Monday, August 30, 2010

MMS008 Advanced Jazz: Class is now in session

This is the cover for the latest chapter of the monthly Madlib series we've been blessed with this year, Medicine Show #8: Advanced Jazz. The painting is called "Jazzcats Crossing the Hudson" and features jazz pioneers like Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Sun Ra as they make their way towards New York City. Read more about the cover here.

The album is an 80-minute mix of jazz from the last 40 years with Madlib at the turntables throwing in his usual obscure skits and sounds in between the carefully chosen jazz records.* Since receiving this album last week I haven't listened to anything else, just letting it repeat over and over. I've never been a huge jazz fan but with my growing interest for the multifaceted Madlib, especially this year, my audio tastes have witnessed a very pleasing expansion of horizons. The previous Medicine Show, an album of Madlib's original jazz music called High Jazz, helped evolve my ear drums to the richness of this musical genre (although, I should point out that much of Madlib's jazz stuff seems to transcend the limits of any genre except maybe "cosmic music," if there is a such thing). I will have a double review of the Medicine Show's Summer of Jazz written soon but for now I'm still soaking in the sounds of Miles, Pharoah, Herbie, Mingus, and more. I suggest you do that too. You might learn something.

*I've tried to use the Shazam application on my phone to identify the tracks but the app has been completely stumped thus far. Madlib does it again! (Or Shazam sucks)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

It's been an amazing week...

That is to say, it is an amazing week when discovering the art of Gustav Klimt is merely a side note.

Here is his Tree of Life.

Modern Cinematic Brilliance

I had a chance to watch this movie the other day. First time I'd seen it in many years and this scene struck me as powerfully as it ever has. Just wonderful filmmaking.

Movie Videos & Movie Scenes at MOVIECLIPS.com

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Almost

Well tonight was almost a full moon and sure enough there was an almost no-hitter. The Texas Rangers held the Twins hitless until there was one out in the 9th inning.

I eagerly await tomorrow night's slate.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Tuesday's Full Moon Augurs Another No-Hitter

Since we've had three straight no-hitters that have all occurred on the night of the full moon (and because no-hit bids are happening often enough) I am predicting that we will see a no-hitter on Tuesday night August 24th which is a full moon. But who will throw it? I've identified some potential candidates out of the moundsmen who are scheduled to pitch that night. We can look at the batting average (since we're talking about a no-hitter, not necessarily a perfect game) of the opposing team and the batting average allowed and overall dominance of the starting pitcher. Keep in mind he'd also have to be a guy who can go the full 9 innings without getting pulled for running up a high pitch count (although that didn't stop Edwin Jackson two full moons ago when he threw 149 pitches).

We've actually got a few strong candidates pitching that night.

Most likely:
Adam Wainwright vs the Pittsburgh Pirates

By far the strongest candidate to throw a no-no on Tuesday, Wainwright is one of the most dominant pitchers in the league right now. He leads the NL in ERA and WHIP, ranks behind only Roy Halladay with his 5 complete games, and has the 4th most strikeouts in the league. He is facing a Pittsburgh Pirates lineup that has the second-worst batting average in all of baseball.

Other candidates:

Cole Hamels vs Houston Astros
Hamels had a game against St. Louis last month in which he allowed only 2 hits in 8 innings and before his most recent start (a clunker against the Giants) he had a string of 3 consecutive dominant games, striking out nearly ten per game during that span and pitching into the late innings each time. The Astros as a team are batting .246 on the year (ahead of only Pittsburgh in the NL) even though they've actually played a bit better of late. If it's not a no-hitter, it should still be a pretty dominant game for Cole Hamels.

R.A. Dickey vs Marlins, Josh Johnson vs Mets
The knuckleballing sensation known as R.A. Dickey nearly threw the first no-hitter in Mets history last week, giving up only 1 hit (to the pitcher Cole Hamels) while throwing a complete game. The Marlins rank in the bottom third in the majors with a .255 batting average and have been no-hit already this year but they've got plenty of threats in their lineup, particularly Hanley Ramirez. While Ramirez is having a subpar season by his own standards (117 OPS+ after three seasons above 140) he's still an excellent hitter and, as the leadoff man, will be granted at least 3 chances to hit Dickey's knuckler.

Opposing Dickey and the Mets will be the towering (6 foot 7) ace for the Marlins, Josh Johnson. For most of the year Johnson has been nearly untouchable but he's slowed down recently and was even knocked out of a game in the 4th inning by the Reds. The Mets are pretty bad in the batting average department (.248) and in Johnson's 12 innings against them so far this year they've batted just .182 against him. They've been pretty pathetic at the plate lately, culminating in a weak showing in Pittsburgh. They were held to 1 run on 5 hits earlier today against the Pirates' Zach Duke. Should be an interesting pitcher's duel in Queens.


Gio Gonzalez vs Cleveland Indians
He's prone to wildness so he might rack up a high pitch count but he still has the potential to dominate, especially against a flimsy Cleveland lineup (they were the victims in the famous Armando Galarraga perfect game incident). Opposing hitters are batting just .227 against Gonzalez this year.


Not likely but certainly possible:


Josh Beckett vs Seattle Mariners
Beckett hasn't had a good year at all so far. While his strikeout and walk numbers are fine (8 Ks and 2 walks per 9 IP), he's been shelled for an OPS against of .856. But on this night he'll be facing the absolute worst lineup in major league baseball. The Mariners are hitting a pathetic .238 as a team.

Gavin Floyd vs Baltimore Orioles
I see Floyd as the wild card of the group. He's been hit hard in his past two starts and these Baltimore Orioles he'll be facing are playing much better than the lowly O's I saw earlier this year at Petco. Floyd has occasionally put it all together and pitched some dominant games this year including a game at Wrigley in which he had a no-hitter going with two outs in the seventh inning. I don't think he'll get one against Showalter's boys but he belongs on this list as someone who might do it.

One-In-A-Million Shot Bonus:

Ervin Santana vs Tampa Bay Rays
Nothing against Santana, but this is just kind of a joke because the Rays have already been no-hit twice this year and once last year. In all seriousness though, it is definitely not out of the realm of possibility that the Tampa Bay Rays, who might be the best team in major league baseball (or, at worst, the second-best behind the Yankees), will go hitless in a game for the third time this season. Santana has three complete games already this year and has been pretty stingy in his two most recent starts, giving up 4 hits or less in both games. It would be a memorable and historic event if the Rays were the victims of a no-hitter again but perhaps not as strange as having four consecutive no-hitters occur on the night of a full moon.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Metempsychosis

Still finishing up a lengthy post on A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. I've got something else for the mean time.

This is an extremely interesting (though very low budget) documentary. Enjoy.


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Absent Note

I haven't been able to put anything up on the blog this week as I have been rehabbing a torn ligament in my knee and working on a huge post to come about A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man which will serve as an introductory post to my series on Ulysses. Hopefully that will be finished up this weekend.

At the moment I'm enjoying watching the Padres' newest pitching star, a young man who was born exactly one day after me in 1985. His name is Ernesto Frieri, he hails from Colombia and amazingly he wears the same jersey number (39) I've chosen to wear for most of my career as an ice hockey player.
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