Monday, June 30, 2008

Randall and Rudy Get Offended

  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • Watched The Boys from Baraka, a documentary about at-risk children from inner-city Baltimore who go to a boarding school in Kenya to help them improve themselves and get out of the dangerous atmosphere. I suppose it's reasonably compelling, but I just couldn't get myself to care so much. Call it a major flaw in my liberalness.
    • I also watched a bit of the Olympics time trials in swimming. My wife used to swim competitively, so she loves it and she explained some of the technical stuff to me. It's good to learn some of the names before the real games start. One stand-out is Katie Hoff, who has just sick explosiveness down the stretch. Obviously, the big star is Michael Phelps, from Towson. I know a number of people who went to school with him or sort of know him and they all dislike him quite a bit. So there you go. I'll have some more comments on the Olympics in a month or so.
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • This is classic. Censorship, never a good thing, creates a bit of a backlash on itself.
    • Not much else worth commenting on, so enjoy Bret dancing.
  • Daily Rant:
    • As I think about the holiday on Friday and what I may do for it, I can't help but lament (as I do every year) the loss of the best July 4th place in the world. When I was in college, you could go to the National Mall with a cooler full of booze and drink the day away until the great firework show at night. The stifling heat and humidity were non-factors in the face of a bottle of tequila and a case of beer. Around ten years or so ago, the Park Service cracked down on alcohol on the Mall. Good-bye fun. Now one would have to sit through unbearable heat and an intolerable crowd. No thanks. I'm not one for needing alcohol to have a good time, but in the face of everything else being horrible, it certainly helps even things out.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

At The Movies

  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • Triple-headed movie review. The first one I watched on DVD a couple of nights ago, Be Kind, Rewind. This is a weird movie. The parts where the two main characters remake old movies are laugh-out-loud funny, but they're not actually the crux of the film. It's more of a story about the juxtaposition of old-fashioned small town life versus the big culture of mass marketing that spreads everywhere. It has its moments, though the first bit is kind of slow and hard to get into.
    • Went this morning to see Wanted. If you like summer action films, this is the one for you. James McAvoy is a great actor and he's great in this movie, but what really makes it are a wide variety of Matrix-ish special effects and a very fast pace. It's a bit too stylish at points and the plot isn't "wow" but if you're going to the movies to have fun, you won't be disappointed.
    • In fact, we had so much fun that we decided to catch another movie today, which was The Happening (working title: Al Gore's Wet Dream). It's a post-9/11 eco-horror film that reminded me at times, in the theme and style, of the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers. The way it's shot is almost amateur, but since Shyamalan is such a great director, I have to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he did it on purpose. It involves some sort of airborne toxin that causes people to commit suicide and the attempt at escape from the crisis by a science teacher, his wife, and his friend's daughter. It's more than a little preachy, but it succeeds in filling you with this overwhelming dread. While there are a few parts that are actually scary, most of the time you're just worrying that something bad will happen on the screen, or outside when you go to your car, or anywhere else you set foot. Definitely not the movie for everyone.
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • Picked up Guitar Hero: Aerosmith today. Good selection of Aerosmith songs (no "Crying" or "Amazing" or "Crazy") and a nice selection of songs from other bands, like "Dream Police" by Cheap Trick or "Sex Type Thing" by STP. Seems like they also made it a little easier in some respects, though parts like the guitar solo in "Walk This Way" are still ridiculous.
    • First day since we moved where there wasn't pressure to unpack or rush around. Good day.
  • Daily Rant:
    • Here's what you need to know about our economy: A coworker had her car broken into and credit cards stolen. Did the people go to Best Buy and pick up a big screen? Nope, they went and bought nine tanks of gas for themselves and their friends. No word on whether their last name is Valjean.

Closed For The Night

I try to post every day... Thanks to everyone who reads this and came by tonight; it was a fun time. As for the blog, well... Moose out front should have told you.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Random Brief Inquiries

  • There are toothpaste containers that are a little harder to squeeze than others. When it comes down to it, you really have to ask yourself: Tube ease or not tube ease?
  • Isn't nice to see the annual Yankees-Mets cross-town double-header and enjoy with no fear of either one coming anywhere close to the World Series?
  • What would be better than the Cubs getting to the World Series, only to lose to the White Sox?
  • With the Supreme Court being in the news so much lately, can we finally get them to rule on the constitutionality of Heidi and Spencer being celebrities?
  • John McCain apparently doesn't know how to use a computer. Does that mean he thinks YouTube is on a kinetoscope?
  • Is a screen bigger than a Jumbotron referred to as a Megatron?
  • Are clowns scared of children?

