Sunday, October 31, 2004

How it's going to end.

Having studied the map, I've got it down to three possibilities:
1. Bush rollover (Winning 300+ electoral votes.)
2. Narrow Bush win (Under 300 electoral votes.)
3. Narrow Kerry win

The reason I discount the possibility of a Kerry rollover is that he hasn't nailed down a lot of the places he needs to do that. Minnesota's still in play, Hawaii's inexplicably in play a little, and New Jersey still hasn't moved into a solid blue state. Above all, the indicator for me of this was West Virginia. I've yet to see a chart in this cycle that has tipped WV even to a tie. That's truly mind boggling to me, that a historically Democrat state flipped in 2000 and hasn't even been touched. Those conditions lead to the possible Bush rollover scenario, which isn't so much a rollover, but a parlay bet. The key pieces to this are taking all the battlegrounds by a point or so, and tipping some place like NJ or HI the same way.
My gut keeps telling me that option 2 is the right one. It hinges on OH and FL to Bush, PA going to Kerry, and the rocky mountain swings going Bush. My basis for those are seeing Youngstown's power structure go hard for Bush (Democrat mayor, and paper both endorsed him, call it the ghost of Traficant), and seeing there's enough muddying of the water around here, on both sides, that neither side has looked good in the local media to force a hard swing to Bush. That doesn't stop the Republicans from coming here (Cheney came to Washington County last Wed. Bush comes tomorrow), but I think I figured out why: I-70. It wouldn't surprise me that a lot of the highly conservative Catholic Democrats in southern Ohio have been encouraged to come for rallies here. The support in these parts for Bush is remarkably strong, given voting record, but I don't know if the base is narrow and motivated or wide and shallow.

So I guess the best guess you'll have is if the following are true at 8pm EST.
Scenario 1: PA/NJ/NH all go Bush. I don't see this happening at all.
Scenario 2: NJ goes Kerry, NH Bush, PA doesn't get called immediately. Pennsylvania, I think, is the Democratic firebreak (I'm still trying to figure out the equivalent for Republicans, I suspect it's Florida, but I had suspected it's Ohio before.) If it's close here, it's going to be close all night nationally, and afterward. Pennsylvania is my bet for 2004's Florida. If it shines some sunshine on this state, it's going to be embarrassing, but ultimately good for us.
Scenario 3: PA/NJ/NH all go Kerry. I figure this is going to happen, I just don't think it will happen immediately. If if does happen immediately, start figuring that Kerry needs, and will get, one of OH, FL, or the MN/WI/IA triple.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Notes from the beginning of the end of days:

1. I still don't see a moon.
2. Nothing says apocalypse like "Here to sing God Bless America, Grammy-Winning Artist Scott Stapp."
3. Look it's Jimmy Fallon. Man, did that script get totally wrecked...
4. No, seriously, I still don't see a moon.
5. Congratulations, Red Sox fans. Now, please do not turn into the jerks we saw when the Patriots first won.
6. Okay, the moon thing is really starting to bother me. The dead are rising, the Red Sox have won, and there is no frickin' moon. And you don't see anything wrong with this?
CNN had an article up noting that 6 out of 10 people figure that the election won't be decided on election day. I can almost guarantee that'll be true, sorry to say. In the past two weeks three stories have broken in the state that make it look inevitable that whatever happens, the margin of victory in Pennsylvania won't be outside the margin of error. To wit:

1. Concern that moving polling locations in Philadelphia will constitute disenfranchisement of minority voters (Oh, those clever, evil Republicans.)
2. Concern that kicking Nader off the ballot meant a delay in sending out absentee ballots, constituting a disenfranchisement of overseas voters, including armed forces. (Oh, those clever, evil Democrats.)
3. Concern that because the voter rolls in Allegheny County aren't cleaned of the deceased, they'll be a massive outpouring of zombie voters, disenfranchising the living. (Oh, those clever, Evil Dead.)

