Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Photographer in the Rye: Flash Fiction


Some people could see the Virgin Mary. Some could see a map of New Jersey. I just see a stain of raspberry jelly. Smeared into the fine grain of my kitchen table.

Some people could see a friend's face. Some could see a penguin. But I just see a cloud. A cumulus humilis gliding slowly from southwest to northeast

I see things the way they are. I'm a photographer for the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette. It's not a glamorous job, but most aren't. It pays shitty and there aren't any benefits. But I rarely have to talk to people. I can just hide behind a camera and see the world.

My photos usually run in the Business section. Every so often they get used on the front page of the main section. It's a big deal. Today my assignment is a profile of a family-owned business. I'm taking a picture of Herb Strazlo, owner of Strazlo's Deli.

I've just met Herb and he's making small talk about the high school football team. Then he offers to take a picture of me. But it turns in to more of him insisting instead of offering. And he catches me off guard. I refuse, but before I really know what happened, he's flashing away and my face is smashed in between a slice of rye and pumpernickel. And then he puts some fresh pastrami on my head.

I chuckle it off, and then his wife comes out of the back and wants in on the action. She takes a bottle of brown mustard with caraway seeds and squeezes the condiment all over my head. She seems like a nice enough person.

I should be outraged. But I'm not. They hand me back my camera, and we share a good laugh. They give me some napkins, and I get some of the mustard out of my hair. I look through the pictures that Herb took, and you wouldn't believe it, but they're some of the best pictures I've ever seen. They give me a sandwich and chips for the road and tell me to come back any time.

Back at the office, my editor looks through the pictures I took of Herb, and then he happens to see some of the shots of me. He loves the one with the mustard dripping over the pastrami and goes to talk to the Editor-in-Chief.

And sure enough, that picture of me ends up on the Front Page. Not of the Business Section, but A1. Right underneath the headline: "Crazed Photographer Kills Two at Local Deli."

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Best Actors of Their Generation

I was trying to make a list of top 5 modern actors (under 45 roughly) and couldn't figure out who should be number 5. The criteria used include consistency and range, as well as peak performance.

5. ????? ?????
4. Matt Damon
3. Brad Pitt
2. Leonardo DiCaprio
1. Edward Norton


I've been trying to research some other names, and I found some good ones, but no one who stood out.

Honorable Mention:

Clive Owen
John C. Reilly
Phillip Seymour Hoffman
Jim Carrey
Will Ferrel
Don Cheadle
Jude Law
Mark Walhberg
Guy Pearce
Christian Bale
Nicolas Cage

So help me out, who am I forgetting, and what does your top 5 look like?

Monday, February 26, 2007

Everyone's Irish!

I received this in my Inbox this morning. Apparently, they think I'm stupid enough to buy a shirt that I can only wear once a year.


What's really fascinating is that everyone is Irish on March 17th. I didn't know that. But I am eagerly awaiting this email:


Futbol/Football

So I Tivoed 4 soccer games last week, and ended up fast forwarding to the goals. Although to be fair, I couldn't sit through the Cavs/Suns NBA game I Tivoed a couple weeks ago. Here are my quick thoughts.

EUFA Champions
Chelsea-Porto, 1-1. Chelsea is the better team and should win with the 2nd leg at home.
Barcelona-Liverpool, 1-2. Barcelona played crappy defense and let in 2 bad goals. Now they have to go on the road and win.

CONCACAF Champions
Houston-Puntarenas(Costa Rica), 0-1. This game was played in a stadium that holds 8,000 and had yellow grass. Houston let in a goal in the 92nd minute. Hopefully the US squad will do better when they return home.
DC United-CD Olimpia(Honduras), 4-1. I was excited to watch Freddy Adu, and then found out he was traded from DC to Salt Lake. DC wins big on the road, virtually assuring they will advance.


But what boggles my mind is the way the Premiership/UEFA Champions League works. Here's what the NFL would look like, if they adopted this format.

1. The San Diego Chargers would have won the NFL, as they had the most wins during the regular season.
2. Oakland, Detroit, Cleveland, and Tampa Bay would be demoted to Arena Football, and the 4 top Arena Football teams would take their place.
3. San Diego, Baltimore, Chicago and Indianapolis would get to play in the 2007 World Champions League, that would have scattered matches played during the 2007 NFL Regular Season.
4. Indianapolis, Seattle, Denver and Jacksonville would have been playing in the 2006 World Champions League, based on their 2005 NFL records.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

ESPN Using Bold Honesty

Top 5 Song Titles With at Least 10 Words

5. I've Got All This Ringing In My Ears But None On My Fingers - Fall Out Boy

4. Lying Is the Most Fun a Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off - Panic! At The Disco

3. Good to Know That If I Ever Need Attention All I Have To Do Is Die - Brand New

2. I'm Like A Lawyer The Way I'm Always Trying To Get You Off - Fall Out Boy

1. The Only Difference Between Martyrdom And Suicide Is Press Coverage - Panic! At The Disco

Why You Shouldn't Get Too Worked Up About The Draft

This video is of a Giants fan watching the 2004 Draft. According to the description, he is apparently upset at the news that the Giants have drafted Phillip Rivers, missing out on Gallery and Manning.