Friday, June 27, 2008

Mini-Me's Mini Me

  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • The Michael Musto interview on "Countdown" tonight was one of the funniest they've ever had from one of the regulars. Of course, a Verne Troyer sex tape lends itself fairly naturally to comedy.
    • I don't know why I tend to listen to Glenn Beck for a minute or two here and there on my way home. Today, he said that Obama would lead to Marxism, which would be "going backwards" from our Founding Fathers. The Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776, The Communist Manifesto was published in 1848. Backwards, indeed. Plus, I'm fairly certain that neither is Obama a Marxist nor would Sam Adams and crew be anywhere close to okay with FISA.
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • I sure do hate that appeasement stuff.
    • Seems to me like the two biggest steals of the night were New Jersey getting CDR in the second round (and with Brook Lopez, that's a heck of a haul) and New Orleans getting Darrell Arthur all the way at #27.
    • The other day, I linked to the Wikipedia article about Carlin's "Seven Dirty Words" routine. Here is the actual footage (needless to say, it's NSFW).
  • Daily Rant:
    • I couldn't actually work up any ire over that stupid empath/life coach/angel reader site I linked to the other night. I think that stuff is dumb, but capitalism says they can make any money they want if someone will pay for their not-fraudulent-at-all services. Also, capitalism says that people can run camps like this if other people will pay for it. Wouldn't it make a great '80s movie if, say, Future Fraternity Brothers Camp was across the lake from Stamp Camp USA and they challenged the young philatelists to some sort of athletic competition? Can we enlist Ivan Reitman to make this happen?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I'm just looking for my pencil

Today I walked into the Post Office. I was third in line. I noticed that under the heel of the person in front of me was a $20 bill. I tapped the woman on the shoulder and said "Maam, did you drop some money?" She picked it up and said thank you. Eventually she got to the front of the line. I could hear her whisper to the post office clerk inquiring if anyone had dropped some money. When the clerk said no, the woman pocketed the money and walked away. If it wasn't hers, she shouldn't have picked it up so quickly. I'm not saying that $20 should have been mine but if it wasn't really hers, she could have offered to pay for my $1 in postage or at least denied it was hers and split it with me. Either way, she'd still be ahead. I am done being nice to people.

Here are two shows you should be watching this summer
1) My Boys (Thursday night on TBS) - This show is like Sex and the City but for guys.
2) I Survived a Japanese Game Show (Tuesday night on ABC) - It's like Survivor but the contestants have no idea what they are doing.

A few more random thoughts:
  • Walking around Boston this weekend, I noticed that all of the Celtics championship memorabilia all said NBA Champs instead of World Champs. When did the league make the change in designation? I'm not saying that they are incorrect, but it just looks kind of funny.
  • There are so many commericals on the radio saying that mortgage rates are the lowest in recent history. How come when I am actually looking for a mortgage, the rates are actually higher than I am currently paying? Mr. Bernanke, please help me.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

El Martes Ultimo de Junio

  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • The rare "30 Days" episode where the person doesn't change their opinion. My thoughts on the subject of adoption by same-sex couples should be blatantly obvious, but I'll say that anyone who adopts four foster children, one of whom is special needs, is doing greater things than I would ever have the courage to do.
    • If you love "Arrested Development" (and if you don't, oh my God, what's wrong with you?), you must see this interview with Jason Bateman from tonight's "Countdown".
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • Every year, people in Oklahoma get together with a lot of machine guns and try to blow a car up real good. As long as someone from Texas doesn't get in the way, then all bets are off.
    • My wife won free tickets to a movie today from a radio station. Yay! The movie is You Don't Mess With The Zohan. Awww.
  • Daily Rant:
    • My dog's stomach is about as strong as his mental capacity is large. You feed him and it goes through him like the tube at a drive-up bank. He drinks water too quickly and he ends up like a freshman after their first frat party. Change his food (even the size) and you'd think you had fed him Taco Bell. His stomach is as sensitive as this website. I actually just randomly found that site while searching for suggestions for a funny sensitive simile; I think I'm going to have to explore it more in this space tomorrow night. I'm kind of fascinated by it.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Hole In The Pop Culture Layer

  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • Not going out on a limb to say that Tom Wolfe is brilliant, but I've been kicking myself for days for not having read The Bonfire of the Vanities until now.
    • On the topic of the most underrated movies that nobody wants to admit are underrated, I've already written about how Drumline belongs on the list. Add Bloodsport, which aired on Vs. tonight. I can't easily flip past that movie when it's on.
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • For my fellow GW Band-ers, this is pretty cool. I may disagree with him politically, but Mark is a really good guy and I hope he wasn't badgered too badly.
    • Hard to get angry over what Charlie Black said because it's so incredibly stupid. Of course, the last line in that article, where McCain sort of agrees with the Bhutto sentiment is a little troubling.
    • This is a great one. The New York Post bashes Griffey for saying his favorite memory is "leaving" the Stadium. Care to guess what the baseball player slang for hitting a homer is? Griffey apparently spoke with Keith Olbermann and explained how stupid the whole thing was.
  • In Memory:
    • I love politics and I love sports, but I probably love pop culture as much as or more than either of the other two. Last night, we lost one of the giants of American pop culture of the last fifty years when George Carlin passed away at the age of 71. We use the word "genius" so often to describe various artists that to call Carlin a genius does him a disservice. He had a comedy routine that led to a Supreme Court ruling. He hosted the first episode of "Saturday Night Live". There's no surprise that one of the greatest recent comedy movies, The Aristocrats, opened with Carlin. His social and political observations remained biting and pinpoint accurate even into recent years. We'll miss Tim Russert this year, but I'm going to miss so much more what George Carlin might have said about the upcoming election, about global warming, about gas prices, about anything. Following in my beliefs on celebrity deaths, I'm not saddened (versus, say, the torture and deaths of countless Zimbabweans at the hands of Mugabe's government), I'm just noting the hole in our culture. It's not often that a nation loses one of its greatest cultural figures and Carlin is one of those who helped define post-Camelot America.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Joss Whedon Directs A Sylvan Symphony

