March 31, 2006

Where once there was glory...

I'm good with the hiring of Kelvin Sampson. I think he's been an excellent coach at Oklahoma, and I see no reason why he won't continue that at IU.

But there is clearly something rotten in the state of Denmark. Pat Forde - whose columns I've grown up despising because of my dad's hatred for his work with the Louisville Courier-Journal - wrote an excellent piece on the decline of basketball statewide in Indiana, and it breaks my heart to read about the disconnect between the basketball past and present in my homestate.

I never played organized basketball - not a church league or an elementary school team, much less playing varsity ball - but I have loved basketball since I was incredibly young. My favorite views of the games were all from a catwalk three stories above the floor of my alma mater's gymnasium, hating the games in my youngest days because the crowds were simply too loud for me back then. Watching games in the top row of the stands, even with the catwalk, and spending time with John Stevens - a friend of my family and near-uncle to my father - who ushered every game that I can remember for as long as he was healthy and around. I remember 4700 screaming fans packed into a high school gym that I always considered to be mid-sized, cheering when Damon Bailey made a free throw that he had to miss and sealing his last high school defeat.

And I remember driving to New Castle for the Hall of Fame tourney to see Anderson take on Vincennes in a near blizzard just because Sully and I had tickets. We - along with the 9000 other fans - spent the afternoon touring the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame - one that I enjoyed way more than the national one two summers ago.

I recognize that another generation will have wonderful memories, but it looks like for most of them, those memories won't center around basketball, and there's sadness in me for that. For decades there has been a constant in Indiana...and it's sad to see that lost...

March 30, 2006

A bit of the DIY web...

Just in case anybody needed to know how to make an annoying web page.

I'd suggest broken links, outdated content, and animated gifs. Of course, other people have different ideas about what sucks.

March 29, 2006

The mother of necessity's kid...

Not that I've ever been trapped in the forest with a can of coke and chocolate bar, but if so, I hope I'll remember this article

March 28, 2006

My mommy tells me so...

I'm a winner.

It's the whole Pasta for Pennies thing, you know. My school's campaign does really well, and I'm kinda in charge of it and all.

But more importantly today is the fact that my wife's school's campaign just finished up today (they'll probably clear about $5000 - awesome), and they had a big raffle going.

Instead of the way that we run our raffle (the coordinators aren't allowed to win), she put in tickets and let me drop my $20 for thirty tickets spread among various baskets.

I won, of course, and am now the proud owner of...Other than the time my name got pulled out twice to win mugs for having sold two whole magazine subscriptions when I was in third grade, this is the best day of my life.

Anybody know of any kids who like eating at Chili's?

March 27, 2006

On second thought...

I've blogged about the revolutionary food designs of some chefs today, but after reading the specifics of one multi-course meal at such a restaurant, I'm not so sure that I'd really enjoy the experience.

Apparently, Mick Jagger was right...

March 26, 2006

Anybody need a job?

It's possible that my near-debilitating fear of heights just might preclude me from taking the job, but if you need something to do and you're in Cincinnati, this Enquirer lead just might be the right job for you.

And after going through the Purple People Bridge Cl!mb website, I'm kinda tempted to give it a try myself...maybe on September 19th. But I think only if my little friend can go with me.

Oh, and a quick holy schnikies shout out to George freakin' Mason! Go Patriots!

Literate reviews...

I dig McSweeney's.

Admittedly, I don't necessarily understand McSweeney's, but I dig it.

There are a number of things that read like jokes, some that read like reader-created blogging, some that read like literary analysis. I don't have any real clue whether it's even a real magazine or if it's just web-only. But there's a lot of entertaining stuff there.

Today's example of McSweeney's entertainment is the new food reviews column - clearly written by readers and absolutely hilarious. Great stuff.

