Just Another Blog
Sunday, December 29, 2002
Broncos Are Out
The Broncos don't even need to play the Cardinals this afternoon; their season is over. The Browns - of all teams - looked pretty good beating Atlanta. There were two or three different ways the Broncos could have made the playoffs, but they all started with wins by the Broncos and the Falcons. Screw it. I'm glad to see Reeves lose. Unfortunately, the Saints look to lose too which will keep the Falcons in the playoffs. Michael Vick will never reach his potential while he plays for Reeves.
Tuesday, December 24, 2002
More on Holiday Sex
...from Dan Savage whose readers share some holiday humping horror stories.
Sex for Christmas
It's what I want; it's what Tanya wants; it's probably what you want, and it's what a bunch of highschool kids will be getting for the first time.
Where We Are
The Washington Post has a lengthy article on where we are in the war on terror with a balanced look at the issue from offensive and defensive positions. It's a great article, and it is terrifying.
Sunday, December 22, 2002
Matrix 2 & 3
Here's an in-depth look at the Matrix sequels that are coming out in May and November of next year. I recall liking the original, but not much about it or the story line. I guess I'll have to rent it sometime before 2 & 3 come out. My favorite line from the article was, "the creators of “The Matrix”—a movie about a phony world in which it’s impossible to tell real from fake—can now create cinema in which it’s impossible to tell real from fake. Eerie, huh?"
The Big Game
With just over 2 minutes left in a really good Kansas City VS San Diego game, CBS has abruptly shifted coverage to the Broncos-Raiders game. Don't get me wrong, I have to see the Broncos game, but I could afford to mis the kickoff to see if the Chiefs can pull off a field goal and beat the Chargers.
There's a ton of hype surrounding the Broncos-Raiders game. This is a huge game. I really liked Lincicome's take:
This one is big because it is a natural intersection of purposes. If this is a western, it is the crooked sheriff and the noble gunfighter. And we know which one is which.Here's hoping that the men in white can pull it off.
I am so not a car guy. I don't particularly like driving, and I don't know much about how cars are built and work. I know that if I ever buy a new car I will be ripped off. I know that any time that I have work done on my car I get ripped off. I delay taking my car in to be looked at because I know I'm going to be ripped off. But now there is a new tool, that may help folks like me. The car chip from Davis Instruments hooks up to your car just like the diagnostic machines at the mechanic's garage. Plug it into your car, drive around, and plug it into your computer for a detailed and, supposedly, easy to read and interpret analysis of everything going on in your car. Very cool!
I'd like to see this tool included with the purchase of every new car. If you found something you didn't understand, or there was a problem hidden in the data that you couldn't quite make out, you could upload your data to the Car Guys' or to Davis Instrunments' or, what the heck, the auto maker's website for a nearly instant expert analysis. This is going to give consumers a great deal of leverage when taking a car in for repairs, buying a used car, selling a used car, and maybe even buying a new car.
The Kids Don't Have a Chance
The other day when I was driving back from the mall, I saw a car with two bumperstickers. One said, "If you can read this, thank a teacher." Of course every word was in caps, and there was no punctuation, but that's not really my complaint here. The other bumpersticker had a picture of what was clearly supposed to be a UFO and simply said, "Roswell." I don't think that a lot of people other than teachers and perhaps their families would sport the former bumpersticker. So grant me the premise that the owner and driver of the car was a teacher. Why then the second bumpersticker?
I think that it is a bigger problem than we realize when the people that are teaching kids science and math also believe in UFO's. The assumed teacher is not excused if she teaches English or history (though perhaps if art or music < /sarcasm >). But there are problems beyond the teachers. This story talks about the horrifying inaccuracies in textbooks used or available for use in the state of New York. I'm sure everyone knows about the power wielded by the textbook selection committees in Texas, California, Florida, and North Carolina where selection is done on a state-wide level. The article quotes an accuser, "To please rednecks in Texas, they're censoring science in New York — and all over America."
