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.