Thursday, November 29, 2007

Rhyme-noceros And Hip-Hop-apotamus

Daily Wii Fitness Age: 26

  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • Why didn't he play it? Why?
    • My working late Tuesday night has thrown me way behind on "Countdown." I'm a little blind to what's going on in the world right now.
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • My dog had some minor surgery today and the anesthesia has made him a drooling idiot all night. More so than usual.
    • Let's say you went ten years into the future... Which would come as a bigger shock: finding out that President Bush has a strong legacy or finding out that Tim Gunn was straight all along?
  • Your List Sucks!:
    • Top 5 Currently Running Shows (Fiction) on Cable:
      • Flight of the Conchords (HBO): Netflix the first season -- you won't regret it. They are "New Zealand's fourth most popular guitar-based digi-bongo acapella-rap-funk-comedy folk duo" and every episode is fall-down funny.
      • Dexter (Showtime): He's a serial killer who preys only on criminals who have escaped justice. And he's a cop. I'm woefully behind on the second season, but the first had enough darkness and wit to warrant this ranking.
      • Monk (USA): Adrian Monk is the second-best character on TV to Greg House. His ability to go from humor to sadness at a moment's notice makes this comedy poignant, which is all you can ask from a show.
      • Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO): It's the sheer discomfort that makes this show so funny. Larry does all of the things that we either wish we could do or wonder what would happen if we did them. He pushes the envelope like no other comedy ever.
      • The Wire (HBO): It's not TV. It's visceral, brutal, depressing, and unflinchingly real. I can say without hyperbole that it's the most important show in history.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Battle for Identity

Daily Wii Fitness Age: 25 -- Not bad, considering I feel twice that coming off of two straight twelve-hour days and having just returned from the gym.

  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • Happy to see that Kal Penn will be a regular on "House" for the foreseeable future (strike not withstanding). The Namesake, starring Penn, is out on DVD and it's one of the better movies I've seen in the last year. It deals with an Indian couple, who move to the U.S. after their arranged marriage, and their children born in New York, who, when they've grown, want to be Americans just like everyone around them. Anyone who comes from a culture that struggles with assimilation into "mainstream" society (like Jews, more on this later) will relate. Everyone will see Penn truly break out as a serious actor.
    • In the Safeway line today (And how bad are the Safeway lines? The lack of self-checkouts don't help the fact that they have 30% max of the lines open at any one time.), the National Enquirer had a story on "Who's Gay and Who's Not!". Among others, there was a picture of George Takei, who is very openly gay. Crack investigative reporting.
    • "I love talking about pi." "You're going to be flipping burgers at the supermarket!" "All of the ugly animals should die and the pretty animals should live." And the ending with Jared playing Dance Dance Revolution? Funniest..."Kid Nation"...Ever.
    • Name me one TV channel that's better from top to bottom than History International.
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • The pick for the NFL game that nobody will actually see? Green Bay (+7) vs. Dallas.
    • I kind of hate to say it, especially for a game of such big import to the conference, but I'm not really going to miss it.
    • God told me to read this article and call Richard Roberts a jackass.
  • Daily Rant:
A few years ago, the great Israeli writer A.B. Yehoshuah said something to the effect that if you don't live in Israel, you're not a real Jew. I attended a discussion at the Israeli Embassy yesterday where this came up and then discussed it over coffee (well, tea and bottled water) this morning with an Israeli co-worker. One can take this statement two ways: first, that Zionism (the belief in the existence of a Jewish state) is a key to Judaism and can only be truly practiced through aliyah (emigration to Israel); second, because Israel is a Jewish state, one only has to live in Israel to truly be Jewish. In other words (on the second one), Judaism is so prevalent in Israel that you can't not be Jewish. Even Israeli Arabs know about Jewish holidays of which many American Jews aren't aware. There is a large movement of Israelis that are anti-religion because the government is so under the thumb, as they perceive it, of the religious, but these people still get the Jewish holidays off, still have to deal with most things being closed on Shabbat. And this point is why I disagree with Yehoshuah and think that American Jews are perhaps more Jewish.

The Christmas season started this year on November 23, at the latest. The U.S. presidency is so entrenched with Protestants that Catholics are deemed controversial candidates. The Constitution and government don't play in this -- we live in a Christian society. It's easy and attractive for a Jew to be assimilated and feel like they're just like their friends. Even living in a city that celebrates diversity does not make one yearn to be different. To be Jewish, you really have to want it. Even if your Judaism is all cultural and not religious, you're still making a choice every day to be a minority, a choice that any racial minority doesn't have. It's this choice to be different that makes being Jewish in America much more difficult, and therefore in my eyes much more admirable, than in Israel. Zionists in the 1940s, '50s, and '60s had to fight for their country like I never have. I think this makes them greater patriots for Israel than I'll ever be for the U.S. For those same reasons, I say that the American Jew's fight to be Jewish makes them greater Jews.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Update: More on Taylor

Here are two examples of what I wrote about earlier:

Special Comment: "About"

I've said that I'll never write at work, but something this morning has me too worked up to sit quietly until I get home around 10 tonight. As you know by now, Redskins All-Pro safety Sean Taylor was murdered in his home early Monday morning, having died early this morning at a hospital while never regaining consciousness. A great tragedy, to be sure. Please know that what I write from here on out is not meant to take away from this great loss that his family and friends have been dealt.

While I only listened to the Junkies when I woke up and on the way to work this morning, I heard from a co-worker that Russ Parr was coming from the same angle, so I'm assuming that the majority of the media took the same tact. This tact is that they mourned Taylor, not mentioning his on-the-field skill, but rather mourning him as a person. They talked about how tough it is to deal with seeing someone cut down in their prime, how they themselves were hurting over this loss. They took phone calls from listeners who expressed the same sentiment. My co-worker said that one caller to Russ Parr said that they "had to pull over when they heard the news because it hit them so hard." This, my friends, is the worst type of hypocrisy.

None of these callers and almost none of the media knew Sean Taylor, they just knew about him. About is the key word here. There has been much speculation regarding whether Taylor was a thug, a reformed thug, or just misunderstood. It is just that -- speculation. Because, again, we never actually knew him. All of this because of someone we knew about. But there are hundreds and thousands of people who die every year that we don't know about. We hear the statistics -- according to, there were 169 murders in Washington in 2006. As I noted during Thanksgiving week, there have been nearly 3,900 American soldiers killed in Iraq. Does the media stop for each of these killings? Why not? Is Sean Taylor's life worth more than any of these other people or the 17,034 murders commited in the US in 2006, according to In reality, we knew those people about as well as we knew Sean Taylor, we just didn't know about them.

