NFC & AFC Title Game Predictions for Sunday January 20, 2013
Well, we’re down to the “final four” of our annual NFL Super Bowl tournament.  
Last Week’s Picks
We did very, very well again with last week’s picks–we picked every game correctly, and only missed the Denver-Baltimore game, which was decided by a FG in a second overtime, 38-35.  But for the Baltimore upset, we would have been 4 for 4.

Taking the prior weekend’s picks into account, we are 6 for 8 or batting .750.  Not too shabby.  
The Super Bowl was Named for the Wham-O “Super Ball”.  See Discussion, Below.  I had one of these when I was a kid. As you can plainly see, SuperBalls were made of “amazing Zectron”.
Before we get to Denver-Baltimore, let’s go over the other games.  SF-Green Bay played out like we saw it in the first half, a very close game.  In the second half, Green Bay seemed to play tired, like a team coming off a wild card round, while SF seemed like the rested team they were, and SF steadily pulled away in the second half.  While it was surprising that QB Aaron Rodgers did not provide more offense in the 2d half, it’s also true that he was slightly missing on some throws while SF seemed to make all the big plays.  Again, fatigue has to play a role in things like that, and Rodgers, for Green Bay to win, has to toss it up there @50 times a game.    
The Seahawks-Falcons game also played out like we thought through @ 2 1/2 quarters, with the Falcons in firm control and up twenty points.  Then, the Seahawks, as with last week, mounted a furious comeback, eventually taking the lead 28-27 with less than a minute to go.  This again shows how evenly matched those teams were,and how very good a coach Pete Carroll is–his team never quit, even though they were on the road and they were tired.  You had to love the way Seattle played.  But even better was the way Atlanta responded–by going fifty yards in less than 20 seconds and then kicking the GW FG–showing that Matt Ryan’s experience–something we touted last week–together with the home field advantage–kicking in a dome is FG friendly–would prove very helpful to the Falcons when it came down to it.  So we got that one right.  Barely, but right.
Finally, we got the Pats-Texans game exactly right.  The Texans are a fine team, but they can’t keep up with the Pats’ offense, and they can’t hold them defensively.  That was not even a close game, and we didn’t think it would be, so we picked that one correctly and for the right reasons.  
So where did we go wrong with Denver?  What is the lesson?  Never pick Peyton Manning against Ray Lewis in a playoff game?  Well actually Peyton Manning was 2-0 vs Baltimore in prior playoff games.   
Here’s a stat worth considering:  Jake the Snake Plummer and Tim Tebow each have more playoff wins in a Denver Broncos jersey as starting QBs, than Peyton Manning.  This has to be embarassing to Peyton Manning, whose little brother Eli Manning of the NY Giants has two Super Bowl wins against the NE Pats on his resume to Peyton’s one win in the Super Bowl.
Well, we said Ray Lewis was a warrior, and in the end, the Baltimore Defense made Peyton Manning look awful.  They won the game by forcing him to roll right in OT, and make a terrible off balance throw that resulted in an interception, a throw that Peyton Manning never makes, normally speaking.  This results in an INT, Baltimore gets the ball, goes down and kicks the GW FG, game over.  
This is really the story.  
Ravens at Pats 3 PM Sunday AFC Championship
First, we have the Baltimore Ravens at the New England Patriots in the early game, scheduled for 3 pm in New England, in a rematch of last years AFC title game.  There are three games we can look at here.
Initially, we have this years game between the two teams, which the Ravens won 31-30 on a GW FG as time expired, in week 3 of the season, back in September, in Baltimore.  The Baltimore defense essentially held Brady in check while Flacco & the Baltimore offense scored 10 unanswered points in the last five minutes of the game to beat the Pats.  Strong stuff.  
Second, you have last years AFC championship game, which the Pats won 23-20.   However, as everyone knows, Baltimore had a chip shot FG to tie, which Billy Cundiff missed with barely any time left on the clock, and Baltimore had numerous other opportunities in the 4th Quarter to come back from a 23-20 deficit.  The Pats were very lucky to escape out of that game as victors.  
Third, you have the 2009 wild card round game, wherein Baltimore came into New England and soundly whipped them, 33-14.  
Baltimore is the one team in the AFC that really gives Tom Brady trouble.  
Baltimore will be motivated to win because they lost last year, because Ray Lewis is looking at his last year, and because they know they can beat this New England team.  
On paper, this matchup strongly favors the Patriots, and they are at home, but the pick here is the Ravens in an upset.  
Ray Lewis is going to the Super Bowl.  
49ers at Falcons – NFC Championship
This is a very closely matched game on the stats.  Common opponents don’t really say much–the 49ers beat the Saints, while the Falcons split with the Saints, winning one and losing one.  The 49ers split with the Seahawks, winning one and losing one, while the Falcons hung on to beat the Seahawks in the playoff game this past weekend.  All this tells us is that both teams can play against very good opponents like the Seahawks and Saints and beat them on a given day.  It also tells us on any given Sunday either of them might lose to the Saints or the Seahawks, which we probably already knew, and therefore, there’s no 100% probability that if these guys played three games, one team would sweep all three–much more likely that there would be a split and then a deciding game.  
However, they only play one, and in this one, we pick the 49ers. The Falcons have much going for them–the home field, Matt Ryan being due, and Atlanta being ripe for a trip to the Super Bowl.  But on the other side you have a very tough SF 49er team, which features the rushing attack of one day HOFer Frank Gore (U. Miami Hurricane), who is 3d among career RBs in career rushing, just behind Adrian Peterson and both trailing Steven Jackson.  Gore is supplemented by a running QB in Colin Kaepernick, and a fervent defense.  
David Akers, who is a veteran kicker, should be an advantage, but he presents some weakness from beyond 40 yards, especially compared to Atlanta’s kicker Bryant.  If it comes down to FGs, there is an edge somewhat to Atlanta, though the dome will help both kickers.    The pick is still the 49ers.  
We mentioned great RBs last week–but we forget to mention Emmitt Smith and Tony Dorsett among the greatest ever.  Smith is obviously among the greatest RBs ever to play the game, and a true champion, while Tony Dorsett, also a Dallas Cowboy great, could also do it all.  Both were great rushing as well as receiving, and both were durable and versatible backs who were at their best in the playoffs and in the biggest games.  No one could possible leave them off their teams.  Another mention has to be made of Franco Harris, the powerful and durable back of the Steelers dynasty of the 1970s.  
We were once (several of us) at a Penn-Princeton football game  many years back and sitting right in front of us, was Franco Harris, who was watching his son with the Princetonians.  He looked pretty much as he did during his playing days, and on his fingers were the four Super Bowl rings–quite a sight, mind you.  
We were not worthy.  
In fairness, you’d want a Franco Harris or an Emmitt Smith or a Tony Dorsett on your team any day of the week.  They were winners, and I can’t count how many Super Bowls, Conference Championships, playoff games, they all won  collectively, but it has to be a ton.  
The Name of the Super Bowl Derived from the Wham-O Super Ball, as Shown by This Exhibit in the Pro Football HOF in Canton, OH.  The fact that Lamar Hunt coined the name is recited therein.  The owners had decided to call it the “AFL-NFL Championship Game”.  Well, you see how well that worked.  No .92 resiliency coefficient.  “After watching his children play with a Super Ball, Lamar Hunt, founder of the American Football League, coined the term Super Bowl. In a July 25, 1966, letter to NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle, Hunt wrote, “I have kiddingly called it the ‘Super Bowl,’ which obviously can be improved upon.” Although the leagues’ owners decided on the name “AFL-NFL Championship Game,” the media immediately picked up on Hunt’s “Super Bowl” name, which would become official beginning with the third annual game.[8][17][18]”
Final PS point:  
The Super Bowl was named after the Wham-O toy, the “Super Ball
It’s true.  Lamar Hunt and his fellow owners were sitting around one day figuring out what to call the new championship game back in the mid-60s and they got the name from the “Super” of “Super Ball”.  It’s told right here at:
The key source for this story on the website is Michael MacCambridge’s “America’s Game: The Epic Story of How Pro Football Captured a Nation.”  (Random House, NY, NY 2004).  It can be located at at:
Here’s the Yahoo article: 
“Is the Super Bowl Really Named After a Children’s Toy?”
It seems too much like an urban legend to be true that the Super Bowl was named after a children’s novelty toy that was popular in the mid-1960s.
But strange as it sounds, it is. The name of America’s biggest sport event got its name from a Wham-O toy called “Super Ball.” The story was recounted in Michael MacCambridge’s book, “America’s Game.”
Once the NFL-AFL merger was announced, discussions began about the inaugural championship game between the winners of the two leagues. A group of seven men were tasked with the specifics. During the course of the meetings, it became confusing when the men referred to “the championship game” because the others didn’t know whether he was referring to the league championship games or the finale, which still didn’t have a name. To end the mix-ups, Kansas City Chiefs founder Lamar Hunt jokingly referred to the final championship game as the “Super Bowl.” He had come up with the name while watching his children play with the toy pictured above.
“Super Bowl” is how the game was referred to for months, even though Hunt himself said it was “far too corny” to ever be used on the big stage. In the middle of 1966, he wrote commissioner Pete Rozelle and said the group needed to come up with an official name for the game. “If possible,” he wrote, “I believe we should ‘coin a phrase’ for the Championship Game. […] I have kiddingly called it the ‘Super Bowl,’ which obviously can be improved upon.”
Rozelle agreed. The league’s publicity director recalled that the commissioner despised the word “super,” because it didn’t have any sophistication. Rozelle was evidently a “stickler on words and grammar.” The game would be known as the “AFL-NFL World Championship Game.”
That bulky title didn’t last. People caught wind of Hunt’s name and soon everyone, from media members to players, were calling the title game “the Super Bowl.” The NFL was slow to adapt, though. It wasn’t until the third game that the words “Super Bowl” appeared on the official game program and the fourth game when the phrase appeared on tickets.
As mentioned above, Michael MacCambridge’s excellent “America’s Game: The Epic Story of How Pro Football Captured a Nation” was the main reference for this blog post.
citation supra.  
The Original Patent for the SuperBall aka “Highly Resilient Polybutadiene Ball” Patented by Wham-O Corp 1965.
March 22, 1966 N. H. STINGLEY 3,241,834
Filed Aug. 25, 1965
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United States Patent O
Norman H. Stingley, Garden Grove, Calif., assignor to
Wham-0 Manufacturing Company, San Gabriel, Calif.,
at corporation of California
Filed Aug. 25, 1965, Ser. No. 432,584
3 Claims. (Cl. 273–58)
This is a continuation-in-part of application Serial No. 462,081 filed June 7, 1965, and now abandoned.
This invention relates to a toy and more particularly to a ball or sphere having extremely high resilience and a high coeflicient of friction.
The resiliency of rubber balls is one of their most important characteristics. This is because the resiliency of the ball material determines the “liveliness” and “bounce” of the ball and hence its utility in various sporting games and attractiveness as a toy for children. The resilient material normally used for making rubber balls is a polymer such as natural rubber or some synthetic analog of natural rubber such as polyisoprene.
The present invention is concerned with a material other than rubber and -polyisoprene as the base polymer in rubber toys and sporting articles. It has been found that this new material imparts some highly unusual qualities to articles fabricated with it. Such articles have been found to have a substantially greater resiliency than those manufactured from more conventional materials. This greater resiliency is thought to be due to the nature of the base polymer used in the mixture and the unique quality -of the mixture which comprises the article of being able to conserve the energy which is imparted to it rather than dissipating a substantial portion of it in the form of heat. The higher resilience means that balls made from the material of this invention have a resilience factor in excess of 90%. This resilience factor is the resilience of the material as measured by the Yerzley method, ASTM D945-59.
Another unusual quality of balls and toys of this invention is their coeflicient of friction. In this instance the coefficient friction is substantially higher than in other
similar items. This quality combined with the significant
ly higher resilience causes a ball to react in an extraordinary and unpredictable manner when bounced or struck. This higher coeflicient of friction also provides a means whereby the spin or “English” on a thrown, struck or dropped ball can be accentuated resulting in unusual reactions by -theball whenever it rebounds from a hard surface. This novel combination of qualities means that one natural application for ‘balls manufactured with the base polymer with which this invention is concerned is in trick ball uses. In addition, as a sports implement a ball of this invention presents -a greater challenge -to the user. As an article of play, the eccentricity of reaction makes the ball a highly entertaining and amusing toy.
The invention in the present case contemplates a molded, vulcanized, highly resilient ball comprising a mixture of polybutadiene, a sulfurous vulcanizing agent and a polybutadiene reinforcing agent.
In addition to the inherent resilience of the base polymer, the degree of cross linkage between -polymer chains is important in optimizing the bounce or liveliness of balls fabricated with it. The -degree of cross linkage is primarily determined by the amount of vulcanizing agent used. By limiting the amount of vulcanizing agent introduced into the mixture to the quantities specified below, a ball having a Yerzley resilience in excess of 90% is obtained. Such a resilience factor is substantially higher than that found in balls manufactured from natural rubber or polyisoprene.
In addition to resilience and cross linkage, the ability
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In the formulation above polybutadiene is the base polymer of the mixture. To produce cross linkage between polybutadiene chains, that is, to vulcanize or cure the polymer, sulfur is added to the mixture. A greater amount of vulcanizing agent is used in this mixture than in such products as tires thereby producing a greater degree of vulcanization. Put another way, the degree of cross linkage relative -to saturation (hard rubber) is increased over tires and the like. The more complete vulcanization is believed to result in the improved resilience of the finished product. The addition of sulfur in the range indicated will result in balls having a Yerzley Resilience in excess of 90%. Oil extended polybutadiene having as much as 50 parts by weight of oil per hundred parts by weight of polybutadiene can also be used as the base polymer.
Because the natural curing rate of a mixture of polybutadiene and sulfur is quite slow, certain other additives are combined with this basic mixture to initiate the curing cycle and accelerate the rate of vulcanization. The zinc oxide and stearic acid are added to the basic mixture to provide this activation function. Acceleration accomplishes two purposes, one, it shortens the length of the molding cycle, and two, it equalizes heat throughout the mixture during the curing cycle. In the preceding formulation, the accelerators are N-oxydiethylene benzothiazole 2 sulfenamide, di-orthotolylguanidine and bismuth dimethyldithiocarbonate. For ease of reference, the trade names AMAX, DOTG and Bismate respectively will be used to designate the accelerators.
The activation of these accelerators occurs as the mixture reaches a specific temperature. For Bismate and DOTG the activation temperature is approximately 230° F. while that of AMAX is -approximately 260° F. By insuring that t-he heat of reaction is equalized throughout the mixture a more uniform rate of vulcanization and improved consistency in the end product is obtained.
Hydrated silica is added to the mixture as a filler. A specific hydrated silica suitable for use in this mixture is marketed under the trademark Hi-Sil 233. This material and certain other materials perform the function of providing tear and abrasion resistance. The basic criteria for selection of the filler material is its ability to improve the durability of polybutadiene without unduly increasing the specific gravity. Carbon black and lithium oxide have also been found to fill these requirements and are satisfactory substitutes for the hydrated silica.

