December 2005 Archives

They Made Us Use Them!

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Apparently the Alamo Bowl folks have been getting an earful about the officiating - so much so that they felt compelled to issue a statement. Long story short - 'it ain't our fault!'

On behalf of the MasterCard Alamo Bowl, we appreciate your watching the game and emailing us with your concerns over the officiating crew.

Let me begin by saying that neither the MasterCard Alamo Bowl nor any of other post-season bowl games has jurisdiction over the officiating crews or the assignment thereof. The NCAA assigns the officiating crews for every bowl game on a formula basis. All eleven conferences have crews assigned to bowl games. The NCAA assigns the officials in an endeavor to get neutral crews and the best crews from each conference. This year, the NCAA assigned a Sun Belt crew for our game.
First on the agenda for the next 2006 Alamo Bowl committee meeting - find out who you have to fellate in Indianapolis so you're not stuck with bottom-of-the-barrel refs again. BTW, if that was the best crew the SBC had to offer, they're even more fucked up than I thought.

Per the recommendation of the various conferences, this season the NCAA adopted the use of Instant Replay for bowl games. The conferences agreed that the Instant Replay crews for the games should come from the same conferences as the Game Officials assigned to the game (in our case, the Sun Belt Conference). Additionally, since there are several variations/models of Instant Replay, the Conferences also agreed that all game/instant replay officials working bowl games would utilize the Big Ten protocol/model.
Left unsaid here is that the Sun Belt was one of two conferences not to use IR last season, and that undoubtedly contributed to their incompetence (I first mentioned this on Brian's blog).

The NCAA, the Sun Belt Conference and the two participating teams in our game will be reviewing and critiquing the performance of the game and Instant Replay officials as they do following every game. Since the game officials are not within our jurisdiction, I am by way of this notice letting the NCAA and the Sun Belt know of your concerns about the officiating crew’s performance. As part of our annual review process with the NCAA, we will also be providing them suggestions for consideration.
Are they taking suggestions from the viewers? 'Cause I could come up with a couple. [H/T Big House Football]

Forget The Alamo

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I was preparing a brutal rant about last night's Alamo Bowl (and Michigan's season in general) when I realized that my blood pressure was going up by about a point per word. So in the interest of not having my head pop like an overripe grape, I'll only say this: I'd like to thank the South Texas School For The Blind for providing the officiating crew, and if the replay official was any slower, he'd be riding the short bus to work. I think Lloyd Carr leads Division I-A in 'challenges' (burning timeouts so the replay official can decide 'gosh, maybe I need to look at that one again'). When veteran CFB guys like Herbie and Tirico use phrases like "one of the worst-officiated games I've ever seen" and "to overcome the incompetence of the replay official", you know the zebras screwed the pooch.

But that's the thing. There are bad calls made in every game; some of them hurt you and some of them help you. There is no global conspiracy to screw your team over or promote some other team (something State Pen fans seem to have trouble comprehending). If you take care of business, a bad call (or two, or seven) can't beat you. Michigan led by four entering the fourth quarter ( which was a bad sign in itself - see Vijay's December 8th post) - and led by 11 at one point later on.

They have no excuses. None.

I started this blog almost five years ago on Blogger, and I moved it to Movable Type about two-and-a-half years ago. Somewhere along the line, post 1 got renumbered to 310, which should put this 1000th post in perspective.

Flame A Cat, Go To Jail

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White Trash Wednesday

Angola, Indiana has been the focus of more than one WTW post of mine, and they pop up on the radar again for some truly stupid and cruel stuff:

ANGOLA—Two northern Indiana students have been arrested in connection with a case of animal cruelty.

Angola Police say two students had doused a cat with gasoline and set it on fire.

Investigators say they learned of the torture after the students had bragged about it to fellow students at Angola High School.

Police say a video tape exists which shows about 40 cats being tortured.

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

Whoosh, Boom, Splat

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Here's a perfect example of why I read BoingBoing even though I don't share their politics: contributor Mark (he of the above-referenced Chomsky gush) pointed me to the new blog by William Gurstelle (author of Backyard Ballistics), wherein he talks about neat stuff like a decent use for fruitcake, magnetically levitating frogs, and outing Orlando Bloom's catapult fetish.

