Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Unique baseball feats

As I try to remember the name of the host of Connections without the help of the internet (I think it was James something-or-other), a post in honor of "Neon" Deion Sanders, who was recently elected to the Football Hall of Fame.

1. ...Deion was fast. In addition to football, he played professional baseball. A testament to his speed: in 1992 he hit more triples (14) than doubles (6)...

2. ...thanks to this, modern man is able to easily determine who else in Major League Baseball history has hit at least 14 triples and no more than 6 doubles in a single season. The answer: no one in the 139 years of professional baseball has done this, except for Deion Sanders....

3. ...however, there have been other players who hit a lot more triples than doubles. There is only one instance of a player hitting five times as many triples as doubles in a season. In 1871, John Bass hit ten times (!) as many triples (10) as doubles (1)...

4. ...extreme trivia: John Bass was the first professional baseball player to die in Colorado. The second was Asa Brainard, a former star pitcher who died in Denver of pneumonia two months later....

5. ...Brainard pitched for the Excelsior of Brooklyn on October 14, 1862 against the Unions of Morrisania (from da Bronx). During the game Excelsior teammate Jim Creighton injured himself (a ruptured inguinal hernia) with a mighty home run swing. He died four days later. As far as I know, he is the only person to have ever killed himself in the process of hitting a home run.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Pain and Pain

1. While running this loop yesterday, these words echoed in my head:

"French bread!"
2. ...which reminds me of one of the better bakeries in Los Angeles, La Maison du Pain. Or, as my friend Erica likes to call it, "The House of Pain." The House of Pain is known for their croissants...

3. ...As you may know, croissant means crescent (I did not know this). And there is an unexpected reminder of the French origins of the Crescent Roll on Pillsbury website: the highest rated Crescent Roll recipe with more than 10 votes is "Pear Havarti Crêpe Squares" (complete with circumflexed e!). Sadly, the only winner of the Pillsbury Bake-Off ($1,000,000 grand prize) with her own wikipedia entry is Ellie Matthews (b. 1945)...

4. ...Ms. Matthews's winning dish has a horrible name, "Salsa Couscous Chicken." The recipe itself looks fine--it's apparently aiming to be a chicken tagine. El Paso Salsa is the only Pillsbury ingredient in the recipe, which blows a hole in the theory that a winning recipe needs to include lots of Pillsbury ingredients...

5 ... Ms. Matthews is an author, winner of the 2007 Milkweed Editions Award for children's fiction (it appears the award = getting your book published by Milkweed). Milkweed, the plant, is also known as Asclepias....

6. ...Asclepias is named after Asclepius, the Greek god of healing. According to Plato, Socrates's last words were, "Crito, we owe a cock to Asclepius. Pay it, and do not forget."These words got Nietszche pretty riled up, and puzzle the rest of us...

7. ...unlike Plato, I don't think pain is intrinsically bad. When I remarked to a friend that I've grown to like the pain of running he told me that it isn't the pain I like but the endorphins. I find this strange. In addition to pain I also like pain. No one would say, "you just like the dopamine that's released when you eat pain aux raisins."

Friday, February 04, 2011

Two Interesting Men, Two Mermaids, and Two Health Nuts

As per Zed's suggestion, I'm going to attempt to start blogging my daily internet trains of thought. Today we begin with...

1. ... a fun short piece in this week's New Yorker on Jonathan Goldsmith (b. 1938), the interesting actor who plays the "most interesting man in the world" in Dos Equis's ad campaign. Goldsmith clues us in on the source of his inspiration...

2. ...Fernando Lamas (1915-1982), 50's matinee movie idol and father of Lorenzo, who is pretty charming in his appearance on "What's My Line?"

A choice quote from the original most interesting man in the world:

In one of his most memorable moments on The Tonight Show, Lamas
intimated that "sometimes other men said that he was gay, and nothing
pleased him more than proving them wrong with their own wives."
Speaking of wives...

3. of Lamas's wives was Esther Williams (b. 1921), swimmer turned actress, dubbed the "Million Dollar Mermaid," because she once portrayed....

4. ...Annette Kellerman (1887-1975), the original "Million Dollar Mermaid," the first woman to attempt to cross the English Channel ("I had the endurance, but not the brute strength"). Kellerman was named "the perfect woman" by...

5. ...Dr. Dudley Allen Sargent (1849-1924) , of Harvard, who really liked to measure people. Sargent was keen on physical fitness, and claimed that Kellerman's measurements were the closest to the Venus de Milo of any woman he had measured. The Venus de Milo's proportions also figure prominently in the work of fellow health guru...

6. ...John Harvey Kellogg, inventor (along with his brother) of corn flakes cereal. In his book, The Living Temple, Kellogg, arguing against the use of corsets, says that the popular view that women have smaller waists (relative to their heights) than men is mistaken, citing measurements of non-corset wearing women around the world, and the measurements of the Venus de Milo.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Prejudices about "Precious"

My brain has been cluttered with a few obsessive thoughts for the past two days, which I'm trying to offload here:

I feel pressured to see "Precious." I will see it, mostly because I can't go on saying to anyone who'll listen that I think it's probably terribly critically overrated without seeing it. But here is what I predict will be disappointing about the movie:

1. The fact that it might be good for people to see this movie doesn't mean it's a good movie. What leads me to think that the movie is overrated is that it has the hallmark of a chronically overrated movie, namely, it's a picture that critics think is (morally) important for audiences to see. In this case, it's because the protagonist is a person whose "voice" is not heard in our society, whose image is buried, whose life is systematically hidden from view. This doesn't make for a good movie; even if it achieves the purpose of somehow voicing the voice of the voiceless, that makes for a good piece of propaganda (albeit a laudable kind of propaganda). Which is to say...

2. It's not going to be art. Or more precisely, it's going to be missing what I'm pretty certain is a cardinal virtue of art: raising new questions that the artist/audience does not know, or does not purport to know, the answer to.

3. It's not going to be artful. "Raw" and "naturalistic", which are being used as compliments in the reviews I've seen, can be code for "artless depiction of someone whom I don't know anything about". By 'artless' I mean: the particular depiction of the events in the movie does not reveal anything important which wouldn't be evident in any other representation of those events.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Not so sticky buns

Originally uploaded by Benito Chandwani

I woke up with an urge for sticky buns, so I decided to make some. I skipped the usual gooey topping though, and added some lemon zest to the brown sugar, so I wound up with these fluffy lemony buns instead. I must say: they're quite good.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Two cents on televised debates

As many have noted, the winner of these presidential debates can generally be determined by watching with the sound turned off. If teams were being chosen--the activity doesn't much matter--and the debaters were the captains, which team would most people want to join?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Monday 6pm PB and Olive

Monday 6pm PB and Olive
Originally uploaded by Benito Chandwani

Could scarcely taste the olives. I've experimented with many gross-sounding combinations in my life--this one, like most of them, turned out to be boring rather than offensive.

Sunday, Blueberry & cheese donut, with milk

Sunday, Blueberry & cheese donut, with milk
Originally uploaded by Benito Chandwani

I got a nice new camera to play with, but don't have much time to play with it. So I'll be taking photos of absolutely everything I eat this week. This was a fantastic donut, by the way.