Wednesday, March 31, 2004

"Fifteen Yards! Giving them the business! FIRST DOWN!"

I know they'll sweep it under the whole "unsportsmanlike" umbrella, killing the premise, but all I can hope for is that the gesture that they make the NFL refs do for excessive celebration is an appropriately exaggerated and idiomatic sign. I'd suggest the classic fist pump, (You know, "YYYYYESSS!"), except that's going to be misinterpreted as a face mask. Maybe they can force the refs to do the Ickey shuffle, or mime pulling a Sharpie from their sock. So folks, what is the appropriate gesture for the ref to make?
Thanks JQ, for spreading the love.
(and yes that would be the fitting description, 'die hard Pirate fan'.)

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

First, notes on two other people's weblogs.
If as has been rumored, the Nielsen family is one of New York's traditional 'five families', Mike is a lot trouble.

Joe found googlism again, and while I didn't it interesting the first time, because asking it "who is Dwight Kidder?" doesn't produce a meaningful result, I forgot to try "Who is DEK?" which will produce much more interesting results, because 'dek' appears to be an actual term in some languages. Look for yourself. However, the one that demanded I look it up, just to make sure you folks aren't writing me into some bizarre form of quiz bowl death porn, was the phrase "dek is stored naked and packetless", I'm so glad to see that's actually something to do with Pretty Good Privacy, though that's obviously not pretty good enough. Don't even think about it. DON'T!

Now then.

It's suck league time again. Those of you who don't know the rules, think of it as combining fantasy baseball, with lowball poker. The goal is to put a lineup out that is as bad as possible, and doing as many bad things as possible. But of course if your players get benched, injured, or sent to the minors, they can't score for you, so it's a constant game of how far they can fall before they blow out.
I still have 2 Free Agents to sign in Waivermania, but this is pretty much what I'll be going with. I lost the exact order due to sorting, but this is roughly it.

Your 2004 Pittsburgh Sparrows (It is, without a doubt, the worst team you've ever heard of. But you have heard of it.)

Cesar Izturis SS LA
Cory Lidle P CIN
Luis Rivas 2B MIN
Jimmy Haynes P CIN
Michael Tucker OF SF
Tino Martinez 1B TB
Dan Wilson C SEA
David Bell 3B PHI
Kenny Lofton OF NYY
Jack Wilson SS PIT
Darren Oliver P FLA
Tony Womack 2B STL
Wes Obermueller P MIL
Juan Rivera OF MON
Juan Encarnacion OF LA
Danny Haren P STL
Steve Trachsel P NYM
Victor Martinez C CLE
Chan Ho Park P TEX
Chris Carpenter P STL
Shingo Takatsu RP CHW
Jose Lima P LA
Rob Mackowiak 3B PIT
Reed Johnson OF TOR
Marlon Byrd OF PHI

Only real interesting bits of this were that I really wanted to get shortstops this year, as I almost want to say that overall bad shortstops are less plentiful than bad second basemen. Then I got a bounty of them. I'm still a little amazed I was able to grab Capt. Jack Sparrow Wilson and Womack in the 10+ rounds. I really lucked out in getting getting David Bell, who I figure might be them millstone around the Phils. I know I'm really weak in OF, in that I really don't have an absolute sink out there, unless Lofton completely bombs out, and then he'll just get replaced. I also may have gone overboard with starting pitching, but I sort of figure either Lima or Carpenter will get shuffled back to the pen.

So the opening lineup would be:
C: C. Wilson
1B: T. Martinez
2B: Rivas
SS: Izturis
MI: J. Wilson
3B: Bell
OF: Tucker, Lofton, Rivera, Encarnacion (Mackowiak goes here, once he gets certified at OF, which is likely to happen in April due to injuries to Jason Bay.)
UT: Mackowiak, Womack, V. Martinez
SP: Lidle, Haynes, Oliver
RP: Takatsu, Lima?, Carpenter?
P: Park, Haren, Obermueller (Rule number 1 of suck league, use as many starters as you can, because you'll never hit the the innings limits.)

Hmm... I'm strong(weak) on starting pitching, strong up the middle, strong at 3rd, and hoping for a Tino collapse at 1st. Beyond that, I still need relievers, and I still don't know if I can easily put the best outfield out there.

Friday, March 26, 2004

Sometimes, no matter how much I try, some logical inconsistency just completely wrecks my ability to deal with a concept. I ran into this with Infinite Jest when I got to the part around page 80 with the simple phrasing of how a team traded for a punter. At that point I put down the book, and just sat there saying "You don't trade for a punter!" I've got my list of crimes against nature, and I'm pretty sure that's on it. Every time I try and pick the book up again, I go back to that spot, and bang. "You don't trade for a punter!" People tell me it's a REALLY good book, and he's a REALLY good punter, and still "YOU...DO...NOT...TRADE...FOR...A...PUNTER!" It's like there's a short in my brain, and everytime that neuron fires, the entire system reboots.

