Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Even money says this story nets you two questions this year.

It's an interesting write-up of this, but I'm more disturbed by the possibility that going from state to state running petitions is a viable trade. I realize it's no different than political consultants going where the money takes them, but this just feels off, like it's the personal equivalent of letter to the editor astroturf.

And now a new occasional feature: Am I fraught or not?

The article (Yeah, I saw the Houma, and the Cloverleafs)

First subject: The American Basketball Association.
Second subject: Arena Football League.
Third subject: The National Basketball Development League.

Read the article, and tell me: Are these three leagues fraught or not?

My view:
ABA, Fraught: Two Mexico, and a Trenton, and the last time I thought about Trenton, I thought of the guy who was arrested for fraud, for embezzling from AmEx to pay for his indoor football teams in Trenton and Boise (yes, Boise.)
AFL, Not: This looks like a push really, and the adjustment to reality that balances out their good fortune in getting on NBC.
NBDL, Fraught: Bad mojo to lose your champions, bad mojo that despite being the preferred minor league that the NBA is supposed to draw from, the teams aren't looking at NBDL players first, and 25% of your league dropping is very bad.

Actual Quiz Bowl Content
1 Timeline of NATO
2 History of the city of Tokyo
3 The Battle of Shiloh

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Fine meat products cloud my mind this day.

The thing is, one of my running gags, any time I go to a baseball game is the question of "how does the hot dog giveaway reach the fans?" Or "What kind of meat gun technology does this city have?" (The original joke was when a large group of Korean businessmen were introduced at the same time the classic air-powered hot dog launcher was employed, leading to the quote "The North Koreans are here to steal our meat gun technology!" I don't understand what it means either, as past information has told us they simply don't have the ammo.)
Think of this as Jane's Defence Weekly's Guide to Meat Gun Technology.
First, the elastic launcher. This was the method employed in Erie as part of the "Smith's Provisions Wiener Catch" (Incidentally, we need more firms to enter the dying "provisions" industry. I leave the double entendres to you the consumer) Classic, effective, but it requires three crew to man it, and it's range is rather limited.
Second, the air gun. They tried using this for Erie's T-shirts, but ran into the problem that it jams easily. Again, limited range, two man crew required.
Third, the Canadian Mobile Meat Delivery Vehicle. MMDV appears to be an adapted dune buggy or jeep, or possibly a bullpen cart, with a turret mounted on the passenger side, giving added stability to its air gun, allowing for increased muzzle speed, and target range. (Its resemblance to one of the vehicles in Halo may or may not be intentional.) The MMDV was first observed in Olympic Stadium in Montreal, and was also employed in Columbus.
Finally, we have reports of a gigantic tube which apparently can be raised and lowered for targeting purposes, located in the right field foul area of Columbus Cooper Stadium. This may be the first long range meat gun, possibly the first Intercontinental Ballistic Meatgun (or ICBM). More research is obviously required.

Much less effective on the meat gun technology scale was another promotion tried at Erie, and I'm just going to take it straight out of the program.

Two teams of two will be selected to compete against each other every game at the bottom of the second inning. One teammate will stand on the dugout while the other stands on the field. The teammate on the dugout will flip steaks using a spatula over their heasds while their teammate tried to catch it wearing over-sized pants. At the end of 30 seconds, the team with the most patties will recieve a prize.

Yes, folks, you have to catch the meat products in your oversized pants. Yes, they are not actually meat products, but plastic dog toys that look like meat products. Yes, that substitution in no way dimishes from the absolute mother lode of subtext this generates as you watch. Yes, this is apparently Pennsylvania's answer to Beef Quiz Bowl.

Finally, there's only one comment to this story. "I could have also accepted 'snacktacular'."

Actual Quiz Bowl Content
1 Timeline of modern Turkey
2 A history of Canadian Confederation
3 Biography of Andrei Sakharov

Friday, June 20, 2003

Yesterday, I fell off the wagon. Yes, I'm prowling used book stores again. Ordinarily, I'd keep my finds to myself, but this one scares me. If you happen to run across a copy of the Dictionary of Historic Documents, pick it up, pick it up NOW. (It won't be the cost listed in the link, I found mine for $12.95.) I caution that it can be used for both good and evil. (its possible uses for awesome will require more testing.) It wanders into a lot of odd categories that quiz bowl loves. Imagine a Dictionary of Treaties, a Dictionary of Legislation, a Dictionary of Famous Speeches, and a Dictionary of Religious Documents. Now combine them all.

