Monday, December 31, 2007

I Was Wrong

Apparently, God is not merciful. At least not if Carl Peterson is correct that he will be returning to run the Chiefs next season. There is a post somewhere here about the sports ownership in this town.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

It's Not Who You Are, It's What You Do

Think Progress showcases some interesting reasoning from Mike Huckabee:

On NBC’s Meet The Press this morning, host Tim Russert asked former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee if he believed “people are born gay or choose to be gay?” “I don’t know whether people are born that way,” responded Huckabee, “but one thing I know, that the behavior one practices is a choice.”

Huckabee conceded that “people who are gay say that they’re born that way,” but added that he believed that “how we behave and how we carry out that behavior” is more important.

S0 you may in fact be gay, but please stop being so gay.

God Is Merciful

I know this because the Chiefs season has finally come to an end. But just to prove that he also has a cruel sense of humor, the Chiefs scored a late touchdown that sent the game to an overtime that simply prolonged the agony. Once in overtime, the Chiefs promptly proved they had no business there in the first place.
Say what you want about the Dick Vermeil, but did he ever preside over something so heinously ugly and awful as what we have been subjected to this season? Fortunately, it is now over. We may now look forward to the exit of Carl Peterson, and resume despairing about the Royals.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Best of 2007: Movies*

The asterisk is because I made my list of 2007 movies and then made the list of movies I still want to see, and the list of movies I want to see has 22 movies that could end up taking a proportion of the list. It's even feasible, I suppose, that the whole 10 could be replaced. So this really is the top 10 movies I have seen thus far in 2007. I think I'll revisit in a few months after I've seen everything on my "to see" list.

1. 3:10 to Yuma
2. Michael Clayton
3. The Darjeeling Limited
4. Live Free or Die Hard
5. Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten
6. Knocked Up
7. The Bourne Ultimatum
8. Blades of Glory
9. Into the Wild
10. Ocean's 13

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

80's Movie Quote of the Week (Holiday Edition)

Did you get what you wanted yesterday?

Clark: Hey. If any of you are looking for any last-minute gift ideas for me, I have one. I'd like Frank Shirley, my boss, right here tonight. I want him brought from his happy holiday slumber over there on Melody Lane with all the other rich people and I want him brought right here, with a big ribbon on his head, and I want to look him straight in the eye and I want to tell him what a cheap, lying, no-good, rotten, four-flushing, low-life, snake-licking, dirt-eating, inbred, overstuffed, ignorant, blood-sucking, dog-kissing, brainless, dickless, hopeless, heartless, fat-ass, bug-eyed, stiff-legged, spotty-lipped, worm-headed sack of monkey shit he is. Hallelujah. Holy shit. Where's the Tylenol?

Back From the Great Brown South

Hope everyone had a nice Christmas. I'm smack in the middle of the longest vacation I've had in a couple of years. Can't say that's a bad thing.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Highway to Heaven

It runs right through our town apparently. The video defies description. The web site is so much more.

Purity siege anyone?

Best of 2007: Music 2

I just got Levon Helm's Dirt Farmer and immediately bacame enamored with the song "Anna Lee". That got me to thinking that while I am sticking to my Top 10 only rule on albums, there is no reason I can't add 10 other great songs from this bountiful music year. So here are 10 songs that do not appear on my Top 10 albums but are really good. In no particular order:

Anna Lee, Levon Helm
Dashboard, Modest Mouse
Kiss, Kiss, Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Chelsea Dagger, The Fratellis
Goodnight Rose, Ryan Adams
Intervention, The Arcade Fire
The General Specific, Band of Horses
(Nod to bigsmithdude for this one)
I Feel it All, Feist
The Opposite of Hallelujah, Jens Lekman
Our Bovine Public, The Cribs

And just for the record my top five songs overall for 2007 would be:

The Underdog, Spoon
Back In Your Head, Tegan and Sara
Start a War, The National
I Feel it All, Feist
The Runner, Kings of Leon

80's Movie Quote of the Week (Bonus Holiday Edition)

The holidays are a time when you really appreciate home. Ruby Sue explains that very sentiment to Clark.

Ruby Sue: I love it here. You don't have to put on your coat to go to the bathroom, and your house is always parked in the same place.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Cratchet Part 2

If you read the last chart and found yourself thinking, "Well couldn't the percentages of total income move around, but everyone end up better off?" then this chart has your answer. And the answer is "kinda, well, I mean sorta, uh, you know."

