Good thing Facebook has a blog-to-profile feed. I'd hate to have to type this stuff up twice.
Not angry enough today? Then read this: Despite Economic Disaster, Wall Street Collected $18.4 Billion In Bonuses.
One of the most interesting stories I've read in Wired in quite some time is that of Chuck Fipke, a geologist who found diamonds in the Canadian arctic. He is obviously quite smart. He is also obscenely wealthy as a result. He is also completely insane, in an endearing sort of way.
Forbes knows nothing of mascots. Mr. Met is boring. And nothing against college mascots, but they aren't professionals, and they rarely do anything that notable.
Lastly, meet the Mayor of Oblivious Town, who ran on the Oblivious Party platform. This may well be a hoax, but I'd like to think that it isn't.
I dragged the family down to the first off-season Nats Fest on Sunday. With the kids in tow we spent a lot more time in the "Kids Zone" than you probably care to think about. For most of the event, they were simulcasting the Q&A sessions over the in-house TVs, so I got to hear George Will recycle old baseball sayings and one-liners, Manny talk about why he doesn't bunt much (yay!), and Kasten talk for a long time without really saying anything.
I'm not much of an autograph hound, so I didn't wait on those lines, but I did get the signatures of three former Negro League players at their exhibit: Bert Simmons, Al Burrows, and Jim Bland (who for a living Negro Leaguer doesn't have much going for him on Google. Just sayin'). So that was cool. I wanted to do the clubhouse tour, but we ran out of time. I told the kids, "Enjoy being in the club level, because it's probably the only time you'll ever see it."
Fine, you jackals, come look me up on Facebook. I am ONLY doing this because I hope it will make it easier to grab people for Nats games at the last minute.
Thomas Boswell writes what a lot of Nats fans are saying these days: the Nats had better hurry up and sign somebody, anybody, or the team is going to be lousy again and no one will watch them.
I've thought about this quite a bit, and I have to say, I'm not altogether opposed to standing pat. Seriously, I can see where the Lerners are coming from, if in fact they aren't going to sign free agents of any magnitude. It may actually be a practical approach.
Think about it. Even if the Nats signed Boswell's wish list of Dunn, Wolf, Beimel, and Hudson--and there's no guarantee they can, even if they're willing to pay top dollar--how transformed will the Nats really be? At best, I'd say they're a .500 team. We're still in the NL East, with the Mets and Phils looking like powerhouses. And we play the Yankees and Red Sox this year, which sounds like about 5 losses out of 6 to me.
Next question: just how fired up are people going to get about a .500 team? Is it going to increase fan interest enough to warrant the truckloads of cash you'd shell out for those four guys? I seriously doubt it. The team will have to get to 90 wins and at least sniffing at playoff contention before fickle Washingtonians are really going to start coming to games in serious numbers. And this team is so damaged right now that it ain't happening unless you sign the absolute best guys available, the likes of Teixeira, Sabathia, and Burnett... and that ain't happening. So why bother? Let the kids play, save some dough, finish last in the NL East again, get another top 5 draft pick.
As miserable as it sounds, I think we're looking at the Tampa Bay Rays model. Be crappy for almost a decade, try to draft well and stockpile young talent, and EVENTUALLY it will click. (To that end, I am far more annoyed at the inability to sign Aaron Crow than over any failure to sign Adam Dunn--if this is your approach you can NOT afford to let a first-round pick walk away.)
That's my opinion, anyway, and I could be wrong. In spite of all this, I renewed my 20-gamer this year like a sucker. I guess I just like baseball.
Apparently there was some sort of big event in downtown DC on Tuesday. I had to pass; yeah, history and all, but there was no way we were putting the Little Fools through a whole day of crowds, standing around, and freezing cold. Plenty of great reports, though, like Joan Walsh's account. On the other hand, I'm so glad I wasn't in The Purple Tunnel of Doom.
It's going to be an interesting four years, especially when the wingnuts trot out all manner of crazy crap. I agree with Chris Rock that it's kind of hard to make fun of Obama right now, but that won't stop the usual suspects. Of course, they will all ignore the comprehensive list of Bush-era scandals and abuses.
Lastly, remember the story a couple weeks ago in which the Capitals' webmaster got to be the backup goalie for a couple hours? Some fans are picking up his jersey. Too awesome.
You may have heard that Anthony Bourdain visited DC on a recent episode of his show No Reservations. I made a point of watching it Monday night, and I quite enjoyed it. Yeah, he went to Ben's Chili Bowl, but he also went slightly more off the beaten track, visiting DC Central Kitchen, the Eden Center, and El Pollo Rico in Arlington, which is frequently hailed as the best Peruvian chicken joint around.