So let's stop the hypocrisy. Either we get worked up over every wrongful death or we get worked up over none. Which would you think is right? The media and public will mourn Taylor for a couple of days. Then, they will discuss what the Redskins need to do. After that, we'll move on to the next news cycle. No discussion about the culture of violence that led to his and so many other deaths. No discussion about the danger of handguns in society. No notice of the thousands of people dying every year until the next star dies, when we'll start the same process, not having learned anything from the last time.

Monday, November 26, 2007

I Can't Let You Do That!

Remember, there are only four characters on "Heroes" that really matter: Hiro, Peter, Claire, and Sylar. The season finale promises to be great.

12 hour day today. Another one tomorrow. Pardon the brevity.

And if you threw a party...invited everyone you knew

A little known Florida state law requires the show Golden Girls to be played 24 hours a day. Lucky for me, I was able to reap the benefits of this law over the weekend. I never thought I would say this but this show just might be better than Seinfeld.

Golden Girls has been off the air for more than 15 years but every joke remains current. Much like Seinfeld, it is a show about nothing. People just sit around and complain about their lives, a very basic formula for comedic success. Each character brings her own nuance to the show ranging from Rose's stories of St. Olaf to Blanche's long list of men to Sophia's reminiscing back to her days in Sicily. All four of the actresses are still alive and kicking, particularly interesting considering they played old people 20 years ago. A few of them still act every now and then according to IMDB. I am still waiting for the Golden Girls reunion show. What distinguishes Golden Girls from Seinfeld though, (besides the presence of Bea Arthur) is the theme song. Come on, you know you love it (Thank you for being a friend). It's in your head (Travel down the road and back again). You'll be walking down the street singing it and won't be able to shake it out of your head (You're heart is true, you're a pal and confidant) .

I'm McLovin It

Watched Kids tonight. Cheery movie. It's brilliant, but I'm wondering more about something that was bugging me while I was watching it. Was McLovin from Superbad based on Telly from Kids or is it just some archetype of a skinny white playa? Anyone who's seen both, chime in.

The Eagles had the Pats dead-to-rights and they couldn't finish them. So frustrating.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Manic Arachnid Swings Into The Mouth of Hell

Daily Wii Fitness Age: 25

  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • Great "C.S.I.:" with Hodges' murder game. Nice bit of humor in what has been a very dark season.
    • One of the funnier episodes of "The Soup" this week. Testuclear Holoc***!
    • The new great show I discovered today? "Ninja Warrior" on G4, also available on G4 On Demand. If you love seeing clips of Japanese game shows, you'll love the real thing.
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • Bad NFL picks segment (last week: 9-6-1, 1-2 on Thursday, overall: 37-47-3):
      • San Francisco (+10.5) vs. Arizona.
      • Denver (+1.5) vs. Chicago.
      • Cleveland (-3) vs. Houston.
      • Jacksonville (-8) vs. Buffalo.
      • Kansas City (-5) vs. Oakland.
      • New England (-24!!!) vs. Philadelphia.
      • New Orleans (-2) vs. Carolina.
      • N.Y. Giants (-7) vs. Minnesota.
      • Baltimore (+8.5) vs. San Diego.
      • Seattle (-3) vs. St. Louis.
      • Washington (+3) vs. Tampa Bay.
      • Tennessee (-1.5) vs. Cincinnati.
      • Pittsburgh (-16) vs. Miami.
  • Daily Rant:
    • What is with movies using Baltimore as a substitute/addendum for DC? I'm about 20 minutes into Live Free or Die Hard and they just jogged from the Washington Monument on St. Paul Street in B-more to the FBI HQ in Washington and then immediately back to a chase scene in front of Baltimore City Hall from where they then fled into the 395 tunnel, which wasn't actually the 395 tunnel. They give the address for Baltimore City Hall (in DC, mind you) as Maine and Constitution. Those streets don't actually ever intersect. Could they even try? The car crashes were pretty sweet at least, I guess.

Friday, November 23, 2007

...And They Are Indisputable

These are the facts:
  • Super Mario Galaxy is different from any other game I've ever played. It's to other games what the Wii is to other systems.
  • On a related note, I learned tonight that Wii Sports bowling does not, in fact, prepare you better for real bowling.
  • Even MSNBC has begun hyping episodes of "To Catch A Predator" with comedy. You have to laugh because to take it completely seriously would be to doom any future children to live locked in a room in the basement like they were Sloth in The Goonies.
  • My friend wrote on her Shtetl Fabulous blog on Tuesday that Hollywood is putting out progressively more pro-life messages in its movies. It may be true, but it's certainly tied hand-in-hand with the fact that Hollywood is also showing (promoting? celebrating?) promiscuity more and more.
  • Bailey is like the Post Office -- neither rain nor snow nor thirty-freaking-five-degree weather will stop him from making his "deliveries."
  • Lewis Black touched on this briefly in his brilliant "Red, White, and Screwed", but I don't think most people realize how inherently insulting it is to refer to the main text of Judaism as the "Old Testament." It a) assumes that everyone believes that the New Testament is sacred and b) dismisses the original as outdated.
  • You're a lousy f***ing softball player Jack. (Sorry, can't think of the title of this entry without thinking of this quote.)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanks For... (Pt. 3)

I thought about going sappy and thanking family and friends on the holiday, but I think the only sincerity I want to portray on this blog is anger, where necessary. Besides, I hope it's obvious that I'm grateful to them all 365. So:

  • Thanks to climate change, if I can pick up where I left off yesterday, for the downright warm Thanksgiving day. If Irving Berlin where alive right now, he might be writing "I'm Dreaming of a Chilly Christmas."
  • Thanks to my co-worker, Captain Oblivious, for some portion of the success I've had over the past few months. Their inability to carry their full share has led to me jumping in, since it all has to get done, and subsequent accolades for my leadership and teamwork.
  • Thanks to my wife's cousin for describing in detail the most horrifying scenes in The Exorcist after I told him that I've always been too scared to finish the whole movie.
  • Thanks to K-Mart, EB Games, and other stores, for letting me know the actual price of Wii games. In their Black Friday ads, they advertise games at full price!
  • Thanks to the government and its war in Iraq for the 3,873 (confirmed) seats that will be empty at this and all future Thanksgiving dinners.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanks For... (Pt. 2)

