Home Run Nickname Derby

As baseball season heats up, thought it might be fun to come up with a new nickname for home runs. Here are my leading contenders:

  1. Humdingers
  2. Long Johns
  3. Creamsicles (Full disclosure, this one’s a bit of a stretch. I love creamsicles and I love home runs. Pretty much the only connection)
  4. Whoa Nellies
  5. ???
  6. Big Ups
  7. Ho-hos
  8. Yonders (originally wanted to go with Beyonders, but worried that Marvel might come after me for unauthorized usage of the Beyonder name, and it wasn’t really the threat of a Marvel lawsuit that gave me pause, so much as the fear (unfounded though it may be) that a lawsuit might in some way delay the development of the Beyonder movie. Not that it’s been announced, but come on. It’s just a matter of time. It’s the Beyonder.)
  9. Spletts (Just kidding!  And yet, not the worst idea. Pretty bad, but not the worst.)

Goldberry Season

Hey, Splettnet.netsters and Splettnet.netettes!!

Feel like it’s time to wet the finger and touch that third rail. Now that we’ve settled on TC as TB (Tom Cruise as Tom Bombadil [side note: I hear your concerns, believe me. Can Tom Cruise sing? Full disclosure, I don’t know. Honestly, in a vacuum, I think the role would belong to Mark Addy, but we don’t live in a fantasy world, and there are financial concerns to factor in. No studio is going to invest the $300 million for a Bombadil quadrilogy {the story naturally divides into three equal but slightly lesser parts and then a slightly larger fourth part, which could sequentially be the third.} without knowing that they’re going to make their money back and then some, and there’s only one movie star out there that’s guaranteed box office gold, and that’s Joseph Donnelly (Far and Away) himself, the ageless Tom Cruise.]) It’s time to figure out the second and no less important piece of the puzzle: the casting of Goldberry. Unfortunately, the obvious choice, Cate Blanchett is disqualified, as she played Galadriel. (Perhaps they should have thought of this before casting her? Just saying.)

Which leaves us with:

1) Kate Hudson (unfairly maligned, IMHO)

2) Daisy Ridley, with enough makeup so she’s age-appropriate for TC

3) ???

4) Lisa Kudrow twenty years ago. Not helpful, but true.

5) Frances McDormand (she can play anything)

6) Lucy Liu, not for diversity, I just think she’s great with comedy.

7) The girl from that new thing. On the poster. Tip of my tongue. I’ll remember it.

From the Electronic Mailbag: Potpourri

James writes:

hi the videos arent loading for me. i just want to watch the movies.


They seem to be working for me. Also, what movies are you talking about?

Justin says:

Great Job, Splett.  You’re the best!

Thanks, Justin! Readers like you make it all worthwhile. 

Alexander asks:


As a policy wonk aspirant, I was wondering how you got yourself involved in the government community. I heard that you were a staffer beforehand, but how would you suggest that I, a fellow wonkish individual, should get into government?

That’s a tough one. Maybe write to your Congressman? Or volunteer in your area? That’s what I did but I don’t know if it will work for you. I got lucky. I don’t know. It’s hard because a lot of people want to “get into” politics.

Ian writes:

Luz ya, Splett.  Just sayin’

Luz ya, too, Ian!  Keep readin’ and writin’ and sayin’!

Redesign Update…

Still waiting on Jason…

Splett or Spleen?

When Googling “Splett” you may accidentally get “Spleen.” Here’s how to tell the difference and some interesting similarities…

1) Director of Communications for Rep. Ryan of New Hampshire: SPLETT

2) Organ found in most vertebrates which functions as a blood filter: SPLEEN

3) Helps Candidate Jonah Ryan on a daily basis: BOTH

4) Synthesizes antibodies and removes bacteria from blood cells: SPLEEN

5) Abnormal enlargement of it can prove fatal: BOTH

6) Favorite movie is “Dragonheart”: SPLETT

7) Favorite movie is “Dragonslayer”: SPLEEN

8) If ruptured, immediate medical attention is required: BOTH

9) Brownish in color: BOTH

10) Weighs approximately 150 grams: BOTH (Splett’s in-womb weight)

11) Its picture can be found a variety of medical journals: BOTH

Upon Further Re-Splett-tion

Back to the body paint of it all. I realized why a body-paint pants suit doesn’t work: You can’t flare the pant-cuffs. Guess those people at Sports Illustrated have thought this through better than I have!

Redesign Update…

Off to the races! Parting with an original Kenner Boba Fett was HARD. But I feel like I owe the SplettNetters out there the best website bitcoin can buy.

It’s Throwback Thursday!

TBT From October 2014.

