Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Poor Poor Pitiful Me

Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales had lunch with the Wall Street Journal recently and raised a couple of questions that have been nagging him. Well, questions are what we do around here, kids, so we're pleased to help out:

"What is it that I did that is so fundamentally wrong, that deserves this kind of response to my service?" he said during an interview Tuesday, offering his most extensive comments since leaving government.

Well, for starters, Al, let's go back to this handy chart. Your name's in the center, having had your fingers into the authorizing of:

  • Warrantless wiretapping
  • Coercive interrogation (we prefer the less polite term "torture")
  • The CIA's destruction of tapes of "coercive interrogations"
  • Hiring political hacks to fill the ranks at the DoJ
  • Firing U.S. Attorneys who were insufficiently political

That was easy, wasn't it? (Here's a friendly tip regarding #2: Stay in the U.S.. For the rest of your life.) The next one's even easier.

During a lunch meeting two blocks from the White House, where he served under his longtime friend, President George W. Bush, Mr. Gonzales said that "for some reason, I am portrayed as the one who is evil in formulating policies that people disagree with. I consider myself a casualty, one of the many casualties of the war on terror."

You poor baby.

Alberto, this goes beyond disagreement. When you're formulating policies that are evil, such as torture, you get portrayed as evil. Comes with the territory.

Oh yeah, we had a question our own selves. Mr. Gonzales also mentioned that he's writing a book about his time in office, which brings us to This Week's Discussion Question:
How can someone who, while under oath, couldn't remember a damned thing, write a freaking memoir?
Please keep the discussion civil and feel free to wander off into suggesting a title for former AG AG's misty water-colored memories.


Friday, December 19, 2008


News of the passing of Mark Felt, Watergate's "Deep Throat", reminded us of how the TWDQ concept originated, so we thought we'd share that historic moment with our faithful readers. (We should really have the three of you over for dinner sometime.)

Shortly after Mr. Felt acknowledged that he was the character who surreptitiously fed Bob Woodward information that helped him and colleague Carl Bernstein unravel the scandal, we ranted to some close friends on YahooGroups. We remember it like it was only yesterday (rub chin, dissolve to flashback):
After catching a few episodes over the past few days of yammering pundits kicking about the ethics of Deep Throat's actions in a darkened D.C. parking garage in 1973, here's today's discussion question:

"If I take Chuck Colson or G. Gordon Liddy's opinions on Mark 'Deep Throat' Felt to my local coffee house, how much cash will I still have to come up with for a $1.60 cup of java?"

Please do not wander off into "When Vincent Bugliosi dies, will they go to Charlie Manson for his thoughts, too?" or "Mr. Colson, would you ask the president that 'Do the ends justify the means?' question you asked Mr. Ben-Veniste this morning, with reference to either Abu Ghraib, Gitmo, or the Downing Street Memo?"
We now return you to This Week's Discussion Question, already in progress.

Update: Fixed the blockquote so IE doesn't splatter it across the screen.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Boom Boom

At this moment, Sen. Norm Coleman's lead over him, Al Franken, in the MN Senate recount has dropped to single digits--single digits that one could count on one hand--as the Canvassing Board plows through Norm's stack of challenged ballots. This doesn't bode well for the senator's reelection bid, so here's a "Senator Al Franken" edition of This Week's Discussion Question:
What kind of sound will Sean Hannity's head make when it explodes?
Please keep the discussion civil and do not wander off into, well, fits of giggling.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me

Today's the third anniversary of TWDQ and we just happen to have a birthday-themed question to kick off the fourth year of This Week's Discussion Question:
What kind of idiot would decorate a baby's birthday cake with a swastika?
Please keep the discussion civil and do not wander off into "When you name your kids 'Adolf Hitler', "Aryan Nations', and 'Honszlynn Hinler' (because it sounds like 'Heinrich Himmler' but that isn't quite appropriate for a girl, is it now?), doesn't that blow your claim to any kind of superiority?"


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Happy Birthday

I'm going to step out of the first person plural for a moment to mark what would have been my dad's 78th birthday.

One of the many gifts he gave me was a love of this artist, so here's a 78 for your 78th, Dad:

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Lipstick Sunset

As the clock runs out on the reign of Bush the Younger, Karl Rove and Karen Hughes are apparently hanging out at the White House attempting to craft a glittering narrative for the past eight years, and we'd be remiss if we didn't honor this project with a fresh episode of This Week's Discussion Question:
Just how much lipstick can one put on a pig?
Please keep the discussion civil and do not wander off into "I'll bet you hear more 'ummmm's in there than at a transcendental meditation retreat" or "I got your legacy right here, Junior"


