Big Wheel

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About Big Wheel

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    Master of the Groove!
  • Birthday February 06

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  1. NBA 2013-2014

    It's going to be interesting to see who the Heat try to add. Norris Cole is the only player under contract at the moment, and there's been some trade talk with him, too. My guess is James/Wade/Bosh all come back, and Haslem opted out as well - something he would definitely not do if he was operating under raw financial logic (that is, he's going to take a moderate pay cut and stay rather than leave and take a huge pay cut - or opt in and be a salary cap albatross). Mario Chalmers has to be on the chopping block after those playoffs (not terribly fair but probably they were looking to upgrade anyway). Battier is gone. Ray Allen's future is very unclear. I think Chris Andersen is probably going to cash in somewhere else - and it's not clear if his body is starting to break down at 35. Deeper into the rotation, James Jones has reportedly been willing to sign for very little to stay. Toney Douglas is probably gone. Michael Beasley could have been huge if he'd learned to play defense, but because he didn't, he is likely gone too - although Rashard Lewis seems to have taken a full year to absorb the defensive scheme, so who knows. Greg Oden, no idea whatsoever, considering he was extremely rusty when he played. So the rotation looks like: 1 Norris Cole 2 Wade (though he really should come off the bench if his knees are going to behave as badly as they did this year) 3 James 4 Haslem (for now anyway) 5 Bosh ...with the next guys off the bench being Shabazz Muhammad, Rashard Lewis(!), and maybe Ray Allen? Spot minutes for Jones. This leaves 5-6 open spots, with the greatest needs at the wing positions and probably a rim protector center/PF. Kyle Lowry would fit in with this team perfectly, but he's likely too expensive and coaches across the league seem to hate him.
  2. I switched to double-edged wetshaving about 18 months ago and have no plans to go back. I use a Merkur 34C, which is becoming the standard safety razor for a lot of beginners. Have a badger brush, wooden soapdish, and fancy Col. Conk's shave soap, but rarely use them except on very special occasions as my water seems very hard and getting a good lather is a pain in the ass. Instead I just use cheapo Barbasol or Noxzema shaving cream for everyday shaving (prefer the latter but it costs a bit more). Picking the right blades for your face is the most important thing next to mastering the technique. After trying 6 or 7 brands in a sampler pack, I went with Astra Superior Platinum Blades, which are $10 on Amazon per 100. Feather blades are the sharpest blades on the market and I prefer them, but they cost more like $25 per 100. Derby blades are also very good and very cheap. Truth be told, I usually don't get perfect shaves with this setup, but it's good enough. My hair is dark and coarse and you can see the follicles pretty well even when I've shaved perfectly, so sacrificing a little closeness isn't the end of the world. I rarely nick myself after learning how to angle the razor properly and use next to zero pressure against the skin. Some guys buy fancy alum blocks to clean up any nicks. I instead use an irregular chunk of alum I found in my local Asian grocery store for less than $1. Wet the alum under the faucet and rub it on the face post-shave, then rinse, then wipe my face with a cotton ball dipped in Target brand witch hazel. It really doesn't take much longer than the Mach 3 once you get the hang of it. The main benefit to the Mach 3/Schick Quattro/Fusion Power 12-blade whatever is that there's no need to learn technique and you can get away with making many passes over the same area. Also that you barely need to look at what you're doing and can do 95% of the shave in the shower. One disadvantage of the cartridge razors is that they suck for shaving off a grown-out beard unless you trim it down first with something else. With DE blades, beards are mostly gone after the first pass.
  3. Message from eBay Seller

    All of Cindy and Stephen's buyers should start a Google Group. How else will they know which days Cindy and Stephen are booked for drinks?
  4. I'm guessing this is in the Bay Area, where many of the Goodwills are practically carpeted with gold. It's really different here.
  5. Steve Coleman Corner

