While Robb is asking questions (just below) that may or may not involve the intent of the Founders, I have a more modern gripe. I've just about had it with these gall-dern noisy exhaust tips bolted onto an annoyingly high percentage of cars these days. You've heard 'em. Whether they're on a Civic or a Dodge Neon, they're just silly. I don't care what marginal measure of horsepower might be gained by lowering the exhaust pressure a smidge. To me it's about the same as using a clothespin to put a playing card in your bicycle spokes; fine if you're under ten years old.
As a noise-sensitive naybob, you might think that I have a problem with booming bass pouring from cars these days. Nope. Doesn't bother me. Well, let me amend that. If the trunk lid is rattling, well, that's a problem. But the low rumble isn't an issue for me.
But another noise is.
I don't care how popular it is. I don't care if it's copyrighted. Those damn short-piped Harley-Davidsons. It's not just about not liking the noise itself; it's that the cracking, thwap-thwapping of those engines, many tweaked and operated specifically for volume, is far more invasive and intrusive than subwoofer box I have encountered. These M-60 machine guns of the road (albeit with blanks) have on more than one occasion awakened my sleeping children, and not just while we're out on the road.
You might think I'm just gittin' old. But it bothers me that municipalities have statutes in place against stereo systems that can be heard from so many yards away, but there seems to be some sort of powerful Harley lobby preventing the enforcement of any noise codes against bikes loud enough to send veterans into fitful flashbacks.
That's it. Just had to get that out. Coming soon: my problems with the songs that the radio pumps through those subs.
if they have a hankerin' for a good movie, they should instead go see "Kill Bill: Vol. 2". I enjoyed the first movie, and I know at least one other Monkey found the violence "pornographic", but I found it very campy and certainly Python-esque. But the second movie is brilliant, and very different from the first. It's a credit to Tarantino's amazing talent, not to mention his undying love of movies (not "films", movies - flicks, as Robert Rodriguez might call them.)
Make no mistake, there's still some strong violence in this one, but it's more along the lines of the handful of violent scenes from "Pulp Fiction", rather than the first "Kill Bill" or even "Reservoir Dogs", and of course it also has strong language, although again less than probably any of his other movies. So give it a pass if those things bug you. But if you want to see a surprisingly touching multi-genre action movie from an increasingly mature master of the form, get out and see this one before it leaves the theaters.
Lileks is thinking of home-roasting his own coffee. I've been known to do so. Roast, that is, not just think. I haven't read this particular book, but I really really like this author's first book (3rd ed.) on coffee in general. If I remember correctly, I was kind of ambivalent about his book on espresso.
I use a little Melitta Aromaroast air roaster that works a lot like the early 80's hot air popcorn poppers. You have to quickly dump the beans into a bowl (or a colander that won't melt) and blow on them while mixing with a spoon to improvise a proper cooling cycle. Also, you can see samples of the roast in progress with the right size spoon and a willingness to let your fingers get a little hot. Over time you'll get to the point where you can almost pinpoint the roast by ear and timing. (Here's a tip sheet for the Melitta. Let me mention that green coffee doesn't go bad for a long long time. Some, like some Sumatrans, are intentionally aged green.)
Anyone interested should first get the Davids book. The stove methods in the book are possible, but hard to achieve good results with. Don't judge home roasting by those experiments. From there, buy something inexpensive like the Melitta. Yes, there are rotating-drum gas-powered home roasters that you can spend thousands on. That's your call.
Lastly, let me suggest befriending a local roaster. Get to the point where they're comfortable with you hanging out and talking while they roast in a real full-sized batch roaster. Ask questions, keep your ears and eyes open while they do what they do. I found such stuff invaluable. Furthermore, this roaster will likely become your supplier for green (unroasted) coffee beans. Beyond buying them for considerably less than roasted beans, you may enjoy some charity. Established roasters will often receive unsolicited little packages of beans from importers or plantations as samples. I was lucky enough to have some of these passed directly on to me free of charge.
