Flashback: “Walk On By” by Isaac Hayes

I’m not the biggest fan of remade songs, generally. Just like I’m not the biggest fan of movies being remade. But there are exceptions to everything in life, and this is one of them.

The original version of “Walk On By” was performed by Dionne Warwick in 1964. Five years later, Isaac Hayes came out with this 12-minute epic, expanding on what was already a great song.

Be back soon with some more STUFF…

I Got Those Windows 10 Blues Again, Mama

The magical date of July 29th has arrived, so I hit a few buttons and upgraded to Windows 10 on my “workhorse” computer. I started upgrading a little past midnight, with the new operating system ready to go as I woke up around 6am, realizing I had left my computer on which I don’t ordinarily do at night when the day is over.

I already had Windows 10 (or a build of it, anyway) on the “backup” computer I had use between April to June when I had thought the workhorse had crashed. It would take hours for the computer to upgrade between builds, so I was pleasantly surprised to see everything ready so quick. Also, I think you’ll find that “10” isn’t the drain on memory capacity that 8.1 was. I run a program called SmartRAM as part of Advanced System care, and I can see that I’ve gain about half a gig of active memory with the upgrade.

One word of warning: some of the buttons on the new operating system won’t be ready right out of the box. It must “communicate” with Windows servers somewhere, so in the first few minutes hitting the Start button or asking for Cortana confuses it a bit. It will be clunky at first, so go run an errand or two before you sit down and belly up for some computer.

If this is supposed to be progress, Microsoft is doing good work. I just wonder what happens to our society if something happens like an EMP attack and we wind up having to use our brains a bit harder to do things again.

Hulk Vs. Hulk

hoganpoint

As some of you may have heard, Hulk Hogan (real name: Terry Bollea) is in some trouble. having recently been fired from the WWE for use of racial slurs caught on tape back in 2012.

I think his career in terms of TV and wrestling is pretty much finished. He may wind up doing a podcast like several other of his colleagues do, but in this day and age if you use the N word, you’re pretty much finished. Look at what happened to Mel Gibson and Michael Richards, the guy who played Cosmo Kramer in Seinfeld. Has Mr. Richards had a prominent role since his racist tirade was caught at a comedy club in LA a few years back?

Watching a lot of wrestling in my childhood, I’m fully aware of how there have been racially based characters who come from “deepest darkest Africa” who just so happen to be fully versed at how wrestling holds work, or how race was often used to sell tickets in the past few decades. Say an African-American wrestler is bad guy and one of his associates goes off on a racist tangent. When the black wrestler tries to straighten out his white partner, he usually would get assaulted (for story line purposes) and thus would turn “babyface” defending his honor and race simultaneously.

You don’t see those “black versus white equals green” story lines anymore these days, and for good reason. The business Hulk Hogan is in got smarter. He didn’t.

The Money Man

Donald Trump: our next President?
Donald Trump: our next President?

I’m not a big fan of Donald Trump, let me say that right off the top. I always thought he destroyed the United States Football League back in the 1980’s by wanting to switch the league from a spring to summer season to a fall and winter season.

Nor was I big fan of his recreation of an old wrestling angle by saying John McCain isn’t a war hero simply because he got caught. This was one of the first wrestling angles I ever saw back in 1976, with Bob Roop playing the Trump role, saying disparaging things about Steve Keirn’s father, who was a real-life POW. All I remember was Keirn LEAPING over Gordon Solie’s podium to attack Roop one Saturday night to get at him! That got the politicians talking about him, but more importantly, it got all of US talking about him.

Yesterday, he gives out Lindsey Graham’s old cell phone number, which may or may not be in use today. Graham couldn’t hide his rage, calling Trump a jackass on TV late last night. But again: look what happened. The politicians started talking about him, and so did we. I heard Art Bell going on about him last night in the first half-hour of his show, saying he’s a forced to be reckoned with, because most of America is fed up with the way things are.

Donald Trump knows what he’s doing, and he’s not afraid to talk about what the other politicians don’t. The media hates him, and wants to keep him out of debates. So what? If they do that, they feed in to exactly what he’s trying to accomplish. At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s on the ballot in November of 2016 as the Republican nominee. If not, I could see him running as an Independent, which could really buck the system even if he wins a state or two and keeps someone from winning the Electoral College.

