Wednesday, May 31, 2006
The worst part? I'm recording it for all the wrong reasons. Sure, I'm interested because I'll invariably be impressed by the kids. But that wears off after 10 words or so. After 2 minutes of:
Socially Awkward Kid: "Can I get the language of origin?"
Uptight adult: "Latin."
Socially Awkward Kid: "Can you use it in a sentence?"
Uptight adult: "The miner hit the ROCK with his hammer."
Socially Awkward Kid: "Are there any alternate pronunciations?"
Uptight adult: "No. Just 'ROCK'."
Socially Awkward Kid: "Rock?"
Uptight adult: "Rock."
Socially Awkward Kid: "Rock? Am I saying that correctly?"
Uptight adult: "Rock."
Me: "FOR THE LOVE OF GOD JUST SPELL THE WORD!"
there's really no joy left in the competition. Which brings me back to where I'm sick in the head. I'm watching it because there will, almost definitely, be a quirky kid that will be the national joke of the week. And every year, I miss the joke. I missed the fainting kid. I missed the girl who talked into her hands before saying each and every letter. And dog gone it, I refuse to miss another classic spelling bee moment! If you really want to analyze this, perhaps the spelling bee is somewhat comforting. As socially awkward as I've been known to be, the national spelling bee somehow makes me feel a little less so. So, there you have it. Spelling bee. Tonight on ESPN, tomorrow on ABC. (The 'C' is silent).
On a personal spelling bee note, I once made it to my school finals in 8th grade. (I was never quite the speller, but due to circumstances in the prelims where half of my class misspelled the same word, I was sort of in by default). Since my slackered-ness existed back then too, I looked at the sheet and really studied one word. "Adjacent". The finals were in front of the entire school in the gym. It was my turn to go. My word? "Adjacent". "Adjacent. A-d-j-a-c-e-n-t. Adjacent." There was a long, long pause. They discussed. And they said, "Incorrect". I gave them my best Tim Duncan "Where's the whistle?" face and then I sat down in the losers lounge. Later on, I asked what I got wrong. They said they heard me say "g" instead of "j". If it weren't for that moment, I could have gone to the national spelling bee. So, in a way, I thank my inability to pronounce. It saved me from the trauma that was, is, and forever will be - The National Spelling Bee.
(This just in....)
Poker Jason sends the experts handicapping of the Spelling Bee contestants.
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
How to make the best paper airplane ever. (I actually made one this morning, but haven't flown it yet. It looks pretty sweet).
In an effort to attract more fans, the Florida Marlins are resorting to themes and give-aways. One recent theme was Jewish Heritage Day. To honor his Jewish heritage, they are giving away t-shirts of first baseman Mike Jacobs. You probably guessed it already. Mike Jacobs isn't really Jewish. "Contrary to popular belief, Jacobs is not Jewish. This small detail was apparently not known to the Marlins when, on May 28, 2006, as part of the team's Jewish Heritage Day promotion, they gave Jacobs t-shirts to young fans who attended the game."
Any headline containing "Cornhole" is inevitably going to be posted here.
Monday, May 29, 2006
Has anyone gotten far in that Eye Maze game? I just don't get it.
Sunday, May 28, 2006
And another video - Pumpcast News.
My mom sends the latest nacho news... Ice Cream Nachos at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago:
Levy Restaurants @ US Cellular Field
Ice Cream Nachos
Two scoops of ice cream on a bed of cinnamon and sugar flour tortillas topped with cherries, chocolate sauce and caramel sauce. $4.50
Friday, May 26, 2006
I've had Netflix for just over a week now and the result has been this... I'm getting movies that I sort of wanted to see in the theater based on some preview I saw 6 months earlier, but never really got around to seeing. Which is why, on my first delivery, I got "Collateral" with Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx. It's not like I've been dying to see "Collateral". But some distant memory of the trailer 2 years ago pushed me to see it. Well, the point is this. The movie came out last year. In 2005. It takes place in L.A. and during one scene, you can see a gas station in the background. Gas was $1.89. It's nearly doubled in a year. Ok, there's no point here. I just didn't realize how much it had gone up in a year.