It's a rewarding little hobby, and one that you can share with your spouse and houseguests. That all-important freshness will be without equal. Go ahead. Indulge you inner DIY epicurean.
Let's hope Derbyshire hasn't started a trend here of bloggers releasing their tax returns.
Though I'd sure like to see what Lileks and Hewitt made last year.
Tonight was quite a night.
I travel a lot. It's part of the job, and I have to admit I mostly enjoy it. Dinner on someone else's tab, visits to interesting places, and "alone time." Being an introvert, and having two young kids, that last part is pretty valuable. And I have little rituals to avoid some of the travel-related "ruts". For example, I try to avoid hotel chains that use the same floorplan, so that I don't wake up and wonder what city I'm in.
But my favorite ritual is to attend a major league baseball game if the town has a team. I'm back in Anaheim this trip, and I was lucky enough to score a really fantastic seat for my first local Angels game. I was about 15 rows up from the field, just to the right of the visitors' dugout. And the visiting team was the New York Yankees, the team I despise more than any other team in baseball.
I got to the game about a half hour early, and I'm glad I did, because my "home team", the Arizona Diamondbacks, were playing the Atlanta Braves, and something special was about to happen. Just as I was sitting down, the Jumbotron displayed Turner Field, and the announcer explained that Randy Johnson was within three outs of pitching a perfect game. A perfect game! This is the baseball rarity of rarities. It's happened only 16 times before in the history of Major League Baseball, and I was about to witness it again. Three years ago, Diamondbacks #2 pitcher Curt Schilling came close, and then some cold-hearted San Diego Padre bastard laid down a bunt and ruined it.
But tonight that wasn't going to happen. Johnson saw 27 batters, and retired all 27. During that ninth inning, it was all about Randy. The Atlanta crowd cheered for Johnson. And the Braves batters knew what they had to do: Try as hard as they could to get a hit. If they laid down now, it would cheapen the greatest victory a pitcher could ever have. It was compelling baseball, and I got to witness it in a stadium full of people cheering him on.
Oh, and then there was a game to play. And what a game it was. Ten and a half innings of shutout baseball for both teams, and in the bottom of the eleventh, new Designated Hitter Adam Riggs knocked in the winning run. I was surrounded by rabid fans for both teams: On my left and behind me were passionate Yankee boosters, while to my right and front were season ticket holding Angels fans. I was in the eye of the storm, and it was fantastic.
And now, I'm back in my hotel room, Lewis Black is on my television, and I've got a bottle of Sangiovese from the Santa Ana Wine Club. I'm a black-hearted sinner, and God blesses me anyway. What a deal!
The landscape has been altered. My naive little world has been changed. No, it's nothing political. Someone stole a planted bush from my front yard last night. No, not the sago palm that was just sitting there in a decorative pot. Not any of the kids' toys. Not the nice patio chairs. Somebody stole a bush that I planted in the ground, I don't know... two years ago.
Now the word "manicured" is not something that would normally apply to my yard. But right along our front entry, we planted two manicured "pom-pom" style bushes that played against the stonework for a geometric 50's/60's feel, setting the tone for our interior. So it's not like these are just some old scrubs that were here when we moved in, that we don't give a rip about. It's not so much the cost of the bushes, but the amount of time that went into the upkeep of the matching pair. Now, to quote Tones On Tail... there's only one!
Witness the scene:
That's where is used to be. This picture doesn't really convey the depth of the hole. Note the enriched soil, now sun dried, spread across the bricks and walkway. The trail of dirt and leaves leads off between our cars, out to the street.
Here's the remaining bush alongside the hole from the photo above.