The third one concerns me most directly, mostly because, I'm living in the county, and the most recent report (Channel 4's investigative report from 10/17) indicated of 400 names on the voter rolls of voters over 90, around 200 of them had died, and 7 of them had voted at least once since death. So if we figure 3% of the dead in the second most populous county, in "The Fixin' to Die State", are voting illegally, the state's margin of error goes up a lot. I'm also ticked off because this is the one of the three up above that was preventable in advance, because the evidence was there. The other two are opposed based on the proposition that wrongdoing will result, but we don't know. Here we have the proof, and nothing has been put in place to prevent a repeat. More to the point, I see no way that observers could help this one, if the dead or their minions are even moderately clever.

So, here in George Romero country, the dead have risen. Just frickin' great. Watch us find out protecting us from the dead was the job of the prothonotary. Wouldn't that be embarassing.

Monday, October 25, 2004

As someone who pursues a staunch anti-apocalypse agenda, somehow this story doesn't surprise me, as much as it means when the game is delayed for the ceremonial opening of the seals, I can go "Told you!"

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Okay, we're 14 days from TRASH regionals, and I lack that key component for TRASH success, the nifty team name. Having rattled my brain for two weeks, I've come up blank. So I open it up to the floor. Submit below.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Lesson to us all: Even if my side is armed with scientific proof, there will always be those who will doubt the existence of the Immaculate Reception.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

I knew I had heard of this trick performed before.

Matt's mention of the Guardian's Clark County project, got me thinking that I had seen this scenario played out before, though it was more of a political dirty trick that time, than merely the hubris meets nemesis that this time appears to be.

30pointsThis article (search down to "Murchison Letter") explains how it went down, though it draws a contrary conclusion to how I thought it played out at the time. I had thought it was a more primary cause of Cleveland's defeat than what they're claiming.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Okay, the oddities multiply:

1. For the 7th inning stretch, the Irish Tenor is singing God Bless America, and they cut to the flag, and the pennant for Toronto appears to be hung higher than the American flag.

2. Driving home from practice, I catch an ad for Eat 'n Park, the local defrocked Big Boy chain, advertising their new coffee bar, where you can also get Tea, Chai, or the NEW CHAI TEA MILKSHAKE. I can't believe how bad that sounds to me, despite liking Chai, Tea, and Milkshakes.

3. On the container of olives I bought at the supermarket is a label which marks it as "Anti-Pasta". I've seen the joke before based on this same misspelling, but the hyphen absolutely makes it this time.

4. You folks know I don't drop the Logan's Run references for just anything, but I saw this today, and I defy you to look at this and not react with "It's Carousel, Charlie Brown!" The rest of it is at least that bad.
Joe, you can send your mash notes here.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

I swear, I did not know this story was coming in posing my Bond as PM premise. Great, I can now summon diplomatic incidents at will. I am turning into Ed Glosser, trivial psychic.

Monday, October 18, 2004

In Craig's commentary on the Greatest Canadian competition and poutine cookoff, he noted:

Pierre Trudeau
He's gonna win. It's like having James Bond as your Prime Minister.

This, of course, got me thinking...

Outside of the obvious, that this is only one step removed from the Vladimir Putin scenario, this has to be one of the most demented alternate history possibilities I can imagine. Think 1979, and instead of Thatcher, the Tories coalesce around Bond. (Look, at heart Bond does defend old-school traditional British values, and would continue the high drinking tradition established by Churchill. And as for why 1979, it means Moonraker never gets made.)

Your assignment: Bond is elected in 1979, how does British and/or world politics change in the years following?
(Craig, you have permission to use this to scare the living crap out of your students by using it as a sample essay question.)

My immediate answer: Falklands crisis ends when Argentina's secret underground lair explodes.

Joe nailed down the existential joy of having Vinny as an opponent yesterday. I sent this to Gregg Easterbrook, but what are the odds of it hitting:

I'd previously said to people: "It's not merely that the Steelers own Vinny, I think I was there for the halftime where we burned his mortgage." No, yesterday's game almost makes me wonder if Vinny's a deep cover sleeper. I almost want to go up to him, ask him to sign a card, show him that it's the queen of diamonds and see if his face goes blank and he lobs his pen to the nearest black and gold jersey.
13 ways of looking at an endive purchase.

1. These are smaller than I thought they'd be. Also lighter. I guess that's good. You need two for the soup, we'll take two. Quarter pound. Okay. One dollar for unethical vegetable experimentation. I'm sure PETV will get me for that.

