September 29, 2006

No LFF today

...I'm too depressed.

This torture bill that passed yesterday. I mean, bad enough that it frickin' legalizes torture, and kicks habeas corpus in the teeth, right? But it also allows for a sufficiently broad interpretation of "enemy combatant" that I can't help wondering if they're not gonna round up, say, liberal bloggers before too long.

Seriously. I'm much more scared of this than I am of radical Islamic terrorism.

Add in the right-wing pandering by the mass media, and the increasing realization that our elections are probably fixed...

We are so fucked.

Be sure to read Digby & Tristero, and Greenwald. I'd link to individual posts, but you should just read them all.

Posted by Carl at 01:56 PM | Comments (0)

September 28, 2006

In The Morning

I am well aware that this Junior Boys track could easily have been written by some Spandau Ballet-esque band with foofy hair in like 1985. I also realize that it's kind of lame on a certain level. And yet I dig it.

And if you don't have the free iTunes blog on your RSS reader... perhaps you should.

Posted by Carl at 12:08 AM | Comments (0)

September 22, 2006

Linking Fool Friday

When someone says we're weak if we don't sanction torture, have them read this. And if someone says "Would you prefer Saddam was back in power?" (a retort that we don't hear much anymore), have them read this.

Atrios on FDNY. Digby on the Iraq CPA.

This dude is smart. And also sort of frightening. I hope he remembers to have fun.

Teh sports: I also miss NFL Primetime.

And lastly, teh wacky: As Ryan Zimmerman's psych-up music is Chamillionaire's "Ridin' Dirty," I would pay a large sum of money for someone to sneak this one on the PA when he comes up to bat on the last day of the season.

Posted by Carl at 02:12 PM | Comments (0)

September 21, 2006

Jose Gonzalez

Allow me to gush about what's in my heavy rotation right now. I picked up Veneer from eMusic a while back, and while listening to it this week I got to wondering if he really plays these songs on a single guitar with no overdubs. I wandered over to YouTube to see if there were any videos (of course there are, and yes he does play it all on one guitar).

While there, I was reminded that his staggeringly beautiful "Heartbeats" is the soundtrack to the Sony Bravia super-ball ad, which is worth another look. What I did not know is that "Heartbeats" is a cover of a song by Swedish electro-punk band. Apparently some people actually want to debate which version is better; I think it's no contest, but there's no accounting for taste.

Speaking of remarkable transformations, watch as much of this as you can stand:

And then listen to this.

Do yourself a favor and pick up this album, or better yet see him live.

Posted by Carl at 01:38 PM | Comments (0)

September 19, 2006

RFK pictures

All the runnin'-the-bases pictures here. These will prove useful should I need to establish an alibi for September 17, 4:09 PM.

Finally updating with one from the close-up seats: Zimmerman about to drive in a run in the 9th.

Posted by Carl at 12:26 PM | Comments (0)

September 18, 2006

Two with the Brew Crew. Whoo hoo!

Earlier this year, I had the amazing fortune to see two games in the Nats' series with the Devil Rays. This weekend, fortune smiled on me again, allowing me to take in a pair of games against the Milwaukee Brewers. Yeah, I know how to pick 'em.

Friday's game was an experience, because I had Diamond Club tickets, section 117. I got a Nats credit card earlier this year, and one of the perks was a pair of such tickets. I would pretty much never spring for $100 a seat, short of the playoffs, so it was fun to see how the obnoxiously wealthy watch the game. Good night for it, too, because I didn't feel too bad about hunkering down in the outfield club area, scarcely watching the game, while it was raining.

See, you walk way the hell around from your seats at home plate to the club area out in right-center for free grub, of higher caliber than at the concession stands. (Granted, in a perfect world we'd have been at the game early and the hike around the stadium would have been less obnoxious, but there was a babysitter to get settled in and I-66 traffic to deal with.) A salad bar, cajun catfish, bratwurst in some kinda sauce, hot dogs with all the fixins, and yummy cookies. Sodas were included; beer and cocktails were still at big-league prices. Polishing off at least $25 worth of food makes the ticket price marginally more tolerable.

We got back to our seats round about the fifth inning, and were treated to some mediocre baseball from nine rows behind the plate. When we attend sporting events together, Mrs. Fool has a knack for going to the bathroom when things get interesting on the field--just after she leaves, the Caps or DCU usually score a goal. This held up Friday night; she headed up to the bathroom in the middle of the 9th, and Lopez and Zimmerman led off with hits. She returned in time for Nick to fly out. Then the rain kicked up again, so she went under the overhang. The Nats loaded the bases, and brought Kearns in to hit (at which point I thought "I miss Big Daryle Ward right now"). The rain let up and she returned, and I almost sent her away. Sure enough, Kearns whiffed. I'm quite sure he'd have hit a game-winning homer if she'd stayed back on the concourse.

