Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Anonymous no more

I know you are all wondering if it was Woodward or Bernstein who blew the lid off the Texas A&M non-conference misranking in a recent post on the SI college basketball blog. I can tell you that in fact it was me. I had to post anonymously b/c I don't want people who read the SI college hoops blog to be one click away from getting to this blog. Especially when I pointed out 3 teams w/ lower rankings than A&M but excluded the 4th (Penn State) b/c obviously I'm not going to expose the beloved Nittany Lions. But since you're here already I figured you should know that I spend my day looking at RPI rankings from previous college basketball seasons. I'm glad I could share that w/ you.

Monday, August 28, 2006

What to do after not cutting your hair for 3 years

I was on a pretty regular pattern of getting my hair cut once a year at the beginning of summer and then letting it grow through the winter so I didn't have to wear a scarf. I decided that I wouldn't cut it for a while b/c frankly it's probably going to fall out like every other dude I'm related to. Maybe one day I'll grow a skullet, but I wanted one last run at pretty girly hair. After 2 years it was a total pain in the ass. I had to put it in a pony tail every day and trying to comb or sleep with it was painful. It only took me another year after that to finally cut it, but when I did I sent 15" to Locks of Love (and yes that is the last time you will see 15" associated w/ my name). From what I've read I'm pretty sure they will sell it (I didn't dye it but I used 3 years worth of Head and Shoulders on it), but it beats throwing it in the trash. I recommend all of you stop cutting your hair and start saving it for charity. Unless you are concerned about your appearance, in which case please keep on grooming on.

Izabella's Birthday

Izabella turned 2 on Wednesday. She seemed to enjoy all of the presents, but she was a little overwhelmed by all of it. I'm planning on starting my own Toys for Tots campaign out of this house w/ all of the stuff we have for those 2 kids. She got jewelry from both sets of grandparents and I'm sure we gave her something too. I'm pretty sure the jewelry is too nice for a 2 year old. In fact unless it comes from a happy meal, any jewelry is too nice for a 2 year old (except maybe pierced earrings, but I'm pretty sure Izzy would just rip her earlobes off if she had those).

Then on Saturday we had a party for her at the house. I don't have to tell you this, but I don't like having a bunch of people over at my house (especially if they are under the age of 20) unless we are going to drink. More accurately, unless I am going to drink. Still things went pretty well. I know Pete is sitting on some pictures from the occasion, but his parole officer won't let him put pictures of underage girls on his blog anymore. The only really adventurous thing we did was putting up a pinata. As I explained to someone later that night, letting one little kid swing a bat while a dozen others wait for candy to fall out of what they are swatting at is a little nerve racking. Thank goodness for microscopic parental waivers included in each invitation that absolved us of any liability. That's the best thing Hallmark ever did.

Sunday, August 20, 2006


There were articles on ESPN this week about which is better NFL or college football. I will admit that the NFL is my favorite, but I also like college, high school, and pee wee football too. Hell, I like to sit on the beach and break down total strangers throwing mechanics (His release point is too low, Desmond. I wonder if he's had any kind of shoulder surgery. Get our medical people to check it out). There are 2 reasons the NFL is better. The first is the playoffs. It determines a real champion on the field. Despite the fact that Division 3, 2, and 1-AA college football use this same breakthrough technology to determine their champions, the highest level of college football chooses to let the media/coaches decide the 2 best teams and let them play it out in a championship game. The second is the competitive balance the teams have from year to year. You just don't see games that are won by 50+ points on a regular basis in the NFL. College teams buy these games against inferior competition every year.

Those are my two reasons. I don't need 20 reasons why the NFL is better. 2 is twice as many as I really need, but in the interest of fairness I'll look at the alleged 20 reasons why the college game is better.

1. Passion - Yeah, I get a good feeling when North Carolina wins a game. I get the same sensation when the Panthers win a game too. If my diploma is supposed to make me cherish one more than the other, then I would have to feel the same why when the Carolina fencing team wins a big match. I don't.