Why I Can't Quit The Day Job

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I like taking sports pictures, and occasionally I get pretty decent ones. Sometimes, when the day job really sucks, I wonder if I could get good enough to make a living at it. Then I remember situations like this...

...where this play...

...ends a game this way...

...and I'd have to be this guy...

...taking a picture of this guy.

And I just couldn't be that guy.

Unless Anguished Guy was like, a fND player, or an aOSU player. Then it'd be cool. But you can't really count on that, can you?

Iron Chef: Battle Veal

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Theme Ingredient: $8000 worth of European milk-fed veal.
Iron Chef: Chen
Challenger: Kyoko Kagata, chef at Ann Moreve, a French restaurant in Gotemba.
Remarks: Aired on Food Network on November 5, 2000. Judge Korn also appeared in Battle Oxtail. In a 1993 appearance, Kagata was the first female challenger on the show.

So just when is Jesus returning, anyway? Of course, we don't know:

42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

. . .

44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.

But here's a hint. If you see something like this:

you might want to get your ass to church.

Lots of other cool Photoshops at Floating Logos Project, including Invasion Of The Aliens From Planet 84 Lumber.

Bad Design: The Cube

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Maybe I'm more sensitized to this kind of thing since I just completed a class on human-computer interface design, but I want to find the guy responsible for the soda case box known as 'The Cube' and punch him square in the nads. For those of you lucky enough to live in an area not infected with The Cube, let me explain: it is basically one 3x4 arrangement of cans stacked atop another one. One top side flap is perforated to allegedly allow easy access to the cans, but it has the following defects:

  1. I have never been able to get the flap to open on the perforations. Ever.
  2. Most of the time, the flap is glued down such that you can't even get your fingernails under the bottom of the flap to try to open it on the perforations.
  3. Once you've given up trying to get the flap to open as 'designed' (and I use that term more loosely than Clinton used 'is') and just rip the flap up from one corner, you can - maybe - pull out one can at a time, if you can see one.
  4. Once you've done that, the carrying handle at the top becomes useless, since there's no support on the one side for it (although, to its credit, trying to lift the case that way will open the entire top of the case very quickly).

OK. Now you've got a jagged hole in one side of the case, and you've pulled out the top twelve pops. One. At. A. Time. Now you've got this stupid sheet of thin cardboard separating the layers of cans that you have to yank out of the box - through your fist-sized hole - to get to the other twelve cans. You don't need to have a second elbow mounted just above your wrist to access those other twelve cans, but it helps.

Finally, you've managed to drink all twelve pops without going insane. Now, being the good citizen you are, you want to flatten the box to put it in your recycling bin. Hope you've got good fingernails - all four flaps are glued with the same Kryptonite-based mil-spec weapons-grade glue used on the flap you've already wrestled with, and when you get it all broken down, the thing uses some trick of folded space to actually become larger when flattened!

Compare this packaging cluster-fuck to the sublime simplicity of the beer case:

  • Easier to open - there's a gap between the top two flaps that you can actually get your fingers into
  • Once opened, all twenty-four beers are just sitting there smiling up at you. You can practically hear them begging, "Drink me!"
  • You can grab as many as you can hold at one time (though I usually limit myself to six)
  • Once you're done, you can use the box to keep other stuff in (including recyclable paper, and when it's fullyou can just close the lid again and toss the whole thing in the bin).
  • If you do have to break it down, it fits in the damn recycling bin!

That's it. I'm giving up pop.

Whenever we visit my in-laws', I work on this big jigsaw puzzle. I usually spend a few hours each time we visit, and as I sat there staring at this half-completed puzzle looking for a pattern to emerge, it occured to me: staring at half-completed puzzles looking for patterns to emerge is exactly what I do at the day job.

Just got back from Christmas weekend in the hometown.

Is it a bad sign when you go out drinking with old friends and wake up the next morning with sore knuckles but no memory of how they got sore?

It could be worse, I guess. Substitute "ass" for "knuckles" above.

The Dhimmi Is On The Other Prayer Rug, Or Something

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Two thoughts came to mind when I first heard about this:

U.S. officials have secretly monitored radiation levels at Muslim sites, including mosques and private homes, since September 11, 2001 as part of a top secret program searching for nuclear bombs, U.S. News and World Report said on Friday.

