Wednesday, December 31, 2003

I'm on to you, California.
This may have tipped me off. I think I just figured out why California's been especially insane this year. Any move to control the actions of Michael Jackson via the Nation of Islam only makes sense if it's some sort of bizarre conspiracy. I'm really hoping the state of California announces on New Year's Day that it's all been a joke, and they've just been playing some sort of live action version of Illuminati for the past couple years.

Meanwhile, apparently something I suggested on Craig's weblog may have precedent. I suggested a devil's advocate position within the Pentagon, just for approving names of operations. (Preventing names with odd connotations, like Operation Just Cause: "Why'd we invade? Just 'cause...felt like it...") Apparently, this fellow has a similar job with FBI, though in his case, he wants to cause the connotations.

I'm still trying to figure out why almanacs were particularly singled out, since really any reference book could theoretically be useful (okay, maybe not Benet's.) I'm a little concerned we may have the traditional reversal of things, and see people covering up their almanacs with porn magazines. I also want to see someone get to the ICT carrying a pocket encyclopedia and a Judge. Come to think of it, the only thing worse would be carrying the pocket encyclopedia IN the Judge. "I need to see what's inside that, sir."

And finally, this, well, I believe this explains the whole terror alert, much better than any story about almanacs.

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Victory is MINE!

Submitted for your approval: Proof that I have become victorious over the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.
1 2 3 4

Yes, folks, that's MY Shop 'n Save. As in, "turn at the light, but don't go into the Shop 'n Save lot, instead turn into the parking lot for my apartment complex."

Pennsy blue laws cower in my mighty presence. HA!

Monday, December 29, 2003

On to the list you go, Millen. It does appear that wooden stakes will be required here.

Saturday, December 27, 2003

While sitting here watching the Continental Freakin' Tire Bowl, I saw this go across the ticker, which explains more about the Cardinals than I could ever put to paper.
ESPN.com - NFL - Kick start: Cards give Rackers two-year deal

Which is more screwed up: the timing, the length of contract, that this was a priority, the fact that it's Neil Rackers, or the fact that all parties felt it was necessary to make this announcement?

Monday, December 22, 2003

Saturday, December 20, 2003

Friday, December 19, 2003

Thursday, December 18, 2003

30pointsThe Onion's Least Essential Albums of the Year always good for a quick bonus conversion somewhere along the way.
Many years ago, I defined a term for all those things that are bad for you, but nonetheless make something worth eating. That term: Yummy Petrochemical Goodness. I mention this because I think I may have found a measurement of this, at least in some forms of junk food. At my office today I snapped this picture, which I find interesting. They're offering us the ability to choose what snacks will take up the bottom row of the vending machine, also known as the "crap even we engineers feel disgust about eating." What really caught my eye on this was the Shelf Life column, which likely could be a scale for exactly how much Yummy Petrochemical Goodness[YPG] was in each snack. You can sort of see the numbers on these sheets, I'll just point out the surprising bits for me:

Twinkies are ridiculously low for what you would expect, demanding a 14 day shelf life, while their knock off from the Dolly Madison people, Zingers, run about 35 days. Pop-Tarts, from which the original notion of YPG was derived, unsurprisingly has the shelf life at 120 days, but second place goes to the Olde New England Brownie at 84 days. Nothing else is above 60 days. The low mark is Apple or Cherry Turnover at 5 days. This is interesting, as I've never seen these consumed once, I'm wondering if it ever gets used in that shelf span.


Update: I just finished watching Brian Billick's Match Game appearance. Horribly bad play by him.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

10pointsA new, earlier marsupial?
Simple question:
Am I fraught or not: Matt Millen?
Exhibit A
Exhibit B
I mention exhibit B because I hadn't heard about it until now, and really, that one almost seems fireable.

The real irony of this is the least fraught thing that can happen is he gets fired. If he survives it, I have no idea what could bump him off, but it'll have to be spectacular.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Weasel: does 1d4+1 damage to other weasels. 10% chance of flesh ripping.

J-Walk directs us to this, the original source of Frank Zappa's album title: Weasels Ripped My Flesh! RZZZZZ!! I'm enjoying the whole thing way too much. It's like something Lileks would put up in the Institute for Official Cheer. The headlines just beg more questions, like: "which sins? Sloth?" and "where exactly does one hook up with a killer shark?" The image is ridiculous; the man, in desperation, uses weasels to fight weasels. (Oddly foreshadowing the American litigational system, it seems.) And yet it also has this bizarre mythic quality, (I think it's the use of chiaroscuro shading, the slight Mannerist touch done in elongating his neck, and the frickin' ridiculous number of weasels), as if it were some section of the Kalevala that Elias Lonnrot looked at and decided "no, that's...that's too screwed up. I can't compile that in this."
30pointsThe annual college football awards

Monday, December 15, 2003

(Apologies to Hayden for stealing part what could be part of his kitchenware series.)
While I understand all the consumer groups having their lists of the holiday season's most dangerous toys, how have they missed the most dangerous thing I can imagine being given this year: The Gizmo Grater. Okay, take an item known colloquially as a "knucklebuster", and drive it with a motor, and make it so the consumer has to put one's hand directly in the path of the blade. This has to be from the same people who brought you Bag O' Glass, Bag O' Nails, and Bag O' Sulfuric Acid. However, it appears that people are not buying it (conceptually at least).
Well, that was amusing. No, not the capture of Jack Elam with two good eyes. No, the thing we speak of today was the Rule V draft in baseball. I suppose it says something about the Pirates that teams wanted five of their players in the Rule V, namely that we have depth. However, the fact that the Pirates' picks were snapped up with picks 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6, does betray the fact that apparently the Pirates weren't clear on the concept. It's almost as if the Pirates were the only ones who brought anything good to the... shoot, I'd call it a Yankee swap, but that doesn't seem correct at all. Everybody else brought scented potholders and we apparently brought the hookers and beer. And apparently the report that several GMs were laughing as the Pirate players were picked, kinda confirms the notion that we don't know what we're doing over at the PaNiC Button.

Grrr.... A long season already.

Friday, December 12, 2003

I do believe Maurice Clarett just upgraded his fraught status. The scary part of this for my local readership is this: The way his father's been talking, Larry's about four quarters of the pageantry of the Continental Tire Bowl from landing on the list.

Meanwhile, I'll downgrade the Philadelphia Eagles, making the playoff pretty much negates the fraught.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Some quick bits in the news:
10pointsThe jumping frogs return to Calaveras County
10pointsMoving day for The Night Watch
10pointsThe Scream and Krakatoa, together again
It appears I may have been on to something last month, when I realized that squirrels aren't necessarily evil, but may be Dr. Evil. This would indicate the squirrels are all prepped to be cryogenically frozen.
Of all the things wrong with this new development in children's indoctrin...education (and it is a long list of wrongness), I have to think the worst is they left themselves the follow up where Charmin the Bear teaches kids about prime numbers.
(via DaveBarry)

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Things I learned from this weekend:

Don't let your postal address lapse, lest you miss out on wedding invitations.
Sonic isn't quite as incredible as I thought. (The ones down south sub jalapenos for the green chiles out west, and the heat makes a difference.)
American Movie Classics has officially jumped the shark, THEY LIVE is an American movie classic?
Nicolai Ceaucescu is similar to a rubber duck.
The new woman on Lingo looks like the woman on the Orbit gum ads, wearing a Fran Drescher mask.
Less than useful for trash familiarity: reading through the Borders Christmas catalog.
More than useful for trash familiarity: reading this weblog.
There's a parade Saturday night in Chattanooga. How many years has this been going on?
Between Friday and Sunday, someone purchased a novelization of Silent Movie from a used book store, and I feel thwarted.

