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Showing posts from May, 2018

June Hiatus...

I'm going to recharge my creative batteries for a bit this month and step away from regular blogging. I might pop up here and there if the mood strikes me, but expect regular coverage to come back July 1st...

Sportsyball!

Adopt-A-Team: They survived! Defensa y Justicia managed a solid 9th place performance and didn't get relegated! My curse (if you could call it a curse since this is only year two) has been stopped in its tracks. We checked in with them last time on March 14th, wrapping up their season looked like this:

L to Talleres Cordoboa
L to River Plate
W over Boca Juniors
W over Racing Club
W over Independiente
W over Rosario Central
L to Newell's
W over Arsenal Sarandi
W over Mitre (Copa Argentina, 1st Round)

Out of the three losses down the stretch, only Newell's seems to be a bad one as they're  at the far end of the Superliga table- though three teams above the eventual relegation zone. Both Talleres Cordoba and River Plate finished ahead of Defensa y Justicia in the table and the win over Boca Juniors (eventual winners of the league, surprise surprise) is good. Not sure where I'm going next season yet, but stay tuned for the fall, because I'm sure it'll be just a…

Thoughts On The Democratic Primary Debate

I'm not a Democrat, but I find them to be incredibly frustrating at times. To me, if the Democrats can't claw back something on the state level here in Iowa (not to mention nationally) this cycle, then the future for the party looks bleak indeed. The actions of the legislature down in Des Moines only underlines the importance of the Democrats getting their act together for November- this session, kids, is why you don't give one party the keys to the whole damn place. If they can't get the Governorship, it'd be great to claw back at least a chamber of the legislature just to limit the damage at very least.

I want sensible governance. Keep the financial house in order. Keep the kids in school Monday-Friday and make sure no bridges fall down. Governance as political warfare? That I won't reward and that's exactly what the Republicans have delivered for the past two years. So, when I found the Democratic Primary Debate from Iowa Press online, I was all about si…

Netflix & Chill #44: Valerian and The City of A Thousand Planets

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Watched On: Amazon Prime
Released: 2017
Starring: Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevinge, Clive Owen, Rihanna, Ethan Hawke, Herbie Hancock, Krus Wu, Rutger Hauer
Rotten Tomatoes: 49%

By the 28th Century, the International Space Station has grown so large that it's had to be moved out of Earth's orbit and into deep space. Once safety away from Earth, it just keeps right on growing and growing and growing until it becomes Space Station Alpha, home to thousands of civilizations and millions of inhabitants, both human and alien.

Special Agent Valerian (Dane DeHaan) wakes up from a a dream about the planet Mul, where the inhabitants live in a low technology paradise. The pearls they fish for contain enormous amounts of energy and small, lizard like creatures replicate more pearls. In his dream, he sees wreckage begin plummeting from the sky and then there's an apocalyptic explosion and just before it reaches the young princess, she sends out a telepathic signal- and then, Valerian wakes up.

Albums2010 #100: Blood Sugar Sex Magik

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The Red Hot Chili Peppers were always on the radio when I was in junior high and high school. There's a small collection of bands that just sort of throw me back to the days of Q103 and RHCP are for sure one of those bands. But it wasn't I saw Anthony Kledis induct the Talking Heads into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame that I really sat up and took notice. Not long after, I think I purchased this album and enjoyed the hell out of it. It might still be lurking in my basement right now.

Released in 1991, Blood Sugar Sex Magik was their fifth studio album, which seems slightly ridiculous to me. I always assumed they were firmly a product of the 1990s, but in fact, they made their debut all the way back in 1984, only a year after my birth. (Their self-titled debut apparently was credited as the 'first release from the funk metal genre' and has also been described as 'the little spark that ignited the rap rock revolution'. So Red Hot Chili Peppers begat the likes of …

This Week In Vexillology #260

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It's a special Friday edition of This Week In Vexillology and we're heading back into the Lost Archives of the Unfortunate Wordpress Experiment to take a look once more at the flags of the two Guineas: Guinea and Guinea-Bissau.

First up, we've got Guinea:
Adopted on November 10th, 1958 for national and civil usage Guinea followed Ghana (and I guess Ethiopia's lead) in using the pan-African colors of red,  yellow and green. The flag is modeled on the French Tricolor (since Guinea was a French Colony) and the colors are also taken from the RDA, the Rassemblement Democratique Africain, which was the dominant political movement at the time of independence. (Apparently Sekour Toure, the first President of Guinea was a close associate of Kwame Nkrumah, the first President of Ghana who's flag is remarkably similar to Guinea's.)

The color scheme is pretty simple: red symbolizes the sacrifice of the people, the yellow is for the sun and the riches of the earth and green…

Look At The Whole Board

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So, a recommendation for an episode of Pod Save The World floated past me on my Twitter feed and since it was about the Iran Deal (and President Trump's decision to withdraw from it), I thought I'd give it a listen and see what they had to say on the matter. It was... disappointing. Less an analysis on the pros and cons of the decision and more a twenty minute segment bemoaning the decision and rending their garments over the damage this disastrous decision is going to do to America's standing with our allies and in the world.

Now, don't get me wrong: all of that could be 100 percent true. Withdrawing from the Iran Deal could be a boneheaded, dumbass move that we could seriously regret at some point in the future. So their analysis isn't invalid, per say. It's just not the only school of thought out there. The whole time I'm listening to the episode, this clip from The West Wing kept running on a loop in my head. "Look at the whole board."