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Tip: Make sure you film it! I was so excited to get in on this cultural phenomenon slash charitable endeavor that I just ran down to the supermarket, got a bag of ice and dumped it on my head… and completely forgot to set up a camera to document it. Classic Splett. So when I tried to challenge some friends, they sort of didn’t take my word for it, which was a bit of a bummer, but I get it, I totally do. A couple of them sent back emails saying they’d done it, but they also didn’t film it, so maybe they had made the same mistake? Or…

New List of Apples!

There’s just one: Jonagold. 

It’s a cross between the Jonathan and the Golden Delicious.

It’s my new favorite because it reminds me of Congressional candidate Jonah Ryan, who’s definitely gold. 

Although, as far as an apple goes, it’s not the tastiest. The last one I bought had bruises all over the left side. Maybe not the apple’s fault. Probably because I dropped it in the supermarket. I almost didn’t buy it, but one of the guys spraying the produce saw me do it. When life gives you bruised apples, there’s not much you can do.


That’s what I forgot to get at the supermarket, and it was the reason I went there! Somehow I ended up with the apple. Now that I think about it, Laundry detergent. Totally forgot that too. 

I guess I can eat chips for breakfast again.

Drummers Who Sing: The Last Word

A SplettNetter from Canada (hello, up there!) just clued me into The Band. Honestly, all these years, I hadn’t realized The Band was a band. I thought people were just being forgetful or generalizing.

Redesign Update…

So, the redesign might take a tad longer than expected. Apparently the proposal Jason presented was more of a blue-sky estimate, and the real-world cost is somewhat higher. So, debating selling some collectible figurines.

Richard Splett Remembers: The Watcher

When I was a kid, my favorite Marvel Comics character was The Watcher. Kids would be playing superheroes, and they didn’t want an odd number of kids in the games, so Dave and Josh and Rickey and Jim would be playing Spider Man and Thor vs. the Hulk and PowerMan, and they told me I could climb a tree and watch and not get involved, which, if you’re The Watcher, was true to Marvel canon. So that was my thing: The Watcher. I miss those guys. Rickey just died. Melanoma, I believe. Wife, three kids. The wife’s a wreck. Understandable. I was going to start a fund, but as The Watcher, it just didn’t feel right. Too involved. Just gonna keep watching. For now.

Just Asking

Body paint on female athletes: Why is it always a bikini rather than, say, a smart-looking pants suit? Just asking.


Exciting news!

Splettnet.net will be getting a new look! Just hired a very talented new web designer, Jason, who is going to be bringing Splettnet.net a fresh, bold new look.  Stay tuned, SplettNetters…


If anyone’s thinking about getting a new OLED 4K TV, my advice: Wait seven or eight years, and they’ll really have ironed out the kinks. Or if you can live with vignetting, buy one now. Maybe wait six months for prices to come down. But then you’re so close to the ’17 models. Decisions. I still have my Sony 27” CRT and Laser Disc player.

Starbucks Memories

My aunt used to say that you’re never better dressed than when you’re wearing out your welcome.

I’m currently locked out of my apartment, and I bet I’m wearing out my welcome at Starbucks. Plus, I feel like I’m hitting the pumpkin spice latte wall.

A Different Drummer

One of the most impressive skills in music is drummers who can sing. And of the singing drummers in rock, I feel like there is one who just towers over the rest: Jimmy Marinos of the Romantics.

Not to disparage anyone else’s skills, but it’s like it’s Marinos, and then everybody else. I mean, the Romantics’ eponymous debut album was like the Sgt. Pepper of ’70s/’80s power pop. That being said, I guess you could include Ringo Starr in the pantheon of singing drummers. Yeah, probably should, I mean, “Octopus’s Garden” is pretty stellar stuff. I’d still give the nod to Marinos, though. Just based on body of work.

From the Electronic Mailbag: Tom Bombadil Edition

My posts about Tom Bombadil continue to generate the “Lion’s Share” of my electronic mail. Please send your questions and comments to splettnet2@splettnet.net.

Matt writes:


Long time reader, first time emailer. I noticed in your excellent series of posts on Tom Bombadil, that you quoted Galdor the elf at the Council of Elrond. But I think you made a teensy bit of a mistake in crediting your sources. 

You linked to this pagehttp://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/Galdor which is about the man from the first age. 

You probably intended to link to this page: http://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/Galdor_of_the_Havens which is about the elf in question. 

It’s actually a pretty common mistake, especially as there is a third character named Galdor, who was an elf in Gondolin. http://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/Galdor_of_the_Tree I know, crazy, right?

 Send my best wishes to President Meyer!

