Friday, January 29, 2010

A quick comparison

Watching the President deliver the SOTUA the other night made me think of the following excerpt:
There was once a party that came out against concentration of wealth. They called for regulation of food, drugs, and big corporations. Called for a square deal for the average American. And their robust spokesman, the leader of their party, said this of his countrymen:
"There is not in the world a more ignoble character than the mere money-getting American, insensitive to every duty, regardless of principle, bent only on amassing a fortune."
That quote was delivered by Teddy Roosevelt as leader of the Republican Party. Seems pretty similar to the other night, right? At the time, I wondered why Biden was wearing a Panama hat and a moustache, but now I know.

What's in a name? Apparently, a lot.

The legal name of this man is Julius Andreas Gimli Arn MacGyver Chewbacka Highlander Elessar-Jankov. But set aside the name for a moment, and try to see the man for himself. Please also try to stifle your laughter.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Maybe adultery isn't so bad

...if the alternative is a complete lack of compassion. Recent comments by South Carolina Lieutenant Governor Andre Bauer likened government welfare for the poor to feeding stray animals. I presume that the Lt. Gov didn't think through the logical progression of that train of thought, which is the suggestion that poor people should be left to starve, turn feral, or be euthenized.

So if you're like me and wondered why Governor Mark Sanford wasn't immdiately removed from office after betraying his deep conservative values by spending tax dollars to fund personal international travel, the answer is simple. All he wanted to do was fornicate with an Argentine on the sly. Who among us can cast the first stone on that one?

Denny Matthews Could Debate Pat Buchanan

Baseball references abound in politics. You can play hardball. You can step up to the plate to get things done. You can hit one out of the park. Judges are just there "to call balls and strikes."

But last night watching the State of the Union address, I realized I could describe it with another metaphor (albeit a more specific and less pithy one). I believe instead of saying, "The President delivered the State of the Union Address," you could say, "The President went to Kansas City Royals spring training."

Here's why:

- Both require the participants to say things they can't possibly believe, but they know people want to hear.

- Both require fans to acknowledge that progress is possible, and critics to denounce all as illusion.

- And both give me a fleeting sense of hope. Hope that will be dashed within weeks or even days.

I'll end up more disillusioned than the year before, until the next season rolls around and the whole process starts over again.

Play ball.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Chart of the Day

Kind of speaks for itself, but here is the context.

I Didn't Know I Couldn't Do That

I really think ESPN blew it. They cut former NBA player Paul Shirley from his bloggin duties after Shirley posted what might be one of the best bits of career immolation in the last few years. In his post about Haiti, and why he wasn't giving, Shirley said:

As we prepare to assist you in this difficult time, a polite request: If it’s possible, could you not re-build your island home in the image of its predecessor? Could you not resort to the creation of flimsy shanty- and shack-towns? And could some of you maybe use a condom once in a while?
Anyway, back to my thoughts on ESPN. They clearly screwed up. Everyone knows you don't cut a player you could get some value for in a trade. And imagine what the 700 Club might have been ready to give up to get their hands on Shirley. Pay attention ESPN.

Growlers Are Back!

So says the New York Times:

“In the beginning we tried to figure out, ‘Who’s going to be our market?’ ” said Ben Granger, 32, an owner of Bierkraft, which began filling growlers in spring 2006. “We thought, mullet-heads and beer-bellied dudes. But the first run was ladies with strollers. They will tell you they’re buying them for their husbands. Three weeks later, they’ve got two. One’s his and one’s hers. The next one that caught me by surprise was dads coming in with their kids. Then there’s the beer crowd who’ll rush in to get on this or that before it’s gone. There’s no age limit.”
There are several interesting pieces of this quote, but perhaps the question that first came to mind for me was, "Has this guy ever met a mullet-head?"

I have, and I can unequivocally tell you that unless he's serving Keystone Ice in those growlers, his business plan was way off.

Strange goats are delicious

The growing trends of local and exotic cuisine are feeding the new industry of rare breed preservation. There are obvious reasons to protect biodiversity, chiefly the fact that decades of inbreeding and over medication have made our industrial food supply shockingly vulnerable. Perhaps a less obvious reason is shown by the Tennessee fainting goat:

They have a habit of seizing up and falling over when frightened or excited (just like me). While a terrible threat response, I find this reaction hilarious! They're like Soupy Sales on all fours with fur and a Van Dyke. That's disgusting. Still I say 'Cheers to you Science' for guaranteeing this daffy breed will never leave us.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

State of Mind

A question for fun:

If they actually redivided the country based on the criteria below, would you feel blessed or cursed that Missouri would be one of very few states essentially unchanged?

This map is by Neil Freeman from It's based on a division of the country into 50 state units with more-or-less equal population -- 5 to 6 million apiece -- and preserving existing boundaries where possible.
For my part, I'll say at least KC doesn't end up in Kansas.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Elway, er, Marino Theory?

Years ago, my good friend AA and I formulated a theory that describes the correlations between procrastination, panic, and practice. For a name, we settled on 'The Elway Theory.' Basically, it breaks down like this: the fourth quarter is all that matters.

