29 April 2007


Mahiminator and I decided to grab a couple kebabs and an 8 pack of Bud and come into the office today to project MLB.tv in the conference room for the BOS-NYY game. So far not too sweet (currently in the 7th, 2-0 in favour of the forces of evil) but I had to mention a quality Tim McCarver moment.

Yankees' starter gets hit by a comebacker on the first play of the game and then Youk comes up to face him with Lugo on first (reaching on the aforementioned play). While everyone is getting reset to get back into the action McCarver spends two minutes ranting about how Lugo should run on the first pitch because the pitcher will be too distracted by his aching leg to pay attention to the runner.

"It would be funny if he threw to first right away," says Mahim.

First pitch is a pickoff at first; hilarity ensues.

25 April 2007

Back to back to back to back

Just checked out the Sox 4-straight-homer-barrage on YourTube on a whim. Wow. I don't think I've ever heard Fenway go that nuts — by the time Varitek came to the plate it was nonstop noise, and then he goes deep! If you haven't seen it, cheggidout.

Also, the ESPN booth crew sucks.

21 April 2007

For benoc

Quotation from Castiglione calling tonight's Sox game:

Manny's hit two balls to the walls...

You said it man!

18 April 2007

Get in!

Introduction to my transfer report done. Now just to cut and paste my paper and write up some future work BS...

17 April 2007


Blanca and I regularly buy boutique coffee varieties from Cardew's a shop in the covered market. Today we're all under pressure so I mixed up a special blend:

  1. Colombian Medellin Excelsior - Colombia's "other" top export. Forms a solid base of medium-strong coffee.

  2. Italian Roast - peppery scent that kicks it up a notch.

  3. Extra dark continental roast - Black gold to bring the caffeine content to the next level.

And man, is it good. This stuff could wake the dead!

Bearing arms

Why does this sort of thing always seem to happen in the USA? I know bad stuff happens everywhere, but this phenomenon of Joe Bloggs gunning down random people seems to be distinctively American. It's hard to figure exactly why this is the case, and none of the explanations are very make you feel good about being American. One obvious explanation (certainly in the UK media) is America's prolific gun culture. We, resoundingly more than any other Western country, believe that the cost in bodies and dollars of gun crime is a reasonable price to pay for the right to own guns. Unfortunately I'm depressed, rather than hopeful that this latest tragedy will change many minds about just how high that price is.

15 April 2007

The Power of Green

Read Thomas Friedman's piece, "The Power of Green" in this past Sunday's Times Magazine. I have long loved Friedman's work (which I can no longer read because the Times obnoxiously hides their Op-Eds behind their subscription service). He has always tackled the issues I think are most critical to understanding and changing the world and he does it without the burden of a political agenda.

In this particular case he makes the argument that climate change is the most important issue of all, and we'd better start facing up to it. But he does it in the way he always does, with a can-do optimism that suggests the ways we can face the challenge instead of merely bemoaning its existence. Friedman has always embodied some of my favourite things about America: harsh realist, willing to sacrifice to live up to a challenge and fiercely competitive. He talked this way about the war in Iraq for a long time (and I agreed with nearly everything he said) before it descended into its present state of depressing inevitability.

There are lots of excellent points in the article that I'd like to highlight, but I'm too tired. So instead, just read it.

12 April 2007

Obesity and awesomeness

The first (of many) papers stemming from the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium (over which I have laboured for two years) was published today, elucidating the first convincing genetic link to obesity. We all went to the pub at 7PM to watch my semi-boss Mark McCarthy appear on the BBC World News to discuss the finding. And in a cardinal example of how sometimes England is awesome, the landlord of the Butcher's Arms (who knows we often stumble in on a Friday after a long week at work) surprised us with a bottle of champagne on the house. Cheers, and watch out for rs9939609 (if you have two bad copies you have a 70% increased chance of being obese!).

10 April 2007

Hazel Mae

I borrowed a friend's MLB.tv login to watch the home opener at Fenway. Pretty awesome, I have to admit. I'm tempted to upgrade my MLB audio subscription, except most games are on really late in my timezone. The game itself is such a whitewashing that I'm basically just soaking up the atmosphere with Don and Jerry, rather than being concerned about the outcome of the game (Beckett does look sharp, though).

Amrys, running.

AmrunState street in Madison is pretty cool. It's closed to most traffic, and presents an impressive view of the Wisconsin statehouse, which is a huge frigging dome for such an average state (20th by population, 23rd by area). I don't know why Amrys is running away in this picture...maybe Gojira is lurking behind me? I also don't know why she appears several feet shorter than me...maybe I am Gojira?

08 April 2007

Get the emergency food hose!

Headline in the New York Times:

Hunger strike breaks out at Guantanamo.

Don't hunger strikes take time to develop by their very nature? Did one of the guards jump on his radio and report, "Alert, a hunger strike has broken out in cell block D. I repeat a hunger strike has broken out!"


I was reading the Times article on a lawsuit between Equal and Splenda when I saw the following excellent corrigendum:

Because of an editing error, the article also
misidentified the gender of the judge overseeing the Equal-Splenda
case. Gene E. K. Pratter is a woman.

Also, as an aside: Dear Scott, the reason people eat artificial sweeteners is because they taste sweet but do not make you fat. Perhaps you couldn't reason this out because you have the metabolism of a hummingbird. Many Americans do not.

03 April 2007


John McCain led a congressional junket to Iraq this week. The New York Times describes the security for their tour of a Baghdad market thusly:

The delegation arrived at the market, which is called Shorja, on Sunday
with more than 100 soldiers in armored Humvees — the equivalent of an
entire company — and attack helicopters circled overhead, a senior
American military official in Baghdad said. The soldiers redirected
traffic from the area and restricted access to the Americans, witnesses
said, and sharpshooters were posted on the roofs. The congressmen wore
bulletproof vests throughout their hourlong visit.

Locals reacted incredulously when they heard McCain et al describe their trip as evidence that the security situation in the capital is improving. By far the best description of the aforementioned market visit came from Representative Mike Pence, an Indiana Republican:

[It was] like a normal outdoor market in Indiana in the summertime.


02 April 2007


I think this week's LOST was easily the best episode of the season. It started off with a great throwaway line from Sawyer tossed as a bone to fans annoyed at the proliferation of characters this season:

Who the hell is Nicki?

I was worried for a few minutes it might end up being a grim flashback episode with no new content, but quite the opposite: a few juicy morsels of information about overarching plot nestled amongst the Paolo/Nicki exposition. Plus a completely awesome and super-creepy finale. Harkens back to the good old days!

01 April 2007

Three weeks

Trinity term 2007 begins on 22 April, three weeks from today. It serves as a signpost for several things for me. My term as Vice President of the Brasenose College MCR ends, which means I have to tidy up the books and arrange for the signatory tranfer at Lloyd's (I hope to accomplish the former tonight, the latter tomorrow).

T07 will be my seventh term at Oxford, which means I'll be hounded by the authorities to complete my transfer report (an intermediate written report which is orally examined by two professors, intended to ensure I'm on target to obtain a D Phil in the prescribed time). This means I have three weeks from today to write up my transfer and submit it. This will hopefully be an achievable goal since the principal chapter thereof has already been written in the form of a published paper.

Finally (and slightly more philosophically) I'm approaching my two year Oxford-anniversary (technically on 20/4). It's been a weird two years; incredibly exciting professionally, less so personally. I'd certainly recommend living abroad to anyone wishing to further his understanding of the world at large and especially America's place in that world.