Friday, August 30, 2002

Music: Ozzy, "Mama I'm Coming Home"
Mood: Elation

(so much so that I forgot to post this until now, hours after writing it)

Thursday, August 29, 2002

Wonders Never Cease
Kudlow on baseball gets it right, making him almost unique among NRO writers. (Warning: Right-of-center.)

I think I break with those guys on baseball more often than nearly any other non-standard-partisan issue imaginable. Some random culture/free-expression issue probably comes in a close second (maybe gay marriage), but that's all better suited for a different blog.

In any case, Kudlow rocks. He was one of the first people (at least, one of the first Righties; one of the first talking heads) to come out in favor of throwing the crooked accountants (Enron et al) in the slammer.
Props to Zito
With the spontaneous Sacramento excursion on Wednesday, we heard only part of this game. #75 retired the first 16 men he faced. In 1994, Kenny Rogers pitched a perfect game on July 28.
Strange, Foreboding Timing
Friday's Peanuts classic.
Move Jason Elam down a slot or two on your fantasy cheat sheet. Or not.
To be ignorant, blissful, and double-X chromosomed...
I've talked to not one, not two, but three people in the last 24 hours who had no idea that a baseball strike was imminent. They understood what a strike was and why it would be a Bad Thing but had no idea that baseball had labor issues to begin with.

The funny thing is all three are plausibly accessible to baseball marketing. One went to a game with me (granted, she left the game while a no-hitter was still intact in the 6th inning, but she did go to it at least), another used to live in St. Louis and knows all about Mark McGwire, another actually gave me the A's ticket vouchers that I may or may not be able to use tomorrow.

(They're good for games of August 1 through August 30. Tomorrow morning I'll go to the Coliseum and get them converted into game tix. A strike actually helps me here, in that I already have tickets for tomorrow's game. If a strike happens then I just convert both sets of tickets to store credit or whatever. If no strike then I have to find three friends on the spur of the moment insread of one. Better yet, a friend and two people-who-are-friends-of-each-other, since the seats would be quite separate.)

Anyway, I did drive by the Coliseum this morning hoping to stop by the box office and handle both those vouchers and my post-season strips. No dice! The place was infested by tailgating Raider fans, and security was restricting the parking lot to those who had tix for today's football game.

(True, I could have parked in the BART lot as usual and walked. Heaven only knows when I'd have gotten to work had I done this. Let's just say F#CK THE RAIDERS and leave it at that.)
This story reminded me that this weblog hasn't been updated in awhile.

(No, Mike H-L isn't a former African head of state, he's just a connoisseur of them. And a BU alumnus.)

As for "posh" digs, I'm not so sure. I infer they'll live on Bay State Road right down the street from where I used to be.
She met someone new!
Liz Patterson, of course. I'm not sure what to make of this guy. Early returns are quite promising. Commentary encouraged.
Best Baseball Prank Ever
Cody McKay batted to "Like A Virgin," Mario Valdez to "Wannabe" (Spice Girls), Esteban German to "Do You Think I'm Sexy?" Best of all, Jason Grybowski batted to some children's song that featured everybody waving to you as you're speeding along. According to McKay, one of his teammates switched around everyone's music.

Best Baseball Promotion Ever
Bob Geren bath-duck night (by Celebriduck!), honoring the RiverCats' manager at Sacramento's (AAA-Oakland) Raley Field. After all, a rubber ducky beats a bobblehead any time.

Best Time Ever To Be A Bay Area Baseball Fan
Oakland has won 15 in a row, the last several on the road. Barry Bonds hit three home runs Tuesday night. Of course, there's a downside: Namely, right before the strike date comes the one weekday stretch where both local teams are on the road. That almost never happens: Typically exactly one team at home, since their homestands and road trips are about the same length.

I have tickets to the A's-Twins showdown Friday night. Great game to go to, especially to show some love for the winning streak. If...

Wednesday, August 28, 2002

"capitalists begging for socialism"
Jim Bouton, right again.
Easterbrook Convergence!
kubiwan: and what with the hero-worship of Easterbrook
kubiwan: I generally tolerate him b/c of his good writing, not say, tolerate his writing for the sake of his argument
kubiwan: which is how I feel about James sometimes

These guys worship Easterbook for his football column but Mickey Kaus (his former colleague at Slate) actually reveres his white paper on the environment (warning: contains political observations that I agree with).
Seattle Mariners, A Family Establishment
Or a corporate one--sounds like this guy was disturbing the wine and cheese crowd.

