Friday, May 23, 2003

Heading north soon, but a short edition of "I know there's a question in there somewhere", and further proof that I am spotting trends well out ahead of the curve.

One of my proudest achievements in my day job has to be the day I found I could break the software simply by turning it on, and typing a single keystroke. It never made it out of the office like that, but it was the quintessential "bug that makes no sense." So today, my heart was warmed to see that in fact, the problem may not have been in our software, but in fact it may have been in the keystroke itself. This article explains much. Especially when I realize it was the same letter that blew up our stuff. In the tradition of this: P considered harmful.

1 From the engineers who like to screw with people's minds file.
2 This is merely an excuse for me to repeat my favorite Beavis and Butthead quote. "My Liver! My Liver!" "Lower, dude."
3 "When you have incidents like this, it gives a bad rap to the whole field of integrative medicine," No kidding.
The "People are turning into other people" edition.

1. I didn't watch much of American Idol more than the moments when it seemed to run long and cut into 24, but I'm really bothered that Clay (at least the restyled edition) looked exactly what I imagine a cross-breeding of Johnny Rotten and Martin Short would be.

2. Double headed special NBA draft lottery special: Stan Kroenke (owner of the Nuggets) was wearing a pinstripe blue suit to go with his cheesy moustache. The effect is that he looked exactly like a colorized version of John Astin as Gomez Addams. Meanwhile, Gordon Gund, sitting right next to him and accepting for the Cavaliers, is slowly undergoing the process to turn into a clone of Richard Gephardt, you can already see it starting from the eyebrows out.

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Part of what makes going to a Pirate game at the PaNic Button interesting is being the guy who gets the joke, and then wondering if the joke was actually intended to be there. In this case, it was the eighth inning, and the Pirates were up 5-2, and call on their bullpen. For those of you who don't follow the Pirates this is the most easily callable "fraught" there is. The Pittsburgh bullpen has alternated between flammable and incendiary all year, and has caused the fans a mix of heartache and heartburn. So when the music starts playing to introduce someone from the pen, I'm left in a quandary: Did they just decide on this music because it was peppy, or did they actually intend people to hear the lyrics and address it with the proper degree of cynicism?

Allow me to diagnose:
"Have you ever been close to tragedy
Or been close to folks who have?"

Yes. All season.

"Have you ever felt a pain so powerful
So heavy you collapse?"

Like when you loaded the bases with no outs and struck out the side? It was really more nausea than pain, but yes.

"No? Well - I've never had to knock on wood
But I know someone who has"

Lloyd does that too?

"Which makes me wonder if I could
It makes me wonder if I've
Never had to knock on wood
And I'm glad I haven't yet
Because I'm sure it isn't good
That's the impression that I get"

I guess the part that really bothers me. Pretty much the last thing you want your closer, or any reliever to be thinking about as they come into the ball game is anything knocking on wood, or vice versa.

Okay, I'm all better now. I probably have to remind Joe about this so he can write about it: Warhol Pierogie.
Here I was figuring tonight was going to be the night I get the most disturbing bobblehead possible. That being the Bob Prince bobblehead. A bobblehead of a broadcaster who has been dead for the better part of 15 years. Then I see this.
Mostly trawling for blogstreet to see it picks up amazon links.

First of all, the initial list in table form is sitting here: I'll be adding more later. On the original list I forgot Robert Morris, and we can add TCU.

Two other things that are bothering me while I write the last third of my packet for this weekend:
1. I remember seeing this idea in one of the Carl Hiassen books, I think Tourist Season. It struck me at the time as almost the perfect coffee table. So why does it bother me now? Longtime readers will remember that I got rid of my coffee table last year, and I still haven't gotten one. Hmmm....

2. Right in the middle of reading this last week, I noticed that Archie had a clock radio which woke him up. This got me wondering, in that sort of bothersome wondering I get, because it's something I can't very well research, and I can't very well expect anyone I know to either know or care. Still I'll ask anyway: "When was the clock radio invented?" The book places it back as reasonably commonplace as of 1951(publication date), which probably is the basis of my surprise, it feels at least a decade early. Even worse, it's not likely to be a patent application, because that wasn't an era like today, where any crazy notion will get rubber stamped by USPTO. I'm not really expecting an answer from anyone, it's just a loose end that bothers me.