Sad note, especially given I saw a copy of the film in CD Warehouse after I had stopped by the used book store, and it looks like won't touch it: William Marshall is dead. No truth to the rumor that someone staked him.

A collection of fabulous failures and fakeries.
This is just excellent, and probably would have made a much better reality show. Next week on FOX...Lifeboat!
I wish I could have called fraught on this. I like chocolate, I like potatoes. I don't like the two in combination.
This means we've been fooled.

Actual Quiz Bowl Content
1 A variety of articles on color
2 An article on Roman temple architecture and an attached glossary
3 Biography of Anders Celsius

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

I made a promise to myself (and to others) that I'd include some useful material over the summer. Stuff that people could read, and actually learn something. Well, laziness got me until now. Introducing Actual Quizbowl Content: stuff you can read, and I won't feel bad if you get points from reading it. My goal is three bits for every entry I make here. We'll see if I can keep that up. Target difficulty, answers that could fit in either in high school or Division II. So send your young'uns, and boost my daily hits.

1 Biography of Rachel Carson
2 Plot and criticism of Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep
3 A quick guide to solubility rules.

Monday, June 16, 2003

Today (or more probably, yesterday), if you didn't know, was Bloomsday, the day upon which James Joyce set Ulysses. Writer's Almanac gives it a good treatment. However, being the perverter of academia that I am, and being of that strain of quiz bowler who will not lie as to having finished it (or for that matter cared to start it), the anniversary is more important for something I found a while back. While perusing my Biographical Dictionary of the World's Assassins, I happened upon the entry describing the death of N. I. Bobrikov, Governor General of Finland for the Russian tsar. Bobrikov's assassination was part of the impetus for Finns to overthrow Russian control of the region. The date of Bobrikov's death, June 16, 1904. So I now always wander around with this odd link in my mind, of Molly Bloom falling asleep, "and yes I said yes I will liberate Finland."

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Tom and Hayden (but oddly enough, not Tom Hayden) pointed out that NBC wants to do an update of V. I'm ambivalent, one of the lower-tier film channels runs V on occasion, and frankly, it's not quite bad enough to be good cheesy fun. It just plays like a TV movie, and kinda lays there. The one thing this does prove is given that Ted Turner is now out of the loop at TBS, we will know exactly how long the revenue stream from Ted's favorite film will last someone.

UPDATE: Re: my comment on the drug war and cheese: It appears that there's smuggling at work here. Call in Popeye Doyle.

This is excellent advice to all of us who had that gut feeling that making the All-Star Game mean something was a bad idea, but simply couldn't place how it was bad.

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Note: I've updated the Entering Freshman Contact List including stuff from HSNCT, upstate NY, and emails to me. More will be forthcoming.

Cleaning out the weekend notes

One aspect of the NIFL game I forgot about until now was the initial entry into the "arena". They were offering flyers of upcoming events. One of these upcoming events being an oldies concert featuring the Skyliners. When we can complete the circle DEK->NIFL->Relations of DEK, in three moves, I should have realized the pure comedy goldmine that lay inside. (As a side note: Nice picture of Skyliners playing pool available on Jason's weblog here.)
Connecting to that, I mention that as I'm typing this (Saturday), I flipped past one of WQED's infinite pledge drives. Tonight, instead of running the Doo Wop 50, featuring the Skyliners, they're running an R&B concert. However the real story here for me was the fact that I tune in to hear "Ladies and Gentlemen, Demond Wilson." My attention locks in, because this appears to be the only known appearance by Demond Wilson since Hammerlock (check the review, it looks like a possible rival to US Seals in terms of MST3k bot-fodder, we may have to test this theory). The one thing I'm wondering is whether the two events were simultaneous.

Updating our previous mention of McDonald's serving its salads Pittsburgh-style (with fries on top), this article indicates that, amazingly, you might (barely) be making it healthier that way.

Meanwhile, this article indicates the next front in the drug war should be Wisconsin. I suppose it's too much to hope for that "gorgonzola chic" ever catches on.

Okay, now that I know who the voice in those ads for 10-10-987 is, I'm really certain I don't want John Stamos to rule the world.

