We Can Work It Out
(21-30 April 2006)

30 April 2006
-Saw "The Sentinel" with Em & Zimmy, finding it to be standard fare for its type of film, which isn't bad, but certainly isn't rivetingly groundbreaking cinema either.  Was great to hang with Zim-Zim, though, & I wish him the best with his upcoming surgery.
-Soon the whole world will be addicted to MVP Baseball 2005...
-Nation's is getting a little faster.  But only a little.

29 April 2006
-I am ready for a regular schedule again.  Bring it!
-Adrian Beltre actually hits a homer!  (We'll try to overlook his 5th error of the young season.)  Eddie Guardado actually nails down a save!  (We'll not focus on him loading the bases with 1 out first.)  The M's come back from down 4-0 to win 8-6!  It's a good day.
-Playing catch!  Oh how I've missed this activity!

28 April 2006
-Migraine:  7 hours, left side, moderate, cause unknown.
-Finally, some vindication!  I could get really excited about this.
-The M's are going to lose a lot of games again this year, aren't they?
-Poker is such a streaky thing.

27 April 2006
-Good news, but slow news.  So it goes.  News.
-There's apparently still a market for online Diplomacy games.  APDA's community has gone game-crazy in the time since Nats, playing several games of Mafia/Werewolf & now clamoring for a Diplomacy game.  You can watch all the action here.
-Trying to bridge this 3-way blog discussion between Lisha, Freez, & myself has clearly just blown up in my face.  Between Lisha getting angry at me yesterday for how I represented her argument vs. Freez, & Freez jumping on me today for an argument Lisha made, I've decided (not too surprisingly, upon reflection) that this isn't a great way to debate things.

26 April 2006
-Well I haven't quite turned my poker slump all the way around, but it's improving slowly.  & there are factors making it better.
-I wish I could say the same for the M's.  Poor M's.  Is it really going to be a third straight season like this?
-Freez has jumped in the act of talking about the great alcohol/tobacco debate & reminded me about drunk driving, which of course is a major factor in the equation & ducks Lisha's "abusers would abuse anyway" issue pretty handily.  I think it's also interesting to see Lisha clearly edging towards increasing regulation on both negative behaviors (but more on smoking), while Freez points out harms but says both are sufficiently regulated.  Neither of these are surprising given the political backgrounds involved, but it's interesting.  Crazy Baltimoreans.  I think the next step in this thread is to try to determine whether there is really a notable difference between the crazy negative effects of either alcohol or tobacco & the worst of the currently illegal drugs.  It may sound insane to say that alcohol does more harm to modern society than heroin would if legal (or does illegal, which arguably might be more), but I feel just that crazy.  After all, I just don't think anything could hope to compete in pervasiveness or zeal with alcohol in modern America.  Though cigarettes in Russia might come close.
-When I woke up yesterday morning (it's early morn & I've yet to go to bed today) I felt a slight disalignment of my two upper front teeth.  It's driven me bonkers all day & I have more than slight concern that this is a lifetime problem that hit overnight.
-I think Lisha knows too much about public health issues to make debating with her any fun.  She's right about the details that things get bogged down into, but I guess I was trying to skim the details down a little.  Obviously the whole world is more nuanced than being able to actually speculate on these comparisons.  Regardless, my point about the drunk driving mitigating the abuse issue was simply looking at things from the perspective of numbers.  It's not that drunk driving has anything directly to do with abuse, but there are clearly a high number of people harmed by drunk driving, more so than would be abused anyway without alcohol by abusive people.  Therefore, those people being harmed more than make up for those who "don't count" towards votes against alcohol from abuse.  It was a weighing argument, not a direct response.  The direct response to deal with the non-alcoholic abuse is, of course, that alcoholic abuse is usually more intense & can't be reasoned with as easily as non-alcoholic abuse.  But of course not all abuse is alcoholic & it is very bad.  & Lisha already accounts for the abuse being made worse by alcohol.  So.  Lisha didn't like my use of quotation marks as a summary for a common argument, so I'll use them to directly quote here:  "Also, I'm quite certain all these comparisons exist out there already in the literature, which I know is less fun than speculating."
-I think Freez fails to deal with the employment argument because he truly does believe we have full economic choice over our employment opportunities.
-So all this got me thinking about how the tobacco companies have been sued into oblivion for misrepresenting their product, but alcohol peddlers have a likely more harmful, almost as addictive product that they haven't had to pay a dime for defending.  Of course, they haven't misled the public systematically to hide the harmful impacts of using their goods.  The question is, could the cigarette industry have gotten away with this by being honest from the outset?  Or would the direct physical impacts on the user (more visibly negative) have just made tobacco as unforgivable as we see it now?
-Creative projects with large numbers of people who have equal control & input on the project seem to require a lot of spot-checking.

