30 August 2013

It is Ever Thus

Which is your favorite? I am split between the Thing from Ethnic Food Aisle that May Not be Food and The Lone Pickle. I'm pretty sure I've tossed out The Lone Pickle from every fridge when I have moved house.

Thanks Alligator Sunglasses for putting this in wider distribution.

In cable internet billing news: they raised my rate so I decided to call them and figure out how to get it back to normal levels. After 15 minutes on hold (why make it easy to complain? that would be stupid) the first person I spoke with couldn't help me. No problem, I asked to speak to the next-level person. At which point they hung up on me. I love cable.

29 August 2013

C is for Cookie

You know what's hot? Hot jamz. Deep house sucks except when it doesn't. Why hasn't anyone played this in one of my yoga classes yet? Come on, yoga instructor people!

It's possible they haven't played it because of the usual instructors I see in a given week one uses music only sparingly and another adds new songs to the playlist only under duress. And anything that makes his rotation that was released after Y2K is usually not good. He needs to stick with the classics. That leaves one guy, so I'll have to mention it to him. Note to self.

Anyway, hot deep house jam! There were a few identical versions of this mix on youtube and if you didn't know in advance that I would pick the one with the hot ginger then you don't know me at all. Like, not even kind of.

Title unrelated, except that I just ate too many Mother's Taffy cookies and now I feel sick. It's a weakness.

27 August 2013

Another video? Another video! Take it away Chief Kessler...

Long-time readers know that I spend my free time at the gym, at the yoga, or indulging in one of my hobbies, like shooting. With that in mind, I give you this amazing videos from a man that is/was a chief of police. Not just a law enforcement officer, but the senior LEO in his town, with 16 years on the force. However small that town was, this guy was the boss of the law there.

Doesn't exactly inspire confidence. Maybe the local burgh could invest in some training for the Chief? He could use it. (Related: In talking to several firearms instructors I learned that the people that most need training are the ones that are least likely to pursue it. It's a negative feedback loop of suck. Cops in general are not necessarily good at shooting - insufficient practice. They do tend to be very good at writing tickets.)

It's possible that the Chief lost his job after he posted a bunch of wacko videos on youtube. There's nothing wrong with wacko youtube videos in principle, but the chief of police probably shouldn't say stuff like, "Look at that libtard right there!" and then pretend to shoot them. It suggests an air of partiality that maybe doesn't qualify you for a job as a (supposedly) impartial public official. As it happens, it did garner him some negative attention:

Just when you thought it couldn't get any more dumb or contrived: here comes the local news reporter with a hot take. Two clowns locked in a deadly battle of dumbing down. Not sure who wins, but we all lose.

26 August 2013

First World Problems

This is old. Big Cheese sent it to me years ago now but I never got around to posting it. It's still funny.

The parking lot at Trader Ho's is usually every but as insane as Whole Foods, but with more people buying terrible wine. I don't shop at either store because: farmer's markets.

25 August 2013

Crossfit Talk (is Boring)

We had a test workout at on Friday. Fran. 21-15-9, thrusters and pull ups. Just imagine several minutes of hard work. More than 3, less than 10 (the cutoff is 10 minutes). Test workouts are a bitch and give me anxiety. Not sure if that's healthy, but whatever.

One thing that's interesting about Fran is that you are so anaerobic during the workout that people become visibly pale while it is happening, and they have to be reminded to breathe. It is not uncommon for participants to throw up and/or pass out. Fun? Not as such, no. I have heard the Tour de France described as like hitting yourself in the head with a hammer: it feels really good when you stop. Fran is like that except it doesn't take as long and I can lift weights over my head, unlike most pencil-necked cyclists. But I digress...

I usually omit my own workout results from this space because that stuff is about as interesting as your fantasy football team or NCAA bracket or that dream you had last night but... my Fran time was very disappointing. I know: not interesting. While I was being a petulant dick practicing non-attachment it helped me realize that my priorities were out of order. Somehow I became very invested in a number that means, well, nothing.

