February 29, 2016

An icon returns home

If there's one image that sums up my Alaskan memories, it's the 727 - stylish, noisy, rough-riding, hard-landing, smoke-belching, gas guzzling - and ubiquitous.  It became the first airliner to sell more than 1,000 airframes worldwide.  The last one was built in 1984, but there are still 69 in service.

Love it or hate it, it was perfect for Alaska.  You could land it on very short strips, and take off as well (usually), leaving a cloud of spiffy black smoke in your wake.

Nowadays they measure runways by feet of asphalt, but back in the day I swear I remember 727s landing and taking off on gravel strips.  You could take it far from civilization and land it hard - it had an auxiliary power unit and lots of extra structure.  One pilot said:  "these were built back when we were still afraid to fly."

It wasn't super-easy to operate, but pilots liked it.  Up front they didn't have to listen to those screaming engines, and it flew fast and well.  And if you had to, you could dial it down to 130 knots and still maneuver.

Boeing has rounded up the first one, and is putting it in a museum.


February 28, 2016

Game on, motherfucker

 The implosion over Donald Trump’s candidacy that Republicans had hoped to avoid arrived so virulently this weekend that many party leaders vowed never to back the billionaire and openly questioned whether the GOP could come together this election year.

[T]he GOP has instead become consumed by a crisis over its identity and core values that is almost certain to last through the July party convention, if not the rest of the year.



- Five game winning streak? Check.
- Won nine of last 10? Check.
- Undefeated at home? Check.

Oh, your best player's ankle is a little wobby?  Interesting...

There are certain sections of Anaheim that I wouldn't advise you to try to invade.

Levin said he was standing next to Quigg when a crowd of protesters swarmed the Klan members. Levin said he pushed the Klan leader away as the violence continued and a protester was stabbed.

Levin said he asked Quigg, “How do you feel that a Jewish guy just saved your life?”

“Thank you,” the Klan leader replied, according to Levin...

“I think the police response saved their lives,” he added, referring to Klan members. “They would have been torn limb from limb.”


The shot

February 27, 2016


Let’s start with how this one ended to get it out of the way. There are just under 30 seconds left in the game, which is tied 118–118 in overtime. Kevin Durant fouled out, and so the Thunder give it to Russell Westbrook who finds backboard, no twine, on a go-ahead leaner. Andre Iguodala grabs the board for the Warriors with roughly six seconds left. Golden State has a timeout. Nobody calls one. This is because the ball finds the hands of Stephen Curry, the baddest gunslinger on either side of the Mississippi. When Curry catches the ball, he is parallel to his team’s coach's box.

The thing they all say about Curry is you’d better guard that man the second he crosses half-court, just to be safe. The other thing about him is, there’s not a single chance anyone else is shooting this ball. And by the time Curry takes three casual dribbles and pulls up, you realize all five members of the Thunder are back on defense, above the three-point line, which is, of course, nowhere near him. Curry lets go of the ball about halfway between half-court and the other coach's box, some 30 feet out, and just like the shots he practices before every single game, it goes in. We will eventually catch our breaths and look back at Curry’s career, and this season, wherever Golden State’s possible-record record finishes. It might be “The Shot” now. Name it yourself. You’ll be seeing it all again. 

The fact it fell meant a few things:

1) The Warriors beat the Thunder 121–118, in overtime of their sixth game in nine days on a road trip that hit both coasts, in an arena where they were 1–11 in their last 12 stops.

2) Curry scored 46 points, and tied the record for most threes made in an NBA game with 12.

3) Curry broke his own record for threes made in a season with 287. It’s February.

4) The Warriors are now 53–5 with 24 games to go, and 

5) they actually clinched a playoff spot sometime in the middle of the second half, when the Rockets fell to the Spurs in Houston.


Recovering ancient sounds

"What struck me was, we always look at paintings without thinking about the sonic accompaniments,” she told me. “So many paintings of a certain period contain representations of hymns and hymnographers, but people were looking at these paintings as if they were mute."


Puddles did "Mad World"

By the by, I've always had a weak spot for that song by Emilíana Torrini, "Wednesday's Child".  I used to spin it during chill time when I was DJ'ing at raves, back when I was a bond trader.  I thought of the song again this week, and wondered who wrote it.  Looked it up (thanks Internet) and, of course, it's those guys.   The grey side of the force strikes again...

Open letter? Noooo...what's your next-best idea?

Mr. LePage urged the [Republican] governors to draft an open letter “to the people,” disavowing Mr. Trump and his divisive brand of politics.  

The suggestion was not taken up. 


February 26, 2016

It's not too late

The document, stamped “confidential,” was authored by staff at Data Targeting, a Republican firm based in Gainesville, Fla. The memo notes that “it is possible to mount an independent candidacy but [it] will require immediate action on the part of this core of key funding and strategic players.”


February 25, 2016



All depends on who's doing the brokering, doesn't it?

"I don't think most people want a brokered convention," Schmidt said. "Even the establishment of the Republican Party, I think, would be worried if it went that far."


Hedbergian memories

"Do we need to bring pen and paper into this?"  Yes, yes we do.

