Friday, September 30, 2005

You can never please anybody in this world

When I found some of The Shaggs' music online, I went through a brief period of fascination with their story. The enjoyment derived from learning about the provenance of a given work of art (I use that term loosely) plateaus pretty quickly; it often reaches a point where it goes negative. If you push through that area of the curve, though, you've got yourself a nice little obsession. Thankfully, I never got there.

But enough time has elapsed since my Shaggs phase; I might be interested in checking this out. And if you're a Shaggs virgin & interested in learning about this freaky little story, click here or use your Google skillz. Here, I'll save you some time. I would post an mp3 if I knew how; anyway, that's why God created Limewire.

Spoiler alert: Her companion is, of course, her radio.

Late nuggets

  • I can't make up my mind if this is enjoyable or deserving of being beaten & drowned in a burlap sack. (Found leafing through Fitted Sweats.) If in New York Friday, mebbe worth checking out so you can take action either way.
  • When the history of the early twenty-first century is written, it is likely that no mention will be made of the sudden appearance and equally sudden disappearance of the phrase "not so much." This is for the best.
  • I can't get the song "Little Black Egg" by the Nightcrawlers (also faithfully covered by Tarnation) out of my head. I thought you should know.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

No new giant squid news today

Year: 1987
Object of hatred: Jose Oquendo
Resulting vow: We shall never again speak of "Base-Ball."

Year: 1989
Object of hatred: Plate tectonics
Resulting vow: We shall never again speak of "Base-Ball."

Year: 1993
Object of hatred: Salomon Torres
Resulting vow: We shall never again speak of "Base-Ball."

Year: 1997
Object of hatred: Livan Hernandez
Resulting vow: We shall never again speak of "Base-Ball."

Year: 2000
Object of hatred: Shawn Estes
Resulting vow: We shall never again speak of "Base-Ball."

Year: 2002
Object of hatred: Scott Spiezio
Resulting vows: We shall gnash our teeth and rend our garments. We shall wail piteously and lament our cruel fate. We shall drink to excess and take up Jazzercise. We shall abandon forever this infantile emotional attachment to grown men prancing around the field. We shall lay waste to the surrounding countryside, sparing not even the children.

Year: 2005
Object of hatred: Jeff Fassero
Resulting vow: We shall never again get worked up about a sub-.500 team. And-- oh, what the hell-- we shall never again speak of "Base-Ball."

The only news that's fit to print

They laughed at me all those years when I maintained my giant squid news alert. Payback time, bitches. They got one on film.

As the late, lamented Fishing With John put it, the giant squid has eyes the size of beach balls. Beach balls!

You may be interested in some details. Here's the good stuff, without all the yappy yappy, and without the obligatory ad featuring Viggo Mortensen's giant head.

  1. They found the thing by tracking a pack of sperm whales.
  2. It is a "much more active predator than previously suspected" (italics mine).
  3. "The tentacles could apparently coil into a ball, much as a python envelops its victims."
  4. It lives in the "inky depths."

Ooh, more lurid details here in the Washington Post. After recovering a severed tentacle, the helpless scientists stared in mute horror as the tentacle was still functioning, "the large suckers of the tentacle club repeatedly gripping the boat deck and any offered fingers."

This eases the pain of yet another baseball-related heartbreak unfolding before my eyes. That and the booze.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Ay, mi estomago

Last night was rough on the ol' nerves. Los Gigantes come back with two out in the ninth to stay alive, inexplicably and undeservedly, in the NL West. The Oakland Athletics of Oakland lose another gut-wrencher to effectively end their season (and to spoil the evening of my friend DS, who phoned me as he was smuggling into the Coliseum seventeen cans of Sapporo secreted in various folds and crannies. Sapporo is perfect for such a venture, he claims-- it's not the taste, it's the size and shape of the cans). If my primary team allegiance wasn't fixed permanently by birth, I would have switched over to the A's years ago. Although I do find Bobby Kielty a bit frightening.

Incidentally, I just saw a recent photo of James Woods, and I think he's inexorably becoming Bud Selig.

Monday, September 26, 2005

They also like blue jeans

Quote from Minneapolis friend re: a 21-year old French exchange student housemate: "He's at the Mall of America right now, buying a bunch of cowboy hats."

