Ok so the Nats related stuff is still going on over here. Any non-Nats or non-baseball stuff can be asked over here. I'll be checking this through Christmas and come back with something new the 26th or 27th barring some big move that I have to talk about so feel free to ask away.
Do you have any new terrible Christmas movie recommendations/reviews?
Oh god yes! Since Thanksgiving I've added about 15-20 new XMas movies to the list of ones I've seen. Mostly new ones but some old ones, and of course I've watched some returning classics. I'll hold off on any reviews as that could take up pages and hours. Instead I might live-tweet a day and night of watching nothing but Holiday movies.
I'll recommend a few but note that these are recommendations based on knowing what you are getting into here. These movies aren't fighting for an Oscar here. In terms of new movies "Married by Christmas" on the UP channel, which my cable guide assures me is a real thing, is probably the best one I've seen this year. It is completely shoehorned into the Christmas movie genre as the plot doesn't need to revolve around it but that'll happen. What is enjoyable about it, and probably biases me toward it, is it goes for actual laughs rather than the "A reindeer ate my hat!" kind of laughs that usually pepper these types of movies. I'm not saying it's a laugh riot. It's a generic sitcom. But in a world of romance movies aimed toward 40 year old housewives that's a big difference. The best generic one I watched this year, was actually a 2015 premiere I think "Sound of Christmas" on the Hallmark channel. If you want to just hit all the notes of this type of movie this is a fine example of the form. If you've seen that and want something new that fits the bill "My Christmas Dream" (not to be confused with the also new and also acceptable "A Dream of Christmas") with Danica McKellar would be my recommendation. Sometimes people you recognize from other stuff are just cashing those checks, but the stalwarts of the genre, your Chaberts, your Witts, your Cameron-Bures aren't. McKellar falls in this latter category.
To avoid? Assuming for you it's not "ALL OF THESE HARPER!" I've got a couple. Speaking of cashing checks, Eric McCormack and Kristin Davis do nothing for nobody in "Heavenly Christmas". The "Christmas with the Andersons" movie was unwatchable and coming from me, that's something. If you want to watch a BAD Christmas movie that's fun for being terrible, Haylie Duff's "Christmas Belle" is delightfully stilted, overacted, and filled with shirtless running.
Oh if you are into "movies normal people find watchable" here's a post I did a few years ago on what I watch of those.
Yankees were pretty good post trade deadline. Do they have a shot at second place in the division?
The Yankees have two issues. They weren't all that good last year. There are three other teams in the division were. Let's talk about the latter. The Red Sox have lost Ortiz but gained Sale and all those young guys have another year under their belt. It would be surprising if the Yankees can catch them given the gap in talent set up. The Orioles are a mirage managed by a quality manager. Unless Dylan Bundy becomes an ace it's hard to see where they've improved on last year and Jones and Davis could easily be falling into oblivion. They should be .500+, 81-84 range. The Blue Jays will lose Encarnacion and Dickey but the latter wasn't that important last year and you get the feeling they can make up the former. It's hard to believe their pitching will be better though as they were best in the AL last year. They'll probably be in the 84-87 range.
That gives the Yankees one or two more games to win - if they are better. But are they? They got some 2nd half performances that won't be repeated (Sanchez and Billy Butler hitting like .350!) and lost Beltran but I'd still expect the offense to be a tick better as they introduce some young blood into the lineup, bring in Holliday to just hit, and hopefully have some better health. But they were 12th in RS in the AL last year so a tick means only maybe average at best. So the pitching will have to carry them. The bullpen should be great again - Chapman, Betances (not closing), MLBs greatest middle reliever every Tyler Clippard. So the question comes down to the starting pitching. Tanaka is good enough to be your #1. Sabathia has learned how to effectively eat innings now. If Pineda or Severino can make a star turn the Yankees have a shot. If not, I just don't see how they don't get stuck where the Os will probably be. That leaves 2nd place possible if the Jays falter or the Red Sox surprisingly fall but not likely and probably not enough wins for a WC in any case.
