Monthly Archives: March 2008

Opening Day

Pax Arcana

Though the Red Sox and A’s have already played two games in Japan — and the Braves and Nationals christened the new Nationals stadium in walk-off style last night — today marks the really, really real, actual opening day of Major League Baseball.

jesse_orosco.jpgNeedless to say, Pax Arcana loves this time of year. I love it so much, in fact, that I would ruin everything by writing about it myself. Instead, I point you to the most elegant, intuitive baseball writer the world has ever known — Roger Angell.

In this week’s installment for the New Yorker, Angell reflects on the steroid-fueled tumult that has knotted the stomachs of many baseball fans. And with the wisdom of a tribal elder assures us that these events were set in motion long ago:

In some way, we almost knew about Roger in advance, the way we’ve always known that the lifetime home-run mark, “baseball’s most hallowed record,” has been rubberized in the cause of higher numbers. Alex Rodriguez, with five hundred and eighteen lifetime homers, plays half his games in Yankee Stadium, where it’s three hundred and ninety-nine feet to the left-center-field wall; Joe DiMaggio swung for the same fence when it was four hundred and seventy feet away. Pitchers’ mounds in DiMaggio’s day were fifteen inches high but in 1969 were lowered to ten inches, to make them more dinger-prone. Not much later, the strike zone shrank down to the size of a cellar window. Lore like this is amazing to kids, but it doesn’t count for much except when editorialists and sports columnists begin to go all trembly about the sanctity of old records.

He then rifles off a few vital statistics proving that baseball’s wager on big bopper numbers has paid off to the tune of billions of dollars, which in turn has increased pressure on today’s players to crack not only the big team’s roster — but the upper stratosphere of highly-paid sports machines:

If we fans need an image to connect us to the departing era, I would pass up the tarnished Clemens or the unpleasant Bonds and, looking back five years, focus, rather, on some imagined Class AAA infielder who has just been called up to a major-league team as a midseason defensive replacement. He doesn’t have to carry his bags anymore, but at twenty-seven he’s a gloveman with a lifetime .269 average who will now be looking at world-famous sliders and heat. Sitting a couple of lockers away there’s a celebrated but tired-looking shortstop in his late thirties, with two gated-community houses, a nanny, a nutritionist, a trainer, a motivational coach, two lawyers, a divorced wife, three foreign-marque cars, an agent, two chefs, and a part-time veterinarian on his payroll. Our rookie may be competing against this icon for a steady job next spring, but for that to happen he’ll need two additional base hits a week, starting right now. The word “Help!” floats into his head, perhaps from not far away.

Paging Kirk Radomski. Which reminds me:


Green [The New Yorker]


Filed under baseball

UPDATE: Cheese-eating surrender monkey apes Brazilian mayor

Perry Ellis

Updated below

A town mayor in Brazil is trying to do what Houdini, Yeats and everyone else with an abiding faith the Ouija board couldn’t–defeat the Grim Reaper.

Say, brother, can you spare a dime?

According to the (HT: Daily Dish), Biritiba-Mirim Mayor Roberto Pereira da Silva wants to make it illegal for residents to die:

“He wants to bring in a law that would see relatives of people who die before their time face fines or even jail. The law would make it an offence for the town’s 28,000 citizens to not look after their health properly.”

Seems the only local cemetery is full, leaving only two options: make death illegal or put up with stacks of moldering, flyblown corpses.

And while the town’s morticians are planning to protest, one group of businesses is feeling pretty psyched:

“Gym memberships have reportedly shot up since the mayor announced his plans.”

UPDATE: Not to be outdone, the mayor of Sarpourenx (“Mimes are dandy” in English) in southwest France put the kaibosh on the dying, also because there are already too many dead people (thanks again, Daily Dish):

“In an ordinance posted in the council offices, Mayor Lalanne told the 260 residents that ‘all persons not having a plot in the cemetery and wishing to be buried in Sarpourenx are forbidden from dying in the parish.’

It added: ‘Offenders will be severely punished.'”

We think there may be a Gaulic tongue firmly planted in a garlicky, escargot-stuffed cheek here, but who knows? France, after all, is the nation responsible for inflicting another unbearable death-related atrocity on the rest of the world:

If you don’t believe in the pointlessness
of existence, you will after you read this.


Filed under Uncategorized

Noble anti-science crusaders saving the galaxy

Pax Arcana

The brain trust at Pax Arcana has finally been rewarded for spending the extra money to ensure we’d be on the Hawaiian Intertubes as well as the regular ones. Our decision may just have saved the entire universe.

One of the recurring themes at Pax Arcana is the coordinated effort of the world’s scientists to destroy all human life. Some are thawing out ice-bound zombie microbes. Others are harvesting radioactive mushrooms for food. Just last week we brought you the horrific story of scientists teaching rats to wield pointy instruments.

