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From the Notebook

Lots to get through, fell behind a bit…

-Attended the Minnesota Organization of Blogs 6th anniversary party on Saturday. Met the man behind The Loyal Opposition. It’s always unusual meeting someone in the DFL who is more conservative than I (though economically, it might have been a tie). Enjoyed an awkward moment with AAA, then another with Kevin Ecker. (I apologized profusely for not reading their blogs anymore. To be fair, I only read four blogs. To be more fair, I should be reading their blogs…and so should the rest of you).

The list will get long quick. Obviously: Mitch Berg and King Banaian were there. So too Derek Brigham. PinkMonkeyBird ( really old handle, blogs at Freedom Dogs under a handle I don’t know) is running for office, as is Jamie Delton. John Stewart said hi and promised to kidnap and force me to enjoy a game of outdoor baseball. Talked with the Buddha Patriot. Waved at Speed Gibson. Douglass Bass wanted to talk Avatar (His Twitter Feed). And Brad Carlson threw a drive-by hello at me. I dragged along Orlando Ochoada, Minnesota’s least prolific blogger (5 years, zero posts). And I met up with the guy who used to be the producer of Race to the Right, that radio show I once co-hosted, Tommy Hyunh. After six years, the MOB hasn’t changed. There was more gray hair, a few people gained weight, some slimmed down. Those either bald or with shaved heads barely seemed to age (might be the way to go). But, still the same group of decent people from the first party I attended. (Here’s a little tidbit from the first MOB Party I actually wrote about)

-Read “I Love This Game” by Kirby Puckett (with the usual assumption there was a ghostwriter involved). The book should still be of interest to Twins fans. It’s interesting to compare Puckett with teammate Kent Hrbek. After reading Hrbek’s book, I gained more appreciation for the way he played baseball, but I left with a little less respect for Kent Hrbek the man. Hrbek never had many goals, it didn’t sound like he was a hard worker, and it’s possible Hrbek has read fewer books in the last ten years than he’s “authored.” But, Hrbek didn’t care for raw stats like RBIs or BA. He only cared for his OBP. Puckett was different. He constantly used RBIs and BA to promote his abilities and joked about being undisciplined at the plate and never taking walks. But, Kirby Puckett the man was an interesting and complex person. He wanted to go to college (and did) and he never gave up on baseball. He practiced and worked hard. There was a deep sense of morality to the man, and he even struggled with it. Later questions about the man Kirby Puckett would be raised after his retirement. The man had his demons. Kirby was emotional, and didn’t hide his feelings, as is clear from the book. His book was written before he retired, so there is no written record of how he dealt mentally with the end of his career (though he put a positive spin on it in interviews). If you can find a copy, it’s worth the read.

(And I don’t want to pass over the serious allegations Puckett was saddled with after his retirement. You have to take these revelations into context with the book and what we know about his life. I don’t think we’ll know who the real Kirby Puckett was. But as a baseball player who had fought his way from the projects in Chicago into college and then into the Majors, his book is a great example of what determination and positive attitude can accomplish.)

– Read “Our Enemy, The State” by Albert Jay Knock. If you’re looking for the right kind of book to create a political cult with (none of that Ayn Rand crap), this is the one you need to read. Knock deconstructs the American Revolution and shows how the state created by the founders wasn’t all that different from the state they rebelled against. Both states encouraged the economic exploitation of one class over another. The players simply changed.

-This goes back to several arguments I’ve had with people over the years about the value of “second place” or even “third place” and I’ll even throw out “Top ten.” I consider such accomplishments as the bronze medal and making the cut as worthy of notation and praise. Other suggest the only real accomplishment is the Win. If you don’t win, it ain’t nothing. Bullshit. Petra Majdic’s bronze medal in the cross country sprint was one of the most incredible athletic feats I’ve ever seen. She qualified and finished the race after breaking a few ribs and puncturing a lung in a practice lap. (“But it wasn’t gold” says the douche.) In a world of 6 billion people, finishing third, in whatever endeavour, is a monumental display of ability and determination. So buy that bronze medalist a drink, and shout down those who can’t acknowledge anything but first place. close rant.