Question of the day:
How is this valid mathematical equation a limerick?
(12 + 144 + 20 + 3 * sqrt(4)) / 7 + 5(11) = 9^2 + 0
Thanks to Richard Lederer for the question. (If I have the time and inclination tomorrow, I'll post some more about Richard.)
Thursday, May 25, 2006
Thanks to everyone who posted their Guilty Pleasure Band. The phone lines are still open if you want to participate.
The 3-4-6 triple play. Seems to happen once a century.
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
This is going to an open forum (You can post anonymously if you'd like. Or better yet, just say you're "Cousin Eric" like everyone else does.) What band do you like listening to but you're ashamed to admit?
Ok, I'll start:
- I dig Collective Soul. I guarantee you know at least 3 songs on that album. And those songs rock.
- I have the entire soundtrack for "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" on my iPod. And whenever one comes up on shuffle mode, I listen to it.
- I know every Weird Al polka by heart. They're brilliant. Except the one on "Alapalooza". If all of Al's other works are an A minus, "Alapalooza" is a solid D. He must've had to fulfill some record contract obligation in a hurry when he released that one. When I first got that album, I was sad to think that I was just getting older and had outgrown Weird Al. Al called me up and said, "It's not you. It's me." For the first time in my life, I was happy to hear that.
- "The Greatest American Hero" theme song will never get skipped on my iPod. In fact, I'm still insisting that it gets played at my wedding. Come to think of it, I'm probably going to have to find someone not born in the U.S. to marry. And I'll have to convince her that "The Greatest American Hero" theme song is a traditional wedding song. Great move, eh? Starting the marriage off with deceit. Chalk this up as Reason #8729 I'm still single.
- If you read this blog regularly, you owe me a post of at least one guilty pleasure song/band. I've left my manhood hanging out there. Figuratively speaking. Well, for all you know, it's literally speaking too. Either way... point is... don't leave me hanging.
While I'm talking about music, I was flipping through my pre-sets in the car yesterday evening. As I've mentioned before, one of the pre-sets is classical. Out of the 5 other stations, I'd classify them as one classic rock, one rock alternative and the other three are pretty cheesy, run-of-the-mill, everyone-can-agree-at-the-office kind of rock stations. I'm not particularly proud of having these stations on my pre-set, but honestly, I can't find anything else remotely in my genre of liking. But in Southern California, half of the stations are in Spanish, the most of the remainder are dance club, hip hop and Kelly Clarkson. So, eliminate all of the those and you're left with the crap on my pre-set. (Note: This is the only place I've lived without a real good rock station. There's a great one in San Diego, but I really can't get good enough reception.)
Why do I mention all of this? As I was flipping through the stations, desperate for a good song, two of the stations were playing two different Nickelback songs at the same time. This seems pretty innocuous in and of itself. But it led me into a severe depression for the night. Let's go through my levels of Nickelback depression through my thought process....
- (immediate reaction) People actually like Nickelback?
- (10 seconds later) I have stations on my pre-sets that would play Nickelback?
- (20 seconds later as I scroll through my stations again) Ahh, Otis Redding. "Dock of the Bay". I can listen to this. Man, I can't believe that anyone likes Nickelback. I mean, every one of their songs is exactly the same. Same beat, same chords, same transitions, same verse, same chorus. I mean, C'MON PEOPLE!
- (Less than a minute later, "Dock of the Bay" is over. Station goes to a commercial. I'm not really paying attention and I'm scrolling through the stations again. I'm just concentrating on traffic.) I'm now singing to myself... "This is how... you remind me of what I really am!"
- (30 seconds later, my head bobbing ever so slightly) "I've been wrong! I've been down!..." I shudder.
- (I shudder like I just found out that the hottie I've been making out with for the past 15 minutes is a transvestite. I turn off the radio, embarrassed, gagging and completely sickened with myself). I know every word to that Nickelback song. And... I... I was... liking it.