Didn't the wedding coincide with NatsFest? Do you think most or all Nats were invited to Bryce's wedding, or just his good friends?
No he got married - seems like the 16th. Winterfest was the previous weekend. It interfered with a Duke UNLV game which is why Bryce wasn't there (and wedding planning - sure). I'd guess just good friends were invited out but not everyone. It's like giving out rings - where do you draw the line?
Recommend an introductory volume or two on baseball analytics for those, such as myself, who are stats curious, but not SAS programmer-types. Thanks?
OK I have an answer. People seem to like "Baseball Between the Numbers", "The Book: Playing the Percentages" and I've seen a couple recommened "Understanding Sabermetrics"
What is your favorite Christmas Carol?
Straight up "carol"... I do love the urgency of "Carol of the Bells" but the Trans-Siberian Orchestra version has kind of ruined it? I mean I kind of like that song while acknowledging it's too much. A well sung "O Holy Night" can be super powerful but it needs a great voice behind it. So I'll go with the jaunty "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen"
For songs... I mean there are so many good ones. The solid swing of "Let it Snow" (Vaughn Monroe version please) The joyous bombast of "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year". The longing soul of "Please Come Home for Christmas" The creepy fun of "Zat you Santa Claus". The Elvis-ness of "Blue Christmas" I could make a top 10 list - so I will. But I already know #1. The simple straight forward "Have a Holly Jolly Christmas" - Burl Ives version - album Burl Ives not shortened Rudolph Burl Ives. There's just a touch of mischeviousness in it that appeals to me so much.
Can I pretend that Star Wars 7 and Rogue One are Christmas movies?
THERE IS ONE STAR WARS CHRISTMAS THING AND EVERYONE SHOULD (TRY TO) WATCH IT.
Have the Nationals been trying to sell the naming rights to Nats Park?
Yes. They kind of made on and off gestures early on probing the market but didn't like what they found. They made it known last year that they now were definitely looking to sell them again. What's the hold up? I assume what holds up all Nats deals. They have a set value in mind and aren't looking to go much under that. It may seem small but if you think you can get 10 mill a year and someone is offering you 7 - these are usually 10+ year deals. That's 30 million you cost yourself. So in theory you can wait 4 years before you'd start to "lose" money by have not taking that deal. (Sort of - it's all a rich tapestry of when the deal ends and other deals changing market etc)
My guess right now is too is that the digital billboard thing will have to be settled before they sell. Right now the council approved them - but not as many or on as long as the Nats wanted. They may try again? Sue? Who knows? They really have to sell this year though because a big ad thing - the All-Star game - is set for 2018. Once that is past the deal loses value. So don't expect to be going to Nationals Park on Opening Day 2018.
Would you rather have a crazy, win at all costs owner of the Nats (think Dan Snyder) or an owner that tries to run the franchise in a more respectful/classy way (aka Lerner's)?
I'm going to choose the latter, but it's not a slam dunk. I think the key word in the whole question is "crazy". This to me signifies, much like it has with Snyder, that the guy doesn't have a good idea on how to translate his money and effort into wins. He puts too much stock in his own opinions, doesn't hire the right people, etc. A guy like this is just as likely to drive the team into the ground for half a decade as he is to make a couple years of runs into the playoffs.
Throwing money around (in baseball*) IS very effective. In my opinion most of us could create a "winner" with just an unlimited payroll and a fair sense of the game. But that just means being over .500. Getting to playoffs regularly takes some skill. Getting to the playoffs as a favorite even more. So unless I can confirm that the win at all costs guy isn't an idiot - give me the latter group
*Baseball's salary structure lends itself to being able to bludgeon your way to over .500 with money. NFL does not. Instead money in the NFL seems to create a floor around 5 wins. It's hard to be truly terrible by spending a lot.