Friday, November 14, 2008

My Favorite Things

This week at work, we were asked to complete a couple of forms to prepare us to discuss our career goals with our direct manager. After a couple of questions about what's important/what we value at work, one of the forms asked about our lives away from the job:
What's important to you/what do you value outside of work? (i.e. baseball, family etc..)
We think they meant "e.g." instead of "i.e." but in our case "i.e." fit like a infielder's glove, so we took off from there, answering:
Baseball, family (these aren't necessarily in order), music, silence, faith, doubt, love, grace, literature, dark coffee and dark beer.
The more we thought about it, we felt we ought to share that question with our vast readership as an edition of This Week's Discussion Question:
What's important to you/what do you value? (e.g. baseball, family, etc..)
Please keep the discussion civil and do not wander off into any additional Latin abbreviations.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Me Talk Pretty One Day

We fear that Time's 2004 Blog of the Year (the blogosphere equivalent of Celine Dion nabbing an Album of the Year Grammy) is going to put The Onion out of business with stuff like this:
Obama thinks he is a good talker, but he is often undisciplined when he speaks. He needs to understand that as President, his words will be scrutinized and will have impact whether he intends it or not. In this regard, President Bush is an excellent model; Obama should take a lesson from his example. Bush never gets sloppy when he is speaking publicly. He chooses his words with care and precision, which is why his style sometimes seems halting. In the eight years he has been President, it is remarkable how few gaffes or verbal blunders he has committed. If Obama doesn't raise his standards, he will exceed Bush's total before he is inaugurated.
Now that we're done shaking our heads at that, here's This Week's Discussion Question:
How quickly would you be reaching for the Yellow Pages after learning your lawyer had scribbled a paragraph like that?
Please keep the discussion civil and do not wander off into "Here's a bit we call 'Great Moments in Presidential Speeches'" or "Cliff, what color is the sky in your world?"

Wise Up

We saw this headline on Yahoo News today and got rather excited:
Philips develops "intelligent pill"
Sadly, it's about a pill with a microprocessor, wireless radio, pump, and drug reservoir, that can release pharmaceuticals in parts of the body where they'll be most effective.

While this is very cool and has the potential to make lots of folks' lives better and all, we were hoping it was a pill that would make people smarter, which would make everyone's life better.

Well, everyone except the folks who get royalties from Adam Sandler's movies.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

What Digby Said

After a campaign stuffed with disinformation and outright lies (to use a sanitized, family-friendly term) about who's gonna tax whom and how much and whether or not it's patriotic to settle up with the IRS, Digby (not at all surprisingly) nails it all beautifully.

Here's the conclusion, but go read the whole thing:
For those government helps directly, whether it's through educational opportunities or unemployment insurance or health care for their kids and elderly parents, the benefits are obvious. But there's nothing unusual about financially comfortable people also being willing to pay for a decent society in which to live and work and bring up their kids. The unnatural ones are those who think they can live a good life without contributing to such things. Apparently, they think they can live inside a castle and pull up the drawbridge behind them, leaving all the ugliness outside. And that is the perfect, time tested recipe for revolution. It's not exactly the smart move for the long haul.
Like we said, go read the whole thing. While trees die in vain so the dumbassery of Bill Kristol and Charles Krauthammer can regularly stain the New York Times and Washington Post op-ed pages, respectively, this woman is cranking out shimmering brilliance each and every day at Hullabaloo. If you're not a regular reader, you should be.

We'll leave you with a pair to kick around as This Week's Discussion Questions:
Isn't a broken clock right more often than Bill Kristol?
Can Charles Krauthammer milk four (eight!) more years out of nothing more than "You'll be sorry you voted for Obama! SORRY, SORRY, SORRY!"?
Please keep the discussion civil and feel free to wander off into "Is Obama President yet?"


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

After the Rain

From the futon in the TWDQ library, let's try some liveblogging! The bottom of the 7th is starting, so here we go!

8:06: Hey! No "God Bless America"! Woody Guthrie would be proud.

8:08: Note to Bud: It's one thing when the bench guys are wearing stocking caps, but when the ballplayers on the field are wearing caps with Elmer Fudd flaps, you might think about pulling the season in a week or two.

8:18: The "Rocky" theme again? Please...

8:23: Hey! Does anyone know if Jim Carrey's got a new movie coming out?

8:33: Jayson Werth, at 2 for 2, hasn't had "a good night", Joe. It's been "a good game" or a "a couple of good nights".

8:34: William Penn was cursing the Phils? Huh?

8:37: Any pitcher could throw a hanging breaking ball. Man, the things you can learn from Tim McCarver...

8:41: What the hell is up with the twin bathtubs in Cialis commercials? "A jug of wine, a loaf of bread, a pair a of bathtubs facing the beach, and thou..."

8:44: Around the horn! Let's show each fielder briefly! Why?

8:45: Joe Buck reads the media guide's history page. Wow.

8:46: Lidge's slider is so good it occasionally gets past the catcher? Hell, I have a slider that can do THAT...

8:49: Could we get a tighter shot of Lidge? I can still see the top and bottom of his head...

8:52: Once again, DirtCam sheds no light on a play...

8:53: Take that, William Penn! Congrats, Phils!

8:57: Well, we're going to go find us a drinkable beer (as opposed to one with "drinkability").

