6.30.2008

Annals of Capitalism

Football division.

Thanks, WFMU


This "Beware of the Blog" post is like the FreeDarko mother lode. This one is merely (merely?) funny cereals:

WALL-E

Of course everyone's right, it is a masterpiece. The only thing I can add is my belief that there's a connection to be made between it and its much less successful bummer-future cousin, "Idiocracy." I think Pixar, being Pixar, is too discreet to point this out, but the baby-people on the Axiom are much more likely to be talking about "Ow! My Balls!" than the kind of Newton Minow vast-wasteline scenario that is presented.

6.29.2008

We're all connected!

Jerome a Paris:

"Just like the decline of the North Sea seems to have caught the UK government unaware, and is leading to quasi-panicky behavior by the UK government (which one day blames the Russians, one day wants to go all nuclear, one day wants to go all-wind, and generally blames 'uncompetitive' continental Europe for its plight rather than its own policies, or lack thereof), the brutal decline of the Cantarell field, and of overall Mexican production is likely to have brutal consequences, as the country loses its main source of exports and the Mexican government its main source of tax income. Social unrest, and massive migration toward the North could be one outcome..."

6.22.2008

Not to say that I like it, but I love it.



Pro-rail Obama logo, courtesy of Greater Greater Washington. That's the positive side of him, as opposed to the Roman Imperium loss-of-the-republic side (to be fair, we probably lost the republic after WWII).

Treasured sports theories

Mark Heisler's probably my favorite writer on the LA Times sports page. Without him I would care even less about the NBA. Here's something from today's season-ending debriefing:

"Before Game 6, the Boston Globe's Bob Ryan, a Celtics beat writer when there were classics, wrote a column headlined, 'It has to get better than this,' noting there hadn't been a 'knock-down, drag-out 48-minute demonstration of mutual athletic greatness' that would have thrilled a wider audience.

Unfortunately, today's defense-oriented game doesn't promote classics.

The '80s Lakers-Celtics Finals games that popped up on ESPN Classic had flowing action with both teams running and scores in the 110-120 range.

This season's quote, unquote, high-scoring Lakers, averaged only 93.8 points, stymied by that Celtics defense packed back in the paint.

Athletic greatness requires a stage on which to perform. Bryant, one of the game's greatest high-wire artists, spent the Finals shooting jump shots from the cheap seats."
This brings up my favorite sports theory, which I export from the NHL, which is that the sheer size of everyone nowadays limits the time and space for offensive geniuses to create. Size, and increased conditioning. Weight training has been a disaster for aesthetically inclined sports fans (I prefer Ozzie Smith-era baseball as well).

Schwarzenegger Bullshit Watch (24), mass transit edition

From Calitics via Kos:

Proposition 1B, the multibillion transportation bond approved in the 2006 election, was supposed to deliver funding to purchase more cars and expand Amtrak California services, including the creation of a "Coast Daylight" train from SF to LA via the 101 corridor.

Those funds haven't materialized because Arnold Schwarzenegger's Department of Finance stunningly claims that there is no need for new cars. According to the Rail Passenger Association of California and Nevada (RailPAC):

The Department of Finance, whose director Michael Genest maintains that public fund support for mass transit, particularly the intercity rail program, is not a legitimate expenditure of public funds, has conducted an "audit" that said "we don't see you need it." So, "we can't spend any because of that." That puts the expected order of new cars for the Surfliners, Capitols, and San Joaquins on hold.

What happened was that Genest sent auditors to ride the Capitol Corridor in the middle of the day on a Wednesday in the middle of January - traditionally a time of low ridership, whereas the route is packed to the rafters on weekends and during commute hours. This flawed "sample" enabled the Schwarzenegger administration to extend its war on public transportation to the successful Amtrak California system, in an attempt to starve it of services right at the moment when Californians are embracing intercity rail.

6.19.2008

It's the runoff, stupid

Kit Stolz points us in the right direction:

"We've done numerous things to the landscape that took away these water-absorbing functions," he said. "Agriculture must respect the limits of nature."
Not just agriculture. I remember being in Dauphin Island, Alabama and taking my kids to the sea lab they have there, in which they pointed out that all the runoff from all the asphalt leads to sudden, strong discharges into Mobile Bay, which weirds out the ecosystems therein (not the actual words).

The various environmental crises we're at the beginning of are not just CO2 related, but are a function of unprecedented numbers of us humanoids running around on the planet. Hopefully some of these nine billion brains will have some answers.

Against the Greatest Generation

Ken Ringle on the National Mall:

"the great central place in Washington that remains today the world’s largest planned urban open space, symbolizing the American psyche and destiny of perpetual becoming. This concept, contrasting with the European tradition of monuments celebrating past triumphs, has become increasingly blurred in recent decades as this tabula rasa has been encroached on with modern “memorials” of questionable aesthetic merit."
I guess I've always disliked the "Greatest Generation" jazz because I feel there's no room then for those of us to come, and that seems un-American. It's a freezing of historical mobility that reminds me of the freezing of social mobility, and it rubs me the wrong way.

6.07.2008

Small question on politics

How could someone who wouldn't fire Mark Penn make a good president?

Belmont day

Still one of the most memorable sporting events I ever saw (warning -- poor 70s quality):

Comparisons come to mind with Clinton-Obama.

6.06.2008

National Doughnut Day?

I'm just finding this out now?

Fortunately I had a doughnut (or "donut") while protesting the budget cuts at my kids' school. Between this and the strike, I appear to be trying hard to establish in my kids' minds that political activism = donuts.

6.05.2008

Pilot season RIP

So I see by Nikki Finke that NBC is basically going to abandon pilot season, and in the comments there's a lot of crowing about how this proves the strike was bad (sample comment: "Congrats, WGA! You lost.")

About this I have two things to say:

1. They're right, but
2. It doesn't matter.

I don't believe it's in the best interest of a union to keep uneconomic practices alive, and pilot season -- even, or especially, the way NBC conducted it -- was uneconomic. I myself got a six-figure sum for a pilot pitch a few years back, which they didn't even greenlight to pilot. And they wound up taking none (0) of their pilots to air that year.

That can't continue. The strike merely hastened the inevitable doom of the pilot process, at least in its most profligate form.

Of course, NBC is probably doing the usual network thing of overreacting. When networks discover they've been driving on the left shoulder of the road, they think the cure is to drive on the right shoulder.

Cleaning out my net news wire: Climate

Hybrid solar lighting? We're only at the start of our innovation -- those of us who make it to 2020 (I'm choosing cirrhosis, myself) will wonder at our primitive ways.

• I like David Appell's crankiness here:

1)COAL IS NOT VIABLE AS A LOW-CARBON ENERGY SOURCE

2) NO MATTER WHAT SOME COAL COMPANY EXECUTIVE SAYS, EFFORTS TO SEQUESTER COAL'S CO2 EMISSION HAVE BEEN A HUGE FAILURE.

3) BASIC PHYSICS SAYS THIS SITUATION WILL NOT BE IMPROVING ANYTIME SOON.

4) "CLEAN COAL" IS AN OXY-MORON.
These are all lemmas which prove the following theorem:
COAL IS COMPLETELY ANTITHETICAL TO THE FUTURE OF THE HUMAN RACE.

NEXT?

McCain: Baldness we can believe in

My own scalp is as hopeless as a Rust Belt ghetto, and while looking at it this morning I realized that McCain is too bald to be president -- we haven't had one since Ike, and that was practically pre-television.