I've got the goose bumps

This is so fantastic. From today's NYT story on the Dalai Lama's visit to Rutgers:

Nearby, a former flight attendant, Kathleen Davis, squealed. She had been taking notes on a pink piece of paper and pointed to the words "attachment" and "compassion." "That's it!" she said. "It's one or the other. I've got the goose bumps."
Now, that's just gilding the lily. "Squeal" joins such other verb luminaries as "insist," "deny," and "ramble" as surefire ways to make the journalistic subject seem like a complete ass. I also like "clutch" and "jab."

"Clutching her scented pink stationery, the flight attendant pranced about, repeatedly jabbing at a pair of words scrawled in an unsteady hand. 'Attachment and compassion!' she shrieked, her eyes widening violently. She then delivered a lengthy, rambling speech about goosebumps."

"Mincing and prancing about, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff clutched his notes with fat fingers. 'There is no timetable for withdrawal,' he mewled, his tongue nervously moistening his palate. He continued keening and lisping before shuffling away from the lectern."

Sunday, September 25, 2005

The Road to 4-12, Week Three

Linebacker Julian Peterson has "guaranteed" a 49er victory over the Cowboys. Surely Mr. Peterson knows that a guarantee without consequences for noncompliance is meaningless. If the 49ers lose, then what? Will he cut me a check? Will he send me a personally embroidered pillow slip with "Sorry" written in a flowery font? In this spirit, Corn Chips & Pie guarantees a 49er loss, and guarantees that the Cowboy time of possession will approach a nice round hour.

Which is too bad, really. Cowboys-Niners has a proud tradition; this year, though, the legacy is tarnished by ineptitude and Bill Parcells' frightening bleach job. Who does he remind me of? A doughy, older McBain, maybe. Or Kent Brockman.

The Catch was nice. But my favorite Cowboy-Niner moment was in January 1995: the NFC championship game. Jimmy Johnson's Starlite Express had trounced the Niners in the same game each of the previous two years. I somehow managed to get tickets (still the only NFL game I've ever attended). After the Niners had wrapped up the glorious victory, my friend Dug and I, giddy on the volatile mixture of marijuana and Piccolo Pete's roast beef sandwiches, climbed onto the field. While Steve Young did victory laps around the perimeter of the field, screaming about monkeys clawing out his eyes or something, Dug and I played catch with a Nerf ball at midfield. At some point, cornerback Eric Davis wandered by, and I patted him on the shoulder pad, slurring something like "Good job, ace." Eric Davis is extremely short. He was only up to my waist. Odd.

Late update: "Broadway Corn Chips" makes good on the guarantee. Ugly, ugly, ugly.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Blue Sun

I was in Mongolia last summer. There's plenty of time to discuss My Summer Vacation in subsequent posts, but this simply cannot wait, because I just remembered it.

Ulaanbaatar is a strange city, flat & industrial & post-Soviet with a fetal spirit of capitalism emerging amid the decaying apartment buildings. This is still a predominantly nomadic country: even in the capital city, the "suburbs" are composed of gers (traditional felt tents) by the thousand (recent emigrants from the countryside who are quite likely to return to livestock herding if city life doesn't work out). Many restaurants and businesses are not exactly in high-traffic areas; they're just as likely to be in a sheltered courtyard, far from any street or sidewalk.

One day I followed a series of hand-painted red arrows to the dingy basement of an apartment building in one such courtyard. This was the Blue Sun Mongolian Contemporary Art Studio & Center. Really, it was just a bunch of guys hanging out and getting drunk on freely poured Chinggis vodka. [Incidentally, unlike Chinggis vodka, Chinggis beer is not bad. Check out their "virtual testing Chinggis beer" website. Like a horde of warriors thundering across the corpse-strewn steppes-- a simile courted by the website developer-- it will rock your world.] Oh, and a coupla paintings. They were kind enough to get me drunk as well, a phenomenon that took perhaps seconds to occur. The fellas were friendly but bewildered: they'd been open a week, and I was the very first gallery visitor. No wonder they were getting wasted. Did I have art-loving Western friends? Could I please direct them to the gallery? I couldn't really solve their attendance problem at the time; I could only get drunk and sway back & forth. But I'm trying to make up for it now. Art-loving Western friends, go visit the Blue Sun Gallery. Follow the red arrows; it's near the UB Guesthouse.