Here's a sample...
Red Baron's Stuffed Pizza Slices: Sausage and Pepperoni

Submitted by Agnes Borden

After five minutes, only my burps seem to want to recall Red Baron's Sausage and Pepperoni Stuffed Pizza Slice. A wholly unnecessary experience, noted only for its too-thick crust that's drier than my elbows midwinter and those tasty little sausages that are clearly a collage of meats. Not a terrible late-night snack, but for more bang for your buck, I'd recommend anything that doesn't impersonate real food—like candy. Oh, Red #5, how much do I love thee?
Hershey's S'mores

Submitted by Gina Hyams

Hershey's new S'mores candy bar does not taste like a campfire.
Colorless M&Ms

Submitted by Michael de Leeuw

In the midst of the grayest, coldest winter in thirty-seven years, the candy man has taken the last pigment from my bleak existence. I commute, I work, I eat lunch, I work late, I go home. Daylight wakes me up but does not sustain me and does not figure into the rest of my life. My office building is a tower of ugliness in lower Manhattan, and I spend far too much of my life—my prime—here. Somewhere outside, there is a nineteen-year-old film student drawing on her cigarette and getting used to the mouth-feel of her new tongue stud. I will never meet her. Somewhere outside, there is an ignored old man on a park bench with a head full of stories that would captivate anyone who would dare to listen. I won't dare to listen.

And now Colorless M&Ms. They are white, black, and shades of gray. I try them after lunch. They disappoint. I know I am losing my mind: it's the same candy! I work on a brief and distractedly reach for more. Again, they are not the same. I have lost my mind. I walk down the hall and everything is black and white and gray. I feel panic set in. I duck into a conference room to compose myself. I lean my face against the cool window and look out on the chunks of ice floating in the Hudson River. They are gray. The snow in Battery Park is gray. Tomorrow, I will buy Skittles.
And there's so much more...

Ice, ice, baby...

TDugan loaned me a couple of issues of Seed, a new magazine about the intersection of science and culture. Don't know that I'm sold on the magazine just yet, but it did have some impressive pictures and a neat graphic style.

Four of the pictures come from a D.Hirmes and are really beautiful photos of ice forms. The artist's website is very much that of an artist - lots of stuff that isn't explained but is just what I'd call artsy. It's not all my kind of stuff, but then again, neither is all of this stuff.

March 25, 2006

Not as geeky as it sounds...

Cooking for Engineers is a site that does a great job showing you exactly what you're supposed to do to make any of their recipies. They include pictures of the various stages of the process, give visual organizers at the end of each recipie to recap the process, and they test various adjustments to the recipies to make sure things are working about as well as they can.

I've tried a few of their recipies and have had good luck so far.

Along the same vein is America's Test Kitchen who produce Cook's Illustrated which is easily my favorite cooking magazine - no ads, wonderful use of the scientific method, great recipies, neat visual style - but their online presence is behind a paid registration that I don't want to pay for. Their primary cookbook is, however, the best I've ever used. Amazing recipies.

Now, get cooking...

March 24, 2006

Fantasy sports...

Ah, fantasy sports. I've been a player of fantasy sports for a long while now, having been part of a rotisserie baseball league when I was in high school. I've seen drafts - serpentine and normal - and auctions. I've been in first place and last in football and baseball.

This year, though, I've decided to consult some interesting sources for my knowledge. First there's McSweeney's with a great lineup made up of the finest of video game non-athletes. Then there's a few articles about the greatest video game athletes of all time.

In my league (12 teams, full MLB, ten categories, head-to-head), here's the lineup that I ended up with...
click to enlarge

March 23, 2006

Mummble away weird man...

I love the internet because it provides me with international pop music proving that crappy tastes abound the world around.

Today, enjoy Chacarron!

March 22, 2006

If I was president...

In Chapelle's Block Party there's a great moment when Wyclef Jean is playing an organ and singing a simple song called "President" with the Central State Band. The song as it's appeared on cd isn't nearly as nice, but I'm hoping that the movie soundtrack has 'Clef's film version.