2. "Do you know what these are?" the cashier asks me. "Endive" I say. I begin to think "Well, if I didn't know what they were, wouldn't that be a far more exciting checkout? 'I don't know what the hell this is, it just looked cool. Is it edible, ma'am?' 'Sir, that's Endust.'"

3. Alternate take: "Not really, I just buy what the websites tell me to buy."

4. Alternate take, with added truth: "Well, actually I don't really know, kinda looks like lettuce, I wouldn't have thought it might be a cabbage, then I saw bok choy, so I know I can be fooled that way. I know it has a name, and that name is endive, but no, I don't actually know WHAT it is. That's kind of the point of the exercise of buying it."

5. "Oh wait", I say looking at where she's pointing. "That's not endive. That's mustard greens." I point two items over. "THAT'S endive."

6. "Do you know how much it costs?" she says. License to steal time. I suggest $3.50 a pound. Amazingly she doesn't believe me, instead marking it at $1.39 a pound.

7. "Too many lettuces" she says. My brain replays the whole bok choy incident again.

8. I realize that I've been saying it [EHN-dyv] throughout this, ignoring the marketing mandated [AWN-deev] method. I find myself taking great comfort in this non-conformity.

9. Crap, I didn't have enough cash to cover. Use the card. Do I have a frequent shopper card? No. Do you think I want people to know that I'm buying endive? (Thinks about what he's typing.) Let me rephrase that, do you think people who would read my permanent shopping record really should let my clearly deranged opinion influence their decisions? I thought not. Glad we're clear on this.

10. Raw, not bad, kind of indistinguishable from every other leafy white thing I've eaten. A little more bitter, but not terribly so. I guess that's the genuity. Cooked, we'll see.

11. Okay, cooked potatoes, onion, garlic, and endive in the blender. All right, now how do I get endive residue off the ceiling? Thankfully white on white won't stain.

12. All right, so this is Cream of Genuine Belgian Endive Soup. Potatoes, Onions, Garlic, Chicken Broth, Milk, Dill, Salt, Pepper, and Endive. It's not bad, but I'm still dubious that I'm tasting anything but the genuity. One of my favorite things in the world is Cream of Potato Soup, and this isn't all that far from it.

13. Monday lunchtime. They claim it can be served hot or cold. A bad microwave in the kitchen and it's served hot and cold. They didn't say anything about that, but it seems okay. Will I make it again? We'll see.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Okay, the endive people, excuse me, Genuine Belgian Endive People are not grounded in reality. Following up with yesterday's bit, I went over to and found something that I can't tell whether it's pure marketing drivel or a bad translation of impure marketing drivel, with fetching MIDI. For example, these quotes from the main page:
"Sponsor it for salads" sounds vaguely like its a child in Belgium that Sally Struthers wants you to adopt, then eat.

"Genuine Belgian Endive...
It isn't any one thing.
It's everything."
Wow. If Marshall Applewhite brainwashed Joe Carcione-Thegreengrocer (as I thought his name was as a child), this might be the ad copy he'd generate.

"Cooked, its distinctly muted Genuine Belgian Endive flavor adds subtle touches."
Wow, that's a lot of nothing to say. And yes, "distinctly muted" is the best oxymoron I heard this week.

The rest of the page looks reasonable, and I might even be tempted into making the Cream of Endive, excuse me Cream of Genuine Belgium Endive Soup. However, I can't get behind this recipe. I don't see that using your crop as a serving tray counts as a real recipe.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Grady Tripp rides again.

Random notes from the weekend:
1. Quote I'm going to need to remember in future: "You can't combine a bunch of minor prophets together and make a major one. They're not like Voltron!"
2. What did people do before Voltron to make that allusion?
3. I don't know how I got to this page, but I really can't tell where tradition ends and stereotypes begin in this sentence: "This recipe combines the two favorite ingredients of Belgian food: beer and endive."
4. Again, I can't remember how I got here, it appears to be the next World's Fair site, but I just want to know why they beheaded their mascot before the event. I mean I totally understand why you'd do it after... (No I don't, but I figure I need to engage them on the issue somehow.)
I admit I haven't been following the development of Pittsburgh's new ABA team, though with a story like this, I kinda get the feeling I'm not missing anything, except possibly a free fraught call.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Wittingly or un, it appears I have been following the Tao of Shatner: Do what you find enjoyable, create something new, and don't be afraid to mock yourself.