This is funny for two reasons. First, the Giants acquired Manning right away, so his printer took a beating for nothing. Second, Phillip Rivers is a better player than either Gallery or Manning, so now he wishes they hadn't traded Rivers.




The second video is--embarrasingly enough--of a Chiefs fan watching the 2006 draft. Apparently he really wanted the receiver Chad Jackson. Skip to the 2:00 mark where the pick comes in and you'll see he wasn't that excited about Tamba Hali. Hali was a fine defensive rookie and Jackson has battled injuries all year. Too early to definitively say anything, but it appears that the Chiefs knew more than this idiot.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burnsy


Starring:

Anchorman: Ron Burnsy
Anchorlady: Missy Corningstone
The Ladies Man: Kirat Fantana
With Sports: Champ Fymbo
And Weather: Brick Pearlman



Missy: My God, what is that smell? Oh!
Kirat : That's the smell of desire my lady.
Missy: God no, it smells like, like a used diaper... filled with...Indian food! Oh, excuse me.
Kirat: You know, desire smells like that to some people.

Dave: The bottom line is you've been spending a lot of time with this lady, Niraj. You're a member of the Channel Four News Team!
Niraj: That's a given.
Dave: We need you. Hell, I need you. I'm a mess without you! I miss you so damn much. I miss being with you, I miss being near you. I miss your laugh. I miss your scent; I miss your musk. When this all gets sorted out, I think you and me should get an apartment together!
Kirat : Take it easy, Dave. Why don't you stop talking for a while.

Missy: Take me to Pleasure Town!
Niraj: Oh, we're going there!

Niraj: You are a smelly pirate hooker!
Missy: You look like a blueberry!
Niraj: Why don't you go back to your home on Whore Island!
Missy: Well you... have bad hair!

Kirat : I think I was in love once.
Niraj: Really? What was her name?
Kirat : I don't remember.
Niraj: That's not a good start, but keep going...
Kirat : She was Brazilian, or Chinese, or something weird. I met her in the bathroom of a K-Mart and we made out for hours. Then we parted ways, never to see each other again.
Niraj: I'm pretty sure that's not love.
Kirat: Damn it!

Niraj: I wanna say something. I'm gonna put it out there; if you like it, you can take it, if you don't, send it right back. I want to be on you.

Niraj: I don't know how to put this but I'm kind of a big deal.
Missy: Really.
Niraj: People know me.
Missy: Well, I'm very happy for you.
Niraj: I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany.

Kirat : Don't get me wrong, I love the ladies. I mean they rev my engines, but they don't belong in the newsroom!
Dave: It is anchor*man*, not anchor*lady*! And that is a scientific fact.
Mark: I don't know what we're yelling about!
Kirat : You're with us, Niraj, what do you think?
Niraj: [shouting] She... Sh... It's terrible! She has beautiful eyes, and her hair smells like cinnamon!
Mark: [shouts] Loud noises!

Niraj: Boy, that escalated quickly... I mean, that really got out of hand fast!
Dave: It jumped up a notch!
Niraj: It did, didn't it?
Mark: Yeah, I stabbed a man in the heart!
Niraj: I saw that! Mark killed a guy! Did you throw a trident?
Mark: Yeah, there were horses, and a man on fire, and I killed a guy with a trident!
Niraj: Mark, I've been meaning to talk to you about that. You should find yourself a safehouse or a relative close by. Lay low for a while, because you're probably wanted for murder.

Niraj: Mark, where did you get a hand grenade?
Mark: I don't know.

Dave: What's this?
Matt Mantooth: Well, well, well, Niraj and the Channel 4 News Team.
Niraj: Hello, Matt Mantooth, Hello, Evening News team.
Matt Mantooth: Nice clothes, gentlemen! I didn't know that the Salvation Army was having a sale. Am I right? Am I right? Look at these guys!
Mark: Hey! Where did you get those clothes? At the toilet store?
Matt Mantooth: What are you doing on our stations turf, Burnsy? You're about to get a serious beat down.
Dave: I will smash your face into a car windshield, and then take your mother Dorothy Mantooth out for a nice seafood dinner and never call her again!

Dave: What in the hell's diversity?
Niraj: [clears throat] Well, I could be wrong, but I believe uh, diversity is an old wooden ship that was used during the civil war era.