The news magazine said in its online edition that the far-reaching program covered more than a hundred sites in the Washington, D.C., area and at least five other cities.

  1. Good!
  2. Who leaked this and when does their trial start?

Of course, not everyone reacted this way. An unnamed spokesman for the Council for Blowing Smoke Up The Infidels' Asses American-Islamic Relations had this to say:

"All Americans should be concerned about the apparent trend toward a two-tiered system of justice, with full rights for most citizens, and another diminished set of rights for Muslims," it said in a statement.

That's more than a little ironic. Switch "most citizens" and "Muslims" in that sentence, and you get the current state of affairs in EVERY Muslim country.

Apparently the Pope unintentionally did a Santa Claus impersonation in his latest weekly appearance for the faithful:

ROME: He was not riding on a sleigh pulled by reindeer, but when Pope Benedict arrived on the Popemobile for his weekly audience in St Peter's Square, onlookers could have been forgiven for thinking Santa Claus was in town.

To keep warm in the bitter cold, the pontiff wore a red velvet cap, trimmed with white fur which, with his scarlet cape, gave him the look of Father Christmas.

The traditional hat, known as a camauro, was commonly worn by popes from medieval times on to keep their heads warm on cold days, but has rarely been worn in recent times. The last pope to wear it was John XXIII [emphasis added].

I know I'm going to burn in Hell just for this, but my first thought upon seeing the accompanying picture was Holy cow, it's Pope Grinch!

Holy cow, it's Pope Grinch!

White Trash Wednesday

This would have been last week's WTW story if I'd heard it in time, but enough excuses. Last Wednesday's Bob & Tom featured this story:

CHICK MCGEE: Gunfire and a 32-mile car chase around an outerbelt of a major Midwestern city last night put one man in the hospital and led to the arrests of two other people. One man waiting for a woman outside an adult club last night about seven o'clock when the woman showed up with another man; the chase was on. A guy in a sport-utility vehicle was in the parking lot waiting for a woman described as his ex-fiancee. She arrived in an Impala with the second man, and the Impala left the parking lot with the GMC in hot pursuit. State police got calls from motorists that the two vehicles were speeding in excess of 90MPH on the outerbelt. On the northwestern side of the city, shots were fired from the Impala; several rounds hit the GMC and one of those hit the GMC's driver in the thigh . . .
Chick has the first punch line:
. . . all of this over a stripper.

And Tom brings the one I was thinking of:

TOM GRISWOLD: Time to get back to the meth lab.

By the way, I think I know why Chick was reluctant to identify the location any more specifically than 'a major Midwestern city' - it happened in Indy!

According to the State Police, the trouble started at P.T.'s Showclub, 7916 Pendleton Pike. A man in a GMC sport utility vehicle was in the parking lot, waiting for a woman described as his ex-fiancee. She arrived in a Chevrolet Impala with the second man, and the Impala left the parking lot with the GMC in pursuit.

State Police then got calls from motorists that the two vehicles were speeding on I-465.

In the area of the 71st Street interchange on the Northwestside, shots were fired from the Impala. Several rounds hit the GMC, and one of those hit the GMC's driver in the thigh.

Thanks to Google Earth, we can put Chick's reluctance in perspective:

The route taken during the chase - counterclockwise on I-465 from Lawrence through Castleton down to the airport

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

Life Imitates The Terminal

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This morning started off pretty normally: I drove to the office, showed my badge to the guards, scanned it at the door to the workout room to get in there, did my workout, showered, and dressed.

Then things kind of went off the rails. I realized that I'd left my wallet at home, and that threw me for a loop enough that I forgot my coat in my locker when I left the workout room. I passed the guards' desk a few moments later on the way to my cube, and the guard asked what happened to my badge.

D'oh! I'd left it in my coat pocket.

No problem, I'll show them my driver's license and sign for a temporary badge.

That's a pretty neat trick FOR A GUY WITHOUT HIS WALLET!

No problem, I'll just drive home and find my wallet. A minor inconvienience, but nothing serious.

That's a pretty neat trick for a guy WHOSE CAR KEYS ARE IN HIS COAT POCKET RIGHT NEXT TO HIS BADGE!

