Chaat room: Pav Bhaji

It has been mentioned once or twice that this site could use more food posts. Never let it be said that Management is unresponsive. And consider this an invitation to all with authoring privileges to contribute to this intermittent series, The Nation Has An Appetite. (If you don't have authoring privileges and have a burning desire to contribute posts, talk to the Milkman)

I recently purchased from my local grocer a handful of foil pouch packages of heat-and-serve Indian dishes, one of which I had for lunch last week at work -- Pav Bhaji, or Mashed Vegetable curry, by Kitchens of India. It was among the better $3 I've spent recently, because that stuff was delicious.

Still, I knew that I could probably make a whole vat of bhaji (the "pav" part refers to the bread that is the traditional accompaniment) for about the same price as this single serving. My mouth has been watering at the prospect for days.
Continue reading Chaat room: Pav Bhaji

Oh, Danny boy

The Twins are ready to make some changes. While I agree something probably should be done at this point, I just hope they don't do the wrong ones. Getting Casilla out of there is obvious, but this is the part that has me concerned:

The club also is concerned third baseman Danny Valencia has regressed defensively and is not the player he was last season, when he batted .311 in 85 games as a rookie and was solid in the field. Valencia is batting only .211, and his defense has been shaky at times. Manager Ron Gardenhire also has not been happy with Valencia's baserunning.

Valencia actually leads the Twins with 13 RBI, but that's more a reflection of the struggling players around him. Some with the club believe Luke Hughes' best position is third base, but there have been no indications the club is ready to make a change there for now.

I'll give them that Valencia hasn't been as good as last year on defense, but the defensive metrics say he has gone from a terrific defensive player to slightly below average. He's only been credited with two errors. And at this point in his career it's more likely this first month of the season is a fluke than three months last season, although we really don't have enough defensive data to make any true judgments at this point.

However, as for his offense, Valencia has a .225 BABIP after having a .345 BABIP last year, so he went to being somewhat fortunate (the Twins had a .306 team BABIP last year) to extremely unfortunate. Valencia actually leads the Twins in walks with 11 and only has 13 strikeouts for by far the best K/BB rate on the team. He has increased his walk rate from last year, dropped his strikeout rate and maintained the same line-drive rate, which is right at the major league average.

As for baserunning, I'll give them that he hasn't been aggressive enough, but he hasn't regressed in that area, he just hasn't improved. Last year, he only took an extra base 25 percent of the time, while the Twins as a whole did it 41 percent. This year, Valencia is at 23 percent in very few opportunities, so he has essentially remained the same. He may not be aggressive, but at least he isn't costing the team outs on the basepaths.

The Twins have many problems, but I don't think Valencia is one of them. Unfortunately, he hasn't been around long enough to get a free pass like many others are getting. I hope his luck changes before the Twins do something stupid.

Happy Birthday–May 3

George Gore (1857)
Garry Herrmann (1859)
Eppa Rixey (1891)
Red Ruffing (1905)
Goose Tatum (1921)
Chuck Hinton (1934)
Chris Cannizzaro (1938)
Davey Lopes (1945)
Dan Iassogna (1969)
Darren Dreifort (1972)
Ryan Dempster (1977)
Ben Revere (1988)

Better known as a member of the Harlem Globetrotters, Goose Tatum played in the Negro Leagues for several years in the 1940s.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–May 3

First Monday Book Day: Dram-atic Adventures

Programming Note: This is a Very Special Episode of First Monday, as it features contributions from both bS and Daneekas Ghost. Enjoy!

Book bS
Man, these are tough times around the Nation. Tough times require tough action. Fortunately, I chose a book this month that fits the times -- a book about whiskey.

I picked up a hardback copy of Kate Hopkins' 2009 book, 99 Drams of Whiskey: The Accidental Hedonist's Quest for the Perfect Shot and the History of the Drink for a song at my local used book store recently.

What is whiskey, you ask? Why, whiskey is mediocre beer made over into nobility.

If when you say whiskey you mean the devil's brew, the poison scourge, the bloody monster, that defiles innocence, dethrones reason, destroys the home, creates misery and poverty, yea, literally takes the bread from the mouths of little children; if you mean the evil drink that topples the Christian man and woman from the pinnacle of righteous, gracious living into the bottomless pit of degradation, and despair, and shame and helplessness, and hopelessness, then certainly I am against it.

But, if when you say whiskey you mean the oil of conversation, the philosophic wine, the ale that is consumed when good fellows get together, that puts a song in their hearts and laughter on their lips, and the warm glow of contentment in their eyes; if you mean Christmas cheer; if you mean the stimulating drink that puts the spring in the old gentleman's step on a frosty, crispy morning; if you mean the drink which enables a man to magnify his joy, and his happiness, and to forget, if only for a little while, life's great tragedies, and heartaches, and sorrows; if you mean that drink, the sale of which pours into our treasuries untold millions of dollars, which are used to provide tender care for our little crippled children, our blind, our deaf, our dumb, our pitiful aged and infirm; to build highways and hospitals and schools, then certainly I am for it.

This is my stand. I will not retreat from it. I will not compromise.
--Noah S. Sweat, Jr., 1952

I'd dare say that we need a song in our hearts right about now.
Continue reading First Monday Book Day: Dram-atic Adventures

EEE & MMM – Beginning of May Edition

Relevant EPL Results

EPL News

  • Clint Dempsey scored twice against Bolton.  He now has 33 Premiership goals for the club, a new club record.  The prior record of 32 was shared by Brian McBride and Steed Malbranque.
  • Arsenal beat ManUtd 1-0, which would have closed the gap on the title race considerably for the Gunners had they bothered to beat Bolton or Spurs.  As it is, they are still 6 points back.
  • Controversy in the Chelsea-Spurs match: Lampard's goal given after not entirely crossing the line and Kalou possibly a tad offside on the game winner.
  • Chelsea are now 3 points from 1st with 3 to play.  They are away to Manchester United on Sunday.  A win there will have the teams tied on points at the top of the table, and Chelsea will go ahead on GD as they are currently both at +38. Continue reading EEE & MMM – Beginning of May Edition

Happy Birthday–May 2

Eddie Collins (1887)
Bing Crosby (1904)
Joe Falls (1928)
Eddie Bressoud (1932)
Gates Brown (1939)
Clay Carroll (1941)
Keith Moreland (1954)
Dr. A (1956)
Felix Jose (1965)
Paul Emmel (1968)

Entertainer Bing Crosby was part-owner and a vice president of the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1947 into the 1960s.

It appears that no players with connections to the Minnesota Twins were born on this day.  However, it is the birthday of my brother, who is the head of the Mining and Minerals Department at Virginia Tech.  Happy Birthday, Dr. A!

May 2, 2011: Closure

Osama bin Laden is dead. We don't have to go into the forbidden zone here, but I think we can all agree that it's not nothing.

I don't believe this will cause any philosophical change, but a man who danced on the graves of my countrymen after putting them in said graves is gone.

That's all I've got to say about that.

Remodeled basement. Same half-baked taste.