S'anyway... Last night, I'm watching the World Poker Tour, and a commercial pops on. "The Kalahari is coming to Sandusky, Ohio." Phrases like that will get my attention, I could be comatose and that would tilt my head like a bewildered German shepherd. So it turns out it's this, which admittedly, is exactly what Sandusky is there for. (It used to be Sea World and Geauga Lake before they were eaten by Six Flags Uber Alles.) But it's not the phrase "The Kalahari is coming to Sandusky, Ohio" that's bothering me. No, it's the name. And that little neuron that fires off every time Infinite Jest is mentioned is at it again. "You don't name a water park after a desert!" Go to look at the website. "You don't name a water park after a desert!" Look at the website Kondominiums (That's Quality with a capital K.) "You don't name a water park after a desert!" I'm sure my Wisconsin readers will say it's a REALLY good waterpark, but still "YOU...DO...NOT...NAME...A...WATER...PARK...AFTER...A...DESERT!"

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Lacking the free time to put a lot of thought into things (software's about to release in both my jobs), here's five things I've read in the past two weeks that I've been fascinated by.

1 I think is the basketball equivalent of the pine tar game, and yet, I've never heard of it before.
2 which also continues my sneaking suspicion that I should have named this weblog "The 'What I want to know' Show."
3 John Rainwater just got added to the list of contributors of my next packet.
4 I remember games on tape, but not this. I can also imagine the multifaceted disappointment that would come with a text adventure based on the Thompson Twins.
5 It probably doesn't matter in quiz bowl any more, but at least a lot of things that looked random previously, now make sense.

Monday, March 22, 2004

Well, I don't know if my bracket is completely busted yet, but it definitely got burninated over the weekend by UAB. Still have three of my final four, but only 7 of the 16.

Saturday I missed out on this holiday, and frankly I'm the poorer for it. No word on how Randall Simon celebrated, but it appears the sausages were all set.

I don't know about this article, except for it being a prime example of my state government in action, or inaction. I think it says remarkable things about everyone: the legislators who do it, both parties who don't mind it, and me for noting that while it probably happens in a lot of states, it's natural that the one dumb enough to get caught is in Pennsylvania.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

So, I'm half way to finishing the job. After my ISP got eaten, I needed to redo all my web pages, and since they were non-functional, I took it upon myself to rewrite them, and learn a new scripting language in process. Then I had to push through my natural cheapness to actually pay for the additional services. (Comparative times: 8 days to do the coding, 2 months to overcome the cheapness.) I'm now done with the two bits I needed to have done. Both the Reference Desk and the Freshman Contact List are done. (At least the back code, the data always needs more time, I'm only about 10% through the site listings I need for the refdesk, though now I have it set up so I can automatically update everything.) On top of which, I now have a web site (well, an actual site, more than a page, though less than an actual useful site.) I tried for the obvious one,, only to find it not available, though the only reference to it was this fascinating article about which English words were not websites in 1999. Some of these I really should have considered: nilpotent, ratiocinate, and ruminant have interesting appeals, perhaps only to me. Ultimately it was either, which had the possibility of a cool logo, but no chance of anyone ever typing it right, or what I chose, which is at least associable to me, and a perfect description of a site tied to a test engineer. What do I deal with all day? Fraught machines.
Basically, I just bought space for a lab, and right now, it looks like I've paid no attention to aesthetics. Good. I figure this page may move over there some time, but I don't know for sure yet. I've got ideas of useful things to put over there, but I have other things to do for now. We'll see how it goes.

Sunday, March 14, 2004

Random bits

I'm kind of shocked to see that most of the sports talking heads are agreeing with what was the instant Pitt homer vibe upon selection Sunday, that being Pitt got screwed, being forced to play as a three seed, and facing the prospect of a Wisconsin team effectively at home in Milwaukee in the second round. This obviously means they'll keel over in the first round. S'anyway, does anybody know if Wisconsin's fans to the one appropriate thing their cheering section should be doing? The idea of giant mushrooms replacing the "BRICK" signs behind the glass is highly appealing. (Of course, if someone purported to be TROUT MAN, dousing the Pitt faithful with soy sauce and causing shame in their cats, that would certainly balance it all out.)

J-Walk pointed to 30pointsthis article, I'm just baffled at the notion that Hormel, the folks who bring you all you meat in a can needs, are pondering pasta.