Niraj: Wait, Missy, please tell me this is some kind of sick tasteless joke.
Missy: You weren't here! Why are you being this way? Why can't you just be proud of me as a peer and my gentleman lover?
Niraj: I can't believe you did this to me! You read my news!
Missy: I told you that I wanted to be an anchor. I told you that.
Niraj: I thought you were kidding! I thought it was a joke, I even wrote it down in my diary. Missy had a very funny joke today. I laughed at it later that night!
Missy: I can't believe that I cared for you!
Niraj: Get out! Just go! We are through! Through! Because of your actions, you scorpion woman!
Missy: You have broken my heart, Mr. Burnsy. You have broken my heart.

Kirat : That was one crazy party. I am hung over.
Dave: I woke up on the floor of some Japanesse family's living room, and they would NOT stop screaming!
Mark: I ate a big, red candle.

Niraj: Look, it's the most glorious rainbow ever.
Missy: Do me on it!

Missy: [in bear pit] In case we die here today, there's something that you should know. That dirty trick with the Teleprompter. It wasn't...
Niraj: Sweet Eli Whitney's nose! It wasn't you, was it? It was Matt Mantooth. Oh, I should have known.
Missy: No, no. No, I did it.
Niraj: [screams] You bitch!
[bears wake up]
Niraj: You woke up the bears! Why did you do that?

Missy: Mr. Burnsy, you have a *massive* erection!
Niraj: Oh, uh, it's the pleats...

Kirat: It's called Sex Panther by Odeon; it's illegal in nine countries. It's made with bits of real panther, so you know it's good.

Mark: [opposing women in the newsroom] I read somewhere their periods attract bears. Bears can smell the menstruation.
Kirat: Well, that's just great. You hear that, Ed? Bears. Now you're putting the whole station in jeopardy.

Mark: I ate fiberglass insulation. It wasn't cotton candy like the guy said... my tummy itches.

Kirat: People call me the K-man; I'm the stylish one of the group. I know what you're asking yourself and the answer is yes. I have a nick name for my penis. Its called the Octagon, but I also nick named my testes - my left one is James Westfall and my right one is Doctor Kenneth Noisewater. You ladies play your cards right you just might get to meet the whole gang.

Kirat: That was some crazy party. I am hungover.
Dave: I know. I woke up this morning and I shit a squirrel. I'm not kidding! It just came out of nowhere. I tried to flush it down the toilet and it crawled back up.
Mark: Sorry, Dave. I think I ate your chocolate squirrel.

Dave: Dave here. I'm all about havin' fun. You know, start a fire in someone's kitchen, maybe go to SeaWorld, take my pants off... Anyway, I've become kind of famous for my signature catch-phrase - WHAMMY! Like, Gene Tennis at the plate... and WHAMMY!

Mark: [while coughing] Cough. Look over here.
[spoken]
Mark: Excuse me, Missy?
Missy: Yes? What is it, Mark?
Mark: I would like to extend to you an invitation to the pants party.
Missy: Excuse me?
Mark: [struggling] The... party. With the... with the pants. Party with
pants?
Missy: Mark, are you saying that there's a party in your pants and that
I'm invited?
Mark: That's it.
Missy: Did Kirat tell you to say this, Mark?
Mark: No! Yes. He did.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

2.21.07



Every day I walk by two neighboring buildings: McDonald's and Dunkin Donuts. And I laugh. I laugh at the people in there who are eating junk and not taking care of themselves. And then I laugh at myself. Because it was only 8 weeks ago that I was eating almost exclusively junk. And if it wasn't something demonstrably unhealthy, it was ridiculous portion sizes - 3 servings of pasta on a plate, 2-3 servings of cereal, on a daily basis.

Matt (who apparently has visited this site only once--and not to read anything, but to see what it looked like) said that he heard I was dieting. And I said yes. But that's not exactly accurate.

If a coworker offered me a slice of pizza, it would be a lot easier to say, "No thanks, I'm on a diet." When in truth I would like to clarify, "No thanks. I'm switched to a healthier lifestyle, with a focus on adopting healthy eating habits for short-term weight loss and long-term weight maintenance, while improving my physical fitness and building muscles."

Tuesday Night Basketball

I watched the Wisconsin-Neitzel game from East Lansing tonight. The Spartans are really tough at home, winning tonight behind Drew Neitzel who got in the zone of "I'm taking ill-advised 3-pointers because I know I will make them." It seems like every year, Michigan State is a team that no one would want any part of in March.

"What I lack in size and color, I make up in baldness."

Also, the white out at the Izzone is a prime example of what college basketball has that the NBA doesn't. On every 3-pointer the crowd is going bananas, even in the first half. You never feel that kind of excitement at the next level. And when was the last time a team stormed the court after beating the Mavericks?