-Read “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley. I really wish I had read this book earlier in my life. It’s such a powerful little book, warning of all the trappings we find in modern life. Huxley was convinced the danger lay with corporations, whereas conservatives believe governmental power alone is dangerous. From history, we know there is often collusion between big business and despotic governments. (I was introduced to the concepts of the book by a liberal who was convinced the book was simply an anti-corporate work, rather than a deeper examination of modern life). So, read it. It’s also on the Great Books reading list (2nd version).

-Read a selection from Werner Heisenberg’s “Physics and Philosophy” (Ch1-6 as part of the GBWW Edition two 10 year reading plan). Heisenberg explores the evolution of science from the pre-Socratics to his own musings on the implications of quantum physics. The chapter he spends on the pre-Socratics and the sixth chapter where he explores the limitations of scientific knowledge are the best and most interesting. 

-Read “Common Sense” by Thomas Paine; it’s the famous essay in support of American independence that created a popular movement strong enough to persuade the continent against the English Crown. Important for historical reasons, there are some interesting tidbits for the modern politico. On the question of reconciliation on the Health Care bill, Paine says a simple majority should never be enough to rule. His outlines for a legislative body recommend a minimum of a tw0-thirds majority before any law is passed.

-David Howarth’s “1066; The Year of the Conquest” is a great work of popular history. Despite our shared lineage, Americans don’t get the lessons in British history (or European history) that we should. The Conquest of England by William was a monumental event in the western world. The English language, English leadership, English culture, all were changed after William. This books does not dwell on the effects of the Conquest, just the mechanics. King Harold was defeated long before the Battle of Hastings. The book is great and I picked it out of a bargain bin for a couple of books.

-Read “Final Theory” by Mark Alpert. The book is a fictional account of a crisis regarding the revelation of the Unified Field Theory (basically, where the math of quantum mechanics and relativity are firmly resolved). The crisis involves some disastrous consequences to the theory (just as Einstein’s E=mc^2 led to nukes). The book is well written, interesting, as you’d expect from a mass market paperback. It will be a frustrating book for conservatives though. Murderous mercenaries are heard listening to Rush Limbaugh while evil FBI agents watch Glenn Beck. Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld (not specifically named though) provide a plausible MacGuffin to drive the protaganists into, among other things, a world of noble redneck hillbillies (who handle snakes, are stupid drunks, but appreciate the field theory as a Divine revelation). Huge chunks of the plot are so stupid and insulting it takes the reader (at least those who are Republicans or have Republican friends or who know people who are Republicans and don’t think Republicans are fanatic Torquemadans) out of the story. As for the cosmology, it’s sorta mentioned. You get a brief outline of M-Brane theory, with a good description of “The Bulk” where branes interact to create universes. But that was like five pages of a 500 page novel. It only took a couple of days to read, so it wasn’t so bad. But, still, Alpert strikes me as a jerk.

-Read Aristotle’s “Poetics” as part of the GBWW Reading Program. It’s a work artists of all kinds, including writers, should be familiar with.

-Since I’m not posting the Wednesday Heroes anymore, I’ll point you to where you can find them: http://rightwingrightminded.blogspot.com/ I’ll try to post the WH posts on twitter whenever I can.

-Saw The Wolfman with Anthony Hopkins. Fun flick. A little campy. An honorable homage to the 1941 classic.


Quote o’ the Day

When I die, I’d like to be scattered over my hometown. But not, like, cremated or anything.

–Mitch Berg

From the Notebook

-Read John Sandford’s “Wicked Prey.” Typical Sandford, very good. There were some problems, the book takes place during the RNC in St. Paul and I’m not sure how historically accurate some of the background story really is (well, it is fiction after all). I can say that there is no such thing as “street money” (I’m the kind of guy who would get money like that, if it existed. I’m also the kind of guy who would lie about getting that kind of money, if I got it). My other complaints are probably even more nit-picky. Probably based on Sandford’s allegiance to the DFL. Still worth reading.

