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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Cool...or hot Neat

One of the biggest obstacles to using the sun for energy is the fact that it isn't always shining and there's been no way to store the energy effeciently enough to really launch it into broad use.

Until now, maybe...

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology say they’ve discovered a new way to store solar energy so that the non-polluting power can heat homes even when the sun isn’t shining.

at the risk of being too "sporty"

Sports contain some of the most successful promotional vehicles in the world.

The Super Bowl is annually the most watched event in the country and has become a pseudo holiday.

The NCAA Basketball Tournament consumes the nation for an even longer period. Business analysts actually calculate productivity lost due to people following the tournament when they should be working. (What is the productivity lost by analysts studying the productivity loss of the NCAA tournament when they could be analyzing something else? Boggles the min!)

College Bowl Season (in decline)

The MLB Trade Deadline. I'd suggest that this gets MLB more press and attention than the All-Star game. Live blogs on all the news sites, live programming on both ESPN and NESN. And the bonus is that even the fans of bad teams pay attention to find out how their team will be impacted.

Parlor games

Excellent game suggested by Jay. Who leaves first: Sal or Manny? Excellent match-up. If you’ve been watching for several months, you’ve probably seen the odds go back and forth. Mannny was probably a clear favorite to leave first a year or so ago, but it’s been a “pick ‘em” for quite a while now. It's clearly leaning heavily toward Manny, but if he doesn't get dealt by 4 today and someone drops another dime on Sal, it could swing back the other way in a hurry.

Can we make other compelling matchups of which politician or sports figure will leave their current position first? Place your bets and suggest other matchups...

Kerry-Belichick

Deval Patrick-Josh Beckett

Doc Rivers-Tom Menino

Song of the Day: For Those About to Rock

boomp3.com

There's not a lot that ever needs to be said about an AC-DC song.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A different shade of green in Southie

Just by chance I was looking at the TV listings for something to watch while the Red Sox pitiful effort was winding down last night and noticed something called "The Greening of Southie" was going to be on the Sundance Channel.

"Southie" like Southie in Boston, I wondered? Green?

It sure was. The documentary follows the construction of the Macallen building in South Boston and the efforts to win Gold LEED certification during the design and construction of the project.

Through interviews with the developers, project managers, material suppliers and workers on site, they show you what's involved in green building. They also give some interesting insight into how people react to the concept.

Remember, some of this footage was taken a few years ago and the level of education and acceptance about green building has increased, no doubt.

If you haven't seen it, set your DVR for Sundance on Friday, Aug 1 at 10:35 AM or Sunday, Aug 3 at 3:35 PM.

You can order a copy of the film on DVD through the producer's website.

Here's a little clip from YouTube.

I wanna do this

I'm very jealous of one of my fellow bloggers, Quriltai. I wish I was making a post like this myself.

Someday I Will.

Song of the Day: Hero (Acoustic)

I've liked the Foo Fighters since their first album. Dave Grohl puts great energy into his songs and I've always liked him in interviews.

This one's an acoustic version done on the Howard Stern Show. You can hear Grohl, Stern and Quivers talking at the beginning and end. Stern's had a lot of great musical performances on his show over the years. They've done weekend long specials featuring just the music from the show. This one is always mentioned when musical guests are discussed on the show.

boomp3.com

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

SiriusXM

I'm very happy the merger of Sirius and XM has finally been approved and completed. I look forward to being able to get Major League Baseball on my radio.

I cannot recommend Sirius highly enough. So many different music channels with absolutely no commercials that it's tough to listen to AM-FM for anything other than local news or sports (they have local weather and traffic on Sirius).

Malcolm X

Stolen from the front page of wiki today:
Malcolm X was an American Black Muslim minister and a spokesman for the Nation of Islam. Born Malcolm Little, he changed his surname to "X" as a rejection of his "slave name". Tensions between him and the Nation of Islam caused him to break from the group in 1964. He claimed to have received daily death threats and his house was burned to the ground in February 1965. One week later, Malcolm X was assassinated, having been shot in the chest by a sawed-off shotgun and 16 times with handguns. Three members of the Nation of Islam were convicted.