  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • Is it me or was Brian Williams attacking one side a bit more this morning? I'm sensitive to it, but he hammered Biden on the public financing thing, citing Brooks' editorial in the Times which wasn't actually negative in the end, and then stayed quiet while Biden debunked the off-shore drilling fiasco. I will give it to Lindsey Graham though; he's one slick son of a gun.
    • I had been saying since Russert passed that the only choice to moderate "Meet The Press" for the short-term was Brokaw. I would like to crow but, like I said, he was the only choice.
    • A pleasant surprise as Jim Cramer was on Chris Matthews' syndicated show this morning. Good stuff.
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • I'm about to register for a seminar, but as "faculty". That's kind of a weird feeling. To quote Ving Rhames at the end of Mission: Impossible, "Man, I don't know. I'm gonna miss bein' disreputable."
    • No longer am I leading the elite life of have one home and a summer home 10 minutes away. We're officially out of the apartment and down to one place of residence.
  • Daily Rave:
    • The new house backs to woods and it gets as close to pitch black as you can get in the suburbs. I happened to be standing outside, looking into the darkness, when I noticed that during the summer months, we get lots of fireflies. The woods look like a very faint Christmas light show. It's one of those things that is near breathtaking in its simplicity.

Incredible, Amazing, Marvel-ous Synergy

  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • There's something to be said for putting real actors in action movies. Iron Man obviously benefitted from it and so did The Incredible Hulk, which I saw today. I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I might. It's pretty true to the comics (as far as I can tell) and to the TV show to some extent. Great cameo by Lou Ferrigno and look for a couple of funny random appearances by two of your favorite stars of "Freaks and Geeks" and "The Wire".
    • Will they even need to run Avengers trailers with the hype already being generated through cameos in both Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk? IMDB doesn't have a director attached to it yet -- it's scheduled for 2011 -- but you'd think it would have to be someone who can deliver with what will be uncomparable hype. Bryan Singer obviously comes to mind.
    • With all of the upcoming sequels and new franchises, how close are we to a different Marvel movie coming out every week?
    • Also watched The Big Lebowski. The Dude abides.
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • I don't have much to write about today, after the movie, so enjoy some Mutton Bustin'!
  • Daily Rant:
    • We're like 99.9% done moving out of the old apartment, but we had left some big potting plants and some soil. I went back to pick up some other random things and a neighbor sees me and says that he thought we had left already, so he borrowed some of our soil. I told him it wasn't a big deal since we'd probably throw it out anyway. Today, we're back again to vacuum and he walks over with a small flower pot that belonged to us. "I used this to take the soil over," he said and then placed it down before walking away. Smooth.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

To Care Or Not To Care

  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • Saw this week's episode of "30 Days". A hunter went to live with someone who works for PETA. More below.
    • It's so funny to see the differences between "30 Days" and the Penn and Teller show on Showtime. The obvious one is that one is meant to be impartial and one is meant to biased. Both are great shows with similar styles, but such different feels.
    • Joel McHale tonight: "As you may know, we're all being forced by law to gay marry in California." Love it.
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • I need to cancel a Comcast service appointment tomorrow because my cable starting working perfectly again. One would think this would save them time and money. Should I have had to wait on hold for almost an hour before I finally gave up?
    • After flipping past some "Chappelle's Show" re-runs, here's one of the great pieces he did. Will TV ever be as funny ever again? I actually bet no.
  • Daily Rant:
    • The idea of animal rights activism is so challenging. On "30 Days", they showed a number of very disturbing scenes of animal abuse and the work that people are doing to rescue them. I'm going to eat meat and I understand that meat comes from dead animals. It helps a bit that I keep kosher at home and kosher meat has to be killed "more humanely" than non-kosher meat. I think I'm for animal rights, but some of the people make it so hard. When one woman kept saying over and over that the way people treat animals is exactly the same as they way that the Nazis treated Jews, I automatically want to disagree with anything she might believe in. And there are questions like, what happens to any saved cows, would there be some kind of population problem? Do cows show up naturally in nature in the U.S.? I don't know. If you're going to choose to eat meat, it's just something you have to be aware of and deal with, but I find it to be one of the hardest philosophical questions with which to come to grips.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Land Before On-Line