Finally: Fraught.

Friday, May 16, 2003

It's always sad when someone tries to say something ironically for humor purposes, and not only fails in the humor, but in the irony. To wit, Les Moonves' announcements during the UPN lineup unveiling. One can only hope that this will make Snoop a little more discerning in whom he hands over the keys of the Shizzolator. We've seen the previous results of things like this.

"Trust me, players, her new show is gonna be off the hizzle," Moonves promised the crowd. I just feel bad for the guy now.

S'anyway, I'm nicely buzzed right now, thanks to the Yuengling keg that was part of the 7.1 release party. I prefer to think of this release as the problem child release. My best description of 7.1 is that it was the release that we tried all the toughlove we could, but ultimately the only option was to throw it out on the street.

Finally, I think I've found my next PS2 purchase.

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

"How about his common cold?" she asked.
"That?" said the doctor. "Why, it's a mass of scarlet fever germs! -- Burn it at once. What? Nonsense! Get him a new one. He mustn't have that any more!"

From The Velveteen Rhinovirus

If the eyes weren't likely to come off and become a choking hazard, I'd have the perfect gift for my baby cousin.

UPDATE: More smell-based legal news, it's now something you can be arrested for.

Finally this: The story itself is amusing, it may also be frightening, but take a second look. Right up there in the header. HOW EXACTLY DID AARDVARKS BECOME CONTROVERSIAL ANIMALS?

UPDATE: Perhaps a more stable picture of the Velveteen Rhinovirus and Friends.
This is the time of year when I feel really good about quiz bowl, because we are (in a rare use of it with positive connotation,) fraught with possibility. I have the good luck to see this happen before my eyes, because I get to see seniors sign in via the Entering Freshman Contact List. This year, we're on course to connect more seniors to teams than any other year, and we're on course to add more new teams to the circuit than we have had in any previous year.

Contemplate the following: If everything works out right, every connection is made, every team forms, all of these schools could be on the circuit, that weren't on the circuit at the beginning of this year.

Air Force (gotta dream)
Arkansas Tech
Central Florida (back again?)
Cumberland College
George Mason (back again?)
Holy Cross
Iowa Lakes CC
James Madison
Marietta College
Miami (Ohio)
Morehead State
Morningside College
Northeastern State (Oklahoma)
Northern Illinois
Peabody Conservatory (gotta dream, right)
Saint Louis University
Southern Illinois
Southwest Oklahoma State
St. John's Annapolis
St. Leo
Tennessee Tech (back again?)
Univ. of North Texas
West Florida
West Virginia Wesleyan
Wheaton College
William and Mary

Do I think all of these will happen? No. Do I think all of these are possible? Yes. Do I think this only scratches the surface of what's possible? Oh, yeah. This is only the results out of 120 or so seniors, the ones I know about now. Last year's list was over 3 times that, and I think we could surpass that easily, even before the end of May (usually we get add ins well into June and July.)

Now we have plenty of seniors heading to existing teams, but this year I'm seeing lots of people going to places where the circuit doesn't exist. Both are good. One builds up programs, provides them with new blood. The other also means new blood, new programs, and in future, new events. It also means they may need our help.

So I'm asking for help. If you know seniors, pass the information along to them. If you know high school coaches, pass it along to them. If you're running events, pass it along to the kids. If you have a list of your own, let's merge them. (Thanks to Eric Bell for already starting that process, which added the two Oklahomas and Air Force to this list) And when fall rolls in, be ready to help them become part of the circuit. Invite them to your tournaments, get them aware of the circuit, and wanting to be part of it. It doesn't matter whether they were a good player or a bad player in high school, all that should matter is that they are interested in playing, and we can help them join us.

Monday, May 12, 2003

More random than random need be.

1. Out of touch for a while, spent the Sunday doing the Mother's Day thing, which for me consists of cooking dinner. The only recipe I can offer off the top of my head is the very simple trick: Take a small jar of marinated artichokes, put contents on two bamboo skewers, grill 5 minutes over medium flame, flip over, grill 5 more minutes. Remove from skewer, serve.