In addition to the ingredients just previously discussed, 4 methyl-6 tertiary-butyl phenol is also added to the mixture. This substance has been given the trade name of Antioxidant 2246 and prevents discoloration and staining and inhibits aging of the finished product. Examples of substitutes for Antioxidant 2246 are phenyl B naphthylamine, alkyl diphenylamine, and hindered alkyl phenols. Pigmenting agents for obtaining the desired color of the end product are optional additives.
The mixture and molding of the constituents of this formulation proceeds according to the following steps. The various elements of the formulation are brought together in a mixing machine and agitated thoroughly to insare uniform mixing and distribution of the elements throughout the mixture. The result is a plastic mass ready for insertion in a mold.
To complete the process, the mixture is placed in a nold and subjected to a pressure of between 500 and 3,000 p.s.i. for a period of approximately 10 to 30 minutes. Simultaneously, the temperature of the mixture is raised to approximately 285-340° F. To a certain extent the length of the molding operation, the pressure, and the temperature to which the formulation is subjected are co-variant and one may be adjusted to compensate for a variation in the other. Preferably the time and temperature for the molding operation is 15 to 20 minutes at approximately 320° F. and 1,000 p.s.i.
An alternate formulation to the one outlined above is as follows:
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The above formulation is mixed in the same manner as the preceding formulation. To insure a good dispersion of all ingredients in the mixture, the batch is normally given a two-pass mix. In the above formulation, the zinc oxide and the stearic acid perform the same functions, viz., activation of polymer curing, as they did in the first formulation. Akron 544 Red and Akron 626 Blue are trade designations for organic coloring agents manufactured by Akron Chemical Co. Titanium dioxide is also a coloring agent. These three constituents in combination are the pigmenting agent for the mixture.
Zeolex is a proprietary brand name for a series of precipitated, highly hydrated sodium silico-aluminates and sodium calcium silico-aluminates. Its function is to strengthen the finished product and to act as a filler in the same manner as the Hi-Sil 233 does in the preceding formulation.
Sulfur is the vulcanizing agent. Vandex is a proprietary name for finely ground selenium. Its function is to supplement sulfur as a vulcanizing agent.
As in the first formulation, several constituents of the mixture (AMAX and M. Tuads) are added to serve as accelerators for the polymerization.
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As is normal in molding tehniques, the curing temperature must be carefully selected in order to prevent imperfections in the finished product. Too high a molding temperature will contribute to a condition designated “backrind.” This condition is characterized by an indented fracture around the body of the molded product defining the point where the two halves of the mold are brought together and is due to thermal expansion in this area during and after the molding cycle.
Subject to the proper choice of injection pressure, injection time, and the combination of mixture constituents, preheat, and mold temperature, this mixture can also be molded by means of a conventional injection-molding technique.
Combinations of ingredients of which the two formulations listed above are representative have been found to result in a product with a specific gravity of approximately 1.0 to 1.3. For greatest resilience, it has been found that a sufficient amount of filler should be added to produce a product having a specific gravity of 1.02.
What is claimed is:
1. A highly resilient solid ball in the form of a sphere, the ball material having a specific gravity of from about 1 to about 1.3, and comprising in combination a vulcanized polymer characterized by the use of 100 parts by weight of polybutadiene and 0.5 to 15 parts by weight of a sulfur vulcanizing agent, and further comprising, in addition to any activators and accelerators used for vulcanization, 5 to 15 parts by weight of an inorganic reinforcing material.
2. A ball in accordance with claim 1 in which the reinforcing material is selected from the class consisting of hydrated silica, carbon black and lithium oxide.
3. A ball in accordance with claim 2 in which the sul
‘ fur vulcanizing agent is approximately 5.25 parts by
weight and the reinforcing material is approximately 7.5 parts by weight.
References Cited by the Examiner
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Location: Tampa, FL, USA

By Dr. Athanasios Ioannis Kyriazis


This article will raise several key points about 20th century history. It makes the point that but for European, Russian, American, EU, UN & League of Nations actions taken negligently and/or intentionally, and in direct abrogation of international law, against Greece and its sovereign interests, Greece would be a far, far larger, far richer, and far more populous country than it is today. Greece today is on the brink of financial crisis not due to its own mistakes, but due to the arrogance and indifference of the larger powers which denied its destiny to be again what it was supposed to be—a second Byzantine-Greek Empire with a capital at Constantinople spanning two continents and five seas as was originally negotiated and settled by Venizelos at the Versailles treaty table after World War I and consummated in the Treaty of Sevres in 1920. That Greek Empire today would have approximately one hundred forty-sixty millions population and would be one of the most powerful countries on earth, as well as one of the richest.



In 1975, Turkey was allowed to invade Cyprus not once but twice, eventually appropriating approximately forty per cent of the land, killing hundreds of thousands, and expropriating billions of dollars in property holdings belonging both to Cypriot and ethnic National Greek citizens in Northern Ethnic Cyprus.

The invasion, and the continued illegal military occupation and Turkish colonization program of settling Turks from the mainland and passing them off as “Turkish Cypriots” for the past thirty-five years, continues to be illegal and condemned repeatedly by international law and United Nations resolutions.


Cyprus was only created as an independent state in 1960 after many years of Greek national lobbying for “enosis” or union of Cyprus with Greece. Cyprus was offered to Greece in 1915 as part of the spoils of World War I by England, but England breached that agreement at the Versailles Treaty table and retained Cyprus as a mandate and colony.

In retaliation for the enosis movement, Turkey forcibly expelled nearly 200,000 ethnic Greeks living in Constantinople lawfully entitled to reside there pursuant to the Treaty of Lausanne, first in a series of purges executed in 1955, and in a second round of purges in 1964, followed by the closing of the Halki school of Theology in 1971 and other acts directed at the Greek minority of Constantinople protected by the International Treaty of Lausanne.

Greece is entitled to damages with interest from 1955. Those are in the billions of dollars. Those are due them from France, England, the US and the UN’s failure to act to remedy the Turkish depredations to the Greek minorities of turkey since that date. For this reason alone, Greece is entitled to have not only its debts forgiven, but is entitled to war and treaty reparations and damages in the hundreds of billions of dollars.

This issue was discussed in great detailed in acclaimed novelist Jeffrey Eugenides prize-winning historical novel, MIDDLESEX (2001);

Thus we meet Desdemona Stephanides, who with her husband flees the Turks in Smyrna in 1922 and arrives in Detroit, where she has cousins. Desdemona, a formidable creature, has the habit of fanning herself when she gets angry or excited. “To anyone who never personally experienced it, it’s difficult to describe the ominous, storm-gathering quality of my grandmother’s fanning,” says Calliope, her granddaughter and the book’s narrator. And Desdemona’s fans, it should be said, are eccentric: “the front of the fan was emblazoned with the words ‘Turkish Atrocities.’ Below, in smaller print, were the specifics: the 1955 pogrom in Istanbul in which 15 Greeks were killed, 200 Greek women raped, 4,348 stores looted, 59 Orthodox churches destroyed, and even the graves of the Patriarchs desecrated.” Again, it is not only the verve of the writing that appeals, but its exactness. The idea of an “atrocity fan” is wonderful enough, but Eugenides’s real talent lies in the detailed coda to this passage: “Desdemona had six atrocity fans. They were a collector’s set. Each year she sent a contribution to the Patriarchate in Constantinople, and a few weeks later a new fan arrived, making claims of genocide and, in one case, bearing a photograph of Patriarch Athenagoras in the ruins of a looted cathedral.” This is the kind of detail that makes narrative.

review at

England, France and the other great powers of Europe, along with the League of Nations, the predecessor to the UN, are guarantors of the Treaty of Lausanne. As in this treaty has been breached repeatedly by the Turks due to the depredations suffered by the Greeks, and the treaty guarantors have failed to act and are in breach, they owe Greece monetary damages. Greece is entitled to injunctive relief and monetary damages. At a minimum, they are entitled to damages from Turkey, England, the EU, the UN, the US, and a new regime of minority legal rights from Turkey, including a new rider to the Treaty of Lausanne allowing them up to 3 million resident ethnic Greeks and newly expanded Patriarchate rights in Constantinople.



It should be pointed out that in addition to partitioning the Ottoman Empire and Asia Minor proper, the Treaty of Sevres also provided for the holding of the so-called “Malta Tribunals,” which were to punish Turkish war criminals for acts of war crimes committed from 1914 onwards, specifically, acts of genocide and war crimes directed at christian minorities, such as Armenians and Greeks.


These tribunals were, in fact, never held, but the fact of the armenian and greek genocides were recognized and the machinery put in place to try the Turkish war criminals as early as the Treaty of Sevres. Indeed, these provisions were later copied by the US at the Nuremberg trials. However, it was the Allies failure to punish the Turks after WWI that let Hitler famously to comment, “who remembers the Armenians” in pursuing his genocide against the Jews of Eastern Europe. In this, Hitler specifically referred to the failure to carry out the provisions of the Treaty of Sevres regarding the Malta Tribunals.

Greece is owed indemnity for this as well. My own grandmother was witness to the senseless butchery of thousands of armenians in her own village, many of whom were defenseless citizens machine gunned down and buried in mass pits, while she also lost three older sisters to the ravages of the Turks. The Terrible Turks.

The Obama administration opposes the current house resolution declaring the Armenian Genocide of 1915 to have existed. Nancy Pelosi killed it when she was house speaker. Just to show I’m being bipartisan, so too did Speaker Denny Hastert of the Republicans kill it back in the 1990s, allegedly after receiving a suitcase of more than $1 million dollars from a Turkish lobbyist (it may have been from Hill & Knowlton). Nancy Pelosi and several other are also alleged to have received substantial cash bribes to change their votes from the Turkish lobbyists as well, but much of this is urban legend and myth.

Getting back to our narrative, of course, enosis was not granted because Cypriot independence was guaranteed by England in 1960. That independence lasted fifteen years, while Turkish invasion and slavery over half the island of Cyprus has lasted more than 35 years.

Turkey invaded Cyprus in 1975, marking very nearly the 400th anniversary of their original Ottoman invasion and conquest of Cyprus in 1570. This was an outrageous act of aggression and the first sign of the Islamic radical agenda to emerge in the modern era which culminated three years later in the Iranian Revolution, the Iranian funding of Hamas and the eventual destabilization of Lebanon. This was all the beginning of a program to de-Christianize the Middle East and depopulate it of westerners and Christians, a program which has culminated in the 9/11 bombings and the program of renewed neo-pan-Turkism, neo-pan-Islamism and neo-pan-shi’ism, together with the scourge of radical Islam, radical anti-Semitism and radical anti-Americanism/radical anti-European sentiment now dominating not only Turkey but all of the middle east from Lebanon to Palestine to Afghanistan, Pakistan and Malaysia.

Regarding the invasion of Cyprus proper, England, the United States, the major European Powers, the UN and the EU, all owe Greece and Cyprus monetary reparations, damages and injunctive relief for the original invasion and all consequential damages. England, because Cyprus was a Commonwealth nation, and England guaranteed Cypriot independence after 1960 pursuant to treaty, by military means if necessary, and England is in breach of that treaty, owes Cyprus and the Greek Government damages for breach of that treaty.

Those damages are in the trillions of dollars, together with owing Greece, Cyprus and their people land and territorial compensation from the Turkish territories in compensation, along with reparations and damages from Turkey.


The Eastern European nations which conspired actively with the USSR to fund the Greek Civil War from 1944-1948, as well as the funding of the Greek Communist Party and the left-wing Andreas Papandreou movement of the 1980s, which was a pro-Communist USSR-sympathetic government masquerading as a left-wing government (Papandreou was an out and out Marxist-Leninist communist in full sympathy with the USSR and an ardent anti-American) were fully and completely facilitated by the major European nations, the US and the UN.

To some extent, the US and CIA ameliorated these problems thru the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan and active CIA involvement in Greece against the left-wing insurgents, but the root of the problem, the Greek expatriate communists living in the Eastern European Communist countries, propagandizing and funding these communist and left wing movements in sovereign Greece, have never been addressed satisfactorily by Germany, France, England, Italy or any of the major EU powers.



However, the US abandoned Hungary and the Czechs to their fates in 1956 and 1968, and never allowed Yugoslavia to emerge from communism. The US also allowed the pro-US, anti-communist junta to be dissolved and allowed it to intervene in the affairs of Cyprus in 1975, while also green-lighting the Turkish invasion of Cyprus that same year.

To the contrary, the EU has pursued a policy of abandoning Eastern Europe to its communist fate, and not doing anything to resist the advance of leftist and communist parties in Greece, even if they were funded by the USSR or Eastern European nations.

Worse, since the breakup of the USSR, the EU has broken up and balkanized the former Yugoslavia, creating stronger Muslim states in Albania, Kosovo and Bosnia, while also creating issues for Greece with the FYROM, and weakening Serbia, Greece’s natural ally of World War I and II (and the only Balkan ally besides Greece of both France and England from both World Wars, incidentally).

Such a policy has been a betrayal not only of Serbia, but also of Greece, and of the Versailles and UN pacts, as well as of the fundamental understandings of the peace accords following World Wars I and II that Greece and Serbia were the winners, and the other countries were the losers.

Greece is owed reparations, land and damages from the EU, the former Eastern European Republics which intervened in her internal affairs, and from the US for the additional issues over Serbia, Yugoslavia and FYROM and Kosovo.

All of these matters have conspired to make Greece economically weaker and to cut Greece off from its natural trading partner, Serbia/Yugoslavia, for an extended period of time.

The damages are in the billions of dollars. And apologies.

At a minimum, Greece is owed Southern Albania (Northern Epirus) as land compensation for the evil deeds done by the Communists for fifty plus years. They are also owed this because of the Albania invasions during World War II and because of Greek claims to the land dating back to the Balkan Wars of 1912-13 and World War I prior to the formation of Albania. Also, because Italy owes reparations to Greece and Italy, more than any other country, is responsible for the current drawing of Albania’s boundaries.

The land compensation issue is not a minor one.

The other land that should really be awarded to Greece since Yugoslavia cannot hold it is the FYROM. Only Greece has the military, governmental and spiritual resources to hold this land against the Albanian minority.

Likewise, Kosovo should remain part of Serbia. It is holy land to the Serbian Orthodox dating back to the 13th century, and this issue is far more important than who happens to live there now. Besides which, most of the Muslim peasants who reside there are transients, nomads or rebels transplanted there for the purpose of fighting the Serb army and not true residents of Kosovo.

The fact that Albania, Bosnia, FRYOM and Kosovo are becoming breeding grounds for the Albanian mob and Islamic terrorism are only additional reasons for extending Serbian and Greek military and territorial sovereignty and orthodox churches to these regions. This is just compensation.


Greece is owed war reparations on a massive scale by Germany, Albania and Italy (and therefore the entire EU) jointly for depredations during World War II. Not only were more than one million Greek citizens killed by warfare, starvation and occupation by the Nazis and Italy.

The depopulation of Greece and economic damages to Greece due to the Italian invasion of 1940, the Greek Counteroffensive of 1940-41 (capturing Northern Epirus) and the subsequent Italian and German Occupations, and the looting of Greek archeological and art treasures, the theft of Greek farm products, the deliberate starvation of millions of Greeks, the holocaustic killing of Greek gypsies and Greek Sephardic Jewish minorities in Thessalonica and Macedonian Greece in the hundreds of thousands, often against bitter Greek resistance, caused severe economic and population damage to Greece for decades to come.

If you watched the recent Tarantino film INGLORIOUS BASTERDS, which took a few historical liberties, you got the essential idea of what the NAZIS were like–jew-hating, propaganda-wielding zealots, hungry and mad for power. They killed, plundered and exploited their conquered nations with reckless but precise abandon.


First, Greece’s population was decimated, probably by a factor of two. Greece today would be twenty million but for the decimations and depredations of World War II.