It was about this time that I realized I was in the same predicament as Viktor Navorski (loosely based on the true story of Merhan Karimi Nasseri). Fortunately, a few moments later a co-worker with workout room privileges came into the building and I was able to get him to bring me my coat.

My driveway is two cars wide and not quite three cars long. Fort Wayne gets about 30" of snow - total - a year. Can I still buy one of these V8-powered snowblowers?

my next snowblower

Much more info here. Now please excuse me while I go wipe drool off my chin.

After about three weeks of trying real real hard, I finally cracked 46:00 for a 10,000m row (45:38.2). I know you uber-rowers are chuckling snidely right now (oh, who am I kidding? You're all chuckling snidely right now), but I don't think that's a bad time for a 41yo fat man with a bum knee.

Bathroom Break, Boss?

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The Facilities folks were in the lab again yesterday, vacuuming the water out from under the raised floor for the fourth time in a week and a half.

I have got to convince Management to allow us enough schedule slack for biobreaks, so my team doesn't have to piss through the access holes underneath their lab benches anymore.

He Forgot To Mention Halliburton

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I love BoingBoing - I rssSurf them every day and always read at least three posts in their entirety - but it's safe to say that the intersection between the sets 'BoingBoingPolitics' and 'DangerousLogicPolitics' is only slightly larger than the set 'SuccessfulPoliticalCandidatesBackedByDailyKosMoney.'

Anyway, they recently fawned over an appearance of the Chomskybot on the NoOne's Listening podcast:

Professory Chomsky gives his short, sharp take on corporate news (the stuff between the ads), consumer propaganda, and the potential of citizen journalism.

So what does BB contributor David Pescovitz quote as part of this 'short, sharp take?'

Both political parties and the media are far to the right of the general population on a whole host of issues. And the population is just disorganized, atomized... And that's why the media and campaigns keep away from (political) issues. They know that on issues, they're going to lose people. So therefore you have... George Bush... this pampered kid who came from a rich family and went to prep school and an elite university. And you have to present him as an ordinary guy who makes grammatical errors, which I'm sure he's trained to make--he didn't talk that way at Yale--and a fake Texas twang, and he's off to his ranch to cut brush or something. It's like a toothpaste ad. And I think a lot of people know it.

From (paraphrasing) 'legacy media is far to the right of the general population' to 'George Bush is like a toothpaste ad, dumbed down on purpose' in one paragraph. If that's a sharp take, I'd hate to see what Pescovitz thinks is obtuse.

Various MP3 Issues

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I need some help with MP3 tagging. I have a bunch of compilation albums, and when I rip them in MusicMatch, CDDB assigns the artist for each song as 'Various Artists' rather than the actual artist. What I want is for the tag to have the actual artist, but the MP3 file itself to still be filed in a directory with the rest of the album, and I don't want to have to manually edit three hundred MP3 tags to accomplish this. Does anybody know of a tag management tool that can help me out?

Nothin' In Here 'Bout "Uncle Dad"

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White Trash Wednesday

Lots of great White Trashiness in The Stranger's tribute to uncles:

Thanksgiving always seemed like the biggest holiday for Uncle Chuck: He would sit on our couch, which my mother would cover with a clean bed sheet before he arrived in order to save the furniture from his ripe and, at times, fungal smell. He would drink beer after beer, trying to egg my father on in matters of politics and religion. The football games would go on and on, and there Chuck would sit, beer in hand, irritating everyone, refusing to leave.
and
The story—as I've pieced it together—is this: Mom crawled into her cousin's bed and fell asleep. A few hours later, she awoke to find her uncle staring at her, crouched beside the bed, his hand beneath the sheets. Her cousin woke up, locked eyes with her father, and told him—in a way that made it seem like she'd been through this before—to knock it off. Mom's uncle sauntered out of the room.
and
Deep into his cups, Squint would fight or pass out. The frequent combo of both left him without a driver's license, confining him to his parents' home. They lived out in the country, 15 miles from the nearest town. If he couldn't drive, he'd hitch a ride, but that didn't always work once the neighbors caught on. A few times, he turned the shotgun on my great-grandmother, demanding the car keys, which she also kept stashed away.
and
Uncle Harry was a drunk and behaved like an adolescent, which made him a total blast and our favorite uncle when my siblings and I were kids. He'd lost his thumb in a lawn mower accident and would stick the stub up his nose at dinner. Adults mostly tolerated Uncle Harry's behavior because of his humor and charm, and his easy way of making people feel special. I adored Harry until, as a teen, I learned of one of his childhood pranks—one night he poured gasoline on the family cat and lit it on fire to watch it run around in the dark.

