Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Friday, December 24, 2004

Okay, last year we had to deal with the Christmas kissing bears (the ones Hallmark had that have a magnet in their snout so they liplock with severe authority. Well, my father's attorney swung by last night with a gift basket for the family which included another one of these (all by himself unfortunately). We probably wouldn't have noticed the magnet in the solo bear, had the pair not been there the previous year. S'anyway... we got to thinking about it, and since we clearly had too much wine at the poker game, when we got back the parents' place, we had to test some theories out. I'd just like to note that I wasn't the one who brought the bears out to do this.

Apparently all of the male Hallmark kissing bears have the same alignment of magnets within them, so they won't kiss each other, and are quite able to demonstrate this issue by mutual repulsion, and displaying the general awkwardness of two beings being forced to kiss. They will, however, allow their magnets to align alongside each other, planting one on the cheek. Clearly, the Hallmark kissing bears are not gay, merely French. That's important to know.

Meanwhile, other observations of the season.
1. Best Buy was attempting cross promotional synergy by placing a Robosapien on top of the stack of I, Robot DVDs. Nothing like encouraging the thought that once the Robosapiens reach critical mass, they'll slaughter the humans. Buy one today for your kid.
2. While the one show I figured should be available on DVD (Police Squad!) wasn't there, (not even where I figured they'd plant it, in a Naked Gun box set,) were a lot of other shows which they were pushing on the public in the TV section. This of course results in the game of "What's the least likely series that someone's putting out on DVD?" I think our clear winner in this was finding that they were pushing the first season of 227 on DVD. Nothing to add here, just couldn't figure that one out.

And good night, and a happy holiday, belated or otherwise, to you all.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Random shopping thought, captured for your amusement.

1. "Why is there a KISS doll in the Toys for Tots? Wait, are they still making KISS dolls? Was this once a collectible? Is it in its original packaging? This is just posing more questions than it answers. I should walk away."
2. "How's the seal on this storage jar? Dear God, what is that smell? Is that the plastic sealer, or did somebody at the factory actually fart in the jar and seal it. Either way, it's a good seal to keep that in."
3. "$19.99?! Is that right? Well, normally I wouldn't consider feeding parakeets to Gracie, but at that price... Well, it is Christmas."
For those of you looking for a third part to the bonus where the answers are The Cardinal's Mistress and Zabibah and the King: Behold! The most baffling thing I've seen this week.**

**And that includes the ads for Racing Stripes, which screams January film dump.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Well, it looks like the Port Authority has realized how screwed it is. We can step down on the fraught possibilities. Not that this alternative is all that much better, but at least it's not fatal, and it's not the government playing chicken with itself.
When I saw yesterday that EA had bought exclusive NFL rights for their football games (consequently screwing my investment in TTWO) , I had to figure that something like this would be in the offing. While I don't think that anyone was asking for this product, it's probably the only plotline you can work from, unless someone really wants XFL 2005.
Clearly, I should have bought more at the gift shop.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

I find myself very annoyed by this. Well not the article, but the sidebar on the right. I annually get ticked off on the naming conventions of the bowls, but somehow the fact that they've tossed alphabetical order of bowl name, in favor of alphabetical by bowl sponsor, with BCS championship trumping all, somehow, they've reached another level of crassness. I could even forgive them for stuff like the Continental Tire Bowl, because it doesn't really have an original name, but for when you have to follow logic like "Where's the Sun Bowl?" "Look under Vitalis, pinhead." you can see where it would have been just as easy to do it alphabetically by their spelling in Greek.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

There's more to the kitchen at work than the vending machine. Occasionally people leave treats for us there, free to a good home. And in most cases I know of no better home than my digestive tract. Today I got burned on this. Someone left a half box of Caramel Apple Frangos, and I being my omnivorous self, went grazing. Okay, the key problem here is any two adjacent components worked together, but not as a three-part mix. (Caramel with liquid Jolly Rancher center, we can do that. Chocolate with Caramel center, we can do that.) Clearly, while caramel is a sufficient physical binding agent to combine the two, its an insufficient cognitive binding agent.

