Thursday, December 29, 2011

We Are Very Small

This picture is from Discovery. That is what the U.S. would like if is was on Saturn.

Top 3 - Guys I Want With the Ball Shooting for the Win

1. Carmelo Anthony - I wouldn't put him in the Top 5 overall guys in the NBA, maybe even the Top 10. But I can't think of anyone who is better at making sure they get a quality shot when everyone know they are about to shoot it. And he makes more of them than anyone else.

2. Kevin Durant - Would be number one if you couldn't push him out on a drive. The best shooter in the league be a wide margin.

3. Derrick Rose - Can get a shot anytime. The shot he made to win the game on Christmas was just crazy. If he was a better pure shooter, he would be nearly unstoppable.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Rye Whiskey Is Back... For Better or Worse?

I have been seeing more and more articles recently like this one form the New York Times:
Over the last few years, though, that has changed, as rye has emerged as a go-to craft spirit of the moment. Interest in its production has also come back, as small artisanal distillers, like Templeton and Delaware Phoenix, have popped up across the country, referencing old recipes and archaeological records to create new spirits strongly rooted in tradition. And big whiskey companies that mostly make bourbon — Buffalo Trace, Heaven Hill — are not only bottling small batches of specialty rye but offering tours to spirit enthusiasts.
That first sentence has been bothering me. I think I covered similar territory in a blog a while back, but I don't like drinking the "spirit of the moment." It makes me feel weird when I go up to the bar and order the thing that has become chic. That is surely just a bit of hipsterism at best and an appalling display of elitism at worst. But it is still a feeling that is hard to shake.

However, I have decided to make peace with the idea. I am going to choose, instead, to embrace the rising popularity of rye. Because if my favorite drink becomes more popular, the logical outcome is that I will be able to get it more places. And there will be more varieties. And people will invent new cocktails.

So here is to rye whiskey and its new found popularity. May it be the Jack Daniels of the next generation.

Chart of the Day (Maybe the Year)

So what are the 99% upset about? This chart from Larry Bartels (via Kevin Drum) shows it all. It is a graphic representation of how responsive politicians are to the views of different income groups.

The really striking thing is that this data was pulled from voting records in the 90s. When you look at it like that, the 99% have been pretty patient.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Freakanomics has a post theorizing about what relegation could do for American sports.

Had the Pirates and Clippers played in something like the English Premier League, the Pirates would have been relegated in 1995.  And the Clippers would have been gone in 1981-82, sparing Los Angeles this team entirely. 
In North America, though, despite years of failure, both teams have been consistently rewarded by their league. The Pirates – via luxury payments from teams like the Yankees – are actually profitable. And the Clippers have routinely been granted high draft choices and – via the intervention of Commissioner David Stern – were recently given the amazing talents of Chris Paul.
Would relegation be good for KC? It would probably mean that we could actually have a team competing in each of the major 5 sports (I am officially counting soccer). There would simply be no reason that we couldn't have a team competing in whatever a step down from the NBA would be competing at the Sprint Center with a chance to make it to the NBA if they did well enough.

On the other hand, all of our current major sports franchises would have been relegated in the past two decades at a point, and one of them would probably have been stuck in Triple A for God knows how long. So, I guess I am still trying to puzzle out how I feel about it as a KC sports fan. Anyone have any thoughts?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Best Songs of 2011

I ranked the albums, but I am busy this time of year. Thus, the songs are gettting the alphabetical list treatment. They are all really good though.

21 Great Songs of 2011

A Little Bit of Everything - Dawes
All the Talkers - Centro-matic
Breaker Breaker - Peter Bjorn and John
Cruel - St. Vincent
Die - Girls
Dog's Eyes - Wye Oak
Ffunny Ffriends - Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Gold on the Ceiling - Black Keys
Gratisfaction - The Strokes
I Might - Wilco
Lippy Kids - Elbow
Miranda - Surfer Blood
Morning Thought - Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.
On and On - Tapes 'n Tapes
Payne's Bay - Beirut
Raw Meat - Black Lips
Revolving Doors - Gorillaz
Ride Ride Ride - Vetiver
Separator - Radiohead
Shredder - Jeff The Brotherhood
Velcro - Bell X1

Best Albums of 2011

Going in reverse order this year because I posted this list on Facebook first and God forbid I have to type it again.