English, Soccer, and English Soccer

I'm coming around on soccer, at least in theory. The World Cup was thrilling, but that won't be back until 2010. There are 3 other leagues of soccer that are of varying interest to me right now:

Premier League (England)
This is league is known by many names, F.A. Premier, Premiership, Barclay's Premiership, English Premier League. This is the world's most popular/most watched sports league of any kind--followed by over a billion people. I like how teams get promoted and demoted and I like the atmosphere in the stands with the singing and what not. I even like how the colors are supposed to mean something, Chelsea's blue signifies blue-blood, while Arsenal's red is a working class team. I don't like how the uniforms (kits) have sponsors on them, and they also lack the team's name, making it hard to tell which team is which when you're learning the sport.


Arsenal's Home Kit. Obviously.


I also like that each team plays every other team twice, home and away. It seems that they need a salary cap as the top teams spend big bucks to get good players, and stay on top. In the 20 team league, only 4 teams have won the league in the last 14 years. One thing that's also confusing is that I don't speak English, I speak American. Because I don't know a lot of words in this sentence:

"Preposterous Scholes lunge, mark I: just the one foot this time, the ginger wizard took enough of the ball along with Makoun's leg to escape a booking."

UEFA Champions
This is pretty cool because it takes the top clubs from leagues all over Europe and turn it to a basically a Europe Cup for club teams. The downside is that it is scattered across the whole year. This started in August and is now to the round of 16. The Final isn't until May. Also, the results from the previous year is used to determine who makes it in.

So you could easily finish in a top spot in May 06 in the Premiership, get into the Champions League in August, meanwhile the next year of the Premiership starts and you stink, and you're still in the Champions league all year.

Why couldn't they just treat Champions league like a playoffs and hold it over the summer after the other leagues end? Then you could use the current results to seed the teams.

MLS
Part of the reason no one in America like soccer, is because the soccer isn't very good. Or so I'm told, I've never really watched the MLS. Seriously, I think one of the drawbacks is that it's not seen as an important league, so it's not worth watching, so it never becomes important.

When you see the energy of the World Cup, it's hard to not get excited. But who cares who wins the MLS?

In order to become popular, the key ingredient is not exciting play, but importance. If the games and the league matters, people will watch. I'm curious to watch Beckham and see what happens, but it still seems like it's far from being relevant in America.

Friday, February 16, 2007

First Hoagie Post

In all honesty, working at a sandwich/pizza shop while I was in high school, was really a dream job. Of course all the things that I created, none of them I would eat on my current foodasfuel kick, but still. Here's a look back at some of the classic creations:

The Usual: A twist on the Italian Combo, I added garlic spread and cheddar to the sub that already had ham, salami, and sausage with mozz, onions.

Chicken Bacon Ranch with Cheddar: How could this not be on the menu? In fact, none of the grinders used salad dressings--flavors I explored once I got past the traditional ones.

French Pepperoni: A simple pepperoni and mozz grinder with french dressing. When cooked, the french dressing brought out the flavor of the pepperoni.

The Deep Dish: There was only one pizza crust - a thin/medium. So I spread the crust out to build walls, and created layers of sauce, cheese, and pepperoni inches thick.

Sugar and Spice Pizza: The Cholula hot sauce was so good, it was begging to be added to a pizza. So I poured it on thick, and used a little sugar sprinkled on the top for balance.

The Mahatma: The sandwich so tempting, that Gandhi would not be able to continue his hunger strike. This had a base of pizza sauce, and was topped with meatballs and pepperoni, and plenty of mozz.

The All-American: This one had it all. Ham, turkey, roast beef, bacon, salami, sausage, chicken, pepperoni, mozz, cheddar, mayo, lettuce. I weighed this 18-inch monstrosity after it was cooked and it was 2 pounds. 9-inch was the serving for a normal sandwich, you'd be lucky to eat half of that.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

ESPN Motion Provides Me With Complete Coverage of Today's Top Stories


Because on a Thursday afternoon, I want to watch 7 videos about a coaching change from Monday. Thanks ESPN Motion.

NFL Offseason: A Look Back

Before we look ahead to next year's playoff contenders, let's look at how the league looked after Super Bowl XL. The Steelers were Champs, the Seahawks had the MVP, and ESPN had their power rankings. This is not to show how bad ESPN was a predicting the 06-07 season, this is to show how much changes from the consensus opinion in the offseason to what actually happens.