This investment in numbers is far and away the most bullshit thing about crossfit. I got sucked into the idea that my Fran time said something about me as a person. How lame is that? Really fucking lame. The time is only a data point, a signpost on the journey. What matters is effort. How hard did you work? If you gave it all you could then you have my respect, regardless of your time. What's true for others should also be true for me in re: effort / respect. Good news is I'll probably need reminding of this right around the time we have to do Fran again.

PS. Another Face to Face classic. Couldn't help myself.

What if I'm right and you were wrong?

Been shuffling through the back catalog in the iTouch. I hardly ever buy new music any more so most of the cuts range from old to 'damn you have that on your ipod? what?' Yeah it's like that. Some of the old songs I completely forgot I had but they are still great. Well great if you like Lagwagon, Blink 182, The Offspring (early records only - that later stuff is puke), Green Day (entire catalog), and Face to Face.

This one goes out to Spud and Ze Newbs because I know they know all the words by heart. And that is awesome. So is this song.

Throwback day

Chevy Chase, Dan Akroyd, John Belushi and Lorne Michaels in the Kitchen at Elaine's
Was doing another thing and made some talk about the all time greatest SNL skits.

I'm sure you have your favorites, and I'll a link to mine later, but for now let's appreciate the power of the internet and the fact that I could find this superb photograph in .2 seconds.

It was in Rolling Stone some years ago, which is where I first saw it.

22 August 2013

Show Me the Data: MLB Past and Future Payrolls from Mr. Phil Roth

It's true I think baseball sucks to watch. But the economics of MLB payrolls are very interesting. Not sure why this is so, but here we are.

This was on Deadspin, but the direct link to Phil Roth's amazing blog post is as follows:

And the interactive itself:

Prepare to get sucked into the rabbit hole. It's fascinating. If ever you wondered how bad a contract was, now you can see it with your own two eyes. Albert Pujols! ARod! Barry Fucking Zito! The Entire Dodgers Roster!

Special bonus: Joey Votto??!?!? What the hell?


Tis Better to Give

More internet joy. I wonder if the guys that set up the original ARPANET had any idea that the primary result of their work would someday be infinite cat videos and free pr0n.

In summary: I love sloths.

If I could have one as a pet it would be the best. Except for the 'living bug carpet' part. And the part where they aren't very social. And the mess. And the expense. So, aside from that: the best.

Very Important Things

Whatever have I been doing all this time? Well, not much worth reporting. It's not like I can attend share yoga classes with people afflicted with runaway flatulence all the time. Unless it's me that has the issues, in which case I would probably skip the class.

Anyway, here's a funny from Alligator Sunglasses / the internet.

15 August 2013

Yoga Story Time!

I decided to branch out with my yoga classes, try something different at the local Costa Mesa Yogaworks. Mainly because I've been sick and can't get through one of my usual classes. So last week I tried Gentle Yoga. Liked the instructor well enough that I caught up with her again yesterday for Restorative Yoga. These classes are a huge departure from my usual Level 2/3 vinyasa efforts and I've enjoyed them very much.

The Gentle and Restorative classes draw many different types of student, but for the most part they are either older or out of shape or both. Exceptions are people like me that use it as a post-workout recovery aid, or people trying yoga that don't know what to expect.

Last night I got there a bit early, put down my mat. A woman put her mat down next to mine and we visited briefly. It turns out that she brought her friend and was hoping to practice adjacent to her. She didn't want to ask anyone to move because people were already quiet and settled. I don't care about that* so I moved and there was plenty of room for her companion. Well, the friend was intimidated and didn't want to make a fuss and move over two spots (silly but whatever) so we had some space for whomever showed up next.

That turned out to be a gentleman that was a piece of work. It wasn't that he kept flailing all over his mat, couldn't keep his props organized, accidentally bumped into me and the other woman. No, it wasn't all that, because that happens. It was the flatulence. The ongoing, consistent, regular flatulence. Every few minutes. All class long. Big farts, small farts, loud, quiet, you name it and this guy had you covered. At one point we were laying on our sides and he farted in the general direction of the woman for whom I had cleared out space. I snickered. She had it coming and I was glad it wasn't aimed at me. That lasted about 3 minutes because as soon as we turned over he farted in my general direction. This fucking guy.

Possible high (low?) point was when the instructor told us to relax and settle into the pose and the guy audibly farted, right on cue. It was amazing.

