March 30, 2016

Enter Handel


Shut up

Moreover... OT on the road on the back end of a back-to-back --> CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?!

March 29, 2016


March 28, 2016

BBC Radio tribute to Johan Cruyff


2-in-3 shot


Just needed refresh my Yiddish: we're discussing politics at work tomorrow

Ven der putz shteht, ligt der sechel in drerd. --> When the prick stands up, the brains get buried in the ground.

Portnoy's Complaint, as every schoolchild knows.


March 27, 2016


Being so good they can't ignore you

James Corden has not only figured out how to get 80 million Youtube views real fast (put Adele in a Range Rover and sing along with the stereo), but he is the first guy in history who has actually figured out how to interview musicians: make them comfortable, play music, sing along, chat a bit.  Pure magic.

It would take more than this to get me to listen to One Direction or Justin Bieber, but the Stevie Wonder and Adele episodes alone should win Corden the Nobel Prize for Television.


It's not a good idea

Trap game! Trap game!

March 26, 2016

Only Nixon could go to Fruitvale


March 25, 2016



Sounds right

The year 2004 was when we completely gave up and embraced stupidity as a value.


But well-played, nice shot on goal there

ok, that's adorable

March 24, 2016

Makin' Some Propoganda: Suggestions?

March 23, 2016


It's a living

Bush has endorsed Ted Cruz



I'm sorry, explain again to me why this was clever?

Judge Garland is just the kind of candidate we would have advised President Bush to nominate if he had been in this situation. A proven moderate, he has enjoyed widespread Republican support in the past. As a former prosecutor, he is often sympathetic to the prosecution in criminal cases. He has aggressively and thoroughly prosecuted terrorists. Senator Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah, who is an expert on the Constitution as well as the confirmation process, admires him. Judge Garland is exactly the type of person who might have been chosen by the Bush administration if a Supreme Court nomination had been submitted to a Democratic-controlled Senate. 


March 22, 2016

Vat the fuck...?!

Recent and Recycled Egans

Road and Track is putting more Egan online, some old, some new. Keep it up! Free the Egans!
  • "There are people who love puzzles and brainteasers, but I am not one of them. I hate having my brain teased. It's already suffered enough."  (link)
  • "Perhaps no human fear is stronger than that of being cornered by a person with Conviction." ('92 - link)

    March 21, 2016

    Just had a Latouchian twitch



    More of a guideline, really

    The Republican National Committee's "Rule 40(b)"makes eligibility for the GOP nomination contingent upon winning a majority of the convention delegates in at least eight states or territories, an achievement generally accomplished by winning at least eight primary or caucus elections...

    Party officials and knowledgeable sources have confirmed over the past few days that Rule 40(b) doesn't exist for the purposes of the upcoming convention. That means at this point, the three candidates left in the race...are all eligible for the nomination, as, possibly, are...contenders who have since suspended their campaigns.

    Sssshhh, or the women will hear

    March 20, 2016

    Old Brown Shoe

    "Old Brown Shoe" provides as fine an example you'll find this side of "Abbey Road" of George Harrison (Scouse of Distinction) doing his thing while also holding his own. And yet, it retains a B-side kind of relative obscurity that is as unfortunate as it is undeserved. - Alan Pollack

    The Beatles didn't just properly execute the Supergroup Implosion.  As in all things, they did it in their own brilliant, high-risk style, in full view of a bemused world, with each member at various times doing their own version of "I got this:  here, hold my beer..."

    As the engine flamed out and the wings fell off, various unusual things happened.  Lennon wrote a song called "The Ballad of John and Yoko", which McCartney immediately cut with him, omitting the participation of 2nd-tier band member George Harrison (on vacation somewhere) and 3rd-tier band member Ringo Starr (filming a move).  Supposedly there's a session tape where this happens (source):
    Lennon (on guitar): "Go a bit faster, Ringo!"
    McCartney (on drums): "OK, George!" 
    Ha ha, and they put it out as a single, and boom, more money.  It went to #1 in the UK, #8 in the U.S. despite saying "Christ", and was banned in Spain for mentioning Gibraltar.  Just another day at the office for two guys who'd gotten used to getting paid very very well for recording, well, almost anything.

    What was kind of getting lost here was the advancement of Harrison as a songwriter and arranger.  He owned the White Album with "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" and "Savoy Truffle", which even today compare favorably with "Why Don't We Do It the Road", "Martha My Dear", and other assorted crap.  "Savoy Truffle" showed that Harrison could put together a complicated but coherent musical machine, take it off, and land it, all without mentioning the Indian subcontinent.  Musicians enjoy playing it as much as audiences enjoy hearing it (here's the Ella Fitzgerald version).