Don't remember the guy's name, but I met someone who claimed to be Mongolia's first performance artist. He dressed up in a black suit & tie, smeared mud all over his body & head, and wandered around Ulaanbaatar. Thusly do Western cultures & values progress inexorably around the world, illuminating all dark corners with the gentle light of freedom.

It's A Very Rickey Day

Don't know how I missed it, but a friend just passed me the 9/12/05 New Yorker article by David Grann on Rickey Henderson's season with the Surf Dawgs (couldn't find a link). Made it seem more tragic than it probably is.

I fucking love Rickey.

Also: Yard Work on Rickey. Yard Work!

And this piece of bittersweet news that I read a coupla days ago, and meant to post: Billy Beane may offer Rickey a one-day contract with the A's so he may retire in the green & gold. Damn. Rickey wants to play every day. Rickey don't like it when Rickey can't find Rickey's limo.

And this bit of the funny that cites both articles.

Finally, Googling has unearthed photos from some guy's field trip to Rickeyville.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Content Solutions Facilitator

Fake headlines: easy target, I know. Since I'm thin on material today & feeling frisky, let's recycle an old chestnut from an IM conversation while we continue the tired conceit of CornchipsandpieSelect. Here's what you're missing!

Jim J. Bullock a Playwright? Yes, and Savvier Than You Might Think

Personal Shopper: Bling, Black, and Beyond [ok, this one's real]

The Hunt: A Couple Seeks The Perfect Home, Then Is Devoured By Tigers
Hard Truths: You Will Never Have Enough Money to Give a Shit About Real Estate

White, Chewy, and Meaty: Could It Be Pork? You Bet
Fortified Wine: A New Look at an Old Favorite

Topeka Journal: There Is Fat Between the Coasts
High vs. Low: Napa Valley Armed Only With a Shillelagh and a Fierce Sense of Class Injustice

Most E-Mailed
Op-Ed Columnist: George Bush Is A Bad Man
Whimsical Scientific Study Illuminates Aspect of Human Sexuality
It's Hard to Find a Good Nanny

If it bends, it's funny. If it breaks, not funny.

Not-to-do list. Found on Old Hag.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

David Brooks' Personal Hygiene Diary

7:15 am: Brushed teeth, showered, evacuated bowels; not necessarily in that order. Some secrets will go to my grave with me.
8:00 am: Forestalled any incipient choad infection by rhythmic, abrading application of nylon rope soaked in hydrogen peroxide. Q: Can one be too careful with the choad? A: That's a layup. No.
8:05 am: Time to address the blackheads. Hello, Biore nose strip. Goodbye, waxy buildup. Before removing strip, pretended to be an athlete wearing a Breathe-Right strip. Made "intimidation" face into mirror.
8:10 am: Almost ready for productive day inserting my tongue into the asshole of President Bush and pointing out foibles of rich, white liberals. But first: groomed landing strip.
8:30 am: Go-time. Kick the tires & light the fires. Lock & load. Vamos a "do this thing."

[14-day free trial of CornchipsandpieSelect!]


Just saw Barry drive a pitch into the upper deck of RFK; I think it caromed off of George Will's Adam's apple. (Throw the ball, George!) Incidentally, what is it that makes Livan Hernandez so infuriating? Yes, he's fat, but I love fat people. Looooove them. No, I think it's the way he always smells of vinegar.
Barry on his critics: " . . . To me, anybody who has to go out of their way to say something negative about someone else, they're in a lot more pain than I am." Can this be true? Unfortunately, yes. I dwell in a constant state of suffering.

Note to CornchipsandpieSelect subscribers: inaugural installment of David Brooks' Personal Hygiene Diary coming tomorrow.

Try for free, then you buy, yes?

So the NYT has finally done it. Since everyone else has, we're presently going to launch CornchipsandpieSelect. For $9.95 per week, you'll have access to insider content. Watch for it!

What is CornchipsandpieSelect?