So how does this apply to my latest crazy notion:

It is enjoyable to remove from my brain those half-baked notions that come up in my mind, and keep me up some nights. It is enjoyable to construct a puzzle, or even just a rule set, and watch how the pieces interact, or how people interact with the pieces.

Create something new: I'm making something new, I don't know how these are going to work out. Some of these are easy for me, some are hard, but I know I'm a single case.

Don't be afraid to mock yourself: I've seen other puzzle pages appear and disappear. I don't presume that this will be any different, but we have to see how long before I screw up, or something like that. And if it fails, if it doesn't attract enough people, or if it becomes not worth people's time, well then I'll the first to call it folly.

So with that, go break some stuff people. UPRK (better name possibly to be discovered later) is open for business.

I just want to know why this article sounds so much like something Joe and I would come up with in the early fourth quarter of a blowout:
"Okay, let's do it Mad Libs Style. Football Team?"
"Oakland Raiders."
"Plural?...Siegfried and Roy."
"Obscure Steeler."
"Uhhh, Jahine Arnold?"
"That's cliche."
"All right...Cole Ford."
"Who was he?"
"I think we drafted him to replace Gary Anderson, but Norm Johnson took the job. Or maybe he was drafted to replace Norm Johnson. Anyway, mid-90's or so. Never got out of camp."
"So if I guess if I said position, you'd say kicker?"
"All right. Let's see this. Former Oakland Raiders kicker Cole Ford is being sought for questioning after a drive-by shooting on the mansion of celebrities Siegfried and Roy."
"That's awesome!"

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

I got to listen to the entire album Has Been this afternoon. It's actually quite a good album, just taken as an album, not even as a celebrity project, which surprises me. And it may have been my head exploding, but there's something to be said for a guy who realizes his position in the universe, is comfortable within it, and really doesn't give a damn. You can tell he enjoyed making, and I enjoyed it. It's not for every one, but an album that out of nowhere traverses from a gunfight between Shatner and metaphorical critics, to the cadence of Ken Nordine, is probably for me.

I shudder to think that I'm saying this but: We can learn a lot from William Shatner.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Well, now the story can be told. For the record, that was just cool. (A small tweak to my ego, that I didn't get any mention, but I figured that was going to hinge on them not using the picture they did, shot from across the back of my shoulder. But that's ego talking, I'll live.) A1 on the Post, nothing requiring correction, that's a big win for all of us.
It's amazing how much things can turn on a dime. I'm a big believer in instant karma, and boy does it deliver on me. Every good thing will result in a sudden bad thing, just to balance it out. This week's example: I had finished up a tournament at CMU, no problems, very efficient, all fine and good. I was planning to cut loose with a project I had been working on for a couple weeks, I was feeling good with the world. So as I turned off into Greentree, as I approached the light... BANG! Suddenly, there's a half dollar sized crater in my windshield. Now the weird thing is there's nothing near me. No car that could have kicked a pebble, nothing like that. Either I've just been hit by a meteorite, or I've just been sniped on the mean streets of Greentree, which unless Hindu engineers have decided to form their own gang, seems equally unlikely. I'm more concerned at this point with the fact that I physically felt the windshield impact, which seems like a Pascal's Law problem gong awry. I get out of the line of fire without incident, but my head is starting to pound, and I really had no idea what just happened to me. Still in a bit of shock, I go to the video store, and then just simultaneously decompress and try and figure this out. It's a bad thing that I started playing the game of "Okay, who would want to kill me?" After failing to come up with a method that someone from Saskatoon could know I'd be taking that route home, I moved to the theory of "No, this is just dumb luck." Between this and the foul ball in California, I'm guessing my new karmic schtick is having random objects hit relatvistic velocities while aiming for my head at impossible angles. I think Gary Busey had a case of this a couple years back, and he seems to have come out of it okay. Okay, he came out of it no worse than I am normally.

S'anyway, if you were wondering why something you were expecting me to do on Saturday, and didn't; now you know. We'll try for tomorrow.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Da Vinci Project licensed to launch.

In a related story, a strange, engineer-looking man was seen just outside the city limits of Saskatoon, making the "bring it" gesture with his hands.