September 2005 Archives

Somewhere Between 'Tic-Tac-Toe' And Chinese Calculus


One of the problems with posting 'Discuss'-type entries to a blog with only a handful of regular readers is the potential for a deafening silence broken only by the chirp of cyber-crickets. But life is fraught with risks, so here I go.

Rank the four major sports in terms of their overall complexity as you see it.

I submit:

  1. Football (by an order of magnitude)
  2. Hockey (the unwritten rules involving fighting are more complex than either baseball or basketball)
  3. Baseball (if not for the pitcher-batter interface, this would be #4)
  4. Basketball


You Only See What You (Don't) Want To See

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So a couple of times this week, I was channel-surfing and I stumbled across ESPN Classic showing a couple of old Michigan-Michigan State games. When I mention that they were the 1995 and 2001 games, you'll understand why I didn't stick around (doubly so on the latter after I saw this clip on this forum). I was all ready to fire off another righteous rant (like this one or my comment on this post on Vijay's blog) when I decided to check what other Michigan losses ESPNC was showing this week.

Well, they weren't showing any more Michigan games, but they had recently shown 2 others.

1969 aOSU and 2004 Michigan State.


The Amazing Race: Family Edition Kickoff


When I first heard that The Amazing Race was going to do a Family Edition with four-person teams, I thought "Great. Twice the bickering."

What I failed to realize is that it would be actually six times the bickering (do the math - it's nCk for n=4 and k=2). And although not every team is bickering, Garbageman's family is picking up the slack for ALL OF THEM! If they're not gone soon, I'll either stop watching or Brick my TV. And I don't want to buy a new TV. Actually, I do, just not right now. Anyway, on to the observations.

  • I can't hardly tell any of them apart yet.
  • The little kids (not the Black little kids (and, boy, am I going to be uncomfortable referring to them, even though Black is the family name), the other ones) creep me out because they sound exactly like small adults (and that creeps me out because I think I was just the same way at that age).
  • The twentysomething siblings looked great on paper but almost got the first Philimination. We saw a lot of them early; I bet that means we don't see them for long.
  • 4UnfortunatelyNotNonBlondes are all permanently in 'transmit-only' mode. They remind me of the recent MadTV sketch skewering The View as a room full of hens constantly talking without listening.

Wow! Moment: marathonfamily absolutely pwned the buggy push. Of course, they were working with a 200-pound weight advantage. But still.

Key Play: Garbageman's family leaving the campground in the last group but finishing the leg sixth. Dammit. I still want them gone, but props to one of the sons for being the only one to notice the 'hot dog' vendors were really The Frats from Season One!

It Was Over When: The Black family made an unspecified navigational error between the Detour and the pit stop, allowing the Linz family to make up the fifteenish-second gap and avoid Philmination. Don't let the editing that showed two trucks neck-and-neck approaching the pit stop fool you; both those trucks were black and the Blacks and Linzs drove gray trucks.

The Law Of Unintended Consequences, Office Edition

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We just went VoIP here at the Imperialist Capitalist Running Pig-Dog Military-Industrial Complex. One of the features of our new Cisco phones is internal Caller ID.

I predict that by the end of October, nobody in my office will ever answer their phone.

On Immobile Quarterbacks And Damaged Aircraft

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Blog output is way down lately because we've got the customer in house this week, negotiating over requirements and cost estimates, but I wanted to take a second to talk about Saturday's El Foldo against the Badgers (actually, just bloviate some. If you're looking for real analysis, try Brian or Vijay or Joey). It was a total team effort on offense and special teams: the line didn't open big holes, the RBs left the ball on the ground, Henne continued to regress, and Breaston produced more evidence that he isn't a deep threat. Hell, even Avant dropped a ball!

The defense played fairly well, except when they really really had to. The 'Dewey Defeats Truman' award of the day goes to me, for this gem about ten minutes before kickoff:

If we can keep Calhoun from running wild, we'll be fine, because there's no way on this planet that John Stocco can beat us.

Counterpointed by ESPN2 announcer Sean McDonough, about 8:40 Central Time:

Quarterback draw... Stocco... touchdown!

We got beat by fucking John Stocco, who is slightly less mobile than John Navarre. Hell, he's only slightly more mobile than John Goodman!

Michigan may have two engines out and a third on fire, but all is not lost. The talent is there, and Michigan has recovered from awful early seasons before - notably an 0-2 start in 1998 to finish 10-3, 1-2 in 1980 to finish 10-2 and get Bo's first Rose Bowl win, and 0-2 in 1988 to finish 9-2-1 and get Bo's other Rose Bowl win. But they need to get it together doublequick, because Drew Stanton is just dying to see how bad he can carve up M's defense (if he can stay healthy for the whole game), and after that is Iowa at Iowa, where Michigan has had trouble recently.

Win both those games, and the fire's out and they're still in the running for a BCS bid. Lose one of them, and it's an emergency landing New Years Morning in Florida. Lose both, and this Ron White line comes to mind:

"How far can we get on one engine?"
"All the way to the scene of the crash."
The crash site being Ford Field, well before Christmas.