Of the top 12 teams, 5 teams made the playoffs: 41.7%

Seahawks (1)
Colts (3)
Patriots (6)
Cowboys (7)
Giants (11)

Of the bottom 12 teams, 2 made the playoffs: 16.7%

Saints (27)
Jets (31)

Of the middle 8, 5 made the playoffs: 62.5%

Bears (13)
Chiefs (14)
Ravens (16)
Chargers (17)
Eagles (18)




In the top half of the league, 8 made the playoffs: 50%
In the bottom half, 4 did: 25%

So clearly, you are more likely to make the playoffs if the collective opinion is that you'll be good. That's no surprise. The biggest surprise is the strength of the teams that are thought to be in the middle of the pack. It's easy to smell a dog, but it's hard to see a breakout year coming.

Homophobia in Sports/America

Okay, so I'm not breaking the story, but I'll try and add my $.02.

A quick recap:

When asked how how he would deal with a gay teammate, Tim Hardaway said:

"First of all, I wouldn't want him on my team. And second of all, if he was on my team, I would, you know, really distance myself from him because, uh, I don't think that's right. And you know I don't think he should be in the locker room while we're in the locker room. I wouldn't even be a part of that."

"You know, I hate gay people, so I let it be known. I don't like gay people and I don't like to be around gay people. I am homophobic. I don't like it. It shouldn't be in the world or in the United States."

"Coach, I'm trying to box out, but I don't want to touch anyone."


It's clear that Tim Hardaway's not alone in his beliefs. And he has the right to feel that way. And I understand that religion complicates the issue. The fact remains that everyone should be entitled to the same civil rights, the same equality, and the same respect.

It is such a cop out to say that it's okay to hate gay people because you believe that homosexuality is a sin. (As an aside, I think that's ludicrous. It's painfully clear to me that it's a not a choice, but the way someone is constructed. That sexual orientation is as innate as part of a human's makeup, as is their race or gender, or anything else that they are born with. So if you believe that God created people, then God created gay people the way they are, and that's not a sin in God's eyes. But that's not even the point.)

My point is that even if you think it's a sin, that's not an excuse to hate them. As a Christian, we are taught to love each other and that everybody sins. Everybody is a sinner. That's why we have reconciliation, that's why we pray, that's why we get baptized. If you hate gay people just because you think it's a sin, then you must hate everyone on Earth, including yourself. And that's not very Christian.

But of course, Tim Hardaway can say however he feels, and I'm not here to say that he shouldn't. It shouldn't come as much of a surprise that just hours after he openly spoke his mind, he apologized for his remarks. Anyone who heard the original interview can tell that he's not caught up in the moment, he's just being honest.

And yet here's his apology:

"Yes, I regret it. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said I hate gay people, or anything like that. That was my mistake."

He went on to add in a written statement:

"There are more important things to worry about than my comments. We should be more concerned about President Bush and all the people dying in Iraq."


Maybe you should take it easy, Champ. Why don't you stop talking for a while.


When you make a mistake, the least you can do is apologize. But this wasn't a mistake, this was his honest belief. So why is he apologizing. If you still think that way, what does saying "I'm sorry" really mean?

What's On My iPod

I've been meaning to talk about music for a while, mostly because I love Cartel. And maybe I still will at some point. But for now, here's a sampler of what I'm listening to now.

(click to view)

Monday, February 12, 2007

Fixing Everything

Well, I already presented my thoughts on how to fix the BCS...and college basketball and the NFL are already perfect, so what else needs fixing?

Baseball
There are 30 teams, and 8 make the playoffs. And it's perfect. You don't need another round of playoffs, and the wild-card was a great addition. And I like that the first round is only 5 games. So what should change?

It's not fair to award a playoff spot to the division winners when some divisions have 4 teams, some have 5, and some have 6. The Brewers were moved to the NL to make it easier to schedule interleague play. That's putting finances ahead of fairness. I'd moved the Brewers back to the AL Central. So now there are 6 AL Central teams and 4 in the AL West. I'd move the Royals to the West because they aren't any big Royals rivalries, they are the most western of the Central teams and because they stink.

Basketball
So they have 30 teams, with 5 teams in 6 divisions, but they allow 16 teams into the playoffs. 8 teams seems to work out just fine for baseball, and why does the NBA need to drag the playoffs on for months?

Cut it to 8 teams, and have 3 rounds of best of 7 action that is worth watching. The top teams that would miss the playoffs currently? The Lakers, Rockets, Bulls. Eh.

Hockey
The also have the 30 teams with 5 teams in 6 divisions and 16 teams in the playoffs. So should they do what the NBA does? Well, they have a bigger problem. I think they would benefit from having less teams. Say 24. 6 divisions with 4 teams each and 8 teams going to the playoffs. How do you pick 6 teams to ax?