Craig pointed out the imminent arrival of "Brood X". Now I have a previous relationship with cicadas, as my family's house is smack dab in the middle of Brood V and Brood VII territory. In their last visitation, Brood V managed to generate something around 40dB, while we were sitting in the house. Outside it was obviously worse. (I'm also very disappointed to find out the X in Brood X was a ten. Somehow I just expected the Sci-Fi Channel to produce an original film "Brood X", a nice ominous name, and if they're looking as far down the chain as snakeheads, all bets are off.)

Speaking of that, this really blew my mind. Compare: IMDB lists three films based on snakeheads. IMDB lists TWO current entries based on Beowulf. One is a 27 minute cartoon, the other is this, which has been sitting at an uncomfortable eye level in the local video store the last two times I've been in there, and quite frankly just looks like such a bad idea I'm afraid to rent it, but I know some kid has failed an English class somewhere because of it.

Meanwhile, Gone Stupid Network, excuse me, GSN, has decided to jump on the poker bandwagon by showing the World Series of Blackjack. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the whole notion of blackjack that you're basically playing against a house that is effectively on autoplay (I'll grant them a chance if they're doing something radical here). You can't fake the house out, thus there's nothing to watch here. Based on this, we're one step away from televising the slot machine world championships. And by extension, we're two steps away from "The Shiny Show".

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Both Craig and Pittsblog made note of this story about Pittsburgh getting thrown a bone by Esquire. I'll freely admit I'm not in a position to comment, given I tend not to pay attention to it anyway, and what has been brought to my attention hasn't seemed any greater or lesser than in past years. (Of course, I'm also the guy who is able to completely zone out of following music for years at a time. So any sea change is not going to register with me anyway.) Our turn, I guess.

In other Pittsburgh news, the Onion would have absolutely nailed down Pittsburgh's relationship to its traffic problems, if they had managed to include one reference to "It would be great when I get the frickin' thing finished." The fact that the guy looks like across between Fred Rogers and former mayor Caligiuri also scores major points.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Ahhhh... Time to bust out the Strikethru tag.

Why? This.

And, folks, I'm wondering, is James Spader now the carnivorous version of Allison LaPlaca? I mean she's done a lot of things, but she never unhinged her jaw and swallowed a show whole.
(Thanks, Craig)

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

I already know this joke is so obscure no one reading this will get it (it's based off of an old question Carey wrote for a summer tournament,) but I'll do it anyway.

I guess we won't need his pants, then.
I apparently missed this the first time, but the image of Mike Mularkey combining with his old mentor Sam Wyche kind of warms my heart. It also means I can really think of them as two mad scientists working together, allowing me to truly think of Mularkey and Wyche as Dr. Forrester and TV's Frank, turning Orchard Park into their own Deep 13. Is it too much to hope that at some point Drew Bledsoe will have to come up with an invention exchange?

Friday, March 05, 2004

Kevin spotted proper "Fraught" usage in the coverage of the Disney story. Had I been thinking about it, there was a fraught call to be made in this, but too late now.
A Google News search yielded the following pair of stories. (1 | 2) Note that in the second case, the power of Fraught is so high, it's actually bending the English language to suit its needs. In Google, this headline reads: "Transportation Secretary Fraught to speak at NMSU", which, had it been true, probably would have made this woman the southwestern heroine of this here weblog.

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Earlier this week, we mentioned the things you shouldn't do in a car. This would, of course, not be an improvement.

From the "without a doubt, the worst Pirate fan I've ever heard of" file:
No word on whether this required the spilling of the blood of a descendant of Will Turner... or Turner Ward.

Finally, does the appearance of this article negate all the good score in this article. (I just found this a nice pairing.)

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Okay, "News" proposition odds, brought to you, as always, by Kidder's House of Wacky Prop Bets.

Odds of strange blueness on Jupiter being tied to findings of water on Mars: 4000:1
Odds of probe of NASA after the water announcement suspiciously misses window of Long John Silver's "find water on Mars get free giant shrimp" offer: 50:1
Odds that stories of giant Stalinist crabs invading Europe prompt a probe of the communist ties of Red Lobster: 200:1
Odds that scientists will take the lawsuits and research into Popcorn Packer's Lung, and turn it into a weapon capable of both defeating the Red Crab Menace, and rendering them perfectly seasoned: 10:1
Odds of Olbermann uttering the phrase "Mmm...artificial butter vapors." during tonight's Countdown: 1:9

Monday, March 01, 2004

Craig hit this part of the Coca-Cola plan earlier today, (which has its own amusements, like the way they skirt around the "technique perfected by Nasa to purify fluids on spacecraft" being a codeword for "drink your own urine", and the way that the slogan "Pure, Still Water" could be recadenced to read. "pure...STILL WATER.") but I also found this, which kind of makes me worry that people will continue to pay a buck a bottle to ensure they're well balanced in the congealed and chocotastic food groups.