So How Do You Say 'Catch-22' In Malay, Anyway?


Dymphna of Gates of Vienna (a most excellently-named blog) scores Remark of the Day in this post about a Malaysian woman being denied in her attempt to change her name to reflect her renunciation of Islam. Here's the setup:

The court based its decision on the fact that Ms. Joy’s renunciation of Islam for Christianity had no bearing on the matter of identity. Furthermore, according to the same justices, she had no permission from the Shari’a court to make such a decision about who she is. This particular part of their fine print is most pointedly a farce, considering that any appeal to a Shari'a court to remove herself from the rolls of Islam is sufficient cause to have her killed as an apostate.
And here's the punch line:
These folks were dreamed up by Kafka and bequeathed to us when he died.

Annnnnd POOF! She's Disappeared!

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Some Survivor 'inside baseball' here; feel free to move along if that ain't yer thing.

Memo to Morgan: honey, standing around doing nothing but looking pretty and pointing to things might work OK as a magician's assistant, but it won't get you very far on Survivor. How self-absorbed do you have to be to not notice that everybody knows you didn't do a thing around camp?

Ya Gotta Be Smarter Than Your Dog...

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White Trash Wednesday

So how do you say 'White Trash Wednesday' in Bulgarian, anyway?

35-year-old hunter Ivailo Nedkov from the Drianovets village in the northeastern Bulgaria went hunting on Wednesday morning with his Drathaar dog. Dogs of this breed are very energetic and helpful in fowling.

Ivailo managed to shoot a couple of quails and as he was going to pick up the second bird he was left behind by his own dog who grabbed it and did not want to let go.

The master angry at his dog started beating him with the gun butt trying to take away the quail. During the struggle the dog pulled the trigger with his paw and the gun fired a shot.

The hunter was wounded in his chest and was taken to the hospital to take out the shop [sic].

It's White Trash Wednesday! Take the whole tour:

In the "And I Care About This Why?" category, ABC faces questions over the outcome of Dancing with the Stars

NEW YORK — Did Kelly Monaco (search) of the popular ABC soap "General Hospital" win the trophy on "Dancing with the Stars" (search) because it was also an ABC show?

There was an enormous fuss this summer when she won over hands-down favorite John O’Hurley (search), famous for playing catalogue king J. Peterman on NBC's "Seinfeld."

. . .

For the rematch, each pairing will perform Latin, ballroom and freestyle dances. Unlike the original 6-week series, though, they will be judged by only viewer votes, rather than a combination of votes and judge scoring.

Oh, sure. Because there's no possible way that can be manipulated.

(So you take five days off, and you come back with this?!? Geez, why'd you bother? At least come up with a White Trash Wednesday entry or something...)

New Office Lexicon Entry: Shotgun Start

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Today's new term for the Office Lexicon is 'Shotgun start':

Starting requirements analysis, system design, software development, and testing of a project all at the same time. (from golf - an event that starts with participants starting on different holes at the same time, with the start signalled by an official firing a shotgun)

A real time-saver if you have a well-understood task; a recipe for disaster in most other circumstances.

Yep, The President Sure Hates Black People

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Hey Kanye - these folks didn't get your memo!

ABC News producers probably didn't hear what they expected when they sent Dean Reynolds to the Houston Astrodome's parking lot to get reaction to President Bush's speech from black evacuees from New Orleans. Instead of denouncing Bush and blaming him for their plight, they praised Bush and blamed local officials. Reynolds asked Connie London: "Did you harbor any anger toward the President because of the slow federal response?" She rejected the premise: "No, none whatsoever, because I feel like our city and our state government should have been there before the federal government was called in.” She pointed out: “They had RTA buses, Greyhound buses, school buses, that was just sitting there going under water when they could have been evacuating people."

Not one of the six people interviewed on camera had a bad word for Bush -- despite Reynolds' best efforts.
[H/T doubleplusgood infotainment]

A Perfect Perfect Game


En route to looking up something else, I came across this Straight Dope classic about the definition of a truly perfect game:

(3) Which is more elegant, a perfect game accomplished in 27 pitches, each batter hitting into an out, or one accomplished in 81 strikes, giving the position players nothing to do at all?

Cecil answers:

(3) The number of pitches thrown during a perfect game is no more relevant than the number of brush strokes used to paint the Mona Lisa. A perfect game is just that: perfect. To cavil about the minor details of such a performance is to proclaim that one has the morals of a newspaper publisher. I need say no more.

I see his point (although I submit that fans have been arguing about baseballically philosophical questions since Doubleday), but he missed an obvious answer. 27 first-pitch lineouts back to the pitcher would accomplish both goals; nobody else - not even the catcher - would have to do anything!

Yesterday's planned blogging was wiped out by a catastrophic water heater failure.

I know, that doesn't account for Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, but I was still in the bunker sulking over Michigan's loss to fND. I think it's actually worse that fND kept trying to give Michigan the game in the fourth quarter, and Michigan kept saying "Oh, no, thank you very much, but you keep it," than it would have been if it were a straight-up domination (e.g., aOSU last year). And yeah, there were some iffy calls, non-reviews, and one-in-a-thousand lucky bounces that fND always seem to get against Michigan, but as a team you have to get yourselves in a position where those kinds of things won't kill you.

