Friday, January 30, 2004

"What do you mean which quadruplets?"

Great story out of my hometown as a guy attempts to defraud the government into benefits for 10 children. The absolutely beautiful part is him claiming ten kids in twins and two sets of quadruplets. According to this, it looks like the guy was trying to claim 1 in 729,000 squared, and that's not even counting the twins.

Defense excuse:
"Novara told the jury that anyone claiming to have two sets of quadruplets within 10 months lacked the capacity to orchestrate the scam. " Well, cojones are not really measured in capacity, rather they go by size, but I'm sure that's just a semantic thing.

In other news, the synchronicity of soup and mathematics. Story 1 Story 2
The former I find a little perverse, but I can understand where that doesn't belong at a piping company, unless they're piping the soup. The latter just utterly baffles me, how that could get in the system in the first place.
I'm pretty sure that the subhead for this story could very easily be: "Judge calls 'Fraught!' on even a possible meeting"

I was directed to this site by MetaFilter, and it's quality. (With a K.) Mostly because of this particular article, which manages to combine bad flashbacks to the Halloween movies, the notion that adding an ending like "-ique" makes it trendy, and the phrase "like doing 8 sit-ups a second on your face."

This story has a couple nice layers to it, and also rings quite true. The layer that rings truest to me is the notion of a gopher eating through the line. Back when satellite television meant a 10-foot dish and no scrambled channels, my family popped for a dish (we were so far back in the country that no cable system will touch us.) All goes well for about 2 years, we enjoy such oddities as the Satellite Bingo Channel and the feed of Alex Trebek saying "at seven on channel seven on channel 6..." One day, however, the entire system goes dead. Can't get a signal in, can't signal out to move the dish. So after a couple months of figuring, my dad calls in a backhoe to dig the line out. When we get the line out of the ground, we find it's got bite marks and a leak, and a set of groundhog holes all around it. Between this, finding one setting up shop in our crawlspace, and watching one teethe on our siding, we know the groundhog is not to be trusted, and would do things like blow up your house.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

30points Sure, the Oscars will get you lots of points, but you need to know about the Razzies as well.

I'm always amazed when 100+ year old things come back to haunt the present day, and this story was no exception. I had no idea that they were still steamed about the War of the Pacific. 30pointsA quick study for you all.

Monday, January 26, 2004

I have been reminded that I have not deemed anyone worthy of the list lately. Well, I think the double of these two stories (1|2) just earned him a spot. And now, I give him the damn fraught.

Meanwhile, I think this story just tipped the balance on Mr. Disclaimer, Conrad Black. I think this will be a big tipoff for future fraught calls: If your goal seems to be throwing your media empire into chaos, you've wandered into the rare media tycoon area previously held only by Robert Maxwell, and Bond villain Elliot Carver. On the list you go.

(And yes, I know how tempting it is to declare all out fraught on Dan Marino, given the model of the decision seems to be Matt Millen, but I have to at least let him make one move before opening fire. It's only fair.)

Thursday, January 22, 2004

30pointsOne Hit Wonder Central
Living in Pennsylvania means you have to take this story, and balance it against this story.

There's an absolutely freaky discussion going on at baseballprimer, listing the "Things that have happened since Jesse Orosco started playing." The winner for me is Ali was still a champion.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

I happened across this story while listening to NPR, and found a pair of gigantic holes in the arguments that nobody mentioned. (Besides the whole concept that purple matting around your diploma constitutes art.)

Premise: The city requires new business construction in their area to make the purchase of public art 1% of the project cost.

I don't mind the sentiment (anything to keep people from not recognizing their daughter might be dancing), but I look at the execution and worry. The requirement that one get approval from the city for the artwork just looks like a great opportunity for abuse. Also I would think that the notion of putting a forced value on the artwork required to satisfy the ordinance is just plain fraught. I can immediately think of three ways to break the system, just based on how one assigns value to the artwork. (If I paint a can and call it a $5,000 sculpture, is it a $5,000 sculpture? If I hire the local kids to paint a mural, what's its value? If someone needs a $6,000 sculpture, am I permitted my to sell my $5,000 can, at $6,000, to him?)