Hey, let's wrap this with a special Celebratory Man Love Edition of This Week's Discussion Question:
When has beer ever been hard to drink?
Please keep the discussion civil and feel free to wander off into "When's spring training?"

Change We Can Believe In

We interrupt This Week's Discussion Question to bring you some great news.

The airtime that Barack Obama has purchased tonight on Fox and several other networks will not delay the start of the resumption of the suspended Game 5 of the 2008 World Series.

It will, however, result in Fox cutting back on the pre-game show, so there will be less Joe Buck and Tim McCarver tonight.

That, my friends, is Change We Can Believe In.

We now return you to This Week's Discussion Question, already in progress.

Friday, October 24, 2008

New Adventures in Stupid

Just when you thought we'd hit rock bottom, they get out the dynamite and blast down to a whole new level:
Conservative media figures allege Obama's Hawaii trip is about discredited birth-certificate rumors, not his ailing grandmother
Okay, Rush, you got us. The Hawaii thing's a ruse. He really IS from Krypton.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Idiot Wind

Another benefit of the recent TWDQ HQ move was that we are no longer in this crazy person's Congressional district. (Our new Congressional representative is a *gasp*...Muslim!)

On the downside, we're not there to provide a few additional votes to help our former pastor show her the door. (Speaking of which, the blogosphere is an amazing thing, isn't it?)

Rest easy, Congresswoman. The two most dangerous anti-Americans in our government will be out of jobs three months from tomorrow. If that's not soon enough for you, Michele, you could start this ball rolling. Better late than never, we say.

We concur with tbogg, who recently wrote, "Seriously, and to paraphrase Paul Begala, if stupid ever goes to $40 a barrel, I want the drilling rights to Michelle Bachmann's head."

And, as the honorable Rufus T. Firefly remarked, "Gentlemen, Chicolini here may talk like an idiot, and look like an idiot, but don't let that fool you: he really is an idiot."

Of course, when we mentioned "Did you hear what Crazy Michele said yesterday?" the college student, here on fall break, inquired, "Which Crazy Michelle?"

We now return you to This Week's Discussion Question, already in progress.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Hanging on the Telephone

Bought a new over-the-range microwave oven for TWDQ HQ's kitchen and ran into an installation snag last night. Called the retailer's 1-800 number on the sheet of paper taped to the front of the unit in case you encounter problems with the appliance, but none of the three very pleasant people we were routed through--after an automated voice routed us--could hook us up with anyone technical enough to answer our not all that technical question.

Decided to call the store where we made the purchase. We repeat, the number for the local store. The conversation went something like this:
Voice Recognition Software Receptionist: "Thank you for calling (rhymes with 'beers')! Say the name of the department you're looking for or say 'department list' for a list of departments at this loca..."

TWDQ: "Appliances."

VRSR: "You said 'appliances'. Is that correct?

TWDQ: "Yes."

VRSR: "Good! If you're calling about a large appliance, like a refrigerator or a washing machine, say 'large appliance'. If you're calling about a small appliance, like a mixer or microwave, say 'small appliance'.

TWDQ: "Small appliance."

VRSR: "You said 'small appliance'. Just a moment, I'll transfer you.

Real Person at Local Store: "(Rhymes with 'beers'), how may I help you?"

TWDQ: "Is this Appliances?"

RPaLS: "Just a minute, I'll transfer you."

Real Person Selling Appliances: "Appliances. How may I help you?"

And here we are at This Week's Discussion Question:
What the hell good was that automated stuff?
Please keep the discussion civil and do not wander off into "Por Espanol..." or "Is this big or small appliances?"


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Smart Girls (and Boys)

All in all, it was a pretty good Monday, and we're not even talking about Wall Street's rally or the Rays hammering the Red Sox.

It was a Monday bookended by hope. It began with news of Paul Krugman winning a Nobel Prize, wrapped up with Rachel Maddow schooling David "Axis of Evil" Frum (Note to Dave: It's not very bright to throw your first pitch behind the head of someone who can and will take you deep) and raises This Week's Discussion Question:
Is "smart" the new black?
Please keep the discussion civil and do not wander off into "Paul Wolfowitz? Really, Dave? The only guy who's been more wrong more often is Bill Kristol" or "Wow. Isn't there a ten-run rule for interviews?"


Thursday, October 02, 2008

Who Woulda Thunk It?

Flipped over to CNN this afternoon after Tampa beat the Whiteys and reporter Dana Bash, outside the Washington University auditorium where tonight's Biden-Palin debate will take place, said that the atmosphere felt more like a prize fight, prompting this special visual version of This Week's Discussion Question:

A prize fight? Gosh, what would give anyone that idea?
Please keep the discussion civil and feel free to wander off into making up your own joke about using a "rope-a-dope" strategy.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

I've Had Enough

We interrupt This Week's Discussion Question for a few brief rants:

1) Clean off your batting helmets, boys. The Twins' highly-buffed helmets in the 80's and 9o's looked very cool. Those ugly gobs of pine tar obliterating your club's insignia are not getting you extra hits. Give it up. If you need something to mollify your superstitious side, talk to Jason Giambi and get some advice on picking out a nice gold thong. No, we don't need to see it.

