Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Why the NBA Would be Better for KC than Baseball

Bill Simmons has an article at that talks about how the NBA's business model is broken and what could be done about it. It's a good piece, but I'm most interested in one small aspect of it:

This is how the NBA differs from any other professional sport. In a league with 12-man rosters, in which only five guys can play at once, you're really only as good as your franchise guy. If you don't have one, you're screwed.
This is something a buddy and I talk about regularly. NBA teams are built around a guy. Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Tim Duncan, Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant, Dwayne Wade, Lebron James.

This should interest anyone who would like to see a playoff win from a Kansas City team in their lifetime. It should interest them because a professional basketball team has a wildly better chance of contending for a championship than do the Kansas City Royals (or perhaps the Chiefs, but that isn't because of the structure of the sport). Baseball is the most difficult sport for a team with small resources to field a winner. That is because it takes so many players to put together a team that can compete.

Last year, the Royals had a pitcher who posted one of the 10 best seasons in baseball history... and they finished 32 games under .500. There is 0 chance of that happening on an NBA team. A nice example is Kevin Durant. This season, he has become one of the league's top 5 players and the Oklahoma City Thunder are sixth in a tough race for the Western Conference playoffs.

Let's say the Charlotte Bobcats (who have had some attendance woes) decided to move to KC. They have some pretty decent pieces in place already, and they are currently sitting about .500. Now let's say they win the lottery. You add a guy like John Wall to that team and within a couple of years you have a top half of the east playoff team.

I don't care how much Kansas Citians tell sports talk radio stations they don't want an NBA team. They'd be ecstatic to have a winner.

Nightmares for the Rest of Your Life

I seriously can't think of anything that would traumatize an 8 year old much worse than this:

An employee at SeaWorld Orlando has died after being attacked by a killer whale...

...Park guest Victoria Biniak told WKMG-TV that the trainer had just finished explaining to the audience the show they were about to see.

Biniak told the station the whale suddenly came up from the water, grabbed the trainer around the waist and "thrashed her all around" to the point that the trainer's shoe fell off.
There is an entire crowd of kids who will never ever set foot in the water again. I know I wouldn't.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Quote of the Day

From Kevin Drum, commenting on research presented in Washington Monthly regarding the relationship between consolidation and job creation (or lack thereof).

One of the pathologies of modern conservatism — a pathology that's shared more often than I'd like by mainstream liberals — is that they're pro-business, not pro-free market. The difference is critical. Pro-business means passing laws that your business pals like, and as economists since Adam Smith have observed, what businessmen mostly like is lack of competition. The operation of a true free market, conversely, depends crucially on competition and plenty of it. And just as crucially, that requires government intervention to prevent a few behemoths from taking over every sector of the economy. Keeping a free market free takes a lot of work.
The whole post is interesting, as is the piece it is based on. Read it and remind your pro-market friends what they really mean.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Stuff for a Friday

As I continue my near complete disregard for fresh content on this blog, the least I could do is pass along interesting stuff that other people are doing. And hopefully, once I finish the seemingly interminable project I've been working on, I'll start getting some posts up again.

In the meantime:


Kevin Drum passes along a Newsweek article about Republican Hank Paulson's thoughts on Republicans during the financial crisis.

Paulson delivers a continual and biting critique of Republicans....Kentucky Sen. Jim Bunning is a “cantankerous conservative” (page 275). Meetings with Senate Republicans were “a complete waste of time for us, when time was more precious than anything” (page 275). Ideas that Republicans do add are “unformed,” like Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor’s plan to replace TARP with an insurance program. In a rare moment of sarcasm, Paulson goes off on the minority Whip: “I got a better idea. I’m going to go with Eric Cantor’s insurance program. That’s the idea to save the day” (page 285).
Could be a fun book.


At Gone Mild, Dan has posting with some regularity about the kinds of issues that you would think about if you thought about beer with same frequency most people think about sex.

