We had FREE! tickets for Orioles-Twins yesterday (free is just about the only way I'll go to the Yard anymore). We left the house at 10:30 for a 1:30 start, planning to stop at the Ikea in College Park. However, one colossal tractor-trailer accident on the Beltway kept us from even getting on I-95 North until about 12:30. By then we were hungry and had to use the bathroom, so we stopped at a McDonald's in Laurel. Everything takes longer when you have a baby; throw in a long hike from parking to the ballpark, and we were plenty late for the game. Yeah, Northern Virginia baseball fans freakin' LOVE going to Orioles games.
Fortunately, the modern game is slow, so it was only the third inning by the time we got to our seats, and the O's were already down 6-2 (we missed Twins rookie Justin Morneau putting one on Eutaw Street). I joked that our free tickets would be in the very top row; actually, it was only third from the top. Still, Section 326 wasn't so bad; I had expected to be in the dreaded Section 372, the worst seats in all of Camden Yards.
Hotshot O's rookie pitcher Daniel Cabrera got roughed up; apparently he just threw everything over the heart of the plate, and got hammered. The O's did try to make it interesting in the bottom of the 5th, plating one run to get within three and Mora on second with two outs. Tejada got a base hit to left, but Mora got nailed at home on a close play. Some Twin I never heard of blasted a home run to lead of the 6th, and that was pretty much it; the Twins bullpen controlled the game the rest of the way.
Fellow parent-of-toddler Tor forwarded a link to Jeff Vogel's writings on his kid. The link is to his summary of the first year; click on the links at the bottom of that page for more.
Pretty much since the day I became a parent, I've thought our nation's Cosby-esque outlook on parenthood, that it's the Greatest Thing Ever and anyone who disagrees for one second should have their children taken away, is greatly overblown. Not to say that being a parent is completely terrible, either; the good far outweighs the bad. But as with many Mainstream American points of view, it's way too simple. Jeff's writings capture the conflicting nature of parenthood, and they're damn funny to boot.
If it's Friday, it must but time to dump out all these things I've been bookmarking all week.
I've previously mentioned God Hates Shrimp. Now the Slacktivist has a great post on Biblical reasons for why the shrimp ban was overturned, and the greater lesson that some Christians either don't get or willfully ignore.
The former Mexican bandit warlord "El Guapo," now living in Baltimore and calling himself "Kevin," has a good post wondering what exactly undecided voters are thinking.
Another Kevin has a fine post looking at Tom Davis, my near-Congressman and chair of the House Government Reform Committee. Taking his good ol' time getting into the Valerie Plame affair, but he is ON this Sandy Berger business like stink on poop. IOKIYAR!
(Oh, "near-Congressman?" I thought I was moving into Davis' district, but actually I'm in that part of Fairfax County which falls into Frank Wolf's district. Wolf is even farther right than Davis, but at least he's one of few government officials trying to shine a light on what's going on in the Sudan.)
Finally, enjoy the Paris Business Review. Beellions of dollaires!
King Kaufman links to a column by Tim Kawakami, calling for a boycott of ESPN. Kawakami is absolutely correct that ESPN is being overcome by a tidal wave of idiocy. I usually watch SportsCenter on Saturday and Sunday mornings, and the announcers there are only moderately annoying. Last week I happened to turn it on in the evening, and as such saw Stuart Scott for the first time in a while; the rate at which he churned out trumped-up urban expressions was absolutely mind-boggling, and totally detracted from the highlights I was trying to watch. Chris Berman is also as bad. I may have to start watching Comcast's highlights show, which looks more like a cable-access program.
On the whole, though, I agree with Kaufman: it's easy enough to watch the things ESPN does right, and skip the stupid stuff. And yes, I do watch the World Series of Poker.
I tend to avoid talk radio of any sort, and yesterday I was reminded of why. I was in a co-worker's car and he had on the local sports talk radio station, and a couple of jackasses were talking about Lance Armstrong. One of them--I think it may have been Rob Dibble--said that he wasn't impressed with Armstrong and didn't consider him an athlete. "You're riding a bike. I'm sorry, but the bike is doing most of the work. Hell, I can ride a bike."
Such a mind-bogglingly stupid thing to say that I can't believe that he actually thinks it. Comparing riding a bike around your neighborhood to a mountain stage of the Tour de France is like comparing pulling into a parking lot to a Nascar race, and anyone remotely acquainted with the Tour de France has to know that. He only said it to piss people off, and to get angry cycling fanatics to call in and tell him he's an idiot. (I'm sure it worked, too; we turned it off.) Why should I waste my time listening to that? Rush and his ilk pull that kind of deliberately inflammatory rhetoric all the time, and I'm sure hosts on Air America do it too.