Here's the trail of soil and twigs leading down the driveway. It continues onto the sidewalk, then disappears. Obviously there was a getaway vehicle involved. After more snooping, my wife noticed that there are extraneous cuttings and yard debris where our plant's dirt trail ends at the street, including a flower not found in our yard, or any close neighbor's. Assembling the clues, my Mrs. Monkey seems to have hit on a very plausible theory: some landscaper in need of a plant and short on time or money (certainly on scruples) found a quick fix on the way to, or on a resource-hunting detour from, a job.
So here's what we're left with. The sad thing is, I bet that there's a local landscaper who knows where to find just the thing to match my remaining bush.
Perhaps we could pass this post around the Phoenix area blogs. "Have you seen a bush matching this description?"
Whew! So many hyperlinks there I'm too tired to comment.
Okay, I haven't seen this particular special, but I've seen several of Black's specials on Comedy Central, as well as his weekly (sort of) segments on The Daily Show. My conclusion: Both reader Tom and writer Neil are thinking too hard about this. It's comedy, not philosophy. Black is funny to some people, and not to others. I find him hilarious most of the time, and I identify with his "Is it possible that the whole world is really THIS STUPID?" schtick. Others won't like it, and that's fine.
Justin tries to talk about how "important" it is for "edgy" comics to be around during times like these. Yawn. He's a COMEDIAN. Yes, he does a lot of political comedy, but if you watch his older specials, you can see that he's an equal opportunity political comic. He was ruthless with the Clintons during their reign, and now he shows King George no mercy. But it's all about making people laugh, and a successful comic is one who figures out who he "is" and hones that presentation. I can't imagine Black sitting down with his agent and philosophizing about what sort of comedy America "needs" right now, as if he's performing some sort of comedic public service.
Many popular artists wind up drowning in a sea of phony self-importance. But Black isn't Lenny Bruce. He isn't even Sam Kinison. He's a comic (yes, I know he's also a playwright) who has found a persona that he can work with, and that persona has found an audience. Good for him. Laugh if you find him funny.
Daniel Henniger writes in today's Opinion Journal:
By now, some Americans may feel the need for respite from the images of Abu Ghraib and the five hooded barbarians standing behind Nick Berg. This week's column will try to provide some measure of respite.
It is the story of Americans, in and out of the U.S. government, who moved mountains to help seven horribly maimed Iraqi men. It is not always pleasant reading, but there are rewards to staying with it, especially now.
(Hat tip: I don't listen to Laura Ingraham much - just a minute or two on the way to and from the pool some mornings - but I'm glad I caught her mention of this article.)
If anybody can make sense of the marketing strategy here, please clue me in. (Hat tip: F-Rock)
I seem to remember a joke about a mouse, an elephant, and some quicksand.
I drive a Volkswagen, but did not receive a call.
Just go to Hoystory and read. And keep reading.
Last night I was uncharacteristically listening to the BBC radio news. They were cordially beside themselves over U.S. soldiers' treatment of some incarcerated Iraqi POWs. One newsman mentioned to the other that the pictures that had been released were depressing and humiliating beyond words, but that the American papers seems to have almost no coverage it. Having just heard several minutes of slanted news of the war (it was the Beeb...), I didn't know what to think of the report of the abuse. Hadn't heard anything on regular U.S. talk radio during my short drive times today.
Well, I finally had my first free minute this afternoon, and something on the Bear Flag League headline scroll thing caught my eye. It was called We Just Lost Iraq. Read that. Wasn't sure what to think. Then I followed the link in the post's update. [Warning: it's a disturbing set of images.] Oh, man... (chin drops to chest, head shakes slightly.)
Isn't denial one of the first stages of grief? I keep hoping that this is going to turn out to be some sort of hoax, some kind of photoshoped propaganda op. But as that denial gets more and more worn away with each new credible and dependable pundit chiming in, I'm getting very close to anger.