Sunday afternoon was another kids' giveaway, so the Little Fool and I went to sit in our regular seats in 515 for a much more entertaining game. Doug Davis took a perfect game into the fifth, but just as I was silently bemoaning my lack of a scorecard, Kearns hit a rocket into the Brewers' bullpen. We got a couple of nice double plays, including the 8th-inning hit-and-run liner to right, another Kearns RBI, and the ridiculous rally in the bottom of the 8th. From where I sat, it sure looked like the Brewers got an out at the plate--looked like the catcher got it when he came back down. Castro running through a stop sign to give Lopez three RBIs was quite amusing; he'd have been out by a mile if the Brewers hadn't botched the relay throw.

We ran the bases again after the game, and the wait was much more tolerable this time. Pictures hopefully to come later, and I'll post one from the fancy seats on Friday.

In between, Soriano got his 40-40. After he didn't get it Friday, I was really hoping he'd be shut out Saturday so we could see it Sunday. Oh well.

This is the last game for which I had tickets in hand, and if it was my last game for the season I'd be sad. But I'm going to make a point of getting to the last game of the season on October 1.

Posted by Carl at 12:50 PM | Comments (0)

Jesus Camp

This freaks me the hell out. (via TBogg)

You know what bugs me the most? The blond boy, sobbing his eyes out at the 27 second mark, and again at 1:24. His time at camp should be spent down at the creek looking for frogs, not begging forgiveness for fear of eternal hellfire and damnation. Shouldn't kids get a chance to be, you know, kids? This stuff is nothing short of brainwashing, drilling these ideas into kids' heads before they have an opportunity to think for themselves. You think that boy is going to grow into a well-adjusted adult?

Posted by Carl at 11:20 AM | Comments (0)

September 15, 2006

Linking Fool Friday

Of course, there were many, many 9/11 reflections earlier this week. My favorite was Digby's. Remember kids, terrorists are scary scary scary.

The geek in me loved this piece mourning the loss of BASIC. I was one of those dorky kids typing code from a magazine into my TI 99-4A, and while I'm not much of a coder these days, my ability to look at other people's code and have some idea of what's going on is very much the result of understanding BASIC at an early age.

Food dept.: Big surprise, Lunchables and their ilk all pretty much suck.

This list of top no-sympathy lines from student to college professor has been making the rounds this week.

Aaaaaaand teh Wacky: via Blork, enjoy OK Go's treadmill antics.

Posted by Carl at 04:12 PM | Comments (0)

September 13, 2006

I think it's a sport they play on ice

Seen on one of the DC blogs I read:
Chris Clark Named Captain of Capitals

And I thought, "Who's Chris Clark?"

I had Caps season tickets not all that long ago, and today, this is how far hockey has fallen off my radar.

Posted by Carl at 04:18 PM | Comments (2)

September 08, 2006

Linking Fool Friday

With my having flown of late, this is highly relevant: Salon's always-useful Ask the Pilot column, on our current security play-acting. They made us take off our shoes, and threw away our daughter's applesauce. Maybe this makes some people feel safer, but I know better.

Speaking of safe, is Iraq safer than, say, Philly? Uh, no. And here's Wolcott on our inability to admit defeat, or even to define what constitutes winning.

By now you've heard about the partially-fabricated ABC movie about the leadup to September 11. What Ben Bagdikian predicted in The Media Monopoly is coming to pass: our media is openly serving their conservative masters, rather than anything remotely resembling the public interest. Of course, we can expect everyone who opposed the CBS movie on the Reagans to oppose this film. The Editors have the storyboards for us.

Teh sports: King Kaufman says what I think about the Red Sox.

And lastly, teh wacky: Julia Child of the Corn!

Posted by Carl at 03:12 PM | Comments (0)

September 07, 2006

Major League Ballpark #25: Minute Maid Park

Some months ago the missus suggested taking a trip to San Antonio to see her mother, who moved there a few years ago. At first she proposed her taking the kids and leaving me back in Virginia to work for the week. Many married men will call me a fool for not taking her up on that, and I must admit it had its temptations. But I knew travelling with two little kids would be a pain, and I had ample vacation time to burn. Plus, I saw an opening: "I'll take the week off and go, provided I can take a side trip to Houston for a baseball game."

So it was that this Saturday I borrowed the mother-in-law's car and drove three-plus hours across Texas to arrive at "that stupid little box of a ballpark," as I've called it in Yuda's Gameday Chats. Did you know that the Astros won the National League pennant last year? Honestly, I had kind of forgotten, after the ass-whoopin' they took from the White Sox. But they're aware of it in Houston, as reflected in the ticket prices and the size of the crowd--more than capacity due to standing-room tickets. There was also a gym bag giveaway which helped pack 'em in--I may put mine on eBay. The crowd was well-decked out in Astros gear, with a few Mets partisans, fewer than show up at RFK (I only heard "Let's Go Mets!" twice). I saw two other people in Nats caps. I had planned to reprazent in my Nats home jersey, but left it at the house after discovering that even in air conditioning, polyester is a bit hot in the Texas summer. Oh well.