Trading The Franchise?

Evan Longoria, currently with the Tampa Bay Rays. Could he be going elsewhere?
Evan Longoria, currently with the Tampa Bay Rays. Could he be going elsewhere?

More and more, I’m seeing talk of Evan Longoria of the Tampa Bay Rays being traded to another MLB club due to declining abilities.

If you look at things statistically, such talk is balderdash…for now.

When I watch the Rays, I usually have the computer on playing a simulation called Out Of The Park Baseball, which I have talked about before. To analogize OOTP wouldn’t be fair to it really, but let me attempt it. It is basically the history of baseball on a giant spreadsheet with infinite ways to modify it.

Playing OOTP, for me the key statistic to look at is called WAR, which is short of Wins Above Replacement. When I play the sim against the computer, I look at players below 0 in WAR once the season is at least 25% over with, and I trade only those people during the course of the season. A good GM in OOTP and in MLB strives to find players who can give them an upgrade in WAR, and players who are cost effective to acquire based on WAR. For example, if a player has a 5 WAR rating makes $25-million a year, and if another player has a 3 WAR making $7-million a year, it is more cost effective to take the latter player when available. You want good players at good bargain prices.

During the past two seasons, Evan’s WAR slipped from 6.2 playing 160 games in 2013 to 3.3 playing all 162 games in 2014. He has a 2.5 rating playing 93 of the team’s 95 games so far, so that projects to 4.3 if he plays every game the rest of the year if his stats continue as they have.

While Longoria’s stats are improving from last year in terms of WAR, people forget that he made $6-million two years ago when his WAR was at 6.3. He makes $11-million this season, so if his 4.3 WAR stat for this year verifies, he becomes nearly three times less cost effective as he was two seasons ago if you divide his salary by his WAR.

Should the Rays get rid of Evan now? NO. Who are the Rays going to get a third to replace him at his caliber under Tampa Bay’s present economic conditions?

Should the Rays consider it once the season ends? YES. The off-season will give them a lot more time to mull things over, whereas the rush to the trade deadline at the end of this month might trigger a bad decision.

By The Authority Of Major League Baseball

Another story from the follow-up file today.

About a month ago, I had mentioned Bobby Crosby and his Dodgerfilms YouTube site that had been gaining a lot of attention. A couple of weeks back, Crosby was told not to film any more from Dodger Stadium. While his films had game footage, the main part of the story was he and his buddies shagging fly balls in left field during batting practice.

It’s a shame the Dodgers took that angle, though I understand the complications legally. However, Bobby always put the games and the Dodgers in a positive light, and they let him slide doing this for several years. It would have made a lot more sense to enforce their legalese on him earlier instead of letting it slide until now.

If you have a rule, and you need to enforce it, why wait forever to do it? It makes no sense.

Welcome Back, Art

He's back!
Art Bell, returning to the airwaves.

The last time I had mentioned Art Bell was back in November of 2013 when his XM show started up, and very quickly shut down.

Tonight, he returns with a test broadcast, with a full-fledged debut tomorrow night of his newest talk show, “Midnight In The Desert” on the Dark Matter Radio Network, airing over scores of stations nationwide.

After his last venture, I didn’t think the radio business would welcome him with open arms, but the radio business being what it is today, they have welcomed him back once more. I do not mean that as an indictment on my former industry, but more as a testament to the kind of radio Art does. He builds an audience and keeps an audience, no matter who he has on, or if he has nobody on but himself in what they call an “open lines” show.

Best of luck, Art.

What’s Those Numbers On The Screen, Daddy?

Yesterday was the 40th anniversary of the last Apollo rocket launched from Cape Canaveral, a Saturn I-B with three astronauts on board that were going to dock with a Soviet Soyuz rocket with two more cosmonauts on board that particular rocket.

Believe it or not, I remember it, even though I was two months shy of four at the time.

My mom and dad each worked at the Publix at Indian Rocks Shopping Center in Largo, Florida. My dad would work mornings until the early afternoon while my mother tended to me. Then I got in the car with her and went to work, then came home in Dad’s car a few minutes later.