Sometimes I do get depressed at my lot in life, and oddly enough, it's not when I see myself as different from the rest, it's more when I read articles like this and discover that I'm just one of the masses in this here town. So what gets me out of a funk like that? Realizing I'm not a New York Met, I'm not losing battles to a mascot, and I don't have to "pay tribute to Damion Easley." Realizing I don't have to hide behind a fake name. Realizing I don't write copy for Reuters that includes the word "nizzle-shizzling". Realizing I'll be able to confuse generations after me by simply writing something down. And possibly more than anything, realizing my special powers include being able to destroy Craig's productivity with a single link.

I'm utterly convinced that when they get done with draining the pond where they hope to find anthrax-manufacturing equipment, they'll find one thing: Snakeheads.
This amuses me. Especially the fact that people were buying the Generation III dogs, that "could indicate the first letter of the drug's name".

And finally a note for you Cubs fans, linking nicely with the Elko Dependents plague. According to this study, the Cubs are a 50% lock to win the series by 2025! A. Whitney Brown said it best. "It's somewhere in the back of the book of Revelation. 'when the small bears from the windy place take the flag, ye shall know the world is nigh.'"

Monday, June 09, 2003

Back when we had fantasy XFL (yeah, I know.) there were special bonuses for oddities, like for instance if your players were ejected from a game, it was a big 20 points (naturally, the one time this came into play, I had the player on the bench...) I miss that, and so, I hope we'll consider this rule for next year, even though Mike's team (the Elko Dependents) would be the only beneficiary:

Team's home city devoured by Biblical-style plague: 100 points.

More later, I had some things written up over the weekend, only to be thwarted by a power failure.

Wednesday, June 04, 2003

Joe touched on this last week, partly to tweak me, partly because you can tell you're reading about how hard up my old hometown is today. They're going to build a Waffle House in Washington County, right off Interstate 79 in Meadow Lands. This represents a major breach in the Maginot Line. The running joke among many quiz bowlers has been that Waffle House was invading, but had been stopped at the Mason-Dixon, with some thanks from our allies at Tim Horton's coming down from Canada. But now we're stuck with one.
One one hand it only serves to reinforce the notion that, while I can slide around the issue, when it boils down to it, I'm definitely from redneck country. While I don't attempt to hide it before those who would rather put on airs of their own cultural superiority, I admit I don't revel in it. It just is. On the other hand, I look at and realize that in all likelihood, that Waffle House might be the third best source of revenue my old school district will have. The top draw is the dump. The dump has a deal with New Jersey to take a lot of its non-hazardous waste, and as a result, it gets lots of revenue, and pays lots in tax. Second place might just be the McDonalds at the same exit they're going to put the Waffle House. Even at that, I'm not certain that the area will get any relief. We have a long tradition of businesses building just outside the district, and I have the nasty feeling that while the access road the Waffle House is demanding (demanding?!), will probably end up part of the township budget, the Waffle House might just pull the same trick, and building tantalizingly close to the township border.

UPDATE: Maybe, just maybe, they should have called it Prong.

UPDATE: Wichita Falls! Welcome to the party. No, I don't want to know about your convention center. It's okay. No, really. Cherokee, I have a watch.
Been a while, hasn't it?

Suffice it to say that between Kidder Cup and HSNCT, I've been a little preoccupied. And since both were laden with topics, it may take a couple days to get all the bits typed out.

Collapsing into the seat of the airport shuttle last night, I thought: "So this is what it looks like when it all works." HSNCT was like that. I won't call it perfect, because such a thing just can't reasonably happen, but it might have been closer to perfect than anything we've done before. There were mistakes, but they were all minor, recoverable, and quickly corrected. For the first time since the first ICT, I was really, really happy with how everything ran. And that's not a slight against previous tournaments, it's just that this was one of those events that not only was everything we expected, which is where we have been before, but it also gave me the feeling that new possibilities have opened up.

One NIFL angle not covered by the others was an odd moment after the game. I can't explain exactly who the guy was, but having seen my Ohio Valley Greyhounds shirt, he not only identified it, but put two and two together, and started regaling me about various Greyhounds whom he "had". I'm not sure what to make of that, except I really hope he meant he was their agent. Then I think about it and realize, I'm actually hoping someone is an agent of NIFL players, NIFL players whose game salary is around $200. One thing about the NIFL, even when you're convinced we're making it up, we're not.