  • Funnier jokes
  • Close-up photographs of Rob Neyer's and Paul Krugman's genitalia
  • Gossipy details about my spectacularly debauched life, delivered in a chummy manner, as if you and I were close friends
  • Archival material, including a junior high school essay on Of Mice And Men
  • Personalized email alerts (e.g., notifies you every time I outdo myself)
  • David Brooks' Personal Hygiene Diary
  • Lifestyle features profiling your mother and her delightful ways
  • More posts about handbags, garden care, and real estate

Sunday, September 18, 2005

The Road To 4-12, Week 2

I have a vision for today's game: Terrell Owens catches a quick slant over the middle, easily shaking off Ahmed Plummer, and rumbles 60 yards into the endzone, pausing only to stiffarm Mike Rumph and to flatten Tony Parrish. The crowd goes nuts, then hushes, expectantly. T.O. will not disappoint.

He grabs a pickaxe hidden in the goalpost padding and races off to midfield where he begins a pantomime history of the West. First he digs about six feet deep into the turf and, with exaggerated triumph, produces a gold ingot that he'd planted the night before. With expert comic cruelty, he dances a drunken jig with a bottle of rye hidden in his shoulder pads. This, suggests T.O., is the history of the "Forty-Niner," one of greed and drunken lust. The crowd roars with approval. He produces a rifle and "shoots" a "Native American," who is his financial advisor in a headdress. Then, the climax: he reaches into his jersey and unveils a couple of Chinese coolies he'd kept concealed during the game. With stage-movements conveying unspeakably arduous toil, they labor on the Coors Light Silver Bullet rail line that had been constructed on the sidelines for pregame festivities. With one touchdown celebration, T.O. has humiliated the Niners and caused them to rethink the historical legacy on which they trade. Then he sketches a crude chalk caricature of Steve Mariucci, Jeff Garcia, and Donovan McNabb in a threesome.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

n + 1, part 2

Did I have something to say about n+1? Maybe not. My first thought upon reading last weekend's A.O. Scott piece on The Believer and n+1 was as follows: boyoboy, the internet is going to be very upset. (My second thought was this: A.O. Scott has a literary agent?) I refer you to the Fuck You, Believer! post over at Soi Disantra; it's pretty funny, and nicely distills the essence of what I hesitate to call an ideology because it seems more like an aesthetic gag reflex. (n+1 attempted to articulate this ideology in an editorial; actually, the folks at that magazine will also be pretty upset to be lumped in with the "Eggersards.") Here at Corn Chips & Pie, we take no stance on the merits of these two magazines' editorial philosophies, 1) because we haven't read them attentively, more out of laziness than anything, but we generally like them. As a consequence, 2) we are leery of engaging in ill-informed but funny criticism in order to bolster our credibility (at least today). Finally, and most importantly, 3) we've carefully staked out a focus-group-tested middle ground in the optimism vs. pessimism debate. We is me, by the way, and we'll stick with it until we forget, because it sounds more highfalutin. Plus it makes me feel like there's a consensus on my opinions.

I'd just finished reading the article (whoops, forgot already) when I coincidentally came across this passage in a short story called The Music School by John Updike:

...I conceived of him as being too fine, translucent, and scrupulous to live in our coarse age. He was to be, if the metaphor is biological, an evolutionary abortion, a mammalian mutation crushed underfoot by dinosaurs, and if the metaphor is mathematical, a hypothetical ultimate, one digit beyond the last real number. The title of the book was to be "N + 1."

I think Updike writes like a god, but I often find him objectionable for reasons that should be familiar to most people of a less patrician demographic than Updike's. You may refer to the previous post to discover the exact contours of my annoyance with this particular passage. In contrast, I think "n+1" is actually a pretty nifty title for a lit mag (somewhere, Benjamin Kunkel breathes a sigh of relief); we could have done without the cheesy manifesto ("to those who insist the series is at an end, we say: n+1"), but what are you going to do?

Monday, September 12, 2005

n + 1, part 1

The subject of mathematics has long appealed to writers of a certain stripe, but it rarely receives more than superficial treatment. Ostentatious polymaths like to carefully plant equations in their fiction like magic seeds, hoping the resulting bloom will flatter their learning. A term such as "Bayesian" is offered as a kind of shibboleth; working knowledge of the quantitative is wielded as proof against mushy-headed sentimentalism or mysticism. And yet sometimes the inoculation causes the disease-- math is no more exempt from misuse and specious extrapolation than the scientific disciplines. When's the last time you heard the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle invoked to make some bullshit point about the unknowability of truth? Yesterday? Or how about chaos theory? Well, that one crested in about 1995, but you get my point.

