Saturday, December 14, 2002

Cooch's Meme
Even though I already link to this site and I think our audience overlap is well above 50%, I'll specifically plug Cooch's World anyway because he told me to. Spread the word.

UPDATE: If you're too lazy to follow the link, the situation is that Jon is a young, up-and-coming newspaper columnist who apparently had an opportunity to be linked from his paper. (I missed the details of this somehow.) It looks like he decided against the link; meanwhile, one of the comments to the December 12 post has some pretty good reasons against.

Incidentally, in no particular order my all-time list of most embarrassing blog-related moments, at least all the ones that came to mind:
1. Badly dissed a certain high-profile quiz bowl player, only to discover he was in the audience.

2. Around that same time, mentioned a past personality conflict with Craig. Nothing specifically came of this that I know of but odds are he also read it. It's kind of funny how he and I are similar people, both interested in some of the exact same elements of the same company, yet have radically different approaches to personal interaction. Short version: He's the extrovert.

3. Speculated about how pretty a particular Weekly Standard columnist was, then got e-mail from her fiancee several months later.

4. Got a Doonesbury comic e-mailed to me (from the week when he was mocking bloggers) by a co-worker -- actually a superior. I hadn't realized anyone else from work read this thing. (Obviously all they'd have to do is google my name, or maybe one of their names.)

5. I feel as though there's something I'm forgetting.

Anyhow, if you're wondering whether a big high-profile link to your weblog is a good idea, it depends on the degree to which you can either deal with incidents like that or write with enough discretion to prevent them. One of my favorite bloggers doesn't seem to give a damn about roundly mocking his old company.
Another cool eBay story
The first time I saw this I misread the headline and misunderstood the concept: Thought someone had drastically overpaid for a ticket to some sold-out show. Rather, the entire concert went on auction.

Truth be told the only reason I'm posting this is to confess something: At Silicon Age (and then by habit after that) we used the naming convention where prefixes like arg, lcl, gbl, and tmp stood for arguments, local variables, global variables, and temporary objects, respectively. (And my for a single object's internal field, our for static fields of a class, and so on.)

Beyond that we were trained to give things clear names that made intuitive sense. So as many times as I wanted a variable to be lclH (obviously in homage to the band), I could never bring myself to do it.
The Zen of William F. Buckley
A few days ago on a different forum I mentioned really looking forward to the inevitable Buckely column about Lott. Well, here it is.

I pass it onto you without endorsing it or condeming it; it just is what it is. Most Buckley columns contain language that could have been written only by him; this one is no exception. In fact, as many times as I've misused "zen" (in post titles) over the past few weeks, here's a case where the term is oddly appropriate. Any good Buckley column will contain a fair number of unintended koans.
Where to buy...
(around San Francisco that is)

1. Cat toys? I worry that Athena is already getting bored, mainly because I won't let her explore the rest of the house. That door, and the mystery beyond it, still vexes her.

2. Those portable barriers that some houses with infants have? (Mainly you'll see them at the top or bottom of a staircase.) If I could get one of those going then we could extend the feline realm to a portion of the hallway and also the empty bedroom. Maybe even Scott's room and bathroom if he felt like it.

I'm wary of whole-house access partly out of respect for Chris, partly because it's an awfully big house (don't want the kitties to get lost), partly because you never known when somebody will come in from outside. It would only take a split second for someone to dart out into the outside world and then possibly be lost forever.
Bags of Flour
Here's something really cool to think about.

By world historical standards, we're all staggeringly rich.
Kubicek e-mail of the day
Posting this verbatim because I agree with it...

From: "Chad Kubicek"
Subject: hmm..
Date: Sat, 14 Dec 2002 11:30:00 -0800

Found in an article wondering where are the benefits of using NHL
players in the Olympics...

The NHL should do itself a favor and realize its product is better than
any other hockey product around the world, and when it comes time for
the 2006 Games, let Boston University go in its place.


This is completely false. In fact, it was watching the Olympic hockey
tournament that completely turned me off the NHL. It was just so much
better. More end-to-end action, more passing, more emphasis on speed
and skill, more openness, fewer (in fact, none) commercial breaks,
quicker restarts, no delays while players fight or prepare to fight. It
was simply a beautiful game, fast-paced and I enjoyed every minute of
it, regardless of the teams playing.

I also realized just how boring NHL games were by comparison.

K-W
Keyboard Kitty
Athena almost but didn't quite type out a message for you. She likes the keyboard if my fingers are on it but she managed to step around it that time.
Cat resemblances
Athena is closer to Lucy than to any other cat I had growing up. Not at all similar in color or markings but same hair length, vaguely similar size, and similar combination of curiosity with a dopey expression on her face. Then again the thing about male scents is more like Cupcake.

Akasha has Cuppee's size, color, and hair length, though we never had a cat this introverted.

