Friday, June 22, 2007

McLaughlin Group Dream Team

NBA = Days of Our Lives

Simmons has a great podcast where he interviews ESPN's Ric Bucher about the NBA. It is fun to go through all of the different possibilities: will Kobe end up in Chicago or LA? Will Garnett end up in Minnesota, Boston, or Phoenix? Ric Bucher says the answer to the first question is "not LA." KG says the answer to the second question is "not Boston."

It seems to me that the NBA has devolved into a soap opera. Everyone is intrigued about trades, awards, and the draft (which is on Thursday - I'm excited), but no one seems to really want to watch the game anymore. At least, that is how it is with me.

Here is how I think that the NBA draft should go:

  1. Portland: Greg Oden. I'd make an argument for Durant, but this is the way it is going to end up.
  2. Seattle: Kevin Durant
  3. Atlanta: Al Horford
  4. Memphis: Mike Conley, Jr.
  5. Boston: Corey Brewer
  6. Milwaukee: Brandan Wright
  7. Minnesota: Jeff Green

I'm not doing any more, because I don't care a whole lot about more. I would be okay with the Wolves rolling the dice on Yi Jianlian, but I am not much of a Spencer Hawes fan. They will probably take Hawes, though, and I hope that I will be proven wrong. If Corey Brewer is still around at 7, I would really, really hope that the Wolves would take him.

Also in Simmons's podcast was a great quote. Bucher was telling Simmons that the reason the Lakers have been making bad moves lately was because Dr. Buss's son (who was described as "psychotic," or something like that) was starting to play a larger role. Simmons piped in with the following (approximate) quote: "Yeah, those legacy kids are ruining this country. If the last six years in the White House has taught us anything, it is that legacy kids are trouble."

Thursday, June 21, 2007


This week's McLaughlin Group was great. I love this show, and cannot wait until next week's podcast. Buchanon said twice that he agrees with Lawrence O'Donnell.

I want to hang out with Buchanon, O'Donnell, and McLaughlin - those guys seem like fun. Failing that, I want a poster of The McLaughlin Group.

Strawberries and Wolves

Skye and I went to visit our CSA farm (Red Fire Farm) yesterday to pick strawberries and peas. I had a lot of fun, and it is awfully nice to be connected to your food. For dinner last night, we had beets, turnips, and collard greens that were all from the farm (with strawberry shortcake for dessert). These were vegetables that had been picked the day before, and the food was great. We didn't eat a ton, but we were both very satisfied by the end of the meal. I really enjoy eating locally.

Also at the farm was a super nice cat. Skye mentioned to me that she wanted a cat like that, and someone at the farm later offered her to us. I think that we will decline, though, since we will likely be gone a lot in the next year and moving soon.

I don't know how to feel about the possibility KG trade. He has been such a great citizen for so long that I would hate to see him go (unless he wanted to go). On the other hand, we cannot possibilty get better unless we trade him. I guess that I would like to either see us keep him, or else I would like to see him traded to Phoenix. This is kind of like the Torii Hunter situation, only more so.

Good job, Twins.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Weekend in Review

I had an exciting weekend full of Skye's birthday, getting engaged to Skye, and lots of phone calls. You can read more about this on Skye's weblog.

On to more mundane things:

People should remind me how great it is to run if I get lazy. I run 6 miles this morning, and I can feel my leg muscles growing back stronger. It is quite nice. I think that I am going to try to run the Bay State Marathon in October - this will be incentive to keep me running.

I finished reading Deep Economy by Bill McKibben. He writes a lot about community and local economies, and it is a very interesting read. I think that he makes a lot of sense, and I am going to do my best to shop at local stores whenever possible (goodbye Whole Foods, hello Harvest Co-op...and my CSA).

Morneau had another walk-off home run. Go him.

Friday, June 15, 2007


Also, here are two things that I have noticed about people:

First, there are a lot of Twins fans in Boston. I have probably seen 8-10 people wearing Twins attire since I got my hat a couple of months ago.

Second, there are a lot of smokers in the Berkeley area. I'll echo Tsjaz's confusion from a couple of years ago: "why do so many 'counterculture' people smoke?" Is there anything more corporate than supporting Philip Morris? Strictly for the purposes of this paragraph, the answer is "no."

Twins win (also Spurs)

Palestine no longer has a government. I don't understand what this means.