But I don't want it called "domestic" any more. It's inaccurate, it's insulting to real American brewers, and it siphons money to foreign corporations. SABMiller and AB-InBev are NOT domestic corporations. There are thousands of true "domestics" crafting great beer, and the American beer scene deserves to be recognized as a point of national pride. When you claim that Miller Lite and Budweiser are the "domestics", you are saying that Boulevard and Schlafly are somehow less American. It's just not right.
For what it's worth, I agree.


Have you ever listened to Minnesota Public Radio's The Current online?

You should.


Kansas City sucks. At least that is what Forbes Magazine says. And it is the Chiefs and Royals fault:

"High taxes and crime rates hurt Kansas City's standing, but what moved them up our misery list were its two awful pro sports teams. The Royals and Chiefs combined finished outside of last place only once in the past three years."
I suppose this means that if you don't like sports, you may not be so miserable. Plus, we aren't St. Louis. They have a really good baseball team and they still came in 5 places more miserable than us.


Matt Yglesias points out that ABC tried to do a piece on the economists who thought the stimulus worked versus those who did not... but they couldn't really find any in the second group.

“The stimulus worked,” said Stuart Hoffman, chief economist at PNC Bank. Without it, “the unemployment rate would probably be closer to 11 percent” and the economy might not have grown at all last year.

Mark Zandi of Moody’s thought the nation would be “still in recession.”

“It played a significant role supporting recovery,” said economist Diane Swonk of Mesirow Financial.

Not all the economists who responded to our survey agreed the stimulus was necessary.

“Throwing a trillion dollars at anything will move it,” said Standard and Poor’s David Wyss, “but the recovery would be beginning and the unemployment rate nearing a peak” without it.

“The economy would probably be recovering,” argued Jay Bryson of Wells Fargo, just maybe not “as fast as it is.”

Happy Friday.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Nothing to Do With the Decade

Since I missed the boat on the turn of the decade musicality, and since both AA and BSD are much better equipped to deal with the best albums and tracks of the decade, I chose a different path. Thus, the following list of the Top 50 Tracks on my Sansa MP3 player, right now, that are Least Likely to be Skipped, Ever (in alphabetical order by Artist):

Aberfeldy - Tie One On
Aesop Rock - None Shall Pass
The Beegees - Jive Talkin'
Big Smith - Quarry Anthem
David Bowie - Golden Years
Built to Spill - The Plan
The Clash - Train In Vain
Coconut Records - Nighttiming
Danger Doom - Old School
The Darkness - I Believe In a Thing Called Love
D.V.D.A. - Now You're a Man
Bob Dylan - Days of '49
Bob Dylan - Went to See the Gypsy
Electric Light Orchestra - Don't Bring Me Down
Fatlip - What's Up Fatlip?
Flight of the Conchords - The Most Beautiful Girl (In the Room)
Genesis - That's All
Ben Gibbard - You Remind Me of Home
The Gourds - Caledonia
Eddie Grant - Electric Avenue
Group X - You Would Give Me Kiss
The Hold Steady - Stuck Between Stations
Dallas Jones - Johnny Tyler
Damien Jurado - Tragedy
Marcy Playground - The Vampires of New York
Curtis Mayfield - Superfly
Paul McCartney - Comin' Up
Modest Mouse - Float On
Mos Def - New World Water
The New Amsterdams - Bad Liar
Ol Dirty Bastard - Shimmy Shimmy Ya
Old Crow Medicine Show - Wagon Wheel
Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers - Walls
Wilson Pickett - Land of 1,000 Dances
Rogue Wave - 10:1
Eric Sermon featuring Redman - React
Paul Simon - You can Call Me Al
Simon and Garfunkel - The Only Living Boy in New York
Todd Snider - Alright Guy
Spoon - The Fitted Shirt
The Streets - Could Well Be In
Van Morrison - Into the Mystic
Vitamin String Quartet - Tangled Up In Blue
Ween - Voodoo Lady
Whiskeytown - Drank Like a River
Wilco - Handshake Drugs
Wild Light - California On My Mind
Lucinda Williams - Car Wheels On a Gravel Road
Wu-Tang Clan - C.R.E.A.M.
Warren Zevon - Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner

[Bonus] Last track out: Van Halen - Hot for Teacher

[Double Bonus] Awesomest Lyric Currently on MP3 Currently: MCA of Beastie Boys from the track Hey Fuck You of the album To the 5 Boroughs - "I've got billions and billions of rhymes to flex, I've got more rhymes than Carl Sagan's got turtlenecks"

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Worst Date Movies

According to an article in Slate, the worst date movie of all time is Closer.