2) Financial writers, get yourselves to a thesaurus and look up a new word to permit you to bury "roiled" for a while. Hell, write that the markets were "jumpy" or "all twitchy" but please, please, please don't trot out "roiled" again anytime soon.

3) White Sox fans, get yourselves some new teevee announcers. If we were Sox fans, we'd be ashamed to admit it.

4) Because of its impact on the post-season picture, Fox Sports picked up the local nine's Saturday tilt. On the upside, they used local color guy Bert Blyleven* and they didn't have time to bury a DirtCam in front of the dish. Unfortunately, they still brought along the Fox Sports Baseball Directors' Handbook (which was invaluable in writing this). There were 38,072 paying customers in the Metrodome and between pitches during the last three innings, we saw each and every one of them. Twice. Maybe three times. The division series haven't even started and this already has us yelling at the television.

*Okay, now THERE's a TWDQ for ya:
Why isn't the guy who spun the best curveball throughout the 70's and 80's, fifth in career strikeouts, with a pair of World Series rings to show for it, in the Hall of Fame?
Please keep the discussion civil and do not wander off into "Y'know, if A.J. Pierzynski did a cameo as a terrorist on '24', I might have to reconsider my thinking on torture," or "There's gotta be a provision in the Geneva Convention prohibiting extended exposure to Hawk and D.J.."


Friday, September 19, 2008

Give it Away

Been getting settled into the new TWDQ HQ for the past couple of months, so there's been precious little time to blog. We thought we'd fill the gap by offering up some of our world-famous free advice:

To the media: When someone says something that isn't true, it's okay to say they're lying.

To the cast of Camp Rock - "We Rock": No, you don't. At all. The idea that there could be a "prestigious" camp where you have to go to learn to be a rock star is completely antithetical to the spirit of rock 'n roll. (See Rock, Punk; c. 1977.) Cut it out.

To the media again: When someone says something that isn't true, especially when they deliberately and continually repeat something they either know or should know isn't true, it's okay to say they're lying.

To anyone who's posed the question "Is America ready for a black president?": What you really mean is, "I'M not ready for a black president." Go on, say it.

To John McCain: You'll need this if you'd like to see your last shred of dignity.

To the good folks at the Human Genome Project: Please identify the gene that causes Republicans to treat subpoenas like baby shower invitations. We need a cure now.

To Tampa Bay Rays fans: Your club's about to clinch a division championship. Show up.

To Barack Obama: Your campaign mantra needs to be "They think you're stupid." Because it's hard-hitting and effective, and, as the line goes, it has the added benefit of being true.

To the media yet again: When someone says something that isn't true, especially when they deliberately and continually repeat something they either know or should know isn't true, it's okay to say they're lying. As a matter of fact, it's your JOB to say that.

We now return you to This Week's Discussion Question, already in progress.
So We Dumb This Down, Dumb This Down...

Having informed us that Sen. McCain was the choice of pet owners, AP-Yahoo once again brings the stupid:

Poll: Obama tops McCain as football-watching buddy

Here are some suggestions to the AP-Yahoo crew for future polls:
With which candidate would you want to hang out to end a war?

With which candidate would you want to hang out to fix Wall Street?

With which candidate would you want to hang out to Scotch tape the Constitution back together?

They're all yours, AP and Yahoo. Ask away.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Waffle Stomp

We interrupt This Week's Discussion Question for a brief rant.

Just when you thought things couldn't get any stupider...

These were on sale at the "Values Voter Summit" this weekend, sponsored by the lobbying arm of the Family Research Council:

Anyone who thinks that is remotely funny needs to get their funny recalibrated. With a Louisville Slugger. That isn't political satire. It's classless, vile, deceitful, racist trash.

"Point box toward Mecca..."? You know, if you'd read that list of Commandments you all value so damn much and want to post everywhere, you might take a good, hard look at the one about bearing false witness. It's down there near the bottom, by the one about not cheating on one's spouse. (Hey, nice booking on that Gingrich guy.) Anyway, most folks these days tend to use its synonym: Lying. It's verboten. You could look it up.

Keep your values the hell away from my family, you racist creeps.

We now return you to This Week's Discussion Question, already in progress.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Boy with a Problem

We're back at the new TWDQ HQ after the ultimate back-to-school trip and here's your long-awaited episode of This Week's Discussion Question:
Why was this such an egregious character flaw four years ago, but isn't a big deal now?
Please keep the discussion civil and do not wander off into "How come the Rockies can play a three-game set at home on the eve of the Democratic convention while the Twins have to clear out for two weeks before and during Elephantapalooza?" or "When you make stuff up out of whole cloth, isn't it supposed to get filed under 'fiction'?"


Monday, July 28, 2008

Robbery, Assault and Battery

...are about the only things missing from this interactive chart published by Slate last week and we concur with dday, who writes, "The very fact that you can make a rich media interactive guide is enough to make you vomit."

