Archive for April, 2010

Who Even Thinks About Cleveland?

Friday, April 30th, 2010

A new report says the Sox are the second most hated MLB team … after the Indians?


Imagine if the Tea Party Was Black

Friday, April 30th, 2010

You probably already seen this, but I’ve run out of things to post. Or I’m just lazy. Your call.

Imagine if the Tea Party Was Black.”

Imagine that hundreds of black protesters were to descend upon Washington DC and Northern Virginia, just a few miles from the Capitol and White House, armed with AK-47s, assorted handguns, and ammunition. And imagine that some of these protesters —the black protesters — spoke of the need for political revolution, and possibly even armed conflict in the event that laws they didn’t like were enforced by the government? Would these protester — these black protesters with guns — be seen as brave defenders of the Second Amendment, or would they be viewed by most whites as a danger to the republic? What if they were Arab-Americans?

Hopefully this will change just one person’s mind.

Racist Arizona

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

The Daily Kos had an interesting article the other day: “Join Major League Baseball Boycott of Arizona: Hit the Pocketbooks.”

Next year’s MLB All-Star game is scheduled to be played at the Diamondbacks home in Phoenix. But last week’s new overly-strict/possibly unconstitutional anti-illegal immigration measure SB 1070 has put the state in hot water.

Of course, being in the southwest (as well as being horribly racist), they’re used to hot water. Think that’s harsh? Where was Super Bow XXVII played in 1993? Why, the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.

But where was it supposed to be played?

Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona.

It was pulled because Arizona voted against a Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

So I say pull the game. Give it to Minnesota for their kick-ass new Target Field.

I’d say Boston, but we want the 2012 one, for the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park.

“Real” World

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

Oh my God I’m ten years too old to be on MTV’s The Real World!

From yesterday’s Portland Press Herald:‘Real World’ looks to Portland for new cast.”

Don’t worry, I don’t want to be on the show, and I haven’t watched it in the better part of a decade … but still …

New Baseball Idea

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Another cool Freakonomics blog from the New York Times: “A New Kind of Starting Pitcher?

The suggestion is start a baseball game with “the Opener”, kind of like a closer, someone to pitch lights-out for the first two innings and then hand over the next six or seven innings to, well, the starting pitcher.


So, why ask starters to pitch until they fail? Why not ask them to pitch for just six innings, the third through the eighth? Most starters would be delighted by this “light” load and pace themselves accordingly. I’m not a pitcher or even a baseball player, but I just think there’s a lot of weakness in not knowing how long you’re going to be out there.

Pretty clever stuff …

Vacations For All of Europe

Monday, April 26th, 2010

Again with the Freakonomics blog on the New York Times: “An Important Human Right.”

Subsidized vacations for citizens over 65, kids between the ages of 18 and 25, and families facing “difficult social, financial or personal” circumstances.

Lucky bastards.

Little Coverage of New Coke

Monday, April 26th, 2010

I was kind of surprised there wasn’t much on the internets about New Coke’s 25th anniversary the other day. The one story I saw was ESPN Page 2: “New Coke: the gift that keeps on giving analogies.”

Key funny:

They set out to provide Pepsi in a red can. They ended up giving us so much more. Twenty-five years ago Friday, the product and brand management masterminds at Coca-Cola introduced New Coke — a cola-formula-changing misstep so profound, so epochal, so mind-numbingly misguided that it quickly transcended the realm of mere marketing blunder and became something else entirely: a lasting, pitch-perfect, near-Shakespearean metaphor for colossal, foolhardy failure poured from a 12-ounce can of corporate hubris, sipped through a straw of not leaving well enough alone.

For that, I’m so very, very grateful.

New Coke

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

It was twenty-five years ago today that Coca-Cola revealed “New Coke!”

Twenty-five years!

There are articles (and books) out there that’ll point out every nuanced flaw in completely replacing one’s flagship brand, so I won’t get into that here. Everything written about the New Coke brand either begins or ends with, “How could a major corporation be so dumb?”

I don’t know the answer to that, but I will ask one question, though. When exactly did Coke switch from sugar to the much less expensive high fructose corn syrup?

Think about it.

Elizabeth Warren

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

Rolling Stone is a weird magazine. For all of it’s articles about old hippies, obscure bands you’ll never hear of again, and pot (every two weeks another article about pot!) they do have fantastic coverage on Washington; the articles can also be longer and a little more pointed than other magazines.

Last week’s issue has an amazing piece on Elizabeth Warren, the TARP bailout overseer and architect of the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency: “The Watchdog.”

These are the important people in Washington whom we all should know (although, to be fair, she did appear on The Daily Show a few months ago).

New $100 Bill

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

They’re redesigning our money? Again?!

I know they have to thwart counterfeiters, but do we really need a new $100 bill every year now?


Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

Months that should be summer’s prime,
Sleet and snow and frost and rime.
Air so cold you see your breath,
Eighteen hundred and froze to death.

Oh that Freakonomics Blog at the New York Times has another interesting one: “The Next Great Scary Story?

They’re linking the recent eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland to the 1815 Eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia that caused the year without a summer a/k/a “Eighteen Hundred and Froze to Death.”

Oddly they see it in a positive light, which I equate with making lemonade out of lemons.

Personally I don’t care much for frozen lemonade, though.