I suppose I should have been grateful for the roof, what with the temperature at 96 degrees at game time. Nonetheless, baseball is meant to be played outdoors, and as such the place just didn't feel right. I found the rafters to be disorienting--watching batting practice from right field, what looked at first glance like a monster shot to left was in fact a can of corn to center.

Plenty of food options, though a limited amount of local color. Nachos were at every blessed stand in the park. There was a barbecue stand, which I skipped since I'd had it for lunch, and a burrito stand (a real one, made to order, not a steam-tablery like at RFK), which I skipped due to long lines. I opted for a jalapeño-cheddar sausage, tasty good, and paid a whopping $7.75 for a Shiner Bock.

One nice thing that I've seen elsewhere, like Seattle and Philly: you can still see the game from the lower-level concourse, and you can stand at the back of a section and the ushers won't chase you away. Nice, as you don't miss the game when you go to get a beer, and because people are more willing to hang back until the end of an inning, rather than making the row in front of me stand up while Lance Berkman is at bat with runners on.

I'm not going to say I didn't enjoy myself. But on the whole, the place felt kind of fake, and lacking in character. I'm not sure I'd be enthused about going there every couple weeks if I was a Houstonian, like I'm always charged up to see the Nats. It wasn't a baseball game, see, it was a Baseball-Centric Maximized Entertainment Experience™. That's the wave across MLB these days, but I haven't felt it so obnoxiously at, say, the Yard, or Safeco Field. Minute Maid Park is a McBallpark, and sadly that's what I expect from Old Navy Yard or whatever they call RFK's replacement.

Random bits after the jump.

  • Ticket brokers (aka "legal scalpers") are apparently allowed to operated right across the street from the ballpark. There was even a Houston cop standing next to the one I visited. No garden variety scalpers to be seen. I got a $37 lower level seat for $40, but still felt like I was being ripped off.

  • Texas culture at the ballpark: Ain't no dot race, it's a Hummer race. "Deep in the Heart of Texas" sung after "Ballgame" for the seventh inning stretch. And most wonderfully, ain't no Turkey Hill Tub Shuffle, it's a Goya Can of Beans Shuffle. A lucky contestant picked the right can with the ball under it, and won a big basket of Goya products.

  • No love lost for Carlos Beltran in Houston. He was booed mercilessly at every turn, even when he caught a fly ball. I suppose Houston drove a pickup truck full of money up to his house after his brief but brilliant stint there, but the Mets had a tractor-trailer full of money. Easy for Astros fans to be bitter, of course, but I can't say as I blame him.

  • Ballpark tour notes: I have now seen 20 of the 30 major league teams play at home, and been to 17 of the 30 parks currently in use. Still haven't finished off an entire division. Top candidates for next year: St. Louis, Cincinnati, or Detroit.

Full contingent of photos here (free registration required; visit if you can't be bothered). I also have low-quality, shaky, poorly framed video of Beltran's game-saving catch in the bottom of the ninth. With the Mets up two, Wagner had just walked a guy to put two on for Berkman with one out (a classic "Oh Shit" Guy moment). With the place on its feet, Berkman hit a rocket that we all immediately assumed was a home run, but Beltran leaped and made the catch while crashing into one of the chain-link sections fronting the bullpen. Beltran fired the ball back in, and immediately collapsed to the ground. The trainer had to help him off the field, and in their only show of respect to him the whole game, the crowd politely applauded (in a "Good effort, hope you're OK" way, not a "Yay he's hurt!" Philadelphia-Michael Irvin way). Bruised knee, costing him a few games; he was back in the lineup yesterday.

Posted by Carl at 03:25 PM | Comments (0)

September 06, 2006

I rock the barbecue

Hey, I was named a winner in Salon Audiofile's summer playlist contest. For my effort I will receive... not a damn thing. But go download the songs, there's some good stuff there.

Posted by Carl at 03:24 PM | Comments (1)

What I ate in Texas

This here shack in Flatonia, Texas is where I had lunch on the way to Houston. I had the brisket, which was pretty good. Surprisingly, they don't have a web site.

Joel's could not hold a candle to Rudy's, however, where we had a vast feast of brisket, ribs, chicken, sausage, creamed corn, beans, cole slaw, pickles, and squishy white bread. Criminy, this place was good, well worth the lengthy wait for food. I don't have any pictures, but I may get some from the in-laws. I have their spice rub, and I use it for ribs at home.

Only made one Tex-Mex/Mexican meal, at La Fogata. I had the aptly named "Un Poquito de Todo." Pretty good, but they laid the guacamole thick on just about everything.

Posted by Carl at 11:52 AM | Comments (0)

Angry cow! ANGRY COW!

Returned I have, but I'm so swamped at work, I can't tell you. Posts on Minute Maid Park, beef brisket, and other Texas tomfoolery forthcoming.

Posted by Carl at 11:02 AM | Comments (0)

September 02, 2006

Don't mess with FoolBlog

We're closed. The Big Fool is in Texas. Double-strength LFF next week, and reports from San Antonio and Houston.

Posted by Carl at 10:15 AM | Comments (0)