The examples cited in the story are atrocious. How is a teacher supposed to educated kids when the tools they are using are wrong to begin with? Surely it is a fight to explain to students that, "No, the textbook is wrong here, but please continue to believe this textbook and all of your other books except for where I point out otherwise." And how many of the many errors are even addressed in class? How many of the kids are allowed to believe that Gerry Adams is a Protestant crusader? How many teachers are adept enough to point out that the equator does not cut through Florida, Texas, and Arizona? How many dare speak out against texts proclaiming Louis Farrakhan and Al Sharpton as great black leaders in the realm of civil rights?
I have no idea what the answer to the problem is. Normally, I would blame public schools, but I don't know whether the texts are any different in private schools. At home schooling is an attractive option, but it requires time and resources that a lot of families just don't have. I guess the best thing to do is to make sure that you are very actively involved in your kids' education.
If you caught misspellings and poor punctuation in this post, thank a teacher.
Friday, December 20, 2002
All of the blogs are talking about the $80,000 Andrew Sullivan made by running some sort of pledge week on his blog. Everyone is jealous and begging for money. Only Tim Blair has the balls to demand the money:
This site has been running for over a year now. Maybe you drop by from time to time. Keep it running by hitting the donation thing over on your left. Or I will kill one of Santa's elves every day until Christmas.I'll probably hit a few of the tip jars on Sunday after the drawing on Saturday night which will improve my lot in life.
A Bunch of Crap with Room for Psychedelic Experimentation
The Weekly World News (which is far less reliable and far more goofy than the Enquirer) reports on the ejector button for the soul which can be manipulated by angels. Now I think most of you know that souls and angels belong in the same category as Easter Bunnies and Bigfoot, but there is an interesting tidbit of science contained in the story. Apparently scientists found this ejector by electrically stimulating the angular gyrus region of the brain in an epileptic patient. The stimulation reportedly induced an out of body experience in the patient who the report makes it sound like was awake during the procedure. She initially felt like she was falling and then felt like she was hovering just below the ceiling looking down on her own body. The question then becomes what drugs or activities can I take or engage in to stimulate my own angular gyrus? I want to fly outside of my body. If I was less lazy I'd search the internet to see if this scientific discovery was being reported from a more traditional point of view: Scientists Discover Part of Brain Responsible for Out of Body Experiences. You don't need god to explain these sensations.
How to Make a Billion
Cheat. No, not THE Cheat. Cheat. Use non-public knowledge to your advantage. The Cheat would never do such a thing. Or if he did, we would be hard pressed to figure out what he was talking about.
Automatic for the People
What's the point of driving a stick shift? There aren't many reasons left anymore with advances in engine and transmission technologies. This article breaks down the arguements.
Thursday, December 19, 2002
I went up to Breck today for what turned out to be a heck of a day of skiing. As the photo below shows, the day started off quite well. This rainbow was actually almost nearly a full circle once the sun rose a little more. There was an arc that went from mountain peak all around the hazy, morning sun and on around to the next peak. I tried to capture the whole thing on film, but the sun was too bright at the center of the frame for the shot to come out.
We were on the mountain about ten minutes after opening and headed straight for the t-bar above Peak 8. The very top brought us to wide-open fields of powder. It was really the first time that I have ever skiied in that much fresh snow. The snow was waist deep in certain patches, but for the most part I would guess there was 6-10 inches of powder. I skiied with some folks who were really good boarders and skiers. Following them over and over definitely pushed me to ski harder than I would have probably pushed myself on my own. The top third of the mountain was fields of powder with plenty of drops, leaps, trees, and jumps for the experts to display their skills on. Then the bottom two thirds was a long, fast (mainly) groomed run with lots of rolling little hills that let even me catch some air. We repeated the process all the way from top to the bottom over and over.
But it wasn't all perfect. It was overcast all day to the point that we were skiing through clouds a good part of the day. And it was cold. Really cold. On the t-bar, once we got up to the tree line, the wind blew hard. It was so cold that any exposed skin burned when the wind hit. But it was worth it.
Wednesday, December 18, 2002
I went to the John Hickenlooper for Mayor "food raiser" political event this evening with Vince down at the Wynkoop. I missed the first part of John's speech, but he came off pretty well all-in-all. I've known who John Hickenlooper is since I moved to this town. I suspect that most folks who live near downtown know Mr. Hickenlooper's role in the development of Lower Downtown, LoDo, Denver.
