Wednesday, May 7, 2008

You Can Stop the Sox...

You can stop them and contain them.

Funny story. I had an etire post written celebrating the Sox' 7th straight win. A funny thing happened on the way to victory. Julio Fucking Lugo. That's what happened.

Seriously, when is Theo going to get some grief for Lugo (not to mention the short leash on Renteria, A-Gone, etc.)? This guy is a freaking joke. He can't hit. He can't field. He doesn't even tug on his jock anymore so he even FAILS at comic relief.

I mean, seriously:

Anyway.... Might as well get it over and do Three things I noticed: (1) Youkilis is a baby. Nothing new here, but man, get a grip. Going that batshit crazy in the 5th inning over what really was a close pitch is asinine. He's a whiny player generally, but take stock of the situation. Getting thrown out in that situation (and it was close) would be like a defensive lineman getting a stupid unsportmanlike after stopping an offense on third and long.

(2) I think Ortiz's knee is actually o.k. Not sure if he had a cortisone shot and nobody's telling or if he's just working out whatever kinks he had, but he's looking more "normal" at the plate and was definitely hustling down the line tonight on the grounders he had.

(3) [Yes, I actually had the hubris to write this before the game ended] I actually feel a little bad for Tigers fans this year. I was one of the deluded who thought they'd tear through the season with a sick offense (every position player save one a former all star). I didn't realize how much their pitching would regress. D-Train is no surprise, but Verlander and Bonderman becoming (more) average were and that pen is just atrocious. The new guy (Cruetsa) wasn't that impressive tonight either. Shaping up to be a long season for them.

Some linking around:

Jere at Red Sox Fan in Pinstripe Territory has an interesting history lesson on the '04 (that's 1904) Sox. Great blog - very interactive, if a little focused on Yankee misery. He also has the most comprehensive Blogroll of Sox blogs I have seen (although sadly not mine).

Looks like Red Sox Chick had the same thought process I had while writing this post. From "looks like the Sox are taking this one" to "WTF Lugo you !%#^$&!"

Not much else of interest in Red Sox blogdom tonight. So it's on to....

The Taxes Update

I'm a bit late with this, but New York City is looking to tax carried interest in hedge funds and other private equity funds. Right now the "unincorporated business tax", which taxes partnerships and LLCs at a 4% rate, does not apply to profits from investment partnerships, so carried interest is currently not subject to this tax.

Not sure about the Journal's take on this. Most hedge funds already operate out of CT to minimize taxes on the management fee (which the UBT already applies to). Those that remain in NYC do so because they obviously see a business reason to do so, regardless of the already MUCH higher taxes in NYC. Not sure an additional 3 or so % tax on income that, for the most part, makes up less than 1/3 of an investment fund manager's comp is going to spark a massive "head for the hills" response.

The most interesting aspect of this is that it will serve as an incubator for the larger federal initiative of taxing carried interest as comp. If investment funds do not, in fact, leave New York after this tax is applied, that may convince some legislators to back additional federal taxes on carried interest (some legislators are reportedly concerned about driving funds offshore).

The Death Update

Today, a titan who nobody has ever heard of. Morgan Sparks was 91.

He invented the "practical transistor." Why is that a big deal? It's only the precursor technology to basically every electronic device in use today.

An appreciation is here. The obit is here.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

It's Been Such a Long Time...

.. I think I should be blogging.

With apologies to Boston (the band), I should either shut this thing down or actually make an effort to keep it updated. So. Here goes.

The Taxes Update

Lots of fun stuff has happened since the last update - we had Wesley "don't call me Wellesley, Jack Williams" Snipes sentenced to 3 years for criminal tax fraud. He is appealing. (obvious joke - his lawyers are also filing an appeal in his case. Heh).

What else? Oh yeah, the silly gas tax holiday. Real cute idea. Doesn't stand a chance of passing congress anyway. Wouldn't result in a reduction in gas bills more than a few dollars a month. I've been a full-on Hillary supporter throughout this process (see this for my initial long-winded concerns with Obama), but between this, her exploitation of the Wright issue, her cribbing famous Holocaust poems as anti-trade riffs... not much left there to like.

Except Chelsea. Mmmm.

That's it on taxes for now. Superficial I know. More detail will be forthcoming if I can manage to update this blog more than once every 3 months.

The Baseball Update

When I get my shit together, I'll post some pictures from opening day at Fenway. It was tremendous. Meanwhile, the Sox have been mainly as advertised, although it feels like they are on the verge of breaking out and having a nice 7 or 8 game winning streak, it hasn't happened yet. Only worrisome spots so far:

-- middle relief. Only Okajima has been really dependent. Delcarmen, Timlin, Hansen. Where's the second arm to pitch the 7th and 8th innings?

-- Dice-K. The command has been troubling all year, but he's just flat out getting lucky now. He happened to be pitching against a not-very-selective team last night (only Sheff, Ordonez and Guillen are particularly selective in that lineup), which bailed him out. Still, long-term, he's not going to be successful with a 1.5:1 K:BB ratio.

-- Ortiz. He seems to be coming around, but a chronic knee injury that doesn't seem to respond to surgery, treatment, days off is cause for concern.

That's about it. The other "disappointments" - Lugo, Drew, well we knew what we were expecting there, didn't we?

The Death Update

Taxwife has had a rough month. She lost both her grandfathers in April. One expected (cancer). One not. She is usually extraordinarily reserved and this was no exception. It is a tough thing - knowing "how to act", especially if you are the kind of person who worries about that on a daily basis. She was very strong through both services. Her grandfather (mom's dad) had an amazing turnout at his wake (or viewing hours). I learned many things I didn't know about him - president of local rotary club, many business connections in town - this was a guy who wasn't extraordinarily "connected", but a good man who naturally made friends and put people at ease.

But that made me think - why is it that there is always some surprise, some secret that we learn of people when they pass away. It's often something quite mundane, not the "he once killed a man for snoring too loud" kind of secret. Obviously everyone has aspects of their life and character and works that they want to keep secret, but these are often little nuggets of a person's character that you'd expect some people to wear as badges of honor. I don't have a ready example except for Taxwife's grandfather, who had these business connections and relationships, and all these friends who came out, but who was the most unassuming guy you'd meet. Something I found interesting. No more, no less.

That's it for tonight. More light stuff tomorrow hopefully. Take care.