So you have writers like David Foster Wallace glibly peppering their prose with math, hoping (perhaps, at times) that their readers are only familiar enough with the relevant concepts to appreciate the reference, and no more. But the affair often goes deeper. For example, Wallace recently wrote a nonfiction book on infinity. The primary conceit of Gravity's Rainbow was the Poisson distribution of V-2 rockets falling upon areas of London during the Blitz (and, consequently, the Poisson distribution of Tyrone Slothrop's erections). Italo Calvino fiddled with mathematics in his stories, notably in Cosmicomics, and loved using formal (or semiformal, really) generative devices. Which is all fine, and sometimes good readin'.

But here's the thing: usually, the tedentious musings inspired by an equation are shamed by the neat, wordless profundity of the thing itself. Mathematical concepts as symbols or analogies? By all means. True ideas wrapped as tightly as possible: why not use them to stand in for something more verbose; why not illuminate a dynamic in the messy world by comparing it to a reduced, simplified relation? Well, I suppose one reason is that this can lead to painfully bad (and puzzling) analogies. I don't really want to hear that melancholy is the second derivative of heartbreak. And please spare us from the uninformed interpretation, the above-mentioned specious extrapolation, that is a hallmark of this trope.

I actually had something to say about n+1, but I'm tired & done for now. More later.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Rickey Be Rickey

Well, the San Diego Surf Dawg season has ended, and our scrappy heroes have taken the first annual Golden Baseball League Championship. Rickey Henderson, at 46 a mere pup next to 47-year-old Julio Franco, finished with a respectable .270 average and-- wait for it-- a .456 OBP. Swiped a few bags, too. I'd love to see the A's sign him for one last September run. Jeebus; he doesn't look like a ballplayer in the Surf Dawg uni. More like a pest control specialist or something.

The Road To 4-12

I was just about to write something defeatist, but the Niners just scored a touchdown against Mike Martz's Flying Circus (timeouts given away free! just look for the red flag). It's possibly their only one of the year, so I may as well enjoy it. Defeatism has been superseded by the gentle, complex pleasures of low expectations exceeded. Tim Rattay for FEMA director. 4-12 looks like it might be within grasp. We will follow this story as it develops with the riveting, horrible inevitability of a zeppelin disaster.

In other news, the feel-distracted story of the year has begun with New Orleans' victory over Carolina. Get your media-overload safety tents ready.

Whoa. Make that two touchdowns. Fuck. I can feel my expectations rising like bile.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Collected Insults, Volume II

"I can't describe how stupid that man seems to me; unfairly enough, even what tiny truth there is in him seems backed by this immense capital-- these armies, this downright kingdom-- of stupidity, so that even when he says something intelligent it affects me like Gospel quoted in support of social injustice."
-- John Updike, Four Sides of One Story

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Opal: Early Recordings

Like most people besotted with something or someone, I've lost the perspective necessary to determine whether my aesthetic judgments might be replicated by a wider audience. But I'll try to convey why this long-out-of-print album has been on my heavy rotation for years.

This is one of those right place, right time kind of things. The singer, Kendra Smith, had played bass for Dream Syndicate, which sucked. After Opal, she went on to make a couple of solo records, the content of which ranged from the tolerable to the execrable. A clue to the nature of their awfulness: her first solo album was named The Guild of Temporal Adventurers. David Roback, Opal's guitarist, had previously played for Rain Parade-- which, I might add, sucked. He followed Opal with Mazzy Star, which (as you probably know) was a colossally boring, pretentious drone-folk outfit with a few nice tunes. Of course, their big hit was the ubiquitous "Fade Into You," which achieved some kind of milestone of incongruity by appearing in the movie Starship Troopers.

So this is a classic case of two musicians with unfortunate tendencies holding each other in check. Not quite Lennon-McCartney, but they did make one hell of an album in Early Recordings. Roback pulled Smith back from the precipice of ridiculous Nicoesque mysticism and theatricality (she even nicked the pump organ thing in her solo career). Meanwhile, Smith breathed some life into Roback's dull folky dirges.