Both Cupcake and Lucy passed on in 1997. (Hard to believe that was five years ago.) My sister was seven years old when she chose Cuppee from a litter of kittens that some neighbors were giving away. Lucy was found on the street in the pouring rain in 1989. She had the shortest lifespan of any cat we had (at least after I was born) but still lived a full life. She was the one we wouldn't let outside because the outdoors terrified her, also because even as small mammals go, she was a little slow. When we drank from clear glasses, she'd see the ice cubes through the glass and try to lick them from the outside of the glass.

Ice was to Lucy was dice were to Cupcake. Before we could play any board game involving dice (or small plastic figurines, as in Axis & Allies) we had to keep Cuppee secure somewhere.

Fluffy is alive and well, 17 years and going strong. We got her from our vet (another litter of kittens that the mother cat's owner had to give away). She spent most of the Tulsa portion of her life outdoors but since the move to Illinois, she's found the weather too cold for her liking. She was the scourage of both small rodents and feline territorial rivals.
Feline Update
(Note: Both are black and female. Avashi is big, short-haired, and terrified of humans, especially men. Athena is smaller, lighter, fluffier, and much more extroverted/inquisitive.)

The cats are now safely in my room after an adventure involving 580, 280, Skyline Boulevard, a small stretch of Sloat, and Sunset Boulevard. Athena is staking out all the terrain she can find. So far she really likes my shoes, my feet, and my dirty laundry. She's also figured out very quickly that there's a whole world outside that closed door. I can tell she really wants to see what lies beyond that door but it's not time yet. She perched herself in the windowsill for awhile. Brief scare as I wondered whether the window is securely shut (it is).

Avashi is still cowering in her carrier. At least the carrier is currently right next to the litter box, so when she does come out she'll know where to go.

As soon as I'm comfortable with opening the door, shutting it securely behind me, and leaving these kitties alone in my room for a few minutes, I'll go back out the car and grab my phone so that Jen knows her kitties made it safe and sound.

Behavior bonus points for Athena, who didn't throw up, even though she's apparently thrown up on every previous car trip she's been on.

Or you could say bonus driving points for me. We glided smoothly along 280, cruise control set at 65, handling the curves with ease and grace. (I love my Intrepid. It doesn't even complain about the ways I abuse it.) Stark contrast to the trip down there, when I darted in and out of traffic trying to hit 80 as much as I could and make up for time lost on malfunctioning traffic lights in the city.
"the porno industry money machine"
It caught my eye as I was pouring our papers/cans into the recycling bin outside. According to the campaign flyer (picture of frowning, disapproving woman on the front), Ron Dudum is not a very good role model for the Sunset.

Inside we get the revelation that his campaign is funded by the porno industry money machine. I imagine that means somebody who makes erotica cut him a campaign check or two. Comments in no particular order:

1. Now I'm REALLY glad I voted for the guy.

2. I can see a smear like that working in Tulsa, but... San Francisco?!? This city isn't nearly the city that people think it is.

3. What on earth does adult entertainment have to gain from the San Francisco supervisers? I'm imagining some zoning change that benefits pornographers, probably the sort of increased economic freedom that also benefits everyone else. The inane government regulations around here lead to strange bedfellows.
More misogynistic TV commentary
Now that I know the secret behind Joe Millionaire, I deeply appreciate Fox for pulling off. It's almost delicious enough for me to bother to watch it.

Meanwhile, I'm shocked and dismayed at just how popular The Bachelor became. I feel as though I should elaborate, and yet it almost speaks for itself.
Less Than Perfect
Something about that ESPN link (post below this one) is just killing my computer performance at the moment. I'm told there's an unsafe ActiveX control.

It may or may not relate to the page ad for "Less Than Perfect" featuring the tagline:
"Behind every successful woman, there are a bunch of creeps who want her job."

Something about the ad presentation leads me to think that the target demographic for this show is people with really low self-esteem who feel the need for validation. This is completely irrational but it's still my distinct impression. Also, there's something I actively dislike about the looks of the female lead. It's not just a lack of attraction, or even a "not my type" reaction. Rather, she comes sort of close to an archetype that I've found really attractive in the past, and yet something that I can't quite put my finger on completely ruins the look. Maybe it's the haircut, or something about the face.

She looks as though she'd be (not sure if I'm talking about the actress or the character here, sometimes the line is hard to draw) just a little bit too empathetic if that makes sense. But empathetic in a way that subtly shifts the conversation over to people giving her the attention and empathy she needs. For lack of a better description, she looks like she could be the protagonist in any of the worst 20% of chick flicks or a total villain in some lesser Ayn Rand novel.

Ooh. She has her sights set on the top and she won't let the snobs bring her down. Sounds as though she should be an Oprah guest, where everyone in the audience and all the losers at home can shout You go girl! and feel as though they've achieved something vicariously through her.

If you care, the last time I reacted this irrationally to an actress/character it was Callista Flockheart, who achieved the rare double-whammy of not being my type AND somehow raising my antipathy.
Non-Achievement Achievements
This streak seemed suspicious to me. On further reading, ESPN's own recap agrees:

Maryland's last nonconference home defeat was 70-63 to Coppin State on Dec. 12, 1989.