Congratulations to the San Antonio Spurs, who won the NBA title last night. I am sorry that I wasn't able to continue hating them after that physically abused the Suns - I think I reverted back to my original opinion about them.

Bill Simmons pointed out that the upcoming NBA draft is more interesting to talk about than the NBA Finals, and I think that he is right. I think that sports, and the NBA in particular, is becoming more of something that you follow, rather than watch. Maybe that's just me.

More importantly, the Twins won last night in exciting fashion. They were down 2-0 going into the bottom of the 9th. A Castillo single, Cuddyer triple, Morneau single, Yunel Escobar throwing error, and Mike Redmond single led to 3-2 victory. It was fun to follow on I just wish that we could get a little more run support for Santana. The poor guy can't buy a win.

In music news, I am on a Modest Mouse kick right now after hearing a lot of "Dashboard" and "Missed the Boat" on the radio. I am also enjoying Kristin Hersh's newest album, Learn to Sing Like a Star. I decided not to see her a couple of months ago because I wasn't really enjoying the album. Plus, there was a decent chance that her string section wasn't going to be there (visa problems). I also missed a chance to see her play within 10 blocks of my house due to my trip to California.

I am contributing to the knowledge of the world: because of me, we now know more politicians who hold a Ph.D.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

King of All of the World

Have you ever known a song that seemed really plain at first, but then you found that there were little gems buried inside of it? I have.

Skye, AVC, and I went to a teacher educator conference in Rhode Island yesterday. We had a great discussion on the way back about how useful these conferences are. Here was the basic format: we broke out into small interest groups for 70 minutes, had all of the interest groups report back their findings, and then listened to a speaker. The speaker was very good, a math educator who spoke about her research. An example of an interest group was "training pre-service elementary school teachers," which is the one I attended ("pre-service" means they aren't teachers yet. Basically, this means teaching college students who want to be teachers) . Here is what we discussed (and later reported): it is hard to train pre-service teachers because we don't have much time, there are many people have attitudes that counter our goals, and no one has done much assessment of these programs. This is not new news, and this is why we were questioning the value of the conference.

On the other hand, I met some people who are interested in the same thing that I am, and I can contact them if I need help.. Also, I got invited to apply for a job (it would be a great job, except that the geography is all wrong).

What is the best way to make progress on an issue? Talking about it only accomplishes so much. Speaking of which, I am going to wrap up soon, since I should really continue writing my textbook for pre-service elementary school teachers.

Happy birthday to the female Dr. Yeti. Congratulations to the Twins, who beat the Braves last night. I followed it a little too closely on the internet.

I'm excited because this "junkyard wars" project I am involved in decided to have the students build a windmill out of junk. This was decided by a subcommittee, of which I was half.

Now I'm on my way up north
All it's gonna do is rain
And I'm gonna want to go back to the world
Where I was the king of all of the world

Monday, June 11, 2007

Animal of the Day

Hi everyone,

Please allow me to introduce you to the hagfish.

Hagfish, everyone. I heard about the hagfish while reading The Straight Dope.

There are two things that you need to know about hagfish. First, they produce a lot of slime.

They apparently create this slime to make them slippery to predators. Of course, after a hagfish gets away, it doesn't want to spend the rest of the afternoon covered in slime. To get the slime off of it, it scrapes it off by tying itself into an overhand knot.

I hope you had fun with your new friend Hagfish.

Friday, June 08, 2007


I was reflecting on my visit with a bunch of hippie environmentalists at a party in California, and I was saddened by their lack of knowledge (Note: I am sympathetic to hippie environmentalist causes). They told stories of chaining themselves in trees, recycling, and dumpster-diving, but there was a startling lack of commitment to the two greatest sources of pollution that one has immediate control over: car emissions and diet. Before I explain, I am citing a newspaper article from the Star Tribune in the late 1990's. I cannot find a better source than that for the car emissions.

Car Emissions: first, my main hippie environmentalist friend drives cars powered by vegetable oil or biodiesel, so he gets a pass. Many of the hippies, though, drove to the party in petroleum-powered cars. I am not going to discuss this much, because this is a somewhat difficult change to make.