‎10. Arabia Mountain - Black Lips
 This is just a good time. Nothing wrong with having a good time.
9. Nothing is Wrong - Dawes
 There is no song here I love as much as When My Time Comes, but that really isn't much of a criticism. I firmly believe that A Little Bit of Everything is Taylor Goldsmith singing the song he wishes Warren Zevon would have sang before he died.
8. Gimme Some - Peter Bjorn and John
 They may forever be known as the "Young Folks" band, but these Swedes just keep making great music. And they can almost always put me in a good mood.
7. Smoke Ring for My Halo - Kurt Vile
 I'm not sure how you can mean monotonous in a good way, but I would here. This album just feels like a 2 a.m. haze. I also mean that in a good way.
6. El Camino - The Black Keys
 There is more going on here than with Brothers, but I'm not sure that is a good thing. I think I like the production stripped way down with these guys, but the songs are still great and nobody else does 60's blues/soul rock like they do. And I hope to get another chance to see them live. I would recommend anyone who hasn't seen them do the same.
5. Build a Rocket Boys - Elbow
 The whole album is great, but the reminiscence on childhood in Lippy Kids, is the most beautiful song I heard all year.
4. We Are the Champions - Jeff the Brotherhood
 Remember when Weezer was great? I do, and I am glad that Jeff the Brotherhood and the soon to be metioned Surfer Blood do too. I am also glad that Jeff the Brotherhood thought that old -Weezer would be more awesome if they sounded a little more like the Ramones.
3. The King is Dead - The Decemberists
 I shall not name the band that most are invoking related to this album, but if it sounds like them, that is quite an accomplishment. And this time the best song isn't about a dad who kills his kids!
2.The Whole Love - Wilco
 I really hadn't been a big fan of the last two Wilco albums. Then this one comes along and kind of feels like it has all the best parts of Summerteeth and A Ghost is Born, and Wilco resumes their status as one of my favorite bands.
1. The Rip Tide - Beirut
 Everything Zac Condon does is a little different than what he did last time, but this is the first time he did it a little more like everybody else. And yet, there is no mistaking it for anything but Beirut.
Honorable Mention Category 1 - Bands I discovered this week through other Top Ten lists in this thread and will probably be in my revised best of 2011 in 6 months.
Candidate Waltz - Centro-matic
 I have been listening to this a lot over the last two days. I was not at all surprised to find out they were from Austin, because Spoon was the first thing I thought of when I heard it. Thanks to those who put it on their lists.
It's a Corporate World - Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. 
 I have to admit I had been avoiding this band based entirely on their name. Big mistake. I have an uneasy relationship with electronic music, but this is the kind that stays in my playlist for a long time.
Honorable Mention Category 2 - Bands that made great first albums, tried to get fancy and made suspect second ones, then decided to return to what worked and made great third ones.
No Color - The Dodos
Outside - Tapes 'n Tapes
Honorable Mention Category 3 - Album that made me feel a little schizophrenic.
King of Limbs - Radiohead
 My reactions to this album: 
1. Radiohead is releasing a new album!
2. What?
3. I'm not sure about this...
4. Actually, maybe...
5. They got me, these songs are stuck in my head (I really love Separator)
Honorable Mention Category 4 - All Others
Tarot Classics - Surfer Blood (EP)
The Errant Charm - Vetiver
Strange Mercy - St. Vincent 
Father, Son, Holy Ghost - Girls
Unknown Mortal Orchestra - Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Wye Oak - Civilian
Middle Brother - Middle Brother
Alpocolypse - Weird Al (yeah I said it, and I mean it)
Biggest Disappoinments
9 Types of Light - TV On the Radio
Angles - The Strokes

Doing it Their Way

The old hometown has a new brewery. They make great beer AND great amateur videos.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Down at the Pub

It seems no one has explained to the Brits that employers occasionally check your Facebook page.
The average British person is under the influence of alcohol in three-quarters of of his or her tagged Facebook photos, according to a new study.
Although, if the number sits at 76% I suppose employers can't really hold anything against you because they ultimately have to hire someone. Carry on then. Cheers!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Performance Artist

I am beginning to think that must be what Ron Artest Metta World Peace really is:

Thanks for passing this along Jackknife.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Government's Role to Play

You can't have free enterprise without government, whether you like it or not.
A study for the Berkman Center at Harvard Law School found that “some form of open access regulation has at this point been adopted by every country in the OECD except the United States, Mexico, and the Slovak Republic.”
When someone tells you they are pro-markets, they usually mean they are pro-business. Those two are very different things...

Friday, December 9, 2011

Kevin Durant Averages 50

According to his facebook post, Kevin Durant needs contacts. Good God, he couldn't see and led the league in scoring. What can he do once he can see???

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Football Analogy Run Amok

In his most recent column, David Brooks argues that Obama has been far from the regulatory monster the right makes him out to be:
In the first place, President Obama has certainly not shut corporate-types out of the regulatory process. According to data collected by the Center for Progressive Reforms, 62 percent of the people who met with the White House office in charge of reviewing regulations were representatives of industry, while only 16 percent represented activist groups. At these meetings, business representatives outnumbered activists by more than 4 to 1.
Brooks says this has the left up in arms, and he is right. I think liberals see this as Democrats embracing one of their most important critiques of the Republican party. Brooks hits at the issue at the end of the column by making a statement that, in its falsehood, describes exactly why liberal support for Democrats is wavering .
Second, it is easy to be cynical about politics and to say that Washington is a polarized cesspool. And it’s true that the interest groups and the fund-raisers make every disagreement seem like a life-or-death struggle. But, in reality, most people in government are trying to find a balance between difficult trade-offs. Whether it’s antiterrorism policy or regulatory policy, most substantive disagreements are within the 40 yard lines.
The analogy at the end is the useful part here. I, and I think a lot of liberals like me, believe the game is absolutely not played between the 40 yard lines. It is played entirely too close to our end zone, say between the 20 and 40. That gives Republicans the chance hit a reasonable touchdown play every now and again, and to get at least a field goal on every possession.

Democrats meanwhile throw the occasional hail mary while spending most of their time trying to run out the clock without turning the ball over. Any football fan knows that is not a way to win the game.


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