So cover your mouth and take an enhanced whack at This Week's Discussion Question:
Can we start holding some of these people accountable already?
Please keep the discussion civil and do not wander off into "The bunch in the pink circle had better have done all the international travel they want to do," or "Why are so many people saying 'presumptuous' when they really mean 'uppity'?"


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Movin' Out

We interrupt This Week's Discussion Question to thank everyone who helped us relocate TWDQ HQ to our new location. It wasn't exceedingly hot out, there were only a few very minor dish or furniture casualties, and everyone's still speaking to us. What more could you ask for?

Despite being ten miles shorter, the first day's commute took about the same time, but only because after about four blocks, we noticed that every house had a garbage can and recycle bin at the end of the driveway, so we went back to put ours out as well. After that false start, it took about 10 minutes.

We now return you to This Week's Discussion Question, already in progress.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Pet Sounds

Fresh off learning which candidate we'd rather go to a BBQ with, one of the top three stories leading the AP/Yahoo News page today is "Poll: Pet Owners prefer McCain over Obama" and this brings us to This Week's Discussion Question:
What the...?
We don't care if the discussion's civil or not, we're much too busy weeping for this nation.


Friday, June 20, 2008

Bright Lights, Big City

We interrupt This Week's Discussion Question for a little mini-vacation report. We spent the first part of the week in NYC to pay a visit to The House that Ruth Built before they shut it down at the end of this campaign, so here's what we learned during three days in the City that Never Sleeps:
  • Boy, oh boy, do we love subways and commuter trains.
  • The San Diego Padres are not a very good ballclub.
  • Even if we commuted through Grand Central Terminal every day for a couple-three decades, we'd still look around that building in awe every single day.
  • Guinness makes a nice beer.
  • Transacting real estate business via cell phone while walking down 5th Ave. is kinda cool.
  • Transacting real estate business via cell phone while under an elevated track outside Yankee Stadium is difficult to do while there's a train passing overhead.
  • A semi driver may not always be aware that his trailer is slightly too tall to clear an elevated train track.
  • A semi driver's trailer scraping the underside of an elevated train track as one is waiting for a "WALK" signal can scare the hell out of a guy.
  • It appears that more than one semi driver may have made that miscalculation.
  • We love seeing couples gently snoozing against each other on the subway.
  • If you look carefully, you might see a garbageman wearing a Bluetooth headset.
  • A guy can get some good eats in Little Italy.
  • A guy can get some good eats in Chinatown.
  • A guy can get some good eats in White Plains.
  • The Iron Tomato ought to consider franchising.
  • The Twin Cities would be an excellent place for an Iron Tomato franchise.
  • With all due respect to the legendary Duke Ellington, taking the E train gets you to JFK a lot quicker than taking the A train does.
  • It'd do Lou Dobbs's soul some good to ride the E train through Queens every day.
  • Touring NYC with a native is the way to go.
  • Touring NYC with a native whose brother tends bar at an Irish pub is an even better way to go.
  • Mariano Rivera's stuff is so nasty it ought to be illegal.
  • The old Yankee Stadium is an impressive ballpark.
  • We're glad Monument Park is no longer in the field of play. Like Mickey Rivers, we wouldn't want to "play by those graves" either.
  • The new Yankee Stadium looks like it will be even better.
  • One hopes the new Yankee Stadium's seating will be numbered a bit more intuitively.
  • The Chrysler Building is spectacularly beautiful at night.
  • So is the full moon coming up over the upper deck in right field.
We now return you to This Week's Discussion Question, already in progress.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Rocket to Russia

At TWDQ HQ we'll have the same This Week's Discussion Question for the next eight weeks:
What's shakin' in St. Petersburg?
Please keep the discussion civil and do not wander off into "I can't be delivering pizza to the movers" or "Anything new from the realtor?"


Saturday, May 24, 2008

Tomorrow, Tomorrow

We interrupt This Week's Discussion Question to reaffirm the greatness of baseball.

One of the great things is that even if your club gets beaten like a rented mule, there'll be another game tomorrow. You don't spend an entire week rehashing crucial plays, whining about the officiating, or calling for the head coach's head or the offensive coordinator's head or the assistant left inside linebackers coach's head. You shake it off and watch 'em go out and get 'em tomorrow.

Another great thing is that in that fresh start tomorrow, they won't trot the same hurler out there.

We apologize for the interruption and we now return you to This Week's Discussion Question, already in progress.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Don't Talk

Blue Texan over at FDL asks a pretty good one today.



Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Face Down

Adam Everett just tripled to the gap in left-center and slid in to third base on his belly, raising This Week's Discussion Question:
With two players going on the DL in the first two months of the season because of head-first slides, why isn't Gardy fining guys who do that?
Please keep the discussion civil and do not wander off into "Does Nick Punto make enough to cover that?" or "One run in seven innings off of Sidney freaking Ponson?"


Update: Everett went on the DL today. Probably nothing to do with the slide, but bellyflopping with a bad wing is rarely a good idea.