Should I congratulate the dude for getting into the spirit of the practice? Did he feel relaxed and restored? He definitely didn't seem to be holding anything back. Am I immature for mentioning it? I dunno. He probably wasn't doing it on purpose, and we all come to yoga from different places. Some understanding is in order. (That's some yoga real talk right there.) On the other hand: farting throughout a 90 minute class. So. 

* It's great to take some quiet time before class but if you think that means you're exempt from making room then you better be wedged into a corner.

14 August 2013

Orson Scott Card is Batshit Crazy

Orson Scott Card is in the news a lot lately because his best book has been turned into a blockbuster movie. The extra attention is shining a light on some of his more, ahh, unusual opinions. Slate has this piece; here's an excerpt:
[Card writes] Where will he [Obama] get his "national police"? The NaPo will be recruited from "young out-of-work urban men" and it will be hailed as a cure for the economic malaise of the inner cities.
In other words, Obama will put a thin veneer of training and military structure on urban gangs, and send them out to channel their violence against Obama's enemies.
Instead of doing drive-by shootings in their own neighborhoods, these young thugs will do beatings and murders of people "trying to escape" -- people who all seem to be leaders and members of groups that oppose Obama.
[Slate writes] This thoughtful detour into racism is the apotheosis of the essay; after this it gets a little mired in incoherence, with multiple assurances that it's a "experiment in fictional thinking" but "sure sounds plausible."
Uhhh, no. This nonsense doesn't even pass the most basic critical thinking. It's like Card makes stuff up for a living. (See what I did there?)

This is exactly the type of fantasy that old fat white guys play out in their head when they spend a small fortune on tactical equipment and get their guns ready for the end of the world. There will be no new national police force made of young, out-of-work urban men. (Unless you count the US Armed Forces, which is already mostly comprised of young, out-of-work men.)

In summary: Mormonism is a joke. And old white guys are getting a raw deal. They're mad as hell and not going to take it any more!

11 August 2013

It's Legal: Property Forfeiture (Did I spell that right?)

I didn't weigh in on the Trayvon Martin shooting and Zimmerman trial because I read the reports early on and I knew that Zimmerman would not be convicted of the crimes of which he was accused. He didn't break the law.

Yes, he was grossly unqualified for the task at hand. Yes, he was inept. Yes, he had a history of being a complete fucking moron and dialing 911 repeatedly for no good reason. Yes, he really wanted to be a police officer.

Most importantly: Yes, he instigated a conflict with a young man and then shot him dead, but that's not illegal in Florida. The cops knew it, and the DA knew it when he read the report. It was all perfectly legal, or at least set up in such a way that it would be impossible to prove it was illegal, which: close enough.

The good news is that, depending on where you live, the profit motive has infected law enforcement and if you live in a state that has generous civil forfeiture laws the state can take whatever they want and fuck you if you don't like it. Guilty, innocent, doesn't matter. Don't believe me? It's worse than you imagine:


I read through and hoped for a happy ending but there isn't one. Sooo, that's something.
For search purposes, the article is by Sarah Stillman. She does some interesting work here too:


I'll come back to some of this later on.

Duke Dumont remixes Falling by HAIM

I love this remix. I think I already put it on the blog but it didn't turn up in a search so who knows? This is the jam. Wore it out a couple months ago, forgot about it, and now I'm wearing it out all over again.

06 August 2013

Get Off Your High Horse: Alex Rodriguez and Performance Enhancing Drugs

I've been following the Alex Rodriguez saga much more closely than actual baseball. Mostly because baseball is boring and unless the Giants make the playoffs the games put me to sleep 100% of the time. 

All the sanctimonious judgment being tossed around in re: ARod is virtually identical to the responses and reactions to Barry Bonds when he was still playing. Bonds ended up finishing his contract but while he was plenty good enough to help a team no one picked him up because of the negative publicity. He has since retired from baseball.

I don't care if Rodriguez took drugs. He's an adult making adult decisions. I don't care if he lied about it to self-righteous crusaders. You shouldn't either. Here's why. 

Where are We?