Monday, December 08, 2003

With apologies to Victoria, I made have had someone more disturbing than Duelist F. Bacchanalia emailing me. I have spam in the spam trap from "Euclidean M. Sheetrock." What's getting me about this is I'm just the type of person who will look at this, and now I'll be up all night worrying to myself "Oh my God, what if my sheetrock is non-Euclidean?" Hyperbolic building materials are such a pain.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

10 pointsDid another of Hilbert's problems fall? Maybe not. (and a listing of the problems.)

Monday, December 01, 2003

Frankly, this is about the last place I ever expected to see the Gerbils mentioned.
Call me crazy, and this would be only one of several justifications you could have, but I think this profile of Conrad Black has given me a new goal in life. I think at some point I would like to have both the money, and unfounded rumors flying that I have to release the statement at the end of paragraph 10. Because, frankly, I don't have it, either, and I really want to know what sort of non-denial denials are required to get to the point where this is an issue.
30 pointsprofile of Yukio Mishima

Saturday, November 29, 2003

In case you're wondering:
a) Yes, I've seen the ad for Scotch Tape.
b) Oh yes, that is what a seasonal pimp hat looks like.

Friday, November 28, 2003

Thursday, November 27, 2003

10 pointsI knew about the first of the two incidents in this article on brighter baseballs, but I was surprised to know it was not the first occurance.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

CNN tells us that not all squirrels are evil, or perhaps there's gradations in their evil.
Image in my head:
Red squirrel to gray squirrel: "You're not evil, you're demi-evil, the margarine of evil, the Diet Coke of evil."



Some days I wonder if I should simply turn point you to J-Walk for the day, given that today he manages to hit this possible bonus theme, this really dead-on commentary on "lovemarks", and this... update to our continuing coverage of the burgeoning carbonated gravy industry.

S'anyway... I'm chilling at the office because I don't have to drive anywhere. They let us out of work early today, so people could drive off, but I don't need to, and I don't need to cook anything in advance. While short weeks are necessarily odd around here, this morning it got odder. I had done part of our internal ISO audit last week, and as part of that we had to then review our lead auditor's work. Well, upon returning the review, I recieved a free gift for doing it. So I now have an umbrella, which is nice, as I didn't have one before, but doesn't get me past the whole weirdness of the exchange. I feel like I just accidentally signed up for a credit card or something.

In honor of tomorrow, I point you to this. I can attest to this being true, as not only is there a flock by my apartment, there's also a flock out at my parents' place. I think we're almost to the point that the ones out there are pets. They come to feeder regular as clockwork, and if he's very relaxed, the one with a bad leg, "Gimpy", will come down and eat by your side, provided by your side is a large bucket of corn. Gimpy will not be served tomorrow.
10 pointsDavid Dacko's obit also gives you a quick guide to 1960's and 70's in the Central African Republic.
Open question to you all, since you are scattered about the country. If any of you swing by a Borders/Barnes and Noble or other big box bookstore in the next couple days, can you check something for me? I'm curious about whether the markdown books (usually outside, or in the entryway) are distributed evenly nationally? I just want to know if I'm being truthful if I say, you'll find book X in the bargain bin at your local....

If you're at a Borders, check which "Handy X Answer Books", if any, are in the bargain rack. I think that's as good a trace element as I can ascertain.

I'm still trying to figure out what to ask you to look for if you're at a Barnes and Noble, but I'm suspecting that they'll have a more even distribution of things, given a lot of what I'm wondering about is stuff that they (re)publish.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

50 pointsMathematician Trading Cards (And for a bonus 30, name the company, year, and team whose baseball card design they're ripping off.)
I wonder if Karl Marx would phrase it today as: All web phenomena appear twice. The first time as surrealism, the second time as Lego.

Monday, November 24, 2003

Odd bit, I was looking at the ESPN bowl projections, and scheming to have all of the new names internalized for Trashmasters, and got blindsided by the appearance of the "PlainsCapital Fort Worth Bowl", which was a doubleheader for me as I had heard of neither company nor bowl. So I went digging and found it was officially listed as a new bowl, though based on this article, it's pretty obvious its replacing the Seattle Bowl. I'm just sort of amazed that I missed that transaction.
30 pointsHong Kong goes toward democracy, a little.

30 pointsGeorgia update, especially note the map. (I have to say that was an amazingly quick turnaround.)
I've been trying to figure out how to point out to folks when something I'm linking to is valuable on a quizbowl level, rather than just on a "hey this is goofily interesting to me." So assuming this works correctly....
10 pointsThis article about the life of the Parker Brothers, if internalized, is probably worth about 10 points a year to you.
I'm frightened to say that the biggest thing I found out about this weekend is: Be careful when you eat raw walrus. (1, 2, 3)

Carbonated Gravy Update:
(Good grief, I actually have to have a carbonated gravy update...what planet did I wake up on? Also, please note the final paragraph of this press release, apparently my point about their exceeding their customer's expectations caught someone out.)

Thursday, November 20, 2003

I don't know whether to feel sadness or amusement, but right now Les Moonves (he of the "[my network's show] will be off the hizzle" pronouncement has to be about ready to die inside. First his sweeps plan of "The Reagans" blows up in the network's face, then its replacement, a special on Michael Jackson blows up. And today, sorry, no overbudget skank-waif for you. Awesome November sweeps there, CBS!

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

It keeps playing in my head. Two pieces of information, floating around in my head. First, we have the discovery of this, mentioned at TRASH regionals, and also sitting in the sidebar when I went looking for more info about Turkey and Gravy soda. The second bit came from something that happened at Sunday dinner (not involving turkey and gravy, this time it was pork roast.) My father, as he occasionally does, was lying in wait with a little bit of trivia he picked up from somewhere: "What country is the leading exporter of olive oil?"* I then proceeded to wow him by remembering something I heard from an episode of Follow that Food with Gordon Elliott (called "Follow that Olive") that I happened across one night while flipping channels.

So naturally, upon waking this morning, I was greeted by the notion of an episode of Follow that Food, called "Follow that Pimp", wherein we would learn such important things as:
1. How does one harvest pimps?
2. Are pimps graded after harvesting for quality?
3. How does one know if they are ripe?
4. Do they ripen after harvesting?
5. How does one juice a pimp?
6. Does it involve special equipment?
7. For example, one of those Juiceman things available for four easy payments of $19.99?
8. Do you need to clean the pimp before juicing (removing the hat, for example)?
9. When is pimp season?
10. Would the seasonal hat indicate this?**
11. Besides drinking, is pimp juice used in any finer culinary centers?
12. How about Chicago? Gordon loves going to Chicago, can we get this expensed as a business trip?

Sorry, folks, I just had to get that out of my head. Since this morning I've had Gordon Elliott (making that face) in my head saying things, in his oddly excited Australian baritone, like "We're here in Bay City, in one of the world's PREH-MEER PIMP GROWING REGIONS..." and "his family has been growing pimps in this valley since BEFORE THE CIVIL WAR..." and "all THIS...from ONE PIMP? That's amazing..."

While I'm sure the rest of you would prefer that if I have Gordon Elliott inside my skull, I keep him in there locked down, I really need the space.

* Spain, if you must know.
** That's just there to crack Craig up.

Update: I think the reason this is playing in my head so badly is my one utterly failed experiment with an electric juicer. Somehow, the classic velour pimp hat is getting cross linked with a kiwifruit in my head, and I'm recalling the time I figured the juicer would be able to handle the whole fruit, whether or not I peeled the fuzz off the kiwi. Let's just say you should, and it's your kitchen tip for the day.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Okay, First it was Snapple Pie, where they want to include the flavor of the crust in the beverage...(mmm....lardy!) Now Jones Soda is adding a special holiday flavor of.... Turkey and Gravy.
I think this will demonstrate for all of us exactly how psychotic the Atkins people are. Also, please note that this is actually set up as a test market. Those of you in Michigan, why do I fear this is going to be my bonus at some point? (I'll drink that for 30 points. Wait, no I wouldn't.)

