Friday, March 07, 2008

Robert Plant and Fred Rogers

VH1 Classic is playing what appears to be the video from the "How The West Was Won" DVD. It's tremendous, of course. Watching the young, sweaty Jimmy Page blazing on "In My Time of Dying", Robert doing the whole metal god pose out thing, to one of my favorite songs-Wow.

How all the metal cliches became cliches.

It's easy to forget that Led Zeppelin could really bring the fucking noise when they put their mind to it. "The Ocean" crunches like hell, and of course, the solo from Stairway on the demonic two necked guitar. No machines, just putting the music out there, pure and clean and transcendent, no retakes, no overdubs, no bullshit.

Oh, what I would give to have seen them like this, at the peak of their powers.

Another brilliant "Mitchell and Webb Look" tonight. A particularly clever sketch had a husband in bed reading while his wife unpacks his suitcase from a business trip. Unpacking an enormous bra, she asks calmly, "Did you sleep with Alice again?" Distracted, the husband answers, "Uh, yeah." They calmly discuss it, then move on to her admission that she has a gambling problem, only to fall into a hysteric screaming match over his having left the refigerator door open. It was funny, but the genius part was the exact inversion of how it would have been-the refrigerator door leading to the admission of infidelity.

Heard this on NPR's Driveway Moments podcast. In this world, it is nearly impossible to find a voice devoid of snark, cruelty, irony, or hip detachment. RIP, Mr. Rogers.

Facing Clemens

Just ordered a new book, Jonathan Mayo's "Facing Clemens". Sounds like it's right up my alley-a history from the perspective of current and retired hitters about what it's like to face Roger Clemens. Cool.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

An Aphorism

You know what? If you're getting out of work at 5pm, chances are a bunch of other people are, too. Don't try to do an errand at just after 5pm then get annoyed because other people had the same idea.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Brain Not Included

20 Days Until The Curtain Goes Up

March 25, 2008, the regular season begins with Boston playing Oakland in Tokyo.

Another GREAT Common Sense from the immortal Dan Carlin. Dan's notion this week is that part of the problem we have in America is that our sheer size is making it hard for us to solve ANYTHING.

He suggests that we go back to a much less federalist system, where we let states control more of their own lives. There are certain laws we can't allow, of course-we couldn't allow a state to reinstitute segregation. But if Mississippi wants to teach creationism, let them. Their graduates will be at a huge disadvantage in the world, and eventually it will occur to them, "hey-let's stop graduating ignoramuses!"

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

John W. McCain

March 4, 2008

Today is National Grammar Day.

In celebration of this fact, the following blog post will contain no grammatical errors. Factual errors or quality of prose will remain at its present level. Thank you.

Now listening, “Hysteria”, Def Leppard

This video, if I recall correctly, had shots of people waltzing. That’s what I think of when I listen to it again. I guess, as Lewis Black advised, I should kill myself.

“Love Bites”

This was the real slow ballad on the album. There’s a desperation to it, a yearning that brings me right back to that era. Loving someone so much you almost don’t want to touch them for fear you’ll break them.

Ah, Lisa.

McCain has won-no surprise there. Obama and Hillary are still tied.

Monday, March 03, 2008

When 102 million is not 102 million

Football contracts annoy me. Roethlisberger just signed a big extension with the Steelers-a great move on their part. But it's reported as a "8 year 102 million deal" when it isn't. Only $36 million is guaranteed. They could cut him tomorrow and only owe the $36 million. They won't, of course.

But it ain't $102 million either.

What is old is new again

March 3, 2008

Tomorrow, March 4, is National Grammar Day. Huzzah.

Heartrending story on 60 minutes about R.A.M, an organization founded to airlift health care providers into third world countries. They covered a clinic, where the doctors and nurses worked all day and into the night, finally turning 400 sick people away at the end.
In Knoxville, Tennessee.
Knoxville Fucking Tennessee.
I hate this country.

It’s Alexander Graham Bell’s birthday.