I'm not sold that I am on his side politically, but that's because I don't know enough about his positions. I think that Vince called him a financial conservative and a social liberal. I'm not real big as a social liberal, so we'll see.
Mr. Hickenlooper owns five bars in Denver. I would be real interested to see what would happen if the INS did a sweep through the kitchens of those bars. At the social level, I think my views are more in line with Tom Tancredo. If Mr. Hickenlooper is too socially liberal, I don't think I'll be pulling that lever.
The employees of the Wynkoop were dubious at best about the night's events. More than one rolled their eyes when Vince or I mentioned what brought us in the door that night. If the 130 employees of your biggest bar don't support you, why should the rest of the city?
Ever wonder why people go into politics as a profession? If you think it's anything other than money - specifically government pensions - you are wrong. Read this story for a prime example taken from the Illinois legislature.
There may be a new treatment option for certain types of cancers. Doctors in Italy appear to have successfully treated a man with liver cancer by taking the liver out of his body, walking it down the block to the local nuclear research reactor, blasting it with streams of neutrons, bringing the liver back, and re-implanting it. A year later, the liver works fine, and the man appears to be tumor free. How cool is that?
Avs Fire Hartley
The Colorado Avalanche have fired their head coach Bob Hartley. It seems to have just happened, so I don't know who the interim or new head coach will be yet. It's too bad. He seemed like a real likeable guy. He was real down to earth. But there's no question that he wasn't getting things done this year. The Avs' talent is much better than their record suggests. It will be interesting to see what the next guy does to shake things up. I wonder if we could still get Drury back?
Looks like there's a news conference in about 45 minutes. More information on the coach and the team will be availble then. Like any of you are checking this page for up to the minute news...
Monday, December 16, 2002
I Know How They Feel
InstaPundit quotes this link regarding the fact that the Iraqi people may welcome an American invasion. "People are depressed, exhausted. They can’t take it anymore." Ahh, it's probably just the holiday blues. They'll get over it.
If you paid for music during the period January 1, 1995, through December 22, 2000 the record industry may owe you a refund. You have to fill out a form and jump through some hoops and wait and wait to receive somewhere between $5 and $20. But why not? Go here, read the details, and get your form.
24 hours of Aspen was this weekend. For 24 hours, skiers go up and down the mountain as fast as possible without stopping. That's grueling! The winner took 63 runs down a 2.69 mile course at speeds of up to 100 mph covering 205,821 vertical feet. Awesome! Here's the official site for the race. The race was won by a local this year. Kudos to Casey Puckett for his amazing display of endurance.
Ding Fries Are Done! Ding Fries Are Done!
I got this link via email yesterday. Now that's some funny, funny stuff. If you're gonna follow the link from work, make sure you turn down the volume on your speakers. I can see the politically correct being offended. I, on the other hand, thought it was hilarious and in the spirit of the holiday season.
The Mirror Project
The Mirror Project is a cool website that post pictures that people take of themselves reflected in various surfaces. There are nearly 12,000 pictures posted, and it's pretty cool to surf through and see some of the shots. My first submission is now up. It is a cropped version of this picture.
Thursday, December 12, 2002
Meesh returns to blogging with some great pictures from Aspen. And a picture of a mini-huskie. I had no idea that they made mini-huskies! I want to get my brother's blind siberian huskie a little mini-huskie of his own.
Maybe you own a gun. Maybe you own a couple of them. Maybe it's been a long time since you've had them out or even thought much about them. Maybe this will make you want to buy just one more gun. Or maybe it's just a silly idea.
Monday, December 09, 2002
Hmm, Maybe I Should Write More
Tony Pierce, in a post titled the only thing i like better than a good bank robbery is a blonde bj with a redhead working the balls has the following to say about blogging, "to me blogging is a variety of things. first you must know how to write. best thing about writing is that the more you do it the better you get and unlike beating off, writing well is something that you can parlay into sex drugs money power. so practice." He'd be easier to read if he'd find the shift key, but the content is pretty good. Of course, it turns out that it's all a pack of lies. Still, I guess maybe it wouldn't hurt for me to try to write more often than once a week. God knows I could use some more sex, drugs, money, and power.