Finally, I just have to quote some of the press release:
“With consumers becoming more and more health conscious, Jones Soda's Turkey & Gravy flavored beverage is a zero calorie and zero carbohydrate beverage that can be served warm or cold with a full flavor that will meet and will exceed our customer's expectation.”

Drinking gravy is now being considered the healthy alternative... I'm about to go Lewis Black here. How on earth can drinking gravy be considered the healthy alternative to anything...aside from not drinking gravy?

And frankly, I can't see how they can not exceed their customer's expectation. Folks, if you've reached the point in your life where you are EXPECTING to DRINK CARBONATED GRAVY, you've reached a level of preparedness that many Zen masters would envy.

Please be a joke, otherwise in 10 years when VH1 does their "I Love the [whatever this decade's called]"** the 2003 episode just got 15 seconds of blank stare footage. Especially when they lay this back to back with "Is Chicken of the Sea actually chicken?"
(via DaveBarry)

**In fact "I Love the Whatever That Decade's Called", should be the title.

Sunday, November 16, 2003

By now you've heard about the outbreak of hepatitis from the Chi-Chi's at the Beaver Valley Mall. If not, read up here. Having traveled around experiencing Mike's "degree of difficulty Mexican" runs. (Object: find the least likely location to eat Mexican food, previous winners Montreal, Wheeling, and somewhere between Mount Rushmore and Carhenge), I have to think this might put the Beaver Valley Mall on the list. (They claim they'll open it back up on Monday, I really should drive past the parking lot just to see if anyone's going to try this.)

The interesting thing is that they're actually suggesting the source of the contamination were green onions. This does explain why I got a grilled green onion in the green salad that accompanied my tacos at Baja Fresh. Booker T. and the MG's could not be reached for comment.

You know, you can't really do anything with something like this. It just is, and your only reaction can be: why didn't this happen earlier?

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

While I would take this as automatically fraught (it's got the two key characteristics, bad things about to happen, but which bad thing?), I'm tempted not to mark it up, because I can't honestly put the statement: "Giving your celebrity baby to a gorilla" up there, and not have 20 people say "well, that was bloody obvious, Mr. Kidder. What next? Combining Cold Pizza with the NIFL?" Well, funny you should ask.

I'll note this because I accidentally caused this with my cousin, and I fully expect this to happen with me at some point.

As for this: I'm pretty sure "Billy Idol hair and possessed eyes that rotated constantly", should be on the monkeypox checklist.

Monday, November 10, 2003

I'm really not sure what to make of this company's plan to get people to put notable quotes on their walls. However, I think this idea brings more than its fair share of fraught to the table. After all, if something from that movie's going to be scrawled on your walls, it really should be "REDRUM".
(via Pop Culture Junk Mail)

Friday, November 07, 2003

Fools. Know now that fraught is not to be trifled with.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

The thing that gets me about this article is the fact that we had a first cycle of news of this guy being caught where he was listed as "Gary Ridgway", now that he's confessed, why are we now authorized (some would say compelled) to add the "Serial Killer Naming Convention" and make him "Gary Leon Ridgway." Why does this happen? Would someone like to explain this to the class?
They're droppin' like flies. Extraordinarily sucky flies.
This article tells me that I should be much more hopeful about my LaPlaca ballot. And my hopes for getting Your Million Dollar Chance of a Knifetime on air. More importantly, you can actually sense the fear in the executives as you read.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

At the risk of sounding like Special Ed from Crank Yankers: "I got to vote for prothonotary! I got to vote for prothontary!"

The prothonotary is this odd post that is elected, but nobody knows what it does. I thought it was like "clerk of courts" but then we found there was an actual "Clerk of Courts". As near as I can tell, it's one of those Pennsylvania rituals somehow derived from Scotland (other examples of this include alcohol-fueled open rebellion against the state.)

The interesting bit is that I may have had the last shot to elect a prothonotary. As part of the Allegheny County Chief Executive election campaign, the Democrat, Dan Onorato, basically pledged to blow up most of the county offices. The weird thing about this election for me was watching this one, I couldn't actually tell you one policy difference between the two, aside from Onorato was telling us in ads that Jim Roddey was lying about his record. I'd really love to know where those ads were that Onorato was talking about, because they weren't airing anywhere near me. Not that I was expecting Roddey to win. He's always been percieved as a sort of shadowy figure in area politics, prior to his election, always there but never directly involved. (The fact that he looks exactly like what you'd imagine THE MAN who was perhaps not hassling you, but definitely involved in organizing a hassling campaign, didn't help.) The only reason he won the slot was because he was running against Cyril Wecht (known to most of you as talking head brought in whenever talk show X needed a coroner, or if you're not a single bullet theoretician). So, oh well, I don't think much will change, I would have liked having Roddey in negotiations to keep USAir here, but I don't think either candidate could save it.

Friday, October 31, 2003

I'm starting tonight ticked off, mostly because I'm going to miss out on the fine office tradition: The Mystery Bag of Candy. I've got no shot at it this year. Not only have I moved to the other side of the building, so I won't have access to the kitchen where the candy appears every November 1, but this year, November 1 is a Saturday. This means that unlike all previous years, where the candy would be stolen from the kids had they had collapsed into sugar coma, the kids will have three days to pace themselves, and that means nothing will be left. Not good, not good at all.

S'anyway... Why don't you score some points off this: In this article on a new artificial sweetener, you'll find a nice quick history of artificial sweeteners. (Probably 30 points a year here)

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Possibly part of a continuing series of my baffling utterances at quiz bowl practices:
"Well, that explains why the sponges fled Nauvoo."
Believe it or not, it made perfect sense at the time.

And that wasn't even my neg I was trying to justify. (My bad neg: Wrong: Lilliput, Right: Ethiopia. All the names in the question sounded fake to me, and well...)

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Which finding from this list of celebrity impersonators is most disturbing? (Admittedly this is a Vegas-casino-size buffet of weirdness of which I'm sure I've only scratched the surface.)
1. The abundant number of typos, e.g. Patsy Kline, giving the feeling like your buying the services of a fine Rolax watch.
2. The concept of getting celebrity golf impersonator just weirds me out. I assume this is some sort of scam that I don't know about, not being a golfer. That and the fact that the two celebrity golf impersonators are Tiger Woods (OK, I understand), and Tom Kite (?!?!)
3. I can sort of understand how they put together entire teams of celebrity impersonators, the Rat Pack makes sense, I can see how a couple of women could begin to accrue a group that would look reasonably like the Spice Girls. The one that is however throwing me a major curve is how exactly six people got together and realized that, "you know, together, we look like the cast of Renegade. We can make this work for us."
4. I would like to think that this particular one is not merely an actual excellent physical resemblance, but in fact is Don Novello, achieving a new level of situational comedy, by actually selling himself as his own impersonator.
(via
Boingboing)

Friday, October 24, 2003

Whereas last Friday it was the two most unrelated things I could find in two minutes to put together, today I have the two things I found with two minutes between them that led me to find all these:

The Cod War (1|2)
The Chocolate War
The Pastry War

To these, let's add two more, found about 2 minutes apart from each other:
The Butter War and the Marmalade Rebellion.
(various pieces via MattW, Dave Barry, and Saute Wednesday)

In other news...

Believe it or not, it is only now that the Pat Meares era ends in Pittsburgh.
(the proof)

This is interesting, mostly due to the idea that you could combine both Gaelic and Australian Rules.

