24 October, 2008

Eight Years Later

...apparently, the same actors, too.

16 October, 2008

To boldly go where no campaign has gone before -Video Games

I find this to very interesting (and slightly amusing) campaign strategy I wonder if it will work...

Of course here is the McCain response...

08 September, 2008

Maybe the greatest campaign ad evah...

OK, I kind of like Norm, but this is DAMN funny!

12 June, 2008

What is more ridiculous?

The actual event or the over the top commentary?

07 May, 2008

31 March, 2008

If you need to use a fork, YOU SHOULD HAVE WENT TO LEANN CHIN!

So Saturday was my brother-in-law’s birthday, and for dinner he requested that we go to the Tanpopo Noodle Shop in St. Paul. Sometimes up for new things, and being one who usually enjoys asian food as a general rule, I was up for it.

So when we walked in, it struck me immediately that every place setting only had chopsticks. Every patron was using chopsticks. I’m guessing Tanpopo owns no forks – which means, you guessed it, CHOPSTICK CRASH COURSE!

So I wrote a little haiku:

Just chopsticks, not forks.
Tanpopo beef udon bowl.
And I did not starve.

10 March, 2008

Bookseller Stories #89

OK, so over the years of being a bookseller, I always thought the single dumbest question I was going to be asked would be, "Where is the NON-fiction section?". (One must remember that a good 65-70% or more of the Book Barn is non-fiction of some type or another...)

However, on Saturday I believe I have, if not in fact a replacement, than a contender:

"So, do you carry Harry Potter books?"

What my actual response was:

"Ah, sure - they are all over in the children's book section along the wall."

What my response should have been:


"OK, lets review. You are in the single biggest bookstore in the five-state area. The book series for which you are inquiring is only the single biggest bookselling phenomenon since, oh I don't know, THE BIBLE, with the final and most recent volume having been published only 7 months ago. Ya think that maybe, just maybe, we might have a Harry Potter book or two?!?!


"They are all over in the children's book section along the wall."

04 March, 2008

To Flag Pin the Lapel or not to Flag Pin the Lapel...

That is the question - and apparently according to this article on salon.com, Flag pins are for losers -- literally.

It essentially boils down to this:
"For these past six years and more, men with those bright little flags apparently riveted to their lapels have fed the voters a daily diet of fear, secrecy, lies and a cruel war with neither point nor end.

No sensible politician would want to march under this tiny, metallic banner. Just look at all the fallen stars who did."

25 February, 2008

A Simple Truth

After winning the Oscar for Best Song (for "Falling Slowly" from Once), Markéta Irglová closed her acceptance with the following statement:

"Hope at the end of the day connects us all, no matter how different we are..."

How awesome is that? That will stick in my conscience for some time to come...

24 February, 2008

If I were Tim Russert...

Just a comment on Ralph Nader's throwing his hat into the ring on GMA this morning.

If I were Tim Russert, after an announcement like that, I would have asked these questions:

1. Isn't it a bit late to be starting now?
2. Haven't you done enough damage to this country?
3. You say that Obama doesn't have "substance." What leadership positions have you held lately, and where have you been for the last seven years?
4. Do you really think you have a snowball's chance in hell of winning? Or even making a respectable showing?

Good thing I'm not a television host.

14 February, 2008

Lawsuit Nation Strikes Again!

If Best Buy lost my laptop, I would certainly be upset. If they tried to cover it up, I would also be upset. But suing Best Buy for $54 Million is probably something I would not do.

Look, I understand this person got completely jerked around, lied to, and could possibly be serious exposed to identity theft issues. I understand that when you feel you haven't been properly compensated or that a company has not been contrite or forthcoming in their explanation that ultimatley your only recourse may be to take legal action. I also understand that such recourse may be constructed in such a way to "get their attention", and as such likely wouldn't be just a small claims court matter (less than $5,000).

But, honestly now. Honestly. $54 Million?

Hang on while I look up frivolous in the dictionary.