With sufficient mental faculties, and enough practice at harnessing panic into a high degree of intense attention to one task, it is possible to, for example, acquire the knowledge presented in half a semester of a university philosophy class in the span of roughly 90 minutes.

We found that this practice leaves the bulk of the day free to focus on the really important stuff in life, such as composing Top 10 lists, imagining how awesome it would be to hang out with Curtis Mayfield, or determining whether it's the biscuits or the gravy that holds the most energy.

Since each of us has largely lived our lives according to this theory, I was very much shocked to learn that, if you trust the numbers and logic, we may actually be living according to the ways of Dan Marino. Can it truly be that a fatherless skidmark like Marino is the inspiration of my life? The numbers don't lie; it's Superhead by a slight margin.

So, theories sometimes requiring revision, I've made a small concession in crafting: 'The Melway Theory.' The improved collection of concepts gives a nod to Marino's fourth-quarterness. However, it also incorporates the assertion that even if you're not technically as proficient as the competition, your chances of success increase greatly when you're not a shitheel Like Dan Marino. Do yourself a favor by practicing the 'The Melway Theory,' just don't forget to send me thanks for making your life non-stop awesome.

Sucking the Hind One

That's what Kansas City is now officially doing. With the Saints' win yesterday, New Orleans officially became the 31st of the 31 other cities with at least 2 professional sports franchises (the big 4, MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL) to have one of its teams play in a championship game since one of KC's last did in 1985.

Below is the updated list of what other cities have had to root for since the Royals won the I-70 series. The first number is appearances is title games. The second it the number of times they won the championship. Read and weep.

Atlanta 6 app. (1 title)
Baltimore 1 app. (1 title)
Boston 14 app. (7 titles)
Buffalo 5 app.
Charlotte 3 app. (1 title)
Chicago 10 app. (8 titles)
Cleveland 4 app.
Cincinnati 2 app. (1 title)
Dallas 6 app. (4 titles)
Denver 8 app. (4 titles)
Detroit 12 app. (7 titles)
Houston 4 app. (2 titles)
Indianapolis 3 app. (1 or 2 titles)
Los Angeles 13 app. (8 titles)
Miami 4 app. (3 titles)
Milwaukee/Green Bay 2 app. (1 title)
Minneapolis 3 app. (2 titles)
Nashville 1 app.
New Orleans 1 app. (? Title)
New York 22 app. (13 titles)
Oakland 4 app. (1 title)
Philadelphia 6 app. (1 title)
Phoenix 3 app. (1 title)
Pittsburgh 7 app. (4 titles)
San Diego 2 app.
San Francisco 5 app. (3 titles)
Seattle 2 app.
St. Louis 5 app. (2 titles)
Tampa 3 app. (1 title)
Toronto 2 app. (2 titles)
Washington D.C. 3 app. (2 titles)

Friday, January 22, 2010

A trickle of a ray of hope

Much like AA, I've recently been feeling downtrodden by our collective political situation. But, I felt somewhat better about our prospects following President Obama's announcement regarding limitations on large, vertically integrated financial institutions.

Is this movement by the president a decisive step towards progressive change that carried him to the Presidency? Is it an outright indictment of a Congress that has yet to enact meaningful legislative change despite a previously commanding Democratic majority? Is this a populist movement for the betterment of the regular folks and all Good Americans? Promises kept and paid in full?

It's too early to be certain, but one thing is for sure, I will be selling my Bank of America stock!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

In Keeping With Yesterday's Theme

There is a long, but very interesting email from a Democratic Congressional staffer posted over at TPM. Here is the gist:

The worst is that I can't help but feel like the main emotion people in the caucus are feeling is relief at this turn of events. Now they have a ready excuse for not getting anything done. While I always thought we had the better ideas but the weaker messaging, it feels like somewhere along the line Members internalized a belief that we actually have weaker ideas. They're afraid to actually implement them and face the judgement of the voters. That's the scariest dynamic and what makes me think this will all come crashing down around us in November...

... This is my life and I simply can't answer the fundamental question: "what do Democrats stand for?" Voters don't know, and we can't make the case, so they're reacting exactly as you'd expect (just as they did in 1994, 2000, and 2004). We either find the voice to answer that question and exercise the strongest majority and voter mandate we've had since Watergate, or we suffer a bloodbath in November. History shows we're likely to choose the latter.
Take 5 minutes and read the whole thing. I promise you, you'll find it depressing.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

How I'm Feeling Today

Republicans - Cynical and Malicious

Democrats - Feeble and Feckless

I may need to stay away from political coverage for awhile.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

kings of the sad bastard

yes, today has been a good day for music. in addition to the albums mention by AA, another one of my favorite bands released their 9th full length studio album today: Eels. is it eels? the eels? Eels? EELS? no one really seems to know for certain, and i have see all sorts of incarnations of the moniker which is represented (for the most part) by one man. mark oliver everett (also known as E) is one weird dude and his latest album is no exception. "End Times" gets back to what E does best: sad bastard lyrics that sound both pretty and fun, though not necessarily at the same time. E is one of the rare exceptions in music that can break your heart right before you dance your ass off. or vice-versa.

recorded primarily on an old 8-track machine in his basement, E has given perpetual hope to a generation of at-home musicians who dream of one day holing up in their basements for 6 months and delivering a studio quality album to the masses. with this aspect in mind, "end times" is spot on. this is arguably the best sounding album from an old 8-track that i have ever heard. nice work, man!

if you have never indulged in the world of Eels, do yourself a favor and jump right in: the water is fine. and to be honest, "end times" is as good a place to start as any. yes, today was a good day for music indeed...