If you've never read the Autobiography of Malcolm X, done with Alex Haley of Roots fame, you should check it out. Sure there's lots of things in there that you probably already know, but most I didn't. It's always interesting to read a full fledged book on someone that's famous because you realize how little you know about even the most famous, discussed people in history. The guy had a very interesting life.

Song of the Day: Somebody to Love

boomp3.com

Someone at work today told me that she went to see George Michael in concert. Funny, right? Because he's a somewhat disgraced former pop star. I mean, he's been busted how many times for engaging in gay sex acts in public bathrooms? And I think he's been arrested for some other drunken escapades. I'm not interested enough to even look it up on wiki, but feel free.

But the guy was a mega-major superstar. Wham was an 80's sensation. Then he dropped the "other guy" (Andrew Ridgley?) and was one of the top 3 or 4 recording artists in the world. Girls swooned and MTV played his videos endlessly. Who doesn't remember the leather jacket? The jukebox? The safe sex video featuring all those hot models with words written on their bodies? I think he popularized the stubble beard. He had that other video with all the hot models singing that "Freedom" song. But most important, the guy could sing. Really sing.

So here's a favorite Queen song of mine that he did--I believe--at a tribute concert for the recently deceased Freddie Mercury, himself a tremendous singer and performer featured here previously (on this same song, no less). Michael performed this with the surviving members of Queen and brought the house down. Gotta love that huge English crowd singing in unison at Wembley.

The concert in Boston got a great write-up in the Herald. The Globe reviewer loved it, too.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Reminder

John McCain is old. That's worth repeating. But being old doesn't disqualify him from being President of the United States (POTUS, in net speak). But his age has brought with it an increasing lack of mental clarity and coherence, I think. Or maybe the spotlight of the campaign has just highlighted a lack of coherence and mental clarity that has always existed.

I applaud his military service, but Republicans themselves made the argument four years ago that policy positions are more important that actual military service. So I think we can take that whole war hero thing off the table.

New link over there ----------->

This should've been available a long time ago.

The Onion.

I know you know it. I'm just letting you know that I know that you know that I know that you like it. Remind yourself to check it out more often.

My adopted country

Folks in Myanmar are still trying to put the pieces back together after the cyclone.

Please note that early and shocking estimates that up to 10,000 could be dead were too conservative. The story linked above says the number of dead is 84,537 and another 53,836 are "missing and presumed dead."

I've taken a slight interest in Myanmar. This is my fourth post about the country. I may set up a google news alert on Myanmar to send me more regular updates. It's not a bad idea to follow the fortunes of a foreign nation.

England must be abuzz

Who saw this coming? There's going to be a new royal baby in England.

Song of the Day: The Obvious Child

boomp3.com

Hadn't heard this one in a long time until a few weeks ago. Then heard it again last night. Great percussion, especially the slow building solo that returns to the shuffling beat. Excellent stuff.

I "misremembered" the song as having been from Paul Simon's "Graceland" album, featuring a heavy South African influence. But it was from his next album, the Rhythm of the Saints.

From wiki...
The Rhythm of the Saints is an album released in 1990 by Paul Simon.

Following the success of 1986's Graceland, on which he worked principally with South African musicians, Simon broadened his interests in diverse forms of music from around the world. He turned to Latin America for the musicians and rhythms which characterize much of this album, partnering with Afro-Brazilian superstars Grupo Cultural Olodum, masters of the Bahia style of samba (called Batucada). The group's drumming is featured on the opening song and first single, "The Obvious Child".

The wiki page lists Simon as being joined by no less than 70(!) musicians on the album.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Who doesn't love winning a trophy?

I'm not much of a fisherman.

One sister married a lifelong recreational fisherman and hunter from the Midwest. They live there. So when he started coming east on vacation he wanted to hit the previously unavailable salt water. So I'd go with him and he'd teach me what he knew and what he was learning.