Back in our Blog*Spot days, we never utilized a Comments service. Now that we're using MovableType, some folks are still baffled over our practice of rarely enabling comments on our posts. (You'll find that most comments on InfMonks these days are restricted to those from the other Monkeys. That's our version of adding an update to another Monkey's post; sort of like on Power Line when you'd read "Hindrocket adds:")
I'm probably the only Monkey sober at this hour, so I guess it
falls to me to say welcome, and we're glad you found us.
Yesterday there was a lot of talk on the radio about the idea of the Arizona Cardinals naming their new stadium under construction after Pat Tillman. (Instead, they're planning on pinning his name on the plaza out front.)
During the discussion, Hugh Hewitt picked up on some Phoenicians' references to Arizona's Governor Napolitano changing the name of one of the three prominent mountain peaks within the Phoenix metro area. Hugh heard some Phoenix callers point to the change as a bad move, but he repeatedly supported the action, saying it was a fine and admirable things to do. Well, that's the sort of position I might expect an out-of-towner to take. But had one been here during the machinations of the change, a different opinion may have been reached.
In the preceding paragraph, I worded the line about Napolitano changing the name very carefully. Arizona's Governor doesn't have the authority to do such things. But that's what she did. Such changes are only to be made by
Now, all of the usual disclaimers about my appreciation for the service of Pfc. Lori Piestewa notwithstanding, here are a few newspaper excerpts from the mishandling of the issue
(from an archived copy of what Marianne Jennings wrote in our local paper):
the Board's name change ran roughshod over law and policies. Both the U.S. Board of Geographic Names and state boards require that changes in honor of a person be proposed AFTER the person has been deceased for 5 years. To stop heat-of-emotion naming, these boards have, for 100 years, adhered to the five-year wait. Even Barry Goldwater's ghost had to sit it out until we named just about everything after him. ...
When the chairman of the state board, Tim Norton, reappointed in January by Gov. Napolitano for another five-year term, pointed out the five-year rule to his demanding governor, she suggested[*] that he resign. He didn't, but he also didn't go to the meeting. Richard Pinkerton, a member of the board for 19 years resigned [in protest] prior to the meeting. A portion of his letter read, "[t]here have been implied threats from within the board's membership that I should sacrifice and prostitute my integrity in the interest of satisfying a particular political leaning."
With Pinkerton out, and the chairman not in attendance, there remained only the sycophants of state government, trembling in their French Shriners. One public member of the Board, and the representative from the Arizona Historical Society, my friend, Lloyd Clark, weathered the meeting and rose to defend the rule of law. A near-octogenarian, this life-long fan of Casa Blanca knows more about Arizona names, sites and history than the Gila monsters. He has a love of everything Arizona from Penny's Pies at the Rock Springs Caf
Something bothers me about this. I'm gonna have to dig a little to figure out what it is exactly, because I'm sure it's about seven lost arguments deep.
While visiting a new Sprouts Farmers Market in my neighborhood, I happened upon a major discovery. The folks who make Hansen's All Natural Sodas have switched their line of Diet sodas over to my favorite new sweetener, Splenda. Woot! The cans even spell out clearly that they're "aspartame free" in addition to having no carbs and no caffeine.
So far I've had the Tangerine Lime and the Black Cherry. How do these compare with my beloved Diet Rite? Well, it's not even close. The Hansen's Tangerine blows away the Diet Rite Tangerine. And though they're not exactly matched head to head, the Hansen's Black Cherry does a much better job filling the niche that the Diet Rite Raspberry tried to fill in my life. (Yes, Diet Rite's website shows that they offer a true Black Cherry, but I've never seen it available in any store.)
It appears that Hansen's does not offer a cola, and I will be happy to get by with my old fried Diet Rite, for whom I will probably always have a soft spot. It's like a friend who helped me through rehab as I broke my sugar addiction. But as I put together my carb-smart, limited-sugar life, I'll be branching out and trying the other Hansen's flavors. Of course, I'll be reporting reviews and developments here.