The streak, the longest in the nation, began 18 days later with a 110-91 victory over Alcorn State, but the achievement was hard to take seriously because it was dominated by comfortable victories over outmatched opponents. Maryland-Eastern Shore and Maryland-Baltimore County are among schools with multiple appearances on the list.

The Terrapins defeated just three ranked opponents at home during the span -- Kentucky, Oklahoma and Illinois -- all within the last three years.
Did I mention the cats?
Starting about two hours from now, and over a period measured in weeks, I will be the primary caregiver for two cats. That's pretty stunning to contemplate. Why, I ask myself, did I think this was a good idea? Well, the need was there: I know someone with cats who's going out of town and the cats can't feed themselves or change their own litter. Nonetheless, part of me really does wonder how I got roped into it.

The answer of course is that I'm not just a tool but a voluntary go-getter who actively seeks ways to become a tool. Think of the Homer clones in the back of the truck (from Treehouse XIII), who raised their hands when Homer asked which of them remembered the way back from the abandoned field.

Nonetheless having cats around should be very good for the soul. All things considered, currently the pros and cons of my owning cats weigh slightly in the negative (even without the inertia that leads the people to do nothing instead of doing something). Most of the negative is the lease situation and the roommates. The current cat-sitting situation takes care of most of the negative externalities. There may be positive externalities that I'd been grossly overstating to myself but even aside from them, it's at worst a wash.

Maybe if there are cats around I'll post about them, like on Amish Tech Support.
What a friend we have in...
this guy.
Book 'em
Cool Mac addict crimefighting story here.
My feline friends
For about three weeks there will be cats in this household. What's interesting is that I will be gone the middle of those three weeks. I do have people set up for that middle week though.

Friday, December 13, 2002

Vomiting up my own slugs
(The title is a movie reference but I don't want to spoil too bad)

Me and my nerve, trying to get it stuck in your head. Now it's stuck in mine.

These five words in my head scream, 'ARE WE HAVING FUN YET?'

[head explodes]
Cardinal Coen!
Here's a campaign I'll heartily support.
And last but not least, why I'm in a foul foul mood today
1. Very stormy weather makes for terrible driving conditions. I'd love this weather if I didn't have to drive anywhere today.
2. Illegally parked semi-truck 1, my left taillight 0*. Replacing that is going to cost more than $0; I'll find out how much more soon.

*- With an assist by my rainy-day (lack of) depth perception. You'd think that any space you had plenty of room to pull into, you'd have plenty of room to pull out of. But the truck came along while I was eating. I honestly thought I still had room, until I heard the crunch. Bastard!
Now some non-political news, specifically some angst-metal zen
Linkin Park, featuring Aaron Lewis

That's how the DJ attribute the remix I heard on the way into East Bay a couple hours ago. It's a pretty good remix actually, although I'm a little worried about Linkin Park's career if instead of a follow-up album all they do is just rework the songs on their first album.

Worth noting: Arguably the best live concert recording from the recent angst-metal genre is Staind, featuring Fred Durst. (Or is it just Lewis and Durst?) I say this despite irrationally hating Durst. Still, their version of "Outside" is very compelling and well worth singing along to at the top of your lungs in the car.

Today at the Emeryville Public Market food court I saw the strangest program on either ESPN or one of its sibling networks. (There was an ESPN logo but the sound was down.) Lesley Visser got extended face time in a documentary/interview setting, then some scenes inside various locker rooms, but also with newspaper clippings from the Patriots/Lisa Olsen flap of ten years ago. Then out of nowhere, an extended segment on Myron Cope. All very strange.
Also, I hate it when bad apples ruin everything
One of the biggest reasons why Trent Lott needed to go is that as long as people like him are around, I can understand why people who don't know better will villify his entire party and dismiss the whole bunch of 'em as bigoted loonies.

Case in point: This column. I'm unwilling to believe the guy who wrote it is either that ignorant or that intellectually dishonest but as long as Lott is around, partisan hacks can write op-eds like that and get away with it. (See also this commentary on that column.)

Another issue where bad apples ruin everything and where I may end up having been wrong after all these years: Gay-bashing, figuratively and literally. I've always resented the fact that any time there's an honest, open debate about sexuality, gay rights advocates freak out and claim that any openly homophobic opinion will just encourage people to go out and beat gay people up, as though the place to crack down is on the speech rather than on the thugs. The connection always seems far-fetched to me (don't get me started on "hate crimes" legislation: The kinds of acts that those bills cover are heinous and should be severely punished, be it white-on-black or red-on-purple or whoever), but then something like this happens.

Not sure what to say. I still think the best way to get full acceptance of gays in a given forum (the military, some sports team, wherever) is for the people opposed to it to be able to speak their piece, and then have a good conversation about why we understand why you feel that way but you happen to be wrong; just work with us, and so on.
The other political thing, if you happened to care
I still really like John McCain even though he's more of a media whore than he'd ever admit and even though he's wrong about campaign finance reform. (The bill he passed appears to be unconstitutional. I don't know if he disagrees with that assessment or just didn't think its constitutionality was relevant.) Most people I know with similar political views seem to have turned on him.
Meta-News
I'm going to phase out Outer Sunset because thinking about politics is more trouble than it's worth for me.

