Josh Hornik Blog

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April 30, 2005

I saw Robert Culp: 5 points

Just as I finished discussing the fact that The Grove (fancy local mall) is perhaps the premier spot for celebrity sightings in Los Angeles, one-time TV star Robert Culp was seated next to me at the restaurant I was at.

Let's rate him, shall we?

5 points for being there.

+2 for starring in I Spy with Bill Cosby, which, as I understand it, broke color barriers on TV. (-1 for the hideous movie version of I Spy with Eddie Murphy and Owen Wilson.)

Yes, you can buy this t-shirt.

+1 for starring in The Greatest American Hero, one of the true classics of 1980's TV. (Even though he had nothing to do with it, +1 more for the theme song "Believe It or Not" by Joey Scarbury. +1 for me because I didn't have to look that up.)

-2 for the current state of his career. I wish I could name one thing he's done since The Greatest American Hero.

Beauty Factor: OK, I was going to give him a -1 because he was looking pretty old. Then I looked up his age, and the guy is almost 75 years old, so I guess he's allowed to look old. Even in Los Angeles.

However, I'm afraid I can't forgive him for never doing a single Star Wars-related project: -1.

Final score: 5 points.

Posted by JoshHornik at 03:57 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 29, 2005

Theo Epstein Genius Watch -- Disabled List edition

Well, Theo was looking quite genius-like when Nomar went down - AGAIN - with an injury. Chalk one up for the guy for not signing Nomar to a long-term contract, then getting 40 games from him in 2 seasons. (I still wish he'd done it.)

However, Theo lost a few genius points when David Wells went on the DL with his own injury. Hmmm. Maybe signing a 41-year old FAT pitcher with a questionable work ethic wasn't such a good idea, after all.

Cabrera - .259, 2HR, 7RBI, 1 error
Renteria - .238, 2HR, 9RBI, 3 errors

Pedro & D-Lowe - 3-3, 2.40 ERA, 70K
Wells & Clement - 4-3, 4.40 ERA, 44K

Posted by JoshHornik at 03:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Even socially inappropriate couples love Reclining Pig

I spotted this picture online and the mark on Katie's arm intrigued me, so I found a closer shot and sure enough, check out her tattoo...

(PS - Sorry if this picture grosses anyone out. For those who haven't looked it up, he's 42, she's 25.)

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April 25, 2005

Public Service Campaign series, #2

This was as a result of a personal request from a VP over at Penguin Books. (Yes, I take requests.)

Posted by JoshHornik at 11:34 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 24, 2005

NOT a Joy Zipper @ Avalon 4/22/05 review

I am a jackass. Having purchased a ticket for the Joy Zipper - Dogs Die in Hot Cars - Phoenix show mostly to see the opener to the opener, Joy Zipper, I managed to arrive at the show in time for the last sustain of Joy Zipper's set. Distrust for a ticket that said the concert started at 7:00, a poor venue Web site, Hollywood Boulevard traffic, and my idiotically heading for the show without knowing precisely where the Avalon was are all to blame.

So here is my Joy Zipper review. The last 15 seconds of their final song sounded OK. Their merchandise table attendant was a nice guy (and son of the namesake actual human being Joy Zipper). And the merch was very reasonably priced.

As for the rest of the show... Dogs Die in Hot Cars were really disappointing. Their CD is full of smart pop songs with driving rhythms and catchy pop hoooks, and the music seemed like a perfect fit for a live show. Unfortunately, the band (lead singer in particular) seem a little too seduced by the chance to be rock stars. Which means a loose show where songs are sung at the top of one's lungs, no matter what it does to the vocal chords and intricate harmonies. Backing music was also a lot muddier than on the record, which didn't help any. Too bad, because occasionally it all came together and they showcased what really are good songs (like Godhopping and Lounger).

The headliners were Phoenix. I don't know anything about them, but after a couple songs I knew they sounded good, their sound was more mature than Dogs Die in Hot Cars, and they sang songs I had no interest in hearing. So I left.

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April 21, 2005

Got Ham?