Thanks, Matt, and good catch! I’m usually pretty careful not to get my Galdors mixed up but I had a bad reaction to some cold medicine the night I wrote that and wrote a few ill-advised blog posts as well as a text to my upstairs neighbor about the noise that her high heels make that I wish I could take back. I had to leave flowers and a note for her the next day. She works at a museum or art gallery, I think, and is basically a good person.

 CAHastings writes:

What do you think of Benedict Cumberbatch to play Tom? My spouse says Tom Hiddleston would be better, but I think they’re wrong. Cumberbatch has a face that seems human but not quite so, and I feel that would be better suited for the master of wood, water and hill. 


I think you’re both right and they’d both be great! Though maybe a little tall. I think of Tom as a little fellow like the other Tom, Tom Cruise (who also would be a great Tom Bombadil and is “proven box office.”) 

Eric says:


The Tom Bombadil enigma is one that I have dedicated significant thought to. On the topic of speculative fiction, I take the approach of boring-and-therefore-wrong for fan theories. I also don’t like theories that have no precedent. I find the following theories to be boring/wrong:

• Physical embodiment of the music of the Ainur

• Avatar of the physical universe (I think that Goldberry’s comment “He is,” was Tolkien’s attempt at glibness and not a hidden clue about the answer to the Tom Bombadil mystery)

• “Time” Ainur

• Proto-man from an earlier draft of the music of the Ainur

• Some sort of meta-concept, as in: the reader, friends who exist in the real world, Tolkien himself

I don’t mind the theory of the “Secret Fire”, which at least has precedent in the text even if it is a stretch. I think that if there were a walking avatar of Eru’s Secret Fire, it would be more powerful than Sauron (a mere Maiar, although surely first among his kind) and his minions. I find the Ungoliant theory to be perhaps the most convincing, or at least having the most precedent – it is clear that there is a class of spirit which has not yet been categorized. Perhaps this class of spirit is notable for being uncategorizable. Both Ungoliant and Tom Bombadil are enigmas to the powers-that-be, have unknown origins (even to the gods), display significant power on the order of Ainur or Maiar, but not vastly more powerful, make mockeries of the cherished artifacts of gods and men, and possess very narrow goals/behavior patterns/spiritual domains. For whatever my 2 cents are worth.

I have been to Barrel for brunch, it’s great! Might I suggest the Queen Vic on H street. Get the Sunday Roast, you won’t be disappointed.


Wow! I stand in awe of the careful thought you have given the “Bombadil Mystery,” Eric, as well as the insights you have gained thereby. I can’t say I’m super comfortable with the idea of a class of spirit that “has not yet been categorized” because it is somehow “uncategorizable.” Middle Earth is full of beings of different types but also has a past and a history that is known to few if any. I prefer to think of Tom as belonging to a category of creature that used to be familiar but has become obscure like a rare type of marsupial tree shrew might here on “Earth-Earth.”

From the Electronic Mailbag

Today’s mailbag is a bit of a “grabbag.” Please keep writing and commenting! I love to hear from pretty much anyone so keep the electronic mails coming to splettnet2@splettnet.net

Tori writes:

Apples are great. 

 You can say that again, Tori!

Jessica asks:

Hey Richard,

1) Love the site. 2) I saw in one of your posts that you have a Return of Jafar laser disc, which made me think: What’s your favorite Aladdin movie? The original? Return of Jafar? Or, in my opinion, the underrated King of Thieves? 

 Love to hear back!


1) Love you for loving the site! 2) The original.

Dylan says:

You are my hero.

Wow, Dylan! That’s a “heavy” responsibility. I try to be an “everyday hero” by following the Golden Rule and doing unto others as I would be done to by them.

Kat writes:

Hello Mr. Splett

Hello, Kat!

Andrew says:

Go Richard!!

Go Andrew!!!

Steve writes:

Hi Richard,

Big fan of the blog. Nice to see the ‘human face’ behind the Washington ‘scene’. I really like NPR podcasts too! Aren’t they based in Washington? They should give you a show!

Two questions – 

1) When’s your birthday?

2a) If you were going to get a fish that wasn’t a Siamese Fighting Fish, what would it be?

2b) If you were going to get a Siamese Fighting Fish that wasn’t blue, what color would it be?



Thank you, Steve! First of all, I hear you about the Washington “scene.” It can be hard to make human connections with people who feel they can never let their hair down and “be themselves.” One great way to break the ice is by asking people if you can read their palm. Karaoke is also great.

To answer your questions:

1) October 10

2a) That’s a tough one. Maybe a catfish because they seem to have so much personality. I also find the whole gourami family intriguing.