Here is the related post from the souce.

Perhaps your next question will be whether or not to get any of the growth in the chart above we have to enact policies that create the disparity the chart shows. The answer is in a chart I have on this computer somewhere. When I find it, I'll put it up.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A World of Bob Cratchets

This chart is part of a really good post on income inequality at Afferent Input. Basically, it tells us that over the last 30 years more of each dollar made in the U.S. has ended up in the pockets of the top 1%. The bottom 90% meanwhile have all taken steps backward. I think there is a related Christmas story here somewhere.

Read the whole post to get the full picture.
Via Kevin Drum.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Life is Like a, a, You Know a Life (Heh, Heh)

An article in Slate sort of tongue-in-cheek (I think) talks about the association of the Rangers under George Bush and a bunch of guys on the steroids list.

Before the Mitchell report, two of the biggest steroid suspects were ex-Rangers from the Bush years, Jose Canseco and Rafael Palmeiro. Canseco wrote the book on drugs in baseball. Palmeiro lied to Congress about it under oath. While most baseball players steer clear of politics, Palmeiro gave Bush's 2004 campaign the maximum of $4,000.

Mitchell added some new names to Bush's friends list. Roger Clemens, the biggest fish in Mitchell's dragnet, is a longtime Bushie. A Clemens profile last year in USA Today said "he has a standing invitation to dine at the White House." Clemens is so close to the Bushes, he built a horseshoe pit at his house for George H.W. Bush. Andy Pettitte, who has now admitted using human growth hormone, once joined Clemens in a video tribute called "Happy 80th Birthday, 41." When George W. Bush threw out the first pitch in Cincinnati last year, Kent Mercker (also accused of buying growth hormone) showed his support by waving a Bush-Cheney hat...

...The great unanswered question is one Mitchell doesn't ask: If it's possible the A's knew enough to trade Canseco because of steroids, did Bush go after Canseco for the same reason? He already had three players who would turn up in the Mitchell report for later allegations of drug use—Palmeiro, Juan Gonzalez, and Kevin Brown. Without drug testing in place, it was almost impossible to get caught, and baseball was years from cracking down. To a highly competitive, power-hitter-hungry baseball executive like Bush, Canseco might have seemed a risk worth taking.

Between the presidency, the failed businesses, and this whole strange coincidence one might start to think of GW as the Bizzaro Forrest Gump, turning up in unlikely places to leave the world worse off than it was before.

80's Movie Quote of the Week (Holiday Edition)

When things aren't going well during your Christmas festivities, it is important to remember to stay positive. Chevy Chase exhibits the proper attitude.

Clark: We're gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tapdanced with Danny f*ckin' Kaye.

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Lady in a Red Burka

In what has to be the most vivid recent example that other cultures don't make any more sense than ours, Iran will soon host its first concert by a Westerner since the 1970's. Who is it that the Iranian are clamoring to see? Chris Deburgh, 80's pop singer of "Lady in Red" fame, that's who. They really love him. This web site tries to explain why, but I don't know.

It is very difficult for us to figure out what is great and what is awful in other cultures, and we usually end up seeming xenophobic when we try. But it is a lot easier when those cultures start adopting the most suspect parts of our own. Next your going to tell me that Uzbekistan is clamoring for Axe Body Spray.

Bad Timing

30th in scoring offense.
31st in yardage offense.
32nd in rushing.
29th in giveaway/takeaway ratio.

The Chiefs might have picked the wrong season to encourage fans to "See Red and buy season tickets today."

(Dan makes an excellent point about the insanity of the "fair weather fans" label.)

Friday, December 14, 2007

One More Thing Depressing About the Royals

There were 89 players listed in George Mitchell's report on MLB steroid use. Of those 89, 13 were current or former Royals. So this is what it has come to. We harbored about 15% of the total names in the report, and yet were still easily the worst team in the league over that span of time. Once again, I must ask what Kansas City sports fans have done to deserve their fate.

In a related story, Mike Sweeney says the report vindicates him.

“Maybe now people will really believe me,” Sweeney said by phone from California. “People now know that No. 29 was clean. And if I’ve played my last game with the Royals, you don’t have to put an asterisk by any of my stats.”