If I had any talent in art, I'd be trying to hustle this plan, pronto. Actually, come to think of it, if I had any talent in hustling, I'd be trying this.
100pointsFind a Poet

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Things I learned from this weekend:

Slurpee World is a great idea, something that I will add to my plans for mall of the future, however, I doubt it will last.
It's not a homage, it's just bad.
Cornfed's philosophy and mine are pretty much in sync.

I'd like to thank my teammates, and everyone involved in the whole weekend. I had much fun.

I showed this to a few folks at Kevin's last weekend, I think it really should be read by anyone who ever had to grade a paper.
50pointsBiographies of furniture designers (also includes some architects who did furniture)

Friday, January 16, 2004

The cold weather here, while nothing compared to what other places have gotten, got me thinking about the Little Ice Age tonight. 10 PointsThis article seems to explore some of the attributed effects quite nicely.

30 PointsA quick history of the birth of the transistor along with some additional 50 Pointsbackground info.

Finally, when this article first appeared on CNN, its teaser line on the front page read "Possibly dangerous objects still allowed on planes". This again put memories of Irwin Mainway in my head again (he of "Bag o' Glass" fame and great moments of "anything's possibly dangerous," as when he set his own suit on fire.) The real winner in the included list of "things we're allowed to take on planes" has to be "Toy Transformer Robots", good to see the Decepticons are not considered a threat, I guess energon cubes are not highly volatile, but I'm sure we're only a statement from Starscream's Provo Wing away from losing the ability to transport them.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Okay, Washington State has brought us the gravy beverage, and now it brings us, the coffee steak. You know that one kid in your high school class who sat in the back of shop class trying to figure out how to make everything into bongs....looks like he went to cooking school and swapped his drug of choice.

This article reminds me to buy a bulk eraser, before it becomes a DMCA violation.

Monday, January 12, 2004

It's too much for me to hope that as a result of this statement from Kim Jong Il, I really have to hope that by people who know nothing of computers and music, he means the RIAA. I'd pay good money to see that fight. Let those two jokers fight it out, and they don't have to bother us for a while.

In case you hadn't seen, it may be the end of the country of Niue. It's not often you see this sort of thing. Well, between these three stories: I'll declare it 30points for this year at least. 1 | 2 | 3

I had been wondering, exactly how, once you found your mad cow, you were going to dispose of the animal. I knew that burial, cremation, almost everything I could figure, none of those were guaranteed to break down prions. I now have one answer, though I'm not sure I really wanted to see that apparatus, or the fact that it's a totally gratuitous use of the phrase "such as Drano" in the article.

Meanwhile we come to this. I mention this because quite frankly, I finally have an explanation of one of the most inexplicable ballpark moments I've ever had. Apparently it was a minor league clip on the Jumbotron with a mascot approaching behind an umpire. Well, it was one of the mascots from this fine purveyor of 92-octane nightmare fuel, and well, it wasn't exactly this picture, I think it involved Roger Clamens, but it came close, and it was the same setup.
This is good. It means Joe and I weren't mutually hallucinating, possibly because Dock Ellis left some acid in Manny Sanguillen's centerfield barbeque pit. Okay, it's not "good", but better than that previous premise.

Incidentally, I'm sure this will become a running gag, so in future we'll just shorthand this to "The Clam Shot" (Insert your best caption, if you wish)

Friday, January 09, 2004

I'm taking the Ben Maller summary on this one because the only online copy of the story is the LA Times, and they're being a butthead about registration, and being a story about the AP they're going to block it.

An Associated Press dispatch sent out to newspaper sports departments Wednesday contained hundreds of home phone numbers for well-known sports figures. There was just about everyone from Hank Aaron to Barry Zito on the list, including Paul Tagliabue and Bud Selig. Another dispatch stating, "Disregard," soon followed. An AP spokesman called it an "inadvertent transmission."