Second, Greece became depopulated of Sephardic Jews, its most productive and happy citizens of the North and of Thessaloniki. The economic consequences were incalculable to Thessaloniki. Greece was one of the main theaters of the Holocaust as Thessaloniki was a largely Jewish city prior to 1940. Its Sephardic Jewish community was centuries old. This was true in other parts of Greece as well where the Germans attempted to first quarantine, then liquidate the Greek Sephardic Jewish population.

Third, Greece was split into two armed camps, communist resistance fighters and pro-British royalists working with the American CIA, resulting in a bitter civil war from 1944-48 which further split the country upon the retreat of the Germans, killing off what little wealth and population was left. This war destroyed the wealth and population of the North.

Fourth, a wave of emigration began from Greece to the US, causing further depopulation. Things were so bad in Greece, everyone basically left. Again, net result, Greece’s population would have been around twenty million, maybe 25 million if there’s no World War II attack by the Italians and Germans, and their GDP in Greece would be about fifty times as large.

Fifth, Greece was looted of antiquities, paintings, ancient art and other valuable objects which were never restored to her. The Elgin Marbles are peanuts compared to what the German Nazis stole, and as we now know, the Russians stole what the Nazis stole, as in the case of the rare Heinrich Schliemann gold jewels of Troy, to give but one famous example of World War II art theft—the so called golden jewels of Sophia Schliemann which were considered lost for more than sixty years, suddenly appeared in a Russian museum once communism fell.

One could go on, but it’s clear that the Marshall Plan and US yearly aid does not approach compensation for damages done to Greece by Germany and Italy. Germany owes Greece a permanent stipend in the hundreds of billions of dollars and so does Italy.

Moreover, Germany is now a rich country, while Greece continues to be poor. This is directly a result of Germany’s own imperial Nazi policies under the Third Reich, which not only followed prior Prussian imperialism but added to it Hitler’s anti-Semitic notions of lebensraum, anti-Semitism and other nutty ideas he had absorbed while living in 1890s Vienna listening to pan-German anti-Semites yearning for the lost years of the German-dominated Habsburg Empire.

Perhaps Germany has moved on, but Greece has been unable to, because it continues to be paralyzed by the left-right splits which were directly created by Germany’s interferences in Greece.

Nearly everything that has happened in Greek economic and politics since 1940 is directly a result of World War II, as well as other external events not of Greece’s own doing.

Germany and Italy are the main culprits and owe Greece trillions of dollars in reparations.

Greece and Serbia were both on the winning side in World War II. Yugoslavia emerged stronger, but Greece considerably weaker, although it was given the Dodecanese Islands, including Rhodes, from Italy. But this was not a sufficient compensation for the depredations of the War.


Greece and Serbia were on the winning side Under the Treaties of Versailles and Sevres. Serbia was rewarded with the Kingdom of the Croats, Serbs and Slovenes, which later became Yugoslavia.

Because of the events that are described herein, Greece continues to be owed reparations by the old Ottoman Empire, Modern Turkey, England, France, the USSR, modern Russia, the United States, the League of Nations and its successor the UN, as well as the land promised them in those treaties.

Greece by contrast was denied Cyprus and the Dodecanese were given to Italy. Instead under the Treaties of Versailles (1919) and Sevres (1920) (signed by the Turkish Sultan) Greece was given more territory from Bulgaria, as well as Smyrna and a zone in Asia Minor around Smyrna, to be governed by Greece for five years pending a plebiscite. Also, Eastern Thrace, a massive amount of territory largely Greek speaking and Greek populated, flat and fertile and bordering on the Black Sea, up to the borders of Constantinople, was given to Greece. This would have approximately doubled Greece’s land area and created the Greece of two continents and five seas envisioned by Venizelos. Finally, the Treaty guaranteed the international freedom of the Straits (the Bosphorus, Dardanelles and Sea of Marmora) as well as the status of Constantinople as an International City, free of any governmental control by any national entity.

In time, it was inevitable that both Constantinople and Smyrna would become wealthy, influential and rich centers of Greek trade and influence.

At this time, in 1919, Asia Minor had approximately five million Turkish, three million Greek, one million Armenian and one million Kurdish citizens. Constantinople was more than fifty per cent Greek, Armenian and Jewish, and had more than thirty newspapers, the majority of which were in French, Greek, or Armenian. Smyrna was at that time the largest, most populous and richest Greek city in the world, and the center of the lucrative Greek tobacco trade, which dominated the world. Aristotle Onassis’ father was the richest tobacco merchant in all of Smyrna.

Greek history books refer to what happened next as “the great catastrophe,” but the real story is at once more complex and also much simpler.

First, the United States promised to administer the Armenian Mandate, adopt the Treaty of Versailles, and join the League of Nations and guarantee by military means, if necessary, the provisions of the dismemberment of the Ottoman States. The Armenian Mandate included most of Northern and Anatolian Asia Minor, where resided many Christian Armenians and Greek Ottoman Empire citizens, many of whom were seeking protection from Turkish and German oppressions and depredations since 1915 in American missionary schools and camps. An extensive record of German-Turkish brutalities, including the Armenian genocide from 1915 onwards, is to be found in many sources.

This American mandate never happened. First, the US Senate voted down the Armenian Mandate. Second, the US Senate voted down the Versailles Treaty. Third, the US Senate voted down the League of Nations.

Thus, what US History books refer to as “isolationism” is really “refused to get involved in the politics of the Ottoman Empire and the protection of Christians from Turks”. And “refused to send us peacekeeping troops to protect Christians from Muslim genocidal race-hating young Turks”.

Since this is such a common US peacekeeping mission today, perhaps we have trouble envisioning this, but in 1919, eugenics was so commonly pervasive in the US that Armenians and Greeks were truly thought of as inferior genetically and racially by many learned American intellectuals, and thus not worth saving. It would only be four years later that the same US Senate passed the most sweeping immigration reform bill in history restricting southern European immigration to very low quotas, based on the same bad science and racial notions.

Next, the Russians, who were allies of the Greeks, became communists in 1917. They made a separate peace with the Germans and Turks, and in 1919, Kemal Attaturk who was commanding the rebel forces in the hills of Ankara, but who had no money and no weapons, went to Lenin and made a deal for war loans and weapons, and got both. In return, they agreed to partition Armenia and settle the long-standing disputes over the Caucasus border. At this point they both knew the US wasn’t coming with its navy or army.

Next, having sealed off his Northeastern front with the Russians, Attaturk faced an attack from the west by the Greek Army, who was told by British Prime Minister Lloyd George in 1920 that the Greek Army would need to invade Asia Minor to deal with the problem of the rebel Turk army led by Attaturk. They were told they would be supported fully by the French, the Americans, the League of Nations and the British in their endeavor.

The Greek Army invaded, and won major victories, until reaching near Ankara, where they reached a stalemate, trench like position near the Sakarya River near Ankara. There, more than 100,000 seasoned Greek troops faced off against more than 100,000 seasoned Turkish troops (both armies had fought in both the World War and the Balkan Wars) for the next two years, from 1920-1922, without a significant change or advance.

Next, Attaturk made a separate deal with France. France betrayed England and cut a separate treaty of peace with Attaturk, in violation of Sevres and Versailles, and their pledges to the English, the Greeks and everyone else, surrendered all their weapons and artillery to the Turkish rebels, agreeing to recognize Attaturk as the true ruler of Turkey, as well as signing over land to Attaturk’s faux regime, including Antioch, a Christian city with a bishop and patriarch.

The reasons for the French betrayal are complex, but essentially boiled down to rivalry in the Middle East with England. For some reason, they felt it would be to their advantage to have an independent Turkey friendly to France on the border of French Syria and French Lebanon than one controlled by Greece.

Of course, as events turned out, this was a huge mistake, since when Germany re-armed, Turkey immediately re-upped with Germany and tossed France over the side leading up to WWII. This led to the dismemberment of the French colonies in the Middle East. This led in turn to the increase in the role of the British and the US in the Middle East after 1945.

In short, France not only made a diplomatic mistake, but it betrayed its two World War I allies and violated numerous treaties as well as insuring Greece’s defeat in the War.

The French surrender was a turning point in the Greco-Turkish War of 1920-22. First, it signified a diplomatic recognition of Attaturk’s rump regime. Second, it provided Attaturk’s fledgling army with needed weapons. Third, and perhaps most critically, it gave Attaturk only one front to fight on. Without a Russian front to the Northeast or a French Front to the South east, Attaturk could concentrate all of his army and newly found money, artillery and weapons from the French and Russians against the Greek Army along their extended defensive lines on the Sakarya River.

In the summer of 1922, Attaturk prepared a counterattack, and manage to split the Greek lines in two. This caused confusion, and ultimately, a rout of the Greek forces, which began a disorganized retreat back to Smyrna in two groups with heavy casualties, losses and mean captured. It is estimated the Greek Army suffered more than 60-80% casualties in this battle and series of retreats.

And yet, military victory was well within the grasp of Greece for many months if not years of the war, for reasons that will be delved into at greater length in a longer work still in progress.

At the end, the Greek Army disembarked on ships, and left Smyrna and the Greek populace of Smyrna to their fate. In September of 1922, Attaturk and his rebel army entered Smyrna, and in the year of the 500th anniversary of the capture of Thessaloniki by the Ottomans in 1422 (an event clearly in Attaturk’s mind) Attaturk made sure his soldiers looted, pillaged and raped every Christian home, citizen and girl in the city, and then set fire to the Christian quarters of the city. Much the same fate had befallen Thessaloniki in 1422 when it fell to the Moslem.

Smyrna was utterly destroyed.

The Sack of Smyrna was an awful and terrible event. Smyrna is one of the seven cities of the Revelation, along with Philadelphia and five other cities mentioned in the apocalypsis of the revelation of st. john the divine, written on the island of patmos but revealing the divine word of God. Thus, it must be fated again to be Christian.

cf the NYT 1922.

Eugenides’ Middlesex has a long passage on the sack of Smyrna–it is a central event in his book. It is the reason for the exodus of his main character Desdemona Stephanides to America–the sack of Smyrna.

There are several books treating this subject, but the best in english remains Smyrna 1922: The Destruction of a City by Marjorie Housepian Dobkin, There is also a newer volume out by a Giles Milton, but by default I still recommend Dobkin’s volume. Also, Ernest Hemingway wrote a famous war dispatch in 1923 about the sack of Smyrna which can be found in any volume collecting his war dispatches for newspapers.



The terms of the Treaty of Sevres were renegotiated by force the next year in the Treaty of Lausanne, resulting in the so-called “exchange of populations,” whereby all Christian Greeks left Asia Minor for Greece and all Muslim Turks left Greece for Turkey, but the exchange was both lopsided and unfair. First, there were 1.5 million Greeks still living in Asia Minor, and second, the Turks had killed another 1.5 million Greek civilians during the Greco-Turkish War in genocide of their own. Many more would die during the trip and in refugee camps in Greece once they arrived.

Far fewer Muslim Turks made the reverse journey.

Most, if not all, of the Asia Minor Greeks never found a home in Greece. Many moved to other countries, notably America, though some went to Russia, Romania, Bulgaria, Germany and other countries.

Those that did go to Greece did not feel Greek at all. They brought a different sense of culture with them, along with a sense that their land, their history and their past had been taken from them. But this is a story for another time. Their laments are today heard, and were then heard, in the rebetika of the time, the micrasiatika music.

In the final chapter of the War, the British refused to defend independent Constantinople from Turkish advance, and in the Chanak Crisis of late 1922, Lloyd George surrendered Constantinople rather than go to war with Attaturk, even though he himself had encouraged Greece to go to war with the same adversary. His Liberal Government fell soon after, and a Liberal Government has never again been elected in England. Lloyd George’s foreign policy can best be characterized as cowardly with regards to the Greeks. He failed to back them up with military and naval support and failed to commit to a total annihilation of the Turkish rebel army with British army and naval means.

That reparations, land and other monetary and equitable damages are due to the Greek Nation from England, France, Russia, etc. is clear. But for these treaty and agreement breaches, Greece would be a far greater, far more populous and far less Diasporic nation and peoples than it is. Also, Greece’s largest city, Smyrna, was destroyed at the height of its economic glory, and its largest trade center and Greek cultural center, Constantinople, was taken from it.

All in all, these two blows to the Greek economy were far too much for it to every recover. Sovereign Greece with a healthy Smyrna within it and an independent Constantinople trading freely would have soon become one of the most economically powerful countries on earth. What did happen in history was something far worse.

Greece is owed trillions upon trillions of dollars in reparations, land and two huge cities.


The Fourth Crusade sacked Constantinople in 1204, and looted and pillaged the city. At that time, Constantinople was the capital of the Greek Empire and the richest city on earth.


To give an idea of what was taken, the St. Sophia alone had 40,000 pounds of gold and 80,000 pounds of silver decorating its walls and dome.

Just the gold alone, assuming 16 ounces per pound, and $1200 per ounce, would yield a value in 1204 of around $786,000,000.

However, in 2010, assuming an interest rate of 5% that investment would have doubled every 14.4 years since then or roughly 56 times.

The net worth of the gold in the St. Sophia, then, in today’s dollars would be approximately 5.69 times 10 to the 25th power—or approximately 56.9 billion trillion trillion dollars.

In short, more than the GDP of the entire EU combined, probably.

So, in short, Greece is owed everything owned by Western Europe.

At least that, in short, is the Fourth Crusade Argument.

Oh, and by the way, they stole the Holy Grail, the holy lance, the holy shroud (mistakenly known as the shroud of Turin, it’s the shroud of Constantinople), the crown of thorns the true cross, and all the other known relics of Jesus Christ. Is there a value on these? They were gathered in one holy place, a sanctuary, in Constantinople.


This is even more basic than the Fourth Crusade argument. Everything in Western Europe and Western culture derives from Ancient Greece and Byzantine Greece—religion, art, philosophy, politics, science, mathematics, the renaissance, etc.

For this great endowment, the Greek people and the nation of Greece should be forever on stipend from Europe.

Every museum in Berlin, London and Paris has entire halls devoted to collections of Greek Antiquities. The Rosetta Stone and the Greek language were the key to unlocking Egyptology. The Gospels are written in Greek, as are the Septuagint and all of the major works of antiquity on geometry and mathematics which were studied by the Renaissance humanists, not to mention Galileo, Newton and others.

For this great endowment of learning, must we not reward the Greeks and Greece?

Monetarily? In Trillions? Quadrillions? Keep them a free trading zone? Lend to them interest free? Keep their country a kind of permanent museum?

One would think so.

I worked out the number once just for the Fourth Crusade. It’s about 1 times ten to the 56th power, even assuming a very low interest rate such as 3%, since 1204. You can work out similar numbers for the gold stolen from the Greeks and land stolen from the Greeks on many other occasions, including notably the sack of Syracuse, the various conquests by the Romans, the conquests by the Arabs, and so on and so forth, but the conquests by the 4th or Latin Crusade are the most galling, because the Catholic Church does not renouce either their spiritual claim or their temporal claim to the lands. In fact, you can go to France or Germany or any of these countries, today, and obtain a dukedom or other royal title appurtaining to Athens or any other city which used to belong to the Eastern Roman Empire. In addition, the Catholic Church appoints Bishops to every eastern city in which there should only be a Patriarch appointed by the Bishop of Constantinople,e.g. the Patriarch, thus not recongizing his full equality in the Christian Church.