More than you ever wanted to know

Project Vote Smart - Lee L. 'Pat' Mercer Jr. - Fun Facts

The "Issue Positions (Political Courage Test) link on the right side is especially...what's the opposite of enlightening?

13 February, 2008

Post Potomac Tuesday Reaction

While I am, of course, excited that Obama had a very good day yesterday, I must also admit to some dismay over how the Clinton campaign has strategized since what must have been a disappointing Super Tuesday.

This complete dismissal of the relevancy of the primaries and caucuses between Super Tuesday and March 4, the date of the Ohio and Texas primaries (along with Rhode Island and Vermont), seems to be a huge mistake, yet the ego and confidence associated with this decision is troubling. Beyond just marginalizing the voters in those states (“Sorry, you just aren’t worth enough delegates...”), it strikes me as bad strategy. Why on earth would you want to give so much momentum to your opponent?

I know that with the proportional system for delegates “winning a state” may be hard to get terribly excited about, BUT we are not talking about close victories here. We are talking about dominant, open-up-a-can-of-primary-whoopass kind of victories. REAL victories. Victories that allow a gain in BOTH delegates and momentum. Wouldn’t you want to dig in your heels somewhere sooner than March 4 and try and flex some muscle to demonstrate to your base that you are not “slipping” and are still indeed a viable candidate?

So why as an unabashed Obama supporter would I be troubled by these seemingly obvious guffaws by the Clintons? Because I fear that the legacy-minded ego - dare I call it hubris - of the Clintons is so strong that not only might this Democratic Party nomination process devolve into a civil war, but they just might engage in some kind of political slash and burn policy that would be far more damaging to this country, not just in race relations which have come a long way but need to come further (and don’t need any setbacks), but also to the general attitude towards politics and governance in this country.

If the ultimate backlash is an increase in a disenfranchised and disinterested, and more importantly disengaged citizenry, behavior such as this will only become more acceptable in the future.

11 February, 2008

Thoughts on the Grammys -Parts One and Deux

So I have never been a big Grammy Awards viewer - nothing personal, just never understood the spectacle for like 500 awards that all sound the same. I mean honestly do we really need Album/Song/Record/Female Pop Vocal Performance/Male Pop Vocal Performance/Pop Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals/Pop Collaboration With Vocals/Pop Instrumental Album/Pop Instrumental Performance/Traditional Pop Vocal Album/Alternative Music Album/Rock Album of the Year?

OK, now that I have ripped the Grammy's a bit, let me add one positive and one interesting reaction I had to the list of the Grammy winners.

The late Michael Brecker was awarded, posthumosly, his 14th and 15th Grammy awards for his work on his final album, "Pilgramage". Truly, in my eyes, the greatest saxophonist ever, and arguably one of the greatest jazz instrumentalists of all time as well. Congratulations Mr. Brecker, and rest in peace. You certainly left us too early.

Please enjoy one of my favorites:

On the interesting side, could Barack Obama become the first Grammy winner to become President of the United States? His win? Spoken Word: "The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream,"

07 February, 2008

Musical genius it is; a precedent, hopefully, it is not.

Released in October of 2006, but only recently acquired by myself, Ray Sings, Basie Swings has really caught my attention as an album of absolute musical genius. If you are not familiar with the project, Steve Futterman (bn.com) aptly describes it as a “...technological masterwork, [where] tapes of Charles’ vocals from 1970s-era live performances have been digitally married to contemporary studio performances by the [current] Basie band.”

The late great Ray Charles is obviously at the height of his vocal prowess, growlin’ and testifyin’ like never before. The seamless fusion of the arrangements of the Count Basie Orchestra with this vocal master class make this album an absolute sensation. And the congregation said, "Amen".

However, my concern for a project like this is that others are not tempted to follow. Or at least not without extreme caution. I mean do we really want Bing Crosby meets John Tesh - A Synthetic White Christmas? I am aware that this is not the first project like this - think Nat & Natalie Cole - yet it certainly is a first for something of this magnitude and integration of historical and comtemporary recordings/arrangements.