Smoking and Sex
"Most smokers in Europe would find it easier to give up sex for a month than cigarettes," that's the lede to this story on the difficulties of quitting smoking. Well, as someone who has given up both, I can tell you that qutting smoking is indeed incredibly difficult. But at the same time, I don't find myself closing my eyes and fantasizing about Marlboros.
Really what I thought was interesting in the story was the comment that, "In every single country the vast majority of smokers want to stop," according to an anti-smoking crusader. I know that the French and Japanese, for example, smoke like chimneys and that a lot of French and Japanese seem to smoke. It never occurred to me though that most of them didn't want to smoke. I wonder if this is distortion by the zealous or whether as an isolated American I am slow to attribute these common-sense feelings to foreigners? Probably some of each.
Explorers and Headaches
My brother and my sister's fiance, TJ, both drive Ford Explorers. Each of them had the chance recently to see how the cars held up under pressure.
Two days before Thanksgiving, my brother was driving home southbound on I-25 when someone in an older Z-28-type car lost control and hit him. He was doing somewhere between 55 and 60 at the time of the accident while the other car was going somewhat faster as it attempted to pass my brother on the left. My brother was aware of the car passing him by when all of the sudden the lights from the car started moving erratically as the driver apparently lost control. The car banged into my brother's Explorer at 55+ mph and bounced off it. My brother was pushed toward the right, but was able to maintain control without too much difficulty. The other car then smashed into the concrete dividers on the left seriously damaging the car. The driver fled the scene, and my brother is still waiting to hear from the detective handling the case to find out what the deal is. Apparently, it's not a case of the car being stolen, but it's so far unclear as to where the hell the driver went and why he/she didn't stick around for the cops to come.
But the long and short of the story is that the car survived a side impact collision at highway speeds and allowed the driver to maintain control and thus minimize any injuries. My brother walked away from the incident without any damage to his person. The car suffered a heavy dent to the driver's side rear-door rendereing it inoperable, but the car still drives fine, and my brother is fine.
Two days after Thanksgiving, my sister and her fiance were back in the midwest returning to their apartments in Ann Arbor from his parents' place in Columbus, Ohio. About two and a half miles into their journey, TJ's Explorer hit an icy patch, fishtailed, and went off the road. He lost control of the car as they plunged down a 25 foot ravine - backwards! The car slammed to a halt as it smashed into the cold, icy ground at the bottom of the ravine. The force of the impact blew the windows out of the car except for the windshield and the passenger side front window next to where my sister was seated. Leftovers, school papers, clothing, and other miscellaneous stuff from the car was scattered all through the base of the ravine.
The police were surprised that the two of them walked away from the accident. There is little question that their seatbelts saved their lives. The Explorer was totaled, but the big car seemed to do a pretty good job protecting its passengers. TJ ended up with a small cut on one of his legs as well as a good sized knot on his head. My sister walked away with only a few bruises and sore spots.
Or so it appeared at first. After the accident, my sister began developing very intense headaches - headaches that were so bad they made her throw up. She felt dizzy and nauseous and tired but she couldn't sleep well. After a couple of days as things seemed to be getting worse instead of better, she decided she had better see a doctor. A CAT scan revealed two small cyst-like structures in her brain. Actually one appeared to be on the brain (near the surface, just below the skull) while the other was more acurately described as in the brain - lying a bit deeper and between the two hemispheres. So far, they don't know what they are. An MRI 11 years ago didn't show the spots, so they are new since then. They don't look like what the doctors are used to seeing after a head trauma, but such spots apparently do occassionally turn up from such blows to the head. So, it's really unclear right now as to whether the accident caused these spots or just revealed the spots.
Tentatively, the doctors think they want to go in and remove whatever they are so they can find out what they are. That means that, tentatively, they want to drill a hole or two in my sister's skull. She has a consultation this evening with the neurologists along with the neuro-surgeons during which they will decide what approach they want to take.
So, for now, that's where this story abruptly ends. I'll know more later tonight or tomorrow.