One of the things I wound up watching a lot in those years was game shows, and it always seemed Channel 13 (WTVT, then the CBS station, now a FOX station) was on. I’m pretty sure that watching shows like Gambit, The Price Is Right, The Match Game and others taught me how to count and do math. My mother tells me I could read the TV Guide at a young age and figure out what was on what channel.

One day I’m watching The Match Game (which I really didn’t understand at the time, but I always found it funny when Gene Rayburn said the word “blank” for some reason) when I see the face of News Guy (Walter Cronkite), and seeing what looked like this candle on the screen with a bunch of numbers on the bottom turning.

Was this some kind of game show? The numbers made think so, and my dad made sure I kept watching, as something was going on that was important.

Soon, this candle rose from its stand, and I watched in amazement as it soared into the heavens. I didn’t really understand it at the time, but I must have thought it was really cool.

Even More Contrarian Telephone Tactics

Today, I’m getting calls out of the woodwork. Scams that I thought I have long since dispersed with are now back in full force.

Like the “Card Services” people. Just got a call from Anderson, South Carolina. The problem is that these “card services” people who keep telling you that they are giving you a final notice (and then keep calling after that, so it’s not final at all) can’t seem to tell you whose card is the one they are doing the services for.

I press “1” to talk to someone live, and they ask if I am indeed inquiring about the offer. The voice mail at the start of the call doesn’t offer an opt-out option, keep in mind.

“Nope, I’m just calling to waste your time. DO keep calling, though.” That seems to freeze people on the opposite end of the phone.

I also got a local call from one of the energy line people who I’ve repeatedly told that the matter is irrelevant, because my landlord contractually handles those matters. Do they listen? Of course not. They waste our time because they can. My idea is to throw that weapon back at them. When they figure out a tactic, I change tactics, like a poker player changes strategies in the middle of a tournament.

As you may have noticed, I have a last name in Blom that a lot of people think is B-l-o-o-m, or so they mispronounce repeatedly. I often use this to my advantage. When they ask for Mr. Bloom, I tell them that they have the wrong number. Hey, it’s not my problem they can’t get my name right, and it’s not going to be made my problem.

About a year ago, somebody caught on to what I was doing.

“We KNOW who you are, Mr. Bloom,” the caller told me.

“And you have NO idea how wrong you are,” I shot back.

If I am paying karma for blogging about these hockers invading my phone lines, bring it on. I don’t fear these people. I used to be one of them, and I might just be one of them again, you never know.

The Contrarian View Of Getting Unwanted Calls

Whenever I get a phone call from a source I don’t recognize, I answer it. A lot of people on the Internet say you shouldn’t, which is exactly why I do it.

I get some weird calls.

There’s this air conditioning company in Tampa that calls us yearly, try to get me to switch over to them. It hasn’t dawned on them that if I wasn’t interested the year before, nor the year before that and so on, why would I be interested now?

They will ask for me by my last name, and when they do, I stay silent. I make them earn the information they attain. When they ask questions, I only answer with either yes or no.

Googling phone numbers helps to weed out the scammers, although it’s tricky to do WHEN you’re on the phone with one of them.

Take these people who claim to be from Microsoft (not my first rodeo with these scammers), calling you from phone lines that sounds like they’re from India or the Philippines. That’s because they ARE from those two countries. I laugh at them, because they don’t realize they are dealing with someone in myself who knows his way around the computer.

I ask one of them: “If you’re from Windows, what operating system do I have?” (Currently, I have an 8.1, but let’s not tell them that, okay?)

They demanded that I listen to them, doing so without answering my question. I hung up. I don’t threaten them, I just give these kind of people EVERY time they call the message that if you call, I will make it unworthy of your while.

Another group of people say (and I used to think this way as well) you should never hit the number to be taken off of the “phone list” of these unwanted calls. Again, I hold a contrarian view on that. I always hit “3” or “9” or whatever that number is on the voice mail. It doesn’t make sense to me to do otherwise. Why get rid of one type of call when you can get rid of all of them relatively quickly? More pain, but more gain.

There is the herd mentality, then there is the intelligent mentality. I usually strive for the latter of the two.