    The biggest problem with "Savoy Truffle", as with many Beatles songs after 1966, is what the fuck is it about?  The band had gotten to the point where their musical ideas had far outrun their ability to put coherent lyrics in.  Despite their fame, money, and spiritual and political pretensions, they really had no ideas or vision to sell, except for whatever was already in the air.

    Only Harrison was actually honest about this, and "Old Brown Shoe" - the B-side of "The Ballad of John and Yoko" - can be read as a protest against the excessive certainty that plagued so many late Beatles songs (Todd Rundgren comment here).  I have no idea what's going on, Harrison says, but maybe a pretty girl would help:

    I want a love that's right but right is only half of what's wrong 
    I want a short haired girl who sometimes wears it twice as long 
    Now I'm stepping out of this old brown shoe, baby, I'm in love with you 
    I'm so glad you came here, it won't be the same now, I'm telling you 

    You know you pick me up from where some try to drag me down 
    And when I see your smile replace every thoughtless frown 
    Got me escaping from this zoo, baby, I'm in love with you 
    I'm so glad you came here, it won't be the same now when I'm with you

    Here is Harrison working out the song with McCartney and Ringo:

    Here's Harrison doing it in 1992 (24 years ago, already?):

    Top prize for a modern era performance goes to Gary Brooker, who gets through the song with the aid of various journeymen:

    A couple of additional thoughts:
    • Harrison plays bass on the record ("nice job Paul!"), and like a fucking madman.  This gentleman illustrates nicely.  When asked about it Harrison said he just played the bass like a guitar.
    • This fellow notes that "I've seen fights break out over who gets to play the [guitar] solo..."  
    • Conan O'Brien enjoys singing it.

    By the time the Beatles wrapped up Abbey Road, Lennon was acknowledging that Harrison's "Something" was the best song on the album.  It was good of him to notice, but Harrison had been doing the best work in the band for a while.

    This could be a weird election

    Republican leaders adamantly opposed to Donald J. Trump’s candidacy are preparing a 100-day campaign to deny him the presidential nomination, starting with an aggressive battle in Wisconsin’s April 5 primary and extending into the summer, with a delegate-by-delegate lobbying effort that would cast Mr. Trump as a calamitous choice for the general election.

    Recognizing that Mr. Trump has seized a formidable advantage in the race, they say that an effort to block him would rely on an array of desperation measures, the political equivalent of guerrilla fighting.



    DNA results are in: Early humans and Neanderthals made babies together

    First Sea Lord called it.


    Buster Keaton was a badass


    Instead of treating the 30-point beating in January as if it were Armageddon, the Spurs calmly went back to the lab, participated in a marathon film session, and regrouped.

    “It was really tough,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich joked just after that 120-90 debacle. “I had to go to everybody’s house. I slept overnight at about four or five players’ houses just to try to get them straight.”


    Stay on target...stay on target...


    March 19, 2016

    You made it happen!


    March 18, 2016

    Heart of Goldbergness

    My Goldberg fetish is now approaching clinical levels.  After a careful listen or three I can vouch for Perahia's masterful performance, and thanks to Google autoplay have discovered Rosalyn Tureck's enthralling 1957 rendition as well.  Glenn Gould reportedly named Tureck as the only pianist whose work he admired, although it was his own acclaimed interpretation that eclipsed her; in 1981 he -Wittgenstein-like - recanted the original effort and submitted a revised version.

    But Tureck was hot stuff, too, having gained a particular appreciation of the Goldberg Variations through a sudden epiphany in the 1940s:
    [S]he had an out-of-body experience playing Bach's counterpoint, in which she briefly blacked out and returned to consciousness with an indelible sensation of the music as a three-dimensional experience, something existing in space as well as time – inspired a complete reconstruction of her pianistic technique when it came to playing Bach's music. Tureck's astonishingly ambitious idea was the complete independence of her 10 fingers, not just in terms of which note they were playing, but in loudness, articulation, touch and expression. What she was striving for was complete crystalline clarity of line in Bach's densest polyphony, so that each stratum of counterpoint could communicate directly to the listener. 
    She once called harpsichordist Wanda Landowska on her bullshit, saying "you play it your way; I play it Bach's way," leading to a hockey-style punch-up, I bet.  The remark seems a little unjust:  Landowska's full performance on harpsichord is eminently listenable, even if the the harpsichord was not exactly authentic, and surely a master of her level should be allowed a bit of room for interpretation.  For further information you may visit the Tureck Bach Research Institute, and say hello to the Mad Hatter for me while you're there.

    The Goldbergs present a special problem.

