Wednesday, January 24, 2007

897 greatest songs of all time

Of course it's a silly number, and of course it's a silly exercise that will be repeated innumerable times by radio stations, magazines, TV shows, etc, but I am strangely excited by 89.7 WTMD compiling a list of the 897 greatest songs of all time. They're soliciting "ten bests" from listeners (or anyone with an Internet connection), and for some reason, that is interesting me right now. So I'll be submitting my list soon - voting ends at 5pm EST, 26 Jan - and I'll be sharing it here, with you (because you are terribly interested).

You - yes, you, dear reader - should vote, too. Hopefully, you won't waste as much time as I have thinking about whether it includes all genres, whether they mean the song (itself, independent of performance) or song as recorded by a particular artist, etc. I guess I've deliberated such points because I have some deep, unreasonable fear that someone will hold me to my vote. "OK, those are your ten best songs of all time? Well, that's all you'll get to listen to... forever! Muah ha ha!"

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

"Cool time wasting device"

That's how one of my bosses described this socioeconomic graphomogrammaton to me. It's a fair description. And it's certainly more amusing and colorful than tedious "reading" about international development.

SMS: u goin 2 protest?

It was a strange scene at Union Station last night. There must have been a protest on Capitol Hill or the Mall, as the station was full of pro-lifers with anti-abortion t-shirts and signs. (Happily, this group did not have the more aggressive or graphic variety of such shirts and signs.) That wasn't the strange bit; the strange bit was that at least half of the protesters appeared to be high-school aged, and they were in their clumps of half a dozen with adult chaperones/leaders floating at the edges. The kids were behaving for all the world like they were on any field trip to DC: chatting, laughing, enjoying each others' company. At one level, this shouldn't and doesn't surprise me. Kids are kids, and I've seen our church youth acting the same way when they're out doing service projects or on "serious, spiritual" retreats. But yesterday, that same, care-free behavior seemed a little odd when, to take their slogans at face value, those kids were out to stop babies from being killed.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Baby blogging

Kerry's been hard at work writing over at bf2k7. As I've only managed to muster one announcement over the whole pregnancy thing, you just definitely check out her stuff if you want to get the scoop.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


Yes, it really is a cone o' pizza, the perfect marriage of topology and pizza, "enabling consumers to eat their favorite pizza with one hand, wherever they may be or what they may be doing".

Sadly, the website is only promoting the new restaurant and lacks any pictures. But the whole thing is oddly hilarious to me. It appears to be a solution to a non-existent problem - have these people never held a slice? - and then they actually called it "cone o' pizza". Because what has America been saying for years? "Pizza's OK, I guess, but what I really want is pizza in the shape of a cone!"

Keep your eyes peeled for Dodecadogs (tm).

Friday, January 12, 2007

Delusions of grandeur

Professional American soccer has done it again and has decided that buying marquee names (or one name, anyway) is the way to make the sport a major league in the US. At the risk of exposing my complete lack of understanding, I'll say that paying $250 million in salary and endorsements for David Beckham to come to Major League Soccer is a bad idea.

Beckham is far more a celebrity than soccer deity these days. He's lost his spot on the English national team, for goodness sake. And if you want to get current non-soccer fans excited about the sport, watching a pretty boy stroll up and down the right sideline, taking the occasional free kick and corner kick, is not really going to turn them on. You can imagine the way a non-basketball fan could appreciate or enjoy Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, or Kobe Bryant taking over a game and leading a team with brilliance. Beckham won't do that for soccer.

As for current soccer fans, this seems to suggest that MLS doesn't understand the sport. The league and the Galaxy are paying top dollar for a player who has underperformed for the last few years on one of the premier teams in the world, chock-full of talent and expected to win major titles. Is taking on the Kansas City Wiz, matched with players who - no disrespect - aren't near as good as his former teammates, really going to bring out the legendary Becks? I hope I'm wrong, but I have to guess "no". If MLS doesn't get that, then as a fan of the sport (versus of a local team), why don't I just watch real, top-quality soccer from overseas on cable?

I expect this has to spill over to the players, too. Of course there's always resentment of someone getting a big paycheck, but when it seems to be profoundly disconnected from on-field performance, it will be deeper and wider.

Perhaps most disturbing about this is that I had thought that MLS was adopting a humbler, more realistic, and more sustainable goal by trying to be a successful, second-tier league. Most obviously, the league has been building smaller (~25k-seat) stadiums, designed to be filled for soccer, versus echoing in vast football stadiums. Gambling on Beckham looks like the opposite strategy.

Versus spending loads on one questionable player - and I should note, I don't know that there is any single player in the world today who could do for US soccer what MLS seems to want - I'd have rather seen MLS push for stronger relationships with marquee international clubs. Yes, whisper it, I'm talking about MLS being a minor league of farm teams to Real Madrid, Bayern Munchen, Arsenal, etc (and as the league may have done with Chivas USA). Oh, but what about the good players then going overseas to play? Many do already, and will continue as long as the big money and talent is there. Better to have a system where you get to see the talented players early in their careers, fighting for a shot at the big time. And MLS could strike a good deal, to ensure they got real candidates on the teams, not just a dumping ground. After all, the world may scorn US soccer, but you know those teams love US consumerism and would be delighted to see us snapping up more merch.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

A big announcement

I've been waiting for just the right time to post this. I don't know if this is that right time, but here goes, anyway: I've tried Folger's crystals, and they really are as good as regular coffee.

No, wait, that's not the right big announcement. (It's not even true.) Let's try again: Kerry is pregnant.

At this point, we normally get three questions:

1. When is Kerry due?
Her due date is 27 June.

2. Do you know the sex?
Not yet. We should find out in early February. At this point, we're both happy to find out the gender. It seems to me that it will be just as much of a surprise whether we learn via sonogram or at the birth. And if surprise is really the objective, this opens up the even more surprising possibility of the sonogram determination being wrong.

3. What about names?
We won't really know until we see the little critter in the flesh, but we're both in mind for something traditional, a classical name. So the current front-runners are Genghis for a boy, and Paris for a girl. In the interim, Kerry has chosen the moniker "tinyD", so the baby registry will definitely include gold chains and four-finger rings.

We're both terribly excited about this. (The good kind of "terribly", natch.)