Walter L. Wagner and Luis Sancho must be regular readers. According to the New York Times, these two noble patriots have decided to stand athwart science yelling “Yaaayeeeeeeeeeeyaaahhhh!”

The pair have filed suit in a Hawaiian court to stop construction of the $8 billion Large Hadron Collider(LHC)  in Geneva. They fear the device, which will smash protons together using the latest in, um, smashotechtronic technology, will create a black hole that will pulverize the earth and turn the Milky Way in on itself. Ouch.

Physics: It’s wavy and pointy.

Most in the “mainstream science community” say Wagner and Sancho are loonies. Of course, they said the same thing about robots, and look what that got us.

Wagner is having none of it, according to his Web site:

The LHC propaganda machine that ‘everything is safe’ is well funded by your tax dollars, paying large salaries to thousands of people who have much to lose financially should the LHC be unable to prove its safety. As most of them perceive the risk to be small, they are willing to take that ‘small risk’ at our expense. The actual risk cannot presently be calculated.

This is wrong. The risk can be calculated as such:

If X = the chances of us all being sucked into a black hole, then 5X = the chances we get sucked into one of the 5 black holes the LHC is likely to create.

In other words, it gets worse every minute we don’t do anything.

Asking a Judge to Save the World, and Maybe a Whole Lot More [New York Times]
LHC Defense Fund [Official Site]
No, the LHC won’t destroy the Earth [Bad Astronomy Blog]


Filed under science

“And… that happens”

Pax Arcana

Two things about John Mayer:

1. For a guy who makes his living peddling tweener pansy rock, he is a surprisingly adept guitar player. Witness:

2. He’s a better baseball announcer than Joe Morgan and Joe Buck combined. Witness his performance behind the camera during the Red Sox recent trip to Japan:

[Hat Tip: Radar]


Filed under baseball

Now can we repeal the 2nd Amendment?

Pax Arcana

Ronald Long of Deepwater, MO, was having a heck of a time poking a hole in the exterior wall of his house. He needed that hole so he could get the new satellite dish hooked up. So he did what any red-blooded American would do under similar circumstances — he fired two shots from a .22 at it.

yosemite_sam.gifThe second shot hit his wife, Patsy, who was standing outside. Neighbors tried to keep her alive using CPR, but she was pronounced DOA at the local hospital.

Officials at the scene said the whole thing was an accident, punctuating their soundbytes with folksy charm and sentence-ending prepositions:

“He was under the impression that everybody was inside the residence, that he knew where everybody was at,” said sheriff’s department spokesman Maj. Robert Hills.

Guns don’t kill people. Morons with guns kill people. And most of us are morons.

Man Shooting Hole Through Wall Kills Wife [KCTV]


Filed under guns

…In which 22 of the 23 ingredients are Jack Daniel’s

Father Scott

Paste passes along one of the weirdest marketing stories I’ve ever heard: Dr. Pepper is offering a free can of soda to every person in America if Guns ‘n’ Roses releases their decades-in-the-making Chinese Democracy LP.

Who has a better chance of producing Chinese Democracy first: GNR or these guys?

Sound like an utterly random and arguably crazy idea? Well, let’s see if some Dr. Pepper muckety mucks can shed some light on the situation.

Continue reading


Filed under music

Friday Random 10: Wedding Pictures Edition

Pax Arcana

matsui_wife.jpgAt right, you’ll see a photo of Yankees slugger Hideki Matsui showing off a hand-drawn image of his new bride.

Matsui gathered the media outside the Yankees Tampa Bay clubhouse to introduce the world to his, um, drawing. He refused to reveal the name of the inspiration behind the image, saying only that she was a “25-year-old civilian and had been formerly working in a reputable position at a highly respected company,” according to the New York Times.

There are two things we can learn from this. The first is that Japanese people are awesome.

The second is that Hideki Matsui is a thief who stole my idea. I married the stylish and fantastical Mrs. Pax Arcana way back in 2005. To celebrate, I created an entire set of hand-drawn wedding images featuring her. Below is the framed wedding picture I keep on my desk at work:


Honestly, it’s like Hideki Matsui is just desperate for my life.

The songs:

Hot Bed — The Whigs
Bright Future in Sales — Fountains of Wayne
Florida — Modest Mouse
Thru the Eyes of Ruby — Smashing Pumpkins
Everything Hits at Once — Spoon
It’s Growing — Otis Redding
Pretty Boy Floyd — Woody Guthrie
Paint it Black — The Rolling Stones
Patty Lee — Les Savy Fav
House of Cards — Radiohead
Bonus Video:

Skinny Love (Live at SXSW 2008), Bon Iver

The Rules: The Friday Random 10 is exactly that — random. We open up our iTunes, set the thing on shuffle, and listen to 10 songs. We are not permitted to skip any out of embarrassment or fear of redundancy. Commenters are encouraged to post their own.