Diet: Diet, however, is a very easy change to make. Recently (and past) reports from the University of Chicago have indicated that the best way to save the planet is to become a vegetarian. Here are quotes from the article:

" Producing a calorie of meat protein means burning more than ten times as much fossil fuels--and spewing more than ten times as much heat-trapping carbon dioxide--as does a calorie of plant protein...According to the UN report, it gets even worse when we include the vast quantities of land needed to give us our steak and pork chops. Animal agriculture takes up an incredible 70% of all agricultural land, and 30% of the total land surface of the planet. As a result, farmed animals are probably the biggest cause of slashing and burning the world's forests. Today, 70% of former Amazon rainforest is used for pastureland, and feed crops cover much of the remainder. These forests serve as "sinks," absorbing carbon dioxide from the air, and burning these forests releases all the stored carbon dioxide, quantities that exceed by far the fossil fuel emission of animal agriculture.

As if that wasn't bad enough, the real kicker comes when looking at gases besides carbon dioxide--gases like methane and nitrous oxide, enormously effective greenhouse gases with 23 and 296 times the warming power of carbon dioxide, respectively. If carbon dioxide is responsible for about one-half of human-related greenhouse gas warming since the industrial revolution, methane and nitrous oxide are responsible for another one-third. These super-strong gases come primarily from farmed animals' digestive processes, and from their manure. In fact, while animal agriculture accounts for 9% of our carbon dioxide emissions, it emits 37% of our methane, and a whopping 65% of our nitrous oxide."

I don't understand how someone can call him/herself an environmentalist without becoming a vegetarian; this confuses me, since it is the single most powerful thing that one can do to save the environment. Many internet environmental sites don't even acknowledge this.

PETA, of course, has an amusing take on this.

I'm done being judgmental (for now).


Skye's roommate just graduated and will be moving to Chicago tomorrow, so I am sad.

I watched part of game 1 of the NBA finals. Meh.

I am using the computer to do my gruntwork, and being horribly inefficient about it. It should be okay, since it is kind of a small job.

I sure hope that this is investigated thoroughly. I hope that all of the other corruption charges are also followed up on.

So I am not sure if it is worth posting on days like today where I don't have anything to say. I guess that I am going to post anyway; I just hope you know that I am aware that this is not a very good post.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


Skye and I watched Volver last night. Meh.

I am having maximal subgroup trouble. I wish that there were a clearer pattern as to how to construct maximal subgroups (and then count them). This is hard.

Monday, June 04, 2007

The coldest winter I ever saw...

I just got back from a trip to the San Francisco/Oakland/Berkeley area. The trip started with a trip to see Jocko and Supertaster at their nature retreat. They live on a farm, and their way of life was definitely a lot of fun to live for a couple of days. They are a couple of modern day hippies livin' the dream. I was particularly thrilled to ride in cars fueled only by biodiesel and pure vegetable oil.

Next, we went north to the Drs. Yeti and Yeti Jr. On Monday, Top Sex Partner made a semi-surprise visit up from LA. He brought along a mustache as a surprise.

Skye and I had fun with them all. I particularly like the sea lions.

Next was the conference. It was a teacher on how to teach mathematics to current and future K-12 teachers. It was good, and I met good people. Our talk went well, even though I got chewed-out by the resident curmudgeon. This was not a surprise - I know him and initiated the conversation. I think that he later tried to make up with me in his own way after the scolding. That was nice. This whole thing bothered me a little, but not a lot.

In other travel news: I still enjoy cable television. The hotel had it, and I used it to watch The Daily Show, Colbert Report, Futurama, Family Guy, and some other stuff. I stumbled across Studio 60, and was a little disappointed that Aaron didn't send me a postcard to let me know that it was back on the air.

Did you know that Oprah has appeared on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, The Hughley's, Ellen, All-American Girl, and (gasp) Home Improvement? Isn't this like her appearing on According to Jim today? I don't foresee that happening.

One nice thing about cross country flights is the movies. I saw a couple episodes of The Office, one episode of 30 Rock (both very enjoyable), and four movies: Bridge to Terabithia, Man of the Year, Wild Hogs, and The Astronaut Farmer. I really liked Bridge to Terabithia. Two of the movies were so-so, and Wild Hogs wasn't very good. Not very good at all, although I didn't hate myself for watching it.

I am pulling for the Cleveland Cavaliers; the Spurs are jerks. I also thought about seeing the Twins play the A's on Friday night, but I decided that it wouldn't be worth it. For one, I would have left for the game during the 3rd inning, so I wouldn't have gotten there until probably the 6th. Also, it would have been a late night followed by a flight the next morning. I think that I made the right choice, even though the Twins did win.

I think that I am going to go home now.