Quick NFL picks for Thursday:
  • Dallas (-14) vs. N.Y. Jets
  • Detroit (+3.5) vs. Green Bay
  • Atlanta (+11.5) vs. Indianapolis
On to the thanks giving:
  • Thanks to Taylor from "Kid Nation" for the catchphrase of the year: "Deal with it!"
  • Thanks to NBC for "Cowboys and Patriots Night in America." I've always wanted to watch "The Amazing Race" and thanks to every game including my two least favorite teams in the league, I finally can.
  • Thanks to "The Soup" for making me, and everyone I know, watch at least one episode of "Yo Gabba Gabba!" My name is Josh, I like to daaaance.
  • Thanks to Wii Sports for the chronic arm injury in 20 years. My right tricep will soon be three times the size of every other muscle in my body.
  • Thanks to Bailey for being such a pain in the butt sometimes and showing even a tiny glimpse of what it might be like to have kids. The Catholic Church is lobbying the government to not hand him out at public schools.
  • Thanks to "Private Practice" for showing me, I assume, how women think. Now if they could only provide some sort of translation, because the show makes no sense to me.
  • Thanks to Scooter Libby and David Kaye (the rabbi that was on "To Catch A Predator") for bringing oogy back to organizations with which I have been at least peripherally associated.
  • Thanks to climate change for causing poverty, our messed up health care system, obesity in children, AIDS, the abandonment of inner-city public schools, the war in Iraq, and internet predators. It's the only cause anyone seems to care about, so it must be the root of all of those other things, right?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thanks For... (Pt. 1)

First... I'm putting the McClellan bombshell aside for at least the moment. We all know the Democrats aren't going to pursue Bush no matter how much he deserves impeachment for any number of things. The only story I'll touch on is the Pentagon S.E.B. fiasco. I don't care if it was a mistake; if anything in the history of the world has been inexcusable, this is it.

On to the things for which I give thanks:
  • Thanks to "The Biggest Loser" for letting me know that Nabisco 100-calorie snack packs are healthy and they come in a wide variety of flavors. I hope the season was in the can before the writer's strike.
  • Thanks to Alex Rodriguez, Jimmy Rollins, and Matt Holliday (three of the top four placers for MVP; Rodriguez and Rollins won the MVP awards) for the run-away fantasy baseball win.
  • Thanks to Montgomery County for closing Montrose Road on December 4th. In an area where traffic is already routinely jammed at 3PM(!), detouring everyone going from 270 to Rockville Pike for six months will be a great opportunity to catch up on a book on tape like War And Peace. Each day.
  • Thanks to monkeys for adding humor to every sentence in which they appear.
  • Thanks to Fallout Boy for rocking just so darn hard. Same to the rest of the music industry.
  • Thanks to "The Simpsons" for jumping the shark years ago so I didn't have to spend nine dollars over the summer to see... D'oh!
  • Thanks to the Republican and Democrat parties. Everybody needs something to complain about.
To be continued...

Monday, November 19, 2007

Two More Episodes...

Daily Wii Fitness Age: 24

Just two things tonight:
  • Only two more episodes left in the volume for "Heroes." Tonight's ending was a doozy.
  • I'm only writing quickly because it's late and I still have to watch "The Soup" and most of the MD-UCLA game. I've watched about half of the first half so far and Kevin Love is a beast. I'm feeling good about my #1 team for the year.
Coming tomorrow (I meant to start tonight), the beginning of my almost-week-long 1st Annual Giving of Thanks.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Upon Further Discussion...

Daily Wii Fitness Age: 21

  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • Now there's officially only one good team in the NFL, unless Harrison comes back healthy.
    • I finally watched the "Curb" season finale and the last two or three minutes were indeed classic.
  • Daily Rant:
    • The crazy ending to the Ravens game -- say what you will about the controversial discussion. The point is that they got the call right. I don't want to hear that we're happy at all costs; it's more meaningful to win fair and square. I just don't find it acceptable to win any other way. And here's where I find a way to bash the administration and tie it all together. Think back to early 2000. We were happy as a nation -- not living every second in fear (or being told to do so); led by a President with a high approval rating (68%); looking forward to what would come next. It's hard to believe that how much we have changed. In 2000, because of some confusing ballots, an inordinate number of people -- mostly old, many Jewish -- voted for Pat Buchanan instead of Al Gore, and others did not fully punch out the ballot for Gore. Pat Buchanan, who had said complimentary things about Hitler's character. Maybe Bush would have won recounts, maybe not. But here's my point: Republicans (and I generalize, but not much) were happy to stick by the letter of the law and were unconcerned with the feeling behind the votes. Rather than worrying about the actual desire of people, the Supreme Court and, yes, the Democrat-controlled Congress stuck with technicalities. And look where we are today. If the Ravens were to have won today, would the NFL eventually become a mockery of its former self, hated around the world? Would Roger Goodell have an approval rating south of 30% and have one or two rich teams that dominated the other 30 while keeping at least half in a stupor by tricking them into thinking that they had a chance to be on top too? Obviously not. But I, for one, am glad that it ended fairly and in the true spirit of the game.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

November Madness!

Daily Wii Fitness Age: 33 (Yikes)

  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • Marriage? Nooooooo! Now I'm going to howl. Ooooooo!
    • DC101 is running a "Generation X Weekend." They're actually playing pretty good music.
    • Which I'll be listening to on my way up to Baltimore for the game tomorrow. I'm actually pretty curious if all local football pre- and post-game shows around the country are as annoying, inane, and misinformed as the two for the Ravens.
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • Bad NFL picks segment (last week: 4-9-1, overall: 27-39-2):
      • Cincinnati (-3) vs. Arizona: Since I couldn't find video of Miles Simon hitting a half-court buzzer beater against Cincinnati for Arizona, I'm submitting this buzzer beater against Arizona instead.
      • Cleveland (-3) vs. Baltimore: I give up. Watch this buzzer beater, somewhat related to Baltimore.
      • Washington (+11) vs. Dallas: Here's a buzzer beater having to do with D.C.
      • Green Bay (-9.5) vs. Carolina: The Jeff Capel shot from 1995. Getting the point yet? I hate the NFL this year.
      • New Orleans (+1.5) vs. Houston: T-Mac's insanity three years ago.
      • Indianapolis (-14.5) vs. Kansas City: Reggie Miller, Knicks Killer.
      • Jacksonville (-3) vs. San Diego: In honor of the two-time defending champs, the Florida Gators.
      • Minnesota (-4.5) vs. Oakland: Cool shot from the Minnesota state championships.
      • New England (-15.5) vs. Buffalo: J-Mac forever.
      • Detroit (+3) vs. N.Y. Giants: 'Sheed from 3/4 court.
      • Philadelphia (-9.5) vs. Miami: The greatest Iverson clip ever.
      • Pittsburgh (-9.5) vs. N.Y. Jets: Crazy J-Kidd to VC buzzer beater.
      • Chicago (+5.5) vs. Seattle: Kevin Durant with the winner just this week.
      • St. Louis (-3) vs. San Francisco: Two words: Tyus Edney.
      • Tampa Bay (-3) vs. Atlanta: Kenny Anderson for the Yellow Jackets in 1990.
      • Denver (-2) vs. Tennessee: And finally a double shot -- the great Chris Lofton from 2006 and the greater Greg Oden from this year.
  • Daily Rant:
    • We watched All The President's Men tonight. It's absolutely riveting -- it seems to just fly by. I'll simply remark that the huge scandal involved the White House discrediting a perceived rival and diverting a lot of money through its campaign committee for shady activities. Scooter Libby and Swiftboat Veterans, anyone?