Yeah, I sure am glad the 74 total home runs he hit in the last five years won't be in question.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Best of 2007: Music

It has been an unbelievable year for music. There has been nary a month without some album worth getting excited about. Last year, I had trouble even coming up with 10 favorite albums. This year the problem is narrowing the field to just 10. But my compulsive nature insists that it must be done. Below each album are a couple of my favorite tracks. If you haven't heard an album and want to try it out, I would suggest starting there.

1. Boxer, The National
Start a War, Racing Like a Pro
2. Because of the Times, Kings of Leon
The Runner, Black Thumbnail
3. In Rainbows, Radiohead
Reckoner, House of Cards
4. Writer's Block, Peter Bjorn and John
Up Against the Wall, Young Folks
5. Icky Thump, The White Stripes
I'm Slowly Turning Into You, A Marter for My Love for You
6. Ga Ga Ga Ga, Spoon
The Underdog, Don't Make Me a Target
7. Armchair Apocrypha, Andrew Bird
Plasticities, Scythian Empire
8. Good, Bad, Not Evil, The Black Lips
O Katrina!, How Do You Tell a Child That Someone Has Died?
9. Sky Blue Sky, Wilco
You Are My Face, Walken
10. The Con, Tegan and Sara
Back in Your Head, Floorplan

There was a ton of other great music this year, as well. I maybe could have made a Top 20 or Top 30 list, but I like the focus of a Top 10. A special award goes to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs for Is Is, my favorite EP of the year. Way to go 2007. I hope 2008 can even come close.

That's Our Boy

Missouri's own Kit Bond tells Gwen Ifill that waterboarding is like swimming.

GWEN IFILL: Do you think that waterboarding, as I described it, constitutes torture?

SEN. KIT BOND: There are different ways of doing it. It’s like swimming, freestyle, backstroke. The waterboarding could be used almost to define some of the techniques that our trainees are put through, but that’s beside the point. It’s not being used.

Follow the link above for the video. Via Andrew Sullivan.


Last one to personally carry an illegal immigrant back to Mexico is a rotten egg.

From the LA Times:

Rudolph W. Giuliani, who as mayor of New York supported policies that benefited illegal immigrants, now says he would have happily swept out all 400,000 in his city if only the federal government had cooperated.

Mitt Romney mailed a new flier to South Carolina voters Tuesday ripping three of his rivals as coddlers of illegal immigrants. And Mike Huckabee, fresh from introducing a newly toughened immigration plan last week, Tuesday accepted the endorsement of a co-founder of the Minuteman Project, the civilian border enforcement movement.

This may work in the Republican primaries, but aren't these guys painting themselves into a corner for the general election? Or am I misreading the general public?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

80's Movie Quote of the Week (Holiday Edition)

A classic season's greeting:

Clark: Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, kiss my ass. Kiss his ass. Kiss your ass. Happy Hanukkah.

And as a bonus, the clip is on Youtube:

Higher Ed

Good for Harvard.

Harvard University announced on Monday that it would significantly increase the financial aid it offered to middle-class and upper-middle-class students, seeking to allay concerns that elite colleges are becoming too expensive for even relatively well-off families.

The only drawback to their plan is that it covers families making between $120,000 and $180,000 only. Combine that with their existing policy of waiving tuition for students whose families make less than $60,000, and you still have a pretty unfortunate group of middle class families left out. Like 1/3 of them or so. Regardless, this is certainly a step in the right direction.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

I Keep a Blunderbus Under My Choir Robe

A story in the New York Times talks about the two weekend shootings at Colorado church organizations. The story included a line that surprised me:

The gunman was killed by a member of the church's armed security staff, the source said.

The church security staff turned out to be a good idea, but I don't recall ever attending a church with security staff. Is that more common than I realize?

Powerful Pictures

A vivid reminder of the cost of modernity.

Friday, December 7, 2007

In Appreciation of The Answer

There are a lot of people who don't like the NBA. When you ask them why, a common answer is that it has to do with "guys like Allen Iverson." I'm not sure what that means, but I wish there were more NBA players like Allen Iverson. I've never seen anyone play as hard, as consistently as Iverson. Every game.