New Music

As I begin my 10 year prep for the next Best Music of the Decade list, 2010 has already produced two albums that will at least be in consideration.

Vampire Weekend's first album was on the previous best of the decade list, but it seemed idiosyncratic enough that they might not be able to produce another as good, or at least as interesting. But the new album, Contra, is better and I think more interesting. The songs are just as catchy, but there is a little more going on beneath the surface.

In the 2000's, Spoon was an incredible band. They put out four albums that I considered for my decade retrospective list, and one made the top 5. Their first album of this decade, Transference, just came out today (I think, but I've been listening to it this morning and they are off to a pretty good start to replicate their previous success. The album seems a little darker, but it still has the signature Spoon bounce and swagger.

Perhaps it's going to be a good decade.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Until They Remake BJ and the Bear...

.. this will be the most exciting remake of something I watched as a kid.

I know it will probably be terrible. Even what you see here looks kind of silly. But that doesn't really matter when you have a problem,no else can help, and you can find them.

Incidentally, when I went to YouTube to watch this, it recommended I watch the trailer from another of my childhood favorites. I was at first disappointed to see that it wasn't real, but you'll see that I pretty quickly didn't care. Awesomeness.

Please forgive me for this post

I've often wondered why religious organizations don't directly address problems like pollution and naked disdain for the environment. As a result, while likely old news for the well informed Catholic, it was certainly surprising to me to find recently that the Church has updated the deadly sins for the new millennium.

Included are the sins of environmental pollution, inflicting poverty, accumulating excessive wealth, drug trafficking and consumption, morally debatable experiments, and violation of fundamental rights. At this point, conversion is seeming like a pretty good idea. Then, just as the thought that 'morally debatable experiments' might mean gene therapy rather than animal testing, I read the last new deadly sin: genetic manipulation.

An internal dialogue that trys to understand the thinking that damns the polluters that end lives, while simultaneously damning the physicians that use genetic manipulation to save lives, is beginning to brew when further reading reveals a quote that just blows the top right off my head. The same Archbishop Girotti that initially delivered these new sins during a teaching session named abortion and pedophilia as two of the greatest sins of our time, then promptly brushed aside cases of sexual violence against minors committed by priests as 'exaggerations by the mass media aimed at discrediting the Church.'

Wow! Now that's some double talk! It appears to me unlikely that this push to update the Church will draw few intelligent converts or enhance adherence if in nearly the same breath Church leadership exhibits a total disregard of reality, fairness, and positive change. The cliche of 'the more things change, the more they stay the same' seems appropriate. It also seems that the dangerous lives of altar boys will remain dangerous, and I will remain reprobate for writing posts like this.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Few Things Going On

A lot of interesting stuff while I was out of commission:

One year after the team lost like 800 pounds or something, the Chiefs gained the weight back by hiring new offensive and defensive coordinators.

The Raymore city council decided not to become the OK Corral.

Watching TV is bad for you.

To combat the television, here are some foods that are good for you.

Sarah Palin still makes me cringe, and now she's a Fox News Analyst!

NBC is mucking things up with Conan O'Brien, for the questionable goal of putting Jay Leno back in his time slot.

Driving Cross the Land, Kickin' Up Sand...

Back from a 3,000 mile journey for a very sad event that you wouldn't want to go to if it were 3 miles away. But, as usually happens at such times, you learn a lot about the people with you on the journey. I am happy to report that part of the experience was pleasant. Hopefully, regular life may now resume for a bit.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

best albums of 2009

a bit late on this one, but soon enough to remain relevant i suppose. i thought 2009 was a pretty good year for music, with a couple of these making my top 50 of the decade list.

1. ryan bingham- roadhouse sun
2. the avett brothers- i and love and you
3. iron and wine- around the well
4. ben kweller- changing horses
5. away we go- soundtrack
6. bob dylan- together through life
7. son volt- american central dust
8. wilco- wilco (the album)
9. monsters of folk- monsters of folk
10.the decemberists- the hazards of love

i should also mention that the 4 disc Tom Petty Live Anthology is unbelievable, but i didn't feel like it qualified for this list. otherwise...TOPS!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Hey, I can see the desert from here!

I don't know why it fascinates me, but it does. This is one really, really tall building.

Monday, January 4, 2010

First Post of the Year (Income Chart)

Kinda late, but here it is. And since I don't use tagging, I thought using the first post to put up a chart I might want to refer back to would be useful.

So here it is:

I've referred to these numbers on several occasions, but this is the nicest depiction I've seen. If you're almost anyone, you are economically disadvantaged by voting Republican.

Free Blog Counter