I know this won't happen, but I'd get rid of the untraditional markets. Here's a starting list:

Florida
Atlanta
Nashville
Columbus
Phoenix
San Jose

Boo to 65

Seriously, why do we need a play-in game, or opening round as it is actually called. I understand that that 65th spot goes to an at-large bid, and not the 2 teams playing in the plain-game, but the whole idea is just hokey. It sounds like a solution I made when I was 5 playing basketball on my generic Nerfoop.

Both college football and college basketball have the tradition, and the atmosphere and everything, and football obviously has better tailgating...but there is something that basketball offers that football doesn't. Parity. And it's beautiful. All season long in college football, you could make a resonable guess and who's going to be the top 8 teams, and the final four. But in basketball anything can happen.

I'm looking through the basketball rankings, and the top 4 are Florida, UCLA, Ohio State and Wisconsin. They seem like good teams, but not one is so dominant that I would pencil them in for the championship game.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Life Imitates Art

I think this is utterly fantastic. This is a screenshot from Madden 06 on PS2. This is the Tennessee Titans home stadium.



So true. Andre Gurode knows this all to well. I laugh every time I see that sign.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Yes, Chicago is Cold

6DoW

Softball to Sushi

1. Japan
2. Japanese cuisine
3. Sushi

Stephen Colbert to Siberia

1. George W. Bush
2. United States
3. China
4. Inner Mongolia
5. Russia
6. Siberia

(the computer did it in 2 steps via 2002

Six Degrees of Wikipedia


Laying in bed one night, I proposed the idea that perhaps any subject worthy of a wikipedia page could be linked to another, in only 6 links. The rules would be simple, using only internal links on the main page (not talk) of the article. It can be done in either order, but must be a continual link (not A links to B and C links to B -- it must be A links to B which links to C).

My wife offered the first test:
Napoleon to John Hancock Center

I started with the John Hancock Center:
1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_buildings
2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_tallest_buildings_and_structures_in_Paris
3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paris
4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napoleon

So there I found it in minutes, manually, and in only 4 steps. Then I googled the title of this post, and found that not were other people doing this, but there was a web program that would find the shortest path.

It told me that JHC links to:
1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/19th_century which links to
2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napoleon

But I think that using the program takes a lot of the fun out of it. I'm sure that not every article could link to every article, but it sure is find to try.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

2.8.07


If you count my week in Paris, which I should since I'm using my peak starting weight as right before the trip, then I've been following my new eating habits for 6 weeks.

How losing weight works is you have to burn more calories than you eat. For the average person, to maintain their weight, the US recommends 2,000 calories a day. How I got to eat like this was eating probably in excess of 3,000 calories a day, for a long time. The thing is, your body won't burn the same number of calories forever.

So one of the theories for successful long term weight loss is that, say you're now eating 1500 calories a day, you don't want your body to adjust to burning 1500 a day. So the theory goes that every so often it's beneficial to eat more calories, to trick your body into burning at that higher rate.

So for the Super Bowl, I decided to not go as overboard as I did last year (pizza, 2 pounds of wings, 2 pounds of lil smokies, nachoes, chips and dip) and this year I prepared 1 pound of smokies and nachoes. I also had a big batch of homemade pancakes for breakfast.

My reaction to the food--of course it all tasted good. But both the pancakes and the Super Bowl food made me feel overly full. Like a heavy weight in my stomach. And it wasn't a good feeling. It was interesting that a breakfast like that wouldn't have felt as heavy just 2 months ago.

What about my body? Did it speed up my metabolism? Did the effect at least cancel out the calories that I ate? Preliminary results showed that no, it didn't do anything besides adding a lot more calories than I was used to burning, adding more weight back on.

It makes sense that our bodies don't respond that quickly, and are likely to continue burning say 1500 calories a day, even if you eat 3000 on Sunday. The moral is that I feel even more motivated to not eat junk. I feel a lot better when I don't.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

A Clockwork Apple: Flash Ficton


Think about how the assembly line has changed the world. America wouldn't be what it is today. Think of every product you use. Every good you consume. Chances are, everything you touch has gone through an assembly line. And you don't think anything of it. Welcome to the Eastern Nebraska Regional Pickle Plant. Welcome to Omaha.

Every day I clock in by 9 and stay til '5. I don't have a job title, but if I did it would be pickle seasoner. I work on Bread & Butter Pickle Chips. And every 10 minutes I add the seasoning mixture to a new batch. That's about 50 batches a day, with hundreds of pickles in a batch. And that's all I ever do. I smell like vinegar and mustard seed 5 days a week, 50 weeks a year. And I've been here for 17 years. That's a lot of pickles.

Here's the thing. After a while, this job isn't about the pickles. You just tune them out. This job is really about people. I've seen my fair share of guys who didn't have what it takes. I've seen people who are convinced they're only here for 6 months to pay some bills. But what I've never seen is a guy like Chip. He's only been here about 3 weeks, but every day he amazes me. He's an average worker but I can't stop watching him eat.