Last night, I watched the Nuggets manhandle the Mavericks with several guys hurt and Carmelo Anthony struggling. Iverson had 35 points (on 12-19 shooting), 12 assists, 6 steals, and a rebound for good measure. More importantly, he kept putting so much pressure on the Mavs by pushing the ball, they were never able to develop any kind of defensive presence.

This was supposed to be the year The Answer started to slip. The theory went that his quickness wouldn't hold up and he wouldn't be as good once it disappeared. Well, it hasn't happened yet. Do yourself a favor and catch a Nuggets game. You'll see one of the greatest basketball players of all time.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Cow Town

According to the Economist, Kansas City is trying to capitalize on its heritage and geography to create an "“Animal Health Corridor” as recognisable to everyone as, say, Silicon Valley."

The branding campaign has gone quite well, so far. The US Animal Health Association has been enticed to Kansas from Virginia. IdentiGEN, a Dublin-based food-safety company, has relocated its American headquarters. And MWI Veterinary Supply, one of the largest animal-health distributors in the country, is moving its Midwest distribution centre to Kansas. Kansas State University, on the western edge of the corridor, is among five sites being considered for the National Bio and Agro-Defence Facility. This $450m venture will replace the Plum Island Animal Disease Centre in Greenport, New York, in the research of diseases that can be transmitted to humans from animals.

The story is full of interesting facts, but it never gets to a catchy name like Silicon Valley. So consider this a nomination for Methane Row.

It Looks Like 1985 in Here

The Royals are bringing back the powder blues. They are going to wear them at home instead of on the road (and wear them with white pants?).

I like the nostalgia, but I'm afraid it may just be a painful reminder of what the team once was, and no longer is.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


Imagine my surprise when I opened and read that these guys are, in fact, getting ready to fight.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


The Brookings Institution published a report on walkable urban areas in the nation's 30 largest metro areas. Not surprisingly, of the 30 metros studied, KC was ranked 23rd. The purpose of the study was to show how many "walkable urban areas" each metropolitan area contained.

The study is not perfect. Kansas City's sole walkable urban area was the Country Club Plaza. One of New York's 22 is "Midtown Manhattan". Anyone who has ever been to Midtown Manhattan and the Plaza will not have any trouble discerning between the two. The author of the report says, in fact, that size and definition of a walkable urban area are parts of the report that should be better defined in future versions. There are other issues with the rather rudimentary way the cities are ranked. On the other hand, none of the other issues affect KC's standing for the worse (and may actually help).

The study concludes that walkable areas will likely increase nationwide in the near future, and that transit systems are an important indicator of the walkability potential of a metro area. With that in mind, the depressing part of the study goes thus:

Metropolitan areas that are not seriously committed to building rail transit systems—such as Cincinnati, Detroit, and Kansas City—may not have the option of walkable urban development due to slower economic growth and weak tax base. These slow growing metropolitan areas without rail transit today may be at a competitive disadvantage regarding future economic growth. This will especially be the case if crude oil prices continue to rise as they have since 2002 (increasing nearly three fold). These metropolitan areas may have “painted themselves into a corner”, due to both rising energy costs and the market opportunity of walkable urban development.


80's Movie Quote of the Week

In honor of the holidays, all 80's quotes in November will come from the classic National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. This line has probably been thought by at least a few during family gatherings.

Clark: Can I refill your eggnog for you? Get you something to eat? Drive you out to the middle of nowhere and leave you for dead?

Who's Been Naughty and Who's Been Nice

In my constant pursuit to understand the difference between the way (most) conservatives think and the way I think, I have developed another (probably questionable) theory. This one is the Holiday version:

Perhaps conservatives are just people who haven't relinquished the idea that if Santa doesn't visit, you must have been naughty.

Monday, December 3, 2007

It's the Most Ignorant Time of the Year

In sports anyway. It's college football postseason time again. Proving yet again that it is the professional wrestling of college sports, the ten spots in the BCS games went to teams #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #7, #8, #9, #10, and #13 in the BCS's own standings. Missouri, of course, was the unlucky #6 (who beat #8 and #13 head to head), but the absurdities certainly don't end there. In fact, my grudge really has nothing to do with Missouri, but with the fact that this sort of thing happens every year.

If college football is going to continue to refuse a playoff system similar to what all other real sports employ, the least they could do is up the entertainment value by letting the players use the occasional folding chair.

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