-Ever since Southpark convinced me “Family Guy” sucked, I stopped watching. It’s been great.

-Old news, but was I the only guy disappointed with the possible survival of Jack Bauer in the season finale of “24”?

-Mitch Berg has lost more posts than I’ve written. Not sure why that bothers me.

-I like Aaron Gleeman, but he sometimes does things which drive me nuts. He writes:

Through two months the Twins have scored 261 runs and allowed 254 runs, which would typically lead to being something like 27-25 instead of 25-27, but their run totals are skewed somewhat by the 20-1 thrashing they gave the White Sox on May 21. If the final score of that blowout win was 10-1 rather than 20-1 the Twins would’ve been out-scored 254 to 251 to more closely match their 25-27 record. Turn the 20-1 into 10-1 and the Twins would rank ninth among AL teams in both run scoring and run prevention.

Why just remove 10 runs? Why not five, twelve or eight? I understand what Aaron is saying, a statistical outlier skews the results away from what one would expect. So, just remove the outliers. You do this and you get 241 RS for the Twins versus 253 runs allowed. Thus the losing record. More nitpicking on my part, I know. But massaging numbers Ad Hoc...Come’on.

-Mathews, Aaron, Adcock: the #2, 3 and 4 hitters for the Milwauke Braves in 1959. So Gardy, how is putting a crappy hitter in the #2 spot “Traditional” baseball?

-Two four-page papers, one ten page paper, a wedding and the Twins Autograph Party are going to keep me pretty busy the next couple of weeks (not to mention the other assignments I’m probably forgetting about).  Expect light to partly-light posting.

From the Notebook; Happy Taxation Day

If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it –Ronald Reagan

-Read through Prometheus Bound “by” Aeschylus. It’s a greek tragedy about a Titan who takes on Zeus, gives man fire and the ability to write and is punished for his insolence. I was disappointed when I couldn’t find any remotely watchable videos of the play online. This play was part of the Great Books of the Western World ten-year reading program. Now whenever I have a bad day, I can just remind myself that at least I’m not chained to a rock having my intestines consumed by a giant eagle for all eternity.

-On a personal note, this Business Law/Ethics class is a real test, so expect light posting. Lighter posting? No posting? I haven’t been posting up any Wednesday Heroes for a while, so I think I’ll just throw the ones I haven’t posted yet into my blog’s scheduling system just to have some content (Along with the final chapters of “Terror Rats”). Just think, someday I might be able to call myself a blogger again.

-Kenny Perry came close to history in his Masters bid and ended up a little short. It was a great battle, the outcome of which actually kept me up for a few nights. I hope Kenny Perry is sleeping easier than I am. This isn’t to say Angel Cabrera is a bad guy or didn’t deserve to win. But writers love a great story, and lament its death and replacement with good story.

-El Dos de Mayo is coming up. If you didn’t know, it’s the official national collegiate conservative activist holiday. It’s celebrated on the 2nd of May and it is a celebration of the previous year’s efforts towards annoying liberals and spreading conservatism on college campuses. Like usual, the party starts 4pm at Sally’s near the U of M campus in Minneapolis, it moves over to Stub and Herb’s at 8pm and the survivors end up at Dulono’s on Lake Street around 1am. All readers of this blog are invited.

-I’m adding Flash of “Centrisity” to blogroll (despite the fact I have long standing objections to the name of his blog since it’s not the blog of a centrist but a very reliable liberal). I’ll get the link up eventually.

From the Notebook

-Had a busy weekend. I attended both a baseball blogger get together and the MOB party at Keegan’s.

