Tuesday, December 20, 2005

12/20/05 U.S. Torture

So, the U.S. military is using torture. That's pretty bad, right? Well, you probably didn't know how bad it really is.

Monday, December 19, 2005

12/19/05 The 10 Most Puzzling Ancient Artifacts

I saved the link to The 10 Most Puzzling Ancient Artifacts last week. I forgot about it over the weekend, but checked it out again today. If it's at all true, it's cool as hell. In general, the artifacts bring into question the chronology of human history as we know it. My favorite one is the Dropa Stones. (Note: Everything I say from here on out is from the article. I have NO idea if it's true). The Dropa Stones are 10,000 to 12,000 years old and were found in the Himalayas in China. The stones are circles that are 9 inches in diameter and appear to be ancient phonograph records. "The spiral groove, it turns out, is actually composed of tiny hieroglyphics that tell the incredible story of spaceships from some distant world that crash-landed in the mountains."

Check out these pictures from the Library of Congress - America in Color, 1939-1943.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

12/18/05 Things My Grandma Taught Me

My Grandma Evelyn called me today. She was talking about the traveling she did in her youth and mentioned going to Catalina Island. To which I responded, "Wow. You know I can see Catalina out my window?" (Ok, I really can't see it out MY window, but if I walk outside I can see it). She said, "Yeah. The Cubs used to have their spring training there". To which I responded, "What?". "Yeah, it's not like they always played in Arizona. Wrigley used to own the island." Wow. I had no idea.

When I'm a grandpa, I'll be telling my grandkids - "When I was your age, we used to let the president spy on us. And we liked it!"

If you're white, you have a genetic mutation.

Nobel Laureate on string theory - "We don't know what we are talking about".

Saturday, December 17, 2005

12/17/05 Mr. Wong's Apartment

Check out Mr. Wong's Apartment. It's the biggest virtual apartment on the internet. (I can't prove for sure that it's the biggest, but I challenge you to prove otherwise.)

Sorry that I've been lame and late on my posts lately. I've just been busy. And here's some fair warning. Between Thursday and the end of the year, I can pretty much guarantee that I'll be offline. We can have some teary goodbye on Wednesday evening if we so choose.

Nancy sends Simon Sez Santa. It's like that Burger King chicken or the virtual bartenders. Let me know if you can make him do something fun. I haven't had much time to play with it yet. My favorite so far is "knock over the sign". Wait, I lied. "knock over the tree" is better.

I was watching some rerun of SNL where Will Ferrell came back to host. Queens of the Stone Age were performing their one song I know. And Will came out to play cow bell. Classic.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

12/14/05 Icing the Kicker

As a kid, I remember my teaching me the rules of baseball and football. My first exposure to the psychology of sports occurred when the defensive team called timeout with 3 seconds left in the game and the clock already stopped. This, as we all know, is called "Icing the kicker". My dad explained it to me in simple terms - "They're making him think about the kick for a long time." At the time, I couldn't quite grasp the entire concept, but as I grew up it sunk in. Teams almost always follow the "icing the kicker" rule of thumb. Always made sense to me. Turns out, it might have the opposite effect.

Eww. Eww. Eww. There's no way this true. Not a chance. Right? Please tell me this isn't true.

Speaking of family matters - Like father, like daughter.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

12/13/05 Riots in Australia

My buddy, Nigel, IMed me from Sydney tonight. He told me a little bit about the crazy rioting going on there. He says that the police are scared.

When I first started this "Something I learned today", I wrote about Air Conditioning and how it could bring world peace. Well, I'm not particularly proud of that idea anymore. The same idea is #1 on a list of "10 stoner ideas for bringing peace to Iraq".

Hawk in the Apartment

I tend to get really bored while driving. So, I end up entertaining myself on my way to work in the morning. My newest project is setting up and decorating my apartment. So, I've spent the last few days brainstorming creative ways to make my apartment feel like home, yet still be presentable for guests.