2. 25-year-old millionaires - So I should resent someone younger than me who makes more money than I ever will? What about the millions the college guys generate that go into the pockets of coaches, administrators, and other hangers on? I only resent people I work w/ who make more money than me and don't do as much work as I do.

3. Rivalries - A long time ago, the minister at our church called me out on using the word "hate" to describe my feelings about things. Since then I try to stay away from that word and say I don't like something instead. I hate the Dallas Cowboys. I don't like Duke, but I have a grudging respect for the many other things they do besides play basketball. I hate the fucking Dallas Cowboys.

4. The postseason - To refute the logic that every game is a championship, I say if every game is a championship then no games are a championship.

5. Bowls on tv - I too like having bowl games on everyday for weeks at a time. I generally don't make plans around any one of these games, but I watch a lot of tv and the MPC Computers Bowl always seems like a good idea. Still, I worked my errands and obligations around last year's Redskins-Buccaneers game, so I wouldn't miss a thing. And I don't really like either team.

6. Playbook buffet - If you had all of your time to devote to stopping a certain offense, a good football coach certainly would. Unfortunately, the players in college football are bogged down w/ other obligations like classwork and can't devote the necessary time to solving these problems. There's a reason none of those gimmick offenses make it in the pros.

7. Overtime - College football overtime sucks. Each team gets the ball on the 25 yard line and tries to score. When do offenses ever get the ball on the 25 yard line? It doesn't happen in the normal course of a game unless there's a big special teams play or the defense creates a turnover. The college brand of overtime eliminates special teams entirely except for the field goal unit. It's not a football game at this point. It's a practice drill that you run at the end of the day. Did I mention college football overtime sucks?

8. Stadiums - I'll confess that my favorite football stadium is Armfield Athletic Center. It's also the only one w/in walking distance of my house. However, I would have a new favorite if they knocked down all the trees in Price Park to build an NFL stadium.

9. Ticket Prices - It is expensive to get into an NFL game. Some of the newer teams like the Panthers have even added the expense of getting a personal seat license to go with the seats. The only problem w/ the college game criticizing this is that the whole thing is based on the college model. I couldn't get a sniff of good seats in the 3 years I bought UNC football season tickets. There's a big difference in the price of a $30 seat in the endzone and a $30 seat on the 50 yard line.

10. Commercials after kickoff - I can honestly say I had never noticed this. At first I thought "It's on tv. There are commercials. Deal w/ it." Then I thought if this complaint were accurate 100% of the time, they would immediately go to commercial after the opening kickoff. That only happens when there is an injury or some other catastrophe. I rule this claim fraudulent.

11. More bang for your buck - The difference in the length of NFL games vs. college games does not have anything to do w/ the length of halftime. Ok, the 8 extra minutes of halftime might make you think the 6 minute difference technically makes the college games shorter, but NFL games all have the requisite tv timeouts that drag a game out while all college games aren't broadcast on tv. I can go to the Guilford College game that starts at 1 and walk home in time to see the end of a noon game on television. That doesn't make me feel like the college games are shorter.

12. College halftimes - Yeah, this is a great thing about college football that the pros can't touch. The main reason I'm thinking about going to see A&T play football this year is I want to check out the band.

13. Dynasties - Using socialism to disparage the NFL? I like socialists a lot better than the exploitationists who profit off the inequitable exchange b/w athletes and universities. I might have been a little more leniant on this kind of stuff if he had kept the Panthers out of his bad-mouthing (especially when compared w/ Michigan, Nebraska, and USC).

14. JoePa - Only sportswriters who have run out of ideas would write stories about the demise of Joe Paterno. This guy is probably the main reason I wear black sneakers. That's right, I take my cue on footwear from a 70 year old man. I also have two pairs of wingtips that my dad gave me, so I take my footwear from 70 year old men too.

15. Traditions - Ok, the only traditions associated w/ the NFL are drinking and gambling, but those same traditions exist at any major college program too. In fact, if my team's most memorable tradition was hurling airplane bottles of Jack Daniels' in the stands, I might want to reduce my capacity to less than 100,000 and add a few luxury boxes (or a jail).