On an only slightly related note, I found a really cool game from Cable in the Classroom and the History Channel called eLections: Your Adventure in politics. It's a fun little game taking you through the process of becoming president of these here United States. There's balancing spending, campaigning in various states, fundraising, choosing your platform, and dealing with issues along the campaign trail.

My first time through, I ended up with 307 electoral votes. I'm hoping to play again and see how close I can come to Reagan 1984 or FDR in yah!

PS - New high for me of 357 electoral votes. Not in FDR/Reagan territory yet, but moving upward.

Matt & Trey make a suggestion...

Looks like Matt & Trey are ready to deal with the controversy of Isaac 'Chef' Hayes's departure from the show. They'll just start off the tenth season with a special "The Return of Chef!" episode.

It's good to know that these guys have no shame whatsoever. I enjoy that in my comedy.

March 21, 2006

iTunes gets the French kiss-off

Looks like France is being all French again.

This time they're working on passing legislation that would force Apple to be more open with their iTunes music format. The law still has one more house - the French equilivent to the Senate - to pass before it's fully law, but things look promising. If the law passes, iPods would have to be opened to playing formats other than Apple's proprietary format, and iTunes would have to play on mp3 players other than just iPods.

I'm not entirely sure whether those things would be good ideas or not. I'm going to have to think about this for a bit...

To get some other coverage of the story, check out PC Pro or ABC News - each offers a slightly different spin on things.

Oh, and yes, I am enjoying my snow day. Are you?

Play around...

Right, so it's in a foreign language, but the game's easy enough to understand. See if you can top my high score of a massive 75 points.

Bring it, pansies...

March 20, 2006

The little purple one gets weirder...

Seven tickets to a private concert at the Little Purple One's private Minneapolis abode...kinda makes me want to buy the stinkin aren't great so far, but it's a gimmick that just might work...

I am curious about how the winners can be folks who either buy the album or download the single from iTunes. Is he splitting it up three & four or what? Where are the odds better?

I need to know these things...

March 19, 2006

Well adapted...

Last night Karlen asked me if I wasnted to go see V for Vendetta, and I am loathe to pass up a chance to go see just about any movie in the theater, so off to the Rave this afternoon.

It's a pretty standard answer to any movie that's been adapted from a book that I want to say read the book - it's better, and I'll get that out of the way now.

It's a faithful adaptation. There are a few changes that were made from the book that do make for impressive on-screen moments, and the added moments don't detract from the story. I don't know that they add all that much to the story either, though, even if they do make the ultimate scene a little more visually impressive.

I don't know that the movie will be reviewed all that well because it's a political allegory (oddly enough, one written as a commentary on the Thatcher administration) that plays as a very damning critique of some of the things that are happening today (an impressive trait for a work of graphic fiction to be relevant and current a quarter century later). It's not the kind of thing that loads of people are going to go to as a popcorn flick and just come out of the theater raving and cheering. It's a thinker, this one is.

Alan Moore's work is phenomenal, and it retains almost all of its power on the big screen. Hugo Weaving does a great job of acting behind the mask, and Natalie Portman does a good job of putting on a British accent.

It's a rough film with a big message buried in there (not terribly deeply, either), and one that's worth seeing. I'd go matinee for it, but it's a big screen treat.

March 18, 2006

My Saturday Morning Ritual...

Every Saturday morning I get up and flop on the couch. Karlen heads to go for one of her weekly runs - today downtown for sixteen miles - and I surf the net, stopping at the various blogs and movie trailer sites that I enjoy. Usually, 'round 8:30 The Batman flips on, and I begin the day's real work - typically for my KSU classes - when that fades away.

