Today at THT

I watched the movie “Five Easy Pieces” for about the tenth time last night, and it never gets old. Fabulous movie. If someone told me I had a day to live, I’d probably cue it up.

But one thing has always bothered me about it. Well, not the movie, especially, but the reaction to its most famous scene. You know which one I’m talking about (and if you don’t, here it is). The reaction you often get to that are cheers for Nicholson for telling that waitress to hold the chicken between her knees. That’s great and all, but no one ever seems to remember Nicholson’s first line when they’re back in the car: “Yeah, well, I didn’t get it, did I?” referring to the toast he wanted. It’s not a scene of triumph. It’s a scene of impotent rage, and no one ever seems to acknowledge this.

Sometimes I feel like this with respect to a great article about why Jim Rice shouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame or why Derek Jeter’s defense is horrible. Sure, my first impulse is to cheer — and hear everyone else’s cheers too — but then I realize that no one’s mind has been changed. At least that of anyone who matters. Unworthy guys will be elected to the Hall, and Jeter — or Michael Young or someone else who occasionally looks slick but is actually terrible with the leather — will win the gold glove. The idiots win an awful lot, and because of it, it tempers my excitement.

Um, sorry about that, but my wife kind of hates that movie, so I had to talk to someone about it. Anyway, today at THT:

  • Josh Kalk presents an utter boatload of data on who are and who aren’t first pitch fastball hitters. The kicker: he concludes it by saying “there are a million different things that could be done with these data; I have just scratched the surface.” If that’s just scratching the surface, I’d like to see what Josh could do if he got a a MacArthur Grant or something and could just shut himself up in his room for five years cranking this stuff out.
  • Alex Eisenberg breaks down the development of Orioles prospect Jake Arrieta. Money quote:

    The more forceful the hip rotation, the more torque Arrieta creates between his torso and hips. The bigger the separation between his torso and hips, the more power is transmitted to the shoulder. The more power transmitted to the shoulder, the greater the potential for velocity–as long as the kinetic chain is in-sync throughout the delivery, which Arrieta’s is.

    That’s what SHE said.

  • Steve Treder continues his trek through left handed history, this time taking a look at the second basemen. Positions he will not be looking at: left handed martyrs (Joan of Arc), left handed cartoonists (Cathy Guisewite and Matt Groening), and left handed mass murderers (Jack the Ripper and the Boston Strangler). Go ahead. Look it up. I’ll be here later when you want to apologize for doubting me.
  • Finally, over at Fantasy Focus, Paul Singman hooks Alfonso Soriano up to the Consistency Meter. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Consistency Meter, the device’s primary component is an electrical measuring instrument which analyzes the subject’s galvanic skin response. By inducing a tiny electrical current through the body, the device measures changes in the electrical resistance of the human body. According to Fantasy Focus doctrine, the resistance corresponds to the “mental mass and energy” of the subject’s mind, which change when the subject thinks of particular mental images, known as engrams. At least that’s what Carty and those guys have been telling me at the meetings.
  • It seems like I’ve been doing this a lot lately, but I’m going to apologize in advance for what will be, in all likelihood, a very short day around here, as I have some business to attend to in town. Yes, I suppose that’s a rather dramatic way to put it, but I’ve always wanted to say it.

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    The Common Man
    The Common Man

    What about left-handed Presidents (Obama)?


    I feel the same way about “Catcher in the Rye.”  Everybody applauds Holden for his denunciation of phonies without realizing that he’s the biggest phony of them all.

    The only thing I know about “Five Easy Pieces” is that one scene, which I can’t stand.  Of course, I can’t stand Jack Nicholson.  But if that’s the context, maybe I should check it out.