Basically, I can't stand the fact that the party that comes closest to voting the way I believe has a troglodyte cretin in one of its most powerful positions. And the longer he's in power the more he'll do to ruin the image of that party. (Also, I can't in good conscience support people who support him.)

Apologies for the political nature of this post; I guess I just won't talk about politics much online for awhile. There's not much new ground to be covered. If you know me, you already know these things about me, in no particular order
  • Right-leaning libertarian

  • Thinks overthrowing Saddam is worth the trouble, in fact is somewhat fearful about what the world would be like if we don't

  • Strongly, outspokenly pro-Israel, pro-democracy, anti-tyranny, opposed to religious fundamentalism, opposed to the intentional targeting of civilians, and so on

  • Outspokenly pro-life, but pragmatic about what the legal system can or should do about it

  • Opposed to most big-government programs, in favor of capitalism, deeply appreciative of how far this country has gone and how much economic freedom has made it possible

  • Strongly in favor of legalizing most drugs, including but not limited to marijuana; strongly in favor of legalizing nearly anything that consenting adults like to do

  • In favor of gay marriage and increased social acceptance all around, despite having had radically different views on that topic as recently as a few years ago

Everyone else who reads these posts is an intelligent person and most of you already have opinions on these same issues. It's unclear how much I can convince you of anything.
For Matt and Cooch's benefit
Take the distance of this route and double it. (Actually not my exact route, since I spent some time blundering around in the park.) Add a bit of a fudge to get from Lincoln to the polo field. (A line from the polo field, perpendicular to Lincoln, would intersect Lincoln at 30th. Meanwhile, the field is halfway between Lincoln and Fulton, GGP's south and north bounds.) Then add the kilometer around the track.

Update your math as needed.
Spam headline of the day
Urinate less at night

For the record I'm 27 years old. I don't even want to know what mailing list I'm on.
Radio head-scratchers
Tonight on the way back from Palo Alto I heard a live, in-concert version... of Nickelback's "How You Remind Me." Complete with the audience singing of especially well-known lines.

Can you just imagine the pinnacle of musical coolness? It's a Nickelback concert!

Not that I should be too snide since I still haven't ruled out going to see Def Leppard Saturday night. Then again, Def Leppard has two decades' worth of albums, hits, and generally being Def Leppard. Nickelback has... "How You Remind Me."

And just in case I hadn't succeeded at it yet, a little gift from me to you, out of sheer spite:
Never made it as a wise man, couldn't cut it as a poor man stealing...

JUST TRY to get it out of your head now.

Thursday, December 12, 2002

My run just now
Worked out pretty well. Went to the polo field (inside Golden Gate Park), did one time around (that's a one-kilometer track if you're scoring at home, not one of those wussy quarter-mile tracks) and back. Almost exactly enough for the first 12 songs from Veruca Salt's American Thighs CD.

Having listened to the cassette version of this for so long, I always forget about the CD-only 13th track ("Sleeping Where I Want To").
Rush Hour, West Coast Style
The news from Los Angeles, and from here.

My take: If the peak is spread out over seven hours then that means that people are doing something right! I've always been surprised at the idea that any route would have two hours' worth of parking lot and the rest full speed: You'd think people would plan around that instead of being sheep and leaving when everyone else leaves. (Incidentally, this is what I loathe about non-flextime companies. By avoiding traffic I can be far more efficient working, say, 10:30a to 7:30p instead of 8:30a to 5:30p.)

As for the drivers who slowed down for the metal plates and ruined it for everyone else: I hate places with drivers like that. I can tolerate the maniacs so long as they don't actively impede me. As you might guess I won't be moving to Florida any time soon.
Things that give me a low, sinister chuckle
Is it true only 13% of American kids can find Iraq on a map?

Yeah, but all 13% are Marines.
--from today's Doonesbury
And a far, far, worse lingering aftertaste from the 2002 playoffs
Here's Rob Neyer on Pete Rose. I'll add a what he said. I've never been more ashamed to be a baseball fan as during the pre-game ceremonies before Game 4 of the World Series, when 40,000 people who ought to know better gave him a standing ovation.

Caveat: Bill James doesn't think the evidence is enough to show that Rose bet on baseball. (If betting on baseball were a crime and Rose were tried for it, if James were on the jury then either he'd get off or the jury would be hung.) I tried to find a convenient on-line source of James's opinion but found this instead.
One bad, lingering aftertaste from the 2002 playoffs
We have cable again. I was flipping through just now and saw that MTV was actually playing videos. The video of the moment was "Work It" (Missy Elliott), which I also heard at the club Saturday night.

Then, as now, my immediate thought was, Boy, Kenny Lofton really did live up to his reputation of being overrated.

