More Grover than Cookie, but that's all well and good.
Yesterday was the first time I took the Littlest Fool to the game, without taking the whole family. As expected, she paid no attention to the game itself, but enjoyed eating peanuts and stomping on the shells. A word to other Nats-fan parents out there: the playground in the kids area is not well-suited to two-year-olds. Man, little kids just have no mercy on those smaller than them.
Good ballgame yesterday, if under dreary conditions. That John Lannan is starting to look like a big-league pitcher. No hits through four, thanks to a few nice defensive plays. Then the Cubs did get guys on in the fifth and sixth, but he worked out of the jams both times. Quality. Wish I could say the same about the Nats' offense. Or Wily Mo Peņa's defense.
Because what this blog needs is another recurring feature with Muppet videos.
Strange week. Few links.
We liberals kill our own children! It's true, because Rush Limbaugh said so!
I wants some solar-roasted chicken!
Promoting from comments: Thanks to Jeff for sending this take on "Mahna Mahna" (which actually has a Wikipedia entry).
I've written frequently in this space about the difficulty of having two favorite teams in one sport, particularly when those teams are in the same division. This season, one of my worst-case scenarios came true, as the Caps and Flyers met in the first round of the NHL playoffs.
I was tempted to post as to my preferences before the first round started, but didn't for fear of jinxing myself. This matchup should have been a great dilemma to me, but an externaltiy presented itself which made choosing easy. You see, when I was in Vegas last September, I put ten bucks on the Caps to win the Stanley Cup, at 80-1. It didn't hurt that I watched much of the Caps' full-throttle stretch run to clinch the division.
I know it will disappoint Canadia Rob and other Philly partisans that I was utterly disdainful of the team that originally made me a hockey fan. But come on, eight hundred bucks. Imagine flying to Vegas knowing you're going to pick up $800 almost as soon as you arrive.
Alas, it was not to be, so I'm back to being an obnoxious Philly fan for round 2.
It's been a frustrating week in the political realm. First, you have the President's outright admission that torture is awesome, and pretty much nothing is done about it. Then we have the Democratic "debate," filled with questions of "character" and largely devoid of discussion of actual issues, and the media seems proud of this.
Interesting piece on Youngstown, Ohio's acceptance that the town is shrinking, and their approach to it.
Fire Joe Morgan is another one of those blogs I don't read often, not because I don't like the writing overall, but because the source material is so bad and there's only so much debunking I can tolerate. But this piece on "The Most Ridiculous Article Ever In The History of Everything Ever" is a masterpiece of the genre. I hate when anti-statheads claim that anyone who's into the new statistics doesn't really love baseball. Yeah, I've been to 27 major league ballparks solely because I like being a pedantic, analytical jackass. When I'm not typing away in my mom's basement.
Foodstuffs: Good post on food waste in restaurants.
WAIT WAIT THERE'S ONE MORE: The USDA is telling its inspectors to just let violators go about their business. Yay E.Coli Conservatism!
That's right, I'm going back to the Monsterpiece Theater well. Better get used to it.
I am having a little trouble with the Interwebs today, so I'll have to take it on faith that these links will actually work.
Interesting item on the supposed motives of global warming science in the minds of global warming deniers. It relates back to the "Imaginary Liberal" concept Fred Clark put out a few weeks ago--to fuel their right-wing fantasies, they have to attribute motives and points of view that don't really exist.
This Ronald Reagan quote isn't true, but I sure wish it was.
R.I.P. Dan Savage's mom; he delivers a lovely eulogy.
Sports: Why many sportswriters start to suck after they get popular. You'd think in today's era of high fuel prices and budget cuts that flyovers would fall by the wayside, but you'd be wrong.
Vegas: I want to eat here.
Lastly, Canadia Rob sent this clip asking it to be on the Cookie Break. It can't, because Cookie Monster isn't in it. And in fact this has run on this blog before. But, screw it, this never gets old.
I'm a bit more positive about the new ballpark after sitting in my regular seats for the first time last night. Still a bit farther away from the field than I'd like, but considering the options available right now, I'm pretty pleased. And yes, I do have a freakin' view of the Capitol Dome from my seats. Yay.
