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Showing posts from March, 2017

The Upload Project #5

CD #41: actually a burned CD with a comp question from my Master's Degree on it.

CD #42, 30 Mix- thought I was real close to having an 'original' but, no. 2 repeats.
Talking Heads- Girlfriend Is Better
The Black Keys- Lonely Boy
Robyn- Dancing On My Own
Los Colorados- I Like To Move It
Fleetwood Mac- Tusk
A Tribe Call Quest- Can I Kick It?
MGMT- Time To Pretend
Owl City- When Can I See You Again?
Beyonce- End of Time
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis- Thrift Shop
Pink- Walk of Shame
Stevie Nicks- Stand Back
Johnny Cash- Tennessee Stud
Flying Lizards- I Want Money
Pixies- Where Is My Mind?
The Lumineers- Ho Hey
Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros- Redemption Song
Talking Heads- Crosseyed and Painless

CD #43, Untitled with 5 repeats
Bridgit Mendler- Hurricane
Pink- The Truth About Love
Coolio- Sumpin New
Pitbull- Give Me Everything
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis- Can't Hold Us
Arcade Fire- The Suburbs
Fleetwood Mac- Tusk
Harvey Danger- Flagpole Sitta
Scandal- Warrior
They Might Be Giants-…

File This Under "Things I Didn't Know"

So I recently stumbled across a fascinating article about a guy named Gregory Watson. And Mr. Watson way back in the day (1982) he write a paper about a Constitutional Amendment that had been proposed way back in 1789 by none other than James Madison itself. The nutshell: Congress can vote to give itself a raise, but that raise can't go into effect until after the next election, giving the voters a chance to weigh in.

Seems reasonable, right? (And if it seems familiar- there's a reason for that.) But Mr. Watson wrote a paper about it, turned it in, got a C, appealed the grade to his Professor, who left it as a C and then decided that he was going to roll up his sleeves and get that Amendment Ratified. And knock my ass down with a feather- that's exactly what he did.

You see, the Amendment didn't have a deadline. Nine states had said, "yes this seems like a good idea" back when it was first proposed, which left 29 states to get. 10 years after he wrote that pa…

Let's Talk 'Bout Some Maps...

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This lovely map is our world as seen in the Gall-Peters Projection, which is different from this map, which is the Mercator Projection: Now, on the face of it- who cares, right? A map is a map is a map- except, when, of course it's not. School children for generations have probably become very used to seeing the bottom map. It makes both Russia and the United States seem large and important- and back further and further in the day it placed Europe (and more specifically, London, if you're an Anglophile) in a curiously central position. The top map? It's more accurate than the bottom one- and the big news last week is that Boston Public Schools are the first and so far largest public school sysem to officially switch to the Gall-Peters Projection
I wanted to dislike this, but ultimately, I can't. The Gall-Peters Projection is more accurate. It's not necessarily all that aesthetically pleasing- the northern longitudes gets a bit squished at the top. But I've a…

This Week In Vexillology #206

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So I'm bummed. I'm bummed because technically, Andorra isn't an enclave. It's landlocked. But it's sandwiched between both France and Spain and yes, it's on my list of 'Lost Weekends In Vexillology' so let's party on with the flag of Andorra and then we'll have some fun with enclaves. Here it is:
The current flag was adopted in 1971, the blue-yellow-red tricolor has a similar to design to the flag of Romania, Moldova and Chad- but in the case of Andorra, the design is impacted more by it's geography and history than anything else. The three bars of the tricolor are similar to the tricolor of France (the red and the blue, as well) but the yellow and red can be found on both the flags of Spain, Catalonia and the old county of Foix. Let's jam out about their Coat of Arms:
Like with the flag of Andorra the design of their Coat of Arms is impacted by both the countries history and it's geography. The top left quarter of the shield is the …

March On Medium

This month on Medium,we have a short story that was inspired by a now (very) long ago trip to the Mall of America, where the Missus was defeated by Thai Spicy Chicken noodles that were far too spicy for her liking and as I was patiently waiting and watching her struggle with the spice, I glanced down the far end of the food court and wondered, "what if someone randomly took a picture and ended up capturing the suspect in a terrorist attack on film without even meaning too?"

And with that simple sentence, the idea for "The Picture" was born and many months later, here it is:

The Picture

Hope you enjoy it!