    But we are not daunted.  Your real Goldberg aficionado wants to push the limits, go deeper into the G-major labyrinth, and summon the shadows lurking in the shadows, and the antishadows and negative antishadows so as to interrogate Bach's normative contrapuntal stylings and make them confess, compel them to admit that the world is not one glorious harmonious whole created by the hand of God, but a nightmare of unreason, dark, dissonant, and imponderable.

    The interrogator in this instance is the estimable Lara Downes:

    (That cover, by the way, is to a middle-aged man exactly what Carly Simon's 'No Secrets' was to the teenager. But I digress.)

    Really, don't get this album unless you're serious, it is Hard. Core.

    Track listing:

    1:  Aria, Johann Sebastian Bach

    2:  Chasing Goldberg, Fred Lerdahl

    3: The Gilmore Variation, Jennifer Higdon

    4: Variation Fugato, Bright Sheng

    5:  Goldmore Variation, Lukas Foss

    6:  Kontraphunktus, Derek Bermel

    7:  Melancholy Minuet, Fred Hersch

    8:  Rube Goldberg Variation, Curtis Curtis-Smith

    9:  Fantasy Variation, Stanley Walden

    10:  Ornament, Ryan Brown

    11: Ghost Variation, Mischa Zupko

    12: My Goldberg, David Del Tredici

    13:  Yet Another Goldberg Variation, William Bolcom

    14:  Variation on Variation with Variation, Ralf Gothóni

    15: Aria (Reprise), Johann Sebastian Bach

    ...but wait!  There's more!

    16: Chorale, Dave Brubeck

    17: Prelude in D, Lukas Foss

    18: Sarabande, Johann Sebastian Bach

    Last night I listened to the whole thing driving home from Berkeley, sick, exhausted, and over-caffeinated.  I'm not gonna lie, some people won't be able to handle it.  It's heavy, it's deep.  It shows you things Bach didn't want you to see.  It tells lies strangely like truth, it knocks you down and hurts your feelings:

    After I parked my car I walked through the little grove of trees near my home, and caught myself humming an old tune.  It took a while to remember the name  - "Listen to What the Man Said" by Paul McCartney.  Funny, I hadn't thought about it since I was a teenager.

    When I got inside I looked it up.  Yup: G-major.

    Dark places, I'm telling you.




    Two more angles of that shot here.

    March 16, 2016


    Intensify countermeasures

    Trump has fallen below his target line.  Repeat:  Trump has fallen below his target line.  (link)

    I did not know that

    As I was somewhat distracted in 2008 I failed to note the passing of Siegfried Knappe, who:
    • Fought in artillery units for the Germans in WW2, and was decorated for bravery on numerous occasions,
    • Became a staff officer,
    • Did daily briefings in the Führerbunker, and was one of the last to depart (his account of this experience was one source for the movie Downfall),
    • Was captured and imprisoned by the Russians, but released in 1949,
    • Emigrated to the U.S. and moved to Dayton, OH, where he became an executive at NCR (formerly National Cash Register), 
    • Retired in 1983,
    • and wrote Soldat: Reflections of a German Soldier, 1936-1949.
    Well, ok.  But forgive me if I don't salute.



    The Guggenheim Puts 109 Free Modern Art Books Online



    Ambiguity is our friend

    When you put it all together, I think the result on Tuesday can best be defined as messy. Trump is likely to have a plurality of delegates after all the contests have finished up on June 7. But a majority? We still don’t know.


    Relegated to the ash heap of history

    Brown also re-opened a years-old feud with former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who withdrew from the presidential race last year. Before leaving office, Perry, a self-proclaimed hunter of jobs, ran radio ads in California luring companies to move to his state.

    “If I asked you who was that governor, there aren’t 50 people in this room that could even tell me his damn name,” Brown said. “And people who attack California, they do become anonymous and forgotten. Rightfully so.”


    March 15, 2016


    If you're going to have one hit, make it count

    March 14, 2016


    This is madness.

    March 13, 2016

    But #Revolution sounds sexier

    From Post War: A History of Europe Since 1945 by Tony Judt:

    Nevertheless, within the general post-war European consensus there was a distinctive vision, that of the Social Democrats. Social Democracy had always been a hybrid; indeed, this was just what was held against it by enemies of the Right and Left alike. A practice in lifelong search of its theory, Social Democracy was the outcome of an insight vouchsafed to a generation of European socialists early in the twentieth century: that radial social revolution in the heartlands of modern Europe -- as prophesied and planned by the socialist visionaries of the nineteenth century -- lay in the past, not the future. As a solution to the injustice and inefficiency of industrial capitalism, the nineteenth-century paradigm of violent urban upheaval was not only undesirable and unlikely to meet its goals; it was also redundant. Genuine improvements to the condition of all classes could be obtained in incremental and peaceful ways.