Maybe I am overreacting, and if so please tell me.

06 February, 2008

Careful, you must be. Strong in the whackjob, this one is.

Back in the election years of our youth, anybody could claim that they were running for president. Serious, not-so-serious, outright deranged.

The only difference between then and now is that these people can get websites.

Case in point: Ladies and gentlemen, I present for your perusal the website "Mercer For President 2008".

(and yes, I meant to post this one here. Enjoy.)

Post-Super Tuesday Thoughts

I can proudly say I caucesed in Minnesota and I'll bet you can never guess who I voted for...

I won't take too much credit in amateurly predicting the outcome for yesterday, since I may have been only stating the obvious, albeit a day or two earlier than most...

I must say that I loved the old-school backdoor politics of West Virginia, with McCain supporters giving Huckabee the win, or more accurately giving Romney a defeat... Classic stuff - I thought those tactics died with LBJ...

And the award for Most Awkwardly Inserted Soundbite into a Super Tuesday Interview goes to Mike Huckabee, who when asked about the cash-flow problems of his campaign replied,

"I may not be a Wall Street Republican, but I am a Walmart Republican."

05 February, 2008

When politicians go pop

Stephen King has written a very intresting artile for EW.com on the Celeb-ing of the President 2008.

A Super Tuesday (and beyond) must read.

01 February, 2008

Pre-Super Tuesday Thoughts

Very briefly, here are my predictions for Super Tuesday:

Democratic Party Nomination
Obama shows up surprisingly well by stealing former Edwards supporters and undecideds away from Hillary, proving that this is going to be a tough two candiate race to the finish...

Republican Party Nomination
McCain continues to ride his hot streak, and all but seals the deal as the party nominee. All he has to do now is start his short list for VP...

31 January, 2008

Perspicuity Matters

So a couple of Christmases ago, my sister-in-law gave me the coolest tshirt ever. (Unfortunately, she will probably never read this...) It has this picture on it. I was wearing it today, and took note of the website listed:

There is actually some pretty cool stuff here. Everyone should check it out.

30 January, 2008

Santana Departs Twins

Well, it has finally come – the Minnesota Twins have traded Santana to the New York Mets in exchange for four high level prospects. Was this a good deal? Ask me in 3 or 4 years. (Honestly, anyone who thinks they KNOW right now is absolutely foolish...)

Were the rumored Yankees and Red Sox deals better? Maybe, but that is really just a matter of perspective. First, it is tough to know exactly what was offered for sure in those deals. However, even assuming the information available was reasonably correct, those were better short term let’s try and still win now kind of deals. So lets look at it for a second, especially the Yankees deal which by most opinions, including mine, was the better of the two the Twins didn’t take. If the Twins couldn’t win in the ever-more-competitive A.L. Central with Torrii and Johan, what makes anyone believe that they would when with Melky Cabrera, Phil Hughes, and (the recently acquired) Delmon Young?

I will freely admit that I may drink too much of the Twins koolaid, but this organization has a remarkable history of scouting other teams and asking for the right players in trades. So the short of it is, I am going to give them the benefit of the doubt (and look forward to a decade of dominance beginning in 2010...)

29 January, 2008

Old School, Baby! (Video Games, that is...)

This gallery on EW.com really brings back the memories - and makes me want to go home and plug in the old Atari Flashback...

Seriously, that sit-down Star Wars was the bomb - I don't want to think of how much money (after inflation ) I sunk into that machine. Rampage was awesome; Tempest was totally cool - honestly, that might be one of the best games ever for me; Burgertime was quirky fun (as was Tapper); Space Invaders badly pixilated goodness; I seem to remember always getting my butt kicked by Rob in Joust; and Dragon's Lair was an absurd waste of money.

As much as I love my Nintendo Wii, there will alwasys be a special place in my video-gaming heart for old school stand-up video games...

28 January, 2008

When doctors compete, you win!