Read the wikipedia article about the summer, but for a more local perspective here’s a clip from “The Weather” section of Portland’s long lost Eastern Argus from June 12, 1816:

The extraordinary cold state of the atmosphere during the week past, surpasses the recollection of the oldest person among us. The wind from N. to N.W. continued extremely high till yesterday [June 11] accompanied with a winter chill that rendered a fireside very comfortable – but a check is given to all vegetation, and we fear the frost has been so powerful as to destroy a great portion of the young fruit that is put forth. – On Saturday last [June 8] a gloom was cast over the face of nature by the appearance of snow which fell plentifully about 7 o’clock in the morning. On Monday [June 10] the coldest since 25th of May, thermometer stood in the morning 34 above 0 – much ice made in various parts of town the preceding night; and in the country we are told it was more severe.

Yes, snow on June 8th, ice on June 10th.

That’s not what I’m looking for in my summer vacation.

Just to prove how weird this all is, I’m going to quote another poem; Darkness was written by Lord Byron in July 1816 … during that summer.

The bright sun was extinguish’d, and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space,
Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth
Swung blind the blackening in the moonless air;
Morn came and went – and came, and brought no day…


New Maine Beer!

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

I just discovered “A Blog About Beer” with their post about the new Baxter Brewing Co.

What is Baxter? A new beer company, setting up shop in the historic Bates Mill in Lewiston. Their twist isn’t a twist at all – they’ll be the first brewery north of Connecticut to can its entire line of beer.


You’ll find Baxter beer in Maine this autumn, across northern New England in 2011.

Corpus Coranicum

Monday, April 19th, 2010

I read about this before, but this fascinates me: “The origins of a holy book.”

Corpus Coranicum is a project from scholars at Germany’s Berlin-Brandenberg Academy of Sciences to analyze various versions of Islam’s holy book, the Koran.

But, drawing on some of the earliest Korans in existence – codices found in Istanbul, Cairo, Paris, and Morocco – the Corpus Coranicum will allow users to study for themselves images of thousands of pages of early Korans, texts that differ in small but potentially telling ways from the modern standard version. The project will also link passages in the text to analogous ones in the New Testament and Hebrew Bible, and offer an exhaustive critical commentary on the Koran’s language, structure, themes, and roots. The project’s creators are calling it the world’s first “critical edition” of the Koran, a resource that gathers historical evidence and scholarly literature into one searchable, cross-referenced whole.

Origins of world religions fascinate me. It’ll be interesting to see what they find …

Txt Message Rules

Monday, April 19th, 2010

This should probably be posted in every school in America (or actually the world): “Five Things To Do Before Hitting “Send”.”

Here are the five things to think about before hitting send:

1. Love is temporary, text messages last forever
2. How will I feel if this message is printed on the cover of a newspaper?
3. What will happen if this message gets forwarded to 100 people?
4. There is no such thing as a confidential communication (every body tells at least one person)
5. Will the naked photo of myself I’m about to send hurt my ability to get a job?


Friday, April 16th, 2010

Good article about Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield: “Wakefield’s longevity in perspective.”

Key stats:

With 17 more innings, he’ll tie Cy Young for second most innings pitched in Red Sox history and could pass Roger Clemens (whom he trails by 64 2/3) by the All-Star break.

He’s the oldest player in the American League, and second only to the Phillies’ Jamie Moyer, Wakefield turns 44 in August.

If Wakefield is still playing in May of next year (he is signed though 2011), he will become the oldest Red Sox player ever, a distinction currently held by something of an interloper. Deacon McGuire was 85 days shy of his 45th birthday when he played his final of seven games in a Boston uniform in 1908.

Just how long has Wakefield been around? He actually played on the last winning Pirates team, a franchise that has posted 17 straight losing seasons, a record for all four major sports.

Cat and iPad

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

Awwww …

Suicides at Disneyland Resort Paris

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

Poor Disneyland Resort Paris. It’s been the red-headed step child of the Disney family for close to two decades now, ever since it was known as “Euro Disney.”

Apparently three employees at the resort have committed suicide over the last few months: “Disney resort hit by staff suicides.”

While that’s tragic, I hardly think the working conditions could be “brutal”.

But then again, it’s all perspective. I’m sure there are cultural hiccups at play – what’s a fair practice to American workers might not fly in other places.

At least the article didn’t mention how the park didn’t allow wine when it opened in 1992. Criminy, they always seem to mention that. It’s like the go-to line for how culturally insensitive Disney was back in the day. But they never mention how the current Chairman and CEO is French. Never. Mais non!

Maine Has Lowest Car Insurance

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

I’m probably just preaching to the choir here, but here’s another reason why Maine is good: “Maine Auto Insurance Rates Lowest in Nation.”

The president of the Maine Insurance Agents Association, Chris Condon, says, “It’s a real proud culture.” In most disputes, Mainers tend to seek fair treatment rather than big money.

“People are less likely to sue than they might be elsewhere,” Condon says, “I think that impacts those rates over time.”

Here’s the full list at

Fixing the Currency

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

The Freakonomics blog over at the New York Times had a good post yesterday about money in the United States – specifically what to do with the dollar bill and one cent piece. It’ll never happen, but it’s still a good thought: “Cutting the Currency Gordian Knot.”

No Reservations Maine

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

If you missed last night’s episode of Travel Channel’s No Reservations that was in Maine it’s available to purchase on the Apple iTunes Store now.

Mine’s downloading as I type …