It's Friday (Sort Of)

It's almost 2 and I just got home, but this counts for Friday. I've played in 4 monthly tournaments so far and (with 3 places paying) finished 3rd, 1st, 2nd, and tonight split the top two pays with someone. After 6 hours, we were about one small blind apart from each other.

My only rant for the day has to do with my lunch. While cleaning up a spill in the fridge, someone knocked my lunch out and all over the floor. But rather than sending an e-mail out explaining it, they just threw it away. I, surprised that my lunch wasn't in the fridge, looked in the trash and saw it. Don't you think the smallest courtesy would be to at least apologize?

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Daily Wii Fitness Age: 24

  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • Anyone notice the change in the "Survivor: China" opening credits? I don't know if it happened this week. They're highlighting the remaining players more, which is smart -- the batch of personalities this season is as good as it's ever been.
    • "Earl" was fantastic tonight. The funniest thing about it is that both "Private Practice" last night and "Earl" tonight involved a birth during a hostage situation and I found both amusing, though only one of them was supposed to be.
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • Mousewatch Day Two: Negative for dead rodents in the office.
    • Santas in Australia are being "censored."
  • Daily Rant:
    • Today, we discuss context. It provides meaning to our lives and keeps us from living in absolutes, and too many people have lost its use. I'm referring to the above story and how political correctness keeps rearing its head in horribly inappropriate places. It's hard for me to believe that anyone really thinks that "ho, ho, ho" will offend someone; they're just worried about a lawsuit or a loss of business from complaints. And that's where context comes in. Nobody should have to worry about paying legal fees because a word expressing laughter since 1150 (according to all of a sudden gained new meaning. When Bryan Singer uses "Superman" it's cool; when Souljah Boy uses it, it's disturbing. Here's a new law: Santa can't get in trouble for using "ho" unless he's wearing a feather in his hat, driving a jacked-up Crown Victoria, or smacking his "elves." People, introduce a bit of context into your lives -- you can't enjoy the world when you're walking on eggshells and having to look down all the time. Besides, the really offensive Santa is this one.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

This Pile of Rocks Is Worth Its Wait in Rocks... Literally!

Daily Wii Fitness Age: 21 (I destroyed the "Throwing Punches" test)

  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • Really strong season for "House". The writer's strike is bumming me out more and more all the time.
    • I read three proposals for a MySpace-style e-fundraising project tonight. Fun.
    • I'm listening to my dog whine because he wants water. He's figured out that water comes out of the bathtub, so he sits in front of it and cries.
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • For the last week, I've had to sit in a cubicle in a big room to help out because my department has been short-staffed. I really, really, really miss my big, window-having office.
    • Speaking of that big room, there were some mouse, um, leavings in there today. Facilities put some traps around and I'm a little anxious about what's going to be there in the morning.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Peanut Air Allergy = Natural Selection

  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • Though it happened in 1993, it was posted to YouTube in 2007, so this video was "The Soup"'s most over the top moment of the year. It's worth watching if you haven't (or have) seen it.
    • I watched Hollywoodland this evening. It's a pretty good film noir starring Adrien Brody, Ben Affleck, and Diane Lane. Brody is really great and Affleck isn't quite as bad as he usually is. It's the first feature directed by Allen Coulter, who did a bunch of "Sopranos" and "Sex In The City" episodes. I look forward to more of his work.
    • I made mention a while ago, but you really must read The Tipping Point. I'm sorry that I hadn't read it sooner.
    • There is no worse show on TV for bad cliff-hangers and whore-ish product placement than "The Biggest Loser". One of the contestants, upon visiting her family and deciding to eat out, of all places, at Subway, actually said, "I couldn't believe that Subway has eight sandwiches with less then six grams of fat!"
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • From an Associated Press article on good guy Tom DeLay's appearance at Oxford last week:
      DeLay warned that a Clinton victory would result in higher taxes and bloated government. He also said she would seek to create a British-style publicly funded health care system, a prediction that was met with thunderous applause.
      "By the way, there's no one denied health care in America. There are 47 million people who don't have health insurance, but no American is denied health care in America," he said to derisive laughter.
    • DeLay should see Sicko (or just freaking not shut out reality).
    • Thinking about DeLay reminds me of a somewhat-related story. Maybe a year ago, I went to a sales presentation by Convio (an e-fundraising provider) for non-profits in the D.C. area. Very nice lunch at the Willard. A woman sits down next to me and we start talking about our respective organizations. When I ask her where she's from, she replies, "The Heritage Foundation." Apparently my phony smile was pretty good because she remained friendly and we talked, while all that was running through my mind was, "Dear God, I'm sitting next to one of Satan's minions."
  • Daily Rant:
    • I admit that I didn't watch "60 Minutes" on Sunday, but I have to point out their main story. Do you know about the Millenials? This is the generation that is 23 and under and just now beginning to enter the workplace. These are the kids who can't breathe peanut air and have not been allowed to lose or fail, getting ribbons no matter what place they come in. Some kids in Fairfax County Schools have two sets of textbooks -- one for school and one for home -- so that they don't hurt themselves carrying books back and forth. Can you believe that? Kids in the D.C. Public Schools don't have one set! Anyways, how does this coddling manifest itself as the kids grow older? Parents go on job interviews with kids! A bad performance appraisal leads to parents calling the manager to complain! At lunch today, my HR director admitted that she has had parents call to respond to a job listing for their child. In what kind of f***ed up world would anyone actually think that would work? It drives me so crazy that I can't really think of more to say, but rest assured, my angry Sauron-like eye will fall on these brats in the future.