I'…

Psephology Rocks: Four Elections You May Have Missed (And One You Didn't)

There have been plenty of elections since the last time I did a really deep dive into an election worth talking about- so many that I couldn't just pick one. Or if I did pick one, John Oliver would come along and do a far better job than I do and summing it all up. But the elections kept piling up and piling up and finally, it left with me no choice. Here are four elections you may have missed and one you (obviously) didn't:

1. Armenia: So, while the American media was obsessing over the President's lawyer, the porn star, his bowel movements and his latest Tweet, Armenia had a straight up people's revolution that got like zero coverage from any American news network that I could see.

So, what happened? Well, in March of 2018 members of the Republican Party of Armenia did not exclude the idea of nominating President Serzh Sargsyan for the post of Prime Minister. He for his part, had amended the constitution to abolish term limits which would have allowed him to continue i…

Stop The World, I Want To Get Off

We're apparently all a little more anxious these days. That was a comforting article to read, because the world has seemed a dark and grim place indeed of late. I try to be as aware as possible of my own mental health and general well being and have been generally fortunate in that so far, I've had one serious bout of bad depression and that was toward the end of my undergraduate years.

But this... oh man. Suddenly, I just felt emotionally raw for some reason and I couldn't put my finger on why. Attempting to apply rationality to this stuff is always tricky, but I wanted too, because when you really step back and look at your situation, you tend to find that you don't have a lot to complain about in the grand scheme of things. And really, I don't. The vast majority of the world's population would probably trade places with me without hesitation. I have my health. I have a job. I have an amazing wife and three beautiful children. Could things be better? Sure. Bu…

Squawk Box: Lost In Space

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Netflix actually didn't hype their reboot of Lost In Space nearly as much as they hyped Altered Carbon, but there was enough in terms of teasers and trailers out there to get me interested enough to check it out and wow! I'm going to make an exceedingly bold statement, but hear me out: the potential for this show is very high indeed...  I would go so far as to say that if it fulfills it's potential, it may well end up being a better show than The Expanse (or even it's Netflix counterpart Altered Carbon.)
Lost In Space immediately distinguishes itself from it's big screen counterpart by flinging you into the middle of the action. It doesn't waste an episode mucking about starting the mission, instead, you open with the family strapped in and suited up as the Jupiter 2 is heading down toward a planet of unknown origins, about to crash. Crash, they do, onto a glacier bed where it begins to sink. They evacuate some supplies, but when the eldest Robinson child, Judy…

Netflix & Chill #43: Lost In Space

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Watched On: Netflix
Released: 1998
Starring: Gary Oldman, William Hurt, Matt LeBlanc, Mimi Rogers, Heather Graham, Lacey Chabert, Jack Johnson, Jared Harris
Rotten Tomatoes: 27%
Pick: Mine

I rewatched this in stages while I was watching the Netflix reboot of the television show, partly because I thought it would be interesting to compare and contrast and partially because I honestly remembered not hating this movie. Having watched it again, I can confirm two things: this movie was not that great and it was very, very late 90s.

Basically: it's the year 2058 and Earth will be uninhabitable in twenty years due to the lack of fossil fuels and the ozone layer evaporating. (Ah, the ozone layer and peak oil... the overused movie maguffins of the 1990s.) But, happily, humanity has a plan. Led by Professor John Robinson (William Hurt), they're going to travel to the newly discovered inhabitable planet of Alpha Prime, construct a hyper gateway there to link up with the one that's being …

This Week In Vexillology #259: Cafe Com Leite

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This Week In Vexillology, we're dipping back into our Lost Archives (courtesy of The Unfortunate Wordpress Experiment) and heading back down to South America to take a look at a couple of Brazil's most dominant states, Sao Paulo and Minas Gerais. The subtitle of this post refers to the system of patronage and 'rule of the colonels' that dominated Brazil's Old Republic. The first Presidents of the Republic were from Sao Paulo but afterwards, the two states traded the Presidency right up until the 1930 Revolution which ushered in Brazil's Estado Novo under Getulio Vargas broke the old system's grip on power. (Cafe = coffee, which was the dominant industry in Sao Paulo, Leite = milk, the dairy industry which was dominant in Minas Gerais)

First up, the state of Sao Paulo:


This flag was designed by Julio Ribeiro in 1888 and it was originally intended for the entire country, but became a de facto symbol of the state after the Constitutionalist Revolution of 1932.…

Peanut Butter Cups, Ranked

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Truly, one of the greatest confectionery wonders of the modern age is the combination of chocolate and peanut butter. The ideal combination of these two ingredients, is, of course, to be found in the peanut butter cup. If you think it's a matter of taste, well then consider the fact that Reese's Peanut Butter cups are the number one selling candy in the United States of America right now. What's fascinating about the peanut butter cup is that it seems almost destined to have come to pass.

Milk chocolate in liquid form emerged in the 1830s in Saxony and morphed into bar form by 1875 when Daniel Peter and Henri Nestle developed the first solid milk chocolate bar in Switzerland. The use and cultivation of peanuts dates back to the Aztecs and Incas, but it wasn't until Marcellus Gilmore Edison came along and obtained a patent for it that the modern form of peanut butter began to kick around. (To be filed under, 'Today I Learned', apparently George Washington Carver…

Bookshot #108: Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design

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I think I first heard this book mentioned on a Tim Ferris podcast- specifically, the interview he did with Mr. Money Moustache (whose blog/site is fairly fascinating as well.) But, given the fact that I've always had sort of a itch to learn more about city and urban planning, it seemed like an interesting enough topic that I snagged the book on Kindle a few months back and slowly and steadily made my way through it, becoming more and more fascinated about the topic as I did so.

Charles Montgomery opens the book looking at the transformation of Bogota under forwarded thinking Mayors that wanted to shake up the image of a city battered by Colombia's long struggle against the drug cartels and by the exploding number of cars that were choking the streets of Bogota. People weren't happy and so they began to experiment with different ideas to change the architecture and design of their city, including the fantastically successful Ciclovia, where the people of Bogota turned their…