February 24, 2016

Trump articulates his vision

(I know Laird, you got there first, but every time I see Trump I hear this in my head.)


On their home court, the Miami Heat played aggressive, physical defense, took an early lead, controlled the tempo, and then lost.  Klay Thompson threw in 15 straight points in the 4th quarter.

538 updated their Elo charts again today.  For reference, the '95-'97 Bulls were usually around 1800 during the regular season...

In continuing World War II news...

Max Hasting's New York Review of Books article, "What's New About the War?" is very good.


A few miscellaneous points about Steph Curry

Here are some interesting stats on Curry (NBA rank in parens).

  • Minutes per game:  33.8 (#36)
  • Points off turnovers per game:  5.2 (#1)
  • Fast break points:  6.2 (#2, behind Russell Westbrook)
  • Steals per game:  2.2 (#3 behind Westbrook and Ricky Rubio)
  • Assists per game:  6.6 (#11, Draymond Green is #7)
He also makes a lot of three-point shots, I'm told.

February 23, 2016

Sure, sure. This too shall pass.

Interviews with more than two dozen Bush insiders, donors and staff members illuminate the plight of an earnest and smart candidate who was tragicomically mismatched to the electorate of his own party and an unforgiving, mean media environment that broadcast his flaws. The entire premise of Bush’s candidacy, these insiders tell POLITICO, was an epic misread of a GOP base hostile to any establishment candidate, especially one with his baggage-weighted last name.


February 22, 2016

50-5, fastest team to 50 wins in NBA history

February 21, 2016

Nemesis update: still there

Is Rubio worse than Trump?

From Why I'm more worried about Marco Rubio than Donald Trump by Matthew Yglesias:

When not delighting in the epic meltdown of establishment Republican Party politics, many people I know — my wife, my boss, etc. — are expressing terror at the notion that Donald Trump might actually become president of the United States.

I'm more sanguine. Not out of any particular love for Trump, but because he's actually running on a much less extreme agenda than his "establishment" rival Marco Rubio, who's offering a platform of economic ruin, multiple wars, and an attack on civil liberties that's nearly as vicious as anything Trump has proposed — even while wrapping it in an edgy, anxious, overreaction-prone approach to politics that heavily features big risky bets and huge, unpredictable changes in direction.


Bullshit in science

From The Unbearable Asymmetry of Bullshit by Brian D. Earp:

There is a veritable truckload of bullshit in science.¹ When I say bullshit, I mean arguments, data, publications, or even the official policies of scientific organizations that give every impression of being perfectly reasonable — of being well-supported by the highest quality of evidence, and so forth — but which don’t hold up when you scrutinize the details. Bullshit has the veneer of truth-like plausibility. It looks good. It sounds right. But when you get right down to it, it stinks.



After briefly tying the 95-96 Bulls at 48-5, the Warriors with this victory reach 49-5, a record no other NBA team has achieved.

The profound interplay of expectations, sucrose, and flavored dairy products

Showing a combination of Austrian tenacity, Finnish purposefulness and Dutch flair, the researchers pursued the question more deeply. Why did vanilla yogurt make people happy? And here is where the subject blossoms and blooms and swells and begins to touch on issues larger even, if you can credit it, than happiness and its keys...

Ever since I read this study I have been eating vanilla yogurt for breakfast, hoping to be happy. And I am now prepared to announce that the truth of the matter is utterly different from what the psychologists suggest. 


February 20, 2016

The Madness of Vermeer

There's almost no trace of drawing in Vermeer.  No painter before him had eliminated line to this extent, expressing everything in terms of fluctuating light impressions. 

Sometimes you have to change things...to make them look real.

February 19, 2016

This is BULLSHIT man

Nothing much, just Steve Martin's first standup set since 1981...



February 16, 2016

What kind of MONSTER would say this?

Democratic voters believe in certain principles. They believe in equal opportunity. They believe in making sure that every kid in this country gets a fair shot. They believe in making sure that economic growth is broad-based and everybody benefits from it, and if you work hard you're not in poverty. They believe in preserving a strong safety net through programs like Social Security and Medicare. They believe in a foreign policy that is not reckless, that is tough and protects the American people but doesn’t shoot before it aims. They believe in climate change. They think science matters. They think that it's important for us to have some basic regulations to keep our air clean and our water clean, and to make sure that banks aren't engaging in excesses that can result in the kind of thing that we saw in 2007 and 2008. So there’s a broad convergence of interests around those issues...

[The Republicans are] all denying climate change.  I think that's troubling to the international community, since the science is unequivocal.  And the other countries around the world, they kind of count on the United States being on the side of science and reason and common sense, because they know that if the United States does not act on big problems in smart ways, nobody will.


February 15, 2016

I've got a fever...and the only prescription is MORE GOLDBERGS

Our annual Onion link



“There are a variety of places where a mini brain could be useful,” said the most insane person ever.


You know, for art

Terry Gilliam explains how to get Uma Thurman naked.


February 14, 2016

Staier brings the Goldbergs

"Before we finish this All-Star Game, I wish to make a brief statement."