My other sister married a guy who fished some as a kid and throughout his life, but has really gone nuts with it in the last few years.

A few years back we started going out on a charter for striped bass with a coworker/friend, who is one of the best striper fisherman in the area. This year we added a trophy. Biggest fish of the day wins the cup. I landed a 38-ish pounder early on and held the lead most of the day. Near the end of the day, brother in law II landed a contender. And he had the heaviest weighed second fish. After a second weighing at the dock, the Captain ruled a draw on the two heaviest fish. So we headed to a marine shop with a scale where my fish weighed 37.3 pounds and brother in law II came in at 37 even.

So now I have a shiny new cup on display at my home. My wife has agreed to let it have a prominent place for showing, at least for a little while. Neither of my sister's cared to have it so displayed in their homes.

It's always fun to win a trophy and a life goes on, the opportunities to win one diminish significantly. So I enjoyed drinking beer from the cup and posing with the cup and the winning fish.

By the way, after my newly won cup, my newest favorite trophy is the one given to the winners of the Arena Bowl winner. It's so obnoxiously big, how can you not love it? It's only the fifth time the Foster Trophy has been awarded, though this was the 22d Arena Bowl. Good for them.

Go ahead and trade Manny

The talk has begun again, and it's no wonder, given the recent series of events: do the Red Sox and Manny Ramirez want to trade each other?

I'd say trade him if you can get a decent power hitting prospect or an already developing power hitter, for the following reasons:
--It's possible there will be problems the rest of the season.

--If they've made up their mind to let him go at the end of the season, they might as well get something for him. (more than a compensatory draft pick)

--Manny's getting old, so are Ortiz and Lowell. They need to develop power hitters to fill out the middle of the order. Sure they can pick up a free agent to do that, but prospects are cheaper. If there's an area the farm is weak, I think it's power hitters. There are a few, but fewer than other spots, in my opinion.

--Most importantly, I'm willing to risk the rest of this season without Manny to stock up for next year and years beyond. I know prospects are never sure things, but neither is Manny for the rest of the season. The signs that his production is in permanent decline are already there.

Hello? Anybody here?

Hopefully the regular visitors to this space realized at some point last week that I was on vacation. I hope they return, as I have.

Family was in town and there was visiting and eating to be done. There was also a fair deal of game playing. Apples to Apples bumped the usually dominant UNO as the game of choice. I'd never even heard of it before, but it was good. Moves quick, keeps everyone involved, provides good deal of table talk and debate.

And I won a fishing competition. See next post.

Anyway, all the activity kind of took away any chance to blog. My apologies.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Red Sox return...kinda

Better late than never? Maybe, but I'll be one of the many who catch no more than a few innings of the Red Sox return to regular baseball after the All Star break tonight. They have a 10 o'clock tilt against the Los Angeles Anaheim Greater Metropolitan Suburban Area in Southern California Just North of Mexico in the United States of America Angels.

We start the "second half" needing a combination of wins and losses by the Red Sox and Rays totalling 67 for our team to clinch the American League East.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Grass

A regular reader of the blog has inquired as to the status and appearence of the grass planted on the noternie estate and featured here not long ago.

My apologies for not keeping up on the lawn report. I meant to. I've just either forgotten to take the picture or taken it but not posted it until it was dated. I'll try to get that done soon. Maybe after the next fresh cut, which should happen in the next day or two.

Song of the Day: Somebody's Watching Me

"Rockwell" hit it big with this one back in the 80s. (not that recent) I thought it fitting giving the state's pending "Big Brother" legislation.

This one's got all the 80's trappings: heavy on the synthesizers and interesting video with over-the-top dramatics from performer. And yes, that is Micheal Jackson (and Jermaine) singing backup and in the chorus. At the peak of Micheal's popularity, too. It helps when your dad is Motown founder Berry Gordy (Rockwell's real name is Kenny William Gordy), your sister is married to Jermaine and your half-sister is the "love child" of Diana Ross. Info courtesy of wiki.

This is garbage!!