In Which I Attempt Economics (And Probably Fail)

In general, I'm wary of economics. Like healthcare, there's a ton of stuff I don't understand about the field and I get tired of struggling with my own ignorance. So, in what I imagine will be a futile and somewhat vainglorious attempt to unpack and educate myself on economics a bit, I want to compare and contrast two 'economic miracles.' Texas and Minnesota.

Minnesota is being mentioned in left-wing circles as an example of progressive governance done right. Governor Dayton reversed the trends of his Republican Predecessor and has raised taxes on the rich, increased public spending and created 'shared prosperity' for the people of Minnesota. And so far, it seems to have worked like gangbusters. Minnesota is doing quite well for itself, especially in contrast to the sea of red all around it. The question then is a simple one: is this sustainable?

Texas was another economic darling of the commentariat and it's experience suggests perhaps not. There are d…

Why Do These People Get Paid?

Today's facepalm of the week is brought to you courtesy of Rep. Chip Baltimore of Boone, who has tabled a bill that would ban schools from offering extra credit for school supplies. Because with state revenues in the tank, this is what we should be worrying about right now. The money quote:
"But it's one small sign of how we are devaluing the educational process in this state and country." Really.  That's how we're devaluing the educational process in America today? By offering extra credit for Kleenex? While I acknowledge the point that the practice does, in fact, divide families between those who can afford to purchase extra classroom supplies and those that can't, this is still a moronic stand to make.

Look, I'm no educational expert. I look at teaching now and again as a possible 'next career' but have yet to convince myself to pull the trigger on anything in that regard, but it doesn't take an expert to realize that our educational mod…

Netflix & Chill #8: Table 19

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Watched On: The Silver Screen!
Released: 2017
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Craig Robinson, June Squibb, Lisa Kudrow, Stephen Merchant
Rotten Tomatoes: 19%
Pick: Both Of Us

I have no idea why critics are down on this movie so much, because both the Missus and I enjoyed the heck out of this movie. Anna Kendrick stars as Eloise McGarry who is invited to a wedding at sat at Table 19, the table in the furthest corner, full of people that the hosts had really hoped would not bother to attend. Eloise is angry because in coming to the wedding, she has to see her ex-boyfriend, Teddy again, who has recently dumped her for Nikki who took over Eloise's former position as Main of Honor in the wedding. As she's loitering outside the entrance to the reception hall, a tall, dark and handsome looking off-brand Hemsworth Brother (actually, he's not a Hemsworth Brother, but he looks like he could be one.) flirts mysteriously with her, but she blows him off and eventually meets the rest of her table.

This Week In Vexillology #205

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We're back to another 'Lost Weekend In Vexillology' but I'm going to give myself a pass and say that since we did Lesotho last week, I figured why not follow up one enclave with another- so we're heading north to the Italian Peninsula to take a look at the flag of the Republic of San Marino.
San Marino has a long, long history that dates all the way back to the 3rd Century, when Marinus, a stonemason from a Roman colony near present-day Croatia helped to build the city walls of Rimini. He then went on to found an independent monastic community on Monte Titano in the year 301. So San Marino has a claim to be the oldest extant sovereign state in the world as well as the oldest Constitutional Republic.(It's Constitution is a series of six books written in Latin in the late 16th Century.) So, it's been around for awhile.
The current form of the flag was adopted on April 6th, 1862 and is a horizontal bicolor which features white and azure and has the Coat of Arm…

Sportsyball! (Bracketology Edition)

MLS Quest

THIS IS THE YEAR GOD DAMN IT. We're getting this done and dusted and we've narrowed things down to a Top 4 of teams to focus on:

1. FC Dallas...  they're good right now, I like their Coaches philosophy and emphasis on player development. The Missus has cousins down in Texas, so there's a halfway decent chance I could get down there now and again to see a game. Their colors are red. Arsenal's colors are red. It's not a big leap, color-wise for me. Here's their season preview.

2. Sporting KC... there's a huge plus here for geographic proximity. Kansas City really isn't that far away from Iowa City in the grand scheme of things, so games are reachable. They've been pretty good and won the MLS Cup a couple of years back I believe, so they should be fun to watch and I keep seeing good things about their fan culture, which is also a bonus. (If I'm in, I want to be all in, you know?)