    March 12, 2016



    Early 4th quarter


    Thank you

    Obama wrecks GOP

    What is happening in this primary is just a distillation of what’s been happening inside their party for more than a decade. I mean, the reason that many of their voters are responding is because this is what’s been fed through the messages they’ve been sending for a long time — that you just make flat assertions that don’t comport with the facts. That you just deny the evidence of science. That compromise is a betrayal. That the other side isn’t simply wrong, or we just disagree, we want to take a different approach, but the other side is destroying the country, or treasonous. I mean, that’s — look it up. That’s what they’ve been saying.

    So they can’t be surprised when somebody suddenly looks and says, you know what, I can do that even better. I can make stuff up better than that. I can be more outrageous than that. I can insult people even better than that. I can be even more uncivil. I mean, conservative outlets have been feeding their base constantly the notion that everything is a disaster, that everybody else is to blame, that Obamacare is destroying the country. And it doesn’t matter whether it’s true or not. It’s not, we disagree with this program, we think we can do it better — it’s, oh, this is a crisis!

    So if you don’t care about the facts, or the evidence, or civility, in general in making your arguments, you will end up with candidates who will say just about anything and do just about anything. And when your answer to every proposal that I make, or Democrats make is no, it means that you’ve got to become more and more unreasonable because that’s the only way you can say no to some pretty reasonable stuff. And then you shouldn’t be surprised when your party ultimately has no ideas to offer at all.


    Now, all we have to do is VOTE

    How are you doing on your life goals?

    FDR died at the age of 63.


    My technological breakthrough

    I discovered an exciting new tool that I'm evaluating, both at work and at home, that I wanted to tell you about: a blank sheet of paper and a pen.

    Why not a pencil? When I use a pencil, I spend time correcting my mistakes, and mental energy deciding whether I should correct my mistakes. If I start making too many mistakes with a pen, it alerts me that I need to slow down.

    This tool very inexpensive. You don't have to buy expensive fountain pens, fancy inks, and European paper to do this. (But I did, of course. If your curious about what I found out while doing this, please ask questions in the comments.)

    March 11, 2016

    58-6 ( ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ )

    How will America survived without adult supervision?

    If you haven't already, find the time to read this yuge-ass article on Obama in the Atlantic:

    In 2014, after she left office, Clinton told me that “the failure to help build up a credible fighting force of the people who were the originators of the protests against Assad … left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled.” When The Atlantic published this statement, and also published Clinton’s assessment that “great nations need organizing principles, and ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle,” Obama became “rip-shit angry,” according to one of his senior advisers. The president did not understand how “Don’t do stupid shit” could be considered a controversial slogan. Ben Rhodes recalls that “the questions we were asking in the White House were ‘Who exactly is in the stupid-shit caucus? Who is pro–stupid shit?’ ” The Iraq invasion, Obama believed, should have taught Democratic interventionists like Clinton, who had voted for its authorization, the dangers of doing stupid shit.

    Live footage from Chicago

    Yglesias states the unmentionable obvious

    Obama hangs over every moment of the 2016 race. It would make a lot more sense for him to directly face his critics on the left (Bernie Sanders) and right (every Republican) rather than do so indirectly through the proxy of Hillary Clinton. If the voters are persuaded to take the country in a different direction, then so be it. But it's strange to have his legacy held partially hostage to controversies over email server management and a 1994 crime bill he had nothing to do with.

    The problem, of course, is that a third Obama term would be unconstitutional. The 22nd Amendment, ratified in 1951, prohibits presidents from serving more than two terms. But though it can't be repealed in time for the 2016 election, term limits clearly have to go. We should return to the democratic practice that served our country well for 150 years: Let the parties nominate whom they like, and let the voters choose their favorite.


    Let me just add, that I find it bizarre that the greatest president of my lifetime will be succeeded by an abrasive, corrupt, self-absorbed monster, or Donald Trump.  Just doesn't seem right.

    March 10, 2016


    Spurs close to within three.

    Re: Babies


    Curry has hit 5-of-13 shots from beyond 39 feet, good for 38.4 percent.


    March 09, 2016


    Glimpses in the crowd

    [O]n the sidelines there’s another toothy lovely in a vest, listening to John. It first looks like she has one stylish boot up on the table. But when you look more closely—and A Hard Day’s Night repays frame-by-frame examination more fully than the Zapruder film—you discover her heel is actually cupped in a companion’s hand. Furthermore, she’s wiggling it slowly, delectably, and oh-so-indolently, nibbling on whatever the in crowd nibbled in the spring of 1964.