- I tried contacting Eddie Murphy for some psychological advice. If rocking out to Nickelback is like accidentally making out with a transvestite, he'd be the guy to help me through this. I mean, what does that say about you if you're enjoying the making out, but only realize afterwards what you're doing? It doesn't change the fact that you were enjoying it at the time. That's how I felt. Dirty, deceived and depressed. It's nothing I can ever take back. It's forever etched in my memory and my life's journey. I feel dirty and ashamed. I think I need a hug.
I hear that Jack FM is in just about every major market nowadays? I don't know about your Jack FM, but here people call in and leave brief messages for "Jack". I want to call up and leave a backhanded compliment, but I can't quite figure out how to go about this. Let me know if you have any suggestions. But the tone of the call is to congratulate "Jack" on setting some sort of record... You know, like 1000 consecutive songs with a lame 4/4 tempo. Every one of the songs on that station has the same, unimaginative 4/4 beat. Ideas?
You still owe me a guilty pleasure song/band. Post it below.
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Officer: You were swerving back there. Have you had anything to drink tonight.
Driver: No, officer.
(Thanks to Poker Jason for the story)
An anonymous poster suggested creating your own online cryptex (en lieu of a real one from the Da Vinci Code game).
While I'm on the topic of anonymous posters, we received a post from "Cousin Eric" about a month or two ago. And Cousin Eric says he never posted it. Which means, we have an imposter Cousin Eric. I suggest that we have a bit of a sleuthing game... Let's uncover the imposter Cousin Eric.
Monday, May 22, 2006
Sunday, May 21, 2006
That being said, I really don't have an official stance on the immigration issue. I don't even have an unofficial stance. I know people that have strong opinions on both sides and I understand all of the points of view. But one thing I can appreciate is clever solutions to problems like this. My vote for the most clever solution is Gator Aid.
ESPN columnist Gene Wojciechowski on the scene... "Albert Pujols is great." (Completely agreed). The St. Louis Cardinals are tied for the major league's best record with the "Chicago White Sox and Detroit Lions". (Ummm.)
Saturday, May 20, 2006
'Cause I've got to be free
Free to face the life that's ahead of me
On board I'm the captain
So climb aboard
We'll search for tomorrow
On every shore
And I'll try, oh Lord, I'll try
To carry on
This is probably the most borderline girly thing I'm going to post and say, "Check it out - this is cool". The Evolution of Dance.
You think they know?
Friday, May 19, 2006
Q: My wife suggested that I get this new haircut, how does it look?
A: It's fine -- but what's up with the pedicure?
Q: Where did I leave my keys?
A: Inside pocket of your gray jacket (it's hanging in the front closet).
Q: Can I substitute margarine for butter in my Toll House cookie recipe?
A: We know that you've been smoking pot.
Q: Should I be worried about this red bump on my arm?
A: You should be more worried about the lump on your kidney.
Here's some Bathroom Print Worthy material for the day - The Mailbag. Hey this gives me an idea. I should start a mailbag. If you have a question, email it.
(Softball follow up)....
And in case you were wondering about the outcome of the softball game... We lost 15-6. The other team was "The Bayside Tigers". They were all kinds of organized with Bayside shirts and all. It was pretty impressive and they've definitely played together before. Maybe I was a little distracted by Kelly Kipowski's uber-hotness, but we gave it our best. (Note: Kelly Kipowski wasn't on the team. But some of the girls were still pretty hot.) Our team was just thrilled to not have the 15-run "Mercy Rule" called. If it weren't for a monster 8-run, 4th inning for A.C. Slater and Co., we would've been right in there. I won't quite say that all (or even most) of the 15 runs were "earned". But I pitched the entire game and take responsibility for all of them. And let me tell you, hitting a 2 foot by 2 foot mat behind the plate from 50 feet AND putting a 6 to 12 foot arc on the ball isn't that easy. (That mat is the strike zone). For sports fans, it's sort of like hitting 3 pointers, or playing darts, or bowling - you just have to focus and get used to hitting a small target from far away. Or, for the techies out there, it's like playing the old DOS Shell game, Gorilla. Where you would throw bananas and factor in the gravity, initial velocity, arc angle, wind, etc. The sad part is that the team was thrilled that I was throwing strikes and wants to keep me on the mound for future games.