Filed under Friday random 10

The Top 5 Historical Innacuracies of HBO’s “John Adams”

Pax Arcana

Last weekend, Comcast offered a free HBO preview. This gave Pax Arcana a chance to DVR the first two episodes of the most talked-about miniseries of 2008: “John Adams.”

We like the show. Really, we do. But Pax Arcana is a stickler for historical detail. Nothing drives us up a wall faster than a filmmaker who thinks that historical events need to be embellished to suit the tastes of modern audiences.

In that sense, the show leaves a bit to be desired. Here are the top five historical inaccuracies we spotted in the first two episodes of “John Adams”:

5. No monocles or butter churns. Everyone who’s ever been to Colonial Williamsburg knows that the women of the colonial era spent a majority of their time either gathering eggs or churning butter in large, rickety wooden contraptions — while wearing low-cut blouses. The men of the time, we know, all wore either monocles or those glasses-on-a-stick devices. All are pointedly absent from the John Adams miniseries.

They’re glasses. On a stick. And they belong in our history.

4. Sam Adams was sober the whole time. Samuel Adams, a cousin of John Adams, plays a large role in the first episode of the miniseries. He is presented as a dead-serious agitator for colonial independence and a firebrand who hurls old-timey insults like “toss-pots” at passing redcoats. However, as anyone who went to college knows, Sam Adams was a kick-ass homebrewing homey who always had a tankard in his hand and a lass in his lap. He invented beer pong and high-fiving, bitches. Look it up.

Frank ye Tanke

3. No treasure. It’s clear the U.S. government has no interest in revealing the truth about the founding fathers and the piles of gold they stashed deep in a cavern in Northern Virginia. And I guess HBO will just kowtow to the government’s wishes. I suppose it’s just as well, since publicizing this fact would only inspire more treasure hunters who would eventually stumble upon the lock box in the classical archive room at the Boston Public Library where I… I… I’ve said too much already. Forget you ever saw this.

I will find you, Cage. I will. You owe me $9.

2. No sexy Indians. With the exception of the mulatto Boston Massacre casualty Crispus Attucks, all of the characters in the first episode of “John Adams” are white-bread whiteys. While it’s true that most colonists viewed themselves as English — and therefore white — I think it’s safe to say there was more than a little Wampanoag tail making its way around the outer walls of old Beantown. Is it too much to ask that the filmmakers venture into the woods and let the cameras follow a saucy squaw as she cleans her nearly hairless body in the river? For history’s sake.

Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about. Succotash!

1. Where are the flying hatchets? I’m not sure what the budget was on this miniseries, but I suppose I can give the makers the benefit of the doubt when it comes to the fight scenes. The fighting in John Adams is slow and plodding, with a bunch of guys getting shot in the thigh and shin and whatnot. Perhaps it was too expensive to include long tracking shots of a renegade guerilla dodging redcoat bullets while flinging hatchets, Gibson-style, through a dense forest — landing them blade-side down in some crumpet-eater’s spine. Then he approaches another officer silently from the rear and — oops! — snaps his neck! Fucking British soldiers.

America, fuck yeah.

Nota Bene: It really is a good show, and if you’re interested in nitpicking the historical details, you should go here.


Filed under history

If the Eagles can do it…

Perry Ellis

Why should doddering fossils like the Rolling Stones, Eagles and Fleetwood Mac have the reunion tour market all to themselves?

Thanks to our handy new Paste magazine RSS feed (looking your way, Padre, with a big ol’ tip o’ the hat), we found out about this impending reunion of one of my all-time favorite groups (note to my married brothers-in-arms: Chicks dig this band. Big time. Trust me. Play it once, they’re hooked. Just ask the fecund and felicitous Mrs. Ellis.)

“The Feelies will play a few shows in the New Jersey and New York area over July 4th weekend (including one opening for Sonic Youth in Central Park). If the rumors are true, the shows will be the group’s first appearance since 1991.”

The rub here is that Perry Ellis Mark II is due to greet this world July 2, so there will be no traveling to NYC for us for a while after that. But Pax, would it be amiss to say that you might could maybe find yourself in that neck of the woods come the 232nd anniverary of our great nation?

If so, and if the rumors are true, we urge you not to miss this show. Take the wife; the graphically gifted and glamorous Mrs. Pax will thank you. And you’ll thank me.

In the meantime, enjoy some of the mellow stylings of The Feelies:

Hmmm, 1991, what were we doing then? Junior year of college, wasn’t it? Oh yeah, we remember. Kind of.

The only thing worse than
the taste is the hangover.


Filed under Uncategorized

Productive Thursday Quickie Filler: The Weather in Haiti

Pax Arcana

Watch it a few times in a row.

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Filed under videos