Far be it from me to ever be considered any kind of baseball blogger*, but I've gotta ask: isn't it a bit early for 2004 All-Star voting? I finally watched my first game of the season on Thursday night, and caught another last night. (Unrelated observation: the Padres' road uniforms feature a color disturbingly close to "flesh tone," especially when they wear the light pants with the dark blue tops. It's just weird. And David Wells does not look good in the all flesh tone get up.)
I have no idea if the paper ballots are available in the actual stands, but the team websites have already had the nominees listed for some time, and you can already cast votes. Is this a new development? Has it ever started this early before? Is Howard Dean still on the AL ballot? Can I write in Hugh Hewitt? Is George Soros behind this? Will Franken still even be playing come the mid-season break?
*see also the Baseball category in Robert Tagorda's blogroll.
Joe Carter at Evangelical Outpost takes a look at some of the presuppositions behind positions for and against reinstating a draft. I think that the model of foster parenting would fit his analogy better than adoptive parenting, since it more regularly carries payments from the state and limited time commitments upon which many participants base decisions of service.
As a former Marine, it's tugged a bit at my heartstrings to hear of my "brother" Marines who've fallen in service over in Afghanistan and Iraq. But it's been esoteric. There hasn't really been a face on it. Just a story here and there. AZ's first casualty was a Marine in his 30's who was called "grandpa" by his comrades. Much as I can imagine being in a similar position, today puts a more familiar face on such a loss.
I watched Pat Tillman play linebacker at my alma mater Arizona State. He was the heart of the defense. I was later pleased to see him get picked up as a hometown favorite safety and special teams player for the hapless Arizona Cardinals. He always played well beyond his size. Well beyond. He was a guy I repected for his intensity balanced with serious focus.
I was further impressed when he walked away from his seven-figure pro-football contract to join the Army Rangers with his brother in the wake of September 11th. I think his only communication with the press was an indirect announcement that there would be no interviews, no cooperation with journalists covering his story whatsoever. He had not been married long before he shipped out. I'd heard that he was serving with a Special Ops team somewhere in Afghanistan. Today the news broke that he was killed in action.
UPDATE(S): Hugh Hewitt cites appropriate quotations, and points out this excellent summary of Tillman. Big Trunk at Power Line has been following the Tillman story for some time. Luke Duke posts the Ranger Creed. Can't resist adding a link to what Wretchard at Belmont Club penned this day.
This did not happen at last week's Summit.
But it should have.
Phoenix and its numerous burbs have a broad mixed population of folks from just about everywhere, making it an oft-used test market for new products. So I'd heard the buzz that we were going to be first to experience low-carb Doritos and Tostitos (yep, you read that right). I looked in the aisles of the grocery stores week after week. Nothin'. But I finally found the Doritos. They're at Subway, in the little bags that get added to the combo meals. They're called Doritos Edge. Of course I just had to try them.
Well, more like radio-sign (but no, I don't mean they've lined up the anxiously awaited webcast). The Northern Alliance Radio Network folks have lined up an interview with a temp by the name of Mike; just a regular joe they didn't like.
Somebody alert Croooow Blog.
I'm glad I work in a private school. (/Jackie Mason)
...never too busy for a quiz. (I blame King at SCSU.) It's not the best quiz ever but it's brief. You may as well...
I certainly don't think all the Monkeys are going to come out with the same results on this one.
Brad used to drink coffee, but no longer. The change has made him soft. When he posted earlier, trying to come up with a worthwhile label for the Columbine psychos, he just wasn't trying hard enough.
Had the blessed drug caffeine been in his system, he would have known that the correct label for these worthless twits is, in fact, "The Little Assfucks." I would like to see the old media step up to the plate and start using this unbiased term, but it starts with those of us in the blogosphere, the New Media. Let's get the word out!
Okay, read this story and tell me it doesn't look like something The Onion would write.
Not only are the events themselves outrageous, but the names are clearly made up. I mean, what kind of name is Tillie Tooter?