16. Songs - Unless Golden Earring has an honorary doctrate from some place, I don't care about the songs.

17. The Heisman - "[I]t is, in fact, awarded to the best offensive player on a national championship contender". This is a quote from the argument that the Heisman trophy makes college football better than the NFL.

18. Keith Jackson - I think he's retired. Still he was one of the best tight ends the Eagles ever had.

19. Championship sites - These games roll around the same area. If the NFL wants to pump a bunch of money into Detroit every 20 years, I don't have a problem w/ that. The games all look the same on my tv anyway.

20. Eternal youth - I'm not going to argue against this one.

I know why you read my blog

It's b/c you want to hear about my lawn. Well, I've had problems w/ my backyard getting clumps of cut grass all over the place. It not only looks crappy, but it's also keeping the grass from being nice and green. I end up taking huge clumps of grass off the bottom of the mower after I've mowed back there. Yesterday, I put the bag on to catch the grass and keep it from clumping under the mower and on the yard. It's kind of a pain to have to stop every 10 or so minutes to empty the bag, but it looks a lot better.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Fantasy Football

I guess the most important part of fantasy football is naming your team. I have 2 teams this year. The 1st is The High Life (the champagne of teams). The other one is the Bait Shop Weirdos. I named it after the Simpsons episode where Homer claims he'll be a hero if he catches General Sherman at Catfish Lake instead of spending time working on his marriage. When Marge asks who he will be a hero to, he responds those weirdos at the bait shop. I keep thinking of that when I read the News and Record's new letter to the editor feature. It's set up like a blog so people can leave comments on the letters to the editor (as opposed to writing a response in hopes that the paper will publish it). In theory it seems like a good way to get the community to discuss topics that concern the average citizen, but in reality it's the same people commenting over and over again w/ the same inflexible opinions. And the funniest part is I've never seen a comment from the original letter writer in any of the threads where people alternate praise and scorn for the LTE. In fairness I don't read the blog every single day, so maybe it's happened. Like most blogs there are some interesting links and some reasonable ideas once in a while, but I still feel like it's a bunch of Homers fishing for General Sherman.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

New Favorite Song

Desmond was walking around the house the other day singing the KISS song I Was Made For Loving You. He didn't have all the lyrics exactly right, but he knew Paul Stanley was his favorite member of KISS. Then Maria told me that he and Izabella argue in the car over what KISS song they want her to play. Desmond wants the aforementioned Dynasty lead track or New York Groove (technically the Ace Frehely solo album but we haven't explained the 4 KISS solo albums to him yet that will come sometime after the Santa Claus talk), and Izabella only wants to hear I Love It Loud. They also like to turn up the stereo to volumes even I find uncomfortable (when sober) and dance around to any and all KISS songs. I think this is some kind of genetic condition.

How much is 7 euros?

I don't know what it converts to in US dollars, but I was certainly willing to spend it on the latest issue of Hot Press. It features unreleased recordings from Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy fame. I haven't seen my Visa bill yet, but I figure 7 euros must be equal to about a million US dollars.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Hey Vern

Vernon Robinson called me yesterday to let me know that Brad Miller is giving illegal aliens free benefits from our tax dollars. I was afraid he wasn't going to call again b/c I told his phone survey that I wasn't going to vote for him. Luckily, he still considers me a friend who he can win over w/ some of his powerful persuasion.

Friday, August 11, 2006

What not to do to your yard

I usually fertilize the grass in the spring and the fall. I'll put down some grass seed during those times too, and my yard looks pretty good. This year I waited a little late to put down the spring fertilizer (Memorial Dayish) and the stuff I bought at Home Depot was more like hot weather fertilizer. I decided I would put some more down on the 4th of July, and the good news is my lawn is thick and green. The bad news is I have to mow every week regardless of rain and it clogs up my mower b/c it's so thick.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Dain Bramage