I kept meaning to mention Scrabbl...no, Wordblo....no, Puzzleblog, because of its interesting approach, and because it's now including the Countdown number rounds every day. (That's Countdown, the UK game show, not Countdown, the Olbermann Evening News). It's a tack with these things that seems obvious to drive hits, but as far as I had seen no one had done it before. Now I'm a little concerned because they've added the feature of an interactive Flash version, allowing you to move the tiles and check your word. The possibly fraught aspect of this is, now anyone can do it on their own site. (See!) Hopefully this won't cause the original site to suffer.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

I hope it's not me, but I'm sure that someone's going to play the "given the nickname of a national rugby team..." card at some tournament this year (The Rugby World Cup is afoot, in case you didn't know). Well, think of this website as innoculation against that. It'll be worth 30 points somewhere.
Day 19.
19A. IMDB
19B. Historical Atlas of the 20th century
19C. Eserver Drama Collection
19D. Virtual Museum of Computing
19E. Wikipedia
This is going to require a taste test to determine fraught capacity. If this Snapple Pie is anything resembling the company's old Cider Teas, which may have never left New York State, then it at least has a chance (the black cherry cider tea was absolutely excellent, balancing all three flavors against each other). However, the bit that completely scares me is the concept that they want the entire flavor of apple pie in the beverage, right down to the crust. We're so close to Cookie Dough Gatorade in this concept, it's frightening.

Monday, October 20, 2003

Okay, added two little things to the left hand column. The first is just an actual list of what I've called fraught, for future liability proceedings. Note that I've moved Maurice down on the fraught scale, because there's little more he can do for a couple months, outside of reenacting an episode of Playmakers.
Second bit, I've appropriated Memetracker, a script which tracks searches which lead to your page (thanks to the guy over on LaputanLogic), and the results, as you can see, are a bit interesting. Apparently people really want to go as the Labatt's bear for Halloween, and really, it's a fairly simple costume, rent bear suit, buy six pack.
I guess now might be a good time to make this suggestion, we're about midway through the first semester at most schools, so you've basically established your freshmen for this year, and you have them developing. Now might be a good time to ask them if they know of anyone who they went to high school with, who might be interested in playing in college, but are at other schools. Then if you get any hits this way, you can talk to the other teams and make sure those teams are aware of potential players. Basically, by doing this you're doing a favor for all the other teams out there. We always need additional players, and people always slip through the cracks. I'm sure some teams have done this already (I know of at least two people who joined up with teams this way), but I just want to make sure other people consider this action.
Day 18.
18A. Bardweb
18B. InfoPlease
18C. ESPN
18D. Chemistry Hall of Fame
18E. 100 Events that Shaped a Century of U. S. Business

Friday, October 17, 2003

Notes from all over:
If someone asks what exactly this weblog is about (and believe me, I ask myself that on occasion), I guess the best answer I can offer is this: This may be the only weblog where you'll find articles on Sumerian mythology, side by side with a quick analysis of the crucial role in the war on drugs played by asparagus.

Based on this article, folks, do you think that we could/should resurrect Manute Bowl as a charity event? (via SportsFilter)

Also in sports today, expect this story to become a total trainwreck in a few months. It would be difficult for me to call fraught on the entire sports-entertainment-litigational complex, but if anything could, this might.

I'll point this one out, as an excellent quick guide to your post-Soviet dictators. There's probably about 100 points a year in this for ya. (via Ed Cohn)

If, during the interview for this article, anyone uttered the phrase "look what KFC does to increase the size of its breast meat," we would have had the first irony-related fatality.

I mention this only because now you, my loyal readers, can say "I know TWO Dutch authors!" And mean it. (Cees Nooteboom + 1!)

Finally, this article gives the wisest advice I can give you all: if you leave your laptop unattended in Nairobi - leave a banana on top of it as a protection offering. That's important to know.
Day 17.
17A. Historic US Maps
17B. Famous Trials
17C. Amino Acids
17D. A Great Day in Harlem
17E. History of Economic Thought

Thursday, October 16, 2003

There are a number of problems I have with this article, mostly with its statement of how it's "a very elegant upper-class field sport" in America. Come on, for America, it's a town which couldn't even keep its NIFL team.
(via Cronaca)
Day 16.
16A. Timeline of Asian civilizations
16B. Anthropology Biography Web
16C. Google News
16D. Toonopedia
16E. Constellations

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Anyone who's been following the story of President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada, (shown in this article): How have you been able to follow this without having the phrase "Fading into Bolivian" cross your mind?

Also, in world news: Azerbaijan has a brand new dictator (TheDictatorship.com put the father in the field for one of their contests, and well, their bit about why he didn't run is kind of amusing. We need more dictators ending public appearances with satisfying BONK! noises. Haven't really had that since Chernenko.)
You know... you guys might actually be cursed...
I was all set to watch the Cubs-Marlins game, I had just laid out on the couch, and was all set to enjoy it. And then... the power went out. The storms that went through the area must have done a direct hit on the power lines or something. So there I was, unable to get any game. The radios I did have had battery backup, but I didn't have the right batteries. (doh) So, lacking everything but the emergency light from the next complex over, I decided to take a nap until the power came back on. About two hours later, I awoke to the sound of the Cubs being up 3-0. Then the roof immediately caved in. Even in my limited comprehension of the finer points of pitching, I could see Prior was laboring, and then all of the sudden, my mind flashed back to 1992 NLCS. And wouldn't you know it, another F'in Cabrera was involved. It was one of those slow motion accidents, but you could sense the fraught building. I would have called it, had I not still been half-asleep. The other part of this that totally threw me, was the sudden appearance of Baseball Primer legend Admiral Ackbar appearing in ads. In fact, yes, it's a trap. And finally, further channelling the Baseball Primer image, just before his second at bat, I thought of him as Mike F'in Mordecai.

Having seen the ads, I think I have to do it. Mostly because ESPN has had a history, through the This is Sportscenter franchise, of absolutely pitch perfect ads which always amuse, and still keep it fresh. So what happened with their ads for Cold Pizza? Here's four people you've never heard of, don't they make you want to watch? Thus far the ads have shown me nothing that wouldn't make me turn from the mothership for the rebroadcast of the 1am Sportscenter, were I so inclined to be up at 7am. What's really grinding on me is the ads are trying to tell me exactly how different this will be, when the ads are showing how exactly the same they will be to every other morning show that's failed. The closest analogy I can give for this feeling is the exact same feeling I had seeing the ads for the show MD's last year. That show had a quick end, and I suspect it will be the same here. Cold Pizza...fraught.
While looking at CNN.com during lunch today, I ran across the following two article titles back to back, having previously read the bit about China's space launch.
Asian elephants losing battle for space
Meet China's Ming Dynasty astronaut

The image playing in my head is of Asian elephants trumpeting "Failure is not an option", while an astronaut made of porcelain looks on...
Day 15.
15A. The Constants and Equations Page
15B. Ballparks.com
15C. Ethnologue database
15D. AllAfrica
15E. Monarchs of Britain

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Day 14.
14A. Biographical Dictionary (excellent props to my old teammate, Eric Tentarelli, for compiling this)
14B. The Smoking Gun
14C. Hickok Sports History
14D. Webmuseum
14E. The Catholic Encyclopedia

Monday, October 13, 2003

Friday, October 10, 2003

Day 12.
12A. Encyclopedia of Mesoamerica
12B. National Inventors Hall of Fame
12C. Chronology of Russian History
12D. Historic Supreme Court Cases
12E. WebElements
Maybe I do scare the freshmen.
Case in point, during practice this evening, after a question on the information contained in this, I unleashed a fairly underwhelming impression of Al Michaels. Then again it's probably wasn't the impression as much as the bad taste of the shouted phrase: "DO YOU BELIEVE IN MASSACRES?.... YES!!!!"
(I guess it was either that or "featuring Kristi Yamaguchi, brought to you by Discover.")

Incidentally, nothing says canon skew like the google search where there are 3 hits, and two of them are in the Stanford Archive.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Okay, there was more than a little touch of surrealism going on last night seeing Arnold up there, but you could get through it with a mild suspension of disbelief. However the moment I simply had to turn it all off and go to bed because the weird turned pro was this: After Arnold left the stage one of the commentators was noting all of the people who weren't traditional Republicans who were up on stage, like "Rob Lowe and Gary Busey."

The Governor's with Busey.