But I think this one takes the cake:

When I was about 8 or 9 years old, I molested my uncle. I made him do something. I made him touch me.

It was a Sunday night, the weekly evening reserved for homemade ice cream at grandma's house. She actually wasn't even my real grandma—she was the woman my real grandfather married after divorcing my real grandmother. Their children were half-siblings of my father's and I didn't care much for these weekly meetings of the illegitimate Corton family, and after years of sorrowful campaigning, my dad finally gave up and we stopped visiting.
even though it continues like this:
But before that fateful day, I had a profound homosexual moment with my Dad's half-sister's husband: Uncle Gary.

Of course, not every story is yee-hawing fun:

When you take that step to fully accept your transsexuality, nobody tells you you've signed up to star in Adolescence II: Super Dorky Bonus Round.

All WTW kidding aside, there are a lot of interesting stories and I recommend you read the whole thing.

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

Football, And Girls. Kinda.

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Joey's reaction to a Michigan/Nebraska Alamo Bowl matchup contains the best analogy I've read in a long time:

. . . going to the Alamo Bowl is like making out with the hot girl's not-nearly-as-hot friend. With the hot girl (a real bowl game), you're excited about the experience; you're proud of the accomplishment; your hard work getting to her has been validated; and you're suddenly someone who can expect to be with other hot girls if this hot-girl experience doesn't work out [emphasis added, and my favorite part, BTW]. But with the not-as-hot friend, you're disappointed that you aren't with the hot one; you can't muster the enthusiasm necessary for a premium effort; you're going to be bitter that you made a wrong turn and wound up where you are; you're really not going to feel good the next day about whatever happens; and you're suddenly someone who hooks up with second-tier people.

So if you stretch the analogy far enough, the conclusion is that Michigan fans are pining for Matt Leinhart and Vince Young, who dissed them as New Years dates the past two years.

On the commute home last night, I got stuck behind a car sporting about twenty of those NASCAR number decals - you know, 2, 3, 6, 20, 42, 69, square root of -1 (that was the DARPA-sponsored Hummer, fresh off its Grand Challenge victory).

He was driving ten miles an hour under the speed limit. Oh, the irony.

The Alamo Bowl. Whoopdee-Shit.

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mgoblog tipped me off to this article quoting Big T1e1n commissioner Jim Delany as saying he thought OSU would get a BCS at-large, Wisconsin and Iowa would get the "New Year's Day" Florida games, and Michigan the Alamo Bowl, when pretty much everybody else thought Michigan would get the Outback nod over Iowa (ESPN was predicting this as late as this morning, but the link's gone from the front page now and I forgot to grab it first).

Delany turns out to have been right on all counts, which means Michigan is playing in San Antonio against... Nebraska. What a great matchup.

For 1997.

Man, Was That Satisfying, Man

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[Warning: Survivor alert]

Judd was an obnoxious, overbearing, stupid (he lost the immunity challenge in the second move by not using both squares adjacent to his starting square) bully - in short, every bad stereotype the rest of America believes about "Joisey."

And he must have jumped on one of my hot buttons about twenty times just last night - if you're the perpetrator of some offense, you don't get to say "No hard feelings," you have to ask "No hard feelings?" The offended party is the one who grants forgiveness by saying "No hard feelings."

I kinda hope Stephenie and Rafe are the final two just so Judd has to vote for somebody who turned on him. That'll drive him nuts.

Isolating Us From Our Allies

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The next step of the animal campaign to remove humans from the top of the food chain has started, as they are now beginning to move against "Man's best friend":

Squirrels have bitten to death a stray dog which was barking at them in a Russian park, local media report.

Passers-by were too late to stop the attack by the black squirrels in a village in the far east, which reportedly lasted about a minute.

They are said to have scampered off at the sight of humans, some carrying pieces of flesh.

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