Thursday, August 11, 2016

That should about do it

When I started this blog in 2008, I initially intended to write it for one year.  But the voices didn't stop and so it went on and on and on.  Since then, I got engaged, got married, had a kid, went to some bars, that kind of thing.

It's been a blast but to tell you the truth, my heart's not in it any more.  Maybe I've mellowed out a little and am not periodically seized by the fits of rage that ended up fueling my expletive-soaked rants here?  Who knows.  I just don't feel like posting enough any more to keep this A Thing.

For the record, the most popular posts of all time were "This $10,500 rental in the Mission is absurd" and "It's not a party without American Red Cups," followed closely by "30 Reasons to Hate San Francisco," which people STILL READ and STILL TAKE SERIOUSLY even though it was intended as a lovingly snarky followup to the starry-eyed and embarrassingly heartfelt "50 Reasons to Love San Francisco."  Reading both of those now, it strikes me how much SF has changed since 2010.  Regardless, for the record, I still love San Francisco.  God knows it has problems, but I still don't want to live anywhere else.

Maybe the suburbs when I'm older, I don't know.  Looking for parking gets old after a while.

It's not like I'm vanishing off the Internet anyway.  I will maintain, I'm sure, a vibrant and dumb Twitter presence and may occasionally post longer form pieces somewhere.  Medium?  Ugh, I guess, whatever.  Better than taking a screenshot of a wall of text and posting that on Twitter.

In closing, thanks for reading.  It's been fun.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

It's time once again to review the San Francisco Giants' walkup songs

Just like we did in 2012!  Man, that was two World Serieses ago.  Time flies, etc. I should have been doing this annually but I fell down and couldn't get up.

Let's reprint this Explainer from 2012:

(Walk-up music, if you're not a baseball fan or something, is the music played in the stadium in the time that it takes the player to walk up to the plate - ergo, "walk-up music." For pitchers, it's usually the music that plays when they're warming up. But more than simply that, it is a window into the soul of the player, and should be regarded as such.)

Some players have more than one walkup song.  That's great!  You go, girl.  I, however, am compelled by no law, earthly or spiritual, to discuss every one of your songs.

OK, on to the show.


Brandon Belt, "99 Problems" (Beyonce's husband) - Iconic, but I'm not sure it sends the right message when you're coming up to the plate.  What if one of your problems is you let your right shoulder drop?  But you can't argue about the song.

Derek Law, "I Fought the Law" (The Clash) - What you did there, I see it.  But this is such an incredible get-fired-up song that every relief pitcher should use it, whether or not they're named Law or Clash or Joe Fucking Strummer 2.

Brandon Crawford, "Fuck Up Some Commas" (Future) - Finally, a song about the Oxford comma.  I don't know what part of the song they play when Brandon is actually walking to the plate but it is almost guaranteed to have a "fuck" in it and for that it's all worth it.  (Is this the only rap song to mention Groupon by name?  I hope not.)

Sergio Romo, "El Mechon" (Banda MS) - This song is as much Sergio's #brand as facial hair, fist pumping, and striking out Miguel Cabrera.

Javy Lopez, "The Humpty Dance" (Digital Underground) - Javier Lopez is about as old as me so this makes sense.

Joe Panik, "Moment of Clarity" (Beyonce's husband) - It will not surprise you to learn that Jay-Z is heavily represented on every team's walkup music roster.  It's probably because he has a lot of songs that sound like anthems and also sound great in a booming, echoey stadium.


Hunter Strickland, "You Shook Me All Night Long" (AC/DC) - I have a fraught relationship with Hunter Strickland. I think he's come into his own as a relief pitcher but he will never know that because he blocked me on Twitter two years ago and APPARENTLY HOLDS A GRUDGE.  Let's be friends, Hunter.  I know I said some very mean things about you but that's back when you were giving away home runs like cops give out badge stickers.  You're better now, and so am I!  We cool?

George Kontos, "Harvester of Sorrow" (Metallica) - Whoever harvests beets, if you ask me!  WACKA WACKA

Will Smith, "Stranglehold" (Ted Nugent) - Oh, too bad we just acquired Will Smith yesterday and now HE HAS TO LEAVE.


Buster Posey, "Hell on Wheels" (Brantley Gilbert) - Same walkup song he's had since at least 2012, and probably his whole life.  I doubt Buster gives a shit, and some teammate in Salem-Keizer probably picked this for him and he was like "Fine with me, I only care about my family, the Lord, and the Game."