Well, I suppose given the cultural phenomenon that Reclining Pig has become, this was bound to happen eventually...

Posted by JoshHornik at 07:08 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 20, 2005

Reclining Pig, or Infallible Pig -- you be the judge

Ol' Ratzy's cooler than I thought...

Posted by JoshHornik at 06:49 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 19, 2005

In praise of... Strat-o-Matic Baseball

Some time in the late 1980's, I got my first Strat-o-matic Baseball set and fell in love with the game. In 1986, I cheered (then cried) as The Red Sox got within one strike of winning the World Series. By 1988, I was a crazy baseball fanatic. I am not kidding -- I'm not sure which were the causes and which the effects.

How could a board game consisting of a bunch of cardboard cards and some dice turn someone from a fan into a get-a-life fanatic? Strat-o-matic is that good.

Don't believe me? Check out this great report from NPR. (For Red Sox fans, don't miss the extra interview pieces with Jon Miller, which include a great impression of the late Fenway Park PA announcer Sherm Feller.)

Posted by JoshHornik at 07:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 18, 2005

I saw Kevin Bacon: 7 points

I have been criticized for my poor celebrity sightings (average rating well below 5). I am sorry, but I eat lunch at Poquito Mas, not The Ivy. In my defense, I bring you a sighting from a couple weeks ago: Kevin Bacon, walking down Sunset with his wife Kyra Sedgwick and their son (I assume).

Let's begin the proceedings with 5 points, shall we?

+1 for being with family. +1 more because his family is a celebrity in her own right, I suppose (though I couldn't name one Kyra Sedgwick movie.)

-2 for being spotted several times already by Lauri. Balanced by a +1 for being seen this time in LA, not their home on the Upper West Side of NY.

Kevin Bacon has a very large resume to rate:
2 words: FOOT. LOOSE. +3 points.
+3 for starring (and quite well, too) in a movie by personal friend Guy Ferland, Telling Lies In America.
+2 for Diner.
+1 for each of the following: Mystic River, Apollo 13, A Few Good Men, The Big Picture, Friday the 13th, and Animal House.
-2 each for the following: Beauty Shop, Hollow Man, Stir of Echoes, Wild Things, He Said She Said, Flatliners, Tremors, and She's Having a Baby.

+1 for having a star on Hollywood Boulevard.

Beauty factor:
-1 for doing the standard movie star thing: dark sunglasses and baseball cap.
+1 for having a large penis (as seen in Wild Things).

Star Wars connection factor:
If anyone has a connection to anything, it's got to be this guy, right? +2.

Final score: 7 hard-earned points. (and well above my average.)

PS - I found a picture of Kevin Bacon as a Sleestak:

Posted by JoshHornik at 05:52 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 17, 2005

Theo Epstein Genius Watch - week 2

Week 2 of our soap opera "As the Nomar slumps"...

Nomar - .182, 0HR, 5R, 4RBI, 0E
Cabrera - .233, 1HR, 4R, 6RBI, 0E
Renteria - .255, 2HR, 6R, 8RBI, 2E

Pedro & D-Lowe - 2-1, 42.1IP, 2.13ERA, 44K
Wells & Clement - 2-2, 35IP, 4.11ERA, 27K

Posted by JoshHornik at 03:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 15, 2005

Statistically Improbable Phrases

Amazon has this new feature called "Statistically Improbable Phrases". For every book that you can "search inside", they have found all the 2 or 3 word phrases that appear multiple times in the book but that you would only find very rarely in other books. In other words, it is statistically improbable that the phrase would appear so many times in a book.

The math is unimportant, and it's hard to think of a reason I would use SIP's (as Amazon calls them). But it's fun to look at them, anyway.

For example, you are more likely to see the phrase "sweater pocket", "lame saint", and "seeded womb" in the book The Da Vinci Code than in most other books. (Probably not all in the same sentence, though, I imagine.)

Stephen King, in the book Pet Sematary, must have enjoyed using the phrase "fucking cat". He wrote it 4 times, which is twice as many times as the 2nd place book in "fucking cat" references ("My Soul to Keep" by Tananarive Due).