How to Stop an Exploding Agent

Alex Rodriguez has taken a lot of heat in the past two weeks after his opt-out announcement was leaked during the World Series. However, the real villian here is Scott Boras who knew exactly what he was doing when he spoke with several reporters. Bud Selig was pretty ticked off that Boras stole MLB's thunder, even forcing him to "apologize". Baseball can't fine Scott Boras and can't collude against A-Rod when he negotiates his new contract. Many would think that Boras and A-Rod have the upper hand. However, baseball should still take action to prevent situations like this from happening again in the future. How about banning all of Scott Boras' clients from being portrayed in any Major League Baseball advertisements for a particular period of time? Never would you hear "Alex Rodriguez and the rest of the Anaheim Angels visit Camden Yards this week". How angry would Prince Fielder and Matt Holliday (both Boras clients) be knowing that they won't be associated with All-Star game hype or out-of-town promos? This measure would be unfair to certain players but the agent is an extension of the players so if the agent is dirty, so too are the players. It's a novel idea, at least.

Last weekend, I was having lunch at Subway. After waiting in line for about 10 minutes, the person in front of me gets to the front of the line. Only then does she begin looking at the board to see what they have, thus slowing our line down even more. It's Subway, people!!! They have chicken, tuna, turkey, and ham just like every other sandwich shop across the country. It's not exactly the Palm. If you are waiting 10 minutes, you should know exactly what you want to eat right down to the type of mustard. These must be the same people that go 45 miles per hour in the passing lane on the Beltway while a stack of cars go flying by on the right side. There has to be a word to describe this behavior. If you know it, let me know.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Capitalism and The Infestation of Reality TV

Sorry about missing a post yesterday -- the first in over a month. No excuses, I should be able to find the time to at least write a word or two.
  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • "Heroes" is really picking up steam. Kristen Bell is pretty awesome.
    • Bill Maher's season finale fell prey to the writer's strike. I really hope this is a good college basketball season.
    • "The Soup" is on Monday nights now, too, as they do year-end wrap-ups.
    • Best verse in the Bible? Numbers 11. Here's a quick synopsis: Israelites complain about the desert. God sets fire around their camp. Israelites say they're sick of the mannah and want meat. Moses says to Israelites, "Chill out. The Lord brought you food out of the sky, but He can do whatever He wants." God says, "They want meat? I'll give them so much meat that they'll choke on it and never want it again." Moses says, "How are you going to make so much meat appear?" God replies, "What's My name?" Bad-ass.
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • No changes in the NFL. And there won't be any. It stinks this year.
  • Daily Rant:
    • I had a conversation today with someone at work about the writer's strike. They were arguing that the writers should be happy that they get paid well compared to the rest of the world and just be fine with that. That really is about the dumbest argument I've heard. When it comes to annual review time, someone should tell them that they get paid well compared to the vast majority of the world and they should be fine with that. Everyone has the right (and obligation?) to seek fair pay, relative to their situation. There's no reason that the writers should make less than what they deserve when the studio is making so much. It also goes for artists who have their work illegally downloaded. Or professional athletes for that matter. It doesn't matter what scale the situation is on -- we would and should do the same thing if we were in their shoes, seek every dollar we could. Stop judging.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Blame Us

  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • A few people have told me to check out "Without A Trace" and I finally did with this past week's double episode with "C.S.I.:". Now my curiosity is sated -- the episode was horribly boring. It's probably not a coincidence that the other worst episode of "C.S.I.:" was the spin-off one with "C.S.I.: Miami".
    • At my cousin's Bar Mitzvah today, all the kids danced to the Souljah Boy song that is so disturbing. At least I can be fairly certain that they have no clue.
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • NFL picks time (last week: 8-6, overall: 23-30-1):
      • Detroit (+1) vs. Arizona: Vegas hasn't caught up to God's Team. Good chance to make a profit off of it, if you were out there.
      • Baltimore (-3.5) vs. Cincinnati: Who knows. They both stink.
      • Buffalo (-3) vs. Miami: Adrian Peterson isn't the only really good rookie back.
      • Carolina (-3.5) vs. Atlanta. Like I've said for the last two weeks, the NFL just stinks this year. I should start watching college basketball really early.
      • Chicago (-3.5) vs. Oakland: Or maybe even hockey. Yikes.
      • N.Y. Giants (+1.5) vs. Dallas: Good game. Is it really going to make a difference for the Super Bowl, though?
      • Green Bay (-6) vs. Minnesota: See above.
      • Indianapolis (-3.5) vs. San Diego: When Norv Turner gets fired, come together like butt cheeks.
      • Kansas City (-3) vs. Denver: KC gets 3 at home against Patrick Ramsey? Okay.
      • New Orleans (-10.5) vs. St. Louis: Coach Linehan, let the Lambs get drunk on Bourbon Street before the game. They can't play any worse.
      • Cleveland (+10) vs. Pittsburgh: This one is actually pretty interesting.
      • Tennessee (-4) vs. Jacksonville: Woohoo.
      • Washington (-3) vs. Philadelphia: Most of the Eagles players have given up on the season. Mark it down.
      • Seattle (-9.5) vs. San Francisco. Thank God for "Heroes".
  • Daily Rant:
    • Saw Sicko tonight. I highly recommend it -- it's way more subtle than his other movies (though I really love the other ones also). After watching it? F*** two different countries. I want all of the blue states to get sucked up by Canada. We actually turned to each other at one point and Elisha asked why we're still actually living in the U.S. and not in another country. This country has become a horrible place. Indifference to torture; unprovoked invasion; even worse, hopelessness and the fact that nobody seems to care about a stranglehold by the rich. It's not getting better any time soon. I'm sorry -- the sooner we all realize this the better.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Movies Update

Just one random thought after my rant last night about the division among the American people. Isn't Pennsylvania a good representation of the U.S. as a whole? Pretty cool, populous places on either side and a whole lot of empty nothing in the middle. The two cities are enough to push it blue. Hopefully this will hold true for the nation in 2008.