Folks, I can't figure out if this is the mother lode of fraught, or something not fraught at all, merely a disaster. How else can you simultaneously nuke a well established network of contacts and give all your competitors a leg up (or at worst equal footing). What's the worst part of this?

1. The possibility that EVERY celebrity on that list is getting crank calls tonight. (So far the best/cruelest suggestion I've heard was calling random NBA players at 3am, and saying "Honey, the strip was blue, I'm pregnant." The local sports radio guys were already crank calling OJ, and trying to set up to get Mills Lane's answering machine.)

2. The possibility that you're a celebrity on that list, and you're not getting crank calls. You might as well just flush your Q rating.

3. That this comes out just after they announce cell number portability.

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Mike pointed me to this further explanation of why Conrad Black needed to make a press release, it does explain how we went from what would seem an impossibility to merely ridiculously unlikely.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Craig sent me this, relating to yesterday:

[Do not attempt to defraud grizzlies. That's important to know.
For those of you that missed it the first time, this guy was noteworthy for also accidentally leaving audio tape behind of his own mauling. I really think, having read this article, that the audio of this contains the bear(s) saying in whatever language the bears have: "Where's the money? You said you'd have the money."]

Craig's comment:
"Picture if you will:
The Labbatt Blue Bear, voiced by David Paymer from ~Line of Fire~"

I think he's got it down.

Meanwhile, Countdown pointed me to this story, which possibly indicates that the mauling bears were not after the money, but merely engaging in alcohol-fueled rebellion.

Monday, January 05, 2004

Well, now that the little dance is over, I think it's time to put the Pete Rose issue to rest, by which I mean, he's now admitted that he's bet on baseball, so we now have every reason to permanently ban him without hope of reinstatement. I recognize that this feels like part of a very awkward plea agreement, but I'm secretly hoping that Bud Selig continues to show utter deceitfulness, and uses this as a club to nail him. I realize exactly how hardline I'm being about this, but frankly Pete did it to himself, he was nailed dead to rights, and admitting it does nothing to correct the problem.

And now, some more things that are important to know.

Do not attempt to defraud grizzlies. That's important to know.
For those of you that missed it the first time, this guy was noteworthy for also accidentally leaving audio tape behind of his own mauling. I really think, having read this article, that the audio of this contains the bear(s) saying in whatever language the bears have: "Where's the money? You said you'd have the money."

Do not attempt to cut 13 avocados in a row. That's important to know.
I have to say that this is possibly the dumbest lawsuit I've ever seen. Though I really would like some clarification on the whole "dream career as chef in the RAF", does anyone know if the Britain's air force has Britain's elite special forces to be used against French chefs, that having a cut finger would disqualify you from joining (mind you, not a cut-off finger, which would be totally understandable for RAF disqualification, but not this lawsuit). Perhaps he'll be appearing with the Dorito lawsuit guy.

Do not attempt to get married as a lark. That's important to know.
Somebody want to do the photoshop of the Britney marriage, with the Vegas slogan of "what happens here, stays here"? Again, I think this slogan primarily indicates that there's no extradition treaty there.

Do not try to make sense of my memetracker entries. That's important to know.
Culled from memetracker in the past week:
beasley reece
making microwaved pickles
so anyway
philadelphia eagles rocky theme lyrics
time-life doo wop wqed
"SWAT team teddy bear"
women x rugby
fred travalena jesus
Drew Henson
weebil and bob
Barrett Robins

Sadly, I think I'd have achieved some sort of random meme nirvana had one of these actually come in as "beasley reece making microwaved pickles", rather than two separate searches, though a single search of "fred travalena jesus" comes really close, and so does "SWAT team teddy bear" as it included the quotes.
10 PointsThey found the source of the Quarantid meteor shower
10 PointsAnd some interesting bits on the discovery of the source of the Nile

Saturday, January 03, 2004