  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • I'm mostly watching the insides of boxes at this point, with a lot of unpacking to do.
    • Tonight was fun as we unpacked and organized books. I suggested that we have a "Classics" section aside from regular fiction, which brought up some interesting questions. Does Richard Matheson go in the Classics if he's only the master of a certain genre? Is it ok to put Kavalier and Clay in there but not High Fidelity? Does one great book mean everything by the author has to be a Classic (The Natural by Malamud comes to mind)?
    • I did catch "Seinfeld" for a second and "The Contest" was on. It's still remarkably ground-breaking, even for our time now.
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • It looks like Appalachia might be jumping towards Obama. Maybe it really was fear of an unknown and not straight racism during the primaries. To some (very small) degree though, are fear of an unknown and racism essentially the same thing? I may have been very wrong.
    • It's the classic story: Camel gets hit by car, camel shakes it off, people run in fear of apparently bionic camel, camel says, "Screw you guys, I'm going home."
    • I think it's perfectly okay to shrug off habeas corpus. Just because it was first cited in 1305 and has stuck around for about 700 years doesn't mean it's worthwhile. I mean, they thought the sun revolved around the earth (7th paragraph) back then! There are plenty of more important things that make America great like big cars and the right to do whatever the f*** we please!
  • Daily Rant:
    • You know what? Public financing is a dinosaur. In 2007, fewer than 8% of Americans checked off on their tax return that they would like their $3 to go towards campaign financing. The program began in 1976 and even almost thirty years later (prior to 2004 at the latest to give Dean some credit), there's no way that anyone could have envisioned the great tool we have for politicians to reach out to more than just the usual big donors. The internet allows for millions of people to finance who they wish at what level they wish. If McCain were a true conservative, he would be for smaller government, for letting the people choose to fund a campaign as little or as much as they choose. I want to give my chosen candidate as much money as I want and I want him to be able to spend it all. It makes him accountable to me to some extent and it makes me part of this grand process. We're in a new era where people can form communities and movements faster and larger than ever before. Let the candidates be truly financed by the public and leave the ancient behind.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

My Disturbing Vacation Photos

  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • Reading The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe. Wolfe is obviously one of America's great writers; The Electric Acid Kool-Aid Test is one of the must-reads of the past 40 years.
    • I'm not sure that I learn more from any show than I do from "30 Days". I'm a week behind now, having just watched the one about paraplegics/quadraplegics.
    • I think, up until now, I've been one of the few people who have not had customer service issues with Comcast. I'm stuck in the middle of one now, though, and it is making me none too happy.
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • Got tickets to see Tiger play at Congressional in two weeks. Tiger's out for the season. It may still be fun, but it will be missing a lot.
    • Nice job by Northwest Airlines to create a major cluster f*** in their boarding process. After pre-boarding and first class, they just open it up to everyone else. Very efficient.
  • Daily Photo:
    • Now that I'm home and have the camera cable, here are two shots. One is the exterior, one is the actual stall (the one on the left).

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Leaving soon for the airport and home, but I wanted to note that it's just after 6PM here in California. That makes 25 hours now and neither has the sky rained fire nor has my marriage been destroyed and my lifestyle threatened or altogether ruined. Just wanted to point that out.

Blistered and Burned

Let me start by saying how excited I am to be in California today. I heard a radio ad for a jewelry store, advertising engagement and wedding rings for same-sex couples. Tomorrow, we're finally flying back to DC via Detroit (so I'll try to grab an octopus for Angie). On to the post-mortem on Disneyland.