At the time of this writing that toad Selig has banned Rodriguez for 211 games; Rodriguez is appealing the ban. According to reports, Selig wanted to ban him permanently. Bear in mind that Rodriguez has never failed a drug test (still hasn't), and that his main transgressions to this point are a) 'obstructing' the MLB investigation, b) lying to investigators, c) taking testosterone and HGH, and (especially) d) being ARod.

The investigators to whom Rodriguez lied obtained their 'damning' evidence against him by suing the person that provided him with the drugs. The pseudo-doctor was broke and living on someone's couch so he had little choice (and much incentive) to give MLB everything they wanted. They have had the knives out for Rodriguez for years, and he knows it.

Rodriguez contends his ban is related to the massive amount of money that baseball's richest and most profitable team owes him over the next couple years. If he is banned he doesn't get paid. I'm not sure that's part of it, mainly because Selig is your ancient, tone-deaf, out of touch great-uncle that people still let drive the car because he throws a tantrum when you take his keys away.

How Did We Get Here? Or: Selig is a Hypocritical Asshole

So why is Selig swinging for the fences now?* The Toad is trying to burnish his legacy after presiding over the steroid era, culminating in 1998 when McGwire and Sosa hit gobs of home runs and made Barry Bonds, a man on the far side of reasonable at the best of times, so jealous that he vowed to start taking drugs too. Bonds would show those clowns what it looked like when a truly great ballplayer used every means at his disposal to reach his full potential. His 2000-2004 numbers belong in a video game.

Selig has to deal with that, and he wants to be known as the guy that 'cleaned up' baseball instead of the guy that let steroids run rampant and rewrite the record books.

So What?

What really gets up my nose is that's what ballplayers have been doing for generations: doing everything they can to be the best that they can. The financial incentives are so great that they would be crazy not to. (Rodriguez has the richest contract in major league baseball.) So the new guys have advantages that the legends didn't have. Babe Ruth didn't have the drugs and training they have today, but Bonds had to play against anyone good enough, not anyone good enough that was also white. Plus: relief pitchers.

Also getting up my nose is the fact that baseball coats itself in saccharine and treacle and serves itself up as a some kind of holy sacrament. Fuck that. Baseball has a long history of drug use, drug abuse, institutionalized racism sanctioned at the highest levels (fuck you very much, K.M. Landis!), and cheating of any and all types. All the preaching and righteousness ignores this sordid history.

'Performance Enhancing' Drug: What the Fuck Does That Even Mean? (Hint: Nothing)

Replacing a blown tendon in your elbow with a tendon from a cadaver: perfectly legal. Taking enough Advil to blow out your kidneys: also legal. Greenies: legal -oops, my bad. Those were legal back when Willie Mays was doing his thing. Not any more. Also legal: as many painkillers as you need to take the field and perform at your best. Toradol? Hellz yeah. And that's the stuff you can't buy over the counter. I could go on but you get the idea. Eat all the caffeine and creatine and protein supplements and whatever else. But don't take HGH or testosterone (unless prescribed by your doctor for recovery). Because that is against The Rules.

This makes no sense. MLB is drawing an arbitrary, hypocritical line and enforcing it like the Spanish Inquisition. Any player or writer that raises a peep about ARod being 'dirty' is a clown if he's ever taken so much as an Excedrin for hangover or had a cup of coffee before a game or a deadline. There's no such thing as 'clean' or 'dirty'; the rules are a joke. Once you allow a player to take anything then it's all fair game. Losing your mind over what drugs some guy took is shortsighted and dumb.

On that note, all the baseball writers going on and on about what a phony Rodriguez is, and how he's a bad guy, and he can't be trusted, and what an awful person he is, and how he violated the sanctity of the game: please for the love of Ty Cobb put a sock in it already.

Rules to Live By (or: Sports Writers are Bitter Because They're Ugly and the Pay Sucks**)

Stop judging professional athletes that use drugs. Most articles and comments about ARod (and any player that is accused of using drugs) is rife with value judgment and criticisms. Enough. Hate the guy for being a douche if that's your thing, but hating him because he tried to be good at his job is just dumb. So fucking dumb.