Found a couple of great new podcasts when searching for an account of a Homebrew Computer Club podcast-Boring Beige Box and Retrobits. They’re a couple of years old, though-I’ll have to write the author and see what happened. I remember well the things the guy from Boring Beige Box is talking about-configuring DOS so that your game will run, that kind of thing. Running an old IBM PC off of diskettes-and before that, loading games off of CASSETTE TAPE into an APPLE II! Not a IIc or a IIe, a II.

Just watched the end of the Terminator season finale. I'll have to go back and watch the whole thing on, but the end of it was spectacular, set to the tune of Johnny Cash's "The Man Comes Around". Maybe I'm just a simpleton, but I think it's excellent television.

Plus The Riches is coming back soon. That's good news.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Pride of the Yankees?

Can somebody explain to me why people seem to be all hot and bothered about the Yankees' chances this year? Yeah, they'll hit, and pitch a little -but they can't CATCH the ball worth a damn.

Charlie Pierce on Barack Obama

"He needs to give a speech in which he explains this all to a willfully amnesiac country that has grown illiterate of its Constitution, ignorant of its founding principles, and taught by three decades of conservative government and idiot popular culture that its fundamental rights are at best inconveniences and, at worst, loopholes through which criminals escape justice and terrorists infiltrate the country. They are not "their" rights. They are our rights, damn it. He has spoken gloriously about the promise of the country. He's got to bring that arsenal to bear on why the country was worth that rhetoric in the first place, to tell the country that there are some things that America cannot do and remain the same country. He has to tell the country what those things are, why we can't do them, and the inevitable consequences of doing them, not in the rest of the world, which presumes the paramount importance of projecting American power around the world, but here at home, in the existential threat of those measures to the idea of the country itself. We oppose these things because of who we are. If we do not, we are complicit. He needs to tell the country that."


March 2, 2008

It’s my brother’s birthday. He’s 28. “I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.”

I should clarify that Ben Stein’s otherwise marvelous talk yesterday was spoiled by creationism. It turns out he is narrating a documentary that purports to “explore” the creationism “question” by raising the same old stupid questions, concluding “it’s all a mystery”, and thus leaving an avenue for ignorance to flourish. He’s better and smarter than that.

Heard another marvelous podcast from PRI’s “To The Best of Our Knowledge” about consciousness, featuring Marvin Minsky and Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris and other bright folks, and I believe the Radio Lab first show of the new season is on my IPod also. Plenty of brainpower.

I have gone pretty directly from scoffing at the need for an IPod, to being pretty much unable to function without one.

Funny how I’ve gone from, “Gee, isn’t it neat how I can get x on my IPod” to being genuinely annoyed when I CAN’T get something on there.
I had a hankering for Def Leppard Friday night-I used to have Pyromania, Hysteria, and one or two of their other records on tape, and then, of course, on CD. I’m pretty sure I sold them off-anyway, they are no longer in my collection. So I go on ITunes…and they’re not there. I had to go to Barnes and Noble and actually BUY a CD. Can you imagine?

According to the author of “The Female Brain”, men use, on average, 7000 words per day, and women use more than 20000. That is easily true in my case, but I wonder how many words go through my head during the course of a day.
The author of that book also points out the problem companies have in adjusting to women’s dropping out of the work force to care for children. I would argue to remove the gender in that statement, but the companies that succeed in the future, I would argue, are going to recognize a holistic version of employees, and give them enough time off to be whole human beings instead of slaves to the grind.

I plan to be a little more Red Sox centric this year-posting a take on each regular season and postseason game. I haven’t been following the spring training games very carefully, because events in the spring are trapped in the “spring training paradox”: if you hit .450, it’s “only spring training”. If you hit .150, you’re struggling.

I ought to check on XM to see when the next game is on. I think there are some announcing changes this year, radio wise, so it will be interesting to hear who they’ve got.

I haven’t listened to a thing on XM since the end of baseball season.