Thursday, June 29, 2006

6/29/06 This Post May Contain Chemicals Known to Cause Cancer

My first trip to Southern California was immediately after I graduated college. At the age of 21, Professor Joe and I took a road trip from Chicago, all the way to the west coast. (Note: Joe is now a Professor. It wasn't like I was hanging out and road tripping with one of my then professors). At the time, he and I both decided that we'd bypass the sprawling megalopolis of Los Angeles and just move onto other, move scenic destinations. Which is ironic, since I now live in Southern California. The one lasting impression of California was the signs. We got an oil change and all I can remember is the guy yelling at me for having my foot 6 inches over a line as I was looking under the hood. He then pointed to the sign which read, "Do not cross the white line". I think I once dubbed the area "The Land of Unnecessary Signs". (I wish I could've come up with a more clever slogan. But, I'm really not that clever.)

There's a sign in the parking lot where I work. The parking lot is across the street from the office building. It is adjacent to the sidewalk, is well shaded by trees and bushes, and is also elevated maybe 6-8 feet. There are curving stairs in two sets of 4 stairs. You walk up the first set of 4 stairs and go around a 90 degree curve. As you approach the second set of 4 stairs, you see a sign. The sign says (c'mon, take a guess... This is California... What do you think it says?).... The sign says "Caution: Stairs Ahead". Help me with some sort of comparison here. It's like eating yogurt and at the bottom of the container reading "Caution, yogurt contains dairy." It's like making a phone call, hanging up, and then having the operator ask if you'll accept the long distance charges. It's like being a Cubs season ticket holder. I'm out of comparisons. Hopefull you'll have a better one for me. I'll have to remember to bring my camera one day and post the picture of the sign.

This post was inspired by 2 stickers on cars this morning. The first is my favorite. I was driving behind a white van at about 75 mph. A sticker on the back window read, "This is not an abandoned vehicle". Nothing makes you feel better about your possessions than having to clarify that it's not garbage. (I'm not knocking the van. It was actually in fine condition.) The other sticker is the next generation of "My kid beat up your honor student". The sticker read, "My gamer fragged your honor student."

One last Southern California story. I was having lunch at a Mexican restaurant today. My buddy and I were eating in the bar area, watching WGN. The Cubs and the Brewers were playing. The guy who appeared to be running the place (and was also our server) walked away from the bar as Mark Prior gave up a bloop single, scoring 2 runs. He muttered under his breath, "Man, the Cubs suck." The secret is out, Cubs fans. Even people in California know.

In my recent baseball discussions, I've found myself saying, "How bad is the National League?" Well, I think I have my answer. There's no reason why I'm posting this, since you won't want to know. But I was watching the White Sox play the Houston Astros last week. And Astros pitcher Taylor Buchholz was just awesome. But I kept hearing "bunghole" and would chuckle.

T-minus 48 hours until the WSOP. Meaning, this may be my last post until after the event. So again, please send positive vibes my way on Saturday. In return, I will give you a complete, first-hand account of the experience when I get back. And who knows... If I win the whole thing, we're having a nacho party to end all nacho parties.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

6/28/06 National Handshake Day

It's National Handshake Day. So, live it up. Shake a hand.

It's friggin' hot out! I can't tell where my ball sweat ends and my swamp ass begins. I went out for lunch this afternoon and my car said the temperature was 103. I didn't quite believe the thermometer, so I checked online for the local weather where I work. Sure enough, it was 100. This is, by far, the hottest week I've experienced in California.

So that must mean that the ice caps are melting and sea levels are rising, right? Wait, they're not? The Arctic Circle seas levels are falling? So, what you're really trying to tell me is that "global warming" isn't exactly a global problem? That it's more of a regional thing? Let me see if I understand - In some places glaciers are melting, but in other places they're getting bigger? And that leaves overall seas levels pretty stable? Hmm. I think I get it. Thanks for the clarification.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

6/27/06 All I Wanted Was a Pepsi

Yesterday, the Sports Guy wrote an entire article about YouTube. Which led me to surfing YouTube for over an hour last night. And I found perhaps my favorite Beavis and Butthead video.

Does anybody else get AARP forms in the mail? Or is it just me? How did I end up on their list?

While I'm asking questions - Do you have a MySpace page? I finally have one. I fought the whole online socializing thing after Friendster went to hell. I worked for 3 years to amass 30 or so friends (half of them are made up friends like Sloth, Salma Hayek and Hawk Harrelson). Then everyone stopped using Friendster and moved to MySpace. Long story short, I have a crappy page and a couple of friends. Feel free to add me as your friend.

I've been trying to get my poker game back on track the last two days. And I'm living in bad beat hell. I've played 6 or 7 sit and go's and haven't cashed in one. I've been knocked out playing QQ against 10 10 (I'm more than 80% to win), AQ suited against QJ, 9 9 against A 7 when the flop came 7 high (the guy is drawing to 5 outs)... It's been sickening. I even played aggressively early today with AK of diamonds with a flop of 8 6 2 with 2 diamonds. I was called by 9 9 and I lost. I then looked up the percentages and I was a 55% - 45% favorite. The way I look at it - I'm getting all of my bad beats out of the way now. And they'll all even out this weekend.

Monday, June 26, 2006

6/26/06 Fantasy Poker

It's only natural that I have poker on the brain this week. I spend far too much of my time going over situations that could arise at the WSOP. What if someone raises early, I look down at kings and reraise, then get reraised back and now have to decide for all my chips if this guy is holding aces? I've been told "Bet the farm with Kings". But I've also been told "The fourth raise means aces". But I'm the fourth raise here. It's all very confusing. So, let's say your advice is to bet the farm, what do I do if I'm in the same situation, but with queens? What if I flop a set with 3 hearts on the board? What if I flop top 2 pair and a tight player is representing a set? How am I going to stay focused for 12+ hours? These are the thoughts that are keeping me up at night.

Ever since I caught the poker bug from Poker Jason, he's been pushing "Fantasy Poker". It works just like any other fantasy sport, where you draft players and get rewarded for their tournament winnings. Well, Poker Jason, ESPN has now brought Fantasy Poker mainstream.

This week's photos of arrested prostitutes is brought to you b..... fhmm.... ack... (gulp). Sorry, I sorta just threw up in my mouth.

In an unrelated story... Actual headline - "Officers honored for finding man's penis"

Sunday, June 25, 2006

6/25/06 The Boys are Back in Town

Hey everyone. Sorry about the long wait. I've been out of town for the past few days.

This was my first trip to Chicago in a while. And I had no idea how baseball crazy everybody had gotten. Well, I have good news for the die hard fans. You can cheer for them, even after you're dead.

Care to see a minor league manager go nuts? (Thanks to Cousin Eric for the link).

Well, my friends, I am preparing to play in the World Series of Poker on July 1st. I'm asking you to send positive vibes and warm fuzzies my way on Saturday. I'll do my best to have a nice, long blog about the experience after the event.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

6/21/06 Save Screech

Cousin Kevin sends "Save Screech". Screech is in danger of losing his house. So he's raising funds by selling T-Shirts.

I think this whole Ozzie Guillen thing is hilarious. My favorite part is his apology to the gay community for using the word "fag" in a derogatory manner:

"He told the Sun-Times the word in Venezuela is a reference to a man's courage, not his sexuality, adding he has gay friends, goes to WNBA games, went to a Madonna concert and plans to attend the Gay Games in Chicago."

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

6/20/06 I Am Serious

"Ted, that was probably the worst landing in the history of this airport, but some of us here, particularly me, would like to buy you a drink and shake your hand."

Courtesy of The Sports Guy, here's the quote that made me laugh the hardest today:

"Did you see Dirk heading to the locker room after Game 5 when he knocked over that exercise bike? He was totally like Karl from 'Die Hard' after Bruce Willis killed his brother."

This is fun. (Ok, not really).

Monday, June 19, 2006

6/19/06 The New Ben

"Hey Ben... I hope your stay in the hospital went well. We're all glad you didn't die. Hopefully your career isn't over. Oh, and, yeah... You owe us $388 for riding without a license or helmet."

Sunday, June 18, 2006

6/18/06 Nose Job

I had a dream that I got a nose job. I don't remember the procedure, but I looked at myself in a reflective window and wasn't really happy with my decision. My nose was very nose job-ish, all slender, kind of pointy and turned upwards slightly. The goofy part is that, out of everything I would ever consider changing about my appearance, my nose isn't on the list. Ok, dream interpreters out there... what does this all mean?

For the second time in less than a year, I've vowed to quit drinking coffee. I love coffee, so this is really hard. I'm on day 10 without a cup. The first 3 or 4 days were pretty tough. I won't go into the details here, but, if you're a coffee drinker, you know what I'm talking about. Even 10 days later, I still have to talk myself out of having coffee as I'm getting ready every morning. Through it all though, there has been something very fulfilling about the whole experience. I feel much more energetic in the evenings. And I'm generally much more patient (and occasionally more motivated) throughout the day. Every time I try and quit drinking coffee, I start seeing articles showing its benefit. This time though, I'm going to ignore the article and stick to my guns.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

6/17/06 The Bilderberg Group

I was watching the History Channel (I think) and I saw some show on the Bilderberg Group. It's alleged to be a group of the most influencial people in the world that join once a year to talk about who knows what.

"Attendees of Bilderberg include central bankers, defense experts, mass media press barons, government ministers, prime ministers, royalty, international financiers and political leaders from Europe and North America." The list includes Henry Kissinger, Donald Rumsfeld, John Kerry, Tony Blair, and a bunch of other world leaders that you probably wouldn't recognize.

"The original intention of the Bilderberg group was to further the understanding between Western Europe and North America through informal meetings between powerful individuals. Each year, a "steering committee" devises a selected invitation list with a maximum of 100 names. Invitations are only extended to residents of Europe and North America. The location of their annual meeting is not secret, and the agenda and list of participants are openly available to the public, but the topics of the meetings are kept secret and attendees pledge not to divulge what was discussed. The official stance of the Bilderberg Group is that their secrecy prevents the members' discussions from being manipulated by the media. Critics contend that the secrecy is evidence of conspiracy."

Friday, June 16, 2006

6/16/06 My Name is Mud

My dad called me and asked if I knew that Major League Baseball put mud on the baseballs before the games. I said no. "There's your Something I Learned Today".

6/15/06 MacGyver

Here is a list of every trick MacGyver ever pulled.

Softball update. We're 0-4. We're been slaughter ruled all 4 times. Last night we lost 22-3. We've given up 90 runs in 20 innings. That's 4.5 runs per inning. To give you an idea of how bad we are, I am still our leadoff hitter (a place no little league coach would even think of putting me since my speed is comparable to molasses). And I had to play shortstop (a position I once asked my little league coach to play in our final game of the season when everyone was goofing off and he still said no.) If I were to go all Frank Thomas on you, I'd point out that I'm hitting .889 on the season. Last night I went 3 for 3 with a run and an RBI (which is saying something since we scored 3 runs total). Hopefully they'll drop us down to the "special" league in the fall where we can compete.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

6/14/06 Curiousity Killed the Credit Union.

Today is "throwback day". Unlike baseball, which brings back uniforms of years past, the internet makes articles old after only weeks. So, I'm going through my bookmarks of articles I've wanted to post in the last month, but didn't.

Note to self. Don't pick up a random USB drive and plug it into your computer. This article describes how a group left 20 random USB drives at a credit union. 15 of them were found and all 15 were plugged into computers at the credit union. Trojans had been loaded onto all of the USB drives and had infected the credit union network.

"Road Rage Disorder". This article gives me "The media makes up disorders and I hate them for it disorder". What's wrong with getting upset while sitting in hours of traffic everyday? If you ask me, if you're perfectly content, with a grin on your face, sitting in traffic for 10-20% of your waking life, that's closer to what might be considered a disorder. If I ever see a TV advertisment for presciption Road Rage Disorder medication, God help me. What would they call it? Raginol? Drivenex? And what better place to have diarrhea, bloody stools, upset stomach and whatever other normal side effects come with medication than in your car. So, for what it's worth... If you sometimes get upset while driving, there's nothing wrong with you. Don't let anyone convince you otherwise.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

6/13/06 Real Men of RPS Genius

Real Men of Genius - RPS Style. Much like "The Goonie Oath", RPS tournaments begin with an oath that I guarantee you couldn't recite right now:

“I know that RPS belongs to no man or woman and was created before recorded history. To that end, as I prepare to battle and engage my worthy and respected opponent, I honor the RPS players that came before me. I recognize the rules and regulations of the United States of America Rock Paper Scissors League as the governing body of the sport and yield to the authority of its referees and officials. RO-SHAM-BO – SHOOT” (It is typical to accompany the last cry with clenched fists waving in the air in unison (as in the wind-up) and then shooting your favorite throw.)

All of this RPS, led me to the USA RPS MySpace page. I know I'm single and lonely and all... But the Girls of RPS are hot.

My dad sends the Top 10 Brainiest Small Cities. Now, I've met quite a few people where I live, and not many of them would I consider "brainy". Suffice it to say that high school and college graduation rates definitely do not equate to being "brainy".

Monday, June 12, 2006

Sunday, June 11, 2006

6/11/06 Spanish Castle Illusion

Bob got all upset with me for not updating anything for a few days. I was taking a break. But, since Bob wants more... My break is over.

This Spanish Castle Illusion is probably my favorite optical illusion in a long time. (It's not one of those pages where the Exorcist chick comes up and screams. It's legit. I won't do that to you. I hate those.)

Check out Michael Jackson's face morphy over the years. Gross.

Man, I haven't played a drinking game in a lot of years. But, back in college, my favorite game was Three Man. I think I like it because it's complicated. In my Chicago apartment, we had to write the rules on a whiteboard so that we'd all remember. According to Wikipedia, there are different rules in the midwest than there are on the west coast.

Ok, everyone is making fun of Paris Hilton for her new video. Are they upset cuz it's her first video not in night vision? In all honesty, I don't see how this song or video is any worse than half of the stuff I normally see. Ok, I've changed my mind. As I was writing this, the video was open in another window. And it's horrible. Just terrible. I had to shut it down.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

6/7/06 Lawyers Playing RPS

How do lawyers set up their game of Rock Paper Scissors?

Did anything creepy happen to you on 6/6/6? I got drilled in the ankle by a softball and now have a giant welt. And my Yahoo Launchcast showed a station called "666" this morning. I tried it and it was super crappy death metal. So no, I don't have any good stories.

As if online gambling wasn't a saturated market, here's a new one for you. Bet on the longevity of your friends' marriages. It's kind of sick and sad, sure. But you're lying if you've never had a thought that was in that general direction.

Let's just chalk it up to coincidence... But it seems like my crackpot rant from yesterday has some merit. Arizona Diamondback reliever (now ex-Arizona Diamondback reliever) Jason Grimsley had his house searched for performance enhancing drugs. Turns out he admitted to steroid and amphetamine use and had just received a package of Human Growth Hormone (HGH). This wasn't his first package of HGH either. HGH cannot currently be tested for. So, even though it's against baseball's rules, they can't catch you if you use it. Looks like HGH might be the mystery "supplement" I was referring to yesterday.


Since Blogger was all jacked up today, Cousin Jeff emailed the following (instead of posting a comment)....

There is nothing crackpot about your theory. Here are a few items for your consideration:

Pee No Evil
Why are sportswriters pretending baseball's steroids era is over?
By Jeff Pearlman
Posted Friday, June 2, 2006, at 5:12 PM ET

I'm sure you've heard about the Jason Grimsley HGH stuff - here's his redacted affidavit that appears to name MANY names:

"The first thing I thought when Pujols came up lame: hmm, oblique sure sounds like a steroid injury"

Plus, the perception that Clemens is on something is becoming heard more and more.


What can I say? I was one day early breaking the story. (I had actually scribbled some notes at work and had meant to write about it for more than a week. Good thing I didn't wait any longer. Otherwise I would've pulled my normal, "hey, funny this happened. I was just thinking that something was up...")

More sports... Game 1 of hockey's Stanley Cup Finals had fewer viewers than the Arizona vs. Northwestern woman's softball game Monday night on ESPN2 (see bottom of article).

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

6/6/06 It's the End of the World As We Know It

What's better than a Rubik's Cube? A 4-dimensional Rubik's Cube. And what's better than that? A 5-dimensional Rubik's Cube.

I have a new, crackpot theory for ya'll. It's baseball related. It has to do with the resurgence of so many players that were inexplicably terrible in 2005. And, all the sudden, are back as stars. Have you noticed certain guys making headlines again? Guys like Nomar (hit a career low .283 last year and is now batting .366) and Giambi? There were a lot of question marks regarding their potential use of "supplements" during their glory years. Magglio Ordonez (Has 5 more HRs this year than all of last year), Mike Lowell (.236, 8 HRs in 2005), Shawn Green, and Ivan Rodriguez (2005 was lowest batting avg. and HR total since 1993) are all batting over .300. They're all having outstanding years so far. Until their injuries, Albert Pujols was on pace to crush Barry Bonds' single season homerun record. And Jim Thome was on pace for 60+. Why the resurgence in offense? Is it simply coincidence? For one, I don't think so.

The theory? There's a new "supplement" in town. One that isn't tested for under the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement. Which means that the game of cat and mouse continues. I'm not calling out all of the players I've mentioned. There is just too much of a trend for there to be a mere coincidence. Something is going on. And, since I have no affiliations with any sports site, I'm going to mention it first. Comments?

Monday, June 05, 2006

6/5/06 Earth from Mars

If you're like me (you should probably thank the good Lord that you're not), you woke up this morning wondering what Earth looks like from Mars.

Why are so many people today single? "In 1970, only 7.8 percent of Americans aged 30 to 34 had never married, and 65.4 percent of all men were hitched, as were 59.7 percent of all women. By 2003, the number of never-marrieds aged 30 to 34 had exploded to 27.9 percent. The number of all men who were married had dropped to 55.4 percent, and barely half of all women were wed."

Mike sends some wonderful news. Thom Yorke of Radiohead is releasing an album called "The Eraser".


There's a little game I've started to play while driving to and from work. It can be aptly titled "Who's talking?". I started playing this game for 2 reasons.

Reason #1: I get really bored driving 30 miles every morning and evening, so my mind wanders. A lot. (I had an inspirational, business "light bulb going off in my head" idea the other day. But that's another story for another day).

Reason #2: I started to notice a trend. It's a real simple trend. Some car is not following the unwritten highway rule of "stay approximately 5 car lengths from the car in front of you". This car is usually in the lane 2nd from the left and it 30 car lengths from the next car. And the distance is increasing. In my attempt to pass the jackass, I tend to look to see what the problem is. Almost invariably, the person is talking on the phone.

So I put this little theory to a test. And I picked out 20 cars last week that I thought fit the profile. I'm batting .950. I pegged 19 of the 20 drivers. The one I got wrong was just old. Try it yourself. See how you do. Oh, and if you're using the phone while you're driving. Keep up with traffic. Don't be the jackass.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

6/4/06 Juanita Greenberg

While visiting Hilton Head, Aunt Arlene and Uncle Larry came across Juanita Greenberg's Nacho Royale. Could there possibly be a better place to have nachos?

"From our pico and guacamole right up to our Royale Nachosand Burritos, all of our food is cooked to order using only the freshest ingredients. Even our margaritas are “World Famous” and the best this side of the border. Juanita Greenberg wouldn’t have it any other way... and yes she is alive and well living in Florida!"

Friday, June 02, 2006

6/2/06 Global Cooling

About 6 months ago I wrote a little something about global warming and the book "State of Fear". Cousin Kevin sends an article from Newsweek in 1975 about the impending global cooling.

My dad sends this article about a "lost world" found in a cave. "Israeli scientists have discovered an ancient ecosystem containing eight previously unknown species in a lake inside a cave, where they were completely sheltered from the outside world for millions of years."

My dad also sends a link to

Spelling Bee Reactions

Some of my initial reactions from yesterday's spelling bee:
  • A lot of the kids had personality and spunk. ABC did a great job of having individual bios for a lot of the kids and really brought out their personalities. I feel bad for calling them "socially awkward".
  • One of the finalists goes to Daniel Wright and is going to my high school next year. (I may have not noticed until Bob called to point it out).
  • If you think I'm sick in the head for recording and watching the spelling bee, don't read the rest of this comment. I couldn't help but think (more than once), "Hey, she's pretty cute for a spelling bee chick... And for being 13... and... oh my god... uh... wait... I didn't just think that... LA LA LA! I wonder how the White Sox are doing..." But seriously, girls are allowed to be cute at 13. And some of them were.
  • Be honest with yourself for a second here. Weren't you pulling for the other girl at the end, just a little bit, cuz she had that Winnie Cooper look to her?
  • Weren't you also sort of rooting against the Winnie Cooper girl since she's from Canada? How could we have a Canadian win our national spelling bee? It's like when the Blue Jays won the World Series.
  • Does Samir Patel not making the finals rank up there with Reebok's failed "Dan and Dave" decathlon competition? I was equally devastated by both.
  • Those kids are really impressive. How many times did they get a word and you think to yourself... Hmm... "Sitasism". Then the 13 year old spews out "p-s-i-t-t-a-c-i-s-m". "OH! The 't' is silent!" Then you justify to yourself that you got more than half the word right and with a little practice you'd have the competition in the bag.
  • The bell is very deceiving. It's a sound associated with a right answer. It's a very peaceful way to tell someone that they're hopes and dreams have been crushed and they're out. Where's the "Family Feud" 'X' buzzer?
  • Did you see the girl who got incorrectly knocked out? On a personal note, I spelled the word the same as she did and I somehow felt a sense of personal redemption when the judges let her back in. It's like when you watch Jeopardy and they return from a commercial break with different scores. Alex Trebek then has to explain that some answer (question) previously given was actually correct and explains away the error.
  • A lot of kids were of Indian and otherwise Asian decent. And not one of the kids was black.
  • Having an announcer that was also a former spelling bee finalist as a kid was a good idea. And a bad idea at the same time. It was bad like most ice skating announcers are bad. He was overly critical of some of the kids. He'd say things like "If he thought about it longer and realized that the word was from Italian, he would have realize that the 'jo' sound is 'g-i-o'." (ABC tried to counter his dorkiness with a feel-good female announcer that was all motherly and protecting of the fragile children). At the same time, the ex-speller guy helped get into the mind of the spellers. It's like watching poker with Mike Sexson announcing. Since Mike Sexson plays poker at some of the highest levels, he can give better insight into the minds of the players and what they're thinking. So overall, I was pleased and now have a better understanding of how it all works.
  • This is probably the most (only?) profound reaction I had. Most adults I know (myself included) could learn a lot from these kids. They obviously worked harder on their spelling than you and I have ever worked on anything in our lives. On a national stage (with the incessant clicking of cameras - couldn't they have drown that out?), they did what you and I could never do. And in their ultimate moment of disappointment and defeat (*ding*), knowing they lost their dream that they've worked their entire lives to accomplish, what did most of them do? They said "thank you". And they'd walk off. How many of us take our failures, get corrected in front of the entire nation, keep our heads high and simply say "thank you"? Not me.
  • The other day I was joking about being sick in the head. I got home from softball after 10:00 pm last night and stayed up until after midnight to watch the finals. And now that I've written a semi-well-thought-out post about the spelling bee, I'm convinced. I'm one sick puppy.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

6/1/06 You've Got to Know When to Fold 'Em

What's a Class C Felony? In the state of Washington, it's punishable by "as much as five years in prison and a $10,000 fine." What would constitute a Class C Felony in the state of Washington?
  • possessing child pornography
  • threatening the governor
  • torturing an animal
  • (and coming soon....) playing poker online

If that doesn't hit close enough to home, Congress is working on a federal law, in hopes to shut down online gambling.

Speaking of online gambling (and continuing on yesterday's topic) - More than $70,000 has been wagered online for tonight's spelling bee. (Also a correction from yesterday - the prelims on ESPN are this afternoon. They weren't last night. When I got home last night after 10pm, I freaked out that my DVR didn't record the prelims. Which is when I figured everything out and realized there was a correction.)

This just in - Women talk more than men.