What I did tonight inspires this list, so with a bunch of interesting movies coming in the next few months, Your List Sucks! brings you My 5 Favorite Movies of 2007:
  • 5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: I give this a slight edge over The Bourne Ultimatum, because I thought the overlap between the second and third Bourne movies was a little weird. Harry Potter 5 was edgy like the third and started to take on the darkness that dominates the last three books of the series. With their ever-advancing age, this one was also the first where the actors, especially Daniel Radcliffe, stood out.
  • 4. Hot Fuzz: The second funniest movie of the year. The source material was more accessible than that of Shaun of the Dead and the way that the spoof came together in the end was fall-down funny. Plus, forget the requisite Bill Nighy and Martin Freeman appearances -- cameos by Cate Blanchett and Peter Jackson? Awesome.
  • 3. Hairspray: This was the first movie I saw this year that had me saying "potential Best Picture nominee" as I walked out of the theater. I didn't love Travolta for the most part; he's the only one with a Baltimore accent and he kind of overdoes it. However, Queen Latifah is as brilliant as she was in Chicago, Nikki Blonsky (an amateur) is fantastic in the starring role, James Marsden surprises with his singing and dancing prowess, and Elijah Kelley steals the show. In other words, the ensemble makes this movie.
  • 2. Superbad: What can I say? This is easily up there with Fast Times as one of the great high school comedies ever. From McLovin to the Seth Rogen/Bill Hader duo to beer in a detergent bottle to the force that is Jonah Hill, this movie will require many re-watches to get all of the memorable lines.
  • 1. American Gangster: It comes in at two hours and forty minutes, but after an initial slow set-up period, the movie flies by. The supporting cast is great (with Ruby Dee, Roger Bart, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Josh Brolin standing out) and the story is engrossing, but there's no surprise why this is number one. The direction is superb, leading up to the key climactic shot that the trailers don't do justice, but everything in this movie hinges on the performances of Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe. Shocker, they manage to pull it off.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

You're A Little Bit Country, We're A Little Bit Better Than You

  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • "Survivor" has so many great personalities this season. Frosti is really growing on me.
    • Apparently, fresh off of her performance on Capitol Hill this morning, my mom is going to be on NPR at 9 tomorrow morning.
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • Just one -- this brought down the house at work today. There's no way you can watch it without cracking a smile.
  • Daily Rant:
    • I have to be honest, I have no idea what the ratings were like for last night. However, why must the networks shove the CMA Awards down our throats in prime time of sweeps month? If I'm not mistaken, the majority of the country lives on the coasts in California and the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. We're already living through eight years of the worst administration in our and anyone else's lifetimes catering to the same people who love their Kellie Pickler. How did this become the power base in my country? 145 years ago, we could have just fired on them from Fort Sumter and be done with it. At some point, I plan on going ahead with the full state rankings, but I ask you this: Is any red state really better than any blue state? Let's get some secession going, but it can be good-natured. We can agree to disagree. I'll go visit if I want really fried food or a trip to Disney World. You can come up for any of our fine sports teams. You can have Carrie, we'll take Kanye. You can have LeBron, we'll take Kobe. Vegas and New Orleans will be that much more exotic a trip for us. Bill Clinton lives in New York now and Bill Richarson is no great loss. We'll take Hillary and Obama as our leaders and you can have your President for as long as you want him. We'll even throw in the former mayor of our greatest city to sweeten the deal.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Tipping Off

  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • Everyone loves Jared and Taylor, but the most underrated force on "Kid Nation" is the awesomeness that is Alex, the Asian kid with dark glasses and one upper tooth. Watch for him jumping up and down and shrieking during tonight's (disgusting) showdown.
    • We ended the day in the office by watching "Yo Gabba Gabba!" on YouTube. There's a party in my tummy, oh yeah, oh yeah!
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • I never thought about the Metro thing, even as it cost me $6 or so to go from Grosvenor to Navy Yard. Good point, Steve.
    • My mom is taking part in a press conference with Reps. Hoyer, Emanuel, and others tomorrow morning. No matter how much I've asked, she refuses to berate Hoyer for his quashing of Kucinich's impeachment motion.
  • Your List Sucks!:
    • Preseason College Basketball Top 5:
      • Tennessee: Superstar Chris Lofton returns along with three other starters from a team that came one superhuman Greg Oden block from the Elite Eight last year.
      • North Carolina: All-American Tyler Hansbrough hopes to lead the Heels over the hump and into the Final Four. Though very talented, I still think this team is too soft.
      • Kansas: An exciting three-guard lineup will lead to fast breaks galore. Their lack of depth in the middle is not as big a weakness with so many great big men having gone to the next level, such as Oden, Al Horford, and Joakim Noah.
      • Memphis: Lost in the O.J. Mayo craziness was Derrick Rose, who was the top-rated point guard recruit. He joins returning stars Joey Dorsey and Chris Douglas-Roberts on a team that made the Elite Eight last year and the Final Four the year before that.
      • UCLA: Remember the name Kevin Love. He's the nephew of Beach Boy Mike Love, but more importantly for the Bruins, he's reminiscent of another Kevin, McHale. A great rebounder and passer, Love will add an offensive dimension the Bruins have lacked the last two seasons even with consecutive trips to the Final Four.

Going Green (line)

A combination of NBC imploring us to go Green and my wife's refusal to get a new car despite her car being as dead as the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at the All-Star break caused me to take the Metro to work today. Taking the Metro from Alexandria to Silver Spring is not ideal for me due to the high cost and the hassel of going into and out of town. The cost of taking the Metro is very expensive for commuters (and I am not even considering the increase in fares which will take effect in January). Why is this so? Metro needs to re-focus its business model. Who are the two largest users of the Metro? Commuters and tourists. Metro management continues to raise fares for people coming from suburban areas but only minimally increases the fares for people staying in DC. This seems backwards. A tourist who comes in town relies on the Metro to get from Smithsonian to the Capitol to National Airport. Why not increase fares for these users? The only option for these people are taxicabs. Instead of charging tourists $1.50 for staying in DC, Metro should increase this fare to $2.00. This rate would be in line with rates in New York City and several other metropolitan areas. However, Metro instead asks commuters to bear the brunt of the Metro budget deficit. Many commuters have an option as to how they will get to work: their vehicles. Public transportation is critical to keeping cars off of the road. Commuters don't NEED Metro's services but prefer staying out of bumper-to-bumper traffic on the roads. People should be encouraged to take public transportation by providing them with an efficient, low-cost alternative. Metro is not fulfilling this need.
While kvetching about Metro management I feel I need to complain about why there are always 2 or 3 elevators and escalators out of service? I know it is because Metro chooses the lowest bidder to complete the work. When the elevator contract is re-bid, there should be a clause that states that payment to the maintenance company is inversely related to the number of outages. The more escalators out of service, the less Metro pays the company to keep them maintained. Let these things be fixed once and for all. It's not a rocket ship, its a belt that just goes round and round.