Today's little nuggests from that surfing time are four movie trailers...
The Breakup
I've been very untempted to see this movie since the first couple of previews, but this one is changing my mind. The other trailers have suggested a very snarky, nasty movie showing the breakup between the two leads. This one suggests a chance of (and I assume a near-guarantee of) - reconcilliation.
La Mujer de Mi Hermano
I don't know what the title means - something about of my brother, I think. A bunch of foreign language films on Apple iMovies today. This one looks like a pretty standard formula - brother sleeps with sister-in-law, but it looks like a stylish take on the formula.
Trust the Man
I like pretty much all the actors involved here - especially Maggie Gyllenhaal - and like the feeling that the trailer produces here. The discussions of love and relationships is a subject that is always ripe for a good movie.
Drawing Restraint 9
This is clearly an artsy movie. Heck, anytime a movie description includes a phrase like "...symbolically tracks through the construction and transformation of a vast structure of liquid Vaseline..." it's an artsy movie. For some reason, though, this one intrigues me. Sort of the same intrigue that I get from The Fountain but, I'm guessing, with a lot less linear a storyline.

March 17, 2006

Anybody looking for a good coach?

There is much sadness in the world. My good friend - Brian Sullivan - is no longer the head coach at Brescia University. Brian did resign on his own terms and is currently looking for a new position - preferrably in the Indiana / Kentucky area.

He's an absolute coaching stud who put together the single hardest schedule (for his level) in the history of basketball this year - even opening at Assembly Hall against IU (check the pictures here if you don't believe me.) And he's willing to run rockin' fund raisers for his team if the budget's not exactly up to rockin' standards.

So, if anybody's got an opening and is looking for a coaching up and comer...


Oh, and IDTMI research staff points out that the velcro crop in California has shown a serious rebound. Good news for those of us who have been hating the recent $3-per-foot velcro prices.

March 15, 2006

But who will feed the childrens?

Apparently Isaac Hayes is all cool with South Park as long as their targets aren't his religion. Either he's finally figured out that it's all fn and games until you lose your own eye (it's still funny when other people lose theirs) or he's just got a thin skin covering his faux-Chef body.

I'm guessing that he's a weenie - though "(Theme from) Shaft" is still one of the finest songs ever made.

March 14, 2006

Having a lil' party...

Ah, a fine Sunday afternoon matinee in Springdale...just the right place to catch a cheaper showing of Dave Chapelle's Block Party...just me, my wife, and five other folks.

From what I've heard from friends and students who have seen this film, it's not playing to huge crowds, which is really a shame. It's an excellent movie that left me with a great feeling throughout.

First, a bit of a disclaimer, this is not a Dave Chapelle comedy film. It's not Half Baked or a collection of a bunch of Dave's comedy skits from his shows. Instead, this is mostly a concert film intercut with some funny moments of Dave interacting with the performers and concert-goers. Apparently the lack of comedy annoyed some folks.

Most of the reviews, however, have been totally positive, and they're well-deserved. The film does a wonderful job of showing the joy the Dave has in setting up this event - a day-long block party with music (Kanye West, the Fugees, Dead Prez, Mos Def, the Roots, Erikah Badu, Jill Scott, and a bunch more that I didn't exactly recognize) and food for a few hundred fans and friends of his. It's a massive collection of talent for one stage, and Dave apparently did everything he could to keep the concert from getting out of hand with press - inviting everybody to a location in Chinatown and then bussing them to Bedford Stuyveson where he puts on just about the best concert experience I can imagine.

Admittedly, it's not a film that's necessarily marketed to a pudgy white guy like me, but it's a great film. The pacing was wonderfully done by director Michael Gondry - beginning with the harder-core rap acts and fading into the soulful R&B of Scott & Badu by the end, letting the movie come together into a celebration of a comedian with a - then new - $50-million contract who just wanted to kick back and have a blast with some of his friends and favorite artists.

It's a hell of a party, and I whole-heartedly recommend it to anybody regardless of race, creed, color, or mood. No matter how you go in, you'll come out in a good one...

March 13, 2006

Two one-panel laughs...

Funny stuff that's come along in the past few days...the second one from Disco Stu next door...the first one's from a comic called Speed Bump and the second from Brewster Rockit!

Good news...