But boy howdy, were there a lot of empty seats in the outfield last night. I'm convinced we'll see that all season, because those seats are too damned expensive. The red seats in left-center--$47 single-game--had maybe two dozen people in them. Two sections in the second level just to the left of the right-field foul pole were completely empty; those seats cost $33 a pop. Amusing pattern in the upper level on our side, too; sections 408 and 409 were decently filled, then 406 and 407 were mostly empty... then sections 405 and over were mostly full. Not coincidentally, that's where the $17 seats stop and $10 seats begin.
Bottom line, the Nats' front office got greedy on their outfield pricing, and they've really screwed the pooch this season. Can they cut prices this year, and maybe kick some money back to any poor chumps who actually bought season tickets out there? Or will they tough it out and maybe adjust next season?
Oh yeah, about the game: For all the improvement of our offense, the Nats sure have a knack for making mediocre pitchers look really good. Mark Hendrickson, three hits through 7, retiring 12 straight at one point? Seriously? Odalis pitched OK to start out, but when he gave up a few long foul balls early I predicted there would be trouble the third time through the order. Sure enough, that's when trouble struck in the form of Hanley Ramirez, and the Nats were lucky to get out of that inning giving up only two runs. Our bullpen didn't do us any favors either, giving up single runs in the 8th and 9th. The offense scratched out single runs in the 8th and 9th as well, but as such it just wasn't enough.
Random bits after the jump.
Praise be to Harris Teeter, for having Boston butt (heh heh, m heh heh) on sale for 89 cents a pound. That's the best cut of pork for making barbecue, ya know.
I targeted Sunday because it was supposed to be a nice day, sunny and around 60. But the weather moved through faster than expected, so we had a nice stretch on Saturday, and yesterday was rainy and blah. I didn't have an alternative plan for the meat, and putting it in the freezer didn't seem like much of an option, so I soldiered on.
I was not optimistic early on. Had a little trouble maintaining the temperature, and my wood chips would smoke for like ten minutes, then quit--maybe they were too old. Then I added more coals, and the temperature got too high. Barbecue is a cooking method for the patient, and I am not a patient man; it was hard not to hover by the window and head outside frequently. I checked the meat's temperature after four hours, and it came up as done, a full two hours ahead of schedule, probably the result of too much heat.
My pessimism was unwarranted, however. Crusty brown outside, gorgeous pink smoke ring, perfectly cooked interior. I could have stood at the kitchen counter and just eaten a pound of it right off the grill, but instead I shredded it and put it on rolls with the vinegar sauce and some slaw. Even the normally picky Little Fool liked it.
A few months ago, I decided if I won the lottery and no longer had to work except by choice, I'd start a Virginia edition of Edible Communities. Now I'm thinkin': barbecue stand.
I am occasionally stunned by the music played over the PA at the mall across the street from my office, like when I heard Siouxsie and the Banshees "Kiss Them For Me" there. But my mind was truly blown yesterday when I was shopping at Wegmans in Sterling, and The National's "Fake Empire" came on. I appeared to be the only person in the entire produce department singing along.
Either Wegmans is much cooler than one could possibly imagine a grocery store to be, or I am not nearly as cool as I thought I was. Probably both.
(...which isn't actually a road trip, because we're not driving there, but whatever.)
Mets at Reds, July 19.
"w00t," as the kids say these days.
Interesting piece on a NY Sun writer who let her 9-year-old son take the subway home alone, wrote about it, and received equal volumes of "You're CRAZY! He could have been KILLED!" and "Yeah, I remember riding the subway by myself as a kid."
There's a blog for everything, including my second-biggest pet peeve in written English. Right behind "your" when the writer means "you are." "Your done!" What about my done? You leave my done out of this.
Sports: Personal seat licenses are crap. The reviews of our new ballpark are almost all glowing and reverential; here's one of the few that isn't. Not to mention that everything there is too goddamned expensive. As in the NY Giants article, I'm sure the Lerners just feel terrible about having to set concession prices so high.
Lastly: Having a bad day? At least Darth Vader didn't attack you in your own back yard. And PacMan monsters didn't chase you through the library.