It would be silly of me to see the hand of opus dei or some nefarious plot behind all these machinations against the Greek Government, but you have to admit, the Germans have been in league with the Catholic Church before, to be specific, 1938, and that didn’t turn out so well for Europe or its then considerable Eastern European Jewish population. Whenever Germany takes an interest in Eastern Europe and the Balkans, and you have a sitting German Pope, it’s a pretty good bet someone wants to reconstitute the Austro-Hungarian Empire along Germano-Catholic lines. Recreating Croatia as a catholic, independent country was certainly a good first step in that direction. Perhaps isolating Greece, Rumania, Bulgaria, Serbia and Russia, the bastions of Orthodoxy, is the next step in the plan.

Of course, it’s not secret that Angela Merkel is unpopular at home. Saber-rattling against some small defenseless country fits her agenda. And, of course, there are millions of foreign Turkish gastarbeiter working in Turkey.

Returning to our main theme,Christianity itself is Judaism plus Platonism==expressed in Hellenistic philosophical terms by the Greek Church fathers.

And to Greek culture and philosophy we owe Islam and Protestantism, and perhaps even Confucianism and Buddhism too, since it was Alexander the Great who brought his Greek Philosophers to the brink of China and India in the 4th century BC.

As the Hollies once sang, “Pay You Back with Interest.”

It’s a big debt Europe owes the Greeks. Not the other way around, last time I checked, the ledger is still pretty heavily on the Greek side.

3/25/2010 greek independence day

Today, as we survey the wreckage of the first and second rounds of the NCAA basketball tournament, 2010 version, which has destroyed nearly everyone’s brackets, including mine, it is wise to remember the words of one of the seven sages of Ancient Greece, Heraclitus, who noted that “everything is in flux,” or more modernly, “everything changes constantly.”


Since today is GREEK INDEPENDENCE DAY, everything I write today will really be about GREECE and the incredible influence GREECE and GREEK THOUGHT has had upon modern life. Specifically, I will show you how GREECE & GREEK THOUGHT have had a major influence on MARCH MADNESS AND THE NCAA BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT. You won’t even believe it, but it’s so.


Today marks the 189th anniversary of the birth of the modern Greek nation-state and the uprising against the Ottoman Empire by the ethnic Greeks and Greek-speaking majority of Roumeli against their Ottoman overlords on March 25, 1821. After nine long years, that struggle resulted in the creation of the modern Greek state. And of course, we who are Greek-American have to celebrate it, since the actual Greeks in Greece are temporarily on strike against government austerity measures. Hey, I wish I could retire at 41 with a full salary and benefits too, but as one of my Harvard economics professors once noted, TANSTAAFL “THERE AINT NO SUCH THING AS A FREE LUNCH.” (actually, that phrase was coined by sci fi giant Robert A Heinlein, 1907-1988, if you grok me). Frackin’ great line, though.


Many, many effects of that revolution can be seen here in America.

1) The very idea of athletic competitions and tournaments is Greek in origin. The Greeks invented the Olympics in 776 BC. They had them on a four year rotation, along with three other games, the Pythian, Nemean and Isthmian Games, the four being known as the “Pan-Hellenic Games.” The point is the Ancient Greeks had an athletic competition to determine a winner in each event every year. This is exactly what the modern NCAA does. The logos of the NCAA even use Olympic/ancient Greek style laurel wreaths on some of their publicity and trophies, and even up to the present day, the concept of AMATEURISM, the notion that an athlete should not be paid for participating in sports, is uniquely and completely ancient Greek in origin, as the Romans customarily paid their Olympic and other athletes, or compelled them to compete through slavery. It was the Ancient Greeks who prided themselves that competition should be amateur and free of payment, and participated in by free citizens of city-states only for the glory of the competition. This very concept is what animates the entire notion of the NCAA and of college sports; its entire spirit and animus are Ancient Greek in conception and thought. The Ancient Romans had no such distinction; to them, athletes were paid the same as anyone else. Moreover, the concept of colleges today relate closely to the concept of ancient Greek city-states. There are many more parallels, but you get the idea. Winning at sports was the sine qua non of excellence in Greek culture. Note that Christianity for many years discouraged athletic competition—it was a modern development with the rediscovery of humanist thought, and the rediscovery of Greek thought, that athletics made a comeback in modern society. The Greek notion of athletic competition heavily influenced the Romans, who made stadiums, chariot races and gladiatorial combat part of their culture. Consequently, it is very clear that the very notion of having an NCAA tournament every year is nothing if not Greek in origin.


2) Many colleges and college nicknames are Greek in origin. For example, Michigan State is in the Sweet Sixteen. Their nickname is the “Spartans.” They were nicknamed, largely, in tribute to the Greeks of the Greek Revolution of the 1820s, largely due to Philhellenic (Greek-loving) feeling. Most Americans were sympathetic with the Greeks, 1) because the Greeks were struggling for democracy against autocracy 2) because the Founders were largely influenced by Ancient Greece in their models for what a democracy like America should look like and 3) because the Greeks were Christians struggling against the Turkish Infidels, which is what we used to call Muslims in the 19th Century before PC discourse deconstructed plain language and speech sometime in the past 20 years. In fact, Turks used to be called “the Terrible Turk” by people like no less than Prime Minister Gladstone, and the Ottoman Empire, after the Greeks won, used to be called the “Sick Man of Europe,” and the question of how to carve up the fading Ottoman Empire was called the “Eastern Question.” It wasn’t settled finally until World War I, and not really finally until 1923. But that’s another story. So I like Michigan State. Didn’t you watch “300”? “We are SPARTANS!!!”


3) U. Tennessee remains in the Sweet Sixteen. Vanderbilt is in Nashville, Tennessee, where they have an actual full-scale replica of the Parthenon built which you can go see today. It is complete and accurate to the last detail. In fact, throughout the South, there is more Greek Revival and neo-classical architecture than almost anywhere in the US, especially on college campuses. This is certainly true at Vanderbilt, at Duke, at Kentucky, at U. Tennessee, at U.Va certainly, and many of the other schools left in the Sweet Sixteen.


About the Parthenon

The Parthenon stands proudly as the centerpiece of Centennial Park, Nashville’s premier urban park. The re-creation of the 42-foot statue Athena is the focus of the Parthenon just as it was in ancient Greece. The building and the Athena statue are both full-scale replicas of the Athenian originals.

Originally built for Tennessee’s 1897 Centennial Exposition, this replica of the original Parthenon in Athens serves as a monument to what is considered the pinnacle of classical architecture. The plaster replicas of the Parthenon Marbles found in the Naos are direct casts of the original sculptures which adorned the pediments of the Athenian Parthenon, dating back to 438 B.C. The originals of these powerful fragments are housed in the British Museum in London.

The Parthenon also serves as the city of Nashville’s art museum. The focus of the Parthenon’s permanent collection is a group of 63 paintings by 19th and 20th century American artists donated by James M. Cowan. Additional gallery spaces provide a venue for a variety of temporary shows and exhibits.

The Parthenon is open year round Tuesday – Saturday, 9:00 – 4:30. Additional hours during June, July & August: Sundays, 12:30 – 4:30 p.m. The Parthenon will be closed on July 4, Labor Day, the Thursday & Friday of Thanksgiving week, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Admission: Members free; Adults – $6.00; Children 4-17 – $3.50 (under 4 free); Seniors 62+ – $3.50. Phone number 615-862-8431.

See? And you thought you had to travel to GREECE to see the Parthenon? Nope, you can go to NASHVILLE, TENNESEE AND SEE IT! AND THIS PARTHENON ISN’T IN RUINS!!! (No Turks or Venetians to blow it up in a meaningless war in the 17th century). Oh–and they have some pretty darn good music there, too–and hey, Vandy and U. Tennessee are pretty darn good schools.

4) Many of you have probably watched the show “GREEK” on TV, which details “GREEK” or fraternity/sorority life on campuses around the country. What you probably don’t know is that fraternities and sororities have their origins with the Greek War of Independence. So many college students were in sympathy with the Greeks and their War of Liberation from the Turks during the 1821-1830 period, that many of the campuses and universities founded societies named after Greek letters such as “Phi Beta Kappa” or “Alpha Chi Rho” to celebrate their “fraternity” and “solidarity” with the Greek cause of independence, liberty and freedom. So, if you’ve ever been a fraternity or sorority member, you actually have pledged fraternity, sorority, brotherhood and sisterhood, to the nation of Greece and its sacred causes for liberty, democracy, Christianity, and its ongoing fight against the Turks. Thus the “GREEK” show really is, in actually, about Greece. It even takes place at fictional “CYPRUS-RHODES UNIVERSITY.” Hey, I’ve been to Rhodes, that island rocks, every single hotel opens out to a private beach, and every bar is open all nite long. And Cyprus, even though only half of it is open (the other half is still occupied by a muslim country from the north starting with “T” and ending with “Y”) is the hottest tourist and banking destination in the Middle East. Plus, Garo Ypremian is from Cyprus, and he once kicked a touchdown! He told me so 18 holes in a row at a pro-am golf tournament. “where else but in america could a 5 foot 7 cypriot find work in the NFL as a professional kicker?” he said. To his credit, he was a great golfer.

The very origins of sorority and fraternity life are from the Greek Revolution and Greek War of Independence, and Philhellenism among American college students. In fact, many of those students went to Greece and fought for the Greek cause. In the NCAA tournament, it’s obvious that frat and sorority and Greeks are the main hoops fans. Thank you Greece and Greek culture, again. And here’s to our favorie fraternities, Kappa Tau Gamma (ΚΤΓ), Omega Chi Delta (ΩΧΔ), and our favorite sorority, Zeta Beta Zeta (ΖΒZ). May we all be Greeks forever!


5) Syracuse is a heavy favorite to get to the final four. Syracuse University and Syracuse, NY are named for the ancient Greek city-state of Syracuse. Syracuse was the richest and most famous Greek city-state of the ancient world. Situated on one of the three corners of Sicily, Syracuse was as powerful in its heyday as Rome, Carthage, Athens or Persia, and made a play for hegemony against Rome and Carthage during the 5th and 4th centuries BC. Unfortunately for Syracuse, despite being neutral in the 2d Punic War between Carthage and Rome, Rome decided to lay siege to Syracuse in order to plunder its enormous stores of gold. Rome simply needed the money. Archimedes, the most brilliant mathematician and scientist of ancient times, was a native of Syracuse. He famously designed siege defense machines which pulled Roman ships out of the water and crashed them against the rocks, other machines which focused the light of the sun on Roman ships and set them on fire, etc. You get the picture. The Romans were kept out of Syracuse for years by the high walls of Syracuse and Archimedes brilliance. When they finally breached the walls, the Romans were instructed to bring Archimedes alive to the Roman commander, but of course they got it wrong and killed Archimedes by mistake. The Romans plundered billions of dollars in gold, silver and other treasures from Syracuse. P.S. Italy owes that money back to Greece, today, with interest, under international law, in my view. Syracuse was neutral at the time. Also, indemnity for Archimedes’ death is independently owed by Italy to Greece. One supposes that would sort of cancel out any debts owed by Greece to the EU. In fact, one might suppose that Italy should just hand over the deed to, well, Italy, since the interest has been piling up for 2,400 years or so on that loan. Or have I just lost my Elgin Marbles? (many thanks to my good friend the brilliant Mike Reiss on that line).




The philosopher Plutarch of Chaeronea (46-c.122) is the author of a series of double biographies in which he compared Greeks and Romans, and tried to explore the nature of some type of man. They contain much historical information. The following text is taken from his Life of Marcellus, and describes how this Roman general captured Syracuse during the war between the Romans and the Carthaginian general Hannibal. During the siege the famous scientist Archimedes (287-212), was killed. The translation was made by Walter Charlton and appeared in the Dryden series.

Marcellus now was a third time created consul, and sailed to Sicily. For the success of Hannibal had excited the Carthaginians to lay claim to that whole island; chiefly because, after the murder of the tyrant Hieronymus, all things had been in tumult and confusion at Syracuse. Therefore, the Romans also had sent before to that city a force under the conduct of Appius, as praetor. […]

At this time Marcellus, first incensed by injuries done him by Hippocrates, commander of the Syracusans (who, to give proof of his good affection to the Carthaginians, and to acquire the tyranny to himself, had killed a number of Romans at Leontini), besieged and took by force the city of Leontini; yet violated none of the townsmen; only deserters, as many as he took, he subjected to the punishment of the rods and axe.

But Hippocrates, sending a report to Syracuse that Marcellus had put all the adult population to the sword, and then coming upon the Syracusans, who had risen in tumult upon that false report, made himself master of the city. Upon this Marcellus moved with his whole army to Syracuse, and encamping near the wall, sent ambassadors into the city to relate to the Syracusans the truth of what had been done in Leontini. When these could not prevail by treaty, the whole power being now in the hands of Hippocrates, he proceeded to attack the city both by land and by sea.

The land forces were conducted by Appius: Marcellus, with sixty galleys, each with five rows of oars, furnished with all sorts of arms and missiles, and a huge bridge of planks laid upon eight ships chained together, upon which was carried the engine to cast stones and darts, assaulted the walls, relying on the abundance and magnificence of his preparations, and on his own previous glory; all which, however, were, it would seem, but trifles for Archimedes and his machines.

These machines he had designed and contrived, not as matters of any importance, but as mere amusements in geometry; in compliance with King Hiero’s desire and request, some little time before, that he should reduce to practice some part of his admirable speculation in science, and by accommodating the theoretic truth to sensation and ordinary use, bring it more within the appreciation of the people in general.
Eudoxus and Archytas had been the first originators of this far-famed and highly-prized art of mechanics, which they employed as an elegant illustration of geometrical truths, and as means of sustaining experimentally, to the satisfaction of the senses, conclusions too intricate for proof by words and diagrams. As, for example, to solve the problem, so often required in constructing geometrical figures, given the two extremes, to find the two mean lines of a proportion, both these mathematicians had recourse to the aid of instruments, adapting to their purpose certain curves and sections of lines.

But what with Plato’s indignation at it, and his invectives against it as the mere corruption and annihilation of the one good of geometry, which was thus shamefully turning its back upon the unembodied objects of pure intelligence to recur to sensation, and to ask help (not to be obtained without base supervisions and depravation) from matter; so it was that mechanics came to be separated from geometry, and, repudiated and neglected by philosophers, took its place as a military art.

Archimedes, however, in writing to King Hiero, whose friend and near relation he was, had stated that given the force, any given weight might be moved, and even boasted, we are told, relying on the strength of demonstration, that if there were another earth, by going into it he could remove this. Hiero being struck with amazement at this, and entreating him to make good this problem by actual experiment, and show some great weight moved by a small engine, he fixed accordingly upon a ship of burden out of the king’s arsenal, which could not be drawn out of the dock without great labor and many men; and, loading her with many passengers and a full freight, sitting himself the while far off, with no great endeavor, but only holding the head of the pulley in his hand and drawing the cords by degrees, he drew the ship in a straight line, as smoothly and evenly as if she had been in the sea. The king, astonished at this, and convinced of the power of the art, prevailed upon Archimedes to make him engines accommodated to all the purposes, offensive and defensive, of a siege. These the king himself never made use of, because he spent almost all his life in a profound quiet and the highest affluence. But the apparatus was, in most opportune time, ready at hand for the Syracusans, and with it also the engineer himself.