It got me thinking that a fun game would be trying to guess the book based on the SIP's. So here goes. I'll put the phrase(s) -- you guess the book. For example, if the phrase is "giant peach", the answer is -- obviously, James and the Giant Peach. Click the phrase to see the answer.

1. "Psychedelic movement", "hip world", "acid heads", and "donkey beads"
2. "Hands for the conch"
3. "His tomahawk pipe", "pagan harpooneers", and "white hump"
4. "Objective sensory stimuli", "involuntary ideas", "psychical sources" and "unpleasurable dreams"
5. "Silly noises", "pantomime horses" and "nude organist"
6. "He ejaculated" (Sorry, that is an inside joke that I suspect even the one person it's aimed at may not get.)
7. Guess the subject: "first electric set", "album version" and "harmonica solo"
8. "Poor orphan child" and "bethought myself"
9. This one's a play: "ass head"
10. I wish I could say I would have known this one: "pensive bosom", "absentminded beggar", "seaside girls" and "tooraloom tooraloom tooraloom"

Well, that should be enough to earn me some free drinks at the Mensa parties...

Posted by JoshHornik at 06:42 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 12, 2005

I saw Eriq LaSalle -- 4 points

Though I have been lax and neglected to rate a couple sightings, I did see ex-ER star Eriq LaSalle driving on Sunset today, so here goes...

5 points to start (like the 200 you get for writing your name on the SAT's -- that must be 300 points now.)

-1 because he was driving in his car -- never good for sightings.
-1 for being too cliche: Hollywood celeb in sunglasses driving a convertible on Sunset Boulevard.

-1 for being my 2nd ER sighting in a month.
+2, though, because when I think ER, I picture him doing his Guts Pose at the end of the opening titles (back when the show was good).

*Note: "Guts Pose" is a Japanese term for an emphatic fist-pump. +1 again because when I searched on Yahoo for images of "Guts Pose", his picture from ER came up. No joke.

-1 Star Wars factor.

Final score: 4 points.

Posted by JoshHornik at 06:50 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 10, 2005

Fever Pitch

Up until last October, I had been planning a joke for my wedding day. (No, just using the words "my wedding day" is not the joke.) I would start a speech with "Until the Red Sox win the World Series, today is the happiest day of my life."

I thereby recuse myself of all objectivity in reviewing the movie Fever Pitch. Truth be told, I don't think it was a very good movie but I can't be sure, because of situations like this: I was watching one scene that took place at Fenway Park. The various characters started to explain The Curse of the Bambino and I was thinking "This is pretty bad exposition for the middle of a movie." They started to name off the various incarnations of the curse -- Bucky Dent, Bill Buckner, etc. Then they got to Grady Little leaving Pedro in against the Yankees in 2003. I spent the next 2 minutes in a funk, thinking how Little was such a moron, that it was so incredibly obvious Pedro should be replaced, and that we should have been in the World Series that year. I couldn't tell you what was happening in the movie during this time.

Anyway, I really liked the movie. At least, I liked half of the movie. Every time they were talking about the Red Sox or Red Sox fans, or more importantly, showing pictures of Boston, Fenway Park, and Red Sox games (and even Jim Rice in uniform!), it was one of the best movies I've seen in a long time. But when they were showing other things, like Drew Barrymore talking to her girlfriends, it did seem like a pretty ordinary romantic comedy.

The movie is written & directed by the Farrelly brothers, who also did There's Something About Mary. Whether you like the "gross-out comedy" genre or not, I think it's run its course and someone needs to tell these guys that. There were a bunch of random Farrelly brothers-style jokes thrown in throughout the movie that just seemed out of place and, even worse, not very funny.

To sum up, if you have ever heard of Kevin Romine, Todd Benzinger, Sang Lee, or Abe Alvarez, you might like the movie. If not, I'd see something else.

Posted by JoshHornik at 08:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Theo Epstein Genius Watch - Week 1 which we look at the statistics of the players so-called genius Theo Epstein has allowed to leave and those who have replaced them.

