Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Moose Tacos

As most Royals followers now know, Mike Moustakas hit 3 homers and had 11 RBIs in the Omaha Royals game last night. This is exciting for Royals fans because Royals fans follow the Royals. Moustakas has the first jersey you see when you walk into the Royals merchandise shop at the stadium. That is what it is like to be a Royals fan.

But before we get too caught up, it's important to look at the Ball Star blog entry on how to put Moustakas's season into context. Five other players have hit at least 35 homers in a minor league season in the last decade. One of them is Ryan Howard, and that's good. The other four are Jonathan Gaston, Dallas McPherson, (current Royal) Kila Ka'aihue, and Brandon Wood. These are not so good.

Essentially, with recent history as a guide, Moustakas still has about a 20% chance of being a great major league player. And he's a Royal, so that probably has to negatively impact that number as well. Let's be cautious.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Petty! Loyalty!

If you haven't seen Peter Bogdanovich's Tom Petty documentary Runnin' Down a Dream, you should definitely take a look. I watched the director's cut this week, and it was four hours well-spent. It presents Petty as an extremely gifted guy and a guy with an unshakable loyalty. But the loyalty is to making great music more than it is to his band members. It was pretty clearly Petty's was or the highway.

Some of the most interesting scenes in the movie were discussion where a band member (soon to be an ex-band member), is upset with the direction Petty wanted to take the band. One of the best is when bass player Howie Epstein says he isn't interested in playing on a particular song because he doesn't think it is very good. The song turns out to be the Petty classic Free Fallin'.

But that got me to rethinking Petty's loyalty. The man has kept at least the core of the same band together (with Ron Blair even returning), through an over 30 year career. And as BSD and I discussed this, BSD pointed out that since 1982 the best three Petty albums were the three solo albums, not the eight Heartbreakers albums over the same period. So if that is the case (and I agree that it is), why does Petty bother to keep the Heartbreakers together at all? Maybe Petty's loyalty is a little more complex than the documentary would have you believe.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Blood Suckers

An article in Slate about mosquitoes confirms what I have feared:

Even if it were possible for bats, birds, and pesticides to eradicate them all—which it isn't—wholesale mosquito slaughter would not be a great idea. Their huge numbers of larvae feed small fish, and those small fish feed big fish, and those big fish are the primary source of protein for much of the developing world.
I had really been on the "let's just destroy every mosquito on the planet" bandwagon, but I always figured there would be some awful unintended consequence if we did. Welts are here to stay.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Today's People/Things I'm Angry With

1. T-mobile
2. David Glass
3. The Independence Police Force
4. Community Faces from the Star
5. Floods
6. Florida
7. Lebron
8. Mowing
9. People That Dress Like Founding Fathers to Protest
10. Love Handles

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Burnt Ends

There is a travel series from 2005 on barbecue that Slate is running again for some reason. I'm not sure about what recycling their content says about the fortunes of Slate, but I can say that most of the stuff I've seen recycled lately has been great.

At any rate, the five part series spends 40% of its time in KC, and Oklahoma Joe's and Arthur Bryant's in particular get rave reviews. But my favorite part of either piece is a quote in the first installment:

The "burnt end" is, after jazz, Kansas City's most important gift to civilization. Some great Kansas Citian of the past realized that the ends of a barbecued brisket were the fattiest, saltiest, smokiest chunks of meat on God's own Earth. Every barbecue joint in KC—and practically nowhere else—sets aside its burnt ends, chops them up, and serves them with a little sauce. It is a profound experience to eat them.
Here, here!

Friday, August 20, 2010

We're Number 1-1!!!!!!!!!!

I'm not entirely sure what makes Newsweek qualified to rank the world's countries, but I generally find these things interesting anyway. We are apparently the number 11 country in the world based on a variety of statistics.

If you can't stand not being #1, you need to move to Finland. Those Nordic jerks apparently do most everything well. Actually, if you can deal with the cold, all the Nordic countries would be good options. Sweden is #3, and laggard Norway is #6.

