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The anti-Washington conspiracy strikes again

Today’s Redskins-Cowboys game: 8 penalties on Washington, 1 on Dallas.

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Misused words and baseball

We’ll apparently have baseball in D.C., but the messy politics that led to the final vote are weighing heavily on the Post’s chief baseball cheerleader, Thomas Boswell, who checks in with baseball execs unwilling to give their names. The strangest quote: “What’s the next Machiavellian twist?”

Excuse me … Machiavelli? The guy who wrote the prototype for ruthless leaders who sell their souls to remain in power? If Machiavelli ruled Washington (no, I’m not going to do a joke about the national GOP here), wouldn’t we have skipped all these council hearings and simply conscripted the masses to build a giant ballpark?

No, Mr. Unnamed, this is democracy, and it sometimes works. It creates compromises to satisfy the needs of many. Get used to it.

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When winning an argument would mean losing

I have a bad habit of attempting to bring sanity to arguments in which at least one of the parties is clearly insane. That happened to me last night, and it ended with someone following me halfway to the parking lot trying to goad me into hitting her. And I thought I was being somewhat rational, if a little flustered and annoyed.

Any advice for dealing with such people? It could come in handy in case I ever find myself on The Apprentice or perhaps debating Ann Coulter.

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Underrated/overrated

Give Me Centrism or Give Me Death! :: SPIN MAGAZINE ONLINE :: ALL THE MUSIC THAT ROCKS (Thanks, Lex)

This piece on bands that are neither underrated nor overrated is clever, in part because it includes bands who are revered (Beatles), not so revered (Triumph), and somewhere in the middle (Madness). He also makes a neat argument that Blue Oyster Cult is accurately rated because Don’t Fear the Reaper is overrated while Godzilla is underrated, and the two wrongs make a right.

This got me thinking about a couple of underrateds and overrateds. Here are two.

Underrated: Flock of Seagulls guitarist Paul Reynolds. I know — when you think of Flock of Seagulls, you think hair, then synthesizers, then hair again. But what separated the Flock from other hair-synth bands was their young guitarist’s sharp fills (picture I Ran) and clever use of sustain (picture Wishing). Reynolds gamely gave it a go on Bands Reunited after 20 guitar-free years and showed a few signs of rust, but he was able to compensate by re-inventing a couple of parts.

Overrated: Violent Femmes. This band unleashed two of the worst rocks songs ever upon a gullible Generation X. Blister in the Sun takes a guitar riff with a bit of potential and ruins it with a frat-boy vocal performance that anticipates the “I can’t sing, I don’t care” attitude of today’s Limp Bizkit clones. Add It Up is considered clever by those who like the way the band drops the f-bomb at the end. (“Why can’t I get just one …”) Sure, Ethan Hawke’s clumsy attempt at emoting with this song in the wretched film Reality Bites (what a waste of Ryder, Stiller, Janeane, all of them) doesn’t provide a good association, but as in Blister in the Sun the vocals aren’t so much an attempt at conveying the song as they are a weak, annoying punch in the ear.

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Desperate Housewives

Yeah, yeah, I like the show, and they’ve managed to keep up the momentum from the great first episode to some extent. I have to admit I’m tired of some of the storylines. But the basic reason I’m posting is that I’M SICK OF THESE DANGED PIZZICATO STRINGS!! I GET IT!! THE MUSIC IS SUPPOSED TO GIVE US THE IMPRESSION THAT WE’RE TRAIPSING AROUND IN THE BUSHES OUTSIDE THESE HOMES, WHERE NOTHING IS QUITE WHAT IT SEEMS!! ENOUGH!! HAVE WE REACHED A POINT IN CIVILIZATION IN WHICH EVEN THE MUSIC HAS TO BE SNARKY??!!