("Work It" was Lofton's theme music. I miss the Shinjo theme -- sounded vaguely like an anime soundtrack -- and I'll never know what it was because there weren't lyrics to google on.)
How to interpret the Second Amendment
You know that clause at the beginning, the one that gun control advocates make such a big deal of but some hardcore libertarians claim is meaningless?

It turns out lots of state constitutions from the time had provisions with similar sentence structure.

Go follow the link. As law review articles go it's quite short and very clearly written. Brief summary: In general, the justification clause does not constrain the operative clause. Rather, it was common then to have a clause that explained why the law was good, so that people would support that law.
The names were corporate from the beginning
We're running into a nomenclature issue here. It's irrelevant to me though, since Pacific Bell Park will always be Pacific Bell Park. Yes, it's a corporate name, but when a facility starts with a corporate name, you have to go with something.

To be honest I don't care who pays for naming rights. For clarity's sake I'll just call things what everyone knows them to be. Candlestick Park always was Candlestick Park even when 3COM bought the naming rights. Wrigley Field will always be Wrigley Field -- named for the chewing gum company, remember.

The Coliseum will always be the Coliseum, though I suppose I should specify Oakland Coliseum to distinguish from the one in Los Angeles or the one in Rome. Referring to Network Associates doesn't add any clarity now; years from now references to it would probably be just as baffling as references to Umax (the Coliseum's previous naming sponsor, late 1990s) would be now.

And alas for Astros fans, this also means that Enron will always be Enron. Be careful what you wish for or who you take money from. Actually, check that, I can call it the Astrodome despite the Astrodome being a totally separate facility. Call it the new Astrodome, just as the football field named for a soulless financial company is the new Mile High.

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

On the lighter side
I can completely identify with this one, especially the hidden detail in the last panel.

Come to mention it, I had a really really pleasant conversation Monday evening in which Arlo & Janis played a minor role. It's always nice to discover the random, picayune pop culture phenomena that you have in common with people you know.
The bleeding-heart liberal within me
(Yes, there is one. Among other things I'm Soft On Crime.)

Here's a very poignant strip. It moved me, not because I can identify (I was extremely fortunate growing up*) but because I just now -- it's obvious when you think about it -- that there are all sorts of kids who think they're not good enough for Santa Claus when the real story is that their parents just couldn't afford for Santa to be as nice as they wanted Santa to be.

Funny how Santa's "naughty-and-nice" list really turns out to be "poor-and-rich." (You just know there are some total brats who really would deserve a lump of coal in their stocking have yuppie parents.)

I'm not sure what to do about this or even what the point is of posting. Maybe I'll convince someone to go out and find an "angel tree" and buy gifts for a kid. Maybe I just convinced myself to do that.

*- Without knowing for sure, I get the impression that my dad had some hardscrabble Christmases as a kid; he's always seemed to try really hard to make it extra-special for us, especially growing up. Any more detail than this would be excessive psychoanalyzing of one's own parents, and you don't need to hear that, but maybe it sounds familiar to you.
It's theft, and should be prosecuted that way, and yet I can completely sympathize
These people are right that flamingos, even fake pink ones, don't belong in a cold climate.
The F minor in your soul
Both Tori Amos and Coldplay have new singles out, on the upper end of whininess for each of them. Both are in F minor with the same three chords (E-flat major, B-flat minor, F minor) in heavy rotation. That's why I've been getting their intros confused.

Amos's is about a "sort-of fairy tale"; Coldplay's is... none of the lyrics made a lasting impression.
I've found her!
If not a soulmate then at the very least the best search result ever.
Such a great idea, such poor execution
I so wanted to direct both friends and enemies of Michael Moore to this new website. Supposedly it would be his (unauthorized) full-time fact-checker. Not a bad thing, since past experience has suggested that Moore is pretty casual about the truth. Unfortunately, it looks like just a place for people who don't like him very much to make ad hominem smears.

There's already a weblog like that for snide comments about Andrew Sullivan and probably a whole host of anti-Limbaugh sites that I'm too lazy to find. Not to mention ChronWatch: I'll argue as strongly as anyone that the San Francisco Chronicle has a strong lefty bias that it doesn't even attempt to hide -- in fact, when I was unemployed a year ago and first set up the political offshoot blog, I contemplated buying the Chronicle every day just to debunk it -- but, so help me, the actual ChronWatch site is utter dreck. They're content to call people names instead of thoughtfully rebut things.

Ira Stoll started it all with Smarter Times (now defunct, since Stoll is now occupied with his own competing paper) but to his credit, Stoll was really conscientious about what he criticized about the Times and how he did so.

(What's sadly ironic is just how worthy of that criticism the Times has become after Stoll stopped doing it.)
Baseball Geeks With Severe Cabin Fever
I'll never think of Chuck Lamar the same way again.

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Sponsorship text suggestions welcome
Link ideas welcome too, although my default "home page" link is just my page o' links.