Hunter Pence, "My Boo" (Ghost Town DJs) - I don't know why this cracks me up.  Maybe because of this video, using the same music:



Kelby Tomlinson, "Christ In Me" (Jeremy Camp)


Hope you don't have anything to do this afternoon, because this site compiles walkup music for EVERY PLAYER IN MLB.  Let's see who can find the Worst Walkup Song of All!

(SPOILER: I figured I'd just go straight to Bryce Harper and win AND his are bad but not The Absolute Worst.  He has 5: J. Cole, Sinatra, Bieber, Bassnectar, and Moby.  I am not in the least bit surprised that Bryce Harper finds it necessary to have 5 walkup songs.)


Animal Collective
Architecture in Helsinki
Rod Stewart
Elvis Costello
Lionel Richie
Lana Del Rey


Prince Fielder

Friday, July 29, 2016

Music Friday: Balloon Drop

Since a key feature of Music Friday is analyzing major party candidates' balloon drop song choices, let's take a look at Hillary last night.

She went with a Girl Power mix, starting with Sara Bareilles' "Brave," which is certainly more upbeat than Donald's "You Can't Always Get What You Want." LOOK OUT MILLENNIALS, WE'RE COMING FOR YOU!!!

(It was extremely hard to find embeddable video of this moment, so I had to steal it from LA Times reporter Mike Memoli.  Thank you Mike Memoli.)

If you're old, you couldn't help but remember the First Clinton Balloon Drop.

Man, everybody looks a lot younger. But come on, even if you're not old, that is some pretty good shit.  Those Clintons know how to get nominated for president, that's for sure.  By the time it's Chelsea's turn, her song will probably be "What If The Mirror Is Real And We Are The Reflection" by Jaden Smith.

Speaking of political music, here's "DonaldTrumpMakesMeWannaSmokeCrack." (Donald Trump also apparently took my space bar.)

This song, which actually isn't nearly as bad as it should be, is currently #2 on Spotify's "Viral 50" chart.  Here's a boring article about how Spotify determines what goes on the Viral 50 chart.  Here's a more interesting article about the actual human people who compose playlists for Apple and Spotify and Google Play.

Hey, guess what?  My friends in the Morning Line are making music again. Woods is playing at the Chapel tonight. And next weekend, of course, is Outside Lands.  This year I'm finally doing what I threaten to do every year and leave town so I don't have to listen to Outside Lands in my living room when I'm just trying to watch Dateline.  We're going to Guerneville for the weekend, so will there even be a Music Friday next week?  I don't know.  I don't know.

From the archives, but still relevant: Your Guide to Complaining About Outside Lands.

Haha, remember one year when Outside Lands had the Dave Matthews Band and the Black Eyed Peas on the same day? Haha.


Monday, July 25, 2016

Step right up for the worst explanation of why Donald Trump is not a racist you could imagine

There's a hedge fund guy named Anthony Scaramucci who was against Trump but is now for Trump and is now raising money for him. For reasons known only to Anthony Scaramucci, he sat down and agreed to be interviewed by Jacob Weisberg, editor-in-chief of the Slate group, which I would not say is particularly friendly towards Donald.  The interview is about 20 minutes long and fascinatingly revealing.

At first there's a lot of boring stuff about how Scaramucci - "The Mooch" to friends, apparently - used to support Scott Walker but now supports Trump because Trump is now the Republican nominee.  Whatever, raccoons dig for trash in packs, I get it.  What I wasn't expecting was The Mooch's explanation about why Donald Trump isn't racist to be breathtakingly racist in and of itself.

The relevant portion starts at around 17:30.

OK. So, so, here’s the thing, here’s what happens.  There’s a gigantic arbitrage spread between what people think of him based on what they’ve read about him and snippets of him in the media world and then when people actually meet him – and my wife said this to me, we did a fundraiser for him in East Hampton two Saturdays ago, at Wilbur Ross’s home.  And we were coming out of the fundraiser and my wife turned to me and she said, “You know, I wish people could see him in this environment, answering the questions, getting a full sentence in about the questions, maybe even a paragraph so it’s not sliced on him and not taken out of context, what he said.”