In my early morning, just waking up haze, an idea popped into my head. I would love to have a recording of Hawk Harrelson saying "He Gone!" every time somebody leaves my apartment. "Alright man, see ya later". "HE GONE!"

So I went with the theme for a few minutes. And it clicked. Why not have Hawk recordings all over the apartment? Just about everything he says is appropriate in all aspects of life. If you stretch your imagination. Think about it for a second before reading on.

"Before we show you our picks to click for tonight you at home select yours"

Here's what I've come up with so far:

The Bathroom (the toilet specifically) -
  • "He's got 2 ducks on the pond"
  • "There's a Hang Wif 'Em"
  • "Zone him in, reel him in, and light him up"
  • "Cinch it up and hunker down"
  • When things aren't coming out right - "C'mon. Ball four, base hit"
  • and when you're done, "GAS! He gone!"

On the Computer -

  • "I LOVE email"

In the kitchen -

  • "Can of corn"

On Poker Night

  • "Rack Em Up!"
  • When you catch a bad beat - "Mercy!"

The Bedroom (in case I ever find myself a girlfriend) -

  • On the good nights - "Get up... Stretch... He looks up... You can put it on the booooaaard... YES!"
  • On the bad nights - "You can cancel the postgame show".
  • Or worse, "Right size, wrong shape"

Other ideas? "Duck snort"? "A big crooked number on the board"? "Sit back, relax and strap it down"? "Souvenir, right side"? "I love it when you analyze"? "Pick to click"?

Monday, December 12, 2005

12/12/05 Global Warming

The book "State of Fear" by Michael Crichton came highly recommended recently. So I picked it up and started reading. The plan was to read just enough to determine if I like it. And if I did, then I would save it for my holiday vacation at the end of the month. I liked it too much and kept reading the last couple of days. I'm no more than 25% through the book (I read at a 3rd grade level, I think), so I really can't ruin anything. However, one of the main ideas is that the evidence and correlations we take for granted about global warming may not be accurate.

Most of us have learned that the average global temperature over the past 100 years has gone up by 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit. This has led to glaciers melting and sea levels rising. Common knowledge tells us that the root is the increase in CO2 levels over the past 100 years. This is the picture of the greenhouse effect that I'm aware of. Common knowledge. Simple stuff. We all get it.

The book presents real evidence to the contrary. Supposedly, Michael Crichton spent 3 years researching the topic (he's known for his due diligence with his research). Since I haven't had a thing to do at work all day, I decided to do a little investigating. The most fascinating relationship between the temperature on Earth and another factor is - Solar Activity. When you hear about "solar flares" and "sun spots", that means there is an increase in solar activity. "When sunspots increase, the amount of radiation from the sun increases. Thus, earth receives more energy from the sun"

Solar cycles repeat approximately every 11 years. Every 22 year the magnetic poles on the sun reverse, causing this cycle.

Based on these findings, solar activity this century will peak around 2046. The site claims to have solar data starting in 1614 (really?). "The almost total lack of solar activity between 1645 and 1715 corresponds to the well-known mini ice age of that period, when the Thames froze for several winters to a depth of 10 feet and Frost Festivals were held on it."

Just something to chew on for today. Personally, I am still of the opinion that man-made CO2 emissions are nasty. And regardless of whether they contribute to global warming, they definitely contribute to health problems and should be done away with as quickly as possible.

Remember Pro Wrestling for the original Nintendo? That game ruled. My least favorite guy was Fighter Hayabusa. He had some special "back brain kick" that, when you missed your opponent, you'd lie on the ground and be open to a beating.

From the Planes, Trains and Automobiles Files: "YOU'RE GOING THE WRONG WAY!"

I challenge any drummer to try and play Lateralus. And I challenge any non-drummer to listen to the song and follow along.

Friday, December 09, 2005

12/9/05 RSS Feeds on Toilet Paper

This is for the technologically proficient - You can now get RSS Feeds printed on toilet paper.

Having solved all other crime, the State of Illinois has moved onto the important issues.