3. Toronto FC: A Yik-Yak recommendation from the void b…

Psephology Rocks: The Grab Bag

I was going to take this edition of Psephology Rocks and focus on the upcoming French elections exclusively, but there's other things in the wind that are worth talking about. Namely, the ouster of the South Korean President (triggering an election to replace her within sixty days) and SNP First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announcing that she's going for a second independence referendum- probably in 2018 or 2019. So, it's more of a grab-bag this month!

The French Election is looming next month, so we should probably break down a who's who of the candidates as it were. So far, tentatively, it seems to be coming down to The National Front's Marine Le Pen and independent candidate Emmanuel Macron- which a couple of months ago, I think it's safe to say that nobody would have expected. Instead, center-right candidate Francois Fillon who was widely expected to take down Le Pen in either the first or second round of the election has sort of well, imploded thanks to a sca…

None Of This Is Sensible Governance

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Time was, I could tolerate the Iowa flavor of Republicans They were tight with a buck, occasionally given to preachy moral lectures and insisted on debating bringing back the death penalty whenever they could, but they were, at their core, sensible. I think sensible politics is written into Iowa's DNA. At our core, we're all farmers. We want 'steady as she goes' not Conan the Barbarian I desperately want to believe that this state will only tolerate so much of the latter before yanking the politicians firmly back to the former and getting back to solid, sensible governance.

But none of this is sensible governance. Instead, we get this:


As attractive as this may be to many Republicans in the State, it's not sensible governance. It's not even good government. It's well, fucking insane is what it is. I mean, fine- the changes to the collective bargaining law were probably inevitable. They've got the trifecta. They've got the bad blood. Let's screw …

This Week In Vexillology #204

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This Week In Vexillology, I found an oversight! Somehow, despite having thought I had looked at every flag in Africa, I found that I had missed a country. And what better day to look at the flag of Lesotho than March 11th, Moshoeshoe Day!
Lesotho is located in southern Africa, more specifically, it's in South Africa. An enclave, it's one of three nations that's completely surrounded by another nation. (Italy gets the honor of enclaving the the other two: Vatican City and San Marino.) Swaziland comes close to be an enclave of South Africa as well, but it shares a border with Mozambique, so it's sort of exempted. I find the whole idea of an enclave to be fascinating, really- and there are whole lists about enclaves, exclaves and their kin on Wikipedia so it's a rabbit hole you can go deep on, but how does a nation state survive like this? Especially there?
Well it turns out that Moshoeshoe Day is Moshoeshoe Day for a reason- the first monarch of Lesotho Moshoeshoe I

Boozehound Unfiltered: Basil Hayden's

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It's taken me three months to do it, but finally, at long last, Boozehound Unfiltered is making a triumphant return to the blog- and this time, we're back with bourbon! Basil Hayden's is something I've had before- but I think it was one of those Boozehounds that got lost in cyberspace, because I can't find any record of reviewing it anywhere. A Valentine's Day present from the Missus (she got flowers and a nice Moscato, I got the man equivalent: bourbon) I was eager to get into it and see if it was as good as I remembered it being and happily, it was!

As with all these bourbons, Basil Hayden's got started in the late 1700s, emigrating along with other Catholics from Maryland to the west- according to the Wikipedia page, he helped found the first Catholic Church in Kentucky and his family roots can be traced back to the Norman Conquest in England- so this is a family with a rich and proud history.

(The company website tells as a slightly less detailed story-…

Albums2010 #87: Trouble In Shangri-La

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I don't know if it's something about approaching the middle of my third decade. Maybe it's the fact that I'm about a decade and a half removed from the start of my undergraduate experience and being younger, thinner, more irresponsible and more tolerant of hard liquor, but I'm starting to remember things that I thought had long since faded into the boozy shadows of my youth, One of which was my weird Stevie Nicks Period which started with Trouble In Shangri-La.