I know on one hand it might sound kind of hokey to be able to shop online for health care like airline tickets, but at the same time the health care crisis in this country is approaching a critical mass, and somedbody needs to find ways to reinvent the system to make it more cost-effective for everyone involved.

Maybe, the ideas behind carol.com are a good start.

24 January, 2008

I know it is -5º F here, but...


I'm sure this picture has been floating around for awhile, but after Rob sent it to me, I couldn't resist commenting on it...

Pearls Before Breakfast

My friend Rob, who is Still in Japan, posted this article from the Washington Post.


What a profound experiment! It is unfortunate that it turned out the way it did. However, honestly, I am not terribly surprised at the dismal reflection on American society/culture. We really are too much of a head down, go go go, no time time to chat, places to go, people to see, fast-paced, instant gratification society. To say that we typically have our priorities in the wrong place could spawn more sidebar tangents then I care to engage in here, but I am going to say it anyway.

"We typically have our priorities in the wrong place".

The sad thing about it is, you probably aren't going to get us to change - at least not for the better...

14 January, 2008

Pack Rats Anonymous, Local Chapter #253

"I hereby call this meeting to order. Let us begin with a prayer."

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot toss,
The courage to toss the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference -

Especially when I can't see the floor,
I lament the lack of space for things,
And I explicitly decide not to buy something
Lest I trip over it and kill myself.

"My name is Derrick, and I am a pack rat..."

In-Context Quote of the Day

So at the Book Barn this weekend we had up a new display of "Complete Idiots Guides to...". As I was browsing the titles on the table, I noticed the "Complete Idiots Guide to Amazing Sex (Third Edition)". I then asked one of our managers, "Does that mean that the sex wasn't quite so amazing in the first two editions? Or maybe some of the positions or techniques were experimental or something? But, have no fear, because in this new, third edition, it will be the most amazing sex yet?"

After some, as you can only imagine, continued witty banter, I suggested, "Hey maybe the ad slogan could be 'Multiple Editions for Multiple Positions'".

08 January, 2008

"The Compact" - Too Extreme?

This is a very interesting idea, not buying anything new, that I hadn't heard about before. Or at least not in some formalized way. Personally, I think it might be a bit extreme, and I don't think I could completely commit. But, I do think there is a lesson that can be learned and general principles that could be applied.

However, I do shudder at the thought of what the economic ripple would be if a large enough segment of our population embraced this idea in our consumer-driven economy...

06 January, 2008

The Best Confirmation Email EVAH!!!

Derrick -

Thanks for your order with CD Baby!

Your CD has been gently taken from our CD Baby shelves with sterilized contamination-free gloves and placed onto a satin pillow.

A team of 50 employees inspected your CD and polished it to make sure it was in the best possible condition before mailing.

Our packing specialist from Japan lit a candle and a hush fell over the crowd as he put your CD into the finest gold-lined box that money can buy.

We all had a wonderful celebration afterwards and the whole party marched down the street to the post office where the entire town of Portland waved "Bon Voyage!" to your package, on its way to you, in our private CD Baby jet on this day, Wednesday, December 19th.

I hope you had a wonderful time shopping at CD Baby. We sure did. Your picture is on our wall as "Customer of the Year." We're all exhausted but can't wait for you to come back to CDBABY.COM!!

Thank you, thank you, thank you! Sigh...

--Derek Sivers, president, CD Baby

the little store with the best new independent music

http://cdbaby.com/ cdbaby@cdbaby.com


03 January, 2008

Presidential Pong

Choose your candidates and watch them battle it out for debate points. No love lost on this court!

This is very amusing...

Play Presidential Pong!!!

Here's......the Iowa Caucus!

Today is when it really starts to get interesting. (insert favorite cliche here _________.)

My predictions for Iowa:

1. Hillary
2. Edwards (-1.5 % from Hillary)
3. Obama (-2.5% from Hillary)

1. Huckabee
2. McCain (-3.0% from Huckabee)
3. Guliani (-5.0% from Huckabee)