Drilling a 3 km deep hole into the San Andreas fault. What could possibly go wrong?

From the "Only in California Files": The next race for governor may be The Terminator vs. Mad Max.

Another fact spawned by listening to my iPod. I have "Stairway to Heaven" backwards on the iPod. Some people say they hear "My sweet Satan" and "666". I was looking for the lyrics that people claim they hear and good old Wikipedia popped up. Here's the page on backwards messages.

Mike sends a page you can use the next time you're at a meeting at work. It's called Bullshit Bingo. "Before each meeting, visit Bullshit Bingo and print one copy of this game card for each player, refreshing the page before each print, or have the players print their own BS Bingo cards... Check off each block when you hear these words during a meeting, seminar, or phone call. When you get five blocks horizontally, vertically, or diagonally, stand up and shout BULLSHIT!!"

Thursday, December 08, 2005

12/8/05 Da Coach

Cousin Eric sends a great video of Ditka.

Here's some game with a spinning wrench or something.

In case you were wondering, I checked the crazy, drunk Italian on the registered sex offender website. He didn't come up. And the whole moral of the story - I was joking about the Italian thing. In general, they're pretty cool. Part of my family is Italian. Hence the joke. Cousin Eric offered some good advice. He writes, "Next time you offer to help someone with their groceries, make sure it's a hot girl". I can always count on Cousin Eric to set me straight. No pun intended. Cousin Eric has also set a record, being mentioned 4 times now in one post (including this sentence).

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Pearl Harbor Day

I had intended to go swimming tonight, but it was pretty cold. I know, not Chicago cold, but still cold enough to see your breath and decide not to swim. Instead, I opted for the hot tub. There were five guys in the hot tub. One guy who apparently knew the other and asked him flat out if he'd be interested in learned a brief history of Korea. You've got to assume these guys have talked history and politics in the past. But hey, who knows.

What I learned is that many Koreans have the last names Kim and Lee. These are the names of some of the dynasties over the past 2000 years. He said that the last name in Korean is "Ee", but we westernize it and add the "L".

In all, there were guys from Korea, Lebanon, Baghdad (he's half Iraqi and half German), England and me. The American. We actually had quite a fascinating talk about the world wars and the cold war. And how Hitler's main objective was to control the world's oil. And how America's interest in the war was also for oil and was led by Rockefeller. I'm not a history buff, so I don't know how much of this is true. But hey, it's Pearl Harbor day and I learned quite a bit about history. So I thought I'd share.

Part 2 of this story. As I was walking back to my apartment there was a guy getting off of the elevator. His paper grocery bags started ripping so I offered him a hand to get his bags to his apartment. He took me up on the offer and we brought the bags into his place. He insisted that I have a drink. It was his way of thanking me. I said no thanks, but he wouldn't take no for an answer. He was really pushy when it came to "my poison". If I had to do it again, I would have said "beer". I take that back. If I really had to do it all over again, I never would have helped his drunk ass in the first place. But much like our military in Iraq, the bad decision was already made. I just had to make the situation better.

All of the sudden, I realized this guy was kind of hammered. I'm not sure if it was the "I'm from Chicago and I'm Italian. All of the fuckers here in California are all fucked in the head." that gave it away. Or maybe it was the "People tell me to stay away from their kids and call me a child molester." that tipped me off. I tried to act surprised and asked, "Wow. People really say that?" Apparently he took great offense to that. Mind you this guy is a big, Tony Soprano sized Italian dude from Chicago. And I'm in his apartment. Fortunately, he flipped out again and told me to get the hell out. It was something about not making eye contact and how I'm just like the "cocksuckers here in Newport Beach". I put my drink down, thanked him and walked out. He gave me my drink back. I put it down again. He once again gave me the drink and told me to keep the glass. I wasn't about to say no twice.

Moral of this entire post? People from around the world are generally really cool to talk to. Except Italians.

12/7/05 The Top Sports Franchises

ESPN polled 30,000 fans to determine the top sports franchises (MLB, NBA and NFL). I usually post this just to prove how sad Chicago sports are. But the times seem to be changing a little bit.