Massachusetts is considering passing a law that gives state law enforcement similar powers that the feds grabbed as part of the Patriot Act and recently renewed.

They can demand any records about you from phone and internet companies with just a letter. No judges, no warrants, no checks or balances. Nice and neat, eh? And any of the companies are immune from recourse if they just give it all up on you.

Oh, as an interesting sidenote, the ENTIRE Massachusetts Congressional Delegation just voted AGAINST giving the feds these powers.

This is when I'm happy that the ACLU has some money and influence to make some noise. This is bad stuff...

One thing we do know is that the people being targeted for such spying are not just the "bad guys." Recent targets of government spying have included journalists reporting on stories skeptical of the administration, whistle-blowers critical of the government, peace activists, elected officials, and others whom prosecutors determine - without oversight by a court - to be worth "investigating."

Once prosecutors get this kind of power, they will use it. Since the Patriot Act expanded the power of the FBI to issue secret national security letters - another form of administrative subpoena - the government has used the power more than 200,000 times. It's hard to know the exact number, since this government snooping is done in secret, without judicial oversight and with a gag order attached. But two Inspector General reports have revealed widespread abuse and mismanagement of this federal subpoena power.


I'm sure there will be a much higher level of restraint at the state level, where professionalism rates a few notches higher. (/sarcasm)

I think I'll look up the addresses of my representatives and send them a note asking for their positions on this. Maybe you could, too. Representatives here. Senators here.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

That's funny

Yankee Stadium cheering a Red Sox home run!

UPDATE: And he's the MVP of the game! Goodbye Yankee Stadium. We'll miss that funky smell.

Commercials: Some good, some bad

It's love, it's love, it's love
It's la la la la la

People passing on beer is a good concept, but the song drives me nuts.

On the other hand, Dish Network has Frank Caliendo, the guy who does the great Bush impression. He mimics Bush going over the remote control and noting the French word "Pie-ooo-say." I laugh every time. Reminds me of the commerical in which a kid reads an address as "Pa-ho-nix" instead of Phoenix. That's my chosen pronunciation for the Arizona city for the rest of my life.

Outback Steakhouse's commercials irritate me so much I won't eat there. I'll still drink Heinekin if someone puts it front of me.

Song of the Day: Running Down a Dream

This is one of my favorite Petty songs. Cool video, too. Catch the video at this link.

boomp3.com

Monday, July 14, 2008

Confession

I haven't seen The Departed. Haven't seen Mystic River.

I tivo-ed Mystic River tonight while the home run derby was one. I read the book and loved it.

The Bourne movies are on the list to be watched, too.

There are many others. I don't see nearly as many movies as I'd like.

Song of the Day: Last Dance With Mary Jane

Tom Petty's another one of those guys--like a Bob Segar--that has soooo many good tunes. Here's one of the more recent ones.

boomp3.com

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Looking for a basketball hoop

I'd like to find a basketball hoop. Don't want to spend $300+ buying a new one, especially since this seems like the kind of thing that people might be looking to unload.

I've been watching craigslist and now I'm enlisting you to help me. If you know someone that is looking to get rid of a basketball hoop that's in decent condition, let me know. Or, if you know of web sites other than craigs list that are good for finding this kind of stuff, let me know.

I think a portable one would be better than one that gets sunk in the ground.

67

The magic number is back! It's now 67.



I won't say the fact that I was at today's game had anything to do with the win. Mostly because I don't want credit for Dice " walking 36 hitters and throwing a major lague record 5,362 pitches in his outing. And there's no way I want any responsibility for "China Doll" Youkilis' latest career threatening bruise.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

That's impressive

A 12-1 win that took about 2:30?

Tampa drops another--that's 6 straight--and the Sox are now within a half game of first place.

Lugo hurt? So what

Julio Lugo has a bad quad and will be out 4-6 weeks. Will anyone miss him? Not me. I was wishing Jed Lowrie would be able to stick around longer when he was up earlier this year. Glad to see him back and for a good long stint.