In my book, that dubious distinction belongs to the Julia Roberts/Natalie Portman/Clive Owen/Jude Law psychodrama Closer. The movie isn't gross like Antichrist, or menacing like The Comfort of Strangers, and no one gets raped. But the movie is deeply cynical about love—each character uses romantic connection as fuel for his or her ego. Fans of Pretty Woman or even Erin Brockovich might have gone to see the film because it starred Julia Roberts. They were expecting the toothy grin of America's sweetheart and the happy ending that usually follows her around. But in Closer, Roberts and her dashing lovers (Owen and Law) are selfish and manipulative. It's an alienating viewing experience, one that diffuses, rather than facilitates, romantic connection.
That is a bad one to be sure. But I think there are worse ones. Generally, I think horror movies are bad date movies because I'm a wuss and I don't want to jump/hide/scream/cry in front of a date. The worst horror movies, though, are ones where a seemingly normal (and often very attractive) woman turns out to be the monster.

Species is one of the classics of this sub-genre. Nothing ruins a date more than the suspicion that any amorous activity might end in the removal of your spine through your mouth.

Because I Think It's Funny

From The Onion.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The WHO still got it!

tomorrow morning, you might hear that the Who's performance at the superbowl was just so-so. you will probably hear people saying things like: daltrey can't hit the high notes like he used too, townsend looked silly in sunglasses, and they both looked out of breath. these people are morons. morons!

the WHO melted faces like a brick-layer lays bricks: one at a time, until everyone gets laid. and judging from the women in the crowd, i am sure they had plenty of offers.

now i will be the first to admit--i wish they would have played a more obscure set, but that was always wishful thinking. they gave us the hits, and tomorrow morning (if not already) sales of Who albums will sky rocket. and that seems to be the whole purpose of the "superstar at the superbowl" concept anyway, right? to have one more career boost to carry an artist for the rest of their existence? mission accomplished.

i also found it interesting that 3 out the 5 selections from their 15 minute show were currently theme songs for TV shows on CBS (CSI, “Who Are You,” CSI: Miami, “Won’t Get Fooled Again” and CSI: NY, “Baba O’Reily.”). i suppose "interesting" is the wrong word choice. "no-brainer" is probably more appropriate. surely, i am not the first person to make this connection.

now, on to the performance: i thought it was great. really great. i thought they sounded tight, looked like they belonged there, and proved they still got the goods, man. even the light show was stunningly relevant for once! yes, of course i wish entwistle and moon were still alive to have played the gig. can you imagine keith moon at the superbowl with access to an unlimited amount of explosives and pyrotechnics? one word: awesome!

some will also argue that the WHO are no longer relevant: they are has-beens. they are hacks. they no longer rock and should just quit trying to recapture their youth.

to the naysayers, i say suck it. The WHO are to rock-n-roll what earnhardt is to NASCAR: as long as people speak the word "rock" they will speak of the Who. and for that, and that alone, they deserved to be on that stage tonight. the fact that they also kicked major ass was just the icing on the cake.

while i won't comment on pete's sunglasses, i will say this about roger: he TOTALLY nailed the high note scream at the end of "won't get fooled again". that alone would have been worth the trip to miami...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

At the Red House!

I used to believe that local commercials were feces by default, then I went here. Behold!

I'm not saying this dude is wrong, but...

I have couple of questions for the toter of this protest sign before I join the cause:
1. Do you think consistency is important?
2. How about apostrophes?
3. I am very much opposed to the high fullutent, but I've never been able to identify a definition of 'fullutent.' Could you please expound?
4. Is this list in order of damnation? As I am only sophisticated swine and a sports nut, this is very important.
5. Also, could you please clarify whether devil lovers are avid sports fans or leisure activity genitals?
6. What does P. K's mean? If it means either philandering kittens or phat kids, then I'm in.

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