Speaking of transportation issues, I saw a tow truck abandoned on the side of the highway with a flat tire. I thought it was kind of ironic. Who does that guy call?

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Chinese Water Aggressive Interrogation

  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • So how did Glenn Beck become a mouthpiece of the neocons? I listened to him on a cheesy morning radio show on B104 in Baltimore. He's the guy in the middle in this ad.
    • Did you know that Teddy Roosevelt, as President in 1902, dismissed a general because he had used waterboarding during the Spanish-American war? I believe that Roosevelt is on some mountain in South Dakota, while the current president that condones the same torture (yes, I said it) is only on the mountains he makes out of his mashed potatoes before Laura yells at him to stop playing with his dinner.
    • My brother was right about the big shock ending in "Heroes" last night. Big ups to him.
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • If you gave me a list of every baseball player and asked me to pick the guys who used steroids, I wouldn't pick too many guys before I got to Jose Guillen.
    • You go, Dennis.

Monday, November 5, 2007

The Big Question

All I have to say is this: At least I don't have to find the money to buy playoff tickets.

Daily Rant:
  • There's a big question in life, one that every religion has attempted (if not originally formed) to answer. It's not "Why?", it's "What's next?" It can be as big as what happens after death to as small as what happens tomorrow morning. It's the biggest question because it exposes our biggest fears. The fear of the unknown; we don't fear death, we fear what may (or even worse, what may not) happen after death. Religion and philosophy were created to allay this fear. The fear of rejection; the real fear is what happens after rejection and how people will see us. But the worst fear for us that deals with "what's next" is the fear of success. We are most afraid of what happens next, that we were only lucky and not worthy of accolades, that we won't live up to what we accomplished. Mediocrity is easy -- we know what will happen when we just continue along the same path -- and failure is no problem since it takes away any pressure. Impostor syndrome is defined as someone who believes they are a fraud, even though they have achieved success. This is the ultimate expression of the fear of success, someone who refuses to accept that they've overcome the fear. Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "Do one thing every day that scares you." It's more than just day to day though, we need to live our lives constantly doing things that scare us by attacking what's next. After all, don't we have enough fear thrown at us on a daily basis?

Sunday, November 4, 2007

They Are Who We Thought They Were

Here is the link to that great video from "The Soup". Here are my thoughts on this football weekend and the basic lack of surprises, just like every week:
  • The Patriots are in the driver's seat for the Super Bowl. It was a great comeback and I don't take anything away from them. Just answer me if anyone would give Brady a chance to win if Moss and Welker were out, which happened after Anthony Gonzalez (not anywhere close to as good as Welker) got hurt and Harrison missed the game. I don't care who won the game; the race for the best QB in football (overall, not just this year) is not a race as far as I'm concerned.
  • The Bengals and the Eagles are pathetic underachievers. Dare I say they've stopped trying? The defenses are atrocious and put them in situations where they become one-dimensional offensively (which the Eagles always are, thanks to Andy Reid's hatred of the run).
  • Adrian Peterson really does look like a man among boys. Watch him run -- he looks head and shoulders bigger than anyone else and it looks like the defense is running in slow motion while he's going full speed. Last year, LT was getting praise as the greatest back of all time and the mantle has already passed.
  • Football is just really boring this year. With the big game now past, what do we have to look forward to? The AFC title game. That's it. Everything else is just a meaningless vehicle for fantasy stats.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

It's a darn good time to be a Boston sports fan

Here's my not-so-deep thought of the day. If the Patriots can beat the Colts tomorrow (which will certainly not be easy), the Patriots will be heavily favored to run the table and finish 16-0. Assuming the Patriots do go 16-0 and barring an injury, Tom Brady should likely unanimously win the MVP award. However, how many votes for Coach of the Year will Bill Belichick receive? He has alienated much of the press as well as almost all of his peers with the spy-gate and the recent accusations of running up the score late in the game. Yes, there are a few worthy coach of the year nominees such as Jeff Fisher of Tennessee as well as the coaches of Detroit, Green Bay and even Dallas. However, should Belichick be penalized for getting the most out of his players? It's a shame how a perception of a person can change so quickly. Just a thought, not a sermon.

On a separate note, Don and Mike's Trick or Beer segment made my two-hours-to-travel-twenty-miles commute home on Wednesday night much more enjoyable. If it's still available on the podcast, check it out.

Tonight I realized that I am officially old. Here is a recap of my night. I went out to dinner at a restaurant. Next I drove to a bar where I hung out and played NTN trivia for an hour and a half or so. I then went home feeling sleepy. My clock read 9:15. Just a few years ago, I wasn't going out to dinner until 9:30 and would get home well after midnight. Tonight, I was proud to stay out past 9PM. Only 18 years, 2 months and 13 days until my AARP card arrives in my mailbox.