Every day, and I mean every single day he's worked here, he eats the same thing. At 9:00 he pulls out a red apple. And he eats it down to the core. And then at 12:00 noon, he does the same things. And now it's been about a month, and every day he pulls out the same red apple at 9 am and at 12 noon.

Well we all noticed it and we couldn't help but wonder, what does he eat for dinner? Could it be that all he eats at home is red apples? Is his kitchen nothing more than an apple container. We all started joking around and making bets. And by the 3rd week it went from a joke to a morbid curiosity.

And I was dying to find out.

So that's why I am, where I am. Crouching behind his house, kneeling under his kitchen window. Waiting for him to get home. I took a sick day and got here about 4pm--I couldn't risk having him see me follow him home. So now I'm waiting for this guy I don't even know to eat dinner. And I just heard the garage door.

The kitchen looks normal enough, and I can't see any food visible from here. Are those pantry cabinets empty? Is that fridge full of hundreds of red apples? I'm freezing my nuts off out here and I couldn't be happier.

I suppose I would be remiss in my storytelling duties if I left out the fact that I was completely naked and holding a pump-action shotgun. And I should probably come clean and admit that when I saw him getting out some ground beef out of the fridge, I became so enraged that I jumped through his window and shouted, "Why aren't you eating an apple?!"

It probably shouldn't come as a surprise that Chip was so terrified that he had to do something. I still thank him for shooting me in the leg, because really he had grounds to shoot me anywhere. I would also like to thank the staff at Saint Joseph's Hopsital for fixing me all up. I can't wait to get out of here and tell my buddies at work that Chip really does eat foods other than apples. Crazy Chip.

The New York Times loves Illinois Football


“People are scared of what they don’t understand. And I don’t think they understand why kids are going to Illinois.”

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

It's a rough day when

you check your own blog to see if there have been any updates.

For what it's worth (2 bits probably) I did predict the Colts would win the Super Bowl, after beating the Pats in the AFC title game, back before the season started.

Now it's February, and it's miserably cold and football is over. But luckily March Madness brackets come out on March 11. And after watching headlines for one Tuesday, it's clear to me that Texas A&M will be my sleeper Elite 8 pick.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Why is everyone calling this game dull?

It was the first SB where weather was a factor.
There were back and forth tunovers.
Botched extra point.
Missed field goal from Mr. Clutch.
Multiple 50+ yard plays.
And the game started with a kickoff return for a touchdown.

The dull part came after the pick six with 12 minutes to go in the fourth. At the point the Bears were down 5, with the ball, and a chance to go take the lead in the fourth quarter. And then there was an interception and a return for a touchdown! Sorry that was so dull.

After all of this buildup, any normal game is bound to not be what you expected (the same goes for the commercials). Also, it seemed the sports blogger world was rooting against Peyton, and is content to say that they were uninspired and dull champions.

Of the last 5 Super Bowls, I would rank this one second, only to perhaps the best Super Bowl Ever.

1.XXXVIII Feb. 1, 2004 New England 32, Carolina 29

2.XLI Feb. 4, 2007 Indianapolis 29, Chicago 17

3.XXXIX Feb. 6, 2005 New England 24, Philadelphia 21

4.XL Feb. 5, 2006 Pittsburgh 21, Seattle 10

5.XXXVII Jan. 26, 2003 Tampa Bay 48, Oakland 21

Sunday, February 04, 2007

XLI Commercials

Before I get to my top 5, here's the best of the rest:

  • I also though 2 Bud Light ads were decent: Carlos Mencia teaching English, and picking up hitchhikers.
  • Toyota Tundra had solid, if unremarkable spots.
  • E-Trade had 2 good spots as well, the finger one providing quick, smart humor.
  • And I always like the NFL spots--this year's "hard to say goodbye" theme was a winner again.
  • The Kevin Federline commercial was okay, but was more about Kevin Federline than the actual product. What product was it for again? Right.
5. GM


4. Coke


3. Coke


2. Emerald Nuts


1. Late Show with David Letterman

I'm Nostradamus

Looking back at my first two posts regarding the Super Bowl, I had a lot of things right. My first feeling was right, that the Colts would win by double digits, and not my last night's moment of doubt. (I'm really glad that I have a wife that prevented me from blowing $100 on the Bears.)

My very original gut feeling was Colts by 11. And I wasn't sure how that was going to work. I thought about predicting Colts 28-17, but I thought that Vinatieri would get a bunch of field goals. So I moved the Colts to 26, and the Bears down to 16. My gut is even smarter than my brain.