Nothing I can do with that, folks. Reality just got dealt the ace comedy needed to complete the straight.
Day 10.
10A. Hyperhistory
10B. The Laws List
10C. Baseball Reference.com
10D. HNH-Naxos Classicals
10E. Library of Congress Country Studies

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

This article, kind of gets at something I was feeling following the Lit Nobel awarding (and commented on). There's not a lot of good candidates right now for the Peace Prize, and unlike the Lit Prize, there's at least some stable of favorites you can play with, for your betting pleasure...

For those of you in California right now, have fun. I'll point out a few articles on the guy who's ultimately responsible for this: Hiram Johnson. 1, 2, 3
Day 9.
9A. Physics News Update
9B. The HistoryNet (was previously an archive of several magazines)
9C. Roll Call
9D. Cracksmoker.com (Not only good for finding out all about the intersection of crime and sports, it tests your nanny software!)
9E. NYCSubway.org (Mostly as it has maps and info on subways and rail in other cities.)

Friday, October 03, 2003

It's not "unearthly glow day" is it? I saw these two articles within 15 minutes of each other, and have to wonder.
the setup
the punch line
Day 7.
7A. Independence and Union Movements
7B. Biography Center
7C. Anthropology News
7D. College Football Traditions
7E. Major Battles of the Civil War
The Nobel for Literature was announced early, spoiling my chances to get a pool together. I remind everyone that knowing your Nobels every year is usually worth around 100 points a year.

Many times I have seen versions of the babelfish hall of mirrors, I mention this one (found via J-Walk) only because I actually succumbed to the urge to use it on a couple of my posts. Some paragraphs become even more pathologically random. To wit:

During him it offers in the Near west, people decide its site of the term in Wisconsin. The citizen of the circumstance of vivid the end to select √Čvidemment obstructs it not here it express, but esteem cheese one. The cow never has "that of the most luminous Vista flied in left I? It had no. of idea!" The data of course, I know the free rule in, of which what would appreciate.

The herring of the changes of the cramp smooth-man-communicates regularly to professor of the university of the university in the man of the grammar, a super hero ignited, to that the defective negation and the hostile double raised more crossing to the preliminary standard to the relative of the battle, not like her everything except the effect, Reime and a complete knowledge of the English applications.

I just don't want to know how exactly a herring smooth-man-communicates, do I?

I just love the engineering solution described here. Something very refreshing about the notion to trade small-scale efficiency for large-scale reproducibility, for a net win. It's one of those things that may get taught in school, but it's always glossed over, and it never sticks with people. Nice to see it did stick here.

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Correcting a common misconception among freshmen: I do not know everything. Among the things I do not or did not know:
1. Kendal Mintcake is not merely a character in the Young Ones University Challenge episode.
2. That there's a difference between Morse Code and International Morse Code.
3. I don't know what the unknowns are on this project. If I knew what the unknowns were, they wouldn't be unknowns now, would they?

UPDATE: Wisconsin has chosen (well, the governor has.)

Finally, having heard this bit while sitting in the drive-thru lane at lunch today, I really think one person could pick up a nice thesis comparing and contrasting the work of MF Doom (it's in the middle there), with that of Portuguese writer Fernando Pessoa.
Day 5.
5A. CNN
5B. Book-A-Minute
5C. OurSportsCentral
5D. The Avalon Project
5E. De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

I'm all for the announced benefit in this article. Increases in the concept of Schoolhouse Rock applied to other musical forms are always going to be cool. However, this quote from the article caught my eye:

"Chuck Herring regularly transforms himself from a mild-mannered college professor into Grammar Man, a superhero who travels to elementary schools to battle his evil archenemy, Double Negative, using nothing but beats, rhymes and a comprehensive knowledge of the English language."

Between that quote, and yesterday's Prof. Harry Potter story, I'm a little concerned that somewhere along the way, some educators decided to combine coursework and cosplay. I'm a little creeped out by that.
Day 4.
4A. Napoleon
4B. Information Please Almanac
4C. Operabase
4D. Literary Kicks
4E. The Nine Planets

Monday, September 29, 2003

A mixed bag of stuff from the weekend.

What utterly makes this article for me is the fact that about 50% of the time when I load it up, the attached ad starts off "I live to prepare the finest chocolate souffle." Apparently it's a desperate ploy to actually get the Chocotasty Group included.

Meanwhile, this article indicates that the message of the previous article: "We'd change the pyramid, but you people weren't such idiotic gluttons, we don't think it will work," is spot on.

This article tells me that if I faked a news story telling people that my company's latest drug, felixfermin, was being tested by the FDA, I could probably make a killing, before making a killing. Perhaps the National Kidney Bean Foundation could call initial trials encouraging.

This article just begs to be promoted out, only so we can start referring to goalies who use too much padding by various giant Japanese robot names. (This sounds like a challenge, doesn't it.)

As much as this article frightens me, I know that the prof is basically doing it only so he can wear the hat. (Okay, I have to hope that's the reason. And I know that's not a good reason.)

Continuing the geek roundup: This is excellent. The one science fiction series I know from following it as a child. It, of course, won't be as good now. I don't know if I can be scared out of my wits from spray painted bubble paper any more.

The death of Robert Palmer was touched on by a couple people, and I'll concur with Tim that there was a whole lot more to his stuff than the MTV-era videos would have you believe. On his death, I ended up putting what I thought were two of his CD's in my car (one of the cases ended up having my long-lost copy of Mark Knopfler's Screenplaying in it, so I was happy for all the wrong reasons.) I have to say there's something amazingly refreshing about a guy who lines up a song by Gary Numan next to him singing in Urdu. That's a rather centered dude.
Day 3.
3A. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
3B. Bartleby.com
3C. Presidential Biographies
3D. Scientific American (specifically the archive of past issues)
3E. Food Network Encyclopedia

Sunday, September 28, 2003

Friday, September 26, 2003

If you've ever wondered why I am an engineer, and why I specialized in fluid mechanics, these pictures should tell you everything you need to know. Very few things in engineering can be considered beautiful, but these are in the group.

Follow up on yesterday, now we know what the folks at Nike were doing equipping the Oregon band. They were prepping them for this fight.
Republishing the 100 sites list for this year's freshmen, or new writers. I've updated a few of them who have gone away or gone subscription. If you've got freshmen who are looking to figure out "what to write about", I hope these both give them ideas, and give them some material to work from. Hopefully with the new feature to set the post to fire at some later date, I can do this now, and it'll just follow along behind me whenever I post something else.

Day 1.
1A. U.S. Historical Documents
1B. Links to Board Game Replacement Rules
1C. Omniglot
1D. Encyclopedia of the Orient
1E. ArtDaily

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Coz' every girls crazy 'bout a sharp dressed band

Judging from their new outfits in this article, when the band takes the field, they're prepared to use force to keep it. Seriously, I had to take a second look at the image to make sure they weren't photographing a police action.
It's also kind of disturbing to see that this is what "irreverent" looks like according to Nike. I'm guessing they'll call this a look inspired by the street, "street" defined as what we saw at the anti-globalization demonstration.
(Incidentally, it's interesting that the sports uniforms are the one area of fashion that guys can get away with discussing without the slightest hint of people springing the whole metrosexual thing. It's nice to have that buffer zone.)

Meanwhile in the Midwest, the folks in Wisconsin are deciding their state quarter. Citizens of the state are encouraged to choose here. Obviously, I'm not going to jam the vote, but I do like the cheese one. The cow has ever the slightest look of "that came out of ME?!? I had no idea!" Of course, given free reign over this, I know what I'd want.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Not that I actually think this will come to pass, but this must be noted for future reference on the off chance it's legit. As Mr. Tony would say: NIFLation, baby, NIFLation.


Comedy Boggle time:
How many different jokes can you make out of this article in 60 seconds? (Go read. I'll wait.)

Here's my list:
1. Q: How does one breed an ordinary rat with a muskrat? A: Start with lots of Captain and Tenille.
2. Decadent Uzbeks...
3. I just love the fact that this appears in the Politics section.
4. Great, you send Crispin Glover on a world tour and this happens.
5. How does one say "Narf!" in Kyrgyz?