BTW: Going to Sunday's game. Let's hope Dice can keep a decent pace and lay off the walks.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Song of the Day: In the Dark

For my sister. Not the one who got Barry Manilow, though I think I could've done either song for either sister and they both would've been satisfied.

boomp3.com

He's baaaaaaaaaack

My boy, Clay Buchholz returns to the Fenway mound tonight to face the Orioles.

He's most likely not going to throw another no hitter against the Orioles. Chances are, he won't throw another no hitter against anyone for the rest of his career.

But Jason Varitek still thinks he's going to be pretty good:

"He's going to be good. He's going to be really good. Just like [Jon Lester]. He's going to take lumps, he's going to go backwards, going to go forward, going to go back a little bit until they hit a complete level of experience and knowing themselves."

Red Tape @ Blue Mass Group

After several years of participating through comments and posts at [Blue Mass Group http://www.bluemassgroup.com] and almost a year of regularly contributing to my own blog here, the proprietors there have finally seen fit to list me in their blogroll.

It's about time, isn't it? I've had them listed over there on the right on my list of sites to visit since I started my page here! You'd think they'd just do me the favor of listing my site, don't you? I mean, it's not thaaaaaat exclusive a list. Republican sites have their own group in the BMG blogroll!

The great delay in getting listed was due to the enormous bureaucracy and red tape involved in the process. Here's how it works: I asked.

OK, so maybe it's not that cumbersome.

Thanks for the listing, BMG. Truth is I didn't ask a long time ago because I wanted to get my site going and make sure I'd keep it going with regular posting.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Goodbye Kelly



:'-(

Song of the Day: The Kelly Song

Sad news (previously only drafted)

A co-worker was in a car accident last night (6/27). Not many details to be had right now. We know that she's got some bleeding in her brain, that she's in an induced coma and that they're trying to stabilize her. She was brought to Boston Medical Center, which, by all accounts is a top of the line trauma center.

I don't know how the accident happened or the condition of the friend who was apparently a passenger in the car.

She has two daughters, both around the 12-year old range. I feel for them and the rest of her family. I don't believe in religion or prayer. So I just have to hope that circumstances turn in such a way that she comes out alright.

UPDATE: The accident was on 6/27. She was alone in the car.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Barry Bonds

In case there are any doubts, I am NOT in favor of the Red Sox signing Barry Bonds.
1--He's a jerk.
2--He's old.
3--He hasn't been playing.
4--He's really a jerk.
5--He hasn't played "naturally" in a looong time.
6--He may be busy defending himself in court.
7--He has never played in the American League.
8--He's had quite a few injury problems later in his career.
9--Afraid Boston media wouldn't be interested and give him enough coverage. Lack of attention might lead to him underperforming.
10--They should be more concerned with pitching.
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

Song of the Day: Could it be magic

For my sister. A lesser-known Manilow tune these days. Unless the record player was often loaded for the ironing of plaid shirts with pearl snaps or string/nail art of an indian on a horse.

boomp3.com

Monday, July 7, 2008

Fireworks

Can we get fireworks displays added to more celebrations than just July 4 and January 1?

I don't know about you, but I'd like to see a good fireworks display 4-6 times a year, at least.

Let's make this happen.

Tuna update

The paper towel strain didn't work. Thanks for the suggestion, Quriltai.

Wife reported having the same problem. Vexing. I may look for one of those tuna straining devices I've seen at the grocery store. I think they fit in or over the can.

Song of the Day: Brickhouse

...by the Commodores

boomp3.com

Pearl Jam. I don't get it.

Pearl Jam was there at the birth of the grunge movement. You might say they were in the delivery room helping to breath and push, along with Nirvana. The later was the more successful outfit, pushed by the timeless pounder "Smells Like Teen Spirit," which was one of those "you had to be there to understand the popularity of that song" songs.

But Pearl Jam hit big with several other songs, the most notable probably being Jeremy, in which it looks like things went terribly wrong for the kid from REMs "End of the World..." video.