I'm not saying that anyone who uses the term "arbitrage spread" in normal conversation is a dickhead, but it's like wearing a visor backwards - maybe you're a cool guy who just likes turnin' that visor around, but I doubt it.  Anyway, yes, the problem is that DONALD TRUMP IS NOT GETTING THE CHANCE TO GET HIS MESSAGE OUT.  That is seriously what The Mooch (or The Mooch's wife, I guess) wants us to believe.  Stupid press!  Why won't they let him speak?

Wait, it gets so much worse.

But some things are said in jest, and here’s the thing I don’t like about the society right now, if you don’t mind me being a little bit editorialization.  We say some things in jest in the society.  We do have ethnic jokes.  I have been the butt of ethnic jokes in my life.  And I find them humorful.  OK?  There’s also a show called “The Sopranos” that was on for 10 years that took every Italian-American stereotype that you could imagine and manifested itself for one full hour on national TV.  And I met with the Reverend Al Sharpton one day and I said “Hey, why don’t we do The Jacksons?  And we take every racial African-American stereotype, we talk in ebonics to each other, have spinners on the Escalades, and we shoot at each other with Glocks, and we have a whole prostitution ring going, I mean, and so on and so forth, are you guys gonna be sore about that?”  He admitted that he would be sore about it.  But as an Italian-American, you know, I believe in the First Amendment, and I can deal with the fact that we are typecast in shows like The Sopranos, OK?  I get the joke.  And so, he’s not a bigot, and he’s not a racist.

Hey, idiots!  The Mooch is Italian, and The Sopranos used Italian stereotypes, and it didn't bother The Mooch, so quit crying racism!  The Mooch has overcome how Italians were brought to America as slaves and then enslaved here for 300 years and then after they were freed Italians were subject to Jim Crow and the vilest discrimination and state-sponsored killing and redlining and still have a fraction of the family wealth that other Americans have.  Italians have suffered so much!

This is called a "false equivalency," and people honestly believe shit like this.

I don't even know what to say about The Mooch's show "The Jacksons."  I have a hard time believing he related this concept to Al Sharpton because Al Sharpton probably would have punched him in the fucking face if he said this kind of shit, and with good reason.

Finally, NONE OF THIS PROVES THAT DONALD TRUMP ISN'T A RACIST. The fact that "The Sopranos" trafficked in Italian-American stereotypes and it didn't bother The Mooch one bit and The Mooch had the gall to spout every African-American stereotype that popped into his head at an undoubtedly horrified Al Sharpton does not in any way mean Donald Trump is not a racist.  Saying that a judge was unfit to hear Donald Trump's case in court because of his ethnic background makes Donald Trump a racist, OK?

Friday, July 22, 2016

Music Friday: The Science of They Might Be Giants

Not to dwell too much on the apocalyptic, flaming-rats-are-falling-from-the-skies-to-devour-your-children's-limbs speech by that dimestore Manuel Noriega last night, but since this is Music Friday I'm allowed to say that choosing "You Can't Always Get What You Want" as the song for the celebratory balloon drop is either the Biggest Fucking Troll of All Time or shows a frankly breathtaking lack of awareness or, fuck it, who knows, maybe both, given this shambling shitshow of an election.

I didn't see it, actually.  I was at the Fillmore watching They Might Be Giants, which is the exact opposite of Donal Trump.

TMBG is sui generis in American music: a band that writes clever, quirky, catchy songs, doesn't take itself seriously at all, and has a wry sense of humor.  It's music for science geeks and (former) record store clerks and mathletes.  In fact, at one point during last night's show, the audience began chanting "SCIENCE! SCIENCE! SCIENCE!" like we were at a crazy Republican rally is bizarro world where they just nominated Neil deGrasse Tyson and were dropping carbon offsets instead of balloons.  I am not kidding, they actually chanted this, in response to some stage patter about science.  I am also not kidding about the stage patter about science.

I haven't listened to a lot of TMBG lately (and by lately, I mean since the mid-90's), but I quite liked "Apollo 18," their 1992 release.  Among other eccentricities, it has a song about mammals that contains the words "nuclei," "monotreme," and "allotheria;" a whole set of seconds-long song sketches smashed together at the end, and perfectly fine pop songs like "I Palindrome I," a catchy ditty about matricide.  TMBG is basically kid's music for adults.  It's charming and happy, which made it the perfect antidote to what was going on in Cleveland.  Couldn't they just leave Cleveland alone?  They have enough problems already.