When, therefore, the Romans assaulted the walls in two places at once, fear and consternation stupefied the Syracusans, believing that nothing was able to resist that violence and those forces. But when Archimedes began to ply his engines, he at once shot against the land forces all sorts of missile weapons, and immense masses of stone that came down with incredible noise and violence; against which no man could stand; for they knocked down those upon whom they fell in heaps, breaking all their ranks and files. In the meantime huge poles thrust out from the walls over the ships sunk some by the great weights which they let down from on high upon them; others they lifted up into the air by an iron hand or beak like a crane’s beak and, when they had drawn them up by the prow, and set them on end upon the poop, they plunged them to the bottom of the sea; or else the ships, drawn by engines within, and whirled about, were dashed against steep rocks that stood jutting out under the walls, with great destruction of the soldiers that were aboard them. A ship was frequently lifted up to a great height in the air (a dreadful thing to behold), and was rolled to and fro, and kept swinging, until the mariners were all thrown out, when at length it was dashed against the rocks, or let fall. At the engine that Marcellus brought upon the bridge of ships, which was called Sambuca, from some resemblance it had to an instrument of music, while it was as yet approaching the wall, there was discharged a piece of rock of ten talents weight, then a second and a third, which, striking upon it with immense force and a noise like thunder, broke all its foundation to pieces, shook out all its fastenings, and completely dislodged it from the bridge.

So Marcellus, doubtful what counsel to pursue, drew off his ships to a safer distance, and sounded a retreat to his forces on land. They then took a resolution of coming up under the walls, if it were possible, in the night; thinking that as Archimedes used ropes stretched at length in playing his engines, the soldiers would now be under the shot, and the darts would, for want of sufficient distance to throw them, fly over their heads without effect. But he, it appeared, had long before framed for such occasions engines accommodated to any distance, and shorter weapons; and had made numerous small openings in the walls, through which, with engines of a shorter range, unexpected blows were inflicted on the assailants. Thus, when they who thought to deceive the defenders came close up to the walls, instantly a shower of darts and other missile weapons was again cast upon them. And when stones came tumbling down perpendicularly upon their heads, and, as it were, the whole wall shot out arrows at them, they retired. And now, again, as they were going off, arrows and darts of a longer range inflicted a great slaughter among them, and their ships were driven one against another; while they themselves were not able to retaliate in any way. For Archimedes had provided and fixed most of his engines immediately under the wall; whence the Romans, seeing that indefinite mischief overwhelmed them from no visible means, began to think they were fighting with the gods.

Yet Marcellus escaped unhurt, and deriding his own artificers and engineers, “What,” said he, “must we give up fighting with this geometrical Briareus, who plays pitch-and-toss with our ships, and, with the multitude of darts which he showers at a single moment upon us, really outdoes the hundred-handed giants of mythology?”

And, doubtless, the rest of the Syracusans were but the body of Archimedes’ designs, one soul moving and governing all; for, laying aside all other arms, with this alone they infested the Romans and protected themselves. In fine, when such terror had seized upon the Romans that, if they did but see a little rope or a piece of wood from the wall, instantly crying out, that there it was again, Archimedes was about to let fly some engine at them, they turned their backs and fled, Marcellus desisted from conflicts and assaults, putting all his hope in a long siege.

Yet Archimedes possessed so high a spirit, so profound a soul, and such treasures of scientific knowledge, that though these inventions had now obtained him the renown of more than human sagacity, he yet would not deign to leave behind him any commentary or writing on such subjects; but, repudiating as sordid and ignoble the whole trade of engineering, and every sort of art that lends itself to mere use and profit, he placed his whole affection and ambition in those purer speculations where there can be no reference to the vulgar needs of life; studies, the superiority of which to all others is unquestioned, and in which the only doubt can be whether the beauty and grandeur of the subjects examined, of the precision and cogency of the methods and means of proof, most deserve our admiration. It is not possible to find in all geometry more difficult and intricate questions, or more simple and lucid explanations. Some ascribe this to his natural genius; while others think that incredible effort and toil produced these, to all appearances, easy and unlabored results. No amount of investigation of yours would succeed in attaining the proof, and yet, once seen, you immediately believe you would have discovered it; by so smooth and so rapid a path he leads you to the conclusion required. And thus it ceases to be incredible that (as is commonly told of him) the charm of his familiar and domestic Siren made him forget his food and neglect his person, to that degree that when he was occasionally carried by absolute violence to bathe or have his body anointed, he used to trace geometrical figures in the ashes of the fire, and diagrams in the oil on his body, being in a state of entire preoccupation, and, in the truest sense, divine possession with his love and delight in science. His discoveries were numerous and admirable; but he is said to have requested his friends and relations that, when he was dead, they would place over his tomb a sphere containing a cylinder, inscribing it with the ratio which the containing solid bears to the contained. Such was Archimedes, who now showed himself, and so far as lay in him the city also, invincible.

While the siege continued, Marcellus took Megara, one of the earliest founded of the Greek cities in Sicily, and capturing also the camp of Hippocrates at Acilae, killed above 8,000 men, having attacked them whilst they were engaged in forming their fortifications. He overran a great part of Sicily; gained over many towns from the Carthaginians, and overcame all that dared to encounter him.

As the siege went on, one Damippus, a Spartan, putting to sea in a ship from Syracuse, was taken. When the Syracusans much desired to redeem this man, and there were many meetings and treaties about the matter betwixt them and Marcellus, he had opportunity to notice a tower into which a body of men might be secretly introduced, as the wall near to it was not difficult to surmount, and it was itself carelessly guarded. Coming often thither, and entertaining conferences about the release of Damippus, he had pretty well calculated the height of the tower, and got ladders prepared.

The Syracusans celebrated a feast to Artemis; this juncture of time, when they were given up entirely to wine and sport, Marcellus laid hold of, and before the citizens perceived it, not only possessed himself of the tower, but, before the break of day, filled the wall around with soldiers, and made his way into the Hexapylum. The Syracusans now beginning to stir, and to be alarmed at the tumult, he ordered the trumpets everywhere to sound, and thus frightened them all into flight, as if all parts of the city were already won, though the most fortified, and the fairest, and most ample quarter was still ungained. It is called Achradina, and was divided by a wall from the outer city, one part of which they call Neapolis, the other Tycha.

Possessing himself of these, Marcellus, about break of day, entered through the Hexapylum, all his officers congratulating him. But looking down from the higher places upon the beautiful and spacious city below, he is said to have wept much, commiserating the calamity that hung over it, when his thoughts represented to him how dismal and foul the face of the city would be in a few hours, when plundered and sacked by the soldiers. For among the officers of his army there was not one man that durst deny the plunder of the city to the soldiers’ demands; nay, many were instant that it should be set on fire and laid level to the ground: but this Marcellus would not listen to.

Yet he granted, but with great unwillingness and reluctance, that the money and slaves should be made prey; giving orders, at the same time, that none should violate any free person, nor kill, misuse, or make a slave of any of the Syracusans. Though he had used this moderation, he still esteemed the condition of that city to be pitiable, and, even amidst the congratulations and joy, showed his strong feelings of sympathy and commiseration at seeing all the riches accumulated during a long felicity now dissipated in an hour. For it is related that no less prey and plunder was taken here than afterward in Carthage. For not long after they obtained also the plunder of the other parts of the city, which were taken by treachery; leaving nothing untouched but the king’s money, which was brought into the public treasury.

But nothing afflicted Marcellus so much as the death of Archimedes, who was then, as fate would have it, intent upon working out some problem by a diagram, and having fixed his mind alike and his eyes upon the subject of his speculation, he never noticed the incursion of the Romans, nor that the city was taken. In this transport of study and contemplation, a soldier, unexpectedly coming up to him, commanded him to follow to Marcellus; which he declining to do before he had worked out his problem to a demonstration, the soldier, enraged, drew his sword and ran him through. Others write that a Roman soldier, running upon him with a drawn sword, offered to kill him; and that Archimedes, looking back, earnestly besought him to hold his hand a little while, that he might not leave what he was then at work upon inconclusive and imperfect; but the soldier, nothing moved by his entreaty, instantly killed him. Others again relate that, as Archimedes was carrying to Marcellus mathematical instruments, dials, spheres, and angles, by which the magnitude of the sun might be measured to the sight, some soldiers seeing him, and thinking that he carried gold in a vessel, slew him. Certain it is that his death was very afflicting to Marcellus; and that Marcellus ever after regarded him that killed him as a murderer; and that he sought for his kindred and honored them with signal favors.

Q.E.D. Archimedes was brilliant, the Romans stole all the Greeks’ money, and Syracuse was a neutral city whose neutrality was blatantly violated by the Romans in the 2d Punic War. And the Romans did it for the money. Plutarch is pretty much a reliable source.





Of 32 first-round picks, I only got 19 right, for barely a 59% percentage. That looks good until you realize by flipping a coin I’d get 50%, so basically that’s a 9% winning percentage. Not very impressive. The only two brackets I have reasonably correct are the East, where I have Kentucky meeting West Virginia in the Regional Final, which can still happen, and the South, where I had Duke meeting Baylor in the Regional Final. Of those, I had West Virginia upsetting Kentucky in my original bracket and going to the final four, and Duke beating Baylor to get to the Final Four. In the East bracket, I was totally busted as I had Kansas hitting Georgetown in the regional. Oops! Can you say University of Northern Iowa? In the West, I had Syracuse hitting Pitt. From there I had Kansas and Pitt in the final four, and Pitt v. West Va in the finals, with West Va winning. Well, that clearly was wrong. I did pick Villanova to lose in the second round, although it was to Richmond, and not to St. Mary’s, but I’ve never thought much of Jay Wright as a tournament coach, much less an NCAA coach. He had a good run last year, but usually ‘Nova has done poorly in both the Big East and the NCAA tournaments. Temple, by contrast, has usually done well in A-10 and NCAA tournaments, and Fran Dunphy has coached many fine teams not only at Temple, but at Penn and LaSalle before that.

In light of the first two rounds, I’d have to revise all that. In the East, I think Kentucky-West Virginia, first of all, is sort of the championship within the championship. Second, I believe Kentucky will win. I am also assuming that Kentucky will beat Cornell. West Virginia will beat Washington. In the South, Duke will handle Purdue, while St. Mary’s dance will end at the hands of Baylor, although that’s a bit more of a flip. It doesn’t really matter, since Duke will beat the winner of that game and advance to the final four. So it will be Duke v. Kentucky in that bracket. At this point, Kentucky will beat Duke in a good game, but John Wall is simply better. Also Calipari is a match for coach K.

The Midwest is tougher. Of course, I love the Spartans, and they will beat UNI. Ohio State is still a #2 seed, and they should handle Tennessee. That leaves an interesting Big Ten match up of Mich State v. Ohio State in the Regional Final, which I have to like Ohio State, but then again, Tom Izzo is a terrific coach, so really, it’s a flip. I have to favor Ohio State, but Michigan State has the coaching. Then again, the Spartans will be without one of their key players due to injury. Finally, in the West regional, I like Syracuse to beat Butler, although Butler is good and playing well. I also like Kansas State to beat Xavier, although again, Xavier is good and playing well. Neither will be easy games. That leaves Syracuse against Kansas State in the regional final. Here you have a #1 against a #2, and a real dogfight. I like Syracuse, but both teams are talented and well-coached. I like Syracuse to go to the final four. Out of that bracket, then, I like Ohio State v. Syracuse, and in that match up, I actually think Syracuse has an easier game against either Ohio State/Michigan State than they did against Kansas State, and Syracuse advanced to the final Round.

The final round therefore will be Syracuse against Kentucky, and this will be a terrific game. I like Kentucky here, but it will be a terrific game.

After notes: I was stunned to see Cornell beat an outstanding Temple team, but Cornell is legit—they have a 7-footer with hands who can pass, rebound and shoot, and they’ve surrounded him with a good point guard and several excellent three point shooters who can bomb it from way downtown. So you can play inside-outside all day long, and Temple was stuck double-teaming low or pressing on the perimeter, and getting burned on both ends. Cornell put up 78 points on Temple—and Temple allowed no more than 50 something in the A-10 against great teams like URI and Richmond, and shut down Xavier defensively in the regular season. And Cornell then went out and destroyed Wisconsin for good measure. No wonder Cornell has been on the front page of the WSJ for like a week straight.

Did I mention that Cornell is in ITHACA, NY? You remember Ithaca–that’s the place ODYSSEUS or as he’s known in latin, ULYSSES was from. He was a pretty famous king who went to TROY (another city in NY and also a famous kingdom in ASIA MINOR) to fight the TROJAN WAR, then got lost on the way back.

ULYSSES story of how he gets back to ITHACA is told in the screenplay and movie, “O WHERE ART THOU BROTHER?”, which of course is based upon the novel ULYSSES by James Joyce, which of course is based upon a famous old poem in decapentasyllabic metred Homeric Ancient Greek by an old blind goat named HOMER, called the ODYSSEY.

In ancient times, everyone was required to not only read this book but to memorize and recite it. ALEXANDER THE GREAT so loved the book, he kept a copy of it under his bed, along with the ILIAD.

So yes, even CORNELL has ties to ancient greece, in fact, their very town is the embodiment of all things greek–didn’t they read the poem by Cavafy about returning to Ithaca at Jackie O’s funeral???? Isn’t that in the last collection of poems by her daughter??? Everyone knows what HOME is–it’s ITHACA.


And right across from Cornell is ITHACA COLLEGE–alma mater of my cousin–and of course, the setting for ROAD TRIP, one of the ten greatest films ever made about college life. And yes, everyone has been with a girl like Amy Smart once in their lives. Not. But if you’re Odysseus, you can spend five years with a hot siren, and chalk it up to mental defect or the effect of some goddess like nectar, and still plead the fifth to your wife, who remains faithful for yeah, 20 years.

Cornell is the best basketball team I’ve seen with four white guys on the floor since maybe the Boston Celtics of Bird-McHale-Ainge-Rick Robey-Parrish of the early 80s. Those Celtics had four white guys and they could flat out play. Of course, they got better, NBA championship better, when they got rid of Robey and got Dennis Johnson, who could flat out PLAY, plus he could shut down Andrew Toney, the Boston Strangler and ever-underrate Sixers sharpshooter, as Simmons points out in his recent fantastic book.

–art kyriazis, Philly hoops guy
March 25, 2010


STEPHEN EDELSTEIN TOULMIN 1922-1909 a philosophical giant

obit from stephen grimes of the ny times


reprinted in global debate blog at

Toulmin was a great yet unknown and unheralded philosopher and writer of great academic and widespread influence in many circles.

He was an epistemologist and also influenced the modern revival of practical argumentation theory, also known as the new rhetoric, with a small book he published in 1958 known as “the uses of argument”, which is still a classic today.

Toulmin’s argumentation theories, which were refined over the course of many  more articles and books, resulted in what was known as a Toulmin argument, to quot from the wikipedia article on Toulmin;

Toulmin believed that a good argument can succeed in providing good justification for a claim that will stand up to criticism and earn a favourable verdict. In The Uses of Argument (1958), Toulmin proposed a layout containing six interrelated components for analyzing arguments:

A conclusion whose merit must be established. For example, if a person tries to convince a listener that he is a British citizen, the claim would be “I am a British citizen.” (1)
Evidence (Data)
A fact one appeals to as a foundation for the claim. For example, the person introduced in 1 can support his claim with the supporting data “I was born in Bermuda.” (2)
A statement authorizing movement from the data to the claim. In order to move from the data established in 2, “I was born in Bermuda,” to the claim in 1, “I am a British citizen,” the person must supply a warrant to bridge the gap between 1 and 2 with the statement “A man born in Bermuda will legally be a British citizen.” (3)
Credentials designed to certify the statement expressed in the warrant; backing must be introduced when the warrant itself is not convincing enough to the readers or the listeners. For example, if the listener does not deem the warrant in 3 as credible, the speaker will supply the legal provisions as backing statement to show that it is true that “A man born in Bermuda will legally be a British citizen.”
Statements recognizing the restrictions which may legitimately be applied to the claim. The rebuttal is exemplified as follows: “A man born in Bermuda will legally be a British citizen, unless he has betrayed Britain and has become a spy of another country.”
Words or phrases expressing the speaker’s degree of force or certainty concerning the claim. Such words or phrases include “probably,” “possible,” “impossible,” “certainly,” “presumably,” “as far as the evidence goes,” and “necessarily.” The claim “I am definitely a British citizen” has a greater degree of force than the claim “I am a British citizen, presumably.”

