early off-season this year, with only an outside shot of making the playoffs. This is still a team with an amazing 3-4 punch of David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez. Reminds me of past Red Sox teams with fearsome hitters but thin pitching (outside of Schilling and Papelbon). Let me see who I'd list as the top Red Sox hitters of my lifetime.  Good, old #9 Teddy Ballgame was before my time. But I guess my list should include Ramirez & Ortiz for current players. Then I'd add Nomar & Mo Vaughn from the 90's. Then Wade Boggs & Dwight Evans to represent the 80's, along with big Jim Rice who dominated the mid 70's to mid 80's. And I'd add Fred Lynn and Carlton Fisk from the 70's. Finally, of course, I'll pick Yaz from the 60's/70's. I suppose that if I tried to rank them, it would look something like this:

10. Carlton Fisk
9. Nomar Garciaparra

8. Mo Vaughn
7. Dwight Evans
6. Fred Lynn
5. David Ortiz
4. Wade Boggs
3. Manny Ramirez
2. Jim Rice
1. Carl Yastrzemski

It's a bit difficult to compare some of these hitters' Red Sox careers, since some had higher peaks over a shorter career (high peak value = Lynn, Ortiz) while others had outstanding production over a longer career (high career value = Yaz, Evans). And, of course, Ortiz and Manny are still playing for the Sox. They could certainly move up on this list before all is said and done.  Overall, I gotta give the higher rankings to what I consider HOF-caliber hitting careers. The exception is Carlton Fisk, who I kept at the 10 spot. He's a sure bet HOF'er, but half of his career numbers came from the White Sox and I believe a major reason for him being a HOF'er is his outstanding abilities as a catcher over a long career (not to mention a little HR he hit in the '75 World Series - maybe you've heard about that one). Honorable mentions include Rico Petrocelli, Tony Conigliaro, Tony Armas, Carney Lansford, and Mike Greenwell.

July 27th, 2006 : I caught the documentary The Aristocrats on HBO tonight.  Quite a cast of comdeians ... If you like sick, sick, SICK humor, then you might want to check it out ... assuming that you're not easily offended. Speaking of comedies, the Bravo Channel came up with a top 100 list of comedy movies. Below is an excerpt of their top 25 :

25. Meet the Fockers
24. Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure
23. Big
22. Beverly Hills Cop
21. Shampoo
20. The Jerk
19. Wedding Crashers
18. Stripes
17. M*A*S*H
16. Old School
15. Fast Times At Ridgemont High
14. Napoleon Dynamite
13. Naked Gun Series
12. The Producers
11. Pee-Wee's Big Adventure
10. Arthur
9. Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
8. Blazing Saddles
7. The Wedding Singer
6. Airplane
5. South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut
4. There's Something About Mary
3. Shrek
2. Caddyshack
1. Animal House

If it were my top 25 list, I think I'd have to cut Meet the Fockers, Bill & Ted's, Shampoo, Naked Gun, Producers, Pee-Wee, Arthur, Ace Ventura and Wedding Singer. No need for those at the top of the list.  Definitely keep Big ("Down, down Baby"), Beverly Hills Cop ("Get the f--- out of here!"), Jerk ("I was born a poor, Black child"), Stripes ("Lighten up, Frances!"), Caddyshack ("Miss it, Noonan!"), and Animal House ("Toga, toga, toga!!") - all classics that have stood the test of time (well, 20 years at least).  And I'd definitely keep the more recent Old School ("Frank the Tank") and Napoleon Dynamite ("Is Pedro there?").

I'd have to add a few classics like Monty Python's Holy Grail, Ghostbusters, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Christmas Vacation, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and Happy Gilmore. And a couple of more recent laugh fests like Anchorman ("You stay classy, San Diego") and Shaun of the Dead ("Any zombies out there?").

July 24th, 2006 : Ladies & Gentlemen, start your engines ... I figured I could start a weblog as a way of organizing my random, disjointed thoughts and observations. In addition, I can always use a place to jot down random trivia and facts. So, here's the starting point of yet-another-blog .... Disclaimer : The author makes no promise of high entertainment value for this blog and may distort the difference between fact & fiction. But, hey, what do you want - it's free!

Back many centuries ago, when I was in college at WPI, we actually had Internet access & email addresses. We felt so empowered, even though we had no idea what was to come (the Web was still a few years off). Anyways, back then, a user could create a text-based file (no pictures, unless you created then from ASCII characters) that was intended to be used as an ID tag file for other users to get your "vital stats", like office/lab phone #'s, school mailbox number, etc. Basically, it was the equivalent of today's email signature files. 

For those who care about the technical details, I believe they were called .plan files that you could access when you executed the Unix command "finger <username>" - man, those crazy Unix programmers sure created some fun command names.

Anyways, a few of us used this file to ramble, present random thoughts & trivia, and create our own top-ten lists a.k.a an early version of a weblog. Kind of like the Internet weblog equivalent of cave drawings. Yeah, we were bored geeks spending too much time in the lab. So here, for your viewing pleasure, the introduction of my very first Internet "blog" - created at WPI in the late 80's and last updated on September 26th, 1990.  

This was my "plan" as I envisioned it back then :

To live life with as little sleep as possible!
To become Bart Simpson.
To obtain enough wealth to buy Toys 'R Us.
To play the hot corner for the Boston Red Sox.
To have Rush open up for The Who at my birthday party.
To see the Bruins win the Cup.
To receive my M.S. before the turn of the century.

Those were the days of 7 simple goals for life. As it turns out, I still live with very little sleep (as many parents do). And I may not be Bart Simpson, but at least he's still on the air after all these years. And I may not be able to buy TRU, but I think I've got one of their warehouses in my basement. On the downside, I think I've still got a better shot of playing for the Sox or of having a Rush/Who double bill at my house than ever seeing the Bruins win another Cup in my lifetime!!  Thankfully, I did manage to get my M.S. before wasting even more time writing meaningless drivel!  When the mood strikes, I'll add some of the other entries from my 1990 blog, especially some of the top 10 lists ....

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