Friday, January 31, 2003

Utopia 2.0

There's an interesting idea here. Obviously, if the data and models are flawed in any way, you're going to get bad results, so there'd obviously have to be more work done than the article discusses to explain and verify them. However, the basic idea of a running a sim to show people the impact of their decisions on the environment is intriguing. Once the town/city-scope versions were perfected, it would be fun to do a nationwide sim and ask people to play just to see how many deliberately chose a scenario where the citizenry roll over and play dead while a rogue Supreme Court installs a sub-moronic pawn of the oil companies as president to alienate the world and instigate an imperialist war certain to agitate the most hate-filled, well-funded, religous extremists in the world (himself excluded) all the while rolling back environmental legislation and running up huge deficits to appease the super-rich. I wonder how many people would be happy with the result of that strategy?

Thursday, January 30, 2003

Dropkick Murphy Reference FTW

This happened the other day, and I don't know if anyone else caught it, but on one of the late night SportsCenters, one of the anchors (not Patrick, Stuart, Boomer, or Greenie -- one of the guys whose name I haven't bothered to remember) dropped this reference after a hockey highlight for player I can't remember either: "[that guy] is to the [name of forgotten hockey team] as Spicy McHaggis is to the Dropkick Murphys."


It's even bigger than the game against Tennessee: UConn v. Duke this Saturday at 7pm on ESPN2. UConn's 58 game winning streak v. Duke's 20 game. Taurasi v. Beard. It's the most important meeting between these two tradition-rich basketball programs since the men played each other in the '99 Championship game. Hoping for a similar result Saturday.

What Would James T. Kirk Do?

Lisabeth (Shatner's granddaughter? Wife?) over at asks WWJTKD about Saddam Hussein? All they are saying is give peace a chance.

Friday, January 17, 2003

Isn't That Nascent Serial Killer Behavior

There's appalling (see below) and then there's Omigod, who made this up?appalling. How come no one has been talking about Trent Lott's replacement Bill Frist's past as a cat-killer? (Oh, right, that darn liberal media again!) I haven't heard much about this story at all. (In fact, the link is to a Google cached page because this isn't making much news I could find.) When Frist was a medical student, he would go to area shelters and adopt cats. Only instead of providing homes for them as he promised, he'd take them home and experiment on them, killing them in the process. Can you picture someone pitching this storyline on The West Wing? "And, uh, Bartlett has a Republican opponent who used to kill cats in his basement..." I've worked in an animal shelter, taking care of animals and screening potential homes. I can't really describe how enraged I would be if someone posed as a good owner and then intentionally killed one of my dogs or cats.

This isn't some wild Internet rumor either. Frist confessed his training methods in his own autobiography (written before he was a politician), which is now - see the linked story - extremely difficult to find. (Update: I had to change the link because the first one went off the web. It now goes to a Cockburn article, which mentions the story, but not the now-rare autobiography angle.)

Saturday, January 11, 2003


I don't recommend watching Fox's abysmal The Best Damn Sports Show Period, except last night they had Diana Taurasi on and she was great. Of course, they didn't bother to put her clip on their page ... but take my word for it, she was a better interview than Matt Hasselbeck.

Thursday, January 9, 2003

Honestly, It's Not *That* High On My To-Do List

Some fans have made their own live action Star Trek web movie called Starship Exeter. Supposedly, they've captured the feel of the original series pretty well. Haven't seen yet, but I'll post a comment with an opinion once I do.

Wednesday, January 8, 2003


I am now the proud sponsor of the 2002 Boston Red Sox page at Go -- see the awesome majesty of my sponsorship! Glory in the unfailing accuracy (this time) of my prognostication! Nod sagely at the accuracy of my observation. Visiting B-R.commers, welcome! Feel free to wallow in the shallows of our cynicism and hard-bitten anti-corporatism (pervasive). Drink deep the draught of our best CD of the year selections (scroll down). Cast your inhibitions aside and visit sites like Why Oh Why, Cheek, Neilalien, Ghost In The Machine, and all the fine others in our TC Reads section to your right. It's all good. Don't forget to visit the Boneyard before you leave.

Monday, January 6, 2003


Ethics of Buying a Line Cut

The above linked article rails against the anti-democratization of the ski slopes, but the practice it condemns is already becoming more commonplace. I raved about the Q-Bot after going to Six Flags this summer because I got ride the Superman 4 or 5 times in a day, and still go on other rides, when if I'd had to wait in line, I could've ridden maybe 3 times if I never went on another ride. I bit the bullet and paid extra for the privilge to stand in a shorter line, here's the argument I didn't consider:
But this is a different case. The folks who get to cut into the line up front are holding everyone else back in the rear.

The ski resort has, in fact, sold them your time.

Just unbridled capitalism, you say? Just selling convenient access to the mountain to the highest bidder?