The categories they used to determine the rankings are:

BNG (Bang for the Buck): Revenues directly from fans divided by wins in the past three years
FRL (Fan Relations): Ease of access to players, coaches & management
OWN (Ownership): Honesty; loyalty to players and city
AFF (Affordability): Price of tickets, parking and concessions
STD (Stadium Experience): Friendliness of environment; quality of game-day promotions
PLA (Players): Effort on the field; likability off it
CCH (Coach/Manager): Strong on-field leadership
CHA (Championships): Titles already won or expected -- soon

The San Antonio Spurs topped the list. In Chicago news, the White Sox came in at #13, ranking high in Fan Relations, Affordability, Players, and Coach/Manager. The Bears and Bulls are #43 and #44. The Cubs ranked #73, just behind the Pittsburgh Pirates, Detroit Lions and the New Jersey Nets. Their Stadium Experience ranks 5th overall. So, that settles the debate once and for all. People like going to Wrigley Field.

Sticking with the sports theme, CBS will offer live, On Demand broadcasts of March Madness. Office network admins start crapping their pants.

Note: Do not play poker online when someone is shooting at your DSL.

A legal battle over lyrics on the internet. God, I hate corporations. If hate were people, I'd be China.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

12/6/05 Google's Ten Golden Rules

Google has a list of their 10 Golden Rules. Rule #8 - Don't be evil. Good one. They were actually pretty nice about not hiring me last year.

Beethoven had lead poisoning - "a possible cause for his dour demeanor". "Lead poisoning can lead to headaches, fatigue, concentration problems and other health issues." Death by heavy metal.

Monday, December 05, 2005

12/5/05 Harold and Kumar

That's no way for a man to die. A parachute not opening... that's a way to die. Getting caught in the gears of a combine... having your nuts bit off by a Laplander, that's the way I wanna go.

Damn it. Damn it. Damn it. Now I'm back to drinking coffee AND alcohol.

2005 Sportsman of the Year - Jose Canseco?

Yes, video games can influence kids. But not in the way you might think.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

12/3/05 Some Guy Dancing All Over the World

This is just really cool. It's some guy doing some dance in different locations all over the world.

I searched Google Video for "Nachos". I got this. Too bad the Swedish Chef isn't narrating. (Note: I have no idea what language the nacho clip is in. If you know, please let me know. It was close enough to Swedish for me).

Cousin Jeff sent this article about a pretty hardcore Bar Mitzvah.

True story - My senior year high school English teacher once told our class that "the way you sneeze is the way you orgasm". Yes, I had a cool English teacher. A few of my friends have recently told me that they had a crush on her. As a tribute to Ms. (I won't reveal your last name) - What your sneeze says about you.

To my techno-geek friends. Here's a way to take care of your techno-geek kids.

Nancy sends The Italian-American Teddy Bear. You need your speakers on to appreciate it.

Friday, December 02, 2005

12/2/05 The 15 Richest Fictional Characters

Somebody at Forbes was really bored lately. They wrote an article about the 15 richest fictional characters. Topping the list is Santa Claus. He's followed by Richie Rich, Daddy Warbucks and Scrooge McDuck.

And you thought *you* were having a bad day.

More later. Maybe.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

12/1/05 Harvester of Sorrow

Welcome back Paulie. We're thrilled to see you stay.

What's the difference between White and Red?

Happy December. I will now formally acknowledge the holiday season.

Coffee improves short term memory and speeds up reaction times. Damn it. Maybe I won't give it up after all.

Now onto the National Security portion of our segment:

Los Alamos: 600-plus pounds of Plutonium unaccounted for. Doc and Marty detained for questioning. Claim is was the Libyans.

Airline Security of waste of cash.

Super bonus points: Why is this post titled "Harvester of Sorrow"? (Nacho Expert, you are banned from answering for at least 24 hours since I'm pretty sure you know). All others - I'll entertain guesses.