    March 08, 2016


    No 'Big Three' no worries as Spurs cruise to easy victory at Minnesota

    LaMarcus Aldridge went for a game-high 29 points as the Spurs played the game without Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili, who rested for the game. Tony Parker missed the game with a left toe contusion suffered Monday in Indianapolis. And Gregg Popovich was away tending to a family health issue.


    The great chase

    There are twenty games left in the NBA season.  I made the decision last fall to keep blogging Warriors games until they fell off the pace of the winningest team of all time, the 95-96 Bulls.  They never did.  The NBA tracks the state of the chase here.  Today, at 56-6, they are one game ahead of the Bulls in the loss column.

    To tie the Bulls' 72-10 record (it is inconceivable that they could break it), the Warriors need to go 16-4 down the stretch, an .800 winning percentage.  This would actually represent a decline from their current pace.

    A few additional points:

    • Only six of the remaining games are on the road.  The Warriors have not lost at home this season, and in fact have just set the NBA record for consecutive home wins.
    • Three of remaining games are against the 54-10 Spurs, who are just four games behind the Warriors in the loss column.  If the Spurs somehow manage to finish ahead of the Warriors, they get the #1 seed in the west, and play their game 7s (if needed) at home all the way through.  In other words, although both have clinched playoff spots, both the Warriors and Spurs are still playing for something.
    • Kerr is emphatic that he will not compromise the team's championship hopes just to get the regular season win record. 
      • He will start to limit Curry's minutes, just as he did last year, but probably more aggressively because Curry has a dodgy ankle.
      • Iguodala is hurt - has to rest.
      • Ezeli is hurt - had surgery, may be back in time for the playoffs.
      • Green is sick and pissed off.
    After a loss in LA over the weekend and an uninspiring victory over the Magic last night, the Warriors seem to have lost some of their elan.  After all, it has been almost two weeks since they crushed the OKC Thunder in their own place, and almost a week since they did it again at Oracle.

    We can only hope this benighted team returns to form soon.

    No time for that bullshit

    I read this in January, and I think of it every day:

    ...America is in no mood for healing.



    An Ilustration of the GOP, Right Now

    White People, Give Me Your Anger!


    So scary.

    March 07, 2016

    Thank you, Mr. Bloomberg

    As the race stands now, with Republicans in charge of both Houses, there is a good chance that my candidacy could lead to the election of Donald Trump or Senator Ted Cruz. That is not a risk I can take in good conscience.


    Legal system seems to be functioning well

    Without bothering to hear arguments, the justices reversed the Alabama Supreme Court...


    They're in my shirt cupboard...!

    March 06, 2016

    There are lots, but not enough

    [W]ith every passing election that Sanders does not alter the fundamental demographics of the race it becomes clearer and clearer that he is drawing dead in this campaign. We've seen time and again that Sanders can beat Clinton in states that have overwhelmingly white Democratic parties.

    His problem is that there aren't enough white Democrats to make this strategy work.


    Can you hear them calling?


    March 05, 2016

    I will stand on it with a pitchfork and a shotgun

    The Secret Life

    Even better than I remembered.


    Botanic gardens

    Other nice places like this in the region:


    Despite the enormous level of well-deserved hype surrounding the Warriors, the surprising truth is the Spurs have been winning at a higher clip since Dec. 2 (.884 winning percentage compared with .878) while proving to be the superior defensive team. The Spurs are not only tops in the NBA when it comes to defending (96.2 points allowed per 100 possessions), but also significantly ahead of the fifth-rated Warriors (101.6).


    March 04, 2016

    Well there's your problem

    You might wonder whether this sort of thing always happens during a nomination campaign. The short answer is that it doesn’t. By comparison, 79 percent of Democrats this year have said they’d be satisfied with Hillary Clinton as their nominee, while 62 percent have said so of Bernie Sanders.


    March 03, 2016

    Yeah! End the Schengen Agreement! (What's the Schengen Agreement?)


    Spurs Clinch 19th Straight Playoff Berth


    55-5 - OKC wondering where it all started to go wrong...

    March 02, 2016

    Smart boy

    If (for instance) Trump has won 37 of 50 states and 49.9 percent of delegates going into the convention, then technically Republicans might be able to deny him the nomination. For that matter, technically they’d be able to deny Trump the nomination even if he had a delegate majority by changing the rules at the last minute.


    March 01, 2016

    54-5 - no Curry, no Iguodala, no problem

    Thank you

    Me:  someone should write a thing about how good Marcus Camby was.
    Internet:  done

    I miss Grantland.