Career pitching stats - 6 IP, 15 runs, 2 Ks, 1 BB
Season hitting stats - 2 for 2, 1 RBI
Thursday, May 18, 2006
Alright, most people will think this is pretty messed up. But it made me giggle. Ok, I don't giggle. I chuckled. Some guy has a blog about his poos. In organized detail.
(The rest of this post is a personal story. If you're not interested, don't read it)
Tonight is my team's first softball game of the season. In fact, it's my first organized game since I was about 14 years old. Actually, I take that back. I played one game in "The Mexican Leagues" a couple of years ago. (I need to get this off my chest, so please bear with me). The only reason I ended up playing was that some guy was dating one of my roommates and, as a favor to my roommate, he invited me to play. I took 3 buses to some random area in Guadalajara that I had never been.
They put me at third base. There was one out, runners at first and second. A sharp ground ball was hit to my left. I scoop it up and, using my momentum, throw to second. The second baseman throws to first. But the first baseman, who was also our manager, wasn't ready for the ball. He blamed me for not reversing direction, running back to 3rd base and getting the lead runner. I got pulled immediately after that inning. To this day the entire situation bothers me. It's not a real bright spot in my baseball career. Come to think of it, there really aren't that many at all. I went 3 for 3 once, I think. And I tagged a runner out using the hidden ball trick at first base. That was fun.
Onto tonight's softball game. Here's an idea of how bad our team is. Last night, our catcher, Doreen, came by to say hello during poker night. (Her husband plays poker with us). She said, "You know you're pitching tomorrow, right?" I hesitated, "Uh, what?" "Yeah, you're pitching." "For the entire game?" "Yeah. You're the only one who can get the ball over the plate." My friends, this is a slow pitch, underhand softball league. If none of our 16 players can accurately toss a ball 50 feet, we're in serious trouble. To tell you the truth, I can only pray that I can leave with a Jose Lima-esque 6.50 ERA. There's nothing tricky about my pitching. It goes up. And it comes down. And most likely, it'll be hit 250 feet over my head. If I remember, I'll give a quick recap tomorrow.
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
That entire lead-up was only to justify the fact that I'm posting something about the White Sox. A feature article about the White Sox organization was front and center on ESPN.com today. The article is entitled "Williams has Sox loaded for years to come". My first reaction was - "It's about friggin' time somebody recognized the job GM Kenny Williams is doing!" Soon followed by a reaction of, "Damnit. Things were way better when nobody expected anything about the White Sox. Things can only go downhill from here." They've gone from underappreciated (which I talked about all last year when they had the best record in baseball wire-to-wire and nobody seemed to care) to a little over-hyped.
What have I learned from all of this? That I'm never happy. I bitched when the media ignored them. And now I'm upset that they're prematurely being considered the next baseball dynasty. It should be of no surprise to anyone that I may never get married. I'm just one grumpy dude.
Have you read the latest article on chimp to human evolution? One of the biggest gaps in my understanding of the theory of evolution is the actual evolution part. Let's say a bunch of chimps exist. Then there's some mutant chimp that is really human (as is my understanding of evolution). How does the mutant chimp procreate more mutant chimps? If it can procreate, then it's not a human. It's still a chimp, right? Where is the separation? Anyways, here's the article in a nutshell...
There were chimps. They split up. The evolved in their own ways, but were still chimps. They met up again millions of years later. They mated. Their goofy offspring mated with the original groups. Voila. Evolution. Or something like that.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
My neighbor Bridget sends a list of useful websites:
www.indeed.com - seaches all major job search engines at one time
consumersearch.com - like Consumer Reports, but free
sidestep.com - searches all major travel engines for the lowest price
opentable.com - searches for restaurant availablility and makes reservations
shopittome.com - alerts you of sales based on your favorite brands & sizes
choosetosave.org - financial calculators & advice without the sales pitches
You have to put away a bunch of board games. From left to right, what order are the games?
The colors of the board games are blue, brown, green, orange, purple, red, and yellow.