One last thing, at least for now. Between last year's Indiana game and last Saturday's game, I'm pretty sure I don't want to see Chad Henne try another sneak for as long as he's wearing the winged helmet.

Think Long-Term

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If you haven't already donated to help the victims of Katrina, you need to. But here's something else to consider: I think there will be plenty of money in the short term (although if everybody int the U.S. donated only $10, we should be generating almost three BILLION dollars instead of the less-than-a-billion numbers I'm hearing now). But what happens two months or six months or eight months from now, when all the short-term money has been spent, and nobody can go back to NO because it's still not livable? We need to start thinking long term about how we can help these folks become self-sufficient once their $2K debit cards are all used up.

Maybe they'll be absorbed by their current host communities and there won't be any problems, and I'll be the first to admit that I don't have any specific ideas. If you've got any ideas - or if you've read about any - leave me a comment.

Well, My Birthday Party Is Coming Up


Absolutely true story: flower_goddess went to the store today and bought three items: a can of Crisco, a bottle of tequila, and a tub of Cool Whip.

Unfortunately, Cletus Is Still In The Gene Pool


I gotta figure this truck was stolen, because I can't see any self-respecting Caucasian-Refuse-American doing this with his own truck...

Northern Illinois Hot Wash

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[hot wash]

I'll warn you up front - if you're looking for a serious breakdown of this game, I'm not the guy. Any of the folks on my U-M blogroll would put my analysis to shame. That being said, here we go:

The offense looked pretty good. Avant's SpiderMan-hands mutation continues to pay dividends. The loss of Arrington will hurt, but U-M is ocean-deep at WR so they should be OK there. Kevin Grady is a freight train. Unfortunately, he's going to be a freight train that carries a ball wherever he goes for the next week (the typical freshman punishment for fumbling, particularly near either goal line). Henne looked real good - I reckon his receivers will be sporting a fair number of Elway Crosses tomorrow. Pass blocking was real good, run blocking was OK.

Special teams were decent - Ryan put about every kickoff halfway through the end zone, and he showed real hustle to recover that PR fumble. Rivas' PAT block wasn't his fault (the center got pwned on that play by a bull rush), but his 48yd miss was.

Now the defense.

Next post, please.

It looked pretty much like the defense that played the last four games of '04 - bad pursuit angles, worse downfield tackling, and ANOTHER long TD allowed. If they hadn't pried 5 TOs out of NIU, the outcome would very much have been in doubt. In particular, if they play like that against fND, it will be a long and unpleasant afternoon.

Update: Blogroll seems to be busted at the moment. Not to put too fine a point on it, but when I say "put my analysis to shame," I was talking about posts like this one.

Attention Incoming Freshmen

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TAMABINPO has an excellent post with advice for anyone starting college right now. Some of it is specific to Texas A&M, but a lot is universal. Some of my favorites (I've rearranged things a bit for related groupings):

  • Don’t skip class. At A&M each class session breaks down to something like $20 so think about taking a $20 bill out of your wallet and lighting it on fire…plus some professors take attendance for bonus points at the end of the semester.That made the difference between an B-A and a C-B for me in two of my classes…
  • Try to make your best grades at the beginning of the semester (first couple rounds of exams) because you don’t know when your schedule will get rough down the road…at least you’ll have something to fall back on…
  • Try to make your best grades at the beginning of the semester (first couple rounds of exams) because you don’t know when your schedule will get rough down the road…at least you’ll have something to fall back on…
  • There will be nights or even entire weekends when you won’t be able to chill or go out with your friends…deal with it…
In general, establish good habits early. It's far easier than trying to change them later. I have heard from more than one source (and can also back up from personal experience) that the single biggest factor in how well you do in a class is how often you actually show up. You can borrow somebody else's notes when you miss, sure, but nobody takes notes quite like you do and it's a guarantee they missed something important that you would have written down. Data lost in this way has a distressing tendency to show up on exams.
  2. Don’t study in your dorm room…
  3. Get your studying done by 5pm…So many more temptations occur after that time…Think of it as a 9am-5pm job…
  4. Don’t live your life pushing your limits (limits on sleep, studying, free time). If you live in a constant state of pushing you will eventually just break down like a car…
You may not realize this, but you will spend less than forty hours per week in class and studying. If you can train yourself to study as soon as you get out of class, you'll be done for the day by dinnertime and have All. Evening. Free.

There's one more thing I'd like to add: if you're someone who does not use 'creation' and 'science' in the same sentence, you will be challenged to a debate over the origins of life by someone who does.

Do. Not. Accept. No amount of good science from a peer at this stage of a Creationist's life will change his/her mind. Later in your career (but only if you're a Biology or Geology upperclassman), feel free to go hunting for frosh Fundies, but not now.


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This page is an archive of entries from September 2005 listed from newest to oldest.

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