Hogwash. If someone wants to move up in front of me, they can pay me the buck.
Q-Bot, and it's equivalent on the slopes, basically lets the attraction's owner seize the time of people waiting in line and sell it without compensating them. It's kind of like if I tried to cut a line by offering $5 bucks to the guy at the front to get in front of him; he would've been trading in the time of his linemates without their consent -- unless, of course, he got out of line and took my spot at the back.

So, do ski slope operators and amusement parks have the right to steal time from their paying guests and give it to people willing to pay more?

Saturday, January 4, 2003

C-Dog's CD Faves of 2002

1. The Flaming Stars - Sunset and Void I have to confess it's actually Bring Me the Rest of Alfredo Garcia I love, but this year's entry from the wildly underappreciated Flaming Stars rocks as well. The garage/lo-fi thing is done all over and I'm not even that fond of obvious influence Nick Cave -- can't get enough of these guys though. It's the lyrics. I'm constantly nodding my head and smile-smirking. "It's all overrated, Baby Blue." I tried to hook HD on these guys, but he wasn't biting. It may just be a me thing. Naw, it can't be. They're so freaking good. What the hell's wrong with you, HD!!

2. Jughead - Jughead It's just power pop. Hooky stuff with non-cutting edge songs with titles like "Halfway Home to Elvis". When Tif (she's my fiancee now, I don't think I mentioned that here yet!) and I drove out to Cooperstown this fall this CD got a ton of play. As long as I'm on the p-pop trip, I'll mention liking Ash's Free All Angels as well, especially for the video of the Jackie Chan song, and no less for trifles like "Candy". It can't make the list though. Not really.

3. Streets - Original Pirate Material I almost didn't list this because it's making *everybody's* list and I don't think it's the revolutionary bit of genius everyone is hailing it as. It's fun, and hilarious at times, but for an album that's supposed to owe so much to the legacy of ska, I can't imagine actually dancing to any of the tracks. Ignorant to the 2-Step whosamacallit movement, I'll let someone in the know tell me if you're supposed to want to dance to it. It sounds like it was made in a kid's bedroom and is the perfect listen on your bedroom stereo while blogging about how rad it is. I feel like 'the inevitable critical backlash' for not joining in the unanimous praise, but can console myself my pointing out I did like it enough to make it one of my half dozen faves of the year.

4. The Mighty, Mighty Bosstones - Jacknife To A Swan I see you rolling your eyes and 'there goes C-Dog again'-ing. Stop. Really. It's time people let the B-Tones off the hook for some mid-90s missteps, then making it big due to "The Impression That I Get". Don't be a hater because they're old and still ska-core. I'd rather go to this show and pogo around than stand next to kid with the thick black frames at the Streets gig.

5. Yo La Tengo - The Sounds of the Sounds of Science I'm kicking myself now for looking at the listing in the Boston paper for the show where they played live with a showing of the documentary this album scored and thinking, "uh-oh, this smells like a descent into art-rock dissonant noodling, I'll stay home." I had this image in my head of James McNew, back to the audience - watching the screen, banging two blocks together in time with some crab snapping its claws, or something like that. I can't abide art-rock noodling. Me, I likes the old-timey music with the rythm and the melody. I only heard this after grabbing a mostly corrupted file off a usenet and I couldn't stop listening to it for a week. Reminded me of the That Is Yo La Tengo EP I love so well. I'll mention the Nuclear War single here even though it in no way makes this list but on account of you get to hear Georgia sing, sweetly, "motherf*cker ... kiss your ass goodbye."

6. / 7. Waco Brothers - New Deal / The Mekons - Oooh! In any given year with some combination of Waco Brothers / Pine Valley Cosmonauts / Mekons releases, you can bet at least one album belongs on that year's best list. We got all three this year. These albums edged out The Executioner's Last Song for honors. Well, more than edging; I didn't care all that much for TELS on the whole. Shouldn't dissuade people from loading up other Pine Vally Cosmonaut releases though.

8. Frodus - And We Washed Our Weapons In The Sea I'm dangerously close to making this list the best of what I heard in 2002 regardless of release date. I won't do that though; this is the one exception. This album's actually a 2001-er, but I didn't know about it last year. You'll find these guys near the Fugazi section in the CD bins of your local record store and it wouldn't hurt let the alphabetical linkage be your guide in this instance.

9. The Flaming Lips - Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots Sly knows what I'm talkin' about.

10. Luna - Close Cover Before Striking Not a real album, as such. Real good though!

Honorable mentions: Minus 5 - Down With Wilco. If I knew when this was (will be?) released, I'd know whether or not I could put it on the list. I still have a mostly corrupted usenet copy and couldn't find a reference to this thing anywhere on the web. Maybe it's a pre-release thing? In any event, it's great and now I need to stop overlooking the Young Fresh Fellows and the other Minus 5 releases. Despite my bad burn with songs that end abruptly and whatnot, I'm totally sold. "Dear Employer, The Reason I Quit..." is an instant classic. Neko Case - Blacklisted, which I just remembered thanks to trying to justify sneaking in 2001's excellent Thalia Zedek release, Been Here and Gone. I'm sticking with my one exception rule though.
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