1. Purple is somewhere to the left of green.
2. Red is next to blue.
3. Brown is 3 away from blue. (2 between)
4. Yellow is 2 away from red.
5. Blue is in the middle.
6. Orange is directly between yellow and purple
Monday, May 15, 2006
Libya has finally gotten over being on the wrong side of the "plutonium for used pinball machine parts" deal. Doc Brown and Moammar Gadhafi seen bowling together.
Sunday, May 14, 2006
While watching the ESPN Sunday night baseball game, I saw 3 things I've never really seen live.
1) A triple play (this one I'm not sure about. I may have seen one live before). It was the first triple play in the majors in more than a year.
2) A shortstop dodging a broken bat while charging, scooping up the ball and throwing the runner out
3) Men using pink bats and wearing pink arm bands.
(Added later) - I saw a 4th thing that NONE of us have EVER seen before. A starting pitcher giving up 7 runs in the 1st inning and still winning the game. Congratulations (??) to Mark Buehrle for pulling off the feat for the first time since September 29th, 1900.
Saturday, May 13, 2006
Closing time - time for you to go out, go out into the world.
Closing time - turn the lights up over every boy and every girl.
Closing time - one last call for alcohol, so finish your whiskey or beer.
Closing time - you don't have to go home but you can't stay here.
Absolutely brilliant, boys.
Check out the Billboard top 200. Actually, just check out the top, uh, one. (Notice that it's not Semisonic).
Dumb question of the day... When did killer whales stop being called killer whales? I'm not sure how I feel about the whole Orca thing.
Friday, May 12, 2006
Follow up on the Da Vinci Code Quest Game Thing....
Bob and I want to know if anybody won a Cryptex. We were both a bit nutty the last day of the competition (since we're both under the impression that the 1st 10,000 entrants would win). And both of us couldn't access all of the pages necessary at work to complete the task quickly. Joanna? Did you win anything? Anyone else? Bob and I are really keen on getting our hands on a cryptex.
A couple of random things:
1) Happy birthday, Nacho Expert!
2) I was playing basketball this afternoon with some pretty good competition. (Translation - They were WAY better than me. As long as I wasn't shooting or dribbing or doing anything dumb, everyone was happy). I had no time to warm up and I was 0 for 3 (over the course of 4 games) from 3-point range. Basically I just ran around and set picks for the good players. My fourth 3-point shot was an open shot from the left corner. The shot felt really good as I released it. But immediately I heard a light thud and I couldn't quite figure out how somebody got a hand on my shot. I could've sworn I was wide open. Then I noticed a bird that flew directly over my head onto the court. So, yeah. I hit a bird. Or, more the the point, the bird blocked my shot. Look at it this way. The bird had as many blocks as I did in 3 hours of playing. Or, look at it this way. I hit more birds than I did 3-pointers. Don't worry - the bird flew off and appeared to be fine. But after the miss (sadly, that was my closest shot up until that point) the other team took possession. Somehow it didn't seem fair. To me or the bird.
3) There's nothing quite like watching Shawn Marion shoot. He's a tremendous player and all. It's just that he has this fruity, girl-like form. Oh, I figured out why. He's from Waukegan. (Did I just offend gays, women, the Phoenix Suns and people from Waukegan in 20 words or less? Oops.)
Thursday, May 11, 2006
Why is there a hurricane forming around Detroit?
What? The bird flu frenzy is a "flight of fancy"? After we spent $1,400,000,000 on vaccines? "The name is Dumass".
Who searches for "nachos" most? Koreans.
Check out the minimum wage in your state. It's almost worth living in Santa Fe for the $9.50 an hour.
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
"In California, only 14% of people could afford a median-priced home in December, when the median was $548,430" In a continued effort to put us all into a life-long indentured servitude, banks are now beginning to offer a 50-year mortgage. Why do I have the distinct feeling that this housing market is a giant pyramid scheme? One that I missed out on right around the time I was born.
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
All that being said, I learned something new about the homerun rule. Up until 1931, any ball that bounced over the outfield wall was considered a homerun. Babe Ruth's career spanned from 1914 - 1935. Today, it's a ground rule double. How many of Babe Ruth's homeruns bounced? I have no idea.
Every so often someone will ask what websites I visit on a regular basis. I'm sure, like most of you, I visit the same few sites all the time. Well my friends, it's time to broaden our horizons. The 2006 Webby Awards have been announced. The nominees and winners of more than 60 categories are listed.