The overall ranking is a composite score based on five individually ranked categories (methodology is here if you are interested). The U.S. does great coming in #2 in economic dynamism, and ranks #9 in quality of life.

Quality of life is a silly category to me, or at least it is a category with a crappy name. If you are #1 in quality of life (that's you Norway), then you are the best country. But they don't quite mean quality of life in the overarching sense that I would use the term. Anyway, we'd do a little better in their definition if we had better income equality.

So, back to the rankings, we kind of drop off from there. We come in 14 in political environment, which kind of makes you want to read the political columns in the newspapers of the 86 countries behind us. But we get points for stability not for intelligence.

The last two categories are health and education. We rank 26th in both. This is how you know their definition of quality of life differs from mine. I can't imagine a population that isn't too bright and isn't very healthy as one with a great quality of life. But hey, we have lots of TVs right?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


So there is this tool on the Interwebs that gives your address a score based on how walkable it makes your life. My life is about half walkable... if that is what a score of 52 means.

Basically, this just confirms what most of us already know. It sucks to walk in KC. I live in a part of town that is probably more walkable than most of the metro, and I received a score of 52. Not so hot.

What I found more interesting is that it showed me what is walking distance from the house. For instance, I had no idea that The Epicurean was the second closest restaurant to my house. Of course, they have a sign on the outside of the place that says 35 and over, so I'm not quite eligible to attend anyway.

I also got excited when I found out that the Film Society of Kansas City was walking distance from my house. Then I looked closer and found out that it is actually located at the Screenland, and this thing had the address wrong. It turns out that many of the distances are, in fact, wrong. I don't know where the map data came from, but it isn't too swift.

Anyway, you can check the site out if you want. I'm not imploring you to do so, but you might find something of value if you have a little time to kill

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Real Threat

There I was worrying about all the tracking that goes on around the Internet, when what I really should have been worrying about is "terror babies."

Always Waiting, Always Watching

Via Kevin Drum, I see the Wall Street Journal has an interesting infographic and piece on websites and the tracking info they collect on you while you are on the Internet.

It's pretty crazy. The least intrusive major website is Wikipedia, which installs 0 tracking files wehn you visit. Facebook and Craigslist score pretty well here too.

On the other end of the spectrum is dictionary.com (WTF???) who install 234 tracking files when you visit. What on earth they possible need with those kind of files is beyond me. They have to be just selling info right? I mean I can't imagine how they can be collecting info to make my definition finding experience better.

Just remember that someboyd somewhere knows you were here.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Lollapalooza 2010

As BSD mentioned, I was off running wild in Chicago last weekend. Me and the Ancillary Girlfriend spent three days baking in the sun and taking years off of our ability to hear at Lollapalooza.

I hope to post some pictures once I find the cord that hooks my camera to my computer. In the meantime, here is the list of bands we saw.

Arcade Fire
Beats Antique
The Big Pink
Dan Black
The Black Keys
Blitzen Trapper
Blues Traveler
Dirty Projectors
The Dodos
Foxy Shazam
Freelance Whales
Green Day
Lady GaGa
Jamie Liddell
Miniature Tigers
Mumford & Sons
The National
The New Pornographers
Royal Bangs
Raphael Saadiq
The Strokes
These United States
The Walkmen

Some of these bands we saw only two songs from, while others kept us company for over two hours. It was an incredible three days.

Best Three Shows:

Green Day
We almost went to see Phoenix instead. I'd still love to see Phoenix, but I'm really glad we made the decision to see Green Day. They put on a show for the ages. It really was kind of over the top. There were crowd singalongs, a t-shirt gun, fireworks, and all other sorts of ridiculousness.

But if there was ever an occasion that calls for being over the top, it has to be headlining Lollapalooza. The band absolutely rocked for 2 and half hours. They played songs from nearly every one of their albums, and the crowd ate it up. It helped that we got right down in front for this one. Fantastic show.