2b) After the problems I’ve had with Sherman and Mr. Peabody, I don’t think I’d ever get another Siamese Fighting Fish.   But if you put a gun to my head and asked me what color Siamese Fighting Fish I’d choose after blue, I would say orange or reddish-orange.

Richard Splett’s Top Six Favorite Explettsions 

1. “I think, therefore I’m.”

I translated and updated Descartes’ famous Latin phrase into modern colloquial English, which uses contractions a whole lot. Just rolls off the tongue like a fine gummy bear. I think about this expression a lot, and then I think about how the simple act of thinking about it means that I’m.  

2. “Are you being serious with me right now?”

This is a good one because of what I like to call its “Schrodinger’s Syntax.” It remains at all times in the liminal state of being both question and editorial statement—a paradox of wanting to know whether someone is being serious with you right now, but also making it clear that someone should maybe rethink how serious he is being with you right now. It is also a generally unbeatable way to find out whether someone is being serious with you right now.

3. “The proof is in the pudding, as I always say.”

I heard this wise phrase for the first time on the underside of the foil of a pudding cup, and I spent the next ten minutes sifting through the pudding to make sure it wasn’t contaminated. This was also around the time of a widespread listeria recall, and I don’t quite remember if pudding was on the recall list, but you can never be too careful when your health is at stake. The first half of this expression is an old saying, while the second half is just something I add for some Splett flavor. Like bananas, which I often add to pudding for some Banana flavor, or to ice cream, chocolate syrup and cornflakes, for what I call a Banana Splett. To be honest, I don’t really know what the phrase means. 

4. “What is this — oh, it’s my lunch.”

I use this expression almost every day, and sometimes twice a day if I happen to pack two lunches. My favorite thing about this expression is that midway through it, confusion gives way to joy. Isn’t that really how life should be? I should note here that I’m writing this after eating a delicious sandwich, which may be positively affecting my mood. Meat juice is known to raise serotonin levels. If you’re looking for delicious sandwich suggestions, please check out my post, Splett On Rye: Richard Splett’s Favorite Sandwich Recipes, which I will write probably sometime this year, and post after I write it.

5. “A stranger is just a friend without your telephone number.”

I have found this to be true in all parts of life. Wherever you are, in whatever city or town or foreign park, as soon as you distribute your phone number, you have new friends. Sometimes they call you in the morning, sometimes late at night, but whether they’re telling you about their day or just breathing heavily in a disturbing way, the telephone has connected you literally and spiritually. (This also works for cell phones.)

6. “A rose is a rose is a rose.”

I’ll be honest, I actually thought the expression was “arrows is arrows is arrows,” which I thought was cool because arrows were a criminally underrated form of weaponry until the Hunger Games girl brought them back, but flowers are okay too, I can accept that.

7. “You’re never better than yourself at your worst.”

This is a very uplifting phrase that I made up back in 3rd grade, when I wanted to grow up to be a phJrase-inventor. It means, obviously, that when you are at your best, even your worst is better than that. Even not your worst, I mean. Actually, now that I read it, it doesn’t really make sense. Probably why I didn’t get either of my doctoral degrees in Phrase Invention! 

Tom Bombadil, Jr.

An LOTR question that woke me up last night: Why don’t Tom Bombadil and his wife Goldberry have children?

Was up till 4 am going down a lot of very sad and disturbing rabbit holes on that one, then realized since they’re both immortal, they’re probably in no hurry. So maybe they just wanted to enjoy the first few thousand years of marriage before all the stress of parenthood. After spending a weekend babysitting my four nephews, I can confidently state that kids can be a handful, even for a fellow who can overpower evil trees with song. (I tried singing to calm my nephews (ages 10, 8, 6, and 4) down, and they pretty much just threw some flatware at me. To be fair, they were plastic spoons, but they had some velocity.)  So that interpretation of their marriage really took a lot of weight off my mind. Slept like a log after that. 


I’d hate to be an art critic. It all looks great to me!

Plan for a Quiet Sunday Afternoon

About to do a Back To The Future Marathon! Unfortunately, the person I lent the BTTF 1 blu-ray has not returned it (calling you out, UPS guy), so I’m just going to watch BTTF 2 & 3. Maybe I’ll watch the third installment (the underappreciated masterpiece, IMHO) twice?


I love reading Asterix comics in their original French. Thank God for Google Translate!

A Private Fantasy

I wish Marvel and DC could get together for a massive crossover. You know what I’m talking about: Aquaman vs. Namor in an all-underwater battle. I’m starting to perspire just thinking about it. False alarm. Beads of moisture are from the shower I just took. Or maybe I’m sweating, too. Hard to say for sure.