Anyhow I won everything I bid on for the new Baseball Reference pages. Specifically:
Ben Broussard
Matt Cepicky (I'm trying to remember why I bid on him; sure it will come to me)
Aaron Harang
Chris Snelling

...and best of all...

2002 Oakland Athletics

Although I might make the text for that last one an early Christmas gift to a diehard A's fan I know.
I think you'd call this irony
Oh, those tricky Mississippi juries...

They're all scum, the lawyers and the doofus jurors collectively.
Price points for page-views of 2002 rookies and baseball team pages
This is somewhat interesting; it will be fascinating once the auctions end.

I really hope that whoever wins sponsorship rights to the SF Giants' page is not someone with baseballers-against-drugs as his handle. Unfortunately, that page is now beyond what I'm willing to spend.

In other news bidding on Philosophy of the World has gone beyond what I'm willing to spend. My abortive kitch-love affair with The Shaggs will have to come back some other time.
Oh, those tricky Dan Reeves teams!
TMQ is up. (At this point last week it wasn't.)

The intro paragraphs about the slotback endaround and reverse and double-reverse remind me of the best playcall I ever saw: Denver Broncos, late 1980s. Elway hands the ball off to a runner breaking right (I want to say Steve Sewell but I'm probably wrong; not sure if he'd lined up as a back or a slot receiver). First ballcarrier hands it to a wideout breaking left (Steve Watson?) -- it's a reverse at this point, or what the play-by-play guys would mistake for a double-reverse.

The wideout flips it back to Elway, so now it's not only a reverse but also a flea flicker! Meanwhile Vance Johnson (this part I'm dead certain of, just like it was obviously Elway at QB) is all alone about 50 yards downfield. Easiest touchdown pass ever.

You'd like to think he's the most conservative coach in the NFL, putting the clamps down on one electrifying superstar QB after another, but when he bluffs, it's a doozy.

UPDATE: My Lenexa correspondent makes his poetic debut towards the end of the column. And where is Lenexa? you ask? Here you go, zoom out as necessary (address rounded up to keep a modicum of privacy). And for the half-dozen or so fantasy football owners who would have wondered, the real-life Tonganoxie (not named on the map) is somewhere near Bonner Springs.

UPDATE II: At Zoom Level 5, Tonganoxie is not only labeled but boldly labeled.
What's the most evil thing you could do to a friend?
This has to be up there:

Sometime last year, Heidi told me that I should read [The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood]. So I got it out of the library, started reading it, and wondered what was wrong with her that she liked such a godawful piece of crap. When I was about halfway through it, I asked her that question. She told me she didn't like the book, and that she hated it. "Then why did you make me read it?" I asked. "Because I wanted to see if you thought it sucked, too." [...]
I'm not convinced by Heidi's explanation as to why she wanted me to read the book. I think the real reason was that she wanted me to suffer the way she'd suffered, and that misery loves company. I should have made her sit through the movie with me, too.


Am I the only person who knows better than to watch movies (or read books, I guess) that look as though they'll suck?
Who won Trash Masters?
Just curious. Neither of the likely-suspect Yahoo! Groups had mention of it. I did see the post awarding TRASHionals to Boston University. That's cool. I'm strongly considering making the trip up there to combine quiz-bowl with seeing old friends.
What's the worst that could happen?
POLL: What's the worst that could happen?

(Nah, you don't need context. Make up your own context. I just want clever free-association.)

Monday, December 09, 2002

"the world's #2 airline"
From my (admittedly few) past experiences with United, that description (found here) is amusingly appropriate.

Serious question: Assuming they just mean it literally and quantitatively (number of flights or gross revenue or whatever), what's the world's #1 airline? American? Lufthansa?
Cast your Hall of Fame ballot
(Baseball, that is.)
My favorite on-line magazine now has a group weblog
Utter coolness here! (Warning: Politics. Of the libertarian variety rather than hard-right.)
Your Inner Adolescent Boy?
Moira Breen seems to think adolescent boys have a far more sophisticated sense of humor than they do.
A grab-bag of ideas unrelated to football
It's pouring down rain here. The falling precipitation is really loud. I love that (at least while indoors).

Earlier I went for a wallk. Saw a newspaper on a bench with this headline exposed:
POLL: Bay Area Takes To Internet
This shouldn't be too surprising given to what extent the people who made the Internet what it is today are out here.

Ducked into Cody's Bookstore. First book that caught my eye was Bill Maher's book on what the government should be telling us about terrorism. Second book that caught my eye was A Brief History of Cody's Bookstore, An Independent Bookseller in Berkeley, 1957-78. A little too self-referential for my taste.

On my way back I saw a dog relieve himself and the owner apparently not bother to scoop the poop. So, if you were looking to the smell of your shit as a source of pride (think of the old cliche), would you rather brag that yours smelled worse than other people's or that it didn't smell as bad? It's like in fantasy hockey, the dilemma over whether to include Penalty Minutes as a roto category and if so, whether you want to award players who get penalty minutes or avoid them.

