in a perfect world of yancies: April 2006

24 April 2006

Speed, Song, and a Writing Sample

Saturday was the big day at the Kansas Relays, an annual event (in its 79th year, I believe) that brings all sorts of track and field athletes to Lawrence, at the high school, college, and even Olympic level: we watched (from the hill above the stadium, where it's free) former Olympian (and Kansas City native) Maurice Green anchor a 4 x 100-meter relay against Olympic 100-meter champion Justin Gatlin. Gatlin's team won, in a Kansas Relays record 38.16 seconds--that's a quarter of a mile in 38 seconds; damn.

Mimi outside the stadium--lots of sun; we both ended up a little pink, but it was a beautiful day.

We also watched some pole-vaulting. This is just about the best shot I could get from outside the stadium; I can't recall the man's name, and I think he ended up kicking the bar, but an impressive feat nonetheless--the bar's at almost 18 and a half feet.

This next item is mainly for Merrica: we went to the Lawrence Earth Day festival on Saturday, and found out about many things, including local car-pool arrangements, the Kansas Green party (who also gave us tomato seeds), and the local anarchist library. We also got to watch some kids roll a giant ball that looked like the earth around (pictured); not exactly sure what the lesson there is, but whatever.

Anyway, while we were there, a Beatles cover band was playing; I know how my sister, Merrica, likes Beatles cover bands, so I recorded a bit of their performance of "Revolution 1." Oh, the band's name, if you're wondering, is Vera, Chuck, and Dave. How cute. Here's the video:

For more on the song, see the Wikipedia entry here--an interesting quote about the other version, "Revolution": "'Revolution' was the first Beatles recording, and indeed one of the first rock music recordings by any artist, to be licensed for use in a television commercial." Huh.

Finally, I saw this ad in the Economist the other day, and just couldn't resist:
The Economist's office in Washington, DC, seeks a writer-intern to help with coverage in the four months up to this November's elections. Experience unimportant, pay negligible. Please send a CV and a sample article to
I mean, who couldn't like such a cute paper? So anyway, I sent a sample article--after all, negligible pay matches the best teaching offer I've gotten so far, so what the hell?
If you're interested in my sample article, the following link will take you there: read.
If nothing else, it was a fun Sunday-afternoon distraction.

21 April 2006


Ah, warm weather and fresh produce: the perfect time of year for some salsa verde. Feel like making your own? Here's my recipe, inspired by the awesome salsa at Caminos de Michoacan in Chicago (you know the one, under the Red Line El at the Sheridan stop).
It's all pretty straight-forward, I believe: about a pound of tomatillos (between 8 and 12 of them, I'd guess), one medium onion, a couple cloves of garlic, a good handful of cilantro, between 2 and say 6 jalepeños (to taste), and--the magic ingredient--one avocado. Put in blender. Enjoy. We eat it with chips, on eggs, mixed into black beans, as a hamburger condiment; you name it, this verde will improve it.

But what's a tomatillo? It's basically a small, green, tangy tomato-like thing, that comes in a husk:

a tomatillo, more or less actual size

On a non-food note, my link to the Washington Post in the South Park post on this blog is now mentioned on the Post's website--how cool is that? (Click here to see what I mean; how meta, eh?)

18 April 2006

Truth might out

A quick note: Chris Lee and I have (sort of) started a blog which will feature incisive (sort of) political commentary.
The title is Truth Will Out, and the ironic (and available) URL is

17 April 2006

Good; can you say it faster?

With apologies (and a belated Thank You) to all the folks from around the globe who've come to my blog to hear "Chaiyya Chaiyya Bollywood Joint (featuring Panjabi MC)" (from the Inside Man soundtrack), I have decided to take that song down; feel free to enjoy the Blackalicious track currently playing.

That Chaiyya Chaiyya song is awesome, but time must go on. The album is available through iTunes (here). Although you have to buy the whole album to get that track, for my money it's more than worth it.

In the meantime, three cheers for the Cut Chemist and Gift of Gab.