And Sidney freaking Ponson went the distance, yielding only that one run.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Reason #50108 Why Baseball is Better than Football

This Gomez kid is something else:
Carlos Gomez has done some amazing things for the Twins this season.

Wednesday, he topped the list.

He put manager Ron Gardenhire at a loss for words. In an argument with an umpire.


With two outs, Gomez tried stealing third base with a 3-1 count to Joe Mauer.

"That was not a good play," Gardenhire said. "It almost turned into a good play. But it really wasn't a good play."

Gomez would have been out at third, had the ball not bounced away from Joe Crede's glove.

When Gomez sprinted toward home, Crede retrieved the ball in foul territory and threw a strike to catcher Toby Hall, who blocked the plate as Gomez slid.

Gomez did appear to touch home with his left foot before Hall applied the tag, but umpire Tim Timmons called him out.

Gardenhire went to argue, but his heart wasn't in it.

"I wanted to tell Timmy, 'I'm not really mad at you; I'm mad at somebody else right now,'" Gardenhire said.
This ballclub may not be very good, but boy, is it gonna be interesting...

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Phantom

We interrupt This Week's Discussion Question to mark the passing of E Street Band keyboard player Danny Federici on Thursday, April 17th at the age of 58, after a three-year battle with melanoma.

Springsteen's site has a great video up of Federici's final appearance with the band--playing accordion on the old favorite "4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)"--just a few weeks before his passing.

Bruce's touching and entertaining eulogy is also there, along with a video montage of Federici.

We're long-time Springsteen fans here at TWDQ.
Bought Born to Run the week Bruce was on the covers of Time and Newsweek, without having heard a note of it and we were immediately captivated at the first few bars of "Thunder Road". Springsteen's at the peak of the TWDQ Hierarchy of Recording Artists* and though we've only seen a few E Street Band shows over the years (1980, 1999, 2004), they've all been terrific.

* The TWDQ Hierarchy of Recording Artists:
  • You own one of their albums.
  • You own several of their albums.
  • You own their entire catalog.
  • You own their entire catalog and buy their new albums on release day.
  • You own their entire catalog and buy their new albums on your lunch break on release day (provided the shop's not running a midnight sale).**
** With the news that Joe Henry is collaborating with Rosanne Cash on her next record, we're contemplating adding a new category:
  • You own their entire catalog and bribe one of the record store clerks for the truck delivery schedule and an early copy of the album.
Anyway, go watch the videos, read the eulogy, dig out your copy of The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle, set the needle down on "Kitty's Back" and the aforementioned "Sandy" and enjoy a couple of Mr. Federici's finest performances.

Rest in peace, Danny.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Black and White

We're glad to hear we've not been alone in our profane sputteriness about this, but we think it may finally be safe to bring you another edition of TWDQ.

Pope Benedict XVI visited the White House today and the President's remarks included this statement:

"In a world where some no longer believe that we can distinguish between simple right and wrong, we need your message to reject this dictatorship of relativism."

So here's This Week's Discussion Question:
How much relativism does it take to transmogrify "torture" into "enhanced interrogation techniques"?
Please keep the discussion civil and do not wander off into "Bitter? The President admits he and the Veep are war criminals and we're all abuzz about a presidential candidate thinking some voters might be bitter?" or sputtering profanities.


Monday, April 14, 2008

The Boys Are Back in Town

We interrupt This Week's Discussion Question to bring you the exciting news that after too long an absence, Fafblog is back!

And they're back to save the universe!

Giblets may be dissatisfied, but we sure aren't.

Friday, March 21, 2008

A Thought for Good Friday

We interrupt This Week's Discussion Question to direct you to some words of wisdom from Mr. Charles Pierce on this Good Friday:
For those of us of the Papist persuasion, Good Friday services always came as two hours of existential dread. Purple swatches all over the sanctuary. Gloomy hymns. Latin intoned with an extra-special kind of lugubrious Lugosiness. More to the point of the past week, the Good Friday liturgy was a carnival of anti-Semitism, an extended exercise in Jew-bashing so egregious that even the Vatican came to notice it several centuries on. Now, I know I sat through this. I know Russert, and Matthews, and Maureen Dowd, and Pat Buchanan -- and JFK and John Kerry, as well -- also did. This wasn't the improvised rhetoric of one pastor in one church. This was the formalized celebration of Christ's Passion, performed in exactly the same way in front of millions of people in thousands of churches all over the world. So here's the thing, Mo and Tim and Chris. (I leave out Buchanan because, hell, he probably thinks the liturgy was too diverse.) Did sitting through this make you anti-Semitic? And to what degree? And have you ever rejected and renounced 2,000 years of popes -- to say nothing of the church over which they presided -- because they authorized this dangerous thooleramawnery? If you haven't, you should probably lay off Barack Obama and his minister, is all's I'm saying.

While we at TWDQ adhere to a franchise that's a revolution and a divorce removed from Roman Catholicism, we offer a hearty ecumenical "Amen."

We now return you to This Week's Discussion Question.
Reason #32108 Why Baseball is Better than Football

We interrupt This Week's Discussion Question to bring you yet another reason why baseball is the Best. Game. Ever.