At least there is some good news in the world. It appears that sales of cigarettes have hit a 55-year low. There is some reason for celebration also in that it appears that high school seniors are smoking at an ever lower rate each year, suggesting good news for the future.

The article attributes the decline to cigarette corporation settlements, public smoking bans, increases media attention, and lots of other things. Clearly, it won't be on this new movie.

Now, if we could just get sales of supper fat quadrupple cheeseburgers to hit an all-time low, we might be able to do something about America's bigger problem.

March 12, 2006


You Passed 8th Grade Science

Congratulations, you got 8/8 correct!

March 11, 2006

From Erinberry's blog...

I'm really starting to love the whole blogsphere thing...just yesterday I got a comment posted from Erinberry - who runs her own blog titled Jesus Was Not a Republican. She posted something about my IB post a couple of weeks ago.

And in the process of checking out who this Erinberry was, I found an amazing link that she's pointed out to a spectacular juggling performance that's well worth watching. I honestly have no clue what the guy's doing during part of the performance. His hands are moving so amazingly fast.

Thanks, Erinberry, for taking the time to drop a word or two my way. I'm gonna wander through your archives and return the favor.

More tasty fare...

I've mentioned all the nasty, fatty, gross, heart-killing foods before, but this one is clearly different. This one has a donut for a bun and includes bacon and cheese. How can that be bad?

March 10, 2006

Santa Fe is for weirdos...

Karlen and I spent our honeymoon in Santa Fe, and it's a gorgeous place - really beautiful. It's a really neat place - very much artistic and historic. The climate is beautiful as is the landscape around the city.

And it attracts its fair share of artistic weirdos like Adam Horowitz - not the Beastie Boy but rather the creater of Fridgehenge. It's the kind of thing that only a society that is truly comfortable can create.

Don't get me wrong, I've got a soft spot for the people of the world who create things of beauty - even things of weird beauty. Take, for example, the recreation of Stonehenge that Karlen and I made on another trip we took together. We called it Fruithenge.

Right...I'm off to dinner in Hamilton and a show of support at the HFS production of Cinderella. Wish me luck, folks...

March 9, 2006

Not a langostino...

Okay, this article is not about the thing that makes Long John Silver's lobster bites, but it is about one freakish crustration. A hairy lobster? Werid...

March 8, 2006

Ah, the sweetest science...

I'm a hotmail kinda guy (for the non-work emails, you know), and each time I log in to hotmail, I get a list of three or four stupid little articles that hotmail wants me to click on. Usually they're pretty innocuous, stupid things. Today, however, one of them caught my eye - Love: 10 Crazy Scientific Facts. It's nothing thrilling or marvelous, but it's kinda neat to read.

March 7, 2006

So tasty...

The blog is rolling out their 2006 Independent Food Festival & Awards, and I for one am simply drooling. There are five days worth of awards - only two have been revealed so far.

May I especially recommend day one's Most Addictive, Counterintuitive Dried Fruit and day two's Best Things to Stick to Your Marshmallow, Chocolate Better than Morphine, and Best Wicked Indulgence for $4.

I'm eagerly looking forward to the next three days.

And on a side food note, the malted rice krispies on CandyBlog look pretty tasty, too.

Maybe I should go ahead and eat something before I start to digest my own stomach at this point...

March 6, 2006

Politics - be warned...

I know that this is a blog linked from my school website, and because of that I have to be awfully careful about what I post here. My position as a teacher is not to sway my students toward or away from most issues (well, except toward the whole doing-homework-is-good issue), and as such, I tend to simply avoid most controversial topics so that I'm not seen as promoting one side or another.

Today, however, could be a rather important day in the whole Blue State-Red State schism that we've seen building and growing here in the US. Choose your news coverage:Whichever your side on this issue, it's pretty likely that there will be a fights.

March 5, 2006

Clap Hands, folks...