Opal differed from most groups who idolize the Velvets in that they were good. Upon hearing the words "psychedelic folk," most right-thinking people will cringe and throw brickbats. And usually I'd be right there with you, my face twisted with rage and hatred, a Molotov cocktail in my hand. But just hold on now. Just hold on. How can I put this? Take the lyrics. To my mind, lyrics rarely improve a song; they usually only cripple it. Here, as a dedicated hater of New Agey bullshit, I can firmly attest that the lyrics do not cripple the music. Faint praise-- and I now realize I'm not going to be able to convey exactly why I love this album-- but look who we're dealing with here; it could have been really bad. The lyrics are willfully simple, intentionally banal, allowing the words to fade into the background until the odd haunting line rears its head.

Early Recordings grew on me (it does not immediately grab one's attention), and now I simply never tire of it. With most of my musical obsessions, such as that for Pavement, I occasionally require time off to recharge my enthusiasm. Not the case with this album. Look, I'll describe it, so you have some flavor of what I'm talking about, but I won't be able to really convince you. This is why I'm not a music critic. This and the self-respect.

You've got train obsession ("Northern Line" namechecks the folkie ballad "The Wreck of the Old 97" and Opal also had previously covered Elizabeth Cotton's "Freight Train"). You've got beautiful, simple tunes ("My Only Friend," "Fell From the Sun," "Strange Delight"). You've got loopy faux-country guitar work ("She's a Diamond," "Harriet Brown"). You've got "Venus In Furs"-like funeral marches with lazy, melodic vocals from Smith ("Brigit on Sunday"). And you've got my vote for one of the most beautiful songs of all time, "Grains of Sand."

Oh, it's good, so good. Hey, Rough Trade: reissue it. I have no idea why this should be out of print and incredibly scarce, when the vastly inferior Happy Nightmare Baby, their official album release, is available on the market. It's probably exposure to Happy Nightmare Baby that prevents more people from seeking out Early Recordings.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Vin Scully

I hate the Dodgers; it's my birthright. I also wet my pants on the way back from Candlestick after seeing the Dodgers beat the Giants when I was five, so there's that bit of searing psychological trauma to compound the issue. But it's fantastic hearing Vin Scully broadcast tonight's Giants-Dodgers game on the web. I love this guy. Over 50 years broadcasting the Dodgers. Flowery but never pretentious. Smooth as butter. I can't believe the dude isn't phoning it in by now. Even the throwaways are inimitable: "Line drive down the left field line, into the corner, and there's a rabbit loose." Why don't they teach quaint colloquialisms in Broadcasting 101?

Kevin Drum on Katrina

This is an excellent, well-reasoned piece on Bush's culpability.

This is obviously not going to be a political blog; I have neither the aptitude for insightful commentary nor sufficient interest to stay abreast of issues. Nonetheless, I'm incoherent with anger and frustration over how things have unfolded with Katrina-- and how the administration is now moving to spin things. I'm not really the sputtering type. Doesn't become me.

So, because I need a sputter-release valve that doesn't involve saliva, I'll occasionally point the way to interesting articles & tidbits related to what I dearly hope is a turning point for the public's relationship with the Bush administration. Search the web: you'll find countless examples of conservatives publicly criticizing federal planning and response. Of course, now that Rove is leading the counterattack, many are starting to eat crow. If nothing else, this administration plays a great game of Whack-A-Mole. But regardless of your ideological predispositions, it's difficult to the point of impossibility to reasonably defend the administration here. If you're among the 44% who feel that Bush did a reasonable job in response to Katrina, I... I just don't know what to say. I hope you rock the Special Olympics next year.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Gulliver's House of Fancy Salads

Got around to seeing Grizzly Man, and it was damned interesting. Some vacuous narration; some bear shit in the woods; some cute foxes; some awkardly stagy moments involving a creepy, self-conscious coroner; and one fascinating, genuinely conflicted individual. There was a beautiful scene in which a paranoid & angry Timothy Treadwell points to a smiley face scrawled amateurishly on a rock in a gesture of goodwill, and says to the camera, "Whoever did this.... knew what he was doing." Perhaps the most fascinating revelation from the movie: somewhere in Alaska, there is a themed restaurant somehow based on Gulliver's Travels, complete with ridiculously-attired waitstaff.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

At least there's this

The Rare Birds

Mother of God, this is ridiculous

If that lame imaginary Yankees broadcast didn't enrage you, this surely will.