La Velle E. Neal III's Twins Insider blog featured a game note about speedster Carlos Gomez, an outfielder acquired in the Johan Santana trade:
Go-Go Gomez was at it again in the seventh inning. He beat out a slow two-hopper to short - by a step - for an infield hit. With a runner on third, Gomez took off for second and didn’t draw a throw - but he dove into second anyway! The middle infielders never left their positions!

Second base umpire Tim Tschida (what a coincidence) waited until Gomez got up and made eye contact with him before he emphatically signaled him safe. Hilarious…

“He needed to slide into second base or he would have ran into the left fielder,” one pressbox wag said.
Even though it's snowing at the moment, Opening Day's a week from Monday.

We now return you to This Week's Discussion Question.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Deja Vu All Over Again

Today Sen. Clinton released her daily schedules from eight years as First Lady.

Naturally, the press spent the day scrutinizing them to assess the extent of her efforts on universal health care, her involvement in meetings with foreign leaders and other dignitarities, and her extensive charity work, since these may shed insight about her experience with these issues and show her to be a capable, well-qualified candidate for president. Right?

Um, not so much:
Top AP Politics headlines on Yahoo News
- Wednesday, March 19th, 2008, 9:30 p.m . CDT
So here's the black beret and blue dress edition of This Week's Discussion Question:
Can we elect a new media this November, too?
Please keep the discussion civil and do not wander off into "Hey, what was she doing the day Vince Foster..." or "Excuse me, I hafta go throw up."


Update: On second thought, it's perfectly fine if you hafta go throw up.
Put a Candle in the Window

We interrupt This Week's Discussion Question to bring you these figures:

five years

3,990 dead U.S. soldiers

175 dead British soldiers

89,322 dead Iraqi citizens

$500 billion to $3 trillion

zero weapons of mass destruction

zero ties between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida

zero impeachments

one candle in the window


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Just Say No

We interrupt This Week's Discussion Question to direct you to Washington Monthly's new issue, "No Torture, No Exceptions". The editors introduce this collection of essays with this bold statement:
"In most issues of the Washington Monthly, we favor articles that we hope will launch a debate. In this issue we seek to end one."

The next time somebody who's watched too much "24" tries to tell you there are special circumstances that require "enhanced interrogations", direct them to veteran FBI interrogator Jack Cloonan's piece on how interrogations really work.

The next time you question a presidential candidate in a debate--yeah, you Timmy--you might ask them if they'll not only abolish the use of torture but will seek accountability for all those complicit in dreaming it up and signing off on it. (Barack, Hillary, and John: "Yes, and a lifetime gig in a nice, comfortable prison cell will be waiting for each of them," is the correct answer. "Yes, and we'll hand them over to The Hague," is also an acceptable response.)

No torture, no exceptions.

We now return you to This Week's Discussion Question.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Let it Flow

So there's a commercial on for a pharmaceutical that treats male urinary symptoms and voiceover guy warns that if you're going to have eye surgery, let your doctor know that you're taking this medication. From this flows This Week's Discussion Question:
If I'm having an EYE OPERATION, I need to tell the doc that I'm on some drug that's helping me PEE? What the hell is this stuff doing?
Please keep the discussion civil and do not wander off into "I thought I'd stayed awake in biology class" or "Most of my male urinary symptoms begin after a couple of beers."


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I Gotcha

Once again, we interrupt This Week's Discussion Question to simply say this:
What Pierce said.
And TPM's commenter and Bérubé, too.

Again, we apologize for the interruption and we return you to This Week's Discussion Question, already in progress.
The Name Game

We interrupt This Week's Discussion Question to say that we happened to catch Cincinnati right-wing radio host Bill Cunningham on National Public Radio this afternoon. Mr. Cunningham, crawling out from under the Straight Talk Express, offered this defense of his multiple utterances of Sen. Obama's full name while warming up a campaign crowd for Sen. McCain on Tuesday:
"Well, uh, number one, Robert, it's his name."
Why yes, it is, you clever "bit of a historian." Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Dwight David Eisenhower. John Fitzgerald Kennedy. William Jefferson Clinton. Using the full name, "Barack Hussein Obama" is simply a nod to this historic and noble tradition.

Okay, Bill, we'll accept that. But just so you're true to history and noble and all--and if you want us to believe this steaming load of an explanation--from here on out for every damned time you say "Barack Hussein Obama", you had better refer to the presumptive GOP nominee as "John Sidney McCain".




It's kind of like how Satchel Paige ended up calling Buck O'Neil "Nancy" for the rest of his life.

So it's John Sidney McCain.




We apologize for the interruption and now return you to This Week's Discussion Question, already in progress.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Tomorrow the Green Grass

We interrupt This Week's Discussion Question to tell you to go read Joe Posnanski's latest post, which is a work of absolute brilliance.

We're also only a couple of chapters into his new book and we'll wholeheartedly recommend it. Then again, it's hard to go wrong with the combo platter of a two-time AP Sports Columnist of the Year writing about one of the greatest Americans ever, Mr. Buck O'Neal.