25 April 2006
-From a couple days ago, I would recommend "Brick" to just about everyone.  Fish & I caught it late Sunday & it was a stellar teen noir.  It may be the first movie ever that would fit that description.
-Anticipation is an interesting thing.  Hrmph.
-I've made a nifty new graphic to unite the BP quizzes, & it can now be found at the bottom of the quiz pages.  Additionally, it came with a FAQ page for the quizzes, where it can also be found.  Finally great secrets of the quizzes revealed!  Nothing should much surprise local readers on that page, but there's a poll at the bottom to let me know what the next quiz should be!

24 April 2006
-Migraine:  9 hours, right side, moderate, caused by movie.
-So, uh, my 2nd favorite band of all-time (Counting Crows) just decided to tour with the band I most want to see who I haven't yet (Goo Goo Dolls).  I read the e-mail about a minute ago, thinking it had to be a joke, because it was just too perfect.  Sadly, I fear that Counting Crows will be opening, but it's still going to be phenomenal.  Also sadly, they aren't coming to any SF/Oakland venues, so it's Concord or Shoreline.  But yeah.  Late June.  Who wants to go?
-Giants 6, Mets 2.  First game of the season I attended & it was a great one.  Relatively short for a game with 8 runs scored, but still a great time.  Gris, Anna, Fish, Em, & myself went in for the Visa 6-pack of Giants tickets for cheap thing so that we could actually see some games at Pac Bell/SBC/AT&T Park.  More reasons to hate the merger... the renaming of the park.  ANYway, Draper took Anna's ticket (it seems there'll almost always be one free ticket with everyone's schedules) & we watched Moises Alou get to Glavine for seemingly the first time anyone's done it with a 3-run homer in the first.  Highlights of the game included me agonizing over the M's score as it flashed on the electronic scoreboard (we were just out of a good view of the AL scoreboard in center), cursing Guardado for blowing a 3-2 lead in the 9th, & leaving in the 10th with the score tied at 3.  Additionally, similar agony from Gris as he watched Benitez warm up in the bullpen in the 9th despite a 4-run lead.  Our kingdoms for reliable closers.

23 April 2006
-No good.

22 April 2006
-Honestly, people, how many 1-run games can the M's lose?  The M's are 7-5 in non-1-run games, but 0-6 in 1-runners.  Seattle:  the anti-clutch.
-Saw "Friends with Money" last night, which I loved for almost the whole movie, then hated the ending.  So I guess it was good, but the ending was so bad as to throw my whole perception of the film out of whack.  It should be noted that a full 50% of what I think of any work is a combination of the title & the ending, so my results may be skewed.  But I just can't get a good explanation of why they ended it the way they did.
-But I am so very excited for the summer movies.  "A Prairie Home Companion"!  & a new Shyamalan flick!  Joy & rapture.
-The Mep Report is catching fire.  Russ just got a message played on the Dawn & Drew show, which is one of the top podcasts out there in terms of audience.  Also, we're thinking about starting up a guest thing.  If you have any interest in being a special guest on the Mep Report, please e-mail me.  I know a few of you have expressed this in the past, but I want to get a sense of how many folks are serious about this.
-To follow up on the alcohol vs. tobacco thing (Lisha picked up the thread), I now remember that part of the argument was which is responsible for more physical damage to the non-users in direct proximity to the use.  In other words, who suffers more:  victims of abusive alcoholics or second-hand smoke sufferers?  Again, I think it's got to be alcohol causing more suffering by a mile.
-Also, Beth, I hate bananas too.  So much that I haven't been able to contemplate eating one since I was about 6 years old.  Of course, I'm not sure how heartening it is to have my solidarity on not liking a food... it's kind of like getting a labor union to agree that you should be paid more... they think everyone should be paid more.  Similarly, I dislike almost every food.

21 April 2006
Happy Birthday to Elias-Axel Pettersson
-Finally archived this page & declared it officially a Berkeley era, changing many of the early days to "from Oakland".  Additionally, I went with the Beatles over Counting Crows for the theme since they're not releasing music anymore.  This gives CC well over a year to release a new album before I use them as an archival theme...
-Oh my goodness!  I just looked randomly & found that my stats have been totally resurrected from the last 2 months.  The Search of the Week will be back!  Hurrah!
-It's official... the SOTW is back!  Go check it out in all its glory.  All I can say about February is "mind the gap."
-I am proud to announce that I've come up with the 18 most popular Duck & Cover strips, which you can now find on the main D&C page.  The compilation is derived from the most frequently posted strips around the web & hopefully will lead to people checking out the comic even if they don't love the current one on any given day they see it.
-I need to come up with the next great project.  I mean, I'm finally writing a little bit, so I have a project there.  But seriously, I need the next big thing that's not a quiz, but just as viral.  I have some hints of ideas, but nothing concrete yet.
-Apparently the University Quiz is taking over the Amherst campus with its crazy internal "Planworld" thing.  Thanks Amherst, but curse your privacy that prevents me witnessing the fun!
-What if gas just hits $5 a gallon?  Does anything change or does it just pound commuters near the poverty line into oblivion & leave everyone else muttering to themselves?  At what price would we see a serious stagnating affect on society?  What happens if we bomb Iran?

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