  • Final thoughts on "The Happiest Place on Earth":
    • I like Walt Disney World better when it's all said and done. It's a lot larger and has a wider variety of things. Plus, they actually have real animals there.
    • Disney's California Adventure, the newer park of the two in Anaheim, is more your classic theme park with a real roller coaster and other such rides. I prefer Disneyland because it's much more unique.
    • I was dying to get there too early one morning to see if someone would say, "Park's closed. Mouse outside should have told you."
    • It's great that Disney envisioned a park where the adults and kids can both enjoy themselves. However, that doesn't necessarily mean that it's okay when the adults drag their kids, who want nothing more than to go to sleep and are screaming and crying to signify as such, around at 9PM to see fireworks after 12 hours or so at the park.
    • It really strikes you, as you ride the rides, how many of the early Disney movies are really badly disguised morality tales. On the Snow White ride, you learn how taking an apple from a stranger can put you in a coma. On the Pinocchio ride, you learn how eating too much candy and shirking responsibility can turn you into a "jackass" (the ride actually uses that word). On Mr. Toad's Wild Ride (I assume it's based on The Wind in The Willows), you ride around London uncontrollably until you blow up and go to Hell. Seriously, Hell. And don't get me started on how racist Splash Mountain is.
    • The amount of money that goes into the park is unfathomable. Their free Aladdin show is basically a lower-quality Broadway-esque show with big sets and special effects and a huge three-tier theater. The amount of planning is a whole different story. I'm sure that there are any number of college courses about how the parks are designed for maximum feel and separation of the different areas.
    • It's fun to people watch a little and see how many different types of people love Disneyland. This weekend was "Raver's Weekend", apparently, where a bunch of people dressed in all black with weird hair and jewelry descended on the park. It's really easy to be cynical about the whole thing, but if you let yourself, you can also easily get swept away.
    • Which brings me to the last point. The park was impossibly crowded today, our last day there. Some websites I found say that it's around 60,000 people per day this time of year. It was ridiculously hot as well. I was so ready to go home, but then I watched a special on the making of Disneyland and then a parade that featured characters from various movies. It was energizing to see these things I grew up with, to do a cool handshake with Goofy or take a picture with Mickey. It's so easy to get lost in childhood and never want to leave. That's the real magic of a Disney park and no other place can come close to duplicating it.
  • Your List Sucks!: Top 5 Rides at Disneyland/Disney's California Adventure
    • 5. Davy Crockett's Canoe -- I'm a sucker for something as cool as being able to actually paddle a free-floating canoe around a river, even if the staff has bigger paddles and really decides where the thing is going.
    • 4. Haunted Mansion -- I love the old Disney stuff. There's something about the cheesiness and the classicness of the animatronics and the music. This is true of the Tiki Room, the Pirates of the Carribean (minus the out-of-place Jack Sparrow stuff), and especially the Haunted Mansion.
    • 3. Twighlight Zone Tower of Terror -- I had never ridden it before, so I didn't know what to expect. The special effects are cool, but the ride itself is a huge rush. You look out over the entire Caliornia Adventure park... and then you're falling 13 stories.
    • 2. Toy Story: Midway Mania! -- I give it props because it's the newest ride, opening up tomorrow. We got to preview it a couple of times over the weekend. You sit in a car with someone else and go from screen to screen, using a gun to play different midway games, while a computer keeps your score versus your partner's. It's not anything that I haven't seen a million times on a Wii, much less Duck Hunt, but it's different from anything I've seen at an amusement park.
    • 1. Space Mountain -- It's just fun. The excellent music, the darkness, the speed (which tops out at only 28 MPH, but feels so much faster). It's all you can ask for in a ride -- pure fun.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

To Be Continued

I'm going to save the Disneyland review/recap for Monday, most likely. Here are some quick observations though:
  • Everything, right under the surface, is extraordinarily artificial, but as long as you accept that, it's tons of fun.
  • Disney knows how to do customer service exceptionally well. It's what makes something like this stand out so starkly from other entertainment places.
  • So many things are passive that the truly interactive stands out. There's a "ride" where you paddle a canoe around a lake and it may be one of the most fun things here.
  • The New Orleans restaurant is so authentic (while still being incredibly artificial, of course) that they actually serve Abita Purple Haze beer.
  • Finally, Disneyland is known as "The Happiest Place on Earth." Here are some other "-appiest" places. Friendly's is "The Frappiest Place on Earth." Vermont is "The Sappiest Place on Earth." An OB/GYN office is "The Pappiest Place on Earth." Austria is "The von Trappiest Place on Earth." I'm leaving a few out for taste's sake.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

If You Make Noise, He Will Come

Went to Angels Stadium at Anaheim tonight to catch the Braves and the Angels in an interleague matchup. It also cut the list down to five of teams which I haven't seen play a home baseball game (Minnesota, Colorado, Atlanta, Tampa, Cubs). It's an okay park, a little cookie-cutter-ish and no interesting skyline in the background. I did get nachos that were maybe the best food I've ever had at a ballpark.

In rating stadiums though, you have to go with atmosphere as well, and this one has it in spades. One of the, if not the, most fun experiences I've ever had at a baseball game. The team's a winner so the fans sell out the games and are really into it, plus the in-game entertainment is just fantastic. One example: They had a kid run from the LF corner to steal third base and then back in order to win a prize. He had to do it in 35 seconds. He was in great shape, but couldn't get the base up, so with the crowd going wild, Angels 3B Chone Figgins helped the kid grab the bag and the kid made it back with three seconds to spare. And, of course, with the Angels trailing tonight, they showed two Rally Monkey videos. Basically, they spoof a movie (tonight it was The Ring and Signs and insert the monkey in a part where people are scared). Here's one using The Sandlot. Plus, tonight was fireworks night, which was a huge plus. Even if Howie Kendrick blew the game on a ridiculously stupid play (he watched strike three in the ninth on a full count with no outs, and the runner going, leading to a double play with the would-be tying run on deck in the form of Vlad) and there was some pre-game craziness where Chipper Jones fouled a ball off of the batting cage that bounced back and hit him in the face, it was a great time.