Then there's this Syrian musicians on a plane hoo-rah, which apparently caused right-wing talk radio hosts (who make up about 90% of the total talk radio host population) to lose their collective minds.
While wondering just where to buy fish in western Fairfax county, I'll take a moment to pass you some interesting things.
SKB and Norbizness have some extremely amusing negative reviews gleaned from Amazon. I think the one saying 1984 should be "more optimistic" is my favorite. Man, some people shouldn't be allowed to breed.
Mediocre Fred wrote a far better eulogy to Jeff Smith than I did.
Michael Moore writes an encouraging piece on the reception of Fahrenheit 9/11. I sure hope I get to see it someday (I've seen one movie in a theater since our daughter was born).
Somebody--Andrew F., maybe? I forget--sent a link on Golden State Warriors forward Adonal Foyle and his Democracy Matters organization.
Now this one I know came from Tor: some rather unfortunate ice cream.
Finally, I have always had a link to the comic strip Achewood over on the blogroll. Most people either love it or hate it; IMO, it's one of those things that you have to get to know the characters before you'll find it entertaining (not unlike Homestar Runner). Go to the archive, start at the beginning, and read all the strips, and by the end you'll actually care as to whether Philippe the five-year-old otter survives his abduction and trip to the Super-Secret Ice Cream Shop. Anyway, the author, Chris Onstad, has had a fit of creativity and productivity of late, and has produced a series of blogs written by each of the characters. It's a really new and interesting medium for fiction--you get to read about events from the point of view of different characters (though the characters are evidently not reading each others' blogs, which would change the flow quite a bit). And the Great Risotto War of 2004 has been terrific. Check out the other links on the Achewood front page.
Do you like They Might Be Giants?
Do you like Homestar Runner?
If you answered "Yes" to both, prepare for the greatest thing ever.
ESPN has finally added Philly to its list of tortured sports cities, putting it at #2. Makes me wonder what the heck #1 is. I suppose it'll be Chicago, primarily for the tribulations of the Cubs, plus the White Sox have been championship-free for a while, and the Bears and Blackhawks ain't so great these days either. I think the Jordan Era mitigates Chicago's woes to a fair degree, but then my Philly phandom may make me biased.
Their top ten painful moments list is pretty good, but not perfect. The Joe Carter home run is #1, hands down. The collective frustration of the Randall Cunningham-era Eagles deserves to be in there somewhere: incredible teams, especially on defense, that would open the season like a juggernaut but then lose it down the stretch. Eric Lindros' last concussion in a Flyers uniform should be on that list, and some of the Flyers' more epic playoff collapses too (like getting swept by the Wings in the Finals a few years ago, or losing to the Devils after being up 3-1).
Love the city, love the teams. But I have resigned myself to waiting even longer for a championship.
UPDATE: Chicago is already on the list at #4. D'oh! How about Cleveland for #1?
Just learned via MeFi that Jeff Smith, aka the Frugal Gourmet, passed away this weekend.
Long before Food TV, there was the Frug. I first got interested in cooking in the summer of 1990, mostly because it was the first time I lived by myself and had to make my own meals, but watching the Frug helped a lot. He was my first exposure to a lot of cuisines and techniques, and really got me thinking I could make anything. I have his first cookbook in paperback, and it's held together with duct tape. I don't use it that often anymore (except that rice/orzo pilaf which is a staple in our house), and in fact now that I've been around the block a few times, I find some of his old recipes rather bland. But I have to thank him for fostering my interest in cooking and good food.
That whole teenage molestation thing... well, I don't know. All the same, I will make something involving soy sauce, dry sherry, and ginger in his memory.
What better way to tell terrorists that we're not scared of them and their acts are meaningless than cancelling the November election?
Bah. Real Americans would say "Screw you Osama, we're not scared. Let's go vote."
Everyone who loves music and who has aged to a certain point has one or more albums that tie them to a particular time and place, sometimes even more strongly than photographs can. I listened to Pearl Jam's Ten on the way to work this morning, and all of a sudden it was 1992 again. I sang "Alive" with Ned in the basement of our fraternity house, "Jeremy" with my PSU friends at a party at State College. Our band tried to cover "Release," but came to the conclusion that I was no Eddie Vedder and Joel was no Stone Gossard. And of course upon hearing "Black" I thought about the woman I was crazy about senior year who didn't return my affections. I think everyone who heard that song at that time had someone who it was about.