Your turn.

Saturday, September 20, 2003

After deciding that last night would have kept me up too late to be effective at the IM tournament this morning, I passed on the chance for a doubleheader on Talk Like a Pirate Day, in exchange for the game tonight. I was not disappointed.

When people have pointed out that PNC is the best stadium (ESPN for one), they're always looking at the big things, but the little things about the whole PNC experience are what make it for me.
First of all, I managed to pick up a disturbingly psychotic looking Kip Wells bobblehead (the giveaway), the eyes kind of look like they're about to scan you to make your head explode.
Next, the simple majesty of meat gun technology. I would guess as a dare, the Pirate Parrot decided to see how much range he could get using the meat gun. The final hot dog launched in the third inning actually cleared the stadium, going over the stands on the first base side.
The apex of the silliness, as usual came from the pierogie races. There were two fundamental points of weirdness, first, during the animated run-up to the pierogies entering the stadium, we discovered that Potato Pete (Most pierogies apparently are identified by surname, or filling, first, important to know I guess), previously believed to have been carried off to his death by a demented chef (stylistically reminiscent of the ending of Don Giovanni), was actually now living near the new mall in Robinson Township. (Keep in mind how screwed up that sentence is, because it was only the second-most-disturbing moment of that inning break.) After the pierogies entered the stadium, Cheese Chester, with a massive lead, was greeted by the Pirate Parrot, who proceeded to hit him across the midsection with a steel chair. Folks, I was witness to an ACTUAL, HONEST-TO-GOD, MASCOT HEEL TURN... WITH STEEL CHAIR. This led to the following sequence of words coming through the PA system, which took me completely under. "Your winner, Oliver Onion**....Leading off for the Cubs, First baseman Randall Simon."
Finally, I think that the folks who run the scoreboard and PA are doing things in the final days purely to amuse themselves, or perhaps because they hope one person will notice***. I note this because of the following sequence. During the 8-9th inning break, they started playing Diana Ross's "Upside Down", and flipped the image on the main screen. They then continued this into the first at-bat of the 9th. I speculate that they must have been waiting for this moment to do this trick. Why? Because the first batter of the inning was pinch hitter Hee Seop Choi. I think they set this all up, just so they could leave the screen flipped, and show everyone, that when you flip it upside down, CHOI reads as CHOI.


** Yes, I noticed that Oliver Onion does not follow the naming convention of the other pierogies. I theorize that because Oliver came later into the pierogie races (he replaced Potato Pete), that he may in fact be a second-generation pierogie in our country, and is thus more assimilated into American culture.
*** Note that my job description could be summarized as "professional noticer of things."

Thursday, September 18, 2003

What does this mean? It means sausage racing will also be out of the Olympics. ([Tinkle of coin in glass] Gee, thanks, Mr. Barry)

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

No, you do NOT make the fraught yourself. It must come naturally.

I read this and thought that. Then I saw this, and realized, you know, you can't make it fraught for other people, but you certainly can do it to yourself. Between this, Dragnet, and the Practice, can we just put the entire network on the fraught watch?

I read this article and kept wanting to throw the old Jaws quote: "This was no BOATING accident!"

If what this article says might happen comes to pass we can kiss whatever faint hopes remain of quiz bowl becoming an Olympic sport.

If we put this article, next to this article, there's a really interesting effect. Also an interesting effect, note how the graphic for this version of the story is misleading.

Live from Pittsburgh: This ultimately will be seen as a triumph of the redemptive power of salsa dancing.

Onion version of this headline: Coup interpreted by neighbors as desperate plea for attention.

Monday, September 15, 2003

One of my favorite trash questions of all time has to hinge on the contents of this article. Riding back from a Penn Bowl, Pitt player Neal Choudhry(sp?) pondered asking a question about this guy, whether he was a real person, and Joe and I took it upon ourselves to do the research, which ended up as part of one of the old UMBC tournaments. Amazingly, I think we ended up at the same website this article's writer did.

Having had this burned into my brain far too deeply, I can only say one thing. "I HATE WISCONSIN TECHNO!!"

How the circles close in on each other.

Saw this.

Went to this.

Saw the link to this.

Figure it had to involve him.

I would just to apologize to the Philadelphia Eagles and their fans. Either I have apparently doomed you, or you were simply doomed, and I just saw the shadow cast. Either way, I tried to do penance to get you going, putting Todd Pinkston in my starting lineup, but I don't think it was enough. I don't know how to unfraught you. I don't even know if it can be done.

Saturday, September 13, 2003

Zevon, Teller, Cash... Not a good week at all.

If one holds to Pascal's Wager, then one would have to believe that last night there was an absolutely incredible concert. Warren opened for Johnny, and after the concert, pyrotechnics by Edward Teller.

Monday, September 08, 2003

Sleep well, Warren. And Van Owen, watch your back. (1, 2, 3, 4)
Notes from the watching of the football:

As a fan of the Steelers, it's very satisfying to see a season start with a game where we meet our new Vinny. I'm jumping the gun here of course, but there are similarities between Mr. Testaverde and Mr. Boller, most notably the insane amount of faith teams first put in him, and the ability to throw an interception that looks like he was actually throwing to the linebacker. It's of course too early to see if the Steelers will own Boller the way we owned Vinny. The big tipoff will be if he's moderately effective for the rest of the year, but then blows it in the last game of the year. That would be the sign that the Steelers will own him like we own Vinny. How do we know that the Steelers own Vinny? I was at the game where they burned his mortgage at halftime.

I got suckered into the Miami-Houston game for cutthroat (Matt, commence your snickering, but the only other games I thought were worth considering were Detoit, which I took, and Carolina, which I still didn't like at all.) I forgot that no matter how many years in the league, Dave Wannstedt's teams will have that one game where you're sitting there going "I can't believe they're losing to these guys." I just didn't figure it would be the first game.

I was wondering during the draft what the Steelers were doing. They omitted one key factor in their draft, they didn't get Offensive Coordinator Mike Mularkey a new toy. Until this morning, I didn't realize they actually had. It came from a statement made during the pregame, that free agent signee tight end Jay Riemersma had taken some snaps in his past at quarterback. Well, that made everything fall into place. As Hannibal Lecter would ask: "What do the Steelers covet, Clarice?" The answer is, former quarterbacks. Well, the traditional joke is that the Steelers promise every year they'll throw to the tight end more. This year, I actually will believe them. In fact, I'd wager that Riemersma will score a TD by throwing it once this year. Mularkey is simply that crazy, in fact, we keep him in a specially designed cell when it's not game day.

Kurt Warner's performance today, 342 yds, 6 Sacks, 4 fumbles, 1 INT, 1 TD, 1 concussion, allows us to do the long awaited linear regression. And now the question you've got to be asking. If you decapitated Kurt Warner, what would his line be? The answer: 220yds, 8 sacks, 4 fumbles (4 lost), 8 quarts of blood (4 lost), 0 INT, 0 TD, and still a better quarterback rating than Randy Fasani.

Finally, I'm actually amazed that the new Titans unis (on parade this evening), actually managed to make their uniforms all of the following: more Rollerball-y, more Slamball-y, and more retro-to-the-Oilers-y. Not an easy trifecta.

Saturday, September 06, 2003

It's an ungainly word, an oddly placed silent letter, leading to a long vowel where one is not expected. But when the time comes, you're really glad to see it. That word: benign.

There's only one thing to say about this story, and how much crap the teams are going to have to go through to make it happen. "When midnight madness starts to get to you. It doesn't matter what you say, doesn't matter what you do. You gotta play!"

Kenny points a rather frightening convergence of ideas appearing in Tom Shales' column about the NFL opener, and my previous articles. (Namely the oddity of combining Carmina Burana and Pepsi Vanilla in the same paragraph.) Welcome aboard, Mr. Shales.