It's Pledge Week over at Andrew Sullivan's site. Is there any more famous weblogger who's attempting to use the blog as his full-time job? (Mickey Kaus is on the Slate payroll; Glenn Reynolds and Eugene Volokh are law professors.) I think it's probably a good idea to give to your favorite bloggers for the holidays.

(No, I don't plan to set up a tip jar.)
Great moments in product placement
Check out the low-fat tortilla chips currently featured on ESPN's front-page photo.

Whatever they paid for that bowl sponsorship, they're getting their money's worth. I wonder if that represents 100% of their ad budget.
Here's a guy I wouldn't play for
(I'd also rather be unemployed than work for a boss who acted like this. Fortunately, I've never had a boss anything like this.)

Coughlin: Strategy was OK, execution was not

From what I know of him, apparently you could use this headline about basically any Coughlin press conference.
Football Related E-mail of the Day
Here's an example of a strategy that's favorable to a team but probably makes the game marginally more boring to casual fans. (Sort of like baseball players who work deep counts!)

> Date: Mon, 09 Dec 2002 10:47:58 -0800
> From: "Corwyn Hopke"

[interesting Lott-related political commentary snipped]

> I always find leaders of all stripes disappointingly unwilling to utilize
> all their resources. My hat went off to Callahan and the Raiders
> yesterday. 9 seconds left in the half; Chargers ball on their own five.
> Brees takes a knee and trots off the field. Nuh-uh-- not so fast.
> Time-out Raiders. Brees returns to the field. Brees takes a knee again
> down to the second. Don't leave yet, Drew: time-out Raiders. The rest of
> the bar finally catches on (I actually saw this coming, because I was
> thinking about how stupid they were going to be for not doing it. Then
> they did it) -- there isn't enough room to take a knee on third down!
> Brees runs the QB keeper and keeps the ball out of the endzone to end the
> half, but man, he could have just as easily not made it out of the endzone.
> The Raiders had nothing to lose. I wish more coaches would do things like
> that -- worst case scenario is you do nothing but drag the game out a few
> minutes longer.
Honorable Mention: Football Related E-mail of the Day
(By the way, Chad, setting up a blog is less than trivial if you're content to do it through Blogger. You can spend 0 to N amount of time on it at your whim. I bet your fiancee wouldn't be very happy about any time you spent on it but wouldn't writing one be cooler than reading mine?)

> From: "Chad Kubicek"
> Subject: Bengals
> Date: Mon, 9 Dec 2002 09:15:36 -0800
>
> On their last offensive play of the game, the Panthers had a fourth and
> goal from the Cincinnati one yard line. They didn't go for the
> touchdown. They didn't try a field goal. Quarterback Rodney Peete simply
> kneeled down with the ball, to turn it over to the Bengals. (Now I've
> got to write a sentence I never thought was possible...) With 52 points
> on the board, the Panthers wanted to show some mercy.
>
> Think about that. You are being shown mercy by a a 4-8 team that, until
> you met them, had very serious offensive difficulties, to put it gently.
>
> Only the Bengals....
Signs that your football team is really really bad
After Rafael Cooper's 63-yard return of the second-half kickoff, Detroit drove to the Arizona 2, where on third-and-goal, James Stewart was knocked down by teammate Ray Brown in the Lions' backfield.

Stewart tossed the ball down with his left hand in disgust. Since no defensive player had touched Stewart, Arizona's Russell Davis scrambled to the ball and recovered the apparent fumble. But Detroit coach Marty Mornhinweg challenged, and the official ruled that Stewart's toss constituted a forward pass.

--ESPN recap of the Lions-Cardinals game, to which 28,000 fans subjected themselves.

Sunday, December 08, 2002

The Oracle of Baseball
This is a cool addition to Baseball Reference, using technology licensed from the Oracle of Bacon.

After a few searches, all I can say is: Just think how much less connected the baseball world would be had Minnie Minoso and Rich Gossage not been teammates on the 1976 Chicago White Sox. (I wonder what a Bacon equivalent would be for that team/pair.)
More football that will make your head spin
I think I played a video game like this once. Damn computers and their AI: My special teams play always blew chunks, I was terrible in the red zone, and I'd give up turnovers at exactly the wrong time.

(Look very closely at the stats: It seems so wrong, doesn't it?)
Buy My Allegiance
Of Georgia Tech, Fresno State, Virginia Tech, and Air Force, whom should I root for?

The only "local" team is Fresno State but should that be a point in their favor or a point against? I feel a patriotic duty to root for Air Force but then I also know not only people who went to Virginia Tech but also people who would answer to the name Hokie.

Also, tell me something, anything, about these four teams.