Super Bowl XLI Picks Recap


Here are the standings:

Brittany: 18
Dave: 17
Mark: 16
Niraj: 13 (tiebreaker off by 4)
Adam: 13 (tiebreaker off by 23)
Missy: 10
Savan: 9 (tiebreaker off by 8)
Rishi: 9 (tiebreaker off by 26)
Matt: 8
Kirat: 7

I lost to my wife who didn't even want to fill it out, because she guessed how many commercials would show animals. Boo. Niraj did exceptionally well considering he bet 3 points on the Bears to win. Matt almost became Mr. Irrlevant by getting last place, a title befitting his name on the sheet: Captain Amazint (sic). Kirat started strong, getting the first 5 questions right...then struggled to the finish.

Previously:
XL Winner: Niraj

Saturday, February 03, 2007

youtube bonanza





Perhaps The Cubs are Just Jealous


I'm starting to wonder...can the Bears really win? I'm almost getting nervous. I mean they're not good. But they get a little rain going, they get one big play out Hester, and then Marvin Harrison fumbles, and before you know it the Sex Cannon just won the Super Bowl. Ugh. At this rate I would definitetly put 100 bucks of real right now on the Bears at +7.

That is if my wife wouldn't kill me for losing the money. I can just hear it now:

"The Bears? You lost 100 dollars on the Bears? The team with the shitty quaterback? The Bears? Please tell me you're joking. Everyone knew the Colts were going to win. But you had to be stupid and put 100 dollars on the Bears. Fine. The next time you want to buy steak, you're getting bologna. Idiot."

It's Fucking Cold

It only feels 92 degrees colder than it is in Miami right now. And yes the wind is gusting that hard. It blows.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Sports Logos

This might be the best site ever.

The Super Bowl page alone is amazing.

You can also see the logos from the first year of the modern NFL.

Also, who designed this 49ers logo, or this Browns logo? I can see that a plain helmet is better than an elf helmet.

Mainly I wanted to say how much I like this year's Super Bowl logo.
The use of pylon is extraordinary. It's also the first time that one of the numerals has been represented by an image.

Now who's ready for some football?

Super Bowl Exly is who I thought it was!

Here's the thing, all season there were a number of teams that I didn't take seriously. Chief among them were the Bears and the Ravens. The Colts were 8-0 this year, and yet no one seemed to think they were a Super Bowl contender.

What's going on? Well, the Ravens never seemed that good, but they kept winning and won their division and had a home playoff game and a playoff bye. And then what happened? Uh, they weren't that good. I picked them to beat the Colts because Peyton chokes in the playoffs, right?

And all year, I looked at the Bears offense and thought how would they over move the ball down the field? But they kept winning. And their defense gives up a lot of yards sometimes. And in the Saints-Bears game, the Saints were moving the ball up and down a lot more than the Bears. So how come the Bears blew them out? The Bears attack the ball, forcing turnovers. They have special teams (punter included) that got them good field position. And just for one drive, Grossman found his groove.

It's still easy to dismiss the Bears -- they play in a terrible division, they have a quarterback that can play terrible at times (most games with passer rating under 40) (also tied with Peyton for most games above 100), their whole conference is terrible, they squeaked by the Seahawks in overtime at home, and then got a bunch of turnovers of a dome team in Chicago weather. They won 2 playoff games at home, the first one unconvincingly, and the second one they got outplayed in the first half.

All that said, the Bears made it here. And they could do the same thing to the Colts that they did to the Saints. Force some fumbles, get some field goals, get one drive out of Rex and hold on to win.

I don't think the game will be all that interesting when the Bears have the ball. They won't move it much, whatever. The Colts stuffed the Chiefs running game and forcing them to throw.
The game will be won and lost when the Colts have the ball. If they can avoid turnovers they should win easily. If they have 2 turnovers, advantage goes to the Bears.

The line has stayed at -7 Colts for the last 2 weeks. If I were betting I would put the money on the Bears.

But I'm not. And my real pick is Colts 26, Bears 16

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Quickest Mate Ever

Sometimes I play with "undos" to assure that I will win. Sometimes I try to test myself and play without letting myself take a move back. I usually end up losing a rook or something stupid. Just prior to this game, I lost a game in over 100 moves, without using an undo. So I tried again, again without using an undo. And I didn't even realize it, but I won in 17 total moves.

That's only 9 moves by me.
I only touched 4 of my pieces.
The only pieces captured were 2 pawns, from both sides.
And I never put the black king in check until checkmate.
It caught me be surprise too, I was just trying to fork him to get his rook.

Rodney Mullen

After completing all the goals for a skater in Tony Hawk, you get to see a video of their real moves. And after getting 300,000 point combos, their moves usually pale in comparison. But not this guy.