The first three elements, “claim,” “data,” and “warrant,” are considered as the essential components of practical arguments, while the second triad, “qualifier,” “backing,” and “rebuttal,” may not be needed in some arguments.

When Toulmin first proposed it, this layout of argumentation was based on legal arguments and intended to be used to analyze the rationality of arguments typically found in the courtroom. Toulmin did not realize that this layout could be applicable to the field of rhetoric and communication until his works were introduced to rhetoricians by Wayne Brockriede and Douglas Ehninger. Only after Toulmin published Introduction to Reasoning (1979) were the rhetorical applications of this layout mentioned in his works.

Toulmin’s argument model has inspired research on, for example, argument maps and associated software.

Toulmin arguments are therefore routinely used in modern legal argumentation, in law schools, in oratory and rhetoric, and have formed the foundation of modern college and high school debating, especially lincoln-douglas debating which has become the preferred form of debate in recent years.

Toulmin arguments are used in many other ways and in many other contexts.  His work will be studied and debated for many years to come.  His work is illuminating and inspires one to further considerations of the subject matter.  Finally, Toulmin had a fond regard for the ancient greeks and their original traditions of epistemology, rhetoric and oratory, and their practical uses of same vs. their scientific uses of same.  He was always careful to draw the distinction between empirical use of language and persuasive use of language, and in this, he succeeded admirably.  By doing so, he revived the modern notion of argument and managed to win a small victory over the british analytic school which denied even the possibility of metaphysics in a modern world.

–art kyriazis, december 22, 2009

The long-awaited remake of the 1967 classic “the Prisoner” finally arrived in six episodes on cable this past three days and it actually was terrific.

it was very cool that they used original titles from the original episodes, but totally reworked the plot lines. Harmony in the original was a western shootemup, but was something different i this

Except for the weird ending. Which if you haven’t seen it, stop reading this blog now and go see it on rerun or buy the dvd or whatever.

ok, now let’s discuss what happened.

first, go read my prior post at


OK, we’re oriented.

The ending would have us believe that the village does not actually exist, but is a concept in someone’s mind. actually it’s a bit more complex than that, something about actuating our subconscious and living in it as if it were an alternate reality, but in order for it to happen, someone, either #2’s wife or the new #2, who ends up being #6, has his new girlfriend be the dreamer who dreams it all up in HER mind…

This is actually the “brain in a vat” theory expounded upon countless times in theory of mind, philosophy of mind and psych classes.

imagine if everything around us–everything–weren’t real and we were actually a brain in a vat?

ok, now imagine if everything around us weren’t real, but was someone else’s brain imagining what we’re experiencing, and she was the brain in the vat conjuring it all up?

and if she woke up and stopped conjuring, we’d see the world for what it was and the village would fade away….and we’d be back to reality….

the link to montague semantics and lewis alternate worlds posits are too startling to be coincidental.

the alternate realities also mirror another show, the Dollhouse, in which alternate personalities are imprinted on people by means of technology to the extent that their own memories cease to exist, and every different show becomes an alternate reality or universe of that imprint. Unfortunately, that show has been cancelled, but inevitably, like the Prisoner and the remake of the Prisoner, it is destined to become a legendary classic due to the issues it raises.

the remake of the prisoner actually takes not only as logically posible, but as true, lewis’ view that alternative worlds and alternative outcomes are of course logically possible, in short that all modals are equally plausible. All modal possibles are seen as equaly plausible and logical in the context of the Prisoner.

for example, in the real world, #2 and his wife cannot have a child, but in the dream world of the village, which is completely real to them, they have a child, 11-12. and he believes completely and fully that he is real. he even wants to leave the village, oblivious to the fact that he has no existence outside of the construct of the village.

Thus, if we can’t have a child, then we can have a child. Nothing is false, nothing is true. Thus, the ancient Protagoras was right when he said, quite literally, that he could prove any proposition true and false at the same time.

this is so lewis-montague possible worlds like that it’s scary.

and very much like the matrix, which in turn was based very much upon baudrillard, lewis and montague.

all of this too upon susan sontag’s “on photography” which argues that the plethora of visual images in todays society creates a cognitive distortion within us all in which what we see, images that we see, exert too strong a force upon us in terms of our interpretation of reality. In Sontag’s view, images can replace reality.

boy was that prescient.

this is very similar to what baudrillard argues, and sontag of course follows closely many of the french post-modernist deconstructionist writers in her seminal work and others like Artaud.

the remake of the Prisoner is nothing if not a seminal post-modern re-interpretation of the 1967 classic science fiction work.

the issues it raises about what is real, what ought to be real, and what we have a right to expect from life, from reality, from alternatives to reality, and from logic and life itself, are deep and moving.

I found this mini-series compelling and thoughtful.

Needless to say, Ian McKellen as #2, and Jim Caviezel as #6, acting performances were outstanding, as were Ruth Wilson as #313, along with many other fine actors and actresses, writer Bill Gallagher and director Nick Hurran (perhaps best known for Little Black Book), were all excellent

–art kyriazis

Phillies General Manager Ruben Amaro made a mistake releasing Brett Myers after the 2009 post-season.

Amaro declined to negotiate with Phillies long-time pitcher Brett Myers, severed all ties and decided to let Myers be a free agent.

There are several reasons why this move is wrong.

1) Myers is the longest tenured Phillie on the roster.

2) Myers has three seasons of effective post-season experience.

3) Myers has been an integral part of three NL East Division
winners, and an integral part of three contending teams before that.

4) Myers is still young, not yet 30.

5) Myers has great strikeout to walk ratios and a great career WHIP (walks and hits to innings pitched ratio).

6) Myers is an innings eater whose stats are better than league average.

7) The Phillies have no one better to replace Myers as a starter or reliever, and plenty who may be much worse.

8) Myers would have been cheap to re-sign to a one year deal.

9) Myers wanted to stay a Phillie, and loves being a Phillie, and the Phillies fan love Myers.

10) Myers should have been re-signed because he had the courage to call Cole Hamels out for “quitting” after Game Three of the 2009 World Series. Demonstrating guts, will to win, and willingness to demand the same of his superstar teammates.

Let’s detail those reasons.

First, Myers was the longest tenured Phillie on the roster. He loves the Phillies, loves the Phillies fans, and he knows how to pitch in Citizens Bank Park.

Second, Myers has three seasons of post-season experience. He pitched as a closer/relief pitcher in the 2007 NLDS against the Rockies, started in the NLDS/NLCS/World Series, and served as a relief pitcher in the 2009 World Series. In 2009 he was available either as a starter, long relief or as backup closer in the event Ryan Madsen or Brad Lidge were unavailable to do the job. He’s been there and has handled the pressure before in the post-season, in Philly and other big towns and can be handed the ball in big game postseason situations.

Third, Myers has been an integral part of each of the three NL East Division Title Winning teams, as well as being a key starter on teams in 2003-2006 that each won 85 or more games and were always in the hunt. In 2007, after four seasons in which he racked up 193, 176, 215 and 198 innings pitched, going 14-9, 11-11, 13-8 and 12-7 in those seasons (50 total win against 35 total losses), he was asked in 2007 to go to the bullpen and become a closer.

In 2007, Myers converted 21 saves in 24 save opportunities with an ERA of 4.33 (park adjusted ERA of 3.63), striking out 83 batters in just 68 and two thirds innings, while walking only 27, with just 6 hit batsmen and 2 wild pitches. He gave up nine homers in those innings, which projects out to around 27 over 200 innings, but that’s a) normal for Myers and b) normal for pitching in Citizens Bank Park, which allows more than 130% more home runs than the average home park.

In 2008, asked to be a starter again, Myers logged 190 innings again and faced 817 batters, striking out 163 while walking only 65, with 6 hit batsmen and 29 homers allowed. His ERA was slightly higher, 4.55, with a park-adjusted ERA of 4.47, and his won lost record 10-13, but his record in 2008 was not dissimilar from his starting stats of 2003 or 2004, in which he had very similar numbers and results. In 2004 he gave up more home runs and more hits per innings and had an ERA of 5.52 and an adjusted ERA of 5.17.

In 2009 Myers had injury problems and was limited in his ability to start and relieve, but still was willing to come back, hurt, and throw, time and time again, for the Phillies.

Other pitchers would have stayed on the disabled list.

Myers is a competitor who always wants the ball. He came back to the Phillies hurt in September, helped out the bullpen as well as the starting staff, and was there to back up the bullpen in the playoffs and the World Series.

His 2009 stats are also off his career norms, but Myers was injured. There is no reason why he can’t be 100% again next year and shoulder a starters’ role.

Fourth, Myers is young. Myers was born on August 17, 1980. He turned 29 this year. That means he will turn 30 next year. He is still good for another five years at least. He’s six foot four and weights 238 pounds. The one thing to recommend is that Myers go on a conditioning program to lose some weight—losing about twenty pound off his frame would help his mechanics and endurance tremendously. Also, alcohol rehabilitation—he needs to stop drinking entirely. That would help with his weight. With those two taken care of, Myers can be a terrific pitcher for the next five-ten years.

Fifth, Myers has great strikeout to walk ratios and an outstanding career WHIP. Career, Myers has through 2008, 936 strikeouts logged in 1113 innings pitched, which is around 7 and one half strikeouts per nine innings. Through the same period Myers has just 390 walks, which is just three walks a game, which gives him a more than 2-1 strikeout to walk ratio. He gives up about one hit per inning pitched, exactly, so his career WHIP is 1.36. Combined with 7.5 strikeouts a game, those are outstanding career strikeout, hits allowed and walks allowed ratios.

Sixth, Myers has shown, over and over, that he is an innings eater whose career era, career WHIP and career strikeout to walk ratio are all under league average in a league where teams score five or more runs a game and in a home park where home runs fly out all the time. The Phillies had another pitcher once who was a lot like Brett Myers, who they also brought up in their farm system, a guy named Kevin Gross. Gross was basically a .500 pitcher, but Gross was a big guy, a strikeout pitcher, who would always eat up 200 innings a year, give you five to eight innings a start, and always keep you in the ballgame most of the time. The Phillies made the mistake of letting Gross get away to the Dodgers, and Gross had a long and productive career after leaving the Phillies. Not a Hall of Famer, but as a #3, 4, or 5 starter that ate up innings and helped keep the Dodgers in ballgames and gave them a chance to win.

Nor did the Phillies ever find another starter who was as good as Gross. As Bill James and other statheads are fond of saying, there is nothing as valuable in baseball as an average player, a replacement level player, a guy who gives you the league average ERA and pitches 200 innings a year. Those guys are hard to find.

Seventh, who will replace Myers? Let’s look as some of the back end starters the Phillies have used in recent years who have been much worse than Myers, and a lot more expensive.

Adam Eaton. Once a high Phillies draft pick, let go to other teams, the Phils resigned him to an expensive deal. Not known for “eaton” innings, Eaton went 10-10 in 2007 with a 6.29 ERA (park-adjusted 6.33) while allowing a staggering 192 hits and 30 homers in just 161 and two thirds innings pitched. Also 11 hit batters and 6 wild pitches. He was worse the next year, only logging 107 innings pitched, going 4-8 with a 5.80 ERA (6.07 park adjusted), allowing 131 hits and 15 homers in those 107 innings, while striking out only 57 and walking 44, with 6 hit batsmen and 2 wild pitches. Awful, terrible, horrible don’t begin to describe how bad Adam Eaton was as a starter.

Jamie Moyer has been a wonderful surprise for the Phillies, but he will turn 47 years old in just five days on November 18, 1962. In fact, Moyer will will in fact be attending his 30th reunion at Penn Charter either this fall of 2009 or this coming spring of 2010. Tempus fugit.

Moyer was terrific for the Phillies in 2007 and 2008, but his ERA ballooned in 2009 as did a number of other stats, and he was actually removed from the rotation in favor of Pedro Martinez. Moyer was doing well in relief, but then suffered a serious injury in September, which was unfortunate, because Moyer was very, very effective in the postseason in both 2007 and 2008, and the Phils could have used Moyer’s junkballing stuff against the lefthanded leaning, fastball-hitting Yankees.

Right now, the Phillies Starting Staff for 2010 looks like this:

1) Cliff Lee 2) Cole Hamels 3) Joe Blanton 4) JA Happ 5) ?

There was every reason to insert Brett Myers in there at Number 5. Atlanta has six starters under contract, and guys get hurt during a season.

The Phillies needed to sign Pedro Martinez and trade for Cliff Lee during the season because starting pitchers get hurt and got hurt, or don’t perform as expected. Brett Myers represented insuranced & depth, and was a known commodity.

Pedro Martinez could start for the Phillies, but it’s not really clear that he can go an entire season and log 200 innings like a Brett Myers. It really would have been a lot safer to use Brett Myers to log 200 innings and use Pedro in relief, and then flip them around come playoff time. That way the Phillies could save Pedro’s arm for the post-season, since Myers can do anything you want him to do. Pedro has broken down physically each of the seasons he was with the Mets, and cold weather doesn’t agree with him at age 38.

Kyle Kendrick is a potential #4 or #5 starter for the Phillies, but a careful analysis of his pitching stats show that his successful 2007 season is an illusion. This is because Kyle Kendrick is not a strikeout pitcher and only succeeds when he doesn’t give up hits and doesn’t give up walks. He was successful in 2007 because a large number of the balls put into play against him happened to be caught—what we call the Voros McCracken effect or factor. This in 2007 he allowed 129 hits in 121 innings pitched, and had an ERA of 2.87 (park adjusted 4.23), but struck out only 49 batters, less than 3.5 per 9 innings, a very very low total for a young pitcher, especially one who’s 6 foot three, 190 and was age 23 at the time—he’s turning 26 in 2010—while walking 25—about 1.75 per nine innings. Now that was a 2-1 strikeout to walk ratio, but notice how many balls are being put into play when you don’t strike out very many people. Kendrick allowed 16 homers in those 121 innings.

In 2008, it was a completely different story for Kendrick. He allowed 194 hits in just 155 and two thirds innings, struck out just 68 batters while walking 57—almost a one to one strikeout to walk ratio—LED the national league in hit batsmen with 14—which would have been around 25 hit batters if he’d gone to 200 plus innings—and also added in 4 wild pitches. Kendrick logged a 5.49 ERA (6.05 adjusted) and allowed 23 homers in those 155.2 innings. This works out to a WHIP of over 1.60—and a WHIP over 1.50 is very very high. Kendrick in 2008 walked nearly 3 and a half batters a game, while striking out just about the same number as he had in 2007, 3 and a half batters a game. So his walks doubled while his strikeouts stayed the same. And his wild pitches, homers and hit batsmen went nuts. Add in the poor strikeout to walk ratio, the high walk ratio, the hit batsmen, the homers and the wild pitches, and you can see why Kendrick was sent down to the minors in 2008 and stayed there in 2009.