Then something seemed to happen. Cobain died and the world transitioned from grunge to hip-hop and candy pop. And though they continued to be very popular, Pearl Jam seemed to largely disappear from view. I think there was a run-in with concert promoters over tickets or a problem with a record company or something. Not sure.

I was a fan of some of their stuff, but then I checked out. Vedder seemed just a bit too self-involved and pretentious, a modern day Jim Morrison. And I didn't hear anything I really liked. Maybe I just stopped listening.

All of this is being mentioned because the band is on tour and was playing in the area. What a review they get for their show in the Globe, too.

http://www.boston.com/ae/music/articles/2008/06/30/once_again_pearl_jam_packs_them_in_then_packs_a_wallop/

Thursday, July 3, 2008

At the risk of sounding disloyal

I hope Scott Boras isn't hanging around pushing too hard for a Jason Varitek contract extension right now.

Yeah, the guy's great at handling the staff. But his steady decline at the plate in recent years has been troubling. He's down to .216 right now and he'll be 37 in September. His career average is only .265 and his last two years were well below that.

Great player. One of the All Time most valualbe Sox. But the clock is winding down, I'm afraid. I'd be leery about any talk of extensions beyond maybe a year at a time.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

did you see?

Look over on the right hand side of the page, where the archives are listed. Notice that there are twelve months listed. I haven't yet been blogging here for a full year, but I'm damn close.

I worried that I wouldn't keep this up. In real life I'm not known for long, sustained periods of interest. My two older sisters used to hate to have to include me in a board game or other activity because they knew that, not long after starting, I'd want to quit. Seriously.

I've had my job for a long time. But ironically, that might be due to a lack of sustained interest in finding another one.

I've been married for a while now, but that's not really an interest. Wait. Wait. It's not an interest because it's more of a passion and lifestyle than an interest. Actually marriage isn't my passion or my lifestyle. My wife is my passion and my lifestyle. (see? pretty good, huh?)

So I was worried my interest would wane. But it hasn't. Maybe because I can post on any number of different things. It's not that I'm not curious or have opinions. No. No. No.

But I've made it into my twelfth month and I'm going stronger than ever. The total number of posts has gone up and so has the number of readers. I'm not going to overtake cnn.com or espn.com anytime soon, but I don't get extra money for additional readers, so I'm not overly concerned.

Thanks for reading. I hope I can continue to maintain a decent pace and with postings that you enjoy reading enough to return.

I want my 7 minutes back!!

Jay jumps on the bandwagon of Sox fan bashers. I think he's headed toward self-hating territory. I worry about him.

A drunk fan that likes baseball fights—which almost don’t qualify as fights as there are few blows thrown and even fewer landed—posts a video on YouTube and this is evidence of…what?

Goes without saying, but also rendersthis discussion meaningless that…

--One fan does not represent the entire fanbase.

--This Red Sox fan is unique among fans of other franchises? There aren’t drunken fans cheering for fights in other cities?

-- PEOPLE HATE RED SOX FANS BECAUSE THE RED SOX ARE SUCCESSFUL. End of story. I’m a Red Sox fan. My fellow fans were no more or less obnoxious when the team was losing. t was just easier for everyone to ignore that fact and call us “lovable losers.”

I really thought there would be something more there in the video. An entire section of fans throwing beer on an old lady rooting for the Orioles. Maybe another Eisenrich incident in the bleachers. But I didn’t find anything of interest. I’m disappointed that I held on for almost 7 minutes waiting for something, anything.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Busy week at work

I haven't found much time to post this week, which might be a good thing. I shudder to think what I might write about the Red Sox right now.

Varitek is about as close as you can come to an automatic out right now. I'll say that.

And the best attribute of Francona's Red Sox teams is also the most maddening; there is never a sense of urgency. That means that they never seem to show that extra push to get over a tough hump. But it also means they don't collapse in a heap of frustration and helplessness when things go south...like some of their fans.

It doesn't mean they will win in the end, but it gives me confidence that they are less likely to spiral toward the bottom of the division than others.

I'm happy for Tampa's fans that are getting a taste of success, but I have to words for them: Milwaukee Brewers.