Monday, May 08, 2006
It's been way too long since there's been an online game posted here. This is probably the craziest game I've ever played. Four Second Fury.
Speaking of YouTube, I saw the Avis / XM radio commercial maybe 7 times in an hour yesterday. It was funny all 7 times.
Bob is taking his correction very well and has continued sending informative links. This time it is to the Hanso Foundation. He suggests checking out the newsletter.
Sunday, May 07, 2006
Nope, you're right! Bob is a tad off. [Editor's Note: Bob's always been "a tad off". Just kidding, Bob :)] The answer works out to be c^2 (c = light speed = 299,792,458 m/s, obviously). But they want it in exarads! Eep! Rads don't refer to radians here, but radiation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rad_%28unit%29), which is expressed in J/kg (joules per kilogram), which can be converted to m^2/s^2 (http://www.vsg.cape.com/~pbaum/si.htm). So by rounding up to the nearest whole number you get an answer of 9. This game was made for geeks like us! :P
Only two more days until the game is complete. I hope one of us wins the Cryptex.
Saturday, May 06, 2006
"On the first three Sigur Rós albums (Von, Von Brigði, Ágætis Byrjun), Jónsi sang most songs in Icelandic but two of them (Von and Olsen Olsen) were sung in 'Hopelandic'. All of the vocals ( ) are in Hopelandic. Hopelandic (Vonlenska in Icelandic) is the 'invented language' in which Jónsi sings before lyrics are written to the vocals. It's of course not an actual language by definition (no vocabulary, grammar, etc.), it's rather a form of gibberish vocals that fits to the music and acts as another instrument. Jónsi likens it with what singers sometimes do when they've decided on the melody but haven't written the lyrics yet. Many languages were considered to be used on ( ), including English, but they decided on Hopelandic. Hopelandic (Vonlenska) got its name from first song which Jónsi sang it on, Hope (Von)."
Reminds me of scatting in vocal jazz. In my high school jazz group, we bet a guy that he couldn't incorporate "donuts" into his scat during a concert. He did... "D-d-d-donuts". It exists on video tape somewhere.
Speaking of Sigur Ros, Mike also sends some free (legal) downloads of Sigur Ros songs.
Friday, May 05, 2006
In a sign that I have memory problems, every year on this day I see that traffic to NachosRule.com is up. And every year, like an alzheimers patient, I try and figure out why. Then about 3 hours later it clicks... cinco de mayo... mexico... mexican food... nachos.... NACHOS RULE! Happy cinco de mayo to all... have a margarita and a cerveza for me.
I can't really think of anything interesting I learned today. So I'll leave you with this inspirational quote I read on Google today...
"Progress isn't made by early risers. It's made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something." - Robert Heinlein
Thursday, May 04, 2006
I'm going to jail. And so are you.
3,738 lactating moms set new world record for "most sucking babies in one place" previously held by Duke.
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
Not to be outdone, June 6th is staking a claim to "most exciting day of the year"... A day where the fear mongering media is promoting 6/6/06. "With June 6, 2006, rapidly approaching, authorities in Colorado and elsewhere are carefully watching to see if that date - 6/6/06 - spurs demonstrations or violent activity." Can't you see the South Park episode already in the works?
But wait, there's more! If you're not scared yet, the media isn't done! If getting slayed by a bunch of aging Black Sabbath fans doesn't instill fear... maybe 2 million Americans dying of the bird flu will. How many cases of this flu have been reported? Worldwide? It's in the hundreds? Maybe? Why are we now getting headlines saying that 40% of Americans will be sick and unable to work. 2 million of which will die. Where is the logical move from point A (a few people in Asia have died from the flu) to point B (EVERYBODY PANIC! THE END IS NEAR!)? God, I hate the media.
Monday, May 01, 2006
Chief Industry Genius Marshal Cohen on the impact of gas prices: "When gas prices go up 5 cents a gallon, that's maybe an extra $10 a week out of consumers' pockets. But when they're going up 15 cents and more, it means $20 extra a week,"