Well, tomorrow is Disneyland, but I want to leave off on a sad note to mourn the passing of Tim Russert. Even if I thought that he made himself the story at times, he was a great journalist with the most interesting talk show on TV. It's going to be very tough to follow this election the same way without Russert every Sunday morning.

Friday, June 13, 2008

A Very Sincere Plea

An interesting night after having gone to a graduation at a high school that was just slightly different from my own. Anyways, off to LA in the morning for a weekend in Anaheim at Disneyland and the chance to cross the Angels' park off of my list. I might not be able to blog from down there, so if not, have a great weekend.

Finally though, since I'll be down there through Monday afternoon, if anyone can get me tickets for free to Sunday's Celtics-Lakers game, it would be greatly appreciated. I don't feel like paying the prices I found on-line, ranging from $428 for nosebleed seats through $53,000 for courtside. So, if you can get me cheaper than, say, $30, I'm all over it.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

And They Are Indisputable (Bay Area Edition)

These are the facts:
  • There's a scale of quality of chinese restaurants in a place like San Francisco's Chinatown. If the place has no apparent name and it looks like it violates a hundred different parts of the health code, it's great. If they advertise and, when you go in, there are more white people than not, it's probably not so great. Unfortunately, we ended up in the latter today.
  • The mall in San Francisco at Powell and Market Streets is clearly the nicest mall I've ever been in, besides the one at Ceasar's in Vegas. It has interactive directories -- you use a touch screen to find stores and it gives you walking directions to get there. The food court is a bunch of high-end places (most Asian, of course) where they give you real plates and someone cleans up after you.
  • People who buy certain things at certain stores are stupid, I'm sorry. At above mall, we were looking for a gift and went into Coach. Forget their purses (which are understandably expensive), their keychains were priced from $28 to $58. It's not a status symbol; if you pay thirty dollars for a keychain you're dumb.
  • A block away from Fisherman's Wharf, there's a Joe's Crab Shack. Is there a drug that will give people a seafood allergy? If so, anyone who decides to eat at Joe's Crab Shack at freaking Fisherman's Wharf needs to be injected with it so they can never eat seafood again.
  • Katherine Heigl is a nightmare. It has nothing to do with San Francisco, but she is.
  • Riding on the cable car, you get a great chance to admire all of the townhouses on the hills and I've always thought it would be cool to live in one of them. I remember eight or nine years ago, when I would hear that they cost around $500,000 and I would think, "That's insane! Even with such a great location, who would ever think of paying anywhere close to that much for just a townhouse!" Not that mine cost nearly that much, but times have changed all the same, huh?
  • A great day was capped off by going to the Coliseum to watch the A's thump the evil Yankees. Good times. Justin Duchscherer is one heck of a pitcher -- he was great in his seven innings and he threw a couple of offspeed pitches that made Jeter and Rodriguez look like amateurs. You have to hand it to the Yankee brand though. They practically sold out a stadium 3,000 miles away. Even if it was mostly A's fans, they still came to see the Empire -- what would normally be a $2 ticket night was regular pricing because Oakland knew they'd sell the tickets.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

In The Lyin's Den

A long travel day today with nothing much to do but sleep and read (mostly sleep), but we finally arrived in Northern California, which is approximately 250,000 times less oppressive weather-wise than DC. An uneventful travel day with a few notes:
  • The quest I outlined yesterday was very successful. After doing research on the internet (it's a wonderful thing, don't you know), we were able to pinpoint the exact stall in the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport where Larry Craig carried on his wide stance shenanigans. Plenty of pictures (outside the bathroom, of the stall itself, and inside the stall), but unfortunately I don't think I have the cable for my camera here, so I'll have to put one or two up later. Also, unfortunate: I was in there by myself, so (credit to Roy for the great idea) I couldn't have someone take a picture of me in the stall sticking my leg out. I'm sure that most people don't find this whole thing as amusing as I do, but I think living in DC amplifies these kinds of scandals a little.
  • When we got to San Francisco, we were in a car going on the highway through the city that takes you to the Bay Bridge and then the East Bay. Looking off of said highway, I saw a gas station that had regular unleaded for... $4.75! The cheaper stations around here are $4.45. When Rupert Murdoch said in 2003 that the Iraq war would lead to oil being $20 a barrel, he really meant to say gas would be $20 a gallon! Or he left a zero off, I guess that's even more likely at this point.
  • On the same above highway, I saw a car with a "Got Hope?" bumper sticker. I love that one.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Why America Needs to Defend Herself From Terrorist Fist Jabs

  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • Got Showtime as part of the package with the new move. It means that a) I can watch "Dexter" without having to illegally download it and b) I can watch Penn and Teller's show. I forgot how great that show is.
    • Great "Meet The Press" yesterday. Russert had some of NBC's best reporters and analysts (including Kappa Kappa Psi -- Alpha Kappa chapter alum Chuck Todd) talk about Clinton and the upcoming general election.
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • Flying to San Francisco tomorrow morning and have a relatively brief layover in Minneapolis/St. Paul. I looked up where the Larry Craig bathroom is and I'll try to get a picture and post it here if I get the chance.
    • Does it matter that McCain was fairly unethical about his first wife? Not to me, but he needs the "values voters" and one has to wonder how they'd take this considering they don't totally love him to begin with.
  • Daily Rant:
    • Really? That's pretty incredible, even for Fox News.