Goldberg Notes

  • Why I Hate The 'Goldberg Variations' 
    • The piece is eighty minutes long, and mostly in G major. Just think about that for a minute. Then (without a bathroom break) think very similar thoughts for 79 more minutes, winding around the same basic themes, and then you will have some idea of what it's like to experience—you might even say survive—the Goldbergs. Let's not delude ourselves. No amount of artistry and inspiration (sorry Glenn, not even you) can make you forget that you are hearing 80 minutes of G major; it's like trying not to notice Mount Everest. Not only is it G major, but it is always, (nauseatingly?) the same sequence of harmonies within G major. This is more than a compositional roadblock; it's essentially a recipe for monotony and failure. The Goldbergs are a fool's errand attempted by the greatest genius of all time. 


February 12, 2016

It may be scientifically impossible for me to enjoy a guilty pleasure more than this


February 11, 2016

Time for a break

February 10, 2016


Good plan

Desperate to find a candidate to coalesce around in hopes of stopping the populist insurrection of Donald Trump and the conservative uprising championed by Ted Cruz, the establishment instead got the opposite: a three-way split decision between John Kasich, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio that ensures an extended, nasty and expensive fight simply to emerge as the third guy in the top tier.


February 09, 2016


47-4 (first NBA team in history to have this record)

Tough to get to the top

Despite some amazing individual performances, the Eisengeiste Immortality Screen (playoff performances with passer rating > 112) remains unchanged this year.  It remains the sole possession of one man:
  • Joe Montana, 6
Some believe Tom Brady has already matched, if not surpassed Montana, and there are some good arguments for that.  But if you thought Brady and Peyton Manning needed to do a little more to get to the summit, I'm don't think you saw enough this year to change your views.
  • Tom Brady, 5 - did not advance, had one rating > 100 in his last 4 games
  • Peyton Manning, 5 - did not advance, one rating > 100 all season.  (Worst Super Bowl winner ever?)
  • Troy Aikman, 5
  • Joe Flacco, 5
  • Bret Favre, 4
  • Eli Manning, 4
  • Kurt Warner, 4
  • Aaron Rodgers, 4 - did not advance, big performance dropoff this year, but nice throw there.
  • Drew Brees, 3
  • Jeff Hostetler, 3
  • Jim Kelly, 3
  • Joe Theisman, 3
  • Philip Rivers, 3
  • Terry Bradshaw, 3
  • Cam Newton, 1

February 07, 2016

New Hampshire blues

Carson's gonna be out.  Trump'll self-destruct. Rubio we've got stuff on. Cruz...no one wants Cruz, how is Cruz even in this?  Fiorina's ours but she's nuts, can't lead the ticket.  Kasich we'll deal with, or maybe he'll play ball...


For the first year-long period on record, from Oct. 1, 2014, through the end of September 2015, the Coast Guard recorded zero operations-related commercial fishing fatalities in Alaska, a milestone in an industry known for its “Deadliest Catch” persona. 


February 06, 2016

Julieanne finds another gear

Breakfast is the same thing, every day: denuded feldspar. I soak it overnight in Mexican creek foam to create a pudding, which I suck from a vinegar-soaked sponge. It’s truly hands free, which lets me simultaneously do my sun grunts and marinate my anus in squeezed orange pith.


Django and the gang


February 05, 2016



Please let this happen

Moderator:  Will you release transcripts of the speeches you gave at Goldman Sachs?

Clinton:  We're looking into that, we said we'd look into that.

Sanders:  Oh, I have them.

Clinton:  What?!

Sanders:  But of course it would be wrong to read from them without my opponent's permission.

Crowd:  Read them!  Read them!

Sanders:  Have patience, gentle friends, I must not read them;
  It is not meet you know how Clinton spoke at Goldman.
  You are not wood, you are not stones, but men;
  And, being men, bearing her words to Goldman,
  It will inflame you, it will make you mad:
  'Tis good you know not what she has said;
  For, if you should, O, what would come of it!

Clinton:  You monster.

Sanders:  I actually don't have the speeches.  Why don't you release them?

February 03, 2016

Bob moves on

New York Times obit is here.



Durant to. become a Warrior?

Even now, Durant represents something of the Warriors’ private bravado.
Think we’re unbeatable now?
Just wait.


February 02, 2016

Them Baptists got me in a Bible mood

Then Mary said: My soul exalts the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my savior, because he cast down his eyes to the low estate of his slave girl. Behold, after now all the generations will bless me; because the mighty one has done great things for me, and his name is holy; and his mercy is for generations and generations, for those who fear him. He has taken power into his arm, and scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He has pulled down the dynasts from their thrones, and raised up the humble; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. 

- Luke 1:45-55, Lattimore translation

Don't be so naive, Scully

Let the games begin


Worthwhile hashtag


February 01, 2016

A few brief comments on the Iowa caucuses

I was visiting with some Baptists in West Texas last week.  They want a good Christian man in the White House, not some New York bullshit artist.  They will come out in the rain to vote against Trump everywhere. 

You're not fooling anyone.

So...go independent?  Sure, but independents hate his guts.

Hopefully this is where Ezra Klein gets to do his victory dance.