The Peruvian chicken shop is one of those restaurant concepts that is so awesome that you can't help but wonder why they aren't everywhere (along with locally-owned neighborhood ice cream shops and Souper Salad. I am quite familiar with several such places in northern Virginia, but while having heard of El Pollo Rico, I'd never actually stopped in. So yesterday, when I had a late-morning meeting downtown, leaving me open to stopping for lunch anywhere between DC and Fairfax, I figured it was time.
I must regretfully announce, however, my disappointment. The chicken is indeed very good, though not necessarily better than at some other outlets. Most bewildering, though: they do not have fried yuca. Regular french fries for everyone. Oh dear. In my opinion, fried yuca is a big part of what's so great about the Peruvian chicken experience, maybe even more important than the chicken itself. They're just like fries, only better.
So apologies to El Pollo Rico, not trying to bad-mouth you here... well, maybe I am. We here at Big Fool Enterprises would like to endorse Wild Chicken in Fairfax, Crisp & Juicy in Falls Church and west Arlington, and Seņor Chicken in Arlandria. 'Cause they all gots the YUCA.
Bad weekend for football, good weekend for food, South American styles. Lomo saltado showed up in the January Bon Appetit in an article on Lima, so of course I had to try it. It was a bit more soupy than my previous effort, as it included a beef stock reduction. It used whole (well, wedged) tomatoes, and I actually fried my own potatoes. Tasty, tasty good.
Sunday I took a crack at Brazilian feijoada, the black bean and smoked pork stew that is Brazil's national dish. This had FIVE kinds of meat in it: bacon, keilbasa (oddly enough I couldn't find linguica at Wegmans), smoked pork chops, smoked ham hocks, and jerky (the recipe called for beef, but I had homemade venison jerky on hand, so there you go). It's very short on spices--a couple of bay leaves, that's it; you're encouraged to add hot sauce at the table. It does have a nice citrus flavor from orange juice and zest. Verdict: AWESOME. I'm told that feijoada is such an event in Brazil that some people will fast beforehand so as to be able to eat vast quantities. Now I understand why.
Boo to that. After watching the Eagles get hammered in the first half, they came all the way back to take the lead, but then had no answers on the Cards' final drive. I'm pretty sure the Eagles final 4th-and-10 play was pass interference, but we can't lay this one at the feet of the referees. A valiant effort, but the Cardinals just made a few more plays than the Eagles did, plain and simple.
I was so upset by this result that I didn't bother to watch most of Ravens-Steelers, even though the Ravens are ostensibly my second-favorite team. I did see online that the Ravens had gotten back to 16-14 in the fourth quarter, though, so I tuned in just in time to see Troy Polamalu stick a fork in the Ravens, and to see Willis McGahee have his neck damn well near broken.
So now who do I root for in two weeks? Part of me wants to take the Cardinals. Warner and Fitzgerald are going about as well as any QB-WR tandem I have ever seen. And I always have a soft spot for long-suffering fan-bases. Make all the jokes about non-existent Cardinals fans you want, but however few there may be, you know there are people out there who have had season tickets since the day Cardinals moved to the desert, and they've stuck with the team through years of terrible play (much as with the Devil Rays a few months ago). THOSE people deserve to see their team win a championship.
The other part of me wants the Steelers to beat them by like 30 points.
Lastly, I am a Facebook holdout. I'm in the "seems like too much work" camp. I have enough crap to deal with as it is. Manjoo's screed didn't sway me--I have yet to feel like I've missed out on something by not being on Facebook. If YOU, one of my six readers, want me to join, explain why in the comments.
So I'm stuck in a meeting, and thanks to the glory of wireless I am goofing off by checking my RSS feeds. Then this pops up and it's all I can do not to crack up laughing. Perhaps I shouldn't be goofing off in meetings as such.
The ever-excellent Slacktivist has a long and thoughtful post on how our government fails to do the little guy many favors.
A good start: incoming Ag secretary wants to incentivize healthy foods under food stamp programs and things of that ilk. Note the farmers' market program discussed starting on page 2.
More food: great advice on unnecessary overprocessed ingredients, and easy, fresher, better-tasting alternatives. For the longest time I always had bottled lemon juice in the fridge, because we always had it when I was a kid. Then about a year ago, I realized fresh lemon juice is SO much better that it's worth having a couple lemons (and limes) on hand at all times.
A bit dated, but: the five types of New Year's Eve parties. Never been to #3 but I'm familiar with the rest.
I wish Joe Posnanski was my neighbor. I, too, am fed up with the "We Get No Respect" sports interview cliche.
Lastly, is it wrong for me to be all happy when another blog picks up one of my photos from Flickr? (Scroll all the way down.) If so, I don't want to be right.