2. I have no idea if this actually happened, but the image of Andy Richter doing "Yellow" just completely blows my mind.

3. I'm apparently not familiar with this phrasing, if it's any more than just a random lot of words. Anyone else ever heard of the phrase "like a porkchop in a wedding cake."

4. This website is very close to something I've been looking for a couple months now. The visual app gives a graphic map of how people's weblogs connect. Very interesting to put together, for instance, all the quiz bowl weblogs on one page, and see how they sort of direct flow to each other. (It's also kinda neat when you realize that if you get enough of them on one page, you can sort of see political liberals and conservatives flow to opposite sides of the network. The other cool bit on this page is on the neighborhood page, where it picks up all the amazon links you've made, and lists all the books you've discussed.

5. [Thanks to the folks at Countdown with Keith Olbermann for the germ of the idea, or maybe it even goes back to a tossup Carey wrote.]
I think I have an idea for a website, but I know I don't have the know how (actually, it's more like I don't have the inclination) to implement it. So we give it to you the consumer.

You go to the site, and it just pops up a message:

Tom Sizemore's next onscreen death occurs in Enemy of the State.
He dies at x:xx:xx into the movie.
The movie begins in 94 minutes on Starz! So tune in at xx:xx:xx to see Tom die!

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

Thanks to this, and this, I now know the answer to one of my favorite quotes from "WHERE THE HELL ARE CHICO'S PANTS?" The answer: Bridgeport... DUH!

This is just really screwed up, but answers the question: Which historical U.S. president could have taken on Evil Special Interest Man?
"It's doubtful that the Padre fans will accept a western Pennsylvania model of democratic baseball."
I wanted to test how fast it took technorati to extract my links to a new site (3 minutes, for those who wonder) and while I checked the other weblogs linking to the Olbermann story (about a week ago, I just googled for an appropriate link), I found this. My mind boggles.
I love it when I feel the collision of trash with legitimacy. While thumbing through the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Physics (a book I consider wandering too far into depth to be incredibly useful for writing questions, but not a bad jumping off point for ideas), I came across the following definition: Theory of ferromagnetic phenomena which assumes each atom is a permanent magnet which can turn freely about its center under the influence of applied fields and other magnets. So why is this so great? The entry under which I found it: Ewing theory of ferromagnetism.

Meanwhile, if you haven't seen it already, give a little love over to fellow Cornellian Keith Olbermann and his new show. He's doing the 8pm Eastern newscast on MSNBC (midnight rebroadcast), and yes it's news, but it's also Olbermann being Olbermann. Case in point: it looks like one segment is labeled "Warning: No News Content". Kinda like this.

Monday, May 05, 2003

This weekend's reason number three that I came to face the fact I need a scanner: As a free sample in the packaging of the grill lighter she bought, my mother got a free sample of Paul Prudhomme's Magic Seasoning Blends. This is the most inexplicable packaging I've ever seen. First of all, it's two packs, one of Poultry Magic, the other of Barbecue Magic. Nothing unusual in that, but then it starts getting weird. First of all, the two Nutrition Facts cannot seem to agree on what a quarter teaspoon is: One claims: Serving size: 1/4 tsp (0.8 g), the other: Serving size: 1/4 tsp (0.7g). Both claim to add no calories, though the Barbecue Magic lists brown sugar as an ingredient. Finally here are the recommended uses of Poultry Magic: "SPRINKLE ON BEFORE YOUR COOK: Steaks, Chops, Hamburgers, Fish, Seafood, Chicken..." (emphasis mine, ordering theirs.) The fact that this had to be done as a single printing, since this is all on one side of a joined pair of packets, just amazes me.

I don't mean to make a mini-Style Invitational, but this one kinda asks for "please give your best joke here" Inside Baseball Primer's review of the NL Central I found this gem:

Reggie Sanders dimmed the lights and lit candles in the clubhouse Saturday in an effort to relax the team.

Their punch line: "It's unclear whether he also sacrificed a chicken."
My punch line: "Sanders was then seen dragging housewives to Pier 1."
I guess, place your punch line in the comments.