Do you know what they call the Quarter Pounder in Madrid? Not, as I'd been led to believe, a "Royal con queso." Instead, it's a Cuarto di Libra and I think a libra was Spain's pre-metric unit of weight. Since a libra presumably isn't the same as a pound, I'd be intereste to know how big a Cuarto di Libra actually is. Meanwhile, there is a McRoyal Delux à la Pulp Fiction but it seems to correspond to the Big and Tasty or perhaps the defunct Arch Delux.
I really like taking pictures of trains, but I tried to keep the number of shots actually loaded into my Spanish trains set to a reasonable quantity. Meanwhile, Flippantangel didn't like my last batches -- "But, again, cute children but no hot women--what gives?" So here's some pictures of women, several of them hot. Meanwhile, I would also maintain that the ladies in this photo from Reykjavik were pretty attractive.
Since Real Madrid-Teka is so dominant in the Spanish basketball league, and since it's linked to the super-good Real Madrid "football" team, I'd always just assumed it would be the favorit of every hoops-loving Madrileño. My sources indicate, however, that the less accomplished CB Estudiantes is actually the more locally popular squad. The reason, it seems, is that Estudiantes gives a lot more playing time to Spaniards while the Real team is dominated by foreigners.
Photos From Madrid
Spain is swell, I just wish my guidebook had warned me that the city walls in Ávila are closed on Mondays. Various people told me there wasn't much worth seeing in the Reina Sophia besides Guernica but those people are mistaken (a couple of great Dalí's, among other things). At any rate, here's a couple of photosets now up on my Flickr page -- this is the Madrid Botanical Gardens, which was great. I took a whole bunch of pictures of the Plaza Colón as well, even though nothing there especially justifies the attention. I just thought the monument was really odd and couldn't stop clicking.
Mediocrity: Pro and Con
Okay, not done yet. I say "March Madness" is an obscene celebration of mediocrity. Jason Zengerle disagrees. I think his post couldn't have come out at a better time, right before last night's two excellent matchups -- Miami-Detroit and San Antonio-Denver. I have a soft spot in my heart for the Nuggets, so perhaps this is clouding my judgment, but I see them as the one real sleeper possibility in the playoffs.
Well, folks, I'm off to Madrid tomorrow for some vacation . . . you'll have to amuse yourselves.
So . . . Detroit beats Miami. Barring injuries, I don't expect anything different from the Conference Finals. These are good teams, it's a tough matchup, but at a minimum home court advantage will pull the Pistons through in the end.
There's really nothing to be said about John Hollinger's all-underrated team, but I thought this paragraph was interesting:
Before I introduce the rest of the squad, I should point out that underrated can be kind of a hazy definition, and it can vary throughout a player's career. Shawn Marion, for instance, was wildly underrated for most of the past few years, but that appears to have evened out this season. And sometimes a player can be world-famous and still be underrated. Yao Ming, for instance, is a household name ... and yet most people routinely underestimate how good he actually is.The whole concept really is murky. Take, for example, Stephon Marbury. He's a player whose main reputation seems to be a reputation for being overrated. But if that's the case, then he actually can't be overrated. So is he underrated? Maybe not. But that seems like a weird thing to say. Conversely, all I ever hear about Andrei Kirlenko (until the wife thing) and Elton Brand is that they're underrated. But if everyone thinks they're underrated, how underrated can they be? What they seem to be, perhaps, is less famous than they ought to be. Yao is yet another case.
I think the most conclusively underrated stuff tends to actually be bad. Take Fantastic Four which is not a good movie. The critics made this out to be a movie that was bad on a world-historical scale. It just isn't. It was a run of the mill bad summer movie. Underrated. Yet who wants to spend their time championing a bad movie as underrated just because it wasn't as horrible as people say? Not me, at least not really.
Tyler Cowen asks, "What is the most absurd claim you believe?" The rules of the game are that "It should refer to a view which you actually hold, but many other smart people consider untenable and bizarre." Tyler links to a picture of Quine so I think we may hold the same absurd views. Sensible people heap scorn on all sorts of postmodern nonsense about how there's no objective morality and how science doesn't provide us with access to objective knowledge about the external world. I think the postmodern nonsense is basically correct. I recommend Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature and Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind to one and all.
Allow me to engage in a bout of hometown ressentiment. Remember when the coaches were picking Eastern Conference All-Star Game reserves? Why, yes you do. Back then, as I recall, the reason Gilbert Arenas couldn't be on the squad is that his team wasn't a winner. Conversely, room had to be made for four Pistons players because, apparently, Detroit had assembled not just the best team int he league but a team destined for world-historical greatness. Today, the Wizards have moved into the fifth seed in the East, a perfectly respectable place to be. Detroit, meanwhile, has wracked up a massive half game lead over the Spurs in the overall league standings and a one game lead over Dallas and may well not finish with the best regular-season record.
Thank Your For Smoking
I didn't seem to like this one as much as most of my friends who've seen it have. To me, it was very uneven, with a few genuinely great moments but also some scenes that were more groan-inducing than funny. What's more, I object to the portrayal of the "mod squad" (i.e., merchants of death) lobbyists for the tobacco, alcohol, and firearms industries as hyper-cynical. The world contains plenty of perfectly sincere libertarians who would regard defending the right of citizens to use potential dangerous products more-or-less unimpeded as a perfectly respectable way to earn a living and a good dose of sincere conviction would be useful in that line of work.