Speaking of "Apollo 18," the show was billed as "They Might Be Giants plays Apollo 18," but, being They Might Be Giants, they played a bunch of other songs first and then played the album, in order, but backwards.  I mean in backwards order, not playing all the songs backwards.

It occurred to me while watching them that it's kind of perfect music for people on the spectrum because, other than mirth, I can't see TMBG generating any kind of emotional response, like some music does.  The last time I saw the Weakerthans I was moved almost to tears by the song "Left and Leaving" (go ahead, listen, you might burst into tears).  I can't imagine any TMBG provoking that kind of reaction.  And there's nothing wrong with that!  God knows we could use a little levity.  It was a fun, if tiring, show (they didn't go on until after 9 pm, and I had to leave around 11:30; they still weren't done).

We were also talking about pre-show music last night because TMBG had a nice mix going on the house PA before the show, with everything from Kendrick to Lily Allen to the Offspring and I happened to mention my Theory of Pre-Show Music, which is: The harder the pre-show music, the more twee the band.  EXAMPLE: I saw Belle & Sebastian years back and they played Geto Boys as their pre-show music.  Twee band, hard rap.  Conversely, I've seen some pretty aggro rock and they played classical or something before.  Try it and see.

THE OTHER MAJOR MUSIC STORY OF THE WEEK had something to do with Kanye, Taylor Swift, and Snapchat.  The Wife explained it to me but I wasn't really paying attention but I think it has something to do with some behind-the-scenes dealing and skullduggery and now everyone hates Taylor Swift?  I guess go to Buzzfeed or something to learn more.

DID I GET TICKETS TO FYF FEST YET: No. Saturday tickets are currently $194 on StubHub.  Humorously, 2-day tickets are $190, which means more people want to go Saturday than go Saturday and then discard a Sunday ticket. Throwing something in the trash is not worth $4 apparently.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

New Bar Night: Mid-Market Edition

Mid-Market is a long-bedraggled area of San Francisco that has apparently been on the skids since they tore up Market Street to build BART back in the 1850's.  Last night we were trying to figure out exactly what the boundaries are.  I guessed 5th to roughly Guerrero but wow was I off; according to Wikipedia it's 5th to Van Ness.

Twitter was supposed to save Mid-Market by moving into the huge old Furniture Mart at 1355 Market, so it seemed fitting to begin there, at Dirty Water, which I think is actually a restaurant more than a bar but whatever.  They have the usual $14-16 cocktails but a nice happy hour special - either a Moscow Mule or a very good Old Fashioned made with Buffalo Trace for $8.  Obviously I got the Old Fashioned because how else would I know it was good.  It was good.

[Oddly, Dirty Water's URL - - redirects to the OpenTable page linked above. In fact, Dirty Water doesn't seem to have its own website at all, which is strange in 2016 for a big expensive restaurant. The significance of this, if any, is left to you.]

The place was pretty empty at 5:30 on a Tuesday and happy hour ends at 6 anyway so we split and went across the hall to the food court/bar thing called The Market they also have in the Twitter building so we could watch the Giants pathetically get shut out by the Red Sox and also have a few slices from Tony's Slice House, which were excellent, and a couple of Firestone Pilsners, which were also excellent.

We were actually sitting at the bar of the Tapas Bar but it's pretty much all interchangeable and you can eat the food from one station at another station.  We were surrounded by a couple of open laptops on the bar and lots of Attractive Young White People.  The only disconcerting thing was that every 30-45 seconds there was a huge muffled BOOM like someone was dropping something extraordinarily heavy on the floor directly above us.  We asked the bartender.  She speculated that it was maybe the bass.  It was not the music.  Obviously there is something fucking going on and the employees have been instructed to keep silent.

Next we went to the Hot Spot, a longtime Market Street dive that closed for a while when next door neighbor Alta CA was getting built and then reopened, after some difficulty.  I hadn't been in since the remodel.  It looks nice and now there are electrical outlets every 5 feet so you know that shit was done to code.

I have no idea what Hot Spot is like on a normal Tuesday because last night it was fucking PACKED with kids because Phish was playing virtually next door at the Bill Graham.  They were yelling and drinking craft beers so Olu and I retreated to the upstairs loft where the pool table is.