Bill Simmons just cracked me up uncontrollably. Get to quote number nine and read the commentary, then come back. I'll wait.
.
.
.
Okay, back. Now imagine some coach screaming at his defense on the sideline. "HOW COULD YOU MISS HIM? THE COPS CAN FIND HIM! HE'S GOT A FRICKING BALL AND CHAIN ON HIS LEG! AND YOU MISSED HIM!" Some coach this year is going to have an all-time NFL Films miked blowup because of Michael Pittman. It may be the only good run Pittman has for the rest of his career, but this makes watching the Tampa Bay offense riveting television.

Finally, ran across this collection. I especially found the latin phrases from the Lucky Six boards interesting. Though any pinhead who tells off their opponent with "LEVATE DALOCU LUDERE NECSIS IDIOTA RECEDE" isn't going to be looked upon favorably. Though "SPERNE LUCRUM VERSAT MENTES INSANA CUPIDO" would be nice for quiz bowl, were we to have any lucrum to sperne.

Friday, September 05, 2003

Bad news in cubeland today. The son of the guy two cubes down from me was diagnosed with some very bad mojo (I still don't know the scope, but it didn't sound good). Being a native of the area, when I heard the news, my mind immediately jumped to this. (1, 2) It's about a mile and a half from my office, maybe three miles from where I grew up, and about five blocks from where my dad grew up. I even remember my family nervously gathering to watch the 60 Minutes piece.

The nasty part of this is that it's not something where you can lay blame anywhere. When they built the plant, and ran it for decades, they didn't have any ideas about radiation. They couldn't, it was far too new an idea, much less an application. And if you were still insistent, if you really want to point fingers, those who would be your targets have long since passed to the earth. They cleaned it up, sealed it up and it became invisible, a million miles off the main drag being the same as three blocks. Until something like today happens. You can't prove this was to blame, but you can't disprove it either. If you aren't thinking hard, it just becomes a convenient scapegoat, a crutch. There's no more risk, no less risk, here than anywhere else any more, I've seen the numbers, I've worked in the industry. And yet I have that playing in my head, wanting to make a connection that I know isn't there, and wanting to pin it on something more than chance.

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Mom's right.

Just something my mother noted to me a couple weeks back, and it's now playing in my head over and over. If you watch Food Network for any length of time, you'll realize there is only one common thread among all their cooks, which they all cling to with the ferocity of Peruvian soccer riot. They all cut onions for dicing exactly the same way. Take the ends off, peel, cut in half, set it on its flat surface, cut straight down halfway into the onion, then parallel to the cutting board, then dice. Nothing wrong with that, it's effective, but they omit one key fact: What the heck do you do with the rest of the onion after you get to the end of the volume you can dice that way? Nobody EVER shows that. (Thanks for passing the paranoia on to me, Mom.)

After being cut by the Steelers, Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala has been picked up by the Jaguars. As Craig pointed out, I can no longer be for Fu, I must fight Fu. This also means that the best short Myron Cope clip will be unavailable. That being one from a local car dealership where Fu and Myron were promoting, and one of Myron's lines to support Fu doing most of the ad was "Do tell, Fu." Between the vowel tone, the phonemes, and the Myron accent and lack of volume control, it's amazing how much this sounds like Vietnamese. Words can not do it justice.

For the record, this is not the same komodo dragon that munched Sharon Stone's husband's foot. Otherwise, I'd have blown a funny fuse when I read this.

Speaking of munching, while composing this, I've gotten unsolicited email from "Nigel Wilson", hopefully not the first expansion draft pick of the Florida Marlins, and from "Bennett Brower". That was different. It was "SPAM EMAIL", it didn't make me want to "BUY THINGS", it just made me want to put it in my "TRASH CAN". It's no "Soder Muncher" in terms of a fake spam name, (Still the gold standard, thanks Carey for pointing ol' Soder out) but a valiant effort.

Finally, I just found this really cool. As for whether it's useful, well, I guess I'm looking for a fundamentally different set of information than trained geologists.
I'm assuming that stiffs.com will give the proper treatment of this, but I can't see how they can do better than this.
Charles Bronson (08/30)
Wish fulfillment.

S'anyway... I'm sitting here snacking on this bunch of tiny grapes that they had on special at the Shop 'n Save (50 cents for a bunch in a strawberry container). They taste fine, but I'm just marvelling at the whole size thing. The grapes are tiny, like the biggest one could fit through the hole in your housekey. It's obviously a marketing gimmick that failed, given the special price. But then again they're grapes, only smaller. If you follow the logic of the tomatoes everybody wants, then these would be grape...grapes. Hmm...marketing cannot defeat recursion, that's important to know.

Monday, September 01, 2003

If it's good enough for California, it's obviously good enough for Pennsylvania.

This article shows that some folks in my home state have the worst case of the "me too"s ever.

Meanwhile, this looks so fraught. If you wanted to completely remove what made earlier versions of Dragnet Dragnet, I don't think you could do more than what they've done. I wish I had held my LaPlaca vote until I saw this article.
This one just managed to confirm for me that some people who spam you are certifiable. Given the alternative was that they were pure evil of banality, I'm not sure I'm overwhelmingly comforted.

Sunday, August 31, 2003

A virtual museum of typography-- This is one of those Pandora's boxes for question writers. Now if it just included Cooper Black-- Behind the Typeface.

Saturday, August 30, 2003

Random bits.

This is just further proof that shoplifting at Ray's Music Exchange is a bad idea.
This is just a bonus I could never write:
Name these backup and emergency catchers arrested in Pittsburgh's Strip District.
(Baseballprimer beats me to it (item 5).)
Evolution takes place in strange ways. The lesson drawn from this article: There are pirahnas are eating healthier than you. Either that or pirahnas are coming up with fusion cuisine. Human ceviche, anyone?

This just ticked me off, for several reasons. First it's a bad idea for a cover version. Second, the article just can't decide exactly who is narrating this. Finally, there's a fundamental problem with remaking this under these premises. I assume that if they've only done a new ending as this article says, a major point of this story becomes "Wolves will eat your friends (e.g. the duck, aka 'prey'), but because we're nice, we'll let him go so he can do natural predator things, like eat your other friends." Good luck getting your kids to sleep after they figure out that line of reasoning.


Okay, now that Craig has placed a couple teasers of the draft, I probably should explain. (For those of you who don't understand fantasy football's appeal, I would note this article. Especially item 4, which is surprisingly adaptable to quiz bowl.)

Round 1. Clinton Portis
I had the third pick, and I figured I was going to have the choice of one of four guys, Tomlinson, Ricky Williams, Priest Holmes or Portis. Of those I figured I'd have to choose between Holmes or Portis. Brian took Tomlinson, and JQ grabbed Priest, I hadn't figured on having the option of Williams, but I kinda liked Portis better anyway.

Round 2. Eddie George
Round 3. Plaxico Burress
Upon reflection, I botched these two picks. I had one goal for myself coming into the early rounds. I wanted to pick up Hines Ward. I picked him up in the 8th round last year, and between him and Marvin Harrison, they propelled me to the final game. So at the 26th pick, I thought about taking him. But I figured that he wasn't quite the fourth wideout available. I should have thought that, after all, I valued Hines and Plex about equal. The only real difference this, statwise, should be that Hines is going to pick up about 100 yards passing, and probably 2 or 3 two-point conversions (these count in our league). I thought I valued him higher than anyone else would. So I grabbed the next best running back available, figuring I'd get Hines at the 31st pick. Bad idea. If I had picked up Hines, George would have probably been available at 31. A small loss for me, but it ground on me for a couple rounds. Either way, I was sort of happy to get George, just so I could do the David Byrne huge suit jokes. (A staple of Sunday afternoon commentary. After getting his bell rung in a collision, Eddie George sits on the bench wearing a Titans jacket that ends up looking ridiculously huge on him. Joe begins "You may find yourself sitting in a shotgun formation. You may find yourself sitting on the bench, and you may find yourself in a large stadium, with a beautiful field, and a beautiful sky, and you may ask yourself 'How did I get here?'" Eddie's been marked for life by that. The fact that any Eddie George fumble can be followed with "and you may say to yourself 'my God, what have I done?'" doesn't hurt.)