-At the baseball blogger get together I got to meet Seth Stohs, Aaron Gleeman, Phil Mackey, John Bonnes, Nick Nelson and others. What amazed me about this get together was the speed of the conversation. These guys follow baseball like I follow politics. Since I only follow the Twins, I have a difficult time keeping up when the conversation spreads to other teams I don’t follow. It was fun though (I’ve never heard so many jokes with punchlines involving a player’s OBP) Since one or two people in the group actually asked, yes, I do have a Twins blog I prefer people not read (I do it just because there are some things I can’t do on WordPress which I can do on blogger, like upload articles straight to the Bleacher Report)…oh yeah, I write for the Bleacher Report, which I don’t mind people reading.

-The MOB get together at Keegan’s later that day was fun. There weren’t a lot of new people. Saw King, Mitch, King David and Fam, John Stewart and Fam, Chris, Brad, Leo, Mark, Gary Miller, Flash, Johnny Roosh, Bob Davis, Speed Gibson, Derek, Swiftee, AAA and a bunch of others.

-Quote of the night? “Are you still blogging?” –Mitch Berg (to me).

-I suppose at this point in my blogging career I could only be convicted of being a blogger in absentia.

Five Years

Normally I find something substantive to talk about whenever my blogiversary pops up. But after so many years of blogging, and so many posts, there’s little left for me to say.

Let me just note a few things:

1) The Internet sucks. I first logged onto the Internet in 1994. After nearly 15 years of near constant use this is my conclusion. Does this mean I’m off the net, to some cave? No. But, I’m probably suffering from screen-overload. More books, more nature, more actual things (I remember I used to play golf…); less Internet and TV.

2) I don’t know what to think of blogging. It is the premier platform for written self expression in the world today. But, it’s also complicit in the destruction of literature itself. Remember paragraphs? I no longer describe myself as a blogger. I’m just a writer who has a blog. I get much more pleasure in writing projects which aren’t blog related.

3) Over the years I’ve made a lot of mistakes in judgment. I’ve published a number of posts I wish I hadn’t. Normally, once a post is published, even if I think it’s a mistake, I live with it. However, a few years ago I made a big mistake in a post dealing with a MOB party and Learned Foot. The story was embellished and exaggerated. I thought it was funny but the post soon became ammo used against LF by certain dump bloggers. Well, LF, I’m sorry. The post has been deleted. It’s too little, too late, I know.

4) To everyone who has dropped by my little piece of the web over the last five years, I thank you. I’d be writing even if I had no readers, but it’s nice to know I’m not alone.

Book Recommendations

I’m not the only one in the MOB who’s a big reader.

King David never fails to make me laugh.

From the Notebook

Twins Podcast is live tonight at 8pm CT. The Call-in number is 646-652-4947

-Did an interview with King Banaian and Michael Brodkorb on the NARN Final Word show. Big thanks to them for having me on the show. We discussed the Burger Tour and a little politics. Podcasts of the interview should be available on Townhall.com. I was on the second (4 o’clock) hour of the show at the bottom of the hour.

-Really enjoyed this modern take on Hamlet, despite the fact everyone was Irish, the production values were subpar and all of the great Hamlet soliloquies were in Gaelic.

-Saw the Angelina Jolie movie “Wanted” at a cheap theatre. Not bad. Not great, not good. Just not bad. The movie attempted a sort of Martin Scorsese-like sociopathology to it but failed. Worth three bucks though.

-For anyone who hasn’t heard yet, I was very excited to hear about Sarah Palin, as I wrote about her over a month ago and suggested she’d be nearly the ideal pick for McCain.

Update: Already Gabcasting–

Gabcast! On The Road Podcasts #15


-Got to finally meet Mr.D. at the State Fair the other day. Good guy.

-The comment policy at my website has changed, possibly temporarily. Anything non-constructive (especially anonymous snark) will be deleted at my discretion. Normally this is an everything goes but slurs and slanders website, but some recent comments have gotten me to reconsider my open comment policy. Regular insulting commenters (like plebe) will still be tolerated.

-I’m just going to keep one notebook post open everyday during the convention for my short takes on the proceedings. Longer essays will become their own posts. I’ll try to make it so there’s only one or two posts per day.