People had asked why I hadn't dropped the strikethru on Mr. Artest. Well, dumb me, I phrased it as Ron Artest, Rapper, which really isn't true, but then again, I wasn't going to be able to put Ron Artest, Record Executive in the block. (Joe had suggested the compromise I should have followed was striking out Ron Artest, and leaving Rapper there.) Also, I really wanted to give him the slight benefit of the doubt that the album thing might work out. Well, no. Bust out the strikethru.

Meanwhile, I'm debating another addition: The Pittsburgh Port Authority. Based on this article. The thing I'm having difficulty with is whether this is actually fraught, under previously established standards. Clearly this strategy is flawed, clearly it will lead only to trouble. However, there's only one particular trouble it'll lead to, the only question is not the form it will take, but WHEN the system will shut down. The key quote:

"I can't believe [Harrisburg] would abandon us now,"

Yeah. It's doomed, but is it fraught? You make the call.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

I gotta say, Atlanta metro may actually be designed by an insane person, and it's only getting worse. While driving to my motel Thursday night, I ended up driving to the wrong Sullivan Road in College Park, GA. There's actually two sections. One contains all the hotels, one is apparently empty, being developed. In fact, the only thing on that section of Sullivan Road is a 15-foot high column of fire. Now you'd think, if you had a 15-foot column of fire in your town, you'd at least have somebody watching it, or it would be fenced off, or something. But no. This was just a column of fire off on its own. Even worse, upon seeing it, I could only come up with two explanations: witches' sabbath, or smelting. When I finally got to the hotel, I asked about the column of fire, and they were more concerned about their not being a sign for the Super 8 at the exit, which caused me to find the column of fire. Personally, I think you'd have better luck with a nice blue sign "ATTRACTIONS: Column of Blue Hellfire -> 0.3"

I also discovered my main screwup for the weekend, I put all the things I needed for my laptop in my luggage, except the one thing I wanted to check at the Super8, my wireless card. Having chosen the motel because it was available there, I had to kick myself for not doing it. This kind of blew my plans for Friday, as I was trying to run into Richard, my old teammate. Lacking email, I couldn't get his response to my email, and without web access, I had no way to get driving directions. Oh, well.

Instead, Friday morning saw me doing the World of Coca-Cola tour. I may have additional pictures on this later, but it's about what I figured. Yeah, it's propaganda, but the free all-you-can-drink is probably worth the price of admission. Oddities of the trip:
The opening video, with 19th century drawings, was crying out for someone to scream "Brilliant!" at every turn.
I entered the tour situated after a party of Buddhist monks, and before a school class. Just a very odd combination of viewpoints going through on a Friday morning, and that truly manifested itself during the free tasting room.
Comedy bronze: My noting the rack of flags above the world cola stations included Paraguay. And yes, they had placed two different decals on each side of the flag.
Comedy silver: Watching Buddhist monks go nuts for the taste of Japan's Vegeta-beta, think Apricot Hi-C.
Comedy gold: My facial reaction to Beverly, the Italian aperitif, which was basically indistinguishable from tonic water.
Comedy platinum: Lying in wait while a crazed gang of fourth graders, working their way down the line, finally hit Beverly. I'm not a vengeful man, but that was certainly satisfying to watch.
If memory serves me, during Mark's tour of the world of Coke, he got to taste some of the same one I had, and I think we are in agreement on the improvement that replacing America's Fanta lemon with the Israeli version.

Well, we did it again. Go figure. Only two losses all weekend, and I managed to get through all my standard food orders, though I'll probably be down to carrots and elm bark for the rest of the week. Even my attempts to be mildly healthy (Sonic Sunrise) backfired, the combination of orange juice, and cherry limeade was only interpreted as a desperate cry for vodka. The Waffle House sausage melt was probably not a good idea at all, and of course, the annual Sticky Fingers run is not going to contribute to good health. The only good thing to come from my diet this weekend was a quality neologism. "Accounts of one's consumption of meat: Carniporn."

The weekend in notes and quotes:
Suggested future team name: For Unlawful Cornell Knowledge
"Sonofabitch, that IS Boba Fett."
"Futility is not an officially recognized statistic."
"You see some packets are edited more than others."
"'pants-wetting horror' is not, nor will ever be, a giveaway."
"but I was so sure."
"I don't know how, but I somehow conflated Anne Tyler and Anne Perry, and neither is related to Steve."

