Thursday, October 30, 2008

When In Doubt, Go With What You Know

With poor recent play and currently outside automatic qualifying for the 2010 World Cup, Argentina is looking for a cook to make a difference. Do you go with the coach who guided the Olympic team (which is largely composed of senior team players) to the gold medal in style, or do you go with a washed-up superstar with ego, addiction, and eating problems, but no significant coaching experience? Clearly, option B.

Here are some of Diego Maradona's planned changes:

- The jersey sponsor is the Medellin cocaine cartel
- His assistant coaches? Manu Ginobili will cover flopping and hand skills and Fidel Castro will cover politics and cigar smoking technique
- All team dinners (and lunches and breakfasts) will be held at Fogo de Chao (if there is none, anyplace serving gargantuan portions of fatty food will suffice)
- The team locker room now has a 2 drink minimum
- To encourage strong play, players will only be allowed 2 hookers after a loss (the spares will help the coach with game planning)
- No player will be allowed to remain on the team if any media outlet compares them favorably to Pelé instead of Diego
- Any player putting themselves above the good of the coach will be immediately released

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

"We'd Let You Vote, But You'd Only Lower The Tone"

George F. Will tends to be a sanctimonious jackass. Sure, he hides behind an obsession with baseball, but he has always subtly made it clear that he feels he comes from better stock. But he's finally gone from smirking quietly behind his words to proclaiming his superiority to the unwashed masses -- those who might avail themselves of the early vote. Let me paraphrase for you:

Early voting has been expanded to allow lazy, loutish non-voters to be lured to the polls before they've fully digested the nuances of the entire campaign. Normally these troglodytes lurch through the entire election without tearing themselves from their reality tv, but now they're befouling our election with their baseness.

Ok, what he actually said was, "The second problem with early voting is that one of its supposed benefits is actually a subtraction from civic health. The benefit is that it makes voting easier—indeed, essentially effortless. But surely the quality of the electoral turnout declines when the quantity is increased by "convenience voting.""

"Surely the quality declines"? I would beg to differ. Call me a raving populace, but i believe that a "democracy" works best with the engagement of the entire population. Jackhole.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Twist

In the midst of my Mad Men marathon (the advertising advocates alliteration), I have to say that the Twist was a gift for lazy white people like me. Thanks to Chubby Checker, no longer did we have to spend hours learning to Fox Trot, Waltz, Cha Cha -- just give a partial spasm (or "twist", if you will) and try to move your hips. Voila! Dancing! Thank you, sir!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Am I Pro-America or Anti-America?

"We believe that the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America, being here with all of you hard working very patriotic, um, very, um, pro-America areas of this great nation."

At least she's not pandering to the lowest common denominator. I would say that I am pro-American because I believe in freedom of speech and expression. Hell, I believe in checks and balances and the separation of the Executive and Legislative branches, but that would not be pro-American.

GFY, Sarah Palin, G.F.Y. On the bright side, it's cool Dick Cheney has been preemptively reincarnated into a younger, hotter, dumber female version. His exit strategy for hell apparently worked better than it did in Iraq.

Monday, October 20, 2008

This Is What a Leader Sounds Like

Following Sarah Vowell's example, I have started reading FDR's Fireside Chats. And, I have to say, these are really going to piss me off. Apparently there was a time when Presidents spoke to the public in an open, lucid, intelligent way (see below). That time has passed.

Now, I know we can't force our presidents to have polio, but perhaps candidates can be confined to a wheelchair from the moment they declare their candidacy. This will hopefully have three effects:
1. Reduce the length of campaigns.
2. Imbue presidential hopefuls with the FDR spirit.
3. Allow failed candidates to "make a stand" when they end their bids by publicly standing.

Later this week, I will detail my plan for replacing the last debate (though it was far superior to the 1st two) with each candidate going through a Yalta reenactment -- a hard drinking summit with the Russian and British heads of state.

Now for some FDR tidbits:

I want to talk for a few minutes with the people of the United States about banking -- with the comparatively few who understand the mechanics of banking but more particularly with the overwhelming majority who use banks for the making of deposits and the drawing of checks. I want to tell you what has been done in the last few days, why it was done, and what the next steps are going to be. I recognize that the many proclamations from State Capitols and from Washington, the legislation, the Treasury regulations, etc., couched for the most part in banking and legal terms should be explained for the benefit of the average citizen. I owe this in particular because of the fortitude and good temper with which everybody has accepted the inconvenience and hardships of the banking holiday. I know that when you understand what we in Washington have been about I shall continue to have your cooperation as fully as I have had your sympathy and help during the past week.
I do not promise you that every bank will be reopened or that individual losses will not be suffered, but there will be no losses that possibly could be avoided; and there would have been more and greater losses had we continued to drift. I can even promise you salvation for some at least of the sorely pressed banks. We shall be engaged not merely in reopening sound banks but in the creation of sound banks through reorganization. It has been wonderful to me to catch the note of confidence from all over the country. I can never be sufficiently grateful to the people for the loyal support they have given me in their acceptance of the judgment that has dictated our course, even though all of our processes may not have seemed clear to them.

After all there is an element in the readjustment of our financial system more important than currency, more important than gold, and that is the confidence of the people. Confidence and courage are the essentials of success in carrying out our plan. You people must have faith; you must not be stampeded by rumors or guesses. Let us unite in banishing fear. We have provided the machinery to restore our financial system; it is up to you to support and make it work.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

America, Meet Your Swingvotes!

It's a bit old, but quite hilarious. Mmmmmm... Daily Show...
Beatdown 2008 -- Closing Soon!