From the Notebook

-Since the email came in that I’m in line to get press credentials as a blogger for the RNC in St. Paul this year, I’ve been considering upgrading the ol’ wardrobe. I figure if I’m going to be a poser, I might as well dress like one. Olive Green Photographers Jacket, That’s what I’m thinking.

The latest Twins Whatnot is out.

-Saw REM on the Colbert Report, wow, they look really old. Bald, wearing suits, gray hairs in their 2 day beards.

-I’m still really interested in creating a list of political movies, even two lists, the good and the bad. This means anyone who knows of any good political (or bad) movies could do me a favor and list them in the comments section.

Goodbye campus pizza. For now.

-Campaign scuttlebutt: The GOP is having donor difficulties. There is money out there but it’s not always going to the right places, and there’s a lot less money than in 2006. No surprises but this is even hurting some conservative non-profits.

Brian St. Paul Ward. I see him maybe once every two years. I always forget his name the moment I see him. He always remembers mine. Eventually, I will remember his name.

-Review: Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. I judge some movies buy the number of times I check my phone to see what time it is. By this standard, Prince Caspian is a monumental failure. There were some redeeming scenes, occasionally interesting characters and sometimes I felt enough empathy for the characters to pay attention to the plot. Otherwise, I was checking my phone to trying to figure out when I could get out of the theatre.

From the Notebook

-Looks like I was wrong, my interview on 1450 KNSI played last Sunday. Hopefully I can get a copy from Mr. Phipps. I will likely have other interviews but it was disappointing getting this one mixed up.

-One topic Dave Phipps and I talked about after he recorded my interview was the difference between “corporate” food and “entrepreneur” food. He made an observation, which I liked and will hereby steal. If a socialist government was to create a state “burger joint” it would look (and taste) a lot like McDonalds. I don’t mean to libel McDonalds, but I would say I’ve met some conservatives too addicted to chain restaurants (something I’m occasionally guilty of).

-I found a great widget website. Widgets are just things you put on your blog to do things, like show RSS feeds of favorite websites or show random pictures on kittens. I was looking for something to spruce up the flagship site (this site) but I couldn’t get everything to work right together. So I added the Burger Time application, the Blog Stir application and a Graphing Calculator application to my irregularly cared for Twins blog. I like widgets but it’s easy to go overboard, and Blogger seems to work better for them than WordPress.

-I contributed to Andrew Kneeland’s Weekly Twins Whatnot and to the Bleacher Report Power Rankings. Eventually I’ll be writing my own columns for the Bleacher Report. Eventually.

-Also, Andrew is probably going to be the first teenager whose blog I link to in Da Roll. It’s a longstanding barrier and I’m loathe to breech it, but the guy produces some good stuff.

-With my lack of home Internet I’ve been relying on the scheduling tool on WordPress to make it appear as though I’m offering daily content. So far, so good; unfortunately between the limited Internet access and the scheduling weirdness I haven’t been cross-posting on True North. This comes only days after Chief at True North (and Freedom Dogs) asked me to start cross-posting my own articles (He had been doing it himself ever since the Joomla platform True North uses scared me away). Well, despite the fact I haven’t been cross-posting my articles, they’ve still been appearing on True North. Well, my apologies and kudos to Chief. True North is the top traffic driver for my website and Chief has no obligation to do my footwork. I’ll be doing my best to remember to start cross-posting my own articles to reduce the workload of Chief, whom I’m sure has better things to do with his time.

-John McCain isn’t pissing me off enough. Okay, that was crass but it’s true. McCain hasn’t aggravated his conservative base enough, which is something he’s going to have to start to do in order to win this election.

-This is sort of out of the blue, but it’s a memory that’s been bothering me for a long time. I remember seeing some sci-fi movie on TV where two spacesuit clad armies had a laser battle in the vacuum of space. It was so preposterous even my pre-adolescent mind had a good laugh. Anyone remember what movie it could have been?