The Timidity of Wasted (for now) Hope

  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • "The Soup" had one of the great gags in recent memory this week, superimposing two dancing kids from "Yo Gabba Gabba!" over Obama dancing on "Ellen". I'll try to post a YouTube link when available.
    • As I do more and more text study, coupled with my obsession with Bible shows on Biography and History International, I am quite shocked at how much of a "slave mentality" exists in Judaism. I'm not even talking about how often Egypt shows up in prayers. Much of the idea of Jews being learners and not fighters and laws regarding obeying your local king come from the Rabbis who set these foundations because of the Roman occupation around the time of Jesus. Do Orthodox Jews question why a heck of a lot of their halachah (Jewish law) comes from these extenuating circumstances and whether or not the laws are still relevant today? I doubt it.
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • Everyone probably has a person who they don't know, but run into randomly and recognize every so often. Just a face here and there that looks familiar. Weirdly enough, that person for me is Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. He was the sideline reporter on the World Series. It's been a while, since he lives in Baltimore and I have moved out of the area, but I've run into him at the JCC, at a few restaurants, and today at a Bar Mitzvah. I didn't bother him with questions about A-Rod or Johan Santana -- just not an appropriate place/time. It does remind me, however, of the wedding I went to last year of a friend who happens to be Mitch Albom's cousin. Someone actually brought a copy of Tuesdays With Morrie to have signed. At a wedding. Ghetto.
    • NFL picks time (last week: 2-11!!!, overall: 15-24-1):
      • San Francisco (+3) vs. Atlanta: The giveaway at the game? Pillows.
      • Buffalo (+1) vs. Cincinnati: Apparently the NFL is counter-programming against the big game all day.
      • Seattle (+1) vs. Cleveland: Who exactly did the Browns beat to merit getting playoff buzz?
      • Dallas (-3) vs. Philadelphia: The Cowboys are going to turn the Linc into a "touchdown emporium".
      • Detroit (-3) vs. Denver. That win over Chicago has me jumping on God's Team's bandwagon.
      • Green Bay (+2.5) vs. Kansas City: I'm not betting against Favre.
      • Indianapolis (+5.5) vs. New England: Or Manning either. Plus, you get Pats by 3 with this spread and I can't pick against the undefeated Super Bowl champs at home.
      • New Orleans (-3) vs. Jacksonville. They're back.
      • Houston (+3) vs. Oakland: I can't believe all of the hype over this game this weekend. If I see one more clip of Rosenfels buttering up Culpepper, I'm going to cry.
      • San Diego (-7) vs. Minnesota: And they're back, too.
      • Tampa Bay (-3.5) vs. Arizona. Man, the NFL pretty much stinks this year. These are two of the better teams?
      • Carolina (+4) vs. Tennessee: One Steve Smith breakaway, and the Titans won't be able to make up the 7-point deficit.
      • Washington (-3.5) vs. N.Y. Jets: Stop the doomsday talk, Skins fans. They're just fine and they have just the recipe to recover from last week.
      • Baltimore (+9) vs. Pittsburgh: I'm not saying they'll win, but the Ravens always come to play in prime time. Nine is a heck of a lot of points.
  • Daily Rant:
    • I can't find a picture, but Wednesday's "Hardball" included an interview with David Axelrod, chief campaign strategist for Barack Obama. Axelrod was wearing a blood red shirt with no tie and the top button open. The shirt was a little low around his neck, so a bit of chest was showing. Plus, let's just say that Axelrod is a bit swarthy and schlump-y looking to begin with. The outfit was badly missing a gold chain to round it out. I'm not ranting about someone's wardrobe; this was just one more example of the absolutely horrible campaign that Obama and his team are running. I touched on the McClurkin concert earlier this week, but that's just one complaint of many. Obama had everything working for him: momentum coming off his great speeches at the 2004 convention and the Illinois statehouse, high public opinion as a fresh-thinking outsider that got a lot of play in the news magazines, history as he seemed to be the first African-American candidate with a legitimate shot. Well, that shot is gone. He has been boring and meek, like a slightly more electable Dennis Kucinich who's black and doesn't talk about UFOs. I think he's going to need to change one of his book titles, because audacious he most certainly is not. Hopefully he'll learn his lesson when it's time to run again in eight years.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Clearing The Way

Fridays are about as tough as Mondays. We end up hanging out a bit at work since the office is so empty and everyone is in Shabbat mode, so I can't really do this there (which I don't ever anyway). Then, I generally have something in the evening, leaving it until pretty late before I can write. With B'nai Mitzvot coming up the next three weekends, Friday nights are pretty rough. Some relatively quick thoughts:
  • It's November, so isn't this the month to celebrate Turkey? We've designated Turkish as the official alternate (besides English, Hebrew, and Spanish) language of the office. We set the copier to display in Turkish and one of the co-workers took it a step further today, using a website to translate and then send me an e-mail entirely in Turkish.
  • Speaking of co-workers, life is pretty good when the one you have the most personality problem with decides to leave.
  • Back to something I touched on yesterday, the pure hilarity of seeing Jeff throw that piece of wood into the fire during Tribal Council. It's hard to imagine the show being so good without him.
  • The Wii gets just that much cooler -- with a built-in WiFi adapter, on-line service is potentially free and allows you to buy NES games for $5 that you can download to the console and keep there.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Special Report: Nationals Fever

While I must note that one of the top moments in Survivor history occurred tonight (so good we had to rewind and re-watch), today I focus on my visit to the Nationals' new home. Some standout moments/thoughts:
  • I'm walking next to Stan Kasten in what will be the kitchen of the restaurant whose seats make up the center field bleachers. "So, baseball question for you. Rumor has it that Torii Hunter wants to come to D.C., that he's friends with some of the players." The response: "You're fooling yourself if you don't think that any player will want to go to whichever team offers him one more dollar than any other team." Should have seen that coming. My response: "Just like any of the rest of us would do, I suppose."
  • They really need Hunter or someone with a big name. In the sales brochure I got on luxury suites (some of the cheapest still available for only $160,000 for the season), they have three different pictures of Nationals players. Question: How many of those pictures are of Ryan Zimmerman? Answer: Three.
  • We did a very comprehensive walk-through of the stadium. Every level, a variety of views, some of the behind-the-scenes stuff. It most reminds me of the new park in Philadelphia. The infield grass was just put down yesterday -- it added a great bit of realism.
  • It's going to be a real hitter's park. They said it has 16 fewer feet of foul territory on all sides -- it's really tight. The dimensions are about 335 down the lines, 370 in the alleys, and 404 straight away, with an angled cutout emulating old Griffiths Field that goes out to 409. It feels really small, especially compared to RFK. Plus, home plate is on the river side and it feels like the wind will be blowing out most days.
  • The seats behind home plate are called the President's Club. The bar area inside, furnished with leather and exhibits about presidential first pitches, includes the ability to watch the batting cages behind the dugout and the press conference room. It was cool to see it today, because I sure as hell won't see it once the park opens.
  • The clubhouse is oval, apparently so that no player can dominate a corner like Barry Bonds. I was actually a bit surprised that the weight room seems smaller than the one at Camden Yards.
  • The best view in the stadium is from the two-story team offices and upper level concourse on the first base side. Unfortunately, it's of the river with Alexandria and the Masonic shrine in the distance and it's behind the stadium. Contrary to at least my belief, the monuments don't really come into view. Because the Washington Monument is to the west, MLB understandably would not let it be part of an open view since the setting sun would constantly be in players' eyes. However, the Capitol, to the north, can't really be seen either. It would be just to the left of the huge scoreboard in center field, but the pre-existing Lerner building blocks part of the view, a soon-to-be-built twelve-story building blocks another part, and the worst part of the stadium blocks the rest. The decided to have the main entrance in center field and for some reason built twin parking garages at either side of the entrance. Only the top two levels will be used for parking because the rest will be team operations offices and stores. Even with trim and a paint job, the garages promise to be an eyesore. The lack of a real city view is by far the most disappointing part of the package and, to me, automatically bumps it down out of the top tier of parks in the majors.