My self-imposed voting deadline is tomorrow, and so I've been trying to decide on my selections for US Senate, Congress and the State Board of Education (I don't vote in local or state elections when I'm abroad -- I make an exception for SBOE because I think they're morons). Sitting through the first Senate debate was tough. While the candidates actually answered questions, the inclusion of the Libertarian really was odd -- Noriega and Cornyn almost completely ignored her. Of course, her claim that the instead of the bailout plan, what was needed was LESS regulation. This incredibly illogical statement was left unchallenged by her opponents. Of course, she answered every question the same way -- the free market will solve all problems. Riiiiight.

Libertarians are not doing well with me in this election -- their candidate for State Board of Education has ZERO information about herself on the web. Ugh.

Congress is a moot point -- the Republican is running against a former Democrat who apparently isn't recognized by the party. Good times.

Either way, tomorrow means the election becomes an academic issue for me. Woo hoo!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Germany-Wales Recap

We got our tickets to Germany-Wales in Mönchengladbach with the idea that from our 3rd row vantage point, we could see some goals. 2 or 3 at a minimum. Unfortunately, that wasn't the plan. Germany's plan was to screw with the ball and sometimes take long shots but not that often. Wales' strategy (or tactics, I need to ask McCain about that) was to pray that Germany didn't stop screwing around.

Germans even sing at halftime of a game they're unhappy about.

Wales attempts a corner in the second half.

Wales played a bunker D for most of the first half, leaving their incredibly speedy lone striker stranded. However, Wales did score 3 goals* in the first half, which shocked the crowd.

Germany takes a second-half free kick just outside the box.

But the second half was better with Wales challenging even before Germany scored the lone goal on a long shot from outside the box. All in all, a lot of fun. The second half was very entertaining

* Using the standard Welsh definition of "goal": touching the ball in the opponents' half of the field.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Eating Paris Part I

I had the best intentions to go all French for the first time in a trip to Paris (don't ask how many I've made, it'll just piss you off), but while trying to find the dinner place to make a reservation (they apparently don't answer le phone), I found myself surrounded by tibetan restaurants. The Latin Quarter now has a distinctly Himalayan feel. So, I decided to try one.

I went for the prix fixe menu and had a toasted barley soup for an appetizer (or "entreé" as they say). It was good, but nothing special (notwithstanding the menu's attestations to the contrary). It had a unusual flavor, but the mysterious meat (yak?) at the bottom was tough and flavorless (like Joe Biden).

The main course was samosas (or gallettes, and yes, it might be misspelled) filled with herbed, cooked ground beef. Tasty, especially with the herby side that was kind of like a chimichurri sauce. Tasty, but I didn't whip out the laptop for instant blogging. The house rosé went nicely with it.

For dessert I went with the homemade yoghurt. This was very tasty stuff. Easily the best I've ever had, my doubts about it as a dessert. Those doubts were misplaced. mmmmm... good.

I'll post tomorrow about dinner. It was quite tasty. And french.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Bringing "The Office" A Game

I can't watch "The Office" or other US TV shows until I get a Slingbox, but if i could, I would've loved the latest episode of The Office -- Jim was in fine form (or so I would think) as he taunted Dwight's insistence on professional ethics. It's really a shame I couldn't enjoy watching this. I also would have enjoyed the continued awkwardiousness (if it's a derivative of "awkward", shouldn't the word also be awkward?) between Michael and Holly.

Photo courtesy of NBC. If I could see it.
Mmmmm... Train Food

Hard to go wrong with a boiled shrimp with extremely garlicky garlic butter on a wheat roll, fresh pineapple and strawberries, and a creme tart. Accompanied by a delightful Viognier? All it needs is a slice of canteloupe to be a great brunch.

So, here I am, riding in style in 1st class to Paris. I have to admit, it is nice to be separated from the hoi polloi -- and the breakfast was worth the 3 euro increase over 2nd class.

Mmmmmm... bourgeois...

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Scientists Disprove Conservation of Cookie Matter

Zurich, Switzerland (AP): The first results from the Large Hadron Refrigerator are in -- and scientists have proven that cookie matter is not conserved.

"I had some chocolate chip dough in the fridge for after the 8pm quark smashing and when i returned, there was a noticeable concavity. Normally I would attribute this to Neumann, but he was out on his postal route. I then decided that this had to be explored in detail. After setting up cameras, I've found that somehow the smell of fresh-baked cookies accelerates the loss of matter. We've found that chocolate-chip is most likely to lose mass, followed by snickerdoodles and oatmeal-raisin. Peanut butter seems immune to the phenomenon."

The phenomenon is rumored to have first been seen in East Texas, but no data has been offered.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Techno Teletubbies

This is exactly why we should restrict internet access for Techno fans.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

The Detective Puts The Dope In The Basket!

Did anyone else have "Silence of the Lambs" issues when they realized Russell Crowe's boss was played by Buffalo Bill? I kept expecting him to walk into the Captain's office to the sight of dancing, tucked naked man. Thank God it didn't happen.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

I Respect Spite Sickness

So, I probably shouldn't have cackled so maniacally to Scott about our luck in being able to head to Paris for a night. We thought it was quite hilarious to imagine our friends' reactions when they heard we'd gone to the City of Lights and done nothing but eat, drink and see Jimmy Buffet.

Apparently the God of Texas Residents didn't think this was so funny and s/he smote me with a bit of Mitterrand's Revenge (true to French form, he capitulated after 24 hours of harsh "resistance").

Have I learned my lesson? Not so much. I am off again next weekend to see Sheila (aka Cougar No. 2) before she heads to Africa to help The Man. Will I taunt or just be thankful for my good fortune? Do you need to ask?