Round about '92 or '93 Rolling Stone did a big reader survey--I'm not sure if it was all their readers, or just college students. But it was surprising and very pleasing to see "Black" as the top answer for "favorite song," despite its never actually being released as a single. Epic reportedly wanted to release it as a single; of course they did, they would have sold approximately ten zillion copies. But the band said no, and I'm eternally grateful to them. Because it would have been played on the radio over and over and over and over again, and we'd all be completely sick of it. Fortunately, I can still hear it now and enjoy it.
PJ mania has certainly died down these days. I've said for some time now that they're the band I most need to see live before they break up or someone dies. I wonder if I'll get another crack at that.
Bobby A is in. But so is Matsui. Well, one out of two is OK.
I haven't lived in the suburbs for years (you can argue that Arlington, Alexandria, and Falls Church are suburbs, but they a bit more of an urban feel to them; I'm talking the freakin' suburbs here). I didn't realize that when you get out this far, people go absolutely bonkers on the Fourth of July. We didn't need to go downtown; we just sat on the front lawn and watched the people across the street set off things that were obviously illegal for unlicensed individuals. And the people down the street, and the people down the street in the other direction, plus we could hear stuff from back behind our house. These people must have spent a fortune on this crap.
I'm just glad it didn't wake up the baby. I didn't want to immediately become the Asshole Neighbor in our new neighborhood.
Go ye and voteth for the final All-Star in each league. Selecteth ye Bobby Abreu, he of the great numbers for years yet no All-Star appearances, in the National League. Thou shalt not select Hedeki Matsui in the American League, for he shall receiveth too many votes as it is simply by being Japanese and a Yankee. We liketh Paul Konerko for that spot.
We've spent the last few weeks moving, and I've been too disorganized to post much. So I've got three weeks of links piled up (some of which I've forgotten where I got them from, so apologies to the original referrers). Let's get to work.
I've had a link to Atomic Books over yonder since the beginning of time, even though it was just a good place to buy good books rather than a blog. But that has changed; please welcome the Atomic Books blog.
Do you have enough to be angry about in this election season? Of course not. One thing that makes me particularly angry is how Al Gore was branded a liar for things he never actually said and that were inconsequential, and our current President lies about much bigger things and no one wants to call him on it. What's he lied about, you ask? Oh, just a few things.
Or you could send your Republican-voting friends this handy list of Bush administration accomplishments.
Another thing that bites my ass is the mere suggestion that our current health care system is great, and that the free market does it better than any government-run system could. Check out this Newsweek My Turn column, then tell the author how freakin' great our system is.
You all know I like gambling, right? But I don't like knowing that slot machines are better regulated and more secure than electronic voting machines.
And to end on a happier note, moose cheese moose cheese moose cheese moose cheese moose cheese moose cheese moose cheese moose cheese moose cheese moose cheese moose cheese moose cheese moose cheese moose cheese moose cheese moose cheese moose cheese moose cheese moose cheese moose cheese moose cheese moose cheese. (Thanks Tor and Kel.)
I have too much to put in a single LFF entry. So since I have a couple of music-related items, how bout I pop those out in a separate post.
A few weeks ago, I got an e-mail about my Nirvana post, asking if I could add any details on when I saw them in Philly. It came from the proprietors of the Nirvana Live Guide, a catalog of all of their performances. Interesting site. I don't remember chants of sellouts (scroll down to 10/1), but maybe that's when I was backstage having Kris Novoselic ignore me.
Scalzi has good advice to indie musicians on the web. Hard for me to get interested in a band I've never heard of if I can't hear their songs, at least a couple of them, in full length.
You know what I'd really like? A web site where you could create a list of your favorite bands, then get an e-mail when one of them is going to be on tour near you. I had no idea The Innocence Mission (who played on my college radio show over ten years ago) were still together, let alone that they played a coffeehouse in Vienna, VA a couple of months ago. And just this week I read a review of a Neko Case show at some club I'm not familiar with in the District. Dammit, there's just too much to keep up with. Anyone know of a site that does that kind of thing?
Not everyone who visited bigfool.com last month wanted John Kruk, ten things to do in Vegas, or pictures of chicken mascots. Pretty damn close to all of them, though. A few of the other freaks wanted the following:
Jalepeno Motor Oil
dog blowing up
why are canada and mexico good linking buddies
rabid chocolate chicken tuna monkey pie
lumps on tounge
spoiled pork chops
Norweigen traditional clothing
Rhythmic Gymnastics download clips
Silva sausage factory California
soccer player famous picture kicked nuts
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I give you bigfool.com: a regular treasure trove of rhythmic gymnastics vidos, plus pictures of soccer players getting kicked in the 'nads.