Players need to receive 75 percent of the vote to be elected. On Tuesday, Bonds received 66 percent, and Clemens got 65.2 percent in their last year of eligibility. Pitcher Curt Schilling, also in his final year on the ballot, earned 58.6 percent of the vote.

Big Papi Ortiz clocked in at 77.9, coincidentally the same as his time in the 100-yard dash, and just enough to get into Cooperstown in his first try.

The much-loved Big Papi was a classy and positive gentleman as always, issuing the following statement:

“I don’t even compare myself to them (Bonds and Clemens) because I saw so many times those guys performing and it was something that was very special. Not having them join me at this time is something that is hard for me to believe.”

In terms of impact on the team, the Red Sox’s acquisition of Big Papi was one of the most significant moves in post-WW2 baseball, comparable to the D-Backs signing Randy Johnson, or the Dodgers picking up Jackie Robinson. Ortiz placed in the top five in the MVP balloting in each of his first five years with the team, and the Sox won the World Series twice in those five years, after having failed to do so in the last 84 pre-Ortiz seasons. And then they won another before he retired. His lifetime World Series batting average is .455, the highest of all time among players with at least 40 plate appearances. He batted over .300 in his first two World Series, and then he almost won that third one by himself, batting an unearthly .688 to become the obvious MVP.

One of the nicest things about his career is that he went out on top. He had one of his best years in his last season at age 40 – leading the league in slugging percentage, RBI and OPS. He was such a feared hitter at the end of his career that he led the league in intentional walks in three of his last four seasons.

He is renowned for his clutch performance, but he was just a damned good hitter, clutch or otherwise. His lifetime OPS is among the top 40 of all time. Here are some players with a lower career OPS: Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson, Albert Pujols, Al Simmons, Mike Schmidt, Ken Griffey Jr …

I’ve made my point. Good individual player. Good team player. Fan favorite. Good guy. He’s in and he deserves it.

The full COVID update for Tuesday is here.

The case numbers in the USA are now dropping. For twelve consecutive days the numbers have been lower than the same day of the previous week. In the past three days, the percentage declines are in the twenties.

Hospitalizations have also started a slow downward turn. The number of hospitalized Americans with COVID is about 3% less than it was a week earlier. Given that the decline in “new cases” started 12 days ago, and given that hospitalization trends trail new cases by about two weeks, this is starting to turn downward right on schedule.

Fatalities, however, are not declining, to say the least. The seven-day average is 26% higher than it was on the same day last week. The last time it was this high or higher was last February 14th. Remember that the fatality trends usually trail the case trends by about three weeks, and the spread was really rampant three weeks ago. It may be another week or more before there are any positive indicators in this metric.

—-

Although the United States has started to follow the South African model in terms of its experience with omicron, France has not. It just keeps getting worse. On Tuesday, France reported more than 500,000 cases, its all-time high. That’s even more cases than the United States, despite the facts that (1) the USA has five times as many people; (2) the USA itself is in serious trouble, with case levels at eight times the red line. In starkest terms, France was more than fifty times the red line! I have tried to research why France’s numbers are so bad and still increasing, but I have yet to find a convincing explanation.

My working hypothesis is that COVID is spread by eating snails and surrendering.

(Just fuckin’ witcha, Frenchies.)

“They were very proud to cast a Latina actress as Snow White. But you’re still telling the story of ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.’ Take a step back and look at what you’re doing there. It makes no sense to me. You’re progressive in one way but then you’re still making that fucking backwards story about seven dwarfs living in a cave together.”

So said Dinklage on Marc Maron’s podcast from Dinklage’s home, which ironically is a cave he shares with a coked-out Colombian chick and six other guys his size.

Disney’s response:

“We are taking a different approach with these seven characters and have been consulting with members of the dwarfism community.”

The dwarfism community? I had no idea dwarfism was an adjective. Anyway, I suppose a dwarfism community typically consists of seven members.

More details have come out about those different, highly sophisticated approaches promised by Disney:

1. The little fellows will now all be brothers, which explains why they live together, and they will be accorded a last name in an effort to lend them more dignity than just calling them “Sneezy” or “Dopey.” Their last name will be Klein, a distinguished German name.

2. And their first names will be Smarmy, Silly, Slimy, Sleazy, Sneaky, Tipsy and oddly enough, Kevin.

3. They will all by played by average-sized actors, and Snow White will be played by a 6’11” Latina.

4. In a brilliant piece of casting, the part of Kevin Klein will be played by Kevin Kline. The other casting hasn’t been finalized, but they want Hugh Grant for Smarmy Klein. Like all other American filmmakers, the producers are required by law to cast J.K. Simmons, probably as Sneaky Klein.

5. They are no longer miners. Now they spend the live-long day cobbling shoes as they sing merry tunes. They receive no pay except the joy that any of us can receive from providing taller people with comfortable footware. Given that the story takes place in Vietnam, I assume they work for Nike.

6. They don’t live in a cave, dammit. That would be a demeaning cliche. They live in a gingerbread house.

There has been a lot of talk about sanctions against Russia for a Ukrainian invasion, and what Russia may do in rebuttal. I have read a lot about how the Russians may engage in monumental hacking attacks, or how they may cut off Europe’s critical fuel supplies.

What I have not read is this: Russia and its evil half-brother Kazakhstan supply 38% of America’s uranium. Uzbekistan, where my family comes from, is not as subservient to Russia, but they would have to comply if Russia made them an offer they can’t refuse, and they supply another 8% of America’s needs. All told, that’s nearly half of our uranium that Russia can control if it chooses to.