[added at 7:00pm]:
Okay, as a peace offering, I present this video of the original Chaiyya Chaiyya song (without Panjabi MC):

Apparently it's from the film Dil Se directed by Mani Ratnam. The song is composed by film composer A.R. Rahman. For more on the song, see the Wikipedia entry here.

14 April 2006

South Park and censorship

In case you hadn't heard, I wanted to mention the recent South Park episodes about Family Guy and freedom of speech. The setup is that Family Guy wants to air a cartoon of Muhammad, thus giving the South Park characters the chance to debate the Muhammad cartoon issue (I think you know where Yancies stand on the issue, so I won't go into that again; likewise with Deron I suppose (and if you don't and wish you did, click here)); they also get to make fun of Family Guy, a show that I like, though I realize it has its flaws. . . .

Anyway, the 2-part episode was quite good, and even ended with a little controversy of its own, since Comedy Central wouldn't let South Park air the fake Family Guy Muhammad cartoon: click here (thanks, Deron, for sending that story along).

Both episodes are sure to be re-run a bunch on Comedy Central, and they're available for purchase on iTunes (here): either way, I think they're worth seeing. Below is a sample from part 2.

[file taken down for being too annoying to embed any longer, 27 May 2008]

12 April 2006

corn: the SUV of plants

Perhaps I'm getting too didactic lately, but Terry Gross' interview with Michael Pollan on Fresh Air the other day was excellent. Did you know that every bushel of corn grown in the US, with industrial farming methods, "takes somewhere between a quarter and a third of a gallon of gasoline (equivalent) to grow"? Yikes.

It's not that I'm opposed to corn (I love tortillas, and who doesn't like popcorn?), or would endorse everything Pollan said: the processed foods full of high-fructose corn syrup, though, do scare me, as does the insane cost to our environment of our current methods of growing that corn. . . .

Anyway, it's also a great discussion of agriculture, health, and the (possible) value of organic and/or local foods. That plug for local food, if you're wondering, gets my full approval. The Lawrence Farmers Market opens 29 April!

I strongly recommend listening to the story; click here to listen.

(If that link to the npr page causes anyone any trouble, let me know & I can try to just embed the audio here.)
(Thanks to Magen for recommending the story (and to npr listeners, I guess, who made it one of yesterday's 'most emailed stories').)
(Oh, and for anyone looking for follow-up on the Busby story, see the comments on that post.)

08 April 2006

Have some free time? Care about politics?

I've talked myself into helping do some calling in support of Francine Busby, who is running in a special election for the congressional seat representing California's 50th district, recently vacated by the disgraced 'Duke' Cunningham.

This link will take you to a page where you can sign up to help. Act soon, concerned citizens: the election is on the 11th of April.

04 April 2006

Rice and rights

I realize this story is a few days old, but I couldn't believe my ears when I heard Condoleezza Rice criticize the Afghan government the other day by invoking their profession of adherence to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

She said, in part, that "We have been very clear with the Afghan government that the freedom of religion and the freedom of religious conscience is at the core of democratic development. They have constitutional expectations that have been written in that they will, in fact, live up to the universal declaration of human rights which protects individual conscience on religion." (full transcript)

You know who also at one time agreed to abide by the Declaration? The US. You know what else it protects? Freedom from arbitrary arrest. And not for citizens or people with military status—no, this is a universal declaration of human rights. What else? Freedom from torture. What else? The right to a public trial. . . . How in good conscience can the secretary of state cite this document??


Click here for last year's report on the US by Amnesty International.

02 April 2006

Black Oak Farm! and, congrats, Baughmans

Just what you've all been dreaming of, a website for Fran & Dave Hughes' property in Indiana, Black Oak Farm. We've purchased the domain, put up a couple of pics (more soon), and even set up some email addresses—feel free to write Emily at A fun project, and hopefully a good way for Fran & Dave to share their progress with the rest of us. And props to Dave Iwanski for designing the logo!

Also, we attended Emily's coworker Christa's wedding today with some of the Unity crew. Good times.

Christa with Mimi and Eric

Judy E, Judy C, Linda, Janet, Emily, and Melinda

Finally, here's a clip, if you're interested, of the couple's first dance:

(this version's courtesy of google video; hopefully it'll work for more of you, dear readers)