I've recently gone through a series of uncomfortable medical procedures. Fortunately they were only mentally uncomfortable and physically I'm doing fine. I had an exertional headache a few weeks ago. I hadn't had one in 12 years, but at that point they were pretty common for me. The doctor sent me to get an MRI to make sure I didn't have an aneurysm although I was pretty sure that wasn't the case. They asked me 4 times before I went into this thing if I was claustrophobic, and while I'm not I started to think I was b/c they kept asking. I spent about 45 minutes laying on my back inside this machine. At first I closed my eyes b/c you can't really see anything in there and thinking about being confined in this space was kind of creeping me out. After a while, I was pretty bored and started thinking of it in terms of 2001 and started to embrace my situation. The industrial noises are pretty loud in there and it's constantly pumping air into the tube, so I started pretending I was at a Kraftwerk concert. It made the time pass quicker although the technician wouldn't let the machine encore w/ Trans Europe Express. After waiting a few days for the results, I called the doctor's office. They said they were still waiting for the results. A few hours later the actual doctor called me to tell me he was setting up an appointment w/ a neurologist. This wasn't what I wanted to hear on a Friday afternoon. I spent the whole weekend wondering what could be worse than brain cancer. I finally settled on inoperable brain cancer. At the neurologist they made me change into a gown which seemed a little unusual, but by the time I actually saw the doctor she said that I had a scar on my brain. However, it's not a big deal and she gave me some migraine medicine samples to try out. Then she offered to show me the MRI images. I figured I wouldn't have too many opportunities to see this kind of stuff, so I listened to her explain how this artery went where and I got to see my scar. I think my brain didn't want me to understand how it functions, and I don't want it to hurt me anymore so I didn't learn a whole lot about neurology. Anyway, all is back to normal pretty much and I have a whole new appreciation for the classic hangover headache.

Good News for Ethanol

Let's face it. It doesn't matter that some people drive electric cars and others fill up w/ used cooking oil. For real change to come in our dependence on foreign oil, everybody needs to get on board. That's where this decal from the E85 website comes in. Everybody likes Calvin pissing on their least favorite oil cartel, just like he does to their least favorite NASCAR driver. They seem to be going for the NASCAR crowd, so I'm thinking this could catch on.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

13th district update

I may have lost Vernon Robinson's attempts to lure my independent vote for the election. I really hope not b/c I enjoy all his inflammatory materials, but I could only take so much from an automated phone survey before my true feelings came out.

It seemed like any other telephone survey when I agreed to answer 7 questions about an important marketing survey. The first question was "Do you think the United States should secure its borders? Please answer 1 for yes or 2 for no." I answered 1 b/c technically there needs to be a striped parking lot arm to stop foreign cars from getting here, but more than that seems excessive. I was a little giddy b/c I knew it was from some kind of political campaign, and I figured only Vernon Robinson would start w/ an issue like getting rid of foreigners. But that wasn't how he asked the question so I didn't feel dishonest about getting his hopes up about voting for him.

The next question was "Concerning abortion, are you pro-life? Answer 1 for yes or 2 for no." Ok, the gig was up. I couldn't answer that question w/ the answer Vern wanted. I pressed 2. After that came "Are you opposed to gay marriage? Press 1 for yes or 2 for no." I couldn't lie about this one either, and further alienated myself by pressing 2. I think all couples should have the same rights to inherit property, join insurance plans, and transfer custody of children w/o incident. All that legal stuff that married couples benefit from should apply to same sex couples who make the effort to go to a courthouse and legalize their relationship.

The fourth question was "Do you think the Constitution guarantees the right to bear arms..." It went on to read the 2nd amendment and while I think of it as the Bill of Rights and not the Constitution I don't have a problem w/ that so I answered yes. That doesn't mean I don't think there shouldn't be some reasonable regulations, but if you want guns you got 'em.

"In the upcoming election in district 13 between Vernon Robinson and Brad Miller, will you vote for Vernon Robinson? Answer 1 for yes and 2 for no." I had to pick 2 b/c there is no way I'm voting for this lunatic (in fairness that link is from an article from his 2004 campaign for another US Congressional district and not his current race for the votes of people like me).

For the 6th question it asked if I had ever given money to a "political campaign or community organization?" I didn't know how they were defining community organization but I still answered no. That ended my 7 question survey at question number 6. I think it also ended my chances to get more love from the creepy conservative (in a political way).