Thursday, December 05, 2002
Brooks on Hockey
I haven't watched enough hockey this season to know whether or not I agree with this take, but it strikes me as being pretty close to accurate.
The reason for the boring, defensive nature of the game is coaches on bad teams (of which there are at least 10!) combat the fact that they have no skilled players by bullying the goal-scorers in different colored sweaters. The NHL shouldn't be about coaches using tactics to keep their jobs, it should be about entertaining the fans. If the fans aren't happy, there is no NHL for coaches to survive in.I'm pretty sure that I agree with the Mark Stepnoski take at the top of the page.
Bigfoot Is Dead - Long Live Bigfoot!
This is an outstanding look at the life of Bigfoot. Really, it is a look at the life of Ray Wallace who invented the Bigfoot myth in 1958 when he strapped a pair of sixteen-inch, carved, wooden feet to his boots and started walking around in the snow and the mud. Mr. Wallace obviously had a brilliant sense of humor. The fact that the secret has been so well guarded all these years is quite a testament to the family and their ability to keep getting a laugh out of folks.
Services will be held on Saturday. Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, Nessie, Harry Potter, Dracula, and Jesus are all expected to attend.
I saw Solaris last night. Like Missy, I left the theater thinking that I needed a night to sleep on it before I decided whether or not I liked it. I agree with her comments on the shooting of the film and the score. The music the first time Kelvin (George Clooney) falls asleep is great, and all in all the score adds a lot to the movie. I think that, generally, if you enjoyed Vanilla Sky, you'll enjoy Solaris. There's a bit of dreamy-other-worldliness to both. I found myself thinking during Solaris that Penelope Cruz would have probably been great as Rheya though she may have been too short.
The movie raises - again as Missy points out - interesting questions about the chance to make the same mistakes again, questions about the accuracy of our own memories (I'd post Superchunk's I Guess I Remembered It Wrong here, but I can't find it on Kazaa and I only seem to have it on vinyl), and the things that feelings of intense grief can cause us to do and feel. The last twenty minutes or so of the movie wasn't as well integrated with the rest of the film as it should have been. I think that's what made me walk away without any initial strong feelings one way or another about the film (other than I really liked most of the music). All in all I liked it. The acting and music and photography were good. The story could have been just a bit more polished.
I also just saw Moulin Rouge! the other day. I watched in the, err, proper frame of mind, over at my brother's house. I thought that I liked it when I watched it on an airplane, and confirmed so upon re-watching. The first half of the movie is definitely more interesting and up tempo than the second half, so I would recommend a half-time break to refresh your frame of mind. I think it's rather clever how they worked the various versions of modern pop songs into a tale spun by the green faerie. I haven't seen many musicals other than this and The Sound of Music. If you haven't seen it, go get yourself in the right mood and watch. It's a fine way to pass two hours that you're gonna be wasted for anyway.
Time to Catch Up
Well, I haven't written anything in two weeks, so I guess it's about time that I did. I've actually had some things to say and some stories to tell lately, but I've just been too darned lazy to do anything about it. It's not that I don't spend most of my waking time in front of the computer - I do. It's just that actually stopping to type in lieu of pointing and clicking my way around the internet seems so much like work. Though I am now at the point where I probably wouldn't know work if it bit me on the ass. I've got to do something before I decide once and for all that I'm wasting my time even pretending that I can ever be a productive member of society. This afternoon, I'll try to churn out some restaurant, movie, and music reviews. Not that they will really be in-depth enough to qualify as reviews. I keep thinking that I might want to give it a go as a freelance writer, but I know that one of my biggest problems would not be having enough to say. Generally, I think that short and concise is better. I think I edit myself to the point of too brief sometimes. Whatever. There are roughly 5-10 of you who read this with any sort of regularity anyway. If I ever leave you dying for more details leave a comment or shoot me an email or call me. I may also have a problem with breaking multiple thoughts into separate paragraphs. And with fragments.
This comic strip is a bit off from my normal politics, but I'll be damned if this isn't a great line: "So, Henry Kissinger is in charge of the 9/11 probe! That's like putting Robert Mugabe in charge of the Department of Agriculture." HA!