Go. Read. Enjoy.

We now return you to This Week's Discussion Question.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Just a Little Lovin'

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

Speaking of understatements, we interrupt This Week's Discussion Question to bring you the first verse of the first song--penned by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil--from the fabulous Dusty in Memphis:
Just a little lovin' / Early in the mornin' / Beats a cup of coffee / For starting off the day.
We apologize for the interruption and the fact that it's gonna take you a while to get your mind back onto whatever you'd been doing, isn't it?

We now return you to This Week's Discussion Question.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Not That Funny

For some time, we've been meaning to pose this as TWDQ:
"Who the hell thinks this is funny?"
We're pretty sure we know now. We'll bet it's this charming bunch.

Which raises this question:
"What the hell is wrong with these people?"
Please keep the discussion civil and do not wander off into "Family values, eh?" or "What was that line again?"


Thursday, February 07, 2008


Today, February 9th, is the 44th anniversary of the first appearance of The Beatles on American television. To say that this was a monumental event in the lives of some of us--and six is a very impressionable age--is an understatement on par with "Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore."

To celebrate--and because the Help DVD and a new 12-string arrived at TWDQ HQ a little while back--check out the beginning of the last chorus of this (about 2:45) and consider This Week's Discussion Question:

Is that the coolest "Ahhhhh...." in rock 'n roll, or what?
Please keep the discussion civil and do not wander off into "How about the different drum fill that follows each 'ri-i-ide'?"or a falsetto "My baby don't care..."


Monday, February 04, 2008

Just Sit Right Back...

We interrupt This Week's Discussion Question to tell you to go read the entirety of this, which magically appears in the middle of a post-Super Bowl Pretentious Roman Numeral Whatever post:
*Pitcher: So it’s an ensemble cast.
Producer: Got it. Ensemble. How many.
Pitcher: Seven.
Producer: Sounds like a lot. We’ll be able to tell them apart?
Pitcher: Not a problem. They’re all lost on a deserted island.
Producer: How’d they get there?
Pitcher: They were on a three-hour tour.
Producer: How’s that?
Pitcher: A three-hour tour.
Producer: Can you get lost on a deserted island an hour and a half from shore?

We're fortunate that there wasn't a beverage handy so we won't have to have the next edition of TWDQ ask "What's the best way to clean a mouthful of coffee out of a laptop keyboard?"

Scroll down and enjoy his imagined pitch for "The Flying Nun" or last week's description of assembling a play kitchen for his daughter's birthday:
"Nothing in this world with the possible exception of a heart transplant or building a nuclear device should be complicated enough to demand 27 steps. Heck, you’re supposed to kick alcoholism in 12. Twenty seven steps, man, at the end of that I should be a fully ordained minister or an FBI agent or something."
We now return you to This Week's Discussion Question.

Update: Paul McCartney's rep pitches a song to a music exec. We're not kidding -- do NOT have a beverage in the vicinity when you read this one.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Nothin' But Good Times?

Heard a radio commercial this morning for GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul, in which his record of never having voted for a tax increase is touted. A daily update on his website states:
"A real fiscal conservative always votes for balanced budgets, lower spending and would never, ever raise taxes."
While balanced budgets and lower spending are generally good things, perhaps Dr. Paul has had the excellent fortune and timing to only hold public office during years of very tall cotton. So here's This Week's Discussion Question:
Never, ever raise taxes? Never? EVER?
Please keep the discussion civil and do not wander off into "Perhaps fiscal conservatives lack the wisdom and foresight to consider all possibilities" or "Why, that phony fiscal conservative Ronald Reagan..."


Thursday, January 10, 2008


Had a viewing of the musical "Hairspray" at TWDQ HQ over the weekend. We mightily enjoyed the advice Queen Latifah's character offers to her son and his white girlfriend near the movie's ending: "You two better brace yourselves for a whole lotta ugly comin’ at you from a never-ending parade of stupid."

So here's This Week's Discussion Question:
Do you suppose that line might come to mind at some point during this election year?
Please keep the discussion civil and do not wander off into "Hell, I'm hoping there's one day this year when it won't" or "I can believe John Travolta as a woman, but TV sets coming on instantly in 1962? No way."


Wednesday, January 09, 2008


Rich "Goose" Gossage, one of the most feared relievers in baseball history (look up the great Eddie Murray story in Sparky Lyle's "The Bronx Zoo" sometime), was elected to the Hall of Fame on Tuesday. The BBWAA does a fine job as HoF gatekeepers, but some mysteries at the bottom of the ballot provide This Week's Discussion Question:
Why would ANYONE cast a Hall of Fame vote for Chuck Knoblauch or Shawon Dunston?
Please keep the discussion civil and do not wander off into "I can see throwing a vote to David Justice as props merely for having been hitched--however briefly--to Halle Berry" or "Fred's fortunate the primaries don't use a 'five percent minimum to stay on future ballots' rule."