The Strokes
Julian Casablancas remarked that this was the first show The Strokes had played in the U.S. in a long time. The crowd was certainly ready for it. One of the great things about seeing a band that has only put out three albums is that they are probably going to play all the hits, and you're also likely to get a chance to hear some of the other songs you want to hear as well.

That is how it was with The Strokes. We heard 12:51, but we also got Hard to Explain. Casablancas spent some time between each song kind of rambling, which I don't mind, especially when the guy behind me is a pretty funny heckler. Anyway, it all seemed in good fun and the band was tight. I'm ready for album #4 next spring.

The National
I had mixed feelings about seeing The National at Lollapalooza. They are one of my favorite bands of the last decade, but many of my favorite tunes are as mellow as they come. So I didn't know what to expect from their live show. I was blown away.

They pretty much stuck to the more amped up tunes, which meant I didn't get to here a few songs I would love to have heard. But they absolutely rocked the entire time. The band was on and added Richie from Arcade Fire on several songs. What made the show unbelievable was front man Matt Berninger's forays into the crowd. During Abel and Mr. November he headed out to the crowd, climbing on the barricade and mingling with the revelers 50 feet from the stage. Not bad for a guy who came out wearing a jacket and tie. This was an exciting show.

I'll get some pictures up soon, and hopefully add a few more thoughts about the festival.

Monday, August 9, 2010

why can't i own Canadians?

i found this letter floating around on the book of faces today and thought it was worth sharing. it is long, but certainly thought provoking. AA is off gallivanting through the streets of the windy city today, so someone has to hold down the fort. :)

here it is:
In her radio show, Dr Laura Schlesinger said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstance.

The following response is an open letter to Dr. Laura, written by a US man, and posted on the Internet. It's funny, as well as informative:

Dear Dr. Laura:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination ... End of

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God's Laws and how to follow them.

1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of Menstrual uncleanliness - Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination, Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Are there "degrees" of abomination?

7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room

8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family
affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I'm confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.

Your adoring fan.

James M. Kauffman, Ed.D. Professor Emeritus,
Dept. Of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education
University of Virginia PS (It would be a damn shame if we couldn't own a

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Uncooperative Journalists

It says a lot about the public in Nevada that there person who said this is only two points down in polls:

"We needed to have the press be our friend," Angle said in an interview that aired on Fox over the weekend.

"Wait a minute. Hold on a second. To be your friend?" said a disbelieving Carl Cameron. Before Angle could fully answer, he added: "That sounds naive." Apparently this was too much for even him.

"Well, no," said Angle. "We wanted them to ask the questions we want to answer so that they report the news the way we want it to be reported."
What you think it says about Nevadans probably depends on how cynical you are.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

No Love for August

Despite the fact that without August there would be no Ancillary Adams, I kind of agree with this piece that Slate reran this week on the subject of how much August sucks.

August is the vast sandy wasteland of American culture. Publishers stop releasing books. Movie theaters are clogged with the egregious action movies that studios wouldn't dare release in June. Television is all reruns (or worse—new episodes of Sex and the City). The sports pages wither into nothingness. Pre-pennant-race baseball—if that can even be called a sport—is all that remains. We have to feign interest in NFL training camps.
There is quite a bit more they have to say about crime and dictators and heatwaves. I guess my one counter would be that without August we would have far less county and state fairs. And that means far less corn dogs and fried Snickers. Long live August!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Middle Class America

A really good article from Edward Luce of the Financial Times regarding the woes of the middle class in America.

The slow economic strangulation of the Freemans and millions of other middle-class Americans started long before the Great Recession, which merely exacerbated the “personal recession” that ordinary Americans had been suffering for years. Dubbed “median wage stagnation” by economists, the annual incomes of the bottom 90 per cent of US families have been essentially flat since 1973 – having risen by only 10 per cent in real terms over the past 37 years. That means most Americans have been treading water for more than a generation. Over the same period the incomes of the top 1 per cent have tripled. In 1973, chief executives were on average paid 26 times the median income. Now the ­multiple is above 300.
Read the whole thing. It'll be worth your while.

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