Taken from Hot Spot's Yelp page. I have no idea what this dog has to do with Hot Spot. I assume thew picture was taken there? Anyway, this dog sadly contemplating the world looks like we did surrounded by 20-something SCREAMING at Hot Spot before the Phish show.
Anyway, $8 for 2 PBRs.  Would return on a non-Phish-show night.

Final stop: Mr. Tipple's Recording Studio.  God, enough with the cutesy names already.  Ugh.  Ugh.  Mr. Tipple's looks like a fairly nice hotel bar and there was live jazz playing.  It's the usual fancy cocktails, with a twist - they're all a couple of dollars more than the price on the menu because the bar automatically adds 20% for tip!  Ha, what an unusual surprise to order a $12 cocktail and only get $5 and some quarters back!  I was going to ask the bartender why I was getting shorted and then saw this on the back of the drink list:

Please know right up front that we're applying 20% to each check to be distributed to all hourly employees who work tonight. This eliminates your need to tip, it will have already been included.

Well, Mr. Tipple's, if you want people to know "right up front," put it on the front page of the damn menu because we were surprised as hell. I guess if you're in the Exciting Mid-Market area and you want to grab a $15 drink that contains kirschwasser, whatever the fuck that is and don't have to say the name out loud to anyone, Mr. Tipple's is your place.

Monday, July 18, 2016

How many Uber/Lyft cars do you think you'd see on a random Sunday drive across town?

For reasons far too boring and stupid to recount here, I spent a lot of the weekend driving around San Francisco and environs.  I actually don't drive all that much and when I do it's pretty much the exact same route - our house to day care or preschool - so I don't see a lot of the town.  On all my perambulations around the City this weekend, I was hit by one recurring thought: HOLY SHIT, THERE ARE A LOT OF UBER/LYFT CARS OUT HERE.

"A lot" doesn't mean much, so I did what any Junior Scientist would do and decided to count.  First, a couple of definitions: an "Uber/Lyft car" will hereby be defined as an car with a visible Uber or Lyft placard (or, most commonly, both) in the window.  90% of the time, in my experience, anyone with a smartphone bracket on the front widshield just above the dash is also one but I'm being strict and requiring the telltale logo.

I decided to start counting yesterday, a seemingly normal Sunday, and I happened to be at 26th and Bryant when I started.  I went from 26th and Bryant to Ocean Beach, taking a not particularly direct path.  Behold, the route:

OK, now for the fun part.  (Or, I guess, the "fun" part).  How many Uber/Lyft cars do you think I counted on a normal Sunday afternoon in San Francisco going roughly across town?  20?  30?  More?

Not even close.  I counted 61.  And that's just the ones I counted while also driving!  I could have easily missed some.  61 seems a lot to me.  For comparison, during that same drive I saw 6 cabs, and 4 of those were on Polk while I was stopped at the light.  Polk is a very big cab street!

There were so many Uber/Lyft cars that my guess would be they represented 1 out of every 4 to 5 cars I saw.  Sometimes they even appeared in bunches.  Here are two in a line waiting to turn left at California and Hyde.

Another time I was boxed in by 3 of them at once, one in front and one on each side.  It was vaguely frightening!  What if they decided to use their powers for evil?

So my first question is "How did all the people using all these Uber/Lyft cars get around before these services existed, back in the Dark Ages of 2003?"  Three answers spring to mind:  (1) For one thing, there are about 100,000 more San Franciscans than there were in 2000, so these new services are needed to transport all the shiny new SFers to and from their coding stations and food delivery incubators; (2) They took cabs or Muni or walked; and (3) People didn't go as many places because life wasn't as interesting in 2000.

I don't know.  I DO know that a lot of these Uber/Lyft cars drive like complete assholes.  I had to slam on the brakes to avoid hitting one that blithely drifted into my lane on Franklin going about 35 miles an hour.  They routinely just stop wherever they happen to be and throw on the hazards, not giving a single fuck about the line of cars behind them, which is one thing if you're on deserted 28th and Noriega and quite another if - as I saw this weekend - you're on very crowded Fell Street, which is essentially a three-lane freeway with timed lights and on which any impediment immediately causes a blocks-long backup.  And so on.

I'm not advocating getting rid of Uber and Lyft.  I've used their services and may do so again in the future.  But it seems a little crazy that we've allowed this many essentially unregistered cabs to flood the streets with no screening process or driver safety and etiquette class or anything.  61 cars in a relatively short time is a lot.