What I do know, in no particular order:
1. George Tech got its ass kicked by Georgia
2. Ironically, Air Force has a great ground game
3. Virginia Tech is Michael Vick's alma mater; it too has a great ground game, at least a good enough one to beat Virginia

You know, I wouldn't have minded a Big 12 team coming out here. Guess it wasn't to be.
Wacky Rivalries
Do the bowl people just have a really weird sense of humor? Or is it more a matter of bowls being conscious of budget-conscious travelers? My favorites, in no particular order:

Cotton Bowl = Texas vs. LSU
Tire Bowl (Charlotte, NC) = Virginia vs. West Virginia
Sugar Bowl = Georgia vs. Florida State
(It's sort of like the World's Largest Cocktail Party except much more happening venue and it's the OTHER Florida team)

Also, is there some rule that the Outback Bowl always gets the most disappointing seasons of the Big Name teams? I seem to remember it being where John Cooper's Ohio State teams went to die. More recently Michigan has been there a lot; never a good sign.

Last but not least: Fancy that the only bowl shown by NBC is the one Notre Dame got into.
New Year's Eve Bowl Games
Okay so what's freakier:

A. That this and this are on the same day?

B. That both are on New Year's Eve, with the latter coinciding with midnight EST?

C. The football configuration for Pacific Bell Park? (That very idea makes my head spin.)

I'm about to attempt to snag tickets to them both; wish me luck.

UPDATE: There appear to be ample seats available. I will poll my local friends and see what an appropriate purchase level is, then get a hold of some tix tomorrow.

UPDATE/QUESTION: Pardon my woeful lack of college football knowledge. Is this the first year for both of those bowls? What brought them to my neck of the woods this year of all years? Is there just a really slow bowl allotment process wherein dot-com millionaires got the ball rolling but didn't see the fruits of their labor until the tech economy had long since gone into the toilet? I'm baffled by it all.
Some people have the first snowfall of the winter; I have...
Carols.

Today after the miniature golf we headed to Baker's Square for pie and a long sit-down conversation. (I'll save you the trouble and say things went well in a generic way. We didn't bother keeping score, which is just as well given just how atrociously I stroked the ball.)

During the conversation (predominantly about movies and/or a cautionary tale involving one of her friends) I'd overhear the albums on the sound system now and then.

Wonderful Christmas Memory Moment #1: They played a selection from the Carpenter's Christmas album. That's what my parents always play on December 25. My companion has the Carpenters' greatest hits. Another one we listened to a lot in December was the Muppets' Christmas album featuring John Denver. My companion turns out to be a big Muppet fan.

Wonderful Christmas Memory Moment #2: Not a memory so much as an ongoing phenomenon. It's all about the wailing saxophone.
Silly Texas Hold Em Questions
(This is worthwhile because you can turn anything in life into a poker metaphor.)

What sort of pot odds do you need to draw to the inside straight after the flop?

What sort of pot odds do you need to draw to the triple-inside-straight before the flop? (The extreme case would be 6-2 unsuited. Obviously you'd much rather have other outs. Q-8 suited for example, I'd always stay in on for the queen action or the flush, with the straight as Plan C.)

Anyhow, I've decided that from now on whenever I launch a harebrained scheme or do something so crazy it just might work!, when people look at me as though I'm from another planet I'll shrug and say "pot odds."
Brief written transcript of Pat Summerall
Around the corner, finally steps out of bounds [two-second pause] no he hasn't, he hasn't stepped out of bouds [two-second pause] Woody Dantzler. [one-second pause] Touchdown, Cowboys.

I guess he's letting the picture tell the story.

BONUS SUMMERALL: Those of you who have been watching Kansas City destroy St. Louis, welcome to Texas Stadium.

Almost makes it sound like war coverage.
Bad teams but great game?
Man, this one must be fun to watch.

(Does anyone who read this live in a market that got stuck with this game? I've also always wondered who CBS's seventh-best football broadcast team was.)
The zen of Pat Summerall
This is at least the second week in a row that Summerall has been assigned a 49er game. I wonder how often a non-frontline broadcast team is stuck with a given team. (Example: Beasley Reece and the old bad Patriots of ten years ago.)

By the way who's doing the Lions-Cardinals game today? I've always wondered who Fox's seventh-best football broadcast team was.
bork bork bork bork bork
My goodness. Check out those Chefs.
Blogging in-jokes
Saddam Hussein becomes 'War Blogger'

My favorite line:
Saddam is feeling: Cornered.
Out, Out, Damned Lott
(I wish I'd thought of that line myself)

If you already know what this post is about then go read what she said rather than what I said.

Pardon this brief political intrusion but if you didn't hear the story then you probably should; if you did hear about it then you'll probably want to see more people say what I say.

Here's Trent Lott (R-MS, current Senate Minority Leader, looked like the incoming Majority Leader), speaking at a 100th birthday salute for Strom Thurmand (R-SC, former Democrat/Dixecrat/1948 presidential candidate):
I want to say this about my state: When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We're proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years, either.

Obviously I disassociate myself from this. (It's a "thank goodness I'm not a registered Republican" moment.) More people in the GOP need to do so. The White House had a chance to but muffed it (final question on the transcript).

Friday night I went on a binge of anguish about it over here. Slept on it; wondered if I'd overreacted. I don't think I did. The man must go.
Scott Adams is my newest hero
I totally identify with this strip.