All The Leaves Are Brown (From Spontaneous Combustion)

  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • It says a lot of what you need to know about Baltimore and Washington when the Clinton speech dominated the front page of the The Post this morning and The Sun was all about Big Brown's choke job in the Belmont. Of course, both were about "inevitable" winners who, in the end, were anything but.
    • How did the Lakers beat San Antonio? They don't look all that good so far in the Finals.
    • Hairspray premiered on HBO tonight, if you haven't seen it yet. I'm a huge fan of the movie.
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • A lot of stories about the space station lately, but the whole idea of manned space exploration seems so 1960s at this point.
    • A fond farewell to Jim McKay, who got his start in Baltimore and is remembered by people my age for his work on horse racing and "ABC's Wide World of Sports". You may also remember him from Munich -- Spielberg used tapes of McKay's live news coverage of the hostage crisis early in the movie.
  • Daily Rant:
    • It's finally happened. Al Gore was right. Global Warming has finally hit us with near-triple-digit temperatures in early June. The polar ice caps are melting like the Wicked Witch of The West in a drizzle. I saw a polar bear run by this morning and I thought I might be in the Dharma Initiative. I'm excited to go to California on Tuesday where the rising sea level will most likely drown me just seconds before the big earthquake would have hit and dunked the state into the Pacific like a big liberal Oreo cookie. I'm really into the bad metaphors right now, huh? Yes, next week, I'm going back to Cali, to Cali, to Cali, I do think so. I'm even pondering staying and opening up a business. After June 17, I foresee a potential niche market for same-sex divorce lawyers. Gotta love the fact that they'll have the same chance to screw up as 50% of us straight couples do.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

No, She Didn't

  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • Pretty good speech this afternoon. Senator Clinton hit all the right notes with the right attitude and I don't mind that she didn't mention McCain since it kept the whole thing positive. Yes, I watched all three hours of MSNBC's coverage. The chances to see Matthews and Olbermann together won't come as frequently for a while.
    • I'm reading the second book in the Dexter series. I didn't particularly like the ending to the first one, but the writing overall is pretty good and the TV show is, of course, great.
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • Good times hanging out with some of the guys tonight. I'm not sure if any women understand how perfect Knocked Up is when it comes to the crazy crap that guys will say to each other.
    • If someone I know actually uses the word "staycation" with me in conversation, I will seriously smack them like their momma.
    • I can't wait until McCain does a fist pound with his wife to look cool.
  • Daily Rant:
    • It's too hot for early June.
    • "How hot is it?!?"
    • It's so hot that I'm planning on smelting iron on the sidewalk in August. It's so hot that Paris Hilton said, "That's too hot." It's so hot that I dropped an ice cube and it skipped the liquid state and went right to steam. It's so hot that my car literally turned into a sauna -- there was a naked man in his 70s sitting in the corner. It's so hot that I threw bread to birds and they had toast by the time it hit the ground. It is, in fact, so hot that I saw a robin dipping his worm in Nestea. Hiyohhhh!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Moving Day

This isn't some sort of Masters reference, today was full of moving. Well, last night was full of packing, at least. We hired movers for the first time and it was embarrassingly easy. We just stood around and managed a little while they did everything and quickly. However many hundreds of dollars more it was than doing it ourselves, it was well worth it. Now I know how the other half lives.

Pulled an all-nighter last night and I'm toast. How was I able to pull that off so easily back in the day? Be back tomorrow with Hillary's speech (I was thinking of trying to crash it until I found out that Obama wouldn't be there) and other fun stuff.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

There is no joy on the DL

So while Josh is knee deep in moving boxes, I will vent for a bit. I suck at fantasy baseball. It's not that I don't know the players. I do. In my humble opinion, I know much more than the average person. However, I just know how to pick the players that are going to get injured one or two months into the season. One of my two squads has 6 players injured right now. That doesn't count the players that I have already cut. Year after year, my DL resembles last year's all-star team. Year after year I languish in 6th or 7th place. For the good of America or at least Red Sox nation, would someone please trade me A-Rod?

Now I feel better. By the way, whomever had June 6th in the "when does Steve whine about his fantasy team" pool, you are the winner.

On a related note, I want to know if this upcoming Supreme Court case will be a conflict for any Justice with a fantasy team of his own? Who can't see Clarence Thomas sitting on the bench pretending to pay attention to some poor litigant pleading his case while the Justice is sorting through the waiver wire in order to improve the pitching on his team, the Coke-Can Crushers?

