Ten in 2010: Ten things I meant to post about in February and March

1) This post is brought to you by ATT phone technician Milton. I like to say that the only people I hate more than the phone company is the cable company. However, this might be selling ATT a bit short, if our recent experience with their customer service is any indication. Our DSL had been cutting out any time we weren’t using the telephone, a condition known as a “high open.” Now granted, it took several visits by various technicians and several calls to the repair line, but everyone we dealt with was extremely apologetic and helpful to the best of their ability. Then we got to Milton, who after checking everything outside, gave me his cell number to arrange to check the inside wiring in the evening the next day. It turned out our outlet was corroded, which Milton dealt with in short order at no charge.

2) Curling blackout. If there’s one sporting event that I want to see on a quadrennial basis, it’s curling. Thanks to NBC’s decision to lock down their online access to people with cable, I was forced to endure a curling blackout during these past winter games. In 2006, when I watched almost every US curling match, the men won a bronze medal. This time, without my observation, the men and women both finished 2-7, both in dead last. This is your fault NBC. 2014: I will pay up to twenty dollars for unlimited and unfettered streaming of the Winter Olympics. Make it happen NBC, if you’re real Americans.

3) 3 – The number of papers I will be listed as coauthor from a previous affiliation. This is a good thing.

4) 4 – The minimum number of years postdoc I will work. Unclear if this is a bad thing, but it can’t be a good thing.

5) Down with stimulus funds! Long live the stimulus funds! The great thing about living in the internet age is that we can check on things. Like these 114 knuckleheads that were against the stimulus before they were for it. Oopsie daisy!

6) 6 – The number of replacement level catchers you need if you’re the New York Mets: Santos, Blanco, Thole, Coste, Riggans, and Barajas. (I suppose I should add that only one of these guys was around last year. FIVE of them are new!) I’m sure there’s a new idiom in there somewhere. It’s the baseball equivalent to rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. Got a pitching staff with one reliable starter? Sign a replacement level catcher. No offense from the right side of your infield? Sign a replacement level catcher. No defense from the right side of your infield? Sign a replacement level catcher. Did you just pay $140 million and only win 70 games. Sign a replacement level catcher. Problem solved.

7) Did I mention how awesome AT&T technician Milton is?

8) 8 – The number of years more that the Yankees will have to drool over Joe Mauer. After an unnamed scout said that Mauer, largely considered one of the three best players in baseball, would be the next catcher for the Yankees, fans from started acting like it was their god given right to own Mauer. Well, here’s a message to “The Universe” from Twins fans: Go to hell.

9) If you live in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Carolina, or Texas don’t fill out your census! Seriously! Are you going to let the insidious Obama led government count you? Well are you!?!? They can’t be trusted with this information!! The government is out to get you, and the best way to stay safe is to hide from them for at least one year!

10) Best birthday present ever?

Ten in 2010: Ten things I meant to post about in January

1) NBC pushes Conan out. NBC has decided that America wants more ‘headlines’ and less old time baseball. And forget about hearing a new and interesting band for the first time on network tv. It’s funny though that America didn’t seem interested in Jay Leno at 10 pm. Is it such a sure thing that these Leno viewers that NBC is courting are going to follow him back to 11:30? Is it a $40 million guarantee? I guess we’ll have to wait to see how NBC’s grand experiment of jerking everyone around turns out. And how about that Andy Richter, who hasn’t been on a show that survived a season since leaving Conan’s side in the 90s.
Michael Ian Black‘s take on the resonance of the NBC late night debacle.

2) Mets botch Beltran surgery. I hate a lot of things about the Mets, but I love a few things. Carlos Beltran is one of them. He’s the best center fielder in baseball, and it’s not particularly close. So how the Mets could discourage him from having surgery in the middle of a lost season to get ready for the next season is incomprehensible. And then after rehab setbacks in December, discouraging him again from having surgery in time to be ready for the upcoming season is incomprehensible. And then when he tells the team he’s having the surgery, nobody seems to know what the hell is going on or even whether he told them about the surgery or not. One minute they say Beltran went behind their backs, and the next they say they knew about the surgery but disapproved, and the next they say they signed off on the whole deal. Of course, this is pissing off Beltran, who is up for free agency after 2011. All I know is that when you have very few players that contribute in a positive fashion, you want them to (A) play baseball and (B) want to continue playing baseball for you. The Mets seem uninterested in either of these scenarios.
It all makes more sense when you look at the Mets’ decision flowchart.

3) Haiti and New Orleans. A while back I heard a homily by a missionary working in Haiti. He said that the poverty was so severe that people were forced to eat mud. I’m not sure how much more impoverished a place can be. So the response of generosity was heartening. But it made me think about Katrina and the response to the devistation in New Orleans. We basically rounded everyone up and put them in the Superdome because “Americans won’t live in tent cities.” We had a former first lady say that people from New Orleans were better off after the hurricane than before. Was there a telethon? I’m probably not remembering completely correctly, but the response to Katrina is a top five American disgrace.

4) Ok Go and the Band of the Fighting Irish. OK Go is best known for their work on treadmills. The University of Notre Dame Marching Band paid tribute as part of their 2008 halftime program. Now they team up for more video gold: This Too Shall Pass.

5) Golden Globes / Ricky Gervais. I hate award shows. There is nothing appealing to me about three hours of inoffensive non-humor and celebrity self-aggrandizement. So it’s a testament to the brilliance of Ricky Gervais that I could watch the entire Golden Globes ceremony, highlighted by calling Mel Gibson a worthless drunk. Here’s the opening monologue.

6) Obama. Let’s see. Entered office with giant messes in the economy, foreign policy, health care, climate change, immigration, etc. Half of his party is useless, and the other party wants to take their ball and go home. Why does anyone want this job again?

7) Lost. We are living in the golden age of television. The fact that there’s enough out there that I missed Lost for five years is ridiculous. Thankfully ABC actually wants people to watch their programming, so they have all five previous seasons of Lost online for free, which Mel and I consumed in a little more than a month, just in time to start the final season. Wow, I love tv.

8) Simon Pegg. The best movie to watch on a plane is either bad movie that you can fall asleep to or funny movie that you’ve seen before, which basically means Simon Pegg’s Hot Fuzz or Shaun of the Dead. I can’t wait to add the next installment to this list, Paul, starring Pegg, Nick Frost, Seth Rogen, Jason Bateman, Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, Jane Lynch, Sigourney Weaver, Blythe Danner, Joe Lo Truglio, John Carroll Lynch, David Koechner, and Jeffrey Tambor. This is going to be awesome.

9) Chicago Blackhawks. I leave Chicago, and they turn into an NHL powerhouse. At least I can say that I was at the United Center for Jonathan Toews first career goal.

10) Curling. CURLING IS COMING!!