    Coleman has overhauled his website and is now selling paid subscriptions for premium content on it. Interesting experiment...
  6. Not true, according to Slate and the OED. The phrase is in fact much older than Prohibition. There's actually a long and stomach-turning history of people drinking cheap methanol outside of Prohibition; every year or two a number of Australian tourists in Bali and nearby other parts of Indonesia are poisoned by unwittingly drinking booze that's been tainted with it. Methanol poisoning was far from unknown in the US in the years years before a strong FDA and Prohibition; here's a piece I found in the NYT from 1922 that outlines the problem of it and notes the habit of drinking methanol among the poor ("Jamaica ginger" was something I was unfamiliar with and must have missed when James Ellroy mentioned it in The Black Dahlia - its wikipedia entry, like the entries for just about everything else Prohibition-related, is cringe-inducing) : http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=FB0711FF3E551A738DDDAC0994D9405B828EF1D3 Unsurprisingly, Prohibition itself, even before the Treasury started mandating denaturing with high concentrations of methanol around 1926, caused methanol-related deaths to spike. With reputable hooch becoming more and more difficult to find, people turned to all kinds of godawful shit.
  7. IIRC, Bobby Hackett was a lush in the very top class. And let's not talk about Pee Wee Russell. But no one, governmental or otherwise, made available to them any booze laced with methanol. Define "made available" and "booze". What Sandke (and we) are talking about is bootleggers taking stolen industrial alcohol - stuff intended for paints and such which usually needed to be redistilled by bootlegger-employed chemists just to make it drinkable - and selling that to whoever wanted it. Pee Wee Russell was an adult during Prohibition and surely had access to this product if he'd been stupid or desperate enough to seek it out. What the feds did was legally mandate that the chemical companies introduce tons of methanol into the industrial alcohol, where before some chemical companies had been using methanol and some probably rubbing alcohol and other gross but less-deadly stuff to render it undrinkable. The bootleggers were either unable or (more likely I think) unwilling* to go to the trouble of doing the costly redistilling that was required to get most of the methanol out. They then stole and sold their product as usual. People bought it from them and died of methanol poisoning. Now, I'm sympathetic to the idea that mandating denaturing-via-methanol was an incredibly bad piece of public policy that, knowing what we know now about addiction, was bound to lead to lots of deaths, in the same way that state prohibition of abortion led to lots of deaths. (As Deborah Blum notes in her article that Sandke's piece is largely based on, just like with illegal abortion, there was a heavy class dimension to the risk, with the wealthy able to afford safer bootlegged booze.) But claiming that "the US government poisoned Bix" is a bridge too far. Assuming Bix died from methanol poisoning, his proximal poisoners were himself and the bootleggers, not the feds. *Beyond the scope of this discussion, but the reason I suspect that the bootleggers didn't remove the methanol for cost reasons rather than that they were technically unable to do it is that all legitimate drinking spirit production involves methanol removal. Methanol is naturally produced in grain mash during fermentation by yeast, and must be discarded at the beginning of distillation - this is the toxic "heads" of the whiskey/vodka/etc. I am not a chemist so am not clear on the technical challenge of removing methanol at higher concentrations, but I would imagine it's quite similar - it just probably involves more rounds of distilling, which means more time and energy expenditure for the distiller - which would cut into the profit margin for the bootlegger.
  8. That's a pretty inflammatory title for a piece that's basically just making the commonplace argument that Prohibition was a really dumb idea. That is, Bix's early death may well have been caused by drinking methanol-laced booze, but there was nothing special about his death as hundreds of other non-famous people died from doing the same thing. Of course, even today industrial ethanol is denatured to prevent people from drinking it, but it usually contains stuff somewhat less nasty than methanol (and of course safe booze is much easier and cheaper to obtain in any case, making it a more attractive option for all but the hardest of hardcore winos). I guess "Was Bix Beiderbecke Poisoned By Doing Something Dumb to Feed His Addiction During An Epic Public Health/Public Policy Disaster?" doesn't have quite the same snap to it, though.
  9. Given how anti-union most southern states are, I expect they would rather dump their sports programs and force things along into the minor league system. (Yes, those minor leaguers would be unionized, but it wouldn't be a union at the very heart of their state university system.) Are you serious? Half of the population of Alabama/Mississippi/Tennessee would revolt if you tampered with anything around their college football teams, and the same would happen in Kentucky/North Carolina with respect to college basketball. The extreme popularity of college athletics in the South is the NCAA's achilles heel.
  10. I've made bitter melon a couple of times at home when it's in season. Not bad with some Chinese salted/fermented black beans, though I do prefer it on the less-bitter side. Haven't tried the Indian bitter melon variety yet which is supposedly extremely bitter. oh btw previous thread:
  11. The Wolf Of Wall Street

    Thought American Hustle was entertaining but flawed. The movie is about 30 minutes too long and Russell's direction is not as great as everyone is saying (there are definitely whole scenes that should have been cut, like the aftermath of Louis CK's character getting punched in the face). The Abscam story is almost impossible to screw up but Russell comes perilously close to doing just that at times.
  12. http://issuu.com/franj.glez/docs/the_new_yorker_-_23___30_december_2/139#/signin
  13. Sorry if this is kind of a stupid question, but when a publication has Critic B review Critic A's book, how do they ensure that Critic B also doesn't repeat Critic A's errors? Chances are that most of the time, Critic B doesn't know as much about the subject as Critic A - after all, he's not the guy who wrote the book about it! (Except in the handful of cases where he already did.) And yeah, I know the New Yorker, unlike most magazines, has a team of fact-checkers and so forth, but I suspect they give a little more leeway with the book reviews - and of course, being scrupulous about the basic facts doesn't preclude howlers of interpretation like "no better than OK piano" from getting into print. It's just that this kind of thing seems to be an inherent problem with criticism...I remember reading an amateur's laughably bad review of Walter Isaacson's Ben Franklin bio and starting to rip apart his terrible understanding of social theory as applied to Franklin, only to realize once I had a chance to skim the bio that all of the reviewer's errors in understanding Marx and Weber came straight from Isaacson himself... Here's some "no better than OK piano": <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1-LVInsiFI>
  14. It gets worse: (boldface mine.) Setting aside the critical eye-popper about sophistication or the bizarre idea about "New Orleans" musicians (of the early Ellingtonians, who besides Barney Bigard came from New Orleans?) is there any non-tortured reading of these paragraphs that doesn't suggest that Gopnik either 1) has no idea when Hodges/Carney started with Duke; 2) thinks that those guys just sucked for a decade, lacking "sophistication," until Duke whipped them into shape?