I remember when I used to heckle. Maybe I still do a little but I used to be like this guy (at college hockey games), now nowhere near.

Non sequitur: Actual ad on the Seattle Times page (all-text hyperlink, emphasis mine):
Take your sex life places it's never been--like Vancouver. For travel, click here.

It looks like there's a 25% chance you'll see that same ad when you hit the page.

Tuesday, August 27, 2002

So long, Dee Snyder
The old Twisted Sister frontman gets the boot from his "modern rock" station in Hartford.

Thoughts in no particular order:
1. Until reading this article I'd never heard of Bubba the Love Sponge? Is he really that shocking? Is he at all talented?

Before Opie & Anthony surpassed him by persuading a Virginia couple to have sex in Manhattan's St. Patrick's Cathedral, Bubba was the author of perhaps the crudest radio stunt on record: Last year, from the parking lot of his Tampa studio, he broadcast the slaughter of a pig.

Am I the only person who thinks these two things aren't even in the same league? (Note: The columnist had to explain who Bubba was. For O&A no explanation was necessary. The idea of him competing with Stern is also amusing. Other than Mancow's little niche in Chicago and Imus's slightly different demographic, I would think that only O&A would have a chance in hell of competing with Stern, and by staking out afternoon drive time they don't even try to. They know better.)

2. "Modern rock" as a format. Is it really true that Nevermind singlehandedly spawned the "alternative" genre? Made it more popular, maybe. It really was a great album that set a whole lot of trends, and the fact that this isn't as wild an overstatement as it sounds like at first just shows you how great an album/band. Still... the label "alternative" meant nothing in Tulsa until long after I'd left my home town. In Boston, WFNX was doing its indy-label thing going well back into the 1980s, while WBCN's big format change from (arguably) classic rock didn't happen until 1995. (Yep, Charles Laquidera and his big mattress were still on 'BCN all that time.)

3. On the presence or absence of girl groups, I think stations that claim to be alternative have bifurcated: There are the girly stations, and then the P.O.D./Tool stations, and never the twain shall meet. Arguably, neither of them can claim to be real alternative, since I can't think of any girly-alternative stations at all in the Boston area (and San Francisco's is starting to seem more and more top-40 to me, of the Pink/India.Arie variety).

The Station That Plays Tool All The Time's actual competition isn't the girly-alternative station so much as The Station That Plays Metallica All The Time. (WBCN vs. WAAF in Boston, Live 105 vs. KSJO in San Francisco, heaven only knows what in Tulsa.)

There's a place for Dee Snider somewhere in there, I'm just not sure where.
It didn't go boom!
In Microsoft Outlook you can delete an attachment from an outgoing message by clicking on the icon for the attachment and hitting Delete.

In Microsoft Age of Empires you can delete one of your own buildings (rarely useful, though sometimes deleting a square of your defensive wall is useful) by hitting Delete.

In the latter case the system makes a lound boom noise. Alas, Outlook does no such thing.
Language Peeve
I do not think split the baby means what Ted Frank thinks it means.

I'm not sure whether this is worse than misuse of begging the question.

(I used to not mind misuse of "begging the question"; then I finally understood what the phrase meant when correctly used, and from that point on I've been a total prick about it.)
This comic strip hit a little close to home,
though not nearly as close as the experience Kubicek had with this Onion article.

In ninth grade, mainly history class, I raised my hand way too much and took way too long to figure out why Mr. Alexander stopped calling on me. Better late than never, I stopped raising my hand after awhile and instead would sit there looking smug.

Fast forward to college, various sections (core classes, not math), and the distinction between the people who still didn't know better than to keep raising their hands versus the people who sat there looking smug.

I was one of the latter but I was always bluffing. Too many activities meant too many nights coming back home at 3 a.m. without having even started on the problem sets to say nothing of the reading. So I don't think I ever came to a section having done the reading.

(Exception: Space, Time, and Motion. Fall semester, 100% of our grade came from twice-weekly response papers to the reading, minus whatever section participation fudge factor. Behind standardized tests, the two things I do best in life are write short-but-cogent essays really fast and do problem sets intended for non-science people. Second semester, focusing on special relativity, featured the problem sets. This full-year class was one of just two A's I ever got as an undergrad, the other being for expository writing.)