Round 4. Keyshawn Johnson
Round 5. Jerry Porter
There was a hard, hard, run on wideouts at this point by the time it came back to me, and the good tight end options were also gone. Since there were still a lot of good QB's available (more good ones than people who hadn't drafted, I figured I could take the risk. I wasn't caring about the lesser positions (TE, K, D). I needed to nail down good performance at at least two of the big 3 positions, I had RB, and I thought I needed a better #3 WR than anyone else to nail that down. I was still pressing.

Round 6. Steve McNair
Round 7. Matt Hasselbeck
Good bet, Mr. Kidder. I was not expecting those two to be sitting there. I almost think that the Titans and Seahawks are like the Brewers in the late 80's, so inconspicuous you forget the teams are there. There were three available QB's that I didn't feel bad about having at that point. McNair I figured was the best of the three, and I figured I'd have a good shot at having my backup be Tommy Maddox. When Brian once again took a Steeler out from under me, I felt angry for a second, then realized, "Wait a sec, you had both McNair and Hasselbeck in your top 10, and you're angry? Schmuck."

At this point, I think I was half in the bag (of Reese's Pieces), I was not drafting according to my plan. Now that I had my starting positions in the big slots, I starting playing stupid, figuring I could pick and still get the ones I wanted.

Round 8. Todd Pinkston
Good value, I guess, but I was compensating for what I thought were weak wideout choices earlier. I should have gone tight end here.
Round 9. Mikhael Ricks
Best available TE on my board (10th), in those previous picks I think I lost the 9th, if I had waited I would have gotten the 17th or 18th.
Round 10. Moe Williams
Round 11. Garrison Hearst
I was sort of sitting there wondering if I had made a major coup or major mistake in both these cases, Since it looks like both will start initially, I guess it's a coup for now. Incidentally, to answer a question for those who read Craig's account, what keeps the Zweibels away? Hearst of San Francisco, of course.

Round 12. Jeff Wilkins
I needed a kicker.
Round 13. Drew Bennett
I'm just lousy thick with Titans this year. I suspect he will be the first cut on my team, especially if he ends up the 3rd reciever. And he is the long lost Jane Austen character. As I quoted for Craig: "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a large vertical must be in want of a end zone." This was also about the point where we dispelled the notion from my previous post that Strong Bad might be a Steelers fan. Think about it: Evil, wears a mask. If he doesn't have season tickets for the Raiders, I don't know who else could. (Like I said, I was half in the bag of Reese's at that point.)

Round 14. NYG Defense.
When I typed this at first I wrote it as "NYG D", this became quite quickly "NYGD", then "NYGD Blue" If this hasn't been used by other people before, I think I need to set up some licensing agreements.
Round 15. Jay Riemersma
I needed another Steeler. I needed another TE. I needed a TE that didn't have that ominous NA superscript above their name in Yahoo.

So my lineup looks like this:
QB: McNair
RB: Portis, George
WR: Burress, Keyshawn, Porter
TE: Ricks
K : Wilkins
D : NYG

I like my theory of two big positions. I've got what I wanted on QB and RB, and I like my WR's though I think I've basically got a #1 and three very good #3s. I just get a bad vibe about Keyshawn. Is it good enough to win? I don't know. I think there are at least three teams that are better on paper in the league, but then again, last year I thought there were 5 better on paper.





Tuesday, August 26, 2003

I was all set to give you my fantasy football draftm and corresponding thoughts on the upcoming season, but this afternoon, the Pirates traded away the team. I don't mean it literally, but removing Brian Giles from the equation of the team pretty much changes everything about the team. For years the experts have said how good Giles would be with a supporting cast. Well, San Diego will now find out, and Pittsburgh will find out how it doesn't even have a supporting cast.
As much as people like to say that Giles has been the most underrated player in baseball, I don't think they quite grasp the level of truth in that. If we take what people claim as the most useful stat (OPS), and take Giles career numbers, he ranks 11th all-time. Look at who he's above in that list, that's frightening. (Thanks, Joe, for pointing that out years ago.) More importantly for me, he's probably the best Pirate in the past 20 years. (I easily grant that Bonds has been a far superior player, but the majority of his career years were as a Giant.)
Do I think it was a good trade? It's hard to tell, because basically, there's no way to compensate a team adequately. Perez and Bay look like enough to make it a promising trade for 2004. The PTBNL will tell a great deal. The majority are projecting Corey Stewart, some are projecting Xavier Nady or Josh Barfield, which I'd prefer, but doubt. Nady could sit in at third, and we'd really have something. Right now I'm guessing the 2004 Bucs will look like this on the field.

C: Kendall, Humberto Cota
1B: Craig Wilson(finally given a regular position)
2B: Freddy Sanchez or Bobby Hill
SS: Sanchez or Jack Wilson
3B: No clue, hopefully Nady, possibly Hill
OF: Bay, Redman, Tony Alvarez, J. J. Davis, Matt Stairs (He's basically volunteered to be the veteran presence on the team for next year. The only other choice being Sanders, who is going to be a free agent, if not traded.)

I gotta admit it's a major rewrite of the lineup, and oddly, it sounds more promising than the opening lineup of several years past. However, they are going to a major learning curve, and it's going to hurt bad. The pitching will be less worrisome, we've got that coming through the pipeline in spades right now, and 2004 is supposed to be when the first batch of pitchers reaches the majors. So it's rebuilding again. We're used to it.

Monday, August 25, 2003

Two notes on football.

1. People have asked me: "Hey, dipstick! My non-local sports team sucks! Could I become a Steeler fan?" After I contemplate answering them using the voice of Strong Bad, I say "You know, while we encourage Steeler fandom, we realize it won't be for everybody. And so, many tests and challenges will be placed before you." And when they ask what is their first test, I will point them to this website. You must listen to the holy voice of Myron, for it is the voice of the Steelers. (Okay, even we don't believe he did a version of Copacabana. And yet, here it is.)

2. I hate jumping off the Maurice Clarett fraught call, but it's pretty much run its course, and I'll quit while I'm ahead there. However, a new choice must be made. And between Duce Staley's impending trade and James Thrash's injury, I really have a bad feeling about this. So a two part question to you all:

Am I Fraught or Not: The 2003 Philadelphia Eagles?
and alternatively, since both were on the roster of my fantasy team last year, but it wasn't a keeper league.
Am I Fraught or Not: The 2003 Bridgeville Trolls?

Sunday, August 24, 2003

I was at the second of two weddings in three weeks today. I left wondering a couple things.

1. Since I hadn't been to a wedding in a couple years, when did we move from playing music from the Wedding Singer ironically, to doing it unironically? We need to mark that point for later musical stratigraphers. It can't be done ironically any more, after the first wedding this month used the Vice City soundtrack, displacing Mr. Sandler on the irony scale.

2. I'd like to assume there's something extraordinary about the Pittsburgh area, in that we can have the segue from The Steelers Polka to Kool and the Gang, and no one even blinks.

3. Sometime when I wasn't looking, the phenomenon of the music by which the new couple enters the reception, began to morph into the couple's own wrestling-style entrance music. (It's not quite there yet, but the two I've heard lately, The theme from Rocky, and Rock and Roll Part 2, clearly are on the path to that.) I'm just noting this, I'm not opposed to the idea of wrestling elements osmoting into other fields (witness my repeated support for incorporating the idea of the heel turn into other sports.)

4. If any of you who had a betting line at home: (See the Bill Simmons article.)
The cake won, the cake always wins, taking the toast is like taking the wind. Bouquet failed, the attractive cousin parlay failed, we passed 8:45, no crying groom, no puking, no Clapton, oh yeah fat guys, and no nasty couple fight.