Speaking of baseball, some of us are currently celebrating the Jewish holiday of Yom Osarebad. I give you a link to determine who is amongst the tribe's greatest. Is it Daisuke Matsuzakastein or Shlomo Ripken?

Quick Morning Update

No cable or internet last night, but I feel obligated to do a little this morning:
  • It's a lot of fun to be evacuated to a safe place at work because of a tornado warning. Look, I don't know if it's a climate change thing, but it sure is bizarre that we've had so many tornadoes in this area this year.
  • An e-mail went out from the Clinton campaign last night saying that she will endorse Obama on Saturday.
  • Watched the "30 Days" season premiere last night; I could watch recordings on the DVR. Spurlock spent 30 days working in a coal mine in West Virginia. That stuff is just frightening, hard to believe it's not only in the same country but a relatively short drive from here in the Nation's Capital.
  • Romney is on Joe Scarborough right now. I forgot how much I dislike him. They're talking with him about the media bias against Clinton. Let's stop with that crap, okay? If the situation were reversed, the media would be killing Obama way more for staying in as long.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

And Then There Were Two

  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • Were there 10 people at the McCain speech? Good thing he went way before Obama. But hey, at least he's a great speaker who doesn't stare straight ahead, and what a totally non-awkward smile!
    • What an absolute bitch-slap for MSNBC to cut away from McCain's gripping and memorable speech to show that Obama won the nomination. Laugh-out-loud funny.
    • The "30 Days" season premiere was tonight, but I'll watch it tomorrow. If you've never seen it, it's truly one of the great shows on TV.
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • The key thought of the night comes from my wife. She made the analogy that John McCain is David Archuleta and Barack Obama is David Cook. You know that McCain seems like a president on paper, but he just doesn't have that wow factor and it's hard to watch him when he speaks. She's so right and I'll expand. McCain can hit the right notes, but he doesn't always come off as genuine and has absolutely zero charisma. Meanwhile, Obama is a lot cooler and smoother. McCain has to put on a fake-looking smile to look happy while Obama just seems to get it with ease. I mean, he and his wife pounded fists before he took the stage as nominee for the first time. We think of older white people as the classic voting populace the way that we think of teenage girls as the classic voters for "Idol", but this year is different. We thought Archuleta would win when they got down to the Top 24, but David Cook came out of nowhere to energize people with his different take on classic songs. In the end, we rooted for the person who seemed more natural and more likeable.
    • Hehe, abstinence pants from Kmart.
    • I really don't get why NBA teams hire retread coaches and then are shocked when it doesn't work out. Flip Saunders, Doug Collins, and so on have never been championship coaches and they're not about to start being one now.
  • Daily Rant:
    • You step back and realize that no matter your party affiliation, tonight is an historic night. Even two years ago, we would never have predicted that an African-American would be the nominee of one of the two major parties. Just step back and think about what this means for our society. It's, as Chris Matthews (I think) put it, something where "the reality is greater than the anticipation." It's a banner night in American history. Personally, I hope that tonight isn't the night on which I always remember where I was.

Monday, June 2, 2008

My Day With The 'My Day With Regina Spektor' Guy

  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • No post yesterday; I spent exactly zero seconds on-line all day. Scary. Spent the day at a huge event on the National Mall in celebration of Israel's 60th birthday. I left the house at 6:45 AM, got home at 10:30PM, and went right to sleep. 10 hours on your feet outside will take something out of you. But what a fantastic event it was -- organizers were hoping for 20,000 people and 50,000 came.
    • Best moment of the entire event, for the public, and one of the few that I saw: Emcee Mandy Patinkin took to the stage to introduce headliner Regina Spektor and asked everyone to repeat the famous line with him: "Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die." So awesome.
    • Tonight, I watched Lions for Lambs or (as it could have been called) Hollywood Endorses Barack Obama: The Movie. Jeremiah Wright called me to say the movie was too preachy. Michael Moore called me to say it was too liberal. It brought up some interesting points and it was well enough acted, but damn... Neocons could use it as a propaganda film for why liberals are so out of touch. There's an evil, lying young Republican Congressman; an old, jaded journalist who doesn't realize how gullible the press is; a brilliant professor at a "California university" who challenges his kids and leads discussions that are engaging and well-informed; his rich white student who is lazy but with so much potential and has no need to care about anything but needs to be challenged to care about the world; the professor's former minority students who were too poor to go to college without a sports scholarship and join the Army because it's the only way they could afford anything. You get the point.
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • There were a few YouTube videos about the event yesterday, but my favorite, by far, is this one. Enjoy!
    • I could watch that a million times, it cracks me up.
    • I saw a couple of her songs (including the one where she forgot the lyrics) and she was pretty good. I don't love all of her songs that I've heard, but I am a huge fan of the first single that made her a star, "Fidelity". Here's the video.
  • Daily Rant:
    • This moving thing really, really sucks. I'm happy to move, but the painting and the packing and so on are rough. If I can make it to Friday (moving day) without keeling over, I'll be lucky.