I've been racking my brain for weeks now, trying to remember how or why I decided to buy this album, but buy it I did and I listened to it all the damn time. Revisiting it was like stumbling across a really good book that you hadn't read in awhile and it belongs on a select few albums that I've listened to over the years where there's not a bad track anywhere on the album. Just hit play and go. Think it's just me that is all about this album? The commercial success says that other people…

Don't Look At The Popcorn

I can't decide what's going on. In general, my first thought when getting on Twitter these days is, "Fuck me, what's he gone and done now?" I usually scroll three times, figure out what the President has said that has caused the Elitist Leftist Upper Crust/Progressives/Normal, Sane and Sensible People that long for a moderate, sensible President to lose their collective shit. Then, I do my level best to avoid the internet for the rest of the day.

I've said it before, but it bears repeating: neither the media nor the opposition/Resistance or whatever the hell you want to call it, should swing at every pitch. (Come to think of it, neither should the President, but that's a different story.) Yet all the media is doing these days is swinging away at every single pitch and I think it's starting to do the more harm than good. I think, anyway. (Because I can't decide what's going on.) But consider this: while everyone is losing their shit over The Pr…

Squawk Box: Die Trekure

The second round of the grand, Star Trek Cycle has arrived. I've made progress on all fronts, but Voyager lit a fire under my behind and I wrapped it up in short order with Deep Space Nine knocking on the door of the finish line next. (We're into Season 5 and heading for Season 6 and the Dominion War now...) The title of the post? Well, it's from the second opera of the Der Ring des Nibelungen, 'Die Walkure', hence, Die Trekure.

Let's take it from the top, shall we?

Star Trek: Ten episodes into Season 2 and one thing immediately stands out: they be brawlin' all over the place! From 'Amok Time' to 'Journey To Babel' there's always fisticuffs in damn near every episode. Chekov also appears, which is nice. But so far there's been a few 'meh' episodes- one inexplicable, 'what the hell am I watching?' episode ('Catspaw') and a handful of good ones. 'Mirror, Mirror' introduces us to the evil parallel universe…

Netflix & Chill #7: Spectre

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Watched On: Amazon Prime
Released: 2015
Starring: Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Lea Seydoux, Monica Bellucci
Prime Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Rotten Tomatoes: 65%
Pick: Mine

I'm still not sure how to feel about this movie. There was a lot about it that I couldn't stand but as a Bond movie, I felt like it was a solid outing that tied together an unusual four movie experiment for the franchise in a nice bow- it provides the perfect exit for Daniel Craig and sets up some interesting possibilities with the return of SPECTRE for subsequent movies.

So where do we find ourselves at the start of this movie? Well, there's a new M in charge and James Bond is using some vacation time in Mexico City just in time for the Day of the Dead. Of course, it's James Bond, so he can't just take a vacation, it turns out that he's on an unauthorized mission, killing three men plotting a terrorist attack on a stadium during Day of the Dead. He chases down their leader, Marco Sciarra and in …

This Week In Vexillology #203

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I wanted to break my streak of 'Lost Weekends in Vexillology' and was looking around to see if there were any countries who had won their independence in early March, but Wikipedia provided me with a better notion thanks to me finding out that the Windy City herself, yes, Chicago was incorporated on March 4th, 1837. Which means that Chicago is celebrating it's 180th Birthday today! (Crazy to think I'll be around to see Chicago's bicentennial- at least I hope I will be, anyway.) So, without further ado:


This is the flag of Chicago- and you know what? For a city, it's actually a surprisingly decent flag. Way back when, I came across a TED Talk about flags- which didn't exactly speak highly of either most state flags ('Seals On A Bed Sheet') or a lot of city flags, but happily, I don't think there's much to criticize Chicago for here. This is a nice flag... it's got a simple, clean design. It's not cluttered or full of unnecessary text …

Bookshot #95: The Martian Chronicles

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This is one of those books that I've always wanted to read but have never been able to find until a random trip to the library last month. The Martian Chronicles has been cited so much in books that I've read that it seems insane that it's taken me this long to get to it, but there you go. It feels foundational, in a way, like Heinlein's The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress or Frank Herbert's Dune or any of the Chronicles of Barsoom- real old school science fiction that if you're going to really get into science fiction, you've got to pick this book up at least once and read it.

A ghost of American Literature in 11th Grade also came back to haunt me with this book. We read Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson that year- one of the many books I need to revisit for my sins at some point, but at the time, I didn't understand it, didn't get it and generally speaking rolled my eyes at it. Imagine my surprise when Bradbury revealed in the introduction that the wh…