Kendrick is simply never going to be an effective major league starting pitcher. If he learns a sinker or change, he might eventually become a good one or two inning or long relief pitcher, but never a closer, starter or 7th inning setup guy. Kendrick doesn’t know how to strikeout batters, and unless he can control the location of his pitches to get ground balls and induce double plays, and not allow homers or hits, he’s not going to be able to hold leads either. He’ll just be a guy you throw in there when you’re losing and you need to eat up innings, but since the Phillies are never out of a ballgame, they just don’t need anyone like him.

It could be the Phils expect Pedro to hold down the fort until Kyle Drabek or someone like him is ready off the farm.

Eighth, the Phillies should have resigned Myers because he would have been cheap to resign.

Coming off an injury plagued year, the Phils could have had him for a one year deal, and probably nowhere close to the money they signed him for a while back when they gave him a long term guaranteed deal. Then the Phils could have sat back and seen how he would have done.

Ninth, Myers wanted to stay with the Phils, because he’s a career Phillie and he loves playing in Philly. He loves the fans, and the fans love him. He’s a gutbucket, blue collar, lunchpail, play hurt kind of player who leaves everything on the field, and that’s exactly what Philly fans love about him. He’s nothing like Pat Burrell or Bobby Abreu or Scott Rolen, all of whom had issues at one time or another about playing in Philly for one reason or another, and each of whom loved to take those long paid DL vacations. Myers has always loved Philly, and always played hurt, and always came back as soon as he could.

Myers was like the aaron rowand of the phillies pitching staff.

Tenth, the Phillies should have signed Myers because he called Cole Hamels out for “quitting” during the World Series this past October/November.

Although it’s controversial, Myers should be given credit for saying to the superstar, hey, you’re the superstar, you can’t go around saying stuff like “I wish the season was over, I quit, I’m mentally drained,” because that shows poor leadership to the rest of the team, especially when you’re playing a go for the jugular team like the Yankees, who essentially play a world series every week since they’re in the cut-throat AL East Division.

Myers showed Billy Martin-Phil Rizzuto-Yogi Berra-Derek Jeter in your face kind of leadership and style by getting in Cole Hamels’ face during the World Series.

The Phillies need that kind of locker room intensity.

The Phillies need guys who want to win so badly, they’re not afraid to fight with each other over who’s trying harder to win the World Series.

Hamels is a very, very gifted pitcher, but how good , how great, how invincible would he be if he had Brett Myers intensity, toughness and desire to win?

Brett Myers must say to himself every day, if I had the talent that Cole Hamels had, I’d never lose. I’d go out and beat those other guys. Because I hate to lose. I’m Brett Myers. Give me the ball.

For that reason, and for all the others enumerated herein, it’s probably a mistake to let a fellow like Brett Myers leave the Phillies.

Facing Myers for the Dodgers or Yankees is a lot different than facing nice Randy Wolf, sloppy Vincente Padilla or CC Sabathia, who has developed a psychological issue with the phils. Myers just wants to beat you any way he can.

It might be a mistake to let him go to an enemy team.

–art kyriazis, philly
home of the 2008 world champion phillies
Jimmy Rollins, three straight gold gloves, 2007-2009
Shane Victorino, two straight gold gloves, 2008-2009
Chase Utley, four straight Silver Slugger Awards, 2b, 2006-2009
JA Happ NL Rookie of the Year 2009
2007, 2008, 2009 NL East Division Champions
2008, 2009 NL Pennant Winners
1976-1978, 1980, 1983, 1993 NL East Division Champions
1981 NL East Divisional Playoffs.
1915, 1950, 1980, 1983, 1993 NL Pennant Champions
1980 World Champions

There were some ugly rumors the past week or so to the effect that the Philadelphia Phillies, in the wake of losing the 2009 World Series to the Yankees, might be willing to trade Cole Hamels to the Blue Jays for Roy Halladay. Since then, the Phils’ front office has categorically denied they will trade Hamels, which is a good thing, but let’s make sure they don’t by putting out the case for NOT trading Hamels in a logical, sensible fashion.

The Phillies should not trade Hamels for Roy Halladay. Since Hamels and Halladay follow each other alphabetically in the 2009 Bill James Handbook and on, this one is easy to figure out.

1) Hamels is much younger than Roy Halladay, Halladay is 33, Hamels 26.

2) Hamels has thrown one fourth as many career innings as Halladay.

3) Hamels has a better strikeout to walk ratio than Halladay; Halladay just isn’t a strikeout pitcher.

4) Halladay is wilder than Hamels, hitting more batters and throwing more wild pitches.

5) Hamels is a much, much better hitter than Halladay, important in the NL.

6) Hamels is a proven post-season winner and performer; Halladay has never pitched in the post-season. Moreover, Halladay has never gotten his team into the playoffs, even when paired with AJ Burnett, whereas Hamels got his team the NL East crown with #2 starters like Brett Myers and Kyle Kendrick. Hamels is a better leader.

7) Hamels is very likely to rebound in 2009 and beyond and become a career dominant pitcher like Steve Carlton.

So let’s go into the details behind these reasons:

First, Hamels is far younger than Halladay.

Roy Halladay will be 33 years old in 2010, having been born on May 14, 1977. He is six foot six, weighs 225 throws right and bats right.

Cole Hamels will be 26 in December of 2009, having been born on December 27, 1983, an age advantage of eleven years. He is six foot three weighs 190 throws left and bats left.

CLEAR ADVANTAGE: HAMELS. Hamels has an entire career ahead of him. Halladay could have five years left, or he could be done tomorrow. It’s really hard to say.

Second, Hamels has thrown far fewer innings than Halladay.

Halladay has thrown eleven seasons in the big leagues. From 1998 to 2001, he did not pitch over 150 innings. In 2002 and 2003 he led the league in innings pitched with 239 and 266. In 2004 and 2005 he was limited to 133 and 141 innings pitched. In 2006-2007 he pitched mor than 220 innings and in 2008 again led the league in innings pitched with 246. In 2003 he led the league in wins and won the AL Cy Young Award. Total Innings worked in eleven seasons: Adding in 2009, he’s pitched around 2000 plus innings in the big leagues.

Hamels has thrown four seasons in the big leagues, and only two seasons over two hundred innings. He’s pitched deep into the postseason the past two seasons, which has increased his workload, but adding in 2009 he’s still only pitched around just short of 800 innings in the big leagues. One point is that the pace of Hamels’ workload at this age is far greater that it was at a comparable age for Halladay. If Hamels were to continue this pace, he would throw nearly 3,000 innings by the time he reached Halladay’s age. On the other hand, if he could continue this pace, you’d have a pitcher of Hamel’s quality throwing 2,000 plus career innings for you the next five to ten years.


Third, Hamels has a far, far better Strikeout to Walk ratio than Halladay.

Halladay, career, through 2008, struck out 1287 batters in 1808 innings pitched, while walking 420 batters, which is about 6 strikeouts and two walks per nine innings pitched.

Hamels, career, through 2008, has struck out 518 batters in 543 innings pitched, while waking 144 batters, which roughly works out to 8 strikeouts and three walks per nine innings pitched.

When comparing pitchers, the strikeout pitcher is always to be preferred to the pitcher who keeps the ball in play.


Fourth, Hamels is not as wild as Halladay.

Halladay, career, through 2008, has hit 51 batsmen and thrown 41 wild pitches in 1808 career innings. That’s a pretty high self-destruction index, to paraphrase one of Bill James’ famous columns.

Hamels, career, through 2008, has hit 7 batsment and thrown 10 wild pitches in 543 career innings. That’s nowhere close to Halladay’s wildness. In fact, for a pitcher of Hamels’ quality, those are impressively low numbers.

Thus, even though Hamels may have a slightly higher walk ratio, the fact is that Hamels doesn’t hit batsmen, and doesn’t throw wild pitches at anywhere close to the rate that Halladay does.


Fifth, Hamels is a better hitter than Halladay.

Halladay has spent his entire career in the AL and has never hit for himself. It would be expected that he cannot hit at all.

Hamels, an exceptional all around athlete born and reared in Southern California who trains very hard, is an excellent hitter for a pitcher, routinely gets singles, rbis and can get the bunt down when called upon in game situations.

In the National League, a pitcher who can hit, over the course of a season, can save you runs and pick up win shares, and therefore games. The difference between a .050 batting average and a .200 batting average over the course of a season is substantial—you’re not giving away as many outs at the number nine hole, especially if your pitching ace logging innings is getting all those at bats.


Sixth, Hamels has proven himself in the postseason.

Roy Halladay has never pitched in the postseason. This is not really his fault, but at the same time he has never led his club to a championship, a division title or a wild card berth despite his pitching prowess. Toronto has had some fine clubs, including some 90 game winning clubs, but the Yankees and Red Sox keep winning many more than ninety games, leaving Toronto unable to get into the AL Playoffs as a wildcard. In 2008, with AJ Burnett and Roy Halladay at the top of their staff, Toronto had an outstanding team that won 86 and lost 73—and yet finished fourth in the AL East division, behind Tampa Bay, who went 97-65, the Red Sox who went 95-67, and the Yankees, who went 89-73. When AJ Burnett went to the Yankees in 2009, the Yankees improved by nearly fifteen games and won 103 games in 2009, walking away with the division, and Burnett turned in a sharp postseason performance for the Yankees, suggesting that perhaps he and not Halladay was the gutsier performer with the will to win.

Hamels, by contrast, has not only pitched three years of playoff baseball, he’s been integral in the Phillies three consecutive NL East Division Championships. Yet that was with #2 pitchers in 2007 and 2008 like Brett Myers, Jamie Moyer and Kyle Kendrick. The Phillies did not add another truly great starter until mid-2009 when Cliff Lee arrived on the scene. Until Lee arrived, Hamels clearly was the ace who had led the Phillies not only to the 2007 and 2008 NL East crowns, but also to a substantial lead in mid-2009.

While the NL East is not the AL East, it is a difficult division, with the Mets, Braves and Marlins all very competitive every year. Again, perhaps it is Hamels, like Burnett, who is the gutsier performer with the will to win.

This is not to question Halladay’s will or desire to win, but the record shows that he’s never led any of his teams to the playoffs, whereas Burnett has been on two World Series teams, as has Hamels. This may be closely related to the fact that Hamels and Burnett are both strikeout pitchers, while Halladay is not really a strikeout pitcher.

In the 2007 postseason, even though he gave up three runs and lost, Hamels had seven strikeouts and only gave up three hits, even though the Rockies won the game. Even in losing, Hamels pitched tough.

In the 2008 postseason, Hamels was untouchable through the NLDS, the NLCS and the World Series, and won the MVP for the 2008 World Series. Even though the Phils won in five games, all but one of those games were one-run wins, and but for Hamels and Lidge, the Phils would not have won over a very fine Blue James team that beat the Yanks and Red Sox in the AL East to get to the Series. Hamels was unbelievably great in October of 2008, and even when the Commissioner of Baseball, Bud Selig, attempted to take Hamels’ Game Five win away from him by allowing play to continue in the rain until BJ Upton scored a tying run in the mud and slop of a drenching rainstorm before Selig “suspended” play for the first time in a modern World Series game, Hamels maintained his calm demeanor.

In the 2009 postseason, while not quite as sharp, Hamels did the job through the NLDS and NLCS as the Phils marched through the Rockies (exacting revenge for 2007) and the Dodgers in five games each. In the World Series, Hamels in critical game 3 was pitching a no-hitter through three innings with lots of strikeouts when again, the Commissioner of Baseball interfered with another Hamels game by illegally reviewing an obvious ground-rule double/in live play Alex Rodriguez ball that struck a camera that was in the field of play, erroneously ruling that the ball had “stuck an object over the fence in flight” and ruling the ball a home run on instant replay (from a lawyers room in the Commissioner’s Office in New York, Bud Selig again), turning second and third and a 3-0 lead into a 3-2 one run game.

(see my prior blog on this subject posted a couple of weeks back for an explanation of why the double hit by rodriquez was not subject to instant replay review under the rules of baseball–in fact, the next night they pushed the camera back and out of the field of play, proving my point entirely).

This time, Hamels did not react as coolly and he gave up three more runs the next inning and had to be removed. Nonetheless, he had struck out numerous Yankees, and only given up a very few hits when he was replaced, and the home run by Rodriguez was bogus. Some would argue that forces in New York wanted to see the Yankees succeed at any cost, even if it mean rattling Hamels’ cage to do it.

It certainly is suspicious that the Commissioner of Baseball and the umpires would interfere with two Hamels World Series games in consecutive years to the detriment of the Phillies.

But then again there are those who still think JFK was shot by a lone gunmen, or that money doesn’t buy influence in politics, or that drinking, gambling, staying up late and going out with the ladies is the best preparation for professional athletic contests even if your name isn’t babe ruth.

At any rate, Hamels still pitched well in spite of everything, and even if the Yanks got runs off him, he still pitched well enough to win if the Rodriguez ball hadn’t been called a home run.

The bottom line is that Hamels is a good postseason pitcher.

Note also that Hamels did not disintegrate on the mound like AJ Burnett did on three days rest in Game 5 of the World Series after throwing a masterpiece in game 2.


Seventh: Career Comparison suggests that Hamels’ 2009 Stats following 2008 are a lot like Steve Carlton’s 1973 Stats following 1972.

In 1972, Steve Carlton won the Cy Young, working more than 300 innings and winning 29 games and losing only 10, striking out more than 300 batters with a miniscule ERA, for a last place Phillies team that frankly, was dreadful. The next year, Carlton lost twenty games or nearly that, with a much higher ERA, and about a .500 winning record. It took Carlton a year or too to get back his mojo, but he once again became a regular twenty game winner, and went on to win three or four more Cy Young Awards, and one of the most feared, dominant pitchers in the league, and a feared, dominant post-season pitcher as well, eventually winning game six over the Kansas City Royals in the 1980 World Series to clinch for the Phillies their first World Championship.

If you normalize Cole Hamels’ stats for 2008 and 2009, and also Steve Carlton’s stats for 1972 and 1973, either back to 1972 or up to 2008, you will quickly see that the two pairs of years by the two pitchers look very, very similar.

This suggest strongly that Hamels’ year this past year is not a sign of his moving backwards, but merely that after a huge year last year (like Carlton’s first huge year), some pitchers tend to regress back towards to mean, first because of pitcher workload reasons, and second for psychological reasons.

Carlton’s answer was to stop talking to the media and intensify his legenday workout program.

Hamels has already shown signs of this. He’s indicated first, that he was mentally drained from last year, indicating that psychology was a factor for him. Second, he’s indicated that he will be speaking less to the media and at public events this offseason, and working harder on conditioning. Third, he’s made it clear that he wants redemption and wants to come back next year in excellent physical shape, ready to compete at a high level.

Consequently, there is some reason to believe that Hamels’ career arc will be like Carlton’s—there may be offyears, but the high points will be very high indeed—Cy Young Years, MVP Years, years when he leads the NL in strikeouts, shutouts and the like.

Consequently, the Phillies should not trade Hamels.

–art kyriazis, philly
home of the 2008 world champion phillies
Jimmy Rollins, three straight gold gloves, 2007-2009
Shane Victorino, two straight gold gloves, 2008-2009
Chase Utley, four straight Silver Slugger Awards, 2b, 2006-2009
2007, 2008, 2009 NL East Division Champions
2008, 2009 NL Pennant Winners
1976-1978, 1980, 1983, 1993 NL East Division Champions
1981 NL East Divisional Playoffs.
1915, 1950, 1980, 1983, 1993 NL Pennant Champions
1980 World Champions

in 2006, the Phils and Yankees made the historic Bobby Abreu trade, but the forgotten man in that deal was Starting Pitcher Cory Lidle:

July 30, 2006: Pitcher Cory Lidle Traded by the Philadelphia Phillies with Bobby Abreu to the New York Yankees for C.J. Henry (minors), Carlos Monastrios (minors), Jesus Sanchez (minors) and Matt Smith.