The United States has 56 nuclear power plants supplying power to 28 different states. Together those plants supply about a fifth of all power in the United States. If Russia and Kazakhstan were to impose an embargo on the sale of Uranium to the USA, it would have a massive impact on energy production. America’s allies, notably Australia and Canada, have substantial uranium resources, but can’t immediately supplant the supply from Russia and its allies. Similarly, nuclear power can eventually be replaced by other forms of energy, but not overnight. If Russia decided to take the most dramatic action and cut America off, a disruption like this could create chaos in the stock market, and could wreak havoc on everyday life in certain parts of the country.

Russia and the Kazakhs may not want to do this because they make a profit selling that uranium to the USA, so an embargo is a lose-lose, but they can do it if they feel it is necessary.

And you may have read this somewhere – Mr. Putin is not an especially nice person.

If we were to give a lifetime achievement award for filmed nudity, who would be the very first recipient?

Winslet?

Connelly?

Kinski?

Bellucci?

Mirren?

Cotillard?

Green?

Moore?

Gemser?

Kidman?

Fenech?

Jolie?

Kristel?

Russ Meyer?

Jesus Franco?

Tinto Brass?

Uncle Scoopy?

other?’

Here is an interesting supplement to the discussion: “Actors And Actresses Who Spend The Most Screen Time Nude.” I have no idea whether it is accurate or who they chose to exclude. I take it that it’s just A-listers (or close), but in that case Emmanuelle Beart should qualify, as she spent more time naked in one film (La Belle Noiseuse) than any of those actresses have done in their entire careers. And how did Kate Winslet not make the list?

It’s not dead yet, but it’s about to go on the gurney when the “bring out your dead” guy arrives.

The Supremes have agreed to hear the discrimination suits against Harvard and UNC

“The advocates who first developed the Harvard and UNC lawsuits in 2014 aspired to an eventual battle at the Supreme Court, where affirmative action has been upheld only through fragile one-vote margins.”

Given the new roster on the court, I see no chance for affirmative action to survive. Those one-vote decisions belong to the past. Even Justice Roberts, who often sides with the liberals, has been an opponent of the practice. It’s not just the composition of the court that seems to doom affirmative action. There is also law and that pesky Constitution. I believe that affirmative action is good for society, but it’s difficult to find any legal basis for it.

Take note of these two points:

  • “Harvard argued that it considers race in a flexible way that benefits all highly qualified candidates. Its lawyers told the trial court that the college could fill its freshman class entirely with applicants who had perfect test scores and grades, but that it wanted a different mix on campus, a broader range of talent and life experiences.”
  • “The lower US courts that ruled for Harvard and the University of North Carolina in the dual-track cases, however, said the programs used race in a sufficiently limited way to fulfill compelling interests in diversity.”

You see what the Harvard defense and the lower court rulings have in common? They have absolutely no basis in law or the Constitution. They are based on social justice arguments rather than the actual pertinent law. What Harvard “wanted” is not the same as what Harvard must do under the law, and “compelling interests in diversity” is a social engineering argument, not a legal one.

On the other hand, the case against Harvard was brought under Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibits schools receiving federal funds from discriminating based on race. The UNC lawsuit similarly claims Title VI grounds, as well as a violation of the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection of the law, which covers state institutions. Those are valid legal arguments. Justice Roberts himself famously declared, “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.”

I have mixed feelings about this matter. I believe in the benefits of affirmative action, and even some of America’s prominent conservative voices have agreed with me, but its legal basis has always been tenuous at best, and I believe that the current conservative Supreme Court is highly unlikely to uphold it. If you’re a betting man, the over/under is that six judges will vote against Harvard and UNC.

And it only costs $75.

image host

I’m not up on the current price list in the world of sex workers, but I’m guessing you can probably still smell a real vagina for that price, but it probably won’t smell like, “notes of coconut milk and Damascena roses mixed with raw vanilla, hinoki cypress and hints of toasted cacao.”

It would probably be more accurate to say “new music is killing new music,” but …

“The 200 most popular new tracks now regularly account for less than 5 percent of total streams. That rate was twice as high just three years ago. Old songs now represent 70 percent of the U.S. music market. Even worse: The new-music market is actually shrinking.”

“The declining TV audience for the Grammy show underscores this shift. In 2021, viewership for the ceremony collapsed 53 percent from the previous year—from 18.7 million to 8.8 million. It was the least-watched Grammy broadcast of all time. A decade ago, 40 million people watched the Grammy Awards.”

Kay came very close to major stardom. She has a solid TV resumé, but never really got an important part in an acclaimed film. You know how it is in show biz. Some people get more of a career than they deserve, some get less. Kay probably deserved a little bit better than she got. You might say she is the poor man’s Diane Lane, a capable enough actress who also just happened to be a sexy woman with a good body.

She certainly got out of the gate quickly. She was only 19 when she landed her first big role, starring opposite Bill Holden in a film directed by Clint Eastwood. That’s some big time Hollywood, right there. Later in the 70’s she made some interesting films with stars like Lee Marvin and Oliver Reed, and she was always part of “the beautiful people” spotlight because of her marriage to teen idol David Cassidy. Unfortunately, none of her films were really big winners, either as commercial hits or critical successes, and by 1987-1988 she was reduced to doing grade-B films to keep her movie career alive.

But she is still working today, as she approaches 70. She’s no longer a star, but she’s working.

Captures from a new set of HD clips by the clip master, Aesthete.


image host image host image host image host image host image host image host image host