In any case there were always enough eager-beavers in section ready and waiting to pounce on the easy questions. Or, failing that, people who didn't talk at all and needed to be coaxed to do so. Teaching assistants varied between catering to the go-getters and challenging the quiet ones. Luckily I didn't fit into either camp.

Instead, I'd wait for other people to answer the straight-knowledge, did-you-do-the-reading questions, make inferences as appropriate, try to come up with a half-baked analogy on the fly, make a comment when I felt as though one would stimulate conversation. (Ideally I'd say something that would lead to enough comments to actually make section interesting instead of paint-dry boring.) It's unclear what my ratio was of total bullshit to brilliant insight.

Probably closer to the latter than I'd feared, since I despised the people who always said exactly one thing per section and chose things to say transparently just to fill their own quota. (You've run into these people. They do the exact same thing at business meetings. It's their way of making sure you don't forget they were actually present. By contrast, this is one thing I just adore about my co-worker Rama. We'll have entire meetings where he's dead silent. Don't misunderstand what I like about this, basically it's just that he felt no cultural pressure to say something inane.)
Worst Pick-Up Line Ever
They may have overreacted a bit here, I dunno. Either way the guy's a moron.

Monday, August 26, 2002

My Weekend: A List
Time was, some people made top ten lists from their quiz trips. Since my weekend was effectively a quiz tournament (just without an actual tournament or teams, rather expanding the touristy part and the playtesting/casual-packreading to fill the weekend and be stress-free), here goes...

(Obviously, opinions expressed or implied here are mine alone.)

10. Pluto Nash, just on general principle. (Posters for it abounded.) How many careers will this thing deep-six?

9. "I dated his daughter!" In its original context, this statement was true and referred to Newton Minow. As applied to any other historical figure (Akhenaten, for example), it's probably false.

8. Pottery Barn Kids -- actual sign on a mallspace somewhere in suburban Chicago. It's Pottery Barn... for kids. And it's real! Alternately, you could imagine Pottery Barn Kids as a league of young superheroes. Form of... throw rug! Shape of... crockpot!

7. The Hajj, but not just any old Hajj. People going on this particular pilgramage include Anna Karenina and many other literary/historical figures beyond a certain threshold of triteness.

6. Clifford the Big Red Postman: Comine the two things we saw on TV Saturday morning and you get a very large protagonist who restores civilization to post-apocalypse America, then licks everyone.

5. Street Performer Area E was one of several places along Lake Michigan with signs reminding street performers that they must pick up the right paperwork at some particular registration tent. It's unclear what Chicago's rules and regulations are for street performance, or (along those lines) whether bullhorn bowl would be an effective way to recruit the general public to trivia competition.

4. Out-of-context quotes. At least three of them deeply amused me, all far more innocent than they sound out of context. Alas I didn't write any of them down at the time, so at best I can paraphrase. Due to time constraints, for now you'll settle for one:
The shades are open, and we do have neighbors...

3. Vegetarian pork! The Red Dragon restaurant in downtown Elmhurst had a menu much like that of any other middlebrow Chinese restaurant, but boy were they fascinated with pork. Having a pork dish on the vegetarian menu was one thing, but then even the Fillet of Sole was billed as "pork with mixed vegetables." Tired of pork? Then, speaking of bad combinations, try the chicken kow! (Here, picture the bovines from those Chik-Fil-A ads having the tables turned on them.)

(Update: Chicken kow is real, and does not seem to involve beef.)

2. "Samerized for her pleasure!" Defies explanation.

1. "WOW!!! Pancakes!!!" From the Oak Park Visitor's Center guidebook ("A Blockbuster Hit"), this description of The Original Pancake House (954 Lake Street, Oak Park, IL). All typography as in the original:

"WOW!!! Pancakes!!! They're not just for breakfast anymore. Choose from over 20 varieties."
Ralph Wiley's guide to life
This column is dead-on right.

Much more about it elsewhere, you know where to look.
My Weekend
Short version: Chicago after a flood is hot and sticky, but there are still a lot of fun things to see there.
Sad story from Minnesota. Then again... compare these excerpts:

For Rent: Midway area, 2BR, ht pd, $725.

followed by

The region's housing market, one of the tightest in the country, is having some ugly effects.

So in one of the tightest housing markets in the country, a 2BR goes for $725? In SF you'd be lucky to get a studio that cheap.