Abreu spent 2 years with the Yanks, then moved on to the Angels, where he helped the Angels reach the ALCS before they fell to the Yanks. Abreu did not have a good ALCS vs the Yanks.

Why is Lidle that important? Because, as everyone knows, or has forgotten, the Yankees were looking for depth at the back end of their rotation at the time. Cory Lidle was an innings eater, a guy who averaged 185-200 innnings a year. His career 162 game average was 189 innings pitched per year with a 12-10 career won lost record, a 4.57 ERA, a very good strikeout to walk ratio, and a WHIP of 1.33, which is decent for a 4 or 5 starter.

But as everyone knows, or has forgotten, on October 11, 2006, Cory Lidle was killed accidentally while flying his airplane near new york city over one of the rivers bordering manhattan. It was a gruesome disaster, and spelled the end to a young life. Lidle was only 34 years old at the time and still pitching very well indeed–and probably would have stuck with the Yanks.

The reason I mention the late Cory Lidle is twofold.

First, you would think someone would have thought to honor his memory during this series. It would have been right.

Second, if Cory Lidle had lived, he surely would have been the back end starter that the Yankees were searching for all year this year–the guy to take heat off of Joba Chamberlain, and surely a guy they could have dialed up to start Game 5 instead of rushing AJ Burnett out there to get pounded on three days rest.

No one gives much credit to the #4 and #5 starters of the world–the Joe Blantons–but they do an important job–they eat up innings, hold the other team to 3 or 4 runs, and give their teams a chance to win.

Cory Lidle on normal rest would have done that for the Yanks, and hey, he would have loved to pitch in the world series against his old team.

It’s a shame he never got the chance.

–art kyriazis, philly
Home of Chase Utley, Mr. November, Five Homers in a World Series
Tying Reggie Jackson’s all time record, Mr. October, set 32 years ago, 1977 vs. LA Dodgers.
Phillies, 2008 World Champions, 2009 NL Champions, congratulate the 2009 World Champion Yankees.

“Where am I?”
“In the Village.”
“What do you want?”
“Whose side are you on?”
“That would be telling. We want Information. Information. Information.”
“You won’t get it.”
“By hook or by crook, we will.”
“Who are you?”
“The new Number #2.”
“Who is Number #1?”
“You are Number #6.”
[stranger laughs diabolically at his assertion of freedom].

THE PRISONER (1967) STARRING PATRICK MCGOOHAN (SOON TO BE SHOWN AS A REMAKE ON CABLE TV) – This is truly one of the legendary TV shows of all time, and an inspired choice for a remake. The originals are now out on Comcast on demand and available to be seen for the first time in quite a while. They are in color and in excellent, really superb quality, considering they were filmed more than forty years ago and have been in the vaults a long time. The Prisoner was a cult hit in both Britain, and later in the US, where it was shown on PBS sometime after it was shown in Britain. Along with Monty Python and Sesame Street, it was one of PBS’ biggest hits of the late 60s/early 70s.

Every episode of the Prisoner started the same.

McGoohan, who is a british spy, obviously working for British Intelligence, has an angry argument with his superior, then bangs the table and throws his resignation letter on the desk.

Then cut to McGoohan’s apartment, where we see him packing. Meanwhile, next cut to a strange looking man in a top hat who approaches the apartment door from the outside. Cut to inside view and gas starts pouring visibly inside McGoohan’s flat, overcoming him.

He wakes up in a strange bed in a strange place. He does not know where he is. He looks out the window and sees a strange town. Then cut to a strange place, a strange person seated in a throne like chair in a round room. McGoohan is being interrogated by the Stranger.

McGoohan: “Where am I?”
Stranger: “In the Village.”
McGoohan: “What do you want?”
Stranger: “Information.”
McGoohan: “Whose side are you on?”
Stranger: “That would be telling. We want Information. Information. Information.”
McGoohan: “You won’t get it.”
Stranger: “By hook or by crook, we will.”
McGoohan: “Who are you?”
Stranger: “The new Number #2.”
McGoohan: “Who is Number #1?”
Stranger: “You are Number #6.”
McGoohan: “I am not a Number, I am a Free Man!!!”
Stranger: [laughs diabolically].

So many aspects of the show are classic—the bubble chasing down anyone trying to escape, the taxi which goes nowhere (local service only), the oblique references to a “New World Order”, the bicycle logo with its subtextual semiotic references to Orwellian dystopias, the constant references to the battles between McGoohan and science, McGoohan and psychology, McGoohan and being watched all the time, and the hilarious fact that every week, McGoohan defeats #2 and a new #2 has to brought in to break him down because McGoohan has broken down the previous #2. No one has money in the Village, only “work units,” and there appears to be a sort of communitarian utopia. There is a democratic council, but there are no actual rights. In one episode, McGoohan runs for election, but he quickly finds out he is not actually allowed to say or do anything that would upset the status quo. “your local council” is just a hollow slogan, a catch phrase for a democracy that doesn’t exist at all.

The key concepts of the show are freedom, human aspiration, knowledge, escape, dignity, free will and liberty. Everyone in the village has all their material needs met, but they must sacrifice all of their liberty, including their own individual identities, their memories and their minds, in order to obtain it.

In short, this show presents a working picture of what a communist or fascist society must really be like, in which everyone enjoys health care, work, food, leisure and a decent living quarters, but absolutely no freedoms whatsoever to think or exist except as dictated by the state. Presented hour after hour, episode after episode, the Prisoner is an unqualified call to freedom everywhere.

In our own times, many movies and series have been inspired in whole or in part by the Prisoner. The X-Files, certainly, draws some inspiration from the Prisoner. The Jim Carrey movie “The Truman Show” draws heavily on the Prisoner for its set designs and concept of an observed, controlled village, and for the notion that a person is subject to psychological control by an unseen central force.

Finally, we have the current phenomenon, worldwide, of people being arrested and detained without due process of law, in places unknown, for periods of time, and being interrogated in all sorts of ways for what they know. Every side politically does this, including our side with Guantanamo Bay and all our allies who assist in the war on terror. Of course, at the time of the Prisoner, it was understood that Russia and the US were both doing this as part of the Cold War—and yet both the James Bond series of movies, as well as Get Smart, the Prisoner, the Man from Uncle, and numerous other fictional spy shows continued to assert the existence of a third, “shadow” force, as powerful as the US or Russia, which also employed spies, torture methods, interrogation methods, and bargained or double-dealt using agents who had defected from one or both sides—under such acronyms as KAOS, SPECTRE, and so forth. Even the recent series of Mission Impossible films remade with Tom Cruise as their star clearly posit a so-called “third party” of international force. This premise was cleverly lampooned in the Austin Powers-Man of Mystery series of spy-lampoon movies, where the third power was led by a man called “Dr. Evil”, who was laughably played by the same actor playing Austin Powers, in perhaps the most brilliant series of spy spoofs ever committed to film.

Without commenting on the right or wrong of it, imagine if you will the situation of a man seized and placed in a “village” one day, deprived of his freedom and dignity, and forced to give up not only his secrets and knowledge, but also his identity, his selfhood and everything that makes him a man. Every dystopian novel or non-fiction work ever written—Fahrenheit 451, Animal Farm, Player Piano, the Gulag Archipelago, The Road to Serfdom, the Open Society and Its Enemies, Atlas Shrugged—posits precisely this sort of situation coming to pass in our own day.

Perhaps no two writers were more articulate about this phenomenon than Arthur Koestler and George Orwell, who wrote frequently, passionately and articulately about the dangers and evils of communism, socialism and false utopias. Koestler’s Darkness at Noon is the dystopian novel which most clearly reflects, and inspires, the series “the Prisoner,” in that it is directly a synopsis of the main character’s experience of what must have been the experience of Stalin’s purge and show trials of the late 1930s—first capture, then interrogation, then brainwashing, then being made to confess one’s sins in public, and finally, the inevitable lengthy prison sentence in Siberia or, perhaps more mercifully, death. The forturnate few were “rehabilitated” if they could be made to “understand” Stalinist communism and completely confess and revoke their sins, and be made to be a number, and not a free man.

The Prisoner is a powerful reminder of why liberty is the most important right we have.

Art Kyriazis, November 1, 2009
Philadelphia, PA
Eagles Pounding Giants as we speak

the 2003 texas rangers, with mark teixeira and alex rodriquez, won 71 and lost 91, and finished last in the al west.

the rangers then got a salary demand from AROD and decided to unload him on the yanks for alfonso soriano and build around Teixeira.
the next year, the rangers went up 20 games and were in first place most of the year. you have to remember Buck Showalter was manager, a hardass, and he thought arod was lazy.

of course, since arod went to ny, they blew the 3-0 lead to boston in 2004 (arod batted .258), have lost all those series since, he’s been photographed with strippers and ladies of the night in toronto and elsewhere, he’s been CAROUSING with madonna, born in 1958 (older than me), CAVORTING with kate hudson, who was married to a wild rock star (cooties galore in her privies) and of course, he was taking steroids.

plus, he’s now 35 and on the downside of an illustrious career. 7 years ago he was hiting 57 homers a year. now it’s down to 30 or so. He’s still good, but he’s declined with age. It’s obvious he can’t hit the high fastball or the low one the way Teixeira or Matsui can. AROD collects all his hits off bad pitchers. plus he’s ugly.

why did the yanks get good this year? one word: Teixeira. He’s the man. the phils almost drafted him in 1999, but they had scott rolen at 3b, so Texas drafted him instead. T-man was a 3d baseman in college.

can you imagine if the phils had Teixeira now at 3b with Rollins, Utley and Howard?????

the “mighty” yanks have feet of clay. they have three starters and a lousy bullpen.

derek jeter is 40. but has heart and will to win.
jorge posada is 40. but has heart and will to win.
mariano rivera is 40. but has heart and will to win.
andy petitte is 39. but has heart and will to win.
alex rodriguez is 35. no heart, clubhouse cancer. losing mentality. net minus on any ballclub.
melky cabrera is all field no hit.
hideki matsui is 35 but he can still play.
nick swisher is a legit young player.
mark teixeira is a great player with heart.

cc sabathia is great, but he has a psych prob with phils dating back to last year with milwaukee. he’s 0-2 with 3 homers in 11 innings in 2 playoff games. he averages .7 hrs given up a game. but in playoff games v. phils, that number is 4 homers per 9 innings. methinks he chokes in phils games. phils are 2-0 v sabathia in post season play. sabathia has never beaten the phils in a post season game.

aj burnett is great. he was great with the marlins. always had filthy nasty stuff.

johnny damon is nearly 40. he’s done. nothing left. he looks lost as a lamb out there. can’t even field. the guy’s whole game was built on speed. it’s all gone now. bat speed and foot speed.

meanwhile, all of the phillies are around 30 and at their peak, end of discussion. Pedro is the oldest guy, and he’s only 38 and still has a live arm, as you can plainly see.

cole hamels is 25. cliff lee is 31. ryan howard is 29. chase utley is 30. rollins is 31. only ibanez is old at 37, but he was the starting lf for the all start team.

phils lineup:

rollins – nl mvp 2008, gold glove 32
victorino – nl allstar 2009, gold glove 25
utley – nl allstar multiple years, silver slugger multiple years, gold glove 30
howard – nl mvp 2007, nl all star multiple years, silver slugger, home run derby champion 29
werth – nl all star 2009 30
ibanez – starting lf nl all star 2009 37
feliz – gold glove quality defense 34
ruiz – gold glove quality defense, can hit some 30

our lineup is younger and more powerful than the yanks.

and our pitchers are younger and better than the yanks.

also they have arod. no team with arod has ever won anything.

i’ve looked at the yanks pitching stats, and i’m mystified at who their #4 starter will be, because they don’t have one. joba chamberlain’s numbers are horrible and so are everyone else’s, but cc sabathia can’t work on 3 days, plus the phils have a hoodoo on him of some kind dating back to the milwaukee series last year.

the phils by contrast are throwing cole hamels, last years 1 starter, as their 3 starter this year, and joe blanton, who used to be the a’s 1 starter, as their 4 starter, and they still have ja happ, the nl rookie of the year, their 5 starter, available to come in and bail anyone out who can’t get out of the 3d inning.

the phils look a lot deeper in the bullpen and starting rotation to me. plus pedro looked pretty good to me last night. burnett was filthy and nasty but pedro only made two mistakes.

at this point i will note that it’s Teixeira, not ARod, that’s the money player. last year Teixeira was with the Sox, and the Sox went to seven games with the Rays. the yanks were eviscerated.

this year, teixeiras with the yanks, and the yanks get to the series. coincidence, I think not. let’s examine history.

in 2003, the Texas Rangers had ARod and Teixeira. they won 71 and lost 91. they finished last, dead last, in the al west.

and that team had rafael palmeiro and some other big boppers on it too.

in feb 2004 they traded arod to ny for soriano to build around Teixeira.

the next year, 2004, texas rangers, the awful texas rangers, who everyone thought stunk, well, they improved by 20 games. remember, buck showalter was a hard ass who thought arod was a playboy who was ruining the clubhouse.

guess what, he was right.

the rangers almost won the al west without arod and led by teixeira, who had a monster year. because texeira is about baseball, not partying or steroids.

arod meanwhile reversed the curse for the sox, blowing the 3-0 lead (and batting only .258 in the alcs in 2004) (see fever pitch) and led the yankees to five years of division and alcs losses. you might as well tatoo “loser” on arod’s arm or something.

also a divorce, pictures with strippers and hookers, an affair with madonna, born in 1958, an affair with kate hudson, who was married to a filthy drug addicted rock star from the black crowes (so shes a skank too) and he’s outed as a steroids user.

plus he’s 35 and on the downside of his career. he’s hitting 30 homers, but remember, this is a guy who used to hit 47, 57, 59 a year in texas when he was younger. he’s in age-related decline, and he can’t hit the fastball anymore like he used to. he hits bad pitchers only now. he looked awful against lee and worse against pedro martinez the last two night, legit aces both.

plus he’s ugly.

it’s teixeira who’s the ballplayer–and when the yanks needed someone to step up–he did. that was as clutch a homer as you’ll ever see a guy hit. and matsui’s was even better, on an unhittable pitch.

but i like the phils to sweep at home and close these yanks out.

by the way the phils almost drafted teixeira in 1999–he was a college 3d basemen–but they had scott rolen at the time and took a pass so texas had him.

can you imagine if we had an infield with teixeira at 3b, with rollins utley and howard?

the yanks won one legit last night. matsui hit an unhittable pitch, so did texeira, plus burnett was filthy and nasty. the yanks still pedro’s daddy. but the phils were playing with house money since they won game one. they have cole hamels, last year’s #1, pitching third in the rotation, and the yanks have 39 year old andy pettitte, which is not great for them. and they have no #4 starter. we have joe blanton and rookie of the year ja happ.
the phils will sweep at home.

bank it. jro had it right.

also the birds beat the giants sunday to make it a clean sweep of new yawk.

art kyriazis philly home of the world champion phillies
nl pennant winners 2008
nl pennant winners 2009
2-0 vs cc sabathia in post season play
world series champions 2008
3-0 at citizens bank park in world series play