Incidentally, Michael Brown's last job before rising to the directorship of FEMA was "Judges and Stewards Commissioner" for something called the International Arabian Horse Association. He was fired for utter, barking incompetence. There are no words.

Odds on Brown losing his job after this clusterfuck? Vanishingly small.

Nobody's forcing me to listen

John Sterling: Here comes Robby Cano, and wow, I gotta say, this kid just looks like a hitter. He's hitting safely-- and I only know this because I just looked it up-- in something like 2 or 3 out of every 10 at-bats.
Susan Waldman: Absolutely, John. You know, I talked to Robby before the game.
JS: Yeah, obviously, this kid is gonna be around for a long time. Let me tell you something. Ball one. Let me tell you something. As you know, obviously, I can't stand statistics. I fear them. I don't understand their proper uses. It confuses me when a .220 hitter gets a base hit. It goes to show you that statistics are meaningless. You can throw them out the window.
SW: Absolutely, John. Statistics are a poor way to empirically record discrete events. They're just about the worst way imaginable to approximate probabilities of future events.
JS: Called strike. If it were up to me, they wouldn't print statistics on the back of baseball cards. They'd print-- you know where I'm going, Susan?
SW: Horse-sense, John.
JS: Horse-sense.
SW: I gotta tell you, I agree with you 100%.
JS: They'd print my subjective impressions, enriched by experience, of each player. Like this: "Robby Cano, 2B, throws right & bats left. He's built like a sleek racehorse." Take that to the bank, baby. He takes ball two.
SW: I made vigorous love to Jorge Posada before the game today. Smallest penis on the Yanks, by the way. Then I had canapes with marine biologist Dr. Sylvia Earle. I just had enough time to squeeze in a jam session with the former bassist from the long-forgotten group Huggy Bear.
JS: Ball three. You know, if the Yankees fail to score this inning, Randy Johnson is going to have to bear down, obviously. He wanted to come here, Susan. He wanted to come here and to be part of a pennant race. Well, obviously, he's here.
SW: I'd like to echo your smug, judgmental tone. I'd also like to sprinkle in a sense of entitlement: these are the New York Yankees. He needs to live up to our standards. Besides, I spoke to him before the game, and he still looks like ten miles of bad road.
JS: Wow.

Friday, September 02, 2005

New Orleans

My knee-jerk reaction was to attribute the initial wave of criticism to the instinctive Bush-bashing that blames the administration for everything from Mumia to flat soda. Not that I'm unsympathetic to this emotional response; it's just so obviously counterproductive. But the situation in New Orleans is appalling and absurd. The lack of foresight, mismanagement, and slow response is utterly sickening. Also sickening was Bush's smug and flippant demeanor in his press conference. Jesus fucking Christ; can we hope that for once, for once, he might be held accountable for something?

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Wolfgang Puck's "Nuggetz!"

  • If you're looking for an acceptable way to turn sympathy and grief for the people of New Orleans into righteous anger at the Bush administration, check out talkingpointsmemo on the bungling of hurricane preparation and disaster relief.
  • On an entirely different (and much more familiar) order of magnitude, I really liked the quote from SF Giants general manager Brian Sabean about Barry Bonds' rehab progress. From the story: "Sabean added that the medical people are in control of Bonds' future. 'It's in their hands, and we have full faith in how they've handled it and how it's going under their guise,' Sabean said." I'm pretty sure that was a malapropism, but it's nicely appropriate. Everyone knows medical personnel have nothing to do with Bonds' recovery. His knee is a pawn in a vast, shadowy conspiracy manipulated by Bonds. This thing is gonna go all the way to the top. Yes: Bobby Bonilla is involved.
  • From today's NYT article on economic illiteracy comes a question designed to gauge one's understanding of opportunity costs: "You won a free ticket to see an Eric Clapton concert (which has no resale value). Bob Dylan is performing on the same night and is your next-best alternative activity. Tickets to see Dylan cost $40. On any given day, you would be willing to pay up to $50 to see Dylan. Assume there are no other costs of seeing either performer. Based on this information, what is the opportunity cost of seeing Eric Clapton? (a) $0, (b) $10, (c) $40, or (d) $50." You may insert your own joke here. This one's an easy 10-footer, but I'm feeling cowardly about my shooting touch right now.