If you believe in the sanctity of Baseball with a capital B then you are an idiot. There is nothing sacred about baseball. It is a business. Some employees go about their business differently than others, but most of them want to maximize their earning potential. Some of them are awful people, some are great, and most fall somewhere in the middle. That's because they're people, and people are like that. About which...

If you are over the age of 8 and you thought that baseball players were trustworthy or genuine instead of, you know, actual people with all their inherent flaws and qualities, then you deserve to be disappointed when you find out the truth. (See: Armstrong, Lance) Welcome to adulthood.  Also: you are an idiot.

Where Does that Leave Us? 

Boo ARod all you like. Drugs or no drugs, boos or cheers: He will still be way better at baseball than all but a handful of people that have ever played***. If that bothers you: tough shit.

*Sorry couldn't help it. 
** Quoted from Matt Ufford; he wrote it years ago. 
*** Actually true. 


Slow week for blog posts. Don't have anything good to share.

That video happened, and it is pretty good. Apparently NBC is broadcasting all 380 EPL games on one of their many network or cable channels. It almost makes me want to get network television again. Almost. 

I put a deposit down on the Xbone. Long-time readers will remember that I missed out on the xbox 360 at launch and had to wait several months to get my hands on one. I ended up getting it by calling the local Best Buy(s) every day for weeks. I would call when the FedEx truck arrived to find out if they had any in stock.

Finally I got a good lead and was That Asshole on the Freeway driving over to BB, followed by an even more dangerous turn as That Asshole in the Parking Lot. I collected the xbox and a dirty look from a mom with a stroller because she thought her kid was in danger.*

Anyway, the goal is to avoid that nonsense and have the device waiting for me at Fry's when I go to pick it up. Whether or not that happens remains to be seen. But at least I have someone to bitch at if they don't come through. 

* Total bullshit. I saw them the whole time. I wasn't stopping, but I saw them.

01 August 2013

The People Have Spoken! (part n+1)

Sweet Katie also makes generous use of someone's HBOgo account to view premium programming at a discount:

We use an HBOgo account too, to watch True Blood and I'm eternally grateful! What do you think of the season so far??
It's the only way. Although I read that fully 95% of people still get their TV via a cable or satellite provider, so their revenue stream is secure for now. And it's very good for me because without my cable-paying friends I would be utterly lost.

As for the series so far: I'm entertained. They seem to be moving away from the weakest storylines (anything to do with the werewolves is pointless filler), and the campyness of the series as a whole is good. In general I think the series is best when the strongest characters play larger roles. That means more Jason Stackhouse, Eric Northman, Bill Compton, Jessica and Lafayette. The rest of the cast doesn't do much for me. I miss Russell Edgington. He was fantastic.

From a comment I made about the poster of the video on permaboners priapism about religion being incompatible with critical thinking, this from John:

Christianity is completely compatible with science and 'critical thinking' . In fact, intellectually honest critical thinkers must eventually reach Christianity and the Bible as a rational conclusion!
[see rtb.org for the science end and sfaw.org for the practical/societal explanations] 

Ahhh, I think we're going to have to agree to disagree. Thinking critically and being 'intellectually honest' does not logically lead to "hey there's an all powerful being in the universe and he created everything in seven days including you, and you look just like him because you are created in 'his' image because it says so in this book right here and also the gays can't get married and don't masturbate."

Instead, thinking critically means rejecting the notion that "GAYS CANNOT GET MARRIED IT'S A SIN IN THE EYES OF THE LORD" because you're not a bigoted simpleton and you recognize a fairy tale when you hear one.

Why don't more people believe in Santa Claus? That guy shows up once a year like clockwork. Shit.

Beware the Spider

This from Smarter Every Day, a good source of entertaining science. He's been on a hot streak lately as his Firing an AK-47 Under Water videos are fanstastic.

Side note: the host is devoutly religious (closes his videos with references to scripture, and the different words for love endorsement at the end of the penis video is a popular theme in Christian teachings), which I find difficult to reconcile with a sincere devotion to science and critical thinking. But it works for him.

Back on topic: Am I too mature to laugh at a Russian man with a heavy Russian-Alabama accent talking about priapism and penile implants? No. No I am not.*

*So excited to use the DICK JOKES ARE THE BEST tag again.