Craig, after I basically 30'd something solo: "Was there anything else you could have answered if it was in that question?"
Me: "No."
Craig: "Then it's a good bonus."

"I can name...lesbians." (in response to a leadin mentioning lesbian reality show contestants. The pause was everything.)

"She's a triple threat." (Mike, upon hearing that someone was both a lesbian AND has an artificial limb.)

Our mascot for the weekend was a bear, suitable for baby use, but kept safe inside two levels of bags during the tournament to prevent any possible contamination. The Hermetically Sealed Bear, hereafter to be referred to as HSB, was delivered successfully after the tournament. Attached photos see bear, bear's target for future protection, and the happy parents. (1|2) Said baby has already grown to like the bear, or at least see it as a sleep aid. Within thirty minutes of grasping said bear, baby was out cold. I'm not sure what it is within the design of that bear that makes it a sleep aid, but it seems to work universally.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Fark directed me to this. I wish I could say I was shocked at what politicians from my state are capable of, but I seem to be impervious to shock on this one. Short of using a hand puppet**, this has to be the most embarrassing thing I've ever seen a congressman resort to. I'm now hoping for an absolute blitz winter, because woke Phil early, and now he's ticked off.

**Yes, I remember Kermit testifying before Congress. This is worse.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Apparently my reaction to the Arby's Oven Mitt may be universal. However, I'm really curious about something that nobody seems to be talking about something on their front page, namely the open recall. I even looked back through google news, but all I found was this restatement of the problem. Anybody know if this is actually because people tried to use Oven Mitt as an oven mitt? Because if that's what happened, that's like metaphysical perfection of a bad promotion.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Since I set these things up in advance, and then may not notice when it happens, I'd better announce this:

1. I've expanded out UPRK, adding some new puzzle types. Three have come up already, and two more will show up Thursday and Friday.

2. At least for December, I'm expanding production out to three a day. Ideally, I'd like to have production of one word puzzle, one number puzzle, and one spatial/geographic puzzle each day. We'll see how that goes.

So Ty Willingham got fired today, which wasn't enjoyable, and Butch Davis rode himself out of town, which was enjoyable (I am a Steeler fan, and I tend to think anything that ever comes out of Miami(FL) Football is the spawn of hell.) In both cases, I think there's a lot unreasonable expectations roaming the countryside. I'm seeing a bit of it here as well. In case you hadn't noticed, the Panthers managed to make themselves the least likely BCS team in history, by winning just the right tiebreakers. Please note that when they all but assured it last Thursday, they were unranked, prompting coaches to realize they'd better legitimize this, but quick. The irony is palpable, not only was this a rebuilding year (exit the Wreck, enter the new QB), but after narrowly avoiding a loss to Furman (?!, yeah, Byko-trawling), the prevailing wisdom was that Walt Harris was going to get canned, possibly Thanksgiving night. That's why this weekend's game should be bloody interesting. They're playing a hurricane-postponed game against South Florida. Were I Walt Harris, I would be hard pressed NOT to tank this game. Why? It's the unique opportunity to deliver a simultaneous 8x10 glossy of your middle finger to everybody.
To the "Fire Walt" lobby internally and externally: the team just did the thing that everybody agreed would save his job. What better way to put their feet to the fire?
To the BCS: They've already botched the operation this year beyond repair, but you can assure fame for the rest of the BCS' life by losing. Every two-bit sportswriting hack will have his perfect final clause to his sentence. "X team didn't get to play for the title, Y team didn't even get to BCS, AND PITT...PITT..." You see where this goes, you can practically hear the spittle being absorbed on the radio mike guard. It's the Herostratus principle at work here, but it's good.

The chance is remote, but man, is it appealing.

The other part of this is the beauty that's gripping Pitt's last AD, who promptly fired the coach he had at his new job. Said team has now tanked exquisitely. I have to think now that Steve Pederson's unreasonable expectations are far more reasonable, as long as said expectations mean the only way he's getting out of Lincoln is in the trunk of one.