Nomar -- .143, 0HR, 3R, 3RBI, 0 errors
Edgar -- .167, 0HR, 0R, 4RBI, 1 error
Cabrera -- .158, 0HR, 1R, 2RBI, 0 errors

Pedro & D-Lowe -- 1-1, 2.73ERA, 30K
Wells & Clement -- 0-2, 6.43ERA, 18K

Too early for conclusions. Stay tuned...

Posted by JoshHornik at 07:59 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 08, 2005

Reclining Pig Sur L'Herbe

Posted by JoshHornik at 01:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Last Best League by Jim Collins

I have a personal annual tradition. I read a baseball book every year just before the season starts, to get myself ready, remind me why I want to hang in through a 6-month, 162+ game season. Past years' standouts have included the encyclopedic ("Red Sox Century" by Glenn Stout and Richard Johnson), the romantic ("The Teammates" by David Halberstam), and the satiric ("The Great American Novel" by Philip Roth).

This year, I went for the idyllic: "The Last Best League" by Jim Collins. This is a book examining one season with the Chatham A's in the Cape Cod Baseball League, which had the double benefit of getting me excited for not only the baseball season, but also my annual summer vacation to Cape Cod. Mr. Collins, a journalist by trade, spent a year following the team, and seems to have gained incredible access to the players and coaches. The payoff is that the author exhibits a true insider's knowledge of the events of that summer without falling into the trap of inserting himself needlessly into those events. Whether writing about players' inside jokes, coaches personal feelings towards players' attitudes, or scouts' professional opinions on players' prospects, this is the full fly-on-the-wall treatment.

As for the content of the book, Collins set out to describe the experience of the Cape Cod Baseball League, considered the best amateur baseball league in the world and the closest thing to professional baseball. These are the best college players in the country and many (examples: Nomar, Frank Thomas, Barry Zito) have gone on to become all-stars in the majors. Yet, despite the nearness to the millions of dollars in professional baseball, what Collins describes is an atmosphere closer to Little League, where players can have fun playing a game they love and fans can come out on a warm summer night to casually enjoy a game. (Descriptions of the playground just off the right field line teeming with children who tired of the game after 2 innings matched my experience with nephews and niece at Chatham A's games, and my memories of big brother's little league games in Hollis, NH.)

After a difficult off-season, during which I was made painfully aware that professional baseball is a business first and a game second, it was nice to read a book that showed a place where the opposite was true (for most participants). I ate up the passages about children asking for autographs from these college players they've never heard of and will probably not even remember the next summer. I loved the descriptions of Cape Cod life, specifically where baseball fit in among the locals and the tourists. Having seen it first-hand, I know that it is just as idyllic as Collins makes it seem.

Of course, the book would be twice as sappy as Field Of Dreams if that were all the author wrote about, so he does also include the facts of the season's games and the professional prospects for the various players involved. I'm sure the author was disappointed when the A's, perennial league contenders, had an uninspired, below-.500 season, providing little excitement for the game rerporting in his book. But he does a good job inserting a little tension, as the few players he focuses on fall under the watchful eyes (and radar guns) of the pro teams' scouts. Unfortunately, this leads to the inevitable epilogue, in which Collins relates the results of the college draft and how much money each player received in signing bonuses. This final insertion of the business side of pro baseball was an unwelcome ending to a book that otherwise had restored my faith in the National Pastime.

Posted by JoshHornik at 08:47 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 07, 2005

New R. Pig pic

Lauri mentioned the other day that she thought Lauren Graham, star of WB mega-hit show Gilmore Girls, seemed like the type to wear a Reclining Pig shirt and, sure enough, a little searching on the Internet revealed this picture. Thanks to Web site "Super Hottie - Lauren Graham". (Note: although I appreciate the sentiment, I am in no way associated with that site.)

Posted by JoshHornik at 01:06 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 06, 2005

See Sumo Live!

Tickets went on sale today for the Sumo tournament at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas on October 7-9. Available in single day or 3-day packages. I got mine!

Posted by JoshHornik at 04:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack