Friday, March 23, 2007

My kind of tattoo

I realize I haven't seen an episode of Gilmore Girls in weeks. My wife gave up TV for Lent, and I've been teaching on Tuesday nights, which means no Gilmore Girls. Plus, we haven't been watching the DVD episodes for Gilmore Girls either. Is my guy card going to be permanently revoked if I say that I'm in Gilmore Girls withdrawal?

On to the news:

How to scare away coyotes
(Use an airhorn? Now, how to scare away the jerks with the air horns...)

Thieves steal $12,000 in underwear
(For... what?)

Pizza Cutter, meet Pizza Head
(Now that's commitment to a job!)

Thief uses his own credit card to open a lock
(Guess what happened...)

Bright, shiny objects:

Senior prank
(Didn't anyone... notice?)

I'd laugh, but those who know me would tell you that I could have easily written this
(If I knew anything about physics, that is)

T-shirt of the week:

For sale
(I'm sure there's a few of you out there who are tempted)

And finally:

My wife knows Hebrew. Last weekend at the Bar Mitzvah, she claims that she was following along. On the other hand, while the cantor was singing a song and tapping out a beat, all I could think of was, "Wouldn't it be cool to remix this?" I'm so reverent.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Chinese food is bad for you?

Being a professor is nice around finals week. Unlike my students, who are cramming for three or four different tests, watching their immune systems crumble, and enduring a week and a half of anxiety and agony, all I have to do is write a test, copy it, and then hand it to them and read a book while they sweat it out.

But, then again, I have to grade them.

On to the news:

But I went there for a healthy alternative
(Pope may also be Catholic, film at 11)

Speaking of the Pope, he had a visitor today
(The mental image on this one is astounding)

Karma 1, Enron 0
(Actually, Karma, 182M)

More "old people smuggling drugs" stories
(This one happens with alarming frequency)

Bright, shiny objects:

Mario Brothers, done with legos
(A full minute of giggling!)

Actual useful information
(What to have in your car in case you get stranded in the snow)

Today's strange anniversary:

March 21, 1860 -- US extradition treaty with Sweden. Someone apparently felt the need to write that one down.

Fun fact of the day:

Why do they call it Latin America?

And finally:

Happy equinox to you all. It's the first day of spring, which means that the days are finally longer than the nights, and it only gets better until June!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Kevin Federline, the search engine

It's time for our Tuesday look around the world to see what's going on!
  1. Boss makes call to beleaguered employee to console them in his time of need.
  2. Good IT workers are so hard to find
  3. Here's another thing that Keanu Reeves can't do
  4. Politicians engage in both bribery and lying
  5. Harry Potter loves the environment
In other words, nothing new is happening.

Something so odd, it gets its own section:

As I'm someone who deals in the odd, you may be wondering what on earth might actually qualify as "too weird" to be included in the general weirdness that is the Foreign Intelligence Files (FIF for short!).

Kevin Federline is starting his own search engine.

On to the news:

Win a date with... Alan Greenspan?
(What would you talk about?)

Food story, not for the faint of heart
(Would you?)

Headline: Lingerie-clad prowler hit in the head with frying pan
(I'm not making this up)

Bright, shiny objects:

It's a dog... riding a bike
(In Japan)

Political figures in drag
(Perhaps there was some use of Photoshop... nah)

Today's random "next blog":

Business News
(This might be a flog, but it's what came up)

Today's strange anniversary:

March 20, 1969 -- Beatle John Lennon marries Yoko Ono in Gibraltar. I mean, if I was John and you were Yoko, I would gladly give up musical genius...

Fun fact of the day:

In Chinese, the words for crisis and opportunity are the same.

And finally:

The Baseball Psychologist.

How Jewish is your home?

So this weekend, I went to a Bar Mitzvah. My first one. My college roommate's little brother was officially being inducted into Jewish adulthood, and so I was invited to witness it. It was three hours of Hebrew, followed by a sermon (?) on the theme, "How Jewish is Your Home?" My wife and I could only look at each other and stifle a laugh.

"Do you have a Mezzuzah over your door?" (No, but we have crosses...)
"Do you have a Tzedakah box?" (No, but my wife likes to play Sudoku boxes...)
"Do you have a Shabbat tradition? Maybe dad lights the candles or maybe..." (Maybe I'm in the wrong place...)

If you've never been, the service is nice once you actually figure out where to follow along with the translation. The people there were kind and understanding to the two goyim. But, try as I might, whenever they would do a prayer, being Orthodox (Christian... yeah, that was a fun one to explain), I wanted to end it with the Sign of the Cross. Probably the wrong thing to do in those circumstances.

Also, this was on St. Patrick's Day, the day that Americans celebrate the Christianization of the country of Ireland by engaging in large public acts of excessive drinking while wearing green. Waiting for the train, I had to step in and politely request that a very drunk man (in a plastic green hat) stop hitting on a girl who clearly was not into it.

On to the news:

An update on a story I did a few months ago
(Breahalyzers for teachers! It works!)

Today's most creative thieves

Throwing celery now a crime
(At least at a soccer match)

Bright, shiny objects:

How it should have ended
(How your favorite movies should have ended)

Where to shop in Japan
(Once again,! While we're at it, here's a report on St. Patrick's Day in Tokyo.)

Today's random "next blog":

Alexandra Michel
(A midwife serving in the Phillipines)

The Monday playlist feature:

Wednesday marks the Vernal Equinox, the first day of Spring. Spring Training is in full swing. On the subject, I am trying to research the ill-fated Spring of 1995. Remember the replacement players. Wonder what they were listening to after the game?

5) Dionne Farris -- I Know

4) Soul For Real -- Candy Rain

3) Brandy -- Baby

2) Sheryl Crow -- Strong Enough

1) Madonna -- Take A Bow

It wouldn't be a Monday playlist without Madonna. Will someone tell me who Dionne Farris and Soul For Real are? Is Brandy still alive?

By the way, I found a few other chart review sites. This one has Madonna, Hootie and the Blowfish, Dionne Farris, Des'ree, and Boyz II Men. This one has most of the same plus Green Day's "When I Come Around." (Who knew they'd be the only ones still around from that group?)

Today's strange anniversary:

March 19, 1883 -- Jan Matzeliger invents 1st machine to manufacture entire shoes.

Fun fact of the day:

The Chinese ideogram for 'trouble' symbolizes 'two women living under one roof'.

And finally:

I think I'm really gonna do it. Not a daily blog, but a new blog to highlight my Sabermetric interests. I need to plan it out a bit, but check back for an announcement soon.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

5th Annual NCAA Picks

It is the surest sign of spring that there is. Better than a woodland creature poking his head out of a hole. (Let's be honest. There will be six more weeks of winter either way.) Better than the stores putting out Easter candy for sale. (Let's be honest. They put that out in mid-January. And we eat it in April.) Not quite as good as spring training baseball, but no one bets on spring training baseball. (Let's be honest. That "pool" you enter is nothing more than a cleverly disguised gambling ploy.)

It's time for the NCAA Men's Basketball tournament. (It's apparently also time for the women's tournament, but no one watches that one. Or bets on it. Incidentally, while I'm in these parentheses, the Women's Final Four is in my beloved Cleveland. How did that happen and no one told me?) Once again, millions of men (and twenty-three women) will be attempting to show how knowledgeable they are about college basketball by filling out their brackets. This always ends in a great deal of hilarity, as most men know little about college basketball.

I, on the other hand, revel in my ignorance. I know nothing about college basketball. Absolutely nothing. I go to DePaul University, and I don't even know if they're any good this year. (Seeing that they didn't make the tournament, apparently not.) The thing is, I pick my games the same way that you do, based on stupid reasons like "I have an aunt who lives in Arizona" or "I'd rather go to Texas than North Carolina for vacation." Actually, you pick games based on reasons that involve your "knowledge" of basketball, and I win the pool every year. Life isn't fair.

This year, my fifth year doing this (seriously), I can get a little more interactive with the picks because I'm putting it in blog form. So sit back and enjoy as the master picks all 64 games for you and tells you the reasons for why the game will end that way. As always, don't use these as the basis for any real wager. It's not that I mind that you'd gamble, it's that I just don't want you to lose money.

Thr first round or the "So you won an irrelevant conference tournament" Sixty-four:

St. Louis Regional

(1) Florida over (16) Jackson State

Let's think about all the famous Jacksons that there have been. Seventh President Andrew Jackson. Abstract artist Jackson Pollock. And, of course, Michael Jackson (who for some reason is in the news greeting U.S. troops in Japan.) I think the last thing we need is another famous Jackson.

(9) Purdue over (8) Arizona

When was the last time you got a good chicken from Arizona?

(5) Butler over (12) Old Dominion

Everyone knows that the butler is always the killer.

(4) Maryland over (13) Davidson

One of those iron-clad rules of NCAA tournament picking (#3): Never pick a school if you don't know where it is.

(6) Notre Dame over (11) Winthrop

A thought: Had Old Dominion and Winthrop changed places (or ND and Butler), then Butler could have played Winthrop. An Englishman's delight! Rule #6: Never bet against God.

(14) Miami of Ohio over (3) Oregon

A friend of mine went to Miami, and I actually talked to him earlier tonight. He told me that MofO (read that carefully) got in. I said, "So I'm gonna have to pick them to go to the Final Four, aren't I?" He said yes.

(10) Georgia Tech over (7) UNLV

This year, the Final Four is in Atlanta. Tech is in Atlanta. I'm starting to see a pattern here.

(2) Wisconsin over (15) Texas A&M - CC

I have no idea what CC means. Did they let a community college in? Corpus Christi? (Kristy, Kristy, Kristy!) This really confused me when I saw that the "real" Texas A&M is also in the tournament along with the University of Texas, Texas Tech, and North Texas.

San Jose Regional

(1) Kansas over (16) play-in game winner

I went to KU for a conference. Nice place. Yes, that's my entire reason for picking them.

(8) Kentucky over (9) Villanova

KY. Giggle.

(12) Illinois over (5) Virginia Tech

I took a look around at where I was sitting. Never bet against your own state. Besides, Virginia Tech sounds like something that Bible Belt girls say about themselves. (Think about that one for a minute.)

(4) Southern Illinois over (13) Holy Cross

Yeah, I don't know either. So, rule #9 applies. Pick the team ranked higher.

(6) Duke over (11) VCU

Rule #5: Never pick a school if you have no idea what their acronym stands for.

(3) Pitt over (14) Wright State

Wright State. Rong city. Nothing wrong with Dayton, mind you...

(10) GONZAGA! over (7) Indiana

Every year, Gonzaga gets in, and everyone loves screaming "GONZAGA!" Well, by "everyone", I mean "me."

(2) UCLA over (15) Weber State

Weber is not actually a state. And we all know that Webber doesn't have a good history in the NCAA tournament.

East Rutherford Regional

(1) North Carolina over (16) Eastern Kentucky

RHIP. The tournament committee put this game in Winston-Salem instead of Lexington. Coincidence? Rule #1: Never bet on a "directional" state school. Except for Northern Carolina.

(8) Marquette over (9) Michigan State

True story: I picked Marquette because I was concerned that there wouldn't be a team in the second round with a Q in its name.

(5) USC over (12) Arkansas

Since we're talking about people who live in Southern California, Pamela Anderson has come forward and stood up for Britney Spears. It's too bad that there's not a team named "Britney" or something like that, and that I already eliminated Jackson State.

(4) Texas over (13) New Mexico State

I know that Mexico is talking about the whole Reconquista thing, but doesn't that part of America sound better as "Texas" than an as-yet-unnamed-New-Mexico-State? Was that too high-level of a joke?

Did anyone get that?

(11) George Washington over (6) Corneilius Vanderbilt.

(3) Washington State over (14) Oral Roberts

Do I even need to make that joke?

(10) Texas Tech over (7) Boston College

God vs. Bobby Knight. I know that Rule #6 says never bet against God. But, this is Bobby Knight. (Long time readers of this annual festival of ignorance will surely groan that my Bob Knight fascination hasn't gone away. Neither has my Kris Benson fetish.)

(15) Belmont over (2) Georgetown

Here's my entire reasoning for why I picked Belmont. We live near Belmont Street. It's a sign! Remember, someone like me wins the pool every year.

San Antonio Regional

(1) Ohio State over (16) Central Connecticut State

A memo to Central Connecticut State: Congratulations on winning the NEC and getting an automatic bid to "The Dance." After 40 minutes with Ohio State, you'll be singing this song. (CCSU's motto: "Start with a dream. End with a future." Catchy. Relevant.)

(9) Xavier over (8) BYU

God vs. God. Draw. Yes, but Ohio vs. Utah. No contest.

(5) Tennessee over (12) Long Beach State

It's Spring Break time and Long Beach State is being punished by being sent to Columbus. Right there, that's plenty of reason to think that they'll throw the game.

(4) Virginia over (13) Albany

Guard play? Better perimeter defense? Trap blocking scheme? Hydrostatic emissions? If I keep this up, I'll eventually say something that sounds intelligent.

(6) Louisville over (11) Stanford

A school's basketball ability is always inversely proportionate to it's IQ. Stanford gets screwed on that one every year... so does...

(3) Texas A&M over (14) Penn

Or whoever comes out of the Ivy League. But then again, if Stanford and Penn both pull upsets, will this be the nerdiest game of NCAA basketball ever played in the second round?

(7) Nevada over (10) Creighton

Problems with Creighton: 1) In Oklahoma. 2) Sounds like a packaging supply store. 3) Not spelled the way it sounds. This will cause them to lose. Also, my exact thought process on picking this one: I picked the #10 teams in the other three brackets. I felt I was being unfair to #7,

(2) Memphis over (15) North Texas


The Round of 32, The Second Round

Which could be a reference to the NCAA toruney or the fight over who Anna Nicole Smith's baby daddy is.

Meet Me in St. Louie Regional

(1) Florida over (9) Purdue

What do you mean I spelled it wrong?

(5) Butler over (4) Maryland

A butler hasn't gotten this much love in prime time since Mr. Belvedere.

(6) Notre Dame over (14) Miami of Ohio

Omar, if you're reading this, I gave Miami one game. C'mon man, there's a limit to how far a #14 seed from Ohio can go. Then, they get beaten by Notre Dame, who ran our high school. Besides, you can't bet against God. Also, a story that I heard from a friend who went to the Michigan-Notre Dame football game this year: Before the football games, the ND players all go to Mass together. A quick reminder that God has better things to do than block field goals. Afterwards, they all emerge to a bunch of cheering ND fans... and jeering Michigan fans. Have we gone so far as a society as to cheer people coming out of church?

(10) Georgia Tech over (2) Wisconsin

When I was in Atlanta last week, I sat down for a dinner with me and eleven Russians. The guy I was sitting next to worked at Georgia Tech. (Not shocking considering that I was in Atlanta...) but he seemed like a nice guy. Ramble on Wreck.

Do you know the way to San Jose regional?

(1) Kansas over (8) Kentucky

Rock chalk, Jayhawk.

(4) Southern Illinois over (12) Illinois

This is breaking another cardinal rule of NCAA picking. Never pick a directional school over it's non-directional counterpart. But, Southern Illinois is the Salukis. You gotta give it to a school that has a mascot that no one knows what exactly it is.

(6) Duke over (3) Pitt

I always pick Duke.

(2) UCLA over (10) GONZAGA!!!

Becuase you know that Dick Vitale will be there, baybee!

There aren't any songs about East Rutherford regional

(1) North Carolina over (8) Marquette

I asked my wife. She said North Carolina. I figure she knows about as much as I do.

(4) Texas over (5) USC

I don't see any horns on your head.

(3) Washington St. over (11) George Washington

I love it when matchups like this happen.

(10) Texas Tech over (15) Belmont

Did I really pick Belmont over Georgetown? What on earth was I smoking at the time? I don't even know where Belmont is.

Davey Crockett regional.

(1) Ohio State over (9) Xavier

Hang on sloopy, sloopy hang on. O! H! I! O! Also, will someone please tell me why North Carolina gets to play in Winston-Salem, but OSU can't play in Columbus?

(5) Tennessee over (4) Virginia

Here was my actual thought process: Tennessee has a nice orange pattern going on there. I don't know what Virginia's colors are. Therefore, Tennessee wins this game. Something to note: I have yet to name one basketball player throughout the entire course of this entry.

(6) Louisville over (3) Texas A&M

Maybe because the game is in Kentucky.

(7) Nevada over (2) Memphis

When I saw these two in the bracket, I thought of Elvis Presley. Do I go with the young Tennessee Elvis or the older Las Vegas Elvis. The post office already tried that one. Then I remembered that Marc Cohn went walking in Memphis and no one has heard from him since. Not a good sign.

The Sweet Sixteen (That awful MTV show)

(1) Florida over (5) Butler

Where would you rather be on March 22nd? Florida or Central Indiana. Thought so.

(10) Georgia Tech over (6) Notre Dame

Georgia Tech have to approach this like any board game. The goal is to move along home, and so Tech stays true to the goal. Has anyone noticed that I haven't yet mentioned Paris Hilton?

(1) Kansas over (4) Southern Illinois

Jayhawk vs. Saluki. Stop and think about that one for a while. The dodo bird meets the wild dog. Kansas gets the edge because there's not only a band named Kansas (and none named "Southern Illinois"), but there's also a band called the Jayhawks.

(2) UCLA over (6) Duke

We've gotten to the point where I start feeling guilty for always picking Duke. Besides I can't spell Krzyzewski.

(1) North Carolina over (4) Texas

Prettier uniforms.

(3) Washington State over (10) Texas Tech

I suppose I could have had Texas play Texas Tech. At this rate, Washington State will have beat Oral Roberts (hehe), George Washington, and Bob Knight. Not bad. Perhaps they will also lull Dick Vitale into a deep sleep and drop him off in Antarctica. Now that I think of it, I'll say six words and it will scar you for the rest of the day: March of the Pengins. Dick Vitale.

(1) Ohio State over (5) Tennessee

Special guest appearance by Ted Ginn, Jr. Wait... Greg Oden. There! I know an actual college basketball player! I'm sure there's no relationship (not that anyone will catch that reference, except my wife.)

(6) Louisville ties (7) Nevada

Why not? Like it matters.

The Elite Alliterative Eight. Why does Alliterative start with a vowel?

(1) Florida over (10) Georgia Tech

You know how when you play Candy Land, you have to get a purple card to get to the finishing square. However, no matter how hard you "try", you can't get one. It's like that with Georgia Tech. Florida somehow pulls out a Blue, Orange, and Purple card.

(2) UCLA over (1) Kansas

Quick, name three cities in Kansas. You can't do it. Out of the tournament.

(3) Washington State over (1) North Carolina

Does a 3-seed count as a Cinderella? Watch, Wash St. will be dumped out in the first round by Oral Roberts. That happens in everyone's brackets. One of your Final Four teams will lose in the first or second round. Count on it.

(1) Ohio State over (6/7) Louisville/Nevada

Is it baseball season yet?

The Final Four

This final four features four fine and favored franchises. Why do they call it the final four, when it's really the semi-final four?

Florida over UCLA

Ohio State over Washington State

Funny how those things work out, eh?

The Final

Ohio State over Florida

If this final happens, I will personally enroll in Ohio State and play for them to ensure that they win. More to the point, I will enroll at UF to make sure that OSU wins.

And finally:

The play in game winner

(16a) Florida A&M over (16b) Niagara

Headline: Niagara Falls.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona...

It's time for our Tuesday look around the world to see what's going on!
  1. Bob Dole finally got a job in the health care field.
  2. Mariah Carey is making a movie in which she plays an aspiring singer.
  3. We're all going to die.
In other words, nothing new is going on.

On to the news:

Teenagers scare ostrich to impotence?
(With firecrackers?)

Sword fight breaks out after man breaks into his ex-girlfriend's apartment
(The fun of doing this blog is that I have no idea what awaits me in the morning)

Bright, shiny objects:

More from the "creative ways to recycle" department
(Someone, Lindsey, linked these as a comment. They're in German, but you'll get the idea.)

Can you name all 50 states?
(You have ten minutes. Go.)

And finally:

The word in Russian for "red" is the same as the word for "beautiful." I learned that one this weekend.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

My baseball addiction

A few observations on life:

For those of you who saw the previous post and wondered, Allendale is officially off the radar (they dropped out on Tuesday morning). A big thanks to those who were following along and commenting. My mom was even watching it. It means that I'll be around for another year in my graduate program. I'll apply next year.

Chad Six was released.

I can finally use this page again. I missed baseball. The best test of whether you're a baseball junkie. If you've ever looked at a spring training box score, you have a problem. Seek help immediately. Failure to do so may result in this.

In other news, did you ever wonder what would happen if Avril Lavigne covered Toni Basil's "Mickey" and Fergie's "London Bridge" at the same time? It would sound something like this. Catchy. Creepy. Because America really needed a soundtrack to endless teenage catfights. Why'd she have to go and make... nevermind.

(Tsk tsk Avril. Not that anyone will remember this, but the song that she's blatantly ripping off is this one by The Party, "I Want To Be Your Boyfriend." For those of you who don't remember the early 90s, The Party was a "band" manufactured out of former members of the Mickey Mouse Club. It's just that they had a slightly better personal trajectory than others who followed the same career path.)

*Drool* Anyone want to get me a St. Patrick's Day/April Fool's Day/Birthday (even though it's in December) present? This looks absolutely gorgeous. Warning to wife: You wouldn't see me for two weeks. (Only downside: Who licensed Nirvana's "Breed" to this game?)

Am I a nerd for the fact that I'm trying to design a better post-hoc test for significant moderator test for fun?

While I'm in the neighborhood...

On to the news:

Headline: "Beer-drinking duck understands Chinese"
(Do I even need to add anything to that?)

Here's to multi-tasking!
(I need to be able to write my dissertation like this)

Dog gets college degree. So does cop.
(In Ohio)

Man tries to cash check from God
(Hey, God, while you have your checkbook out...)

Who Wants to be Keanu Reeves?

And finally:

I get to see my nieces this weekend!!! And oh yeah, the rest of my in-laws.