Entertainment Weekly this week points out a couple of awesome videos from The first and more entertaining is probably the combined performance from James Brown, Prince, and Michael Jackson - all at the peak of their pwers, sometime around 1984, I'm guessing. Seriously freakish and phenomenal video. The second is a clip of Beck performing "Clap Hands" with an orchestra of folks eating dinner while performing. Good stuff...

March 4, 2006

Ask a Mexican!

I've got some very minor connection to Orange County because Orange High School is the only school that's raised more money than Princeton High School in the past few years for Pasta for Pennies, so this morning's story on the Today Show caught my attention.

it appears that there's a column in the Orange County Weekly called Ask a Mexican in which people write in their questions regarding Mexicans, and a Latino answers them.

Offensive? Honest? Informative? From what I can tell, yes in some amount to all three of those.

Bunches of links...

I follow a bunch of other blogs daily - checking in to see what they have to offer...and today I present you with some sort of sickly circular thing where I link to links that were linked by other link linkers...These come from a few blogs that I really enjoy...

March 3, 2006

A rose by any other name...

It seems so simple: lobster bites. Long John Silver's has added a new menu item "just in time for lent", as the press release says. It's a little cheap for lobster (like $3 instead of like $20), admittedly, so I assume that it's some sort of lobster bits that couldn't make it into high quality lobster for real restaurants - maybe a little worse for you, but there's nothing wrong with that. Little bits of lobster are still lobster, admittedly, just in a little smaller package. Right?


Turns out there's this thing called a langostino or, as it's sometimes known, a squat lobster or prawn. It's not exactly a lobster - kind of more a lobster. It's a distinction that's been fought in the past in a class action suit that went so far as to be covered by NPR. The suit is apparently still pending in court, but the FDA has approved Rubio's calling their burrito a langostino lobster burrito. From what I can find on Rubio's website, though, they just chose to not offer whatever the burrito's called anymore. Don't know if it was because of the lawsuit or declining sales or what, but I'll admit readily that after doing all this research into the issue, I'm really tempted to go wandering to LJS's to try the lobster bites to see if they're more shrimpish or more lobsterish.

March 2, 2006

Two stunners...

First off, I think my wife may gain about fifty pounds based merely on the newest Ben & Jerry's flavor. It's ice cream and beer - combined! Seriously, this could be very bad for her chances at the Flying Pig. For me, the Berried Treasure looks a lot better.

And even more impressive is a new game that is being promoted in this preview video. The game is called Spore and is one of the most impressive games I've ever seen. If you'd like some still pics, they're here.

The game starts as a unicellular creature who you can start to evolve in various ways which allows the game to shift to a multi-cellular creature (that you can again evolve in various ways. From there, you get to move from sea to land to then begin a civilization. Your creatures can go from villages to cities at which the game shifts more toward a Civilization game and then toward more of a Risk game. From there, you're able to leave the planet and head into space where you can discover other lifeforms and interact with planets that have been evolved and terraformed by other players who have been playing their versions of the games.

Seriusly, the scope of this game is so phenomenally vast, from unicellular to exploring space, that I can't imagine how big this thing has to be. It's the perfect game that could be played forever. Absolutely forever without ever worrying about reproducing yourself or getting bored.

The video is long - 35 minutes - but it's one that's well worth watching. Let me please implore everybody (Becky, Joe, GRob, especially) to carve out the time to watch this one. Oh my freakin' lord...

There is no way that I can properly describe the scale and scope of this game.

Watch the video, please.

PS - If you're interested in Spore, here's a longer version (~1 hr) of the video with some clearer graphics and more explanation from the lecturer.

March 1, 2006


I love Wikipedia so very much.

Today's thrilling Wikipedia find is this list of fictional US Presidents. Sure there have been more concerns of late as to the veracity of Wikipedia's information (seems some kids being trained to evaluate information sources decided to write that Saddam Hussein had stinky feet), but let's be honest, where else can you look up lists of Lilo & Stitch experiments, fictional music groups, made up words on the Simpsons, companies in Atlas Shrugged, or any of a hundred other fictional things.